Thursday, July 29, 2010

We can do it!! Maybe...Probably?

I've been having lots of deep thoughts this week...about certain things. It's really about trying to understand how I feel about certain subjects.

I read a quote that I thought might help me get things more clear in my head. But then I tried writing the post, and I deleted it. I didn't like it.

I'm going to try again. Hopefully, this one will be better than the last.

The quote is from Peter Kocan's book Fresh Fields.

Diestl didn't despise anyone for being weak. He knew too well how cruel the world was and how it could frighten a person to their very core. What Diestl despised was a person who wasn't entirely weak, who had the potential to hit back, to make the world grin on the other side of it's face, but who shirks the duty.
I might be reading more into what Kocan meant to say. I'm not sure if that quote exactly fits what I'm thinking, and trying to say.

Oh, I'll just imagine it does.

Here's the thing. I don't believe that hard work + positive thinking = guaranteed success. I believe some people get a really tough break in life, and it's a huge struggle to overcome it. I think for some people it's impossible to overcome the problems, and an entity (like the government) has to step in and help them. That's why I'm politically left rather than politically right.

On the other hand, I think many people (including me) fall into a trap of making excuses for themselves.

This week I've been dealing with the subject of eating disorders. Why? A couple of weeks ago, I decided I want to go on a diet. I really want to lose weight...a lot of weight. This has made me feel like a total hypocrite because in my eating disorder blog, I said I'm against dieting.

So what should a girl do? How about making the blog private, so there's no public record of me saying I'm against dieting? Yeah. That's what I did. If you realize you're a hypocrite, quick and hide the evidence.

Anyway, I started the diet. I've increased my exercise. I can't say I've quickly dropped several pounds. Things are working quite slow here.

I decided to seek help via the Internet. I googled dieting after recovering from an eating disorder. Somehow that led me to a term called Wannarexia. The idea here is that some people don't have true eating disorders. They're not mentally ill. They're just....well, they're fools. They fall into a trap of wanting to be thin. They're overly influenced by the mainstream media, comments of family and friends, and vanity. Those who believe in this Wannarexia say one of the ways to distinguish this from the REAL Anorexia is that Anorexics are ashamed of their thin body and wear baggy clothes to hide themselves. Although they're really not ashamed of their thinness. They think they're fat. They're delusional. They're a bit insane. They're mentally ill....seriously and truly mentally ill.

Wannarexic people know they're thin, and flaunt it.

That was me. I was HAPPY to be thin, and I knew I was thin.

I mean there was a point where I felt fat at 108 pounds. But I don't think that's being delusional. I think it's a matter of comparison and perspective. Compared to 97 pounds, 108 DOES feel fat. Today, my scale said 134.5. That feels thin compared to the 140 lbs I was several months ago.

Anyway, I was angry and sad when I first read the wannarexic stuff. It's insulting. So I did the usual, Those bitchy know-it-alls have no idea what they're talking about. I DID have an eating disorder. And many websites, psychotherapists, and medical folks would agree with me.

Then I went into the other thing I think about lately....my belief that mental illness is overdiagnosed.

These days, so many of us supposedly have some kind of mental illness.

Am I mentally ill because I wanted to be very thin? Am I destined to end up killing myself with this new diet?

No.

Was my behavior in the past okay? Is it okay to exercise extremely excessively, count calories, weigh yourself multiple times a day, and totally obsess over food?

No.

But now instead of saying I had an eating disorder, I prefer to say In the past, I made very unhealthy and dangerous choices.
Choice.

That's the keyword there. I do not believe I have some kind of something in my brain/soul that FORCES me to go on extreme diets. There are things in my genes/brains that push me to make the wrong choices, but nothing forces me to make them.

I think there probably ARE people with real mental illness. They truly can't help themselves, and need major medication and psychotherapy. But I think a lot of mentally healthy people use the excuse of mental illness to make choices they don't need to make.

I can't go to work. I'm too depressed.

I have to eat that whole box of Twinkies. I have an eating disorder.

I have to waste my paycheck. I have a shopping addiction.

I'm a goal-oriented attention-seeking competitive perfectionist that overly worries about what others think of me, and longs to feel in control. I'm a perfect candidate for someone to want to be extremely thin. But I'm not CRAZY. I'm smart enough and mentally healthy enough to set myself straight...when I'm ready to set myself straight.

I've been mildly depressed before. But it's not mental illness depression. I have times in my life where I feel blue. I don't lie in bed and let the world pass me by. I get up, go about my life, and think awful depressing stuff while I do it. Then my life improves eventually, and I feel better. I think other people might fall into the trap of believing they are ill. Woe is me. I'm sad. When you're depressed, you're supposed to lay in bed, eat ice-cream all day, and think of ways to commit suicide. So this is what I shall do. I think some people make a choice to do this because they've mistaken normal human fluctuations of emotion with true mental illness.

I'm nervous people are going to think I believe there's no such thing as mental illness. Uh, not because I have an anxiety disorder, but because sometimes humans get nervous about things.

Anyway, I do think SOME folks are mentally ill....bipolar, schizophrenic, anorexic...whatever. But I don't think mental illness is some kind of epidemic, that some would like us to think.

I think some of us have hurdles to climb that others don't have....or they have them to a greater degree than average. Some of us have more baggage than others. Some of us have higher mountains to climb. Some people are tied down by major shit, and it's literally impossible for them to go upwards. But I think many of us CAN climb the mountain. We just have to believe we're capable....even if it's a hell of an effort. The problem is we have so many mental health advocates telling us we're sick. We start to believe them, and sit on the bottom of the mountain....waiting and moaning.

I have a challenge here. Because of my bad eating choices, my metabolism is still screwed up. I'm dieting, exercising, and the weight loss is annoyingly slow. I could give up, and be happy with my body the way it is. I've tried that. I'm not obese (or even overweight if you go by the BMI thing). But I'm honestly NOT happy with my weight right now. I look at photos of myself and cringe.

My metabolism can have some kind of happy recovery, and I can go on another crazed weight loss thing. Maybe I can go back to being 97 pounds! But no. I'm not going to go down THAT path. Nor am I going to give up anytime soon. I'm going to keep trying to lose weight, but I'm not going to lose too much weight. I'm going to make smart healthy choices.

I know I'm capable.

I may be pathetic, but I know I can rise above that sometimes!




Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Priorities

I'm reading Peter Kocan's Fresh Fields. So far, it's a beautiful book. It's about a lonely teenager; a great illustration of alienation. I can relate to the lost and lonely feelings in the book, but fortunately for me, those episodes in my life were sporadic. For the kid in the book, it's pretty much a constant.

The book makes me think about how hard it is for sometimes to live in this world. For some, it's hard to find the very basic necessities of life— food, water, a place to shower, and a place to sleep. Then it can also be hard to find the other necessities— someone to talk to, someone to laugh with, someone to take your side, someone to BE there for you.

There IS human kindness on this earth, but it can be far and few between. And sometimes I think we have our priorities messed up.

I watched a clip, from Body Work on the Australian screen website. It's a documentary about death. The clip I watched shows the cremation process. It looks awfully complicated to me...and expensive. They burn the body with a wooden coffin. Isn't that a waste of resources? I mean maybe it's not a big deal. Trees are wasted quite often. Why should I pick on a cremation coffin? But whatever. It seems to me there'd be a more efficient way of disposing of the human body. We don't look for efficient though. Why? The human corpse is sacred. And that's fine. It seems to be a cross-cultural thing. For some reason, we care about dead bodies and want to take care of them.

The problem is we sometimes seem to care about dead bodies more than living ones. You can go to a funeral and see people sobbing hysterically about someone who has just been lost. I have to wonder, were all those people there for that person when they were alive? I mean no one can be there for everyone ALL of the time. Of course not. But how many people at the funeral frequently ignored the starred attraction when he or she was alive?

In our world, it seems much easier to love someone once they're dead. It's harder to give love and attention to the living.

And another group showed with love?

Embryos.

I have talked to people recently who are very passionate about unborn humans, feeling these unborn humans are the most innocent of all and should be protected.

It would be nice if all embryos could have a chance at life. Although if they all had a chance, things might get even more crowded. Do we have a room for all these embryos? I seriously doubt it.

The other question is do we have enough love for all these embryos?

I really don't think so.

Now for the record, I'm with Peter Singer when it comes to issues of abortion. Unlike Christians (and people of other similar religious groups) I'm not a speciesist I don't see humans as being more valuable than other animals simply because they're human. If I had a choice between saving a cow calf or a toddler, I'd pick the toddler. A toddler is smarter than a calf (I think?). And humans are usually more intelligent than cows. An increase in intelligence is going to equal an increase in the sense of loss. I think the human parents would miss their child more than the cow parents. And I'd want to take the action that would bring the least amount of suffering.

