Saturday, July 16, 2011

South Australia, Northern Territory, Declan Stephenson, and Vicky Kasidis

1. Liked that Jack's experiment with time-lapse photography/video included several Australian images.

2. Read a letter from an Australian in Dear Mr. Potter.   Alison says, I learned that its okay to ask for help, that you don't have to cope by yourself.  I learned that there is no black and white, but infinite shades of grey.  I learned that love is the greatest magic of all. 

I think that's beautiful.

So far, it's a really fantastic book.

3. Saw from Statcounter that I've had eight Americans, in the past 24 hours, coming to my blog for Bridie Carter.

4. Saw that there's an American McLeod's Daughter's site.  

They have a link to a petition to keep McLeod's Daughters on in America.  I don't know how old it is.

I don't think the show's still on here though.

5. Decided to plan more of my imaginary trip.

I think we'll fly from Tasmania to Adelaide.

We'll definitely need to go to Kangaroo Island.  

6. Struggled with South Australia on Google Maps.  Places I want to go are kind of spread out from each other.  I'd like to do both Mt. Gambier and Coober Pedy, but I don't think it's going to work too well.

7. Made it work!  Here's the trip on Google Maps.  

I think instead of doing our five nights in Adelaide, we'll do three nights in Adelaide and four nights on Kangaroo Island.

Then we'll do two nights in each of these places

Roxy Downs
Coober Pedy
Barossa Valley
Mt Gambier

8. Saw that Qantas doesn't fly from Mt. Gambier.  Lord Wiki says that the airport may be renovating and expanding.  Qantas and Virgin might someday have flights there. If not, we'll have to drive back to Adelaide and fly from there.

9. Decided to change my plans. Why not drive to the Northern Territory?

I'm going to try a new map.

10. Decided not to drive to the Northern Territory. There's too much empty space between Coober Pedy and Alice Springs.

I'll stick with my original plans. We'll drive back to Adelaide and then fly to Alice Springs.

We'll skip staying in Adelaide in the beginning. We'll just go straight to the airport to Kangaroo Island.  We'll do our Adelaide time between Mt. Gambier and Alice Springs. 

11. Struggled with Google Maps, and added some places.

Now it goes...

Fly to Adelaide, drive to Cape Jervis, and take the boat to Kangaroo island. We'll spend four nights there.

Then we'll spend two nights in each of these places

Coober Pedy
Port Augusta
Barossa Valley
Murray Bridge
Mount Gambier

And then we'll drive back to Adelaide and spend three nights there.

That will be a total of twenty-three nights.

There's a lot of driving though.  Maybe I'll give us three nights in Coober Pedy; give us an extra break.

So that will be 24 nights.   Add that to the 60 nights in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania.   Now we have a total of 84 nights.

12. Watched news report about Rupert Murdoch apologizing.  

It's a crazy story.  I really can't wrap my mind around it.

13. Started to read article about the key players in the story. Maybe this will help me understand better. 

Wow...oh looks like the British Prime Minister was involved with all this. Holy shit.

Well, the article doesn't say he was definitely involved.  There's allegations he was involved.   Supposedly, he knew about the hacking but turned a blind eye because he depended on the support of Murdoch's publication empire.

14. Decided not to do any driving in the Northern Territory.  We'll fly to Uluru from Adelaide, if possible.  We'll spend two nights there.  Then we'll fly to Alice Springs and spend five nights there.   After that, we'll we'll fly to Darwin and spend five nights there. That's a total of 12 days.  So now I'm up to 96 nights. 

15. Amused because Jack has started planning his own imaginary trip.  His is for the United States.

16. Had a fantastic idea.  I think it would be so fun to write out this trip in real time. I could pick a time to leave....maybe December?  Then I'll pretend we're on the trip, and I'll write about each place.   I probably won't make up a story about our day.  I'm already doing one fictional blog.  That's probably enough.  But I can pick out accommodations, restaurants, things for us do, etc.  I can look at the history of the town and learn various facts.

It will be such a fun way of learning about various places in Australia.

17. Went to bed and had a mini-dream (a hypnagogic thing) in the morning about an Australian band being locked out of the venue in which they were supposed to perform.  I think it was a music group for children.   

18. Regretted that I forgot to add Bathurst to our New South Wales itinerary.  I have a really cool email-pal from there. I'd like to pretend to visit her and her family.  

I'll add it in later.

19. Went to the kitchen to find my sister is being like Reade Ainsworth today.  She's not talking because she wants to rest her voice from the surgery. Yesterday she talked...quietly.

Like Reade, she's writing stuff down.  She doesn't know sign language.  Tonight we're going out to dinner.  I hope she treats the waiter better than Reade and Arti treated their waiter. We'll probably just have one of us order for her.   

