Monday, August 22, 2011

Hanging Rock, Hotels, Airplanes, and Restaurant Chains

1. Finished reading Finnikin of the Rock.  The next book I'm going to read is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.  I've read one of her books before— People of the Book.  And I've read two of her husband's books.  

I'm also still reading Michael Fuery's Dream Within a Dream.  I think if I ever get into this Kindle thing I'm going to try to always read two books simultaneously. That way if Tim is using the Kindle or I'm reading at a time/place that's not good for using electronics; I can read the other book.

2. Played around at Kondoot.  I embarrassed myself by singing. Then I started a game where I read the first paragraph of a book and have people guess what it is. We'll see if anyone participates. I hope they do. 

3. Embarrassed by my videos.  I think I'll take them down soon.

I'll feel like a coward though.

I can't decide if I want to be a coward or a fool.  

4. Re-watched the disappearance scene from Picnic at Hanging Rock. I'm trying to get a better sense of the original story.

I'm reading Michael Fuery's sequel to the story.  But I've never read the original Joan Lindsay book; nor have I watched Peter Weir's movie. I've only read ABOUT the book; and I've seen clips from the movies.

The idea I got from the clips was that Miranda was a bit of a....

I don't know really.

I was going to say snob, but that's not really right.

Maybe the right term would be queen bee. I pictured her having a lot of power, and I assumed she might not always use that power for nice things.

I imagined her to be the type of popular person who doesn't truly like anyone. She just uses others for her own personal gain.   

The image I get from Michael's book is very different.  Miranda seems genuinely warm and friendly.  She seems to truly care about other people. 

It's possible that Michael changed her character a bit—kind of like Gregory Maguire changed the character of the Wicked Witch.  I'm doubting it, though. My guess is I misread the character in the scenes I had watched. My own prejudices probably played into it.

5. Watched opening scenes from Picnic at Hanging Rock.

In the beginning, Miranda says something about a dream within a dream. So now I know where Michael got the title of his book. 

6. Decided that my negative view of Miranda might have come from the fact that in the scene, I originally saw, she and her friends abandon Edith as she calls out to them.

By reading Michael's novel and re-watching more of the scene, I'm getting the idea that Edith is a bit of a pain.  Still, though. I think of her as one of those sad cases.—a child that's there physically with the others, but really not included.  I feel for her in some ways.

7. Looked at the actress who played Miranda on IMDb; Anne-Louise Lambert.  I noticed that today is her birthday.  Well, it's her birthday in Australia.  Right now for me it's August 20—Jack's birthday.
8. Annoyed by skeptic in Dream Within a Dream.  And I learned a new term from the book.   Semmelweis Reflex.  According to the novel, it's a term applied to those who automatically dismiss an idea without any consideration.    

The novel and Lord Wiki explain that it comes from a doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis. He had this WEIRD theory that these things called germs might be causing illness. He suggested doctors wash their hands to reduce maternity deaths.

Semmelweis was ridiculed for his "bizarre" beliefs.

I think many people in this world suffer from this Semmelweis Reflex thing.

9. Embarrassed so I deleted most of my videos from Kondoot. It's easier to be fearless about such things on YouTube.   That place is FULL of videos.  You just get lost in the shuffle.  There's not many videos yet on Kondoot.  Mine has been listed on the front page all day. I've been feeling like I'm standing on a stage naked.

I don't like that feeling.

10. Decided Kindles are better off with people who are good at remembering to charge their electronic devises.

11. Finished reading Dream Within a Dream, and stayed up too late doing so. If I feel tired today, I'll blame Michael.

12. Had a dream about another blogger.  I read an email from an internet friend.  I received it the day before, but this is the first time I'm reading it.  She's very sweet and enthusiastic in the email.   She has somehow heard me talk and loves my American accent. Towards the end of the email she says she has a bit of a crush.  I'm guessing from the context that the crush is on me.   I'm wondering if this is a minor thing, as she says; or is she downplaying something serious. I'm flattered either way.  But I'm a little nervous that it's serious and it will effect our friendship. Also I have the guilt and regret that I don't feel the same way. I feel bad that I didn't write back sooner, and I worry she may think I'm completely rejecting her. 

