Friday, August 31, 2012

Danger

I was thinking how I used to see Australia as being so scary and dangerous...well, because of the venomous animals and crocodiles. 

At one time, I ignored my desires to go to Australia because of this fear—that, and also the whole long plane ride thing.

In a similar fashion, I imagine that Australians fear America because people seem to be shooting each other left and right. 

It's not really the same, though.  Because in America, people ARE getting shot fairly often. In Australia, people rarely get killed by venomous animals. Even crocodile and shark attacks are rare. 

It seems to me that every few weeks the US provides a news story about random people being shot while doing their normal everyday thing.

This morning people got shot and killed while doing their morning grocery shopping.

It's scary.

Then there's driving.....

There are intoxicated people on the road.

There are people texting. 

And there's simple shitty luck.

Every day, that we wake up in the morning with our loved ones alive and well, is a blessing.  

Now that I think of it, it's quite silly of me to be scared of Aussie wildlife. 

I'm less scared enough now to visit Australia. But I still fear going up north because of crocodiles.   And I'd be afraid to swim in Northern Queensland because of the Box Jellyfish and the Irukandji. 

Although maybe it's less about the fear of death and more about the fear of the CAUSE of death. Or it's the fear of the cause of the almost-death, the ones that makes you wish you'd hurry up and die (because you're in so much pain).  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Najeeeba Wazefadost

I still don't have a firm opinion on the asylum seeker situation in Australia.

I probably never will.

But today I watched the April 25, 2011 episode of Q and A, and it has me leaning a certain way.

One of the panelists was Najeeba Wazefadost. She came as a refugee on a boat in 2000. Or 2001?   Well, it was sometime in the beginning of this century.

Anyway.....

I'm big on analogies, and Najeeba provided one when asked about queue jumpers and people smugglers.

She said:

Just imagine yourself that you live in a room where the room is in fire and even though you know the right exit towards that room is the door but you see the window is open so you will take the window to jump out of that fire to survive. That's what we did.

Desperate people don't always take the right path. This is especially the case when the right path is a long and difficult path.

Is it fair, though, for the people who are taking the right path?

I don't know.

Do the actions of the people on boats make the refugee camp people's wait even longer?     

Najeeba went on to say,  We had to get the closest way and like today Australia is trying to show us the right pathway to called the legal migrants but what is legal migrants? Coming by airplane or (indistinct) even exist in countries like Afghanistan. How would people go and apply for those applications which get processed by years? Will people survive by then? That's the question.

If there truly a queue, is it more easily accessible by certain groups of people?

If we compare people in detention centres to people waiting in refugee centres, Are they from the same countries for the most part? 

Do some countries provide an easier path to the acceptable method of coming to Australia? 

Why do some people come by boat, and others wait in the queue? Is it about having a different set of morals? Is it about who has more money? Is it about opportunity?

I still think the best solution is to send safe legal boats over and pick people up. 

To add to Najeeba's analogy: the window in the fiery room is very unsafe. It's broken and full of jagged edges. There's a good chance you could severe an artery while going through it.

What if we could create and open up a safe window?

Of course, the problem is, if you open up a safe window, tons of people are going to want to go through it. 

It's impossible to save everyone. Unfortunately.

But it would be nice to save as many as possible. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tired of Vampires

I had a realization today while taking my shower.

That is, currently I'm not very interested in supernatural books.

I guess I knew this subconsciously.  But today the idea made itself more concrete in my head.

I'm tired of vampires, witches and ghosts.

I'm not feeling overly excited about magical children, although I did somewhat enjoy Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.

Now that I think of it.  Maybe my adventures with Library Man would have been more successful if I had been in my supernatural-book mood.  But I wasn't.  I don't hate supernatural books. But I'm tired of them, so I'm more picky when it comes to that type of book.  

I think my thing right now is historical fiction.

Today I finished reading a beautiful book written by Christopher Koch.   He's the guy who wrote The Year of Living Dangerously.  I didn't read that one.   I read Highways to a War.  It's about an Australian news photographer in Vietnam and Cambodia during the wars.  

I liked the narration method in the novel.  The photographer goes missing, and his boyhood friend tries to write the photographer's memoirs by listening to his left behind audio diary and interviewing his war-time friends.  It was a bit confusing for me in the beginning, but then I began to manage things.

Now I'm reading a Geraldine Brooks novel.  Caleb's Crossing  Brooks is an Aussie; but the book isn't about Australia.  It's about an English girl in the America area who befriends a Native American. It takes place in the 1600's.  So far I'm liking it.

A week or so ago I read one of those novels that's about a real painting...you know sort of like Girl With A Pearl Earring.

This one was called The God of Spring.  Like the Caleb book it's by an Aussie, but not about Australia. It's about a French painter I had never heard of before, Théodore Géricaul.  

I almost quit this book because I read it after reading two chick lit novels. My brain wasn't in the mood for heavier material.

But I've become better at quitting books, to the point that maybe I've improved that skill too much.   I've quit a handful of books lately.

So...I felt obligated to try stick to stick with this god of spring thing. 

I'm glad I did.

I ended up liking it a lot.

The book dealt with the subject of major obsession.  I find obsessions fascinating.

It also dealt with survival cannibalism, one of my favorite subjects. The custom of the sea.....

Several weeks ago I read another great book-about-a-real-painting.

This one had an American author, I believe. It was about the massacre of the Basque people in Spain during World War II.   Picasso did a painting based on the event—Guernica.  That's the name of the painting, the town...and the novel.  

I read one novel fairly recently that was a mix of history and supernatural.  That was pretty cool.   It was about a witch during the witch trial days. Well, actually the story moved through time, because the witch's aging process slowed down. One section of the novel dealt with Jack-the-Ripper.  

I really love reading.  To me, the library is like this magic time machine. You walk around and choose where and when you want to travel to. 

I was joking once with Fruitcake about getting one of those body-switching spells, you know where you get to spend some time in someone else's shoes.  With books, you kind of get to do that.

As for my worries of not doing enough and being enough....

Books let me do it all.

I've been to magic school.

I've had a romance with a vampire.

I've walked the Ho Chi Minh Trail and got horrible ulcers on my feet. 

I returned to middle school. 

I explored Broome.

I escaped from zombies. 

I toured Poland with a survivor of the Holocaust.

I became a singer in France.  

I've had SO many adventures. 






Monday, August 27, 2012

Big Bang Theory

We just finished watching the season finale of The Big Bang Theory.

We've been watching that show almost every night this summer, so I'm very sad to let it go. We have to wait a month for the new season. I might have major withdrawal symptoms.  

Anyway, I consulted Lord Wiki about what I just saw.  I wanted to see if he had anything to say about the last episode, which was REALLY beautiful, by the way.

I saw that he had the ratings information for Australia.

According to Lord Wiki the last episode shown in Australia was on April 24 and it was "The Hawking Excitation". That's not the season finale.  

Did Lord Wiki make the mistake?

Or has Australia not shown the last episodes yet?

If they haven't, why?

What are they waiting for?

And when will Australians get to see it? 

I could kind of understand splitting the season and having a hiatus in the middle.   But it seems strange to end towards the end, but not get to the end.

Wait....

I'm looking now at Lord Wiki's list of season 4 ratings.   There's only 8 of the 24 episodes listed for Australia.   So maybe Australians do see the whole season without a weird break, and Lord Wiki is listing only episodes in which he has the rating information.  

Confused Desires

I've been a mess lately.

It's not necessarily in a bad way.

I'm not depressed.

I'm slightly anxious.  But, for me, that's par for the course.

I just have these ideas and desires.  My head is spinning with confusion.  

I'm wanting to do various things, but I get the idea they're probably not the type of things I should do.

The other day Tim announced that he thinks someday we should go live in another country.  We talked about it before, of course.  But it was kind of taken off the table...mostly because Jack has such a huge attachment to our Texas home and family. 

Things might be different when he's a teenager, though.  Or if not then, perhaps when he's a young adult.  

The cool thing, though, is when Tim mentioned it, Jack brought up Australia, even before I did. Still though, he wasn't keen on leaving Texas.  

I assured him it wouldn't happen for a long time.

Then I did some googling to find a place I had seen before.

Crap.  I'm searching again so I can post a link on my blog. I can't find it.  It's like itmvanished off the face off the earth.

Anyway, it was a wildlife rescue place in Western Australia.   It was in a very rural area— no nearby towns.  

In some ways it looks extremely appealing to me.

You get to take care of kangaroos.

You feed them.

You help them poop.

You clean up their poop.

They have pictures of people in a living room, and wallabies are hanging around with them.

It's awesome.

But the accommodations are quite rough.

There's no regular toilet.

They have only a drop toilet.

I'm so dependent on modern water-wasting plumbing.

It's been YEARS since I've used one of those portable toilet things. I'm totally grossed out by them.   If I used one, I'd want to rush and take a shower.

If I used a drop toilet, I'd want to take a shower afterwards.  I pee like every hour.   That's a lot of showers.  And this kangaroo place is big on water conservation.

It wouldn't be a good fit.

But then there's this part of me that's saying I should get over it.   I should be brave.   When Jack turns the required age of 18, we should say goodbye to our life of luxury and take the plunge.  

I have to wonder though.

Why should I do it?

Is it about spending time with kangaroos?

I do like animals. But do I like them that much?

Is my desire to bond with marsupials stronger than my desire to avoid gross toilets?

Or am I doing it to prove something?

If I'm doing it to prove something, who am I performing for?

Myself?   Do I want to prove to myself that I can be brave about the toilet thing? Do I want to prove to myself that I can move beyond my pampered existence.  

Or am I doing it to impress others?

Does this go back to my need to make my mommy and daddy proud of me?   

Reading about the animal farm led me to this website that's pretty cool. It's called the Help Exchange.  They list people who want volunteers to help them at their farm and home. 

I think that would be fun for Tim, Jack, and me.  The problem is I don't know what I can offer.   Most people seem to want helpers who are good with home repair type stuff and gardening.

I'm not good at any of those.

I'm fairly good at dusting. I haven't seen anyone looking for that.

I have mediocre vacuuming skills.

I could perhaps get better with practice...if I find someone looking for that skill.  

I saw a few listings asking for cooks.  Tim could do that.

But I don't want to be the tag-a-long wife. I'd want to contribute too.

There is one thing that people occasionally list that I might be okay at. Childcare.  

That might work. It might be fun.

So I'm keeping that site as a maybe.  

Maybe the three of us will do it together.  Some families want three or more volunteers.

Or maybe Jack will want to go off on his own adventure...without us.   Tim and I can do it together.

Or maybe I'd do it alone.

I want to travel.

I want to do something exciting.

I want to feel independent.

Although then there was another day last week where I thought maybe I'd want to give up the traveling plan and instead have tons of pets. I could have lots of cats or lots of birds.  I love cats. I love birds. 

We've declared we're going to stop getting cats after Max dies, and that suddenly made me sad. 

But then I thought of Mu Shu getting old and getting sick. I thought of him dying.   I hate that part of it all.  It's sad. It's stressful.  I hate the worrying.  I hate the decisions that have to be made. 

With that in mind, I threw the pet plan out the window.   I was back to the traveling plans.  

I'm pretty sure the drop toilet kangaroo place won't work for me. But the volunteer exchange thing might.  

The other thing I thought of is doing a long walk.

That's one I'm seriously considering.

The idea is very attractive to me.

I'd carry one of those backpacks; and just walk and walk.

I wouldn't be too rough on myself.

I'd stay at places that have modern plumbing. 

Maybe I'd walk with Tim or a friend. Maybe one of my sisters? 

I wouldn't mind walking alone, though.   It might be kind of nice.

I'd love to walk with Jack, but at this point it's hard to imagine him wanting to do that. He's not a big fan of walking. 

So yeah.  I've been trying to figure out my future. It's stressful, but probably less stressful than worrying about Jack's future.

Sometimes I want him to be extremely successful.   Why?  The main reason is so I can prove to my parents that I succeeded in parenting. But then the other day I thought, none of their three daughters became extremely successful. If that's the standard we're trying to achieve, they totally failed.   

Maybe in reality, though, they're biggest parenting failure was creating someone so desperate to impress them and so desperate to succeed.

If I can get over that, then maybe I will have won a major success for all of us.   

I want to stop wanting to be some huge success.

At Jack's birthday party, my friend talked about her writing.

I asked her if she's going to publish it online. She said no.  She's just doing it for herself. 

In the past, I wouldn't have understood the appeal. But I was suddenly jealous of her.   I wanted to write something for me...something just for fun.  I wanted to create my own fictional world just for myself.  

I started today and obsessively worked on it.   I made up the characters and had a great time doing that. I used Melbourne suburbs for some of the surnames. 

Then I started writing it, and it was less fun.

I had too many characters. It was confusing.

I also realized I didn't really like writing just for myself.

I no longer feel I must write a best seller, but I would like at least one person to read and enjoy it. 

That would be impossible, though. There's no way anyone could follow all the characters.

Could I cut out some of the characters?

No, not really.  It wouldn't make sense for the situation of the story.

Oh well.

If I'm honest with myself, I didn't go into the project thinking I'd just write for myself and that would be that.   I went into it with the quiet secret fantasy that yes, I'd write it for myself.  In the beginning at least.  Then I'd go back and read it.  I'd find it to be wonderful.   I'd publish it, and other people would agree with me about it being wonderful.

I ended up deleting the project. 

I didn't want it on my computer, because then I'd be all stressed and torn. Should I keep writing it?  Should I quit?   I'll quit.   No, I'll keep writing it.  No, I'll quit.   

I felt if I kept it on my computer it would haunt me.  

I didn't want to be haunted.

I'd rather spend my time not being haunted and doing other things.    

If I want to play in an imaginary world of my creation, I can play Minecraft.

And what I like even more than that is spending time in other people's fictional worlds.  

For the most part my life is made up of mothering, blogging, reading, doing housework, watching TV/videos and exercising.  Then you throw in some traveling here and there.   

Is that enough?

Or do I need to do something big and exciting?

Do I need to do something that gives me a chance of being extremely successful?

Do I need to do something huge that changes the world? 

Do I need to get over my attachment to modern plumbing?

Do I need to continue to try to impress people? 

Or can I just learn to be satisfied with my life?  

Am I okay the way I am, or do I need to be something more?  











Sunday, August 26, 2012

Adding to the List

I have something new to add to my list of iconic Aussie things I have trouble loving.

Well, I can't say that exactly.

I love all these things in theory, but only for the fact they're Australian. Classic Australian.

No, it's not like I feel obligated to love everything Australian.  I don't love a pile of vomit just because it comes from the guts of an Aussie.

But there are some classic Aussie things I love less than I should (as a person obsessed with Australia).

Such as....

Vegemite (thought I love the little jar)
The Magic Pudding.
Blinky Bill
Peter Carey books
Ned Kelly (I don't dislike the guy, just not very interested)

And now there's The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

I finally watched the whole movie.

I didn't hate it.

But I wasn't very entertained.

It's a comedy, but I don't think I ever really laughed.

I laugh much more while watching Q and A. THAT show has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments for me.    

I did like some bits of The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

I like the chunder song and being reminded of the mythology behind the word.

Supposedly, the word comes from people throwing up on ships. They'd called out to people on lower decks, Watch Under!   Eventually it morphed into Chunder!

I also love the Barry Mackenzie song that's played at the end of the movie.




Oh...and I liked the motel bit.   It reminded me of the Happiness Hotel scene in The Muppet Caper.   It made me wonder if the Jim Henson people were inspired by Barry Mackenzie.  



Actually in general....the movie reminded me of a Muppet movie.   It had that kind of style.   The main character gets involved in various situations and meets colorful characters on the way.

I'm guessing that style of movie has a name...besides Muppet style. 

I like Muppet movies though, better than Barry Mackenzie.   It might be because I had a hard time understanding a lot of the dialogue.

It could be that I'm not good at understanding Aussie English.   But I watch other stuff with it, and have no problem. 

Maybe I don't understand 1970's Aussie English.

I would hear mumbles and then understand key typical Aussie phrases.   It would be like blah, blah, blah blah, bloody poms, blah, blah, blah in like Flynn blah blah, blah, blah, technicolor yawn, blah, blah, blah.  

Anthony Hopkins

The other day, I saw the end of an Anthony Hopkins movie. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

Wow. I just saw, on IMDb, that it's a Woody Allen movie. I had no idea.

Anyway....

I was watching Hopkins and he suddenly reminded me of someone. 

I felt it was someone Australian, and someone I had seen recently.

Then I realized it was Kevin Rudd I was thinking about. 

I'm not sure if Anthony Hopkins, in genera,l reminds me of Kevin Rudd, or just in that movie he does.

It's not like I saw Kevin Rudd for the first time and thought, Wow, he reminds me of Hannibal Lector.

I think I've seen Hopkins in bits of movies since Rudd came into my consciousness, and I never noticed a resemblance before.

I'm not sure why I'm seeing a resemblance now. 

Maybe it's the head shape?

I think it's also the voice, perhaps.  They don't have the same accent, but there's a sort of gentleness to their tone.

I can't describe it. Sorry. 

As for the movie.

There was an Australian in it.  Naomi Watts.

She's in this great ironic scene about psychic fraud. 

I was going to avoid talking about it, because it would be a spoiler for anyone who wants to see the movie.   But I want to talk about it.   So I'll just leave a spoiler space........








Okay.   So....

Naomi Watts wants to borrow a huge sum of money from her mother.  Her mother is very attached to her psychic.  I'm not sure if the psychic was presented as being real or a fraud.  I didn't see those parts.  But I don't think it matters...at least for the scene I liked.

Naomi Watts is kissing up to her mother—pretending that she cares about her, and that she supports the whole psychic thing. Then she tells her mother she needs more money than she originally thought.

Her mother than tells her she can't let her borrow money now. The psychic said it's not a good time for her to part with her money.

Naomi Watts totally flips out and is very bitchy to her mother.  She suddenly calls the psychic a fraud and is very unsupportive.  She tries to bully her mother into giving her the money.  There's a line where Watts says the psychic is a fraud who just says what her mother wants to hear.  And, of course, that's exactly what Naomi Watts has been doing all this time.   Or her character, really. I shouldn't be harsh on poor Watts.  

