I am writing three questions today. I assume the first two will be quickly dismissed, but I think they are interesting thoughts.
Another year in the books. Although we only had around 25 shows(update from D 26), I would say it was definitely our busyest year ever. I think rather than judging busyness on what we did, we should judge it on what we didn't do. We definitely turned down more shows this year (because we were too busy) than ever before. We are getting a lot of repeat shows now. We even made returns to Intercourse Heritage Fest and Cherry Crest Farm after a few years off. Also, we did 6.5 Christmas shows. The half show was a practice at Hinkletown that was viewed by a group that was renting the gym. (Show number 6 was a Christmas show at Creation) Our most notable new show was probably a show at Kitchen Kettle.
We have performed our new devilstick routine "Forever" a bunch this year, and it is on its way to becoming a normal routine instead of just a new thing we are trying. We haven't really done the II Corinthians routine all year, but we haven't given up on it yet. We did a highly modified version of it for a Sunday morning show where they wanted us to do something on David and Jonathan. It was fun to try something a little different, but I don't think we will be doing a David and Jonathan routine again.
I broke Darren's two year winning streak and won D vs K this year. The first round was three three ball finishes. I won this round decisively. I don't think Darren really practiced for this, but he did do a butt grab a la Jason Garfield. I did a neck catch, a spin move, and a foot catch. Round 2 was expanding a existing routine. I added a magic high five to our foundation routine, and Darren knocked a carrot out of his mom's mouth while we were passing around her. I thought this could have gone either way, but the judges gave this to me as well. We have used both these things in other shows since then, so I view this as a win for the whole D vs K concept. The final round was most extreme trick. I did three big balls on my back sort of. Darren balanced his son Cameron on his hand. Even though I had already won the judges gave me this round as well.
One final thing new thing from this year, we made a promotional video for Creation this year. I don't think a lot of people saw it, but I liked how it turned out, and I feel like I am finally figuring out how to make/edit videos.
By the way, Darren had a son this year, and he is healthy and crawling around. Kevin's daughter is now running around and his son spent a lot of the year pretending to be Darren.
In light of part 1, there is a good chance that Show 3 will not be happening in the foreseeable future. However, I will press on with these questions because I think they are interesting. Going forward, I will ask two questions in each of these posts; the first will be about the hypothetical Show 3 and the second will be about what's next in a more general way.
We premiered Prodigal Fun in the February of 2015. Approximately a week later, I said that we should do our next new show in 2024 to celebrate 25 years. If that's actually going to happen we need to start thinking about it now. I am not saying we have to do anything now; we just have to start thinking about doing something. With that in mind, I have come up with some questions about show #3 . Anyone can respond to these questions, but I am basically assuming Darren is the only one who reads this. If Darren responds to the questions I'll put his answers here too. His answers will be in orange; mine are in blue
Once again, I am back with our year end letter. We had a few less
shows this year than the last couple. My count is at 28 shows for
2018. However, it feels like we have done a lot more Sunday morning
shows this year. I don’t know if that means we are becoming more
respectable, or that churches are lowering their standards.
As far as new juggling stuff, we are still working on “Forever” (our
new devilstick routine) and our II Corinthians 12 routine. Looking
back at Christmas letters, I can see that we were working on these
back in 2016. We did make real progress on both routines and have even performed each of them for audiences. I really think the latest
version of the II Corinthians routine (version 6) is going to work.
Hopefully by the end of next year, these should both be in the show,
and we will have some new goals. We did come up with a lot of new
intros these year. We have intros for Father Abraham, Frisbees, and
Bye Bye Bye now. This might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but we have been juggling clubs for nearly 20 years and still haven’t
thought of a way to introduce them.
We performed at Creation again this year, and we even made them a promo video. https://youtu.be/9Y8v7KD_OqI In addition to juggling, Darren also performed as the “Hobo Devil” with the Donut Man. Our biggest new event was probably the Kids’ Cookie Break Fest. We also performed at the Ephrata Christmas Tree Lighting. We made it through the show even though it was cold and dark. Also, I got a chance to try snow meteors instead of water meteors.
I think D vs K turned out really well this year. We did balancing(D)
vs twirling(K). The first round was dancing; Darren’s Hokey Pokey
ladder balance beat my Electric Slide with water meteors. The second round was “Take My Trick” I won by juggling while twirling and Darren balanced a stick while getting squirted by a volunteer. The final round was the fire round. I got Darren to be my unwitting volunteer and hold a box of matches with tongs. I smacked the box of matches with my poi and two matches lit up. That is not a lot of fire, but I liked it and it worked just the way I wanted it to. However,
once again Darren won. He balanced a torch on his hand and did some flips and tosses. I really liked have balancing and twirling go
together. Hopefully, something will come of this.
