Friday, February 18, 2011

Parallel Importation, The King's Speech, Popularity, and ARIA

1. Dreamed about visiting Australia.  Tim, Jack, and I are going for a two day visit.  It's not our big 2012 trip.  This is just a small extra thing.  When we're in Sydney, I think about calling my friend in Tasmania.  But then I worry each of us will feel pressure to visit.  The flight would be too much money for such a short time.  On the other hand, it feels weird to be in Australia and not tell her.

I guess I end up telling her.  I think she ended being in Sydney for some other reason anyway.  She comes to our hotel, and we have a nice visit. 

2. Read an article that says there have been more salmonella cases in Adelaide.  The illness itself didn't happen recently.  The people got sick before 4 February.  But the test results have just come in.  Wow. That takes a long time.

I had been trying to figure out whether the offending custard came from the bakery or whether they obtained it elsewhere.  I guess the answer is the latter, because the article mentions a manufacturing plant.  However, they tested the plant, and nothing has come out positive.  Although isn't it possible that the workers at the plant rushed to do some extra cleaning once they heard the news? Maybe they wiped away the evidence?

3. Received a link to the longer version of The King's Speech promotional video.  We're not in this one either!  We must have been REALLY bad with the interview.  I think we tried to make things too complicated.  We would have had more chances to be in the video if we just said things like It's fabulous!   Everyone will love this movie!  I was moved to tears!   I probably over-analyzed things.    Anyone who reads this blog will know that's kind of in my nature.

4. Realized that I accidentally lied.  I hate when I do that.  I emailed back The King's Speech people, and told them that I linked to their videos on my blog. I was trying to be all gracious.  Hey, you cut me out of your video.  But I'll still help you promote it.  But then I realized I didn't link to it, because I won't be posting this until tonight.   SO....I decided to remedy my lie by putting a link on the little sidebar thing.

If I had been in the video, I probably wouldn't link to it.   I'd likely be too embarrassed....unless by some miracle I looked awesome.

5. Read article about Borders and Angus and Robertson.   They're both owned by something called REDgroup.   I'm confused, because I thought Borders was an American company.    Andrew talked about the issue on his blog.   He says, We are told it is a separate company to the US Borders, yet both have gone broke at the same time. Excuse me if I am of a suspicious type.    Uh...yeah.   I think that would be a pretty weird coincidence.  Two stores have the same name, and they both go bankrupt around the same time.

Here is the REDgroup Retail website.  They have a little news thing, and they mentioned Borders Australia.   Now that to me is good indication that they're connected to the Borders in America.   Otherwise, why would they need to add the Australia to the name?   It's not like I hear of David Jones Australia. Although lots of Australia companies are sadly owned by big American companies...Holden, Vegemite, Arnotts, etc.

MAYBE this Borders incident will encourage Australian companies to keep the ownership in Australia.   

It's really sad that Cadbury was bought out by Kraft.  I know that's British, and not Australian.   Same kind of story though.  I don't understand enough about business to know why stuff like that happens.   I guess they're put in a situation where they feel forced to sell?  

6. Wondered about the parallel importation of books issue. The Borders article mentions it.     I remember hearing about it on some blogs a couple of years ago.   The bloggers were very much against it.  I don't really remember why.  I do know that books are very expensive in Australia; and I think it's because of the rules against parallel importation.

I think MAYBE those who were against it worried that cheap American books would be brought in, and the more expensive Australian books would be ignored.  But why ARE Australian books so expensive?   Are the authors paid more?  Do the manufacturers use better materials?  Do they use less slave labor?

7. Read Jeremy Fisher's blog post on parallel importation of books.   He's against it.   Most of the stuff goes over my head, unfortunately.  The basic idea I'm getting is that parallel importation would benefit the consumer, but it would be bad for the authors.

I've been glancing at various websites and there's this idea that restricting parallel importation helps the Australian literary world.  It helps Australian authors, and it leads to more Australians reading Australian literature. But if people can hop onto Amazon.com and order their books from there, I don't know if it's going to help much.  

Okay.  I have to be honest. I don't have much sympathy regarding writers getting paid enough; well, because I spend hours a day writing. And I get paid nothing.  So I can't say I'm going to be crying for Australian authors if parallel importation got passed, and their paycheck goes down a bit. I'd probably feel differently if I made money off of my own writing.    

