Friday, August 26, 2011

Chocolate, Adults, Horror Movies, and Mean Moms

1. Started to look at Theaxx's Sydney photo set

Here's an Australia Day photo of many ships blocking the Sydney Opera House.

2. Thought this was a cute dog picture

And I like this tree picture.  

3. Amazed by this dust storm photo.   I thought maybe the photo used a sepia effect; but maybe not?   Did the dust storm give pictures a natural sepia quality?

4. Introduced to the Fifties Fair from Theaxx's photos.   The Historic Houses Trust says it's a party where people can dress up, dance, and buy memorabilia from the 1950's.

It sounds pretty cool.  

The party is held at the Rose Seidler House which was built by Harry Seidler.  

Lord Wiki says Harry was a Austrian Jew who became an Australian Jew after fleeing from the Nazis.

He built a lot of buildings in Australia.  His last was The Alliance Francaise Centre building.

5. Looked at the website for The Alliance Francaise Centre. They have a picture of the building. 

This page of the site explains the purpose of the organization.   It's a French-Australian alliance type thing.  I guess it's a bit like G'Day USA here.  

6. Thought this Jello (jelly) thing looked really good.  

7. Wondered about this Coco Chocolate shop. 

8. Went to the Coco Chocolate website.

It was started by Rebecca from Sydney.

Rebecca went to the UK to study chocolate.  Then she opened up a store in Edinburgh.   Later she opened up shops in Sydney.

9. Looked around the chocolate website.  It's all organic, which is cool. They have some exotic choices such as tobacco with chocolate.   Would that not be dangerous in any way?

Well, maybe in small doses it's okay.

On this page, they have dark chocolate with rosemary.   That sounds interesting. 

10. Saw a dancing person in these fireworks.  

11. Amazed by these flowers, and thankful to Theaxx for identifying them.  

She says they're pink gum tree flowers.

They're really amazing—kind of otherworldly.  

If you're Australian, though, it's probably NOT very otherworldly.

12. Decided to find my next Flickr stalking target.

13. Found a Flickr account that looks interesting.

It's called Phunnyfotos; and it belongs to a woman in Victoria.

Her photo sets look delightful.  I look forward to looking at them, but probably won't get to it until later—maybe not until Sunday.

I'm not posting on Saturday because we'll be busy with Jack's birthday party.

14. Read Andrew's post about aging. He's feeling old, yet grateful, because people are offering him their seat on the train.

I have mixed feelings about getting old.  On one hand, I think it's awesome, mainly for the fact that if I get old, it means I didn't die young.  That in itself is a blessing.

I like the idea of being an old lady; as long as I'm relatively healthy and have my mind intact.  Old women are cute, and it seems they're more welcomed to be quirky.

Where I have trouble with aging is that my personality doesn't match my age.   I feel like a 12-15 year old; not an almost 39 year old.

The last night we were in Hawaii, Tracey and Tim wanted to go drinking.  Since I don't like drinking, I offered to watch Jack and Tara.  I was delighted when Alex said he'd stay back with us instead of going with the adults.    He was seventeen though, so maybe he couldn't have gone even if he wanted to.  There may have been age restrictions at the bar.

Anyway,  Tracey and Tim went out.   I had so much fun with the kids.   I know I would have had less fun drinking with the adults.  Later I started thinking if we go on another trip with these friends, Alex will be old enough to go out with the adults. It will be just me with Tara and Jack. Then I realized that Tara and Jack will grow up too.  Everyone will go drinking, and I'll probably have to suck it up and go with them.

15. Thought about Tallygarunga and Magic is Might.   Everyone is YOUNG in these things—teens and young adults. The oldest person I know of in Tallygarunga is in her late twenties/early thirties.

I'm so much older, yet I relate to them so much.

I wonder, are these my people, but they just happen to be younger than me? Will they continue to be imaginative and playful when they're my age?  Or will they outgrow most of it?

I hope they don't outgrow it. I hope in twenty-years, there's a bunch of 30-40 year-olds role-playing in Tallygarunga.

16. Decided we should leave behind certain aspects of childhood—like tantrums and cliques.  I don't think those belong in the adult-world.   But we shouldn't give up the good stuff like playing with toys, light up shoes, fairy floss, ice-cream sundaes, water slides, cartoons, cuddly stuffed animals, Harry Potter, and giggling.  

17. Touched by Snowy's post about Vincent Van Gogh and Don McLean's song, "Starry Starry Night".

He talks about the people who are ignored when they're alive, and then appreciated once they're dead.

