Thursday, June 9, 2011

Compensation, Celebrities, Authors, and Getting Organized

1. Had dream that....I'm with a child who's Australian (but she also reminds me of a child I knew when I was involved with Cystic Fibrosis).   She's visiting America.  She tells me it feels so strange to be here.  I tell her I understand.  It felt weird for us to be all the way in Australia.  Then we reminisce about stuff in the past.  We talk about when we knew each other before I was obsessed with Australia. 

2. Dreamed that, in desperation I attempted to use a toilet that I believed belonged to Julian McMahon.  But it was absolutely disgusting so I didn't use it.
 
I had a bunch of celebrity-related dreams last night.   I worked on a group project with Helena Bonham Carter.  Cher became a sudden feminist after reading a book and wanted me to join her new crusade.  I hung out with Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.    Jesse Tyler Ferguson said something adorable, and I desperately wanted to hug him.  I think he let me, which was nice of him.  

3. Figured out from Facebook that it's the Queens Birthday holiday this weekend.  If any of you are doing something to celebrate that, I hope you enjoy it.

4. Read article about potential high speed train coming to Australia.   We used a high speed train when we were in London to go to Canterbury.  We thought it was great.

The article says its a low carbon type thing; so that's probably good.

The train would get people from Sydney to Melbourne in three hours.

5. Read article about farmers wanting compensation because their farming careers are ruined now... since they can't send cows to Indonesia to be horribly abused.  From all stuff I read on the RSPCA yesterday, I think a lot of the farmers should be paying compensation to the farm animals.  I'm not sure what the animals would do with the money, though.

I'm having a hard time feeling sympathy for the farmers.  If they wanted the government and general population to have compassion for them, they should have shown compassion for the animals.  And this compassion should have started a long time ago.

6. Thought more about cattle farmers.  From what I read yesterday, it sounds like beef cows have a pretty nice life, especially if they have farmers that don't brand them with a hot iron.  However, then the cows go to these feeding lot things before being slaughtered.  Or they're sent on horribly uncomfortable journeys to countries where they're often abused.  I think a good and humane farmer wouldn't sell his cows without knowing what happens to them after they say their goodbyes.   If you truly care about something's well being, you want to know they're going to be treated okay when you're time with them is up.  It seems to be that many farmers treat their cows decently only so the cows are decent enough to get sold.

7. Wondered if farmers often harden their hearts towards their cows because they know the cow is eventually going to be killed.   Is it easier to sell a cow for slaughter when you don't have any affection towards it?   Do the farmers force themselves not to become attached?   Does this make things easier on the farmer?  Probably.  But I think it makes things much worse for the animals.

8. Listened to ABC radio while exercising.  They talked about the live transport ban.  I heard the type of argument Andrew had heard. A farmer talked about the poor Indonesians not being able to get enough protein.

How long are we going to cling to the mythology that you need meat to survive?  People can get protein from chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, black beans, whole wheat bread, peanut butter, etc.

9. Intrigued by some Australian celebrity gossip.  I'm not going to report it since it's just a rumor, and I don't want to help spread rumors.  But if it ends up being true, I'll talk about it.

10. Read article that says Australian scientists may have a new drug that could slow Ovarian cancer.   That's good.  I like hearing about effective weapons against cancer.

Cancer is so scary.  I feel like it's being diagnosed left and right.   Every time I turn around, I hear of someone having it, dying from it, or (if they're lucky) surviving it.

11. Tired of my Harry Potter blog.  I feel my character is clashing with other characters.   I'm wanting to write casual fun type storylines about friendships and first love. The readers and commenters are wanting to do melodrama.  Both type of stories are fine, of course.  They all have their place in the world.  I'm just not sure they work well together.  I talk about trips to Sydney, and the other characters leave comments with talk of their enormous personal tragedies.   So then my character ends up sounding horribly superficial.    Alex and Julia did have a few weeks of melodrama, but they survived it.  I mean it didn't have a tragic ending.
 
Really.  What does a Muggle teen in Australia talk about when all her readers are lonely orphans trying to survive a horrific war in England?

Well, the good news is the war is due to end in 2 months. You know what. Wars aren't all that bad when you know the end date and the outcome.  And two months their time is only about 4 weeks our time.  

12. Read article that says a gay bar in Melbourne has won the right to discriminate against women.   Girls are going to be banned, except for Sundays. Why?  Because the women might annoyingly try to turn the men straight.

The funny thing is the article says the spokesperson for the club admits that it hasn't happened there.  Women aren't trying to turn the gay men straight.  The general manager of the club says, We haven't had that problem here. But it does happen that women try and turn gay men straight.

