Saturday, June 4, 2011

New People, Family Drama, Memory Problems, and Syrup

1. Had Kate Miller-Heidke's Caught in the Crowd stuck in my brain.  

2. Found a page about the location of Tallygarunga. I might have looked at it before, and then forgotten about it.  I'm not sure.  

It's north-east of  Melbourne.  I'm having a bit of deja vu, so maybe I already did learn that.
The closest town is Narragyambie.  Is that a real town?

Okay.  No, that's the made up town.  I probably saw the name on the forums.  

Wow.  I have to say that the creator of this Tallygarunga. Mousie. She's extremely creative, and detailed.  

She has a post with a map of Victoria.  She has real cities and pretend cities.  Then she has the broom distance and flight time for various trips.

It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to get from Tallygarunga to Melbourne.

3. Looked at Mousie's list of magical schools in Australia.  Obviously Aussie kids have much more education choice than British wizards.  There are 20 secondary schools; six in Victoria alone.

There's nothing in Sydney.

What's up with that?

Well, it's okay.  Sydney now has my puppet shop wizarding village.

Anyway, doesn't the UK have only Hogwarts?  Or maybe not. Maybe there are other creative people like Mousie, and they've created more British schools.

4. Received an email from someone who found my blog.  She talked about the asylum seeker situation, giving me a less left viewpoint. This person isn't way on the right. She seems to be somewhere in the centre.

I can't say she's converted me away from the left.  But she's given me a lot to think about; and she makes me realize I have a lot to learn.

You matter how you look at it; it's a shitty situation.

I'm not completely oblivious to the centre and/or right viewpoint.  I know it's hard for a country to absorb many new people.   I know asylum seekers are a strain on society.  I know the boat smuggling business is a nasty one. But then I also see people struggling to find a place in the world.  They need a country.  Meanwhile people shout out that Australia is too crowded and a rich man pleads for Australians to make more new babies.

5. Started to watch a video that the email-person sent to me about the asylum seekers.  It's about the boating accident near Christmas Island.   It's so complicated.   How do you get people to stop doing dangerous things, especially when the people might feel there's no alternatives.

Is there an alternative?  Why do people come on dangerous boats?   Why don't they come over on safe boats?  Why don't they come over on airplanes? Is it that they can't afford the transportation fee?

I've heard the term queue jumpers before; and the writer of the email alludes to this. Is there a safer and more legal way of coming over as a refugee? Why aren't the boat folks taking this route instead of the dangerous one?  

If Australia is okay with refugees, but just doesn't want people sneaking over in dangerous boats, why don't they occasionally send out their own boats and planes to pick people up. They can call it the refugee express.  All aboard if you want to flee your country!

6. Decided to read the government immigration page about refugees.   There are two categories; Offshore Resettlement and Onshore Protection.   I'm not sure what each one means.

I'm not sure I understand the offshore thing.  It's for people who face discrimination in their home country.  Yet to apply for this thing they have to be living outside of their home country.  So where the hell are they supposed to go?  Limbo-Land?

It says here, Most humanitarian visas are granted to applicants who are outside their home country. If a person is living in their home country, it is unlikely that they will meet the criteria to be granted a refugee or humanitarian visa.   

So if you're in the country that's causing your life to be shit, Australia probably can't help you.   Well, if Jack, Tim, and I were in a country that treated us horribly, and I felt our lives were in danger; you know what I would do?   Well, if I was desperate enough, I might hop on an illegal boat to come over to Australia.  What the hell else are we going to do?

7. Saw that there's a Protection Visa.  This is for refugees who are already in Australia.  Would that include those people who came over in a dangerous boat?   

What I'm getting so far is that there's a category for people who have escaped their country, but are not in Australia yet.  And there's a category for people who are already in Australia? Why don't they have something for people still stuck in the country being mean to them?

