Monday, June 27, 2011

Tasmania, Actors, Misjudgments, and Mines

1. Had an Australia related dream. It was inspired by something that happened yesterday.  When we were leaving the lake house, my sister found a stick that she thought would make a good sling-shot.   She asked us if we wanted it for Jack; but she got confused and called it a boomerang.

The dream: My mom tells us the last time she was out of town she stopped for a night at Disney World.  While she was there, she bought Jack a sling-shot. My mom says something about the salesperson's eyes. I ask where the salesperson was from, and she says Australia.  I'm pleased about this.    

The idea was that there was an Australian shop/pavilion at Disney World.   In real life, that's not true.

2. Read article about the cattle issue in Australia.   It's all a mess, really.  Joe Ludwig, the Agricultural Minister wants Meat and Livestock Australia to pay five million dollars compensation to the farmers.  They're not wanting to do it willingly, which means Ludwig will have to force them to do it.   However, it's not that easy.  He can't just order them into action on his own.  He has to get Parliament to support him; and it's possible that they won't.

Or maybe he doesn't.  I'm confused.  Some of the stuff in the article goes over my head.  It's like they might need Parliament's support. Maybe?  Or there might be a way he can do it without their support?

I'm lost.

The article says that Ludwig visited Indonesia last week, but didn't get access to the abattoirs. Well, maybe Indonesia knows they screwed up, and they need time to fix things.  Or maybe they don't plan to fix things, but they don't want to be shamed by the Australian media again.

3. Saw from Statcounter that I'm getting people on my blog who are interested in Hazel Hawke and Sue Pieters Hawke. I saw it last night too, and Googled.   There was some fight with Sue Pieters Hawke and her stepmom.  I just saw the headlines. I didn't read the article to get the details. I guess I wasn't in the mood.

Maybe I should go check that out now—get the gossip.   

Okay.  I read it.  It's not too exciting.  The stepdaughter and the stepmother had a fight at the airport.   There's animosity between them because the stepmother thinks Hazel Hawke (the mother) was a gold-digger.

I can relate to the big family fight thing.  Twice when I was a teen or young adult, we had huge family fights at a hotel.   They were loud enough that the management had to call to threaten us with expulsion.

I hope the Hawke family manages to work out their issues.

4. Read Andrew's post about Myki.  These are the public transportation cards in Melbourne.  I researched those a few months ago, but I forgot what I learned, except that there's a start-up fee.   That kind of annoyed me, but Tim later told me we had to do the same thing in London.

We had problems in New York with the Metro Card.  It's nice if you're there for at least a week, because then you can buy the week pass and not worry about how many times you can go on the train.  But we weren't there for a week.   We were there for three whole days and two half days.  It seemed too expensive to get a seven day pass for that many days.  So we decided to do a lot of walking and we just payed for the rides individually.  But those rides were $2.50 each. That adds up.   So we'd avoid using the subway, and would walk a lot.  I guess that's good because we got a lot of exercise. But it was really hot sometimes, and we got tired.  We usually walked to our destination, and then took the subway back. Once or twice we took a cab.

5. Went to the Myki website.  I'm totally back to being confused. I forgot what all the fares mean.

Is the Daily Zone 1 Full Fare a daily pass type thing?

A week pass for Zone 1 is $30.20 which comes out to $4.31 per day.  That's not bad. And Jack gets a cheaper price since he's a child. Unless we don't end up going to Australia until after 2017.    In that case though, I bet the weekly pass will be much higher than $30.20.

6. Ate a piece of strawberry Darrell Lea Licorice for breakfast. Tim bought it yesterday. I wish they sold the licorice bullets around here.  

7. Saw a list of American stores that carry Darrell Lea products.  And there's an American Darrell Lea site; but it's taking a very long time to load.  

8. Saw a contest to win a family trip to Tasmania.  The prize sounds really nice.  You get a cabin on the Spirit of Tasmania and two nights at four different holiday parks. AND you get all these free passes.  I'm not sure if you have to be Australian or not.    Under state, they do list "other" so maybe you can be from outside Australia. They're not paying for airfare, so we'd have to get to Australia on our own.

