Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fires, Baby Zaka, Australia Post, and Indecisiveness

1. Had lucid dream where I did my typical thing of leaving the regular dream world for the lucid dream world.  I invite Jack to come along with me.  We stop at a cafe.  We want something to eat.  I look in my left pocket and see I have only two dollars.  I ask the people working at the cafe if they have anything for that amount of money.  They're nice, but seem doubtful. Then I look in my other pocket, and find five dollars. But it's an Australian five dollar note.  The cafe workers seem willing to accept that money.  But then I decide that I'm not hungry after all.  I want to leave.  

I had lots of little lucid dreams.   In two, I found myself trapped in dangerous situations, and escaped by waking up.  I don't think I really woke up though.  I think I just went into another dream.  Well, actually I think I truly woke up with the last one. I'm glad I got out of there. This man had approached me, and he was really creepy.   I got the sense that he was a serial killer.

2. Very touched by what my grandmother's cousin wrote on Facebook. She wrote a message to all her Facebook friends about Queensland, and asked for prayers. And she put up a link to my cyclone Facebook page. I love that she did that, and am very grateful.

3. Saw on Facebook that there's warnings of another storm approaching...maybe.  There's arguments in the comment section about whether it's better to be warned, or not.  I think it's a case of people wanting to shoot the messenger.

Anyway, hopefully it's a false alarm.

4. Saw that The King's Speech won an award for production design at the Art Directors Guild Awards.  They won in the period film category.   Modern Family won for their Halloween episode.   That was actually one of my least favorite episodes, but the set design bit was nice.    

5. Exasperated while reading that there are horrible fires in Perth.  Can Australia not get a break?   You know, I must admit.  I'm narrow-minded.  I'm pretty much aware of only the crazed weather in America and Australia.  How is it elsewhere?  I guess I would have heard about major earthquakes, and stuff like that.

I'm looking at Google News. I googled earthquake.   It looks like there's been some minor and medium ones.  Tokyo had a 5.2 one.  Chile had a 5.6 one. There was a 6.4 one  around Myanmar and India.

My parents are in Chile. I wonder if they felt the earthquake.  I just wrote an email so I could ask them about that.

6. Read article that says Sydney heatwave has ended.  Unfortunately, it could return though.  Yuck.

7. Checked Australia's weather.  It looks like it's going to be nice in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.  Adelaide doesn't look too bad either.  It would probably be a tiny bit too warm for my taste.  Hobart would be a bit too cold. I'm VERY picky about temperature.  I'm mostly satisfied with anything between about 22-26.

Never mind. I just rechecked the conversions. I think I'd be okay with 28. I'll change my preferred range to 22-28.  

8. Just noticed that you can get weather warnings on the site.  There are lots of floods warnings for New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria 

9. Realized from this Traveler IQ test that I still have a LOT to learn about Australia.  Actually, I already knew that.  But the quiz was a good reminder. 

10. Watched video about a Bicentennial American-Australia hybrid stamp.  It features a koala and eagle being friendly with each other.  It's kind of cute, I suppose.  I wonder why they chose the koala over the kangaroo?  Maybe Americans are scared of kangaroos?   It could have been related to the Jack-n-the-Box thing.   Or maybe there's a better size similarity between eagles and kangaroos.

11. While exercising, sang Australia's national anthem, but I only know the first line. I'm horrible at lyrics.

12. Watched this very entertaining video made by the Australia Post. It's from 1988, and talks about the Australia Post becoming a commercial enterprise. It was forced to compete with other companies offering postal services.   In a way, I suppose it's an argument in support of neoliberalism. When entities are forced to compete, are we offered better services?  I don't know though.  Telstra was privatized, and I've heard AWFUL things about their services.  My cousin wrote a post about it back in October.  

13. Watched this 1985 video about the Australia Post's electronic mail service.   It makes me VERY thankful for the way we're able to communicate today. The video brags about a service in which you can call your local Australia Post operator, recite what you want to say, and they'll type it up for you.  And it doesn't sound like the service was very cheap.  I much prefer writing my own email, and not telling a complete stranger what I want to say.   