In the days of the Internet, many people are working hard with their writing and getting paid absolutely nothing.  We do it because we have something to say, and we want to share our words.   The same goes for filmmakers, singers, artists, photographers, etc. There's a lot of us offering our work for free.

I also think it's a bit nuts that I can buy Australian books cheaper in America than I do in Australia.

So with the little that I know and understand (which is probably not much) I think I'm going to say that I support the parallel importation of books.  As I learn and understand more, I may change my mind.

8. Read that Poppy Montgomery is going to be starring in a movie about JK Rowling.   I hope it's good, and doesn't make me completely disillusioned about this woman that I almost worship.. I went through that last night when I made the awful choice of watching some Reality TV clips.  I heard that Allison Dubois (the medium) was on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I watched some of it, and she was AWFUL; very nasty and cruel. All the women on that show are.They're like the characters from The Slap.  

I'm trying to hold onto some of my love for Dubois. I'm telling myself that the other women provoked her.  And I think that's true.  They were very mean to her. I just wished she fought back in a less shameful way.  I'm also reminding myself that reality TV shows are very good at editing people to look bad.  

The other thing is I personally  know people who are good (and nice) for the most part.  However, when provoked they are capable of saying incredibly mean things....either to someone's face, or behind their back.   

No matter what though....I have to lose some respect for Dubois in that she agreed to appear on such a TV show in the first place.  I hope JK Rowling never does that.  It may shatter my world.  I think it's doubtful though.  As this article says, Rowling is a private person. She's not even supportive of a movie being made about her life.  Dubois on the other hand, seemed to love having a TV show based on her family.  

9. Read article about Adelaide scientists working on a universal flu vaccine. This means we won't have to get one every year.   That might be nice.  It's a pain to get ours.  We've done it twice at the grocery store, and it takes FOREVER....even though there's no line.    I think it should be a five minute visit; in and out.  But it's not.   It's a total pain in the ass.    

The universal vaccine is going to be a spray, and not a needle.  I hope they come out with a needle one too.  I'm more of a needle girl. If I was going to partake in illegal drugs, I'd probably choose the heroin route over the cocaine one.

10.  Read article about one little fruit fly being found in Tasmania.  Before this guy came along, there was no fruit flies on that island.  One fruit fly is likely to quickly become many fruit flies.   Although doesn't he need a fruit fly to mate with first?  Or are they asexual, or something?

Anyway, if one fruit fly becomes many fruit flies, it will be very damaging to Tasmania's fruit industry.   

11. Read more of The King's Speech.   The book has an excerpt from a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald.   The honorary secretary of the Stammers Club of New South Wales said, I have ample authority for stating that no stammer has a physical cause....Stammering is an emotional disorder and unless this fact is taken into consideration in giving treatment, the voice condition cannot be relieved. 

That letter was written in response to Lionel Logue's believing that the King's speech problem was a physical issue.

I think the movie presented things differently.   From that, I got the idea that Logue saw the king's problem as being emotional.  There was a lot of digging into his personal life. I MIGHT be remembering this wrong, but I think, in the movie, the king objected to all this psychological work, and that's when Logue moved in the direction of physical exercises.

I find it annoying that there's this battle between physical and emotional causes. Why can't it be both? People are born with certain dispositions, and if they're in a certain environment, these problems are more likely to be manifested.

12. Thought more about the parallel importation thing.  Although I don't fully understand it, I get the idea that if it was allowed, Australian authors would see a decrease in interest in their work; and a decrease in income.   But couldn't we say the same for blogging, and other Internet sites.   In Andrew's blog post, he says, The internet has killed me as a book reader. Where do I get time to read books? I still do, but it takes me weeks if not months to read them.

I still read a lot of books, but I'd probably be reading more if I wasn't reading blogs, Wikipedia, Facebook, Google News, and other various websites.  So by having websites that people can read for free, isn't that messing with the book market?  Should Australian authors fight against those of us who give away our writing for free?   

13. Looked at Authonomy.com.   It's a site for writers to share their novels/books. I put my novel up there several months ago.  I wasn't fond of the site in terms of reviews and ratings.   It's less about quality, and more about who can be the most annoying at promoting their work.   There's a lot of I'll scratch your back and kiss your ass, if you do the same for me.    I don't really like that kind of thing.  But it is a place that readers can go to, and get free fiction to read. They even have Australian books.

