Friday, August 5, 2011

Dutch Photographers, Intermediate Charms, Stammering, and Fountains

1. Felt sad for Rose Pickles...and her mother and father too.

2. Watched the trailer for the Cloudstreet miniseries.   I've seen it before, but it's more meaningful to watch it while reading the book.

It's beautiful.

It made me cry a bit.

3. Read another article about Australia sending unaccompanied minors to  Malaysia.  The Malaysian Bar Council (a group of lawyers) is asking the Malaysian government not to accept these children.  They warn that these children might be preyed on by criminal gangs.

Well, if this bar council has the power to speak out against their government, why don't they use some of that power to protect these children?  Why don't they help find decent homes for them?

Then there's the Gillard government. They think if they let the children stay in Australia, their stern message will fall apart.

Chris Bowen, the Immigration Minister says, I will not have the situation where we provide a reward for people who put their children on a boat, and undertake that dangerous journey.  If you have blanket exemptions, people smugglers would exploit that loophole and put children on boats and we'd be dealing with the dangerous situation of boatloads of children.

So why don't they do a Kindertransport thing?  They can send government sponsored boats over and pick up the children.  Then at least the boats will be safe ones.  And it won't involve people smugglers. 

4. Decided my plan wouldn't work because Australia has that stain on their past—the one about separating children from their families.  They did it to Aboriginal Australians, and it was done to British families as well.

Even if it was for the best and the parents were willing to send their children off to Australia.  I think there'd be negative vibes about the whole thing.  There'd be questions. Why are you taking that little girl?  She's crying for her mom and dad.  Why can't you take them too?

5. Read Michael's open letter to Vodafone Australia.   What Vodafone has put him through is completely ridiculous.  I love that bloggers can write these open letters of complaint.  I especially like it for companies that make it extremely confusing and difficult to contact their customer services.  And it's good for when companies say they've fixed the problem and it doesn't get fixed.  

The internet is great because it has given the customers a voice.

6. Listened to lovely Swedish singing on James' blog.  

In order to hear this music, James stole seating from people in wheelchairs!  It's shocking. He's a bad bad man.

No, I'm joking.   There was a mix-up because he accidentally purchased wheelchair seating. James was embarrassed about it, but it all worked out for everyone. No one in wheelchairs lost their seating because of James.  

7. Saw James get on his soapbox about concerts in Sweden vs. concerts in Sydney.  He says in straight nightclubs men usually have to be totally drugged before getting up to dance. In Sweden, men will dance when sober.

What about gay nightclubs in Sydney? I'm guessing they're different maybe?

Anyway, I think it's sad when people have to be intoxicated in order to dance and have fun.   

8. Read article about people lacking face to face interaction because they're too busy social networking on the internet. 

Personally I don't think it matters whether we talk to someone face to face or if we talk to them via the internet.  What's with the face stuff?  Do we need to breathe in their carbon dioxide or something?

I think the problem with social networking is that most of it's extremely superficial.  People aren't truly connecting.  They shout out about their lives and then read other people shouting out about their lives.

My son ate his vegetables today.

My noses is all stuffed up.

I'm going to cook some lobster for dinner now. 

Sometimes people respond to each other.  But often they don't.

There's a lack of genuine conversations in cyberspace.  

Sometimes I do have conversations with people. We email back and forth. Or we start a conversation by commenting on Facebook, blogs, Google+, etc.  

When I have a conversation with someone on the internet, I feel just as socially satisfied as when I talk to someone on the phone or face to face.  

9. Read editorial about model sizes.  Susie O'Brien says:

I agree with their criticism of skinny models. You just have to look at the backstage antics of some of those supermodel-search reality TV shows to see how some of the top girls are literally starving themselves.
But I also share their concerns about super-sized models.
The focus should always be on health, not size, and extremes at both ends of the weight spectrum are generally dangerous.
Ultimately, the answer to the real model debate is somewhere in the middle.

I agree with her.  I think we need less extremes and more in-between models. The same goes for actresses. I'm very happy when I see a woman in a movie who is not very thin, but also not very overweight.

I think it's fine to have a minority of actresses and models who are very tiny or very large.  But I think the majority should be in the middle somewhere.  

10. Talked with Tim about the Evil Genius series.  He finished the first book last night and liked it a lot.  

11. Read article about the Australian dollar.  A lot of it's confusing to me.  But I think I understand the basics.  Some money experts are saying it might go below the American dollar.  Other experts are predicting that this won't happen.

