Saturday, October 31, 2009

Robert Bruce

I added a bunch of names to my list on July 10. Robert Bruce was the first name I added. Well, actually I also added Mick Molloy earlier that day. But he didn't really count, because I had added him much earlier. He wasn't part of the huge massive bunch I added at once.

Anyway, I think I was in some type of spiritual mindset. I get like that sometimes. I become extra interested in spiritual stuff. So....I added some spiritual guru Australian people and then I added other people besides that.

Am I feeling spiritual right now? I don't know.

I am so in the middle with stuff like that. I mean I'm DEFINITELY a believer. But I think I'm more skeptical than a lot of other believers. I feel stuck in the middle of two extremes. There's the people who refuse to believe in anything without scientific proof, and they're very picky about what qualifies as science. Then there's the people who see a flash in the sky, and immediately declare, It's God! It's God!

I'm of the MIGHT persuasion. I would say, that flash MIGHT be God. It might not be. Let's see if science can give us answers, and meanwhile we can have fun imagining it's what we'd like it to be.

Anyway, onto Robert Bruce. His thing is astral-travel. I've read some of his stuff online. I've never had any luck doing this astral-travel stuff. And no. That doesn't prove, it's not real. What it proves is that the powers-that-be are protecting all of you guys. Because if I could astral travel, I'd go off spying on all of you. I find it very unfair that people can read this blog and know so much about me; yet I hardly know anything about them. Yes, yes. I know I CHOSE to have this blog. And I do love it. It's just I'm finding that certain aspects of blogging are more frustrating then I expected.

So yeah. I would spy. I'm a nosy person.

But I would totally let you have privacy while using the toilet. I'm not that awful.,

Robert Bruce. I should probably start the research stuff.

Lord Wiki says baby Robert was born in England in 1955. I think I knew that already. Well, I knew the place, not the date.

At some point, he moved to Australia and became Australian.

It seems he got his position as the astral-projection expert by participating in a newsgroup online. This was in the early 1990's.

In 1999, he published a book called Astral Dynamics: A NEW Approach to Out-of-Body Experiences. The book is doing pretty well. lists it as the 36th most popular metaphysical book.

Lord Wiki says that what Bruce did was try to find a method of astral projection for blind people. Most of the previous methods out there used visualization. Bruce came up with one using tactile sensations. I like that because I'm horrible at visualization. I did some self-hypnosis tape, and it talked about this golden ball of light. That totally ruined things for me, because I could not imagine the damn golden ball of light.

Bruce tries to avoid Eastern terminology. Lord Wiki says he sees them as a significant barrier to Western understanding and acceptance.

So what did he do? He changed the names. For the term chakras, he instead uses energy centers. I guess the latter tern might be more comfortable. I don't know. Both work fine for me.

Bruce believes in something called The Mind Split Effect. I think I like this idea. Instead of believing that our consciousness COMPLETELY exits the body. He believes there's a duplication process. I guess it's like part of us leaves the body, and another part stays in the body. That makes sense to me. In terms of our personalities, I feel at least SOME of it has to come from biological stuff. I mean we have a brain, and we have these hormones. I believe we have a soul, but I think some of who we are comes from this brainy hormonal stuff.

I think we have a higher self...or maybe just a spiritual self. When we combine that with our brain and hormones, this spiritual self might act differently from what it might act like without a body.

Well, that's about it for Lord Wiki.

I guess I shall go and read some of Bruce's own writing. I've read some of it before. I don't know how much I remember....probably not much. I think he has some method that involves imagining yourself climbing a rope. That's about all I remember.

Here's his website. The title is Astral Dynamics: A little light from down under. And there's this image of a chair floating in the sky. You know what that means? Humans aren't the only ones capable of having out-of-body experiences. Furniture can have them as well.

It seems the website has a lot of video stuff...more than writing. I guess I'll have to watch more than read.

Well, this video has Bruce walking around pretty scenery stuff.  Eerie new age meditation music plays in the background. I don't think I like that music. Maybe that's why I prefer to consider myself Neopagan rather than New Age. I don't like the music. It annoys me. Is that what we're going to be stuck listening to when we're dead? Is that the only music the spiritual world allows?

I personally don't think so. In my lucid-spiritual feeling dreams I've heard songs that were NOT New Age.

In one dream I heard Free to be You and Me.

In another dream, I heard Iris. I still get a magical dream feeling when I hear that song.

Oh, and then there was the dream where I sang Xanadu. I can feel my dreams when I hear that song too.

Let me get back to the Bruce video.

Okay. The movie has been on for a minute already, and he hasn't said anything. Are we supposed to be just watching him walk around? Maybe this somehow has the ability to cause us to have some kind of spontaneous astral projection? Well, it's not happening to me yet.

Ah. He finally started speaking. He says the usual New Age stuff. We're all connected in one consciousness. We should observe our thoughts, actings, feelings, etc. It's about being more aware. I have no arguments with that.

He says before we say anything to anybody we should ask three things.

Is it true?

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

That's pretty good advice....probably.

I wonder how much I follow it in this blog.

Well, everything I say is true to the best of my knowledge.

I try to be kind, but I have strong opinions. And sometimes that's going to hurt people.

The necessary thing? Oh lord. I'm sure I fail on that regards. Probably 90% of what I write is unnecessary.

I'm just going to forget the rules for my blog. But maybe I'll try harder when speaking to people individually.

Well, I think I'm going to try to avoid watching too many of these videos. I don't know if I can stomach New Age self-help right now. I'm just not in the mood. I mean I could probably tolerate reading it. I can't really tolerate the video.

Crap. It looks like it's almost all video.

Wait. Here's something. He has a blog, but a lot of it is links to other blogs, or it's videos. There are some things he has written though. Here's a post from September 30 regarding the meaning of life.

He suggests that we write down all the beliefs that we have that are based on our own personal experiences. I think he's just talking about spiritual beliefs and not other types. I might be wrong.

A lot of our beliefs come from what we've read or heard from other people. And I think this is fine, but it's easier to believe stuff that we've experienced personally.

As for my own list. I'd say.

1. I believe in lucid dreams, and that some of these feel like an astral experience.

2. I believe sometimes we can dream about things that haven't happened yet.

3. I believe in some level of mind over matter within medical situations.

4. I believe the world sometimes provides us with amazing synchronocity.

If anyone would like to share their personal beliefs (based on experiences) I'd love to hear them.

Bruce says, The meaning of life is the journey, not the destination. The ‘experience’ of life is everything, every day…, even today…

I like that, although we've all probably heard it a million of times before. But it's good to be reminded.

I like what he says here. If you let Source worry about the how and the why and the meaning of it all, and focus on living every day to the best of your ability, life becomes much simpler and happier. It also becomes more exciting.

Sometimes I obsess about the whys. I do this especially with this whole Australia thing. Why? Why? Why? Why? But then I tell myself to just be grateful and enjoy it.

There might be some deep spiritual meaning behind my whole Australia obsession. There might not be.

But it's fun for the most part. So there's really no need to worry.

Although it would really suck if this whole time I had the wrong country. What if I was supposed to be obsessed with Austria? What if this whole thing was just one big misunderstanding?

Here's another entry from September 27. It's about spiritual spam. That sounds interesting to me. Oh wait. This is the entry he mentioned in the last one....about figuring out your beliefs. It just goes more into depth. Bruce suggests that the next time someone comes knocking on our door pushing some religion, we should ask them how much of their beliefs come from personal experience.

People put faith in stuff simply because they read it in a book. I know I've done that. And I'm not talking about science. I'm not going to sit there and say Well, I have no PERSONAL proof that the earth isn't flat, and I've never personally seen DNA in a microscope.....

I am willing to put my faith in most science without personal proof. But when it comes to ideas, beliefs, and faith, I think I need to remember not to believe something simply because someone else wrote it down.

We can say Jesus is God, because the Bible told us so. But what is the Bible? It's a book. Do we have any personal proof that it's divine....outside of what our parents and Sunday school teachers told us?

If someone can believe that the Bible is divine, why can't I believe Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is divine? And you know what....I CAN believe it's divine. And honestly, I sort of do. But that comes from my own personal imagination. How could I dare to assume that other people must believe this too?

I think we can divide the ideas we read about into three categories:

A) those that fit our own personal experiences
B) those that are negated by our own personal experiences (the book and person I'm writing about tomorrow fits into this category for me)
C) those that are neutral. Our experiences neither negate nor support the ideas presented.

I've read a lot of self-help books in my life...relationships, parenting, spiritual, work-related, etc. My problem was that I read with the assumption that the book is absolutely right. I have trouble reading stuff with a grain of salt. But I've been trying to be better with this. I think recognizing the above categories will help.

An example might be the claim that TV diminishes imagination in children. That's scary, and made me feel guilty for letting Jack watch television. But then I think of my own childhood. I remember watching a lot of TV in my childhood. I don't remember ever having any TV restrictions. I think I have a VERY strong imagination. Jack watches a lot of TV. And he too has a very strong imagination.

