Friday, September 30, 2011

Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Zombies, Forgetfulness and Douglas Annand

1. Read article about Julian Burnside apologizing to Tony Abbott. He wrote on Twitter, Paedos in speedos; and this was in a discussion about a new book regarding Tony Abbott.

Julian Burnside claims he wasn't referring to Tony Abbott. He also says he is new to Twitter, and believed he was talking to only one person.  He thought he was being private, and instead he was being very public.

I think the true story is that Julian Burnside was making an off-color joke about Tony Abbott to a friend. I doubt he meant it literally.   

2. Went to Burnside's Twitter page.

He apologizes many times.

Burnside says he was referring to priests.   

But isn't Tony Abbott known for Speedos?  I thought there was some joke about that.

2. Found article with photo about Tony Abbott and Speedos.  

3. Impressed with the recycling in Andrew's building. He has a photo of it. It's very thorough.

There're several different bins, clearly labeled; plus another bin for stuff you want to donate to charity.

4. Saw an article about Jon Ronson.  He's written a book about psychopaths and psychiatric testing.  He's going to be appearing at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, which is happening at the Sydney Opera House right now.

5. Started looking at the list of speeches being made at the festival. I wonder how many I'd agree with and how many would be offensive to me.  

6. Liked this speech topic. It sound very interesting.  

It's called "Ecstasy Is No More Dangerous Than Horse Riding."

The description for the event says;

When a top UK Government drug adviser wrote in an academic journal that ecstasy is no more dangerous than riding a horse, it caused a political ruckus that led to his resignation. His provocative analogy points to how inconsistent we are when drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, racing cars or participating in extreme sports are tolerated, taxed or even actively encouraged. 

I don't think I ever thought of it that way, but it makes so much sense to me.


We, as a society, often look up to those who risk their bodies and lives with extreme sports and stunts.  But then we talk on and on about the risks of drugs. Is one really more dangerous than the other?

What's the risk of a college smoking marijuana compared to a college student boxing multiple times a week?

Is climbing Mount Everest safer than taking drugs?   

7. Thought I'd probably enjoy Christopher Ryan's speech. It's called "If You Want Fidelity, Get a Dog".  His argument is that monogamy isn't natural to humans.

I would probably agree with that.

I think serial monogamy is more realistic. Multiple simultaneous partners might work for some.

Why is it that we're supposed to have love for multiple children, multiple grandparents, multiple friends, multiple pets, etc, but you're only supposed to have one romantic partner?

One of the things that has made me hesitate supporting open-marriages, and stuff like that, is the whole jealousy issue.  But now that I'm thinking more about it....

We deal with jealousy anyway. And we still compete with others for attention.

Children compete with siblings for their parent's attention. Mothers and fathers sometimes compete for the affection of their children.  People feel slighted when they overhear friends planning an outing that doesn't include them.   

It's hard for us to share our loved ones sometimes, but many of us manage to deal with it.  

8. Wanted to say that I also get annoyed that there's so much emphasis put on sex.

There's that idea that any affection and attention towards others is okay as long as it doesn't involves a penis and/or vagina, or mouth on mouth kissing.  

I think there're many other reasons to be jealous.

I really don't think I'd care that much if Tim had sex with someone else. As long as I knew it's safe sex and he didn't want to leave us, I think I'd probably be cool with it.  

I get much more jealous of other things.

I get jealous when Tim takes tons of photos of someone else, because I have often felt he doesn't take many photos of me.

Yes. I'm vain.  But I've also always believed that people take photos of that which they love, and that which interests them the most.  

I get jealous when Tim shows concern for someone's safety or passionately declares he'd seek revenge if so and so was harmed. 

I get jealous when Tim praises someone's talents, such as singing.

I get jealous when Tim is very enthusiastic and supportive towards someone else's idea.  

Now that I think of it. I get jealous a lot.     

Sex is really the least of my concerns. Why should I care if people exchange bodily fluids and see each other naked?

Well, I guess a lot of people do care.

But I don't.

9. Thought more about jealousy. It goes back to what I wrote the other day. I don't mind sharing attention and affection.

First of all, too much attention and affection directed towards me would make me implode with stress.  I wouldn't want to have 100% of someone's love.  I'd feel extremely suffocated. I need space—lots of space.

I only get jealous when I feel sad. I'm not getting something that I want from someone, and then I see someone else getting it.

I'll give an example.

Let's say someone I know reads my blog.  If they also read other blogs, of course I'm not going to be bothered by this.  I would think it's fine...great.  We definitely don't need blog-reading monogamy.

But let's say there's someone in my life that doesn't read my blog.  They're too busy. They're not interested enough.  They claim blog-reading isn't their thing.  I would feel hurt by this. I would feel even more hurt if this person sent an email out to me, and several others, recommending another person's blog.   Hey! You guys should check out this blog of my friend! It's awesome!

Stuff like that hurts me.  It makes me angry, sad, and jealous.  I'm pretty good at burying those feelings though...until I read something that brings them to the surface.   

10. Liked this speech topic.   It's called "On Second Thought".

The description: The arbiters of contemporary public debate are unforgiving of those who change their minds - ridiculing such changes as a 'back flip'. But why is changing your mind a crime? While consistency and stability are admirable qualities, do we really want to be a nation of people who can never, ever change their mind about anything and occasionally say 'sorry'?

It takes courage to admit we've changed our mind.


I was thinking about something the other day.

I don't wish everyone had the same beliefs and opinions that I have.

I DO wish everyone had similar thought processes as me. 

What I mean by this is that I wish more people argued with themselves.  I believe this. No, maybe I don't believe that.  Can I believe this and still believe that? Am I being a hypocrite?   

I am often morally confused.  I often feel like a hypocrite. I passionately believe one thing one day, and then a month later I read something and change my mind.

It causes me stress sometimes, but I like that about myself.

I feel some other people are so rigid in their beliefs. They believe what they believe without questioning and doubting.

It could be my imagination though. Maybe in their minds they're questioning and doubting. Maybe they keep it secret, because they're afraid they'll be accused of back flipping.  

I like the people in my life who can admit to being ignorant, confused, wrong, lost, etc. In my opinion, we're the strong ones. The others are arrogant.  

11. Saw that Jonathan Safran is at the Festival of Ideas. Tim read his book and told me a lot about it.   Safran writes about vegetarianism and stuff like that.  

I should read it someday.  Maybe I will. Tim has it on the Kindle.  

12. Thought of a recent confusion I can admit to right now.

When I watch The Walking Dead the main actor reminds me of William McMahon.  I look at him and think of William McMahon.

Then today I looked at photos to compare the two, and I really don't see any facial similarities.

Here's William McMahon.



Here's Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead guy).



There's really no similarity there. But for some reason they reminded me of one another.

Maybe I had some kind of brain glitch.

13. Wondered if William McMahon would have been good at fighting zombies.

Would any Prime Minister be good at that?

The Walking Dead has really given me a new perspective on things. Actually Benjamin Mee's zoo book helped with that as well.

Benjamin talks about his wife dying of cancer.  It's sad and horrible. He admits to that. But he says he still feels they're lucky.  It could have been much worse.   There are people in the world who suffer much more than they suffered.  He gives things like Darfur as examples.

I thought that was a very brave and admirable way of looking at things.  

Then Tim and I watched the zombie show, and I thought, no matter how bad things get, we should be at least thankful the world isn't overrun with flesh-eating zombies.

I've been thinking about Stephen King's The Stand.  In that story, 99.4% of humans die from a new flu.  The survivors have to rebuild society.  It's all quite awful.  But now that I'm seeing people trying to survive zombies, I'm thinking Stu, Frannie, Nick, Tom, Larry, etc., they had it EASY in comparison.

So yeah.  Now when I feel sorry for myself I'm going to say, At least I'm not trying to escape zombies.

And when I'm scared of something happening, I'll say, Well, yeah that would be bad. But it wouldn't be as bad as zombies.  

For example.  I'm scared of driving on mountains and we might do a little of that when we go to Australia.  I'm now telling myself, yes, we might end up rolling down a huge cliff and crashing to our deaths. But it's a thousand times better than dealing with zombies.

14. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Subculture Shock.   It's with Frankie Dean and Thomas Blair.

Thomas, I believe is one of the triplets. I don't think I've seen his posts before. I might be wrong, though.

The story takes place in the Melbourne wizarding village; Oliphant Lane.

15. Started to read.

Frankie sings at a club.

Tom is at the same club, trying to get some time away from his family.  I don't blame him. The Blair family seems to have a lot of drama lately.

