Monday, October 3, 2011

Monopoly, John Pilger, Clucky Women, and Western Australia

1. Realized I haven't checked the Australian dollar in a few days.

So....

It's equal to .97 American dollars. It's gone down a bit there.

It's equal to .62 British pounds. It's gone down there as well.  The last time I checked it was at .63 pounds.

It's equal to 6.67 Swedish Krona and 74.68 Japanese Yen.

2. Looked at my post from a few days ago and compared what's there to what I'm seeing now. The Australian dollar has gone down in Sweden and Japan as well.

3. Looked at an Australia-themed Monopoly board with Jack—thanks to Lord Wiki.

Jack's suddenly obsessed with Monopoly.  It's not the first time. He used to love it when he was younger.  We played it often, and ended up buying three new variations of the game.

Anyway....

The Australian Monopoly has different streets from around Australia.

The Boardwalk is represented by King's Ave. I didn't even know what that was. We clicked on Lord Wiki's link, and saw it was in Canberra.  It kind of surprises me that this was chosen as the most expensive property.  Yeah, Canberra is the capitol of Australia, but I think it's less famous and prestigious than cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

4. Looked again at the Australia Monopoly board

It's a good way to learn about streets in Australia.

Maybe I'll learn about a street a day.

That might be fun.

5. Looked at the first property.  It's one of the cheap $60 dollar ones. The street is Todd Street in Darwin.  

Strangely I can't find it on Google Maps. I see only Todd Crescent.  

6. Saw that there is a Todd Street in Alice Springs.  

Lord Wiki might be confused. Or is Google Maps missing Darwin's Todd Street?

7. Found an Australia-related dream in my old Livejournal.  It's been awhile since I've seen one. I think in April, and in the beginning of May 2007, I had been thinking less about Australia because I was busy trying to rewrite my novel.  I was a bit preoccupied with that.  

The dream I found today is from May 22, 2007.

Stuff about Australia. Thinking of going there. Thinking about plane ride. Thinking of taking sleep drugs, but then thinking even then...I might be awake for long time. Wondering if it really is 24 hours or could it be even longer than that.

Saying the only thing I want to see is Great Barrier Reef. But then changing mind and saying I want to see Sydney Harbor.

I used to think the plane ride from America to Australia was 24 hours.  We went to a Wiggles concert, and I thought one of the Wiggles men had said that. I think what he meant was that with connecting flights, it might take 24 hours.  

8. Continued to read K.E. Mill's The Accidental Sorcerer. I'm starting to like it a lot.

9.  Listened to part of an interview with a guy named John Pilger and Phillip Adams. My email-pal sent me to link.

 Pilger thinks Australia acts too much like America's 51st state.  

I don't know if I agree with that. But I do think some Australians put too much thought and energy into America.   There's that hate-love thing going on. It reminds me so much of relationships I have with certain people.  I'm angry with them.  I want to NOT think about them and push them out of my mind and life.  But then I continue to think about them.

10. Decided that Australia and America are friends, but it's not always a healthy and egalitarian friendship.  

Now I'm just talking about the two countries as a whole—and probably the two governments.    Individual American citizens and individual Australian citizens can certainly have great and healthy friendships with each other.

11.  Listened to more of John Pilger and Phillip Adams.

Pilger believes the American government is run by the military—that they have more power than the president.

That's interesting.  Maybe it's true?  I don't know. I do feel like the president doesn't have much power.  I think it's because they have to fight so hard to get things done. They can't just come up with an idea and make it a law.

It's frustrating when I like the president's idea, and want it to become policy.  But I also know that if there's a president with an idea I don't like, I'll be glad it's not easy for a president to make massive changes.  

12. Liked Miss Sparkle's blog post about feeling clucky. She's feeling that every women she sees is either pregnant or with a newborn.

She says, I've spent a lot of time with kids these past few years and I absolutely love all things kid - bedtime stories, fairytales, trips to the park, singing the same nursery rhymes over and over, answering their endless questions, helping them reach the top shelf, all of it. I feel that I'm so ready for that next stage of my life and I'm just patiently trying to wait the next few years out.

In my opinion, those are good reasons to want a child.  If you love the world of childhood, having a kid gives you an excuse to indulge in all that.