Now I'm going to read some of his astral articles.

Here's an article I probably need to read. "Privacy, Ethics, and OBE"

Bruce says there's a belief that if a projector deliberately invades the privacy of another person for immoral purposes or unethical gain, or engages in any disreputable or sexual behavior during OBE, they will be banned or stopped from further projecting -- grounded by a higher authority. It is even believed by some that there is a kind of astral police force watching out for ethical, moral and astral rights transgressors.

According to that belief, there may be some higher power grounding me because it knows I'd turn into a nosy spy.

But Robert Bruce feels this is all a myth! He believes there is nothing out there policing naughty astral people.

He talks about people seeking sex. Who are they having sex with? Other astral people? Or are they trying to have sex with regular people still in their bodies? Are we being secretlyLink seduced without our knowledge?

Here's another article called "Astral Beings and Wildlife".

Bruce talks about energy life forms within the astral world...creatures/people who do not have a physical form like we do. I guess angels would count in this category.

In my spiritual reading, I've come across two schools of thought. The first believes there are no evil beings. It's all light and good. Evil is just in our mind. If we encounter something scary and negative in our dream and/or astral experience, this comes from our own negativity and imagination. The second believes there truly is evil.

I've spent most of my life believing in the first because it sounded more pretty. And it's less scary. But I've decided lately, from my own personal experiences, that I believe in the latter.

This is what Robert Bruce believes. He believes there are dark evil things out there.

I've seen and felt dark evil things in my dreams. So I agree with Robert Bruce on that point.

Bruce says, Just about every astral plane and realm has some kind of local inhabitants. These life forms often live in specific areas or realms, and often seem quite unaware there is any other reality or dimensional level than their own. They are often amazed when they meet an astral traveler.

This fits in with my lucid dreams, and I'm glad to read it, because it helps me make sense of stuff. When I have my lucid dreams, I often try to talk to people. I ask them who they are, whether they're dreamers too, where are we, etc. .

They rarely give me satisfying answers. They look at me with either confusion or amusement. They look at me like I'm nuts. I think I've always assumed they're either other dreamers, they're figments of my imagination, or they're spiritual beings. Some of the people seem to LIVE in these places I visit. It seems to be their normal world. So why the hell couldn't they answer my simple questions?

Maybe the answer is they're oblivious about there being a world outside their world. So my questions might sound absolutely insane to them.

Bruce says we might meet up with other dreaming projection people. But they might not know they're dreaming. I often wonder about this. It causes me grief in my dreams. A lot of times my family is in my lucid dreams. Now since I've never had a family member say Hey, Dina. Remember when we were in the astral world together..... I think either:

A) my lucid dreams are just my mind plays on me.

B) I'm really having astral experiences, but part of it includes hallucinations.

We hallucinate sometimes in real life....why not in the astral world?

Bruce's idea leads to another conclusion though. What if my family really IS there with me.... And it's just they don't remember it later? This makes a lot of sense because many people don't remember their dreams. And I don't think anyone remembers ALL of their dreams. I remember my dreams. I write down my dreams. But each night, there's stuff I know I've forgotten.

A few months ago, I watched these lucid dreaming videos. One of the ideas in the videos was that we need to let go of our belief that our dream characters are real. Then we can become more lucid. The guy who does these videos is VERY spiritual, and does believe that there's real beings in our dream. But I think he feels most of them are fake/hallucinations.

So with that idea in mind, I made a goal that in my next lucid dream I'd tell my family they're not real. I thought that once I did that, I'd be more free. I'd have higher levels of lucidity. I'm usually pretty okay at remembering my goals in my lucid dreams, and trying to fulfill them. With this one, I've had very little luck. I either totally forget, or I remember and can't get to my family.

But now I'm thinking I should give up on that goal. What if the family member in my dream IS real. If I'm nasty to them just to prove to myself they're fake....well, what if I'm wrong? What if I abandon Jack, because I feel he's not really Jack? It's too hard to fly when I'm holding you so I'll just drop you.
But what if that really IS Jack that I'm dropping? He rarely remembers his dreams and probably won't remember on a conscious level. But what if he remembers on some unconscious level?

For now on, I'm just going to assume that everyone in my dream is real. I'm going to try to be nice to everyone. It's better to be nice to pretend people than be mean to real people.

I think I'm actually going to stop here. I know there's SO much more I could read. The problem is this type of reading makes me go off in major tangents. I have so much I can and want to say. Bruce says one little thing, and it totally sets me off. This post could end up being novel-length.

If anyone is interested in learning how to have out-of-body experiences on demand, I suggest you read the Robert Bruce website, or his books. I've tried following various procedures, and have never had any luck with it. I've decided to just stick with the spontaneous fun things that happen to me when I'm sleeping. But other people might have more luck (and natural ability) than me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mick Molloy

I don't know who Mick Molloy is, but his name sounds very Irish to me.

Lord Wiki says....

He's a comedian.

I wonder how I got his name on my list.


Baby Mick was born on 11 July 1966. And he was born in Canberra! I haven't found many famous people who were born there.

Lord Wiki says Molloy grew up in Canberra, then later moved to Melbourne to pursue his career.

He studied performing arts at the University of Melbourne. There he wrote and performed in his first show.

Molloy also attended a school called Maroondah Secondary College. Well, at least Lord Wiki says that he did. I'm confused because this is a high school, not a university. Maybe this is the school that Molloy attended BEFORE he did his university studies? Did his whole family leave Canberra for Victoria? Or did Molloy go there on his own?

In 1987, Molloy started working for a comedy group called The D-Generation. He had auditioned for the show earlier, but didn't have any luck.  Then the group saw him do his university performance, and they signed him up as one of their writers.

YouTube has some clips from the show. I'm going to watch one. I'm not sure if it will be one that Molloy wrote.

That was fairly decent. I wasn't falling on the floor laughing, but I did smile a few times. I liked the pool romance skit best.

Molloy continued to do D-Generation stuff in the late 1980's. Then in the early 1990's, many of the members of the D-Generation moved over to something called The Late Show. Molloy did this from 1992-1993.

Here's a clip from that. It's a segment called "What's All That About?" I personally didn't love it that much.

From 1995 until 1998, Molloy did a radio program with one of the D-Generation/Late Show guys. It was called Martin/Molloy. I wonder how they decided whose name would go first. Maybe it was alphabetical.

There were three compilation albums made from the show, and these albums won ARIA awards. Cool.

In 1999, Molloy had his own talk show, but it was canceled after only eight episodes.

From 2003-2004, Molloy played Kim's dad on Kath And Kim. Is Kim the mother or daughter? I always forget. Okay. Kim's the daughter. So I'm guessing then that Molloy played Kath's ex-lover.

From 2004-2006, Molloy did a radio show called Tough Love with Mick Molloy. His younger brother Richard was one of his co-hosts. How cute...brotherly love.

In 2006, he did a sport show called Any Given Sunday. Isn't there a movie with that name? Okay. Yeah. Here it is. It's an Oliver Stone film about football.

Molloy has been in some movies.

In 2002, he was in Crackerjack. Molloy co-wrote this film with his brother. It's about a bowling club. The movie earned the Molloy brothers an AFI nomination for best screenplay.

Here's a trailer for the film. It looks fairly of those intergenerational stories.

In 2003, he was in Bad Eggs. It was written and directed by Tony Martin--the same guy who did the radio show with Molloy. Marshall Napier from McLeod's Daughters was in it too!

Here's a trailer for the movie.

It doesn't really look like my type of thing.

In 2006, he was in BoyTown. This one was also written by the Molloy brothers. It's about a boy band from the 1980's. The team also made a mockumentary to go with the movie. Clips from the mockumentary were shown in the movie. Lord Wiki says the entire documentary was supposed to be included in the DVD release, but it was left out. Molloy blamed lack of funding. His old friend Tony Martin wasn't too happy about the mockumentary being excluded.

YouTube has a clip from the mockumentary. That made me laugh out loud once or twice. I have a feeling Tim would find that video hilarious. Sometimes my husband's sense of humor matches my own. Sometimes it does not.

Molloy had a small role in the Australian 2006 Macbeth movie. I didn't know about this Macbeth movie. I might want to see it someday. I like Macbeth. Yesterday, Jack and I watched Arthur, and it had a Macbeth theme. Little Muffy encouraged her best friend Francine to frame their mutual friend in an act of thievery, so Francine would win the student of the month award. They end up having to commit another crime to cover up their first. It was pretty clever.

I got all excited in the middle of it. I started babbling to Jack about how it the episode was like a Shakespeare played called Macbeth. Jack looked at me as if I was totally dense. He showed me the title. Macfrensky. Okay. So I guess I missed that.

Well, here's a trailer for the 2006 Aussie version.

