Sunday, September 11, 2011

Disaster, Happiness, Easy Lives, and Role-Playing

1. Dreamed that I asked someone if they've seen Wake in Fright.  I can't remember why I asked that, or who I was asking.  I also dreamed about Superman, pancake syrup, and questions regarding life after death.

2. Touched by what Fruitcake said regarding 9/11.  She says, But beyond the personal experiences of so many around the world, our friends in the States are the ones who will be walking on eggshells for 24 hours. The rest of us will be thinking of or praying for them.

I don't think I'm feeling more nervous today than other days.  If I'm nervous about anything in particular, it's more about wildfires than terrorist attacks.  That's because I'm living in a place where there's more likely to be a fire disaster than a terrorist disaster.


I'd probably be very nervous today if I lived in one of the big cities like New York, Washington D.C, and Los Angeles.

I felt bad today because I was grouchy about all the 9/11 stuff on the TV and the internet. I sort of feel like they're glorifying the tragedy.  But then I realized it's different for me because I wasn't personally affected by it.  There are thousands of people who lost someone on September 11. For them it's not just a news story.

3. Decided I feel negative about today, because I think sometimes 9/11 is used as an excuse for excessive patriotism.

We were victims of a horrible disgusting tragic attack.  I think we should be angry, sad, and somewhat scared. I think we should be relieved that most of us are still standing; but I also think we should regret that we've allowed ourselves to become so broken because of 9/11. 

Look at the war this tragedy inspired.  We've lost so many lives and money because of it. The terrorists didn't force us down that path. We chose it.  Well, some of us chose it. It wasn't exactly unanimous.

Anyway.....

This 9/11 anniversary day doesn't make me feel any more patriotic than other days. It just makes me sad that the world has so many hateful, extreme, and spiteful people in it. They're on all sides of the story; and because of them, more and more blood will be shed.

4. Thought about how it feels like the media and government are exploiting 9/11. If I lost a family member, I think I'd be angry about it.  

But then if it was ignored by the media and government, I'd feel no one cared. I'd be angry that the whole tragedy was being ignored.

I think this whole thing really sucks.

It's a lose-lose situation.

I guess it's like any tragedy...like Gallipoli.   It's a horrible event with gruesome deaths and depressing losses.  But then it unites Australians and it makes some of them feel all patriotic. That's fine to a point; but then people can take advantage and be exploitive about the whole thing.

I guess it's human nature to love what is severely wounded. We give extra love to our country and our ethnic groups when they've been threatened and damaged. It's just the way someone can be ignored, taken for granted, and even disliked. Then they get cancer and suddenly they're seen as being wonderful and heroic.   

5. Agreed with part of IWasn'tBloggedYesterday's comment on Andrew's blog and disagreed with the other part.

She says, While it is so sad for the families involved, it is so much hype, I think it is propaganda for the war effort. People die in horrid circumstances everyday. Somalia comes to mind and have we forgotten Japan already?

I do agree with the hype part; and some of it may be there as war propaganda.

I don't agree with her Somalia and Japan comment.  Just because we're thinking of one tragedy (because it happens to be the anniversary) it doesn't mean we've forgotten other tragedies.

When Japan has their anniversary of the earthquake next year, should we get annoyed with them for not talking about 9/11 or the terrible shooting in Norway?

On the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombing, are people going to be thinking about that, or are they going to be thinking about what happened in Rwanda?  Should I be offended if people fail to mention Katrina on that day, or all the people who have died from AIDS?

6. Wanted to add that I can sort of understand where IWasn'tBloggedYesterday is coming from.   I do understand the annoyance when one thing is over-talked about, and it seems like other things are being ignored.  

One time I was doing research for this blog and read a lot of stuff about sociopathic people. I suddenly became infuriated that we talk on and on about autism and how it's so tragic.   From what I read, I felt I'd much rather there be autistic people than sociopathic people. If I had a choice between having an autistic child or a sociopathic child, I'd much rather have the former.

I was feeling awfully passionate about what I read and posted something on Facebook about it. It was kind of like what IWasn'tBloggedYesterday said. Why do we give so much attention to one thing when there're worse things out there?

I angered one of my Facebook friends.  She commented that she's dealt with autistic children before, and it can be VERY difficult.

I was annoyed at her for being snappy with me, but she probably had a right to be offended.  Why couldn't I speak out about sociopathic people without trying to diminish the difficulties of raising an autistic child?   

The thing is there's enough time and space in the world to gripe about autism and sociopaths. There's enough time and space in the world to cry over September 11, the Holocaust, earthquakes, tornadoes, cyclones, rapes, murders, car accidents, etc.

There's even enough time and space for us to gripe about little things like period cramps, hangnails, and canker sores.  If we moan and cry over negative things, it doesn't necessarily mean we believe it's the only bad thing or the worst thing. It's just that we can't focus on ALL the shit in the world at the exact same time.

