Amy's Paradise

This blog may be the ramblings of an Irish Dancer in Australia who writes stories too…

Our World, The Menagerie

Visit the only Zoo that is home to two Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere!

Funi and Wang Wang.

Day visited: Saturday 29th September 2012

This special zoo in right in Adelaide CBD, next to the Botanical Gardens and with over 300 species it is definitely worth the trip.

Going solo to the zoo definitely let me do my own thing. Entry was AUD$31.50 for an adult and getting there around 11 AM it wasn’t at all crowded, even for school holidays.

The zoo is open from 9:30AM till 5PM with various exhibits opening at their own times either half an hour after the zoo opens and closing a half hour before they officially close for the day.

I really enjoyed Adelaide zoo, it was because I was lucky enough that the Panda exhibit was going to be open all day. Apparently, most days it wasn’t as my friends…

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Rise of the Guardians (Review)

Do you believe in Jack Frost? You should. All myths and legends of old should be believed in for the survival of children’s innocence, which in today’s world is shrinking. By the man in the moon, Jack Frost is appointed a guardian, and just in time too, as the boogeyman has taken it upon himself to inject fear into children’s nightmares. Along side the Guardian’s Santa, Sandman, Easter Bunny and the tooth Fairy, they battle for the safety of children around the world, but as the light of children’s imagination and dreams dim into darkness, will the guardians rise up against fear?

Rise of the guardians is a compelling good-verse-evil film that works along the scenes of The Nightmare before Christmas, Brave and Coraline where the element of fear through monsters dig deep in all viewers of any age, but it teaches us to overcome our fears. Believe that they are there, but do not succumb to them. If we can believe in ourselves and in basic good, we can fear nothing. The guardians magically protect us from these fears as children so once older and learn the morals of society we can accomplish anything we desire.

The film collects humour for both children and adults with the bubbly tooth fairy, the brusque Russian Santa, the stubby cute mute sandman and the crikey-saying Easter Bunny. We all know the legends, essentially, and the film captures them with new imagination for children. It also introduces an unknown legend of Jack Frost – a lost soul in the legend circle for who is usually shown being quite evil in such films and books like Santa Clause 2, the Graveyard Book and along with the Snow Queen legend, without much history behind his legend at all. I’m glad he’s been made into a hero with a background and I commend the Guardian series creator, William Joyce for his imagination in capturing our wish to believe in these legends again.

The animation is absolutely superb. It keeps getting better and better each time I see a Dreamworks Animation and in 3D (which isn’t at all distracting like it use to be) the characters become almost life like which makes it engaging to watch.
Another magical part of the film was the magic and how they were transferred onscreen, the nightmares, the sandman’s sand and Jack Frost’s power of frost on the windows were perfect and I wished frost moved like it did in real life, in perfect spirals and not crackling.
The cast was basically perfect. I love there being two Australians in the main lead, Hugh Jackman (Easter Bunny) and Isla Fisher (The Tooth Fairy). Also there was Alec Baldwin (Santa), Jude Law (Boogeyman) and Chris Pine as Jack Frost.

Though being Australian, having the Easter Bunny with an Australian accent bothered me. Why? Because I’m a firm believer of the Easter Bilby so it twinged at me while watching the film. But I’m glad that the Easter Bunny didn’t go overboard with the Aussie ocker vernacular like most films do. It’s cringe worthy to Australians and shows us in a poor light (i think) to potential tourists. Luckily, he had only a few crikey’s in there, but I wished it was only one. The word ‘bloody’, he can use till the end of time, but crikey is rarely said here in Australia, except in extreme circumstances, but even then – no. Though it didn’t distract the wonderfulness of the film, in fact some of the Aussie jokes caused me to laugh, even if a bit cliched and forced.

But if dialogue is not your problem this film is a fun adventure showing us the side of the guardians that they need us to believe in them for them to protect our hopes and dreams and this film even makes most adults wish they were children again to believe in the legends of old. I sure do. It’s a entertaining film to take the kids to see over the holidays and, therefore, I cannot wait for the sequel.

9 out of 10.

