Tuesday, March 1, 2011

88, Favoritism, Facebook, and Conspiracies

1. Dreamed about Nicole Kidman.  I find something written about her. It talks about how she went to a school where the children were treated horribly.  I feel sad for her. Then there's stuff about her husband, and how he's very intellectual.  The article talks about how people marry those are different from themselves, because we're trying to make up for what we don't have ourselves.  

I also dreamed I had three visits from an angel of death.  It wasn't until the third visit that I realized what I was dealing with.  I then had a dream within a dream where I tried to tell my mom and sisters about the dream.  They listen to the beginning, but then start laughing and interrupting.  It gets to the point that I can't finish my story.  I get very mad and tell them they're no longer welcome to tell me about THEIR lives.   This doesn't phase them, and I get even more angry.   I punch my sister in the mouth.  Her tooth falls out, and I feel worried and ashamed.  I'm usually not a violent person....in real life OR my dreams.

2. Struggled to find out what 88 drop refers to. A friend mentioned it, and said it has something to do with Australia.  I googled, and so far all I can find is something about bombing planes.  But I don't see anything about Australia.

3. Saw that Qantas had an 88 percent drop in net profit in 2009.   I think now they're doing better

4. Found a company called 88th Drop.  No, wait. That's not the company.  The company is called Dark Purple.  They export Australian and New Zealand wine. They have a label called 88th Drop.    They use grapes from various places in Australia to make it.

I have some doubts that this is what my friend was referring to.  But I could be wrong. 

5. Read editorial about Facebook that my sort-of Australian cousin posted on Facebook.  Ah...the irony.  

This is my favorite bit.  Or there's "vaguebooking", where the poster alludes to dark but unnamed forces: "Why do people have to be so cruel???" Vaguebooking is either a needy plea for public positive reinforcement or a passive-aggressive dig at someone the poster hopes is reading.

I've been guilty of that occasionally; more so on this blog than on Facebook.  But I don't think I do it too much.  I HOPE I don't do it too much.  But I have Facebook "friends" who do it excessively.   They vaguebook multiple times a day.

I use Facebook a lot, but I've cut down using it for socialization. In fact, the other day I silenced many of my so-called friends.  I edited them out of my newsfeed.  I'm tired of hearing from people who seem so incredibly self-centered.  With some of them, I felt as if I had a celebrity/fan relationship. I don't mind being a fan to a celebrity I admire.   But I DO mind having that relationship with so-called friends.    

6. Liked Andy's comment on the Facebook editorial.  Facebook didnt change human nature, it just gave people a platform to express themselves which they didnt have before. If all your friends are annoying and horrible on facebook, I guess it is easier to blame the method of communication rather than the people. It is easier to say "facebook sucks" than "my freinds suck". Your experience on facebook is as good as your circle.

There's probably a lot of truth to that.  Although I wonder if Facebook can bring out the worst in people.  Can it make us more self-centered?  More addicted to attention?  Less willing to reach out and have deep (rather than superficial) relationships?

7. Watched a flash mob singing I Am Australian, that someone linked to on Facebook. See....THIS is the type of stuff I like to see on Facebook.  

8. Followed another link on Facebook.  This one was to an article about how Australians are coming to the US for holidays.   It's cheap for them now, because the Australian dollar is equal to the American dollar.  Well, actually according to this converter website, the Aussie dollar is slightly HIGHER than the American dollar.  

That's AWESOME.  I'm very happy for Australia. And I hope many Aussies come to America, and have a fantastic time.  I recommend NYC, by the way.  If you head out there in May, maybe we'll see you.  And of course you're welcome to visit us in Texas.

HOWEVER, I am very much hoping that the Aussie dollar drops for a few weeks in 2012. After we leave, it can go back up again. Okay?  I think that's fair.

9. Read Alex's blog post about atheism.  Alex reminds me of me in that he supports atheism, but is not atheist himself.   He believes in ghosts and stuff like that....maybe even pink hippo gods.  

