Friday, October 14, 2011

Yara-ma-yha-who, Birketts, Christmas, and John Lampard

1. Started reading a new book. It's called The Sweet Terrible Glorious Year I Truly Completely Lost It.  It's written by Lisa Shanahan.

I've read only the first page, so I can't tell if it's good or not. 

2. Saw the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary in my Victoria guidebook.

I googled to see if they were still in business.  They are. But sadly they had a horrible fire. 

Six of their koalas died.

3. Read an article about the fire. It's not known how it happened. 

It's really sad.

4. Considered Anglesea for the coastal place we'll visit in Victoria.

It's on the Great Ocean Road which is nice.  It's a bit too far from the Twelve Apostles.  But now I'm asking myself, do I really need to see it?   I've seen it a thousand times in photos.  Is it important to see it in person; or will I be just as happy seeing other cliff walk scenes?

5. Liked that the Port Campbell Holiday Park has free wireless internet in their cabins. That's great.   It's too bad Disney World can't say the same. 

We do get free internet because we're in the Disney Vacation Club.  It's one of the perks.  But it's not wireless. You have to use a cable connection; so only one of us can go on the internet at a time. It's pretty ridiculous. You'd think a company like Disney would be more high tech.  

6. Thought Summer's Rest Units Port Campbell sounded nice. And I like the prices. But the name? It reminds me of a funeral home.  

7. Read about Anglesea and Airey's Inlet on this Victoria website.

It sounds really nice.  

8. Consulted Lord Wiki about The Great Ocean Road.

He says it's not just the Twelve Apostles that's in Port Campbell National Park.  The London Arch and the Grotto are there as well. I think I've seen those in photos. I probably WOULD like to see them in real life.

Maybe we'll go to Port Campbell after all.  

9. Played around with Victoria on Google Maps.

I'm very excited about our plans.

We're actually not going very far, which is good. I prefer short car rides.

We have two days with three hours drives.  Then the other days are all around an hour or so.

10. Realized I will probably have to change all our plans, because I think something's going on the weekend we planned to go.  On one of the holiday park sites, it showed that weekend as being high season.  That was for 2011, but it was around the weekend we were going. I had a feeling the high season would be repeated in 2012, but I was hoping I was wrong.

Now I'm looking at another holiday park and they're already sold out for that weekend.

11. Saw that there's a Port Fairy Folk Festival that weekend.

The sad thing is I already knew that.  I already went through all this. I changed my all our plans.  Then I forgot about it and changed the plans back.

I'm so lost sometimes.

12. Fixed the calendar. All is well, except now we have three days of three hour driving.

But that's not a huge deal.

13. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm reading another classroom story.

It's Advanced Broom Flying

The professor of that class is the one James Young is crushing on—Sergei Zhalobov Bogaevsky.

14. Started to read.

It's the afternoon of Wednesday October 12.

Sergei is sweating. He's from Russia, and is not used to Australia's heat.

Oh!   He has a relationship with James now. It's gone beyond that nervous phone call.

It says here,  He was comfortable (apart from the heat) and feeling much better than he had been for a long time. Most of that was James. Even though Sergei was still anxious about their relationship, he couldn't deny the Australian man made him happy.

I'm so happy for them.

I love good news...even when it's fictional.

15. Decided for brevity's sake, when talking about Lisa Shanahan's book, I will refer to it by it's Australian title, My Big Birkett.  

Anyway, I'm now on chapter seven of My Big Birkett. The book's okay, but it reminds me of the fiction I wrote when I was about thirteen or fourteen.  It's very over the top.

Then again, some of the Dursley stuff in Harry Potter is over the top.

I guess it's just exaggerated characterizations.  There's a lot of prejudice, uptight, and controlling men out there, but I don't think they're often as obvious as Vernon Dursley.

Most characters in the real world are more subtle.

16. Saw that my Australian of the day is John Henry Antill.

I see no indication that he's related to the Antill I wrote about yesterday.  But I peaked ahead. The Antill I'm writing about tomorrow is the grandson of yesterday's Antill.

17. Saw that John Henry Antill was born in Sydney in 1904.

18. Learned that Antill's thing was music.

He became an apprentice in the railroad industry.

While he was doing that, he wrote operas in his spare time.

That's very cool.

His father had reservations about music as a career.  That's why Antill had pursued the railway thing.  But then he decided to be brave and go for the music thing.

That's even more cool.

What is it about parents not wanting their children to pursue their artistic dreams?

I think I'd be more understanding towards parents who didn't like the arts.  They don't like reading.   They don't watch television. They don't go to art museums.  They don't listen to music much. It makes sense that they'd have no respect for that career choice.

