Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jon Blake, Breastfeeding, Animal Lovers, and British Children

1. Thought of a benefit to listening to Australian Radio.  Yes, I can get the same information from reading.  But one thing I can't get from reading is proper Australian pronunciations.   Listening to the radio will help me with this.  I might hear names of places. That will be good because  I often have trouble pronouncing these correctly.  I'll also find words that we also have in America, but are pronounced differently in Australia.

2. Googled Jon Blake because someone on my blog Facebook Page suggested that I learn about him.

Lord Wiki says that he, unfortunately, died recently—a few days ago.

Actually, it's worse than that.  I mean it's unfortunate that he died.   I think untimely death is always sad.  But what's even more sad is that Blake suffered severe brain damage in 1986 from a car accident.  Since then, he has been dependent on care from others.

3. Watched news report about Jon Blake.  The story gets worse and worse.  Blake was taken care of by his mother.  Then she died, and he was taken care of by some doctor his mother had met.   I guess his mother had left this doctor the house...and her son.

It sounds though like mother didn't take good care of Blake while alive.  The news report says he spent 25 years stuck in a darkened room.  His son later fought for custody of his father.  He wanted to give his dad a better life. Things were looking slightly better for Blake. Then he died.

I'm guessing that the son was just a child when his father had the accident.

4. Found fan website about Jon Blake. They say it was Blake's mother who had to fight for custody of him.  Well, maybe she fought for custody of him, and then later Blake's son fought for custody.  

From what I'm reading here, I'm guessing I misunderstood the news report.

The fan page has excepts from articles that make it sound like Blake's mother was very loving and dedicated to her son.  Maybe the news report meant to say, since his mother died, he's lived in a dark room.

5. Re-watched the news report.  I want to make sure I heard things correctly.

Well, they do say, Just a few weeks ago the future was  looking bright, as he moved in with his son Dustin to a new home and new beginning after twenty-five years of being confined to a darkened room.  Is that a mistake in the news story; or did Blake not have optimum care from his mother?

6. Saw that there were problems with my blog post yesterday.  I had to fix that. I think it was due to the dodgy internet at the lake house. Maybe.  Anyway...this morning, I found the blog post, I wrote yesterday, in my draft section. Well, about half of the post was there. But there was stuff on that which didn't end up on the version of the post that got published.

Oh, it's hard to explain.  Just pretend you understand.  

7. Looked at an Australian online maternity wear shop called Maternal Bliss.  I heard about it in an email—not from a pregnant person, but from a man whose wife owns the shop.  

8. Disturbed by something I saw on Statcounter.  I was looking at Exit Links, and it shows someone going to post-edit for one of my posts.  The only person who should be going there is me.   Hopefully, it's just a Statcounter glitch and not a hacker.  I quickly skimmed through the post and didn't see anything unusual.

9. Read article pushing Australians to come to America to shop.  The idea is that things are so cheap here. You go on holiday, and if you buy stuff you need (or want), then the trip pays for itself.  

I'm not an expert on math or economics;  but I'm wondering if this is like the idea where you "save money" by buying a huge bag of candy when there's a deal of getting another huge bag free.   You get two huge bags of candy for the price of one.  But did you really need or want two huge bags of candy?  Did you even want one huge bag of candy? 

I'm thinking if an Australian has been looking to go on a holiday and they've also been needing a new wardrobe; it might make sense for them to take their holiday in America. They can go sightseeing and shop.  But if an Australian was not planning on doing a holiday; and they just need to buy a few things—it would probably be more economical to just order it online from America. 

I could be wrong.

I wouldn't mind a small bag of candy. Or a medium one.

10. Amused by a commenter on an article about extended breastfeeding.   Cyb says, As a new breastfeeding mother of a 7-week old, I am puzzled by one of the advantages described for extended breastfeeding; the 'close connection', the 'little chats', the 'time spent looking into each other's eyes'.
Am I the only mother whose mind wanders each and every! time she breastfeeds? I can't get through one (boring) breastfeeding session without simultaneously reading a newspaper or book or watching the French Open on TV, or having my eyes droop into sleep.
I'd probably have a better bond with my child and a lot more eye-contact if I bottle-fed her due to the logistics of having to ensure the bottle was pointed in the right direction.


When Jack was on my boob, I was usually thinking of other things.  Or doing other things. Yes, there was some loving glances and bonding moments. But we didn't spend the whole session gazing lovingly into each other's eyes.

I don't agree with Cyb on the bottle-feeding thing.  I don't have much experience with bottle-feeding, but I'm guessing that once you have the bottle in the right position, your mind can wander, and your eyes don't need to be glued to the child.  

I'm definitely in support of breastfeeding.  I think it's economical, environmental, and has various health benefits. I also strongly support sustained (extended) breastfeeding.   Jack was weaned when he was 4.5.  However, I don't agree with ALL the so-called benefits of breastfeeding.   Like Cyb says, it's not always a major bonding experience.  Since his time of weaning, there has been no reduction in bonding between me and Jack. You can definitely bond with your child without them being on your breast.

The other thing I disagree with is the whole breast milk poop thing!  I often hear that breastfed babies have pleasant smelling shit.  I don't like the smell of any shit.  Okay?    But I much prefer the smell of regular shit to breast milk shit.  On the plus side, I think the smell lasts only up to the time the baby starts eating solid food along with the breast milk.

I guess that would be a negative for those who actually enjoy the smell.

11. Listened to discussion of live transport on ABC radio from Sydney.   A young Aussie farmer expressed regret about what happens to the cows, but asked people to rethink banning live transport.  He said it's their livelihood.   How much horrible stuff happens in the world in order for people to avoid unemployment?  We look down at people on the dole, or who sit in the street begging for money.  But maybe by doing nothing, these people are helping the world more than those who get a pay check by causing harm.

In defence of the farmer though; he didn't want things to continue as they were. His idea is that the live transports should continue, but better training should be given.

I think he has a good point. If the industry is horrible, does it need to end; or can it simply be improved?

Another women came on and tried to make the point that ABC is jumping on the animal rights bandwagon.   She said last week there was a story about chickens; and now there's a story about cattle.  Heaven forbid we talk too much about animals!   She also suggested that the video could have represented only a minority of the slaughtering industry in Indonesia.   Maybe things aren't as bad as we are being shown.  Maybe it's all sensationalism pushed by the Animal Rights agenda.    I think she has a valid point; but when she ended her call with a reminder of all the babies aborted in Victoria, I then understood where she was going with her message. It seems she's one of those who assume that those who care about animals don't care about humans.  Or we care about humans, but not as much as we care about animals.

First of all, humans ARE animals.  Second of all, you can care about the treatment of animals and also care about the treatment of humans.  One doesn't negate the other.  I personally don't see abortion as murder; but some people do. That's fine.   The thing is you can be pro-life AND you can care about the welfare of animals. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

12. Noticed from Statcounter that my blog had a jump in popularity around last May.  I mean that since May 2010, my blog has gotten more traffic. What's interesting is that this correlates with me quitting the biography posts.   It could be just a coincidence.  But, anyway. I'm glad I quit the posts.   It was a lot of fun while it lasted, but I prefer the type of posts I do now. It gives me much more freedom and variety.  And I think learning is more enjoyable that way.  

13. Read article that says swearing is going to be a crime in Victoria.  Well, it's been a crime for awhile; but if you were caught doing it, the police would have to give you a court summons. With the new laws, police can issue fines right on the spot.  

I think that's a bit over the top.  If it was up to me, I might make it illegal to swear AT people.  That can be abusive.  But then again, people can say really mean things to each other without using profanity.

If I'm walking in Melbourne and stub my toe, I think I should be allowed to say shit! and not be fined.

14. Read disturbing article that says Australian researchers have found bowel cancer is increasing in younger people.  Getting that type of cancer used to be rare for that age group, and when it did happen it was usually with someone who had a family history of cancer.  Now it's happening to people who don't have an apparent genetic predisposition.  Scientists aren't yet sure why there's been an increase; but there's guesses that it may be related to obesity, alcohol consumption, and meat consumption.

Great! Another thing for me to worry about.

I'm so sick of worrying about disease and disaster.  Sometimes I look forward to dying, simply for the fact that when I'm dead, I won't have to worry about dying.  That will be true whether there's an afterlife or not.

15. Looked up my Australian of the day on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  Today's person is William Allen.   I thought maybe it was the William Allen I talked about a few days ago—the reverend who didn't like theatre.  But it's not the same.  The William Allen for today died in 1856.   The Reverend William Allen died in 1919.  

Today's William Allen was a man of the sea.  He encountered a mutiny at one time, and was able to fight off the whole thing.

He was born in England.  In his adult years, he moved to South Australia and did the sheep farming thing.  He also did copper mining.  William Allen was successful in business.  He donated a lot of his earnings to the Church of England.

