Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spiritual Connections, Venom, North Queensland, and Vanity

1. Figured I will post this tomorrow night, rather than tonight. We're going to be busy helping my parents babysit tonight. I won't have much time to proofread.

2. Dreamed various dreams about Australia. In one, we're soon to go to Australia on one trip; then come home, and soon after leave for another Australia trip.  That would be pretty awesome! 

Although it might be better to just make one long trip to Australia, so we don't have to pay for and endure double the flights.  

3. Dreamed about our Australian friends—Tracey and her family. Then, in the morning, after writing down the dream, I read my dream from last month (April 30) and I had dreamed about them then too. I dream about them fairly often. It's strange, because Tracey and I hardly talk to each other anymore. She doesn't play a big part in my waking life, but she still plays a big part in my subconscious. Also, there's been these coincidences involving her family and mine, which makes me think we're all somehow spiritually connected.  

It makes me feel conflicted. If we have some kind of spiritual connection, is it wrong that I'm not talking to Tracey more often? Should we be making more of an effort?  Or is it okay to just let things go...and go with the flow.  Maybe whatever is meant to happen will happen whether we put effort into it or not.  

I kind of like the second answer, but it might just be because I'm lazy.

4. Read one of my posts from February 2011. I was very obsessed with Lionel Logue back then.  

Also in those days, like today, I struggled with trying to decide where to go on our next trip to Australia. I had this idea that I kind of like. Write down places and then each time I feel that place calling to me, give it a point. Then when it's time to pick where to go, I can count up the points. 

I question the method, though, because what if...let's say Broken Hill ends up with the most points. But by the time we go to Australia (years from now) I have this sudden strong attraction to Tamworth?  Should I go with the more acute attraction or the chronic one?  

5. Decided maybe it's best to go to the place with the most points rather than the place I'm suddenly attracted to. It's like with Lionel Logue. If we had gone to Australia in 2011, I would have wanted to embark on some kind of Logue pilmagridge. But I soon got over that. Some obsessions are long-term. Others are very short-lived.  

6. Tried to think of when I'd give places points. Maybe it will be if I dream about the place or if I read a blog post that makes me attracted to the place. I might read about a place in a book or see it in a TV show.  I mean I'm not going to give points to every place I see on a TV show. If that was the case, Melbourne would win for sure. But I'll give points to the place, if I find it attractive on the TV show.

7. Tried to think of what TV show settings attracted me.

I think the top one is Wonderland, which takes place in a beach suburb of Sydney.

I like the setting of Reef Doctors, which is funny, because I've never had much interest in going to North Queensland.  

8. Watched some The Saddle Club. Poor Stevie has a pimple.

I don't think I ever had an embarrassing pimple as a teen. But I did once have an embarrassing eye thing once...big blood spot.  

Now I have skin discoloration on my face, including a bit that makes me look like I have a mustache. Plus, I'm hunchbacked. 

Maybe it's better though to have these things when you're older.  I think the self-esteem of teens are usually more fragile.

9. Watched more of The Saddle Club and saw that the pimple was the least of Stevie's problems. She ended up with a head injury? Why? Because she was being vain and didn't want her helmut covering up her hair. 

10. Tried to remember if there have been times in my life where I let vanity get in the way of my safety.

11. Considered taking a break from trying to find new books to like and instead read books I've already read and loved. I miss the days when I'd read the same books over and over.

There are some Australian books that I loved, but I hardly remember anything about them. I think I have an inability to remember books unless I've read them more than once.

The Aussie book that most comes to mind is A Fraction of the Whole.  I think I'll reread that soon. 

It's also a practical matter. It's hard for me to get to the library right now.

12. Wondered if putting certain chemicals on my face and hair would count as putting vanity before safety. Probably. It depends on who you ask. I worried a bit about hair dye, but read some studies that made me conclude it's not much of a risk if you use the dyes occasionally.  I think it's more risky for people who work with the dyes as their career.

13. Started watching an episode of Reef Doctors. This one involves spiders!

There was a cute spider walking around my room yesterday. Though I was a little nervous, because I thought it might crawl into the cricket cage.  

14. Wanted to report that I got huge amount of Darrell Lea black licorice from Tim. Yum.
I'm going to maybe share some bags with my family. I think they all like black licorice.  I know my older sister is a fan. I'm not sure about my parents and younger sister. I know they like it, but I'm not sure they'd be pleased with a bag of it.

I'll see....

15. Suggested to my family that they might like Wentworth. I feel kind of bad, because I haven't tried many of the shows they've suggested.  I think the exception is Ugly Betty. My mom had suggested that to us. My parents often recommend movies and TV shows. I barely take the suggestions. So I can't really be offended if they don't listen to mine.  

16. Watched more of Reef Doctors and actually felt some small desire to visit the Great Barrier Reef. But one rule I'd want to make for myself is NO cameras. If I go in the water, I want to just enjoy the sights and not try to capture something for Flickr or Instagram.  

17. Wondered if I'm kidding myself. We went snorkeling at Disney World, and even that was overwhelming for me. Or not overwhelming. But I didn't really enjoy the experience. I also had a hard time in Manly when I did the scuba with sharks thing.

18. Figured I'm probably one of those people who is better off looking at fish and coral at an aquarium—looking through the glass.

19. Tried to find information about the Great Barrier Reef for people who don't like snorkeling. Is it worth to go just for the tropical atmosphere?

20. Found this article. It suggests glass bottom boats. It's less magical than actually being immersed in the water, but it might be okay.  

I don't think it's the reef that's really attracting me, though. I think it's more the general atmosphere.  I've usually told myself that I don't want to go to North Queensland, because if I want tropics, I can go to Miami, Hawaii, or the Caribbean.  But we DON'T often go to those places. Why not go in Australia? Then we get the lovely tropical life and also all the fun Aussie stuff. I can sit under a palm tree while eating a Caramello Koala.

21. Decided that another reason I've changed my mind about North Queensland is my feelings about crocodiles have changed. I used to dislike them. Now I find them to be quite adorable. 

I still would prefer that they not eat me.

22. Ate some of my black licorice.

23. Started watching a video from our time in Melbourne. It's from the day that Tim and Jack went to a sports event with some of our friends; and Tracey and I hung out around the city. I think we spent most of the time in the library.  

24. Saw that the video includes the next day as well—when we went to the Melbourne Museum.  
I somehow lost most of my footage from the museum, so there's not much on the video. I don't really remember what happened to it. Maybe I accidentally deleted it.

25. Started watching another episode of The Reef Doctors.

One of the ongoing storylines/themes of the show is venom research. It got me thinking.  Some medications, that humans use, were developed thanks to this research.  Would militant vegans avoid such medications if they needed it? I think by definition they should...if they're the type that believes all use and exploitation of animals is wrong.

That's why, I personally believe, it's better to be a relaxed vegan.  

26. Started reading an article about venom research and medication.  

There's a medicine called Prialt. The article says it's more powerful than morphine, and unlike morphine, it's not addictive.  It was developed from the venomous cone snail.

27. Learned from the article that there are six drugs, made from venom protein, that are approved by the FDA.

28. Wondered if Prialt would help relieve the pain of those stung by the Irukandji.  On Reef Doctors, they said morphine doesn't help at all.   

29. Googled morphine and Irukandji. Lord Wiki doesn't say it doesn't help. But maybe even though it helps, the pain is so horrific, even with the morphine, it's still unbearable.  

30. Thought that one of the guest stars on Reef Doctors (Tony Nikolakopoulos) has a similar voice and accent to Marshall Napier.

31. Saw That Tony Nikolakopoulos is on season two and three of Wentworth!

32. Continued to be disgusted and aggravated by Dr. D'Allessandro (Richard Brancatisano).  He has that attitude seen in some doctors—the idea that a patient couldn't possibly know or understand anything medical related, since they never attended medical school. 

These doctors have that need to be right, and they're usually unwilling to listen.  

33. Glad to see that the doctor's attitude is changing a bit. I'm betting that one of the main storylines of Reef Doctors is going to be the betterment of Dr. D'Allesandro.

He's not strong enough yet to admit his mistakes, but he does work to fix them.  

34. Proud of Dr D'Allesandro. He just admitted that he made a mistake!  He seemed regretful, and wanted to make things right. That makes me happy.

35. Wished there were more seasons of Reef Doctors. I'm enjoying the show.  I like the characters...even the ones with negative personality traits.  I love the setting. I'm intrigued by the medical and dangerous animal storylines.

36. Reminded of my feelings about Lord Howe Island.  When I learned about it, I was more attracted to living there than visiting there. I feel the same way about the little fictional island on Reef Doctors.  I think I've always had an attraction to small town living—probably from being a fan of Stephen King books.  You add small town to island life, and I think it all becomes extremely attractive to me. Then the fact that it's in Australia!   

33. Hoped that I didn't get too attached to the idea of going to North Queensland. I don't think it's going to be cheap and easy to go from there to Hobart.

