Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 11 & 12

Day 11 October 3, 2023

Today Katherine and I went to visit her friend Jason at his home. Katherine helped repair a couple of Jason’s puppets. We enjoyed a lovely home cooked Pot Roast, and Katherine tried her first piece of pumpkin pie!

Day 12 October 4, 2023

Today is travel day where we are travelling from Seattle, Washington to Denver, Colorado. I spent the morning relaxing, while Katherine helped update this blog with our adventures!

Our flight was in the early evening- just as the sun was setting behind the Olympic Mountains.

Taking off from Seattle with the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountains

When we arrived in Denver Colorado, there was a statue to astronaut Jack Swigert, who was one of the three astronauts on Apollo 13 whose experience is documented in the movie Apollo 13. Swigert was going to be a US Senator, but he died before he could take office.

Dedication statue to Astronaut Jack Swigert at Denver Airport

It was midnight by the time we got to the hotel, so Katherine and I went to bed straight away.

Georgina Monster.

Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 9 & 10

Day 9 October 1, 2023

Today is our first full day in Seattle. We flew from Los Angeles to Seattle yesterday morning, and spent the afternoon evening visiting the base of the Space Needle and having dinner at the Armory building next door. This morning We met up with Katherine’s friend Jason, and he took us on an adventure around Pier 57 which is called Miner’s Landing at the foreshore of downtown Seattle. All the piers are finger wharves similar to the ones we have in Australia.

The first adventure we went on was Salish Sea Tour- a 1 hour cruise around Elliot Bay in Puget Sound. We saw a Sea Lion swimming in the bay, and great views of the city skyline and the Olympic Mountains on the far side of the sound. The boat is decorated with carvings and paintings of the First Nations of the Salish Sea area as Seattle is located in the Pacific Northwest of America.

After the Sea tour, we went on the Great Wheel which is a large ferris wheel at the end of the Miner’s Landing Pier.

Our next stop was the the actual Space Needle including going up the elevator to the top of the Space Needle.

Day 10, October 2, 2023

Today Katherine and I went to visit Jason at the Woodland Park Zoo. He is a volunteer zoo docent who uses his animal puppets to interact with the visitors. Even though it was raining, we got to see Zebras, Penguins, Brown Bears, Tigers, Peacocks, Grey Wolves, Weaver Birds, Sea Eagles, Komodo Dragons, Warthogs, Giraffes, and Hippos.

The zoo has wonderful large sculptures of animals and plants that are also lighting fixtures.

  • Zebras

It was a wonderful day at the Zoo. Katherine really enjoyed seeing the two puppets she had built for Jason- Dennis the Weaver Bird, and Ray the Tiger work with the visitors to improve their visit to the zoo.

Georgina Monster

Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 6 & 7

Day 6 September 28, 2023

Today is our last day in Disneyland! We started our day with a walk through Downtown Disney where we needed to pick up a gift for a friend of Katherine’s at the Star Wars Trading Post! While we were there, we saw Chopper the Astromech Droid in his ghost costume for Halloween.

We then travelled by Monorail to the Tomorrowland stop and walked from Tomorrowland to Critter Country so we could meet Winnie the Pooh. He gave us a really big hug, but he thought Katherine’s Haunted Mansion ears were very scary. After meeting Winnie the Pooh, we had lunch nearby at the Hungry Bear Restaurant.

Our next stop was to head back to Town Square near the entrance of the park as Katherine had booked us on a Happiest Haunts walking tour at 1:30pm. While we were waiting in Town Square, we got to meet Carabelle Cow and Mickey Mouse in their Halloween Costumes.

  • Getting a hug from Winnie the Pooh

The Happiest Haunts walking tour was amazing! Our first stop was actually backstage behind the tour garden to see the real Professor Phineas Plump with his sales case, and Gus with his long beard. These are two of the three Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion, but they are having a holiday while Jack Skellington has the mansion decorated for the Nightmare before Christmas overlay. Katherine was very happy to see the Hitchhiking Ghosts as she loves the Haunted Mansion, and she was able to get closer than you normally do to the ghosts! The walking tour then went up along main street, through the back of Frontierland, through New Orleans Square up to Pirates of the Caribbean where we got to skip the line and go on the ride!

