Sunday, July 3, 2011

Skills, Max Brenner, Lake Swimming, and Bananas

1. Dreamed about Tallygarunga.  For some reason I take a biography of a character; and for my blog, I rewrite it in first person.  Then I start having doubts about whether anyone would want to read it. 

It wasn't really a plagiarism type thing because I wasn't hiding the fact that the original came from Tallygarunga. It was more like I was trying a writing exercise.

I'm guessing maybe the dream had something to do with the Magic is Might Experience vs. Tallygarunga. The former is written in first-person and the latter is all third person. 

2. Watched the vote yes to carbon ad.  It was on Fruitcake's other blog...embedded.

It makes me wonder why it's taken me so long to embed videos.

I have embedded a few videos here and there in the past.  But now I'm wanting to embed all of them.

Anyway, it's a very cheerful video with Cate Blanchett, big yellow suns, and happy windmills.  I'm not going to embed this video, because that would be like video-embedding plagiarism.

3. Wondered why Fruitcake voted no on the proposed preamble to the constitution.  She says, Let me openly breach the secrecy of the ballot box and confess - I voted NO.
Am I a racist?  Perhaps, instead of asking if this makes me a racist, I might ask what is wrong with this preamble?  Where would I begin?

I feel she's telling me I should know her answer.  But I don't. So now I feel stupid.

Maybe it's the mention of God. I personally don't think god should be there.

Besides that....

I think the preamble is a bit idealistic, but I like the ideals. 

4. Saw two updates on Facebook about the cost of bananas in Australia.  I guess the price has gone really high.  I think it's gone up here too, but Tim still buys them.  Maybe they haven't gone up as high.  Or maybe Tim feels they're worth the expense.  

5. Found article about Australia's banana shortage.

Wholesale bananas cost $13 a kilogram.  That's crazy!!!!  For those of us who don't know the metric system, that's about 2 pounds.  So it's like $6.50 a pound.  And that's wholesale. It's a little more expensive at the store.

The article, though, makes me think it's not the end of the world.  One day there will be plenty of bananas again, and the prices will fall.   In the meantime, there's other fruit available at a reasonable price.  The article suggests buying oranges and mandarins.  

I prefer oranges and mandarins, anyway.

6. Read article that says there's a shortage of skilled tradespeople in New South Wales.  These include electricians, mechanics, construction workers, etc.  

It's getting hard for companies in New South Wales to fill positions because the skilled tradespeople have gone to other states or overseas.  One of the reasons for this is the natural disasters. They need people for rebuilding.

I guess it would be nice to have one of these skills at this point. It's nice when your job is in demand.   It's easier to find a job, and it's easier to get a good salary.

My feeling is more young people should be pushed towards vocational school and apprenticeships rather than pursuing intellectual degrees that make people look smart but don't do much for them career-wise.

I'm not saying I'm against intellectual pursuits.  Of course not.   But why do it through a university?   We have libraries and the Internet for that.  Then again, maybe some people could learn how to be an electrician by watching videos on the internet.

7. Reminded myself that just because there's a skilled shortage now; doesn't mean there's always a skilled shortage. There may be times where it's hard for skilled tradespeople to find a good job.   But it does seem with certain careers there's almost always a shortage; and with other careers the job market is usually very competitive.  

8. Went to the government migration page to see what skills are needed by Australia. I'm going to download the PDF file.

They need early childhood teachers. I would qualify, but not really because I've been out of work way too long.  I remember looking into this awhile back.  From what I remember, I would have to teach in Texas before moving on to teach in Australia.   As much as I wanted to move to Australia, I dreaded that idea, because I don't like the preschools in Texas.

Plus...honestly...I wanted to be a homeschooling mom in Australia; not a teacher.

I wanted Tim to be the one to get the job,, but he doesn't have the needed skills. Well, at least he doesn't have an official degree confirming that he's good with the skill.  

9. Saw that there's a lot of medical stuff needed. My sister and her husband could probably move to Australia very easily.  One's a pediatric emergency doctor and the other's a nurse practitioner.  

Actually, I see pediatric surgeon on the list, but not regular pediatrician. Maybe I missed it; or maybe they don't need pediatricians who don't do surgery.  

10. Received huge FAMILY news.  Greg's brother is getting a liver transplant. Greg is our friend who lived in New Zealand for awhile; and he hung out with us in Sydney for a few days.

Greg's been helping his brother get healthy for the last year or so; so he'd be transplant-ready.

Greg is a very dedicated brother and a very dedicated friend.  I know too many people who are self-centered, and too lazy and too busy to reach out and help others.  Compared to Greg, I'd probably include myself in that. He's amazing.  

