Saturday, July 23, 2011

Opals, Sydney Wildlife World, Fruit Bread, and Cadel Evans

1. Read another interesting thing in Sheridan Hay's The Secret of Lost Things.   Some of the characters talk about the opal superstition— that it's bad luck to own one unless it's your birthstone.   Rosemary (the protagonist) explains that this was a rumor started by the diamond industry. They wanted to slow down the competition.

2. Found this Australian Opal site.  It talks about various opal mythologies.  They say the diamond industry spread rumors, but they weren't the first to believe that opals were bad luck.

The website says, Throughout history, while many stones were prized for their positive magical qualities, others were denounced as vessels of evil. No gem was more vilified than the poor opal. Witches and sorcerers supposedly used black opals to increase their own magical powers or to focus them like laser beams on people they wanted to harm.

The webmasters of the site don't believe in the superstitions; which is good seeing that they actually sell opals. I think it's nice though that they face the rumors head on and discuss them; rather than pretending the issue doesn't exist.

3. Learned that in other cultures, and time periods, the opal was seen as a very positive thing.

I don't know if opals are bad luck or good luck, but I can see there's definitely some strong beliefs out there about them.  

4. Learned from Lord Wiki that the famous clock in Grand Central Terminal is made of opal. It's worth millions of dollars.

5. Told Jack that I wish we could go to Sydney's Wildlife World today.  Then we looked at photos of the place online.  Jack then told me he actually prefers the Sydney Aquarium.

I love both.  

6. Saw from their website that Sydney Wildlife World is closing for renovations on July 25. They don't seem to know when they'll be reopening.

I wonder what they're going to be doing. 

7. Learned from Sydney Wildlife World's Facebook Page that they're going to be closed for 5-6 weeks!  Wow. And they're changing their name to Wildlife Sydney.

8. Delighted to see my dad mentioning Mila Kunis in an email. To me, she's Artemisia Bellerose, Reade Ainsworth's girlfriend.

9. Told Jack that Sydney Wildlife World is changing.  We talked more about our memories of that place.  

I then told Jack about my old cockatoo dream, and how I was surprised I knew what a cockatoo was back in 2006.  I said the only parrots I remember knowing about were parakeets and macaws (plus I also knew about gray parrots because of Alex).   I thought about macaws and how they're so incredibly beautiful.  Imagine seeing one of them in the wild!   I told Jack it would be great to go to a country that had wild ones. He said they were in South America somewhere...which I already knew.   I think they might be in Central America too. 

Jack asked me, if you weren't obsessed with Australia, what country would you want to visit?

I said, Maybe somewhere in South America. What about you?

Jack said, The United States.

But...but there's not a lot of parrots here.

Jack's reply:  I don't care about the damn parrots!

That totally cracked me up.  And don't worry. He said it in an amused-exasperated tone; not in an angry/mean one.  Although I know some would be offended about the "damn" itself.  I'm not.

I did deserve his response though. I was acting very egocentric.   

But really.  It IS hard for me to understand why everyone else in the world doesn't get excited about parrots.  

10. Sad to hear from Lord Wiki that macaws are endangered in the wild, and many of the species are already extinct.  

11. Saw from Statcounter that a lot of people are coming to my blog for Cadel Evans.  Did he win the race?  I'll go check in a second.

Several people are wondering whether or not Cadel Evans is Aboriginal. I wondered that myself when writing my biography post about him; but I don't think I found any information about it.

12. Looked at my old post about Cadel Evans.  I said, Lord Wiki doesn't mention anything about him being Aboriginal. He says Evans had a great-grandfather from Wales. Okay, but that leaves us seven other great-grandparents. Some of them might be Aboriginal.

13. Found this interview from 2007.   It's too bad I missed it when doing my post on Cadel Evans.  Evan says, Um, I lived in an Aboriginal settlement in the NT and no brothers or sisters and no-one my own age to play with, so my bike was sort of the only thing I had I think.

I'm guessing that means Cadel Evans is Aboriginal.

Why did I miss that interview before?

14. Found this article about Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France. He hasn't won yet, but it's predicted that he'll win.  

15. Read Red Nomad Oz's post about camel races in Bedourie, Queensland.  The post features a photo of fruit damper.  It looks delicious.  

Reading about the races made me think back to my teen years in Atlanta.  My sister had a pet rodent of some type (gerbil?  hamster?) and a turtle.  We'd put the rodent in one of those plastic balls; and then we'd have him (or her?) race the turtle.  I can't remember how many times we did this; or who won more often.  It was probably the rodent.

16. Looked up Bedourie Queensland on Google Maps.  It's about seven hours south of Mount Isa.    It's nowhere near where we were planning to go on our pretend trip to Australia. So I'll have to live vicariously through Red Nomad Oz's REAL experiences rather than having imaginary Bedourie  experiences of my own.   

