Monday, May 31, 2010

Moving Right Along....

I recently finished reading a book about a road trip; Sean and David's Long Drive. Sean (Condon) is the one who wrote the book.

I can't relate to Sean's diet choices and his frequency of getting drunk. But I can relate to his negativity. As Sean and David travel through Australia, Sean often ends up disgusted, bored, and underimpressed.

As I read the book, I had all kinds of thoughts. I was going to say deep thoughts, but they're probably not too deep.

I thought about our own road trip this December. We drove from Fort Worth to Gainesville Florida. I thought it was great as we did it, and we talked enthusiastically about doing it again. Now I'm having second-thoughts. Well, I'm not having second-thoughts about doing it. I think we will. But I'm having doubts about whether it's really that great of a way to travel.

I don't feel we really learned much, or experienced much in the cities we visited. It all felt like a bit of a rush. If we subtract sleep time, I think we probably spent about 3-5 hours in each of the places we stayed at.

What I remember most about the trip? Playing Sims 3 in the car, stopping at rest areas where we bought crap out of the vending machines, and listening to Tim's political talk radio stuff.

I think with a road trip like this, the thing that dominates is the actual driving/riding.

We did stop in Gainesville for a few days to visit in-laws. Having a few days there was nice. I felt somewhat settled for awhile.

I'm thinking the trick to road trips (or the way to make me enjoy them more) is to try to stay in places for at least one full day. It just seems useless to get to a place in the early evening, grab a bite for dinner, watch TV and surf the internet in the hotel room, sleep; then wake up in the morning to start all over again. In order to have that full day in each place, you need to have a lot of time on your hands, and/or a close final destination.

To me, the BEST part of the road trip is the not-having-to-fly part. Actually, I don't mind the flying so much. If the flight is under eight hours, I'm pretty okay with it. The problem is the stuff that comes with flying. I hate waiting at the airport. I hate going through security. I hate almost getting run over by the cart, and then being embarrassed because I was daydreaming when the driver was shouting Watch the cart, please!

I loved missing all that during our road trip.

I was going to write more...blab on and on. But I'll save the rest of my blabbing for another post. I need to space my blabbing out more.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tired

Two things:

1. A few weeks ago, I decided to take a break from doing the research biography posts.

2. For the last week or so, I haven't been feeling really great. I'm feeling lethargic. Lazy. I'm needing more naps. That would be okay, except for the fact that I hate naps.

Are #1 and #2 connected? Is the universe punishing me for taking a break? Or despite the fact that the biography posts mentally exhaust me, maybe they keep me busy and awake? Maybe they actually give me energy?

The other possibility is that I was going to feel all tired no matter what; and it's good that I've chosen this time to take a break, because it gives me time to nap.

I hate feeling this way. I guess most people would though. I'm probably not original in my opinion there.

On a positive note....I'm reading a delightful book. It's called Sean and David's Long Drive by Sean Condon. It's hilarious. So that's good. It prevents me from being lethargic and depressed. Instead I'm lethargic and amused.

I bought the book at a used bookstore in Hawaii. I kind of hesitated buying it because I read their American travel book, and didn't much like it. I figured though that their Australian adventures might interest me more.

So far I've been totally right about that.

I highly recommend the book....well, not to everyone. I recommend it to anyone interested in Australia. And I recommend it to people who like funny travel stories....you know, like Bill Bryson fans. It definitely has a Bill Bryson aura to it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hopefully This Is The Last One (Don't Read, Grethe)

I am REALLY obsessed with Lost right now. If this continues, I may have to make a fourth blog. But since my favorite scene involves Emilie de Ravin, and she's Australian; I feel, for now, I can sneak this onTO my Australian blog.

The main reason I'm writing this post is because I want to share some videos. Don't worry. They don't involve me faking an accent or singing.

Before I do share the videos though, I have more thoughts.

It's about all the unsolved mysteries of Lost. There's a lot of fan anger/annoyance towards the writers because they set up all these questions, and failed to answer them. I'm not really bothered by it.

Why?

A) I was skeptical pretty much from the beginning about them ever answering these questions. I lost almost all hope when I saw the cave with the names.

B) My real life is FULL of unanswered questions. I'll probably never find out the answers. So in that way, Lost feels so realistic to me.

Okay. I'll shut up, and share the videos now.

1. This is a hilarious video about Jacob and the Man-in-Black....probably funny only if you're a Lost fan...or used to be a fan (before the finale). This is a great video for those of us who wish that Jacob and the Man-in-Black got the emotional reconciliation scene that all the Losties got in the finale.


2. This scene made me cry (pretty hysterically) the first time I saw it. Now I'm totally addicted to it; and I keep watching it. It features Kate, Claire (the Australian!) and Charlie. If you're a Lost fan, you've already seen it...probably. If you're not a Lost fan, you might be able to still appreciate it. It's an emotional birth scene with tear-jerker music. I think birth scenes always make me cry....and also pregnancy test scenes (like the one in Friends).

There are three things in the scene that especially get to me.

A) Kate when she first remembers. I love the expression on her face.
B) Claire cutting Charlie's hair in the flashback.
C) The fact that Charlie cries before even remembering. Is he emotional because of the birth scene, or was the actor (Dominic Monaghan) unable to hold it together, because the scene is so damn beautiful?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Things I Learned from the Characters of Lost

Yeah. What can I say? I'm having a hard time letting go.

So I've decided to make a list of lessons I can learn from the characters of Lost.

Juliet-If it seems possible that a major electromagnetic event is about to happen, stay far away from any metal.

Kate-If your friend goes insane and tries to kill you, try to still love them and help them out.

Richard-If you feel suddenly very disillusioned, this doesn't mean you need to commit suicide. There may still be hope. Hold on a little bit longer.

Michael-Do not murder innocent people to save those that you love.

Daniel Faraday
-At times, it might be wise to be wary of your mother.

Sawyer-Sometimes it's really hard to let go of anger, but eventually you will....probably.

Sayid-Even if you did horrible things in your past, you can still do good things to later redeem yourself.

Sun and Jin-A broken marriage can be fixed...even one that involves secrets and adultery.

Ben-If the one you see as your spiritual leader keeps inspiring you to do evil things, maybe you should consider the idea that you might be on the wrong path.

Claire-If a woman loses her child and is abandoned by friends, she might go insane....even if she was sweet and cute before all that.

Locke-Believe. Have faith. Don't depend so much on other people's approval and validation.

Charlie-If you have an important message to write down, and you don't have paper handy....write it on your hand. And also....sometimes people sacrifice their lives in a very heroic way, but the sacrifice ends up causing more harm than good.

Hugo-If you're stuck in a place with disgruntled people, try to make it fun somehow.

Jack-
Try to keep an open-mind. If someone tries to convince you of something, at least be somewhat open to believing them.

Ethan-Try not to stick people with too many needles.

MIB-If you're an immortal monster, don't be too cocky about it.

Ilana-Even when you're the most angry, be willing to listen to someone's excuses. And be open to forgiving them. Oh, and also....be very cautious when dealing with explosives.

Libby-The delusions that put you in a mental hospital may actually be based on truth.

Jacob-Even if you have really good intentions, it's not nice to make people feel trapped.

Desmond-Sometimes the huge mistakes we make end up helping other people find their destiny and soulmates.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Passion and Commitment

Today at breakfast, Jack and I talked about his obsessions.  I list his current ones on our unschooling blog, and change the list as his interests change.

He recycles his obsessions a lot. He loses interest for a few weeks or months, then he gets back into them. Right now, his big loves are Arthur, Super Mario Galaxy, and The Simpsons...all stuff he has loved at one time in the past.

I told Jack that I had obsessions like that....ones that come, go, and then come back again. Examples of those for me include spirituality, Lost, Harry Potter, and the Twilight series.

Jack asked me about Australia. Would that ever end for me?

It's a question I've asked myself. Today I think I came up with my answer.