But maybe I'll lose interest in Hobart.

34. Thought about how going to both would be a pain weather-wise as well.  For north Queensland, we'd probably want to go in the winter. But with Hobart, we'd probably want to go in the summer....or at least late Spring or early Autumn.  

35. Decided to play a little Minecraft. That makes me feel like I'm on an island somewhere. Well, because in my current game, I'm on an island.

36. Had a venomous animal adventure of my own.

We had a wasp in the house.

37. Disturbed by the teenage behavior described in the Caravan of Courage blog. We arrived at Streaky Bay and headed for the caravan park, along the way we heard a huge thump, only to find some teenagers throwing things at passing vans, more accurately ours.

Isn't that very dangerous?  If so...did the teens not care? Or did they just not understand how dangerous it could be?

What's great is that when the kids ran away, they accidentally left some of their stuff. The Caravan of Courage folks turned it all into the police.  Then later the kids came back to find their stuff, and the police were waiting for them.

38. Started watching another episode of Reef Doctors. This one has an exciting beginning. Sharks! And lots of them.

39. Read about very expensive mangos on Eric Thompson's Japan blog. They were 9,800 yen, which equals $79 in US dollars, and $103 in Australian dollars.

40. Played around some more with the money exchange calculator. It confuses me.

41. Read that Liam Hemsworth is going to be in the sequel to Independence Day. I didn't know they were making a sequel.

I think I prefer these sequels of fairly-old movies over all the remakes.

Didn't the earthlings beat the aliens in the first Independence Day? I guess the aliens are going to return? Or new aliens are going to show up, perhaps?

When are we going to have an alien invasion in real life? I mean the kind with big saucers hovering in the sky, and we all know about it.

We might end up needing venom-research to fight them.

42. Hoped the invading aliens aren't venomous.   

Friday, May 29, 2015

Reed Doctors, Vibrio, Traditional Japanese Inns, and Acting

1. Dreamed about watching Wentworth.

I decide to have a quick peak at the first episode of the second season. But then I end up watching more than I planned. A certain character, who I assumed died in the finale of the first season, has returned. I figure, although her injuries looked catastrophic, she was able to be saved. One of my nieces (or both?) come into the room, and I realize I should probably turn the show off. I regret that I started watching it in the first place. I'm thinking when it becomes the official time for me to watch the season, I will have to re-watch the 30 minutes I already watched. For some reason, that annoys me.  

2. Excited to start watching Reef Doctors today.

3. Watched an episode of The Saddle Club.  It was all about misconceptions and accusations.  Is Phil cheating on Stevie with Carole? Is Phil poisoning the horses?  Is Deborah cheating on Max with Drew? Did Veronica really gain two sizes because she's eating too much ice-cream?

The problem with happy feel-good shows is we know in the end, it's all going to be a case of mistakes and mistaken identities.  There are rarely any surprises.  If it was a dark and edgy show, there might really be cheating and poisoning.  

4. Started watching Reef Doctors. I hope it's exciting as it looks.  From the title and the opening credits, I get the idea that it will involve venomous animals sometimes. I hope so!  Those animals scare me but at the same time, I find them fascinating. 

5. Grossed out by a leg wound on Reef Doctors. Sometimes I can be a bit squeamish.

6. Wrote something here, but later came back to proofread and it was mysteriously gone.

7. Thought about how there is so much blood on Wentworth. Injuries that kill. That didn't gross me out. But this leg wound is haunting me. What's the deal with that?

8. Wondered if maybe, with Wentworth, I'm distracted by the tragedy and crisis surrounding the wounds. I'm thinking about the grief and the complications that will result, so therefore I'm spending less of my mind energy on the actual blood stuff.  With the leg wound, the injured guy didn't seem to be in immediate danger and seemed to be in a good mood, so a lot of my focus was on the actual injury.  

9. Learned that the leg wound is an ulcer.

10. Listened to the dialogue on the show again. I THINK I'm hearing that it's a coral ulcer. If the show wasn't called Reef Doctors, I'd probably assume I misheard something.  

11. Looked at medical information about coral injuries. I think basically someone gets cut on the coral, and then something from the coral infects the wound. 

Interesting...they say alcoholics have a tendency to develop bacterial infections by something called Vibrio SPP.  

12. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that this Vibrio thing is known for causing foodborne illness via undercooked seafood. It usually lives in saltwater. 

13. Read FDA information about Vibrio and the danger of eating raw oysters.

I always thought it was Norovirus that we had to worry about when it comes to oysters. 

If you don't share my phobia of vomit, AND you don't have liver disease, cancer, immunity problems, diabetes, or iron overland disease; then it might be okay for you to take the risk.  If you get infected, you'll probably feel absolutely horrible. But it seems there's a fairly good chance you'll survive.  

14. Saw that the alcoholic problem with Vibrio is due to liver issues. I don't think you necessarily have to have the disease of alcoholism. You just have to use alcohol enough to cause damage to your liver.  I think you need a good liver to be able to fight Vibrio.  

15. Confused about whether heavy alcohol use also puts you at risk for Vibrio skin infections. I guess it does, because I first read about it on the page about coral cuts. It wasn't about food poisoning.  But maybe they're saying if you got it on your skin, somehow you might also ingest it?

15. Found medical paper about Vibrio infection. And yes, alcoholism increases risk of skin infection as well. At least I think so. I hope I'm understanding things correctly.  

16. Wanted to give another warning. What I read on the FDA site is that the only way to kill the Vibrio is with heat. Stomach acid doesn't kill it; nor does drinking alcohol. It doesn't matter if the oyster comes from so-called clean water or if it's a fancy reputable restaurant.  OR...who knows. Maybe the FDA is trying to scare us.  

17. Started feeling paranoid about this Vibrio thing. Is it just in oyster? Should I worry about Tim and Jack eating sushi?  

18. Read health page about eating sushi. They say illnesses from parasites and Vibrio are rare.  But if you have health problems, you should avoid it. It's kind of like pregnant woman having to avoid cat poop and soft cheeses.  

19. Read article about how the risk of getting sick from raw oysters is increasing.  The reason is that although the little Vibrio bugs don't like super hot temperatures, they do like warm ones. They're more likely to infect oysters in warm water. And now the oceans are getting warmer, so more oysters are infected. It's another downside of climate change.

20. Reminded of one of my bad nights in Australia.  

It was our first trip there. We were in Port Stephens. This was back when I had a crush on every single Australian person. I was delighted, because we befriended some Aussie families who were staying at the same holiday park.  

On the last night, all the adults got intoxicated except me. So that was one problem. You know, how they say you need a designated driver with drinking. Well, I also think you need a designated parent. All of us had young children, but I felt I was the only sober one. I can't remember exactly why this was a problem. I think there was something that would have concerned most parents if they were sober but was of little interest to the drunk parents.  I think it had something to do with bikes? Maybe the kids were riding their bikes in the dark.  That's dangerous, right? Or was I just being uptight and if I drank, I'd be rightfully relaxed like the others?

Eventually, Jack wanted to go to bed. I think I was reluctant to leave. Or maybe I wanted Tim to come with us? But one of the woman said something that hurt my feelings. It was along the lines of, if you want to be part of our Aussie culture, you have to accept the gender divisions.  Of course, those weren't the words she used. But what she really wanted was for me to get the hell out of their party but leave my charming husband with them.  It was really bullshit, because she was a woman, and she was staying behind. Well, because we were hanging out at their cabin, and all other kids were sleeping there together.  

I guess another way to interpret the message was, Go do your woman's work, and let your husband have his fun. With us.  

In Tim's defense, I usually AM the one in our marriage who happily forgoes socialization to be by myself or take care of our child.  I couldn't expect him to understand that this was an exception for me.  I don't think he understood my massive crush on every single Australian person.  

Anyway, why did I think of this just now?  Because also that night, Jack was given raw oyster to eat by one of the other mothers. I was furious with Tim, because he gave it the okay.  He doesn't fear gastro illnesses like I do.  So not only did I go to bed feeling rejected and disillusioned...but I also was paranoid about Jack waking up and vomiting all over the place.

21. Decided that I prefer loving Australia in the way I do now...without having a crush on every single Australian. Although it was hard at first.  The change occurred gradually between our 2009 and 2013 trip.  So I think maybe I felt kind of sad about the whole thing when we visited in 2013. Or I was kind of confused.  

I wrote a whole post about it. Maybe I should read that. It might give me a clue to how I felt, because now I'm not so sure.   

22. Read the post.  Reading it, it actually made me kind of sad...or just emotional.  The change was almost like a coming-of-age experience.  Can you have a coming-of-age experience in your 40's?

23. Watched more of Reef Doctors. It's exciting and suspenseful.  

24. Learned about ryokan from Eric Thompson's Japan- travel blog.  They're traditional Japanese inns.  If you sleep in one, you sleep on the floor using a futon. You get some kind of special dinner called Kaiseki, and an onsen bath. 

