Saturday, August 6, 2011

Names, War, Scottish People, and Prayer

1. Explored the Cloudstreet miniseries website.  

They have little videos about all the main characters.  I'm watching them.

The Dolly Lamb video isn't working for me though.

2. Went to bed and had lots of dreams.  In one of them:  I start watching a soap opera I haven't watched in several months.   I tell Tim that this is not like Days of Our Lives.   You can stop watching Days of our Lives for six months; then come back and be able to follow along, because nothing much has changed.  With this other soap opera, I don't recognize a lot of the people.  

I then remember that there was a reason why I suddenly started watching it several months ago.  I'm thinking either a Harry Potter actor was in it, or an Australian actor.

Then there was also a dream about a giant koala saving people from a tree.  It didn't actually happen in the dream, but someone was suggesting it as a plot device.  

3. Watched a funny video on Fruitcake's blog about a dog screen test.  

There's other interesting stuff in her post.  She talks about Anglo-names. If you're looking for a job in Australia, does it help to have one?   If you use your foreign-sounding name, will people reject you because they want someone white?

Fruitcake suggests the rejection might not always be about racism. She says employers may not call applicants, with unusual names, because they're worried about mispronouncing them.

I think there's merit to her theory, at least in some cases.     

I would say if someone has an easy to pronounce foreign name, and consistently doesn't get called for interviews; MAYBE racism is involved.

Tim has a very Anglo name because he was adopted by white people.  His accent is totally American.  So people don't know he's Asian until they see him.  

My last name is Anglicized.  When my paternal grandfather came over, they changed their last name from Rabinowitz (or something like that) to Roberts.  My first name is Jewish though.  Well, it's Hebrew at least.

4. Remembered that when I did the past life regression thing, the name Esmeralda popped into my head.  I got the idea it had been my name, but I dismissed it as being silly. I didn't even tell the therapist.  I only knew it as a character in The Hunchback of Notre Damn, and didn't think of it as a "real" name.

That was really small-minded of me.    

5. Watched the trailer for Red Dog.  Fruitcake talked about it on her blog.

I'm not usually the type who makes an effort to see dog movies, but it looks pretty sweet.

According to IMDb, the movie doesn't have a release date for America yet.  

6. Read article about Patrick McGorry.   He's the Australian of the Year who's into mental health. He believes in early intervention for teens, and young adults, who might one day have an illness like Schizophrenia.

The article says there's a growing backlash against him.  Some people feel he's lobbying the government to fund programs that he has founded.

David Castle the head of psychiatry at Melbourne's St. Vincent's Hospital says, It's extremely worrying that the government is listening to professional lobbyists who have a massive personal investment in the programs they're recommending - and they are undoubtedly overstating the evidence. There's a massive conflict of interest there.  

Yeah.   I think it's worrying.  I've always had a bad feeling about McGorry. But to be fair, I've been  anti-psychiatry for a long time.  I do like to see that there's psychiatrists speaking out against McGorry type behavior.  This helps me to remember not to paint all psychiatrists with the same brush.

Another person interviewed for the article is Louise Newman. She's the past president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.   She worries that early intervention could lead to kids being overmedicated, prematurely diagnosed and stigmatized.  

I agree with that.

I could probably label everyone I know with some type of mental illness.  But I think it's better to just say they're extremely sad, moody, crazy, weird, anxious, silly, eccentric, energetic, annoying, nervous, anal, imaginative, irresponsible, apathetic, delusional, dramatic, sensitive, insecure....

In other words, they're human beings trying to deal with a world that's insane, unfair, unpredictable, scary, and stressful.  

7. Went to Tallygarunga.  I think I forgot to mention that yesterday was their birthday.  They're five-years-old now.  So that means they started in August 2006.

That was the summer between Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

8. Found the story thread I'm going to read today.  It's called Meeting You Again For the First Time.

It takes place in the piers and markets of South Melbourne. Would St. Kilda count as South Melbourne?  Well, it looks south on the map, at least.

Now Tallygarunga is asking their wizards to specify the date of the story.  This will be helpful to me.

So, this one takes place on July 31, Harry Potter's birthday.  It's late afternoon and it's cold.

9. Thought about how I still have trouble associating July with cold weather. July to me is synonymous with heat.  It's swimming pools and watermelon.

I'm sort of better at associating December and February with summer because we've gone to Australia in those months.  

10. Looked a the characters in the story.

There's Jordan Scott, a nightclub bartender.  I think of the name Jordan as being a guy's name. But here it's female.

