Thursday, April 14, 2011

Instruments, Disaster Films, Drunk People, and Animal Parks

1. Amused because when I said to Tim, guess what instrument I want to learn how to play?

His reply was, a Didgeridoo?   

I guess I can't be surprised by that guess.  I wish I could play a Didgeridoo. That would be awesome, but I'm doubting I could ever accomplish that.

2. Accidentally opened up my Australia Bookmark folder on Firefox, and had this huge swelling of love.  I know that sounds corny, and I really can't explain the feeling.  But there you go.

3. Decided that my second choice for instruments (after the ukulele) would be the pan flute.  That would be AWESOME.  I could carry it around with me on our Victorian driving trip.  We could totally play Picnic at Hanging Rock!

4. Learned that Julian McMahon is going to be in one of my favorite types of movies; Animal horror!  Yep. I'm like Claire and Phil.

The movie's called Bait.  Unfortunately it involves a Queensland tsunami...a tsunami that causes people to get caught in a supermarket with tiger sharks.   I'd feel guilty enjoying a movie about that at this point in time.  It's a great movie plot, but it would be better if there hadn't been horrible real tsunamis recently.

It takes me a long time to see movies usually though, and this one probably won't be released in America for awhile.  By the time I see it, the tsunamis will be more in the past, and I can feel less weird enjoying the movie.  

5. Had random dream about Andrew's blog.  He wants to post photos of books his readers have published.  He has a place on his blog for us to upload these photos.  I think of sending him a picture of my book cover, but since mine is self-published I don't know if it counts or not.  Then for some odd reason, I accidentally send him a photo of a character from Peanuts.   I'm not sure which one, but he had blond hair.  Schroeder maybe?   I regret my mistake and want to take it back.  I'm not sure how to do that though. I'm planning to email Andrew later about other stuff, and decide I could tell him then.  But it's like I'm really lazy and don't want to bother with it.  

I think the dream is a premonition about today.  I'm feeling a bit sick, and therefore also a bit lazy.

6. Read Andrew's post about climate change.  Someone came along in comments and argued against the popular consensus regarding CO2 emissions.  He sounds intelligent and I respect those who are brave enough to give a counter-argument that sort of makes sense. I can't pretend to understand enough science to agree or disagree.

I'm just going to follow along the lines of the quote that Andrew paraphrased from Rupert Murdoch.  We have nothing to lose by taking climate change seriouslyI'm directly quoting Andrew, not Murdoch.

7. Found article about Murdoch and his climate change views.  I think Andrew did a great job paraphrasing it.

My feeling is we don't need people screaming about the sky falling.  Neither do we need people saying that everything's totally fine.  We just need to do stuff that's friendlier towards the planet.

It seems to me that when we do things for the planet, it has double benefits.  So if we're overreacting to global warming, our actions will help in other ways.

For example, I'm vegetarian.  Being vegetarian is a great way to help the planet.  Meat eating brings about more farting cows which are supposed to be bad for the climate.  Farming for meat takes up more land than it does for growing vegetable based foods.   If you need more land you have to cut down more trees. Trees help fight against the whole C02 thing.  Right?

If none of the above paragraph is true for some reason, being vegetarian is good for the fact I'm contributing to less animal suffering on factory farms. It's probably also better for my health.

Then there are cars.  We drive less to decrease the amount of C02 in the air.  Let's say it turns out that doesn't matter.   We did all this walking and biking for nothing.  But it wasn't for nothing. Walking and biking is healthy for our bodies.  And to get gas for our car, we need oil.  Sometimes when we drill for this oil, very bad things happen.

8. Disturbed by stalker email in Robert Drewe's Grace.  On the surface, it seems pretty innocent.  It's very chatty....friendly....easygoing.  But if you read it knowing that Grace has already blatantly rejected this guy, and moved cross country to escape from him, it's very much NOT innocent.

Some of the stuff in the email reminds me of emails and letters I've gotten in my life....or face to face conversations.  Not that I've ever had a stalker, but certain attitudes irk me.   I get annoyed by the people who are very negative about my friends and my lifestyle. They'll put the people in my life down; and they'll put aspects of my life down.  Sometimes it's very friendly and subtle.   But it's still there.  They're the type of conversations in which I feel compelled to defend my friends and my choices.   I hate feeling that way.

I'm wondering if I do it to other people when I talk to them.  Unfortunately, it's possible. I hope I don't do it often.  

It's probably never a great idea to be negative about someone else's life. Sometimes it's done for more innocent reasons. I think there's true concern.  I don't like the way this person is treating you. I think these people are taking advantage of you. 

Other times I feel it's more about being possessive and domineering.  They might not even know your friend, and they'll still put them down....or at least try to make you doubt your trust in them.  

Maybe I should quote from my book to illustrate my point.   The stalker writes, I gather you've moved house.  To a less sleazy and aggressive area.  I hope!  No offence, but I don't know how you could live amongst those sorts of people.  Or were you just soaking up atmosphere?   

It's presumptuous and very snobby.  My feeling is you don't complain about someone else's life until they complain first....and even then you tread carefully.  I really hope I don't break this rule too often.  I know I do it with Tim regarding certain people. I need to work on that.

