Thursday, May 31, 2012

One of the Avengers

We saw The Avengers today.

One of the superheroes is an Aussie.

Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth.   His younger brother hunts in the forest of District 12. 

While watching the movie, I decided Chris Hemworth looks a lot like Ryan Kwanten.

Chris Hemsworth

Ryan Kwanten

I think Ryan Kwanten also looks a lot like George W. Bush.

So does that mean Chris Hemsworth looks like George W. Bush?

I'm not sure if I see it.

It's like that question on the psych test.  Is the enemy of your enemy your friend?

And here we have:  If celebrity A looks like celebrity C.   And celebrity B looks like celebrity C.    Then does celebrity B look like celebrity A?

I also thought Chris Hemsworth as Thor looked a bit like Brad Pitt.

Speaking of Brad Pitt.  Yesterday I learned he's going to star in a major zombie movie.   World War Z 

I read the book a few months ago—had no idea they were turning it into a movie.

This is how I found out.

Yesterday my iTunes DJ played "Bookends".  I learned that song from Party of Five.   In the past I tried to find the clip on YouTube. Yesterday I succeeded.



Watching the clip made me feel a bit sentimental towards Matthew Fox.  So I checked him out on IMDb.  There I saw the zombie movie.   He's one of the the other stars.  

Found It

In my last post, I mentioned how it would be fun to find an OLD photo where someone is less serious than what's usual in very old photos.  

I found one in my further Bundaberg Flickr stalking adventures.  

Here it is. 

The date's unknown, but I would guess it's from the late 1800's or early 1900's.

The photo has seven people.  Six of them look rather serious. But there's a young boy with a slight smile. 

Oh wait.   Now I'm looking at an enlarged version of the photo.  

The woman on the right, sitting down; she sort of has a smile too. It's kind of a sly smile. 

The woman sitting on the left reminds me of one of the nurses from Offspring

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Say Cheese!

I'm looking at photos from Bundaberg, Queensland today.

An account with the name srv007 has a fantastic collection of old photos.  

A few of the photos are very old.  Like typical very old photos, the people in them look serious and creepy.  

Here's an example.  

I remember hearing reasons for this creepiness, but forgot what they were.  So I googled.

This Ohio history blog has some theories.  

One idea is that, in those days, it took a long time for a photo to be taken, and the participants were required to sit very still. The serious looks may be looks of frustration and discomfort. The children in the photo may look pissed off because they ARE pissed off.

Shirley Wajda, a commenter who's also a history blogger, doesn't quite agree with the blogger's theories.  She gives lengthy complicated reasons for this that I understand to a small degree.  Then she explains that the cause of the serious expressions is attitudes towards smiling.  She says: What seems a more satisfactory explanation of all the temperate visages in the thousands of extant daguerreotypes is the emphasis on character and the widespread belief that a smile could be as deceitful as it could be friendly. A forced smile was—and is—a false one.

What about real smiles, though?

Most smiles in portrait photos are fake or forced. But sometimes people are amused by something and the smile is real.  

What if someone farted while the photo was being taken.  Would their not be a few smiles...especially from the children?

It would be fun to find an old photo with people grinning, and wonder what was so funny.   

I just thought of something. When children are taken to portrait photography businesses, it usually takes a lot of effort to get them to smile.    You usually have to do all kinds of silly ridiculous things so they don't look like solemn characters from the 1800's.

So we're really the ones being unnatural. 

I see people photographed in the 1800's as being creepy. If they saw our modern photos, they'd probably think we're the ones that are scary.  

Insulting

I watched this lovely video on ABC.  It's about the ugliness that goes on in politics.   It's specifically about Australian politics, but I'm sure you could apply it to the politics of most other countries.

ABC talks about what's going on currently in Parliament, but also uses historical clips to remind us that the past wasn't all smiles and kisses on the cheek.  The difference now is we have immediate communication. The message is the same. But now the nastiness spreads faster. And because it's so easy for all of us to have a published and/or broadcast voice, the nastiness is more prevalent.  

The video also talks about Julia Gillard hatred and the insults she gets.  A lot of it relates to her being female.

Sadly lots of folks seem to lack the ability to fight about the issues. They have to go beyond all that and say cruel things about gender, race, weight, appearance, etc.   When it comes to that, in my eyes, the person has lost their argument.  Now they're just being infantile. 

As for Gillard, does she have a more difficult time BECAUSE she's female.?   I think to some degree....yes.  But I don't think it's about being female.   It's about being the first female.   People have certain expectations for her, sometimes lower and sometimes higher.  I think I personally judge Gillard more harshly because she's female.   I expected certain things from a female atheist leader and she didn't deliver. I would probably have felt more lenient towards a male Christian leader...like Kevin Rudd.  

In general, though, I think politicians are going to be ridiculed, especially if they have a lot of power and exposure.  Being male wouldn't save Gillard from the nastiness.  The public would find another way to ridicule her. If they didn't like her.

Wait....

Now I'm questioning myself.

I'm thinking of certain people who see an overweight female celebrity, they don't like, and say cruel things about her weight.  I often think they have nothing against overweight people in general.   They're just being nasty because they don't know how to express their grievances in a mature way.   But MAYBE I'm wrong.  Maybe they don't like the celebrity BECAUSE she's fat.   Maybe if the celebrity was thin, their opinion of the celebrity would be more lenient. Maybe they'd see her as being cute and feisty rather than something very negative.   

It's like with Obama.  People are very negative towards him; then claim they're not racist. It has nothing to do with race.   I just don't like that he's a Socialist and wants to ruin America.  But I have to wonder if it IS racism, and whether they'd be less bothered by Obama's policies if he was white. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Animal Song

I'm not a big fan of Savage Garden, but I am liking their single "The Animal Song".



Lord Wiki informed me it was used in the American film The Other Sister.  That's the one with Juliette Lewis.  I don't think I've seen it.   

I would have known that from the video if I had been watching carefully enough.  But I usually just LISTEN to the video while looking at Flickr photos.  Today I'm looking at Beerwah, Queensland photos.  The song fit well with the photos because the Australia Zoo is in Beerwah. 

Lord Wiki says the song is also used for a Sea World show in America.  

I think it would fit well in a Disney or Dreamworks summer animation hit. 

It's a cute song.  

Get Rich With Blogging!

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article about Mom bloggers making money off their blog.

They use Twitter and their blog posts to promote what companies want to promote. Then they get paid, or they get reimbursed for trying out the product or service.

It's tempting to say I'd never sell out like that.  But I might one day get an offer that's too tempting to refuse.  (So far I HAVE gotten offers, but most have not been the least bit tempting).

What I will say is I have no interest in reading blogs that are full of advertisements and have posts that sound like promotional brochures. 

I'd rather have the advertisements, though, because then it's upfront and honest.

To me, it's more annoying when the commercial is carefully weaved into the content.

I love Stephen Colbert, but I find all the Ben and Jerry promotional stuff to be very annoying.   It was funny at first.  But then it got old.  

Now I'm having this fantasy where Qantas or Virgin emails me and says, We'll fly your family free to Australia if you write a post about your flight.  I can't imagine refusing that. I wouldn't feel my ethics are compromised as long as I could be upfront and say the trip was paid for by the company, and I was obliged to write about it.

The Sydney Morning Herald article talks about an alcoholic who was offered $1000 to write about a Vodka brand.    If they had read the blog, they would have known how inappropriate the offer was.

