The Kukowski Chronicle

What's Joe doing now?

A look back to 2017 and BIG things coming in 2018!

Written By: Joe - Jan• 01•18

A look back.

Despite the issues of this last year, it was a good year for me.

After staying at my brothers for 6 months (Thank you for putting up with me, Jerome), I moved back into the room I lived in for a few months before I went on the road. All my stuff was still there (Thank you, Cindy).

About this same time I started working at Rhino Staging Northwest as a stage hand. Between this and my part time at JCPenney I was able to make ends meet. The scheduling worked out for the most part. Slow times for JCPenney were busy times for Rhino.

The first job I did for Rhino was the setup of Cirque du Soleil Luzia. While there I ran into a bunch of people I had met on the road. Several of the usual followers, and a few of the cirque staff. That came in handy when I took my brother to see the show several weeks later. I was able to get us upgraded from last row of the cheep seats to the eight row back of the VIP seats. When Cirque left I was right there helping take it down, including dropping the Big Top.

Over the summer I helped load in and load out a bunch of concerts. Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, One Republic, Metallica, Coldplay and many others. I even got to work the show call for REO and Styx. I also worked the Sounders FC and Seahawks games. Although I was only needed for the opening and left shortly after so I never saw a game.

I also worked several corporate gigs. A couple of them were at the Chihuly glass garden at the Seattle Center, and the big one for a Fred Hutchinson fund raiser. My last job of the year was for Resolution, a rave held at Century link field.

And a look forward.

2018 promises to be a big one for me. The first month is going to be basically the same. I will be working the in and out for the Amazon holiday party. I will also be working to transfer Kurios gear from trucks to a plane so it can be flown over to Tokyo.

This is were things get interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent in my resume for the swing tech position with Kurios. Much to my surprise I did not get the usual “Thank you but no thank you” response. Instead I got an email from a friend I met during my time with Amaluna. He is now the Head Carpenter for Kurios and wanted to setup a phone interview. I had the interview on the 19th and got an answer on the 23rd.

I got an early Christmas present! I am going to Tokyo!

I have signed a contract with Cirque Du Soleil Kurios for the position of Swing Tech. I do not know when I will be going, it depends on how fast Cirque HQ and the Japanese government can get the paperwork done. Probably in February.

To say I am excited is an understatement. I am also nervous. Although I have traveled to other contraries, there is a big difference between Europe and Japan. Fortunately, I will be among some 200 coworkers and friend, most in the same situation. I also don’t want to let down those who pushed for me to be hired.

I will just have to do my best and that will have to be good enough.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun 2018, and I will end this with a quote from Carrie Fisher:

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow”


Does Math Exist and how do you teach it?

Written By: Joe - Feb• 14•17

I was flipping through YouTube this afternoon when I came across a video by the PBS Idea Channel. “Is Math a Feature of the Universe or a Feature of Human Creation?” As they state in the video, Math does not have a physical component. You can not see math. This video goes through the differences between math realists and math anti-realists and some of the beliefs they have.

Apparently, most mathematician are math realists, and that leads to things like this:

“Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts: understand a fraction a/b as a quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b. California 3rd Grade Math Standard

It makes much more sense to teach math another way, as explained in this TED Talk, “Math isn’t hard, it’s a language“. In this video Randy Palisoc talks about teaching math as a language.

In the video he talks about teaching his niece. He starts off with 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples. Then 3 Pencils + 2 Pencils = 5 Pencils.  From there it is an easy step to 4 billion + 1 billion = 5 billion and 1/3 +1/3 = 2/3 ( 1 Third +1 Third = 2 Thirds).

What does this all come down to? Some times you need to give up on personal beliefs and look at things a new way, especially when it come to teaching.

I’m feeling Creative!

Written By: Joe - Jan• 26•17

Today I decided to do something I have been thinking about for years. I made a lamp out of an acetylene generator. Dad bought this thing some 40 years ago and I always thought it would make a cool street lamp.

