Monday, April 30, 2012

Rudd and Hughes

This morning I read a bit about the Prime Minister Billy Hughes.

He was expelled from the Labor Party because he supported conscription.  He thought it was needed to win the war.  The Labor Party didn't like that.

It got me immediately thinking about Kevin Rudd.

Why doesn't he quit the Labor Party and run as an independent?  Or maybe he can start a new party?

Wow...I'm reading further and Hughes actually sounds a bit like Rudd.

The National Archives Prime Minister Site says this about Hughes:

The Governor-General had little confidence in Hughes’ capacity as an administrator, finding him unwilling to delegate or to consult his colleagues. Munro-Ferguson likened Hughes to ‘a jackdaw who pounces on everything and secretes it in his own nest’. Though Hughes had a remarkable memory and the ability to grasp and master subjects quickly, he was often irritable and impatient.

I can't recall if Rudd has been accused of not consulting his colleagues. But I do know there has been talk of it being difficult to work with him.  And there HAVE been incidents where he's shown his impatience.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why I Shouldn't Make Plans

I've been reading my old posts. 

Lately I've been reading stuff from September 2008.  There's a few posts where I make grand plans for our February 2009 Australia trip.

It's funny reading it, because we didn't do most of the stuff I said we'd do.

In this post, I had grand plans for Manly.  We would go beyond the obvious touristy areas we visited in 2007.

That didn't happen.

I think we went to the same area of Manly in 2009 that we went to in 2007.

We did try a new ice-cream place, and maybe a new restaurant.  That might count for something.   

In this post, I listed eleven places we could visit in Sydney.  We went to five and missed six.

To my credit, I didn't say we'd definitely go to these places.  They were just ideas.

But still.....

I'm thinking it's best to not make plans and just go with the flow.

Or maybe now I'm more into making plans of what I want to DO rather than planning on places to visit.

For me visiting Australia is becoming more about the experience and less about seeing specific sites.

So...here's my list for now.

I want to feed parrots and see wild ones.  

I want to hear adorable Aussie accents all around me.

I want to buy and eat lots of Australian candy.

I want to browse bookstores and see Australian books.

I want to watch Australian TV.

I want to have picnics in the park.

I want to take long walks.   

I want to see old friends and make new friends.

As for planning to actually GO to Australia....

Who knows when that will happen.

I feel I jinx myself by talking about it.   So I don't think I'll talk about it until we have purchased plane tickets.

Or maybe I'll wait until we're actually in Australia.

If I'm really paranoid about the jinx, maybe I'll wait until we're HOME from Australia to mention it on my blog.

I doubt I'd be that paranoid......

Yeah, but anyway.

Hopefully we'll go back to Australia someday. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wild!

While we were at the pool, Jack informed me that another Aussie singer is big in America.   Her name is Sia.  

I didn't know about her, but now I'm thinking maybe I have encountered her.

I wonder if she's on the Triple J top 100.   If she is, I would have seen her.

I'm going to go check.....

I just looked. 

I don't see her.

Jack seemed appalled that I had never heard of her.

I think I'm supposed to know every Australian celebrity in existence.

Yeah....I'm working on it.

Anyway, I just consulted Lord Wiki.

Sia is Sia Furler.  And although she's newly popular in America, she's not at all new to the music industry.

Her first album was released in 1997.

While I was researching that, I listened to this song.



I like it.

It's called "Soon We'll Be Found" and it was on an album released in 2008.

The song that's popular now in America is "Wild Ones". Sia sings with Flo Rida.



I didn't much like the song at the pool, but now it's starting to grow on me.

Jack just informed me that Sia was one of the advisers on  The Voice last year.   Lord Wiki might have mentioned that as well, but I only skimmed his stuff.   I did see that he mentioned Christina Aguilera, and she's on The Voice.   

My New Toy!

A week or so ago, I was thrilled to get a package from Australia.

It was from Fruitcake.  

She sent me a Aussie flag thong pool floatie thing. 

Today we used it for the first time.



I think it's one of the most comfortable rafts I've ever been on.

It's funny because I didn't expect that.

I thought it was just a cool novelty thing that would be great for photo ops. 

But the little toe thingie is like a pillow, and it's REALLY nice.

I had a lovely time with it and will hopefully use it again tomorrow.

