Friday, May 13, 2011

Offspring Dreams, Tourism, Mining, and Link Exchanges

1. Dreamed about Offspring.  There were two dreams. In the first: I accidentally read spoilers for the first episode of season 2.   They come from promoters of the show.  It says that more deaths occur in this one episode than any whole season of any show (or something like that). It says that Billie died.  (but in my dream her name was George).   I'm disappointed about getting these spoilers, and sad to hear about Billie's death.

In the second dream: I am writing to a new email-pal.  She has never told me her name, so I ask and she gives it to me.  It seems she just forgot to tell me in the first email and then I felt awkward asking.  But I finally did.   Then there's one of those dream character changes.  She's no longer a she.   Instead I'm writing back and forth to Dr. Chris Havel from Offspring.    I read a part in his email.  He says that if he loves someone he wants to observe them and learn about them.  I think that's very romantic and I suddenly find myself having feelings for him. I feel very conflicted since I'm married and love Tim.   But I'm also loving this guy.  I decide I can't just let it go.   I have to see where it takes me.  I start to cut and paste his words.  I want to tell him that I like what he's said.  But when I cut and paste, I see I read it wrong.  What he really said was that in the East Village (NYC) anything goes.  You can do what you want and people won't judge you.   The exception is sleeping in late.  That's not tolerated there, and you must make sure to wake up early.  

2. Thought about similarities between Offspring and Nick Earl's Perfect Skin.   Both stories involve a man who has lost his partner and is struggling with the fact that he has feelings for a new woman.   Both men have a young child and receive help from a grandparent.

Oh.  I just thought of something weird.  Yesterday, I read the part in Earl's book where he finally tells his new love interest the story of what happened to the baby's mother.  I also watched the episode of Offspring where Dr. Havel finally shares the story of his wife with his new love interest.

That's some major synchronocity there. Is it a coincidence, or is the universe trying to give me a message?  I hope it's just a coincidence because I'm not sure I like the message.

3. Read article about a kidnapped koala.  He was taken from the Australian Reptile Park.   Fortunately, he was returned.  Whoever took him put him in a rubbish bin in the parking lot.

So what happened?   Did they take him, and then change their mind?   That's what I'm assuming.   I guess it's good that they came to their senses. I wonder why they kidnapped him in the first place though.

4. Clicked on the Qantas advertising link that always shows up on my Statcounter.  I've looked at that particular deal about ten times already.  Do you know what would be good?   Living in Los Angeles.   It would save us about a thousand dollars.

I can get flights for $4000 in late September.  It actually seems fairly cheap now compared to all the $6000 fares I saw yesterday.

5. Realized I sound crazy and confused.  I say I'm not going, but then I keep looking at flights.   I should stop.  Last night I made a rule that I can't look at flights unless I see an advertisement.   That's kind of silly because I get Qantas advertisements on almost every website I visit.   I'm sure it's some type of Google trick.  Anyway, maybe I'll make a rule that I can't look at flights unless I get one of those red alert emails from Qantas.   If I get one of those, it will probably be something new and exciting rather than the same old story.

6. Wished less Americans would go to Australia. The planes would have empty seats, and Qantas would desperately try to fill them.  Then I remembered that Australians take the same flights to get to America.   They're probably the ones filling the planes.   So what I need to do is convince Australians not to visit America.  So...let me say. It's an awful place. We're very rude here, and we're dumb.   We think Queensland is in Tasmania, and we think all of you are Austrian.   If you come here, we'll make you sing "Edelweiss".

There are guns everywhere here.  People shoot at each other left and right. You can't get healthy food.  All we eat is junk food.  Yes, it's cheaper than Aussie food, but it will cut twenty years off your life.

If you meet anyone friendly in America, don't trust them.   They're trying to recruit you to their church.  We're not nice to people unless we want them to join our religion.

The pollution here is terrible.  We all have asthma.

All the men act like Homer Simpson.

Australians, stay in Australia.  Or go to Bali. Thailand is nice, I've heard.

7. Read article about the mining boom.  I think what's happening is Wayne Swan (the treasurer of Australia) is saying this mining thing is great for Australia's economy.   The Premier of Western Australia (where the mining boom is happening) is saying things would be better if people from other states would come over to Western Australia and help with all the mining.   Colin Barnett, the Premier says, We need more mobility of the workforce in Australia.  If people want to prosper from the so-called mining boom, the best way of doing it is pack your bags and go to where the jobs are.