The last stop of the day was to have a picture taken in front of the giant pumpkin that looks like Mickey Mouse. It has been an interesting week in the Californian Disney Parks. In a couple of weeks, we will be in Walt Disney World, Florida!

Day 7 September 29, 2023

Today, we didn’t go to the Disney Parks because Katherine needed to get ready for our next leg of our adventure to Seattle. We had breakfast at IHOP which stands for International House of Pancakes. While I relaxed in our room, Katherine got all our washing done, as well as packing our bags since we have an early flight tomorrow. We then spent the remainder of the day watching Disney movies and relaxing. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day!

Georgina Monster

Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 5

Day 5 September 27, 2023

Today we went back to Disneyland. We started the day with breakfast at the Jolly Holliday Bakery. Katherine commented that the only thing that was missing were the penguins to serve our cups of tea just like in Mary Poppins. After breakfast, we went into Tomorrowland to go for a ride on the Monorail around Disneyland. It took us past Autopia, Spacemountain, through California Adventure, and past the entrance plaza. The Disneyland monorail was the first monorail in the Western hemisphere when it was built in the mid 1960’s.

After the trip on Monorail Blue, we walked back over to the Haunted Mansion to go for another ride on it in the daytime. Katherine prefers the Haunted Mansion when it hasn’t been decorated for Halloween by Jack Skellington. It was then morning tea time, so Katherine wanted to try a very famous Disney treat- Dole whip! Dole whip is pineapple flavoured soft serve ice cream. The soft serve is thicker in texture than soft serve ice cream you get at other ice cream places, but it was a very strong pineapple flavour.

Since we were nearby, and we couldn’t see the animals in the nighttime, Katherine decided to go on the Jungle Cruise again.

We then walked over to Minnie’s House in Toon Town to meet Minnie Mouse, and once we walked through Minnie’s house, we went into Mickey’s house next door and got to meet Mickey Mouse! On our way to have lunch in Tomorrowland, we encountered Geppetto! He is a puppet maker like Katherine because he built Pinocchio!

We had lunch at Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland, and after lunch we went on a trip around Disneyland on the real steam trains. While we were on the train we saw the Grand Canyon and the age of the Dinosaurs!

After our grand circle trip around the Magic Kingdom, Katherine and I popped over to California Adventure where we got to see Spiderman swing across the top of Avenger’s Campus!

Katherine was feeling pretty tired after our day exploring Disneyland, so we went back to the hotel to rest as we have our last day in Disneyland tomorrow!

Georgina Monster

Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 4

Day 4 September 26, 2023

Today we went back to Disney’s California Adventure. We did not get to see the whole park the other day, so we started by walking down to the lagoon to see the second half of the park. At the lagoon, we could see the big ferris wheel called Pixar Pal Around

Our first ride of the day was The Little Mermaid- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Our next ride was on the Pixar Pal Around Ferris wheel. You can choose whether you go in the swinging side or non swinging side. We went on the non- swinging side- but this video shows the fun of the swinging side!

After the ferris wheel, we met Joy from Inside Out, and Woody! Woody gave us a really big hug! We then walked around to the brand new San Fransokyo where we met Baymax! We were able to give him a big hug, and he is very soft and squishy.

Next to San Fransokoyo is Cars Land! We went through the arch and saw the town of Radiator Springs just like it is in the movie! We had lunch at Flo’s V8 cafe. We got to meet Lightning McQueen, Red in his Haul-o-ween costume as well as Mater!

Tomorrow, we are heading back to Disneyland!

Georgina Monster

Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 3

Day 3 September 25, 2023

Today we went to Disneyland! First thing we did was have our picture taken in front of the entrance flower garden which has a big picture of Mickey Mouse.