Jack rode on it a little bit, and he also had fun with our Aussie towel in the wind.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Australian Songs on The Voice

I was so excited while watching the recent episode of The Voice.

One of the contestants (Juliet Simms) sang an Aussie song!  And it's the song I recently talked about in a post—Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn".
  
On top of that, I consulted Lord Wiki about the Australian version of The Voice

I made a mistake in my last post and assumed the auditions were over.  But they weren't.

There was another two rounds.  And in the last round, three contestants chose to sing Australian songs.

Virginia Lillye sang "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC.   Matty Chap sang "20 Good Reasons" by Thirsty Merc.   Tamara Stewart sang "Dumb Things" by Paul Kelly.    

Sadly, two out of those three did not get chosen for a team.   I don't think it's a tragedy for them though, because I'm not convinced winning these contests is that much of a boost to anyone's life and/or career.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tears, Singing, and Guilty Pleasures

Fruitcake's latest post is about the crap that's on TV these days. She comes down especially hard on reality TV.

In exchange for our money and time we get to choose from a whole basked of goodies including rubbish about celebrity interventions; shock horror docos about child pageants or extreme plastic surgery [or both]; extremely stupid and dysfunctional people going to “court”; and that modern version of the morality play –the “talk” shows which feature people with fetishes for things like collecting bits of toe-jam.

Like Fruitcake...I'm against that type of television.  And in THEORY, I'd add the talent show genre to that.   Shows like Australian Idol, America's Got Talent, and the Voice are full of sensationalism and audience manipulation.  So much about these shows is ridiculous.

BUT....

I'm totally into The Voice

It's one of my current guilty pleasures.  

I could try to blame Jack for my watching of the show.  He's really into these talent shows.

If I was a certain type of parent, I might simply forbid the show because it goes against MY principles.   But I'm not that type of parent.

We watch the show together as a family.  We talk about the aspects of the show that bother me.  We talk about editing. We talk about manipulation. We talk about how there are different sides of the story that we're not seeing.   

There IS a lot of crap on The Voice.

But I'm seeing there's some good stuff too.

Like Adam Levine.

And some of the contestants are very sweet.

I enjoy seeing the supportive families.  

I like learning about music.  I've learned singing terms I never knew, like pitchy and powerhouse.

I'm being introduced to songs I've not heard of before.

That's my list of the more noble stuff I enjoy about the show.  

I will sheepishly admit that I am also enjoying the less savory aspects of the show—the sensational drama.  

Embedded below is one of my favorite singing battles.  Charlotte Sometimes and Lex Land seemed to totally hate each other—somewhat so during the singing, but even more so in the little mini documentary scenes.   It was all so fun to watch and I think the animosity actually added to the performance. I don't know if they hated each other for real, or if it was put on for the sake of the show.   If it WAS real, I think they should work out their differences and join together to form a musical group. I think they're fantastic together.



Then there was great drama when Christina Aguilera dissed one of the contestants, who happens to be her former co-worker on the Mickey Mouse Club.

What's the deal behind that?   I don't know.  But it's kind of fun using my imagination to make up stories and explanations in my head. 

It's not just the anger drama of the show that has me in its hooks. There's also the sweet and sad moments.

Tonight Cee-Lo Green's speech about chopping someone from his team had me in tears.  I was all choked up.   Of course it was not as severe as my Kate, Charlie, and Claire scene sobbing. But still.....

Australia has their own version of The Voice on right now.   Since I'm so much into the American one, I thought it would be great fun to get into the Australian one.  But it's been hard because a lot of the videos are blocked here.   

Plus, my time has become limited because I've become totally addicted to another one of Jack's passions.  The kid has got me totally hooked on Mindcraft.   I've become an addict. But that is NOT one of my guilty pleasures. I think the game is absolutely brilliant.

Anyway....

I have seen a few bits from Australia's The Voice

I think Adam Hoek is interesting.

 I thought I had watched his actual audition; but now I can't find it.  So maybe....I didn't. But this is him singing the song that he sang for the audition.



I like Peta Jeffress' cover of "Wonderwall".  It's so different from the version of the song that I'm used to.




I think it's very cool when someone can add something new to a song.  

