Penny Plain by Ronnie Burkett

If you don’t know about Ronnie Burkett, you should.

He does these plays with puppets. He writes the play, makes the marionettes and performs the play. It is amazing to watch and often I forget I’m watching puppets during the play. The stories are funny, sad, endearing, usually have a bit of everything. The characters have a way of staying with you long after the play has ended.

The puppets themselves are works of art. The details are amazing, from their faces to the clothing , to the way Ronnie manipulates them. It’s brilliant.

Ever seen a marionette do a strip tease? I have. Ever seen a marionette, manipulate it’s own marionette? How about use a walker? The plays are so far beyond what most think of as a puppet play that you really have to see it for yourself.

I dragged a friend along to “Penny Plain”. She hates puppets, thinks they are evil and scary (something to do with a collection of dolls her Mom had when she was a child and the clown in poltergeist).

She LOVED it. At the end she stared at the stage, as so many do, looking sad that it was over and also thinking back over the whole experience. It is an experience.

Penny is the fifth Ronnie Burkett production that I have seen and is right now my favourite (although I still love Happy). My favourite is usually the one I’ve just seen. Penny’s dog leaves her to go live as a man and then Penny meets a parade of characters as the end of the world approaches. It’s very funny, touching and thought provoking.

It is not for children. Ronnie doesn’t write for children. It is a wonderful story and if you get the chance to ever see Ronnie at work you MUST go!

I am probably going to go again because I don’t want to wait another 3 years to see him. He is in Calgary until November 6, 2011.

You can get tickets at ATP CLICK HERE or look him up and see if he is going to be touring near you soon.

I Don’t Want It To End….

I’ve been reading “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, it’s so good. I’m almost at the end and I don’t want the Circus to end. I’ve really enjoyed it, loved the characters and now I’ve slowed down. Trying to drag it out, so it lasts a little longer, just one more day but I can’t make it last forever. I know that I’m going to have to find another book to read and it’s so hard after you’ve read a really good book.

The next book has so much to live up to and it is easy to resent the next book for not being as wonderful as the book you just read. Sometimes I will reach for an old favourite, as a sort of palette cleanser to ease the way for the next new book.

The books that I love shift and change over the years but there are some that always hold a place on the shelf. Winnie the Pooh will always be one of those, not only the wonderful stories that I have learnt so much from but also the memories tied up with a book that I have had for so long. Memories of a Saturday morning reading it in bed after my Granny had brought me a cup of tea and two cookies. Still one of the best ways to start the day but now I have to get my own tea. A Room With a View is also a book that has been with me for a long time. Some books are like friends, always there when you need them.

So today I will finish “The Night Circus” tomorrow maybe I’ll look for an old friend.

Anybody have any recommendations for what to read next?

Clicking Pens Drive Me Crazy

The sound of somebody continuously clicking a pen or tapping a pen on a desk, drives me f*cking crazy. Most don’t even realize they are doing it, just an unconscious action that they do without thinking. They stop by my desk and while asking a question or waiting for me to look something up there is that noise.

click,click, click,click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click,click, click, click, click

or

tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap

Drives me crazy and often ends with me yelling STOP or threatening to throw a stapler at their head if they don’t stop (once aware some people think it’s “funny” to keep doing it, I don’t see the humour).

It’s like someone playing with a slinky. If you are the one playing with the slinky, it’s all good you hardly even notice the noise. If you have to listen to someone playing with a slinky for a prolonged period of time, you will end up yelling STOP at some point.

The noise gets under your skin and the annoyance factor expands exponentially until you just can’t take it anymore.

The pens are the same. All I ask is have some awareness. Try to restrain yourself, put the pen in your pocket, maybe leave it at your desk. I will lend you one to write with if you need it. Just don’t come and click (or tap) your pen at my desk, unless you want a stapler thrown at your head.

Spitty and the Nazca Lines, Peru

In Peru we went to see the Nazca lines. They are lines in the sand that have been there for hundreds of years and there is a hummingbird, a giant, a spider, a monkey and so many more. They believe they were made by the Nazca culture and have religious significance. The lines are still visible due to the stable dry climate. For more information on the Nazca Lines CLICK HERE.

The best way to see the lines is to go up in a small plane like this one:

One guy in our group tried to freak everybody out by talking about how often small planes crash but my reasoning is, if the planes did crash as often as he proclaimed they did, then these guys would have been out of business years ago. So having been assigned a space on a later plane I went back to the hotel to hang out and went to visit Spitty. This is Spitty:

He’s was a llama at the hotel and we named him Spitty because he did in fact spit at a girl in our tour group. If a Llama looks like he is going to spit at you run, duck, dive for cover. It’s GROSS the spit is sticky and it stinks. Their ears go back and they look like they are about to hock a loogie, so they do give warning signals. On this day Spitty seemed to be in a better mood.

After spending some time with Spitty I wandered back with my travel buddy Becca and we boarded the plane. There was a total of five in the plane including the pilot, so everybody gets a good view.

Once in the air you need to pay attention. Something I am not good at and although I saw many of the lines, by the time I figured out where the pilot was pointing I didn’t have time to take a picture (just google Nazca lines, there are many good pictures) but the scenery from the air is beautiful. Desert for miles and miles. Some lines are easy to spot, others you have to look for. I have a problem with people pointing things out or looking for something that blends in. Either I see it right away or won’t be able to find it no matter how much somebody says “IT’S RIGHT THERE”. I usually follow that with “Where? I don’t see it…..” (I don’t like Waldo, I don’t care where he is).

Here are a few that I did find and managed to get a picture of the Giant, the Dog and the Spider:

 

Later in the day we went to a little pottery place that makes Nazca pottery the traditional way and they had some beautiful pieces. Also very interesting to see how they make the pieces by hand. I picked up this penguin and he’s one of my favourite souvenirs: 

The pictures of the skeletons I’ve had all week are from Chauchilla Cemetary for more information CLICK HERE.