Sunday, February 27, 2011

Qantas, Permanent Residency, Wishes, and Oscars

1. Read article about mental health during a disaster.  They give advice on how to avoid depression, a nervous breakdown, and other stuff like that.  I like the advice. It's basically don't isolate yourself and drown in your own misery.  Connect with people.  Help others. Exercise.

Last week I had some bad days.  I felt somewhat depressed. We had a get-together with my family.  I was totally dreading it.  But I ended up having a good time, and I felt better afterward. 

That being said....It CAN backfire.  What if you're in a disaster, and you have no friends and family?  What if you're very lonely?  What if you go outside to connect to people, say hello to someone, and they just walk on by?  What if you go to offer help and they turn you away; or they ignore you because they're already too busy?   Then you might end up being more depressed.  

2. Delighted to hear Helen Reddy singing "We'll Sing in the Sunshine".  I checked to see if YouTube had a video, and found this Muppet thing.  

3. Read article about Qantas not providing free charter flights for New South Wales police to travel to Christchurch.  They claim though that they're giving the police a discount.  Really?  The flight is averaging out at about $1000 a person. How much does a flight from Sydney to Christchurch usually cost?

I'm looking at the Qantas website right now.   I chose a flight in late March.   If I want to save a lot of money I can use the Red e-Deal option and get a round trip ticket for a little over $500.

If I choose the more flexible option I can get a round trip flight for $1158. 

Okay. Where's the discount?  If it's there, it's not very substantial.  I understand I'm not doing a charter thing. I'm sure there's differences. But this is for a good cause.  Why is Qantas being so stingy?  

4. Still bored by Nicki Gemmell's Love Song.  I hope I start liking it more.....soon.

5. Read comments on Facebook regarding the carbon tax. Pearl Maya says, You mean we are actually going to have to pay the real price of our pollution without it being put on the never never and we might have to be responsible for our choices - outrageous! Yes I would pay it.   

A few people are also wishing for a mining tax.

Some, that are against the tax, talk about governments needing to spend more wisely. But isn't the main point of the carbon tax to get people to be more conservative with their carbon usage?   It's kind of like speeding tickets.  Yes the government makes money off of our transgressions.  However, I think the main point of having speed limits is to keep people safe.  

Something that some other people mention is that there's no point in Australia doing the right thing if other countries aren't going to do likewise. Barrie Hall says,  Happy to pay when the US, China and India have also put a price on carbon. Otherwise this is just a waste of time (and our money)...   It's not fair for some countries to hold all the burden.   But change always has to start somewhere.    Tim and I were talking about my egg thing today.  Sometimes I have that feeling of what's the point of avoiding eggs.  So I don't eat eggs.    Other people are still eating them.  Chickens are still being severely mistreated.  What's the point of making a sacrifice if other people aren't going to do the same?

But if you look at vegetarianism through the years. It used to be such a fringe movement. It was hard to find vegetarian food anywhere.   Now our regular old grocery store has a large selection.   Some people (or countries) change first, and then others slowly follow.   

6. Talked to Lord Wiki about which countries have carbon taxes. There's a few.  He says India has one.  I wonder if Barrie Hall is aware of that.  If I'm understanding things correctly, several countries in Europe have taxes (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK).   Costa Rica has a carbon tax.  Some provinces in Canada have them.

America doesn't have any sort of federal tax, but certain areas have something in place. These are Boulder Colorado,  some counties in San Francisco, and a county in Maryland.

You know....it's like gay marriage.  Slowly things are changing.

7. Heard the Seekers singing "Danny Boy" on Pandora.  It reminds me of the last episode of Modern Family.  Jay sings a bit of the song.  My parents brought up that episode yesterday. My dad said they were concerned it would make me self-conscious; and they wanted to assure me I didn't sing as bad as Gloria.

I don't know if I sing as bad as Gloria, but I AM like her in that I'll sit there singing by myself with the karaoke machine.  No one yet has told me shut up. They probably won't. I don't think my family minds bad singing. I mean we're all pretty tolerant. We just have fun with it.

8. Related to this bit from Love Song.  Lillie (the protagonist) reveals to someone that she wants to write.  He responds Oh love, waste of time that.

Then the book says, And the dismissal burns in Lillie and something is hardened, there's a determination from that point and she knows in her heart that she will one day write of him.  

I've dealt with those types of dismissing comments. There's the You're good at it, but don't quit your day job.   Then there was the Maybe I'll try to get one of my books published, and the response of Or we could try to win the lottery.