We talk about these dangerous boats.  But they're probably less expensive than going on a nice big safe boat.  If someone is having a rough time in their home country, isn't it feasible to imagine they might not have a lot of financial resources?

There's obviously an illegal and very dangerous people smuggling business in existence.   Why not have a legal and safe one competing with it?   Maybe there is one, and I just haven't heard of it yet?  

8. Started to read a blog post by David Koch.  He looks familiar. I think he's on TV.  Okay.  Yeah.  Lord Wiki says he's on Sunrise.  

Anyway.....He writes about the refugees.

I think the keyword here is xenophobia.   Koch says, People are afraid of the unknown, of anything different, and so instantly shout these xenophobic and intolerant rants.  I agree. I know there are some who want to keep Australia scarcely populated.  For them it's an environmental issue. But I think for many people, it's not about quantity of population; it's about quality.   And quality to them equals light skinned people and/or people who speak fluent English. Certain religions are also more tolerated than others.

Would people have as much a problem with a boat full of Christian Canadians?   

9. Liked Koch's quote here.  The reality is that refugees contribute a hell of a lot to our country, both economically and culturally. Not only is accepting them the compassionate thing to do, and the right thing to do. It’s the Australian thing to do. We have a great country built on multiculturalism. Why is everyone scared of a few hundred desperate people running for their lives?

Koch lists some well known Australians who came to the country as refugees. Yes, sometimes immigrants can be a strain on society.  Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians can likely attest to that.   But often the newbies contribute wonderful things as well.

10. Embarrassed. Very embarrassed! Because I learned through an email that Bourke was a governor of New South Wales; not the Burke from Burke and Willis. I made that mistake the other day.

I'm trying to decide if I should fix it.  I guess I'll just put an edited to add type thing on that post.

The correction was in the same email as the asylum seeker thing, but I had skimmed over it last night. I kind of skipped ahead to the asylum seeker thing.  Then this morning I wanted to respond to the email, so I read the whole thing more carefully.

Anyway, I just went to correct the mistake.

No, it's not horrible to make a mistake.  I know it happens. It's just that I was so proud of myself for connecting Bourke with Bourke and Willis.  I think I felt a bit smug about it.

11. Listened to Blow Up The Pokies by the Whitlams. I got the link to the video in an email.  

12. Started watching another I Expect Better videos.  This one is of a couple who went to Spain to get married.  The part at 1:31 made me laugh.   The part at 2:12 gave me a little tear.  One of the men is showing off their Spain wedding album.   He shows a picture of his husband's eighty-four year old mother.   He says she's old and Catholic, yet she's learned to accept him as her son-in-law. If an elderly Catholic can accept gay marriage, why not an atheist?

13. Watched the new Follow the Yellow Brick Road video on their Facebook Page.  This one is the boat going from New Castle to Coffs Harbour.  They saw some whales. It's pretty cool. Whales sometimes scare me a bit, but I enjoyed seeing them in the video. 

14. Laughed at a dark joke on Facebook. I feel kind of guilty, because it's mean (both to animals and humans).   It was a comment on a story about crocodile meat being exported to China.   Leonie said,  How about sending some live crocs to Indonesia?   

Marina says (about eating crocodiles)  that's so sick. chinese people should stop eating 'exotic' meats. bah!  So, it's okay to eat non-exotic animals? What's the difference?

Jack and Tim have eaten crocodile before. They've also had alligator, kangaroo, wild boar, and other stuff.  I would have joined them if I wasn't a vegetarian.    

I did eat mealworms with them once. I totally support eating bugs; but I can't say I enjoyed the experience.  

15. Read article that says Julia Gillard is slightly backing down from her send-children-to-Malaysia plan.  She's getting pressure from the UN.   

Then there's a refugee advocate who was strongly against John Howard's way of handling the situation.   But I guess he now sees them as being okay compared to Gillard's.  He wants to go back to Howard's methods. That involves Nauru.  I don't know much about that.    