I shall be my usual self and make my usual complaint.  They should have more Australian stuff on the AUSTRALIAN The Voice.  Most of the contestants are doing covers of songs made by American or British people.  From what I can see, only two contestants have chosen to sing Australian songs.   Maybe that will change in the next round, when the coaches pick the songs.   I hope so!

Australian music deserves much more attention.  I'm not just saying this because I'm obsessed with Australia.  I'm saying this simply because fantastic things shouldn't be overlooked or overshadowed.   

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Major Cuteness

I'm still spending parts of my day listening to Australian music via Lord Wiki's list of ARIA winners and nominations.

Recently I listened to Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn".




I recognized it right away and not from the last few years. I guess I had heard it when it was popular. It turns out that it did fairly well in the United States.

Anyway, I'm amazed by the cuteness of Natalie Imbruglia. I think she's maybe the cutest adult female human I have ever seen. It's not just how she looks, but how she sings as well. Her voice is full of cuteness.

I don't have a crush on her...at least not yet. She might be too cute.

But then she's not too cute in an annoying way.

Maybe she's cute in a baby kitten kind of way.

Lord Wiki says Imbruglia was named the 6th most naturally beautiful woman of all time in some list made in 2004.

Here's an article with the list of the top ten. Three of the ten are Australian. Cate Blanchett is #3 and Elle MacPherson is #10.

The #1 winner is Audrey Hepburn.

I don't know if I think Imbruglia is more beautiful than the other woman on the list. but I do think she's cuter.

Cuteness and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder...of course.

I learned from Lord Wiki that Imbruglia was on Neighbours. I'm going to watch a clip. I want to see if she's as cute when acting rather than singing.





It's a long video, and it's taking me a long time to get to the Imbruglia part.

Okay....I finally see it. She appears at around 4:50. At least I think it's Imbruglia. Lord Wiki says she played a Beth on Neighbours. Unless there's another teen Beth on Neighbours, I guess this is her. She looks very different, and a bit less cute. It could be an age thing. Maybe Imbruglia is one of those people who gets better with age.

Lord Wiki has a picture of her in her early 30's. She looks very elegant—more beautiful, but less cute.

Now I'm watching one of her more recent music videos. It's called "Want". Embedding is disabled; so here's the link.

Imbruglia is beautiful, cute, and sexy.

Right now I'm thinking....

With all these beautiful Australians out there, I continue to wonder why the Tallygarunga players don't use them more often for their characters.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Greed and Unfairness in the Old Gum Tree

I'm sad to hear about the death of Greg Ham, the Men at Work guy.

I'm even more sad to think that his last years were perhaps unhappy.

His famous song "Down Under" was brought to court for copyright infringement. The people who wrote the children's song about the Kookaburra believe the flute bit in "Down Under" was stolen from their song.

The children's song people won the case.

Greg Ham worried that he and the song would be remembered for copyright infringement. He worried all of the crap might have ruined his song.

I was very familiar with the Kookaburra song from my childhood and somewhat familiar with the Men at Work song. I never listened to the latter and thought, Wow, that sounds like the Kookaburra song!

If there ARE major similarities my untrained ear is missing, well....

There are only so many notes in the world, and it's bound to happen that sometimes one song is going to sound a little bit like another song.

If the Kookaburra people really saw such a huge similarity, why couldn't they just see it as a homage to their work?

All I know is that the Down Under song isn't ruined for me. I still like it.

I can't say the same for the Kookaburra song. For me, it's no longer a fun song about a famous Aussie bird. It's now just a sad greed thing that makes little sense to me.


Blogger Grief

This morning I'm feeling regretful about the quitting of the quitting of my blog.

Blogger has a new interface, and I absolutely hate it.

They've had the new look for awhile, but it was something you had to opt into.

Now it's there for everyone.

I felt better for a few minutes when I learned that you CAN opt back to the old blogger look. I'm using it now.

But then I learned this is temporary. Blogger plans to force everyone to make the change...eventually.

WHY?

I've been looking at the feedback out there. Some people are like me—hate the new look. Other people are very pleased with it.

I'm not one of those people who are resistant to all website changes. Sometimes the changes do improve things. But I see no positive changes with the new Blogger...at least not for me personally. I'm sure it will benefit certain people who are wanting certain things that I don't understand.