That's about it.

16. Decided to watch a bit of the third episode of Offspring.   I meant to watch it yesterday, but I didn't get around to doing it.

17. Had a hard time not watching the whole episode, but I want to save some for tomorrow, and Thursday.  I might even leave some for Friday.

18. Received package from Powells. It's good I got the package because I needed something to cheer me up.   I tried to play Sims 3 today, and the whole thing is a disaster.  When I launched the game, they asked if I wanted to download an update.   I said yes.  Then the game stopped working.   I did research and saw bunches of MAC users are having the same problem.  I was a tiny bit annoyed with myself for downloading the update patch thing without getting more information.

A tech support person on the Sims 3 forums suggested uninstalling the latest expansion pack.  I did that.  But the game won't start. It keeps telling me to upload the patch....the evil patch.

I have less tolerance towards the mistake of the Sims 3 creators (EA Games) than I did with Blogger.   Why?  Because the Sims 3 is expensive. If I pay for a game, I think it should work. Yes, sometimes glitches happen.   But as someone else pointed out, how does the same problem happen to so many people? It seems like EA games sent out their product without thoroughly testing it first.

Then again, maybe it's working for many MAC users and we're just not hearing from them. Who speaks up on tech boards when things are going well?

19. Took photos of my new books!




Hopefully the books will be good!  I'm still reading Pescador's Wake.   It's great.   I'm just being slow.   I'm not good at reading at the lake house.   That's sad.   I should get myself to read more there.  I end up using most of my alone time for the internet.   Or maybe it's the fact that I don't have a ton of alone time.  It's easier to surf the internet when other people are in the room talking than it is to concentrate on a novel.   

20. Listened to more ABC radio.  They talked about people who work with cattle.   They pay a levy that is supposed to go towards promoting and securing animal welfare.  Now all this bad stuff happens, and understandably, they feel betrayed.  They've handed over their hard earned money because they thought it was going to a good cause. Now they're seeing it was a complete waste.

Yeah. I'd be mad too.

I'm going to try to find an article about this.

21. Found an article.  The cattle farmers pay a levy to Meat and Livestock Australia, and Livecorp.    If I'm understanding this correctly, the farmers pay $5 per animal sold.

Now the Australian Beef Association is angry.  The associate chairman says, We're very angry about it.  Meat and Livestock Australia assured us they were doing proper surveillance of abattoirs in Indonesia.

It's really bad when you put your trust in something, and they let you down.

22. Looked at the website for the Australian Beef Association.  This is horrible, but it's making me want a steak.  That's really sad because I've been vegetarian for almost six years.   And this is coming after tales of abuse. What's wrong with me?    I should probably watch the Four Corners video.  I was thinking to myself that vegetarians shouldn't have to watch the film; only meat eaters. v But maybe that's not true. 

Well, I'm not going to give into my desire for a steak.  Wanting something is not the same as going after it.   So I'm still going to refrain from watching the horror video.  

23. Looked at the Meat and Livestock Australia website.  They have an official statement about the Four Corners footage.  They regret that it happened.  But they don't take any responsibility; and they don't really apologise.

They want to work to make things better. That's good.   But it makes me wonder....why didn't they try harder to help the animals before?  Do they really care?  Or do they care only because they've been caught by a television show?

Maybe they did care.  Maybe they were working to make things better.   Maybe Four Corners just happened to film some horrible exceptions in a society that takes good care of their animals. It's possible and a nice thought; but I'm seriously doubting it's reality.

24. Found an American alternative to Arnott's Shapes.  It's Wheat Thins!  They've been around for a long time, but now they have flavours.  They remind me of Shapes, and they're very good.  

They don't have as many flavours as Shapes does.  But I like the few that they have.

25. Read article that says smoking is eventually going to be banned in Australian prisons.  I'm usually in support of smoking bans, but I'm unsure of this one.  It's different when you ban smoking in restaurants, clubs, schools, shopping centers, etc.   People can go home eventually and smoke there.   Prisoners are stuck in prison.  If they want to smoke...tough luck.

Then again, if you're a cocaine addict and you get sent to prison it's unlikely you'll get cocaine.   It's the same with heroin.

I guess I'll say I support the ban.  But I do feel for the prisoners.

Then again, maybe it will be a crime deterrent.  If people are addicted to their cigarettes, maybe they'll fear smoking-free prisons, and refrain from committing crimes.

That's probably not true.  If loss of freedom, violence, ruined reputation, and prison rape doesn't deter people from crime, I'm guessing mandatory quitting won't either.  

26. Started reading another Doc Jenson editorial about Lost. It includes videos.  I just watched one of the opening of the final episode.  It's beautiful.  

I had tons of deep thoughts about Lost on Saturday night.  Or maybe Sunday night?   I think some were inspired by Doc Jenson.  I was thinking all this stuff, and not knowing if they were original thoughts or if I was unconsciously plagiarising Doc Jenson.  Maybe it was a little of both.  Well, see I had read his editorial last week and didn't fully understand some of it. I'm thinking maybe I read stuff, absorbed it, suddenly understood it, and then imagined I'm the one who came up with the stuff.

I don't know.  

Anyway, I thought about how Lost is like real life.  We seek out the truth, but we can never find it.  There's all these unsolved mysteries.  I think there's this idea (from those who believe in an afterlife)  that one of the biggest rewards of dying will be that we get all the answers.

I don't think that's true.   I think we'll still be lost and confused.  We won't die and suddenly say Ah!  The Methodists were right all along, or Looks like the Hindus hit the jackpot.  We'll keep questioning, wondering, and arguing.

I thought about Lost and how we were led to believe that certain characters had all the answers.   First there was Ben.  I thought he knew the secrets of the island; and just didn't want to tell anyone.   Then we learn he doesn't know much of anything.  Jacob is the one with the answers.  He's like god. Then in the end we learn that Jacob got all his answers from a woman who murdered another woman immediately after she gave birth.  She lied and told Jacob and his twin that she was there mother.   Can we trust that she was honest?  Can we trust that she was good?  Can we trust her advice was the right thing to follow?  How do we know Jacob was on the righteous path?   Maybe his "wicked" brother (who defied the "mother") was the one doing the right thing.

We're left hanging on that account.  We're left hanging on a lot of things.  It's frustrating.   But in a way it's fair.  It's like life. Will we ever know for sure what happened to Lindsay Chamberlain's baby?   Will we ever know the identity of Jack the Ripper?  Will we ever know who murdered Jon benĂ©t Ramsey? 

Maybe...but probably not.   

27. Decided I will shut up for now and read more of the editorial.  

Wow.  I now know that there are blog posts longer than mine out there.

Basically, Doc Henson argues that the last episode of Lost can be viewed with a perspective that's atheist friendly.  He defends the show against those who say it's pro-Christian propaganda.  It's definitely not pro-Christian.

I wouldn't go as far to say that it's atheist.  But I guess I can see Doc Henson's argument.  And I think Henson himself doesn't necessarily believe it's an atheist story.  

He says, Do I really think Lost was an argument for atheism? No. But I don't think it was an argument for religion, either. If Lost was Biblical in anyway it, it was as Lamentation, not dogmatic. If God exists: Where? If he insists on distance: Why? Is it so wrong to want better forms of proof than 2000 year old scriptures interpreted by flawed followers? That's a legit question that deserves a gracious, reasonable answer — especially when you have whackos promising us rapture and preaching hate toward Others not like them.

I really like his quote there.

I like to imagine that the Lost characters floated into a happy spiritual world together and lived happily ever after.   But I think what Henson is saying is that atheists can watch the show and interpret the finale as saying death is the end. There's nothing more. 

28. Decided the last season of Lost was probably most compatible with people like me.   We're spiritual, but not religious. We don't believe in God.  We don't believe in eternal punishment.  We believe in an afterlife, but a type where it's up to you to create heaven, hell, or something in-between.

I think the last season was less compatible to atheist philosophies; but more atheist-friendly than born-again Christian-friendly.  

29. Found the bits from Doc Jenson's previous Lost editorial that might have given me my deep thoughts.   He says, The origin and evolution of Jacob's spiritual beliefs are as intellectually dubious as a Doc Jensen theory. Over the course of Lost's final act, we learned that Jacob had inherited the Island dogma of his mother, who raised him in isolation from the world and taught him never to question the perspective she had given him or trust anyone who had a different one.

Well, I don't know if I'd say I plagiarised Jenson's ideas and turned them into my own deep thoughts.   I think it's more that I was inspired by his thoughts to come up with my own thoughts.   Or it's probably likely that I read other people's theories last year, forgot them, and now imagine that they've come from my own brilliant mind.  

