Monday, July 25, 2011

Cadel Evans, Asylum Seekers, Grief, and Collages

1. Read article and watched video about Cadel Evan's win.  The article says Cadel was emotional.   I can't blame him.  I was emotional just reading the article.

2. Went to bed and had a dream about Cadel Evans.  I watch a news program about him.  It starts with him being interviewed in the studio, and then shows footage from when the news team was at his house.  The footage shows Cadel and his family being unhappy with the paparazzi invasion. Cadel Evans doesn't seem at all in favor of becoming a celebrity. It seems strange to me that he agreed to go o the show in the first place. At one point he asks why people like him are famous. Why don't regular people with regular jobs become celebrities?  (he gave examples but I forgot them)  I like what he's saying. 

I feel conflicted watching the show. I want to see it, but since Cadel Evans is against all this attention targeted at himself; I feel I'm feeding into what he doesn't like. 

3. Did not ignore a letter from the Labor Party like I usually do.  I read this one and even followed the link.   It was about Norway.  Nick Martin talks about the attacks; and how the victims were part of the Norwegian Labor Party; the Arbeiderpartiet.  As a sign of solidarity, he says, today and for the future, we are all Arbeiderpartiet members.

That's a nice show of solidarity.  It's probably easy, though, for such a similar party to speak out in support.  I wonder what's being said from parties around the world that oppose the Labor Party.    What are people from the far-right saying? Are they speaking out against the murders?  

4. Learned from James' latest post that he doesn't like shopping.  He also observes that male jean sizes in Sweden are much smaller than what he's used to. This has led him to believe that gay men in Sweden are more thin and girly.   It could be just that one shop though.  Maybe there's a variety of gay men in Sweden, and that shop caters to a certain type.  Well, of course there's a variety.  There's never going to be a country where there's an absolute uniform body type for a group of people.

I think the question is whether or not there's a dominant body type, or a preferred body type for gay men in Sweden.  In many cultures these days, thin woman are preferred.  But there's exceptions.  There are people who prefer curves and are turned off by the skin and bones look.  

Anyway...enough about that.  James' post also includes a lovely video he took of a ferry ride.

It's beautiful.

5. Read this article that talks about how both Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard have spoken out against the Norway attacks.   

I was wondering to myself whether Abbott would be right, or far right. I don't really know the difference between right and far right.

Should we expect the far-right to speak out against the attacks?

I believe Muslims should speak out against Islamic terrorist attacks, but do I expect to hear condemnation from extreme Muslims? 

I guess it would depend on the level of extremity.  Someone can be very extreme in their views, but against the idea of using violence and/or murder.  Then there're people who wouldn't commit murder themselves, but look upon other murderers as being heroic.

I guess there could be levels of extremity.  

Level 1- So extreme that they believe murder is justified, and they feel compelled to commit the murder themselves

Level 2- Extreme enough that they believe murder is justified and they'll applaud those who do it.

Level 3-Extreme enough that they believe murder is justified, but they'll stay silent. They'll neither applaud it or condemn it.

Level 4-Very extreme, but believe murder is wrong.  They will speak out against the attacks.

6. Read Fruitcake's blog post.  She talks about Norway and punishment issues.  She says, I like living in a country that tries to rehabilitate people rather than simply locking them up. I like living in a country that doesn't believe in capital punishment.    But further down she talks about how some criminals go beyond what can be rehabilitated.   She says, When in heaven's name are we going to have a "can't be rehabilitated" sentence that will keep mass murderers, or recidivist perverts off the street completely?

I'd like to believe that everyone can be rehabilitated—that bad people can become not-bad.   The other day Tim and I were talking about morality questions.   He asked whether or not—if given the opportunity—would I go back in time to kill Hitler  I said no, but maybe I'd try to go back to his earlier years and try to stop him from hating Jews.

I love stories of people who did bad things, and then later became better people.   An example would be Peter Kocan.   He tried to assassinate a politician, got in trouble for it, and then went on to write award-winning books.  Peter Kocan is free now, and I don't think he's tried to kill anyone else.

