Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Something, Something, Something, and Something

1. Amused by these lines from Australia: Its History and Present Condition (1843).

It can be no subject of surprise that the various tribes of Australia, living in a wild country, and blessed with no clear adequate ideas of their Maker, should be exceedingly superstitious, as well as ignorant and simple.   

Why is it not ignorant, simple, and superstitious to believe we were all created by a supernatural "Maker"?

Personally, I don't think any of it is simple and ignorant.  I have nothing against beliefs in the supernatural. I have them myself.  I just don't see how people can belittle some supernatural beliefs while having no doubts about their own. 

2. Impressed by the conclusion of the Evil Genius trilogy.

I won't say much, although I want to.  

3. Excited!  I finished looking for Australian books on Powells.  Now I'm looking for zombie books.

AND....

I found an Australian zombie series!! The author is a guy named James Harden. Here's his blog.

Well, I think it's really just his promotional website, and he used Blogger to build it.

Anyway, the book's not at Powells. I'm going to download it from Amazon.

I'm so excited.  Did I mention that?

4. Planned to order another Australia zombie book.   It's been in my Powells shopping cart, along with a lot of other stuff. 

It's a handbook thing and not a novel.

It's not used and it's not cheap.

But how could I resist it?  

5. Noticed while providing the link that it's much cheaper for me to buy that book via Kindle too.   And it's better for the trees. I'll take that off my Powells list.

That's good because I want money left on my Powells account.   I ordered some first books of series.  I figured I'd read one; then order more if I like it.   Also, if I really like an author, it will be nice to have enough credit left to buy more of that author's books later.

6. Watched Modern Family. It was their Christmas episode. And the show did it's job. I was all teary at the end.

Then later I was thinking about the show.

And I got some insight into my blogging issue. The thing is, I'm a Cam.  And it seems most of my readers are like Jay.

No, I'm not saying that I'm gay and my readers are all married to a hot Colombian woman.

What I mean is I'm emotional and I reach out.  I pour my little heart out. I'm demonstrative. 

Most of my readers are very reserved. Or at least they're very reserved when it comes to my blog.   

What should be done when that happens?

Unfortunately, Modern Family didn't really provide a solution. They might...for the series finale.   Hopefully that won't come overly soon.

I guess it's best to just accept that what it is is what it is.

I'll keep being Cam. Most of my readers will keep on acting like Jay.

Sometimes I'll have a reader who acts like Manny, Luke, Phil, or Gloria. And I'll enjoy those moments of warmth

7. Frustrated because my internet is acting crazy. It keeps turning off.

Also when I go to my blog, the YouTube videos automatically start playing.

I'm taking that as a sign that I need to go on another blogging break.

I just went to my online Tarot Card place.  That place rarely provides me with anything that makes sense.   But they have a yes/no reading. I figured that would be straight forward.  Okay, because I'm kind of feeling confused and desperate. I need guidance.

Yeah.  No such luck.

My card said MAYBE.

Maybe?  Maybe!

Thanks a lot for your help, Tarot Cards.

I kept asking the question over and over. I kept getting maybe.

Finally I got a yes.

None of that matters, though.

What matters is that I desperately WANTED the Tarot cards to say yes.

I've been thinking about taking a break, but was going to wait a few weeks.

I really want a break.  I feel conflicted about it, though, because I just took a break.  

But I'm feeling disgruntled...obviously.

I don't like that I'm acting so disgruntled.

Maybe if I take some days off, I'll feel refreshed, and less whiny.

Well, no that's doubtful.

When I get back,  I'll probably still be disgruntled and whiny.

I'll still be a Cam.  Most of you will still be Phil. We'll continue that dance.

And I'll get back to my Flickr stalking, my dead Australians of the day, my weird ramblings, the trivia quizzes, and the wonderful wizards of OZ (...and witches, half-fairies, half-giants, etc.)

In the meantime, I wish all of you happiness, joy, peace, good health, exciting dreams, safety, lots of silly fun moments, and lots of belly laughs.

I love you guys.   I'll miss you guys.

I'll see ya soon.

Love, Servants, Noodles, and Young Adult Novel Characters

1. Looked for more Australian authors and books with Lord Wiki's help.  I found an author named Les Haylen.  He was also a Member of Parliament.

Lord Wiki has a picture of Haylen.  I think he sort of looks like Geoffrey Rush.  

2. Learned from Lord Wiki that an Australian author named Antoni Jach wrote a novel called Dina Club.

It's unpublished though.

Why would Lord Wiki list an unpublished novel?

2. Realized that maybe Antoni Jach has only one unpublished novel, and that's why it's significant.

It's strange to me, because I have MANY unpublished novels.

3. Looked up Dyna Vox.  It's talked about in The Genius Wars. A character with cerebral palsy uses it to communicate.

I was wondering if it was a real thing, or if it was made up for the novel.

It turns out it's real. Here's the DynaVox website.

4. Read article that says a study has shown abused mothers are more likely to suffer postpartum depression.  

It seems kind of obvious to me.   I think it's reasonable to expect that if you're being abused by your spouse, you're not going to be full of joy.

What would surprise me is an abused mother who manages to not be depressed? How would she manage to do that?

I guess she'd have to have a ton of inner strength.  

5. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm reading another story about Frankie Dean. I promise I'm not TRYING to stalk the celebrity wizard.  

When I go to Tallygarunga I read the story with the most recent update.  The exception is if I read the same story the day before.  I did read a Frankie story yesterday, but it was a different one.

Now there's a new one.  It's called.   Wait, They Don't Love You Like I Love You.

That kind of statement is actually one of my pet peeves. I think it's fine to tell someone you love them the most, as in out of everyone in the world, you're my favorite person. That's sweet.   It's a compliment.

If someone says they love you the most, as in no one loves you as much as I love you, it's presumptuous.   And it's kind of an insult.  

I think it's also controlling.  Maybe I read too much into it.  But I interpret it as saying, You're not worth much, but I manage to love you.  Don't expect anyone else to do you the same favor.  

Enough about that, though.

Let me go read the story.

6. Started to read.

It's the evening of December 2.  That's three days after Frankie and Ro were walking on Santa Monica Pier.

Frankie is at Dave's wake.  Dave is his best friend, and his sister's secret boyfriend.

7. Saw that Ro is at the wake too.  Poor Ro. Maybe the title refers to her feelings. It might not be about her thinking she loves Dave MORE than any of the others....just differently.   She loved him in a romantic way.

That too could be presumptuous though. Someone else might have secretly loved Dave in a romantic way.  It might have been an unrequited love type thing, but still....

Unrequited love can be very powerful.

8. Saw that my Australian of the day is Frederick Armitage. He was a priest and headmaster type person.

9. Learned that Armitage was born in England in 1827.

In his late twenties he migrated to Sydney to take up the headmaster post at The King's School in Parramatta.  

Lord Wiki says The King's School is Australia's oldest school. It was founded in 1831.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography believes that Armitage probably had a good source of private funds.  He personally paid for building improvements.

10. Learned that Armitage had to take time off as headmaster because his wife was ill.  It was nice of him to do that for her.

11. Saw that the school didn't do well in Armitage's absence.  I guess he was good at being a headmaster, but not so good at finding a reliable replacement.

The school's enrollment shrunk and then closed for awhile. It reopened in 1869.

12. Saw that the Australian Dictionary of Biography thinks other things also contributed to the closing of the school.   They believe the lack of financial support might have caused issues. Other people believed Armitage lacked discipline.

I'm not sure what is meant by that.  Were the students not given enough discipline? Or is it that Armitage lacked self-discipline as a headmaster?

13. Read what Lord Wiki has to say about the issue. He says the discipline refers to Armitage not having the discipline to stay on as headmaster.

So it's undisciplined to leave and take care of an ill family member?

Well...actually it could be.

I think my first impulse is to think, What a nice husband!  He leaves his job to take care of his wife.

And there's every possibility that this is what happened. Armitage could have been a man who chose family over work.  That's admirable.

On the other hand, he could have been the type of man who uses heart-tugging excuses to get out of something he no longer wants to do.  His wife might have been truly sick.  But maybe she was okay enough that Armitage could have worked, and then taken care of her after he came home for the evening.

The other thing is.  Armitage didn't just leave for his wife.  He left to get another degree. He could have probably worked and taken care of a sick wife.  Working, going to school, and taking care of a sick wife might have been a different story.

The guy had money, though.  He probably didn't need the job.   It was probably fine for him to dedicate more time to family and studies.   I'm just wondering if he really DID want to take care of his wife, or was that just a way to bring admiration and sympathy towards himself.  

