Sunday, June 12, 2011

Harry Potter Fans, Flight Cancellations, Vampires, and Escaping

1. Surprised about something I learned in Tallygarunga last night. They're not all Harry Potter fans over there.  Some of them haven't even read the books.  I figured people who joined the site were Harry Potter fans, Australia fans, or both.  It seems members join for other reasons.   I guess they just like role-playing, and Tallygarunga is a nice place, because it's full of very creative and very welcoming people.  

In some ways it makes me feel better because I sometimes feel intimidated by other Harry Potter fans.  Although I've read each book multiple times, I have an awful memory and don't seem to know things that other fans know. 

The only thing that makes me feel a little Tally-disillusioned is that last night I sensed somewhat of a lack of love towards Harry Potter fans. It might have been my imagination.   I don't know.  It might have just been a lack of love for hardcore fans.  But then I wonder, am I or am I not a hardcore fan of Harry Potter?  I'm definitely a hardcore fan of Australia.   That's for sure. As for Harry Potter, I feel I'm more of a fan than the general population. But when I encounter other Harry Potter fans, I feel I'm less hardcore then them.

I don't go to Harry Potter conventions.  I don't have the birthdays of all the characters and actors memorised; although I do know that Harry Potter's birthday is July 31. I didn't love Harry Potter land at Universal Studios.

But I did read all the books...multiple times.  I come close to worshiping JK Rowling.  We had a Harry Potter party at our house.  And a large focus of our London trip was Harry Potter focused.  

 2. Decided I can still love Tallygarunga if it's not full of Harry Potter fans.   But if there's a general feeling of dislike towards Harry Potter, JK Rowling or Harry Potter fans, it may not be my dreamland after all.

I don't yet have a clear picture.  And it might not ever be clear.   Tally has a lot of members. It's highly doubtful they all think alike. Some may be Harry Potter fans.  Some may be apathetic towards Harry Potter.  And some may have yucky feelings towards Harry Potter and its fans.   

3. Had a deep thought.  I'm thinking if there is a negative feeling towards Harry Potter fans in Tallygarunga, it may have come about from HP fans coming along and trying to bring too much Harry Potter into Tallygarunga. There was actually a rule about that somewhere in the guidelines.   I remember seeing it. I'll try to find it again.

Okay. I found it.  It took some searching. It's here under Creating a Character Mousie Will Love

Although Tally is based on Harry Potter, we don't acknowledge the events in JK Rowling's books. This is because the series wasn't finished when the board was opened. Instead, we take the view that the conflict happened half a world away, and had very little impact here. Because of this, Tallygarunga is non canon, and we do not accept characters (or descendants of) from the books. Further more, we do not accept characters from other books, movies, games or any media.

That makes sense to me.   I think it's another reason I'm having less fun with my wizard/Muggle blog.  Alex and Julia are now in Australia.  They're starting to adjust to their new home, and have become less connected to what's happening in the UK.  The war does seem to be a world away. But then I have UK wizards coming to my site to talk about their trials and tribulations. And I just want to say, Leave England and come to Australia! It's fun here.  Okay.  Well, I actually did kind of say that.   My suggestion didn't seem to go over very well.   I guess these British wizards aren't interested in becoming magical asylum seekers.

I do like that Tallygarunga doesn't allow Harry Potter characters or people connected to them.  From my time in the Magic is Might Experience and my time in Tallygarunga, I've learned that I definitely prefer role-playing that involves newly created characters.  In Magic is Might, I stopped following and interacting with the JK-Rowling characters and gave attention only to the fan-created characters. Alex will infrequently mention a character she's read about in the news, but it's like me mentioning someone like Stephen Colbert or Julia Gillard. 

4. Went to look at Statcounter, and saw there was five people (around the same time) asking about Julia Gillard's age. I wonder what that's all about.

5. Read Michael's blog post about the big rocking horse. It's in a town near Adelaide.   I like his photo. The horse looks really cool.

I can't agree with Michael when he says I don’t know what it is about Australian towns and why they feel that size matters, but I guess a big rocking horse is better than a big galah or pineapple.

