Monday, February 28, 2011

Underwater, Luna Lovegood, Toxins, and Cloudstreet

1. Dreamed about the shark dive extreme.   I'm in the tank, but it's like I'm not really there. I seem to be some kind of invisible observer visitor.   There are no people or sharks around. I go near this raised surface and stay near that.  But then I realize it might be where the wobbegong shark is supposed to rest.  (When I did the shark dive, a wobbegong shark came by and just layed there for a fairly long time.  The shark dive people said it was a rare thing, but in my dream I had a sense that the shark did the same performance for every dive).  I move so the shark can have it's place.  Then things change. I'm no longer invisible. I'm really there, but I have no scuba equipment.   I realize I have to get out fairly quickly, so I can breath.  It doesn't look like there's a quick exit.   I'm embarrassed for being there without the proper equipment.  I seem to be more worried about being a nuisance than I am about drowning.  

2. Received email from friend about Tim Anderson.  She sent me an article (or editorial?),  but I haven't read it yet.  Anyway, she says he was charged with the Hilton Hotel bombing in the 1970's.   I vaguely remember hearing about that, but don't remember much.

My friend said Anderson was acquitted.  So I guess he had been wrongly accused.

3. Decided to consult Lord Wiki about the hotel bombings. I feel like I've written about it before.   Maybe I have?

Lord Wiki says that there's suspicions that Australia's security forces were responsible for the bomb.   The NSW Parliament has tried to hold an inquiry, and the Australian government has vetoed that twice.   Wow, that's a bit shady.

4. Read ABC transcript about the bombing.   Some people think the bombing was a terrorist act.   A policeman injured by the bomb believed it was some type of conspiracy.   Someone on the show says, We had information that the government somehow was involved, that ASIO was involved, the Special Branch was involved. There were suggestions that ASIO wanted this bomb to be discovered to, in a sense, justify its existence.

I think that's the root of many conspiracy theories; the idea that the injury/damage was self-inflicted.   I guess it's sort of like a government's version of Munchhausen by proxy syndrome.  HOWEVER, just because a government, person, or organization benefits from a tragedy, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're the ones who caused it. 

5. Found Red Nomad's blog via Andrew's blog.  It looks like something I might like. She talks about traveling around Australia.  I'm going to follow her blog.  Although I just clicked on follow, and it says I'm ALREADY following that blog.   Did I click just a moment ago, and then forgot about it?   That's sad.   I don't think I've been following it before today. I don't remember seeing her posts in my Google follow list thing.

6. Saw that Red Nomad has a weird stuff tag on her blog like I do. My weird stuff is spiritual type things.  I wonder what hers is all about.   

I'll skim through some of it. There's three posts.

The second post has a disappearing island, but Red Nomad doesn't attribute the event to alien encounters or time travel.  She says it was a matter of fog.

In this post, Red Nomad talks about eating mango cheesecake.  She says, Well ... you can't visit the mango capital of Australia and NOT eat mango products, can you?   Yes, actually you can.   I have a friend who doesn't like Mango because she once had a vomiting experience with the stuff.   I bet she wouldn't eat mango in the mango capital of the world.  Although I can't imagine why she'd even visit the mango capital of the world. Would I visit the water chestnut capital of the world?  Not by choice.

The third post features a dinosaur.  Sadly, it's not real.  It's just a decoration.  But the photo is really cool.  

7. Read the editorial that my friend sent to me.  It's written by Tim Anderson, and is full of angst.   It reminds me of some of the stuff my homeschooling friend says....except she's very right-winged.    Anderson is very much on the left.   I'm intrigued that my friend (not the homeschooling one) sent it to me, because she's usually not a fan of the far left. Although I think maybe she's like me. I think the far left is too extreme sometimes, but I DO agree with some of their ideas.  

Anderson says, The Labor government of Julia Gillard will be replaced by as ugly a bunch of thugs as we have ever seen; just as Obama will be replaced by the same neo-fascists that drew us into a series of bloody wars.   WILL be replaced?  Does Anderson have a crystal ball?    It reminds me a LOT of the right rhetoric; the use of fear tactics. This will happen, and that will happen.  And at least my homeschooling friend (and other right-winged people I know) don't say this and that WILL happen.  They more often say that so and so COULD happen.

