Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Babies, Hubwarts, Fans, and Neighbors

1. Got an email with a link to the Sounds Like Brisbane website.  It's an independent music label for musicians in Brisbane.   I don't really like the song that plays automatically when you get to the site.   It's not my kind of thing.   But I'll listen to other music on the site, and see if there's anything I like.  

2. Listened to a song on the Sounds like Brisbane website that I sort of liked.  It's called "Always",  by Optimum.   It's kind of rap or hip/hop.  I don't really know the difference between those two.  

3. Read Andrew's interesting post about ingrained homophobia.  He felt a bit homophobic because he judged a gay couple for having a baby just three years after being together.  He thinks he wouldn't feel the same way about a straight couple.

I probably would question a straight couple having a baby that fast.  I wouldn't necessarily say it's wrong.  It would just be different from what I'm used to.  Tim and I had Jack six years after we started dating.  My older sister was with her husband 9-10 years before they had their first child.   My younger sister was with her husband 8 years before the first baby appeared.  I think my parents were together for about five years before they had my sister.

I'm just going by my own family really. Maybe it's different with other families, so three years wouldn't seem unusual to them.

4. Learned of an Australian Harry Potter website.   It's called the Harry Potter Fan Zone, and was started by Andy McCray in 2003.   He was fourteen then, so I guess now he's about 22.  I searched for Harry Potter and Australia, because I heard about some Australian Harry Potter event on the Magic is Might website.  I'm not sure if it's connected to the fan zone thing.

Today a teen put up a video pretending to be Luna Lovegood. She almost had me fooled.   I think she looks and sounds so much like Evanna Lynch.  I'm really amazed by some of the work these people are doing.  Some of the people playing characters act so much like the characters.    For example, the person playing Slughorn is so....Slughorn.   Now unlike Luna, he's not on a video.  He's just updating Facebook.    But what I'm learning is that people can actually act through writing and not just speaking and action.   

5. Found the Australian Harry Potter event.  It's called Hubwarts, and it's going to be in Sydney on Saturday and Melbourne on Sunday. Victor Krum is going to be there, along with George, Fred, and Tonks.  

I didn't realize this, but the NSW elections are on Saturday too.  See, I'm paying more attention to Harry Potter lately than Australian politics.  I DID know an election was on the horizon though...with all that talk about Kenneally. I just didn't know it was so soon.  Anyway, they give advice on how to attend the event AND do your political duty.

At the bottom of the page they have the typical Harry Potter disclaimer.  This is unofficial and has no endorsement by JK Rowling or Warner Bros; blah, blah, blah.  Well, guess what.   We went to an officially endorsed Harry Potter thing (Universal Studios) and we thought it was AWFUL.  I think some of the unofficial stuff is much better.  Whoever is doing the Magic is Might experience has impressed me much more than Universal Studios. Maybe Universal Studios should hire them.  

6. Looked at the prices for Hubwarts.  Goodness.  At least in that area, it resembles Universal Studios.  It's $85 for a base day ticket.  How much is Universal?   Wow.  It's actually three dollars cheaper.  Still though.  I think that's probably about right for an event or conference.  Maybe?    

I just looked up the unschooling conference we've gone to.  That's $150, but it's for the whole long weekend (Friday-Monday).  That works out to about $38 per day.  That's much cheaper than $85 a day.   

Anyway, on top of the $85 you have to pay extra for autographs and pictures with the actors.  It's $30 per autograph, and $90 to take a photo of yourself with the Weasley twins.    It all seems a bit overpriced to me.  I've never been to a fan event though; so maybe that's typical?  

Is the money going to charity, or anything?  I can't find any information about that.    While looking I found the etiquette page.   Reading it makes me think I probably never want to attend a fan event.     I'm not really into the fawning and gushing scene...at least not in real life.  Online it's pretty okay.     The etiquette page actually asks people not to fawn and gush, but seeing that they have to have rules about that....well, it makes me think that's what people are WANTING to do.  

Anyway, as far as I know Hubwarts is not associated with Andy McCray's site   It's done by a group called Hub Productions.  They do all kinds of fan stuff— Star Trek, Twilight, True Blood, etc.  