There's something about Dynamic Views? It's supposed to be exciting, but I don't get it. Do you?

For other bloggers out there using Blogger, please tell me what you think of all this.

If you are happy with the changes, please tell me why? Maybe you can convince me this is not too horrible?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rudolf Höss Coincidence

I've been reading this fantastic book about the Holocaust.  It might be the best Holocaust book I've read in a long time. 

It's called Too Many Men, and it's written by Lily Brett.  

The book is about an Australian New Yorker who goes to Poland with her Holocaust survivor father.   The novel is less about what happened to the Jews in World War II, and more about modern reactions to the Holocaust. 

I will say the book is not too flattering to the Polish.  The protagonist's viewpoint of Poland reminds me of Bill Bryson's view of Darwin.  

Basically one of the main ideas of the book is that the Jews are gone from Poland, but not anti-semitism. Although the book is kind enough to show some exceptions. Not all the Polish are awful.

Like most books about the Holocaust this book brings up feelings of despair and anger.   The usual stuff.  Butt there's also a lot of cuteness and humor.

And there's some interesting mystical elements.  

Anyway....

This morning I realized I had a weird morbid coincidence.

Before going to bed I read a scene which describes the hanging of Rudolph Höss.  It's a bit graphic.

They mention the date of the hanging.  I didn't think about it.

Then this morning I thought about it.  I thought about how it's April now and Höss' death was sometime in April.   I consulted Lord Wiki about the exact date of the hanging (because I had forgotten what the book said).  Lord Wiki says it was April 16.  Today is April 17.  So I realized I read about an April 16 death on April 16.

It's not a huge deal. But I did think it was a little interesting.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

At Perth Airport

My Flickr stalking is directed at Perth these days.

I've come across some interesting photos.

I'm trying to figure out more about them.

There's some kind of spiritual guru who has been picked up, at the airport, by what seems to be his followers.

Here, here, and here are photos of him blessing people. 

And perhaps here he's about to bless an unborn child.  

I'm nosy and wondering what religion these people are following.  Is it Buddhism or a derivative?   Something else?

The followers don't look unusual anyway. They wouldn't stand out in a crowd.

All the photos are taken by a Flickr member named MaxClee.   His profile says he's from Germany, but there's some Spanish written on the profile. 

I'm going to go translate it.

Okay.   It says, We are dedicated to developing communication and brand image.

Our domain is the space of interactive communication.


I don't think that refers to the spiritual group.  It probably refers to the MaxClee corporation which is linked to on the profile.  They're an advertising agency.

Why was someone from the advertising agency taking photos of the spiritual/religious group?  Were they hired to do so?  Is someone from the company a follower of the religion?

I don't see anything on the website about offering photography services.

So I'm thinking they were NOT hired.

Oh!

I think I just found my answers.

I looked at MaxClee's contacts and found a Flickr account called Lama on Tour. It has pictures of the same religious guy who was at the airport. 

Here's some information about him.  His name is Lama Ole Nydahl, and he's part of something called Diamond Way Buddhism.

Here's the official website of Lama Ole Nydahl.  

Lord Wiki says Nydahl grew up in Denmark.  He spent time in the Danish military and later became a bit of a hippie. 

There's some controversy about Nydahl.  I'm just skimming for now.

There's something with him being blamed for a split in...something. 

He's vocally anti-Islam.

He has relationships with multiple woman.

And he had a past career in smuggling.  

Anyway....back to my Flickr stalking target.

Here's the website of the Diamond Way center in Perth.  

I like what they say on their FAQ page in response to the question.   Do I have to sit cross-legged on the floor? 

They're answer: Mats, cushions and chairs are all provided. During the actual mediation time the most important aspect in terms of posture is a straight back. It is important to be comfortable and this can be done on a mat, cushion, kneeling or on a chair. It’s your mind that gets enlightened, not your knees.

And maybe the back gets enlightened too?

There's no fee for the meditation sessions, so it's not a money-grabbing thing like Scientology.   Well, at least it doesn't seem that way.

They do say that if you come regularly they'd like you to contribute to tea and coffee.  

I think that's probably fair.

They have a list of events.  Some events are donation-only and others have a price of $12 or $15 dollars.  I think the lower price is for members.

They might pressure people to give LARGE donations, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. 

