Friday, February 3, 2012

Crocodiles, Reverse Bucket Lists, Elephants, and the Olympics

1. Saw elements of the Power of Attraction in Lady Bridget in the Never-Never Land: a story of Australian life

Bridget writes to her friend.

To-day I mean to concentrate on wealth-one of my professor's theories is that if you concentrate regularly on a thing you are bound in the long run to get what you set your mind upon.....

I don't know why "today" was written in that way.


The TV show Happy Endings had a funny episode about the Power of Attraction recently.

2. Decided against trying to explain what happened on Happy Endings.  

Instead I'll once again give my opinion on the Law of Attraction.

My feeling is the universe already KNOWS what we want and need.  We don't need to tell it. We don't need to make image boards.

The universe will sometimes give us what we want and/or need. Sometimes, though, the universe will be in a nasty mood and give us what we really don't want or need.

Other times the universe is not in a nasty mood, but there's the fact that there's billions of other people who have wants and needs. Sometimes it's impossible for the universe to balance everything in a way that will make everyone happy.  

Now there IS a belief that there's an abundance of wonderfulness in the universe, that's there's enough for all of us.

It would be nice if that were true, but I doubt that it is.

3. Read article about a University of Tasmania scientist (David Bowman) who thinks there needs to be radical steps taken against bushfires.    

One of Bowman's ideas is to introduce elephants into Australia.  He seems doubtful that will happen, though.  

His reasoning behind the elephant idea is they eat lots of grass. I guess reducing grass stops bush fires?

Don't cows eat grass?

4. Saw that Bowman also has ideas for controlling feral animals.   I'm not sure if this is related to the bushfires, or not.  Do feral animals contribute to the bushfire threat?   Or is he just trying to protect the local ecology?  Maybe it's two separate issues?  

Anyway, his ideas for controlling feral animals are re-introducing dingos into the area, and he wants to encourage Aboriginal folks to hunt feral animals.

5. Looked at David Bowman's bio page at the University of Tasmania. His credentials seem fairly impressive. I mean it seems like he's definitely done his research.

Some of his ideas might be radical, but I don't think he's just shooting them out of his ass.

I'm not saying Australia should definitely implement his ideas. But I do think his ideas should be given careful consideration.

6. Continued to be bored by The Drowner.

I don't get it.

I really liked the two other Robert Drewe books I've read.

The Drowner feels so different than the other two.  

7. Continued to enjoy the Lady Bridget book.  I feel a bit conflicted about it, because there's some racism in it.

It's all a bit awkward.

 But sometimes that's life.  It's like some people in my life. They're sometimes openly racist or bigoted, and that makes me feel uncomfortable.  But besides that character flaw, I like them

8. Read article about a freshwater crocodile found in Sydney. He was hiding behind a rubbage bin.

I'm saying rubbage even though it's not part of my native dialect. The Sydney Morning Herald says "garbage bin".   I didn't think Australians used the word garbage. Although in America, we usually say garbage can and not garbage bin.  


It's thought that the crocodile was an illegal pet.

I'm not a big crocodile fan.  They scare me.  But this one is a baby.  And I have to admit it. He's adorable.

The other thing is, he's not a saltwater crocodile.   Freshwater crocodiles are less menacing.  

9. Looked at photos of baby saltwater crocodiles on Google Images.  Some of them are cute.

There's some grown-up crocs mixed in there, though.  They're scary.

You know how some people have that bad feeling when they look at photos of spiders. I have it sometimes when I see crocodiles.

The picture that bothers me the most on Google Images is in the third set (page 3).  It's the last picture of the set—the adult croc with his mouth open.

Oh...and scrolling down, I see there are more scary pictures.

I used to not really mind alligators and crocodiles. Then I started having creepy bad dreams about them.  That influenced and changed my feelings.  

10. Learned from this blog that a crocodile was to blame for a plane crash in the Congo.

It escaped.  It scared people.  All the action and drama caused the disaster.  

Here's the article.

It looks like the crocodile was a baby.

At first it surprised me that a baby would scare people that much.  But then I remembered some people don't like reptiles in general.  Even small reptiles might scare some folks.

Sadly, there were only two survivors of the crash— one human and one crocodile. But then the crocodile was chopped up by a machete. Why? It wasn't his fault. 

I'm not a crocodile fan, but I don't think they need to be needlessly slaughtered.

I just want them to be far away from me.

11. Learned the term laryngoplasm from The Drowner.  

One of the characters says:

Back home in Connecticut, I've processed bodies with no water in the lungs that died from lack of oxygen. Businessmen choking on their morning coffee. Babies in the bath.

