Monday, January 31, 2011

Past Dreams, Bunny Munro, Diaries, and Cyclones

1. Dreamed that I went to the Bridge Climb place to get the breathalyzer.  I don't want to climb the bridge. I just want to take the test for some reason.  I end up totally failing.  I can't figure out why. And then I realize I had desserts made with alcohol the night before.  I'm wondering if that did it.   Later I read something my cousin wrote on the Internet.  It was about how being depressed can make you fail the test as well. She's not talking about me, though. She's talking about herself.

2. Found one of my old dreams (from Livejournal), and it was about Geoffrey Rush.  It was from 31 January 2010.  I wrote,  I do research for my blog. It involves Geoffrey Rush. I'm finding interesting stuff about him, but he's not the one I'm writing about. There's something about a science teacher who was the professor of Shakespeare. I spell his last name totally wrong, but Google still gets me there.

Some of it reminds me of things going on now. I'm interested in Lionel Logue, and that involves Geoffrey Rush. And Lionel Logue did Shakespearean stuff.  I thought the science wasn't connected, but I just remembered. Before Logue became a Spiritualist, he was a Christian Scientist.

3.  Read Jayne's Gleeful Blog.  She talks about a study that shows happiness is more prevalent among people who can appreciate the small things in life. I like that. I think it explains why I'm often happy.  I get excited and happy over trivial things. On the other hand, I also get sad over small things sometimes too. But I think it's a fair trade off.  Besides....I'm more often happy than sad.

4. Realized that my personal definition of depression is LOSING that ability to be happy about small things. When I'm depressed, nothing excites me.  Sometimes I'll be sad about something, but I can simultaneously be happy about other things. Then I'm pretty much okay.  When we got back from Australia in 2008, there were days where I couldn't bring myself to feel happy about anything. I was so unhappy...depressed....about being back in America.  But it didn't last too long, fortunately.

5. Read article about the Yasi cyclone, and looked on Google Maps to see where it's supposed to hit.  I hope this Yasi doesn't cause too much damage.  

6. Watched the Singing Chef commercial for Nestle soup. I wonder why Americans and Australians pronounce Nestle so differently.  I'm guessing maybe the Australian pronunciation is closer to the original Swiss one?

7. Read Snowy's blog post about The King's Speech, loving England, and at the same time also supporting the idea of Australia being a Republic. He wants to keep the flag, though. He says, That Union Jack represents the institutions bequeathed to us by the British. For all its faults, our democracy seems to work as well as most. Our justice system has stood the test of time. I think there’s a lot of good symbolism in that flag, and I’m loathe to change it. I can agree with his argument, although sometimes I agree with the other side as well.   One thing to consider is whether there are more important things to change.  In some ways, I think the British-oriented flag is a slap in the face to Aboriginal Australians. And I think it would be better to have a design that's more inclusive towards ALL Australians. But a flag is trivial in the long run. There are more pressing issues. Although sometimes symbolic gestures might make a difference?

8. Saw 1941 commercial for Tandaco Prepared Stuffing. It talks about the importance of putting stuffing inside your chicken.  Otherwise, you might fail to give your husband's boss an enjoyable dinner.  These days, food safety experts warn AGAINST putting stuffing inside a bird.   It raises the risk of food poisoning. We have stuffing at Thanksgiving, but it's not cooked inside the turkey.  My mom makes it separately, and it's VERY yummy. This Thanksgiving, she was very kind and made it with vegetable broth so it would be vegetarian friendly.  I don't think anyone noticed a reduction in taste or quality. So, that's cool.

9. Watched a 1948 commercial for Vegemite.  It suggests putting Vegemite in the baby's bottle, and that most babies like this.  I wouldn't doubt it. Many Australians really LOVE Vegemite.  It really seems that it's something that's best introduced early.  Maybe babies are better able to tolerate it. And if they grow up with it, there's a good chance they'll continue to like it. But if someone is introduced to Vegemite at an older age, maybe it's more likely that they'll be resistant to it.

10. Finally finished reading The Rose Crossing.  A reviewer on Amazon says pretty much exactly what I would say about the book.  At first I was really turned off by a strange writing style: it doesn't flow; it seems unnatural; although not complex it requires time for interpretation. However, once the Chinese come into contact with the Europeans, the conflict is intensified and interest ignites.  It became fairly interesting towards the end.  

11. Decided to start reading Nick Cave's The Death of Bunny Munro. I started reading City of Glass, and I got the sense it's one of those series that you need to read in order. I felt like an intruder...unwelcome among strangers. I'll start at the beginning...someday.  

12. Grateful to The Herald Sun for having a review on what's going on in Egypt. I'm so lost.  Well, I watched the whole slideshow, and I'm still a bit lost.

13. Looked up Tegretol because it's mentioned in the Bunny Munro book.  Lord Wiki says it's official name is Carbamazepine. In the book, it's used to treat depression. It can also be used to treat epilepsy, and various other things.  Its original use was for a disorder that causes painful nerves in the face.

The common side effects include drowsiness, headaches, migraines, motor coordination problems, and upset stomach. Then there are less common but more serious side-effects. These include anemia, double vision, thyroid problems, hearing issues, and an increased chance of Lupus.

I don't know. I guess I was thinking that instead of (rather) blindly hating psychiatric drugs, I should learn more about them.

14. Read an American government page about Carbamazepine.   It sounds like one of those drugs that can bring life-changing benefits to some.  But there are dangerous side-effects, and it wouldn't be wise to use it if alternative treatments were available.

The site warns, you should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways and you may become suicidal (thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so) while you are taking carbamazepine for the treatment of epilepsy, mental illness, or other conditions. A small number of adults and children 5 years of age and older (about 1 in 500 people) who took antiepileptics such as carbamazepine to treat various conditions during clinical studies became suicidal during their treatment.

It's not especially common to become suicidal with the drug, but it's also not incredibly rare either. I think 1/500 is fairly worrisome.  

15. Saw a baby picture of an Australian named Gilbert Murray.  I was curious about who he was, so I went to ask Lord Wiki. He was a scholar who was very interested in Greek mythology.  And he translated Greek stories into English.  Here's a tribute page for Murray. I'm wondering if one of my friends has heard of him.  She likes Greek mythology.  

16. Continued reading the Bunny Munro book. So far, I'm not loving it. It reminds me of The Slap.   Morally depraved characters. I prefer uplifting books about decent people. I like stories like The King's Speech.  So far with Bunny Munro (I'm on page 14) we get prostitution, Botox, hangovers, and sleeping pills. But maybe I'm judging too soon.

17. Read the back of the Bunny Munro book. It actually sounds kind of okay. It sort of reminds me of season two of Nip/Tuck.  I liked that, and maybe I'll like this book.  Hopefully. 

18. Learned from this article that Geoffrey Rush is good at utilizing his body in acting. That's probably cool and not something I usually notice enough. I think I pay much more attention to voice.

19. Started to watch this interview with Geoffrey Rush, about The King's Speech. He talks about how the screenwriter of The King's Speech was a stammerer himself, and the king was one of his heroes.   It was someone that he could look up to. It's really neat that he ended up working on the movie.

This is a very interesting. Seriously. They talk about how people stammer less with singing because it's continuous sound.  When there are breaks in the sound, there's anxiety over whether the next words will come out okay. Nervousness makes the stammer worse. While Rush is explaining this, HE starts to stammer a bit.  I think Tim and/or I started stammering a bit yesterday when the camera was on us.

Rush talks about how people will go to therapy for their stammer. Then they meet up with someone who asks how the therapy is doing. There's so much stress and pressure there.  I must show them how I've improved.  Then the stammering comes out in full force.  

You know what it kind of reminds me of? Being at the doctor, when they tell you to relax.  I'm already so nervous,  and the nurse or doctor sternly ordering me to relax makes me probably about twenty times MORE nervous.  

Oh!  Cool. Rush says that Firth's line Timing isn't my strong point was improvised. That's brilliant.

They talk about the diaries.  They got a hold of them several weeks before the shoot.  So....I need to learn more about the history of this movie.  I guess I pictured it more as a movie based on a book.  But the book is about the diaries. So maybe the idea to make the movie came BEFORE the book.

