Saturday, October 15, 2011

Balmain, Redfern, First Fleet, and Pretend Julia Gillard

1. Reminded by my new Treasures of Australia book that the Sydney suburb of Balmain was named after a surgeon on the First Fleet.

William Balmain.

Lord Wiki says he delivered the first baby on the First Fleet.  I wonder whatever became of that baby.  Did it survive?  Does it have descendants?

2. Learned that William Balmain ended up getting together with a convict named Margaret Dawson.   They ended up having a child together.

Did I do a post on Dawson?

I can't remember.

I'll go check.

3. Saw that I did do a post on her.

I shall read it and relearn what I learned almost two years ago.

I wonder if I mentioned William Balmain.  

4. Read some of the post and saw that I did mention Balmain.

I also mentioned the fact that Redfern was named after a surgeon as well.

I was thinking before that Balmain had impressed me for some reason; but now I'm remembering that it was Redfern. There was something I liked about the guy, but I can't remember what it was.

5. Consulted Lord Wiki about Redfern.

That surgeon had William as a first name too.  

William Redfern was a convict.

What got him into trouble was being part of a mutiny.

He was a doctor before becoming a convict, and in New South Wales he became a doctor again.

William Redfern spoke up against the sanitary conditions of the ships.  His words were heard and improvements were made.

Lord Wiki says Redfern can be considered one of the fathers of the Australian medical profession.

6. Read article that says there have been huge storms in south-east Queensland.   

It sounds very intense.  I hope people and other animals stay safe. 

7. Read Andrew's distressing post about the mistreatment of chickens.

This is timely for me since I accidentally bought products with egg in it.  

I guess on the plus side, the protein bars probably don't have a lot of eggs.  I think there's a difference between eating an omelet which uses a 2-3 eggs per serving and eating a baked good or other product that uses 1-2 eggs for many servings.

8. Agreed with what Andrew and Anonymous discussed in Andrew's comment section. Anonymous says.

The fact is modern farming practices and thinking have reduced animals to products where the bottom line is the almighty dollar - farmers and corporations want to make high profits and consumers want cheap, plentiful food. To get either, food animals must live appalling lives where terrible cruelty is commonplace and sanctioned at most levels of society.

Andrew replies, You may well be a few months younger than me, but you would remember when chicken was a luxury. It was a luxury because it was expensive. Now it is so cheap, because of the mass production of chicken meat. 

Yeah.  I think meat and other animal products should be expensive.  I don't think everyone needs to be vegetarian.  But I do think meat should be something people have once in awhile, rather than on a regular basis. 

Meat shouldn't be mass produced and cheap.

9. Thought maybe there's a correlation between the obesity issues, that people worry about lately, and factory farming.  People want to pay low prices for huge portions. To keep up with that, there needs to be factory farms.

10. Went to Kevin Rudd's Twitter page.   I thought this Tweet was cute:  The students at the model UN were first class. A few too many future foreign ministers for my liking… I better watch out. KRudd.

11.  Read article about asylum seekers.  It sounds like good news. Although some of it confuses me.  

Some people who come by boat are going to be put into what's called community detention rather than mandatory detention.

Rather than being isolated from the community, they'll live in the community. But they'll be monitored and required to check in with officials.

12. Read the article more closely.  People won't automatically get released into the community.  They'll spend a short time in the detention centers for medical and identity checks.

I wonder how long they'll be in there?  Days? Weeks? Months?

The people released into the community will have what's called a bridging visa.

A human rights advocate named Marion Le worries nothing will change. She's concerned that the bridging visa is just another name for the protection visa.  With the protection visa, sometimes it would take three to four years for people to get one.

Hopefully her suspicions aren't warranted, and people won't get locked up for that long.  

13. Read editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald about the best characters on television.

Only one character is Australian and it's Tim Mathieson from At Home With Julia.  I heard of that, but I didn't know it was an actual show. I thought it was a one time special.

Most of the characters on the list are from American shows.

I don't watch a lot of Australian television, so I don't have much to go by.  But my favorite characters are probably Maggie Beare from Mother and Son and Billy Proudman from Offspring.  

14. Went to the website for At Home With Julia.

I was sort of right.  It was a miniseries—not an ongoing thing.  

15. Started to watch the video clips they have on the website. The actress who plays Julia Gillard does a good job of imitating Gillard's voice.

I laughed a few times during that. The show looks pretty good.

