Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lost Australians

I've been re-watching the first season of Lost, and am realizing that the show doesn't exactly put Australians in a good light.

Warning: Spoilers below.

In "Tabula Rasa", an Australian betrays Kate by calling the police on her.  He needed the offered reward.  To his credit, though, he did seem to feel bad about it all.

In "Walkabout", an Australian discriminates against Locke.  Despite being in a wheelchair, Locke wanted to go on a grueling tour. The Australian refuses to let him.  As sad as the scene was, I'm not sure the tour guide was wrong in saying no.  I think probably Locke was at fault for not disclosing his disability early on. If he did this, maybe they could have had ways to prepare so he could be accommodated.   Then again, Locke is a smart guy, and probably understood all his limitations.  He probably COULD have handled the walkabout tour.  But I can't blame the tour guide for his skepticism.  Still...he didn't come off looking like a nice guy.

In "Raised by Another" a fake or real Australian psychic manipulates Clair into getting on the doomed flight.  The show might have revealed later if he was real, fake, working for Jacob and The Others, etc. I can't remember.  But still.  I'm pretty sure he tricked her into getting on that flight.  He was also a bit stalkerish.  Or actually...a lot stalkerish. 

Oh! And also in that episode, there's Claire's Aussie boyfriend. He convinces pregnant Claire to play happy family. Then when she starts doing that, he gets scared and abruptly dumps her.

Now I'm watching "Hearts and Minds".  Boone is trying to get help for his stepsister who is being abused by her Australian boyfriend.  The Australian police won't help. 

So...what's the deal?  Why was the show shitting on Australians?

Or am I looking at things the wrong way?

There are also plenty of Americans who aren't lovely on the show.  For example, Jack's father killed a patient because he was intoxicated while operating.  Then he tried to manipulate Jack into keeping quiet about it. 

There's the American bank robber who was ready to turn the crime scene into a murder, and would have if Kate hadn't stopped him. 

And there are plenty more examples of Americans acting badly on the show.

I think the difference is there is more good-American to counteract the bad-American.

It makes me think of The Walking Dead, and the idea that black men are treated extremely unkindly by the zombie apocalypse.   It seems like every time there's a black man on the show, he dies...sometimes after a few episodes; sometimes after a season or two. 

I think, though, that just as many (or more) white people have died on The Walking Dead.  The difference is there are more white people on the show in general, and there's not this feeling that one actor is being fired so he can be replaced by another actor of the same ethnicity. 

I'm NOT saying this is what happens. I don't think The Walking Dead literally has some kind of quota.  It just feels like it sometimes. 

It's probably all some kind of coincidence.  Or it could be subconscious on the writer's part.  If it is subconscious, it might not be racist.  It might actually be sympathetic and symbolic for what black people have to endure in America.  Life on earth isn't safe, but it's especially unsafe if you're not white. 

So, what's up with Lost?  Did one of the creators of the show have a personal grievance against Australia?  Was it just coincidence?  Was it the fact that each of the characters needed a pre-island conflict, and since their journey began in Australia, the conflict was likely to involve Australians? 

The other thing I wonder about Lost and Australians, is why were there not more Australian survivors on the plane.  I have a feeling I've complained about this before on the blog.  I'm not sure, and I'm too lazy to search.  So...sorry (sort of) if I'm repeating myself.

I would think, though, that most flights have a pretty even mix of people leaving their hometown and people leaving their temporary destination. 

We could assume that there were many more Australians on the flight. They just weren't lucky enough to survive. 

Or maybe they did survive, but they're not part of the elite club that gets to talk and have storylines. 

I was thinking that maybe they just couldn't find enough Australian actors to fill a full-time role on the show.  But that can't be true. The show is filmed in Hawaii.  It's probably just as difficult to get mainland American actors there as it is to get actors from Australia....or Australian actors living on the American mainland.

I'm not saying Lost needed to have an even number of Australians and Americans.  But I definitely think they should have had more than just one. 

On the plus side, they did have four other characters that are not American—two Koreans, an Iraqi, and an English guy.  And that's just in season one.  I know later an African shows up.  Maybe others?

How often do non-Australians/non-Americans take flights from Sydney to LAX compared to Australians flying from LAX to Sydney?  Though I doubt the former is rare, I think the latter would be more common.

Anyway, I shall stop worrying about it, I suppose.  Whatever happened, happened.  For the sake of fictional Australians, I shall hope there were not many on the flight rather than they were on the flight and all (except one) died tragically. 

OR...maybe they survived and got lost on the island somewhere.  Maybe THEY will be the focus of the reboot series.  Maybe in that show, it will be Americans who are shitty and causing pre-island conflicts for the Australians.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Maybe I Will Write No More Biography Posts

I was going to write a biography post today.  Instead I am now writing a post about not writing biography posts.

What happened is....

I was going to wait until after our upcoming Disney trip to write more biography posts.  But then Annie (the cat) is getting spayed today, and I thought writing a post might help my mind stay occupied.  BUT then I started worrying that what it really was is me taking advantage of Annie's absence to get some writing done.

I went back and forth on the whole thing.  Am I an okay person for writing when my cat is surgery, or am I a cold-hearted, selfish person?

I guess I decided it was maybe okay to do a blog post.

I started writing one.  I used to pick my person... It was a filmmaker named Rosemary Myers.

Wait. Back up....

