Monday, May 22, 2017

Enemies Becoming Friends

On the episodes of Packed to the Rafters I've been watching there have been two instances where there was bad blood between people; then they became friends...or friendly towards each other.

Julie (Rebecca Gibney) meets Donna, her son's new boss, (Merridy Eastman), and the two do NOT hit it off.  They bitch at each other. There's an attempt at an apology. That makes things worse.  But then....

They end up being friends.

Grandpa Ted (Michael Caton) is not happy with Grandpa Tom (John Howard) moving into the Rafter home.  The two of them don't get along.  Then in the last episode I watched, the ice between them begins to melt.  

I really love storylines like this.  I have a soft spot for things like reconciliation, redemption, enemy-ship turning into friendship, etc. 

But yesterday I started asking myself...has this EVER happened to me in my life.

Have I ever had bad blood with someone that eventually turned into good blood?  

The closest thing I could come up with is that I had met someone through blogging, and we commented on each other's blog on a fairly regular basis.  There wasn't really bad blood or good blood initially.  It was neutral blood. Then after commenting for a bit of time, she left a comment that really offended me.  I went as far as deleting it...which I rarely do do comments that are not spam.  

We eventually got through that drama, and ended up becoming friends/email pals.  

I think that's the best I have.

Usually, sadly, it's the opposite.  I have more cases of good blood turning into bad blood.  It has happened to me at least five times with this blog.  FIVE TIMES!  That can't be normal.

Am I attracting the wrong people?

Is there something inherently wrong in my personality? 

It could be a combination of both things.

Honestly, I feel the problem was much more them than me.  But that might be arrogance on my part, and MAYBE part of the reason that I seem to have the magical power of turning "friends" into "enemies".

Anyway...I've pretty much given up on the whole friendship thing.  I have my family. I have some lovely acquaintances.  I have some long-term distant-type-friendships with people I rarely talk to but still keep close to my heart.  At this point, I feel that's all I need.  

Less close relationships equal less drama, and more time for me to watch my favorite TV shows.  I LIKE this life.  

When I first started this blog, I was so excited and eager to meet new friends.  Now my feelings about that have very much changed.  This is one of the reasons I no longer provide my email address on my blog.  I'm trying to protect myself from people.  AND...I guess I might also be protecting people from myself.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Controlling Behavior Vs. Reasonable Behavior

I finished watching the episode of Packed to the Rafters that I talked about in my previous post.

Gaslighting isn't Tom's (John Howard) only emotional-crime.

He also does something else.  Despite all the pop psychology I've read, I'm not sure what the name would be.

I think it would count as some kind of controlling behavior.  It's about demanding loyalty.

What Tom does is put pressure on his grandson Coby (Ryan Corr) to love him more than the other family members.

When Cody was a youngster, Tom rescued him from an abusive stepfather.  Since then, I think he's demanded gratitude from Cody.  And sometimes he demands even more.

I forget what exactly happened in season three, but there was a problem with Tom pushing Cody into doing illegal things to the Rafter family.  I think he ended up stealing from them. Whatever it was, it led to a lot of problems.

In the episode I just watched, Tom warns Cody about getting too close to the Rafter family. They haven't been around long enough, he tells him.  Because of this, he says, Cody needs to put more of his trust in Tom.

In one scene, he purposely gets Cody in trouble with his uncle and cousins by telling them that Cody was in a pub during working hours.  Now Cody was there to check on his uncle, but Tom led them to believe that Cody was there drinking.  It's like he's purposely trying to drive a wedge in the relationship.

Cody feels torn between being loyal to his conman grandfather and wanting to be an upstanding citizen of the Rafter family.  He's so torn that in one of the last scenes of the episode, he confesses to his cousin Nathan (Angus McLaren) that he wishes Grandpa Tom would just go away.

I think Cody loves Tom, but I think it's a love that hurts.

Well...all love hurts.  But some love hurts much more than others.

When there is tactics of control, I think it's more likely that the love is going to be a painful one.

When we think of controlling relationships, I think we often have a classic picture in mind.  There's the father who doesn't let his teenage daughter out of the house. She's not allowed friends. She's not allowed to date. Her parents pick out all her clothes for her.  She's locked in the closet for having impure thoughts.  

There's the husband who has his wife on an allowance. He keeps track of when she leaves the house. He forces her to give up her friends and job.  He hits her if she disobeys.

But there are controlling relationships where the control is much more covert.  The husband allows his wife to have friends and go out, but he sulks for the hours before she leaves.  Or he conveniently plans a surprise dinner the night she was supposed to go out with her friends.  What? I didn't know you had plans with friends! Why are you so mad at me? I was just trying to do something nice for you.  It's only because I love you so much. Is it wrong for me to love you? If it is, lock me up now!

The father allows the teenage daughter to go out, but she's reminded every so often that no friend is as important as family.  Or he might use guilt tactics.  I'm totally fine with you going out. I think it's good that you have friends! Friendships are very important.  But...it's your mother. I think she's getting depressed because you're not around enough.  She really misses you. This is hard on her.  I hate seeing her so sad. 

Control is complicated, though, because relationships are in the eye of the beholder.  Different families and different cultures have different ideas about what is expected.

What if the teenage daughter was truly rarely around?  What if she was never there for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. What if they never even saw her on the weekends?  Would it be wrong for the dad to inform her that mom was getting a bit depressed about it all?

What if the wife was almost always with her friend and rarely had time for the husband?  Would it be unreasonable for him to sulk, or to try to use a surprise party to get some time with her?

If Coby was completely pulling away from Tom, and choosing the Rafters over him, would it be wrong for Tom to use a little bit of manipulation to try to pull him back?

Now I'm trying to figure out what the hell I'm trying to say here.

I don't know, really.

I guess it's that relationships aren't always black and white.

I think with downright abusive ones, there's a definite answer.

And with toxic ones like Tom and Cody, there's probably not a lot of grey.

But with other relationships, there might be some understandable neediness/pushiness. (Though it would be much better if manipulation didn't play a part).

Again, though, what is understandable to me might not be understandable to you.

I have been needy with Tim in ways that I don't think he found tolerable.  I don't feel guilty or wrong for my feelings or behavior.  I think I was being reasonable, but that's up to interpretation.

My parents have been needy with me, and the rest of our local family, in ways that I don't find tolerable. But in their eyes, they probably see their expectations as being very reasonable.

I feel I have given Jack a lot of freedom and space, but I know there are times where I've said no...or probably, no, and he was not happy about it.  Am I a controlling parent, or am I a reasonable parent?

In some cases, there are obvious answers. In other cases, the opinion is going to widely vary.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tom Gaslights his grandson Nathan

I've been watching the fourth season of Packed to the Rafters.

In the episode, I'm currently, watching, there's a good example of gaslighting.

Nathan (Angus McLaren) sees Tom (John Howard) near a pub.  He calls out to Tom, and Tom doesn't respond.  Later, at home, Nathan tells Tom that he saw him.  Tom insists it wasn't him. He says he was working, and not near a pub.

Gaslighting is a type of lie, but I think it's much worse than other types of lies.

Tom has been lying to Nathan and the rest of the family all along.  He says he's looking for a job when in reality he's been having special fun with his lady friend.  He's using the Rafter family for food and housing while pretending to be hard at work.  This dishonesty is rude—definitely asshole behavior.  But gaslighting takes it a step further into shittiness.

With gaslighting, there's an attempt to make the victim question their own senses, their own memory, and maybe even their sanity.

Now, my guess is that MOST gaslighters do not gaslight with the main goal of having their victim suffer great self-doubt.

I don't think Tom would be thinking, You know what would be fun. Let's have Nathan think that he's having hallucinations of me. Wouldn't that be a laugh!  

No. I think the main goal for gaslighters is to avoid getting in trouble, being blamed, having their secrets revealed, etc.  But I think they're failing to realize that their behavior causes emotional harm.

Gaslighting is big in the news lately, because of Donald Trump.  He does gaslighting a lot. He says he didn't do something. Then his past Tweets say otherwise.  This is really annoying, but I don't think it causes much emotional harm, BECAUSE we have these Tweets to prove we're not crazy.  And we have each other for support. We're not alone.

When we see something we dislike or are treated in a way that hurts us; then are told it never happened, how do we know we're right?

Sometimes it can be a matter of interpretation.  She says he said it in a harsh voice.  He repeats what he said earlier and this time his words are said in a calm, gentle, reasonable manner.  Is that how he said it the first time, and her imagination went nuts?  Or did he change his tone of voice to avoid responsibility for his earlier behavior?  And IF he changed his tone of voice, is he outright lying about what happened earlier, or is he in some kind of subconscious denial?  