But what about the parents who love all that?   Why would they believe in other artists, but not their own child?   I guess they could feel their child is not talented enough.  That would be one reason, I suppose.  But if they can see talent in their child, why not encourage them?   Yes, it's a risk.  But if they're unwilling to watch their child take the risk, they shouldn't be enjoying the artistry of other talented people who have taken that risk.

It's like people who support the war in theory.  But they then declare they'd never allow their own offspring to fight.  I've actually encountered this before.

19. Learned that Antill ended up going to music school. He attended the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music which Lord Wiki says is now called the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It's located near the Royal Botanical Gardens.

We've probably walked past it.

20. Saw Lord Wiki's pictures of the building. It reminds me of the building I saw when I was depressed and walking through The Royal Botanical Gardens.  Maybe it's sort of in the gardens? Or maybe I kind of walked out of the gardens?

Or maybe there's another building that looks like that.

It kind of looks like a castle.

21. Learned that Antill worked for the ABC for awhile.

At one point he was the conductor for the Wireless Chorus. I'm guessing from the name that it was a chorus heard on the radio.

22. Found a picture on Flickr of the Wireless Chorus.

It's from October 1939, and if I'm understanding the Australian Dictionary of Australia right, Antill stopped being the conductor in July 1939.  So he's probably not in the photo.

23. Learned that Antill is best known for his ballet about Aboriginal people— Corroboree

Here's some music from that.

It kind of reminds me of the music John Williams would do for a scary scene—like Jaws type stuff. 

24. Looked at the route from Melbourne to Halls Gap.  There're a lot of places we can stop.

It's only a three hour drive.

But we'll probably want to eat, and we'll have to pee.

We can stop at Bacchus Marsh, Ballarat, Beaufort, Ballan, Ararat, or maybe somewhere else.

25. Looked at places to stop between Halls Gap and Port Campbell.

There's Lake Bolac.

I consulted Lord Wiki about that place.  He says they had a tornado in 2006. There was about 2 million dollars worth of damage.

26. Saw that we can also stop at Terang and/or Mortlake.

I'm not sure if there's much there.

Hopefully we can at least find a toilet and a small lunch.

27. Found the website of the Terang Court Cafe.

It looks pretty nice.

Maybe we'll eat there.

28. Saw that Lake Bolac doesn't seem to have much in terms of places to stop.

All I can find so far is one hotel.

29. Found a website about Lake Bolac.  They mention only one hotel too.  It seems to be the only place to eat in town.

 30. Talked to Tim about vampires, and how blood-sucking creatures are seen in so many different culture's mythologies.

I knew there's an Aboriginal-blood drinker, but I forgot the name.

I found out from this article that the Aboriginal vampire is Yara-ma-yha-who.  

Lord wiki says the Yara-ma-yha-who doesn't have fangs.  In fact, he doesn't even have teeth.   He has suckers on his hands and feet.  He uses this to extract blood from the victim. When the victim is weak enough, the Yara-ma-yha-swallows him. Then he takes a nap, and when he wakes up he regurgitates the person.

The person survives. That's good. But they're a bit shorter than before, and their skin is more red.

31. Found more information on this website.  

They say the Yara-ma-yha-who doesn't let the person go willingly.  The person has to sneak away.   If he's caught, the Yara-ma-yha repeats the process.  He swallows him again and regurgitates him again.  The victim becomes even smaller and redder. If the process is repeated enough times, the victim becomes a Yara-ma-yha-who.

It's very interesting to me that so many cultures share this idea of contagious blood-sucking behaviors.

32. Found website with pictures of the Yara-ma-yha-who.  It has artwork done by various people.

This one is pretty creepy. 

This one is adorable.   It looks like a Muppet. 

I like this guy. He's cute too.  

The person who makes the website says he doesn't consider the Yara-ma-yha-who a vampire.  He says:

The Yara-ma-yha-who may share the diet and transformative powers of many "vampiric"
monsters, but has never been described as a form of the living dead, and it feels a little cheap to
label every mythical bloodsucker a "vampire." The sucker-fingered pygmy isn't even explicitly
supernatural, but viewed more as a very weird, very special beast of the forest.

Is it cheap?

I don't really think so.

I think the main attribute of vampires is the blood-drinking, not the living dead part.

The Yara-ma-yha-who isn't a vampire in the traditional sense. But I think he's a good illustration of the fact that blood-drinking monsters play a part in many mythologies across the globe.   

33.Watched video about Yara-ma-yha-who.  It's part of a vampire documentary.

34. Watched a short animated film about the Yara-ma-yha-who.  Someone made it for their school project.

35. Went back to Half Price Books.  It used to be my favorite store in Fort Worth. Now it's Jack's favorite...or one of his favorites.  Last time we were there he discovered they have video games.

