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‘Since I was little, this is my favourite place to come.’ Peter Pan. (J.M. Barrie)

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I can’t remember what Peter Pan’s favourite place was when he was little (the indian camp?—the mermaid lagoon?) but I remember mine was always the movie theatre.

Some things never change . . .

The Plaza Theatre
(see here for photos)

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘The only way to see a movie is in a big theater, on a big screen, with a big bag of popcorn.’ Dan Glickman.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

maltesersI agree with almost all of Dan Glickman’s statement . . .  everything except the bit about the popcorn.

How anyone, given the choice, could choose popcorn over a big bag (oh well okay then—a big box) of deliciously-chocolatey-honeycomby-creamy-crunchy-Maltesers is, frankly, a bit beyond me.  But, there you go—there’s no accounting for taste . . .

Allthough popcorn is not my movie snack of choice (it’s not even anywhere on my list) I do admit to a having a certain kind of fascination with the popcorny-popping process.  I have often stood and watched (while clutching my coffee and maltesers and waiting impatiently for the cinema doors to open) the shiny little machine at our local Plaza Theatre do its popcorn-birthing thing.  It’s kind of mesmerising to watch . . .

I can only imagine how much more mesmerising it would be to me if it were churning out yummy-scrummy Maltesers instead of popcorn . . .

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Posted by on January 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Who needs snowflakes when you have seashells . . .’ Unknown.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

dogtellyI had the telly on a lot last weekend.  I admit, most of the time I wasn’t even watching it, it was just background noise. But every now and then, when I needed a break, I’d stop what I was doing, go make a cup of tea and settle myself onto the couch and ‘drop in’ to watching whatever was on at that moment.

christmassnoopyThis time of year, of course, it’s pretty much Christmas movie after Christmas movie.  Many of them I have seen before (some of them I can even recite the dialogue . . . )  and most are fun to watch again (although, even at this time of year I can only digest so much sugar . . . ) but it still strikes me every year how seriously weird it is to be watching Christmas movies where everything is all over ice and snow, everyone is rugged up in coats, scarves and boots—and I am dressed in a sun-frock and have all the doors and windows open hoping to catch even the slightest of breezes . . .

lucy-snowI am not complaining.  At all.  I spent a number of Christmasses in Europe (albeit many years ago now) and although I have very fond memories of them I honestly do not miss that kind of cold.  It looks all very lovely and romantic on chocolate boxes and yuletide cards and in Christmas movies, but the day to day getting about and living in it is a whole different story.  So, weird as it feels sometimes, I am quite content to watch those kind of Christmasses from afar.

But to my friends and family overseas who do enjoy a cold and frosty Christmasgo for it!  Eat, Drink and be Merry!  (You can fill me in on the details later . . . )  

The girls and I are thinking of you all . . . and sending warm (literally) and sandy hugs across the miles . . .

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Posted by on December 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.’ Abraham Lincoln.

Stories from my Sketchbook  . . . 

coffee-and-tea-clip-artThe most popular drink in the world, bar none, is water.  The second most popular drink in the world, depending on which set of on-line statistics you believe, is either tea or coffee. (I don’t quite understand how red wine is not in the running, but there you go . . . )

Anyway, during the day at least, I am (unapologetically) a tea drinker, and green tea at that.  I drink vats of the stuff.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t like coffee, I do—my special treat when I go to the movies is a large flat white coffee (and a bag of maltesers)—but, to me, coffee is coffee is coffee.  I am, in no way shape or form, a coffee aficionado.  It doesn’t make much difference to me what kind of roast or blend my coffee is.  As long as my coffee is hot, it’s fine.  (I can hear coffee-lovers heads exploding all over the place after that comment . . . )

However, it appears that even my special once-in-a-while coffee treat could now be in jeopardy—apparently there is a coffee crisis looming.  In September 2016 the Australia’s Climate Institute released a report which predicts that by 2050 global warming will have made at least half of the land currently used for coffee production unable to produce quality beans.  And by 2080 hot temperatures could make wild coffee plants completely extinct.

As I am only an occasional imbiber (along with the fact that I will be 91 years old in 2050 and 121 when wild coffee plants eventually become extinct) such a coffee crisis is unlikely to affect me much personally, but I thought I should probably make mention of it . . . just a kind of ‘heads up’ to some of my coffee-addicted friends and colleagues to let them know that their beloved brew is in peril, and they might need to do a little forward thinking—a little pre-planning (start hoarding now folks) if they want to ensure they continue to receive their daily hit of their favourite beverage . . .

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I’ve just had a thought.
If I took my own pretty coffee mug into the cinema with me, no-one would really know what was in it would they?
It could be coffee . .  or tea . . .  or red wine . . . 