Here's an article.   I guess Nauru used to play the part in the situation that Malaysia is playing now.   Refugees were sent there in what's called offshore detention. They stopped all that, and now they're starting it again.   

16. Read article that says 25% of Tasmanian sheep are infected with a fatal disease called Ovine Johne's disease.   It seems to be the type of disease that is less prevalent during drought times, since it's spread through water.  Now that there's been a lot of rain, there's a bit of an epidemic.  Hopefully, the farmers and other folks can keep it contained. Well, it's already a bit of a mess, but hopefully it won't get even worse.

17. Found an   article about Asylum Seekers.  It's another fact vs. myth type thing. It might be an editorial.  I'm not quite sure yet.  

Okay.  It's an editorial.   Jessica Irvine talks about how people panic over population growth, and blame it on the asylum seekers.  She points out that the number of asylum seekers is small compared to the number of migrants in general.   She says, According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 171,320 people arrived as part of the permanent migration intake in 2008-09.    That's a lot of people.   But we seem to fret less about them. 

18. Had a deep thought.  I was thinking maybe the reason people fear asylum seekers is that they come from a troubled place.  Maybe there's that feeling they're part of the trouble, and they'll bring trouble to our country.  It's kind of like the Jews during the Holocaust.   I think often they were rejected as migrants because of anti-semitism.  But sometimes they were rejected because of anti-German feelings.  Even though the Jews were victims of Germany, other countries still saw them as Germans.  

I know. This is not a brilliant thought. I'm sure smarter people have thought of it way before me.   And at some level, I'm sure I already knew it.  But I think this is the first time it's gelled a bit in my head. 


Even if someone is trying to escape from Iraq, they might still have a love for their country. They might still cling to their Iraqi life, and they might be resistant to the Australian life.  It was probably the same with the Jews coming to Australia.  Despite hatred and violence spewed at them, I think some of them still saw themselves as German. It was probably hard to adjust to a new language and culture. 

I do think the left has a certain type of propaganda regarding the asylum issue.   It's the idea that new people are going to come over. We'll make room for them and welcome them with big smiles.   Then they'll love us. We'll love them. They'll become totally Australian, and once in awhile treat us to some of the fun culture from their country of birth.

It's not always that easy.  I think sometimes a refugee escapes from their abusive homeland.  They have to go somewhere because they're desperate. But they might not always want to embrace their new country.  They might be a bit resistant.   They might love Australia for helping them to be safe again; but they also might hate it just for the fact that it's so different from what they're used to.   Then you have to add to the fact that there's strong and vocal resistance to their arrival. That will make them like Australia even less. Their dislike of Australia will anger the Australians. It can be an awful cycle.

I still think it can work out. Countries can become a beautiful mixture of people from all over; but it's never going to be easy. And sometimes it will feel like we've all gone to hell.  

19. Went back to reading the editorial.  

Irving lists the nationalities of the most widespread visa overstayers. She says China has the most.   That's different from the facts I got the other day. I forgot what that said.  Maybe the UK? 

Americans (as I had read before) are another prevalent overstayer.  

From 2008-2009, Australia brought in 171,320 skilled migrants.  What if they could leave some of those people back in their original countries, and train some of the asylum seekers instead?  Plus, I'm sure many of the asylum seekers already have needed skills.  

20. Decided people are probably less scared about population growth; and more afraid that Australia will become something completely different.  It will become something that looks like Asia or the Middle East.

That's not going to happen.  Australia will always be Australia. It IS going to change though, just as it has always been changing. People come, and then more people come.   Once Australia was a country of black folks.  Then it became a country of white and black folks. Soon, other folks came, and now Australia has people from all over. As for language and culture. Things will be lost and things will be gained. That's part of life.  

It can be a huge problem if you want to make a film about past decades or centuries. But that's why God invented movie studios, costume designers, and set designers.  We can't live in the past, but we can recreate it.  