7. Read Fruitcake's blog post about parrots, Magpies, and other stuff.

She's against caged birds—at least birds caged in tiny cages.

I don't like that either.

I like how the parrot was treated in Rio.  The Macaw is free to roam around the house, and there seems to be more of a friendship than a pet-human relationship.

Is that how it is for some people who have parrots, or is the movie a total fantasy?   

I would probably be horrible at taking care of a parrot, but it doesn't stop me from wishing I had one.

I'm thinking my idealistic dream would be to live in Australia and have a parrot friend. He'd be totally free. I'd feed him when he visits and we'd be best friends.

I could have all the fun and love; and very little responsibility.   

I guess it's like the people who love children, but would rather be an aunt than a mother.    

8. Disagreed profoundly with Miruspeg's post on happiness.  She says happiness is a choice. Her post is pretty much a pep talk.  We can make the choice whether to be happy or not happy. We can make choices that lead us to the path of happiness.  

She says, Right now, because I want to spread joy, optimism and inspiration, I am choosing to write this article rather than wander into the kitchen and fill a bowl with chocolates for a late night snack, which would really only bring joy to me (at least until regret sets in and I begin calorie counting).

The point is, we choose every second. Even when we lay about doing nothing, we are making a choice every moment to continue to lay about, rather than getting up and doing anything else.


The thing is we can't always know what actions are going to lead to happiness and what actions are going to lead to sadness.  And then some things are completely out of control. What if a mom decides to not sit home and watch a depressing documentary on the economy. Instead she's going to take her kids to the zoo.  She's going to choose fun and happiness!

Well, what if they get in a horrible car accident on the way there? The day's probably not going to be a happy one.

Some people believe our thoughts are powerful enough to control our lives. If bad things happen to us, it's because we weren't thinking enough happy thoughts.  If you get cancer, it's because you attracted that to yourself.  If you get raped, it's because you brought it upon yourself by thinking negatively.

I don't agree with that set of mind.  Bad things sometimes happen to positive people and good things sometimes happen to negative people.   

There are some life situations in which I imagine it would be VERY difficult to feel happy.  I personally think people in these situations have every right to be sad and angry...at least for awhile.   Then they have to choose whether to continue being sad or pull themselves up and try to be okay again.

I guess what I feel is that in many situations, we can choose happiness or discontent. If you're like me and have an easy sheltered life; you can appreciate that or find excuses to whine.  I do allow myself some whining, but for the most part I'm very appreciative of all my blessings.

But there are some cases where it would be extremely challenging to find a reason to smile.   Miruspeg has the choice to eat chocolate or write a blog post.  What about people who have no chocolate?  What about people who have no food period? What about mothers who have to watch their children starve to death?  I think it would be very challenging for them to choose happiness.

9. Felt that we can't always choose whether to have an easy and happy life. But we can choose to be hopeful and optimistic. We can choose to not give up, and we can choose to fight the darkness.

I think it's okay to have setbacks, though, especially when we're dealing with harshness and tragedy.   It's okay to have moments of self-pity and hopelessness.  It's part of being human in a crazy cruel world.  But then I think it's great if people can pick themselves back up again. Eventually.

10. Went to Tallygarunga.  Today I'm going to read a story thread called I Just Came to Say Hello.

It takes place in the Spencer common room; and the characters in the story are Riley Lightfoot and Maya Arcemene.   It's funny because yesterday I read a story thread with Riley in the the Spencer common room.   I wonder what story thread is happening earlier in time—this one or the other one.

11. Looked at the other story thread; Welcome To The Torture Chamber.   That one takes place way back in August—August 13.

This new storyline takes place on September 4.

I think it would be hard to write new storylines before finishing old ones.  I would get confused.

I'm guessing that Riley's and Dorian's have already mapped out what's going to happen between them.   Otherwise, wouldn't it be hard to imagine how Riley's feeling two weeks later?  I would think what happens between Riley and Dorian in August would have at least some effect on how is life is working out for Riley in September.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it's not an issue unless something huge happens.   

12. Started to read the story thread.

Maya is working on her wizarding school assignments. Then Riley comes into the common room, and Maya is a little bit excited.  She thinks Riley is hot.

13. Learned from Riley's post that someone named Adelaide has gotten into Tallygarunga's new junior program.  I guess that's his sister?  I think I read Riley's biography, but that was a long time ago.  

14. Looked at Riley's biography.

I guessed right.  Adelaide is his sister.  

Well, I'm not going to pat myself on the back.  It's pretty easy to make that conclusion from the context.   Riley's post says, And to top it all off, Riley had received a letter from his parents saying that Adelaide had been accepted into Tally’s Junior Program. This was best of all since it meant that he would finally see her every day instead of only visiting on the weekends.  

