Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spiders, Qantas, Disney World, and Stuffed Animals

1. Learned that Qantas is doing their part to help all the disgruntled workers and passengers.

What are they doing?

They're giving the Alan Joyce, the CEO a pay raise.


Sometimes the world doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I got an email about it this morning. And here's an article

Alan Joyce made 3.8 million last year.  This year he's probably going to be making more than 5 million.


2. Read a quote from Alan Joyce about the disgruntled workers.  He says, They want to be paid to do work that no longer exists due to new generation aircraft, they want to retain outdated work practices, they want to tell us what we can and can't change in our business.

If that's true, I want to know more details.  He's so vague.  What useless work do these workers want to do?  What input are they trying to give to management?  And why are they not allowed to have a say in management?

Now if they're having really dumb ideas, I don't blame Joyce for not wanting to give them management power.  But that doesn't explain other stuff in the article.  Qantas isn't doing well.  They're struggling. Why should the CEO get a raise?

3. Learned about the scary White-tailed spider from Fruitcake's blog post.

I thought I knew about all the dangerous Australian spiders.

But I didn't know about this one.

4. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says the White-tailed spider's bite usually just cause a red mark, local swelling, and a mosquito bite.  But sometimes the symptoms can be worse.   The victim may get headaches, nausea, etc.

Maybe it depends on the person—whether or not they have an intolerance to the venom. Or maybe it depends on how much venom the spider injects.

Lord Wiki says the White-tailed spider has been wrongly accused of causing Arachnogenic necrosis. I'm not sure what that is, but Lord Wiki has a photo, and it's not pretty.

It's actually quite gross and terrifying.

4. Considered Lord Wiki's defense of the White-tailed spider.  I don't know if I'm buying it.  What I'm getting is that there's no proof that the White-tailed spider has caused these problems.  No one with this awful necrosis thing has been able to say, Here you go.  Here's the white-tailed spider that bit me. 

But that doesn't prove the White-tailed spider doesn't cause these problems. Maybe it was a hit and run type bite.

I think the only way to know for sure is to have scientists get bitten by the spider; then see what happens.

Who'd want to do that?

I bet there would be people—ones really dedicated to their job.

Maybe they've already done it before.  

5. Reread Lord Wiki's information.

He says scientists DID study 130 confirmed White-tailed spider bites. None of them resulted in necrosis.

The scientist didn't say this proves the White-tailed spiders aren't super dangerous.  He says, though, that it's unlikely that they'll cause problems.

6. Went to the website of Geoff Isbister, a researcher at the University of Newcastle.  He's the scientist defender of the White-tailed spiders. He's the one who did the study.  

Dr. Isbister's expertise is in poison and venom. He'd totally be one of the characters in one of those awesome scary-animal horror movies.

We also might want to seek his help in the case of a zombie apocalypse. 

7. Learned that Dr. Isbister did the study that led to using hot water as first aid for blue bottle stings.

8. Learned that Dr. Isbister also does studies in drug toxicity, specifically ones with antidepressants involving serotonin.    

Lord Wiki says serotonin toxicity can be dangerous, and it can be caused by numerous things. These include opiates and anti-depressants.

They can also be caused by herbal medicines such as St. John's Wort and Nutmeg.  

9. Continued to read The Dragon Man by Garry Disher.  It's good, but confusing.  There are so many characters! I can't keep them all straight.

10. Found out Disney World has wireless internet now.  But I still think I'm going to stay away from blogging a lot.   

11. Remembered there was an Australian zombie film short. I wrote about it on my blog sometime in the past.  I wanted to watch it, but I didn't know how to find it.


I did some thinking, remembering, and searching; and figured out Mia Wasikowska is in it.

I'm going to watch it now.

12. Watched trailer for a full-length Australian zombie movie. It's called Undead, and was released in 2003.

13. Read James post about Spice I Am in Sydney.  It's a Thai restaurant.

We went there too!

I didn't eat much because we had eaten lunch too late.  By the time dinner came around, I wasn't that hungry.

Tim said his food was very spicy.

James says he went to the restaurant in 2008; then went back again recently. This recent time he found the food to be less spicy.  He doesn't know why.

James says,  Maybe my tastes have changed/become more used to spicy food? Maybe it was the careful removal of some of the more obvious pieces of chilli? Or maybe they’ve toned down the spices a little since 2008, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by the spicey-ness this time, as I was briefly last time. 

I don't know....

But now I'm hungry for spicy Asian food.

14. Had travel anxiety about Disney World, and also about Australia.

I'm feeling nervous, scared, and a little bit depressed.

I'm not wanting to go to Australia.

But it's not a big deal.

I often feel this way before a holiday, and I usually end up having a great time.

I felt this way before going to Australia in 2009.

It's weird.  I was excited about going to Disney World until today. Then suddenly it became this dark cloud in my life.  I kept having a bad feeling about the outside of our hotel at night.  Then I realized I'm feeling bad about night in general.

It's ironic, because this afternoon I told someone, in an email, how we had a great time seeing London attractions at night.  I said it was eerie.

Now it's all feeling scary.

Maybe I've been watching and reading too many scary things lately.

15. Felt I might not want to go to Australia if Tim's not feeling well. He's not going to have fun.  And if he's not having fun, it's going to be hard for me to have fun.

We'll see how it goes in Disney World. If he's feeling awful, it might be an indication of how he'll feel in Australia.

We might need to wait to buy the plane tickets. Maybe we'll get a better indication of how he's feeling in December.  Hopefully the prices won't go up too much by then.

17. Had bad dreams.  I was hoping to have good bring me out of this dark funk.  No such luck.

It was a dream within a dream type dream.

I've reading this scary book about a possessed man.  Then I dream that Tim comes to my side of the bed, stands over me, yells at me, and starts hitting me.  When I wake up (not for real) I'm thinking I should get rid of the book—that it's causing the nightmares.   But I'm worried if I stop the book before finishing it, my problems will be worse. I'm wondering if I need to get to the end.   If I leave the book open-ended, it might plague me more.   

Sometimes if I watch something with a cliffhanger, I'll have tons of dreams about it. It's like my mind is trying to work out an ending....or at least a continuation.

Anyway, in that dream there was something about the Queensland Floods.  I have no idea what. I just get a strong sense of the floods. And also there's a sense of Canada, near Niagara Falls. 

Then there was another dream involving an Australian map—cutting and pasting an area of Adelaide and/or Perth.

I think there was also something about moving an Island. Maybe it was like Lost. 

18. Saw crazy Qantas news on my iGoogle.

They're grounding all the planes?

I don't have time to read it now.

And I don't know if I want to spend my holiday studying the whole thing.

Hopefully it will work out.

It's all crazy.

19. Passed the Gaylord Palms Hotel on the way to Disney World. 

One of my memories of our time at that place is watching The Others with Tim.  

It's significant to me, because Jack was a baby the year we were there.  I watched very few movies in my first year of motherhood, so seeing a movie was a memorable experience. 

20. Delighted when Jack got excited over seeing Australia on a big globe at Disney Studios. He shouted out Australia!

Then he asked me if he had overreacted.

I said you can never overreact when it comes to Australia.

21. Signed petition about the shark cull in Western Australia.  

22. Had a nice laugh when reading this article.  

There's an American college student named Alan Joyce. He's been getting a lot of angry messages on his Twitter today.

As for the Alan Joyce that's REALLY causing all the anger, I hope he comes to his senses soon.

23. Read article about how the grounding of the Qantas fleet is causing so many problems.   It's not just hurting the passengers. It's hurting all the people who depend on tourism for their livelihood.   Lots of people won't be showing up for their hotel reservations...and other stuff.

There's worry that Qantas' reputation is going to be shattered around the world.

It's sad.

I used to think Qantas was awesome.

I saw it in such a positive light.

Now, that's not really the case anymore. 

24. Noticed for the first time, that in the Australian section of It's a Small World, they have Easter Island type statues. 

What's the deal with that?

As far as I know, there's no statues that look like that in Australia.


I could be wrong. 

25. Went on the Tomorrowland Speedway ride with Jack.   I noticed that some of the cars are on the left side of the road. And like in Australia (and other places) the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.

Jack and I ended up with one of those cars.

We had fun driving together.

26. Got excited over stuffed animals based on Australian characters.

They had Geoffrey Rush's Nigel. He was cute.

There was Kanga and Roo from Winnie the Pooh.

My favorite though was Bruce the Shark.  He talked!  If you squeeze his fin, you get to hear Barry Humphries.

I wanted to buy him.  I'd take him back to the hotel and give him major cuddle. 

But in the end I decided to act responsible.  If I want to hear Barry Humphries, I can go to YouTube. 

27. Read another article about the Qantas thing.  

Alan Joyce is pretty much putting all the blame on the disgruntled workers.

I think it would be easier to take his side if he wasn't suddenly getting a raise in the midst of all of this. 

Anyway, Qantas says they'll be back in service soon.

The problem is they have a huge backlog. 

It reminds me of when you're sick and stay home from school. Then when you get back to school, you have all this make-up work, plus the work that's being assigned currently.  

It's so stressful.  

28. Reminded by Julia Gillard, in video embedded in article, that this is Melbourne Cup Weekend.

The grounding of the Qantas Fleet would be bad any week, but this makes it so much worse. 

