Monday, August 8, 2011

People Smuggling, Cruise Ships, Counting, and 2000

1. Had a dream inspired by Andrew.   I'm staying at a beach house with people.  We have a big window where you can look out and see the ocean.  I start thinking that I need to take photos of the house....lots of them. I decide it would be also fun to take pictures of all the food we have in the pantry.   

2. Dreamed about Deborah Mailman.  I'm standing in a hallway talking to Jack.  Then Deborah Mailman is sitting on a metal chair against a wall.  She's wearing a red dress.  She watches us. She gets my attention silently and mouths the words "How old is he?" She's very friendly. Strangely, I'm not starstruck about the whole thing.

I then introduce her to Jack.  I forget her name though. I say to Jack that she's an actress from my favorite TV show. Then Deborah Mailman says something about us needing to move to Australia.   Jack says he has only one problem with that...the language.  Deborah Mailman is amused. She jokes around by speaking in a fake foreign language. Then I join her.

Later when I woke up I started to worry.  What if she wasn't speaking a fake foreign language?  What if she was speaking an Aboriginal language and I mistook it for a fake language?  What if she thought I was mocking her?

Then I remembered it was a dream, so either way it's probably not a big deal.

And since it's MY dream, I get to say what was happening.  She wasn't speaking an Aboriginal language.  She was speaking a made-up silly language.

3. Tried to understand world economics by reading this article.

It seems like everything is dominoes.

Gold is doing okay though.

4. Read Julian Burnside's editorial about asylum seekers and refugees.  

He has powerful opinions and powerful words.

He reminds us that asylum seekers are not illegal.

He reminds us that the original white Australians WERE illegal.  He says, We forget that the first white settlers in this country were true illegals: sent here by English courts for a range of criminal offences, and the soldiers sent to guard them, and the administrators who, following London’s instructions, stole the country from its original inhabitants who, if possession is nine points of the law, had the backing of 30,000 years of law to justify calling the white invaders “illegals”.

I agree with all that.

I don't think asylum seekers are illegal. But I do think it's unfair for them to think they deserve immediate residency in Australia while there are thousands of refugees waiting in Malaysia.  

Burnside says, And how many of us pause to remember how different it was for 85,000 Vietnamese boat people 30 years ago? They were resettled here swiftly and without fuss, thanks to the simple human decency which Malcolm Fraser and Ian Macphee showed, and which Abbott and Gillard so conspicuously lack.

Wow.  So Australia brought in 85,000 refugees?  In one year?

Maybe there'd be less of a waiting list in Malaysia if they did that.

5. Consulted Lord Wiki about Vietnamese refugees.  Between 1976 and the late 1980's, Australia received about 90,000 Vietnamese refugees.

6. Found this website about Vietnamese migration to Australia.  They say 120,000 Vietnamese came to Australia between 1976 and 1994.  If I divide the number of refugees by the number of years, I get 6,666.  They took in more some years than others; but that's an average.

The policy of Australian government right now is to take in 13,000 refugees a year.  It doesn't appear that the intake has been reduced.

7. Looked at government page about refugees and asylum seekers.

From 2004-2010, at least 13,000 refugees were given visas.

I added all the numbers up for each of the years, and came up with the number 80,630. That seems like a generous number to me.  It doesn't like a country that's locking it's doors against people who need help.

Could Australia take in even more than that. I have no idea. Maybe?

It might get crowded.

Lord Wiki says there are 100,000 skilled migrants allowed into Australia.  It's been reduced the past few years. But maybe it can be reduced more.

Am I to believe that all the desperate refugees are lacking skills?  Wouldn't some of them have the skills Australia needs?

What gets me is when you have all these desperate refugees; and then some rich Australian businessman pushes Australians to make more babies.   Lindsay Fox thinks people should have sex so they can populate Australia.  I think that's a sad thing to suggest when so many people out there are in need of a home.

8. Wondered about Julian Burnside's viewpoint of people smugglers. While the government paints them as criminals, he makes them out to be heroes.

