Monday, June 25, 2012

More Opera House Love

I found this treasure on Flickr today.  

Thanks to Tiabunna for scanning it and uploading it. 

I was listening to this song when I found the photo.  



I thought it fit my mood quite well. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Offspring Sounds

We were playing Taboo tonight.  Our timer is broken.  The sand somehow got stuck. So we have to use an alternate timer.  Today we used my niece's iPhone.  The alarm sounded familiar to me.   And then I realized it's Nina Proudman's ringtone.  

I was kind of excited about that.

One of my words, while playing, was Nicole Kidman.  My mind went blank.  I mean I knew who Nicole Kidman was, but I didn't know how to explain it, because one of the taboo words was Australia.  I could have named one of her movies, but I didn't think Jack would know of any of them.  I wasn't even sure if he'd know who she was...period.

Finally my brain turned on and I realized I could say something like, She's from the country I'm obsessed with.  One of the best tricks, with Taboo, is to rely on personal things that your partner would know about.  

Jack was able to get the answer right after that. So it turns out he does know about Nicole Kidman. 

In other Australia-related news...I've been wanting to try a vegetarian pie-floater.  And with Tim's help I was able to do that tonight.  I enjoyed it.  

Also.....

I'm extremely overly obsessed with trip-planning.  I won't go into details, but there's a lot of 13's that keep popping up.  I don't take it as bad luck, but I do see it as being meaningful and maybe related to the conception of my Australia obsession


Well, at least I like to imagine it's meaningful.  Sorry, Richard Dawkins.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm Not Nina Proudman's Fortune Teller

Lesson Learned (maybe). Do not put spoiler alerts in your post unless you know what's going to happen in the FUTURE of a TV show.

I have so many people coming to my blog using keywords related to Offspring spoilers. 

I feel bad because I don't know anything.

Or maybe I shouldn't worry about why people come to my blog.

Is it good etiquette to have a spoiler alert for current episodes?   Or should I assume that people will assume that if I write about a TV show, I'm going to reveal what's happened so far?

I'm trying to think of what I see when I read about TV shows.

I'm pretty sure people have spoiler alerts, at least when talking about very current episodes.

So maybe I didn't make a mistake?

I still feel bad, though.

I feel like a tease.  An accidental one.    But still......

Anyway, while I'm the subject, I'll talk about the most recent episode.

I didn't cry at the ending.  It's strange because I cry extremely easily with TV shows.   I don't sob usually.  That's saved for Charlie and Claire reunions.  But I do often get all choked up.

I didn't have any bit of tears with Offspring's recent ending, though, and it was definitely a tear-jerker scene. 

Have I become cold-hearted?  Temporarily cold-hearted?

I liked the milk-expressing-success scene, although I felt a little bad that laughing at Nina's expense is what got Zara to relax enough. 

I think Adam is annoying.   He should give Nina some space.  She's obviously just been through a difficult break-up.  Why is he so willing to be the rebound relationship?

Patrick is hot and cold like the Katy Perry song.  



What's going on in that guy's head?

It seems to me that he dumped Nina, not because he wanted her out of his life, but because he wanted her to chase after him.   

I felt sad for Billy.  I did like Adam in the scene where he talked to her.   He listened to her and gave a realistic and honest response.  Yes, you might be right.  There MIGHT be something going on between Mick and singer girl.  I think that's better than giving false positive assurances.  Oh, no.  Of course everything is fine.  Of course he loves you.   Have faith in him.  

I don't like the singer girl, and I'm not liking that Mick likes the singer girl. 

I thought it was a bit strange for Cherie to need her two kids to be full siblings rather than half ones.   It would make sense if she was in a relationship with Ray's father.   But otherwise.....

I don't know.

Maybe it was just a way for her reject Clegg in a less hurtful way.  I can understand why she wouldn't want him as the father.  Her kid would be the half-sibling of Kim's kid. That would be a bit strange.

Then again...Ray's is now somehow related to Zara's kid.

What is he?

Let me think.

Ray is Darcy's son.  Jimmy is Darcy's son.

So that makes Rae the uncle of Alfie.

Yep.  Cherie's kid is related to Zara's kid.  Why NOT have Cherie's next kid related to Kim's kid?

Soap operas are fun.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Richard Dawkins

I haven't been a fan of Richard Dawkins.   As a spiritual person who has various "delusions" about the supernatural, I find it hard to stomach Dawkin's outspoken atheism.

But now my dislike of him has faded a little bit.

I'm over watching the 7:30 Report.  Now my new thing is watching Q and A.  

