Saturday, November 19, 2011

Songs Primates, Cows, and Homeschoolers

1. Heard "The Man From Snowy River" on my iTunes DJ, and an idea came to me.

What if, in my pursuit to improve my singing, I learned Australian folk songs?

I think it would be really cool.

It will combine my singing pursuits with my learn-about-Australia pursuits.  

And if I learn the lyrics of these songs, the information in the lines may help me with the trivia quizzes.

First, though, I want to memorize all the lyrics in "I Am Australian".  It's a huge struggle for me.  I think the lyric-memorizing part of my brain isn't working well.

I'm not just working on lyrics. Today I watched videos on how to breathe properly while singing.   It's the whole diaphragm thing.   Sometimes I think I do that naturally, but not all the time. The hard part is getting myself to do it all the time.  

2. Learned from the iTunes store that Burl Ives did an Australian folk song album.

I like his cover of "Botany Bay".

It's lovely.  

3. Got the idea that women don't often sing Australian folk songs.  It seems most recordings are of men singing. 

4. Found an album with a woman singing Australian folk songs. 

Her name is Seona McDowell.

5. Found a video of a Seona McDowell singing with children.

I don't know if it's the same Seona McDowell.

This one is singing with American children.

Well, there's an American flag there, so I'm assuming the kids are American. 

6. Found Seona McDowell's website.   

I get the idea from the website's title that she's an Australian who works in America.  It's "Australia's Seona McDowell."   If she was working IN Australia, they probably wouldn't emphasize that she's Australian.

Australians are a dime a dozen in Australia.   

7. Found another female singer of Australian folk songs.

Her name is Jenny M Thomas.

Here's her MySpace page.  I don't think it has many of the Aussie songs though.  

8. Started to listen to "Botany Bay". It doesn't sound like the "Botany Bay" that I know.

Oh.... it's sounding a bit familiar.

She sings it with a very different melody.

It's kind of nice.

9. Started to watch video of Jenny M. Thomas singing "Waltzing Matilda".

Again here, she totally changes the melody.

It's different, and I don't understand the point of totally changing the melody. But I think it's still nice.

A lot of people don't like it, though. She has more dislikes on her video than likes.

10. Thought of Israel Kamakwaiwoole's cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". He changed the song A LOT, and it's  incredibly beautiful.

So maybe sometimes it does work to change a song's melody.

11. Downloaded a recording of "I Am Australian" in an Aboriginal language.

It's by a group called The Yabu Band, and the language is Wongatha.  Lord Wiki says it's a language from Western Australia.

12. Found video of The Yabu Band performing "I Am Australian"

13.  Went to bed and dreamed about live transport.  I don't know why. It's not like I've been thinking about it lately.

In the dream, Tim and I are at Costco.   I suddenly tell him never to buy meat from Australia, because of the whole live transport thing.

At another point:   We've gotten a cow.  I'm feeling guilty about that. The cow is stuck in a wall.   His back legs rest in one room.  His front legs dangle in the other room.   He looks very uncomfortable and unhappy.  He's moaning and mooing.  I feel very bad for him, and wish I could help in some way.   I consider petting him, but worry that this will make him more agitated. Plus it seems like an empty gesture.

I can't remember if I ended up petting him or not.

14. Had insomnia and thought about stuff.

I suddenly decided that blogging and other art is like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.  

We can work on a project.  We can give it our knowledge, our skills, our talent, and our time. But in order for it to really grow, the project needs our blood. 

It needs our soul.

I think good art has a deep vulnerability.  

15. Had second thoughts about learning to sing Australian folk music.  It doesn't seem like the type of thing I'd sing.   I mean I don't think I've ever had the urge to sing it.

How do I explain this?


I sing pretty compulsively.  A lot of times I'll hear a song, and then later I'll feel this NEED to sing it.   I've not really felt that way with things like "Botany Bay" "The Man From Snowy River" or "Click Go the Shears".

"Waltzing Matilda".  I might like learning that. I sing that sometimes—the few words that I know. 

16. Found more old Australian dreams.  They're from September 10, 2007.

One is....

I participate in an Australia homeschooling Yahoo board. People respond to my questions/comments. But my post about visiting Australia and meeting people is ignored. I feel rejected. I figure they must not want to meet me.

That sounds so much like something that would happen to me in real life.