I hate to admit this, but I will. There are days where my passion for Australia is completely absent. And there are days where I actually feel very negative towards Australia. This usually happens when I get mad at an Australian person, or an Australian person hurts my feelings. Then I sort of associate the whole country with that person. Fortunately, this usually fades after a few days.

There are many days where I have my passion for Australia. This especially happens after I totally bond with an Australian person, or with a not-Australian person I've met via my Australia obsession. It also happens when I listen to Australian songs that I love; ones I'd probably have never heard if I didn't have Australia in my life. I feel it when I read a really great Australian book. I feel it when I think about how I can name all the Prime Ministers from Menzies to Rudd. It makes me feel all smart. Crap. I just tried to do it in my head again, and I couldn't remember if Gorton or McEwen came first! Now I'm feeling much less smart. Oh well.

So this is what I decided at breakfast today....

I will ALWAYS love Australia.

I will always love it, because I've decided that I'm commited to loving it.

For a long time, I've had a romantic/marriage analogy going on about my Australia thing. First it was a secret crush. Then it was a huge obsessive annoy-other-people-with-it crush. Then I felt I was married to Australia. I even bought myself a ring....seriously. It was only like eight dollars, but still. I loved it. Unfortunately, it eventually broke.

So now I think of my Australia thing as the later years of marriage. The honeymoon might be over. I've taken off my rose-colored glasses. But I'm still quite satisfied with it all.

I used to feel worried, conflicted, and guilty when the passion was missing. What if it never returns? Am I too fickle? Would I be a fool for loving Australia in the first place? Would I have to quit my blog? Could I tell my Australian friends the truth...that I'm no longer obsessed with their country. Would they still love me?

Anyway, now I think I'm at peace. The thing is....love is not always about passion. We can't be mad about something all the time. As soon we we spend a lot of time with it, we're going to see some of its dirty and yucky spots. And we're going to get burnt-out at times. But when we commit to something, we accept all that. We take the good with the bad.

So, anyway....

What I'm trying to say is I'm planning (and hoping) to have this relationship with Australia for a very long time....maybe with this blog too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lost Finale (Do NOT read, Grethe!!)

So....we watched the Lost finale.

I totally LOVED it.

I had feared it would be awful, and that after watching the ending, I'd never want to think about the show again. This happened with Seinfeld. I used to love that show, but the finale ruined it for me....the same with X-files.

Now after seeing the finale of Lost, I'm still totally obsessed with the show. I've been reading Lostpedia, and last night I watched the recap show. I had not wanted to watch it the night of the finale, because I don't do well with sitting four hours on my ass watching TV. I told Tim we'd tape it. If I didn't like the Lost finale, we could erase it. I wouldn't care. If I loved the finale, I'd want to watch the recap stuff.

One of the main themes of the finale (and last few episodes) was letting go. For me, the finale helped me let go of the need to have every little mystery neatly solved. I was one of those people constantly weary and frustrated with the writers. When are they going to solve this? They don't know what they're doing, do they? They're just making up questions, and they themselves have no idea what the answer are. Honestly, I still stand by those criticisms. I think the science fiction and mystery aspects of the story were a bit silly and inconsistent. I think the writers WERE a bit lost themselves when it comes to that. They led us on a wild goose chase.

As I wrote in a previous post, to me the beauty of the show was the characters. And when it comes to the character, I think the writers and actors did a fantastic job.

The ending of Lost was much more about the characters than it was about the mysteries. The characters in the flash-sideways world start remembering their lives and relationships on the island. This led to MAJOR crying from me. Usually, when I cry during a TV show, book, or movie, it's just a few tears. I may sniffle a tiny bit. During the Charlie, Kate, and Claire scene, I was sobbing....loudly.

In the end we find out that the flash-sideways was not the time-traveling thing we expected it to be. It was the afterlife. All the characters have died at different points of their life, and now they're together. It was a bit corny, but I totally love all that stuff. I can imagine that most atheists would hate the ending. I'm guessing they were hoping that there was a scientific explanation for most events on the show. When we all first started watching Lost, we didn't know where the writers were taking us. Was this a show where things seemed strange, but they could be explained rationally; or was this some kind of religious/spiritual thing?

It ended up being the latter; and I'm glad for that.

I'm also actually glad to be totally wrong about my Man-in-Black theory. I thought he was Locke. I mean I thought somehow John Locke had gone back in time to become the smoke monster. I couldn't figure out how it happened, but I was convinced that it did. There were little hints leading me to believe that, but the main thing was that the fake Locke acted so much like the real Locke. I recently learned this is because Terry O'Quinn acted through out the whole season five, not realizing he wasn't Locke. The writers never told him.

My earlier interpretation was that Locke, the man with the most faith, ended up completely disillusioned. That turned him evil. Then the man who loved the island became the monster who'd do anything to get off the island. Although I thought that plotline was absolutely ironic and brilliant, it made me a bit sad. Locke is the character I identify with the most. He's lonely, pathetic, ignored, and rejected. Yet at that same time, there's something special about him...or at least he HOPES there's something special about him. He believes he has a purpose, and that gives him strength and hope.

It was kind of disturbing to imagine the character I could relate to most would turn out to be the most evil.

But he didn't. So, that's a relief.

In yesterday's post, I talked about how Lost reminded me of my spirituality...especially the Australian side of the story. I often feel I was led to Australia for a reason. I get all these weird clues....dreams and coincidences. I feel I'm being led in some fascinating direction, and that soon I'll get some real answers. It doesn't happen. I'm so lost. I don't understand any of it. After watching the last season of Lost, I'm convinced my spirit guides are like Jacob. They give me messages I don't understand, and they lead me in directions I might not even really need to be. I have tried to have all this faith in them, thinking they must know what they're doing...even if I don't always understand. But now I'm thinking they might be as lost as I feel. I think they want to do what's best, but I don't think they always know what's best. Despite any mistakes they might have made though, I'm enjoying the ride...well, at least on most days.

In the finale of Lost, I learned that the most important thing wasn't solving the mysteries. It was about the relationships. It was about friendships, soulmates, forgiveness, and reconnecting. This isn't the first time I've thought of my Australia obsession in this way. I've come to believe I should stop asking so many why's and just be grateful for all the people I've been led to. The finale of Lost has reaffirmed that message for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bye Bye Lost

In a few hours I'm going to be watching the finale of Lost. I'm posting this in a few days. So by that time, I'll be either thinking. Wow. That was fantastic! OR What the hell were they thinking????!!!!

My prediction is I'm going to love it when I see it. Then in the middle of the night, I'm going to awaken and think. Wait a minute. They never explained this! And they totally forgot to explain that. And it makes no sense that..... blah, blah, blah, blah.....

I get very sad about TV show endings....even if it's a show I rarely watch. But I feel a particular poignancy regarding the end of Lost, because I kind of connect it to my Australia obsession.

The show premiered in September 2004. This was about the time my weird dreams began; the ones that led me into the whole spirituality thing, and then later led me to the whole Australia thing.

We went to Australia in December 2007. I had a really hard time returning to the United States. I'd think of Jack's famous lines. We have to go back! I felt desperate to return to Australia....to MOVE to Australia.

I think one time I tried to tell someone how I felt. It's like when you have one of those dreams of being back in a place you don't want to be....like high school. Then you wake up, and feel all relieved. Thank goodness I'm not THERE anymore. Well, in the months after we returned, I felt like I was stuck in one of those bad dreams. Besides thinking of the Jack lines, I'd also listen to Christina Anu's song, and cry my eyes out.

Fortunately, things got better after awhile.

And like the misplaced Losties, we DID go back.

In 2009, we went to Australia again. I got together with someone who reads my blog, and we became friends. Gina and I sat there chatting, and then realized we both loved Lost. I think honestly she might have loved it more than me, but by now I might have surpassed her in Lost obsessiveness. I'm not sure. It was nice to have something in common besides the Australia thing. I mean before that it was pretty much just Australia that connected us. Now we had something more.