25. Learned from Lord Wiki that onsen baths are hot springs. I think Tim mentioned them to me. He said it involves being naked in front of other people.  

26. Learned from Lord Wiki that Kaiseki dinners are multi-coursed meals. It involves small servings of a variety of things.  I hope I'm understanding this right.

It reminds me of this vegetarian Indian restaurant we used to go to in NYC.  It was multi-coursed and involved getting to try a small sample of a lot of different things.  

27. Read about Eric and Kate's experience in the onsen baths. They didn't get naked in front of anyone. They were the only ones in the bath. Both of them were a bit nervous about the whole thing, but they were brave enough to go for it.  I would hope that I'd do the same.

28.. Read about the toilet room at the Japanese inn.  I also want to briefly state that the communal toilets were very clean and we didn’t see anyone in there either- they’re separated into stalls like normal. Just make sure to use the special toilet slippers.

I'm not too keen on communal toilets. I like having our own private one. But it might be worth the sacrifice, so we can experience a traditional Japanese inn. Maybe if it's just one night?  I don't think I'd want to do several nights.

I wonder about the toilet slippers. I just started reading the novel The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window, and the 100-year-old man uses slippers when he uses the toilet. It's because he's old and pees on his feet when aiming for the toilet.

I'm not old, and I'm already having pee issues. As if it wasn't bad enough that I have to pee way too many times a day, and at night. But also, my pee often goes in the wrong place—on the floor or/and on my feet.

At least I'm not wetting the bed...yet.

29. Concluded that Reef Doctors is going to end up making me paranoid about a variety of things.

30. Feared the ocean and decompression illness.

31. Felt there was something I didn't like about Reef Doctors, but I can't really say what it is.

All I know is it's the same thing I disliked about Under the Dome and The Leftovers.

I think it's something with the acting, writing, and directing. Maybe it seems somewhat fake to me?

Or it's like I'm unable to forget that I'm watching a show and these are all actors.

Well, I think most of us always know that we're watching actors. But then a part of us is able to forget. I think it's that whole suspension of disbelief thing.

32. Had huge amounts of appreciation for TV shows in which I find it incredible that the lawyer is not a lawyer. He's an actor. The police officer is not a police officer. She's an actress. And no, that's not really her daughter. The woman and child aren't related.

What's even more impressive is when I've seen the actor playing a different role in the past, and I still see them as the character they are playing.

For example: I know Kate Atkinson is an actress. I've seen her on Offspring. But when I see her on Wentworth, I totally believe she's really a prison guard who has an overbearing mother. It's shocking to me that this isn't true.  The same goes for Nicole da Silva. I know she's an actress. I saw her as a police officer on Rush. But I still manage to see her as a prisoner.  It feels very real to me.

33. Decided that although I'm having trouble believing that Lisa McCune is a medical doctor in the tropics; I don't remember having trouble believing she worked in the navy when I watched Sea Patrol.

Things like this make me imagine that when I think I'm seeing subpar acting, a lot of the blame goes to the director and/or writer. On the same token, with superb acting, a lot of the credit probably goes to the director and writer.  It's like a recipe in which the three main ingredients need to be almost perfect. One off ingredient and the whole thing goes a bit sour.

34. Started watching another episode of Reef Doctors.

35. Saw an adorable Lace Monitor on Reef Doctors.

36. Learned from Lord Wiki that monitors are the animals labeled goannas by Australians.  The lace monitor is the second largest Aussie monitor. The largest is the perentie. We saw some of those at Wildlife Sydney.

37. Found one of our photos of the perentie. At least I think that's what he/she is.

38. Glad that the lace monitor bit the human on Reef Doctors. He was annoying. He kept telling the monitor he was all right, and that he should calm down. But the poor reptile is being kidnapped! Why should he feel calm about that?

39.  Imagined the newlyweds on the show are going to have a challenging marriage. The bride wants a comfortable resort with restaurants. The groom wants adventure in the unspoiled wilderness. The groom got what he wanted.

What kind of offends me is one of the characters talks to the couple and comes away saying the woman is high maintenance.  Is that fair? What about the man? He obviously picked a honeymoon place without any consideration for what would be comfortable for his new wife.

I don't think either holiday preference is better than the other, but there should have been honesty and compromise when making the plans.

40. Disgusted by the arrogance and rudeness of Dr. D'Alessandro (Richard Brancatisano). He reminds me some of the doctors I've encountered in real life. They're the type who seem to think they're superior to the patients AND the nurses.

41. Wondered what type of medical catastrophe is going to befall the newlywed couple.

42. Enjoyed Bec's post about her favorite witty quotes. I want to share one, but am having a hard time picking my favorite.

Maybe I'll go with....A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

That rings true for me. I'm not an overly positive person, and I think the whole positive-thinking thing is usually bullshit. But I'm remembering times where I've been around a negative and/or uptight person, and I think I might end up being more positive than usual.  It's almost like I'm being positive to spite them. It's kind of bitchy now that I think of it. But you's not just about the other person being negative, but that also they're annoying me with other things. I'm probably angry at them about something else that I've tried to sweep under the rug.  My positivity is an act of passive-aggressiveness.

43. Continued to wait for disaster to meet up with the newlyweds. There's only 19 minutes left in the episode. It should happen soon. Right?

44. Stopped having to wait.  It's happening now.

45. Saw that the bride stepped on a stonefish. Her reaction was somewhat underwhelming. I thought stonefish stings were supposed to be incredibly painful. And yeah, the woman screams. But it sounds more like someone who has gotten bit by a few fire ants.

She's hysterical but it seems more out of fear than pain.

46. Failed to appreciate the gratuitous vomit imagery on the show.

47. Intrigued by this whole storyline. Dr. Stewart (Lisa McCune) is refusing to give the bride anti-venom until she knows for sure that this is indeed a stonefish bite. The bride stepped on a stonefish, and the fish was brought in for identification, but the doctor still wants confirmation. So maybe the bride's reaction isn't one I imagined for a stonefish bite, because it is NOT a stonefish bite.

Dr. D'Allesandro argues that the patient has the right symptoms (high blood pressure and vomiting). Dr. Stewart suggests this could be because the patient is hysterical.

48. Started to get used to Lisa McCune as a doctor. Sometimes it's just a period of adjustment. It's like it took an episode or two for me to get used to Claudia Karvan's role in Puberty Blues.  At first, I felt like it was more like impersonation than acting.

49. Decided I had no trouble transitioning from Richard Brancatisano as a Manjipoor resident to a cocky physician.

50. Wondered if I'd ever become a pro at spelling Brancatisano's name. For now, it's a struggle.

51. Read A Welsh Girl in Australia's post about her bathroom renovations. Strangely, I prefer the before bathroom over the after bathroom.  But I do like the new shower more than the bathtub. I think it's just the old tile I prefer.

52. Started watching another episode of Reef Doctors.

I wish my Hulu wouldn't freeze so much,

53. Read about Caz Vincent's unfriendly experience at William Creek.

Unfriendly people can ruin a place for travelers...or at least make it go down a few notches.

54. Started adding more Netflix shows to my to-watch-list. So far, I've added Rake, The Code, and Secrets and Lies.  I might add a few movies as well.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Novels, Thank You, Don't Be Daft, and Jervis Bay

1. Dreamed about Australian literature: I talk to my friend Tracey about Australian books. I tell her when I first became interested in Australia, I asked for book requests. The books suggested to me were very literary. I complain that no one told me about the more mainstream books.  Then I feel bad, because I remember she's the one who put the list together for me.  

The dream is somewhat true.  I met Tracey on Livejournal, and when I became obsessed with Australia, she asked her fellow Australians to recommend books to me.  

I'm not sure what was recommended to me, and I'm too lazy to search through Tracey's Livejournal archives.  I'm guessing, though, that it was the usual suspects—Tim Winton, Peter Carey, Bryce Courtenay, Puberty Blues, The Bride Stripped Bare, Searching for Alibrandi, and John Marsden's Tomorrow series.  

The dream made me wonder, though. Does Australia have a lot less big commercial/mainstream writers than the US?  I'm thinking of authors like Stephen King, Anne Rice, Jodi Picoult...and many others. My mind is drawing a blank here. But I'm thinking of writers who have written several novels, and most of those novels end up on bestseller lists. Another criteria is that the books are fairly easy reading—fast paced. It's not a struggle to get into them, and it doesn't take a lot of brain stretching to follow them.

2. Decided that the only Aussie author, in my mind, to fit the commercial/mainstream category is Liane Moriarty. I think she's written several popular books. They're easy—beach type reading. Though I don't know if she's as popular in Australia as she is here in the US. I'm guessing she is. Probably? 

3. Thought about how the Australian literature that seems the most prevalent and talked about is literary, children and young adult, and science fiction/fantasy.  From what I remember seeing, there are a lot of Aussie science fiction/fantasy writers. Or maybe I just imagined that. If it's true, it's kind of funny, since Aussie television is so lacking in science fiction.  

