For as long as I remember, I’ve had a mole just above my mouth, on the right side of my face. In photos of my twin brother and I as a child, it’s the easiest way to tell us apart. When I was learning my left hand from my right, so I knew which hand to hold my pen when writing, I’d do a quick check on the mole to see which side of my face it sat.*

Of course, I know it mainly from looking in the mirror, so when I see it on a photo it always looks like it’s on the wrong side!

And, when taking and selecting promo photos, it always really stands out. Or at least it does to me. The other moles on my face, while just as dark, are never so large and prominent. I feel fine airbrushing them away, but when I airbrush the large mole above my lip? It just looks weird! It is obviously a big part of my self-perceived identity.

This photo is one like I just described… I took out the mole, but then hit ctrl-Z until it returned.

Also visible on this photo is the fact the “parting” on my eyebrow hair isn’t in between my eyebrows, but part way along my right eyebrow… it’s amazing how well you get to know your own face after 29 years.

Which is why, now something has changed, it keeps catching my eye, though 99.9999% of other people will never notice. Here’s the story:

1. Shaving the mole is always a bit tricky. I sometimes cut it.
2. A large spot appeared directly on the mole.
3. I shaved, and sliced the top of the spot right off.
4. This small wound bled a lot, and took ages to stop.
5. I must admit I picked at the scab a bit.
6. A week or so later, the scab crumbled away in the highly satisfying way that scabs tend to do.

The result? The mole is now made up of some kind of scar tissue. It has lost a lot of its colour, and while the size is the same, it has lost a lot of its definition. The sharp edges have blurred, if you will. Check out this photo I just took:

Compare it to the mole on my cheek. These two moles used to be the same colour! I don’t think it’ll ever return either, so I guess I’ve got to get used to my new face.

* To be honest, I still do this sometimes.

New trips September to November

I have four cruise ship gigs booked between now and the end of the year. The first, in just over a week will look a bit like this (click any of these maps to explore them in more detail):

I’ve never been to Morocco before, so I’m quite excited. Also, I started my year-long project to video myself juggling in every country/interesting place I visit in February, meaning I didn’t get any footage when I visited Funchal in Madeira in January. This cruise will take me back there, so I hope to get to the top of the mountain on a cable car like I wanted to last time, but had severe sciatica.

In October:

I fly to Antalya in Turkey, and spend a week at the Turkish Juggling Convention! I’ve wanted to go for the last three years, but this time I had no excuses. Mainly because I had a cruise ship gig that leaves Kusadasi, Turkey, the day after the convention ends. This cruise will take me to Sarande, Albania, a city and country I’ve not visited before, Dubrovnik in Croatia and end near Rome. I’ll not stay in Italy long though, just enough time to drive to the airport.

And then, end of October into November:

Start in Kusadasi again, two stops in Israel, two stops in Egypt, Split in Croatia and on to Venice. Then the ship starts a new cruise, so it’s back to Split, then I leave the ship in Egypt. I’ve been to Israel twice before, but never spent any time in Jerusalem, so I’d like to try to make it this trip. Egypt is completely new for me, so I hope to do crass tourist activities while I’m there. Split is new too. Venice I’ve visited before, but it is one of the best cruise destinations, due to the ships being taller than anything in the city and sailing in REALLY close, getting a great view over the red-roofed skyline.

As I said, the cruise ends in Egypt, so I’m hoping to stay there for a few days afterward. Being both a travel geek and a juggling geek, I’m considering arranging a trip to the 15th Benni Hasan tomb to take decent photos of the oldest ever depiction of jugglers:

What do you think? Should I bother? Or should I spend my time more wisely?

I’ll be posting photos and stories from all these trips here on my blog when I return. Also, now I have an iPhone, I might tweet a bit more as I travel, but I’ll have to see if I get into that habit or not.

For any given subject:

Some of the labels need some work, but here’s a diagram which shows my theory about categorizing people using self awareness, cash flow and ability…

Probably one of the geekiest things I’ve ever made.

Art of Juggling streetshow segment, September 2009

Pola and I are still rocking out with the Art of Juggling show, and here is our street show festival version:

There is a long setup, but it’s more of a character thing with some juggling (a cool balance trick) and a lot of hype to set up the grand finale of the entire show. This video shows the unique part of our show that the audience loves.

Ok, the “passing clubs around small children” is in no way unique, as I lifted it as a whole from Haggis and Charlie’s show (or, to put it another way, when I replaced Haggis in the show for a festival, Charlie taught me the salient parts) but it fits really nicely here.

And yes, I do perform 5 club backcrosses and 6 clubs in the show. Too hard, I know! In the theater version of the act we do a lot less talking, and the final trick is an awesome colour change trick with 5 rings that we’ve performed for 3 years now and never got round to filming.

One last note: my camera is broken, and every few minutes it starts zooming in by itself! Our volunteer cameraman worked out what was happening, but it still looks a bit weird.

Two new photos

At a street show festival this weekend Duo Desolato asked me to take some photos of their show. From behind, so they showed the audience. At night. And they gave me a little compact camera, which I knew wouldn’t do a very good job in those conditions. I said I’d use my camera instead, and email them links to the photos.

Of course, it let me try out my wide angle lens. Here’s the one I liked best:

A bit later a digeridoo player and drummer, under the name of “Umlaut” or similar (I left their business card in the van), took to the stage for an awesome drum ‘n’ bass set: