Friday, May 27, 2011

Beach Dreams, Evangelical Atheism, Zoo Visits, and Boredom

1. Showed Tim and Jack Elliot Freeman's cover of Friday.  I love it. A couple of people said it's better than the original.  I agree!  I think it's fun and fantastic.  But I don't hate the original as much as some people.  I think it's dumb, but in a cute and fun way.

2. Went to bed and had an Australian related dream.  It was one of those confusing dreams where the scenario and characters kept changing.  I'll just talk about the part in which it was Australia-related.  I'm a movie theatre that's filled with Australians.  They get excited every time they hear an Australian accent on the screen.  I think it's a bit much.  I don't get excited every time I hear an American accent.  But then I think about how it might be because the Australians are in America.  I think about times I've been in Australia and how I got excited over Texas-related things.  

I'm not sure if that's really true.  I do get excited about seeing American food in Australia. It's not really an American-pride thing, but just curiosity over which of the many American food products will Australians use to represent America. 

I don't get excited about hearing American accents in Australia.  In 2007,  I felt awful every time I heard one (minus family and myself).  In 2009,  I no longer hated it, but I can't say I loved it.

Why do I feel this way?  I'm not sure exactly.  It could be that it's a reminder of home, and also a reminder that one day soon we'll have to return to home.   I think there's also some jealousy, because some of the American accents might not be coming from tourists.  They might be coming from migrants, or expats.   In 2007 I really wanted that for myself, so I had a bit of that green monster syndrome.  In 2009 I wanted it too, but not as desperately as 2007.  

3. Wanted to share my other dream about Australia.  It was a lucid one. I'm at beach in Australia.   It's crowded, but very idyllic.  There are people surfing in the water, people playing, and dolphins leaping in the air.   Everything is beautiful.  

I am surfing or body boarding.  I decide to be brave and go farther from shore.  I'm a bit nervous about sharks because I tend to have sharks in my dream.  I'm waiting for them to interrupt the perfection.   After I get far out into the water, I head back and look around for sharks. I'm not too scared since it's a dream and I won't get killed.  Still though, I'd rather not experience a shark attack.   

I look around me as I head back to the shore.  I see a lifeguard helping someone.  I become a bit paranoid and worry the person has been attacked by a shark. What if the shark is still around? I look around to the other side of me.  Is that blood?

I leave the water without getting attacked by a shark.  I walk along a street full of shops that's adjacent to the beach.   I stop in a store that has a woman who looks like a bear.  She has these short bear-like arms.  It seems to be a costume though...maybe.   I take a photo of the shop, worried slightly that I'll be scolded.  But no one says anything.   I leave and walk some more.   I feel I'm on a time restraint, that it's almost time to wake up, and I need to turn around soon to walk back.  But then I decide that I can just wake up wherever, and I don't need to be at any certain place.  I can just keep walking, and when I wake up, I'll wake up.

As I get towards the end of the street, I'm wanting to find out the street name so I can write about it on my blog.   But I can't find a street sign.   I do see something saying Circular Quay, but I'm thinking it can't be the street sign.  I don't know of a Circular Quay street.   (a wharf yes, but not a street)

When I get to the end of the street I make my way back.  I try to decide if I want to go down another street or walk down the same street.  I choose the latter because I want to see the shops I saw before.  I want to see that my lucid dreams can be consistent and not have the settings constantly change. 

I am frustrated to find that I can't find the stores I passed before.   I'm thinking it's bad enough the settings in my lucid dreams can't stay consistent from one night to another night....but it's really bad that they can't stay consistent within the same dream.  

4. Thought about our 2007 and 2009 trip to Australia.  In 2007, I desperately wanted to move to Australia.   I had the idea that I couldn't be okay unless we did that.   I think I still wanted that in 2009, but not so desperately.  It was a maybe type thing.   But I do remember getting really pleased when Jack mentioned wanting to move there.    And Tim started showing interest in moving there as well.  I was so happy about that.  So in 2009, I think it was still something we were considering.

