Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lung Cancer, Candy, Constantine, and Lycopene

1. Dreamed about Melbourne.  Jack and I are waiting on a Melbourne street corner. Tim is on his way to pick us up.  He's driving.  We find ourselves waiting and waiting.  I start to think we might be stuck here for a very long time.  I also realize we may have overestimated how much we could do in one day. Waiting for Tim to get through traffic might take up much of the day.

When I woke up, I thought, this won't happen, because of course we won't drive a car in Melbourne.  We'll walk places and use public transportation.

But that's not really true.  We will rent a car on the day we leave for our driving trip. We'll probably get it in Melbourne and have to then navigate our way out of Melbourne.

We had a hard time renting a car in Sydney and getting ourselves to Port Stephens.  Our driving time took much longer than expected. 

That was the first year though.  We did much better on the second trip to Australia.   Maybe by that time Tim was better at driving on the left side. That's a good thing, because we had to drive on scary winding mountain roads.

2. Read article that says the government has come up with new graphic smoking packages to discourage smoking.  That's good.  I thought the old ones were graphic in a way that would make people want to collect them for souvenirs.  I doubted they would really deter anyone.

The article from ABC shows one picture.  It's of a premature baby.  To me, it seems that would be more effective as a deterrent.  It's not horror-movie gross. It's sad.

3. Liked that The Daily Telegraph is going to be giving out awards for best tradeperson.   

People can nominate their favorite plumbers, electricians, gardeners, carpenters, and builders. We recognize and award our favorite singers, writers, artists, sports stars, etc.  How often are tradespeople recognized for the work they do?

I'm guessing there might be industry awards, but I don't think it's often noticed by the general public.  Or maybe they've always been there, most people know about them, and I'm the one that's failed to notice. 

4. Read article that says Tourism Australia has a new plan. It sounds better than the Oprah one, at least.

They're going to have a contest for Australians. Who can come up with a great photo and slogan to promote Australia to tourists?   They're not just targeting international tourists, but also local ones.   They want to encourage Australians to travel within the country rather than leaving to go elsewhere.

Like the Oprah thing, this plan is going to cost a lot of money.   

I still like my idea better.  Use the money for a sweepstakes to give people around the world free airline tickets to Australia. Then those people can write about their trip and encourage their family and friends to go.  Plus they'll also spend money on accommodations, restaurants, tourist attractions, souvenirs, etc.  

5. Went to the contest page.   It looks fun. Well...the prizes look especially fun.  Each week they're giving away a trips to three different resorts. 

For example, one of the prizes for the first week is a trip to Capella Lodge in New South Wales.

The winner gets six return economy flights; so they can take friends and/or family. They get two nights in a Lagoon Loft and some free meals.

That's pretty nice.

6. Went to the website for the Capella Lodge. It's on Lord Howe Island. 

7. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that there're 348 residents of Lord Howe Island and they keep the number of tourists under 400.

If you don't like crowds, Lord Howe Island is probably a good place to go.

8. Saw another example of the scare tactic smoking packaging in the Sydney Morning Herald. This one has a photo of a young guy dying of lung cancer.  It's pretty sad and scary. 

How common is it, though, for a young smoker to die of lung cancer?

9. Consulted Lord Wiki about smoking and lung cancer.  He says male smokers have a 17% chance of getting lung cancer in their lifetime.  Female smokers have a 11% chance. In the nonsmoking population, it reduces to 1.3% and 1.4%.   

So smoking does greatly increase your chance of getting lung cancer.

10. Looked at this website.   It has cancer statistics by age groups.  Under age 39, the chance of getting lung cancer is around 1/3000.  From the ages of 40-59, it's 1/95 for males and 1/123 for females.

I'm not sure though whether the 1/3000 applies to the general population, nonsmokers, or smokers.

11. Looked at a website called WhyQuit.  They show photos of people who've died young from lung cancer.   One of the men is the one on the new Australian cigarette packaging.    His name was Bryan and he died when he was 34.   He left behind a wife and child. The website has a very sad photo of the two of them visiting Bryan in the hospital.  He looks horribly ill.

