Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bowraville, Malcolm Knox, Biases, and Childhood Memories

1. Dreamed about Malcolm Knox's Summerland.  I can't really describe it without giving novel spoilers, so I won't.

2. Dreamed that I'm with a travel group in Australia.   

Our tour guide is Aboriginal, and we're going to a resort owned by Aboriginal people. It looks really nice.  I'm not staying, though, because it's a bit TOO nice and not in my budget.   

We stop and go into a beautiful plant nursery.  Someone starts to dance. I'm thinking they're going to try doing an Aboriginal dance, but instead they start a conga line.  I join in. We all join in.  We dance together.

Then the tour guide takes me back.  I blab on and on about my life to her. She seems somewhat interested. Or at least she's polite about it and tries to listen.  

Jack started a conga line with me the other day and asked about the song often used in the conga line.  So that's where that  came from.  

3. Read Snowy's sad post about returning to his birth town. He talks about how so much has changed, and he doesn't feel connected anymore.

What's that saying?

You can never go home again.

It's not always true.  Sometimes you can return somewhere and things work out. There's not too many changes.  Or there are changes, but you can manage to still connect.

A lot of times, though, I find it disappointing.

It makes me think of Facebook.  I've found old friends from my childhood.  I was excited about reconnecting. I added people as friends.  They added me back.  But the relationship was completely empty.  We rarely/never talked. It made me sad, so I removed them from my friend's list. 

4. Read an interesting yet sad article about prophetic dreams.

An Aboriginal girl named Colleen Walker went missing in 1990.  Her body was never found. Then six months ago, some relatives said they had been dreaming about Colleen, and she told them she wanted to be found.

Some of the relatives wrote down their dreams and paid close attention to the location of the dreams.  The relatives got together to determine where the bones might be, according to the dreams.  Then four men went out to search.  They found bones.

If anything, I think it's magical enough that these relatives were all dreaming about the same thing.

It's not known yet if the bones are Colleen's or not. If they're not, my guess would be that Colleen brought her relatives together to maybe help this other victim?

5. Looked up Bowraville on Google Maps.  That's where the Colleen Walker's story takes place.

Bowraville is about an hour south of Coffs Harbour.  

When I was googling Bowraville, I saw a story from Lord Wiki about serial killing there. I'm going to go read that.....

6. Learned that there were three murders. One of the victims was Colleen. They took place between September 1990-February 1991.

7. Saddened to read that when Walker disappeared, despite her family's fear and concern, no formal police action was taken. There were no search parties.

 8. Learned no one was ever convicted for the murders.

Someone was arrested, but despite evidence and a confession, he wasn't convicted.  

9. Found article about the Bowraville murders. It's written by Malcolm Knox. Is that the same Malcolm Knox who wrote Summerland

10. Saw that it IS the same Malcolm Knox.  I clicked on the link to his bio. I recognize his photo from my copy of Summerland

Apparently he writes a lot for a magazine called The Monthly.  

11. Started to read Malcolm Knox's article. It's from October 2010. 

He talks about visiting the community in Bowraville and how there's so much sadness for the three kids they lost.

12. Learned that the man arrested for the murders is a white guy—Jay Hart.

So is this one of those stories where a white person is not punished for killing black people?

Is it a racist thing?

Or is he an innocent man not wronged by the judicial system?

13. Learned that Jay Hart was known in the community for bringing grog to those who wanted it, but couldn't get it for themselves.  Knox says, Size gave him confidence, but his popularity in the Mish came from being the mobile party, the candyman for minors who couldn’t get booze for themselves.

14. Bewildered by what I'm reading.  There's something about the justice person in New South Wales saying Jay Hart couldn't be put on trial for the three murders all together. I guess they had to do one at a time?    I don't get it.

Anyway, the community wants Jay Hart put back on trial for all three murders.

15. Continued to read.  Hart may or may not be a murderer.  But he doesn't sound like a great person.   He brought drugs to minors.  He beat his girlfriend. He got into fights with men from the community.  

His girlfriend was Colleen's aunt.  She eventually left him, and went to Queensland with their son.

