Tuesday, November 30, 2010

That's SO not funny

I'm feeling a little bit insecure about my sense of humor lately. So could you please tell me if you think I'm

A) Very funny

B) Really blah, and so NOT funny

Do I make you laugh?  Do I take things too seriously?   Do I have a stick up my butt?  Do you have that saying in Australia, or is it an American thing?  Or maybe it's an Australian thing that we Americans stole.  If we did steal it, I apologize...on behalf of my whole nation.  

Anyway.  Answer my question.  Please. I know. Comments are turned off.  No need to email me about this, or post anything on Facebook. Just close your eyes, think of your answer, and I'll try to pick it up with my minimal psychic abilities.   

After you're done sending me a psychic message,  you can watch this mockumentary clip about the Sydney Olympics. I though it was funny.  I just sent a psychic message to the makers of the show, telling them I thought their work was well done. I hope they got the message.

In other news, another blogger had a dream about me. I get happy and excited about stuff like that. I have so many adventures in my own dreams.  It's cool to think I'm also having adventures in other people's dreams.    

Gemstone Jackpot

When we were in Sydney, I bought a few gemstones.   I sort of collect gemstones. It started for spiritual reasons, because I read that some people believe gemstones have spiritual qualities.   I felt I needed some spiritual help.  So there you go.  

I kind of lost interest in my collection, but when we were at The Argyle Oracle, in The Rocks, my interest returned a bit.   

Hey!  I bought rocks in The Rocks!  How cute.

I haven't really noticed the stones helping me in a spiritual sense.  Maybe they do, and I just don't notice.  Who knows.

BUT we have found a use for the gemstones besides just sitting there looking shiny and pretty.  Jack and I invented a game together. I thought I'd share it. Maybe you guys can try it, and tell me if you end up liking it or not.  

If you collect gemstones like us, you can use those.  Otherwise, you can use any moderate sized pile of small things.   Do you collect erasers?   Buttons?  Little figurines?  shells?  toenail clippings?  Theatre/concert tickets would work.  Foreign coins. Candy! But I think wrapped candies/lollies would work better than unwrapped.

I think it's more fun if there's variety in the pile. It makes the game more interesting.    

Jack and I usually just play with the two of us, but we've played with more people, and that's fun too.  It's actually probably more fun with more people.  There might be a point where you have too many people, but I'm not sure what that is.  Experiment and get back to me.   Okay?

So, you have the pile of stuff. Then you need a die.

You put the pile of stuff in the middle, and you take turns rolling the die.

If you roll a 1, you take one gemstone (or whatever).

If you roll a 2, you get to steal two gemstones from one other player.  This is where it's fun to have a variety of something. Jack loves to steal what he thinks are my favorite gemstones.   

If you roll a 3, you take three gemstones from the middle pile.

If you roll a 4, you have to put four of your gemstones in the middle pile.  

If you roll a 5, you take five gemstones from the middle pile. 

If you roll a 6, you get to steal another player's WHOLE pile of gemstones.    

The game ends when there are no more gemstones in the middle pile.   Then the person with the most gemstones wins.  It's one of those games in which you think it's about to end, and then it starts up again. You might be winning, and then the next thing you know, you're losing again.   I like those types of games.

So,  let's say I have 15 gemstones, and Jack has 25.  There are 2 gemstones in the middle.   ack rolls a 6.   He gets all my gemstones.  I have none.   I roll a 3, but I can't do anything because there are not enough gemstones in the middle pile.  Jack has his turn and rolls a 1.   He takes one gemstone.    I roll, and get a 6.   Now all the gemstones are mine!   I'm almost the winner.   I just need someone to roll a 1, so there are no more gemstones in the middle.   But then Jack rolls a 4, and the middle pile begins to grow again.

It's fun.   At least I think so.

Nick Cave and Harry Potter

I went to see what Lord Wiki had to say about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.   He told me that the song played, in a certain scene, was a Nick Cave song; "O' Children".  I didn't recognize Cave's voice.  I'm a bit ashamed about that.

In the scene, Hermione and Ron dance together.  It's not in the book.   The movie people added it.   It's a very nice addition.  Still...if they had time for that, why couldn't they included the Dursley stuff?  I felt a bit robbed that they left it out.

But I'm not too robbed, because someone made this very creative clever video.  The voices aren't the best, but the acting itself isn't so bad. 


Here's some synchronicity.   

I went to read an Australian blog today, and the blogger had posted photos of the new pet rabbits they have acquired. VERY cute.

Then I was looking on Facebook, and an Australian had posted a photo of rabbits. It was kind of random.

Is that kind of a coincidence?

To some Australians, rabbits are considered to be a pest. I can't really blame them, since rabbits have wreaked a bit of havoc on the ecology of the area.

Other Australians forgive the rabbits....well, because it's not like the furry creatures really MEANT any harm.  If anyone's to blame, it's the humans.  But if you pass a virus around to humans you get a Stephen King novel. Or you get the true-life American/Guatemala story.  

Anyway, I LIKE rabbits. They're probably my favorite mammal...besides humans. They're cute, and they have personal spiritual meaning for me.

Speaking of animals having meaning for people....I had another dream about big animals.

We have a domesticated bear with us.  He's sleeping and looks adorable. I start thinking, though, that this bear could, at some point, get angry, stand up, growl, and look very scary.    

Each morning, in which I write down my dreams, I go back and read dreams from a year ago and a month ago. I read my dream from 30 October and it said....

I see a thing about the zoo, and them getting their Grizzly Bear. They had some kind of show/stunt involving other smaller bears taking the Grizzly bear to his enclosure. I'm at the zoo as I see this, and think about how the Grizzly bear could escape. Then Jack is there and we get some bowl of chocolates. Maybe they were free? Then there's ice-cream at the bottom....very delicious white ice-cream. But we have no spoons. I try to find some. There's a table with a bunch. I assume they're for everyone, but the women at table make me question that. They're weird towards me, and I start thinking maybe they're their spoons. I call them unhelpful and walk away. I hear them bitching about what I said...being snide about it. I come back and say I said the wrong thing. They're not unhelpful. They're unfriendly.

I had another animal dream last night.  

I'm on the toilet.  I see shells in the bathtub.  They start walking.  I realize they're shells that still have their animals inside. One of the animals is carrying a young infant human.  I take the baby and wrap it in a blanket or towel. Then I bring it out to someone.

What the hell could that mean?

In other news, we saw Harry Potter last night. It wasn't as disappointing as Universal Studios, but I didn't absolutely love it. I was unhappy that they left out certain parts.  That surprised me. It worries me that they'll leave out important parts in the July movie as well.

All in all though.....I think they did a good job with the movie.  Great acting. Great special effects.  Beautiful scenery.  just think that since they're stretching one novel into two movies, they DID have enough time to not exclude certain scenes.    

Tonight, we're going to see Megamind.   We were going to see it on my birthday, but Jack had stomach issues, and we decided to postpone it.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Victorian News

I've been busy with Thanksgiving, and haven't paid much attention to Australian politics.  I did briefly see a headline about a hung Victorian Parliament....or something like that.  I didn't even read the article. Now I'm done with Thanksgiving and ready to get back to Australia stuff.

Someone emailed me this morning about my blog, and they mentioned that Victoria now has a Liberal leader instead of a Labor one.  Brumby is out, and Baillieu is in. Brumby is easier to spell.  I'll tell you that.

I didn't know the new Liberal Premier was Baillieu until I looked at my Statcounter. My most popular post these days is Kate Baillieu. I went googling to see what was up with that, and then I got the Ted Baillieu news.  

He's related to Baillieu in some way. By blood? Marriage? I can't remember. I'll have to go and read my old post to see.   Maybe they're siblings?

I kind of remember Kate B. not being in support of Ted B.  

I'll also check that when reading my post.

Hold on.....

Wait.  I just realized I accidentally lied.  I hate when I do that. I went to close my Facebook page, and saw they had the article I just linked to above.

I think what really happened is I saw the Kate Baillieu post dominating my Statcounter.   I was vaguely curious to find out why but too lazy to actually look it up.  Then I moved over to Facebook. I saw the Ted Baillieu news there and then made the connection, in my head, regarding Kate Baillieu.


Now I'm reading my old post.  Kate and Ted are siblings. And I was right. She doesn't publicly endorse her brother.