Once we went through the tunnel, we came out into Town Square. Katherine and I were booked to go on a tour to celebrate 100 years of the Walt Disney Company at 9:30am, so we decided to stay in Town Square and go and visit the Opera House where Great Moments with Mr Lincoln has been playing since 1965.

We then went over to the tours kiosk where we joined our walking tour. While the tour met in Disneyland, our first stop was actually over in Disney’s California Adventure as it has been built to reflect Hollywood of the early 1920’s when Walt Disney first arrived to set up his animation studio- Disney Brothers Cartoons. We got to go in a secret door in the Animation Building and go straight into a drawing class where we drew Ursula from the Little Mermaid!

We then walked back into Disneyland park and went back into the Opera House where we were earlier to look at the multiplane camera that Disney used to innovate depth of field in animated features.

  • The Mickey mouse face made of flowers at the entrance to Disneyland

The Disney 100 tour finished up near Sleeping Beauty’s Castle where a photographer was waiting to take our photos. Once the tour finished, Katherine and I walked into Fantasyland and up to the It’s a Small World ride.

After It’s a Small World, we walked across to the new Star Wars land called Galaxy’s Edge or using the Star Wars name- Black Spire Outpost. The really cool thing about Galaxy’s Edge is that there is a real Millennium Falcon, a real X-Wing, and Storm Troopers patrolling the outpost. We then went off-world back to Earth and walked to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride.

After the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, it was time for the afternoon parade called Magic Happens! As a special addition to our morning tour, the tour guides had a reserved space for tour guests to watch the parade and eat our Disney100 giant cookie!

We then watched the Disney Marching Band perform near the Town Square flag pole as they had the flag retrieval ceremony. The first song they played was We don’t talk about Bruno from Encanto.

After the sun had gone down, we went back to New Orleans Square to go on the Jungle Cruise at night. It’s hard to see all the animals in the dark, so we are going to have to come back during the day time later in the week to see everything.

Just around the corner from the Jungle Cruise is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. It was only a short wait, so we stopped by to see the show!

Our last attraction of the evening was the Haunted Mansion. Katherine really loves the original Haunted Mansion ride, but she has never seen this version of the Haunted Mansion where Jack Skellington has decorated the whole mansion inside and out for Christmas!

It’s been a really long day, so Katherine and I are looking forward to some sleep.

Tomorrow, we are going back to Disney’s California Adventure!

Georgina Monster

Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 1 and 2

Hi! I am Georgina Monster. My cousin George, works at Monsters Incorporated. Over the next 2 months, I am going to be travelling with my human friend Katherine to 10 different states in the United States of America, visiting Disneyland, Seattle, Denver, Bozeman, Grand Rapids, Huntsville, Baltimore, New York City, Orlando, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. I have borrowed Katherine’s blog to document our adventure together.

Day 1 September 23, 2023

Today my human Katherine and I flew from Sydney Australia, to Los Angeles California, USA. The flight took 14 hours. I slept the whole way, but Katherine was not able to sleep at all so she watched Moana, Cars, and listened to her favourite podcast Attraction Checklist so that she can plan what attractions we were going to visit in Disneyland.

We arrived at 6 oclock in the morning on the same day we left because we flew over the international date line. Once we got to the hotel, which is opposite Disneyland park, Katherine went to visit Downtown Disney district, while I looked after the bags at the hotel. From our hotel room, we can see Space Mountain in Disneyland.

View from our hotel room of Space Mountain with the sun setting behind it.

Here is a video of what the Space Mountain attraction is like on the inside. It is a rollercoaster where all you can see are stars. Warning: this ride video has lots of flashing lights.

Day 2 September 24, 2023

Today, we went to Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) which is the Disney theme park opposite to the original Disneyland. Both parks are decorated to celebrate Halloween, and DCA’s entrance has a figure of Oogie Boogie from the movie Nightmare before Christmas.