4. Looked at a list of fifty must read Australian novels. Some of them were probably on that list Tracey gave to me, but I forgot about them.  

5. Saw Geraldine Brooks's book, on the list and wondered if she could count as mainstream. Yeah, probably. I'm not sure.

6. Decided Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One could be in the mainstream/commercial category rather than the literary one.  

7. Saw Coleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds.  I think she too would count as a commercial writer.

8. Realized I might be quite wrong about thinking Liane Moriarty is the only Australian of mainstream fiction.

9. Saw John Birmingham on the list. His books are pretty mainstream

10. Found article about literary vs. mainstream, because I'm not sure I have it straight in my head. 

One thing it says is:  Literary fiction tends to focus on complex issues and the beauty of the writing itself, and your novel may rely more on action, which is the tendency of mainstream fiction.

I think, though, that it's hard to draw a line between the two, because mainstream novels also deal with complex issues. But maybe...yeah. They have more action.  I don't think the action has to involve car chases and gun fights. It can just mean that more stuff is happening.

11. Decided that, after reading the article, I'm more confused than ever.

12. Decided to use my own definition of literary and mainstream.  If you're reading quickly, feeling relaxed, and can't wait to find out what happens next, you're probably reading mainstream fiction. If you're reading slowly, feeling kind of depressed, and are having to concentrate hard on the words, you're probably reading literary fiction.

All that is thrown out the window, though, if you don't like the book...well, especially with my definition of mainstream fiction.

Another way to go about it is this. If you're reading a book that has been honored by the Booker Prize, you're reading something literary. If you're reading a book that is on a bestseller list, you're probably reading something mainstream. Although that doesn't always work, because sometimes literary novels become bestsellers.

13. Looked at the Angus and Robertson site. They have a list of the top 100 books. I'm guessing they're bestsellers, because that's what I searched for on Google.

The top seller is a British book. Can you guess what it is?

14. Looked at the top ten books. Three are Australian. Five are American. One is British. And one is Canadian.

Four are young adult books. One is a children's book.

I've read seven of the books. What makes me feel like a failure is, two out of the three I haven't read are the Australian books. And one I've never really heard of before. I've gotten out of touch with the whole Australian literature thing.

15. Decided to confess that lately I've come to the horrific realization that I prefer television to reading. It's shocking for me, because I've been a bookworm my whole life. It's just I'm frustrated by all the books I've read and didn't like. Then when I read a really great book, I'm thinking, that was wonderful, but I still would have found more enjoyment from watching a TV show.

I also used to be a huge movie fan, and that stopped for me as well.

Soon I'm going to turn into someone that my younger self would have never recognized.

16. Saw Kate Morton on the Angus and Robertson list. I think she's quite popular here. I've read a few of her books. My mom has read them too. I think, if my mom reads and likes a book, it's mainstream. She tends to read books that are popular.

17. Saw Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret is towards the bottom of the list (83 out of 100). It surprises me that she doesn't have a book higher on the list.

Let me check again. Maybe I missed one.

18. Checked again. I'm still not seeing it.

You know who else I'm not seeing? Stephen King? But maybe my eyes are blind to his name as well.

19. Looked at USA today bestseller list. The Husband Secret is #48. So it seems Americans like that book more than Australians do.

What's weird is that I thought Moriarty had a more current book. I would think that would be the most popular. But maybe people liked it less and recommended it less?

20. Decided the Australian list of bestsellers might not give an accurate picture, because it comes from one bookseller. It could just be that the type of folks who shop at Angus and Robertson aren't the type to be Liane Moriarty or Stephen King fans. Maybe the people who read Moriarty and King books shop at Amazon. They might be reading on their Kindle.

21. Saw that I have sold only one of my Kindle books in the last 90 days. That's REALLY bad.
But maybe it's part of the reason I don't like books as much anymore. It's a reminder of my own failure. And it's frustrating when I read crap books, and sometimes end up thinking, my books are better than that!  Of course, it's all a matter of opinion. There's no gospel that says my books are decent, and the books, I dislike, are crap.

22. Decided I'm not too bothered by people not buying and reading my novels. I'd rather have people reading my blogs.  I don't really like people reading my fiction. I just want the money. But unless thousands of people buy my book, I'm not going to get enough money for it to matter.

23. Started watching an episode of The Saddle Club.  I decided to look up the actor playing Raffael, even though I didn't recognize him. Sometimes I look up actors even if they don't look familiar. At times I've ended up with a fun surprise. For example, there was a child on Home and Away (Ben, I think?). I looked him up, and it turned out I had previously seen him as an adult on Packed to the Rafters.

Anyway, I'm glad I looked up Raffael, because it turns out I do know of him. He's played by Damien Bodie, who I saw on the first season of The Elephant Princess. He played Vashan!  I liked Vashan. He was a cool villain.

24. Saw that recently Damien Bodie was one of the stars of Winners and Losers.

25.  Wondered if Winners and Losers will ever be available on Hulu. I hope so.

26. Impressed with the wildlife the Project 2014 blogger saw in Jervis Bay. He has pictures of Kookaburras, rosellas, and kangaroos.  I don't necessarily want to return to Halls Gap, but I'd like to go somewhere similar—meaning a place where it's easy to see a lot of wildlife. And I mean wildlife in the wild. Though I also like seeing wildlife at animal parks and zoos.

27. Saw that Jervis Bay is about a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney.  Though it's in the same area as Kiama, and all that...which we've already done. So we wouldn't really be stretching ourselves and trying something new if we went there.

28. Looked at a photo of Firass Dirani being naked.  I know of someone else who might want to see that.

29. Read Nikki's sad post about breaking her iPhone. It's pretty stressful.  I think for anyone it's a somewhat painful loss. But Nikki was living in a new place (South Africa) and I think she was somewhat homesick for her last expat place (Hong Kong).  Her iPhone was her method of keeping in touch with the world, and then she lost that.  I think, a situation like that would make me depressed.

30.  Read Bec's post about her love of the Twilight series and The Hunger Games. I loved Twilight and I liked The Hunger Games. But now I've grown so tired of teen series books—especially anything dystopian or involving vampires.

31. Wanted to clarify something. It might seem like I'm going off of the whole Australia topic with #29 and  #30. But all these blogs I'm talking about...they're written by Australians, or people who live in Australia.

32. Watched Coronation Street and wondered if Australians say Don't be daft as much as British people do. I think I heard it on one of the episodes of Wentworth. It was in response to someone saying Ta (Thank you). Or maybe they actually said, thank you. I'm not sure.

On Coronation Street, they say it quite frequently.  Someone could probably turn it into a drinking game.

33. Thought of the different ways to respond to someone thanking us—you're welcome, my pleasureno problem, don't be daft, no worries, That's all right, and It's okay.  The latter two are my least favorite. It sounds to me like the person didn't really want to do you the favor or give you what they gave. They're not saying, It's wonderful to be able to do this for you. They're saying it's merely okay, which makes me think they'd rather NOT have done what they did.  That being said, if it was a begged for and reluctantly done favor, it seems appropriate.  For example, on Coronation Street, someone was asked to work on his day off. He didn't want to, but eventually said yes. In that case, I think it's totally cool to respond to the thanks with a It's okay.

You're welcome is polite but a bit formal.

I used to dislike no worries in response to a thank you, but then I started hearing That's all right and It's okay. In comparison, I prefer no worries.  I think no problem would be in the same boat.

My pleasure is one of the nicest ones. It expresses the idea that the person actually enjoyed doing you the favor. Although it would sound a bit odd if you were thanking them for a kidney or cleaning up your vomit.

Don't be daft is like a bandhanded insult.  It's like saying, don't be silly. You don't need to thank me. Of course I'd do this for you.  

34. Looked at my texts and saw another way to respond to thank you's: No response! I saw I did that in response to a thanks from my sister, and my dad has done it to me several times.  I get the idea I've done it other times as well.  Is it rude?  Maybe. It hasn't bothered me.  In a way, I think it's similar to the don't be daft.  It's like saying, the thank you wasn't even necessary, so I'm just going to change the subject.

But of course the thank you IS necessary. I think thank you's are very important. It's just nice to ACT like the thanks is not needed.

While not responding works okay in text. I'm not sure it would work in face to face conversation. Then someone might think we've lost our hearing....or we're ignoring them.

35. Realized I have no idea how I respond when people thank me in face to face conversation. I really hope it's not That's okay or it's all right.

Maybe I make some kind of grunting sound.

I think sometimes I thank them back. A lot of times that actually makes sense.  It ends up being a type of mutual thing.  For example: Thanks for coming goes along with thanks for inviting me.

36. Decided to take a break from Coronation Street and watch another episode of The Saddle Club.

37. Found it hard to believe that Raffael and Vashan are one and the same. They look so different. I think the main thing is that Vashan has a beard.