The other dream is long and confusing, so I won't write it down.  The basic idea though is our upcoming Disney trip interferes with our upcoming Australia trip.   

We had a family Disney cruise planned, and we were to leave for Australia the week after getting back from the cruise.  I think that's what inspired that dream.

17. Laughed when I read this dream.  It's from September 11, 2007.

I'm with the Wiggles. Then a slightly lucid moment....or not really lucid exactly. But I decide I can do what I want...turn this into my fantasy. I decide to BE a Wiggle. There's a sense...will I be accepted? Will they play along/accept fantasy?  I think they do. I question/think about being a male. Then later go into private room with Anthony. We don't close door and start having sex. Someone else closes door. But then it's not Anthony. It's like I'm playing sex and using the orangutan stuffed animal.

Maybe I could have created a human-orangutan hybrid.  Yesterday I googled Project X to verify that it had the ending I thought I remembered.   I ended up finding a story about this chimpanzee named Oliver.  He had a unique human-like face and walked upright.  Some people believed he was a human-chimpanzee hybrid.  

I'm surprised Oliver was new to me. I had a time in the 1990's where I became obsessed with great apes.   That's how I ended up with an orangutan stuffed animal. It IS big. It probably could be used as a sex doll.   I've never used it that way.

Except in that one dream.

I read a few books about apes during my obsession.  I don't remember hearing about Oliver.

I guess I didn't read enough.  

18. Found yet another old Australian dream.  This one's from September 12, 2007.  I wrote that I had mixed up Australia and San Francisco.  That was another trip we did in 2007.   It was a busy traveling year.   About two months before going on the Disney Cruise and then Australia, we spent a week in San Francisco.

Anyway, in the dream: We're in a cab....I think my mom, Tim, me, and Jack. I realize my mom or Tim has left the cab and I panic. I have no idea where our hotel is.   I'm thinking maybe the cab driver already knows, but I'm doubting it.     I'm thinking don't worry...Tim or Mom is still in the car. But they're not.

Then I remember the Cliff Hotel. I say it. But the cab driver is mean and won't take us there. He wants to drop us off in a seedy looking neighborhood....Small houses with pastel colors. I try to scare him. I use a devil voice.

That doesn't work.
I call for help to people in houses. I think I try to use an Australian accent. No one listens. I use an American accent and people do listen

I'm not sure what that means.  Maybe it was telling me I'm going to have to stay American. I had been hoping to become Australian. 

I don't know why I associated small pastel houses with seediness.

Maybe I meant the street was seedy, and it also happened to have small pastel-colored houses. 

19. Read something else in Livejournal.  I did a word association thing, trying to figure out why I had this obsession with Australia.   The word honey had popped into my head.

We did buy honey when we were in Australia. AND we bought those fantastic honey lollipops in the Blue Mountains.   I've never been able to find them anywhere else.

20. Overexcited about the mere possibility of our Australian friends maybe coming to visit us in America.

21. Saw Australia mentioned again in the American book I'm reading.  This time it was Canberra.

He's seen a man in the square in Canberra who owned a pet monkey that "drew" pictures for a nickel.  They'd been than this.  

22. Read article that says nutritionists are worried about children eating too much tomato sauce.    Parents may not be aware that it has salt and sugar.

Well, I bet the parents who are health-conscious will be aware of it. 

In a household like ours, tomato sauce is probably the least of our sins.

I personally don't think a little tomato sauce is going to cause huge amounts of harm.

Really.  There's so much parents need to worry about.   There's so much parents have to feel guilty about.  Do they really need to be worried about the few extra calories Ketchup adds to their kids diet?

23. Read about cows in the free Kindle Australia history book .

When the First Fleet came to Australia, things didn't go very well.   The convicts and officers were tired and hungry. No one really had a farming background, so they didn't get too far in the whole agriculture thing.   

Cows had been brought over from the UK.  The plan was to breed them; but that didn't work out because everyone was too hungry.  The livestock got eaten.  People were desperate.

A few cows didn't end up as food.  They escaped into the wilderness.

Years later the colony wanted to import some more cows, but it wasn't working out for them.   Then they found around sixty cows in the wilderness.  The escaped cows had multiplied.

I think that's kind of cool.  Well, the person within me who used to love steak and hamburgers thinks it's really great.