Before I started writing, I had gone downstairs to get a snack.  I had smelled gas.  Tim told me to return in ten minutes to see if I still smelled it.  I decided I'd start the post and then go downstairs for a sniff.

Well, after about writing for ten minutes, Tim announced that we needed to vacate the house.  The main thing I was thinking at this point, is that if this had to happen, good that it happened while Annie was gone.  That would have been a pain to get her out of the house.  Well, getting her out of the house would be easy.  Unlike our past kitties, she gets into the carrier quite easily.  (that might change after her surgery).  But I'm not sure what we would have done with her in the carrier.  That would have made the drama a bit more complicated.

Anyway, the other thing I thought of was that this was probably not a good day to do a biography post.  I think I took it as a sort of sign from the heavens. I quickly deleted my post...before vacating the house.  Now I'm thinking that I was really quick to read that as a sign, and it probably means I hadn't really wanted to write the post in the first place.

I thought I wanted to get back into biography posts.  I thought wrong.

Sometimes I think I want to quit writing posts all together.  That often ends up being wrong.  I usually just need a break...sometimes a long break.

I think I'll just go back to writing infrequent posts when I see something Australian-related that gives me strong opinions and feelings.  This will probably usually be TV show related.

As for our today-dramas....

 The gas company came, and by that time, the smell had disappeared.  The gas guy used some device to detect danger and didn't find anything.  Jack and I had walked to the park, and we smelled the same smell there.  SO...I don't know what's up with that.

I haven't heard back about Annie yet.  I'm a little worried.  I'll probably start getting to be a lot worried in a few hours if we still haven't heard anything.

When we dropped her off, I felt sad for her...and worried.  But I also felt this kind of gladness to get a break.  I'm a horrible mom.  The thing is, now she's been gone for four hours, and I miss her so much. She's needy for attention and that's time-consuming, but the attention she needs is actually a lot of fun and wonderfulness.  She's a very fun and sweet cat.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

You're Fine. Come on. Let's Talk about Something Else!

I'm watching an episode of Packed to the Rafters now, and it's filling my head with confusion and doubt.

In the episode, Ted (Michael Caton) has been having symptoms of dementia. He's gone to a doctor for testing, and things don't look so good for him.  For the last few episodes. he has kept his condition secret from his family.  At the end of the last episode, he told his daughter Julie (Rebecca Gibney).  In the episode I'm watching now, we get to see her reaction.  She's in total denial. She refuses to believe anything is wrong with her father. She's very reluctant to discuss it.

It makes me wonder about my own life.

I have major issues with the way people in my life deal with my health concerns. This has been going on for the last ten years or so, and it keeps getting worse.

I feel most members of my family are usually dismissive when I talk about my health concerns.  I feel they don't believe me.  I feel they're not interested in my worries. I feel they see me as a hypochondriac.  I feel they don't want the conversation to turn to my problems because it takes time away from them talking about their problems.

Now seeing Julie and her father, it's making me question things.

Could it be that my family is dismissive because they love me so damn much and they can't stand the thought of something bad happening to me?


I have a lot of doubts, though.  

I think it would be easier to believe in the super-love thing if my family didn't talk so much about their own health problems and the health problems of others.  There are people who are scared of health issues in general and want to change the subject whenever that comes up. If I was among those type of folks, I'd still be annoyed by their dismissiveness but probably more understanding.

But if people talk a lot about their own health, and then say things to make you feel you're turning molehills into mountains when you talk about your health....

Well then...

It's hard for me to believe that's a loved-scared thing rather than a self-centered thing...OR a we-take-you-for-granted-thing.  Yeah. If this was happening to someone else, we'd totally be freaking out!  But since it's happening to you...ah, no big deal.  I'm sure you'll be fine.

I mean really. What would Ted think if Julie had previously freaked out about herself having dementia, but then when Ted had symptoms, she was dismissive? That would be quite a different story.

I could sort of relate to Ted keeping his issue a secret for awhile.  I did that too.  He did it because he didn't want people to worry.  That was part of the reason I did it.  From what I've experienced in the past, I didn't think it was likely that I'd see much worrying from my family.  But it did bother me to imagine them worrying too much—being overly sad or anxious.

The main reason, though, that it took me awhile to tell people is I worried they'd be dismissive, and I worried I'd end up feeling stupid. I also worried that if people were dismissive, I'd be even less likely to go to a doctor if needed.  I hate going to doctors in the first place, because of THEIR dismissiveness and the high financial cost.  But it's even harder for me to want to go when I get it in my mind that I'm the only one who truly thinks I have a problem and everyone else thinks I'm being ridiculous.

I did tell people in my family at a time.

 The first person I told did seem to worry, not too much, but in a reasonable manner.  Then later, it seemed like she decided it was not a big deal after all.  And in the following weeks, it felt to me like she had forgotten about the subject all together.  The second person I told seemed barely interested at all. Actually, I might have the first and second person confused in terms of which came first.


Certain other people I avoided telling because I THINK I wanted to postpone it and keep up the fantasy in my head that they'd care a lot.  I imagined them saying, Oh my God. Why did you take so long to tell us? You should have told us sooner! 

When I did tell them, they acted like it was no big deal at all, and pretty much dropped the subject. They didn't ask any questions. They didn't seem to want to know more than the tiny amount I had told them. When the subject was brought up again the next day, by someone else, one of the certain people kept changing the subject to their own health.