I'm getting all these crazy ideas from the manipulation stuff I read last week.   Here's a quote from one of the articlesPlaying the Servant Role Covert-aggressives use this tactic to cloak their self-serving agendas in the guise of service to a more noble cause. It's a common tactic but difficult to recognize. By pretending to be working hard on someone else's behalf, covert-aggressives conceal their own ambition, desire for power, and quest for a position of dominance over others.

An example would be someone who says, Sorry I can't come into work today.   I'm visiting my sick sister in the hospital.  She has cancer.   The sister really does have cancer. The employee really does go visit her.   But she sits in the hospital room absorbed in the novel she's eager to finish. She barely talks to her bored and lonely sick sister.  She used her sister as an excuse to get off work, so she could read her book.  

Hopefully Armitage wasn't like that.  Hopefully he really was a family-oriented man.

14. Started to look at Fredweng's day twelve in Australia Flickr set.  

15. Decided Fredweng usually has noodles for breakfast.  Here's one example

16. Saw that Fredweng probably woke up early to see the sunrise.  

17. Saw that Fredweng traveled back to Hobart.   It's probably where he needs to catch his flight back to the mainland.  He's going back to New Holland. 

18. Wondered about Fredweng's lunch. What is that?   It's the color of Vegemite; but I don't think Vegemite is that clumpy.

Maybe it's some kind of jam?   

19. Saw that Fredweng ate more noodles.  Really.  He eats them a lot.  

Maybe it's because they're cheap and easy.

20.  Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to take a quiz called Australia Unearthed.   The quiz description confused me and I thought of skipping it.  But then I decided to look at the first question.   It's a fun thing. The idea is that you've come from the future and you're uncovering artifacts from our present.  

21. Got question #2 wrong and learned there's a non-alcoholic drink in Australia called Claytons.

Lord Wiki says the Clayton bottle looks like whiskey.  

The quiz and Lord Wiki says the word Clayton is now used in Australia to refer to something that's fake or a bad substitute.

22. Confused by question #4.  It's something about a kangaroo named Matilda, and the 2000 Olympics.   Maybe Matilda was some kind of mascot?  I think I sort of remember reading about a kangaroo and The Olympics.

23. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He doesn't say anything about Matilda at The Olympics.  But he does say there was a mechanical Matilda kangaroo at the 1982 Commonwealth Games. 

24. Got question #7 wrong and learned that Australia has a special flag to commemorate winning the American Cup.  

This flag website has a picture of the flag.   It features a boxing kangaroo.  

25. Got question #8 wrong.  It was about cars.  I chose Holden, just because that's the only Australian car I know.

The answer was Falcon.

26. Got the 10th question wrong.  It was about Kath and Kim.

All together I got 5/10 right.   That's kind of sad. The average was 7/10.    

27. Watched a lovely and powerful video from the Australia Red Cross about using negative terms to label people. 



It was on my recommended video things. 

I like having videos recommended to me.

Sometimes I find good things that way.

28. Continued reading Genius Wars.  It's great, very fast-paced.  It probably deserves as much attention as other more popular young adult series. 

29. Looked at the Amazon sales rank for the first book in the series. The paperback ranking is 76,488.   That's pretty low.

In comparison, The Hunger Games is number 6!  There's such a difference.

I think both series are fantastic.   I don't think The Hunger Games is much better than Evil Genius

It's interesting that one book is so much more popular than the other.  

30. Decided that although I loved The Hunger Games trilogy; I MUCH prefer the protagonist of the Evil Genius trilogy.   Katniss Everdeen got on my nerves.  

It's funny how people react differently to these overly popular characters.  I know a lot of people hate Bella Swan.   I didn't mind her too much.  On the surface, she can seem shallow....well, because she fell in love with a guy who's very nice-looking and very wealthy.   But I interpret it as she fell in love, and the guy happened to be very nice-looking and wealthy.  I don't think his wealth was very important to her.

Her attachment to youth is a bit annoying, but I won't fault her too much on that.  

I like Harry Potter. I don't think there's anything about him that annoys me much. 

31. Ranked the four book series in my head.

On top, I definitely put Harry Potter.

Next would be Twilight.

Third would be the Genius thing.

Last would be The Hunger Games.    I do think The Hunger Games was addictive and engaging.  I definitely enjoyed it.  It has some powerful political statements.   But of all the books, it annoyed me the most.  There were too many times that I knew or understood something before Katniss.   Either I'm very smart, Katniss is sort of dumb, or the author was dropping too many obvious hints.   

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

William Pridden, Western Tasmania, Broken Hill, and Arkaroola

1. Asked Lord Wiki to help me find more Australian books to order.

2. Found an Australian author who had the same birthday as me—Jon Cleary.

He wrote a lot of books.  

I'm going to order one of them.  

3. Ordered a book by Andrew Denton's father.  Kit Denton.

The book is Breaker, and it's about Breaker Morant. 

4. Went to bed and had lots of dreams.  In one: I have a memory of sitting at a table with Julian McMahon.   My sister-in-law and her husband were there too.   I think back to it and feel I didn't appreciate the moment enough.  I was too shocked, maybe?   But also, I had been very distracted by other things.   

I also dreamed about lots of cats, and I dreamed about political discussions.

5. Found an old dream about Thaao Penghlis. It's from October 26, 2007. Back then I didn't know he was Australian.

Days of our Lives stuff too. Maybe Sammy? And Tony DiMera. I have a small crush on him, and I'm thinking I like the actor when he plays someone good. I never liked him when he was bad.

I did know back then that Thaao Penghlis played Tony DiMera. I was probably just too lazy to try and spell the name.

Now that I think of it, though.  I agree with my dream-self.  I much preferred good Tony vs. creepy bad Tony (who was usually really Andre DiMera).

6. Wondered. Do I not like bad people in general?   I mean of course I don't like bad people.  But do I also not like the fictional villains?  Do I want everyone to be good?

No. 

Some villains can be very intriguing.  I had a thing for Bellatrix last year. I may have liked her more for her looks and charisma, though, and less for her story and actions.

Maybe I'm not a big villain fan.  But what I do love is the bad guys who turn good, like Julian McMahon's character on Charmed.  And I totally love Ben on Lost. 

I think sometimes Stefano on Days of our Our Lives (Tony's uncle)  has shown a soft side, and I think I liked that.  

I loved Hannibal Lector, but not for his evilness. I liked the idea that he had a soft spot for Clarice Starling.  

7. Impressed somewhat with how the author William Pridden writes about Aboriginal Australians in his book Australia, It's History and Present Condition (1843).  The book was written over 150 years ago.  As I'd expect, there's racism, ethnocentrism, and condescending attitudes.  Pridden definitely sees Christian culture as the correct culture, and the natives as unfortunate savages.  That's for the most part.  But he DOES try to understand their culture, and he does show some respect for them.

I like this passage.  It comes after Pridden has described the brutal murder of a native child by another tribe.

Pridden says:

But while we justly condemn and pity and cruel and cowardly acts of this description, which, unhappily, too often figures among the deeds of the natives of the Australian Bush, we are by no means to suppose them wanting in all feelings of kindness and humanity, still less would it be correct to consider them deficient in true courage.  Every allowance ought to be made for the disadvantages of savage life, for the complete ignorance of these people, for the difficulty which they frequently have in procuring necessary food, and for the consequent cheapness in which life is held among them; and then these and other arguments are duly weighed, we may learn not to abominate less the crimes of savages,  but to pity more the unhappy being who commit them.   Indeed if we go somewhat further, we may take shame to ourselves and to all civilized nations, in many of whose practices a counterpart may be found for the worst sins of the uncultivated, uncivilized heathens. 

What Pridden says is definitely ethnocentric.  Pity those who are not cultured as we are.   You're either a civilized Christian or a savage heathen.  But I think Pidden is trying to open the minds of his readers.  He's trying to get them to understand that although tribal violence occurs, it doesn't mean the native Australians are horrible.   He also reminds his readers, at the end of the passage, that so-called civilized nations also commit acts of brutality.  

8. Went to Tallygarunga.

I lurked in the chatroom for a moment and saw something about someone's health that made me anxious.  HOPEFULLY, everything will be okay.

Anyway.....

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Everything That's Old Is New Again.

It's about Frankie Dean and Marilyn (Ro) Dean in America.  It's a continuation of the other story, Crawl Home.

9. Started to read.

10. Decided I should go back and read the final posts in "Crawl Home" first. 

11. Learned that Frankie Dean's girlfriend gave birth to Frankie's baby.  Or did I already know that?  

Ro doesn't know.  She doesn't even know that Frankie had a girlfriend. And Frankie doesn't know that Ro was dating his best friend.    So many secrets.....

12. Saw that Frankie has the same thoughts as I did about the cigarette packs in Australia.  His post says, They got those ugly warnings on packs in Australia," Frankie tutted. "'Smoking causes cancer', all that. Words are bad enough, now they add pictures of diseased lungs and crap. Kind of makes me want to collect them all, like kids do with Pokemon cards or something."