20. Read Snowy's blog post.   I share his dislike of conservative politics.  I don't agree with him, though, when he says, I’ve always detested bullies, both individual and corporate. It’s no coincidence that they follow conservative politics.    I've dealt with bullies before and they were politically left.

Snowy supports the carbon tax.  I do too.  From what I'm reading, it seems fair. It's one of the few things that have come out of Gillard's government that doesn't make me want to scream in frustration.

Snowy believes the government is doing bad in the polls because of Murdoch. The news his newspapers are printing is not objective. They're pushing a certain agenda.

I sort of think that's par for the course. I don't think a news source controls how people think and feel.  People have an opinion.  Then they seek out a source that fits well with their opinion.   Conservatives in the United States watch Fox News—owned by Murdoch, right?    It pushes a certain viewpoint; but I think most of the viewers already had that viewpoint.  Those of us on the left get our news from somewhere else.

21. Followed Snowy's link to a video about a female greens voter who was followed by an Abbott supporter after she spoke up at a meeting filled with anti-carbon tax people.  I also went to this article to get a little more of the story.  

Vicky Kasidis gets very angry at being followed by Declan Stephenson.   

I don't know why Declan Stephenson (the Abbott supporter) followed her. Was he trying to scare her?  Was he planning to kill her as soon as she was alone?  Did he just want to talk to her about their differing opinions?

Stephenson should have left Kasidis alone as soon as she asked. I don't know if it's illegal to walk near someone when they ask you not to; but it is a bit rude and pushy.

I do think though that Kasidis was a bit overdramatic. And maybe I'm just saying that because I've had it worse. I've encountered a lot more meanness and hostility for sharing an opposing opinion than just having someone follow me.

If Kasidis had been alone, I'd much better understand her fear and frustration.   I'd be terrified if a man followed me when I was by myself.  But Kasidis had other people with her...reporters!  How much harm did she expect from this man? Did she really expect he'd harm her in front of others?

I do think it was nice that the reporters stayed with Kasidis to help her feel more safe—more protected.

22. Continued to watch the video.  Kasidis says these very dramatic things. It's like she's trying to create a scene that doesn't exist.  She says his behavior is appalling and asks if this is how he treats other women in his family.  So it's not okay for a man to follow his wife, sister, daughter or mother to try to talk to them?    I mean this guy is very calm.  He's not yelling at her.  He's not hitting her. He's not belittling her. He's just standing there.

Kasidis says, I don't even understand why you're so angry with me; why you dislike me so much?  You don't even know me. 

Well, uh...couldn't Stephenson say the exact same thing to her? She seems more angry than him.  She seems to absolutely hate him.

Now maybe something happened off camera that gave Kasidis the indication that Declan Stephenson was a very hateful and dangerous man. I have no idea.  But from the information I have, it seems she's the one who's making rash judgments.

23. Watched more of the video.  Kasidis asks Declan Stephenson why he's following her.   He claims he's not following her.  That could be complete bullshit.  It could be the truth. Sometimes when you leave a meeting you do end up walking in the same direction as other attendees.

After Stephenson says he's not following her, she disagrees and then says if she walks in other directions, he will continue to follow her.  So now she's able to predict his behavior?   

24. Amused slightly because Stephenson actually approaches the police (after Kasidis calls them) and says, I'm the man you're looking for.  The police say they're not looking for anyone.

Maybe they're like me and don't think he's really done anything that shockingly awful.

25. Read another article about Stephenson and Kasidis.  Kasidis was heckled at the meeting and Stephenson told her to get back under a rock.  That's rude, but it doesn't mean he's a dangerous hateful man.

Now I could be totally wrong about all of this.  Stephenson may have been following Kasidis with the intent to scare her from attending any more meetings.   Maybe he wanted to scare her from joining in any future political debates.  It's possible.  But I don't think it's fair to assume that.  

26. Wondered what I would have done if I was in Kasidis' situation. I can't know for sure.  It's easy to make behavioral decisions when you're not in the situation. It's hard to know what you'd do if it was actually happening to you.

Maybe I would have tried to talk to Stephenson.  Is there a chance we could have had a civil conversation about the issue?  If he started to say hateful things or threatened me in anyway, I probably would have walked away.  If he continued to follow me, than I would call Tim.   If Tim wasn't available, then I'd call the police.  

27. Read Fruitcake's blog about traveling in the outback.  She does a fantastic job using videos to illustrate the harsh reality of Uluru.  It's a tourist attraction.  You don't get to sit there alone staring at the rock, feeling all meditative and spiritual. There will be tour buses and people snapping photos left and right.  There will be retailers trying to separate you from some of your money.  

Fruitcake also provides advice on traveling in the outback.  She gives the pros and cons of driving yourself to the places or taking a tour bus.

