Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vending Machines, Real Men, Scared Weird Little Guys, and Stonemasonry

1. Found another past Australia dream. This was from October 30 2006.

I imagine going to Australia. The plane ride. Think about reading Harry Potter on plane. But I'll finish it fast and have nothing to do. Think about bringing all the harry potter books. And how if you bring something electronic, what if it breaks?  Then I think about people in prison and how they can overcome boredom. Maybe I can too.

2. Found something funny in the same night's (10/30/06) dreams.   It relates to something yesterday.   Someone in the Tallygarunga chat said they considered using Jeff Goldblum as a character's father; but then they decided to use someone else. I said Goldblum could be the uncle.  Then this morning I found this dream.

Lots of stuff about David Van Ness. Very confusing. Something like he's used in some science experiment? His blood is taken. Maybe some fertility thing. And at some point, I think I think of it as being called "Korma". And later, I am thinking maybe I'm part of experiment too. They're trying to create some weird kind of human. And maybe they used my eggs.

At times, he's someone else. Like a relative? An uncle? So there is a sense of forbidden love.

Another time, maybe he is...or looks like Jeff Goldblum.

It's funny because also yesterday in Tallygarunga, I read a story about cousin-love which is sometimes seen as being "forbidden".   

3. Found another Australia related dream. This one is from November 1, 2006.

And also I read kid's book...kind of like Encyclopedia. It is about Christmas in Australia. And how winter is not at Christmas time. They say something like, does this mean they have Christmas in August?  No. They explain that it just means that at Christmas, it is not cold for them.

Well, at least it's scientifically accurate.   

That would be weird if I didn't yet know that Australia's Christmas was in summer; but I'm guessing I already did.

4. Read James' blog post about a rooftop tour he took in Sweden.   It's kind of like the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. You're locked into a thingie so you can't fall.   

I'm really loving his trip reports.  It's like traveling for free, and there's no long plane ride.   Because unlike James, I don't like long plane rides.  Also, unlike James, I'm afraid of heights. I'm not sure how I managed the bridge climb.  I think it was literally temporary insanity.

5. Read another post by James.  I like this line.  So yeah, it’s nice getting to combine some “obvious” tourism activities with a more “local” experience.

I definitely agree.  I like having a balance when I go places. I probably usually prefer the non-tourist stuff, but I like some things. And I'd feel it's weird to go to places and miss certain attractions.

6. Saw that the Australian dollar is now worth 1.096 dollars.


That's all I can say about that.

7. Enjoyed reading Andrew's post about Adelaide.  It includes photos of cute pig statues.   

I think I've encountered another one of those cultural differences.  Andrew says, We turned the air con unit off overnight and by morning the inside of the cabin felt like 1 degree. With no ceiling space and a pitched roof, it was a hard place to heat. We subsequently left the air con on permanently, only turning it down when we were out or overnight.

When I read the first sentence, I thought maybe Andrew and R were the type of people who are always hot; so even when it's cold outside, they have to put on the air-conditioner.   Oh, it's 2 degrees.  I guess we should turn this thing off now.  But when I read the rest, I came to the conclusion that air con refers to heat.

In America, we call the machine-provided cold air "air-conditioning".  The machine-provided warm air is called "heat".

Knowing this difference will be helpful if we ever travel to Australia when it's cold.   Otherwise, we'd skip over many hotels and apartments.  We can't stay here. It's going to be cold, and they have only air-conditioning. What's up with that?

8. Read article that says the Australia government is going to use YouTube and Facebook to advertise the fact that traveling to Australia on a people-smuggler boat is a bad idea. 

Yeah.   It's bad—very dangerous.  But wouldn't it be better to provide an alternative?  What do people do if they need to escape their country and they don't have enough money for a flight?

9. Read editorial in response to another editorial about Australians who don't like sports.   Simon J. Green says, A large group of people in Australia overreact to sport. That’s the underlying truth in all this.  

I don't doubt that's true; but it hasn't been my personal experience.  I've never been criticized by an Australian for the fact that I'm obsessed with Australia but have no interest in sports. Sometimes people do go on and on about a sport; and I get a bit bored. But that's okay. I'm sure I blab on and on about my passions and bore people sometimes.