I'm going to try to enter.  If anyone else is interested in visiting Tasmania, they may want to enter the contest as well.

I really want to win!  By miracle if we did win, I think we'd skip the road trip around Victoria and do Tasmania instead.  But we'd still do the week in Melbourne.

9. Told Tim about the Tasmania contest. I really wish I could win!

10. Decided to look at the Tasmanian prizes.

You get two nights at the Discovery Holiday Park in Devonport.  Ten minutes from there is the House of Anvers chocolate factory.  

You get two nights at the Stanley Cabin and Tourist Park.  There's lots of birds there, which is nice.   I like birds.

You get two nights at the Wings Wildlife and and Caravan Park in Gunns Plains.   I'm guessing the town is named after the paper mill people?

Anyway, the accommodations are connected to (or close to) a wildlife park; and the contest gets you a family pass into the park.   We'd probably love that.

11. Looked at the website for Wing's Wildlife Park.  They have a lot of animals! Jack and I would totally love this.  

I really want to win.

12. Went to the website for Discovery Holiday Park in Cradle Mountain.  This is the other place featured in the contest.  From pictures I've seen in the past, I think Cradle Mountain is one of the most beautiful places in Australia.   Although I am a bit scared of mountains.   

13. Looked at the winning locations on Google Maps. They're all pretty much in the north-western part of Tasmania.

14. Consulted Lord Wiki about Gunns Plains. He doesn't mention it being named after the Gunns mill people.   

15. Saw that the Australian dollar has gone even lower.  It's now equal to 1.042 dollars.

16. Read an article about actors in Australia.  It sounds a bit troublesome.

I didn't know this, but there used to be a restriction on using overseas actors in Australia.  Now those restrictions are going to be lifted.  Filmmakers might decide to use other actors, and it will be harder for Australian actors to find work.

I wonder if the restrictions applied to all movies made in Australia, including ones made by non-Aussie filmmakers.  Yeah.  I bet it did.  That's why when you have films filmed in Australia...made by Americans....you get Australian actors using American accents.  It's like Hugo Weaving in The Matrix and Claudia Karvan in Daybreakers.

I'm not sure if I agree with Simon Whipp the director of Actor's Equity.  The article quotes him as saying, [The] changes will mean that the programs will no longer reflect, in our view, the Australia in which we live.    Yeah....well....I don't think there was really anything Australian about The Matrix and Daybreakers.   It doesn't help when Australian actors use American accents in these movies.  

I would make a law that says all movies filmed in Australia must use a certain amount of Australian actors; and all the Australian actors must use Australian accents.

17. Saw article that says scientists are working on a ointment that will slow down the effects of a snake bite.  If it works well, it might mean people could apply the ointment and then have more chance that medical care will get to them in time.

That would be good!  

18. Went to Tallygarunga.   Today I'm going to read a story thread that's new to me.  It's called This Is Not a Party.  It takes place in the Spencer common room which is located in the Eureka Underground Hallway.  This is the same area in which Emily Smith tried to get Riley Lightfoot with a water balloon.  

19. Saw that Riley Lightfoot is one of the characters featured in "This is Not a Party:.   He's there along with Oliver Rhydderch, Trevor Lairrims, Leighton Aberdeen, Cassandra Caraway, and Tamarah Blair.  Four of them are Spencer students; but Trevor and Leighton are Bourke students.

20. Started to read the story thread.

Oliver is in the Spencer common room which is all lit up in crazy ways.  He's eating a lot of British wizarding candy.   I guess it makes sense that Australian wizards eat some of the same candy. I think there's a fair amount of British Muggle candy in Australian Muggle stores.  I get confused sometimes over what is sold in Australia and England; and what is sold in one place but not the other...minus specialty shops.

You know what.  I think it's actually the stuff that's not too hard to find in America as well.  The examples that come to my mind are the Cadbury Flake bar and the Curly Wurly. We can get those at Central Market, which is an upscale grocery store in the US.