If he's not purposely being misleading about his behavior in the past, I'd probably NOT call it gaslighting.  I'd probably just call it denial.  But if he's purposely trying to reinvent the past, then I'd label it gaslighting.

Other gaslighting is more obvious.  Like what happened with Tom and Nathan.  Being somewhere or not being somewhere is not open to interpretation.

UNLESS you are crazy.

He sees her hugging her friend, and the hug is a bit too sensual.  He tries to keep his cool, but a few days later, they get in a fight, and he brings up the inappropriate hug.

She says, I have no idea what you're talking about.  I never hugged him.

He knows what he saw. He's sure of it. He's angry at her for lying.

But then sometime later, he begins to worry that he's the one that's wrong.  Did he really see her hug her friend? Did he imagine it?  He wishes he had taken a photo, so he'd know for sure.  Or at least he should have written it down in a journal right after it happened. Then he could know for sure that it was something that happened in real life, and not something that happened in one of his dreams.

Unless you have a lot of self-confidence, I think gaslighting is going to lead to self-doubt, especially if it happens repeatedly.

I've had experiences with gaslighting only a few times, but I'm full of self-doubt.  There are times I feel like an innocent victim of dishonesty.  But there are other times where I feel the problem is ME—  I'm remembering things wrong; I'm confusing reality with fantasy; I'm paranoid; I'm misinterpreting people's behavior; I wrongly accuse the good and innocent.

There's this feeling that, to prevent this self-doubt, I need to write everything down—every conversation and every moment that hurts me.  On rare occasions, I do this.  Usually, I fail, though; then feel vulnerable.

When it comes to the Donald Trump experience, I feel very much part of a team.  "We" are all in this together.

With my personal gaslighting experiences, I feel incredibly alone.  I feel there's no way I can convince people that my truth is the real truth, because sometimes I'm not even sure myself.

I wonder what will happen with Nathan.  Will he trust his own experience, or will Tom convince him to believe otherwise?  If he tries to talk to other people about it, will they believe him, or will they question him and give him further self-doubts?

You know what would be nice? If my life was actually a TV show.  Then when I die, all these questionable scenes of my life could be replayed for me.  Then I could know whether or not I was gaslighted, or if I had been the one who was wrong.












Edited to add: I was just thinking that if victims of gaslighting read this post, they will probably understand at least some of what I'm feeling.

If the people who have gaslighted me in the past read this post, I can imagine them using it as future ammunition against me...if we ever argue about an incident. Well, you said so yourself in your blog that you might have problems distinguishing fact from fiction....

Oh well.  I'm used to other people's denial and dishonesty, and the self-doubt that results from that.  What doesn't kill me...well, it doesn't make me stronger.  I think it makes me weaker, actually. But I think it's part of my path, and I'm willing to endure it.   Shit. Now I sound like a martyr.


I'm going to shut up now, and go back to watching my show.







Friday, May 5, 2017

Why?

Why did Trump say that Australia's healthcare was better than US healthcare while supporting a bill that is so horribly different from Australia's healthcare?

Really. What's up with that?

Did he say it because he's ignorant about Australia's healthcare?

Did he say it because he has no idea what the new healthcare bill entails?

Or...is it both of the above?

Obamacare is far from perfect.  I'm not a big fan.  But Obamacare is closer to Australia's healthcare than Trump-care.   Why would Trump praise a system of universal healthcare while bringing us even farther from it?

I'm tired of living in an illogical world.

I don't need or expect the world to be perfect.  I just want it to make a little more sense.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Needing to Know if Our Tour Guide is Australian or Not

Last week we went to NYC.

Our family doesn't usually do educational tours when we travel. We usually just walk, eat, and chill. But this time, we needed to catch up on homeschooling hours, so I insisted we go on a Tenement Museum tour in the Lower East Side.

We opted for the Sweatshop tour because it's about Jewish history.  I thought it would nice to learn more about our heritage.  Well it's not exactly our heritage. My grandparents were all Chicago Jews, not NYC ones.  But the tour was about Russian immigrants, and my ancestors were from that area of the world.  So it kind of fits.

Anyway....

Our tour guide was Raj, an Indian guy who had an accent that sounded Australian to me.  I was extremely curious about this, but too shy to ask.  Well, really.... it wasn't just shyness. It was probably also shame.  How could I have this blog for nine years, know all this stuff about Australia, and still not be a brilliant expert on Australian accents?  Why after all this time and studying, do I still get confused?

To make matters worse, I was wearing my I Love Melbourne shirt.  So if I asked Raj if he was Australian, he might actually conclude I'm this fan of Australia who is dumb when it comes to accents.  If I didn't have the shirt, maybe I would have asked, because then he might have seem me as a normal person with an average interest in Australia rather than a sort-of-weird-crazy person.  

Also, Raj was quite busy talking about Jewish history and responding to related questions from the other tour participants. There really didn't seem to be an appropriate time for me to blurt out, By the way. Where are YOU from originally? And if I did that, what if everyone there thought I was referring to him being Indian. Because then that would be one of those racist things—the idea that nonwhite people have to be from somewhere else.  Although maybe it wouldn't be seen as racist since he does have a non-American accent.  I think if you have an American accent and people demand to know where you're from, it's racist.  If you have a non-American accent, maybe it's a more valid question.

So...I never asked Raj. I did ask Tim and Jack after the tour. Did they think Raj was Australian. Jack said maybe he was, or maybe he was South African.  South African didn't seem right to me.  I decided Raj was probably Australian.

And I thought about it every so often on the trip.  Okay, I was actually mildly obsessed. I dreamed about Raj twice. And I think I was also kind of having this fantasy that we'd randomly run into Raj somewhere in NYC, and I could ask him.  Hi! You probably don't remember us. We were on your tour, and I was just wondering. It's not super important or anything. But...are you Australian?

Sadly, we never had a serendipitous encounter with Raj.

Jack and I talked about him at the airport. I think I brought up the Australian stuff again.  I also said something about Raj being a good actor.  He didn't just fill our vessels with interesting facts.  He seemed to really get into the stories he was telling us, and the emotions/opinions of the various real-life characters.   He was so good at it, that when he portrayed the thought processes of anti-immigration people, it was actually a bit scary.  It almost seemed like he agreed with the anti-immigration ideas, even though since is an immigrant himself and he works at a pro-immigrant museum, this would make little sense.  And mostly he did seem pro-immigrant.

I guess what I'm trying to say, in my clumsy way, is he did a great job of becoming different characters.

It wasn't in a typical historical-museum reenactment way...you know where they put on a costume, change their accent, and show you how to churn butter.  It was more subtle—maybe more along the lines of dissociative identity disorder.

When we got home to Texas, Jack did some Googling about Raj.  I'm not sure if I asked him to do this, or he did it on his own.

But...he found out some fascinating things.

First of all, Raj is NOT Australian.  He comes from New Zealand.  Why did I not think of that possibility earlier?  If my brain had been properly working, I probably would have.

Hey! You know what. There HAS been something glitchy in my brain lately.  I've been having various muscle jerking for the past few months.  If the part of my brain that deals with muscles is glitching, isn't it also possible that the part of my brain that deals with New Zealand is also not working 100% properly.  So yeah...MAYBE it's not my fault.  I'm going to blame my neurons.  Do neurons deal with New Zealand?  I'm not sure.  But let's just pretend they do.

So, Raj is from New Zealand.  His real/full name is Rajeev Varma.  Although now I'm wondering if he told us his name was Rajeev, and I just heard Raj.  Did he have a name tag that said Raj?  I can't remember.

The most exciting thing, though, is Rajeev Varma really IS an actor.  When I mentioned the actor thing to Jack, I didn't mean it literally, like as a career kind of thing.  I was picturing something more along the lines of someone who doesn't act professionally or as a serious hobby, but who has a secret talent that he sometimes uses in his career/daily life.  Maybe at most, I would have guessed that he occasionally does community theater.

But no. Rajeev is a professional actor. He has a show on Netflix—Brown Nation.  He plays the main character!  And according to IMDb, he's been doing screen work since 1996.

It was very exciting for us to learn that our tour guide was a successful actor who might end up being famous one day.

If he becomes famous, will he continue to work as a tour guide?  That would be nice if he did—as long as he still enjoyed the work.  I think it's possible.  I know there are actors who teach at universities, and stuff like that.

I did start to wonder if maybe the other people on the tour already knew that Rajeev Varma was an actor. I started to imagine that they were all Brown Nation fans who signed up for the sweatshop tour with hopes that a Netflix star would be their tour guide.  Maybe we were the only ignorant ones—ignorant about the difference between Australian and Kiwi accents, and ignorant about Netflix programming.

I don't blame myself for the latter. There are so many shows made by Netflix I can't keep up.
If it weren't for Jack googling to find out where our tour guide's accent was from, I'd probably never learn that Brown Nation existed.   And this is coming from someone who studies IMDb on a daily basis.