But some people go too far in their evil acts; and it's really hard to imagine that they'd stop being evil.  It's hard enough for me to comprehend someone killing one other human being; but over eighty of them?  I can't imagine someone like that being rehabilitated.   I also can't imagine them feeling remorse.  If they did feel remorse, how would they manage to live with themselves?   I think in order to go into a camp and shoot innocent people, you'd have to be seriously lacking a conscience.

How can you rehabilitate someone without conscience?  

7. Learned about a terrifying road in Adelaide Hills from Andrew's blog post.  He says, The road is a freeway, 100kph, while you travel down a steep and winding road.   I don't like that at all.    And Andrew was told that a truck once went out of control and hit a bunch of cars.

8. Read Fruitcake's very powerful post about asylum seekers and detention centres.  I think she has a lot of valid points, ones that make me rethink some of my current opinions.   Well, she kind of makes me go back to the feelings I had before I read about Woomera.  I think Woomera is hell.   And I don't think people should be in detention centres indefinitely.  But reading Fruitcake's post brings out my recently submerged feelings of wondering whether all detention centres merit the riots and self-mutilation.

Fruitcake has many good thought-provoking quotes in her blog.  I won't quote all of them.  Let me try to find my favorites.

Here's one.  Where people are in detention they can like it or lump it. Call me cruel, but I would rather be in an Australian detention centre than living in any of a thousand free situations in other parts of the world. I don't for one moment suggest any person needing refuge should have to grovel for help, but they do need to keep a sense of proportion.
It might well be depressing, but there is no other refugee camp in the world that is not already full of children and depressed adults. 

And here's another.   I think this quote is absolutely brilliant.   There is absolutely no special excuse for self-mutilation that doesn't already apply to far too many Australians already.
We have homeless people who deserve help. We have people with mental illnesses that are treated like pariahs. We have people denied life saving drugs because they can't afford them. We have people denied basic hospital services like hip replacements because being in pain and unable to move around is not "life-threatening" enough, so surgery is deemed to be "elective".

Fruitcake isn't against taking in asylum seekers.  She's not against helping people. But I think her point is that asylum seekers can't come to Australia expecting paradise. Life is tough around the world for a lot of people.

I think countries like America and Australia have the moral responsibility to take in refugees.  That's what we need to do. Then the responsibility of the refugees is to have some patience and acceptance that things are going to be rough for awhile.

Now Fruitcake uses the example of rioting in response to there not being enough computers.  Did that really happen, or is it an imaginary type example?   I'll have to look it up.     Rioting for anything like that is ridiculous.  Refugees shouldn't come to Australia expecting top of the line technology.  But I do think they deserve enough toilets, clean beds, hygiene products, and adequate food. They shouldn't expect a five star hotel.  They should have what people in a decent hostel get.

9. Thought more about refugees.  Before 1992, Australia didn't have mandatory detention.  America didn't have it before 1981.  Actually, I didn't know we had it at all....until just this minute.   I should have looked it up before now.   Shame on me.   Seriously.   I feel really ashamed.   I did ask Tim once, and he said he didn't think we had it.  He wasn't absolutely sure though, so I definitely should have dug deeper. 

Anyway, I think in the past refugees would be adopted by the community.  Groups would sponsor them and take care of them.  Did that work out well?  I'm guessing it did sometimes.

Would there be enough people to take in and help all asylum seekers?  What would happen to asylum seekers if they had freedom as soon as they stepped into Australia?   They wouldn't have any money, would they?  How would they get food and housing?   I would think their lives would be pretty desolate for awhile.

In some ways, I think some type of processing center could almost be a good thing.   Maybe instead of calling these places detention centers, they could be called shelters or temporary living centers.   Of course you can't change a situation by simply changing a name.   You have to change the situation itself.  My feeling is we shouldn't be fighting to end the centres.   We should be fighting to improve the centres.   Give people adequate living conditions and some amount of freedom.   Have them live there, but don't turn it into a prison.  Unless there's reason to believe an individual is too dangerous for the community, allow them to walk outside, and allow them to mingle with the community.  

10. Liked this bit from Nick Earle's 48 Shades of Brown  And I only said I liked documentaries because you have to, because that question can never be answered with, Give me a sitcom any day.