This April, we met some of our other Australian friends in Oahu. This is where Lost was filmed. Our friends aren't Lost fans themselves, but they put up with our desire to see various Lost locations. Actually, they didn't just put up with us. Tracey actually helped us find places. She's like some kind of Hawaii expert.

On our first sightseeing day, Tim and I really wanted to see the beach where Lost was filmed. Tracey really wanted to see this beach where sea turtles hang out. We wanted to make sure everyone got what they desired....well, within reason, of course. The problem was Tracey forgot which beach had the turtles. I think we stopped at one beach, but it was the wrong one. And then also, it started raining.

We decided to go to the Lost beach, and then we'd find the turtle beach. Well, guess what. There were turtles at the Lost beach. We were surprised and excited. It seemed meaningful that what we both wanted to see was all at one beach. I remember walking with someone....Tim or Alex, I forgot. Tracey was up ahead talking to other tourists. We watched amused, wondering if they were there for the turtles or Lost. The answer ended up being the turtles. They weren't Lost fans.

That day Jack wore a Finding Nemo t-shirt with Crush the sea turtle on it. I didn't realize the connection until later. I wonder if any of the others noticed. ???? I don't think he did it on purpose. I think it was just one of those weird accidents/coincidences. Although MAYBE he had some kind of subconscious push to wear the shirt.

On another sightseeing day, we went to Camp Erdman, the YMCA camp. This is where they film the Others village/Dharma Camp. Seeing that was AWESOME. Unfortunately, I was coming down with some cold/allergy type thing, and couldn't fully enjoy it. But I definitely did appreciate it.





The camp kindly requests that visitors check in at the office, but they're very welcoming and accepting of Lost fans. We had a lovely chat with the woman who works there. We all bought some American candy in the office to enhance the international cultural experience of the Aussies; and I bought a camp t-shirt. I LOVE that shirt. I wore it twice this weekend, hoping it would attract some Lost fanatics. Oh my God! Where did you get that shirt?!

Oh! You watch Lost too?

Are you excited about the finale?

We'd have a nice chat...maybe make a new friend. We'd bond in our Lostness.

Sadly, it didn't happen.

No one seemed to notice my awesome shirt.

That sucks.

Anyway, after we went to the camp and did a few more sightseeing stuff...we returned to our temporary Oahu house. Tim and Tracey went to the grocery store, while I managed to become a major snot machine. At the grocery store, Tim saw Jorge Garcia. He excitedly told me that when he got back. I then sent a message to Gina on Facebook....telling her the news.

So that is that. My personal little Lost story.

Then there's one other thing I can think of. Lost totally reminds me of my spiritual life. My life is full of strange coincidences, symbols, and...well, just stuff that seems very meaningful. I get all these puzzle pieces, and no idea of how to stick them together. I feel I'm being led down a path, and then it leads to a dead end. I feel I'm closer to an answer, and then I realize I'm just getting more and more questions. I have fun with it all, but I'm left all confused....and very LOST.









Monday, May 24, 2010

I Got a Package

I got my books from Powells today! I'm so happy and excited; and grateful to my parents for giving me a gift certificate.

Here is what I got.

1. Gallipoli by Alan Moorehead. I think Moorehead is a friend of Robert Hughes. Maybe? I kind of remember reading that. Anyway, I'm not sure why I got this book. Nonfiction books about history and war usually bore me. Really great writers can make anything interesting though. Maybe this will be one of those books? I hope.

2. Mrs. Fraser on The Fatal Shore by Michael Alexander. This is another nonfiction book. Mrs. Fraser was the subject of that really creepy painting by Sidney Nolan.

3. The Rock by Robert Doherty. It's some kind of science fiction type thing involving Uluru.

4. Outside the Gates of Science by Damien Broderick. I've been wanting to read this one. It's about paranormal research. I think it might be like that other book I read; Conscious Universe by Dean Radin. And Radin writes some of that promotional praise stuff on the back of Broderick's book. Maybe they have the same sort of ideas. I really like when people look at paranormal stuff with a scientific and open-minded approach. I much prefer this to skeptics, and people who are overly open-minded.

5. A Fence Around the Cuckoo by Ruth Park. This is one of Park's autobiographies.

6. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier. This is supernatural chick lit. I sometimes LOVE that stuff. Well, I find some books more appealing than other ones. We'll see if I end up liking this one.

7. The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson. I think this is that book that has subtle hints of lesbianism. Or maybe it didn't, but the movie did? It's about a women's school in Melbourne. Oh. And there's an introduction by Germaine Greer. This should be interesting.

8. Fresh Fields by Peter Kocan. I hope this book is as awesome as the other stuff I've read by Kocan. I really loved The Treatment and The Cure.

9. The Black Grail by Damien Broderick. I just looked at the back, and it involves time travel. If it doesn't totally confuse me and scramble my brain, maybe it will be my Lost and FlashFoward replacement....my rebound science fiction.

So, here's the thing. I'm all sad about Lost going bye bye. I've been cheering myself up with the idea of further bonding with FlashForward. The show has some similarities to Lost. They both involve time travel and destiny; and both shows feature Sonya Walger and Dominic Monaghan.

The other day I was telling Tim that I think American science fiction/mystery shows shouldn't go on indefinitely. They should be on for a set time, instead of dragging on and on. I didn't really see how they could keep do several seasons of FlashForward. It would get ridiculous, and repetitive.

Well, the day after saying this....I found out that ABC (American one) is not renewing the show. It has two episodes left, and that's it. Now I'm not only grieving, but I'm feeling guilty for saying it's going to drag on and on. I stick with my feeling that the show needs to have an end in sight. But goodness....not that soon! There's no way they can tie everything together in two episodes.

I think one more year would have been perfect.

Oh well. I still have my Sookie to look forward to. Sookie, Eric, Bill, Sam..... Ah, now I'm feeling better.

Let me continue with the books.

10. Eustace by Catherine Jinks. This is the second in the Allie's Ghost Hunter series. I really loved the first book. I hope I like this one too.

11. Homesickness by Murray Bail. I read his other book; Eucalyptus. I liked some aspects of it, but was bored with some of it. I hope to like this one more.

12. Swords and Crowns and Rings by Ruth Park This is one of Park's fiction books. It's the one that has a romance involving a dwarf. And I think it also involves economic differences.

13. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I don't remember ordering this one, but I'm very glad that I did! I read about it recently, and it sounded interesting to me. I want to read all of Marchetta's books.

And I got one book that's not Australian; Stephen King's Under the Dome. I love almost everything by Stephen King. I hope this book is included in that. It does sound a bit like The Simpson's movie which I didn't like. But hopefully King did a better job with the subject.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vote Yes!

When my parents were in Australia, I asked if they could please buy me some autobiographies/memoirs of Australian politicians. In Hobart, my dad found a used bookstore, and he bought me two books. Only one was a memoir; that's all the store had. So I also got a biography.

The memoir was written by Malcolm Turnbull. It's called Fighting for the Republic.

Okay. Here's the truth. When I asked my dad to buy me those books, I had been feeling a bit overambitious....smarter than I actually am. After I got the books, I was afraid they'd go way over my head, and I'd be bored.

But I actually enjoyed reading the book. I'm sure SOME of it went over my head though.

Turnbull is a Republican...but not the American George W. Bush kind. Turnbull's Republicanism is about making an Australian the head of the state instead of the queen. That makes a lot of sense to me, personally.

The book was about his struggle to get people to vote YES to the republic instead of no. Unfortunately, Turnbull's team lost. I had a few tears at the end. What can I say? I guess I got a bit emotionally involved with the whole thing.

Turnbull's not perfect. He seems a bit overly disgruntled at times. Yeah. Who am I to talk? Despite his minor imperfections though, I like him. It's too bad he's no longer Leader of the Opposition. Speaking of that....Abbott is mentioned in the book. He's a Monarchist, and so is John Howard. Turnbull didn't always have nice things to say about them. It seems he's not a big fan of Howard.