That's one of the things that really annoys me.   When I get offers for my blog, it's overly clear that there was no research or reading done.    I think I'd be much more open to saying yes if it looked to me like the company actually took the time to read a few posts.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wake Up, Lucius Malfoy

Tim and I watched the finale of Awake tonight. 

For those who don't know about the show, it's about a man who lives within two realities. In one, his son has survived a family car accident.  In the other, it's his wife who has survived.

Is it all a dream?

Is some of it a dream?

Does he exist in two alternate realities?

Has he been touched by Jacob?

Who knows.....

The show has been canceled.

Not that this matters really.  I'm sure if they had eight years to tell the story, we'd probably still be left with a big question mark.

I'm sad it's over, though.  I honestly couldn't imagine how they'd continue to make the show interesting for multiple seasons.  But I really liked the characters. I got a little attached, and now I'm grieving a bit.

In memory of the show I was tempted to sing a bit of "Don't Dream It's Over". The lyrics are kind of fitting for the show. Well, at least the chorus part is.  




Oh....

I just went googling around a bit.

It seems the show was NOT completely open-ended.

According to the beginning of this Jason Isaacs interview, and this interview with the writer, the show's creators did have some concrete answers in mind.  Although they're not pushy about it. The creators have their beliefs, but are open to people interpreting things differently.

I think it leads to an interesting question. If you create a story with an open-ending, is it best that you have answers in mind? Or should you feel as ambiguous as your audience? 

Dreamland Confusion

I was looking around to see if there's any new interesting Aussie movies out there.

I found a blog called Stale Popcorn that has an entry about the Aussie films of 2011.  One of the films mentioned is Dreamland.

To make a long story short, I found that there is a 2007 American movie called Dreamland.  It's a horror movie about the Nevada desert.

The Australian Dreamland is ALSO about the Nevada desert.  It's not listed as horror on IMDb. It's an experimental type thing. 

Both movies deal with UFO's.

Is the Australian movie a remake of the American one? 

I can't find much information about the movie.  They have an official website listed, but it doesn't work for me.  

Well, actually.  It looks like it's gone. I'm doubting it would work for anyone. 

If anyone knows anything about this movie, please tell me.   I'm curious.   

Friday, May 25, 2012

Crying

I'm feeling guilty about my last post.

Well, maybe it's not guilt.

It's more like worry.  I'm worried I gave people the wrong idea.

I don't want people to think I'm against public crying.

And in fact...I have cried in public.

The funny thing is, the times that come immediately to mind involve Australian folks.

One was when I was at a playground in Sydney. I was sad about having to go back to America soon.   I was on the verge of tears.  Then my friend called.   I'm often okay at holding back my tears, but that's not the case when I'm forced to speak.  

So I started to cry in front of her (phone-wise), and in front of whoever was at the playground.

I cried in Hawaii when we were with our friends.  We were soon to say good-bye to our rental house and we were taking last minute group photos. I was all choked up and then a song came on that put me over the edge.

Yeah.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not a cold-hearted bitch.

I'm not against crying.

I'm definitely not against showing emotion.

But I still do admire the ability to stay strong despite the sadness.  Maybe it's not about crying vs. not crying.  It's probably more about continuing what needs to be done when we're feeling sad. 

And yes. I also understand that sometimes things get so overly bad.  And then you can't hold it together, and you completely fall apart.  What's admirable in those cases is when (if) the person is eventually able to be okay again.  I think it takes huge amounts of courage to survive something like that.   

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bottled

Warning: Offspring Spoiler Alert. 

I'm watching episode six of Offspring.

Nina has received some devastating news while at work.

She doesn't rush home to go into bed and cry.

She gets through her day.  She sees patients. She listens to them and gives them advice.

Nina comments to herself.  Amazing how you can function as a professional person at the same time your insides are crumpling.  

I can relate to that.

Although not completely, since I'm not a professional person.

I can though relate to crumpling on the inside while on the outside I present a different picture.

I sometimes go through private dramas without people suspecting anything.

A part of me thinks that's bad and a part of me thinks it's not so bad.

What are the alternatives?

I could sit in my room and cry all day.

That's kind of wasting the day.

I could try to talk to someone about it. I'd say there's a 1/50 chance that the person I tell will make me feel better rather than worse.  I'm not sure the odds are worth it.

I can write about it—get my feelings out that way.   But I could also just think about it.   Does it really help that much more to type or write it out?  With venting, do you really need to get the words out of your head?   

I mean I did a lot of venting when I was having my medical drama a few weeks ago.  Does it really matter that I initially only vented to myself?

I whined in my post about not having anyone to talk to.  But would it have made me feel better to talk to someone?   They'd probably talk on and on, talking about their own experiences and giving me advice.  I'd pretend to listen while obsessively thinking my own thoughts.

I actually had a nice weekend that weekend.  I sang with my sister and cousins. I took nice walks and saw nature things. I played in the pool. I joked around with family members.  At the same time, I was feeling a bit crazy and terrified inside.

But what if I had opened up?   What if I told Tim, my parents, sisters, etc. exactly what was happening and how I was feeling?   What if they chose not to minimize and invalidate my feelings?   What if they gave my problems a ton of attention? Would that have made the weekend better?

Probably not.

Sharing the sorrow might not minimize the sorrow.

I recently blabbed on and on to a friend about a problem...an old problem.

I was lucky.  She was one of the 1/50.  She responded in a very kind and helpful way.

Why was I talking about an old problem?

Because I'm not over the old problem.

Maybe finally having the sympathetic and insightful response I desired will finally give me closure.

Or maybe not.

Maybe I'll still be tormented by this problem decades from now.

Maybe I'll never be over it and it doesn't matter how much I talk about it.   

If I do feel better about things, will it be because I talked about them (for the billionth time) or because the person I told said smart helpful things?   

I would guess it's the latter.  I would also guess that prior venting, which elicited less helpful responses, actually made the problem worse.  

I'm sort of thinking this is a horrible post.  What am I doing? Recommending that we all keep our problems to ourselves, paste on a smile, and get on with it?

It sounds so shallow.

I don't think we should all fake happiness all the time.

Sometimes we need to cry and not cry in the closet.

Maybe what I'm thinking is that it's not necessarily horrible to deal with things privately...at least temporarily.  We don't need to fear that we'll immediately implode from our bottled up emotions.

I'm sure Nina is eventually going to open up about.....

I didn't want to put the spoiler way up in the beginning of the post, because it would be too hard for people to avert there eyes.

But I'll say it now......

It seems that Nina has gotten dumped by Patrick.

I have to watch the rest of the episode to know for sure.

I left her at the pub.  The poor girl keeps getting greeted with mentions of Patrick.   Her friends and family don't realize it might be over.  I'm guessing eventually she'll say something.

But personally I admire her for not rushing home to cry.  I admire her for keeping her problems to herself and getting through her work day.  I like that type of strength.

On the other hand, I don't like people who hold in their emotions indefinitely.  That's kind of scary and annoying.   So it will be nice if Nina eventually has a release.   Hopefully she can find someone who will make her feel better rather than worse.  Or at the very least, I hope she can have a nice private cry.  

Or better yet, maybe it will all be a misunderstanding and there's really no break-up.  

If there's a break-up, I can handle it.  Probably.

