Friday, September 28, 2012

Eye on Australia

Today I read this old post. "Good Omens Observed By a Girl Who's Paranoid and Delusional".

The title was in response to an overzealous atheist who was slightly critical of my blog.

I wrote it a week or two before we left for our 2009 Australia trip.

I loved reading it again, because it talked about me visiting our beloved used bookstore and finding this book....


It's an American book written by a woman named Carolyn Coil.

I forgot what it was about.

I'm skimming through it.

I think it's just about her experiences in Australia.

But the thing is....

I used the book as MY notebook while we were in Australia. 

The notes are what I used later to write my overly detailed trip reports.

The notes weren't actually that detailed; but I guess I wrote enough to jog my memory.

And Jack helped a lot.

He has a good memory.

Here's an example page from the book.


You can see my atrocious handwriting.

The old blog post also mentions my finding of a Time Out Sydney book. We ended up using that a lot.  I think?  I remember it being special to Jack and me.  

In other book news, I just started rereading Bill Bryson's book.

I think the last time I read it I was in the infancy of my Australia obsession. So it might be very different reading it now.

The beginning talks about how Americans usually totally ignore Australia.

Bryson does a news analysis and concludes, Put in the crudest terms, Australia was slightly more important to us in 1997 than bananas, but not nearly as important as ice-cream. 

By the way, for our next Aussie trip, I'm not planning to do the detailed trip reports.  It's too much pressure.  I don't know how I managed the memory skills the first time. I have doubts that I'll be able to repeat it.

I don't want to spend my holiday worrying about it.

I'll probably share a few stories.

And I'm thinking of doing videos.  Maybe some montages.

We'll see.....

I'm also going to try not to go overboard with photos. I'll leave that to Tim.

I think everything interesting in Australia has been photographed a zillion times and is on Flickr.  Is there anything spectacular I can add to that?   Nope.

I want videos.  We've taken very few videos in Australia on our previous trips.   I don't want videos just for my blog, but also just to have for my own pleasure.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conversational Narcissism and Blogging

Thanks to this blog post, I found a name for my number one pet peeve today. It's called conversational narcissism.

Basically, conversational narcissism deals with people who hog the conversation. And they like to talk about themselves a lot.

Do you think I'm talking about you?

I might be.

But don't fret too much.

You're not alone.  

The majority of people I know have the problem.

I too sometimes have the problem.

We all have the problems sometimes.  But some people have a more severe case than others.   

I see it often in face to face conversations.

With most people I know, they talk on and on about themselves.  I ask them questions. They answer.  They never or rarely ask me questions about myself.

If I do dive in and talk about myself, they get a glazed look on their face. It seems they're incredibly bored. Why? My guess is it's because the conversation is taking a break from being strictly about themselves.

The person will be quiet and try to LOOK like they're listening.  My guess is they're not. They're likely going through an inner struggle.  They're struggling to keep quiet for a few moments. They want to give at least the illusion that they're paying attention.  

On the blog post, mentioned above, Brett and Kate McCay share information they've learned from a book written by Charles Derber.

Brett and Kate share types of responses people provide when listening. Some lead to good conversations and some lead to narcissistic conversations.

The good one is Support-Response.

Here's an example.

Person One-I'm so mad at my mom.

Person Two-Why?  What's wrong?

The bad (narcissistic one) is called Shift-Response.  This is where the talker directs the conversation back to themselves.

Here's an example.

Person One-I'm so mad at my mom.

Person Two-Really?  I got in the biggest fight with my sister this weekend.  I'm so pissed off at her.

Now some people are more subtle than that.

They'll give a support-response and then go directly to a shift response.  The thing is, while the other person is talking, they're not listening.   They're rehearsing their own story in their mind.  They're waiting for there turn in the spotlight.

I've definitely been guilty of this before.

The other fun vocabulary terms used in the blog post are Background Acknowledgments, Supportive Assertions, and Supportive Questions.

Background acknowledgment is saying things like, Yeah,  sure, uh, huhIt's the little sounds we can make that lets our conversation partner know we're listening—that we're not currently visiting the moon via an out of body experience.  

Supportive assertions are saying things that are...well, supportive.  Oh, that sucks.  I'm sorry. I hate when that happens. You don't deserve that shit, sister.  

Supportive questions involves asking questions to show you're very interested. You're so interested you want to know even more stuff. That's great that you won the nose-picking contest. When did you first get interested in that?

If people want to have conversations that revolve around themselves, it's best that they avoid background acknowledgments, supportive assertions, and supportive questions.

It's not just face to face conversations that bring about conversational narcissism. 

It can happen in emails.

I see it a lot.  

I have correspondences with people in which pretty much all the emails are 99.9999% about them.   On rare occasions, I bring up my own life and it's ignored. Or at best it's used as a springboard for the person to talk about their life.  

I do have correspondences with people in which the conversation is mostly about them. But these folks do make some efforts to ask about my life and show interest in my life. I deeply appreciate that.  It's very refreshing!

I like that they're trying.  

Then I also have email conversations in which the conversation is very balanced. Those are even more wonderful.

Now....onto blogging.

People display their conversation narcissism in blog comments.

I'm rarely guilty of hogging face to face conversations. I'm rarely guilty of hogging email conversations. But I'm pretty sure I've been me-me-me-me-me! on other people's blogs.  

In my opinion, the correct way to respond to someone's blog post is to provide supportive assertions and supportive questions. This is especially the case if someone is talking about a personal issue.

I'm sorry you're feeling depressed.   

That's great that you're going to Ireland.  Do you have family or friends there? What are you most excited to see?

I'm sorry about the diagnosis.  How are you feeling now?  

Then after that's done, I don't think it hurts to add your own story to the comment.

It's especially good if you feel your story might provide some comfort.

Oh, no.   How embarrassing!!!!!   If it makes you feel any better, I once farted on a date too.   So humiliating!   

One thing I sometimes ask myself when wanting to talk about myself in someone's comments is whether I'm doing it because I want/need to talk about it, or because I feel sharing my experience will make the blogger feel less alone.

That's not to say I don't sometimes fail and then blab on about myself for the sole sake of pleasing myself. 

Now the other thing I'm wondering....

What about blog entries themselves?

I talk on and on about my life on my blogs.  Is THAT conversational narcissism?

I'm going to give myself a break and say no.

The reason is it's NOT a conversation. It's a monologue.

What would be narcissistic is to be the type of person who writes and writes but never or rarely reciprocates by reading the blogs of those who leave comments.  

Or if a commenter does mention something about themselves (hopefully not too excessively) and the blogger ignores it.

Because the thing is, while the blog itself is a monologue, the comment section CAN be a conversation.  

I do think writing overly long blog entries is somewhat narcissistic. I'm guilty as charged. I've been trying to be better about that. This blog entry is an exception...obviously.  

So....what do you think?

Are you guilty of conversational narcissism?  Frequently?  Occasionally? Rarely? 

Are you more guilty of it in certain situations. For example, you're a listener in email but a talker when it comes to face to face conversations?

Do you find with certain people you're the listener while with others you center the conversation around yourself? Or do you feel you're almost always the listener or always the conversation centerpiece?  

If you're shy, do you feel more comfortable when your conversation partner talks about themselves, or do you appreciate them sometimes directing the conversation in your direction?

If you're the type of person who never/rarely asks questions, why is this the case?

Are you worried about prying?  Have you ever made someone offended by your question?

Or do you worry that you'll ask a question and then you'll be bored by the answer?

Do you ever feel that your life dominates the conversation because you're more interesting than other people...and if their life was more interesting, you'd do more listening?

Do you agree or disagree with this blog post?  If you disagree, what do YOU think makes a good conversationalist?      



Restaurants in Surry Hills

I had an Australia dream last night:

Tim, Jack, and I are in Surry Hills.    

I'm amazed to be in Australia again. I feel I need to appreciate this and not take it for granted.

Jack plays some game that involves looking for restaurants. He's in an energetic, happy mood.

Tim is looking for restaurants for our dinner that night.  He assumes Jack is doing the same. Tim is in a very tense mood.  He acts annoyed with Jack.  

I try to explain to Tim that Jack is just looking for restaurants for fun.   

Then Tim runs and Jack tries to catch up to him.  I can't see details because I'm across the street (maybe?).  But it seems to me that Jack has started crying.  

I'm not sure if the dream has any meaning, besides a general message on contrasting moods and misunderstandings. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stephen King Associations in my Brain

I thought this was kind of funny.

I was writing about The Shining just now in comments. 

Then, for some reason, I associated it with Australia.

What about The Shining relates to Australia? 

It took me a few seconds, but then I figured it out.

It's about Nicole Kidman.

No, she wasn't in The Shining.

But she was in a movie called Fur an Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus.  

Diane Arbus was a real photographer.

One of her famous photographs is of twins.

Those twins were the inspiration for the eerie twins in The Shining.

Speaking of spooky Stephen King characters.....

One of my long-time celebrity fascinations is Andrew Hubatsek who played Zelda in Pet Sematary.  

I get some type of psychological relief from seeing Hubatsek not looking terrifying.   So I enjoy seeing these photos of him playing Hamlet at the Bloomsburg theatre.  In some photos, you can see a bit of the Zelda resemblance

Back to Australia stuff....

I've just learned there's a treasure buried in Mosman.  Or there was. I read it in a book.  

I can't find much information about it online. 

Why do I feel that if something's not online, it's not true?

Have I become overdependent on Lord Wiki?

Packed to the Rafters

I just finished watching the first episode of Packed to the Rafters.

I can picture myself growing to love the show. 

The ending of the first episode worked my tear ducts a bit.  That to me is usually a good sign...in terms of television quality. 

Laughing out loud is a good omen too. I can't remember if I ever laughed out loud while watching the episode.

I was at least mildly amused. That might be enough.  For now.

Empathy for characters is important.

I had empathy, especially for the dad trying to hide his erect penis. 

Strange that I should have penis-empathy.

Or maybe it's just empathy for wanting to hide embarrassing bodily functions.  Like having to fart when someone else is in the room.  Can you hold it in?  Maybe.  Maybe not.   Can you leave the room and fart there? Yes. Perhaps.  But what if the walking movement causes a premature explosion?  

Now I'm also thinking of Hugh Jackman wetting his pants while on stage.

I love that story.  

Labels

I think I'm going to quit labeling my posts.

I've now been forced to switch to the new Blogger layout; and with the new settings, it's no longer intuitive for me to add the labels.

I keep forgetting.

And now I'm thinking I'll just skip it all together. 

I apologize to the rare reader who used labels to navigate my blog.

Rambling About Writing

I just finished reading a book— Minding Ben by Victoria Brown. 

It's about a young woman, from Trinidad, who comes to NYC and gets a job working as a nanny for an absolutely awful family.  

I glanced at the acknowledgments at the end of the book, and Brown mentions, The Hunter College Fall 2009 Workshop Class with Peter Carey at the helm

Like always, I was delighted to see something Australian mentioned in a not-Australian book.  

I looked at the Hunter College's site about their creative writing program.  

It made me think of my creative writing classes in college. I don't think any of my professors had impressive publishing credits.  Well, I mean impressive to me. And that would be getting a novel published, winning awards, getting on bestseller lists, etc.

I would be mildly impressed with someone who had a few short stories published in literary magazines...magazines that are probably read only by other people who write stories for literary magazines. 

Or maybe I'm wrong. ARE there people who read these literary magazines just for fun?

I guess there might be? Some people like short stories.  And maybe they like discovering new writers?

Plus.  What am I thinking?   Is there anything wrong with writing for other writers?

No, of course not.

I'm being a snob.

And a hypocrite. I pretty much have NO publishing credits to my name.

Anyway.....

I was thinking what it might be like to have Peter Carey as a writing professor. It would be cool...in theory.  But I imagine I'd be negative about it since I'm not a fan of his books. Every time he'd give me criticism on my writing, I'd probably think,  Well, I don't like YOUR writing So there

Then again.  What would be worse?  Being critiqued by a writer whose work I love.  Then I might go home and cry a bit.  

Maybe that's one of the reasons I'm disgusted with Stephen King for being nasty about Stephanie Meyers.  What if she had once been a fan of his work? How awful it would be for her to hear him say such rude things about her.  

And what he said about her was definitely NOT constructive criticism.   It was insulting, nonconstructive criticism. 

Speaking of Meyers.  I read her other book, this week—The Host  I thought it was fantastic. It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but through the eyes of the actual snatchers.  Or one snatcher, actually. 

I just thought of something. When Stephen King insulted Stephanie Meyer, he not only insulted her, but people who like her books. That includes me, and I used to be a huge fan of Stephen King's books.

I'm not anymore.

Well, I haven't stopped liking his books.   But I don't like him anymore, and I don't plan on reading any of his other books.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Soap Operas and More Israel Stuff

My new thing to do, while exercising, is watch Australian soap operas.

This week I've watched random episodes of Neighbours and Home and Away.  Today I watched All Saints

It's funny.   Even though I don't know the characters,  the show is still very entertaining and interesting.

I guess that's the thing about soap operas. They're quick to grab you.

Well, I shouldn't speak for all of us.

I should say they grab ME. They might not grab you.

I have more soaps lined up for the coming days. Then I remembered the old 2011 Q and A's.   

I meant to get back to watching those. But I looked at the download page, and didn't have the motivation to download any.

Maybe I have Q and A burnout. 

I'll keep watching the new episodes, though. Probably. 

And yes.  I do think my burn out is somewhat due to being offended. (I'm pretending you asked).

I remembered something that I meant to write in my earlier post.

A few months ago, Q and A had another anti-Israel Jew—Miriam Margolyes.  

There's so many anti-Israel people out there.  Why does Q and A need to showcase two Jewish ones in one year?

I think it's that whole thing of letting people say.  See. Israel IS evil. Even the Jews agree.

Really.  For those who are ignorant of the subject, there are a fair number of Jews and Israelis who are against Israel.

But not all of us are that way.

Some blindly support it without any amount of apology.

Others support it's right to exist. Yet we understand it's not perfect, and believe there's always room for improvement.  

I'm now reading the transcript from the Margolyes show, reminding myself what was said.

I kind of like what Barry Humphries says to her, although it's a bit harsh.

Mel Gibson but, you know, he’s a fellow anti-Semite, you should sympathise with him and, you know, Miriam, whose wonderful show of Dickens’ women is in Sydney on Thursday night at the Opera House - you mustn't miss it. It is incredible. It may not be mentioned again, so I am giving it a plug. You’ll find North London Jews will be perfectly happy with what you have to say. There's a few anti-Semites amongst them, I can tell you.

Margolyes replies, understandably so.

I find that a bit disturbing.

Although I shouldn't pick on Professor Sprout.  I've been anti-Semitic at times myself. But I wouldn't say it was understandably so.  It's a prejudice like any other prejudice. Sometimes I have negative thoughts about Muslims.  Sometimes I have negative thoughts about Jews.  Something I have negative thoughts about black people. Sometimes I have negative thoughts about white people.    You get the picture.....

It's not something that's valid, and it's not something I'm proud of.  

It's not something that ANY of these groups deserve as a whole.  



Note-Often people question whether they can say something critical about Israel without being accused of anti-semitism.

Yes.  I think you can speak out against something Israel has done and not be seen as an anti-Semite.... if you do the following

A) refrain from denying, ignoring, and avoiding the subject of the Holocaust.  It's important to the story. Recognize that many groups were hurt by the Nazis, but understand that Jews were the main target.  

B) If you're going to complain about the behavior of the Israeli's, also complain about the behavior of the Palestinians.  They may be victims in some ways, but they aint no angels.   

C) Acknowledge that your country has probably done things just as bad as Israel...or even worse.

D) Understand what it would mean to support a one-state solution vs. a two state one.   If you support the one state solution, I'm going to have a hard time believing you're a friend of the Jews.

E) Don't say you think Israel should stop existing, but that doesn't mean you hate the Jews.  To me that's equal to saying you don't hate homosexuals, yet you don't think they should have same-sex relationships. There may not be hatred there, but there's definitely not support and understanding. 

So here's an example of what you CAN say.   I like the Jews. I think they should have a homeland, especially because of what happened to them in Europe during the 1940's.   It's awful that the Palestinians bomb buses, throw rocks, and do other antagonistic things.   BUT I think it's awful that the Israeli government killed so many people in Gaza. That was horrible and uncalled for.  

Bonding with Malcolm Turnbull

I was just reading my old post about Malcolm Turnbull.

It was confusing at times, but I managed to understand some bits of my 2009 self.

Anyway.....

I was delighted to see that the blogger who was once horribly mean to me shared a very negative view about Malcolm Turnbull in my comments section. 

I like Malcolm Turnbull.   Well....so....I guess it's nice to know we're despised by the same person. It makes me feel like I'm in good company.  

I have to say I got a little more venom them Turnbull did.

He got only the labels vile, grubby, snide, and bastard.

I got: shithead, bunny boiler, vile example of an American, high up on my soap box (gotta give her credit; she's very right on that one), a know-it-all, smart-arse, a walking talking enema for draining the shit, wounded bint, ill-educated schnook, drama queen, whiney shit, 'tard, an attention sucking fuckwit, someone who got their degree by giving professors blow-jobs.

I was asked in a teasing/ridiculing manner if I had been molested by my father.

I was encouraged to cut myself, drink what's under the sink, and get a free hysterectomy so I don't do any further breeding.

For the record, I'm not a bunny boiler (figuratively or literally). I wasn't molested. Nor did I ever give a professor a blow job.  Some of the other stuff might be true somewhat.  Maybe?  It could be up for debate.

I can't say I feel like debating it.  

A Land of Our Own

I wasn't too happy with the most recent Q and A program. 

It's probably hypocritical of me to complain about it being filmed on Rosh Hashanah, since I was watching the downloaded program while most of my fellow Fort Worth Jews were at synagogue.

I didn't even realize that they had filmed it on Rosh Hashanah until the video questioner brought it up.

Thinking, though, that they picked this night—for a show dedicated to the subject of Israel—annoyed me.   As the questioner pointed out, not only was the studio audience lacking Jews, but the Twitter feed as well.

I was even more annoyed when I heard Tony Jones' excuse for the choosing of this night for the program.  Well, first of all this is the only night that Ilan Pappe was available to come on Q and A

Okay. Well, personally I would have been happy if they skipped having Ilan Pappe on the show.

Out of all the Israeli's out there, did they have to pick one that's so anti-Israel?

Out of all the anti-Israel people out there, did they have to pick one that's Israeli?

And out of all the Anti-Israel Jews out there, did they have to pick one as rude as him?

I'll say one good thing for Pappe. He kind of looks like Gary Oldman.  He's like a cross between Gary Oldman and Dana Carvey.  And maybe there's a little bit of Ben Folds in there as well.

Maybe rude is the wrong word for Pappe. Rude is burping in someone's face or not saying thank you if someone opens a door for you.

I think abrasive would be a better term.

I wonder, though, if anti-Israel people liked Pappe and weren't bothered by his abrasiveness.  

I wouldn't be one of those people....I mean if I was anti-Israel. I'm starting to come to the strong realization that I don't judge people just on their opinions, but also on how they express their opinions.

I don't like people who are abrasive and mean, even if they share my view of things.

I also don't like people who don't share my view of things.  But that dislike usually fades in a day or two. 

Anyway....

If Q and A  ever does a program again, I'd like them to balance it out with a pro-Israel Israeli.

At least this time they had a pro-Israel Jew. That was nice.  But I don't think it balanced out Pappe, Robyn Davidson (who seemed to often agree with Pappe), and the Jewish-lacking audience and Jewish-lacking Twitterers.

Also, perhaps Q and A could have a pro-Israel Arab someday.

Maybe they could have this guy.  He's the son of a Hamas person and then switched teams.

There's others.

I used to think they didn't exist. But they do. Unfortunately, it seems they're quieter than the Jewish anti-Israel people.

Or maybe they're not quieter and just not heard by the media as much.  

So...Well...I've been thinking about Israel and all this for the past week.

I eventually came up with an analogy.

It's not a perfect one.  Not every puzzle piece fits neatly. But I'm going to try my best.

Here we go:   

Let's say things don't improve for Aboriginal Australians. It gets worse. The gap doesn't get smaller.  It gets much bigger. Then there's also a lot of animosity between white people and Aborigines.

The UK then comes over; and somehow exercises some power.  (I'm not sure if this would be possible or legal, but let's just make-believe).

The British say things aren't working out well for the Aborigines in Australia. They need a land of their own.

The British give the Aborigines a chunk of land that includes Alice Springs and Uluru. A lot of white people are expelled from their homes because the Aborigines need room in their new homeland to live.

The white folks of Alice Springs could live anywhere in Australia.  Some of them move to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, etc. to start new lives.  Many others, though, remain in Alice Springs.   They want to fight against the Aborigines who have taken their land.

Meanwhile, the majority of Aborigines around Australia leave their towns and cities and go to Alice Springs. Some of them leave because the white folks were awful to them.  In other cities, the Aborigines were actually forcibly expelled. Then some Aborigines leave because they decide it would be cool to live in a land that's dominated by their kind. They like living in a land where they feel so welcomed.

Now in Alice Springs, it's not 100% Aborigines.  White people—any people—can be there and become citizens of the state. They can vote. They can join the Parliament.  And there's even a few white people in the Parliament.  We can't say Alice Springs is completely lacking racism. Like any town, it's not perfect. 

Some white people in Australia don't like that Aborigines get their own town.  It's SO totally not fair.  They want to change Alice Springs and make it like any other town in Australia.  It's not enough that the whole rest of Australia is dominated by white people—Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Tasmania, etc.  They think white people should have the power in the Alice Springs area as well.  

Some white folks start a boycott of Alice Springs.  What do they want? They want Alice Springs to allow white folks to migrate there as easily as Aborigines. Any Aborigine at any time can say, I want to live in Alice Springs.  Then they move there. It's easy for them. As I said before, white people can live in Alice Springs too. And they do. But it's more of a hassle.  It's much easier for them to choose to live in Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne, etc.

The white people start the boycott, and a lot of other ethnic groups join them. They also don't like the Aborigines having their own land.

Some Aborigines speak up against the boycott. They point out that if white people are freely allowed to move to Alice Springs, they'll overtake the country.  Why?  There's more white people. There will be more white voters.  Alice Springs will become another white town.  The Aborigines don't like this.    They want a town of their own. They think back to their past and know they NEED a town of their own.

Should the Aborigines have their own town?  Or would that be wrong?

What would happen if they lose the town? Would they be welcomed back into the other cities?   Would they be treated well in these cities? Would they be treated well in the Alice Springs are when the population and government is controlled by white folks?

The End.

I'm guessing some people would be bothered by my analogy. The Jewish story is different because their big atrocity was caused by a group OUTSIDE of the Muslim world. In my story, the people who created the big atrocity are the same who don't want the Aborigines to have their own homeland.

So, if anyone is bothered by that, we can change it. How about we use the Afghani refugees?

 What if a powerful government force decides the detention camps aren't working.  The Afghani refugees need a home of their own.   They need to be protected.    So they give them their own town in New South Wales.   Afghanis leave (or are forced to leave) all other cities and towns in Australia.    Other people can live in Little Afghanistan, even if they aren't Afghanis.   These other people have voting rights; and they can and are in Parliament.  Still, though, the town is set up so it remains politically dominated by Afghanis.  This way they can have a safe place to live, raise their children, and be free of discrimination and persecution.

Would that be okay or not be okay?   


Note: In both stories, I'm leaving out the Holocaust, terrorism, and military overreaction to terrorism.  But you can add that in there if you desire.



Friday, September 14, 2012

The Sinking Ship

I had some lovely synchronicity today. 

I really love synchronocity.

Anyway.....

I decided to put my Wizards, Muggles, Ducks and Others blog into novel-form, so it would be easier for people to read.

I turned on my iTunes DJ, and a song from the Titanic soundtrack came on. "Promises Kept"   While I was listening to that song I got to a post called The Sinking Ship.  The post is actually about the movie Titanic.

On top of all that, what got me wanting to work on the story in the first place is I was singing "Falling Slowly" from Once.