Really. How do you know when someone's bad behavior is caused by love and concern rather than self-centeredness, disinterest, and callousness?

If I was a nicer person, I'd probably just give people the benefit of the doubt. But my gut instinct and past experiences tell me to do otherwise.

I guess the farthest I can go at this point is have some small amount of faith that people can change—that people can reduce their self-centeredness, disinterest, and callousness to the point that they do one day show a reasonable and loving amount of concern.  If they do this out of real love and not as a way to humor me or stop me from complaining, (and without any gaslighting!) that would be incredibly wonderful.

The sad thing is, though, hope and second chances don't often go as well as we'd wish them to. Plus, there's the inconvenient fact that life has made me very skeptical, so even if their concern did become real, I might not easily believe them.  Then again, convincing-faked concern is better than a lot of what I've received in the past.  So I'd try to be at least a little bit appreciative.  

Edited to Add:

1. Now that I think more about it, the second (or first?) person I told did act concerned for about 45 seconds.  Then they seemed to forget the whole thing.  I was wrong in saying they seemed barely interested.  Though they acted much less interested than I think I would have acted if I had heard the same information.

2. I should add that the third person I told did actually act concerned to a level that I appreciate. Well...the person acted the way I'd want people to act in this situation.  They asked questions, showed interest, and brought it up on later occasions...which indicated to me that the information hadn't go in one ear and out the other.  Note: I'm being extra symbolic with the ear thing, because I actually told them through email.  So it would really be in through one eye and out the other eye.  Ouch. That sounds painful.

3. Finishing that episode of Packed to the Rafters made me realize that denial about someone else's medical condition is shitty even if it does come out of love.

Julie is being very unsupportive.  She refuses to believe that her dad has memory problems.  She treats him like he's totally overreacting, and it's all in his imagination.

I could kind of understand if Ted was much younger. Let's say he was in his thirties or forties.  It's pretty rare for someone that age to have dementia.  But Ted's pretty up there in age.  It's not too far-fetched to imagine he has serious memory issues.

4. The moral of the story is if someone has a medical concern, we're not helping them at all by pushing the idea that they're fine and there's nothing to worry about.  At best, they MIGHT be fine...physically, but we're making their emotional strain that much worse.  In a worse case scenario, if there is something wrong and we convince them nothing is wrong, that might be medically dangerous.  This happened on a British show I watched— Outnumbered.  One of the characters tried to tell a coworker in distress that no, he (the coworker) wasn't having a heart attack. He was fine. And then...the coworker died.  Oops.    

Sharon Bird

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do another biography post, because the last one turned out awful.  The thing is, I also don't want to leave a bad biography post as the last post on my blog.  Not that it's for sure that I'd never write another blog post. But it's...possible.

I'm also writing another post in hopes that this one ends up being decent. And I have a small bit of hope that I'll get back to writing biography posts in general.

I used to pick Sharon Bird's name from a list of 36 other names.

I'm not sure who she is.  I shall soon find out.

Okay. I just Googled.

Lord Wiki says Sharon Bird is a politician.

She's a member of the Labor Party and is the Shadow Minister for Vocational Education.

The area of Australia she represents is the Division of Cunningham.  It's in New South Wales and includes Wollongong and some parts of Southern Sydney.

Lord Wiki says Bird has been the MP from there since 2004. That's a pretty long time.

It seems the area is pretty left-leaning.  It's almost always been represented by the Labor party, except from 2002-2004. And in those years, it wasn't the Liberal Party in charge. It was the Green Party.  And the Green Party is even more left than the Labor Party.

Now I'm reading some basic biographical stuff about Bird.

She was born in Wollongong. So, she's representing her birth place.

Before getting into politics, she was a TAFE teacher and a high school teacher.  I think TAFE is vocational school. Right?  So it's kind of nice that Bird is actually a Minister for something she has expertise in.  It seems to me that sometimes politicians are given leadership roles in areas where they have no experience.  This is definitely so in the Trump administration, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it happen in other instances as well.

Bird did some other government type work before becoming a MP. This includes being a project manager New South Wales Department of Juvenile Justice.  I wonder if she worked with the youth.  Maybe she did educational things with them?

Though Bird has been a MP since 2004, she wasn't a Minister until 2013.  Her first Ministry job was Higher Education and Skills. Then later she was Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communication, and Minister for Road Safety.  I think I might be making it sound like she was all those three things at the same time.  But no.  I think it would have probably happened one at a time.

But the Minister for Road Safety thing?  That might be an example of what I was talking about earlier.  Is there something in Bird's life that made her a great choice for being in charge of road safety?  Or did the Labor Party need both someone to fill that position and a Minister job for Sharon Bird?

It could have been a situation where they said something like, Hey Bird. Do you have any experience with road safety?  

Then she might have replied, Well. Yeah. I do drive to work everyday.  And I'm pretty safe about it.  I never text while in the car.  I did check Instagram once, but I was at a stop light. And it was one of those really long stop lights. 

Or....she could have had more substantial road safety experience.

The last thing Lord Wiki says about Sharon Bird is that she supports gay marriage. That's good!

I know Australia is currently in the midst of voting for that now.  I'm not sure when the vote ends.  I hope we get some good news from Australia.  If it's bad news, that's almost as embarrassing as us having Trump as president.  It's probably equally sad and pathetic...maybe, though, a little less dangerous.

