Friday, July 22, 2011

Herman Melville, Andrew Confusion, Tallygarunga Awesomeness, and Sweden

1. Dreamed about going to see The King's Speech.  It was less about the movie though, and more about worrying about time.—getting there on time and getting home on time.  I think this is simply left over anxiety about Harry Potter.  I had been worried about getting to the theatre late, and that it would be too crowded.

It wasn't too crowded so all my rushing was probably a waste.   

2. Found an old dream about cockatoos.  It's from October 21 2006.   I didn't know I even knew about cockatoos back then.  The only parrots I remember knowing about were macaws and parakeets.

But....I guess I knew.

Something with birds. I have 2 wild birds trapped in some kind of little cage/feeding thing. The cage is turned over the wrong way. I try to turn it back and the birds fall or look uncomfortable. I turn it back. The cats finally notice. Mu Shu goes after it. I decide to let birds free outside. But when I go out the cats follow me. I think I try 2 doors. And then another time, a kitten is there. Some reason the kitten goes inside house. I am thinkinng of Jack's reaction...guessing he'll be delighted. I open bird cage and bird looks different than I expected. Big and white. I mean it looks different free than it did inside of cage. I label it or think it is a cockatoo. And maybe it looks dead or puppet-like?

3. Continued to read The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay.  It's fascinating.  It's one of those fiction books that makes me often want to stop and google for more information.

Most of it is about Herman Melville the guy who wrote Moby Dick. I don't think I've ever tried to read that. 

Today Melville is a celebrated writer.  His book is considered one of the major classics.  Yet The Secret of Lost Things talks about how he wasn't celebrated during his life.   Moby Dick was a commercial failure.  Melville wasn't treated well by his publishers and he went into debt.

4. Consulted Lord Wiki about Melville.  He's reminding me of stuff that's mentioned in Sheridan Hay's book.  Melville DID have commercial the beginning of his career.   He wrote a novel called Typee.  That turned out to be very popular.  He wrote two other novels right after that which had less success.

A few years later, Melville wrote Moby Dick and Pierre. Not only were they commercial failures, but the public began to believe Melville was insane.

He had some good early years, and then the rest of his life was pretty depressing and awful.

By 1876, all of Melville's books were out of print. In 1891, he died.

Then about 30 years later, he was rediscovered as an author.

There's various lessons in Melville's story. 

1. If you're a failure as a writer or artist; if people think you're ridiculous and insane; there's always the chance you might be famous and appreciated after you're dead. 

2. If you're a critic, it's good to remember that the work you think is crap may be appreciated by others.  Sometimes, though, these others might not appear for decades later.

5. Read very insightful advice on Trish's blog about what to do if someone you know loses a baby.     Trish herself lost her baby Charlotte, so she relies on her own personal experience to give suggestions on what can be said, and what should not be said.

One of the suggestions that surprised me is to send a card or email on the baby's due date....if the baby died prior to the date.  I would never have thought of doing that, but it makes a lot of sense.   I imagine we'd fear we're being rude by reminding the parents of their loss.   But that's pretty silly. Of course they'll be remembering on that day.  The parents probably feel very much alone, and it might help them to get a note that says, We know this day is difficult for you, and you're in our thoughts and prayers.  

6. Embarrassed because it turns out I was wrong about Andrew.  He was not going to Adelaide.   Their final destination was Otway Fly.   I don't know why I was confused and assumed he was going to Adelaide on this trip.   I must have missed a blog post or read too fast at some point. I do remember he was PLANNING to go to Adelaide.    

Anyway, I was reading his blog post and it says, We could have driven home the easy way, but oh no, Sister was pressing us to travel the hard way home on the Beech Forest Mtsabi Road/Turtons Road, a road that she had travelled a few years ago and was then unmade.

I was thinking...Home?  Home?  What happened to Adelaide?  

7. Confused.  Very confused. I went back to look at Andrew's past blog posts.

There's this one where he talks about being in Mt. Gambier.  That's way west of Otway Fly.

And in this post he talks about Adelaide.  

So he DID go to Adelaide.

I'm thinking by "home" Andrew meant the place they were sleeping that night?

But wait....there was other stuff that confused me. Andrew says, While waiting for Bone Doctor to return from her workplace of buzz saws and hammer drills, we caught up on the recorded Tour de France and then later the Matildas as they lost their match against ???