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘If I ever had twins, I’d use one for parts.’ Steven Wright.

dead fishNot long ago I bought my girls new collars.  Their old ones were getting very old and faded and (due in no small part to Mabel’s penchant for finding scummy dead fish to roll in) a tad smelly too.  Besides, every little girl deserves something new and pretty from time to time—although, with my girls, how long it will stay new and pretty, is anybody’s guess . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I mentioned their new collars to my friend Pam, her first reaction was to gasp, ‘I hope you got them the same colours as last time!’  Pam has known Mabel and Maude since they were babies but even after six years she still has trouble telling them apart, especially when they are moving at speed (which, granted, is most of the time.)  Personally, I can’t quite see where the confusion lies.  As you can see from this photo—the girls are nothing alike . . .

Seriously though, Mabel and Maude are not twins, nor are they even from the same litter, but if you do not take into account their personalities (in which they are almost polar opposites) I admit they are similar enough that if you saw them separately you might easily assume you had seen the same dog twice.  I wonder if the term ‘doppelgänger‘ can be applied to dogs?

MollyJuly2016Molly, on the other hand, really does have a twin, Holly, who now lives on the other side of town.  Molly and Holly (I know, I know—but they already had their names when they came to us) lived together for the first 5 years of their lives before coming to their new homes.  They have only met once in the last four years, and although they showed very little interest in each other, Holly’s mum and I were very much struck again by how alike they still are, not only in their looks, but also in their temperaments, habits and funny little quirks.  (They both do the same funny little ‘ballerina’ stretches, one leg at a time.)

thing1I have always been a little bit fascinated by twins, although I am not really sure why.  Perhaps because I don’t actually know any.  (Human ones that is.  At least I don’t think I do.  Perhaps I do and am just not aware of it.)  Anyway, there is a good chance that in the future that may change, as it appears there are more twins being born into the world now than ever before.  But while I find the idea of twins really interesting, doppelgängers are a whole different story. Mythology and folklore from almost every nation on earth going back thousands of years assures us that everyone on earth has a doppelgänger. This means that somewhere else in the world there is a perfect duplicate of me, with my mum’s eyes, my dad’s nose (yeah, thanks for that Dad) and that funny little piece of hair that sticks up in the front and will never do exactly what I want it to do . . .

(Some people believe we have at least seven doubles. Go to ‘twin strangers‘ and check it out—seriously freaky.)

As yet I have never come face to face with my own doppelgänger, which is probably just as well as I am not entirely sure how I would react.  Would I like me if I met me?  (More importantly, would I like what I was wearing?)  Would I even recognise myself if I knew it wasn’t really me?  And if I did recognise myself, would I stop and say helloor would I just turn and run screaming from the building?  (The latter is actually entirely possible.   Invasion of the Body Snatchers springs immediately to mind.)

In my defence, there is real precedent for being slightly trepidatious about meeting your own doppelgänger.  (Apart from watching too many science fiction movies I mean.  But what am I saying—there can be no such thing as watching too many sci-fi movies . . .)

 kermits evil twin1Although nowadays we tend to think of a doppelgänger as simply someone who looks very like someone else, originally it referred to a wraith that cast no shadow, had no reflection and was a exact replica of a living person.   These apparitions were exceedingly malicious and haunted their innocent counterparts while causing dismay and confusion among their friends and relatives. (Does the term ‘evil twin’ ring any bells?  Perhaps this was the twin Steven Wright was willing to use for ‘parts’.)  

Anyway, twins, doppelgängers, clones, spirit doubles—call them what you will, I don’t think I will be going in search of my own any time soon and if I come across her by accident—well, I’ll deal with that when it happens.

purple collarI have been thinking thoughjust to be on the safe sideperhaps I should buy myself something new (and pretty) to carry on me or wear all the time (like Maudie’s purple collar—yes, of course I got her the same colour as last time—she is still ‘Mauve Maude’).  Something that uniquely identifies me as me, so that if the ‘other me’ appears unexpectedly and starts behaving badly my friends will immediately know it is not the ‘real’ me.  (There’s logic in there somewhere.)  Besides, any excuse to shop, right?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.’ Alfred Hitchcock.

Stories from my Sketchbook  . . . 

Plaza 1The Plaza Theatre (Laurieton) was originally built in 1959—the same year I was born—so it really can’t be a coincidence that it happens to be one of my very favourite places to spend my time.

It’s not one of those huge monstrous cinemas that hold thousands of people, with screens so huge you have to sit in the very back row just to see the whole picture (and bad luck if you get stuck in the front row as you will come away with a severely stiff neck from having to ‘scroll’ your head back and forth and up and down the screen to try and see everything).