There's a fair chance that Trump might actually end human civilization.  If Australia doesn't have gay marriage in 2017?  Civilization will be stained and hindered, but it probably won't implode. And also, I have firm hope if Australia doesn't legalize gay marriage now, it will do so soon.  Maybe 2018 or 2019.

Now I'm on Sharon Bird's official website. There's a big picture of her smiling along with a bunch of smiling school children.  All the kids, except one, seem to be from the same grade and school. They're around the same size, and they wear the same uniform.  Then there's a much younger child not wearing a uniform.  I wonder who he is.  Maybe Bird's son?  Maybe a younger sibling of one of the school kids?

I just looked closer and realized I'm totally wrong. The kids are not the same size.  There are two girls in the back who look a bit older than the others.  They might from different grades at the same school.  Or they could be from the same grade, and it's just an example of kids growing at different rates.

Anyway, they're doing some kind of gardening project.

Bird has a page called Hot Topics.  It lists various issues ranging from marriage equality, Indigenous issues, and ABC (the TV thing).  There's also something called Adani.  What's that?


It's a coal mine.

I don't really understand it completely, but I'm getting that it's a economic vs. environment issue.  Or actually, I think what Bird is saying is that it's not good for the environment, but it's also not great for economics.  Turnbull's government wants to put money towards the mines, and the Labor Party doesn't agree with that plan.  I think.  I might not be understanding it correctly.

Now I'm reading what Bird has to say about Live Exports.  For those who don't know, this is when animals are shipped to other countries while they're still alive.  They're not traveling premium economy for a holiday in Bali.  They're traveling to their deaths.  That's sad enough, but they end up traveling in very horrible conditions.

Bird talks about how the Labor Government developed regulatory systems to try to make sure the animals were treated better.  She complains that the Turnbull government is not doing enough to help with that.

Bird doesn't want to stop Live Exports. She thinks it's important to Australia's economy, and she feels that if Australia stops the practice, countries who treat animals even worse will fill the gap.

I can kind of see her point. It might be better to improve the system rather than get rid of it all together.

Probably the best way to improve the system is having people in the system who love and care about animals. Then they'll do their best to make sure the animal are treated as well as possible.  I say, well as possible, because these animals are eventually going to be used for food.  But even if you are going to be killed and eaten, it would be nice if you're treated with love and care before that.

I was going to say the problem is, most people who love animals are vegetarians.  But that's not true.  I think there are a lot of folks who give adoration to cows and other farm creatures; then go home and happily gobble down hamburgers, pork chops, etc.

Then there are people who have cold hearts, and it wouldn't bother them to watch an animal suffer. There are also people who are sadists and go out of their way to cause pain to an animal.  If those types of people are kept out of careers involving animals, life might be a lot better.

Bird's website has copies of her speeches.  I'll read a couple of those.

I often like reading the first speech that MP's make to Parliament.  Maybe I'll do that first.

Well...just saw that the first speech is not on the site, as far as I can see.  I'll look for that later...elsewhere.

For now, maybe I'll read a recent speech from her site.

Here's a speech that Bird made on June 22.  I'm guessing she did the speech in Parliament.

The speech is about autism, and something offensive that Pauline Hanson said about autism.

What did Pauline Hanson say?  I vaguely remember seeing something on Twitter about it.

The speech quotes Hanson as saying, we need to get rid of these people because you want everyone to feel good about themselves.  

That sounds awful.  What the hell did she mean by that?  What was the context?

I'm looking at an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hanson wants a segregated education system.  She believes that autistic kids are holding the other kids back.  She said, We can't afford to hold our kids back: we have the rest of the world and other kids in other countries who are going ahead [in] leaps and bounds ahead of us.

That doesn't sound like someone who cares about autistic kids or neurotypical ones.  It sounds like someone who is obsessed with competition.  I wish we cared more about having happy, well-adjusted, healthy kids all over the world rather than having kids in our country be the smartest and most successful.

I will say as someone who was a teacher for a short time that I do think having a child with extra needs can be hard on the teacher and other students.  I also say this as someone who had some extra needs as a child AND I say it as a mother of a child who had some extra needs when he was younger.

I don't feel children with autism should be shipped off to another school.  I just feel there needs to be resources for teachers—something like an extra assistant or shadow.

I'm also wondering if I'm really against the opposite of inclusion.  My nieces and nephew all go to the same school, one that's specifically for learning differences.  The school seems to be doing well by them.  Is it bad that they're not going to a regular school?


I have mixed feelings actually.

I like that they have this school.

On the other hand, I don't like that some of their previous schools were unable or unwilling to educate them.

I guess my main feeling about all this is, parents should have a decent choice.  They shouldn't have to homeschool because there are no other viable, affordable options.  They shouldn't have to send their kids to a special school because their other private school couldn't handle their extra needs.

I wish all parents could say something like, Well we could homeschool Annie and that sounds wonderful. We could send her to a regular school. They have a great resource program there.  Or we could send her to this special school for kids with autism. It gets fantastic reviews.

Now I'm going to read a 2016 Bird speech about vocational education.  I think I'm actually very pro-vocational education, though, I don't know much about it.

I just think society pushes too hard for the usual college degree, and then a lot of times graduates are left a bit aimless and jobless.

Most of the speech seems to be about the opposition government cutting funds to education.  And it kind of goes over my head.  It's funding stuff, for the most part.  I'm not really into it.

I think I'm going to try to find Bird's maiden speech.

Here we go. There's an Australian politics website that has it.

