Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ian Bone

Today I'm going to learn about the author Ian Bone.

I have one of his books on my bookshelf. It's a middle reader thing called Fast Forward: A Dangerous Secret. I don't remember reading it, but I guess I did.

Then there's another Ian Bone book that I do remember reading. The Song of an Innocent Bystander. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember liking it a lot. I also remembered vaguely that it had something to do with a hostage situation.

This morning I decided to search through my blog for Ian Bone's name— see if I blogged about reading the book.

I did. I found a post from November 14, 2011.  I wrote:

The villain in the story is arrogant and violent bully. I hate that I could relate to some of his feelings early on in the book. I guess we all have a dark side. And all humans, even the worst ones, have aspects of themselves that are relatable. I can't relate to wanting to bully people. But I can relate to being angry at people, and angry at society. Instead of holding people hostage at fast food restaurants, I bitch on my blog.

Yeah. I can sometimes relate to alienated, ostracized villains. It's not their feelings that separate me from them. It's their actions.

Later, in the same post, I talk about relating to the victim of the hostage-taker. He's verbally abused, and it reminded me of the time that people in the blogging community treated me in an awful way. I went on a rant about that.

Then I finished reading the book and went to Ian Bone's website. I liked what Ian Bone looked like, because he reminded me of Buster Baxter from Arthur.  I'll probably go back to that website today. I wonder if I'll still see the Buster Baxter resemblance.

For now, I'm going to pay a visit to Lord Wiki.

Well, I see there's another Ian Bone. He's an anarchist from the UK.

Lord Wiki says the Australian Ian Bone was born in Geelong in 1956.  Next year, he'll be sixty.

The Song of an Innocent Bystander might be turned into a film. That would be nice. Probably.

Besides writing, Ian Bone also works in the television industry. He helps with making children shows.

Lord Wiki says Bone lives in Adelaide. He's married and has three kids. I wonder if they're adult kids by now.

Anyway, that's it for Lord Wiki.

Where should I go next?

Lord Wiki has a link to Ian Bone's website, but it doesn't seem to be working.  He does have a blog, though. Maybe he replaced the website with the blog.

I made an author website, but I got rid of it a few weeks ago. I felt there was no point in it.  I have my Amazon page, my Goodreads page, this blog, etc. I didn't really need a whole other website. And besides, I found it hard to work with it. It wasn't easy to update. It's much easier to update a blog.

That being said, I sell about one book a month. If I'm lucky. So I can't say that what I'm doing (or not doing) has brought me much success.

From what I see on Ian Bone's blog, he didn't stick with it long. It looks like there are only four posts, and he posted them all in November 2008.        

The introductory post says: After ten years of writing books for young readers and young adults, and almost as long teaching creative writing in workshops and at university, I wanted to offer something back to the writing community. So this blog will not be about what I’m thinking or doing on the weekend… This blog is for anyone who wants to write fiction. I will post regular (as much as I can) articles and exercises that look at the craft of writing fiction, and hopefully there will be something in these blogs for you to try. 

That sounds a bit pretentious to me. Is that the right word?  I don't know. But I feel like he's saying Hey, the world is blessed now because I'm going to provide it with my invaluable advice.

I'd say if a writer wants to give back to the writing community, they should just continue with their writing. Then they're giving back to the writing AND reading community, which in some cases is one and the same. They can also give back by reading. When anyone takes the time to read what someone else has written...that's HUGE. Anytime, someone reads my blog posts, they're doing me a gigantic favor. Because if no one reads what I've written, writing it feels a bit pointless.

As for writing advice, there's a lot out there in the world. Does that mean there's no room for anymore?  No. But I'm having doubts that Bone's website is going to offer something shockingly wonderful and new.

Maybe I'm wrong, though.

I'll read through it.

There's a post about editing and re-writing. What I do like about it is that it talks about how the definition of draft is confusing these days. Back in the typewriter days, the definition was more exact. I guess you'd actually have to literally rewrite the book. But these days, it's more about going over what you've written with your word processing program.

So maybe draft these days would be defined as how many times you read over your manuscript and make changes.

In the rest of the post, Bone talks about what us writers should be looking for when we do our reading and editing. I won't say it's unhelpful, but I feel it's somewhat conveyed in a condescending way.

One of the things he mentions is expositional dialogue. I remember learning about that in my past-writing learning, but I had forgotten the term for it. This is when information about the characters and their lives are revealed through dialogue. Often it sounds very unnatural and realistic.

I'm trying to think of an example.

I can't.

Bone has one in the post, though. I'll go with that. It says, There’s a man wearing a green trench-coat with a brown stain on the sleeve and an ugly scar on his face at the door sir. Shall I let him in?

It's silly, because people usually don't talk that way. They'd probably say something more simplistic like, There's an ugly man at the door. And that dialogue would only work if you have a character that's upfront about their feelings and judgmental about how people look.

I don't often see physical description provided in that way, but I do run across dialogue in which characters talk about things they probably both already know, and it doesn't seem natural for it to be mentioned.

I wish I could think of a good example.

Oh! Here's one.

Mother: How was your three week trip to Australia? Did you enjoy seeing Sydney, Canberra, and The Great Barrier reef? And are you glad to be back to your geriatric nursing job?

Daughter: Yes, it was wonderful. How have you been feeling since your divorce from dad six months ago?  How's your arthritis in your wrist?  Are you still having the feud with the neighbor who cut down your grape vines last summer?

That's probably a bit too exaggerated. Though, I've come across stuff that seems somewhat close to it.

Bone talks a bit about grammar, which is unfortunately an important part of writing and editing. As for commas, he says, Please don’t overuse these. Read your work out loud and deliberately give the comma more pause to accentuate them. Are they necessary? At the same time, if a sentence calls for a comma then use it. There are rules for the use of commas and a whole host of very pernickety people have written them. Seek them out!

That is so not helpful. Commas are a pain in the ass. And yes, I sought out advice when writing and editing. I don't know if it did me much good. I was often very confused by the whole thing. Still, I hope I got it right most of the time.

Really. If Ian Bone wanted to give back to the writing community, he should help us all with our commas. Or at least help those of us who are pathetic about the whole thing.

I started to read Bone's post about characters, and he says, In this exercise, you’ll write a short snippet of fiction – around a page. If you are inspired, or you find yourself writing voluminously, DO NOT go over 1000 words. We need time to read everyone’s exercise.

So maybe this was for a class? And then he put it on his blog, so people not taking the class could see?

OR is the blog itself the class?

Maybe writers were supposed to put their writing sample in the comment section.

No one did.

In the post, Bone says it's assumed by non-writers that authors base their characters off of real people. He says this is true sometimes, but that many writers do not base their characters off of real people.

I don't know.

I guess it would depend on how you define basing a character off of a real person. If we're talking an exact replica or even a character that matches a real person 75-99.%, I'd agree with Bone. But most writers write about what they know, and they know real people.

I think my characters are mostly based on myself, along with some other stuff thrown in. Other people, I guess.

Or maybe Bone is right, and most of my characters just come from my imagination. But where does my imagination come from?

It's like my dreams. Lately I dream about people I don't know. Where do they come from?

Can we create people out of thin air?

I guess so, but it seems unlikely to me.

I think it might seem we're creating things out of thin air, but in reality we're creating people by remembering...things.

For example, years from now I will likely forget I wrote this post. And let's say I decide to write another novel. What if it feels like I've created a character out of thin air but, in reality, I'm writing about Ian Bone?

Now I'm reading the last post on Bone's blog. It talks about writers loving to write. He has five questions you're supposed to answer and if you answer yes to them, that means you love writing enough to be writer.

I answered yes to only one of them: Have you ever found it hard to go to sleep because you have a plotline or idea running through your head?

As for the other questions....

If I had to stop writing, I don't think I'd miss it at all. And I definitely don't get excited about starting a new story. I hate it. I hate when I have an idea, because then I worry I'll feel compelled to actually do something with it.

I'm talking about fiction, though. I've grown to hate fiction writing. Blogging is different. I'd probably be sad if I was forced to quit my blog and never blog again.

When I was a teenager and young adult, I would have answered yes to all of Bone's questions. Back then, writing was an addiction for me.

Now I prefer to leave it to my subconscious to create the fiction. It does a fantastic job...last night, especially.  It gave me the power of teleportation, which I surprisingly did not use to visit Australia. Instead I went to Manhattan and the Bronx.  Later I tried to watch the elevator scene from House on Haunted Hill by cutting open a large TV screen with a kitchen knife.  I guess I forgot about the whole on-switch button thing.

Yeah the sad thing is, I hope the last book I wrote is the LAST book I ever write.