People try to change each other all the time.  How about a club that bans Christians because they might try to convert us?   And how about a club that bans atheists because they may try to push their godlessness down our throats?  How about a steakhouse that bans vegetarians?


Last night I dreamed I was with some women talking about Jack. One said in a bitchy tone that we should definitely stop homeschooling Jack. How did I respond?  I slapped her hard across the face.  Then my mom banned this woman from her social group.   I was touched that my mom stuck up for me.  But really.  We probably both overreacted.   People are annoying when they blatantly try to change you.  But you don't need to slap them or ban them.   You just roll your eyes at them, and/or walk away.  You can also maybe hope that they decide to ban themselves from your presence.

13. Went to the Australian Dictionary of Biography to read about my Australian of the day.  It was supposed to be Dora Edith Allman, but her biography is a short one included in another biography. I decided I'd just read about her when I got to the other one that includes her.

So, today I'm going to read about Francis Allman.   He was born in Ireland in 1780. That's eight years before the First Fleet arrived in Australia.

Francis entered the army when he was a young teen. He didn't have an easy time. He was severely injured; and at another point he became a prisoner of war.

In his late 30's, Francis moved to Sydney as an officer with his wife and three kids. A few years later, the family was sent off to Port Macquarie.   During their travels, they had some ship problems and a lot of their stuff got lost at sea.   Francis tried to get compensation for his loss, and the government ultimately said no.  They said the loss was unfortunate, but part of colonial life.  It took fourteen years for Francis to get that answer to his request.  Did he keep fighting the no's?   Or did it just take a long time for the government to give him his answer?

Francis tried farming for awhile, but didn't like it much. And he didn't have much luck in business endeavors either.  On the bright side, he was a fairly kind man.  So, that's good.

14. Started a Firefox bookmark folder called Aussie Authors.  I realized I need to have some way of keeping track of writers.  When I hear of an Australian author, what I usually do is check to see if Powells has any of their books.   If they don't, I forgot about the author. That's not a really wise method.

Someone recommended two Australian writers to me the other day. I'll add them my folder first; Maureen McCarthy and Joy Dettman

15. Looked at a Jewish Australian author recommended to me; Arnold Zable.   It sounds like his books are often about Holocaust refugees trying to make a life for themselves in Australia. Scraps of Heaven sounds pretty good.

Some of the others sound good too. 

16. Cleaned out my Aussie blog folder.  It's sad because I never go to it.   I follow Blogger blogs everyday.  I mean I don't read all of them everyday.  I look at the titles of recent posts, and pick out ones I want to read.

Sometimes I'll go to blogs via Facebook.  Like me, some people post links to all their posts. If something looks interesting, I'll read it.

Then there are blogs that I miss because they're not on Blogger and they don't advertise on Facebook.  

Once in awhile, I'll see their blog on Statcounter, because someone came to my blog from their blog.   It might be the actual blogger.  So then sometimes I'll go read their blog.  

Anyway.....

The funny thing is after cleaning out the folder, there's only two blogs left in the folder.  Most of the blogs in the folder were Blogger blogs, and if I wanted to follow them I could do so via Blogger.   Other blogs are pretty much dead.

I feel bad because I like both of these blogs, but I rarely remember to read them.

17. Decided to subscribe to the two blogs.  Then I'll get an email reminder.   Sometimes I have a habit of ignoring email subscriptions.  But I don't think I'll end up ignoring blogs that interest me.

18. Couldn't figure out how to get an email subscription to one of the blogs.  So now one of these blogs is on my iGoogle page. It's pretty cool.

19. Added the other blog to my iGoogle page.   I could just add them both to the Google Reader and have that on my homepage.  That's what Tim does. But since there's only two blogs, and I have room on my iGoogle page, I kind of like doing this.  

20. Wrote "organized" for my title and the z looks weird to me.  Shit.  I'm going through major language confusion.   I really can't settle on a spelling method.  One minute I feel like writing center and the next minute I feel like writing centre.   There's this little voice that says Just pick a spelling and be consistent.   My crazy self refuses to listen.   I'm the same with accents.   I've had days where I vow to try hard and stick to an American accent all day. Then I keep slipping up and I say screw it, I'm just going to become Australian.   I'll be like the Portia de Rossi in reverse.   Of course, as soon as I make that plan, I start speaking totally American.

The other night I kept talking Australian and various other accents. Jack found it all very amusing.   Then the American accent kicked back in, and Jack wanted me to do other accents.  I refused.  He kept trying to get me to go back to Australian by asking me to say g'day mate.  I would say it in the most American accent possible.  It sounds very funny if you do that. We had fun with that.   