While I was at Home Depot I found a solar powered yard light. Better yet, it was on sale for about $10.  It had three lamps and a solar cell/battery pack.  I started off by pulling the lamps apart. Not too tough to do. A few min with a saw and that was taken care of.

I soldered  the laps together and to the wire that connects them to the battery pack. Then put hot glue over the connecting and glued on some extra strong magnets.  I placed the light inside the glass top of the generator, using the magnets to attach them to the steel rode going through the center. The other end of the light was connected to the battery pack and that was mounted to the steel base. The end result came out looking kind of cool.

Star Wars VII What a ride!

Written By: Joe - Dec• 22•15

On Monday night I went to see Star Wars. I went to the Vista Theater ( A restored classic movie theater. I got there about an hour before and was able to buy tickets right away. They don’t have online sales. The line wasn’t to long so I stood in line for about 40 min. As we entered the theater they had a storm trooper there. I had a medium popcorn and coke and was presently surprised that they were in fact medium not huge like most modern theaters, and a reasonable price.

The inside of the theater was beautiful. With classic decor and nice large seats. The rows are so far apart from each other that I could sit there with my legs fully stretched out and there was still space for people to walk by.

The movie started with a classic Mr. MaGoo cartoon, “When MaGoo Flew” (1954). Then it started.

I am not going to rune your experience by telling you what happened or give any spoilers away, but I will say that I felt like I did in ’76 when I went to see the original. This was a fun romp through the galaxy. Lots of action, fun one liners, and some really hart wrenching parts to.

This was a great movie and I am planing on seeing it again.

Donria’s Haus of Pizza

Written By: Joe - Nov• 24•15

Tonight I had dinner at the Donria’s Haus of Pizza. It is a small Italian restaurant that has been at there current site sense the 80’s but started at another site in the 70’s. It is very much a “Hole in the Wall” place but has some very good pizza. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

Well into Week Two.

Written By: Joe - Jun• 18•15

Here it is well into week two and I am finally updating.

Training went well. It was very much like Amaluna. The big difference is that there are a lot less ques but a lot more ushers. Doors 3 and 4 have a divided entrance. There are stairs going up to the 200 sections and a ramp running up the middle to get to the 100’s. The end result is 5 people working those doors. Unfortunately, we have had the usual flakes, the end result was that we were already running short on people the first weekend.

I worked inside the first week at doors 3 and 4. Because of the layout most of what I saw was the mast but the stuff I have seen is really good. The music is wonderful and I am really looking forward to getting to sit down and see it. This week they have been having my work outside. It has been a while and I miss the extra hour of pay each night. I am looking forward to going back inside next week.

I have found a “Home Base” of sorts. There are a bunch of appeasements at the Belmar shopping area. I park on the street there at about midnight and get up and drive off about 8. The Stealth Van is working well. It looks like someone has parked there and left it for the night. The Belmar has a 24 hour fitness club, and I use that for a workout and the showers.

Last week I found a place north of Denver call DIY Auto Repair Shops. They have 8 bays that you rent by the hour. 29.95/hr for DIY, 49.95/hr for help from and expert or 89.95/hr if they do all the work. So today I spent four hours replacing my spark plugs. Working on newer cars is a pain in the but. There is so much crap in the way. Fortunately, was able to do it in about four hours (it takes an expert about 3 1/2). Only two slight mishaps. I dropped a bolt and needed to get a magnet on a stick to get it back, and I disconnected a line I thought was vacuum but turned out to be coolant. Spilled a bit of it on the ground but they were cool about it and said they would clean it up when I was done. The old plugs didn’t look that bad but the issues I was having with the van hiccuping are gone, so I guess it was worth it.

Last week I also ordered a replacement head light and I have not heard from them that it has shown up. I will have to call them and find out what is going on. I am getting tired of driving with only one head light.

Well the Starbucks is going to close soon so I am going to sign off and head to my bed. Good night all!

Here we go! Running away with the Circus 2.01: Code name: Denver

Written By: Joe - Jun• 08•15

I got up early on Wednesday (I know Jerome, 8 AM is early for me). It took a bit for the final bits to be finished. Packing the van, laundry, etc. I took some time to activate my 23 hour fitness membership. Now I am guaranteed a place to take a shower. I stopped by Jonnalyhn’s work to get a good buy hug and headed out.