17. Learned from I Wasn't Blogged Yesterday's blog that the drive from Wodonga Victoria to Seymour Victoria doesn't have many exciting places to stop.   

I looked it up on Google Maps, wondering if we're going to pretend to go in that direction.  I don't think so.

I have us going more south to get to Melbourne from New South Wales.

18. Looked at our pretend route on Google Maps Terrain. There's mountains. That would scare me, so in real life I'd probably take I Wasn't Blogged Yesterday's route.

What's scarier—mountains or a lack of stop off places to use the toilet?

I don't know.  

And I don't even know if our mountainous route has many toilets.  

19. Read Andrew's post in which he explains away most of my confusion about his trip to Adelaide.  His sister's family lives in Queenscliff.   That's why they drove there and then back again. I think they were dropping them off before heading out to Adelaide.

I'm thinking it would have been easier to take separate cars, and then say good-bye to the sister in Otway Fly.  But maybe the sister and the bone doctor are like me and hate driving.  Or maybe they all wanted to be in the car together.

20. Decided the universe is telling me I need to eat some fruit with bread today.  First I saw it on Red Nomad Oz's post.  Now Andrew's next post has it as well.  

Andrew went on a bike ride.   I didn't know he rode bikes. Maybe when we go to Australia for real one day, he and Tim can ride bikes together.

21. Enjoyed reading about Andrew and R's first day in Mt. Gambier. I like his photos too.

Andrew says, We never think to take photos of accommodation before we mess and clutter it up.

I sometimes forget to take photos of the accommodations all together. We get so busy taking photos of the sites outside the hotel or apartment.  Sometimes we'll remember the last day and rush to take a few photos.

I don't think we took many photos of the apartment in NYC. I wish we did.  It was cute.

22. Looked at our NYC photos.  It looks like we took NO photos of the apartment. That's really sad.

I got to get better at that.  

23. Saw Cadel Evans winning the race while eating lunch. That was pretty cool.

I mean I was eating lunch when I saw it.  Cadel Evans wasn't eating lunch while he won the race.   Although that would be cool too.  

24. Read article about refugees. It's a bit confusing to me.  I think I sort of understand...maybe.

There's that big controversial trade of asylum seekers, who arrived by boat, for refugees from Malaysia.

Australia is sending off 800 boat refugees to Malaysia.  In return, they're going to take in 4000 refugees from Malaysia.

I'm not sure why one group is preferable to the others.  I haven't really been keeping up with the story.

Maybe the ones already in Malaysia didn't come by boat; so by taking them Australia is saying See, we give better treatment to those who don't use boats to flee their countries.  

Anyway, the point of the article is that the refugees coming to Australia will be treated as legal immigrants and will have the right to work.  They won't live in detention centers.

That's good.

25. Went to Fort Worth Wildlife Center...also known as the pet store.   We went because I wanted to get ear mite medicine for the cats. Then I read you can use mineral oil, and Tim pointed out that we already have mineral oil.   But we were all dressed by this time, and decided to go anyway.

We saw cockatiels, and many other animals.  

26. Went to Tallygarunga.  I lurked in the chat a bit and learned the person who plays Eudoxia Karras is not the same person who plays Jason Miller.  So I guess it's just a strange coincidence that both names are associated with the guy who helped Regan become unpossessed.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Every Coin Has Two Sides.  It's another spin off of the Calder Ave family dinner story.

The two characters in the thread are Jezebel Blair and Améa Du Contiaea.  Those two (plus Flora Brown the maybe ghost-girl) are probably my favorite characters in Tallygarunga.   

27. Started reading.

Apparently, somewhere in the past, Améa said she considered Jezabel to be her family.  I guess this was before she knew they were truly related.   Jezabel reminds her of this and says she can't take it back.  Améa disagrees. She can take it back.

This is one of those situations where one person is trying hard to reach out to the other person; and the other person keeps pulling back.

28. Blown away by the stuff that comes out of Améa's mouth.   You do not want to take me for fun. You want for me to decide I like you. You do not like that I am something you do not have. 

English doesn't seem to be her first language; yet she still manages to use it eloquently.

I think I understand what Améa is saying.  She feels she's just a conquest for Jezabel.  Does Jezabel really enjoy her company, or does she just like the idea of adding to her collection of people-that-like-Jezabel?

29. Liked Jezabel's response to Améa.  It's beautiful.

It has nothing to do with what I have or don't have, and to be honest I give just as much as I get. The good and the bad. Its knowing when to let go of the bad, and allowing yourself to accept other good things into your life, that gives us quality in life." And I personally think you are a very good thing that I would like to have in mine. 