21. Looked at the UK Nestle site to see what chocolates you'd find in Australia too.  I think you can get the Aero; maybe Kit Kat too?  I know Smarties are in Australia.

22. Decided I should get back to reading the story thread.

Oliver is trying to make his life more interesting by throwing a party in the Spencer common room.  That's why he has all the candy. He's planning to share.

Trevor is the first person to join the party. Next tomes Leighton.

23. Learned that Riley is having a tough day. He was assigned a paper out of punishment for a prank.  That's bad enough, but what makes it worse is he's not even truly guilty. Poor Riley.

Then again, he's probably done a lot of pranks for which he hasn't been caught. Maybe it all works out.

Riley also learned that his sister is sick and won't be able to visit.  He's disappointed about that. 

24. Saw that the next two people to enter the party are Cassandra and Tamarah.  Tamarah seems to be a bit jealous that she wasn't the one to come up with the idea; yet she's also excited and happy to join the fun. 

25. Decided to read the biography of the party man himself—Oliver Rhydderch.  

Oliver is sixteen, and was born in Melbourne.  He's Muggleborn which means neither of his parents were wizards.

There's a lot of detailed description here about his appearance.  I like this part.  Oliver never spends too much time prepping himself in the mornings as well. Having nothing but a quick shower, brushing, and throwing on articles of clothing without even combing his hair straight. He'd even walk out the door with his pants falling off his rear end or with his shoes untied.

That is very much not Tim. I think sometimes he takes longer than me to get ready.

26. Related to this about Oliver.  He also finds it uncomfortable to have his forearms covered in cloth so he either rolls up long sleeves or sticks to something shorter and sleeveless.   I'm more like that with pants though.  I'm not a huge fan of having cloth on my arms, but I prefer it to cloth on my legs.  I really hate pants.

27. Learned that Oliver is a bit of a clown. He seems to be very much an extrovert.

He's not a very good student. He's more interested in partying and socializing.  

28. Learned that Oliver had a rough childhood.  Despite being the youngest child, he was not showered with attention as youngest children often are. His mother was tired of having kids by the time he came along.  His father was busy with work.

At one time, Oliver got himself sent to a juvenile detention center. Yikes.

29. Learned that Oliver hates being alone; and he's claustrophobic.

30. Figured out that Oliver's creator is probably American.  He or she says "cotton candy" rather than "fairy floss" or "candy floss".  I wonder what it's called in other countries.....

31. Consulted Lord Wiki about cotton candy.  He says that it's called candy floss in England, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa.  Australia is unique to the Commonwealth with the fairy floss name.

32. Learned that Oliver is an animagus. That means he can transform into an animal.  His animal is the ferret.    

33. Went to read chapter twelve of Fruitcake's book/blog.  It's about the 1967 Referendum.

Fruitcake talks about an Aboriginal man named Frank Sullivan. It's all a bit crazy.

He was in the Northern Territory 1899, and Aboriginal Australians could vote there at a state level.   By 1901, he was allowed to vote in the Federal elections. However, Sullivan didn't vote because he didn't know he could vote.  The message didn't get to him in time.  It's too bad he didn't have Facebook.

Fruitcake says the laws became more strict in 1902.  Then Aboriginal Australians could vote only if they had been previously registered.

I think I get it.  Laws acted in favor of Aboriginal Australians, but not really, because not enough people knew about it.   Then once they changed the law to make it more difficult, people finally learned about the rights they used to have.

It's kind of like if I had a policy on my blog that says if you register, and read my blog everyday for a month, you get a year's supply of Darrell Lea licorice.  But the only way you'd know this is if you read one paragraph hidden in a random post.  Then one day I heavily publicize my policy, but say you can only get the free candy if you had already registered for the licorice prize.

34. Learned from Fruitcake that Aboriginal Australians could vote before the 1967 Referendum.  She says they were given the right in 1962. They were given the right to vote in Federal elections whether or not they had the right to vote in state elections.

The states that didn't allow Aboriginal Australians to vote in state elections were Western Australia and Queensland. Western Australia changed in 1962, and Queensland changed in 1965.

