Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pink, iUniverse, Gossip, and Compliments

1. Had a dream about Tallygarunga.  Their theme color is pink, and they're having some kind of party.  I'm there.  We're sitting in desks in a big circle around the room.   Someone (maybe Mousie) is making everyone their very own pink balloon animal.   

But then it changes. Instead of passing out balloon animals, someone is passing out stapled pieces of paper. When she comes to me, I make myself busy so I don't have to talk to her. I'm feeling very shy.  Then someone starts reading aloud the papers for the whole class.  For a moment I think it's my blog she's reading; and I'm horribly embarrassed. Then I realize it's a Tallygarunga newsletter and I feel very relieved.

I'm not sure what all that means.—especially the balloon animals.  Oh...no.  Wait.  I DO know where the balloon animals came from.  We watched a few scenes from Parenthood last night. We didn't see the balloon animal scene, but I guess my mind associates balloon animals with that movie.

So now I know why the balloon animals were there. Why the pink? And why did I connect it to Tallygarunga?

I also wonder about the shyness. I'm not usually that shy anymore.

As for reading my blog, I love when people read stuff I've written. But  I don't like when people read my stuff out loud—at least not when I'm there.    

2. Had another blog related dreams.  In one of them  I'm near my sister Melissa, and I'm looking at my Statcounter.  There's a picture of her on there.  The picture is there to indicate that my sister's friend is reading my blog.  Melissa sees this and questions whether my blog is very personal.  I tell her it's not.  I have a feeling Melissa is going to tell me to stop writing my blog or ask when I plan to stop.  Instead she says if she had a blog, it's likely some of my friends would read it.   

3. Saw Andrew's post about young drivers.  It was timely for me, because shortly before seeing it I was wondering what the Australian age minimum is for driver's licenses.   

I was thinking about my Harry Potter-related blog.  Alex is supposed to be turning sixteen soon.   That's the age American kids usually get their driver's license.  So, I was trying to decide—should she be a driver? or should she be like me and not want to drive?

I wanted her to be like me, but then I got the idea that she'd want to drive.

Anyway, Andrew doesn't give the minimum age in his post.  I'll have to look that up....

4. Consulted Lord Wiki.   He says the minimum age is seventeen.  So I have time to figure out whether or not Alex will be a driver.  That's good.

5. Read Fruitcake's post about pesty people.  They come to your door. They call you on the phone.   They try to sell you things. It's all spam, really.

I don't get it.  Don't most people get annoyed and say no?  Why do they keep at it?  How many people do they have to bother before they get a yes?

I love Fruitcake's line here. Why do people train their phone room staff to talk blatant shit?  Do they not understand THE most fundamental rule of selling?: "People buy things from people they like".
If you lie to me I am not going to like you. At all. Ever.

I hate getting emails that have the subject title "your blog".  I get excited because I like getting emails about my blog.   But then it ends up being spam.   Hi!  We like the content on your blog. Would you be interested in linking to our garden tool website?  

One time I get a phone call from iUniverse, the company I used to self-publish one of my novels.    They could have emailed me, but instead they called me. I listened to the message and the man on the phone asked me to call as soon as possible.

I had a bad feeling it was a bullshit thing, but there was a part of me that thought it might be something exciting.   I don't know...maybe somebody wanted to option the book for a movie? Well, I fantasized something crazy like that.

Anyway, I'm trying to remember if I called the guy back or emailed him. I think maybe I called and left a message? Then I probably asked him to email me.  

I just went through my email files and found the emails they sent.  What did they want?  They wanted to sell me advertising.  For $875, I could advertise in the New York Times.  So here they got me cautiously excited with their urgent exciting news, and it turns out they just want to sell me something. Do they really think I'm going to be in the mood for giving up all that money after they disappointed me like that? 

The other thing is they showed a picture of a sample ad. It didn't just have your one book there. It was an ad for iUniverse which featured several books. The ad was advertising books, but it was mostly advertising their services. So basically iUniverse wants their customers to pay for iUniverse's advertising costs.

6. Read the email I wrote in response to the ridiculous offer.  I said, Thank you so much for sending me the proposal. However, I am not interested. Sorry.   

I was very polite. If I had known what would happen next; I would have been less polite. Or I would have simply ignored the email.

The iUniverse representative kept persisting.  He said, I understand, But maybe you might want to consider this. I appreciate your book’s quality. You might tired of waiting not receiving enough support to make this turn successful. I was thinking that you need to create the impression, announcing this book in the key players in the book industry for $875 only.   That's not the whole email, but it gives the general idea.  