Snowy says, He had a most unhappy life largely because of his mental illness. i do have to wonder though how much of Vincent’s mental illness was the result of lack of recognition for his art.

I think there's joy in the actual act of creating; but I do think most of the joy comes from SHARING the creation. If no one vocalizes their appreciation of what we do, then we begin to question our abilities.    

I love writing my blog, but I think part of that love comes from knowing people are reading it. And every so often I get a nice email about it that really makes my day.    

I love what Snowy says here.

So much of our personal esteem is dependent on the feedback from others. Yet for the Vincents of this world that positive feedback is not forthcoming and so the Vincents are left to meander through life unsure of their worth to this world.

I don't believe in giving fake compliments. They're empty and reduce the worth of real compliments.   But I also disagree with the people who withhold praise. They see something good; or something they like. Yet they don't say anything. They keep their feelings a mystery to the person who deserves the praise. Maybe I like your video.  Maybe I don't.  I'm not going to say anything; so you'll never know.

Personally, if I create something, show it to someone, and then get no response, I'm going to just assume they don't like it.  First of all, it's easier for me to like them if I imagine that. I can think, I'm singing horribly here; and she's nice enough not to cringe and roll her eyes.  It's much worse for me to imagine I sing good, but that the person listening is too lazy and cold to say something nice about it.  

Well, and the other thing is, if I don't like something, that's often MY response—Silence.   Sometimes I'll speak up and be critical.  Other times, I'll just keep quiet.   And I guess I'm also quiet sometimes if I feel neutral about something.

But if I really love something, I'll usually say something.

18. Realized that I often don't directly compliment people. I write about it on my blog. But I have the hope that someday they'll find my blog and see the compliments.

It's like today I looked on my Statcounter and followed the came-from link. It was some website and they mentioned my blog in a very positive way. That gave me a lot of joy.  

19. Went to Tallygarunga.  I got one of their email newsletters today.  The big news in Tallyland is that the school is opening up a section for younger students.   It's for students in prep (kindergarten?) through year 5.  The name of the new section is Whitlam Bilby.  That's very cute.


The story thread I'm going to read today is called Lazy Afternoons and Dusty Paperbacks.  

It takes place in the Tallygarunga library and features Juli Preston and Ella Glenn.

Ella is the first year student that's becoming friends with young Thatcher and Camryn.

Juli is new to me.  She's a second year Sturt student.

The date of the story is August 8.  It's a cold and rainy afternoon.

20. Started reading.  Juli is bored. She's ran out of books to read; and it's too rainy to do Quidditch practice.

She decides to explore a bit.  It seems she ends up in Kookynie Halls, where the library is located.

She asks another student, Ella, for the location of the fiction section.

Ella is busy reading about the history of magic; but she also likes fiction enough to know where those books are located.

21. Liked this line from Juli's post.  There was something magical about the way a book could grab you by your collar and drag you in. Within a matter of seconds, you could be transported from reality.

I love that feeling.

I have it now with the book I started reading last night.  It's part of a romantic vampire series. It's not serious, deep, or intellectually stimulating. It's not brilliant literature.  But it pulls me away into another world. I love that.

It's nice for our brains to get exercise; but sometimes I just want to go on a fun ride.

22. Intrigued by what Juli's post says here.

When she had read her letter from Tallygarunga, it had described the Sturt house to be for the “quiet, clever, and ambitious.” Not “a quarantine for psychotic sociopaths.” If one thought about it, the whole house sorting thing was stupid. Cram a bunch of bullies into one room and that was a disaster waiting to happen. Same if you shoved sugar-high pranksters together. If there were going to be houses, they might as well include people with different kinds of personalities. 

Now that I think of it, I probably agree.   Is there that much benefit in labeling and dividing students?  I guess it works well for a boarding school—knowing where to place the kids for sleeping purposes.   But maybe it would be better to divide them by interests rather than personalities? Or maybe just divide them randomly?

23. Learned that Juli's mother's nickname is Ella. That would be fine, except that Juli doesn't seem too fond of her mother.  She's trying not to feel name-prejudice with her potential new friend.

I think it's hard to do that sometimes; but it usually works out. There's some names out there that make me uncomfortable because I've had negative experiences with people who have that name. But when I get to know someone nice with the name, the negative feelings usually fade away.  