At one point, Hart invited Colleen and her friend to his caravan.  He promised they'd all have their own beds.   Nothing kinky would happen.  But then he tried to have sex with Colleen.   She was able to fight him off.  I guess that wouldn't be full-blown rape.  From what I'm hearing of Hart, it seems like he could have raped her if he really wanted to.  He's described as being strong. I'd probably call it unsolicited sex.   He tried.  She pushed him off.  He didn't keep trying.

Hart kept pursuing Colleen through the next few months.

At a party, he pestered her.  He wanted her to spend another night in his caravan. She rejected him.   Then...that's the last people saw of her.  

16. Read Knox's story about the second missing child.  It was a four-year-old. She disappeared from her bed.  It's very sad.

Hart was around and acting suspiciously when it happened.

17. Finished reading the story. I kind of skimmed towards the end. It seems to me that Jay Hart is probably guilty, but I don't know for sure.  

It's scary and sad if he's guilty and walking around as a free man.

Malcolm Knox talks about the racial issues.  He says, Beyond this, broader, troubling questions remain. In a country where the names of missing or murdered children remain indelibly in the national consciousness, why do the Bowraville children not figure? The Beaumont children, Samantha Knight, Jaidin Leskie, Kiesha Abrahams – these and many more are embedded in the Australian lexicon of tragedy. Why are Colleen Walker, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux not firmly fixed in our national memory?

If it had been a black man suspected of murdering three white children, would the courts have declared he couldn't be put on trial for all three?


Would things have been done differently?

I really don't know.  I'm tempted to shout racism; and that's probably the case. But I really don't know enough to know for sure.  There could be white missing children out there who are ignored by the public and media.  There could be murderers of white children who are set free because of some weird court rule and/or technicality.  

True justice is elusive....especially when victims are not white.  But there are probably some cases where white victims don't get justice as well.  

18. Went to the government's missing persons website

New South Wales currently has 57 missing people. Most of them are adults.

I doubt many of the cases are well known by the Australian general public.

Why do some stories captivate the public and the media while others are ignored?

It's hard to tell.

I think it's similar to what I see with singers on YouTube.  Why do some singers have thousands upon thousands of views, while other singers (just as good or better) have less than a hundred views?

Some people attract tons of attention, and some people don't.

I really don't know why.

19. Started to read Sorry by Gail Jones.   I've read only a few pages, but so far, I'm liking it.    

20. Read about James becoming a male stripper.  Well, okay. He didn't really become a male stripper.  He got undressed, but couldn't get off his bow-tie.

He felt like a stripper.

Either way. It made me laugh.

I hope the bow-tie didn't torture him too much.   Otherwise it means I was laughing at another person's misfortune. Then I'll have to feel guilty. 

21. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read Time Will Crawl.

The story is old!  It was started on July 27, 2011.

It takes place in the Southern Cross Tower of Tallygarunga, and features Sarah Kent, Riley Lightfoot, and David Tallenery.

The Southern Cross Tower is where Améa and Arti shared a Snickers bar.  

22. Started to read.

Sarah's been locked in a classroom.  She's not happy about that.

It seems it happened because she spoke up for the werewolf all the kids had been chasing.  

Did the werewolf chase happen in July?  I can't remember.

23. Started to read the next post which belongs to Riley.

He's hiding from the werewolf, so I guess this story IS part of the werewolf night storyline.

24. Wondered what Riley is referring to here. He felt as if he could run forever. Werewolf hunt be damned. He’d just leave Tally and run on and on and on like that dude in the movie. He had run across the States so why couldn’t Riley run across Australia

What movie has someone running across America?

I saw an article recently about someone running across the world. I thought that was pretty cool. I don't like running, but I wouldn't mind walking across the world.

25. Found article that I saw the other day.  The man walked across the world.  He didn't run. 

It took eleven years, and he went 75,000 kilometers.

That's really cool.

The only sad thing is he didn't see his family for awhile. Recently he met his five-year-old granddaughter for the first time.

His wife supported him, though. She encouraged him to continue.  They'd talk through skype, and they would see each other once a year.

These days you can still have deep relationships with people who aren't in physical proximity.  Like any relationship, it's about the effort you put into it.  You can neglect someone far away, but it's just as easy to neglect someone in the same house as you.

26. Decided I should get back to Riley and Sarah.

So....

Riley finds Sarah.   She's locked into the room with a spell; not a door.  Riley mistakenly believes that she cast the spell to protect herself from the werewolf.