Finally, it is time for the personal sentence. My wife and I had a baby
girl, Lindsey Marie, and Darren and his wife are expecting their first
child next year.
We made it through another year. Life is still busy but we managed to do 35 shows again this year. Honestly, I’m busy enough that I am not sure how many shows we did, but 35 sounds right to me. Darren will probably correct me if I am wrong. I just read last year’s letter and saw that I put 35, but I remember finding out later that it should have been 34.
We started off by premiering the whipped cream version of Father Abraham at the HMS Winter Carnival. I have really enjoyed doing this routine through the year. I like having a finale that doesn’t even try and look big and dangerous. We haven’t done any other new acts, but we are still working on our new devilstick routine and our II Cor 12 “dropping the ball” routine.
Most people would say the most notable show we did this year was Creation. We performed all three days in the kids’ tent. We had fun doing some collaborations with This Way Up, and got the whole kids’ tent lineup to sing Father Abraham with us. We have even been asked to come back for 2018. However, I would still say the most exciting show we did was the Saucon Hymn Sing. They actually let us “lead” a hymn sing with juggling. It was basically exactly what I like doing: getting to do something new, limited practicing, no acting, and me transitioning between things by clumsily explaining songs. The most amazing part of all this is that it really worked well. We didn't have any solo shows this year, but Darren did sing a solo in Kids Praise!
Sadly my two year streak of D vs K victories ended this year. Round one was diabolo routines. I tried singing “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” with my routine. That was a mistake, but I am still glad I tried it. Darren crushed me that round with a routine set to The Breaker's Commission. I should really encourage Darren to make more music selections. In round two, Darren did a cigar box routine with grapefruits and I did a devilstick routine with a tennis racket. I won this round with some help from a volunteer. Round three was close. Darren did the water bottle flip challenge and added a flip to his forehead. I tried doing slinky tricks with a giant slinky. It was ok, but not enough. Darren won, but I still enjoy having a giant slinky in my bag of props. As the winner, he has set the rules for next year. We are basically doing Balancing(D) vs Twirling(K), but the three rounds aren’t quite finalized yet.
Finally, here is the personal sentence. Darren got a new job pouring concrete, and my wife and I are expecting our second child.
For the last three years, we have performed at my church’s picnic. This year I said that we should do something different so instead of doing the picnic, we will be juggling at a hymn sing. My church has hymn sings the first Sunday of each month, and sometimes there is a guest artist. However, this artist has always been a musician in the past. The idea of juggling at a hymn sing may seem weird, but from my perspective this will be the greatest juggling led hymn sing anyone has ever been to. Winning by default has always been the key to my successes.
2016 has been a very busy year for Darren and me, but a slightly less busy year for the DKers. This year I fixed up my house to the point where it is livable, and I had my first son, Everett. Darren got married and started trying to convince his wife that when they have a child they should give him/her a name that starts with R (D-K-E-R). I know I am supposed to cram in all the personal stuff into one sentence at the end, but it was so much easier think of personal stuff than juggling highlights for 2016.
We have three ideas for routines that we are “working” on right now. Routine number one will be very hard to put together. We need to pick a song and put in a lot of practice, but we have already put in a good amount of practice. Routine two will probably require significantly less practice, but we have only practiced once, and by practice I mean fooling around for 15 minutes while convincing ourselves that whipped cream is a legitimate juggling prop. Routine three should involve almost zero practice, but a good deal of prop construction.
My last couple of blog posts have been ideas for possible juggling routines. Last month’s idea felt different from the previous ideas primarily because I think it might actually happen. The other ideas; the unjust stewert show, the prayer show, or the boast in weakness act, all started with a biblical idea. Whereas, last month’s idea started with a juggling trick. Starting with a juggling trick seems much easier. After watching our Prodigal Fun show, I don’t know which way one would assume we came up with the show. We could have decided to do the Prodigal Son, and then tried to think of routines to go with inheritance, leaving, losing money, garbage, a party and so on. However that is not what we did at all. We thought of routines about gold, saying bye bye bye, gambling, and so on before we ever thought about doing the prodigal son. We just figured out how to make it all fit after the fact. Maybe it is good to trust in God’s providence and hope that everything will work out for good. However when trying to think about whatever it is that will come next , it would be nice to have more of a plan.
The K in the DKers