It's not that I hated the whole thing. I loved the story, and I loved the characters. But I didn't like the stress of having to be the one to write it. And I really despite the whole editing process, especially the grammar part. Then it's dreadful to go through all the hell and have no one read it. Well, very few people read it.

I would rather someone else do all the work, and then I get to watch/read it.  When it comes to fiction, I much prefer to be the consumer.

Back to the character thing. I just thought of that song from The Sound of Music. Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could. So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.

But how about changing the last bit of the lyrics to: So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have come across someone like this character.  

That doesn't sound very good. I'm horrible at songwriting.

Now I'm going to look at Ian Bone's page on Goodreads. There's a picture of him there, and it does still remind me of Buster Baxter. There was also a picture of him on the blog. I guess I saw it, but didn't pay much attention to it. I didn't think of Buster Baxter when I saw it.

On his author profile, Bone mentions The Song of an Innocent Bystander being turned into a movie.  I Googled that earlier and couldn't find any more information about it. I just tried again. I'm still not seeing anything. I wonder if the project has been dropped. Or maybe it's still happening, and not many folks know about it.

I'm kind of surprised by Bone's book list on Goodreads. His books don't have many ratings/reviews.  The Song of an Innocent Bystander has the most, and that's only 205.  In comparison, the book I'm reading now (The Matchmaker by Elin Hinderbrand) has 9,515 ratings. novel The Dead Are Online has only 21 ratings. Actually, that's more than I thought I had. For some reason I thought I had only 9-10.  I'm kind of impressed with 21; though, it is much less than 205.

My other available novel, Thirty Cats has only 7 ratings.

That doesn't mean only 205 people have read The Song of an Innocent Bystander and only seven people have read Thirty Cats.  Not everyone who reads a book rates the book on Goodreads. Some people don't rate or review books anywhere. But I do think the number of ratings a book has does somewhat correlate with the level it's popularity.

What really surprises me is that The Song of An Innocent Bystander has pretty a pretty low average. It's 3.25.  Most books I've read have higher ratings than that.  The Matchmaker is 3.78.  I usually find books around that range. I usually see a score between 3.5 and less than 4.0.

Thirty Cats is above 4.0, but that's only because so few people have read it. If it became more popular, it would meet up with more people who dislike it.

Out of the 205 people who rated The Song of an Innocent Bystander, only 16 wrote reviews.
One person gave the book two stars and says, Interesting point of view on a tragic event that changed a group of people's lives..

I guess the reader didn't like that interesting point of view. OR he's a harsh grader.

I'm glad I don't usually read reviews before choosing to read a book. Because after reading some of these reviews, I would have probably stayed away from the book. I'm glad I didn't, because according to my 2011 blog post, I liked the book a lot.

There's a long review here—a positive one. I'm going to read it and see if it jogs my memory at all.

The hostage-situation is told through flashbacks. The main character was nine-years-old when it happened, and now she's an adult. I don't remember any of that!

Two of the other reviewers talk about the book being more appropriate for adults than the intended young adult audience.  I read it as an adult. I wonder if I would have had less appreciation and understanding of it if I had read it as a teen.

I wonder if I'd like any of Ian Bone's other books. I'm a bit hesitant to look, because my to-read list is already too long.

Maybe I'll just do a quick glance.

One of the books listed on Goodreads is about the anarchist Ian Bone. I'm guessing it was placed in the wrong author's section. It would be pretty cool though if the author Ian Bone wrote about the anarchist Ian Bone.  You know, it could happen. What if he was curious to learn about the man who shared his name, and that curiosity became strong enough that he wanted to write a whole book about the other Ian Bone.

I don't think that's the case here. I Googled to be sure. Well, and I'm still not sure. But at least Amazon doesn't match the book with the Australian Ian Bone.

Fat Boy Saves the World sounds kind of interesting. It's about a boy who is fat, and he doesn't talk. But then later he does talk. It sounds kind of fun and quirky.

The Puppet's Eye sounds fun.  A puppet master treats his puppet like a real boy. It reminds me of Neil Patrick Harris and Jamie Brewer's story on American Horror Story. I guess it's also like Pinocchio.

While trying to find more stuff about the Australian Ian Bone, I found another Australian Ian Bone. He's a ship captain.—into yachts. That kind of thing.

I can't find much else about Ian Bone, unfortunately. I feel this post is sort of a failure.  Who knows though. Maybe I'll look back at it years later, and find value in it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Loving Places

I'm reading a book right now about a woman who lives in Nantucket, and has a reluctance to travel away from it...almost to the point of being somewhat agoraphobic.

The other night I dreamed about birds. I saw parrots, and suddenly remembered we were now living in Australia. The feeling I had in the dream was a mixture of relief, contentment, and excitement.  

So, it's all gotten me thinking about people who love places.  

There are people like me who love places in which they don't live and which it is a challenge to visit. I've even met my counterparts—Australians in love with Texas.

Then there are people like the one in the book. They love where they live.

Do we each have a special place that's ours to love, and it's a matter of luck and circumstance whether we get to live there or not?

What if I lived in Australia, and the Australian-Texas fans moved to Texas? Would we all feel like we're in paradise? Would we feel the way I felt in my recent dream?

What about the people who love where they live? For example, I know some Australian bloggers who are huge fans of Australia. What would they be like if they didn't live in Australia? What if they never lived there? Would they become weird fans, loving it from afar, like I do?  What if they did live there but were forced to move? Would they be devastated?

OR is it about personality? Do I love Australia because I don't live there? Do I have the type of personality that makes me long for what I don't have?  If I lived in Australia, would I be longing for Texas?  Would I be the Weird Australian Who's Obsessed with Texas?

And the Australian bloggers. Are they the type of people to find contentment wherever they are?  If they happened to be born in Finland, would they have loved that as much as Australia?

What do you think?

And do you love where you live? Or do you love another place more?

I personally would like to believe there's a special place (or a couple of them, maybe) for each of us. And we find a way to feel and express that love whether we get to live there or not.  Otherwise...if it's the other thing; then the world is divided up into the grateful and then us pathetic folks who always imagine the grass is greener on the other side.  Blah. I don't like that idea. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Joke on Two Broke Girls

I'm trying to understand the controversial joke that was recently on Two Broke Girls.  It's kind of hard for me, because I don't watch the show. But I'm going to make some guesses.

In the scene, an Asian guy is upset because he can't find his iPad. He needs it to continue his casual romance with a woman in Australia. He then says, She's Aboriginal Australian, but she has a great personality. 

From what I've seen online, people are interpreting it to mean that Aboriginal Australians are ugly. Of course, if the joke is saying's very offensive. And that might be the case. Maybe that's what the writers of the show were going for.

But I'm seriously doubting it.

I don't think there's a common shared opinion in America about the appearance of Aboriginal Australians. So I'm not sure why anyone make such a joke.

My guess is the joke was more about the victim becoming the perpetrator. A group that DOES get a lot of racism and de-sexualization in America is Asian males. From some Tweets I've seen, I'm getting the idea that the Asian guy on the show is often the butt of racial jokes. So I'm guessing the show was showing how we can hate when something is done to us but then we go ahead and do it to others.

Was the joke a racist joke or a joke against racism? I'm hoping it was going for the latter. But I can't tell, because I watched it out of context.

I just found this article, which makes me think it's NOT the latter. It talks about how the show is anti-Asian.

I don't know. Some shows playfully poke fun at many groups of people. But other shows are not so innocent.

It reminds me of being in sixth grade. The people at the lunch table start teasing you. You can't tell if they're laughing with you or at you. Should you laugh along or storm away and sit at another table?

Out of all the Tweets I've seen this morning about Two Broke Girls, the one I found most compelling is from a guy who calls himself JTZ.  He says, To all those who are outraged by the 2 broke girls let me ask you this, are you okie with the racism directed at the Asian man.  He also Tweets to Kevin Rudd, who has spoken out against the joke.  hey @MrKRudd, you do know that #2brokegirls has always made fun of the Asian man in a racist manner. So why now do you only take offence?

I'm sure many people are like me—talking about a show they never watched. But are there people who were fans of the show before the Aboriginal joke? Were there people who laughed at jokes against Asians but then got angry when another group was targeted?  If there are people like that, I think they should feel a bit hypocritical, conflicted, and ashamed. At least...that's how I'd probably feel in such a situation.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kevin Budden

Today I'm going to learn about Kevin Budden. He's a herpetologist.  Or he was. He might be dead already. I'll learn soon about that from Lord Wiki.

I have reptiles on my mind right now, because there's a lizard (green anole) living in my office. He or she is named Rory. I'm pretty sure it's a she, although I just decided that yesterday.  Because I haven't seen a thing on his throat— this thing that males are supposed to have.  Though in my heart, I feel like it's a he and not a she. Ah! Maybe it's a she that wants to be a he. It could be a transgender lizard.

