Thursday, August 25, 2011

Voters, Potions, Norfolk Island, and Eyam

1. Read Fruitcake's blog post.  

I might disagree with her about something.  I'm not sure yet, though.  I'll have to read her post again to make sure I'm understanding things correctly.

2. Read Fruitcake's post again.  I still disagree a little bit, but maybe I can understand where she's coming from.  

She says, The first and perhaps greatest of my beefs is that Australians deserve the right to choose their leader.  In the next paragraph she says, The person appointed to the highest office in the land should not be chosen by lobby groups or by ambitious movers and shakers.

I disagreed at first because I was thinking of American's system of electing a leader.   To me, it's such a crappy process.  I much prefer Australia's way of electing their government. But then I remembered that Americans don't really vote for a leader. They vote for the electoral college.

American politics is incredibly frustrating to me.  I'm getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election, because I don't want someone like Rick Perry to win. I want to feel that I can make a difference by voting; but because I'm in Texas, I really can't.  Texas is a Republican (red) state. The minority of us who want a democratic president aren't going to make much of a difference.

The other thing is independents and smaller parties don't stand a chance in American politics. You get a choice of two flavors. If you say you want neither, you pretty much throw away your vote.

3. Thought more about Fruitcake's post.  I think Australians still have power in choosing a least indirectly.  Although the parties have their ambitious movers and shakers, they must want to win.  I'm assuming they know if they pick leaders that are too unpopular, people aren't going to vote again for that party.

Fruitcake says, How is it that the Labor Party, supposedly the peoples’ party and the least conservative, are adamant they will not enable gay marriage, when the majority of Australians endorse the idea? The answer is because political parties can be and are hijacked by single interest groups.

Here I agree with Fruitcake. I find Julia Gillard's resistance to gay marriage baffling and disturbing.    So is she not just an atheist strangely attached to bible stories and certain traditional values?   Is it all a play for power on Gillard's part?   Maybe Gillard's okay with gay marriage, but she's made deals with the devil...figuratively speaking. 

Either way, though; Australians will say enough is enough. Eventually.   If the Labor Party becomes too right wing, they may decide they might as well vote for the Liberal Party. Or if they want something much more left, they can give the Green party more power.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Australians have much more choices than Americans. I mean in politics. From what I've heard (and witnessed) Americans have more choices at the grocery choice.

4. Learned of a new Steven Spielberg TV show, Terra Nova.  It was filmed in Queensland. I looked it up because we heard on the TV that there's a win-a-trip-to-Australia sweepstakes.    

5. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that Texas hasn't always voted red.  For example: in 1976 they voted for Carter. So, I guess there's a little bit of hope.  If Rick Perry is the Republican Candidate,  I'll have no hope. He's the Texas Governor. I'm sure Texans will want to vote one of their own.

It would be nice if I'm wrong.  

6. Went to Tallygarunga. I'm going to find a story thread to read at the hotel; but I probably won't start reading it until tomorrow. We're going to go to bed soon.  

By the way, I'm starting this post on Monday night.  I'm not going to post it until Thursday night.   This way I can still write a little, but at the same time I get a break. It's like I write one day's worth of blog in three days.

7. Found the story thread I'm going to read.  It's a class session story thread called Potions Lesson 3.

I'll start reading it tomorrow.

8. Went to bed and had lots of dreams.  In one of them, I'm walking down a street.   I see lots of bees and get a bit nervous.   I cross the street to get away from them.   I start thinking, what if I see a tarantula?   Then I see a dead tarantula. I think of rhinoceros and I see a baby one (but I think it was very small...the size of a stuffed animal). I think of kangaroos and I start seeing kangaroos.

I get the idea if I think about an animal, it will appear.  This makes me realize I'm dreaming. I decide to fly off and have one of my lucid dreaming adventures. I look around me and notice that the place I'm already in looks pretty interesting. Why not stay here?   Why do I always rush off to have lucid dreaming adventures. A part of me wants to stay, but I'm too weak to break tradition. I try to fly out of the area.

At some point, I thought about the animals appearing; and I thought about the fact that I don't usually make things appear in my dreams. Why was it different this time?   I start to believe that the dreams gods (or whatever) purposely made that happen to get my attention so I'd know I was dreaming.

9. Saw article about Carl Katter speaking out against his brother Bob.  Bob Katter is a politician who's against gay marriage. Carl is gay, and not happy that his brother is being so vocal about his bigotry.