I prefer sitcoms to documentaries.

Some documentaries are interesting and thought-provoking though.  One that comes to mind is The First Australians.  I liked that.

The other night Tim wanted us to watch an ocean documentary for our dinner show.  Yes, we sit in front of the TV for all of our dinners.  Since we homeschool, we have PLENTY of time during the day to chat....including breakfast and lunch.  Dinner is group TV time.

Anyway, let me go back on track.  The ocean documentary was awful.   It was so boring, and how could anyone manage to make the ocean boring?  It seems very difficult, but the makers of the documentary managed to do it.  Well, at least it was boring to Jack and me.  Other people may have enjoyed it.

The images were beautiful, but the writing for the narration failed to impress me.   What I would have liked to see is fascinating facts that would make us gasp, Wow.  I didn't know that.  Did you know that?   Let's go google it.    Instead it was all poetic and descriptive.  I don't need poetic descriptive narration when I'm staring at the thing you're trying to describe.

What I did then was mute the sound of the video. Then we turned on some music and watched the imagery.  Tim wasn't fully convinced that the narration was worthless, so he put on the subtitles.   I think in the end though he realized it wasn't so exciting.  

11. Went to the SBS website for The First Australians.   They let me watch it; no geo-blocking here.   So why couldn't I watch Go Back To Where You Came From on their site?

12. Tried to find information about asylum seekers rioting because of a lack of computers.  I'm not easily finding anything.   I googled "asylum seekers riot not enough computers", and got stories about the asylum seekers destroying the computer room (along with a kitchen, laundry, and medical facilities).

I'm guessing Fruitcake's example may have been hypothetical.   Regardless, though, it doesn't make sense to complain about lack of care and then destroy the rooms that provide care.   It also doesn't make sense to demand to be treated well and then self-mutilate or try to starve yourself.

It's one of those situations though. The asylum seekers might behave better if they have better facilities and more freedom.  The government will probably provide better facilities and more freedom if the asylum seekers behave better.   

The asylum seekers are angry because they don't feel welcomed into Australia. But who wants to open their hearts and country to angry people?

It's a tough situation.

13. Saw an editorial that says something very similar to what I said yesterday about religion not causing evil acts.   Boris Johnson says,  here is an important lesson, therefore, in the case of Anders Breivik. He killed in the name of Christianity – and yet of course we don’t blame Christians or “Christendom”. Nor, by the same token, should we blame “Islam” for all acts of terror committed by young Muslim males. Sometimes there come along pathetic young men who have a sense of powerlessness and rejection, and take a terrible revenge on the world. Sometimes there are people who feel so weak that they need to kill in order to feel strong. They don’t need an ideology to behave as they do. 

I think he said it very well, maybe better than I did yesterday. Or maybe it's not better.  I think I did an adequate job saying it.   Maybe I just like seeing someone agree with me; and it's nice that he expressed our opinion in such an eloquent way.

My feeling is murderous fanatics all wear different masks.  But underneath they're all full of hate and evil.  They're pathetic.  I still think, though, that the non-violent fanatics need to speak out against, and distance themselves from, the acts of murder.  Otherwise....well, I think their silence sends a message. They need to say We're ashamed and appalled that these horrible acts were done in the name of our religion (or ideology).    I think it's fine to believe in the same ideologies as a mass murder.  But I want to know that you're as disgusted with the murders as I am.

14. Looked at Tim's favorite cycling blog with him. It has a post about Cadel Evans.

Cadel Evans brings our two passions together.  Tim loves cycling, and I love Australia.  Tim loves Australia too, but it's not one of his major passions.  

The post has some fantastic photos.

15. Noticed that Cadel Evan's was born in the same year as my sister Melissa. And he shares his birthday with Melissa's oldest son.  That's pretty cool.

16.  Listened to this cover of Nick Cave's the ship song.  I like it. It features various singers performing within the Sydney Opera House.

Never mind.  I don't like it.  I love it.  It could become my new obsession.  

I wish I could identify all the singers.

I think I see Kev Carmody and Sarah Blasko. I definitely recognize Paul Kelly.