Well...I guess it could have also been a cousin or neighbour.

So, maybe I'll give myself a tiny bit of credit for guessing right.   

15. Continued to read.

Riley is enjoying a book and Maya comes over to say hello.  He's so into the book that he doesn't notice her at first.  Then he worries that she might think he was ignoring her.

So here we have Riley's nicer side.  He was much less cordial to Dorian.  Maybe it's because Maya is a Spencer student like him.  Maybe he's less tolerant of students from the other houses.  Or maybe it's just the situation with Dorian, since Dorian has taken on the role of Riley's tutor.  I imagine that's probably insulting in some ways.   It can be difficult accepting help from someone who's better at us at something....especially when it's a peer.

I guess what I'm wondering is whether or not Riley would have been nicer to a Spencer tutor.  And I also wonder if he'd be nicer to a Sturt student that wasn't there to tutor him.

16. Learned that Maya had a hard day that day.  I didn't get that from the first post. She seemed to be in a good mood. I'm guessing maybe the role-player didn't realize Maya had a hard day until writing the second post.

That happens sometimes.

I think writing fiction is hard enough.  The idea I'm getting lately though is that role-playing writing can be even harder.  I used to write novels and screenplays.   For the most part, I didn't show anyone my work until after I finished writing the whole thing.  After finishing writing, and before sharing my work, I could go back and make changes.   I could erase inconsistencies.   The thing is, the more you write the more you learn about your character.

One day during Magic is Might, I went back and read some of my earlier posts.  Some of it didn't sound like Alex at all.   And I also made mistakes from not doing good enough research.   If I had been writing a novel, I could have fixed those mistakes.  But with role-playing, once you write it, it's out there.  All I could hope is that not many people noticed.

17. Decided I could be making too many assumptions about Maya and her role-player.

 It IS said, in the first post, that she's happy.  Smiling happily she'd levitate the candle and then think 'Augementa' causing water to shoot from the tip of her wand and onto the candles wicker.

It also says With a smile and pride in her heart, she went work on the homework completing it in under thirty minutes.

So it threw me off a bit when Maya's next post starts with Today had been a bit of a drag for Maya. First she was late to Charms and then she missed the first half because she had to run back to her dorm to get her wand.  The post goes on to talk about her difficult day.

I think usually background information about the day is in the first post. That's what gave me the idea that maybe Maya's role-player didn't realize initially that Maya had a bad day.  

But I could be wrong.

Maybe Maya was happy at first because she kind of pushed the bad day out of her head.  It's not like we're required to stick to one mood all day.

I'm thinking maybe she was happy in the common room and forgot her bad day.  Then when Riley accidentally ignored her, maybe Maya felt a little sad.  Maybe the sadness conjured up her bad memories.

18. Read more of The Hunger Games trilogy, and then thought more about Miruspeg's happiness post.  

The story takes place in the future.  North America has been divided into regions.  Each year, two teenagers from each region are randomly chosen to play in the Hunger Games. The games aren't fun games.  The whole point is to fight to the death.   There's one survivor.

In the beginning of the first book, Katniss' younger sister Prim is chosen in the lottery.  Katniss has two choices.  She can let her sister die, or she can take her sister's place in the games. Where is the happy choice in that?    I don't think there're many people in the world who would be happy knowing that their younger sibling is about to face a brutal death.  Yet  I think it would be very depressing to know you're either going to have to die or kill innocent people in order to save your sister. 

The book is fictional. Yeah.  But I do think people in the real world face choices where they feel damned if they do and damned if they don't.  

Note: If you skipped the paragraphs above because you were worried about spoilers, there really wasn't any.  All that I talk about happens in the first few chapters of the book.   It's probably on the jacket cover/back of book as well.  

19. Started to read the biography of Maya Arcemene—the witch who said hello to Riley Lightfoot.  

Her face claim is an actress named Odette Yustman.

Lord Wiki says when Odette was five she was one of the kids in Kindergarten Cop.  I think it's fun to see an actor and then learn they were in movies you saw back when they were much younger.   It's kind of like Mischa Barton being in The Sixth Sense

20. Asked by Tim how I'm feeling.   I mumbled that I'm fine—just tired and stressed.   I feel I have so much to write and I want to just relax and do nothing.  So then I thought, am I making the wrong choice?   Should I throw up my hands and say, Forget it.  I'm not doing a post today. I'm going to sit around and just relax?

Would that make me happy?

No.

It would make me feel lazy, and I'd be annoyed that I started something and didn't finish it.

I'd feel empty.

I'd feel stressed.

I love writing my blog, but sometimes I have so much to say and I can't get the words out right. It's a challenge, and when I'm in the middle of the challenge, I'm not beaming with happiness.