20. Consulted Lord Wiki about the production of the film. He says it started as a screenplay.   David Seidler was diagnosed with cancer, and decided to busy himself with a project.   Now I know this wasn't some person who suddenly decided to get into the film industry.  I've looked at him on IMDb before. Seidler had written previous things.  For instance, he wrote the TV movie about baby Jessica....not the fall-down-the well one but the custody battle one.  

As we established before, Seidler's childhood hero was the king who struggled to speak. So while he was dealing with cancer, he wrote a screenplay about this king.  His wife read it and suggested he turn it into a play instead.  I'm not sure why, but oh well.

Okay.  I read more.  I'm not going to go over all of it.   It was pretty much passed around to various people and eventually a movie got made. They tried to make it as historically accurate as possible...probably with limited information to use. Then they learned about the diary. 

So, it's NOT the typical story where someone writes a book and then the book is optioned and eventually turned into a movie.

I wonder if Mark Logue knew about the movie when he found the diaries.  Did the film people talk to him at all? I mean before the diaries were found?  When people make historical films, are descendants often contacted?   

21. Saw very scary news about Yasi. I really am hoping I wake up tomorrow and read something like False alarm or Yasi was much more gentle than expected.   But I hope people have evacuated, and are not taking dangerous chances.

Well, I just read the article....or most of it.  It's supposed to hit late on Wednesday. So that would be early Wednesday here. That's the day I should be hoping for it-wasn't-as-bad-as-we-expected news.

22. Read more of Bunny Munro.  It's depressing.  

23. Not feeling very happy right now.  I'm not sure if it's the book, what's going on in the news, or stuff from my own personal life.  Maybe a combination of all three?  Just saw comments on Facebook regarding Yasi.  It's so horrible.  People are expressing their wish for family members to evacuate.  I guess some are refusing. It would be so frustrating to have family members there that are refusing to get themselves to a safe place.  

24. Imagined how it might feel to flee our home not knowing what we'd find when we returned.   Of course, in the end....lives are what's most important.  But we DO get attached to material things. It's hard to lose them. It's hard to deal with all the damage. I guess there's going to be a lot of rebuilding.

25. Looking at list of 50 Must-Read Aussie novels.  I've read only 13.  That's VERY good, because that means there's a lot more out there for me to read.  I wish I saw this list yesterday when I was trying to fill up my Powells cart (to reach the $50 minimum).

26. Realized I shouldn't get TOO excited about the list, because there are books on there that I read and didn't like.  So some of these books I haven't read yet....well, I might not like some of those either.  Actually, there's only two books on the list that I love....The Book Thief and A Fraction of the Whole.

27. Tried to cheer myself up by watching the trailer for The King's Speech.  I hope the DVD comes out soon.  

28. And watched this video as well.  I love 1980's Jimmy Barnes.

29. Realized I have fallen in love with a movie.  I fall in love with countries. I fall in love with movies.  It's not much different than falling in love with a person. It's better, though.  You don't have to worry about rejection.  I mean how could a whole country reject you?  And movies can't really reject you either.   

Actually, now that I think of it....a country CAN reject you. They could deny you residency or citizenship.  But in most cases, they'd probably still allow you to be at-least a tourist.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Camera, Favorite Scenes, Birdie, and Book Desires

1.  Dreamed about fighting giant crocodiles.

2. Missed another Aussie birthday on Facebook. We get the notices a day late because of the time change. It's frustrating, and a bit embarrassing.  This one I actually wrote on my calendar so I'd remember.  The problem is I forget to regularly check the calendar.

3. Read Patrick McGorry's recent editorial. He's asking more dollars to be pledged to mental health.   Maybe he should impose a levy.

Seriously though.  He does bring up some good points.  He talks about people seeking help and not getting it.  Although I don't agree with over-labeling and over-medicating, I also don't believe in neglect. When I was having a really hard time, someone convinced me to seek help. I emailed 2-4 psychologists. They each wrote me back, so I know my email didn't get lost. But when I emailed them back again with more information, none of them responded.  I seriously doubt that was about lack of funding, though.  I'd guess it was more about laziness and apathy.

4. While getting ready to go to Dallas, we watched a little bit of Seven Years in Tibet. I suddenly realized that it has a similar theme to The King's Speech.   Both involve a prestigious leader befriending a commoner. And in both cases the leader obtained his position by inheritance—one by blood, and the other by reincarnation.

Also, both movies have Harry Potter actors. The King's Speech has Dumbeldore, Bellatrix, and Peter Pettigrew.  Seven Years in Tibet has Professor Lupin.  

5. Sat in hotel and waited.  The event organizers asked if Tim was there for an interview as well. I said he saw the movie too, and if everyone was okay with it (including Tim) they could interview him too. They said they'd interview us together. I felt maybe this would be better for me. I felt I'd probably be less shy if Tim was involved with it too.

6.  Went into a hotel room, and waited.  While waiting we got our make up done. Jack waited WITH us, and then FOR us.  I was impressed that he was able to stay relatively quiet.  And he was very patient. I think he liked watching us get filmed.

I'd like to be optimistic, but my guess is we'll get left on the cutting room floor. We didn't say anything that profound, and whatever we did say….I don't think we said it very well.

On the bright side……The film crew people  were VERY nice and patient with us. We enjoyed talking to them.  I just wish we could have given them more to work with.

The funny part was before the camera was on, the interviewer mentioned some scene, and he said it had made him emotional.  I said I often get emotional, and I might start crying if we talk about the movie. He said they'd be HAPPY if I cried.  I guess me crying would have been a great contribution to the project.  Unfortunately, I didn't cry.

7.  Talked briefly about Australia and The King's Speech at my brother-in-law's birthday celebration.   And I didn't bring it up!  Well, I might have brought up The King's Speech.  I can't remember.  But my cousin's husband asked about the floods, and that started the Australian conversation.   

8. On the way home from Dallas, Tim and I talked about The King's Speech and our experience with the filming thing. Tim agrees that we'll probably be on the cutting room floor.  Actually, because of modern technology, we'll just go into the computer's little trash icon.  Oh well.

As for the movie.....During the interview, we both had to talk about our favorite scenes from the movie.  I realized that we both chose things that were kind of connected thematically. I chose the scene where Bertie confronts Lionel Logue about the fact that he's not a doctor and therefore a fraud. Logue is forced to defend himself.  Then Tim's favorite scene was when Bertie started smoking, and Logue told him smoking was unhealthy.  Bertie argued that his doctors recommended it. That neither convinces nor impresses Logue.  So see...there's this idea. You don't have to be a doctor to help someone, and if someone IS a doctor they're not necessarily going to give you healthy and/or safe advice.  

9. Stopped at the bookstore, because I wanted to get The King's Speech book.  It was closed.    Probably for the best. I remembered I still have lots of money left on my Powell's gift certificate. I'll buy it from there.  I also have a Half Price books gift certificate. They might have the book as well.

10. Read that there is a heatwave in Sydney. PLEASE be careful if you're there.  

11. Was just told by Jack (who he reading while I write) that he thought Bertie was named Birdie.   

12. Read opinions on Facebook regarding Mayor Doyle attending a Scientology thing.  One person says, And anyone who is a scientologist should be embarrassed also, they worship aliens for gods sake!   Yes.  But it's okay to worship a Jewish carpenter who was born from a virgin.  And it's okay to believe some divine being parted the red sea and drowned a bunch of Egyptians.  Whatever......

I think Denise Carter is like me. She asks, yep, why be against one religion, when there are pros and cons with all of them?

13. Watched the Mark Logue video again.    

14. Went to order Logue book on Powells.  The problem is I don't have enough books on my wish list right now to fulfill the $50 dollar free shipping minimum. Tim said he has some books that he wants.   I'll see if they have thoseI think also....a part of me is reluctant to read the book.   There have been times that I've loved a movie, so I purchase the book. Then the book turns out to be boring and/or disappointing.  What if it causes me to lose my love for the movie?  It seems almost better that I wait until I'm less into the movie.  Then if the book is good, it will renew my interest.   On the other hand, when I was in 7th grade I saw Alex the Life of a Child, I was slightly obsessed.  Then I read the book and became even more obsessed.   