Who's at 1:42?  Is that Angus and Julia Stone, or someone else?

I need a guide map.  

18. Amazed by this video.   I usually don't watch videos.  I click on them; then listen to them while I look at another website.  Videos usually bore me.   But this one is a definite exception. The imagery is as entertaining as the singing.

19. Loved this editorial by Ruby Rose about Amy Winehouse's death and people's callous attitude towards it.    Ruby Rose wrote on Twitter that she was sad over the death.   People responded that she shouldn't be sad because of what happened in Norway.   I saw a comment like this from one of my Facebook "friends" today.  She said she's not sad about Amy Winehouse.  She's sad about Norway.   I'm sad about Norway too, and terrified.   But that doesn't mean I don't respect the fact that fans of Amy Winehouse might very sad right now.  I'm especially not going to forget that Amy Winehouse had family and friends that are devastated right now.  

A friend of my Facebook friend had a brilliant response. I forgot how it went exactly, and of course I'm not going to directly quote someone's private Facebook Page.  But it was along the lines of why be sad about Norway then?   There are disasters out there that have killed much more people than were killed in Norway.  

Why be sad about Norway when 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust?  Why be sad about Norway?  Much more people were killed when the Twin Towers in NYC fell down.

I think we have room in our hearts to be sad for the Norway victims, Amy Winehouse, and all the other people who died way too young these past few days.

20. Liked this quote from Ruby Rose.  Have we as a society become less sensitive to death or has social media simply become a platform for the angriest and least understanding among us?

I think it's a bit of both, but more the latter.

21.  Talked to Jack about deaths in Harry Potter.  It started with him talking to me about Bellatrix's death.  We went on to talk about which deaths were the saddest for us.   It made me think about how even fictional deaths can be very sad. I think it's silly to scold people for their grief.

Then again, at times I've had lower tolerance for those grieving over the deaths of elderly people.

But I try not to be mean about it.

Still...maybe I'm hypocritical. 

I do think it's sad when an elderly person dies, especially if they provided a lot of support and love to the people feeling the loss.   But I don't see it equal to the tragedy of a young person dying.  

I think it's fine to think the death of many young Norwegians is sadder than the death of one rock star.  I feel the same.  But that doesn't mean the rock star death isn't very sad as well.

22. Decided that it's okay to compare tragedies and deaths in our head.  Some things will make us more sad than other things. But I don't think it's okay to mock people or scold them for their grief and sadness.  

23. Decided that I should be more compassionate towards those who have lost an elderly person.   When someone over eighty dies, my attitude is, They're lucky they lived such a long life.   Let's celebrate the fact that they were lucky enough to live so long, and move on.    But for some people, it might be more than that.  They might have been very close to the deceased.   Or the sadness might be more of an end-of-an-era type thing.  It might be some what similar to the sadness I feel when my favorite TV shows end.  Lost lived a long enough life.  But I still cried at the end. 

Some people might feel sad about the death of old people because they recognize their own mortality.  One day I'll get old.  One day I'll die.

24. Wanted to add with all that being said, I've never ridiculed or openly questioned someone's grief.   I've never been nasty about it.   Also...I was sad when my grandparents died.   I didn't clap my hands and say Well, that is that.  Let's go grab some grub.  It's just I've heard people react to the deaths of old people as a horribly unfair tragedy; and it's hard for me to be understanding about that.

Dumbeldore is my favorite Harry Potter character.  I was sad when he died; especially for Harry Potter and Snape.  But I didn't see his death as a tragedy.  

25. Read article about the women whose babies were stolen by the Catholic Church. They were pregnant as teenagers; their babies were taken without their consent.

Now the Catholic Church is apologizing.  Some of the women are saying the apology is meaningless.  The article says, The women agree that yesterday's apology from Catholic Health Australia is too little too late and nothing more than a strategy to shut them up and make them go away.

Yeah.   I think some apologies can be translated as,  We feel really bad that we did this.  We understand why you're so upset, and we regret that it happened.  Other apologies say, I'm saying sorry in the hopes that you'll shut up about this; and we never have to hear about it again.  