So...hey...my Australia-thing, and my curiosity over our tour guide's accent, might have led me to yet another show to add to my huge list of shows and movies I want to watch.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Japan

I've been feeling conflicted lately.

The thing is, we went to Japan. And lately, I've been kind of loving Japan more than Australia.

I feel guilty, as if I've made some commitment to Australia—that I'll always love Australia the most.

Oh well.  We feel what we feel.

There are some major differences in the love-feelings, though.

With Australia, it was very spiritual. It felt like fate. I believe it IS fate. Though that could just be my delusional mind speaking.

I don't really feel any spiritual connection to Japan. In fact, the only remotely (kind of) spiritual feeling I had was when we met up with one of our Australian friends in Nagoya.  I wish there had been some spiritual feelings at the cat cafes we had visited. But no such luck there.

I was extremely interested in the history of Australia. I have no interest in the history of Japan.  Some aspects of the modern culture intrigues me—especially the trend of wearing surgical masks and using water bottles to scare off feral cats.  But I really couldn't care less about Japanese dynasties and stuff like that.

Really. There's pretty much one thing I totally love about Japan. The food! It makes me sound like a total glutton.  But we can be politically correct and just say "Foodie".

I love mochi, azuki, and matcha.   It's the sweet stuff that has won my heart the most. But I also like the tofu, sushi, pickled vegetables, etc.  We had so much fun eating at a conveyer belt sushi place. The food wasn't the best I've ever had, but it was one of my best restaurant-experiences.

With Australia, it's probably food that is the least exciting to me. I have love for Australian food products pretty much only because they come from Australia.  I don't dislike the food. It's fine. But the love is about where it's from and not what it is.

I guess I could say I love Japan for it's Japanese food. I love Australian food because it's from Australian.

Well, maybe things aren't that extreme. I did like other things, in Japan, besides the food.  One thing I loved is the language issues.  I had never been too on going to a country that doesn't speak English.  It scared me a bit. But it ended up, not knowing the language was one of the best parts.  Although I should confess that it's actually not that hard being English-speaking in Japan.  There's so much English signage.  And when there wasn't, Google translate came to our aid.

We managed to add a few key polite Japanese words to our vocabulary so we'd come of as somewhat polite and not horribly ethnocentric-American.  But besides that, there WAS a communication barrier. I loved it, because I could totally avoid small talk.

I thought I loved talking to strangers and eavesdropping on conversations in Disney lines, but I really loved NOT doing those things in Japan. So maybe my love for those things was a lie I told myself.

Or maybe I just needed a break from it all.

That being said....

I have actually been learning Japanese. I started before the trip and am continuing with it.  I'm doing it more, though for brain exercise purposes and less for communication reasons.

When I was in the deep midst of the Australia obsession, I only wanted to read Australia novels.  That's not the case with Japan. But I did just finish reading a beautiful Japanese novel—Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.  I plan to read many more of his other books.

This post is so jumpy. Sorry about that.  It's just I have a lot to say, and don't know how to organize it in an impressive, intelligent way.

Maybe I'll end with a story.

I don't know if it will be funny, or it's one of those things where you have to be there.

So...on a Friday night, Jack and I were walking to a soba restaurant to meet Tim.  I suddenly heard this singing. It sounded like it came from some type of speaker system.  I jokingly asked Jack if he heard it too, or if I was hallucinating. I don't think he did at first, because it was quiet. But then it got louder.

We saw the singing was coming from a truck driving around the street. It sounded somewhat religious, and I had this feeling that it was some kind of cult thing. There was singing, and then some kind of announcement. I figured the truck was recruiting new followers.

Then while in line at the soba restaurant, we started Googling. I learned that sound trucks are part of Japanese culture, and that it's often a right-wing nationalist kind of thing.

We talked about this for a bit.  I started to get more curious about the particular truck we had heard. Was it political, or I had been right about the religious cult.  I Googled some of the lyrics we heard, and learned it's neither political or religious.  It was a truck selling sweet potatoes!  It's like the Japanese equivalent of the ice-cream truck.

Okay. Sorry. I can't end with that story. Because I MUST also mention the vending machines of Japan.  Yes, it's another (kind of) food related thing.  But still.

I am so amazed at the amount of vending machines.  I think we had three on our street in Tokyo. It's so convenient. As long as you have a little change in your pocket, you don't have to worry about going thirsty. And not only do they have cold drinks, but warm/hot ones as well.

I had often heard that Japan has vending machines for EVERYTHING.  I don't doubt that, but we didn't see it with our own personal eyes.  Once in awhile I saw a food or cigarette machine, but mostly it was just drinks.

Well, I guess I'll end here.  If anyone is interested, I have a Japanese-trip album on Flickr. I'm not done uploading yet, but you can see what I have so far.  





Sunday, March 26, 2017

He's Holding His Man and His Parents Mind But Not as Much As I Thought They Would

I recently watched the movie Holding the Man.

It's a romantic true story about two men, John Caleo (Craig Stott) and Tim Conigrave (Ryan Corr) who fall in love as teenagers during the 70's; then sadly die of AIDS in the 1990's.

The movie is based on the memoirs of Tim Conigrave.

What surprised me about the movie is the reaction of the parents to their sons being gay.  Three out the four of them seemed pretty cool with it.  Mr Caleo (Anthony LaPaglia) was not okay with his son being gay, but compared to what I'd expect in those days, he was pretty damn tame.

From the stories I've encountered about being gay in the 20th century, I've come to expect screams and cries of, You're going to rot in hell!  I picture young adults being kicked out of their houses, being told never to return.  I picture clothes, and other belongings, being dumped out of upstairs windows onto a picture-perfect lawn.

In other words, I pretty much tend to imagine 20th century parents of gay children all acting like they're members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Unfortunately, I'm sure many young gay men and women have had to endure Westboro-type parents. The movie did make me question how many, though.  Were most parents like that in the 1970's-1990's.  About half?  Just a few, but like Muslims they've been pigeon-holed into something awful?  

Now that I think more about it, I'm guessing I probably had two type of parents in my mind.  The first type would be the large majority. They would hate their child for being gay and send them away forever.  Then there'd be the rare, super progressive mom and dad who would be totally accepting. When they heard the news, they'd act happy-happy and have some kind of pot-smoking ceremony with their gay son or daughter.

I don't think I pictured there being a in-between those two groups, so the movie challenged my mind a bit.

Mr. Caleo does forbid John from dating Timothy. In the beginning of the relationship, he even threatens law action against Tim's family.  Still. In the movie, at least, it all feels a bit half-hearted.  It's kind of like when a mother declares the family is going to be eating only fresh fruit for dessert for now on; then a month later they're all eating ice-cream sundaes again.

Please don't be offended by my analogy. I'm not trying to say that being gay is like indulging in an unhealthy dessert, and that not-being-gay is all wholesome and healthy.   What I'm trying to convey is that the dad seemed firm with his uptight, conservative morals at first, but then seemed to reluctantly relax a bit.  He never welcomed Timothy into his heart, and he never acted okay with his son being gay.  But he was much more first-season-Jay-Pritchett than Westboro about the whole thing.

One thing I'm wondering, though, is if the Dad was more awful in real life—that this was conveyed in the book, but left out of the film.

Or maybe not.  Maybe Mr. Caleo was like the way he was portrayed in film.  If that's the case, I feel compelled to give him credit.  But then I worry. Am I being too lenient?  Are my expectations too low?

My expectations would be much higher today.  If a 21st century parent acted like Mr. Caleo, I'd see them as being a pathetic loser.

But for those days....

He didn't kick his son out of the house for being gay.

He never seemed to like Tim, but nor did he act like absolutely despised him.

He was there for John when he was dying of AIDS. Though he seemed to blame Tim for his son contracting AIDS, there were no dramatic scenes with him trying to kick Tim out of the hospital room.  Parents and partner were in the room, in sort of harmony, for the death scene.

Anyway....

I'm glad I watched the movie.  It opened my mind a bit. If I watched something like that in the 1980's, it would have probably been mind-opening in terms of sexuality.  But I'm a 21st century woman now. When it comes to sexuality, my mind is way opened.  But it MIGHT not be that open when it comes to parents of the bygone days, or about how families are different.

I saw parents of gay children in a stereotypical way, and now I'm more open to the fact that not everyone fits the extremes I had in my mind.

You know....

I'm thinking it's dumb I had these stereotypes. Why? My own parents. They were parents of teenagers in the 1980's and 1990's.  They've never been super progressive. But I can't imagine they'd ever disown us for being gay.  Like the parents in the movie, they'd reluctantly accept the whole thing.  I guess my image of the whole situation has been shaped more by the stories I've encountered than my own personal experiences.