16. Saw that the club was specifically a wizarding world club. It has wizards, elves, fairies, etc.

Both Thomas and Frankie seem pleased with this. They feel more freedom—maybe more relaxed?    They don't have to struggle with trying to blend into the Muggle world.  

17. Went and had a search through my blog. I found out that I HAVE read threads with Thomas Blair before.  Not only that; I even read his biography.

18. Reviewed my old post a bit. 

It's good that I can search through old posts like that.

I think I know why I forgot that I read his biography.  Thomas used to not have a photo for his face claim.  There was just the name.  So his post and biography looked different to me, and therefore also new.

Sorry about that!

19. Saw that my Australian of the day is Douglas Shelden Annand.

On the Australian Dictionary of Biography site, there're two other Annand people after Douglas. I wonder if any of them are related.

20. Saw that Douglas Sheldon Annand was born in Toowoomba Queensland in March 1903.  

I think Toowoomba is Geoffrey Rush's hometown. I can't remember if he was born there, though.

I'll check....

Lord Wiki says yes.  Geoffrey Rush was born in Toowoomba, in 1951.

21. Learned that Douglas was a graphic artist.

22. Learned that Douglas designed the ceiling of the Australian pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition.

This took place in 1937.

Lord Wiki says there was a Nazi pavilion there. That's not surprising for 1937.

A few years later, Douglas was the art director for the Australian pavilion at the world's fair in NYC.   He did some murals for that.

23. This website has one of the graphics Douglas made for the pavilion.  

24. Saw some Douglas Annand artwork on this website.  

25. Saw another example of Douglas Annand's work on this site.  It's for a Sydney Bridge celebration.   

It's from 1932. I think that's when the bridge opened.

26. Checked with Lord Wiki. He says I'm right about that.

27. Had Jack listen to "Inescapable".  I'm trying to expose Jack to more Australian music.  



28. Went to the YouTube channel of lilbluerocker.

The channel belongs to a 14-year-old named Lewis who lives in Brisbane.

He likes metal music, surfing, and football.

Here's his cover of Bernard Fanning's "Wish You Well".



I think the guitar's a bit loud.

It's hard to hear the singing.

29. Listened to a song that Lewis wrote himself.  It's called "Reflections of"; or it might be called "Reflections of (2010)". I'm actually not really sure.



I like the guitar part in the beginning.

The song seems nice, but it's hard to hear.

30. Started to look at more of Baroo42's Flickr set.  

31. Found myself looking at people in the pictures and thinking, I wonder what they'd look like as a zombie.  

I find myself doing that a lot lately.

And I keep dreaming about zombies.

Maybe Zombies will be my next huge obsession.

32. Wondered if there's a tag on this dingoes' ear.  Or is that just a reflection?  

33. Thought these girls were cute.

And I also thought they'd make good zombies, especially the girl on the left. I mean, with make-up of course.

One of the zombies from The Walking Dead has her own Facebook Page. Her name's Melissa Cowan.

It's pretty amazing to see how the makeup effects are done.   

34. Liked this photo.  The swimming looks fun.  And I love that one of the guys has a Aussie flag swimming suit.  

35. Reminded of The Walking Dead when I saw this photo.  It's because there're tents. And on The Walking Dead, the survivors live in tents.  

36. Liked this photo.  It's really beautiful.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jetstar Problems, Holmesglen Institute, Debating, and Beliefs

1. Saw article that says Jetstar once again is facing allegations that they're overworking their crew.

There's a guy named Dallas Finn.  He quit Jetstar after working there for only two months.  He says he flew five return international flights in five days.

That's crazy.

Since Jetstar has been getting a lot of complaints about this lately, it's hard for me to believe they're innocent.

I hope they get their act together.

2. Continued to read the article.

It gets worse.

Dallas Finn says he was on a flight with a Singapore crew.  There's a rule that, before they do the flight, they have to answer safety and medical questions. Dallas asked the questions to the Singapore flight-attendants and they were unable to answer.

That's scary.

I wonder. Is it a matter of Qantas not giving adequate training to their outsourced crew?  Or were the flight attendants too tired to think clearly?

3. Went to look at currencies.

The Australian dollar is now worth .99 American dollars.

It's worth .63 British pounds, 6.68 Swedish krona, and 75.36 Japanese yen.

I don't think there's been any drastic changes since yesterday. But I'll check out my previous post to make sure.  

4. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of Head, Meet Desk.  There's been one new post added, from Stewie Blair jr.  

5. Started to read.

I like Stewie's energy. He's so positive and full of life.

He rambles on and on to Zara about his siblings, and how some of them are good at cooking.

It's very cute.

6. Played around on the Qantas website.

7. Saw that my Australian of the day was Giulio Anivitti. 

He was born in Rome and died in Rome, but I guess sometime in-between he lived in Australia.

He was an artist and an art teacher.

8. Saw that Giulio went to Brisbane in his early twenties.  He spent three years there, and then went to Sydney.  In Sydney, he was an art instructor at a school on Elizabeth Street.

From what I can see on Google, the schools not there anymore.

9. Learned that Giulio painted portraits.

10. Learned that Giulio died very young.  He was only about 31. He had tuberculosis.  

11. Went to the YouTube channel of HITTV2008

There's a bunch of videos made by a class Holmesglen Institute. They did broadcast stuff for
Channel 31. I think that's the community broadcasting channel in Australia.  Right?

12. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says I'm right.

Cool.

13. Went to the Holmesglen Institute website.

They're located in Victoria.

And here's their page for the Diploma of Screen and Media. 

14. Loved what I see here...if I'm understanding it right.

You have to be 18 to start the program, AND they say you need to be away from formal education for at least one year.    

Am I understanding it right? Are they actually saying you MUST take a gap year?   I love that.

It's so different in America.  Here we're pressured to immediately go to college after high school.   You get the three month summer break and then it's time for the next chapter of your education.

I think Australians understand that there's learning to be done outside of the classroom.   

15. Started to watch one of Hit TV's videos.  It's about skydiving.




I enjoyed that.  It was informative, entertaining, well-edited, and I liked what they chose for their background music.

16. Started to watch another episode of Hit TV.  It seems to be a variety show type thing. Maybe.



The male host looks so much like someone, but I can't think of who.

Maybe Jay Leno a little?

17. Enjoyed the video.  It was funny, and I liked their use of "Working Class Man".

18. Read article about an Australian car racing thing that's coming to Texas in 2013.  It's called V8 Supercars.

The event will be in Austin.

19. Watched news thing about the race.



20. Started looking at more of baroo42's photos.

21. Liked this picture from Noosa.  

This sunset photo is really nice too. 

22. Thought this picture of pelicans and seagulls was pretty neat. 

23. Liked the bright pink truck in this photo.  

24. Wondered if the thing on the guy's leg is a leech.  

25. Decided maybe I'd bookmark a few more Twitter pages.  I want accounts that are good sources of information.

I'm severely cutting back on my Facebook time, and I got a lot of my news and info from there. The problem with Facebook is I went all crazy and started "liking" Pages left and right. Then my newsfeed became way too overwhelming.

I don't want that to happen again.

26. Bookmarked the Twitter page of Online Opinion.  I've been to their website a few times. They have interesting editorials.  

27. Realized it's probably easier to just bookmark their actual website.  

28. Decided to read an editorial by Catherine Rose on Online Opinion.  It's about the conscience vote and gay marriage.

I really don't even know what a conscience vote is.

29. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says a conscience vote is where legislators vote for what they personally believe rather than voting along party lines.

I didn't know this, but people in Parliament are usually required to vote with their party. If they don't, they could be expelled from the party.   It seems unfair, in a way.  But I guess it sort of makes sense. If you're not in line with the party enough, you might as well find a new party.

That's too simplistic though, really.  There's no way any political party is going to have 100% agreement among it's members.  There will always be variation. They can't expect everyone to think exactly alike.

However, if a member of a political party often disagrees with his or her party, it doesn't really make sense for them to still be there.

30. Started to read the editorial.

Catherine says:

Marriage equality is an issue – fundamentally – of civil rights. This has been firmly established by the campaign over the last few years. Fundamental to the concept of rights is that they are unconditional. They should be upheld no matter what, regardless of whether or not certain individuals approve.

I understand what she's saying.  Why should people vote on something that's so obviously the correct thing to do.

The thing is, what's common sense to some of us is not common sense to other people.

It's common sense these days that people shouldn't enslave others. But at one time it wasn't.

One day our grandchildren will look back in history and think we were completely backwards for taking so long to legalize gay marriage. To get to that point, though, is not magically instantaneous.   It takes work.  It takes time. It takes voting.