I actually wrote a screenplay involving Macbeth. I think it was called The Subway Monster. Maybe? It was a romantic-comedy about this woman who had seen a horror movie as a teenager. The monster in the film totally freaks her out, and she develops this huge persisting fear. Later, to finally overcome the fear, she decides to learn about the actor who played the monster that scared her so much. She learns that he's become a small town theater actor. She ends up finding out where he lives, and goes to track him down. She just plans to quietly stalk him a bit, but they end up meeting. They fall in love...blah, blah, blah. All is well until she sees him in a production of Macbeth. He plays Banquo, and with all the blood/ghost stuff...he looks freaky again.

I forgot what happens after that. But now that I've written that whole summary, I'm thinking that was a pretty dumb story.

But it MIGHT be good. I'm horrible at writing pitches and stuff like that.

The premise sounds a bit ridiculous though.

Shit. Here I am rambling on and on about this Macbeth stuff, and Malloy had such a small role in the film. At least I think he did. IMDb says he played a character named Murderer in Brown. I guess it was a cameo type thing.

For a very short time in 2007, Molloy hosted a show called The Nation.

In 2008, he helped host a football comedy show called Before the Game. I guess the show is still on. At least that's what I'm getting from Lord Wiki. I'm not sure if Molloy is still involved though.

Oh wait. I missed some earlier TV stuff!

In 2004, Malloy was in a TV movie directed by Sam Neill. The Brush-off. He played the same character in another TV movie called Stiff. Stiff wasn't directed by Neill. It was directed by someone else.

Currently, Malloy is on a TV show called The Jesters. It's a sitcom about a comedy sketch guy who has become a producer. It sounds a LITTLE bit like 30 Rock.

Here's an interview with Molloy regarding BoyTown.

This is funny. The interviewer says, Besides me and my mum, pretty much anyone that has ever lived in Australia appears in the film, is there anyone that actually missed out on a role?

That reminds me of the Australia movie trailer spoof.

In the interview, Molloy says it was Tony Martin who did the mockumentary. Lord Wiki says there was some anger between Molloy and Martin regarding that being left off the DVD. I hadn't understood why Martin cared so much about the mockumentary. But now I guess it makes much more sense.

Well, I think I'm going to make this a short post. Jack wants me to watch the season finale of his TV show with him. Plus, I'm not really finding much that excites me today. Maybe I'm just not in a comedian mood. Who knows.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Percy Grainger (Thanks FG Marshall-Stacks)

I'm afraid Percy Grainger might be a music person. I say that because FG Marshall-Stacks seems to be a music fan. I could be wrong though. I mean I'm not wrong about Marshal-Stacks being a music fan. That's pretty obvious. But maybe she suggested someone not in music.

I've been pretty much anything-goes when it comes to suggestions for this blog. But maybe I should limit that. I think I'll say anything-goes...EXCEPT for music and sport people. There's exceptions, of course. I'm glad I wrote about Bradman. It seems crazy to have this blog, and not write about him.

Anyway, let me go see who Percy Grainger might be.

Oh! This might not be too bad. He's a music person, but not a rock star. Grainger is a pianist and composer. That's pretty cool. I mean not to say that rock stars aren't totally cool. I just personally find them to be boring. I know. I'm very weird.

Lord Wiki says that baby George Percy was born on 8 July 1882. That means he was around nineteen when Australia became a Federation.

My favorite Wiki guy is a bit weird about Mommy Grainger. He gives all this genealogy information. It seems a bit...excessive and trivial.

Well, I guess we could say that Grainger had eight aunts and uncles from his mother's side. Maybe that IS important, and I just don't know why yet. Lord Wiki even provides all their names.

Here's some trivia that's a bit more interesting. Daddy Grainger was best friends with the father of the opera singer Nellie Melba. Melba's Daddy was against his daughter becoming a singer. Daddy Grainger is given the credit for encouraging her to sing.

Grainger was born in Brighton...a suburb in Melbourne. I think I've heard of that before. Lord Wiki says it has some rich people living there.

I see it on Google Maps now (it took a bit of time for it to load). It looks like it's near the coast. I did the Street View thing, and got some very modest houses. But I'm betting it's the type of area where even modest houses are very expensive.

Daddy Grainger was an architect who had grown up in France. He emigrated to Australia from England in 1876. Mommy Grainger was from Adelaide, and had British origins like her husband.

Oh. This is so sad. Mommy Grainger got Syphilis. She refused to touch her baby (Percy) until he was five, because she was scared of giving it to him. I wonder how she got Syphilis. Is there any way to get it besides sex? Did she get it from her husband? Did she have a love outside the marriage?

Well, the CDC website says it pretty much happens only through sexual relations....or a mother can pass it to her baby through pregnancy. You can't get it through average common human contact. I'm guessing Grainger was ignorant about that. Otherwise, she would have felt okay touching her child. I'm not sure if the medical community even knew that then though.

I wonder if the Syphilis had come about from adultery, and Grainger's guilt prevented her from touching the child.

Another possibility might have been rape.

When Grainger was eleven, his father went to London. He and his mother went to Adelaide to live with his maternal grandparents. Was this a marriage seperation? I guess it was. Lord Wiki says that when Daddy Grainger returned to Adelaide, he didn't move in with the family.

Okay. Here we go.

Daddy Grainger DID have Syphilis.

I'm trying to figure out this story that Lord Wiki provides. I think what happened is Grainger didn't see his father for a long time. Then while Grainger was touring New Zealand, his mother warned him that his father was heading to that same country to get Syphilis treatment. She told Grainger that if he saw his dad, he shouldn't touch him. So she had a lot of paranoia about her son getting sick too. Although it was pretty much medically impossible, I can't blame her for feeling scared like that.

Grainger did see his father. I guess they had a good chat. They became friendly with each other, and exchanged the occasional correspondence.

Now Lord Wiki jumps back before all that. He says at one point the family lived in Hawthorn Victoria...specifically on 36 Oxley Road. I'm guessing this was before Adelaide.

Mommy Grainger was a bit different...unusual. When she was pregnant, she took time to stare at a Greek God statue. She thought doing that would pass on some of its traits to her unborn child.

Well, that's probably not much weirder than any other religious ritual that people participate in.

Grainger did his first public performance at age twelve. People said he was a prodigy.

He had a rough time at school because people made fun of his appearance. I guess this was because he had orange hair.

He refused to return to school so his mom homeschooled him.

Besides piano, he also had a talent with foreign languages. He ended up learning eleven of them.

Jack and I had a discussion about his talents last night. It was funny because Jack's perception is VERY different than mine.

I think Jack is a prodigy when it comes to geography. I started teaching him geography when he was two. By the time he was 2.5, he could find almost any country on a globe if asked. This was before he could even talk....well, because he was a late talker. He could say a few words, but that's it.

He doesn't do much geography anymore, but he's still very good at it. He knows much more than the average adult.

I also feel he's very good at writing. I wouldn't classify him as a prodigy in that regards, but I do think he's advanced. At age eight, he writes about as well as I did at age twelve or thirteen.

Okay, but yesterday we were talking about talents, and he said his talents were with drawing and cooking. Cooking! Sorry, but no. Jack is mistaking EATING with cooking. When we try to cook with him, he quickly loses interest. He daydreams, or he runs off (if we allow him) to do something else.

As for drawing, he's VERY imaginative. But I think skill-wise....he's better at writing. He's not at all bad at drawing. I just don't see him having a particular talent with it.

Who knows though. Maybe Jack knows something I don't know. Maybe drawing and cooking are talents he's going to grow into. Maybe one day he'll be a famous chef or artist.

Oh, and then he insulted me by naming my secret special talent. I was hoping for writing and singing. I love both those things, and I thought MAYBE I was good at them.

But no. My secret special talent is cleaning. What the hell?

I really hope it's Jack who has it wrong about our talents, and not me.

Ah. I better get back to our Grainger. I keep thinking about Hermione. Did she spell her name the same way?

Nope. I just googled. She's Hermione Granger. I sometimes wonder about her dentist parents. What did they think about all that magic stuff?

At the age of thirteen, Grainger and his mom went to Europe so Grainger could study at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfort. This led to him belonging to a circle of composers called The Frankfort group. They were all English-speaking. I guess that's what gave them their bond...maybe.

Grainger didn't believe that people are born with musical talent. He didn't believe in that concept. He credited his mother for his talent. Maybe it was all that staring at the Greek Statue.

I definitely disagree with Grainger. I'm a believer in nature AND nurture. I think we're born with special talents, and these can be either nurtured by our parents...or ignored.

At school, Grainger lost a piece of his finger while fixing a bike. He actually hoped that this would prevent him from performing. He preferred composing. But it ended up that the lost finger tip wasn't enough of a handicap. Poor guy. I guess he felt he couldn't just quit.

From 1901 to 1914, he lived in London. Oh. He missed the Federation of Australia's whole childhood! During this time, Grainger developed a love for folks songs of rural england.

I like folk music.

In London, he was known as the jogging pianist. Grainer preferred playing while exhausted. It didn't work for him to sit, wait, and then play. He liked to run into the performance, and then start playing. I can imagine how that would work better. It would give you a fun level of energy.

Once his performed on a ship. In his spare time, he did coal shoveling in the boiler room.

You far I like this Grainger guy. He's quite a character.