She made the speech at 1:19 PM.

I wonder how often these speeches are made.

I guess they happen after elections, and new MP's are created.  Do they have a week or two where each day there is a speech?  Are there days where multiple speeches are heard?   I would probably get tired if I had to listen to multiple speeches in one day.  But that's probably the main part of a MP's job—listening to other people talk.

In the beginning of her speech, Bird honors both the previous Labor MP, and the Green MP that came immediately before her.  That's nice.

Bird praises a company in the area that makes catamarans.  What's that?  It does sound familar to me.


It's a boat.

I was kind of picturing something along those lines.

Bird says Wollongong is officially titled, City of Innovation.  I didn't know that. I imagine it's a title that most cities wished applied to them.

Bird says her family has worked in the mining industry since the early 1900's.  Wow.

I'm glad to see that Bird is pro-migration.  She's pro that and pro-gay-marriage.  She's my kind of person.

I'm reading through the speech, seeing if anything inspires me to babble on and on about things.  There's not much so far.  Bird kind of jumps from subject to subject.  I mean not in a bad way.  The speech isn't disjointed or anything.  It's probably much more coherent than my blog.  But it covers a lot of issues, and I'm not reading anything that is new and exciting to me.  It's kind of the same stuff that we hear a lot. We need more help with mental health issues. We need less poverty. We need more jobs for young people, etc.

Now I'm seeing towards the end of the speech that Bird talks about her work with The Department of Juvenile Justice.  Bird says, We were privileged to work with a truly innovative and successful piece of legislation introduced by the Carr government, which established restorative justice practices for juvenile offenders—a true success story.

The problem is, I don't think she provides enough information about this success story. Maybe I would like her speech more if she stuck to one or two issues and then went into more detail about them.  Or maybe she needs more personal stories?  I'm not sure.

Bird thanks a lot of family members—cousins, uncles, parents, sibling, former husband and his family, etc.  I can't remember if this is typical of new MP's.  It's sweet, though.

She ends her speech by mentioning her sons.  I like that.

I'm going to watch a short video on YouTube of Bird speaking up for Korean truckies in Parliament.

No. Wait. That didn't come out right.  It's not Korean truckies who are IN Parliament.  I mean Bird is in Parliament talking about Korean truckies.

I'm guessing truckies are truck drivers.

Why Korean ones?  And are they Korean-Australian, or Korean-Korean?

There's hardly anyone in the Parliament room.

OR...maybe it's not Parliament.  Maybe it's another meeting room.

The speech is about safety and overworked drivers.

Yeah. I'm definitely against overworked, tired drivers.  It's not good for the drivers and it's not good for anything else on the road.

Now I'm seeing that she's talking about Korean-Koreans, not Koreans who are Australian.  She's talking about truck drivers actually in Korea.  She's condemning unfair practices as an international observer.

I found another video.  It's of Bird on Q and A, answering a question about workers being paid more for working on Saturday and Sunday.

No. Wait I got it wrong. It's about workers getting paid more to work on Sunday.

Is it a Church-related question?  Are people paid more to refrain from Church and work instead?   Or...there are a lot of people who don't go to church.  Are they being rewarded for not being religious-Christians?

If a Jewish person works on Christmas day and gets paid extra, is that discriminating against Christians?

They're talking about something called penalty rates.  I'm guessing that's referring to being paid extra for working on days that many other people prefer not to work.

Googled.  Lord Wiki says I'm right.  And he says it's an Australian term.

I guess here, it's what we call overtime.

Bird reminds the audience that when people are paid more at their jobs, they have more money to spend at other companies.  It's helping businesses in general. And that's a good thing.

An online commenter mentions that more work hours equals less time with family.  That's true.  It's sad if a family doesn't have a weekend together...if they don't even have a Sunday together.  On the other hand, what if they have another day together? A Tuesday? Thursday?  If the family is a homeschooling family, they can have that day together.

What's sad is when someone has to work ALL days of the week just so they can afford fairly basic needs and wants.

I don't really understand the big deal about working on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people do it. Otherwise, all restaurants, shops, hospitals, etc. would be closed.  Do we want the world to shut down on the weekend?

I think it's best if we have a system where everyone gets days off, but not everyone gets the same days off.

Now I'm going to look at Sharon Bird's Twitter.  Her most recent Tweet is a Retweet from a guy named Roy Rogers.  He's the CEO of a company called the Flagstaff Group.  He says that Bird supports NDIS.  What's that?

Googled.  It's for families with disabilities.

It makes sense for Roy Rogers to mention this, because his company's purpose is to find meaningful employment for people with disabilities.

Bird also has Tweets and Retweets about TAFE and the gay marriage vote.

Bird's Twitter is made up of mostly Retweets.

A person pointed out recently that my Twitter bio says that I don't like people who only Retweet, yet most of my own Twitter is Retweets.  He is right in that I do Retweet a lot.  But my Twitter also has a lot of conversations.  I actually interact with people.

Some people, like Bird, have less conversation and a whole lot of Retweets.  I actually don't mind her predominance of Retweeting because it doesn't seem random.  She seems to be Retweeting things that are important to her.

The Retweeting I strongly dislike is the type where the Twitterer seems to be randomly Retweeting whatever they end up seeing.  There's no rhyme or reason.  It seems to me they're just doing it to fill their profile with content.  Or they're doing it to kiss the ass of the original Tweeters.