The workplace thing confused me.  The Bone Doctor is on holiday with them. Why would she be working?  Now that I think of it, though. She's a bone doctor not someone who works at a hardware shop.    Or maybe she's not an orthopedic surgeon.   Maybe she works at a hardware shop and in Australia they refer to this as bone doctors.

I'm feeling so lost right now. Is this just one of those cultural gaps?

There is talk of a hotel in Andrew's post.  We had offered to pay for a meal out that evening.The Vic Hotel in Queenscliff provided us with a very nice meal.   But hotel sometimes has a different meaning in Australia than it does in America. Sometimes hotels in Australia offer a place to eat and drink, but not to sleep.

8. Decided to find Queenscliff on the map.  Maybe that will help me get some understanding and perspective.

Crap.   Queenscliff is to the east.  It would be on the way back from Melbourne.  What the hell did they do?

It seems like they left from Melbourne; drove close to three hours; drove back home; and then left again to go west.

If they really did that, I don't blame myself for being confused.    

9. Excited because Mousie the Queen of Tallygarunga has made a database of Australian stuff.  This way she can teach her minions about Australia.  

Unfortunately, I can't get the videos on the database to work for me.  But I can plug in the information to YouTube to watch stuff; or at least some of the stuff.

10. Watched video of Tallygarunga people going to see Harry Potter.  One of them (Randi) does a very good Hagrid imitation.   

My conclusion after watching the video is that Tally people aren't just brilliant.  They're absolutely adorable. I sort of got that idea when I saw Megan's videos; but I thought it might be a fluke.

Mousie sort of reminds me of an Australian version of Lyndsay Lohan, back when she was cute and not overly controversial.

11. Excited that Tallygarunga is going to start selling t-shirts and other stuff on Cafepress.   Since I couldn't buy my Australian novel t-shirt (which was brilliant), I will maybe buy Tally stuff instead.

12. Felt very sad for a winemaker who lost a million dollars worth of wine.   When I first saw the headline, I though they were saying he lost one bottle of wine and it cost 1 million dollars.   I was thinking that's absolutely nuts.  Who would pay a million dollars for one damn bottle of wine?

But no.   It's not that.  There was a whole container of wine, and each bottle cost $185. They were being lifted by a forklift and it crashed.

The wine was supposed to be coming here to America.

13. Went to the Mollydooker Winery website. They're the ones that suffered the unfortunate incident.  I'm going to encourage my family to buy some of their wine.     

14. Saw that Bindi Irwin's 13th birthday is going to be celebrated at the zoo on Sunday.  The theme is going to be the 1950's.  Hopefully, it's fun for Bindi and everyone who's there to celebrate.  

15. Decided to add something to my list of Australian-related things to do each day. I think everyday I'll watch something that's listed on Mousie's datebase, even if I might have watched it before.  

I moved it up to my bookmark toolbar, so it's more easily accessible.

16. Read James' post about his denim shorts.  Should he bring them to Sweden or not?  He asked people that question on his various social-networking sites.  I guess most of them said no, because he's decided not to bring them.   

Apparently denim shorts are not fashionably acceptable. Is that just for men, or women too?   I wear denim shorts.  But now that I think of it, Tim doesn't wear them.  He does wear shorts though—just not the denim type.

17. Saw that there is an anti-denim shorts Facebook Page.   I had no idea I was making such a horrendous fashion make.  Although I probably make fashion mistakes all the time.  

18. Watched some of this video.

She doesn't have problems with wearing denim shorts.   Maybe the fashion rule is that women can wear them, but not men.

19. Decided that fashion rules are a waste of time.  People should just wear what they want to wear.

20. Read James post about his flight to Sweden.  He's one of those people who likes to fly.   He says, But anyway, I was in “flight mode”, that wonderful state where all you have to do is eat, sleep, read and watch movies.    When he puts it that way, it DOES sound nice.  But in reality, it's not that nice for me.  I get tired of sitting so long.  I hate having to get up to pee.  And I'm plagued by the fear that someone's going to puke on me.  

Even if they puke near me, I'll be horrified.

The other problem is I'm not one of those people who can watch movie after movie after movie.   I can usually watch only one. Then I start getting antsy.   

21. Read article about Malcolm Turnbull.   He's not being loved by others in the Liberal Party because he spoke in defense of the idea that global warming is human-induced. It seems he deviated too far from what the Liberal Party deems as acceptable.