It's hard to get people to move though.  And isn't mining a very dangerous job?   But then it won't be only miners that they need.   If you get people moving to Western Australia to work in the mines, they'll need other people there to provide services. They'll need more doctors, nurses, teachers, restaurants, hair salons, shops, etc.

8. Consulted Lord Wiki about mining in Australia.   He lists the various things mined in Australia.   Their big things are iron ore, nickel, gold, uranium, diamond, opal, zinc, and coal. Plus, there's other stuff.

Most of this stuff is exported to China.  I knew that already, and Tim reminded me the other day.

Lord Wiki says there's mining in every state; but I guess Western Australia is the most significant source right now.

Australia is the world's largest coal exporter.  A lot of the coal goes to Asia, especially Japan. If I remember correctly, coal is not good for the environment.  Or at least the Green Party is against it.

Lord Wiki talks about the problems with mining.  It causes pollution and deforestation.   Some of the stuff found in mines can be used for dangerous things, such as uranium being used for nuclear weapons.   And there are mining accidents.   Lord Wiki lists some of those.    It seems most happened at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century.  There are some more recent ones though.   In Moura, Queensland, there were accidents in 1975 and 1986.   Several men were killed.   In another mine in Queensland, seventeen men died in 1972.  

Three men were killed in a Western Australia mining accident in 2000.

With all the mining that happens though, death and disaster doesn't seem that prevalent.  I wonder how the dangers of mining compare to other risky jobs.  

9. Asked Lord Wiki about the dangers of mining.  Talking specifically about coal mining, he says it's less dangerous now than in the past.   However, in the United States around 30 lives are lost a year.   I'm not sure if Australia would have the same rate.  And I also don't know how 30 lives a year compares to other jobs and hazards. How many lives are lost each year from driving on the highway? 

Lord Wiki says it's not just accidents that cause deaths and injuries. There're also pollution problems that can cause illness.  

10. Read article that talks about the new budget and the film industry.  I didn't understand most of it, unfortunately.  

I did learn about Rising Sun Pictures from the article.  They do visual effect work on the Harry Potter films.

11. Went to the Rising Sun Pictures website.    It looks like they did work for Harry Potter 4-8.   They do digital type special effects, which is really amazing.

In the Magic is Might Experience, I think I'm the only one who chose to be a Muggle.   My character has no magical powers.  She has to endure all the anti-Muggle attitudes.   Now some of the wizards are kind and respectful.  Others are extremely negative. Bigoted.  Then there are some who are nice, but in a condescending way.   Now with me and my over-active imagination, sometimes I get really into the character and feel what she's feeling.    So we were watching the making of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, and they were showing some of the special effects.   They talked about how some of this movie magic couldn't be done a few years ago. They've had a lot of progress in the last few years.  And at that moment I had so much Muggle-Pride.   Muggles might not have wands, but we're the ones who truly have magic.  Look at all the stuff we've invented.  What we can do with movies alone are fantastic.  We're amazing. Wizards are pretty much living in the dark ages, and are way too wand-dependent.

Of course I had to remind myself that all these wizards I'm talking to are Muggles like me.  I tend to forget to draw the line between fantasy and reality.

12. Saw that Rising Sun Pictures has a lot of job openings.  So if anyone reading this is interested in working in that industry, you might want to check it out.   Then if you work for them, I'll see you as being more magical than Harry Potter.

13. Read article about a woman in the Northern Territory who was pronounced brain dead.  The husband didn't want to pull the plug, and she ended up waking up.  The article says she's alert.   It doesn't say she's back to being her old cheerful self.   We don't know if she'll make a full recovery, but it's possible.

So what does all this mean?  And how will it play a part for all the people who have to make similar decisions.  If someone is brain dead, do we pull the plug or wait? And how long do we wait?

How are people going to feel, reading this article, if they pulled the plug on their loved ones?   They might feel regret, I imagine.   Is that regret merited?   Is it very likely their loved ones would have awakened if given the chance?

Did the doctors make a mistake when labeling this woman as brain dead?   Maybe the lesson is we should get second opinions when in that situation—maybe even third and fourth opinions.

Could she have been totally brain dead, and a miracle happened?    I think that's what the husband expected, and it seems he believes this is what happened.  I can't say for sure that he's wrong.

Anyway, it gives me a lot to think about.  

