Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weather Confusion, Self-Esteem, Protests, and Uluru

1.  Started to read Isabelle the Navigator by Luke Davies.

He's the one who wrote Candy, which I loved. 

I didn't love the prologue of the Isabelle book; but I often don't like prologues.

After reading the prologue I read the back of the book, so I could get an idea of what was happening and what would be happening.  It sounds fairly interesting.  

2. Read chapter one and chapter two of Isabelle the Navigator.

I wasn't impressed by the first chapter, but by chapter two, the book was starting to grow on me. 

3. Felt my pretend trip was really pathetic.

I go back and forth between thinking it's brilliant and fun, and thinking it's awful.

I guess what happens is that, during my research, I see reviews from people who have TRULY been to these various places. It makes me feel like such a wannabe.

I need to remind myself though that I HAVE traveled a lot. And there are people out there who travel much less than me.  

4. Decided it's probably okay to be a long as your honest about it. Then it's like playing.  If you're not honest, and you pretend you're something you're not; then that's lying.

5. Learned that Geoffrey Rush was chosen as the Australian of the Year.


I'll read the article about it later.

6. Saw that Accuweather has changed to Celsius. Or maybe it changed for me because I keep plugging in Australia places.

I didn't know it had changed at first.  I just thought it had suddenly gotten very cold. The forecast today is 13 degrees.  Jack has a date with his Papa today.  I was thinking, Crap.  I better tell him to dress REALLY warm. 

I figured out the Fahrenheit to Celsius switch when I looked at the extended forecast.  Fort Worth has cold days here and there, but usually not that cold. And the cold doesn't last. I saw that next Wednesday is going to be 20 degrees with plenty of sunshine.  That didn't make sense.  If that didn't convince me enough, there was the following Sunday with 21 degrees, abundant sunshine and warmer.  

Twenty-one degrees is really nice in Celsius.   It's not so nice in Fahrenheit.

7. Read the article about the Australians of the Year.

The article includes a video excerpt of Rush's acceptance speech.  Basically his winning of the award is about paying more attention to Australian film and theater.  I'm all for that, and also for giving more attention to Australian literature and music.

8.  Saw that the young Australian of the year is Marita Cheng.   The senior Australian of the Year is Laurie Baymarrwangga.   Cheng's thing is advocating for more women to get into engineering.    Baymarrwangga is an Murrungga elder who dedicates her time to preserving her culture and environment.

9. Saw a funny article about a Member of Parliament stealing lines from the movie The American President to criticize Tony Abbott.  

I guess he thought he could get away with it because the movie is fairly old now.

But...nope. He was caught.

It could have been a coincidence and not plagiarism, but I doubt it.  The lines were a bit too similar.

10. Liked this part from Isabelle the Navigator.   

The copy had last been borrowed in 1971.  Not only did I ache with the sadness of the book's events, but it almost broke my heart to think of the book itself, the object, the copy, its lonely vigil of years upon the shelves. And the great loss of all those students who never borrowed the book between 1971 and 1982.  

It's sad to think of all those great books out there that are rarely picked up and read. 

11.  Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story called Playdate.

It's another Geraldine Richter story. In this one, she's interacting with a child named Simon Preston.  

They're hanging out at a lake in Narragyambie. 

12. Started to read.

Simon has a playdate with Gerry (Geraldine).  They're going to fly together.   He's very excited. He doesn't want to be bothered by cookie questions from his mom, because he's too busy waiting for Gerry to show up.  

Then he goes to see his mom and the cookies.  His mom's not there, but the cookies are.  He grabs one.

13. Wondered if Simon's family is American in origin since they say cookies instead of biscuits. 

14. Saw that Gerry is very excited about the playdate too.

She grabs some Laffy Taffys.  Do they commonly have those in Australia?    I can't remember if I've seen them there or not.   The only Wonka candy I remember is the Redskins.

15. Saw that Simon has mini Hershey Bars. Those aren't easy to find in Australia. I know that. He also has Skittles and M and M's which are commonly found in Australia.