That's really scary.  Like most people, I sometimes choke when I drink. I didn't know people could die from that.

I guess it's really rare, though.

12. Consulted Lord Wiki.  From what he says, I get that it's not overly dangerous when it happens with drinking. He doesn't mention anyone dying while drinking their coffee.

He does say it can be very dangerous when the cause is anesthesia, especially in children.

13. Ended up reading about secondary drowning.  Now I'm totally freaked out.

There are different types of secondary drowning.  One is where someone has a near-drowning incident.  You think they're okay, but it ends up they have fluid in their lungs. Then several hours later, they die. 

That's why they say not to leave a baby unattended in the bath, not even for a second.

Even if you catch them, right after going under, they can get too much water in their lungs.

It's not always the case, though.  I know of a mother who turned around to grab a towel.  When she looked back her baby was under the water.   It's about nine years later now. The kid is fine.

Another time, I was at a pool with a friend.  We got too involved with chatting.  Her toddler went under.  The kid is fine.  

And how many times do we choke and gasp for air when we swallow a liquid the wrong way.

Most people survive that. Right?

I'm trying to make myself feel better here. 

14. Figured out that the Lady Bridget book may not be racist after all. I think I just misinterpreted things.

There's a racist character in the book.  He doesn't like the Aboriginal people.   Since he's one of the main characters, I took that to mean the author held his prejudices as well.  However, now I see that another main character (Bridget) has the exact opposite viewpoint.  She's very much on the left. She believes Australia was wrongfully stolen.

I'm really enjoying the book, and now maybe I can do so with a little less ambivalence.

15. Saw that my Australian of the day is Ellen Arnold.

She was a missionary.

She was born in England in 1858.  When she was about twenty-one, her family migrated to Adelaide.

They joined the Flinders Street Baptist Church.

The reverend at the church inspired Arnold to do missionary work.

She ended up doing work in India.

That lasted for about two years.  Then she got sick and came home for awhile.

Later she returned and did a lot more work in India.

16. Saw that Triple J's song #74 on their countdown is called "Bali Party".  It's by the hip hop singer Drapht.

Firefox didn't correct the spelling when I wrote that, which makes me think I've mentioned him before.

17. Searched through my blog and found that I wrote about Drapht in this post.     I listened to his song "Rapunzel". 

18. Started to listen to "Bali Party".

It's kind of fun.

19. Started to feel less bored by The Drowner.

I'm confused, though.  The characters and setting have changed.

The beginning of the book was about a irrigation worker and an actress, and they were in Bath, England.  Now the setting is Western Australia; and the main character is an undertaker who also does dead-people photography.   There's a woman in the story,  and I'm wondering if she's the same woman from the beginning of the book.

I didn't catch her name.  I went back and tried searching for it; but came up...lost.

I don't think the book is a novella collection. I'm thinking these people are going to connect to each other somehow.

I guess I'll read and find out.

20. Looked at song #71 on the Triple J countdown.   It's "Arnold" by Luke Million. And the picture has a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  So I guess that's what the song refers to.  

21. Watched the video. It's bizarre, and quite fascinating.  

There's not much to the song, really.   It's instrumental with Arnold sound bytes.

It shows a lot of Arnold muscle.  I don't think extreme body building bodies are that attractive....personally.

According to this blog post, extreme body building is also unhealthy.   From what it says; it sounds like extreme body builder people are not much different from those who desire extreme thinness.  It's not about health.  It's about obsession, endurance, and superficial ideals.

This other blog post though sees body building as a good thing. (edited to add 11/5/114-removed link because company owning website asked me to. Sorry)

Like many things in life; there's a variety of interpretations and opinions.  (And some are held by website owners that are in trouble with Google Penguin)

22. LOVED Not a Ballerina's reverse bucket list post. 

I'm not a big bucket list fan, and neither is she.   It's not really that I'm against them in general.   It's more like, that's fine for you guys, but I don't want to join in the game.

When I first saw Not a Ballerina's post, I thought it was going to be about things she DOESN'T want to do during her life.  If I had to make that list, I'd be here for hours...maybe days.

But it turns out a reverse bucket list is about what you HAVE done rather than what you want to do.   I like it, because the emphasis is on appreciation rather than desire.

I'm going to write down some of my things.  I was thinking of adding the bad stuff, because although it was awful, I think that stuff helped me grow.   But that's probably getting too philosophical.

So I'll skip the bad......

