Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sympathy for My Sister and Bad Haircuts

Last night I dreamed that...

I write a blog post about how I felt sad for my sister when she was in a coma. I go on and on about it. It's as if I think my emotions were profound and unusual. Then someone named Craig (Maybe from Melbourne?) writes a comment saying that what I felt was sympathy. I'm thinking, no it can't be that. It was more than that. But then I start to realize he's right and I feel stupid about writing the post. 

I also dreamed that Julian McMahon got a bad haircut because of a movie he was in. It totally changed his appearance.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Paul Robinson is Depressed

On my Hulu episode of Neighbours, Paul Robinson is depressed. His niece Kate was killed, and he's partly to blame for that.

Paul's nephew Daniel tried to help Paul by getting him outside into the fresh air.  Paul was reluctant, but eventually gave in. They went on a walk together and ended up at the nursery.

I don't remember how it happened, but Paul started helping with the plants. With this, his mood picked up a little.  On days after that, he returned to do more work.

Sonya, who works at the nursery, felt a bit put out about Paul being there. She felt he had to be watched like a child. I'm not sure if she felt stressed because he was bad with plants and was causing damage. Or she was stressed by his fragile emotional state?  Either way I feel for her. I think it's hard being around depressed people.

But still, I think she could handle it. She's supposedly into helping people and even does counseling work. Although this is mostly with alcohol abuse. Maybe depression is out of her range.

On an episode I watched recently, Sonya pretty much told Paul to get lost.
She said it in a very gentle way.  She said his problems were very serious, and she worried having him work at the nursery was like putting a bandaid on the problem. His needs are beyond what she can handle, and he needs professional help.

I was annoyed by this. I disagree with Sonya.

I won't say Paul doesn't need professional help. Therapy might help.

But I think what will help his depression more is working at the nursery.  It gave him a purpose in life.  It made life a little less dark.

Working at the nursery might have been a bandaid for Paul, but I'm thinking that's what depressed people need.  They need to have comforting things to make life more bearable—a volunteer position, chores, a TV show they love, a video game, a crafting hobby, a website to explore,  a new goal, etc.

Paul ended up talking to a therapist who almost immediately suggested medication. Paul quickly said no, but Karl the therapist talked him into considering it. He said drugs can help Paul feel better, but of course they'd also need to talk.

I just don't see how talking and medication would be better than working in a nursery.

What's there to talk about?  Paul and the therapist already know why Paul's depressed. What's the point of rehashing the whole thing?

Does talking about our problems help us?  Or does dwelling on our problems lower our mood?

I tend to believe it lowers our mood. That's not to say I think we should bottle up all our feelings.  I think venting is helpful to some some cases more than others.

But I think it's more helpful to give people the chance to feel needed, and/or to bring purpose back in their lives.

If Paul could wake up in the morning and actually look forward to taking care of the plants in the nursery, I'd say that was a very good thing.

I felt Neighbours was pushing an agenda—the idea that mental illness is a disease that needs to be treated by highly trained professionals.  Amateurs should step back and let the doctors step in.  But why can't both step in? Why can't Sonya and Karl, AND other people help pull Paul back into the light?

I wish Sonya had said something like this to Paul, it's great having you work in the nursery. It's so nice to have extra hands here. I hope you continue to work with us here. But I think it would be helpful for you to talk to a therapist.

OR maybe she did say that. I kind of forget.

 I'm pretty sure she didn't.

I think she pretty much rejected him. I'd say rejection is probably one of the last things a depressed person needs. Sometimes it can't be helped, of course. It's not fair to keep someone around just to avoid them being depressed. But to reject someone BECAUSE they're depressed seems a bit wrong to me.  Well, no. I did say above that it's hard to deal with other people's depression. So I can have some sympathy towards someone rejecting a depressed person. It's better, though, if people can brave it out and stick with the depressed person.  And we certainly shouldn't reject a depressed person simply because we feel we're not trained enough to deal with them.  If we're helping them feel better, then I think we should continue with what we've been doing.  Medication and talking to a professional can be added to the helpful stuff we're doing, but I don't think the medication and therapy should replace it.   

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Melbourne T-Shirt

You know how they say if you want to meet people, you should get a dog or a baby?  The baby and/or dog attracts attention. They're a sort ice-breaker.

Well, it turns out Melbourne has the same powers.

I wore my I Heart Melbourne shirt today, and at least three people made a comment about it. One was a seemingly drunk guy who didn't impress me much. But I had a really pleasant conversation with a couple while in line for Rock-n-Roller Coaster. I enjoyed the conversation more than the ride. Then this evening, I was served vegetable soup by an Australian from Moonee Ponds. She commented on the shirt.

The other day I wore another Australian shirt, and that sparked some dialogue as well.

It's fun.

Now that I think of it, though. It's not just Australia that brings attention. The other day a mother and daughter used my pink Disney Magic Band as a conversation starter. And I had one brief conversation about my Doctor Who t-shirt.  But still...Melbourne has gotten the most attention.

In a way, I think people just want an excuse to talk to each other. Maybe we're all a bit lonely. So clothing sometimes gives us a starting point.

Although with the couple in the roller coaster line, it didn't start with Melbourne. It started with me asking whether or not they had been on the ride before. Yes, they had. Then I asked them if they liked it. We all chuckled a bit at my stupid question.  Yeah. Why would they be in line for the ride if they hadn't liked it the first time?

I didn't learn my lesson, though. When I got on the ride, I turned to my ride partner and asked him the same questions.

It was probably just nervousness that was making me ask mindless questions.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Say Lou Lou

Today I'm going to learn about the musical duo Say Lou Lou.

I know them from their song "Hey Julian".

I already learned a few things about them, because I had to Google to figure out whether or not they are Australian. I thought they were, but didn't have 100% confidence.

When I looked them up, I saw that they're from Sweden and Australia. Originally I took that to mean that one member of the group was Swedish and the other was Australian. But then I read more carefully and saw that they're twin sisters. I guess it could have been a Parent Trap type situation—each twin raised in a different country.  I think, though, that it's more likely that the twins (together) lived in Sweden some of the time and Australia another time.  Actually, I think I read that this was the case. Again, I'm not 100% sure. I didn't look at anything in detail.

The other thing I saw when skimming through the information is that one of their albums is called "Lucid Dreams" or "Lucid Dreaming". I thought that was fitting...just for me personally. Because I have lucid dreams about Julian McMahon. And the song I know from Say Lou Lou is about a Julian. 

OR maybe it's not just me personally. Maybe there are other people that have lucid dreams about Julian McMahon. Yeah. It seems to me that it would be statistically impossible for me to be the only one.  Well...I guess it depends on how common lucid dreams are.  At the very least, his family and friends should be having them. 

I've been trying to find out how common lucid dreams are but am not having luck. This website has some ideas, but I don't think there's anything scientific about it. I think it's just someone's opinion. 

I think lucid dreams are hard to qualify and quantify. I'm not even sure about my own dreams. I say they're lucid, but I'm definitely not fully lucid in the dreams. It's more like I'm partly lucid. An example would be I'm in my bed and realize I'm dreaming. Or actually it's more along the lines that I get the idea I can leave my body, travel through the window, and have an adventure. I struggle to remove myself from the bed without waking up. So I guess I do understand that there is sleeping involved.  But later when I wake up, I realize my bed wasn't my real bed.  My house wasn't my house, or it looked different from my real house. But in my dream I wasn't lucid enough to realize this.  

I do have some dreaming moments that might better qualify as being truly lucid. There are times where I'm very meta-cognitive and ask myself questions to connect my dream self to my waking self. And there are lucid moments where something scary is happening, and I force myself to wake up to escape.

I also have times where I know morning/wake up time is approaching, and I'm anxious and regretful about having to leave the dream. 

Anyway...enough about my dreams.  Or enough for now. I'm sure I'll find excuses to ramble about it more later.  But in the meantime, I should get onto learning about Say Lou Lou.

I'm going to start with Lord Wiki.

He says Say Lou Lou is made up of twin girls who were born on June 7, 1991. They're exactly ten years older than one of my nieces.

The names of the twins are Miranda Anna and Elektra June. Then their last name is Kilby-Jansson.  The Kilby comes from their father, Steve Kilby. He was (is?) a member of the Australian band The Church.  Jansson comes from their Swedish mother, Karin Jansson. She too was in the music business. She's known for a band called Pink Champagne.  

I'm mildly familiar with The Church.  The song I'm familiar of offhand is "In an Unguarded Moment". The funny thing is I'm more familiar with a cover of the song. Someone sent it to me on a mixed CD.  

I'm looking at my massive Aussie Spotify list.  I have six songs from The Church. Only one sounds familar by title ("Under The Milky Way").  If I listened to the others, they'd probably sound familiar. 