But if the choice was between saving a calf or a cluster of human cells, I'd choose the calf. And I would make the same choice if the human pregnancy had progressed beyond a cluster of cells.
Let's pretend though that I am a speciesist like most other humans. Let's pretend I believe human life IS more valuable than other life....no matter what the circumstance or stage of development. What is the point of preventing abortion? What is the point of putting so much emphasis on saving these unborn babies?

Is there really a place for all of them in this world? Is there enough love to go around? Are there enough adults out there willing and wanting to adopt a child? Is there enough free medical care to go around (for those with families who can't afford it)? Is there enough healthy and affordable food for everyone? Is there enough affordable housing?

If I was one of those people who valued human life over all other life, I'm not sure fighting against abortion would be the best way to save innocent little fetus things. I think the best way to fight would be to....

a)adopt a child
b) give assistance/sponsor a single mother (emotional, practical, and financial)
c) give money to a charity that builds homes for families in need. That way if a family gets pregnant with their fourth child, they have a place for it to sleep.
d) Fight for gay couples to adopt children. That way more homes open up to potential humans.
e) Encourage the government to offer better work benefits for parents....make it less of a hardship to have children.

Just basically....do things for the children who are already born and alive.

I'm trying to think of an analogy here. I think I got one....probably a bit crazy.

Well, it's kind of like throwing a fit because no one has come to your party. You invite everyone, no one shows up, and you act like it's the worse thing in the world. But you did nothing to prepare for the party. You need to buy/prepare awesome food, get cool decorations, have music ready, and make things great for your guests. THEN you worry about inviting people, and having them show up.

I think we need to make the world more awesome and welcoming. Then we can hope that makes less people want to opt out of bringing new babies into the world.



Are We Speaking of Dr. Halifax?

Rebecca Gibney sometimes plays a forensic psychiatrist.

According to my Statcounter, this is important today for some reason.

I am quite mystified.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Disturbing

I wanted to come up with a clever title for this post, but I'm speechless. Well, sort of.

I just watched a VERY disturbing video. I'm wishing that it's not true, just one of those things that are exaggerated by conspiracy theorists. But I have a feeling it's not...a STRONG feeling.

I know some Australians hate Americans, and that annoys me. Some of us are decent people, and it's not nice to lump us together with the crappy folks. It's rude.

But I do think Australians have every right to hate the American government, or at least the Ryan Kwanten look-a-like government. And while they're at it, they might want to also spit venom at Bush's Aussie mate, John Howard.

The video clips I watched come from a 2005 documentary called Blowin in the Wind. The first clip I watched is about the health dangers of weapons using depleted uranium. It shows how the American government is dishonest about all of this. Then I watched the third clip which shows that America uses Australia to test these bombs. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH (that's me screaming in disgusted anger).

Okay, I've heard vague things about America testing bombs in Australia before. I didn't pay much attention. But I guess this video helped it all sink in a bit more.

Lord Wiki has a lot to say about depleted uranium. I don't want to read it all, because I'm not scientific-minded enough to understand it. I skimmed it a bit though, and the basic idea is you have some scientists saying it's BAD stuff, and other scientists saying it's fine. Which side do you trust?

I get the sense that Lord Wiki isn't trusting those who say it's NOT unhealthy for humans. From what I AM reading in his post, he seems to be taking a side here.

There is some belief that the cause of the Gulf War Syndrome may have been caused by the uranium. But then there's some belief that there is no Gulf War Syndrome, that the symptoms experienced by veterans are no worse and no more prevalent than symptoms experienced by veterans of other wars.

One day I was browsing around at the bookstore. I picked up this book written by a very pro-science person. He was writing about the awful people like me who question science...the ones who annoyingly ask, are we sure vaccines are safe? Are we sure it's okay to take that medication? What if doing this makes us feel worse instead of better? This guy who wrote the book believed there's a group of anti-science people gaining momentum, and that they were wreaking havoc on society.

I WANT to trust science. I really do. I want to have buttloads of faith in it. It would make my life much easier. But how can we trust science when one study says one thing, and another study says another thing? How do we trust science when we're frequently assured an ingredient in our food is FINE, and we shouldn't trust those fringe weirdos who say otherwise. Then years later, science comes out and says well, guess what. Those fringe weirdo loud-mouths were right.

I'm not anti-science. I do try to keep up to date on the latest studies....especially health-related ones. I think scientific studies have SOME validity. But I think it's incredibly foolish to believe something is safe just because a government health body assures you that it is. On the other hand, it's also foolish to assume something is dangerous, and should be avoided just because radical conspiracy theorists are against it.

There are no easy answers.

There's just a lot of questions.

Is the American government evil, or just greedy and stupid? I don't know.

Are the Democrats just as bad as the Republicans? I hope they're not, but they might be.

Life sucks. It really does. But it has it's nice people and nice moments. We should enjoy them, because you never know when you're going to end up being the victim of awfulness. And then some scientists might come along and insist you weren't really a victim of awfulness. It was all in your head, or just a random coincidence. Maybe they'd be right. Maybe they'd be wrong. Who knows.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Counting Sheep

I'm done looking at the City of Melbourne site for now. Now I'm exploring Freshwater.net. It's a Melbourne website that talks about Aboriginal people, natural history, and conservation...maybe other stuff as well.

I learned something fun and interesting on this page regarding the adoption of Aboriginal words into the society of white folks.

In the song "Waltzing Matilda", the sheep is referred to as a jumbuck. The word comes from an Aboriginal language. BUT there was no sheep in Australia before the white people came. So, why would they have a word for sheep? Well, the word jumbuck originally meant cloud. And the sheep reminded some Aboriginal people of clouds.

I liked that little story.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A VERY Talented Australian Lost Fan

Okay. Here's my confession.

I'm still VERY obsessed with Lost.

I read an episode a day on Lostpedia, and I am totally in love with this site because I can relate to the stories told by other obsessive Lost fans. Not only does it remind me of my Lost obsession, but it also reminds me of my Australia obsession.

The other night, I started thinking of Christian's speech in the finale of Lost, and started crying...not just moist eyes, but tears flowing out of my eyes and splashing on the pillow.

I watch a lot of Lost videos on YouTube. A few minutes ago, I found something fantastic. This guy has made some montage videos that greatly impressed me. This is quite a feat because I'm very picky about montage videos.

The first video I watched was this one about Locke. I think it's actually my favorite, but there are others that are good as well.

The video artist calls himself RedeemingTheUneven. I have no idea what that means, but oh well. Is it a Lost reference? Anyway, I was loving his work, and then I read his bio info. He's Australian! I was happy about that, because then it gave me an excuse to write a Lost post on my Australia blog. Although I can always go back to my excuse that Flight 815 was headed to Sydney, or bring up Emilie de Ravin.

My Love Speech To Heath Ledger

I dreamed about Heath Ledger last night...which seems kind of random to me. I don't think he's been on my mind, or anything. But I guess it's usual for me to dream about people I'm not thinking about during the day. I guess certain people just fall into my subconscious. And other certain people are STUCK in my subconscious.

Anyway.....

Heath Ledger is with me. I feel protective of him, and worried. He has scratches on his arms. I think there's an idea that this was a self-harm injury (I think I got this from watching iCarly last night. There was a character with scratches on his back). I hug Ledger and he feels frail to me.

For some reason, I get the idea that we're going to be in a relationship. This is not discussed. It's just an idea I suddenly accept as reality. And I suppose Ledger knows this too, because we start to talk about it. He tells me that he's worried that this love won't last forever. Then I give him this speech about how love isn't supposed to last forever. I say I think he's absolutely fantastic right now, but by next week (or month) he'll be a little less great to me. By next year, I might still love him, but I'll be mostly sick of him.
That's not the most cheerful thought, but probably close to reality. But maybe I'd exchange the word love for passion. I think you can love someone indefinitely. The passion (I hate every hour we're apart!) usually fades. It's amuses me, in a cynical way, to see people being all lovey-dovey with their new boyfriends, girlfriends, new wives, husbands, etc. Well, it's not really the affection that makes me inwardly groan. It's that attitude of... we're definitely soulmates. This is REAL love here, and we have the right ingredients to make a relationship work. Therefore, we're going to blab on and on about it everyday on Facebook and Twitter.

I want to tell them, come back in twenty years. Then I'll be impressed with your relationship. Hell, I'll even be impressed in ten years.

I have a video clip of my mom and dad at my sister's wedding rehearsal. By this point they had been married close to thirty-eight years. They're both sitting next to each other and laughing hysterically together. THAT is real. That impresses me....and that inspires me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Faith in Humanity...Sinking, Sinking, Sinking

I think all of us humans are hypocritical at some point in our lives....most of us probably at multiple points. But there's some hypocritical behavior that completely boggles my mind.

I watched a clip on the Australian Screen website from a documentary called Black Soldier Blues. The film is about the fact that black American soldiers were treated well by white Australians and horribly by their fellow white American soldiers. I don't doubt those facts. Lots of Americans (back then and now) are racist. The thing is though....Australia has some racism too.