First thing we did was go on a trip on the Red Car Trolley from the entrance to the park to the end of Hollywood Land. After the trip on the trolley car, we went to the Animation Hall and took a drawing class on how to draw Pluto.

After the class, Katherine and I went on the Monsters Inc ride. I got recognised by the CDA for the sock on my back!

We then went back to the Animation Hall and took another drawing class on how to draw Scar from the Lion King since the park is celebrating all the villains during Halloweentime. In the Animation Hall building is another room called the Sorcerer’s Workshop where you can learn more about how animations are lots of drawings moving very quickly in front of your eyes. They had spinning pictures showing Mickey Mouse, and if you spun it really fast, Mickey would start moving!

Walking out of Hollywood Land, Katherine and I encountered the Headless Horseman statue and when Katherine waved her Magicband near the statue, it started making noise!

Near the Headless Horseman, was the Mickey and Walt statue, so we had to have our picture taken there together.

We kept walking down the main path, and found a fun picture spot at the entrance of Cars Land that had a funny pun on Happy Haul-o-ween. It was late in the afternoon, so it was time to go back to the hotel, but on the way back, we encountered Goofy and had our picture taken with him!

Tomorrow, we are off to Disneyland!

Georgina Monster

Puppeteering from home- Puppet tech idea

Puppeteering from home- Puppet tech idea

A frog once said in a TEDx Talk, “If necessity is mother of invention, then creativity is the father”. Given the whole world has been isolated by the COVID 19 pandemic, puppeteers are trying to find ways to reach their audiences remotely. There is a lot of discussion in the puppetry community about how to adapt video conferencing and streaming technology to puppetry.

Over the last 5 years, I have been learning the art of television and film puppetry from 2 amazing gentlemen who I am honoured to call my mentors- Noel MacNeal and Peter Linz. One of the challenges I have faced practising my puppetry skills at home, is recording video of my puppets being puppets. I started out using my webcamera, but it could not record what the puppet was doing. If I use my phone or iPad as the camera, either the image on the screen looks like a mirror, or I can’t see the image on screen. In both of those situations,  I don’t know if the puppet looks right for the audience.

I have assembled my own monitor puppetry kit over the last 5 years with a Sony Handycam, a small flat screen tv which has evolved into a professional 7 inch field monitor as my puppetry monitor, tripod and cables. Even though this setup is in an old suitcase with wheels. it’s very difficult to move around, and I have to download and edit the footage afterwards. This means that the puppet cannot interact live with an audience, or another puppet that is not in the same room. I haven’t been able to acquire the equipment required to live stream from the Handycam to any of the streaming platforms like Facebook live or Zoom yet.

Monitor puppetry kit in it's case
Monitor Puppetry kit with tripod, screen, camera, cables, HDMI Splitter

However, on April 14, 2020, my puppetry mentor Peter Linz, shared this photo and a New York Times article on how Elmo’s Playdate was filmed on his Instagram account. I looked at the equipment he was using. It was his mobile phone, linked to his field monitor. The phone was recording the performance, yet he could see what his character Ernie was doing on the monitor. By looking at the cables coming out of the phone in the photo, I immediately worked out I could adapt the equipment I have at home! It was such a creative, innovative solution to the problem!

Peter Linz performing Ernie using a mobile phone
Peter Linz performing Ernie for Elmo’s Playdate. Photo Credit Aria Linz

So this is how I have been able to reverse engineer the setup. Please note that this setup is for iPhone (I have a standard iPhone 11).

You will need

  • Mobile phone
  • Tripod compatible phone cradle
  • Tall tripod
  • HDMI adaptor for your phone. I am using the Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter. For the Samsung Galaxy phone, they have their own USB-C to HDMI adapter
  • Monitor with HDMI input eg a Television or computer monitor with HDMI input. I am using the Eyoyo 7 inch field monitor
  • HDMI cable
  • Power board to provide power for the setup with an extension cord.