I found Rory in my closet about a month ago. He fell near my foot when I was looking for a shirt to wear.  I decided since it was too cold outside, we could keep him as a temporary pet.  I managed to capture him, and I put him in a small cage. We went to the store; bought a bigger cage, a water dish, and some live mealworms.

But then he seemed so sad and stressed in the cage. So I let him free. Ever since then, he's been free roaming...mostly in my office, but we once found him hanging out in Jack's bathroom.

The problem is I don't think he's happy, even outside the cage. He should be green, but he's usually brown. Brown is a sign of stress in green anoles.  I also haven't seen him eat. I put mealworms near him. Sometimes I don't see the mealworms later and see that as a hopeful sign. But then later I'll see a mealworm walking around. So not only do I have a lizard living in my office, but I seem to have mealworms as roommates as well.

Twice I tried capturing Rory to put him outside. I failed. So then I decided to leave it up to fate. I put his cage on it's side, with the idea that if he's meant to be put outside, he'll crawl in the cage. Then I'll flip it around and have him trapped. I'll take it outside, and release him. And he did crawl in a few days ago, but it was a very cold day.  I then decided my rule is I'm going to put him outside if he craws into the cage and it's 60 degrees or above. Still, I feel conflicted about it. Fort Worth is supposed to be warm today through Saturday. Then Sunday it gets cold. Monday it might snow.  I'll feel bad leaving him out in the cold.

On the other hand, maybe it's still better for him to be back outside. What if he has a friend out there that he's missing? A boyfriend? A girlfriend?

I do love having him here. He's adorable. But I know he's stressed and that's making me stressed.

Then there's another issue.

When I put him in the cage, the day we first met, he frantically climbed the walls, as if trying to find a way to escape. Since then I haven't seen him climb.  He hangs out on the ground. Anoles are supposed to have these things on their feet that helps them stick to trees, fences, walls, etc. I think Rory's might be damaged. Then again, they might be fine, and he's not climbing because he's too depressed. Maybe if I put him outside, he'll happily climb up a tree.  But what if he IS damaged, and is stuck dwelling on the ground and that makes it hard for him to escape from predators?

Well, I really don't know what's the right thing to do. That's why I'm leaving it up to fate and Rory.—see if he climbs into the enclosure within the next couple of days. If not, then I'm probably going to buy some crickets. Maybe he'll eat those. Then I'll have crickets and a lizard as roommates.

So. That's my lizard tale.  Now I shall go learn about Budden. I did skim over some information about him last night. I can't remember if he's dead or alive; but I do remember that he worked with snakes...taipans, specifically.

Lord Wiki says Budden is dead. He died from a snake bite. Yikes.

He was born in 1930.  He was an amateur herpetologist. I think that means he learned about snakes on his own, and didn't have formal training.

When Budden finished his childhood education, he joined the workforce as a retail assistant.  For a hobby, he joined the Australian Reptile Club, and he started hunting snakes. This was in the late 1940's.

In the 1950's, he and some friends went in search for a taipan.  They were doing this for anti-venom research purposes. On July 27, he found a taipan in Cairns and managed to get it in a bag. But the snake managed to get in a bite. The next day, Budden died.

I was about to say he didn't die in vain, but I don't think I like that phrase.  What does it mean if you DO die in vain? How does someone die in vain? If I sliced up by a serial killer tomorrow and society doesn't benefit from my death, does that mean I was vain? Or my death was vain?

What I will say is that Budden risked his life, and that risk he took did end up benefitting society. Yes, I know. It's just a matter of semantics, really. Still. I like phasing it that way better.

The killer taipan was sent to a laboratory in Melbourne. A zoologist named David Fleay milked the snake.  And thanks to Fleay and Budden, since 1955, there's been a taipan anti-venom. It's a relief to know that; although I don't think taipans often bite people.  I think they're pretty shy. At least the inland ones are. Maybe the coastal ones are more aggressive.

Lord Wiki says the coastal taipan is not confrontational. He's not going to seek you out for a rumble. But if cornered, he'll fight. The problem is sometimes humans ACCIDENTALLY corner a snake.  A snake probably can't tell whether you're standing in front of it because you want to kill it (or involve it in your latest Selfie), OR if you've just accidentally crossed it's path.

A bite from a coastal taipan will kill someone in about 2.5 hours. So there's going to be a need to rush to get to the place that has the anti-venom.

Here's an article from 2012. A man died from a taipan.  I was going to say deaths by taipan must be rare enough that it appears on the news when it happens. But car accident fatalities aren't rare, and everyday I see articles about that.

Still. I do think taipan deaths ARE rare. And the article seems to agree with me.

The man who got bitten was doing work—electrical stuff. He got separated from his workmates, and got bit.  Another person got bit a few months earlier, but he was able to be saved with anti-venom.

Here's an article about the person who survived.  It was a teenager, and it happened in the Hunter Valley; not too far from Sydney.  Because taipans aren't usually hanging out in the area, there was speculation that it might have been an illegal pet. I wonder if it was the victim's pet; or the pet of someone he knows. The article doesn't say where he was when he was bitten, or what he was doing.

I should get back to Kevin Budden. I wonder if I'll be able to find much else about him.

I found something! Here's a feature about him.

The second sentence of the website says,  Not the sort of dream aspired to by most 20-year old men, mind you, but a significant dream nonetheless. Budden dreamt not of motor cars, pretty women, a career or secure family life, but of a singularly fantastic feat - the capture alive, of a taipan snake!

I think there are many 20-year-old men who are passionate about things besides motor cars, pretty girls, and their careers. At least today. I'm pretty sure it was the case back then as well.

The article says that on July 27, Budden was about to give up for the day when he heard a squeal.

The squeal was from a rat about to become a taipan's lunch.  I'm not sure why he did this, but Budden then stepped on the snake's neck, causing it to release the rat. I suppose he was doing that in attempts to capture the snake, and wasn't attempting to make the snake lose its lunch. Although maybe he was feeling sympathetic towards the rat?

Budden was alone at this point. I'm not sure where his mates went. But he somehow picked up the snake and had it held in a way that it wouldn't bite him. Unfortunately, though, he couldn't get to his snake bag.  He then walked with the snake. I can't really get an image of this from the description. I guess it's about holding the snake tight enough that it can't wiggle into a biting position.

Budden found a ride with a guy and his truck. The guy was understandably a bit freaked out. Budden assured him he had things under control.  The driver took him to the home of another snake hunter. That's where Budden got bit.

When they were finally getting the snake into the bag, Budden's grip failed a bit, and the snake grabbed the opportunity to bite.

The other snake hunter told Budden to scarify the wound. I'm not sure what that means.

I found this old article from 1921. It mentions scarifying, but I'm still not sure what it means.

I'm going to forget it.  I think the important thing to know is, Budden was encouraged to aid himself, but he refused. He said something about the snake's fright being worse then the venom. I guess it's like that saying about the dog's bark being worse than it's bite.  Budden was a bit wrong in this case. I sort of imagined that he suspected the taipan had a very deadly venom, and was trying to bring proof of that.  But maybe it was the opposite. Maybe he was capturing the snake in attempts to prove it wasn't that deadly.

Lord Wiki says that before the Budden snake capture, there were rumors about the taipan's venom, but no one knew anything for sure.

Budden's family had a very hard time with his death. That's not at all surprising.

One thing that does kind of surprise me is the truck driver was one of the pallbearers. I guess they really bonded with that whole snake experience.

There's a photo of Budden in the article. He looks sweet and gentle. When I read the bit about him stepping on the snake and making him release the rat, I kind of pictured a bully.  Looks can be deceiving of course. The article does talk, though, about how Budden seemed to care more about the welfare of the snake than his own health.  Was that because he cared for the snake as an individual? Did he have compassion for it?  Did he want the snake to be okay for the sake of society—the search for an anti-venom. Was it for his ego? Did he want to be the hero who managed to capture a live snake?

Maybe he felt a bit of all those things.

The article goes into a lot of detail about what was done by hospital staff to try to keep Budden alive. This includes giving him tiger-snake venom. They did manage to keep him alive longer than the average 2.5 hours, but in the end he died.

He came to the hospital at 11:00 am, which is only an hour after being bitten. So all that stuff with the holding of the snake, finding the truck driver, refusing to scarify, etc. It all happened within a very short time.  I kind of pictured it being longer.

When he entered the hospital, he was in good spirits. At 1:30 pm, the next day he was dead.

By the way, the website I'm looking includes a lot of clippings from original sources and old articles. It's pretty interesting.

There's conflicting stories about Budden's time of death. The truck driver claims it happened not at 1:30 PM, but 1:30 AM.

