Saturday, July 30, 2011

Prices, Racial Jokes, Fruit, and World Fairs

1. Tried to show Tim that Australia is more expensive than London.   His argument was that while the Australian dollar is worth about 1.08 American dollars, the British pound is worth 1.64 American dollars.  If we can handle London, why not Australia?

Well, my argument is that the prices are low in London. The prices are high in Australia.

When we're in London, everything looks so cheap to me. Tim would have to remind me to add in the 64%

In Australia, I'd freak out because everything looked so expensive to me.  Tim would have to remind me to subtract the 10-20%.

We decided to look at London and Australia prices.  I was silly at first, looking at two different items from two different types of restaurants.

Tim suggested we look at Wagamama.   They have them in England and Australia.  We could compare apples to apples rather than apples to oranges.  

We downloaded the menus and looked at salads.  

A chicken salad in the UK is 9.10 pounds.  That's 14.95 in American dollars.

A chicken salad in Australia is $18.60.   That's 20.47 in American dollars.

Although it's kind of like comparing green apples to red apples because it's not the exact same salad.

2. Decided to look at another Wagamama menu item.  How about edamame?

In England it's 4 pounds.  That's 6.57 American dollars.   

In Australia, it's $5.4.  Hey, and that's actually cheaper then the UK edamame.  It equals 5.94 American dollars.  

So I guess in some cases, Australia isn't more expensive than London.  

3. Felt hopeful after looking at slideshow about the world's most expensive cities. It's from July 14, 2011.  There are no Australian cities on the list.  

This site has Sydney at #14 and Melbourne at #21.  That's not bad.

I remember seeing another list that had Sydney way up higher on the list.  Did I dream that?

4. Found an article that says what I remember hearing before.   They say Sydney is the 6th most expensive city in the world.   Their information comes from the Economic Intelligence Unit from the UK.

The site that says Sydney is #14 got their information from Mercer's 2011 Cost of Living Survey.

5. Decided that since two professional organizations can't agree on the rankings of Australian cities, I feel less bad about my dodgy menu price comparisons.

6. Had idea for my fictional blog.  I've been a tiny bit stressed about it.  I'm trying to find a way for my British family to become an Australian family.   I don't want them to be deported.

So far the only solution I've come up with is having them become underground refugees in the wizarding world. That might work for awhile, but I'd like them eventually to go back to the Muggle Australia world.

The father was a journalist and photographer for a small magazine in London.   The mother was....I actually don't know.  That's bad, right?   I should know more about her.   I'll just say she was a homeschooling mom. Maybe she was a writer too.  Yeah, that would work.  Freelance kind of stuff.

They can't exactly migrate under the skilled migration thing.  But maybe someone will know someone who can give the father a journalist job.  Then they can maybe migrate via the Employer Sponsored Workers Visa.  

7. Read article that says there's going to be a leadership coup in South Australia.  They're going to try to kick Mike Rann out of his Premier role.

Rann says he's not willing to go quietly.  He's going to fight.

I guess we'll see what happens.

The person who might replace Rann (if the coup works) is Jay Weatherill.

8. Consulted Lord Wiki about Jay Weatherill.  He doesn't say much that wasn't in the article itself.

Jay is the Minister for Education and he's from the left-faction of the Labor Party.

He studied law and economics at uni.

What's interesting is that it's someone from the right-faction of the Labor Party who told Rann he should step down.  Originally they wanted to replace him with a guy on the right.   But I guess they figured there wouldn't be enough votes to make that dream come true.  So they settled on Weatherill.  

9. Felt happy when I read article that says the ACT Labor Party has voted in favor of same-sex marriage.  Now every state Labor Party except New South Wales is on board the gay marriage thing.

It's amazing that the leader of the national Labor Party is against gay marriage.  I think maybe that group needs a leadership coup as well.

10. Read Fruitcake's blog in which she has posted one of those forwarded emails.   The gist of the email is that we'll tolerate the Islamic religion as long as they show us they'll be tolerant of other cultures. I do agree with the general sentiment. Tolerance should go both ways.

The email is extreme though.  They're not asking Muslims to tolerate things like bikinis, gay couples, and candy made from gelatin.  The email mentions a topless bar called You Mecca Me Hot and a liqueur store called Morehammered.

Yes, Muslims need to be tolerant of other people doing things that their religion forbids.  But I couldn't blame them for being offended by something that not only promotes what they forbid, but does it in a way that mocks their religion.

I would be more impressed though with the Muslim who could shrug their shoulders at the silliness and laugh.

Fruitcake asks At what point does any “anyist” joke cross a line?

It's such a hard question.  The lines aren't absolute.

I saw this joke the other day. 