He says:

Instead of attacking the refugees directly, which is their real purpose, they attack the people smugglers instead.  Because, aren’t people smugglers the worst people imaginable?  They forget that Oskar Schindler was a people smuggler, and so was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And so was Gustav Schroeder, captain of the ill-fated MS St Louis which left Hamburg in May 1939 with a cargo of 900 Jews looking for help.  He tried every trick in the book to land them somewhere safe, but was pushed away.  He ended up putting them ashore again in Europe, and more than half of them perished in concentration camps.  Abbott and Gillard forget that Captain Schroeder was a people smuggler.

Are people smugglers doing all this out of the goodness of their own heart?  Why are they asking for so much money then?  I can imagine they need SOME money.  There's expenses to pay.  But what about the family that paid $55000 for five people.  That's $11,000 per ticket.    How can a ride on an unsafe fishing boat coast that much? Why is it cheaper for me to fly to Australia on a relatively safe airplane?

Maybe there are good people smugglers and bad ones?  Maybe some do it out of the goodness of their heart and others do it to exploit people in need.

9. Decided it's unfair to assume all people smugglers are villains. At the same time, I think it's a bit ridiculous to assume they're all heroes.

10. Started to read Amnesty International's page on people smuggling.  

They say estimates indicate that over 4 million people are smuggled across international borders, and this criminal trade brings in 10 billion dollars a year.

Sorry, but I can't image a business, that existed for mainly altruistic purposes, would be so lucrative.

Amnesty International doesn't seem to support people smuggling, but they believe asylum seekers shouldn't be punished for their chosen method of coming over.   They remind us that these asylum seekers are desperate, and that they often fall prey to deceptive people smugglers.

Amnesty International says, Asylum seekers are usually desperate and people smugglers are often deceptive, eliciting further funds from the refugee once they arrive and making threats against family members left behind. There are reports of false promises in relation to visas, treatment and even destination.

Yeah.  I understand that Oskar Schindler started out as a greedy womanizer, but I think it's unfair to compare him to the people described above.  Did he make threats against the family members of the Jews he saved?  Did he give Jews false promises?

I don't think so.

11. Wondered again. Why doesn't Australia send their own boats over to pick up the refugees?   They don't have to make people pay with their life savings, but they can have sliding-scale fees.   Then that money can go towards transportation costs and providing services for the refugees.  

12. Wondered if there are old out-of-use cruise ships that can be donated for this purpose. I'm guessing there are ships out there that are still safe, but out of use because bigger and better ships have come along.

Australia can get volunteers for the ship by creating one of those volunteer holiday programs.    People can go on the cruise for a discounted price.   In return they have to work a certain amount of hours.  They can help take care of children, provide English lessons, entertain the Aussie newbies, provide counseling (if they're skilled in that area), etc.   

13. Found this website.  They say there are 35 surviving classic Ocean Liners in the world.

They're retired and probably sad.

I bet they would love to go out there and rescue some asylum seekers.

14. Thought about how there's two extremes in the asylum seeker argument. There's the racists who don't want more dark people coming over. They say they don't want Australia to become more crowded, yet they're fine with baby-making.

Then there's the people who think we can and should help EVERYONE.   Their heart is in the right place.  But we can't save everyone.

It's like the mother who has such a good heart and wants to adopt all the needy children out there.   She hates to see a child suffering.  Every child deserves a good home.  Every child deserves a mother's love.

Let's say she adopts ten kids and they have a happy family.  She has done something wonderful.  She has saved children who'd otherwise likely have a life of doom.

But then she decides it's too sad that there are other children out there needing a home. She adopts more and more kids.   Soon she has thirty of them.  The problem is she doesn't have the money or the resources to take care of them.   And also while it was possible for her to love and cherish ten kids, it's not easy for her to love and cherish 30 of them.  The kids get neglected.  They live in crowded conditions.  There's not enough money for all the kids to have nourishing food.

Because of the crowded and depraved conditions, the kids become restless and angry. They fight.   They don't live up to their potential.  Their lives become not much better than it was before.