8. Wished that Obama would stand up against what's happening to Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. Then I could like him more. As it stands for now, I'm really losing respect for him.

 9. Read about the tragic death of Agnes Milowka.   She drowned while exploring a cave near Mt. Gambier.  It reminds me a little bit of my dream last—swimming underwater, and trying to find a way out.

Although I think it's sad that she died, I don't think there should be any regrets regarding the cause of her death.  I admire Agnes for her courage, and her determination to follow her dreams.  It could be that she took risks that didn't need to be taken, but the same could be said for Jessica Watson.  What separates the stories of heroes from the stories of tragedy?

10. Signed petition about Bradley Manning.   I wish I could do something big like break him out of prison.  But that's not on my agenda.   I was thinking that small gestures DO matter.  If I was a political prisoner, I think it would make me feel better knowing that people are on my side.

It reminds me of Harry Potter...of course.  Potter stands up against the Ministry of Magic, and he's painted out to be a liar and fool.  He feels almost everyone is against him, and feels so sad and alone.   Then slowly people come forward and let him know that they believe in him.

There's some great dialogue in the movie.  I don't think it's in the book.  

Luna: We believe you, by the way. That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back, and you fought him, and the Ministry and the Prophet are conspiring against you and Dumbledore.

Harry:  Thanks. Seems you're about the only ones that do. 

Luna: I don't think that's true. But I suppose that's how he wants you to feel. 

Harry: What do you mean? 

Luna: Well if I were You-Know-Who, I'd want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it's just you alone you're not as much of a threat.

I think the world would be a better place if we had more Luna Lovegoods.

11.  Read article about a suburb in Port Pirie having toxins in the air.  The EPA is going to knock on the doors of people in Solomontown.   They're going to give some warnings, and do some testings.   When I read the beginning of the article I thought, Oh!  Well, at least the EPA is doing something, and not keeping it quiet.   Then I read more of the article.

It seems this incidence of transparency MIGHT be due to the fact that the EPA has been recently criticized for knowing about water contamination in Edwardstown, South Australia.   Here's an article about that.  It's complicated. I'm trying to figure it all out.

The Marion City Council was told by some entity called Colonial First State that there was some contamination issues.  This was way back in 2007.  Then in 2009, they were officially notified that there was contamination.  I guess before that it was a casual notification?  The Marion City Council than contacted EPA.  They said they did that immediately, so that must have been in 2009 as well.

Paul Caica, the Minister for Water (and other stuff) in South Australian Parliament, learned about this whole thing last Thursday.  He acted a bit more promptly...if we can trust he's telling the truth. He says he contacted the EPA on Friday, and talked to South Australian Parliament about it this Wednesday.

What is the EPA's excuse for their secrecy?    Helen Fulcher from the EPA says she wanted to make sure the toxins were an actual threat before telling the public.  She says, We are listening to what people are saying about this and I'm hearing a preference that people would rather know sooner than later and we've made a judgment and the judgment is that when we know there's a potential threat to human health, that's when we'd tell people.

Yeah. I think I prefer knowing about potential threats ahead of time.  I mean I don't want to be given every paranoid scenario.  But if there's a good chance something might cause me harm, I'd like to be informed. Then I can decide if I want to take action or not.  

12. Wondered how many other neighborhoods around the world are being poisoned while secretive people know that it's happening.  

13. Read Sarah Hanson-Young's editorial about gay marriage.  My favorite paragraph is this one:

Gillard and Abbott are entitled to their views, even though they fail to articulate their opposition beyond opposition's sake. Theirs is a weak position, but that's their choice. One thing to remember about same-sex marriage is that it isn't compulsory. If you don't want to marry someone of the same gender, then don't. Simple.

