Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Attention, Shyness, Weddings, and Drop Bears,

1. Responded to an email  about someone wanting to do a guest post on my blog.  I'm pretty sure it was just spam.  The person wants to write a generic article for me, and then in return I would let her advertise her business website.

No, that's not going to happen.  I politely told her I DO accept guest posts. I actually wish more would appear.  But the writer needs to meet one of the following criteria.

A) Be a consistent/regular reader of my blog.
B) Live in Australia.
C) Visit Australia and provide a trip report.

As for B, I should probably be more specific. I could end up with a spammer from Australia. I don't want that.

I was going to write this back to the spam email, but I forgot. I guess I'll write it here instead. This is just kind of an example....

I wouldn't want someone writing an article about gay marriage in Australia.  If I wanted to I could do that on my own.  But I WOULD like a post written by a gay person in Australia who's wishing he could get married....or a gay person who wouldn't like to be married.  If I'm going to have a guest post, I want it to be personal, written in first person.   I don't want generic impersonal articles.   I suppose editorials would be fine too, and those don't necessarily have to be written in first-person. 

2. Read an article about a group called Muslims Against Homophobia.  They don't deny that there is homophobia in the Muslim community, but they're trying to show that not all Muslims are homophobic.   Like any group of people, there's a variety of opinions.  They have a Facebook group.    I hesitated joining because I thought maybe it's only for Muslims.  But I joined anyway. It would be nice to keep up with them. It's kind of like when I made the Americans Praying for Queensland Facebook group. Not many people joined, and some of the few who did were Australian.

3. Loved this project.   It's called the Potential Wedding Album. They're collecting photos of gay couples, and they're going to create an album and eventually send it to Parliament.  

They emphasize the fact that you don't HAVE to want to get married.  But you can still support gay couples who do.  That makes sense to me.  If heterosexuals can support gay marriage without being gay,  gay people who aren't interested in getting married can support those who do want to get married.

4. Felt like a cowardly wimp.   I wanted to write a message of support on the photo album site.  That's allowed.  But I felt weird doing it as an American.  I thought maybe they wanted only Australians.   So I checked to see if any other Americans were there.  And there are! So I guess we're welcomed to speak up as well.   But yeah.   It's a bit shameful that I didn't want to be the first one. I hate being the type to wait for others to be brave first.

5. Looked at one of the wedding albums.  There's some beautiful photos.   

6. Felt compelled to explain that joining a Facebook page is different from signing something.  With a Facebook page, you can stay pretty much be anonymous and just observe.  If you sign something, your name and location are out there; loud and proud. I just get self-conscious and imagine people saying Why is that American budding into our business?  Although that American is budding into Australia's business quite frequently.

7. Touched that Andrew wrote a whole blog post about me.  I'm even mentioned in the title. That's really cool. I probably feel a bit shy as well, but that's probably normal. I'm sure people have similar type feelings when I write about them in my blog.  Right?  I can't be the only one.

Andrew was very nice.  He asked his readers to give travel advice, but also told them what we were like, so they wouldn't suggest things related to high fashion and night clubs.

8.  Got some scary information from the Australian Museum about the drop bear.  I've heard of it before, but have tried to not learn about it.  Why scare myself?  I'm already terrified enough of crocodiles and the Sydney Funnel Web spider.

So... Stephen had to leave me a link on Facebook.  I think I understand.  Stephen doesn't like me, and he wants to keep me out of Australia.  Or maybe he loves me and wants to keep me safe.  I don't know which to believe. I'll believe the latter because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. 

Let's see.  How dangerous is this drop bear?

Well, first of all....here's a map.  It looks like there in every city we plan to visit. Maybe we need to buy repellent?  Is there a repellent?  

Is that face in the middle of the map indication that the drop bear also lives in the center of Australia?  Or is it just an illustration?

Well, this is reassuring.  The site says that although drop bears have caused human injuries, no fatalities have occurred.  That's a relief.  Still. I don't really want some giant animal dropping on me.    This is really making me doubt the merits of my Australia obsession.   I think I should have become obsessed with Ireland, or something.  There's no crocodiles or drop bears there, right?  And they also have no snakes.

9. Saw that there are repellents for drop bears...or at least some folk remedies. Some suggest spreading Vegemite behind the ears.  I might try this.  Well, it's not like I'm going to EAT Vegemite.  I might as well put it to good use.

10.  Ah.  Saw some important information in the comment section.  Sparrowbee says we must not try to substitute Marmite with Vegemite.  The bears will know the difference.  I wonder if it's true. It seems a bit far-fetched.   

Well, Azilsohail doesn't make me feel very good.  He (or she) says that drop bears eat brains.   Really????!!!!   So is the Australia Museum lying?  How can you have your brains eaten and survive?   I think this is another case of scientists spreading dishonest information for monetary gain.   Of course they don't want us tourists to know about fatalities.  Can we say...GREED?  I'm absolutely disgusted.  And we actually used to like The Australia Museum.  I hope they don't expect us to visit again.   Well, we might not even go to Australia. It's a bit too dangerous for my taste.