I can really relate to having different politics than family members. We're a mix, but I'd have to guess that the Republicans dominate the rest of us. There's more of them, AND some of them are extremely vocal about their views. 

Our core family group has eight adults. With that group, my side wins out by numbers.  Four of us are on the left.  Plus, Jack is fairly politically aware for his age, so he's on the left as well. I guess you could say there's five of us. 

My dad is pretty much in the middle. He tends to support the right AND the left. He's not a dogmatic supporter of either side.

My mom, sister, and and my sister's husband are on the right. My mom and brother-in-law are VERY much on the right.

Then this weekend, we had my cousin and her husband, plus family friends. They're all on the right as well. My cousin's husband is VERY vocal about his views. 

I love all my family members. I try to respect them despite their hard-to-love views, as they try to respect me.  But if they ran for office, I would not endorse them. And I wouldn't vote for them.   I think it's ridiculous to vote for someone simply because you're related to them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Changed My Mind

Sometimes we think something is utterly fantastic, and then later we realize maybe we don't think it's so great.

No, I'm not talking about my feelings for Australia.

I'm talking about the last season, and finale of Lost

When the finale was on in May, I was in love and obsessed. I didn't mind the lose ends. I loved the reunions. I loved the forgiveness.  I loved the love.

I loved the montage that included Charlie playing guitar while Claire cut his hair.   

To celebrate what I thought was brilliance, I went on Lostpedia everyday and read an episode from the past.  As I did this, I slowly became a bit disillusioned.  I realized there were more lose ends then I imagined.  The finale had some great tear-jerker moments, but it was all kind of cheap in a way.

Now I'm thinking the finale was great for the most part, but they should have changed the ending.  I don't think it should have been a corny we're-all-dead-thing.  I think it should have been what Tim and I had thought it was going to be.  The Losties change the past, and their alternate selves land safely at LAX.  In the finale, they all start remembering each other.  I think it would be best, though, if the finale showed that the Losties are eventually going to start forgetting the island life; it would start feeling like a distant dream.  They'd have to develop new lives and new memories with each other.   

I think a time-traveling emphasis would have been much better for the finale.  First of all, it would fit much better with season 5 because that was all about time travel. Why did they drop it?  A part of me thinks they did it just so their show could shock people with a twist.   They led us into believing it was a time travel thing, and then they pulled out the death card.  Fun. Surprising.But was it the best choice?

I don't think so.   

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Do Americans Brag A Lot?

Australians have their Tall Poppy thing going on. Well, they cut down tall poppies; these being people who are excessively vocal with their self-admiration.  

TRUE Australians supposedly never speak highly of themselves. Those who do speak well of themselves are either fake Australians, or I suppose they're defective? Then it's up to the other Australians to chop them down a bit.

Personally, I have not seen a difference between Australians and Americans in this regard. The Australians I encounter seem as pleased with themselves as the Americans I know. Maybe I'm meeting Australians who have not been properly cut down?

For argument's sake, let's say that Australians and Americans are equal in their show of self-love.    Could the difference be in how these statements are perceived?

Let's say an Australian posts on their blog about the fact that they've gotten a new job. They talk about doing well on the interview and how their new supervisor seems really pleased with them. I would read that and think Cool! Good for them.  I wish I was that good with interviews (cause I'm not).

Maybe the Australians would roll their eyes and think the blogger was bragging about themselves.   Maybe they'd see them as a tall poppy?

Is that how we differ?

I can't speak for ALL Americans, because we're all different. I would venture to guess the same goes for Australians, although some would like to imagine there are true Aussies, just like some Americans want to imagine there are true Americans. What are the rest of us then?

Never mind.

Anyway, I'm just going to speak for myself, and how I feel about people loving on themselves.

I'm fine with it. I do it myself.

It's just that there are limits.

To me, I think it's great if someone shares good news about themselves.  I made an awesome banana cream pie!   I love my ass in my new pants!  I walked five miles this morning!  I did well on my test!
Here's some photos I just took. I'm very happy with them and want to share.

If someone begins to say this stuff too much; then it gets old. Then I'm wanting the tall poppy to be cut down. How about those people who post boasting statements multiple times a day on Facebook?  That can get REALLY annoying.

I also think boasting needs to be balanced with self-criticism and a self-deprecating sense of humor.   If you're going to tell me you love your breasts, then tell me you think your nose is too big.   Otherwise, you'll annoy me. I mean it doesn't need to be in the same sentence. I'm just talking about a general balance of things.

The other thing I've heard is that Australians stir each other up a bit. They tease each other.   Americans don't.

I must know the wrong Americans. Now we don't CONSTANTLY tease everyone we know.  Do Australians?  I'm doubting it. But maybe I'm wrong. The ones I know don't constantly do this? Are they pandering to the humorless American?  I doubt it.  

But yeah.  Americans (like Australians) often show love for each other by insulting each other.  It's fun, and if people don't go too far, it's usually received with a laugh and a sharp witty response.  

Anyway, I'd ramble more on this subject, but I need to go help Tim chop up some cucumbers.

Go, Penny Wong!

I'm happy to see Penny Wong in the news defending gay marriage. Maybe she can fix some things in the Labor Party.  I'll admit I've lost my love for them lately.  My heart used to swell a bit when I received emails from the party.  Now I see them and kind of just make a face.

The article says that Wong has previously been fairly silent about the issue. But now she's made a speech.  I wonder if the speech is available.  I shall go check.

Here's her Parliamentary website. Wong is Minister for Finance and Deregulation now. Did I know that?  I'm not sure.

The most recent speech they have is from 9 November, and I don't think it's about gayness.   

The article says that although Wong did not speak publicly about her feelings, she did try to make changes WITHIN the party.  At least, I think that's what the article is saying.  Hopefully, I'm not misinterpreting things.

I guess what she's talking about is the stuff that people like me are thinking. What's the deal? Penny Wong is gay.  How can she sit there and let her party be such hypocritical wimps! But I get it. Just because she wasn't speaking out about it to our ears (and eyes), she may have been trying to make changes in her own quiet way.

But now she IS speaking out.  I do think that's kind of important, personally.  But no worries if it took her a little time.

Yesterday I had to deal with homophobia at the lake house.  I didn't hear the beginning of the conversation, but my dad was talking about how there is more variety in the people we see on television. There are more gay and lesbian folks. There're more interracial relationships.   I don't think my dad has any problems with this.  I think he was just pointing out that times are a changing.

One of the Republicans started talking about how it was all part of the Liberal Agenda. I'm a VERY sweet person, but sometimes my fangs and claws come out. So I said something like Well, you know why I married Tim and Melissa married Fred (Spanish-Peruvian dude). It's not that we loved these guys.  It was part of our Liberal agenda. We wanted to bring nonwhite people into the family.

The Republican guy got all defensive, and told me he had no problem with people of different races.   He said he was talking about the gay and lesbianism issue. Yes, because some kinds of bigotry are okay.


I love this guy.  He's family.  But I did have an urge to strangle him.

At times like this, I'm SO tempted to blurt out that I'm bisexual. Probably just to make a point.

I've been thinking maybe I could be bisexual, though  Could I?  I mean what are the true qualifications?  I TOTALLY love breasts.   The vulva kind of grosses me out. But then I'm not a big fan of the penis either. It's looks like an ugly fat earth worm.

I'm not interested in getting together with a woman.   But still.....

Could I say I'm a non-practicing bisexual?  Non-practicing unless Anna Paquin wants to give me a chance.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Shall Bombard You With More Photos

We've opened the food!

My family especially likes the licorice bullets.   I don't think we have chocolate mixed with licorice in America.

And yeah.   I've been told by two Australians that Black and Gold is a crap company. I have cheap taste...maybe the same can be said for all my family.

Here's my dad eating the licorice bullets.    

Here's my mom eating an Aussie biscuit.  

Oh!!   I have other huge news about my family.  Not only have I given them exposure to Australian food....I also introduced them to Modern Family.   Most of them totally LOVE it.  It's one of my favorite American things right now.   It's kind of cool that we all love the show.  I can't think of the last time my whole family has watched and liked the same show.  


Tim went home to feed the cats (upon my request), and I asked him to bring the Australian food. I decided I DID want to share.

We haven't opened the stuff yet. But I took some photos.