30. Saw trailer for Oranges and Sunshine.  It gave me goosebumps.  

The movie is about the British children who were sent to Australia...in a not-so-ethical manner.  

It looks beautiful, but sad.

I love the title.

31. Went to the movie's page on IMDb.  It's an Australian-British thing.

The writer and director are from the UK.   The star (Emily Watson) is British.  But then the other stars are Hugo Weaving and David Wenham.

There's an Offspring person in it; Kate Box. She played Alice, the wife of Dr. Chris Havel.

32. Saw that Oranges and Sunshine was filmed in England and South Australia.  

Wait!  I think I remember this movie now.  I think it's the one takes place in Perth, but they filmed it in South Australia because Perth is too modernised.   They needed a place that looked like 1980's Australia.  

33. Searched and found a forum conversation that confirms my memory is correct.  Oranges and Sunshine IS the film with a Perth setting and a Adelaide filming location.  

I think seeing South Australia as the filming location jogged my memory.   I then remembered hearing of a movie filmed in Adelaide that was about the British orphans.

34. Looked at the release dates for the film. Sadly, there's none for the United States.   It's been shown at film festivals in South Korea, Italy, and the UK.   It was released to general British folks in April.  It's coming to Australia on 9 June.    If anyone gets to see the movie, please tell me if you like it or not.

35. Had a weird thing happen—one of those coincidences.   Okay,  I think I fixed the Sims.  So kudos (maybe) to EA games for that.   When I play Sims, I've been naming newly created neighbours after famous Australians.   I'm getting them from my list of Australian biography posts.  I did Penny Wong last time, and the next person was Harold Holt. But I'm skipping him because I've already named Sims after all the Prime Ministers.  So the next person on the list was Cheryl Kernot. This is weird.  Why? Because it was the post about her that looked like it was hacked this morning. 

So I feel something out there is trying to tell me to pay attention to Kernot today.  Why?  I don't know. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kirsten McKenzie, Radio, Live Transport, and Mary Cecil Allen

1. Saw from Statcounter that I'm getting people on my blog who are searching for information about the new doctors on Offspring.  Then one or two other people are wanting to know if Dr. Chris Havel is returning.  I don't know the answer to that question; and I don't want to know.  I want to be surprised.  

2. Received an email about an ABC program called Conversations.   It's radio, not video.  As far as I can tell, I can download and listen to it from America.  I wonder why this is allowed, but video is usually not.  

3. Started listening to a Conversation episode with Kirsten McKenzie.  She's a South African woman who's an expert on Colonial Australian history.  This is the interview that was recommended to me in the email. It's about William Charles Wentworth.

4. Realized this interview is almost an hour.  I don't think I'm going to listen to the whole thing.   I don't like listening to long programs. 

I'm listening to some of it.  I think I wrote about some of this stuff when I researched William Wentworth.  McKenzie talks about how women would take men to court if they broke an engagement.  A woman named Sarah Cox hired William Charles Wentworth as her lawyer when she was dumped by her man.  Then she and Wentworth had an affair.

5. Went to check my blog post on William Charles Wentworth. I want to see if I wrote about Sarah Cox.  I'm pretty sure I did because the story sounds vaguely familiar to me.  

6. Skimmed through my old blog post and found at the end I do talk about the Sarah Cox/William Charles Wentworth scandal.

7. Continued to listen to the interview with McKenzie.  She's giving me some more insight into the situation.  In court, William Charles Wentworth presented Sarah Cox as being virtuous and victimised.  Meanwhile, she was pregnant with his child.

Wentworth ended up marrying Cox and they got a house together.  People rarely visited though.   They saw Cox as not being a respectful woman.

8. Wondered if people continued to respect Wentworth....even though he lied in court and was 50% of the cause of Cox's pregnant.   

From what I know, they did continue to respect him. 

9. Listened to Kirsten McKenzie talk about how world news existed way back when.  Articles printed in local newspapers would be also sometimes be reprinted in newspapers from faraway countries.   The man doing the interview with McKenzie remarks that world news isn't new. It's just become faster.  It no longer takes time for news to travel. These days it's instantaneous. 

5. Learned about Breach of promise of marriage from McKenzie. She says that in some cases, the judge would order the rejecting party to get married anyway.

That would be a fun marriage.

Yeah. I'm glad  in these days it's legal to break an engagement.  

McKenzie says that in South Africa, the motivation behind going to court was about keeping one's respect.  At one point, the law changed and the award for winning in court was money.   When this happened, the women stopped taking their cases to court.  They didn't want money.  They wanted the marriage.  I imagine sometimes they wanted the marriage because they hoped the love would return and the marriage would be a happy one. But the main motivation was about the rejected woman avoiding a disrespectful reputation.

6. Wondered how it would be seen as respectful for your husband to have been forced to marry you.  Wouldn't that be a bit shameful?

7. Reminded by McKenzie that things were much different back then.  Marriage was very important.  These days there's much less stigma to being single; and less stigma around having a child outside of marriage.

Although, even in these days, it's fairly scandalous in some circles.

8. Listened to more of the interview.  They talk about Australia's reputation of being status-free; the idea that there's no hierarchy.  McKenzie and the interviewer talks about how it wasn't really true.   Status was, and is, important to Australia.  Often this was (and maybe still is?)  in the form of comparing property prices.

Then there were the British who came over by their own free will rather than being forced over as convicts.  Some of them believed they deserved rights that should not be also given to the convicts.   

I'm guessing that in every culture, every group, there are some who feel they are better than others and deserve superior treatment.  I guess it would be naive and idealistic to believe that Australia would be any different.  

9. Decided to stop listening to the broadcast.  It's been getting a bit too loud around here.

And I've had enough. I like history, but only in small doses.

10. Did some exploring of the ABC radio site.  Maybe I'll get into using this...if I'm allowed. 

Ah!  It works!  

I'm listening to Triple J. And the website says I'm listening live. That's really cool.

I prefer watching television over radio. But I guess beggars can't be choosers. Right? 

11. Switched to the ABC country station.  Stella is singing "Up in the Holler".  I'm guessing she's American and not Australian.    

12. Googled and learned from Lord Wiki that Stella is Stella Parton. She's Dolly Parton's sister.

I did think she sounded a bit like Dolly Parton.  Sisters have similar voices sometimes. I think my sort-of Australian cousin sounds exactly like her San Francisco sister.  I sound like my sisters a bit. I also sound like Jack. People sometimes think he's me on the phone and vice versa. Oh! And at times I think Jack sounds like my younger sister.

13. Listened to Sydney local radio on ABC.   If people in Sydney are listening to it, that means they're up at 3:52 in the morning.

Now they're talking about weeds.

14. Took a photo of my beloved Australia Map Towel—the one I wrote about yesterday.  I probably should have done the photo then.  Oops. Oh well.  


15. Learned from the radio that it's going to be raining in Sydney.

16. Learned from ABC radio that if you want to grow nuts in Melbourne, a good choice is almonds.    But it takes about 4-5 years to get a good almond harvest.  You have to be pretty patient.  

17. Listened to a woman report some news on ABC radio. Her voice reminds me of Mary Steenburgen's voice; but with an Aussie accent.

18. Learned that the gardener on ABC radio is named Millie Ross. The ABC site has an article she has written about weeds.  It has some of the stuff she talked about on the radio.

Ross's main message is that weeds are any plant that grows where you don't want it to grow.  One man's weed is another man's treasure.  It's like dandelions.   A lot of people see them as weeds.  I love them.

Ross has ideas for using weeds, instead of just throwing them in the rubbish bin.  After you pick then, you can put them back into the garden as fertiliser.  Maybe I'll try that someday.

If you're knowledgeable about what plants are safe to eat, you can have a snack.

19. Listened a bit to of an ABC program about safe injection places for heroin users.  Now that I've read Candy I'm interested in the subject.  But I want to go find Jack's snorkeling stuff and my water bottle.  And I need to use the toilet. That's the problem with live radio.  I don't think you can pause it.

20. Thought about how I'd like to watch Offspring today. I haven't watched any of it in a few days.   I miss it!

21. Left the lake house, drove home, unpacked, hung out in our pool a bit. And now I'm going to listen to some more ABC radio while cuddling Mushu.

There's discussion of live transport.   I was pretty sure they mentioned Andrew Wilkie.   I just googled, and yeah, there's an article about him and live transport.  I'm going to read it, because it's easier for me to follow stories by reading then it is for me to listen.

Wilkie and Nick Xenophon want to end exporting of live animals to Indonesia. They saw an expose on Four Corners, and it inspired them to join the fight.

Wilkie says, Don’t forget by exporting to countries like Indonesia, Australia is complicit in this barbaric treatment of animals and it’s a blight on our international reputation.  Yeah.   I agree.  I also think though that most of us humans are complicit in the barbaric treatment of animals.  We don't usually know where our meat, milk, and eggs come from.  We put trust in these companies, hoping they get their food from farms where animals are treated decently.  But that's often not what happens.