My route through Mt. Rainer National Park.

My route through Mt. Rainer National Park. (Google Location History)

I decided to go the scenic route and took Highway 410. In case you don’t know, it is a two  lane highway that goes through the northern part of Mt. Rainer National Park. In other words, gorgeous as hell. Unfortunately, it was raining and cloudy so the views weren’t as good as they should have been.

As I was driving along, I suddenly had to stop. There was an elk standing in the road in front of me. It took off before I could grab my camera. Google then took me down Washington 123 and then to Highway 12. I then joined to I-82. Google then took me off I-82 at Prosser and down Highway 221 and Highway 14 to rejoin I-82 at the Washington/Oregon boarder. I then followed I-84 to Boise and stopped for the night at a rest area.

Driving route 6-3-15

Day one on the way to Denver. I know it doesn’t show all they way to Boise but that didn’t happen until about 1 AM. (Google Location History)

My first night in the van went OK. I had made window cover of some material and stick on magnets. Unfortunately the magnets don’t stick well… to the material OR metal. I replaced them yesterday with black out curtains using sliders from Ikea. Works much better.

Day two of the trip. (Google Location History)

Day two of the trip. (Google Location History)

I was back on the road the Thursday morning at 7:30. The day went uneventful, lots of freeway, a few trucks, the amazing scenery. Until Wyoming, that is.

Just about sunset there was a big thunder storm ahead of me. The lighting was impressive. It got closer and closer, until I was driving under it. Then the hail started. Imagine a hard winter storm but freeze it. The sound was deafening. The hail was piled on the ground like snow. At least 4 inches deep. The traffic slowed to a crawl. The hale broke several holes in the roof vent I had installed and smashed a hole in the drivers side head light.


The hail storm put several holes in my new roof vent.


After I got out of the storm I stopped to fix the damage (God bless whoever invented duct tape). Google then took me off the Interstate and down Highway 287 from Laramie to Ft Collins, then I-25 to Denver. Driving remote highways with only one headlight is rough. I found a Walmart in Lakeside, CO (just NW of Denver) and spent the night there.

The lens was already cracked but the hale put a hole in it.

The lens was already cracked but the hale put a hole in it.

I was up early Friday morning so I could get in to work. The big top itself is very like the one used for Amaluna. The big difference is how the bleacher are set up. They build new ones for this show. There are three big differences. There are blocks under the seats to keep stuff from falling under the bleachers. YEA!! and they have a row S. The really big difference is the entry at door 3 and 4.

Amaluna had stares that went up to the top row so everyone had to go that way. I have seen other Cirque shows that had a ramp going to row H and then you had stars up and down from there. This layout is a hybrid. It is broken into three sections. The sides have stares that go to row S and the center section is a ramp up to row H. No more having all the wheelchairs going to door 7 or 8.

My badge for the new show.

My badge for the new show.

A nice benefit to the ramps is that the chair racks can be wheeled into the big top. So setup took much less time. After the chars were laid out (another team was setting them up) we helped get lighting setup in the merch tent. I went out to dinner with the Amaluna followers. We had a good time catching up. The a quick run to the gym for a workout and a (much needed) shower. I then found myself a place to park the van on a nice side street and went to sleep.

Saturday and Sunday I spent a lot of time at home depot making tweaks to my van and buying a new headlight. They had to order it. It comes next week. Saturday night I went to a pub and had some food and beer while listening to a very good 80s band from Idaho. Sunday I went to Ikea, had meatballs, and bought some curtain tracks. I installed them that afternoon. I spent that night at Golden, Co. so I could get a replacement for my vent cover. Apparently they have had a several hale storms here and were out of the model I needed. They are going to get some more in soon.

Today, I went to a DIY car repair place. Unfortunately, they are closed on Mondays. I will try again tomorrow.

Tonight is training. They are doing it on Monday because it is the only time that the artist won’t be practicing.

