Sunday, September 25, 2011

Money Comparisons, Trees, Dragon Fruit, and St. Andrew's College

1. Continued to read Gordon Aalborg's Dining With Devils.

I'm starting to get into it.

There's a lot of suspense.  

2. Read editorial about the Australian dollar.

Michael Pascoe says the Australian dollar hasn't gone down.  It's that the American dollar has gone up.  But he's not saying that as a compliment to the United States.

Pascoe explains why it's gone up. It goes way over my head, unfortunately.  But his main point is it's temporary.

We'll see what happens.

I think money was one of the worst ideas ever invented.  We should have stuck with bartering.

Money makes things too complicated.  

3. Decided I'm going to stop comparing the Aussie dollar to only the American dollar.   

I'm going to broaden my horizons.

So for now on, I'll compare it to the American dollar, British pound, and Swedish dollar.

Maybe I need something Asian in there.  How about China? What money do they use?

Well, I'll find out.

4. Started looking at the conversion rates.

One Australian dollar equals .98 American dollars.

One Australian dollar equals .63 British pounds.

One Australian dollar equals 6.71 Swedish Krona. I was wrong about them using dollars.

One Australian dollar equals 6.24 Chinese Yuan.

I'll check back later today to see if anything has changed.  

5. Read Jayne's post about remarkable Tasmanian trees.  She and her man are going to Tasmania; and they're going to look at interesting trees.  She has a book called Australia's Remarkable Trees to help her with this.  

It sounds like a really cool book.  And I love the idea of focusing on trees while on a holiday.

Jayne mentions a forest called Huon Pine at Mount Read. She says it's a forest made up of clones of one tree that may have lived 15,000-20,000 years ago. That's amazing.

Then there's a 500 year old tree near Hobart called Arve Big Tree. The sad thing is the tree might not be around for much longer. I thought Jayne was going to say the tree is going to be chopped down.

But no. It's not that.  The type of tree lives usually for only about 450 years. So this guy is past his prime.

6.  Found an Australian nature website that has an article about big Australian trees.   It has some great photos, including one of the Big Arve Tree.

Most of the photos are from Tasmania.   From what I'm reading on this site, and Jayne's blog, I'm getting the idea that Tasmania is the place, in Australia, to go if you're into big trees.

7. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read Head, Meet Desk.  

The stars of that are Stewie Blair, jr. and Zara McNamara.  

The story takes place in Tallygarunga's library.

8. Started to read the story.

It's the morning of August 6.

Stewie has received a mysterious fruit in the mail.  Is that the Australian Post or the owl post?  

I'm going to guess it's the owl Post.

The package had a name on it. Hylocereus undatus.  

Stewie assumes that's the name of the fruit.

9. Googled the Latin words.

Lord Wiki says it's the fruit we call dragon fruit. 

10. Reminisced, with Jack, about eating dragon fruit in Australia. We ate it at David Jones. I don't remember what it tasted like.

Jack says he liked it.   

11. Started to read Zara's first post in the thread.  She went to Penrose before Tallygarunga, and was a sort of social pariah there.  Her post says, One or two of the girls were nice to her, sure, but they never got close: probably out of fear of committing some sort of social suicide.

It's sad when people feel pressure to ostracize others.

I guess the good news is there's sometimes people who are brave enough to ignore the pressure.   I think growing up, I was one of those people who sometimes defied the unspoken rules of who we should ignore and/or  mistreat. But I have to admit that I felt conflicted about it—nervous.   I think I worried about how my own social standing would be affected; not that I had much social standing.

I'm guessing there are people who are socially fearless, who will be friends with anyone, and have no worries about how it will effect their own reputation.

I admire that.  

12. Spent time on the Qantas website.  

13. Went back to reading the Tallygarunga stuff.

Zara is avoiding eating lunch where the other students eat.  She's eating in the library instead. That isn't allowed, technically.  So she's a bit worried about getting into trouble   

She notices Stewie, and then watches him with the Dragonfruit. She gets the idea that he doesn't know what it is, and she decides to help him.

14. Confused a bit by the story thread.  From what I read, I get the idea that Zara knows the plant's a dragon fruit.  It says here:

In the other he held a curious dragonfruit, a tropical cactus that he was carefully comparing to every picture he came across. She wondered, did he not know what it was? That was the only explanation she could hypothesize for the moment for why he was looking through a book of magical items: unless of course he was one of those Spencer kids who might for some reason want to find a magical herb that looked like dragonfruit. Upon closer inspection she decided that no, he was probably far too nice for that.

