Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trip Planning, Surprises, Secrets, and Exploitation

1. Dreamed about  our future Australia trip.  Tim drives away to go somewhere and I'm left thinking about our future Australia trip. I decide I want to go only if we can stay at least 21 days. I remember my plan to stay for a shorter time, and use the saved accommodation money to pay for flights. But I decide I'd rather spend a longer time in Australia than jump around Australia for a shorter time.  

Twenty-one days is actually around the amount of time we spent in Australia in 2013, and that was our shortest trip there. With the other trips, we stayed close to 30 days...or maybe even more.

2. Thought about my plans for our future trip to Australia. At this point, my eye is on Tasmania and South Australia. Originally, I thought we'd do one flight (within Australia) only. I had it in my mind that we could fly directly to Queensland. We could stay and explore some of that state; and then fly to Tasmania. But then I learned there are no direct Qantas flights from DFW to Brisbane.  We'll have to fly into Sydney and then go from there.  So unless I want to do New South Wales again, we're going to have to take two flights within the holiday.

UNLESS...

Well, Tim has been talking about using Delta instead of Qantas. With that we'd have to fly from Los Angeles to Sydney. They might have a flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane.

No, actually. I don't think they do.

3. Decided to check Delta's website.

Well, I was wrong! They do have direct flights from Los Angeles to Brisbane.  Maybe I'll have to go back to wanting to go there.

I want to see the price differences....

Delta LAX to Brisbane is $1,213

Delta LAX to Sydney is $1,249

It's actually a bit cheaper to fly to Brisbane.

4. Decided I don't mind paying a few extra hundred dollars to go where I really want to go. But for now, I kind of just want to go to Australia...period. I'm not married to any particular place.  I'd love to go to Queensland. I'd love to go to South Australia. I'd love to go to Tasmania.  I'd love going to any of the states or territories.  If it changes though, and I strongly prefer one place over another...I'd pay to go there. IF we have the money available to us.

5. Wanted to say that I prefer to go on Qantas, and take the DFW to Sydney flight. But we now are getting a lot of Delta points, and we could use the points to get free flights or use them to upgrade to Business class.

6. Horrified, because Hulu isn't working. Oh no! Oh no!

7. Relieved, because now it's working.  Although that means I'll have to go ahead with my plan of watching The Saddle Club while doing my morning work-out. I'm not too excited about that.

8. Thought about surprise parties, because that was used as a storyline on the episode of The Saddle Club that I watched today.  And yesterday (or the day before?) I saw it on The Elephant Princess.

In both shows, the birthday girl feels neglected because she thinks her friends have forgotten her birthday. Then in the end, she realizes they didn't forget. They were planning a surprise.

I don't know if a surprise party is worth the sadness of feeling forgotten and neglected.

And then what about people who feel neglected, but then think...Oh, I get it! They're planning a surprise party for me.  But then there is no surprise party.  How are they going to feel?

Maybe, if someone is a fan of surprises, it's best not to pretend to forget the birthday. What if, instead, the friends act like they remember the birthday, and the birthday person knows there will be a celebration. But then the celebration is bigger than they expected?  Though that can backfire too.  My mom tells a story in which my dad promised my mom something for her birthday? I forgot what it was, but I think it was romantic and low-key.  Then he surprised her with something else and she didn't like it much. She preferred the original (fake) plan.

9. Felt hypocritical for watching The Saddle Club despite not adoring it. Because I complain, and hate the thought, of people reading my blog out of habit or obligation.

But still...I don't plan to quit The Saddle Club.

It's unfair though. The show doesn't need me as a viewer. I know there are plenty of people out there who love the show.

10. Wondered why I still don't want to quit The Saddle Club.  It could be because I'm horribly rigid and don't like disobeying the gods of Random.org who chose the show for me. OR it could be that I like the show more than I want to admit to myself.

11. Thought of the two Aussie shows I've watched on Hulu that I definitely would not want to watch another season. These are Double the Fist and I Rock.

I just remembered...I think there was actually a show in which I quit after one episode. Or maybe two. That was Wilfred.