* Lived in Manhattan  
* Lived in Los Angeles
*  Experienced snow....sledding and snowmen
* Lived in various states in the United States (Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Tennessee)
* Became a mom to a super wonderful human being.
* Visited San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia.
* Visited Disney World (many times)
* Visited London twice.
* Visited Australia twice
* Visited Rome, Malta, Sicily, Cannes, Paris
* Went on cruises and visited various islands
* Wrote 12 novels and many screenplays
* Found a partner and created a family. 
* Volunteered at a Cystic Fibrosis camp
* Had a cockatoo stand on my head.
* Fed parrots 
* Cuddled cats and dogs.
* Was gifted with adorable nieces and nephews.    
* Read a lot of wonderful books.
* Spent weekends at a lake house.
* Tried to do a past life regression hypnosis thing.
* Visited Hawaii
* Saw the taping of live TV shows.
* Experienced the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, and the first decade of the 21st century
* Spent time at a beach house with friends.
* Experienced the turn of a century AND the turn of a millennium
* Kept up a blog for more than 3 years.   
* Had many lucid dreams.   
* Went to college, graduate school, and a semester of film school
* Followed an American soap opera for more than 20 years.
* Watched many wonderful TV shows and movies.
* Had sex
* Did the Manly aquarium shark dive
* Had dragonflies and butterflies land on my arm.  
* Watched Lost   
* Climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge
* Climbed the waterfall thing in Jamaica
* Read the Harry Potter series
* Worked at a zoo
* Taught preschool
* Visited a supposedly haunted restaurant. 
* Found the courage to express my opinion, even at times when I knew my viewpoint might not be popular.
* Tasted food from many different ethnic groups
* Visited Japan
* Managed to enjoy a team sport experience.
* Visited Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Oregon, Mississippi, Alabama, Delaware, and Connecticut.
* Held a snake
* Had the courage to taste an insect.  
* Swam in the ocean 
* Swam in a lake 
* Stayed up all night and watched the sunrise
*Experienced a huge technological renaissance. 
* Fed a lion, tiger, and bear

Just for the record; these are definitely not in any order of importance.  

I think I've already had more than anyone could wish or ask for. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, and I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had.  Anything on top of all that is really just icing on the cake....or really, sprinkles on an already heavily frosted cake.

23. Dreamed that, I start wondering if maybe one of my recent ancestors might have been from Australia.  I start giving consideration to my paternal great-grandfather; but it seems unlikely that he was Australian.  

24.  Woke up with Crowded House's "Elephants" in my mind.

I think the song was also in my head when I went to bed. 

25.  Went to erase a spam comment I saw in my email last night.   But when I checked my blog, it wasn't there.  I found it in my Blogger spam folder.  They caught it for me. I'm grateful for that.

I'm not sure why they were able to catch that spam comment, but not the others.

Well....the difference might be that this commenter had a Blogger profile. It led to what he was advertising.    I think the other spam commenters were anonymous.  Maybe signing in anonymously is a way to circumvent spam blockers.

26. Saw that song #70 on the Triple J countdown is "She's like a Comet" by Jebediah.

Jebediah reminds me of a name that would be on Little House on the Prairie...or Children of the Corn

27. Saw that there WAS a Jebediah on Little House on the Prairie.   He was in an episode about a baseball game.  

28. Saw that Children of the Corn didn't have a Jebediah; but they did have a Jedediah.  

29. Learned from Lord Wiki that Jebediah is from Perth.   The group has 4 people and they got together in 1994.

30. Learned that Jebediah's most popular song was "Animal".   It as released in 1999 and reached #16 in the charts. Lord Wiki says the song was used in season 1 of McLeod's Daughters.  I didn't realize the show used any non-Rebecca Lavelle songs.

31. Started to listen to "Animal"

I don't remember it from McLeod's Daughters.  But it's been a few years since I've watched the show. 

32. Saw from this McLeod's Daughters site that "Animal" was played on the 11th episode of the first season.

That episode featured two other Jebediah songs, and the first episode also had a Jebediah song.  

33. Started to listen to "She's Like a Comet".

I like that song much more than "Animal".

34. Started looking at more of Fredweng's day Twenty-Two in Australia Flickr set

35. Thought it was interesting that people have their legs hanging out of the Puffing Billy Train.   Is that required?  Are the seats made for your feet to go that way?  

36. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says it's a popular tradition to sit on the ledge of the open-carriage.

So....I guess it's a choice.

37.  Saw that Fredweng went to a vineyard called Fergusson Winery.

It looks like everything is pretty dead in the winter. 

38. Went to the Fergusson website  and found out they're located in the Yarra Valley.

39.  Found the winery on Google Maps.  

I'm trying to trace Fredweng's journey for day Twenty-Two.