Here is one of my favorite people in the world; Greg Morris. I've known him since I was about 16.   Back then I was so shy. He and I were involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation together. When my sister was in the hospital, he'd drive about 1.5 hours back and forth almost every night (for several weeks) to be with us.

Greg lived as a Kiwi for a few years. Then when we visited Australia, he met us in Sydney. That was fun.

This is my brother-in-law Judd. He has a disturbing amount of affection for George W. Bush, but I still love him.  He's like a brother to me.  One of the nicest things my sister ever did for me was marry him....although she didn't really do that for me.  He reads my blog more than anyone in the family, and I'm very appreciative of that.

The crazy guy in that photo is Tim, my beloved husband. Karen is his mistress....OUR mistress.   Yeah.  Okay. I admit it. We're into that stuff.

No, I'm joking. She's Greg's woman. But here's a story.  When we lived in NYC, Greg came to visit with his new girlfriend. When they were in our apartment, Karen recognized and remembered Tim.  They went to the University of Florida together.  They were geeks in band together!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake


My parents totally sought and found their redemption.

They didn't just get me a cake. They got me an Australian cake!!!!!!  No one has given me an Australian cake before.

And it actually tasted good to me. Maybe I'm less tired of cake than I imagined. OR maybe I liked the cake because it had Australia on it.

Tim and I split it, though....so I wouldn't be over-caked. We're really into sharing food lately.

I didn't bring the Aussie food to share. Instead, we're sharing our Modern Family DVD.  My family is all watching it for the first time.   


I'm happy and grateful.


Guess what.

We're celebrating Thanksgiving on Australia time....even though Australians don't celebrate Thanksgiving.  But for some reason we're doing it a day earlier. Oh!  Wait. I remember the reason.   My brother-in-law has to work all weekend.  So this was the one day we're all together.

I wonder if there are any American expats celebrating today. Probably. If any happen to be reading this, Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy early Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating on the normal Thanksgiving day. We'll actually be celebrating again.  We have LOTS of leftovers.  

Just Say Something Because It's Not That Hard

Some people wonder why I disabled comments on my blog.

I think they missed my little online outburst.

Here be the story:   

I didn't disable because of what anyone said.  I disabled the comments because of what was NOT said.  I was sick of writing stuff that I think deserved a response and not hearing anything. 

What did I want to hear?   

Simple things like I hope you feel better.  I'm sorry you're sad.  Have a nice vacation.  Happy Thanksgiving.  Glad you had a fun time on your trip. 

The extreme lack of statements like this greatly annoyed me, so I decided if I disabled comments, I could simply IMAGINE people were saying them.

Why is it hard for people to say simple nice things?  I don't get it.

Sometimes I think, well maybe I'm not important enough to warrant such comments. What if it's just that there's more serious and important things in the world?   My problems are trivial.   My vacations aren't interesting enough to people. Whatever. Maybe if I had something HUGE to report, people would speak up.

Today, someone on Facebook reminded me so much of myself and my attitude towards things.  Her family is going through a major traumatic ordeal right now.  She wrote a post telling people that she reads and appreciate all the comments she receives. And she GETS a lot of them, fortunately.   From what I can see most people have been extremely supportive. But she also pointed out that she also notices that certain people don't say anything. They make no acknowledgment of what her family is going through.

It makes me so angry and sad that people are like this.  It's bad enough to ignore me with my somewhat trivial and vain issues but to ignore a family going through a gigantic health crisis? That is SO wrong.   

Someone defended these people saying that they likely DO care. They just don't know what to say.

I think that's a crap excuse.  It's really NOT that hard.  All they have to do is say something simple like I'm praying for you.   Not religious?  How about I'm thinking of you guys.  They could also say Sorry you're going through this difficult time.

Really.  The simpler the better. The more someone rambles on, the more likely that they'll end up saying something that's almost as worse as the silence.

Anyway, if anyone wants to do me a big favor today, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Please....reach out to someone.  RESPOND.  If you're on Facebook, and someone says My grandma died, tell them you're sorry for their loss. If someone posts that they just barfed all over the kitchen, tell them you hope they feel better. If someone says they got an A on a difficult test, say something like, Awesome!   Good job.   

If you're not on Facebook, you can do all this elsewhere.  Comment on someone's blog. Say something supportive to someone in person.  Respond to an email.


If you already do stuff like that, and I'm singing to the choir.....GOOD!  Glad to have people like you in this world.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That's a Relief

Peter Kocan kept popping up on my Statcounter this evening.  I worried something had happened to him.  It's not like I worry every time a celebrity frequents my Statcounter.  But Kocan has had a kind of rough life.  You know what I mean?  I pictured something tragic, and that made me sad. I like Kocan.

But no bad news.  There's good news.   He's winning some kind of $50k writer's prize.   

It gives me hope to see good things happen to someone who's had a very rough life. And I like seeing redemption happening to those who made big mistakes.  

The Day After

My birthday yesterday was mediocre.  It might have been awful if it weren't for all the birthday greetings I received from family, friends, Facebook people, etc.  The love poured out generously, and that was nice.  Okay, but even with all that love...I wasn't too happy.  Sorry.

Today though has been fantastic. I think mainly it's because I received the Powell's gift certificates...finally.   I'm not a huge believer in retail therapy.  But yeah.  Sometimes it DOES help.    There's not just the thrill of getting something. It's fun to search for things.   I went on Wikipedia, and looked up Australian authors. There's still a lot of people out there that are new to me.   It makes me think I'll need to be working on this blog forever (literally) before I know enough. I need to get myself bitten by a vampire.

 My parents and Tim were both very generous, so I got a TON of books. To be specific, I got 28 books for 154 dollars.  And I still have money leftover.  I could have gone overboard, and used all of it.  But I figured I should save some, and if there are authors I end up liking, then I can order more of their stuff.   

Anyway, that's an average of $5.50 per book. That's pretty good.

Almost all of the books are Australian. I no longer limit myself to reading Aussie books only. But I can easily get American (and other) books at the library.

I did get one book by Justin Cronin. He's American.  And I got an unschooling book. I'm pretty sure it was written by an American, but it was an Australian that told me about it.   

The only rain on my parade is I am running out of bookshelf space. I really need to get rid of some of these books.  I guess I need to send some packages out....to American residents only.  Sorry.  I'm not paying shipping costs to Australia.

I really need to find another American who's obsessed with Australia. OR maybe I'll find a homesick Aussie expat who wants to reunite with his homeland via literature. At a later date, I'll list which books I'm willing to say good-bye to.

Oh.  The other good thing about today. I know Tim wanted to make me happy.  And he does that a lot by offering food.  I wasn't in a huge mood for anything yesterday. But TODAY I suddenly wanted a milk shake. So I kindly asked him to fetch one for me.

AND Jack made some gift coupons. Actually, he has a whole economic system going on.  He has a list of services, and then he gave me some toy money. I'm pretty much using all my cash on back scratches.  I might also buy a walk together to the library or grocery store.   

I feel a little weird/guilty for having a good day today.  My friend's two children are having surgery.   They're battling that monster named Leukemia.  I think I'd rather face Voldemort. Well, maybe not...now that I think of it.

So here I am happy, and my friend is waiting nervous in the hospital. But I'm wishing, hoping, praying that today ends up being a wonderful thing for them.   I hope they can look back at it as the day their son's life was saved. 

Vanity and Ugliness

Today I've been watching clips on the Australian Screen website from a show called Fashionista. I just watched a clip about a hairstylist: Nicolas Jurnjack.  Towards the end of the clip, he talks about the importance of lighting in modeling and photography. You can have a beautiful model with perfect hair, and great clothes.  But if you don't have the right lights, she won't look so hot.

That makes me feel better about my own looks. Jack took a video of me yesterday, and I looked REALLY ugly.  No, you can't see it. I deleted it. Anyway, that was ONE of the reasons I was depressed yesterday. There were other reasons too, of course.  If it was just the video, I'd be extremely vain.  

Now I'm thinking maybe it was just bad lighting, or whatever. And maybe he was too close-up.   I guess I'm getting to that age where I'm going to prefer the camera not get so close.  I hate that.  I wanted to be one of those who grow old gracefully. I didn't want to be all vain and worried about aging.

And it's really stupid to worry about how you look. Tomorrow, I could get in a scary accident, and be terribly disfigured.  But maybe I'd be lucky and still be kind of cute....like Joseph Merrick.