I think I was more open to quitting shows in the past, because back then I watched one episode of a show a day.  That means I'd be stuck with the show for weeks; and it would bother me that I couldn't move onto something better sooner.  But now I finish a series within a week or two.  So it doesn't feel like a big commitment.

12. Concluded that I don't love The Saddle Club, but I also don't hate it.  My feelings for the show are kind of equal to my feelings towards Kath and Kim.

13. Realized I need to accept the idea of people reading my blog out of habit, obligation...or even because they like rolling their eyes at me.  It's fair. I read and watch things in which what I like best about it is criticizing it.

I think this works best though when we see something as being ridiculous rather than boring. Sometimes we can partake in something and think, This is total crap. BUT we're still entertained by it.

14. Tried to image people reading my blog because they think I'm brilliant, inspiring, and fascinating. I'm kind of failing. I think my blog is pretty much a freak show. And that's fine.  Probably.

15.  Thought about how I wouldn't mind going back to New South Wales.  Yes, we have spent most of our Australia traveling time in New South Wales. But with that being said, there's so much of the state we haven't seen.  The only places we've been to are Sydney, The Blue Mountains, Port Stephens and the Kiama area.  I'd love to go north and see places like Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay...Newcastle too. I'd love to go west and visit places like Bathurst and Tamworth.  I'd also love to visit the Snowy Mountains.

16. Thought about the thing I read about bucket lists. It suggested that we think over the items, and ask ourselves if we'd still want to do them if we couldn't talk about them.

I'm trying to keep that in mind when I plan our next trip to Australia. Do I want to visit multiple states because I really need to see multiple states? Or am I doing it because it sounds more impressive.

17. Wondered if I do want to see the outback.  A part of me does. Another part wonders if it would be a bad idea, and we'd end up with a red dust mess on our rental car. I love the red dust.  But maybe I just love it when I see it in pictures. I might not love it when it's a real-life encounter.

18. Figured the best economical plan would be to fly into Sydney; spend two or three days there; then do a drive to somewhere in New South Wales. THEN from Sydney we could fly to one other place and do another driving trip. Right now I'm feeling it's going to be Tasmania. But I don't know if I'm thinking Tasmania because I want to go there, or because Tim has talked about wanting to go there.

If it ends up being about making Tim happy...I'll have to see how I behave on his Japan trip. Will I end up letting him do what he wants to do? Or will I become controlling about the whole thing?  If I become bossy and pushy, I'll owe him Tasmania. If I manage to let him take the reins, I'll allow myself to be selfish regarding Australia.

That being said...I really DO love Tasmania, and there's so much there I want to see.  But I'm just saying, when it comes time to start buying tickets, I might be more interested in another state.

19. Got a bit emotional when the elephant princess gang finally let Veronica (Alexandra Hart) in on the secret. I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because I feel it was the right thing to do. I think it was wrong to keep on lying to her, because then she might have eventually stopped trusting her own observations.

It's like my feelings about adultery. If someone cheats on their spouse, I don't think there's a concrete answer to whether or not that they should tell or not.  Sometimes it's best to keep quiet. Other times it might be best to confess. It depends really on the individuals involved and the nature of the relationship.

BUT if one person suspects their spouse is having an affair, and they've gathered evidence; I think it's very cruel for the cheater to deny it. Once there's evidence and suspicion, the truth should be told.

20. Hoped that Veronica will make me proud by not exploiting what she's been told.

21. Realized again that I'm a hypocrite.  There have been times that someone has asked me if I'm mad at them, or if there is something wrong between us. Sometimes I've lied and said no.  It would have probably been better if I had told them the truth. Instead I probably just left them confused.  Or not. Maybe they chose to believe my answer.

22. Saw more similarities between the Cole/Phoebe storyline on Charmed and the Alex/Caleb storyline on The Elephant Princess.  It's the whole eye thing. In each, a character absorbs a source of evil; then it shows up in their irises.

23. Thought more about the whole truth thing.  I think sometimes people ask difficult questions, not because they want the truth, but because they're desperate for reassurance. It's kind of like fishing for compliments.

Is it best to lie in this case, or to be painfully honest?

I don't know.