I thought it was brilliant that Watts was actually proving the psychic right. Whether the psychic was simply guessing or giving real advice, she got it absolutely correct.  Don't part with money if the person taking it off your hands is dishonest and manipulative.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Australia

Australia has its Australia Day.

I have my own Australia day.

And that's today. I think.  Probably. I'm not 100% sure.

I'm maybe 99.5% sure.

To honor the occasion (once I managed to remember), I watched this video.  



Earlier today, before remembering the occasion, I watched Julia Gillard struggle with difficult carbon tax questions.

I thought about how it's very abnormal for an American to spend this much brain time on the whole Australian carbon tax thing.   So, I thought, I should just go ahead and consider myself Australian.

Screw the lack of citizenship and my zip code.

Maybe instead of considering myself not-really-australian, I can be not-technically-Australian.

But...no.

It might not be possible.

Why, you ask.

Well....

I don't care for Vegemite.

I call Tim Tams cookies, not biscuits.  

I don't say bloke or Chrissy.

Thongs irritate the space between my toes.  

I don't blush and giggle when people say fanny pack or root.

So....look. I guess I'll just have to go on being what I am: That weird American who's obsessed with Australia.  

Dr. Doom Synchronicity

Every day I read an old blog post.

Every day I read some old entries from my dream journal.

I found this dream from September 20, 2010.

I'm shopping with Jack and another adult. Maybe Tim? Maybe my mom. We go to store where there's kid pajamas. There's a cardboard cutout of Julian McMahon modeling Dr. Doom underpants or pajamas. I think about getting large kid pajamas that might fit me. Jack's more interested in looking at girl pajamas to get for his cousins than pajamas for himself.

Did I mean I wanted Dr. Doom pajamas. Or did I just want kid pajamas in general?

I'm not sure.

Anyway.....

After looking at my dreams, I did my morning visit to Statcounter.

I found that at 4:30 am someone from the United Kingdom found my blog with the keyword "Dr. Doom Pajamas".

Oh...and now I see I'm being repetitive.  

The post they found, with the keyword, has the same dream written down. 

It makes sense, now that I think of it.

I can't imagine another scenario in which I'd mention Dr. Doom pajamas on my blog.  

It's just weird that I read that particular dream; then went to Statcounter and saw that someone else had went to the same dream.

They probably didn't want to see my dream.

They were probably looking for Dr. Doom pajamas.

Are there Dr. Doom pajamas? 

Well, I'm seeing Dr. Doom t-shirts, but no Dr. Doom pajamas.  

That's okay, though.

People can wear t-shirts as pajamas.

That's what I do.  


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Thoughts on Women and Work

The March 2011 Q and A program really got me thinking today.  Not that I haven't thought of it all before.....

During the program, one of the panelists seemed somewhat anti-feminist; at least when you look at it through a narrow definition of feminism.

While the other panelists talked about equal pay and equal opportunity, Janet Albrechston brought up the point that not all women want a big part in the job world. A lot of them want to stay home and be housewives and/or mothers.

Not all women are trying to climb the corporate ladder or become Prime Minister.

Later the panelists and Tony Jones talked about the definition of feminism.

Albrechston said, But feminism should be a broad church and I think one of the problems and why it's not attracting as many new recruits as it should is because it is not a broad church.

To me, feminism is about choice.

It's about allowing and helping women to be the woman they want to be.

Some might aspire to be CEO of a company.

Another might want to work at a daycare centre.

Some might want to be nurses.

Some might want to be doctors.

Some might want to raise children.

Others might want to dedicate their life to gardening and housework.

Women should be welcomed to burn their bras.

They should also be welcomed to wear their bras.

I think it's confusing, though.

There are so many mixed messages.

For me....

I always knew that if I had children, I'd want to be a stay at home mom.

I also had interest in being some type of writer.

I hoped to be successful, but the message I got from my parents was that this was highly unlikely.

So

I needed a back up plan.

I needed to go to college.

I needed an alternate career.

I think the unspoken thing was that I went to college, in pursuit of a career path, not just in case the writing thing didn't work out; I went in case the marriage thing didn't work out.
 
I needed a degree in case the writing didn't work out, and in case I didn't meet a man who could help support me.

I guess it's kind of like insurance.  And like insurance it's very expensive.

If I had to do it over, I think I'd go the job route instead of the career route.

I'd find a job to pay the bills so I could write in the meantime.  Then if I didn't meet a partner in the next few years, maybe then I'd rethink things, go to college, and get a career.

Now that I think it over, though, I was still pursuing a career after I met Tim and while things were very serious between us.

I paid a shitload of money for a Masters Degree in teaching.

It's a bit ridiculous since teachers don't make a shitload of money. Not even close.

So maybe the career path thing wasn't about holding myself up financially. 

Why was I pursuing teaching when I pretty much had in mind that I was going to marry this man and have his babies?  AND that I wanted to stay home and raise those babies?

For some, it's a financial issue.  Definitely.  I'm aware of that.  Both partners need to work so bills can be paid.

That wasn't the case for us. And even if it were, as I said, preschool teachers don't make much money. 

In a way, I think it's this narrow-minded definition of feminism that pushed me down a rather silly path.

It's the idea that to be a whole and worthy human being, I needed a career.

I couldn't just be an aspiring novelist who works as a receptionist while waiting (and hoping) for an agent and sperm producer to enter the story.  

I'm guessing my post will seem very anti-feminist to people.

I don't feel it is, though.

I respect people who want different things than I wanted. Some people want a university degree and a career.  Some women want to have children and they want to keep that career. I respect that, although I know it's very difficult to balance both. 

I'm trying to figure out my point here.

Maybe it's simply the fact that we don't all need to dream of a traditional ladder climbing career that involves getting a university degree.

Ah!  And then there's the fact that some men might not want this either.  Some might want to stay at home and take care of the babies.  What's nice is if they end up partnering up with someone who wants to pursue a career, and who will have to be away from home a lot of the time.  

Well.....

Yeah.

I often say I don't have regrets. 

That idea is more on a metaphysical level.

I believe things happen for a reason.

And if I changed the past, I'd lose a lot of wonderful things in my life.  