The article comes to Budden's defense in not freaking out and rushing to give himself first aid.
His foolhardy disregard for himself following the bite, despite the magnitude of the predicament he was in, seems hard to appreciate, but then perhaps Kevin simply accepted the inevitable, and chose to maintain his dignity and good nature to the end.

I liked that image, better than the one I had earlier. I was picturing Budden reacting as a typical ignorant macho man.  You know...when you nag them about danger, and they assure you they'll be fine. Yeah, because they're magical superman, and the universe wouldn't dare harm them.  Maybe Budden wasn't like that. Maybe the website is right. Maybe he DID know the Taipan was dangerous. He knew he was going to die, and wanted to leave the world as a brave, happy, strong person.

Either way, Budden ended up doing something that has benefitted society. I'm grateful to him for that.

I admire him for his passion. I like people who have a strong interest in things. I also admire him for his fearlessness.  He could have had courage, but for courage you have to have fear. I don't really imagine Budden being scared of snakes. I could be wrong, though.

Well, that's it for now.

In the meantime, if you have any spare moments, please lend a thought, prayer, magical spell, etc. for Rory.  Whether it's in my office as a roommate or a outdoor lizard...I just want him to be happily green.  

On February 19 I Go To Australia Alone

Last night I dreamed: I find something that I imagine might be a portal to Australia. I go through it and find myself inside a bed and breakfast type place. I worry about people noticing me and labeling me as an intruder. I also start to worry about finding my way back home. Tim is not at home, and I worry about Jack being left alone with no parents.  

I don't remember or understand enough of the dream to describe the rest; although at one point I think I realized I might have been in Canada rather than Australia.

The weird thing is this. After writing down the dream, I went to read my dream from last year on this date. On that night, I dreamed about flying to Australia alone. At the point of leaving, I began to feel bad about going without Jack.  That's a little weird but not overly weird. But then I wrote down on a separate Livejournal entry that the year before I also had a similar dream.

SO...for three years in a row, on February 19, I've dreamed about feeling like I've abandoned Jack to go to Australia.

One thing that might diminish the amazingness of the coincidence, is that feeling turmoil about going to Australia without my family is a recurring dream for me.  I mean I'm not dreaming it on a weekly basis, or even a monthly basis. But I'm pretty sure I've had dreams like that on mornings that are NOT February 19.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Conversation on Rush

I loved this conversation I just heard on Rush.

Lawson (Rodger Corser) is talking to his girlfriend Jacinta (played by Asher Keddie!). They're discussing the books she let him borrow. He's very unimpressed with the depressing Cancer Ward. She tries to explain the merits of the book, and he tells her he doesn't want to read stuff like that.

Then it goes like this....

Jacinta: Well, that's a problem for me, Baby. Because they're the kind of books I want to write.

Lawson: Why don't you want to write something good? Like Da Vinci Code?

Jacinta: You know what, Doug?

Lawson: Don't call me Doug.

Jacinta: I must be in love with you. Because you say things like that, and I let you live.

I really love her response. I wish I thought of saying things like that when people say insulting things to me. I just usually keep quiet and let it fester; then later bitch about it on my blog. Oh and then I become paranoid about the person reading the post.  If I could be clever like Jacinta, it would save me a lot of grief.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Websites Listed in My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 18)


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

Today's website is the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas, Queensland.

I think the Sheraton might be an American company, because we have a lot of Sheraton hotels here. Though it might be owned by some other country. I'm pretty sure it's not an Australian company, though.

I'll see what Lord Wiki has to say.

He says it's an America company founded in 1937 in Massachusetts. Their first American hotels were in Boston. Their first international hotels were in Canada. Their first hotels outside North America were in Israel and Venezuela. I'm feeling like our Disney Express bus driver we had recently—the one who liked sharing hotel history trivia.

Now I'm looking at the Sheraton's own site—their list of hotels. They have five hotels in Australia, including the Port Douglas one. There's one in Sydney, one on the Gold Coast, one in Noosa Heads, and one in Melbourne.

The Port Douglas Sheraton's website says the hotel is located on Four Mile Beach. What's the deal with giving beaches mile names. And why not use Kilometers?  We've already stayed at One Mile Beach and Seven Mile Beach.

I see the check out time for the hotel is 11:00, and the check in time is 3:00.  I think that's more in align with American hotels than Australian. In Australia, we usually experienced a check in time of 2:00 and a check out time of 10:00.

The hotel has free wifi in the lobby, which probably means the wifi in your room is NOT free.

They have a little booking window box thing. I'm going to look at the rates for a long weekend in March.

For $199, you can get a room with two double beds and something called a sweet sleeper bed. Maybe that's a couch bed?

No. I'm wrong. That's just what they call their beds at the Sheraton.

Anyway, so it's $199 a night, but that's only if you're willing to not be flexible, meaning that you can't cancel.  Or you can, but there are penalties.  If I'm understanding things right, the penalty is 100%.

If you want more flexibility, that's $284 a night. But there's not much flexibility. I made my booking for March 5, and they say after February 19, I start getting cancelation penalties.

I guess they really want you to book ahead, and then keep your booking.

I was thinking maybe they're just really popular, but I looked to see if they have anything available this coming weekend, and they do.

I want to compare their cancellation policy with Disney's.

I couldn't find the information on Disney's own website. That's one of the negatives of Disney World. Their website is often much less helpful than the various unofficial websites.  This is my favorite unofficial website.  They say if you cancel between 6-45 days before the reservation, you forfeit $100. If you cancel less than six days before, you're out $200.  It seems a little better than the Sheraton. Well, with the Sheraton, it seems you have to pay for the whole stay upfront. Then you lose all the money if you cancel. With Disney, the deposit is $200. If you're only staying for a night or two, that would be like losing everything. But if you were planning a longer vacation, you'd only be losing a fraction of what you were planning to pay.

Let me move on from this and look at the Port Douglas stuff.

They have pictures and descriptions of all their rooms. The Deluxe garden view is their smallest room, and probably the cheapest.  The view looks pretty nice—lots of green plant stuff.

The Mirage Garden View is a little bigger and little more expensive. They don't provide a photo of the room on the page; just a picture of the garden. And the page about the Deluxe lagoon room has a photo of the lagoon, but not the room.

I'm going to skip ahead and look at their biggest unit.  It's a 4 bedroom villa that's $830 a night.  It sleeps eight people, with four bedrooms. You get get a kitchen, laundry.... and if I'm reading this right...three bathrooms. That seems pretty good to me.

I'm going to compare to Disney again. I think Disney is more expensive.

I'm looking at the Boardwalk Villas. They have a three bedroom villa, and the prices ranges from $1821-$2562.  It too has a kitchen, laundry, and three bathrooms.

Back to the Sheraton Mirage.... If you get four couples together, they each have to pay only about $207 a night.  That's not too bad.

The Sheraton Mirage can be used for weddings and other events.

They have an outdoor venue called Gilligan's Island. That might be fun.

I'm looking at their ceremony packages now. They have a $3700 wedding on the beach. I'm thinking this might be more of a private kind of thing.  Or maybe not?  I'm kind of confused.

Their cheapest reception package is $99 per person.  In two hours, you get eight cocktail items, wait staff, a cake table, a beverage package, and scattered seating. If you want a long reception with a sit down dinner and all that; it's $190 per person. Then there are other options between those two.

Now I'm looking at dining options. There are two restaurants, two bars, a private dinner thingie, and in-room dining.

The Lagoons Restaurant has a seafood dinner buffet on the weekend. Seafood fans might like it. I probably wouldn't.  Their regular dinner menu has a couple of vegetarian options, which I appreciate. One's whole-wheat spaghetti.  I'm bemused by places that assume if you're a vegetarian, you're also into health-foods. Well, I guess it's true in some cases. If I remember correctly, Qantas is the one that's annoying about it.  I think they provide vegetarians with totally different food, even if it's not a meat related issue. I can't remember exactly, so I'll make up an example. Let's say the regular breakfasts come with a croissant. The vegetarian meals might skip the croissant, and instead you get some kind of whole grain muffin that also happens to be stale and flavorless.  Remember. I'm making this up. Don't take it as gospel. But I do remember not liking things in my meal, and wishing I could have certain items from the regular meal. Although MAYBE I ordered the vegan meal for some reason? Then alternative pastries would make sense.

As for the Lagoon's Restaurant menu, why not just provide a choice of whole wheat pasta or regular?

The hotel's other restaurant doesn't seem to have a vegetarian option, at least not in their main dishes. They do have a goat cheese salad, but it's a prix fixe meal. I'm not sure what a vegetarian's to do during the main course time.  Maybe skip to dessert? They have a cheese platter.