Don't be racist. Be like Mario. He's an Italian plumber created by Japanese people who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.
And runs like a jamaican
and jumps like a black man
And grabs coins like a Jew

I thought it was hilarious, even though I'm Jewish.   Other people might find it very offensive.   

11. Decided that I'm more intolerant of racial jokes if I know there's hatred or intolerance behind the joke.   But sometimes you don't know.

If I heard the Mario Joke being told by a Neo-Nazi, it wouldn't be funny.   If I heard the joke told by a Mexican, it would be funny.

I get the feeling that the original creator of the tolerant-Muslim email was not actually tolerant of Muslims.  To me, there was a meanness to it.  It didn't make me laugh.     

12. Learned that Andrew likes to test the quality of fruit while traveling.  Actually, I already knew that.  He did it in Japan.  But maybe I didn't know it was a regular habit of his.  

Anyway, the important piece of information here is that Melbourne is lacking in quality fruit—at least when compared to places Andrew has traveled.

I wonder what he'd think of fruit in Texas.  Is it good?  Bad?  Better than Melbourne?  Worse than Melbourne?

You know.....

Maybe it's bad because Andrew says fruit in Sydney is about as bad as Melbourne.  We were pleased with the fruit in Sydney.  I don't think we saw it as better than Texas fruit, but certainly not worse.

I don't remember the fruit in Japan, but we were there for only about a day.  

13. Wondered if Andrew might be referring to locally grown fruit. In that case, I don't think Texas is that impressive.

We eat a lot of imported fruit. I know it's not great for the environment. 

14. Decided to take a closer look at the Employer Sponsored Workers visa. Hopefully it existed back in 1998.   It probably did.  I'm going to try not to worry about it.   I worry too much about anachronisms.

15. Worried about it, but realized it would be very hard to find the answers. Anyway, I think it's reasonable to assume employer-sponsored visas have been around for a long time.

While searching I was reminded that there's a cut off age: 45.   I was worried my Muggle father would be too old.  But I checked my character timeline and the guy is only 43.

16. Decided that the Muggle family will lie to the Australian government and say they've been in London (rather than hiding in a wizarding village in Sydney).   Otherwise they'll have to explain why they've overstayed their tourism visa.   At this point, they haven't overstayed the visa, but they will have in a couple of weeks.   And I think it should take time for them to find an employer.   I shouldn't make things too easy on them.

17. Watched very funny movie about Perth that Sally recommended on my Facebook Page.  

They talk about a Bertie sea monster myth.   I shall have to look into that.

18. Tried to find information about Bertie, and I couldn't find much—just some t-shirts and artwork for sale.   Maybe the creators of the video started it, just as a joke.  

I thought it might be like the Nessie thing in Scotland.  

19. Learned how to pronounce the name of my Sydney wizarding village with the help of Jack.   I realized yesterday that I can't keep calling my place The Wizarding Village.   I decided to pick a name.   Since it's in the Rocks, I took two streets around there and combined them.  George Street and Argyle Street.

Before we went to bed I told Jack about it.  He was very excited for me and asked the name of it.  I had no idea how to pronounce it.


I really struggled because I was trying to pronounce the last part like Argyle, and it just doesn't least not with my tongue.  But then Jack came up with an alternative and it works. I'm not good at writing pronunciations.   Otherwise, I'd explain it.

20. Saw that Tallygarunga has changed its look. It looks very professional now—kind of corporate.  

21. Changed my mind.  Maybe I can explain the pronunciation thing. I was trying to pronounce aryle with the long e sound...e as in meet.  But Jack fixed it by pronouncing the y with a short i i as in sit. 

22. Decided to read a story thread in Tallygarunga.  It's called Life's Little Lessons.  So far it has only one post.

HOWEVER, I see there are other people reading the story thread right now.   Maybe they're about to add to it.   

The story thread takes place on the grounds of Tallygarunga.   The star so far is Nyssa. She's the one who was chasing werewolves in another story thread.  And she's also the one who got mad at Blake for killing a bunch of plants.  

23. Started to read the story thread.

Nyssa is having hair issues. She's looking for advice in a beauty self-help wizarding magazines.

She's planning to do a spell that will lengthen her hair.   This part reminds me of me when I dye my hair. It continued to go over some guide lines for being safe and all that crap but of course Nyssa ignored them.

My hair stuff advises you to do an allergy test before actually dying your hair. I think you're supposed to wait a full day or two.  Or maybe it's less. But I've never done it. I wonder if anyone does. I'd probably do it if I often had allergy problems.  

24. Saw that Nyssa's spell went too far.  Her hair was too long.  She shortened it with magic, but then it was too short.  She had to repeat it several times. I like the story thread so far.  It's cute and fun.  