14. Got an email from my dad, responding to my niece's and my email about the earthquake.  He asks where we're getting our information.  There is no earthquake. It's interesting that he doesn't even question whether there might have been an earthquake.

Well, I just looked.   They're nine hours away from the Earthquake, so it makes sense that they didn't feel it.   But remember....we're the dumb Americans who know nothing about geography.   Chile to me is just one big mass.   I don't know what city is where.    Anyway, I think he could have said Yes, there was an earthquake.   But it's not in the city we're visiting.  It's like when they called us when we were in Australia during the fires.  I didn't say There is no fire.   I don't know where you're getting your information.   I explained that the fire was in Victoria, and we were hours away in Canberra.   Actually, I think we were in Tasmania on the worst days of the fires. We were in Canberra when they called to see if we were okay....in regards to the fire.

15. Watched some early work of Fred Schepisi's.  In 1970 he did a movie for The Australia Post.   Six years later, he made The Devil's Playground, and nine years after that he made Roxanne.   His upcoming movie stars Geoffrey Rush! 

16. Heard there is now a cyclone named Zaka.  I hope he (or she) is nice.   

17. Thought about how incredibly grateful I am for the people who read my blog daily (or on a regular basis).  It lifts my spirit, and yeah....my spirit needs a huge lift sometimes.   So, thank you.

18. Saw this 19th century photo of the Deaf and Blind Asylum in Adelaide, and discovered it is now a retirement home.  It's a beautiful building.  

19. Took a Traveler's IQ quiz for Australians Only just to be spiteful.  It's like when we were in London, and I bought the chocolate bar that's not for girls.  As Lock says, Don't tell me what I can't do!  Anyway, I did okay on the test. My score was 63,639.

20. Told Tim about my indecisiveness regarding where to go in 2012.  I know we want to to go to Sydney.  I know we want to go to Melbourne.   I'm just not sure about the third city.   Tim thinks maybe we can do four cities, but I don't want to jump around that much.  I WILL say Tim was very nice, and did not laugh or roll his eyes when I said my desire to go to Perth or Adelaide was partly related to Lionel Logue.  Don't worry though. I'm totally rolling my eyes at myself.

And I have a second stupid reason for wanting to go to Perth and Adelaide.  In a way, I respect this reason less than the Logue thing.  It's that whole bucket list thing.  I want to be able to say I've been to all the Australian states and territories. We've been to New South Wales and Tasmania.  Oh, and I guess we can count the ACT.  So, we've been to three. Next time we'll add Victoria to the trip.    We'll be up to four.  If we went to Adelaide or Perth instead of Hobart, we'd be up to five.

21. Thought of another reason I don't want to go to Hobart.  It's another stupid one.   I had it in my mind before, and I pushed it away.  When my parents went on their cruise, they did Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart.  If we do that in 2012, I feel like I'm just following in their footsteps. I don't like that. I know. It's an immature feeling. But that's me.

The other thing is one of the reasons I chose Hobart is our friends live in Tasmania. We planned to hang out in Melbourne, but I figured it would be nice to see them in their state as well. Now it looks like they might not be living in Tasmania anymore. 

With all these reasons, it seems like it should be easy. Just cross out Hobart, and go to the other cities. But it's NOT that easy.  I really want to go to Hobart.  It looks so beautiful.

22. Just asked Jack if he'd rather go to Perth, Adelaide, or Hobart.  He said Hobart.   You know, I'll just keep asking people and get ideas that way.   Let me just say now that if anyone emails me and suggests ANOTHER city (besides the three) I will not think kind thoughts about you.  But if you want to email me with your preference of Perth, Adelaide, or Hobart, I will keep your opinion in mind.