Fruitcake talks about the voting results for the Referendum.  Most people voted yes (91%), but some people voted no.  The no votes were most likely to come from places that had a larger population of Aboriginal Australians.   Fruitcake says, In some areas with a high Aboriginal population, there is even today some lingering animosity, and distaste for the squalor and unacceptably anti-social behaviour of some Aboriginal fringe-dweller.   Proximity doesn't always reduce prejudice.

I was trying to find a study I thought I read several months ago.  It talked about how it doesn't help children to be less prejudice if you simply stick them in a mixed group.  They said you need to actually talk to your children about differences and prejudice.  I thought it was on this scientific parenting site, but now I don't see it.   I'll keep looking......

I can't find it.

Maybe I dreamed it. 

Anyway, there's that popular misconception that children are free from racism and other forms of prejudice.  They're innocent, loving, and inclusive.  It's true that children are not going to have certain popular stereotypes of people, unless they were taught by the adults in their life.  They're not going to be born believing that Jews are cheap and that Arabs are all terrorists.  But children do often fear that which is different.  It could be someone with a skin color they haven't seen before.   It could be someone missing a limb;  someone that has glasses; or someone with a tumor on their face.

I think children, like adults, are also able to form their own stereotypes based on their experiences.   If a child is yelled at by a person at the park with red hair, she may get the idea that all people with red hair are mean.  It's kind of like how a bad experience with someone of a particular name may color our future judgment of anyone with that name. We're not going to name our child William if we were bullied by a William at school.

Back to the no-voters.  The truth is it's sometimes easier to stand up for a disadvantaged group when you don't see them on a regular basis.  When people live a disadvantaged life, they're not always super pleasant. They might not dress well. They might look unhealthy. They might be less educated.   They might live a life that makes us feel uncomfortable.

35. Found a good quote from Fruitcake.  She says, I can't imagine an Aboriginal committing any crime no white person has ever committed; the problem seems to be one of visibility. From an Aboriginal perspective, visibility is not the problem: Getting drunk in public or engaging in acts of domestic violence is something white people are hypocritical enough to keep private.

Yep.  Some people are better at keeping their problems private. One of my pet-peeves is when people would tell me how lucky I am to have my parents. Now my parents are pretty great. Like myself and all other parents, they've made some mistakes. But they're not abusive.

People can't know this though, unless they've lived in my childhood homes and watched me constantly.  Just because parents are charming in public; that doesn't guarantee that they're gentle and loving behind closed doors.   

We make too many assumptions about people without knowing them well.  We see a parent yelling at her toddler at the grocery store.  We think, Bad parent! Bad parent! Child abuse! Child abuse!   But maybe that parent is full of love and patience 99% of the time.  Maybe she just had a really bad day.

We see another parent at the grocery store lovingly and patiently teaching her toddler about all the fruits and vegetables in the produce section.  We smile warmly. The perfect parent. What a lucky child.

Maybe that mother was in an eerily good mood.   Maybe when she goes back home, she'll go back to one of her bad moods and throw her child's beloved toy into the incinerator.      

I wasn't a great parent when Jack was younger.  Well, I was great about 80% of the time, and bad about 20% of the time.  I'm pretty sure most of my bad parenting occurred in the privacy of our own home...or hotel room.    Jack has turned out quite well and we have a very strong bond, so I guess I wasn't too awful.  Either that or he's extremely resilient.  Maybe I shouldn't count my blessings. It could be he's repressed all this preschool anger and it will resurface in his teenage years.  

36. Read article about Koongarra in Kakadu National Park.  It's now listed in UNESCO's world heritage thing.  I didn't really think it was all that exciting until I read the article.  The big deal is Koongarra is rich in uranium. This means people would want to do mining there.  But now they can't because the UNESCO honor protects it.  I think that's probably a good thing. I'm sure some economically-focused people would disagree.

37. Realized that I sent my Australian-friend-in-California her birthday message a day early because I wasn't thinking about the fact that she's not in Australia anymore.  Oops.  