It takes patience.

31. Read the rest of Catherine Rose's editorial.  By the end, I agreed with her more.

She's not really talking about the conscience vote in general; but specifically the Labor Party. She wants Labor to support gay marriage as a whole rather than giving individual Parliament Members the choice to support it or not.

That makes sense.  The Labor Party is supposed to be left-wing, and I expect left-wing parties, these days, to be open-minded and inclusive.  

Julia Gillard, though, is the leader right now, and she's against gay marriage.  It's kind of hard to have a party support something when the leader says she's against it.

Maybe the conscience vote will be favorable towards gay marriage, and it will inspire Gillard to rethink her position.

32. Thought about something. If most people in a political party support something and the leader is against it, isn't she the one going against the party line?

33. Wondered what percentage of Labor politicians are pro gay-marriage.

34. Read article about the conscience vote. It's supposed to happen in December.

The article talks about an MP—Anthony Albanese.   He supports gay marriage and the conscience voting idea.   He says, I think there are very strong-held views about this issue and where there are strongly-held views historically we have often determined to have a conscience vote whereby people regard it as a moral issue.

It would be nice if we could simply take gay marriage for granted.  But the truth is, we don't all see eye to eye on what's moral and what's not moral.


My local friend can't fathom why people would allow abortions to happen. To her, it's common sense that innocent human fetuses be allowed to live...no matter what.


To me, it's common sense that gay people be allowed to marry and that some of our tax money go towards those who are less fortunate in life.  My friend doesn't see that as common sense at all.

35. Decided that one of the big mistakes we make when debating with others is assuming we're all generally on the same wavelength.

We're not.

We have different values, religious beliefs, goals in life, etc.

What's behind gay marriage?  Why are some people against it, and why do some people support it?

If we were all on the same wavelength, we could easily come to an agreement on whether it's right or wrong.

For those of us who are pro gay marriage, I think the basic background of the whole thing is love, equality, and separation of church and state. Those things are important to me, and I'm going to venture to guess that they're important to many other supporters of gay marriage.

For those against gay marriage, I think their big thing is Jesus and the Bible. That's their focal point.

I understand there are some atheists who are against gay marriage—or at least one.  But my guess is, most people against gay marriage are very religious; and probably Christian, Muslim, and/or Jewish.  

36. Wondered if it's possible to win people over in a debate, when they're not on the same wavelength as you.

My guess is that it's pretty much impossible.

If a person believes God put animals on Earth for human's to use, you're not going to be able to convince them to become vegetarian.  They would have no reason to change.

But what if there's someone who doesn't believe that?  What if they love animals; and what if they believe animals should be treated with compassion?  What if they eat meat because they're ignorant to the fact that factory farm animals are mistreated? I think there's a chance you could change their minds, or at least plant a seed in their mind. 

I guess what I'm thinking is sometimes we waste our time trying to convince people to take our side, and it's never going to happen—at least not with discussion and debating.   The opposing person could change, but it would have to take some huge personal event in their lives.

For example...

Someone against welfare may change their mind if they're suddenly thrust in poverty themselves.

Those who scoff at food stamps may change their tune when it's their children going hungry.

37. Thought about how, if you're going to try to get someone on your side, you have to approach it by using their own values.

It wouldn't help for me to talk to a Born Again Christian about love, fairness, equality, discrimination, etc.   If they think Jesus says Steve shall not marry Steve, none of that matters.  If someone really wants to try and convince an anti-gay person to cross over to the other side, they're going to have to fight with the Bible itself. There might be a way to convince Christians that maybe Jesus isn't so anti-gay after all.

I don't know enough about the Bible to contribute to that discussion.

I do remember, in my college days, going to a rabbi led discussion about why homosexuality is okay.  He used Torah (Old Testament) quotes to illustrate his point.

I forgot the exact stuff he said.  But I do remember a little.   One of the things was that there ARE bits in the Torah that say men  shouldn't have sex with men.   But the rabbi showed that this was all about preventing the waste of seed.  God was wanting people to make more people. If you're trying to populate the world, gay people are wasting precious time and sperm. But in that case, male masturbation is equally awful.

I also vaguely remember the rabbi pointing out something along the lines of Lesbianism not being mentioned in the Torah.

Now this is all Old Testament stuff.  It's probably easier to convince religious Jews it's okay to be gay.

I think the New Testament might be more vocal in its anti-homosexuality.

38. Thought of that great Proposition 8 video with Neil Patrick Harris and Jack Black.   They point out the supposed hypocrisy of Christianity.  Yes, the bible says don't be gay.  But you're also not supposed to eat shellfish.

The problem with that argument is Christians don't believe they need to avoid shellfish.  They don't believe in those hundreds of rules. They believe Jesus came along and said, you don't need those rules anymore. You got me now. I died for your sins. I'm the Messiah.  

I'm paraphrasing here.  

39. Looked at the Religious Tolerance website.  They have a page about homosexuality in the Bible.

They talk about Corinthians 6.9.   It's been translated as saying: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

I guess effeminate is supposed to equal gay?

But effeminate doesn't equal gay.

Some men are effeminate and aren't gay.

Some gay men aren't effeminate.

Or do I not know the real definition of effeminate?

40. Looked at this dictionary site.  They say the definition is, having feminine qualities untypical of a man : not manly in appearance or manner.  

Yeah.  Well, that's the definition I had in my brain.  

It boggles my mind trying to imagine why a loving god would have problems with that.  

41. Decided I'm not going to sit here all night studying the Bible.

I know there are believers in Jesus who are very anti-gay and I know there are believers in Jesus who are supportive of homosexuals and gay marriage.  I'll assume there are many ways to interpret these Bible passages.  If you want to discriminate against homosexuals, you can read the Bible in a way that makes it seem righteous to do so.  If you want to believe Jesus loves everyone, and is open and accepting; you can probably interpret the Bible in a way that supports these beliefs.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jealousy, Prime Ministers, Tarmacs, and Bananas

1. Watched The Walking Dead with Tim last night, and I thought back to what I wrote about in my blog post yesterday. Are there cases where killing a loved one (like a child or spouse) is a valid moral choice?

The TV show answered my question with a big YES.  If your child, husband, wife, best friend, etc. turns into a zombie; it's perfectly okay to kill them.  It's kind of selfish and weak not to do it, actually.  If you hesitate, the zombie could go free and create more zombies. By not euthanizing your loved one, you're increasing the chance that the horror will happen to someone else.

2. Went to bed and dreamed that one of my blogging friends was a local friend.  She comes to a party we have.  Later I talk to my local homeschooling friend.  She talks about becoming friends with my blogging friend.  She's very excited about this.  I'm not.  I'm jealous about the whole thing.

I used to love the idea of my friends becoming friends with each other. I wanted a circle of friends.   Then a few years ago, I had a bad experience with a clique/circle of friends.  I wasn't part of the group, but I seemed to be sort of liked by the group. Then I had the wrong opinions and I turned into their mutual target of hatred.

I think part of me began to worry that one day I'd be in a circle of friends, and we'd end up doing the same thing to someone else.

Of course there's benign circles of friends. But I do think having something (or someone) to hate together creates a stronger bond between a group.

3. Was going to say the jealousy thing is something that happens only in dreams. But that would be a lie.  I have been jealous lately about a friend becoming friendly with another friend.  The reason, though, is I have felt somewhat neglected by both of them. So there's that feeling, why would you have time for each other but you don't seem to have time for me?

If I feel secure in a relationship, then I have no jealousy about the other person having other friends.

4. Saw Rolf Harris mentioned in the book I'm reading.  It's a British book called We Bought A Zoo.   It's very good, so far.  They've made a movie out of it, that's coming out in December.   Unfortunately, they've changed it into a story about Americans.  Why????????   It's ridiculous.    It's not that I have a problem with movies about Americans. I love lots of them.  But I think since it's a British book, it should be a British movie.

5. Remembered another case in which a true story's location was changed for the movie.   Open Water.  The true story took place in the Great Barrier Reef.  For the movie they changed it to the Bahamas.  In that case, it was probably a good thing—at least for Australian tourism. The movie is about tourists who go on a dive tour and are accidentally left behind.

6. Started to watch a video that was sent to me in an email.  It's called "Red Room", and it's by goodbyemotel.




The song seems pretty cool.  

7. Went to goodbyemotel's website, and learned they're a Melbourne group.  

They have a page where you can listen to their music.

I'll listen to a few songs.
 
8. Went to look at currencies.

The Australian dollar is now worth .99 American dollars.  It's the same as yesterday.