16. Watched more of the show. I'm finding that I agree with the editorial's pick of best character on the show.

17. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read History of Magic: The First Lesson

It looks like there's a new professor for that.

I think last semester the class was taught by Professor Rodrigez.

Now we have Edvard Adalwin. 

18. Started to read.

Professor Adalwin is a bit nervous about teaching his first class at the school.

He eats a Bernie Botts bean and gets pumpkin pie.

I think of pumpkin pie as being an American food. I guess because of Thanksgiving.  I wonder if other countries eat it as well.

I peeked at Adalwin's biography.  He's from Norway.

I wonder if Norwegians eat pumpkin pie.

19. Consulted Lord Wiki about the history of pumpkin pie.

It's pretty interesting.

He said pumpkin seeds were first found in Mexico. They made their way to France, and then to England.  The British started using pumpkin as a pie-filler. Then it was brought, by the pilgrims, to America.

20. Went back to reading about the Tally class.

The students are entering the room.

21. Wondered about Reade's line here.

Sure, he was still feeling the lowest he ever had, with the Arti situation hanging over him, but History was his favourite class and it was brightening up his day considerably just thinking about attending it.

So what is the Arti situation now?   This story takes place on October 10. I need to go see when the coma storyline took place.

According to Reade here, is Arti missing?  Does he know she's in the hospital?   Does he know what has happened to her?

22. Went to the coma storyline....or the awakening-from-the-coma story.    

It takes place on October 5.

So by now, Reade should know Arti is in the hospital—unless she's being hidden.

23. Intrigued by the fact that the class is going to be learning Australia history.

Riley's not at all excited about it.

I wish I could trade places with him—well, just for a few hours.    

I'd love to hear about Australian history through the eyes of a wizard.

24. Read Sarah Kent's post.  She's very excited to see Victor Hartwell in the classroom.

That triggered my memory.  Victor's the one who has recently found out he's William Kent's son.   This means he's Sarah's half-brother.

I'm guessing, from her excitement about seeing him, that she knows they're siblings.

Or maybe she doesn't know and adores him as a friend?

25. Finished reading the story thread.

Most of the students are not at all excited about history. The exceptions are Reade and Juli Preston.

26. Wondered what kind of magic was happening in the beginnings of Australia.

Any witches and wizards on The First Fleet?  

Maybe that baby, William Balmain delivered, was a wizard.   Or maybe the intrusion of Muggle medicine in his childbirth messed things up, and the baby became a Squib.  

27. Went to the biography of Mr. Edvard Adalwin.

His face claim is Vincent Furnier, who is also known as Alice Cooper.   I didn't know that. Lord Wiki had to tell me. I'm usually ignorant when it comes to music stuff.

I know of one Alice Cooper song: "Welcome to My Nightmare".

I think,  for some of the Tallygarunga students, they're biggest nightmare is attending history class.

28. Learned that Edvard is in his early sixties.

He's tall.

It sounds like he's a skeleton.   In fact, one won’t find an ounce of fat or muscle on his body.

What is he? Skin and bones?

29. Reminded of myself when I read this.  He loves natures and strolls out through forests and wooded areas but cannot stand humid, stick heat or the frigid, chilling cold. This is why he so often spends his time indoors.

I'm very picky about weather. Anything over 82 degrees is too hot for me, and anything under about 70 degrees is too cold.

30. Liked this detail about Edvard. Also when out on strolls, assuming his attire has pockets, his hands will typically be shoved deep into pockets. 

I think it provides insight into both his appearance and personality.

I'm not sure what it says about his personality though.  What kind of person sticks their hands in their pockets?


My guess is it's someone who's a bit nervous and insecure. They may be trying to hide a part of themselves, in a subconscious way. They also might be holding something in their pocket to give them security.

In the story, Edvard had candy in his pocket.  I wonder if that's usually the case for him.

31. Learned that Edvard has the type of face that makes him look grumpy, but it doesn't match his personality.  He's pleasant and likes to joke around.

32. Reminded strongly of someone I know when I read this line about Edvard.

He can keep his cool around certain company like strangers or pupils, but behind closed doors, if one is disrespectful or overly-insulting with their words, he will not hold back his fury.

Some people are very good at controlling their temper in some situations, but unable to control it in other situations.

33. Started to read Edvard's history.

His mother is a witch but worked at a Muggle department store.

His father made money casting runes.  He would do this for both Muggles and magical folks. The Muggles saw it as mostly entertainment.

34. Learned that, although Durmstrang is the closer and more logical choice of wizarding school for Norwegians, Edvard was sent to Hogwarts. The reason is his parents didn't like the school's association with the dark arts.