Now we've kind of moved away from that.  Every so often, we'll talk about retiring in Australia. And I half-jokingly make suggestions about Jack attending university there.  But for the most part, the dream has been shelved.  I'm wondering if that will change when we go back.  Will Australia pull us back in to wanting to move there; or will we be satisfied with the idea of being occasional tourists? 

5. Read my cousin's blog entry about almost having to do a dine and dash type thing.  

6. Annoyed by an evangelist atheist commenter on the Gay Marriage in Australia page.  Derek's not impressed that progressive Judaism backs gay marriage.  He says, It is counterproductive to get support from moderate religious groups.  Why? Religious people are not rational because they believe in magical beings.   

I don't think it's irrational to believe in the supernatural.  I think it takes a leap of faith.   Sometimes we can believe in stuff without absolute scientific proof.  I think that's only irrational when we get the idea that others need to believe in the exact same thing we believe.

I think it's nice that atheists fight for separation against church and state; and I think it's good that they try to counter the argument that Christians are the only ones who are capable of moral behaviour.  But I think it's unfortunate that some of them have taken things way too far, and have become equally judgmental and zealous in their evangelism.

Fanaticism is never matter what the form. 

7. Thought more about faith vs. scientific proof.   Sometimes things can be proven in a laboratory.   Other times we can know or believe things without science.  I know I love Australia, but I can't scientifically prove that I do.

When someone says that they love us, do we accept it on faith or demand scientific proof of this love?  Well, sometimes they might do things that make us doubt that love.  We might seek out some type of evidence of their feelings.   Our experiences with the person and our gut instincts tell us if the love is real or not.  The thing is though we can never have 100% proof that they love us.   In the end, we have to accept it on faith. Or reject it.

Even our belief in science is dependent on some amount of faith.   How do we know there really was a scientific study?  How do we know it wasn't staged or faked?   How do we know the results were obtained ethically?  How do we know the scientists weren't paid by corporations to spread misinformation?   When I think this way, I feel I'm going to go completely paranoid, so I try to have faith; that when I read about studies in respected journals, news sites, and medical sites, they're relaying honest and accurate information.

8. Thought about debate I had with my aunt regarding Aspartame.   She thinks it's an evil poison.   She believes this from what she's read on the Mercola website, and from other health newsletters she reads.   I did my own research and found from Wikipedia and various medical sites that it's seen as safe.   I put my faith in Wikipedia, government health sites, and certain medical sites.   Now I don't have 100% perfect faith in  any website. But I have more faith in some, than I do with Joseph Mercola.   My aunt doesn't trust the government or Westernised medical sites.  She thinks they're manipulated by corporations.   She has more faith in Mercola.    I think Mercola is out to scare people into buying his various health products.  So I don't have a lot of faith in him.

In the end, we all choose who and what we'll have faith in; and we really don't have absolute proof that our faith is directed towards a better avenue than other people's.

My aunt could be right. I could be wrong.  

9. Went to the zoo, and took photos of the Australian-related stuff. As I've mentioned before, the Fort Worth zoo gets on my nerves because they don't offer recycling bins.   That just seems wrong in any place, but especially wrong for a zoo.

On the plus side, they do have a lot of Aussie stuff.

10. Uploaded the zoo photos.  Here are some of them:

 I was looking around the zoo for all the Australian-related stuff; then I realized I had to look no farther than my husband and son.  They both ended up wearing Australian t-shirts.   Tim wore a Manly one, and Jack wore a Canberra one.  I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't wear one.  But I wear one almost every other day. 

The rock climbing exhibit is called Tasmanian Tower.   It was closed today.   I think it's almost always closed.

Here's an Australian sign.

Here's some more Australian stuff, including the flag.

 Here's Jack and I next to the map; plus a girl loving on Victoria. 



I love this photo of a cockatiel.  It's all blurry, but I like it because it reminds me of movies (or TV shows) where someone unconscious is waking up.  You know how the movie tries to show you what they're seeing?  So the photo reminds me of someone who's woken up with a cockatiel staring at them.

If I ever go unconscious, I'd love there to be a cockatiel staring at me while I awaken.   