Here is a video demonstration of the setup

Miss H

World Puppetry Day 2020

World Puppetry Day 2020

Well, it is the early morning of World Puppetry Day 2020. The world is currently facing a serious pandemic, but it is important to find sparks of joy. One of my sparks of joy is that I have been blessed to meet a young drama teacher, who has become my puppetry apprentice. Over the last 2.5 years since I met him in 2017 at a Professional Development workshop I was leading, Pete Davidson’s puppetry career has sprouted wings, and he is now soaring. Today, he launched his very own puppetry podcast- Talking Sock and I am one of the first guests!

It is so wonderful to now be able to hear and share the voices of Australian Puppetry. I follow many puppetry podcasts, but this is the first Australian puppet podcast!

Here are the first three interviews

Going Beyond the Sock 2019 Day 10-12

Day 10, Monday 10 June 2019

Today was a really special day. A friend of mine who is a cast member of the Jim Henson Company’s show Puppet Up, invited me to join a tour he was running of the Jim Henson Company lot in LA. The main courtyard is very relaxing and beautiful. It has an air of an European village with outdoor tables, planter boxes of flowers, and close buildings. The studio was built by Charlie Chaplin in 1918, and there are references to Charlie Chaplin everywhere, including the statue of Kermit the Frog standing on the top of the gate dressed as Charlie Chaplin’s signature character- the Little Tramp.

We visited the reception area where I got to hold a real Emmy award, the Barn where the Creature Shop used to be housed, the Henson Screening room, and the Charlie Chaplin Soundstage where the tour group was given a demonstration of monitor puppetry. After the tour group left, I was given the opportunity to have a go at the monitor puppetry on the soundstage, using a REAL Henson made puppet! I am very grateful to my friend for allowing me to tag along on the tour and to have a go at the monitor puppetry!

  • With Lucy Green at the Company bench

Day 11, Tuesday 11 June 2019

Today’s adventure was taking the Warner Bros Studio Deluxe tour. Starting at 10am, the tour started in the Deluxe screening room which had very nice pastries and beverages for the guests. Arranged next to the wall were costumes from the main characters of the TV show Friends. After a brief video about the studio, and meeting our tour guide Thom, we boarded our own tram and started driving through the studio starting with the backlot jungle area. Highlight for me in this area was the now empty lagoon as it was the location where Kermit the Frog sang the Rainbow Connection at the beginning of the original Muppet Movie 40 years ago.

After moving from the jungle area, the tour moved to the Midwest Street and again, it was a place that had special significance for me as a puppet maker and fan of the Muppets. It was the shooting location for the song Life’s a Happy Song from the movie The Muppets (2011).

  • Lagoon where Rainbow Connection was filmed in the original Muppet Movie.

One of my favourite Warner Bros TV shows was the West Wing and it was filmed at the LA Warner Bros Studio! I got to see Stage 29 where the main set was located, but during the tour of the property warehouse, I got to sit at the President’s desk from the show, as well as find various pieces of set decorating and props from the show!

  • Sitting at the President's desk from West Wing

I highly recommend the Warner Bros Deluxe tour- you get to see much more than the regular tour, as well as touch things, go inside more buildings, and there is the delicious lunch in the Warner Bros Commissary Fine Dining Room. I do recommend bringing small snacks for the morning and afternoon break as there is no opportunity to purchase snacks while on the tour.

Day 12- Wednesday 12 June 2019

Today was my travel day home to Australia. Fortunately, the wifi in the hotel meant I could wait in the Lobby until the taxi picked me up in the late afternoon to take me to the airport. After treating myself to new noise cancelling headphones, I enjoyed a light meal in the One World Alliance Lounge. Once I boarded my QANTAS Business Class flight, I fell asleep virtually immediately, and slept for about 6 hours straight.

It has been a magical holiday- I am so grateful to my puppet friends in the USA for the kindness and generosity they shared with me that made it magical.

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