This is my response: I appreciate that you want to make this sale. I understand that. But the answer is still no. I am doubting that you appreciate my book's quality. Have you even read it? If so, can you describe your favorite parts, favorite characters, the themes of the book, etc? Doing this won't make me want to invest in the $875, but I WILL gain more respect for your solicitations. If you have not read my book, I will consider your solicitations to be spam.

I think it best that we drop this correspondence. 

After that email, the guy STILL wouldn't let it go.

He said. Well,l I think that would be the end of our conversation. But allow me to mention a few, we both know that your story is very unique and as a marketing consultant assisgned to you it truly worth to spend time with. In fact, the book has good reviews from amazon.com and it not just right to stop right there play hard to get. 

My novel, at the time, had two reviews on Amazon.com.  One reviewer was positive, and the other gave the novel very mixed reviews.  

Anyway, the last email to iUniverse said, How about this? Since iUniverse believes so strongly in my novel.... iUniverse may pay for the $875 ad. Then if and when my book starts making money, iUniverse can keep 15% of the profits. I think that would be very fair.

They didn't like my little proposal.   

7. Read Fruitcake's other post.  I like what she said about gay marriage, mainly because it's my exact opinion.

Well, I was going to quote it, but it's a long quote. I'd feel weird quoting something that long.   Although maybe I have before.  

Maybe her first line along sums it up. To be perfectly honest, I really don’t care about gay marriage except as a matter of principle. 

I personally don't value marriage that much, but if gay people want one, I think it's their right. To not let homosexual people get married is discrimination. It's also a sign to me Christianity is having too much control of the government.

It's kind of like black and white drinking fountains in America. Does it really hurt anyone if black people and white people drink from a different fountain?  What if the water is equally clean and convenient?  Should black people complain that they can't drink from my white people fountain?   If there's an Asian fountain, shouldn't Tim go over there without complaint? It's all the same damn water.  

But no. That's creepy and backwards. In practical terms, there's nothing wrong with having separate drinking fountains for each racial group.  But in terms of principle, it's totally messed up.

For me I don't fight for gay marriage because I want Tom and Jim to be able to buy a fondant covered wedding cake with two grooms on top.  I don't need Lucy and Betsy to risk their spinal cords by being help up, by drunk men, on chairs at a Jewish wedding.

To me, the legalization of gay marriage is a way of saying, We're growing up now.  We're getting smarter. We're letting go of our old prejudices and moving forward.

Marriage equality is also a way of telling children and teenagers that maybe it WILL get better.   Otherwise it's like saying.  Hey, don't worry.  It will get better.  Oh but by the way, your type of sexuality doesn't deserve the same recognition as heterosexual relationships.   

If I was gay, I think I'd feel much better knowing that I could get married...even if I didn't want to get married.

8. Got the idea that Kondoot is becoming more popular.  I've received six friend requests in the last eighteen hours—all from total strangers.  Are they real people reaching out for new online friends; or are they spammers?  I really don't know. I'm not in the mood to discriminate, so I'm just accepting all the requests for now.  

I have sixteen Kondoot friends now.  I'd feel popular except for the fact that none of these people try to talk to me.  I tried talking to a few. I thanked them for becoming my friend. They didn't respond.

It's the friendships of the 20th century. You don't need to talk to anyone. You just add people to lists.

9. Received an email with lots of photos of Qantas planes. That made me smile.

10. Thought I saw giraffes on one of the Qantas planes, but then I realized they were kangaroos.  

11. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to read a story thread called What Didn't I Say?!

It takes place in the Flinders Common room which is in Kookynie Halls

The story is happening on the day of Jack's birthday, August 20.  Although since they're in Australia, it would be the day before Jack's birthday. On the 20th, we'd still be on the 19th here.

The characters in the story are Nyssa Jones and Blake Harper.  Blake is a fifth year Flinders student, and Nyssa is a sixth year Bourke student.

12. Started reading the story.

13. Wondered what H.O.M stood for—some class.  Then I realized it was History of Magic.

It could be History of Mongolia or History of Microbiotics.  But that's doubtful.  

14. Saw Nyssa getting bombarded with questions, from other students, about her relationship with Blake.   I'm trying to remember things here. I think Blake and Nyssa are the two who had romantic moments while doing some emergency herbology together.

I should go check......

15. Found the story thread where Blake and Nyssa first kiss. It took me awhile to find it. I kept looking in the wrong places.   

Apparently, though, the two had romance in another scene—some kissing at an all star Quidditch Game.  The kids in the Flinders common room mentioned it. 

Here's the story thread that contains that scene.  I found it while looking for the herbology kissing.  

16. Liked this line from Blake; but then I realized I disagree with it. Blake didn’t know what the rumor mill was saying about the two of them, and he didn’t really care to know. No one gossips about other people’s virtues.