22. Saw that Zaka is visiting New Zealand instead of Australia. Hopefully, it will be kind and gentle to the Kiwis.  

23. Read article about fires in Perth.  Forty homes have already been destroyed.  I'm looking at the suburbs mentioned in the article.   They're pretty far down south from Perth, almost an hour away.    They're near the Darling Range Regional Park.  

24. Decided to look at all my old travel-plan posts.  In July 2009, my plan was to do just New South Wales and Victoria....really concentrate on Victoria.   In January 2010, I created an adventure involving Sydney, Melbourne, a drive to Adelaide, and then a flight to Perth.   We'd also be spending time in Rottenest Island and Broken Hill.   We'd cover a lot of ground, but it would be short visits to each place.  For me, I think that would be overwhelming.  There's also the fact that it costs more to jump around from place to place.   Flights are expensive.  Renting a car is expensive. AND you usually can get better accommodation deals if you stay at a place for at least a week. 

I can't find the post, but somewhere along the line....I guess I subtracted Perth, and added Tasmania.   Then in June 2010 I subtracted Tasmania. I had us flying from Sydney to Melbourne, driving to Adelaide, and then driving to Broken Hill.  We'd fly back to Sydney from Adelaide.   Later we decided to skip Broken Hill. We would drive to Adelaide from Melbourne, and then back again.

Then I lost interest in the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, and suddenly decided I was dying to go to Hobart.

Now I'm back to square one.

25. Decided that MAYBE we can just let price decide. We'll see which has the cheapest flight from Melbourne or Sydney.....Perth, Adelaide, or Hobart.

26. Saw something about Liberals and printer ink.  I'm too lazy and distracted to give it much thought.

27.  Decided I should stop being lazy, and actually read the article about the printer ink. If I'm understanding things correctly, the Liberal Party people learned there would soon be a cap on what could be spent on printer ink. SO they rushed out and spent a shitload of money on printer ink....before the cap went in place.   Wow.

28. At dinner, talked to Jack about American and Australian children we know that have (or will be) moving to the other country.   We talked about things like citizenship, and whether these kids will remember being Australian or American if they don't end up moving back to their original homelands.  

29. Looked at Qantas flights. Flying from city to city is VERY expensive, so much worse than I imagined. I think we're going to have to do the walkabout pass thing.  I don't think we want to do the long flight from America to Sydney though.  I'm looking to see if there's a multi-city domestic one.   I found this. Maybe it will work.  

Or maybe it's not as bad as I think it is.  We almost canceled Launceston in 2009 because the prices looked scary. But we were able to lower the price by flying two different airlines there and back.  

This is stressing me out too much. I think we'll wait until the date gets closer, and then look at all the airlines, AND look at what deals are available.   I do get the idea that Hobart and Adelaide are going to be less expensive than flying all the way to Perth.  

30. Decided for financial reasons to narrow the choice down to Adelaide and Hobart. If we go the Adelaide route, we might as well go back to driving there.  This would probably be our route.  It has elevated areas, which terrify me.  But Hobart seems full of elevation as well.

See....I was a bit hypocritical. I told Tim no mountains, which made the route from Melbourne to Adelaide a little less appealing.  Then when I switched the plan to Hobart, I noticed the mountains, but tried to pretend they weren't there.

31. Realized something that made me feel better.  It was NOT Lionel Logue that initially made me regret canceling the Adelaide plans.  It was my guest post friend.   We had planned on going to Blue Lake in Mt. Gambier. I gave that up for Hobart, then I saw her photos, and had some regret.

But if I change our plans to Adelaide, someone's going to show me this great photo of Hobart, and I'll have a bunch of regret again.

MAYBE I should do something like Harry Potter house points. I'll take two cups...Adelaide and Hobart.   Each time I see something that makes me want to go to one of the cities, I'll put a coin in that city's cup. When I see or hear something that makes me lose interest, I'll take a coin out. Then when it comes to the time that we really need to make the decision, I'll count the coins.

You know....I actually like that idea.  