I love that.   It has good advice, and it's incredibly sweet.   I don't agree with the first line though.  I think some people give much more than they get; and I think others get much more than they give.    For example. In terms of attention and support, I think I give out MUCH more than I get back.   I'm not talking about individuals, but in a general sense.

The problem could be that I don't often enough follow the advice of letting go of the bad.   Although I did do that on Facebook by muting all those people who seek attention, but rarely give anything back in return.   

30. Went back to reading the story.  I need to hurry through this because Jack is waiting for me to play a dance video game with him.

Jezabel took Améa to a nightclub.  They're very cute together. I like their chemistry.  

31. Item deleted.  But I'm too lazy to go back and renumber everything.

So you guys will just have to endure the mystery. What did I write?  Was it very important? Does it reveal the location of the antidote to zombie venom?  

Maybe... or maybe not.  

32. Finished reading The Secret of Lost Things.  Finally.  My slowness in reading the book had absolutely nothing to do with it's quality. It's just I haven't been devoting enough time to book-reading.  

My next book to read is 48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earles. I enjoyed his other books that I've read; so hopefully I'll like this one too.  

33. Saw that my Australian of the day is Sir Donald George Anderson.

34. Realized I have a problem with my fictional blog.  I thought my British Muggle/wizard family could stay in Australia because the father was originally Australian. He could use the Returning Resident visa.  Right? 


I suddenly remembered what I learned recently.  Prior to 2002, Australians taking citizenship somewhere else would lose their Australian citizenship.   I figured if that's the case they might not have had a returning resident visa before that.

Lord Wiki says they didn't.  Well, at least they didn't have them in 1998.  If I'm understanding Lord Wiki, the ability to regain citizenship  didn't begin until July 2007. Although that's with citizenship.  Maybe it's different for permanent residency.  

35. Did lots of research about this migration thing, but could not find the answers.   I'm just going to make a guess.   I'll assume that the returning resident visa appeared around the same time that Australians were allowed to get dual citizenship.  I would think one would go along with the other.   It seemed at some point Australia was saying,  Fine.  You want to belong to another country.  Good riddance.  Don't come crawling back to us.

Then in 2002, they changed their tone a bit. You can move to another country and become a citizen there. We still want you!  We're perfectly fine sharing you with another country.

I would imagine once they decided on that that, they might also shout out.  Hey, if you lost your Australian worries.  You can come back with a Returning Resident visa.

36. Wished I knew of an easy way to keep my Muggle/wizard family in Australia.  I don't want them to go back to London.   I'm thinking of having them live as underground type citizens. Illegals, I suppose.  They might stay in Australia via a wizard refugee program—one that the Australian government wouldn't know about.

37. Started to read about Sir Donald George Anderson. He was a public servant in the 20th century.

He was a primary school teacher and part of the air force.

Later he did work in the aviation industry. He played a big part in the whole air traffic control thing.

38. Read James' blog post.   He seems to be enjoying Sweden.  He went on an ABBA walking tour.  That's very cute, and so very Australian.    

He mentions the bombings. The other thing I really noticed today was the significant number of police in the main tourist areas, a response no doubt to the Oslo bombings. Sweden has its own issues with far-right politics.

And the whole world has problems with fanatics. They come in all shapes, sizes, and belief systems.

I don't like fanatics; and I hate the violent types.

39. Wondered if I should include zealous fans in the fanatic category.

I would usually say.... no.

I'm okay with people being zealous in their fandom.

The exception would be people who express love for their object of affection by insulting other people's chosen fandom.

The Magic is Might people did this.  One of their ways of expressing love for Harry Potter was to be hateful towards the Twilight series and Stephanie Meyers.  I don't like that attitude. We all have things we dislike, and I think it's okay to express that. But when people become too zealous in their dislike, they start to fit my image of a fanatic.

Yeah...well, actually that would fit with any type of thing. If you're a religious Christian, there's nothing wrong with that.  You can love Jesus and be a very wonderful human being. But if you are hateful towards other religions and people who practice those religions, you're a fanatic.

40. Showed Tim the video with Tallygarunga people.   Then we turned on the TV.   Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is on.  It's so happy, bright, and colorful compared to the later movies.    

41. Went to Mousie's Australian media database.  The next song on the list is "Distant Song" by Crowded House.   I don't think I've heard it before.

42. Failed to find "Distant Song".   I'm guessing Mousie meant to say "Distant Sun".

I often write the wrong words. It can be funny sometimes. Sometimes it can show what was really on  my mind when writing.

I'd have fun psychoanalyzing Mousie's "Freudian Slip", but it's probably not that shocking for her to be thinking about songs when making a song database.   

43. Learned that Mia Farrow's father was Australian.  

44. Decided that in my imaginary Australia trip, I'll have a strong bladder and will be able to drive at at least two hours without stopping.