Bryan started smoking when he was 13.  Bryan's mother and nephew continued to smoke as Bryan was dying of lung cancer.  Despite the horror they were experiencing they couldn't manage quitting at that time.  Neither could Bryan himself.  Even with cancer, he continued smoking.  

12. Found study of lung cancer in those under the age of 40.  It was done by studying cancer files from a hospital in Houston.  

They found 1678 patients with lung cancer between the years 1971-1989.

50 of those patients were under the age of 40.  37 out of the 50 were smokers.

I guess what I can conclude is that it's rare to get lung cancer if you're young. But if you smoke, it does make it a bit less rare.

13. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Just Like A Strange Rain.

The stars of this one are Améa Du Contiaea and Artemesia Bellerose. The two witches are in the Southern Cross Tower.

14. Started to read the story.

It's the afternoon of September 18.

Améa is furious because her mother (Adele) married David.

I didn't know that happened.

I guess I missed it.

15. Went on to read Arti's post.  She's not too happy either. She spent the weekend with her abusive family and ended up with bruises.

The two girls have an encounter on the tower.  Améa is visibly upset about Arti's intrusion.   Arti is a bit more kinder.  She has a Snickers and offers half of it to Améa.

It's interesting that she had a Muggle candy.

16. Wondered about Snickers in Australia and learned, from Lord Wiki, that in 2005 there was a massive recall of Snickers and Mars Bars in New South Wales.  Someone had written a letter to the company saying he had poisoned some of the candy bars.

17. Looked at the Mars Australia website to see what Mars candy is available in Australia.   

They have Dove, Mars, Twix, Bounty, Milky Way, Maltesers, M and M's, Snickers, Skittles, and Starburst.

I knew Australia had Mars stuff, but I didn't know Snickers was Mars.   So I was surprised to see Arti eating a Snickers. I knew though that Arti's role-player is Australian.  If she was American, I would have guessed it was one of those cases where Americans assume other countries have the exact same food.

Well, and they'd be right in some cases.  You can find some American candy in Australia.   I especially remember seeing a lot of Skittles and M and M's.

18. Learned I'm wrong about Skittles. Lord Wiki says they did NOT originate in America. They originated in the UK.


So when I see Skittles in Australia, I shouldn't be thinking Look, they have American candy.  I should think,  Look they have British candy.

19. Learned from Lord Wiki that M and M's did originate in America.  A Minnesota guy named Forrest Mars invented them in 1940.  However, he modeled them after a candy he had encountered in Spain.


20. Realized it's not really surprising that Arti has a Muggle candy bar. Although she's a pureblood witch, she's not completely isolated from the Muggle World.  She has a Muggle-born boyfriend and spends time with his Muggle family.

Even before her relationship with Reade, she took part in Muggle society.  When she went to the burger joint with Reade back in July, she wasn't mystified by the menu or anything like that.   When they were out and about in the CBD, she seemed familiar and comfortable with Melbourne Muggle society.  

21. Saw that my Australian of the day is John Howard Angas.  He's the brother of the painter I wrote about yesterday, and the son of the man I wrote about the day before.

John was born in 1823. George the painter was born a year and a half earlier.  

22. Learned that John was a grazier and politician.

In 1941, his dad sent him off to South Australia to help manage the colony.

I don't think I realized this before, but Daddy Angas had financial problems around that time.  He needed his son to help fix things.

23. Learned that when Daddy Angas died, he left John the task of creating his memoirs out of papers and journals.  The Australian Dictionary of Biography says this wasn't a task that interested John, but he did it anyway.

I get the feeling that Daddy Angas was a bit demanding. It seems he got his kids to do a lot for him.   I'm not sure if he used tyranny to get what he wanted.  Were they scared not to do it?

Did he use money and power to get them to do it.  If you want to benefit from my riches someday, you better do as I tell you.  Or did they do it because they liked and respected him?  