Wilkie wants to immediately ban exportation to Indonesia, and he wants to phase out all live exportation within three years.  I think that's a good idea.

22. Liked a quote from Nick Xenophon in the article.  He says, The industry is going to claim that any ban will cost jobs, but if we are smart about this we can use those tax dollars to create more Aussie jobs, not to subsidise overseas cruelty.

I really hate when people use the job-loss card when speaking out in support of unethical and unhealthy companies.  If it's all about jobs, then shouldn't we support drug dealers?   That's their job.   How about we form a corporation of hired murderers?  That would provide employment opportunities for people.

Wouldn't it be better to create jobs that made the world a better place?  So let's say all the tobacco companies shut down. Yes, people will lose their jobs.  But maybe they'll find careers that are less awful and evil.

23. Found another article about the Four Corners animal transport video.  I don't think I want to watch the video.  Reading about it is bad enough.    They say it takes many cuts with the knife to kill the animal.   Being slaughtered is never fun. I'm sure.  But if the slaughterer can do it very quickly, I'm sure it saves the animal from a lot of suffering.   This is not happening in Indonesia.   The people are using blunt knives to kill the animals, and they're taking many cuts to do it.

It makes me think of getting blood drawn.  It stings a tiny bit for one second, but if you have a talented medical technician it's really not bad at all.  On the other hand, if you have someone who's using a blunt needle and is not competent at his/her job, it's going to be painful. 

24. Decided to read about my Australian of the day on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.   I have another Allen today. This one's a woman.   Her name was Mary Cecil Allen.   I don't know if she was related to the Allen's I've talked about previously.  

Mary Cecil was born in Melbourne.   Her dad was a professor at the University of Melbourne.   She and her two sisters were brought up on the campus.   I'm not sure if the girls literally lived on campus; or they just mean they went their quite frequently.

Mary Cecil Allen became an artist.  She painted and she lectured about art.

When Mary Cecil was about 33, she moved to America.   About nine years later, she returned to Melbourne for a visit.  She displayed her paintings which were rejected for being too controversial.   Interesting.  But I'm not sure why they were seen as controversial.

25. Found one painting by Mary Cecil Allen.   It's a naked women.  Maybe that was controversial?

I thought nude (adults) were fairly accepted in art.  Maybe not in that time period?  The 1930's?  

26. Found two more paintings by Mary Cecil Allen.  One is a house type thing, and the other is a drummer. 

27. Lost some of my excitement about listening to ABC radio.  Earlier today I was thinking it would be my new thing.   But I can get the same stuff when I read the news; and I prefer getting information through reading.

Maybe I'll do it when exercising.

Actually, I might try that now.

I'm going to listen to Sydney radio again.  


28. Heard some of Julia's Gillard's speech about the Australian soldiers who were recently killed in Afghanistan.   Here's an article about the deaths.  One of the men was murdered by an Afghan soldier.  If I'm reading this right, they were supposed to be on the same team.

29. Wondered if Australia gives more attention to the deaths of individual soldiers than America does.   I get that impression, but I might be wrong.   It could be that I read more Australian news than American news.  Maybe American news does report the death of soldiers, and I'm just missing it.  I imagine they would definitely report deaths that happened in unusual circumstances, like someone being murdered by a fellow soldier.

If my impression is right, and Australians do give more attention to individual deaths; I wonder if it's because Australia has a smaller population.  I think smaller groups are often more cohesive.

I wouldn't be surprised if the death of American soldiers are reported in the news.  But I'm not imagining that the President would hold a press conference about each death.  Although maybe that's not the case in Australia.   Maybe these recent deaths are getting a lot of attention because they happened in a cluster.  There was the murder.  Then around the same time period, a soldier was killed in a helicopter crash.  On top of all that, the body of another fallen soldier recently arrived back in Australia.  

30. Read article that says Toni Collette is going to be reunited with PJ Hogan.  He's the guy who directed Muriel's Wedding.   They're going to be doing a movie called Mental. Collette's going to play a nanny to kids with a politician father and mentally ill mother.

It might be good.   We shall see.....

31. Felt like a hypocrite for complaining the other day about people who don't read carefully.   I've done that twice in the past few days!   I don't know.  Maybe I jinxed myself.   One incident happened on my Magic is Might/Harry Potter blog.   One of the wizard people asked about surfing.  She pretended not to know the name and called it something like snarfing.  I could have sworn she mentioned standing on something while paddling.  We briefly tried that in Florida last October; but I don't think I encountered it before that.  I did some research to see if it would have been popular in the 1990's.  From what I gathered, it seemed like the activity didn't become a big thing until the 21st century.  So I had my character say she hadn't heard of it...since the Magic is Might stuff is supposed to be happening in the 1990's.  Then another wizard person spoke up and said it was surfing.  I reread the original comment and there was NOTHING about paddling.   She had just mentioned gliding on a plank.

The other incident was about the recent study about children's sleep and obesity. I told people about it at the lake house, and said the study came from Ireland.  I just reread the news.  The study was done in New Zealand; not Ireland.

What is wrong with me?  

Well, I think the Ireland thing came from reading too fast. The article mentioned Dunedin, and I think I saw it as Dublin.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alienation, Sluts, Friends, and Towels

1. Felt thankful for my blog after trying to talk to my family.  We were all having a fun and friendly chat after ice-cream.    My dad told a couple of stories.  Our friend told some stories.  My sister told two stories.  Then I wanted to tell a story.  I announced that I had something to say, related to the conversation.  No one gave me any attention.  They ignored me and started talking about their own things.  I could have tried again when they finished...if they ever finished.   I gave up and left to go exercise.  That's the thing about talking to my family.  It usually feels like such a battle.   It's hard to find a break in the conversation to say anything.  Then if I manage that, there are usually many interruptions.  I feel like I talk and stop, talk and stop, wait to see if someone will say the polite, You were saying. Sometimes they do.  Sometimes they don't.

I feel I'm lucky if I can manage to share a brief opinion and/or respond to someone else's story.  It's nearly impossible to tell my own story.

It's not as bad when I talk one on one with family members, depending on who I'm talking to.  But when there's more than one person, I usually feel lost.  It's easier and better for me to just stay quiet.

So yeah. It's nice for me to have a blog.  It's nice to have a place to tell my stories and share my feelings.  It's fantastic to know that sometimes people are reading and paying attention. I love all that.

2. Talked to Tim and my brother-in-law about various things, including Australia.   With them, I was actually able to talk more, even tell a very brief story or two. So maybe it's more of an issue with my immediate family.

Tim and my brother-in-law read my blog on a regular basis. My immediate family reads it very rarely.  So if Tim and my brother-in-law are interested in me enough to read my blog, it fits that they also show interest in what I'm saying when I speak.

3. Thought I had forgotten an Australian birthday. Same old story.   I got the email from Facebook that her birthday was on Saturday.  I meant to say happy birthday on Friday (which is Saturday in Australia); but I forgot.   I remembered on Saturday morning and left her a belated birthday message.  Quickly after, I got a message back from her.  She said I wasn't late! It wasn't midnight yet in Australia yet.  I'm glad I was on time.

Now there's another Aussie birthday tomorrow.  We'll see if I manage to remember.

4. Read Andrew's post about the slut walk.  It made me love him even more. I especially like his honest contradiction at the end.

5.  Lost a basketball game, but I had fun playing.  I'm starting to dislike sports a little less. That's good.  I mean I'm obsessed with a country that's obsessed with sports.  It would work out better if I had a tiny bit of liking for the subject matter.  Plus, Greg is TOTALLY obsessed with sports, especially basketball.  Australia for me is like sports for Greg.

I don't know if I'll ever like watching sports or keeping up with sports news; but maybe I'll like playing a little bit sometimes.

6. Saw a Port Douglas towel outside at the pool.   I had never seen it before.   We have an Australia map towel and an Australian flag towel that we brought over.   I'm assuming the Port Douglas towel came from my parents.  They went to Queensland the first time they visited Australia.

7. Looked at a website about the Hotel Radisson Treetops Resorts.  This is where the towel's from.  I guess I shall be a nice daughter and assume my parents bought the towel at the gift shop.  

8. Decided to read about my Australian of the day on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  

Today's person is Joseph Francis Allen.  I don't know if he was related to the Reverend William Allen from yesterday.  I also don't know if he's related to Peter Allen.

Joseph Francis Allen was born in Cornwall England, and he came to Parramatta when he was ten.

He became an architect, and made some buildings in Western Australia. He also built a ship.

He did stuff in government. He was the major of Freemantle from 1909-1914.

He did more government stuff.  None of it's too interesting to me.

