Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cleaning, Changing, Hunting, and Gathering

1. Continued to read Isobelle Carmody's Alyzon Whitestarr.   I'm loving it; and I'm all caught up in the big mystery.  The basic premise is that Alyzon gains the ability to smell people's essence; kind of like their soul.  It's similar to seeing an aura.  Some people smell really good and some people smell really awful.  And why do these people smell awful?   I don't know yet.  I'm going to keep reading so I can find out.

2. Read article that says a couple from Hong Kong tried to smuggle lizards out of Western Australia.   The good news is they were caught.

I think it's sad when a wild animal gets kidnapped; especially if they're mistreated and/or taken out of the country.

Thirty-one animals were found in the raid.  Hopefully, they'll all get to go back to their homes.

3. Saw Lisa Hill's blog post about Australian books she recommended for another book blog.   She provides the list of books on her blog too.   I'm going to look through it to see if there's anything that interests me.  Then I can add those books to my list of books and authors to look out for.

4. Watched the most recent video on the Follow The Yellow Brick Road Facebook Page.  They're in the Northern Territory now.  The route for the video was Elcho Island to South Goulburn Island.

I just looked at Google Maps.  South Goulburn Island is east of Darwin.  

5. Went to the Follow The Yellow Brick Road website to see how the auction for polio is doing.   Sadly, it looks like they didn't get any bids for the journey in the video I just watched; and they didn't get any bids for the days before and after that. 

There's an auction open for July 6.   It's Port Hedland to Dampier.  I guess they're ahead of schedule because the original travel date for that journey was July 10.  

There's some high bids for future traveling dates. That's good. Someone's paying 2750 to take the boat from Gregory Caravan Park to Geraldton.  

6. Read sad article about dead sea turtle who was found with 300 pieces of plastic in his system. 

Why does so much plastic end up in the ocean?

Well, the article says it's coming from stormwater drainage.  So then the question is why does so much plastic end up in stormwater drains?

I'm guessing it's litter.  People leave their plastic outside, and then it's carried away in the storm.

What I wonder is how much litter occurs because people are too lazy to get up and throw things in the trash or recycling bin; and how much litter occurs from things escaping the bins. In Sydney, I saw an Ibis digging into the trash and making a mess.  I'm sure that wasn't a completely rare occurrence. 

I'm thinking it might not just be a matter of encouraging people to dispose of their rubbish.  It's also probably important to make sure bins are emptied often enough so they're not overflowing.

7. Remembered other good ways to reduce the plastic in the ocean.  The basic one is to stop using so much plastic.  Then there's also cleaning up the litter outside.   I need to go and do that someday.

8. Went to the Clean Up Australia website.  There's an article about reducing the use of plastic bags.   I'm usually good at remembering to bring a reusable bag.  The problem is, Tim's the one who usually does the shopping, and he's not as good at remembering.  On a positive note—Our plastic bags probably don't end up in the ocean.   We don't usually throw them out.   We keep them in our pantry.  Every so often I'll use the them; usually for throwing away the paper towels I use to clean up cat vomit.  We also use bags for shoes when we pack.   I'm picky about stuff like that. I don't like dirty shoes touching clean clothes; so I throw them in a bag.

9. Saw article about the best pies in Sydney.  I'm excited because Tim's going to try to make pies for our weekend at the lake house.   Each week, my dad grills some meat. Then Tim's responsible for making a vegetarian dish.  It ends up being a main dish for me and my sister; and a side dish for the other people. 

Tim's not going to do any meat pies since there's already grilled meat on the menu. It's just going to be vegetarian stuff.  Hopefully, they'll turn out great.  I think they will.  He's good at making fruit pies; and he also makes a chicken-pot pie (and vegetarian version) that's REALLY good.  I'm not sure if he's going to do anything different for the pies this weekend, besides changing the fillings.  I saw him looking at Australia pie websites, so I think he's trying to make it as Australian as possible.  

10. Read article about sex education for children.  A group called the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health, and Society says parents should start teaching their kids about sex at age two.

I might agree with them, depending on what they mean.  I think sitting most two-year-olds down for a lecture on the mechanics of sex is going to be a waste of time.  I doubt that's what they're suggesting though.  I think it's more about not shying away from correct anatomy terms.   I think children should know from early on that boys have a penis and a scrotum; and girls have a vulva and vagina.  We have always used correct terminology with Jack. I remember someone in my family being shockingly embarrassed when we used the term uterus in front of him.

I think Jack learned about sexual intercourse when he was four; mostly from watching me play the Sims.  I had to do some more explaining to augment the lesson; because the Sims doesn't give details on what goes on under the covers.    

I like that Jack is comfortable talking to me, and asking me questions.  I like that we have these discussions, so I can shove my viewpoints down his throat.  I do stress my belief that sex is enjoyable; but that it's better to have sex when you're older because there's the risk of pregnancy.   We haven't talked much about disease yet.   He's heard of AIDS, but I don't know if he knows that it's sexually transmitted.  

