Ok, so maybe I got this wrong.

I thought I was a real person, living in the real world, but as of today I’m starting to wonder if I’m merely a character, in a script written by a lazy writer with a penchant for repeating references to the same topics all the way through his/her script, in order to create some “themes” in the work.

The reason I’m wondering this is because, in the last 2 days, at least 3 random subjects that, in usual circumstances, I would never usually discuss, read about, or otherwise encounter more than once in, oooh, I don’t know, at least a YEAR, have popped up twice in 24 hours.

For example, random topic number 1: Navigation by the stars.

I don’t talk about celestial navigation a lot, because I know very little about it. Personally, I use Google maps, and have enough trouble with that, at times. I read Longitude, years ago, an interesting book about the international race, in the 18th Century, to discover an accurate way to measure longitude, so that navigation could be more accurate, and voyages could be less likely to run out of food, water and crew who were still alive. Prior to the discovery of longtitude, seafarers relied on the sun and (other) stars to navigate. After the discovery of longitude I guess they used something similar to the Melway, but for the ocean. Sailors must have used a map book similar to the Melways once longitude was discovered.

As it happened, yesterday afternoon at work there were some people in the park outside our office, with a thingamy on a tripod. The thingamy was presumably some kind of surveying equipment. Myself and our technician, Boo-Boo*, were killing time, waiting for others to arrive for a meeting, and mused about what the surveying equipment on the tripod was called. He suggested a “sextant.” At first I misheard, and thought he said “sexton,” so I corrected him, saying that a sexton was an occupation in ye olde days, and was something to do with churches. Boo-Boo explained that he had said “sextant”. I was not familiar with the term, but he immediately corrected himself anyway, saying isn’t a sextant an instrument you use to navigate by the stars? 

I had to admit that I did not know. If I was lost and using a device to navigate by the stars I’d also have, as a back up, my iphone, which I would use to phone a taxi.

So far, some halarious work conversation – nothing out of the ordinary.

Leap forward a few hours to yesterday evening.

This scene takes place in my dining room. My youngest brother Popsicle* was over for dinner and conversation turned to the fact that my 12 year old daughter had, for the first time ever, been shopping with her friends (and no adults) in a suburb that is not walking distance from her own home. This required these 12 year old girls to know the way to and from the train station in this suburb, to the shopping area, and back again. I wasn’t terribly confident about how well she knew her way around that suburb, and had been hoping it was true, as she’d said, that her friends knew the way.

So at dinner, I quizzed her about whether she had known the way or whether she’d had to rely on her friends. My brother joined in, and joked that if she’d been lost, she could have stayed where she was until darkness fell, and then navigated her way home by the stars.


Random topic number 1: Celestial Navigation. Score:  2 mentions in about 4 hours.

This doesn’t look right…I think I took the wrong exit off the freeway

ESO/F. Millour et al.

Ok, so celestial navigation came up twice in the same day. It’s just a co-incidence, I hear you say. Well, that seems reasonable. So far.

Let’s take another random topic: the movie, Ghostworld.

I enjoyed this film when I saw it years ago, but I had pretty much forgotten the fact of its existence. Yesterday, at work, (again) myself, our Programming Manager, Twinkletoes* and Operations Manager, Murgatroyd* were talking about actors that are good looking but essentially uninteresting (George Clooney for example, in my opinion) versus actors who do not meet traditional “good looking” criteria but  continually play interesting roles – “character” actors. Murgatroyd suggested Steve Buscemi. Yeah, says I, great example! That guy is always good, and I’ll check out any film he’s in, because I assume it’s an interesting film…..however, right at that moment, I couldn’t think of a single film he’s been in!

“Have you seen Ghostworld?” said Murgatroyd. At first, I said no, as it didn’t ring a bell, but when she prompted me with more details about the film, I recalled it after all.

The conversation continued further, but for the sake of this post, that’s as much as you need to hear.

Leap forward to this morning. I was out having coffee/hot chocolate with my daughter, a friend and his daughter. On the wall of the cafe hung photos of the local area, including a photo of an old poster for a fast food outlet called “Fast Chicken,” depicting a chicken on a skateboard. We were joking about it and my daughter said “That’s like that film, Ghostworld, where the girls…..”(… something about a chicken poster or a chicken, I wasn’t really clear.) I don’t know when or where she saw this film, but it wasn’t with me.


Random topic number 2: the film, Ghostworld. 2 mentions in 24 hours.

Before I go on – no chickens were harmed in the making of this film, were they?

Ok, just another coincidence, I hear you thinking. Well just wait for this.

Next topic: the Santa Ana winds in southern California.

If you live in Southern California, this would not be considered a random topic to come across, and you’d expect to come across it at least annually, from what I’ve learned today. But I live in Melbourne, Australia. As far as I can recall, I’ve never read or heard about these winds before, or not so as they stuck in my memory anyway. This afternoon I was catching up on a blog I enjoy reading, and read this post about the Santa Ana winds. Apparently residents in Southern California spend up to a few weeks every year with grit being hurled into their eyes every time they step out the door. Doesn’t sound like much fun, I must say.

Leap forward to this evening. I sent my daughter to the DVD shop and she came back with a selection of DVD’s, but only one I was even vaguely interested in watching. That was The Holiday. I was not very impressed with the synopsis and my interest – or tolerance, to be more accurate – was solely due to the fact that Jude Law is good looking and Jack Black masquerades successfully as a character actor. (the jury is out on whether he really is a good character actor. He always seem to play essentially the same character, but it’s a likeable one. However, there are quite a few of his films I haven’t seen, and possibly never will see). So we sat and watched the film – which was, not unsurprisingly with that very weird pairing, pretty lame.

In the storyline, Kate Winslet’s character Iris does a house exchange for her pretty cottage in Surrey, with Cameron Diaz’s character who lives in  Santa Monica.

I’m sure you can see where this is heading, but please, take note of how random it was that I should be watching this film anytime, let alone on the same day I’d just read about the Santa Ana winds on a blog. Lo and behold, if Iris doesn’t find herself in the midst of the goddam Santa Ana winds! The Mexican gardner tells her what they are, just in case I had been in any doubt, and as it happens, the winds play a crucial part in bringing her together with Miles (Jack Black), by hurling grit into her eye the very first time she meets him. He kindly helps her get it out, thus clearly signalling to the audience that they are fated to be together.

Random topic no. 3: Santa Ana winds: stumbled across 2 mentions within 4 hours.

So, people, what do I make of this? Can it really be coincidence that each of these 3 topics popped up so conspicuously twice within 24 hours? And if so, what does it indicate. Is it some kind of B-grade super power, where I am able to seem like I have extensive knowledge on many varied topics, only because a topic is often still sitting right in the front of my short term memory, due to being inserted there only a few hours earlier?

The only other conclusion I can draw is that I must be, without my own knowledge, a spy. These recurring topics are actually parts of a coded message, and I just need to decode them, to work out what my next mission is.*

So, what on earth do celestial navigation, Ghostworld, and the Santa Ana winds, mean??? If you have any suggestions please let me know. All letters will receive a reply.

*Names have been changed to protect the people involved

*When I say next, I mean, first.

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  1. This is the baader-meinhof phenomenon, which I always remember because I experience the baader-meinhof phenomenon when I learned about it!


  2. You. Are. Definitely. A. Spy. It’s scary



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