10. Read the other editorial.   It disturbs me, but doesn't surprise me.  Mia Freedman went on the Today Show and talked about how she really doesn't care about Cadel Evans and his win.   She doesn't think what he's done is that important. We should spend more time and energy celebrating people who have done things to help others.

I agree with her to some point.  America, Australia, and many other countries over-celebrate sports figures.  I do think, though, that sports figures need not be under-celebrated.

I think it's better to do something that directly saves lives.  But I also have admiration for people who have a dream and work hard to fulfill it.  They can be heroes in an indirect way by inspiring people.

Now the problem is, Mia simply shared her opinion, in a very civil way. Then she was horribly attacked by people who disagreed with her.

Mia says, The abuse I received was instant and it continues, seemingly unabated. I have a pretty thick skin but by 8:15 I was in tears. I genuinely miscalculated the level of viciousness my comments (which I have made many times before) would provoke. My bad. Not for stating my opinion but perhaps for misreading the mood and the audience.

That's happened to me before. It's shocking and traumatic.

Mia provides some examples of the crap thrown at her.  She says, clearly, I am in the vast, vast minority here (I certainly know that after today having been called a dog, a bitch, unAustralian, a stupid, ignorant fool, told I should lose my job, fuck off and shut the hell up, go back to writing about lipstick……and that is not even the worst of it).

Whether someone's opinion is in the majority or minority, they should be able to express it without being abused with cruel insults.   

Even after posting about her experience with bullying, Mia continued to receive attacks. The comments on her editorial were turned off.

It's sad...very sad.

11. Read article about Anh Do.   He came to Australia in the same way the government is recommending people don't arrive—a small rickety fishing boat.   

He's now Australian, a comedian, and has won a major Australian Book Industry Award.

Anh Do came to Australia before mandatory detention was introduced.  His family lived in a hostel.   He's been to one of the detention centres, and says it's like a prison.

So yeah.   I think Australia should provide hostels for new arrivals rather than detention centres.   Hopefully that will make the asylum seekers less angry and crazy.  If it doesn't, then I really don't know what to do with them.

12. Read article that says people who are extremely short (dwarfs) have a lot of problems with the Melbourne public transportation system.  Melbourne is apparently reducing the number of seats on the trains, so there's more standing room. It's difficult for a dwarf to stand because there's nothing for them to hold on to; and it's easy for them to become trampled by the taller people.

Another problem is that dwarfs are unable to reach the ticket vending machines. So, that's really hard.  One woman was told she should ask a stranger to buy her ticket for her.   People shouldn't have to do that. What if you're shy?

Life shouldn't be overly difficult for people simply because they're not tall.

I don't know how many people in Victoria are short-statured.  But even if the population is very low, by making the changes you'd make things easier on children as well.  I'm not sure how often children buy train tickets.  But I imagine it's hard for them to stand on a train in a crowd of adults.

As for lowering the ticket machines, I imagine it would also make things easier for people in wheelchairs.

I don't know if people in wheelchairs can reach higher than dwarfs or not.

13. Read some of this webpage.  If I'm understanding it right, most people in wheelchairs can reach things at about 54 inches.  I'm sure it would depend on their height.  

Lord Wiki says anyone under 58 inches is a dwarf.  I'm sure though that many of them are shorter than that.

I wonder how tall the ticket vending machines are in Melbourne.  

14. Went downstairs to get Jack some brunch and saw that Tim is making fruit bread!  I think he was inspired by my post the other day.

15. Read scary article about a dog who has the Hendra virus.  The dog's not sick yet, but bio-security folks want him euthanized because there's a chance that the virus will stop being dormant.  The family doesn't want to say good-bye to their beloved family pet. They're a bit resistant.  

I understand they're sad, but if there' a good chance the dog can spread the disease to their children, neighbors, etc. I think it's best to euthanize it.  I love our cats, but if they had a disease that could make Jack very sick, I'd say good-bye.  That probably shows that although I love our pets; I don't love our pets as much as some other people love their pets.

