Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yousefi, Allingham, Meri, and Baby Cows

1. Disappointed, because I wanted to wear my new Australian shirt today, and then I realized I forgot to wash it.  That's okay though.  Instead I'm wearing my favorite fairy bread one.

2. Thought about how I wish Firefox would come up with an Australian-American dictionary, one for people who can't decide which spelling they like better. Then I realized I can just add the spellings to the dictionary.  I can't pretty much make my own special dictionary.  

3. Wished that I liked fairy bread.  I mean I wish I liked eating it. I LOVE how it looks, but I don't really love how it tastes.

4. Looked at photographs of fairy bread on Google Images.  It's so whimsical.  

5. Read article about the Yousefi family. They've been awarded residency status in Australia; but prior tot that they were in a detention center. Mr. Yousefi was traumatised by the experiences in the detention center, and went a bit crazy.   He sewed his mouth together.

Is this an act of mental illness? A plea for attention? A mixture of both?

The Yousefi's sued the government, and won $800,000.

What happens to people in detention camps?

6. Found another article about Parvis Yousefi.   He sounds like a desperate man.  He didn't just sew his lips together.  He tried to commit suicide, and he went on hunger strikes.

What I'm wondering is whether this is a man with prior mental issues, and he couldn't handle the stresses of the detention center. Or did abusive things happen in the detention center—the type of things that would make many people lose their minds a bit.

We all go a little crazy sometimes. Some of us are more likely to go a lot crazy; and the chances of this increases when we're treated like shit.  

 7. Sickened by the fact that Yousefi was separated from his wife and child.  Why? Was there a reason?  Did they feel he was dangerous to them?  I'm hoping it's not common practice to separate men from their families.  

8. Read more of the article.   It sounds like Yousefi had prior issues, and the detention center caused further aggravation.  The article says, The statement of claim alleged authorities ignored 15 reports from medical experts and 11 from psychiatrists describing his illness and suicidal tendencies and urged his removal from detention.

9. Consulted Lord Wiki about mandatory detention in Australia.   I've read about it before, but have probably forgotten most of it.  I remember learning that the program started with Paul Keating. That had surprised me because I had assumed it would have began with a Liberal Prime Minister.

The program began in 1992.

Between 1999 and 2003, there were 2000 children in detention.

In 2008, the Rudd government said they would be reducing the detentions.  It would no longer apply to all people without a Visa. It would apply only to those that the government deemed to be a threat to the community.

Has the detentions been reduced, or did all that go out the window?

10. Learned from Lord Wiki that originally there was a limit on the detention. 273 days.   Then in 1994, Paul Keating's government did away with the limit.  I guess that means someone could be in detention indefinitely.   Why?  What was Paul Keating thinking when he let this go through?

11. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that people have been wrongfully detained in detention centers.  I guess these would be people accused of visa violations that are actually innocent.   In May 2005,  it became known that there had been 200 cases of wrongfully detained people.  Many of them had been stuck in the detention centre for a week.  That's bad, but not too bad.   But then twenty-three people were held for a year. Yikes!  Two were held for five years.  I hope they sued...and won.

 12. Found out my Australian of the day is Christopher Allingham.

I'll write about him later. Right now, we're going to do some Just Dance fun.

13.  Finished dancing, and now I'm ready to learn about Christopher Allingham.   

He was an Irish-born explorer and pastoralist. These are the type of farmers that raise livestock.   What's the difference between that and a grazier?

Lord Wiki says there is no difference. It's just two names for the same thing.  Okay, I'm glad I know that now.

Allingham moved to Armidale, New South Wales in his late teens. His brothers migrated as well.

Honestly, the rest of the information confuses me.  All I really understand is that he moved towards the north—up to Queensland.

I'll try reading it slowly.  

Along with two Aboriginal men, Allingham went to Burdekin.  Lord Wiki says that's in north Queensland. It's near Townsville. 

They did some surveying of the land, and then they returned back to Armidale.  Several years later,   Allingham went back with his cousins.

What I'm getting is that Allingham struggled up north with various things, and then eventually had to return to Armidale because of health issues  He died fairly young; in his late forties. 