Yeah. I just listened to bits and pieces. They all sound a little familiar.  I don't love any of them. I don't think they left much of an impression on me. I listened to the Spotify list a lot but often not knowing who sang what. Then every so often, I will suddenly bond with a song. And then in those cases, I'll often find out who sings it.  

Lord Wiki says Say Lou Lou released their first single in 2012. Then in 2013, they formed their own record label.

Lucid Dreaming is their first album, and it hasn't come out yet. It's going to be released in February.

Their first single was "Maybe You".  

Their Julian song is called "Julian" not "Hey Julian". But I think in the lyrics they say Hey Julian. That's why I got confused.

I'm feeling a bit dumb right now.


I'm going to watch some Say Lou Lou videos. I guess I'll start with the first, "Maybe You".  

There's a person swimming in the ocean; then a tunnel, a tree and then a woman wearing just a bra. Or maybe it's a bikini.  She has an interesting mole on her back. 

I was thinking this song sounds familiar. It turns out I have it on my Spotify list. I just never noticed.

I don't know If I'm very attracted to the song or the video.

Well, actually I think I do kind of like the song. The video is boring to me, though.

There are two women in the video. I wonder if they're the Say Lou Lou twins. Or they could be other women. Models? Actresses?

Now I'm going to watch the Julian video

I'm being warned that I'm about to see explicit content. Will there be naked people?

The beginning of the video makes me dizzy.

Then there's a dead woman. I think? Her eyes are all red. Or maybe she's alive. I can't tell.

Again, I think this is another case where I like the song better then the video.

So far, there's no naked people. The most explicit thing has been a kiss. You might not think a kiss would be explicit. But they get really close up and then we see an exchange of saliva. I think it's a bit graphic. To me, it's not a big turn on. Other folks might disagree.

I'm wondering about the meaning of the song. They keep talking about crossing the border. Crossing the border to where? Or what?

I'm looking at comments for the video. Several people mention a remix of the song by Chainsmokers.  I'm going to watch that...or at least listen to it.

It's pretty cool—more upbeat than the original.  

Lord Wiki says the Chainsmokers are American, and they're the ones who created the song "Selfie". 

I don't know which version of "Julian" I prefer. I guess I like both. Or maybe I like the Chainsmokers version, just because I'm now going to associate the first one with the video. And I didn't like the video. I think the video might have ruined the song for me.  Maybe that's why I don't often like watching music videos.  Sometimes the video adds to the song for me, but I think often it detracts from it.

Here's Say Lou Lou's Facebook page. I think this is what they use for their official website. Lord Wiki linked to it, and they also link to it from their Twitter.   

Their most recent Facebook update right now is from January 19.  They have a song posted called "Games for Girls". The beginning of the song is a bit repetitive, but I like the song. It's fun.

A few days before that, they posted the cover for Lucid Dreaming.  It reminds me of their videos. There's an aura of We're SERIOUS and SEXY.  I'm not a big fan of that look.

On December 12, they posted a photo of themselves with the same color hair. The caption says,  And some people don't believe we're identical twins...ha!  Usually, the twins have different colored hair, so they don't look identical. But anyway, it's hard to know, because sometimes fraternal twins look very much alike. The example that comes quickly to my mind is the Olson twins. They looked enough alike to play the same character on a TV show, but they're not identical.

The Say Lou Lou twins have that whole smoldering thing going on, which makes me think of Friends. You know when Brad Pitt was hating on Rachel, but she mistook his hate for smoldering.  

I'm learning today that I don't find smoldering to be very attractive. I prefer a warm smile or silly happiness.  I guess seriousness is sometimes okay. But not sexy seriousness. Maybe I like seriousness that is thoughtful or mildly angry. But righteous anger—like someone angry because they don't like how their best friend is being treated. It's like Callan Mulvey on Rush when someone has mistreated one of his fellow officers.  

Now I'm going to look at Say Lou Lou's Twitter.  Their most recent Tweet is from 8 hours ago. It's in response to a guy named Chris Gray. He suggested that they listen to Tori Amos's album Scarlet Walk.  They Tweet back. Our little sister is named after that album.  So I guess little sister is named Scarlett. Or...Walk. Is there anyone out there named Walk? I bet there is. Somewhere.

I'm going to sound a bit picky now, but...oh well. Chris Gray's Tweets kind of annoy me. First of all, I don't like it when people tell me to do something.  He Tweets, Listen to Tori Amos' Scarlett's Walk right after PJ Harvey's Stories album. Real treat. When people say things like that to me, I feel they're being pushy and bossy.  But then how else should people recommend things to me? Why am I so intolerant?

Maybe I'd like it better if they say things like I highly recommend. Or You might like. Or I'm wondering if you'd enjoy.  That all sounds less confrontational than me.

The other thing that Chris Gray says that bothers me is his response to Say Lou Lou's Tweet about their sister. He Tweets, That's so cooooootee! Your entire family must live on beautiful dreams that leak into reality.  

I don't like when people make assumptions especially based on so little. Naming your child after an album doesn't guarantee that you have a wonderful dream-like family. There could be awful abusive parents who name their kid after an album.

Maybe it's the word "must" that bothers me. Maybe if he was less definitive about the whole thing, I'd be more tolerant.

On January 19, Say Lou Lou Tweeted about a song called "We Float" by PJ Harvey. They say, it's one of the best songs they know.  The title reminds me of Stephen King's It.  I think the victims of Pennywise the clown say something like that.

It's nice though that they're promoting something on Twitter that's not their own product. Most of their Tweets though are self-promotion. The recent ones are specifically about Lucid Dreaming. 

There are some other things, though.

On December 22 they quoted from Nietzsche. You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.  I like that quote.  It reminds me of a book my cousin sent to me.

Shit. I forgot the name of the book.  But it was about people who are intense in various ways. It talked about how people become confused and depressed, because their ideas and beliefs are threatened. But this is actually good, because in the end it makes us smarter, stronger, better, etc.

In a way, it's good for our soul to be tormented. I don't mean by other people. Not abuse. But the stuff we inflict on ourselves. The guilt, the doubt, the fear...the discovery of our own hypocrisy.

I was hoping to find a Tweet about lucid dreams; not the album, but the actual dreaming thing.  And here. On December 3, Say Lou Lou Tweeted, This year has gone by so fast, it's almost like we just woke up from a very lucid dream!  

I have lucid dreams, and time goes by very fast for me. I've never connected the two.

I'm wondering if I've ever had times in real life that felt like a lucid dream.

I don't think so. And I'm pretty sure that I've never felt that the life-flies-by times in my life were like a dream.

On November 24, Say Lou Lou Tweets, Why do Germans put curry in everything?  That's not something I've ever noticed. Though I haven't had much German food in my life. We've had German food at Disney World. I think that's about it. And I don't eat the meat stuff. Maybe the meat has curry?

Lord Wiki says there's a German fast food called Currywurst. It has curry.  I'm not sure if other German food usually has it. Maybe in actual Germany, there's a lot of curry in the food. But exported German food has less of it.

On November 10, Say Lou Lou shared one of their dreams on Twitter. dreamt that we were in a strange hotel in a foreign city and had to choose between our vinyls and could only pick a few each.

Vinyls are records, right?  I wonder which ones they chose. Or maybe that was never revealed. I have plenty of dreams that leave me in suspense.

Here's an article about Say Lou Lou. But at the time they were known as Saint Lou Lou. Lord Wiki mentioned that name, but I failed to mention it. I'm mentioning it now.

The interview includes a photo of the girls with their smoldering look. They're hanging out with two dogs.  The dogs aren't doing the smoldering thing. They're doing the I'm-sad-and-need-a-cuddle thing. Otherwise known as puppy dog eyes.

The article says, Named after a great aunt who was “just really mean” (older-by-four-minutes Miranda’s description), Saint Lou Lou makes dreamy electropop that brings together two elements of late-’70s disco: huge, sweeping emotions and lots of synthesizers. 

At first I was confused when reading that, thinking the twins were named after the mean aunt. I was thinking but WHICH twin.  But now I realize they're talking about their music group name.

Their parents divorced when they were babies, so that's one of the reasons they split their time between Sydney and Sweden.  I say one of the reasons, because if their parents stayed together, there'd probably be time spent in each country. Although I guess in those cases, more time is often spent in one country more than the other.  I guess the family usually lives in the homeland of one of the parents but then sometimes they go to visit the other country.

This article says the twins are NOT identical. So I guess on Facebook, they weren't saying they were identical. They were saying they look identical.

At the time of the article, the girls lived in neither Australia or Sweden. They were sharing an apartment in London.  I can't find a date on the article, so I don't know when this was happening.