16.  Saw that Simon and Gerry had fun flying together.   Simon's dad has a spell going on in their backyard that allows the kids to fly without the neighbors seeing them. That's pretty nifty. 

17. Started to read the biography of Simon Preston.  

Simon's face claim is Wang Seok Hyun. I think that's a Korean name. 
This website says that Hyun was a Korean child star who suddenly disappeared from show business.

18. Wondered if Simon is a Korean adoptee...well, since he doesn't have an Asian last name.

Or he could be half-Asian.  Maybe his mother is Asian and his father is not.

19.  Saw that Simon was born in Japan.

20.  Learned that Simon has dry skin.

I have dry skin too.

21. Got the idea, from reading, that Simon is part-Japanese and part...other.   I guess we could say Caucasian?

22. Thought Simon was interesting. He doesn't like that he looks a bit Japanese.  He does wish, though, that he had a Japanese name instead of a normal stinky American name

23. Learned from Lord Wiki that Simon is actually a Hebrew name.

I probably should have known that already.

24.  Learned that Simon is friendly.  He likes being pranked.  He doesn't like people who brag, and he doesn't like people who don't like being pranked.

25.  Learned Simon also doesn't like people his age that are bossy.  I guess he's somewhat okay then, with people being bossy, if they're a little older than him.

26.  Saw that my guess is right.  Simon's mom is Japanese.  His dad is Caucasian—specifically American. That could explain why he uses American words rather than Australian.  

27. Learned that Simon's family moves around a lot.  They've lived in Russia, India, Japan, and France.

28. Learned that Simon is obsessed with slime.

That stuff is pretty fun.  

29. Saw that my Australian of the day is a doctor named William George Armstrong

He was born in the UK in 1859.

He was the eldest son of the Lord Howe naval guy I wrote about the other day.  

30. Learned that Armstrong moved with to New Zealand when he was about fourteen.  Then when he was about eighteen or nineteen, his family moved to Sydney.

I'm confused, though.   The Australian Dictionary of Australia says he went to Sydney Grammar School.  At age eighteen/nineteen, wouldn't he be too old for that?

Well, maybe he had one year left, or something.

31. Learned that Armstrong went to the University if Sydney. He became a doctor.  He practiced medicine in Australia for awhile.  Then he furthered his education at Cambridge.

32. Learned Armstrong also spent time in Paris. He learned about systems where the medical community taught new mothers about feeding and caring for their children.

I wonder if they were pushing infant formula then.

I forget my breastfeeding history.

33. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says in the late 1800's and early 1900's, most babies were breastfed. It was in the 1920's and 1930's that mothers were first pushed to use artificial milk.

34.  Learned that Armstrong worked to help lower infant mortality.

The Australian Dictionary of Australia says; He believed that approximately half of the 106 infant deaths (in their first year) per 1000 live births in 1901-05, had occurred because of mismanagement of feeding, and that mothers should be educated in the care and breast-feeding of babies rather than in the overseas trend of providing impoverished mothers with ready-made artificial baby-food.

So, their history differs from Lord Wiki's. They're saying that artificial milk was already becoming popular.

35. Reread some of Lord Wiki's information.

He does say, that around the turn of the century, many mothers were supplementing with formula. But they were still also using breast milk. 

So it's my bad for not reading carefully enough.

What else is new?

36.  Learned that Armstrong was also known for his work during epidemics. He advocated disease prevention with things such as sanitary improvements.

37. Learned that Armstrong was a fan of the Gilbert Sullivan opera.

I just learned recently from my parents that my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were both opera fans.  I didn't know that.

38. Watched a clip of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.   The performance was at the Sydney Opera House. 

39. Thought about that infamous pirate musical movie. I think it was filmed in Australia.  Was that Pirates of Penzance, or based on it?

40. Found the movie. It's called The Pirate Movie.   Lord Wiki says it's loosely based on the opera.   

I recognize two Australians in the cast; Maggie Kirkpatrick and Garry McDonald.  

The movie was filmed in Victoria—Port Campbell, Melbourne, and Werribee.  I wonder if they show any shots of the Twelve Apostles.