His other talent besides piano and jogging was clothes designing. That's cool.

For World War I, he avoided the military by moving to the United States. I'm not sure how that worked. I was going to say that they were in the war too. But they entered AFTER England. When the United States joined the war, Grainer finally gave in and enlisted. But he joined the army band. Instead of shooting a gun, he played music.

In 1918, Grainger became a citizen of the United States.

Ah. So he's an Australian-American. Sometimes I think Marshall-Stacks loves America as much as I love Australia. I'm not surprised that she'd give me someone American.

Grainger's mom moved to America with her son. Sadly, she had a difficult time with life. She committed suicide by jumping off a building in 1922. Grainger would have been about forty then.

There were rumors that Grainger's relationship with his mother was incestuous. Lord Wiki says it's not true. I don't know who to believe. I think only two people know the REAL answer, and they're both dead.

Oh. I just read the information again. His mother wrote Grainger a letter before she died explaining why she was so upset. The reason WAS the accusations of incest. These accusations greatly wounded her. I can imagine.

My feeling is she was innocent. I think she was an eccentric woman who had a close relationship to her son. And in certain situations, people make sick accusations.

Grainger took the letter from his mom, put it in a cylinder, and wore it around his neck. Wouldn't that be a big cylinder, or did he chop the letter into tiny pieces or something?

In 1925, Grainger had a love-at-first-site incident. He ended up marrying the object of his affection. This was a Swedish artist and poet. How romantic.

In 1932, Grainger became the dean of music at New York University. In this role, he added Jazz to the music program's syllabus.

Now here is something to note. He didn't marry until AFTER his mother had died. Now I can believe there was no sexual incest. But was there perhaps some emotional incest? Did his mother prevent him from getting married? Did Grainger need her to die before he could love someone else?


Or maybe not.

Maybe Mommy Grainger gave her son the freedom he needed, but he just happened to not find the love-of-his-life until later.

In 1940, the Grainger and his wife moved to Springfield Missouri. I lived in Missouri...twice, actually. But we lived in St. Louis.

The reason they moved was they feared NYC might be vulnerable in a war attack. Well, that paranoia was probably rooted in some truth.

Oh...some of Grainger's story makes me so sad. I don't know why. His story hits me harder than others I've read.

After the war, his popularity decreased. This was very hard on him. He started offering to play for free.

It's hard to be desperate. I know that personally. I feel that way about my novel. I don't care about publishing it. I don't want to be super rich and successful. I just want someone to read it. I was talking to Tim the other day, and he suggested I offer to pay people to read it. Yeah. I don't think I'm going to go that far. I think I'm just going to let go of it all. It's out there. If it's mean to be read, it will be read. If not...well, I know from my Statcounter that this blog gets a pretty good amount of love and attention. If I give too much attention to my novel, this blog might get jealous and divorce me or something. I can't have THAT happening. This blog is my therapist.

Grainger lost a lot of money...well, because he was giving the goods away for free.

The thing is though. I think when you're an artist (of whatever kind), a lot of times you don't care about the money. You just want to be seen or heard. I think the internet proves that. There's so many people with novels online, music, videos, blogs, artwork, etc. And most of it is being freely shared.

Some Republicans believe that if we become less capitalist, people will have no incentive to work. I think that's so not true. Some people WORK simply because they love what they do.

Grainger died in the 1960's of cancer.

Oh wait. There's more. Lord Wiki sure has a lot to say about this guy.

Grainger was responsible for the invention of something called Free Music.

I read. I tried to understand. I failed. I'm not going to strain myself here. Sorry.

Grainger was a vegetarian, but he didn't like vegetables. That might sound ironic, but us vegetarians eat much more than just vegetables. Lord Wiki says Grainger's diet consisted mostly of rice, nuts, cakes, bread, jam, and ice-cream. Yum. It might not be the healthiest, but neither is a diet of red meat and cheeses.

Grainger was a sado-masochist. He was into flaggelation. Too bad he wasn't a convict in early Australia. Those guys were blessed with a lot of flogging. I can't imagine enjoying something like that...but as a Facebook friend recently reminded me in one of her posts....It takes different strokes to move the world.

Grainger did meticulous documentation of this kinky hobby he shared with his wife. In the 1930's, he donated money to the University of Melbourne so they'd develop a museum about him. Wow. That is....uh, strange.

Oh. And the museum is still there. Here's the website. I'll look at it later. It seems to be more than just his whipping stuff....fortunately. The museum is closed for renovations currently, so don't be running over there to check it out.

Grainger believed in blond hair/blue-eyed superiority. He was a bit of a racist. But he had friends who were not blond and blue, and he even donated money to African-American charities. So it's not like he was a Nazi.

He never ironed his shirts.

He wore the same clothes for many days. I wear the same clothes for many years. I mean not all at once. I take them off and wash them. But I still wear shirts that I got over fifteen years ago.

See. That's why I like Grainger. I'm eccentric too.

Well, I'm done with Lord Wiki.

I'm going to take a little break, and then I'll move onto other stuff.

I think I'm going to skip the Biographical Dictionary. Lord Wiki was pretty detailed. Or maybe I should read it? Maybe I'll just skim it to see if there's anything Lord Wiki missed.

Daddy Grainer designed this court building in Western Australia. He's also partly responsible for the Western Australian Museum. It seems most of his success occurred in Western Australia. I guess maybe he lived there at some point? Oh okay. From 1897 until 1905, he was chief architect in the Western Australian Department of Public Works. Was that before or after he went off to London?

Well, I'm doing the math. He would have gone to London around I guess he was there a few years. Then he returned, and eventually went to Western Australia. I wonder how his Syphilis was at that point.

Grainger's first known composition was something he made for his mother's birthday. That was done in 1893. He'd be about eleven, and this was around the time his father left them.

This website stresses what Lord Wiki had said. The death of Grainger's mother was very hard on him. Despite her strangeness, he loved her a lot.

He didn't drink or smoke. I can relate to people like that. And we're both vegetarians. But I don't have an eccentric mother. Although I'd say Jack has one. I don't believe in blond hair/blue-eyed superiority though.   Those people get sunburned too easily.

There's an International Percy Grainger Society.

They have a picture of his house in New York. It's in White Plains. I think that's part of Long Island? Yeah. Lord Wiki says it is. You'd think I'd know that since we lived in New York. But we didn't really venture out of the city...well, at least not to explore the rest of that state. We did go to Connecticut once.

The website has a lot of photos of Grainger. He looks like someone who is talented, weird, nice, and smart. In other words, he fits how I'd imagine someone like him might look.

I wonder if my looks fit my personality. Maybe. Although in college, this guy had a crush on me. He got mad at me once, and said I wasn't what he thought I'd be. I was too WEIRD..... I mean that's not why he was mad at me. It was about something else, but that's the insult he used to try to wound me. I think I kind of took it as a compliment though.

Now that I think of it though....I did have a few mainstream jocks interested in me. What was the deal with that? Was I giving off the wrong vibe, or was it an opposites attract kind of thing?

The website has some of Grainger's music. That's good. It would probably make sense to listen to some of his stuff.

Oy. It's not working for me.

Well, YouTube seems to have a lot of stuff. I'll look at that in a minute.

First, I want to get a closer look at the Melbourne Museum.

Their website says Grainger was an auto-archivist. I've never heard of this term before, but I think it describes me. I have boxes of old letters, diaries, old invitations, etc. I have kept meticulous journals of Jack from when he was a year old to...well, I have been less detailed lately. I haven't been writing in his homeschooling blog so much. But I had this calender from when he was ages 1-2. It's one of those day calenders, so there's a pretty big space for each day. I wrote in great detail about his daily life. Then from ages 2-3, I had another notebook where I kept track of all his activities. I wrote down every single place we ever went.

The videos are where it gets really crazy. I took hours and hours of video when he was a baby. Partly, because I was madly in love with him. But also I think I was bored. Videotaping gave me something to do. Anyway, this past weekend I went to my parent's house, and we watched one of the videos. It was about an hour of Jack doing absolutely nothing. My parents and I found it to be quite hilarious.

Oh, and some of you guys know the detailed reports I did for our last Australia trip.

I think out of my family, I have the worst case of this auto-archival affliction. My dad might be close behind. Or maybe we're equal. His thing is pretty much just photography though. He's obsessed with archiving our lives with photography. He has albums and albums and albums....and more albums. He takes hundreds of digital photos, but unlike most people, I don't think he deletes any of them. Not only that, but I think he might buy prints of ALL the photos.

I'm not seeing anything about the flogging. Maybe I misread Lord Wiki? Or maybe Grainer wanted THAT stuff in the museum, and the University didn't oblige. Or maybe it's just not on the website.

And I could be simply missing it. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

Now I'm going to listen/watch his music.

Here's a video of Grainger himself playing an Irish folks song. He's very graceful with the piano.

Here's a high school playing a song Grainger composed. It's called Children's March.