The article says Miranda has brown hair and prefers Sweden to Australia. Elektra has blond hair and prefers Australia. I wonder if they both have fun and interesting dreams. I wonder if they're really interested in lucid dreams, or they just like the idea and/or sound of it.

Here's another interview. This one too has a smoldering photo. I'm guessing, though, that this is par for the course when it comes to magazine interviews with female music celebrities.

The article says they speak English to the crew and stylists but then to each other, they'll speak Swedish.  I think it would be cool to be bilingual.

The twins hug each other a lot and hold hands. That's sweet. I think family affection is nice. I'm thinking again of Friends.  A few days ago, we watched the episode where Monica is led to believe that she and Joey are eating dinner with a brother and sister, but they're actually lovers, and that leads to some fun misunderstandings.

The interview asks who is Julian? I was wondering that as well. There's no real answer here. One of the twins says, It’s such a romantic name! Like Dorian.  So why didn't they go with Dorian?

The twins didn't dress the same when they were growing up.  Elektra liked red. I guess a lot, because she says her nickname was Electra Red. Miranda likes navy and black.  It also says here that Elektra is the more extroverted one. I think that kind of fits. I picture red being the color for an extrovert and black being a color that an introvert would prefer.

The twins say they weren't very close when they were young, but the music brought them together.

They have different skills when it comes to singing.  Miranda has a higher voice. Elektra can sing the low stuff.  I'm not good at singing the low stuff.  I try and I fail.  So I relate more to Miranda there. And also I relate more to Miranda in the whole less-extroverted thing. I'm much more introverted than my two sisters.

It says here that they shared an apartment for only two months. Then they both went to live with boyfriends.

As for shoes, Miranda prefers flats and Elektra prefers heels.  Another instance where I'm more like Miranda.

Maybe there should be a Miranda-Elektra personality quiz!

Now I'm going to watch a video interview with Say Lou Lou. I'm excited to hear what they sound like when they're talking.

Ah! They're smiling. And now they look cute to me. They look sweet and natural. I think that's so much better than the smoldering stuff.

Miranda says there are certain connotations to being a female twin. She says, just because you're a girl and twin; it doesn't mean you want to have a three-some.  

I don't think I ever saw anything sexual about female twins...until I saw Say Lou Lou. Before I heard Miranda say all that, I was thinking that there's something rather kinky about the two of them.  I think they're projecting a sexual image.  Now it could be sexual in terms of sexiness towards others. But I also see a sexiness directed towards each other. They might not want a threesome but from looking at them, I kind of get a different feeling.

OR maybe it's me and I'm the one projecting ideas onto what I'm seeing. It's possible, because we're in the midst of watching American Horror Story which features a threesome involving twins. They're conjoined, so they don't have much of a choice in the matter. If we weren't watching American Horror Story, maybe I wouldn't have seen something kinky about the Say Lou Lou twins.

Again, though, the American Horror Story twins have to have threesomes because they can't take a break from each other. I've never gotten a sense that they were sexually attracted to each other. Yet with Say Lou Lou, I do feel like there's a bit of flirting going on.

I wonder if there's been many cases of twin incest. I don't even know how common sibling incest is.  I wish there was some magic button I could press that could give me all the statistics— How many people have lucid dreams; how many people have lucid dreams about Julians; how many people have lucid dreams about Julian McMahon, specifically; how many siblings are doing incest with each other; how many twins are engaged in incest with each other; how many twins are not doing incest but are tempted by it.

The Internet has answers, but, unfortunately, it doesn't yet have answers to everything.  

I'm Not Obsessed with Hawaii

Last night I dreamed about Australia.

I'm in Australia with my parents. We're hanging out with some other American tourists. There's a young man with us happily and proudly talking about how he chatted up an Australian girl.  He talks about how he told her he'll be studying overseas, as if this means he'll be close to her. But it seems he's not studying in Australia. My mom tries to tell him that he'll be quite far away from her.

Later I approach the young American and ask if he likes movies. I ask this because I want to suggest that he watch some Australian films. But no, he doesn't like to watch movies. I then talk about how it would be a good idea for him to learn about Australia. He can watch movies, read books, visit blogs, etc. I tell him you can't really learn about Australia just by talking to a few of the locals.  Australians will be polite to American tourists and give you the idea that they all love America. But that's not always exactly true.

I think of blogs I can recommend to him. The only one I can think off the top of my head is Andrew's. I also think of my own, but decide it would be arrogant to recommend it.

The thing is, though, the man doesn't seem very receptive to what I'm saying. He seems somewhat annoyed by me.

The conversation comes to an end. Or really, my lecture comes to an end.

But then I think of something and return. I suggest to him that maybe he's not really interested in learning about Australia. And that's fine. I tell him about how I want to Hawaii, and couldn't care less about learning about the place. I just wanted to have fun.

Anyway, I dreamed this and then had a bit of a coincidence. Everyday I read one of my old posts from this blog. Today I read one that talks about Hawaii.

I wrote:

 But I think I was referring to the fact that they showed Sydney on Lost. Although they really didn't. They showed Hawaii, and pretended it was Sydney. So maybe my past life was in Hawaii. Maybe I'm supposed to be obsessed with Hawaii, and I've really screwed things up. I doubt it, though. I've been to Hawaii three times and don't feel any huge connection to it. And my favorite thing about Hawaii last time was that my Australian friends were there. And the other times, the most special thing about Hawaii is that we were stopping off there on the way to and from Australia. 

Yeah. Well...I just thought the coincidence was kind of interesting. I'm not sure if it means anything.

As for my dream last night. I wonder what IS the best way to learn about a country. Let's say someone's interest falls between my obsession with Australia and my lack of interest in learning about Hawaii.  Is my dream right—that it's better to watch movies than to talk to locals? Or maybe my dream was saying you need to do both.

Can someone get a good education about a country without doing any background research. Can you learn enough by just experiencing the landscape and talking to locals?  I think in most cases you can't unless you're going beyond the usual tourist stuff.

For example, if by locals you mean "tour guides", then I don't think this is going to give you a full picture.


I did very minimal research before our first trip to Australia. In Australia, I talked to several people who weren't tour guides—just regular people going about their lives.  But I don't think I really was knowledgable about Australia until after that trip, when I started reading blogs, doing research, watching TV shows, reading a huge amount of books, listening to Australian music, etc.

I think, though, that what I said was true in my dream. You don't always have to visit a place so you can learn about educate yourself. Sometimes you go just to seek enjoyment.  And I think that's fine.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Websites Listed in My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 16)

It's time for me to look at another website in my favorite bathroom book!

Today's website is...

NOT what I thought it would be, because that website seems to be out of service. It was the Eagle School of Microlighting. 

There was a photo of this microlighting thing in my book. It looked terrifying to me. instead I'll be looking at Villa Gusto la dulce vita.  Their home page promotes themselves as being a playground for grown-ups. Then there's a picture of a hotel room and a picture of food. So I guess it's a restaurant and hotel. Plus there's other stuff.  My bathroom book says it's in Bright, Victoria, and that Bright is a ski town. So maybe the playground refers to the skiing stuff.

I just scrolled down a couple of millimeters and saw there are a few paragraphs. There's something about cars. If I'm understanding things right, they have some kind of partnership with a thing called Fiat Chrysler Australia.  They say,  The valued customers of Fiat Chrysler will not only get the chance to put these cutting edge vehicles through their paces, but will also enjoy a taste of "La Dolce Vita" (the sweet life).  Then a few sentences later, they say Unfortunately, this means that we are not able to take bookings for the next three years, but we will be continuing to offer our guests the ultimate high country experience of great food, wine, accommodation and when required, thrilling, high octane, pure adrenalin pleasure. 

I didn't understand that at first. But now I think I get it. La Dolce Vita is accommodating the people who are wanting to do the car thing. Because of that, they have no room for other guests. But in three years, they'll be back to accepting regular bookings from the non-car people. All this was written in July 2013, so the three years is partly over.  I'm guessing they have about a year and a half left to go.

I thought Fiat Chrysler was some type of long term event, but it looks like it's just the car company. So I guess people wanting to buy the car come to Bright and then stay at the La Dolce Vita?  It's like some kind of upscale shopping experience, I suppose.

This public relations company has an article about the partnership. They said media people were brought to Bright where they drove through the lovely landscape in a fancy car. Then they stayed at La Dolce Vita.  So I'm guessing it's not any old customer they're taking in, but people who can help with promotion.  Or maybe not. Maybe in the first few months, they had media and other folks like that. Maybe later, other people were accepted.  I wonder, though, if it's an invite-only type thing. I'm imagining it probably it is.