The outdoor fancy private dining thing costs $500 for two people.  I guess that would be for very wealthy people, or for a very special occasion for not-so-wealthy people.

Here's a page about kids activities.  It doesn't seem like they have anything really special for kids. I mean there's not an activity club. They have an arcade, and the the page reminds us that the kids can swim at the beach or the lagoon. There's an inclusive dining program for $30 a day.  Looking at the kid's menu at the Lagoons restaurant.... A cheeseburger is $15. So the $30 might be worth it.  Or at least worth it if you want to stay at a place that charges $14 for a child's ice-cream sundae.  Shit! These prices make Disney food prices seem reasonable!

The hotel also has a dining voucher program.  It's $240 for 12 vouchers.  My calculator says that works out to $20 per voucher.  One voucher will get you into the high tea, which usually costs $25 per person. So you're saving $5 dollars.  A three course dinner costs three vouchers ($60). Without the vouchers, you'd pay $68. So I guess you save a bit.  It's not a huge savings, though.

I guess it's good if you're firmly dedicated to eating on property. But if you're unsure, and you think you might prefer to go to nearby might be better to just pay as you go.

I'm looking at Google Maps. There's a Chinese restaurant up the road.  And I'm seeing a lot of other restaurants on Trip Advisor.  But maybe some people don't want to leave the hotel. We're that way at Disney World. At least Jack and I are. We don't like leaving the property. If we did, we could find much better food prices.  It's a pain leaving, though.

Here's a hotel page about things you can do in Port Douglas. Most famous is the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.  Brave people can skydive. Or they can do bungy jumping, hang gliding, microlighting, etc.  Here they have tours involving crocodiles and other animals.  I'd probably like the tour that involves eating breakfast with birds.

Now I'm going to look at their provided photo gallery. Then I think I'm going to quit. I'm tired. I mean not sleepy, but tired of writing this post.  I was thinking of quitting these bathroom book posts, but then changed my mind. Now after writing this one, I'm back to wanting to quit. So maybe I will.

I looked at the pictures. Port Douglas is pretty.  Most of the photos on the site are of Port Douglas in general, and not of the Sheraton. So the photos might encourage someone to visit the area, yet they might not necessarily need to stay at the Sheraton.  And if it's the photo of the clownfish that calls out to them, they don't even need to go to Port Douglas. They can probably find a much closer aquarium or zoo that has clown fish. Or maybe even a local pet store.

Yeah. So anyway. I think this will be my last bathroom book post. I'm getting bored of looking at room rates and restaurant menus.  Plus, I end up feeling so cheap and picky when I write these posts.
I become a cheap bitch who bitches about places she's never even visited.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's Hard Taking Care of a Baby Even When You're Not Mentally Ill

I have complicated and controversial opinions about the concept of mental illness.

I tend to disagree that it's the same as something like Leukemia, the flu, or Multiple Sclerosis.

I think most cases of emotional problems are not about the person being abnormal and sick but more about them having a normal and somewhat expected reaction to a difficult situation.  Because of this, I appreciated the episode of Rush I saw this morning.

In the episode, Dom's wife is experiencing post-natal depression. She's tired, worn down, desperate, and it comes to the point that she's almost catatonic. Dom and his police mates find her walking down the street in a trance like state. They beg her to tell them where the baby is, and she won't/can't answer.

Is she sick? Is there something inherently wrong with her that prevents her from being a good mother?


I doubt it, though.

She's dealing with a baby who cries a lot. She's doing it on her own for the most part. Her husband is usually away, either doing his police work or having his affair with a young barmaid.

After a panicked search, Dom finds the baby at a local shop. He finally realizes he's going to need to step in and help a bit more. He sends his wife to her mother's to get some rest. He assures his coworkers that he'll get his wife to see a doctor.

He's left to babysit. And in a short time, he becomes very stressed by the baby's constant crying. He calls a coworker to come help him. She's nice enough to do so, and even brings him some dinner. What would become of him, though, if the coworker was too busy to visit? And what if he was stuck taking care of the baby full time with hardly any breaks?  Maybe he'd end up almost catatonic like his wife.

Yeah. I don't agree with the campaign to make mental illness equal to cancer. I'd rather it not be seen as an illness and instead be seen as a normal common thing that's going to happen to most of us to some degree at some point in our lives.  If life treats us like shit, we're going to feel like shit.

That being said....I do think there are SOME cases where something is inherently wrong with a person. Sometimes it IS a chemical-physical problem that causes the breakdown.  And then in those cases, maybe it's best to equate it to cancer. Though I'm not exactly sure that cancer is stigma-free.

For the most part, though, I think we should spend less time medicalizing people's turmoil, and more time trying to make the world an easier and better place.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 13

Today I was trying to point out to Jack that it's Friday the 13th. I asked him to guess what day it was.

He said it was Friday the 13th.

But what day?

He thought for a moment and then said, Sorry Day.

I was amused that he remembered that.

On February 13, 2009 we were in Gerroa, New South Wales. We had just come from Canberra where I think they were doing some bits of things to honor the first anniversary of Sorry Day.

Do they commemorate the anniversary?

This website says Australia has their Sorry Day every May 26. 

What happened to February 13?  

Lord Wiki says that although the apology happened on February 13, May 26 is observed, because this is the day the "Bringing Them Home" report was tabled in Parliament. I'm not sure what tabled mean? Maybe read? Discussed?  

Let's ask Lord Wiki....

He says it means to begin considering a proposal.  

Okay. So today wasn't Sorry Day, after all. It's just Friday the 13th. And really. It wouldn't be Sorry Day, anyway because it's already February 14 in Australia.

February 14 is a big day in our family. When we were in Gerroa, we got an early morning phone call. My first nephew had come into the world. It's also the dating anniversary of my nephew's parents and the wedding anniversary of my other sister (and her husband).  

Anyway...Happy Valentines Day weekend to everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Morgana O'Reilly

Today I'm going to be learning about Morgana O'Reilly. I love her already, because her name sounds like a witch name, and I'm really into American Horror Story: Coven right now.

Morgana O'Reilly...I guess she'd be an Irish witch. She plays Naomi on Neighbours. And that's another show I'm really into right now. I feel a bit addicted to it.

When I first saw Naomi, I thought she looked like Robin from How I Met Your Mother.  I don't see it as much anymore; I think because now Naomi just reminds me of Naomi. But I'm wondering, if I watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother, would I look at Robin and think, she looks like Naomi.

I'm comparing photos on Google images now, and I'm not seeing much of a resemblance, except maybe for the hair color. I don't know what I was thinking before.

Anyway, what do you think? Here are photos of Morgana O'Reilly,  and here's Cobie Smulders (Robin). Do you see a resemblance?

As for Naomi, I like the character. She's bad, but not evil least from what I've seen so far. She tries to steal another woman's husband, but not out of malice. She does it out of love. Or lust, perhaps.  I don't think all women who long for another woman's man are bad. But Naomi is quite conniving about the whole thing. She goes as far as faking a stalker, and even hires someone to play the part. Then to pay for the stalker, she steals her friend's new engagement ring.

I saw all that weeks ago. Naomi has since confessed and apologized, and backed off from the already-taken object of her affection. She's been quite lovely, actually...sympathetic. But I'm not sure how long that's going to last.

I kind of worry about uncovering too many spoilers when writing this post. I'm going to try to avoid it, but running into them might be inevitable.


I'm going to start my learning with IMDb.

Morgan O'Reilly's bio page says she was born on August 19, 1985. Her birthday is a day before Jack's.

She's thirteen years younger than me. That makes me feel old.

She was born in New Zealand, so maybe she's more Kiwi than Aussie.

She's five feet five inches, which is a few inches taller than me. This woman is making me feel short and old. Thanks a lot.

O'Reilly is married to a man named Peter Salmon.  He's a writer and director—has done a lot of Power Rangers stuff. He also directed two episodes of Offspring.

Now I'm going to look at O'Reilly's filmography.  Like usual, I shall skip writing about one time guest appearances on TV shows, unless it's a show I've watched. And I also skip movies if I can't find much information on them.

Interesting. O'Reilly's first screen appearance was a 2003 documentary called Murder on the Blade?  She appeared as herself. Yikes. How did she get involved with that? I wonder if it really involved a murder.

The documentary is a New Zealand thing.  It's about something called the Marlborough Sounds/Scott Watson murder case.  Lord Wiki says Scott Watson was convicted of murdering two people on his boat.

I wonder how Morgana O'Reilly was involved? Maybe she was just a neighbor of the killer or victims? Or knew someone who knew someone?  She would have been a teenager when the documentary was released.  The crime itself happened in 1999.  O'Reilly would have been only around 13.

