The Dance Wrap – Extra Spicy

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks – I’ve only provided a few snapshots here and there via Twitter and FaceBook, but here’s what’s been happening:

Anthony and Allanah travelled to Sydney to compete in the South Pacific Championships at Darling Harbour. They danced up a storm in the Juvenile category and came home with an armful of trophies (plaques are great for packing in luggage…) for 5 first places and a 2nd, among other awards. As a result, they skip a whole level in the ‘New Vogue’ style and are now ‘Level 3’ competitors. We’re very proud and pleased that they managed to do so well in a national competition.

Caleb and Kirsty also distinguished themselves at the ‘Rising Star’ Championships in Perth with some great results.

Also, it was a true family affair when all three kids performed for the Stevens Dance Academy end of year ballet concert. Ainslie spent weeks co-ordinating the assembly and decoration of 38 tutus with a very intricate artistic (and interpersonal) ballet all of their own. I got to help out backstage and learned for the first time about the gentle art of scrim wrangling. Great show!

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LA Is Stuck On ‘Default’

In the last several years or so, every Australian traveller flying to the US with Qantas (or a few other carriers) has been herded into an underground antechamber for ‘arrival formalities’. Everyone – first class to cattle, rich and poor, lagged or no – has waited for US Border Control to get their act together and process the queue already.
And without fail, every time, the LED displays above each passport control officer have been stuck on their power-up settings. Presumably, someone installed these for a reason, like displaying ‘Welcome to the US’ or ‘Visitors’ or ‘Have your passport ready’. You know, something useful.
But no, I have yet to see these LED signs say anything useful. And if you’re trapped in a smallish waiting room, without magazines or television to distract your attention, and without a mobile phone signal, with a bunch of cranky people who have just stepped off a 14 hour flight at 7am, you need more.
But, on this last trip, as a public service, I transcribed these sage lessons for the benefits of the viewers at home.
Here is what I learned about the LED System at LA International Airport on April 21, 2008.

introducing a new
state of the art
electronic display
featuring
wireless remote
dazzling color
simple operation
up to 27 characters can be displayed one at a time
(bar|bar|bar) (slot machine demonstration)
welcome
no smoking
(wineglass – a car crashes into it and a stick figure flies through the windscreen. this is my favorite bit)
please don’t drink and drive
create your own messages
(fireworks)
thank you

It says a lot about US culture, actually.