15. Read fun article about the Australian census that is happening right now.  I'm excited about it.  I wish we didn't have to wait ten months for the results.

The Australian census is going to have 60 questions.  It sounds much more interesting than our recent one.   I think ours had less than five.  The only thing I remember is they wanted to know if we were Hispanic or not.

16.  Looked at US census website.   They have the 2010 questions.  They wanted to know if we own our home, our sex, age, race, and whether or not we're Hispanic.  

17. Went back to reading the article about the Australian census.

Australians have the option of removing confidentiality about their identities in 2110.  That way historians can use the information to learn more about the past. That's pretty cool.   I personally would say yes.

18. Saw that the article mentions a man named Bikram Adhikar.   He arrived in Australia after being a refugee for 18 years!   I can't imagine.  Now he's helping with the census by questioning people who have limited English skills.

It's nice that Bikram finally has a home. The article has a picture of him and his family.  They look very happy. 

19. Went to Tallygarunga.

I wonder if wizards fill out census forms.

I was thinking about this for my fictional blog.   I actually haven't quit completely.   I wrote a post yesterday saying that we're in the wizarding village and have very minimal internet access.   In a few weeks I'll decide if they're going to stay in that situation; or get out.   If they get out that means I want to go back to writing the blog.  They'll go back to the Muggle world and have adequate internet capabilities.  

Anyway, I was wondering whether wizards are legal citizens of their countries. I would assume Muggleborn wizards are citizens. Hermione Granger would have been counted when her parents filled out a census form.   But how about the Weasleys? Are they legal British citizens or are they unofficial hiding ones?

20. Found the Tally story thread I'm going to read today.  It's called One Day Closer.  The stars are Tamarah Blair and Forrester Smith.

Tamarah Blair looks different.  I don't know if her face claim has been changed, or just the photographs.

Or maybe nothing has changed and I'm imagining things.

21. Saw that the story takes place on the Quidditch Pitch.  It's a place for wizards and witches to practice their Quidditch skills. 

The timing of the story is the evening of August 8.

22. Started reading the story.

Tamarah is the captain of the all-star team.  I didn't know that.  The team made up of students from the four houses.

Tamarah is having bad memories and worries about her arch enemy, Sally Fitzgerald. In the past, Sally ridiculed Tamarah for being a lesbian.   This is what brought Tamarah out of the closet to her father.

Tamarah reacted to the ridicule by breaking Sally's nose.  She's worried she might lose control again on the day of the game.


Is Sally on the team?  Another team?  Does she go to Tallygarunga, or another school?

23. Started to read Forrester's post.  He's been dropped by the team, but doesn't seem to hold ill feelings towards them. He seems very supportive.  I think that's very admirable.

Well, actually...I reread it.   I get the idea he's STRUGGLING to be supportive rather than resentful.

I think that's admirable as well.

24. Decided to read the biography of Sally Fitzgerald

It looks like she's new.   It says here that she joined on June 11 and has only two posts.   I read an old story that involved her.   I can't remember whether or not she was one of those characters that are mentioned, but don't have their own posts.  Or maybe she did have her own posts, but had a different role-player.

25. Found the story I had read.  It's from October 2010.  Sally is mentioned there, but she doesn't have her own posts. I guess now she's a full-fledged character.  

26.  Learned that Sally is a student at Penrose. That's the private school for witches.

She's Muggleborn.  That kind of surprised me.  I'm used to the purebloods being the bullies.  That's  prejudice of me.  

27. Learned that Sally is popular.  She sounds very typical to me.   Her group sets the fashion trends.  She's adored by the teachers.  She does well in academics and in sports.  That's how I remember the popular kids from my school days.

28. Learned that Sally has a sweet and insecure side she hides from everyone except her dad and kitten.

29. Started reading Sally's history.

She had trouble with the whole puberty thing.  I think it's because she had an early one—eleven years old.   I've heard that's hard on girls.

Sally's mother left Sally and her father for another woman.  Maybe this is why Sally has some anti-gay feelings.