It's worth .63 British pounds. That's the same too.

It's worth 6.68 Swedish Krona.  It's gone down a tiny bit there.

It's worth 75.70 Japanese yen. It's gone down a bit there too.
 
9. Learned from this article that today is Julia Gillard's 50th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Julia Gillard.  

I'll be fifty in 2022. I sort of look forward to it.

I wonder if all my hair will be gray by then.

10. Saw a cute Twitter conversation between Kevin Rudd and some other guy.

Jakereazn said, Same flight to Syd as @KRuddMP! What's up!?

Then Kevin Rudd replied, @jakereazn too bad we're stuck on the tarmac. Got a pack of cards?

Hopefully they weren't stuck there for too long.

But I think Rudd did a good job there of portraying a regular bloke.

11. Read article about exercise equipment for toddler-age children. There're little weight benches, little treadmills, and little rowing machines.

Some people think it's taking the anti-obesity thing too far.  Maybe they're right.  But I think it's kind of cute, and young children often love doing what their parents do.

I'd rather a child mimic their parent's exercising than mimic their parents extreme dieting behavior.  

I can't see how the equipment itself would be a problem, as long as it's safe.  The problem would be if parents put too much pressure on their kids to use it. But if those types of parents don't have exercise equipment to force on their kids, they'll find something else to force on them.
 
12. Read article that says Australia has been named the 7th best country in the world for mining.

The top country is Finland.  I didn't see that coming.

I really don't know much about Finland, except that it's near Sweden and Norway.

The United States is actually one notch above Australia. I didn't expect that either. I definitely see Australia as being more of a mining country than America.  But that might be because I pay less attention to America than I do Australia.  

Other countries in the top ten were Chile, Burkina Faso, Sweden, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, and Argentina.  

The criteria for the ranking wasn't just about who has the most stuff to mine.  It was about lots of other things such as natural disasters, financial risk, land access, civil unrest, labor relations, etc.

13. Read article that says there were major storms in Melbourne yesterday. That's probably why Kevin Rudd was stuck on the tarmac.  

The article says one plane was stuck on the tarmac for five hours. Shit!  I would hate that.

I understand they want to keep the planes in line, in case they have a chance to take off.  But I think there should be a 1-2 hour limit. If the plane can't take off in that amount of time, people should be able to get off.  They shouldn't be trapped for five hours.
 
On the bright side, both Qantas and Virgin paid for passenger's accommodations so they wouldn't end up having to sleep at the airport.  That was very nice of them.

14. Read article that says there's a rule now in America. Airlines will be fined if they keep passengers trapped on the plane for more than three hours. 

However, the rule only applies to domestic flights. There was a Virgin Atlantic flight taking people from American to London.  The passengers sat on the plane for four hours without any air-conditioning.  They were hot and panicked.

Hopefully all countries will one day have a rule against keeping people too long on the tarmac. 

Yes, the plane might lose it's place in line. But I would rather spend hours waiting at the airport than hours waiting in a plane seat.  I've heard it's horrible sometimes—no air-conditioning, no food or drinks, overflowing toilets, etc.

I especially feel bad for parents of very young children.

15. Read scary article about a woman in Brisbane being attacked by bats.  She was on her balcony when it happened.

Bats don't usually attack people like that unless they have a rabies-related illness called lyssavirus.   To prevent the woman from getting fatally ill, they had to give her nine shots in the face. Then she'll have to get more in her arm.

16. Read website about the rabies vaccine. They said it used to be very painful, but they've improved it and now it's less painful.   

Lord Wiki says sometimes cheaper and older vaccines are used.

The woman attacked by bats said the shots to her face were very painful. I wonder if she got the old shots. Or maybe she has a lower pain tolerance than usual. I don't know.

I talked to the vaccine-man yesterday about it.   I remember shots being painful as a child—especially the tetanus one. But in the past few years, none of my shots have hurt at all. The vaccine-man said it's because these days they make the needles much thinner.

Then I think back to Jack getting his vaccines.  He's always hated them; although the last shot he got was Hepatitis A, and he said it didn't hurt at all.   Maybe they changed the needle size between that and his previous shots?

My guess is it's more about the anticipation.   Even if shots are painful to some, they're probably less painful than a lot of other injuries—getting scratched, stubbing our toe, getting a paper cut, etc.   But it's that feeling of waiting for the pain, seeing the nurse come at you with a needle.

Yesterday I was nervous as the vaccine man did the rubbing alcohol part.  I thought, It hasn't hurt before, but maybe this time it will.

It didn't.  Fortunately.

17. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of Ahoy, Matey. 

This is the story thread with young Camryn and Thatcher playing sword fighting games in the tree.

There's been one new post added.

18. Finished reading.  It was pretty short, but cute. The kids are having fun play-fighting together.

19. Went to the YouTube channel of Addictive Breed. They're a musical group—maybe heavy metal.

Well..... they look heavy metal.

The channel has a message video from one of the band members. Apparently, they were all on a break, but now they're back to performing together.  

20. Watched Addictive Breed sing "Dust to Dust".



It's not really my type of thing.

21. Read the description on their YouTube channel. They call themselves a hard rock band. Is that different from heavy metal?

Lord Wiki gives examples of hard rock bands: Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Van Halen, and Bon Jovi.

I sort of like some of that stuff sometimes.

Lord Wiki has a long entry on both heavy metal and hard rock, so I'm assuming there are differences.  However,  he says the terms have often been used interchangeably.  

22. Listened to Addictive Breed do their song "Warning Sign".




23. Saw that my Australian of the day is William Charles Angwin.

As far as I can see, he's not related to yesterday's Angwin.

24. Saw that William Charles Angwin was born in England in 1863.

William's mother died when he was a baby, and his father remarried.

Hopefully, his stepmom was nice.

25. Saw that William became a carpenter.  

In his early 20's, he and his wife migrated to Victoria.

They lived there for five years, and then moved to Fremantle.

Eventually, William got himself a seat in the Western Australian parliament.

25. Learned that William had been against Western Australia joining the Federation.

26. Disgusted and angry because I was searching through Flickr for new a new account to stalk; and I came across very pornographic pictures.  This was by using the keyword "Australia", and then going to recent photos.  

I'm totally fine with pornography if people consent to it.  I did NOT consent to it.  I wasn't expecting to see it and I didn't want to see it.

I flagged the photos, and when I did, I got a message from Flickr saying the photos are classified as "safe".  My guess is you can put porno photos on, but you have to give them special labels so they're not open to the general public.

The porno people, who put these photos up, made them public, and didn't use the appropriate filters.  I'd like to think they did it on accident, but I'm doubting that's the case.

27. Saw that now it's going to be Sydney's turn for huge storms.   That's happening today. Then this weekend it's going to be cool.

28. Found a Flickr account to stalk.

It's the porno one actually.

I've decided to give consent.  And now I'll enjoy some naked people.

I'm joking.

I'm going to look at baroo42's photos.   He went to Australia...sometime.

The photo set says the pictures are from April 2007 to February 2009.  Was he on a really long holiday?   Multiple holidays?  Or maybe he lives in Australia?

29. Got idea from this photo that baroo42 may have stayed in a hostel.

Maybe he was a backpacker?  

30. Saw that baroo42 and/or his travel mates have a Bill Bryson book. I can't tell if it's the Australian one or not. 

I like the blue and white glasses.

31. Wouldn't want to be a chicken in this picture.  It's so crowded in there. Is that comfortable for them?

I doubt it.

I think this is what we could be getting when we buy cage free eggs.  Yeah.  They're not in a cage.  But that doesn't necessarily mean the birds are living a nice life. 

32. Watched video of Baroo42 or his friend eating a piece of bread.  They talk a bit in the movie.

I don't think they're speaking English.

I wonder where they're from.

33. Enjoyed watching this driving video

34. Thought the rocks in this photo looked a bit sinister.

It kind of looks like there's a zombie man in there, leaning against the rocks. 

35. Thought this picture looks quite lovely. 

36. Liked this picture of The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour.  

37. Saw some banana souvenirs.   It reminds me of the pineapple place in Hawaii, except that one obviously had pineapple souvenirs.  

And here're even more banana souvenirs

38. Saw some banana stuffed animals.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Deadly Awards, The Last Kinection, Zara, and Blogging Plans

1. Had an Australia related dream.  I'm at the grocery store.  I look for Australian food. I'm doubting there will be anything, but I check anyway.   I look to see if they have any Milo, even though I don't expect to find it.  I later talk to someone about foreign foods.  I say if we want more at restaurants and the grocery store, we have to buy what's already there.  We need to show them that these things are in demand.

