Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hypocrisy, Illegal Immigrants, Clothes, and GetUp Australia

1. Felt unworldly.  I did one of those Facebook questions.  It asks where you have Facebook friends from.  There's so many countries in the world.   All I have is USA, Australia, the UK, and India.   One of my Australia Facebook friends is from Spain, so I guess I get to count that too. 

2. Read article about reclining seats on airplanes.  Some people want airlines to get rid of the option.  The airlines are saying no.  I never considered the idea of getting rid of reclining; but now that I think of it, it does make sense.  I feel bad saying that, because I think Tim likes reclining his seat a bit.   But I don't think he does it a lot. It IS really annoying when the person in front of you reclines the seat a lot, and you become even more squished then before.  Maybe they should just restrict how far you can recline.  

3. Annoyed by the prejudice and ignorance displayed in a post made on the Gay Marriage in Australia Facebook Page.  The post was rude; and some of the comments were very rude as well.    The post says, U.S States allow cousins to marry and only 5 U.S States allow same sex couples to marry. The religous right are strangely silent when it comes to incestous marriage.

Sue responds, Idiocrisy comes to mind. Very happy not to live anywhere near the homophobic incestuous U.S. they seemingly breed them full of intolerance over there, then arm them.

Yes, because Sue herself doesn't sound at all intolerant.  She's not the type of person to paint a huge group of people with one brush based on her very limited scope of knowledge.   

I'm guessing Sue didn't take the time to research her own government's laws.  In Australia, it's legal to marry your first cousin, your aunt, uncle, niece, and nephew.    

Fortunately, many people speak out with rational and researched responses—including me.   Although I probably should have read more of the other comments before making a response. I said what other people had already said.  Still, though. People might not scroll up to see the old comments, so it might be okay.

4. Read Andrew's recent blog post.  At the end, he talks about putting smarties in jelly, which here would be putting M and M's in Jello.   I've never heard of that.   It sounds kind of interesting.   Maybe we'll try it sometime.  When I first read it, I was thinking of the American version of Smarties.   They're little sweet tart candies.   I didn't think they had them in Australia, so I was confused. Then I remembered the chocolate things in Australia.   

5. Decided to try listening to ABC radio on Safari instead of Firefox.  It keeps crashing my Firefox browser.  That's a pain, because I have to get all my windows back open.  That's not a big deal, but it causes issues with my blog.  It's kind of hard to explain. But anyway, if it crashes Safari, it won't be as annoying.  

Now the radio is playing a Neil Diamond song because the lyrics mention the 3rd of June.  It's the third of June in Australia.  We're still on the 2nd here.  

6. Talked to Tim about the reclining seats issue.  He had a good point.  He said it used to not be a problem because the seats had enough space between them.  Then the greedy airlines put more seats in, because that would help them get more money.  Now there's not enough room for people to recline their seats without causing annoyance to the people in back of them.

Is there a benefit to having extra seats on the plane—outside of each plane journey bringing in more cash for the airline company?   Do we save energy by squishing more people on the plane?  I don't know.   I would think with their extra weight, and the weight of their luggage, you would be adding more to the fuel cost.

I'm guessing there's a balance.  A large plane with hardly any passengers would be wasteful.  But I think having too many passengers is counterproductive.

7. Remembered to mention that I finished reading Pescador's Wake.  I miss it, which I guess means I really liked it. I just saw Antarctica mentioned in the news, and I had a little twinge of sadness because the arctic was part of the book.

Now I'm reading Cry of the Rain Bird by Patricia Shaw.  I don't like it because it's not Pescador's Wake.   But I'm sure, as I continue reading, I'll like it.  I've read two or three of Shaw's books, and I've liked all of them.  I doubt this one will be an exception.  

8. Found out I have another William Allen for my Australian of The Day (Via the Australian Dictionary of Biography).  This time it's Sir William Guildford Allen

He was Australian-born, but his daddy was American.  Daddy Allen was a grazier, and William became that as well.  The family started out in New South Wales, but William eventually ended up in Queensland.  He kept buying property near the Thompson river, until he had about 40 kilometres of land. 