I won't say the same for Mick and Billy. I fear Mick's going to have an affair with the singing lady.    I hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quitting Books And People

Yesterday I quit reading Poe's Cat by Brenda Walker.  I don't think it's an awful book.  I wasn't completely bored or offended.  But the book didn't hold my interest enough. Reading it wasn't enjoyable. 

Although I feel conflicted about quitting the book( as I always do), I'm also proud of myself. 

I'm trying to get better at this whole quitting thing. 

And I think I actually am.

Poe's Cat isn't the only book I've quit in the last few weeks.

I also quit reading The Great Escape.  The subject of the book might be fascinating, but for me the writing was too dry. 

My ability to quit books is improving, but not perfected. I've recently completed books I did not enjoy.  One of those was Forefathers by Nancy Cato.   I was bored by it, but kept hoping it would get better.  It finally did...for a few pages. Then it went downhill again.  

An email-pal and I have been talking about quitting books. He helped me see the connection between quitting books and quitting people.

I'm not good at quitting books.

Nor am I good at quitting people. 

It's very rare for me to quit a person, and when I do I feel very conflicted about it. 

Actually I think I've quit only one person in the last few years, as in please stay away from me.  We should not have any more contact.  

I wish I was better at quitting people and books. Although I wouldn't want to be too good at it.   There are times where I think it's best to grin and bear it. For example, sometimes you have to read a book for a class. The book might be boring, but you make the best of it. 

And....

Some people's lives are so intertwined with our own.  It's not worth it to severe the relationship. It's too complicated.  

Still, though. Even when situations are less complicated, I have trouble quitting people.

Books are hard to quit, but people are even harder.

If you don't like a book you can just put it down.  You take the bookmark out and put it in a new book.

What do you do with people in your life when you realize you really don't like them.  Do you write a good-bye email?  Do you just back away and hope they'll leave you alone?  Do you purposely try to repulse them in some way? 

And now I have to sit here and wonder.   Are there people in my life that feel this way about me? 

There probably are.

They may be stuck with me because they don't know how to get rid of me.

It's funny if they're the same people I'd like out of my life. 

It's not funny if they're the people I adore.  That would be sad.   

I don't know.   Now that I'm writing this, I'm starting to think maybe it's much too hard.

I want to continue getting better at book-quitting, but maybe I don't want to improve my people quitting. 

I'm thinking maybe it's best to usually leave it up to fate.  If people aren't meant to be in our lives anymore, the relationship might fade away naturally.

Or we can also work to reduce relationships rather than abruptly ending them. That works sometimes.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lynch Mob

I felt uncomfortable listening to parts of Craig Thomson's speech about being set up and attacked by a lynch mobs.

He talks of getting death threats and suicidal and self-harm encouragement.

I don't really understand the big mess. I've been very vaguely paying attention.

I don't know if Thomson is guilty or innocent or sort of in-between.

I don't know if he's being set up or not.

But I can relate to being a victim of a lynch mob. I can relate to getting verbal threats of violence, and suggestions that I should physically harm myself.

It's not fun.

So whether Thomson is guilty or innocent, I feel for him.

For the record though. I WAS guilty. Guilty of what? Sharing an opinion that differed from the crowd's.

Has that ever happened to you?

And have you ever been part of a lynch mob attacking someone else? Do you think that person deserved it? If you could go back in time, would you act the same or do things differently?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Adrift

My life is full of little rituals and habits.  I'm probably borderline OCD.

Everyday I listen to songs from the ARIA awards.  While listening to a song, I look through pictures of Australia on Flickr.  Then when the song is over, I stop looking at photos.  I check my email and then watch part of one video from ABC news. My rule is I have to watch one minute of the video.   If it's interesting to me, I might watch more.

After the video, I get up away from the computer and do something else.  Later I listen to another song, look at more photos—repeat the whole process.

This morning we had a family boat ride planned. I had heard it was to begin at 10:00.  Around 9:30, I started looking at photos of Brisbane while listening to Regurgitator's "Polyester Girl".

When the song was finished, I picked the top Australia-related news video on my ABC iGoogle widget.  But about as soon as I started watching, my mom called out to me.   She said we were leaving whenever we were all ready.  I wasn't even in the process of getting ready. I had just been waiting until 10:00.  But oh well.

I did a quick pee and walked down to the boat with my mom.  Everyone was waiting for us.

We got on the boat.

We rode around the lake.

We pointed out a modern art sculpture and wondered what was the point of it.

We saw a lovely house that looked like a plantation.

My dad said if our lake house ever burned down and we had to start over, he'd like a house like that.

We were all chatting away, having a good time.

Then something went wrong and our boat would no longer work.

We couldn't get it started.

The wind carried our boat too close to the plantation and other yards.  We worried we'd cause damage to someone else's property. 

We were adrift.

We had to get ourselves rescued by friends of friends.

It was an adventure.

When we got home, I went back on the computer.  

I decided to finish watching the ABC video.

I was amused to see that it was about the Hong Kong ship adrift in the Coral Sea.  

I hadn't consciously remembered what the article was about before returning to it.  But maybe subconsciously I did. Because when we first got on the boat, I did think about us getting stuck. I thought about Gilligan's Island and stuff like that.  It could be, though, that I ALWAYS think of such things when on the boat.    I'm not sure. 

When we all get on the boat...music on, kids playing, adults talking, it reminds me of the beginning of a horror or adventure movie.  So my imagination often has fun with that.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pushing People Away

I just finished watching episode five of season 3 of Offspring.  (Spoiler warning...)

In the episode, Nina's boyfriend Patrick gets all moody and pushes Nina away.  He needs time alone.  He wants distance.  He rejects Nina.

Nina resists being pushed away, but not too much so.  She doesn't want to be pathetic and desperate.   I'm guessing she worries about being like her ex-husband, a guy who was a bit psychotic. On my newly created relationship scale, the ex-husband would be an 8 or above. Maybe a 9 or 10.  The guy loved Nina with a level of intensity that was controlling and dangerous.  

I'd say Nina herself is naturally a 7.  Her love is very intense. Yet she tries to tone herself down, and with that she's probably a 5 or 6.

That's the thing with love.  We're so scared of being too intense. A lot of us tone down our feelings.

It's good in a way.  We don't watch a bunch of 9/10's hanging around. They're pretty scary.  But some of us are lowering ourselves to very low numbers on my scale.

We refrain from showing too much of our love to people because we're scared too much love will repulse them.

But we can't just say, Show your true feelings!  Be open and free! Give it all you got!  Because the truth is, the other person might not like us as much as we like them.  And if we're completely open with our feelings, we very well might scare them away.  

We could also scare them away by not sharing our strong feelings with them. They might have strong feelings for us, but keep them hidden because our behavior tells them we're not really that into them.  

And what do you do in a situation like Nina's?   If someone pushes you away because they need their space, do you give them their space or do you insist on giving them attention?

You might insist on giving them attention and end up annoying the hell out of them, because they really DID want some space.

OR.....

You might give them space when they were actually hoping you'd push through and break open the wall they've created.

There's no easy answers to any of this.

The game of love (and not just romantic love) is really challenging.  

At times in my life, I've tried to be bravely open with love.  I've put myself at risk for rejection, feeling it is best to love without worrying about being loved equally in return.   I wish I could proudly say I feel strong for having done this.  But the truth is, at times that I've chosen this path, I usually end up feeling fragile and pathetic.  