Now I'm wondering if I'm a bad person. Max just regurgitated his breakfast. I found him eating it and let him continue on with that. It saves me a clean up job and also prevents waste. He doesn't often eat what comes back up, so I'm guessing this is one of the cases where the food hasn't been too  chemically altered by his body. It's probably very close to it's original state.  And fortunately it occurred on the hard floor rather than carpet. So if he doesn't eat it all, the clean up won't be too difficult.  Still, I'm grossed out. I have a thing against vomit. Though I do much better tolerating the cat stuff than the human stuff. And I don't even know if this qualifies as vomit. I don't think it's gone very far at all into the digestive process.

Sorry. Yeah. I should get back to the Villa Gusto.

Here's information about their suites.  They say sleeping on their bed is like sleeping on autumn leaves. I've never slept on leaves before. I suppose it's comfortable. You'd need a big pile of leaves, I imagine.

They say they have seven suites, but then they have pictures and names of only five. Maybe there are multiples of the same suites.

Here we go. There are three of the Mallanzane suites.

No. Wait. I'm totally lost.

I clicked on some of the other suites, and they say there are three of those as well.

Where are they getting the number seven?

I went and counted all the suites. There are thirteen.

It all has something to do with colors. I think there are supposed to be seven different colors of suites. But then they only name five: ciocolata (chocolate), limone (a dark yellow) Rossa (a dark red), Bianco (white), and Mellanzane (Eggplant).

There's talk of the rooms having Italian artwork, which leads me to think this whole place has an Italy theme. So the color names are probably Italian.

Here's a page about their food.  As one might expect, they serve Italian cuisine.  Their food photo includes asparagus. I ate that the other night at California Pizza Kitchen. I didn't even really notice it was in my food, but I became aware that night when I had to pee.  The smell bothers me. Yeah, as if normal pee smells lovely.  But still. I guess I'm used to that smell. Or actually...Does urine smell?  I think in the morning it does or other times that it might be strong. But in general, I don't think it has much of an odor.  Anyway, after that experience the other night; I decided maybe I'll try to avoid eating asparagus.

Here's an online brochure that lists things to do when you're staying at Villa Gusto.

It seems the big highlight is Mt. Buffalo. It can be seen from Villa Gusto.  But if you want a more in-depth mountain experience, you have to drive fifteen minutes.  At the mountain, you can swim, canoe, look at a waterfall, etc.

You know, I just realized I forgot to look at where Bright is. Although I have some idea, because the book told me.  It's between Melbourne and Sydney.  But I want to see on Google Maps.


It's about four hours north-east of Melbourne.

It's seven hours south-west of Sydney.

So, it's much closer to Melbourne.

I think the book says it's a good place to stop off during the drive from Melbourne to Sydney (or vise-versa). Though it takes you about two hours out of your way.  I'd rather stop somewhere more convenient. Although if you're very interested in seeing a place, it doesn't hurt to take detour.  It's like on our way home from Disneyland, we stopped at the Grand Canyon.  It took us a couple hours out our way, but we felt it was worth it.

The Villa Gusto brochure says they have bikes you can borrow. But then they say...but flat tyres are your worry.  That doesn't sound very inviting! And what does that mean? Their tires are worrisome? The terrain is likely to cause flat tires? They're not going to help you if you get a flat tire?

I don't know. It doesn't sound like something that should be in a brochure. It seems more like something that's put in small print on the waiver.

There's gold history in Bright— a gold rush cemetery. That might be interesting to some people.

There are wineries.

There's a place called Bright Berry Farms.   Bright Berry Farms says they used to let people pick their own berries, but they don't allow that anymore. Now you go and buy berries that they already picked. Or you can get sorbet and other berry desserts.

I wonder why they stopped the picking. It seems like that would be the best part.  Although I've never done any fruit picking activities before.  I mean I've picked figs from the trees at the lake house. But I've never been to a fruit-picking tourist attraction. I wonder if I'd like it.

The brochure says, Beware of ducks on the Ovens River and Koalas above!  I guess that's their clever way of promoting the fact that you might see ducks and koalas. They make it sound like a negative, but in reality it's a positive. At least for most people. I guess there could be a few people in the world who have a duck or koala phobia.

According to this website, a phobia of ducks is called Anatidaephobia.  I wonder how many people have it.

There's a Facebook page about Anatidaephobia, but I think it's a joke.  On Google I'm seeing a bunch of websites that say Anatidaephobia is not just a phobia of ducks, but a phobia that wherever you go, a duck is watching you.

I think it's all a joke.

But I do wonder if there are people out there who fear ducks.

How about koalas?

Anyway...Villa Gusto promotes koalas and ducks with a warning. So maybe the warning about flat tires is twisted kind of promotion as well?  Maybe it's a badge of honor to provide terrain that is likely to cause flat tires?  I don't know much about cycling.

The Bright area does sound nice, though. It seems there's lots of food—gelato, the berries, pubs, bakeries, etc.  But you can balance all the eating with walking and other exercise.  I think that's my type of holiday—eating a lot, but then being very active.  That's pretty much what we do at Disney World. We eat, walk...and go on rides.  That's on my mind right now, because we're going there soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Adultery Takes Three (Sometimes)

I've been really enjoying Neighbours.  It's much less outlandish then the American soap opera I used to watch... for the most part.  The storylines and characters seem much more real to me.

One of my favorite storylines is about Naomi trying to break up Toadie and Sonya's marriage.  For me, it's driving home the message that adultery (or ALMOST adultery) can be usually at least partly blamed on all three people.

In the Naomi-Toadie-Sonya storyline, it's definitely mostly Naomi's fault. She uses manipulation to get herself closer to Toadie. She fakes having a stalker to get his concern. She finds ways to create distance between Toadie and Sonya. For example, when Sonya comes to the office to talk to Toadie about a fight they've had, Naomi suggests to Sonya that it would be better for her and her husband to have time apart.  Instead of having a discussion with your husband, why not get a massage instead? Naomi then pays for the massage. So not only does she get Sonya temporarily out of the picture, she comes off looking generous and caring.

Today I watched the episode in which Toadie tells Sonya that while she'd been away on a holiday (Naomi's idea again) Naomi tried to kiss him. Toadie tells Sonya he has no feelings for Naomi, and that he fired her from her job. She's out of his life. I think he expects Sonya to be forgiving and understanding, but she's furious.  She calls Toadie naive for spending so much time alone with Naomi. Really! What was he thinking?  While his wife was out of town with their child, he invited another woman to be alone with him in their house. They ate nachos together, watched wrestling, and he told her any man would be lucky to have her. And this was not the first time, they spend quality alone time together.

Yes. Maybe men and women can be friends. But if we're married and someone outside the marriage is trying to spend a lot of time with us, MAYBE we should entertain the possibility that for this person, it is NOT a platonic thing.  

As for Sonya, I definitely don't think she's perfectly innocent either. I don't think she's an easy person to have for a spouse. There have been times that Toadie has tried to spend time with her, and she's too busy. A few episodes back, they were eating lunch together. Toadie was very grateful because it seemed to him that Sonya was always busy with other people. He felt neglected.  

But then teenage Bailey came along to their table needing to talk to Sonya regarding his alcohol problem. Instead of saying, I'm busy now, but I'll get back to you really soon, Sonya ended lunch early with her husband so she could do her counseling work.  Bailey's a nice kid. Feeling bad, he then tried to pay Sonya back by babysitting Sonya and Toadie's toddler. Toadie thought this was great.  They have a sitter. Now they could have a date together. But no... Sonya took the babysitter opportunity to work at the nursery instead of using it to be with her husband. 

Guess who Toadie ate with instead. Yes...Naomi!  By spending so little time with her husband, Sonya made it easy for Naomi to spend time with him. And by making it seem that Toadie was very low on her priority list, it made it easy for Naomi to be there to provide the attention he craved.  

So yeah. I mostly blame Naomi for the mess, but I definitely don't think Sonya and Toadie are completely innocent.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dolls and Delusions

On my episode of Rush today, a man and woman kidnap a baby at a shopping center.  As the episode progresses, it's revealed that the motive is about the woman wanting a baby.  She's quite delusional. Even though the baby is a boy, the woman dresses him in a pink coat and keeps referring to the baby as her.

I thought about this woman's mental state, and how it's awful that it's led to a mother going through the horrible stress of having a missing child. I also worried that the kidnapper's mental state might worsen. So far the baby has been relatively calm and even smiled at the kidnapper. What's going to happen when the baby gets sad and/or angry? I imagine this woman might feel rejected, and that might lead her to harming the child.

I thought about a post I did awhile back about adults who own dolls and become very obsessed with and emotionally attached to the dolls. It's all a bit strange and somewhat creepy but for the most part harmless. I thought that it would have been so much better if this woman got herself a doll instead of kidnapping a child.