9. Switched back to an American Firefox dictionary instead of the Australian one.  But I'm finding I prefer Australian spelling in most cases.   I prefer the r before the e, like theatre rather than theater.   I also like using s instead of z.  I don't like the double L's though.  With that, I prefer the American spelling.   I'm not sure about the o vs. ou.  Maybe I prefer the American version because it's less letters to type.  But the Australian way looks fancier.

10. Learned that Sir William Guildford Allen founded the North Queensland Broadcasting Company.  There's a listing in the yellow pages for it.  It's a radio station.  I'm guessing it's the same company.

11. Read a few more pages of Cry of the Rain Bird.  I'm starting to like it. It's about sugar plantations in Queensland.  

12. Decided to check up on what's going on in the magical world of Tallygarunga

Susan Summers is doing work for her History of Magic Class.  She's just found a book called Muggles: What Do They Know?  She wants to read it. The problem is Reade Ainsworth grabbed the book at the same time.  Who will end up getting to read the book first?  

13. Went to Susan Summer's character profile.   Like Reade, she's fifteen and Muggleborn.  They're in different houses though. Susan is Sturt, and Reade is Flinders.

I'm guessing all the houses are named after Melbourne streets and/or famous Australians.   Is there a Sturt place in Melbourne?

14. Consulted Lord Wiki about Sturt in Australia. There was a Charles Sturt, who was an English Explorer of Australia.

Charles Sturt University is named after him.   I think I've heard of that.

15. Looked at Google Maps to see if there's a Sturt Street in Melbourne.  There is. It's near the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

16. Looked at the other houses at Tallygarunga.    Besides Flinders and Sturt, there's Bourke and Spencer.   I've heard of Bourke....Bourke and Willis.   And I know of Bourke Street in Melbourne.  That's where we'd find the arcades and David Jones.  Edited to add: I later was corrected.   It's Burke and Willis; not Bourke and Willis.   Sorry, for the very embarrassing mistake!!!

I'm not sure about Spencer.   Okay.   I see Spencer Street in Melbourne. Lord Wiki says it was named after an earl named John Spencer.

There was also an Australian biologist-anthropologist named Water Baldwin Spencer.

17. Went back to reading about Susan Summers.  So far, she doesn't really sound like my type. She has a taste for expensive things and has an extensive wardrobe at home that consists mostly of dresses, skirts and blouses.   Then again, I do like dresses and skirts; just not expensive ones.

Basically, her story is she was raised in a wealthy snobby family.  However, school is toning that down a bit. seems her taste in expensive clothes is more of a family influence thing than a personal preference. 

18. Liked this line about Susan Summers.  She expects a lot of herself and often finds that she is disappointed. She's still trying to find the one thing that she is really good at, but often searches in the wrong places for that one thing.  I think a lot of us struggle to find our talents.

I also like that Susan is good at writing papers and doing that kind of work; but not so good at using her wand.  Some people are better at book work than practical work. Although these people probably are better tolerated by the education system than those who are good at book work, but not so great at practical work. 

19. Worried I'd bore people if I keep talking about Tallygarunga.  Then I decided.  It's okay. I'm loving it, so I should keep reading and writing about it.  You can skip ahead if it doesn't interest you.   I won't be offended. I won't even know.  

Here we have a wizarding professor that smokes, and offers cigarettes to her students.  I wizards have their own cigarette brands, or do they use Muggle brands? Will they switch over to the generic government packaging?

20. Decided to read about Professor Della Walker, the smoking professor.

She's professor of astronomy.  Her Muggle parents are marine biologists which probably explains why her Patronus is a dolphin. I like that.  Actually, I like most of her biography. It's very well-written.

Her family reminds me a bit of my character's family.  When they found out about the magical world, they embraced it. They became somewhat obsessed.  I've always been a bit mystified about Hermione Granger's dentist parents. They seemed supportive of Hermione's magical path, but in a sort of apathetic way.

Professor's Walker's father unfortunately drowned because of their desire to explore the magical world.  He was killed by a Leviathan while at sea.

I'll need to make sure my Muggle family avoids unnecessary risks like that.   

