Monday, June 30, 2014

John Gorton

Today I was thinking about the butterfly and it's name.

I started to wonder why I named it John Gorton.

Of course I'd name it after an Australian. But why John Gorton? I can't remember if I had a reason or I just went with the first name that popped into my head.

I was thinking, though, that maybe my subconscious connected John Gorton's war accident with the butterfly's wing problem. They both had flying problems and injuries/disfigurements.

I do wonder what happened to John Gorton the butterfly. Why did his wings break?  One theory I have is that he got damaged in the rain. There was a big storm the day before.

Well, actually that's my only theory.

I guess he could have gotten into some kind of butterfly fight.

Yesterday John Gorton the butterfly was extremely lethargic. And he stopped walking. I wasn't sure if he had hurt a leg or was just running out of energy. I decided to try and leave him be—just kind of put him in one place and let him rest, get ready to die...whatever a butterfly needs to do towards the end of his life.

I have my Aussie books that I kind of use as his headquarters. I decided it would be fitting for him to rest on John Gorton's picture on my Prime Minster book. But then later today, he picked up in energy and made his way toward's Harold Holt's photo. On the way there, he left a poop on John McEwan.

This whole thing has been emotionally draining. This morning I felt depressed because JG was so lethargic and he hadn't eaten all Sunday.  Then this morning I found something he would eat and he had more energy, so I felt a little better. But I'm super nostalgic for...well,  a few days ago.

 I miss the times when JG would walk halfway across the room.  Sometimes I couldn't find him and would have to go hunting.  He'd find various places to camp out—the back of a rocking chair, a blanket my mom knit for me, my library book, etc.

Then I would put him on my hand and he'd climb up my arm and onto my shirt.

Oh! And he also liked walking across the book I was reading.

Those were the good old days.  

Air Supply Superstar

Today I was offended while playing QuizUp.

I was doing a music category and there was a question asking what Aussie band met while doing Jesus Christ Superstar.

The answer was Air Supply. I learned something new. So that was nice.

The problem I had was with the wording of the question. I forgot the exact words, but I think it was along the lines of, What DREADFUL Aussie band met while doing Jesus Christ Superstar?

I was offended on a personal level because I like Air Supply. I grew up with them. We listened to them on a family driving trips. 

I was very excited to see them a few years ago at Disney World.  

Even if I didn't like them, I think...well, I hope I'd still be offended. I don't think a trivia game needs to be inserting their strong opinions into the game.  From what I know, QuizUp invites people to submit questions. Well, I know this because months ago I tried submitting questions about Australia. So someone who doesn't like Air Supply submitted some questions. I think QuizUp should have done some censoring and/or editing.  

I think this is the first time I've seen such an opinionated question.  

Anyway, back to the Jesus Christ Superstar thing. I'm looking at the Air Supply bio page. It says the two singers met in 1975, in Sydney Australia, on the set of the musical. I wonder if they had some of the bigger roles?  Or maybe they were in the chorus?

You know what. I might guess they were in the chorus, or had one of the minor roles. Because otherwise I'd imagine they'd say something like Russell Hitchcock was playing Jesus (or Judas or Peter or King Herod...or whatever)

I could be wrong, though.   

So...what about you? Do you like Air Supply? Love them? Hate them?  Have no idea who they are? And what do you feel about trivia questions, is it okay for strong opinions to be part of the question?  


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cookie Again

I'm reading a lovely indie book that takes place in Australia. Band of Gold by Maggie Christenson

In the book, the protagonist makes chocolate chip COOKIES. Not biscuits. Cookies. It's the same thing that happened on Offspring.

So is the word cookie being used there more?

One thing I'm wondering is if it's used when eating the chocolate chip version of the baking product.

Maybe chocolate chip cookies are associated with the United States so when Australians eat those, they say cookies?

Or am I wrong? Maybe chocolate chip cookies aren't American.

Okay...well, Lord Wiki agrees with me. He says they originated in my country.

So maybe some Australians are saying chocolate chip cookie, but maybe they wouldn't say, please give me a Tim Tam cookie.  

If you are Australian, what do you say? Do you ever use the word cookie? And do you associate chocolate chip...whatevers...with the USA?

Bad and Good

Well, the positive news is that when I came to the lake house, my mom asked about the video of me on TV.  I think she thought of it because I was carrying a cardboard box and she thought it was a package of DVD's.  I guess she expected them to send me a DVD?  So I was pleasantly surprised that she hadn't completely forgotten about the interview.

There were no DVD's in the box, though. John Gorton the butterfly was in there. I took him to the lake house because I don't know how much life he has left. I didn't want him to be alone at our house when he he dies. I want to be with him for his last days.

And that's where the negative news of this post comes in. I think John Gorton the butterfly is reaching the end. He's always lethargic in the morning and I think it's going to be his last day. But then he picks up in the afternoon and gets very active.

But it's 4:00 now and he's still lethargic. I put him down somewhere and check on him an hour later and he's still there.  I had him sitting on a piece of fruit for a long time. Now I put him on my leg and he's just sitting there.

Oh! Well, never mind. Maybe he was just wanting me to write a blog post about him. Because as soon as I wrote the paragraph above, he started walking on my leg and then jumped off onto the bedspread.

I really love this little guy.  

Hopefully he will live more days.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Best Friends

Tonight we watched Mary and Max. It's a beautiful movie about unlikely friendships.

I can relate right now. Because this week my best friend is my John Gorton butterfly. He (or maybe she) is very sweet. He likes climbing up my arm to my shirt and then hanging out on my back. 

I like watching him eat, sucking up simple syrup with his tiny uncurled proboscis. 

I think John Gorton the butterfly misses flying. But I hope I've made his life, as a walking butterfly, a fairly decent one. 

Alf Stewart and Sally Fletcher are Safe For Awhile

Last night I dreamed about Home and Away.

There's a shootout between Martin Dibble and someone else. Lance Smart is in the room. The next thing I know, the scene is over and I learn Lance Smart has died.

Also...

Alf Stewart has died on the show. But then I realize it must be a mistake or fake-out because I know his character ends up being on the show for many decades. I think of Ailsa Stewart's reaction to his death. She didn't seem that sad. I decide it makes sense that she's not upset...since he's not really dead.  

If you know an actor's going to be on a show for awhile, you don't have to worry so much about their character dying.

On my episode yesterday, young Sally Fletcher was in mortal danger because sad, crazy Danny thinks his dead father wants him to kill her. Viewers back 1989 might have been biting their fingernails. Not me in 2014. I know that Sally ends up being on the show for many years. Something is going to mess up Danny's plans. Or maybe he's going to fight back against his ghost-father.

I'm thinking of other Aussie shows. Patrick and Lou's death were shocking, traumatic, and depressing for me. Maybe it would have been better if I had been emotionally prepared. 

Then again, we had spoilers about deaths on McLeod's Daughters and it made us lose interest in the show. If you know there's sadness up ahead, sometimes it's easier to just walk away. There's a certain Australian show that is so incredibly sad, I don't know if I would have chosen to even begin watching it if I knew what was in store for the characters.  

Back to Home and Away....

I know of some upcoming deaths. Tom doesn't have many years left. Bobby's going to drown, but I don't know when. And then I know something eventually happens to Ailsa—maybe some kind of disease?

I'm prepared. But I suppose in the near future, it will be nerve-wracking when I see scenes with these characters. If Tom looks any bit uncomfortable, I'll be expecting him to drop dead of his heart attack. Anytime Bobby goes near water, I'll get anxious. And if there's talk of Ailsa going to the doctor, I'll assume it's the beginning of the end for her.  

It all makes me think about real life.  Because as sad as death is when it's on television, it's often quite worse when it happens to people you know in real life. 