I'm doubting his attitude was that different from most parents of the day. These days it seems less acceptable to demand your kids follow a certain path or do work for the family business.

Well...maybe that's not exactly true.  In certain parenting circles, it's not acceptable.   Other parents these days are resistant to the idea that their kids should get to choose their own path.   Some parents will use obvious control methods.  You do this or you get thrown out of the family.   Others might use more subtle manipulative tactics.  Fine.   If you want to ruin your life....who am I to stop you?   I'm just your father. You never appreciated my input. Why should I expect differently now?  

24. Read more about John and his father.

The Australian Dictionary of Australia says that Daddy Angas had a dominating personality and John would try to give him even more than what he asked for.

That makes me think of another way parents can get a lot from their children. Be hard to please.   Make the child feel they can never measure up to your standards.

I think it works, although it probably leaves the child/offspring feeling emotionally scarred.

Why do some of us work so hard to get attention and approval from the people resistant to giving it to us?   Why can't we easily shrug out shoulders and say, Who cares what they think?

25. Guessed that much of John's obedience to his father came from his being very religious. There is that whole obey-thy-parents thing in the Bible.  

26. Learned from Lord Wiki that like his brother, John had some artistic talent as well. However, he was so busy with other responsibilities, he didn't have time to pursue his art.

Did that bother him?  Was he resentful at all?  Or was he so in line with the obeying-your-parents thing, he never even questioned it?

I'm thinking he could have been perfectly content doing work for his father.  Some people are much less rebellious than others.  

27. Started to look at another Aussie YouTube person. This guy is named Constantine Ongarezos, and he calls his YouTube Channel Congarez.

His name sounds Spanish to me.

Here he's singing  a cover of "The Whole of the Moon" with a guy named Oisin McNally.

I'm not sure which guy is Oisin and which one is Constantine.

28.. Started to watch video of Constantine performing in NYC.  He's doing a song he wrote himself.   It's called "One Door".

The song sounds nice. I can't hear much of the lyrics though.  

29. Saw Constantine's MySpace page. 

He's from Melbourne.

30. Listened to Constantine's song "Wishing It Was Home". It's on his MySpace page.

31. Looked at Constantine's Facebook Page.  

He got a ukulele for his first Father's Day. That's cool.

His son was born in April, so now he's about five months old.

32. Went back to Constantine's Soundcloud page.  It has some music clips.

33. Listened to "One Door" again.   It's kind of hard for me to get a sense of a song when hearing it from a live performance.  The sound quality is often not that great.

The song sounds better here.

I like it.

34. Learned from Constantine's Facebook Page that he used to be a guitarist for a band called Modus Vivendi.  

Modus Vivendi's Facebook Page doesn't have many followers, so I'm guessing they're not very famous at this point.  Who knows what will happen in the future.  

Well, never mind.   I looked more closely and saw the band no longer exists.  They all went their own separate way in 2002.

The band was in Perth so maybe Constantine lived there before Melbourne.

35. Started looking at more plants on Arthur Chapman's Flickr set.

36. Wondered why this plant is called Inland Pigface.  

Lord Wiki doesn't have anything to say about it, but the Victorian government does.

They say the fruit and leaves were used as a food source by Aboriginal Australians.

I wonder if it's often eaten today. 

37. Saw another Pigface flower.  This one's called Coastal Pigface.

Again, it doesn't really look like a pig. 

I'm not seeing it, at least.

This education site says Coastal Pigface is also known as Bain.  

 38. Thought these Geraldton Wax flowers were interesting. I guess they could be found in Geraldton?    

That wouldn't be the only place they're found, though.   Chapman's photo was taken in Queensland.

39. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Geraldton Wax flower. He says it's native to Western Australia.

Geraldton is in Western Australia.  So it all makes sense.

40. Saw that this American flower of the month club offers Geraldton Wax flowers as one of their cut flowers. 

They say it's Australia's most famous wildflower.   Really?  I would think that's the Golden Wattle.   Or maybe the Golden Wattle doesn't count as a wildflower.