I'm a vegetarian and believe in animal rights.  But when it comes to major health issues—life and death situations, I am people-first.  So I guess I sort of am a bit of a speciesist.

16. Looked at article about survey done about the Australian male.

94% believe that real men cry.

Fake men don't because mannequins don't come with tear ducts.  

This means 6% of men might believe that once you start crying, you lose your manhood.  Does your penis fall off?  Do you grow breasts?   Scientists should look into this hypothesis.  It would save a lot of transgender people the cost and pain of surgery.  Here. Watch the end of Titanic.   By the time you're through, you'll be a woman.  

17. Decided to play some Traveler IQ tests on Facebook.  It's been a long time since I've done any of those!

18. Did a lot of guessing for this Blue Mountain area quiz.  My score was 62, 280.

19. Did pretty awful on this south-east Queensland quiz.  My score was 61, 364.  I should end up being 4th on the Leaderboard.  But that's only because not many people have taken the quiz.

20. Took interesting quiz made about someone's life. They live in Byron Bay now, but they used to live somewhere else.  I forgot where.  I'm going to take the quiz again, so I can learn more about them.  

Anyway, on that try I got a score of 76,280.  

21. Took the quiz again.   I learned the creator's hometown is Greece.   He sometimes holidays in Port Macquarie; and his mum lives in Echuca.  

22. Figured out I might be wrong.   He's not from Greece.   I thought he said it was his hometown, but I might have misunderstood. I think it's the hometown of something he likes.  I did the quiz again, and he said his hometown is Melbourne.

23. Figured I should probably stop stalking this Traveler IQ quiz creator.

24.  Did pretty bad on this quiz of Victoria.  But at least I recognized SOME of the names.  My score is 45,912.  I'll end up as #11 on the Leaderboard.

25. Did pretty awful on this general Australia quiz.  I got a score of 57,010.

26. Watched amusing video about deadly Australian animals.  It's made from a song by a comedy group called The Scared Weird Little Guys. 

27. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Scared Weird Little Guys.

He said they came about in 1990. They do musical comedy a cappella style.

Here's their website.

The Scared Weird Little Guys won't be around much longer.   They're going on their farewell tour.   Or they already went.  I'm not really sure. The website confuses me.

28. Watched The Scared Weird Little Guys do a Eminem style of "Waltzing Matilda".   It's very funny. Warning to my readers who are sensitive to strong language:  The video has some.

29. Listened to a Scared Weird Little Guys Christmas song.  It made me laugh a little.

And there's a strong language warning for this one too.

30. Started to look at Australia photos with Jack on Flickr.

Jack chose to look at photos of Alice Springs.

We're going to look at St0nemas0nry's photos.  

I don't think all of them are of Alice Springs; but that's okay. We're looking at his set of central Oz photos

Some of the pictures are a bit blurry.  

This is a great photo of someone named Janet updating her travel journal. 

At this point in the photo adventure, they're driving from Nindigully, New South Wales to Lightening Ridge, New South Wales.

31. Abandoned by Jack.  He decided he'd rather do something else.

32. Tried to find Nindigully on Google Maps.   I'm not having an easy time.

I see a Nindigully, Queensland.     It's close to New South Wales. 

33. Saw a photo of a sign for a town called Dirranbandi, Queensland.

I see from Google Maps that it's a little bit north of Lightening Ridge.   And both those places are near Toowoomba.   That's the place that had major flooding in January.

34. Looked closer at Google Maps.   Toowoomba is not as close to Dirranbandi as I thought.    It's six hours away.   It is close to Lightning Ridge though. They're only about 1.5 hours away from each other.

35. Liked this photo.  It seems very classic Australian to me.   

It's from Hebel, Queensland.

Of course I need to look that up on Google Maps as well.  

It's 45 minutes south of Dirranbandi.

Here's a nice photo of Janet buttering her bread in Hebel.  We ate Tim's fruit bread a little while ago.   It was very nice.