I wonder if Sally had an extra hard time with her parent's divorce because she was disgusted and ashamed that her mother was a lesbian.

Or was she disgusted and ashamed her mother was a lesbian because it led to her parent's divorce?

While all this was going on, Sally received the letter informing her that she was a witch and had a place at Penrose.  She thought it was a cruel trick and ripped up the letter.  I like that. I mean I don't like that she did it.  But it seems like a realistic response.

30. Loved what I learned about Sally's dad.  He works at a a Muggle hospital on a team that has connections to the wizarding health provider.   They help with injuries that may have been caused by magic.  He also serves as a mentor to Muggle families recently learning about the magical world.   That's very cool.

31. Liked Sally despite her bitchiness and homophobia.  I see her as the type of character who can get past most of that.   The role-player has the same hopes.  She says, Before I begin, let me firstly say that Sally’s view’s are so different from my own!  She’s been though a lot and it really twisted her views on things. I’d like to think that there is potential for growth in Sally though at this stage.

I have a big soft spot for bad characters who turn good...or at least, not so bad.   I love Draco Malfoy and Dudley Dursley.  Ben Linus is another great character like that. Oh, and I guess Sawyer would be too.

32. Lurked in the Tally chatroom and saw that someone was looking for a face claim for their 9 year-old character (Ella).  I started frantically searching for young Australian actresses.

I don't know of many.  I don't think the Australian shows I watch often have kids, at least not as main characters.  Then I remembered flashbacks.

I went to Offspring on IMDb and found Virginia Cashmere.  She played "Young Billie" in two episodes.

I googled her and found her listing in a Victorian casting agency.  She's very cute.  

33. Looked at young Nina.  This is cute.  It looks like they used sisters to play the sisters.  Nina's played by Alexandra Cashmere.  She has a video on YouTube, and so does her sister.

Apparently their father has a farting problem in church.  

The Cashmere girls probably wouldn't work for Ella because Ella is supposed to have brown hair and brown eyes.   I think the Cashmere girls have hazel or blue eyes.  

Oh well.

34. Learned that my Australian of the day is Joseph Anderson.  He was a soldier.

Like most Andersons I read about; he was born in Scotland.

When Joseph was in his forties he was sent to Sydney.  Then he was sent to Norfolk Island.    He was commandant of the island from 1834-1839.   One of the things he was responsible for was dealing with convicts who participated in a revolt.  Thirteen of them were executed.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says that he was more humane than his predecessor.   Under the other guy's rule there were about a thousand lashings a year.  With Joseph, there were only around 70-75 a year.  The biographical dictionary says, the island was quiet under his administration, and Bourke attributed the tranquillity to Anderson's 'humane but firm and vigilant superintendence.

Bourke was the governor at the time.   He liked Anderson, it seems.   Not everyone did, though.   The island's chaplain accused Anderson of cruelty, fraud, and abuse.

It's kind of like the people smugglers.  Some see them as heroes and some see them as villains.

35. Consulted Lord Wiki about Joseph Anderson.   He indicates that Anderson could be cruel at times.  He says at one time Anderson gave a convict 1500 lashes.

Lord Wiki also says that Anderson overworked the convicts.

36. Went to the Australian Census website.   I wanted to make sure it was secure, and that random people couldn't fill it out.

No, I wouldn't do that in my delusional quest to feel Australian.  I was just CURIOUS.

Anyway, no.  It's not that easy.  They've passed out census forms to people in Australia. Then those people get a number they should use to validate their online census form.

It makes me wonder though.  If Australia needs to count their Australians, how do they know how many census forms and numbers to hand out?

Well, I guess they do an estimate.

37. Started watching flash program about the census.

It's cute.  

38. Started getting worried.  This program is asking me all these questions—gender, age, postcode.   I hope it's just for fun, and they're not trying to trick reluctant Australians into giving out their info.

Well, I think it's just for fun.   Probably.   

39. Looked at the infographic the program made for me. They talked about the stuff in the flash program, but it went by so fast.

Anyway, it's a mixture of fact and fiction.

I don't know Australian post codes so I just randomly took one of the examples they provided—2000.