I've been watching a panel that includes Dawkins, and he's actually quite charming.

He reminds me of Professor Slughorn—not really in personality, but in how he looks and speaks.

I have such a weakness for Australian and British accents.

There are certain Australians I know, from online, that I don't like.   But I'm betting if I met them in real life, I'd think they were adorable.  

Well, maybe that's going too far.

I think, though, that I'd dislike them a little less.

Yes, and that's another example of me being prejudice.

Anyway.....

I'm totally going off the path here.

What I wanted to say is that I loved what Richard Dawkins said in this video in response to a question regarding atheist's not having absolute morality.



I'm thinking I should transcribe in case people don't want to bother watching the video.

It's long, though.

Well....

I guess I should do it.   

For those wanting to see the part themselves. It starts at 5:31.

It starts with the question man asking:

Considering that atheism cannot possibly have any sense of absolute morality. Would it not then be an irrational leap of faith, which atheists themselves so harshly condemn, for an atheist to decide between right and wrong?

Then Dawkins says: Absolute morality. The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include what? Stoning people for adultery. Death for apostasy. Punishment for breaking the sabbath. These are all things that are religiously based absolute moralities. I don't think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based upon...we almost can say intelligent design.

There's some stuff here I'm not transcribing. I think Dawkins was just trying to gather his thoughts.....

If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people...among 20th century people.

We don't believe in slavery anymore. We believe in equality for women. We believe in being gentle. We believe in being kind to animals. These are all things that are entirely recent. They have very little basis in biblical or Koranic scripture.

They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy.

These do not come from religions to the extent that you can find the good bits in religious scripture. You have to cherry pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Koran. And you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality. You say "Look at that. That's religion". And you leave out all the horrible bits. And you say, "we don't believe that anymore. We've grown out of it". Well, of course we've grown out of it. We've grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion. 

How awesome is that?

I think it's very awesome.

Although I'm being hypocritical, since what I'm doing is cherry picking with Richard Dawkins.

I don't really like his way of thinking.  But I do like SOME of his thinking.

One problem I have with this episode is the audience seems a bit skewed. When Richard Dawkins says something, there's lots of applause.   When Steve Fielding says anything, the audience loudly laughs at him.  My guess is that there's more atheists than religious people in the audience; or the atheists are more vocal.

I think the laughing is impolite...and mean.   It's okay to be quietly amused, but to laugh loudly....

I don't think it's a way to treat someone, even if their beliefs and ideas are totally wrong to you.

I wonder if Fielding felt bad.

If he did, I hope he remembers to act differently when he's in a situation where his opinion is the one accepted by the loud majority.  
    

Monday, June 18, 2012

Prejudice

I've been thinking a lot about Fruitcake's latest post. Or really the things that are being said in comments.  

Fruitcake says, I am inclined to be a little put out when people say "I am allowed to trash group X because I'm one of them, but you are not allowed to.

I have to admit to being guilty of that.  I bitch about Americans in my blog.   Then I get offended when Australians bitch about Americans. Is that fair? Not really.

But sometimes I feel more justified because I KNOW Americans....lots of them.   And on a very frequent basis, I interact with lovely people who happen to fit the negative stereotype of Americans—  Loud, ethnocentric, frequent bragging, and sense of entitlement.

When Australians complain about Americans, I'm thinking, what the hell do you know? What are you basing this opinion on?  The one group of loud tourists you ran into while hiking?  An episode of The Simpsons?  George W. Bush? A geographical blunder made by CNN?  

Fruitcake's complaint came after my list of complaints.  I realize I'm guilty of my own pet-peeves..at least one of them. I spoke against, people who act like they're doing me a favor by tolerating me, since they usually hate everyone else in my group.

I have my prejudices.  And I have my exceptions to the prejudice.

For example....

I'm prejudiced against a certain age group.

I'm an ageist, I suppose.

But there are a few people from this age group that I adore. Instead of thinking Well, maybe I've judged this group wrongly, I tend to think, Well, this person is not like the OTHERS.  

I try not to be, but I AM a prejudice person.  If I meet two or three people from the same religion, country, age group, ethnicity, etc; and they have something in common, I tend to imagine everyone from that group will have that trait as well.

It's stupid, really.  

It's irrational.

You probably need to know at least 100 people from a specific group for your personal stereotype to be even remotely valid.   

I definitely know more than a hundred Americans.  Or at least I've known MORE than that many through out my life.  I'm guessing that only a small minority fit the stereotypes I mentioned above.  

All in all, people are people. There's more variation between individuals than there are between groups.  My rational smart brain knows that.  The irrational dumb sections of my brain will probably never succeed in grasping the concept.