25. Learned that my Australian of the day is Gordon Athol Anderson. He was a musicologist and a medievalist. I guess that's someone who studied medieval times?  

Gordon was born in Melbourne in 1929.  At some point in his childhood he moved to Adelaide.

I wonder if like Andrew he noticed a difference in the quality of fruit. Or maybe Melbourne had better fruit back in those days.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says it took a long time for Gordon to get his degrees because he went to school part-time.  He was probably employed while getting his education.  I didn't have to get a job and was able to finish my degree in four years.  Tim did have a job and finished in 5 or 5.5 years.  I'm impressed with his time management.   I guess maybe I could have done it if needed.  I would have probably had to cut out my extracurricular reading and my social life.  

26. Learned that Gordon taught at Pulteney Grammar School from 1957-1969.   He taught languages and music.

His interests included Latin, philosophy. liturgy, and music.

What is Liturgy?   I've heard the word before, but can't remember the definition.

27. Consulted Lord Wiki about liturgy.  It's a religious thing—the religious service's customs and patterns.

28. Learned that Gordon also liked football, jazz, and his family.

29. Consulted Lord Wiki about Two Rocks in Perth because Sally mentioned it on my Facebook Page.

It's way up north.  Here it is on Google Maps.   Lord Wiki says it's the northernmost suburb in Perth.   If you go any farther north, you'll be out of Perth.

Some of the suburb is fenced off because there's some kind of unexploded military things lying around.  UXO's.  Are they like landmines?

Well, Lord Wiki says landmines are one type of UXO.

30. Went to the Australian government's UXO sight.  

They have a list of each state and the number of UXO sights.   Western Australia has the most and the ACT has the least.   I'm sort of sensing a size correlation here.   Is Western Australia the biggest state in Australia; or is it Queensland?

Lord Wiki says Western Australia is the largest.

Now that I look at the map it seems very obvious.  

What can I say?   I'm not good at size and spatial learning stuff.  Most people would look one time at a map of Australia and immediately know Western Australia is the biggest state.   I've looked at the map thousands of times, and I didn't immediately know the answer.

Western Australia did seem bigger to me though;  just in the fact that when I look at directions from one Western Australian place to another, the driving times are long.  

Queensland is shorter than Western Australia, but I thought maybe it made up for its size in girth.

31. Wrote a post for my fictional blog.  It's so difficult for me sometimes.  I'm not good with all this magical stuff.

I wrote all these explanations about Sydney's magical world—the politics and the attitude towards refugees.  Then I say to myself  Alex is fifteen.  Why does she even care about any of that stuff?   A child that age wouldn't write about adult issues.  I didn't care about that stuff when I was fifteen.

Then I remember that Alex isn't me, and she's more more mature than I was at that age.   She does often talk about politics.  She does care about current events.

And, you know, I was probably more mature at fifteen than I remember.  I don't think I knew much about politics.   But I knew....stuff.   I think I knew a lot about genetics because I was interested in Cystic Fibrosis at the time.  I've probably forgotten most of it by now.

32. Wanted to stalk someone on Flickr again.

33. Found my target.   He's p medved...otherwise known as Patrick. He's from Portland Oregon and went to Australia in June and July.

We considered moving to Portland a few years ago.  I didn't want to move there; mostly because it wasn't Australia.

We went for a short visit, and that's how I was introduced to my beloved Powell's Books.

Jack loved the science museum there.

We might go back because Tim and Jack are still interested in doing a Pacific Northwest tour. I complained about the bears yesterday, and Tim gave me a hard time about it.   Then I realized he's afraid of snakes; but still went to Australia despite their reputation of having some of the deadliest.  

I need to be brave about bears.

34. Looked at Patrick's photo sets.  He's very well traveled.

He's been to Rome, Israel, Jordan, Budapest, Canada, Savannah, Georgia and other places.  

35. Started to look at Patrick's Brisbane photos. By looking at the thumbnail photos, I can see he's into art and architecture.

Here's a photo from the Nepalese Peace Pagoda.

Lord Wiki says it's made out of timber from Nepal.

The origin of the Nepalese Peace Pagoda was a world's fair held in Brisbane in 1988.

This is interesting.   Lord Wiki says while some world's fair exhibits are temporary; and they're dismantled after the fair is over, other exhibits are built to be permanent.   The Nepalese Peace Pagoda is one of those.  Another is the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, and the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago.  

36. Saw that the next world's fair thing is going to be in Korea in 2012

37. Liked this big lizard.   I wish I knew what kind of lizard he was.  

38. Liked this church, although it looks a bit strange next to the modern building.   I suppose I should accept and enjoy the juxtaposition.  

I like this church picture too. 

39. Saw a statue of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.  

Victoria looks kind of upset.