I think I am going to get some lunch and take a nap.

One week down

Written By: Joe - Aug• 02•14

Last Monday started early. We were doing chair setup at 8AM and it takes me over an hour to get there so my alarm went off at 6. Unfortunately the complementary breakfast doesn’t start until 6:30. But I had been prepared and had gotten breakfast and lunch the night before.

The day progressed as expected. There was confusion about the order of the racks, some of the temp workers kept going to the bathroom, talking on there phones, or generally griping. I did have a good forklift operator so once the rack order was set, I did not run out of chairs. The 30 min lunch stretched out to 75 min, but that is also normal for setup.

While we were doing setup there was a team washing the big top. Unfortunately that meant there were puddles on the ground and wet shoe prints on the nicely clean and just repainted bleacher boards. But they did clean under the wheelchair seats. they haven’t done that in over a year!

I had Tuesday off and spent it looking for housing. Still no luck. This is really starting  to suck. I have extended my stay at the HI to Thursday but that maxes out my stay time. I hope something comes along.

Wednesday was training day. Because of changes to how the pricing is done for ticket sales, I took the box office training again. We are the test for a new sliding price system. When sales for a city open the prices are lower than normal. The price for any given show and section change depending on sales. Kind of like air lines. If you buy early you get better prices. its going to be a pain beacuse we can’t just say the prices are X. Now we have to find out when they want to come and look up the prices for that show. I don’t work the box for a couple of weeks so they should have worked out the issues by the time I have to.

Dress rehearsal went smoothly. Only 52%, about normal. It was no surprise to me that I was working Door 3 Mast guard. My default position, and one of the toughest jobs in the big top, Door 7 wheelchairs is the other one. Clean up went OK but I did have to tell one guy to stop throwing popcorn boxes down the rows. He was sweeping and told me he was multitasking. Right.

Premiere went well for us. Started late, as usual. The normal problems with getting people seated. but it was as expected. Apparently the F&B people were having a hard time of it.

Last night went OK. There were issues with scheduling and people showing up. I think this is going to be a bigger issues here in DC than most places (with the possible exception of NY).

The transit system here sucks. It closes down at midnight. The follower who is doing costuming missed the last bus and ended up staying at the stop all night. Fortunately they are open until 3 AM on the weekends.

Well its time for me to get ready for work. I will type some more later.

And so starts Washington DC

Written By: Joe - Jul• 26•14

I flew out of Seattle on Wednesday night. That’s right I took a red-eye. It was $140 cheaper than the cheapest daytime flight. As you might expect I did not sleep, only dosed. The plane was equipped with personal screens for each seat. I had a choice of videos, music, games, and flight info. I turned on the softies channel and tried to sleep. About three hours later the sun was coming up. It was really beautiful. I asked the guy sitting at the window seat to take a picture for me.

I had a transfer in Detroit, where I managed to grab breakfast from the only open place, Wendy’s. Then on to my commuter flight to Dulles airport. Once I had landed, I had to take a bus to the subway, then the subway to downtown and walk about 6 block to get to the Hostel. Fortunately they let me put my bags in the room early. I then went out and found my way back to the subway so I could figure out how to get to work.

It’s a long trip. about 40 min on the green line subway and then another 3o min to get to National Harbor, MD. It is a very nice area and growing. There are several new hotels/condos going it and they are just starting to build a Casino. The location is very nice except to get to gate 1 (the employee entrance) you have to walk up the street on the grass. That is the one side of the block that does not have sidewalks.

I wandered the area for awhile. Lots of expensive restaurants and boutiques. Another hour and 10 min ride got me back to DC. I was able to actually move into my room.

After cleaning up I headed out and explored the area. I found the local Safeway and the local Walgreen. They are in Chinatown. Just outside Chinatown I found a very nice Irish Pub. Had some nice food and drink and cheated with a nice lady. I headed back to the Hostel and got to bed.