As for what they were trying to do. That confused me a bit, but I think by the end, I got it. They wanted to replace the Governor-General with a President. But they didn't want it to be like the American president. They didn't want all the outrageous election crap. Instead they wanted the Parliament to vote for the President. But it would be a nonpolitical person....someone who is neither Labor or Liberal.

There's more to it, but I'd probably spread false information, if I tried to explain it all.

One of the running things of the book is the accusations of elitism. That's something we hear in America regarding Obama. And it's a criticism that Turnbull and his team often faced.

I love this paragraph that Turnbull wrote. He says:

We must not let this desperate desire not to be "elitist" lead us into imagining that the voters always get it right. They don't. Sometimes nations vote for the wrong people or the wrong propositions. Twelve and a half million Australians are just as fallible collectively as they are individually. There is nothing disrespectful in questioning the judgment of 55 per cent of the Australian population. There is nothing elitist in pointing out that most Australians know virtually nothing about their Constitution. The real elitists are those who want to keep people in the dark and exploit their ignorance to preserve the status quo.
I think maybe I used to buy into the whole idea that we're all equal. My opinion is no more valid than someone else's opinion. And I still think that's true....in a way. Well, I believe we all have a right to our own opinions. But I do think some opinions are more educated than other people's opinions. And I do believe educated opinions hold more weight. For example, I think when it comes to American politics, Tim is in this elite group that I'm excluded from. He knows MUCH more than I do. My vote is equal to his vote....technically. But I think his vote is more valid.

I think we're all elitists in some way. Sometimes it makes us a bit snobby, and that's annoying. But it's also annoying to be snobbish against elitists. We shouldn't act distasteful towards someone just because they know more than we do. Instead, we can ask questions and learn from them...if we're interested. Of course, if someone has an attitude of extreme superiority, that's a different story. Then we might as well ignore them, call them names behind their back, and go learn from someone else. To me, the worst elitists are those who automatically assume other people are more ignorant than they are. I mean not in a general sense. I think it's okay for me to assume that in general I know more about Australia than most Americans. But it would be wrong for me to meet a specific American, talk to them about Australia as if they're totally ignorant, and never stop to think.....they might be some kind of expert on Australia. Maybe they know much more than me.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Hackers, Accent Critiques, Jude Law, and a Guy Who Hates Australia

I had a lot of dreams related to Australia last night.

Okay. The Jude Law one had nothing to do with Australia. But that was pretty awesome, so I'll share it anyway.

So, here they are.

1. Jude Law is interested in me. Wow. Awesome. At first, I don't believe it. I think he's playing me. Then I start to realize he's serious. We have love totally going on here. (It was G-rated....which is fine with me.) At one point, I think about how Jude Law it totally out of my league. But then I have deep thoughts about this whole out-of-my-league thing. I think about how someone out of your league might fall in love with you. But then someone IN your league, or in a lower one, might not be interested in you at all.

2. (
Jen, I think this one was partly inspired by our emails yesterday) I get an email from a guy in Tasmania. It's VERY long, and full of graphics. When I get long emails like this, I usually skim it, and then read it more carefully when I'm ready to write back. So, I do this here. At first, I think he's insulting my blog. I think it's one of those, I hate Americans. You're weird for having an Australian blog. Blah, blah, blah. I read more carefully though, and see he's not insulting my blog. The first paragraph praises my blog. It's not my blog he's against. It's Australia. And I guess it's Australia television he's most unhappy with. He goes on and on about how bad it is. Since I'm skimming, I don't get the details. But I'm thinking later, I'll write him back with examples of good Australian TV.

There's a paragraph about my accent videos. He seems to think I did a good job, which pleases me. What surprises me though is that he pinpoints my accent to a specific region in Victoria. I'm a bit surprised by this. He also says that this accent is one used in familar casual settings. This surprises me too, since I didn't know Australia has formal and casual speech patterns.

There's a whole paragraph about his car. I totally skip that section. (This comes from telling a friend that if she talked about her car, I might have to fake interest). I'm very bored by car talk. (Just like most people are bored by dream talk. Yeah, yeah....I know. There's probably only one person reading this).

Then there's a whole section in the guy's email about Florida. It includes a map. (I'm not sure why he was talking about Florida. Maybe he wanted to move there?)

All in all, I'm not liking this guy. Despite his compliments towards me, I feel weary of him. I feel distrustful and negative. Then I tell myself I should give him a chance. I shouldn't judge people so quickly.

3. (Don't remember much of this one) Tracey (my Australian-Hawaii friend) lives in America now. I think her kids are all grown up, and married. She has grandchildren now, but it's like there's something unfair going on. The grandchildren have a stronger relationship with their other grandparents. It's like they're not getting their fair share of grandchild time. (But it's not like they complained about this. I think I just noticed it.)

4. I end up alone in Australia. I'm walking....I don't know where. I encounter some Aboriginal people....pretty traditional-looking. They come towards me. I'm holding these thin sticks, and they're holding bigger sticks. They don't speak English, at first. I exchange my sticks for some guy's sticks. This seems to be some kind of friendly greeting type thing. Then someone does speak English. I ask them where I am. They say northern New South Wales. I ask which way is north, south....whatever. (I forget where I was trying to go). The Aboriginal man points me in the right direction.

I then end up in this building. It's very tall, and there's idea that each down you go down the stairs, you end up in a more southern part of Australia. I climb, and climb. But then I get to this point where you have to stop climbing stairs, and switch over to this scary ladder. (It would probably be fine for most people, but I'm not good at that stuff). I decide I'll leave the building now, and just walk through regular Australia to get where I need to go. Suddenly then, I realize I never got my luggage. I'm going to need to get that, and this will make my walking through Australia much more difficult.

5. I go to my blog, and see I have a weird signature on my blog post. It's silly, and definitely not something I wrote (not that I don't write silly stuff....but I didn't write THIS silly thing.) I start to realize that there are different signatures on all my blog posts now. My blog has been hacked. It's not just weird signatures, but also my blog has a huge amount of ads now. There's hardly any room for content. I'm not pleased, and try to figure out how I'll fix this thing. I click on one ad, and try to quickly find a way to cancel the service. I can't. I start to think the easiest thing might be to move my blog over to WordPress.

When I woke up from the dream, I had vague memories of being nervous earlier about the potential of someone hacking my blog. I wasn't sure if I was remembering a past dream, or something that happened in real life. Later, when I got out of bed, I remembered it was a real life thing. A week or so ago, I saw something in Statcounter that made me a little nervous. It looked like someone was on a publishing page of my blog. But now I'm thinking maybe they were on the publishing page of THEIR blog, and had jumped to my blog via that direction. I don't know.

Anyway, that's it for my dreams.

I hope you guys have (or are having) a nice weekend. This weekend is big for us. Jack's getting Super Mario Galaxy 2. He's been EXTREMELY excited about this. And we'll be watching the finale of Lost. I'm very excited about this, but also sad. We're also all feeling a tiny bit not well. I hope this passes by the time we need to play our game and watch our show. Ah. Never mind. Tim just came in, and he says he's feeling fine. He was the one I was most worried about. Jack and I have small sore throats, but we pretty much ALWAYS do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Promoting Aussie Lit With a Fake Accent Part 2

No! Not another one! Is there no escape?

I've created a monster...and the monster is myself.

In this video, I'm reading my favorite John Marsden book. My fake accent might sound more British than Australian. Maybe. Maybe not. Or maybe I've invented an all NEW accent. That might be cool.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Promoting Aussie Lit With a Fake Accent

What can I say? I'm having fun with these fake accent videos.

So....I decided to read more from Australian books.