I'm not sure what Gillard did to put the planes in the air.   I do get, though, that she didn't support what Joyce did—grounding the planes.   She said he had other options. 

29. Decided to consult Lord Wiki about the Qantas issue.

He says the workers are wanting better wages and job security.  

An entity called Fair Work Australian ordered an end to the grounding of the Qantas fleet.  

30. Looked at the Fair Work Australia website.

They're part of the government.  

I'm not sure of the whole story.  They ordered Qantas to get their asses back up in the air.   But has anything been decided about the workplace disputes?  Are the workers going to get what they want?   Are there going to be more negotiations? Are they going to continue to go on strike?

31. Skimmed over this article. They have information on what the sides of the disputes want. 

Well, they give both sides of the argument.

The various working groups want raises, job security, no outsourcing, and a few other things.    

Qantas is claiming that the workers want to be paid for jobs that are no longer needed.  There's new aircraft; and with this aircraft that type of work is not needed. 

Yeah.   I don't think people need to be paid for jobs that aren't needed.

They also claim no jobs will be lost due to the expansion to Asia.    Yeah....but jobs can be lost for "other reasons".  Then maybe they'll just SAY it's not due to the Asian expansion thing.   

Could they do that? 

I don't know....

Reading the article, I can kind of see the Qantas point of view.

Yet I don't know if they're being upfront about the whole thing.

Regardless of how much truth is in their claims, Joyce shouldn't have picked this time to get a raise.   And they shouldn't have grounded the planes.  He doesn't need to punish the whole Australian tourism industry.

Whether or not the workers deserve raises, and whether or not Qantas has a right to outsource.....

I have no idea.

I'm too tired to think about it.

I'm going to go back to my Disney Holiday.  

I need to get some sleep.    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dragon Man, Alcohol, Body Parts, and Scary Swans

1. Impressed with my copy of The Dragon Man by Garry Disher.

It's published in America by Soho Press.  Yet they kept the Australian spellings.  That's very awesome.

I wish they didn't change the spelling in American versions of Australian books.

If they didn't, I think it would help Americans become more aware of...things.

I didn't know about the spelling differences until a couple of years ago.

2. Thought about how The Dragon Man reminds me a bit of the Tasmanian thriller I read a few week ago—Dining with Devils

In the Tasmanian story, there was a lot of mention of Aussie things, as if the author didn't want us to forget the characters were in Australia. I also got the sense that the author didn't want us to forget that he knew a lot about Australia.

I felt like he was almost trying too hard, and I thought it might be because, although he had lived in Australia for awhile, he was Canadian. 

I got a sense he was trying to prove something.

My senses may have been wrong, because this book I'm reading now does the same thing. There're lots of Australian details in the prose.

Now I'm thinking maybe it's a thriller thing.  Maybe detailed setting information is appreciated by crime thriller fans.  It's detective, mystery stuff.  Everything can be seen as clues.

Details, details, details.

3. Noticed from Statcounter that my Errol Flynn post is getting more attention than usual.

I figured something was going on there.

I did some googling and saw a movie has been made about Flynn's son. It's called The Road To Freedom.

Lord Wiki reminded me that Sean Flynn was a photojournalist. He and a fellow journalist disappeared in Cambodia.  

4. Started to watch a trailer. 

5.  Went to bed and had some dreams.  In one: I'm outside with Jack and Mushu. We talk about Australia.  I tell him I'm not that excited about seeing someone, but I'm getting excited about seeing another someone.

I'm like that in real life, probably more with places than people. One day I'll be excited about seeing and/or doing something in Australia. Then another I'll be excited about something totally different.

Right now, since nothing is written in stone, this amounts to me changing our plans every few weeks. One day I should go through my blog and look at all the different Australia plans I have created since we left in 2009.

Last night I was thinking that the place in Australia I'm most attracted to right now is the Pinnacles in Western Australia.  So I was thinking, maybe we should just go there. Yes, it's expensive to get to Perth.  But if we're going all the way to Australia, it would be such a waste not to go to the place I most want to go.

Then I came to my senses. I'll probably be over the Pinnacles in a week or so, and I'm really not THAT into it in the first place.  I haven't even bothered to read much about it.  I just like how it looks, and I think it would be fun to pose by all those Pinnacle rock things.

Last year I was obsessed with Lionel Logue and felt we MUST go to Adelaide because he was born there.  Now I could hardly care less.  

6. Thought more about the dream.  I don't think it's that I didn't want to see the first person mentioned.  It was more like I was OVER being excited about them—been there, done that.  Now I've moved onto being excited about seeing this other person.  

7. Related to these lines in The Dragon Man.

No.  Frankly Christmas makes me anxious.  So many people have so much riding on it that you feel somewhat responsible for their happiness.

I don't feel that way about the winter holidays, really.  I feel it right now about Disney World. Jack is so obsessively excited. I'm afraid something will go wrong, and he'll be disappointed.

But you know...I guess that's life.

I'm still hoping though that everything works out.

8. Read Sara's blog rant about Halloween.  She doesn't like Halloween and she doesn't like that it's being celebrated in Australia.

It does seem to be picking up in popularity over there. The Docklands are having that huge Halloween event.  Sara says they now have Halloween stuff at Woolworths.

I'm fine with people not liking Halloween because they don't like Halloween.

I'm not sure how I feel about not liking Halloween simply because it previously wasn't a big thing in Australia.  Times change. People pick up things from other cultures.

Then again, it's the whole thing about American culture being so dominant in Australia. I know that annoys people.  It annoys me too sometimes, but only for the fact that I feel Australian things get ignored.   It's like Tallygarunga, and how I wish more Australian celebrities were featured as face claims.  It's not that I don't adore American celebrities. I just feel there're so many fantastic Aussie celebrities, and they should be utilized.  

Back to Halloween.  The Australian resistance to celebrating it reminds me of the Jewish resistance to Christmas.  That's not our holiday! We have Chanukah!  

Sara says, This is Australia, goddamn it! There's a Melbourne Cup to be getting excited about, not some stupid thing with bloody pumpkins. 

For Australians who are not into sports, Halloween might be a good alternative. For those into horse racing, I doubt they're going to ignore the races so they can carve bloody pumpkins.

Some people might not care about Halloween or the Melbourne Cup.   They can just go about their regular business.

9. Remembered a time where I was one of those Jews who hated Christmas. I hated that it was everywhere.  I hated that it was so dominant in society.

But now I've come to realize I can look at the lights on a Christmas tree.   I can eat a slice of fruitcake.  I can listen to Christmas music.  I can enjoy all that, and  doing so isn't going to make me become Christian all of a sudden. It's just like enjoying bits of Halloween isn't going to turn an Australian into an American.  

10. Thought about the 5 Love Languages Theory.  This is the idea that there're five types of love and each of us prefer one (or some) over the other.

The languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

I like the theory, except that I don't really fit into any of the categories.

I think there's a sixth language. It's the feeling that someone really knows and understands you.

People can give me hugs, buy me gifts, make me brunch, take me out to lunch, and say they love me.   I'll appreciate it.  But what makes me feel really loved is when people read my blog. It makes me feel noticed. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel less invisible.

And I often feel invisible.

Maybe it's not just about being known and understood.  It's about feeling appreciated. Words of affirmation could come under that category,  Maybe.    It depends what is said, really.  Someone saying something like, I love you or I'm glad you're in my life is probably going to mean less to me than someone emailing me and saying, Hey, I saw this article about Australia and thought of you; or I liked what you wrote on your blog today.  

11. Read article about the Qantas strike.  It's supposed to effect over 10,000 passengers. I feel bad for them.  I feel annoyed at the workers for striking. They're punishing the passengers who wanted a holiday; or maybe they needed to get somewhere. It's not fair that they're dragged into the battle.

On the other hand....

Maybe the Qantas workers have good reason to be angry at management.   And maybe there's not an alternative, affective method of getting their message across.

It would be nice if there was a way they could punish management (in a nonviolent safe way); but not also punish the passengers.

But in business, my guess is the best way to punish management is to punish the passengers—make them think twice about flying Qantas.  

12. Read article about weight issues.

A guy from the University of Melbourne named Joseph Proietto did a study where they had overweight people go on a very calorie-restrictive diet for 10 weeks. They wanted to look into maintaining weight loss.

The people in the study lost an average of thirty pounds.  Within a year the average gained back was about twelve pounds. 

I guess the good news is they still weighed less than they did when they first started.  But it's only been a year.  Who knows what will happen to them in the next year.

I have my suspicions.  

After I went on my calorie-restrictive diet, the weight came back on...a little here; then a little more later.  And soon I weighed MORE than I weighed before I started.

The article says scientists checked the blood levels of those in the post-diet stage. Their hormones were all messed up.  These hormones have made the post-dieters hungrier than usual, and it made it harder for them burn calories.

Another scientist from Louisiana says the key message of the study is, it's better not to gain weight than to try to lose it.  

Yeah.  I'm having a hell of a time losing my weight.  I'd probably be better off just trying not to gain.   I'm about 135/136 pounds now.  It's not great.   I'm right on the cusp of being overweight.  I'm not happy with how I look in photos.  But it's okay, I guess.

I'd LOVE to get down to 122 lbs, and I'd be happy to get down to 128 pounds.  But maybe that will never happen.  I DO think my hormones are out of whack.  I'm definitely not able to lose weight in the way that I could before I went on a crazy intense diet/exercise program.  