These particular lines choke me up because they remind me so much of my story; not the Titanic post, but another part of the story.

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

I love that song.

I love my story and my characters.

I love the synchronocity.

I'm in a happy place right now.


Note: Sorry for my excessive posting today. I'll try to shut up...soon.

Long Lives

I'm STILL watching Q and A.

Now they're talking about the idea of gay people having a shorter life expectancy. 

My gut feeling is that if it's true, I'd agree with the people on the show who say it's caused by homophobia NOT homosexuality.

Feeling ostracized by family, friends, classmates, the community, etc. is NOT good for your health.   There's often talk about suicide; but it's not just thoughts.  There's stress, and stress can lead to physical illness. There's depression.  It's not good.

I did think, though, that MAYBE there's more to it.  I didn't want to just dismiss the idea as being outlandish. Though I do think the intent of the study is nuts.   What if homosexuality does lead to a shorter life span?  Then what?   I'm sorry.  I do love you. But I want as long a lifespan as possible.   I'm going to go marry a woman...even though I know I can never really love her.

If the study was done out of pure curiosity. Fine. It's pretty silly. But a lot of studies are.

From what I'm seeing online, though, I'm getting that the study was done so there'd be leverage in talking people out of being gay.

Or is it to stop the whole gay marriage thing?

If homosexuality leads to shorter life spans, would forbidding marriage reduce the health risk?

I can't see how the hell that would work.

Although I guessed the likely culprit was homophobia, I tried to be open-minded.  Could there be something else about homosexuality that leads to a shorter life?    One idea that came to my mind was genetics. Could there be some kind of genetic cluster.  Something like, those who are born with the tendency to prefer the same gender are also more prone to stomach cancer. Or heart attacks. Or whatever.

When Jack was a toddler and not talkative I got a book about children who are not talkative, yet they're good at music and math.

It's that kind of thing I had in mind.

I don't personally find the idea offensive. Well, obviously it's not to me since I came up with it.

But I'm not offended if someone points out that Ashkenazi Jews are prone to breast cancer. I'd be offended only if they suggested that I stop being Jewish. That would be bad...and silly.

If there truly is a lower lifespan for homosexuals, I think it's important to research it and talk about it.   The purpose shouldn't be to discourage and/or ban homosexuality. The purpose should be to remedy the situation. We should look  out for certain things then. Hey, your kid just announced he's gay?  It's a good time to bring him into the doc to make sure his heart is strong because there's a correlation between homosexuality and congestive heart failure. 

Despite my thoughts on this, however.  I'm not convinced that homosexual folks do have a shorter life span.

I found this website that talks about one of the studies that was done looking at life spans.  I found it to be very insightful and helpful. They say the research was faulty, because it was based on obituaries in gay/lesbian newspapers.   The article's argument is that not all gay people get their death mentioned in the newspaper.  They have a list of good reasons why not. I'll give you one as an example. Not all gay people are part of the gay community; therefore they might not read or contribute to gay newspapers.

The basic idea, of the article, is that the research was faulty.

So for now, gay folks can relax.  They don't have to dump the love of their life in hopes of a few extra years.   

Different Types of Marriage

I'm watching more of Q and A and seeing more of Archbishop Peter Jensen. 

It turns out that he's the guy who recently said that, in marriage vows, it's recommended that the bride say she'll submit to the husband. 

I saw that in my iGoogle news the other day but didn't pay it any attention.

This is my feeling about it now:  I wouldn't want a marriage like that.

I definitely don't see myself as needing to submit to Tim.

If anything, Tim should be submitting to me.

But for the most part, I prefer a marriage of equality.

However, just as I support a lesbian woman having a marriage I might not choose; I support a Christian having a marriage I wouldn't want for myself.

And it's not just Christians. There are other sects within religions where males and females have more divided roles. For example, Orthodox Judaism. 

I wouldn't want to go to services where men and women are separated. I wouldn't want to have to take a ritual bath after having my period.  

That's not a life for me.

But I respect the fact that other women might be okay with that life. Some of them might even love that life.

For me personally, any type of marriage is okay...as long as both parties truly give their consent.

We say to those against gay marriage, if you're against it, then don't have one yourself.

The same goes for people against submitting to their new spouse.  If you're not for it; don't get married in a church that might insist you use those words. And certainly don't get married to a man who wants those words in the vows.  

We worry so much about same-gender people getting married and very religious people getting married.   The real problem is probably more along the lines of people with very different values getting married. 

Can We Change Our Mind?

I'm watching the current Q and A today.

I like this quote from Archbishop Peter Jenson.  

I do think, in terms of our political discourse, I'm sorry we can't let the Government change its mind and get away with it because, after all, when new facts come in we've got to have people to change their minds

Amen to that.

I lost a lot of respect (not that I had much in the first place) for the Liberal party when they gave so much grief to the Labor party for reopening the Nauru thing.

And it seems to me that one of the reasons the Labor party went back to Nauru is that the Liberal party was so stubborn about Malaysia.

I'm trying to think of an analogy here.....

Okay.

Here's a rather dumb one.  But I'm going to go with it anyway.

Let's say we have dinner plans with my sister's family this weekend.

We really want Indian food.

They really want Mexican.

None of us will budge.

Then finally Tim says, Look we need to eat something.  Let's just give into them. Otherwise we're going to have to cancel the whole dinner.   It's important that we get together so the kids can play.

We agree to have Mexican.  

Instead of being grateful for our compromise, my sister criticizes us for taking so long to agree to the Mexican food.

It would be incredibly immature of my sister.  But it's only food.  It's not people's lives at stakes.

People should be able to change their mind. This is especially the case when they're the ones doing the most compromising.

As for changing your mind after an election....

I think it was kind of stinky of Julia Gillard to do that.  What if people voted for her because she promised no carbon tax?

Okay?  But maybe there were people who did NOT vote for Gillard because there was no carbon tax.  They might have been delighted to see she had changed her mind.  Or....that she was pushed to change her mind.

Obviously, it's easier to accept mind changing when the politician switches to our side of things.

I was happy when Obama changed his mind about gay marriage. That was awesome.

I wouldn't be happy with a pro-gay marriage politician who suddenly decided there shouldn't be any gay marriage. Yet some other people would be pleased about that.  

I think there's also the question of why someone changed their mind. It's more tolerable when I believe they did it for personal reasons and not political gain. 

Maybe that's the wrong choice of words.

It's more along the lines of them changing their mind because they truly have a change of heart.

That's different from the times in which we can't tell where the politician truly stands on an issue.

Did he really believe this, and now he believes that? Or was he being untruthful before, so he wouldn't suffer a political loss, and now he feels safer revealing his true feelings?

Or what if he was truthful before, but now he's being pushed to tell an untrue story?

In the end, I think we should be skeptical about people changing their mind, but at the same time try to give the politician the benefit of the doubt. That would be the most fair thing to do.




McMahon and McEwen Frustration

I've been reading my old blog posts lately.  I read one a day, minus days we're on some kind of holiday-vacation adventure.

Before we went to the water park hotel, I read my January 5, 2009 post. It was about William McMahon.

This morning I started to read my post from January 6, 2009. It's about John McEwen. 

I got to a paragraph that bothered me.

As I said in my previous post, McEwen didn't like McMahon for being a potential homosexual. And also they had political disagreements regarding the economy. McMahon was into free trade.

I don't understand why I said that.

I don't remember finding definite evidence that McEwen's problem with McMahon was his suspected homosexuality.

And I just read my post about McMahon a few days ago.

I went back to read the post.

Maybe I missed something.

But no.

From my post, it seems I only suspected that MAYBE McEwen was homophobic.

The only thing I could imagine is that I did read something that confirmed for me that McEwen was homophobic about McMahon, but I failed to write it in the McMahon post. 

I decided to look at the website I linked to for the information about McEwen and McMahon.  

As far as I can see, the website is gone.

Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the offending paragraph. Should I delete it? I don't want to spread false information. Not that many people read that post. 

Not that many people read my blog, period.

And who knows.  Maybe it's not false information.

I think I'll just keep it and add a little (maybe) there.  That might work.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Parody of a Cover

The other day I ran into this parody of a cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know".

