Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29. Day 273. You Little Beauty

Take a child to the theatre and see the wonderment in their eyes
Sarah Hampson who plays Sleeping Beauty
Drama Teen visits his friends in the cast of Sleeping Beauty
  Fun fact. In 2011, for the first time the number of visitors to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre passed one million for the first time. Last year that figure rose to 1.4 million bums on those rather comfy QPAC seats. The performing arts are not just a way for an elite few to fill in a few hours. The performing arts are big business. But it's not just that. Getting young bums on those seats has real benefits and not just $$$ in the pockets of performing arts companies. It's an unfortunate fact that in an increasingly crowded curriculum things such as trips to the theatre are considered a luxury and often a luxury reserved for the wealthier schools. But let's look at the research. A study of 25,000 students undertaken by UCLA's Graduate School of Education no less found that consistent participation in the performing arts not only improved test scores but it also created students more involved in community service and less likely to drop out of school. Theatre brings stories to life. Theatre is a living breathing example of the power of the possibility and of the imagination. It builds confidence. It makes the soul sing. Well that's how it works for me and I'm not the only one. Seattle Children’s Theater artistic director Linda Hartzell told education.com "theater makes for smarter, braver, human beings. Theater helps connect the head to the heart.” Having taken my son to literally hundreds of live theatrical productions in the past 15 years I can say I speak from some experience when I tell you that if you take a child to the theatre you will see their eyes light up. I saw it today when I watched the little people file out of the audience of Fame Theatre Company's performance of Sleeping Beauty. I can almost guarantee had I been around to listen to the conversation in the bus, train, car or ferry on the way home it would have been equally enlightening. Parents will have found not just found a way to stop the whinging for a bit in the school holidays. They will have opened a window to another world. That's what theatre is. Here endeth the lesson. Excuse me while I go and book a seat in a few Broadway shows.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28. Day 272. Going swimmingly

Talk about diving in the deep end. I'm not a great one for putting myself forward and applying for things but some opportunities seem too good to just let pass you by even if they seem impossibly out of reach. So I saw this course about media innovation being run in Washington and New York, only two of the world's greatest journalism hubs. I put in an application and IT WAS ACCEPTED. Holy Crapolie. In a bit over six weeks I'll be in the US visiting such prestigious centres of journalism as the New York Times and the Washington Post to fill my brain with the possibilities for a bright journalism future for the graduates of tomorrow. Exciting stuff. This, of course, means so much to do so little time. So I immersed myself in a great big bundle of marking until I was gasping for air and then decided it was time to hit the beach. I had no trouble finding recruits to join me. My two love the beach and my sister's dog Shadow came along for the ride. Nudgee Beach will never feature in Lonely Planet unless they bring out a dog version. But the dogs always seem to be every bit as excited about a trip there as I am about a US tour. And their dream break doesn't involve cattle class air travel or an investment of serious $$$$.
They come home exhausted and energised in equal measures. I rather think I'll be just the same. You have to throw yourself in and get a bit dirty  if you want to make the most of the experience. I just hope I return home as inspired and refreshed but hopefully not smelling quite as bad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September 27. Day 271. Children and animals

I could say my life was highly structured, organised and predictable ... but not with a straight face. Others might get more set in their ways as they grow older. Life has taught me to be more flexible (in a mental but not a physical sense obviously. That's getting less flexible by the second). So when I went to bed last night I thought today would be marking interrupted by a media opening of Holey Moley Golf Club. This morning, the cough was back and the golf was cancelled. And then I got a call asking if a spot of child care could be possible. A bundle of boring or  a charm of childhood. No competition. I also know which one the dogs would vote for. Our little visitor had not only as much energy as the fur friends but their love of eating Schmackos was matched only by her love of feeding them. And nothing makes an statement at the cafe or the dog park like dogs dressed like superheros and a girl dressed like a big cat.

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26. Day 270. Cry like a baby

I'm a strong believer in what-goes-around-comes- around or, if you prefer, karma.
My dogs love to chase birds.
Actually, strictly speaking that's not true. The dogs love the concept of chasing birds but rarely get beyond barking at them because mostly they are safely on a leash.
When on a beach or in an off leash area they give it a red hot go but birds have an obvious advantage. They can fly. Still a barking dog would be a bit threatening to a small bird even when the dogs are as fluffy and nonthreatening as my two. Today, a bit like a Hitchcock film, the birds had their revenge. We were walking to the duck pond at South Bank. The noisy miners were especially noisy. And then on mass they started swooping at the dogs. It seemed seriously out of character. And then I saw it. A fluffy little miner chick was sitting in the relatively low branches of a strelitzia. It was quite well hidden and sheltered but it was also making a fair bit of noise drawing attention to itself. The adult birds had set up a perimeter squad. Humans seemed to know the secret password to enter. Dogs did not. And who could blame them? There is nothing more fundamental to just about every species and that is a determination to protect the young and vulnerable. It's what we all do but hear this noisy miners. You protect your young but don't  blame me if I protect mine. OK? 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

September 25. Day 269. Sun day. Fun day

 I'm relatively sure we are not the only family who find that a billion competing commitments sees very little time left for designated "family time".
We have made a renewed commitment to Sunday being funday. This usually mean brunch or a family movie night. Last Sunday we did both but today was brunch at our favourite Lift cafe just down the road.
We can walk there, it's dog friendly and the gluten free waffles are pretty special. Perhaps it was the sugar hit from the milkshakes or smoothies but the boys were in a slightly crazy mood this afternoon.
Drama Teen started it by trying to water bomb me.
He dropped the bomb and wet himself. Then like father, like son Charles decided this looked like a great deal of fun and started filling up balloon bombs. He missed too but I suppose that wasn't the point. The dropping of the bomb and not the target. And it's all in good fun plus a little water never hurt anyone on a warm Spring day.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

September 24.Day 268. Going off with a bang

Brisbane is quite the party princess; a sparkling, shiny, dazzling party girl. And good old BrisVegas' biggest annual do is the Brisbane Festival. It's the sort of festival that refuses to go out with a whimper but with a great big bang as befits the princess she is. I have a childlike love of Riverfire. I love how it brings the community together. I love the sense of expectation but most of all I love the skies exploding in a sea of colour. And I love how it celebrates the river. I also love that I live close enough to walk home ....

Friday, September 23, 2016

September 23. Day 267. Good Mornin'. Good Mornin' to you

Good Mornin', Good Mornin'. We've marked the whole night through. Good Mornin. Good Mornin to you.
My apologies to the cast of Singin' in the Rain which opens in Brisbane tonight. It's a weird thing. When you have been up all night solving the problems of the world with a tap dancing super stud, sleep deprivation is a non issue. When it is university assignments robbing you of shut eye, the equation is all together different. So I may or may not have been Captain GrumpyPants when I walked through South Bank this morning. In truth I can not blame marking alone (but I totally will). Three Brisbane Festival shows in three nights was another commitment this week but one I do not resent for a second (where I resent every second of marking). I love the festival and feel just a little bit sad that there is only three days to go. It is a wonderful celebration of the arts and everything that is awesome about Brisbane. And might I say pink hats off to the festival organisers, this year's program was a triumph.  But now that it's all but over we can all get some sleep ... well I could if it wasn't for the never ending pile of marking ... and the opening of Singin in the Rain.