I think they have a few packs that are more sad than gruesome.  But some of the other packs remind me of Garbage Pail Kids type things.  I can totally imagine people collecting them, especially tourists from overseas.

13.  Saw that Frankie wants to help his sister escape. Well, I knew that was coming, because I started reading the other story and it mentions that Frankie had assisted Ro in escaping.

Anyway, I liked that he helped her get out of the hospital.  The hospital's goal is to prevent Ro from killing herself.  What Frankie is doing is getting Ro to not WANT to commit suicide.  I think there's a big difference.

Our society puts so much energy into trying to prevent suicide.   I think we'd be much better off if we put more energy into treating people better in general.  If we were all more compassionate towards each other, I think there'd be much less people wanting to kill themselves.

14. Finished reading the old thread, and now I'll read the new one.

Ro has been an escapee for two days.  She and her brother are walking down Santa Monica Pier.  I've been there once...maybe twice.

15. Learned that Frankie doesn't like the ocean.

16. Saw that Frankie might want some fish and chips, but assumes they won't have it in America.

I would think they might.  Los Angeles has a large international community.

If not, he can apparate himself over to Disney World.  Epcot World Showcase has Fish and Chips.  

17. Found a fish and chips shop in Santa Monica.  The business is called H. Salt Fish and Chips, and was started by a British guy who came to the United States in 1965.

18. Saw that H Salt Fish and Chips is a chain restaurant.    There's many locations for Frankie to choose from.  I can't guarantee it's any good though.  It might not taste like Australian fish and chips.  

19. Wondered if we have fish and chips shop in Fort Worth.  

20. Found that we do. It's called Zeke's Fish and Chips.  

Google Maps says it's only about twelve minutes from us.  Cool.  Maybe we should go there someday.

I'm looking at their menu and they seem to have a lot of vegetable things.  

21. Saw that my Australian of the day is William Edington (de Margrat) Armit.

I'm not sure what the parentheses means.

It could be a Belgium thing...well, because Armit was born in Belgium. 

22. Read down further and learned de Margrat was a third Christian name that Armit adopted.

23. Learned that Armit migrated to Queensland in his early twenties.

He worked as a stockman, and then did police work. 

As a police officer, he got in trouble for being on too familiar terms with his subordinates. I guess he'd be like the professor who insists everyone calls him by his first name.

Armit actually got fired for this. But he pleaded his case and got his job back.

That's good.

24. Learned that Armit did some exploring work in Papa New Guinea.   Back then though, it was just New Guinea.

25. Started to look at Fredweng's day 11 in Australia Flickr set.   He seems to still be in Tasmania. 

26. Saw that Fredweng went to Lake St. Clair National Park

This Tasmania parks site says Lake St. Clair is at the southern part of Cradle Mountain.  

27. Found Lake St. Clair National Park in relation to Strahan, the town Fredweng was visiting on his day ten in Australia.   According to Google Maps, the park is about 2 hours west of Strahan.  

I wonder if Fredweng did a day trip to the park.   Did he return to Strahan at night, or did he end up staying near the park?

28. Learned from this picture and this one that Fredweng stayed near the park.  

29. Mapped out Fredweng's probable journey on Google Maps.   He went from Dove Lake to Strahan to Lake St. Claire.   I thought maybe he went out of his way; but it turns out he probably didn't.  The journey is a total of about 4 hours. 

30. Mapped out the journey from Dove Lake to Lake St. Claire.   Google Maps still has you going towards Strahan.  

I do see though that Fredweng went an hour out of his way.   If he skipped Strahan, the journey would have taken him only 3 hours.

He could have stayed in Queenstown instead.  That's right on the path.

Maybe there was something about Strahan that Fredweng wanted to experience.

It IS very pretty.

31. Looked at day 10 photos and remembered it was Dove Lake that I thought was very beautiful, not Strahan.

Strahan looks okay, but from what I see in the photographs,  I wouldn't go out of the way to stay there.  

Maybe there's something special about it, though.

I'm just curious why Fredweng stayed there instead of Queenstown.

I'm nosy.

32. Liked these pink berries

33. Confused by this photo.  It's supposed to be a Tasmanian Tiger?    It looks like a house cat to me.

Maybe Fredweng misread something?

Or maybe it's a joke.

As far as I know, Tasmanian Tigers aren't literally cats.  They're marsupials.  They're not feline.

34. Looked at photos of the Tasmanian Tiger (the thylacine).  And, as I remembered, they look nothing like a cat.

35. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to do a quiz on Broken Hill.  I don't think I know much about Broken Hill, so I'll probably get a lot wrong.    

36. Got question #2 wrong and learned the first person to find minerals to mine in the area was Charles Rasp.  

Well, I might be wrong.   Other people might have found stuff, but Lord Wiki says Rasp was the first to see the economic potential for mining in the area.

37.  Got question #3 wrong and learned Broken Hill is known for lead, silver, and zinc.

38. Got question #4 wrong.   It was a true false question over whether there was a World War I battle in Broken Hill.  I said false.  The quiz maker says the answer is true.   He believes the 1915 attack by Turkish men should count as a World War I thing. The men were from Turkey and Turkey was at war with the British Empire.

I guess it could count.  I remember reading about the attack, and I think saw it as a terrorist attack.  But I guess terrorist attacks count as war attacks.

I guess the question is whether the Turkish men were ordered by the Turkish government to carry out the attack?  Was it a state-sanctioned action?   

39. Got question #6 wrong and learned that in World War II, all of Australia's gold reserves were sent to Broken Hill for safe-keeping.

The quiz-maker says they were trying to keep the gold safe from the Japanese. 

That makes sense.

40.  Got question #7 wrong and was reminded that June Bronhill was the singer who was born in Broken Hill. 

41.  Got question #9 wrong and learned that the Sturt Desert Pea is associated with Broken Hill.

I remember reading about that flower a few weeks ago. It was mentioned in the quiz about state emblems.

42. Got question #10 wrong and learned there was a nurse in Broken Hill named Vivian Bullwinkle.

Lord Wiki says she's known as being the sole survivor of something called the Banka Island Massacre.   In this massacre, twenty-one nurses were shot from behind by the Japanese.  

Bullwinkle was also shot, but the bullet missed her important organs. She escaped the Japanese by pretending to be dead.   She kept herself still until the Japanese were out of sight.  

43. Got question #12 wrong and learned an artist named Jack Absalom had his own TV show.   I chose Pro Hart, because his was the only artist name I recognized.   I shouldn't have done that, though, because I don't remember hearing about him having a TV show.   I do remember he was in a commercial though. What was it for again?   I want to say vacuums...

44. Watched the Pro Hart commercial.  It's not for vacuums.  It's for Stainmaster carpets. Still, though.   I was on the right track....carpet stuff.




45. Started to watch a clip from one of Jack Absalom's shows.



In the video, Absalom is in a South Australia place called Arkaroola. It's a wilderness sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges.

Lord Wiki says Arkaroola is a good place for people who like astronomy.  It has some very large privately owned telescopes.   Here's a website about the astronomy opportunities at Arkaroola. 

46. Went back to the Broken Hill quiz.

47.  Got question #16 wrong and learned that the mining company BHP Billiton was started in Broken Hill.
 
48. Got question #17 wrong and was reminded that the major train journey that stops at Broken Hill is The Indian-Pacific. I forgot which one it was. I guessed The Ghan.

49. Got question #20 wrong and learned the Royal Flying Doctors has a base in Broken Hill.

The Royal Flying Doctors website says Broken Hill is the headquarters for the south-east section of the organization.

50.  Got question #21 wrong and learned the Silver City Mint has the largest acrylic painting in the
world. 

51. Learned that the Silver City Mint and Art Centre website is under construction.

52. Got question #22 wrong and learned people can see the school of the air in Broken Hill.   I said they couldn't, because I thought it was a trick question.  You can't see the school of the air because it's a radio thing.

But I guess you CAN see it.  You can't see the actual radio waves.  But you can see the people using the radio.

53. Went to the School of the Air website for Broken Hill.

They actually have a tourism opportunity.  You can listen in on a lesson.

54. Got question #23 wrong and learned there's a park near Broken Hill called Mutawintji National Park.   It has old Aboriginal carvings. 

55. Got question #24 wrong and learned there's another park in the area called Kinchega National Park.

56. Got question #25 wrong and learned Broken Hill is also known as the Silver City.  

57. Finished the quiz.   I got 9/15 right.   The average was 12/15.   I didn't do so great. But that's okay.  I learned a lot today.

Hopefully some of my learning will stick in my memory.  