40. Thought it was interesting that my iTunes DJ is now playing "Elephants".

I feel like I'm haunted by that song today.

41. Went back to looking at the map.

The Puffing Bill area (Belgrave) is about forty-five minutes from Melbourne. Then the winery is about forty-five minutes from Belgrave.

I'm guessing Fredweng took some type of tour.  One of the photos showed a tour bus.  

I think he takes a lot of tours. 

42. Found Fredweng's possible tour.    It goes to the train, Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary, and lunch at the winery.

I just peaked ahead at Fredweng's later photos.  He does goes to Healesville.

It's probably the tour. Although there could be similar alternate ones.

43. Thought the scenery in this photo was beautiful.   

44. Wished there were vineyard tours geared towards those who don't drink.

Maybe they could have ones where you get to just taste the grapes.

I'd love that.

45. Found an editorial about visiting wineries when you don't drink. It has some good advice. 

I'm not sure I'm into the suggestion of tasting and spitting.

First of all, I'd feel weird spitting in front of people.

Second, I don't really want to taste it. I don't like the taste of alcohol. 

I like some of the other ideas in the editorial, though.  You can pick wineries that also have food tastings.  You can enjoy the scenery and architecture. You can learn about the history and wine-making process.

It's probably less of a problem for someone like me, and more a problem for someone who is not supposed to drink alcohol.  Tim likes to drink, but is supposed to pretty much avoid it because of his medication. So going to a winery would probably be a little sad for him.

Or I guess he could do the spitting thing.

46. Thought this kangaroo looked very pathetic, but in a very cute way.  

47. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

This one is called Australian Salmagundi.

I don't know what Salmagundi is. 

48. Learned from Lord Wiki that Salmagundi is a salad from England.  It has meats, vegetables, flowers, and other stuff.

Maybe in this case Salmagundi refers to a mixture of things.

49. Got question #7 wrong on the quiz and learned that "Waltzing Matilda" and not "Advance Australia Fair" was chosen to play at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

But it wasn't played because Australia didn't win any gold medals.  

I guess you need a gold medal for your song to play? 

50.  Finished the quiz.  I got 9/10.  I'm happy with that.  

51. Consulted Lord Wiki about the 1976 Olympics. He says although Australia won no gold medals, they did win 1 silver and 4 bronze medals.

The Soviet Union won the most that year.  They won forty-nine gold medals.  

52. Looked at Lord Wiki's Olympic medal tables.

Australia did very well in 1956, the year the Olympics were in Melbourne.   They got a total of thirty-five medals.  I looked at the years prior, and in those years they earned much less medals.

I wonder why?  Was it just a coincidence?  Do Australians play better when they're close to home?

53. Saw that Australia also did very well in 1960.

So I'm thinking maybe they just hadn't yet discovered their very talented athletes.  Then in the 1950's, they started appearing.

54. Noticed that the United States and the Soviet Union come out on top a lot...when it comes to medals.  Are we very strong? Ultra-competitive?  

I think this was during the Cold War. I guess the war carried over to the Olympics?

It's probably a really good thing.  Maybe instead of bombing each other, the two countries fought it out with athletic contests.

55. Saw that the United States refused to participate in the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

Then in 1984 the Olympics were held in Los Angeles. The Soviet Union boycotted that.  

56. Started to get the idea that Americans and Russians are REALLY good with athletics.

Why didn't anyone pass some of those genes to me?

I'm probably one of the slowest able-bodied runners in the world.

57. Saw that Australia also did very well at the Sydney Olympics.

So I guess Australians have very good athletic skills as long as they don't stray too far from the homeland.


I see they also did quite well in Greece.

58. Saw that Norway does consistently well at the Winter Olympics.  They didn't seem to get much in 1988.

59. Went to the drugstore to pick up medication.   They had chocolate covered Australian licorice!   It's the first time I've seen it in Texas.   I think the only other place we've seen it is Chicago.   I was thinking, at first it was San Francisco. But we went to San Francisco BEFORE Australia.   I wouldn't have known about the chocolate licorice.   

60. Received more insight from Lord Wiki about Australians at the Olympics

Prior to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Australia had less than a hundred athletes competing.   So that would have reduced their chances of getting medals.

At the Melbourne Olympics, there were 314 Australians competing.   At the Sydney Olympics there were 630 Australians competing.

Then in other years (after 1956) the numbers range from 123-482.

61. Saw that swimming is the event that earns Australia most of it's Olympic medals.

That makes sense.

Australians have that whole mermaid thing going on. I think it's connected to their love of Vegemite.   Someone should do a scientific study on that.