But if I could change the past and not lose what I love about my life today.....

I'd skip going to college right after high school.

I'd travel. I'd get one of those work visa things. 

I would have odd jobs in various places around the world.

Who am I kidding?

Let's change it to having odd jobs all around Australia.

I'd work at jobs.

I'd come home and write.

If I didn't get published or meet a man interested in marrying me after a few years; then I'd get some more formal education and start building up my plan B life.  

What about you?

Did you go to university in pursuit of a career?

Did you really want that career; or was it more of an insurance?

Are you in that career now, or has your life taken a different turn? 




Arnhem

My parents are in Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Because of my dad's request, I did some research and found out there's a connection between the Arnhem in the Netherlands and Arnhem Land in Australia.

The sad thing is I didn't connect them on my own. 

Maybe I vaguely recognized the connection. 

I hope so. 

I have definitely heard of Arnhem Land, and I knew it was in the Northern Territory.

But when I saw the name of the town, I didn't immediately say, Oh, like in Australia!

I'm very disappointed in myself about that. If you couldn't tell.....

Anyway, Arnhem land is named after a Dutch ship called Arnhem. And that ship is named after the town in the Netherlands.

I shared that information with my dad.  He didn't express any interest or excitement over it.

I thought it was exciting...personally.

And I'm sharing it here in case someone else finds it interesting.

I'm imagining my dad was hoping I'd get on the path of learning about something besides Australia.   Instead, it led me right back to Australia.

On balance, though, A LOT of my Australia research takes me on paths leading to subjects that are not heavily Australia-based.

For example, several months ago, I ended up spending hours reading about marijuana. And it was my Australia obsession and this blog that led me there. 

That's only one example out of many.   

Dreaming, Working, and Failing

Today I'm watching the March 7, 2011 episode of Q and A.  It's about women and men in the workplace—gender inequality.

It brings up a lot of my own personal issues.

I don't have a job. I'm very fine with that. I like my free time.

I wouldn't mind selling a novel or something.

That would be nice.

Or I'd love to take one of my crazy fun ideas and turn it into a money-making scheme.

About seven years ago, I was really into videography and editing.  Most members of the family were impressed, and my parents hired me to do my sister's wedding video. That was fun, but a lot of hard work....especially since I was taking care of a high-need three-year-old.

One time, a few months after the wedding, I was at the mall with Tim and Jack.  Jack was playing on the playground.  Tim and I had time alone to talk.  I brought up the idea of MAYBE pursuing a career in video-making.  Maybe I could film and edit birthday parties. Maybe I could do weddings. It might be fun.  It might bring in some money. At that point, though, I would probably need Tim to do some time as a stay-at-home dad.      

I remember Tim not being very enthusiastic about the idea.

He didn't say no.

He did his usual yes/maybe..BUT. He pointed out all the problems.

We'd be putting ourselves in a very insecure position if he didn't have his corporate job.

What about health insurance?

It was not a no.

It was not a yes.

It was a very agitated maybe.

Less than two years later, Tim resigned from his corporate job and since then has pursued various ideas and opportunities.

I feel resentful that he did this for himself, but he couldn't do it for me.

At the beginning of the adventure, I quietly suggested that I could try to sell one of my novels. I suppose I had lost interest in the videography by then?  I don't know.  Maybe something else besides Tim had scared me off.

Anyway, Tim responded by saying. OR we could try to win the lottery. 

I took that as an insult, intended or not. My feelings were hurt.

I worked on the novel despite Tim's lack of enthusiasm for it.

Or maybe I worked on the novel BECAUSE of Tim's lack of enthusiasm.

Maybe I wanted to prove him wrong.

He didn't play the part of the fan-husband, but he did step up to the plate when needed.

He took requested photographs of NYC for me.  I wanted to have a visual for my setting. I guess they didn't have Google Map Street View back then.

So that was nice of him.

And in the end, he won.

I didn't prove him wrong.

I didn't get my novel published.

I haven't made any money on it.

I quit after a few months of emailing publishers and agents.

Later I put it online.

And even when offered as a free book, people don't seem to want to read it.

So maybe there's merit in Tim's doubting of me.

Still.

I get so jealous when I read of writers and other artists who have huge amounts of support from their partners and family.

I like to have the freedom to give up. But I also like the idea of someone fighting me on it.

In the end, of course it's up to me. I decide to quit and when not to quit.

What if someone pushed me not to quit, though?

It might not have led to success. But I think it would have made me feel better.

It brings me back to the videography subject.

I'm no longer interested in doing a lot of it.  Only once in a while, do I get the urge.  But I do like when my family says nice things about my videos or expresses interest in me going back to it.

I don't blame anyone for my lack of success.

If I'm a in blue mood, I blame it on a lack of talent.

If I'm in a philosophical mood, I see it as bad luck.

It's more a matter of wishing I was treated differently.

I find it sad that the main reason I want success is so I can hold it up to certain people in my life and say Ha. I'm better than you thought.  I DO have talent.  I am worth something.  

And...well, the money would be nice. Of course.  

I'm not sure if any of this is about gender.

Tim has stood behind and strongly supported some of his sister's ideas. She's a girl.

He works with women, both in his corporate life and post-corporate life.

He doesn't seem very sexist.

It could just be about me then.  

Okay.

I am a failure.

But Tim has failed at things.

His sister has failed at things.

We all fail sometimes.

But we all deserve to have someone supporting us, whether we're in the process of dreaming, planning, doing, succeeding, or failing.  

Anyway....back to the TV program.

I've gotten off track here.

So.....

People need equal pay and equal opportunities.

There might need to be quotas.

But there also needs to be support.

As Kate Ellis said on the program.

and I think talking about other issues, when you say is it that women don't want to be putting themselves forward, well, I don't think that that's it but there is the case that women are still taking care of 70 per cent of unpaid work and caring responsibilities and we can't just focus on one without the other. We can't say we want women doing more work, advancing in the workplace, without saying while we need men to also step up when it comes to unpaid work and a lot of men want to be doing more caring.