41. Watched the finale of Lost with Tim.  It was a real spur of the moment thing.

I think it's the fist time I've watched the whole finale since it first aired.  Since then I've watched bits and pieces but never the whole thing.

I really love that show. I think it's my religion—that and Harry Potter.

There's a scene where Hurley says something similar to what I recently wrote in one of my posts.   I know I didn't purposely plagiarize.  But I wonder if I first learned the lesson from the show.   I think maybe I did.  But it took over twenty months for the lesson to finally sink in and finally mean something to me.

Then I spit it back out.  

It's the scene with Hurley and Sahid.  Hurley tells Sahid he's a good person.   He says so many people have told Sahid that he's bad, that eventually Sahid believed it. Hurley tells him that you can't let other people define you.

42. Decided to watch the video clip and copy down the exact quotes.

It goes....

I think you're a good guy, Sahid.   I know a lot of people have told you that you're not.  Maybe you've heard it so many times; you started to believe in it. But you can't let other people tell you what you are, Dude. You have to decide that for yourself.  

I've spent thirty-nine years depending on other people to define me.

I think I'm ready to stop that now.  It's not going to be easy, but I think I can manage if I work hard enough.

43. Realized I'm already failing because I'm sitting here worrying that people will think I'm like that Member of Parliament, that I purposely stole Hurley's brilliant idea and passed it off as my own.

The thing is.  We're the only ones who know our true story.  Everyone else can only guess at it.

And we can assume things about others based on their actions—the actions we've personally witnessed.  But we can never know the whole story and the whole truth.   We don't know what has happened behind the scenes.  We don't know for sure what's going on in their mind.   We can make assumptions, and maybe we'd be right.   But we might also be completely wrong.

We might BELIEVE someone is a wicked witch, but what she really might be is a disillusioned Animal rights activist.

44. Corrected by someone regarding a recent post.   Taking psychiatric drugs is not like smoking marijuana.   I WAS aware that studies have been done showing smoking pot can cause an INCREASE in psychiatric symptoms. So I shouldn't have said something so ignorant.  I got carried away by my rant.   I apologize for that.  

What I was feeling and meant to say is that both psychiatric and illegal drugs (in general)  can make people feel good, and they can make them feel better about the drama/trauma in their life. And both psychiatric drugs and illegal drugs can have unsavory side-effects and dangerous consequences.

I don't think either type of drug is 100% evil and wrong.   But I don't think anyone should enter a relationship with a drug without first seriously weighing the pros and cons.   If a person feels the pros outweighs the cons, I definitely would not blame them for choosing to be on the drug.

45. Compelled by a commenter to check out an article about Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott having a dramatic moment with protesters.  

Gillard lost a shoe in the scene.

The protesters were protesting Tony Abbott suggestion that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is no longer needed. It seems he feels it's no longer relevant.

I can't agree with him there, and I do think it's somewhat offensive.   It's an opinion, though.  We all have them.  In turn, the protesters have the right to speak out against the opinion.  

It seems the protest was typical of most.   The police intervened.  The protesters felt the event didn't need police interference. They felt the police were brutal. They thought of their protest as being peaceful and reasonable.

The protesters had knocked on the glass of the restaurant where Gillard and Abbott were attending an event. I'd say that was annoying, but fairly reasonable.  

Then they chased Gillard's car and banged on it.  I think that's probably going beyond peaceful and reasonable.

What IS a reasonable reaction when someone offends you?   I think we all have different opinions on that, and I think often people's opinions change depending on whether they agree with the protesters or not.  People tend to be much more lenient towards protesters they agree with than they are towards protesters they disagree with.   

46. Started to look at Fredweng's day Twentu in Australia Flickr set.  

It's another Uluru day.   

47. Frustrated because Flickr is being very slow for me right now. I'll give it a few more minutes.   If it doesn't work, I'll come back to it later.

I'm not sure if my internet connection is the problem, or there's something up with Flickr.

48.  Thought that this thing is new to me.  I don't think I've ever seen it before. Is it part of Uluru?    It reminds me of a clam, or something like that.  