14. Read article about how a concert promoter feels Australian music is not being played by the radio enough.  The article says that in this week's ARIA charts, not one Australian artist is in the top ten.   It's kind of how I felt about Dolly magazine.   It's not doing enough to promote young Australian actors and actresses.  So I guess the question is.....does the restrictions against parallel importation prevent the same thing from happening in the Australian writing industry. Are Australian authors more successful than Aussie actors and Aussie musicians?

15.  Saw that ARIA has a specific chart for Australian music. That's really great for me. It might help me keep up to date with what's new in Australian music.  

The number one Australian song right now is Who's That Girl by Guy Sebastian. I don't think I've heard of them.    I'll listen to the song now......

I like it....sort of.

16. Asked Lord Wiki about Guy Sebastian.  He says Sebastian was an Australian Idol winner. He was born in Malaysia, and his family moved to Melbourne when he was about seven.

He does a lot of charity work.

17. Tried to find a list of bestselling books in Australia.  Dymocks has a top ten list.  

The number one book IS Australian. It's not a novel. It's a puzzle book.  

The number two book is Australian as well.  It's not a novel. It's weight-loss book.  

The number three book is a memoir written by a refugee in Australia.

The fourth book on the list is a King's Speech thing.  

The fifth book is an Aussie novel called Jasper Jones.   

Australian books ARE doing well.  So maybe there is something to say for parallel importation. Is that the best way to get Australians to prefer Australian stuff....place restrictions?

17. Looked at the bestselling books on this website.  For fiction, five out of ten of the bestsellers are Australian.  That's pretty good. And I didn't know Monica McInerney had a new book out. Cool!

I'm started to change my mind about this parallel importation.

On the OTHER hand......

The website also has a list of bestselling teen books.  Eight out of ten are by American authors.    Two are by John Marsden.  It could be that Australian youth are infatuated with countries far and beyond....specifically American.   So that's why teen magazines are concentrating on American stars.  And don't young people have a huge influence on the music industry?

Adults might be more eager to appreciate their own backyard.

Anyway, I think I'm back to my original feelings towards parallel importation.

 18. Listened to the second most popular Australian single in Australia.  It's Justice Crew's Friday to Sunday.

It's a very fun song.  I like it. It makes me want to dance.

19. Listened to the third song on ARIA's list of top Australian songs. This is Rapunzel by Drapht.     I like this song too.  I think Tim would like it as well.

Lord Wiki says that Drapht was originally named Paul Ridge. He's from Western Australia.  

20. Listened to the fourth song on ARIA'S list of top Australian songs.  It's Jessica Mauboy's Saturday Night.  

Lord Wiki says that Mauboy was one of the stars of Bran Nue Dae.  I thought her name sounded familiar.  Also, she might have been on that Dolly list.   Nope. Never mind. She's not on the list. I mean she might be in the magazine, but she's not on their list of girl-crush people.  

21.  Listened to the fifth song on ARIA's list of top Australian songs. This is Big Jet Plane by Angus and Julie Stone. I actually know of these guys. I think maybe I wrote a blog post on them.    

Is this song a sequel to Paper Aeroplane?   

22. Listened to the sixth song on ARIA's list of top Australian songs. This is Rock It by Little Red.   It's cute and fun, but sometimes it has a static type sound. Lord Wiki says Little Red has been compared to The Beach Boys.

The more I listen to this song, the more I like it.

23. Listened to the seventh song on ARIA's list of top Australian songs; Plans by Birds of Tokyo.     And their Wild at Heart is the eighth song on ARIA's list.

Lord Wiki says Birds of Tokyo are from Perth.

24. Just FINALLY realized that Colin Firth was in Mamma Mia.  I mean I did KNOW that. But this whole time I've been obsessed with The King's Speech, I never remembered him as being from Mamma Mia.  I kept thinking of him as being the guy from Bridget Jones! 

Anyway, I'm making mixed CD's for my dad and sister's birthdays.  I came across the soundtrack in my collection, and saw Colin Firth's name.  I totally forgot he was in the movie.