11.  Worried about my friends in Australia.   I'll be sad if their brains become lunch for a drop bear.   Please be safe, Aussie people.   I know you like your Vegemite, but maybe save a bit for behind your ears.   Okay?  I love you guys. I want you to stay alive.

12. Decided I might go insane from the Australian Firefox dictionary.   It keeps telling me I'm spelling words wrong.  I'm going to have a complex soon. I hope Australians aren't using American dictionaries when they write.  Now I can see how annoying that would be.

13. Decided that it's fun being an American woman pretending to be a British girl living in Australia.   It does get confusing sometimes.   I just wrote a rough draft of a post about buying candy...sweets.   It was somewhat challenging because sometimes I forget what British goodies are readily available in Australia.   I had to figure out what foods would be familiar to a British teen.   Her dad was born and raised in Australia, so the family would have some exposure to Aussie stuff not often found in the UK.   But I don't think she'd be overly familiar with it.

I guess they went to a speciality/gourmet store though, because I mentioned an American food section with Pop Tarts.  You wouldn't find those in an average supermarket.  My characters didn't buy any though. Too expensive.

By the way, if anyone is a Harry Potter fan, and is interested in doing something creative, I'm looking for submissions.   They would have to be in character (witch, wizard, werewolf, house elf, giant etc.).   You can write a poem, story, or article.  You could draw a picture or sing a song.    It's important that you're familiar with the Harry Potter books, and that you make it look like you're submitting this stuff in 1997.  Yeah. We're just pretending the internet existed back then.

If you are interested in contributing, email me at notreallyaustralian@gmail.com and I'll send you more information.

You might also want to familiarize yourself with the Magic is Might site.   My blog is an unofficial spin-off of that.  

14. Wondered if Oprah knew about drop bears when she visited?   I bet Australia tried to keep it a secret from her. It's a bit sick.  Australia really needs to be more upfront about their dangerous fauna.  

15. Read article about church trying to attract butts in the seat by having people dress up as science fiction fantasy and characters.  And they're going to talk about things like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.   

Some Christians leaders are fine with it, and some think it's not so great.  A Baptist Minister says, I don't have a problem with people enjoying sci-fi, but church isn't the place to encourage escapism and fancy dress," Mentone Baptist minister Murray Campbell said."It is the time where real people with real lives need to hear the real God speak his word.  And how do we know God and the Bible are real?   Maybe they're fantasy stories as well.

In my heathen eyes, it's a matter of people using fantasy stories to talk about another fantasy story.   That's fine.  It's just funny to me that some people look at stuff like Star Wars, with it's wild characters and situations, and automatically think It's fiction.  But they read the Bible full of virgin births, talking snakes, a world created in seven days, people rising from the dead, seas being parted, an ark full of animals, etc. and automatically think  That's real. Not only do they think it's real (because I think it's fine to believe in fantasy.  I do). But they feel everyone else must believe what they believe.  They feel they must spread the word. They believe they must SCARE people into believing.   

16. Amused by Andrew's recent post.   I went on his blog to check if anyone else had left tourism advice for me.  Andrew stereotypes British people.  The English aren't so good at email. Far too busy with facebook.  I feel that way about certain Australian friends of mine. There's the idea that we're supposed to keep up via Facebook updates only.  Maybe one day no one one will have individual conversations anymore. We'll just update Facebook and Twitter all day long.  

Just for the record, I wasn't amused by all of Andrew's post. Most of it is about frustrating issues—you know those things that make you want to scream and pull out your hair.

17. Listened to very beautiful classical music on my Percy Grainger radio station. Not all of it is Grainger music, and not all of it is Australian.   I really liked this Russian composer's thing; Dmitry Kabalevsky.  Here's a video of the song.  

18. Read some of Mike Kelly's first speech to Parliament.   I like what he says here, Our greatest ally in the fight against Islamic extremism is our own Islamic community. We must reach out and embrace them as fellow Australians and work hard at interfaith dialogueHe also reminds us that Christians had their own violent extremism in history.  

Yeah.  Muslims didn't invent the whole idea of killing people in the name of religion.  It's been going on for a long time. 

19. Read disturbing medical news.   Australia has the highest rate of food allergies in the world.   Melbourne has it the worse.  The rate in Australia is one out of ten kids. Wow.

What is the deal? 

An immunologist named Katie Allen believes it has something to do with lifestyle changes; and it may include lifestyle choices we see as being positive.  She says, I suppose the most tantalising issue is that I suspect some of the outcomes we're looking at, or some of the lifestyle factors we're looking at, may be related to what we regard as absolute public health benefits for our community. "So some of the factors we think might be contributing include things like better water supplies, lower rates of infection, high use of antibiotics across the food supply and in children and ourselves.

Well, I don't think most people see antibiotics in the food supply as being positive.  But the other things (clean water and lower rates of infection) are things we usually see as being good.   What if they're good, but also very bad?