The other character here is Forrester Smith.

11. Started reading the story.

I feel a little bit lost about what's happening.

Jordan Scott goes to a warehouse that has really bad memories for her.  I guess she was attacked.   There's something about her wings being clipped. I don't know if that's literal or figurative.

12. Consulted Lord Wiki about South Melbourne.   He says it's an actual suburb.

Tallygarunga says it includes Luna Park, the red light district, the piers and markets, and Albert Park.

13. Saw that this Victorian tourism site has a page about South Melbourne

There seems to be a lot of ballooning activities there.

I don't see anything about Luna Park here, so I'm thinking Tallygarunga was referring to the southern part of Melbourne rather than the suburb named South Melbourne.

14. Decided to read the biography of Jordan Scott.

Her Face Claim is Winona Ryder.  In honor of that I shall watch this.

Jack's been into watching 1980's movies lately.  We've done Gremlins, Goonies, and we're making our way through GhostbustersBeetlejuice would be a great one; although he says the next movie he wants to see is the original Karate Kid

I love that he's wanting to watch all these old movies. I feel like I'm reliving my childhood. 

15. Went back to reading Jordan's biography.

It says she's human. There's nothing here about her being an angel.  So I guess the wing bit was symbolic.

16. Thought that Jordan has my body type.  She’s actually a petit young woman with thin limbs but still plush around her torso and hip areas.  I'm petite, and I seem to gain weight in my limbs last.

Maybe I should say I have her body shape and not her type. Jordan is one of those people who can eat and eat and never gain weight.  I'm definitely not like that.

17. Learned that Jordan doesn't obsess about appearance; but she avoids smelling bad, and she's obsessed with oral hygiene. Wasn't there another wizard like that? 

Jordan usually likes to wear her older brother's clothes.

18. Learned that Jordan smokes.

She doesn't tie her shoes; and she slouches when she sits.

19. Learned that Jordan is both introverted and extroverted.  I'm that way too.  I'm kind of in the middle of both.

She hates being bored.

I do too.   

20. Learned that Jordan is very independent and likes to appear tough. Well, and she probably IS tough.  Maybe.

She doesn't like admitting weakness to people.

I know someone like that.  I don't find it endearing at all—probably because while this person tries to appear perfect, I know she's far from it.  I might be more patient with someone who REALLY was perfect and didn't admit weakness.  But that's impossible. Everyone has a weakness, even the most amazing people.

21. Reread the lines about admitting weakness.   Jordan does admit weakness, but has to have enough trust in someone first. That's totally fair.

And with some people, it's best to avoid revealing weakness. You say one little thing bad about yourself and they take it as an opportunity to tear you apart.

22. Thought about how it's nice to be around people with whom you can share your weaknesses and not feel judged.   And then they share their weaknesses too so you don't end up feeling stupid.

23. Started to read Jordan's history.  Her mom is a pureblood witch and her dad is a Muggle.

When Jordan's mother was pregnant with her, she expected a boy.   They had the name Jordan planned, and decided to use it anyway.  I'm used of the name for boys, but I think it works fine for a girl.  

24. Learned that Jordan was a mama's girl when she was young. Her mother dolled her up in a very feminine way.   It sounds like she had very girly beginnings. I'm guessing something traumatic is going to happen to change all that.

Well...the parents got divorced.   It sounds like most of their problems were due to Jordan's father being intolerant of the magical world.

25. Saw that the father got custody of Jordan and her brother.  I wonder why.

Was there a custody battle?  Did Jordan's mother fight for her?  I wonder if she didn't because she worried her magical identity might be revealed.

26. Learned that after the divorce, Jordan's father became hateful of his ex-wife and even more negative towards magic.  He took his kids out of their wizarding schools and stuck them in Muggle schools.  It was at this time that Jordan became a tomboy.  

Jordan started hanging out with criminal-type kids, including an abusive wizard boyfriend.   She ended up in a detention centre for young wizards and she lost her wand. Now she's a wandless wizard.

27. Wondered what happened to Jordan's mother. Did she give up on her kids completely, or does she try to stay connected with them?

28. Found out that I have another John Anderson for my Australian of the Day. This one is John GERARD Anderson.  He was an educationist.  Is that different from a teacher?

Like other John Andersons I've read about lately,  he was from Scotland.   

I guess Anderson is a Scottish name?

29. Consulted Lord Wiki about the surname Anderson.  He says I'm right.  It comes from Scotland.

Now the name (in various forms) is popular in many countries.  