I just thought of something else. It wasn't just the parents, in the movie, that were less homophobic than I expected.  John and Tim's classmates and teachers were as well.  There was some teasing and negative comments, but for the most part, the people seemed fairly okay with homosexuality.  There were no scenes of evil bullying.

Does the movie downplay homophobia?

Were John and Tim simply lucky...at least in that regard?

Is there less homophobia in the world than I've imagined?  I mean, actually the amount of homophobia I saw in the film, for the late 1970's is even less than what I imagine many teens encounter these days.

Well....I'm sure there are many variables.

Statistically there's going to be less homophobia in this decade, but that doesn't mean it's not out there. It's doesn't mean there aren't gay folks being treated horribly by their parents, siblings, grandparents, classmates, neighbors, coworkers, etc.  The chance of this happening is less than it was decades ago, but then decades ago, there were probably gay people who were lucky enough not to endure horrific examples of homophobia.  


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Leaving Australia

Last night I had multiple dreams with the same theme. It's our last day in Australia, and we're getting ready for our flight.

In one, We're waiting for our flight by hanging out at an indoor pool. We sit against a wall.  People play some kind of sport in the pool. Our friend Greg suggests we all join them—get in, clothes and all. I actually consider it, and give some type of notion of this. Greg lets me know he was joking.

I consider wearing swimming suits the next time we wait like this. Then I start to wonder if we'd be allowed. Is it a public pool? I remind myself that no one is stopping us from sitting here. But it might be different if we tried to swim.  Maybe you need a membership to get into changing rooms. 

When we were in Sydney in 2009, we went to a pool. I'm not sure if it was considered a public one, but you didn't need a membership to swim there. You just paid a day fee.

I just googled to find the pool. It's called Cook Phillip Park.  It looks like mostly it's a membership thing. But at the very bottom of all the choices and prices, they have Adult Casual Pool Entry for $7.40.  I guess that's what we did.

Anyway, in another dream....

The airline keeps all the passengers together before the flight. It's like we're in a tour group.  Before getting on the plane, we sit on bleachers/steps.  They hand us coupons that can be used in Australia. I realize it's way too late to use them now, and this must be a tactic to get us to return.

Later...I joke around with family that we should make going-to-Australia a yearly winter-break or Thanksgiving tradition.

I think the keeping-everyone-together came from watching American Crime Story about the OJ Simpson trial.  It reminds me of how the jury was often kept together for meals, shopping trips, etc.

There was another dream where...we're waiting in a room until it's time to get to the airplane/airport. We're waiting for a certain time or message letting us know we need to go.  Someone sees that the time has already come and we didn't realize it.  We start rushing to get ourselves together.  I hurry and start throwing stuff in bags.  I see stuff we never used in Australia, and consider whether I should just leave it behind.  My mom starts talking to Jack while he's trying to get ready.  It's totally not a good time. I let her know this. She acts apologetic, and I feel guilty for shutting her up.

That's a basic anxiety dream.  We're going on an international trip soon (not Australia) so I think that's where that is coming from.

I do wonder why I had multiple dreams last night about LEAVING Australia rather than heading to Australia. And why was it multiple dreams about leaving rather than just one?

I feel my mind is trying to tell me something.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

I'm Having a Problem with Liane Moriarty's Latest Novel

My almost-Australian cousin introduced me to the term "vague-posting".

This is where someone tries to be mysterious by posting on social media and leaving out the details. The goal is for their "friends" and followers to want more information.  It's a way to get attention.

I can't believe she said that!

Why do these things have to happen to me?

I can't believe I just ate that.

I'm so excited for this weekend!

He's being so unfair!

One thing I've come to realize, both from myself and others, is that not all vague-posting is about getting attention.  Sometimes it's about venting. You are all bottled up. You gotta take off that cork because it's suffocating you. You want to speak out, but you don't feel comfortable or safe giving out specific details.

So yeah. I guess we could divide vague-posting into two categories: venting and attention-seeking.

Either way, it's kind of annoying...especially when it's done frequently.  I personally don't find it very attractive.

And now I'm reading Jaclyn's Moriarty's Truly Madly Guilty, and it's full of this vague-posting behavior.

 Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors.  But...yikes!

I'm not saying I dislike the book.  I'm enjoying my time reading it.

But it's annoying.

Most of the book is about this mysterious thing that happened at a neighborhood picnic.  All the point-of-view characters know what happened at this picnic, but they're not telling the reader what it is.  They're just dropping hints...like vague-posters.

Sometime ago...somewhere (not being purposely vague here. I just don't remember) I learned it's not good to have a mystery that's based on information the characters know and are keeping from the reader.

I thought about this while reading the novel and questioned whether I dislike the practice only because I was taught it's wrong.  Is there anything inherently wrong with it? Is it REALLY a problem?  Or have I just been prejudiced by advice I was given?

Now that I'm about 1/3 through the book, I'm concluding that I do actually find this type of writing distasteful. I haven't just been brainwashed.

The writing technique feels cheap to me.

Besides vague-posting, you know what else it's like?

Clickbait!

Do we click on clickbait because we expect a good story and good writing, or because we have become victims of our morbid curiosity?

And there's the question—am I reading the book because it's actually good, or because I now have to find out what happened at this damn picnic?

Well, in the case of this book, I actually DO find it good.  I find the characters interesting and relatable. I love Moriarty's casual writing style.  But if I didn't like the characters, the writing, etc?  Would I feel obligated to continue so I could find out about the picnic event?

I think one of the problems with novelists using clickbait/vague-posting techniques is that expectations are built up.

Am I going to be blown away by this picnic event? What if I'm disappointed?  What if it doesn't seem like a big enough deal to me?  What if I think it's silly?  Will I regret the time I put into reading the novel?

I'm thinking about the previous Liane Moriarty novel I read—Big Little Lies.  If I remember correctly, that had the same kind of vague-posting thing.  In that, though, I think it was just at the little interview snippets at the front/back (?) of each chapter.  I don't think the regular narrative had it.
I loved Big Little Lies, but I wasn't a fan of the little interview snippets.  My dislike was probably due to the vague-posting aspects.  Now this next Moriarty novel has even more of it.  It's infected the whole narrative. In fact, I think it's pretty much the backbone of the novel.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Watching Roots...and More Accent Stuff

I've been watching the remake of Roots this week.  I go on IMDb a lot to see which actor is from where and what other projects they've been in.  I love IMDb.  

Anyway, yesterday I finally decided to look beyond the actors. I looked at the directors and saw two out of the four episodes are directed by Australians—Phillip Noyce and Bruce Beresford.  

I haven't watched the the Beresford episode yet, but I did watch the Noyce one.  I thought it was very good. 

I just checked the third episode to make sure I didn't miss an Aussie.  I saw that the director for that is Thomas Carter.  Thomas Carter also made a movie about Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who seems to have a lack of understanding about the African slave trade.

It was the day I started watching Roots that Carson made his bizarre comment.  I think I had very recently finished watching the horrific ship scene when I read what he said. 

Carson said, ...a land of dreams and opportunities. There were other immigrants who came here on the bottom of slave ships. Worked even longer, even harder, for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity.

Trump supporters have put much energy into pointing out the hypocrisy of the left. Videos have emerged with Obama also referring to kidnapped Africans as immigrants.  

Like Carson, Obama probably used an inappropriate word. But from the footage, I've seen, the context and usage is different.  

Obama said,  It wasn't always easy for new immigrants. It certainly wasn't easy for those of African heritage who did not come here voluntarily. And yet in their own way were immigrants themselves.

At least Obama mentions the bit about not coming voluntarily.  Though that too is sugarcoating things. 

In Australia, VOTING is not a voluntary action.  Kidnapping people from their land and families; then chaining them painfully to the bottom of the ship is another thing all together.  

Maybe Carson would have scored better if he mentioned the chains at the bottom of the ship.  With the way he says it, it simply sounds like the slaves weren't prosperous enough to buy first class tickets.  

The other thing bothersome is Carson beginning his talk about kidnapped Africans with the whole dreams and opportunities thing.  WHITE people kidnapped and abused black people in order to help make their white dreams come true.  I don't think being a slave was in the hopes and dreams of Africans.  

The other thing I'll say for Obama is I think it helps that he says, and yet in their own way...  This shows that he recognizes that the African-American story is very different from other American stories.  

Anyway....

Today I saw other news that was timely for my Roots viewing.

Samuel L. Jackson has complained about British black actors being used to portray African-American characters.  

Donald Trump is so busy complaining about our clothes and toys being made in China, he seems to have failed to notice that a lot of the people we see on our screens were made in the UK, Australia, and Canada.  