11. Read about Riley Lightfoot encountering Claire Irving while going on a run.  Jack's reading with me now. Maybe he'll become a Tallygarunga fan as well.

Now we're going to read about Riley. He's from New Zealand.

Riley suffers from acne, and he's short.  

Riley was probably created by an American.  He wears flip-flops instead of thongs.

I see that I have something in common with Riley.  He doesn't like pants!  Riley absolutely hates cloaks, long sleeves, and pants. They're constricting and "suffocate" him. Usually, he has no need for them because he rarely gets cold.   That is SO me. 

I hate the feeling of pants.  I'd much rather wear shorts or a dress.

Riley is free-spirited.  He likes pranks, and doesn't like negative people.  He sounds fun; although overly fun and optimistic people can get annoying sometime.   It's like Phil on Modern Family.  They often need someone more serious to counteract with their frivolousness.  That being said, if I had a choice between being with someone overly fun and optimistic, or someone who's overly serious, I'd pick the former.

Riley is a flirt who goes for looks over personality. And he enjoys the chase more than the relationship.  He usually ends up dumping the girl.  I wonder if Claire Irving will end up as one of his victims.  

Riley has had many girlfriends, but hasn't kissed anyone yet.  That sounds a bit unusual.  Although I never had a boyfriend in my young teen years; so what do I know? I just figured that kissing was a part of the experience. 

12. Wrote a post for my Harry Potter blog.  I haven't written in it for a few days—maybe a week?   It's hard for me to keep track because the posts aren't dated accurately.  Anyway, I had fun writing it because it involved the family visiting Sydney.

I've kind of felt out of touch with the characters for the past few days—like the cord was broken.  I didn't know if I'd be able to get back into.  But I did; so that was nice.

13. Went swimming again, and I got to use my beloved Australian towel.  We played this game where I pretend to be this evil woman who gets mad at Jack for touching me.  I give him evil looks and threaten to torture him in various ways. At one point, I worried he'd get tangled in the pool cleaner cord thing. I said, Jack, be careful.

He snapped at me.  Don't break character!   I think he was half-joking and half-serious. We got the whole don't-break-character thing from the birthday party episode of Modern Family.  Actually, I think we get a lot of stuff from Modern Family.

14. Decided to finally read an article about the Malaysia thing.   I've been pretty much avoiding and ignoring it.   But there comes a point where you have to stop being like that, and pay attention.



I just read the first paragraph and it already sounds really sick to me.  Australia is planning (or is already?) sending boat refugees to Malaysia because Malaysia hasn't signed the United Nations Convention on Human Rights. They might cane refugees.


Hopefully, there's more to the story.

But please.  If there's not. Australia needs a new Prime Minister.

Is Kevin Rudd okay with this?

I hope not.  

15. Read more of the article.

They're doing it to discourage people smugglers.

But are people smugglers always bad?  Aren't some of them just those who want to help save lives?

Were there not people smugglers in Nazi Germany?

16. Consulted Lord Wiki about people smuggling.  He says it differs from human trafficking in that with smuggling, there's consent.  The people want to be smuggled.   Well, they'd probably prefer not to be smuggled.  They'd probably prefer to be safe, snug, and happy in their own country.

With trafficking, there's exploitation of the escapee.   Lord Wiki says that with smuggling, business between the refugee and smuggler usually ends upon arrival.   With trafficking, the refugee often continues to be exploited.

However...Lord Wiki points out things aren't always cheery for the smuggled refugees.  Sometimes they'll be held hostage by the smugglers if unable to pay the smuggling fee.   Okay, so I'm getting that it's not an altruistic business.  The smugglers charge a fee, and the business can make a lot of money.

Should the refugees be punished though?  I mean they must be in desperate situations to risk all that.   I don't think people do it just for the thrill, or because they're a little bored in their birth country.

17. Started to watch more of the third episode of Offspring.  The episode deals with the issue of fertility treatments.  It doesn't sound fun; and then you have to worry about multiple births.   Although for some, that might be seen as a blessing.  I wouldn't have minded twins probably, but I'm happy that I got just one.

I like the new doctor.