I should probably just eat reasonably, exercise a lot, learn to be less vain, and appreciate my body for what it is.

Yeah.  That's what I say.  Secretly, I'm missing the days when I weighed 99 lbs.

Well, I guess it's not that secret....since I just wrote it.    

13. Reminded myself that when I weighed less than a hundred pounds I had tiny boobs.   

14. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Mr. Ivan S. Valentin.

So far ,the story consists of a letter written to Ivan from a musician named Siegfried Dracov.

The letter was written on October 30.

15. Started to read.

Siegfried is basically offering his services—asking Ivan for a job.

Ivan teaches music, but only works at night because he's a vampire.  Siegfried suggests he could help out by teaching some classes during the day.

It sounds like a good idea to me. Hopefully it will work out.

16. Started to watch video of Jeremy Irons that Siegfried's role-player embedded in his post.

Irons is Siegfried's face claim.

I love Jeremy Iron's voice; although now I can't hear him without picturing Scar.

In the video, Irons gives his views on raising children.  He suggests being stern and scary with them, and gives an example of how he believes one should talk to a one-year-old.

I can't tell if he's joking, or not.

17. Decided Irons is probably half joking and half serious.

If he's completely serious, I'm not sure I could have that much respect for him.  

18. Started to read the biography of Siegfried Drakov.

He's pretty old...seventy-five. Is that Jeremy Iron's age?

19. Looked at Jeremy Irons on IMDb.  He's not seventy-five.  He's Sixty-three.

So....I guess using Irons as a face claim would be a good way to indicate that Siegfried Drakov looks young for his age.

20.  Learned that Siegfried was born in Russia.

His Patronus is a lion.   Like Scar!  

21. Learned that Siegfried credits his pureblood wizard status for letting him look younger than he is.

22. Learned that Siegfried drinks a lot, and he's not very nice when he drinks.

23. Learned that Siegfried has a strong fear of swans—maybe even a phobia?  That's intriguing.

24.  Started to read Siegfried's history.

He's one of those kids who was pushed to live out their parent's dream. In this case, it was music.   I'm not sure yet if Siegfried was okay with this or not.

I mean if a parent pushes their child down a particular career path and it happens that the child LIKES that career path, I can't imagine any harm would be done.

Well, of course it would depend on how much pushing is done.  If the parents are strict and fanatical about it, the child probably will stop liking that career path.

25. Learned that Siegfried's family had to escape war stuff during World War II.

26. Learned that Siegfried went to Durmstrang, the school that Viktor Krum went to.

27. Saw something that might be important to Sigfried's letter-to-Ivan storyline.

Sigfried had a relationship to someone named Yelena Valentin.

Ivan's last name is Valentin.



No, I'm joking.

I don't think it's a coincidence.

28. Continued to read.

This is getting good.

Siegfried is the great-grandfather of little Lorelei.

In other words, he's Viktor's grandfather and Ivan's daddy.

And he's also related to a bunch of other people in Tallygarunga.  Lots of twins, really.   I think there're three sets.   Viktor has a twin. Ivan has a twin.  And there're twin girls.   I forgot their names.

Does Lorelei have a twin out there too?

I wouldn't be surprised.

29. Learned that Sigfried would get drunk and beat his two sons.  He didn't just use his hands. He used magic on them.  He used the infamous Cruciatus curse on Ivan.

After that, his wife took the kids away, and he never saw them again.  

Now it looks like he's trying to get back in Ivan's life.

Maybe on his job application letter, he should have said.  P.S  Hey, I'm sorry for the Cruciatus curse! 

30. Noticed finally that Siegfried changed his name.  He used to be Sergei.

The funny thing is I've been writing Sergei for the last few paragraphs. I didn't even notice the change.

I went back and edited though.   

31. Learned why Siegfried is afraid of swans.  It's the Patronus of his wife Yelena.  She died and the news was hard on Siegfried.

Now I guess he feels a bit haunted by her.  Well, he is, actually. He's having hallucinations of her.  In his visions, she tells him to go to their sons and apologize.

32. Went back to read stuff I missed.  Once again, I read too fast.

Yelena had lung cancer!  In the midst of her suffering, Siegfried wanted a divorce.  He pressured his sons to come with him, and leave their mother.  When Ivan refused, that's when he did the Cruciatus curse.


Well, he sounds like a huge jerk.  But MAYBE he's a jerk that's trying to reform.

Is he doing it from his own heart, though, or just to silence the ghost that's following him?

I think there's a big difference.

33. Noticed from the Australian Dictionary of Biography that I'll be writing about a lot of people with the surname Archer.

My Aussie Archer for today is Archibald Archer.


Well....actually it's Australians of the day.  Archibald shares his entry with a bunch of other Archer people.

There's Charles, John, David, William, Thomas, and Colin.

AND it turns out they're related to the Archer guy from yesterday. I figured that out when Norway was mentioned.

Maybe now I'll learn why the family moved to Norway.

34. Confused....very confused.

I thought the Archer guys mentioned above would be the sons of the same parents as the guy I wrote about yesterday; Alister Archer. They're not.

Alister's dad and mum were James George Lewis and Louise Archer. They're the ones who lived in Norway.

My Archer guys for today were the sons of William and Julia Archer. They moved to Norway too. 

35. Saw Alister was born in 1890.   Archibald was born in 1820.

Archibald's parents had 13 kids.

In 1825, when Archibald was about five, the family moved to Norway.

So the Archer family had these Norway connections for a long time.

When I read Alister's biography yesterday, I assumed the parents had recently migrated to Norway.

36. Struggled to get everything straight in my head.

I think what happened is the family originated in Scotland.  They moved to Norway.   Then in 1834, one of the sons (David) migrated to Australia.  Later, some of his other brothers trickled in.

The Archer brothers did Grazing thing, and other stuff as well.

37. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Archer Bros.

I want to see what he has to say about them.

He says their known as being among the earliest settlers of Queensland.

He also says a lot of names in Queensland are connected to the Archer brothers.

For example....

There's a park called Tolderodden Conservation Park.  This was named after the house in Norway where Colin Archer was born.

38. Failed to find Tolderodden Conservation Park on Google Maps.   The Queensland government site says it's near the Burnett River.  The site has a snapshot of Google Maps, and the location of the park seems to be around the Bundaberg area.

39. Found Bundaberg and the Burnett River on Google Maps. There're some small parks there that aren't named by Google.   Maybe one of them is Tolderodden.  

40. Learned from Lord Wiki that there's a Mount Archer National Park.   It's near Rockhampton.

41. Found the park on Google Maps. It's BIG.  

42. Found another Flickr account to stalk. The account belongs to Terrazzo

It's another one day kind of deal. They have one Australia set.

Terrazzo went to Australia this month.  He (or she?) went to Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, and Uluru.

43. Looked at Terrazzo's seat on his Qantas flight.  For $20 he got a seat with extra leg room.  There's no seat directly in front of him.  He says the floor in front of him contains an emergency hatch for sleep crew quarters.

The crew sleeps under the plane?

I didn't know that.

Well, they don't sleep UNDER the plane.   I mean they sleep under the passenger area.


I'd like having the extra leg room.  But I'd miss having the seat in front of me.  That's where we put our stuff.   Or can you put your stuff under the seat in front of the mysterious hatch space?

When I see the word hatch, I think of Lost

44. Advised by Terrazzo to not miss the Melbourne Gaol.

He probably wasn't talking to me directly, but I'll pretend he was.

45. Learned that Terrazzo didn't feel any paranormal stuff despite the gaol's reputation for being haunted. 

We went to a haunted restaurant in Canterbury.   We didn't know it was haunted until we sat down and started looking at the menu.   I didn't feel anything....except a sort of fascination.   I think I had a desire to stay in the supposedly haunted room. There was a part of me that wanted to cling to it.  I would have expected to feel more repelled.  

Maybe it's because I like spooky things.  Well, sometimes I do. Other times I'm very scared of them. 

It probably depends on my mood.

46. Agreed with Terrazzo about this building in Federation Square being interesting.

I'm not sure if I like it, but it's definitely interesting.

47. Hoped this demon sculpture is still there when we go to Melbourne. It's part of an exhibition called Angels and Demons.  I don't know if it's temporary or not.

48. Blinded by Jack and Tim's new camera phone.

Shit.  I hope my vision comes back to normal soon.

When my eyes are closed I see three bright white light circles. When my eyes are open, I see three dark circles.

It's interesting, but annoying. 

49. Found a blog post about the exhibit.   It looks REALLY cool, and I don't usually even care about art that much.  

The blogger doesn't give the dates of the exhibit, but says it's part of the Melbourne Festival.  

50. Learned that the Melbourne Festival was from October 6-22.  

Why did I not know about that?

51. Liked this Occupy Melbourne sign.  

I've been thinking about the protests lately.

I support the agenda, though I'm still skeptical about whether it will do any good.

Either way, I commend them for sending out a message without using terrorism or rioting.  

52. Liked that Terrazzo took a photo of several Aussie beer bottles.  They look very nice. I think beer bottles are kind of attractive.  But then I think of someone like Sigfried Dracov.

Alcohol can be so fun and enjoyable for some people.  But for so many other people, it makes their lives a complete hell.  