11. Read article that says there was a conference for radical Muslims in Australia.  It took place at Lidcombe.  I was thinking that I've heard of that suburb lately; then I remembered that's where the new Costco is located.

The radical Muslims are against democracy, and want Muslims to resist moderate forms of the religion.

That's annoying.

It reminds me of atheist people I've encountered; ones who aren't satisfied with just themselves being atheist. They seem to think that the world can't be an okay place until everyone is atheist.

It reminds me of an unschooling blog I used to read.  I stopped because the blogger wrote a post criticizing people who called themselves unschoolers, but didn't make all the same radical decisions that her family has made.

It reminds me of a Jewish man I exchanged emails with several years ago.  This was when I was going through my excited-to-be-Jewish phase.   I told him the steps I had taken to become more religious, and he let me know that I wasn't doing enough.

All that stuff is so annoying to me.

12. Decided fanatics are usually awful; but even more awful when they advocate violence.  From what I'm reading in the article, it seems this particular group of Muslims do support using violence for their cause.   

13. Consulted Lord Wiki about Hizb ut-Tahrir.  This is the group with the recent conference in Sydney. 

Their goal is to unite all Muslim countries into one big Islamic state.

The group is very anti-Israel.

So it's okay for a massive Islamic country to exist, but not a tiny little Jewish one?  It's like a child playing with ten toy cars.  The teacher comes by and takes one of the cars.   He wants to give that car to a sad little child who's had a really rough time with bullies. Instead of willingly giving up the toy, the child insists angrily that he should be able to have all the cars.

Muslims and others complain that Jews kicked Palestinians out of their home.  They made them homeless. The other day my mom talked about this, and said people often don't talk about the fact that Jews were expelled from Muslim countries.

Lord Wiki agrees with her.

He says in 1951, thousands of Jews fled from Libya because of persecution. The ones who remained had their citizenship revoked.

In 1951, Iraqi Jews were forced to leave. The exception was if they signed something declaring that they were anti-Zionist.

In 1956, Jews were expelled from Egypt.

14. Looked at Lord Wiki's chart of Jews in the Arab world.  There used to be a LOT of Jews in Middle Eastern countries before 1948. For example, Egypt had between 75 and 80 thousand. Now there's less than 100. With all those Jews missing, it seems there's tons of room for misplaced Palestinians.

I know Palestinians want a right of return in Israel. So will Jews be able to return to the Middle Eastern countries that once expelled them?

Lord Wiki says that before 1948 there was a total 758,000 Jews living in Arab/Muslim countries.   Would the Muslim countries prefer that Israel continues to exist; or would they prefer all those Jews (plus their descendants) return to living in the Islamic countries.  

15. Read article that says there was an anti-Israel protest at the Max Brenner chocolate shop in the Melbourne CBD   It's an Israeli company, I believe. I don't fault it for being Israeli, but I do fault it for being a bit over-priced.

Wait. Maybe it's not Israeli. The article says a Labor MP said, While 1500 people are murdered in Syria, they launch their own sad little attack on a chocolate shop because it also has stores in Israel.

But aren't there a lot of companies in the world that also have stores in Israel?

16. Consulted Lord Wiki about Max Brenner.  He says it IS an Israeli company. So...I was right.

17. Finished reading the article.  I'm not sure what happened.  People were on megaphones speaking out against Israel, and what's happening to Palestinians. The police came in and it turned into a big scene.  Then the protesters were arrested.

I don't really agree with the protester's viewpoint, but I can't really understand why they weren't allowed to protest. Were they trespassing or being especially annoying?  

18. Read another article about the protest.  It says the protesters were arrested for trespassing, besetting a premises, and assaulting police.  

What is besettling a premise?  

This dictionary website says besettling is to attack on all sides; assail; harass.  

Well, that would be pretty obnoxious.  It's one thing to protest quietly near a premise. It's another thing to trespass and harass.   

19. Read some of the comments on the article. There're a few who are anti-Israel, but most seem to support Israel and Max Brenner chocolate. 

I like what Klouss says, Stuff like this makes me want to go there and buy their chocolates, just to prove the point that I won't let others dictate what I eat in this country. Funny I had never even heard of that shop before but it's suddenly become my favorite.

And there's other comments similar to his.  

It's a pretty nice place.  We liked going there in Sydney.  They have fun desserts.   We went in New York, and it wasn't so exciting because I was too lazy to stand in line for their hot chocolates and other specialties.  We just bought some of their candy.  It was expensive, and not too special.

20. Decided that the only thing I like about the Labor Party at this point is their support for Israel.   Outside of that issue, I definitely prefer the Green Party.   

21. Thought it would be funny if Max Brenner does get more business now because of the protest.   That's the thing about boycotts.  People can protest the boycotts by giving extra business to the company being boycotted.  