58. Went to Flickr and found a photo of some Mutawintji Aboriginal art.   It's pretty cool.  

I wonder how old it is.

59. Went to this Mutawintji tour website.  They say the carvings are at least 8000 years old.  

60. Started to watch a clip from Thank God You're Here.  It was listed as one of the videos on my YouTube recommendation thing. 



I like that clip less than other Thank God You're Here clips I've seen.

Here's one of my favorites.  It's with Josh Lawson.



I also love this Hamish Blake one.   I can't embed it, but here's the link.  

61. Continued to read William Pridden's book.

I find it fascinating.  I hardly daydream through it.  The parts I'm reading about today are mostly about Aboriginal hunting.  I just finished reading about women catching frogs.

The book says emus are practically deaf.  I wonder if that's true, or something that was wrongly believed back then.

62. Consulted Lord Wiki. He says emus have good sight and hearing.  

63. Thought about how my attitude towards William Pridden is somewhat similar to his attitude towards Aboriginal Australians.

He respects the Aboriginal Australians, yet sees them as being inferior because they're from a different culture.

I'm the same with Pridden.  I respect him.  I think he describes things well.  I think he's open-minded and has insightful ways of looking at things.  Yet I have prejudices towards him because of his time period.   I think of my time period people as being more enlightened.  I think of us as being superior.

I make allowances for Pridden because he comes from the bygone days.  And I feel surprised when he exceeds my expectations.

Pridden says we need to remember that Europeans are capable of brutal violence.   In the same vein,  I find I'm reminding myself that my time period people can be equally guilty of ethnocentrism.   We can be just as ignorant as people from the 1800's.   We're more politically correct, at least when it comes to some things.   But I'm sure in the twenty-second century, people will look back at us and scoff at many of our viewpoints.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cockatoo, Unusual Temperatures, Quitting Books, and Packages

1. Annoyed by We of the Never-Never.

In the beginning of the book, the author and her husband are moving to the Never-Never.  There are telegraphs going back and forth indicating that the author is NOT welcome.  They don't want females around.

Then one or two of the unwelcoming people meet the author.  Their defenses go down when they see she's very petite.

Apparently women aren't welcome in this society unless they're small.

From some of my experience, I've seen a woman can be bossy, moody, grumpy, manipulative, and take herself too seriously.  But if she's small, it's endearing.

2. Reminded of Jack when I read this sentence from We of the Never-Never:  Jackeroo became convulsed with laughter, but the Maluka pulled hard, and I was soon on the other side of the river, declaring that I preferred experiences when they were over.

A year or two ago, we went to the Stock Show Midway in Fort Worth.  Several of us went on a family roller coaster.  Jack screamed through the whole thing, terrified.   It sounded very much like he wanted to get off.   I was eager for it to be over, because I didn't like seeing him so afraid.  Then later he told me he actually liked the roller coaster, and wanted to go on again someday.  I think it was a matter of him thinking we all might die, but once we survived, he realized it was fun.

That wasn't the case for Splash Mountain in Disney World.  He didn't like the big hill when we went on it, and didn't rave about it later.  He showed no interest in trying again in the future.

3. Learned from my dad that there's a video on YouTube with a cockatoo that has rhythm.

I shall seek it now.

4. Found it.



It's pretty funny.

5. Watched Snowball on David Letterman.



He reminds me of Mushu our cat.  Snowball's human tells David Letterman he shouldn't touch Snowball.  Letternman asks then if it's nice having a pet you can't even touch.  Snowball's human explains that SHE can touch him.  Snowball's good with her.  He's not good though with other people.

Mushu is a super cuddly affectionate cat with me.  He sits in my lap every chance he gets.  He'll happily let me pet his tummy. He's like a friendly little dog.  But with most other people, he is very nervous, and he's not very friendly with them.

6. Finished reading Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West Western Australia.  

I daydreamed through a lot of it, but absorbed enough to make it enjoyable.

7. Continued to read We of the Never-Never. I'm starting to sort of like it.

8. Downloaded a lot of free Australian history books from Kindle.

9. Liked this quote from We of the Never-Never.  For is it not the knowledge that someone thinks well of us that makes us feel at ease in that person's company.

I agree.

I think maybe it's why I have felt uneasy blogging sometimes. I've started to feel that most people who read my blog dislike me.   I used to push such thinking out of my brain.  Why would people waste their time reading if they didn't like me?  But people do that. There are those characters we love to hate. I might be one of them...for some people.  

But it's not awful.   I like me.  I know I have a few readers who do like me.   I have a few people in non-internet life, plus two cats and some dogs that like me.  That's probably enough.

One thing I thought about earlier today— just because people dislike you, it doesn't mean you're a bad person.  And just because people like you, it doesn't mean you're a good person.   

10. Decided I might not be heavily disliked.  It might be more like I'm a spectacle at a freak show or zoo.  I'm someone to gawk at.

Maybe I'll do some tricks someday.

If only I knew how to stand on my head while blowing gigantic soap bubbles.  

11. Wished I had a cockatoo that liked me.  But I don't want a pet.   I don't want the responsibility.

You know what would be nice....

If I lived in Australia, and there was a wild cockatoo that loved me and  came to visit everyday. I'd feed him little treats. I'd teach him to talk.  We'd hang out.

We'd be besties.

12. Started reading another book on the Kindle.  This one's called Australia, It's History and Present Condition (1843).   It's pretty interesting, although I haven't yet read past the introduction and table of contents. 

13. Found another old Australia dream. This one is from October 25, 2007.

We're in Canberra. We get stuck or lost. I'm amused by it.  I remember in the Bryson book (not really) that you end up having go go through something government. I'm amused by that. I call Tim and tell him to read the book, thinking this will help me get unlost.

What I meant by "not really" was that the going-through-a government-building wasn't in the Bryson book.   I think Bryson did get lost, though.  Wasn't that what happened in Sydney?

I need to read that book again someday.   

14. Saw article that says Sydney has had it's coldest beginning of summer in 40 years. Yesterday it got down to 11.8/53.4 degrees. Yikes.  That is cold.  It's like Sydney is trying to be like cities in the Northern Hemisphere. 

15. Looked at Sydney weather records on this website.

On December 24, 1870 the temperature didn't get above 15.2/59.36. 

On December 3, 1924 the temperature went down to 9.1/48.38.

That's very cold for December...if you're in the Southern Hemisphere.

16. Looked at hot winter days in Sydney.

On August 26, 1995 it got up to 31.3/88.34.

I like warm days in the winter. They're fun. Although 88.34 would be too hot for me.  

17. Read some more of Australia, It's History and Present Condition (1843).   

They talk about Australia being made up of two islands—Van Diemen's Land and New Holland.   I've heard of the term New Holland, but didn't know it was used to refer to the mainland. 

18. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Cooking With Love

It's part of the James Young and Sergei romance.

The story takes place in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

19. Started to read.

It's October 12.  James and Sergei have been dating for two months.

They haven't used the love word yet; nor have they kissed.

They HAVE held hands under the table.

I guess they're taking things slowly. 

It's the opposite of Offspring where people assume there's going to be sex after the first date.

20. Learned from Sergei's post that there has been almost kisses, but Sergei moves away when it's about to happen.

That kind of reminds me of what I was like in my early kissing days.

I had my first kiss when I was eighteen, and it was pretty awful.  That was in high school.   A few months later at college, I was really nervous about the second kiss.

21. Finished reading the story, or what's there so far.

It's very sweet. I like James and Sergei.

22. Saw that my Australian of the day is Henry William Armit.   He was a medical writer.  

Armit was born in London in 1870.

He studied a bit in Germany. 

He did work in London.  He did work in Germany.

In his mid 40's Armit moved to Sydney with his wife and daughter.  He did this so he could be an editor of a national medical journal. This was The Medical Journal of Australia.

It still exists.

Here's their website.  

23. Struggled with We of the Never-Never.   I don't think this is going to have the same outcome as Cloudstreet for me.

I get confused by the characters and the writing style. Characters are referred to by nicknames and then later by their real names.  It gets so confusing. 

The author refers to herself in third person sometimes. That gets me lost too.

I'm going to see if there's some guide online that will help me. Otherwise, I'm quitting. 

24. Failed to find a character guide.

I'm quitting the book.

The next thing on my shelf is the third book in Catherine Jink's genius trilogy.  The Genius Wars

25. Started looking at more of Fredweng's Day ten in Australia Flickr set

There are lots of mountain photos. 

26. Thought this photo from the Dove Lake Circuit was beautiful.  

I love this photo too.  

27. Learned that Fredweng went to Strahan next.  There was a dog there. 

28. Found Strahan on Google Maps.   It's on the west coast of Tasmania.

29. Ate a Tim Tam for breakfast.

I think I'd like a day where all I eat is chocolate stuff. It's not healthy, but one day wouldn't kill me. 

