Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trip Reports, Oprah, David Hicks, and Colin Anderson

1. Looked at my old dream archives and found a bizarre dream about Australia.  It's from October 16 2006.  

A weird story. I seem to be main character at times. But also seems to be a boy. Maybe I am the boy. Something about people...or some kind of pretend people pretending they are people. And I think the only way to fight them is to gather purple objects and chant "purple purple purple....." No one will join my fight. I try to prove people are fake. I guess they are pretending to be Australian. So I say things against Sydney. Trying to show how they don't care to defend Sydney. If they were really from Australia, they'd fight back. I try to show they are cardboard...illusions and that if we don't fight back, we'll turn into that.

I don't know how to interpret that.   

2. Learned from Andrew's blog post that there's a stereotype of gay men being very neat and gay females being very messy.  I didn't know that.  Well, maybe I sort of knew about the gay men one.    However, If I went to a man's house and it was overly tidy, I wouldn't wonder if he was gay.   I think my big stereotype is musicals and brunch. If a man likes musicals and he talks about going out to brunch a lot; I may start to wonder.

The rest of Andrew's post is about his driving trip to Adelaide.

I'm going to try to map it.....

Okay, here's the map with the places he mentioned for part 2 of his trip report.  They didn't get to Adelaide yet.  Their destination for that day was a place called Otway Fly.   Well, actually I'm not sure if it was their final destination for the day.  Andrew ends his post at Otway Fly with a picture of a constipated dinosaur.   I'm not sure if they kept driving or spent the night in the Otway Fly area.   

I'm not sure if my map has the exact same route that Andrew took.  He mentions Barwon's Heads, and that shows up on the directions that Google Maps provided. It might be the same; or sort of the same? 

3. Read Fruitcake's post about the rest of her trip plans.   While Andrew talked about a trip he took in the recent past, Fruitcake is talking about a trip she's taking in the near future.  I get confused because she's been to the places she's mentioned, and has stories and observations.   So I start thinking these things happened very recently. But they didn't.  

I don't have to map out Fruitcake's trip because she did it for me.  I like playing with the maps, so it's kind of like she stole all the fun from me. No, I'm joking.  I can still have fun just looking at the map.   Here's the link.  She has actually saved the map.  I didn't know if you could do that, or not.  I was thinking of checking out that possibility when I was making my maps last week, but I never got around to it.

Anyway....Fruitcake has a LOT of stops on her map.  I'm thinking maybe she just added them to the map so we could know what towns she'll be passing.   If she's planning to stop at all these towns, I'm going to guess her bladder is worse than mine. There's a stop on this map for almost every twenty minutes.

We usually stop every two hours, but sometimes we need to stop within one hour.  It makes me nervous when I hear of drives with no stops for two or more hours.  I don't think my bladder would stand for that.  

4.  Thought about how I have planned this massive Australia trip. Then I read about Andrew's and Fruitcake's trips. They mention many towns, and neither of them mention towns that I have on my plans.  It's a great reminder that there are many towns in Australia.   I think it would be impossible to see all of them.  Well, it wouldn't be impossible; but it would be hard to do within 6 months.

5. Wondered more about the smell of sheep poop because Maggie commented on my Facebook Page about the subject.  She doesn't like the smell.  I'm wondering if I'd like it? Tolerate it?  Hate it?  

I asked her if sheep poop smells different from cow poop.  Would most people be able to smell the poop, and know whether it comes from a cow or sheep?  Or would you have to be some kind of expert (like a farmer) to do that?

6. Saw from the Griff The Invisible Facebook Page that Ryan Kwanten is going to be at Comic-Con this weekend.  Jack, Tim and I were talking about attending it next year.  I think it might be fun.  

I don't really like autograph collecting and all that. But it might be fun to just see the celebrities, and do some of the stuff that people do at these conventions. OR it might be too crowded and overwhelming for me.

Well, I guess we'll try it, and then we'll know if we like it.  

7. Talked to Lord Wiki about Comic-Con and had some rethinking about our desires to go. He says it's VERY crowded.  When things are too crowded, they become much less pleasant.

8. Read article that talks about Michael Kirby promoting a vegetarian lifestyle. He's not a strict vegetarian yet; but he's moving in that direction.  He believes that vegetarian (or semi-vegetarian) lifestyles will become more and more prevalent.  I agree with him on that; and I think it's a great thing.  