P.S-I can't complain too much about Australians judging Americans based on fictional American TV shows. Watching Offspring has raised questions in my mind about Australians, specifically their attitudes towards sex.   It's silly, though, because certain characters in certain American shows have the same attitudes and behaviors. It's probably more of a TV vs. reality thing than an Australian vs. American thing.   But when I see an American TV show, I can know better and think, that's not realistic or overly common...at least not with the people I know.   When I see it in an Australian TV show, sometimes I'm not really sure. 

Sydney Opera House

I'm still looking at Sydney Flickr photos.

There's a lot of unique perspectives of the Opera House...different angles, and all that.

Here's one I really love.  It was taken by Roving I.

I love the Opera House.

I love the ship.

I love the water.

I love the houses.

And I really love Sydney.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Parrots and Voices

I dreamed about Australia last night.

We're looking for a place to stay in Australia.  I find a listing for an apartment that has uncaged rosellas. They just roam about the apartment.  Tim is weary about the whole thing, but opens his mind about it when he sees I like the idea.  He jokes that he'll have to cook after all.  I ask him why.   He points out that the listing says one of the parrots loves to eat a certain gourmet chicken dish.  

Then I woke up because someone standing next to the bed called my name.  I was very startled and called out something.  I forgot what I said, but it was something basic like, What? 

I looked to see who was there.

And there was nothing. 

It was just a dream.

OR....

The first thing I thought was.  What if I'm one of those people who can hear dead people? Maybe it was a ghost waking me up.

That would be kind of cool, but also very scary.

The good news is they disappeared once I was fully awake.    It would be less scary to be a medium if I only heard the voices when in a trance or sleep state. 

Oh! The other good news is the voice sounded very nice....polite.   She kind of sounded like one of my old high school friends.    She seemed kind of embarrassed to be waking me up. 

Now that I think of it.   I'm wrong about the first good news.   If the voice was scary; it probably wouldn't help to hear it only when half-asleep.   Then I'd probably develop a fear of sleeping.

Well....

I doubt the disembodied voice was a ghost. 

What I probably had was a hypnagogic hallucination....one of those things that happen when we're inbetween the sleep and awake stage.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Heroic People

I don't know much about Tim Ferguson.   But from what I see in this video....I like him.



He has Multiple Sclerosis and has an adorable attitude about the whole thing. It's kind of like Adam Hills and his missing foot, or Michael J. Fox and his Parkinson's Disease.

I'm inspired by people who have a physical problem and have a sense of humor about the whole thing, rather than a persistent woe is me attitude.

It's hard for me to believe that people like this never feel sorry for themselves.   I imagine they at least have private moments of self-pity.  But they don't let their problems get in the way of enjoying life.

Today I also watched this video about an organization that helps disabled people have surfing experiences.



It takes a lot of work to get some of them into the water. I mean not in terms of coaxing, but basic logistics. Well, actually it's not really basic. It's quite complicated. A part of me watched it and thought. Yikes. Isn't it easier to just skip the whole thing.

What's the point?

It made me think of the fantastic Walking-Dead-meets-The-Hunger-Games book trilogy I just finished reading: The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  It's a story that takes place a century or so after the zombie apocalypse.     

One of the main themes in the trilogy is the choice between staying safe or taking risks.

Should you stay behind the barrier or cross it?

It seems the smart thing would be to avoid danger and stay safe.

But if you're too safe life might become bland. Empty. Depressing.

No, it's not the safety that does this to you. It's what you miss (from staying behind the wall) that does it. 

The other thing is....

The walls might not keep you safe forever.  Eventually, they'll probably tumble down.  (This is especially the case when zombie hordes are in the picture).

So with that in mind, I'd say if someone has a disability and they want to go surfing, it's probably a good thing for them to try to do it. 

Noah Hathaway

This morning I was stalking Sydney on Flickr.

I found this photo of Noah Hathaway.   He's at a big fan expo at Sydney Olympic Park: Supernova 2012. 

This Supernova thing started on Friday, and today's the last day.

Underneath the photo is a long write up about the event. It sounds fun.  Strangely I can't find anything about Noah Hathaway.  I read kind of fast.  Maybe I missed it?

I went to the Supernova website.  I couldn't easily find Noah Hathaway there either.  

I'm thinking he's one of those forgotten celebrities, like Warwick Davis' character on Life's Too Short

It makes no sense, though.   How can people overlook Noah Hathaway?! I understand the general population. But science fiction and fantasy fans?

Maybe these fans are in a different generation and never saw The Neverending Story.