It's funny and very clever.



It's probably less funny if you haven't yet seen the particular cover.

So here ya go.





If you're thinking, parody?  Cover?   What the hell is Gotye?

Well, then you've been living under a rock.

Am I criticizing you for that?

Yes,  BUT with the acceptance of the fact that I too have sometimes lived under a rock...many times actually. 

Our radio stations play Gotye's song way too much.  Sometimes, when I hear it, I want to hide under one of those rocks.  It's a nice song, but annoying in a way. At least I think so.

What about you guys?

Do you like the song?  Love it?  Sick of it?  Never liked it?

What do you like best, the original, the particular cover, another cover, or the parody of the particular cover? 


Stay Or Go?

I'm reading a novel called The Weird Sisters.  It's not fantastic, but it's good enough.

One of the sisters is Rose. S has a problem. Her fiancĂ© likes to travel. He doesn't like to stay in one place for long.  Rose, on the other hand, is attached to her hometown.  She wants to stay there and work at the local university.  Her dream job has recently been offered to her.

The problem is her fiancĂ© has been given a dream opportunity in the UK.   He wants her with him.  She wants him to come back to America.

How's that going to resolve itself?

I have no idea.

I just finished reading a scene where Rose's mom encouraged her to move to England to be with her man.

It was interesting to me, because it's the opposite of my situation.

In 2008 I wanted to move to Australia. My dad was very upset about this and pushed us to stay.

It wasn't just Australia that was a problem.

Before Australia came into the picture, Tim and I casually mentioned that one day we'd like to spend several months or a year in another country.

My dad got visibly agitated. There was some not-really stifled anger.

There were also times that Tim looked at job opportunities within the United States but not Texas.

My dad was not happy about those things either.

He wants us in Fort Worth.

Although maybe Dallas would be okay.

My sisters are there.

My parents don't complain about that.

I'm trying to understand Rose's mother's motivation.

I guess her reaction kind of surprised me.  I expected her to be more neutral. Follow your heart, dear.  What do YOU think is right?  I'll support you either way. 

Do you choose love or your career?

Rose's mom wants Rose to choose her love.

What if it's the wrong love, but it was the right career?

Is it right for Rose's mom to push Rose in a certain direction. Does she know something I don't know?

Is Rose clinging to a life that's not healthy?

Or maybe Rose is intolerable, and her mother wants her far away.

As for my dad....

Why does he want us in the DFW area?

I do know that he loves having our family living close together.

I think he loves us being together, which IS quite lovely. We make a nice team. Sometimes.

Yeah.  We're awful at times.  But other times, we're like a superstar family.  Someone could easily make a sitcom about us...or one of those primetime soap operas.

But I also think my dad likes the IDEA of us being together.

It's kind of like my massive collection of Aussie books. I might not like all of them individually. I'm just proud of my collection. I wish more people could come into my office so I could show it off.

I think my dad likes to show us off, not as individuals, but as a grand collective.

The other day my dad talked to me about a conversation he had with a bride's father. He was critical of the father over something. My dad said if the man didn't watch out, his daughter might move away.

The conversation unnerved me. Is this what my dad thought? That us staying here proved he had succeeded as a father.

I think so.

It's not true, though.

If anything, my dad's persistence on us staying made me want to leave even more. It made me want to run far far away. 

We ended up staying for Jack.

He's VERY close to his cousins, and other relatives.  He loves Texas.

It seemed wicked to tear him away from that.

That's not to say we wouldn't have left if an opportunity had fallen in our lap. We might have.

But it felt wrong to actively pursue it. 

Maybe I felt that way because of my own childhood.

My dad changed jobs multiple times for various reasons.

This meant we left our house, neighborhood, friends, etc. behind six times.  

I stopped living in the same town as my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins when I was less than a year old.

Does my dad regret that?

Does he not want it for his own grandchildren?

Is that behind his desire for us to stay?

Maybe.

Although I can't remember him ever expressing that regret.

Actually, I don't think he's expressed regret even when arguing against us moving away.

So really.

I think it's just about my dad fulfilling his dream of having his children, in-laws, and grandchildren geographically close to him.

Unfortunately, it clashed with my dream of living in Australia.

Fortunately for my dad, Jack shared his dream, and I gave more priority to my child's wishes than my own.  

When I'm angry at my dad, I'm pissed off that he won.

But mostly I'm fine with it.

I like our life here.

I'm happy that we stayed.

I don't have many regrets that we stayed.

I do feel, though, that if we took the other path; If we moved to Australia, I'd have no regrets there either.

I think I'd be as happy there as I am here.

Maybe happier.

Or maybe I'd be a little less happier.

Oh!

I would have had to give up my cats.

I forgot about that.

So it wasn't just Jack that made us stay.

It was the cats too.

Lately, I've been thinking about karma.

I often think about it teaching lessons to people who have been unfair to me.

I try to remind myself, though, that I should imagine how it might teach ME a lesson. I personally think I'm an incredibly decent person, but the universe might feel otherwise. 

The other day I thought about my dad not wanting us to move. I thought about how I've often declared to myself that I'll be much less controlling with Jack; at least in that regard.  I'll encourage him to move where he wants to move. If I feel clingy, we'll move to where he is. We won't make him stay where we want to live.

But maybe karma will someday show me I'm wrong.

Maybe one day I'll be attached to both my town AND Jack and his family. Maybe I won't want to lose either one; and I'll fight to keep both. Then I'll look back at my dad and think, oh, now I get it. 

Or maybe I won't.

I'm betting that I won't.

But we shall see......



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apology

I love this article about some sports guy Farah apologizing to Julia Gillard. 

He got angry at a troll for saying bad things about his mum.

Then a bit after that, he apologized to Gillard for saying she should get a noose for a gift.

I'm not sure if he remembered his own meanness, or someone else helped him remember.

Either way....Karma in action.

I'm not going to take Farah's apology lightly.

Sometimes we don't realize we've done something wrong until it has been done to us.

I actually respect Farah because he apologized.   Some people don't apologize. Some won't admit they've done wrong. Some "forget" it ever happened.

I'm never sure if they really forgot, or if they're just faking it.

So, it takes courage to sit there and say, Yeah. I did the same thing once. Sorry.

Then again. I probably shouldn't give too much credit to Farah. He's a celebrity. If you're a celebrity, it's probably harder to hide.

I bet celebrities give more apologizes than us not-celebrities.

The article made me think of people on the internet who've been mean to me.  Some were mildly mean, and I can't say I didn't somewhat maybe deserve it.  Others were horribly mean, and I definitely did NOT deserve it.

I fantasize about them apologizing—I mean the really mean ones, and the ones who were in vocal and/or quiet support of the extreme meanness.

I doubt it will ever happen. It's been years already.....

I probably need hell to freeze over first.  Or pigs to fly.  

What bothers me the most is imagining these bloggers have forgotten or denied what they've done...even after having karma bite them on the ass.    Like if they've done what Farah's done—spoken out against trolling or other internet awfulness.

What if bad stuff is bad when it happens to them or their loved ones, but they're perfectly okay with it happening to people outside their tight circle?

What if they feel it's wrong to call people names and encourage them to harm themselves, but it's perfectly okay that they did it to me?   

All that makes me sad.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's Hard To Brainwash Your Child

I'm still watching Jedda.

Sarah McMann is working her butt off to keep her foster/adopted child from joining in any bits of Aboriginal Culture. She wants to protect her from all that.


I can't relate to Sarah McMann's racism; nor do I support it.

But I can relate to her wanting to mold a child into her own personal ideal.  

The movie really is a great companion film to Mayim Bialik's parenting book.  

As I said in my last post, there are things Mayim did that I wished I had done as well.

One of these is preventing my child from becoming such a major cog in the consumer wheel.  

I have failed miserably in this area. Jack wants wants and then wants some more.

He loves video games and electronics.  He wants all the new thing.  Well, not all of them. I'm exaggerating. Maybe. Let's just say he wants a lot.  

Mayim talks about this in the book. 

Limiting stuff shows respect for the earth and its resources.  By making conscious choices about what stuff we have, we reduce the mark we leave on the earth, and we show the ultimate earth-friendly gesture of consuming less.