His death is a bit more interesting.  He was found in the swan river.  The coroner said it wasn't suspicious.  I guess that means they don't think he was murdered.  Maybe he fell in the river?

9. Started to read editorial about the Slut Walk.   Before reading it, I'll say I don't really know how I feel about all that.  I read Andrew's post about it, and I probably have similar feelings.  I don't think women should ever be blamed for men's violence towards them.   On the other hand, I don't know if I like slut fashion.  I don't know if I'm morally against it.   If someone wants to dress that way, that's fine.   Maybe.   But I can't say I won't secretly judge them a bit.   I'm sure they'd judge me and my frumpy clothes.  It's not that I'm a bad person or they're a bad person.  We might just assume we come from different worlds and have nothing in common.

10. Read the editorial.   Maiy Azize questions whether it's a good idea to reclaim the word slut.   Personally, I think it's fine.   It could give women the right to openly love sex and be proud of their sexuality.  Samantha from Sex and the City is a great role model for all that.

But we're not all going to be Samantha.  That lifestyle and personality is fine for some. It's not for all of us.

Maiy Azize quotes from one of the organizers of the Toronto slutwalk.   She mentions that she rejects man-hating, hairy-legged, Birkenstock-wearing” feminists.   It's fine to be a slut.   It's also fine to be a hairy-legged feminists.  Why can't women learn to accept other women?

And I include myself in this of course. I judge other women.   I look at their clothes and think things like, She doesn't look like my type of friend.

It doesn't have to be about clothes.  Sometimes the woman will say something that will make me think She is SO not my type of person.   Or she'll say something and I'll think, this woman is my soulmate.  

11. Liked this quote from Maiy Azize says here:   If, as Sonya Barnett says, so many women are uncomfortable with being labelled as feminists, then why is that not the word she is trying to reclaim? Doesn’t that make more sense than ‘reclaiming’ a word that was never ours?
Feminist, not slut, is the word we should use to describe women who support other women, consensual sex and equality. Feminist is the word that has really been taken away from us.

The word feminist does have a negative connotation.  In the extreme form, I picture a woman with hairy legs and no bra. She hates men. She looks down at women who get married, breed, and then stay home to take care of the children.  I don't like THOSE type of feminists.   I'm fine with the free-moving boobs and hairy legs.  I'm not so okay with the anger and attitudes of superiority.  

I like the type of feminism that accepts diversity and choice.  We can stay home and take care of our babies.  We can pursue a career. We can love pink dresses and sparkly toenail polish, but it's okay if we prefer something else.

12. Felt guilty and hypocritical.   If I was a good feminist, I wouldn't be so quick to decide if a woman was my type or not.  But then I started thinking that while it's not okay to judge other women as bad or good; it's fine to judge a women on whether or not she'd be a good match for me.   I've never found a perfect match, and I probably never will.  But certain types of women are more my type, and I prefer being friends with them.

13. Thought about the people in my life and realized I don't really have a perfect type of friend.   I don't know my type really.   In the end, I think all you need is at least one thing in common.   Maybe we both homeschool.  Maybe we both love Modern Family.  Maybe we both have vivid dreams and have a strong belief in spiritual stuff.   Maybe we both support gay rights.  Maybe we both have blogging as a hobby.  Maybe we have the same parenting philosophies.

Sometimes I can't easily find things in common with someone, but we feel relaxed with each other for some reason.   Sometimes it's just the fact that we can make each other laugh.   In the end, shared laughter is often more important than shared interests, philosophies, and clothes styles.  

14. Received attention at dinner tonight.  That was nice.  I even got to tell a short story. It was about the last time I ate meat.  It wasn't a long story, probably three sentences.  I'm not sure if anyone actually listened.  Maybe they did.  I don't know.

15. Picked up the Australia Map towel from the ground and put it back on the pool chair.   I then realised that Jive Talking was playing on the radio.  The Bee Gees are Australian. So I had Aussie music for my moment with the Aussie towel.

16. Hung out with family outside.  Then on my way back, I saw the towel had fallen again. I started to fix it, but realised the strong wind would make it keep falling.  I also realized that the map towel is kind of special to me, and I don't want to share it.   Is that selfish?   Probably.

I'm leaving the Australian flag towel. So I'm not too horrible.

The map towel has special meaning to me.  It doesn't have any meaning to my family.   To them, it's just one of many towels.   When they use it, they don't even realize it's Australia-related.  Well, at least that's what I'm guessing. 

17. Wanted to clarify that I'm not annoyed with my family for not loving the Australia towel.   I don't have any special feelings for the many towels we have here.  I probably don't even notice them. I use the towels without giving them any thought or attention.

I wouldn't expect my family to care about my Australia Map towel.   But I care about it, and I want to be greedy and not share.

18. Decided it's probably perfectly okay to be greedy and not share if other people don't have interest in or desire for the beloved object.

19. Tried to remember why I brought the Aussie towel to the lake house in the first place.   I think MAYBE I brought it just for myself to use.   I think I wanted to keep that towel just for me, and share the flag towel. But then the map towel got mixed up with all the other towels.

So I was probably possessive about the beloved towel from the very beginning.

I'm a little ashamed about all of this...but not too much.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Old Dreams, Psychic Ability, Blocked Programs, and Allens

1. Found an old Australia-related dream in my dream journal archives.  It's from April 2006 which was before I became super obsessed.  When I have the conversation with Tim, we're at some kind of Australian thing. I am thinking about Australia and how it for some reasons makes me nostalgic for my childhood. And Tim is drinking some kind of weird novelty Australian drink. There's little packages. One is for men. No one else is drinking it. I decide to try the one for women, which is a chocolate drink. It looks good;very indulgent—almost to the point of being a joke. Tim says you mix it until it becomes a paste. And then you add a pretzel to it.

The dream conversation I alluded to was about Lost. 

2. Found another Australia related dream.  This one happened a few days after the one above.   And this one involves Lost as well.  A thing about Lost. I become one of the stars.  I am with Josh Holloway, walking with him. He's nice. I am wanting him to be in love with me.  I talk to other new stars and I talk about how you forget who is new and who has been around a long time. When someone is first new, you really notice them and see them a newcomer (kind of intruder) but later you get used to them and really don't know who is new and who is not. My character is with a family somewhere before the crash? And I think I'm Australian. I think it is funny that I'm an American playing an Australian.

I had spelled Australia wrong once in that dream report, but I think it was just a typo because I spelled it correctly the other times.  

3. Reminded when writing an email to someone that ABC allows Americans to watch videos on their website....well, at least some of them.  I'm very grateful to them for that. I wish other networks would be as kind.

4. Saw that ABC does restrict us from watching videos from Angry Boys.  But that's totally fair because we get the show in America.  

5. Saw that we also don't get to view Hungry Beast, which seems to be an Aussie program.  So maybe ABC is not as fantastic as I imagined.

6. Wondered why Australia is so uptight about Americans watching their television programs.   What is it...a ploy to get tourists?  Hey, if you want to watch our shows, you'll have to come to Australia!   Okay, but who has time to watch all that television when you're trying to play tourist?  I want to go out and see stuff when I'm on vacation.  I don't want to sit in the hotel watching television all day.

7. Saw that I can watch videos of Q and A  This what was the program suggested to me in the email.   I remembered when reading the email that I had watched Q and A before. That gave me hope that ABC would allow me to watch all their shows.

Oh well.  I guess I should get used to this frustration and disappointment.
 
8. Read article about the plain-packaging of cigarettes plan.  The International Chamber of Congress thinks it's a bad idea, and wants Australia to drop the whole thing.  Their argument is that plain packaging makes things easier for counterfeiters.  People can sell dangerous and inferior products.

That might be a good point.  I don't know. Is it really easier to counterfeit the government packaging than it is to counterfeit corporate packaging?   I have no idea.  

9. Saw that Lawrence Leung has a new show on ABC.  Well, it might not be new in general; but it's new to me.  It's called Unbelievable.  The webpage for the show uses a View-Master, just like Offspring does in their credits.   

10. Started to take poll on the Unbelievable website.  The show and the poll is about unexplained phenomena.  I don't yet know if the show is an open-minded program or a closed-minded one.  

Oh...okay.  The poll had only one question.  I'm with the 44% majority that believes psychic abilities may exist.

11. Figured out from this page of the Unbelievable site that it's probably a closed-minded program.    Lawrence Leung is a a self-proclaimed sceptic. To me, that means he's probably closed-minded.

I'm fine with people who set out to research strange phenomena with an open-mind.  Is this a real haunting or a hoax?    Let's see if we can gather evidence about the supernatural.   Let's explore and find out more about the world.  I like that.  I don't like people who set out to prove to believers that they're childish and believing in a fairytale.  Let's show everyone that all their beliefs are completely ridiculous so they can all be atheist like me.