In Roots, two of the main black characters are played by men from England.  

A few of the slave owners are from Ireland/England.  

But still...they casted a fair amount of white and black Americans as well.  

I don't share Jackson's grievances, but I'm not an actor hoping for more work.  Maybe it would be different if I was.  I'm not sure how many American actors feel cheated out of jobs because foreigners are taking them.

The only time I'm personally a bit bothered is...

A) As I mentioned in my last post, I become attached to the fake accent and have trouble accepting the real one.  

B) When there are way too many people in one project faking an accent.  The one project that sticks in my mind, in that regard, is that creepy show Camp.  It was filmed in Australia with all Australian actors pretending to be American.   And even in interviews, the actors pretended to be American. There was something not right about that.  

I also wish, that when appropriate, more actors were allowed to keep their Australian or British accent.

I give Kudos to the new show Speechless for letting Minnie Driver play a British-American.  

I like that in House, Jesse Spencer plays an Australian doctor.

I know there are probably other examples, but, in my opinion, not enough.  

Oh! I just remembered another one.  In This is Us, Janet Montgomery, a British actress, plays a British actress.  And what's even more unusual, American actor Denis O'Hare plays a character with a British accent.   Or at least I think he does.  I'm not sure if I'm remembering things correctly.  It's been many weeks since we've watched the show.

Anyway...back to Roots.

It's great.  I highly recommend it...especially to people who confuse voluntary immigration with violent kidnappings.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Accents and Crushes

This morning I read an old post I wrote about Jason Stackhouse.  It's about how despite loving Australian accents, I prefer Ryan Kwanten's pretend American accent over his Australian one.

Reading it was timely, because it has happened to me again.

Actually, this is the third time it's happened.

A few months ago, I watched House. I love Hugh Laurie's American accent. Then I tried to watch him in The Night Manager, and his accent really annoyed me.  Though I'm not convinced that's his real British accent. I've heard Hugh Laurie talk in interviews before, and I've never disliked his voice. Maybe it's not just about the voice?  Maybe it was also about the character?  I have no idea, really.  It couldn't be just that he played a villain.  I've liked plenty of villains before.

Anyway....

The most recent accent-issue I've had is with Hugh Dancy on Hannibal.  He plays Will Graham, who has an overly adorable American accent.  I developed a bit of a crush on Will Graham.  I tend to feel unsettled about having a crush on a fictional character. I have this compulsion to transfer it to the actor.  But when I heard Dancy use a British accent, it just didn't work for me.

BUT then later I was watching a gag reel for Hannibal, and there are times when Dancy keeps the American accent.  He's probably just doing that to stay in character. He probably uses the accent all the time when on set.  But still...it was enough to give me a short moment of irrational fantasies.  I leave Tim. He leaves Claire Danes. We get together. Then the fantasy shattered. I pictured him using the British accent and me saying something like...Uh, Honey. Can you please stop that? 

Then let's say he does follow along with my demented, controlling behavior.  It probably wouldn't be enough for me.  I'd probably also insist that he actually act like Will Graham.  I'd probably even want to call him Will.

It would be VERY Anne Wilkes...which actually might turn Hugh Dancy into a Will Graham type person.

If I was evil enough, I could take my fantasies into those directions. But I'm not. And besides, my crush ended.  I'm not sure if that's the result of my doing some self-psychotherapy and figuring out why I was crushing on Will Graham.  Or it might be because I'm liking season three of the show much less than I did season one and season two.

The other thing is I'm trying to tell myself that I don't need to transfer my crushes on fictional characters to the actors that portray them.  I think I did this in the past because the characters I had crushes on might have been slightly inappropriate.

For example...speaking of Hannibal.  In the 1990's, I might have been a bit attracted to Hannibal Lector.  Since crushing on a serial killer, cannibal wasn't exactly kosher, I pushed myself to transfer the feelings to Anthony Hopkins.

But one of the ideas/themes in Hannibal is that Hannibal Lector has a way of getting people to become attracted to him.  He's charming, lovely, and addictive.  Even when the decent characters figure out that he's a serial killer, they can't stop their attraction to him.

If I can be understanding towards fictional people having affection for a cannibal, I figure I can also be forgiving and understanding to myself, for all my crazy crushes, both long ago and recent.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Small Parts and Big Parts

Last night I dreamed...

I hear that Julian McMahon is in a production of Death of a Salesman.  I start to watch a trailer on TV.   I don't see him in the beginning, so I make the assumption he has a small part.  Then moments later, I see he doesn't actually have a small part. He has the main part. He plays Willy Loman.

I was trying to figure out the meaning of the dream this morning. Then I realized it's the opposite of what happened to me with Bloodline.  I just finished watching season two. Since Ben Mendelsohn won an award for the show, I figured somehow his character would be in it a large amount.  He wasn't.  He was hardly on the show at all.

I'm wondering if he won the award for season one and not season two.  That would make more sense. He was in season one much more.

I just looked at the Emmy website.  Mendelsohn won for 2016. Lord Wiki says that's for television programming from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016.  When was Bloodline?

Well...according to IMDb, the first season wouldn't have made the cut.  It's dated as March 20, 2015.

Season two made the deadline by four days!  Yikes.

Mendelsohn beat out two guys from Game of Thrones—Peter Dinklage and Kit Harrington.  I was going to argue that those guys were in their show much more than Mendelsohn was in his.  But I'm rethinking that. The thing with Game of Thrones is there are SO many characters.  Each actor probably doesn't have that much screen time.

I think the difference, though, with Game of Thrones is that Dinklage and Harrington, compared to their costars, do have a lot of screen time.  In contrast, Mendelsohn seemed to have much less screen time than many of his co-stars.

Some might argue it's not about quantity. It's about quality.  I agree.

I think Mendelsohn is a fantastic actor and deserving of many acting awards. I can't say, though, that there was anything in his performance for season two that really wowed me.  I was actually much more impressed with Owen Teague, who played Mendelsohn's son.  If it had been up to me, I would have given Teague the Emmy.

I definitely wouldn't have hesitated to give Mendelsohn the Emmy for season one of Bloodline.  His performance was superb in that.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Airport Anxiety

Being obsessed with Australia has come with some baggage.  One piece of luggage is my anxiety dreams about flying to Australia.  I think the most common dream involves me traveling alone to Australia, and I suddenly have a lot of anxiety and regret about leaving my family behind.

Last night I had multiple anxiety dreams.  These were not about leaving my family behind. These dreams involved worries about missing the plane.

In one dream:  Even though we've just been to Australia as a family, I'm going back weeks later on my own.  There's something that intrigues me.  The people that will be on my flight were also on our to and from flights on the last trip. I think it's quite a coincidence that not only did we come and go at the same time, but most of us are also returning at the same time.  

Later something disastrous happens at a factory (or warehouse) nearby.  It's owned by the father of one of my fellow passengers.  The father is a bully to his son, but despite this, the son forgoes his trip to Australia to stay behind to help his dad.  Other passengers go with him.  Then a female  passenger forgoes the trip to stay behind because she has a crush on one of the guys helping with the factory fix-up.  I end up staying behind too, because I don't want to be the odd one out who stays.

I don't remember what happened immediately next.

But later...

We talk to an airline employee and tell her our story.  The girl who had a crush ended up being rejected, so she felt regret for missing the flight to Australia.  I get the sense from her demeanor and questions from the airplane representative that she might rebook us on another flight without a fee, or a low fee.

Then I had at least two other dreams where I was trying to get to those flights.  Things kept going wrong.

One thing a bit odd about the first dream is towards the end...it was like I was not myself.

No, that's not saying it right.

It's like Me-Dina was in the story.  But I wasn't her.  I was kind of like an invisible observer.  I think I watched myself choose not to get on the plane, and I was dismayed by my behavior.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what the dream means.

I'm not sure why I'm having anxiety dreams about being on time for a flight to Australia.  It would make more sense if we were going to Australia soon.

We ARE going to Japan soon.  Maybe the anxiety is about that.  Oh! Actually, there was a bit in the dream, where it changed.  So I was no longer going to Australia weeks after we returned. I was going to Japan alone weeks before we were going as a family.

I don't consciously feel nervous about being late for our Japan flight, but maybe subconsciously? I do tend to get anxious about being late for things, so it's not far-fetched.

I'm also wondering if there's meaning—or a message—about the reasons people missed the flight.

There were three different themes: A) Making a sacrifice for someone who hasn't treated you well B) Making a sacrifice because you have a crush on someone C) Making a sacrifice because you feel the need to follow the others.

Well, I wish I had some deep thoughts about all that.

I don't...at least not right now.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

I Have To Speak Up In Defense of Zane Bennett

I was actually kind of loving H20: Just Add Water.  I loved the theme song, the characters, the actors, the writing, the setting, etc.