I've been listening to it while playing on Facebook. Today's highlight there is a quiz telling you what kind of person you were in high school. My result was nerd. Can I argue with that? No. One of my friends was a rebel, and the other was a floater. I can picture them in those roles. My sister is taking the test now. I'm waiting to see her results. I'm not sure what the quiz will call it, but I call it popular bitchy people. She's one of THOSE people. Actually, both of my sisters were that. They were both popular party people. I was the nerd stuck in the middle.

Here's another song composed by Grainger. It's called "Colonial Song". It's very pretty. I like it better than the "Children's March". Actually, I like it a lot. It's very poignant. It would be a good song to use during the eulogy montage at the Academy Awards.

Here's something called "Warriors (Music to an Imaginary Ballet)" The beginning is really cool. It has a Gothic horror feel to it. It kind of reminds me of a Disney horror Watcher in the Woods.

Here's Molly on the Shore. It's lovely. It's a fun song. It makes me think of Sydney Harbour. I don't know why. I guess I picture happily walking around the Opera House...being a tourist. Or it kind of reminds me of the food fair we went to in Hyde Park.

I think I'm going to listen to one more song. Here's Handel in the Strand. I like this song too.

Not only do I find Grainger fascinating as a person, but I love his music too.

This ended up being a good blogging day for me. So I am thankful to FG Marshall-Stacks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sally Morgan

I feel a bit silly researching Sally Morgan. I read her whole autobiography. What can the Internet tell me that her book didn't?

But since my memory isn't perfect, I've probably forgotten much of the book. Maybe the research will help refresh my memory.

Before I go any further, let me say that I highly recommend the autobiography. It's one of my favorite Australian books.

Basically the story is about a woman who's an Indigenous Australian; but she doesn't know she's indigenous because her family is ashamed of it. The book is about her slowly learning about, and embracing, her heritage. It's a beautiful story.

Morgan's father was an alcoholic. I think I had a dream last night that symbolized alcoholism. I dreamed I was a man...or at least I think I was a man. It was kind of vague. My mother drank this horrible chemical that made her very mean, but also very strong. She was scary. At times, it might have been a father instead of a mother. I don't know. This was one of these gender-confusion dreams.

Anyway, the situation was very frightening. I tried several times to throw my mother over the balcony...kill her. But each time she held on, and survived.

At one time she started vomiting the stuff up. I encouraged her to drink her vomit. I think I had this hope that doing this would reverse things somehow. I'm not sure if it worked or not. But eventually she got well. And then she looked like MY mom...the one I have in real life. She promised never to drink that stuff again. I looked doubtful. She then suggested we throw all the drink away so we don't need to worry about it. I told her that wouldn't matter. The drink is easy to make. There was no way to escape it. The only hope was she'd make a conscious decision NOT to drink.

I'm not sure why I dreamed that. Maybe it was to help give me SOME insight into how it might feel to have an alcoholic parent.

Morgan's father's story was a pretty sad one. I forgot the details, but he had been in the war. I think it had been a very traumatic experience, and it messed up his life. Then, in turn, his drinking made life very difficult for his wife and kids.

Anyway, I guess I shall start my research.

Lord Wiki says baby Sally was born on 18 January 1951. She's about two years younger than my dad.

She's a writer AND artist. I don't know if I knew about the art part. Did she mention that in the book? She probably did. I probably just forgot.

I bet she made the illustration on the book cover then.

Morgan was born in Perth. She was the oldest of five siblings.

People questioned Morgan's background because she and her family didn't look white. When Morgan questioned her family about this, she was told that her ancestors were from India. I remember that from the book.

My background has been questioned at times. During my teen years, my family went to Las Vegas. An Iranian cab driver insisted I must be from Iran. More recently, when I went to the thrift store, the cashier from Iraq thought I must be from Iraq too.

I don't know. For some reason I look Middle Eastern sometimes. I look like the rest of my family. I don't think there's a secret adoption in the picture. But yet they don't look as Middle Eastern as I do. Maybe my dad....a little bit.

When Morgan was in high school, she learned the truth. Her ancestors were not from India. They were from Australia....part of the Palku people.

Lord Wiki says that as a child Morgan liked the story of Winnie the Pooh. I don't really remember that from the book.

Morgan's autobiography was published in 1987.

Lord Wiki says there has been some disputes about the book. It's not surprising. I don't remember the exact details, but the book had a lot of paternal confusion. Who is father to who....and all that stuff.

Oh! My Goodness! I think I'm remembering stuff now. The dispute comes from the annoying white people featured in the book. I forgot the details, but I remember feeling angry with them. I think they pretty much exploited Morgan's grandmother. Anyway, one of these white people has written her own book. It's called Wongi Wongi. A website for the book says, Wongi Wongi tells a story, not of a people dispossessed, but a people loved and cared for by their employers.

Well, I guess there's always two sides to every story.

Morgan wrote another book. I didn't know that. Maybe I'll read it someday. It's called Wanamuuragany, and it's about about her grandpa.

In 1996, she did a children's book called Dan's Grandpa. She didn't illustrate the book. That surprises me since she's an artist.

She has more books besides that. Lord Wiki lists them at the bottom of his entry. There's five biographical books. Oh wait. I think all these books are put together in My Place, or at least some of them are. I guess you can buy the stories seperately as well.

In the copy I have, the first 167 pages are Morgan's own story. Then there's a section about Arthur Corunna. I've unfortunately forgotten who he is. I THINK he might have been Morgan's uncle, or maybe a great-uncle?  Then there's a section about her mother's story, and a section about her grandmother's story.

I just lay one of my favorite Australian books (Morgan's) on top of the worst book ever written by an Australian author....well, at least in MY opinion. I quickly separated the books. Putting them together like that seems almost unholy.

Lord Wiki has a brief entry on My Place itself. There's been controversy surrounding the book. He talks about how some people believe white people read it and think something like Oh! I read the book! I'm not racist anymore. I understand Aboriginal Australia.

Anytime you have a book about one person (or a family) from a whole group of people, there's the danger that people will assume that this one story says it all. But although I don't think one book can remove ALL of our racism, I think reading My Place can perhaps reduce it. Maybe? Who knows....

I don't.

Here's an interview with Morgan on the website for the Arts Law Centre of Australia. What is the Arts Law Centre? Oh okay. It's a resource for artists regarding legal stuff like copyrights.

Morgan is asked how she got into writing. She says it was never an ambition for her, but she loved to read. She started writing simply because she felt compelled to tell her family's story. I wonder if that's how most writers start out....with just a NEED to tell a story.

Morgan says she thinks her book has encouraged other people to tell their story. I think that would be another important benefit of her writing such a book.

Morgan says, I would like to encourage Indigenous people to tell their stories, whether its through writing or painting or dance, music or theatre. Our stories are important, the more stories the better. We can all learn from each other, and it helps to build the bigger picture.

I think she said that very well. If there's worry that people will assume that My Place is trying to speak for all of Aboriginal Australia, write more books! The more that's out there, the more variety of experiences we'll hear. Then I won't have to go around thinking that all Indigenous Australians are clones of Sally Morgan.

Oh! That's another thing I dreamed about last night. Clones. I dreamed of a place where everyone had a clone. But the clones only looked like their twins. Their personality was more like the pod folks from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They were a bit blank and blah. This one clone went to talk to some young man. It made the man sad because the clone was a copy of a man who had just died. Seeing the clone of his dead friend was hard on him.

Back to Morgan....

She's featured on the website of the Australian Art Print Network.

The website says, Encouraged by her family, she drew voraciously as a child. However, her high school art teachers did not understand her art and criticised her bright, unconventional style.

This was in her book, probably. I might have forgotten about it. Anyway. It's sad. I think it's very unfortunate when people discourage the art of other people. What it comes down to is people not understanding the difference between fact and opinion. Some people think that if they don't like something, it must mean it's bad.

There's such a difference between saying I personally don't like this, and saying This here is total crap.

I don't personally like the book I'm currently reading. To me, it IS crap. But I recognize the fact that other people love the book.

The website says that the negativity discouraged Morgan. She abandoned her art. I'm realizing I did the same thing. I was so excited about my novel a few years ago. I worked very hard on it. I loved it. I was proud of it. But then no agent wanted to look at it. Plus, I got two or three negative reviews from other writers. I think that added together made me very discouraged. I decided the book was probably crap, and I put it away. Of course, I ignored and discounted all the positive feedback I had gotten from other people regarding the book.

In my case, I don't really blame the critics. I think they were polite about it. They weren't the kind of critics that had the attitude of my opinion is gospel. If I don't like your book. It's crap. They were decent reviewers. It's just added together.....

Well, I have a tendency to emphasis the negative, and forget the positive.

I don't have enough faith in myself. I'm not sure how to change that, but I'm trying.

This page of the website has copies of Morgan's work. I like it. I like the colors. Some of it kind of looks Jewish to me. It reminds me of stuff you'd find in a synagogue.

This one looks especially Jewish to me. I'm not sure why.

This website has an interview with Morgan from 1999. It looks like a German website. Yeah. I think it is. But fortunately, the interview is in English. The rest of the website looks German.

