Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Blogfest

Alex J Cavenaugh  is hosting a Top Ten Movies Blogfest, and the rules are simple. Post your top ten favourite movies. One rule. I broke it… Only a little. I only added three mini-series and one four movie series. It’s not so bad… Anyway, cheating aside, here are my top ten favourite movies in ascending order.

At place number ten we have Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton version. I wasn’t so sure I’d like this movie when I first heard of it. But after I actually saw it, I loved it. Cats that can turn into smoke? Shrinking and growing? The Mad Hatter? What more could I want from a movie?

In ninth place is Little Dorrit. Yes, I know this is a mini-series and therefore technically doesn’t count, but I never was very good with sticking to the rules. Little Dorrit is one of the only Charles Dickens I’ve seen so far, and it’s fantastic. Rags to riches to rags again. Old houses and cranky old ladies. It’s got some of everything.

Eighth is North and South, the mini-series adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s book. True the heroine has an annoying hat, but the other characters more than make up for that. The supporting cast is great. Some of my favourite characters are just the side ones.

Seventh place comes yet another mini-series, the last, I promise you. Pride and Prejudice. I’m an Austen girl at heart, and this has my sort of witty banter and the right touch of romance that isn’t too much. Sadly romance and I don’t get on very well unless it’s Jane Austen’s kind.

Sixth is The Avengers. Apart from loving period dramas, I’m also a big fan of superhero movies. There’s something about a bunch of people having a bunch of amazing powers that is just awesome. There’s some great lines and lots of action. My only bone to pick with this one is the way they did Thor and Loki, but apart from that, it was a great movie and one I don’t mind watching over and over again.

Fifth is the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Which again is technically a cheat, but it is the last time I cheat in this list. It has pirates, and a mad captain. Who could fail to like Captain Jack Sparrows, who’s plans always seem to be made up on the spot and always end up working in the strangest of ways?

Fourth is Tangled. I never much liked the actual fairy tale of Rapunzel. A girl named after a radish wasn’t my sort of thing. But a girl with a hundred feet of hair going to see lanterns and having crazy adventures is much better. Not to mention a small green reptile who happens to be one of the best characters…

At place number three is Thor. This is how a Norse god should be done. Hammers, hitting Thor with a bus, and Loki’s evil schemes. Frost giants, the rainbow bridge and Asgard just make things even better. Amazing movie.

Number two is How to Train Your Dragon. Dragons. Need I say more? Toothless is so cute. In fact he reminds me of my cat… And the rest of the dragon cast is amazing to. Wait, there were people in this movie I was supposed to like? I must have gotten distracted by the dragons.

And at last, at place number one is Megamind. A criminal genius with a giant blue head who thinks he’s the villain but is actually the hero? Way to turn the superhero cliché on its head. A hero who’s the bad guy? Plus all the awesomely quotable lines? It’s no wonder I’ve watched it so many times I can quote half the movie.

Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern here. Superheros, regency dramas, and animated movies. What are your top ten favourite movies?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Unwanted Surfing Lesson

The first 20 people to sign up will receive a free surfing lesson,
 that's what the special offer for a Catholic Youth event said. I wrinkled my nose up at that. A surfing lesson? That wasn't something that I would ever want. I'd better make sure that I wasn't one of the first twenty people to sign up. The lesson had better go to someone who actually wanted it.

So I waited to sign up. I waited a whole week. Surely twenty people would have signed up in that amount of time? I'd be pretty safe now. So I signed up and promptly forgot all about the special offer. Twenty lucky people would go surfing, and thankfully I wouldn't be one of them.

Two days before the event, I received an email from one of the organizers  "Because you were one of the first twenty participants to sign up, you are eligible to receive a free surfing lesson. Would you like to accept this lesson, or give it to someone else?"

I just stared at the email. What, after all that, I'd still managed to get the free surfing lesson? That was silly. I didn't want a free surfing lesson. I wasn't a surfer and that was that.I would email the organizer back later and tell her I didn't want the lesson. She could give it to someone else.

Still it was rather a funny story to tell. "Hey Mum, you know how I was trying not to get the free surfing lesson? Well, I got one."

Mum laughed. Then she said, "You should take the lesson. It could be fun."

No. No way. I wasn't going to go surfing. But everyone else said the same thing. "You should go surfing. It might be fun."

"Alright," I grumbled. "I'll accept it. But I'm not sure whether I'll enjoy it."

It could be fun. But really, I wasn't very sure. Oh well, if nothing else, maybe I could set a record for the amount of times fallen off the surfboard if nothing else. Surely I wouldn't look out of place.

Out in the ocean, lying on a surfboard however I still wasn't too sure. I mean, I was a little excited. It wasn't every day that I got to go surfing. It could be fun I supposed. I waited for the instructor to tell me what to do. He watched the waves, then suddenly, "Paddle."

I dug my hands into the water, thrusting myself forwards, paddling as hard as I could as the wave rushed up behind me.


Bit by bit, I got to my feet...and promptly fell off. The wave washed over my head, carrying the surfboard towards the shore before the cord attached to my ankle stopped it with a jerk. I popped up out of the water laughing. That was fun. I dragged my surfboard back through the water to where the instructor waited and prepared to go again.

Six waves later, I rode the wave into shore, ever so carefully getting to my feet. I was pretty sure to fall off again. But at least I was trying. One leg up. two legs up. I balanced precariously on the board as the wave carried me into the shore. As we reached the edge, I grinned. Wow, I'd done it. I'd managed to stand up on a surfboard. And maybe, just maybe surfing was more fun than I'd thought it would be. I was glad then that I'd taken the lesson.

I'm definitely not going to turn into a surfer now. In fact, I even think that standing up on the board was a fluke, but I haven't tested that theory out yet. But I do know that sometimes, things I think I won't like turn out to be better than I expected. Maybe it's time to be more adventurous in the future. And next time I get the offer of a free surfing lesson, I'll be accepting it. It's certainly more fun than I thought.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Talking Round the Table

Apparently this toucan is talking. I wonder if he talks round the lunch table too?

The best part of every morning is lunchtime. We stop work, make lunch, and cluster round the table to eat and share stories of our morning's work. It's a habit we've formed over many years, and I love it. It's a whole other education outside of my usual work.

"Did you know that Holland isn't actually a country?" Mum starts with. "It's actually a province."

"What's a province?" Gemma-Rose, the youngest, asks.

We explain that it's like a state and soon my younger sisters are teaching me all about Holland and the Archimedes Screw used in windmills. It's a fascinating subject. So much I didn't know about Holland and the Netherlands before.

Eventually we move on to Victor Hugo and his history lesson of a novel, Les Miserable. Charlotte is stubbornly trying to reach the end of this tome, though it's taken her months to get close.

"I think that book is the definition of an info dump," I say with a giggle. "All that history."

This moves us onto the subjects of books and soon we're sharing old favourite books that we've read for fun, or used in our study. From there, who knows where the conversation might go? It's sure to be in an interesting direction.

Officially, I'm not homeschooling any more. I'm a full time uni student, study the business of writing and publishing. I don't study artists, history, or composers any more. I'm too busy trying to wrap my head around sociology, or keep up with the technical terms of media. My education has moved on.

But that doesn't mean that I don't have time to join in with our lively lunchtime discussions round the table. There's still so much to learn that my university course doesn't cover. Talking with my family, learning from them, and adding my own views is an important part of life. Yes, I might not be homeschooling any more, but I'm still learning alongside my brothers and sisters, sharing knowledge. And that is something I hope will never stop.