What about flying?   That's what I was planning to do in my imaginary trip.  I know it's a big huge stomp of a carbon footprint. Plus, it would probably cost a fortune.

Well, it's probably wrong to fly.  I'll change my plans.

How about we fly to Alice Springs?  We'll drive to Uluru. Then we'll drive back to Alice Springs and fly to Darwin.   

I'm wondering also if we could fly to Alice Springs, drive to Uluru, and then fly from Uluru to Darwin.  That way we don't have to do the drive twice.

28. Went to the Qantas site.  You can fly from Uluru to Darwin, but you have to stop in Alice Springs.  That's fine.  I'll go with that option.  

29. Went to Tallygarunga.  I'm going to read the latest post in Fun For The Family. This is the story thread in which Arti has made a surprise visit to Reade Ainsworth's home.  

Never mind.   I already read that post.

30. Went to read Find An Orbit Closer To The Ground.  This is the family dinner story thread. I think there's two posts here that I haven't read yet. 

The first one's from Stuart Blair.  Some of it sounds familiar.  I may have already read it.   Yeah, I probably did.   I think last time I read this story thread I read Stuart Blair's biography. This choice was probably inspired by the fact that I read Stuart Blair's post.

31. Started to read Adele's post.  Hopefully this one is truly new to me.

Okay.   It's new.   There's something magical in here.   It's pretty interesting. I guess Adele doesn't age for some magical reason.  She looks 27 even though she's not 27.

She goes to Dave (her partner) to apologize.  She says, I've been twenty-something since I met you. Back then it didn't matter.   It matters now. You're getting older, and if there's no way I can stop it - I want to grow old you. I wanted you to know that. And I wanted everyone in that room to know it too. That you're more important to me than any artificial portrayal of youth, and that's what makes you different to everyone else I've been with. 

If I'm getting this right, Adele didn't plan her own surprise birthday party because she wanted to be celebrated by her family.  She planned it as a sort of announcement.  I'm having birthdays now; meaning= I'm willing to grow older now.

32. Learned that my Australian of the day was Alice Elizabeth Foley Anderson.  She was a garage proprietor.  I'm not sure what that means.  She owned a garage?

Alice was born in Melbourne in 1897.   Her parents were Irish.  At some point her father was a partner to John Monash.  I guess in some type of business?

Alice spent her childhood in Narbethong, which is about 1.5 hours north-east of Melbourne.   The family didn't have a lot of money.  Although the Australian dictionary of biography confuses me.   They say, Alice's childhood was spent in relative poverty in the family's bush house near Narbethong, outside Melbourne. Hers was an unconventional upbringing for a middle-class girl.   If she was living in almost-poverty, why would the family be considered middle class?  Wouldn't she be lower class? 

33. Learned that because of the family's financial situation, Alice was unable to finish secondary school or go to university.  Instead she worked.  She joined the field of car repair.  I guess that's what was meant by garage proprietor.

Alice started as a part time worker and then moved onto full time work.    She did well and was eventually able to buy a piece of land for her business.  Her garage offered petrol, repairs, driving lessons, and chauffeurs.  The Australian Dictionary of Biography says this is what was typically offered by such businesses.   I don't think it's the same today. I don't know much about cars, but I think usually you go one place to get your petrol, another place to get repairs. And drivers and driving lessons are separate businesses as well.      

Alice's business was made up of women.  She offered lessons to women, as well as jobs and inspiration.  She pushed the idea that women can be independent.

Unfortunately Alice died very young.  She was only 29.  She had an accident while cleaning her gun.

34. Decided to redo my New South Wales itinerary so I can add Bathurst.   

35. Remembered that I also need to add Kiama and Newcastle to the itinerary.

No, wait.  I already had Newcastle on the trip from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne.

Here's my new Part 1 of the trip.  

It's Sydney, and then on to....

Wagga Wagga
Coffs Harbour

That's 23 nights total.  What was the original estimate?  21.   So I've added two days to the trip.   Maybe I'll add a few more because I'm way below six months right now.   All that driving will make us tired.   So how about some extra nights in Coffs Harbour.  Maybe 2 extra nights?   That will bring us to 25 nights.  In total, I have 100 nights.  I have eighty nights to fit in Queensland and Western Australia.     

36. Asked by Tim whether we're going to stay in a fancy hotel in Canberra or that trailer park.   I said we'd stay in a fancy hotel.  He told me he's fine with the trailer park.  I said that even though we have all the money in the world, no chance of running into danger, and no chance of getting sick...we're not going to spend all our nights in fancy hotels.  We're still going to do holiday parks and moderate hotels. We might even do a nice hostel where we'll meet wonderful friends from all over the world.