I'll defend myself though by saying we're married.  He knows the people who cause me grief in my life, and I know the people who cause him grief in his life.  That's different than when you don't know someone as well and you start putting down their other relationships.

9. Compelled to once again quote from Missy Higgin's scar, because it fits the above so well.

So the next one came with a bag of treats, she smelled like sugar and
spoke like the sea
And she told me don't trust them, trust me
Then she pulled at my stitches one by one, looked at my insides clicking
her tongue and said
This will all have to come undone

10. Very bothered by the fact that part of my blog post disappeared.   I have no idea where it went. I had already titled my post awhile back, and looked up just now.  The title was gone.  Then I looked at the actual post and noticed a couple of items were missing.  Now I have that question of do I rewrite them, or just take it as fate.

I'm feeling lazy so I'll guess I'll take it as fate and leave it be.  Still.  It really sucks.

11. Mystified by the disappearing blog post things.  I've never had that happen.  Blogger is so good at doing the automatic saves.  It seems like it's done every few minutes.   And there was a pretty good spam of time between when I started and finished writing the the stuff that disappeared.   At a minimum, it was about five minutes. But I'm pretty sure it was much longer than that—like 20-30 minutes.

I'm going to guess I was possessed by a naughty spirit, and she erased the stuff.  That's the only logical explanation I can think of.

12. Found my missing stuff!!!  I'm so happy. It's not even a big deal really.  It's not like I lost an excessive amount. But still. I'll just add it in below, but take note that all of this is not in the order that it actually happened.

I'm not sure what happened, except that the other post was in another window. I must have written the blog in one window, then opened up another window and wrote more in the second window.     It's kind of hard to explain.

Okay.  I'm going to cut and paste now......

13. Glanced at Andrew's blog posts about St. Kilda.  (this was originally #8)

14. Inspired by something people wrote on my Harry Potter blog.   They do the same thing as me, force themselves to finish books that they don't like. I already knew it was wrong when I do it, but seeing other people do it makes it look even more wrong.   What's the point?  There are so many fabulous books out there.  Why waste our time on stuff we don't like?  The other thing is sometimes I daydream, and get lost, and then I'm bored.  If I keep daydreaming through a book, it could just mean it's the wrong time for me to read that particular book.  I wasted time reading Patrick White's book, and at a different time I may have actually liked it.  I should have put it down, and tried it on another day.    

What should be the rule though?  I used to say 100 pages, but I think that was a bad idea.  By the time I got through 100 pages, I felt I might as well read the whole book.   Maybe I'll say two chapters, and my rule will be that I can't daydream through those chapters.  If I daydream, I read those parts again.   After the two chapters, if I'm  not enjoying it I'll put it back on my bookshelf and try again in the future.  (originally #9)

15. Read article that says 1/3 of drinkers in Australia drink with the intention of getting drunk. I can't pretend to understand that mindset.  I suppose it would depend on the definition of drunk. Is it being intoxicated enough that your inhibitions are lowered and you're more entertaining to yourself and others?  I can kind of understand that.  On most days I can act like a silly fool without drinking.  But there are times when I'm in a blah unsocial mood, and drinking might cure that if I allowed it. 

If the article is talking about people who act totally obnoxious when drinking, spend the night vomiting, and then feel awful the next day.  No, I don't get it at all.

I'll just leave it at different strokes for different folks.  

Sometimes certain people are more tolerable when they have a drink or two.  But I don't think I've had many pleasant encounters with drunk people.  To me they're usually creepy and not very endearing at all.  (originally #10)

16. Listened to what's supposed to be Australia's earliest sound-recoding.   It was done in 1897, and features people imitating chickens.  That's only 114 years ago.   It's amazing if you look at the vastness of human history.  It goes back thousands of years.  Then in the last 100 years or so we've had huge amounts of least with communication technology.

Consulted Lord Wiki about the first recorded sounds.   If I'm understanding him correctly, the first recording device was invented by a French guy in 1857.  YouTube has a video of the first sound recording.  They say it was in 1860 instead of 1850.   I agree with a commenter who says,

It feels so.... strange to hear the voice of someone that lived so long ago. Actually it's really creepy but it's also fascinating as hell. It sound like a ghost, singing a song.

I wonder though if the eeriness is less about the oldness of the recording or the quality. It sounds spooky....unworldly.  (originally #11)

Okay, all the old stuff is back.  I'm very relieved and grateful.  It's actually more than I expected. I didn't realize I lost that much.

17. Decided to plan another day in Melbourne.  I have so much fun with this.  This is the day I had us going to the zoo.  I also thought we'd walk from the zoo to the University of Melbourne; but Andrew said they're not to close to each other.  I forgot what he said.   Let me go check.

Okay, he said it's 1.5 kilometres.  That's not bad, but if it's a hot day or we're tired from the zoo, we probably won't want to do it.

I'm having trouble with the map site today. I keep landing in South Australia.  

I found the zoo. Finally.  I think it's in Royal Park.

I guess what I'll do is look at the route Google Maps gives me, and then follow the streets on the site that Andrew gave to me.  