In real life, I think it's more likely to be me who has a crush on someone for having a certain accent.  

The dream reminds me though of how friendships can be complicated. It seems often one person has stronger feelings than the other. I have friends in which I feel I love them much more than they love me.   I have other friends that seem to love me more than I love them. The latter makes me feel worse for some I'm insufficient.   I wonder if it's the same for most people.   The other is probably easier.  If I really need to feel equally loved, I can be delusional. Oh, she totally loves me.  I'm very important to her.  She's just....uh....very busy. 

13. Liked this part from Year of Wonders.

For hundreds of years, the people of this village pushed Nature back from its precincts.  It has taken less than a year to begin to reclaim its place.  In the very middle of the street, a walnut shell lies broken, and from it, already, sprouts a sapling that wants to grow up to block our entire way.  I have watched it from its first seed, wondering when someone would pull it out.

I like the idea of a tree growing on its own, without any human intervention. 

I think agriculture is a great thing.  I'm proud of humans for their accomplishments when it comes to farming and gardening. But I have a soft spot for plants that grow on their own.

I prefer wildflowers to rose gardens.  

14. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to be reading the continuation of Tomorrow Comes Today, For All We Know.  It's the story thread between Améa du Contiaea and Zane Nedvidek.    Améa is the angry Tally student who's resistant to trust, family, and love.  Zane is the sociopathic liar.

The two students are having a chat on the Tallygarunga grounds.

There's been a lot added to the story, and we're going to be busy playing on water slides the next few days.  So....I'll probably be reading in spurts.  I'll read a little here.  I'll read a little there. And I'll try to finish reading before I post tomorrow night.

15. Read post #9 of the story thread.  Améa is very unfriendly towards Zane.   After Zane introduces himself, she refuses to give her name.  She also attacks a compliment he has given her.

Zane says, You seem to have a lot figured out, from what I can tell. Life. Love. Things most people our age cannot fully comprehend, or are blinded by the lies spewing from the adults that we call professors. You're more intelligent than most I have ever met.

Améa replies.   And upon what measure do you rate my intelligence? Compared against your own? I should think that a very self-involved manner of thinking indeed.' she replied pointedly. 'You must think highly of yourself to hold your intelligence so high over those around you. To what end do you know you are correct.    

She's very snotty towards Zane but I get her point. It annoys me when people compliment me by insulting someone else.


A) It makes me feel they're a snob
B) It often makes them sound prejudice
C) It makes me insecure—leaves me wondering if I really am better than those they criticize.

Honestly, I'm also sort of flattered. But the negative feelings outweigh the good ones.

Now I'm worrying that I use this type of praise with others....especially Jack. I hope not. If I do...I hope it's not often.

Well, I'm going to make a conscious effort NOT to do it.

16. Thought of an example of this type of compliment from my life.  When I was in college I met a man at the synagogue.  He had grown up Christian, but had recently discovered he was Jewish.  He said something to me like, You're not a JAP (Jewish American Princess) like other Jewish girls I've met.  I liked that he saw me in a positive light.  I can't deny that. But I also saw him as an anti-semitic asshole.

17. Realized I used this kind of comparative praise on Tallygarunga. When I first found them, I didn't just say they were absolutely fantastic. I went on and on about how they were fantastic compared to another certain Harry Potter role-playing site.

But maybe it's different when you're reviewing something rather than directly complimenting an individual.

There probably has to be some kind of comparisons in life. I think it's okay to say, I usually don't like crime dramas, but I like the one I'm reading now.  It's probably less okay to say, You're less annoying than other teenagers I've met.

18. Read posts #10-15 of the story thread.

Améa and Zane bicker some more.

Améa says, You waste time with words far too much. I've no intent to spend any time with one who talks, when he ought to do.

Zane follows Améa's advice, and takes action by kissing her. To his surprise, she accepts the kissing and doesn't slap him.

19. Read posts #16-20.   There's a lot of chemistry between those two!

It kind of sounds like a formalistic romance novel; two people not interested in love.  There's tension between them. Maybe one or both has been hurt in the past. There may be an interest in a physical-only relationship. Then they slowly realize they've fallen in love.