14. Found more information on the Allingham family on the Queensland government website.  

The family owned something called the Muralambeen Homestead. It's located in Forrest Beach.

Here's another website about it.  There's a town named Allingham now—or a settlement.  Maybe it would be called a suburb?  The population in 2006 was 1136.

The Allingham family still owns the homestead. That's pretty neat.  The government site says that size of the property has been reduced though. Some of it has been sold.

I wonder who lives there now, and how they're related to Christopher Allingham.

15. Decided to try to figure out the genealogical history of the Muralambeen Homestead.


Christopher had cousins named John and Johnston.  John ended up with the homestead and Christopher went back to New South Wales and died.

Then later John and his wife returned to New South Wales.  Two Williams lived there when they left; William Broad and William Baggott.  I guess they paid rent?    Then John Armidale died, and Johnston Armidale got the property.   He didn't move in for about ten years later; so I guess William and William weren't kicked out right away.

Johnston eventually died, and the land was passed onto his three sons.

Wait.  I missed something. There's a Francis Armidale here. I missed her part in all this.

Francis was John's wife. Eventually, she returned to the homestead. I guess she lived with her brother-in-law's family.  That's interesting.

Johnston eventually died, and Francis had the estate going to one of Johnston's sons. James.    He died in 1959, and that's the last Allingham that's named.  I guess it's James' children or grandchildren that live in the homestead now. Or maybe nieces and nephews?

16. Went to Tallygarunga.  I'm now an official registered user of the site, because I was invited to do this.  The idea was I could be an official lurker.

The registration form said my screen name should be my character name, but since I'm not ready to send my characters off to Tallygarunga, I just put my own name.  Do you know what that means?    I think it means that now I'm a character of Tallygarunga.  Maybe it will be like Pleasantville, and I'll get sucked up into this magical Victorian world.   I won't complain. I would miss Tim and Jack though, so they'd have to come too.

It is funny though.  When I sign in, there's all these character names....and then there's me.  I'm classified as a visitor which is color-coded with gray. I saw other people in gray, and though, Oh!  I'm not the only one. But I'm looking more closely, and it looks like these are visiting CHARACTERS...not lurker people like me.  

17. Received a phone call from my brother-in-law.  He said he saw an advertisement for DirecTV, and they're going to have Australian TV shows on one of their channels—Underbelly and Rake.   We don't have Direct TV, unfortunately.  It's okay though. I'm not overly eager to see either of those shows. If they were showing something like Offspring or Packed to the Rafters, I'd be telling Tim we need to switch services.

I'm still very excited though.  My brother--in-law has DirecTV.   I told him to watch Underbelly because he likes those types of shows. It would be so cool if he became a fan of it.  

18. Looked at the website for the Audience Network.  That's the channel that has the Australian shows. I see Underbelly, but not Rake.   Rake is probably coming later.

19. Learned that the newest person in Tallygarunga is Alexander Abraxus. That's a cool name.  He's head of the Department of Magical Creatures. I bet that would be an interesting job.  

20. Went back to the story I was reading yesterday;the family dinner in Tallygarunga.  There's some new posts  here.   I'm going to start with some old stuff though. I got a bit tired yesterday, and I don't think I paid good enough attention.

I'm going to start at post #29 which is through Meri's eyes. Hey, and I think I may have gotten her name wrong yesterday.  I thought it was Meredith.  It's Mereditha.   Sorry about that.

Things are really hard for Meri.  It's awkward being with your in-laws when they're no longer your in-laws.   I like these lines.   She didn't dare look at Lisa, it hurt enough to think of her by name instead of as 'Mum'. Her wine glass suddenly interesting, she didn't notice how quick the wine inside was slipping away.  Lisa's her former mother-in-law.  I wonder if they were close.  

Okay, so it turns out Adrian left Meri.  Why?  I don't know yet.

21. Moved onto the next post. This is new.  It's from Thomas.  I'm not sure who he is; but I now know that he's very nervous.