Google Maps says to follow Elliot Avenue to Macarthur Road. 

I can't remember how to get the street view thing.  Crap.

Okay.  I got it.

I don't see sidewalks on Macarthur Road.  It doesn't look like a walking type place.

So this is the time we need to ignore the Google Maps route.

I think we walk through the park until we get to Royal Parade.  Maybe. Let me look at it on the other map.

We might pass the Burke and Willis Memorial.

I'm not getting very excited about the area around the university. Maybe we'll leave that open as a maybe.  I'm going to cross it out of the itinerary, and say we'll get there if we get there.   The college buildings ARE beautiful, but if I want to see them, I could just look at a photo.  I don't know if I want us to walk out of our way just to see them.

What else should we do that day?  Well, maybe we'll just do the zoo, and we'll leave the rest of the day open.

18. Looked at the website of the Melbourne Zoo, and am thinking we'll skip it all together.   It doesn't have enough Aussie animals for my taste.  If I want to see lions and gorillas, I can go to the Fort Worth zoo. Oh. Never mind.  I'm looking at the zoo map.   They have some of the Aussie classics.

19. Decided that the Healesville Sanctuary is probably more our thing. Where is that?  

Oh, it's kind of far out there; and I don't think we're planning to go in that direction.

20. Thought of skipping Melbourne zoo, and going to the Adelaide one instead.  But the Adelaide one is more expensive.  Yeah.  I'm cheap.  And Jack's going to want to go to Wildlife World and the Aquarium in Sydney. Those are pretty expensive.

21. Saw this Shark Walker tour at the Melbourne Aquarium.  It looks really cool. You don't have to scuba.  You just wear a special helmet.   I wonder if it works well.  I loved having a shark encounter in Manly, but I didn't like scuba breathing.

The experience costs $183 and lasts for 45 minutes.  That's kind of long.  I wish they had a 25 minute experience for $100.  

22. Found a place that might be good.  Please tell me if you know or have heard otherwise.  It's an animal park/conservation center near Adelaide; Cleland.    

23. Saw a photo on Flickr that has totally sold me on Cleland. Jack and I will LOVE this place.   Tim can have fun taking photos of us loving the place.  Well, we can't leave him behind because he'll have to drive.  Actually, I think Tim will enjoy this too.

24. Decided we'll probably skip the Melbourne zoo.  We might add it back into the agenda if we feel like it.  So as far as animal parks, we have Melbourne Aquarium, Cleland, then in Sydney we'll do Wildlife World and the Aquarium.  If we're really itching for more animal encounters, we'll take the train to Featherdale.  

25. Saw that the Wildlife World and Aquarium prices aren't as bad as I imagined.  Tickets for one are pretty over-priced.   But the combo tickets are pretty decent.  If you do the aquarium and Wildlife world combined, it's $25 each for an adult ticket.

The first year we did annual passes...two actually.  One for the aquarium and one Wildlife World.   It was really fun because our apartment was right next door.  Plus, Wildlife World was then open until 9 pm, so we could go at night. It was pretty much empty, and we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.   It was awesome.  

The next visit we bought the new combo annual pass. It wasn't as great because we weren't that close to Darling Harbour.

I think we'll stick to a combo pass this time, unless we end up being close to Darling Harbour again.  

26. Thought about the whole tourism thing—mostly because of an email I received today.   I think tourists are underrated.   I don't see why we see it as such a shameful thing.

I do like to see what the locals do; observe them in their natural habitat; eat where they eat, play where they play, shop where they shop.  But I also love the feeling of being in the midst of a bunch of other tourists.  

In Hawaii, we stayed in a house in a regular neighborhood.   We went to regular local restaurants.   We went to a local beach.   We went to local shops.  We shopped at Costco and went to a regular grocery store.  We went to the mall.  We went to the bank.  We LOVED all of that that. Then the last day, we went to the major touristy area; Waikiki.  We loved that as well.   I remember looking at the crowds on Waikiki beach and thinking all these people are tourists too.   Why would a local be here?  All of us are on holiday.  How awesome is that? We come from many lands, but what we all have in common is that we're on vacation.  

So when we go to Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney, we'll go to some local hang outs, and we'll also go to some of the places that locals rarely visit.

What I don't like doing is going to places none of us care about simply so we can say, We've been to so and so.  Now some places are so big and important, it would be kind of embarrassing to not at least walk by it and wave hello.   Can you imagine going to Sydney and not seeing the Opera House?  I wasn't really interested in British Royalty, but it would seem weird to go to London and not do a brief stop at Buckingham Palace.  

Anyway, yeah.  We're not going to dedicate a lot of time to anything in Melbourne just because someone says, You HAVE to go there.  But we're also not going to avoid things just because they're seen as tourist traps.

27.  Thought about my talk with Tim this morning.  We talked about the tourism thing, and applied it to NYC.  We said if someone had a week in Manhattan, we'd be a bit annoyed with them if they spent the whole time in Midtown and never ventured out to the various neighborhoods.  There's more to NYC than Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the theater area, and Central Park.    But we'd also find it strange for someone to come all the way to New York City, and spend the whole time on Long Island because they want to avoid the touristy area.