Would it be better if we all knew when and how we were going to die?  I think maybe it would. I'm an anxious person, and a lot of my anxiety comes from worrying about people dying.  If I knew a certain person was going to die from a fall when they were 79, I wouldn't have to worry about them drowning in a boat accident when they're 36; or dying of food poisoning when they're 45. If someone had a suspicious mole, we wouldn't have to worry if we know destiny has them dying in a plane crash twenty years from now.  

The only thing is...I think it would need to be very specific.  If all we're told is our year of death, that last year is going to be horrible. We'll be sitting around waiting...completely paranoid.  

I think we need to either know the exact day of death. Or we need to know the cause of death.  If you know you're going to die in 2018 of a pandemic, you don't have to fear rock climbing and roller coasters. 

But then let's say it IS rock climbing that's going to kill you in 2018, wouldn't you just avoid rock climbing?

Yeah. Probably.  

So then a lot of us might win the game against the angel of death. The earth will be overcrowded and very uncomfortable. But at least we won't have to be anxious about dying.  No...I think instead we'll be in despair about not being able to die.  

Maybe things are fine the way they are. Even if they do make us sad and anxious sometimes.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Guy Pearce, Fig Trees, and Tim Tams

I had a lot of dreams related to Australia last night. Or maybe it wasn't multiple dreams. I think I should probably say I had a dream with a lot of Australia content last night.

So...here it is.

I end up meeting Guy Pearce and we had also met way back in the past. I am pleasantly surprised he remembers me from the past, and even more pleasantly surprised that he's interested in dating me. I go for it...but with mild reservations.  I worry the main reason I like him is because he's a celebrity and Australian. 

Still. He's very nice and I enjoy his company. 

I think about telling my dad about Guy Pearce, and I'm wondering how to explain who he is. What movies should I mention to my dad?  I decide he's probably not seen Memento. And he's also probably never seen the Priscilla movie. Since my dad likes mysteries and thrillers, I'm wondering if he's seen the snow movie. But then I remember the movie has paranormal elements. My dad might not like that. But then I remind myself, it wasn't known in the movie if the paranormal elements were real or not. It was kind of left up to the viewer to decide. Maybe my dad would be okay with that. And then I start thinking, is my dad even against paranormal elements in thrillers? I actually don't know that he is, and I might be making assumptions that are wrong.

Then there was also...

A friend of mine tells me she's obsessed with Tasmania. I'm wondering how that happened, and the narcissist in me wonders if, by chance, my obsession led to her obsession.  My friend tells me she wants to go to Tasmania and pick a fig from a fig tree.

And then...

I end up seeing another video still from my interview. I'm very embarrassed because it shows me eating. Then I remember that they gave me Tim Tams and I ate them while on camera. I'm regretting this.  

When I woke up from the dream, I wondered how I was supposed to know Guy Pearce in the past. I sort of think it was some crazy surreal thing where we knew each other from Neighbours. It could be a reasonable thing like I was an actor on the show. And in other parts of my dream last night, I was an actor. So it makes sense.  My other theory is that he knew me from when he was an actor on the show and I was a viewer. Even though I'm a viewer in 2014 and he was an actor on the show in the 1980's. And yeah, it's also weird for actors to be aware of their viewers and to remember them. But hey this is the world of dreams. Strange things happen.

Another thing I wondered, when I woke up, is whether there are a lot of fig trees in Tasmania. I know there are ones on the mainland. But I associate apples with Tasmania. The funny thing is, I also dreamed of apple trees last night, but not in association with Tasmania.

I'm now asking Lord Wiki about the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, because those are the figs I associate with Australia. He says they're in Eastern Australia from Queensland to New South Wales.  So they're not known for being in Tasmania. That's not to say Tasmania might not have a few. Or they might have other fig plants.

We have a fig plant at the lake house. If my friend wanted figs, she could have just gone there instead of flying all the way to Tasmania. Then again, maybe the dream version of the lake house doesn't have figs. And maybe the dream version of Tasmania has a ton of fig trees. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

15 Minutes

Recently I received my quota of 15 minutes of fame.  Or maybe it was actually 20-30 minutes.

I checked my Statcounter around the time I was supposed to be on the telly, and my blog visitations shot up. Usually I get about 50-100 visits a day.  That day I got 677. It was a big deal for me. I know. For some people, that's a very slow day. But for me, it was huge. Naively I kind of hoped I'd stay that popular. But no such luck. I think I've had a teeny tiny increase in visitors these past few weeks, but that's about it.

It's fine.

In a way, it's more than fine. I didn't get any hate emails. I had a lot of fun at the Dallas studio. For the most part, it was a positive experience, and I think it has even inspired me to want to blog more.

What's not been a good experience is the way most of my family has disappointed me. I have always struggled with feeling ignored and unappreciated. I tell myself I don't NEED their attention. I don't need kudos from them. But still I desire it. I strive for it.

At first I didn't even want to tell them about it. The main reason is...well, I think I didn't want to be disappointed by their reactions. But Tim wanted to tell them and he did. I was actually pleasantly surprised that he wanted to help me get attention from my family.  It's not often I do something that's impressive enough to Tim that he wants to tell other people about it. So that gave me a few smiles.

Anyway....

Don't get me wrong. My family congratulated me with proper enthusiasm when Tim sent the email.

They didn't complete ignore me.

And my older sister and her husband were wonderful about it.  My sister wanted to hear all about it. The next day at the lake house, she asked questions. She listened. She even pushed me to tell my parents, Tim, and my brother-in-law the about it later.  I tried and maybe sort of succeeded. But it's hard with my parents. Their attention span for listening to me is extremely short. They interrupt, change the subject, ask questions about something else, share their own experiences, etc.

My younger sister never brought up the subject again after the day they were told I was being interviewed. She wasn't there at the lake house, when the rest of us were together, so she didn't hear any of the story. But there's been no email from her asking more about it. She hasn't asked if it's possible to see the video. Nothing. Her husband never said one word about it. And I've often sent him emails of encouragement and support.

Back to my older sister and her husband. Two days after the TV thing, my brother-in-law spent a chunk of time searching the internet for the video. Then after failing, he took the time to email me to ask for the link.  I gave it to him.  He and my sister watched it. They both wrote back and were very supportive. They acted proud of me...impressed. That was very nice.

Now my dad asked to see the video when we were in the pool together. But then he said, if I watched it and didn't like it, I don't need to send it. What would have been nice is if he had instead conveyed the idea that he expected me to be brilliant, and that he definitely wanted to see it...no matter what.

I told him I didn't plan on watching it, meaning don't depend on my liking of the video if you want to see it.

I don't want to watch it. I don't think I'll ever want to watch it.

But that doesn't mean I don't want my family to watch it.

It certainly doesn't mean I don't want my family to be excited about it.

I wanted my family to watch it, but I don't want to email them the link out of the blue.  It makes me feel like I'm saying, Look at me! Look at me!  PLEASE look at me!  I feel pathetic doing that, and it's horrible when they don't look at me. Or they give me a quick glance and them move onto something else.

What I want is for them to be interested in it enough (like my older sister and brother-in-law)that they actively seek it out.  I've vented about this to Tim, and he'll say, Oh, you have the video! Send it to me. 

But in my mind, it doesn't count because he's saying it when I bring up the subject. It's like there's a difference between being told you're beautiful when you complain you're ugly, and someone out of the blue saying you're beautiful.

I know some of this makes no sense to people. Why would I expect my family to care? Lots of families don't pay attention to each other's exciting news.  And I actually think that's sad for all families. But I feel it's extra annoying for a family like mine, because we keep up this facade of being SuperFamily—super close and always there to support each other.