Maybe the movie was less popular with Australians than it was with Americans?

I'm looking at Hathaway's IMDb page.   He was in 22 episodes of Battlestar Galactica.  If the Supernova attendees don't have appreciation for The Neverending Story, maybe they'd at least know him from BG.  

Another movie Hathaway starred in was Troll.  As a child I had interest in that movie because Elizabeth from V was in it.
 
What's funny is IMDb says Hathaway's character in Troll was named Harry Potter.  

Wow.

I'm finding all kinds of interesting stuff here.

There was a Troll remake this year. I had no idea.  

That movie has Harry Potter too.

Noah Hathaway's show business career stopped in 1994...at least according to IMDB.

But now it seems to be picking up again.

He has four upcoming projects.

That's cool.

I like hearing of child stars having successful comebacks.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Liberal Majority

Now I'm watching a 7:30 Report interview with Anna Bligh.




It's kind of funny seeing her because earlier this week I watched an Aussie history documentary featuring her famous ancestor.



Anyway....

The interview with Bligh is interesting. I think it was done the night before the election. She's expected to lose and is pretty graceful about that. She doesn't plead to save her career. What she asks is that people don't vote in too many LNP (Liberal National Party) folks into Parliament. 

I paid vague attention to this in the news back when it was happening.   I remember hearing that the Labor Party suffered significant losses.  I was curious, though, to see the details.

So I went to the Queensland Parliament page.

Anna Bligh didn't get her wish.

Out of 89 members of Queensland Parliament, 78 are from the Liberal National Party. 

Only seven are from the Labor Party.

There are two independents.

Then there are two from the Kap Party.   

I don't think I've heard of that one. 

Oh....

Lord Wiki says it's Bob Katter's party.

He used to be an independent.

I kind of remember that.

It looks like he formed his own party. 

They're anti-gay marriage, so they're really not the party for me. 

I do like their idea of all police, prison, and military clothes being made in Australia. That's cool. 

The party's conservative. The LNP is conservative. 

I'd have to say Queensland is pretty conservative right now.  Well, at least their government is.  

Gambling

My new thing now is watching old 7:30 Report segments on YouTube.

I just watched a bit of one about RSL and gambling. 



I guess it's not too old.   Maybe a year or so ago?  I remember mentioning the issue in recent months.


The anti-gambling people, led by Andrew Wilkie, wanted special machines installed, which they hoped would prevent people from gambling their whole lives away.

The RSL (Returned Service League) joined the poker industry to fight Wilkie and his gang.  Their argument is that their clubs offer services to the community, and without enough poker money, they won't be able to provide such wonderful services.

I guess in the end it's a question of what's more of a threat—RSL clubs losing revenue with the poker machine reforms, or family's going bankrupt because a family member has a gambling problem.

My guess is the latter would be a more imminent threat.  I could be wrong. Maybe.

I was thinking, though, about the RSL so strongly supporting gambling. Then I realized that it makes sense. Joining the military itself is a huge gamble.

Young people join and they don't know what the results will be.

They could come back heroes.  They could even get a Victoria Cross medal. Their picture might be displayed in museums.

They might return to their families stronger and braver than before.   

They might march in parades for decades to come.

OR.....

They might lose an arm or a leg.

They might lose their life.

They might lose their sanity.

They might be part of a team that does great things...saves the world.

They might be be part of a team that causes great harm.   

You never know.....

I'm not against the military.

I'm not against gambling.

But I'm smart enough to know that sometimes both of those things can bring great devastation.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Plane Tickets

I planned to keep this a secret; but I'm lacking in self-control right now.

So....

Yeah.

We bought Qantas plane tickets for 2013.

I'm super overly extremely excited. And VERY obsessed. 

I don't want to talk about it much on my blog, so if you have any questions please email me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dark Jokes

I'm very touched by this article about Wendy Harmer apologizing to Lindy-Chamberlain-Creighton.  

Wendy Harmer is a comedian, and for part of her routine, she poked fun at the Chamberlain family's tragedy. And she implied that Lindy was guilty of her baby's murder. 

Now Lindy has been declared innocent by an Australian coroner.  Harmer gave a public apology.   She says sorry for her own actions and also expresses sympathy for what the family has endured. It's very nice.

I also like what she says ABOUT her actions and the apology.  In pursuit of a laugh, I too carried a burning stick. 

Harmer isn't the only one out there owing Lindy an apology.  Harmer guesses that there are millions of other Australians who also owe apologies.  I'd say there are millions of people around the world.

I have questions floating in my mind right now.