53. Felt Uluru looked less red in this photo.   I've heard it's supposed to look like it changes colors, but it usually looks red to me when I see photos of it.  

54. Wondered if the guy in this photo is Terrazzo.  

55. Loved this view of Uluru.  

56. Thought that Jack would love this Outback Combo meal menu item.

You get emu, crocodile, kangaroo, buffalo, and and beef.

Even though I'm vegetarian, I can't help but think that's kind cool.  

57. Pressed the back button to the previous picture.  There's a food pic.  I bet it's the combo.  

The sausage things remind me of penises.  So I think I like the food better in theory than in image.  

58.  Thought this was a fabulously unique photo of the Opera House.  Terrazzo insists it's not photoshopped. I believe him.  

59. Smiled inside because my iTunes DJ started to play "I Have a Dream" from Mamma Mia.   That album was our soundtrack for our 2009 Australia trip.

I wonder if we'll have a soundtrack for our next trip.  

60. Saw that Terrazzo went to the Blue Mountains.  

61. Thought this crocodile photo might give me nightmares.  

62. Saw that the Australian dollar is WAY up.


It's now worth 1.07 American dollars.

It's up in British pounds too.  It's now worth .67 British pounds.

It's worth 6.79 Swedish Kroner and 81.43 Japanese yen.

The last time I looked at all this, the Aussie dollar was worth 78.41 yen.  It jumped quite a bit.

The Swedish bit didn't change much.

63. Looked at an email from CNN. They say US stocks are soaring.

I don't get it.

When America's economy was doing horribly, the American dollar was doing well in Australia.   Now the American economy is doing better and the American dollar is not doing well in Australia.  

I don't think I'll ever understand economics.   

64. Looked at the Australia Monopoly Board.

Today I have Pitt Street in Sydney.  

65. Saw that the start of Pitt Street is near Circular Quay.  

It ends around Ultimo.  

66. Saw that there's a Marriott Hotel on Pitt Street.  I'm guessing it's expensive. It's right near Circular Quay.  

67. Checked the prices.  It's $329 a night. I don't think that's too awful for that location, but it's not something we'd easily fit into our budget.

68. Saw that there's an opal shop on Pitt Street. The National Opal Collection.  They make it sound like a museum, but I think it's just retail.

Then again museums usually HAVE retail.

69. Read a little bit about the place.  It seems I'm wrong.  It is a museum.  

Well, I think it's a museum with the primary goal of inspiring you to buy something.  

70. Saw that there's a shopping centre on Pitt Street. It's called the Pitt Street Mall.

I wonder if we've been there.  

71. Saw that David Jones is part of the Pitt Street Mall.   So I guess we HAVE been there, because we've been in David Jones.

72.  Saw that there's a private hospital on Pitt Street called Wesley Private Hospital.  But when I googled it I got a psychiatric hospital that's not on Pitt Street.   

I'm confused.  

73. Saw that there's a strip club on Pitt Street.  It's called Pure Platinum.  

A gold membership cost $350 a year.  If you go at least once a week, that's about $7 dollars per session. I suppose that's not too bad.

I wonder if there's people who go every week.

Do lesbians go there?   Or do they go to their own clubs?  Do many lesbians like strip clubs, or is that more of a guy thing?

I'm going to stereotype here, but I think men are more into body parts than woman.  

74. Looked at a website that has a list of lesbian bars and nightclubs.   

I'm not sure if any of them are strip clubs.

One sort of sounds like one.  It's called Moist.  Yeah.  Lovely name there.  Their description says, Moist has been entertaining Sydney girls for more than 5 years now, with lots of dancing, cute girls and sexy shows.

I guess that would be a strip show. Maybe?  Although it could be the customers that dance, and they have shows that aren't strip shows.  People can be sexy without stripping. 

75. Saw that there's something on Pitt Street called The Royal United Services Institute.  

I'm getting that it's military related.

76. Looked at the RUSI's About Page.  They say their goal is to promote informed debate on, and to improve public awareness and understanding of, defence and national security.

That's interesting.

I guess it's a place to learn about war.

77. Saw that there's a cupcake shop on Pitt Street.  That got me excited because I remembered that Disney World has a new vegan cupcake shop in Downtown Disney.   It's called Babycakes.  They have one in NYC and we love it.

I think this will be Disney's first vegetarian restaurant.  

78. Looked at the cupcakes at Cupcakes on Pitt.  They're incredibly adorable. 

I'm saving some of them to my screensaver.

I love the vanilla sundae one.   There's something about cupcakes with a cherry on top.

79. Wondered if the Meriton Apartments , on Pitt Street, would be affordable to us.  

80. Looked at the prices.

They're not really affordable for us.

They have other properties though.  The ones away from the CBD might be cheaper. 

81. Saw that there's a game store on Pitt Street.  

Maybe they have Australia Monopoly!

82. Saw that they have a Spicks and Specks Game.  

And here...they do have an Australia Monopoly game.  

83. Saw that there's a vegetarian restaurant on Pitt Street.  It's called Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen

It has a lot of fake-meat in an Asian style preparation.

It might be good.

I like fake meat in small doses. 

84.  Saw that there's a hostel on Pitt Street called Maze Backpackers.  From the photograph, I get the idea it's for young beautiful drunk people.  

One day I'd like to find a hostel for middle age parents and their kids.

I guess we get the holiday parks.

85. Looked at their prices and saw that a youthful attractive person, wanting their space, can get a private room for $315 a week.  That's not bad.

I wonder if they have air-conditioning.

86. Looked at their facilities page. 

Air-conditioning is not mentioned.

They have wireless internet. Is that free, or do you have to pay?

87. Saw the Maze FAQ page.

They charge $5 for 75 minutes of internet.

I guess that's okay; but it's not great.  

88. Wondered if the Metro Hotel on Pitt Street would have good prices. 

89. Looked at their prices.  It's not too awful.  At least it comes under $200.

90. Decided to take another Australian quiz on Funtrivia.   I think this is a general one.  

92. Got the third question wrong.  It was a sports

Some guy named Rod Laver won tennis things in 1962 and 1969.

93. Learned from Lord Wiki that Laver had a stroke while being interviewed.

It's weird, because yesterday I was thinking, what if someone died while they were on TV? Like a talk show host or something like that.

Laver didn't die fortunately.  Lord Wiki said he recovered pretty well.

94.  Got question seven wrong.   It was another sports thing.

Now I've learned that a guy named John Eales was the captain of the Wallabies at one time.

I've learned it, but I'll probably forget it in three minutes.

So I probably really didn't learn it.

95. Got question eight wrong.  It turns out that Vegemite is not the health food of a nation.   That honor goes to Peter's ice-cream.

96.  Learned from Lord Wiki that Peter's Ice-cream was started by an American expatriate. That might explain why it was mistaken for a health food.  Americans tend to get confused about nutrition.  

I'm joking.

Don't worry.

But like Jeremy Irons, I might be half serious. 

97.  Watched a commercial for Peter's ice-cream.

And here's an older commercial. It has the bit about it being the health food of a nation.

98. Finished the quiz. I got a 7/10. That's the average score; so I didn't do too bad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bad Reading Skills, George, Churches, and Fantastic Ideas

1. Learned from Kevin Rudd's Twitter that he's lost his voice a bit.

2. Learned about Hiroo Onoda in Sorry.  

I also learned a bit about him from Lord Wiki.

Onado was part of the Japanese army in World War II.

He refused to surrender after the war was over, and hid in the Philippines until 1974.

A college drop out from Japan went searching for him, and found him. They became friends, and he eventually returned to Japan.

I'm not sure why he did what he did.

He seems a bit stubborn.

3. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of We'll All Be Portions For Foxes. It's the story with Jason Miller and Eudoxia Karras.

4. Learned that Jason likes sandwiches.

5. Surprised by something in Eudoxia's post.  It says that Tommy had told her he loved her. I must have missed that.

I know he tried to undermine her confidence in Jason's feelings because of his own feelings. But I didn't realize he had been honest about that.

6. Went back and read the first post in the story.

I don't know HOW I missed it before.   It's right there....very obvious.

Tommy had followed her into the kitchen and she spun around as she heard him at the door and sighed. ”Did you not hear me? I said I love you.” She looked at him her jaw set, he yelled it at her, he had hurled it at her in hopes of hurting her, in hopes of making things worse, he was using it against her. He didn’t love her. 

What's wrong with me?

Was I not reading carefully enough?  Was I distracted that day?

Maybe I did know he said he loved her, and then forgot?  I don't think that's the case, though.   I forget a lot of things, but I think I'd remember that.  

7. Learned that Eudoxia and Jason both love peanut butter.  They're like Clair on Lost!

8. Saw that my Australian of the day was Alister Archer. 

He was a cattleman.

9. Learned that Archer was born in June 1890, in Norway.

It sounds like he wasn't Norwegian, though. The Australian Dictionary of Biography says his father was a Scottish station owner in Queensland.

Maybe they were just visiting Norway when little Alister was born.

10. Saw that Archer wasn't just born in Norway. He spent his growing-up years there.

I guess his family had emigrated.

Then, when Archer was a young adult, he moved to Queensland.

He returned to Norway though around the time of the World War.   His parents were still there.

Then he went back to Australia to participate in the war.