It's a good reminder that siblings don't always think alike. They can be vastly different from each other.

I'm going to read the article now.

Bob Katter went to an anti-gay rally. There he said, Truly this proposition deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed. It doesn't serve any serious treatment. 


It's bad enough to be politely anti-gay; but to be so vile about it? Why should any idea be laughed at and ridiculed?

Well, I take that back. It's fine to laugh.  There are some funny ideas out there. But what kind of grown man encourages others to ridicule an idea?

It's really sad that Bob would say such a thing when his own brother is gay. I'm guessing they don't have a very warm relationship with each other.

10. Started to look at iTrax's Sydney 2002 photo set.

11. Loved this photo of Qantas planes.

I'm having major Qantas-love lately.  I probably, shouldn't since a lot of Australians are mad at them for the outsourcing thing. But it really is neat, for someone like me, to see a Qantas plane outside our hotel window.   

12. Loved this Sydney University building.  I've seen it before, but I forget the name of it.  

It's the building that reminded me of Hogwarts awhile back.  But then I had looked at a picture of Hogwarts, and it looked nothing like the building. I realized the Hogwarts in my brain was not what JK Rowling or Warner Brothers had in their brain.

13. Learned from Lord Wiki that the building is The Main Quadrangle or maybe the Main Building.  I'm confused.

The architectural style is Perpendicular Gothic. The architect was a guy named Edmund Blacket.   He also built St. Andrew's Cathedral.

14. Learned from Lord Wiki that the Canterbury Cathedral is an example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture. We went to see that, and I loved it.   

Maybe this is my favorite type of architecture.

15. Started to read Tallygarunga's Potions Lesson 3.  I'll probably read one post at a time.

Keith Anderson is the professor. I think I wrote about him before. I remember because his face claim is Keith Urban.  He's one of the few Tally characters "played by" an Australian celebrity. 

Did I read his biography?

I'm not sure; but probably not.

16. Went back to looking at iTrax's Sydney 2002 photos.

I don't like this purple tree in front of the University of Sydney building that I love. I mean I'm okay with the three.   It's pretty. But I don't think it goes well with the building.

17. Started to read post #2 of Potions Lessons 3. This post is by Reade Ainsworth.

I can totally relate to Reade in this part.  He wished he wasn't the first person to have arrived. He felt awkward sitting alone in the classroom with the Professor, looking like a complete wreck with his bruised and cut lip, dishevelled appearance and pale, tired countenance.

Well, I can't relate to the bruised and cut lip part.   But I know I'd feel awkward if I was the first one in a classroom. I'm not sure if it ever happened to me.  I have a vague sense that it did. I know it would be make me feel nervous and shy.

I may feel different now because I'm less shy. I don't know.

I was never one to be chummy with professors.I think I wanted to be, but I felt intimidated by them. 

I used to easily feel intimidated by many people. I think those are the feelings that led to my shyness. I guess now I feel less intimidated by people, and therefore I'm less shy.  
18. Remembered that I did once have an injured lip. Unlike Reade I wasn't injured by a bully. I was in a sledding accident.  

19. Started to read post #3 of Potions Lesson 3. This post belongs to Reade's girlfriend, Arti.

Arti is worried about Reade.

20.  Liked this picture of my favorite University of Sydney building. 

21. Started to read post #4 in Potions Lesson 3.  This post is by Gray Hooper, the Tally student who looks like Danny Bonaduce.

Gray is cold and wondering why someone hasn't put a heating spell on the building.

He enters the classroom and is amused to see Reade and Arti.  The night before he had seen them together doing PG-13 type stuff. Maybe R-rated? I'm not sure.

22. Noticed from iTrax's photo sets that he goes to Poland a lot.  I wonder why.   Does he have business there?  Family? Is he passionate about Poland the way I'm passionate about Australia?  

Maybe he lives in Poland and not Australia.

Maybe he's a Polish guy obsessed with Australia.

He has Poland albums for 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, etc. Is it every year?   Well, I see there's also 2008 and 2009.   I don't see anything for 2010 and 2011.

He also seems to go to Singapore a lot.

23. Started to look at iTrax's Perth 2005 photo set

Wait. As far as I can see, he has no Australian albums from 2002-2005.   So maybe he IS from Poland.  Maybe he just visits Australia. Maybe he was a uni student in Australia; and that's why he had so many pictures of the University of Sydney. 

