Amy's Paradise

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

I’ve Got Your Number

Ive Got Your NumberIve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome book! Not sure about the footnotes they were a bit distracting, but I did see the point of them!

Lets see…

Poppy Wyatt is a physiotherapist who is engaged to vain, gorgeous, self obsessed Magnus Tavish and loses her emerald engagement ring at a function. Frantically looking for it at the hotel her phone is nicked and there she finds in the bin of the lobby but a phone. It’s thrown away so it’s public property now. Poppy always has to have a phone. Who doesn’t? She gives everyone the new number so that if anyone finds her engagement ring can reach her.

From there, someone rings the phone, Sam Roxton, from the company White Globe Consulting Group. He thinks he’s ringing his PA, Violet, but she’s run off to be a supermodel. So he needs Poppy to return the “company” phone, but she can’t, she needs it if anyone finds the ring. So she “shares” the phone with Sam (actually, she takes it hostage) and their situation becomes complicated.

Poppy then has access to his personal life, like any PA, and she starts reading emails, texts, everything, while getting a feel for the guy, as she forwards his new messages to him.

The two then have to work around their ‘awkward’ relationship as Poppy organises her wedding and Sam runs his company.

Then things start to tumble from both perspectives…

I always love Sophie Kinsella’s books… always a fun read and I can’t ever put it down (read this book in one day). I always love the main character… I can relate to her very well.

People always complain about the leading female characters of Chick Lit, like ‘she was so annoying with her whinging and such’ or ‘she’s completely stupid and idiotic, but then next few pages she would be smarter than she should be’, but I think it’s always perspective and if you can relate to the character… Not everyone feels the same way about characters, so some people love these books or don’t… I could understand that some one might find Poppy annoying, but she’s distinctive too… She’s stereotypical but not. Do you get what I mean?

Anyway, the plot was riveting and fast paced, just what I like… Not all this expositional stuff that some people do that isn’t needed and people just skip over (i.e. me), just enough to get you through the story. Sophie Kinsella does this well and I wish I could emulate in my own writing.

One thing that did annoy me with this book was the footnotes. It was distracting having to look down at a footnote and then find where you were on the page when the footnote should just have done well in the actual body of text. But it did make sense to the story once you got to the end. There would be less and less as you moved on throughout the story.

It was your typical Chick Lit book, but well written, which I can’t say for most others where the main character was annoying or just didn’t draw me in, or like others that have way to much exposition when I just wanted to read the story more like a screenplay. That’s how I write…But Sophie Kinsella is leading in her field of Chick Lit and can never wait for the next book to come out!

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His Majesty failed Big Day Out!

Kanye West was the key headliner at The Big Day Out at the Gold Coast Parklands yesterday… well… he was a grave disappointment!

Big Day Out is an awesome music festival that is held at the Gold Coast Parklands (Australia) every year. I’ve only been in attendance twice (2010 & 2012) and must admit it is a BIG day out! Quite exhausting running around from stage to stage when your favourite bands are scheduled at the same time. The timetable was annoying, but I guess I saw everyone that I really wanted to see.

Kanye West pulled in the largest crowd last night, but not for long. He held off from coming out for 45 minutes, I heard (I had left by then to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds) after his scheduled start at 8:30PM after Soundgarden. I planned to only see the first half hour of the show between Foster the People and then see Noel Gallagher at a different stage in the Parklands. But as the time ticked on at Kanye’s stage I witnessed the stage people coming on and off eleven times within that half hour playing with cables and sound set up. Apparently it was screwed because of the wet. Some people thought the crew should have had a back-up plan, others thought he was just being Kanye West and the crowd just had to ‘wait’. There were other theories spreading through the crowds. Then the crowd started, several times, chanting “bull****” at the stage, I was one of them. It was getting ridiculous! 5-10 minutes would have been fine, but 45 minutes? Nah! His Majesty was going to be fashionably late apparently!
BDO officials say not to blame Kanye, because it was the weather and technical glitches that ran them behind schedule. There are two sides to every story. He did his whole show and continued after the actual finishing time, which is in Kanye’s favour. Many thought, my friends included, thought it was “fantastic”, “epic” and “incredible”. Others commented that he was a no talent rapper and the sound was far too loud. It was set up like Stereosonic Festival where the crowds are far larger than BDO. I do like Kanye, but still… The event left me sour. Then there were complaints from many local residents because the first day of school was happening the next morning. It was about the vibrations happening at 11PM from the parklands that could be felt kilometres away.