Both Australia and America have a horrific and shameful history of racism, so I find it bewildering that this movie would take such a hypocritical stance.

Although MAYBE it hasn't. I just watched the one clip, and read what the Australian Screen website has to say about the film. I'm hoping that if I watched the whole documentary, I'd find that they'd do some talking about Australia's own racism. That would restore SOME of my faith in humanity.

I did some googling to find out if I could get more insight into the film. I found a message board discussion about it.

One participant says, When americans are racist they are racist to the core while Australians who are racist tend to be racist on the surface only, scratch the surface and you are much more likely to find a compassionate human being.

So....

Americans and Australians have these differences in their racism. Why? How? Are we genetically different somehow? Are we different breeds of human? Isn't that what racism is all about in the first place...believing one type of people is superior to another? I mean yeah...white Australians and white Americans aren't really of another race. We're all Caucasians. But the message board statement IS prejudice, and prejudice is a close cousin to racism.

Now I was feeling a bit hypocritical myself just now...bitching about generalizations, because this morning I wrote an email to someone that generalized right-wing Americans. I know a few of them, and they tend to share the same beliefs and ways of arguing. So I have an expectation that all other right-wing Americans are going to feel/act the same way. It's not that I don't love my right-wing American loved ones, but I do have some prejudices about them.

So yeah. I'm a hypocrite. I'll never deny that. But at least I recognize it, and feel somewhat guilty for it. What disturbs me to no end is the people who are hypocritical and don't recognize it at all.

The conversation on the message board is...amazing.

There's a person on there, that I'd grab on my team....if we were picking teams, and I was the captain. In my opinion, he (or she) is the voice of reason. He (or she) says Not ALL Americans are racist scum and not ALL Aussies are that tolerant as portrayed in the documentary.
Amen to that. Australians and Americans are NOT all that different. In each country, there are very racist folks, and then there are folks who are much less racist.

My message board hero brings up the fact that white Australians didn't exactly do right by the Aboriginal Australians. The same participant who said Americans are racist to the core says the problems that the Aboriginal Australians face is pretty much all their own fault. The good white Australians TRY to help them, but....

Okay. Yeah. Whatever.

Well, the good thing about seeing humans being ridiculous is that it helps me take a look at myself. I know I've made my own generalizations lately. I'm going to TRY to cut down on that crap...or at least clarify things. Instead of saying things like all blue people have excessive gas, it's better to say All the blue people I've met have excessive gas, but I don't know all of them. There might be some with healthy digestive systems, that don't smell so bad.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Building the Future

I just watched this video about CH2 in Melbourne.

CH2 (Council House 2) is an extremely environmentally friendly office building in Melbourne. It's on Little Collins Street.

The building has all kinds of impressive innovative features that are good for the earth, and also good for human health. My personal favorite feature is shown at around 2:32 in the video. It's these window things made out of recycled materials. They cover the windows in the afternoon. Well, I think they just cover the windows that are hit strongly by the sun. It looks cool, and it IS cool. Hey, and I guess it also causes the building to be cool....not just as in awesome, but cool as in temperature. How cool is that?

The building gives me hope in humanity. It's nice to see smart people using their brilliance to create something that helps the world.

At the end of the video, the narrator man reminds me of Geoffrey Rush...well, at least his mirror-image does. He concludes the video with a mirror behind him, and you get this profile image. The profile image reminds me of Rush, not the front non-mirror part of him.

I just did a little more googling. It turns out there's a restaurant in the building. Maybe we'll check it out...either eat there, or peer in the window to see other people eating.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Flying Boats And That Feeling

A while back I wrote about these special dreams I've had that give me a certain feeling.

It's so hard to describe the feeling, but it's definitely a positive type feeling. It's like a tingly warm happy excited type thing.

These types of dreams are rare for me. One of them was extra special, even though I hardly remember it. There's just a sense of eating breakfast, blue water, and a swimming race. Later, when my interest in Australia started blooming, I began to believe it had something to do with Sydney Harbour. I don't know if I have some kind of spiritual connection to Sydney, OR if I pushed myself to believe there was a connection...well, because I wanted to put spiritual meaning into my profound weirdness.

Here's something I like about the story though. Because my dream might have involved a swimming race in the harbour, I was interested in the Sydney Harbour swimming race. I usually don't give much of a crap about sporting events, But this was different for me. Now I didn't care enough to arrange our whole Australia trip around it, but it somehow ended up that we'd be in Sydney during the race. Yeah. I think we made the plans, and then I realized we'd be there during the race.

Anyway....

The night before the race, I had an awful night. It was one of those times where I create a drama, and then hate myself for it. In the morning, I walked alone to the race. Walking there made me feel a little better. I can't say the actual race made me feel good though. There was a creepy Ronald the McDonald clown; I felt lonely because everyone else had family and friends with them; and I could barely see the swimmers. It was definitely NOT the magical thing of my dreams.

The thing is though after the race was AWESOME. It was one of the best days of my life. In fact, I wrote a blog post about all of it called Day 29....in which I have one of the best days of my whole life. It's pretty much the same story I'm telling here, but a longer and more detailed version.

I like that idea that one of the best days of my life contained a swimming race that I went to because it reminded me of one of the best dreams of my life.

Here I am rambling along with stories I've already told before.

I guess I feel I need to explain all that again before saying that I watched a video clip on the Australian Screen site that gave me THAT feeling. Sometimes I'll get the feeling outside of my dream....I guess when something reminds me of the dreams.

The video clip is from 1938. It's an airplane on Sydney Harbour. The part that gives me that feeling is at 1:48. Why? I don't know. Is it something about a plane on water? Is it something about that particular view of the harbour?

I don't know.

And by now, I'm pretty much at peace with the not-knowing....well, for the most part.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cycling to the City

So, let's say you live in the suburbs of Melbourne, and work inside the city. You want to be more eco-friendly, and you decide cycling to work would be a good step. Or maybe you don't give a crap about the environment, but you crashed your car, and can't afford to get it fixed.

Whatever.

The problem with riding to work is it's a long ride, and it's really not fun to wear your work attire while riding. Plus, by the time you get to work, you're a sweaty mess. You may be more eco-friendly now, but you're not so olfaction-friendly.

Here's the great thing. In Melbourne, there's a Bike Pod place. It's a FREE shower facility for cyclists who ride into the city. That's pretty cool. Although it's less cool if it's really gross and unclean. I'm very thankful that some beaches provide changing areas, but some of them get disgusting by the end of the day. Then again, in that case you're dealing with water and sand. That can get icky. It's quite a feat to get your underpants on without getting them dirtied with the wet sand on the ground.

Cycling showers are probably easier to keep clean.

Now that I read the fine print though, it seems a little less awesome than I first imagined.

If I'm reading this right, there's only two showers! Two showers? If there's a lot of cyclists trying to get to work, wouldn't that make a pretty long line?

The other issue is what if your place of occupation is not very close to the bike pod? The bike pod is in a fairly central location. It's in City Square. Lord Wiki says that's surrounded by Swanston Street, Collins Street, and Flinders Lane. If you work close to there, it's probably a great service. But what if you're not so close? What do you do then? Hop on your bike with your work clothes, and hope you don't sweat enough to make you feel you wasted a shower? Does the bike pod provide bike parking? Maybe they do because the photo the City of Melbourne site provides has a bunch of parked bikes. There's not a bunch of people in line for the shower, so maybe they already showered, parked, and then took a short stroll to work.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yuck

Previously I wrote a self-righteous post about how despite not doing drugs myself, I tolerate it in others.

I am NOT so tolerant when it comes to smoking. Okay, like anything else....it's YOUR choice. I just might not want to be around you too much.

I don't like how smokers smell. Their clothes stink, even when they're not smoking.

I don't like the smell of smoke, and sometimes it makes my eyes water. I used to have major problems with this, and couldn't tolerate being in a room with smoke. It hasn't happened to me in awhile. I'm not sure if I've overcome my allergy (or whatever), OR that because of all the new smoking laws, I rarely find myself in a smoked-filled room.

My parents smoked until I was in college. It's funny because I endured smoke-filled car rides and furniture that smelled like smoke. But I don't think it bothered me much back then. I mean I think my only grief was the worry regarding the health of my parents.

I guess when they stopped, I developed some kind of intolerance or allergy.

Anyway, I was happy to see the anti-smoking laws on the City of Melbourne site.

In Melbourne, there's no smoking in restaurants, cafes, or shopping centers. There's also no smoking in licensed premises. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Maybe pubs and clubs?

There's no smoking at the workplace. The site cracks me up though because they say there's some exceptions....such as if you work at home.

I mean I AM against smoking, but I would never go as far to say that people can't smoke in their own house. I probably wouldn't want to visit them too much though.

Smoking is also not allowed in bus shelters and train platforms.

That's good.