15. Ordered the book!   I'm very excited. I'm going to have to break my rigid neurotic book rule.   When I buy books, I put them randomly on my to-read shelf.  Then I read them in the order that they're placed.   If I followed that rule, I wouldn't be reading The King's Speech until several months from now.  The problem is I'd be rushing through the other books and not giving them enough love and attention.  So I'm going to break the silly rule, and read the book as soon as I get it. Although I might go ahead and finish the book I'm reading when the shipment arrives. Or I could read two books simultaneously.    

I was hoping to get the book from the library, because with library books I read them pretty much immediately....well, because you're not allowed to keep them from very long.   But our library doesn't have the Logue book yet.   

16. Went to the SAGS award website to see if any Australians and/or The King's Speech people won.   The King's Speech won for best cast. AWESOME!!  Colin Firth won.  Cool. Geoffrey Rush didn't win.  Not cool.  I thought he was so amazing. But I know.  Everyone has different opinions.  And if I saw the Christian Bale movie, maybe I would have been impressed and understanding of why he won the award.   

Modern Family won for best cast in a comedy!!  That's neither Australian nor The King's Speech related.  But that's okay. See?  I DO have diverse interests.   

17. Felt a bit better after watching interviews with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. They SEEMED almost as lost and nervous as Tim and me.  Well, that might be going way too far.  We were much worse than them.  However, I do think both those guys do much better when they're working from a script. Maybe that's what I learned today.  Being in front of a camera is probably always hard.  But I think it's even harder when you don't have your lines already written for you.  

Sometimes I'll see actors being interviewed, and I become somewhat disillusioned. They're less funny than I expected or less interesting.  Sometimes they barely make sense to me.  Now I think I'll be much more understanding about all that.    

Edited to Add.....

18.   Had some deep thoughts, and realized maybe I was hypocritical during the interview.  First of all, I blabbered on and on about how you don't have to have a degree to be able to help people and how we're so reliant on degrees rather than experience and ability.  But as Tim pointed out, I have two degrees.   

Okay, to my defense, though....I got those degrees BEFORE I believed what I believe now.  So it's not really hypocritical.  I used to believe a degree was necessary for validation.  And sadly, there's a part of me that still clings to that falsehood. But I'm trying to get out of that mindset.     

I also blabbered on about how the movie was about seeking help, and trusting someone else to help you.  It's not about overcoming adversity on your own.   It's about overcoming adversity with the help of someone else.  Well, I am sometimes horrible at seeking out help.   I'm very much like Bertie at the beginning of the film.   I distrust people, and I don't have enough faith to depend on others to help me.  It's gotten worse in the last year or so.  Oh well. I don't imagine these things will change anytime soon.  But maybe in the far future? We shall see.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tiger Mothers, Scientology, Second Chances, and Lionel Logue

1. I reread my friend's Tiger Mother editorial in an Aussie parenting website. I loved it before, but now I have a better understanding of it, because I actually went to look at the original Tiger Mother editorial.  I got the link from this editorial (written by a Chinese woman) which heavily criticizes the Tiger Mother method.   

I'm not a tiger mom.  I'm thankful for that. I agree with the Tiger Mom in that we need to push our children sometimes, because never doing so demonstrates that we have no faith in their abilities.    But there's a difference between gentle encouraging parenting and cruel disrespectful controlling parenting.

Amy Chua boasts that her children are not allowed to choose their own extracurricular activities.    They can't be in a school play.  They must be number one in every school subject (except gym and drama), and they're not allowed to play any instrument except for the violin and piano. They're also not allowed to have a social life.

I think that's sad. And it's SO the opposite of my parenting philosophy.  

2. Read John's post on the flood levy.  He's like me in that he thinks people should stop whining about it.  

3. Started listening to an ABC podcast that my friend sent to me. I think it's about dreams, and creativity. Or maybe not.  It seems to be more about classical literature.

4. Read article about the Lord Mayer of Melbourne (Robert Doyle) attending a Scientology event.    Of course this has attracted controversy.   The Mayor says, People shouldn't draw any commentary from my attendance other than that this was a personal invitation from a friend which has been accepted.   Would it be kosher if Doyle attended a Catholic event, even though so many children have been abused by the church?  How about an Islamic event?  Is it okay to participate in anything Islamic after the way Salman Rushdie was treated?  

Nick Xenophon says The fact is that he's the lord mayor of the City of Melbourne and his presence will be seen as a seal of approval for an organisation that has caused so much harm to so many.   Okay. That's fine.   I just hope that Xenophon also raises an equal amount of fuss when people attend events of other religions that have caused people harm. Has Scientology really caused more harm than the other popular religions?  

5. Read Nick Xenophon's 2009 speech about Scientology.  He says, There is the public face of the organisation founded in 1953 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, which claims to offer guidance and support to its followers, and there is the private face of the organisation, which abuses its followers, viciously targets its critics and seems largely driven by paranoia.   Driven by paranoia?   Couldn't we say the same for the churches that push the idea if you don't believe in their God, you're going to burn forever in hell?  What religion DOESN'T have stories of abused and disgruntled followers?

The one thing that I don't think most other religions are guilty of is the bit about targeting it's critics.   Scientology is a little creepy in that area. I'll admit that. Although haven't Muslims been guilty of the same stuff? How about the dutch film director who was assassinated after making a movie critical of Islam?    

Xenophon does a good job of making the Scientology church look really bad.  He has me somewhat convinced.   I'm just not sure whether other religions are that much better.  

6. Read editorial in The Australian about the tiger mom thing.   Tim Soutphommasane says, There may be method in Chua's madness, but it is a cold and unedifying logic. The tiger mother unleashed is really a tyrant who enslaves a child to her own ambitions.

Yeah.  That's one of the things I hate about it.   I'm okay with parents gently pushing their children if they're pushing the child towards the child's OWN ambitions.   I think it's disgusting when a parent pushes THEIR ambitions on the child. I mean a little bit of it is probably natural and unavoidable.   All parents do it on a subtle level.  But to do it in such an overt and nasty way? And then to make money off of encouraging other parents to do the same? Yuck.  

7. Felt a bit sad about not being at The King's Speech thing today, but not that sad. I think I'm going to look for some Aussie biographies at the library.  That will cheer me up.  Then we might try the Geocache thing.  

8. Searched for the Geocache.   It was right near our house.  We made the mistake of driving.   I don't know what we were thinking.  It took us a long time to find it though, despite it being labeled as an easy and child friendly quest.  The reason?  We mistook the prize (cache) for litter.   It was a little film canister.  We didn't take the prize inside....a little sticker. I left an Australian coin. I brought a bunch of stuff (treasures), because I didn't know what to expect.  A coin was the only thing that would fit.

9. Had a bad time at the library.  I don't know.  I was in one of those moods.  No book sounded interesting to me, and I was weary of trying anything new.   First, I tried finding an Australian biography.   I couldn't find anything.  I looked at the new fiction stuff.   Nothing excited me there.  I looked at teen books, then kid books, then back to teen books, then back to kid books again.  I picked things up, thought about getting them, and then put them down.  I saw a collection of short stories co-edited by Justine Larbalastier; Zombies vs. Unicorns.   I decided against getting it, because I don't usually like short stories.  

I almost left with nothing.   Then I decided to try a young adult book called City of Glass.   It's part of a series, and I like book series.  Plus, the front cover had a recommendation by Stephanie Meyer.  I like her stuff, so I thought maybe this book would be okay.  When I got home I gave the book a closer look, and saw that it was part 3 of the series. Crap.  Oh well.  I guess I'll still read it. It won't be the first time I've read a series out of order.   

10. While eating ice-cream, I told Tim how I regret not doing The King's Speech thing.   He told me not to regret it.  It's good advice, but it didn't make me feel better.  But what DO you say when someone regrets something?  I'm not quite sure.

11. Totally embarrassed myself by writing to The King's Speech people.  They're still advertising on Facebook, so I'm wondering if they haven't found enough people yet.   I told them I regret saying no, and I might be available.  I felt like a total loser. Yet I also felt like a total winner, because it was very brave of me to write that email.  Okay. Yeah.  I'm just trying to make myself feel better.

12. Received phone call from The King's Speech people.  They are SO incredibly nice. I have lost my regrets.   Now I'm just a bit nervous.    I wish I had my own Lionel Logue with me.   I don't usually stutter, but my mind goes blank sometimes.  I tend to forget things.   