The show is continuing to make me wonder if it's typical for Australian women to have sex on the first date?   Is it typical for Americans?  I don't even know. I think I'm out of touch with that world.    Or am I just another victim who's fallen prey to believing everything seen on television?

18. Liked that there's a doctor with frizzy hair on Offspring.  That's realistic, because in real life we all don't have perfect hair everyday.

19. Received my new Zazzle shirt.  I like it.  I took a photo, but not with me wearing it.   I'm too lazy to go put on a bra.  Oh. And I forgot to shave my arm pits yesterday.  When we were out at the pool, I lifted my arms and shocked Jack.  He was very amused, and eager for me to show Tim.  

Anyway, here's the shirt.  I didn't take a photo of the back.  Maybe I'll do that another day.  

 22. Watched the GetUp video about the live transport issue.  At the end, they plead for Julia Gillard to put a stop to it.  Come on, Gillard. Do something that gives me faith in you.   

23. Went to GetUp Australia's YouTube page.  Maybe I'll watch some videos after dinner.    

24. Watched the GetUp Australia's video about internet censorship.  It was a bit long and confusing at first, but I think it became more watchable towards the end.

You know what.....

I don't know what happened with all that.  Is Australia's internet censored?   Is it going to be? Or did the threat disappear?    

I did a quick chat with Lord Wiki; it had to be fast because dinner's soon.  I'm getting the idea that it's in limbo; hopefully permanently.   

25. Watched the GetUp Australia mock trailer for the 2010 elections.  It's fairly cute. I like the part at 1:56.    

26. Consulted Lord Wiki about GetUp Australia.    He says they're a nonprofit group that started in 2005.  They're politically independent; but since they're progressive, I'd guess they'd more often side with the Green Party.

Lord Wiki says Malcolm Turnbull complained about the group, feeling that they generate spam.   He says, When you get 1,000 emails, all in exactly the same form, it's not exactly as persuasive as a bunch of emails people have written to independently express themselves.   That makes sense.  I do wonder, in these days, how much attention is given to form emails and petition signatures.   Do politicians take it seriously?  Or do they say to themselves, many of these people probably didn't even read the petition.  
They see something that their friends are signing and they decide to sign it too. 

27. Watched the GetUp Australia video about asylum seekers.   I think it's persuasive and thought-provoking.  It tries to break through the myth that Australia is being invaded by enormous amounts of asylum seekers who are going to wreck the economy. 

I like the part that starts at 1:54...the myth that asylum seekers are illegal.  The video narrator says it's not illegal in Australia to seek asylum.  He then says there are about 50,000 people in Australia illegally.  They're not asylum seekers. They're visa over-stayers. The narrator says most are backpackers.    

You know we met an Australian who told us about living in America illegally. She told us the wild and exciting story of how she almost got caught.

I doubt most Americans would have problems with her being there.  She's Caucasian.  I don't think it would be the same if she was of another race.  

I do sign petitions, and I hope it helps in some ways.   But I can understand if more attention is given to original thought out letters/emails.   Every so often, I send out one of those.  I never heard back, so maybe it didn't make a big difference either. 

28. Looked at website of BeyderWellen and Co.  They're immigration lawyers.

I'm not sure if they help immigrants, or they fight against immigrants.

I guess I'll read more.....

They provide some facts on their top page.   They say Australia has about forty-six thousand illegals. twenty-six thousand have been in Australia for more than 5 years.  Where do most of these illegals come from?  The UK and the United States.

29. Concluded that BeyderWellen and Co help immigrants.   I think they try to help people be legal rather than illegal.

30. Found the government page about asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.  It will be interesting to see what they say.

Their site says there are about fifty three thousand illegal immigrants in Australia.   That's close to what GetUp said.  They agree that most of them have overstayed their Visa.

The government compares Australia's asylum seeker intake (per capita) with other countries. They get less than Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and the UK.  They get more than France and Italy.   They get twice the amount as the United States.

31. Read the government's conclusion statement on asylum seekers. They say the best solution is to make other countries less awful so people won't need to come to Australia. That's a GREAT idea.   I'm not sure it's often realistic though.

It might be a good long-term type goal.