I like these laws.

Some might say these laws are a form of discrimination. Maybe. But it's a type of discrimination I can stand behind.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Say MAYBE To Drugs

I like what the City of Melbourne site says about drugs:

Most people consume drugs of some sort, whether it be legal drugs, prescription drugs or illegal drugs. Although much of the drug use in our communities does not cause problems, some drug use can have extremely negative effects on individuals, families and the wider community.

Harm reduction is about treating problematic drug use as a public health, rather than a criminal justice issue. It aims to maximise the health and wellbeing of individuals, their families and the community as a whole.

Amen to that! I think it's much less hypocritical than the typical official response to drugs. Really. What's the difference between recreational drugs that make people feel good, and drugs prescribed by a psychiatrist? They both improve mood. They both can have some serious risks and side effects.

And what about people who speak out against drugs such as cocaine, pot, and heroin; and then go out to get drunk?

I personally don't do any mood/mind altering drugs besides a minor amount of caffeine every so often. I don't smoke. I don't drink alcohol. I'm not addicted to coffee. I'm not on any psychiatric drugs. I don't get high on anything illegal.

I HAVE tried certain herbal teas to increase lucid dreaming. I guess that could count as a drug. It didn't work for me though.

I'm not sure why I don't do more drugs. I guess I'm weird enough as it is? I also don't like the idea of losing control. The thought of that really bothers me.

I'm fairly okay with other people drinking and doing drugs. It's really a matter of whether or not they can handle it. If they are able to do drugs and still function well...good for them. If they can't function well, then I think they should stop; get help if necessary.

I'm bewildered by the people who excuse Mel Gibson's behavior as alcohol-induced. He's not racist, sexist, or anti-semitic. It's just that he gets drunk and has a rant. Well, if getting drunk makes you sound like a crazed meanie maniac....stop the damn drinking! If drinking makes you hit your wife and children, stop the damn drinking! If drinking makes you end up having sex with anything that has a pulse...stop the damn drinking!

I was with my family and some old family friends last weekend. I think all the adults besides me did some major consumption of Limoncello....well, some more than others. No one got violent or mean. They shared funny stories and had lots of jokes and laughter while playing a board game. The worst that happened is Tim and my brother-in-law got really tired and fell asleep early that night. They kind of missed the fun. But that's not a huge deal. Plus, maybe it wasn't the Limoncello that made them tired. They could have just been sleepy from their long day.







Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's Your Problem, And Where Are You?

If someone has a bad emergency in Australia they can call triple zero to get some help. The operator will ask what the emergency is, and they'll ask for a location. Hopefully, the person calling won't be so nervous that they'll forget their address, and/or where they are. If you're out and about, you can probably just give the cross streets of your location. Or if the place is famous enough, you can probably just say the name. We're at the aquarium.

But...what if you're in the middle of the park somewhere? What if the park is big, and you have no earthly idea where you are within the park. And what if you can barely think because the snake venom is going to your brain?

Well, in Melbourne they have Emergency Markers. It sounds pretty cool. In various locations, they have these little signs with codes. If you have an emergency, you just call out the code to the 000 operator.

Hopefully there are a lot of these signs so you don't have to drag yourself too far to find one.

Right now they have the markers in the Tan track, Birrarung Marr, Alexandra Gardens, Victoria Harbour, Waterfront City, and Yarra's Edge.

I'm reading other safety stuff now on the City of Melbourne Site.....

Apparently, one of the major safety issues in Melbourne is getting hit by a vehicle while walking. They talk about how it's important to follow the traffic light things. We usually do. It's also not a good idea to be listening to an MP3 player while walking. I usually don't. I like hearing what's going on, especially when I'm in Australia.

Sometimes we're bad, and will cross when there's no green man. This happens when there seems to be NO traffic. And then you feel kind of dorky waiting there for the light to change...you know, when there's not even any cars around. But I guess that's risky. Some car can come speeding by. But then again, if a car comes speeding by like that, there's always the chance they wouldn't stop even IF it was your turn to cross.

My sister was hit by a car while walking in a parking lot. Some people are hit while hanging out in their front lawns.

You can be overly cautious and still get hit. Too many people drive while intoxicated or sending text messages.

Still...it's probably good to make as many safe choices as possible, even when knowing that someone's else's stupidity might kill you.

If you do something wrong (to yourself or others), guess what! You might get caught on camera. Melbourne has 54 surveillance cameras installed within Melbourne. It's like that episode of The Simpsons. Was it on this season, or another season? I forgot. Ah, here's a blog post about it. It was on this season.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bridge Over Troubled Water

I found something nice via the City of Melbourne site, and am wondering if we have something similar in America.

What is it?

A Companion Card.

If someone in Australia is severely disabled and needs assistance when out and about, they can show their special Companion Card, and get their helpful companion into venues for free.

Here's a website about it. They explain that the reason the card exists is that otherwise disabled people would be facing discrimination. Would it be fair for someone to pay double the price to see a concert because they must have someone with them for assistance?

I wonder though if people ever take advantage of the situation; probably not the disabled person, but maybe their friends and family.

I'll take you to the concert!

No, I'll take her. I'm much better at helping her in the bathroom. Last time you helped, she had toilet paper trailing from her foot.

That was an accident! How long are you going to keep bringing that up?

You can go with her next week.

Next week? To the lecture on probiotics and cats? Thanks a lot.

Look. What are you two going on about?! Who the hell said I'm going to that concert? You know I hate that loud music.

But you HAVE to go. You have that card. You can't let me down! Please! Please?

Oh okay. As long as you do better toilet paper checking next time. And you majorly owe me for this!
I guess they could draw straws to see who gets be the accompaniment. Or maybe you have to use the same companion each time. That might get old though.

I'm not seeing anything on the site that indicates you must always use the same companion. So maybe you can use a new companion each time...well, if you're really that popular. Otherwise, you can probably switch back and forth between a few friends/family members.

They're pretty strict about who can get a card, and when you're allowed to use the card. You have to have a severe disability, and one that's life long. You can't get a card if you've broken your leg and are temporarily in a wheelchair. Nor can you get a card if despite your disability, you're fairly independent. As the website says, You must only use your Companion Card if you are unable to participate at a particular venue or event without attendant care support; not only for reassurance or social support. If you have previously attended an activity independently, this arrangement should continue.
That makes sense. Someone could argue, But I NEED that emotional support. It's necessary for my well-being. And that's most likely true. But the same could be said for all of us...disabled or not. Or maybe it's that we're ALL a bit disabled....at least emotionally.

Anyway, I tried to find out if they have similar cards in America, but I can't find anything. It might be the fact that I'm not sure exactly what to google.






P.S-Today is Tim's birthday!!! SO....Happy Birthday to Tim!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tomorrow There Shall be Wars and Vampires

Tim started watching a movie late in the afternoon. I was busy doing something for the cats, but for some reason I felt compelled to come see what he was watching. The credits had just begun, and I saw that it was an Australia production.

I was about to say SOMETHING (like spiritual) was going on there....that something pulled me to the TV, because I never show interest in what Tim is watching. But now that I think of it....it's not true. I'm a nosy person. I'm often curious about what Tim's watching.

Anyway, I was excited about the Australia bit, and asked Tim what he was watching. I didn't know if he knew. I kind of expected him to say his usual. I don't know. I just turned it on. But he did know. It was a movie he had rented. Daybreakers. He hadn't realized it was Australian.

I was excited because I've been wanting to see it. I told Tim that I had written about the movie...twice. I couldn't remember which Australian actors were in it though. My memory had to be jogged by the credits. The actors were Claudia Karvan and Isabel Lucas. Karvan has a very substantial part. Lucas doesn't have much screen time, but her character's experiences are quite important and memorable.

I liked the movie. It added something new to the whole vampire mythology...a new twist. The whole idea in the story is that the majority of people have become vampires. Only 5% of the human population remains. No humans=no blood. And without blood, the vampires become crazy zombie creatures. The well-fed vampires happily thrive in a world that caters to them. They own the corporations. They're the government. They're the army. The remaining humans are farmed, or in hiding.

I said to Tim that this movie would be great propaganda material for The Fellowship of the Sun. There's all those folks who feel safe with their one or two vampire friends, and their local vampire night club. But how would they feel if the vampires starting multiplying? What would Sookie say about THAT?

Later in the evening, I spent some quality time with Lord Wiki and IMDb. One thing led to another and I ended up looking at a list of movies filmed in Australia. One of them was Tomorrow, When the World Began. It turns out the trailer is now available. It might have been out for a long time, actually. I'm a bit out of the loop.

I read two books from the John Marsden series. Supposedly, they're HUGE with Aussie teens. I liked them fairly well, but not even close to how much I like Harry Potter and the Edward/Bella/Jacob thing. And I actually like John Marsden's other books better. Maybe the problem is I didn't start with the first book. I should probably try again....start from the beginning.