I saw this type of thing when I was first trying to promote my novel.  There were a few people who Retweeted something about it.  That would be awesome if they actually read my novel and cared about it.  But's just a...

I don't know what it is really.  I think they imagine they're being helpful and I appreciate that.  But I don't think it IS helpful.  If you have someone on your newsfeed who just Retweets any old thing...and it seems random and meaningless, are you going to pay attention to their Tweets?  I wouldn't.  And I probably would stop following them.  I'd see their Tweets as spam, pretty much.

Yeah. Now that I think of it. Maybe that's the best way to describe it.  There are meaningful Retweets, and there are spam Retweets.

One way to know the difference...if you're the one Tweeting.  Did you actually read the article or watch the video that you're Retweeting?  If you didn''re probably just spamming.

Hopefully, Sharon Bird read the articles that she's Retweeting.  I imagine she did.

Now I'm seeing that Bird Retweeted the same article multiple times. She Retweeted various people who had posted the article.  That's kind of excessive and annoying.

Anyway...I think I shall end this here.

I don't know if it's a good post, but I think it was at least better than the last one.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Biography Post

Today I'm going to write a biography post.

I'm a bit nervous for various reasons, one of them being that I haven't written such a post in quite awhile.

But...hopefully it will all work out okay.

Well, actually it will likely turn out to be a shitty, rambling mess.  But I think some people are okay with that, which is pretty cool.  If not, my future self tends to enjoy reading them.  Although even she often wishes that I had been much less wordy.  Every morning I read a past post, and I'm always a bit happy when the morning's post is a particularly short one.


I'm going to use to pick a name from my list.

There are 37 names right now.  Let's see who I get....

It is...

Malcolm Turnbull!

No, I'm joking.

I already wrote about him...years ago, before he was Prime Minister.

The real subject of my post is Elana Kats-Chernin.

I was just thinking, shit. All this suspense is going to be ruined by the fact that she's named in the title of my post.  But then I decided I'll just not put her in the title.

If I decide, though, to do more biography posts, I'll play before I start writing.

So...let's get on to Elana Kats-Chernin.  I'm guessing she's a politician, mainly because I don't easily recognize her name.  It IS mildly familar since I'm the one who added her to the list...not too long ago.  But I'm more familar with actor names than politician names.

I just Googled and saw Elana Katz-Chernin is NOT a politician. She's a composer!  That's very cool. Not that politicians aren't sometimes cool, but I'm personally maybe more impressed with composers.

Lord Wiki says that Elana Katz-Chernin is from part of the former Soviet Union (Now Uzbekistan). As an American talking about that part of the world, I feel compelled to make a joke about Trump. But I'm not clever enough for least not right now. Maybe something will come to me later.

Chernin was born on November 4, 1957.  She migrated to Australia in in 1975.  She would have been about eighteen then.

She had studied music in the Soviet Union, and then continued her studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Lord Wiki says she also hung out in the whole Darlinghurst underground Theatre scene.  So I guess she did theater and music.  Or maybe she did music FOR the theater.

Chernin wasn't just not Australia-born, she also rushed off to Europe for thirteen years.  I'm starting to feel she's barely Australian.  But that's unfair of me.

She did return to Australia in 1994, and has maybe been here since. Well, I'm sure she's had a few journeys here and there. But maybe she's been Australia-focused for the last twenty or so years?

Now I'm starting to rethink my idea of preferring composers over politician.  Lord Wiki has details about Chernin's music career, and I'm kind of dreading reading it.  It doesn't seem interesting to me.

But I'll try....

Chernin has written operas.

She composed music for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

She wrote some silent film soundtracks.  I guess people are still making those.

Here's something that's a bit more interesting to me.  Chernin wrote a Ragtime piece of music that was used in the New York scenes of the film Mary and Max.  We saw that movie, and if I remember correctly...we liked it.

I kind of feel like I made a mistake in adding Chernin to my list.  I probably assumed she was a film/television composter, which DOES interest me.  But for the most part, it looks like she's not that sort of composer.

I AM going to try to listen to some of her music.  Though her career doesn't really interest me, I think I might actually like her music.

First I'm listening to Chernin's "Chamber of Horrors".   I shall probably play with Annie the cat while I listen.  Annie needs a lot of love and attention, so I have to multitask a bit.

I'm not really liking the music.  It might, though, be because this recording is performed on a harp.  I'm not sure I'm a harp kind of person.  Listening to it makes me feel like I'm a child at a Mother's Day brunch, wearing itchy tights and waiting too long to get my food.

I'm going to try something else.

Here's "Slipped Back Tango", performed on a violin.  I think I usually like violin.

I might actually be okay with the harp as well.  I'm not sure, really.  I'm not sure if it's the harp I didn't like with "Chamber of Horrors" or the composition itself.

OR I might like it, but I just need time to let it grow on me.  I often don't enjoy a piece of music the first time I hear it.

So far, I'm liking "Slipped Back Tango" much more than "Chamber of Horrors".  It's a tango-like way.

Now I'm going to listen to two cellists perform a piece called "Phoenix Story".  I am quite sure that I like cellos, so if I don't like this one, it will be the composition I dislike.

Listening...Yes, I'm liking it so far.

The song reminds me of something that would be in a dramatic scene in a movie starring Judy Davis.

I'm going to now read an interview with Chernin.  It's on a blog written by a piano teacher.