12. Did like what's said on this page.   Lawrence describes himself as a "reluctant sceptic".  He wants to believe in the unbelievable but the rational explanations keep getting in the way.    If that's true, I think it's fair.  Sometimes it's hard to believe in stuff.  I'm skeptical at times.  This is especially true if I encounter a hoax, or encounter information that sounds like it might be bullshit.

Here's an example.  I went to a psychic in 2005 or 2006.  I've probably written about it here.  For a few years after going, I totally believed I had experienced a true supernatural experience.  Later I started having some questions and doubts.  Then more recently I read my journal entry about the session, and I had the idea that I had been fooled.  I don't know this for sure.  The psychic was accurate on a few things, so maybe she had a small amount of insight. There are many possibilities.   The psychic could have a small amount of abilities. She knew one or two things and in order to fill up a ten minute session, she guessed on the rest.   It could be that she really was psychic and what seems to be lucky guesses were more than that.  She could have been a clever scam artist.  She could have no powers, but believed she had powers.  

One of the first things she said was that I worked (or had worked with children).   I had recently been a teacher so I thought that was very insightful. But later I started thinking, working with children is probably a fairly common job for women.  If you're going to make guesses in a psychic session, it's not a bad place to start.  The psychic also said I had some kind of hobby that helped me relax, but I no longer take part in it. That seemed very insightful at the time. I had recently given up fiction writing.  Was that a real psychic insight, or do many people have hobbies that they have given up?   I don't know.  

The psychic said I had spent a lot of money recently. She showed some concern for this.  I had spent money, but it was a charitable gift type thing.  She seemed to think it was a big purchase for myself.   Still, I was impressed that she knew about this money thing.  However later I thought about it and realized the session had happened in November.  Isn't that time when people do some major holiday shopping?

The psychic claimed to be a medium, and she mentioned something vague that gave me the idea that she had connected to deceased grandfather.   Now one thing that made me believe is instead of talking about things on my mind, that I wanted her to talk about; she talked about my working with children and my writing hobby.  I imagined that's the type of thing my grandpa would think of—my writing and teaching.   So I figured he was the one passing information on to her.   Now that all seems a bit like wishful thinking on my part.   I wanted to believe so I believed.  On the other hand, I could have been right back then.   As wishful thinking can cause us to see things in a skewed way, so can doubt. The truth is out there. Yes. But it stays forever invisible to us.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that even if my session with a psychic was a total scam, it wouldn't prove that there's no such thing as psychic abilities.  It's just like if I ate a bowl of soup and it had a fly in it. That doesn't mean all bowls of soup have flies.

That's such a crazy silly analogy.  Does it even fit?   I don't know.  I am really tired right now.  My mind's probably not working right.  

13. Starting to watch a promo of Unbelievable. There's a funny part.  Lawrence Leung poses as a psychic.  Behind his victim is a karaoke screen.   Leung just reads from some song.   The customer seems to take it seriously.  Although I guess you could argue that the spirits help guide Leung to a song that's appropriate to the customer's situation.  That argument would go flat if he used one song on everyone.

I wonder if he tried the experiment on more than one person.

14. Laughed at the airport security scene in the promo. It's silly, but fun.

The ending made me laugh as well.  

15.  Followed the link to ABC's iView to see if I could watch Unbelievable.  I couldn't find it on their list of programs.   I returned to Unbelievable's page and read more carefully.   I saw then that the show's not coming out until June.

I wonder if I'll be able to watch it in America.

16. Returned to the iView page.  I want to see if there's stuff they'll let me watch.  With my luck they'll let me watch stuff that doesn't really interest me.

17. Found out that I am not allowed to watch Play School.  

18. Decided to make a Firefox folder with bookmarks of shows I CAN watch. I'm too tired to watch anything now, but I might want to watch something in the future.

I hope the folder doesn't stay empty.  

19. After clicking on many programs and getting many messages that I'm not allowed to view the programs, I came to the conclusion that nothing on iView is going to work for me. 

20. Found article about how to watch Australian TV when you're overseas.   It sounds complicated.   You use some program that makes your computer look like it's coming from Australia.   If I did that and visited other people's blogs, would it look like I was coming from Australia?  People would probably start thinking I'm an Australian pretending to be an American obsessed with Australia.  

I'm going to bookmark this site, but I don't think I'm going to use it any time soon.  It has a yearly fee and I already feel I'm going to have to pay a lot for my Offspring addiction via iTunes.

21. Went to the site that the article recommended.  The company's called WiTopia.   I went to the FAQ page to see if they mention anything about all this being legal or not.  I do think some laws were meant to be broken, but I do prefer doing things that are legal.

I'm guessing that WiTopia offers services that are legal; but people can use them in illegal ways.   It's probably legal to hide your IP address.  From seeing all the copyright warnings on the unavailable videos, I'm getting the idea it's not exactly legal to lie about your location and watch the shows anyway.

22. Read one of the FAQ questions about what the WiTopia is used for and the main thing mentioned is watching blocked and censored programs.  So is WiTopia offering an illegal service, or are they helping people find legal loopholes?  

23. Saw that there is a FAQ question What can I do and not do over this service? 

WiTopia replies, We’d say simply, please don’t commit any crimes or cause harm to anyone using the VPN, but the lawyer-approved version is here

Interesting.....

24. Followed the link to the terms of service page.

They say you can't use the service to participate in child pornography, send hateful and threatening correspondence, or to spam people.

So it's okay to use their service to watch videos in Australia?   Maybe. I mean they proclaim you can use their service to go to blocked programs.

However the WiTopia lawyers ask that you do not use the service for Uploading, downloading, posting, reproducing, or distribution of any content protected by copyright, or other proprietary right, without first having obtained permission of the copyright owner.   


So I guess legally I could use the WiTopia service only if I got explicit permission from Australian websites to watch their programs.


Looking at the list of prohibited WiTopia activities make me wonder. If you're not supposed to do any of these things, why would you want WiTopia in the first place?  

Why would you want to hide your location other than trying to get around laws that annoy you?

I definitely think there are valid and ethical reasons for wanting to be sneaky.  I think it's valid and ethical for me to watch Australian television.  Australians watch so much American TV. It would be much more fair if it went both ways.

However, I don't think it's legal.   I think WiTopia is helping people break the law, but then their lawyers warn people not to break the law.  

I could be wrong though.  Maybe WiTopia is often used in some way that's totally legal.  

25. Had stimulating conversation with Tim about the differences between illegal and unethical behavior.  I had to shout a bit, because I was in the shower.  Usually, I don't try to have conversations while I'm in the shower, but I really was eager to discuss the issue.

Tim said services like WiTopia can be used by employees of companies that block websites.  In that case, you'd be breaking company policy and not the law.

26.  Wondered about this whole video copyright issue.  Why is it there?   It must not be universal because I HAVE been able to watch some videos on Australian websites...for example, The First Australians and Q and A.

Is there some international fee that needs to be paid, and people are too cheap to pay it?   Is the government saying no to Americans watching Australian shows, but they're okay with us watching a select few?

I can't imagine that the creators of the program themselves would want to block access to their programming.   I'd think most creative people want their stuff viewed internationally.   I mean I wouldn't be happy if my blog was blocked to everyone but Americans.  If I ever got a book published, I would want it available to anyone around the world.

So, really. What is the deal?

Maybe one day I'll do some deep investigating of this issue.   It won't be today because we have to head over to the lake house.  Things are hectic there and the internet is a bit dodgy at times. It wouldn't be an optimum time for research.  

27. Read article that says a poll indicates a majority of Australians support the plain cigarette packaging.

Fiona Sharkie, the Executive Director of Quit, says, It's a product that we shouldn't have any glamour or fashionability or aspiration associated with.

I agree.   I'm just still not convinced that the plain packaging is lacking fashionability. There's just something kind of cool about it, in a gruesome Garbage Patch Kids kind of way.

The picture of the women in the hospital bed is sad.  I think that packaging is the better deterrent.    I think the eye and teeth could be popular with people who like slasher films.

28. Decided to read only one entry a day from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. I've been trying to read several entries a day, and I'm really NOT reading.   I'm skimming.   I'm thinking it's better to get through only some of them, but really concentrate; then get through all of them, but hardly pay any attention. 

So it will kind of like I have an Australian of the Day.

Today's Aussie is William Horace Allen.  I'm going to read it later.  First I'm going to go outside and check on the kids.  

29. Returned from outside.  Now I shall read about Mr. Allen.   I'll speak up if I find out anything interesting.

I'm seeing that Horace isn't even mentioned until the bottom of the article.  Most of the article is about his relatives.

There's a Reverend William Allen.  He was against the theatre.  I wonder why.  Maybe he thought it was wicked?