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What a great idea! Put more cafes in the suburbs…

More indépendant cafés are opening up in the suburbia, which I think is great. We only see the chain coffee places (like Starbucks and Zarraffas) in the cities or along main roads or in deep industrial areas for the workers, but I’ve recently discovered two cafes just around the corner from me – one if I go East from my place and one west, which is great. I’ve driven past them, but they never warranted a looksie.

Until this week when I was getting seriously bored with my run track along the Kedron Brook, which I live right next to, so I’m never to far away from nature, but still in just the outer CBD of Brisbane. The council call it bush in the suburbs, which I love as we have galahs, rosellas, lorikeets and sometimes corollas and cockatoos. But running the same track everyday can really get boring over time so I thought of trying suburb streets for my new route. Put some hills in my routine and I found my run so much more enjoyable. And I made my route so that one of the coffee shops – Brothers Espresso (On Days Road, Grange) was at the end, so it was like a reward at the end of my run. I’ve been there twice and it’s always filled with locals who walk there for breakfast or lunch. They make pretty cool stuff and most of it is organic and it’s connected to a podiatry/shoe store. All I’ve had is a small skinny mocha, but the stuff on their breakfast and lunch menu looks pretty yummy – tomato and smoke paprika soup, organic tuna, salads and toasted subs and the staff are really friendly. But as I’ve just been exercising I only carry small change and while looking rather sweaty, I think it would be rather awkward, but maybe once I get use to it I’ll change my mind. Plus I’m also on a strict diet at the moment.

The other place which I intend to try is on the other side of the brook, just a small bridge away. It’s an Indian food place called Mistress of Spice (Thistle Street, Gordon Park). Driving past I noticed no one ever in there, but when they started selling coffee it’s always packed with people. I always see mothers with their children after they’ve been running or out to feed the ducks down at the brook having coffee, so I plan on going there next when I need a change of scenery.

But we need more independent cafes about in the suburbs. It’s a place where the locals can get to know the locals while having a nice coffee and lunch and promoting an independent entrepreneur rather than the big chains (which I’m not dissing as when I’m in town on Saturdays I frequently get a Starbucks frappaccino). What would be really good if a second hand bookstore with attached cafe opened up really close by. Then I’d be in heaven as we only have two secondhand bookstores left in the whole of Brisbane that I know of. So if your suburb doesn’t have a cafe near by start one up, I think they’re a great idea! You’ll be the hit of the suburb!

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Travelling Beyond My World – Part 1 – 23/04/2012

Cannot believe it is my birthday! I’ve just returned from three weeks in Europe and it just went so quickly. It was a birthday present to myself – far more pricey than last years present that I bought myself – an iPad (which I love!). I still cannot believe it happened… and I have barely done any TCRG study and my exam is a month away! Eeeeekkkkkkkk! I’m so screwed! (possibly…)

I went to Dublin, Belfast, London and Paris. My main thing was to see some of the World Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast and I desperately needed a holiday. Haven’t had a real holiday in several years. I had plenty of money in the bank and so going overseas for the first time and by myself was what I really needed… or I’d go crazy!

April 1st – Set for domestic terminal in Brisbane flying domestic to Sydney. I was terrified… never holidayed without parents or friends before and I was seriously nervous being in 4 foreign countries for three weeks. There were some many things that could go wrong (and did!). Also I had never been outside Australia (unless you count Tasmania over the Bass Strait). I was terrified but excited about my new endeavour.

Once in Sydney, it was a nightmare. Getting from domestic to International terminals by bus and then going through check-in with 2.5 hours, I just made it to the gate to board. Of course there were people trying to swindle out of paying for extra weight and extra carry-on luggage, language barriers – it all took time. I was freaking out. I cleared through nice and easy though and ran down the long terminal to find the gate, of course, it was right at the very end that took about 20 minutes to briskly walk to.

I flew with Etihad, and once on the plane it was all new to me. It was bigger with more seats than domestic aeroplanes. It also had free entertainment, which I thanked God for. I guess flying for 14 hours to Abu Dhabi, you’d expect free movies and such or there’d be some testy clients. We took off and the plane was awfully chilly, thank goodness for blankets, a pillow, they even give you a little pack with a toothbrush and paste, socks, sleeping mask and ear plugs (I guess to help you sleep if there’s crying babies).