Patch Of Blue

I finished reading a book called Patch of Blue today. It was written by an Australian author, Elizabeth Kata, and adapted into a fairly well known American movie starring Sydney Poitier.

I learned from Lord Wiki that the American movie is much more uplifting and optimistic than the novel.

The novel's end might have a vague amount of hopefulness in it.  Or at least you can add it yourself if you're in a good enough mood while reading it.

The book is about Selina, a severely abused young woman, who was blinded as a child in a domestic violence incident.  

Selina is sweet, innocent, and...very racist.   She's never seen a black person before, but knows they're horrible.  

One day Selina goes to the park and has a bead-dropping accident.  She's helped by a man named Gordon. They become friends. Gordon becomes the first person that has ever made Selina feel loved and happy. 

The thought-provoking irony of the story is that Gordon is a black man. Selina doesn't realize this.

The book made me sad.  It's not just that I felt sorry for Selina.   But also....even though I'm not blind, abused, or racist, I could relate to a lot of the feelings in the book.

My circumstances are so different from Selina's. Yet I share some of her inner turmoil. 

I guess life is like that.

Even though the book made me feel sad, unsettled, and a bit hopeless about certain things, I thought it was good a good one.  Its better than the books that make me feel nothing and are very boring. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bye Bye Wiggle People

I was a bit shocked this morning to see that 3 out of 4 of the Wiggle Men are retiring.  

Wasn't it just a few months ago that Greg Page UN-retired?  

Now he's retiring again; but not alone.  This time he's taking Murray and Jeff with him.  

I wonder if they had this in mind back when they fired Sam Moran so Greg could return. 

Did they want a few last months all together?

Or was it not in their mind?   Maybe Greg came back and realized his health wasn't as improved as he imagined.  I think, even with good health, the Wiggle job would be exhausting.

Maybe Greg decided it was too much, and then the two other guys realized they needed a break as well.

I'm reading the article now.  Before I just looked at the headline and skimmed a tiny bit.

The new yellow wiggle is going to be female. That's interesting.

Hopefully the change works for everyone.

It might be hard for young children who are currently Wiggle fans, especially ones who don't react well to change.  

Then there are children who won't realize there ever was a different group of Wiggles.  The new Wiggles will be all they know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sharing Jewels

I was excited to see that the Weinstein Company has bought American distribution rights for an Australian movie.  That means maybe it will be big here.

I hadn't heard of the movie until just now when I saw it mentioned on the ABC.  That kind of makes me feel like I'm failing as the American obsessed with Australia.

I also feel like I've failed as a Sookie Stackhouse fan.  We went to the bookstore a week or so ago and I saw there was a new Sookie Stackhouse novel.  I had NO idea that one was coming out.   And there's a new Dark Tower book as well!  I used to be a big Stephen King fan, and now I'm so in the dark.

There's so much information out there, though. It's impossible to stay informed about it all. And I don't expect to know everything. 

It would be nice to know about things that interest me, though.

And I would be interested in The Sapphires.  Not just because it's Australian. Deborah Mailman is one of the stars. I adore her. 

It would be cool if the movie became popular here...in America.

I don't know why I have this desire for Australian things to be popular in America.

I want my sisters to watch and love Offspring.  I'm pretty sure they would.

At the lake house, we were listening to music, "Someone I Used To Know" came on.   My brother-in-law told us he liked the song.  I liked hearing that.

I liked that the guys in my family were all enthusiastic about an AC/DC pinball machine.

Wow.  I just thought of something.  Maybe it's not Americans in general.  Maybe it's just my family.

I'm thinking I have maybe confused my own identity with Australia.

Yeah.  

I remember feeling a bit wounded when my mother was negative about McLeod's Daughters.

No....

Wait.

It's not just a family thing.

I was very touched (to the point of tears) when they played "Mango Tree" on Suburgatory.  My family doesn't watch that.  

I thought of something else.  Maybe it's not just Australian things.

I think it's pretty common to like something and then want other people to like it as well.

It's almost like a type of conquering.  Or a recruitment.   Let's get more Modern Family fans.   Let's get more people reading Harry Potter.  We got my brother--in-law on board The Hunger Games train.  Would he join the Minecraft one as well?   

It's like fandom is a virus we're trying to spread.

The No-Epidural Husband, Edward Cullen, and My Relationship Scale

(Offspring Spoiler warning)

On the fourth episode of season 3's Offspring, there's a father who's overly involved in the birthing process. Although it's his wife with the pregnancy, he's the one who's written out a very detailed birth plan. He's the one who has said absolutely no epidurals. His wife is in horrible pain, the labor has been very long; yet he still refuses the epidural.  

The mum-to-be ends up vomiting on him.  He reluctantly exits to get himself cleaned up. With her husband out of the room, the mum accepts the epidural.  Later the husband expresses his fury to Nina's boyfriend, Patrick...well, because Patrick's the anesthetist who administered the epidural.

The no-epidural husband is extremely controlling.  He might be abusive. I say might, because there's a chance he's a lovely man outside the birth issue.  Maybe he's just a bit passionate about natural birth.  Maybe he got a bit carried away.

It deals with a subject I've been thinking about lately, though.   

Part of it deals with Edward Cullen from Twilight, and the fact that some people have accused him of being abusive.  I disagree with this sentiment.  I think he's very passionate and protective. To me that doesn't equal abuse. I actually think it's quite lovely. I think he's a lovely character.

However, I do think someone CAN be overly passionate and protective to the point that they are abusive.

So in my mind I came up with a scale for romantic partners.  It would be a 1-10 thing.

A 10 would be the classic abusive partner.  They keep their significant other a prisoner.   They do this with physical abuse and belittlement.   They make their partner feel that they're worthless. I think the basic attitude is, you are nothing without me.  No one else could love you.   And there's the idea I can't live without you.   If you leave me, I'll kill you (or me).  This is where a murder might happen.  

I'd say 9 would be abusive too, but to a lesser degree.  Maybe they belittle their partner, but they don't physically harm them.  Or they cause physical harm, but not death.  

Maybe 8 would be over-controlling, but not necessarily abusive.  They're just a little too involved with their partner's life. I think most people would find it annoying.   Other people might be okay with it.

I'm trying to think of an example....

How about a man who insists his wife doesn't read romance novels because he thinks it's a waste of time and she needs to spend her time learning how to cook.  

The guy's an asshole, but maybe not an abusive asshole.

I think Edward Cullen would be a 7.  This is the partner that's very much in love and their love can be a bit intense and overpowering.   They're very protective, but not too controlling.   They can also be reasoned with.  Cullen doesn't like Belle hanging out with werewolves, and if I recall correctly, he tries to prevent a liaison.  But later he changes his tune and is more open to human-werewolf friendships.

He allows his girlfriend to have a deep friendship with another man....a werewolf man. If Edward was an abusive partner; I can't imagine he'd go along with all that. He'd forbid the friendship, and would probably do so violently.

Is Edward jealous of Jacob the werewolf?  Yes.  Probably.  And I think some people equate jealousy with abuse.  I can understand this to some degree.  Abusive partners are known to be extremely jealous.  They don't want their partners having anyone in their lives besides them.

But equating all levels of jealousy with abuse is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I think moderate levels of jealousy are sweet. It's about love and recognizing that relationships are fragile.    Too much insecurity in a relationship is unattractive, but so is excessive confidence.