7. Read Christine Milne's first speech to Parliament.    I like what she says here:

The notion of ‘family values’ is confined to a narrow range of values to suit a particular agenda. Where I grew up, honesty, kindness, respect, justice, fairness, tolerance, love and forgiveness were family values. Discrimination against and vilification of minorities, lying, misrepresentation and meanness of spirit were not family values. 

Amen to that.
8. Read article about large residential developments.   It says the lack of a corner shop kills off the sense of community.  A researcher named Pip Williams says, Incidental interaction actually builds communities - the ability to bump into your neighbour is really important; but when people are getting into the car to go to school, the shops, church, you lose that.

I can't think of a time that I ever lived in a neighborhood like that; but it sounds nice.  Fort Worth is a small enough city that once you get in your car and drive somewhere, you're fairly likely to run into someone you know.  We often see people we know at Costco, although not lately.  

We have a shopping center about a half a mile away.  I rarely see anyone I know there.   I also never see anyone walking there.  People usually drive.  It would be nice to see more walkers.

When we lived in Madison Wisconsin and St. Louis we knew our neighbors pretty well.  We didn't meet on a walk to the shops though.  I don't think there were any shops that close.   I think it was more a matter of the kids reaching out to meet each other. Then our parents would meet the parents of our new friends, and they'd become friends too.

Then we moved to Atlanta.  We knew some of our neighbors, but not as well as we did in the past.    Since then it's never been the same.  We've lived in various places, and I haven't felt as if we know our neighbors very well.  

It might be because times changed.  Maybe people became less likely to know their neighbors.   

It could be other things.  Maybe school kept us busier so we had less time to play around the neighborhood.   Maybe since we were older, our parents had less reason for getting involved in our friendships; and therefore they had less reason to meet the parents of our friends.  AND most of our friends came from school rather than the neighborhood.

Now these days, there's so much paranoia, and I hardly see kids out on their own anymore.   

9. Thought about the Internet, and how it's probably preventing people from knowing their neighbors.  I'm not sure I want to complain though.   I think I prefer the Internet over chummy neighborhoods, because then I'm talking to people based on common interests rather than just proximity.  It would be nice if we could have both though.  

10. Thought about my older sister's neighborhood.   They actually do have a neighborhood like we used to have.  People know each other.  Kids play outside.  We went there for Halloween, and it kind of reminded me of my childhood.   I think the trick might be the type of street it's on.   It's not a very busy street, in terms of traffic.  In comparison, our street IS busy.  Also, I don't think we have many kids on our street.  I think most people are of retirement age.

We do know of our neighbors, mostly because my parents used to live in our house and they sort of knew their neighbors.  But we don't really see them much, and we rarely interact with them.  

I take walks sometimes. I rarely see anyone outside besides the professional gardeners.

Speaking of gardens.  We planted green beans today in our backyard.   I actually had planned to give up, and forget about it this year; face the fact that I have a black thumb.  But my homeschooling friend talked about helping us; and she even gave us some seeds.   Then I was feeling guilty about the water we were wasting when we waited for the kitchen water to get hot enough to wash dishes.   I decided to fill up some cups while I waited and then use them to water the plants outside.   I told this to Tim, and I guess he decided we should get serious about gardening.   He bought me a gardening tool set.   I told him thank you, but I'm not really THAT into gardening.   He said he could return the stuff, and then I decided....what the hell?   We might as well try again.   

If we end up with green beans, great.   If not....no big deal.   I think the important thing is it encourages us to get outside and be with nature.   We tend to spend too much time indoors.  And I like digging in the dirt.  

11. Saw on Facebook that Josh Thomas asked Julia Gillard a question. I think he asked what I want to ask. 

Well, I'm looking at this article now.  Thomas didn't ask Gillard the question.   He asked Christine Milne the question.  She was on the same Q and A program that Gillard was on recently.    Thomas said, Yesterday  our atheist, female, living-in-sin Prime Minister, who is obsessed with ‘moving forward’, said that she’s against same-sex marriage because it’s against our culture and our heritage, which she again explained is based on the Bible. WTF? Discuss.