The writers of the show might have been on the same wave length as me. There's a second storyline on the show. A man is going to jump off a building because his girlfriend Jasmine has been taken from him. Who has taken her? His parents. Why would his parents take his girlfriend from him?

Well, it turns out Jasmine is a doll.  The father wanted to stop the nonsense. The mother was against that plan and thought it was best to just let their son be.  If he wants to marry a doll, let him marry a doll. It's better than him killing himself.

I agree with her.

We all do strange things. Some people do very strange things. But if it's not causing harm to others, I think it's best to just shrug out shoulders and let it go.

If I look through the viewpoint of atheists, a large number of people go to buildings to worship their shared imaginary friend. Not only that, they fight wars to defend the imaginary friend. And politicians and other public figures openly proclaim their dedication to their imaginary friend. So who are we to fault those who love their dolls?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sam Hood

Today I'm going to learn about an Australian photographer named Sam Hood.

I've been wanting to learn more about photography.

Why? Because Tim is a photographer.  He's working on going professional.  I personally feel a bit ignorant about the whole thing. It's like a recent Neighbours episode I saw recently. Amber is into photography, and her boyfriend Josh simply doesn't get it.  I mean he understands that she likes photography, and he respects that. But he doesn't understand what makes a photograph "good".  I'm like Josh.

It's hard for me to understand why Tim needs to work on his photography. To me, his photos look fantastic already.

What I also don't understand is when and why the photographer should get credit for a beautiful photo. If you take a photograph of some adorable children, shouldn't the children get some of the credit for the wonderfulness of the photo? If you take a great photograph of Uluru, shouldn't Uluru itself get most of the credit?

Maybe for me, an impressive photo would be a beautiful one of something mundane or even ugly.  I think most people can get a decent Sydney Opera House photo, but how many can get an impressive photo of a carpark?

So...maybe I'm more impressed with the photos Tim took of a charity event than I am of his Grand Canyon photos. His Grand Canyon photos are beautiful. But really, I think the canyon did at least 50% of the work.

I think what's most impressive about Tim's work is his ability to capture people's facial expressions. He takes really good photos of our extended family—captures them looking like themselves. Do you know what I mean?  Sometimes we take photos of people and their expressions look forced. Or we capture them making a face that doesn't resemble what we know of them in real life.  Well, and Tim has that problem too sometimes...but maybe less so than the rest of us.

I got really mad once because Tim posted this really ugly picture of me. I was making an awful face.  I don't usually get mad when I see ugly photos of myself. Mostly, the photos truly represent how I look. For example, I see the photo and realize I need to brush my hair more. Or I see a photo in which my posture looks disgusting. Maybe I'm wearing clothes that aren't flattering. So then it's my fault. But in this case, it was a matter of being captured in the wrong moment.  And that happens often to many people. No big deal. But I didn't like that he posted the photo. Then when I bitched at him, he dug himself further into a hole by saying something like it was a natural look. I took that to mean I'm always ugly. I've been very sensitive about my fading beauty lately, so I didn't take that comment in stride.

Now that I think of it, though, maybe he was just being honest. Maybe I saw the photo and thought that doesn't look like me. But maybe it does, and that's why Tim thought it was okay to post it.  That's depressing. On the bright side, Tim was very apologetic about the whole thing.

I should stop rambling and get to the Sam Hood stuff.

I'm going to start with Lord Wiki.

Lord Wiki says Sam Hood is dead.  And he's been dead for a long time...since 1953. He never got to experience the digital age of photography. Although maybe he's been reincarnated. Maybe he's Tim!

Sam Hood's birthday was August 20.  He shares his birthday with Jack.

Hood was born in 1872. In the late 1880's, he began his photography career.

His big thing was taking photos of ships. Lord Wiki says it's believed he took a photograph of every vessel that entered Sydney Harbour from the years 1890-1950. I'm guessing vessel would apply only to big ships. I can't imagine that he took a photo of every little sailboat that passed by. Although maybe I'm wrong.

Hood did other things besides taking photographs of ships. He did photos of people. He did press photography.  I think press photography is photos taken for the newspapers?

Lord Wiki says that in the 1930's, newspapers needed less of his work because they were hiring their own photographers at that point. So I guess his press photography was freelance.  Then he started doing work that involved photographing buildings, and he also took photos of celebrities.

Next I'm going to look at some of the links that Lord Wiki provides.

Oh! I forgot to mention that Lord Wiki has examples of Hood's work. One is called "A Soldier's goodbye, with Bobby the cat".  I love it. It shows two people hugging, but you can see only their legs. Then there's a cat looking up at them. It's very creative.

The second photo is of acrobats. It would fall under my category of the subject of the photograph deserving most of the credit.

One of Lord Wiki's links is to Flickr.  They have photos from the Australian National Maritime Museum. I'm not sure if the whole collection is from Hood, or just some of  them.

There ARE photos of small sailboats though. So maybe Hood really did take a photo of every boat that entered the harbour.

The photos aren't credited. So I'm not sure which are from Hood and which are not. It's confusing.

Or maybe they're all his photos?

Here we go!  I found my way to an album that's ALL Sam Hood.  Here they call him Samuel. I wonder if he more often went by Sam or Samuel. Did anyone ever call him Sammy?

I like this photo of ship officers talking. It looks very natural—real people having a real conversation.

I like this ship officer one as well.

Here's a great crowd scene photo. It's of people waiting for a ship to come in. There's a nice variety of emotions. Most people look excited, but a few look worried or bored.

Some people in this photo are making odd faces. Maybe they were singing?

I think this photo, of children at a Christmas party, is adorable.  They're all being lifted by a crane. I wonder if that would be allowed in these days.

Here's a photo of the Harbour Bridge being built.  It's from the days where there was that big gap in the middle.

Here's a cute mother and baby photo. The baby is laughing. Usually when I see old black and white photos of babies, they look so serious.  Then again, even these days it's often hard to get a photograph of a baby looking at the camera and smiling.

These people look serious, and kind of scary.

I thought this photo was a lovely capture of love. But then I read the caption and saw that the man in the photo is an actor. I read a novel recently that made me question things about actors.  In it, a woman was touched by her actor friend's behavior during a speech he made about seriously ill children. He had to put down the speech he had written, because he was overcome by emotion.  OR so she thought. Later she finds his speech, and it turns out that what she saw WAS the speech. All along he planned to stop and be overwhelmed by tears.

The thing is, if an actor can be fake with believability on screen and on stage, why can't they do the same in real life as well?

Of course not all actors are going to do that. Most are pretty decent, I'm sure. But after reading that novel...I think I've gained some prejudices.

I looked at this photo, and thought the man in it resembled Billy Hughes. Then I looked at the caption and saw it IS Billy Hughes. I'm not sure why I didn't consider that.

Some people in this photo don't look too pleased. They're onboard a ship, so it could be seasickness.

Here's a picture of some Pacific Islanders. They looked very stressed—not happy at all.  I wonder if something big and bad was happening, or if it was just a family squabble that had gotten them irritated with each other.

Here's an article about Sam Hood. It's pretty recent (May 2014).

It says that Hood did photography even on his last day of life. That's kind of lovely. It's nice he was still doing what he loved.

The article says, And as we take more and more photographs, on our compact cameras and our smartphones, so we are taking less time to look at them. The contemporary photograph is no longer so much a record of the moment as a part of the moment itself, an integrated component of whatever it is we happen to be doing.

I'm not sure I fully understand that. But is it true that we're spending less time looking at the photos?

Maybe the writer is saying we're putting more energy into taking the photos and looking at recent ones. There's so many new photos being taken, we're not taking as much time to look back at the old ones.

Do you think that's true?

Do you often look at your old photos?

Now the article is talking about photographs with fake intimacy—photographers taking strangers and posing them to look like they know and like each other. The article gives two points of view about the photo. He says, It sounds faintly gimmicky but it can also produce some affecting – and memorable – images.  But then he talks about how other people dislike it.

I don't think I'm a fan. Though I don't think I've seen photos of strangers faking friendship.  But it makes me think of portrait photography—the ones where the photographer forces you into a position that is not at all something you'd normally do. Tim has a photo of him and his sister that's like that. It totally doesn't look like how they'd naturally behave. Also, we recently received photo gifts of people that looks awfully staged.

We had some from our wedding as well. I'm going to see if I can find some examples.

Here's one.  It's sweet...maybe. Mother and daughter. But to me, it looks fake.

I think if you're going to do portrait photography, make it look like people posing for a photo. Like this. We were just asked to stand and smile.  If you want an action shot, hang around people and take photos of them acting naturally. Don't place them into position like they're your Barbie Dolls.

Now the article is talking more about Hood. At first it was more about photography in general.

