Saturday, July 9, 2011

Whales, Facebook Confusion, Muggle Parents, and Expensive Cities

1. Struggled to come up with an idea for a Zazzle t-shirt.  I'm ordering one for a birthday gift, but I want to order $50 worth so I can get free shipping.   I think Jack might make a shirt as well.

Anyway, I wanted to do something Australian but I wasn't sure what to do.  I thought of doing a collage of random Aussie photos (but not ones we've taken).  I also thought of just doing a map.   I love Australia maps!  Then I came up with an idea that I love. I'm going to do a t-shirt with my favorite Australian books on it.

2. Inspired by Anthony Eaton's The Darkness to google whaling towns in Australia. The only one I know about is Eden, New South Wales.   

Lord Wiki says whaling in Australia ended in 1979.

He says there's no evidence that Aboriginal Australians or Torres Strait Islanders hunted for whales.   But then what about the big whale on the beach with Bennelong, Arthur Phillip, and the guy who threw a spear at Phillip?  As far as I remember, the Aboriginals were having a feast with the dead whale.

Maybe they didn't hunt it?  Did it just wash up on the shore?

3. Found a website with an excerpt from Thomas Keneally's book, The Commonwealth of Thieves

The whale was beached.

It happened in Manly.  I think I knew that at one point; but I forgot.

Willemering was the man who threw the spear.

4. Went back to reading the Lord Wiki stuff.

Whaling was big for the Australian economy until the 1850's Then two things happened—People learned how to use Petroleum instead of whale oil, and there was the gold rush.  People left their boats to go to the gold fields.

The whaling industry was reduced, but it didn't disappear.

5. Learned from Lord Wiki that there was a whaling industry in Tangalooma Queensland, Moreton Island, and Frenchman Bay.

6. Figured out that I misunderstood Lord Wiki.  Tangalooma is ON Moreton Island.   They're not two separate places.   Oops.

Whales are still used in an industry in Tangalooma.   But they're not killed.  They're a tourist attraction.  These days people hunt whales with cameras instead of guns.  That's neat.

7. Found Frenchman Bay on Google Maps.  It's near Albany which is on the south coast of Western Australia.  I wonder if it was the inspiration for Isolation Bay.  

8. Learned from this South Australian history page that Kangaroo Island had whaling as well.  

9. Learned from this website, that there was a whaling station in Byron Bay.   The site also mentions Carnarvon and Point Cloates in Western Australia.

10. Watched one of my favorite Australian videos.



I think someone in Tallygarunga should make a wizard that looks like 1980's Jimmy Barnes.

11. Listened to Sarah Blasko's cover of "Flame Tree".



12. Went to bed and had dreams about parrots.   We're in South America.   I have Australian parrots, but they're not alive.  They're not really dead either.   (Maybe they're in suspended animation?)   I say to someone that we should let them live, and set them free in South America.  Parrots live here, so would there really be a problem if there were Australian ones here too.  I'm kind of joking, but also kind of serious.

13. Woke up and thought about Australian elections.  After all the research I've done, and after all the explaining people have done for me; I still don't understand the timing of the elections.   Maybe at one point I finally did.  But now I've lost it.

I think a Prime Minister can call an election.  Right?  That's what happens sometimes.   But what if they never do?  The Governor-General can pressure them?   I think.....

Maybe I'll read about it later.

What's the point though?  I probably won't understand.  

14. Remembered that I dreamed about Julian McMahon, but now I can't remember what happened.   He was there, and Tim was there.  I was amused at something he did, but in a kind of annoyed exasperated way.

I wonder what he did.

15. Read fascinating article about asylum seekers.  Amnesty International did research to get an idea about why people are against asylum seekers.   They found out the negativity was not racist-based.   People are against asylum-seekers because they believe these people are doing something wrong.   They're breaking the rules, and some Australians believe this shouldn't be tolerated.   

Amnesty International says the perceptions do not coincide well with the facts.  So...they're working on a campaign to get the information out there.