21. Decided maybe if I stop trying to be consistent and just allow myself to be totally free, I'll end up being consistent.   It might be like reverse psychology.   

22. Wanted to add that when Jack tries to imitate an Aussie accent, he usually says I want to wrestle me a crocodile.   I have no idea where he got that.  Of course, not from me!   I would never poison my child's mind by perpetuating stereotypes.  Besides, I've done enough research about Australia to understand that Australian people would rather ride kangaroos than wrestle big scary reptiles.

23. Went to Tallygarunga. Visiting that place is one of my favorite parts of the day.  

24. Decided to read a rather long story today.  I was torn between this one and another one.   I'll read the other one another day.  Maybe tomorrow.  Oh! And there was actually a third story that interested me.  I'll catch up someday.

The story I'm going to read is called Waiting Around.   The writing of it began on May 29, and it's 17 posts long.  It involves Reade Ainsworth, Jackson Dalton, and Artemesia Bellerose.   

Reade is the guy who's mute, but not deaf.  He's good at playing musical instruments and he's the one who was fighting over a library book with another student.  Was that Susan Summers?  Maybe?   I think so.

Artemesia Bellerose is the one who's very nice to people she likes and very mean to people she doesn't like.   She's the one who reminded me of someone I used to know on the internet.   I had to go back and read my old post to remind me about Artemesia.   I was pretty sure I had read about her, but couldn't remember what I had learned.  I think I need to read about a character about 20 times before having a good sense of who they are.  I'm still not good at keeping Tally students straight.

I do know I haven't read much about Jackson yet.  He's new to me.  I did briefly look him up because someone mentioned a Tallygarunga Jack on my Facebook page.   I wanted to see who they were talking about.

25. Saw that Waiting Around takes place in Kookynie Halls.  Here I can read a bit about it.  

It's the oldest building on campus.

It's where you'd find Flinders students because their dorms and common room is here.   You'd also find some classrooms; Transfiguration, Ancient Runes, Basic Alchemy, and Advanced Alchemy.   There's also the Musiciary.  Is that a class?   Well, it has sign up sheets and everything.   I'm guessing it's a club or class.   My highly evolved impressive brain is telling me it might have something to do with music.  

The library is in Kookynie Halls.  And there's a tutoring center. This is where Waiting Around takes place.  

26. Started to read the story.

I like Reade.  He does his work in the tutoring room just in case another student comes by who might need his help.   That's very giving of him.    It also reminds me of my college days.   No, I wasn't that giving.   But, despite the fact that I'm usually not social, I was very social in college.   I remember doing homework in public places with the hope that I'd see people I like, or they'd see me. There was often that hope I'd run into certain people.

27. Learned that Reade is having some trouble himself with a class.  Charms. Maybe he could help someone and they could help him.

He did levitate a pen.  That's good.  I guess

This reminds me of a discussion I had with Tim the other day.   I told him about Tallygarunga, and how some of the stories hardly talk about magic.  Still, I love Tallygarunga.  And I've come to notice that when participating in Magic is Might, the magic stuff kind of.....

Well, it's not that interesting to me.  Wands, spells, levitation, blah, blah, blah.   This helped me to realize that what I love about JK Rowling's universe is not the magic.   It's the people, the relationships, the conflicts, etc.

No, that's not exactly right.   I do like some of the magical things.   I like the Pensieve.  I like the Room of Requirement.   I like the Cloak of Invisibility. I like the Horcruxes.  I mean I don't like them. I'm not evil. But I think they're interesting.

Maybe it's just the wand stuff that fails to get me excited.   Is there really much a wizard can do with a wand that I couldn't do with 21st century technology?  Or is there anything I would NEED or want to do?

Julia, my wizard character, has finally embraced her magical self.  She's ready to do magic.   And then I sit there not knowing what the hell she should do with her wand.  So far, I've had her rip her sister's clothes with some spell.  And she's doing a lot of Accio.    Accio this and Accio that.   I want to say, Julia, just get off your ass and go get what you need.  How lazy are you? 

28. Decided I should shut up and keep reading the story. 

Jack is in the library.  He has a paper due for History of Magic.  He hasn't even started it yet.  

He's a slow reader and a slow writer.  I'm a fast reader and fast writer, but reading and reporting on this story is likely to take me hours, since I keep going off in tangents.

29. Amused that Jack once confused Vulva with Volvo.  Those two words do sound alike.  

Jack reminds me of me.  He also once confused conscious for conscience. I think I've done that before.

Okay.  So Jack decided he needed to seek help on his paper.  He went to the tutoring room, and was disappointed to see Reade.  Why?  Reade can't speak.   At first I was thinking Jack is being a total jerk.  But I think I can understand.  If Jack is a slow reader and writer, it might be hard to communicate with someone who does so by writing.  