Alex's post talks about the census. He learned that if you do NOT follow a religion, you should not mark a religion on your census form.  It can lead to things such as more government funding of private religious schools.  Of course if you support that, then you might as well check a religion.  Although if you want more money going to private religious schools, you probably ARE religious yourself.  I'm just guessing......

Alex has a link to the campaign, and now I'm linking to it too.  Basically, the Australian government is going to look at the census to get ideas about what people are thinking. If people mark down religions when they're not really religious, the government might the get wrong ideas about the population. They might make political decisions based on faulty information.

10. Listened to Olivia Newton John sing "Xanadu".  It's such a fun song, and it reminds me of one of my favorite Australian friends.

11. Decided that if Alex starts a pink hippo god religion, I might be tempted to join.  Right now, I'm sort of considering taking on Harry Potter as my religion.  I don't mean the sorcery stuff.  I just REALLY like the philosophies in the book.  That series is like my bible.

12. Hoped that it's kosher to mention someone's blog on here, but not actually comment on their post.  It's hard for me to do both.  But I'm wondering if that's rude.  Sometimes I DO comment, and mention the post here.  Other times I just comment.  Then sometimes I do nothing.  I just read, and move on. I do feel that's kind of wrong, but there are times where I don't have anything valuable to say.   I guess I feel excused since people can't (don't have to) comment on my blog.  

13. Excited to see something about gay marriage in Australia.  I'm waiting for the article to load.  Hopefully, it will make me want to shout out in joy.   

Oh crap. It just made me confused.  I don't really understand it.  But it SEEMS to be good news.

I'm going to try and read more carefully.....

Here's a quote from the article.  As the Prime Minister yesterday agreed to back a Greens push to water down the commonwealth's ability to veto laws made by territories, the ACT Greens quickly moved to capitalise on her decision, foreshadowing a fresh campaign to legalise same-sex marriage.

I guess that means for right now NO state or territory can allow gay marriage because the Commonwealth won't allow it.  I didn't realize that.  I guess we don't have that in America, because some states DO allow gay marriage.

It will be interesting to see what happens if the Federal Government gives the states the right to choose whether they'll allow gay marriage to happen or not.  Which state will be the first to allow gay marriage?  My bet would be on Tasmania, since they already accept gay marriages from elsewhere.

Anyway, I think I understand things now.  And it does sound good.  I'm happy. Well, I'm happy about that, at least.  I'm unhappy about other things.

14. Read article about Australian honey.  Honey has antibacterial properties, and a certain honey from native Australian myrtle may have especially strong health benefits. This is good because antibiotics like penicillin are sometimes not working as well as they used to.  They've been a bit overused.

15. Listened to Jimmy Barnes sing "Flame Trees".  I love that song.  Lately, when I try to sing it, I end up singing with a southern accent. What's up with that?   

16. Saw movie clip about Jindabyne.   I had no idea that this town was another one that was flooded and relocated.  Lord Wiki says this happened in the 1960's.

This article says there's a third town that was flooded and relocated; Talbingo.  That name sounds familiar. Have I written about it before?  Maybe I saw it on Google Maps?

17. Intrigued by something that's said in Love Song   Because the more children make their parents suffer the more passionately those parents will love them.   The bit refers mostly to children who leave...geographically speaking. I don't know if I agree with it.  Or at least I can't say that it easily applies to my own family.

I don't remember feeling loved more when I moved to NYC.  Although I think both of my sisters were also away at the time.  One sister was in Miami, and the other sister was in Chicago.  I vaguely remember a time when my whole family was together, and I was in New York.  Maybe they were home from school?  Anyway, I don't remember feeling special then, or loved more.

As for other types of parental suffering. I was probably the most challenging during our childhood.  I behaved well, but had difficulties that required occupational and physical therapy.  I had special needs.