49. Thought this was an interesting picture of Uluru.  

50. Realized I've seen so many photos of Uluru, I'm so burned out.   It's no longer about what are the best photos of Uluru. It's about what's the most unique. 

51. Thought this was a pretty nice sky and tree photo.  

51. Did like this photo of Uluru even though it wasn't particularly unique.  

I also like this one a lot.  It's fairly unique.   I like that Uluru isn't the focal point.   It's kind of in the background.  

52. Liked this picture too. It almost makes me want to change my mind about not being interested in visiting Uluru in person.

Uluru looks incredibly majestic in the photo. 

53. Wondered if I'm not actually looking at more intriguing Uluru photos today.  Maybe I'm in more of an Uluru mood, more so than I was two days ago.  

Maybe it takes a certain mood to appreciate Uluru.  

I don't know.....

All I know is the other day Uluru annoyed me. Today I'm finding it quite lovely.

54. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

This one is called Elementary My Dear Australian.  It's about Australian place names that involve elements.

The only one I can think of offhand is Silverton.

55. Got question #2 wrong and learned there's a town in Queensland called Calcium.   The quiz creator says he/she doesn't know much about it outside the fact that it's near Charters Towers and Townsville.  

56. Found Calcium on Google Maps.  Like the quiz creator, I can't find much about it.

57.  Got question #5 wrong and learned there's a town in South Australia called Iron Knob.  

58.  Found Iron Knob on Google Maps.   It's about an hour west of Port Augusta.  

59. Learned from Lord Wiki that the iron mine in Iron Knob closed in 1998.   The town started to become a ghost town.  But recently, because Iron Knob has low cost housing, people are choosing to move there and commute to the city.  I guess that city would be Port Augusta? 

60.  Got question #6 wrong and learned there's a body of water near Tasmania called the Mercury Passage.

Here's a website about the Mercury Passage. There's not much on it yet.  They're looking for someone to help run the site.

61.  Got question #8 wrong and learned there's a place near Burnie, Tasmania called Sulphur Creek.  

62. Saw that there's a lot of real estate for sale in Sulphur Creek.

63. Got question #9 wrong and learned there's a place in Victoria called Adelaide Lead.   And for the record, I didn't guess that it was in South Australia.   I figured that would be too obvious.  

64. Finished the quiz.  I didn't do so great.  I got a 5/10 which is below the average score of 7/10.

65. Asked Tim if he could make damper this week or next week.  He said he'd make it today in honor of Australia Day.   That was very nice of him!

66. Had more thoughts about Reade Ainsworth and my rants from the other day.

We all have to make choices about whether we're going to accept ourselves for who we are or buy products that change or enhance us in some way.

As far as I know, we ALL buy products that change or enhance us in some way.

Me personally?

I dye my hair to hide the little bits of gray.   I'm not sure if I mind the gray itself, but I definitely mind the inconsistent little bits of it.  I wear deodorant to prevent me from smelling like... a human.   I wear make-up.   I wear a bra.   I shave my arm pits, pubic hair, and the little bits of hair that appear over my lip.  I put anti-fizz gel in my hair.   I take birth control pills not just to prevent pregnancy, but because I don't like the type of periods nature has intended for me.   I take a basic pain killer drug at the slightest sign of a headache because I don't like dealing with even minor pain.

Some very natural crunchy people might judge me for these choices.  Other people might judge me if I didn't make those choices.   I once witnessed a friend getting a playful scolding from her sister for not covering her gray in a timely enough fashion.

Like most people in the world, I'm a bit nuts sometimes.  I'm intense.  I'm an emotional mess at times.  I'm crazy.  I'm weird.   Some might want to call me mentally ill.  Whatever.   I have chosen to accept that about myself and not take psychiatric drugs to change it.   I need to make sure to not judge other people who have made a different choice.   I REALLY try not to do that, but sometimes I slip.  