Hood had some difficult moments in life. Two of his photography studios burnt down. Ouch.

He had the same camera for forty years. Instead of getting new ones, he kept repairing the old one.  I like that. We're so into upgrading/replacing/getting-rid these days.

I like how Hood's photographs are described here.The photographs are posed, reflecting the technical capacities and photographic conventions of the time, but for all that they convey a sense both of natural intimacy and of an occasion shared, while preserving the individuality of the people who make up the composition.  From the photographs I saw, and my limited scope of knowledge, I think I agree.

There were some photographs were people looked stiff and serious in their pose, but there were other posed photos where people looked jovial and natural.  By posed, I mean the photos in which people are asked to stand and look at the camera, not faked action shot photos.

From what I'm reading in the article ,though, I'm thinking some of Hood's photos that look like natural action shots ARE posed. Well, some of the article goes over my head. But I think maybe that's what's being said. They don't look posed, though.

Maybe being a photographer is like being a director. Maybe some photographers have the skill to pose people in a scene, and it looks real instead of posed.  So yeah...I think you need directing skills. I think a good photographer also needs to have a good grasp on human behavior. They can look at a group of people and know what is and is not their natural behavior. Would that man give his daughter bunny ears? Would that brother and sister put their arms around each other? Would that man normally put his hand on his wife's shoulder?

As for our wedding photographer, I don't think he had any interest in who we were and what was natural to us. I think he had a list of stock poses, and he used them whether it fit us or not.

The other thing I think a good photographer of people needs is the ability to make people feel relaxed and happy. That way you avoid getting a bunch of fake smiles.  My parents gifted us a family photo from my niece's Bat Mitzvah.  They thought it was great. I thought it was quite mediocre. I have a forced smile, and so do some of my family members. Then other family members look bored and/or unhappy.  I love the photo, though, because it inspired me to start a game called If my family and I were criminals, what would we each be.  I decided I'd be a terrorist. Tim and my dad would be serial killers. My mom would be the head of a jewelry smuggling thing. One of my sister's would be a kidnapper, and one of my brother-in-laws would be a shooter. I'm not sure about my other sister and her husband.  Maybe they'd be drug dealers? OR maybe they'd be a Bonnie and Clyde kind of thing.

It's a demented game. But see...I blame the photo.  Or I credit it. Because the game is actually fun.

Well, on that note. I think I'm going to quit here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Rupert Murdoch Said

A lot of hatred is being thrown at Rupert Murdoch for asking Muslims to apologize for terrorism.

Although actually he did NOT ask Muslims to apologize. He asked them to take responsibility for terrorism. His Tweet:  Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.

Do I agree with Murdoch? No. You can't really control other people...even if they have something huge in common with you.

Since JK Rowling's biting response to Murdoch has gotten a lot of attention, I decided to do a Harry Potter inspired analogy about the whole thing.


Terrorists=Death Eaters

Muslims= wizards

Non-Muslims= Muggles

Are wizards to blame for the Death Eaters? No!  Most of them are good. Some are very good. Others are neutral. Some are slightly bad but not murderers.

Can wizards stop Death Eaters?

Sometimes. They can fight in scary wizarding wars against them. There's no guarantee, though, that they could win.

Can wizards speaking out against Death Eaters stop the Death Eaters?  No! I think the Death Eaters would either laugh at the wizards, ignore them, or attack them.

Should wizards apologize for the Death Eaters?  They don't have to.  If they do, it's nice. And not in a way of taking responsibility or accepting blame, but as a way of saying, I'm sorry this is happening. And Hey, I'm scared too. The Death Easters aren't just killing Muggles. They're actually killing more of us than you guys. So yeah. We feel your pain.  And it's embarrassing to me that Death Eaters come from our group. They're bring shaming upon Hogwarts and the rest of the wizarding world.

It's like Kevin Rudd and the Labor government saying sorry for past Australian governments stealing children. Is Kevin Rudd accepting responsibility for what happened? No! How could he have prevented something that happened before he was born?

Anyway...back to my analogy.

As unfair as it is, I think it would be expected that many Muggles end up scared of all wizards. Prejudice sucks, but it happens sometimes.  Some Muggles will be jerks about the whole thing and there's nothing wizards can do or say that will endear the Muggles to them. It's a lost cause. Other Muggles might just feel confused and nervous. They want to be open-minded and open-hearted but are hesitant.

So, I do think it's a good thing for wizards to speak out against the Death Eaters. It's not going to do anything to break or diminish the Death Eaters. But it's reassuring to many Muggles. Why? Because the nervous and confused Muggles might fear that other wizards are planning to join the Death Eaters.  The threat of Death Eaters is terrifying enough. It gets much worse if you fear other wizards are planning or wanting to join them. The decent Muggles will be reassured to see and hear that this isn't true. It's helpful to know that most wizards are against Death Eaters. And without hearing or seeing this, it's hard for Muggles to know where most wizards stand on the issues. They can't read minds.

Unfortunately, some Muggles seem unable to read or listen as well. They repeatedly say that wizards need to speak out against Death Eaters even though the wizards are already doing this.  Some wizards are shouting out until they're blue in the face, but certain strong-willed Muggles aren't listening. Yet the same Muggles are opening their ears and listening when it comes to wizards speaking out in SUPPORT of Death Eaters.

Anyway, Death Eaters are very scary for both the Muggles and the wizards. Hopefully they can work together to fight against the Death Eaters....and love and protect each other.

Websites Listed In My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 15)

It's time for me to look at another website in my favorite bathroom book!

Today's website is a cafe in Melbourne called Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder.  To make things easier, they often abbreviate it to RHCL.

What is a larder?  

This online dictionary says it's a room for storing food. 

I would think most restaurants have a room for storing food. So what makes RHCL's food room significant enough that they added larder to the cafe name? 

Maybe their food room is big enough, so it qualifies as a larder. Maybe other restaurants have very small rooms—like a pantry. And therefore they don't qualify?  Or some cafes might not even have a room. Maybe their food is just stored in various refrigerators and cabinets in the kitchen.  

I'm looking at their home page now. There's mention of a cheese room. Maybe the cheese room is the larder. Maybe customers can go in it and look at all the cheese. But maybe someone decided Richmood Hill Cafe and Larder sounded better than Richmond Hill Cafe and Cheese Room.

I personally prefer the latter; but maybe it's because I wasn't familiar with the word larder. Maybe the word is more prevalent in Australia, and people understand what the restaurant is talking about. OR maybe it's a word that's known by dedicated foodies, and that's the clientele the cafe is trying to attract.

The cafe is open 7:00-5:00 every day. So it's more of a breakfast and lunch place than dinner place.

The cheese room is open every day except Saturday.  

They have online shopping

On their online shopping page, they offer selections from their cheese room and then also from the larder. So maybe the larder is NOT the cheese room. Maybe it's separate.  Anyway...under the larder category they have things such as vinegar, mustard, salt, truffle oil, wine, butter, snacks, etc.  

They have Christmas pudding. It's $40 for 750 gr. I think that's grams? I'm guessing that price is high, but I don't know how high. I'm not sure how much it usually costs for Christmas pudding.  We considered trying to make it for our Doctor Who Christmas Eve celebration, but it looked too complicated. And I guess we weren't in the mood for complicated. So we ended up buying Jammie Dodgers instead.

Here's something that gives me a pretty good idea about their prices. Macarons.  You can get 5 for $12.50.  That equals $2.50 per macaron, which I think is the typical price for them. That's just in terms of fancy bakeries and cafes. You can get them cheaper at other places. For example, we've bought them from Trader Joes.  I wasn't sure how much we paid for them, but fortunately the Trader Joes website has the answer. It's $4.99 for 12 macarons. I don't know if the quality is as good as a fancy bakeries. But I like them.  

I feel like I'm fulfilling the stereotype of Jewish people with my dwelling on prices. Guilty as charged. Though I don't think Jews are the only ones with cheap people in their midst.  I wonder if there's any truth to the stereotype. Are there more cheap people among Jews?  I doubt anyone has done a scientific study.  

Well, whether there's any truth to the stereotype, I fit it.  I'm betting most people fit at least one stereotype of their ethnic, religious (or other) group.  

Here's a page about the cheese room.  They say if you visit, their cheesemongers will educate you about cheese.  I often don't like being bothered by salespeople while I shop. But in this case, it would probably be helpful. I'd be lost trying to figure out what cheese to buy.  

OR if one is feeling asocial, they can maybe skip getting help from the cheesemongers. Because I just found that the website offers detailed information about a lot of different cheeses.  

For example, here is information about a cheese called Coolea.  It's a hard dutch cheese made in Ireland.  A dutch couple moved to Ireland, and brought their cheese recipe with them.  They describe the cheese the way people describe wine: It has a nutty piquant flavour with hints of caramel and butterscotch, which reflects the rich herbage of the lush pastures in Cork. There then follows saltiness with a touch of acidity.