This page has videos with Nydahl teaching us something.  I started watching one. It was fairly interesting, but then I wanted to move onto something else.   

I then watched this video.    I like what it says for the most part.  It's basically that our reality is influenced by our senses, culture, and personal beliefs and upbringing.  In the video, it's suggested to meditate.  I think this religion is big on meditating.

They also push the idea of doing the things that will benefit the most people.  It's that whole for-the-good-of-many mentality.  

I just found a blog of someone who sees Diamond Way as a cult. 

He lists reasons why he sees it as a cult.  One of the things listed is, Everything in DW has a price, and the money flows to the top of the hierarchy. There is also huge pressure to donate money, whether you can afford it or not. Members are milked for everything they have, while Ole Nydahl lives a life of luxury, flying round the world and having everything paid for him.

So it seems MAYBE there is pressure to donate lots of money.

I don't know if this Blogger's opinion has a lot of merit or not.

It's hard to judge whether something is a bad cult or not.

But I do think the following comment on the post is an embarrassment to the religion.

 How dare you continue this stupid slander against his most holiness Lama Ole Nydahl?! This mindless slander must be the work of some loser who is probably mentally ill, stupid or a criminal. Losers only slander Diamond Way Buddhism when they have something to hide themselves! Why else would you try to project your hopelessness onto the most ethical group on the planet? 

That came from an anonymous poster. It's very immature and the hyperbole is shameful.  It almost seems like anonymous is a troll who's TRYING to make the religion look awful.

Ah....I just looked further down and saw another anonymous commenter has the same suspicions as me.

He or she says,   These words are written by either blog author himself or his supporters.
I never heard that either Ole called himself "most holiness" or even one DW student ever. "Most ethical group on the planet" also looks very funny for me, as for Ole student. Just because I apply common western democratic morale principles in everyday life. no need to call myself "most ethical" or compare with somebody.

Then again it very well MIGHT be a follower of the religion. Some people tend to be incapable of defending their decision without accusations, name-calling, and hyperbole.

Well, I'm going to stop here with the conclusion that all religious beliefs and gurus are going to have their followers and haters.   

I do find it interesting, though.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bye Bye Bob

Like Dame Edna, Bob Brown is retiring.

I saw yesterday that a lot of people were coming to my Bob Brown post.   I didn't think much of it, figuring it was a trivial thing.  Then later I glanced at the news and saw that the Bob Brown news was far from trivial.

It's not a tragic sad thing.  But it's kind of an end-of-an-era sad thing.  

As for Dame Edna.  Is that really a retirement?  It's kind of more like murder.  Or we could be kind and call it euthanasia.  Maybe it's a bit like an exorcism?

I wonder if she'll still exist in some form, even if away from the public eye. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Modern Family

There was another Australian reference on Modern Family.  Hugh Jackman was mentioned by Mitch and Cam.

Prior to that show, Suburgatory had a kangaroo.

On another recent episode Suburgatory played an Angus and Julia stone song. 

I think America's ABC has an Australia thing going on. 

And.....


I'm so feeling like Stephen King right now.  

Singing With Accents

In the fairly recent past, I've wondered why many Australians and British folks sing with American accents.

Was it a symptom of successful American imperialism?  

Perhaps.

Recently, though, I read this article which says a guy named Andy Gibson did a study, and he thinks it's natural.  Well, it's not natural, but it happens automatically.   Sometimes.

It has to do with the style of music.  People tend to go to an American accent when singing pop music.  When they sing a Reggae song, they tend to do a Jamaican accent  When they do country, a southern accent comes out.  

So we sing a song in the accent in which we've heard it.

Although that wouldn't explain Australians singing with an American accent when singing a song they've written themselves.  

Or maybe it's the style itself that brings about the accent.

Lately, our guilty pleasure is watching The Voice.  What's interesting to me is that the American contestants are singing with non-American accents. A few of the women sound almost Australian to me.  It's like they're faking an Aussie accent.

Then there's Adam Levine, one of the judges.  I became familiar with him as a judge before hearing him as a singer.  I was later surprised to hear his singing. His singing accent doesn't match his speaking accent.

I asked Jack the other day, Why are so many of them singing with fake accents? 