Morgan is referred to as a professor. I've seen this on other sites, but failed to mention it. I'm not sure if she's still a professor today.

Well, the University of Western Australia has a page on her within their graduate research program. Maybe that's where she works now?

Morgan usually shuns interviews. It seems she has some shyness. The book brought Morgan and her family quite a lot of fame. It was somewhat challenging for them to deal with it. I can imagine.

Well, this is cool. The interview gives some updates. Morgan stopped being Christian, and embraced Aboriginal spirituality. I don't really remember her being Christian in the book.

Maybe I need to reread the book someday. I've probably forgotten way too much.

Morgan's marriage ended.

Her three kids grew up.

The interview talks about the white man who'd likely be Morgan's great-grandfather. This was Alfred Howden Drake-Brockman. It was his descendant that wrote the book Wongi Wongi. Judith Drake-Brockman denies that Mr. Brockman was the father of Morgan's grandfather.

Morgan's mother said in a documentary, They say he wasn't, because white people didn't sleep with black women. I don't know where the half-castes came from, but that's their argument.

It's hard for people to face the past, especially when they're accused of doing something that they feel is wrong.

Morgan is asked if people can't handle the pain of the past. Will people get tired of hearing stories from the stolen-generations? Morgan says some people are already tired of it. But she feels there needs to be MORE stories...not less. She says, The reason people are sick of it is because it's all come in a rush. Why we need all those stories to continue is that in 50 years' time, that rush of material won't have been enough. Further down the track, it'll be appreciated.
Maybe. I think it's probably more about people not wanting to face the dark aspects of the past than it is about too much of something at once. Although I'm sure Morgan's idea has some merit.

Morgan talks about reconciliation. This interview happened years before Rudd's formal apology. Still, at this time, some regret was being expressed by the government regarding stuff that had happened. Morgan is asked how this expression of regret would have felt to her grandmother. Morgan says, For my grandmother, it would be a meaningless gesture because the loss was too great.

You know....that's something I haven't thought of much before. Not every Aboriginal Australian has personally been effected by the whole stolen-generation thing. Just like every Jew has not personally been effected by the Holocaust. I didn't lose any close family members. We lost some distant relatives, but I didn't lose any of my direct lineage. The sorrow I have felt about it is SOMEWHAT personal because I'm Jewish and my family is Jewish. But it's also pretty removed...distant. I feel it's easy for me to be forgiving about all of it, but maybe that's because it hasn't had a direct effect on me.

If someone has directly been injured by atrocity, it's probably much harder to forgive and move on.

And the story of Morgan's grandmother is so horribly tragic. In the book, there's talk of her losing one child. Losing one child is terrible in itself. But it was later discovered that she lost six children. Six of her children were taken away. How does one survive that?

As a mother, it makes me sick to imagine it.

Actually, losing one child makes me sick enough.

I wish people like Morgan's grandma could be forgiving. It would make world peace and reconciliation seem more likely. But I can't at all blame them if they refuse to forgive. Plus, so many people feel they don't NEED forgiveness. I think it's impossible to forgive people when they don't even feel sorry about it. Well, for SOME people it is possible. I guess they're bigger people than me. I should say I PERSONALLY can't forgive people who don't give a genuine apology.

Anyway, I'm going to quit now. I really feel I can't do justice to Morgan's book. This post is pretty much crap. Well, at least in MY opinion.

And in my opinion, those of you reading this would be better off reading Morgan's book. So I highly suggest you go and do that!

I apologize if I sound too bossy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Peter Kocan

I don't have any idea about who Peter Kocan is.

I just hope he's not a cricket player....

He's not.

And this is a good one.

Kocan is the guy who tried to assassinate Arthur Calwell.

I mean not that assassins are good. And of course, it's better to be a cricket player than an assassin. I just mean this will be more interesting to me. That's a bit selfish, I suppose.

Lord Wiki says that baby Peter was born on 4 May 1947. He's about a year older than my mom.

He was born in Newcastle, and then later moved to Melbourne.

Kocan's father had died in a car accident three months before Kocan was born. That's really sad. I think pregnancy is probably one of the worst times to have your husband die.

Kocan's mom moved to Melbourne. She remarried. The marriage didn't work out. The family moved to Sydney. There was a younger brother now added to the mix. I guess he came from that second marriage.

Lord Wiki says that Kocan had a rough life. There was loneliness and violence.

When Kocan was fourteen he left school. He went off into the country to work as a station hand. Then he returned to Sydney to work in a dye factory.

Okay, and now Lord Wiki jumps ahead to the assassination attempt.

It happened on 21 June 1966. Kocan would have been only nineteen.

It happened at the Mosman Town Hall. Calwell spoke at an anti-conscription rally. Now I've forgotten if he himself was pro-conscription or anti? I'm guessing he was pro. He was probably speaking as an oppositional voice. I could be wrong.

When Calwell got into his car, Kocan approached the passenger side of the vehicle and shot from the window. Was Calwell on the passenger side. Did he have a driver? Or was he driving himself? I guess I'm wondering if the gun was close to him, or VERY close to him.

Well, Lord Wiki says, After Calwell left the meeting, just as his car was about to drive off, Kocan approached the passenger side of the vehicle, aimed a sawn-off rifle at Calwell's head and fired at point-blank range. So I think there was another driver. Otherwise, Lord Wiki would probably say, Just as Calwell was driving away......

Calwell was lucky. The bullet didn't hit him. It landed in Calwell's coat. He just had minor facial injuries from broken glass.

Calwell later visited Kocan in the mental hospital, and forgave him. When I read all of this during my Calwell research, I thought Calwell was amazingly wonderful for his forgiveness. Now I'm having second thoughts. I mean I still think it's great that he forgave Kocan. A lot of people would refuse to do so. But I do think it's easier to forgive when you haven't had horrific injuries. Would Calwell have been so forgiving if he ended up being horribly disfigured? What if he was paralyzed or something?

I'm not saying he wouldn't have forgiven Calwell if the injuries had been more dramatic. Some people do manage to forgive stuff like that. I just can't know if Calwell would have done so.

Kocan was sentenced to life imprisonment. First he went to Long Bay Correctional Centre in Sydney. That's located in the suburb of Malabar. Malabar....that sounds like a candy bar. It's about twenty minutes east of the airport.

Kocan didn't spend much time in the candy bar suburb. He was soon transferred to Morisset Psychiatric Hospital. Morisset is about an hour north of Sydney.

While in prison, and in the hospital, Kocan started doing poetry. He struck up a penpal friendship with a poet named Michael Dransfield. That probably helped him a bit....maybe gave him some inspiration and motivation.

Kocan published two books of poetry while hospitalized.

Despite his sentence, Kocan didn't spend his life imprisoned. He got out in 1976. He published two autobiographical books about his experiences in the asylum. has the books. I think both short books have been combined into one. One is called The Treatment, and the next is called The Cure.

The books sound fairly interesting. A review quoted on Amazon says it's like One Flew Over the Cuckoos Next.

The Cure won the NSW Premier's Literary Award for Fiction in 1983. That's pretty cool. Although wasn't it nonfiction?

Kocan has also written a science fiction novel called Flies of a Summer. This one isn't as easy for me to find online.

It sounds like this ex-assassin has done quite well for himself. In 1998, he graduated from the University of New South Wales.

He moved to Brisbane in 2003. I'm guessing he still lives there.

He fairly recently published another novel....Fresh Fields. has excepts from a Publisher's Weekly review. The review is very positive. It says, Nevertheless, Kocan indulges in neither sentimentality nor rage.... And it also says, Here and throughout, Kocan writes clearly and beautifully.

Lord Wiki says the novel was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's Literary Prize. I like the look of these awards. There are so many categories. There's a lot of places for a writer to fit in. Well, unless they're not from Queensland.

This book review website has some information about The Cure and The Treatment. They have a picture of Kocan. He looks different from what I expected. I guess I expected him to still look like a wild nineteen-year-old.

Okay. The books ARE fiction. They're not purely autobiographical. They're inspired by Kocan's experiences.

The novel is told with second-person narration. This is the type of narration used in the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and The Bride Stripped Bare.

The reviewer on the site also gives the book very positive reviews. I think the basic idea of the book is that the asylum was NOT better than the maximum security prison. The reviewer says, With sadistic, resentful and possibly bored prison employees ready and eager to trigger a trip to Electric Ned, Len realizes that the path to avoiding shock treatment is fraught with traps and rules he doesn’t yet understand.

There's an excerpt from the book itself:

You go down into the garden with the others and start digging. You work steadily, not daring to take a breather much. You want to show what a good inmate, a model inmate, you are. Dedicated. Eager to please. Then you get afraid you might be giving a wrong impression. You might be overdoing it. Showing “Obsessional Tendencies.” Digging too much might be like cleaning windows too much.