38. Ran into another blog post about Jervis Bay.  No, no actually it's not about Jervis Bay, but it's mentioned. Troy Hixon says they're in Bateman's Bay, which is an hour and half from Jervis Bay. I think they're heading there later. Although later is in the past now, because the blog post is from 2010.

39. Went to the Mogo Zoo website, because Hixon mentioned it in his post. I think it's between Jervis Bay and Bateman's Bay.

40. Looked at Google Maps. The zoo is actually in the opposite direction of Jervis Bay. But that makes sense. Hixon said they're going to Jervis Bay, but first they're going to the zoo. If it was the zoo was between the two places, he'd probably say they were going to stop at the zoo on the way to Jervis Bay.

41. Saw that the Mogo Zoo doesn't have a lot of Aussie animals, but they do have a lot of different monkeys.

42. Counted the monkeys. They have eight different types. Then they also have lowland gorillas and three different types of gibbons.

Gibbons can be quite adorable.

43. Found out that I'm wrong about the monkeys.  Two of the primates, at Mogo zoo, aren't monkeys (or apes). They're lemurs. So there are six types of monkeys, two types of lemurs, one type of great ape, and three types of lesser apes.

One of my past obsessions was primates.

44. Felt that the acting by the two younger girls (Janelle Corlass-Brown and Jesse Jacobs) on The Saddle Club is more tolerable to me than that of the older girls.  I especially like Corlass-Brown. She reminds me of one of my nephews, for some reason.

45. Wondered if it's not the acting I dislike but the characters themselves.

Maybe I just dislike the Saddle Club girls themselves, and it has nothing to do with the actors.

I'm actually okay with Carole. She seems cool.

It's Stevie I don't like. It started in the first episode when she was so mean to Lisa. Lisa makes honest mistakes, and Stevie is awful about it. Then Lisa saves her life, and they all became friends. You really shouldn't have to save someone's life in order for them to treat you decently.

I'm not sure what I have against Lisa. She's just a bit annoying sometimes.

And maybe I don't like that she accepted a friendship with Stevie.

46. Looked at article that lists which Australian MP's support gay marriage.

There are 35 politicians from Labor that have been confirmed as yeses, and six from the Coalition.

Then there's a thing where you can plug in a post code and see what the local MP there feels about gay marriage.

47. Decided to try Jervis Bay, since I've run into two blogs about that.

I think Jervis Bay is part of the ACT?

48. Consulted Lord Wiki, and I still don't know if Jervis Bay is part of the ACT. Nor do I know it's postcode.

49. Learned that Jervis Bay is it's own territory.

50. Plugged in the Jervis Bay post code provided by Lord Wiki, and the article said it's not a known postcode. I'll try something else.

How about Rose Bay?

51. Plugged in Rose Bay's postcode, and am being that this too is not a known postcode.  I think there's a bug in the system.

52. Felt like a bit of an imposter, because I participated in a fringe fiction message thread on Goodreads. Well, it's kind of not right since I'm not really interested in the whole being-an-author thing anymore. Nor do I have much interest in reading fringe fiction. But there was a fun conversation about the authors and their lives outside the Internet. There's a woman from Brisbane who says she likes TV.  I'm wondering if she watches any Australian shows. Then there's also a woman who loves tarantulas, and another who loves plants.  I love when people are passionate about things.

53. Thought more about Geraldine Brooks books and decided they're more literary than mainstream. But I think her books are an example of literary books that have become fairly popular.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Power Rangers, Leftovers, Prison, and TV Show Love

1. Had a dream about JK Rowling, and Wentworth was mentioned in part of it. I talk to Rowling and tell her that she might have some competition, in terms of Umbridge. I tell her I wrote in my blog about how one of the characters in Wentworth is comparable in hatefulness.

Those weren't my exact words. I'm kind of paraphrasing.

I have this turquoise "It's a Small World" t-shirt and that played a big part in the dream. When I woke up, in the middle of the night, I had this idea the shirt must have some strong symbolism—the whole small world thing.  But then later I figured it was more about the color of the shirt. It's the same color that the women wear in Wentworth.  I was thinking about their prison clothes yesterday and how they wear turquoise instead of orange. I wonder if that's the color used in real Australian prisons.  Is there a color used throughout all prisons? And in the United States, do all prisoners really wear orange?

Is there any place where they wear black and white stripes?

2. Had a dream that involved Andrew, but I can't remember or figure out how we were communicating. I feel like he was there...maybe sitting at a desk?  I have the idea that I was standing.

My parents show me their very detailed plans for our upcoming whole-family trip to NYC. I see that they have written down every restaurant we're going to eat at and every store we're going to visit. I ask, what if I see a store that's not on the list, and I want to go. They say that's fine, but we all have to go. I can't go alone.

Then Andrew asks me if we've made plans for our upcoming trip. I write down the answer.  In my mind, the answer is affirmative, and I think that's what I'm writing. But when I look down at the paper, the answer is negative. I'm intrigued by the fact that I was thinking one thing but wrote down another.  

 I think my subconscious mind has a hard time understanding Internet relationships. So it kind of mixes up face to face communication with writing.  I'm pretty sure I was in the room with Andrew but instead of answering him vocally, I wrote it on pen and paper. Although I might have talked to him as well.

You know, there's even a part of me that doubts it was Andrew I was talking to. But when I woke up, I thought of the person I was talking to as Andrew. Later I started wondering if that's true.  I'm thinking, though, that when it comes to dreams, you should trust your earliest memories of them.

3. Realized I forgot to title my last post, and panicked a bit about that.

4. Watched an episode of The Saddle Club.  There was a cast change in this episode. Now instead of having Max (Brett Tucker), we get Drew (Nikolai Nikolaeff).  I looked up Nikolaeff's filmography. He was on Camp. I think he was the guy who had feelings for Rachel Griffith's character.  If I remember correctly, he and Rodger Corser were competing for Griffith's affection.

Nikolaeff was also a star of Sea Patrol, but I don't think he was in the first season. I don't really remember him.

5. Checked Nikolaeff's Sea Patrol credits.  He started appearing in the third season.

6. Looked at the credits for Power Rangers Jungle Fury, because Nikolaeff was in that too. I was wondering if he was in the Power Rangers show starring Glenn McMillan or the one starring Firass Dirani.

I don't see either here. So this is yet another Power Rangers show. How many Power Ranger shows are out there?

7. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Power Rangers. He says it's an American show. There's been twenty-two seasons of nineteen different themed shows.

The first episode aired in August 1993, and there continues to be episodes in 2015.

8. Consulted Lord Wiki about the cast of the first season of the Power Rangers. It looks like most of them are American. So maybe, back then, they filmed the series in America?

9. Looked at IMDb. The first season of the Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) was filmed in California. I see that it was the first three seasons.

10. Did some digging.  It looks like the first Power Rangers series NOT filmed in the US is Power Rangers Ninja Storm. This is the one with Glenn McMillan.

But it wasn't filmed in Australia. It was filmed in New Zealand.

10. Wondered if most of the Power Rangers are filmed in New Zealand, and I just assumed Australia, since it has Aussie actors.

11. Saw that many of the series/seasons of the Power Rangers was filmed in New Zealand.

12. Concluded that there have probably been no Power Rangers episodes filmed in Australia.

13. Found that the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers MOVIE was filmed in Australia.

I'm guessing it also took place in Australia, because one of the filming locations was the Sydney Opera House. You can't really use that in a film and pretend you're elsewhere.

14. Consulted Lord Wiki about the plot of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I kind of just skimmed his information. It sounds like most of the film takes place on another planet.  He doesn't mention Australia. So I'm rethinking my idea about the Opera House. If they filmed there, it doesn't necessarily mean they used the exterior. They could have used the interior which is less recognizable.

15. Saw a magpie on Wentworth.  I've heard several magpies on Australian TV shows, but I don't think I've ever seen one on a show.

16. Thought that Matt (Aaron Jeffrey) seemed like such a nice guy. I hope he doesn't have some hidden evil somewhere. Well, I do think he might have been involved in some adultery, but I don't see that as being very evil. His sweetness with Vera Kate Atkinson) makes up for it. At least in my book.  But I don't know...maybe he has some horrible secret that he's keeping. Maybe he's one of those people who are charming but evil.

17. Wondered about Governor Erica (Leeanna Walsman). Is she more good or more bad? She seems to care about the inmates. She seems decent. Is it all an act?  Does she really just care about career advancement?  I know of one awful thing she did but am not sure what her motive was. And I wonder if she regrets it.  I have a feeling that she does have ethics but just sometimes fails to act on them.

18. Wondered about Jackson (Robbie Magasiva). When he's not drugged by something or overcome by grief, he seems relatively decent.

19. Grossed out when I read this on Eric Thompson's Japan blog.

Another thing of note about the bus stop is that there was a disturbing amount of dark red patches on the seats and ground that looked very much like blood. It looked like it was dry but even so we made sure to avoid it. Another lady waiting either didn’t notice or didn’t care and managed to sit right in the middle of the biggest patch.