The movie trailer didn't really appeal to me though. I like the first part, when everything is peaceful. The war stuff kind of looks boring. Maybe it's just not my thing. If movie teens are going to be in peril, I prefer dream-invading madman, sharks, evil wizards, vengeful vampires, etc.

On a positive note, unlike Daybreakers, the people in the tomorrow movie speak in Australian accents. It's an Australian movie ABOUT Australians. Because of that, I'm wondering if it will be successful in America. We do have Australian movies with Australian accents here, but they seem to be treated like independent films. I don't think they often become big blockbuster hits. Maybe this one will be different. That would be cool.

For now, it doesn't even have a release date in America. I'm not sure if that means anything though. Maybe they just haven't planned the date yet. As for Australia, there's going to be a premier in Sydney on 8 August. Then it will be released in Australia and New Zealand on 2 September.

And Now It's Miranda Otto

The popular Australian of the day (well, at least on my blog) is Miranda Otto. She's dominating my Statcounter keyword thing...that along with Sam Moran's tattoo. I REALLY want to know why people are suddenly so interested in Moran's tattoo. I'm starting to think it's magical or something. Maybe if you touch it, it transports you to a magical world where pirates tickle you with feathers and dinosaurs love roses.

I have no idea what's up with Miranda Otto. Maybe she was in a movie on TV last night, and people googled her while watching. Tim and I do that. We watch a movie, and there's a lot of,

Who's that?

I don't know. Go IMDb her.

I wrote a whole post about Miranda Otto, but I don't remember much about her. What I DO remember is that she looks a lot like my unschooling, chocolate-selling, fellow-blogger acquaintance.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Walking Down the Street

Today, I'm going to learn some Melbourne street history.

I'm still using the City of Melbourne site. They have a whole page about streets.

We start with Collins Street. First let me go find it on Google Maps.

Collins Street goes from around the Docklands to the west side of Fitzroy Gardens. I think. I could be reading the map wrong.

It's known for shopping...the expensive type.

Who is it named after?

Mr. Collins.

David Collins. He was another Tasmanian guy wanting to explore the Port Phillip area. He's the one who came BEFORE Fawkner and Batman. He came decades before with a group of settlers. But then they left in 1804. I guess they weren't happy.

Lord Wiki says that Collins later became the first Governor of Van Diemen's Land. Well, actually he was governor of only the south bit. Back then, the island was divided into a north part and a south part.

Wow. The City of Melbourne site REALLY goes into detail here. It might be challenging to wade through all this information. But it could be fun, so I'll do it.

If we go to the corner of Collins and William Street, we'll be at the place where Batman once had a house. I wish I could see it on Street View. Unfortunately, my computer will no longer allow me to do that. My computer is REALLY outdated. Tim's computer is with him at work in Dallas, and Jack is using his computer. So....no street view for me.

I can see what businesses are around there. There's Bicycle Victoria. Tim might like that place.

I thought it was a bike shop, but it's actually an organization. They're trying to increase biking in the world. Cool.

Some of this is kind of boring to me.....

I'm going to skip over it.

On Collins Street, between Russell Street and Swanson Street, you have this Athenaeum Place. It's a theatre, library, and maybe more. I don't know. Here's the library website.

It used to be a mechanics institute. I'm not sure what that means. I guess it would be a place where you learn mechanics?

Okay. Here's something interesting. Collins Street used to be very wet and muddy. In the 1840's, you'd have to wear mud boots to get around/across it.

Now I'm getting an explanation for the Mechanics Institute. It was a place for discussion and debate. What I'm getting is that they simply changed the name later to Athenaeum.

In 1845, the first Baptist Church in Melbourne was opened on Collins Street. Several years later, the congregation outgrew their building, and a new church was built. This second church was finished in 1862. I think that's the building that's still there today. Although there's been a few additions.

The church is in the same area at the Athenaeum thing.

I guess Melbourne was (maybe still is?) like Manhattan. Different streets are dedicated to different industries/professions. The center of Collins Street was known as the banking precinct, and east of that was the medical precinct.

All right. Now I shall move onto Exhibition Street. Google Maps shows it to be a north-south street, but going kind of diagonal. It goes from the south-west corner of Carlton Gardens to Flinders Street down south.

Exhibition Street used to be called Stephen Street, but they changed it in 1898. I wonder if people still called it Stephen Street for awhile. It's hard to get used to new names. Disney World changed their Disney MGM studios park to Disney Hollywood Studios, but we always still call it MGM.

Not much of what the City of Melbourne site has to say about Exhibition Street interests me, so I'll move onto the next street...

Wait. No. Maybe I'll see if Lord Wiki has something to say. Maybe he knows something that I'll find interesting.

There used to be something called The Eastern Market. It was a food thing, but then later became an amusement park. In 1960, it closed.

Lord Wiki says that Exhibition Street has a lot of tall buildings.

Uh, what else....

There's some kind of street/traffic thing that happened in the late 1990's. It goes way over my head, but it involves collecting tolls and stuff like that. I'm not going to worry myself about it.

Next we have Elizabeth Street. It was NOT named after Queen Elizabeth....who probably wasn't even Queen back then. I think George or Victoria had the throne back in those days. Yeah. This website says it was Victoria.

Elizabeth Street in Melbourne is named after Elizabeth Bourke, that NSW governor who helped Melbourne become a city. Then what about Elizabeth Street in Sydney? Was that not named after Queen Elizabeth either? I assumed it was.

Nope. Lord Wiki says it was named after Macquarie's wife.

I'm looking at Elizabeth Street on Google Maps. It goes north from around the Royal Melbourne Hospital down to Flinders Street.

In the 1840's, it was hard to travel on Elizabeth Street in the winter. There was some kind of drain problem, so I guess the place was messy on one's feet....probably year round.

Here's a nice little book-related story. In 1852, two men (Robertson and Mullen) brought a bunch of books with them. I'm guessing they brought them from wherever they immigrated from. They opened the box of books, and sold them. That sounds fun. Well, and I guess it WAS fun because then Roberts and Mullen decided to open up a bookshop.

It seems it took some time to get their act together, because the shop didn't open until 1860. Eight years? That's a pretty long time. Well, maybe they had other jobs that they weren't ready to leave. Who knows....

Then once the guys opened the shop, they couldn't gets their acts together for long. They abandoned ship. But relatives came along, and kept the shop going. Then in 1960, it was bought by the Angus and Robertson book company. Is that Robertson related to the other Robertson, or is that just a coincidence? From what I'm getting from Lord Wiki, it was probably a coincidence. Maybe they were distant relatives or something.

Next we have Swanston Street.

I'm looking at it on Google Maps. It starts up at The University of Melbourne. Then it goes down, and.....

It changes from yellow to grey. I'm not sure what that means. I think yellow means a road is big and important. So maybe the north part of Swanston Street is bigger? There's a part that says Swanston Street Walk. Maybe cars....

Oh yeah! I'm so stupid. How could I forget? Swanston Street is the no-car street. Is the whole thing no cars, or just the grey part?

Lord Wiki says Mayor Doyle at first said he wanted to return private traffic to Swanston Street. That was met with much opposition. Then he totally changed his tune, and announced that the WHOLE Swanston Street would be car free. I wonder if that's happened yet.

In the 1840's, Swanston Street was yet another wet and dangerous road. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Princes Bridge was opened in 1861, but back then it was called Lennox Bridge. I think I see it on the map, although Google Maps says it's St. Kilda Road. Well, I guess that just means the bridge is part of the road.

Oh! Here's a good piece of trivia. They didn't just change the name of the bridge, they rebuilt it. Who came up with the design? Percy Grainger's Daddy. I wonder if I wrote about that in the Grainger post. Maybe? All I remember off hand about the dad is that he had Syphilis.

I just realized I've been spelling Swanston Street as Swanson Street. I wonder if I've done it in past entries too. Probably. How embarrassing.

Anyway, SwansTon Street was the busiest Melbourne street during the gold rush. If I'm understanding things correctly, many important historical buildings were built around this time. This includes the Museum of Victoria. We'll probably go there. I like dead animal museums.

The Museum of Victoria website says they were established in 1854. I can just picture it. Well, I've had enough gold digging today. Let's go over to the museum and look at some bones.

Now we get to the street closing history. The City of Melbourne folks say it closed in 1991. Well, it closed to cars. So if you wanted to go on the street, you had to walk or take public transportation.

I just had a thought. What would happen to the world if we suddenly outlawed private vehicles. What if all cars were scrapped, and the materials were turned into trains and buses.

It would probably cause some hardships. But I think we'd be doing better ecologically. And I also bet there'd be less obesity.

In 1999, Swanston Street was opened to private traffic, but only at night. 7 am-7 pm. That's not so awful. But I think now it's closed again? Or it's going to close? Maybe one day I'll do a whole Swanson Street post. Then I'll get the full story.

Today in modern times, Swanson Street has a giant TV screen.

