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My Blog

April 2011

Captain Kangaroo visit’s Australia

I love my mother to pieces, for many reasons, not the least of which is because she’s a really good sport.  She proved once again on her April visit to Australia that she can not only take a joke, but she can keep up with kids 60 years younger than her.  The boys were so incredibly excited to have Grandma visit and they showed her absolutely everything worth seeing over her three week stay, I have to imagine she’s exhausted (I know I am), but she never showed it. 
 
If you want to see some photographic evidence of grandma in Australia, click here.
 
There were a couple highlights from her visit that are worth pointing out.  First, Grandma saw nearly every form of Australian wildlife except the wombat.  We saw wild koala’s, kangaroos, emu, wallabies, fairy penguins, and on, and on and on.  And at the zoo, Grandma saw a Tasmanian devil and a platypus and then some.  Now, all that wildlife seemed to make Grandma hungry, as the ultimate carnivore she even developed a taste for Australia’s national animal.  After eating kangaroo for the first time Grandma requested it again, and again; she even looked for Kangaroo Fajitas and the terrible mexican restaraunt we went to last weekend.  Hence the title Captain Kangaroo, she just couldn’t get enough.  (Plus, it’s pretty good eating, and if you’re interested in saving the environment, they are much friendlier to the ozone than cows… so eat more roo!)
 
A second highlight was definitely our trip through Victoria.  In addition to Melbourne, we drove the Great Ocean Road, stayed two nights in Warrnambool, watched hundreds of Little Penguin (also known as the Fairy Penguin) come ashore at sunset on Phillip Island, we visited Melbourne’s Old Goal (it’s pronounced jail… I know brilliant).  We packed a lot into six days, and had a blast.
 
A final highlight was over thirty years in the making.  In the late 1970’s the King Tut exhibit visited Chicago and drew so much attention that people slept outside the Field Museum just to get a good spot in line.  It drew millions to that first US showing, but all I remember is that when you’re eight years old, Chicago, Lake Michigan, the Field Museum, it was all pretty incredible and overwhelming.  I remember being fascinated by all the history, and especially taken by Tut’s solid-gold death mask.  Thirty-three years later and 9,672 miles away the same King Tut exhibit went on display at the Melbourne Museum the week we visited Melbourne – and my mom and I were there to close the loop.  The Melbourne Museum is outstanding, one of the best in the world, on par with the Field Museum (which I’ve since been back to as well); but, the King Tut exhibit has been tragically altered, they have removed the death mask.  I guess I shouldn’t complain, but that is a recurring theme in my posts, so why stop now.  I’m sure the death mask is in Cairo, or near the Valley of the Kings, but it was part of the exhibit in the 1970’s and they have certainly used it liberally in all their advertising… hmmm.  So while I felt a bit cheated that the death mask wasn’t there, the Tut exhibit was still pretty cool and even held the boys attention throughout.  If only uncle Bob had been there to complete the picture with his projectile talents. 
 
So a nice visit with Grandma came to a bitter-sweet end on May 1 when she returned to the US.  We all enjoyed her visit so much, mostly because it was great to see her, but also because she’s such a trooper.  She went step for step with the boys, smiled the whole way and even caught us all many times for giant grandma hugs and kisses. 
 
Come back soon!                
 

The Matrix, real or science fiction?

In 1999 The Matrix was released and became a quick hit.  Some say it was more than a really good science fiction movie, instead calling it a great retelling of a reluctant savior story in a futuristic world where machines have taken over and the reality you believe is not real, but is only the code the machine pump into your head through the Matrix. 
 
That’s a little more than my head can bear, it feels like my brain is looking into an Escher painting, what’s real, isn’t and what isn’t is.  I never thought that hard about it, I just thought the special effects were pretty cool.
 
So fast forward ten years, and two more installments in the Matrix trilogy and I found out last week that the original Matrix was filmed not only in spots around Sydney, but that significant and important parts of the movie were filmed in my building!  I work in the BT building at the corner of Market and Kent, across the street from the Allianz building and just up the street from the AON tower (now the Sydney tower). 
 
I guess that makes me famous and also pretty high tech. 
 
But it also makes me nervous… perhaps the Matrix is generated from within this building, perhaps the machines have already taken over and I’m plugged in right now… I may never know what's real and what's not unless you help by reading these two coded messages.
 
ENCODED MESSAGE #1
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ENCODED MESSAGE #2
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