This video is of me reading an excerpt from a Tim Winton book. Hopefully I sound less British and/or Irish this time. Maybe I'll end up sounding like a Kiwi. That might make me happy....since the girl I'd turn gay for is a Kiwi.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crazy Crazy Angels

I've been spending some of my beloved free time on The Australian Screen Website. They provide information and clips for various Australian movies. I think this is going to be my new hang out for awhile.

Since I'm a bit methodical at times, I'm going through the movies in alphabetical order. Today I came across Angel Baby. It's about two schizophrenic people who fall in love, and get pregnant. I've been really into the whole subject of craziness lately, so of course, that movie got my attention. I watched the three provided clips, and then read a little background information. The movie won a ton of AFI awards in 1995, including best picture.

The third clip provided takes place after Harry and Kate flush away their medication. From what I've read, they do this for the sake of the pregnancy. I guess the drugs aren't good for the fetus? Or at least this is what they believe.

After they have stopped taking the medication, Harry and Kate start acting more bizarre. When shopping, they refuse to pay the sales price for an item. They like the original price because the numbers mean something to them. The numbers of the sales price worries them. Then Kate gets hit by a skateboarder. She bleeds. The apologetic teen tries to wipe her blood away with a cloth thing he happened to have handy. She freaks out angrily, because she doesn't like anyone having her blood. Her blood belongs to her. STRANGE. Right?

I can relate to their beliefs though. I have strange beliefs. I'm superstitious. I see meaning in coincidences. I often infer spiritual messages in things I read or see. I don't fret much about the number arrangement of store prices, and people having my blood. But I do insist on frantically knocking on wood if someone makes an observation like It's great no one has gotten sick yet!
Strict Atheists probably see all such beliefs as foolish...and maybe a little crazy. That's fine. The rest of us are a bit hypocritical about the whole thing. Why is it not acceptable for a woman to believe her blood must not be kept by anyone else; but it's okay to eat a cracker in church and believe it's literally the body of Jesus? Harry is annoying with his insistence on paying full price of the item, because he doesn't like the numbers of the sales price. That would probably not be seen as okay by most people. But why then is it seen as okay for some Jewish people to divide their milk and meat dishes? Is it not a bit crazy to be that rigid about dividing dairy from meat? What is their reasoning behind it? What's the rationale? Is there any reason beyond faith and belief?

In the first clip, it's revealed that Kate believes her angels send her messages via Wheel of Fortune. That's so much like something I'd believe. Are we both being ridiculous with all of this? Maybe. But then why is it okay for some Christians, Jews, and Muslims to believe certain books are literally the word of God? To me, it's so funny that even in our modern enlightened society, you open up the hotel room drawer, and the Bible waits there for you. Well, at least this is the case in American hotels. What is that all about? There are so many other books they could leave in that hotel room drawer. The Bible isn't that interesting to me. And I don't believe in it.

It's not to say my beliefs are superior to the beliefs of Christians. But why are the beliefs of Christians so much more accepted than mine? Although even Christianity is accepted only to a point. It's fine to believe in Jesus. But you better not believe you ARE Jesus. It's okay to talk to God. It's not okay to say you hear God talking back to you.

I know Schizophrenia goes beyond having strange beliefs. There are other symptoms to go along with it; hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, difficulty organizing thoughts, weird speech patterns, neglect of personal hygiene, unpredictable behavior, loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal, etc. All that sounds like a pretty sick person. But it also sounds like what might happen, if the stuff that happened to the bible heroes happened to people today. If there IS a God, and she comes down to talk to someone, it's very likely that someone will end up in a mental hospital...heavily medicated.

Maybe the trick is to stay clean. People are more tolerant when you don't smell stinky. So if God does come down to talk to one of us, I advise her to remind her human friend to bathe, brush his teeth, and use deodorant.

I'm not trying to say all Schizophrenic are misunderstood Messiahs.

What am I trying to say?

I'm not exactly sure. Maybe it's that we shouldn't be so quick to judge others. And I think I recently said this in another post. I'm having some Deja Vu here. Anyway. Yeah. I think before judging other people's weird beliefs, we should look at our own. And we might also consider the fact that other people's weird beliefs MIGHT be true. I don't like that Bible in the hotel room drawer. But I can't say it doesn't hold the truth. I want my beliefs to be the right ones. But you can't always get what you want.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Garry McDonald

I think Garry McDonald MIGHT be the guy from Mother and Son. And then if he is that, he also is the guy who did the funny news report things; the one who was there at the Whitlam dismissal.

Let me go see if I'm right.

I'm right!

That's good. It's nice to know I've remembered something.

The funny news report thing was where McDonald played the character of Norman Gunston. I think it was kind of like his alter-ego? I think it's a bit like Stephen Colbert. Although Stephen Colbert plays a guy named Stephen Colbert. But although the names are the same, from what I know, the actor is very different from the character.

I just watched a brief interview with Colbert, and I think he said exactly what I needed to hear this morning. It was about how we can't be afraid if we're laughing. There are so many scary things in the world, and laughing keeps us from being afraid all the time. I like that. I've been a bit....I don't know. I'm not depressed really. I feel happy most of the time. I'm not having symptoms of anxiety. I'm just feeling....well, it's like I'm over-aware of all the bad stuff that COULD happen. I think it stems from my whole losing faith in humanity thing. Then it escalated with my family's cancer scare. Okay, that ONE was benign. But what if the next one is not? With so many mean people, diseases, and natural disasters out there, I feel I should be incredibly grateful for each day that those I love are still live.

If I dwell on all this though, a dark cloud will be covering me. And then I WILL get depressed. I think I prevent the depression by doing what Colbert says: Laugh.

I think we'll explore this a bit later, because McDonald's show Mother and Son deals with that concept. It's a comedy about Alzheimer's.

For now, let's go back to the beginning.

Baby Garry was born in Sydney on 30 October 1948. He's about two months younger than my mom.

McDonald attended Cranbrook School, which is a school for boys. Lord Wiki says it's in Rose Bay. We know people that live there. Maybe they send their kids to that school. I should ask someday.

Later in life, McDonald went to NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts).

I'm trying to decide if I should do IMDb for McDonald's career, or stick to Lord Wiki for that.

Maybe I'll rely on both.

Well, he actually has a long filmography. I thought maybe there were just a small handful of substantial things. And in that case, it's easiest to just use Lord Wiki as my main source. But now, I'm thinking I'll use mostly IMDb.

The first thing on the filmography was a 1967 TV show called You Can't See Round Corners. This TV website says it a drama about a woman's love affair with an army deserter during the Vietnam War. There was some controversy about the show, because the romance scenes were a bit intense. Some Australian TV stations cut certain scenes out.

I don't think McDonald had a big role in this.

In the year I was born, McDonald did eight episodes of a TV show called Snake Gully with Dad and Dave. McDonald played Dave, so he was one of the title characters.

This Australian television website has a whole page on the show, including a photo of Garry McDonald. The characters of the show originally came from a novel, then they were on a radio show, and then the TV program.

The show takes place in the late 1800's. Dave is a guy living with his parents on their farm. The parents are often at odds with their neighbors. And Dave has a romance going on with their daughter.

Here's the opening credits of the show. And here's a short clip from the old radio show. I love the music.

In 1973, McDonald was in the family adventure movie Avengers of the Reef. I can't find much about it. Maybe it was about a reef. They have some of those in Australia, I believe.

In 1974, McDonald was in the TV Flash Nick from Jindavick. I may have encountered this movie when I wrote about Max Gillies. It does sound vaguely familar. IMDb says it was made up of the same cast of people who were in the Aunty Jack Show. Was McDonald on The Aunty Jack Show? I think maybe I did see it mentioned when I was skimming through Lord Wiki.

Oh, okay. Yes he was. I had another IMDb mix-up. It's really confusing because they don't place the TV shows in the filmography at the time the person was in the show. They place it at the time the TV Show ended. So although McDonald started working on The Aunty Jack Show in 1973, before he was in Flash Nick from Jindavick; it's listed in 1975, because I guess that's when the show ended.

So let's back up to that.