My cousin has a blog and I used to envy her...not just because she moved to Australia, but because her sister and Mom would read the blog on a regular basis and comment. They were active participants. I thought that was lovely.

My family barely reads my blog. Every so often, I'll see something on my Statcounter from them.  It's rare and it doesn't feel good because they don't comment or email. It feels more like they're spying. Oh, and if I do get a rare email about my blog, it's to bitch me out about something.

Their excuse for not being interested in my blog? They're not interested in Australia. Well, give me a break. Australia is a whole damn country, and the subject of Australia covers a huge array of areas—politics, music, film, television, religion, celebrities, food, travel, etc.

It's not like I have a whole blog about earthworms or a whole blog about fingernail polish. That might get old after awhile.

And it's not like I expect them to read every single post. I would be happy if they read once a week...or even once a month.  And commented.  Participated! Let me know they read it.  Let me feel loved and adored for a few minutes, once in awhile.

So, here's another thing. Over the Dina-on-Telly weekend, my dad brought up the fact that he's commissioning my aunt to do a painting for them. He said she's the one artist we have in the family. And I didn't think anything of it, because I assumed he was talking about fine art.

But then I guess he remembered how we recently had a fight,and I had complained how he's never nice about my singing. While other people in the family seem to think it's wonderful, he seems almost afraid of it.  It's like he hates when I sing. Of course when I confronted him on it, he denied it.  I sing great, blah, blah, blah.

He sees me as sensitive about it though. So after bringing up my aunt's painting talent, he quickly added that I sing good and clarified that he was talking about painting type art.  I reminded him that there are other people with talents in the family. My nieces were in the room. Or one niece. I brought up her clarinet playing.

Okay, all that is besides the point. What made me mad is he only brought up singing because I bitched about it in the past. If his heart was really in the right place, I think he would have maybe brought up my other talent?  Uh...writing?   Yeah, I know. For the most part I was put on Aussie TV as a freak show. I understand that.  But I'd like to think that a small part of why I was on TV is I have an entertaining blog. And I like to think I have some writing talent.

I think it's sad that after writing tons of novels, screenplays, years of blogging, etc...my family forgets that I'm a writer. I would hope that after being on TV for my blog, they might remember it. At least temporarily. But nope. That wasn't the case.

It's all so insane. Sometimes I feel such a desperate need to do something that will bring me fans, whether it's singing, videography, writing, etc. Then I ask myself, do I want fans to replace the hole that's not being filled by family?  Would it be enough? If I had 677 visits to my blog everyday, thousands of Twitter followers, and millions of hits on my videos; but my family had no idea about it, would I be satisfied? Or deep inside do I want fame because I imagine then I would finally get my family's attention?

I imagine some people will read this and say, Well, you have to learn to love yourself. You need to have have faith in you, and don't worry about what other people say.

I do have faith in myself. I like my singing. I like my writing. I like my videos. I like a lot of things about myself.  But since there wasn't a zombie apocalypse and I'm not living alone on earth as the sole survivor of the catastrophe.  Well, I think it's fairly reasonable to want some amount of external validation from my fellow living earthlings.  And I think it's very reasonable to expect validation from family members, especially when that family has a reputation of being super close, loving, and supportive.









Tuesday, June 24, 2014

You're So Fancy. I'm So Spacey

We were driving to the grocery store.  Something on the radio sparked Tim into going on a short rant about Iraq and Afghanistan. I listened for a bit, and even participated. Then I started daydreaming. The next thing I know they're talking about Iggy.  Either Tim or Jack said they originally thought she was black. The other agreed.

Who's Iggy? I asked, assuming she was one of Jack's new Minecraft friends.

Tim said they were talking about Iggy Azalea.

Who?!

He reminded me...that Australian singer. The one that sings "I'm so Fancy".

Oh! It's kind of embarrassing that I didn't know that.

So...then I asked with confusion. Well, what the hell? Why are you talking about her? How did that name come up?  One minute we're talking about Iraq and the next they're talking about Iggy Azalea.

Tim told me they were talking about her because I was singing the song.

What?!

Was I singing while daydreaming?

I tried to remember singing.

Tim said I was singing it before we got into the car. It makes sense. Tim bought two boxes of chocolate for our anniversary, one Belgium from Costco and the other cheap American chocolates from the drugstore.

I prefer the cheap American ones...sorry.  I wondered if Jack felt the same. He doesn't. He said he likes the Belgium ones, because they're more fancy. So when I heard that I probably started singing the song.

I sing sometimes and I don't realize I'm doing it.

In other news: John Gorton the butterfly is still alive. He ate this morning. Now he's sitting on a leaf I brought in from outside.  It might not have been the best idea to name him John Gorton.  It's not rolling off my tongue very well. Maybe I'll call him JG.




Copha

I just took a FunTrivia quiz about Australian Christmases.  I did very well, by the way. I got 9 out of 10 right, which is unusual. I usually get more wrong. Sometimes I get most of them wrong...like when it comes to lyrics of Australian music from the 1970's.

Anyway, one of the questions was about something called White Christmas. I didn't quite know the answer to that one, but I guessed it correctly.

It's a dessert.  

It looks really good to me.  

It's made out of Rice Krispies (Bubbles), Fruitcake cherries, milk powder, raisins, dried apricots, desiccated coconut, icing sugar, and something called Copha. Here's a recipe.  

Lord Wiki says I'm not likely to find this Copha stuff in America. It's produced only in Australia. However, he does say other countries have it, but with a different name.  

It's vegetable shortening made from coconut oil, and it's full of saturated fat. So it's not very healthy.

I still want some. I mean I don't want to eat a chunk of Copha. But I would like to eat something made from it.

I'm kind of surprised I've never heard of this before.

Amazon has a picture of Copha, though they don't have it in stock right now.  It's very cute. There's some kind of baked good wearing a party hat. He looks friendly, but maybe the type of friendly that's out of control. He's like the kid your child invites to the birthday party and you, as a parent, secretly hope doesn't show up.  But then you feel guilty because he's not a bad kid. He's just a bit too energetic and is high maintenance.  

He's also the kid who has to be taken to the emergency room because he stuck something in his ear—maybe a candied cherry from his piece of white Christmas.

Anyway, I'm a bit perplexed that this Copha package looks entirely new to me. We went to many grocery stores in Australia, and you'd think I'd remember encountering this.  

Holy crap. I just looked at Simply Oz (the Aussie food store in America) and they have it!  How did I not see this before?  It's crazy.

Then again, I don't often look at baking supplies. I usually look at chocolate, lollies, biscuits, crackers, etc.  Stuff that's already made...in a factory.

When the weather gets cooler here, maybe I'll order some Copha.  

The Copha website has recipes.  I think the thing it's most known for is not White Christmas, but Chocolate Crackles. It seems you find them at birthday parties.  I think I'd much prefer that to Fairy Bread.  Though I do like LOOKING at fairy bread. I'm just not so keen on eating it.  

There are various websites online that provide recipes for Chocolate Crackles without Copha.  This one uses butter and marshmallow instead.  So it's kind of more like an American Rice Krispie treat.  

And here's a White Christmas recipe without Copha. They use white chocolate instead.  

Yeah. It turns out some Australians don't like Copha.  

I'm thinking that though I've never heard of Copha before today, I've probably eaten something that has it as an ingredient.  Somewhere along the line.  We do eat a lot of treats when we're in Australia.  







Monday, June 23, 2014

Butterfly

I walked to the library today, and on the way home, I saw a butterfly on the street. He was hopping about, his wings broken. I decided to take him home. I thought our house might be a more comfortable place to die than out in the hot sun.