21. Went to to the Goodwill shop. I didn't find as much clothes as I would have liked; but I did find an Australian book.  I got Syrup by Max Barry.  He's the one who wrote Jennifer Government.  

22. Checked Statcounter and saw that I had five Americans looking for Rachel Carpani nude in the last two hours.  It's not a rare search term for my blog; but I don't think I've seen a cluster like that.

What's up with Carpani?  And no I don't have any naked photos of her.  If I close my eyes, I can kind of picture her naked.  Does that count for anything?  

I'm looking at Carpani's IMDb page now.  She's playing Abby Kowalski in a new television show.   They've had a movie, and a pilot. 

Is it American or Australian?    Let me go check.....

It's American.  It takes place in Chicago. Carpani plays a female cop with brothers who are also police officers.  

Although it takes place in America, it's filmed in Toronto.  

23. Returned to Tallygarunga. The creator (Mousie) suggested a story for me to follow.  It sounded complicated, but I'm going to try to catch up with what's going on.  

First let's get a sense of setting.   It takes place on Calder Avenue.  If you go here, you can see a detailed description of what's on the street.  There's a hospital, a vet, some clubs for dancing and hanging out, and there's other stuff.  

Now what's happening is there's some kind of family dinner.

I read the first paragraph, and already I'm loving it.  The party is happening at Adele's house, and she's nervous. She's having trouble figuring out what to wear.   I can TOTALLY relate to that.   I can get very nervous about getting together with family and relatives.  It's really hard when you haven't seen them for awhile.  And it's even more difficult when you were super thin the last time they saw you; and now you're not so thin.    

24. Moved onto read Dave's side of the story.  He's Adele's husband....I think.   They're in a relationship.  I'm guessing they're married.  Dave is a head nurse at Royal Melbourne Hospital.  And I forgot to mention, Adele works at the library.  

David's having trouble with his daughter Chrissy.  She's a little one, and being a bit difficult.  

Now Adrian has shown up.  Like King George VI, he has a bit of a stutter.  

I'm having some role-playing newbie confusion here.  Adrian has dialogue within Dave's post. This is written by Lolo, so I'm guessing she also is the creator of Adrian?  I'm thinking you're not supposed to put words into the mouth of characters that are not your own.  Right?  Or maybe they might have planned things off screen?   

Okay, I just did the reasonable thing and scrolled down.   Lolo IS the god of Adrian and Dave.   

25. Started to read Adele's part.  She's apologising to Adrian. Something happened in his classroom.  What?   I don't know.  

Adele's former husband is there...Willem.  Wow.  And I think I sort of got that from Mousie's explanation of things; but it was all a bit jumbled in my brain.  

Okay.  Adrian is accepting Adele's apology—kind of reluctantly.  She really hurt the guy. I wonder what she said. 

David and Adrian are brothers.  So that makes Adrian Adele's brother-in-law.  I'm trying to get it all straight.  

Now David and Adrian's mom has shown up. 

There's this whole thing about a nursing position opening up at at Tallygarunga (the school).   They've mentioned it to David.  Adele seems to like the idea of her partner (I'm thinking they're not married) working at the same place she works.    

I like this paragraph.  She didn't stop to think about the complications of it all. The fact that it was also Adrian's workplace, and they'd already had a run in. Or what happens to couples who spend too much time together - because frankly, Adele was sure that rule didn't apply to her and Dave. They were invincible. Or the fact that she had a number of ex-flings, not to mention Keith and Alan himself on staff. None of that seemed to matter when it came to the possibility of playing the naughty injured schoolgirl to his sexy male nurse when his shift finished for the day.   

Who needs Days of our Lives or Home and Away when you have this stuff? 

Has Adele slept with Adrian?  That's what I'm wondering. Why is there this tension between them? 

26. Started to read Jezebel's post.  I have to figure out how she fits into all of this.  

Jezebel apparated to the party. She's with her boyfriend Viktor.  

This is the first time, in this storyline thing, that I've seen magic mentioned, unless I read too fast and missed something.   