It's somewhere in New South Wales.  

40. Looked up 2000 postcode.  It's Sydney!


41. Looked at the rest of my infographic.

Close to seven billion people live on Earth.

.3% of the people live in Australia.

It would take me 379 days to shake hands with everyone in my state.

I better have a lot of antibacterial gel handy.

Hey, and does this factor in sleep time and toileting?  What about eating?

Maybe people will shake my hands while I'm sleeping?

I don't want anyone shaking my hand while I'm on the toilet.  I need my privacy.

Maybe after doing my toilet business, I'll shake hands really fast for awhile to catch up on my handshaking.  I'd want to make sure to get in my quota.

42. Saw that 1/2175 Australians are Jewish.  I guess that's fairly rare., but not super rare.

As for my country of birth, .3% of Australians were born in America.

There's 295,000 other people in Australia who are 38.  That's cool.

I said I do 5-14 hours of unpaid housework each week.  I'm not sure if that's true or not.  I've never timed my work.

I don't do a lot.

That's why our house often looks like crap.

I'm pretty sure I do at least 5 hours a week.

If I did more than 14, the house would probably be spotless.

43. Figured if I did the cooking, the hours would go up.  I think cooking is time-consuming.

The type of jobs I do are quick and gross—like cleaning out the cat litter.  I dread it, but it takes only about ten minutes.

Cleaning up cat vomit takes up 5-10 minutes.

Cleaning out the cat's ear takes about 30 seconds.  That's all I can manage before the cat runs away and hides.

Unloading the dishwasher takes about five minutes.

Doing laundry is fast if you discount the washing and drying time.   The gathering, loading, and putting away doesn't take much time.   

44. Saw that the Australian dollar is now at 1.0214 American dollars.   It's getting lower and lower.   But I don't know if it will stay low.   

It seems so odd that the Australian dollar is becoming equal to the American dollar at this time.   I understand that America's economy problems are leaking through to other countries.  That makes sense to me.  But I would think it would be proportional.   I would think America's dollar would go down, and then Australia's would go down relative to America's dollar.

I don't know if I'm making any sense.

45. Went to Flickr.  This will be my last day of stalking Faun070.

I have two of his albums left.

The first is Kakadu.  I'm eager to see that.

46. Saw a picture of Faun070 with Little Corellas.    

I think it's some kind of parrot. 

47. Consulted Lord Wiki about Little Corellas.

He says they're white cockatoos.  

They're known to be a sort of pest because they cause destruction to tree twigs.

48. Noticed that Faun070 uses "gay" as a tag in some of the photos. This one says dutchguygay.  

I guess that's fair.   We all have our interests.  I seek out photos of Australia.   Other people might be wanting to see gay men from the Netherlands.

49. Looked through more photos and I'm not seeing any gay tags.

I wonder why they wanted certain pictures tagged that way.

50.   Found another couple of gay-tagged photos.   Here's one.  His pose is sort of sexy.

51.  Saw photo of both of the guys together.   There's no gay-tagging here, or in any other together-photo I've seen.    It's almost like they're trying to appear single and sell themselves to Flickr members.

52. Loved this photo!  It's part of the Ubirr Art Site.

Lord Wiki says it has Aboriginal Art.

He says the work has been painted and repainted for 40,000 years; and that the paintings there now are about 2000 years old.

There's a very sacred site called the Rainbow Serpent Gallery.  It's supposed to be for women only, but Lord Wiki says the rules are relaxed for non-Aboriginal tourists.    That annoys me, sort of.   I guess I sort of feel they're selling out.   Or it's almost offensive.  It's like non-indigenous mean don't count.  

Well, no I'm being unfair.

I can understand it if I put it into perspective.

It's kind of like Jewish ways of thinking.   Religious Jews believe all other Jews should follow the hundreds of rules.  For example, we're not supposed to eat shrimp or lobster.  However, these rules apply only to Jews.   Jews don't believe that non-Jews need to do these things. They believe non-Jews can get into God's good side by simply following the seven laws of Noah.