So now he's in my office with me. I wanted to find a place to put him, but one that's not high up. I didn't want him falling. Yet neither did I want him just walking around where I could step on him.

So I made him a little platform out of some of my Australian books.  



I left to go get some simple syrup. When I came back, he was several feet away from the Aussie book platform.  His wings might be broken, but he's quite a walker.

I've tried to rescue broken butterflies before and never had much luck feeding them. But this time it worked. He ate some of the simple syrup.

I can't help but wish he wouldn't die...at least not for awhile.  

It would be nice to have a butterfly friend in my office for awhile, though I wish it hadn't come to this. I wish he could fly and be free. But that aside, I hope he has an okay time here.  

I haven't named the butterfly yet. I was thinking of naming him after someone on Home and Away.  I considered Jonah (Lance Smart's beloved pet fish), but Jonah died and that might be a bit morbid.  

I also thought of Celia Stewart. But I'm not getting a Celia Stewart vibe from the butterfly.

I don't know yet.

Something's telling me I should name it after John Gorton—not a character on Home and Away. A Prime Minister. I had a trivia question about him today and got it wrong. So maybe that's my way of making things right.  

Yeah. I think I'll name the butterfly John Gorton.   

Opera Singers and Arthur

Gay people have big ears!

No! Oops. I didn't write that. My homophobic orangutan stuffed animal has come to life and he's hijacked my blog.

Seriously, though....

I'm reading about the Georgian opera singer who was rejected by Australia because she said very homophobic things on her Facebook page.  Now she's claiming it wasn't her who said it.  It was her husband. He took over her page without her knowing it.

I can't say I definitely don't believe her. I've known of someone hijacking their spouse's small corner of cyberspace. And it did cause some drama.

It happens.

And if this is the case for Tamar Iveri, I feel sorry for her.  I don't know what she can do to restore her reputation. Apologizing and making excuses is probably not enough. Maybe she should do something positive and proactive for the gay community?

If she's lying, then she's being awful in a multitude of ways.

I'm thinking maybe she's telling the truth about her husband taking over the Facebook page, but what she's not saying is she shares his views.

I would be furious if a family member took over my blog and wrote horrific things that weren't my own views.  Then again, I'd be furious if a family member wrote anything on my blog without my permission.

As for the subject of homophobia, someone deeply offended me recently. They read my new novel which has Arthur, a gay man, as one of the main characters.  Arthur's in a happy marriage in the UK.  I had asked the reader which characters they liked and disliked. They reported that they liked Arthur least and went on a homophobic rant about that. I wrote back and said something like, getting the opinion of my novel from a homophobic person is probably like asking an anti-semitic person their opinion of Fiddler on the Roof.  Then they wrote back saying they weren't really anti-gay...blah, blah, blah. And the person talked about how writers are pressured by the gay Mafia to include gay characters.

So...he found me out.  I didn't want any gay characters in my novel. Really! But when they heard I was writing a novel, the Gay Mafia came to my door and threatened to murder my whole family if I didn't include a gay character.  So I had to rewrite my whole damn novel.  I had to get rid of Arthur's wife and give him a husband. Crap!

I'm not completely safe, though. I don't have any lesbians in my novel. The gay mafia said it's okay for now, but when they said that, they had this scary look in their eye.  So I'm a bit terrified.  It's hard for me to sleep at night.

If they're reading this, maybe I can remind them that I have little young girls in the novel. Mia and Kayla. One or both might end up being lesbian. Or maybe they'll be bisexual? Would that satisfy the gay mafia?

Okay. Yeah. I was offended by the email. And of course I'm offended by any homophobia.  I mean I'm tolerant of people with mild reservations...like people who support gay couples, but aren't ready to take the extra marriage step. I understand it takes some people more time to catch up.  Or some people might frown upon gay marriage for religious reasons, and I'm fine with that as long as they don't want their religious beliefs to influence the law of the land.

But anyway...I'm talking about the strong hateful type of homophobia, the kind that was written on the opera singer's Facebook page.  It's always bad. But it felt even worse for me when it was directed at my Arthur. Yeah, he's a fictional character, but to me he's very real.

Don't worry. I'm delusional, but not overly so. I understand that it's much worse to experience homophobia when it's directed at yourself. And I think I would lose my sanity (at least temporarily) if homophobia was directed at one of my loved ones. I mean a loved one that exists as a flesh and blood person and not just inside my head....or on Kindle.




Friday, June 20, 2014

Myths and Stereotypes

Oy!

Three posts in one day.  I feel like I'm spamming. I apologize if someone has me on a feed, and I'm bombarding them with my crap.

But then it kind of balances itself out. At times, I'll go a week without posting...and sometimes much longer.

Anyway, this post will be short.

I just wanted to share this link to a very funny FunTrivia quiz I just took. It's about the things us foreigners imagine about Australians.  Of course, I don't believe them anymore.  And I think on an intellectual level, even in my ignorant days, I would have known most were silly stereotypes.  But I think a part of me might have imagined them happening.

It's like I know people in the Netherlands don't all walk around wearing wooden shoes.  But if you ask me to close my eyes and picture The Netherlands, I might picture a blond girl in braids wearing her wooden shoes.

As someone from Texas, I feel compelled to ask this, do you have stereotypes about about us that you know are probably not true, yet you imagine them anyway?  For example, you probably know we don't all wear cowboy hats all the time.  But if I asked you to imagine me going to the grocery store, would you imagine a shop full of people wearing their cowboy hats, big belts, and boots?

Many of One?

Do you remember that scene in Being John Malkovich where John Malkovich sees a restaurant full of John Malkoviches?





I thought of it today because of my dream last night.

In one part, I was the member of a TV show or movie cast, and we were doing a cast photo.

When I woke up in the middle of the night, I thought of the dream. It made no sense because the cast member standing next to me in the photo was Julian McMahon.  But then I thought of the guy taking the picture. I'm almost positive that was Julian McMahon as well. Then later on during the day, I wondered...well, heck. Maybe we were ALL Julian McMahon.

No.  Well, I don't think I was.  I'm pretty sure I was myself. But maybe all the men were him.

I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've had a dream like that— one person playing two parts in the same scene.  What I do have on a fairly frequent basis is character changes.  For example, I might be at Disney World with my cousin Jennifer. Then later, it's my sister who's at Disney World with me.  I don't notice the character change until I've woken up.  I think I've heard of other people having the same thing happen. It's probably one of those common dream things.


To Drug Or Not To Drug

One of my Google News topics is psychiatric drugs. It's one of those things, besides Australia, that interests me.

Today they happened to have a psychiatric drug article from Australia: "Psychiatric Drug Use Soars Among Aussie Kids".  The article says that for children ages 10-14, the use of anti-psychotic drugs has jumped 49%.  And also, more children are taking anti-depressants and ADHD medication.

I've been pretty much against these drugs...mostly for personal reasons, but also from stuff I've read. That being said, I've never been 100% against the drugs.  I've always recognized that they're definitely needed for some people. And for other people they might be helpful, and it's a person's personal choice whether they want to go down that avenue of treatment.  I guess I shouldn't say I was against the drugs. It's more like I was against the over-prescribing of the drugs. I preferred to hear of people using other methods to deal with their mental issues.  

My opinion was somewhat swayed last month when the Swedish came out with a study saying psychiatric drugs reduces violence in mentally ill people.  The majority of mentally ill people are not violent, but a minority are, and if you can prevent them from being violent, maybe more people should be drugged?  Well, already more people are being drugged. So maybe we should just be okay with that, because it might prevent a future crime.  

But then I wonder, where do you draw the line?  Is it okay to drug too many kids in order to prevent a violent act that has a slim chance of happening?  

