Blood Donation 3

Sunday was my third blood donation. It has become routine now. James came with me and I signed in at 2. I had my pint of water and re-read the donor information. My name was called and I went through to talk to the nurse. She mistook my general anxiety about being in public for nerves of the needle and insisted my boyfriend came in and sat beside me. I said there was no need but after I had the chat and my finger prick I was sent to collect James.

We sat at the end of the room and again waited for my name to be called. James was confused about his part in being there. I couldn’t explain properly because the nurse was still around so he just sat with me. The donation table was right next to the waiting area so James just scooched his chair over to it.

The donation went quick. We even joked about what the super nintendo noises coming out the machine when finished. We were sent over to get a drink but as usual James felt awkward when offered a cup of tea so declined. I had orange squash and some biscuits and made my next appointment for September (they get you like that.) Then we were done! There’s not really anymore to discuss with blood! Although I did notice the blood group keyrings on the drinks table, maybe next time I’ll work up the courage to ask for one!

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On Your Marks Introduction – Brownies

We’ve been looking through the new ‘On Your Marks’ resource for a few weeks and decided to use the Sports badge as part of our pack holiday programme. So we thought we would use one of the other two, Cultures and Values, during the term.

We started yesterday evening by playing Seb Says, a take on Simon Says but using Olympic and Paralympic sports as the actions. This was a good warm up activity as it got the girls moving and learning about new sports at the same time. It was strange the ideas they came up with when given a sport they had never heard of. To stop the girls feeling excluded we got the girls who moved when Seb didn’t say to do actions on one leg, then no knees and then without an arm.

This lead us into our circle. We discussed personal goals and the girls each wrote a goal on a postcard, decoarted it and wrote on the back how they can achieve it. There were lots of musical Brownies and girls learning martial arts. Some were also trying to do better in school and help out at home. We’ve told them they will get these postcards back in 7 weeks to see who has achieved their aim.

Then we headed on to the olympic quiz. One side of the room was answer A and the other side answer B. We’ve done quizzes like this before and find most girls just copy each other. We didn’t want this to happy again so we gave half the girls the blindfolds that came with the paralympic equipment. They swapped with the other girls half way through. It worked really well. The girls thought for themselves and sometimes this got them the right answer. (Although a lot was guesses.)

Lastly we explained the two badges and what they contained. Then they moved to one side of the room or the other to make their choice. Suprisingly the majority picked Values. (Althought I think this was because it was pick with hearts on it.)

Blue Man Group – Orlando, Florida

On arrival at Sanford Airport we were greeted by our Thomson rep Lee. He gave lots of leaflets and information including the big savings they can offer for the Blue Man Group show. James and I did not consider it at all. Universal parks were all that were on our minds. At the arrivals meeting the next morning we were told about the best shows on offer, Blue Man being one of them, but decided to get tickets for the comedy magic show with an all you can eat Pizza buffet.

It wasn’t until late in the holiday we decided to go for this. 2 reasons. 1, We thought we wouldn’t have enough money. 2, We thought we wouldn’t have enough time. Turns out we had both. It is personal circumstances that decide money, but by the end of the holiday we found we still had a little bundle. The other thing with Blue Man is that it is next door to the entrance to Universal Studios. While queuing for the Rip Rocket Rollarcoaster you stand next to the giant Blue Man sign. Plus while walking through Universal City Walk you pass a very interesting Blue Man Group advert of three men standing with tellys for heads. So we decided to see what the fuss was about.

Our Thomson rep did say it can be a bit hit or miss with people, and that is true. Some people, like us, love it. Others, like the man in front and the woman next to us, do not. If you like weird music and art and especially comedy then this is a great show. And it is the unexpected that makes it great (like all good comedy). The music is good, I love art, but for me the comedy is what makes this show.

The Blue Men are strange beings that are new to the ways of people. They cannot open Twinkies. But this innocence is what makes them so appealing and fun to watch. (And who else uses cereal as a musical instrument?)

Plus we met them afterwards;

They do not talk. They do not have facial expressions. They are almighty scary really but it was a great laugh.

(James suggested we didn’t include our faces. So I went for some yellow faces.)

On leaving the show we both had the same opinion. It was AWESOME! So we hung around at the shop wanting to take home a piece of the experince. We went for the DVD. It was a tour they did called ‘How to be a megastar’. On talking to the shop assistants about us coming from London, neither pointed out that we were buying a DVD for the wrong region. We managed to watch it when we got home though. The DVD is good for people who have not seen the show before, it inroduces you to them, but the singing takes away from the strangeness of the Blue Men and their accompanying voiceover man. It got to the point that I was bored and realised I was just watching some random band playing to a huge arena of people who hadn’t come to see them. However the DVD has extras and this is where some of the classic sketches rest (though not in their entirty.)

In all, I’m disappointed that being in the UK means I cannot see Blue Men again. We would need to book a holiday to the US, or Germany or Japan to be able to see them. (Plus the voiceover man kind of needs to be in your language to understand some of the jokes.) But I would recommend seeing this show once. You may not get it. But it is totes funny.

