Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prices, Fuel, Candy, and Luke Davies

1. Totally dreaded reading my cousin's blog post comparing American prices with Australian prices.   I can tell from the comments on Facebook that it's going to be very bad news.  She's going to confirm what I believe to be true, but don't want to be true.

2. Started to read my cousin's blog post even though it will probably ruin my day.

3. Realized I'm selfish.  Here I am worried about playing tourist for three weeks in Australia.  My cousin LIVES in Australia.  She's been having to deal with these prices for years.

4. Read that my cousin has a Prime Membership to Amazon.com, and this gives her free shipping.  I didn't realize it was available to international customers.  

5. Felt a little better because my other cousin (sister of the sort-of Australian cousin) mentioned in comments that San Francisco is expensive too.  This goes along with what Tim says.  Big cities are expensive.  I still think Australia is more expensive.  But the difference between a place like NYC and Australia is going to be less than the difference in price between Fort Worth and Australia.

Tim also reminds me to factor in sales tax.  In Australia, it's included in the price.   In America, you have to add it. Although I guess with shipping you don't have to sometimes?   I'm all ignorant about that type of stuff.  

6. Saw the Australian dollar has gone up again.   For the past few days, it seems to have been around 1.5 something.   Now it's 1.6 something.    Even though I don't much believe in it; maybe I'll try the whole visualisation thing.   I'll keep imagining the dollar going lower and lower.   If it works well, I apologise to any Australian who had a trip planned to America.  

7. Read more of John Harwood's The Séance.   It's getting very exciting.  I think maybe I like Gothic horror stories...sometimes.  It probably depends on my mood.

8. Read disturbing article about Qantas pilots being pressured to carry less fuel.  Is that dangerous?   I don't know.  I wonder though if extra fuel is not necessary, why did they have it in the first place?   Was it not needed and now Qantas is being more conservative with their usage?  Or is it necessary for safety, and Qantas is being reckless to save money?

The article says it's more of an inconvenience than a safety issue.  When faced with a storm, pilots will use up fuel as they circle around and around....waiting for the storm to pass.   With less fuel, instead the pilot is forced to land the plane.  What if there's nowhere to land?   What if the closest runway is way too crowded?  I'm guessing/hoping pilots will make allowances for this and not put people at risk.  

9. Decided if it's not a safety issue to reduce fuel on plane, maybe it's a good thing.  Qantas is saying they're having to raise prices because of fuel cost.  If they can reduce fuel costs and reduce prices in a safe way, good on them.  I won't be happy if they're reducing fuel costs and keeping airfare prices high.  If they're just doing it so executives can pocket more money; no, I won't be impressed.

 10. Kept reading The Séance.  It's REALLY good.  I'm loving it.  I can't stop reading it.

11. Read about Sydney composer Roy Agnew on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  His story doesn't excite me much, but I figured I'd listen to some of his music.  

Here's a guy named Edward Neeman playing Agnew's "Sonata Ballade"   I think this music fits very well with The Séance

I like classical music.  However, I am bored going to concerts and watching musicians play.   I don't find it enjoyable; listening to music while trapped with my thoughts.  I do like to think.   I like to daydream.  But I don't like being in situations where daydreaming is my only choice of activity.

I like classical music if it's in the background while I'm doing other things—like eating dinner or reading a book.

12. Felt sick to my stomach. I hate that feeling.  I hope it goes away.  It's not too bad, but I hate even a little bit of that sick-to-my-stomach feeling.   Yuck.

13. Finished reading The Séance.  My next book is Candy by Luke Davies.  I'm not expecting to like it.  I don't like drug stories.  This might be my first test of my new two chapter rule.   I'll read two chapters.  If I don't like it, I'll quit.

I really shouldn't have ordered it.

14. Felt better, so I went outside and checked on our edamame  and green beans.  They're growing well.  Then I planted some cilantro seeds. We'll see how that goes.  

Here.  Tim took a photo of the edamame.