I just checked something, and realized something else that makes me feel better.  I wanted to see if I DO look hideous close-up.  So I used Photo Booth on my computer.   I am always highly disappointed in how I look in those photos. I think I look good, then I snap the photo, and I get something awful. But now I see that it's the flash that does me in.  When I just look at myself on the screen, I look okay. But when the flash goes off, and the picture is taken...YUCK.

In other news. GOOD news....Tim's gift certificate for me finally showed up. I was going to wait and buy books at a later date.  But I changed my mind.   

I'm reading a great book right now.  It's not Australian, but that's okay.   It's The Passage by Justin Cronin. So far, it reminds me of The Stand. And it also has a zombie-like element to it....similar to I am Legend.   There are vampires in the story, but they're not like Edward, Bill, Eric, or Lestat.    

My Beloved Bookstore

Dear Powell's Books,

Have I told you lately how much I love you?

I had the pleasure of meeting you in person back in 2008.  My husband thought that moving to Portland might be an alternative to moving to Australia.  I like Portland....probably better than Texas.  But it's no Australia....at least not for me.

One of the things my husband used to woo me was Powell's. And let me say, he had me there.   I found that with Powells, I could almost have Australia IN America. You guys have a great collection of Australian books.  I happily went on a little shopping spree.

We didn't move to Portland, but I kept up my relationship with Powells by ordering books online. I especially love when you have free shipping deals. 

I love searching through your collection of books. I love ordering the books. I love receiving a Powell's box in the mail. I love the thrill of opening it, taking the books out, and putting them on my bookshelf.

You guys truly bring me a LOT of joy.  So, thank you. 

But now I must say you've caused me some disappointment.  Yesterday was my birthday.  Both my husband AND my parents sent me Powell's gift certificates. Yesterday, I only knew about my husband's gift.  He knows I'm not big on surprises, so he asks me exactly what I want, and then gets it for me.  Yesterday, he awaited my expressions of excitement and gratitude. He became a bit agitated when they didn't appear. He asked me to check my spam folder.  I thought that was a good idea, so I checked. Nothing there. We waited and waited.

By evening, my husband decided he needed to take action. He called Powell's, and told them what happened.  They indicated that they had fixed the problem, and my certificate would appear shortly in my email.  I waited.  I checked. I played Disney art online games with my child.  I waited. I checked. I played more Disney art online games with my child.

Nothing appeared.

My husband called again. He was told by an operator that you guys were closed, so we couldn't work on fixing the problem.  Uh, not that there's anything wrong with closing!  Of course. I know you guys need your sleep, family time, etc.   

This morning my parents emailed me, and asked whether I had gotten an email gift certificate from them.  I HOPE they suspected that I did not, and didn't imagine I'd act so rudely ungrateful.   

Anyway, I don't mind getting a late gift certificate. Truly.  I have enough to read on my shelf for now, and I'm trying to use the library more.

What I worry is that if you don't get your act together, people will shy away from ever getting me Powell's certificates again.  That will make me sad, because Powell's is my favorite store. 



Monday, November 22, 2010

Maybe They Were Bull Ants

When we were Canberra, we went to the Tidbinbilla nature reserve. The three of us took a walk where there were a LOT of ants. Jack wasn't very happy about that. I assumed they were bull ants.  They were big.  But later we went to Wildlife World, and saw our old favorite imprisoned bull ants.   They made the ants on the path look kind of small. So, then I thought maybe we hadn't been dealing with bull ants in Tidbinbilla.

Now, though.....

I was reading about a park on the Parks Victoria website;  Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve. They say in the description, There are 12 species of bull ants found in the reserve, two of which occur nowhere else in Victoria. 

There are different types of bull ants.  I don't think I knew that. So maybe we just saw a different species than the ones at Wildlife World.   

Jack just made me an awesome birthday card.  Then he came in the room, turned off the lights, shined a flashlight on a drawing of a cake, and sang happy birthday.  I love things like that.  

Anyway, when we go to Australia...we should probably go to nature parks that DON'T advertise themselves as having lots of bull ants.  Jack's not a big fan of stinging and/or biting bugs.

P.S-  My friend's son is getting a bone marrow transplant tomorrow.  His 4-year-old sister is the donor.   Please keep them in your thoughts and/or prayers.

Maybe We've Found Another Source

My brother-in-law emailed me a British store he found. It's in Texas, about 40 minutes from us.    They also sell Australian stuff. They say they have stuff at their store that they don't have on their online store. That's good, because I don't see any treacle toffee. I think that's probably our favorite British thing.

Oh!  And we had these AWESOME caramel things in Disney World. They sold them at Epcot for a ridiculous price, but Tim picked them up at the grocery store for us.

My birthday has been a mixture of good and bad. I got a TON of birthday wishes on Facebook. I don't think I've EVER gotten that much attention on my birthday. I guess there are benefits to Facebook.   It made me feel loved. Well...at least it made me feel noticed. I guess there is a difference.     

I had some moments of depression...like almost suicidal depression. But it went away in a few minutes. Maybe there was a Dementor on our street. 

Okay, honestly. Tthe depression lasted for longer than a few minutes. But the suicidal part lasted for only about 40 seconds. I'm okay. I did the whole trick of thinking of a happy thought. For today, my happy thought was my dreams.I have awesome dreams.  Of course, I have a trillion other happy things. It's just when you have a Dementor on your back, the happy thoughts easily become tainted.  The dream thing was the one thing I could think of in a fully positive way.   

Back to the food thing. We ate some of the lemon biscuits today. They're pretty awesome.   

I think we'll go to the British/Australian store in December or January.   We already have a lot of Australian food. Jack still has his Halloween candy. We have a huge bag of candy corn that Tim bought on sale.  We have a few British candy bars left.  And I just ordered some health-conscious chocolate stuff from my friend.   

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feeling Appreciative

My sister sent me one of those e-cards for my birthday. And guess what. It was for Australia Day!! That meant a lot to me.

Rumor has it that the family has changed their mind about celebrating my birthday at the lake house.   How do I know?  A little bird told me. 

From compelling evidence I have gathered (thanks mostly to Statcounter) this came about after certain people happened to come to my blog.  I think it was meant to be, though, because these people only come to my blog about once a month or so. Then they happen to come after I posted the angry-birthday post. It's probably fate.  

I guess I'm supposed to pretend to be surprised about the birthday. Unless they come to my blog and see THIS post.  Then do we have to keep pretending?


I'm happy because my sister gave me an Australia related birthday greeting.   I like that.

I'm also thankful that a certain person let me know (in an indirect sly way) that they read my blog, and knew I was upset. BECAUSE they could have tried to pretend that they hadn't read the blog and had planned a surprise celebration all along. Then I would have felt stupid for feeling hurt. Although I wouldn't truly feel stupid for it, because I have Statcounter, and know the truth.  But they might have chosen me feeling stupid over them sort of....indirectly....and kind of slyly....admitting their mistake.  

They didn't do that, and that makes me feel better about things.

If I have confused anyone with this post....sorry.

If you read this and are not confused.....I'm VERY impressed.     

For Australians who worry that Americans are always like this with birthdays. Don't worry. They're not. I'm unique.  

A Nice Story

I just watched a clip on the Australian Screen website from the movie The Dunera Boys.  It's about a thing that happened in 1940's Australia.   It turns out convicts weren't the only people deported from the United Kingdom. During World War II, the British gathered up people living in England who had German and/or Austrian origins. They saw them as suspect spies.   But they weren't spies. They were just people who had the "wrong" heritage.  Many of them were Jews. Would Jews really be spying for the Nazis?   Come on!

The people went on a ship called Dunera, and headed towards Australia.  Lord Wiki says the conditions of the voyage were horrible.   Men had to share one bar of soap between twenty of them, and a towel between ten of them.  The toilets didn't work well. Because of all this, illness spread.   That's bad enough.  But on top of all that, some of the ship guard people were abusive.

Lord Wiki says that things improved when they got to Australia. That's good.

This Australian Holocaust website has a quote from one of the Dunera guys. He says:

We who arrived in Sydney on HMT Dunera on September 6th 1940 have indeed been lucky. Had we traveled in peacetime on a scheduled P&O liner, our shipboard friends, who became our extended family, would have been but acquaintances; we would have been more shallow and narrow-minded. The experience was a great leveler - we were all equal in misfortune.