I haven't seen the Catholic apology; so I don't know if it's true that they were doing it to get people to shut up about the whole thing.  Even I did see the apology, I couldn't know for sure its true intentions.   But I do recognize that some hurts are so huge, even a sincere apology cannot easily bring about forgiveness.   

26. Looked a the Catholic Health Australia website.   I can't find anything about the apology there. I thought since it was a public apology that they'd mention it on the site. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place. 

27. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going read a story thread that's new to me. It's called I Really Like Your Name [Riley L].

It's about two people who have the same name; Riley Lightfoot and Riley S. Abderdeen.   I know of the first Riley, but the second one is new to me.  It's a girl Riley this time.  Her face claim is Kristen Stewart.  She actually sort of satisfies my wish for more Aussie face claims. Her mother is Australian. 

28. Looked to see where the story thread takes place.

It's a magical suburb in Melbourne called Oliphant Lane.  This page describes it as the magical sector of Melbourne, muggles see nothing but a deserted alley, wizards and those who know better can find their favorite wizarding shops and healers here.

Riley and Riley are in the Riddle Me This Joke and Sweet Shop.  It's about time someone here went to a candy store.  

29. Started reading the story.

Riley A. is a university student, and she is a musician. She's not in the sweet shop yet.  She's in the bookstore.   She's thinking of buying something for her nine-year-old sister. Then she sees a book about the relationship between magic and tribal drums.

30. Wondered if Riley is in love with her cousin.   It says here, Her cousin Reggie. They hadn't been in touch for a while. It hadn't been a long time, but it was very unusual that they didn't see each other in so many days. Riley wasn't sure about what she felt for Reggie, but she was sure that she didn't want their relationship to cool off.   It sounds like a romance to me, but I guess it could also refer to a friendship.

31. Riley L. lives right near Oliphant Lane, but has never been there...well, until now.

At first Riley is unimpressed with Oliphant Lane, and can't understand why people have raved about it.  He thinks the stores in Narragyambie are better. Then he sees the sweet shop.

Will the sweet shop get him to change his mind?

Why did he wait so long to explore Oliphant Lane?  Was he too busy?  Scared of it?  Not interested?

32. Glad to see that Riley is getting some candy for himself.  What can I say?   I like stories that mention food.—like Arti and her chocolate feast at the hotel.

33. Distracted by the Tallygarunga chat thing.  I need to stop and pay attention to the story.

So, Riley A. has started a conversation with Riley L. even though he's a stranger to her.   She asked him advice about a gift for her cousin.

I think it's a brave and useful skill to be able to approach strangers like that.

They might not be complete strangers though.  Both of them vaguely recognize each other.

34. Enjoyed the creativity in the story.   Riley L. talks about the gifts Riley A. is considering.   One of them is a scarlet box. It looks innocent, but Riley L. knows that when you open it, beetles come out and attack you.

35. Realized I feel like a teacher when I say Riley L. and Riley A.

It reminds me of my days of multiple Elizabeths and Amandas.   I also had a year with three Jacks.—the same time I was pregnant with my Jack.  But I definitely did not name my Jack after those Jacks.

36. Wrote in my fictional blog.  My Muggle/wizard family has their own mail-carrying bird now.   It's a parrot rather than an owl.  I forgot what type of parrot though. Let me go check....

Gang-gang Cockatoo.  They're grey and red.  The grey reminds me a bit of the cat in Pet Sematary; but that's okay.      

37. Started to read the biography of Riley S. Aberdeen. She's a nineteen year-old Muggleborn; born in Melbourne.

Her Patronus is a hamster.  We saw hamster or gerbil at the pet store the other day.  Tim thought they were cute.   I preferred the rats and mice.

38. Figured that Riley's role-player is not American. She describes Riley's height using the metric system.  And she says coloured instead of colored.

Yes, I love noticing little things like that.

39. Read that Riley is majorly open-minded and extroverted.  She reminds me of a certain blogging friend of mine.  And this friend is also the type to start conversations with strangers.

40. Learned that Riley is like Reade Ainsworth in that she likes science fiction.   Although I'm guessing that might be a popular character trait in Tallygarunga.   People often model characters after themselves.   I think those who like role-playing are often the same people who like science fiction.   So there you go.....