36. Here's a photo of Janet and....I think the photographer.  They're at Lightning Ridge which is known for black opals.  

I think this photo is of a mine shaft.   It's neat; but also a bit scary. It makes me think of Poppy and Dingan, RIP.

37. Wished I knew more about what's in this photo.  

Oh...wow...wait.   You know what.    I think it's a building made up of bottles and cans.   So cool!

38. Found website about the house made of cans.  

39. Saw Stonemasonry's photo of Bourke. 

40. Saw photo of tribute to Fred Hollows.  And here's his grave or memorial.  

41. Reached Cobar.  Yeah.   I feel like I'm there with them. This is really fun!

42. Found Cobar on Google Maps.  It's three hours west of Dubbo.   

43. Saw photo of scary evil insect. I might have nightmares.  This guy makes Voldemort look friendly!

44. Excited to get to Broken Hill!

45. Reached South Australia!

46. Learned very sad story from Lord Wiki.  In 1971, a woman in Sydney gave birth to nonuplets.     Not one of the babies survived.   It would have been nice if at least one survived.

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that quintuplets were born in Brisbane in January 2011.  

I was looking at this stuff with Jack, by the way.  He wanted to know about multiple births. It has nothing to do with the photos.  

Now I'm going to go back to my photos.

48. Loved this photo.  It's beautiful. 

49. Saw photo of the Indian-Pacific. 

50. Saw a photo of Bob the railway dog.  His facial expression kind of reminds me of my Grandma Bea.  And I mean no offense by that.

51. Learned from Lord Wiki that the oldest dog was an Australia Cattle Dog from Victoria.  He lived for 29 years! Wow.

Although the dog's age isn't verified. It might not be true.

By the way, that research was also instigated by Jack.   

51. Hoped someone could identify this animal.  Is it a possum? Big Sugar Glider?

52. Felt myself becoming very fond of Janet and Stonemasonry.  I'm guessing they're married?   They kind of remind me of my mom and dad.   You know what my dad said the other day?  It was so sweet and romantic.

He said the one place he wants to go but will never go is Africa.  Why?   My mom doesn't want to go.   I suggested he go without her.  Why not go with friends?  My dad said he wasn't interested. It wouldn't be fun without her.  He didn't say it in a dutiful way; or a guilt-trip inducing way.   It was like he really felt that no holiday would be fun without her. My dad said he's okay with short weekend trips,  but that's all.

I thought he was so romantic; and I thought about how Tim and I are really not like that with each other.  We love each other, but I don't think we have the same type of attachment.

I also thought, oh PLEASE don't let my mom die before my dad.  That would be too sad.   Hopefully, they'll die together at a very old age.

53. Excited to see that we've now arrived at Coober Pedy!

Look! There's an underground bookstore.  

I wonder if Janet and Stonemasonry are going to stay in a hotel. So far it seems they've done the camping thing.  Will they make an exception for Coober Pedy?

Here's a picture of inside the bookstore. 

54. Found a camping photo.  I guess they're not going to use a hotel.  

55. Loved this Australia breakfast photo.  

And now....we're in the Northern Territory.  I think Janet and Stonemasonry are heading to Uluru.

56. Liked this photo of Janet and Stonemasonry.  That's not Uluru in the background...is it?  

I don't think so.

Here's the two travelers in front of Uluru.  

Stonemasonry took a LOT of photos of Uluru.

57. Saw that Uluru has a face.   It's on the right side, sort of towards the center.

I have never seen so many photos of Uluru.  I thought I took many photos of my beloved Opera House.  Stonemasonry has me totally beat here.

58. Sad to see people climbing Uluru.  It just doesn't seem right to me. 
I will feel somewhat satisfied if I someday see Aboriginal people climbing up the side of a church.   Or maybe they'll build towers out of Bibles, and climb those.

59. Liked this sign about climbing Uluru.

That's a really important sacred thing that you are climbing.   You shouldn't climb.   It's not the real thing about this place.   The real thing is listening to everything.  This is the thing that's right.   This is the proper way; no climbing.  


The climbing thing really bothers me.