The worst thing on a long flight, such as 14 hours, is not getting the aisle seat. Being stuck at the window or centre seats, you are stuck, trapped there like a bear in a cage, unless you can somehow vault yourself over the sleeping person without waking them past the tilting back chairs. It’s just impossible. Guess that’s the luxury of economy and first class, lying down on beds, easy access to the bathrooms and the ability to stretch your legs.

Now preparing for this flight, the Etihad website is not at all clear with some of their rules, such as the bags. I noticed lots of forums where people asked the question about 23 kg limit, but it doesn’t matter how many bags you have. Somehow I had the limit stretched for free to 30 kgs. I don’t know what my agent did, but thank God. I came back with 28.7 kgs worth of stuff.

Now you can have any amount of bags at check-in as long as it isn’t over 23 kgs in total of all the bags together. They are very strict about this and it’s a heavy fee to pay if it’s over. It’s about $45 (or so) per kilo over (depends where you’re flying to and from). That’s costly for your holiday. Some people were opening their suitcases and putting on clothes and stuffing things into their pockets. Others tried to talk there way out of paying their $237 or so extra for their luggage. If it’s a kilo over or so they won’t charge, unless they are in a bad mood, but 5-10 kgs or more… They have to charge, of course they have to. I mean they are running a business or everyone would bring everything and several kitchen sinks. A plane can only carry so much. Apparently there was a car on one of my planes. Wouldn’t want to think how much that costs!

They are just as strict with this with carry on. I was just on the limit leaving my country, but they didn’t check, it just looked like a hand bag, so that was cool.

Now food. It was actually really nice. On the flight to Abu Dhabi I got lunch and dinner and snacks in between. The best was the chicken pie with gravy, peas and potato mash. We also got savoury snacks, Weis Ice cream bars, sandwiches and things. Delicious. The only thing was from Abu Dhabi to Ireland, my connecting flight, we were served breakfast and it was a bit dodge. Do not order the french toast with caramelised bananas if possible. Maybe I just got the bad batch. I only ate a little bit, but mainly ate the yoghurt and crackers that they served on the tray.

The crew were really nice and I love their uniform with the hat and scarf, the entertainment was pretty good, it was annoying you couldn’t turn off the arabic subtitles, but they had the latest movies and TV. Also they had news, music, radio, games. All free. The only thing you had to pay to use was the phone or internet (if you hooked up your laptop).

Adu Dhabi airport was interesting. I had never seen such a large airport with the shopping malls and such. I had about a 3-4 hour gap before heading off to Dublin. So I connected to Facebook and messaged my parents and went looking for souvenirs. I bought a little camel statue. I really wanted to have a look outside, but it was midnight there so I didn’t actually see Abu Dhabi till flying back. Ate some more food and then got on another plane for 8 hours.

So with a total flight time of 24.5 hours (29 hours approx. in total with waiting in transfer lounges) from Brisbane to Ireland with 2 stops, I was ready to finally meet the ground and say hello to Ireland. A land that I had only read about or seen in films. My God I was excited as we touched down. I was freaking out slightly as I had never been through customs and border control. And I always freak out that I’ll lose my luggage and, of course, it doesn’t help that it is always one of the few last bags to come off the plane.

April 2nd – But it was 7:30 in the morning in Dublin, Ireland and it was raining, but I didn’t care, because I wasn’t in Australia. I was starting an adventure that would enrich me in so many ways, learning to become independent and wise with knowledge of culture and history of European culture. By golly I was excited!

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The Adventures of Studying for the TCRG Exams – 15/03/12

Well that just blows…

didn’t do very well on the practice exams I’ve done so far, but they were the first I did without looking at the book! So 50% correct in that respect is all right. At least it isn’t 20% or something! GOD, that would just send me down a spiral of foreseeable doom!

You hear about all the horror stories about TCRG exam about hows there’s a 75% fail rate and such… but the examiners aren’t out to get you, apparently, they help you if they sense that you do know your stuff. I’ve got to remember that they’ve been where I’ve been… unless they dinosaur age and created the whole terrifying experience. Who knows?

Apparently, there are about 32 people doing the exam both TCRG and ADCRG here in Australia. It’s quite a few more than expected as it’s been over 18 months since the last exam took place down in Sydney. Now it’s in Brisbane, very convenient for me and my friends doing the exam at a nice Bar/hotel. We’ll be getting smashed once the exams are over apparently! Doesn’t help that I don’t drink, but it’ll still be relief once the whole thing is over, but I don’t get to find out my results till October. I think I’ll forget the whole horrifying experience by that time because I’ll be focusing so much on Nationals!