1. Am I one of the millions?   Did I make jokes about a baby dying?   Did I laugh at jokes?   I can't remember doing so, but my memory is not always reliable.    I hope I didn't.  And if I did, I hope it was back when I was ignorant...when I didn't know much of the story.   I'm guessing (and hoping) that once I knew more of the story, I had more compassion.  

2. Should the apologies have come sooner?  Was validation from a coroner needed before people came forward to say sorry?  Back before it was decided that dingoes do indeed harm humans sometimes, was it okay to make fun of the whole thing?  

If Lindy wasn't labeled as innocent, would it be okay to go back to making fun of the whole thing? 

3. What does this say about humor, especially dark humor?   I don't know if I've joked about the Chamberlain story, or if I've laughed about it.   But I'm pretty sure I've made jokes about other tragedies, and I've definitely laughed at other people's jokes.

Is this wrong?  Or is it just part of human nature?   Is it just our way of dealing with scary strange things?

Should we stop all of it?  Should we stop some of it? 

Is there a line we shouldn't cross? 

Or should we just accept that if we die (or are injured) in a bizarre way, people are going to joke about it?

I like jokes.  I like dark jokes.  So it's hard for me to suggest we stop all of it.

I'm wanting to say let's keep joking, but be sensitive towards other people's feelings. It's hard, though.  Because almost every joke out there is going to offend SOMEBODY.   Sometimes it's because our jokes are very offensive. Other times it's because the listener is very sensitive.  Sometimes they're sensitive to the joke for a very valid personal reason.  

I'm thinking.....

Maybe it's less about dark humor and more about the burning stick that Wendy Harmer mentioned. 

Should so much hatred be directed towards someone when there's no proof of their guilt?  Should we all gang up on them? Should we find so much pleasure in ganging up on them?

And even if they are guilty, is it okay then to gang up on them and be hateful?  Maybe it is...to some small degree.

I think there comes a point, though, when we revel in the hatred of villains because it distracts us from thinking of our own faults.   

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Peter Singer

Peter Singer has been honored by the Queen.  He's getting one of those Order of Australia things.

Singer is hated by some people because he has very controversial opinions.

In response to getting the Queen award, Singer says:

There will be people in the community who are opposed to [my ideas], but I think that what this shows is that you don't just have to be a conformist in order to get honoured....You can dissent, and we respect that, we recognise diversity of opinion and even honour it.

As one who has (repeatedly) received anger, hatred, and rejection for having controversial opinions....Well, I really find comfort in his words.

Tuesdays

I just watched this clip from Bananas in Pyjamas.



Some teddy bears don't like Tuesday because the bananas chase them on Tuesday. They decide to fix things by getting rid of Tuesday on the calender.

I thought it was funny because lately we've been LOVING Tuesday.

Why?

It's the day the Mr. Softee man comes to our neighborhood. 

Two Tuesdays ago, Jack and I were inside the house and heard eerie loud music.  We ran to the window and saw the truck. Unfortunately we weren't dressed (because we're lazy sometimes).  We rushed to put clothes and shoes on; then ran outside.  We ran and ran and ran, but were unable to catch up with the truck.

We caught up with some people who had more luck and they told us the Mr. Softee Man will be driving by every Tuesday.

So the next Tuesday the three of us got dressed and put money by the door so we'd be ready.  We were unsure of the time he'd be coming because we didn't pay enough attention the last time. So we had a lot of waiting, and Jack was ready to give up. But Mr. Softee did come and we enjoyed our ice-cream.  

I was wondering about ice-cream trucks in Australia.   I vaguely remember one coming by when we were at a holiday park.  But maybe I just dreamed that.

Anyway, I found a website for a Mr. Whippy Van.   He has ice-cream plus other stuff. You can get fairy floss and jam donuts.   Fun!

In an Aussie book I read recently, a bunch of children die by getting ice-cream from a vendor.   Then there's been other horror stories involving ice-cream trucks.  Charmed had one.  Maybe Medium did as well? 

So although I was excited, I was also a little paranoid.  I came up with a code for Jack. I said if the truck doesn't look safe to me, I'm going to suggest he get a pre-wrapped treat. 

I worried that perhaps it wasn't a Mr. Softee (which I think you can usually probably trust) and instead some random person who might be a demon or serial killer.  

But it ended up looking okay, and we survived our ice-cream experience.

In two more days, it's Tuesday again!


Does an ice-cream truck come to your neighborhood?   Do you ever buy anything?

Do you have any happy ice-cream truck childhood memories?   