11. Wondered why Archer's parents decided to move to Norway.

12. Found a Flickr account to stalk.

It belongs to Faustus909. 

There's actually only one Australian album, and it has only 36 photos. So it will be a one-day stalking event.

13.  Went to the website of Faustus909.  They sell some type of hangover remedy.

Their blog talks about their product now being sold in Australia and Asia. So I'm guessing that's why they took the trip.

14.  Started to look at the Australia photo set.

15. Thought this tree looks pretty cool. 

16. Liked that Faustus909 has captions on her photos.

I feel bad saying that since I rarely put captions on our photos.

I did on Ofoto, but do it less now that I've switched over to Flickr.

17.  Thought this photo was really beautiful. From the tags I see it's from Otways.  

I think I read about that on Andrew's blog.

18. Played around with Google Maps, and ended up finding an Otways Tourist Park.

It seems like they're kind out of out of the way. They list attractions, and everything seems to be over 20 minutes away.

I guess it's a good place to stay if you're wanting some seclusion.

19. Looked at their prices.  It's not bad—at least not on the surface.  It's $120 for a one bedroom cabin.   But what's kind of annoying to me is they charge $15 for an extra person and then $10 for extra linen.


I would think the extra person charge would be FOR the linen.

Why else do they charge you for the extra person?    

20.  Loved this hippo sign at the Melbourne Zoo.

I was doubting I wanted us to go to the zoo, but this sign is making me rethink that. 

21. Thought about how the hippo sign probably wouldn't be that funny to young James Henry Trotter.

22.  Looked at the Australian Monopoly Board

My street for today is George Street in Sydney.

I remember that street. It has the Passionflower ice-cream place.  The food's delicious, but we found the staff to be a bit rude there.

I think George Street is also where I visited the police station to ask about our lost camera.

23. Found George Street on Google Maps.  It starts up in The Rocks near Circular Quay. It ends in Ultimo near the Sydney University of Technology.

24. Saw that there's a lot of American fast food places near the south part of George Street.

25. Saw that there's a tattoo place on George Street. It's called Tattoo World.

They say they have a numbing spray that makes the tattoo process painless.

I never heard of that. It's interesting,

26. Saw that there's a hostel on George Street. It's called 790 On George

They pride themselves on being friendly.

27. Thought this was cool.  790 on George has electrical outlets in lockers. That way people can charge things when they're asleep or roaming about; and they don't have to worry about their stuff being stolen.

I wonder if the lockers are free.

28. Saw Chinatown around George Street.  

It's around Hay Street.

I remember being in that area.

I'm going to try to find the Paddy's Market. Isn't that around there too?

29. Saw that Paddy's Market is to the west of George Street

30. Saw that there's a Baptist church on George Street.   

It seems to be mostly for Chinese people. They have services in Mandarin and Cantonese.

Yesterday, Tim and I were impressed to see one of the Republican candidates speaking Mandarin on The Colbert Report.   I told Tim he's like Kevin Rudd.

The candidate is Jon Hunstman.  I first heard about him from HappyOrganist.

He actually sounds less awful to me than the other Republican candidates.  He has a good sense of humor, and he also seems somewhat supportive of gay rights.  

31. Saw that there's budget accommodations on George Street called The George.

If we'd be willing to share a bathroom, we'd only have to pay $101 for a night.

I don't think we're willing.

We're spoiled people.

32. Saw that their ensuite rooms are $115 dollars.

I'd definitely be willing to pay $14 extra dollars a day for a toilet. 


That room is for 2 people. The $101 dollar room was for 3.

33. Read that the common room at The George has air-conditioning.  Nothing is said about the rooms.  

They boast that they provide FREE luggage storage.

I've never been to a place where you had to pay for the storage.  Although we've never stayed at a hostel before.  Maybe in hostels you usually have to pay for the storage.  

34. Saw that World Square is on George Street.

We went there a few times.  

We ate at an Asian-bakery type place. I forgot the name...bread something.    I'm looking at the store directory.   I'm not seeing it. Maybe it went out of business. 

35. Saw that there's a Cheers bar on George Street.

Is it supposed to be like the TV show?  

36. Saw that there's an RSL club on George Street. 

Their website has messages about punting.  They say, Who Voted for a License to Punt? Then there's a link to a website called 

Who gets to decide what's Australian and what's not Australian?

37. Went to the anti-licensed punting website.   

I don't even know what punting is.

Their site says, Who voted for less freedom? 

What is this? A witch hunt?

38. Learned from Lord Wiki that punting is betting—like on horse-racing.

The website people are against Andrew Wilkie's gambling reform ideas.

I don't know much about that, but I shall read an article now.  


It's pretty much a fight between those who want their freedom and those who want to prevent people from gambling their lives away.

I honestly don't know where I stand on the issue.

It does kind of sound like a nanny state type idea—limiting people's gambling.  On the other hand, if I was in a family with a compulsive gambler, I might like that the government is preventing my family from going into poverty.

39. Consulted Lord Wiki about the issue.

He says that Wilkie's plan is to have things on betting machines that would require people to determine how much money they were willing to give up, before they started playing.  I'm guessing there'd be a limit. I'm doubting people could say, One trillion dollars!

I think the idea is fair.  The site I found via the RSL link was talking about people having to carry around a license. That seems a bit much to me.  And it would probably just lead to people using fake licenses.  

40. Looked at the website of the 3 Wise Monkeys on George Street. It's a pub.  

The building it's in is from 1886, so it's kind of historical.

They have live music there.  

On Friday they're going to have David White performing. That might be this guy.  

Yep.  This page on David White's site confirms that. 

41. Started to watch David White and a guy named Dan do a cover of U2's "With or Without You".

 David White's voice kind of reminds me of Adam Hills. I mean his talking voice, not his singing voice.

He actually hasn't started singing yet. The other guy's singing.

42. Saw that St. Andrew's Cathedral is on George Street. 

43. Started to read the church's history page

They say it's the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney.  I guess it's Catholic then.   Should the saint thing have given that away?  Do other types of churches have saints in their name? I thought they St. Georges that I saw yesterday.   I don't think that was Catholic.  

44. Continued to listen to the David White and Dan video.  It's a medley thing.  Now they're singing other stuff.

Some of the singing is a bit times.  But it's fun.

David White talks more. He totally sounds like Adam Hills to me.

45. Looked back at St. Georges website.

They're Presbyterian. 

46. Learned that St. Andrews was built in 1868.

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that St. Andrews is NOT Catholic.  It's Anglican.  I guess they have archbishops too.

48. Learned from Lord Wiki that the Catholic Bishop in Sydney is a guy named George Pell.

The Anglican Archbishop is Peter Jensen.

49. Saw from St. Andrew's website that the dean of the church (whatever that is) is Phillip Jenson.

Is that a coincidence? Or is he related to Peter?

50. Saw that one of the pastoral workers at St. Andrews is Alison Napier.

I wonder if she's related to Jessica Napier. 

51. Saw  Lord Wiki's photo of St. Andrews.  

It's beautiful.   I probably saw it when we were in Sydney.  I might have gone in it.   I went in some church.   I forgot which one, though.

52. Saw that the Sydney Town Hall is on George Street.  

People can hold functions there.

It has a big and important grand organ.   I'm betting HappyOrganist would appreciate that.  

On the Sydney Town Hall website, you can hear music samples from the organ.

53. Saw that the Queen Victoria Building is on George Street.  We've gone past it a lot, and I think we've stepped inside.  We haven't done much exploring.

I remember seeing the ABC store there. 

54. Saw that there's a shopping area on George Street called the Strand Arcade.

It sounds familiar, but I think I'm thinking of the bookstore in NYC.  

55. Saw that the Apple Store in Sydney is on George Street.

Is it new? Or was it there when we were there?

I don't remember it.  But it's not something I'd care that much about.

56.  Saw that there's a Mexican chain restaurant on George Street. It's called Guzman Y Gomez.

Their website plays awesome music.  

57. Saw that the chain is in Sydney only.  

58. Looked at their menu.   They have vegetarian options, and it looks good to me.

I'm really loving the music.

59. Looked at the website of The Russell.

It's a boutique hotel in the Rocks on George Street.

They have shared bathroom rooms and ensuite rooms.   

60. Read on this page that not all the rooms have air-conditioning.  That's very eco-friendly, but I'm not sure I can handle it.  

The rooms aren't cheap.  A room with a bathroom is $249.  But I think you're paying for location.

It's in a prime touristy area.

61. Did not see the Passionflower site when I was exploring George Street on Google Maps. So I went to their website.  

They're in Capital Square, which is somewhere on George Street. 

That MIGHT be the place I lost our camera.  That's one of my prime terms of location.  

My other suspect is the Lizard Lounge in Darling Harbour.  

62. Decided to take a D-related Australia quiz on the Funtrivia site.

It's another tough one.

I'll see how I do......

63. Got the second question wrong, and learned someone named Daddy Cool sang a song called "Eagle Rock".

64. Started to listen to "Eagle Rock".

I'm not sure I've heard the song before.

65.Learned from Lord Wiki that Ross Wilson was a singer in Daddy Cool. His wife is Pat Wilson, the one who sang "Bop Girl".

I know I've read about Ross Wilson before. I might have come across "Eagle Rock" at that time.

66. Got the third question wrong.

It turns out a company called Driza Bone Manufacturing makes clothing.