I think Thomas phrased his question very well.

Milne had a nice response.  She said, It’s not very sensible to say ‘I had a conservative upbringing and I’m still where I was at the time I was nine or ten living at home in that environment’. I think there is a time when as an adult you can review the values that you hold, and I am especially committed to making sure we get rid of discrimination in Australia, and I look forward to the day when we have marriage equality in this country.   

12.  Read editorial about Julia Gillard.   Kerryn Phelps sums up what she imagines Julia Gillard is thinking.   We’re not as Right as those nasty ultra-conservatives so we’ll introduce a carbon tax even though we promised not to, and we’re not as Left as those radical Green extremists so therefore I am opposed to marriage equality.   Yeah.  I agree. I think that's the game Gillard is trying to play.

Phelps also says, And nobody is buying the “Australia’s cultural heritage” argument either. Australia’s history includes edited highlights such as genocide of Aboriginal people, hatred between Catholics and Protestants, the White Australia Policy, and the hunting down and jailing of homosexuals. So let’s not go there.  

Australia has some fantastic things in their heritage as well; so you embrace THAT and continue it.   You don't try to continue the bad stuff.  Well, you COULD, but then you're acting ridiculous and stupid.  

13. Read a comment on the same article by G Davidson.   He says,
if we redefine marriage to placate the homosexual activists, then why stop there? There are all sorts of other sexual relationships that people are demanding recognition of. Polyamory, or group love, is a growing movement demanding the rights to marriage as well.

The exact arguments used by those pushing for same-sex marriage are being used by the polyamorists. If we legalise the former, is it not discriminatory and unjust to outlaw the latter? They too claim that it is all about love, and that they should have the same rights as heterosexual couples.   

I say polyamory should be legalized.  Why not?

Davidson mentions cousins.  Why not?  Brothers and sisters?   I'd say weird; but okay as long as they don't have children.  You could argue who's going to stop them from making babies?  But they don't need marriage to make the baby.

14. Loved Andrew's comment on the same article.   For all the hate filled, bigoted, bible bashing homophobes above - I wonder if you lot and the Prime Minister would agree with the bible stories that say its ok to chop off people’s hands and its ok to keep slaves.  Would you agree that a minister of the church should burn his daughter alive if she became a prostitute?  So do you beleive all of the bible or just the bits that suite your own bigotry??  If you do beleive all of the bible is the absolute word of god then you’re all sick sick sick little monkeys…. 

Actually though....they'd be sick sick sick little apes.

15. Enjoyed a song on the Sounds Like Brisbane site.   It's called Sunshine State, and it's by Marialy Pacheco.  It's instrumental, and lovely.  It kind of reminds me of Peanuts

16. Looked at Marialy Pacheco's website.   She was born in Cuba.  She's going to be doing a concert in Sydney on 16 April at the 505 bar. 

17. Admired Marise Payne's first speech to Parliament, which was done in 1997.   She says, There is no room, in my view, for the division and destruction wrought by hate based race politics. The jingoistic simplicity of the One Nation mantra may have an hypnotic effect on some Australians, but the danger of the extremist politics practised by One Nation remains. Pauline Hanson's One Nation party has been identified as a threat to our trading relations, as having a negative impact on tourism and to the uptake of Australian services by international consumers. But, Madam President, ultimately it is simply offensive, unacceptable and morally repugnant. 

Further down she says, A future Australia should be a nation free from discrimination against any individual. Discrimination against people based on their gender, their race, their sexuality, their religion, their HIV status or their education does not belong in our democracy. Before I hear the clamouring cries of right-wing media commentators about political correctness: this is not a statement about women's rights, gay rights or minority rights; rather, it is about human rights.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear this being said by a Senator from the Labor Party or Green Party.    But Payne is a Liberal Party Senator.  Am I prejudice for being surprised?   Probably.   But I do think some of the reputation is earned. Not enough Liberal politicians speak up against bigotry the way Payne has done.  And no.  I don't include those who say Some of my best friends are black.    That means pretty much...nothing.  Some of my best friends are Republicans.  I'm still prejudice about Republicans.