15. Read article that says Woolworths is firing employees who get caught planking on the job.  I totally support that.  It's one thing to fire people for what they do outside of work.   If people want to do dangerous silly things when they're off work, that's their business.  I wouldn't tolerate it on the job.

16. Considered watching Offspring in short little spurts. I do that sometimes.   

Anyway, that way I can watch a little bit each day. Get my fix.  The question is whether I'll be able to watch a little and then stop myself.

I'm going to try.

17. Got teary-eyed when they showed a scene at the playground on Offspring.   It was kind of weird.   I think it might have been because I once cried in a playground in Australia.

I probably told the story before, but I'll tell it again.  It was during our first trip to Australia in 2007. The three of us were at the playground in Double Bay, near my cousin's house.   It was a few days before we had to go home and I wasn't happy about that.  I was a bit depressed.   Then Tim asked me when we planned to get together with my family.   I was so not ready to go back to our Texas life.   I was so not ready to go back to reality.  I fought back tears.  I usually can succeed with that, unless forced to talk.   The phone rang.   It was my new  friend.  I guess I mistakenly believed I'd be okay enough.  I started sobbing on the phone, in the middle of the playground.

18. Realized my playground incident was much less dramatic and horrible than Darcy Proudman's playground incident.  His story is HORRIBLE.

19. Found myself not liking Americanised Nina Proudman.  What is this show trying to say?   We turn Australians into pod people?

20. Stopped at 13:34 minutes.   Maybe I will have self control and not watch anymore until tomorrow.  I was going to say that on Friday I'll watch the rest, since the world is going to end on Saturday.   But you know I'll need something to do while the world is exploding or imploding.   I'll just make sure to have my computer battery fully charged.  I don't know if electricity plans to continue on working after the rapture.

21. Felt annoyed at myself for buying Candy.  I really need to stop buying books simply for the fact that they're written by Australians.  

22. Started reading Candy.  I'm liking it more than I expected.  I thought I couldn't love a heroin addict, but then I remembered Charlie from Lost. 

Also, I started reading the book feeling all judgmental.  Why would I care about people who make such foolish choices?   Then I felt guilty for being so dismissive.   I feel like such an attitude is going to jinx me; and Jack will end up a heroin addict.  

I think it's unwise to have an it-will-never-happen-to-us attitude.  

23. Looked at movie information on the back of Candy.  I forgot that Geoffrey Rush was one of the stars.  

24. Consulted Lord Wiki about Luke Davies.  He doesn't give have much to say about the guy.  But he does have a link to an article Davies wrote about Heath Ledger.  

I think it's an obituary type thing.  I'll read it.

Davies says Heath Ledger was very giving.  He shared.  He liked having people in his home.  He gave them his codes to his computer so they could browse through his music.

That's cool.

Davies talks a bit about Candy.  He says the narrator was somewhat based on himself.    Since Heath Ledger plays the protagonist in Candy, in a way, he was kind of acting out the role of Luke Davies.

25. Liked this line in the obituary.   Davies says (referring to A Knight's Tale  It is a dumb film, but fun dumb (like, say, There's Something About Mary) as opposed to Hollywood-is-very-dumb dumb (like Pearl Harbor).

Yeah, I think there's a difference between fun dumb and Hollywood is dumb.  A fun dumb movie that comes to my mind is The Land of the Lost.   I liked that.  

26. Loved this line from the obituary.  The sense of loss many have experienced since his death is not just for what has gone, but for what would have been.  That's beautifully said.  And sad.

27. Liked the way Luke Davies concluded the obituary.  Again...sad and beautiful.   Plus, there's a pretty cool idea in there.

28. Checked the Texas lottery.   We didn't win.   That's okay.  What would we do with all the money, anyway?  The world is ending; or the world as we know it.   I'm sure we're not going to have the same type of economy.   Money will be meaningless.  We'll trade with chocolate and beads—stuff like that.    I have a lot of Australian books.  Hopefully those will be worth something in the new economy.