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mental Health

The Australia Medical Association plans to start seeking out mental illness in three-year-olds.  They want to find the mentally ill kids when they're young—the whole early intervention thing.  I can't say I love the idea, but it gives me an excuse to talk about mental illness. I think about it a lot. I've been trying to figure out my opinion about it.

It's hard because I feel I often contradict myself.

I've often spoken out against psychiatric medication, and I've gotten people really angry because of that.  I'm thinking now that it's not the drugs I'm against, per se, but more the labeling of people as "sick".  

One thing I've concluded lately is there's two ways of looking at mental problems. One is a very biological approach.  People act in a disturbed or annoying way because chemicals in their brain are messed up.  This is likely caused by genes, but could also be caused by diet and environmental issues. 

I think that can happen in some instances. But I tend to side with the people that see things in a more social-psychological way.  I say that people's brain chemistry changes because they've encountered stressful and/or horrific things in their life.

I dealt with these arguments during my eating disorder days. I argued with people who insisted that eating disorders are completely genetic. It's a gene that makes people starve themselves.  It has nothing to do with family life, the media, or anything in the disordered person's world.

Now I do believe that genes cause us to be born with certain personalities, and those personalities cause us to receive stimuli in a way that will affect us differently than others. It's a circular thing.  

The past week or so I've been obsessing a bit about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I'm fascinated by it.   I'm especially interested in how it seems many sufferers are  insistent on it being labeled as a physical disorder rather than a mental one.  This is despite the fact that science has yet to find strong evidence of it being a disease that originated with a biological cause. There's no medical test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Doctors give the diagnosis when they've ruled out other illnesses.  

Now science doesn't know everything.  Someday they might discover that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is caused by some specific virus. And the sufferers who believe it's a physical illness rather than a mental one will feel vindicated.

For now, though.   We don't know that. So why not consider the idea that it might be caused by psychological issues?

I've heard one argument saying that scientific studies have shown changes in the brain.

Wait.  Here we go.  I found an article about the study I was thinking about. People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have reduced activity in the part of their brain that deals with rewarded-feelings.

So it's not an imaginary disease! It's real! The brain study proves it.

No, it's not an imaginary disease. But that doesn't mean it's a problem that originated with biology.

Correct me if I'm wrong.  But with the other common mental disturbances, isn't there a change in brain chemistry?    Do scientists not see brain-differences in people with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc?

Why can't their be a mental problem that causes people to be extremely horribly tired?  Think about how many physical problems anxiety causes. Your heart can speed up.  You can sweat. You can feel numbness and tingling. You can get headaches. You can faint.

The list goes on and on.  

Our emotions can have a huge effect on how we're feeling physically. That's probably how Aboriginal Australians can kill people by pointing the bone at them.

My feeling about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is certain people are born with a certain personality that leads them to stressing out and falling apart.  They're not crazy. They're not imagining things. Their stress has just effected their body in a really shitty way.

Again.  I could be wrong.  But either way. I don't think it matters if a disease comes from a virus or our emotions. People who feel like shit deserve empathy and understanding.

As for preschoolers with mental illness.  I'd say it IS likely that doctors can pinpoint children who are more likely to have difficulty in life.  I'd hate to call them ill, though. I think I'd prefer to call them high-need, spirited, challenging, etc.

Life is hard for everyone,  but it might be extra hard for these kids because of their personality types.   They might handle things less well than kids with other personality types.

Does intervention help?

Maybe.  I'd be okay with it if it didn't involve illness labels.

I kind of wish someone talked to my parents about my issues when I was a preschooler.  And maybe they did.

Maybe what I should say is I wish someone gave them more guidance in handling my issues. I wish someone explained to them that I was super sensitive, super imaginative, extra fearful, etc. I wish someone gave them more guidance on how to handle that.

But I don't think I needed medication.  And I don't think I really needed a label of illness.

I've been very angry at my parents for not believing I had an eating disorder.   I felt very invalidated by their reaction to me coming out of the eating disorder closet.  Now I'm thinking that their interpretation of my symptoms is not an issue.  I think I had a disorder.  They didn't think so.   That doesn't matter, though.   What DOES matter is I received very little empathy and understanding from them.   I don't need them to say, Yes, you had a disorder.  It's a true and serious psychological problem.  We believe you. But I did need them to say something like, We understand you're struggling.  We feel for you.   Is there anything we can do to help?  


Edited to Add:   I had to rush to finish because it was dinner time.   I feel I've been confusing and contradictory again.   I wish I could be more clear, but I can't because I'm not clear yet myself.   And maybe I never will be.

I do have some other stuff to add to the mess, though.