I think it's nice that he looks on the bright side of things. And I think what he says is true.  Calamity can bring people together.

It's like Lost.  If the plane landed safety in Los Angeles, none of those characters would have gotten to know each other; well unless destiny pushed them together in another way.

This migration website also has information about Dunera. It says the Dunera people were interned in Hay and Orange New South Wales. I've heard of Orange, but not Hay. I'll have to go look it up on Google Maps....

Hay is in west New South Wales.  It's closer to Melbourne than to Sydney.

The migration website says there were 2036 German and Austrian Jewish refugees in the camp. I think what's seen as special about the story is that the prisoners managed to thrive in some ways.   The website says, While awaiting release, the Dunera Boys developed a rich cultural and intellectual programme at their camp, giving concerts and establishing an unofficial university.

That's pretty inspiring.  And the happy thing is, many of the Jews fell in love with Australia. Nine hundred of them ended up staying and becoming citizens. The other good thing is Winston Churchill later admitted it was a mistake, and the Dunera people were paid some compensation. 

There's a street in Hay named Dunera Way. I can't say it's one of the prettiest streets I've seen in Australia.

Anyway, I like this story. It shows that although humans are kind of stupid and evil, sometimes people manage to turn lemons into lemonade.  I like stories of survival, forgiveness, surprisingly happy endings, etc.  

The Real Alice

I just watched this clip on the Australian Screen website.  It's from a TV show called Double Trouble.  Nick from McLeod's Daughters is in it.  I didn't actually recognize his face, but I did recognize his name.

Anyway, the show takes place in Alice Springs.  It is totally not how I expected Alice Springs to look.  Now I know Alice Springs isn't some barren outback.  I know there are shops, restaurants, tourist attractions. There's even a K-Mart there.  But I expected it to look like the outback sprinkled with retail opportunities.  I had a certain image in my mind, and Double Trouble provided a different image.  Of course, it's a TV show.  It might not be completely accurate.  But I'm betting it's more accurate than what was in my imagination.  

Jack came in the office, so I had him watch the clip. He was surprised that Alice Springs looked that way too. I asked him how he expected it to look, and he said, the outback.  

I'm going to look at Google Maps, and see what the REAL Alice Springs looks like.  Maybe parts of it do look like what I imagined.

Oh!  How funny.  The first place I landed in was K-Mart!  It looks like a typical city...in some ways.   But it does have a slight desert feel. There's lots of orange-red dirt/sand, and the sky looks like a desert sky.  It's very blue; hardly any clouds. Although I'm not an expert on deserts. I have no idea if deserts usually have cloudless skies. Maybe though. Clouds often mean rain, and deserts don't get a lot of rain.  Right?

This Street View here reminds me of someplace else.   I don't know. Maybe Los Angeles?  

Here's the Stuart Highway near Alice Springs. It looks like a sort-of desert and not a full on desert.   Maybe it's a semi-desert? Is that a real word?

I'm going to go and ask Lord Wiki for some information.....

He says the population of Alice Springs is about 27 thousand.  We have much more people in Fort Worth....727 thousand.  Although Alice Springs might get more tourists than we do.

Alice Springs DOES have a desert climate. But Lord Wiki says it's not as extreme (climately speaking) as Arizona and the Middle East. What about African deserts?  Are they not extreme?

Alice Springs could almost classify as a semi-arid climate. They get enough rainfall for that. BUT they have something called evapotranspiration.  I think that pretty much means that liquid evaporates quickly there.  

There are two thousand Americans living in Alice Springs.  I kind of wouldn't mind joining them. I find the idea of it intriguing.  Well, I'd at least like to visit someday.

There's a lot of lesbians in Alice. I've heard that before.

And 23% of the people are Aboriginal.

Then there's other people as well.

I wonder if any of the lesbians, Americans, Aboriginals, etc.  have twins they don't know about yet.    Yeah.  I wonder how often that has happened in real life. It's a good plot for TV shows and movies, though. 

Love Grows

For a few days, I went on that site with information about eastern Victorian places.  Now I've been looking at the Parks Victoria website.  Each time I read about a place, I look at it on Google Maps, and then do Street View. You can't usually do Street View for parks, so I just look at a nearby street.

Anyway, a lot of the streets are lovely. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My love for Victoria is growing.  I might even love it as much as Sydney. Maybe.

A Film Festival Featuring a Tim Winton Thing

This is my dream from last night:

I'm at some kind of film festival. In the first session, I do something with paints. It's like I can use paints as a lens. Then the second session is coming up. I have a small crush on a professor, and I'm hoping to see him.   

I go to a table to sign up to watch a movie.  On the list of films is The Riders. I'm excited because I read the book, and it's my favorite Tim Winton novel.  There are other people around the table, including Jennifer Tilly.

There's an alternate/expanded title with The Riders.  It's something about a dog.  I'm confused because I don't remember there being a dog in The Riders. And even if there was one, I don't remember it being central to the plot.  I start thinking maybe this is a different The Riders. But then I see Tim Winton mentioned, and know it's the same.

I talk to a woman the table, and confess that although I loved the book, I didn't really understand the ending.  I expect to encounter a smug attitude, and for her to tell me they easily understood it. But she admits she didn't really understand it either.   

Later (after waking up, peeing, and returning to the dream) I see that the price for watching The Riders is $300. I decide to skip it.   

My other dream:

I'm trying to do some decorating on the wall.  It involves me taping up a drawing of a koala. Then the dream changed to me trying to put a koala hat on a koala lamp.   But the hat keeps making the lamp fall over.  I try to adjust things, but have no luck.  Then the dream changed again.   I'm trying to put a hat on a black standard poodle, and she keeps falling over. I give her cuddles, and then think that I don't spend enough time with the dog. I need to give her more attention.   

My family had a black standard poodle when I was a teen, and my sister's family has one now.  So, that's where my subconscious got that.

I dreamed also the night before about having a crush on a professor.  In that dream, the professor was Sam Neil.  I'm not sure what's up with these professor dreams. Does it mean something? 

Jennifer Tilly wasn't a random celebrity dream. Tim mentioned her the other day because he was watching Bride of Chucky.  

I thought The Riders was random, but I think there are things in the plot that fit in to how I've been feeling lately.   But if I had to pick an Australian book that corresponded well with my life, it would be The Faraday Girls.  I should probably reread that sometime.  It might be cathartic for me.   

And no.   Don't worry.   I'm not trying to hint that I plan to mysteriously disappear or kidnap anyone.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Give Up

I hate quitting stuff, but sometimes it's the best choice.

I've been spending time on this website called Australian Places  It gives descriptions of various towns, cities, suburbs, etc.  By the name of the website, you might assume it deals with all of Australia.  You'd be wrong.   Almost every name I click on is in Victoria. Not only is almost every place in Victoria, but most seem to be in areas east of Melbourne.  What's the deal?

Some names on the list don't have links to information yet. I'm guessing the webmaster plans to eventually have more variety, but for now is starting with Victoria.  

I can't say I haven't enjoyed east Victoria. I plug all the places into Google Map, and then look at Street View.  I see pretty streets....often lots of trees.    But I think I've had enough, so I'm going to move onto another website.

I'm also still looking at the Australian Screen website.  I just watched a clip from the TV movie about the Cowra breakout. I've seen scenes from it before.

I'm still reading Patricia Shaw's The Feather and the Stone. It's entertaining. I like her stuff. I'm almost done with it, actually.  I spent a lot of time reading yesterday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So I'm Taking It Back. I'm Taking Them All Back

Okay. Yeah.  I'm being spiteful.  What can I say? I'm in that kind of mood.

I just got an email offering to do a small Fort Worth only birthday celebration. This would be my parents, but no sisters, cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews, etc. I politely turned it down because Tim, Jack, and I already have plans.  We're going to push past the hoards of people seeing Harry Potter, and go see Megamind.  I thought it looked fun.

Anyway,  I was told we are NOT celebrating my birthday at the lake house because we're no longer doing adult birthdays as the whole family.  We decided this last year, and I was happy with the decision.  But since then we've been pressured to get together for my mom's birthday, Tim's birthday, my sister's birthday (although it didn't happen because the birthday girl herself couldn't make it), and we celebrated my cousin's birthday. As far as I know, they're all adults.