2. Read article about the Deadly Awards. These are the awards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  

Deborah Mailman won for Offspring!  I'm happy to hear that.  I like when my shows win things.  

Jessica Mauboy won for best female artist.

Another music person who won was Gurrumul Yunupingu. I think I remember him.  

The literature award went to someone named Anita Heiss.  She wrote a book called Paris Dreaming. I'll have to look into that. 

The band of the year award went to a group called The Last Kinection.

The film of the year was Mad Bastards.

3. Watched Jessica Mauboy's "Inescapable" video.



It's a fun song.

4. Learned from Lord Wiki that Jessica Mauboy is half Indonesian.

She was an Australian Idol contestant.  I don't think I knew that. 

5. Watched video for Jessica Mauboy's "Running Back".



6. Learned that the rapper in that video is an American rapper. Flo Rida. I wonder if Tim knows about him.

Tim's into rap music.   

7. Listened to Gurrumul Yunupingu sing "Bapa".



8. Listened to The Last Kinection sing "Black and Deadly".



It has some angry lyrics.

Lord Wiki says they're the ones who did the remake of "I Still Call Australia Home".  I can't embed it, but here's the link.

Those lyrics too are angry...and very clever.  I'm impressed with their writing.

9.  Went to the Last Kinection's official website. 

They use a very small font.  Is this their way of trying to punish white people?  Make us blind? 

Then again, black people don't have super strong magical eyes.

Or do they?

I think it's all a conspiracy.  

10. Went to The Last Kinection's MySpace page.

I'm going to listen to more of their music, even though my eyes hurt now and it's all their fault.

11. Started to listen to "I Can Feat Radical Son". It's their most popular song on MySpace.

It's pretty awesome.  It's hip hop, which I tend to like.  Then in the beginning, it sounds kind of American-Western, and then it sounds Aboriginal.  It's a nice mix.  

12. Read some of the bio stuff on the MySpace page.  The three people in the group are Naomi, Joel, and Jacob. Naomi and Joel are brother and sister.

In 2008, the group was in a very bad car accident.  They had severe injuries.  Fortunately they recovered.  I like hearing about people recovering from bad injuries. It makes the world seem a little less scary to me.

13. Watched trailer for Mad Bastards.  It was an American trailer, so I guess it's been shown here.




At first it looked like the type of movie I wouldn't like. But then towards the end, it started looking good to me.

14. Went to the website of Anita Heiss.  She's the one who wrote Paris Dreaming. They have a picture of the book on the site.  It looks kind of like chick-lit.  

15. Looked at the book descriptions on the site.  Heiss DOES write chick-lit.  I don't think I've ever encountered Aboriginal chick-lit.

I need to try and find her books. They sound fun. I especially want to read Manhattan Dreaming.

16. Read Anita Heiss' FAQ page.  

Her proudest moment was graduating from the University of Western Australia. She was the first Indigenous Australian do to so.

She likes chocolate.

She's bad at rapping.

She doesn't cook much, but sometimes she eats kangaroo.

She doesn't like jokes based on race and disability.

I don't like MEAN jokes based on race and disability. If a subject is never joked about though, then it's kind of like we're saying the subject is too depressing and serious.  In a way, that's more insulting than a joke.

I think some jokes about race and disability can point out the elephant in the room, loosen the tension, open up discussion, etc.

17. Enjoyed reading about Fruitcake's journey to Melbourne; though I feel sympathy for her.  She's starting a new job, and it sounds like she has a long commute.  

I like what she says here.  One of the great joys of suburban train travel anywhere, of course, is perving into people’s backyards. Everything from trampolines and junk to carefully landscaped, regularly manicured gardens.

I like looking into other people's lives.  I like looking into yards. I love when you can see into someone's window.  I like walking past restaurants where you can see people eating.

I like looking at people's photo albums on Flickr.

I sent my friend a link to Flickr for her homeschooling adventures. I said it was a great way of learning about other countries.  She wrote back using the word "creepy".

I think to my friend, I am creepy in many ways.   A week or so ago, I was bitching a bit about this unschooling conference.   My friend responded by saying something like, I don't know what awful thing happens in someone's childhood that makes them choose unschooling.

Hello? Excuse me? What are you trying to say? 

My friend couldn't understand why I'd be offended by that.  She was offended that I was offended.

Lesson relearned that day: Don't complain about your life to people who already believe your lifestyle, politics, beliefs, etc. are creepy. You're just adding more fuel to their fire, and they'll be ever so happy to shoot.  

18. Read Andrew's post about HIS Gleeful CD.  He got one too.

What's really great is he got different music than I did. Did Jayne randomly pick music for each person, or did she try to guess what we would like?

Maybe she has some kind of psychic music ability.  She can read someone's blog and know what type of music would appeal to the blogger.  

19. Read Andrew's sad post.   They were at a party, and a child, they didn't even know, came up to apologize to them.  Andrew and his party-mates had no idea what was going on. Later they found out that the child had misbehaved.  One of her punishments was to apologize to everyone at the party.

I'm all for apologies, but I'm not into forced apologies. That's not saying I wouldn't strongly encourage Jack to apologize when he's done something wrong.   But I can't imagine ever forcing him to do a mass apology like that. Why the hell do you need to apologize to people who didn't even know that you misbehaved?

What I want to know is if the parents of that child misbehaved in some way, would they apologize to everyone at the party?

I'm sort of doubting it.  

20. Made a decision; although I might change my mind later.

If (or when) we go to Australia.   I'm going to do what I did in 2009. I'll take notes about our experiences and then write the posts when we get home.

I'll probably end up doing two posts a day, because I'll want to get back to doing these posts. But these posts will probably be much shorter since I'll be busy doing the other posts.

I had been thinking of posting in Australia, but then I was thinking it would be a bad idea. We probably won't have a lot of internet access. During our 2007 and 2009 trips, it was a matter of quickly checking email at internet cafes, restaurants, and holiday park offices. I won't have time to add photos to the post and link to the websites of places we visit.  It would be all too rushed and sloppy. I don't want that.

21. Realized writing two extensive posts a day will be way too much work.

I'll just do the trip reports and skip these list-type posts until I'm done.

If something exciting happens in my current (post-trip life), I'll write an extra post about it. That's what I did last time.

22. Checked the money thing.

The Australian dollar is now worth .99 American dollars. It's gone up since the last time I checked.  

It's worth .64 British pounds. It's gone up a bit there too.

It's worth 6.71 Swedish krona.

I forgot what it was worth in krona's yesterday.

23. Checked my blog post from yesterday. It was worth 6.68 kronas yesterday.

So it's gone up there too.

How about Japanese yen?

It's worth 76.30 Japanese yen.  Yesterday it was worth 78.70.   It's gone down in that regards. Or maybe the Japanese yen has gone up.

I have no idea.  

24. Learned from Google that today is Google's 13th birthday. Happy Birthday, Google!

I use Google a lot in my blogging.  I'm very grateful for it.

25.  Remembered that Blogger is owned by Google. I REALLY need to be grateful.

And I also use Google for my email.

I use Google Maps.

I use Google Calendar.

I use Google news.

I don't often use Google+.

But all in all, I'm totally a Google Girl.

26. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read the continuation of Head, Meet Desk.   This is the story thread with Stewie, Zara, and a dragonfruit.  

27. Started to read.

28. Got the idea that Zara thinks negatively towards lesbians.  Her post talks about Tamarah and says, The things she'd heard about Tamarah were far from kind - that she was some kind of weirdo freak, a lesbian, couldn't pay attention for more than a few seconds, that her skull was as thick as a brick wall, that she didn't take anything seriously... the list went on.

She sees lesbian as an insult.

29. Realized that Tamarah and Zara have the same role-player.

That's pretty funny. 

So Randi (the role-player) has one homosexual character and one homophobic character. That's probably a good brain exercise.

She has other characters too probably, but I can't remember right now.

30.  Continued to read.

Stewie is excited about making a dessert out of the dragonfruit. He doesn't know how to cook, though.  He asks Zara to help him.

31. Got an answer to my question the other day. Why did Zara tell Stewie she heard bad things about his sister?  It seemed like the kind of thing most people would keep quiet.

Here it says...She'd said something bad, hadn't she? All that talk about her sister not being liked at Penrose had upset him maybe. Gods, why had she even opened her mouth? What would possess her to even say such a thing? Maybe subconsciously she'd meant to drive him away, but now that she'd been seen she wouldn't be ignored.