We shall see.....

Right now the Aussie dollar is worth 1.453 American dollars.

12. Checked my email and saw Jack has sent me a Flickr account to stalk.

I think it's adorable and sweet that he went to look for someone for me.  

Now I'm torn between looking at this guy's photo or continuing with the Faun070.

I know.  Maybe I'll do a little bit of both each day. That way I won't get tired of either one.

13. Looked at the profile of the  Flickr account that Jack sent to me.   It's F.dW.  His name is Franz de Wit. He's from the Netherlands, the same place that Faun070 is from.  

14. Went to Tallygarunga.   It has a new skin, and it looks awesome.

Today I'm going to read a classroom story about charms. Maybe I'll learn something.

The story is called Intermediate Charms Term 3 2011.  I'd probably belong in the beginners class.   But that's okay.

The class takes place in Tarnagulla Centre which also holds the Sturt dorms and common room, the hospital wing and other classes.   

Adrian Tallenery is the professor for Intermediate Charms.   He's the guy who recently had some romantic moments with his ex-wife.  They lost a child together and couldn't manage to get along with each other after that.  They split up, but they were still in love.

15. Looked at the students in the charms classroom.   We have Blake Harper, Artemesia Bellerose, Reade Ainsworth, Riley Lightfoot, Oliver Rhydderch, Darren Donovan, Jackson Dalton, and Delia Stapleton.   Those are the students that are familiar to me.

Then there's some I haven't encountered before: Arithian Branxton, Mikara Selecia Lovelace, and Anastasia Valentin.  

I'm familiar with Anastasia's twin Viktoriya.

16. Saw that the Australian dollar has dropped to 1.037 dollars.

I'm going to be tempted to buy plane tickets soon.

Really though. I should be thinking about the larger picture and not just our potential 2012 trip.

I'm being very selfish.  I'll try to stop that.

I hope the economy gets better, and I hope things get easier for everyone.  

16. Started to read the Charms story thread. I was distracted and interrupted by numerous things in the last several minutes.  But now I can read.  

Adrian cleaned up his classroom using magic.  His post says, The room was a mess, but not for long under Adrian's careful direction.   I get the idea that cleaning with magic is not much easier than cleaning the Muggle way. You still have to put effort into it.  But it's more mind labor instead of physical labor.

To me the mind bit is the hardest part about cleaning. I think it's easy and enjoyable to put things away when I know exactly where they need to go.  I don't like putting things away when I have to struggle to figure out a place to put them.

17. Learned that today's charm class subject is repairing broken things.

Now THAT is some useful magic.

18. Learned from Blake's post that this class session is happening the morning after the werewolf hunt.

19. Felt sad for Arti when I read this.  She wasn't sure what was going on, but there seemed to be a small change or something which she couldn't quite put her finger on. Whenever she asked how he was feeling or whether anything was wrong though, he refused to say, so she could only nod and try to push that nagging feeling aside as difficult as it was.

It can be horrible when there's a big secret between people.

It reminds me of when Cole became the Source of All Evil, and he kept it a secret from Phoebe.   Why? It would have been so much better if he had told her.  She and her sisters could have helped him.

That story still bothers me to this day.

I hate when people feel forced to keep a secret that's eating them up inside.

20. Wondered. What's going on with Reade?

I hope he hasn't become the Source of all Evil.

Anyway, I need to go have lunch with Jack.  Then I'll come back and find out more.

21. Finished lunch.  We had some interesting talks about politics. Jack's suddenly interested in the left vs. right and authoritarian vs. libertarian thing. 

Now I shall continue to read about the charms class.

22. Learned what's bothering Reade.  Jackson Dalton is still bullying him.  Reade doesn't want to tell Arti because he doesn't want her to get the idea that he can't take care of himself.

I can understand that. It's hard to admit sometimes that we need help.

23. Saw that Riley is tired.

They're all tired, probably—or at least the kids who had been hunting the werewolf.

24.  Learned that Oliver didn't participate in the werewolf hunt.   Is he wide awake.—alert and ready to learn?  No, he's depressed.  He's recently received some type of mysterious depressing letter.

Poor Oliver.

25. Learned that Arithian also missed the werewolf hunt.

Oh...and Darren missed it as well.

26. Felt sorry for Jack Dalton even though he's a bully. I think deep inside he's just a bit lonely.

The guy needs some love.