I am freaking out slightly with doing the practice exams, studying the book and set dances. That CD from the pack I got a few weeks ago is so different to the ones I’ve been listening to from the 100% pure set dance CD, I’ve gotten worse in that aspect. I guess it’ll take time. Thing is… I don’t have time. It’s just two months away and I’m going overseas to Worlds, London and Paris for THREE weeks! I want to be excited about going on holiday but I’m so screwed! REALLY screwed! I guess I know what I’ll be doing on the long flight over there and back! Practice exams!!!

*breathe into a paper bag*

I’ve figured out my problem ceili’s that I just blank out when I’m doing an exam and they just keep popping up! There’s mainly four, which I just have to keep going over in my head.

Waves of Tory, Duke Reel, Antrim Reel, the order of the Bonfire dance (I know ‘The Rose’ pretty well) and the third figure of the sixteen hand reel (explaining it in detail that is) I know it’s ‘Arch Arms’, but how to dance it I have no idea. But they like to trick you in the exams. You always expect that when the Gates of Derry question pops up you think they’ll ask about ‘Telescope’, but no the question I had was describe in detail the first two movements. So ha! They can catch you out with any question they please! You have to LEARN everything! There are no two ways about it!

Bugger!

I guess I just keep doing exams! The Ar Rinci Foirne is my new bible and I have to learn chapter and verse (ceili’s and order of movements) off by heart!

If any one has any tips for the exam please help! Me and my friend could really use the advice! I know people like to give advice… readily!

This is our dance school dancing in the parade last year in Brisbane! I'm the girl in the red, black and white dress!

 

So this is it two days before St. Patrick’s Day! More displays for the public while they drink down their beers and spirits!

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Much Ado About TCRG Exams… 7th March 2012

How did it get to be the 7th of March, eh?

I don’t know…

And just don’t ask about study? Really… I tell you now… it’s hopeless!

I’ve done some practice exam papers and… I haven’t gotten them back from my teacher who is marking them, but I felt like they were just BAD! But… who knows right?

How am I going to survive this? A 2 hour written exam! It’s just ridiculous!

And it’s just over two months away! ARGH!!!! Freaking out!

Though we have had nights getting together (some of the others going for their exams and my teacher) to visualise the ceili dances and boy does it help. Visually seeing what the dances are than what is written on the page makes a whole lot of difference.  It’s hard because no one does them in competition so it’s difficult to see them. Now I can actually remember Glencar Reel, Harvest Time Jig, Haste to the Wedding and Bridge of Athlone, now that we’ve gone through and danced them.

I got pretty excited when I got my examination preparation pack four weeks ago and it was massive. MASSIVE. Practice papers X 10, CD with the set dances on it, Child protection booklet, Code of conduct booklet, syllabuses for ADCRG, TCRG, TMRF, and grade exams (I think the CLRG were having a massive clean out), brief history about things, more application forms (for what exactly? I don’t know) and they photocopied the entire ceili book (Luckily I bought one about a year ago). As I said massive. Barely fit into my mail box.

I also got some other exciting news, because I really didn’t want to retire from dancing just yet, but I couldn’t really wait till the next set of exams to come around, so I got permission from the Head Office to hold my results until after the Australian National Championships! I’m so excited! It’s in Adelaide where I haven’t been before! I’m determined to get a place this year. I get to do Nationals ONE LAST TIME!

Teaching little kids have gotten a bit easier. We got two new little ones, so it’s best to be with them from the start and it’s so exciting to see them get better and better each class. It’s rewarding seeing them do a proper over-two-three for the first time. Plus, they are absolutely adorable!

I think my study has lapsed a bit because during the last few dance classes we’ve been focusing on the upcoming event of St. Patrick‘s Day. This year we have the first ever Brisbane Irish Festival which my club, Queensland Irish Association, has put together with sponsorship from the government. It’s from the 9th -17th and we have to dance a hundred different displays at a thousand different places! But the main events that I always look forward too are the Parade, we get to dance for all the officials like the Lord Mayor and Premier and such, then there’s the Irish Fair, which are usually held at the Botanical Gardens but now held in King George Square (if you’re familiar with Brisbane City scape). I guess this has been distracting because it’s exhausting spending the entire day dancing at different venues, but it’s all worth it. Great memories and helping a part of our culture stay strong!