13. Decided I should refresh my memory about The King's Speech by watching trailers and stuff like that.    And maybe I'll read about Lionel Logue.   I like reading about Logue.   I'd read about the king, but British royalty totally confuses me.    I've tried learning some of the stuff, and I just get lost. I DO know that the king in the movie is the father of Queen Elizabeth.   I got that down.

14. While watching the trailer for The King's Speech, I thought about how it deals with class divisions.  I guess that's a big theme in the movie.   Royalty vs. the commoners. Lionel Logue is very Aussie in his tendency to ignore and challenge these divisions.  I like that, and maybe that's one of the things that attracted me to Australia in the first place. I remember reading that there's less hierarchy.    People are more likely to be on a first name basis.  It's more casual. 

15. Remembered that The King's Speech is a VERY suspenseful film at times.   That's the thing about story-telling.  You don't need rape, murder, and zombies in a story to make it suspenseful.  Sometimes everyday life things can have you biting your nails.  Yeah, so some of the scenes towards the end had me really on edge.  Why? Go see the movie, and you'll find out. 

16.  Was just thinking that I'm trying to dig into my brain for intelligent responses to why I love this movie so much.   But it might end up that they just want me to shout out some adjectives.   Marvelous!  Fantastic!  Amazing!   Awesome!   Brilliant!  Inspiring!   What else is there?  How about I say It's the type of movie where you don't want to go and pee because you would hate to miss anything.

Did I go and pee?   I can't remember.  

17.  Started watching a video where a man with a stammer talks about The King's Speech.   He said Colin Firth did an excellent job portraying someone who has that condition.  That's good.   Firth should be proud. Tim gave a lot of kudos to Firth.  I liked him, but was much more impressed with Geoffrey Rush's performance.  And NOT just because he's Australian.

Back to the video....the guy says that these days stammers are believed to be caused by a neurological issue in the brain, and not by a difficult childhood.   I'll have to read more about that.   I am thinking that perhaps it goes along with the popular desire to put no fault on the parent.  It's ALL genetic, not environmental.   Mom and Dad did nothing wrong.   Blah, blah, blah.    My guess (without reading) is that like all problems, people have a genetic/biological disposition, and certain things in the environment (usually the parents) trigger it.     

The thing is...NO parents are perfect.   And guess what imperfect parenting creates?   Imperfect children.   I'd like to believe all of Jack's problems can be blame on genetics.   But I'm sure my parenting plays a part in some of it.   I'm sure my parents would like to believe they are totally not to blame for my problems.  But it is simply NOT true.  I'm not a perfect parent. I didn't have perfect parents.  My parents didn't have perfect parents.  Jack won't be a perfect parent. It's just part of life.

18.  Watched more of the video about stammering.   Okay.  The guy makes sense to me here.  He says that there was a study....a not too ethical study....where they purposely treated children badly so they'd stutter.  None of the non-stuttering children developed a stammer, but they did end up with psychological problems.   So there you have the nature part of the puzzle.

BUT the guy doesn't leave it at nature.  He talks about how reactions towards a constantly correcting a child, could make them more nervous. And that could make the stammer worse. 

19.  Looked at this parenting website.  It has advice on what to do if your child stutters/stammers.   I guess stuttering is the American term, and stammering is the British one.  Australians probably use stammering as well?   The only piece of advice that surprises me is the one that says not too tell you child to slow down when they talk, or to ask them to repeat themselves.  I do that with Jack.  He talks so fast sometimes I can't understand him.   

Jack does stutter a little bit, when he's very nervous or excited.   I honestly never really took much notice of it.  Tim mentioned if after we saw the movie.    I know.   This makes me sound like a very neglectful and ignorant parent.  To my defense though....his stuttering is not at all close to the degree of stuttering in the movie.   And more importantly, Jack doesn't seem bothered or self-conscious about it.   I might stutter a bit when I talk?  I'm not sure.  I think I get stuck more on words than letters.  Jack's probably the same way.  Does that still count as stuttering?   

20. Watched video narrated by Mark Logue;  Lionel Logue's grandson.  Logue has a lovely accent.   Oh.  You know what.  Maybe I can transfer my crush on Lionel Logue to Mark Logue.    I really need to get this guy's book.   You know maybe THAT'S why I couldn't find a book at the library.  Maybe I just wanted the Logue book, and nothing else would satisfy me.  I think I'm going to order it soon.    

21. Watched a clip from The King's Speech.  It's a great part of the movie.   But not a big deal because the movie has a LOT of great parts.      It's like in Poltergeist when Dr. Lesh tells Tangina Barrons that they believe the closet is the heart of the house.  And Tangina says, This house has many hearts.  We could say The King's Speech has many hearts too, but not in the scary kidnap-your-kid-through-the-TV kind of way.   Nor does it make you peel off your face in the bathroom.  It MIGHT make your clown doll attack you, but I'm not exactly sure.   


The particular clip of The King's Speech though deals with what I mentioned above....class divisions, and the Aussie way of being on a first name basis with people.    It also deals with smoking issues; some classic lines there.  

22. Watched Jimmy Barnes and INXS doing The Lost Boys song.  So Awesome. If I was a lesbian, Jimmy Barnes would turn me straight. Or I would at least go the bisexual route.

23. Read interview with Mark Logue.  The interviewer says, the film shows the Logue and the king working as equals.   Was their relationship very informal?    I didn't get that impression.   Or maybe?   But it was a struggle for Logue to get to that point.    In the film, the king seemed very resistant to a relationship of equality.   That made it more interesting though.   It wouldn't be the same if the King stepped into Logue's office and said.  Hi!  You can call me Bertie!

Logue describes it well.   He uses the term, breaking barriers of etiquette.   Logue (at least the movie version) wanted to break down those barriers, and the king clinged to them.   

24Found blog post about Lionel Logue and Spiritualism. It's from an Australian Spiritualist Church blog. 

It says that some have labeled Logue as The Quack that saved the king.  The word quack has such negative connotations.  But is it possible that they CAN do some good....despite their lack of accepted credentials. 

25. Found another blog post about Lionel Logue and Spiritualism.  Logue was so in love with his wife.  He missed her so much, and he wanted to contact her from the beyond. I think that's incredibly romantic. 

Logue visited a medium, and the story of the experience is pretty least I think so.

I think Lionel Logue is my favorite Australian right now.   

26. Tried to push my novel on an Australian looking for things to read.  I'm terrible.  And desperate.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

The King's Speech, Waleed Aly, Random Bursts of Love, and Regrets

1. Dreamed that an Aussie blogger (who rarely blogs anymore) gave me almond M and M's.   I was in Australia sharing them with people, and thinking how there will be hardly any left for me.  But I wasn't too upset about that. The candy looked a bit old, and I was explaining that it went from Australia to America, and now they're back in Australia.

2. Had hypnagogic image thing where people were wearing Australia flag themed clothes. It was much more stylish than the typical patriotic/tourism stuff.  The people wearing them seemed to be celebrities who were trying to escape the limelight/paparazzi.

3. Had hypnagogic thought/idea of Jack asking me about Toni Collette faking an appendicitis.   

4. Suddenly had this huge swell of love towards an Aussie blogger when I saw her post on Facebook.  I don't know why.  It's not someone I'm particularly close to. Weird.

5. Started watching a video that my friend insisted I watch.  It's on a website called Slow TV.   A guy name Waleed Aly talks about conservatism, and how those on the right side of politics don't really act conservative.  He says the Iraq War was supported by Americans who call themselves conservative, but it was really a radical war.  From what I remember reading, it seems that in the past, it was usually the left side of politics that was more supportive of wars.  

6. Looked at what Lord Wiki has to say about Waleed Aly. He says Aly is from Melbourne. He's a lawyer, academic, AND he plays in a rock band.   

7. Looked at Australia Day stuff on the Etsy website.   My friend sent me a link to it. She's very sweet. I've heard of that site, but didn't know much about it. Tim explained it to me. It's a place for artistic people to sell their stuff.  He says his sister puts stuff on it.  She's very artistic.   Jen, did you know about it?  Have you tried selling anything?  Actually, the friend who sent me the link is VERY artistic as well. I bought jewelry from her in the past. 