14. Received email from Dealies.  They're a company that originated in Berlin, and they've spread around to various places in the world, including Australia.   They want me to promote their website.   I'm not going to rave about it because I don't really understand it.   I am looking at it though.   It's one of those group-buying type things.   I've seen vague things about this.    Maybe on Facebook?  I think you get a bunch of people to buy something and then it becomes cheaper for everyone.   I don't know what the pros and cons are.   I guess one of the cons is you have to manage to get a lot of people to buy the same thing.   Well, that's not a con in general. It would be a con for me though because I'd probably not be good at it. 

There's a big thunderstorm right now. Just thought I'd mention that.  

Anyway, Dealies says they will be thrilled if I mention them on the blog.  Well, I mentioned them.  Hopefully, they're thrilled.   If companies in Australia want me to mention them, I don't mind.  But I can't promise to be positive.  

Right now I'm not feeling positive nor negative.   I'm just trying to learn.   The two deals I've looked at so far are no longer available.  For example, you can no longer get a deal on this male strip show.   They say it's the ultimate girl's night out.  What about gay men?   Wouldn't they like it too?

Here's a paintball deal at a place near Melbourne.  It's still available.  I don't know how it works.

Ah.  Okay.  I get the game now.   You get an offer, but you can't get it unless you persuade your friends to buy into it as well.  You have to be persuasive.  I probably wouldn't be good at this.   I'm not very persuasive when it comes to getting people to buy things.   I might also be the type who's not easy to persuade.  I'm kind of oppositional sometimes.   If someone tried to pressure me to buy something so they could get a good deal, I'd likely be annoyed.   The exception might be if I was really interested in Australian plane tickets.

Dealies is probably good for people who are very popular and have active social lives with people who like the same things that they like.  For example, if a group of friends all love beauty and fashion stuff, they can get together and buy make-up and hair products.  Maybe they can all get massages together.  Then they can go watch a strip show.  

15. Felt suspicious about Dealies.  Now it might be nothing.  It's just they said they originated in Berlin and have now moved into Australia. But I can't find their Berlin website.   Does that mean they're no longer in Berlin?   Where is their parent site?   I see they have sites in India, the Philippines, and the UK.  But it's hard to find information about the actual company.   Where's their headquarters?  Who's in charge of the company?  Is there a CEO?

My gut feeling is they're a bit too secretive. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing business with them.  

16. Found article about Dealies.   It's in an Indian blog.  They say a group of young German students started the whole thing.   That's kind of inspirational.  Maybe they're legit.   It could be that I'm weary of their promotional tactics.  What they do is email people who have me. Then they say if you mention us, we'll mention you.   You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.  And I guess I did give them what they wanted.

But I don't know if I agree with the ethics of praising a company just so they can praise you.   Like what if I never had any interest in Offspring.  What if I wrote all that stuff about wanting to see it because the marketing people for that show asked me to do it.   Would if was all a marketing ploy?   Would that be right?    Personally, I don't think so.  I'll accept advertising on my blog (for pay) and I'll mention things if asked...sometimes.   But I'm only going to promote (in a positive way) what I really like.

I do have a little fantasy situation/dilemma that appears in my head.   What if a hotel or holiday park offers us a discount or free-stay; and in return they ask me to promote them on my blog?   It would be so tempting to take them up on the offer.   I would try not to bend my ethics though because I'd feel too guilty.  I might make a deal and say I'll mention you on my blog, but I can't promise to be positive.   If there's things I don't like, I'm going to talk about them. 

15. Looked at the OzTechNews website.   It seems they got the same email from Dealies as I did.   They better followed the directions though.  They speak very positively about Dealies, and have a very upbeat interview with the person who sent me the doctored form letter.   The article includes a link to the Dealies blog where they promote the OzTechNews website. Dealies promises in their email that if you promote them on their site, they'll promote you.   

I don't know.  Maybe I'm too uptight and this is the way things work these days.   I once asked Tim about increasing traffic on websites because he was working for a website.   He said it was all about that. Link exchanges.  I hope he's wrong.  I want to live in a world where websites are popular because they're good, and not because they did a lot of link exchange deals.

It's like this writing website I played around on a little bit.   I forgot the name, but it was so phony.   People barely read each other's work or offered genuine feedback.   It was all about I'll help raise your novel's ratings and popularity as long as you do the same for mine.   In comparison, I've experienced fantastic writing websites. They had trading in terms of reading,  but people usually offered genuine praise and criticism; and for the most part it seemed people TRULY read each other's work.   