Well...anyway....I did manage to take a non-blurry photo of the same cockatiel.  

11. Went to Barnes and Noble while Tim and Jack went to the Apple Store.  I went to the spirituality section and glanced quickly at the books to see if there were any Aussie authors.   I'll explain about that later.  But anyway, I got bored quickly and went onto the travel section.  I picked up a Lonely Planet Guide to Australia.  It was very thick and comprehensive.   I looked at a few pages.  They had ideas for various trip itineraries.   One was for six months, and it looks AWESOME.    I think it would be my dream holiday.  I told Tim I want to do it for my fiftieth birthday.  If that doesn't work, hopefully we can do it sometime in my 50's and 60's.  I guess earlier is better than later...because of health and grandchildren issues.   I have hope though.   My parents are 62/63, and they do a ton of international traveling.  I hope to be as in good health as them.   

12. Thought about how it would be really cool if I still had this blog when I'm in my 60's.   

13. Figured I should go back to the whole spirituality thing.  The other day I thought about what I wrote in my blog, about my sisters not knowing how and why I became obsessed with Australia.   Then I thought crap.  What if they read that (because the younger one reads my blog occasionally now) and they ask me.  So DID you get obsessed with Australia?  

I guess I had one of those imaginary conversations.   It was with my sister.  So I answered the question in my mind.  It made me think about things. 

After I started having many dreams about Julian McMahon, I became obsessed with the dreams.  That led me to being obsessed with dreams and spirituality.  I started reading spiritual books and going to spiritual websites.  It seemed many of them happened to be written by Australians. Then even two American spiritual books I read had the mediums visiting Australia and raving on and on about how wonderful it was.  So Australia might have gotten drummed into my brain.    This, plus the fact that photos of Sydney Harbour reminded me of a mystical wonderful dream from my childhood, might have led to the whole Australia obsession thing.  

14. Remembered something else...a story I've told before.  But I'll be annoying and repeat myself.   Okay, so today we went to the University Park Village.   For me, this is kind of the birth place of the spirituality obsession which led to the whole Australia obsession.  I thought about all that when I walked from the parking lot to the bookstore.   

When Jack was around three or four, I had plans one day to take him to University Park Village.   Every time I thought of those plans, I had this happy mystical excited feeling. Then I realised it was because I had recently had a dream about Julian McMahon that took place in the University Park Village parking lot.   

So we went there with me feeling all happily mystical and obsessed with my recurring dreams.   We went to the bookstore.  Jack looked around the children's section.  He probably played with Thomas the Train thing.  There was a a psychology section close by so I decided to grab a book to alleviate some boredom.   They had dream books and I picked up one.  Even though it was a psychology section, the book was a spiritual one by Robert Moss.   

Oh.  Yeah.  Anyway.   I wanted to look at the spirituality section today to see if many authors were Australian.  So, that's what I did today...for about twenty seconds.   It got boring. And to be honest, I'm really skeptical of spiritual writers these days.   I think most of it's crap.   I'm still spiritual, but I try to depend on my own dreams and synchronocity for guidance and delusions.   

15. Read Andrew's blog post about Digby Graham killing Rhys Marshall. While drunk. Graham hit Marshall hard enough to kill him.   The case was brought to court.  Graham was charged with manslaughter, and then found not guilty.  

Andrew thinks this is very wrong.   

I agree with Andrew.  

16. Read article about Digby Gram.   It doesn't provide much information, but I agree with some of the commenters.  I especially agree with what Roger says, One would hope that there were more extenuating circumstances other than the fact the accused was drunk. It is interesting to note that if the accused were driving in such a condition he would receive a significant fine and a disqualification for a period of time.  As a distant observer of the trial, unfortunately, the takeaway message is that it's OK to get drunk and punch someone, if they die then that's just bad luck. There are certainly no winners in this case, least of all justice for the family of the deceased.

I definitely don't think drunkenness is a valid excuse for murdering someone. If you're a violent drunk, then don't drink!