Reade is a bit weary of Jack because he sees Jack as being not-so-nice.  But Reade was nice and tried to read out to him.   How will Jack respond?   I need to keep reading.

30. Disappointed in Jack.  He didn't return Reade's friendliness.  But I can relate to his feelings towards Reade.   Something about Reade had always rubbed Jack the wrong way. Seeing him never failed to raise Jack's hackles.    I've felt that way about people sometimes.   Unlike Jack, I usually force myself to be friendly; or at least civil. This is especially so if I don't feel I have a truly valid reason for disliking them.

I know some people believe we should always be REAL.  If you like someone, be nice to them.  If you don't like them, don't bother.  Otherwise, you're fake.   But if someone's not a horrible person, and you just get annoyed at them for no good reason, I don't think it's really fair to be mean.   That's not to say I'm always nice.  I do lose my temper sometimes.  And sometimes people get on my nerves so much, I can't manage to fake the niceness anymore.

31. Wondered again at the purpose of levitating objects. Reade's still working on it.

It seems to me that the only benefit would be to impress people.  If I levitated my Wii remote last night during the bowling tournament, I would have totally impressed my family.   I would video tape it; put it on YouTube.   It might go viral.  I could become a huge levitating star.   But if you're magic living in a society filled with wizards, who's going to be around to think you're absolutely fantastic?

32. Wanted to add that I mean no offense towards Reade when I gripe about all this levitating.   I understand he needs to do it for school.  I respect that. I'm just complaining in general.

Maybe levitation is like long division.  Yes, it's impressive that you can do it. But is it really truly needed that frequently?

33. Got to the part where Artemisia Bellerose enters the picture. I think she's going to kick Jack's ass.  That's my prediction.

For now, she's wanting to go to the Musiciary to play violin.  She's thinking of getting Reade to come play with her.  Does she have romantic feelings for him?   Or is it just a music thing?

34. Saw that there's some major back story here.  Artemisia and Jack have hated each other since childhood.

Jack bullied Artemesia's sister Demi; and Artemesia is very protective of Demi. 

35. Read that Arti kissed Reade.  Interesting.   I'm not sure if it was a romantic type thing, or she's just trying to cheer him up about the Jack-bullying thing.  

36. Decided that it's not really easy to love Jack.   Well, I love my Jack.  He's very easy to love.   But this other Jack is very mean.   He's the type of person that doesn't just blindly tease.  He finds your weak spot, sticks in the knife, and then twists it.  I know people like that.

37. Liked this line from Reade.   He knew Jackson was going for the jugular and he was trying his hardest to not allow it to get to him, but he felt the tears well up in the corners of his eyes. He blinked them back, lip quivering a little as he tried to contain the emotion which threatened to overflow.  There are people out there who really love to push buttons.  Some of them just do it as a sort of psychological test.  They want to hurt you, but they don't want to hurt you.   Once you show that you're hurt, they back away, apologize, feel bad, etc.  Others WANT to see you hurt, and will enjoy your pain.

I've dealt often with the first type of people.  I didn't have major dealings with the second until recently.  It was a bit shocking to me. 

38. Finished reading the story; or what's there so far.   It may continue.   I think it's a good illustration of the different ways people deal with anger and hurt.  They lash out at others.   Then sometimes they lash out at themselves, or objects lying around.   Reade hurls a pencil case across the room.—with his hands, not magic.   Arti hits the table with her fist, hurting her own hands and arms. 

Does anger always need an output of violence?

Maybe.   I think it sort of does, at least when the anger is very intense.  We can try to suppress the anger, but it's usually going to come out at some point.   Or it might make us physically ill. 

It's probably best to be violent, but make choices that are less harmful and less destructive.

When I was extremely angry, I broke a plate.  That was bad because the plate cost money.   On the other hand, I'm pretty much the only one at the lake house who uses ceramic plates.   Everyone else usually uses paper plates.   I didn't destroy something that was very much needed by the family.

It would have been much worse if I crashed a laptop to the floor, or someone's mobile phone. 

39. Wondered if it was better to express anger with words rather than violence.   Instead of smashing your fist into the wall, is it better to write a letter to the person who angered you?

Sometimes it works.  But other times you create more drama and more reasons to be angry.

How about if you write the letter and then throw it away?

That works sometimes. Often it's annoying though, because then a part of me regrets that the letter wasn't sent.   And it ends up being such a waste of time. I could have saved time by just throwing a book at the wall. 