30. Went to the Funtrivia site to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to take a quiz about Australian celebrities who've had international success.   It's labeled as easy, so hopefully I'll do well.  

31. Finished the quiz.   I loved it, because I got all the answers right.  AND the questions/clues were very cute. 

32. Excited because I received a package from Australia.   It's from one of the singers I wrote about; Kay.K.Bayz.

He sent me his CD. 

I'm going to upload it to my iTunes now.  

33. Received our Australian food from Simply Australian! 


Jack's already eating the shapes.   I'm not because they're not vegetarian. 

I'm pretty sure my ordering of two Turkish Delight bars was an accident. I like Turkish Delight, but I don't love it.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Favorite Songs, Gossip, Underbelly, and the Never Never

1. Heard "Moreton Bay" twice thanks to my iTunes DJ.

My iTunes DJ rarely plays songs twice in a row.

I'm going to choose to believe this is some kind of sign.

I really LOVE the song.  And I'm totally in the mood for it.

I feel so happy and hopeful right now.  Well, maybe I don't feel hopeful. What I feel is peace and acceptance.



2. Wanted to add that I know the song isn't about happy things.

But still...I don't know.  It fits my mood.

Maybe it's the idea that the world is far from perfect.  There's so much crap. But despite that, we can still sometimes manage to be okay—spiritually, but not necessarily physically.
 
It could also be that I simply like the SOUND of the song.

3. Heard "Don't Fight It" from The Panics on my iTunes DJ.



It's one of my favorite Australian songs.  

Apparently it was used in the Underbelly soundtrack. 

4. Looked at the "Don't Fight It" lyrics.  

I'm loving these lines right now.

I left my heart in places
Forgot everyone of their faces
And tried to navigate a broken path
Of which I may have helped create
In any incident, this is never no accident
To stand alone and
Let the silence make itself at home



That means a lot to me right now.

I may not be interpreting it the way it was intended.  But that's okay, right?  I mean song lyrics and poetry are sometimes open to interpretation.'

5. Relieved to read that the Australian teen in Bali has been freed from prison!  I haven't been keeping up with the story, but I was kind of scared he was going to be there for decades.

6. Heard another one of my favorite Australian songs, thanks to iTunes DJ.



The song makes me think of my childhood for some reason.

Maybe we used to listen to a song that sounded like it.

7. Went to bed and had a dream.

A family friend is getting married.   I remember this and am kind of bummed out that we have to dedicate a lot of our weekend to wedding stuff.  The wedding itself is on Sunday, but there are other wedding-related things on Friday and Saturday.  I question whether or not I should work on a blog post on Sunday.  I feel I should, because I plan to take some blog-time off in a few weeks.  I don't want to take time off before that.  But I'm not sure I'll have time to finish the post before we have to leave for the wedding. 

8. Started to read We of the Never Never.   I've tried reading it before, and I daydreamed through most of it. I do that sometimes, unfortunately.

I'm giving the book a second chance, or really I'm giving myself a second chance.

The same thing happened to me with Tim Winton's Cloudstreet.  When I read it the first time, I daydreamed through most of it. I got lost, and then I was bored.

A few months ago I read it again. I made sure to pay careful attention. I ended up loving it.

Hopefully the same thing will happen to me with We of the Never Never. 

9. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Nothing Of Your Business.  The stars of this one are Jezabel Blair and Améa Du Contiaea.

Jezabel has added a name to herself.   I'm not sure why.   It's Amiradysébelle.  That's long. I think I'll just stick with calling her Jezabel.

The story takes place in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

10. Started to read.

It's November 24.

Améa returns to the motel she's been staying at.  She finds her sister has checked her out of the hotel.  All of Améa's stuff is gone.  Améa is mad at her sister for interfering.

I think I'd be mad too.

11. Felt Jezabel sounded selfish here. There was only so much that Jez would take before she began to put the foot down, and it seemed the fact that she had a daughter and a wedding to plan, not to mention a family Christmas get-together, she was tired of Améa's attitude and had taken things into her own hands.

If she's so busy with her own life, why doesn't she simply leave Améa alone?   Well, maybe that would be cold and distant.  Maybe it would secretly hurt Améa's feelings. But how about just sending a card once awhile?  An email?   A virtual Facebook gift?    Why interfere by checking Améa out of her motel?  That sounds very controlling to me.

Then again, I may have missed bits of this story.  Maybe Améa was in danger at the motel?

12. Loved these lines from Améa here.   She didn’t understand why they couldn’t just leave her alone, as she wanted to be. If her place in the family was to be the downtrodden, forgotten and neglected one - why did they feel the need to drag her back in so frequently, only to remind her of that?

I don't feel Améa is neglected by her newly found family.  They seem to be trying to be close to her.  They should get an A for effort; or at least a B.   But in my eyes, they're not trying to get close to Améa because they like and respect her.    I think they're trying to be close to her because she's related to them, and in their eyes, families should be close.

It's more about obligation than love.

13. Annoyed by Jezabel and how she treats Améa; but I do sort of like how she changes her tone in the last post.  She stops lecturing Améa—giving her self-improvement pep talks, and actually ACTS like a sister.   She gossips about her mother and their other sister.  Gossip is rude, but I don't think it's too horrible if it's not overly invasive and nasty.  

14. Thought more about gossip—what I think is acceptable and what I think is not.  That's not to say I've never been guilty of what I feel is unacceptable gossip.

Anyway, I think acceptable gossip would be sharing common knowledge.  Let's say we're all at the lake house.  Tim and I come home and we gossip about how certain family members were acting.  I think that's fair.

I think it would be less acceptable if a family member confessed something to me in private; then later I shared it with Tim.

There's degrees to that as well.   It's probably less awful if the person doesn't share the information as something private.  They're just chatting.  They reveal something about their life.  Then the subject comes up with someone else and you talk about what you heard.  Oh yeah.  She's not friends with her anymore.  They got in a huge fight. 

The worst gossip would probably be if someone's told you a secret, explicitly ASKED you to keep the secret, and you share it with someone else.

Or maybe worse than that would be spreading rumors that are complete lies.

15. Saw that my Australian of the day was Lillian May Armfield.   She was a policewoman.

She was born in Mittagong, New South Wales in 1884.

Mittagong sounds vaguely familiar to me.

16. Looked up Mittagong on Google Maps.    It's about an hour west of Wollongong.   What's interesting is that it's directly west, but it seems you can't travel directly west to get there.   I guess there are no roads?  

17. Zoomed into the map.  There's this area with hardly any towns.  It seems to be relatively empty.

I'm thinking it could just be a Google Map glitch.  Maybe they haven't did their thing in the area yet.   Or maybe there really are no roads there.

I knew Australia has it's rural and quiet areas, but I thought most places had at least a road.   I can kind of imagine road-less areas up in the Northern Territory.   But I hadn't pictured that being the case for New South Wales.   

18. Went back to reading about Lillian May Armfield.

She worked for the Callan Park Hospital for the Insane. 

Lord Wiki says the hospital was in Sydney, and was open from 1874 to 1914.

Well, no...wait.  It was open longer than that.  It just had name changes throughout the years.

It stopped having patients in 1994.

19. Learned that Armfield worked at the hospital for about eight years. Then she joined the police force.

It sounds like she was accepted somewhat reluctantly.  I'm guessing female police officers weren't  common at that time.  The Australian Dictionary of Biography says she had to wave away any right to compensation in case of injury.

20. Continued to read.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography talks about how female police officers were rare.  So she got some attention for that.  It sounds like her work was recognized and admired, but she still faced discrimination.  It was a struggle for her to get promotions.

21. Learned from Lord Wiki that the Underbelly TV show featured Armfield as a character. 

22. Learned that this Underbelly is not the same Underbelly that I was thinking of. I was thinking of the TV show, but Lord Wiki was referring to a miniseries. It was called Underbelly: Razor. I'm getting that they're not connected.

23. Read more from Lord Wiki. The Underbelly shows ARE connected.

There's been different series.  Each one deals with a different place and/or time period.

The second series had Asher Keddie from Offspring and Myles Pollard from McLeod's Daughters

The first series had Don Hany from Offspring.  I'm trying to find Billie from Offspring. I forgot the actresses name, but I think I'd know if I saw it.

24. Found it.  Her name's Kat Stewart. She was one of the main stars of the original 2008 series.  

25. Started to look at Fredweng's day ten in Australia Flickr set.  

I'm guessing he was still in Tasmania here.  I don't see any ferry or airplane scenes, so he hasn't been taken away from Tasmania yet.  