Back to my scale.....

I won't go over each number, but as you get lower and lower the partner becomes more apathetic.

A 1 partner would show no signs of caring.  There's be no jealousy.  There'd be no passion.   If his partner went out with her old high school boyfriend, he wouldn't care. If she called from Tahiti three days later and said, Hey....Tony and I decided to go on a little cruise together, he wouldn't freak out.   He would have barely realized she was missing.

As a 8-10 tries to run their partner's life, a 1 doesn't know what's going on in his partner's life.  He's completely ignorant by choice. He doesn't care.  

A 2-3 would be neglectful, but less so than the 1.

I think the ideal partner would be a 4-7.  In that range, there's a sense that you're cared for, but you'd get enough space to feel free. 

If you subtract the physical violence,  I think a 1 might be as bad as a 10.  In either relationship, it would be very hard to have a healthy self-esteem.

A 2-3 is probably as bad as a 8-9.  I guess it would also depend on the person with the partner. Some people are better at handling controlling partners. Other people are better at handing neglect. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

X-Ray Adventures

This afternoon I saw an article about x-rays on my iGoogle Sydney Morning Herald widget. It's an alarmist type story.  

Thousands of x-rays in Australia are not being read by the proper professionals.  Ailments are being missed.  People are being misdiagnosed.

The article was extremely timely for me.

Here's my tale.

It's kind of funny now that it's probably (hopefully) over.

Last Monday I had my yearly physical.  Before I saw the doctor ,the nurse asked if I had any concerns.  I mentioned a mild pain I had been having on my left side since Friday...below my ribs.

Later I talked to the doctor about it.  She didn't seem very concerned, and even asked if perhaps I brought it up because I felt pressured to come up with something when the nurse asked for problems.

I tried not to be annoyed, and told her this wasn't the case.  Although that being said, I doubt I would have gone to the doctor for the issue if I hadn't already had an appointment. It was one of those things.  Well, since I'm here, I might as well mention it.  

After our initial brief chat, the doctor checked my eyes and nose. I was very fine there.

Then she did the stethoscope stuff.  She did a more thorough check than usual.

She asked me to cough, which she usually doesn't request.

I didn't think anything of it, though.  I thought she had just tweaked her procedure a bit.

But then she explained that she heard a noise in my left lung. She wanted me to cough because sometimes coughing would clear the lungs. That didn't happen.

She requested that I get a chest x-ray, and also decided it would be a good idea for me to get my blood work done.  That worried me a bit because the doctor doesn't usually suggest blood work.  And yeah.   I usually don't need my chest x-rayed.   

On Thursday I spent a big chunk of the day doing the medical tests.  By then, I was fairly convinced I was deathly ill.  I had done some research on the internet.  I couldn't quite find a match for noise in the lungs minus coughing and breathing difficulties, but wondered if I could be some kind of medical anomaly.
   
Plus, I realized I HAVE been more tired than usual the past few weeks. I've been more lazy with exercise.  And I've had a mysterious weight loss and some loss of appetite.   

I asked the medical test people about result times.  They said it would take them 24-48 hours to get back to the doctor.  I figured if I was fine I'd hear from the doctor about it like 3 months later.   So unless I heard something fast, I'd assume I was in good health. My doctor's office takes a long time to return healthy test results.

On Friday I got a message from the doctor's office.  I had missed the call. They asked me to call them Monday morning.  I figured I must have SOMETHING.  My experience with this particular office is that they don't call when everything is okay.

I knew it couldn't be a dire emergency.  Otherwise they wouldn't have me wait until after the weekend.  But I figured it still could be something awful.  I'm ignorant about these things really. My guess is that there ARE serious illnesses that aren't treated immediately. I also guessed maybe they were trying to give me a peaceful happy Mother's Day before my life turned to medical hell.  

I don't know.

A lot of shit was going through my head. 

For the most part, I kept it to myself.  I didn't want to make other people worry, and even more so, I didn't want my feelings belittled.  I didn't want to be made to feel that I'm a drama queen.  Well, because that's how I'm usually made to feel when I bring up any health issue I'm experiencing with my family.     

I did bring it up briefly twice and there was no indication that I had made the wrong choice in mostly keeping it to myself.

Yeah.

So.....

I put on a brave face and played the Happy Mother's Day game.  Despite my worrying, I did actually manage to have moments of joy.  Every so often I could even forgot my worries. But those moments were rare.

I had a lot going on in my head.

As the hours went by, I became more and more convinced I was sick.  I started feeling pains in my chest; my left side of course.  Now I was somewhat rational and figured it COULD be my imagination.  At one point, I thought about how I could be totally healthy but end up killing myself just by worrying so much.  Getting concern from a doctor could be like an Aborigine pointing the bone at you.  

By Sunday night, I was feeling awful.   I was crying a lot and really wanted to talk to someone. But I didn't know who to talk to.

I wiped away my tears and managed to not kill myself with stress and despair.   

Early this morning, I added to my weight loss issue by having to use the toilet about every 30 minutes.

I wasn't in great shape.   

I called the doctor's office at 8:30 and waited to hear that I needed to come in today, or I needed more medical tests.

It took me about an hour to actually connect with someone.  There was some phone tag going on.

Finally, I talked to the person I was supposed to talk to. She told me I was fine, except for a minor bladder thing that doesn't even need to be treated as long as I'm feeling okay.

She was very suspenseful about it though.  She could have just said, I'm just calling to tell you you're fine except for a minor bladder issue.  Instead she went through each test. We got your chest x-rays back....(dramatic pause).  Everything is fine there.  We got your blood test back....(dramatic pause)...everything is fine.  

A few hours ago, I was too relieved to be angry, but now I'm kind of annoyed.  And I'm also annoyed that they didn't just leave me this message on Friday.  Do they not understand how much agony they put people through when they act so mysterious?  Why couldn't they leave a reassuring message.   There's no need to worry. You're fine.  Just a minor bladder issue. Call us on Monday.  

The only excuse I can think of is that I made a mistake when signing the privacy forms at the office.   There was something where you give permission for them to leave detailed messages on answering machines.  Maybe I forgot to check it off?

I don't know.

And maybe it's good for us to have these medical scares sometimes.  It gives us a chance to appreciate our health.

There's the x-ray article, though. That reminded me of the fact that doctor's don't know everything.   They get it wrong sometimes.

Tests don't catch everything.

And we might not get the test that we needed.

Then there's the fact that I could be in perfect health today and get horribly sick next week.

I might be fine and someone I love might come down with a deathly illness.

Or one of us could be hit by a truck.   

We can be relieved for only so long.

In the end, death is going to get us...along with everyone we love.  

At least for today though....I'm going to be happy, relieved, and grateful.  I'm going to look forward to lots of wonderful things like our upcoming trip to Disney World and a possible future trip to Australia.

Later I'll go back to being paranoid.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Extraneous Information

Nancy Cato's Forefathers is 598 pages long.  I'm on page 446.  The book started getting interesting to me around page 400.

There's a guy named Vincent who races cars.  He's really into that.  His girlfriend Maggie is an Aboriginal writer. The two are in love, but they're facing difficulties. Vincent's mother is a racist, snobby bitch.  Then Vincent himself can be a jerk sometimes. Maggie is insecure about the whole relationship.  