Maybe I'll learn more about all that later. For now I'm going to continue with the filmography.

In 2007, O'Reilly was in a film short called Knickers. And that reminds me. I also usually skip short films if I can't find them online. But I made an exception for this, because it's the first thing listed on O'Reilly's filmography that's not on the as-self category. And by the way, I usually also skip most as-self stuff...unless it really intrigues me.

In 2008, O'Reilly was on a New Zealand show called A Thousand Apologies. It's a comedy and she played various characters, which leads me to think it's a sketch comedy type thing.  I can kind of picture O'Reilly doing sketch comedy.

Here's a clip from the show. I'll see if O'Reilly is in it.

Yeah! I think she is!  I think she's the woman sitting on the right.

Yep. It's her.

I thought the clip was pretty funny. It's about ethnic diversity on TV.

Here's another clip.  O'Reilly plays a wealthy women with some house staff who protest with a song.

In 2009, O'Reilly was in a TV movie called Piece of My Heart.  It's about a birth mother trying to reconnect with the daughter she gave away.  O'Reilly is low in the credits, so I'm guessing her role was fairly small.

In 2011, O'Reilly was in a TV movie called Billy.  IMDb lists her name second in the credits, so maybe her role was bigger in this one. The movie is about a New Zealand entertainer named Billy T. James. O'Reilly plays someone named Lynn Mathews.

According to this article, Matthews is Billy T. James' widow.  He died in 1991, when he was only 42.

Also in 2011, O'Reilly appeared in three episodes of the first season of a TV show called Nothing Trivial.  Lord Wiki says it's a Kiwi show about people who meet at a pub quiz.

Even though it's a New Zealand show, the Australian television website has episodes summaries for it.  They don't mention O'Reilly's character (Alison), though, except to say she was played by O'Reilly. Sometimes the website helps me get ideas about the character, but unfortunately not in this case.

O'Reilly was in a short movie in 2011 called Dr Grordbort Presents: The Deadliest Game.  I'm bookmarking it to watch later...sometime when I'm done with the rest of the filmography.

Here's the official Dr Grordbort website. It looks like a video game.  But I think it's more of a movie series...short movie series.  It has something to do with ray guns.

In 2012, O'Reilly starred in a TV movie called Safe House. It's about a struggling single mother.  This television guide gives details about the struggles. She has a dangerous ex-boyfriend, and this leads her and her family into the witness protection program.

Here's a trailer for the movie.

It looks intense. I'm surprised it's a TV movie. It looks more like a theatrical type thing.

Also, in 2012 O'Reilly was in the short film Ten Thousand Days. I'm bookmarking it to watch later.

And....O'Reilly was in the 2012 movie We Feel Fine.  Here's the trailer for that.

It's a film festival type movie.

The movie might be good, but the trailer failed to convey that to me.

And I didn't see Morgan O'Reilly. She might not have a big part in it.

In 2013, O'Reilly was on a TV show called Sunny Skies. There was only six episodes, so maybe it was more of a miniseries. O'Reilly was in all the episodes.  Lord Wiki says it's about two brothers who find out they've inherited a campground. O'Reilly plays the owner of the campground. Or maybe she was the former owner? Wouldn't the brothers own it now?

Here's a promo for the show.

That...I like. It looks fun. It seems the two brothers didn't know each other. One is white and the other is Maori.  I suppose O'Reilly's character is their sister. So maybe she partly inherited the camp as well?

In 2014, O'Reilly was in a horror comedy film called Housebound.  Like everything else so far on her filmography, this movie too is from New Zealand. So it looks like she jumped islands quite recently.

Lord Wiki says Housebound is about a woman on house arrest. The home in which she's imprisoned might be haunted.  It seems the comedy comes from the fact that when O'Reilly's character tries to tell people about the ghost, they're more delighted than scared.  I can picture that happening in real life. In horror movies, people are scared of ghosts. In real life, people are probably grabbing cameras and writing about the encounters on their blog.

Here's a trailer for the film.  From that, the movie looks more horror than comedy. It does look fun, though.  I mean it doesn't look like one of those overly serious depressing horror films.

Here's a clip from the movie.  It's a horror movie shower scene without Norman Bates.

Next on the filmography....We have This is Littletonanother sketch comedy thing. There were four episodes. O'Reilly was in all of them.

Oh! And guess what. According to Lord Wiki, this was Australian. So Neighbours isn't O'Reilly's first Aussie project.

The ABC website has a page for it. O'Reilly is in the picture, but half her face is covered up by a Twitter link.

Here's a trailer for the show. O'Reilly first appears at :10. She's playing a student wearing a uniform. She looks quite young there.

She appears other times in the various characters.

Here's a clip from the show. It's about hipsters.  O'Reilly's in it, but not much.  I don't understand enough about hipsters to fully appreciate the sketch. The first time I really heard of them was on an episode of New Girl. From that and this clip, I'm getting the idea that hipsters do things because they think they're cool and not because they actually like them.

Here's a clip with more of O'Reilly. She plays a dance instructor. A very inappropriate dance instructor.  I feel I may have actually seen that before. I don't know why or how.  But when they got to the punchline, it seemed very familar.

The last thing on Morgana O'Reilly's filmography is Neighbours. According to IMDb, she's been on 77 episodes.  Her first episode aired on March 27, 2014.   I think the Hulu episodes I've been watching begin from July.  So she began only a few months before that.

Naomi's last name is Canning. I wonder if the Canning family is related to the Ramsey or Robinson family.

I'm looking at Naomi's biography on the Perfect Blend website. Hopefully, I won't come across too many spoilers. At the same time, I'm hoping to get some history about the character.

It doesn't look like the Cannings have a huge connection to the Robinsons or least not a blood or marital connection. But it seems Naomi's mom Sheila worked with Paul Robinson. Yeah. Okay. Sheila worked as a barmaid at a bar that Paul owned. Is that Lassiter's?

Here's something fun. The Perfect Blend provides Naomi's address, and then there's a link where they list everyone who's lived at the same house.  In the episodes I'm watching now, Naomi lives at 24 Ramsey Street with Mark Brennan and Paige Smith.  The first people to live in the house were the Ramsey's—Max, Marie, Danny, and Shane. I remember them! Well...really I just watched them around a year ago.  I miss those people, though, and I also miss Summer Bay.

The Perfect Blend provides the address used for the exterior of the house. I'm going to see if I can see it on Google Maps.

It's 4 Pin Oak Court, in a suburb called Vermont South.

Here's the Street View of it. I'm guessing the whole neighborhood is used for Ramsey Street. I wonder if they film on the street.  I know tourists visit the area sometimes. I remember watching a YouTube video about it.

Lord Wiki says there's a Neighbours tour bus that visits the street; and it's popular with UK tourists. Maybe now that it's on Hulu, it will be popular with American tourists as well.

I have heard that Australian soap operas are more popular in the UK than Australia. Though I do have an Australian friend who watches Neighbours somewhat religiously. Or at least she did. It's been awhile since we've had a decent conversation. I'm not sure what she's up to now, or what she watches on television.

I recently read somewhere...I wish I remember where... about how certain shows are more cool from an international perspective. I think it was in reference to Doctor Who.  Maybe it feels more cool to be a fan when you're not from the UK.  Certain shows, when local, might seen campy and/or corny, but when you watch them from abroad, they seem like a sophisticated cultural experience.

That being said...I think Neighbours is much less corny and campy than the American soap operas I used to watch.

Now I'm going to see what Lord Wiki has to say about Morgana O'Reilly.

He says her mom is a dancer and choreographer. Her dad's a graphic designer.

O'Reilly grew up in a suburb of Auckland.

Along with her film work, she also did theater stuff. In 2009, she starred in a one woman show called The Height of the Eiffel Tower.

Here's a video about the play.

It's confusing me. O'Reilly is playing different characters.  I think it's kind of hard to follow the character changes. It's kind of like reading a novel that's lacking quotation marks.

While looking for information about the play, I came across a Morgana O'Reilly website. I'm guessing it's her official site.

The website says that O'Reilly traveled overseas. She stayed at people's houses, and as a thank you, she'd perform the play in their living rooms. That's pretty cool. I think I'd feel shy, though, if someone performed a play for me in my living room. It's one thing when my child performs along with his cousins.  It would be much different if it were a professional actor.

The website has a video diary. O'Reilly is in Times Square.

Her friend Abigail doesn't seem too happy.

O'Reilly says she's picked up an American accent. I'm not sure I agree with that. I guess it kind of sounds American. Maybe?

I think O'Reilly is very funny and cute.

There's another video diary. It's actually the first one. I accidentally watched them out of order.