11. Went to the website for the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society. 

12. Interrupted by Jack who wanted medicine for a cut on his finger. While I helped him with that, I asked him if he knew how people got AIDS.  And yes.  He knew it was transmitted through sex.   We haven't yet talked about other risk factors, such as bad needles. Since he hates shots, I'm not too worried about him becoming a heroin addict.

I may have already talked to him about heroin, probably when I was reading Candy.  I sometimes forget what subjects we've covered.  He has the good memory, not me.  

13. Read article on the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society.  It's about secondary teachers teaching sex education.  Almost half of them are nervous to talk about certain subjects because of suspected reactions by the community. I don't blame them, really.   You never know how people are going to react to their kids learning about certain things; such as homosexuality.  Some people are very open with their kids about things; and some are very uptight about it. Some parents are embarrassed to even talk about breastfeeding in front of their kids.  How would these parents react if you tried to teach their young teens about homosexuality?

But it's so important for these kids to hear about it, especially if they're not going to learn from their own parents.

The article says what teachers need is more support.   If they feel they're backed up by the school and community, I imagine it would be easier to talk to the students.   

The teachers in the survey also expressed a wish that the subject was begun earlier with the children.   I guess children are coming to them a bit too ignorant; and the teachers have too many gaps to fill.  

14. Went to Tallygarunga.   Today I'm going to read the posts that were added to Find An Orbit Closer To The Ground.  This is the story thread about the massive family dinner party.   It's been awhile since I've read it; and I'm not exactly sure where I left off.  I know I read Jezebel's post. I'm not sure if I read the next one, which is Mereditha's.   I'll just read it.  If it ends up that I read it twice; no harm done.  

There's stuff from Améa's viewpoint here.  I can't remember if I've read it or not; but I can relate to it.   With anger, liquefied outrage that threatened to spill out at any moment. All she wanted to do was live the rest of her life in peace, hide away in her black-walled room with the only person she could depend on: herself. 

I feel that way sometimes.  I don't want to literally hide.   And I don't have a black-walled room.  For me, it's more about keeping my feelings to myself and refusing to put my trust in people.   I feel safe opening up in my blog, but not at all safe opening up in front of individuals.   I do it sometimes and it makes me feel very vulnerable, especially if I end up revealing a lot.

Okay.  I did read this post. I remember now.  It had a very romantic part about Mereditha still loving Adrian.

I'm guessing already blabbed on and on about relating to Améa. What can I say? It's in my nature to be repetitive.  

15.  Started to read the next post, which belongs to Thomas Blair.   He sounds pretty typical.   There's a big family fight between these women in his life; Améa, Tamarah, and Jezebel.  Thomas seems to care less about the drama between them and more about how he's being treated.  I'm sure we all do that sometimes.   I know I do.   When someone is in a nasty mood, it's hard to step back sometimes and think, they're going through a rough time.  They're not mad at me.  Sometimes we care more about people's behavior than we care about their feelings.

I'm thinking this is probably the way in which I'm most self-centered.  If someone takes a long time to write me back, it's because they don't like me anymore or they're mad. If someone is in a bad mood, it's because I've done something wrong.  If people aren't giving me enough attention, it's because they feel I'm not worth their attention.  I have to push myself to remember that sometimes people are busy and sometimes they're in bad moods for other reasons.

I push myself to remember these things, but usually it doesn't work.  

16. Started to read David's post.  He's mad because Adele threw this whole party because it was her birthday.  But she didn't tell anyone. I'm guessing some of them did know her birthday was around this time. They're her family. Shouldn't family know those things? 

If it's close to her birthday, maybe they should have known without her saying anything.   OR maybe she doesn't know her birthday, so she just picks a random day as her birthday.   I just looked at her biography again.    It says, The exact circumstances surrounding Adele's birth are unknown even to her.  That could mean she's unsure of what day she was born.  Still. I'm guessing she knows the general time-period.

This is probably a bit foreign to me because birthdays are usually big deals in my family.   If my sister suddenly invited us to a party in the beginning of October, someone would likely say, Hey, while we're there, let's celebrate your birthday.  Or we'd surprise her with a cake and some gifts.  

17. Decided to read the biography of David Tallenery.  I hope I haven't read it already. He's played by Lolo, who is the same person who plays Reade Ainsworth.  I think she also does Adrian. Let me go check....

Yep.  She does both of them.  I wonder if she has any other characters.....

18. Wondered if I've already read about David.  He's a nurse at Melbourne Hospital. I remember talking about a character that worked there.

Yeah!   I think I did talk about him.   He works at the hospital, and Adele was interested in him coming to work at Tally as a school nurse.