8. Decided that I probably was not ultimately chosen as one of The King's Speech's biggest fans.   I haven't heard back from them. The big event is tomorrow, so you'd think if I was one of the chosen ones, they'd give me enough notice.

9. Watched more of Waleed Aly, and decided he sort of reminds me of my brother-in-law....kind of the way his mouth looks when he talks? Well, it's hard to explain. Aly said something interesting.   I won't quote exactly, because I'm too lazy. But it was along the lines that change should be about evolution and not revolution.    

10. Heard from The King's Speech people.  They're being SO mysterious.   I have to admit, that in my delusional fantasies, the big Saturday event involves me spending the whole day with Helena Bonham Carter, and we become best friends.  I try to avoid fantasies about Geoffrey Rush because they wouldn't be PG-rated.  I'd feel guilty since both of us are married people.  

11. Watched more of Waleed Aly.  He talks about the difference between being conservative and nostalgic.   He says being conservative shouldn't be about wanting to go back into the past. It's about liking the present, and not wanting change that's too disruptive. People who long for the past are nostalgic.  I think he has some good points.  I was writing a friend today, and talking about how children have less freedom these days.   There's a movement out there to change that.  They want kids to be free range.   I'd put them in the nostalgic group, and not the conservative one.  The way we raise kids today, that really was more about evolution than revolution.  It was a gradual change. It wasn't like we woke up one day and said Children can no longer play outside without an adult watching them!  Gradually things changed.  Now a group of people want to go back to the past ways, and I think they're movement could be seen as a revolution.  

12. Decided I need to come up with new names for these blog posts. It's going to get confusing and boring if they all have the same name.

13. Watched more of Waleed Aly.   This is fascinating stuff.  He talks about how these days conservatives are usually very pro-democracy.   But in the past, believing in democracy was very radical.  I think that's the way life usually happens. Something starts out as radical, later it becomes accepted, and then it's radical to NOT believe in it.  

14. Read that Queensland might be hit by two cyclones.  What the hell?  I think that's the thing about hitting rock bottom. You might think it's the bottom, but who's to guarantee that worse things aren't on the horizon?  Shit.  

15. Read that Australia got it's review from the UN.   The article says this happens to all the UN countries every four years.  You get to hear a critique of yourself from other countries.   Well, it's probably fair since it happens to Israel (and certain other countries) EVERY day.   But It reminds me of the mean games kids play at slumber parties.  Let's all go around and say what we REALLY think of each other.   Oh!  You know what it's like.   It's like what the teens did in the Bindy Mackenzie book.  It sounds good in theory.  Hearing criticism about ourselves will make us stronger and better people.   But I think people usually just end up being pissed off, hurt, and resentful.  Plus, was this the best time to do this to Australia?  They're kind of going through a rough time. It's like putting the slumber party kid in the hot seat after her parents got divorced or her grandma just died.  

16. Watched more of Waleed Aly.   Now he's talking about something called neoliberalism.  I think my friend mentioned that in her email. And he's talking about how those on the right (Republicans, Liberals, so-called conservatives) are really big on the whole free market thing.  

17. Briefly glanced at what Lord Wiki has to say about neoliberalism.   I was pretty sure I knew what it was (from hearing Aly talk) but I wasn't positive.  Basically, it's the whole free-market approach.    Society will take care of itself if people are free to pursue what they want to pursue, sell what they want to sell, and buy what they want to buy.  Yeah.  I think this fits in with some of the Republicans I know.  And some of them seem to have the idea that any disruption of the free market by government is a step leading to communism. If you take too many steps, it very well could lead to Communism.  But we need not fear taking a few steps, and having a more balanced approach. It's like someone skipping dessert and eating an orange instead.  We don't need to jump to the conclusion that they're soon going to become Anorexic.    If they start skipping MANY meals, then we need to worry.  Of course, all if this gets turned on your head if you ARE a Communist. Then you wouldn't be concerned if the government took big steps heading in that direction.

18. Watched more of Waleed Aly.  He talks about how climate change worries can be seen as a threat to free market philosophies.   Why?  Because there's the idea that the free market is partly to blame for climate change.  If we give people the complete freedom to do make what they want, sell what they want, and buy what they want....will we destroy the planet?  

I think I'm getting the main point of Aly's talk.   It's that we call certain people conservatives, but they're really NOT conservative. They're neoliberals. 

Aly brought up the point that those on the right push for the free market, and family values.   If you want to succeed in the free market, will you have time for family?   Wouldn't those who put work first have the best outcome in terms of selling?  Does it help the free market when a woman takes PAID time off work to be with her baby? 

So I'm getting that Aly is saying we CAN'T fully depend on the free market to run our society.  There has to be something more.   Otherwise it's really just about consumerism.   Work a lot, buy a lot, and never see your children...who shouldn't care, because they'll be too busy playing with all the expensive toys that you bought them.   

19. Struggled to decide if I wanted to watch part 2 of the Waleed Aly thing.   I'm not good at watching long things.

 Well, I'm watching at least some of it.   Aly talks about how Tony Abbott has two heroes, one is John Howard, and the other is some other guy.   The other guy is a critic of capitalism and John Howard is very pro-capitalism.   I guess that's possible, because maybe he looks up to this person for reasons besides their beliefs on capitalism.   Yeah.   I don't know about heroes, but I have friends with whom I strongly disagree with them on some areas. But I look up to them in other areas. It's kind of like my friend who sent me the Etsy link.  She's very spiritual and open-minded.   I definitely see her as a role model in those areas.  She'll sometimes share spiritual quotes that she finds, and I find them very helpful.   But she's an Oprah fan, and she loves reality TV.  I'm definitely not eager to join those paths.  Although I did love The Sing Off.   I wonder if she watched that.    

Another one of my friends shares my views about reality TV. She doesn't like it either.  But we're very different when it comes to our views on homosexuality and the afterlife. 

20. Proud of myself for watching the entire Waleed Aly thing.   I bookmarked some of his writing so I can return to it in the future.   I don't know if I'll agree with him on everything, but he seems very educated and articulate.  I could probably learn a lot from him.  

21.  Received information about The King's Speech event.  Finally.  Then I regretfully and politely turned it down.  Why?  It would involve me speaking on camera and being in a nationally seen commercial.    I told them that I express myself much better through writing, and if I had to be on TV, I would need my own Lionel Logue around to coach me.  Plus, I probably wouldn't have anything appropriate to say.  Other participants will be talking about cinematic techniques, and I'd be wanting to shout out.   It's about Australia!   And it has Bellatrix in it!!!  And I might mention that I have a small crush on Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue; but that  I don't know if I'd love Geoffrey Rush if he was not being Lionel Logue, and I don't know if I'd love Logue if he wasn't being portrayed by Geoffrey Rush.  It's all so confusing.    

22. Feeling really guilty for not doing The King's Speech thing, because they're still looking for participants.   I feel I'm not doing my part to promote this fantastic movie.   MAYBE instead I'll promote it a lot on my blog.  Would that appease my guilt?  Probably not, but I'll do it anyway.  So....if you're looking for a movie to see, go see The King's Speech.  At least watch the trailer.   This will likely make you want to go and see the movie.  And I don't love it for just the Harry Potter actors and the Aussie aspects.  It's a VERY inspiring film.  I hope it wins many Academy Awards.

23. Played Sims 3 and guess who one of my Sims ran into at the park.   Lionel Logue!   I created him a week or two ago, but I don't think I've seen him since he was a child. Now he's an adult.  Then my Sims went to another park in town, and they saw Lionel Logue again.    It's like the way I met my friend Michelle.  We started chatting at the playground in Darling Harbour.  Then a day or two later, I ran into her at the playground in Moore Park.   

24. Looked at more people trying to win the The King's Speech thing.   There seems to be another Harry Potter fan.  First of all, she calls herself Alexa Bellatrix-Lestrange Zack, and she says, Why do I love The King's Speech? Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall, and Michael Gambon :)    

I like what Whitney Berry said, This movie made me think that just maybe we aren't as bad off as I thought we were. If more people want movies like this, maybe humanity isn't completely messed up

Lizanne Whitlow says I'm not from any of the above cities; HOWEVER, this film is an adult, grown-up, mature feel-good film that reaches beyond time.  She kind of makes it sound like porn. 

