Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lizards, Dolly, Coffin Bay, and Borders

1. Dreamed briefly about Peter Singer. I learn he has resigned from an organization because he doesn't like something they support.   Later (in a dream within a dream) I tell Andrew about my dream.  He doesn't seem to be a big fan of Singer.  

2. Saw a very cute baby Eastern Water Dragon on Mim's blog.  Mim has a whole collection of animal photos on Flickr.  That's cool.  I LOVE this parrot.

You know....I think my two favorite Aussie animals are lizards and parrots.And I also like the bats.

Here's an adult version of the Eastern Water Dragon.  We don't get big lizards like that in our backyard.

3. Saw a website about Eastern Water Dragons.  They swim, so their name is appropriate.  They also live in the eastern part of Australia, so that part of their name fits as well.  

4. Read my post from yesterday, and saw that when I mentioned Logue and his wife leaving their child to go on an American adventure, I forgot to specify the amount of time they were away (six months).  I was very mysterious....but that was an accident. Anyway, I fixed that.  

By the way, I DO proofread. I'm just very bad at it.  

5. Read article about man being killed by sharks in South Australia.  That's very unfortunate.

6. Read article about government creating a new multiculturalism policy. They're going to try and fight racism, and do away with discrimination. I personally don't understand what's so new about that?  Wasn't that their goals all along?  

7. Saw that Western Australia is now being attacked by bad weather.  Queensland got Yasi. Darwin got Carlos.  Western Australia has Dianne.

8. Struggled to understand the Scott Morrison funeral thing.  This article helped. It's the first time I paid any real attention to the story, so I needed a basic background type thing.

Is Morrison being insensitive, racist, or just cheap?  I don't know.

It does seem like a waste of money.  I AM insensitive sometimes when it comes to burial issues.   These people came on a boat to escape something, right?  They must have had really difficult lives.   I'm guessing their families had bad lives too.  It seems to me it would be better to put the $300,000 to better use.  I mean I wish they could use the money to help the family members in some other way, besides ferrying them over the funeral.  I don't know what could be done though.

Oh. Never mind. I got it all wrong. This editorial is setting me straight. I thought they were bringing people from some far off country.  The relatives are on Christmas Island.  The funeral is in Sydney.    Why didn't they have the funeral on Christmas Island?  Or are there also relatives in Sydney?

Anyway, if there is good reason for the funeral to be in Sydney, and there are relatives stuck on Christmas Island, I'd say it would probably be nice for the government to pay for their plane tickets.

9. Saw news of a shark attack.  I can't tell if this is the same one, or a new one. I'm going to read the article.   Okay. It's the same one. I saw it on Facebook just now, and it looked like it was new news.

10. Looked up Coffin Bay on Google Maps.  This is where the shark attack happened. Lord Wiki says the name of the peninsula it's on is Eyre Peninsula.

The name Coffin is morbid, but does not refer to people dying in the area. It was named after a friend of Matthew Flinders; Isaac Coffin.  

11. Learned about the Argyle Cut in Sydney.  It's like a cut out tunnel that gives a passageway between Miller's Point and The Rocks.  The works was begun by convicts using primitive tools.   Then folks decided to speed the process along, and they used some explosives.

I think this MIGHT be it on Google Maps. 

12. Saw this article, which says that in three days, Carlos caused more rain in Darwin than Melbourne, Hobart, and Adelaide get in a year. All three combined, or alone? Either way, that's a lot of rain.

Okay.  I read further down. It's each place separately.  Carlos caused 732 mm of rain. The average rainfall of Melbourne is 648 mm. The average for Hobart is 616, and the average for Adelaide is 549.

13. Learned of a famous Australian singer named Peter Dawson. Here's an old photo of him. To a small degree, he reminds me of Kenneth Branagh.

 Here's Dawson singing Auld Lang Syne.  

14. Saw this photo.  Maybe it was taken by the Anne Geddes' ancestors.

15. Listened to Peter Dawson sing Waltzing Matilda.  I find it to be kind of....maybe....soothing?   It makes me want to curl up on a cruise ship bed and take a nap.

16. Listened to Peter Dawson sing On the Road to Mandalay.  The title of the song sounded familiar, but the song itself doesn't.  Oh!  You know what.  I was probably thinking of "On the Road to Gundagai".  