I think all the big things in Australia are awesome. Although all I've seen so far is the big sheep in Goulburn. I hope to see more some day.

6. Tried twice to comment on Andrew's blog, and it didn't seem to work.   I'm not sure if it's my internet connection or a Blogger issue.  Andrew will either end up with two comments from me, or there'll be none.   

7. Checked Andrew's blog.  I was wrong.  ONE of my comments is there.  I guess one disappeared, and the other survived.  Well, that's good.

8. Read article about volcanic ash in Australia. Flights are being canceled.

The volcano ash is from Chile. Wow.  

It's a pain in the butt for people to have their flights canceled.  But I like that Qantas says they're putting safety before scheduling.   

The article says that Qantas is reimbursing some passengers.  That's really nice of them.  I may be remembering this incorrectly.  But I think with American Airlines, if the delay is weather related, they won't reimburse you at all.

9. Looked at American Airlines website.   They say, When cancellations and major delays are experienced, you will be rerouted on our next flight with available seats. If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control and we do not get you to your final destination on the expected arrival day, we will provide reasonable overnight accommodations, subject to availability.

So if they can argue that the flight delay is out of their control (weather related) than they don't have to give you any help with food vouchers or overnight accommodations.   


10. Looked at the Qantas policy on cancellations.   They say, If travelling on Qantas, we will use all reasonable efforts to depart on time, but we do not guarantee flight times. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you may in some circumstances be entitled to assistance and/or compensation depending on your journey and applicable law.   They don't say say the cancellation needs to be caused by something within their control; but they're a bit mysterious about what would qualify for compensation. 

11. Learned that I have another Allnutt for my Australian of the day; Marion Ellen Lea Allnutt,   I'm not sure if she's related to yesterday's Allnutt.     

12. Realized that I probably spelled Allnutt wrong yesterday.  I noticed suddenly there were two t's at the end rather than just one.  I checked yesterday's Allnutt and saw it was the same. Then when I wrote the name the right way, Firefox said I was wrong.   So that shows I didn't add the correct spelling to my Firefox dictionary yesterday. 

13. Started to read about Marion.

She was born in the late 19th century, in Adelaide.  Then the family moved to Western Australia.  They stayed there until Marion was about eighteen.

Marion's family was wealthy, and her father refused to let his daughters work.  

Marion later got engaged, but the engagement fell through.   Marion then went on to do charity work.  I guess her father was okay with unpaid work?   Or maybe she went behind his back?  Defied him? 

She did social work type stuff during World War II.  She helped with the founding of an organization called WANS (Women's Australian National Services).  

14. Went to Tallygarunga.  I have to decide which story to read today.

15. Decided to continue reading Satisfy Your Soul.  This is the story thread taking place in the Melbourne burger restaurant, starring Reade Ainsworth and Artemisia Bellerose.  There's three new posts since the last time I checked. 

16. Liked Reade's thoughts here.  Sure, he liked music and he was having a great time out with Arti, but he also enjoyed a lot of Muggle activities which weren't nearly as cool and sophisticated. Comic books, sci-fi and fantasy genre movies and television ... he had been quite introverted as child and had spent most of his time inside involved in make-believe worlds.

I can relate to that, and I'm guessing a lot of other people can as well.   It's that feeling of liking someone, and knowing they like us on the surface.  But will they like us if we reveal our less "cool" sides?  Then again, I think some people have interests that are much more socially acceptable.   It's easier to admit that you like going out to clubs to listen to live music than it is to say, I love to sit at home reading role-playing soap operas.

In the long run, it's better to be open about who we are.  It will weed out the people who don't like our types, and open up dialogue with people who ARE like us. Oh, you like watching Star Trek?   Me too!

It's not always that easy though.  Sometimes we like someone too much, and we don't want to take the risk.   I can imagine this is the case with Reade.  He definitely likes Arti.   Will he be brave enough to let her see his geeky side? And if she sees it, will she be turned off, or will she continue to like him? 

I have a feeling Arti is already aware of Reade's  geeky side, and probably won't mind a bit about his hobbies.   