I imagine a lot of relatively mentally healthy children are being drugged when they don't need to be. Maybe they're depressed because they've had a hard time lately and depression is a normal human reaction to shitty experiences.  Or maybe they have an overactive imagination like Nina Proudman and their visions are harmless rather than a symptom of psychosis.  So the parents decide to take them off the drug or refuse the drugs all together.  And what if one of these kids happens to truly have a mental illness, needs the medication, and they're one of the minority of mentally ill people who end up committing violent acts?  What if they murder another child, and that murder could have been prevented if the child had been medicated?

What the hell am I trying to say here?

I'm trying to say it's one of those things where there are no easy answers. Many people are drugged that don't need to be drugged. Then some people really need those drugs and they're not taking them.

It's like some children are taken from their decent homes by misguided social services professionals, while other children are left to rot in horrible ones.  Mistakes are made in both directions.

Here's another sort-of analogy. Last year I was told by a doctor that I should get a colonoscopy. I didn't really agree with him. I did my research and felt I didn't really need one. But his suggestion scared me and opened up feelings of doubt. What if he was right? What if I had some kind of cancer causing my symptoms, and I missed it because I was too stubborn to listen to the doctor's advice?

 It took me weeks to decide yes or no.  I consulted various people in my life. My mom pushed for yes. Tim leaned towards no, but with the attitude that if I feel I need it, he's not going to stop me (his attitude on most things in my life).  My dad kind of left it up to me. Like Tim, willing to accept any decision I make. My older sister said definitely yes...better to be safe than sorry. My younger sister said yes, because it will help me stop worrying.  

In the end, I said yes. My paranoia won over my fear of being a hypochondriac.  

I got the test. All was fine for the most part. I had no cancer and no celiac disease. I was relieved, but at the same time I felt stupid for agreeing to the test.  I regret it, especially since we're Americans, so the test cost us over a thousand dollars. Tim has been fighting with the medical folks for the last few months because they're wanting us to pay $800 for anesthesia. What other wonderful things could we have bought for that much money?  

I think Tim finally got the bill lowered, but the whole thing has stressed me out.  And it's made me feel very guilty...kind of ashamed, like I'm a financial drain on our family.  

But then I think, what if I said no to the test and there had been something wrong?  What if I was now dying because I waited too late to get it checked out?

The general attitude of medical literature is the same as my sister's.  Better to be safe than sorry. And that would be a brilliant attitude if medical tests were free. But they're not.  If I went to the doctor for a test every time I had a questionable symptom, we'd be in a huge financial disaster. 

In all these things, there are no easy answers.  Just thinking about them might make me go insane.  Or they'll give me stress/anxiety symptoms that leads to physical symptoms that makes me imagine I might have heart disease or cancer.  And then again, I'll end up having to decide whether to get a medical test or not.  It's a horrible cycle.  

Life can be really difficult and confusing.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Favorite Aussie Music

I was thinking I should do a post about my favorite Australian music. I have an Aussie Spotify list with about 1100 songs.  Well, Spotify says it has 1116 songs, but I'm going to give a more approximate number, because I think there might be a few repeats.

Sometimes I like multiple songs from one performer/group, and sometimes I like just one song.

One of my favorite groups is Youth Group.  I think their songs are beautiful.  That's one of the reasons I like them. The other reason is I once dreamed of one of their songs.

This one....



My dreams seem to have a big influence on what I love, like, and fear.

Oh! I just learned something new.  I knew the song was a cover song, and I was looking for the original singer. Then Lord Wiki told me it was actually American producers who asked Youth Group to do the song. They wanted it for the show The O.C.  Lord Wiki says the song was used in the show and also used in promos for the Australian broadcast. And then the song became popular in Australia.

But, anyway, the original was done by a German group called Alphaphille.

Here's another Youth Group song that I love.




Shit. This post might be long.  I'm looking at my list of songs and there are so many I like.

Or maybe I'll talk about some today and some another day.

As for Youth Group, those two songs above are probably my favorites, but I like others of theirs as well.

My other favorite group is Whitley.  I first heard of them from my friend Tracey. She sent me a link to their Like a Version rendition of "Dancing Queen".



That was my first introduction to Whitley and also my first introduction to Like a Version.

It's so beautiful.

When we were flying to Sydney in 2013, I had a really hard time falling asleep on the plane. I listened to music and the one song that helped me doze off was "Cheap Clothes" It was a lullaby for me.





I love the banjo in the beginning.  Or at least I think that's a banjo. I'm not really that good with instruments.

I ended up using the song in one of our trip videos.  Tracey's in the video, which is fitting since she's the one who introduced me to Whitley in the first place.

The other Whitley song I love is the one they played in Dance Academy.  Just hearing the first few notes makes me want to cry.




You know what I'm going to do....Well, there are so many songs I like. And I can't keep embedding videos. But I want to talk more about the songs I love. SO, I'm just going to list the songs I love. If anyone is interested, they can google them. Or maybe some of you love the same songs, and you can shout out about that.

Okay. So here is my list.

Well, you know what. I'm going to leave out songs I loved in the past. Like Bee Gees stuff, The Wiggles, Cold Chisel, Missy Higgins, The Panics, Paul Kelly, Nick Cave, and Air Supply.  I still love that stuff, but for this post, I'm going to concentrate on stuff that's new to me.

1. "And the Boys" and "You're the One That I Want"(cover song) by Angus and Julie Stone

2. "Shelter for My Soul" and "Moreton Bay" by Bernard Fanning

3. "Biding my Time" and "Better Be Home Soon"(cover song) by Busby Marou

4. Various cover songs by Damien Leith

5. "Like it Like That" by Guy Sebastian

6. Bran Nue Dae and Sapphires stuff from Jessica Mauboy

7. "The Last Day on Earth by Kate Miller-Heidke.  (Another Dance Academy song)

8. "He's My Boy" and "Stompin at Maroubra by Little Pattie

9. "Animal Kingdom", "I See You I Need You" and "No Better Way" by Mark Boulle and the Haba Dudes

10. "Light Home" and "Brother" by Matt Corby.  Haunting music!

11. "Open Book" by Melody Pool

12. "Won't Give In" (cover song) by Sara Storer...I also like her duet "Clare" with Peter Denahy.

13. "Julian" by Say Lou Lou

14. "Riptide" by Vance Joy

15. "This Love" by The Veronicas

16. "The Curse Stops Here" by the Whitlams

There's so much more, but I could go on...way too long.

There are some singers I like in general, but no specific songs.  For example, Wolfmother, Archie Roach, and Slim Dusty.

And then there are songs and singers I loved in the past, but I've grown tired of the songs.  I'll probably like them again in the future.

So...that's my list.

What are YOUR favorite Aussie songs and singers?




The Cookbook

Today I finally finished looking at my copy of the Australian Heritage Cookbook.






As a daily ritual, I've been looking at a few pages, everyday, for the last few months.

My sister's family gave the book to me back in November for my birthday. According to them, they got the book for a dollar in the clearance section of Half Price Books.  It was a cheap gift, but one of the best.

I feel loved, appreciated, and understood when people give me gifts related to Australia...even if it might be something I already have. I expect those who love me to know I love Australia. I would never expect them to know what Australian things I do have and don't have.

And no, I'm not saying I already had this cookbook. I didn't. But I was just thinking about how someone else gave me a book I already had.

Anyway...back to the cookbook. I loved receiving it.

I loved that it was about Australia, of course. What made it even more special to me was that it was published in 1988.  That's the year Home and Away premiered, and at the time I received the book, I think I was watching the 1988 episodes. I thought that was cool.

We haven't actually made anything in the book. And by "we" I really mean Tim. He's the chef of the family.  Maybe we should someday. Some of the desserts look really good to me. Maybe as a family, we'll make one of them.