Viktor is a uni student.   

Oh!  This is SO good.   It's scene #11.  Jezebel is Adele's adult daughter.  She's meeting her daughter's boyfriend for the first time.  She makes a horrible remark.  Look at that, David.  My two adult daughters.  And you think you're old.   I was almost a grandmother.  This alludes to the fact that Jezebel was pregnant, but lost the baby.

To Adele's credit, she feels very guilty and ashamed of what she said.  

Sometimes I'll think horrible things in my mind, like the stupid thing Adele said.   I get all panicky, thinking what if I someday mess up and the words come out of my mouth?    That's not to say I don't sometimes stick my foot in my mouth.  But I think the things that haven't yet escaped are worse. Hopefully, they will never slip out. 

27. Felt sorry for Adele, and am eager to see Jezebel's reaction.  Will she be hurt? Mad? Okay? 
Adele did apologise which is nice.  

Okay.  Now I'm on Jezebel's part.  

She's fairly okay with it.   But it's sad.  The baby was due around now.  That must be hard.   Jezebel is young, eighteen.   I'm not sure if the pregnancy was wanted or expected.   If it wasn't, I imagine there'd be a mixture of relief and sorrow in losing the baby; well depending on when the loss happened.   

28. Took a break from the drama on Calder Avenue to check Statcounter.  I want to see if any other Americans were looking for naked Rachel Carpani.  There's been one more since I last checked.  

29. Went to the Australian Dictionary of Biography to check out my Australian of the day.   It's Haynes Gibbes Alleyne.    He was a doctor, born in Barbados.   Whenever I think of Barbados, I think of that episode from Amazing Stories.  I think there was a woman from Barbados.    I don't remember much of the story.  Maybe it was a nanny from Barbados?    I think the kids gave her chocolate that was a laxative?  That's all I remember. 

Maybe I'm wrong.  I looked it up on IMDb.  They say it was a Jamaican babysitter.  

Oh well.   Let me get back on task.  

Alleyne spent his early years in a gypsy-type lifestyle.  Then he went to medical school in Edinburgh. In his early twenties, he sailed over to New South Wales.  

Dr. Alleyne did lots of work with immigrants.  He'd go on the ships to make sure everyone was in good health.  

Besides being a doctor, Dr. Alleyne had a good heart and a bad hat.  Bad hat? Is that a figure of speech, or are they being literal?  

What did this hat look like?    

30. Thought about how my two favorite Australian soap operas (Offspring and Tallygarunga) both take place in Victoria.   That's really great,  because for our next trip to Australia, we're planning to spend most of our time there.   It will make things more exciting for us.   I mean it would be kind of a pain if I got really into something, and it took place in Perth.  Then I'd probably end up changing all our plans again.  It's like when I had us going to Adelaide because Lionel Logue was born there.

You know what's really sad.  I couldn't remember Lionel Logue's name just now.   I had to go look it up.   I was so obsessed a few months ago, and then my brain totally forgets.  I have such memory issues.  This morning I was trying to list Australian singers I like, and I forgot....And I'm forgetting again.   Why do I keep forgetting this guy's name?   He's the one who sings "From Little Things Big Things Grow".   I'm not going look it up again.   I'm going to try to remember this.  I keep thinking Peter Singer in my head.  But he's a vegetarian ethicist, not a singer.   

I can see the guy's face in my mind. I can imagine his voice. I just can't remember his name.  

Paul Kelly?  Is that it.  

Yes!  But when I thought of it, it didn't sound right.

Oh well.  

31. Decided to read more of the Tallygarunga drama.  

Now Meredith has entered the picture.  She's the Victorian Minister for Magical Education.  

32. Looked up the Victorian Minister of REGULAR education; although that's not the real title.  They just call it Minister of Education. 

Anyway, it's a guy named Martin Dixon.  