They're going to spread the message that seeking asylum is not illegal; that 90% of boat people are genuine asylum seekers, and that boat folks make up only 2% of the yearly immigrants.

16. Saw stuff on my Facebook newsfeed about Rupert Murdoch. Tim remarked yesterday that I didn't write about it on my blog.   I told him I wrote about it once...a few days ago.

I am keeping up with it, sort of.   I just glance at the headlines. I'm not in the mood to look at the subject in depth right now.  Maybe later.

17. Mystified by an Australian on my Facebook page.   I don't know who she is, or how she became my Facebook friend. I don't have that many Facebook friends, and I'm usually not confused by how people got there.

18. Watched another I Expect Better video.




19. Read article about the New South Wales Labor Party conference. They're struggling to decide whether or not to support gay marriage.  

They're going to vote on it today.

I hope I like the results.

20. Decided to go ahead and read an article about the Murdoch thing.  

For those who don't know the story. Murdoch is the owner of the British tabloid News of the World.   It's been discovered that the tabloid was illegally and unethically hacking into phone accounts.

I don't know if Murdoch had a great reputation in the first place; but now it's worse.

Will his career survive this?  

I don't know.

He has shut down that one paper, but who knows. If illegal things were happening with that tabloid, it's reasonable to suspect they might have been happening with his other publications.

I guess what I'm wondering is how much Murdoch knew about all of it. Was he part of it? Was he willfully ignorant?  Did he support what was happening?   

21. Read article that says Australian cities are now some of the most expensive places to live.   Yikes.  

Two years ago, Sydney was the 32nd most expensive place to live. Now it's the sixth. Melbourne has gone from #38 to #7.

Australia has become an expensive place to live; and it has become an expensive place to visit.

22. Read article that says there's a new massive super strong telescope.  Australia is making a bid to get it built in Australia.  South Africa wants it to.  Who will win?   

If Australia wins, they're going to stick the telescope in Western Australia.

23. Enjoyed reading Jane Calvert's editorial on feeding babies. It's basically about how mothers stress so much about what goes in their baby's body.

I like Calbert's line here.  Breast feeding is hard. Feeding a child solids is hard. Motherhood in general is So Freaking Hard.

Breastfeeding was easy for me actually.  Feeding solids was easy too because I wasn't going through a nutrition-obsession at the time.  Jack probably got a ton of crap during his baby and toddler years.   I'm hoping the breast milk counteracted some of that.   


Calvert is nutritionally obsessed, and makes highly nutritious baby food instead of buying the jarred crap.  But she's thinking maybe she could relax a bit...every once in awhile.

I think it's good to know basics about nutrition, and I think it's good to not feed your kids a completely shit diet.   But I don't think it's wise to let nutrition completely control your life. The fate of the world is not dependent on you eating enough spinach and blueberries. You will not destroy your child's life by letting them eat an occasional donut with trans fat.

If the perfect diet guaranteed that our children would live long healthy happy and successful lives; I'd say be militant about it.  Make your own food from all organic ingredients.  Read the ingredient label of every food that goes into your child's body.

But life isn't like that.

Striving for perfection doesn't make you or your children perfect.  It just makes you neurotic.   

24. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to read a new Reade and Arti story thread.   It's called Fun For the Family.   It takes place in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.  I'm not sure how much time has passed since their hotel time together.

25. Started to read.

It's the school holidays now.  I wonder which ones.  Winter?  Autumn? I don't know what month we're supposed to be in.

Well actually..... I think they're supposed to be following our time schedule.  So maybe it's July, and therefore they'd be having winter break.  Are real Melbourne people having winter break now?

26. Went to the Victorian school calendar page.

Yep.  Victorian kids are in the midst of their school holiday.  Term 2 ended July 1, and Term 3 will begin on July 18.

27. Saw that Arti is not looking forward to the school holiday.  She doesn't get along well with her parents.  She'd rather be at school with her friends and boyfriend.

28. Learned that Arti fixed her problem by becoming a chipmunk and stowing away in Reade's backpack. Now she's in his house.

That's cute.