Now I'm watching the last episode of the first season, and the show has made me furious.

Why?

I'm hating the way that Zane Bennett (Burgess Abernethy) is being treated.

Zane starts off as a stereotypical wealthy, spoiled bully.  But as time goes on, Zane displays a much softer side.  

This softer side might have come about because Zane's life was saved by a mysterious sea creature. He becomes obsessed with learning more, and the people in his life belittle him for having an idea that is a bit out there.

One of the people who is a total bitch about Zane's obsession is Rikki (Cariba Heine).  Every time, Zane brings up the mystery, Rikki pretty much tells him to shut up.  She even bribes him to keep quiet by offering to go on a date with him.  

Now I tried to give Rikki the benefit of the doubt.  The thing is, she's a mermaid and she and her friends worried that if their secret came out, they'd become scientific experiments.  

Maybe because of Trump, I'm a bit oversensitive to the anti-science thing.  But could we one day have a science fiction/fantasy show where the scientists aren't presented as evil murderers?  Of course, scientists would want to study humans who turn into mermaids, but might they do it in a humane way?  Is it really guaranteed that scientists would do cruel experiments on humans and then dissect them?  Is it possible that maybe the scientists would take a few tissue samples, do a few harmless tests, and then send the mermaids home? 

Anyway...back to Zane.  I felt bad for the guy, but also could sort of understand why the mermaid girls wanted to keep their secret.

Okay, but in this season finale episode, Zane ends up finding out the truth.  This comes from a secret camera that some scientists had hidden.  He then finds himself face to face with the mermaids, one of them being his girlfriend Rikki.  Zane doesn't scream with fear. He doesn't act angry that the secret was kept from him.  He doesn't rub his hands in evil glee.  He's very kind to Rikki.  His attitude seems to be more of wonderment.  

Rikki, in return, is a total bitch to him, and seems to be blaming him for everything.  Why?  Because he pursued the whole mermaid thing.  The guy had a life-saving encounter with something magical, and he didn't have the decency to just let it go.  Really.  WTF?   What is the show trying to say—that if something very unusual happens to us, we should shut up and forget about it?  

I can imagine if Zane had talked about wanting to make money off the deal, or if he had some nefarious plan.  But really. He just wanted people to believe him, and he wanted to get more information about what had happened to him.  Is there really something wrong with that?  

I think I'm getting really worked up about a TV show.  Sorry.  

It just bothers me on so many levels.

I'm going to blame Trump again.

A lot of us complain about all the evil Trump is doing.  What do his supporters say?  Get over it.  

No. 

If we don't like what's happening in the world, we have a right to speak out about it.

If we see something amazing, we have the right to want to learn more.  We have the right to try to study it.  

If we have an amazing, maybe-supernatural experience, we have the right to talk about it without being immediately ridiculed.  

So...Zane.  I know you are a fictional character, but still...I am TOTALLY on your side.  Now I'm going to finish watching the episode and hope that those mermaids start treating you better.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The One Good Thing about Donald Trump Being President

I really wanted to write a post about Donald Trump, but I hate writing non-Australian posts on my blog.  So I'm going to use this article as an excuse.  It says that Trump might make it harder for Australians (and others) to visit America.  Visitors might have to be interviewed before being let inside.

What kind of interview?  Would it be a long and scary interview?  Or would it be like the short, easy interview that we go through when we visit Australia? From what I remember, the immigration officials just quickly asked us where we were staying and whether we were there for business or pleasure.

Does the US not have that?  Is that what's going to be added? Or is that short question session standard in all countries, and the US is going to add some kind of grueling question session?

Anyway, my initial feeling when reading the article was, why would foreigners WANT to visit the US now?  I personally would wait four years, and hopefully things will go back to being relatively-kind of great.

But I vaguely remember talking to someone who told me he likes to visit countries before they go completely to shit...take that last chance.  So maybe some foreigners might want to come to the US before we completely implode.  Or they might want to come before most of the world's population dies in a nuclear war.

Anyway...let me get onto the other thing I wanted to talk about—the one good thing about Donald Trump.  This is coming from me who is in no way a Trump supporter.  I hate the man.  Of course, if a Trump supporter is reading this, I totally understand that, for them, there will be more than one good thing about Trump.  It's all about perspective.  

MY one good thing about Trump is that I think he's giving us great guidance in how NOT to act.  I predict that we will see a lot of behavior improvements —in ourselves, family members, partners, co-workers, neighbors, friends, etc.

This would probably only apply to haters of Trump or people who feel so-so about Trump.  People who are fans of Trump might actually use Trump's behavior as something to aspire to.

Now I'm going to guess that most of us anti-Trump people are open to immigration and believe in the fair and decent treatment of people of all genders, sexual preferences, abilities, ethnic groups, religions, etc.  So I don't think Trump's behavior is going to be much of a wake-up call in that direction.

Well...,maybe for some it will?  Maybe there are people who are a tiny bit bigoted, and seeing the ugly, overt bigotry of some Trump fans will make them want to let go of their bigotry.

But besides that...here is my list.  Sorry it took so long for me to get to it.

1. I think Trump will help people realize that it is NOT okay to lie and/or engage in gaslighting tactics.  Yes, it's okay to say your husband looks good in that ugly new shirt he bought.  And yes, it's not so bad to tell your Aunt Ida that you love her dry chocolate cake.

But it is very much NOT okay to claim something didn't happen when it in fact did happen, and this lying is even worse when someone has actually witnessed it happening.

If you spilled coffee on the couch, and your partner asks about it, tell her the truth!  Don't let her start wondering if someone broke into the house and spilled coffee.  Don't let her start believing you guys have a poltergeist. Or worse...lead her into believing that she spilled the coffee, and she can't remember it, because she's losing her mind.

If your partner actually saw you spill the coffee with her own very eyes and mentions it a week later, don't sit there and try to deny it.  PLEASE! just own up to it.

If you did something worse than spilling coffee...whether intentional or not.  Let the injured person be angry.  Apologize and try to make amends.  You're not doing yourself or them any favors by denying it happened.  They MIGHT pretend to believe you and they might pretend they're okay with things, but they're probably stewing inside. Or they're questioning their sanity and their self-worth is plummeting.

I'll give you one exception.  If the person you wronged is dangerous and might kill you if they know you've wronged them?  Well, then it might be a good idea to lie.  And you should probably run and hide as well.

2. I think Trump will help us reduce our preoccupation with the physical appearance of women.

I think there will be less people rating women 1-10 on their appearance.  There'll be less enthusiasm over beauty pageants.  If a woman makes us mad, we'll be less likely to say things like, She's an ugly fat bitch. 

Look at the women that you adore and that adore you.  If most of them are young, thin, and physically attractive, maybe take a good look at yourself.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with being attracted to youth and beauty.  But there is a problem if you value it too highly and you have a lack of respect for women who are older and less thin.

3. I think men will make more of a conscious effort not to do inappropriate things with their daughters.

Obviously, decent men already know that they shouldn't have sex with their daughters.  They already know that they shouldn't touch their daughters genitals, take nude photos of their daughters, masturbate in front of their daughters, etc.

But there are little things that should also be avoided.  Don't talk about wanting to date your daughter if she wasn't your daughter.  Don't touch your daughter in a way that's romantically affectionate rather than father-daughter affectionate.  Don't take photos of your daughter that make it obvious that you're concentrating way too much on her breasts, butt, or legs.

Now sometimes accidents happen, and I hope no fathers, uncles, or grandfathers are beating themselves up over it.  Once my grandfather kissed me on the lips.  I had no feeling whatsoever that he was trying to molest me.  I think it was just one of those awkward moments where we both moved our faces the wrong way.

One day a dad might accidentally bump into his daughter, hit her breasts, say something awkward to cover up the mishap.  He ends up saying something that makes things more awkward....

Things like that happen.  If it happens to you as a parent and you feel kind of mortified, well...then you're probably okay.

4. I think Trump's behavior will encourage people to show more kindness and consideration to their partners at social events.

I personally do not think it's necessary to open car doors or pull out chairs at restaurants.  I'm not into that kind of stuff.

But we should all make sure that when we enter a party, or other event with someone, that we walk WITH them and not walk way ahead of them.

We don't need to cling to our partners at social events.  We all need our space.  But we should try hard to remember to act with consideration, kindness, and love.

5. I think Trump has shown the ugliness of excessive bragging.

Almost everyone toots their own horn every so often.  That's fine.

It's ugly, though, to do it on a regular basis.

It's great that you think you're great, but you don't need to work so hard to convince other people of your greatness.  Doing so doesn't make you look great.  More likely it makes you look weak, pathetic, and desperate.