40. Liked this picture of Patrick's first Kookaburra sighting.   I don't think we ever saw a wild Kookaburra.  Or maybe we did?   I forget.  

41. Saw that there's a Star of David at the Nepalese Peace Pagoda.   I'm guessing that's a reference to Judaism.  Do other cultures use the same symbol?  

42. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Star of David.  He says it's a hexagram, and is also used in Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and the occult.  

43. Continued to read Cloudstreet, and I'm liking it so far.  The Pickles have just moved into the house on Cloudstreet.  I can't remember if it's soon or not so soon that the Lamb family moves into the house as well.

44. Checked Google Maps and learned that Cloudstreet is not a real street.

45. Started to look at Patrick's photos of Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Island.

Wow!  Look at that rainbow.

It makes me want to sing this song.

That version features Debbie Harry.

I read an Australian novel that talked about Debbie Harry.  I read it before I was obsessed with Australia.

I didn't really like it. But maybe I should try it again someday.  

46. Liked this weird photo.  It's very surreal.

47. Impressed with Patrick's beach photography.   There's a lot of great photos in his set.  

48. Loved this photo.   It totally reminds me of my dreams.  

Beautiful photos often remind me of my dreams.  So you know what. I think my dreams have very good taste.  

Or do I love stuff that reminds me of my dreams because I love my dreams?

But if my dreams were often ugly, why would I love them? 

I don't usually notice the beauty in my dreams.  I take it for granted.  But when I see a picture that reminds me of my dreams, I love it.

Then again, sometimes I'll not love something; but then love it after I dreamed about it.  A prime example would be Julian McMahon.  Yeah, it works with people too...also TV shows and movies.    The love doesn't always last.  But for awhile, after I think about that which appeared in my dream, I'll get this cozy surreal type feeling.  

49. Hoped this person in the damaged dingy ended up being okay.  Does Patrick know him (her)?  

Did he help in the rescue, or just take a photo?

Although maybe the person in the dingy didn't need rescuing.  It might not have been a major disaster.  

50. Wondered what this person is carrying.   

51. Lost my connection to Flickr.   I'm trying to figure out if it's just Flickr or my internet connection.  I can get to other pages, but they might be saved....or whatever. 

Well, nope.  It must be just Flickr.   Blogger just saved for me.   If my internet was off, that wouldn't happen.  

52. Amused that people still come to my blog to search for nude photos of Rachel Carpani.  

I should write the names of a bunch of actors, and then follow each one by the word "naked" or "nude".   Then my blog will get a ton of hits.  I'll feel very popular....but maybe a bit dishonest.  

53. Saw that Flickr is working again.  I'm going to go back to looking at Patrick's photos. I think I left off here

54. Started to look at Patrick's Fraser Island Tour.  

Here's a cute lizard

I saw a cute lizard out at the pool today.

55. Saw a picture of a dingo.   Aren't there a lot of them on Fraser Island?   Or a child was bitten recently there?  

56. Consulted Lord Wiki about dingoes on Fraser Island.  He says they're thought to be the last pure dingoes in eastern Australia, and to prevent interbreeding, dogs are not allowed on the island.

There are dingo problems.   A child was killed in 2001, believed to be attacked by a dingo.   In response, 120 dingos were killed by rangers.  Isn't that a bit much?   I thought it was supposed to be an eye for an eye, not 120 eyes for an eye.

In March 2010 there were three attacks.  Some blame backpackers saying they provoke the animals so they can get a good picture.   That annoys me so much.  I'll sometimes make kissing-type noises to get the animals attention.   Hopefully, that's not too bothersome.   And I don't think I'd do it to an animal that was free and dangerous.  I mean I wouldn't want to attract the attention of a bear or crocodile.  

I hate though when people tap on the zoo glass or do something to make the animal act aggressive.   Yeah, it IS cool to see.  It's great if you have a video camera.   But it's so unfair to the animal, especially if it leads to them attacking and then getting euthanized.    

57. Started to look at Patrick's Melbourne photos

This statue is kind of eerie.  

This statue is too.  

58. Liked this Aboriginal painting.

I like this one as well.     

59. Thought that this gargoyle looks very distinguished.  

60. Liked the name of this shop in this photo; The Book Grocer.

Here's their website.  They're a chain now. They started in Sydney.

They sell remainder books.  I think Half Price Books sells those, along with used books. They're books that are sold at lower prices when the publishers have too many of them.

Book Grocers explain remainder books on their FAQ page.   They say:

Some of our books are publishers' overstocks and book store returns, also known as remainders. Remaindered books are often marked by the publisher so that they cannot be returned as 'new' stock. The remainder mark may be a small black line on the bottom of the book, or a small dot.  We do not mark the books ourselves.