Yes, these dismissing comments burn, and they harden me into a malicious bitch. No, I'm joking....sort of.   But I will say I do NOT forget those comments.  My memory fails me at times, but it does not fail me when someone has hurt my feelings.   Well, that's not exactly true. I've come to realize that I do sometimes forget the things that people say or do to hurt my feelings. Then I read it in my old journal, and the memories come back.  

9. Read article about Vegemite.  It says that Vegemite might have genetically modified ingredients.  Now I know there's debate over whether GMO is even bad for us, but I would be weary of any company that is secretive about the whole matter.   

There's something called the Truefood guide; and they judge food based on whether their companies are transparent about what goes into their food.  Vegemite has been given a red light. Weet-bix gets a green light.  SO.... maybe people need to be changing their breakfast habits.  

For those who love Vegemite, but don't like the idea of giving their money to a big secretive American corporation, there are alternatives.  Here we have....Aussie Mite.  Have any of you tried it?  Maybe I'll try to buy it the next time we go to Australia.

Aussie-mite is rich in vitamin B, it's vegan, and has no GMO ingredients.  I don't think it's very easy to find though.   

10. Received Facebook wall message from my sort-of Australian cousin.  She says American private schools DO get money from the government.  She also says that if you're not a citizen of Australia, you have to pay for government schools.  I think I'd probably just homeschool.  

Lord Wiki slightly disagrees with my cousin...if I'm understanding him correctly.  He says Non-religious private schools theoretically could qualify for such funding, but prefer the advantages of independent control of their student admissions and course content.  So I guess the basic idea is that there would be strings attached to the funding.

I'm guessing that some private schools take government money, but most don't.   

Wait. You know what.  I bet I know what my cousin is talking about....vouchers!  With this, the government doesn't give money to the school. They give money to the students who give money to the school.

I've heard vague things about vouchers, but I wasn't sure to what extent it was used in America.   Lord Wiki says that the voucher thing is happening in Milwaukee. This website says there are also voucher programs in D.C, Ohio, and Louisiana. Then Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Utah have vouchers for kids with special needs.   

11. Found a NY teachers blog that agrees with my cousin, and disagrees with Lord Wiki.   It says, Public schools are funded through federal, state and local taxes and do not charge a tuition. Private schools, on the other hand, receive their funding through tuition, fundraising, and partial government funding.

I should be fair though.  Lord Wiki didn't say that private schools do NOT receive funding.  He says they qualify, but prefer to have freedom from government.  

12. Read website page about expats.  The only thing they say differently from my cousin is that you have to be a permanent resident to get a free education. You don't have to be a citizen.  

13. Went to Australia's immigration website to remind myself of who qualifies for permanent residency. Unfortunately, it's not me.  AND I'm having a hard time finding the information.    

Okay.  Finally.   I found it.  Permanent residency means you have a Visa that allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely.    I still can't find the info about qualifications.   I'm just gonna go to Lord Wiki.  Maybe he knows.  

I think I understand it. You have to look under each immigration option...such as business owner, skilled migrant, talented person, etc.  The idea I'm getting is that when you come over, you qualify as either temporary or permanent. If you're permanent, I guess you get the free education.  

15. Looked at this website which lists the benefits of permanent residency.  They say,  Children of permanent residents who are born in Australia are deemed Australian Citizens by birth.  This will be one great advantage because they will enjoy the maximum benefits in the field of education and health care.

So, that seems to be saying there ARE extra benefits to being a citizen, in terms of education. This same website mentions that permanent resident people are eligible for health care.  My guess is that there are education/health benefits to being a permanent resident; and then even more benefits to becoming a citizen.

16. Read this government website about the benefits of being a citizen. They say Australian citizenship is a privilege that offers enormous rewards. By becoming an Australian citizen, you are joining a unique national community. Our country has been built on the combined contributions of our Indigenous people and those who came later from all over the world. We celebrate this diversity and at the same time, strive for a unified and harmonious nation.

I gotta admit it.  Reading this stuff triggers some old feelings—the intense longing that made me depressed in 2008.   But for the most part I'm okay.

Anyway.....

Education stuff isn't mentioned.   They talk about political stuff—voting, becoming a member of parliament, joining the military, etc.    

17. Wondered if Geoffrey Rush will win the Oscar.  I hope so.  But I probably don't care as much as I did a few weeks ago. Maybe watching the Oscars will make me care again.  

18. Reminded myself that I no longer dream of becoming Australian.  My old wish was to move to Australia.  I wanted to be an expat like my cousin.  And I wanted to become a citizen.