24. Got the idea that the Sturt House is somewhat equivalent to the Slytherin House at Hogwarts.

Juli says, Well, the Sturt house is supposed to be for the quiet and ambitious. And the clever…. kind of like Flinders.....I guess it’s also the house where they put all of the cruel people. The prejudiced and the bullies. It’s always puzzled me since those people don’t exactly fit the house description.

25. Wondered if Jackson Dalton is Sturt.  I can't remember. He's the one who bullies Reade Ainsworth.

I'll go check....

Okay. Yeah.  He is Sturt.

So he does fit the negative stereotype.

26. Excited to see that Juli Preston's face claim is an Australian! 

It's Emily Browning.

I'm sad to say I didn't know she was Australian. Lord Wiki had to tell me that.

Emily has been in various movies; including Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

She was also in a movie called The Uninvited.  The plot sounds kind of familiar to me. I might have seen it in the past when flipping through the channels.  

27. Intrigued by that trailer.  Now I have to ask Lord Wiki for spoilers.  Don't worry. I won't spill the beans here.

28. Liked what I read from Lord Wiki.  I don't know if the movie itself is good, but I like the plot, at least.  

29. Started to read the biography of Juli Preston.

She's 13. She's a half-blood, and she was born in Melbourne.

Juli has pale skin and burns easily.

She plays a lot of sports and has lots of scars and bruises.

30. Learned that Juli daydreams a lot, and she also smiles a lot.  That's interesting. From the story thread, and her Sturt placing, I didn't picture her to be the smiley type.   Plus, I just watched her face claim in a horror psychological thriller type thing, so I'm picturing her to be very serious. If I watched a trailer for an upbeat Emily Browning movie, I'd have an easier time picturing a smiley Juli.

31. Learned that Julia is a bit of a loner. She likes to be by herself, and if approached, she may act distant.  See? This also leads me to picture her as a NOT-smiley person.   I think of extroverts as being more smiley.

32. Reminded of myself when I read this. One of her biggest flaws is her extremely short temper. It doesn’t take much to set it off. At first, she will try to hold her tongue. But anger can quickly consume her, causing Juli to become impulsive and outspoken though rarely violent. Her brashness often leads her to do things that she will rue later as she acts first and thinks later.

Something along these lines happened to me at the water park.  And later, I did regret it.

We were in one of those lazy river things. It was a bit crowded.   Three boys around the age of 11-13 were being a bit rowdy.  One of them pushed ahead, literally pushing people/rafts out of his way.  He seemed to have total disregard for anyone but himself.  Then his friends started following.   I got the sense that one of them was about to do some pushing of his own. I blocked his way, glared at him, and said, You don't need to push.

I think it was fair and reasonable for me to say that.

But then he said sorry, and instead of being nice and friendly, I scowled like Severus Snape and said, You should be.   Then I continued to block his way for awhile.   I felt righteous in my anger at the time, because I pictured the kids as being obnoxious uncaring bullies.  But then later I felt quite bad about it. What if the kid was really sweet and just had an obnoxious friend?   What if he really WAS sorry?  What if he's the type of kid to feel guilty and horrible all day after getting scolded?

It was nice enough that he said sorry.  I mean he could have laughed and said,  I don't care. Get out of my way.

So, yeah, I feel bad about all that. I'm not proud of myself.  

33. Learned that Juli does better in Muggle classes than magical ones.  She's not good with wands.

34. Started reading Juli's history. I'm eager to know what's the deal with her mother.  It seems Juli hates her. Why?

35. Learned Juli's grandparents were French supporters of Voldemort.

Juli's mother followed her parent's anti-Muggleborn philosophy until she met a Muggleborn.  They had some romance together.  Later they got married and made babies. One of those babies was Juli.

Juli didn't have enough magical talent to please her mother. Her mother worried that she had created a squib. Although she wasn't as anti-Muggle as her parents, she still had some prejudices. She wasn't fond of non-magical people.  

Juli was treated as a second class citizen by her mother while her sister was pampered like a princess.

Yeah. Obvious parental favoritism isn't pretty or fun to endure.

36. Felt very sad for Juli.  Not only is she the second-class child in the family; but her mother began to verbally abuse her.  She made Juli feel worthless.

What's worse is that when Juli confided in her father, her mother lied and said none of it was true.   Juli's father took his wife's side over his daughter's. He believed Juli was lying to get attention.

It's really hard when you try to talk to someone about your problems, and they don't believe you.  They think you're lying, exaggerating, or being a drama queen.