But then a few paragraphs down, it says....Typical of Zara she searched the shelves, hunting in particular a cookbook or some other recipe guide that would have in it the answer he was probably looking for, she hoped. She needn't have hunted very long, for there on the page before her she'd uncovered a large, brightly coloured photograph of the plant in question. Now that she had this information the girl was presented with the arduous task of actually delivering it to him.

If she already knew the answer; why did she have to hunt for it? Why didn't she just approach Stewie with what she knew?

The only thing I can think of is that she didn't know it was a dragonfruit.  Maybe the writer was using the term for the reader's benefit? writing seems to be through Zara's viewpoint.

Knowing me. I probably read too fast and missed something important.

I tend to do that fairly often.

15. Continued to read.  I had another idea.  Maybe Zara does know about the dragon fruit.  But maybe she believes she needs to come to Stewie with confirmation.   Maybe she's not confident enough to believe he'd believe her without a book and picture backing her up.  

16. Glad to see Stewie getting excited about receiving the answer.  He acts very grateful to Zara, and she's pleased about this.

17. Found the answer to some of my question.  Zara DID know what a dragon fruit was.

18. Surprised at a part in the story.  Stewie reveals that Tamarah is his sister.   Zara admits to hearing about her from Penrose.  Then she says, Back at Penrose. None of the other girls had anything nice to say about her.

I'm trying to imagine a shy person saying that to someone about their sibling. Would they do that? I would think they'd be too shy and intimidated.

I can't imagine doing it back when I was shy.  I imagine I would have been polite and kept my mouth shut.

Then again, sometimes shy people are awkward. And I think also they have moments where they escape their shyness and blurt out honest things.

19. Started to read the biography of Stewie Blair.

I like his role-player.  She's the one who sings.


Stewie's face claim is Nathan Kress.  He's on our show iCarly.  

We were really into the show awhile back. Maybe last summer? We're not that much into it anymore.  But we still like it a little...sometimes.

20. Learned that Stewie is a fourth year Spencer student. I actually noticed the Spencer bit when I was reading the story thread.  I failed to mention it then. So I'm mentioning it now.

I also didn't mention that he got his head shaved.  That was also  talked about in the story thread.

There's too much going on in my brain right now.

21. Learned that Stewie has a tongue piercing. Jezabel talked him into it.

Now Jezabel would be his half sister. I think.

They share the same father; but have a different mum.   

22. Learned that Jezabel helps Stewie pick out his clothes.  She's like his own personal stylist.

I don't think it would be bad to have a sibling who provided that service, as long as they accentuated YOU rather than attempting to turn you into something you're not.

Then again, if lacking style is part of your personality, making you look stylish would be, in itself, changing you into something that you're not.  Well, maybe you'd be you minus the fashion problem issue.

23. Learned that Stewie is very hyper.

Some of this stuff I'm reading sounds familiar to me.  I don't remember reading Stewie's biography and I did a search through my blog.....

Maybe I just wrote about someone with similar traits? 

24. Decided it doesn't matter if I already wrote about him.  I kind of want a review on the family history thing, anyway.  He's connected to the whole Améa and Jezabel thing, the story that confused me the other day.

Maybe it was yesterday?  

There's mention though of Stewie being able to play the triangle (the instrument). That sounds really familiar to me.

25. Learned that Stewie's parents are Stuart and Tanya.

26. Read about how Stewie learned his mother was cheating on his father.  They got an owl.  It was addressed to Stuart, and Stewie assumed it was for him.  He opened it up and read his mother's confession. The letter had been meant for the OTHER Stuart.


27. Saw that I have another Angus for my Australian of the Day, but I don't think he's related to the other Angus men I've written about in the past few days.

This guy's name is Samuel Angus.  He was a religious (Presbyterian) professional from Ireland.  He was born in 1881.

28. Learned that Samuel did some of his Presbyterian education in America.  He did this at Princeton University.

When Samuel was a student there, the president of the university was Woodrow Wilson. Later Wilson would become President of the United States.

29. Saw that Samuel made his way to Australia when he was in his early 30's.  

30. Learned that Samuel was a bit of a radical when it came to religion.

At one point he started a discussion group for heretics.  