Jack replied by saying something like, YOU sing with a different accent. And that's fine. But if you're complaining about it, you're being hypocritical. 

Touché.

I do usually sing with an American accent. 

And although the Australian accent jumps out of my mouth automatically and accidentally when speaking.  I think with singing I have to force the fake accent.

Anyway.... 

Here are two contestants singing with interesting accents.   Maybe sort of Australian?




In the following video you can hear Erin Martin's speaking voice.   I don't think it matches her singing voice.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Adults Reading Children's Books

I just finished reading a children's science fiction book written by an Australian.

The Fallen Spaceman by Lee Harding.


I enjoyed reading the book. It was easy-to-read, touching, sweet, and adventurous.

I liked it much more than certain adult books I've read recently—ones that were difficult, pretentious, depressing, and worst of all...boring.

That's not to say all adult books are bad. And I'm not saying all children's books are wonderful. There's good and bad in each category; and in which of those the book is placed depends on the individual reader.

My blood boiled a bit when I read Joel Stein's recent rant about adults reading children's books.

He starts his editorial by saying The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.

Later Stein says....

I have no idea what the Hunger Games is like.

Should he be judging a book if he knows little about it?  

I do feel for Joel Stein.  I know what it's like to write a rant that offends people.  We all have the right to our rants.  And then it's nice when other people can respond and give their opinion in return, without threats, ignorance, hyperbole, and name-calling.  

Now Stein will need to do what I've done when faced with people who strongly dislike my opinions.  Think, read, research, and think some more. Then he can decide if he stands by his original opinion.   Or maybe he'll want to change it.   

My fantasy is that he'll read something like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  He'll read the book, love it, and write a humble apology.  Or maybe he'll read the books, dislike them, and stick by his original opinion.  Then he can remain embarrassed of people like me, and I can continue to feel embarrassed for him.  Different strokes for different folks. 
  
There's a lot of great comments on Stein's editorial.  My favorite quotes from C.S Lewis.

Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

How about you?

Do you like any books written for children or teens?   If the answer is yes and you're not a child or teen yourself, are you embarrassed to be reading these books?   Do you hide them from public view? 

Have you ever written a rant that offended and/or angered people?   Did you regret writing the rant?  Did the responses make you change your opinion?   Did you feel those in disagreement treated you fairly or unfairly? 

Do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate?   Or no chocolate?  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring, Autumn, Books, and other Things

Happy Easter.

And I guess for Australians, Happy Day After Easter.

For any Jews out there: Happy Passover.

I hope Australians are having a nice Autumn, and I hope everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is having a nice Spring.

I'm still doing my Flickr activities while listening to Australian music.

I'm on 1997 now. It takes me a long time to go through a year. I guess because I listen to only a few songs a day.

I've come to realize that I'm not a big fan of Savage Garden or Human Nature. Or maybe I just haven't yet heard a song from either of those that I like.

With some artists I can't easily find a song on YouTube, from them for that particular year, so I end up listening to any song of theirs.

This happened with Spiderbait. Somehow I ended up listening to their 2004 cover of Black Betty.



I love it.

I actually thought they invented the song because I've never heard it before. But then I learned it originated as an African-American work song.

As for Flickr. I'm currently looking at photos of Darwin. I mean I'm not looking at them right at this moment, but later today I will.

I'm having less negative feelings about crocodiles lately. I mean I don't want to swim with one, but they no longer give me the creeps when I simply look at a photo. I think they're kind of cute.

I see photos, though, of people swimming in Darwin. I'm guessing they're swimming in places that don't have beware-of-crocodile signs. But I'd be scared to swim in any body of water in Darwin. I could probably gather enough courage to swim in a man-made swimming pool with very clear water, but I would check the bottom before I hopped in.

Before moving on to Darwin, I was doing Alice Springs.

Like Halls Gap it has captured my heart. I hope to go there one day.

I think my favorite thing is the second hand shop. It has a statue of a hand with a hand protruding from the hand. I saw the statue first and had no idea what it meant. Then I saw another photo that included the shop.

The store sign says they have Australiana and Collectables. I would love to rummage through all that. I'd probably want to buy a few things too.

A few years before becoming obsessed with Australia I was obsessed with spirituality. I read the Robert Monroe books and he convinced me that it's foolish to collect THINGS. We can't take these things with us, so why hoard them?