9. Read article that says despite Oprah's promotion of Australia, the US tourist rate has fallen again.   Well, what do they expect?  Oprah raved about Australia, but she didn't pass out thousands of dollars to all of us. Visiting Australia was already pretty expensive; and now with the rising Aussie dollar, it's become even worse.

The article does say though that certain areas in Australia have seen an increase in American tourists.  It could be that Oprah's show didn't increase American tourists in general, but instead introduced financially-capable American tourists to places they might not have otherwise considered going.

The place mentioned in the article is the Yarra Ranges.  Did Oprah show that area on her show?

10. Went to the Oprah website.  They do talk about the Yarra Valley.  I wonder whether the other places, she and her guests visited, have had an increase in American tourists as well.

11. Read another article about the Oprah thing.   It agrees with the other article.   In general, Oprah didn't boost Australian tourism rates.  Some folks are defending the decision saying that they didn't expect immediate results because of the high value of the Australian dollar.  They say we should wait and see.  Maybe we'll see great results later.

Okay, let's say Australia becomes less expensive in five years.  Do they think Americans are really going to remember watching Oprah?   We watch stuff. We wish we could have it too. Then we forget about it and move onto something else.

I think it would have been better to wait until Australia was more affordable for Americans. THEN promote it.

The one piece of information that makes me think it wasn't a total waste is that Oprah's Australia special was seen in 145 countries.  Some of those countries might have money that is worth more than American's money. Maybe Australia is less expensive for them, and they'll visit.

12. Read article about the Commonwealth trying to take away book-writing proceeds from David Hicks.  

I'm not sure how I feel about it.

George Brandis a Liberal MP says there's something called Proceeds of Crime Act.  If you write something based on your criminal activity, the proceeds are supposed to go to the government.

Here's information about it on the Australian Government website.  The law was passed in 2002.    Money from crime-induced literature is supposed to go back into the community.  The government lists various charitable programs that receive the proceeds.  I think it's a good least in theory.

With David Hicks, though...well, what was the verdict on him?  Did he commit a crime?  Was he ever convicted of anything? I forgot.

13. Consulted Lord Wiki about David Hicks.

It's all so confusing.  From what I'm remembering and reading, it seems the case of David Hicks is more about someone getting caught in the wrong crowd—making big mistakes, and then paying for them.   I'm not getting the idea that he directly caused harm himself.  I could be wrong. I'm not reading extremely carefully.  

I should probably go read my old post about Hicks, and see what I was thinking back then.

14. Went to my old post about David Hicks.  Before I read that I want to say that the proceed thing doesn't seem like a huge deal to me.  I'd be much more concerned about media gags.   I'd be very disturbed if any government prevented Hicks from telling his story. There was a one year gag on Hicks.  I don't think that's absolutely horrible.   He was able to tell his story eventually, and I think that's what's important.

I don't get the benefit of media gags though.  They make the opposing force look awfully suspicious.   What would be better, for people imposing these gags, is if the gag itself was kept secret.

It just looks really bad for your company, country, organization, etc. when someone says they're forbidden to talk about you to the media.

Why?  What are you trying to hide?  What we're imaging you did might be worse than what you actually did.   

Anyway...yeah.  I think the important thing is that Hicks eventually had the opportunity to tell his side of the story.    I don't really care whether or not he makes money from it.   Why should I?   I spend hours writing everyday, and I don't get paid.   If Hicks wants to make money from his writing, he could do other projects in the future. Hopefully there's no law that says convicted people can't ever make money from their writing.

15. Started to read my post about David Hicks.  I'm going to be a stereotypical American and brag about myself. I really like my post.   It brings back some painful memories though.  It was my David Hicks research day when I rushed to respond to the doorbell and injured my little toe. I ended up having to wear sandals for the rest of the winter.

Basically in my post I am very critical of the Bush administration, but I'm also critical of Hicks.   I look at the various viewpoints on Hicks in the different media outlooks.  Some people see him as a hero.  Some people see him as a victim.   Some people see him as something horrible. I pretty much saw him as an anti-semitic asshole being treated in scary ways by the American government.

I didn't like the Hicks I read about back then.  If he hasn't changed, my opinion of him would be the same today.   But maybe his experiences have changed him in some way.   I don't know.  Maybe I'll read his autobiography some day, and learn more about him.     

16. Read article that says the Sydney Opera House was featured in an official al-Qaida magazine.    The purpose of the magazine is to inspire English-speaking terrorists to do terrorist things.

It's disgusting.