I'm really sensitive to gross things on the ground and on seats. It reminds me of when we we all went to a Japanese restaurant for my niece's birthday.  We parked in the parking garage, and headed to the restaurant. There was a lot of red stuff on the ground. Maybe blood, but probably not. I feared it was vomit and hoped it was some kind of food substance. Tim thought it was sauce. Or so he says. He might have just been trying to reassure me.

But parents didn't even seem to notice it, or make any effort to step around it.  I think it's because they're not the type to look at the ground while walking. I am. Some might say this is due to me having a lack of confidence. But it's really more about me not wanting to step on anything disgusting.

Note: The fact that this was a Japanese restaurant is a coincidence. I'm not trying to infer a connection between the Japanese and gross red substances. 

20. Glad to hear from Thompson's blog that toilets seem to be important to Japanese people, and it's fairly easy to find one.  It reminds me of Disney World. They're good with the toilets there...except for maybe the Mexico Pavillon.  I think we've had a difficult time finding the toilet when we're in that area. Now I can't remember where it is. I know there's one at the restaurants, but is there one elsewhere?

I wish Manhattan was better with toilets. It's pretty decent uptown with the posh hotels. You can slip in the lobby. And some of the big stores have decent bathrooms. But it's often hard to find bathrooms in the lower half of the city.  Well, it's probably okay in the Financial District, but not so easy in the East Village, West Village, Soho, Chinatown, etc.  Or maybe that's changed. I don't know....

21. Learned from Thompson's blog that there is a belief in Japan that Jesus spent some time in the Mount Fuji area.  Fascinating! I never knew that.

22. Hoped the ending of the Wentworth episode, I just watched, isn't as awful and tragic as it looked.

It probably was, though, and now I'm going to have to hate Jacs even more.

Speaking of Jacs...back to the Harry Potter thing. I think she's actually more of a Voldemort than an Umbridge.

23. Read about leftovers on Nikki's blog about her experiences in South Africa. She talks about how a lot of people take food home from restaurants. But it seems they don't eat it themselves. They give it away to others—security guards, household staff, homeless people, etc.  I get the sense that Nikki was not very keen about people taking food home until she learned they were giving it away. Is it so bad to eat it yourself?  I mean yes, it's good to give to others. But I think it's also kind of gross.  Beggars can't be choosers. I know. But I'd rather not eat food that's been germed up by someone I hardly know.

I sort of remember reading somewhere that Australians don't usually take home leftovers. I was wondering why not? Are they more okay with wasting food than we are?  But then someone commented on Nikki's blog.   Coming from the land of plenty, my question is “why don’t they just cut their portion sizes down that they serve you so there is no leftovers for takeaway boxes.

Maybe that's the desired mindset in Australia. Have smaller portions and then you don't need leftovers. Though I do remember encountering some big portions when we visited.

24. Decided if it was up to me, I'd have smaller portions AND leftovers. A small portion for one person might still be too big for another. Why not take it home?

25. Did think of a downside to leftovers. The containers. It's creates extra trash. What's worse is that here they often use Styrofoam.

26. Found article about leftovers in Australia. They say asking for leftovers in Australia is cringe-worthy.  Some Aussies take the plunge and ask for the leftovers, and some of them get a big fat no.

27. Read article that says there's a movement to get Australians to embrace the whole doggy bag thing.  A nutritionist named Sarah Wilson says, Food waste is a bigger pollutant than cars and industry. Consumers are the biggest contributors to food waste. Because we’re vain. This is unfathomable and unforgivable.

The food waste as the bigger pollutant surprises me. I guess I'll take her word for it. For now.

28. Wondered about food cooked at home in Australia. Is that saved? Thrown away? Do Australians usually not want to eat leftovers?

29. Figured that Jack would fit well in Australia. He's not a big fan of leftovers.

30. Found Australian government page about food waste.  It says, When wasted food is thrown away and breaks down in landfill, together with other organic materials, it becomes the main contributor to the generation of methane – a gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Sadly despite our ability to embrace leftovers, my family still contributes to the problem. When we get together at the lake house, even with eating leftovers, a lot of food is still thrown away. The problem is too much is bought and made. There's a mindset that it's better to serve too much food than too less. I totally disagree. I think, if you serve a lot of food, people feel compelled to eat more.  If you have less food, maybe people will be more conservative. Then there'd be less unhealthy weight gain and less tummy aches.

31. Thought about this weekend at the lake house, and remembered that things were actually kind of okay with the food.  A lot was bought and made, but what we did right was not make too many more new things.  For example, Tim made a huge amount of pasta for Saturday's lunch. It was excessive. But then it turned out we were low on food for Monday's lunch, and my dad was quite relieved to find out we had leftover pasta.

What's bad, though, is Thanksgiving. We have leftovers from that meal but then whole new meals are made Friday and Saturday night. Plus, my dad grills stuff for the lunches. It would be better if we just ate leftovers and just added a few extras to the meals as needed. For example, instead of my brother-in-law cooking a whole pork dish, black beans, brown rice, and steamed broccoli on Friday night; we could say Well, we still have a lot of turkey, plus some side dishes. But maybe we should add some steamed broccoli to the mix.  By Saturday, the leftovers might be gone; so then a new meal could be cooked for that night.

32. Wondered WHY restaurants serve big portions?  Is it to appear more generous?  I mean I don't really want a meal that's the size of a diet frozen least not when I go out to eat. But do we really need meals that are big enough to serve two people and still have leftovers?

33. Decided I'm pleased with large meals when it's a takeaway type thing.  It's nice having the food for lunch the next day. But it IS a pain at restaurants sometimes, because there are times we're not going home right away. Then we can't take the food with us, because it might go bad by the time we get home.

34. Started watching another episode of Wentworth.  I'm almost done with the first season.

35. Stopped liking Matt (Aaron Jeffrey). He said one thing and turned me against him.

What he said is that it's an inmates fault that their daughter was hurt. Why? Because she's the one who abandoned her daughter by going to jail.  Okay, that could be fair in some instances. However, in this case, the woman is in jail because she tried to kill her abusive husband. Not that this is a known fact at the prison, but I think it could be inferred by most people.

36. Thought scene with Jackson trying to comfort Bea (Danielle Cormack) was very touching.

37. Felt love for Jackson. He's an ass at times, but he can have great moments of kindness.

38. Thought Wentworth is a beautiful show because while it shows people being incredibly cruel, it also shows them being very compassionate.  Both the prisoners and the prison staff.

39. Cried a little bit while watching the end of the episode.

Now I have one episode left in season one. I'm going to start watching it soon.

40. Decided one of the reasons I love Wentworth is how it makes it difficult to determine whether the characters are good and bad.  I think the general message is that MOST people are not one or the other. They're a mixture of both.

I think there's one character who is pretty much evil. I don't see her as having any redeeming or sympathetic qualities.

But for the rest, the characters do and say bad things sometimes, but they still have some decency.

It kind of reminds me of Lost.  I think Lost was very good at showing the complexity of people.

41. Wondered if any characters of season one will not be back for season two. I have a feeling shit's going to hit the fan in the last episode.

Well, actually shit hits the fan in pretty much every episode of Wentworth. But I think, in this episode, the fanned shit might be even more potent than usual.

42. Had some thoughts while taking a break from Wentworth to do some chores. And I got bitten by some awful brand of mosquitos. The bites itch much more than usual.

But thoughts. Yeah. I should get to those.

I was thinking that if we subtract the evil horrible bully, Wentworth prison doesn't seem like an awful place to be.  Well, and I also think it's horrible being separated from family...especially your children. But for single women? Or women in unhappy marriages? Lonely women. Wentworth seems kind of pleasant and fun. It's looks fairly comfortable. You get outside time. There's lots of friendship and bonding.  The women get their own rooms, so there's some amount of privacy.

There's the lack of freedom. Yeah. It would be awful not to be able to hop out and go to the grocery store.  But you doesn't seem that different to school.

Actually the prison, at least in the show, reminds me a lot of school. There's the good stuff—the friendships and social fun. And as the prison has some guards that are kind and caring; schools sometimes have kind and caring teachers.  But both schools and prisons have bullies that make life absolutely miserable for some.

School kids are allowed more freedom because they have the weekends off and the holiday breaks. But during school days, there's definitely a lack of personal freedom. You need permission to use the toilet. You have to follow dress codes.

43. Wondered if real life prisons are also not-so-bad places and how do I feel about that? Should prisons be more awful, so they're more of a deterrent? Maybe.  I don't like the idea of a serial rapist or cold-blooded killer having a comfortable time in prison.  But what about decent people who simply made a mistake?  Or people, like Bea, who acted out of desperation. I'd like to imagine that life in prison isn't awful for them.

44. Wondered if prisoners have Internet, and I'm also curious about whether they have things like cable and Netflix.

45. Found some type of activist website that lists Australian prison amenities.

Actually, I think this pertains to Victoria only.