I don't think I'd ever be smart enough or observant enough to notice and describe cheese that way. But if I took a bite after reading that, I wonder if I'd be able to taste the caramel and butterscotch.  

Here's a cheese that comes from Australia. It's called Meredith Feta.  It comes from Meredith, Victoria. 

I didn't know there was a Meredith Victoria.  

Lord Wiki says it's between Ballarat and Geelong.  I thought Melbourne was between Ballarat and Geelong. Maybe it's in a different direction?  I'll have to look at Google Maps. 

Okay. Now I see. I'm ashamed of my bad Australian geography.  Ballarat, Geelong, and Meredith are all west of Melbourne. For some reason, I was thinking that Geelong was south of Melbourne and Ballarat north.   And they are. But you have to go west. If you go south, you end up in the ocean.  Or the Mornington Peninsula. 

Back to the cheese....The page talks about the name Feta. I don't fully understand it, but I think certain important authorities want the name Feta to be used only for cheese actually made in Greece.  And/or they want producers of Feta cheese to follow specific guidelines. I'm not sure if you can be outside of Greece, follow the guidelines, and still use the name.  

The RHCL has private functions.  You can have a sit down meal type thing for 30-70 guests or a cocktail event for 40-100 guests.  A four hour cocktail hour includes six different canapés, and enough for each guest to get 12 pieces.  That costs $58 per person, which would work out to about $5.00 per food item.  I THINK the price includes the room, though.  But not if you have a wedding. They say with a wedding, room HIRE may apply. May apply? Why does it apply sometimes and not other times? Maybe it depends on their mood or whether or not they like you? OR maybe it's about how many guests you're having and whether they'll be getting enough money from you in other ways.

If you want to attend a private function at RHCL, but don't want to pay for it...well, you could wait for someone else to have an event and then hope to get invited. Or you could attend one of the events that RHCL themselves organize.

No. Never mind. I got it wrong. I thought there were organized events. But these are also private events. It's just more options besides the ones I read about before.

If you can get ten or more friends together, you can do a traditional afternoon tea.  It's $45 per person and includes sandwiches, tartlets, and scones. Plus, you get tea, of course.  

They do have cheese and wine workshops. The next one is January 21, but that one's already fully booked.  I wonder if they are often sold out, or is this one sold out because it's during the holidays?

The next one after that is February 17. It's not booked up yet. They have one session a month.  

RHCL has catering.  They'll bring the food to you; or you can pick it up.  Here's their menu of canapés. They have canapés, and then warm options. Are canapes by definition cold? Or can you have warm canapes?  

Well, I just asked Lord Wiki. He doesn't say anything about them NOT being hot.  Out of nineteen canapé options, six are vegetarian. That's pretty good.  Or it might actually be seven. I'm not sure about their rice paper rolls.  It sounds Asian.  I just googled. It's those Vietnamese rolls.  I think sometimes they're vegan, and sometimes they have meat.  

Here's a page with various RHCL menus.  

If I went there for breakfast, I think I'd get the fruit loaf with orange marmalade butter. That sounds good to me.  It's expensive though; $9.00.  The prices here make Disney World food prices look actually reasonable.  

They have a children's menu. That's helpful. 

I always think though that the children's menu should be offered to everyone. Small portions for smaller prices. I wonder why that's not the case.  

I don't know if I've ever tried to order from a kid's menu and been denied. The written 12 and under request often scares me off.  Though at our local ice-cream place, we order kids sizes. They never say no. I often put a larger tip in the tip bottle then.  The ice-cream there is very reasonably priced. So it's not about me being cheap in that case. It's more about wanting a reasonable portion size.  

I'm sure some places are stricter than others. And I think it would depend on many things. If you have four adults come in and they all want to order from the kid's menu, I don't think the restaurant will be too happy about that. But if three of the adults order full size meals, maybe most restaurants wouldn't mind if one person ordered from the children's menu.  Reasons behind the ordering might be considered as well. A restaurant might be unsympathetic to someone wanting to save money. But maybe they'd have sympathy for a picky eater. Or sometimes we go to restaurants that are highly lacking in vegetarian options on the adult menu. But on the kid's menu, they have grilled cheese and/or pasta with tomato sauce.  So if you gave the restaurant some guilt about not having enough vegetarian options, maybe they'd give you something from the kid's menu. RHCL, they have ice-cream with chocolate sauce on the kid's menu. What if you'd prefer that for dessert over the chocolate tart, almond jelly, or poached peaches on the dessert menu?  Would they accommodate your request?  And if yes...with or without a dirty look?  Would they give you the children's portion for the children's price, or make up an adult portion for you?

Some adults ARE picky eaters. We could say well, then they shouldn't go to RHCL. But life isn't always that easy. What if all their friends are going? Or it's a family event that they feel pressured to attend?  

Then again, they could just skip dessert. They could just eat lunch. The menu has a fair amount of options. I'm sure most picky eaters could find something they'd tolerate.  

Anyway...I've done enough rambling about all this. I think I've made myself hungry. I'm going to grab something to eat.  


Saturday, January 10, 2015


Today I'm going to be learning about the music group Spiderbait.

I've heard a few of their songs. The only one I can think of offhand is "Black Betty".  I really like that song, although I did more so in the past. It's one of those songs that I played too much, and then became somewhat tired of it.

I don't think I've ever seen the video for "Black Betty".  I'm going to see if it's on YouTube, so I can watch it now.

Here's the video.

There's someone playing the drums, and another playing a banjo.

There's some kind of guitar. Maybe electrical? I'm really dumb when it comes to instruments.

The guy on the drums is the one singing, although, it looks more like he's lip-synching.

There's a black car in the video. Is that supposed to be Black Betty?

I think I just saw an American actor in the video. Seth Green. I think that's his name.  He appears at 1:52. It's either him or a guy that looks like him. After I watch the video, I'll see if anyone has mentioned it in comments.

Actually, the Maybe-Seth-Green guy has been there throughout the video, but I just noticed the resemblance now.

Okay. I looked at the comments. It is Seth Green in the video.  It's scenes from a movie.  From comments, I'm getting the idea that this video was made specifically for the movie. But someone mentions that there was a previous video of the song before the Seth Green version.

I'm also being reminded in comments that the song is a cover. Spiderbait isn't the original singer.

Lord Wiki says originally the song was an African-American work song.

Here's a 1939 recording of the song. I like it.

Well, I should probably start on the task of learning about Spiderbait.

Lord Wiki says the band formed in 1989, in a New South Wales town called Finley.

From Google Maps, I can see that Finley is seven hours south-west of Sydney.  And it's about two hours south-west of Wagga Wagga.

The members of the band were (and still are, I think) Janet English, Mark Maher, and Damien Whitty.

I think of Janet as a woman's name, but I think in this case it applies to a man. I don't think I saw a woman in the video.  Lord Wiki says he plays drums and does lead vocals.

Mark Maher is known by the nickname Kram.  He's the guy who does the drums. And he also sings.

Damien Whitty is Kram's second cousin.  He plays the guitar. I guess he doesn't sing. Or at least he doesn't do lead singing in the band. He might do a little singing in the band and some lead singing in the shower.

The band started playing in sheds and barns. Lord Wiki says that Kram says the band was pretty awful in the beginning.

In 1990, the band moved to Melbourne. Kram attended the Victorian College of the Arts. Is that the same one that that Eddie Perfect went to?  I need to go look at the post I wrote a few days ago....

Okay. No. Perfect went to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. But I did mention the Victorian College of the Arts in the post. That's why I got myself confused.


The Spiderbait folks started getting gig jobs. Their name back then was Spiderbaby. But there was an American band who were already using that name. So they switched to Spiderbait.

I wonder how Spiderbaby is doing.

I can't find anything about a 20th century American Spiderbaby band. But Lord Wiki knows of a 21st century Spiderbaby band that's from Brighton.

Spiderbait's first single was "Circle K", released in 1991.  I'll listen as I continue to research.

In 1992, Spiderbait performed at concerts done by American groups touring Australia.

Their first album was released in 1993. It was called Shashavaglava. Lord Wiki says that word is a Serbo-Croatian word meaning crazyhead. I wonder if the band members are Serbian-Croatian. Or some of them maybe?  Maybe the two cousins?

I feel I'm getting boring with this all  career stuff. Or at least I'm bored. I'm probably usually boring to other people, but at least I'm not making myself bored.

I think I'll just skim over Lord Wiki's overview. I'll mention highlights or things I find interesting.

Spiderbait's song "Calypso" was featured in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. That's the film with Heath Ledger.