From 1973-1975, McDonald was in The Aunty Jack Show. Way back, when I was looking for Australian music to download to my iTunes, I ended up with a song from that. Maybe it was the theme song. I'll go listen to it now......

Actually, the song I have is called "Farewell Aunty Jack". Maybe they played it at the end of the program?

Here's a video of the song from the show. It actually has words. The version I have is just instrumental.

McDonald is the guy wearing the orange shirt.

I'm so confused, and not in the mood to be confused. But oh well. What can you do?

IMDb says that McDonald was on The Aunty Jack Show from 1972-1975. But they say the show was on until only 1973. And now Lord Wiki is also saying the show ended then. Maybe they had a few specials in 1974 and 1975?

It's so funny. I think because the version of the song I had was instrumental....kind of in a big band type way....I pictured the show being pretty wholesome and old-fashioned. And plus there's that whole aunty thing in the title. I kind of pictured it as a talent show type thing with corny jokes. Lord Wiki says it's about a violent transvestite who knocks people unconscious and threatens to tear their arms out.

I'm reading more of what Lord Wiki has to say about the show. He says it's often compared to Monty Python, but the show aired before Monty Python aired in Australia. I don't know though. That doesn't really prove anything. One of the creators of Aunty Jack may have gone to England, and seen the show. You never know. But I can buy that it's just a coincidence that the shows have a similar tone.

When McDonald first came on the show, he played Aunty Jack's sidekick Kid Eager. But then later, a new role was created for him. This was Norman Gunston, the character that eventually made McDonald famous.

Here's an Aunty Jack show clip featuring Kid Eager. It's very silly.

Here's another scene from the show. I think McDonald is in it, but I'm not sure which character he's playing. Well, I don't think he's Kid Eager or Norman Gunston. Maybe sometimes they played other characters. This scene is about a bus driver job interview.

Lord Wiki says The Aunty Jack Show was loved by some, and not loved by others. Young people tended to think it was great. Critics tended to think it was crap. ABC received many phone calls after the first episode complaining about the violence, bad language, and the whole drag queen aspect of it. ABC considered canceling the show, but the children of some of the ABC executives pleaded with them not to do it.

I guess those children were persuasive, but only to a point. The show went on for two years, and then was canceled. The title character was done away with by having her have a heart attack. Why did she have such a heart attack? She had been mortified by the bad language used by other people on the show. That was a pretty clever response to the criticism and cancellation of the program.

It did earn some kudos though. It won a Logie in 1974 for best comedy, and in 1985, the master tapes and negatives of the show were placed in the National Archives. Well, I guess it's like most art. Some people like it, and some people don't like it. Some things are considered to be crap, and then later people realize it's a classic.

I feel all twisted around and dizzy from the filmography here. But I'll try my best.

In 1974, McDonald appeared in the movie Stone. IMDb says it's a cult classic, about a motorcycle club. McDonald appears low in the credits, and his role is simply titled Mechanic. So I'm guessing he didn't have a huge part in the movie.

Here's a trailer for the movie. It's not really the type of movie I'd usually watch.

In 1975, McDonald played Norman Gunston in two shows. One was The Norman Gunston Show, and the other was Wollongong the Brave.

Guess who was one of the writers for the Norman Gunston show? Morris Gleitzman. Did I mention that when I wrote about Gleitzman? Let me go check....

Well, I didn't mention it exactly. But I did mention that Gleitzman started out writing for television. So, that's good.

Here's a Gunston interview with Chevy Chase. I'm not sure if it's from The Norman Gunston show, or another one of the similar programs.

I don't know if I've ever seen Stephen Colbert interview a comedian. I wonder if it's harder to do these fake interviews with people who are funny themselves. I guess the same goes for any comedian interviewer, even the ones being themselves. Does it make it easier or harder if the interviewee is a comedian too. Do they play off each other, or is there some kind of comedic clash?

Maybe I'm asking that because I didn't laugh at the Chevy Chase interview. It didn't work for me. I'll try an interview with a more serious person, and see if that works for me.

How about Ray Charles?

No.  That didn't make me laugh.

How about Olivia Newton John? That amused me very mildly, but I didn't laugh. I'm feeling like a failure here.

McDonald didn't just do comedy in 1975. He appeared in Picnic at Hanging Rock. I love that movie, and I haven't even seen it yet. Maybe I just like the music, and the IDEA of it. McDonald is low in the credits, and played Constable Jones. You'd think by now he was a fairly big star. I wonder why he took a small role like that?

Lord Wiki is helping me out here. It's hard to get a clear story from IMDb at times. Lord Wiki says Picnic at Hanging Rock came out around the time of the Norman Gunston stuff. It was his first big screen appearance. Maybe he wasn't yet as big a star as I imagined. He might have been more of an emerging one.

I'm going to see if I can spot McDonald in the trailer for Picnic at Hanging Rock. I'm kind of doubting it.

Is that him at 2:12?

I think that's him at 3:57.

In 1977, McDonald was in The Picture Man Show. The plot sounds kind of good to me. It's about a man and his son who travel around with their piano to play during silent movies. Judy Morris is in the movie, and she'd later be one of McDonald's co-stars in Mother and Son. She plays his sister-in-law. And she was also with McDonald in Avengers of the Reef.

Here's a trailer for The Picture Man Show.

It has a very catchy tune. I hope I'm not singing that all day.

I didn't see McDonald. Did you?

The Norman Gungston stuff is hard to follow on IMDb. It just kind of pops up here and there. So I think I'm just going to skip recording it in that way.

Why don't I just get it all out now, and then I'll skip it during the filmography.

I'm reading what Lord Wiki has to say about the guy. He says McDonald says the character was initially a parody of an American expatriate named Tommy Leonetti. In Australia, Leonetti was known for a song called "My City of Sydney", and hosting a talk show.

Gunston was known for being underprepared for interviews. I guess he did the same ignorance act that Stephen Colbert does. I wonder if Stephen Colbert was inspired by Gunston at all.

One of the things that Gunston is most famous for is his news report from the big Whitlam dismissal thing. When I first saw it, I assumed it was doctored footage. I didn't think he was actually there. But someone told me otherwise. Now Lord Wiki tells me it was just a good luck accident on McDonald's part. They happened to be in Canberra when it all happened.

Here's the video for people who haven't seen it.

I love his line; What I want to know is this an affront to the constitution of this country, or was it just a stroke of good luck for Mr. Fraser?

I'm betting it was a little bit of both.

Now I'm going to move onto other Garry McDonald stuff.

In 1982, he was in The Pirate Movie, the movie with Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins. He played the inspector/Sergeant.

Here's one of his scenes. It's strangely entertaining....kind of annoying though, after awhile.

McDonald earned an AFI nomination for the movie. The movie itself won a Razzie Award for worst director, musical score, and worst song.

Here's a video of Sandra Bullock winning a Razzie award for worst actress. I guess you have to have good sense of humor to do that. And her speech IS pretty funny. Since she won an Oscar the next day, I'm guessing her bad performance may be caused more by bad writing and directing, rather than her own lack of talent.

Also in 1982, McDonald was in Ginger Meggs. He played John Meggs. Maybe that's the father of Ginger? I think of Ginger as a girl's name, because of Gilligan's Island and a high school classmate of mine. But in this, it refers to a male.

Oh! Lord Wiki says that Ginger Meggs was a comic strip. No, actually it's not a was. It's an is. The comic strip is still being made, even though the original creator died a few years ago. No wait. The original original creator died before even that. Some other guy took over, and now he's died. So I guess the comic is on it's third artist.

Here's the beginning of the movie. I'm not sure if we'll see McDonald.

And here's the Ginger Meggs website. Ginger Meggs is Australia's longest running comic strip.

I'm wondering if Jack would like this comic.

There's McDonald (in the video) at 3:56. He was actually on screen before that, but hiding behind a newspaper.