I guess I'm different for some reason.

It's not that I wanted a big celebration. I don't like cake much.  I don't often care about gifts.  But it would have been nice to do a little birthday thing with me sharing the Australian food; you know because Australia is important to me, and all that.

I think now I'll keep the food for the three of us.  Or maybe I'll share it with our homeschooling friends.  We might get together with them soon.

My family won't suffer from the loss of Aussie biscuits and lollies.  And I'm not worse off for not having a whole-family birthday celebration.  But it's the principle of the whole thing.  

Okay.  Yeah.   My feelings are hurt.  But no big deal.  I'm used to it. And like my new wise friend said....these types of problems are not third world problems.  I'm lucky to be able to sit here and moan about trivial stuff like that.   

And to punish my family, I'm going to go through with my wicked plan.  I was just joking about it before, but now I might actually go through with it. See, when Tim's grandma died, we started talking about memorial services and all that.  I got morbid and start planning my own death.   I said I want to be cremated, and my ashes thrown into the sea.  That COULD be easy, but I'm going to make it difficult.   I'm going to request that my ashes go to Australia (of course!)   But I'm not going to make it Sydney.  No I'm going to request that my ashes be thrown somewhere out in the beaches of Western Australia.   That way my family has to take a long flight after the very very long flight.  Then I'm going to make sure the beach is a LONG drive away from the airport.  I'm going to make my death a huge hassle.  If I'm lucky enough to live past 75 or so, I'll probably be nice to Jack and the grand kids; plan something easy, local, and fun.  The wicked plans applies only if I die tragically young.    

A Smiley Gap

I was watching this clip on the Australian Screen website from a 1973 TV program called Chequerboard-It's a Big Day In Any Girl's Life. A bride-to-be talks about her upcoming wedding.  I noticed that she has a gap in her teeth. Her smile kind of looks like Anna Paquin's.

Sookie Stackhouse is the hot thing right now. And not just for me, although I'm actually currently wearing a t-shirt that says I'd Turn Gay for Sookie Stackhouse.  

This article says that Paquin may have contributed to a trend in imperfect smiles. Some dentists are saying that people are beginning to prefer natural looking smiles rather than fake-looking perfect smiles. I like that.

I have little stains on one of my teeth. Its tiny, and hardly noticeable. I kind of like it, and see no reason to change it.  Several years ago, the dentist repeatedly offered to fix it for me.

No, thank you.  

It's not as cute as Anna Paquin's gap, but hey.....I'll take what I got.

I googled tooth gap, and found this dental website.  They offer advise on various ways to fix teeth gaps.  Nowhere (as far as I can see) do they suggest that people perhaps accept themselves the way they are. 

It all actually reminds me of my own wedding. A few weeks (or maybe months?) before the event, we had friends come to visit. I think I was about 128 pounds at the time.  That's about 58 kilos. My weight was in a very healthy range. My dress fit fine.  All was well. The well-meaning friend suggested I go on this extremist fad diet so I could drop some pounds before the wedding. I don't think she said, Hey you should go on this diet. She wasn't rude about it.  It was more along the lines of telling me there was this diet available that could help me. 

It was like the dentist thing.

My feeling is...if I ASK someone's advice about how to change my looks, I'd appreciate them helping me.  But this unsolicited push to have us change ourselves is annoying.  The thing is, though....our insecurity over our looks brings in a shitload of money for some people. There's a whole lot of industry out there, dependent on us being unsatisfied with our looks. Now I'm not saying I have a problem with all beauty products. I like make-up.  I use hair gel to make my hair less frizzy.  Every few months I dye my hair. I think a little bit of enhancing is fine. I think it's nice to want to pretty ourselves up a bit. I think it's NOT good, though, when entities push us to use their products and services by encouraging us to believe we're ugly and/or defective.   

Anna Paquin is awesome.  

Our Package Arrived

Our Package from Simply Australian arrived pretty quickly. When did I order it? I forgot, but I think it was only a few days ago.   

I took a photo so you can see all our goodies.

Most of it, we're keeping selfishly at home. Then we're going to bring the big package of cookies, a package of Shapes, and the Licorice Bullets to the lake house.  It's truthfully not a selfish thing. I'd share more, but I'm afraid there's already going to be an abundance of food at the lake house. 

I wrote my family telling them about the food. They didn't respond.  In their defense, I did jokingly say Please don't tell me about it, though. It needs to be a surprise.  That's in reference to a running joke in my family.  For almost every birthday (if we get together) we know there's going to be a cake.  But we pretend, it's a huge surprise. It's a silly yet kind of charming thing we do.

I'm being fake though when I say in their defense. There's been several times that my emails have been ignored. I think my role in the family is to respond to OTHER family member's emails but not expect or desire responses to my own. 

That's one of the reasons I have a blog. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that people out there are reading. AND some of them go out of their way to show they care, and are interested.   I love that. Today, a friend emailed me a photo of a homeschooling bumper sticker she saw. In the past, that same friend has emailed me her Aussie encounters as well.

Besides the blog therapy, I could also bring happiness to myself by writing my OWN responses to my emails.  Instead of waiting for my family to say what I'd like them to say.....I'll just say it myself.

Thank you, Dina! We can't wait to try the Aussie food. What a fun way to honor your birthday.

Or they could have been funny about it.

Okay, Dina.  We won't talk about your Australian food.  We don't want to ruin your surprise.

Talking for my family. Yeah. This is kind of fun.  I wish I had thought of this idea before I sent out the eating disorder email.  It would have saved me some grief.  My friend thinks I was being silly and asking too much from my family.  But really. That IS me. I'm silly and I have overly high expectations. Trying to change that would be as hard as trying to rub off the sparkly blue toenail polish from my toes.  That stuff doesn't come off easily. 

Let's talk about something else.

The food!   We already ate some....of course.  We tried the mango licorice. Very nice. Much better than birthday cake; at least in my opinion.   

No Trees

I'm reading a novel by Patricia Shaw; The Feather and the Stone.  On page 78, it talks about how one of the characters was surprised to learn that Nullarbor is not a name with Aboriginal origins.  It's a Latin thing meaning No Trees.

When I looked closely at the word, it made sense.  It's not that I know Latin. But I do know that null means something along the lines of no. And arbor is a tree thing.  

This Nullarbor website says that the Mirning people referred to the area as Oondiri.  This means no water.

No water.  No trees. I don't think this is a place where I'd like to get stranded.

I'm going to see if there's any good Nullarbor photos on Flickr. 

Mark Hurley has taken a photo of a Nullarbor sign.  Apparently you can run into kangaroos, wombats, and camels while out there.  That would be cool....unless you hit one with your car.  I heard that can be very dangerous...to both the animal and the driver.    

Hurley also has this picture; I guess taken from his seat of the car.  It shows the Nullarbor. There's more green than I would have expected.  

It looks like Pekka Stokke has found a tree within the land of no trees.  Actually...as I look closer, I see there are several trees.  But no. I wasn't thinking the No Tree thing was literal.   I knew it probably meant something more like Not Many Trees.

In Gerry Cobb's photo, the Nullarbor looks vast and beautiful with the blue water in view.   The caption says the photo is of Cape LeGrand National Park. Looking at Google Maps (and I finally figured out how to link from there!), it seems that blue water is the Great Australian Bite. The park is right near Esperance.

I decided I had enough of Flickr photos, and went to look at Nullarbor via Google News. There's a disturbing article about animals being transported across the area. A spokesperson from an organization called Animals Australia says that the sheep and cattle go 48 hours without food and water.  If that's true.....It's very horrific.

Why are the animals being transported?  Are there not sheep and cattle stations in the east? That would shock me a bit.

The RSPCA website also has information about the transportation of animals.  They say We believe that live transportation must be kept to a minimum. Animals should be slaughtered close to the farms where they were reared and long-distance transportation of livestock for slaughter should be replaced with a 'meat carcass-only' trade. During transport, higher welfare standards should be used and the animals looked after by competent and caring staff.

Well, that makes sense to me.   

Now I'm on YouTube.  Here's someone driving their motorcycle on the Nullarbor.  Do you remember that scene in Poltergeist  where Jobeth Williams is trying to run to her childen's bedroom, and she experiences an illusion of the hallway going on forever and ever?   Well, that's what the Nullarbor reminds me of.