40. Started to read the biography of Jackson Dalton.  Can I manage to have any sympathy for this bully? 

Jack is pureblood and in Sturt. 

He was born in Melbourne. 

Jack fits what many people see as the stereotypical bully.  He has no friends.  He lashes out and hurts others as a method of dealing with his own insecurities.  I think this type of bully is awful, but in a way not as bad as the bully who is popular, well-liked, and supported.

Reade had it rough when Jack came into the room and verbally abused him.  As much as it hurt though, I think it would have been worse if Arti came into the room and started laughing along with Jack. 

I think a bully will cause much less psychological harm when he doesn't have support from others.   

41. Learned that Jack is mistreated by his parents.   He's neglected by them. 

Read this about Jack.   He'll take being feared to being mocked or pitied any day and he is not above picking on people weaker than himself.   I think this is very different from the bully who bullies in order to gain power.

Well...no...I guess Jack is seeking power.   But it's a different kind of power.  He's seeking self-preservation.   He's protecting himself from pity.    I think many other bullies are seeking social power.  They're mean to others because it brings them laughter, cheering, and stuff like that.

42. Though of something else regarding the different type of bullies.  I think only certain people become the Jackson Dalton type of bully.   First of all, I think it has to be someone in his situation.—one that's abused or feels unloved.  It has to be a person who's very weak and desperate.   And even among that population, not everyone's going to be a bully.   Some might go in the opposite direction.  They might be very timid—meek.   They might become a complete doormat, believing they somehow deserve abuse. 

I think the other type of bullying is more prevalent because I think most of us are that bully at some point; or we become that type of bully's cheerleaders. We find a clever way to be mean to someone and make others laugh at that person's expense.  Or maybe we exclude someone and feel some bit of satisfaction over that.

Now I don't think I've ever tried to make someone's life a living hell just so I could gain popularity.   I don't think I've consistently picked on anyone.  But I'm sure there have been times in my life I've tried to gain power in ways that were not so nice. 

43. Thought of an example.   I don't think I was actually mean here, but I also don't think I went out of my way to be nice.   And I think a part of me enjoyed the discomfort of others.   I liked being on the in, while other people were on the out.  Does that make sense?

It happened at a Gymboree parent and child class.  We had these ridiculous discussions about parenting led by a young woman who didn't even have children yet.   One day, the subject was children's sleep.  How do you get your child to sleep through the night?  I had been through this question at a previous semester of the class, staying silent because I felt I really didn't fit in with the other moms.   This next semester of the class was different.  When the question was asked, one brave woman piped up with a confession.   She said she just lets her kid sleep with her.  Then many of us spoke up and said the same thing.  It was a moment of co-sleeping camaraderie.   But maybe not so much so for the mothers who had their babies sleep in cribs.

As far as I remember no one said anything overtly mean.  So it's not really an example of bullying.   I think it's more of an example of a situation that can lead to bullying.   This would be especially so if all of us were co-sleepers except for one mother.   It's likely we could all gang up on this woman by bombarding her with opinions and advice.  We could make her feel bad by emphasizing the fact that she's very outnumbered.   If we were nasty, we could go as far as belittling her.   We could make nasty comments, roll our eyes, whisper about her, etc.    Someone could make a joke about cribs at this mother's expense.   The rest of us could laugh.   It escalates from there, unless someone stops and says Hey, enough. It's not funny. Leave her alone.    Sometimes someone is smart enough to end the scene and make nice.  Other times, no one says anything like that and a consistent ongoing bullying situation is created.

44. Decided I should read more about Jack. 

Jack likes Quidditch and plays for the Sturt team.

His mother is French.

45. Felt sad for Jack's childhood.   His parents had him out of obligation, not love.   That makes me so sad...and mad.  There's so much pressure on people to procreate. And what does that do to the children?

 46. Saw that Jack's family is like Rose's family in Titanic.  They were wealthy high-class people, and then things went wrong.  They lost their fortune.   Jack had to switch from private school to public.  

48. Had an idea for the gay club that's going to ban women.  Why not allow women, but by invitation only?   I think it would lessen the chance of some girls getting together with their anti-gay girlfriends and saying, Hey, let's convert some gay guys!    You could have less of these women; but then you wouldn't exclude women who simply want to hang out with their friends who happen to be gay men.  

49. Thought of something horrible.  Maybe the reason my family always uses paper plates at the lake house is because there's no longer enough ceramic plates!  Maybe because of me there's one less than they need.  Did they always use paper plates in the past?  I  don't know.   I kind of think they used both.  One night it would be ceramic, and another night it would be paper.

Then again, we did have enough glasses for ice-cream and everyone but me chose to use paper bowls.

I don't know what to think.