Here's their website.

They say they're authentic and rugged.

Their big thing is coats.    

67.  Got the fourth question wrong and learned that a dunnybudgie is a blow fly.  

To my credit, I know what a dunny is; and I know what a budgie is.

I knew it had something to do with outside toilets.

68.  Got the fifth question wrong, and learned that Sarah Durack was an Olympic swimmer.   Supposedly her nickname was "Fanny". 

The name Fanny wouldn't be so strange in America, but it's a bit crazy for Australia.

In Australia, fanny means vagina.

Although maybe it didn't have that meaning back then.

69. Got the sixth question wrong and learned that Dirk Hartog Island is off the coast of Western Australia.

Lord Wiki says the island is named after the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog.  He came to Western Australia in 1616. He inscribed his name on a plate and then nailed it to a tree. 

70. Confused by the seventh question.

They ask how many deserts there are in Australia.

I picked the lowest number which is 7.

The quiz says the answer is 10.  But then they list only 3 deserts.

71. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says there are 10 deserts. He names all of them.


I didn't scroll enough on the quiz.

The quiz lists the ten deserts.

72. Saw from Lord Wiki that the biggest desert in Australia is the Great Victoria Desert.

It's not in Victoria. It's in South Australia.

The smallest desert is in South Australia too.  It's called the Perdirka Desert.  

I'd like to go to an Australian desert one day.

73. Got question eight right!  It's a miracle.

I'm doing awful on this quiz.

74.  Got question nine wrong, and learned there's a tree in the Daintree Rainforest called the Idiot Tree.

75. Found an article about idiot fruit. 

The fruit from the tree is poisonous and kills cows.

On the bright side, it's an ancient tree.   So tree fans might get excited about that.  

76. Got the tenth question wrong and learned that a guy named William Dobell won the Archibald Prize three times. 

77. Looked at a William Dobell painting. It's called "Wangi Girl".

The girl has an interesting nose.

When I typed that I had a random dream memory flash.   I have that sometimes.  I'll suddenly have a flash of some dream I had months or years ago. This dream involved a daycare or preschool.  That's all I remember.

78. Got question twelve wrong, but I don't understand the answer.

It was asking if the Dingo fence was the longest in the world.

I couldn't remember if that was the longest; or if the rabbit one is the longest.

Or is there not a dingo fence?

79. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says there IS a dingo fence, and it is the longest fence in the world.

I'm not sure why I got the question wrong.  Maybe I missed the wording.

It was a true false question.  Maybe they said The dingo fence is NOT the longest in the world. Then if I said true, I'd be wrong.

80.  Got the thirteenth question wrong.  It's about the change to decimal currency

I thought it happened in the beginning of the 1970's, but the only 1970's answer they had there was 1976.

I chose that, and the quiz said I was wrong.

They said the change happened in 1966.

81. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says the quiz is right.

Crap.  I was hoping he would say they were wrong.

I wanted to be the right one.

I'm feeling dumb now.

82.  Got question 14 and 15 right.


I think the quiz was taking pity on me.

83. Got 16 and 17 right too!

84.  Got eighteen wrong.

I'll try, for now on, to remember that the river that goes through Queensland and South Australia is the Diamantina River.

85. Sad that I got the 19th question wrong.

The Dog on the Tucker Box is in Gundagai.

I knew about the dog. I just forgot where he was.

Is he mentioned in the Gundagai song?

86. Consulted Lord Wiki about the lyrics.

The dogs not mentioned.

I think there's a song about the dog though.

87. Consulted Lord Wiki.   There is a song about the dog.   It was written by Jack O'Hagan, the same guy who wrote "Along the Road to Gundagai".

88. Watched a video of the dog song.  Two guys play it on their accordions.

It's a bit shaky. Or maybe it's sped up?

It's strange.

89. Got the last question of the quiz wrong and learned some sport guy drank fifty-two beers on a plane.

I'm not sure how anyone could manage that.

90. Finished the quiz and went back to the dingo fence question.

I didn't read the fine print.

The false part was about the location of the fence. They said New South Wales and the answer is Western Australia.

I think I knew that.  I just wasn't paying good enough attention.

It's just like I didn't notice that Thomas shouted out his love for Eudoxia.

I'm not proud of myself right now.   


My score for that quiz was 7/20.   It's way below the average which is 12/20.

91. Read a  negative editorial about Australia.  It's written by David Whitley.  

It's not really that mean.

It's just explaining why Australians are preferring to go to Europe rather than Australia.

The basic idea is Europe has more diversity.  

Whitley says, It's 877km from Sydney to Melbourne, and it would be fair to say that there are no world class cities on the way. Within 300km of Prague, you can be in Berlin, Munich or Vienna. Extend it to 600km, and you've got Budapest, Venice and Krakow. Go the whole 877km, and it brings Amsterdam, Milan and Copenhagen into play.

You get more variety by going to Europe.  

The same probably goes for America.  There's less history and there's less variety.

Sometimes I'll get this idea that I want to travel more through out America.   I want to experience more in my own country.  Then I become skeptical. Is one small city going to be that much different from another? Is there going to be that much difference between a town in Alabama and a town in Louisiana?

Then I start to feel that way about Australia. There are so many towns I want to visit.  But then I ask. Will they be that much different from one another?

Are there that many differences between all the little coastal towns?

How about all the gold mining towns?   I've been looking through my new Australia travel guide.  There seems to be so many mining towns.  Are they that much different from one another?

I want to go on a LONG Australia trip when I'm 50.

I want to spend six months there.   For fun, I've already mapped out a journey.  We jump from place to place every few days.   We visit places all over Australia.

But a part of me wonders. Would it be better to go to Australia for six months and stick to only a few places.  What if we picked six places and stayed in each one for a whole month?

We could pick one big city, one coastal beach town, one mountain area, one mining town, one tropical place, and one outback town.

You know what, I'm kind of loving that idea.

It would be fantastic.

If we end up doing it, I'll have to thank David Whitley.  It's his editorial that made me think of the whole idea.  Although I don't think that was the point of his editorial.

What was his point?

I'm not sure.

I think maybe he was just explaining why things are the way they are.

I can't really blame Australians for wanting to travel outside Australia.   They get Australia all the time.   It's just like I want to travel outside America.  There's a few places I love.—like Disney World and NYC.   But if I'm going to visit small towns and cities, I'd rather do that in Australia.

92. Read Whitley's editorial again.

I probably should read EVERYTHING twice.

He says Australia shouldn't try to compete with Europe on things like history, culture, museums, art, buildings.   It should compete by talking about what Australia does better than Europe.

What does it do better?

The biggest thing I can think of is animals.

Australia has awesome animals. The birds alone are fantastic.

I'm not impressed with European animals. No offense.

The other thing is natural rock formation stuff.  Australia has a lot of cool things in that regard. I'm not sure if Europe does.

93. Amused by a comment on the editorial.

Waiter says,

It is high time we stopped telling people overseas that our food is good. It simply is not. Claiming it is good might fly with tourists from the US and UK where food is very poor... but for travellers from most of mainland Europe and most of Asia the claim is utter nonsense.

What is wrong with American food?

This is the third or fourth time I've heard from an Australian it's bad.

I like our food, thank you very much.

I also liked the food in the UK.   I didn't like it much when I first went in the 1990's, but I think it's improved since then. 

94. Finished reading Sorry

95. Started reading The Dragon Man by Garry Disher.

I don't usually choose to read that kind of thing, because it scares me.

But so far I'm liking this one. I read the prologue and it definitely caught my interest.

I'll probably get scared, though.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flights, Stalking, Jews, and Aspro

1. Looked at my old Livejournal archives.  There were two dreams that are Japan-related.

On July 20: I've talked about going to Japan with someone. Maybe Olga. I don't really want to go. But I've agreed to maybe go with her. It's the day we're supposed to go...maybe. I'm still wondering if we're planning to go. I haven't heard from her.

On July 21 I dreamed about a woman looking into the mirror.  She's kind of weird. Not mean. But not very friendly. I ask her name and she says something like "Peeka Chu". I have a feeling she's not....I guess not from my universe. Planet?

There's no indication in my journal that I connected the name with Pokemon. I'm guessing I had heard of Pikachu before. I probably knew it at least on a subconscious level. does this connect to Australia?

Less than a month later, we decided to go to Australia.   We ended up choosing to fly to Japan, and then fly to Australia from Japan.   

On the way back, we made the expensive, irresponsible, and insane decision to cancel our journey to Japan and take Qantas instead.  We did it so we could have a few more days in Australia.

I title my dreams, and the one with Japan was titled " which I decide not to go to Japan".   It was weird seeing that, because a few months later it actually happened.

2. Felt bad about canceling the flight to Japan, even though it happened almost 5 years ago. I think it was one of the worst choices we've ever made.

3. Thought to myself, don't drown in regret.  Things happen for a reason.

Then I thought.  What if we went on the flight to Japan?  What if Tim sat by someone, they started talking, and it led to Tim finding a job in Australia?

We could have moved to Australia.

We might have ruined our chances.

4. Inspired by Andrew's stalking of Swedish twin actors to watch a short video on IMDb.

Andrew knew these actors from an Australian TV show called Fat Cow Motel

Now I'm watching a movie short with them called Left/Right.  I expected it to be Swedish, for some reason, but this one's Australian too.