22. Looked at the Max Brenner menu. ...the pdf file.

There's lots of yummy stuff.  During our 2007 trip, we were total pigs and went twice in one day.  We were supposed to go with my cousin's family, but we had doubts they'd make it.  They had very young children at the time, and it was hard for them to go places.   So we decided it would be better to end up going twice, then not at all.

It also might be better to go twice than just once.

The bathroom scale might disagree with me.  

23. Went swimming in the lake!  I haven't done that since I was a child.  We've been wanting to do it for a couple of years now, but we never got around to doing it.  Then Greg inspired us to take the plunge.

After swimming, I went to our little not-so-pretty beach and picked up all the trash.  That was really nice because it made me feel good about myself.  Of course, it was also nice for the beach and the lake.

It's a very cleansing activity; probably good for mental health.   There's that idea we can do something to make the planet a little better.   It's easy and doesn't require the effort of getting other people to act differently.  I mean it feels good to sign a petition, and picking up trash is really no more difficult.  But when you sign a petition you never know if all the signatures are going to make a difference.

The only thing is I'm germaphobic and gross-a-phobic.  I brought antibacterial gel down with me so I could use it after the task.   I ended up maybe touching a used sanitary pad.  Tim had warned me about it, but I thought he was joking.  Anyway, after that I used a ton of antibacterial gel. Then I washed my hands, and I took a shower.

24. Decided if I do more trash-picking-up excursions, I'll coordinate it so they'll be on my shower days.  Definitely.  Or I'll take an extra shower.

25.  Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to read the post that's been added to A Little Magic Won't Hurt.   This is the one with the singing journal girl who turned her pen and journal into books.   Oliver came about and created some magical rabbits.  

In the new post, Roxanne sees that someone has heard her singing. She's a bit embarrassed by that.

I remember reading on Roxanne's biography that she's not shy. But maybe singing is a different story for her.

26. Went to the list of frequent Tally posters to see which biography I'd read today.

I'm going to read about Professor Keith Anderson

He has Snape's job.  He's the potions master.  He's also the head of Spencer house.

Keith was born in Melbourne, and he's the same age as me.

27. Saw that Keith has an Australian face claim—Keith Urban.  Although there's no photo here.

He looks like Keith Urban, and he has the same first name.  I'm guessing whoever created this character is a big fan of Keith Urban.

28. Learned that Keith has tattoos.

29. Felt that Keith sounded like a nice guy.  He's shy when you first meet him, but then is more outgoing when he feels comfortable.

He believes in giving people second chances, and he believes in standing up for our believes.

I don't know if I believe in giving people second chances, but I usually end up doing it.  And sometimes I end up giving people third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. chances.  

30.  Learned that Keith's dad is a Muggle mechanic, and his mother was a witch.

His father is battling lung cancer. Keith and his mother have offered to help him with magic, but he refuses their help.  He thinks nature needs to take its course.  I think that's unfortunate.

Does that mean he's refusing medical help as well?  Why would western medicine be okay, and not magic?  Does he feel magic isn't natural? Then why did he marry a witch?  Does he feel she's unnatural?  How about their son?

31. Learned that Keith likes huge spiders (acromantulas) but he doesn't like small spiders.  He doesn't like that you can't see them coming.

I'm the opposite.  I like small spiders. I'd be weary of very big ones.

32. Decided to listen to a Keith Urban song. I don't listen to a lot of country, so I'm not very familiar with his work.

I'm listening to I Want To Love Somebody Like You.

I like it.  

33. Found out that my Australian of the day is Augustus Theodore Henry Alt.   He was a soldier, and a surveyor.

What's a surveyor?

Well, Lord Wiki says there are different types.   Maybe by reading the entry about Mr. Alt, I'll get an idea of what type of work he did.

34.  Learned that Augustus was born in London in 1731.  That's way before the white people came to Australia.  

When Augustus was in his fifties, he came to Australia.  That was in 1787.

I'm so embarrassed.  I had to go look up the date of the First Fleet.  I forgot it. That's pretty sad.

Anyway, the answer is 1788.   

I think Augustus was on the First Fleet.  It doesn't say that specifically; but I'm reading between the lines.  

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says he was a surveyor of lands.  I'm not sure exactly what that is, but I'm guessing it's about studying the lands and telling people what's out there.

Yeah, I just consulted with Lord Wiki.  He says they help determine what's out there, and what's the distances between places out there.

35. Talked to Tim about bananas in America.  He says they're still very cheap here.   I had him guess the price in Australia, and he was guessing around 1-2 dollars a pound.  He was quite surprised to learn it's $13 per kilogram.

Tim's pretty sure that the last time he bought bananas—about a week ago—they were 39 cents a pound.  

36. Had this song on my mind because I was thinking about skills earlier today.