24. Excited to see iTrax's photos of Norfolk Island.  I haven't seen many pictures of it before; and I don't know much about it in modern times.

When I think of it, I think of Helen Reddy.  She lived there.  I'm not sure if she still does. Maybe she moved to Sydney?

I'm pretty sure Norfolk Island is where Alexander Manocochie did his prison reforms...or tried to.   

25. Consulted Lord Wiki about Helen Reddy and Alexander Manocochie.  He says I'm right about EVERYTHING.   Well, okay—not everything. But I am right about Reddy and Manocochie.    She lived in Norfolk Island and later moved to Sydney. Manocochie did his prison reforms on Norfolk Island.  

26. Started to read post #5 of Potions Lesson 3. This post is by Cecilia Chorrol.

Cecilia is not too optimistic about doing well in class. She's not always the best student though she tries hard.

I admire her for trying hard.   She's a brave witch.

27. Figured out that I did read Keith Anderson's biography.  I looked and it, and I remember the part about him liking HUGE spiders, but not small ones.  

28. Read post #6 of Potions Lesson 3. This post is by Kelsey Charmichael. 

The professor is dating her mom.  Or he was dating her mom. Interesting.

29. Read post #7 of Potions Lesson 3.  We're back to the professor.

He lectures the class about stealing. Someone has been stealing potion ingredients.

Oh no!

I blame Danny Bonaduce.

Actually, no.  I'm just joking.  

30. Looked at pictures from Norfolk Island. It seems to be very green; not eco-green, but the actual color green. Although it might also be eco-friendly green. 

31. Started to read post #8 of Potions Lesson Three.  The post is by Zara McNamara.  It's a little hard to get that information because the coloring is a bit off for Flinders students.   Their names are written in yellow, and it fades into the green background.  I have to click on the name to read it.  

32. Felt bad for Zara.  She fell down while rushing to class. Now Reade isn't the only one in the potions classroom to have an injury.  Poor Zara is bleeding.  

33. Read post #9 of Potions Lesson 3. It's the last one....for now.  This post is by Addison Rockwell.   She's running late for class, but is not the type of person to usually be late.

I'm like that.  I'm usually on time to appointments and classes...stuff like that. I get anxious when I'm not on time.  

34. Started to read the biography of Kelsey Charmichael.  

The character has something I haven't seen before on Tally.  It's a thread tracker. It seems to be a link to all the threads she's in.

That's a cool idea, and very organized.

35. Learned that Kelsey is a 2nd year pureblood student. She was born in Australia.

36. Learned that Kelsey likes to wear feminine clothing, including skirts.

37. Learned that Kelsey is an outspoken type. She's not good at keeping her opinions to herself; nor is she good at keeping secrets.

She is outgoing with everyone except grown men.  I thought maybe she had been abused, but it's not that.  She doesn't want someone taking the place of her father.   I guess something happened to him?

38. Related to Kelsey's dislike of working in groups or with partners. I prefer to work by myself too.

39. Asked by Jack, what's the name of the museum in Canberra.

It was a very random question. He was playing with his stuffed animals; then suddenly stopped to ask me that. 

40.  Learned that Kelsey is very skeptical of romance.  This comes from her mother.  Maybe she left their father?  Maybe he left them?  Did he die?   I guess that could also make people skeptical of love.

Oh, well. I'll read her history in a minute or two.

41. Exhausted from climbing stairs to water slides.  I don't mind the stairs so much; but you have to carry a bulky raft too.

42. Started to read Kelsey's history.  And yeah...okay it took me more than a minute or two to get to that.  We ended up going to the water park for awhile.

Kelsey was raised by her single mother. In her early years, she didn't worry much about not having a father.  As she got older, she became more curious.   She asked her mother for information. Her mother told her he was a handsome man who broke her heart.End of Story.

Later Kelsey learned her father was not the same man who married and divorced her mother.   Interesting.

43. Learned Kelsey's father is the headmaster of the school; Alan Burdett.  He doesn't know it yet.

I wasn't expecting that little twist.  

44. Noticed that Alan Burdett has been a member of Tallygarunga since July 2004.   I didn't know Tallygarunga was that old. I thought it started in 2006 for some reason.

Wait. It WAS 2006, because they just celebrated their 5th birthday.

Maybe there was a pre-Tally stage, kind of like how The Simpsons began on the The Tracey Ullman show

45. Liked this beach scene from Norfolk Island. 

This photo is beautiful too.  