Some of it's interesting, but there are parts that have some overacting.

5. Finished watching the movie.

It was strange, but sort of interesting.

I'm trying to figure out the meaning.

I got the idea it was anti-left wing people. But I could be wrong.

6. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Someday Is Here. It involves some of the characters I wrote about yesterday—Viktor Black and Jezabel Blair.  They're the ones who recently were reunited with their child Lorelei.

7. Started to read.

It's another one of things where two role-players wrote the post together. It's the third I've seen in Tally.  Maybe it's becoming a trend?   Or maybe they've always had them, and it's just the first time I've seen them.


It's October 29, late at night.

Viktor and Jezabel have gone to a Halloween party.

There's talk of a Cadbury Halloween Festival. Is that based on something real?

8. Saw that there is a Cadbury sponsored Halloween event at the Docklands.

It's called the Cadbury Screme Egg Halloween Spooktacular.

It's going to have scary things, trick or treating, magic shows, rides, etc.

It sounds kind of fun.

I would have LOVED it when I was a teenager.  

9. Went back to reading the story.

Viktor has proposed to Jezabel.

He was a bit nervous...maybe a lot nervous.  Things were tense for a moment.

Jezabel said yes. So that's good.  

10. Saw that my Australian of the day was a clergyman named Mervyn Archdall

Like Alan Joyce he was born in Ireland.

11. Learned that Archdall's father was a priest. I guess religion ran in the family.

12. Learned that Archdall's family moved to England. That's where Archdall became a priest.

He became involved with an organization called the London Society For Promoting Christianity Among the Jews.

Lord Wiki says this is now called Church's Ministry Among Jewish People.

It sounds a bit like Jews for Jesus.

I strongly disliked that organization back when I was into the whole Jewish thing.

Now my feelings are relatively benign about it.

What bothered me before is.....

Well, it's hard to explain.

I'll try.

If someone becomes Christian, then why can't they just be called Christian? It doesn't mean they lose their Jewish heritage or ethnicity. 

The whole thing seemed a bit dishonest. The Jews for Jesus played along with the fact that Jews were weary of conversion techniques and Christianity.  They would use special terms in order to not scare the Jews away.

I can't remember much of them off-hand. I think one thing was that the missionaries should use the word "tree" instead of "cross".  Another was that instead of using the term "Jesus", you say "Yeshua".

Another thing, I vaguely remember, is the people in the organization would often have VERY Jewish sounding names. It seems they wanted to emphasize the idea that they were Jews— as if this would make Jews feel more comfortable in trusting them.

All in all, it's a sales pitch aimed at Jews.

If people want to believe in the sales pitch, that's their choice.

13. Went back to reading about Mervyn Archdall.  

He started a Sydney chapter of the Jewish missionary, and he continued to be a clergyman.  

The Jews liked him for the most part because he spoke up against the pogroms in Russia.  

14. Went to the website of CMJ The Church's Ministry Among Jewish People

They say their organization has been investing in the spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people since 1809.

And what is meant by spiritual rebirth? The answer is obvious because it's right there in the name of the organization.

That's one of the problems I have with SOME Christians. There's the belief that believing in Jesus is the only valid form of spirituality.

15. Wanted to roll my eyes when I read the top view of their page on Zionism, but felt fond of them when I finished reading the whole page. 

They're pro-Israel, but also supportive of Palestinians.

I like people and organizations that try to have a balanced view.

I gotta say. I'm not a fan of evangelism, but their Zionism page has won me over a bit.

I get really bothered by people who take one side over the other, especially when they're neither Jewish or Palestinian.

I think those who take the Palestinian side are usually anti-semitic, though they try to deny it. Why else would they obsessively focus on the occupation of one people, when this has happened many times and in many places?  Yes, the Palestinians have a plight; but so do (did) Native Americans, Australian Aboriginals,  African-Americans, the Basque people, the Tibetans, The Maori, the Irish, the Afghans, etc.

Oh, and the Jews themselves definitely had a plight.   

I think these people shout out in support of Palestinians, not because they particularly care about Palestinians, but it gives them an excuse to hate the Jews.  No, wait. I forgot. They don't hate the Jews.  They just hate Zionists and Israel.  Jews are fine. They just shouldn't have a Jewish country.  Yet it's okay for Christian and Muslim countries to exist.

As for the people who support Israel and not Palestinians; it's not about caring about human beings.   It's about wanting to set the stage for Jesus to return to Earth. Jews returning to Israel is part of the plot, and those damn Muslims are getting in the way.

Plus, I think these Christians don't like Muslims because it's competition for them. People are choosing Allah instead of Jesus, and that is quite intolerable.  


I like people who look at that tiny country and say, Well, it's tough on all of them. They're both done wrong.  They've both done right.  There's a lot of good people—Jewish, Muslims, and others.   Hopefully they can work it out.  

16. Played around with the Virgin Airpass.  The prices have gone up since yesterday. Or maybe I put different dates in this time.

Now I'm getting a price of $951 for all of us to fly from Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide and back to Sydney. Yesterday it was 800...something. Maybe $861?

I'm wanting to see how much it would cost to buy the tickets separately.  

Does the airpass really save you money? 

17. Tried to see how much it would cost to book two round trip flights—one from Sydney to Melbourne and the other Melbourne to Adelaide.

It would cost us $948.   We would save three dollars total.

What we WOULD save is flight time.

With the airpass we could fly from Sydney to Melbourne, Melbourne to Adelaide; then Adelaide to Sydney.  It would be three flights.

If we bought the tickets separately, we'd fly Sydney to Melbourne, Melbourne to Adelaide, Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney.  We'd have one extra flight in there.

I guess you could make it three flights by doing one way tickets; but that's usually more expensive.

18. Checked to see if it's more expensive.

It is.  It's $79 for a one way ticket.  That's the same price as a round trip ticket.

None of it really matters, though, because I've decided I don't want to jump from city to city.

If we can't drive, I'd rather just spend a couple weeks in Melbourne.  

19. Looked for a new Flickr account to stalk, and I came across the British Monarchy's Flickr account.   I'm going to look at their trip-to-Australia photos

20. Saw the Duke of Edinburgh talking to some naval officers. Is he the one that often says bigoted things that are somewhat comical?

21. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He's the guy. Prince Phillip.

He's married to Queen Elizabeth.

I can't get all these royal people straight.

I do know, though, that the Duke of Edinburgh is the son-n-law of Lionel Logue's patient.

22. Thought the queen looks lovely here.  I like her white hair. I hope my hair looks like that someday.

23. Liked the queen in this photo.  She looks like a stern yet loving grandmother....maybe like Professor McGonagall.  Although if she were Professor McGonagal, she'd be wearing black instead of lime green.

Well, maybe it's not lime green.

What is it?

Maybe pale green?

Mint green?

24. Intrigued by the fashion choices in this photo.  It has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it.

I kind of like it.

25. Thought about my Flickr stalker hobby and how I've come to realize I have preferences for certain types of accounts.

I prefer more casual accounts. These are just average people taking photos of their life in Australia or their holidays to Australia.

I have less fun looking at the people who are really into the whole photography thing. They have some common traits.

A) Each photo is usually in multiple photo sets and multiple photo groups.
B) They have a lot of views and comments on their photo.
C) They don't allow people to download their photos.

I like to download photos, so I don't like looking at these sets.   I'm not doing anything bad with the photos. I'm not selling them or exploiting them.  I just use them for my screensaver.

I like going through multiple sets, and it gets tiring seeing the same photo over and over.

Of course there's nothing wrong with these photographers. I'm not trying to criticize them. It's great they're really passionate about their hobby.

I just prefer stalking more casual people. Well, they're not necessarily casual.  But they're casual when it comes to photography. 

26. Continued to read Gail Jones' Sorry

It's really a beautiful book.

I'm loving one of the minor characters—a speech therapist.

He's described as being a doctor who doesn't act like a doctor.

Jack's doctor is like that.   She's so easygoing and down to earth.

Yes, yes.  I know I'm being bigoted against doctors.  I'll admit to that prejudice.

I see most of them as being arrogant and uncaring.

Anyway, so.... this speech therapist has an interesting method. He's trying to get a child to talk.   One of the things he does is tell his life story.  I'll tell you my life story; and then you tell me yours.

I think that's a fantastic idea.

What if psychologists did that?  What if they opened up to us before asking us to open up to them?

I would prefer that. It would make me much more comfortable.

Some people wouldn't like it, I suspect.  There're some people who love to talk about themselves, and they really do NOT want to learn about the person listening to them.

27. Got a phone call from Tim that added more fuel to my fury against medical professionals.

28. Looked at the Australian Monopoly Board.

My space for today is Go To Jail.

But I think I'm just visiting......

I'll skip ahead to Castlereagh Street.    It's part of the Green property set, and that set represents Sydney.

I remember Castlereagh Street, but I couldn't remember where it was.   Lord Wiki says David Jones is on there.  So I guess it's near Hyde Park.

I'll look on Google Maps.

29. Found Castlereagh Street.   It's a north-south street, and it's slightly west of Hyde Park.

 It's parallel to the park.

The street starts slightly north of Belmore Park.

30. Saw that there's apartment accommodations on Castlereagh. They're called Regis. 

I looked at the prices.  It's $255 for a one bedroom apartment for four nights. 