The name of the magazine is Inspire

So there are people out there trying to inspire others to commit mass destruction and murder.

Who needs Death Eaters when you have al-Qaida?

Al-Qaida seems to be going strong without their leader.  It makes me think it's a bit far-fetched to assume that the death of Voldemort brought about peaceful times. In reality, the Death Eaters would have continued with their terrorism.  All might be well for Harry Potter and his families; but not necessarily for the rest of the wizarding world.

There's no such thing as ridding the world of evil. It's always there. 

There are no happy endings. There are only happy interludes.

17. Saw that the Australian dollar is now equal to 1.084 American dollars. I think that's the highest I've seen it.

18. Went to Tallygarunga.   Today I'm going to read a story thread called When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.

The story takes place in in the basement corridor of the Eureka Underground Hallway. I think maybe that's where Riley Lightfoot and Emily Smith had their water balloon scene.

Yep.  I just checked. Here's the water balloon scene.   

For this new scene, we have two Bourke students.  Both of them were in the werewolf scene I read a few days ago.   There's third year Gray Hooper.  His face claim is Danny Bonaduce. That's cute—very retro.

And then there's Viktoriya Valentin, a fourth year student.

19.  Started reading the story.  It takes place right after the werewolf story.  Or maybe it's a spin-off type thing.

Gray was a bit shocked about there really being a werewolf.  

He had wanted to be brave, but ended up fleeing in fear.  That happens sometimes.

20. Liked that Viktoriya shows concern for the werewolf.   Yes, werewolves may be dangerous; but it doesn't mean they're evil, or that they deserve pain and death.

It reminds me of this lovely story I read today about a great white shark.  It jumped onto a boat in South Africa.   Instead of killing it, the people worked very hard to keep it alive.  I like that.

Sometimes we do have to kill order to stay alive.  But I think it's preferable to be in a situation where we can keep ourselves safe, as well as the scary animal.

21. Decided to read the biography of Viktoriya Valentin.   I think I've read about some of her relatives.

She was born in Romania. Her Patronus is a squirrel monkey.  I came up with a Patronus for my fictional blog, but now I can't remember what it was.  I'll have to look back and see.

Maybe it was a frog?

22. Reminded by the biography that Viktoriya is the Seeker on her Quidditch team. I think that might have been mentioned in the werewolf story I read the other day.

23. Learned that Viktoriya has a twin sister.

I'm trying to get things straight in my head.

Her sister's name is Anastasia. I don't think I've written about her before.

Then there's Vladimir. I think maybe I wrote about him.

24. Went to Vladimir's biography for a refresher course.   I remember him now.   He's the Dhampir; half vampire and half human.   His father is the one who was thought dead; but it turned out he had been turned into a vampire.   Although if I recall correctly, the guy's not Vladimir's biological father.   His father was....maybe his uncle?   Well, I know he had to be a vampire.  How else would Vladimir be half-vampire?

Okay....I read more.  Vladimir's uncle did turn out to be his father. The guy he thought to be his father was twins with the guy who really is his father.  

25. Went back to reading about Vladimir's little sister.

Viktoriya and Anastasia were two-years-old when the family moved to Australia.   Unlike Vladimir, they don't have a Romanian accent.

They were three-years-old when their father was killed.  But remember, he really wasn't killed.  

26. Learned that Viktoriya and Anastasia were invited to start Tallygarunga a year earlier than most students.  This is because they were dealing with major issues at home.   They're dad had returned from the dead; and then later he turned their fatally injured mother into a vampire.   Okay, yeah, but Harry Potter had a really tough home life, and he didn't get to go to Hogwarts a year early.

Maybe England is more strict about such things.

27. Learned that Viktoriya has a power called retrocognition.  This was discovered when she touched a rose and saw images of a gruesome past murder.

28. Learned that not only does Viktoriya have a squirrel monkey as a Patronus. She also has one as a pet.

Other stuff about Viktoriya:  She likes drumming.  And she has an interest in Japaneses culture that was inspired by her friendship with a Japanese girl.  

29. Consulted Lord Wiki about retrocognition.   I think it's pretty interesting.

He talks about how it's impossible to test in a laboratory.  Why?  Well, if you can find out about a past event in order to prove your visions of a past event were correct; then how do scientists know you didn't use that documentation to obtain the knowledge in the first place.

I don't know though.  What if there's something about the past that someone else knew; but there's no way you could have known it.  