Speaking of Australian desserts, yesterday Tim bought Magnums at the grocery store. I know they're not technically Australian.  I think they're British?

Oh...wait. No. Lord Wiki says they're originally from Sweden!

But I associate them with Australia, because the first time we ate them was in Australia.

Now they're pretty prevalent in the United States, so they're a little less special.  But still...eating them is quite enjoyable.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spoilers and Changes (Spoiler Warning :1990's Home and Away)

Last night I took a FunTrivia quiz about Home and Away. Some of the questions were about things I'v already seen. Some questions would have been spoilers for me if I hadn't already seen the spoilers before. Then there were some questions that were meaningless to me—things about characters I haven't encountered yet.

I then went ahead and started surfing around the Back to the Bay website. I found more precise details about things I already knew were going to happen.

The thing is...I'm dreading the changes.

What I dread the most is the loss of Tom and Pippa.

Sometime in 1990, Tom's going to die of a heart attack. I'm in the 1989 episodes, so this event is approaching.

Then sometime after Tom dies, Pippa is going to be played by a new actress.  The actress I've grown accustomed to is Vanessa Downing.  Her time as Pippa was short. According to IMDb, she was on 363 episodes. In comparison, her successor (Debra Lawrance) was on the show from 1990 to 2009. She wasn't full-time for all those years, though. I think her big time was 1990-1998. Then after that she came on occasionally for special appearances.

I'm wondering what's going to happen to my relationship with Home and Away. Will I keep watching it for years and become so used to Debra Lawrance that I hardly remember Vanessa Downing?  Will I become okay with Pippa being with Michael rather than Tom?

Or will the changes bother me so much that I quit watching eventually?

Then there's Tom and Pippa's foster kids.  Carly's leaving within a year or two. Bobby's going to drown at some point.  I think Steven sticks around for some time, and I know Sally sticks around for a long time.  I'll miss them, but maybe I'll become attached to new characters.

I adored Lynn, the first foster child to leave the show. I thought I'd miss her, but I really don't.

I was glad to see Frank leave. He was getting on my nerves.

I think changes are pretty much always difficult...at least when they first happen. With some, I can never quite get over them. The older was better and I swim around in nostalgia. Then other changes don't seem so bad after they've happened...especially after some time has passed. Then it's hard to remember why I liked the old way in the first place.   

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Random Surprise Australian Book

We went to the library today.

I looked in a G row of the fiction section and picked up a book called Bay of Fires by Poppy Gee.





It's Australian. Before looking at it closely though, I had a feeling it was Australian.  Maybe I've seen it mentioned somewhere?  Or maybe I connect the title to Australia. The jacket cover says it's about Tasmania. I vaguely remember hearing about a Bay of Fires.  Is there a Bay of Fires?  I'll look in a second.

Or it could be the author. The only other person named Poppy that I know of is Poppy Montgomery.

Wait! Now I remember!  It was the word "Poppy".  I associate it with Anzac Day!  So I saw that and thought Australia. It's kind of a coincidence though, because Poppies are more than just an Anzac Day thing.

Okay. Now I'm looking up Bay of Fires.  Lord Wiki says it's a bay on the north east coast of Tasmania.  According to Google Maps it's 2 hrs 45 minutes east of Launceston.

There's a Bay of Fires guided walk holiday.  It sounds really nice. If I'm understanding things right, it's twelve hours of walking within four days.  And then you get all this relaxation time as well. It sounds lovely. I want to go.  But it's not going to be happening anytime soon for me.  So in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy reading my Australian book.

I hope I like it. I wasn't a big fan of the last surprise Australian book I ran into at the library. Hopefully, I'll like this one much better.

Anyway, back to the book and why I got the feeling it was Australian. I think it was a combination of the poppy thing and the Bay of Fires. I probably have seen the place mentioned before.  

Don't Ask to Move There and Don't Hold Onto the Fish

I dreamed about Australia last night.

In my recent interview, I said that I dream about flying to Australia and I dream about our last days in Australia.  I don't usually dream about the middle of the trip. (I'm not sure if that was in the interview or if they cut it out?)  Anyway, of course my subconscious had to go and prove me wrong. The dream I had last night was not about the beginning or the end.  I'm glad, though. I think it's nicer to dream about the middle of a trip to Australia. I don't like the beginnings. I can't say I get overly pleased about a 14+ hour plane trip. And the end of trips are usually not bursts of joy for me.

So...this was my dream:

I'm in Australia with my whole family (nuclear plus parents siblings, nieces, nephews, etc). I start thinking we should actually all move to Australia. I think of suggesting this, but change my mind. I worry I'll annoy my family and then they won't want to even visit Australia because it will lead to me pestering them about moving there.  

And in another part: My mom and I are at animal exhibit. It's like a lazy river attraction at a water park, but you don't have rafts.  There are big colorful fish swimming by everyone. Fish keep touching me as they pass me by. I think it's really great, but then I worry they're only doing it because I'm in the wrong place. I realize I'm standing on the steps which people need to use as an entrance or exit. I figure I shouldn't be standing there.  

There's a woman who grabs onto a fish and holds it—kind of keeps it prisoner. I think this is wrong, and I sort of want to tell her not to do it. But I don't.  

I'm actually not 100% sure that fish dream took place in Australia. I'm pretty sure it did, though. And I don't think there's a way that I can prove myself wrong.  So...I'll just go with it; say it was about Australia.

When I woke up, I came up with an interpretation.  I think the fish could represent opportunities.  I think I'm the type of person who kind of just waits for good things to come to me.  And sometimes when they do, I don't feel deserving of them. I feel there must be some mistake.  I can't imagine the fish are approaching me because they like me.  It must be because I'm standing in the wrong place.

I think the other woman represented people who go out of their way to grab on to opportunities. They go after things. Sometimes this is good, and I admire them. Other times they use methods that I feel are dishonest or hurtful—wrong in some way. Their actions make me uncomfortable.

Speaking of touching animals, I've been feeling the Irwin spirit lately. We have snakes on our boat dock, and I love taking the walk down to the lake to see them. They're so adorable. I have an urge to cuddle them.  I won't, of course.  And I'm not totally Irwined, because I don't have much love for crocodiles. They scare me.  That being said, it IS known that there have been alligators spotted in the lake.  I'd be excited to see one...and at the same time terrified. I definitely wouldn't have an urge to cuddle it.

I was thinking about it the other day. What if I saw an alligator?  Should I really be that scared? Because they're not as aggressive as Saltwater Crocodiles. But then I thought...what if I saw an alligator and it really wasn't an alligator? What if someone had wanted to terrorize Fort Worth and they dropped a crocodile in the lake?  Yikes! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Politicians Named Bob and Trip Reports

I'm still busy with Australia government quizzes on QuizUp.  I just took one about Aussie politicians named Bob.  I thought it was cute.  I got an 8/10.  I missed the 8th and 9th one.  I did worse on a quiz that asked a question about all the Prime Ministers in chronological order.  I forgot what I got on that, but I'm pretty sure I missed at least 10. Yikes. Still. I enjoyed doing the quiz.

There's all kinds of fun quizzes on that page. If you're a fan of Australia, like me, I highly recommend it.

Yesterday, a nice man named Frank sent me a link to his Australia trip reports. Right now I'm reading about their 2007 holiday.  I like Frank's writing. It makes me feel like I'm there. So an hour or so ago I visited Coober Pedy. Then I fed the cat, cleaned the cat litter box, took a shower, and then ventured off to Uluru.  I really love armchair traveling.