I love Australia no less than I did a few years ago, but my wishes have changed.   It's still a pipe dream really.  What I'd love is to be a long-term American tourist in Australia.  I'd love to spend 6 months to a year there.  I'd even be super happy with three months. I'd love to have lots of money so we can move about without worrying so much about the cost.  I'd want to go to every state and territory, and lots of cities and towns in each one.

I don't imagine that happening in the next ten years because it would be hard to leave the cats for so long. I figure in about ten years, we'll no longer have cats.  Jack will be almost twenty, so he'll be old enough to decide whether he wants to join us, or stay back in America. Who knows....maybe he'll go elsewhere.  He could end up in Japan; well, since he loves Nintendo so much!

19. Decided that if I have my way (wishes DO sometimes come true....right?) we will go to Australia for a month in 2012, a month in 2015, a month in 2018, and for six months in 2021.  Or if money is tight, maybe we'll skip 2018 and save up for 2021.  

You never know though. Things could go really bad, and I might NEVER return to Australia.

Personally, I think it's better luck to face the fact that things might not go the way you want them to go.  When you have an attitude of entitlement, the universe is likely to slap you in the face.  

20. Started to like Love Song....a little. Well, at least I'm understanding it better. It's kind of weird.   It goes back and forth from first person and third person. 

21. Ate vegetarian Kung Pao while watching the Oscars.    

22. Informed Tim and Jack that Jackie Weaver is Australian.

23. Failed to understand Kurt Douglas's joke about Hugh Jackman.

24.. Saw that one of the short animation winners is Australian; Shaun Tan.   The movie is The Lost Thing, and it's based on Tan's picture book.  

25. Was VERY happy to see David Seidler win for best screenplay.

26. Liked Anna Hathaway's song about Hugh Jackman and Australia. It was funny, and Anna Hathaway sings very beautifully.   

27. Decided I REALLY want Geoffrey Rush to win. Maybe my King's Speech love has returned.

28.  Disappointed that Geoffrey Rush didn't win.  I was upset that Christian Bale won, but felt better once he started speaking British. He's SO much more appealing with a British accent.

And I used to love Christian Bale when he sang this.  

29. Hoped that Alexandre Despat (The King's Speech) would win for best music, but also hoped The Social Network's music would win. I love the music in The Social Network.

Recently, I learned that Despat also did the music for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

30. Started to lose hope for The King's Speech. 

31. Had this sudden feeling that one day I shall see Inception, and it will become my favorite movie.   It makes sense, if I think about it. Lucid dreams are what brought about my Australia obsession in the first place....well, lucid dreams AND regular dreams.

31. Told Tim that I think Cate Blanchett could play JK Rowling in a movie.  She is VERY beautiful.

32. Tried to figure out if Dave Elsey is Australian.

Well, there's a Linkedin profile for a Dave Elsey in Sydney who works in the film industry. That could be him.   

33. Found article about Esley. He IS an Aussie! He's a British-Aussie.

34. Loved the Tangled song.  It makes me think of a certain Australian who saw the movie and loved it.  He's going to be going to animation school very soon. One day I might see HIM winning an Oscar.  That would be SO cool.   

35. LOVED the auto-tune thing!!!  That is too cool. It makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time....especially the Harry Potter bit. 

Jack loves it too.  He's rewinding it for the third time.  

36. Actually liked Oprah's speech about documentary films.

37. Wondered...Who is Banksy?   Someone joked about it during the Oscars, and it was mentioned in one of the documentary clips.   The only Banksy I know is the one who does news.com.au's Facebook Page.  

I just checked with Lord Wiki.   Banksy is some kind of secretive artist in the UK.


 38. Very sad to hear about Cameron Wiseman.  My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.  Their story makes my heart ache.  I hope little Cameron will be okay.  I hate stories like that, because I imagine it happening to Jack.

Note: Cameron has nothing to do with the Oscars.  I was reading news via Facebook while watching the award show.   

39. Had my hope restored for The King's Speech!   TOM HOOPER WON BEST DIRECTOR!!!!!!!!  He tells the story about how his mom led him to the movie. It's very sweet.

He says the moral of the story is listen to your mum. Yes!  Yesterday I listened to my mom, and now I'm all into Pandora again! Mothers do have good ideas sometimes.  

40. Impressed by the Rabbit Hole clip with Nicole Kidman.

41. Happy to see that Colin Firth won! He's very funny.  Glad to see that he mentioned Guy Pearce.   I tend to forget he was in the movie.

42. Learned from Jack that The King's Speech won!!!!!!!!   He had to look it up on the Internet because our damn DVR didn't tape the end of the show.  I'd like to see the acceptance speech someday. I want to know if they mentioned Lionel Logue.  Oh well.  I guess they'll have it on YouTube someday.