46. Thought it would be very fun to roll down this hill.  

47. Guessed that the trees in this photo are Norfolk Pines.  And I love the picture in general.   It kind of reminds me of my dreams.  

48.  Loved this cemetery near a beach.  

I don't think I've seen something like that before.  

I also like the pine trees near the beach.

49. Guessed that this was part of the old prison.  

50. Consulted Lord Wiki about Norfolk Island.  The weather reminds me of San Francisco.   It doesn't get very cold, but it also never really gets warm.  It stays between about 50 and 79 degrees....or 10 and 26 degrees celsius.

51. Amazed to hear that Norfolk Island has only one native mammal.  It's some kind of bat, and Lord Wiki thinks it might be extinct.

52. Read that Norfolk Island is a territory of Australia.   

Lord Wiki says Australian citizens do not have right of residence on the island.  They have to be sponsored by a company or resident.   They also need a passport to visit.

53. Looked at more Norfolk Island photos and concluded it's a very beautiful place.

I like this photo.  It sort of reminds me of my dreams too. 

And this is very beautiful.  

Oh...and I also like this this

54. Loved this photo,  and lots more.  It's too hard to name all of them.

55. Thought this was an interesting rock thing. 

56. Thought of buying Portia de Rossi's autobiography at the bookstore. It was on sale for seven dollars. I didn't end up doing it.

I kind of wish I did.

Oh well.

I'll buy it some other time.

57. Saw that my Australian of the Day is William Anderson.

He was born in Scotland in 1828.

He became a farmer and a politician.

He made inspiring election speeches.

One day, William walked 17 miles to and from church.  That's very impressive.

He was involved with his church, and held a Sunday School in his kitchen.

58. Had fun making Kondoot videos with Jack. We're very silly.

59. Went to bed and had a not-so-happy dream.

I go to Australia to visit our friends for a few nights.   I enter their house, and they don't acknowledge my arrival in any way.  I'm totally ignored. I can't believe I came all the way to Australia to visit them, and they don't even seem to care.

One of them finally notices I'm there.  I have my hopes that now she'll act warm and excited.  She doesn't.  She's nice; but acts tired and weary...stressed.   Rather than feeling like an embraced international guest; I feel like I'm a trivial add-on to a life cluttered with activity. I don't feel welcomed there at all.  I'm hurt and angry that I've come all this way for nothing.   I don't want to stay and feel rejected.   I announce that I'm going to walk to the shops.  One of the friends offers to drive me.  I insist I'll walk even though I'm hoping this means he's not just going to drive me, but actually spend time with me at the shopping area.  Then at this point, Tim and Jack are suddenly there.  Tin insists that we accept the ride.

We ride.  Then Tim and Jack seem to not be there anymore.   It turns out the friend was literally just dropping me off. I open up to him angrily about how I feel rejected.

I don't really remember what happened next.

60. Dreamed another Australia-related dream. I'm sitting on a hill with Jack looking down at people walking on a sidewalk. I see my cousin's two dogs going by on a leash, followed by my cousin and her two kids.  We call out to them; or they see us. They're excited to see us and come up to say hello.

Then at some point, I start talking to my cousin about Julia Gillard.  We both agree she's a bit fake.   Then I ask my cousin if she knows about the gay marriage thing. My cousin seems very oblivious and pretty ignorant about Australian politics.   I explain it to her.   I say about 70% of Australians (not sure if that's the right statistic) support gay marriage. Most state versions of the Labor Party support it.   Julia Gillard says marriage needs to be between a man and a woman.  I say that would be understandable if she was Christian; but she's not.  She's an atheist.

I don't know how my dream-cousin reacted to that.

I think it's funny that I'm teaching people about Australian politics in my dreams.  

61. Remembered more about the first dream. I think about things, such as why did my friends invite me to visit if they didn't like me anymore.   At times prior to this I had felt rejected by them. As soon as I was ready to give up the friendship, they were very nice and pulled me back in.   I begin to suspect this wasn't because they liked me.  It was because they didn't want to hurt my feelings.  I think this is ridiculous. I would be hurt if they rejected me, but I'd get on with it.  

At one point there was a sense that the visit wasn't real; but rather a practice/dress rehearsal.  I decide the outcome is an indication we shouldn't make a real visit to their house.  

62. Understood the meaning behind the dream.  I think it represents my insecurity with certain friendships. It's like the flower game. They love me.  They love me not.  They love me.  They love me not.