I don't know if their position is weak.  I'd call it mysterious. Well, I CAN understand why Abbott is against gay marriage.  Religious reasons.  I don't understand Gillard's opposition to it.   Is she trying to kiss someone's ass?  Is she simply resistant to change? Is someone blackmailing her? 

14. Read comments on Sarah Hanson-Young's editorial that make me want to SCREAM.   One person says,  Why should a religion be forced to change their beliefs?
The marriage is a Christian ceremony which is (with the current religions definition) a union between a man and a woman, under God.

First of all, did Christians invent marriage? I doubt it! Whether they did or not, it exists in many different cultures.

Lord Wiki agrees with my suspicion.  Marriage is pretty a much a universal phenomena, and exists in many cultures.  Christianity does NOT own it.  Nor did they invent it.

Marriage is NOT a Christian ceremony.  And legalizing gay marriage does not equal forcing a religion to change their beliefs.  Now if Christian churches are forced by law to perform marriages, that would be another issue.  And I don't think that would be fair.  But legalizing gay marriages does not mean that people have to get married.  As far as I know, it also doesn't mean that churches will be required to marry gay people.

Can a Jewish person go to a Catholic church and ask the priest to marry them to a Buddhist?   I seriously doubt it.  I think the Catholic church has the right to say Uh...yeah.  We don't do that here.   Good luck to you.  

15. Read down further, and realized I may have misjudged the commenter.  Although to be fair I think she's misunderstood the history of marriage.  And I think she misread the editorial.   She's not speaking out about legalizing gay marriage.   She's speaking out against forcing churches to accept gay marriage.  She (or he) says, If people don't believe the rules are fair, equitable, or reasonable, then maybe they should question the religion its self for validity. Once enough people leave a religion because it has no relevance, it will have to evolve on its own or vanish entirely.

I think that's a VERY good point, and I completely agree.  That's one of the reasons new religions and new religious sects are created.  People want something different.

Basically the commenter is saying the government should leave churches alone to decide whether or not to accept gay marriage.  I agree with that.  But right now gay people can't get married period; no matter what their religion.  Or they can get married (outside of Australia), but their marriage won't be recognized unless they live in Tasmania.

16. Scolded myself for not reading someone's whole comment before making a judgment.  There was an Electric Company episode about that.  They tried to teach us to carefully read stuff in their entirety before taking action and making a judgment.  I guess I didn't learn the lesson well.  I'll try harder in the future.

17. Enjoyed listening to my Jimmy Barnes station on Pandora. Right now I'm listening to "Flame Trees". 

18. Looked at the new Cloudstreet miniseries on IMDb.  I saw it mentioned on Tim Winton's Facebook Page. 

I'm trying to remember the characters.  I'm guessing Sam is the guy who was injured.   Rose is the daughter, and Dolly is the wife.   I think Fish is the guy who had the water accident.

The Lambs must be the other family.  I barely remember the book.  I should probably read it again someday.  Do I still have it?

19. Asked Lord Wiki about Cloudstreet.  He helped me remember some stuff.

20. Found Cloudstreet downstairs.  It's one of the first Australian novels I read.

The jacket cover of the book says, Told in fiery working-class colloquialisms, this is the story of Sam Pickles who loses his fingers in an industrial mishap; of his wife Rose who loathes her husband's weakness....

Rose is NOT the wife.  She's the daughter.  So I was confused for awhile when reading.  It wouldn't have been a problem if I paid close attention. I probably would have read the book and said Oh, there's a mistake.  But I often daydream through the beginning of books, unless they're very easy and engaging.  I likely half paid attention while reading, got confused, and then consulted the jacket of the book to get a better idea of what I was reading. Seeing Rose listed as the wife probably lifted my confusion to a whole new level.  

21. Decided to reread Cloudstreet.   I put it on my to-read shelf.  Although with my recent slow reading, it will probably be a LONG time before I get to it.  

22. Heard Peter Allen sing "Don't Wish Too Hard".   I like the lyrics

Don't wish to hard for what you want
Or then you might get it
And then when you get it
Then you might wish you never got it at all

It's kind of the opposite attitude of Rhonda Byrne's Secret. I don't like The Secret

I think I go along more with the idea in Buddhism. Desire causes suffering.