Now onto Bourke Street. This is the place that has bookstores.

David Jones is on 310 Bourke Street. We love David Jones!

The City of Melbourne Site says the land that David Jones sits on was bought with a horse and foal.

Wait. I forgot to find Bourke Street on the map.

It goes east-west, starting at the dock on the west, and ending at Spring Street on the east. Spring Street is fairly close to Fitzroy Gardens.

I found David Jones. It's between Swanson Street and Elizabeth Street.

There used to be a wool shop at the corner of Bourke Street and William Street. It looks like there's a train station around there now.

The last street talked about on the City of Melbourne Site is Spencer Street. And then they have a little history on the little lane things.

Spencer Street goes north-south. It starts around the Docklands and goes down to the Yarra River. It curves a bit; it's not perfectly straight or anything.

In the late 1830's, Batman had his home on what would become Spencer Street. The street lies on the area that Batman once cultivated. It's funny how land changes. One day, a place can be a quiet serene area where grass grows and frogs hop. Years later, it's a busy street filled with tourists and their cameras.

The land beneath our house used to be part of a dairy farm. I wonder what it will be two hundred years from now. Will our house still be here?

In the early Melbourne days, there was a block of government buildings in a square made up of Collins, Spencer, Bourke, and King Street.

I see it on Google Maps. There's a quality hotel there. I mean that's the name. I'm not really sure if it's truly of quality. Hopefully.

Well, I can say one good thing about the hotel. Children stay free....well, up to two kids. I guess if you have more than that, you have to pay. I don't think we'll stay there though. As far as I see, they don't have a laundry room there. I think we need a place to do laundry. Otherwise, we're going to have to bring too much clothes.

Governor La Trobe originally wanted the botanical gardens to be over there...well, somewhere on or near Spencer Street. There was some kind of depression in 1843 that prevented it from happening. Then later, he changed his mind.

I guess the 1840's wasn't the only decade of watery dangerous streets. In 1856, a man drowned in a muddy mess on Spencer Street. That's not good.

Now for the cute tiny laneways. In the early 1900's, they were like typical alleyways....or how I imagine alleyways to be. Dark, dangerous...a place to commit crimes. Then in 1990, there was a revival. The little lanes got lighting, street furniture, and new paving. It's pretty awesome that they were able to make things better. I didn't realize the change was made so recently.

Sam Moran and His Tattoo

I have a mysterious happening on my Statcounter today.

I have three people in a row looking for information on Sam Moran's tattoo.

One came at 5:46.

One came at 6:06.

One came at 6:09.

What's the deal with that?

I'm thinking MAYBE it's the same person. But each of those times has a different IP address, different city, different service provider, and different operating system.

The city is not always accurate. You can be in one city, and the Statcounter reports you coming from a totally different city. But I think it would be weird for one person to change operating systems and service providers within a few minutes to find the same info.

Is that more weird?  Or is it more weird for three people to be looking for information on Sam Moran's tattoo around the same time?

Plus....

I had more Sam Moran tattoo seekers at 6:30 and 7:39.

If you look up Sam Moran and tattoo, my blog entry on Anthony Field is first. Unfortunately, I don't think I talk about Moran's tattoo. I talk about Anthony Field's tattoo, and I mention Sam Moran. So Google put those two together....well, you know how Google does that.

Okay though....I did some searching and have found the tattoo answer. It's in the Daily Telegraph.

On his left wrist, he has a tattoo of a Tibetan word meaning "to sing". I wonder why he chose to have that word in the Tibetan language.

On his other arm, he has his daughter's name and angel wings. It's some special tattoo that you can see only under black light. I think maybe it's just the angel wings that are invisible. I'm a bit confused. That's pretty cool though.

For those wanting to learn even more about Sam Moran, here's his official website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time for Kevin Bacon to Make His Ecclesiastes Speech

Everyone has a right to their opinion. And I have my right to disagree with them.

Case in point for tonight: A Holocaust survivor dancing at Auschwitz with his Melbourne family.

I think it's beautiful.

The news media folks are saying that some people find it offensive.

I struggle to see their point. And I fail.

To me, it's an affirmation of survival and life.

To me, it's saying not only did I survive, but I can still dance, and I still have a sense of humor.

Separating children from their parents and leading them to their deaths....THAT is offensive to me.

Defending a racist abusive anti-Semite because he's talented, handsome, and powerful....THAT is offensive to me as well.

But a Jewish Holocaust survivor celebrating with his children in a place that once brought him so much sorrow? I'm not offended at all. I love it.

Returning to the Subject of Melbourne History

The City of Melbourne website has an overview of Melbourne's history. A few weeks ago, I got a little history from Lord Wiki. Now I'm going to give myself another dosage. I'll probably have to learn this stuff over and over before I remember much.

I think right now I'll just read through and see if anything is interesting.....

As we learned before, Melbourne was founded in 1835.  Mr. Hobble did his grid thing two years later in 1837.

The City of Melbourne site point out that, unlike Sydney, Melbourne wasn't started by official government folks. It was started by some brave frontier type people from Tasmania.

Let's look a bit more closely at these frontier men.

First we have Batman! That's John Batman. He left Tassie Land on 10 May 1835. But back then his home was called Van Diemen's Land. I was just curious about when the name changed, so I asked Lord Wiki. He said that happened in 1856.

Anyway....

Batman came on a ship named Rebecca. It was a 30-tonne schooner. I have no idea what that means. I'll try to find a picture so I can get an image in my brain.

I googled 30-tonne schooner, and got a Lord Wiki entry on the Rebecca. I guess it's one of the most famous 30-tonne schooners in history.

Now I'm looking at various-sized schooners on Google Images. They look like typical historical ships. I'm guessing the Endeavor was a Schooner.

Nope. I'm wrong.

It was a Barque.

All right. Enough of the ships.

On 29 May, Batman and his friends arrived at Port Philip Bay. They did some exploring and stuff. Then a few days later, on 6 June, they had a meeting with eight Aboriginal chiefs at Merri Creek. From the chiefs, Batman bought a lot of land.

Lord Wiki says that Merri Creek flows through the northern suburbs of Melbourne. I don't know how far north you have to go up to see it. Is it in the inner suburbs, or the not-so-close-to-the-city ones?

Well, I found a part of Merri Creek on Google Maps. It goes through the west side of Studley Park. That's about 20 minutes north of the CBD. I'm not sure if this is where Batman made his deal though.

Nope.

It was in Northcote. And now I'm looking at Northcote on the map. There's a Merri Park which has a Merri Creek Preserve. Slightly east of that is Batman Park.

I need to zoom out to see where I'm at.

It's a bit north-west of the Studley Park.

After Batman met with the Aboriginal leaders, he and his friends took a ride on the Yarra River. They made their way up to the site of the future Custom House and Immigration Museum. Where's that?

It's on Flinders Street which is way south from Merri Creek. The City of Melbourne site says that Batman and his friends went UP the river. Is that a mistake? Or maybe after meeting with the Aboriginal leaders, Batman went south....and THEN went back up north again.

Batman liked this Flinders Street area. He told his friends to build a hut. Then he returned to Tasmania to deal with some business issues.

A few months later, towards the end of winter, the other guy came along. That was Fawkner. Although he actually didn't come along. He had planned to journey from Tasmania to the Port Phillip Bay. But things went wrong for him. Lord Wiki said he had problems with creditors...or something like that. But the City of Melbourne site says he had seasickness issues.

Who should I believe?

If I'm reading this right, Fawkner's friends wanted to settle in the same place that Batman's friends had settled. Uh oh.

The Fawkner people set up their little village. Then they went back to go fetch Fawkner. How did he manage to deal with his seasickness at this point? Did he use herbal remedies or something?

Anyway, so Melbourne is known for having two separate founders. The City of Melbourne site says they were rivals. Well, it seems they worked things out okay. I remember Lord Wiki mentioning that.

I'd kind of pick Batman as the founder though. He was there first. Although I guess then we should say the Aboriginal people are the founders. They were there REALLY first.

All right. Now we get a third guy in the mix. This is a governor from New South Wales called Bourke. I guess we get Bourke Street from him. That's the street that has some bookstores. I'm glad I'm remembering stuff here.

If I'm reading this right, Bourke came along and created another settlement. But this one was sanctioned by the government. It was a bit more official, I suppose.

In May 1836, Bourke did a formal commission regarding his settlement. He called it BearBrass. For a moment, I misread that as Bearass. I thought, Oh! That goes well with the Moomba Festival.
The population of Bearbrass was 142 men and 35 females. That's a bit uneven.

Did Bearbrass include Batman's and Fawkner's people?

In 1837, they did some name changing. Someone wanted to name the city Glenelg. This was the name of the Secretary of State. Of England, I suppose? Yeah. Lord Wiki says I'm probably right. He was mixed up in royalty somehow. I'm not going to go into detail on this.