46. Learned that prisoners can make one or two phone calls a week.  This doesn't include calls to lawyers.

They are restricted to five phone numbers. That kind of makes sense.  What if there was a bored and lonely prisoner who'd use the phone to make prank calls?  I was going to say, what if there's a person in prison who has six adult kids with six different households. Who do they not call?  But then I realized that they can make arrangements to visit each other when a call is expected.

47. Learned there are remand prisoners and convicted prisoners. I think on Wentworth, maybe Bea is remand?  I'm not sure. She's been in there a long time, though.  How long can someone be in prison without a conviction?  On the TV shows I've watched, people usually get the bail paid and are released.  So it's not really something I've ever thought about—someone stuck in prison without an actual conviction.

48. Learned that remand prisoners are allowed one contact visit a week and daily box visits. I think box visits are the one where you have glass between you and your visitor. I'm not sure how many visits convicted prisoners get, but it's less than the remand ones.

49. Learned that prisoners are allowed to get money and reading material from visitors but not other stuff.  The money goes into an account and can be used to order things.

50. Learned about the protection thing. That's been mentioned on Wentworth.  Prison is dangerous for some people. The website uses the example of the young, child molesters, and informers.  The system will put them in...I guess a special place?  I wonder if it works.  Do protected people usually end up surviving?

51. Learned from Lord Wiki that prison Internet use in Australia varies by state.

52. Read a Queensland government page about prison. They say there are no Internet privileges.

53. Looked at a Victorian government page. Their prisoners don't get Internet access either.

54. Decided to stop researching and go back to watching the show.

55. Finished the first season of Wentworth. Such an AMAZING show.

Now it will be time for me to go to to pick another show.

I'm hoping it will be the second season of Wentworth.

56. Got a new show. It's NOT Wentworth, unfortunately.  It's Reef Doctors. I'm kind of looking forward to that.

57. Went to the Reef Doctors page on Hulu. The guy in the promotional photo looks like Richard Brancatisano from The Elephant Princess.  Is it him?  I should know, since I looked at his filmography recently.

58. Saw that Reef Doctors is a fairly new show. The first season began in 2013. And I see that one of the stars is Lisa McCune. I know her from Sea Patrol.

59. Looked again at Richard Brancatisano's filmography. Yes, he is one of the stars of Reef Doctors.

60. Saw that Reef Doctors had only one season.  It makes me a little nervous because if a show has one season, it might be because it's not so good. On the other hand, Freaks and Geeks had only one season.  I loved the show Now and Again, and that had only one season as well.

As for Australian shows that were pretty good and only lasted one season...The Straits comes to mind.

61. Decided the two shows I most want to choose for me are Neighbours and Wentworth. There was a brief time that I got bored with Neighbours, but then I got back into it. Saying good-bye was hard for me.

I do like trying out new shows, though.

62. Looked at my list of shows, and remembered that I'm also very eager to see the second season of Upper Middle Bogan.

Oh...and I'm seeing more! The Secret Life of Us, All Saints, Satisfaction....

WONDERLAND!  How could I forget Wonderland? What the hell is wrong with me? Though I'm doubting Hulu has new episodes yet.

I want to see more Sea Patrol and Rush. I don't think I'd be overly excited to watch them, but I'd be a little happy.

63. Thought of the 11th Doctor's good-bye speech, and how I should apply it to my TV shows.  It's okay to move forward and find new TV shows to love as long as we remember the TV shows we used to love.

During our Doctor Who obsession days, I came to realize something.  Sometimes what makes me really sad about saying good-bye to something is not losing it but the idea that one day I probably won't miss it anymore. I'll replace it in my heart with something else.

Yeah. There are some things that we miss forever. We never get over it. And those losses are the saddest of all.  But....I'm talking about more trivial things here. Not huge tragedies.   (just wanted to clarify that)

Anyway...when we watched Doctor Who, I wanted to believe I'd never lose the passion. But I remembered how we were so much into Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty. How I Met Your Mother, Lost, etc.  I loved those shows passionately.  By the time we watched Doctor Who, I didn't really care about them anymore. So that made me think, one day Doctor Who will be replaced in my heart as well.

And it's happened. I was so eager to watch the 12th doctor seasons, but now I don't really look forward to it. It doesn't matter to me anymore.

It's like Wonderland. I was so in love with that show, and eager to watch more episodes. Then I forgot it even existed. I needed to be reminded.

Harry Potter is another thing. I had so much Harry Potter love. Most of it is gone. In fact, I've grown tired of the whole thing. Though my dream last night rekindled some of the passion. I guess that's the good thing. I can lose the love for something, but then it might come back.

Sometimes all it takes is a dream.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rosie O'Donnell, Stabbing, Christmas Beetles, and Mothers

1. Dreamed about Wentworth. There are plans to take out the alpha female. Someone is going to blow up an area of the prison which will kill the alpha. When we get a sign, we're supposed to get to safety. We get the signal and wait, but it looks like something went wrong, and the explosion is not going to happen. 

There was also something about the food at the prison. But I don't remember much about it.

2. Read article that says Rosie O'Donnell is a fan of Wentworth and wants to be on the show.

I'm glad that she likes the show. I want Aussie shows to be more heavily promoted and watched in the US.

I'm not too keen on her being on the show. I don't like when TV shows become trendy and have cameos from various celebrities. I guess in comedy, it's not so bad. But when it's drama, I think it detracts from the storyline.  It becomes more about the guest-star than the characters.

Now if Rosie O'Donnell actually wants to on the show long-term, that's another story. I think at first I'd be thinking, Oh, look! It's Rosie O'Donnell, but then eventually I'd hopefully see her as her character and not the American actress-talk show host. But if it's just a cameo thing...Well, I personally find that annoying and distracting.

3. Did not-so-well on a QuizUp quiz about Australian celebrities. Though I did win against the other person.

I think my biggest weakness when it comes to Aussie celebrities is models. I'm ignorant when it comes that. Well, and I'm also bad with sports figures, but the quiz doesn't have many of those. It's mostly actors, models, singers, and host/entertainers.

4. Looked more closely at the quiz results. I got four right and three wrong. The ones I got wrong were about Daryl Somers, Graeme Blundell, and Jessica Hart.

Hart is the only model in the group, so maybe I shouldn't say models are my weakness. I probably have many weaknesses.

Plus, although I got the question about Julie McGregor right, I just guessed. I really have no idea who she is.

5. Looked up Julie McGregor on IMDb and saw that she appeared in an episode of Dance Academy.  She's most known for Hey Dad..!  Though QuizUp already told me that.

6. Wondered about the punctuation in the Hey Dad..! title. Why are there two periods and then an exclamation point?

7. Started watching another episode of Wentworth.  It brought up feelings of guilt for me, because it reminded me of something that happened in my past.

What happened on the show is Liz (Celia Ireland) loses her prison job because she got drunk and turned an event into a disaster. Then the prison governor (Leeanna Walsman) offers Liz's job to Doreen (Shareena Clanton). Doreen says no, thank you. She says if she took the job, she'd be stabbing Liz in the back.

When I worked at a preschool in Fort Worth, they hired me as an assistant teacher. Then after I was there for a few weeks, the director decided she wanted to give me a head teacher position.  I think I felt honored and excited, but I also felt bad because the previous head teacher was let go.

Now I'm thinking maybe I should have said no, thanks. Maybe, unlike Doreen, I was lacking integrity.

One thing I can say in my defense is I wasn't friends with the former head teacher. We had no relationship. I think Doreen and Liz ARE friends. Maybe it's okay to stab someone in the back if you're not friends with someone? Or maybe it's NOT stabbing someone in the back if you're not friends. Maybe it's just part of climbing the career ladder?

What made me feel more guilty about the whole thing is the the director was very excited about me, because I said on, my resume, that I had a Masters Degree in early childhood education. Technically that wasn't true. I didn't lie on purpose. It was a misunderstanding on my part...or more a forgetting of the truth.  My real degree was a Masters in Education but not specifically for early childhood. Most of my classes at the graduate school, and my field work, was done with preschool-aged children. So that's why I had the mistaken memory that my degree was in Early Childhood education. I FELT like I had gotten that degree.

But I wonder....If I hadn't accidentally lied, would the director have still given me a promotion?

8. Thought about how I have felt stabbed in the back. Because I had a certain job/role in the family. Then that role was given to someone else. I feel stabbed by both the people who gave the job to someone else and the person who took it.  At times, I am full of intense wrath about the whole thing. Other times I feel accepting, and wonder if I'd really want the job back anyway. I'm not sure I'd still want to do it.  Sometimes I want to open up to my family and ask why they did what they did and tell them how much it hurt me. But I hesitate, because I worry that they'll offer me the job back.

Or maybe I'm more worried they won't offer me the job back.

I don't want the responsibility of the job, but I want to know that my work, in the past, was appreciated. And I want to know why I was pushed out of my position in the first place. BECAUSE it seemed they DID like my work. I can't understand why things changed.