35. Learned that Edvard was sorted into Hufflepuff.

He would have started school around 1970.

Who would have been there then?

36. Consulted Lord Wiki's cousin about Sirius Black.  He was born in 1959, the same year as Edvard.

So he'd probably be in the same year as a lot of Harry Potter people—Black, James Potter, Lily Potter, Snape, Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew.

37. Saw that when Edvard finished with Hogwarts, he went to London's Magic University.

He didn't do so well there—too much partying.  He was kicked out. His dad was very angry about that.  He refused to pay for any more of Edvard's education.

Edvard worked instead.   After struggling, he made enough money to pay for his own education.   That's where he learned the history stuff.

38. Intrigued by these lines.

His luck took a turn for the better though in his early forties when at least a teaching position had opened up. The Hogwarts History of Magic professor had grown deathly ill and had to take an extended leave of absence; unfortunately, the professor’s conditions never improved and died a few months later.

I wonder if that's referencing a Harry Potter character.

39. Did the math. That would have been around 1999, and that's after the battle at Hogwarts took place.

It still could be a Harry Potter character though.

Who taught History of Magic?

40. Consulted Lord Wiki's cousin again.  The class is the one that's taught by a ghost.  

I'm guessing the ghost wasn't the one who got sick. And it really couldn't have died. 

Maybe someone else was hired to do the job, and then he or she got sick?

41. Did another Australian accent practice video.  I followed the advice of a friend who suggested I try reading nonfiction.  So I read about Broken Hill in my new Treasures of Australia book. 

I think (hope) that this time I sound more Australian and less British. That's not to say I don't love British accents.

42.  Went to the YouTube channel of Stephniijane

She's another singer, and has done a lot of videos.

Her profile says she has a degree in zoology and is a wildlife demonstrator.

At the time she wrote the profile, she was living in London as an au pair.  I wonder if she's still doing that.  I also wonder if she liked the job.

43. Listened to Stephniijane sing the Glee version of "Defying Gravity"

It's interesting. I don't think I've ever seen an interesting cover on Glee. I need to check it out.

44. Listened to Glee's version of "Defying Gravity".

It's less interesting than what I hoped for.

It sounds very much like the one in the musical.

45. Thought it would be funny if Stephniijane was simply singing the song wrong, and I'm liking it because it's different.

I think her version sounds different from the Glee version. 

46. Listened to Stephniijane sing Katy Perry's "Firework".

In some parts, her voice sounds good.

Often I can't hear her well over the guitar.

47. Watched Stephniijane do one of her animal demonstrations.

This is with her pet potoroo. I've never heard of that.

She mentions that her most popular video is of her singing Lady Gaga's "Just Dance."  She talks about how she gets mixed reviews.  Some people love it and some people hate it.

I decided I'd watch it and see for myself.

I don't think she has a very powerful voice, but she does have a cute one.

48. Consulted Lord Wiki about the potoroo.

He says there are four types. Two of them are endangered. One of them (Gilbert's Potoroo) is the most endangered animal in Australia.  There's not many of them left.

49. Learned from my Treasures of Australia book that the main streets in Broken Hill are named after minerals.   

I'm looking at it on Google Maps.  

I see Silver City Highway.

There's Argent Street. Is that a mineral?

Lord Wiki says it's a tincture. I wasn't sure what that was; so I asked him.  He said it's a color used on a coat of arms.

50. Saw Galena Street.

Lord Wiki says Galena is the mineral form of lead sulfide.

There's a Gypsum Street.

Gypsum is made of calcium, sulfate, and water. 

Lord Wiki says gypsum is used in the making of tofu. Interesting......

51. Saw that my Australian of the day is John Macquarie Antill.   He's the grandson of the guy I wrote about two days ago: Henry Colden Antill.

Henry worked with Lachlan Macquarie, so I'm guessing that's why John Antill has Macquarie as his middle name.

52. Saw that John Antill did military work.

He won medals for that.

53. Saw that one of Antill's pastimes after retirement was "bowls".   I'm not sure what that means.

He also liked gardening, woodwork, reading, and writing.   He and his daughter wrote a play about William Redfern. It was called The Emancipist.

It's funny to read that since I was thinking about Redfern last night.   

54. Amused because I saw, from IMDb that the woman who plays Julia Gillard in At Home With Julia was one of the stars of The Upside Down Show

Her name's Amanda Bishop, and she played Mrs. Foil.   I don't remember her...except maybe vaguely.   It's been a long time since we watched that show.  