That's a good theory.  Or she could be one of those people who doesn't thinks before she talks.

I do that sometimes.

We all do, probably.  

32. Intrigued by this in Zara's post.

Stewie, however, seemed to have a far more refined culinary mind that hers and proposed putting together the kind of weird things she'd only ever heard of Americans enjoying.

Now I have to go back and read Stewie's post. What did he mention that's American?

Okay. He mentions using dragonfruit as an ice-cream topping; and he mentions fried dragonfruit.

Frying a dragonfruit is a strange idea; but I don't think of it as an American thing. Is it?  Do Americans fry more stuff than other countries?

33. Learned from Lord Wiki that Scotland was the first country to fry a Mars bar.

Maybe they're the frying country.  

34. Finished reading the story thread. There was a big twist at the end.

Zara used to be a boy.

I didn't see that coming.

This girl is interesting.

She sees it in a negative light though.

No... Stewie wouldn't do that, would he? Unless he found out that she used to be a boy, then he might get angry for touching him. Even though he didn't mean it in a birds and the bees way there was still the possibility that he wouldn't like her near him if he knew things.

Why was Zara once a boy?  Why did she change into a girl?  Why does she see lesbianism as a bad thing?

I'm eager to read this girl's biography.

I'm trying to decide if I should start reading it now, or wait until after I get my flu shot.

We're going to leave in about 30 minutes.

I better wait.  Otherwise I'll get all into it, and we'll be late. Then it might be crowded because it will be post-school time.  Plus I want to eat some lunch before we go.

35. Looked up fried banana because Stewie mentioned it.

This website says it's popular in Brazil.  

I assumed when Zara thought of America, she was referring to the United States.  But maybe she meant South America. Maybe they eat a lot of fried stuff.

36. Wondered if any fried foods were invented in Australia.

37. Listened to more Jessica Mauboy music while eating lunch.

38. Returned from getting my shot. Now I'm ready to read about Zara.

I'm excited.

39. Saw that Zara's face claim is Haley Pullos from General Hospital.

She also plays young Melinda on Ghost Whisperer.  I guess that's Jennifer Love Hewitt's character?

Here's an interview with her.



In that interview, Haley LOOKS like Jennifer Love Hewitt. So good casting there.  

40. Learned that Zara is a third year student.

She was born in Melbourne.

She likes brightly colored clothes...despite being shy.

I get the feeling she's the type of person who maybe doesn't want to be shy.

Then again, does any shy person want to be shy?

I hated being shy.  

41. Learned that Zara has multiple personalities; or at least one other personality. Reagen.

Reagen is a boy and evil.

Does she have another personality, like a psychological thing? Or is she possessed?

Is there that much of a difference between the two?

How do they know for sure that people with dissociative identity disorder aren't possessed?

42.  Started to read Zara's history. Maybe I'll get some answers.

There's some great stuff here.

It starts with a woman named Layla. She's a witch, but leaves that all behind. What does she become?  A preacher's wife.

The preacher and the ex-witch had a baby boy named Reagen.

Reagen showed a tendency to like traditionally feminine things. He wanted long hair. He liked playing with dolls.

The ex-witch and the preacher tried to discipline their son into changing. They turned him into an over-obedient and quiet child. 

I guess it didn't work, because at school it became known that Reagen liked girlie things.  He was ridiculed for it. 

Reagen snapped and became a bit scary and evil.  But then that became a second personality.   He buried himself deep into quiet Reagen's little brain. He emerged only when Reagen was asleep.

43. Continued to read.

Marriage problems emerged between the ex-witch and the preacher.

The ex-witch decided to not be so ex anymore. When Reagen received his you're-invited-to-wizarding-school letter, she wanted to let him try out that path.

44.  Read that Reagen admitted his transgender issues to his mother.

It sounds like she was relatively supportive. She at least allowed Zara to take anti-testosterone medicine.

Evil Reagen didn't like it, and fought the whole thing.

45. Saw that things were quite awful for Zara and her mother. They tried to commit suicide together.

Evil Reagen saved them.  Granted he probably did it to save his own behind, but still. He did a good thing.

46. Learned that Zara eventually went into foster care.  Her mother is in a mental institution since she tried to drown her own daughter.  Yeah.  Even if your kid thinks they WANT to die, it's really not okay to murder them.  Parents are the ones who are supposed to talk their kids out of suicide, not help them along.   There might be drastic exceptions to that—parents who euthanize their kids to avoid extreme physical suffering.

Let's say a family is in a war-torn country and soldiers burst into the house.   If the mother believed her children were going to be tortured and raped, she might kill them so they could avoid worse suffering.

I don't know if that actually happens or not. It probably does.I definitely can't judge these parents because I have no idea what I'd do in the same situation.

And I NEVER want to be put to that particular test.

But anyway....depressing topic there.

Back to Zara.

She's had such a bad life. I don't know how anyone could overcome something like that.

Can she ever be healed?

I don't think so. Maybe partially.  But not completely

I had very minor childhood upsets and I still haven't healed completely from those. With that in mind, I can't imagine Zara completely overcoming her problems.

Does anyone overcome their problems though?

Probably not.

Maybe it's enough to just sort-of heal.

47. Decided Reagen is probably more of a psychological thing than a possession thing.

OR maybe all of us are born with more than one spirit/soul.  Maybe for most of us, we have one dominant soul and the other spirits stay quiet.  They just come along for the ride—watching and observing.  Every so often they whisper advice to us, and we assume it's our own thoughts.

But then some people are traumatized. The trauma weakens them, and the other spirits take over.   Maybe sometimes they also invite other new spirits to join in the fun.  

48. Felt sad for Zara because she's afraid to sleep, is tired all the time, and has extremely low self-esteem.

49. Felt hopeful for Zara because there're nice kids at Tallygarunga.  They might help her. There're also other emotionally damaged kids. Maybe they could all provide some type of support for each other.

Could Améa and Zara help each other at all?  Or would their interactions cause further damage to one or both of them?

50. Had an idea.  Reagen can become friends with Zane. Then they could get in a fight and kill each other.  Well, in Reagen's case, I mean a murder of spirit, not body.    

Améa might be mad though, since she has a thing for Zane. 

51. Had a maybe-brilliant solution to my blogging dilemma.

Maybe I can combine the trip report posts with these type of posts.

Would that work?

I just like using this format. I'll miss writing these type of posts.

I like recording all my Australia-related things in this list type way.     

Maybe I'll go back to my original plan of posting these types of posts while in Australia.  It'll be more timely that way.

I probably can manage inserting photos.   It might be hard for me to do the links. But if people are really interested, they can Google for the website themselves.   Then later I can add links if I remember.  

52. Wanted to say that I DO understand I'm pathetic for worrying about this so far ahead of time.   And it's such a trivial thing to worry about...at least compared to what Zara has had to endure.  

53. Thought about the one major problem of writing posts like this while in Australia.

See, I have mentally conditioned myself to feel compelled to write down anything that happens to me Australia-related.

Fortunately, I am able to resist once in awhile.

For example:

I had Australia-related conversations this weekend I didn't write down.

Tim told me he watched an Australian movie last night.I didn't write that down (although I am writing it down now).  

I CAN manage to keep some Australia-related stuff to myself...at least temporarily.

I'm not a complete nut case yet.   

If I lose this minor amount of self-censorship, I'll end up with epic long posts.  

EVERYTHING I do in Australia will be Australia-related—including using Australian toilets and tripping on Australian sidewalks. I'm going to have to tell myself that I must not write it all down.

54. Continued to feel conflicted because I also loved my 2009 trip reports.

But it was kind of a fluke that I was able to remember things so well. It was almost eerie.   I guess my notes were good enough to trigger memories. And Jack and Tim (especially Jack) helped fill in some of the holes.

I think my memory has gotten worse since then. I'm kind of worried I'll forget too much stuff before we even get home.

55. Remembered my memory was pretty bad at that time too.  There was the incident where the old woman told me the name of her convict ancestor.   I was so excited and committed it to memory so I could google it later. Then I had to bend my body in order to not bump my head in the Endeavor ship thing.    I think contorting my body like that caused me brain issues. After we got out, I couldn't remember the name of the ancestor.  It was weird because usually I'm able to remember things if I put my mind to it.   Or at least I was okay with that in the past.

Maybe my memory problems were caused by The Australian National Maritime Museum. Maybe the ghost of Captain James Cook sucked out some of my brain.

56. Decided I should NOT write posts while in Australia.

It will take up too much of my time.  Not only will I spend too much time in the room writing, I'll also feel compelled to read stuff.   I'd feel too rude posting posts but not reading other people's posts.