The apartment decor is very white. I'd be nervous about spilling something.

31. Saw that there's a place on Castlereagh for holding functions.   It's called the SMC Conference and Function Centre.   I think it's the type of place people hold conferences.

I thought usually people use hotels and stuff for that.

I guess this place would work better for conferences that attract mostly locals, and it would be good for conferences that last one day only.   Otherwise it seems better to book your conference at a place that has accommodations.

32. Saw there's a chain restaurant on Castlereagh. It's called Sumo Salad

Most of their stores are in Australia, but they also have a few in Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand, and
the UK.

33. Looked at their menu.

They have a lot of vegetarian stuff.  

They have 10 different vegetarian salads.  That's great!  Although if I went there, I'd have a hell of a time choosing what to order.

34. Saw that their toasties and pasta menu has no food labeled as vegetarian. There's stuff that SOUNDS vegetarian.  For example, there's pumpkin and pinenut tortellini.   Maybe they put meat juices in it?   Or maybe it's a menu mistake?

35. Figured that maybe they mean vegan instead of vegetarian.   They have blueberry muffins and they're not labeled vegetarian.   I'm doubting anyone puts meat juices in their muffins. But they DO have eggs, and maybe milk?

36.  Saw that the General Consulate of Greece is on Castlereagh.  

The man with the General Consul job is Vassileios M. Tolios.

Would he be Greek or Australian?  I don't know much about this consulate stuff.

I'm guessing he's Greek.  I think the Australian Greece-Australian liaison person would be an ambassador?

I'm talking out of my ass here.

I have no idea.

37. Consulted Lord Wiki, and it turns out I'm actually right.

At least I think I am.  I could be misunderstanding something.

But if I'm reading this right, a consul is a representative from the other country.   It's like they're there to help out other people from their home country. An ambassador is a diplomat. 

38. Saw that there's a fire station on Castlereagh.

39. Saw that there's a place on Castlereagh for people interested in learning Italian.  

40. Saw there's a Presbyterian Church on Castlereagh.  It's called St. Georges.  

And right next to that is the Church of Scientology

Although on the Scientology Australia website they say they're located in Surrey Hills on Hercules Street. 

What's up with that?

Looked at Google Maps Street View.  of Castlereagh.  

I do see the Scientology church.   I guess it could have moved since the photo was taken.   Or maybe there're two Scientology buildings?

42. Looked at the Street View of Hercules Street.  That has a Scientology Church as well.  

43. Thought of a difference between Scientology's and other religion's websites.  With other religion websites, you get information about that specific church.

For example when I go to St. George's site, I get information about St. George's Church in Sydney. I get more than just a general/global view of the Presbyterian religion.

The Australian website for Scientology is very impersonal.   It's about Scientology in general.  There's no local flavor, and as far as I can local information.

It also looks more like a corporate website than a religion institution website. 

44. Wondered if the Great Synagogue on Castlereagh is really great.

45. Looked at the synagogue's history page.  

The building has been around since 1878.  The congregation has been around since the 1820's.

46. Learned that the first Jew to die and be buried on Jewish soil was a guy named Joseph Levy.

He didn't have Jewish traditions at his funeral.

What it sounds like is, that although Jews were there from the beginning of white settlement, in Australia, it took a few decades for Judaism to arrive.

47. Learned a petition was made to Governor Darling to establish a Jewish house of worship.

The Jews were least temporarily.

48. Intrigued by this sentence on the history page.  The first minister was Rev Michael Rose, who arrived on 20 May, 1835.

Do Australians say minister when referring to Jewish clergyman?

I don't think we do in American. I strongly associate ministers with Christianity.

49. Saw that the Great Synagogue's current rabbis are listed as ministers.  

50. Looked at pictures of The Great Synagogue on Google Images.

It's quite beautiful.

I think often synagogues are ugly. Or at least they did fit with my personal taste.  

51. Saw that there's a Castlereagh Boutique Hotel.

They have high speed internet access in all their rooms.  It's $10 a day.  I guess that's not too awful.

52. Saw that there's a Chinese restaurant on Castlereagh.   It's called Palace Chinese Restaurant.  

I wonder if it's any good.

53. Tried to see the menu on the website, but there's a glitch.

54. Realized that Palace Chinese Restaurant is in a building called Piccadilly Tower.

I'm not sure what Piccadilly Tower is. I'm guessing it's an office building.

55.  Saw David Jones on the map.  It's on Castlereagh, near Market Street

56. Tired of looking at Castlereagh Street.

This Monopoly activity is fun, but exhausting.

Anyway, I'll see more of the street in person, hopefully, when we go to Sydney.  

57. Decided to take another Melbourne quiz on the Funtrivia site. It's labeled as "tough", so I'll probably do awful.

58. Got the first question wrong.

It was about the Nobel prize for medicine.

Now I've learned it once went to a Melbourne guy named Sir Frank MacFarlane Burnett.

He studied something called acquired immunological tolerance. The knowledge was helpful with organ transplants. 

59. Learned from Lord Wiki that we have Burnett to thank for the whole thing of using eggs to grow viruses for vaccines.  You know how they warn you not to take the vaccine if you're allergic to eggs?

How do egg-allergic people get vaccines?  Or do they just skip it?

60. Looked at this website about vaccines and egg allergies.   They say the only vaccines that are likely to cause a reaction are the flu and yellow fever vaccine. One of the ideas for someone who really needs the flu vaccine is to give it in small increments instead of the whole dosage at once.  

61. Got the third question wrong on the Melbourne quiz. 

I knew the answer.   I just read too quickly.   It was about Ansell.   I saw the word condom and quickly chose that; I ignored the other options—rubber gloves, protective, clothing, and "all of these".

"All of these" was the correct response.

62. Learned from the quiz that Ansell Limited no longer has it's headquarters in Australia.

They're now in New Jersey.

63.  Got the 4th question wrong, and learned that Melbourne had a walk through lion exhibit.

I guess at the zoo?

Is it still there?

The quiz says the lions are in a pit, and people walk through on high bridges.

64. Looked at the Melbourne Zoo website.

I don't even see lions on their animal list.

Maybe they don't have them anymore?  

65. Saw that lions ARE listed on the zoo map

66. Watched a video of lions fighting at the Melbourne Zoo.

I kind of thought they were just playing, but the end of the video has pictures of their injuries.

Who knows, though. Maybe they were just a bit rough in their play. 

67. Got the sixth question wrong.

I now know the Aspro was invented in Melbourne.

What is that?

I don't know.

I can't find any answers, except that it might be aspirin?

I might be able to find out more at the end of the quiz. Then I can a list of all answers, and also the questions again.  The question gave the name of the inventor, but I forgot what it said.  

68. Finished the quiz.

I got 6/10. That's the average score for people.

I'm fairly okay with that.

69. Looked at the Aspro question. 

It was invented by George Nicholas and Henry Woolf Smith in 1915.

I'll Google.....

70. Learned from this website that Aspro is a type of Asprin.

I've never heard of it.  

Maybe it's an Australian thing.

71. Googled and ended up finding a video clip about the Aspro heirs on the Australian Screen site.

Two Nicholas heirs met music siblings. I think the Nicholas heirs were siblings too?  Anyway the two siblings from one family met and married the two siblings from the other family.


I could be reading it wrong.

72. Started to watch the video.  The Nicholas heirs WERE siblings. There was Lindsay Nicholas, and his sister Nola.

The music people were Hephzibah Menuhin and his sister Yehudi Menuhin.  They were both American-Australians. They were born in San Francisco. And they were homeschooled.

Their father (Moshe Menuhin) was a Jewish anti-Zionist.

There ARE some religious Jews who are against it.  I think it's because they believe Israel should come to the Jews by the Messiah;, and not by way of government and military action.

73. Learned that the father (Moshe Menuhin) was the great great grandson of the guy who started Chabad Hasidim.  

74. Learned more about the musical Jews from Lord Wiki.

If I'm understanding things right; they just came to Australia to perform.  But then they met the Nicholas people and fell in love.

The female musician (Hephzibah Menuhin) married Lindsay and they ended up living in Victoria.   Later they got divorced.   

75. Learned a strange fact from Lord Wiki about Hephzibah's brother, Yehudi Menuhin.  A picture of him as a child is used in a psychological test called TAT.

This all gets weirder and weirder by the minute.

76. Followed Lord Wiki's link to an article about the TAT test.  And that article has a link to the picture.

77. Tried to learn more about Yehudi Menuhin from Lord Wiki.  Apparently, he's a very famous violinist.

Unlike his sister, I don't think he ever became Australian.   I'm guessing maybe, in his case, he got his wife to move with him, instead of him settling in Australia.

Their marriage, though, like the other Nicholas-Menuhin union, ended in divorce.  

78. Started to watch video of the Menuhin siblings playing music with The Sydney String Quartet.

Mr. Menuhin does a little speech. His accent is interesting.

79. Looked at this photo of the queen again.  

Don't worry.   I'm not trying to be excessive in my royalty stalking.   It's just I forgot to link to the photo, so I needed to get to the picture to get to the link.

Anyway, now I'm thinking she looks more thoughtful and confused there, rather than stern and loving. She looks like she's having very deep thoughts.  She's questioning something.

I like that look on her.