I do think if we divided all the positive and negative talk that happens behind people's back, more of it would be negative.  But I have heard people compliment other people behind their back.  Sometimes I wonder if the people, not directly receiving the compliments, know how much they're appreciated and admired.  It's easier to complain about someone behind their back.  I also think it might be easier to praise them behind their back as well.

It would be interesting to see the huge list of things people have said about us when we weren't around to hear it. How much would be positive?  How much would be negative? How much would be true? How much would be completely fabricated?

17. Amused because I just received an email where someone TOLD me they talked about me behind my back.  And she said they said nice things.  

I like hearing that.

I guess that's another category of compliments.  People say good things about you behind your back.  Then one of the people reports back to you.  

I did that recently for a friend.   I heard compliments about her from others.   Then later I told her that people said nice things about her.  I think it made her happy, probably. It was about something she feels she's bad at, but I think she's actually pretty good at it.  

18. Watched the second to last episode of this season's True Blood.  I think this season is absolutely fantastic.

19.  Found out my Australian of the day is Cecil Rollo Payton Andrews

He was another education person. I think he's the third education-oriented Andrews I've had.

20. Learned that Cecil was born in London in 1870.

He came to Western Australia in his early thirtiees.

He became the principal of a teacher's training college, and he made upgrades to rural education.

21. Learned that Cecil helped bring about state (public) secondary schools.  I guess before that, the only option was private school.  And a lot of kids probably dropped out of school, and dropped into the workforce.   

22. Remembered something I forgot to mention.  Later after writing the stuff about Kondoot, one of my new "friends" sent me a message.  That was nice of him. At least he tried to reach out.

23. Found a new Flickr account to stalk.  It belongs to an Aussie environmental scientist named Arthur Chapman.

Chapman works for the government.  Here's his government profile.  

24.  Had a feeling I'll be with Chapman for a long time. He has a lot of photographs that might be interesting to me.   Many of his photo sets aren't Australian.   I'm not going to look at those.  But even if I look at only the Australian stuff, it's probably going to take me a few weeks.

25. Started to look at Chapman's Australian birds set.  It's fourteen pages long. This set alone may take me a week or so to get through.  

25. Liked that Chapman has videos too. I haven't seen many people take advantage of Flickr video uploading.  Personally, I think more people should do it.

Anyway, here's Chapman's video of a turkey digging.  

And here's a video from our account.  It's Jack being serenaded with the Happy Birthday song. 

26. Liked this photo of an Australian King Parrot.   And here's another great picture of one.  

27. Thought that Arthur Chapman's Flickr account is a huge treasure chest for anyone interested in Australian wildlife.

28. Thought this bird looked interesting.  It's called a Darter.

Lord Wiki says they're the type of birds that have sexually dimorphic plumage.  These are the birds in which the males and females look totally different.   Peacocks are the example that usually come to my mind.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not sure if Chapman's Darter is a boy or girl.

I think it's a male; but I could be wrong.    

29. Thought that this Darter is probably the gender opposite of the other Darter.  I think it's the female because it's less fancy.   In sexually dimorphic birds, I think it's usually the male who's fancier.

They're fancy so they can attract a mate.  At least that's what I remember learning.

30. Saw these Magpie Geese and wondered if Australians name all black and white birds Magpie something.  

31. Thought this Richard's Pipit Bird was cute.

Who's Richard?  

32. Consulted Lord Wiki about Richard's Pipit.  He says that the bird in the photograph (Anthus novaeseelandiae) is an Australian Pipit, not a Richard's Pipit.  In the past, though, the birds were lumped together as one.  

33. Wondered if the classification changed after Chapman uploaded his photo. Or maybe he disagrees with the new classification?

It could be that he simply didn't know.

Even experts on things don't know everything about that thing.  

34. Decided to watch another Grace Sanders video.

This is her singing a song she wrote called "Summer".  

I don't know if the song works for me, but I think she has a great voice. And she's very cute.

The song is...maybe too chaotic for me?

35. Thought it was cute that Grace named her guitar Delilah.  

Here's Grace and Delilah singing another song that Grace wrote.  It's called Pretty Ballerina.

It's a beautiful song.

36. Wondered if Grace will be a big star one day.

37. Tried to figure out who Grace sounds like.  She sounds like another singer, but I can't figure out who that is.  Maybe Missy Higgins a little?  Or Sarah Blasko?   

38. Listened to Blasko's cover of Flame Trees

Maybe she sounds a little like Grace.   I'm not sure.

39. Glad to get a reminder/excuse to listen to "Flame Trees".  

I love it.