26. Thought this tree photo was pretty awesome. It's kind of spooky.

27. Saw Fredweng's room; and his shadow.  

28. Thought the scenery in this photo was quite lovely.  

It was taken at Dove Lake Circuit.

29. Learned from this Tasmanian government site that the Dove Lake Circuit is a walk within the Cradle Mountains.  

It's a two hour walk and the fitness level is 2.    I wonder what was the fitness level of the walk in The World Beneath

30. Looked at the walk grades.  The website has them if you click on "Level 2".   The hardest one is level 5.   It says, Challenging long walks for experienced bushwalkers with specialized skills including navigation and emergency first aid.  Tracks may be very rough, very steep, and unmarked.  

Yeah, that sounds like the walk in The World Beneath.  

31. Thought this photo was beautiful.

I hope we go back to Tasmania someday.  

32.  Took note of the date on Fredweng's photos.   He did the walk on August 9.  That's winter in Australia.   And since Tasmania is south and farther from the equator, it's really cold there. 

I'd rather go to Tasmania when it's warmer.   Although then there's probably no snow on the mountains.   I think the snow adds to the beauty.  

33. Read some more of We of the Never Never.   I'm finding it difficult not to daydream.   I keep having to read the same paragraphs over and over.  But once I finally catch on to what's happening, I find it mildly interesting.

34. Went to the Funtrivia site to take another Australia quiz.   I'm going to do another Christmas one.  Tis the Season.....

35. Annoyed by the first question.  It asked what's the traditional Christmas meal in Australia.   I picked picnic on the beach, because that's what I've heard.

The answer thing said I was wrong. It says even though beach picnics are popular, the tradition is to have roast turkey.

I guess it's all about the difference between tradition and what's popular.

Whatever....

36.  Got question #2 wrong and learned Australians leave beer and carrots out for Santa.

I never heard that before.

37. Found a blog post entitled "Milk, Cookies, Carrots, and Beer".   It shows a picture of the milk, cookies, carrots, and beer.   I'm guessing it might be an Australian blog? 

38. Saw that the family in the blog celebrates Thanksgiving; and I'm seeing pictures of American cities.  So they're in America and doing American things.   They're probably American, although they might be expats from Australia.  Or maybe the mother is American and the father is Australian?  

39. Looked at their biographies.   I can't find any indication that they're connected to Australia.

40. Finished the quiz.   I got the rest of the answers correct.  My score was 8/10.  The average was 7/10.

I wasn't alone in getting the first question wrong.   It was answered correctly by only 38% of players.  

41. Started to watch another Kensignton25 video.   This one is about Hungry Jacks.   



42. Got idea, from what Kensignton25 says, that Burger King is called Burger King in London.  He seems as mystified by the name change as many Americans do.

43. Learned from video that the reason Burger King couldn't be called Burger King in Australia is that someone had already trademarked the name for their business. 

I wonder if it's still around. 

44. Learned from the video that the first Hungry Jacks opened in Perth in 1971.

45. Learned there were legal battles between Hungry Jacks and Burger King.

Hungry Jacks won. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snubbed Prime Ministers, Siblings, Manipulative People, and Hypocritical Judgements

1. Found more old dreams about Australia.  They're from October 19, 2007.

The first one: Someone has bought a bunch of flags. I'm hoping to get the Australian one.  The flag person names a bunch of countries/flags she likes.  I have hope that I can have the Australian one, but then she says she likes the Australian flag. I jokingly act disappointed, although I think I'm partly serious. I get the sense that the woman doesn't like me. 

The other:  I have earrings. A giant koala and kangaroo. Then there's a third earring for an extra earring hole. It's giant, as big as my head. 

2. Read article that says Kevin Rudd was snubbed by Julia Gillard.

At the Labor event thing, Gillard and Wayne Swan paid tribute to their favorite Labor Prime Ministers. Kevin Rudd wasn't one of them.

This totally reminds me of something that would happen to me.  I'd be snubbed.  If I spoke up about it, I would be told it was an honest mistake; I'm too sensitive; I've done the same thing, blah, blah, blah.

The article is saying Rudd may fight to get the Prime Minister position back. I hope he does that, and I hope he wins.

3. Tried to argue with myself.  Well, maybe Gillard was just being honest.  Maybe she doesn't think Rudd was a good Prime Minister.  Why should she lie and be fake?

Well, if your attempt to honor others is going to hurtfully exclude someone else, it's probably best to not do the honoring.

I'd venture to say that they listed these favorite Prime Ministers SO they could exclude Rudd.

Yeah. I'm getting all this because I've been reading the manipulativeness stuff.  It's very insightful, but probably leads to a fair amount of paranoia.  That's not to say, though, that the paranoia isn't warranted.

It's all the little things these people throw at you.   They SOUND innocent.  But you end up feeling awful when it hits you.  You wonder if they're deliberately saying these things to get at you.  Then you say, No, how ridiculous.  I'm being paranoid.  I'm being too sensitive.   I'm the one with the problem, not them.  

4. Thought about the times that I've been covertly-aggressive.  I feel bad about it.

I think it's great that I've learned this stuff, and I feel validated. I understand what's been happening in my life, and I have some ideas how to protect myself from people who use excessive manipulation.
That's all important.  But I also think it's equally important to recognize the manipulative behaviors in myself and put a stop to them.  

Some of it's confusing, though.   One of the ways I've learned to deal with my life and the people in my life is to hold back.   I'm very guarded. I do that to protect myself.   But then I'm all insecure about it now.  Is holding back being manipulative, or is it a reasonable self-defense mechanism?

The interesting thing is there's really only one person who's been openly annoyed about my distantness.  

This same person is also one of the people who's very manipulative in my life. 

What does that mean?

I have no idea.  

Well....

I don't think it's because they really care what's going on in my life.  I think it's because they feel insulted.

That's my guess.  

Do I want them to feel insulted?  Maybe...a little.   But mostly I want to protect MYSELF from feeling insulted by them.  And that's why I do what I need to do to protect myself.

5. Read article about the over-labeling of mental health disorders.  

It sounds like soon we'll all be able to classify ourselves as mentally ill.

The article has some examples.  If your child has temper tantrums, they might be diagnosed with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.  If a widow grieves a bit too long, she might have a major depressive illness.

I think this quote here summarizes the subject very well.  They fear it is so inclusive it risks mislabelling millions of healthy people as mentally ill, potentially leading to increased stigma and medication.

Mental illness DOES happen, but it doesn't happen to everyone. Sometimes people are just hyper, weird, nervous, sad, mournful, imaginative, careful, shy, etc.  But they're not ill.

We weren't meant to feel happy, calm, and rational all the time.

We all have our crazy and depressing moments. That doesn't mean we're sick.

6. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called The Last Straw.  

The stars of this one are Wynne Blackbury and Alessia Blackbury-Tremaine.

They're part of the family with the octuplets. I think Wynne is one of the octuplets, and Alessia is the stepsister.

The story takes place in the Eastern Suburbs in Melbourne.

7. Started to read.

It's the evening of Saturday, November 24.

Wynne is annoyed by Alessia for some reason.

8. Found out the reason.  He knows Alessia is planning to sneak out of the house and he's worried about that.  Wynne feels protective of her.  He worries about her because she was so sick in the past.

Are his worries warranted?   Is he being a sweet older brother, or is he being overbearing?

I'm not sure.

9. Learned that Alessia is planning to go to a pool party.  

10. Saw that Alessia made it to the party.  She's enjoying it and doesn't realize her brother has followed her.

Wynne sees her drinking and being noticed by teenage boys.  He comes out of hiding and scolds Alessia.

11. Wondered about this line in Wynne's post.  All he could ever see when he looked at Lessa was the little sick sister that he had to protect since he did such a rubbish job of it as a kid.

Did he really do a bad job with it?  Or does he wrongfully blame himself for his sister being sick?

12. Saw that Wynne accidentally made Alessia fall into the pool.  Now he feels guilty for that as well.

13. Continued to read.  Some of the other party people locked Alessia and Wynne into a cellar.  The idea is they can't get out until they make up.

That's kind of sweet.   I guess.

I wonder how often things like that are done in real life.   And does it really work?   People might do enough talking to overcome the surface problems, but will they work out any deep problems between them?

That's how I usually feel about fights. There's yelling. There's talking. There's explaining. There's manipulating. There's crying. There's hugging.  There's bonding.  But for the most part, the problems don't disappear. Or they disappear only temporarily.

14. Wondered about this line from Alessia's post. Urgh, they only shut us down here because they think you're a jealous boyfriend or something -- you sure acted like one.

Why would friends lock someone up with their jealous boyfriend? It sounds a bit dangerous. What if he was the violent type?

Then again, why does locking someone up with their sibling seem more benign?  That could be presumptuous and dangerous too.  