Friday was the first day of work. The Hostel provides an OK breakfast, Cereal, bagels, and juice. When I entered the room the man who was in charge of it asked me to say Good Morning in a language other than English. I got away with bonjour. I wanted to make sure I got there on time and so I left nice and early, and I got there nice and early. About an hour nice and early.

Setup was uneventful. We did pull the cloth off the top of the trees so that they could be washed. They really needed it. I don’t think they have been washed sense they were original made. After we were let got a few of my coworkers and I went down the street to a local bar and had drinks for Happy Hour. Then back on the bus and the train to the Hostel. I crashed hard and woke up early.

Today was play tourist day. After breakfast I walked down the street to the National Mall and started down it. It is a long walk. Made it all the way down to the Lincoln memorial and then back all they way to Congress. I took a shower and went out to get something to eat.

And that brings us up to date. More later.

About time I posted agian.

Written By: Joe - Nov• 14•13

Sorry about the long delay but I am a procrastinator.

Guess what? Cirque is now in San Francisco and so am I! After spending a week at home and going to haunted houses with Cindy, I packed up my car and headed south… Well, North really.

I decided to make this trip via highway 101, and started off on highway 16. I went up and around the Olympic peninsula and down the coast of Washington. I left latter than I wanted to and stopped for the night at Ocean Shores.  After staying at one of the nice beach front hotels (in the off season it was cheaper than the hotel in Aberdeen) I took a quick walk to the beach and then headed out again.

Because of my late start I had to move quicker that I wanted to and spent the day driving to Brokings OR. I spent the night in a cheap motel and headed out the next morning. Continuing my drive down 101 I went through Tillamook OR and the Tillamook Cheese factory. I stopped for the self guided tour and bought a gift pack for my hostess. I also bought an Ice Cream cone and some cheese curd for myself. Then it was back in my car and once again south on 101.

As I approached the Bay Area, I hit the evening commute and spent a good amount of time in traffic. Finally I made it to my hosts home in a lovely neighborhood in Oakland, CA. OK, I fib. It is not the best of neighborhoods. It is on the wrong side of the tracks. Literally. It is next to the BART tracks. However it is only 6 blocks away from the BART station.

After unloading my car, I had a a good nights sleep in there guest room. It is a very nice home (not a fib this time). It is over 100 years old and used to be a restaurant, then a house of worship. It is very nice although the BART wakes me up at 4 AM when it starts running. Not a problem as I don’t have to be at work until later. I headed out two hours early to make it to site. I took the BART down town and attempted to find the lightrail that goes pass the big top. I finally decided to walk down The Embarcedero to site. It was a nice walk and I arrived there with plenty of time.

The site in on the water front across across Misson bay from AT&T park, home of the Giants, and is in the ball parks parking lot. As you might expect to cost money to park here, even for us employees but Cirque was able to convince them to give us a discount. After two days spent setting up the seats in the big top I had three days off until orientation day.

I spent the next three days wandering San Francisco. I had gotten a Clipper pass(The bay areas regional transit pass) and used it to get a Muni pass. The Muni pass is the monthly pass that lets me ride the San Francisco transit system including the cable cars. As you might expect I have ridden a couple of them and, yes, I stood on the side.

Because the sales had done so well orientation day had been moved to Tuesday. The training was almost the same as always. A few small changes but that was all. Then a bit of time off for some dinner and back to site for the Dress Rehearsal. Dress rehearsal went as smoothly as could be expected for the first time at show. We finished up and headed out. Unfortunately the BART stops at midnight so I had to go home.

Wednesday was my turn to shine (I hope). I was given the chance to become one of the two outside ushers. The position is responsible for all usher activity outside the big top. Opening the concessions area, making sure that the ticket takers are doing well. Checking on line length and crowd flow, opening some of the doors to the big top, assisting the special needs customers to the correct doors, and making the announcements that the show is about to begin. This position is also responsible for making sure that the Cirqador tent is keep in good condition. After a night of running around I was ready to go home and fall into bed. and that is what I did.

That catches me up to today, where I am sitting on my bed, in my pajamas, writing this blog. Soon I will get ready for work and head into town.

Here is a link to the pictures I have taken.