Men or women.  Both need to step up to the plate for their partners. This may involve doing more childcare work or more housework.  Or it might mean allowing the partner to take risks.   It might be about giving someone the message.  Hey, I'm willing to make a sacrifice for you to do this.  We're all going to have to make a sacrifice.   It will be great if it works out.   If it doesn't....we'll try something else.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Music and Lyrics

This song has been running through my brain lately.



I think it's a beautiful song.

I like the chorus lyrics.

Cause Sometimes Every World Has Been Used,
And there's Nothing Left To Do
but hold the one you can't have in the sweet arm of a tune.

Speaking of lyrics. I had a misheard one yesterday.

It's on my iTunes, so I probably should have known the title, which would have given me a clue about what I was hearing in the lyrics.

But months ago, I downloaded a bunch of Aussie music, and didn't really remember what I had gotten.

Here's the song. It's by Jebediah.



I thought they were saying Lang Bang Hoe in the chorus. I thought it was some kind of nonsense lyrics. Or maybe not nonsense, but a language other than English.

Then I bothered to look at the title on my iTunes screen. It's Leaving Home.

Oh!  Okay.

I often don't pay attention to lyrics. I just like how a song sounds and don't usually pay attention to it's meaning.

This weekend my brother-in-law showed me how two currently popular songs have very sexual lyrics.

I had no idea.

There's one song that's totally about oral sex.

I usually

A) pay no attention to the lyrics
B) mishear the lyrics
C) hear the lyrics, but misunderstand them.

Example is the Missy Higgins song above.   I misheard or misunderstood them.  Well, actually I also misread them, because I checked out the lyrics page.  

I took it to mean that sometimes there are no words to comfort someone.  So you have to do something else, like hug them or hum a gentle tune for them.  The humming thing would sort of be symbolic maybe.  I can't imagine someone humming to someone that is upset.

Anyway, I went downstairs to grab my Alex the Life of a Child book because there's a scene where the child is ridiculed for her disfigurement.  The father plans to provide an uplifting philosophical lecture, but realizes it would be inappropriate.  So he just holds his daughter.

I thought the Missy Higgins song would fit that.

But then I looked at them more closely and saw the one-you-can't-have bit.

So I guess it's more about losing someone or having unrequited love. You can't have them, so...I guess you sing?

You could sing this song.



It's good for unrequited love.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Lord Wiki Game

Jack found a fantastic game today.

It involves Lord Wiki.

This is what you do.

You go to Lord Wiki's site. Then you think of a topic.

You click on random site.  You go there. Then you click and click until you get to your topic.

The most recent one we did together was the Wimpy Kid books. We had to get there from the co-inventor of the dye laser, F.P. Schaefer.  

I was thinking I'd do an Australia-related one.

I'm going to do Peter Singer because I'm watching him on Q and A today.  

So....

My random topic is Luftseilbahn Wengen-Männlichen.

That's a cable car in Switzerland.

I'm clicking on Switzerland.

Peter Singer's family is originally from Europe.  I know that.

Now I've clicked on Germany. That was mentioned in the Switzerland article.

I clicked on Nazi Germany.

I clicked on Nazi eugenics.

I'm trying to get to euthanasia, because that's one of Peter Singer's big topics.

It's sad, though, because his version of euthanasia is very humane and compassionate.   It's so different from the Nazi version of it.

Okay, I found Euthanasia in the article.

I clicked on that.

Peter Singer isn't mentioned.

I'll have to keep digging...clicking.

Now I'm at voluntary euthanasia.

Peter Singer is mentioned in that article.

I'm done.

How many clicks was that?

Let me go back and count.....

Six.

Anyone want to play?

 





Sunday, August 12, 2012

My fondness for Anna Bligh has Grown

I just finished watching the February 21, 2011 episode of Q and A.

I love what Anna Bligh said at the end of the program.   I think her words were very balanced and honest.

She said.....

You know, I think it is important to remember that while - it's often the extremes of politics and the extreme views on the left and the right and in religious terms and others that occupies some of the public space because they're the more colourful and we're drawn - one way or another people either get sort of attracted to them or are repelled by them. That often occupies a lot of the public space but, you know, in my experience, if I look over, you know, what Australia has done over, you know, decades, by and large it's my experience in Australia that the mob pretty well gets it right at elections. I don't always agree with it. There's no pleasure in losing but, you know, if you actually look at how Australia manages its democracy, I think we've - you know we've done a pretty good job if you look at how we've done it since federation and, you know, we've pretty much elected governments - some have been better than others on both sides of politics, but we've elected people that have actually made us a pretty good place and, you know, I think that's a reflection of the strength of Australia's democracy and that people by and large take their vote seriously and do the best with it.


It's a nice change from the usual attitude of, our party's the only good party, and if you vote for the other one, the world is going to hell.

Offended by Barnaby Joyce

I'm watching a February 2011 Q and A today.   

Featured on that panel is Barnaby Joyce and Tim Flannery. 

Barnaby Joyce offended me with something he said to Tim Flannery.

I actually knew about it prior to watching the show.  Or I at least knew of a similar incident. I think I was offended back then.  Now, seeing it first hand, I'm re-offended.

I should shut up and explain what happened.  Right?

They were talking about climate change.

Then Joyce asked Flannery if he's a climatologist. 

It wasn't a question that needed answering.

It was a rhetorical question.

It was one of those questions that could be answered with the classic, I'll take that as a comment.

Flannery answered by saying he's a paleontologist. 

I guess that's what he got his university degree in.

He didn't get a degree in climatology.

But what is the deal here?

Can we not learn about something if we didn't get a university degree in the subject?

I got a degree in psychology and, later, one in education.

I have absolutely no degree related to Australia.

I've never even taken a class on Australia.

But I'll tell you.

I know much more about Australia than I do about psychology and education. 

So yeah.

I guess I take personal offense to questions and comments like that.

Everyone has the right to their opinion.  And I do think educated opinions are more valid than ignorant ones.

But you don't need to sit in a classroom at a university to get that education. 

I Met a Man

I was informed that I'd soon be meeting a man who's lived in Australia.

It seems I was expected to be excited.

But if people knew me well, they'd know I'd be jealous.

That's how I am when it comes to Australia.

I met the man and acted like a civil person who's not jealous.