But I could be stereotyping.   

41. Learned that Riley's dad worked at the Melbourne zoo.  That's cool.

Oh!  And his mom was a teacher.  She brought her students to a zoo field trip, and that's how the two met each other.  

Riley's family is different from other Muggleborn families I've encountered.  Although they're Muggles, the wizarding world wasn't new to them.  Riley's mom's brother (his uncle) is a wizard.

42. Sad to read that Riley's sister died of Leukemia.  I hate cancer.  I especially hate childhood cancer.

43. Learned that Riley developed a strong relationship with her wizard uncle when she learned that she too was magical.

Her parents later had another magical child; Willow.  Riley adores her younger sister.

44.  Saw that I was right about Riley having romantic feelings for her cousin. That's fine. It's legal in Australia...and also in some American states.

45. Learned about a website called Polyvore from chat.  Some of the role-players have image collage things for their characters. Here's singer Megan's page.  And here's a page made by Reade Ainsworth's role-player.  

These pages are very fun.   I'm not sure how to properly describe it though.   It's not exactly a collage, but it reminds me of those collage activities where you look through magazines and seek out pictures and words that mean something to you.

The last time I did one was at a convention, a few weeks after I first became obsessed with Australia.  I think I saw it the other day when I was looking for our Australia map.   Unfortunately, I didn't find the map.

Anyway, I'm going to go look at the collage and see what I picked out.....

Never mind.  It wasn't the right collage.

And I still can't find the Australia map.   My sister-in-law gave it to Jack when he was a toddler and very into geography. I wasn't even obsessed with Australia yet.   Then later we found it when I was obsessed.  I was happy to have it.  Now I can't remember where I put it.

46. Watched the Ship Song/Opera House video again. The Sydney Opera House is so beautiful.   Seeing the video rekindles my love for Sydney.  Not that I stopped loving it; but I've been lured by other Australian towns and landmarks.   I'm sure I'll love those places too; but for now I want to remember that my Australian love began with Sydney.

47. Talked to Jack about Offspring and McLeod's Daughters.  He wanted to know which show I liked better.  I said I like them the same if we're talking about the first two seasons of McLeod's Daughters.   After that, I think the show turned to crap.  They changed too many of the characters.

We talked about Claire's death, and...well, it seems silly to me that they continued the show without her.   The whole story was about the relationship between the two sisters.

I guess the same could be said of Offspring though.  The backbone plot of season one was Nina's crush on Chris Havel.  Then he was no longer around in season two.

48. Learned that my Australian of the day is Ethel Campbell Louise Anderson. She was a writer.  

Ethel was born in England in 1883.

She was born in England, but both her parents were Australians.  She was brought up in Sydney.    I guess maybe her parents were living in England temporarily. Or maybe they were on holiday?

Ethel married a man in India.

During World War I, the family lived in England.

After the war, they moved to Sydney.

Ethel was a writer and an artist.  She loved gardens and music.

That's all I'm going to say for now because we're going to eat dinner.

49. Ate dinner.  Our entertainment for the meal was the beginning of Galaxy Quest.   Tim and I love that movie and wanted to share it with Jack.

Alan Rickman is in it; and he's very Snape.   He even says a classic Snape line.  Look at me!   I thought it was a great coincidence.   Then I started thinking...what if it wasn't a coincidence?   What if JK Rowling saw Galaxy Quest, and subconsciously she picked up the lines when writing the book. Or maybe it wasn't subconscious.  Maybe it was a private little joke.

50. Found my collage!   It was in this purple folder that also has a bunch of Sydney pamphlets.

The collage is of things I wanted for myself back then.    

I took some photos.

And here's the Sydney stuff.

51.  Talked to Jack about Tallygarunga.  I think it's one of his obsessions right now.  It's that along with music and family trees.

52. Went to Mousie's media database.  The next song on the list for me is "FIGJAM" by Butterfinger.  

I've heard it before.  Warning: It has some strong language.

53.Watched very creative montage video about Tallygarunga. It shows the various characters dancing....well, their face claims really.