I think it also represents my own guilt.  I have, at times, remained in friendships mainly for the fact that I don't want to hurt someone's feelings.  I'm very bad at breaking up with people.  

I'm not saying I should dramatically severe every friendship when it doesn't fit to my high standards.  But I think there's some relationships in which I would be better off taking a few steps backward.   Instead I take steps forward....closer to the person.  I do this so the friend doesn't suspect my disinterest or fading love.

63. Wanted to clarify something, because I don't want people thinking I'm a horrible bitchy snob.   It's about the people I want to back away from.   It's not a matter of them not being cool enough, cute enough, or interesting enough for me.  That's not an issue.   They're all absolutely adorable in their own little ways.  Rather,  these are people who I feel treat me unfairly. I feel used by them.  I feel hurt by the things they say and do; and also by their self-centeredness  in the relationship.  

64. Had deep thoughts inspired by Michelle's post about the anti-sugar movement.  Relationships can be seen in the same way as food.  Just as we don't need to absolutely abstain from sugar, we don't often need to absolutely abstain from any person. There are some foods that are very healthy and we should eat a lot of them.  There are some foods that are not-so-healthy and we should eat them very occasionally.  I think this is the same with people.

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that we eat our friends.

65. Saw from my Statcounter that there's suddenly a lot of people wondering whether or not Simon Burke is gay.

66. Started to look at iTrax's Adelaide 2006 set

67. Liked this University of Adelaide building.  

68. Wondered about this statue.  Who is that?

69. Started to look at iTrax's Tasmania 2008 photo set

I love this photo.  It reminds me of a southern European Italy or Greece.  

70. Saw that this photo was from Launceston and guessed it's part of Cataract Gorge.  We were there in 2009.  

71. Started to look at iTrax's Sorrento 2009 photo set.  It seems to be all sunsets.  

I think this picture is really cool.  

72. Reminded of the Dementors when I saw the clouds in this picture; except they're white instead of black.  

73. Felt a bit sad and hopeless after reading a witch-persecution scene from Geraldine Brook's Year of Wonders.

What bothered me the most is I couldn't read about people in the 1600's and think well, that was back in those days.  We've become so much more enlightened since then.

Nothing has changed really.

People are still persecuted for their differences...or perceived differences.

People still follow bandwagons of hate; following rumors that may or may not be true.

74. Realized I'm guilty of the hate thing sometimes.  I read the news and feel so much anger towards certain people.   But how do I know for sure that what I'm reading is 100% true and not exaggerated in some way?

75. Started to look at iTrax's King's Park photo set

Here's a cool butterfly photo.  

76. Wondered if the bird in this photo is one of those Australian ravens, the ones that make the really strange sounds.  

77. Thought this statue looked like the type who'd come alive to protect Hogwarts.  

78. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Great Plague of London. This is the subject of The Year of Wonders.  

The book takes place in 1665.  The characters live in a town north of London.  

Lord Wiki says the plague killed 100,000 people.  

79. Saw that The Year of Wonders is based on a true story. I didn't realize that.   

There was a village called Eyam. The plague came to them via a merchant carrying cloth from London. The villagers put themselves in quarantine in order to stop the spread of the disease.

This is what happens in the book.

80. Read more from Lord Wiki about Eyam.  Some of the characters are real too.

One of the main characters is a Reverend William Mompesson. He was a real person.   

I had no idea.

I thought the novel was loosely based on historical events.  I didn't realize so much of it was true.  

81. Started to look at iTrax's Fremantle photo set

There's a lot of photos of boats—industrial types.

82. Finished with iTrax's Australian sets.

Now I might start searching for  another Flickr account to stalk.

I probably wont look at the photos until sometime this weekend.

83. Did not find any Flickr accounts to stalk. I'll try again later.  

84. Found a Flickr account.  The account name is theaxx.  It belongs to a girl named Anthea.    Anthea lives in Sydney and likes creative things like designing, writing, and editing.

She has her own little zine called Spoonful.  I didn't know zines still existed. I had figured websites and blogs would have replaced them. Anthea uses a website to sell the zine.  I wonder if she's had much luck selling her zine.

I don't have much luck selling my writing.  I don't even have much luck giving my writing away for free.

Anyway, later I will look at Anthea's Sydney photo set.  

85. Finished reading Year of Wonders.  I misunderstood the ending because I wasn't thinking straight.   Fortunately, Lord Wiki came to the rescue.  Now I understand things better.