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.

Anyway...how 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 "Dreams....in 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 see....no 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 refused...at 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.