I asked him questions about his time in Australia.  He answered the questions. He impressed me by being knowledgeable about Australia's economy. 

Then he asked me why I was interested in Australia.  He asked me about our trips to Australia. He asked me about my blog.

I started to relax with him.

I started to feel less jealous.

We had some great discussions about Australia.

We talked about our favorite characters on Q and A.  

It was so nice to talk to someone who's like me and loves Australia. It was nice to talk to someone who likes to listen as well as they like talking about themselves.

I had a great time. There was MAJOR Australia-love bonding.

Well....actually.

I'm joking. It's a lie.

This whole post is a fantasy...well, starting with the part where he asked me why I'm interested in Australia.

In reality, the man acted like a celebrity being interviewed for a magazine. I acted like the interviewer.   

I should give the guy credit.  He did ask me if I've eaten kangaroo before. And he acknowledged hearing that we're going to Australia in 2013.

So he's not completely self-absorbed.

Plus, who knows. We still have a few hours left with the guy. I think?   He might be saving his wonderfulness for later. In that case, I won't post this.

For now I'll save this as a draft.

In general, though....

I'm just mighty tired of people who seem happy to answer questions about themselves. They love to talk about their own lives.  But they rarely ask you questions in return. Then if they do rarely ask a question, it's a yes/no type thing.  Or it's one of those rhetorical questions.  Like, How have you been doing?

I have way too many people like this in my life.

And it makes it a hundred times worse if they've gotten the chance to live in Australia.

Yes.

I'm a jealous bitch.


P.S-I just thought of a cool thing. If he DOES end up being better than I'm thinking, I can still post this post. I'll just change it to a much more positive post.




Wait....

I have more bitching.

Here we go.

I'm happily impressed when people are inquisitive, observant, and intuitive enough to ask the right questions—the ones that get you talking; the ones that almost force you to open up.

But not everyone is brilliant at that. I can understand.  

At the least, though, people can take the same question you've asked and turn it back to you.

Yesterday I talked to another man.

I asked him what movies he's seen lately.  He answered. Then he said, How about you?

I thought that was very nice.

Because a lot of people don't bother to do that.

At least not in my experience.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cuteness

I won't say whether or not they're good politicians. I'm not really smart enough to judge those types of things.

But I want to say that I think Craig Emerson and Anna Bligh are adorable.

I don't know what it is about those two.

I don't have a crush on either of them...yet.

But I enjoy watching them talk.

Also...I love Emerson's singing and dancing.




I like when people are brave enough to do something silly and embarrassing like that. 

Look.....

I started to notice Australians on TV (mostly Q and A) saying "Look".

They would start their sentence with something like, "Now look"or "well, look."

I wondered if it was an Aussie thing; or whether Americans did it too, and I just hadn't noticed.

But today I did a rare visit to Google+ and James had a link to an article about it.

It IS an Aussie thing.

I wonder why I didn't notice it until recently.

MAYBE it's because until recently I read Aussie language more than I heard it.  

It's not like I speak to Australians often.

It's probably something that's said more in oral language than in written.

But now I'm hearing more Australian-talking because I'm watching Q and A.

I did have Offspring before, but that's scripted.  It might not pick up all the little language nuances.

I do vaguely remember the singing lady saying it.  OR I can imagine her saying it. 

Tibby, Lena, Bridget, and Carmen

I read Australian books.

And I read not-Australian books.

I'm tickled when the not-Australian books end up having Australia in them.

Right now I'm reading Sisterhood Everlasting.  It's part of Traveling Pants franchise. This one's about the girl's in their adulthood.

Australia plays a part in the story.  

I was looking forward to reading something happy and uplifting, because I've been feeling a bit down.

But it turns out the book is very depressing.

It's making me more down. I feel like I'm drowning in a blizzard of uncertainty and hopelessness. 

I'm guessing, though, that in the end, the book will have some uplifting bits.

I wrote a really long post about this in my head...in bed.  But for here, I'll keep it short.

I'm gonna try to go back to sleep. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Zoo

Today I did the unthinkable.

I rushed past an Aussie animal at the zoo.

I didn't stop.

I can't even remember what it was—some type of wallaby.

Anyway.

We were in a rush.

And our priority went to the panda.

They were very cute.

And that's coming from someone who's scared of bears. 

Speaking of bears....

No, I have nothing more to say about bears.

Speaking of Australia.

Tim says he saw some Australians when he was in line to get our food at the airport.

We might get excited about  Ailuropoda melanoleuca.   But we get even MORE excited about the homo-sapien australis.  That's why we're going to Australia; so we can visit them in their natural habitat. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Embassy

We passed the Australia Embassy on our way back from Shake Shack.

We were in a rush to get back to the room, so we didn't get very close.

Tomorrow I shall try to get closer.

Tim educated me on the fact that the Embassy of Australia is technically Australia soil. 

So...if I stand on the lawn, I can say I visited Australia.

I just remembered that the Embassy of Australia in London is Gringotts.

That's very cool.

I can't say I'm impressed with the Embassy building in D.C. It's not my type.

I did like seeing the Aussie flag.

And they also had the emblem with the kangaroo.  I don't remember seeing the emu.  But I'm sure it was there.   

So...Now I'm Thinking Melbourne is Absolutely Awesome

We went out with friends yesterday and they waxed poetic about the get on and off double decker tourist buses.

Tim mentioned wanting to see the Presidential memorials at night.  I looked into that and saw this idea would involve a lot of walking from our hotel...even if we took public transport. I don't mind long walks, but I do mind when it's this hot and humid. And Jack minds even more, especially when he's not extremely excited to see the attraction.

So we'd have to take a cab there and back.

Then I thought of the off and on buses. Would they work?

No. They stop running at 6:00 PM.

It got me thinking about the buses, though.

We should use them someday...somewhere.

I'm not sure we'll use them in D.C  We don't have much time left here.  I'm not sure it would be worth it to spend $103 for three 24 hour tickets.  And in some of those hours, we want to visit museums that are not on the stop.

So I thought about Melbourne. Maybe we could buy get on and off bus tickets there.

I googled and found this.    

Melbourne has a get on and off bus.

Guess how much it costs....

NOTHING!

It's free.

FREE!!!!