In comparison Jews have 613 laws they need to follow.  

In a way it's nice. The gentiles supposedly get an easier time on Earth.  

But it's also perhaps a bit condescending.

53. Wondered if Faun070 and his partner advertised their gayness in other albums.

I didn't notice, but I don't know if I looked at their tags much on other days. 

54. Intrigued by this photo.  The two guys are together.   They advertise that they're Dutch, but not that they're gay.

You know what. Maybe they're just trying to provide eye candy.

I think people look out for certain nationalities when seeking out people to crush over.

55. Tired of people coming to my blog to see Rachel Carpani nude.

It's getting ridiculous.

Well, I shouldn't say that.  Then I'm being judgmental against porno fans and maybe also against Rachel Carpani's body.

I'll just say it's getting tiresome to me.

56. Googled Rachel Carpani nude to see what I'd get...well, in terms of my own site.

I looked at the little snippets provided.   One quotes from the post in which so many people are landing.   It says, I have Rachel Carpani on my mind. We don't even watch McLeod's.... Then she can let me borrow a nude photo of her and my blog can be REALLY ... 

Does it sound like I have a nude photo of Rachel Carpani?   Do I sound like a porno site?

And the title of the post is "Well, She's Not Nude, But....."

NOT nude.

So in no way is my blog providing false promises.   It says right in the title that I do not have naked photos of this person.

The other post snippet says, Statcounter is telling me a lot of visitors on my blog today are looking for photos of Rachel Carpani being naked.   I don't have any nude.....

See.  It's right there.   I have NO nude photos of Rachel Carpani.   I don't have any naked photos of any actress or actor.   

57. Started to look at Faun070's other Northern Territory Album.  

They have a lot of photos of the Wildman Wilderness Lodge.  I guess that's where they stayed.

58. Looked at the website of Wildman Wilderness Lodge.  

It's interesting.   I guess it's sort of like an all-inclusive resort...or some-stuff-inclusive.   You pay per person rather than per room.  It's pretty pricey.   They have two options.   One is a tent, and that's $245 per person.   The other one's a habitat, and that's $315.   Those are the prices in 2012.   The prices for 2011 are lower.  And in 2011 they have family tents.   In 2012 they don't.

The resort is open only April-November.  I guess it's too rainy in the other months.  

The price includes the room, breakfast, and dinner. Tours cost extra.

59. Found this picture of the two guys on the boat.  This is the first together-photo I've seen in which they tagged themselves as being gay.  

60. Finished looking at Faun070's Australian photos.

I might miss those guys.

61. Went to Mousie's music datebase.

First I'm going to listen to the same song as yesterday.   I had it in my head when I was taking a shower today.  

62. Started to listen to the next song on Mousie's list.    It's "Slow Motion" by Little Red.  

63. Started to look at page 4 of Frans de Wit's Australia album.  

It looks like he went into some actual mines in Coober Pedy.

64. Loved this photo.   It makes me think of Mars. 

65. Amazed at the clouds in this picture.   They look so low!

66. Thought this was an interesting view of Uluru.  

67. Happy to see Siany is back to making videos!  I was afraid she'd give up after she met her birthday goal.

Here's she's singing a Cat Stevens song.

68. Inspired to watch a Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens video).

It's lovely.

Lord Wiki says Yusef Islam gave up his music when he became Muslim, but then slowly returned to it. That's good.

I think religion becomes scary when it dramatically changes someone; especially when they give up such a beautiful part of themselves.  Apparently though, it wasn't the religion itself that stopped Yusef from singing.  It was his misinterpretation of it. 

69. Listened to this song (which I love because when I was a kid we used to swim at a place called Devil's Lake)

Then I started thinking that Yusef's story is kind of like Footloose

70. Thought about Anne Rice. She kind of has the same story as Yusef. She re-found the Catholic Church and dropped her vampire writing.

Well....wait....never mind.

I just went to talk to Lord Wiki.

It seems she's gone back to not being a Christian.

But she still follows Jesus.   She said, In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen

I like that.