I had social problems as well.  I remember at least three occasions in which my parents sought psychological/psychiatric help for me.  I guess that stuff would make parents suffer a bit.  Regardless.... I didn't feel that I was loved more than my sisters.

My older sister was hit by a car. That caused my parents some major suffering. I think they loved her an extra bit for a year or so.  In the end, I think it leveled off though.

My mom is very obvious in her preference for my younger sister, and my dad too at times. I don't think she has caused them much suffering.  I think they adore her because she's petite and cute. In fact, the one time where I DO feel I received extra love and attention-almost equal to my sister-is when I lost a ton of weight.  

Now if we go back to the beginning, my sister had the most difficult birth.  She was a preemie, and spent the first few weeks of her life in the hospital. That suffering and insecurity might have created a strong mother/child bond.

Who knows? I think many factors are involved with parental favorites.  Sometimes it's about suffering. Sometimes a child NEEDS the parents more, and the parents like to feel needed.  Sometimes a child has traits that the parent's admire, while other children have traits that confuse and repel the parents.  

18. Thought about how it's not that important whether you're the favorite child or not.  In the end, it's usually enough to be loved.  I mean as long as you don't have a Dudley vs. Harry situation you're probably all right.  Most parents are not as obvious and cruel with their preferences as the Dursleys.   I think most good parents at least TRY to be fair.  My parents try, and I definitely appreciate that.

19. Learned from an Australian news source that there's a fire in Florida.  Hopefully it won't cause much damage.

The fire isn't far from Orlando.  It's weird, because a little while ago Jack randomly asked if I was excited to go to Disney World.  It's not that weird though.  Jack often asks random weird questions.  

20. Happy to be getting a music education from Pandora.

21. While walking back from the grocery store, Jack and I reminisced about our trip to Australia. 

22. Saw that there's an Australian film festival happening now. 

I'm trying to figure out where it's at.   Randwick is in Sydney, right?  Okay. Yeah.  It's near Coogee.  

This festival looks really fun. Maybe I'm getting back into movies. 

They're going to have movies on Clovelly Beach.  Or maybe just one movie.  Finding Nemo.   It's free, and is happening this Saturday.

23. Read article about the hitchhiking snake.  A guy heard a noise under his car.  When he got to work, he peered below, and got bitten by the snake.  Ouch.  It was a red-bellied black snake.  Is that venomous?  I'll go check.....

Lord Wiki says YES.    The snake is venomous, and bites need prompt medical attention.  However, the snake often doesn't inject a lot of venom, so it's often not disastrous.

24. Fascinated by this passage in Love Song:   You must always remember, Lillie that whereas success and naked ambition are applauded in some parts of the world, we English tend to look a little less generously at boldness.  We don't venerate stories like Oprah's and if we had a Michelangelo around now I think he would have been laughed down before he got to the chapel roof.

This comes after Lillie announces she wants to be in a girl band, and then become a writer.

To me, it sounds like something an Australian would say to an American—the whole tall poppy thing.   But in the book, it's a British person saying it to an Australian.

Is there an even bigger push for modesty in the British?

Lord Wiki says the term Tall poppy syndrome is used in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.  So I guess it's not just an Australian thing.

Personally, I think there's not much difference between countries regarding attitudes towards success.  I think in all cultures there is a mixture of admiration and jealousy.   America's own tall poppy syndrome is evident in our tabloids.  If you take a peek at the supermarket, there's not many happy tales.  You hear of celebrity weight gain, and see pictures of actresses without makeup.   You hear of their crimes, illnesses, and heartbreaks. I think people find pleasure in knowing that successful people don't have perfect lives. 

I think in most cultures, people are more happy for someone's success if they agree that the person has actual talent.  We're resentful if we believe they gained their success unfairly.   If our friend is a great dancer, and wins a prize, we'll probably be happy for her.   If we don't like our friend's dancing, and she wins a dancing prize, we'll probably NOT be that happy for her.   We'll be especially annoyed if she keeps bragging about it, and develops an attitude of superiority.  