25. Looked at Statcounter and saw that Scientologists visited my blog. They're watching me. I'm watching them. It's like that question on all those psychology tests.   Is the enemy of your enemy your friend?   I don't like psychiatry, and Scientology doesn't like psychiatry.  Does that make them my friends?   No.  But maybe we can be acquaintances.

26. Decided I should put up a picture of The King's Speech, because it will help me in my pursuit of promoting the movie.

So here you go.

My favorite movie
 27. Decided to read my old post about Geoffrey Rush.   Well, I was thinking I want to learn more about him.  And then I thought I might as well read over the stuff I've ALREADY learned (and forgotten).  You know what's funny.  The biography post I did right before that one was Guy Pearce.  I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence.  I'm wondering if I mentioned The King's Speech in either of the posts.   When someone mentioned the movie on Facebook, it didn't sound familiar.

28. Watched the trailer for Mystery Men.  Geoffrey Rush is in that.   

29. Enjoyed reading my post on Geoffrey Rush.   Does that sound very vain?

30. Watched trailer for Bran Nue Dae.   Geoffrey Rush is in that too.  I really need to see that movie.  I'll ask Tim to add it to his Netflix thing.    

31. Played Harry Potter Clue with Tim and Jack.   I won for the first time!  Guess who the guilty one was?  Bellatrix!!  I feel I'm haunted by The King's Speech today....but in a  good way.    

32. Had some regrets about saying no to The King's Speech thing.  I think my reactions to all of this can be explained by the post I wrote on September 8 2010.   I have different sides of myself, and they don't agree with each other.  There's a part of me that would have loved to have been a part of the project, and a part of me that would have faith in my abilities to do what I was asked.  But that's not the part of me that read the email, and immediately responded.    I mean I didn't even think about it.    I opened the email, read it, and thought immediately....NO WAY.  I don't do videos.   But I DO do videos.  I've done videos for this blog.  Duh.  But I forgot that.  I forgot that side of myself.  I was thinking back to the when I was a teenager.   I was remembering my overly shy and awkward self.    

The other thing I regret is....I started thinking that maybe they would have allowed me to take Jack there.   It would have been a really great homeschooling experience. Very stupid of me not to consider that.      

I guess this is a good regret though, because it's all MY fault. That's better than regrets in which there's someone else to blame.  Then I have to be disappointed in missing something, AND resentful towards the person who made me take the wrong turn.  

33. While exercising I thought of something that made me feel better.    Sometimes when I get nervous, I get an attack of uncontrollable giggles.    If I tried to be in a commercial, that might happen.  I'd giggle like crazy.   That would be so embarrassing.    Plus, the producer people might lose patience with me, and they might not be very nice about it.   That would hurt my feelings.  I'd be sad.   But worse, I'd probably start developing negative associations.   Anytime I saw anything to do with The King's Speech, I'd probably feel bad about myself.   I wouldn't be able to read Harry Potter anymore because it would make me think of Helena Bonham Carter.   That would make me think of The King's Speech, and I would remember my humiliating giggle attack.     I'd also have to avoid Geoffrey Rush.  And what if I couldn't even think of Australia anymore because it reminded me of Rush?   That would be REALLY awful.  Well, no.   That's too far-fetched. I've had horrible experiences with Australians, and that didn't make me lose my love for Australia.  So I doubt it would happen over giggles and Geoffrey Rush.   Crap.   Now I'm back to the regretting thing.    

34. While looking at the photos on The National Library of Australia website, I came across a photo of Alfred Deakin as a child.   Alfred Deakin was a spiritualist like Lionel Logue.  He wasn't a speech therapist though.  He was a Prime Minister.

35. Decided to revisit the interview about Alfred Deakin's spirituality.  I looked at it the night we came back from seeing The King's Speech.   But I was tired, and didn't really read it well enough.   I had learned there was a book, so I decided to just read that instead.   However, it turned out that Powells didn't have the book after all.   

36. Visited the website for the Victorian Spiritualists Union.   It was mentioned in the Deakin interview.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


1. Thought of writing a long post about mental health in Australia, but it's so overwhelming.  I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Also, I've already written about it many times....scattered in various posts.  

2. Read article about the green fund cuts. Honestly, most of it goes over my head.  But what I'm getting is that not only are the environmentalists upset for environmental reasons, but there will also be job losses. These cuts are being done to help pay for the flood repair stuff. So we worry about families paying a little bit extra taxes. What about all the jobs lost? What's worse?

3. Read article about how Ted Baillieu is against the flood levy. He thinks it will be hard on families, and he also thinks they shouldn't ask for money until they know how much money is needed.  Is he worried too much money will be collected?  Not enough?  I just don't get this anti-tax viewpoint.   There's this push to just cut from the budget. But what do you cut from? If you cut from here, one group will be mad.  If you cut from there, another group will be mad.

I do side with Baillieu when he says he was offended that Gillard never mentioned Victoria's floods in her speech announcement about the flood levy. That was a bit rude. I'm sure she didn't mean to be rude....probably just a bit stressed.

4. Disturbed to read that in Victoria, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) can be given without permission from a patient, and without a review from a second psychiatrist or other similar type "expert" opinion. Someone from the not-my-side-of-the-debate says that changing laws around this would delay treatment for people.  I'm sure that would be bad in some cases.  But it scares me more to imagine these treatments being overused.

5. Read article about the flood and mental illness. It really bothers me when they use the term illness in this context.  Symptoms of distress do not mean someone is definitely ill.  You know what it's like....     Coughing is a symptom of illness, right?  A coughing person might have Cystic Fibrosis.   They might have lung cancer. They might have the flu. They might have whooping cough. There are tons of possibilities.  But they might NOT be sick.  Maybe they swallowed something the wrong way.   Maybe they inhaled some dust. Maybe they simply have a tickle in their throat. Maybe they're a bit nervous, and nervousness makes them cough.

If someone starts crying a lot and withdraws from family and friends...MAYBE they're mentally ill.   Or maybe they're not ill.  Maybe they're just sad because something really bad happened to them.   Maybe they don't feel like talking.  Or maybe they do, and they just need someone to reach out to them.

I'm not saying we shouldn't give people help. But I don't think we should call it mental health treatment, or anything like that.  I think we should say, people have been through a really hard time because of these floods. They need us to be compassionate. They need us to listen to them. They need to know that we're here to help them. They need to know they're NOT alone. 

6. Entered some contest on Facebook for The King's Speech.  They're looking for the movie's biggest fan in the Dallas area.  I'm in that area. I probably sounded like a fool with all my gushing.

7. Enjoyed reading the entries of the other people participating in The King's Speech contest.  They're having multiple various cities.  So far, there's one in Dallas, one in Atlanta, and one in Portland.

8. Decided to explore the website of the EPPIC in Melbourne.  That stands for Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre.  I'm reading over the symptoms of psychosis.  One of them is delusions, of course.  That means you believe something, and those around you think you're wrong.   But what if THEY'RE wrong, and you're right.  Huh?  Then what?  I've been reading my old Livejournal lately. I wrote the entries when I was going through my major-spiritual phase.  I had all kinds of weird beliefs and ideas. I ALSO smelled things that Tim said he couldn't smell.  That could count as hallucinations.  I think if someone from EPPIC read some of these journal entries, they'd put me in the early psychosis category.  I wouldn't be surprised if wanted me on medication.  But look.  I never had any intervention, and I didn't go totally insane. I'm fine....relatively speaking. I'm just a weird girl with a weird blog.  

9. While folding laundry, watched Oprah and her Americans ride a sailboat with Russell Crowe.  Crowe didn't seem very comfortable with the attention—seems kind of shy. He talked to Oprah about how he uses his intuition to judge whether people are for or against him.  The EPPIC says that persecutory delusions are ones in which the person believes that they are being, watched, followed, or talked about in a negative way, or that people are planning to, or actually, harming them. Would Russell Crowe qualify?   He seems to feel persecuted.  And grandiose delusions are ones in which the person believes that they have special powers or abilities. Would intuition, used to protect a celebrity from harmful people, count as a special power or ability?  

What I want to know is how psychiatrists PROVE that something is a delusion or not.  If someone says they're talking to God, how do we know they're not talking to God? If someone says they're Jesus, how do we know they're not Jesus?   If a celebrity worries that some people are out to cause him harm, how do we know that's not true?