In my times of emotional turmoil, I often consider getting psychological treatment. One of the things that makes me hesitate is I know too much. I have a psychology degree. But besides that, I've read too much (via books and the Internet). I know I'd constantly second guess every little thing I said. Oh, I wonder what she's writing in her notes now? Does she think I have a border-line personality disorder? Oh. Wait. Does that make me sound like I'm obsessive-compulsive? Does she think I'm delusional?

In the end, I've decided I much prefer self-therapy. And this blog is it for me. I think I'm doing pretty well. I haven't suicided myself, nor have I attempted to kill anyone else. I'm relatively happy the majority of the time. Yeah. I'm very delusional, but I like my delusions. I have some self-esteem issues, but that prevents me from being a conceited bitch.

I think psychology might be more useful for people who are NOT self-reflective. They might need someone to drag stuff out of them. I'm very good at dragging my shit out all by myself.

I think I'd like to read Kocan's books.

I'm dealing with a book issue right now. I've been reading pretty fast lately, and have gone through most of my books. I have seven and a half books left to read. My birthday isn't until late November. Then I'll ask my family for bookstore gift certificates, and I'll buy a ton of books then. I might buy one or two books before then, but I feel kind of guilty because I've bought so many books already.

I guess I could go back to the library. Yeah. That's probably what I should do. I got a bunch of library books a few weeks ago. That slowed down my bookshelf depletion a bit.

Anyway, I'm whining for nothing. Really. See, I don't need a psychologist to point that out to me.

I do want to read the Kocan books though. Actually, I'm going to go to Powell's site now and see if they have them. I'll add them to my wish list.

Oh good. I just checked out my account. I've been meaning to do that. I ordered a bunch of books a few months ago. Weeks after I got the order, I realized I didn't remember seeing the Germaine Greer book. I thought maybe I had lost the book somewhere....I don't know. Dropped it? Left it in the box? Maybe it got buried under all the crap in our house? But anyway, my account says the book was never shipped. That's a relief.

Well, Powell's has the Kocan book. I added it, and I shall buy it in November. I look forward to reading it. I think Kocan's story is inspiring. It shows that people can sometimes overcome their troubled pasts, and that writing is probably one of the best therapies out there.

EDITED TO ADD: It's several months later, and I've just finished reading Kocan's The Treatment and The Cure. AMAZING WORK. I highly recommend it. I don't know why this book isn't more famous. It should be a classic. Seriously.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rebecca Gibney

I don't know who Rebecca Gibney is.

I added her to the list on 6 July; although that doesn't really give me much of a clue to who she is.


According to Lord Wiki, she's an actress person.

She's on a show called Packed to the Rafters. I don't think I've ever heard of that.

I have no idea why I added her to my list.

Oh well. I hope I have fun with this.

Lord Wiki says that baby Rebecca was born on 14 December 1964, in Levin New Zealand. So, she's a Kiwi-Australian. Is Levin on the South Island or North Island?

I'm looking at Google Maps.... It's on the North Island...about an hour from Wellington. Lord Wiki says she was brought up in Wellington. I don't know if the family moved, or he's just saying Wellington now because more people are familar with it. It's kind of like when an Australian says they're from Sydney. But when you ask more questions, you realize they're really from Wollongong.

Gibney moved to Australia when she was nineteen. I wonder if she's a citizen?

She did modeling work. Then in 1985, she got a role in a children's TV series called Zoo Family.

I'll leave the rest of her filmography to IMDb.

Lord Wiki provides some personal stuff. She has been married twice....the first was to a rock star person. He was the lead singer for a group called Southern Sons. I've never heard of them. Her second (and current husband) is a production designer. She has had one child with him.

Gibney and her family live in Launceston, Tasmania. That's where one of my best friends live!

All right. I'm on IMDb now. They say her first film/TV appearance wasn't Zoo Family. It was
a German-New Zealand movie called Among the Cinders. This coming-of-age drama was done in 1983. I'm guessing this was before she left for Australia. Maybe she discovered she liked acting, and realized New Zealand didn't provide enough opportunity for that.

About two years after that first movie, Gibney did a New Zealand horror movie. Mr Wrong. It was about an evil car....a lot like Christine. Gibney had the role of secretary. Unnamed characters usually indicates that it's a small part.

In that same year, Gibney did an Australian movie. I guess this was after she moved to Australia. It was called I Live With Me Dad. It sounds like a good story. It's about a boy who lives with his alcoholic father. The authorities think the family situation is inappropriate. They want to take the child away from his father, but the child wants to stay. I'm not sure who Gibney is within the story.

The Zoo Family Show was about a family who lives at the Melbourne Zoo. How cute.

I'm skipping something, and jumping ahead to 1990. Gibney was in a movie called Jigsaw. It was a crime thriller thing.

That year she was also in a TV mini-series called Come in Spinner. That sounds like it could be the title of an episode of Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends. One of the little kiddie spiders is named Spinner.

This Spinner miniseries isn't about spiders. It's about women working at a beauty salon during World War II. The series earned Gibney a Logie award. Go Rebecca Gibney!

Oh. Things are a bit out of order here. Before this Spinner movie series, Gibney had been on The Flying Doctors. The show had 163 episodes. Gibney was in 58 of them. That's pretty substantial. I'm guessing this show was her big break.

Here's some scenes from the show. I'm guessing the woman in the truck is Gibney. She plays a character named Emma. Lord Wiki says Emma isn't a doctor. She's a mechanic.

Gibney did the show from 1986 until 1991. Then she did a sitcom called All Together Now. It was about a rock star who discovers he has twins when their mother dies in a plane crash. That premise sounds pretty stupid to me, but maybe it was good. You can't always explain a plot well within a few sentences.

The show earned Gibney a Logie nomination, so I guess it wasn't all horrible.

The show reminds me of McLeod's Daughters...people arguing about sheep and all that.

In 1993, Gibney did a TV show called Snowy. Was that related to The Man From Snowy River? Well, it was about the Snowy Mountains, so I guess it's kind of connected. The show was directed by a guy named Paul Moloney. It seems he and Gibson have worked together a lot. He directed I Live With Me Dad, and some episodes of The Flying Doctors. He also directed some TV things called Halifax, and I see Gibney is in these as well.

Lord Wiki says Halifax is a TV show. It's listed in a weird way on IMDb, so I wasn't sure. It's like each episode is listed separately. It's hard to explain. Gibney was the main star. She plays Dr. Halifax, a forensic psychiatrist. It seems the last episode was made in 2002.

Here's a scene from the show.

In 1994, Gibney starred in a romantic-comedy with Anthony LaPaglia. This was Lucky Break. It's about a disabled writer of romance-novels. She tries to hide her disability from a man who's interested in her. It actually sounds a LITTLE bit like my novel Thirty Cats. My character tries to hide her disease. She's not a romance novelist though. Shit. I forgot what she is. A college student....yes. What was she majoring in? I forgot. Maybe education?

Gibney doesn't play the disabled person. Maybe she's the friend or something.

Here's the trailer for the movie. It doesn't really appeal to me, but maybe the trailer doesn't sell it well. I don't know.

In 1997, Gibney starred in a TV movie called Kangaroo Palace. It's about Australians in London during 1960. It was directed by the same guy who did Come in Spinner.

Also that year, Gibney was in Joey. I thought maybe this was that kangaroo movie with The Stand by Me kid. But it's not.

Ruth Cracknell is in the movie. Maybe that's why it's familar to me. Cracknell is one of my favorite Australians right now. I totally love her in Mother and Son. I've watched five full episodes already.

Joey is a family movie about American and Australian children working together to save a kangaroo. Well, I'm not quite sure it's any type of masterpiece.

In 1998, Gibney was in a haunted house horror TV movie called 13 Gantry Row. I'd probably like that. I like haunted house movie stuff.

Also, in 1998, Gibney was in Sabrina, Down Under. Man! I didn't know there WAS a Sabrina, Down Under. I want to see it. Tim and I used to love that show. We watched it when we lived in NYC. I loved that, and Boy Meets World. Actually, we liked a LOT of TV shows. I think we spent most of our time together watching television. Sad, since we lived in NYC. We should have been out and about...exploring the city. But see...a lot of the TV shows were set in NYC, and it was cool to watch the shows and say, we live here too! Although I don't think Sabrina lived in NYC.

Anyway, Sabrina was awesome. But I think maybe the show had jumped the shark a bit, or something else came on at that time that was more interesting to us. Then I moved on to that other witch show...Charmed.

Well, here's the beginning of Sabrina, Down Under.

This is like The Facts of Life Down Under.

I think EVERY American TV show needs a Down Under episode. Like how about True Blood Down Under. Grey Anatomy Down Under? Scrubs Down Under.....

It looks like YouTube has the entire Sabrina Down Under. Maybe I'll watch it one day...maybe after I watch all the episodes of Mother and Son.

I'm skipping some Gibney stuff. In the beginning of the 21st century, she did more Halifax episodes, and some guest appearances on various TV shows.

In 2002 and 2003, Gibney did thirteen episodes of a crime show called Stingers. It doesn't sound like my type of show.