In 1983, McDonald was in that dog movie with a young Claudia Karvan; Molly. Oh, and Ruth Cracknell was in it too. A year later, Cracknell would be playing McDonald's mother in Mother and Son.

Mother and Son lasted until 1994. I didn't realize it was on for that long. I've seen a few episodes....maybe five or six?

In 1994, McDonald won a Logie for the show. According to IMDb, the show itself never won a Logie....or any AFI awards. That really surprises me. Is there some mistake?

In my opinion, it's an amazing show. They take a very serious and depressing subject, and make it funny. But it's not in a mocking way. The sadness is still there. Oh, it's so hard to explain. I'm not even going to try.

Someone used to have a bunch of episodes online, but they got taken down, unfortunately.

There's a few clips here. I'm not sure if there will be enough to illustrate how brilliant the show is.

Here's one of the clips. I've seen this episode.

Ruth Cracknell was so beautiful.

This show in itself makes my Australia obsession worth it. But there's other good stuff too. I watched Dating the Enemy the other night. Did I mention that already? Anyway, that was really nice.

This I didn't know before. There were Mother and Son commercials....I mean not commercials for the show, but commercials for products featuring the actors. It's for Dynamo Detergent.

In 1985, McDonald was in a TV movie filmed in the Northern Territory; Banduk. I can't find much about it. Wait. Here's something. It's about an Aboriginal girl fighting a bird smuggling operation. McDonald plays the bad guy in this.

Also in 1985, McDonald did another TV movie called Winners: Top Kid. The Australian Screen site has some clips from it. It's about quiz show cheating.

I'm not sure if McDonald is in any of the clips. I'm watching the third one. The description sounds a bit like The Slumdog Millionaire.

Oh, that poor kid.

McDonald appears at 2:21. He's the quiz show host.

It looks like a sad and thought-provoking movie. What message do you give to a child when you encourage them to cheat? Well, first you're telling them it's okay to lie. Then second....you're telling them that they're not good enough. The kid was robbed of accomplishing something on his own, and being truly proud.

McDonald appeared in a comedy about the explorers Wills and Burke. McDonald played Burke. That same year, there was another movie called Burke and Wills. I guess it was a big year for those guys. They're the ones who died while exploring, right?

Yeah. Lord Wiki says it's likely that they died of Beriberi. That's a Thiamine deficiency. So hey...remember to get your Thiamine. Vegemite is a very good source!

Oh! I just noticed that Nicole Kidman was in Wills and Burke.

In 1987, McDonald was in the dark comedy Those Dear Departed. McDonald plays a murdered actor.

Also in 1987, McDonald appeared in a romantic drama called The Place at the Coast. Fandago has a description of it. It sounds like a family drama type thing. A girl goes to the coast with her widowed father. She becomes friends with a young woman. Then things go a bit sour when her father and the woman fall in love. Ouch. That might be a difficult situation.

McDonald isn't one of the main stars in it.

In 1990, McDonald was in Struck by Lightning. It's about a halfway house where disabled people do factory work. Then some sport stuff enters the picture. I guess it's one of those feel-good inspirational sports movies.

McDonald plays the boss of the factory.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a review of the movie. It's from 2006. I guess they reviewed it when it played on television.

McDonald's character is an alcoholic, and the children are intellectually disabled. The reviewer says, Along the way to the climactic match, we meet a procession of caricature charity parasites, whose self-righteous posturing is of little value to the future of the children. That sounds intriguing. I wonder what they did, or didn't do. Now I'm curious.

This kind of surprises me. While McDonald and Judy Morris were still doing Mother and Son, they did another show together. This was Eggshells. How did they manage to do TV shows at once?

An IMDb user named Simonotsimple says the show was about a divorced man taking care of his children. The ex-wife has little interest in them. Simonotsimple says, Although this is a fairly common scenario in many broken families today it was not considered politically correct, thus only fifteen episodes. Women being portrayed as reckless and indifferent to their own children was not popular with the feminists.


I'm sure it does happen. My guess though is that it's more often the man who abandons the family.

I was just looking for statistics regarding the divorced parent thing, and I found an article in Discovery Health. It's regarding divorce myths. It doesn't confirm my assertion above, but it does agree with other stuff I believe. What it talks about is the belief that kids are better off if their parents get divorced. It's better to have divorced parents than unhappy parents. That's the thing I've often heard. This article says studies show that's NOT true. They say:

 While it found that parents' marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children's well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. In examining the negative impacts on children more closely, the study discovered that it was only the children in very high-conflict homes who benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce — and the study found that perhaps as many as two thirds of the divorces were of this type — the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Based on the findings of this study, therefore, except in the minority of high-conflict marriages it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.


I know Jack had a difficult time when Tim and I had our marriage problems. I'm pretty sure though that we'd be classified as low-conflict. We got along most of the time. We had a few fights, but we weren't like those who constantly yell at each other.

What the article pretty much says is that it's better (in many cases) to try really hard to make things work....or at least ride through them, until they get better. Of course, this doesn't apply to marriages that contain severe and/or consistent abuse.

I like what the article says about happiness. 86% of couples unhappily married in the 1980's, were happier five years later. Marriage has its ups and downs. When things are down (especially if they're down for several years), there's a tendency to believe that we've found the wrong person, and the next marriage will be better. The article says divorce rates for second marriages are higher than those for first marriages. I can't say that surprises me.

I'm not taking all of this as gospel though. With subjects like this, you usually have one study saying one thing, and other studies saying the exact opposite.

The best situation is for a child to be with a mother and father who happily love each other. But life's not perfect, and that doesn't always happen. So then you have to decide what's best for everyone....staying or walking away. There's no easy answers.

I'd love to stay on my annoying soapbox for a longer time, but I still have a lot of Garry McDonald left to do.

Garry McDonald and Judy Morris sure do a lot of work together. Are they married, or something? Best friends? In 1992, they were in a TV movie called The Other Side of Paradise. How did they do two TV shows, and a TV movie? Where do they find the time for all of this?

The Other Side of Paradise is based on a novel about a doctor who goes to work in a South Sea Island. I don't think McDonald was one of the main stars.

Mother and Son ended in 1994. In 1995, McDonald appeared in two episodes of Fire, a show about firefighters.

In 1997, McDonald was in one of those Rebecca Gibney Halifax movies.

Yeah....I'm kind of speeding through here. Sorry. I'll slow down when something interests me, or I find an excuse to go off on a tangent.

Also in 1997, McDonald was in the TV show Fallen Angels. That sounds familar to me. Maybe I'm thinking of something with a similar title. Or maybe I have Lucifer or Azazel on my mind.

Lord Wiki says the show was about lawyers.

In 1998, McDonald did four episodes of Medivac. Lord Wiki says that's a show about emergency medical staff who help out in disaster type situations. According to TV.com, McDonald played Ernie sharp, a homeless guy with a drinking problem.

In 1999, McDonald did two episodes of All Saints. This Australian TV website says that McDonald played a patient with lung cancer. They have a photo from the show.

In 2000, McDonald appeared in that comedy with Yahoo Serious and Helen Dallimore; Mr. Accident. I've watched stuff from this before. I'm not really in the mood to watch anymore.

McDonald played a doctor in Moulin Rouge. I'm not sure how big a role that was. Would he be in the trailer? Maybe I'll check. Here it is.

I didn't see him.

In the same year as Moulin Rouge, McDonald appeared in the TV show Love is a Four-Letter Word. He did eight episodes of the show. Lord Wiki says the show was about 20-something people living in Newtown. One of the features of the show was that they featured performances from various bands.

In 2002, McDonald was in Rabbit Proof Fence. He played Mr. Neal. I wonder if his character was one of the good guys or bad guys.

In 2003, McDonald was in The Rage in Placid Lake. This is the movie with Ben Lee and Rose Byrne. I remember that I thought it was a horror movie at first. But it's not. It's about a kid who wants to be an insurance agent. Well, we all aspire to different things.