32. Realized I don't need to use literal cups and coins.  I can just write it down somewhere.  Duh.

I'm going to also include spiritual things.  Like if I have Hobart synchronicity, I'll add a point to Hobart.  If someone in my dream tells me to go to Adelaide, I'll add a point to Adelaide.

I should make a deadline.  Maybe November 2011. I think I'll just make my birthday the deadline.   That will work.  

33. Read article that says a poll showed that the majority of Australians support the flood levy.   Fifty-five percent of the people asked said yes. That's good. It was most popular with people in the 18-34 range. It was least popular with people over 50. I wonder why that is.  

34. Noticed from my Statcounter that I get more visitors from South Australia than I do from Tasmania.

35.  Thought about how people might want to give us advice about choosing Hobart or Adelaide.   It might help if I describe what we like and don't like....let it might give people a better view of what would be best for us.

I like used bookstores, parrots, desserts, old buildings (especially Gothic architecture), the ocean, and places where I can dress casually, and not worry that people are judging my fashion choices.

Tim likes the ocean, food, cycling, and jogging.

Jack likes zoos and science museums.

None of us are much into spectator sports. We all like street fairs.

We don't like drawn-out historical tours, but we do enjoy seeing glimpses of history here and there.

Anyway, if you're into giving advice....I hope the information above helps.  

36. Realized that I've been heavily influenced by Australia, and no longer feel comfortable saying that I root for someone.  Although I'm not sure that's something I often said in the past.

37. Found article in Christian Science blog about Lionel Logue.   One thing bothers me about his story.  When he helped the three-year-old child, he wouldn't allow the father into the room.   I've seen dentists who have rules like that, and I don't like it.  I feel better having the choice of being there.   But I guess we're more cautious these days?  I don't have the feeling that Logue did anything inappropriate.  It's not that.  And I don't worry about that in terms of the dentist so much.   It's more the sense that if my child feels better with his parents being there, I think we should be there.   Sometimes the dentist will say it's worse for the child if the parents are there. I think it's worst for the dentist.  Maybe it makes them nervous?

I don't know.  The blog entry makes Logue's treatment methods seem VERY mysterious. It's like no one knew what he did.  Maybe he took out a magic wand, and did some kind of Harry Potter spell. 

The same blog has another entry about Logue and the movie.  It talks a lot about the Christian Science way of healing, and ponders over how much Logue used this type of healing in his work.He might not have used that much. I mean sometimes someone can belong to a religion, but not really be intensely involved.   Or is Christian Science one of those religions where if you're in it....you are IN it?

38. Followed link on Christian Science blog, and found a huge amount of information on this speech therapy website

Some of the stuff is fascinating.  Here too they talk about how no one really knows WHAT methods Logue used.  Although maybe they wrote this before the discovery of the diary?  Perhaps the diaries give some clue?

The website says, From all reports he was a sincere, compassionate person who believed in himself as a healer. As far as the healing went, we will never know whether he developed an effective treatment able to withstand the tests of time and scientific scrutiny. Moreover, we don't know whether it had to be Logue administering the therapy or whether it could be emulated and administered by any clinician.

In other words....He might have been magical.  I'm serious.  I'm not trying to say he was some type of wizard. But maybe he had healing powers. And if we don't even want to go that far, we could just say that he had skills and talents that most other people don't possess. When someone juggles fire while walking on a tightrope, isn't that a bit magical?   It's not something that most of us can do....even if we read the right books, take the right classes, and try to practice.  

39.  Followed a link to Logue's information on a genealogy website.  I just noticed his birthday is coming up.  26 February.  His numerology number is 9 which is all about helping people.   His astrology sign is Pisces which is pretty spiritual.  The birthday calculator website says his plant was the plantain.  Yum.

40. Followed another link to a newsletter archive from 1912. Logue's elocution classes are mentioned.  

41. Followed a link to an article that says folks are thinking of adapting The King's Speech into a stage play....maybe a musical.   That might be good.