10. Learned about the so-called Wild Australian Children.  The Vapour Trail Blog has some information about them.  In the 1860's, they were in American freak shows, presented as being part of a lost cannibalistic tribe from Australia. In reality they were children from Ohio who had something called Microcephaly.  

11.  Played Hangman with Jack, and used The Northern Territory, as one of my words.  I messed up though.  Jack said R, and I forgot one of the R's in Northern.  Oops. I had a really hard time spelling territory in my mind. Jack's really good at spelling.  I'm not. One day I should ignore all the Firefox corrections so you guys can see what I mean.   

12Saw an 1863 photograph of a toddler named George Ernest Morrison, on the National Library of Australia website.  I wondered who he was, so I googled his name. He was a man from Melbourne who did a lot of work for and about the Chinese.  At Australia National University, there's a lecture series named after Morrison. It makes me think of one of my email-pals.  He's Australian and very interested in Chinese culture and politics.

13. Received a Facebook message from The King Speech Facebook page.  They say I qualify as being one of the top fans!

14. Continued to read The Rose Crossing.  I don't love it, but I'm not ready to quit yet.

15. Found the blog of Martin Whitely, a Western Australian teacher and politician.   His blog is the type of thing I'd like.  It's about the over-diagnosis and over-medicating of children who are a bit energetic and spacey.  His bio page says, Martin describes himself as a disorganised, forgetful, daydreamer who fits the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. However, Martin does not consider himself disordered or diseased. He feels lucky to have be born before his personality type became all too frequently labelled as a disability, warranting biochemical intervention.    

16.  Read Martin Whitely's blog post about Patrick McGorry.   It makes me glad that McGorry's reign as Australian of the Year has ended. To me, the guy sounds like a drug pusher. And it's so easy to play into the insecurities of parents. What if someone told you that your child had the early stages of psychosis, and they needed early intervention?  The EPPIC lists early signs.  I can imagine a mentally ill person showing these signs as a precursor to their illness. I can also imagine almost every teenager showing these signs at some point in their adolescence.  I know I had pretty much all of them.  Parents want what's best for their child. They bring them to a doctor who tells them their kid needs medication. What do the parents do?  Do they dare to question a doctor's advice?  

17. Found other blog post by Martin Whitely in which he reports that in November 2010 McGorry said he no longer advocates psychiatric drugs as the main treatment of early psychosis. Well, good to hear he changed his mind!  The blog post has a link to an article about it (a PDF file). I'm going to read that.  Oh! Martin Whitely is actually a member of Parliament.

Reading this stuff gives me the creeps. The article says that the diagnosis of the so-called Psychosis-Risk syndrome has a false positive rate of 60%. Yikes.

18. Read Lord Wiki's information on Whitely.  He says there are Internet rumors about him being a Scientologist.  Yes, because all of us against psychiatry are Scientologists.  The truth is we want your children to be free of drugs so we can feed them to Xenu.  On Whitely's blog he says saying Martin respects all religions, however, Martin is not and never has been a devotee or follower of any religion, or a member of any organisation associated with any religion.     

19.  Found Patrick McGorry's own blog, so I can be fair and read his side of things.  He says they do not recommend anti-psychotic drugs as the standard treatment for the high-risk people.  That's very good.  He also says they NEVER recommended the anti-psychotic drugs as the primary choice for treatment. So what was all the fuss about then?  Was he misinterpreted before?  Or is he changing his song because of all the controversy?  It's kind of hard to tell.  I guess it would be like talking to a parent who says We spank our children but only when they REALLY need it.  That really doesn't provide us a clear picture.  How many kids are diagnosed with psychosis risk-syndrome, and how many of these diagnosed kids are NOT medicated?  To what extent are other therapies used?  

20. Looked at Orygen which is the organization that McGorry is involved in.  From what I see on the website, they're fairly reasonable.  I still don't like all the diagnosing and labeling. But it doesn't look like they're super eager to medicate people.

21. Read this Martin Whitley blog entry about McGorry saying they NEVER recommended anti-psychotic drugs as the primary choice for treatment.  Shit.  You know what. I probably should have just written a whole post about all of this. Oh well. My guess (from my delusional notion that I have intuition) is that McGorry was a believer in psychiatric drugs but has toned down his stance because of the negative associations people have with over-medicating children and teens.  Really, though. It doesn't matter.   If less children are being drugged (for whatever reason) it's probably a good thing.   Then we can feed them to Xenu.  

22. Realized I have been so into all this reading and researching, I lost track of time. Where is Tim?   Why isn't he home yet?  And it's time to feed the cats.  

23.  Read a beautiful editorial written by my friend. (the one I met in a Sydney playground) in which she talks about being a bear mother instead of a tiger mother.  Michelle says, My inner Bear Mother is a much more pleasant beast. She truly celebrates every achievement of her child, never asking how his results compare with those of his classmates, instead measuring his achievements against his own past progress.   And she says a bunch of other brilliant stuff, so go read it!   

24. Answered an email from The King's Speech regarding my feelings about the movie. I might be disqualified because I had to tell them I saw the movie only once. They might be comparing me to people who've seen the movie five times.  What was the last movie I saw multiple times in the theatre?  Maybe Twelve Monkeys?   Or it could have been Scream.  Ever since Jack entered my life, I see movies only once at the theatre. And I don't very often even do that. Usually we wait for DVD, or I see bits and pieces of movies when they're on cable.  

25. Read various opinions on Facebook about the flood levy.  I'm glad to see there are people who share my feelings.  Dallas Nibbs says, I have donated money AND bags and bags of clothes, nappies, baby toys etc to my sons Kindy to be sent to flood affected areas. I've also put coins in the red cross tins on my local woolies and donated at the coles counter. We have a young family and certainly are not well off. The amount of money we are talking about is a tiny amount... Like a mcdonalds value meal - or less!!! LOL.... Omg!!!    ALTHOUGH we have to remember that it's really like fifty-two McDonald's Value meals.    If I understand it correctly, the levy will have people paying $1-5 a week.  If someone is upset about losing that many McDonald's Meals, instead they can think of it as losing 1-2 nights of fine dining.  Or how about the loss of one night at a hotel?   Might be a very cheap hotel....if you're closer to the 1 dollar range vs. 5 dollar ranges.    

I Got My First Guest Post!!

I'm so excited!

I have my first guest post!!!   And it even includes fantastic photos! 

It's from my Norwegian email-pal Grethe.    She went to Australia a few weeks ago.  

Here is what she wrote.....

I first stumbled across Dina's blog about 2 years ago, in my very intense "I want to go to Australia and become a jillaroo"-phase. I'm not so sure anymore, but ask me again when my tailbone has completely recovered after two hours of horseback riding on a beach outside of Melbourne.

Fit for beginners my a** - no pun intended

I should maybe point out that my fascination with Australia started in the early 90's when the public broadcasting company in my home country finally got some competition and a second tv channel was born. At last some foreign drama series other than Ms Marple and Hercule Poirot! My sister and I would watch A Country Practice and Home and Away when we got home from school. I so wanted to be a bush ranger in Wandin Valley or maybe serve flat whites to cute life guards at the diner in Summer Bay. Many years later I watched one of the best drama series ever made, Love My Way, starring two of my favourite actresses; Claudia Karvan and Asher Keddie (both major girl-crush candidates).

My family and I left for Adelaide on Christmas Day. I was very excited to finally see McLeods country! The show is almost just as much about the nature and scenery for me. And what a scenery it is - driving around South Australia I almost expected to see my favourite characters come galloping over the hills, but then I remembered that they either died or moved to Argentina so I came to my senses. We stopped for a beer and a chat at the "Gungellan Hotel" in Freeling, and now I finally know what happened to Drover's Run when the network sold the property. The Kingsford estate will not be a Bed & Breakfast as I had hoped but a private corporate retreat. Oh well. Perhaps I could convince my husband to go into engineering?

Where is everybody?