Bourke vetoed the Glenelg thing though. He named Melbourne after the Prime Minister of the UK. I'm starting to remember learning this from Lord Wiki....

I don't know where the hell Batman and Fawkner disappeared to. I don't think they're mentioned anymore. Did they become total has-beens?

Oh well.

Now we get to the Hoddle guy. He wanted wide streets. Bourke was weary of this, but then he gave in. They made a deal though. There could be big wide streets, but then Bourke requested that cute small streets be created as well.

There's some sale of land information. I'm kind of skipping that.....

Now I'm at Melbourne's moment of freedom. In the beginning years, it was known as being a province of New South Wales. It was dealt with by New South Wales Parliament. Then in 1842, Melbourne was incorporated as a town. I think this means they became their own...place.

Five years after that, they officially became a city (rather than just a town).

That's enough history for today. Maybe I'll do more tomorrow.













Monday, July 12, 2010

Districts and Precincts

The City of Melbourne site says the city isn't just divided up into suburbs. We also get districts which are further divided into precincts.

Geography confuses me with all it's various divisions; countries, continents, cities, counties, towns, subdivisions, districts....

This weekend I tried to get a sense of what my 7 year old niece understands of geography. I asked her what city she lived in.

Dallas, Texas!

Or maybe I asked her what state she lived in. Either way, she couldn't grasp the concept that Dallas was the city, and Texas was the state. I think to her, they're one and the same.

I might have asked her what country she lived in. I think maybe she got that one right.

I then asked her what planet she lived on.

Dallas!
I tried to correct her, and she looked at me like I was absolutely nuts. No, we don't live on Earth. Of course not! Earth is a planet....in space!

I tried to explain that we live in space. She thought I was being absolutely silly. Crazy Aunt Dina.

When it comes to geography, I've always probably been like my niece; Confused. I HAVE gotten a little better, but I still get lost sometimes.

Anyway, let's go on with the city of Melbourne's districts and precincts.

The four districts are south, central, west, and north. That's pretty straightforward.

Oh, I just saw something to make it all more complicated. Each of the districts have their precincts. But then not included in those, are three other precincts. These are the cultural ones; Greek precinct, Italian precinct, and Chinatown. I'm not sure why someone can't put them in the south, central, west, and north category. I think they just want to confuse people like me....and my niece. If my niece ever decides to study Melbourne, I'll bet her brain will scramble up like mine.

Now I'm going to look at each precinct.

First we have the ones in District South.

There's St. Kilda Road. When I was playing around with hotel possibilities, the best one I found was here. So maybe we'll be staying in St. Kilda Road. But it's almost two years away. Maybe something else will come along.

I just had another moment of confusion, but I think I've got things straight now. St. Kilda (I think) includes the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The Moomba Festival is held in St. Kilda. This is the festival with the funny story behind it. Legend has it that those in charge obtained the festival name from some friendly Aboriginal folks. They thought Moomba meant Let's Get Together and Have Some Fun. Now there's a rumor that moomba does NOT mean that. Some people think it's saying something along the lines of up your butt.

Is the story true? I don't know. Snopes labels it as being undetermined. It might be true. It might not be.

I hope it's true.

I think we MIGHT be going to Melbourne when the Moomba thing is going on. If we do, I think we'll probably check it out.

Also in District South, we have the Yarra River. Federation Square is here. The City of Melbourne site says it's futuristic. I have a feeling it's very touristy. I could be wrong. It makes me think of Darling Harbour in Sydney, and South Street Seaport in New York. I'm not sure why. Neither of those places are very futuristic. They're tourist magnets though. Oh! I know. Like Federation Square, both places are near the water. That's probably why I connect them in my brain. Another place like that would be that place in San Francisco. I can't think of the name right now. It has a lot of tourists, and there are sea lions.

Well, I didn't know this. I went to look up the name of the place in San Francisco, and found an article saying that the sea lions had mysteriously disappeared. It ends up they went off to Oregon or something. But now it seems they're coming back.

In Yarra River, we have the Southbank suburb. I think this is the one with the multicultural wealthy highly educated young people. It's also known for art. The ballet and symphony are here, along with the National Gallery of Victoria.

This is where we'll find the aquarium. I'm sure we'll make a stop here. Jack and I love aquariums, although I didn't like the Dallas one too much. It was confusing. And well....they didn't have enough Australian animals. I have prejudices when it comes to that. I'll admit it.

Next district is District Central. I think this would be the Central Business District.

It has a lot of precincts. I'm a bit overwhelmed.

I'll just do a quick rundown on all of them.

Swanson Street seems to be a place for shopping and eating. The City of Melbourne site doesn't mention that it's the place that had the should-we-allow-cars controversy.

Collins Street seems to be the place to go for expensive luxury shopping. We're not really into that, but there might be something here that appeals to us.....

Well, it's good for seeing old buildings. Lots of preservation going on. I'm not one to enjoy studying architectural history in detail. But I do enjoy walking about and soaking up the historical atmosphere.

Little Collins Street is some kind of fashion Mecca...again not something I'm really into. And it has bars. I'm not into that either. Tim likes it somewhat. HOPEFULLY our friends will be meeting us in Melbourne so they can take Tim out drinking.

They list City Arcades as a precinct. That kind of doesn't make sense to me. Oh, I think I get it. I think it's kind of like an area where the most famous city arcades can be found. I guess they're all clustered together. Or maybe these are the only arcades in Melbourne.

The City Arcades equals more shopping.

Melbourne really is a shopping place.

I feel I'm going to be out of place there, since I don't love shopping too much.

I do like bookstores. Maybe they have some of those.

Oh! Funny! That's in the next Precinct; Bourke Street. Bourke Street has bookshops. Cool.

Flinders Quarter has more shopping, but it also has a hotel with a glass bottomed swimming pool on it's roof. That sounds fun.

Hardware Lane is supposed to be a good place for breakfast. So maybe we'll go there one morning. They have a lot of adventure/outdoor shops. Tim might be interested. Sometimes he gets into those type things. My brother-in-law is REALLY into it. He loves camping. Right now though he has a toddler and a bun about to pop out of the oven. There probably won't be much camping in that family for awhile. But when the kids are older, I'm sure they'll have some exciting outdoor adventures together.

The West End is supposed to have Melbourne's Aquarium. I thought that was supposed to be in the Yarra River Precinct of the South District. SO confusing!!!! Well, I guess we just have some overlapping going on.

Now we have District West. The City of Melbourne site doesn't list any precincts for this one. They say though that this is where we'll find the Docklands. According to the City of Melbourne site, it's in development. Well, there's a lot of stuff already there, but I guess even more stuff is coming.

District North DOES have some precincts.

North Melbourne has lots of bookstores, so I'll try to go there.

Kensington has quirky houses and outlet shopping. If I remember correctly, Kensington was the place with a lot of families. I think I'd probably like this area. I prefer discount easygoing shopping over the fancy stuff.

Queen Victoria Market is in District North. It's one of those farmer's market type things. We love those.

I think the North District will be more my style...maybe more Tim's style too. But I'm not a hundred percent sure about that.



Yeah. Whatever, George W. Bush

Ryan Kwanten is in the news today. Why? He's declared that he's not impressed with American woman. That's supposedly the answer to the question of why he's single. I didn't even realize that question was being asked.

Anyway, I think it's a lousy excuse because there are plenty of Australians living in America. And there's also that minor fact that American women come in all different shapes, colors, sizes, flavors, accents, etc.

Kwanten misses his Aussie women though. I guess he specifically wants one of his own kind. And he thinks American women have something to learn from Australian women. Kwanten says, I guess the ability to just be themselves ... that's something that the American women can learn from, they really could.
An actor telling people to just be themselves. Now THAT'S ironic.
I would be myself....IF I knew who I was. I'm still struggling to figure that one out. As soon as I got that issue settled.....

Are Australian women more in tune to who the hell they are?

I doubt it.

Kwanten is stereotyping, and I don't much like that behavior in people. So I've lost most of my love for the guy. I was about to say I still like his character. But actually I just finished watching True Blood (before getting on my computer) and Jason Stackhouse did something that was pretty unsympathetic in my book. I've lost most of my love for him too.

I'm actually not loving the TV show much this season. I liked the first and second episodes, but not the third and fourth. For now, I'll have to say I prefer the books. Although OF COURSE....I still totally adore Paquin as Sookie. She's amazing. Would Kwanten go for a Kiwi? Too bad she's already taken by a British guy.

Well, I hope Jason Stackhouse rectifies his selfish and manipulative behavior. And I hope Kwanten expands his horizons and opens his mind a bit. There are plenty of down to earth Americans, but maybe not in the crowd he hangs out with. When you're a successful actor living in Los Angeles, it might be challenging to find people who are genuine. If you use stereotyped judgments as excuses for your dating status, I say you stand WITH the fake crowd, and not outside of it.