Sometimes I worry about my brain.  I am VERY aware that she's moved to California. I didn't forget that.   It's just I guess I still think of her as being in Australia...at least time zone wise.   

38. Read article that says a recent poll shows Tony Abbott is now preferred as a leader, rather than Julia Gillard.  I wonder if there'll be an election anytime soon.  

39. Found out from the Australian Dictionary of Biography that my Australian of the day is Alngindabu.  She was Aboriginal. We could have probably guessed that from her name.

Alngindabu was born in the Northern Territory in the 1870's. Maybe. It's one of those not-known-for-sure type things. 

40. Looked up the Kungarakan people because Alngindabu was part of that group    Here's a website about them.  

They're also known as the Paperbark People.  

I like this. They call their grandfathers and male elders "Tjimin"  This is the word for dragonflies.

I love dragonflies.

41. Learned from the website that most of the Kungarakan people died in a tragic food incident.  They ate poisoned damper.

Was it poisoned on purpose?  

I can't easily find information about the incident.   

42. Went back to reading about Alngindabu.

She was trained as a domestic servant and given the white name Lucy. 

She married a man and had five children. They were all baptized as Catholics. 

This is an interesting story.  The husband (Stephen) was fired from his railroad job because one of his men was killed.  The family went off to live somewhere else, and on their journey they discovered a mine.   If I'm reading this right, they lived at the mine. 

In 1918, Stephen died.  Alngindabu and her youngest children were taken off to live in an Aboriginal compound.  For a few years, one of Alngindabu's daughter and son-in-law worked the mine.  Then they stopped, and the mine didn't go back to the family until 1960.

43. Saw that there's people with the last name Alngindabu on Facebook. One's from Australia, but the other is from Brooklyn.  I wonder if either or both of them are related.  

44. Saw Entertainment Weekly's poll about the sexist couples on network (American) TV.   The priest and his woman from The Thorn Birds is one of the 26 featured couples. I don't know how Australian the miniseries was, but the book it was based on was written by an Australian.  

45. Consulted Lord Wiki about The Thorn Birds.  He says it takes place in Australia.  I should know that since I read the book...or part of it.  But that was a LONG time ago.

Bryan Brown is in the movie; but besides that it seems to be made by mostly Americans. 

46. Looked at The Thorn birds on IMDb.  It was not filmed in Australia.  It was filmed in California and Hawaii.

47. Started reading Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody.   It's a young adult paranormal novel.    I liked the prelude and first chapter.  Alyzon is a plain and talented girl living with a family of beautiful and talented people.   I don't know though.   From what I see on the jacket cover, it seems she won't be plain and ordinary for long.  So what's the message there?   If you're plain and untalented, maybe something will happen to make you less plain and untalented?   OR maybe she does have a talent, but it's undiscovered yet.  I'd be more okay with that type of storyline.   Otherwise, I may feel the book is saying this girl was a worthless character until something happened to change her.   

I've read one book of Carmody's before.  It was part of the Obernewtyn Chronicles. Maybe the first book?   I liked it, but didn't love it.  Well, I got through the first book without being very bored. But I didn't like it enough to seek out the sequels.  

48. Started listening to Rock It by Little Red.  I got the link in the same email I mentioned yesterday.  This song also reminds me of a 1980's movie.  

I like the chorus. 

The song isn't from the 1980's really.  Lord Wiki says the band was formed in 2005. 

49. Learned from Lord Wiki that "Rock It" was #2 on Triple J's 2010 list of top 100 songs.  That's pretty huge.  

50. Learned from Lord Wiki that the #1 song on that same list was Big Jet Plane by Angus and Julia Stone.  I've heard the song before.  

51. Thought all the songs on Triple J's list would be Australian, but Cee-Lo Green is on here. 

52. Started to listen to The Greatest View by Silverchair.  This song was mentioned in the same email.

I thought the song was new to me, but it sounds familiar.  I think I've heard it before. 

I'm not sure if I've heard it in an American or Australian context. 

53. Consulted Lord Wiki about the song. He says it became somewhat popular in the United States in 2007.  So I might have heard it here.