16. Thought about link exchanges and how they CAN be genuine.   I mean you can get link exchanges in a more honest and natural way.   There are other blogs that link to my blog.   I never asked these people to put a link up on their site. They read my blog, and they decided to mention my blog; or they put me on their blog roll.  I link to a ton of stuff on my blog.  Outside of a few exceptions (and I always mention if someone ASKED me to link to their thing) I do it out of my own free will and interest.  For example, I link to Andrew's blog a fair amount.  Andrew has never written me to say, Hi Dina.  Can you please link to my blog, and in return I'll link to your blog.

I will admit to some nepotism at times.  I'll sometimes link to things on my sidebar because they're created by family or friends.  I've promoted companies and organisations which have had Tim's involvement.  My sister's friend's decorating blog is advertised on my sidebar. I really don't give a crap about decorating, but I like my sister's friend and her blog seems fairly decent for the subject matter.  I actually support the idea of nepotism though.   I think family and friends should help each other, as long as there's some merit to the work.

17. Realized that ironically I could have still done Dealies a favour, even if I wasn't positive about them.  People might be interested in what I'm blabbing on and on about; and they might follow the Dealies link.  Then they could look at the site, and decide they're interested in using it.  

It's the same with my blog.  Someone could write a post about how stupid this blog is.   Then someone could follow the link to see an example of a stupid ridiculous blog. They could end up liking it instead of hating it.

What link would people  click on more?

A) I just read this beautiful blog post.  It made me cry. The writer is brilliant.  
B) I just read the most ridiculous blog.  It's so stupid.  How could anyone write such crap?  

I don't know the answer to that question, but I'm betting B wouldn't be too far behind A.   It might even get more clicks than A.  Who knows....

 18. Talked to Tim about prices.   He made me realize I might be wrong about Australia being more expensive than the United States (dollar value aside).   What I'm doing is comparing Fort Worth prices to Sydney and Melbourne prices.    It might not be about Australia vs. America; and more about big city vs. small city prices.   Tim says that NYC prices are similar to Sydney/Melbourne prices.

19.  Watched Tim look at airline prices.  We haven't found anything fantastic yet, but Tim believes better deals with appear.

See?  I can't completely let go of hope...even when I try.

20. Started watching the 5th episode of Offspring.   Nina said she wanted sprinkles for her hot cocoa; interesting that she said that instead of 100's and 1000's.

I think I might have a tiny crush on Dr. Havel, probably because I dreamed about him.  

21. Went to check on Tim.  He's still looking for flights.  I think I've passed on my obsession to him.    
22. Introduced to Kim's girlfriend on Offspring.  She reminds me of Judy Davis.   I wonder if they're related.  

23. Found out the woman who reminds me of Judy Davis is named Kate Atkinson.  I don't see anything about her being related to Davis though.  

24. Gave Jack a brief lesson on the characters of Offspring.   I paused on various scenes, pointed to the characters, and explained who they were.   Uh...yeah....It's part of our homeschooling curriculum.   I didn't get far.   He was amused by Darcy because he thought that was a girl's name; well since his cousin has that name.  I had to explain that it's used by guys and girls.

25. Read interesting story about an early case of suicide-terrorism.   The two men involved were camel-drivers, probably from Afghanistan.   Well, Gool Badsha Mahomed was born near Afghanistan.  The Australian Dictionary of Biography isn't sure about where Mullah Abdullah was born, but they say he knew an Afghan language.    Both men lived and worked in Broken Hill.  They became angry about various things.  On top of that, they were religious zealots and nationalists.

Mahomed had an ice-cream cart, and on January 1, 1915 the men used that to carry their weapons for a suicide terrorist attack.  They shot at a train full of holidaying people. Four people were killed and seven were severely injured.

Now they didn't kill themselves.  People shot them.  So would that still be a suicide mission?  I would label it a homicidal mission that's likely to result in one's own death.

Anyway, I googled the story and see that it's used in various anti-Muslim sites.   I'm going to believe the story is true and not simply fabricated to push anti-Muslim sentiments.   I think the Australian Dictionary of Biography is a fairly reputable source.   Still, all the story proves is that Islamic terrorism is not completely new.   But that doesn't mean Islam is an evil religion, or that Muslims are all terrorists.   I'm sure there were many peaceful and nice Muslims living in Australia in the beginning of the 20th century, just as there are many living in Australia now.