One day, one of my kinfolk announced on Facebook that her son had finally gotten an Aspergers diagnosis.   Another one of my kinfolk responded by saying something like I'm so sorry.    Kinfolk #2 was trying to be kind.   I'm sure.   But I found her words offensive.   It was pity she was showing.   I'd interpret her words as a message like, Sorry you got stuck with a sick, inferior child.

There's a big difference between pity and empathy.

If it was me making the Facebook announcement I would have preferred a comment along the lines of.   Yikes. You're in for a ride. There'll be bad times and good times.  Good luck to you!

So maybe it's not labeling I dislike. Maybe it's the idea behind labeling.

It's the idea that labeled people are inferior to those not labeled.

I would rather just say that we all have our strengths and challenges.  And yeah some challenges make life very difficult for people and their loved ones.   We might give them a label in order to make it easier to understand and help them.   But that doesn't mean they're inferior to people who have not yet received a label.  

The main point is we're ALL humans.   And the human experience....well, it's a miracle that anyone comes out of it with their sanity.  

American News From Australia

I have three news widget on my iGoogle page.  One is from ABC; one's from The Sydney Morning Herald; and the other is a top news widget from Google itself.  The latter is where I get my American news.  It comes from various sources.

When I looked there a few minutes ago, there was an article from The Australian.   You'd think it would be Australian news. But it's not.   It's about the Miami face-eating attack. Although now it's come to light that it was a face-biting thing and not a face-eating thing. 

Anyway.....

The Google news widget has a link which lists all articles about the subject.  There's 234 articles. It's interesting that they put the Australian one on display.

Maybe it's because of me?   It could be one of those customization things.  Although as far as I can remember, the widget doesn't often display things from Australian news sources. 

One of the funniest things I've seen on the Google News widget was an article saying Utah was going to have nice sunny weather. It was so random.   Maybe Google News knows I have a friend in Utah?

I'm joking, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me there's merit to my idea. 

Back to the news thing.

I'm wondering.....

Do any of you use iGoogle on a regular basis?   If you do, what are your favorite widgets?   Do you have any that provide news stories?  

Also....What's your main news source?   How do you keep up to date?   Or do you try to avoid all that? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Billie Proudman and Volcano Ash

Billie Proudman is stuck in New Zealand because of volcano ash.

After beginning to watch episode eight of Offspring, I started to wonder about that. 

If I was smarter, I would have probably started asking questions earlier. But I just took it as a plot thing.

I realized finally that it's likely the actress (Kat Stewart) is busy with other things. We're seeing short glimpses of her on Skype or just hearing her voice on the mobile phone.

I went to check IMDb, and saw Stewart is going to be starring in another TV show in 2013; Mr. and Mrs. Murder.

Wait...

.IMDb says the show has been announced.   Does that mean it's not being filmed yet?

Okay.  I just found this article.   It says they're not filming until September.   

So what is Kat Stewart doing now?

Why is Billie still stuck in New Zealand?

Maybe it IS just a plot thing?

(Spoiler warning)......




I'm guessing it's so Mick and the singing lady can have some romance and cause excessive turmoil.

I'm not happy with that storyline.  Or at least I'm not happy with where it might go.   I'll be happy if singing lady puts the move on Mick, and he rejects her advances. That would be lovely. 

And what about Patrick?  What's up with that?   The break up was so sudden and out of the blue.  It makes me wonder if Matthew Le Nevez abruptly decided to exit the show. 

Is he exiting?

Or is it just another plot thing?

I picture Nina getting together with Adam; then Patrick returning towards the end of the season. 

I hope they don't do that, because it would be a repeat of the season two ending....with Patrick and Chris.

How many times is Nina going to have to choose between two men?  

It would be funny if the end has Nina having to choose between Patrick, Adam, and Chris—all three of them.  

 Hopefully Billie would be there for support, and not still stuck in New Zealand. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

In the Family

With a tiny bit of embarrassment I will admit to being touched by this Julia Gillard led ceremony honoring the Queen.  

I used to support the idea of having an Australia Republic—breaking the ties with Momma England.   Then we went to London and I wanted to cry through the streets.  Take us back!  Take us back!

Of course that's just on an emotional tourist level.

But on a more intellectual level.....

I used to think making Australia a republic would be doing right by the Aboriginal Australians.   It would be another way of saying sorry. We're not proud of what our ancestors did when they came to this country. We're so not proud that we're going to break ties and start anew.  

But America broke official ties a long time ago.  As far as I know, Native Americans are marginalized as much as the Australian Aborigines.  And other non-white American groups have it rough as well.