I still agree with that on most levels, but I've decided to hell with it. I like collecting Australian books. My books are all used, so it's not like I'm contributing to the death of trees.

My buying Australian books is nothing new, but before I did it with a mindset that I'd try to pass them on. I once gave some away to the man who came to install our burglar alarm. I've sold some to Half-Price books and got very little money back for them. I once wrote a post on my blog offering to give books away for free. No one took me up on the offer.

Now I've decided to just love my books and keep them. I'll be an Australian book hoarder.

If someone comes to my house; and they end up loving Australia and/or reading, I'll definitely let them borrow the books. Or even take them for keeping. But I'm not going to go out of my way to try to find new homes for the books.

Robert Monroe and other spiritual people are right. We probably can't take material things with us when we're dead. But it's fun having them while we're alive. And the hunt is wonderful too.

I fantasize about hunting in Australia. There's some downsides, though. Books are more expensive there, and they add more weight to the luggage.

I continue to buy books from Powells with the extremely generous gift cards I received on my birthday. I recently bought a bunch of Elizabeth Jolley and Claire McNab books.

Claire McNab writes lesbian crime fiction. I usually don't like crime fiction, but I liked one of her books. I might have jumped the gun a bit with then buying a bunch of her other books. Maybe I was being a bit impulsive?

The Elizabeth Jolley book was called Milk and Honey. It's a Gothic story—a lot like Jayne Eyre. I loved it, but was confused with some things in the ending. I hoped to find discussion of the ending online, but failed in that quest. Now I can't really remember what had me lost and confused.

Well...maybe I remember a little.

So if you end up reading the book by chance, please tell me so I can drill you with my confusing questions.

What else?

I'm still keeping up with Australia news.

The Labor Party isn't doing well. I think they should have taken back Kevin Rudd.

It's such a hard thing, though. What do you do when someone is popular with the masses; but not so popular with those who work closely with them?

Another idea would be to bring in a third person. Maybe Gillard AND Rudd are the wrong choices.

As for TV and movies.....

I don't think I've seen anything Australian lately.

Well, there was Liam Hemsworth's small role in The Hunger Games. He doesn't have much of a role in the first of the trilogy.

I loved the movie. Out of the three mega-popular book series,  I liked Hunger Games the least. I was not excited to see the movie. But I ended up liking it a lot. And I think it's the best adaptation of the three mega-popular books.

Upon Jack's leadership, we've been following the American version of The Voice. Jack's a big fan of reality TV contest shows. I'm morally opposed on some levels; but I can't deny enjoying the program. Jack informed me that Australia is soon to come out with their own version of The Voice. I might follow it (if possible) on YouTube.

I'm eager to see the third season of Offspring.

I just checked. That's coming back this month.

Cool!

What else?

I've been reading my old posts. I read one post per day. There's a few posts that I like a lot. I've decided to list them on the sidebar. There's a widget that people use that lists their most-popular posts. I personally think my most popular posts are overrated. They're mostly full of YouTube links that are now blank because the videos were illegally uploaded.

I think some of my unpopular overlooked posts are better....personally.

I've read a few other old posts that shocked me because I lied in them. I always think of myself as being overly honest. I know I don't purposely lie to others, so I think what I do is lie to myself.

In one lie I said I enjoyed Cloudstreet. I remember not liking the book the first time I read it. I'm pretty sure I daydreamed through most of it.

Or maybe I wasn't lying. Maybe I did like it, and then forgot that I liked it. My memory IS pretty awful. I remember in a recent post saying that I've probably never seen a Kookaburra outside a zoo. But then I was recently looking at our 2007 trip photos and there was a Kookaburra photo. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a zoo or animal park picture.

As for the other lie, I waxed poetic about Henry Lawson's writing. I'm pretty sure though that I was bored by his writing.

I think it was a matter, back then, of me wanting to be the perfect Australia fan. And Henry Lawson is a huge major Aussie icon. I felt a huge amount of pressure to like his work, so I guess I convinced myself that I did.

I'm much more secure in my Aussie-love now, so I can be more honest about what I like and don't like.

Hopefully.

I hope I don't read this post in five years and think, why did I lie to myself about liking the Elizabeth Jolley book?