Chernin says she started learning piano when she was four.  It started with her watching her older sister's piano lessons.  I wonder if her older sister became a musician/composer as well.

Chernin says, that when she was a child, she had technique issues, and because of this, her hands would tire easily.

Chernin has pleasant memories of working with a teacher in the Soviet Union who was strict.  But Chernin appreciates the strictness, and she also appreciates the cups of teas they drank together. That's sweet.

Chernin lives a busy life that is sometimes disorganized. At times, she misplaces compositions she's working on.  Yeah.  Those kind of things happen sometimes.

I'm kind of picking through the interview for stuff that's interesting to me as someone who's NOT a piano teacher.  There's not much.  Most of the stuff is going to be more interesting to people who are into pianos, composing, orchestras, etc.  If you're one of those people, I suggest you quit reading this blog and go straight to the interview.

Well, I think this biography post is going to be much shorter than usual.  Sorry about that.  Although I'm not sure who I'm apologizing too.  My future self will be grateful for the short post, and I'm sure other people will be as well.

Actually, I CAN guess who will be displeased...FANS of Elana Kats-Chernin.  They will likely think that I have cheated Chernin, and that I'm awful for not being more interested in musical compositions.  So to THEM...if they find my blog, I give my apologies.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm Making a List

I've started making a list of biography subjects.

If I have a strong interest in someone the night before, or morning of, my writing day, I'll write about that person.  Otherwise, I'll use to pick.

So far, on the list, I have....

A young film maker—David Ludlow

A film composer—Peter Best

A singer-Dami Im

A politician-Scott Ludlam.

AND...five actors—Ryan Corr, Rhys Muldoon, Alicia Gardiner, Dan Wylie, and Claire Holt.

I'm not sure when I'm going to start doing these posts.  It will probably be after we go on the cruise, but depending on my mood, and other things, I might write one before.

We shall see....

Edited to Add: I quickly realized I have too many men on the list and not enough women.  Lately I've been trying to be sensitive to the fact that I (and other people) tend to give too much preference to white males.  I want to make an effort to change that in myself.  SO...I added many women to the list.  I have to admit that my list is still racially biased, but gender-wise, I managed to fix it up a bit.

So new names: Ursula Yovich, Rachel Perkins, Tanya Plibersek, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Rebecca White, Claire Moore, Sharon Bird, Julie Owens, Melissa Parke, Teresa Palmer, Odessa Young, Rosemary Myers, Maeve Dermody, Lizzy Gardiner, Jo Porter, Pamela Rabe, Caroline Brazier, and Elana Katz Chernin.

Most of the women on the list are either from the current front bench shadow ministry thing, or they're actresses. Then there's a few producers, a composer, a costume designer, etc.

My rule is to always have 70% women and/or nonwhite people on the list.

Some white men and others who are against things like affirmative action might hate my updated list. They might see it as being racist and sexist.

The thing I believe is, when you naturally have racial and gender biases, you sometimes have to purposely act biased in the opposite direction to counteract that.

When I started making my list with no such self-imposed rules, six out of nine of the names were white males.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Biography Posts, Comments, and Other Stuff

I miss blogging.

I miss being obsessed with Australia.

There's a part of me that really wants to get back into it.

I don't feel I chose to become obsessed with Australia.  But I do think it's pretty much my choice whether to drop the whole thing, slowly fade away from the whole thing, or dive back into it.

Right now, I'm thinking I'd like to do the latter.

I'm considering going back to doing biography posts.  Why those?

A) They're fun to write. I like the stuff that I learn.  I love watching various video clips.

B) They're my most popular posts. I prefer writing things that people are actually going to read.

C) They can be very therapeutic for me. BECAUSE... they're pretty much half about the celebrity-subject and half about me.  They push me to think about my life, my opinions, etc.

D) I'm a writer, and really haven't been writing lately.  I haven't really been doing anything creative. I'm not writing novels. I'm rarely blogging.  I'm not even really writing much on Twitter lately.  When I think about this, I feel like I'm failing myself.

And now here are reasons I fear going back to writing biography posts.

A) They're very time-consuming.  But since I have been allotted more free time than most humans  receive, what I'm really saying here is I am LAZY.

B) I have a new cat (Annie) and she's quite needy for attention.  I still can manage to get stuff done, but I have to understand that I'll be interrupted a lot by a cat who wants to play.  Still...When I first started this blog, my human child was six-years-old and needed much more attention than he does now.  If I can manage to blog with a human child, I can manage to blog with a feline one.

C) In reference to the C above, I worry sometimes that I'll reveal too much about myself.  Sometimes this blog becomes a confessional.  I don't mind so much about strangers learning things about me.  I do worry about my family reading.  And that's kind of nuts, because I used to long so badly for my family to read my blog.  I still do want them to read, only for the fact that it would indicate that they care and think about me.  BUT, that being said, I feel that on the rare occasion that certain members of my family do read my blog, it seems to be because they're concerned about my behavior. (Although, to their credit, I think there have been times where they maybe read for other reasons).

If my family did read my blog, I'd want it to be because they think I'm a fascinating writer, wonderful person, and they want to know what's up with me.  I don't want them to read it to figure out why I was crying one day, why I was moody, or to see if I've bitched about them after a fight.

Just as a note:
  I'm NOT often crying, moody, having fights, etc.  Usually, I'm quite content and peaceful.  But like most people, I have days where I struggle to handle life, relationships, etc.