Will that happen with Améa and Zane?

I don't know.

20. Found my next Flickr stalking target....iTrax.  The account belongs to a guy named Jack.  He seems interesting. He's done a lot of traveling.  I'm not sure if he lives in Australia or travels to Australia often.

I'm looking at his sets.   He has a....

2000 Sydney album
2001 Melbourne album and Gold Coast album
2002 Sydney Album
2005 Perth album and Norfolk Island album
2006 Adelaide album and a Darwin album with only one photo.
2008 Tasmania album
2011 Fremantle Island.

On top of that he has albums from various places—Stockholm, Poland, America, London, etc.

He has a lot of Sorrento albums.   I'm wondering if it's a Sorrento in Australia.

Lord Wiki says the most famous Sorrento is in Italy.   But he says there are various Sorrentos around the world, including Western Australia and Victoria.

21. Checked one of the pictures in the Sorrento album. It's from the Sorrento near Perth.

Since there seems to be many Sorrento albums, I'm going to guess this is where iTrax is from.

22. Heard song from Hairspray in car. When Jack heard me mention it, he said, That's the one where John Travolta plays a woman.  

I then told Tim and Jack that John Travolta was a spokesperson for Qantas.  Tim brought up the fact that Travolta has a pilot's license. We were talking about this. Then suddenly we passed a billboard featuring John Travolta. It mentioned him being a pilot.  I'm not sure what it was trying to advertise.

23. Read some more of the Tallygarunga story.

Améa and Zane have finished their kissing. Now they're fighting.

I love this line in Améa's post. 

Monologues were never wise when you were in the heat of battle. Had Améa not learned that from her trainers, she surely should have learned it from movies and television.

24. Finished reading the story thread.  Zane and Améa fought violently.   Zane almost choked Améa to death.  This didn't make Améa hate him. Instead she gained respect for him; and now she sees him as her master.

It's a very intriguing relationship.

The writing by both role-players is amazing.

25. Started looking at iTrax's Sydney 2000 set.  

The internet is very slow here.

I'm not getting too far.

26. Played stuffed animals with Jack.  We have so much fun with that.  Jack loves it so much that he insisted we take some of the stuffed animals to the hotel with us.

One of those that I took is Australian—a koala named Wolloomooloo.

27.  Loved this photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  It shows the practicality of the bridge; people getting across by walking or driving.

I've seen many pictures of the bridge from a distance, but I don't think I've seen many pictures of people actually using it.

28. Went to bed and had lots of dreams.  One was Australia related and one was blog related.

There's a Qantas pilot going on a plane flown by a not-Qantas pilot. The Qantas pilot is trying to keep his Qantas opinions to himself about flying a plane, but he's having a hard time with it. He has a difficult time accepting that the other pilot does things differently.

At one point, I'm sitting near the Qantas pilot (but maybe not on a plane).  There's one or two people between us. I want to talk to him because I think he's cool for being Australian and a pilot.  But I don't know what to say.

In the other dream: Someone wants to use my blog to display photos of themselves wearing dresses.  They want to get opinions from people about how they look.  I say that's fine, but warn them that people don't often comment on my blog.  Then it's pointed out that people CAN'T comment on my blog.  I say that's true, but even when comments were open, I didn't get many of them.

29. Looked at more of iTrax's Sydney 2000 photos. He was there in March. It looks very stormy in the pictures.

Here's an example of a stormy-looking photo.  It's pretty cool. 

30. Liked the stormy photos, but I'm starting to crave the sun.  All the clouds are making me blue.   Maybe I have such a strong case of seasonal affective disorder that even too many stormy pictures bother me.

It could be true.

The moody lighting of the Harry Potter films bother me  I feel drained after watching them.

31. Intrigued by this photo.   I guess it's the video system on the airplane. Unlike most photos in the set, this one is dated in 2010.   There are a few others in the set like that.  I wonder if iTrax took some more recent photos of Sydney for the photo set.   Or was it a matter of Flickr not being able to correctly read the date from the camera?