I could be wrong, though.

17. Saw that Reade brought up the subject of his hobbies by asking if Arti has a TV.  That was a good approach.  He doesn't have to blurt out his interests, but he can get some ideas about Arti's feelings.   If she said,  TV? No way.  We'd never have a Muggle contraption like that in her house! Or if she laughed at the question like it was completely ridiculous, he'd know she wouldn't be open to that type of entertainment.  

Anyway, Arti's family does have a television; but she doesn't watch it, because not doing so helps her keep distance between herself and her parents.  She has gone to the cinema a few times.  

18. Went to the Tallygarunga member list so I can find a biography to read.  I haven't found a biography yet this way. It might be fun.  

19. Filtered the members by post count.  I'd rather read the biographies of active characters.   Anyway, the character with the most posts is Vladamir Valentin VII.  

Oh!  This might be fun!  Vladamir is one of those half-vampire creatures; a Dhampir. 

20. Googled Dhampir.  I was wondering if it's part of an established mythology; or if it was made up by Tallygarunga.

It's the former.   It's a Balkan thing. A Dhampir has a vampire father and human mother.   So I guess Renesmee would qualify.

21. Went back to reading about Vladimir.

He's a Cellist from Romania.

He has a Patronus....a panther.  I'm guessing that means he's part wizard then. I assume they are the only ones who have a Patronus. 

22. Learned that Vladimir likes to wear a lot of black.

23. Learned that Vladimir is quiet, and doesn't express emotion.  He keeps it all bottled up inside. 

Wait.  No.   Sometimes he does let it out.  He talks to his sisters or close friends.   So he's just not one of those people who blab on and on about their problems to anyone willing to listen.

24. Read interesting story about Vladimir's childhood.   Some bullies tied him up and sharpened his teeth to make him look like a vampire.  Little did they know, Vladimir was the child of a vampire.   They didn't even know vampires existed.  That's pretty ironic. 

25.  Confused about which of Vladimir's parents is a vampire.  It says in the biography that their both purebloods.  Pureblood wizards, I assume? 

One part talks about Vladimir's dad getting a job in Australia.   The rest of the family is excited about moving, but Vladimir isn't.  He's worried about living in a place that's known to have a lot of sunshine.  But why is Vladimir the only one concerned?   Aren't there other vampires in the family?   Or did they simply not consider the sun bit?

26. Read about the tragedy in Vladimir's life.  His father was killed in a car accident.  This is what made Vladimir the type to bottle up his emotions.

27. Started to understand things.  Vladimir didn't know he was a Dhampir, and it was his biological father that was the vampire.  I didn't realize his father wasn't his biological one.

There's some major soap opera drama here.  There were two twins; Ivan and Igor.   Igor was in love with Valentina.  Then he left to become a vampire.   Interesting.   I wonder why he decided to do that.  I don't know if I've ever heard of a vampire who became a vampire by actively seeking out the condition . 

Anyway, while Igor was away, Ivan made his moves on Valentina.  When Igor returned, he found his twin had married his woman.   He was very angry; and out of revenge, Igor raped Valentina. That's how Vladimir was conceived.  

28. Learned that Ivan didn't die in the car accident.  He survived by getting himself turned into a vampire.

29.  Learned that Vladimir has a wife and children.  And he's related to Dracula. 

30. Went back to the Go Back To Where You Came From site. They have a simulation program.   I want to try it. 

It's a bit of a pain.  I guess it takes up a lot of memory/power.  It's making my computer go really slow.   Still.   I know.   I shouldn't complain.  Having a slow computer is not as bad as being stuck in a detention center. 

31. Started playing the game.  I'm supposed to imagine I'm escaping Australia.  That goes way beyond what my imagination can handle.  So, instead I'll imagine I'm trying to escape America. 

32. Watched a bit of Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine while doing the simulation. 

I just looked at the cast on IMDb because I thought I might have seen Asher Keddie. And...yep.   It was her.  I wonder if they'll show her again.  