29. Received some insight into the whole time thing via one of Arti's posts.  She tells Reade's confused parents that they've been dating since June.  So, that's when the hotel night happened.   What gets confusing is some of these story threads take weeks to write.

Although Satisfy Your Soul begins in the evening (or afternoon?) and ends in the morning, it took almost a month for the story to be written. It began on June 6 and ended on July 3.  

I'm guessing the best way to figure out when a story thread takes place is to look at the date of the first post.   

30. Decided that Reade's parents sort of remind me of my Muggleborn-family parents.  Reade's father is more friendly and welcoming.  His mother is a bit more weary, uptight, and suspicious; at least at first.  Later, she warms up a bit.  

With my storyline, both the parents were very open to the whole wizarding world...and excited about it.   But the mother became angry, defensive, and suspicious when the whole war thing began.   I think she lost her love for wizards, because she knew, in their world, her daughter was a second-class citizen.

31. Figured out who the mysterious Australian Facebook friend is.  I feel much better now.  It's someone I exchanged a few emails with back in. May. Then I guess we became Facebook friends;  but I don't think we ever talked on Facebook really.   Her Facebook name is slightly different than the one in email. So I got confused.  

32. Decided we're probably not going to Australia any time soon.

33. Decided we'll go to Australia if I win that trip to Tasmania.   Have they picked the winner yet?

I shall go check.

I looked at the website.   I can't find much information about when the drawing is going to take place.  From what I can tell, though, the contest is still happening.  

34. Learned that my Australian of the day is William Albert Amiet   He was a writer and barrister in the 20th century. He was born near Geelong.

At the University of Melbourne, he studied classical and modern languages.  Was he interested in that subject, or did he think it would be a good pre-law subject?

William fought in World War II.

He did law stuff.

He did writing stuff.

He tried a bit to get into politics.  That didn't work out.

He liked astronomy.

He wrote poetry, including a poem about his daughter who unfortunately died in a car accident.  

35. Went to the Tourism Australia website.   I want to see if the Australian dollar is affecting tourism numbers yet.  My guess is it's not...yet.   I think the Oprah boost is counteracting the high dollar issue.  

This page talks about numbers from May.  The year ending in May 2011 had a 4.5% increase in visitors than the year ending in May 2010.  The month of May itself had an increase of 2.7% when compared with May 2010.

So yeah.  Right now tourism in Australia isn't suffering.

36. Saw from this page that there has been a decrease in American and Canadian visitors to Australia. The American decrease is only .8% while the Canadian one is 5.1%. I wonder if Oprah kept the American decrease to a minimum.

Do they get Oprah in Canada?

37. Saw that there's been a big increase in visitors from South East Asia and China.    

38. Saw that there's been a big decrease in Japanese visitors.  Their financial situation is probably affected by the earthquake and Tsunami.  

39. Downloaded a massive PDF file about international tourism.  It's information from a survey that looked at tourists from March 2010-March 2011.

The main reason people came to Australia was for tourism/holiday. That's 45%.   24% came to visit friends or family.

40. Saw that New Zealand sent over the most visitors, followed by China, the United Kingdom, and America.

41. Saw that the average visitor spent $95 a night.  What? Really?  Does that include accommodations?  I'm guessing there's a lot of backpackers?

42. Saw that 63% of visitors to Australia had been there before. That's really awesome. It shows that Australia is great enough that people want to come back.

43.  Saw that the largest percentage of visitors to Australia stayed with a friend or relative.  But it's only a one percent difference than the percentage of people renting an apartment.

26% stay with a friend or relative. 25% rent an apartment. 19%  stay in a hotel or motel.

Where does the other 30% stay?    Maybe a hostel?

44. Saw that the average amount of time people holiday in Australia is 25 days.  That's a little shorter than the amount of time we stayed. I think?

Yes, our trip was longer.  And longer than I thought. I looked at our trip report page.  We stayed 32 days.