30. Tried to figure out when John G. Anderson moved to Australia. It seems like he spent most of his formative years in Scotland.

At some point he became headmaster of the Spencer School in Newcastle. Is that Newcastle Australia or Newcastle in the UK?

31. Tried to google Spencer School and Newcastle.   I couldn't find anything.

Oh well.

32. Saw that in 1862, Anderson started working for the Board of Education in Queensland. It might have been his first job in Australia. I don't know.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says that Anderson wasn't quite suited for the work his job entailed.  They say he was cautious, conservative and autocratic.   

33. Looked at website about autocratic leadership.   They say in its extreme form it can be like a dictatorship.

The site says this type of leadership isn't always horrible and that it works for some organizations.   The example they give is Martha Stewart.   But most workers seem to prefer environments where they can play a part in decision-making.

34. Remembered a time where I worked with an autocratic leader.   It was at our temple. I joined this committee. I think it was for organizing activities for children and families. The guy heading it was very autocratic. He pretty much told people what to do and had very little interest in getting input from others.

I hated it.  It was a situation, though, where I felt I could have valuable input. The project I was supposed to work on involved children and books.  I feel I do know a fair amount about those things.

If I was put on a job in which I was very ignorant and disinterested, I probably wouldn't mind if someone told me exactly what to do.

35. Went to Mousie's database of Australian music.  

Today's song for me is Redgum's "I Was Only 19".  

I remember this song.  Mousie sent it to me along with a remake. Or maybe this one is the remake.   I can't remember.

Well, I'll see in a second.

It's the old one.

The song is sadly fitting for what's happened today.

36. Tired of hearing how I should be thankful to soldiers for my freedom.

Yes in some cases through history, soldiers did fight for our freedom. I'm definitely thankful to them.

But I'm not thankful to every military person out there.  Not all of them are fighting for my freedom.   Some of them are simply caught up in some kind of horrible worthless political trap.  I'm NOT thankful to them.  I'm sad that this is happening to them.   I'm sad that they're far away from their family and friends.   I'm sorry they may never come home again.   I'm sad that if they do come home, they may be very broken.    

We use terms like He died for us or he died for his country to hide the horrors and wrongness of war.

September 11 is what sparked this war in the Middle East.  Right?

Lord Wiki says close to 3000 people were killed on that day.

How many people have been killed by the war itself?

Lord Wiki says there have been around 100,000 Iraqi deaths, although he says people can't agree on a number.  Some groups think it's much more than 100,000.

Over 4400 American soldiers have died.  Almost 200 journalist/media people have been killed.   And over 300 people from armed forces around the world (including Australia) have been killed.

American soldiers killed Bin Laden.  People celebrated.  I thought, yeah, exciting. But how is this going to help us?

Then we started hearing about how airport security is going to be tightened.

What's the point of having a war and killing Bin Laden if it's not going to make us any safer?

It's all such bullshit.

Oh and there's the fact that war costs a lot of money.

What else could we have done with those trillions of dollars?

37. Reminded of a scene from Ghostbusters.  The ghostbusters are called to an elegant hotel to take care of a poltergeist.  This little green guy has been causing some mischief.

The ghostbusters cause major damage, to a ballroom, in their attempts to catch the poltergeist.  And they do some kind of thing that has the risk of pretty much destroying the world. The damage will probably cost the hotel thousands upon thousands of dollars.  The ghostbusters most likely did more damage than the Poltergeist itself.

I'm not trying to say the 9/11 terrorist attack was like a little green goblin ghost.   What happened to America was extremely tragic, and I don't want to downplay that.   

But in the end we have caused more hurt to ourselves.  

38. Decided that instead of putting money and effort into war, we should use that money to

A) protect our borders from bad people. And it's also a good idea to protect from within the country as well.

B) Help bring in refugees from countries that want and need our help.

39. Went to Flickr so I can continue my stalking of Faun070.

I'm going to look at his album of Potts Point and Paddington. 

Here's Faun070 in front of El Alamain Fountain.  It's pretty cool. It reminds me of a dandelion.

Lord Wiki says it's a war memorial for those who fought in World War II.  He also says that other people see a dandelion too.

40. Asked Jack what he thought the fountain looked like.  He didn't see the dandelion until I pointed it out to him.

41. Wondered...what is the black thing in this picture?   It's up in the tree.  Is it a bird?   It looks weird.

Maybe it's a demon.  

42. Saw a photo of Elizabeth Bay House. What's that?

Well...Lord Wiki says it's a famous historical house in Elizabeth Bay.  It was originally built for a Scottish guy named John Anderson.