I don't want so spend a huge chunk of my holiday reading and writing.   

57. Decided to go back to my plan of writing two posts a day, once we return.   But I'll chop out some of my Australia-related activities, and return to them when I'm done with the trip reports. 

I'll cut out the Australian of the Day thing.   I won't stalk any Flickr accounts.   I'll definitely go back to reading Tallygarunga stories. I don't want to get too far behind.  But I'll take a break from reading Tally biographies.

58. Saw that my Australian of the day is Hugh Thomas Moffitt Angwin.

There's a picture of him on the Australian Dictionary of Biography. He looks like someone.  I'm not sure who.   Maybe Guy Pearce...sort of.

Or maybe he looks like a certain American newscaster. I forgot his name.

59. Consulted Lord Wiki.   He says the name of the guy I'm talking about is Brian Williams.

I think if Brian Williams made babies with Guy Pearce, the result would be Hugh Thomas Moffitt Angwin. 

60. Learned that Angwin was born in Angastan, South Australia.   Maybe that's near Broken Hill.   I say that, because that's where Angwin attended school. Or his family might have just relocated.

61. Saw from Google Maps that Angastan is 5 hours away from Broken Hill.   

62. Got idea that Angwin had one of those childhoods where you move around a lot. For secondary school, he was in Adelaide.  He attended Prince Alfred College.

I think that's where Lionel Logue went to school.

Yep....

Lord Wiki confirms that.

Logue was eight years older than Angwin, so they wouldn't have been there at the same time.  

63. Learned that, in his adult years, Angwin did engineering work.   He worked on pipeline projects and sewer stuff.

64. Decided that I'm totally okay with being labeled weird. I'm very much not okay with being labeled creepy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Short Visits, Blog Reading, Leadership Confusion, and Tasmanian Devils

1. Had dream about Australia.

In the first, I fly to Australia alone to attend an event for sick children.  It takes place in a house that I sort of recognize. I start thinking it's Tracey's house.  

I feel weird about being there, and nervous that Tracey will come home and see me.  I don't know how she'll react.  Will she be happy to see me?  Will she dread seeing me?  Will she be happy I'm there, but annoyed I didn't tell her I was coming. And what do I say when she sees me—Surprise?!

Later: I'm home from Australia and ashamed for paying all that money to go on such a short trip.   Plus, I'm embarrassed that we're soon going to be returning.  On the positive side, I'm thinking at least I went alone and had to pay for only one plane fare.  

Then I realize it was a dream (dream within dream here) and I never went to Australia.  I feel relieved about that.  Yet I also still feel ashamed because I feel the decision to go reflects what I would have done in real life.   

2. Had another dream about Australia....

Tim and I are on some large transportation device with a bunch of Australians.  We're all going on some kind of field trip.  I'm thinking we're headed to Western Australia— somewhere around the Perth area.  To get there, though, we have to go to three other cities around the world. I assume this was done so the tickets would be cheaper.    

We pass through a European city.  I think Prague?  We get to see a bunch of it from our vehicle.I'm overexcited about being there and get all emotional.

I overhear people talking about us heading to north-west Australia, to a place they call Pearl City.  I'm thinking they mean Broome, and realize we may be going there instead of the near-Perth place.   I'm fine with this—excited about going to Broome.  

2. Went to look at the Australian dollar.

Right now it's worth .97 American dollars.  That's a little less than the last time I checked.

It's worth .63 British pounds. I think that's the same as yesterday.

It's worth 6.68 Swedish Krona. I'm pretty sure that's the same as yesterday.  I'll check in a second.

It's worth 6.27 Chinese Yuan.

3. Checked my blog post from yesterday and compared it to today's conversions.

The Australian dollar has gone down in terms of the Swedish Krona. It's gone up in Chinese Yuan.

4. Saw that today is Andrew's 7th blogiversary. 

He talks about blogging in his celebratory post.  One of the things he says is Some blogs bore me. Some I read from a sense of duty, but most blogs I read, I do so with great pleasure and interest.

I try not to read blogs out of duty.  I sometimes do though.

Maybe I should say, I try not to spend too much time reading blogs I really don't want to read.

At the same time, I wouldn't want people to spend too much time on my blog if they didn't truly like it.

I used to be active on Livejournal and there was that sense of, I'll read all your entries if you read all of mine.   It was that whole exchange thing.  It's lovely...in a way.  But then I ended up having to read stuff that didn't interest me, and I had some people reading my stuff only because they felt they had to.

I don't really like that.

 I don't think blog reading needs to be 100% reciprocal.  Maybe 90% is good enough for me.  I'd feel very weird if someone read my blog on a regular basis, and I rarely read theirs. I also wouldn't want to spend a lot of time reading blogs in which the blogger rarely or never visits my blog.

I don't think there're any blog in which I read every single post.  There's a few blogs in which I read most posts.  Then there's other blogs on my following-list that I read only when it looks particularly interesting to me.  

5. Wanted to add that because I don't have commenting, it's sometimes hard for me to know who's reading my blog.  I can tell some things with Statcounter.

But.....

There might be people who read my blog who have a blog, but I don't know about their blog.

Sometimes they'll email me and I'll learn about their blog that way.  Other times, they come to my blog through their blog, and that shows up on Statcounter.  Then sometimes I'll see someone new has started to follow my blog.   If I click on their little icon picture, sometimes it will lead to their blog, if they have one.  

But anyway, if you read my blog and I don't know about your blog, please email me at notreallyaustralian@gmail.com  (if you want me to read your blog). 

6. Read article about the Julia Gillard situation.  There've been rumors that she's going to lose leadership of the Labor Party, and that it might go back to Kevin Rudd.

The article says Ministers in the Labor Party are denying the rumors; and they're speaking out in support of Gillard.

Wayne Swan says the rumors were started by the Liberal Party.

Is that true?

I don't know.

Is it true that Julia Gillard's going to continue on as Labor leader?

Maybe or maybe not.

I guess I'll just continue to watch and see.

7. Saw that Wayne Swan came to America and did a speech at the Harvard Club about financial issues.

The headline of the article says that Swan warned against political games. I wondered what was meant by that.

My guess now (from the context) is that he's talking about the Republicans.

He says, Too often in recent months political sand has been thrown in the economic gears of the world. We don't have the luxury of playing political games with so many jobs at stake.

Maybe he's not saying what I think he's saying.  I could be just reading into it—seeing what I want to see.


But I think it's a miracle for Obama to get anything done. There's so much hatred from the Republicans.  It's really one of those things where if he says the sky is blue, the Republicans will scream that it's pink.

No matter what Obama does, the Republicans will complain; well, at least the Republicans I know.

This weekend I learned American leaders should never apologize to any other country—not even hint towards an apology. Why?  Because we're the best and most powerful country in the world. How dare we show weakness?! 

Personally I admire people, companies, and countries that can admit their mistakes and apologize.

Those who avoid apologies aren't perfect. They're just arrogant.

Anyway, I hope there were some non-arrogant Americans at the Harvard Club. If they've gotten past the idea that America is the best country in the world, they might manage to learn something from Swan.

8. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Ahoy, Matey!

It has two first year students in it—Camryn Adiarte and Thatcher Hyland.

The story takes place on the grounds of Tallygarunga.

9. Started to read.

It's the afternoon of Wednesday,  August 17.

I'm flipping back in time here......

Camryn is happy because she now has her own little circle of friends.  This includes herself, Thatcher, and Ella.

Or actually...maybe it would be a triangle of friends?  Three might not be enough to equal a circle of friends.

I read part of the story where Camryn met Ella and Thatcher.   I think maybe Camryn tripped on her shoelaces?

I'm not 100% confident about that memory.

10. Saw that Camryn has climbed a tree she discovered with Ella and Thatcher.

She's a bit weary because she once injured herself in a tree-climbing injury.  Despite that though, she climbs the tree anyway.  It's pretty brave of her.

11. Saw that Thatcher found Camryn.  They're going to play on the tree together.

12. Finished reading the story.  Thatcher departs from his usual desire to be the hero.  He takes on the role of villain instead.  Startled by his voice, Camryn falls to the ground.    She brushes herself off, informs Thatcher that she's okay, and then pretends to defend herself with a sword.

13. Realized that story thread was a role-play about role-playing.

14. Saw that my Australian of the day is William Angus.  

I don't think he's related to the other Angus men I've read about recently.

15. Saw that William Angus was born in Scotland in 1871.

In his early 30's Angus came to South Australia to be a professor of Agriculture. That's what he studied back in the UK.

