Thursday, July 7, 2011

Magic is Might, Eating Disorder Clinics, Americans, and Jareth Fischer

1. Thought about one of the reasons I prefer Tallygarunga to The Magic is Might Experience.    Tallygarunga is very well organized.  On their forums, they have two separate forums for out-of-character discussions.

Magic is Might (MiM) doesn't have anything like that, so people go out of character in the middle of the action.

Right now, MiM is reenacting the Hogwarts battle.  For me personally, I lose the mood when you have Professor McGonagall getting out of character to say,

OOC: If you're a student that's underage and trying to sneak back into Hogwarts, you're dead. No questions asked. Don't like? Oopsies, someone can't follow rules. So suck it up, and at least die with some grace.

Messages like this are on the character Facebook pages very frequently.  Some of them have a more friendly tone, but many others are snarky like the one above.

The unofficial role-players go out of character very often as well—usually to express their undying devotion to the official role-players.  Are the official role-players very talented, or is it more a matter of the participants confusing the actor with the character?  Some of the enthusiasm shown towards the Magic is Might actors reminds me of people desperately and enthusiastically begging for plastic green and purple necklaces in New Orleans. They seem to forget it's all plastic.

Or maybe I'm projecting my own feelings onto others.  I'm the one who has trouble separating fiction from reality.    

2. Decided that I sound very bitter.  I probably am.  It's mostly for the fact that I was very excited when I heard about Magic is Might.  Then as time went on I became more and disappointed.  Add that to the fact that I later found Tallygarunga which is everything I would have wished to see in MIM. 

I guess that's life. Our dislike of something will probably increase if we find something wonderful that we can compare it to.   

3. Annoyed that now instead of getting an excessive amount of Qantas ads when I surf the web, I now keep getting an ad for an eating disorder center.  I went to the site ONE time, and now it won't let me go.

Come back to me, Qantas. Please!

4. Went to the Qantas website in hopes that this will change my Google ad thing.

5. Continued to see eating disorder ads.

6. Found out how to change the ads.  You have to delete all the cookies in your browser.   So I did that.  It's a bit annoying, because it signed me out of all the websites I'm using.   But anyway, I'm not getting the relentless eating disorder ad anymore.    So far I've gotten AT and T, Netflix, and some costume shop.

7. Read article that says some members of the Labor Party do not support ending the ban against the live transport of cows to Indonesia.  They don't like the fact that the international guidelines, Indonesia abattoirs are being pushed to follow, do not insure that the animals will be stunned before death.

It's believed that stunning reduces pain and stress to the animals. Religious Muslims and Jews tend to believe otherwise.  For them, it's against their religion and culture to stun the animals.   What's more important, religion or animal welfare?  I personally choose animal welfare, but other people see things differently.

8. Saw from Statcounter that people are coming to my blog to ask who plays Patrick on Offspring.   I'm kind of surprised that they're coming here instead of IMDb.  

9. Read Andrew's interesting blog post about Americans. He says there's a stereotype that we don't understand irony. Andrew is nice enough to defend us.

 I understand irony...sort of.   I do get confused sometimes, though. 

Andrew also talks about being surprised to find that an American mentioned by a friend was Asian rather than Caucasian. 

An American (who may or may not understand irony) commented on his blog saying that Americans call Americans of Asian descent Asian-Americans. 

Andrew responded.  We too use Asian Australian, but I don't think it is appropriate really for someone who is born here.

I think he has a good point.  Is it fair to call someone Asian-American if they were born and raised in America; or adopted at a very young age (like Tim)?  First of all, why do we need to specify that Tim is Asian.   It's OBVIOUS he's Asian.  Well, I guess on a census it's okay....or any type of demographic survey.  But in casual conversation, does Tim need to be identified as Asian-American?   

Some people like to identify themselves with lots of hyphens.  I'm Muslim-American.  I'm Jewish-American.   I'm Chinese-American. I'm Irish-American.   That's their business, and it's fine.   I might have talked about myself in these terms at some point.   But in the end....American is American.   No matter what color of skin you have; no matter what religion you practice; no matter whether you're a dwarf or are missing a foot.  There's one thing we all have in common: Our inability to understand irony.

10. Loved this comment exchange on Andrew's blog post.  Adaptive Radiation says,  For the most part, I have grown accustomed to having explain that I am Australian. And I do take pride in the fact that I have actually read the Australian Constitution, I know the name of our first prime minister, and can even sing the second verse of Advance Australia Fair. 