One of the worst times of my life was 2008.  Why?  Because I wished to move to Australia. It wasn't a mild wish.  It was a huge consuming type of wish.

Recently I thought about crushes.  There's that HUGE wish to have a certain person in your life.  You know how you stop managing to have fun...unless they're around.   You go to a party, and if they're not there, the party seems like a complete waste of time.   You get a bunch of emails and Facebook messages.  None of them give you any joy, because there's only one person you want to hear from.

I don't think strong wishes feel good.  It's like this hole within you that you're desperate to fill.

And despite what Rhonda Byrne says, I don't think we can magically manifest something just by wishing it.

I much prefer a destiny-type philosophy.   I think things happen when they're meant to happen.   That's not to say you should lay back and let the world happen to you.  I think it's great to go after your dreams. Sometimes.   If it seems meant to be, I'd say go seek it out. But some things are probably NOT meant to be, and should probably be left alone.  

23. Thought more about my wish to move to Australia.   Some people responded with the attitude Well, if you want to move there, make it happen! You can do it!   The idea was if I truly wanted to be Australian, I would make it happen.

First of all, it's not easy to move to a different country.  Immigration is quite complicated and challenging. You need the right job. Australia doesn't want just anyone.

Second, Jack did not want to move. He was very upset about leaving his cousins, our life in Texas, our house, etc.  To me, it seemed selfish to continue actively pursuing something that made him so unhappy.

Third, we'd either have to leave our cats behind or put them in quarantine.  I hate imagining our cats stuck in a cage for a 14 hour flight.  Then I think we'd be separated for an additional month.   If we left them behind, I'd miss them like crazy.  And I don't know if we could find a good home for them.    They're a bit high-maintenance.  

At first I actively sought out immigration possibilities.  I looked at jobs, and forwarded information to Tim.  I thought I NEEDED to move to Australia.  But after some time, I decided to just relax and leave it up to destiny.   I decided if we were meant to move to Australia, then an opportunity would fall in our lap.  If that happened, I'd majorly bribe Jack into wanting to move there.  At times, he HAS been open to the idea.  I'd search for a new home for Max and Mu Shu.  Maybe a miracle would happen, and we'd find someone willing to take them.   

24. Thought about how one of the best ways to be happy is to wish for things you already have, or can easily get. Sometimes it's about appreciating the small things.

25. Reminded myself that sometimes the best response is NO response.  I forget that sometimes.   Or maybe it's more that I'm weary of not responding.  It bothers me when I pour out my heart to people and they fail to give me any response.  This happens to me a fair amount, and I still haven't gotten used to it.   I don't want to do that to others. However, I probably need to face the fact that sometimes it IS best to stay silent. I mean if there's a choice between silence and starting an argument....probably better to be silent.

Well.....thought about this more.  I do think there are times when it's better to stand up for yourself, or your beliefs.   It's cowardly to always stay silent.   I think my usual thing is to stand up for myself.    But then if my response is met with dishonesty, unfairness, or ignorance...or if I feel the person has totally missed my point; then I usually give up and let the other person have the last word.   

As they gotta choose your battles.  
26.  Watched the February 24 episode of The Colbert Show.  Colbert talked about Wikileaks and Aaron Barr.  Then he interviewed the Glenn Greenwald from; the one who supports Wikileaks.  Like most Stephen Colbert segments, there was a nice mixture of humor and intelligence. 

27. Did manage to realize that bits of this post contradict each other (#9 and #22).  What does that mean?  It means..... I'm confused.   I'm probably full of contradictions.    I wonder if I confuse other people as much as I confuse myself.

28. Saw that the Oscar auto-tune thing has been put up on YouTube.   I love it.  Jack loves it too. He watched it so many times today.

29. Am tempted to rename my blog That Weird American Who's Obsessed with Australia AND Harry Potter.  I'm not going to do it though.

30. Saw this VERY cute Harry Potter parody using Missy Higgins "Scar".