Turnbull argues that he didn't deviate too far from Liberal Policy, stating that the party DOES support the fact that humans have caused global warming issues.  I'm wondering if that's their official stance while they're unofficial stance is something much different.  It's kind of like The Green Party and Israel.   On the surface, they seem to support both Israel and Palestine, but in reality I get the sense that they have chosen a side.  

22. Thought about how I usually like Malcolm Turnbull.   I think maybe he should start his own political party.

23. Read article that says scientists in Australia have found that people who've had glandular fever (Mononucleosis) in the past are more likely to get Multiple Sclerosis.

I had Mono when I was in seventh grade, so that's a bit scary to know.  But I'm not going to worry about it. I have enough paranoia about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, food poisoning, and brain aneurysms. 

24. Learned from Lord Wiki that once you have the Mononucleosis virus, the virus stays with you for life.

I didn't know that.

It's scary.  He says the virus can reactivate in a way that the person is contagious again, but they don't have any symptoms.

Maybe I should avoid kissing people for the rest of my life.

Lord Wiki says that sometimes when the virus reactivates, you DO feel symptoms.  Maybe that explains a lot of stuff in my life.  I have times where I feel really lethargic and sleepy.   It comes in spurts.   I'll have weeks and months where I can't get through the day without falling asleep.   I also feel very blah.  But then other, times I feel totally fine.  For example, I don't think I've taken a nap in the last few weeks—well, except for the day that I got only two hours of sleep at night.

Maybe when I'm all tired, it's not just about being lazy or not eating right. Maybe it's that mono thing coming back.   
25. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of Fun For The Family.  A lot of posts had been added to the story in the last few days.  I think I left off at post #18 or 19.  Now there are 36 posts.  

This story is backwards in time a bit.   It takes place during the winter holiday.   Meanwhile, other story threads are taking place after the students have returned from school from the holiday.  And there're still posts being added to storylines that take place before winter break.

26. Started reading.

In Reade's post there's a part that says, He (Reade's father) understood more than anyone how scary she found the idea of her children being part of a world she had no idea about. Even with all the explanations from their children they would never be part of the wizarding community and there were things they would never understand. It was difficult to stand back and let them live such different lives.

But does it have to be that way?  Are Muggle parents forbidden to know about their child's magical world?  Are young wizards and witches instructed to keep their magic secret from their parents?

What if a parent wanted to know about magic, and wanted to be involved?

27. Continued reading.  Reade's parents and sister aren't giving Reade and Arti enough privacy for their kissing-related activities.   They keep popping in to check on them. They're invasive, but that's understandable.   Who wants their kids having sex in the middle of the living room?  

Arti's parents don't know about Reade.  She doesn't feel comfortable telling them she has a boyfriend.  I was about to conclude that Reade has a more comfortable and open relationship with his parents.   Then I remembered that they didn't know about Arti until she sneaked into Reade's house as a chipmunk.  Both of the teenagers have been keeping secrets from their parents.

Or maybe Reade's parents don't ask the right questions?

28. Kept reading.  It's all very sexy—the erotic tales of Tallygarunga.  Reade and Arti are really going at it.  They were getting all hot and heavy in the living room; then moved up to Reade's bedroom.

Reade was supposed to keep his door opened, but he disobeyed.

29. Loved Reade's mother's speech to Arti.   This happens while Reade is off being scolded by his father.

She says, I'm not your mother dear, so I can't tell you what to do, but I am concerned when I see how quickly you two have moved to quite adult activities. I'm not going to tell you not to, and I'm sure Chris will agree with me, but please do us a favour and take a breath and just think about what it is you are getting into.  I suppose I'm just asking that you make every effort to be safe and sensible.   

I hope when Jack brings home a special someone, I can speak as eloquently as that.

30. Worried about being an awful mother-in-law.  I hope I'm not.  I hope I'm easygoing, welcoming, and lovable, but not spineless. 

31. Interested in the relationship that's developing between Arti and Reade's mother.  It seems there's a chance Arti will find things in Reade's family that she doesn't get in her own.  Could they become surrogate parents for her?

The only problem I see in that is if Reade and Arti break up. If she's close to his parents and sisters, she not only loses Reade; she loses his family as well.  It can also come to a point where Arti stays in the relationship so she can keep the family, and not because she is still in love with Reade.