17. Listened to Peter Dawson sing Song of Australia.  I've never heard the song before.    This website has some information about it.  It was a winning song in a 1859 competition. Caroline J. Carleton was the winner.  Well, she wrote the lyrics.  Someone else wrote the music.

Sadly, both of Carleton's children died on the voyage from England to Australia.

18. Looked up Dolly magazine because someone mentioned it on Facebook. I guess it's like our Seventeen magazine in America.  

I'm going to take some Dolly quizzes.  

My relationship is healthy, although I really don't know what I'd do if I found out Tim stalked his last girlfriend.  I can't imagine that happening though. Tim is SO not the stalker type.   

I started taking a test about whether I'm positive, or not.  One of the questions has some formatting issues.  Oh well.  

Here's a page of girl celebrities.   I wonder how many are Australian.  

They have a list of five crushiest girls. All of them are American. Although Kristen Stewart IS half-Australian.

19. Looked at the other actresses featured as girl-crush Dolly people. It looks like most are Americans.  So Australian youth really ARE being infiltrated with American culture.

There's a British girl here; Carey Mulligan.  Oh!  And I see Emma Watson.  She's not American.

There's one Aussie girl on the page; Tammin Sursok. The magazine emphasis that she's becoming successful in America.

This magazine is a bit shameful.  They really need to showcase more Australians.

Wait.  There's more girls.   This page has a bunch of Americans as well. There's two British girls, so that's good.

Well, I'm glad to see that the page on Kristen Stewart DOES mention that her mom's Australian—from Queensland.   

Oh my....this thing keeps going. The third page has Gemma Ward. Again, they make a big deal out of her American career.

I'm going to quit here.  I think this magazine lists almost every teen celebrity out there. It's just a shame that the top three pages feature mostly Americans.  

I just thought of it though.  It's not just Australian teens that are lacking on the list. They don't have any of the Nickelodeon teens that we were watching a few months back. Maybe they're less popular in Australia?  

20. Decided to see if Aussie teen boy stars are given more attention by Dolly.  

A guy from Dallas is in the top five. Mark Salling.

Miracle of miracles. There's an Aussie in the top five. Liam Hemsworth.

And there's more Aussie guys featured on the first page. We have Xavier Samuel from Twilight.   There's some guy named Harrison Gilbertson; and and there's Dan Sultan from Bran Nue Dae.  My friend has mentioned him. And I guess I've probably seen him while watching clips from that movie.

21. Consulted Lord Wiki about Dan Sultan. I was curious about whether he was Aboriginal.  He is.  His mother is from the Arrernte and Gurindji people.  

22. While using the toilet, decided that no matter what country you're in, popular teen magazines are probably going to be complete shit.  They're good at making kids feel they're not good enough.   You're not thin enough.  You're not fashionable enough. You're not rich enough. Maybe in Australia, they make you feel bad for not being American enough.  Or maybe it's just Dolly that does that.  

I guess in America, teens are made to feel they're missing out for not living in Los Angeles or New York.  I probably felt that when I was a kid.  It's like the whole world is centered in those two cities.  If New York and Los Angeles loves you, you're a hit. But who gives a crap if Fort Worth or Brisbane loves you.

23.  Listened to Dan Sultan sing "Old Fitzroy".  I watched a bit of the video, when I wasn't looking at old pictures.

24. Listened to Dan Sultan sing Bran Nue Dae from Bran Nue Dae.  I can't believe it's taken me this long to listen to the title song.  It's awesome.   I HAVE heard some of it before.....I think in the trailer.  

25. Saw a collection of photos of Percy Grainger and his mother.  

26. Read more of The King's Speech.  Some of it makes me a bit melancholy.    Lionel Logue and the Duke (not yet king) spent a ton of time together. Then the Duke did so well, he really didn't need Logue anymore.  And he was very busy.  So they kind of drifted apart, and it seems Logue mourned the relationship more than the Duke.  It reminds me of stories like The Giving Tree and "Puff the Magic Dragon".  

It also reminds me of this song.   I'll give you a moment to watch it, and cry.....

Okay?  Done?  Let's move on. 

I think though that Bertie and Lionel are going to get back together again. I'm on the chapter where the king (Dumbeldore) dies, and so eventually Bertie will inherit the throne. He'll probably need Logue's help again.  Will their friendship be restored, or will Logue sacrifice his branches, leaves, and apples for the king?