I had plans for us to stay only 22 days in 2012.   If we postpone the trip, I hope to do much more than that once we finally go.   If we go to Australia when things are expensive, it's hard to do know what to do.   If we pay so much for a plane ticket, it seems silly to spend a short time there.   It's wasted flight money.    But if we stay a long time, each day is going to cost us a lot. 

I think the other thing is I get nervous about is leaving the cats for a long time. Well, I'm not nervous really.  It's more that I'm sad for them.  We have friends check in on them.  But that's not the same.  

45. Felt suddenly resentful about something that happened in the past.  It's stupid really.  But it has to do with future Australia trips.

I think Tim and I try to compromise and give each other what we need and want.   Tim needs much more friend-time than I do.  He goes out with his friend once or twice a week....usually.  Sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less.  He's gone on several trips since Jack was born.   He spent two weeks in Asia.  He's gone on a couple of camping trips.   He does guy-only trips with the guys in my family.  He did a weekend bachelor trip for my brother-in-law. He went with his brothers on a road trip.   I did a short trip alone to NYC once, and I've traveled with Jack.   That's about it.   I'm not saying it's unfair.  I'm not a very social person.  And I would much rather travel with Tim and Jack; or Jack than travel by myself or with other people.  I'm not wishing I traveled more, or that I had more time to go out with friends.  I have very little doubt that if I wanted to do so, Tim would support me 100%.  He would babysit Jack, and he'd let me use any money that I needed.  

I also think MAYBE Tim spends more money than I do.   I'm just counting money that Tim spends on Tim—stuff that he wants for himself.   Most of the stuff is shared with the whole family....like a huge screen TV in our den.   But it's not something I would have chosen to get.

What I'm trying to get at is that I don't often want a lot of stuff.   I'm not the type of wife who demands expensive jewelry.  I don't shop for expensive clothes.

The thing I really love to do is to visit Australia.  Tim is behind that 100%.  I mean sometimes I think he's more supportive about it than I am.   

He does want to go to other places though.   We talk about that.   And we did go to London.  The thing is it's hard enough to budget in an Australian trip every few years. It's even harder to fit in other international destinations.

A year or so ago (before the London plans) we were talking to my sister, and she was very unsupportive of the fact that we were going to MY destination multiple times, and Tim wasn't getting to go to his destination.  It made me so angry.  I wanted to say it made me mad because our marriage is none of her business.  But I can imagine defending my brother--in-laws if I felt my sisters were being unfair.  I just hope I'd hear the whole story before making a judgment.

The thing is with trips to Australia included, I think Tim and I spent an equal amount of money on our dreams and desires.  I might come out a bit ahead.   Without Australia, I believe that Tim comes out much farther ahead. I could be wrong. I'm not going to do any calculations here.

46. Realized I'm worried that I'll have to sacrifice the Australia trip.   I'm worried that instead of being conservative and saving money, Tim will want to spend money on other stuff and other trips.  Then in 5-10 years when I want to go to Australia, we won't have enough money. 

I think there are very reasonable reasons not to go to Australia in 2012.   But it makes me mad to think that, if we don't go, what my sister wished for Tim will come true.  I'm also mad that my sister was more concerned for Tim's happiness than my own. It's nice to look out for your in-laws; but it's also nice to look out for your siblings.  

That being said. It's in the past.  And a few weeks ago, my sister asked about our 2012 trip and was really nice about it.   She gave me no grief about us going.   Oh!   And it was also one of the rare time that she read my blog. So that was nice too.  

47. Decided compromise in marriage doesn't always have to be about people getting the same things.   Tim likes to go out with friends.   I don't.   I have very little interest in it.    I have a favorite country that I'm madly in love with.   Tim doesn't have that.   If Tim had a country he loved as much as I love Australia, I would feel guilty if we went to Australia and not his country.   But he doesn't have a country obsession.   He just likes international travel period.    He wants to try new things.  He's happy to return to Australia.  His only request is that we try new places within Australia instead of going back to New South Wales all the time. I'm totally on board with that.  

48. Wondered if I'm wrong; and that maybe I do spend as much money on stuff as Tim.  I do get a lot of used books (although that was with gift certificate money). I've spent about $250 this year on shirts from Zazzle.   That's kind of sad.