Breaking ties with the UK won't fix the past, and I don't imagine it would do anything to help the present or the future.  

It's probably too late for American to come back into the family. We'll just be friends, I suppose.

But if I had a vote, I'd vote for Australia to stay in the fold.

I guess I'd be in the monarchist club then. Maybe.

The excessive celebration of the queen is a bit much.  Why give so much attention to a little old lady?  

But is it any more nuts than worshiping a deity that may or may not exist?  Or what about the worship of rock stars and movie stars? 

Many folks have their idols, and it's probably just part of the human experience.  

Anyway, Happy Birthday to the queen. 

Is that what we're celebrating?  Or is it her years as queen?

Let me go check......

Okay.   I found the website about it.  It's the celebration of her years as queen. Six decades.  

Lord Wiki says her rein began on February 6 1952.  She had her coronation on June 2, 1953.  So sixty years from that would be 2013.    

I guess it's the whole year that's celebrated?  

Or is the celebration about 1952?

Has it been going on since February?

I feel like it started just this week. That's when I started seeing it in the news. 

Okay. Yes.  I'm right. The Diamond Jubilee website says June 2-5 was the central weekend. 

Did they pick that weekend because that's when she had her coronation? Or is it a coincidence?

I'm guessing it wasn't a coincidence.    

It's also not just the one weekend. There's going to be other celebrations through out the year.   And the Diamond Jubilee DID begin on February 6 with something called Accession Day. Lord Wiki says that's the term used for the anniversary of the day someone new took over the throne.  

Building On Top of a Cemetery

I'm reading a delightful old book right now.  It's called Town Life in Australia and was written by Richard Ernest Nowell Twopenny.   

Today I learned, from the book, that Sydney Town Hall was built on top of a cemetery.  

This website gives more information about it.  

If I'm understanding things correctly, many of the graves were moved.  But in 1991 restoration was done at Sydney Town Hall, and some graves were discovered.

I had some synchronocity today, because I was looking at Flickr and their front page talks about today being the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie Poltergeist.  One of the major plot points in that film is people building on top of graves and not moving graves correctly.  

Bye Bye Bats

This morning I learned that the Royal Botanical Garden waged war against all the flying foxes that hang out in the trees there.

They're trying to get rid of them.

They're not doing this by shooting them or poisoning them.  They're not killing them.  Instead they're using percussion noises to get them to relocate.  

Where are the bats going to go next?

Who knows.

I loved the bats when we visited Australia in 2007 and 2009.  They were probably my favorite thing in the Royal Botanical Gardens.

However now I've probably become a bit paranoid about them.   I've heard about the Hendra virus, and I saw that recent virus horror movie involving a bat.

It's probably unfair of me, though.   It's like being scared of humans because SOME of us carry viruses.

Well, actually...now that I think of it.    I AM somewhat scared of humans.  I'm a bit of a germaphobe.  

Still, though.  Do many bats carry the Hendra virus?   Are they that much of a threat to humans and horses?

Or is it more about them being a nuisance and destroying trees?  According to the article I read this morning, twenty-eight trees and thirty palms have been destroyed in the gardens.  That's pretty destructive.

What's a palm, by the way?  Is that not a tree? 

Anyway....

I've been trying to figure out the prevalence of the Hendra virus in flying foxes.  

I finally found this horse website.  They say:

 Follow-up studies showed an antibody prevalence of between 20-50% in flying fox populations across their mainland distribution. These findings indicate that flying foxes are a natural host.

I'm not sure what that means exactly...scientifically speaking. But I do get the idea that the virus is pretty common in bats. 

And later down in the page they say:

Evidence suggests the virus spreads easily between bats, but they show no clinical signs and appear to be unaffected by the virus.

So yeah. It doesn't seem like this Hendra virus is a rare thing for bats.

Here's the thing, though.

Humans don't get the Hendra virus from bats.   It's not transmitted that way.  So humans aren't in that type of danger when visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens.   If I went back to Australia and the bats remained, I could enjoy seeing them.   I wouldn't need to be paranoid.

The problem is horses.   Horses can get the virus from bats. Then the humans can get the virus from the horse. 

Are there a lot of horses hanging around the Royal Botanical Gardens? 

I doubt it.

So maybe it wasn't a great idea to move the bats. What if they go somewhere that DOES have horses?

I understand the concern about tree loss, though.

Well, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Will the percussion thing work?  Will all the bats leave?  Or will at least enough leave to help the trees?

Will the bats return?

Will they become a nuisance somewhere else, or will they find a place that's more tolerant towards them?