Or maybe he doesn't.  Maybe he's like Voldemort and just wants power.

Then again. If Voldemort had love, maybe he wouldn't have had such a strong desire for power.

27. Saw that Adrian (the professor) has decided to move the students around because Arti and Reade are doing a little too much PDA.

He puts Reade with Jack. I guess he's not aware of the bullying situation.   Well, it makes sense since Reade is being so secretive about it.

28. Learned that Arti feels that Darren doesn't like her. She's trying to be nice because he's her boyfriend's friend.

I wonder if Darren really doesn't like her. Or is it in her imagination?

Arti is upset that Adrien has asked Reade to sit with Jackson.  Her post says, Sitting Reade next to Jackson? Had he not been paying any attention to the students at all?  

So some aspects of the bullying relationship are pubic knowledge; or at least Arti believes this the case.  Is she wrong or right about that?  Is Adrian completely clueless about his students, or are his students good at keeping their squabbles private?

29. Figured out that there's a lot of animosity in this classroom. Arti is mad at Adrian.  Jack and Reade hate each other.  And now I see that there's not a lot of love between Oliver and Arithian.

30. Learned that Adrian is clueless about the Reade and Jack situation. It's understandable.  His mind is probably on Mereditha, his ex-wife.

31. Surprised to see Arti's abusive dad entering the classroom. He's pulling her out of the class for some mysterious reason.  What's up with that?

And now Reade has finally come to the realization that his girlfriend is abused.  He saw the bruises before, but didn't dig into the subject.  Why?  I don't know. Maybe Arti's excuses were good enough.   And maybe deep inside, he didn't want to know.

Both Arti and Reade are being abused by someone; and they're both not telling each other about what's happening?

32. Tried to figure out if I've read Adrian's biography yet.   I can't remember, so I had to do some digging.  From what I could find, I don't think I've read it yet.

I might be wrong though.

I hope not. 

33. Surprised when I saw Adrien was 21 years old.  So young to be a professor!  And he's always seemed much older than that. Then I realized this must be the age of Lolo, the role-player.   Adrien's age is 39.  Well, actually....according to his birthday (1/27/1971) he should be 40.  

34. Liked that Adrien's Patronus is a Giant Panda. That's cute.

He's 176cm.  I'm going to have to convert that for myself.

That's 5 '9".

Lolo says he's small for a man.

I don't think it's that small.  Tim is 5 '6" or 5 '7".   I don't see him as being tall,  but I also don't see him as being short.  I think of Michael J Fox as being short. How tall is he?  

35. Found article about male celebrity heights.  They say the average height for American men is 5' 9".  So Adrian would be average.

But he's Australian.  Maybe Australian men are taller.

IMDb says that Michael J Fox is 5' 4".   To me, that's short.

36. Learned that Adrian has near-sightedness.   He wears glasses.

He worries a lot, almost obsessively.   I'm like that, and Jack is too.  Did Jack learn that behavior from me, or did the personality trait pass on through my genes?   I would guess the latter because Tim is one of the least worried people I've ever met.  Why didn't Jack pick up his behavior? Then again we  could also ask why he didn't pick up Tim's genes.

37. Learned that Adrian also has social anxiety issues. His stammering problem faded a bit when he got together with Mereditha.  But when they broke apart, it returned.  He then withdrew further from society to avoid ridicule.

38. Wondered if Lolo works in speech therapy or anything like that.  She has one character that is mute because of vocal chord problems, and another character with a stammer. 

Or maybe it's just something that interests her.

39.  Felt a lot of sympathy...maybe empathy? for Adrian.  He's the kind of person I want to hug and comfort.   

40. Saw that I have another John Anderson for my Australian of the day.  He's  John Cyril Anderson.  He was a road haulier and a businessman.

What's a road haulier?  

Well, Lord Wiki says it's someone who deals with transporting goods. I guess a truck driver would be a road haulier than.

41. Learned that John was born in Toowoomba, Queensland in 1904.   His family owned a grocery shop.  John worked there; then later opened up his own motorcycle repair shop.

In his early 30's John obtained a truck. That led to him creating his own carrier business.

He fought a bit in World War II.  After that, he expanded his trucking business.

John had lots of different businesses.  They were all under an umbrella company called Great Western Australasia Ltd.