So not very far for the 7th of March, but I don’t think I’ve gone backwards… that much!

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Where have all the Good Girls gone?

Katy Perry writes her songs from real-life experience and ‘Part of Me’ is the new unsubtle break-up single from Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection… she is in the midsts of divorcing from Russell Brand (even though this song supposedly isn’t about Brand as the demo’s been around a while, it just makes it convenient then doesn’t it?). Unfortunately, ‘Part Of Me’ was released so soon that it has become part of the generic stock of pop singles. It’s catchy, but bland. When I first heard it I had to think that it wasn’t one of her other songs with a different title. I downloaded it and listened to it closer, hearing that she was going to write about her life as Mrs. Katy Brand in the her new singles from the new special edition of her latest album and the lyrics are commendable. They are strong, well written lyrics. But the actual music… well there isn’t any really… Just synthesisers, drum beats… nothing much there. It’s just the same through out, no variation throughout the whole song. Sounds like she’s singing over the instrumentals of ‘The One That Got Away’, her last number 1 single.

I think she wanted to release something to get away from the failed marriage fiasco that she didn’t take the time to actually really listen to her single and produce a single that she could have, like she use to with ‘Teenage Dream’ or ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ or ‘Peacock’. Those songs were the fun loving Katy Perry that we all know and love… I know she’s gone through a lot (or it could be just good PR spin) and she writes about it… that’s great! A great way to get through issues and to make number 1 hits, but it’s better when she takes the time to perfect it to something memorable, whereas this one will be thrown into the old hit pile that was number one at some point.

This is where Lady Gaga takes the cake, she takes her time with her singles and releases those she seems worthy for her fans to hear. She goes in overdrive to perfect a song and music video. These two artists are my top favourite, even though they’re complete opposites, well, they use to be. Lady Gaga was the grungy daring fashion pop star, whereas Katy Perry was the good cotton candy with a bit of sass pop star.

Katy Perry - 'Part Of Me'

But now Katy poses really grungy with the short blonde hair, no smile, with Gaga style apparel, not the cute adorable brightly coloured Perry that I know her for. The same happened with Rihanna. Sort of. I guess she was already trying to change her image with album Good Girl Gone Bad. But that was still had some really fun tracks. I read somewhere that this is the Gaga effect, but it isn’t really. Lady Gaga wasn’t the original. There was Madonna twenty years earlier. Gaga wasn’t grungy originally, she was just a debutant pop star with some fashionable trends, but when you look back at the ‘Just Dance’ video, she isn’t really all that different to all the other pop stars. She didn’t get grungy until she had a fan base where she could explore and show off her far-fetched fashion ideas. It’s all recycled from Madonna’s era. Gaga’s seen as the bad girl of the music world who dares and challenges the world with her fashion choices. All the pop stars follow this grungy take on the music world after an event in their life in which they have to show the world that they’re strong and won’t take anything lying down. Gaga had trouble with weight and was bullied when she was younger (this I can relate to), Rihanna’s event with Brown. Perry’s divorce.

I use to be Rihanna’s number one fan. I use to be Rihanna and Chris Brown’s number one fan until the very sad incident that happened a few years ago. Now… I don’t listen to Chris Brown… At all! He’s tattooed and completely off putting. And I occasionally download Rihanna songs because they’re catchy, but they are too dark… too much sex and drugs involved. Those songs turn me off… I guess because I cannot relate to them.

Rihanna changed after that incident, I guess it would change you after something like that happening to you (I couldn’t imagine, so terrible and sad). So she had to show the world that she was still the strong woman she was and that no one could bring her down, not even Brown. But also she has turned down her image as a good role model (this is going into Miley Cyrus territory, lets not go there shall we?). I know there are dark sides to being famous, but when I idolise someone I want to see them in good light. Sort of like Selena Gomez or Jessica Alba. They’re usually written about in good light in the tabloids or newspapers. But unfortunately most artists want to shake that disney image and show their bad side. I guess it shows the world that they’re not perfect. And it limits them I guess always being good all the time.