22. Started to read the next post, which is a David one.  He's having trouble with his two toddlers.

Oh no!  This is a huge mess.   David and Adele (the host and hostess) put place cards on the table.   It's assigned seating for this dinner party.  They didn't know who Stuart was bringing, so the card next to him is blank.   He ended up bringing Adrian's ex-wife. Now the two are stuck sitting next to each other.  It's going to be very awkward.

23. Had an almost-tear while reading Tamarah's post.  It's really sweet.   She's trying to reconcile with her half-sister, Améa.   She brought her a gingerbread cookie; and felt a bit awkward trying to give the gift.   Améa's reaction isn't posted yet.  I hope she's nice to Tamarah.  

It can be so hard to reach out and make peace with someone.  There's that awkwardness, and that fear you'll be rejected.   Sometimes I think it's easier when you feel you're the one who did something wrong.   Then you can just apologise, and if you're lucky you'll be forgiven.   I think it's harder sometimes when you're not sorry,  and you know the other person's not really sorry.  Yet, you both also want things to be okay between you.  I think sometimes you can do what Tamarah did—reach out and try to make things better.  Although maybe Tamarah did do something wrong? I'm not sure.  I'm not sure if she was the mean one, or if it was a matter of mutual meanness.

Jack had philosophical advice today.  The kid is FULL of philosophical advice.   He said it's not good to force people to apologize.  It ends up being fake and meaningless.  Instead, it's better to just go back to your old relationship.  I agreed with him, but only in the case that you feel you did nothing wrong.  I said I do think it's a good idea to at least think about what happened.  A year or so ago, Jack's other philosophical advice was about the fact that we rarely think we're wrong immediately after a fight.  Sometimes it takes time for us to think about it and realize we made a mistake.   This happened to me recently.  I was criticized for bringing up a subject at the dinner table.   I was defensive and knew I was totally right.   But about twenty minutes later, I thought about it and realized I was the wrong one.   Then I felt horribly guilty.  

24. Finished reading the dinner scene. I'm eager for the next installment.

25. Watched the latest video from Follow the Yellow Brick Road.  They went from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane. It was a long ride, 12 hours.  On the way, another boat met up with them to say hello.  And they also gave some donations to the Follow the Yellow Brick Road's polio cause. That was nice of them.  

26. Went back to Tallygarunga.  I'm going to read a biography now; I think for someone from the massive family dinner.  That might help to fill in some holes.

27. Decided to read about Mereditha Tallenery....Meri.

She was born in Forthyngton, England. Is that a real place?

I'm not finding anything with google, so I'm guessing it's not of our world.

Meri is petite.  She doesn't often wear make-up.  She's pretty enough that she doesn't need it.  And she doesn't want to bother.

She likes scrap booking and climbing trees.  I don't know of many adults who climb trees.  That's pretty cool.  I like when adults like things that are traditionally liked by kids.   The other day my mom seemed bothered by a woman her age (or older?) having her birthday party at an indoor water park.   That's what kids do; not adults.  But I love the idea.

Why should kids have all the fun?

That being said. Personally, climbing trees probably wouldn't interest me.   I'd be too scared.

28. Saddened by this part.  The only jewellery she wears is a gold and sapphire necklace, given to her by Adrian on her twenty-first birthday, she has only just stopped wearing her wedding and engagement rings - but her sentimental self won't allow her to remove the necklace as well.

Love hurts.

I wonder if Adrian still loves Meri at all.

Why did they break up?

I should stop asking questions and keep reading.

Meri is a bit moody.

And she locks herself into cupboards. That's interesting.

29. Got some hints about what's going on.  Something BAD happened at Yarra Academy.   And something happened to Meri's daughter.  I guess it would be Meri's and Adrian's daughter?

I'm reading the history now.   She came over from England and worked at Yarra Academy.  She met Adrian.

Now I'm lost.  I have to read this paragraph again.   It's something about an engagement.

I had to read it three times.   I'm slow sometimes.  Meri and Adrian fell in love.   Meri got the job she had wanted in England.  She left her man in Australia.   I guess she chose career over love.   Her old boyfriend proposed to her in England.  She accidentally said yes because she misheard him.   Oops.   Then she sneaked out of her house the day of the wedding and returned to Adrian in Australia.