And it's hard to know when someone is seeking truth or reassurance.

If they ARE after reassurance, does false reassurance really bring them peace?

I doubt it.

Maybe a good rule is if you don't want the painful answer to a difficult question, don't ask it.

Yeah. I need to ingrain that one in my brain.

24.  Wondered if I was fishing for compliments in #13. Maybe?  Or reassurance?  But then not really, because I don't get many comments on my blog. So I couldn't really imagine someone leaving a comment to tell me I'm fabulous.

I'm sure there ARE a few people who like my blog. But I think mostly it's a freak show. I think even the people who like it probably like it for its freak show attributes. I'm weird, and some people like weird, because they find it interesting.  

25. Realized that one day I will have to form my own opinion of myself, and stop having my self-esteem dependent on other people's comments, compliments, and insults.

Maybe that's the one thing I will have on my bucket list.

26. Decided I'm probably striving for the impossible.

I'm going back to having zero things on my bucket list.

27. Attempted to do a variation of the black magic dance from The Elephant Princess while waiting for the shower to get warm.  It wasn't pretty. Hopefully, there are no hidden cameras in our bathroom.

28. Took lesson from The Elephant Princess: If your magical boyfriend starts acting like he's getting migraines, consider the possibility that he might be possessed by an evil force.

29. Wondered what the anti-Sea World movement would say about the tourist attraction Pet Porpoise Pool that is featured on the Hixon Trip Logs blog.  It's a pool where you can pet dolphins and sea lions.

We went to a dolphin-petting attraction in Mexico. I didn't think it was a very positive experience. It felt more like prostitution than a meaningful encounter...and not the good type of prostitution where the sex worker has CHOSEN the profession.

Oh..no.. I'm not saying we had sex with the dolphin. (Just wanted to clear that up)

30. Imagined a future where animals participated in the desire and accumulation of money.  

31. Went to the Dolphin Marine Magic website. They say they're presented by Pet Porpoise Pool.  And they're in Coffs Harbour, the same place in which the Hixon family did the dolphin thing. So, I think it's one and the same.

32. Read about the dolphins at the Dolphin Marine Magic website.  They say their dolphins have either been born at DMM; or they were rescued and rehabilitated. That sounds good.

They have descriptions of all the dolphins. Two were rescued. The other four are the offspring of the rescued one.

That's pretty sweet.

I wonder if they're happy.

They might be.

Do anti-Sea World people have a problem with captive dolphins, or just captive killer whales?

33. Was bothered by the fact that Dolphin Marine Magic offered rides on dolphins. Because what if the dolphin doesn't want to give a particular human a ride? Why should he be forced to do that?

But then I started thinking, what's the difference between that and horse-riding venues?  Why should a horse be forced to carry someone on it's back?  It's not that I'm against horse-riding in general. I think it's very cool...sometimes. But there could be times where a horse doesn't like a particular human.  The same goes for dolphins.

34. Found a Change.org petition about Dolphin Marine Magic. They say one of the oldie rescued dolphins is recovering from cancer, and is still being forced to perform.

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here. What if, despite having cancer, he feels healthy enough to perform?  And what if he likes it?

The petition also says that the dolphin pools are below legal standards.  I don't have any Devil advocate responses to that.

35. Read article about the Dolphin Marine Magic controversy.  I find it hard to know what side to take.

I think it's a question of exploitation versus mistreatment.

If the dolphins are being physically harmed and have too small a pool, that's one thing. And I'm against that.

I think it's something else if the dolphins are being exploited. Yes, they're being made to perform and doing things that are not natural to dolphins. BUT sometimes someone can enjoy being exploited.

Yikes...that sounds really bad.

Here's an example. What if a child who has parents that push them to be in TV commercials? They're exploiting their child's cuteness and making money from the whole thing. It's terrible if the child hates being in the industry. But what if the child enjoys it? Is the exploitation that bad then?

I don't think so.

36. Glad that Caleb opened up about his dark magic possession problem and sought help. I was so frustrated when Cole didn't do that on Charmed.  He really messed things up by keeping the secret.

Maybe eventually he was honest. I can't remember. But either way...by then, it was too late.