That's the thing about getting in the middle of other people's relationships.  We don't know the whole story. We don't know the true story.  

15. Started to read the biography of Wynne Blackbury.  

His face claim is Eric Saade.

It turns out I've already looked up Eric Saade.  He's the Swedish pop singer guy.   I must have looked at him the day I wrote about another Blackbury octuplet. 

He did look kind of familiar.

So I guess the same face claim is being used for all or some of the octuplets. Maybe some are identical? 

16. Learned that Wynne's Patronus is a lion.

There was a lion in my dream last night...and a bear.

17. Got the idea from Wynne's description appearance that he and his brothers ARE identical.

18. Learned that Wynne doesn't care much about his appearance.  He's more casual than his brother that I've read about.

19.  Reminded by my own family when I read this.  He is blinded sometimes by his need for his family to stay together that he misses things going on right in front of his face.

20.  Saw that Wynne might be supportive of the kids who locked Alessia and him in the closet.   It says here: Wynne may be slightly gullible but he's no idiot, he knows when's something is wrong in his family usually by the atmosphere around his siblings and if he finds out two of the brothers are fighting he is quick to smack them (all but Yves who could probably kill him if he really wanted to) on the back of their heads and lock them in a closet and leave them there until they work things out.

It turns out he does the same thing to people that was done to him at the party.

21. Thought this bit here kind of contradicted what I quoted in 19.  Just because he is gullible doesn't mean he's an idiot and given the chance to watch his siblings for even a moment he can notice changes between their interactions that tips him off.  

In the other description, he DOES sound a bit gullible. Well, he sounds like he's the type who has his head in the sand.   But in the quote right above he seems pretty perceptive. I guess he just needs that one moment to figure things out.

I think most people would. Not many people would notice tension instantaneously...unless they were psychic.

22. Learned that Wynne has trouble with magic. He's not very good at it.  He secretly blames his brothers for stealing his magic.

I'm assuming he means accidentally?  How does he think that occurred?  Was it in the womb?  Is it a matter of them taking his magic and now they're more magic?  Or is it more of a case that the magic had to be distributed between the eight of them; and all of them have diminished skills?

Wynne has the most trouble of his siblings.  But if the magic was distributed between the eight of them, there's no guarantee that it would have been distributed evenly.

That being said, I'm guessing Wynne is probably wrong, and his brothers did NOT steal his magic—purposely or accidentally.

It's kind of like me imagining that Jack stole my memory.  Here he has this fantastic memory and I have a horrible one.  I'm sometimes tempted to believe he stole some of my memory abilities when he was in my uterus.  

23. Read more and thought more about the manipulation stuff. Mostly I'm reading work from a guy named George Simon.  

I recognize the tactics he describes.  I've experienced them.  I agree that they can cause emotional harm, and that they're really hard to deal with.

Where I disagree with him is that (from what I read) he seems to think chronic manipulators are bad people.  They're missing a conscience.  They feel no guilt. They feel no shame.  There's no hope for them.  In other words, I guess they'd be psychopaths.   

I think Simon's basic message is to not feel compassion for these manipulators because they'll use that compassion against you.

Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but like Anne Frank I'd like to believe that MOST people are good at heart.  I can't believe all of them are.  I think there are evil people. But I don't think all manipulative people are evil.  I think that some of them are just a bit desperate.  They want something or they don't want to lose something.   Instead of going about it honestly, they go about it in a covert fashion.

I don't think the highly manipulative people in my life are evil. I think they just want to avoid blame and responsibility.  They want love and attention. They want people to think highly of them.  

And guess what? That's pretty much what I want...well, maybe not so much avoiding blame and responsibility.  But I do want love and attention.  I do want people to think highly of me. I tend to go about it usually in an honest way.  Does it get me that far?

Nope.

I think our society, us as a people, we reward manipulation more than honesty.

So then can we blame people for being manipulative?   Yes we can...a little bit.   But I do think it's okay to have compassion for them.   I think there are probably ways to not fall prey to their wicked techniques, but still have faith that deep inside they're good people.  

To tie this back to Australia.

If Julia Gillard purposely snubbed Kevin Rudd an an act of manipulation, I don't think it means she's a cold and ruthless person.   Maybe she was hurt by something Rudd did and was getting back at him.  Maybe Rudd didn't do anything, but she just feels animosity towards him because they have job competition in their relationship?    It could be like a sibling rivalry thing.   Sisters and brothers do things to hurt each other. It's usually not because they're evil.  It's because they're angry and jealous.   They want to be the winners in the family, and sometimes it seems the best way to do this is to make the other sibling the losers.

I received a very manipulative email this week.   I think it could go into a psychology book as an example of manipulative behavior.   But I don't think the person who wrote it is evil.   I don't think she's lacking a conscience.  I don't think she's lacking shame and guilt.  I think she has the same deep feelings I do. I think it's just a matter of her lacking emotional maturity. 

24. Saw that my Australian of the day is Peret Arkwookerum.

He was an Aboriginal Dancer.

He was born in Queensland in 1924.

25. Learned that Arkwookerum's totem was a possum.

The only thing I know about totems is that you're not supposed to eat yours.

26. Found a website that talks about totems.  It's something that's adopted by a group. I guess it's kind of like they're symbol.

A school mascot might be a sort of totem.

The website says that although people can't usually eat their totem, sometimes exceptions will be made for special ceremonies.

27. Learned that Arkwookerum was an excellent hunter.

28. Learned that Arkwookerum fought for land claims.    I'm not sure if he won the battle or not.   The Australian Dictionary of Biography says, By the late 1970s, with aid from the Federal government, he was moving steadily towards his objective—an outstation at a coastal site in his mother's country, with permanent drinking water and the possibility of access by aircraft.

He moved steadily, but did he ever reach his destination?


Maybe he didn't, but he got pretty far?

We can't always win completely.  But sometimes we can win a little bit and be temporarily happy with that.

29. Decided that even though the world often seems better suited for manipulative people, I'm going to try to continue being honest.

Even if it makes me seem pathetic and desperate at times.

That's not to say I'm going to tell everybody everything. These blog posts are long enough as it is.

But I'm going to try to avoid trying to guilt or trick people into doing what I want.

I'm going to try to be direct.

I'm going to try to stop hinting if I want something from someone.  And I'm going to stop hinting in hopes that someone will realize I'm mad at them.   If I want something and I feel it's not unreasonable, I'll ask for it.   If someone hurts me, I'll either directly tell them about it or I'll tell myself it's them being a bitch.  And I'll try not to reinforce the behavior by giving it attention.  My reaction will depend on the person.   If they're manipulative, I now fully understand that there's no point in hoping they'll admit they're mistake.   I can't say whether or not they'll FEEL sorry.  But from experience, I can be fairly certain that they won't act sorry. They'll end up making me feel that I'm the one with the problem and I'm the one who should be sorry.   

30. Started to look at more of Fredweng's day 9 in Australia Flickr set.

31. Wondered who's this a statue of.

32. Wondered about this mural.  It looks three-dimensional.   Is it?   Or is it just an illusion?   If it's two-dimensional and looks three-dimensional, I'm very impressed. 

33. Saw the same mural from a different angle.   From this angle, it looks entirely two-dimensional.   So the three-dimensional appearance was an illusion.

I AM impressed. 

34. Thought of The World Beneath when I saw this Ranger station. 

35. Just read one of my old posts and am shocked at how hypocritical I was.  

I wrote: There are plenty of down to earth Americans, but maybe not in the crowd he hangs out with. When you're a successful actor living in Los Angeles, it might be challenging to find people who are genuine. If you use stereotyped judgments as excuses for your dating status, I say you stand WITH the fake crowd, and not outside of it. 

Yeah.  It's a bad thing to stereotype people; but it's okay to stereotype actors and people living in Los Angeles.


I'm laughing at myself here...and hanging my head in shame.  

That was so BAD of me.

I apologize to actors and Los Angeles people.   

36.  Went to the Funtrivia site to take another quiz.

Today I'm doing a Christmas one.   I skipped over that one before, because I figured it would be better to do it closer to Christmas time.  

Speaking of Christmas, Fruitcake has a lovely post about Christmas.   I enjoyed reading it and agreed with some of the stuff she said.  She lists things she likes about Christmas and things she doesn't like about Christmas.  Then she also lists stupid things people do at Christmas.  

37. Started the quiz.

38. Got question #6 wrong and learned that Melbourne has a Boxing Day cricket match.

39. Got question #7 wrong and learned there's something in Australia called Christmas Bush.   It's some kind of native plant, and people use it in their holiday decorations.

Lord Wiki says the flowers of the plant turn bright red around Christmas time.

That's pretty cool.

40. Finished the quiz.   I got 8/10 and the average is 7/10.

I got to say, for an American Jew, I know a fair amount about Australia's Christmas.  