But once it's done I usually feel happy.  I feel satisfied.

Sometimes in order for us to get to the happy space on the game board, we have to walk through the stressful spaces.

21. Decided to get back on track and read about Maya and Odette.

Here's a trailer for You Again.  Odette Yustman is one of the stars of that.



I know someone who'd like that movie.  Well, and I think she's seen it. I can't remember if she liked it, or not.

I think she probably liked it.  

22.  Continued to read about Maya.

She's a fourth year student.

She's 1/2 Veela.  That's pretty exciting.  For those who aren't Harry Potter fans, Veelas are beautiful women who have magical seductive powers.    

According to Lord Wiki's cousin, Fleur Delacour is 1/4 Veela.   I had to ask because I forgot.   I associated Fleur with the Veelas, but I couldn't remember if she was a full one, half, quarter, etc.  

23. Saw that Maya's Patronus is a dragon.

That's pretty fancy.

I think it's the first time I've encountered a witch or wizard that has a magical/mythical animal as their Patronus.

24. Learned that Maya loves horses and children.

She doesn't worry much about fashion despite her natural beauty.  She's not a tomboy in a way but has never really been picky about what to wear. She just grabs clothes and makes sure doesn't look stupid before heading out.  

Although it seems sometimes she does care.  In the story thread it says, She was dressed rather simply, in very comfortable but cute pink harem pants and a blue shrug-halter. Her feet were adorned with black and pink Prada flats with were worth a fortune but took awhile to break in. Ugh, what she'd do for fashion.

Well, maybe she doesn't care about fashion in general, but she does care about shoe fashion.

25. Read about Maya's history.  

Her family has old money from her father's side.

Her mother's family wanted their daughter to marry a man with Veela genes so they could have Veela grandchildren.   But Veela's mom fell in love with someone who didn't have the Veela heritage.   That's how Maya ended up being only 1/4 Veela.  

26. Received an answer about my question yesterday regarding Kevin Rudd's mo. Gina commented on my Facebook Page that it might be mustache. 

So did Kevin Rudd have a mustache in 1977?  

27. Checked Kevin Rudd's Twitter Page. He hasn't changed his photo yet.  It might be inappropriate to do it September 11.  

Maybe he'll do it tomorrow then?

I want to see Rudd in 1977...mustache or not.   

28. Saw that my Australian of the day is Roland Stuart Andrews.

He was a chemist.

29. Learned that Roland was born in Sydney in 1897.  That's four years before Australia became a Federation. 

His mother was a Quaker and raised Roland in a very gentle way.   Later he had a hard time dealing with harsh working conditions.  The assumption here is that people with easy childhoods will have a harder time adjusting to difficult situations when they're older.   I imagine that's true—at least initially.   I can imagine it takes longer for people like that to adjust.  But maybe the extra love and care they received as children will give them the strength they need to endure.  

There was a study done in 2010 about maternal affection.   It showed children who were showered with affection and attention had less anxiety when they were adults.

As for Roland.   Although the Australian Dictionary of Biography says, The sheltered and genteel background provided by his Quaker mother had not prepared him for the harsh working conditions then prevailing in heavy industry which were to affect him profoundlythey next say, although he had no formal training in management, he proved a successful 'shift boss' in the coke-oven plant, mainly because of his empathy with the workforce.

So in the end, it sounds like Roland did okay.  

We can give children lots of love and comfort in their early years. Then hope that this sustains them in difficult times. Or we can treat them harshly with the purpose of toughening them up.

I personally think the former is the better way to go.  

30. Read fast through Roland's biography. It's almost dinner and I don't want to come back to this later. 

31. Learned that Roland worked with coal.  I think that's the main point of his life.  

He also collected stamps and played tennis. 

32. Decided to look at some of Arthur Chapman's bird photos on Flickr. 

33. Tried to interpret this Cape Barren Goose's facial expression.  

On one hand, he looks a bit dejected.  But then again, he might just be contemplative.

It definitely looks like he's thinking about something.  I just don't know if he's thinking about a good thing or a bad thing.

34. Thought this emu was trying to look sexy.   

He looks very flirtatious. 

35. Thought this seagull looks very annoyed.   I think someone's probably playing their music too
 loud.  

36. Reminded of President Snow when I saw this Little Pied Cormorant.   

Yes, definitely.  If President Snow was a bird, he'd look like that.

37. Loved this photo of Starlings.   There's a bunch of them hanging out together.

38.  Liked the colors on this Golden Pheasant.  

39. Thought the tail of this Gray Faintail was really awesome.  It looks just like one of those fans you can make out of paper.

40. Proud of myself because I looked at this photo and knew it was a Magpie and not a Magpie-lark.  
41. Excited to watch the season finale of True Blood.    I'm a little sad too because I don't want to end.

At least it's not the series finale.