Before we leave October, I want to post pictures from our trip to New Mexico last October, when we were doing research for the new monologue. I'm thinking about it a lot because that's the monologue we're now doing in New York seven times a week, and I figured folks who have seen the show might enjoy seeing some of these pictures.
I have to start with Ed Grothus, who runs the Black Hole, and who came to see our show on his 85th birthday when we performed it in Santa Fe this summer.
You can see Ed in action here, and I know that Morning Edition is going to be doing a big piece on him shortly, to which I'll provide a link once it's up. He's a real character, and his devotion to his cause is inspiring. His shop is a must-see if you ever get the chance to visit New Mexico.
Yes, that's a daisy made out of 1,000 pound bomb casings split in half, with a grouping of detonators forming the flower's core. And below you'll see a picture of atomic bomb detonator cables for two dollars a piece.
We stayed with my father and his wife who live in Albuquerque and are extremely gracious and enthusiastic hosts.
On a side note, he has a blog of his own, and like the best blogs, his editorial focus is quite specific. It's a weekly dispatch from his adventures riding the bus, and his sharp but nonjudgmental observations make for a nice window into another corner of the world.
They took us to the Balloon Fiesta, for which Albuquerque is world-famous. Turns out you have to leave your house at 4 AM if you want to be there for the mass ascension, which apparently we did. It was cold and dark, but there were vendors lined up and selling breakfast burritos with green chiles and watery (but warm) hot chocolate, for which we were grateful.
Mike was groggy and irradiated, having made the pilgrimage to the Trinity blast site the day before (I chose to stay behind and learn how to roast ancho chiles with my father instead). He saw most of his balloons by peaking out from the blanket he was shivering beneath.
It also turns out that conditions have to be just right for a balloon to be able to take off. And special shapes, like this Darth Vader balloon, have a more difficult time than standard shapes, but they also draw bigger cheering sections.