27. Remembered that, on the walk home from the ice cream shop, we talked about deadly Australian animals, and which is the deadliest. I said I thought I had heard it was horses or cows. I remember hearing that. If it IS true, it's not because horses and cows are the most vicious, aggressive, and venomous. It's probably because humans interact with those animals the most.

To figure out the deadliest animal, we'd probably have to look at various factors.....

1. How sharp are their teeth and claws?
2. How venomous are they? 
3. Is there an anti-venom?
4.  Are there many of them?
5. Are humans likely to encounter them?

28. Tried to find the thing about horses (or cows) being the most dangerous animal in Australia. I had no luck with that. Maybe I dreamed it.  

Ah! Never mind.  I found it.   Here's an article. It says horses are the most dangerous, followed by cows and dogs. Out of the animals with a scary reputation, the shark is the only one high up on the list.  That surprises me. I would have guessed it to be crocodiles or Box Jellyfish.  

29. Saw something disturbing on Facebook.  I went to find an article about it.  Two bookstores in Australia (Borders and Angus and Robertson) are having some difficulties.    So....they're requiring customers to spend twice the amount that's on their gift card. I guess that means if you have a ten dollar gift card, you have to spend twenty dollars.  That is CRAZY.   

The article says it's probably legal for them to do this.  Legal, maybe. But it seems very unfair.   

Gift cards are my favorite type of gifts. I might have to rethink that now.

30. Read good news about lost men being found.  They had disappeared in the flood waters. If these men decide to tell their story, we won't be buying it from Borders.  I'll probably buy it from Powells.   I hope they don't ever go out of business!

31. Tried to find out what's going on with Borders. This article says that in America, they're NOT going completely out of business.   But they are closing down several stores.  For now, they're saying gift cards will be honored.  

32. Looked at the Australian Borders website.  They say the same thing that I read in the article.   Gift cards are no longer available, and you have to pay double to use your gift card.

33. Looked at the Borders Australia Facebook Page.  There's lots of angry people. Then there're other people telling the angry people not to take it out on the people working at the shop.   They're in a tough situation too.  They're going to be losing their jobs.  It's a bad situation all around.

Sonata Arctica Chris says,  just want to say to Borders, When you charge $150 for a book in-store that I can buy for $40 from your american online store including postage, what did you expect to happen. 

A store employee from Borders responds.  People like you need to put yourselves in the shoes of the employees. Do you not care that our jobs are on the line? No, all you care about is getting on your high horse and stating your opinion. Get a life.

I think Borders (and all companies) should have rules about store employees coming onto Facebook and debating/fighting with customers. It looks VERY unprofessional. I mean it's one thing if they fight on a unrelated Facebook page....but on the actual company page? Yikes.

Now I do think it's wrong for people to abuse employees for something that is not their fault.   However, employees need to understand that certain situations will make the customer angry. And they need to be able to handle this in an empathetic and patient way.

This is like what happened at Cook Children's Cityview, Jack's ex-pediatrician's office.   Tim called to cancel an appointment.  He was put on hold for over five minutes. This aggravated him. When the receptionist came back online, he expressed mild annoyance. This could have ended right there with an apology.  Instead Tim's mildly expressed displeasure was met with a callous and very unapologetic attitude.  This made Tim angry, and it escalated into a loud and angry conversation.   Then the doctor sent us a letter saying that Jack was fired as their patient. The general idea is that they can be as rude as they want to us. And we're just supposed to smile and take it...because they're medical professional Gods.       

Really.  How hard is it to say.  I'm very sorry we kept you waiting.  We've been extremely busy today.

34. Thought about employees of Borders.  It IS sad that they'll be losing their jobs.  I hope they have an easy time finding new jobs.  Now what are their rights when it comes to customers?

I think they have the right NOT to get physically assaulted in any way. They shouldn't get punched, stabbed, shot, spit at, bit, etc. 

They have the right NOT to be called names.  I mean rude names. It's fine if they're called by the name on their name tag.

They have a right NOT to be threatened with violence.   

But I don't think they should expect dissatisfied customers to meet them calmly with a smile.  There's going to be some anger.   There's going to be some loud voices.   As customers need to understand it's not the employees fault, the employee has to understand that the anger is not truly directed at him or her.  However, if the employee has an attitude like the employee on Facebook, then the anger may become intensified, and it may then be truly directed at the employee.