There is always a scandal at BDO. Last time, Dizzee Rascal got a bleeding eye on stage from someone throwing a deodorant can at him. He was pissed off as he jumped into the crowd to get the perpertraitor. People threw things on the stage this time too. Shoes almost took out the guy from Living End as well as someone flinging a bra at him. Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance dodged toilet rolls, but took it all in good fun, drunk idiots in the moment I guess. then Kanye West’s late appearance. There’s always something to talk about on the way home.

I had left just before 9PM to see Noel and noticed that clusters of people were leaving to see what else BDO had to offer in the same time slot around the Parklands. Noel Gallagher had only a very small crowd hovering around the stage, so it was easy to get close up, but 5-10 minutes after I left Kanye, hundreds more people showed up filling the tent. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were awesome! People of the crowd were calling him “a legend”, I concurred!

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

The thing was… the whole event was not as impressive as the previous time I went in 2010. The lineup was not magnificent (with a few exceptions) and the tickets were way overpriced! (I guess it was because of Kanye). It did rain! I was drenched, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the people seeing the other bands!

Compared to last time, I only really wanted to see 4 bands. My Chemical Romance, Kasabian, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Kanye West (also Foster The People and Regurgitator, but they weren’t foremost on my schedule, just time fillers). Only one disappointed me!

At my last Big Day Out I saw many acts including Kasabian, Powderfinger, Dizzee Rascal, Lily Allen and Muse. You couldn’t get a better lineup than that!!!

My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance I was eager to see, loving their albums and missed their last Australian tour it was great to see them reel in the fans. Though, standing next to the 6 foot speakers to the right of the stage, like I was, it was difficult to understand a word Gerard Way was singing, even he had difficulty with it as he kept removing his ear plugs and messing with the microphone. So the set up guys got it wrong, understandable when they had 45 minutes to set up while The Living End was on.

Kasabian. Ahh… Need I say more? I saw them in first at BDO 2010 and they have become more amazing since then!

Kasabian

Then I saw Regurgitator, an Australian band that couldn’t be missed, unfortunately, I wanted to catch Foster The People who were timetable at the same time. So I bolted through the rain to their stage. Foster the People was packed to the max and beyond. I couldn’t believe how many people were there to see them. I was lucky to get under the tent as it was bucketing down. They were good, definitely held the crowd till they played their hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’.

Other Ramblings about Big Day Out:

I had started out the day getting the train from Brisbane to Helensvale and then the Special Shuttle bus to the event. It was overloaded with people. Sadly I saw girls on the bus filling their apple juices with vodka at 9:30 in the morning and skulking it down. WHY? They were going to be out of it before seeing any of the bands! But I guess it’s a social thing to them, they were there to drink and party, not music. I’m not dissing that at all, but if you’re going to pay a lot on a festival ticket, you may as will actually stay sober to hear the music. See what you pay for! That’s what I did. I didn’t drink at all and still enjoyed the day.