In 2004, she did a TV mystery movie involving a playgroup. Interesting...... It was called Small Claims. The movie earned Gibney another Logie nomination. I guess the Logie folks like her.

Gibney was in the remake of Stephen King's Salem's Lot. It was filmed in Victoria. I'm not sure if I remember it. I do remember The Shining and Carrie remakes. Gibney played Marjorie Glick. I'm not sure if that's a big part or not. Well, from this site I can gather that the Glick family was the first Salem's Lot folks to turn into vampires.

Here's a trailer for the movie. It looks pretty good.

In 2005, Gibney starred in a sequel to Small Claims. And then in 2006, there was yet another sequel. Lisa Chapell from McLeod's Daughters was in this one.

Gibney has hosted two episodes of a documentary called Sensing Murder. It deals with psychics and their involvement in police investigations.

In 2006, Gibney did an Australian-British TV program called Tripping Over. It was a family drama thing.

Here's some scenes from the show. I'm not sure if Gibney is in it.

Wow. Well, that's some pretty intense sex for a family show. Australia must be much more progressive than America. They even show breasts. I'm amazed.

In 2007, Gibney did a movie called Clubland. It's about a comedian. Gibney doesn't play the comedian. She plays Lana. I don't know who that is.

In 2008, Gibney returned to her country of birth for The Map Reader. That sounds familar. I wonder if it was shown in America. Gibney plays an alcoholic mother who has a turbulent relationship with her son. The son finds comfort in maps. I find comfort in maps too, but my love didn't develop until after I had Jack. He's VERY good with geography, and it kind of rubbed off on me.

The movie won some American film festival awards...a Las Vegas one, and a Ft. Lauderdale one. Yeah, so I guess it was here.

Here's a trailer for the film. It looks pretty good.

Gibney is going to star in the upcoming movie with Guy Pearce. In Her Skin. Actually, it might have already come out. I'm not sure. Maybe it's been out in Australia, but not America yet. Have any of you seen it? It looks like it was released at a March film festival. Maybe it was just shown there, but not elsewhere yet.

The show Gibney currently stars in is Packed to the Rafters. It's a comedy-drama about a family. Gibney plays the mother in the family. Each episode is narrated by a different family member. It sounds pretty interesting.

It earned Gibney another Logie award. The show itself won the 2009 Logie award. Wow. I guess it's pretty popular and successful.

Here's a commercial for the show. I guess it's about adult kids moving back into the empty nest.

Here is a video of Gibney winning the Logie award for the show. Andrew Denton was one of the nominees too....and Adam Hills! Gibney beat both of them. Oh, and she beat Rove....and Stevie from McLeod's Daughters!

I'm so impressed with Jack. I couldn't remember Stevie's name. So, I asked my child...Who was that star of McLeod's Daughter....the one that replaced Claire? And he knew it! We didn't even watch the Stevie episodes.

This is an interesting award. It includes both females and males nominees. I'm not sure if America has that with it's Emmy Awards.

Gibney is very grateful and enthusiastic. She's lovely in that way.

Gibney has an interview with Andrew Denton. Good! I'll read that.

It seems like she was very nervous at first. That's kind of cute. I wonder if I can watch some of the show. I prefer reading Denton's interviews, and that's what I usually do. But I should probably watch a little bit of it as well.

Well, no....I guess won't be watching it. I don't see any clips of it on YouTube. It might be elsewhere, but I don't have the energy to search for it.

Gibney says the New Zealand town she moved to was Hastings. It's four hours away from Wellington. Why would Lord Wiki say she had lived in Wellington? Well, maybe she moved there eventually. I'll keep reading.

In hastings she ate feijoa ice-cream. A feijoa is a kind of fruit. I'm not sure I've heard of it. I bet Jack would love to try the ice-cream. He loves trying exotic flavors.

She moved about forty times when she was a child. So I guess it's likely that she at one time moved to Wellington.

She says the reason they moved a lot was that her dad was an alcoholic. He couldn't hold down a job. They went from one rental place to another.

Denton asks what it was like living with an alcoholic father. She says she thought it was fairly normal. I think she thought it was the type of life most kids live. In some ways, she was kind of right. Many children do live with alcoholic parents. It's awfully common.

It sounds like her mother worked hard to shield her children from the negative stuff. From what Gibney says, it reminds me a little bit of the father in Life is Beautiful.

Her father was pretty awful though. He'd beat her mother. At one time, he gave her bruises that lasted six months. Wow.

Gibney quit school when she was fifteen. She started working for a whole sale jewelery place. Then when she was sixteen, her dad lost his leg. Her mother asked if Gibney would take care of him a bit. She did. He had stopped drinking by then, and they had a few bonding moments. Then he died.

Denton asked Gibney why her dad lost his leg. She says he had some disease called polycythemia. Her grandma lost two legs from it, and her uncle lost a leg as well. It's caused from drinking and smoking. I wonder if there's a genetic component as well.

Lord Wiki says it involves an overproduction of red blood cells.

Gibney says her childhood experiences have made her passionate about domestic violence...well, helping those who are victims of it.

She says she's gone through therapy for her experiences. There have been times in her life where she's had difficulty with it.

She says she has certain behavior/personality patterns. I guess the therapy has helped her deal with it.

One problem she has is jealousy. I get jealous a lot too, but I've had no domestic violence in my past. So I wonder where my jealousy comes from.

Gibney has never had an acting lesson. That's pretty interesting.

It sounds like Gibney is pretty religious/spiritual. She has strong faith in God.

She says when she was seventeen her brother had a brain tumor. It was a sad situation. His wife was pregnant with their first child. The family all prayed. The brother survived. I guess he's still alive today. He has more brain tumors, but I guess they're not killing him.

I think she's trying to say that it was all a miracle, and it helped her believe in God.

My sister had a brain injury. We all prayed for her. We had people praying left and right....from various religions. She survived. She had a miraculous recovery.

Does that prove to me there's a God? Does that prove to me that God is good? Well, what if she DIDN'T survive? I think some people have such a conditional love for God. If things go well, they love and believe. If things go wrong, they stop believing.

What does it mean when prayers are NOT answered?

Why is a happy ending proof of God's glory?

Why does a sad ending justify anger and disbelief?

I really don't know.....

I didn't stop believing in God until years after my sister's accident. And it really had nothing to do with what happened to her. I just slowly let go of the whole God concept.

I do have faith in other spiritual things. I do question my beliefs sometimes. I have doubts, but I don't think they're dependent on whether life is going well or bad. If someone I love gets sick, I think of it as either some kind of scientific-based random occurrence, or some kind of test....maybe something that's just meant to be.

If we believe God, the angels, or whatever, prove their love and existence to us by performing miracles, then what does that say for the families who don't have a happy ending?

Gibney has problems with panic attacks. I'm not sure if I've ever had one of those....I don't think so. I sometimes have something yucky that happens when I take short naps during the day. I wake up feeling horrible....I have these horrible morbid thoughts. It's like I wake up and suddenly think I'm going to die someday! I don't want to die! Then sometimes it's about something happening to Jack. When I was in college, they involved a fear of my mom dying. Anyway, I panic in these episodes. So I guess it's KIND of a panic attack. Maybe?

Here's a recent article about Gibney in the Daily Telegraph. The article says Packed to the Rafters is Australia's most-loved show. Is that true, or a hyperbole? Do any of you Australian people watch it? I feel out of the loop because I've never heard of it. Every time, I feel I've succeeded in knowing EVERY little detail about Australia, something major comes along to smash my delusion. How unfair is that!

On the surface, the show reminds me of Party of Five. It kind of has that feel to it...I mean from what I've seen on YouTube.

The article talks about Gibney's psychological problems. In the Denton interview, it seemed like they talked about it in a rather light-hearted way. At least it seems that way from the transcript. But it seems like Denton makes jokes, they both laugh, etc. In this article, it seems much more serious. They say she was afraid to leave the house, and had severe depression.

The article says Such was Gibney's early lack of self-belief that even after she moved to Australia and became a sought-after star in her early twenties, she kept waiting to be outed as a fake.

Oh, that's very common with actors and actresses. I think I've seen it mentioned in almost every actor autobiography I've read. I'm not sure it has anything really to do with her rough childhood.

The article says Gibney's panic attacks ended after her son was born. Well, that's good! I would think motherhood would bring more panic attacks. I guess maybe her therapy helped her.

It sounds like a Gibney overcame a rough childhood, and she's very grateful to the therapist that helped her. But the stuff she talks about....jealousy, panic attacks, insecurity, depression. I'm not sure if that can all be blamed on her childhood. I think it's common to a LOT of people. I don't know what I'm trying to say here. Let me try....

I think she had this very traumatic childhood. Almost all of us have some family dysfunction. But from what I read, Gibney's family had more problems than the typical family. Her childhood seems especially rough. Yet her psychological issues seem very average. She reminds me of many people I know....including myself. So maybe I feel that, for her circumstances, Gibney came out pretty well.

She seems like a very strong person to me. Despite some of her childhood shit, she seems no more damaged then the average human-being.