I agree with this.

Our family's lifestyles doesn't reflect it.

We're major consumers.

I myself am maybe not that bad.

I usually buy used books.

I also usually buy used clothes.

I don't shop too often.

I'm not into buying the newest and coolest electronic things. I get attached to my old things, and am very reluctant to upgrade.

Tim's not like that...at least not to the same degree I am.   Though he's probably thrifty and conservative if compared to my parents.

Several months ago,  my dad bought us a new TV in our bedroom at the lake house. The TV we already had was perfectly fine. And we rarely watch TV in the first place. It was such a waste.

Did I try talking my dad out of this?

Yes.

Did it work?

Nope.

Jack is exposed to all of this.

Not many people parent in a vacuum.

We have relatives.

We have neighbours.

Many of us have a parenting partner.

There's school.

There's the playground.

Mayim does recognize that this is a challenge. She says, Will I be able to maintain this ban as my kids get older?  Obviously,  I won't have as much control over what they do when they leave our house and visit their friends in a few years.  

By the way, the ban she refers to is not on buying stuff, but watching TV. She believes TV will lead to the desire to buy stuff.

There's never been a point in my parenting life where I didn't feel other people had a huge influence on Jack's life.  Well...no, maybe that's wrong. Brainwashing might have been somewhat easier when Jack was an infant and not often interacting with others.

But we live in a situation where Jack very often sees extended family. They buy him gifts.  They share ideas with him. They model behaviors that might not be loved by me.

It's really hard to mold your child into what you want when other people are molding them too.

I guess you just be yourself and hope that they pick up one or two of your positive characteristics.

You set an example; then watch them follow someone else's example.

I love Jack.

I love him more than I have ever loved anyone.

It's not just because he's my child. He's a fabulous person.

I take a small bit of credit for that. And I'm willing to take some blame for his faults.

I give some credit to others for their positive influences; and I pass some blame to others for their influences

Most of all, though. Jack is Jack, because he is Jack.

I think he follows my example when it fits with his personality and destiny.

I think he follows other people's example when their behavior fits his personality and destiny.

Tim's parents limited his television watching when he was young. Did it help him to become a person who shows moderation in their TV habits?  No. My husband is often a couch potato. I don't think I've ever met anyone who watches as much TV as him.  

Jack has no limitations on his TV viewing. Will this free-thinking attitude lead him to be a moderate TV watcher? 

Not necessarily.  

Getting back to Jedda.....

I don't think it matters what color her skin is and who her biological mother is. Nor does it matter who raised her.  She's either the type to want to go on a walkabout, or she's not. 

I guess what this whole post is trying to say is that you can love your children and raise them in an atmosphere that makes you and your household members feel as comfortable and happy as possible.

But you can't really brainwash or mold your children.

It doesn't work.   

It will be interesting to see how Mayim Bialik's children turn out. They're quite young. The eldest is six, and the other is four.

Will they grow up to be as crunchy as their mum?  Or will they want to lead a very different lifestyle?

We shall see.

I hope we do see actually.  I think Mayim Bialik is a fascinating woman. I'd love for her to write an autobiography someday. I think I'd prefer that to a parenting book.  


Little Kids Shouldn't Play With Matches. But How About Letters and Numbers?

I'm watching Jedda today. It's a 1955 film about an Aboriginal child raised by a white woman in the Northern Territory.

In this section of the film, Mrs. Sarah McMann has young Jedda practice her letters.  



The foster mum is a bit pushy about the whole thing.

The narrator tells us the little Jedda would rather make animal tracks in the dough. But Sarah McMann won't have that. She wants Jedda to do her academics.

Do I agree with this type of parenting of a young child?

No.

I don't think academics should be forced on young kids. Nor do I think that type of knowledge is superior to other types of knowledge.

But I disagree with folks who believe children should be kept away from academic thingies until a certain age.

I just finished reading Mayim Bialik's parenting book,  Beyond The Sling.

After reading way too many parenting books and having a few years of real life parenting experience, I began to avoid parenting books like the plague.

They always make me feel like I'm not doing enough or I'm doing things wrong.

There's never a parenting book that agrees with everything I do.

Ah!  Idea:  Write my own parenting book. Not for other people. But just for me. Then I can get 100% agreement on everything I do. 

Anyway, I made a rare exception for Mayim.

Why?

I'm obsessively in love with the TV show she's on—The Big Bang Theory

I'm also thrilled that she does the attachment parenting thing.  Because that's what we do.

Like Mayim, we breastfed Jack beyond infancy...and even toddlerhood. We co-slept (and still do sometimes). We carried Jack in a sling.  We homeschool.

It's nice to have something in common with a smart, talented, and cool celebrity.

We don't do everything the same, though. Reading about that stuff in the book made me uneasy at times.  Like I said, I'm yearning for a parenting book that agrees with me completely.

As for the the differences, it varied. Sometimes I read things and thought, well, maybe Mayim Bialik has it right. We kind of missed the boat on that one. In other words, I sort of wish I had done things differently.

Other times I read things and felt unsure about whether I preferred her way of doing things or my way of doing things.  

Then there were occasions where I definitely disagreed with her.  Actually, I think there was only one. That's when my defensiveness went up, and I declared I'd never watch The Big Bang Theory again.   Or I'd at least fast-forward through all the Amy Farah Fowler scenes.  

I'm joking.

Don't worry.

But Mayim did annoy me a bit by having a different opinion than me. I felt criticized. See, I'm really not good with parenting books.

Anyway....

Let me get to the point.

(I should probably NOT write a parenting book. It would go off in way too many tangents)

Mayim is against exposing young children to letters and numbers.

She says in one part. But where did we get the notion that they have to learn their alphabet, their numbers, and even identify colors as soon as they can?  I'd like to say the following: just because they can doesn't mean they should.

I agree with her to some sense. Can shouldn't equal should.  

But what if the child seems happy learning academic stuff?

Should it be avoided?

What if Jedda liked learning letters more than making tracks in the dough?  Would Mayim have frowned down on this?

Later in the book, Mayim says, My husband and I made a personal choice not to introduce academics in any form to our children in their first five or so years of life.  This included no ABC books, no singing the alphabet song, no puzzles with letters or numbers, and we even went so far as to not teach colors, to the dismay of parents and in-laws. 

This viewpoint is actually not new to me.  It's part of the Waldorf method of teaching, and the preschool I worked at in New York followed it to some degree.

The classroom avoided toys with letters and numbers. 

We weren't allowed to write the children's names on the front of their painting, because it might give the idea that we were trying to teach children to write their name.

It was all a bit hypocritical, though, because the parents didn't follow the philosophy at home.   Children would come to school with letter and number skills. The same teachers who didn't want to teach the skills were very impressed with the kids who knew the skills.

I'm not saying that parents and teachers who follow the philosophy are harming their children. 

I'm not even really against the practice.

It's more like I don't regret that I did things differently with Jack.

I didn't push academics on Jack, but we had learning materials available.  I'd play games, sing songs, and have conversations that taught him things. If he was happy with the activities, I'd continue with them. If he looked bored, I'd stop.

Usually, he was happy with them.

Did it make him smarter in the long run?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Who knows.

I don't.

But I had fun.

He had fun.

No harm done...in my opinion.

It seems there's two extremes when it comes to young children and academics: 1. Children need to get a head start and quickly learn these basics.  2. Exposure to these academic basics should be avoided until a child is of a certain age.

I say have the materials ready so the child can get a head start if they want to do that. If they'd rather play in the sandbox, that's fine too.    

I took break here, from writing this, because I had a game-playing appointment with Jack.

While I played, in the back of my head, I wondered how the hell I would conclude the post?

How can I express myself and defend my viewpoint, because I didn't feel I did a good job of it thus far.

Then I thought of something.  Our big bag of collage materials in the art room.

I started collecting collage materials back when I was a preschool teacher. I kept collecting while Jack was a baby.

Our family is blessed with a big paper bag full of magazine pieces, wallpaper pieces, wrapping paper pieces, etc.

It's fabulous.

And would any parent of any parenting philosophy argue against making collages?

Paper, and paste.  How could that be bad?