I think I heard about it before...vaguely.  But the full extent of the good news didn't sink in until now.

The Melbourne City Shuttle has 13 stops. Our 2013 Australia trip is brought to us by the number 13.   So that makes it even more cool. 

There's also a free city circle tram.  

Now that I think of it....

I think this is what I've heard of before.  Maybe the shuttle is new to me.  

I'm getting more and more excited about Melbourne, which is good because we're spending more time there than Sydney.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Washington D.C

In the cab today, we drove past the Australian Embassy.

I've been wanting to walk there, but seeing it through the car window was sort of okay.

Later this evening, I tried to walk back there. 

I got lost.

Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

Being here, and looking around, has given me more hope in loving Melbourne.

In my old age, I've started to appreciate architecture.

I can't be bothered much to learn about it.  I just like looking at it.

I especially love churches.   

I know Melbourne has some good architecture.

I'll enjoy that. Definitely.

Then there's the fact that Melbourne has parrots. That's a HUGE bonus for me.

Also...

There are Australian accents.

The grocery stores have Aussie food.

The bookstores will have Aussie books.

There will be Aussie t-shirts and other fun things.

Australia is like Disney World for people who are obsessed with Australia.

How could I ever have doubted loving Melbourne?

It was so silly of me.

Back to D.C.....

I love the buildings.

I do NOT like the layout of the city.  It's driving me nuts. There's too many traffic circle things. It's similar (or maybe the same?) as roundabouts.

Roundabouts are one of the few things I dislike about Australia.   But in Australia, I better tolerate it...because it's Australia.

Well, also. With the roundabouts, we usually encountered them when driving.  Since Tim was the one driving, it was usually his thing to worry about. Here I'm having to deal with it while walking.  

Plus, it was raining. So that didn't add to the fun. Although when it's not raining here, it's horribly hot.

I think I prefer the rain.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard Might Like This

I learned recently that there's a science festival coming up in Sydney.  

It's too bad we're not there now.  I think Jack would like it.

It's August 16-26.

Jack's birthday is on the 20th. If we moved to Australia like I had wanted to, we could have taken him there for his birthday.

But it's okay.  Jack LOVES Fort Worth. 

I love it too, mostly because of the lake house.  For the first time, I managed to do some major fig harvesting. That was fun and delicious. And I believe it counts as a science activity.  

Anyway...back to the science festival.

This event would make for a good episode of The Big Bang Theory.   

And This event reminds me of Sheldon in the ball pit. 

There's also going to be a program about the tiny juice ball things. I've had them only once. They had them at one of our local yogurt shops.  

In Fort Worth (and probably all of America), these yogurt shops have become quite popular.  Or at least prevalent.

You get huge cups, fill them with yogurt and a variety of toppings. Then you pay by weight. 

Are those popular in Australia as well? 

They're fun.  But the cups are too big, the frozen yogurt doesn't taste that great, and I get a little germaphobic sometimes.  

Radhika Budhwar

I finally finished watching Dumb Drunk and Racist (not Dead, Drunk and Racist).  

During the credits, they listed the four Indian stars. I paused the program so I could do some stalking.

I love Internet stalking.

I found one absolute treasure.

One of the stars (Radhika Budhwar) has a blog about the show.  

I actually didn't know who she was at first, because when I watched the show I didn't really pay attention to the names.

It took a little reading to figure it out.

The blog is great.  Radhika is insightful and hilarious.

It's also a great reminder that reality TV is not entirely real.  I mean it's not necessarily fake.  But it's heavily edited and gives us only a tiny glimpse of a much bigger picture.

Radhika says: It moves so fast in the 1st episode I just saw! The tightest editing possible. 50k miles of experiences and footage condensed into a few minutes- the edit suite must be full of really determined talented scissor-hands. 

Radhika had adventures that were not shown in the program. For example, she did the shark dive thing.  And she had some lovely Chai tea moments at her hotel.  

The other thing that my brain knows, but often forgets when watching (I'm sure it's the same case with a lot of other people): the trip wasn't a five person thing. It wasn't just Joe, Amer, Mahima, and Gurmeet.  There was a crew.

On this post she has a photo. There are five extra people.  

There's the director, and other helpful people. 

It's one of those illusions of television.

I used to do a lot of video and editing back when Jack was young. I'm rarely in the videos, and it looks like I was hardly around.   

There was one video in particular.  We were in Florida. The three of us went to get breakfast at the hotel.  I edited the video later, and it ended up looking like a lovely father-son bonding time. It looks like the mom went off to get her nails done or something.  

In reality, I was totally there.  

Then there's the question of whether reality TV provides a true portrait of someone. 

I didn't dislike Radhika on the show, but I didn't particularly like her. She didn't really seem like my kind of person.

Her blogging personality is a totally different story. She's totally my type of person. She's adorable and hilarious.  I love her writing style.

Was this a case of bad editing? Or is it simply a case of different sides of one person's personality? 

I'm very different on my blog than I am offline.  The blog is more me.  I let my hair down. I'm more relaxed.  

I went through a stage where my offline me began to resemble my blogging me.   But that's died down a lot.  

I think the only person who gets a more true-to-form relaxed version of me is Jack.  ALTHOUGH.... that me is quite different from the blogging me. The blog gets the pour-my-heart-out version of Dina.  Jack gets the very-silly version of Dina.  Both of them are really me. It's not like one side is fake.   It's just different sides of me.

The rest of the offline people get a very tiny proportion of me.  I feel guilty about that sometimes, but they seem totally fine with it.  So I shouldn't feel guilt. At least not on their behalf.    I think they prefer another version of Dina: quiet, reserved, helpful, good listener....maybe somewhat mysterious. I get the feeling that they're not big fans of Blogger Dina. 

I wonder if people who read my blog on a regular basis would like offline Dina. Would they prefer that side of me?  Or would they dislike it?

I liked blogging Radhika better than the documentary Radhika. I wonder if other people felt the opposite. They night see the program and think she's adorable; then read her blog and become disappointed. 

For those of you who blog.....

Question:  Do you feel your blogging self is very similar to your offline self?   If you feel you're very different offline, do you wish that wasn't so? 

Who do you like better?  Your blogging self or offline self?