Frank talks about how Uluru is so amazing, like some kind of spiritual experience. I remember Bill Bryson describing it in the same way. Or at least he said it was more amazing than he expected.

I often fear going there. I worry I'll end up being disappointed, and that I'd be better off seeing a different rock—one that's less famous, but charming in it's own quiet little way. But maybe there really IS something magical about Uluru.

Speaking of trip reports, since I have more people coming to my blog now (at least for yesterday and today), I was thinking I repost my links to my 2009 reports.  I took them down after the 2013 trip, because...well, I don't know why. I guess I felt it was time to move on and concentrate on my more recent life history.

But now I'm going to move back to the past.  I worried I deleted the links and would have to go through and do it again.  But fortunately that's not the case.  So....here they are. 

Television

So...as many of you know, I was on Australian TV this weekend.  And if you know, that's probably why you came to my blog in the first place. So you don't need me to tell you I was on TV.  But I do sometimes have a few people who find my blog through Google searching, and they might not know I was on TV.  Do they need to know I was on TV?  Probably not.  I probably don't even need to write this post. Ah, but I'm doing it anyway.

Here's the link to the show.  I haven't watched it. I'm too scared. I haven't gotten any hate mail yet, so I'm guessing it wasn't too incredibly awful. But I'm nervous about seeing myself.  Is that very mental? Yeah. Probably. Maybe I'll watch it someday...maybe even later today. Who knows.  I think, though, that it's hard to watch your own self talking on a video. I made my own videos and posted them to this blog. I sang songs and spoke in an attempted Aussie accent. Making the videos wasn't too stressful, but I had a hard time watching them afterward. It's all kind of dreadful. 

So...the whole experience of being on TV. It was actually pretty fun and surreal. I think it could have been a lot worse. I could have ended up crying or giggling uncontrollably. That happens to me sometimes. It didn't this time, and the blessing of it all is I didn't even worry about it happening. It didn't come to my mind until the day AFTER the interview.  I was walking around our Lake House and heard The Cup Song.  I started getting all teary-eyed, and thought...Oh, it's good I didn't get that way during the interview!

I think what happened is I was so preoccupied with another thing that could go wrong—me drawing a blank.  My mind goes blank sometimes. I have problems remembering things.  When I was first approached about the interview I tried to imagine things they might ask me. I imagined them maybe wanting to know if I knew who the Leader of the Opposition was. I just learned that a week or two ago.  Well, guess what. I couldn't retrieve the name Bill Shorten from my brain. Then I was going through the Prime Ministers. I could not remember Joseph Cook. I'm still having trouble with that guy. I keep wanting to call him Joseph Cotton.

I also couldn't remember the word Magpie. I was thinking black and white birds...they swoop down at you.  It took me about five minutes to remember.

Well, I was not asked about Magpies, Joseph Cook, or Bill Shorten.  So I didn't need to remember them, but I still like knowing that I can.

Anyway.....

Thanks to all of you who watched the TV show and took the time to check out my blog. It's fun to see all these visitors!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Quizzes and Mistakes

Recent events in my life have given me a strong desire to play Australian trivia games. Unfortunately, I'm a little tired of QuizUp.  I mean I'm not tired of the game in general, because there are a ton of topics. But I am tired of doing the same Australian questions over and over.

So today I googled Australian Prime Minister quizzes, and I found that FunTrivia has a whole page of Australian government quizzes. I've used FunTrivia before for Aussie trivia, but I don't think I knew they had a government page. I think the trick is to be specific when searching for quizzes. I think I usually just search for Australia quizzes...or trivia.  But that's probably too general.  

I took the first quiz on the page which is about political quotes. I got a 7 out of 10. I'm fairly happy with that, because for the most part I knew the ones I got right. It wasn't just a matter of random lucky guessing. I like proving to myself that I've actually learned something through these years of writing this blog. I need that ego boost sometimes.  

Anyway....

One of the ones I got wrong was a quote from William McMahon.  During an election campaign, he said, I ask you to carefully consider the record of my government and vote Labor. That's not a good thing for a LIBERAL Prime Minister to say. Major oops.

Reading that made me feel better though. Because although I do fairly okay with Australian government quote quizzes, the same can't be said for my proofreading skills. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis could attest to that fact. My friend is reading my book now and she emails me every so often to tell me I've confused characters in my book. Today I got an email telling me I did it about 5 times on the same page.  I corrected it and tried not to feel too horribly ashamed. 

It's so easy to say the wrong thing, and it's easy to write the wrong thing and not notice you've written the wrong thing even if you've read it over multiple times.  Or maybe I shouldn't say that. Maybe I should say it's easy for SOME of us. Other folks probably have their heads screwed on better.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Emma Has Arrived and Alf Stewart Aint Happy

I've been watching Home and Away for a year or two now, and today's the first time I saw one of the more famous performers on the show.  Now there are other actors who are well-known, but what they're known for is their long-time work on Home and Away. So I guess I'm talking about celebrities who are more famous for something besides Home and Away. AND I'm also referring to the actors that I personally had known about before becoming addicted to Home and Away. So...I'm discounting Cornelia Frances (Morag) who has done a lot of other work, because I had never heard of her before watching the show. Yeah. I know. I'm being very egocentric here. Sorry.

Anyway, the star who appeared today is Danni Minogue.  Although honestly I really only know her as being the ex-wife of Julian McMahon and the sister of Kylie Minogue. Oh, and I also know she's a judge on some kind of talent show. I should go find out more about her.

Right now I'm not liking her too much...or at least not her character, because she's causing problems between Alf Stewart and his wife Ailsa. She's Ailsa's long lost troubled niece who needs a home. Ailsa wants to help her. Alf does not. I'd like to be kind-hearted and believe her wickedness is going to be tamed, and she'll end up having a Roo Stewart like transformation. But we just had the evil Dodge on the show—the troubled foster kid the Fletchers thought they could save. And it ended up he was a murderous con artist.

Speaking of Roo Stewart, I was wondering why Ailsa didn't bring that up when Alf was whining about not wanting a difficult teenager in the house. His own daughter was one, and Ailsa had to deal with her.

Sometimes soap opera writers annoy me with their selective memories.

Back to the subject of famous actor people on soap operas.  I've encountered more on Neighbours. First of all, from the very beginning, we've had Alan Dale.  I knew him from Ugly Betty and Lost.  It's really fun seeing him in his younger years.  Right now his storyline is about loving a woman young enough to be his daughter. He's getting all kinds of grief about it.  I'm on his side. Yes, there are difficulties in loving someone who is far from your age group, but I think as long as both are consenting adults, it's.... Well, love is love.

We've also have Guy Pearce. His character is so sweet and meek. He's a guy struggling to get enough money to earn a teaching degree. If I was watching the show way back in the 1980's and had to guess who'd end up being the most successful of the actors, it probably wouldn't be him.  And that's not to say he's the worst actor. I think it's more about me confusing the actor with the character.  It's hard to imagine this quiet student teacher will one day become a transexual performer, part of the royal family, a time-traveler, and a guy with a mysterious short-term memory problem.

Last but not least of the celebrity soap opera actors, there's Kylie Minogue.  I got to her episodes a few weeks ago.  Her character's a sweet, but outspoken and misguided teenager who tends to give her mother a hard time.  She's being manipulated by her father into believing negative things about her mother.

I have a lot of Kylie Minogue songs on my Aussie Spotify list.  I like them.

Now I'm going to listen to her sister.






I should add her to my Spotify list...if they have any songs from her. I'm sure they do.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Energy Vampires

My big thing right now (besides Australia and Minecraft) is reading books by Indie authors.  These are authors who are not published by the big publishing houses.  Many of them, like me, have published their own books using Amazon Kindle or a website called Smashwords.