If you're the type of person who likes to promote your greatness, you might be thinking, Well, I know it's wrong to brag.  But it IS okay to spread the news when other people say good things about me.  Right?

No! Please!  Stop!

It's fine in very small doses.  If someone has written a great review of your newest novel, yeah sure.  It's fine to pass that onto your family, friends, and supporters.  But don't be emailing out positive reviews on a frequent basis. You don't need to forward all the glowing emails of praise that are sent to you. Keep some of them for your own private enjoyment.

Do not use bragging or other people's positive opinion of you as a defense for criticism.  If your son complains that you yell at him too much, don't respond by taking out the positive letters your high school students wrote to you.

If your husband complains that you criticize him too much, don't take out the leadership award you won three years ago.

Don't go on and on about all the people who adore you, especially when you're talking to someone that's unhappy with your behavior.  It really doesn't help your case.  Well, it MIGHT make you feel better, but it's unlikely to make the other person feel better about you. If you want to improve someone's opinion of you, I think the best thing to do is treat them better.    

6. I think Trump will reduce the amount of false promises made.

We probably all have times where we truly think we can deliver something, and things don't happen the way we expected.  Then we can apologize and hope that we're understood and forgiven.

But don't make promises to distract people or shut them up.

Instead of saying, I promise that next year we'll have enough money to go on a luxury trip to Europe, maybe something like, Well things are kind of tight right now, but hopefully in the future things will get better, and then maybe we can take a trip somewhere.  

I know some self help books push an attitude of Yes-we-can! and You can do it!  But I think phrases like, We'll try and maybe are underrated.

Writing yes-we-can just reminded me that Trump definitely is not the first politician to be full of promises. I think, though, that he does it a bit more than others?  Or I could be wrong.  I'm not sure.

Well, you know, I think I know the difference.  I think many other politicians promise things that they know they might not be able to deliver, but they sincerely want to deliver it.  They just kind of downplay the fact that they'll have to deal with congress/parliament, etc.  I think with Trump, he's promising things he has no interest in delivering.  He just want to get attention and/or support.

7. I think Trump will get people to reduce to amount of positive adjectives they use.

There's probably going to be a reduction of words like "great", "the best", "tremendous", "wonderful" etc.

I'm probably guilty of this at times.  I like using happy-positive words.  Like some of the other things I mentioned above, it's fine in small doses.

8. I think we will hopefully see less people responding to criticism with insults.

If someone writes something negative about you, either defend yourself intelligently or simply ignore the criticism.  Don't try to defend yourself by claiming your critic is a loser, underrated, or that their business is failing.  These types of comments look especially bad if your critic is highly successful and celebrated.  Then you're just making yourself look totally ridiculous.  But even if they ARE unsuccessful?  I'd say the critic still has a right to share their opinion.


Okay I know this post is super long.  But before I go, I have two more Trump things to add.

A) If you haven't yet seen this Dutch video about Trump, I highly recommend it.  It's hilarious and very well done.  (See the positive adjectives there? Am I overdoing it?)

I think that even some Trump supporters might enjoy it.  I think someone would have to be a very closed-minded, fanatic Trump fan to hate the video.

B) I'm reading a novel written by Donald Trump's nephew, and so far I'm liking it a lot.  The book is called The Misadventures of Oliver Boothe: Life in the Lap of Luxury.  Oliver Boothe's personality seems quite similar to Trump's.  The writing reminds me a bit of JK Rowling's descriptions of the Dursleys.

I imagine Trump has relatives that do NOT support him, but yet feel pressure to keep quiet and/or pretend that they support him.  I feel for them.  I also feel for the Trump family members who love Trump, but at the same time dislike what he's doing or saying.  It must be really hard to put on a facade of full support when, at the same time, they want to publicly bitch him out.  


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

From Mermaids to Vampires

Yesterday I started watching H20: Just Add Water.

It's actually one of the first Australian shows we encountered. I remember seeing a few moments of the show during our first trip to Australia. We thought the show was crap, and I think we developed a negative stereotype about Australia's scripted television.

Fortunately, since then, I've consumed a lot of Aussie TV, and now know that a lot of it is quite wonderful.

And strangely, nine years later, upon giving H20: Just Add Water a second chance, I'm finding that I actually like the show.  I'm not sure if I was too critical back in 2007, or if by now, my standards have lowered.

It might be the latter.

H20: Just Add Water is a Jonathan M Shiff production.  I've seen many of his shows—Thunderstone, Pirate Islands, Scooter: Secret Agent, Wicked Science, The Elephant Princess, and Reef Doctors.

Most of these shows are entertaining, but often corny and sometimes the acting and writing isn't overly impressive.  All but one of the shows mentioned above are geared towards children and tweens, so to be fair, I'd need to compare them to their American counterparts.

When Jack was younger we watched a few of Dan Schneider's Nickelodeon shows.  It's just my opinion, but I think their quality was slightly higher than the Jonathan M Shiff stuff.  But still.  All of it is kind of Cheetos-quality, and not gourmet-cheese-with-crackers-and-raw honey quality.

Either way, I enjoy all of it.  I'm glad I can use my interest in expanding my cultural knowledge of Australia, and the world, as an excuse to watch tween shows.

Anyway....

What I really wanted to talk about in this post is that two of the stars (Phoebe Tonkin and Claire Holt) are now (were?) in the American show The Originals.  I remember looking at that show, in the past, when researching another Aussie show.  If I remember correctly, it was the second season of The Elephant Princess.  It makes me wonder if the casting staff of The Originals has some kind of connection to Shiff.

I'm trying to understand The Originals now.  I thought Tonkin had a bigger role than Holt because she's listed as being in all 79 episodes of the series, and Holt is listed as being in only 29.  But then Holt's character is mentioned in the character description and Tonkin's is not.  I'm not sure what's up with that.

Now I'm consulting Lord Wiki....

Holt plays Rebecca Mikaelson, and the show centers on the Mikaelson family.  They're ancient vampires...the ORIGINAL vampires.  Then Tonkin is a werewolf.  She gets pregnant with Rebecca's brother's child.  So in Australia, Tonkin and Holt are mermaid sisters.  In vampire-land, Holt would be an aunt to Tonkin's hybrid kiddo.

I'm going to jump through the cast of The Originals and try to find the rest of the Australians.  I think the one from The Elephant Princess was a black guy.  That's about all I can remember.  Maybe that will make it easy to find him.

Ah! I found him.  It's Eka Darville.  He plays Diego.  According to Lord Wiki's cousin, Diego is a vampire.

There are other Australians in the cast.

One actor is Oliver Ackland.  He too is a Jonathan Shiff alumni—Pirate Islands.  But he's not from the season/series that I watched.

Claudia Black, from Farscape, was in six episodes of The Originals.  She plays a witch.

Peta Sergeant plays Francesca Guerrera.  Like Tonkin's character, Francesca is a werewolf.

I decided I should probably check back up towards the top of The Originals cast list and see if I'm missing anyone more substantial.

I'm glad I did.

There's Rebecca Breeds.  She's been in fourteen episodes, and plays a vampire named Aurora de Martel.  She's the first vampire created by Rebekah (Holt).

There's Nathanial Buzolic.  IMDb doesn't list him as being from Australia, but I saw Hacksaw Ridge in his filmography.  I think most people in that movie are Aussies.  But to confirm I looked down. One of the first things listed is Home and Away.  So...there you go.

Buzolic plays one of Rebekah's siblings.

There really ARE a lot of Australians in The Originals.

I just found another.  Andrew Lees.  He looks familar to me.  I gotta scroll down to find out why I recognize him.

He played Wes on Dance Academy.

I don't remember him.

Speaking of Dance Academy.  I think THAT is a tween show that greatly surpasses both the Jonathan Shiff stuff and the Dan Schneider stuff.

I just consulted Lord Wiki's cousin.  He reminded me that Wes was the guy that Abigail dated when she did her international traveling.

On The Originals, Lees plays Lucien who is a vampire-antagonist.  I mean he's a vampire and he's an antagonist on the show...not an antagonist to vampires.  Though he's probably an antagonist to some vampires.

Anyway, that's about it for now.

I just added The Originals to my To-Watch list.  Who knows if I'll ever get to it.  The list is quite long.

I'm overwhelmed by all the TV shows out there.

Trying to Come Up With An Australian Name

Last night I had this long and elaborate dream about being pregnant.

I wasn't happy at all about the pregnancy. I didn't look forward to the loss of sleep or the pain of labor.  Actually, I dreaded it so much that, at some point, in the dream, I hoped for the baby to be dead. 

The thing most on my mind, though, throughout the dream was coming up with a name for the baby. One of the ideas I considered was having an Australia-related name.  For some reason, Adelaide came to mind, and also Australia.  But in the dream, I thought about how I had heard naming your child Australia is illegal.