9. Wondered if confronting my family would bring peace and answers. Or would it lead to fights, lies, and manipulation?

10. Considered that maybe my family loved my work, but it's just that they love the other person's work more. I wouldn't share their opinion. I personally feel my work is much better. But if they prefer the other person's work, it's fair that they gave them the job.  People have different taste about things.

11. Wondered if losing the job in my family is karma for causing that other teacher to lose her job.

12.  Read a post from the Caravan of Courage blog and wondered, what the blogger meant by Christmas type beetles?  Is that a real species of something? Or are they red and green colored and reminded the blogger of Christmas?

13. Consulted Lord Wiki. He said there is a beetle called the Christmas beetle. They're not red and green. They're called Christmas beetles, because they're abundant during that time period.

It's maybe like our June Bugs here. We call them June bugs, because they're more prevalent in June. Though I've seen quite a few this April and May.

14. Saw that the blog post, with the Christmas beetle, was posted in September.  Though that might not be when the adventure took place. I get confused about whether people are posting while on the trip or when they get home. It's hard to tell sometime. Though I doubt someone would wait until September to write about their trip last December.

But anyway...if it did take place in September, maybe the blogger called it a Christmas TYPE beetle, because it wasn't seen during Christmas time. And/Or maybe it looked like a Christmas beetle, but he didn't feel definite about the identification.

14. Started watching another episode of Wentworth. I think Vera (Kate Atkinson) is kind of adorable.

15. Felt stress-by-proxy when reading the Singaporean in Australia's post about needing to get a job and a car. And his partner was pregnant at the time.

Real life requirements can get in the way of peace, fun, and happiness sometimes.

I'm feeling that with education. We've been unschooling Jack the last thirteen years. But now we're planning on starting a more structured program, so university will be more accessible to him.  This means we'll be losing some of the freedom we've had. It's going to be an adjustment.

These are the times where I wish there'd be a zombie apocalypse. Then we could forget all the normal stresses and instead spend our day searching for Twinkies and shooting corpses in the head.

16. Felt more hatred for Jacs (Kris McQuade) as she poured boiling hot water on a fellow prisoner. Bitch!

17. Read Nikki's hilarious post about living in South Africa. I love her list of their neighborhood rules. One example:  you can have your house any colour you like as long as it is red bricks or rendered whitewash or a combination of both(actually not white exactly, more of a creamy colour – perhaps its magnolia?)

18. Read a post from the Batty Tales blog. Their young daughter is named River. I wonder if she's named after River Song from Doctor Who. Or maybe River Phoenix?

Then again their daughter may be named after neither. Maybe they liked the name for other reasons.

19. Disagreed with what Eric Thompson said in this blog post.  Kate had an egg sandwich and a very juicy apple- I have no idea what I ate and I doubt anyone cares. My favorite parts of his Japan-trip blog posts are the ones involving food!

It makes me wonder about my own blog.  For some people, it could be the parts of my blog that I imagine are a waste of space, that interest them the most.

20. Saw that Vera's mother on Wentworth is played by the same actress who played Dan Wylie and Brendan Cowell's mother on Love My Way.

She played a much nicer mother on the latter show. On Wentworth, she's clingy, overbearing, and manipulative.  I hope I never become that type of mother to least not in a chronic way. I think all most mothers have acute moments of awfulness.

21. Glad that my mother isn't clingy, overbearing, or manipulative.

22. Looked up the actress who plays Vera's mother. It's Lynette Curran.

23. Liked what Michelle said in her post about her daughter's insecurities:  We talk about writing, and how often the worst writers have the highest opinion of themselves and the best are riddled with self-doubt. I want her to recognise that her doubt is in fact a strength, that rather than crippling her it can be the engine that drives her forward.

If the amount of doubt a writer has is correlated to the amount of talent they have, I must be a brilliant writer. Really! I am so full of doubt.

But it gets confusing. If doubt equals good writing, and I start to believe Michelle's philosophy, I might lose the doubt. Then if I lose the doubt, I'll become one of those bad writers who have a high opinion of themselves.

24. Started to feel conceited, which made me doubt not only my writing but my general personality as well. Now my writing should get better.

25. Decided it's very difficult to have a healthy balanced self-esteem.

26. Strongly agreed with the Chalk and Talk blogger's believe that a birthday should be celebrated for an entire week.

27. Learned from Caz Vincent that if you are driving in a caravan (or other similar vehicles) you should wave to other people driving such vehicles.  If you're worried about taking your hand off the steering wheel, you can just lift a friendly finger.

28. Wanted to hug Vera on Wentworth.  I think it's very hard to resist a character who's both adorable AND has a tragic/sad life.

29. Started watching another episode of Wentworth.  I recognized an actress, and I THINK she might have been from the early Neighbours episodes. I forgot the character name, but she was the young woman who was dating Jim Robinson.

Now I'm going to look and see if I'm right or wrong.

30. Found that I'm right!  The name of the actress is Alexandra Fowler. On Neighbours, she played Zoe.

She was also on several episodes of All Saints.

31. Noticed that in Wentworth that they have Dick Smith's OzMite instead of Vegemite.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Quiz Games, The Sydney Morning Herald, Stan, and Villains,

1. Dreamed about an upcoming test on Australia. My niece and Jack have a test coming up about Australia.  I decide to play a quiz game to help them study. I plan to use questions from Quiz-Up, and we can also make up questions. My two young almost-Australian cousins are there. I plan on having them participate in the game. I think about how there are four people with us we can consider to be experts on Australia—me, my nephews, and...(some other person. I'm not sure who)

I decide the game will have no winners. I'll just call out questions. Sometimes the question will go to all, and anyone can shout out the answer. Other times, I'll call on individuals.

At one point, I think about the Australian name for cotton candy. I try to remember if it's sugar floss or candy floss.

When I woke up, I remembered it was fairy floss.

There was also something about a giant ice-cream dessert and trying to remember the name.

I dreamed about quizzes because my niece has exams soon, and I tried to help her study a little bit.  I thought about how it might be fun to get the other kids involved and ask all of them questions. Well, and I actually tried a little. But I didn't have her study notes around, and couldn't remember most of the questions.

2. Realized the game with no winners bit came from our balloon fight yesterday. We did have teams but decided to just go wild and get each other wet rather than turn it into an organized game with winners and losers.

3. Wondered if Jack was my fourth expert, on Australia, in the dream. Maybe he was studying for the quiz, AND he already knew a lot about Australia.

Or it could have been just my niece who had the test. I'm not 100% sure whether Jack had the test too or not.

4. Considered buying the Sydney Morning Herald online, so I will no longer get messages saying I'm close to reaching my limit of free articles per month. But it's way too expensive, in my opinion.  It's $12.50 for the first three months, and then $25 after that.  I understand the company has to keep their business afloat.  It's just hard for me to have the desire to pay that much when there's so much other stuff online I can read for free.

I think one of the reasons it's so expensive is that it comes with something called Stan. Stan is some kind of video-streaming service.  So if one is desiring that, it might be a good deal.

I wonder if I'm missing something, and somewhere there's a way to get the digital newspaper without the Stan. And then the price will be lower.

5. Wondered if Stan has any good Aussie shows, and if I'd be allowed to watch it from Texas.  But what's interesting is that on The Sydney Morning Herald description of Sam, it promotes UK and US TV shows rather than Australian ones.

6. Saw on the SMH site that you can read thirty free articles a month! That's pretty good. I thought it was much less than ten.  Or fifteen.

7. Clicked on a SMH article from Google News to see how many free articles I have left. I didn't even get a warning this time.  Maybe they only send warnings out when you get close to the limit.

I think I've been actually avoiding articles from the SMH  My mindset has been to save up my free articles for when they have has an exclusive that interests me.  Often, if there's an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, about a subject that interests me, I can find the same information elsewhere. But I figure that's not always going to be the case.

8. Decided since it is towards the end of May, I should just use up my free articles within the next couple of days.  I'll just keep clicking.

9. Clicked on two articles and got a message that I've read 8/10 free articles for this month! So I WAS right about the ten. Why don't I get thirty free articles? Is it because I'm not in Australia?

10. Followed the link provided by the warning. Here they have a less expensive option. It's $7.50 for the first three months and then $15. That does not include Stan.

That's better, but I'm still not going to get it.

I think I'm fine with the free ten articles a month. Though I'm still wondering why I don't get the thirty.  

11. Went to the Stan website. You have to have an Australian address to use it.

12. Started watching another episode of Wentworth.  I NEED someone to kick the ass of Jacs (Kris McQuade). As a villain, I think she's as infuriating as Professor Umbridge.

13. Wondered if Jacs will maintain her level of wickedness. Or will the show eventually show us that she has a vulnerable side.

14. Looked in the mirror, and realized without make-up, I look like I'm a Wentworth woman.   Well...not all of them. I mean the ones who've neglected their physical appearance.