I hope I have that right.

30. Learned about Meri and Adrian's problem.  It was a pregnancy.   Meri was too sick, and Adrian chose to have the pregnancy ended in order for Meri to be saved.

After that their marriage soured. The loss and trauma was too hard for them to handle.

31. Read continuing saga between Reade Ainsworth and Susan Summers. This is the story with the students in the library who want the same book.  

I missed this before.   I must have read too fast.   Susan totally stuck her foot in her mouth.  She said, Also, it's a library, we just have to be quiet, not mute.    What she didn't realise is Reade really is mute.  Reade had to explain it, and of course now Susan feels very embarrassed.

It's not her fault really.   She didn't realise he really was mute.  On the other hand, it still is a bit rude.  Maybe?   I'm not sure.  I'm thinking she could have considered the fact he had a good reason for writing things down instead of speaking.   It might not have been something fancy like official muteness.   He could have just had really bad laryngitis.   Susan could have given Reade the benefit of the doubt. Yes, he's doing something weird.   But he might have a good reason for doing it.

32. Read article that says butchers in Australia are finding their beef sales have gone down.    Meanwhile butchers specializing in organic and ethical meat are finding their sales have gone up.   People are beginning to ask questions, and they should.  Are cows butchered in Australia treated the same as they're treated in Indonesia?

Terry McGimpsey,  a guy in the meat industry says things are much better in Australia.  It's not like Indonesia.

I hope that's true.  It's hard to know. I don't know what it's like in Australia, really.

In America, I don't think it's that great for the farm animals.    I've seen videos of factory farms, and I've heard stories.  Hopefully, it's better in Australia.

33. Looked at the Animal Liberation website.    They say, Factory farming is the way the vast majority of animals in Australia are raised for food.  So maybe factory farming IS a problem in Australia just like it is in America. But maybe Australia has better laws to protect animals?

I don't know.   

34. Watched animal rights video narrated by a rock star named Darren Cordeux.  It's about factory farming in Australia. 

Yuck.   It looks bad. Maybe Australia isn't much better than America when it comes to factory farming. 

It's sad and sickening.

35. Watched another animal rights video on the Animals Australia website.   It was about pigs in factory farms.  I'm getting the ideas that pigs and chickens are the main victims of factory farms in Australia.  Maybe cows are usually treated okay in Australia? 

36. Felt obligated to watch a video about dairy.  That's hard for me because I'm still guilty of consuming that.  

The video says that calves are taken from milk cows when they're only a day old. 

That's depressing. 

Is it something that happens all the time, most of the time, or sometimes?  

I hope it's not widespread. 

Maybe it is.

The video says, The Australian dairy industry disposes of over 700,000 week-old calves as every year as waste-products.  

Is that true?

I don't want to believe it.  

I was going to have ice-cream for dessert tonight.   But I think I'll be having something else instead.

Should I be vegan?   I don't want to be extreme vegan again.  I'm not good at that.    But maybe I'll strongly cut back on dairy.   It's SO hard though.   Meat is easy for me to give up.   Eggs are easy too.  Dairy is very hard.   It's not just about wanting it, but that's huge too.   It's about trying to find food to eat.  It's about feeling I'll be very annoying to people—like to Tim when he cooks for us.   

Yeah.  I'm not ready to do anything extreme.   I'll just try to cut back.   I'll start with skipping the ice-cream.  Maybe what I'll do is still eat dairy when it's cooked by someone; but I won't eat it on my own.  If pizza is on the menu for the night, I'll eat it. But if I have to get myself a snack, I'll try not to reach for something with milk in it.

I feel I'm going to fail at this. 

I wish I never watched that video.

But that's very selfish.  

37. Decided I'll have chocolate chips and cranberries for dessert.  The chocolate chips have a little milk, but not as much as ice-cream.    I do think quantity matters in stuff like this.   I think it's less awful to eat products that have a small amount of milk in them. The more you consume the more you support the horrible farming practices.   The less you consume the less you support it. 

38. Had a happy thought. Licorice doesn't have milk, meat, or eggs in it.

I like licorice, and the red stuff that's like licorice but not really licorice.