Saturday, May 28, 2011

Old Dreams, Psychic Ability, Blocked Programs, and Allens

1. Found an old Australia-related dream in my dream journal archives.  It's from April 2006 which was before I became super obsessed.  When I have the conversation with Tim, we're at some kind of Australian thing. I am thinking about Australia and how it for some reasons makes me nostalgic for my childhood. And Tim is drinking some kind of weird novelty Australian drink. There's little packages. One is for men. No one else is drinking it. I decide to try the one for women, which is a chocolate drink. It looks good;very indulgent—almost to the point of being a joke. Tim says you mix it until it becomes a paste. And then you add a pretzel to it.

The dream conversation I alluded to was about Lost. 

2. Found another Australia related dream.  This one happened a few days after the one above.   And this one involves Lost as well.  A thing about Lost. I become one of the stars.  I am with Josh Holloway, walking with him. He's nice. I am wanting him to be in love with me.  I talk to other new stars and I talk about how you forget who is new and who has been around a long time. When someone is first new, you really notice them and see them a newcomer (kind of intruder) but later you get used to them and really don't know who is new and who is not. My character is with a family somewhere before the crash? And I think I'm Australian. I think it is funny that I'm an American playing an Australian.

I had spelled Australia wrong once in that dream report, but I think it was just a typo because I spelled it correctly the other times.  

3. Reminded when writing an email to someone that ABC allows Americans to watch videos on their website....well, at least some of them.  I'm very grateful to them for that. I wish other networks would be as kind.

4. Saw that ABC does restrict us from watching videos from Angry Boys.  But that's totally fair because we get the show in America.  

5. Saw that we also don't get to view Hungry Beast, which seems to be an Aussie program.  So maybe ABC is not as fantastic as I imagined.

6. Wondered why Australia is so uptight about Americans watching their television programs.   What is it...a ploy to get tourists?  Hey, if you want to watch our shows, you'll have to come to Australia!   Okay, but who has time to watch all that television when you're trying to play tourist?  I want to go out and see stuff when I'm on vacation.  I don't want to sit in the hotel watching television all day.

7. Saw that I can watch videos of Q and A  This what was the program suggested to me in the email.   I remembered when reading the email that I had watched Q and A before. That gave me hope that ABC would allow me to watch all their shows.

Oh well.  I guess I should get used to this frustration and disappointment.
8. Read article about the plain-packaging of cigarettes plan.  The International Chamber of Congress thinks it's a bad idea, and wants Australia to drop the whole thing.  Their argument is that plain packaging makes things easier for counterfeiters.  People can sell dangerous and inferior products.

That might be a good point.  I don't know. Is it really easier to counterfeit the government packaging than it is to counterfeit corporate packaging?   I have no idea.  

9. Saw that Lawrence Leung has a new show on ABC.  Well, it might not be new in general; but it's new to me.  It's called Unbelievable.  The webpage for the show uses a View-Master, just like Offspring does in their credits.   

10. Started to take poll on the Unbelievable website.  The show and the poll is about unexplained phenomena.  I don't yet know if the show is an open-minded program or a closed-minded one.  

Oh...okay.  The poll had only one question.  I'm with the 44% majority that believes psychic abilities may exist.

11. Figured out from this page of the Unbelievable site that it's probably a closed-minded program.    Lawrence Leung is a a self-proclaimed sceptic. To me, that means he's probably closed-minded.

I'm fine with people who set out to research strange phenomena with an open-mind.  Is this a real haunting or a hoax?    Let's see if we can gather evidence about the supernatural.   Let's explore and find out more about the world.  I like that.  I don't like people who set out to prove to believers that they're childish and believing in a fairytale.  Let's show everyone that all their beliefs are completely ridiculous so they can all be atheist like me.

12. Did like what's said on this page.   Lawrence describes himself as a "reluctant sceptic".  He wants to believe in the unbelievable but the rational explanations keep getting in the way.    If that's true, I think it's fair.  Sometimes it's hard to believe in stuff.  I'm skeptical at times.  This is especially true if I encounter a hoax, or encounter information that sounds like it might be bullshit.

Here's an example.  I went to a psychic in 2005 or 2006.  I've probably written about it here.  For a few years after going, I totally believed I had experienced a true supernatural experience.  Later I started having some questions and doubts.  Then more recently I read my journal entry about the session, and I had the idea that I had been fooled.  I don't know this for sure.  The psychic was accurate on a few things, so maybe she had a small amount of insight. There are many possibilities.   The psychic could have a small amount of abilities. She knew one or two things and in order to fill up a ten minute session, she guessed on the rest.   It could be that she really was psychic and what seems to be lucky guesses were more than that.  She could have been a clever scam artist.  She could have no powers, but believed she had powers.  