Edited to Add-5/3/2014- Just realized the second to last line in the last paragraph was VERY hypocritical of me. Talk about stereotyping! Oy.  




Sunday, July 11, 2010

Suburbs in Melbourne

The City of Melbourne site has profiles of some of Melbourne's suburbs. I'm guessing these are the inner suburbs.

The site has a few paragraphs about the suburbs, and then also PDF files with more information.

Carlton is first on the list. It's the Italian hub. We can go eat Italian food on Lygon street, and then visit Carlton Gardens.

I'm looking at it on Google Maps. It's slightly west of the University of Melbourne.

Now I'm going to look at the PDF statistic file thing.

They say it has the area's largest concentration of student apartments. Yeah. Well, that makes sense since it's near the university.

52% of the population was born overseas. That's higher than Melbourne's average. I forgot what that was. Let me go check....

Okay, it's 41.7%.

The people in the Carlton suburb have one of the lowest income averages of Melbourne.

There's not just Italians in Carlton. There's also a lot of Malaysian, Chinese, and Singaporean people.

The median age is 24, which is younger than the Melbourne average of 28.

Basically, Carlton is a student type area. I'm sure there's a lot of stylish beautiful young people hanging out and they'll will me feel old and frumpy. Fun.

Next we have the Docklands. Where's that?

Oh okay. It's near the water...the pier and all that.

The area has the smallest amount of children in the city of Melbourne. It's made up mostly of couples without children. I wonder if these couples are pre-children, or do they plan to remain childless? I wonder if those planning to have kids will move when the baby is born. Or will the area eventually have more children?

It has Melbourne's smallest number of non-English speaking people.

The site keeps using the term municipality. I'm guessing that means the city area? Well, Lord Wiki says it's a defined territory. I guess it would be anything included in what the website/government deems is the City of Melbourne.

Now that we got that straight....let's continue with the Docklands.

It's an affluent area.

I'm getting a picture in my head. Lots of rich white people with no kids.

The area is residential, but also has business space. And apparently this business space is quite coveted.

The Docklands doesn't have a lot of university students. But the people who live there tend be the type who, at one point, got themselves a university education. It's a highly educated area.

Now onto East Melbourne....

On Google Maps, I find myself right above the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

This area has the highest percentage of Australian-born people. If international folks drive you nuts, best to hang out here...probably. Although, there's probably a lot of foreigners in the form of tourists.

This is also the prime area for those who have no children, and aren't partnered with a loved one. It sound a bit like the Docklands. And like the Docklands, people here tend to be well-educated.

Is there a correlation between education and not wanting to make a family?

Fitzroy Gardens is included in the area; also the Parliament and Treasury Building. We might stop to see some of these places.

This area has more elderly people than the city of Melbourne average. I can go here to make myself feel young. Honestly, I feel young most of the time. I shock myself every time I remember my true age. I definitely don't feel that old. I wonder if I look that old. I don't know. I used to look young, but I'm not sure if that's the case anymore.

Let me summarize what we have so far...before I move on. Carlton is where the young students and international people live. The Docklands and East Melbourne is where the rich Australian-born without families live.

Now I'm onto Kensington/Flemington. It sounds like the place to live if you have a problem with too much mucus in your throat.

This is the area west of Royal Park.

Lots of families live here. It probably has a lot of playgrounds. Jack is much less into playgrounds than he was in the past. They used to be the focal point of our vacations. Times have changed. But I'm sure he won't mind one or two playgrounds. I really don't know what the kid is going to enjoy when he's ten.

The profile page of the PDF says the area has a working class history. It's an industry-type place, but it's been gentrified.

Guess what takes place here? The Royal Melbourne Show! That's coming up in September. In August, you can start picking out your show bags.

Now I've moved onto the city centre area....the CBD. This includes St. Kilda Road.

The PDF says it's becoming a popular place for single folks, and couples without children. There's also a high proportion of students.

There's a lot of young adults living in the CBD, but not a lot of children or elderly folks.

There's not a lot of single-parenting going on in the area.

There IS a lot of people who were born overseas. The highest percentage comes from Malaysia.

Next we have North Melbourne. It's north of the CBD, but south of Royal Park. If you're walking to the CBD from the zoo, you'd probably pass North Melbourne.

Lots of children and elderly people live in this area. I bet you can see grandmas playing with their grandchildren.

There's a high proportion of overseas born folks, and a lot of these people are from Somalia. Cool.

North Melbourne has a low proportion of Internet users.

The houses here are low-cost compared to other Melbourne areas, and you get a lot of renters.

There's a lot of single parenting going on over here.

Parkville is next. This is the area between Royal Park and the University of Melbourne. Not surprisingly, they have a lot of youth and students living over there.

Houses are low-cost, and there are a lot of renters.

The profile page just told me that it's not just in-between the university and Royal Park. Parkville INCLUDES the university and Royal Park. If I was a student, I think I'd like living there. You could go to the zoo and see the animals, and study on a bench in Royal Park.

Now we have Port Melbourne. I might get that confused with the Docklands.

Okay. I'm looking at Google Maps. Port Melbourne is UNDER the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. It's south of the Docklands.

There's a lot of working going on in that area. The PDF says it has the highest proportion of full-time work. I don't think this means there's a lot of people fully employed living there. I think it means a lot of people come to this area to work.

Actually, it seems there are NO people living here. It's all industry, and no residential. I'm sure that will change someday.

We lived in a commercial area of Manhattan and that soon changed.

The world is getting crowded. I think most city areas are going to include both residential and business buildings. It will be like NYC. Most buildings have a storefront of the first floor. Then the floors above that have offices and/or apartments. Our apartment building had a swingers bar. Seriously.

We never tried it though.

Now that I think of it though. I might be wrong about most buildings, in NYC, having a storefront on the first floor. I think the affluent areas are less likely to have that. I'm not sure though.

I'm now on South Bank/South Wharf. Where is that? Probably somewhere in the south.

It's south of the Yarra River, and west of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Maybe it includes the gardens. I just realized the river separates the CBD from the gardens. I guess you have to go on a bridge to get across. Or...if you have really strong legs, you can maybe jump over it.

There's lots of young adults living in the area. The people here are highly educated, and in high status jobs. They're internet literate, and there's a fair amount of multicultural diversity. I think I'd probably like this type of area.

It's expensive though....unfortunately. But I don't have to move there, really. We can just stop in for lunch or something.

Lots of people here live in high rise apartments, and this area includes the Eureka tower. One of the places I lived in NYC might have been classified as a high rise apartment. I'm not sure. I don't remember how many floors it had, but I was on the 24th floor. That wasn't the place with the swingers club. In that building, we lived on the 9th floor, and then the 5th floor.

South Bank doesn't have a high proportion of children and elderly. I guess it's people are more career and education focused than family focused.

I'm seeing a trend here. If you have children, it seems less likely you'll have extra money floating about. Of course, that makes sense. There's also a difference between having one child and two or more. It's expensive to have a big family. I can't imagine having to buy plane tickets for three kids.

Instead of giving Jack a sibling, I'm giving him more vacations. That probably sounds shallow of us. But then you have to balance it out with the whole over-population thing. We're helping to keep the numbers down.

Speaking of that....Today we went to the pet store. While we were there, Jack told me that he wanted his cousins to get their new dog at a shelter. Why? It's free! He wants to save them money. I told him it's also more ethical because there are SO many animals needing a home. Why breed a new one? Then I thought about how many human babies are out there needing a home. Yet we keep making more. It actually made me feel a bit sick to my stomach. It's easy for me to say, If I had to do it over, I'd adopt. But I can't say that's true. Most of us want to breed. We want to make biological descendants. I guess it's some kind of natural Darwinian type thing. But it's a bit vain and pathetic. Well, I'm always a bit vain and pathetic. So, what else is new?

I love Jack more than anything in the world. But I'd like to imagine that if I had gone the adoption route, the universe would have reincarnated the kid in someone else's womb, and we'd find each other that way.

See, I say all this.... Then the other day, I was feeling guilty for having only one child. Why? Jack is Tim's only biological relative....well, the only one he knows. I feel I'm robbing Tim of something. But why is it so important to have biological relatives? IS it Darwinian, or an attitude pushed by society?

All right. I should stop this tangent, and move onto the next area; South Yarra. It's near Fawkner park. Or maybe it includes Fawkner park.

It has the highest proportion of old folks in the City of Melbourne. This might be the place where people go to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

People here are well-educated and have healthy-size incomes.

There's not a lot of young-adults or overseas born residents.

I'm getting tired of this post, so fortunately we have only one area left. That is West Melbourne. It's above the Docklands.

There's a lot of young adults here, and not a lot of elderly. There's also not many university students or children.

Okay. I'm bored. Hopefully I haven't bored you guys as much as I've bored myself. If I did...sorry. I WAS having fun in the beginning. Then I got a bit overwhelmed.

Oh well.