I've grown a to-read list on GoodReads consisting of indie authors.  I use my beloved Random.org to determine what book I'll read next.

This week I ended up with a book called Atancia.



I should just lie now and say, I saw the cover and was excited to see it's about Australia.  Because if you are normal person with normal observation skills, you would see the Sydney Opera House right there in the picture.

Me?

I didn't notice until just now when uploading the picture to my blog post.

So I'm reading this book, which was quite wonderful. Then young Atancia meets a guy.  They talk. She asks where he lives. Answer: Australia!  I was very excited.  I love reading Australian books.  I also love it when I think a book is NOT Australia related and I learn I'm wrong.

It was good enough that there was an Australian character in the book, or at least a character who lived in Australia.  (I was never quite sure if he actually had an Aussie accent or not, or if he was more of an expat).  Okay, but then they actually go to Australia, and it ends up most of the book takes place there.

The energy vampire family lives in The Blue Mountains.  The characters also visit Sydney, though. They hang out around Circular Quay, visit the Opera House, etc.

Without Australia, I'd still say it was a great book. But add Australia to the mix, and it becomes a super great book. At least for me.

I had wondered if the author was Australian. I still don't know the answer to that question. Her biography on GoodReads says she was born in Lima, Peru.  Maybe she moved to Australia later?  Or it could be she's like me and has just visited Australia.  OR it might be she's never been to Australia and was able to write about it anyway.  I think these days it's possible to do that.  There are so many helpful websites...especially Google Maps.

Someone who lives in the The Blue Mountains might read her book and find mistakes (if there are any).  I've only been there once, and I'm not an expert on the place.  I just see keywords like Three Sisters, steep railroad, and Katoomba and I'm satisfied.

The only thing I questioned was there was a scene where they're at a restaurant, and one of the characters mentions ordering Vegemite. I think maybe he was joking, though. I just don't know if there's a restaurant in Australia where they have Vegemite on the menu.  I mean you can order toast and get Vegemite with it.  But I don't think there's usually Vegemite as a menu item.  It's like coming to America and saying, I'll have the peanut butter.

I think either the author made a mistake...or more likely, the character was sort of teasing the American.  I can't remember if he was suggesting the American get Vegemite or he was saying he'd get it.

Anyway, I loved this book and put the sequel on my to-read list.

Oh, and you know what's awesome. I read the first book for free.  That's one of the great things about Indie authors. We're desperate for readers, so will often offer freebies and discounts.

Unfortunately, Atancia's free promo days are over, so if you want the book, you'll have to pay $1.99. That's not bad, though.

I hope a lot of people read this book and it becomes super popular. I think it deserves to be.

I hope more people read Indie books in general. I'm so glad I've gotten into this, because I've discovered some great books.  Yes, some books are not so great.  But I'm also still reading traditionally published books, and some of those aren't so wonderful either.  And of course, it's all subjective. The books I label as great might be labeled as crap by other readers. The books I label as being not-so-great might be treasures to other readers.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cookies on Offspring

I just finished watching episode 5 of Offspring.  I was surprised to hear them using the word "cookie".

I know a lot of American words are being used in Australia, but I didn't know cookie was one of them.

For balance, I'll report that this weekend I asked Jack what he wanted for brekkie.

Speaking of Americans, this week on my Home and Away episodes, a dorky American family visited Summer Bay in search of the Summer Bay bunyip.  I was curious if the actors were Australian or American, so I did a little research.

The father of the family was played by a guy named Lance Strauss. Strauss has an Elton John tribute band called Elton Jack.    He was born in the United States and moved to Australia when he was a teen.

Back to Offspring....

I thought it was another well-done episode.  Sad, funny, and beautiful.

I had low hopes for this season and I'm glad my expectations were wrong.   

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Day Before Thanksgiving

I had another dream about traveling to Australia.

It started with me complaining to two friends that they're not good listeners and what's really bad is that none of my friends are good listeners.  Well, actually it started even before that.  But that's a whole other storyline and I won't go into that. I'll just get to the Australia bit.

In the airport, my friends and I head to the gate. We're met by another friend—some girl with platinum blond hair. She, or someone else, tells us it's good we're leaving the day before Thanksgiving.  What she seems to mean is it's better than leaving on Thanksgiving Day itself. But I'm thinking crap, we picked one of the busiest weeks to travel.

We get to the gate. They're already boarding. I hate that I'm having to rush onto a flight, especially one that's going to be so long. As a I walk towards the entrance of the plane, I hear talk of problems on the plane. It's food related—something to do with lamb and veal.

When I get on the plane, I burst out singing...some type of patriotic Aussie song. Then I shut up
(maybe feeling embarrassed. Or inappropriate).

I notice the plane is much smaller than the usual international flight.  I look around at the people. There are older men wearing underpants only.

I then become concerned that this plane isn't going to Australia. I ask an employee and don't get a clear answer. They don't seem to understand my question, and I don't understand their answer.  I try to change the words. Instead of asking if we're heading to Australia, I ask if we're heading to Sydney. 

They answer. I barely understand, but what I get is there is no set destination. We're just going to fly and hang out in the sky.

I'm not to pleased with this, but I take a seat (my friends seemed to have magically vanished from the dream). I sit by some man and we start talking a bit.  I notice he looks like the actor from Freaks and Geeks.  I don't like bothering people about that, but I decide to ask.  Before I even get the question out, he answers. Yes, he's that guy. He tells me his name...which I don't really hear.

I looked it up when I woke up.  It's Martin Starr.

Usually my celebrity dreams are quite random. This one was not.  We've just started watching Freaks and Geeks.  Then yesterday, Tim showed me Starr on another show he watches, Silicon Valley.

He was nice in my dream, though. It's too bad it ended.  It might have been fun flying to nowhere with him.  I wonder if we were even heading in the direction of Australia.  And what would have happened with the lamb and veal?  Would they have had any vegetarian meals available?  Would the guys wearing only underpants put on clothes before landing?

People talk about controlling dreams. Maybe I'd just want the power to continue the unfinished ones.

Well, I guess we CAN finish them...with our conscious mind.

So, I'll say the plane took off. I have fun hanging out with Martin Starr...for part of the time.  Other times, I read a really good book.  And then all the passengers started singing together...the patriotic Aussie song I sang in the beginning.   Some people start dancing.  I join in and dance with them.   No, we don't dance to the patriotic Aussie song.  We dance to dance music, and there are disco lights.  It becomes a wild party.

Then the plane lands in the water near a beach with a lot of kangaroos. We feed them and cuddle them while eating soft-serve ice-cream and meat pies.

I'm still trying to decide what songs we'd be dancing to.

You know I'll go with what's playing on my Spotify Aussie list right now.






Monday, June 2, 2014

Australian Politics

Sometimes things in your life fade away—interests, friendships, hobbies, etc.

Sometimes you're okay with this and sometimes you might regret it.

My fading thing is my interest in Australian politics.

I've really lost touch.

I quickly glance at Australian news headlines, but rarely actually look at the article.

I don't watch Q and A.

I don't pay attention to Tweets about Aussie politics.

The other day Jack asked me who the Leader of the Opposition was.  I was embarrassed to say I didn't know, but that I thought maybe his last name started with an A.

Yesterday I remembered to look it up.

The man I had been thinking of was Anthony Albanese, and he wasn't Leader of the Opposition.  He was Deputy Leader, and that was only for about a month.

The real Leader of the Opposition is Bill Shorten. I had no idea!  At least I know who he is, though.  I remember him from my Q and A watching days.

I probably don't want to go back to knowing as much about Aussie politics as I did in the past.  But I do regret my current level of ignorance, so I think I'm going to try to change that. At least a little bit.