One of the first things she said was that I worked (or had worked with children).   I had recently been a teacher so I thought that was very insightful. But later I started thinking, working with children is probably a fairly common job for women.  If you're going to make guesses in a psychic session, it's not a bad place to start.  The psychic also said I had some kind of hobby that helped me relax, but I no longer take part in it. That seemed very insightful at the time. I had recently given up fiction writing.  Was that a real psychic insight, or do many people have hobbies that they have given up?   I don't know.  

The psychic said I had spent a lot of money recently. She showed some concern for this.  I had spent money, but it was a charitable gift type thing.  She seemed to think it was a big purchase for myself.   Still, I was impressed that she knew about this money thing.  However later I thought about it and realized the session had happened in November.  Isn't that time when people do some major holiday shopping?

The psychic claimed to be a medium, and she mentioned something vague that gave me the idea that she had connected to deceased grandfather.   Now one thing that made me believe is instead of talking about things on my mind, that I wanted her to talk about; she talked about my working with children and my writing hobby.  I imagined that's the type of thing my grandpa would think of—my writing and teaching.   So I figured he was the one passing information on to her.   Now that all seems a bit like wishful thinking on my part.   I wanted to believe so I believed.  On the other hand, I could have been right back then.   As wishful thinking can cause us to see things in a skewed way, so can doubt. The truth is out there. Yes. But it stays forever invisible to us.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that even if my session with a psychic was a total scam, it wouldn't prove that there's no such thing as psychic abilities.  It's just like if I ate a bowl of soup and it had a fly in it. That doesn't mean all bowls of soup have flies.

That's such a crazy silly analogy.  Does it even fit?   I don't know.  I am really tired right now.  My mind's probably not working right.  

13. Starting to watch a promo of Unbelievable. There's a funny part.  Lawrence Leung poses as a psychic.  Behind his victim is a karaoke screen.   Leung just reads from some song.   The customer seems to take it seriously.  Although I guess you could argue that the spirits help guide Leung to a song that's appropriate to the customer's situation.  That argument would go flat if he used one song on everyone.

I wonder if he tried the experiment on more than one person.

14. Laughed at the airport security scene in the promo. It's silly, but fun.

The ending made me laugh as well.  

15.  Followed the link to ABC's iView to see if I could watch Unbelievable.  I couldn't find it on their list of programs.   I returned to Unbelievable's page and read more carefully.   I saw then that the show's not coming out until June.

I wonder if I'll be able to watch it in America.

16. Returned to the iView page.  I want to see if there's stuff they'll let me watch.  With my luck they'll let me watch stuff that doesn't really interest me.

17. Found out that I am not allowed to watch Play School.  

18. Decided to make a Firefox folder with bookmarks of shows I CAN watch. I'm too tired to watch anything now, but I might want to watch something in the future.

I hope the folder doesn't stay empty.  

19. After clicking on many programs and getting many messages that I'm not allowed to view the programs, I came to the conclusion that nothing on iView is going to work for me. 

20. Found article about how to watch Australian TV when you're overseas.   It sounds complicated.   You use some program that makes your computer look like it's coming from Australia.   If I did that and visited other people's blogs, would it look like I was coming from Australia?  People would probably start thinking I'm an Australian pretending to be an American obsessed with Australia.  

I'm going to bookmark this site, but I don't think I'm going to use it any time soon.  It has a yearly fee and I already feel I'm going to have to pay a lot for my Offspring addiction via iTunes.

21. Went to the site that the article recommended.  The company's called WiTopia.   I went to the FAQ page to see if they mention anything about all this being legal or not.  I do think some laws were meant to be broken, but I do prefer doing things that are legal.

I'm guessing that WiTopia offers services that are legal; but people can use them in illegal ways.   It's probably legal to hide your IP address.  From seeing all the copyright warnings on the unavailable videos, I'm getting the idea it's not exactly legal to lie about your location and watch the shows anyway.

22. Read one of the FAQ questions about what the WiTopia is used for and the main thing mentioned is watching blocked and censored programs.  So is WiTopia offering an illegal service, or are they helping people find legal loopholes?  

23. Saw that there is a FAQ question What can I do and not do over this service? 

WiTopia replies, We’d say simply, please don’t commit any crimes or cause harm to anyone using the VPN, but the lawyer-approved version is here


24. Followed the link to the terms of service page.

They say you can't use the service to participate in child pornography, send hateful and threatening correspondence, or to spam people.

So it's okay to use their service to watch videos in Australia?   Maybe. I mean they proclaim you can use their service to go to blocked programs.