And it's kind of green too.   It's putting to use stuff that would be otherwise thrown away.

From what I know of crunchy parents like Mayim Bialik; art is a positive and usually non-controversial activity.

Okay but....

Jack has rarely shown any interest in doing collages.

I can probably count on my fingers the amount of times, since his birth, that he's used the bag of collage goodies.  

He's just not very into it.  

I've never pushed him, despite the fact that I collected all this stuff.

That to me is good parenting.  Yes, I'm patting myself on the back right now. (okay.  not literally, actually.   I'm too busy typing). 

So that's what I'm going to say. It's not about the activity. It's about the attitude and behavior surrounding the activity.

Do I support parents forcing their three-year-olds to play soccer?

No.

Do I believe parents should hide soccer balls from their three-year-old, because they're against kids being pressured to play sports.   No.

I think if the parents enjoy sports they should buy a kiddie soccer ball, kick it around a bit, and see if their kid is interested.  

Should kids be forced into acting careers?   No.   But if the child loves singing, dancing, dressing up, and performing in front of guests, I'd say it might be nice to take them to an audition or two.

Of course there's limits.   I don't think we need to expose our children to everything. And just because a child is interested in something, it doesn't mean you must allow them to partake in the activity.

Well, yes we let Betsy play with matches. She's always had an interest in fire!

That would be silly.

OR....

Maybe not. Maybe it WOULD be okay with proper supervision.

Perhaps Betsy could grow up to have a promising career in pyrotechnics.















Friday, September 7, 2012

Australians Continue To Surprise Me

I'm watching the April 28, 2011 episode of Q and A.   It's about the monarchy vs. republic debate.

Bob Carr has said the word dynasty twice.

He doesn't pronounce it like I pronounce it.

I say Dine-usty. He says din-usty.  

I wasn't expecting that.  

At least I knew what he was saying, though.   But maybe I understood it because of the context.   Without the context, I might have been lost.  

Fake

The other day when I wrote the post about Les Miserables, I almost added something very bitchy at the end.  Maybe I even wrote it; then deleted it. I can't remember. 

I was about to say that I used to read this blog. I suspected it was fake.  One of the reasons is the blogger provided a recording of his daughter singing a Les Miserables song, and it sounded very much like a professional recording I heard before.

Or maybe, actually...I'm remembering wrong.  Maybe it was an Annie song?

No, I think it was Les Miserables.  I'm pretty sure it was "Castle on A Cloud".

I decided not to post that bit of my post. I wasn't 100% sure this guy was fake...not even 75%.

It would be horrible to accuse someone real of being fake.

Although truth be told, I was being a bit paranoid. I've had no indication that he's been reading my blog lately.    

Today I went to a blog I haven't visited in a long time.  Her posts are blocked now. I can see only the titles. The first post title referred to this blogger (Jeff D'Antonio) and outed him as fake.

Shit.

A part of me felt good...vindicated.  Aha!  I can spot the fakes! I can trust my intuition.

Plus, Jeff rubbed me the wrong way. I had stopped reading his blog a long time ago.  

He was so self-righteous and dramatic. If he was real, I'd feel bad feeling that way because he had such a hard life.  And he was heroic. His best friend died of cancer. He and his wife adopted the best friend's daughter.  They brought comfort to other people with cancer. 

What kind of bitch dislikes a man like that?

It wasn't the Les Miserables thing that first made me suspicious.

It was this story about finding a letter from the deceased friend. She had surprised them all with a trip to Disney World.  It was beautiful, but something about it seemed unreal.

Then there was the fact that the blog didn't have a lot of photos.

I find it's easier to trust bloggers who have photographs.

That's not to say I distrust all bloggers who don't provide photos of themselves.

I've never seen a photograph of Andrew.  Yet I trust him as much as I trust most people, which is never 100%, but can get up into the 90's at times.   

The thing is, Andrew has never said anything that's made my guard go up.   He's never said anything to me that's suspicious or overly fanciful.  He doesn't claim to be incredibly good-looking. He doesn't claim to be heroic.

He lives the life of an Aussie blogger; not the life of a soap opera character.

Some REAL people do live soap opera lives. And they blog about it. I have one in mind.   I'm not going to name names. But I have a lot of trust in her, because she has a lot of photos of her family.    Without the photos, I might have felt some bits of suspicion. The reason is her blog deals with illness. And I think this fake-blogger syndrome often includes chronic and/or fatal illness.

I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of real people suffering with illness who are blogging.   Unfortunately, the fakes are going to continue to break down trust.  So they probably need to NOT hide their face like Andrew does.  

Anyway, back to the story of finding out the guy was fake.

As I said, I had mixed feelings. I wasn't simply proud of my intuition.

I felt guilty.

Should I have shared my suspicions with people, especially people that I knew had a lot of trust and emotional investment in this guy?   Should I have dug deeper?   Should I have investigated?

Should I have publicly accused him of being a fake?

I didn't do any of that.

I kept quiet.

Why?

I wasn't 100% sure of his fakeness, and I would hate to make accusations against someone who's real.

I went to one of my old posts that I remembered him commenting on. I remembered it because his comment had annoyed me.

I let him know he annoyed me, but didn't let him know I thought he was fake.  Did I not know at that point?

I don't know.

I'm pretty sure I already suspected...at least to some degree.

Yet I was all nice to him after he shared a link back to one of his blog posts. It contained some kind of inspirational spiritual story.    

I don't know if I was being fake at that point, or if his story had warmed my heart.   I can't remember what the story was about.  And his blog is now gone, so I can't click on the link.  

His comment to me was very dismissive....invalidating. I told the story of how I went a bit nuts in 2007 and 2008 and had convinced myself I was going to die.

Part of his comment said.

But I've seen up close what it looks like when that fear becomes a tragic reality for someone...

The irrational fear that we all have doesn't even begin to compare. Not by a long shot. 

Yeah. Weird American. Your silly fears are nothing compared to my beloved friend REALLY dying.   Let's not forget MY blog contains the real drama.

Of course not all problems are equal.  But if I post about a cut on my toe, I don't need people writing to remind me that their blog contains stories of cancer, earthquakes, drownings, demonic possession, etc.  

Here's part of my response to him.

Of course a fear of something doesn't compare to the actual thing happening.

Getting stung by a wasp is probably much worse than my FEAR of getting stung by a wasp.

My fear of having a miscarriage when I was pregnant with Jack is nothing compared to the pain of mothers who actually DO lose their babies.

This is all stating the obvious though, isn't it?

But our fear comes from knowing that these things actually DO happen.

He then apologized and linked to a story from his blog.

Part of my response to that:  Anyway, your spiritual experiences are beautiful. I've had things like that happen--probably not as profound as your experience. But I've had dreams and little coincidences that make me believe there's something out there.

If I was believing he was real when I wrote that, I bet I felt all inferior because my spiritual stories are usually quite silly. I have amazing coincidences in my life, but they make no sense.   There's no tear-jerker conclusions.  It's usually more like, WTF was that all about?  

Here's an example from this week.  We bought the game Apples to Apples.  One time Jack and I were playing around with the cards. We came across a card that said Crazy Horse. I really had no idea who that was. Yes.  I'm ignorant. Sorry. But anyway, it was something not familiar to me.   

That was all a day or two ago.

Then today I responded to an email. I reread it and it mentioned Crazy Horse.

See, though?  It's a coincidence, but not an amazing and emotional one.

Anyway....

I'm getting off track here.

I wanted to talk about the invalidation stuff.

I think our guard should go up if someone tries to upstage us with their tragedies.  First of all, at the very least, it's rude. 

Second, it's elitist.  That's weird to say.  I know.  But as some people feel superior because they're wealthy or talented or are best friends with celebrities,other people feel superior because they have an illness, injury, or disability. 

No, you shouldn't frequently complain to your friend with pancreatic cancer that you have heartburn and hate the taste of Tums.  But if every time you mention your problems, that friend reminds you that they have cancer?   Well, I think it's a matter of them not wanting you to stand in their limelight.

There's also this. When I first started blogging, there was another fake cancer girl. It was a big drama when she came out of the pretender-closet. One of the stories I remember reading is that she told another patient with cancer that she (the faker) had worse cancer.