Maybe I'll read the biography again though.  I skimmed through, and some of it seems new to me. I don't remember knowing that David is bisexual.

I could have gotten the nursing information from the story thread and not the biography.

But if I repeat myself, you have my apologies......

19. Started reading the biography.

David is handsome.   He drinks a lot and is promiscuous.

Actually, it doesn't say he drinks a lot.   I'm adding words here.   It just says,  Despite his drinking and promiscuity he looks after himself well and does not look 43. Well, I get the impression that he's more than a moderate drinker; but I could be wrong.

20. Felt that David is a bit like my dad.   His hair is still all brown.  It took my dad a long time to get any gray hair.  I don't know when he started getting them.    He still has a lot of brown hair though, and he's in his sixties. As far as I know, he doesn't dye it.  

21. Learned that David dresses casually—jeans and a t-shirt, unless told otherwise.

Okay, and I was right about the drinking.  However you look at it, he certainly likes to have a good time, and to David that means sleeping around and getting drunk whenever possible.

He doesn't believe in relationships.  I guess that was written before he got together with Adele.  Although I'm not sure if they're extremely together or not. I don't remember how cohesive the relationship is.  

22. Learned that David and Adrian (they're brothers) were born to a witch mother and muggle father.   Their parents later got divorced.  The mother turned to drinking. David ended up having to provide parenting for his brother, and he grew protective of him.

23. Learned more about the relationship between David and Adele.  They met at Adrian's wedding to Mereditha.  They lived together for awhile, but then their relationship was hurt when Adrian and Mereditha lost their baby.  David took it pretty hard.

24. Learned that David's toddler daughter Chrissy is not Adele's daughter too.  She came about from a one night stand.

I'm guessing Adele and David eventually got back together. I got the idea from the Find An Orbit Closer To The Ground story thread that they lived together. I'll go back and skim through it.  

Okay yeah.   It does seem that they live in the same house.  

25. Saw Tim working on the pies.  He says he's just using his usual recipe.  He thinks (and probably learned) that Australian pies use a puff pasty.

Yeah.  This recipe for Australian meat pie calls for puff pastry.

Lord Wiki says puff pastry is used in turnovers, pies, sausage rolls, strudel, and some other stuff.  

I think Tim is using a recipe for pot pie; so it's going to be more American than Australian.

26. Started to read chapter fifteen of Fruitcake's blog.  

She has some very interesting points here.   She talks about the White Australia Policy, and says part of it came from racism.  But another part of it comes from the fear that foreigners will accept lower wages.  I guess white foreigners are more likely to demand higher wages.

The fear's still there.  People today fear immigrants because they're afraid of losing jobs to them.  Still though. I think racism plays a big part in it as well. 

And maybe the fear of losing jobs adds to the racist feelings.

Fear and racism go hand in hand.  

27. Liked what Fruitcake says here.  There were massacres of Chinese diggers on the goldfields. In part, this antipathy may have been the result of the Chinese’ tendency to keep to themselves, though I suspect they kept to themselves because they knew they weren’t wanted.    I think that happens a lot...both in group relationships and individual relationships.  We dislike people who act distant, and they act distant because they think we don't like them. It's hard to know where it begins.

Although sometimes I think groups stick to themselves because they feel this is how it should be. I know some Jews are that way.  It's okay to have casual gentile friends.  But your serious relationships, especially your marriage, needs to be with other Jews.

I don't think Jews are the only group like that. And not everyone within an ethnic group is going to be that way.

The isolation is partly about expecting to be rejected; but it's also partly about rejecting the mainstream group.

28. Continued to read Fruitcake's chapter.  She talks about Paul Hasluck who was the Minister of Territories.  His name sounds familiar. Maybe I've written about him before?  Or maybe I ran into his name somewhere.   I don't know.

Hasluck talked about a new assimilation policy that appeared in 1951.  The basic idea was that the color of your skin didn't matter.  What mattered is how you acted—your culture.   And the only culture acceptable was white culture. If you acted white, you'd be free.

Fruitcake says:

We might (quite rightly) interpret the Ordinance as patronising and interfering, or even promoting exploitation. It certainly showed whites were determined Aboriginals should abandon any trace of Aboriginal beliefs, practices or identity, so a cultural form of genocide was to continue.
On the other hand, if it had been implemented by people of good will and in the right spirit, the Ordinance might have been more constructive than it turned out to be.

Yeah.  I interpret the policy in a very negative way.  I'm not sure how anyone can deprive someone of their culture while being in the right spirit.   Of course it's one of those we meant well type things.    It's like the parents who put their boys in therapy because they were too feminine.  I'm sure they meant no harm. They loved their children. 

What happens though when you're pressured to give up who you are and become something you're not?  Does that ever feel good?  Is it ever fair?   