Cato spent the prior hundreds of pages of the book to talk about Maggie and Vincent's ancestors. For the most part, it's stories of tragedies.  There was a tragic drowning, a death by throat cancer, and scariest of all, a young child dying from ice-cream food poisoning.

Cato spends very little time on each character.  You get a brief glimpse of a lot of people's lives.   As soon as I begin to understand who someone is, she has usually jumped to a new character.  

What I'm wondering is whether it was all necessary.

My vote would be no.

I think it was a waste of time.

I think Cato should have started with Maggie and Vincent. We don't need to know the life story of all their parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.

If Cato wanted that in the book, there could have been some flashbacks.

When we read Harry Potter we learn a bit about Harry's parents, aunt, grandparents, and some distant ancestors.  But imagine if Rowling started the book by telling the story of Harry's great grandparents, then grandparents, then parents, and then finally she got to Harry.  I think the book would have been MUCH less popular.

I do feel a bit torn in regards to complaining about extraneous information. I used to write posts that were horribly long. If you haven't noticed, I'm trying to do that less these days.

Writing is a great skill to have, but so is editing.   

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kangaroos on ABC

Tonight there was more Aussie stuff on ABC.  I'm talking about the AMERICAN ABC, not the Australian one.

One of the characters of Suburgatory has a pet kangaroo.  It was introduced in the last episode.   I assumed it was a quick silly joke that would be soon dropped.  But no.  The kangaroo was back tonight. 

No worries, though. The show's not advocating irresponsible pet ownership.   If anyone was interested in having a pet kangaroo, they'd likely change their mind after watching the episode. The kangaroo wrecked the house. 

On Modern Family, ABC continued with the kangaroo theme by having Mitch or Cam make a comment about having a kangaroo pouch to stick Lily.

I'm so intrigued by Modern Family's habit of alluding to Australia things. Is there something going on there?   Maybe I read too much into it because of my Australia obsession. Maybe they allude to other countries just as frequently, but I don't notice.

I'd like to think there's something going on, though.   And I can't help but think there is.   Maybe one of the writers is like me and is really obsessed with Australia?  Maybe he or she IS Australian?   Maybe she's married to an Australian?

Anyway, while I'm on the subject of television, there was an interesting coincidence.

In the last episode of Awake, some of the characters watched The X-Files.  Then tonight on Suburgatory one of the characters watched the The X-Files.   I'm wondering. Is it X-Files appreciation month, or something?  Did I miss the memo?

I did a little research and learned the executive producer of The X-Files is also the executive producer of Awake.  So I guess that's why they did that.  I'm not sure why Suburgatory mentioned it as well.

Offspring (spoiler alert)

I've been wanting to write about the third season of Offspring, but wasn't sure if I could manage to say anything interesting without giving important things away.  Then I remembered that I could simply have a spoiler alert. 

That's not to say that this will necessarily be interesting.

Anyway...if you don't watch Offspring and plan to watch it someday, or if you're not caught up on season three; then don't read this.

Well, I'm actually not fully caught up myself.  I'm in the middle of episode four.  I should be caught up soon.

I'm loving this season. I used to see Offspring as being almost as good as Modern Family.  Now I'm liking it more than Modern Family.    I think it's my favorite show at the moment.   That's mostly because Offspring is so wonderful, but also because Modern Family has become a tiny bit less wonderful lately.  (in my opinion)

In this season of Offspring, Nina learns that her father is not her biological father.  It's an exciting storyline. My only grief is that it negates the big revelation of the series premiere. There Nina was delivering a baby and learned that the baby was her father's. She delivered her own baby brother.    But now we know that's not true. 

It's fine, though.   

In episode three, Nina meets the man who is probably her father.  He's a sweet old man doctor.    Nina didn't tell him she was his daughter.  She pretended she wanted medication to help her handle an upcoming long flight. 

I thought they did a good job finding an actor that looked like he could be Nina's father. I got this idea that MAYBE they hired Asher Keddie (Nina)'s real father to play the role.  I looked up the cast list and felt very stupid.  Her father's played by Garry McDonald!  How did I not recognize him?

Nina's biological father is the awesome Garry McDonald.    Then she has the very sexy John Waters as her he-raised-me father.  There was a third guy in the picture.  Nina's mom had an affair with two guys in one week.  One was a parking worker of some sort.   I wonder if some big actor played that guy as well.

I'm looking at IMDb, and am not seeing the character in the cast list. Maybe it will be added later. 

Although Nina Proudman is the central character of the show, she's not my favorite.   I do like her.   It's just I like other characters more than her.

I love the Dad, Darcy Proudman.  There was a lovely tearjerker scene involving him and Nina.   The question was hanging in the air.   Would he still be her father even though he was not her biological father?   Darcy helped to answer that question by revealing he did some behind the scenes work to help Nina deal with her recent fire disaster. They get all teary-eyed and then Darcy says he's always been mad about Nina and he'll always be mad about her.

I had a few inappropriate thoughts during these scenes. 

Darcy Proudman is incredibly sexy, and now they don't share genes, so....

But since Darcy is Nina's dad, she probably can't see him in that type of way. 

If she did, it would be a whole different type of TV show.   Maybe something like Days of our Lives.  

My other favorite Offspring person besides Darcy is probably Billy Proudman, Nina's half-sister.    Billy is one of those very vulnerable and honest people.   She says exactly what's on her mind, even if it will embarrass herself or others.   In a recent episode, Billy revealed to her husband that she's actually jealous of Nina's who-is-my-father drama.  She's jealous that Nina gets to be the center of attention again. Billy knows these feelings aren't very mature, but she's brave enough to admit them.

I love Cherie, the character who happens to be Nina's friend, coworker, and the mother of the baby who was initially believed to be Nina's much younger brother.  Cherie seems to be around less this season, but maybe that will change in later episodes.  

Well, those are my thoughts so far.

Please chime in if you have anything to add.   Do you watch Offspring?   What are your favorite TV dramas lately?  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tallygarunga and Canada

I thought of Tallygarunga today, because.....

I'm reading Nancy Cato's Forefathers.  

A place called Tallygaroopna is mentioned.  The names are similar. Garoopna might have inspired Garunga. 

Awhile back, a friend emailed me and pointed out that names from Tallygarunga were similar to real place names in Australia.  I can't remember if Tallygaroopna was mentioned.

Well, I guess I can search my email.....

Okay.  I searched.  My friend DID mention Tallygaroopna.

It sounds like a TV show with a Bizzaro-World storyline.   In one world, it's Tallygarunga.   In another it's Tallygaroopna.  

Or one could be the real name and the other could be a name used in a parody, like ones from Mad Magazine or Cracked

Anyway, the book is good. I think Cato is probably better known for her other book, All the Rivers Run.   I might read that someday.  

Forefathers is one of those epics that span generations.  I like those books, but sometimes it bothers me that the main characters later fade into minor characters.  It IS interesting to see all the generations.  But I get attached to certain characters, and then have to get adjusted to the focus of the book changing to their descendents.  

The book's a good way to review Australia history though. The book started with the arrival of the convicts and is now into the gold mining days.  

One of the main characters (for now) was a Canadian convict.  He was in a group trying to fight for Canadian freedom. The British punished him by sending him to Australia.

It makes me wonder how many Australians have Canadian ancestry. 

Well....Lord Wiki says there are currently 21,0000 Canadians living in Australia. Some are Australian citizens, and some are not.  

Here's a website about Canadian convicts and Australia.  