After a few days in sleepy Adelaide (they must have the longest Christmas break ever!) we started our drive towards Melbourne. We had plenty of time and made lots of stops along the way. The Great Ocean Road is magnificent! Of course you have to share it with a million other tourists, but still it's worth stopping and queue up to get the perfect shot of the 12 Apostles. After a few days in Melbourse we flew to Sydney where we stayed for 4 days. We did the usual sightseeing, went to Manley, Northern Beaches (Palm Beach aka Summer Bay - it was so fun to see the look on my 11 year old niece's face when she realizes where she was!). But I promise, it's not all about tv. We got to cuddle a koala (Violet), feed kangaroos, horseback riding (ouch), wine tasting in Coonawarra (the cab sav is supposed to be good no matter what vintage - we tried quite a few and no arguments here), great beaches, sooo much good food (only one disappointing meal in 2 weeks, surely that must be some kind of record?), quite a lot of roadkill (though most of it bugs on our windshield and grill) and then of course there was just the fact that we were in Australia. We have travelled quite a lot together but we all agreed sharing Australia made it the best holiday ever.

Blue Lake, Mt Gambier (I swear to God this is not photo-shopped!)    
The 12 Apostles - or what's left of them anyway

We are definitely going back, and who knows? Maybe there will be an opening at the diner in Summer Bay.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


1. Read article about Geoffrey Rush's Oscar nominations.  I thought the article was rather boring.   The movie was better.

2. Read John's post about Australia Day. I liked it, because he talked about how it's a day to celebrate Australia, and welcome new Australians.   But that doesn't mean Australia is perfect.  You can love a country and still recognize that there needs to be some improvements. Some folks don't want to allow that attitude. They believe if you don't see something as perfect AND the best, then you should disappear.  

3. Saw from Statcounter that a lot of people are coming to my blog for Lillian Roxon reasons. I actually got her confused with her niece, at first. But now I remembered....Nicola Roxon is the Health Minister. Or at least she was.  Lillian is the reporter that wrote about rock music.

4. Went to check with Lord Wiki over whether Nicola Roxon is still Health Minister, and he says yes. She's Minster of Health and Ageing.

5. Got a VERY nice Australia Day message on my Facebook wall. I appreciated that.   

6. Read article about the flood tax thing. Tony Abbott is against it.  He feels it's against mateship.   He says, As soon as the Government puts on a tax, it is not an expression of generosity.  It is the very opposite of mateship once it is compulsory.   He has a point.  It's a less meaningful gesture when people are FORCED to help. But can you depend on people giving on their own accord?   I think many a point.  It's unlikely to be enough though.  

7. Got excited because I thought an American lawyer was speaking out in defense of Julian Assange. It turns out that it's an Australian lawyer.   That's nice, but I think it's fairly common for Australians to defend Assange.  I think more Americans need to speak up.  Otherwise, we're making ourselves look like people who shoot the messenger, don't truly care about free speech, AND have a lot to hide.    Speaking of Assange, I regret to report his Sims 3 counterpart passed away last night.  His family lives on, though. His daughter married a vampire, and they have a vampire toddler.

8. Learned about Red Cross Parcels from this commercial on the Australian Screen website.   

9. Decided to keep practicing with Australia quizzes.  I took this B themed-one today, and got 8/10.   The average score is 7/10, so I'm pretty okay with my score.

10. Watched a 1940 commercial for Rinso Laundry detergent that made me thankful for the feminist movement and modern washing machines.  Lord Wiki says that Rinso no longer exists.  

11. Started Reading The Rose Crossing by Nicholas Jose.  I'm worried I'm not going to like it.   It seems like one of those books where I have to read each paragraph repeatedly in order to understand what's going on.

12. Tried to make sense of this very disturbing article about something happening in Victoria.   A woman's daughter was murdered.  A known child-killer was suspected of the crime. She took him to court, and because she lost the first part of the case, she may have to pay his legal fees. That is so crazy. Am I missing something here?  I can maybe understand if someone dragged an innocent man through the courts.  But this guy is already a convicted killer!

13. Talked to Jack about the different attitudes towards Australia Day, and we ate the leftover Lamington cupcakes.  They're SO good. I think it's because Tim put salt in the frosting.  I'm not sure if he got that from the recipe of if he came up with the idea on his own.  It's like the salt in the chocolate milk on Modern Family.  Have any of you tried that?  

14. Learned that the 22nd Premier of South Australia was an American.  John Jenkins.  

15. Figured out that The Rose Crossing might be about incest. Well, I guess it might make things a little more interesting.  I feel bad saying that because I'm sure people have suffered through that in real life.  But in fiction, it doesn't harm anyone.

16. Listened to Rebecca Lavelle song; In His Eyes.  I like it less than I've liked her other songs.  

17. Read Tiffany's BEAUTIFUL post about Australia Day.  She shows how it doesn't have to be a day of over-the-top racist patriotism, and it also doesn't have to be Invasion Day self-hatred.  She says, Australia Day is celebrating all that is good about us and I do mean all of us because what is really amazing about Australia is that we are a multicultural land.

18. Read that Jimmy Buffet was rushed to the hospital with a head injury after falling off the stage in Sydney.  I hope he ends up being okay.  That's really scary.

19. Watched Jewelchic's video about Oprah's visit.  Jewelchic has a vision board....part of The Secret idea thing that Aussie Rhonda Byrne sold to the world. Oprah's picture is on Jewelchic's board.  Oprah came to visit. Oprah and Jewelchic talk about how this proves that dreams come true.  Okay.  How about all the people in the world with, Oprah photos on their boards that Oprah did NOT visit?  And yes, dreams DO come true.  But not because of a vision board. And many dreams do NOT come true even when people wish hard enough, believe hard enough, and work hard enough.

20. Realized the American government's tactics against Julian Assange reminds me of the aspects of Scientology I don't like (their secretiveness, and bullying behavior)   I thought about the credit card companies today and got angry all over again.

21. Considered quitting The Rose Crossing.  It's not enjoyable reading for me.  It's scholarly brainy reading.  But I hate quitting books. Sometimes I don't like the beginning of books, but by the end I love them....or at least like them.  On the other hand, sometimes I struggle through a whole book and then regret wasting my time.  Well....I'll give it a few more chapters.  

22. Got an email from a friend saying she didn't like this new blogging style.  I'm never speaking to her again. No, I'm JOKING. I think it was nice that she was honest with me, especially since I asked.  I love writing this way, but I'm still worried that many other people will dislike it. I think I'm going to stay with this system for now, though. I think with anything, some people are going to like it better than the old way, and some people won't.  I still plan to do old-style posts, probably mostly when I want to research something more in depth.

23. Read on the Sydney Sustainable Market Facebook Page that they've run out of reusable bags, and are asking people to donate some of their extras. Then they're going to pass out the various bags to people.  That's pretty cool. Do they usually give out free bags at these places?  Wait. I read it wrong.  They ran out of green bags. What are green bags?  Ah.... I think this is it. I think they're referring to green reusable bags.   

24. Was thinking if people don't like my new blog posts, maybe they can read my novel instead.   I really wish I had more readers for that thing.   It has nothing to do with Australia.  Sorry.  But it has crazy dream stuff, teen romance, family drama..... It's like Twilight meets Inception.  I shouldn't really say that, because I haven't seen Inception.  But I know it's about going into people's dreams, and stuff like that.  My novel is about the same type of thing.  

The picture on the novel website is our front door. I used that (with special visual effects added) because I've had lucid dreams involving that door.

25. Saw links that one of my Aussie Facebook friends has shared.  They're anti-psychiatry videos from the Scientology supported group Citizens Commission on Human Rights.  That's one thing I DO like about Scientology—their lack of love for psychiatry. I also like that a science fiction writer was the founder of the religion.  I don't get why people have a problem with that?   I think it's awesome.  Maybe one day JK Rowling will start a religion. I'd be tempted to join.  

26. Watched the trailer for The King's Speech.  I LOVE that movie.  I love Geoffrey Rush in that movie.  The part at 1:32 always gives me a little tear.

27. Relieved to hear that Jimmy Buffet has been released from the hospital.   Doctors say he's fine.   I hope he has a follow-up appointment....just in case.  I think with head injuries it's best to be over-cautious.  

28. Read that the flood levy is going to cost most households 1-5 dollars a week. If you're financially challenged, or a victim of the flood yourself, you won't have to pay anything.   Really?   Is 1-5 dollars that big of a deal? I think what's worse is there's going to be budget cuts in other spending areas (such as environmental programs)  I just looked at the poll for the article. 80% of people oppose the tax.  I don't really understand why.