This Outback Australia website has interesting facts about the Nullarbor Plain. I found it on Google when I was trying to verify a piece of trivia provided in the video.

In the southern part of the Nullarbor Plain is the longest stretch of straight road in the world. Cool.

This American website says that the longest straight road in my country is highway 46 in North Dakota. It's 198 kilometers.  Lord Wiki says the famous straight road in the Nullarbor Plain goes for 147 kilometers. Either I'm reading the information wrong, or someone else is confused.

Maybe people have a different definition of what constitutes a straight road.

Oh.  Never mind. I went back to the American website, and read the next paragraph. Highway 46 is NOT a straight road.  They say it has little curves here and there. They say it stays really straight for 50 kilometers.

So the Nullarbor Plain IS the winner.  

And it has a reputation for other things besides the long straight road thing. The outback website says it is earth's largest piece of limestone.  

On the Nullarbor Plain, there is a straight piece of railtrack that stretches for 478 kilometers. That's even longer than the straight road.  Wow.

Here's some bad news.   Modern day farmers aren't the only one to do thoughtless things in the Nullarbor.  In the 1950's, the British used the area for nuclear testing. Because of this, some of the original inhabitants of the area were forced to leave.

Lots of meteorites have been found in the Nullarbor.

Anyway, I'm done for now.

I'd like to go to the Nullarbor someday; not this next trip, though.

Right now my plan is to try to visit Australia every three years.   I'm thinking 2012 will be Sydney, Victoria, and the eastern part of South Australia.  2015 might be the Northern Territory.   Maybe 2018 will be the Nullarbor.  We shall see....

Speaking of our next trip.

I've already changed my mind again about things.   We were going to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, stay a few days; then head out to Broken Hill. Tim made me realize that it would be more economical to do a circle. Rent the car in Melbourne, drive out west, and then drive back again to Melbourne.  Have I already talked about this before?  I'm getting Deja Vu.

I don't think I'm up to going as far as Western Australia.  But maybe we can go more west than Adelaide.  Maybe Port Augusta?  I don't know. I'll have to look more into all of that.   

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Australian Thing On The Simpsons

After watching a hilarious and adorable episode of Modern Family, we watched this year's Treehouse of Horror special. In the third segment, they did a parody of Dead Calm.  

With Australia-obsessive smugness, I told Tim that it was an Australian thing. But besides Nicole Kidman, I couldn't remember what's Australian about it. I thought it probably had an Australian director, one who later made popular movies in America.  I couldn't remember which director it was, though. We had to consult our old friend IMDb.

The answer?  Phillip Noyce. He also made Rabbit Proof Fence. And he does the Tom Clancy movies.  

While watching The Simpsons, we slowed down the commercial skipping on the DVR to watch a trailer for Glee. I felt a little bad for dissing Ryan Murphy's previous project in my previous post, because in the new Ryan Murphy show they're doing an anti-bullying episode.   I think anti-bullying is kind of one of my passions. The episode looks pretty good....at least in an after school special kind of way.  

Boring Blue Stuff

After I took my shower tonight, I watched about three minutes of Avatar.

You know.....

I don't have a lot of patience for people who turn their noses up at Harry Potter and/or the Bella-Edward-Jacob thing without having even read it.  But now I'm thinking I should be more sympathetic.

I think I feel the same way about Avatar.  It's just never looked interesting to me. All these people, though, said it was fantastic, and I felt wrong for not wanting to see it. I was relieved when Tim rented it, and said he didn't much like it.If he had liked it, I might have felt even more obligated to see it. Not that I WOULD see it.  I probably wouldn't.  But I'd feel I was..... I don't know.  Maybe I'd feel slightly defective.

I often like what's popular, but sometimes I don't. And sometimes I don't even want to give it much of a try.

I guess I did SORT of try Avatar tonight.  I watched a few minutes. It didn't catch my interest at all.  To me, it looks more like a video game than a movie. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose.

I don't know. I'll take my Harry Potter and Twilight. Other people can have their Avatar.     

Speaking of things starring Australian actors.....

I think I'm somewhat over my hatred of Nip/Tuck.

I totally loved the first and second seasons. That love was soured by the horribleness of the seasons that followed.

When we were driving to the airport, the song Rocket Man came on the radio. It made me think of that whole beautiful tear-jerker breast cancer storyline on Nip/Tuck.  I think it was the first season?   Maybe the second. Anyway, I got all teary-eyed thinking of that.  Oh. And I was kind of emotional because we had gotten reassuring medical news (after a good scare).

I started thinking that I could still love Nip/Tuck if I just think lovingly about seasons one and two.   I just have to push the other seasons out of my head.  That's kind of hard though, because images of shit in a hot tub and gruesome Build-a-Bear scenes dance in my head. Oh well.   

As they say....

Nothing gold can stay.

And sometimes really yummy stuff gets moldy, and if you accidentally eat it, you get really bad food poisoning.   But you can still look back and remember the times when the food was yummy and NOT moldy. Actually, you can't. My friend barfed up Mango, and still hates that.  Long long time ago, I barfed up water chestnuts, and I still hate those.

This analogy is getting a bit nuts.
 Well, we're going to eat dinner soon, and watch the TV show that we currently love. Modern Family.  

Yeah.  Sometimes if something you love goes bad, you just find a new thing to love.  

The Outsiders, Goonies, and Drew Barrymore

During our Disney World trip, we've been spending a lot of time at Epcot's World Showcase.  We love it.  I've loved it since I was a child.  For those unfamiliar with the place, it has these little pretend areas that are supposed to make you feel like you're in various countries (England, Mexico, China, Japan, Morocco, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Norway). I don't know if these places truly look like their real-life counterparts.  But I think it's how we WANT these countries to look.   Actually. Japan really did remind me of Narita Japan. The United Kingdom didn't remind me much of London, but it does sort of remind me of Canterbury.  The World Showcase countries probably are more representative of small cities in their respective countries rather than the big cities. 

In the Norway Pavillion, they have a ride. It's a log flume thing with trolls, talking trees, Vikings and polar bears.  After the ride, the Norwegian Disney staff people encourage you to watch a film. We've always skipped it, but Tim and I have decided lately to force a little more education down Jack's throat. So yesterday, we sat down and watched the film. It was much more promotional than educational.  They showed beautiful Norwegians doing things that people do. I think the whole point was to make sure we tourists understood that Norway has humans and not trolls.   

I told Tim and Jack it's kind of like Epcot having an Australia ride.  If it involved happy kangaroos cuddling koalas and throwing boomerangs (while Waltzing Matilda played in the background), the Australians would probably want a little film afterward that went beyond stereotypes. 

The Norway Pavilion debuted in 1988, and it looks like the film was made in that decade. There's a scene with computers, and the computers look about that old. So I started imagining what a 1980's promotional film about Australia would look like. I picture harbors and beaches with blond surfers.   Of course there'd be other stuff too. But that's the first thing that comes to my mind.

Anyway,  I think those thoughts influenced my dreams last night.  Australia + the 1980's.

We're in Australia. Tim is driving.  We can see a car that's supposed to be from The Outsiders. It's stopped on the street. It looks maybe like it's some kind of live performance.  I feel a little weary of it, though.  Maybe I feel it could be an interactive performance that's not perfectly safe.   

We come to some checkpoint, and someone warns us about something. They're apologetic about it.   I think they tell us to have our bags out of reach.  Maybe there's a chance someone could reach in and take them?  There's not a sense that this would be illegal.  It's more along the ideas that this would be allowed in Australia, but we can take precautions to prevent it.    

Then we drive past this concert starring a guy that looks like Sloth from The Goonies. I'm thinking maybe he has the same type of disorder/deformities. But then I realize it's the exact same guy from The Goonies

Things change (as they often do in dreams), and we're now AT the show. There's a whole thing about friendship and inner beauty vs. superficial outer beauty.  Drew Barrymore is there. In my dream version of the world, she was the star of The Goonies.  She talks about how being in the film changed her life. She gets emotional and starts crying. Then I start crying too.

Well, this is the last day of our Disney World trip.  I want to thank people for being patient with me regarding returning emails and stuff like that. I had wanted to spend less time on the Internet this trip. And I did....compared to previous Disney Trips.  But I did spend more than planned, mostly because I IMAGINED people were being impatient with me.   