If you subtract the Aboriginal part of the story, the whole thing is really inspiring.   Things were so hopeless and awful.   Even before Australia, life was very difficult for some of these people.   Many of them were convicts sentenced to death. Then they get to Australia.  People were starving and dying.  Then things started to get better.

24. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Shopping and Gossip.  

It's very new, so there's only one post.

It comes from a character named Ignatius Blackbury.  He's new too.  He's been a member only since yesterday.

His role-player though is old. She plays the part of Reade Ainsworth, Professor Adrien, and others.

25.  Saw that the story takes place in Melbourne's CBD.   It's the afternoon of Sunday, November 20.

26. Started to read.

Ignatius doesn't get out of the house much.  His mother is worried about him having an asthma attack.  Does he have asthma, or is she a hypochondriac?   Do you still call it that if you're worried about your child's health rather than your own?

Maybe it would be hypochondriac-by-proxy?

27. Finished reading the post.   For now it's about Ignatius going on a rare outing.  He's shopping with his sister.  Apparently, she's allowed out more.   I wonder why?  Is Ignatius a favorite child?  Is his health worse than the others?

I guess I'll find out...eventually.  Or maybe soon because I'm going to read his biography next.  

28. Started to read the biography of Ignatius Blackbury.  

He's fourteen.  He's homeschooled.  He was born in Melbourne.

His face claim is Eric Saade.

Lord Wiki says Eric Saade is a Palestinian-Swedish pop singer.  I wonder if James has heard of him.  

29. Started to listen to Eric Saade sing "Popular".

30. Learned that Ignatius has a nickname.  Iggy.  Good. That's easier for me to spell.

31. Learned that Iggy is an octuplet.

He's the smallest of the eight.

32. Learned that Iggy is a bit of a metrosexual.  He likes to be fashionable.  He uses hair products and spends a lot of time on his face.

33. Learned that Iggy is an attention seeker.

Iggy is, in a word, flamboyant. He loves attention and will do almost anything to get it, including throwing huge tantrums and crying loudly if it comes to that. When he is in a good mood Iggy is fun, tending to be a bit hyperactive and bouncy and definitely chatty.

He reminds me of Cam from Modern Family.  And Cam reminds me of some ways.

34. Learned that Iggy is very affectionate.   That reminds me of Jack.

Jack is big on cuddling.  He still holds my hand in public.  I used to wonder when it would end.   Maybe it never will.   Maybe one day we'll be touring Australia together.   He'll be forty and I'll be sixty.  We'll hold hands as we walk down the street together.

That would be nice.  

35. Learned that since Iggy is homeschooled, he doesn't have friends outside his siblings.

That's not true for all homeschoolers.   Some of them are VERY social and have a lot of friends.

We're not one of those types.   Jack's best friends are his cousins.  We spend a lot of weekends with them, so he gets plenty of kid to kid time.   Now it's extended to phone calls and video chats.   They do that a LOT lately.   I feel one of my nieces is living with us.   But it's just her face on the computer screen.

It's all quite adorable. I feel like we're the futuristic animatronic characters from the Horizons Ride at Epcot.  

36. Started to read Iggy's history.

A wizard and witch got together.  They used fertility potions, and that's how they ended up with eight embryos.

Sadly, the wizard died in a car accident.  The witch was left alone and pregnant. She got together with her pregnant friend Carol.

The two of them supported each other; then fall in love.  That's very sweet.

37. Learned that Iggy is homeschooled because of his allergy problems; and he's the only child in the family that's homeschooled.

38. Learned that Iggy carries around an epi-pen because of his allergies. It's interesting that they're using Muggle medicine. Is there no wizarding remedies for allergies?

39. Saw that my Australian of the day is John Archibald.   

Is he the Archibald fountain guy?

I don't think so, but maybe.

40. Saw John Archibald was born in Scotland in December 1845.

He had his childhood. Then he became a teacher.

When he was in his late teens, he migrated to Queensland.  He wasn't a teacher there.  He had other jobs.  Eventually he became a police magistrate.  I'm not sure exactly what his career path was.

41. Saw that later John Archibald got into the flour mill business.

He became successful at the whole business thing.

42. Saw that John Archibald got into government.  He was against Federation, but liked the idea of keeping Asians out of Australia.

That's about it.

43. Started to look at Fredweng's day four in Australia Flickr set. 

It looks like he went to a zoo or animal park.  I wonder which one. Featherdale?   Wildlife Sydney?   Taronga?