Jah-Teh responds.  I'm sorry Adaptive Radiation but knowing the second verse of Advance Australia Fair marks you as an alien. Us true OZ inhabitants don't even know there is a second verse much less know the words to the first :)

I am proud to say that although I am aware that there's a second verse to "Advance Australia Fair", I barely know any lyrics beyond the first lines of the song.   I wish I could say it's because I'm a true Australian at heart; but it's due more to the fact that I'm horrible at learning lyrics.  

11. Went back to bed (after some early morning insomnia) and had a dream about blogging.  I have written a blog post about Australian movies on my other my blog.   I check the post later and find there are many comments.  They're a bit old before I notice them, because I didn't get comment notifications.  I'm sort of thrilled that I've written a post that's sparked this many comments, but stressed about responding to them.  

12. Found something in my dream journal that relates to an Australian.  It's not the dream that has the Australian, but what I saw after the dream.

The dream was: Thinking about racism. And how a racist comment wouldn't hurt me. What would hurt me is no one sticking up for me. Or feeling ganged up on. But if someone says something racist and other people stick up for me....then in a way, I had a good experience.

I posted that on August 26, 2006, 7:27 am.   

At 7:58 I posted.  I dreamed about no one sticking up for you is worse than the actual racism.

Then I read about Jodie Foster sticking up for Mel Gibson. And it made me think, I was more upset by that than what Mel Gibson did.

I might sort of count that as a premonition.   

But more importantly, it's a very true thing for me.   If someone says something offensive to me, it's usually the fact that people don't speak up for me that hurts more.  I'm not sure why.  And I'm not sure if these feelings are common or not. 

I had someone say something anti-semitic to me once.  They said it before they knew I was Jewish.  I was shocked and offended, but not really hurt.  Later I told friends about it.  When they laughed and/or failed to show offense on my behalf; that's when I felt hurt.   

13. Read article that says Shell Australia has been given permission to drill off the Ningaloo Reef.   It's a World Heritage location, but I guess that doesn't matter.    

We shouldn't worry though because The Environment Department says there is unlikely to be any significant impact.   Unlikely maybe, but not impossible.   We all know very bad things can happen when you drill for oil.  Are we guaranteed that a catastrophic accident isn't going to happen?  No, we're not.

What's the deal with the Labor Party? They won't help gay people get equal rights.  They won't help asylum seekers.  They won't help the cows avoid painful deaths.  And now they won't protect a reef.   

I know there are good people in the Labor Party, but, as a whole, I think the party's shameful. 

14. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to read a story thread called That Daydreaming Thing.   I think it's new to far as I can remember.

It takes place on the Tallygarunga grounds, in the Centre Courtyard. 

The stars of this thread are Jareth Fischer, a sixth year Spencer student; and Blake Harper, a fifth year Flinders student.

15. Started reading the thread. 

Jareth is lying in the courtyard, enjoying one of the last warm days.   Like me, he doesn't enjoy the cold. 

Right now I'm not enjoying the hot.   Our upstairs air-conditioning is broken.  It's 90 degrees up there, but by the afternoon it will probably be 95 degrees.  I'm staying downstairs right now.   The problem is Mushu is upstairs.  We brought his cat litter box down here.   I brought down two of his waters and I fed him downstairs.  Yet he went back up.  I'm figuring if he's up there, it feels okay to him. 

I'm going to try bringing him back down in a little while.  I'll let him go upstairs, but every so often I'll bring him back down. 

I should get back to Jareth. 

16. Learned that Jareth plays Quidditch.  He's a Spencer student, so I guess that means he's on the same team as Tamarah. 

Jareth is hoping to see someone because he's getting bored being alone.  Then Blake comes by.

17. Learned Blake is a Quidditch player as well.  He's a Beater on his team, and Jareth is a Keeper on his team. 

18. Went upstairs with Jack to get bathroom soap and Mushu.  While we were doing that, I asked Jack about Keepers and Beaters.  I forgot which was which.

Keepers are the players that watch the goal.  Beaters are the players that hit away the Bludgers, the heavy balls that attack the other players. The Beaters protect the other players.

Now Mushu is on my lap in the cool air-conditioned room. He's very sweet and is purring very loudly.  

19. Went back to reading the story thread.  

Jareth and Blake know each other in a vague way; but they're not really friends. That's how I'd describe most of my Facebook "friends".