Sometimes I would imagine people saying.  Well, if she has time to write a blog post, then she has time to write me back!    But it's kind of easier to write a blog post than to respond to individual emails.    

I put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes. If you're NOT adding pressure to me on top of the pressure I put on myself....well, I'm very grateful to you.

For the record....

It's not like I'm getting emails from many people.   And the people who sent me emails were not likely sitting there thinking that I should hurry and write them back. These problems are mostly in my head....probably.   

 Here's Jack playing a game in Epcot's fake China.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Instead of Birthday Cake

I'm so birthday cake burned out.  SO....instead of having that for my birthday-Thanksgiving celebration, I've ordered some Australian food.

There might be a cake anyway, because we never celebrated my sister's birthday in October. There might be plans to squish both our names on a cake together. I don't know.

But anyway....

Here's what I ordered from Simply Australian. 

1. Licorice Bullets
2. Honey Comb Tim Tams (We get Tim Tams in America now, so have to order a unique type to make it more exciting for us)
3. Arnott's Caramel Crowns  (We've never had these before, so it will be new for us)
4. Arnott's Lemon Crisp (We've never had this before either)
5. Arnott's Assorted Creams (a mix of stuff)
6.  Pizza and Cheese and Bacon Shapes
7.  Milk Bottles
8. Timeout Bar (because it was on sale)
9. Mango Darrel Lea Licorice (on sale too)

The package might not come on time, but hopefully it will.  If it doesn't, I'll probably need to prove my value in the family by bringing some type of home baked thing.  I'd say this would be akin to torturing the family. But since eating the crappy food at Universal Studios, I've realized my cooking isn't too awful.   

Monday, November 15, 2010

Surprise! America is....GONE!

I'm not the only one who spent time with an Aussie author in Disney World. Tim has been enjoying John Birmingham's Without Warning on his Kindle.  I get the credit for introducing him to Birmingham.  I had two out of three of the Axis of Time trilogy. I suggested to Tim that he read them. And there you go.

I asked Tim if there was a sequel to the book, and he didn't know.  I shall have good news for him once he returns from picking up a Tinker Bell package.  There IS a sequel.  He can start it as soon as he finishes the other.  

I'm still reading Just William.  It's sweet, but I'd rather be reading Twilight.  Seriously. For some reason, I'm in a vampire mood.  I think it's because when I was walking (trying to burn Disney calories!) I played this solitary silent game of guessing people's ages.   I saw this woman, and she kind of looked like Kristen Stewart. I thought of Bella. AND last night I dreamed about vampires.   It was more of a Sookie thing. I dreamed I was her (or like her) and one of the vampires wanted to turn me into a vampire. I was all desperately panicked about the whole thing.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lamington at Epcot

Here's a photo of Jack and I eating a Lamington at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.

You can't see much of my face (probably a good thing). But you can see my Australian fairy bread t-shirt. I've ended up having to wear that shirt a lot, because I brought only four t-shirts for wearing outside the hotel room. Two of them have the fairy bread thing.  I brought dresses to wear, but I realized I like having pockets for my stuff. It works better that way in the parks.

Here's Tim standing in line for the Lamington.  There were LOTS of long lines last night. Disney World is way too crowded right now. Last year, we went the first week in November, and it was much better.   

Here's a close-up of the Lamington. I was shamefully not too excited about standing in line for cake with chocolate and coconut. It was Jack that insisted.  But I ended up enjoying it.   

In other news....I thought there was a possibility that we might have an Australian spending Thanksgiving Weekend with us. I misunderstood an email and thought he'd have no place to stay.   So we offered meals, boarding, and our companionship (which would likely psychologically traumatize the Australian for life).  It turns out they are coming to Texas to visit others. We might have a chance for a short visit. We shall see.

Anyway, I went up to pee last night, and that's when I saw the email saying they'd be visiting people too far away from us, and it wouldn't work out well.  I went back to sleep and dreamed about this Australian.

He becomes all philosophical and preachy in an email. He writes about how we should respect so-called weeds, because it might be something that someone planted awhile ago. And it might not be worthless.   

I look around our backyard, and see that seeds we planted years ago have sprouted and turned into wonderful things. We have cucumbers and other vegetables. Not only that, but all the veggies have attracted abundant wildlife. There are cute little frogs. I hold one....kind of worried that it might be a venomous type.    

We also have goats, and I'm happy about that.

 This is the second time in the last few months that I've had a dream about seeds being planted, forgotten about, and then turning into a wonderful garden. They were both very happy dreams. They seem to have a positive message.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missing Max and Liesel

This afternoon I finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  A few times this evening, I've gotten excited about reading it.  Then I remember I'm done with it, and I get a little sad. It was such a beautiful book.  I'm grateful to my friend Gina for recommending it.  

I've started to read a classic British children's book; Just William.  It's lovely. I like it to a fair degree. It's just....Well, it's kind of like my rebound book.   

A Platypus, My Past Life Memories, and Something Else Weird

I needed an excuse to do a blog post today, so I had Jack pose with the Phineas and Ferb platypus.

I want to write about the weird stuff that happened today at 50's Prime Time Cafe.  It's a theme restaurant at Disney Hollywood Studios.  

Before we ate, we had to wait in the living room area.  There they have furniture and decor that's supposed to remind us of the 1950's. 

Okay.  Now I gotta rewind to about 4-5 years ago.  I did a past life regression session with a psychologist.  I'm thinking I probably expected to see myself in Biblical Times or on the Mayflower or something.  To my surprise....what I saw was a black and white TV, a shelf full of various knickknacks, and a leather green chair with a whole in it.

In the living room area of the 50's Prime Time Cafe, there is a green leather chair (or maybe couch?) with a hole in it. I noticed that, and then realized the whole scene was very similar to what I saw in my past life experience thing.

So then I'm thinking....crap, did I spend all that time and money just so a psychologist could help me remember a theme restaurant in Disney World?  Really?!   Is that what it's all about?

But then I questioned that line of thinking.  I've seen a lot of historical imagery. We read books about the past.  We see movies about the past.  We see museums with images of the past. Disney World itself has displays of a wide range of time periods. Jack's favorite ride this year is Spaceship Earth.   Repeatedly this week we've traveled through scenes of history inside a giant golf ball.  

So when I did my past life regression; if it all just came from a memory of 50's Prime Time Cafe, then why did my subconscious pick that one place to confuse as a past life memory?

My guess is that maybe I DID have a past life in the 1950's.  Maybe the 50's Prime Time Cafe does a good job of replicating that time period.  Maybe green leather furniture was popular, and maybe it tends to easily get holes.  

The other weird thing that happened today is very eerie.  Jack and Tim sat across from me at the restaurant.

Suddenly, out of the blue....Jack stood up, and walked over to me.  He put his hand on my abdomen, looked at me in a very loving way, and said something like About ten years ago, I was in here.   I thought it was a bit random and bizarre, but sweet.  Then I started thinking about it. I realized that around ten years ago, Jack was conceived. I couldn't remember exact dates, but I did know that we found out I was pregnant in December.

When we got back to the hotel, I pretended I was a pregnant woman, and went to a due date calculator. I plugged in today's date, thinking it would be weird if I got a due date around Jack's birthday. I ended up getting his EXACT birthday.

Back to the past life subject.  For some reason, I was having deep thoughts about it the other day.  I had politely refused to see my death scene during the session. I chickened out. Later I was taking a walk, and suddenly got images and ideas of what happened.  I can't say if there's any truth to the memory, but it was a pretty awful and violent death.  So I've guessed that my obsession with Australia couldn't be related to a past life. Why would I love a country where I died in an awful way?   But the other day I started thinking.....Maybe my death was horrible, and my life was fantastic.   Maybe I've missed that life, despite it ending in a bad way.    And anyway....how many deaths out there are pleasant?  

I do remember feeling alienated from the people I lived with.  I assumed it was because they ignored me.   But I also remembered having a very romantic relationship with someone.   Maybe it wasn't my family that ignored me.  Maybe I was the one ignoring them.  I got the sense that I was a young adult or teen.  It would make sense for me to feel emotionally separate from them....especially if I had a man in my life.

I'm kind of excited to see if anything else weird happens today.

And you know....it's not the first time I've had weird spiritual coincidences and/or experiences at Disney World.