I guess it's a matter of distrust.  Let's say I touch someone's hand and see an image of them crying over their dead pelican.  I mention this to them and they say It's true! How did you know?  I had a pelican and he died.  

First of all, they could be lying to me.   Jack and I play this game where we try to predict what the other person is thinking.   What color am I thinking of?    What movie am I thinking of?   We discovered you can trick the other person by not thinking of anything.  Then when they guess, you say, You're right!  How did you know that?

You can trick people into believing they're psychic.   

Let's say someone's pelican really did die.   They might believe I have psychic powers; or they might think it's a trick.  They might believe that I received the information from someone else.   Maybe I've been spying on them their whole life.  Maybe their younger brother told me.  

What if the pelican person believes there is absolutely no way for me to have known about it. What if they believe 100% that this is a real psychic experience?  How does the rest of the world know our story is real?   How do they know it's not a hoax?   

30. Thought about more stuff regarding retrocognition. I was still feeling that there must be some way you could test it.  Why not put someone in a soundproof room, have something happen in another room.  Then later that day bring in an object.  Have the supposed psychic touch it, and see if he knows what had happened.

If he knows what happened, would that prove retrocognition?

No.   It would prove strong evidence for psychic ability, but not that specific type.  The person might be clairvoyant.  They might not be reading the past.  They might be reading the researcher's mind.  

In the same vein, I think it's impossible to prove that people have true medium ability.   I'd like to believe it's true...and a part of me does.   But it is possible that these people aren't getting messages from the dead.  They might just be reading our mind. We think about our dead aunt, and the medium thinks she's getting messages from our aunt.

My belief in psychic abilities is at about 99.99%.   My belief in life after death is about 70%.

I try to ignore the 30%; because the idea of death being so final is too depressing for me.  

31. Learned that my Australian of the day is Colin Warden Anderson.  He was a medical practitioner.   I'm not sure why they don't just say "doctor".  Is it not the same thing?  

32. Learned that Colin was born on Australia Day in the first year that Australia became a Federation.

I had to go look up the birthday of Australia as a Federation.  I totally forgot it was January 1. 

Colin Anderson was born in Western Australia which was the last state to agree to joining the Federation.

In his teen years, the family moved to London.  He (or they) returned to Australia when Colin was about seventeen.

Colin did his medical education at the University of Melbourne.  Then he worked in Perth.  At some point, his own health wasn't doing so wonderful.  He was told to move to the country.   He and his wife moved to Dallwallinu, Western Australia.

33. Looked up Dalwallinu on Google Maps.   It's about three hours north-east of Perth.  

34. Read more about Colin Anderson. He didn't just do medical stuff.  He was also the local film projectionist.  He liked horticulture, and he was good at automobile mechanics.

Colin did medical stuff for the military.  He helped with the rehabilitation of soldiers.

35. Learned that there's a Colin Anderson drive in Western Australia.  It's in Dalwallinu.   

Here it is on Google Maps.  It's in a golf course.  

36. Went on YouTube and Jack came over to spend time with me.  He wanted to watch the video someone made for me.  So we watched Megan's video again.  Jack's very impressed with her, and very impressed that someone so cool has dedicated a video to me.

We spent some time looking at her YouTube channel, and watched a little bit of some of her other videos.  

Jack wondered why Tally was mentioned in this video. He didn't know who or what it was.

I explained that Tally was Tallygarunga.  He was surprised to hear that.   He didn't realize that Megan was a Tallygarunga girl.  I guess he thought she was just some random girl who had found my blog.

Well, that does happen sometimes.

Jack asked me for the tenth time whether or not I'm going to write make a character for Tally.   I said no, and he said he's going to make a character someday. He wants to join. I reminded him that he needs to wait until he's older.

He then wanted to see Megan's characters.

We looked at Camryn Adiarte's profile.  He was excited to see that Camryn's hair is so dark it looks black.  

Jack said, That's like me!  

Yeah.  Okay, because you're both Asian.  I don't understand why he found that so exciting.  I told him there are billions of people in this world with dark hair.

But his mysterious excitement for Camryn's dark hair was less than his excitement over Megan's other character.  Jack recognized Stewie Blair Jr.'s face claim.  It's Nathan Kress from our former favorite show, iCarly

37. Wondered when someone from Tallygarunga is going to use an actor from our current favorite TV show.

And I'm still waiting for more Aussie face claims!!

When Jack joins Tallygarunga, I'll insist he use an Australian actor as his face claim. Knowing Jack he won't...just to defy me.