20. Related to this line from Jareth.   They were friendly, but they weren't exactly... friends. Jareth had always wanted the chance to get to know the guy better, but there were a lot of people he wanted to get to know better, and he'd just never seen a chance to do so with Blake.

When I volunteered at the Cystic Fibrosis camp, there was a girl around my age that seemed really nice.   I wanted to be friends with her, but I was shy, and I figured....well, one day maybe. Then, later that year, I learned she had died.  I didn't expect it because she didn't seem very sick.  

It was sad.   I ended up writing an essay about it for school.  Maybe the school newspaper?   The basic theme was to reach out to people now because they may not be around tomorrow. 

21. Learned that Jareth has a Spanish accent.

22. Learned that Jareth's grandparents believe magic and wizardry are Satanic type things. He's not fond of his grandparents, but he feels compelled to visit because his younger brother is with them.  

23. Learned that Blake is planning to get a cat.

24.  Learned that Jareth has something in common with Tamarah. He's good at baking. Oh, and I guess they also both play Quidditch. 

25. Learned that Jareth's mother was murdered by a guy with fangs—a vampire I assume. 

26. Liked this paragraph.   Jareth went on to say that for the longest time, his favorite class had been Muggle Studies. Blake smiled. Being a Muggle, it was always interesting to hear that a wizard’s favorite subject was, well, the study of his culture. But he realized that he was absolutely enthralled by wizarding culture, so it wasn’t difficult for him to see how the Muggle culture would be quite appealing to some magical folk.

I think that's sort of how I feel when I hear of an Australian liking American culture. I love Australian culture so much.  It's nice to hear that sometimes it works both ways.

27.  Decided to read the biography of Jareth Fischer.  He seems really interesting to me. But first I'm going to go play with Jack.  

28. Started to read about Jareth.

His Patronus is the orangutan.   They used to be my favorite animal. 

He was born in Spain.  My brother-in-law is part Spanish.  His mother's family comes from Spain, and his father's family comes from Peru.  I think that's pretty cool.

29. Learned about Jareth's interesting clothing choices. I had to read it a few times before understanding.

When he's in a mediocre mood, he wears jeans and a t-shirt.  If he's in a good or bad mood, he wears a horrible clash of colors, like dark blue and bright orange.   Blue and orange clash?   I didn't know that. 

30. Learned that Jareth's aunt died, and this has made him a little more reserved. 

31. Liked that Jareth jokes around about rabbit zombies and that he says he's a descendant of flying monkeys.  He sounds like a fun kid. 

32. Learned about Jareth's parents.  His mom was a Spanish orphan.   When she was six, she was adopted by an English doctor.  She spent the rest of her childhood in London.  She met her husband when she went back to Spain for college.

Jareth's father was an American wizard.

33. Learned more about the death of Jareth's parents.  When he was four,  his father killed himself by drinking and driving.  When he was nine, his mother died from a vampire attack. 

Jareth hates vampires because of what happened to his mother. That's prejudice, but understandable. 

Jareth went to live with his aunt.  She wouldn't agree to sending Jareth to Tallygarunga when they got the letter.   She wanted a private tutor for Jareth.   The Ministry sent one, but after three years they said enough is enough.  He needs to go to Tallygarunga, or he can't be taught magic.   Is the Australian Ministry of Magic against homeschooling; or do they think sending a tutor is too much to ask of them?  

Jareth's aunt later died in a drunk-driving accident.  I guess the family has bad luck with that.

34. Learned more about Jareth's grandparents.  They're very anti-magic.   At one point they pulled him out of Tallygarunga and put him in a Muggle high school.  Fortunately, Jareth was able to get them to change their minds.  

35. Learned that my Australian of the day is Samuel Amess.  He was a building contractor in the 19th century.  

He was born in Scotland, so it would probably be appropriate to call him Scottish-Australian. 

Samuel came to Victoria in his mid-twenties. 

36. Learned that Samuel Amess built various buildings around Melbourne.   I wonder if any of them are still standing.  I also wonder if there's a difference between being an architect and a building contractor. 

Lord Wiki says a building contractor is one who oversees the whole building project.  Tim did this to some extent for the corporation he worked for, and my brother-in-law (not the Spanish one) did it for the new cottage at the lake house. 

37. Talked to Tim about his job.  He said he wasn't really the building contractor. He was the project director of the whole thing.  It was a LOT of work.  That's what I know.

Anyway....I am understanding now that the contractor is not the same as the architect.  Although at times I'm guessing the architect could also be the contractor.