27. Saw that although Sarah doesn't have sympathy for obese people, she does have sympathy for werewolves and half-breeds.  Her post says, It was tempting, of course, but her father had raised her to be as unbiased as possible, and she knew werewolves and other halfbreeds were generally looked down upon. It wasn't fair to the poor werewolf, it couldn't help what it was.

William Kent may have tried to raise her as being unbiased, but I don't think it worked as well as he might have wished.   


It makes me think of the Magic is Might Experience. At one point, I played a character who wasn't that intelligent and had spelling/grammar difficulties. The same characters who spoke against judging others based on magical blood heritage; had no hesitation in ridiculing my character for not being of Ravenclaw quality.   Other characters were ridiculed as well for spelling/grammar issues.   The general idea is it's okay to be born of Muggle parents.   It's not okay to have a learning disability or....

I kind of believe that SOME characters were played by people who weren't fluent in English.   Now they were villains.  They said mean things. They did sort of deserve an unfriendly response.  But why were the responses focused on the lack of proper grammar schools rather than the content of what they were saying?

It's okay that Hermione's parents are Muggle dentists, but it's not okay to end a sentence with a preposition.

As for Sarah.  She's tolerant of werewolves. Would she be tolerant of a fat werewolf?

The truth is, though, most of us are hypocritical when it comes to our tolerance.  Sarah isn't alone there.

I know I'm very accepting and unbiased when it comes to some things, and I'm much less accepting when it comes to other things.    

I think it's better that we become aware of this.   Maybe by recognizing our weaknesses we'll be less hypocritical and less prejudiced.  

28. Continued to read the story thread.

Riley is trying to help Sarah get out.

Eventually, they break through the spell.  Sarah gets a bit head-injured in the process. She has a hard time staying conscious.

Riley reluctantly performs a healing spell, even though he's never done it before.  He also conjures up his Patronus and has it seek out a professor. 

It took a month and fourteen days for the professor to get the message! And the Patronus was a cheetah!  They're supposed to be fast!

Well, actually it took a month and 14 days in our time. In Tally time, I think it only took a few minutes.  

If we go by our time, it took close to a month for Riley to get Sarah out of the magical trap. 

29. Learned that my Australian of the day is William Thomas Appleton

He was born in England in 1859.

His maternal uncle lived in Melbourne, and had an import-export business. Appleton's family visited him when Appleton was a baby. Then about ten years later, the family emigrated to Australia.   They moved to Geelong.

30. Learned that Appleton liked horses and sports during his childhood.

31. Learned that Appleton got a job in his father-in-laws business. It was a shipping company called Huddart, Parker, and Co.

Appleton started as a manager; then made his way up to being chairman of the company.  

32. Learned that there's a dock on the Yarra River named after Appleton.

33. Looked at Google Maps.  There's an Appleton Dock Road.  It looks like it's part of a dock.

It's near the Docklands.

34. Went to the YouTube channel of Tommy Lie.  He's a guitar player from Warrnambool.

He loves documentaries.

35. Started to watch Tommy Lie do a cover of a song called "Drifting".   It's by Andy McKee.



It's pretty cool.

Tommy Lie plays the guitar in a very interesting way.  At times, he kind of uses it as a percussive intstrument.

36. Watched Tommy Lie do a John Butler Trio song.


In this one he sings. With the last one, he didn't.

37. Started to look at more of John Lampard's Budgewoi photos.   

38. Looked at many photos, and they're not catching my attention.   I think it might be because many of them are photos of a lake.  I'm not really into lakes. The exception might be Blue Lake in Mt. Gambier.  

I'm not overwhelmed by the beauty of the lake at the lake house. I like the grass, trees, flowers, lizards, dragonflies, beetles, etc.   But the lake doesn't do much for me....beauty-wise.

To me, lakes are where people hide dead bodies.

39.  Felt bad for saying bad things about lakes.

I'm not being fair.

I do have fond lake-swimming memories from my childhood—mostly from our time in Wisconsin.

40. Liked this photo of trees.

I can imagine magical beings playing around there.  

41. Liked this picture.

It reminds me of my childhood.   Or maybe I just have my childhood in my mind right now. 

42. Thought about the quizzes I took yesterday and something Tim said to Jack the other day.

He said we need to learn from our mistakes.