31. Consulted Lord Wiki about Samuel Angus, because some of the stuff in the Australian Dictionary of Biography confused me a bit.

Okay...well, I had guesses about what the Australian Dictionary of Biography was saying.  But I wasn't positive.  I was lacking confidence in my comprehension.

Lord Wiki explains things in a much more simpler way, and it turns out my comprehension wasn't so off after all.

What he says is that Angus rejected important beliefs of Christianity. He disbelieved in the trinity, virgin birth, and bodily Resurrection of Jesus. 

Yeah.  I definitely can see why he'd be seen as a heretic.

32. Went to the website of St. Andrew's College.   It's part of the University of Sydney, and it's where Samuel Angus worked.   

33. Wondered if these colleges, within a university, are a combination of America's dorms and fraternity houses.   

I know I've questioned this before.  I can't remember if I came up with any answers.

I'm reading the accommodation description, and it's not like our dorms and apartments.  Well, at least it's not what I experienced at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Maybe if you go to a more posh school, you get something more like St. Andrews.  

Students at St. Andrews get their room cleaned at least once a week. They have housekeeping service!

They have their own dining hall, and meals are provided. I'm confused over whether they pay for their meals; or is this included?

The college has it's own library, common room, reading room, and tutorial room.

It all sounds very nice.

34. Looked at more information on this page

Meals ARE included.

There's also free tutoring.

There's guest rooms for visiting parents, or other people.

35. Wanted to add that the building is beautiful too.

I want to go back in time and be a St. Andrew's student.

I probably wouldn't be smart enough, though.  And maybe I wouldn't be religious enough.

36. Looked at the FAQ page.   They say it's Presbyterian, but they welcome people of all faiths.

The whole thing really attracts me.  It's not just the pretty building and facilities.  It seems they also give you a family away from home. I imagine being part of a college makes it easier to meet people.

Then again.  It could backfire.   What if I had moved into the college, and no one liked me? What if I felt alienated and lonely?  Then it would be really depressing and uncomfortable.  

37. Went to Jeremy's YouTube page.  His last name might be Cotterill; or it might be Edwin.   I'm not sure.  I'm a bit confused.  His videos say Edwin; but it says Cotterill in his YouTube profile.  

38. Saw that Jeremy writes his own songs.

 In this video he sings "Homecoming"

39. Wondered what I accidentally pressed to make my post be posted way before I was ready.

That was weird.

I accidentally posted before I was ready the other day, but that time I knew what went wrong.  

40. Listened to Jeremy sing "Not Okay Hey"

41. Thought it was cute that Jeremy makes his videos in the bathroom. Bathrooms do have good acoustics. 

I like to sing when I pee.  It's a bit of a problem sometimes. See I've gotten into the habit.  Now when I use public toilets, I have to remind myself not to start singing.

Sometimes it's a struggle.

42. Looked at the lyrics of Jeremy's song.   One part says,

And i know, that you want me too.
And no, it's not okay.
And i know we can't act just yet, we'll sit and wait.
And i know the day will come, where i will hold you in my arms.

I'm guessing it's supposed to be about two people who love each other, but circumstances keep them apart.  

But there's a part of me that reads it differently.  I picture the song being about one of those erotomania stalkers. He THINKS he knows that she wants him, but she really doesn't.

I suppose the song can be either romantic or scary, depending on your perspective.

43. Went back to looking at currencies.

I'm going to see what has changed since the last time I checked.


The Australian dollar is still at .98 American dollars.

It's still at .63 British pounds.

It's worth more Swedish Krona now. Earlier today is was worth 6.71.  Now it's worth 6.78.

It's still worth 6.24 Chinese Yuan.  

I'll check again tomorrow. 

44. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Tasmanian devil because they're mentioned in Dining with Devils.
I kind of just skimmed a bit because I want to get this post finished.  It's late and I still need to take a shower; and we haven't even eaten dinner yet. 

I'm going to read more tomorrow.

It looks interesting, though. 

The Tasmanian devil is a marsupial.  I don't know if I knew that or not. 

It's a carnivorous one like the Thylacine. 

Lord Wiki says there are very few Tasmanian Devils outside of Australia.  Export rules are very strict, and the few outside Australia haven't done much successful breeding. 

I'm going to force myself to stop reading now.  I'll read the rest tomorrow.

I'm excited.