I mean we all push for change in people a little bit.  I wish Jack helped with cleaning more.   I push that a bit.  I wish it wasn't such a chore to get him to try new books.   I might push that a bit.   I push him to stick with projects and not abandon them so easily.   I think it's fine to help people build on their strengths and work on their weaknesses.  It's not okay to want to completely change someone; to demand that they give up their identity.     

It's like the child who wants to be a writer, and the parents insist that he become a doctor. That's sad.
When you forbid someone from following their culture or following their dreams; not only are you causing them grief by subtracting something important from their life. But you're  also rejecting them. You're saying their culture and/or dreams are inferior.     

Saying "we mean well" really doesn't excuse us from bad behavior; nor does it mean we were in the right spirit despite the wrongs we did. 

Sometimes bad things are caused by people who mean harm.  But often bad things are caused by people who meant no harm.   It's just they weren't thinking, or their actions were clouded by egocentrism and selfishness.  The innocent or good intentions of the ones who caused harm doesn't always diminish the pain in the victim.  I think this is especially true if there're more excuses and justifications than apologies and attempts to make amends.  

29. Saw Tim was watching The Crazies.  I remembered it from my blog research, so I went to see which Australian was in it.

The answer: Radha Mitchell.

Tim talked about how he didn't know she was Australian until he saw Rogue.   He made a remark about Australians being good at faking the American accent.

I don't think the American accent is easier than the Australian accent.   I think America uses a lot of international actors, and they often demand these actors use an American accent.  How often does does the Australian film industry hire an American and demand that they use an Australian accent?

Then there's also the fact that Australians watch a lot of American television.   I'm sure many Australians are exposed to American accents from a very young age.   It's probably easier to pick up accents if you've heard them since you were a child.   It's not a full proof method though. Jack has had a lot of exposure to Aussie accents.  He hasn't picked up the accent in any way.  

30. Decided to watch the trailer for The Crazies.

I remember it being really scary.  The bits I saw of the movie were less scary; but that's probably because I wasn't giving it my full attention.   I was doing laundry, talking to Jack, talking to Tim, etc.  I mean it wasn't even scary enough to disturb Jack.  At one point the movie made a lot of noise and Jack turned in its direction.   I told him not to watch and then paused it.  I don't want him traumatized.  But I think it's one of those movies that are scary only if you sit and actually watch it.
Or we might have just ended up seeing the scenes that were less scary.   Even The Exorcist has non-creepy moments, as illustrated in this re-edited trailer.   

31. Went back to watching The Crazies trailer. 

Radha Mitchell kind of looks like Rebecca De Mornay.

I think the scariest part of the trailer is at 1:00.   

32. Decided that for now on I'm going to embed videos instead of just linking to them.   I think maybe it will be easier?  Hopefully, it won't be annoying.

It might get annoying if there's too many videos.  I don't know.

The idea came into my head a few weeks ago, when I read the Doc Jenson's Lost thing.   He embeds the videos. That way if you want to watch, you can watch; but at the same time continue reading.  You can multi-task.

If it annoys you, please email me or leave a message on my Facebook Page.    If at least five people say they don't like it, I'll stop doing it.    If someone specifically speaks up and says they DO like it, then I'll subtract one of the votes of the people who don't like it.

33. Saw from the Australian Dictionary of Biography that my Australian of the day is Mary Barr Mackinlay.    She was a Dominican Sister.  That's a nun, I believe.   

Mary was born in 1910, in Temora, New South Wales.

34. Looked up Temora on Google Maps.   It's an hour north of Wagga Wagga.  

35. Learned that Mary had six siblings; two of them were adopted.  I wonder how that happened.  Did the parents seek out children to adopt, or did an opportunity come to them?  

As a child, Mary went to a one teacher bush school.  She enjoyed that.    Then when she was a teenager she was sent to learn at a Dominican Convent.   I'm not sure why. Was it a typical school, and she happened to go there because her mother was Catholic. Or did Mary have an early interest in being a nun?

Mary did well in school; especially English Literature.

She later got a degree from the University of Sydney. Then she did the nun thing.

36. Learned that Mary's religious name was Sister Alphonse Marie.

She was a teacher nun, and it seems she was well-liked by students.

That's about it.

37. Decided to watch more videos from the email full of recommended videos.

This one is Holy Grail by Hunters and Collectors

It sounds vaguely familiar.

Then there's Hunters and Collector's When The River Runs Dry.   

This one sounds less familiar to me.

The woman at 4:25 reminds me of the scary woman in The Crazies trailer.

38. Started to watch the third recommended Hunters and Collectors video.  This one is called Blind Eye.   

I like these Hunter and Collector songs, but I can't say that I love them yet. I probably need time for the love to grow.

39. Learned from Lord Wiki that Hunters  and Collectors began in 1981.   They disbanded in 1998, but have gotten together since then to do their thing.

In March 2009, they participated in Sound Relief for the Victorian Bushfire relief efforts.