I think that actually is true in real life, and not just my dream. But I think that's only the case in Australia.  I think elsewhere, it is probably okay to name your child Australia.  

Even though I'm not pregnant and in no way want to be, I'm kind of plagued this morning by the idea of needing to come up with an Australia-related baby name.  

I suppose Sydney would be the most logical choice. Sydney is my favorite city in Australia. It's the one most important to me.  It's a bit common—not a conversation starter.  It's not a name that would make people ask questions, giving me the chance to blab on and on about my Australia-love.  

Then again, I'm not sure if I like answering small-talk conversations—especially ones I hear repeatedly.  And there's also the fact, that I tend to attract people in my life who prefer to talk about themselves over asking questions.  So...kind of a mute point.

Another name I thought of this morning was Acland, for Acland street in St. Kilda, Melbourne. We stayed on that street during our 2013 trip.  I liked staying there.

I'm not sure if I like the sound of the name, though.  

I'm repeating it over and over right now.

Maybe I do like it.

I was just thinking that my favorite place name in Australia is Woolloomooloo. We gave that name to a Koala stuffed animal, a few years back.  Then later I learned we were mispronouncing it.  Either way, I love the name.  

I'm not sure if that name would be appropriate for a child in the U.S.  But since the child is imaginary, she (or he) is getting it.  


Now I'm looking at the article I had seen about banned baby names.  It's about Victoria in particular, but maybe applies to the other Aussie states?   Australia IS on there, but not any other Australia-related terms.  Most of them are titles like Prime Minister, Admiral, Bishop, Emperor, Messiah, etc.  

Since I don't live in Australia, I can use those names for my imaginary baby.  I think I'll name her/him Emperor Woolloomooloo Australia...The Messiah of Texas.  


Friday, January 13, 2017

Visit with My Cousins

In my last post, I talked about my feelings towards Australia and the fact that I'd soon be visiting my sort-of Australian cousins.

Well, the visit happened.

One of the things I noticed about myself is that despite not having the intense obsession I had before, I WAS very eager to talk about Australia.  I was excited to have people around that could talk about Australia with me.

So...I'm thinking that people should comment on my blog more, so I can be gifted with Australia discussions.  Is that being greedy and demanding?  Probably.  Or maybe it's just being wishful.

I'm very involved with Twitter now.  I could probably try to find more conversations related to Australia.  A week or so ago, I tried to find Australian actors on Twitter.  I couldn't find many that have active accounts.  By active accounts, I mean people who post everyday, and don't just promote their newest projects.

I follow a few Australian politicians.  I'm not sure any are very active.  Maybe I should follow more.

Anyway....

In other news...I've watched some Aussie TV shows lately.  What I have is this long, numbered list of TV shows I want to try watching.  Then I use random.org to pick my next show.  Lately, the gods have chosen Australian shows for me.  A few weeks ago I watched the first season of Redfern Now.  I liked that a lot, and loved the episode "Stand Up".  It was about singing the national anthem and civil disobedience.

Last week I watched the first season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  I've never been excited about that show, and didn't like the books when I tried reading them.  But I grew to like it, and now that I'm done with it, I miss it.

Now I'm watching The Kettering Incident.  I'm thinking it MIGHT actually be science fiction.  I've complained in the past about Australia not having enough science fiction/fantasy...besides the stuff that's for kids and tweens.  From what I've being seeing, though, I think that's changing.

I'm liking The Kettering Incident a lot. Although it's a bit slow at times.



By the way, if anyone reading this wants to follow me on Twitter, here's my account.  If you have an interesting account that's not mostly you self-promoting your blog, music, book, artwork, etc. I'll probably follow you back.  

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Am I Still Obsessed with Australia?

Next week I'm supposed to be seeing my sort-of-Australian cousin.  There was a lot of tension between us a few years ago because she moved to Australia and didn't want to be there, and I was obsessed with Australia and wanted to move there.  And...there were other issues as well that I won't go into here.

I've been kind of nervous about seeing my cousin, because I'm afraid she's going to ask with a sly smile, So, are you still really into Australia?

I have sort of prepared an answer. Yes, but with less intensity.  Then she'll feel all smug, because she still lives in Australia and I'm not still obsessed.

Well, now that I think of it.  That doesn't make much sense.  I think it's more a fact that she'll feel smug because at times she tried to talk me out of the Australia love.  She DID want me to move there, because she liked the other of having more family nearby.  But she tried to tell me Australia wasn't so great, and she tried to tell me I should want to see other places.  I stubbornly disagreed.  

Note: At the time, she pretty much hated Australia because she had just moved there.  Now she's lived there for about eight (?) years.  From her expat blog posts, I saw her growing more positive, about Australia as the years went by.  I haven't read anything from her lately, but I'm guessing she's probably okay with Australia.  She might even like it or love it by now.

Anyway, back to myself.

I think the answer to the question I imagine my cousin asking, and the one I keep asking myself, is that I still love Australia, but I'm not obsessed.  I also love other places, cultures, things, as much as Australia.

I love Australia TV shows, but I also love British ones, American ones, and shows from various cultures.  I love using Hulu and Netflix to watch foreign TV and film.

I love Australian music, but also love American music, British music, Icelandic music, etc.

I sometimes have desires to visit Australia, but I also have desires to go to Canada, Europe, Asia, etc.  The other night I had major NYC nostalgia and was dying to go there.

I still love Australian animals, but I equally love animals from other places.  I've so much wanted Aussie birds in our backyard, but I'm now perfectly content with the American birds we see in our own yard.

I still love Australian food, but I'm also really into eating food from other countries.  We love to go to this store called World Market where we buy snacks from the UK, other European countries, Japan, etc.

I love looking at Australian photos on Flickr, but I also love looking at photos from around the world.

As for politics...I'm no longer really interested in what's going on there with Australia.  I'm obsessed with what's happening in US politics.  It's hard not to be.

I think the one area in which I still have the Australian bug is I sometimes get overly excited about Australian actors.  For example, I think I told Tim multiple times that there was going to be an Australian actor in the new Star Wars movie.  I was very excited about Ben Mendelsohn having a role in that, and I'm over eager to talk about how I've seen him in his much earlier roles.  I'm like those annoying people on YouTube who have to make it known that THEY knew of the newly popular song before it was featured on a TV show.

But yeah.  I get excited about Australian actors, whether they're becoming more mainstream in the US, or when one that I recognize from one Australian show is on another Australian show. Although...now that I think of it, I also get excited in the same way about British actors, and maybe American ones too.

Also, I only get excited about Australian actors that I know of.  Yesterday Tim tried to tell me about an Australian actress on The Man in the High Castle, and I couldn't get myself to care.  He tried to get me more interested by telling me she was on Neighbours.  At first I thought he meant the American TV show or the American movie.  It took me a second to realize he was referring to the Aussie show. But still. She was not familar to me.

Anyway.....

I have two other questions/answers in my head.

One is that no, I'm not glad that I didn't move to Australia.  I'm not thinking Wow. I'm glad we didn't move to Australia, because I would have stopped being obsessed and where would that have left me?

Honestly, I think if I moved to Australia I would have stopped being obsessed much earlier.  I think I would have just taken it for granted eventually.  If things went very well for us there, I would have loved it and taken Australia for granted.  If things went not-so-well, I would have been unhappy and taken Australia for granted.

I've been obsessed with New York at times, but I don't think I was ever obsessed when we actually lived there.  I think I just happily (relatively so) lived my life.  But ever since we left, I periodically look back and have this feeling of Holy shit!  We actually lived in Manhattan! We lived there. I was a real New Yorker!

Well, I just had a toilet break where I had time to think, and have decided not to write about the other question/answer, because it's corny, obvious, and doesn't need saying.  I DID think of something else, though.

The thing is, I have no idea what will happen in the future.  In my little delusional head, I believe I was meant to be obsessed with Australia.  I feel there there spiritual-type things that pushed me in that direction.  So I also believe that if I'm meant to get really back into the whole thing, I'll be pushed again.  Maybe I'll start having dreams that make me even more obsessed with Australia than the first time.

OR...maybe something will happen and we'll actually get the chance to move to Australia.  The fact that I still have this fantasy proves to me that the love for Australia is definitely still there.  Well...then again...I think I'd also be excited (and stressed) if we got a chance to move to a not-Australia country.
But still.  I guess what I'm saying is I feel Australia has been a big part of my life path/destiny.  That part of my path might slowly be coming to an end, or it might not be.  Being obsessed with Australia might still be part of my destiny, and/or living in Australia might still be part of my destiny.  Who knows. With Donald Trump as president, my family might need to be refugees in Australia.  With all my gained knowledge, I can help with studying for the citizenship test.