There lies MY mistake.  I do these quizzes, and when I get anything wrong I ignore it. I just pay attention to my score.

If I'm going to do quizzes I should actually read over the ones I get wrong. Then maybe I'll actually learn something.

43. Looked at the Australia Monopoly Board.

My street for today is Elizabeth Street.

Tomorrow I have Telstra.  I'm not sure I want to read about that.  I'll see how I feel.  I'll read a little bit, at least.

44. Found Elizabeth Street on Google Maps.  It goes north-south.

It starts in North Melbourne, a little bit north of Queen Victoria Market.

It travels south down to the Yarra River.

45. Zoomed in and got a more precise view.   A better way to describe the starting point is probably by saying it starts near The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

There's a street called Royal Parade, and it seems that turns into Elizabeth Street.

46. Saw there is a business on Elizabeth Street called The Junk Company

It seems to be like a thrift shop, but it's not for charity.   Well, I guess that's a consignment shop.  We have those here, usually with a theme.  There's ones for baby stuff and ones for clothes.  This one seems to be less specific—more varied.

They have old roller skates in their vintage fashion section.  That reminds me of my childhood too!

47. Saw that the Victorian chapter of Diabetes Australia is on Elizabeth Street.   Their website says that about 1.7 million Australians have diabetes.  They also say that studies have shown Australians don't worry enough about diabetes. They underestimate their chances of getting it, and it's seriousness.

I agree that diabetes is scary, dangerous, and a pain in the ass to live with.   But I think people are more scared of other things....like cancer.

I don't want Diabetes, but cancer scares me more.  

48. Figured I probably have this pre-diabetes thing that's talked about on the website.

I had sugar in my urine as a teen.  I had to do the awful glucose tolerance test.  I was supposed to check my urine on a regular basis.   I did that for awhile and then kind of forgot about it.

If I remember correctly I failed the glucose tolerance test during pregnancy.  Or I failed the first test that led to the glucose tolerance test.   Does every pregnant person have to drink the gross stale soda; or is that the second test you take if you fail the first test?

My memory's a blur about all that. But I kind of remember having to do a secondary test.

I have blood sugar issues on a regular basis.  I'll suddenly feel very weak, shaky...my skin will get clammy.  

49. Went to the website of the Queen Victoria Market.   If fate allows us to go to Melbourne soon, I'm sure we'll go there.

We like markets.  

Queen Victoria Market is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

50. Liked that plastic bags are banned in the meat and dairy hall.  That's awesome.

Oh!  The other day I went to the grocery store.  The woman in front of me used a reusable bag.   I was excited, because I rarely see anyone using those.

51. Saw that there's a French bakery in the Queen Victoria Market area.  It's called Le Croissant Des Halles.

Tim likes French bakeries.  I think he became a fan when we were in London.  There was a French bakery near we stayed.

Although now he's been watching his cholesterol, so he might be less interested in indulging.  

52. Saw that there's accommodations in Melbourne called the Jasper Hotel.  

The prices are lower than I expected, but we couldn't stay there.   It seems all their rooms have a maximum occupancy of 2 people.  That's interesting.  I don't think I've seen that before.  I guess it's not a family place. 

53. Saw that the Book Grocer is on Elizabeth Street.

I've heard of them before. I think maybe I saw a photo of the shop when I was stalking a Flickr account.  

They have seven stores; the one I saw before might not be the one on Elizabeth Street.

54. Saw that there's a place on Elizabeth Street called Melbourne College of Natural Health.   But when I googled it, I ended up at the Endeavour College of Natural Health. 

55. Saw that the Endeavour College of Natural Health has campuses around Australia.  They have a school in all the states and territories except Tasmania and The Northern Territory.

At the Melbourne school students can get degrees in homeopathy, western herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, naturopathy, musculoskeletal therapy, and acupuncture.

They also offer vocational certificates in various subjects.  And they have short classes.   I'm guessing these are classes for the general public. Some of the short classes are online. 

56. Saw that it costs $140 for an online class about preconception and pregnancy.

I think it would be better to just go to the library and get a book on the subject.

57.  Saw that a two day workshop on aromatherapy costs $325.

I think that's way overpriced.

But again....I'm cheap.