Other stuff....

I received an insulting comment on my blog yesterday.  It was much more funny than offensive.  I mean it wasn't hilarious, but it was pretty benign compared to other stuff I've seen and encountered.  I was about to respond to the comment, but then decided against it. Though it was benign, it was also rude and I figure I shouldn't give attention to rude behavior.

I think attention SHOULD be given to constructive criticism...probably.  I guess it depends on the circumstances.  But this particular comment was more troll-like.

The last time I responded to a negative-comment, it turned into a whole lengthy dialogue.  The negativity turned into civility.  Hey! I probably should have included it in my last post, about enemies turning into friends.  We didn't actually turn into friends, but it was a nice example of a negative encounter turning...sort of positive.

Anyway...that person didn't seem to be trolling me. I think he was trying to provide some tough-love, constructive criticism.  Personally, I think he was misunderstanding me, and projecting anger he had towards other people onto me.  But still....

I shouldn't blame him for that, because I probably do the same to people.

ACTUALLY, I probably do that in my biography posts.  I read something about someone and go on a tangent because it reminds me of someone or something in my own life.  And sometimes I might be reading into things that aren't exactly there.

What else?

In terms of Australia, I'm not doing a whole lot lately.

I dreamed about Julian McMahon last night. I guess that counts for something.

I emailed two of my Australian friends this week.

On Twitter, I have my trends-thing set on Australia.  Every morning, I look at each of the things on the list and try to learn a tiny bit about it.  Usually, it's a sports thing, though, and I'm not really into sports things.  

I have this music-rule/habit.  I have a huge collection of various photos saved on my computer that I use for my screensaver, and desktop.  I use the initial-morning desktop photo to decide what Spotify music list I listen to for the day.  If there's an Australian photo, I listen to my Aussie music list.  That happened this morning, so I'm listening to Australian music today.

Every day I look at photos from my Flickr people.  A few of them are Australian.  The most prolific poster has a lot of Darwin photos.  I might want to go there someday.

Soon we are going on a family cruise, and I'm hoping we encounter some Australians.  I wanted the cruise director to be Australian, but I don't think that's going to be the case.  Maybe one of our waiters will be Australian? of the things I thought about the other day.

I sometimes feel my Australia thing is completely over because I haven't had a huge desire lately to visit Australia.  We have plans to visit for my 50th birthday, but I can't say I'm over eager to go at this point.  I'm more eager to go back to Japan or Europe.

So when I think in those terms, I feel this whole Australia thing is over or me, and I should just face that.

BUT I think I do have a strong interest in other aspects of Australia.  I still like the whole culture aspect...especially popular culture.  I'm interested in the music, books, actors, TV shows, etc.

I imagine people asking, if you're interested in the culture of Australia, why the hell would you not be super eager to actually go to Australia?

The answer is I can get a lot of the culture right here with the Internet.  I don't have access to all Aussie TV shows, and that's highly frustrating sometimes.  But I can get a fair bit.  I can see what Australians are talking about on Twitter. I can listen to a huge variety of Australian music.  I can download Aussie books.

Speaking of books.  I just remembered. I'm reading an Australian novel.  It's called Lost and Found by Brooke Davis.  I can't say I'm a fan yet, but maybe it will grow on me.

Anyway, back to visiting Australia.  It's not that I don't want to go, really.  It's more that it's so expensive, and the plane ride is so damn long.  Plus, there are other places I want to visit.  There are too many places I want to go. Yet at the same time, I want to just stay home and be lazy.  Traveling is exciting and fun, but it really stresses me out.

And now...

Back to the subject of biography posts.

I jump around too much.  I know.

Who should I write about first?  That's a rhetorical question.  You don't have to answer.

Ryan Corr is the first name that pops into my head.  He's been my favorite Australian actor lately.  But...writing about someone I like that much can end up leading to disappointment.  What if I learn something I don't like.   I think I once read that he was arrested for drug-use.  I could read something about that that makes me feel sympathetic towards him.  Or I might read something that makes me lose respect for him.

I just checked to make sure my imagination didn't create the drug thing.  It's bad enough to spread false info.  I don't want to be the one actually starting it.  But yeah.  There was a heroin thing in the news.

I'll save reading the article to when I (maybe someday) write about Ryan Corr.

This morning I looked at Julian McMahon's filmography to see what he's up to.  I saw that he's executive producer on two upcoming movies by a young director named David Ludlow.  One of the movies is a science fiction thriller that sounds interesting to me—Escape from Delirium.  

I like writing about up and coming/struggling artistic people, so maybe I'll write about Ludlow.

A part of me sometimes pesters the other part of me to do a post about Julian McMahon, but I've had too many dreams about that guy.  It would just feel too weird.

Another idea....

One of my other favorite Australians is...

Shit. I forgot his name.

How the hell could someone be one of my favorite Australians, and I can't think of his name?

What I DO remember is he was Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and was on Neighbours.

I'm going to have to Google....

Jason Donovan!

Yeah. I like him.

I listened to him singing Joseph songs this week, and like usual, I got all warm and fuzzy inside.

I remember writing about Donovan in the past, but am not sure I did an actual whole biography post about him.  Did I?

Searching my blog....

I DID do a post.  It was back in 2009.

Okay, so I'll scratch that off the potential list.

I'm sure, in the next few weeks, I'll find other people that interest me.  

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.'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 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? 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.


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 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. 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


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.


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 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.