33. Saw that there's some McLeod's Daughters actors in the movie; Myles Pollard and Aaron Jeffrey. 

34. Lost my passport.  It was stolen in my apartment.  And even after working at an exhausting (and probably illegal) job, I don't have enough money to exit the country.

I feel totally screwed here. 

35. Escaped being hit by a car, and then I almost got beat up by a bunch of men with bats.

36. Decided that this simulation thing is REALLY making me love my pampered easy life.

37. Made some money in the black market, and then I was robbed. My life sucks. 

Well, at least my pretend life sucks.  

38. Went into debt with people smugglers.  That's not fun.

39. Got on the boat.  I think I'm going to be seasick. 

40. Got the message of the game. People smugglers are not nice.   I keep paying off the debt, and I still keep owing them money.  They much charge a lot of interest.

41. Wished life was easier for asylum seekers. 

42. Went to the Australian Greens website.  I want to see their policies/philosophies on asylum seekers.

43. Liked the Green's stance on asylum seekers.  Basically, the idea is to treat the asylum seekers like human beings who've been through a very hard time, rather than treating them like criminals or the scum of the earth. 

I especially like this one.   House asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa in publicly owned and managed open reception centres, where entry and exit to these centres are unrestricted except where prohibited for medical or security reasons specified in clause 28.

Why do they lock asylum seekers hidden away in detention centers?

Well, some of them might be criminals. We don't want them roaming our streets.

Okay, but the same can be said of people born in our countries.  How do I know my next door neighbor isn't a serial killer?  How do I know the guy who cleans our pool isn't a rapist?

44. Envisioned an asylum center where people had comfortable beds to sleep in, toilets to share with less than twenty people, freedom to come and go during the day, English classes, and job training. 

45. Read that Virgin Airlines is starting their flights back up again.   They feel it's safe.   Is it safe?   Or are they just trying to be more agreeable to passengers than Qantas?   Are they taking unnecessary risks, or is Qantas being overly cautious?

If a Virgin flight crashes, people will say they took too many risks.  If the flights arrive without incident, people will likely look at Qantas and say, Why didn't you fly on June 13?  Why did you inconvenience all these people? 

When people do something dangerous and don't get hurt, they often fail to recognize that luck may have played a part.  Until I was about ten years old, I rode in a car without a seat belt.   As a kid, I didn't wear a helmet when I rode a bike. My parents didn't cut up my hot dogs in the choke risk- reduction way. 

I didn't get killed in a car accident.  I didn't get a head injury when riding a bike. I didn't get a piece of processed meat lodged in my throat.

Does that mean all these modern safety precautions are a waste of time and money?   No.  It means I had luck on my side.  Lots of people have luck on their side.  But just in case luck isn't on your side, it's often a good idea to take safety measures. 

46. Wondered if Qantas had anything to gain by grounding their flights unnecessarily?  Does it save them money somehow? 

47. Decided that until I know otherwise, I've lost respect for Virgin airlines.  From my limited scope of knowledge, I support what Qantas is doing.

That being said, I understand the frustration and sadness of some of customers.   It's horrible to miss a planned holiday.   I would hate that if it happened to me.

Also, some people might be heading to weddings.   Some might have funerals to attend.   Some people might need to be returning to a sick family member who might not live long enough for the volcano ash to clear.  

48. Saw that there's been another earthquake in New Zealand.   I hope there hasn't been many injuries.

49. Read article that says Qantas is going to start resuming flights too.  Virgin started this morning.  Qantas is started at 1 pm which is about 15 minutes from now (by the time you read this, it will likely be in the past).  

Hopefully Qantas isn't taking any unnecessary risks. 

Although Qantas is resuming flights into Melbourne, they're not going to resume flights to and from Tasmania and New Zealand.    Virgin IS flying to and from Tasmania and New Zealand.  I guess they believe in that horror movie philosophy.  If you're a virgin, the bad stuff won't come out and kill you. 

50. Learned from the article that some flights to Los Angeles have been canceled.

I wonder what's the path of this volcanic ash.   Is it going to come here?  

51. Learned from the article that there might be more volcanic ash coming to southeastern Australia.