Abigail's grumpy in this one too. I think it's an act. I think this is more like a parody of a video diary. Though when actors make a diary, how do you know when they're acting and not acting?

The last time I watched actor video diaries was the David Tennant stuff. But how do we know David Tennant was really being David Tennant, and not just the character of David Tennant that his fans want him to be?

I guess it's somewhat the same with all of us, though. Most of us act a little different when we're on video, and most of us sometimes play the part that's expected of us rather than our real selves.

I do think this video diary is more parody, though. Kind of like Abigail and Morgana are playing fictional versions of themselves. It's like the actors playing themselves on Extras and Life's Too Short.  They play rather obnoxious versions of themselves.  Rather convincingly sometimes. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at Daniel Radcliffe and Clive Owen the same way again.

Here's Morgan O'Reilly's show reel.  It begins with a scene from the ray gun thing. I'll see more from that later.

There's a funny clip from A Thousand Apologies. O'Reilly plays a woman seeking out a Chinese friend. She already has a Korean and Japanese friend, but still needs someone who's Chinese. The random Chinese woman she approaches is reluctant, until O'Reilly offers her the chance to gain a Moldavian as a friend.

I do feel there's this pressure to have a friend from every ethnic group, and other types of groups. I guess that's not hard when you have and want a large social circle. But when you're like me and have very few friends, and you don't want a large social circle, it's near impossible.

I just noticed there's a comedy showreel and a separate drama one.  I'll watch the drama one next.

Okay...watching the drama one now.  It begins with a scene from Safe House.

And then there's a scene from Billy.  It includes a very dramatic funeral scene.

Here's a page with Morgana O'Reilly headshots. I wish I could get my mascara as good as hers. I'm so bad at doing the bottom lashes. I wonder if she did her own make-up for these photos, or did she get a professional?

She's very beautiful.

Her website has her resume, which includes a skills page. It says that she's done 12 years of tap dancing.

There's a long list of accents she can do—Australian, French, Cockney, General RP (what's that?), US (Southern, midwestern, NY), New Zealand, South African, Irish, Scottish, and Spanish.  That's impressive.  I wonder which accent is her favorite.

I can do different accents, but I don't know which ones I'm doing. I just know that sometimes I stop speaking American. Or I speak in an alternate American accent. For example, after watching American Horror Story: Coven I feel compelled to speak in a southern accent.

When we were in Disney World, I went into the laundry room wearing my Australia t-shirt. I greeted some women, and she said something like, Do I hear an Australian accent?  I said no, but I might have been kind of lying. I don't know which accent I used to greet her.  Maybe it was Australian, or something similar. Or maybe it was American, and she imagined it. I really didn't know. But I wasn't in the mood to explain my weirdness.

Here's an interview with Morgana O'Reilly about her role on Neighbours.

O'Reilly talks about the audition process. First her husband filmed her in their Sydney backyard.  I guess they sent the tape in? Or these days, maybe you just email it.  She did well on that audition, and then was flown into Melbourne to test with Stefan Dennis and Colette Mann. I'm guessing Mann plays Naomi's mother.

O'Reilly says she had to compete with five other women.

Oh! I'm loving O'Reilly. She seems to believe in signs like me. She felt the role was going to be hers, because her middle name is Naomi, and her grandmother's name is Naomi.  Then when she was taking a taxi, she asked to be taken to Rainford Street, and the dispatcher thought she said Ramsey Street.  Though it says here that she was going to the airport.  Why wouldn't she just ask to be taken to the airport?

I think there might be a mistake here, because it says she was going to the airport for the second round of auditions. Why would you go to an airport for auditions?  I mean you might do that if you're going to be in an airplane commercial, or star in an airline safety video. But for a soap opera?  So I'm guessing the article meant to say she was being picked up FROM the airport.

I just looked on Google Maps. I'm not finding a Rainford Street in Melbourne. But there is one in Sydney, in Surrey Hills. So maybe what happened is O'Reilly needed a ride after she returned from the second round of auditions in Melbourne.

I like how O'Reilly describes Naomi. She's like a cat—if she had it her way, she'd sit by a fire and be petted all day.

O'Reilly is asked if she thinks fans will like Naomi. O'Reilly says, You know, I don't know! I really can't wait to find out! It could go either way. She could definitely be the character everyone loves to hate, or maybe people will see that she's a good girl on the inside and root for her to find happiness.

I think I'm more towards the latter; though when I first encountered Naomi, I thought she was a bit awful.  She would do things that seem so nice, but in reality she was trying to get her own way. It made me wonder if I've dealt with people like that. They do things that seem very kind and giving, but maybe they're not doing it for good. Maybe they have some kind of diabolical plan.

Lately though, Naomi's been very nice and apologetic. She's trying hard, and I admire that.

O'Reilly is asked if Naomi really loves these married men, or does she just like the drama. O'Reilly believes Naomi truly loves them, but does admit the unattainable bit might add to the attraction.

Sometimes we don't fall in love with the single person who's an easy catch.

O'Reilly talks about her first scene and how it was with Stefan Dennis. She says, Yes! Stefan is so much fun to work with. Sometimes I'd be sitting across from him waiting for 'action' and I'd have a flash of perspective on the situation. Little old me all dolled up as Naomi, sitting across the table from one of the most famous stars of Australian telly! How did this happen? 

I've wondered about situations like that. What's it like for actors to have scenes with much more established actors? For example, how about actors on American Horror Story?  I can't imagine doing a scene with Jessica Lange. I think I'd mess up completely, because I'd just be sitting there thinking Holy Shit! I'm working with Jessica Lange. Jessica Lange!!! Though many of the actors on that show are pretty established themselves.

Here's a blogger that had the chance to interview O'Reilly.

Oh! I think she has a radio show, and she interviewed O'Reilly for that. And then later she wrote a blog post about it.  It has excerpts from the interview.

I don't see a link to the recording. I wonder if it's been aired yet.

Here's a UK video interview with O'Reilly. She answers viewer questions. The first asks who besides Naomi would she want to play.  She answers Paul Robinson or Sheila Canning (Naomi's mom). OR Bossy the dog.

Now she's talking about the tattoo on her back. It's Morgan written in Cantonese. O'Reilly says this means Naomi has Morgan written on her back. That's pretty funny.

One viewer asks if O'Reilly wants Toadie with Naomi, or Toadie with Sonya. She says she does believe Toadie belongs with Sonya.

Another person asks if Naomi has any redeeming qualities. O'Reilly believes she does. She says she has a good heart and goes for what she wants. She's also good at business, and O'Reilly can picture Naomi having a successful career in that.

I think going for what we want has it's good side and bad. It's probably good to be driven, but not so good if you step on other people to get what you want.  On the other hand, you can go too far in the other direction—be too self-sacrificing.  I think I've leaned more towards that side in life.  I'm not 100% self-sacrificing. I do get what I want sometimes. But I can't think of many times that I've stepped on other people to get what I want. I can think of times that I stepped on myself to make other people happy.  And when I make a choice that I feel won't make the other person happy, I often don't enjoy it. I feel guilty and tense about it.

It's all quite hard to define, though.

It makes me think of another storyline on Neighbours—Amber, Josh, and Daniel.  Amber and Josh are dating. Then Amber falls in love with Daniel, and out of love with Josh. She ends up cheating on Josh and gets caught. Some people are angry and disgusted with her.  I could kind of relate. Back in college, I fell out of love with my boyfriend and in love with another guy.  I can't remember if I cheated, or if I broke up with my boyfriend first. Either way... Does that count as stepping on someone to get what I want? I definitely stepped on my boyfriend. I stomped on him, really. He was very hurt. And I hated that I hurt him.  Or was it self-sacrificing to stay with him longer than I wanted just because I dreaded hurting him?

Naomi stepped on Sonya to try and get what she wanted. And that's bad. Right? But what if Toadie and Sonya were NOT right for each other? What if their marriage was doomed to fall apart, whether or not Naomi interfered? Would it be so bad then for Naomi to pursue him?  Well, yeah. She hired a fake stalker, and did some conniving stuff. That's not right. But what if she didn't do anything backhanded? What if she just flirted a bit and made herself available to Toadie.

Maybe alls fair in love and war; and it's just inevitable that to get what you want, other people are going to sometimes be hurt. Maybe it's only really wrong when you are conniving and manipulative about it.

As O'Reilly said, four other girls auditioned for the role of Naomi. By winning the role, I'm sure O'Reilly caused the other girls to be sad and disappointed. But that's life.  To give up the role to one of the other woman would be way too self-sacrificing. Although I feel I'm somewhat too self-sacrificing, I can't imagine myself ever going THAT far.

Now I shall watch the short films.

The first one is called Ten Thousand Days. It's not as short as most short films. It's 17 minutes.