Yeah.   I think there can be huge challenges in a family when the parents and boyfriend/girlfriend despise each other. But I think there are also some serious challenges when the parents have a very close relationship with the boyfriend/girlfriend.

I'm looking at the dark side though.  It could turn out fine. Maybe Reade and Arti will love each other for all eternity.   Maybe Arti will have a positive relationship with Reade's parents, but not one that overshadows her love for Arti.

32. Wondered if Lord Wiki was telling the truth about his bull ant story.

Jack was the one who first went to the bull ant page.  He then called out for me to see it; not the story, but the article itself.  I didn't know what Jack was trying to show me at first because Lord Wiki titled his article with the Bull Ant's scientific name....Myrmecia. I didn't know them by that name.

Anyway, the story is that if bull ants are cut in half, their tails will battle their heads.   The tail stings the head, and the head bites the tail.

The idea comes from a German philosopher named Arthur Schopenhauer.

The ant phenomena is discussed on this site.   A commenter says that ants do stay alive for awhile after being cut in two. Their two halves remain functional, and out of anger they'll try to sting and bite whatever happens to be nearby.  However, the commenter does not believe the two body parts purposely attack each other. 

33. Saw that James is safe in Sweden now.   I hope he has a wonderful time doing Swedish stuff.   In a another (earlier) post he talks about going to an hourly hotel in the Beijing airport. Instead of sleeping in the airport you pay a fee and get a nice private sleep.  You can also take a shower.  

That's pretty cool.

34. Saw that my Australian of the day is Sir David Murray Anderson.  He was a naval officer and governor.   The Australian Dictionary of Biography has a photo of him. I totally have his voice imagined in my mind.  It's some actor's voice, but I can't think of who.  The voice is kind of deep and gravelly.

35. Wanted to say that I do understand that Sir David Murray Anderson's voice may be nothing like I'm imagining.  

36. Looked at this list of actors with distinctive voices.  Max Von Sydow is on it; and I'm wondering if he's the voice I'm thinking about when I see David Murray Anderson.  

37.  Learned that Max Von Sydow is Swedish!  I bet James knew that already.  

38. Started to read about Sir David Murray Anderson.  He was born in England in 1874.   Eventually he became one of the governors of New South Wales.   There were some problems though. On the way to New South Wales, Anderson got sick.  He had to spend time in a Perth hospital.

Were there no decent hospitals in New South Wales?

Oh, wait. Maybe he sailed in via Perth.  The Perth hospital might have been the closest one available.

Anderson didn't spend much time as Governor.  He was sworn in August 1936 and died on October 29.

October 29 makes me think of my recent mysterious dream coincidence regarding late October.

39.  Went to listen to one of Mousie's recommended songs.   It's a Boy and Bear cover of a Crowded House song; "Fall at Your Feet".  I've heard it before.... well, because I think because Mousie mentioned it in an email.   

40. Decided to try and find some more "Fall at Your Feet" covers. I love finding awesome YouTube singers.  

41. Struggled to find covers that I liked.   It's odd.   Usually, I easily find covers that I love.  What's going on?

42. Didn't mind this cover too much.

Maybe it's one of those Missy Higgin's "Scar".  I declared the other day that Missy Higgins is the only one who can sing the song well.   Although it was probably silly of me to say that.   I haven't heard many covers of the song.   I think I heard only my own attempts at singing it, and Siany's. But usually I like my singing (although most other people don't) and I usually love Siany's singing.

43. Decided to give up on trying to find "Fall At Your Feet" covers I like.  Instead I'll try to find a "Scar" cover that I like.

44. Watched Hayley Legg's cover of "Scar".  There's a cute puppy in the video. 

She sounds very southern when she sings that song.  That's what happens to me when I sing it.   Although Hayley might always have a southern accent.   I don't...only when I watch True Blood or sing "Scar".

45. Looked at Haley Legg's website.   It says she's the 11th most subscribed Aussie musician on YouTube.  Wow!  Oh, and I guess that means she doesn't naturally have a southern accent. 

46. Watched Haley Legg's cover of "Paparazzi".

That song reminds me of our Hawaii trip.   The two Australian kids we were with were big fans of Lady Gaga.   I barely had any idea of who she was.  

Thanks to Australians I became a little less ignorant about American pop music.

Tara would often sing "Paparazzi".  It was absolutely adorable.