No...still.  Even with that, I think Tim gets more for himself than I get for myself.

Oh!  Yes.   I forgot something.  He spends a lot of money on movies.  He gets lots of cable channels.   I hardly watch anything.  He also gets Netflix and gets movies for himself very often.  I think that costs a lot.

I'm fine with that.  Why should I spend as much as him on material goods if there's not much that I want?   I'm happy that Tim is supportive of my Australia-obsession.   And he's always been super supportive about it.  I just don't like when family members seem to see me as a selfish bad wife for wanting to go to Australia.   I don't like that they might be thinking I'm unfair.  I think I'm being very fair.  

49.  Realized that the statistic of 26% of people staying with family and friends were for people who had specified that they were traveling to Australia for a holiday.

I guess that's what happened to us in 2009.  We were going to Australia for a holiday, but we did spend a few nights at a friend's house.   Our main purpose in going to Australia though was not to see our friends. That was an added bonus.

50. For those folks going to Australia to visit family and friends, 83% stayed with friends and family.  That makes sense. What happened with the other 17%?

I find the whole thing really confusing.   I'm unsure of the proper etiquette.   If you tell a friend or family member that you're coming to their city, is it up to them to invite you to stay with them?   Or is it up to you to ask if you can stay with them?  Do you say,  Hey we're coming in June.  Get the guest room ready!

I had this issue before, and I still don't know if I did the wrong or right thing.  We told someone we were coming into town.   I expected them to invite us to stay with them, and well...I don't like staying with people for long periods of time.   Although it saves money and provides for major bonding time, I prefer hotels for long stays (mainly because I'm embarrassed for having to pee so much in the middle of the night).   So I had it all planned that I was going to thank them for their offer and suggest we stay for just  2-3 nights.   But they never invited us!   And they gave us hotel advice, which made me think they didn't want us with them.   I was bewildered about that; and confused.  Why didn't they want us?   I planned to reject their offer....a little bit.   And here they totally rejected us.

Then when we got there, they asked us to sleep over.   That was a bit annoying, because we had already paid for our hotel.    But then I felt bad...and confused.   Did they always want us to stay with them?  Maybe they wanted us to say something first.  But I would feel rude doing that.

Maybe they planned on having us stay; and I'm the one who mentioned hotels first. Maybe they thought.  Oh, well.... I guess they don't want to stay at our house.   Do we smell?

51. Saw from PDF file, that 11% of international visitors to Australia were backpackers.  33% stayed in hostels, and 35% stayed in rental apartments.

52. Talked to Tim.   He said minus Australia, I do spend very little money on myself.   I had him compare what he spends on himself and what I spend on myself.  This doesn't include what we buy as a family or what we buy for Jack.   But it does include stuff we get for ourselves that the whole family shares. 

The new dishwasher is group expense. It's not for any of us specifically. The big TV is for Tim, but we all use it.  Australia is for me, and we all use it.   

53. Looked at fun economic stuff on the PDF file.  Sydney gets the most money from tourists in total.  But per person, the most money is spent in Perth.

52. Tired of looking at statistics; so I'm going to quit now.

53. Thought it might be good idea that if we don't go to Australia, we set up a savings account for a future trip.   Then I can feel that there's a sort-of guarantee we'll have the resources needed to go to Australia.

54. Decided I should say that if any Australians I know come to America, you're more than welcome to stay at our house; and visit the lake house with us.   Please make sure you're someone I know though.   I don't want random people visiting my blog and thinking Oh cool!  There's an American offering free accommodations to all Australians!    Nope.  Sorry.   That's not the case.  

Also, I get a bit on edge with too much socializing.   So the offer will probably be for a week stay or less...unless we're good friends, or something.    Personally, I can't see why any international visitor would want to spend more than a week in Fort Worth anyway.   It's much better to spend your time in New York, Hawaii, California, Florida, Chicago, etc.    Fort Worth is a bit blah.  But the lake house is nice.   You should come for that.