The interesting thing is some of his children took up theatre as a hobby.

One of Reverend Allen's son was Leslie. He married a woman from New Zealand who had tuberculosis.    

Leslie became an English professor.

This is not too exciting.  When is William Horace going to come into the picture?

Oh.  Okay.   He was another one of Reverend Allen's sons. He was Leslie's brother and the Kiwi woman's brother-in-law.

Exciting.

Well, I guess maybe it could be exciting if you read into it.   A reverend was against theatre, and it looks like at least some his kids didn't follow in his religious footsteps.   One of the other brothers (CK) was an amateur actor.  I wonder how the Reverend Daddy felt about that.  I wonder if there were huge family fights.

30. Helped my mom and sister remember the lyrics to Arthur's Theme, and told them it was written by an Australian. Then "I Go To Rio" came on the radio.  I told them that has something to do with Peter Allen too.  My mom knew that there was a Broadway play about him.

31. Consulted Lord Wiki about "I Go To Rio".  He reminded me that Peter Allen wrote the song.  I wasn't sure if he had written the song, or if he just sang it. 

32. Listened to Peter Allen sing I Go To Rio again.  It's a fun song.  

33. Thought it would be funny if Peter Allen was a distant relative of Reverend William Allen and sons.  That would be a cool coincidence. 

34. Reread some of information on Reverend William Allen.  He may have been against the theatre, but he wasn't against music.   He wrote an anthem for Australia called "God Save Our Austral Land".  It was sung in Queensland schools.  

35. Decided I'm done with the Allen family for today. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beach Dreams, Evangelical Atheism, Zoo Visits, and Boredom

1. Showed Tim and Jack Elliot Freeman's cover of Friday.  I love it. A couple of people said it's better than the original.  I agree!  I think it's fun and fantastic.  But I don't hate the original as much as some people.  I think it's dumb, but in a cute and fun way.

2. Went to bed and had an Australian related dream.  It was one of those confusing dreams where the scenario and characters kept changing.  I'll just talk about the part in which it was Australia-related.  I'm a movie theatre that's filled with Australians.  They get excited every time they hear an Australian accent on the screen.  I think it's a bit much.  I don't get excited every time I hear an American accent.  But then I think about how it might be because the Australians are in America.  I think about times I've been in Australia and how I got excited over Texas-related things.  

I'm not sure if that's really true.  I do get excited about seeing American food in Australia. It's not really an American-pride thing, but just curiosity over which of the many American food products will Australians use to represent America. 

I don't get excited about hearing American accents in Australia.  In 2007,  I felt awful every time I heard one (minus family and myself).  In 2009,  I no longer hated it, but I can't say I loved it.

Why do I feel this way?  I'm not sure exactly.  It could be that it's a reminder of home, and also a reminder that one day soon we'll have to return to home.   I think there's also some jealousy, because some of the American accents might not be coming from tourists.  They might be coming from migrants, or expats.   In 2007 I really wanted that for myself, so I had a bit of that green monster syndrome.  In 2009 I wanted it too, but not as desperately as 2007.  

3. Wanted to share my other dream about Australia.  It was a lucid one. I'm at beach in Australia.   It's crowded, but very idyllic.  There are people surfing in the water, people playing, and dolphins leaping in the air.   Everything is beautiful.  

I am surfing or body boarding.  I decide to be brave and go farther from shore.  I'm a bit nervous about sharks because I tend to have sharks in my dream.  I'm waiting for them to interrupt the perfection.   After I get far out into the water, I head back and look around for sharks. I'm not too scared since it's a dream and I won't get killed.  Still though, I'd rather not experience a shark attack.   

I look around me as I head back to the shore.  I see a lifeguard helping someone.  I become a bit paranoid and worry the person has been attacked by a shark. What if the shark is still around? I look around to the other side of me.  Is that blood?

I leave the water without getting attacked by a shark.  I walk along a street full of shops that's adjacent to the beach.   I stop in a store that has a woman who looks like a bear.  She has these short bear-like arms.  It seems to be a costume though...maybe.   I take a photo of the shop, worried slightly that I'll be scolded.  But no one says anything.   I leave and walk some more.   I feel I'm on a time restraint, that it's almost time to wake up, and I need to turn around soon to walk back.  But then I decide that I can just wake up wherever, and I don't need to be at any certain place.  I can just keep walking, and when I wake up, I'll wake up.

As I get towards the end of the street, I'm wanting to find out the street name so I can write about it on my blog.   But I can't find a street sign.   I do see something saying Circular Quay, but I'm thinking it can't be the street sign.  I don't know of a Circular Quay street.   (a wharf yes, but not a street)

When I get to the end of the street I make my way back.  I try to decide if I want to go down another street or walk down the same street.  I choose the latter because I want to see the shops I saw before.  I want to see that my lucid dreams can be consistent and not have the settings constantly change. 

I am frustrated to find that I can't find the stores I passed before.   I'm thinking it's bad enough the settings in my lucid dreams can't stay consistent from one night to another night....but it's really bad that they can't stay consistent within the same dream.  

4. Thought about our 2007 and 2009 trip to Australia.  In 2007, I desperately wanted to move to Australia.   I had the idea that I couldn't be okay unless we did that.   I think I still wanted that in 2009, but not so desperately.  It was a maybe type thing.   But I do remember getting really pleased when Jack mentioned wanting to move there.    And Tim started showing interest in moving there as well.  I was so happy about that.  So in 2009, I think it was still something we were considering.

Now we've kind of moved away from that.  Every so often, we'll talk about retiring in Australia. And I half-jokingly make suggestions about Jack attending university there.  But for the most part, the dream has been shelved.  I'm wondering if that will change when we go back.  Will Australia pull us back in to wanting to move there; or will we be satisfied with the idea of being occasional tourists? 

5. Read my cousin's blog entry about almost having to do a dine and dash type thing.  

6. Annoyed by an evangelist atheist commenter on the Gay Marriage in Australia page.  Derek's not impressed that progressive Judaism backs gay marriage.  He says, It is counterproductive to get support from moderate religious groups.  Why? Religious people are not rational because they believe in magical beings.   

I don't think it's irrational to believe in the supernatural.  I think it takes a leap of faith.   Sometimes we can believe in stuff without absolute scientific proof.  I think that's only irrational when we get the idea that others need to believe in the exact same thing we believe.

I think it's nice that atheists fight for separation against church and state; and I think it's good that they try to counter the argument that Christians are the only ones who are capable of moral behaviour.  But I think it's unfortunate that some of them have taken things way too far, and have become equally judgmental and zealous in their evangelism.

Fanaticism is never pretty...no matter what the form. 

7. Thought more about faith vs. scientific proof.   Sometimes things can be proven in a laboratory.   Other times we can know or believe things without science.  I know I love Australia, but I can't scientifically prove that I do.

When someone says that they love us, do we accept it on faith or demand scientific proof of this love?  Well, sometimes they might do things that make us doubt that love.  We might seek out some type of evidence of their feelings.   Our experiences with the person and our gut instincts tell us if the love is real or not.  The thing is though we can never have 100% proof that they love us.   In the end, we have to accept it on faith. Or reject it.

Even our belief in science is dependent on some amount of faith.   How do we know there really was a scientific study?  How do we know it wasn't staged or faked?   How do we know the results were obtained ethically?  How do we know the scientists weren't paid by corporations to spread misinformation?   When I think this way, I feel I'm going to go completely paranoid, so I try to have faith; that when I read about studies in respected journals, news sites, and medical sites, they're relaying honest and accurate information.

8. Thought about debate I had with my aunt regarding Aspartame.   She thinks it's an evil poison.   She believes this from what she's read on the Mercola website, and from other health newsletters she reads.   I did my own research and found from Wikipedia and various medical sites that it's seen as safe.   I put my faith in Wikipedia, government health sites, and certain medical sites.   Now I don't have 100% perfect faith in  any website. But I have more faith in some, than I do with Joseph Mercola.   My aunt doesn't trust the government or Westernised medical sites.  She thinks they're manipulated by corporations.   She has more faith in Mercola.    I think Mercola is out to scare people into buying his various health products.  So I don't have a lot of faith in him.

In the end, we all choose who and what we'll have faith in; and we really don't have absolute proof that our faith is directed towards a better avenue than other people's.

My aunt could be right. I could be wrong.  

9. Went to the zoo, and took photos of the Australian-related stuff. As I've mentioned before, the Fort Worth zoo gets on my nerves because they don't offer recycling bins.   That just seems wrong in any place, but especially wrong for a zoo.

On the plus side, they do have a lot of Aussie stuff.