25. Got Australian spam mail.   At least I think it's spam.  At first I thought it might be someone who had read my blog.   It LOOKS like spam though.   It's one of those that's soliciting money.  The person claims to have had a rough life, and is looking for people to loan her money.   It might be all true, and they have my sympathy in that case.   But I think it's a bit much, expecting people to trust strangers enough to send out money.  There's too much fraud out there, especially via email.   I don't mind giving a few dollars here and there to people on the street.  If I'm scammed in that way, I'm not going to worry about it.  But if I'm going to give hundreds of dollars away, it will be to charity or someone that I know.  

Anyway, if the letter is NOT spam, I'll hope other people are less cynical as me.  If the letter is spam, I'll hope other people won't be conned by it.

26. Saw that I also got spam regarding an Australian bank.   So although I'm not an Australian citizen, and I don't live in Australia; I think I kind of AM Australian, at least for spammers.

27.  Received a message from a friend regarding the Hilton Bomb. She sent me an article about it, from a conspiracy website. 

The bomb was in the rubbish bin.  Earlier that day, garbage workers were prevented from taking out the trash.  So in front of this luxury hotel, there was overfilled rubbish bins.   Did the bombers not consider this problem?  Also, how did they tell the garbage workers not to take out the trash?   Did they bribe them?  Distract them? 

It gets even more interesting.

After the bomb exploded and the police did some investigating, they failed to check out the rubbish bins.  Maybe they were grossed out by the whole thing?   I would be.  But if I was in the police force, I'd probably feel it was necessary.  I mean really. You just take a shower afterward.  

The evidence on the website is pretty convincing.  I mean what ARE valid excuses for not emptying the trash bins?  And the article says that every other trash bin in Sydney was emptied.

The website also says that when a guy named Streetfield got a warning about the bomb, he did not warn the police that were outside the Hilton.  That evidence is pretty damning.  

28. Overwhelmed by all the conspiracies on the conspiracy website that my friend sent to me.   I glanced around a bit.   There's some stuff that seems somewhat plausible to me. And the website seems to be actually PRO-Scientology.  That's kind of a rare thing to see these days; outside of Scientology's own websites.  Although maybe this website IS part of Scientology.  You never know.

I'm joking.   It's probably not a Scientology website.

29. Told Tim about the conspiracy website while feeding the cats.   I can't say I'd believe all of it.   Conspiracy is a mix of truth and paranoia. HOWEVER, I've been looking at a lot of stuff, and a lot of it does go along with my beliefs.   It defends Scientology, says bad things about school, is anti-psychiatry, is critical of Christianity, and sees merit in Reincarnation.

Tim asked if perhaps I wasn't writing this website in my sleep.

I'm going to bookmark the site and read it more carefully at a later date. 

30. Very embarrassed because I was showing our guest my Manly shark dive video, and suddenly remembered that the orange shark is a wobbegong shark, and NOT a Wollogong shark.   In yesterday's post I wrote Wollongong shark.   I'm going to go fix that now.

Edited to Add.....

31. Had a weird thing happen.   This morning I had one of my hypnagogic experiences.  This is when you're half asleep, and things pop into your head.   What I saw was Julian McMahon's name followed by the numbers 22:something.   I thought maybe it was 22:34 or 22:43.   I started to think it could be a a military time thing....10:34 or 10:43.  Then I pretty much let is slip from my mind; well, because I was kind of busy.  

Then later I was working on the post.   I came to the computer to write point #30, but instead I wrote the number #43.   I looked at the number and thought, well, THAT can't be right.   I didn't write 43 things today, did I?    Then I remembered the 22:43.

I decided I should write the story down on my post.  But I forgot, and posted the post.

A few minutes later I went downstairs to get dessert for us. I remembered that I forgot to write about 22:43.  At that exact moment, I turned around and looked at the clock. It was 10:43 which would equal 22:43.