I hate all that.

37. Learned that Juli loves her sister, but is unforgiving of the fact that Elodie never spoke out in her defense.

I can understand her feelings there. I think it's the responsibility of siblings to notice when they're being treated consistently better than the others. And I think it's up to them to speak out against it.   Mom, I love that you gave me a shopping spree for my birthday; but I don't think it's fair that Penelope just got a re-gifted mug.

38. Felt sad when I read this part in Juli's history.

She still seeks her mother's approval.

Sometimes we feel so much anger towards someone, and we want to pretend we don't care. But in reality, we're screaming (inside) for them to love us and notice us.    

39. Disgusted with Juli's mother.  She's not subtle about her dislike of Juli (which is bad in itself).  She actually vowed to never speak to her again. This came after Juli had a magical outburst.   Why did she have the outburst?  Because her mom said, why can't you be more like your sister?

What child wouldn't get mad after hearing that?

And what kind of mother breaks off her relationship with her own child?

A VERY bad one.

Anyway, I'm feeling hatred towards Juli's mother; but also towards her father and sister. They should be protecting Juli, and they're not.   

40. Realized I'm getting overly emotionally involved with a fictional character.

 Oh well. So, what else is new?  

41. Saw that my Australian of the day is William Anderson.  He was a theatrical entrepreneur. That might be interesting to me. 

42. Learned that William was born in Bendigo, Victoria, in 1868.

When William was ten, he left school to help support his family. Wow.  I think that's pretty young.  Not that I've done an official tally, but I think people, back then, more often left school in their early to mid teens.

He went to work at the Royal Princess Theatre, which is not around anymore, according to this Bendigo history site.

In his early 20's, William became an agent and manager. He also opened up a roller-skating ring in Bendigo.   Fun!

43. Learned that William married an actress.

44. Learned that William became very wealthy.  He opened up an amusement park in Sydney called Wonderland City.

Have I heard of that before?

I don't know.

I remember hearing of some now-extinct amusement park. I think maybe it had a San Francisco earthquake ride?

45. Learned from Lord Wiki that Wonderland City didn't do very well. It closed after only five years.

46. Searched through my blog for the San Francisco ride.  It took awhile because I ended up finding other blog entries in which I mentioned San Francisco. There was one that had horrible formatting errors.   I felt obligated to try and fix them.

I used to be pretty neglectful about formatting.  I'd proofread my post, and then publish it.   I wouldn't check to see how it looked once published.   Now I'm getting better at checking.

I also learned a trick recently.   One of my biggest problems was quoting from other websites.   If people use a specialized font; for some reason, it would mess up my formatting. I would go into HTML and delete the formatting; but then it would appear again elsewhere in the blog.   It's a pain in the ass.

SO...the trick is to cut and paste on to "Edit HTML" rather than Compose.  It's so much easier that way.   Did the rest of you on Blogger already know that?   Am I the last to figure it out?

Probably. for the San Francisco ride.   Here's my post about it.  The ride was in Luna Park before Luna was Luna.  

47. Saw the title of James' post on my iGoogle page.  Fratelli.  I was thinking....Fratelli...Fratelli?   Why does that sound familiar to me? 

Then I remembered.

They're the bad guys in The Goonies!

James' post wasn't about the 1980's movie.  It's about a restaurant.  James ate there recently.   For an appetizer he had brussell sprouts with egg salad.   I wouldn't like that; but I'm glad James enjoyed it.

48.  Told Tim about The Uninvited.   He gave me permission to tell him the spoilers.  Most horror and thriller movies disappoint me when Lord Wiki gives me the spoilers. But I was impressed this time.  

49. Liked James' line here.  The last few times I’ve been, it’s often been a case of looking around the room, seeing something you like on someone else’s plate and ordering that. And that’s what we did tonight also.

I look around at other people's plates; but I don't know if I've ever used it to order. Probably with my luck, I find something that looks good AFTER I've already gotten my own food.

When we were at the Japanese restaurant, we saw people we knew there. We said hello and then went back to our table.   Later we saw they got dessert.  We kept staring at it because we wanted to know what it was.    Then they came over and brought us some fruit.   It was embarrassing.   Although they told us it was free; you know the stuff that comes after your meal.   But still.  And maybe they were lying because we didn't get any free fruit with our meal. Although maybe the waiters saw that we got our friend's free fruit, and felt we wouldn't want more. They'd be right.We had ordered way too much food, and we were very full by the end of the meal!