No, I'm joking.  It was named for a Scottish guy named Alexander Macleay.

Macleay was the Colonial Secretary for New South Wales.   That sounds important, but boring.

What's interesting to me is he was interested in natural history, especially entomology, the study of insects.  He was especially into butterflies.

43. Saw a photo of Onslow Avenue.   Is that significant to Faun070 and his partner?   Or did they just randomly like the scenery?

It's a pretty nice view.

44. Here's a pond with those fish.  I have no idea how to spell it.  But you guys know what I'm talking about.  Right?

They remind me of a certain episode of Offspring

45. Decided not to freak out about this picture.   Maybe the ledge isn't that high.  Sometimes Faun070 or his partner look like they're high up, but they're really not.

I wonder if they're purposely trying to trick people? 

46. Saw that Faun070 has a lot of photos of various streets.   I'm guessing they're not all significant to them.   I think they walk around, take pictures of interesting things, and then write down the street name.  It's a good idea.  Then they can later find it on Google Maps.    Also the photos can be useful to other people if they tag them.  Then if anyone is wondering what a random street is like in Sydney, they can find their photos. 

Although it looks like they didn't put the street names in the tag.   The pictures still might come up in a search though, since the street name is in the description.   Or maybe not.  

47. Started to look at Faun070's sequel to his Darling Harbour album.  This one has the aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World.

I remember this guy.  Well, it might not be the exact same guy we saw.   But maybe.....

It's a perentie.  I think they're the same thing as goannas, but I'm not positive.

48. Consulted Lord Wiki about goannas and perentie.

He says a goanna is another name for monitor lizard.   The biggest monitor lizard in Australia is the perentie.  The biggest monitor lizard in the world is the Komodo Dragon.

Lord Wiki says some folks have tested the intelligence of monitor lizards.  They appear to be fairly intelligent.   Staff at the zoo in Washington D.C say that Komodo Dragons recognize their keepers and that each lizard has a distinctive personality.

I personally think lizards are adorable, although I'd probably be scared of very big ones if I saw them in the wild.

49. Saw Faun070's partner bonding with a sea turtle.    I think these guys love animals.  

50. Started to look at Faun070's album of Balmoral and Manly.  

We loved Manly in 2007, but a little less in 2009.   There was a bomb threat so we ended up getting stuck there longer than usual.   That's not a big deal really.  But it was a really horrible night for me in other ways; and now I kind of associate Manly with all that.

We should go back though—make good memories to replace the bad ones.

51. Delighted by this picture.  I'd love to see cockatoos on a beach.  

52.  Wondered. Who is Christopher??

Is he Dutch?  Australian?  A new friend of Faun070...or an old one?   Did they plan to meet in Australia?

Am I overly nosy?


53. Noticed that Christopher is dressed up, like he's been working.   Maybe he works around there and met up with Faun070 (and his partner) during his lunch break.

Hey you know what....they might be internet friends!

54. Intrigued by this photo.  Faun070 is looking very cozy with Christopher.  He has his hand on his leg.   From my cultural viewpoint, it looks like there's something more than friendship here.   But it's probable Faun070's partner that is taking the photo.

Are they just playing?

Is this a threesome kind of thing?

Is that kind of leg touching appropriate among friends in the Netherlands?

Really.  Who needs Days of our Lives when you have Flickr?

55. Tried to figure out who Christopher reminds me of.   Maybe Kenneth Brennaugh a little bit?  

56. Wondered what the girl, on the step, is reading.  Is she doing school work, or is she reading for fun?

57. Sat here thinking, I wish I had a magic wand so I can fix all the crap in the world.   Then I looked at the news and saw the headline "Perry: Turn to God For Answer to Nation's Woes".    I was going to roll my eyes at our governor, but then figured it's no worse than me wanting a magic wand.    Well, it's a little different.  I believe less in magic wands than he believes in his god.   That's okay.   Either way, it's nice to imagine that there's something supernatural out there that can help us fix things.

Perry thinks if we return to Christian ideals, our problems will fade away.

I disagree.

I think we should follow the ideals of Dumbeldore.

58. Went to look at the second page of Franz's Australia photo set.   

This photo is really cool.   For some reason, when I saw it, I thought of the book Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan.  Maybe because the trees have a fairy tale look to them?

59. Loved this picture too.  It's from somewhere on the Great Ocean Road.  

And this photo is amazing. I think it's part of the Twelve Apostles.  

60. Enjoyed Franz's kangaroo photo.