It says they were transported in a ship called the HMS Buffalo

I can't remember if that ship was in the book. Maybe?

The ship carried 58 French Canadians, 82 Americans, and 5 civil prisoners.  I'm not sure what they mean by civil prisoners.

I'm also not sure where the character from the book fits in. He says he's not American.  He doesn't seem to speak French.

I just skimmed the book again. The character WAS indeed on the Buffalo

From the website it seems the convicts were either American or French-Canadian.  But maybe I'm missing something?  

Gotye and Minecraft

Jack just sent me a very cute video.  It's a Minecraft parody of "Somebody that I Used To Know".




For those who don't play Minecraft, you can convert wolves and ocelots into pet dogs and cats.   The parody song is about a dog feeling betrayed when his human starts getting cats.  Then the human responds by saying it's not easy having a dog in Minecraft. I agree. I've had about six Minecraft dogs  lost all of them.  

I haven't managed to get a cat yet.  For now, I'm using farm animals as my pets. I have tons of pigs, cows, and sheep. 

Jack and I are both really into Minecraft right now.  I can't say enough good things about the game.    I think it's a game that almost everyone can enjoy, because there are so many different ways to play.   Jack usually plays in creative mode when he's alone.  There you have access to all the materials, and you can build what you want to build.  Jack has spent months building this one world.   He has all types of adorable and impressive buildings.  Then last week he figured out how to turn his world into a multi-player world.  So then I was able to walk around in a virtual world created by my own child's imagination.  There we played games together while I was upstairs (in real life) and he was downstairs. It was an AMAZING experience. I'm not sure if everyone feels this way, but when I walk around a Minecraft World, I feel like I'm really there.  

I play survival mode and have been playing the same world for a couple of weeks.  You can play with people around the world—join their worlds. I personally prefer to play alone. I'm paranoid about accidentally breaking rules or messing something up.  Jack and I visited a community-based world a few days ago.  I planned to just look around, but had an accident and broke off a piece of a roller coaster.  I felt quite ashamed.

Anyway, my world is called Monkey Mia.  I wanted to name it after an Australian place, and that's the first thing that came to mind.  I'm not sure why.   It's not like I have a special connection to Monkey Mia.   Also, there are no monkeys in Minecraft. Nor are there any dolphins.   

In the survivor world, you might choose to fight monsters— zombies, creepers, spiders, and other awful things.   It's actually the monsters that peeked my interest in playing the game.   But then ironically after I got into the whole thing, it's what I liked least.  I became terrified of the monster.  I confessed to Jack that I was considering switching the game to Peaceful mode. This means you get to do the building, farming, mining, exploring, etc.   But no monsters!   Jack scolded me for that, and talked me out of it.  I realized he was right, at least in my case. Without monsters, the game wouldn't be challenging enough.  It wouldn't be as thrilling finding diamonds next to lava if a skeleton wasn't shooting arrows at you during the retrieval process.  

I came up with a compromise. I turned off the Minecraft sound and music.   I realized that's what was causing most of my fear.  Now I play Minecraft with MY music in the background.

I'm still not loving the monsters, but I think they make the game more exciting.

Jack loves fighting the monsters. He plays in my world. I watch him killing scary things with our collection of enchanted swords, and I can't help but be impressed. 

As I was saying, though.  Really.   Minecraft can be adjusted to most people's tastes.  You can just build...no restrictions.   Or you can hunt, gather, and farm in a monster free world. 

You can have scary music and scary sound effects.  Or you can get rid of the scary music and scary sound effects. 

You can play hardcore.  This is where death brings about the destruction of the world you worked so hard to create.  I don't do that, but I admire those who do.  

Of course there's always room for improvement in Minecraft. I'd really love some Australian stuff. kangaroos and dingos would be nice; maybe some parrots too.   

Monday, May 7, 2012

David Campbell

Lately I've been thinking it would be funny if celebrities auditioned for the blind auditions on The Voice

Well...my wish has come true.

In my music research adventures I came across a guy named David Campbell.   He's a celebrity, and he snuck into the blind auditions as a joke.  



None of the coaches seemed to recognize his voice.  Keith Urban and Delta Goodrem recognized him as soon as they turned around.  They seemed amused.  The American and British coach looked completely lost.  I feel put off by their ignorance, but I shouldn't. I didn't know who David Campbell was until about five minutes ago.   

Lord Wiki has informed me that he's the son of Jimmy Barnes.

Cool!

I know Jimmy Barnes' daughter also auditioned for the show...for real and not as a joke.  She got put on a team.

Well, and I just saw she was eliminated in the battle rounds.

I'm seeing all kinds of interesting things from Lord Wiki.

Such as....

Jimmy Barnes has Jewish ancestry.

David Campbell was raised by his grandmother and didn't know at first that Jimmy Barnes was his father.  He thought he was a family friend.  I'm guessing the grandmother wasn't Jimmy Barnes' mother.   Otherwise I imagine they'd try to pass Jimmy Barnes off as Campbell's older brother. Isn't that what people usually do in those types of situations?

Here's a video of Jimmy Barnes and David Campbell singing together.



Oh....I found something else fun.

David Campbell was in an American animated film called Joseph: King of Dreams.   He did the singing voice for Joseph.  

Here is a video from that movie.



I'm guessing that's supposed to be Joseph. If it's not, than it's not David Campbell singing. But I think it probably is.

Wondering About Ants

Today I read an old post of mine about an encounter with a large Australian ant.  It bit or stung me, and that hurt a little bit  I had wondered if it was a bull ant.   Someone in comments said if it had been a bull ant I would have been in agony.

I definitely wasn't in agony.

I thought maybe the commenter was sensitive to pain so I did some googling.  I then became a bit terrified because I kept seeing websites saying that bull ant stings are horrific.

I don't think I knew that.

I imagined bull ants stings were about equal to fire ant bites.  I've been bitten by those.   I was bitten a few days ago.  It hurt, but in a quick and mild way.  There's an OW!  Then it's over.  At least for me.

I was thinking, though, maybe it's another case of mistaken identity. If I wasn't stung by a real bull ant in Australia, maybe I also wasn't bitten by real fire ants in Texas.

Maybe there's another big ant in Australia—one that stings, but it doesn't hurt excessively. And maybe there are biting ants in Texas that aren't fire ants?

Anyway.....

I've been thinking of our encounter with massive amounts of big ants in Australia.  Jack was terrified.  Tim used dishonesty to calm him down, saying their stings/bites were no worse than a mosquito.   I tried to be more honest, saying they'd hurt, but the pain would be over in a few seconds.   Although now I'm thinking maybe my attempt at honesty was a failed one. I've seen people online complaining that the pain can last for quite awhile.  

I'm trying to reassure myself right now, because I'm a bit scared now that I know these bull ants can cause agony.   The thing is, though, we did encounter a lot of ants in Australia (bull ants or not) and we never got stung (knock on wood).  We encounter lots of wasps and ants in Texas and have never had a painful encounter (KNOCK ON WOOD). 

So....

Have you ever been bitten or stung by anything?  Did it hurt as much as you imagined it would?   Less?  More?  

Do you get nervous when you encounter insects that sting or bite? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meg's Tiny Waist

I'm reading Seven Little Australians.  It's a famous Australian childrens book similar to the British William books and the Jewish All of a Kind Family books.