42. Found website for the Great Western Corporation.  I found it when I googled Great Western Australasia LTD.  

I noticed on their history page that they call my Australian of the day Cyril rather than John.   Then I checked back with the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  They call him Cyril too.     So he's really not another John Anderson. Well, he is officially, but it sounds like he used his middle name more.

One of my brother-in-laws is like that.  We call him Jonathan, but his first name is David.  Jonathan is his middle name.  On Facebook, it says David, though. It's kind of weird because I don't think of him that way.

43. Decided to do some of my Flickr stalking.

I'm going to start with Faun070's album of Sydney's Royal Botanical Gardens and Hyde Park.    I love both of those places.  

This was one of MANY photos the guys took of Sandringham Garden.

I'm embarrassed to say. As much as I loved Hyde Park, I don't remember this garden fountain thing.   I guess I just didn't notice it?

I found a website that says the gardens were built to honor King George VI, The King's Speech king.   Strangely, I can't link to the website.  I'm unable to cut and paste the address. I've never had that happen before.   I'd feel compelled to ignore my laziness and type out the address.  But maybe this website doesn't want people linking to them?   I don't know.

For those curious, it's called WilmapAustralia.  

Anyway, they say the garden was planned to commemorate the visit of the king.   But then he died.  So they turned it into a memorial garden instead.  It memorializes King George VI and his father.  (Colin Firth and Dumbeldore).

Faun070 and his man really love this fountain.  I think there's over twenty photos of it here.

44. Did recognize the Archibald Fountain in the photos.  

I met Jack and Tim there after I had a brief get together with another Blogger.

45. Realized it's not the Wilmap site that's giving me a problem.  Now I can't type into the Google search thing. Crap, I hope my computer isn't sick with something.

I'm going to restart Firefox.

46. Restarted Firefox.

Hopefully, everything will be okay now.

And here's a photo of Jack in front of the Archibald Fountain.

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that the Archibald Fountain was named after J.F Archibald.  He was the owner and editor of The Bulletin.  Isn't that the magazine known for being into the White Australia thing?  

Yep.  Lord Wiki confirms that.

Also, I think there's the Archibald art contest thing?

Lord Wiki confirms that too.  Archibald has a fountain named for him, and a portrait contest.

Lord Wiki says that Archibald insisted that the fountain be designed by a French person.  I guess he ha a thing for France the way I have a thing for Australia.

48. Saw that Faun070 found a "hunk" outside the Cook-Phillip Pool.  

I think it's been a long time since I've heard that term.

49. Got idea from this album that Faun070 likes fit men and water fountains.  

50. Thought this was a cute photo of Faun070, his man, and The Sydney Opera House.  

51. Saw Faun070 bonding with a cockatoo.  

I love them.  When we were in Sydney, one landed on my head.

Ah...these women have me beat in that regards.  

52. Started looking at Faun070's Sydney Opera House album.   While I do that I'm listening to "Parting Words" from Lost

53. Wondered what's the deal with this car and rock?   Is it an accident or a piece of art? 

54. Had a random memory of an old dream I had involving a drive-in theatre.  I don't know why.  Sometimes I get these random memory spurts.

Does everyone have them?

Maybe the picture of the rock-car sparked it? Or maybe it was something in the Lost music? 

55. Inspired by my iTunes DJ to watch my shark dive video. It played the song I used for the video.  

56. Started to look at Faun070's photos of Darling Harbour.  

I remember this fountain.  

We've never gone to the Chinese Garden of Friendship.

57. Decided to look at the Flickr account that Jack chose as a stalking target.   Franz has one set that's very long.  I think what I'm going to do is look at one page of the set each day.  

So here's page one

Franz went to Australia in September and October 2009.  That's about six months after we went.

Franz and his traveling mates did a driving trip that started in Melbourne.

They went to many places.

58. Saw that the album begins with an airport.  I'm not sure if it's the airport in Melbourne, or their airport back home.

They have pictures of Cathay Pacific.   I wonder if that's the plane they took. 

Wow.  Franz took a lot of airport photos.

59. Wondered why Franz took a photo of a Martial Arts Academy.   Is he into that?  

60. Loved this picture of the Great Ocean Road. 

And I love this picture too. 

61. Realized lately I feel more attracted to small town and nature sights than I am to big city sights.   I'm not feeling excited about quirky bridges, fountains, and tall buildings.  I'm craving the ocean, natural monuments, and animals.

62. Saw another fantastic photo of the Great Ocean Road.