44. Learned that it was Featherdale

It kind of surprises me that it's that one.

I think of Featherdale as a place you go to on the way to the Blue Mountains.  But Fredweng already returned from the Blue Mountains.   The last I saw he was spending the evening in Sydney.   So he returned, and then went back out again.

45. Thought this cockatoo looked rather thoughtful.  I wonder what he's thinking.  

46. Thought this wombat was cute.  I have an urge to pet him.   Lucky for him, I'm thousands of miles away. 

Not that I'm saying a wombat wouldn't appreciate a pat.   But he probably wouldn't appreciate it from a random stranger.  I think it would scare him.

47.  Figured these seagulls are in a fight. They look really angry.

Are they mad at each other, or mutually mad at someone else?  

48. Wondered if my cousin misses Australia at all.

49. Forgot the name of this bird, but I do remember that I like them.  They're so weird looking.  

50. Thought this was a nice kookaburra picture

51. Guessed that this was Fredweng.  

52. Learned from my free Kindle Australia history book that Matthew Flinders was wrongly imprisoned for six years.

I probably already learned that, but forgot about it.

53. Went to take another Australia quiz on Funtrivia.  This one is about things that start with the letter h.  

54. Got the sixth question wrong and learned that there's something in AFL called the Brownlow Medal.  And some guy's that have H last names are involved somehow.  

55. Learned from Lord Wiki that the medal goes to the best player of the season.

There's only one winner, so I'm not sure why there are multiple people in the quiz question.

I'm totally lost.

56. Got question #7 wrong and learned it's believed the bombing of the Hilton Hotel in 1978 was believed to be caused by an Indian group called Anada Marga.   I've read about the bombing, so maybe I already learned that.

57. Got question #8 wrong and learned there is a cartoonist named Jeff Hook.   

58. Went to Jeff Hook's website.  He's also known as Geoff Hook. I guess he's open-minded about both spellings?

59.  Saw that Jeff Hook also does paintings.

I like this one of St. Kilda's Pier   

60. Got question #9 wrong and learned there are some Harvey things in Australia.

There's a Harvey town and Harvey river in Western Australia.  

There's an actor named Frank Harvey and a cricket player named Neil Harvey. 

Most importantly. My Australian friend has a nephew named Harvey. 

61. Learned from Lord Wiki that Frank Harvey was also a screenwriter and playwright.

62. Got question # 12 wrong and learned an actress named Wendy Hughes won an acting award for her part in Careful He Might Hear You.  

63. Watched the trailer for Careful He Might Hear You.   I kind of remember hearing about the movie when I was young.

I don't know what it's about, and I can't really tell from the trailer.    It seems like a custody thing.

I'll ask Lord Wiki.

64. Learned the movie is about an orphaned child.  His two aunts fight for custody of him.   

65. Got question #15 wrong and learned Hume is the explorer that worked with Hovell.

66. Got question #16 wrong and learned Heard Island is uninhabited.

Lord Wiki says the island is an Antarctic island.  

67. Got question #17 wrong; and learned that, in 2001, a guy named Matthew Hayden did well at cricket.

68.  Got question #18 wrong and learned that, in 2001, the song "He Don't Love You" by Human Nature was popular.

69. Watched the Human Nature video.

70. Learned from Lord Wiki that Human Nature has been performing in Las Vegas.    They have their own long-term show.  They have a two year contract for that, and perform six days a week.

Here's their website

The show is a Motown thing. 

The website really doesn't work for me.  Maybe it's too advanced for my computer. There's writing.  Then it vanishes. 

71. Got question #19 wrong and learned there was a bushranger named John Gilbert.  His nickname was Happy Jack. 

I was thinking that was the Burger King thing, but then I was reminded by Google that the Burger King thing is Hungry Jacks.

My brain isn't working well.   I'm tired.   I got less than five hours of sleep. 

That's not to say my brain works that much better when it gets a full night's sleep.

71. Finished the quiz.  I got 10/20 right. The average score is 11/20. 

72. Saw that only 28% of quiz takers knew that Heard Island has no people living on it. 

So., I'm not alone in my ignorance.  

73. Looked at Australia stuff on eBay. 

I'm looking at Australian dolls in the US.  There's an Australian Beanie Baby, and Australian themed Barbies.  

On this page, they have Ansett Australia plane models. 

I should look at this stuff more often.

It's fun.