58. Found an extensive website about aromatherapy that people can look at for free. 

From this page I learned that black pepper oil is good for Aching muscles, arthritis, chilblains, constipation, muscle cramps, poor circulation, sluggish digestion.

Do you have to buy the oil, or can you just sniff some black pepper in the spice cabinet?

I'm sure those who sell the oils would tell you that you need to buy the oils.

59. Saw there's a Lord of the Fries on Elizabeth Street.

I want to eat there.

Maybe when I'm there I'll sprinkle black pepper on my fries and sniff them.  

Why do they call them fries instead of chips?

I've probably wondered that before.

60. Looked around their website.

Did I realize before that it was a vegetarian restaurant?

I don't think I did.

I saw it mentioned as a vegetarian place somewhere, but I assumed it served only fries/chips.  I figured that's what makes it vegetarian.  Fries are often vegetarian...as long as they're not cooked in animal fat. 

But it turns out they have a meat menu as well. Except it's not meat.  They have vegetarian burgers, vegetarian hotdogs, and vegetarian nuggets.

61. Saw that their sauce of the month is called Wisconsin.   That's so funny because I've been getting all these childhood memories today, and my best childhood times happened in Wisconsin.  

62. Noticed they use a lot of mayonnaise at Lord of the Fries.   I hate mayonnaise, so maybe I won't love it there.  Or I could just remember to tell them to skip the mayonnaise.    

63. Realized Lord of the Fries is trying to push the whole American-theme. They call chips fries, and they call tomato sauce ketchup.

Plus, aren't hotdogs more of an American thing?   

64. Saw that Stott's College is in Melbourne.    

Have I heard of that before?   It sounds kind of familiar. 

You know...maybe it's one of the schools I looked at when I looked at alternative schools in Melbourne.

It sounds familiar, and it seems a bit different. They have a high school; then they also offer vocational certificates, and degrees. 

65. Found my old post and skimmed through it.  Stott isn't on there...as far as I can see. 

66. Wondered if there are many schools in Australia that have high schools and universities put together.  Maybe it's not that unusual?

67. Looked at high school information on Stott's website.   I'm thinking it's more of a certification program.   If people didn't go to secondary school and they need a certificate to go onto uni or vocational school, they can get it at Stott's. 

68. Decided to take a quiz about Australia rocks. 

69. Got the first 6 questions right.

Then I missed a question about a rock sculpture in Tasmania.   It's called Tasmanian Devil.   I think my answer was The Devil's Kitchen.  And the answer explanation says there IS a Devil's Kitchen.    I vaguely remember seeing it. 

70. Failed to find much information about any Tasmanian Devil rock.   Maybe I misread the question?  Maybe they were asking what rock does NOT exist in Tasmania.

71. Finished the quiz.   I got a 9/10.   I'm so proud of myself. I guess I know my Aussie rocks.   I credit most of that to my Flickr stalking.

72. Reread question #7.   They WERE asking which of the rocks does not exist. 

Oops.

So really I knew all the answers.  I just didn't read good enough. 

I had to guess at question #6.  The answer was Mermaid Rock.  But it was easy for me to make that guess....so I think subconsciously I knew it.  

73. Felt smart; and that makes me happy.   Well, it's just I put a lot of work into Australia, and it would be nice if I could feel intelligent about it sometimes. 

Yesterday I was thinking about it, though.   I get sort of anxious when I encounter something Australian that is new to me.   I mean not everything, but big things....like Ansett Airlines.

But then I was thinking. I've been obsessed with Australia for only four years.  Well, that's a long time actually, and I put a lot of hours into this.   But Australia is a whole COUNTRY.    It's such a vast subject.   If I concentrated on one thing about Australia, there's a chance I could feel like an expert.  Let's say I just did....Australia novels.   Then I'd be validated in feeling stupid for missing an important author—like if I never heard of Patrick White.

I'm into almost everything, though,....minus sports.   I look at history, geography, film, television, literature, music, famous people, etc.

It will probably take me several lifetimes to know 75% of what I want to know.

Hopefully in my next lifetime I will actually BE Australian.   Then I can go to the big libraries and study all the Australian books.  And I can also have a first hand account of what an Australian childhood is like. 

I'll grow up on Vegemite and Aeroplane Jelly.