I warned him that there probably wouldn't be much new stuff, because we were just there a few days ago.  I didn't even know if I wanted to go with them. I figured they wouldn't have any new Australian stuff.

But they did! 

I got a fantastic 1983 Australia coffee book called Treasures of Australia. It was only 5 dollars.

36. Saw the book on eBay for $35, so I think I got quite a bargain.  

When we were there I saw that Eastern European books come right before Australia books.   Last time, we were there, I remembered seeing a Bulgarian travel guide, and thought maybe it had been out of place.  I thought it was a weird coincidence because I dreamed about Bulgaria and Australia.

But it turns out the book was in it's rightful place.

Although, MAYBE my dream was predicting we'd go to the bookstore and see that the Australian books would be near the Eastern European books.

What else....

Half Price books has old National Geographics.   I saw, from the spine of one issue, that they had an article about traveling through the outback on camel. I found the article and saw it was written by Robyn Davidson.   I didn't buy the magazine.   National Geographic often bores me, and I figure.... I already read her book.  

37. Liked these lines from My Big Birkett.

Mum was clearly not a true birkett chucker.

A true birkett chucker never thinks twice about whether their birkett is justified or not.  They don't worry about whether their behavior is appalling or uncalled for because their too busy focusing on the behavior of the people they think provoked them in the first place.

A birkett is an emotional fit. The person becomes extremely intense, and they also become irrational. It's not an Australian term.  It's a private joke kind of thing between the family members in the novel.


Jack once said something very profound. I wrote a blog post about it for our unschooling blog.  

He said something along the lines of, When you're in a fight, you always think you're right. But later as you review the fight, you might feel guilty.

I think that's so true.

I've had birketts in my life.  I've seen other people have them.

I don't think we ever realize we're in the the time.  If we did, we wouldn't be having the fit in the first place.  Sometimes I have this little voice saying.   Stop.  Stop.  You're being completely foolish.   Shut up!  It would be nice if I listened to that voice, but I think I usually ignore it. I think in some ways, that little voice makes me MORE angry.  I think I end up arguing with myself....trying to justify my reaction. I push myself to be more angry at the other people, so my reaction can feel valid.  

38. Felt grateful that I don't have birketts that often these days.

I think I used to have a lot of them.

Well...I think now I more often internalize my anger.

Or I write about it.

Lately when someone does something to offend me, I write it down in my private journal.  I think this helps because it prevents me from causing a scene.  But at the same time, I'm not allowing it to just fester.

Writing's good therapy.

39. Went to Mattybee73's YouTube Channel

He has videos of his father (Wayne) singing. That's really sweet. 

Here's Wayne singing a song he wrote called "Christmas Time Down Under". 

I love the picture at 1:56.   That's too cute.

40. Started to watch "Christmas Time Down Under" sung by a very young Olivia Newton John.   I looked for it because I thought I remembered a song with a similar title's to Wayne's.  I thought maybe it was the same song, and he was joking (or lying) about writing it.

But no.  It's a different song.

41. Found another "Christmas Down Under" song!

How many are out there?

42.  Read the introduction to my new Australia book.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to actually read the book; or just look at the photos.

I think I'm going to try to read it...but slowly.  Maybe I'll read a little each day.

The writing's nice. I wasn't bored by the introduction.

43. Went to my next Flickr stalking target.  The account belongs to a guy named John Lampard.   He's from Sydney, and he's a content producer.

I don't know what that is.

44. Went to John Lampard's blog

He writes about a variety of things.

His latest post is a review of a new movie called The Cup.   It's about the Melbourne Cup. John gives it 3 stars.  

45. Liked what Lampard wrote about in this post.  He talks about a study which indicated people who like sweet foods tend to be agreeable and pleasant.

I love sweets.

I'm probably not that agreeable and pleasant though.

I think have a good heart, but sometimes I can be a bit bitchy.

Maybe the bitchiness is about me also liking spicy foods.

46. Went to read more about the studies via John Lampard's link.  

It's interesting, but I don't know how much merit they have.

In one of the studies, people rated themselves on how nice they are. Then those people ended up liking sweet foods.

Could it be though that these people weren't nicer. Maybe it's just that they SEE themselves as being nicer. 

I definitely think there's some merit to self-evaluations, but they do have to be taken with a grain of salt.

47. Looked at another one of John Lampard's movie reviews.   It's for an Australian movie starring William Dafoe.  It's called The Hunter, and it's about the search for the thylacine in Tasmania.  Some people think those animals are extinct, and others think there are some still out there.

Lampard has a link to the trailer.  I'm going to watch it. actually he has a link to the movie on IMDb.  