Thing is, if I was famous, I’d want to portray that Disney Princess image. What’s wrong being a good role model?

Whereas there are artists who are still the bright and bubbly pop stars that we know and love like Beyonce, P!NK (not quite so bubbly), Adele and Florence and the Machine. Please don’t change!

I am really hoping Katy Perry gets out of the slump of this whole fiasco with Brand because I don’t want to get disappointed with yet another artist whom I am a devoted fan. I’m wishing Katy will become the bright bubbly artist she once was and hopes she does finds happiness with someone special.

Copyright Amy Watson 2012

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There Once was a Blue Dragon that had Lost his Fire…

The once was a blue dragon that had lost all his fire.

His parents didn’t believe him and called him a liar.

He tried to show them, but they didn’t listen,

So he went on a journey to find why it was missing.

 

Over the mountains, the forests and over the lands,

He found himself before a dragon all spiky and tanned.

An Earth dragon it seemed did not spit fire.

He stomped and squashed and dug dirt with his own little squire.

 

Blue told the Earth dragon that he had lost all his fire.

He said that it was urgent, it was really quite dire.

The Earth dragon held no answers while eating a kitten,

So blue continued his journey to find why it was missing.

 

Through the deserts, the valleys and summits of snow,

An Ice dragon sat with the friend of a crow.

It seemed to lack the spark of a fire,

It blew ice and snow, froze all it desired.

 

Blue told the Ice dragon that he had lost all his fire

He needed it back, he thought to inquire.

No luck with the query as he was getting frost bitten,

So Blue continued his journey to find why it was missing.

 

Under water, through swamps and up in the clouds,

There was fog and mist and things roaring aloud.

It was a Storm dragon not spitting out fire,

But radiating lightning and hollering thunder.

 

Blue told the Storm dragon that he had lost all his fire,

Just a small answer he needed that was all he’d require.

Thinking and muttering, an answer he was fishing,

So blue continued his journey to find why it was missing.

 

Come back to see where he goes next…

It’s a working progress… I haven’t finished it yet… I was just bored…

Copyright Amy Watson 2012

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The Hound of the TCRG Exams – 08/02/12

Things are not going well…

My studying has slowed… I’m frightening to small children… and it’s only several weeks away…

I don’t even want to count them! Eek!

I’ve been having some issues both with dancing and personal… I won’t go into depths about my personal issues, but with studying the ceili dances… WHAT A NIGHTMARE! My teacher was like ‘write a book out each night! It’s the only way you’ll learn them’. Do you know how much that is? Several several pages and my writing hand aches after writing out just a few… so I sort of stopped studying. But then I’d feel guilty because this is a Eight hundred dollar exam! You can’t just fail it! So I thought writing it out is not working for me – everyone works differently so I’m trying a different approach… I just learn the order of the movements of the dances… one ceili dance a day! It’s working… I just stroll around at work and just go through the order of the movements in my head (the customers look at me funny thinking I’m talking gibberish). I’ve got about ten so far (out of thirty) that I can write down in order… I mightn’t know how to dance those dances, or how on Earth to teach them but hey! I know the order – it’s a start.

Then I can go back and write out one a day but hand… duplicate it onto the page… I was overwhelming myself I think and taking a step back I might be able to manage it… but then my teacher gets me all nervous again about studying she wants me to start practice exams which I’m SO not ready for… I attempted a few a week or so ago and the first one did did not go well. Every question I had to sneak my nose into the book and cheat… I’ll get there soon. On the weekend I might attempt another and hand it too her to mark. I won’t know everything yet, but I do know some… It’s all a working progress it is…

Now… small children… I really hope I don’t get a child who doesn’t talk… It’s difficult… very difficult, especially when you’re not good with children in the first place… First day back at class for the year and I offer to help with the new beginners class to help my teachers and myself getting to know children. And there was Lily, the most adorable four year old wearing all pink and pigtails. My teacher just tells her to come with me and do the third step of her reel and I just (in a sweet voice) command her about. She keeps getting the step wrong and I haven’t a clue how to fix it. I know what it is, but how to put it in a way a child understands… another story. I tell her what’s wrong, but… ARGH! She just nods her head and then gets it wrong again. I try and show her, but nah! I think I was very scary… my teacher then saved me and I watched her careful in how she interacted with her and then gave me pointers in how you have to be very visual with them. Talking to children in dance terms is another language… you have to be very visual with them (like teachers do with ‘A is for Apple’ with a picture of an apple). I realised that next time I have to shrink to their height so I’m not big, tall and scary, ask for their name and introduce myself…