55. Saw that Phil Lloyd, the guy who plays Tim Mathieson, is also the writer of the series.  

56. Started to look at more of John Lampard's Flickr photos.

Today I'm going to look at his Spot Food and Film Festival pictures.

It's part of the Australian Film Festival.

Here's their website.  They have a page about the Spot thing.  

57.  Thought  these cupcakes are cute and colorful.  

58. Saw different names on a walk of fame type thing.   Here's one for an actor named Steve Bisley.

Lord Wiki says he was in Mad Max and currently he's on Sea Patrol.  He was also on Water Rats and Sea Rescue.

I really haven't seen any of that stuff. 

59. Saw Claudia Karvan has a circle on the Walk of Fame.  

60. Saw that Peter Garrett was at the festival.

I have to admit, it took me about three seconds to remember who he was.  

But I'm pleased with myself for figuring it out eventually.

61. Continued to watch At Home With Julia.

It has a lot of funny parts.

62. Found article about At Home With Julia.   It's about Tim and Julia having a sex scene involving the Australian flag.   I saw the headlines a few days ago, but didn't pay much attention. It wasn't of interest to me. Now that I've seen the show, I'm interested. 

Some people were offended by the flag thing.   

A spokesman for the show responded.

If it's OK for others to drape themselves in our flag for all manner of occasions, I really don't see why it can't be draped over our prime minister as a symbol of love.

Yeah...why not.

63. Read blog post from someone who found the show to be funny but disrespectful.  

Scarlett Harris liked the first two episodes and felt it made Gillard seem more human.  But she pointed out anti-feminist aspects of the program.  

She doubts a show like this would be made about other Prime Ministers. She acknowledges that Rudd and others have been mocked in comedy, but it was about their public lives and not their private ones. 

I don't know.  She might have a point.  There's probably some gender prejudice involved in the motivation behind the show.

But I still like it.

Gillard and Mathieson are portrayed as being kind of buffoons.   But I think they're very sympathetic characters. 

It would be nice if we lived in a world where no one would think twice about a female Prime Minister being in a de facto relationship with a hairdresser.  Someday that will probably be the case.   But I CAN imagine that there's truth behind the show.   It can't be too easy being Mathieson in today's society.   We still cling to the idea that in heterosexual relationships, it's the man who should have the more powerful career.

I imagine it's hard enough for most men to be in a relationship where his partner has more power and money.  I think it would be even more difficult when you're constantly under media scrutiny.

That being the show adding more salt to the wounds?

Maybe?   Or maybe Tim and Julia find it funny.  Do they have the ability to laugh at themselves while watching the show? Or do they feel it goes too far?

Do they even watch it?

64. Decided I personally feel the show isn't disrespectful or cruel.  Why? Because it's actually made me kind of LIKE Julia Gillard.

I don't often give Tim Mathieson a lot of thought, but after seeing the show....I'm liking him too.  

The characters are a bit silly, but they're also very lovely.   

Now instead of seeing Gillard simply as the anti-gay marriage person who stole Kevin Rudd's job, I also see her as the woman wearing a bathrobe who doesn't know her way around Canberra.  

65. Looked at the Australian Monopoly board.  

Today's street for me is Victoria Square.

Well, I guess it's not really a street.

Lord Wiki says it's a public square.

66. Learned from Lord Wiki that Victoria Square has a statue of Queen Victoria.

67. Found Victoria Square on Google Maps

It looks like there actually is a street called Victoria Square.

It's to the east of the square.

68. Read article from May 2010 about fixing up Victoria Square.

It seems for a long time there has been talk about fixing up the square, but people were slow at making actual plans to do something.

There's a Hilton in/near the square.  The general manager of the hotel, Michael Schmitt feels revitalizing the square will be good for business. He says, Victoria Square at the moment is the centre of the city but not the heart.

I'm not sure if that's true or not; but I think it's a great quote.

69. Went to the Adelaide City Council's page about the redevelopment of the square.

One of their taglines is a bit off to me.  They say, think inside the square.

I'm guessing it's a play on, think outside the box. 

And in that saying , thinking INSIDE the box is a negative.   The whole point of thinking outside the box is to be original.

So what's the point of thinking inside the square. Does it have a meaning? Or did they just like how it sounded?

I think it sounds cute, but I'm not sure if the message works for me.

70. Decided it probably works all right if you don't connect it to think outside the box.