However the WiTopia lawyers ask that you do not use the service for Uploading, downloading, posting, reproducing, or distribution of any content protected by copyright, or other proprietary right, without first having obtained permission of the copyright owner.   

So I guess legally I could use the WiTopia service only if I got explicit permission from Australian websites to watch their programs.

Looking at the list of prohibited WiTopia activities make me wonder. If you're not supposed to do any of these things, why would you want WiTopia in the first place?  

Why would you want to hide your location other than trying to get around laws that annoy you?

I definitely think there are valid and ethical reasons for wanting to be sneaky.  I think it's valid and ethical for me to watch Australian television.  Australians watch so much American TV. It would be much more fair if it went both ways.

However, I don't think it's legal.   I think WiTopia is helping people break the law, but then their lawyers warn people not to break the law.  

I could be wrong though.  Maybe WiTopia is often used in some way that's totally legal.  

25. Had stimulating conversation with Tim about the differences between illegal and unethical behavior.  I had to shout a bit, because I was in the shower.  Usually, I don't try to have conversations while I'm in the shower, but I really was eager to discuss the issue.

Tim said services like WiTopia can be used by employees of companies that block websites.  In that case, you'd be breaking company policy and not the law.

26.  Wondered about this whole video copyright issue.  Why is it there?   It must not be universal because I HAVE been able to watch some videos on Australian websites...for example, The First Australians and Q and A.

Is there some international fee that needs to be paid, and people are too cheap to pay it?   Is the government saying no to Americans watching Australian shows, but they're okay with us watching a select few?

I can't imagine that the creators of the program themselves would want to block access to their programming.   I'd think most creative people want their stuff viewed internationally.   I mean I wouldn't be happy if my blog was blocked to everyone but Americans.  If I ever got a book published, I would want it available to anyone around the world.

So, really. What is the deal?

Maybe one day I'll do some deep investigating of this issue.   It won't be today because we have to head over to the lake house.  Things are hectic there and the internet is a bit dodgy at times. It wouldn't be an optimum time for research.  

27. Read article that says a poll indicates a majority of Australians support the plain cigarette packaging.

Fiona Sharkie, the Executive Director of Quit, says, It's a product that we shouldn't have any glamour or fashionability or aspiration associated with.

I agree.   I'm just still not convinced that the plain packaging is lacking fashionability. There's just something kind of cool about it, in a gruesome Garbage Patch Kids kind of way.

The picture of the women in the hospital bed is sad.  I think that packaging is the better deterrent.    I think the eye and teeth could be popular with people who like slasher films.

28. Decided to read only one entry a day from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. I've been trying to read several entries a day, and I'm really NOT reading.   I'm skimming.   I'm thinking it's better to get through only some of them, but really concentrate; then get through all of them, but hardly pay any attention. 

So it will kind of like I have an Australian of the Day.

Today's Aussie is William Horace Allen.  I'm going to read it later.  First I'm going to go outside and check on the kids.  

29. Returned from outside.  Now I shall read about Mr. Allen.   I'll speak up if I find out anything interesting.

I'm seeing that Horace isn't even mentioned until the bottom of the article.  Most of the article is about his relatives.

There's a Reverend William Allen.  He was against the theatre.  I wonder why.  Maybe he thought it was wicked?

The interesting thing is some of his children took up theatre as a hobby.

One of Reverend Allen's son was Leslie. He married a woman from New Zealand who had tuberculosis.    

Leslie became an English professor.

This is not too exciting.  When is William Horace going to come into the picture?

Oh.  Okay.   He was another one of Reverend Allen's sons. He was Leslie's brother and the Kiwi woman's brother-in-law.


Well, I guess maybe it could be exciting if you read into it.   A reverend was against theatre, and it looks like at least some his kids didn't follow in his religious footsteps.   One of the other brothers (CK) was an amateur actor.  I wonder how the Reverend Daddy felt about that.  I wonder if there were huge family fights.

30. Helped my mom and sister remember the lyrics to Arthur's Theme, and told them it was written by an Australian. Then "I Go To Rio" came on the radio.  I told them that has something to do with Peter Allen too.  My mom knew that there was a Broadway play about him.

31. Consulted Lord Wiki about "I Go To Rio".  He reminded me that Peter Allen wrote the song.  I wasn't sure if he had written the song, or if he just sang it. 

32. Listened to Peter Allen sing I Go To Rio again.  It's a fun song.  

33. Thought it would be funny if Peter Allen was a distant relative of Reverend William Allen and sons.  That would be a cool coincidence. 

34. Reread some of information on Reverend William Allen.  He may have been against the theatre, but he wasn't against music.   He wrote an anthem for Australia called "God Save Our Austral Land".  It was sung in Queensland schools.  

35. Decided I'm done with the Allen family for today.