17. Had an idea.  What if people had to get a license in order to buy alcohol?  What if it wasn't just about age?  And if you were arrested for violent behavior due to drinking you'd lose the license.   Yeah, I know.  People could still drink by having other people buy their drinks for them.   But it might be somewhat of a deterrence.  Maybe?   

18. Felt guilt and regret for ending a friendship with someone I met through my blog.  Then I read her last email to me.  I had skimmed it before and then put it in the trash because I felt it would be too mean.  I'm a wimp when it comes to that stuff sometimes.    But today I decided to fish it out of the trash  to get an idea if I did the right thing or not.  After reading the email carefully in its entirety, I no longer feel guilty for ending the friendship.   The email was hateful, irrational, and showed a lack of reading comprehension skills.  And it wasn't the first email like that I have received from her.   

I definitely feel I did the right thing.   

19. Tempted to tell the whole dirty dramatic story, but I'll refrain from giving into that temptation.   I'm sure bits and pieces will leak out when I encounter stuff that reminds me of the failed friendship.  

20. Decided to admit that my reason for canceling the Australia trip wasn't just for financial reasons.   I became a bit scared of the person alluded to in #18 and #19.   Really, I think I blew things out of proportion.   Although this girl can be nasty when you disagree with her about things, and overreacts to things she THINKS you wrote in your email; she's probably not dangerous.  Still....after a disturbing incident, my imagination started running in all kinds of directions and I felt safer being an ocean apart from her. 

That's not to say the financial bit wasn't a huge part of it too.  I mean that was definitely the main thing.  But I think I was also becoming paranoid.   I'm good at that sometimes.  

21. Realized I'm sort of a hypocrite.  I complain that this girl doesn't read my emails carefully before answering them.  Then I put her email in the trash without carefully reading it.  However, I read all her other emails carefully before responding.   Plus, the friendship was already over.   I had told her twice not to write to me anymore.  So she shouldn't have even been sending me the email.

22. Read article about an Australian anthropologist who warns that all our use of digital technology is not giving us time to be bored.   Why is this a problem?   Because boredom gives us time to think, and thinking time leads to creative ideas and imaginative thought. 

It also leads to worrying thoughts, paranoid thoughts, angry thoughts, depressing thoughts, etc.

Sometimes our technology toys lead to creative thought.  Jack just created a Sims family for my neighbourhood.  He gave me the whole story.   The husband used to be the leader of a church, but he quit that job.  The wife was a very successful chef of a restaurant.    Then one of her patrons got poisoned and she was blamed.  She was framed and blamed, and lost her prestigious career.   

That's one of many imaginative stories Jack has created.

I do agree that some quiet time is probably good for the brain.   It's sad if we have to busy our minds with other stuff at every moment,  because I do think there are benefits to daydreaming.  But has any human really managed to totally eliminate daydreaming from their lives?   At the very least, you have a few minutes of daydreaming time in the shower.   I daydream while in the shower.   I daydream on the toilet.   I daydream while washing dishes.   I daydream while in the car (I can't read because it makes me carsick).  I daydream at night before I go to sleep. I have plenty of daydreaming time.

Another thing is when my mind really wants me to think about something, it won't allow me to do other things.   If I'm excited or anxious about something, it's hard for me to concentrate on anything except my thoughts.  For example, when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago, I had to wait for about an hour and a half.   I read my book for awhile, but I couldn't concentrate.   So I just stood in the examining room, waiting and waiting.

When Jack has an appointment that makes him nervous, he won't read a book or play a video game.  He can't concentrate.  He just kind of stands around; thinking, talking, and acting nervous.  

23. Looked up I, Robot on IMDb because Tim was watching it.   I saw the director was Alex Proyas, and recognized that name.   I thought he was one of the Harry Potter directors, but didn't see that on his credits.  Then I realized he's one of the Australians I've written about. I remembered when I saw The Crow on his list of movies. 

24. Did some exploring on Rotten Tomatoes and learned that Noah Taylor is in a new movie. It's called Submarine.   IMDb says it was released in the UK in October and Canada in September.  They don't list a release date for Australia. What's that all about?