McDonald plays Doug Lake. Ben Lee is Placid Lake. So I guess McDonald plays his father.

Here's the trailer. McDonald is sprinkled here and there. He has a beard.

For the movie, McDonald was nominated for an award from the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

In 2005, McDonald was in the miniseries about Mary Bryant. I've thought of this movie lately, because we've been watching a lot of FlashForward. Jack Davenport is in that, and he's also in Mary Bryant.

McDonald plays a reverend in the movie.

In 2006, McDonald was in a TV crime thing called BlackJack: Dead Memory. This Australian TV website says it's about a woman whose car breaks down, and then she's murdered. I hate stories like that.

I'm using a lot of this same Australian TV website today. I'm not sure if I've used it before, or not. I can't remember. But it's been really useful. I need to remember to use it in the future.

Also in 2006, McDonald did the TV movie Stepfather of the Bride. I've written about two other people from this program; Noni Hazlehurst, and Kate Richie.

In 2007, McDonald appeared in a TV biography called The King. It's about a TV star named Graham Kennedy. Lord Wiki says he's known as the king of Australian television. Ah, so that's where the title comes from.

McDonald played Nicky Whitta, a radio personality.

McDonald played Tony Byrne in A Model Daughter: The Killing of Caroline Byrne. I guess he played the father of the murdered daughter. I was trying to remember why I've written about this before. I had to look through the credits. Indiana Evans is in it.

McDonald received a Logie nomination for his role in the movie.

McDonald's upcoming project is an American-Australia horror movie called Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce are in it. It's a remake of a 1973 movie. Here's a trailer of that one.

All right. I'm done with the filmography. I'm going to take a break, and then read an interview or two....probably just one. I'm exhausted.

McDonald was on Enough Rope in 2004. I'll read that transcript.

Denton says that McDonald's father always thought his son was funny, and would be a comedian. Then Denton asks McDonald how he knew he was funny. McDonald said people would laugh. I guess that's a pretty good indication.

McDonald says he's very conservative....politically, or like with clothing and behavior type stuff?

Okay. I think he's talking about clothes. His clothes are conservative, but McDonald wishes he was more daring. One day he went out and bought some colorful clothes. He wore then out, and then realized they were pajamas. That reminds me of something. When I was in college, I wore pajamas to class....on purpose. I don't know what I was trying to do? Start a trend? I think I may have worn regular pants, but a flannel pajama shirt. Or maybe my whole outfit was pajamas.

I do sometimes wear, what I consider to be pajamas, out into the world. But it's really just a t-shirt and shorts that I happen to sleep in. They're not REALLY pajamas.

McDonald is asked what's the big secret of doing comedy. He replies, Oh, well I think the most important thing is that it's got to be totally believable and it's got to look effortless. That makes sense. Jack and I were talking about this yesterday. I played some trick on him. He believed me, and was impressed that I had tricked him. I told him that when you do a practical joke, you can't make it too outrageous. I forgot what my joke was? Oh! I remember. He was eating a Ding Dong for Dessert. While he was eating it, I said Why didn't you want cherry pie for dessert? I inferred that Tim (our resident chef) had made pie, and he missed it. It's kind of hard to explain. You'd have to be there. And I'm sure my comedic abilities are WAY behind the talents of Garry McDonald.

McDonald says that doing the Gunston interviews were scary....nerve-wracking. I can imagine. But maybe some people get used to it?

Denton and McDonald talk about how certain interview subjects had no sense of humor. I personally think EVERYONE has a sense of humor....well, unless maybe they're severely autistic or severely mentally retarded. But even they may a sense of humor. It just might not be one we understand. I personally think it's more precise to say certain people had no sense of humor regarding the Gunston interview.

In 1997, McDonald did a show called Ripsnorters. That was on IMDb, but it was in the starring-as-self category, and I often skip those. Anyway, during the time of the show, McDonald had a nervous breakdown. Lord Wiki had mentioned that a bit. He said McDonald dealt with depression.

McDonald says it started with anxiety, and then got worse and worse.

He found it very hard to get out of bed. That sounds pretty bad.

McDonald got psychiatric help, and took anti-depressants for awhile. Then later his diagnosis was fine-tuned to an anxiety disorder.

McDonald says one psychologist advised him to walk everyday. I agree with that....well, at least if helps me. I NEED to exercise....do something physical. I really do think it keeps me sane...or at least not deeply depressed. McDonald says And that's fantastic advise for anyone with depression. Force yourself to do that every morning, every morning, as soon as you get up, put on the walkers and go out for a brisk walk, and about 20 minutes and you'll notice a change, it's very, very good.

I don't go out for a walk everyday. I have something called a Bosu. I do stepping on it. So, it's something I can do rain or shine, and at night. I don't have to worry about Tim being home to watch Jack. It's REALLY nice.

Reading this has made me change my mind about something. We're going to the lake house tomorrow. I usually bring the Bosu, but was thinking since we'll be there for only one night, I can just leave it at home. I don't need to be that rigid about exercising everyday. But now I've decided I should bring it...not for calorie-burning, but for my psyche. I love my family A LOT. But sometimes I get emotionally stressed when I'm with them. So this can kind of help me be okay. If the weather is nice, I may take walks as well.

McDonald had a hard time with September 11. He felt it was the end of the world. I get end of the world feelings all the time. It's not really a depressive thought though. It feels more like the climax of an action movie. I get this sense that we're just at the verge of some HUGE thing. The ending of the world doesn't really depress me much....I mean the idea of EVERYONE dying. My fear of death is all about people missing each other. But if we're all dead, no one will miss each other. So no.... it doesn't bother me much.

I'm trying to figure out whether or not McDonald still takes psychiatric medicine. This depression website says he took meds for fifteen months. I guess maybe he stopped. Now he uses exercise and cognitive therapy. I personally think that's great.

This page of the depression website lists and rates various treatments for depression. They give the highest scores to anti-depressants, electroconvulsive therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy. They do admit though that anti-depressants have some side effects. I don't know though. Personally, I'd want to take them only as a very last resort.

They list other therapies that have been found to be helpful. One is bibliotherapy. I've used this. It helped me somewhat. I think it helps for awhile. It helped me understand things. But then I feel if you read TOO much, you start dwelling on your problems. For me, there comes a point, where I need to just move on, and think of other things.

There's various types of psychological therapy that work. It seems that some types of therapy work better than others.

Light therapy seems to work. I can understand that. I start feeling down if things are too dark. I like light....except when I go to sleep.

They have exercise on the list.

St. John's Wort helps. I have some St. John's Wort tea. I don't drink it too much. I'm not sure if the dosage is enough to make a difference. Maybe?

They list other stuff that has potential in helping; hormones, acupuncture, alcohol avoidance, aromatherapy, massage, air ionizers (interesting!), vitamins, and yoga.

The things that help me be okay are exercising, writing, and losing myself in fiction. Of course, the BIGGEST one is having a friend and/or loved one to talk to. I don't think ANYTHING can compare to that. The problem is that sometimes that's not available. Some people disappear when you're sad. They may be too busy to deal with it, or just want to avoid negativity.

I find my ideal talk-to-person, in these situations, is one that's readily available to talk. I have lovely friends who I communicate with a few times a month. I love them. But when I'm feeling down, I need those friends who write on a very regular basis. And there's Tim. He's there for me.

The other thing that's so helpful to me is having friends who make me laugh. They can make me see the funny side of my problems. They let me talk about things. We can laugh about it....And they make me feel that I'm normal. They don't make me feel like some sort of horrible freak. Well, honestly....one of the ways they make me feel okay is they're weird themselves. I've tried to talk to those people who put off a I'm-so-normal vibe, and that doesn't make me feel good at all....especially if they're condescending about it.

Anyway.....

I just took a shower, and realized there's something I need....a break! There's this little voice within me saying I don't deserve a break. It might be true. But I'm going to gift myself with a break anyway.

I feel very happy and relieved about this!