Here's the trailer.

It looks pretty good.

48. Thought of three fairly recent Aussie movies about animals that starred American actors.

A) Rogue

B) Red Dog

C) The Hunter.

I wonder if there are any more.

49. Decided I should probably start stalking John Lampard's Flickr account.

I'm going to start with his Taste of Sydney 2010 set. 

Oh!  You know what. I totally forgot.  We went to the Taste of Sydney 2009!   It was in Hyde Park, and we had a great time with our friends there.

Here's a post about it if anyone's interested.  

50. Started reading the post so I can get all nostalgic.

What's weird is this is the post where I see the building that might have been the music school.

I'm not sure if I actually mentioned it in the post.   I'll see.....

51. Saw that I didn't mention it.   I said, I walked through the Royal Botanical Gardens. I had left early and could take my time. There was hardly anyone else there. Oh! It was so peaceful. At one point, I sat alone among rose bushes and read my book.

I think the gardens were near the castle building.

I might be wrong, though. 

52. Went back to looking at John Lampard's photos. 

I like the colors in this photo.  

53. Decided I will have to go off my no-egg diet to try this type of macaroon.   I've had the Passover type many times, but I don't think I've had this time.

I've cheated on my egg thing a few times lately.

But for the most part, I've done pretty okay.  On most days, I refrain from contributing to chicken abuse.

Have I mentioned I made cake with diet soda?   It turned out really good. You just take a cake box mix and instead of using oil and eggs, you pour in a can of soda.

I remember my friend saying though that Australians don't use mixes as much as Americans.   I'm not sure if that applies to cakes?

Tim is REALLY into cooking and does a lot of things by scratch.  He makes his own bread.  He makes his own cookies. He makes his own pizza crust.   But when it comes to cake, he usually uses a mix.

54. Felt hungry when I saw this Paella.   It's not vegetarian,  but I'm just imagining it that way.   

Tim made paella once. It turned out pretty good.

55.  Finished looking at those photos.   I enjoyed the set.   I look forward to seeing more tomorrow.  

56. Looked at the Australian Monopoly board. 

My street for today is North Terrace in Adelaide. 

Lord Wiki says the street has a ton of important buildings.

These include the Adelaide Convention Centre, the railway station I talked about yesterday, the Adelaide Casino, both an old and new Parliament House, Government House, South Australian Museum, University of Adelaide, Adelaide Botanical Gardens, etc.

It seems like the whole city is on one street.

57. Found North Terrace on Google Maps.  

The road starts at a park called Kingston Gardens.  Then it goes on to the east.

I think it ends around the Botanical Gardens, but I'm not positive. I'm having trouble understanding the map. 

58. Saw that there's accommodations on North Terrace called La Loft Apartments.  If you go to the website, a woman starts talking to you.  

59. Saw that the prices at La Loft Apartments are very reasonable.   If you stay for 7 mights, a one bedroom apartment is $120 a night.   I think that's really good.  

60. Saw that there's a place on North Terrace called Chris Jarmer@air.   It's a restaurant and bar.  They also have cooking seminars and catering. 

61. Went to the website of The Cavern.   It's another restaurant on North Terrace.  

It has live music.  

They have a Motown-themed Christmas show on December 16 and 17th.  

The 17th show is already sold out.

On December 3, they're going to have a Christmas celebration with a London theme.   

I think I might like that. 

62. Looked at The Cavern's page about having a gig at the restaurant.  

They allow bands to play there for free.  The catch is the group has plan a program with at least two other bands in the lineup.  They say the reason for this is that it shows the musicians are good at networking and working with others. 

That makes sense.

They say people from outside the state can set up a program; but at least two bands in the show must be local.   How local?  Do they need to be from Adelaide, or can they be from somewhere else in South Australia?

Another rule is that the music groups must have a website, MySpace, or Facebook listing.

I don't know the reasoning behind that, but I like it.

I tend to ignore businesses and other entities that don't have a presence on the web. Part of it might be prejudice towards those who aren't technically inclined.   It's not just about lacking knowledge.   But I picture them being the type who clings stubbornly to the good old days. I picture them being the type that's grouchy about the internet.  

I shouldn't talk, though.  I still avoid the whole texting thing.

The other thing is I don't like talking on the phone.  If a business doesn't have a website, if I want more information I have to call them.   I don't want to do that. 

It's so easy to have a website these days. And if you have internet access it's free.  You can set something up on Blogger.

I'm sure there's other free sites as well. 

63. Annoyed with myself.   I'm going on a small diet and bought protein bars.  Today I noticed they have eggs!!!   I forgot to check.

I'm going to go ahead and eat them, but I'll make sure not to buy them again.

Sorry, chickens.