SERIOUSLY FREAKY UPDATE:

So a few hours after I wrote this I decided to put on an episode of Scrubs. I’d seen all of series 1-5 years ago so I got out Series 6 and, as you should, started with episode 1. Within the first 5 minutes J.D. walks onto the stage of Blue Man Group…how does that make any sense?!? It has been almost 6 months since I saw BMG and just a few hours after writing about them they appear on TV. Just Freaky.

Thorpe Park – Surrey

We worked it out that we hadn’t been to Thorpe Park for over 18 months. In theme park terms (considering it is only an hour and a half from home) this is a long time. So James booked a day off work and I am still awaiting a start date so we headed down to the thrill capital on Friday.

Of course the main reason for this trip was  to experince ‘The Swarm’. If you’ve not seen the adverts ‘The Swarm’ is a winged rollarcoaster (so the track is neither above or below you) which supposedly brings you some near misses if you believe the newspaper articles of test dummies with missing limbs. The ride is short and the experince of hanging about and the views of the park grab your attention – there were no near misses that I noticed. It is very much like ‘Air’ at Alton Towers, but instead of flying you are whisked around in the grasp of a giant alien. The seats are very comfortable like Air also.

It is becoming clear that Thorpe Park and Alton Towers are finally latching on to the full ride experince that is standard in American parks. Like with Saw and Thirteen the surroundings of the ride and the queue line are themed to match the purpose of the ride. There are fire engines and helicopters littering the streets around The Swarm. The gift shop is named ‘Emergency Supplies’ and the queue line videos show news reports of ‘The Swarm’ taking over and abducting unsuspecting citizens of Thorpe Park.

Not that we witnessed much of the videos.

That’s right. We worked our way around the queues which could easily slow down your day. On arrival we saw that the queue time for The Swarm (which is a bit of a walk from the other thrill rides) had a queue time of 45minutes. So we headed for Stealth which had a queue time of 10minutes. This was made slightly longer by our wait for the front but it had to be done once. We then worked our way west hitting Nemisis (which had a slightly longer queue of 20mins) then Samurai and Saw (5 minutes!). We had a quick go on Collosus which is simply a walk on ride now, 10 years after being the icon of the park. Then lunch at Pizza Hut where we fueled up. Then we felt it was time to experince ‘The Swarm’.

We shocked ourselves at the lack of queue and it wasn’t until we were secured into our seats 10 minutes later that I wondered if my pizza would be making a reapperance. Luckily it isn’t a sharp ride. (Although we did witness a kid hurl up outside the ride, eww.) On the initial climb you get a good view of the park. Then you are chucked into a fun ride of swooping, side turns and twirls above the queue line. The end is slightly disapointing as you stop above a random swamp. Bit of an anti-climax. Once the ride was over we hopped straight back around for go 2. You couldn’t have timed it worse in fact. The moment James and I were strapped into our seats the heavens opened and a ridiculous amount of rain crashed upon us. A sarcastic ride attendant announced that due to new developments on this ride you may get wet…

Once off we headed straight to X:/ No Way Out, along with half the park. But it was nice to get out the downpour and the queue, once again, wasn’t too long. A bored ride attendant tried to scare little girls with a zombie head mask, but I was more impressed with sitting in the seat and seeing my hands go green like The Hulk (oh the memories.) X:/ No Way Out was my favvvvvourite ride when I was a kid and it still is a fun ride, but everythime we ride it we are braced for the fact it could be the last 😦

On leaving the ride the rain had vanished so we decided to dry ourselves on Rush, a giant swing ride. Another walk on and stay on if you want ride, it is A LOT shorter than I remember. You just get into swinging high above the park that it slows down again. Spoils the fun. So we got off and went round to Quantum. Should have taken the hint from Vortex being broken that we shouldn’t have been there. The ride was fun, it is a magic carpet ride and again it slowed down just as it got going, and then we were stuck in the rides claws for 10 minutes. (That’s a full queue and ride on Saw!) Didn’t help having some loudmouth scottish girls flirting with the ride attendant sitting infront of us.

And I believe from there the day was a case of going around and doing it all again. We had two more rides on The Swarm before being stopped by a broken ride. I don’t know if it restarted that day but we never saw it going round. On a second go on Samurai I was the ride coach for a Spanish lady who was scared but wanted to ride with her 11 year old. I’m always a little weary when a stranger holds my hand. And I couldn’t enjoy the ride because once it started the talkative lady stopped talking and I couldn’t help worrying about her all the way around. And no, we’re not fans of detonator. We like to try them once or twice but once you’ve done it why do it again? It doesn’t feel nice at all. (Although the new Lex Luther drop ride at Six Flags California has to be done!)

We didn’t try the new Storm Surge either, water rides on cold days are no fun. But the fact they stuck it over what used to be the octopus garden of kiddie rides shows that they have no interest in young families visiting anymore. That is what Chessington is for. Anyways, perfect for an older family, perfect for teen friends and perfect for thrill seeking couples. Thorpe Park all the way.