What I won't apologize for is judging the industry out there that depends on us feeling that we're not okay,  and that we need to fork over some money so they can change us.  We're too fat.  Our hair is too frizzy.   We're too sensitive. We're too anxious.  We're too sad.  Our teeth aren't straight enough. We're not social enough. We're getting old, and that's a really BAD thing.  

I guess what I want to scream to people (or maybe sing to them cause that's more gentle) is, Hey.  You're fine the way you are.  But if you want to change something; that's fine too.  

You know what I keep thinking about.  People with dwarfism.   Personally I think dwarfs are awesome, probably just because they're different and exotic to me.  But I definitely recognize that it can't be easy to be a dwarf.   Society is definitely made easier for those of us who are taller...just on a technical basis alone.    In terms of the emotional and social issues, I think it would be extremely hard.

Dwarfs can partake in surgeries that will lengthen their limbs and make them taller.  These surgeries are controversial.  The Little People of America organization is against the surgery because they say the underlying message is that there's something wrong with being very short.     They also say there are medical risks to the surgery, and I'm assuming the surgery costs a lot of money and causes physical pain.  

Personally, I more admire the dwarfs that choose NOT to get the surgery and instead accept themselves for who they are.  But if I was religious and totally non-hypocritical about these feelings; I'd stop wearing a bra, shaving, dying my hair, using make-up, etc.  I'd accept myself 100% for who I my natural state.  

67. Decided to share my own personal story of psychiatric medicine; even though I've told it here before.  But I think it was a long time ago.    Maybe it will explain why I feel the way I do, and why stories like Reade's makes me rant.

When I was in ninth grade I became depressed when Heather O'Rourke died.   She was the little Poltergeist tyke.   As I'm really into Australia now, when I was a tween, my thing was Poltergeist.  

Now when I say I was depressed, I'm not sure I'd call it severe.   I didn't stop sleeping or eating.   I didn't try to kill myself.  My grades didn't slip horribly.  I didn't start shoplifting or anything dramatic.   From what I remember, I was simply sad and moody.  In my opinion, that's fairly normal/typical of teenagers.  Yeah.  It's a bit weird to be depressed about the death of someone you didn't know personally.   But I AM weird, and teenagers get sad about all types of things. 

A few weeks after Heather O'Rourke died, my parents took me to a psychiatrist, one that our family was already using for another family member. I'm pretty sure I was eager and relieved to have someone to talk to.   I really wanted the chance to talk and have someone listen—have someone TRY to understand.

 I was disappointed to find that this psychiatrist showed little interest in listening to me.   What he wanted was for me to go on Lithium.  This guy loved his Lithium.  He eagerly suggested Lithium for other troubled relatives we mentioned.  This guy seemed to think that Lithium was the cure for all of society's woes.

Feel a little sad? Take your Lithium!  

I went on the Lithium. I don't remember a lot about that time.   I think I had to take blood tests while on it for safety reasons.  

I'm not sure how long I was on it, but like the typical wicked mental patient, I secretly stopped at one point.  Then one day, my mom made some comment about how I seemed much better now....since taking that Lithium.   I told her I had stopped. I don't remember her mentioning it again or pushing me to go back on it. 

Since then I've learned it can be dangerous to abruptly stop taking psychiatric medication, but I didn't know that back then.  Maybe it's not the case with Lithium?   Or maybe I wasn't on it long enough, or my dosage was very low.   I don't know.   

But since then I've gotten edgy and ranty towards anyone who wants to throw drugs at sad or anxious people.

My feelings might be totally different if I had a different experience.  What if it had a less zealous doctor who had prescribed the drugs?   What if the doctor had been a good listener and very understanding?  What if I had noticed a positive difference when I took the Lithium?

I would probably have a different outlook.

Either way....whether it be the real outcome or my imagined outcome, it's important for me to remember that everyone has different experience, different opinions, and they make choices that we ourselves might not necessarily make.    

I apologize to anyone I offended with my judgmental rant, and I thank the person who was brave enough to speak up in disagreement.  

68. Was not sure if weird obsessive Americans and Australian expats are supposed to celebrate Australia Day on the 25th of 26th.

I guess it doesn't matter, really.