I just looked up the song on YouTube, along with the movie title. I didn't get Calypso. I got a Spiderbait song called "Sunshine on My Window". Maybe it's an alternative title for the song? Or maybe two Spiderbait songs are in 10 Things I Hate About You.

I'm looking at lists of Spiderbait songs. I can't find any "Sunshine on My Window" song.

But then I googled the song, and the results were all Spiderbait things.

I think it's an alternative name for "Calypso".

Okay. Yeah. I'm looking at the lyrics. The first line is Sunshine on my window makes me happy.  Is that related to the song about sunshine on my shoulders?  John Denver did the "Sunshine on my Shoulders" song, and he also has a song called "Calypso". So maybe the Spiderbait song is an homage to John Denver?

Well, I'm going to listen to the song now.

I have heard it before.

I'm very confused.

It sounds like women singing.

Maybe this isn't Spiderbait.

Or maybe Janet IS a woman.

Well, I just read further down. Janet is either a woman, or HE is gay.  Lord Wiki mentions a boyfriend.

She's female. Now I see that she birthed a baby. Men can't do that...yet.

Spiderbait participated in the Wiggles tribute album. They sang "Rock-a-bye Your Bear".

I wonder if I've heard it before. I'm checking to see if I have it on iTunes. It's sad. I pretty much never listen to my iTunes music anymore. I don't know what I have and don't have.

I see now that I do have "Calypso". I don't think I listened to it much.

I have three songs from the Wiggles tribute album, but not the Spiderbait one.

Now I can't shut down iTunes. It took a long time to open, and now I'm stuck with it. it's gone. Thanks.

Spiderbait went on hiatus around 2005; then in 2013, they started getting things rolling again.

Their new album is called "Spiderbait".

Maybe I'll listen to a random song. says I should listen to "Goodbye".  I love the beginning. It's beautiful.

While I listen to it, I shall tell you guys about Rory. He's my Green Anole lizard friend. Well, we're not exactly friends yet. It's more like we're in a cohabiting relationship.  I found him a couple of days ago when I was in the closet looking for clothes. He dropped on my foot.  Usually, I'd release such a visitor outside. But it's way too cold.  So I captured him and put him in a cage. It was too small of a cage, though, so we went out to buy a bigger cage and some food.  But he seemed so unhappy in the cage. I released him, and now he just roams free in my office.  Yesterday he hid most of the time and wouldn't eat. Today he's eaten two mealworms and he's a happy green color.  He's also hiding much less. I'm very happy about that. Because actually, this morning I feared he might be dead. He was just lying there not moving.  I poked him a bit, and he moved.

Okay, now I'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I'm going to look at Spiderbait's official website.

There's a big video on the home page. I'll watch that. They're obviously eager to promote this one.

The video disappeared after a moment, but the song's still playing.

It's Janet English doing the lead vocals for this one.

Now I can see the video. There's lots of graffiti and and three walking toys.

When English does the lead singing, the songs sound so much different from "Black Betty". It sounds like a different band.

I'm going to watch Black Betty again, and see if I just totally missed the fact that I was seeing a female.

At least two of the people look very male. I'm not getting a good look of the third person.  I'm getting quick glances. It could be Janet English. I'm not sure.

Now I'm looking at Spiderbait's about page.  I see English. I think she could be mistaken for a man if shown in only quick glimpses.

The about page talks about how their new album isn't a comeback album, because they never actually broke up. They just took a break. It sounds like the Ross-Rachel thing on Friends.

I think it's nice that they're break is over, and they're making music again.

I'm trying to look at their tour page now. It's taking a long time for the tour information to load.

Well, now the information is there. It says there's no upcoming tours at this point.

Here's an interview with Kram.

He says they didn't plan for the long hiatus. It just happened. He was busy with his kids. He says, Umm… after that record we did a lot of touring, and because we had such a big number one hit with that, that does take things [and] stretches them out a bit further.  I think he's saying that they made enough money, so it became less urgent to keep working.  I mean not that they only worked for the money. But if you make a lot of money, it's easier to take a break if you feel like it.  Although I take long breaks for the opposite reason. I mean not with my blog, but my fiction writing. I make no money, so I don't feel the motivation to continue.

Blogging is different because I enjoy doing it more. Writing fiction stresses me out.

Kram says, I mean, fuck, how many fucking bands do I hear coming out of America every year where every song sounds exactly the same? I don't know if I've heard a lot of songs that sound the same. But there are bands in general that sound the same to me. I get so confused between Imagine Dragons and Lumineers. And I think there are other bands that sound like those as well.

There's talk here about friends forming bands and then ending up hating each other. Kram says the way to avoid that is to not do too much touring together. It's like that whole thing of how it's not a good idea to become roommates with your best friend.

Kram also credits their small town background for them staying friends.  That doesn't make much sense to me.  I don't see how it would make such a difference.  So if one of the members had been from Sydney, they'd be more likely to break up?

It's nice to have a commonality. And maybe that does add something.  But I don't think it always does.

I think Kram is trying too hard to explain why he and his band members still get along. Maybe it's just luck and a good combination of personalities.  It's like someone trying to rationalize why they have a well-behaved child. Or why they continue to have a happy marriage.  I think a lot of times there's no easy explanation. It's just something that happens.

Someone can say we've been married for fifty years because we did this, this, and that. But another couple can do the exact same things and be divorced within a couple of years.

Now I'm going to read this other interview.

Here Kram says the three things that have helped the band endure are their creativity, friendship, and live shows.  But I think most bands have those three things.

I didn't find much else in the interview that interests me a lot.

So I've moved onto Twitter. They have a surprisingly low number of followers. 2809. That's much more than what I have. But I'm not famous.

Their most recent post is from 21 hours ago. They say they loved the movie Angus.  Are they involved with the movie Angus? Is this a self-promotion post?

Or...wait. Maybe Angus isn't the name of the movie. I think Angus is the guy who made the movie, and Spiderbait says, Congrats, Mate. So I think Angus is a friend of his.

I think there's a comma missing in the Tweet, and that confused me.

The movie is The Mule. The director is Angus Sampson.

It looks like most of Spiderbait's Tweets are about Spiderbait; and there's a lot of Retweets of other people talking about Spiderbait. It's pretty much a self-promotion kind of thing...not my favorite kind of Twitter account.

Now I'm going to look at their Instagram.

Their most recent photo is from six days ago. It's the audience at the Southbound Music Festival.

The southbound Music Festival took place January 3 and 4.   Spiderbait played from 3:10-4:10 on the second day. I recognize a few other names here: Vance Joy, Temper Trap, Empire of the Sun, etc.

Most of their Instagram photos are of themselves, usually doing music things.  There's a photo of a Circle K. I assume that's in honor of their first single.

The idea I'm getting from their social media accounts and interviews is that their music and their band is what they think and talk about the most.  They don't seem to have much of a life or interests, outside of that. But it might not be true. It might just be the image their projecting.  Probably not on purpose.

There's no cute photos of pets or children...or beautiful scenery photos.

I think I'm going to look at this one last article, and then quit.

Janet English is punctual. The guys are not.  It says here that Kram and Whitty will be two hours late. What does English do while she's waiting? It doesn't sound like she gets mad, so I imagine she keeps herself busy.

We had this houseguest who was often very late. He confessed to me that he likes being late, because he doesn't like having to wait for people. So by being late, he never has to be the one left waiting. I was in a polite mood that day and didn't say anything. I wish I had been in a bitchy mood and asked why it was okay for his friends to have to wait.

English reveals that the band tried to make it in the United States. They worked at it for six weeks, and then gave up. No one knew what genre we were and no one got our sense of humour.  No one? How do they know? Well, maybe they made jokes at a concert, and no one laughed. Although sometimes people don't laugh out loud. And if you're busy singing and playing your bass guitar, you might not notice the few people quietly chuckling. Then again, they were probably making the jokes while not singing and playing their instruments. Maybe they made a joke, and there was that awful awkward silence from the audience.

In the article, Kram is described as being hirsute. What does that mean? I don't think I've ever seen that word.

This dictionary site say it's, having a lot of hair especially on the face or body. Well, where the hell else would you have hair? I guess they mean scalp not included. But the scalp is part of your body. Isn't it?

The article also says that Kram is gregarious. Yeah. I sort of get that sense from the article and interviews.

Maybe before I quit, I'll listen to one more song.

Which one?  I think I'll pick another song from their new album.

I'm going to listen to "I'm Not Your Slave".  The sound of this one reminds me more of "Black Betty" than the other songs I've listened to today.

In the credits, someone says the song sounds like something that could be used for True Blood credits. Yeah. I can imagine that. I think the show used to play a different song each episode for the end credits.

Anyway...that's it from me for today.