Simonet, S.Gold Coast Bulletin. Kanye fails to hold BDO crowd. Jan 23, 2012. http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2012/01/23/384445_music.html

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On The Road to my TCRG Exams – 21/01/2012

Celtic Choice (by Fays) Irish ghillies

Image via Wikipedia

I’m starting this blog of my journey to the TCRG exams (Irish dancing teachers’ exams) as there are many others that I’ve found that have been useful to me… such as making up silly rhymes for the music of the written music test…

Hopefully this helps others as well as myself in keeping track of my progress. It is a journey that has to be done… and done right!
Okay… so here it goes…
Studying for my TCRG exam started about a year ago… I have the Ceili book ‘Ar Rince Foirne’ and music CDs and my lovely teachers to help me.
I’m a student at the Queensland Irish Association Dancers in Brisbane, Australia. I started when I was seven after seeing Riverdance on television. My mum wanted me to start Ballet, but irish dancing just looked too awesome to pass up, so I started that instead. Thank God! I instantly fell in love it and would never dream of giving it up.
It is a part of my identity now.
I have no Championship titles under my belt, but I believe that hard work, patience and passion is key to what I need to pass this exam.
So…
The exam has many parts to it…
  1. Practical test of dancing.
  2. Written Ceili dancing test
  3. Practical test in teaching Ceili dancing
  4. Practical test in teaching step dancing
  5. Written music test
  6. Oral irish language test (optional – if you live outside Ireland)
Practical test of dancing:
This should be pretty simple as I’m currently dancing… still doing competitions… I have my Reel, Double jig, Slip jig, Single Jig, Hornpipe and four Traditional Sets – St. Patrick’s Day, Blackbird, Job of Journeywork and Garden of Daisies pretty much down pat.
Also I have to have nine set dances of my choice:
Garden of Daisies, Drunken Gauger, Planxty Drury, Madame Bonaparte, The Lodge Road, Hurry the Jug,  Rodney’s Glory, Three Sea Captains (Short) and Ace and Deuce of Pipering are my chosen nine for the exam (but may change).
My creative juices have only given me Madame Bonaparte, Hurry the Jug and Three Sea Captains. Luckily, I still remember my Lodge Road, Drunken Gauger from previous years and learning Garden of Daisies for comps this year. But I still have to make up Planxty Drury, Rodney’s Glory and Ace and Deuce of Pipering… I’ve basically hit the dancing version of writer’s block with these three, but hopefully once dance classes start up again, the pipes will unblock and the juices will flow freely again.
Written Ceili Test:

The written ceili test is killing me… I’ve started the practice exams from the internet and I’m failing. I can’t go a question without looking into the ceili book! Yikes! The fact that I haven’t studied the ceili book as much I should have over these summer holidays… I’ve only studied book one and I’m getting there. Started book two today… but I must do more prac tests!!! My motivation has been lacking!
Practical Ceili Test:

Then I have to teach the ceili dances off by heart… me and small children… it’s hard! I don’t have the natural hand with children like others do. I wish I did, but I guess it’s a matter of confidence. They can’t hurt me I suppose, but this section is probably the main thing to whether I’ll get my teacher’s certificate or not. I have to be able to work with children to make the whole thing worth while!
Written Music Test:
The written music test… Ahh! Tricky as you have about 60 set dances to figure out in the exam. They play the song and you have to figure out which tune it is, whether it is a jig or hornpipe and the number of bars it is.
From other blogs ( I can’t remember the blogs to reference) but the bloggers and my teachers suggested making lyrics for the songs. And surprisingly enough it works! Now when a tune turns upon my iPod, I start singing the silly rhyme that I made for the song:
My silly rhymes:
The Four Masters: The four masters will go out today, they sing, they dance, the play all day. Their fiddlesticks and their drum kits allow them to be quick and rumbling…
Rambling rake: In the morning the old rambling rake always sounds like a cat (meow), a cat (meow), a cat (meow) it rambles in the morning sun…
Ace and Deuce: when the ace and deuce, the one and two, the uno the duo, the ichi and ni, the ace (pause), the deuce (pause) go pipering the whole day they fall in love…
They don’t have to make sense to work! But these are the only ones I’ve figure out so far. There are still many sets to make up songs to… I need help!!!
So January 19th… this is where I’m at! Not very far is it in the scheme of things… but there are still a few months left to study studiously!
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