Plaza 2Our little cinema is much cooler than that.  It has only one main screen in the ‘Auditorium’ and one smaller screen in the ‘Deluxe Cine Lounge’, but the whole place is seriously fabulous—all red velvet curtains and gold brocade tassells, art deco statues and lights and old fashioned framed movie posters on the walls.  It’s  a step back to a more luxurious and decadent time.  (It’s not old fashioned enough that you can’t still get all your modern day yummies at the Candy Bar—but just enough so that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.  Woebetide anyone caught putting their feet up on the seat in front—David will be after you with a big stick . . .)

Plaza Theatre, Laurieton

Cake it might be for Hitchcock,
but for me the cinema is more of an ‘extra large flat white coffee and a box of maltesers . . . ‘

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.’ Dr. Seuss.

When I went to see the movie Deadpool I knew even before I went in that I was going to like it.  And I was right.  It was fast, funny, violent, hilariously profane and starred Ryan Reynolds.  What’s not to like?

deadpoolSo I was happy.  I had fun.  But not nearly as much fun as the young man sitting four rows down on the left.  This guy was having a seriously good time.  At one point he was laughing so hard I thought they were going to have to carry him out on a stretcher.  And it wasn’t obnoxious laughter either—he was laughing in all the right places—he just seemed to be having so much more fun than everyone else.  And it was contagious.  I think I spent at least as much time laughing along with him as I did at the movie itself.

Which made me wonder—would I have found the movie as amusing if I had been sitting watching it on my own at home—or even if that young man hadn’t been in the audience?  Probably not.  A shame really, because I’d like to be able to laugh like that more often, and I’m not really sure why I don’t.

It’s not like I never find anything funny.  I giggle a lot.  And probably even smirk, chuckle, snicker, titter, and maybe even snort (very unladylike, I know) on a fairly regular basis—but that real full-on, from-the-gut, makes-your-eyes-water-and-leaves-you-gasping-for-breath belly laugh . . .  not so much.

fartBut the thing is, you don’t really ‘decide’ when you are going to laugh, do you?  Or what you are going to laugh at, or how hard you are going to laugh.  It just happens—and often at the most inopportune moments. I’ve just read a blog where a man told a story of when he and his brothers were at their mother’s funeral and their grandmother unexpectedly sent forth a very loud and unapologetic burp, sending the brothers into fits of ‘quiet hysterics’ . . .  (I guess they should be grateful granny didn’t fart—that might have sent the whole congregation into meltdown . . .)

But sometimes it doesn’t even take a granny-burp.  Sometimes there is no obvious reason to be laughing whatsoever, other than someone else is already laughing and you seem suddenly, and inexplicably, incapable of not joining in.

laughing-image-0182Scientists think this ‘contagion’ effect might be because laughter may have been a precursor to language and that our ancestors may have laughed to show they were friendly and meant no harm to others.  Consequently we are hard-wired to respond to laughter.  (I guess that is also why sitcoms still use the ‘laugh track’.  My advice, they should track down that young fellow that was at my cinema—he was a laugh track all on his own.)

And it seems that we humans don’t hold the exclusive rights to laughter either.  Experts (I always want to put that word in inverted commas, but I don’t want to offend anyone, so I won’t) believe that other animals laugh too, although, at this stage they seem to believe that apes and rats are the only others to do so.  The chimps and gorillas I get—closest living relatives and all that (and we all know someone who actually sounds like a chimp when they are laughing, don’t we?)

lauging ratThe rat thing is just a tad weirder.   Tickling‘ experiments done on rats (because why wouldn’t you want to do a tickling experiment on a rat?) discovered that when rats were being tickled, they produced high-pitched, ultrasonic vocalizations (chirps), and these sounds were only made when they were playing.  And, what is more, these rats actively went out of their way to get more tickles (as you do), further indicating that they were actually enjoying the process.  (These giggly rats also preferred to play with other ‘chirpers’, which stands to reason really—why spend time with the grumpy old codger in the corner when you could be having a chuckle-fest with the fun crowd?) 

dogrollingI was a little surprised though, to see that there appears to be no evidence that cats and dogs laugh.  As an owner of three incredibly silly and giggly dogs, I am absolutely convinced my girls spend the majority of their (awake) time laughing. (The same experts who did the rat experiments above would no doubt call this ‘anthropomorphizing.  I have one thing to say to that—have any of these experts ever owned a dog?)  

Grumpy-CatAndokay, sureI admit that you don’t often see cats rolling around on their backs, tongues hanging out, eyes rolling madly, while waving their legs in the air with gay abandon when something amuses them (behaviour far too uncouth for most cats)—but you can just tell from their expressions that they are laughing (hard) on the inside . . .

smiley dogsAnyway, I am not quite sure how I managed to get from Deadpool to tickling rats but the long and the short of this story is that I am planning another trip to the movies this weekend and I am kind of hoping that young man is going to be there again.

I am feeling in need of another really good belly-laugh . . .

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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