10. Uploaded the zoo photos.  Here are some of them:




 I was looking around the zoo for all the Australian-related stuff; then I realized I had to look no farther than my husband and son.  They both ended up wearing Australian t-shirts.   Tim wore a Manly one, and Jack wore a Canberra one.  I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't wear one.  But I wear one almost every other day. 


The rock climbing exhibit is called Tasmanian Tower.   It was closed today.   I think it's almost always closed.



Here's an Australian sign.



Here's some more Australian stuff, including the flag.



 Here's Jack and I next to the map; plus a girl loving on Victoria. 

  

 

I love this photo of a cockatiel.  It's all blurry, but I like it because it reminds me of movies (or TV shows) where someone unconscious is waking up.  You know how the movie tries to show you what they're seeing?  So the photo reminds me of someone who's woken up with a cockatiel staring at them.

If I ever go unconscious, I'd love there to be a cockatiel staring at me while I awaken.   

Well...anyway....I did manage to take a non-blurry photo of the same cockatiel.  


11. Went to Barnes and Noble while Tim and Jack went to the Apple Store.  I went to the spirituality section and glanced quickly at the books to see if there were any Aussie authors.   I'll explain about that later.  But anyway, I got bored quickly and went onto the travel section.  I picked up a Lonely Planet Guide to Australia.  It was very thick and comprehensive.   I looked at a few pages.  They had ideas for various trip itineraries.   One was for six months, and it looks AWESOME.    I think it would be my dream holiday.  I told Tim I want to do it for my fiftieth birthday.  If that doesn't work, hopefully we can do it sometime in my 50's and 60's.  I guess earlier is better than later...because of health and grandchildren issues.   I have hope though.   My parents are 62/63, and they do a ton of international traveling.  I hope to be as in good health as them.   

12. Thought about how it would be really cool if I still had this blog when I'm in my 60's.   

13. Figured I should go back to the whole spirituality thing.  The other day I thought about what I wrote in my blog, about my sisters not knowing how and why I became obsessed with Australia.   Then I thought crap.  What if they read that (because the younger one reads my blog occasionally now) and they ask me.  So Dina....how DID you get obsessed with Australia?  

I guess I had one of those imaginary conversations.   It was with my sister.  So I answered the question in my mind.  It made me think about things. 

After I started having many dreams about Julian McMahon, I became obsessed with the dreams.  That led me to being obsessed with dreams and spirituality.  I started reading spiritual books and going to spiritual websites.  It seemed many of them happened to be written by Australians. Then even two American spiritual books I read had the mediums visiting Australia and raving on and on about how wonderful it was.  So Australia might have gotten drummed into my brain.    This, plus the fact that photos of Sydney Harbour reminded me of a mystical wonderful dream from my childhood, might have led to the whole Australia obsession thing.  

14. Remembered something else...a story I've told before.  But I'll be annoying and repeat myself.   Okay, so today we went to the University Park Village.   For me, this is kind of the birth place of the spirituality obsession which led to the whole Australia obsession.  I thought about all that when I walked from the parking lot to the bookstore.   

When Jack was around three or four, I had plans one day to take him to University Park Village.   Every time I thought of those plans, I had this happy mystical excited feeling. Then I realised it was because I had recently had a dream about Julian McMahon that took place in the University Park Village parking lot.   

So we went there with me feeling all happily mystical and obsessed with my recurring dreams.   We went to the bookstore.  Jack looked around the children's section.  He probably played with Thomas the Train thing.  There was a a psychology section close by so I decided to grab a book to alleviate some boredom.   They had dream books and I picked up one.  Even though it was a psychology section, the book was a spiritual one by Robert Moss.   

Oh.  Yeah.  Anyway.   I wanted to look at the spirituality section today to see if many authors were Australian.  So, that's what I did today...for about twenty seconds.   It got boring. And to be honest, I'm really skeptical of spiritual writers these days.   I think most of it's crap.   I'm still spiritual, but I try to depend on my own dreams and synchronocity for guidance and delusions.   

15. Read Andrew's blog post about Digby Graham killing Rhys Marshall. While drunk. Graham hit Marshall hard enough to kill him.   The case was brought to court.  Graham was charged with manslaughter, and then found not guilty.  

Andrew thinks this is very wrong.   

I agree with Andrew.  

16. Read article about Digby Gram.   It doesn't provide much information, but I agree with some of the commenters.  I especially agree with what Roger says, One would hope that there were more extenuating circumstances other than the fact the accused was drunk. It is interesting to note that if the accused were driving in such a condition he would receive a significant fine and a disqualification for a period of time.  As a distant observer of the trial, unfortunately, the takeaway message is that it's OK to get drunk and punch someone, if they die then that's just bad luck. There are certainly no winners in this case, least of all justice for the family of the deceased.

I definitely don't think drunkenness is a valid excuse for murdering someone. If you're a violent drunk, then don't drink!

17. Had an idea.  What if people had to get a license in order to buy alcohol?  What if it wasn't just about age?  And if you were arrested for violent behavior due to drinking you'd lose the license.   Yeah, I know.  People could still drink by having other people buy their drinks for them.   But it might be somewhat of a deterrence.  Maybe?   

18. Felt guilt and regret for ending a friendship with someone I met through my blog.  Then I read her last email to me.  I had skimmed it before and then put it in the trash because I felt it would be too mean.  I'm a wimp when it comes to that stuff sometimes.    But today I decided to fish it out of the trash  to get an idea if I did the right thing or not.  After reading the email carefully in its entirety, I no longer feel guilty for ending the friendship.   The email was hateful, irrational, and showed a lack of reading comprehension skills.  And it wasn't the first email like that I have received from her.   

I definitely feel I did the right thing.   

19. Tempted to tell the whole dirty dramatic story, but I'll refrain from giving into that temptation.   I'm sure bits and pieces will leak out when I encounter stuff that reminds me of the failed friendship.  

20. Decided to admit that my reason for canceling the Australia trip wasn't just for financial reasons.   I became a bit scared of the person alluded to in #18 and #19.   Really, I think I blew things out of proportion.   Although this girl can be nasty when you disagree with her about things, and overreacts to things she THINKS you wrote in your email; she's probably not dangerous.  Still....after a disturbing incident, my imagination started running in all kinds of directions and I felt safer being an ocean apart from her. 

That's not to say the financial bit wasn't a huge part of it too.  I mean that was definitely the main thing.  But I think I was also becoming paranoid.   I'm good at that sometimes.  

21. Realized I'm sort of a hypocrite.  I complain that this girl doesn't read my emails carefully before answering them.  Then I put her email in the trash without carefully reading it.  However, I read all her other emails carefully before responding.   Plus, the friendship was already over.   I had told her twice not to write to me anymore.  So she shouldn't have even been sending me the email.

22. Read article about an Australian anthropologist who warns that all our use of digital technology is not giving us time to be bored.   Why is this a problem?   Because boredom gives us time to think, and thinking time leads to creative ideas and imaginative thought. 

It also leads to worrying thoughts, paranoid thoughts, angry thoughts, depressing thoughts, etc.

Sometimes our technology toys lead to creative thought.  Jack just created a Sims family for my neighbourhood.  He gave me the whole story.   The husband used to be the leader of a church, but he quit that job.  The wife was a very successful chef of a restaurant.    Then one of her patrons got poisoned and she was blamed.  She was framed and blamed, and lost her prestigious career.   

That's one of many imaginative stories Jack has created.

I do agree that some quiet time is probably good for the brain.   It's sad if we have to busy our minds with other stuff at every moment,  because I do think there are benefits to daydreaming.  But has any human really managed to totally eliminate daydreaming from their lives?   At the very least, you have a few minutes of daydreaming time in the shower.   I daydream while in the shower.   I daydream on the toilet.   I daydream while washing dishes.   I daydream while in the car (I can't read because it makes me carsick).  I daydream at night before I go to sleep. I have plenty of daydreaming time.

Another thing is when my mind really wants me to think about something, it won't allow me to do other things.   If I'm excited or anxious about something, it's hard for me to concentrate on anything except my thoughts.  For example, when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago, I had to wait for about an hour and a half.   I read my book for awhile, but I couldn't concentrate.   So I just stood in the examining room, waiting and waiting.

When Jack has an appointment that makes him nervous, he won't read a book or play a video game.  He can't concentrate.  He just kind of stands around; thinking, talking, and acting nervous.  

23. Looked up I, Robot on IMDb because Tim was watching it.   I saw the director was Alex Proyas, and recognized that name.   I thought he was one of the Harry Potter directors, but didn't see that on his credits.  Then I realized he's one of the Australians I've written about. I remembered when I saw The Crow on his list of movies. 

24. Did some exploring on Rotten Tomatoes and learned that Noah Taylor is in a new movie. It's called Submarine.   IMDb says it was released in the UK in October and Canada in September.  They don't list a release date for Australia. What's that all about?