In the novel, sixteen-year-old Meg is pressured by her slightly older friend to wear a corset.  Her friend insists it's of extreme importance for Meg to have a proper sized waist.

Wearing the corset so tightly is painful and dangerous.  Still,  she does it so she can be pretty enough.  Her father, sibling, and stepmothers have no idea Meg is damaging her body in this way. They find out when she collapses and is taken to the doctor.

What women will do to look tiny.....

They'll sacrifice their comfort, enjoyment, and health.

They'll sometimes risk their lives.

Often they suffer silently and secretly.

If they're thin enough, there's a chance someone might notice and reach out and help. But what IS thin enough? 

And not every person torturing themselves for a good body is skin and bones. Some of them are only a bit slim.  Some have an average weight.  Some may even be overweight.

Women of various sizes are struggling to achieve or maintain a body that is acceptable to our society.

What can we do?

Who knows.....

Maybe a good start would be too stop judging women on their size.  Maybe we should stop complimenting people on losing weight, because we can't know if they're doing it in a healthy way.   And who knows, it could be something like cancer that's making them thin.

I think maybe if we see someone that's very fat or very thin we can guess it's very likely that they're struggling with something....either emotional or medical.   And we should have compassion for them.  

Swinging with Freddy Krueger

I've been looking at photos from Kojonup, Western Australia.  

I came across this photo from Railways of Australia's Flickr set. 

It's an old abandoned swing.

Or....it looks abandoned at least.

It looks spooky like something out of a nightmare scene from Nightmare on Elm Street.

I can picture a little girl sitting on it singing that song.

One Two Freddy's Coming For You
Three Four Better Lock The Door.....

The scenery would be great for a horror movie set.

Then again, it might also be a great happy place for happy children to play happily.

I guess it depends on the mood.

Is it a bright sunny day? Rainy and dreary? Foggy? Late at night.

All that makes a difference.

It's funny how you can look at things in such vastly different ways.   When I first saw the photo and started writing the post, I saw something dark and sinister.  Then a few minutes later I looked and imagined kids having a fun and safe time together.  

Now that I look closely though....

The swing is pretty close to the ground, so maybe it wouldn't be THAT fun. 

More McMahon Family Dreams

Last night I dreamed about the McMahon family again.  This time it was about the daughters, which I think might be unusual for me.  I don't think I've dreamed about the daughters before.  I could be wrong, though.  I thought I had never seen pandas in person before, but then my mom reminded me that I saw them in 1992. 

Anyway.....

There were two seperate dreams about them.  One was early on at night. It was vague.  Or my memory of it is vague.

I'm in pursuit of information about the murder of William McMahon.   

Then I realize and remember that he hadn't been murdered.  At some point, I see images of his daughters.  They're twin-like and both have their hair up in half pony-tails.   They kind of looked old-fashioned like the little girl on the cover of my copy of The Seven Little Australians (I'm reading that now).  

In the other later dream.

Tim and I watch an Australian tabloid show.  I'm bemused that it's playing on American television.   There's several stories, but the last story is about the McMahon daughters. They're in some kind of feud with each other.  One daughter is Deborah and has a nickname that starts with z.   I see the z and it's written in cursive.  

I just realized why I probably dreamed about z. Andrew mentioned Zee vs Zed on his blog comments yesterday. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jesus is the Boss

I'm listening to this Children's Christian song by an Australian singer named Colin Buchanan.



It talks about annoying/bad things that can happen; then instructs kids to remember the Lord.

I think I get what the song is trying to say.  If you're having a bad day, remember Jesus is there for you.  You're not alone.  God carries you on His shoulders.

All that.

But if I didn't know better I might think the song was saying that when things go bad, remember who's REALLY in control.  Remember who the big boss is.  Remember who you can blame.

It kind of cracks me up.  

Without Lord Wiki's Help

Lord Wiki has been slow about reporting on The Voice Australia's battle rounds.

I've been checking the last few days, and there's nothing.

That's odd.  I'm used to Lord Wiki being so up to date on things.

I decided I'd have to seek information elsewhere.

I went to the official Australia Voice website.   That wasn't helpful.  The site is very video-heavy, and I can't watch the videos from here.  I couldn't find the information I needed...well, wanted.  

Then I remembered iTunes Australia. That has the songs from the battle rounds.

So, from what I see, two Australian songs were sung on the May 1 battle round episode. 

Lakyn Heperi and his opponent sang Angus and Julie Stone's "Big Jet Plane"   It seems, though, that iTunes has the recording of only Heperi singing.  I noticed it's the same with the American show as well.  iTunes doesn't provide the recording of the actual battle.  It's a shame because I think some of the battle rounds sound really great.   

Anyway, I just looked back at the official website for The Voice.   Heperi is on team Joel.  Joel is the American coach.  It's interesting that the American coach picked one of the few Australian songs.    For some reason, though, I kind of expected that to be the case.  I don't know why.

As for the other Australian song.  Let me go see.....

Jimmy Cupples and his opponent sang "Plans" by Birds of Tokyo.   

Mr. Cupples is on Keith Urban's team.  And Keith Urban is Australian.  So Urban is supporting his fellow Aussie musicians.  Good!

Now I'm listening to some of the songs, not just the Australian ones.

Glenn Cummingham sounds overly similar to Adam Levine in his version of "Moves Like Jagger". 

I think Karese Eden has an impressive voice. 

For the most part, I'm awful at judging voices.   In my opinion, they're all great singers.  So it comes down to the song they sing.  If I like the song, I usually like their performance.  If I don't like the song, then I'm not really entertained by the whole thing.

For example, I like Rachael Leahcar singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".   But I love that song.  If she sang a song I didn't like, I might not be as impressed.

One thing I like about The Voice is that in the finals, the last four singers sing their own original compositions.   I think that's important, and wouldn't mind if they made that a requirement even earlier....maybe for the last eight singers?

To me having a good voice is as meaningful as having nice legs, or a pretty face. It's just something you're born with.   I know.   People may argue.  But it's not just inborn talent. You have to work hard at it.   Exercise and train your voice.   The same can be said of physical beauty.  People are born with certain attributes, but they can work to enhance these attributes.

I think people become music stars not because they have a good voice, but because they write songs that we love to hear.  They write songs that make us want to dance and sing along.  They write songs that help us through difficult times, and songs that make us nostalgic for past times.  

It's the whole package that's important—writing, voice, performance, personality, costume, physical appearance, etc. 

Jack and I like to come up with alternate versions of The Voice.  

In one idea we had, it was the opposite of The Voice.  The coaches have to pick their team by looking at the singers.  They can't hear them sing until they press their button. 

I think a celebrity version would be fun.  I imagine it not being singers auditioning, but other types of celebrities who happen to have a good singing voice.   An example might be Stephen Colbert. 

One day I got very juvenile and told Jack my brilliant idea.   There could be a spin-off show called The Burp or The Fart.    The four coach chairs would be turned around.   Then they'd have to listen (and smell); and decide whether or not to turn their chair around for the performer.  

I couldn't stop laughing because I kept imagining the faces of the coaches while judging the farts and burps.   On the American show, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Christina Aguilera each have their own unique funny facial expressions and body language.    So....

It's hard to explain.

Maybe people who watch the show might find it funny.

Or probably not.

Jack's a child.  He loves the show.  And even with all that, he wasn't as amused by the idea as I was.

I might have a very immature sense of humor...at least sometimes.