33. Went back to reading the story. 

Meri is heading to the party.  For some reason, she's not sure if Adrian is alive or not.   Is she a worrier; or is this some kind of supernatural thing?  Is Adrian sometimes dead? 

34. Learned that Meri is David's ex sister-in-law.  So maybe she was married to Adrian?   

Now Stuart is her man.  Everyone knew Stuart was coming. But they didn't know Meri was his date.  

Is the shit going to hit the fan? 

Oh no! This is really hard on Adrian. He's not taking this encounter with his ex-wife well.  He's having an anxiety-asthma attack.  I want to reach out and hug the guy.  

35. Figured that maybe Meri worries about Adrian because he has really bad asthma?   Maybe he's almost died before.

36. Intrigued by this line.   With a sigh, she returned to Dave, kissed him on the cheek. 'I'm going to go lock all the cupboards. And turn the gas off at the mains.' she murmured, moving back into the kitchen to start. If Meri crawled into a cupboard here, there was no guaranteeing where she would end up. Narnia was a walk in the park compared to the alternate worlds that lived behind Adele's winter coats.

Sometimes Tallygarunga feels like a soap opera about regular people. Then you get something like that.  Maybe Meri is an Animagus?   For those of you who don't know much about Harry Potter.... these are the wizards who can turn into animals.   Although I'm kind of thinking that people who don't know, or care about, Harry Potter might be skipping all of this Tallygarunga stuff.  

37. Talked to Jack about stereotypes.  He named some of the ones he had in his head.   Then I asked him about Australian stereotypes.  He had a lost look and said, I know a lot of Australians so I don't have stereotypes.  I think that's very wise. When you don't know people within a group, you're more likely to have stereotypes.

I also think though that if you meet a certain number of people within a group; and they all have something in common, it's possible that you'll form a stereotype.  I've met three people from a certain country.  They were all a bit serious and slightly condescending. Also, all three of them seemed to do a lot of world traveling.  So now in my mind, I imagine people from this country as being a bit snooty and well-traveled.  The funny thing is it could be a total coincidence that I met three people from this country who happened to be that way. The stereotype might not have any accuracy whatsoever.  

I can't think of any trait that connects all the Australians I know.  They're all very different from each other.  Before I really knew any Australians, I had stereotypes of Australians being sports-obsessed, heavy drinkers, and very laid-back.   The most sports-obsessed person I know is American.   I've met Australians who drink a fair amount, but the Americans in my life drink more.  Some Australians seem laid-back, but some seem more uptight.  

38. Returned to Tallygarunga.   I kind of took a long break.   I talked to Jack, ate dessert, and got a mysterious big scratch on my leg.   I'm assuming it's from the cat, but I don't remember it happening.  It's one of those mysterious things.  

Back to the story.....

Okay.  Now Thomas is here.   He's a student.   There's no actor playing him.  Well...maybe?   There's a name of an actor, but no photo.    That's mysterious...maybe even more mysterious than the cut on my leg.  

39. Had a bit of deja vu when I got to #20 in the story.  I'm wondering if I maybe read this when I first heard about Tallygarunga.  Maybe?  What day did I discover it?  

Ah! Yes!  It was May 21, and #20 was posted on May 22 which would have been May 21 for me.  

I don't think I read it carefully.  I probably just skimmed a bit.   But there's a part where Adrian is wondering about a ring on his ex-wife's finger.  That's what I vaguely remember.  

Meri and Adele are not big fans of each other.   Adele didn't like the way Meri treated Adrian. I'm not sure what that's all about.  I'll get to it someday, I'm sure.

40. Had a bit of a coincidence.  I was reading an email, I just got, and guess what book the writer recommended?  Syrup by Max Barry.   It's kind of funny that I just bought it a few hours ago.  

41. Decided that since I did a lot of Tallygarunga reading today, I'm going to skip reading a biography tonight.   I feel like I got a good amount of biographical info just by reading the story. It will be fun to slowly fill in the pieces.