The next week was much better with Orla. I remember having to help her last year in classes. So I got down on the floor, asked for her name and asked if she remembered me… She didn’t but that was all right, so I introduced myself again… We got to communicating… Thank God! She talked! It was MUCH easier! And she actually progressed really well and learnt a new step of the light jig! I broke it down easy enough for her to understand and everything! It’s was really rewarding… Not much had happened, but still!

I’ve made a few more rhymes to lilt for the set dances, they’re not as creative as some of my other rhymes, but they work, whenever they start on the iPod I start lilting and I instantly know what set it is (this was one of my teachers brilliant ideas).

But practical way of making up my set dance steps, I’ve started Rodney’s Glory and I almost have a whole Treble Jig, but unfortunately, I’ve forgotten my hornpipe! I’m sure I’ll remember it! I’m pretty good at those things, I can remember my Lodge Road from 4 years ago without visual help so… a few weeks should be fine!

So that’s all I have so far for the 8th of February… till next time!

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The Monstrumologist – A Sophisticated Tale of Terror of Epic Proportions

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One word – ‘AWESOME’

This novel is just a terrific masterpiece that will have you on the edge of your seat, not wanting to put it down but also not to read after dark!

In this tale Monsters ARE REAL… They are horrific, stomach churning, bone crunching beasts from the bowels of Africa.

Then there is the  Doctor – The Monstrumologist, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, who hunts and studies the real-life monsters, while figuring out the mystery of their existence in America.

Then there is his young orphaned assistant-apprentice, William James Henry, the hero of our book!

And Jack Kearns – another Monstrumologist called into the affair who’s way too jolly for his line of work and doesn’t quite have the same human morals as everyone else…

My question is… could any twelve year old boy in this day and age show the same courage and bravery as Will Henry does in this nightmarish adventure?

In 1888, a mysterious midnight vistor brings Dr. Warthrop a young girl’s corpse entwined with a monstrous beast called anthropohagus. A pod has been festering over a period of 20 years and the doctor wants to figure out why they are in America when they reign from West Africa. The characters learn things about the past which they must face if they want to stop the plague of the monsters taking over the town… because they’re hungry and won’t stop until they’re full. With razor sharp knives as claws and teeth, they become a dastardly determined race, hard to extinguish and even harder to for our heroes to survive. A nightmarish adventure that will evoke terror on every page!

Rick Yancey is a former IRS Tax Collector turned best-selling novelist… I’m glad he turned for this book has become one of my top five favourite books of all time. The way Will Henry’s journal captivates his reader with his descriptions and expressions. His description of Dr. Warthrop seemed very affectionate in a loving and admiring way (even though he wouldn’t admit it). Their interactions are loving in a bizarre way. They form themselves an odd little family.

And then entered Jack Kearns… dum Dum DUUUUUMMMMMMM! I loved his quips! He was humourous, but also enjoyed monster hunting WAY too much. Like a madman… a madman who didn’t follow the rules even when it was against human nature, but he was always surprising (not always in a good way).

And the Anthropophagi, beasts… monsters… but they weren’t unlike us… fighting for survival, protecting their young, etc. It was just because they were bigger and scarier and still had no chance against the human race. But for the life of me I cannot remember where I’ve read about them before… Maybe Will Henry’s description of them were so vivid that I could just visualise them straight off. They’re not common as I’ve never seen them on a TV show (and I love those kind of shows, especially Supernatural), but still it’s kind of bugging me…

But then remembering Shakespeare referenced them, but still their description seems very familiar… maybe there was illustrations somewhere… I just don’t know!
Within the first few chapters a line of text stood out at me… many lines have which I quote later from books, but this one I thought rang true…
“There are times when fear is not our enemy. There are times when fear is our truest, sometimes only, friend.”

All I know now is that I’m jumping onto my computer and ordering the next two to read… The Curse of the Wendigo and The Isle of Blood… I CAN’T WAIT!

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