What kind of person says that to another person?

Yes, some cancer IS worse than other cancers. But it doesn't need to be said.

Not that two examples equals a trend. But I'm wondering if those who fake illness have a tendency to be competitive about it.  

Why do people fake illnesses and create blogs?

Obviously they want attention.

I can't blame them for that.

But I will blame them for their extremely cruel and unethical actions.

It's definitely not a victimless crime.

No physical harm is involved, but there's a ton of emotional harm.

Fortunately, for unsure cowards like me don't need to rock the boat, I found a link to a site that does the dirty work for us.

They have the story of Jeff D'Antonio.  If anyone wants the guilty pleasure of learning more about the drama. 

I was just thinking about Tallygarunga.

There's a bunch of people on there pretending to be wizards. Like Jeff D'Antonio, they're all a bunch of fakers.

Ah...but there's a difference. They're honest about their dishonesty. It's called fiction.

There's nothing wrong with making up stories.  I love made-up stories. But it's important to be upfront about it.   











Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Miserable

I just saw that there's going to be a new Les Miserables movie.

It's the musical version, on film.

It has some Australian stuff in it.

The two main stars are Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.

Sacha Baron Cohen is in it. He's not Australian. But he's married to an Australian.  

The director of the film is Tom Hooper. He's the one who directed The King's Speech, which had a lot of Aussie connections.

Tom Hooper himself is part Australian. I always forgot why and how. Lord Wiki just reminded me.  His mother is an Aussie.

I'm going to watch the trailer now.



I'm not sure how I feel about the trailer. I'm not sure I would have chosen that particular song.    Maybe they did it because of the whole Susan Boyle event. It's probably the song that's most familiar to the masses.  Even people who don't know Les Miserables probably know that particular song.  

I might go see the movie, mainly because two of my past girl crushes are in the film—Amanda Seyfried and Helena Bonham Carter.

I personally think the most important singing role in the film is Eponine. She's being played by Samantha Barks. I've never heard of her.  

Lord Wiki says she's done theater and was in a reality TV show about theater.

We'll see how she does with Eponine.

She'll probably do well.  Hopefully. 

Helena Bonham Carter is playing Madame Thenardier.   I think she's the one who sings "Master of the House"? I like that song. 

Amanda Seyfried is playing Cosette. 

The Cosette on the Broadway CD, I used to have, was played by Judy Kuhn. Kuhn was the voice of Pocahontas in the Disney movie.  

I like little pieces of trivia like that.  

Money Money Money

I was looking at an issue of this Australian magazine.  Outback: RM Williams.  They have an article about a car, and it includes the price of the car—$66,155. I'm very ignorant about car prices, so it was interesting to me.

It made me think about our plane tickets.

They're so expensive!

We're flying Premium Economy on Qantas.  For the three of us the cost is $8668.27.

Each flight is about 14 hours.  The total flying time on our ticket is 29 hours. That means we're spending about $290 for each hour in the air.

For $290, I could buy an 8 day pass to Disney World...well, for one person.   For the three of us I could get only a 1 day ticket.  

For the full 8.6668.27 I could get get about four years worth of annual passes to Disney World. That would be four years of passes for all three of us.

Of course we wouldn't go to Disney World for four years straight.  And we'd have to pay for plane tickets to go back and forth.  Plus there's food to pay for...and all that. 

With our Qantas tickets, the food is included. And I bet we get one of those face mask things;   aybe socks as well.

You don't get socks and face masks with a Disney Annual Pass.   

The Question: Why pay so much for plane tickets to Australia when the money can be stretched much farther if we use is it for other things?

Answer: I love Australia.  And the love isn't a quiet and mild love.  

I'm still unsure though if we did the right thing by going Premium Economy. 

I REALLY hate long flights.  We're hoping Premium Economy makes things a little better. But then a part of me wonders.  Is the improvement worth that much money? We're going to suffer no matter what.  Maybe we should have suffered more and paid less. 

It's too late to change things now. I guess we'll see for next time.  We might say, That was totally worth the money.   We're never going back to economy on Qantas. Or we might say, That was not worth it.  Let's do economy next time.

OR we could say, Flying that long is hell no matter what. We're never returning to Australia.

And I actually once had this demented fantasy of us hating the first flight so much that Jack insists we never do it again.  

Stuck forever in Australia. Yeah. What a tragedy that would be (insert wink here). 

One thing that makes me feel better about splurging on plane tickets is thinking about how other people have splurged.  

Here's an engagement ring for $8600 dollars. To me, personally, that's a waste of money. It's just a shiny thing.   What's the point of it?  And I could get a fake one for a very cheap price. Would that many people know the difference?

I would know the difference.

Would I care?

Nope.   

What's the point of having expensive jewelry? I don't get it. 

But some people do get it, and it's very important to them.

Different strokes for different folks.   

They might argue that they'd rather have this ring, that will last them through out their life, than go on a vacation to Australia that will last only a few weeks. 

My argument to that is the memory of the vacation will last a lifetime...or most of a lifetime. You might get Alzheimer's, unfortunately.   

Back to the car in the Aussie magazine.  It costs $66, 155. For that price, we could get seven sets of three return tickets to Australia on Qantas...Premium Economy. 

Seven trips to Australia. I'd much rather have that than a car. Plus you have to pay for the fuel.   With our Qantas tickets, fuel is included in the price.  




More TV Show Love

I thought of another show I love when I saw this photo.  

Can anyone guess what it is?

Here's a hint:  It has a connection to the new movie The Sapphires

Jim Parsons

I'm thinking about the Julian McMahon thing again.

I started thinking about it when writing my last post.

Here's the story in a nutshell (in case you don't want to read the long post about it):  I watched Charmed.  I liked Charmed.  I started having recurring dreams about Julian McMahon. I became obsessed with it all, and that led me to becoming very obsessed with Australia. Well, because Julian McMahon is Australian. 

Sometimes I think it was some kind of spiritual path, and Julian McMahon was the catalyst.

Other times I think I was being very silly, had a crush on an actor, and that led me to all of this.

But Jim Parsons makes me feel the former is more likely.

Why?

We have watched five seasons of The Big Bang Theory this summer.   We watched two episodes pretty much every Monday-Thursday and Sunday (Friday and Saturday we're usually at the lake house).

All three of us are really into the show.

I kind of fell in love with Sheldon Cooper, even though he's somewhat awful at times.

I have a minor crush on the actor who plays him—Jim Parsons, who seems to have all of Sheldon's cuteness, but doesn't have the extreme narcissism.  He seems really sweet, although I know I shouldn't judge people on their interviews. That persona could be as pretend as the characters they play.  

Anyway, The Big Bang Theory is definitely an obsession in our lives. I was once really into Charmed,  but I don't think it can compare to how much we're into The Big Bang Theory.

This Sunday I started to feel really awful because I realized we had no more episodes to watch. I had this sense of dread. I think I was actually feeling a type of grief. 

I have major love for the show and the characters. It's played a huge part in our summer.

But....

I don't think I've had one dream about the show.

Jim Parsons hasn't popped up in my lucid dreams. 

At least not yet.

I don't think he's been in any of my dreams. 

I think with Charmed, though, it was different. I think I liked the show, but not very intensely.   Then I started dreaming about it, and the dreams increased my interest in the show.

With The Big Bang Theory,  the love wasn't propelled by dreams.   I think I fell in love because it's a good show.   (The same can be said for Charmed, of course). But I think also we watched The Big Bang Theory so much, it became a comfort thing. I'm used to having it in our lives. I feel a bit lost without it.

I just accidentally capitalized (and was about to italicize) the word lost. I think THAT was a major Freudian slip.  

I did have dreams about Lost, by the way. But I don't think they were as intense and frequent as the Julian McMahon dreams. And they haven't really led me anywhere.

We did go to Hawaii, but that was for an Australian purpose. One time we went as a stopover on our journey to Australia. The next time we met our Australian friends there (because it's a good middle point between Texas and Tasmania). So if anything....Julian McMahon led to our Hawaii trips too.   Not Lost.

We DID visit some Lost sets while in Hawaii. I'll give Lost credit for that adventure, rather than Julian McMahon.