After awhile, Angus became secretary to the Minister of Agriculture.

Angus was into scientific farming and helped with the development of experimental farms.

16. Learned that Angus was disliked by some. They thought he lacked tact, and they also thought he was bad at sharing responsibilities.   I guess he was one of those who'd rather do the work themselves.

Working with others is hard. On one end of the spectrum, you have those who refuse to pull their own weight.  They want a paycheck, good grades, good results, etc. without doing any work.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the controlling people. They want to work alone so they don't have to deal with input from others.  I fall right in the middle. I'm very good at working with other people.

I'm joking.

I'm not that good at working with other people.

I would probably land more on the controlling side of the spectrum.

Well, actually it depends on the job or project.   If it's something close to my heart, I'd much rather work alone.  Too much input from others would drive me nuts.  For example, I'd hate it if I had to write this blog with a partner, or if it was a group project. I'd be happy with a guest post here and there.  Besides that, this blog is MINE MINE MINE.  

With other stuff, such as cleaning, I'm fine working with a group.   I do my part and am glad to see other people doing their part.  

Then there're things that I'm not good at.  I usually refrain from doing the work unless someone asks, or I feel there's a huge need for me to help.  An example of that would be cooking. For the most part, I stay out of it.

17. Received an email suggesting I should look at the Japanese yen rather than the Chinese yuan.   I'm too ignorant to argue against that, so I guess I'll go ahead and take that advice.

So....one Australian dollar equals 78.70 Yen.

I'll check again tomorrow to see if it changes.

18. Went to Tori's YouTube channel.  

She's another Australian singer.

Here's her cover of "In the Arms of the Angel".



It's not absolutely fantastic.  But I think she does a pretty good job.

I especially like her singing at 1:31-1:37.

19. Tried to listen for Tori's Australian accent.

I can hear it a little bit when she says "here".

20. Watched Tori sing a cover of "Time After Time" while house-sitting in her pajamas.



Here, I think she actually is a bit fantastic.

Her version has some variation from the Cyndi Lauper one.  I don't know if Tori invented that on her own, or if she's doing a cover of a cover.   If she made the changes on her own, I'm especially impressed. I prefer covers that add something different to the song.

21. Read article that says as the dollar goes down petrol prices are going to go up.

I'd like to imagine that only applies to cars, but I'm doubting that's true.

So all this time I've been wishing for the dollar to go down.  Maybe I wished for the wrong thing.

Now the plane fares might be higher.

We might save on food and lodging.  Or will they raise the prices?   I don't know.  Did anyone lower prices when the dollar went up?  From what I was seeing, it didn't seem like it.

22. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Tasmanian devil. As I mentioned yesterday, the animals featured in Dining with Devils.

The book made me curious, so now I'm going to do some learning.

23. Started to read.

Lord Wiki says the Tasmanian devil smells bad and is very loud.

It has the the strongest bite of any mammal.  Ouch.


Discover Magazine says the strongest bite award, in the category for all animals, goes to the Great White Shark. 

24. Learned that the Tasmanian devil can climb trees and cross rivers.   So if you think you can escape one by being like Camryn and climbing a tree, think again.   Although I'm not sure that Tasmanian devils go after humans on a regular basis.

25. Learned that it's believed the Tasmanian devil disappeared from the mainland 3000 years ago.  Dingoes are often blamed for that.

26.  Learned about the sexual life of the Tasmanian devil. The males fight each other for the females. Then once they have a partner, the males will guard the female—try to prevent her from cheating on him.

Pregnancy of Tasmanian devils last about three weeks. Then the mommy devil gives birth to 20-30 babies.  Wow. I wouldn't have expected that.

Many of the babies don't survive because the mommy devil has only four nipples in her pouch.

 It's really a case of survival of the fittest.

27. Read about why Tasmanian devils are endangered.   First there's the facial tumor problem that's been plaguing them.  I've heard about that before. They're also being killed by foxes, and they get hit by cars.   As I learned from Dining with Devils,  the Tasmanian devil is one of nature's garbage men—like the vulture. So they'll be on the road eating roadkill; then a car will come along and the Tasmanian devil will become roadkill too.

28. Learned that at one time, explorers in Tasmania called the Tasmanian Devil "Beelzebub's Pup".

29. Learned that the Tasmanian devil belongs to the animal family Dasyuridae.   

Another animal in that group is the Quoll. They're carnivorous too. 

30. Learned from Lord Wiki that it's believed marsupials originated millions of years ago in South America.  Then they built canoes and rowed over to Australia.  As they rowed they all sang "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport".



Well, actually this was back when South America was connected to Australia.   It was all one big place called Gondwana.  The animals didn't have to cross the sea.  

31. Learned that Tasmanian devils in the wild don't live long. Their life span is about five years.

How about those in captivity?

32. Saw that the San Diego Zoo website disagrees with Lord Wiki.  They think the lifespan of Tasmanian devils in the wild is seven to eight years.

33. Wondered if the San Diego Zoo has Tasmanian Devils.   I read yesterday there're not many zoos outside Australia that have them.  But there might be a few.

34. Saw article that says in the summer of 2008, the Albuquerque zoo had Tasmanian Devils; or at least they were preparing to have them. 

The headlines say they were the only zoo in North America to have them.

35. Learned that their tails are important to Tasmanian devils.  It plays a part in their social behavior and movement.

The tail is also the place that creates their pungent odor.

36. Learned that the Tasmanian devil can see moving objects better than stationary ones.

Isn't that what's believed about the T-Rex? Or was that just made up for Jurassic Park

Well, this website says it's probably not true.  I'm not sure if it was made up for the movie, or if certain scientists actually believed it.  

37. Learned that the Tasmanian devil is nocturnal and crepuscular. The latter is a new term for me.   It means the animal is most active at dusk and dawn.  

Lord Wiki lists other crepuscular animals. These include cats, dogs, rabbits, deer, skunks, bobcats, beetles, flies, etc.

I think sharks may be included too.  Or maybe they're just more likely to seek their dinner at that time.

And what about mosquitoes? I've heard you're more likely to be bitten at dusk than late at night.

38. Learned that young Tasmanian devils are more likely to be able to climb trees than bigger and older ones.

39.  Learned that Tasmanian devils live in dens, and sometimes they'll steal pillows, blankets, clothes etc. for their dens.

Really?

That's cute.

40. Learned Tasmanian devils sometimes eat live prey, but they usually eat animals already dead. 

Their favorite food is usually the wombat.  

41. Felt sad for sheep.  Lord Wiki says they'll sometimes get their legs stuck in something.   They can't move, and the Tasmanian Devil will come along and munch of their legs.

Yuck and ouch.  

42.  Learned farmers are sometimes grateful to Tasmanian devils.  The devils will devour a whole dead animal.  Then the farmer has less to worry about in terms of clean up.  If the animal isn't cleaned up promptly, it could attract insects, and the insects can cause harm to the livestock.

So sometimes Tasmanian devils are helpful on the farm, and other times they cause massive sheep leg pain.

43. Learned that the Tasmanian devils share their food—at least with other devils.  They're not so nice about sharing with quolls.

44. Learned that the Tasmanian devil has big poop for it's body size.

45. Found a website where you can buy Tasmanian devil poop paperweights.  

46. Learned that if you want to see Tasmanian devil's having sex, it's best to look for that between February and June.

47.  Read that it's believed Tasmanian devil populations have been reduced by 80%.

48. Learned that the cancer affecting the devils is contagious.  I guess that makes sense. Why else would it be causing reductions in population? I just don't usually think of cancer as being contagious.

49. Read on the American Cancer Society website that there's no evidence of human cancers being contagious.

HOWEVER, some contagious viruses increase the chances of getting certain cancers.  These include the HPV virus,  the Epstein-Barr virus, and the HIV virus.

50. Read about Tasmanian devils in captivity.  Lord Wiki says the only zoo outside of Australia to have them now is Copenhagen.

51. Went downstairs soon after researching about contagious viruses making people more likely to get cancer.  The TV was on in the den, and Tim was watching Bill Maher. They were making fun of someone who said they "caught cancer".

I doubt the person was implying that cancer is communicable. I think they were just exchanging the word "got" with "caught".

Anyway, I thought the cancer-contagious thing was an interesting case of synchronocity.   

52. Saw article saying that Kevin Rudd accidentally called himself Prime Minister rather than Foreign Minister.

That's understandable.   He once was Prime Minister.  He probably got used to referring to himself as that.  Plus there's all this talk of him being Prime Minister again.   It probably messed with his head.