60. Angered by this photo. 

61. Realized that Janet and Stonemasonry went on this trip recently....in the beginning of the July.   There's numbers on all the photos.   It took me a long time to realise they were dates.

62. Looked at many photos of Kata Tjuta

Oh!  I didn't know this. Lord Wiki just told me that Kata Tjuta is another name for The Olgas.

63. Loved this photo from Yulara.   

And now there are even more photos of Uluru.  

Stonemasonry takes Uluru fandom to a whole new level.

64. Visited King's Canyon with Janet and Stonemasonry.  

Now we're heading to Alice Springs.  

65. Learned from this photo that there was a cannonball run on the Stuart Highway in 1994.  Sadly, four people were killed.  Lord Wiki says because of this, that was the first and last run.

66. Saw some neat photos of an inside of a home—a historical type thing.   

I can kind of imagine a ghost story happening there....especially with this photo.   It's kind of eerie.  

67. Saw a photo of a sign about John Flynn.   I forget.  Is he the one whose grave used one of the Devil's Marbles?  Or was that someone else? 

68. Asked Lord Wiki.  He says yes. It was John Flynn.

Fortunately, the marble was returned and replaced with a new rock.  

69. Saw AWESOME photo.  It's a monument near the landscape that inspired Albert Namatjira. 

70. Decided to fast forward the photos a bit.  There are over a thousand in the set. I'm getting kind of tired.   

I was going through picture by picture; but now I'm just going to look at the pages of mini-photos. If I see something that catches my eye, I'll stop.

This picture is pretty neat.  I feel it's the type of thing I'd see in Israel. It looks almost Biblical.  

71. Looked at Stonemasonry's profile.   His real name is Simon Brown.   I actually knew that because it's near his screenname.  I just liked calling him Stonemasonry.  

He's a stonemasonry teacher at SkillsTech Australia in Brisbane.  

They went to London in 2006. 

I should probably stop stalking them now.

72. Worked on planning a trip up north to go surfing with some British wizards.

I think we'll go to Darwin.

You know....my life is full of imaginary vacations.

I'm starting to feel like Mr. Rogers.

73. Saw that my Australian of the day is Sir Francis Anderson.   The provided photo from the Australian Dictionary of Biography reminds me of a Prime Minister.   Not surprisingly....I have forgotten his name.

Billy something.

Thanks to the Google and the National Archives of Australia, I got my answer.

William Hughes.   

The other day my dad suddenly forgot the name of one of his nephews.  He couldn't retrieve the information; and he forgot something else that day.   He was a bit astonished at this, and made jokes about losing his memory.   Things like that happen to me very frequently. When I heard my dad being shocked at his brief lapse, it made me worry that I might actually have a problem.

Now I'll have to add early-onset Alzheimers to my list of things to worry about.

Anyway, back to Sir Francis Anderson.  I won't talk long about him.  This post is already probably too long.

74. Learned that Francis was born in Scotland.  He went to the University of Glasgow, and did well in school.  He started assisting the professor, and even taught some classes while the professor was busy with other things.

Francis went the route of theology and planned to be ordained. But that never happened. Still...he worked for the church anyway.

In his late 20's, Francis moved to Melbourne and was an assistant to a reverend.

Francis planned to return to Scotland, but instead stayed and became a philosophy professor at the University of Sydney.  

Francis followed the philosophy called Christian Idealism.  He was into Hegelianism.

I asked Lord Wiki what that is, and he's just confusing me.  It seems way to complicated for my tired brain right now.        

75. Wondered....what is Crowdflower?   I see from Statcounter that people are coming to my blog from there.  I went briefly to the website, but didn't understand it.

Maybe I'll try again.

76. Tried again.   I still don't get it.  

77. Heard from Jack that a Tallygarunga character has Missy Higgins as a face claim.  I can't remember if I already knew that or not. Did I miss it when looking at the list?

Just checked....no, I didn't.  I  mean I didn't miss it.  So, that's good. It is a bit sad though that I already forgot about it. 

78. Downloaded list of winners from the Australian Book Industry Awards.   I can add the information to my list of authors to look out for.