It begins with with a funeral and melancholy music.

A mysterious man appears, riding a bicycle. He drinks something and then throws the drink into the grave.

The mysterious man is the cousin of the dead guy. Now he's not so mysterious.

Now there's flashbacks of people being killed by magpies.

The basic premise is that there's a family who's cursed to die on their ten-thousandth day of life. My calculator says that's about 27 years.

Isn't there something about celebrities dying at the age of 27?

Yeah. Lord Wiki says it's called the 27 club.  Included on the list are Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. There's a lot more on the list, but those are the people that are familar to me.

The voice/accent of the guy doomed to die reminds me of Matthew Le Nevez.

The movie's getting pretty funny.

The story is that O'Reilly's is at the funeral for her man who died young. Then she meets his cousin who tells her about the curse. They have a romance while waiting for him to die. He ends up living longer than expected, and now O'Reilly seems bored with him.  The guy said something earlier about dying trees having the sweetest fruit.  So now that he might not be dying, maybe he's less sweet.

I think the movie deals with a sad truth. People are often more appealing to us when they're dying...or dead.

It's like the person who fought with a parent throughout their lives. Then the parent dies, and the grieving offspring comes to their senses, realizing their parent was wonderful, and they had failed to appreciate them. But was the parent really wonderful? Or does death warp our perception of things?

Now I'm going to attempt to watch the Dr. Grordbort thing. I'm not sure I'll watch any of it. It doesn't look like my cup of tea. But I could be wrong.

Well, so far it's more interesting than I expected. The characters are talking about war. O'Reilly's character talks about villagers being killed, and the Dr. Grordbort character sees them as combatants. He agrees that they live in a village, but even combatants have to live somewhere.  I think that's an interesting point. In wars, we hear of combatants vs. villagers being killed. What is it when a combatant is off-duty and living his life in the village? Does he count as a villager or combatant?

Dr. Grordbort is the opposite of the Doctor Who doctor.  The Tardis doctor is against killing. I think it's a favorite hobby of Dr. Grordbort.  The shows kind of remind me of each other though, because they both have aliens. And O'Reilly's character seems somewhat like a companion.

I'm done watching that. I'm not sure I understand it. At first it seems to be anti-war, poking fun of aggressive entities that kill innocent people. But then in the end, when O'Reilly tries to speak in defense of the aliens, she ends up encountering a dangerous creature and the doctor saves the day.

The movie almost seems pro-war and aggression, but perhaps in a mocking way.

I don't think I'm smart enough to appreciate that film.

I'm trying to find Morgan O'Reilly's Twitter account. There are a lot of Morgan O'Reillys on Twitter. Here's one that's also from Auckland.

I found the right Morgana O'Reilly, but I wasn't sure if it was her real account or an imposter one. Then I remembered seeing a Twitter link on her website. I followed that and it got me to the same account.  UNLESS...her official website is an imposter!

I don't think it is. It seems pretty authentic to me, with all the showreels, headshots, and the resume. If someone faked it, I think I'd be impressed with their dedication.

Oh! You know what. I was looking up Morgan O'Reilly before, rather than Morgana O'Reilly. That's probably why I was getting too many of the wrong people.

O'Reilly's most recent post is about the movie The Badadook. I've heard it's good.  Maybe I'll see it someday.  I don't like horror movies as much as I used to.  I do like scary adventures, but ones that have some humor and hope. I don't enjoy the really scary and depressing ones like The Ring.

On January 24, O'Reilly Tweeted, Lighting your phone up in a movie theatre is as rude as farting audibly in a lift. So does that mean it's okay to fart silently in an elevator?  How do you know what's going to come out? What if you expect it to be silent, and it's not?

I wonder what O'Reilly would prefer—someone lighting up their phone at the movie theater or someone audibly farting during the movie. I guess you'd have to fart pretty loud for the movie not to drown out the sound. But someone might fart during a quiet scene in the movie. You know how those artsy films have all those quiet moments....

Here's the Morgana O'Reilly Instagram account. Four days ago, she posted a photo of her husband. He sort of reminds me of the guy in Ten Thousand Days. I don't think it's the same guy, though. I don't remember seeing anything about him being an actor.

Seven days ago, she posted a photo saying happy birthday to Bob. It's for something called Waitangi Day. I'm assuming that's a Kiwi thing.

Oh! The Bob is Bob Marley. I kind of thought it looked like him, but then I doubted myself because I didn't know what he had to do with New Zealand. Lord Wiki says Waitangi Day is also Bob Marley's birthday, and because of this, reggae music is often played on the holiday.

Waitangi Day is New Zealand's founding day. It's like their version of Australia Day or America's 4th of July.  At least that's what I think I'm learning. Hopefully I'm not wrong and embarrassing myself.

On February 3, O'Reilly posted photos of homemade sushi. Impressive. Tim used to make homemade sushi.  He hasn't done it in awhile.

On the day before Australia Day, O'Reilly posted an image of the Aboriginal Flag. Maybe that's a political statement?

Here's a selfie of O'Reilly with her mom. That's sweet.  I wonder if I've ever taken a selfie with my mom. I don't think I have. Maybe we should do that one day.

Here's a photo of monkeys. I wonder where it was taken.  Tim wants to take us to a town in Japan that has wild monkeys. That might be fun. I don't think I've ever been to a place that has wild monkeys.

Here's another monkey. O'Reilly was traveling somewhere. I'm trying to figure out where.  This picture is making me think somewhere like India or Thailand. Maybe Nepal?

I found the answer. It's India.  She went there around Christmas time.

Here's O'Reilly and some other people dressed as zombies for Halloween.  Ramsey street is mentioned, so maybe Neighbours did a zombie thing.  I mean the cast...behind the scenes. Or...well, I guess it could have been on the show as well.

There are some fun photos of other Neighbours cast people.  Here's one of Amber.  She's holding something that looks like a deformed penis, carrot, or finger.  Then here's O'Reilly with Naomi's mom, Karl, and Daniel.  Sorry. I don't know most of the actor's names. I didn't know O'Reilly's name until this morning. I guess I could go look them all up, but I'm feeling lazy. I want to get this done so I can watch American Horror Story!

Last summer, O'Reilly went to London.  I want to go back there someday.

Well, I think I'm done for the day.

I had fun. I enjoyed learning about O'Reilly. I hope I don't end up boring anyone to death with this post.  What if there's someone doomed to live only 10,000 days, and my blog post ends up being the thing that kills them.  Tragic!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Join an Acting Program

Last night I had a long complicated dream about being in an acting program.  I'm not going to share all the dream, because it's all a bit messy. But there were some Australian bits. I'll share those.

First of all, I woke up a few times from the dream; then returned to it. At one point, I started thinking about whether or not I'd share the dream on my blog. I started thinking that maybe one of the students was Amber from Neighbours, and I could write about that. Then when I returned to the dream: I remember the question I had while awake and decide to take a close look at my fellow student—see if she looks like Amber from Neighbours. I see I had been wrong. She's not her.  

Although now I'm thinking I might have been tricking myself. Originally it could have been Amber from Neighbours; and then later it changed to someone else.

I'm walking with some students. One has a non-American accent. I think of the UK, but then another student guesses that he's Australian.  He ends up being correct. I get overexcited and crazy and tell the Australian how I'm obsessed with Australia. I ask where he's from and he says Muswellbrook.  I try to show off my Aussie knowledge by letting him know that's out west. He says yes. It's near Perth.

When I woke up to pee, I decided my dream self was probably wrong about Muswellbrook. I started to remember that it was in New South Wales. I Googled on my phone, and saw that I was right.

There was a scene with Asher Keddie. I think maybe she was the teacher of the class. Or she's somehow in charge. She tells me that the sleeves I'm wearing aren't allowed at the school. Why? Because of some gruesome crime that happened there. She reminds me that I wrote about it on my blog. Then she pulls me aside to talk about my expenses. She's in a very grouchy mood about it, and seems annoyed about money I received and having to spend money on me.  She requests that I write something down on these forms. I do, but it's illegible due to the fact that in order to rectify my bad-sleeves problem, I had arranged my sleeves to cover my hands. She continues to be grouchy and bitchy. Finally, I speak out against it—something along the lines of her being the one to find me and bring me there.  

See...the dream was confusing. Sometimes it seemed we were in Australia, and sometimes it seemed we weren't there.

Then this last part, I'm going to share, seemed to be in Australia.

We are working on projects which involve us using student papers as acting scripts. The papers are about Black History Month. I then ask the teacher if Black History Month in Australia deals with both Aborigines and Africans.  She says, no. It's about Asians. It seems she's being sarcastic. Then there's an Aboriginal Australian in the class, and she talks on and on about something. I can't remember what she said.