Maybe for some photos, iTrax used a different camera that didn't have date/time capabilities.  Flickr might be displaying the uploading date rather than the time-taken date. 

32. Started to look at iTrax's Sorrento 2000 photo set

Here's the sun!  The photo looks like a Hawaii postcard. 

This picture looks like a painting. It's really cool. 

33. Started to look at iTrax's Melbourne 2001 album.

This guy really likes taking photos of the plane taking off.  

Here's a photo of caged dogs heading in (or out) of the cargo area. I feel bad for the dogs who have to endure a long flight.

I feel bad for their humans too.

34. Wondered if this is the Yarra River. 

Actually...maybe not.  From the next photos, it looks like the plane is going higher.    So I think the river is from iTrax's origin place. Maybe Sorrento?   

Sorrento is close to Perth; so maybe the river in the photo was the Swan River.  

35. Learned that iTrax's Melbourne album was mostly made up of airplane photos.

There's 10 Melbourne photos and 45 airplane/airport photos.

36. Wondered if iTrax has a thing for planes in the same way Andrew has a thing for trains.  

37. Started to look at iTrax's Gold Coast Coolangatta photo set. This time I'm skipping over all the airplane/airport photos.  

38. Saw that Australia has Red Lobster, the restaurant. 

Or Maybe not.

I checked the Red Lobster website.  There doesn't seem to be any Red Lobsters outside of America.   Maybe the one in Australia is a different type thing?

Oh!  Wait.  No, I got it.   I read the sign wrong. It's Red Rooster!   


39. Saw from the photos that it's Schoolies Week.

I think that police officer, who killed an Aboriginal man and wasn't punished, ended up getting a schoolies-related jobs in the Gold Coast. 

40. Consulted Lord Wiki about the incident, because I always forget the details. For example, I was thinking it happened on Swan Island.  But it didn't.  The island's called Palm Island.

The man who killed the Aboriginal man was Chris Hurley.

41. Found the article that says Chris Hurley now works in the Gold Coast.  It says, In contrast, Senior-Sergeant Hurley, who has been based on the Gold Coast after being charged and acquitted in 2007 of manslaughter over the death, has held the rank of acting inspector when filling in for senior colleagues on high profile events such as Schoolies Week.

The article talks about how other officers involved in the incident got in some type of trouble.  Meanwhile, instead of enduring punishment for what he did, Hurley got a job promotion.  

The world is very crazy sometimes.

42. Thought about how iTrax's photos are from before the Palm Island incident even happened.   They were taken in 2001. The incident didn't happen until 2004. 

43. Looked out the hotel window when Jack called out that there was a plane. We're really close to the airport here.  I half-jokingly said, Maybe we'll see Qantas. Then about five minutes Jack called out that the Qantas plane was there.   It was!   All three of us ran to the window.  I felt all emotional, but I didn't cry.  It's funny because I don't think Qantas has that many flights coming in and out of DFW.  I could be wrong though.

44. Went to the Qantas site. They say they do return flights from Dallas four times a week—Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

On their timetable page, they say the planes around this time are coming from Sydney to DFW.   The plane will depart tonight around 10.00.   Maybe we'll see it.  It might be too dark though.

45. Reminisced about our 2007 stay in Port Stephens while in the hot tub.   We spent time in the hot tub in Port Stephens. So that's why I thought of it. We also did the hot tub in Hawaii.   If I remember correctly, Jack and Tara would go in the hot tub; then decide they want to play in the pool.   I really hate that transition from hot to cold water.

We actually have a hot tub at our house; but it's been broken for several years.  

46. Thought the purple in this picture was kind of cool. I wonder what it is.  A reflection of some kind?   Lighting?

47. Liked this photo of parrots.  

48. Used this website to try to identify the parrot.

I think it's a Crimson Rosella.

It would be really neat if I taught myself how to identify all of the Australian parrots...or most of them, at least.

49. Learned from Tim that there's this popular app game called Fruit Ninja. It comes from an Australian company called Halfbrick

Tim and Jack have heard of the game. They have a version of it at the hotel's arcade. But it wasn't until a few moments ago that Tim learned it was Australian.