41. Started to watch another Kensington25 video.

This one is about Sydney.




The video seems to have two introductions.

42. Thought that Kensignton25's friend or partner (shown at 2:30) looks a bit like Tim's best friend in Texas. 

I think the guy in the video is the one who designed the t-shirts in the video I watched yesterday.

43. Agreed with Kensington25's positive reviews of the David Jones food court.

We like it too.

44.  Thought the editing was a bit off in that particular video, but it was still charming.

I love Kensington25's enthusiasm for Australia.   I think he's a fan like me. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Not Australia, Me, Me, and Me

1. Wanted to blab on and on about something because I need to figure it out.  And I want my feelings to be heard.

It might be a mess because I don't know how to put my thoughts in order.

I'll start with.....

I felt this week that someone had been horribly manipulative with me. I decided to read about that on the internet—get some wisdom.  I found articles that gave me that feeling, Holy shit!   Someone knows how I feel.  And it also made me realize that I deal with highly manipulative behaviors on a fairly regular basis.  
 
I think that's one of the reasons I've become so guarded, paranoid, nervous, and distrustful.  

Now EVERYONE is a little manipulative.  I'm sure the only way not to be manipulative is to become a zombie or pod person.

But some people are very manipulative, and that's a hard thing to deal with.  

On the scale of manipulativeness, I think I'm pretty low. The reason is I'm very honest.

I think the opposite of manipulativeness IS honesty.   And manipulative people will take advantage of your honesty.  By being honest, you give the manipulative person another thing to use against you.

2. Had no idea of how to segway into the next thing.

I guess I'll say that while thinking about other people's manipulative behaviors, I was also forced to think of my own.

Because although I'm not very manipulative; I'm human and sometimes resort to manipulative behaviors.  I know I've been doing it on my blog here and there.  One of the times was the other day.  I talked about something personal and then deleted it.   Then I mentioned that I deleted it. I wanted people to be bothered that I did that.  I wanted people to be curious. What did she say!  Why did she delete it?

I didn't just do it to be manipulative, though.  I did it because I've been feeling very insecure about all this personal stuff that I'm writing on this blog. Again and again I say I have the right to blab on and on about myself.   I DO have that right. I know that. I know tons of other people have personal blogs.  I have the right to have one too.

But this little part of me says otherwise. And that little part of me is very LOUD sometimes.

She's a bitch.

3. Was about to give reasons why I feel insecure about sharing my personal feelings.  But from what I learned today in my manipulation readings, THAT'S manipulative too.

Yes, people have done things and not done things that led to me having these insecurities.  But in the end, it is my responsibility to get over it.

4. Thought about my eating disorder and whether or not that was manipulative.

This is what I think.  The initial one was NOT.   It was about needing control and it was about wanting to be thin.   It was about wanting attention, yes.  But I didn't want attention for being sick. I wanted attention for looking awesome.

The relapses and threats of relapses—that's a whole other story.

Whenever I feel tempted to lose a ton of weight again, my main motivation now is to make people feel guilty for not worrying enough about me.  

I think recognizing this and admitting it is very helpful to me.  Maybe? I hope so.

Then I can go back to eating my Tim Tams.   

5. Wanted to get back to the personal stuff thing.

I will admit that the real question I was asking in the poll to the right is, Is it okay if I talk about personal stuff? Or am I boring you guys to death? 

It's all oozing with insecurities.

Did I know that when I started the poll?  Maybe...sort of.   Not exactly.

I  definitely knew when I started getting the answers, because the main thing I wanted to know is if people checked off the personal box stuff or not.

The thing is this blog is not about Australia.  It's about me and my relationship with Australia, and it's also about me and other stuff.

It's not a factual blog.  It's not an entertainment blog.  It's a personal blog. And sometimes there are facts. And I hope it's sometimes entertaining.

Well, actually I hope it's OFTEN entertaining.

6. Wanted to say that one of the reasons I feel insecure about my blog is that I don't get a lot of feedback.   I wish I could be strong enough to overcome that.   Maybe it will happen someday.  But instead, for now, maybe you guys could talk back to me more?

I know I have comments disabled.  For those who don't know, the reason I disabled those is because I wasn't getting enough comments.  Or I'd have posts where I'd pour my heart out about things.  People would respond to the factual things in my post, but they wouldn't take the time to say, Hey, sorry you're feeling like crap.   I hope you feel better.

I wanted people to say things like, Sorry you broke your toe and I'm glad you're having fun in Hawaii.

They didn't.  Finally I had enough of feeling ignored and got rid of commenting.

It was stupid, I guess.  I thought by getting rid of comments I'd stop hoping for people to talk to me.  But I still had the Facebook Page, and I still hoped for emails.

Maybe I will go back to having comments, but probably not.  Because once I got rid of comments for my crazy reason, I realized it was nice not to have comments for many other reasons.

But anyway.....

I WOULD appreciate hearing from people.  No worries if you're shy or an infrequent lurker.  But if you come here a lot, and you're not shy, please talk to me.   Email me.   If you don't have the time or courage to do that, I put up the little check box thing at the bottom of the blog posts.  You can reassure me that I'm weird, entertaining, or brilliant.   Maybe I should change that, though, because I also put "boring".   Why am I inviting people to insult me?  

Yeah, so I put those up a few days ago thinking it would be an easy way for people to respond.   It's so EASY to just check the little thing.   But I think only two people have utilized the little widget.   And one of those people was me.   

After I post this, I'll change the choices of the check off thing.

As for email, I don't like blabbing on about myself outside this blog. So you don't have to worry that you're email is going to result in you having to be my psychologist or shoulder to cry on.

I will appreciate you writing though and saying things like,  Have a nice Thanksgiving or I'm sorry you've been sad lately.  Or I hope you had a nice Birthday.  

Short and sweet is nice. I'll be short and sweet back.   

Out of the several people who read my blog, a very small number of people have reached out to let me know that they care. I hope they understand that I really appreciate that.

7. Wondered if it was manipulative to ask people to reach out more.

Is it?

I don't know.

I want to say no...well, because I don't want to be manipulative.   I want to be innocent, honest, and wonderful.

But also, isn't it not manipulative to speak up about your needs in an honest way?  

8. Wanted to say that I don't need or want people to email me after every post.   That would be tiresome for all of us. I would get stressed.  You would get stressed. We'd all go insane.

But if people could email me when I talk about very difficult things or very exciting happy things, that would be great.    I guess what I'm saying is I'd appreciate support on my very good days and my very bad days.

Or if people don't want to email me, they can fill out the little check box thing at the bottom of the post.

I'm trying to decide what to put there.......  

9. Went to proofread this post and saw that what I wrote in #6 totally contradicts what I wrote in #3.

It's embarrassing.  But I'm keeping it.

10. Figured out what I want to put in the check boxes, but it probably won't fit.

I'll try.....

11. Posted this, but then realized I had more to say.

First of all, I was able to fit what I wanted to fit into the check box thing.  So that's cool.  One of them has you calling me weird (if you want).  Please note I don't mean it as an insult.

Second.....

I was feeling guilty about asking people to do this for me.   Do my readers owe me anything?   No.  Not exactly.

But here's my plea.  I do a lot of work for this blog. I put a lot of time into it.   I put a lot of energy into it. I don't get paid, well at least not beyond the small bit I got for advertising on the sidebar.

For the most part though.....

I don't get paid in money and that's fine. But I would at least like to be paid in attention.

I love Australia, and I think I'll love it no matter what.   I'm not sure the same goes for blogging.   I don't get much out of writing, when I feel people aren't listening and/or being responsive enough.   I don't like feeling that I'm talking to a wall.

I think I'd rather be doing something else, like read novels, play Monopoly Wii, and watch The Walking Dead barn scene obsessively and repeatedly.  

Did you guys see that, by the way?  The Walking Dead?   I think it was one of the most shocking and powerful scenes I've ever seen on television.

Well, there you go.  I'm being manipulative.  I'm trying to manipulate all of you into becoming Walking Dead fans. 

But maybe that kind of manipulation is okay.   Writing...all art forms....in some ways is manipulative.   We're trying to influence people.  We try to get people to notice things. We try to get people to open up their hearts and minds about things.  

Maybe manipulation is only bad when its goal is to:  

A) get people to do what they really don't want to do.

B) Avoid facing responsibility for one's mistakes.

C) Twisting the situation so you can make the hurt person feel they're the bad one and you're the victim.  

I hope I'm not doing A by asking you guys to be more responsive.

If you really don't want to respond, that's okay.   I'll be okay.  I won't jump out my window or anything.  I may think bad thoughts about you; but no worries.   I don't have a voodoo doll or anything.   You're safe.