I would think it does. I thought a wildflower is any flower the grows naturally.  

41. Read more of The Distant Hours.   There's a part where a daughter offers to get her mother more coffee.  She says, I'll get you another, my shout.   I thought the whole shouting thing was an Australian thing, but the novel takes place in England.  Do people in England say it too?  

42. Googled shouting and England.  I'm finding sights only about Australia.

This Australian beer website says To shout is Australian meaning to buy something for someone. In a drinking context, it means to purchase a round of drinks (ie one for each person), often with the expectation of reciprocation.  

43. Looked at this pub etiquette site.   The customs in the UK are similar to Australia.   One person buys drinks for the whole table.    The website though don't mention the term shout or shouting.

I'm actually not sure how it's done in America. I don't drink so I'm not very knowledgeable about drinking culture.  Do people buy rounds for each other?  Does everyone buy their own drinks?

44. Found the answer to my original question when asking a new question. I tried to find information about American drinking customs.   I ended up with Lord Wiki.  He talked about shouting and says the term IS used in the UK—also New Zealand.  He says because we have a lot of British/Irish influence in America, the custom is fairly common here too.

It does seem more civilized, instead of each person going up individually to get their drinks.   Although what if there's a lot of people at the table?  I would be nervous about dropping the drinks.

45. Went back to looking at plants.

Here's some kind of native grape. The plant is called the Kangaroo Vine.

The picture is making me hungry for grapes.  Fortunately we have some in the house. They've gotten a little soft, but they're still pretty good.  

46. Consulted Lord Wiki and this other website.  Neither of them say anything about the grapes being edible. 


I've found something.

This website says they are edible. They're known for being a bush food.

47. Ate some grapes.

I think I have a grape addiction lately.

48. Went back to looking at plant photos.

49. Failed to find out whether or not the fruit from the Tooth-leaved Palm-lily is edible.   I'm not finding any sites that say it is; so for now I'm going to conclude it's not for human consumption.

50. Wondered if the fruit of the Blue Flax Lily is edible. 

This website says it is, but they suggest not eating too much of it.   Maybe it's safe only in small amounts?  

This Royal Botanical Gardens website talks about the Blue Flax Lily, and they don't warn against eating too much. 

Maybe the webmaster of the other site had a bad experience.

Really, though. Eating too much of any fruit is likely to give you a stomach ache. 

51. Decided one day we should go on some kind of bush tucker tour.  Jack would love it. He loves eating exotic foods.   I think I'd like it too.  

52. Thought this Scented Sundew looked interesting—kind of extraterrestrial.  

Lord Wiki says they're native to South Australia.

53. Learned about the fruit of Milla Milla Vine.    This website says it's good for making sauces.

It wins the fruit contest of having the most of an antioxidant called lycopene.  Isn't that an anti-cholesterol drug?  Or am I thinking of something else?

Well, I found articles (including this one) which say it's believed it may help with cholesterol control.  But I can't find anything about a drug with that name. 

54. Saw that you can buy Lycopene supplements.  

Or you can eat lots of tomatoes. That is known for having lycopene, but maybe not as much as the Millaa Millaa Vine fruit.

Lord Wiki lists other food sources. These include a fruit called Gac, tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and papaya. 

Tim told me something the other day, and Lord Wiki agrees with him. Often fruits and vegetables are healthier when eaten raw. But with tomatoes, you get higher doses of lycopene when they're processed.  In terms of lycopene, it's better to eat tomato sauce than eat a raw tomato.  

Lord Wiki doesn't mention the Millaa Millaa Vine.  Maybe he doesn't know about it yet?  

55. Found that Lord Wiki does talk about the genus that includes the Millaa Millaa vine.   It's called Elaegnus.   And here he does mention that there's rumors this genus has high amounts of lycopene.   Does it have the highest in the world or was that other website exaggerating a bit?

I don't know.