It's not all easy though, and Miss Sparkle is clever enough to recognize that.  She says, I'm sure in about five years time when I haven't slept a full night in months, I'm tripping over toys and dealing with nappy rash I'll be longing for these days where I had almost infinite time to do whatever I wanted.

Exactly.

Parenting is fun, especially when you love childhood things.   But it IS hard work. It's stressful, scary, and exhausting.

13. Thought of other reasons people have children. I guess personally I find these reasons to be less admirable.  But other people might be okay with them.

A) Pass on the genes and the family name
B) Following tradition.  I'm supposed to be a mom, and that is that.
C) Wanting to buy cute baby clothes and nursery furniture
D) Wanting to have something you can control.
E) Wanting to be loved in that special way moms are loved by their young children.

I think I had E when I was a preschool teacher. The kids liked me, but I saw the way they loved their mommies and daddies. I wanted that.

I don't know if it's necessarily bad to want that love.  But I'm not sure if it's good to have that as your main reason to want a baby.  Mom and Dad aren't always going to be #1 in the kid's life.

It's probably not a great idea to have a baby just so you'll be the center of someone's world.

14. Decided I probably also had a little bit of A,B and C.  I don't think I had much of D. I've never been one of those people who had a child so I could mold it to my liking.

I got over A pretty quickly.  I no longer care about passing on my genes or my family name. Maybe playing Sims 2 and 3 helped with that. I passed on the genes of my Sims through many generations.   I got all that out of my system.

I'd like to have grandchildren just so I can play in the world of childhood again. But if Jack doesn't make or adopt babies, I'll try to have a good relationship with my great-nieces and great-nephews.   

15. Listened to more of the John Pilger thing. I like what he says about the American population.   He says we're NOT like our rulers.

That's what I wish people around the world would understand.   They can be against the American government without being against the American people. I think most people can manage this.  But with some, their hatred of some things American, has leaked into their feelings about everything American.  

16. Found myself disagreeing with John Pilger.  He takes his defense of the American people way too far.   As some make the mistake of lumping us all into the role of George W. Bush fans, he goes too far in the other direction.  He makes it seem like we're ALL on the left. We all want health care for all. We all want an end to the war.

That's not true at all.

I know of some Americans who are very right wing. They perfectly fit the stereotype that many people have of Americans.  They're ethnocentric.  They don't believe in paying taxes to help those less fortunate than themselves.  They believe in the war. They believe any type government health coverage will likely lead to us becoming Communist.

17. Thought about how it annoys me when someone lumps everyone in a group together...even if it's positive.

Americans are all different.  We're a country made up of different people. We don't all have the same beliefs, opinions, intelligence levels, attitudes, etc.

The same goes for everyone, including Australians.  The other day someone learned that I have a thing for Australia. They told me Australians are such nice people and that they love Americans so much.

Many Australians are very nice, but not all.   Some are quite awful, in my opinion.

I've only encountered a few who have a great love for America and Americans.  Others I've encountered really can't stand America, but will make an exception here or there....as long as you tread very carefully.  

Others have a very balanced view of America and Americans.  They like some and they dislike some. They take the good and the bad.

18. Remembered feeling that Australians were super nice the first time I visited...with only a few exceptions. I think that's because I had my rose-colored glasses on. Although it could be that there's an Australian tradition of being very friendly towards tourists.

I'm not sure though if it's different in other countries.

Are Americans usually less friendly towards international tourists?  

I don't know.

My suspicion is that most countries are made up of a mixture of people. Some are very friendly.   Some are mildly friendly. And some are cold and rude.

Australia might have more friendly people than other countries. I'm not sure. How do you test that?

19. Saw that Askmen.com has a listing of the friendliest countries. They put Australia at #4.  

They say the friendliest country is Ireland.

20. Saw Forbes has a list as well.  They talk about which countries are most friendliest towards expats. In their top three: South Africa, Bermuda, and Canada.  The United States and Australia came in after those.

21.  Figured some countries might be very friendly if you're a tourist, but less friendly if you're planning to stay for a long time.

Some people might be friendly enough to take the time to give you clear and careful directions when you're lost.  But they may not be friendly enough to invite newbies to the neighborhood barbecue.  

22. Thought it might be wonderful if we could magically place Earth's people in countries that would fit their political beliefs.

What if America became a right-wing paradise? All of us on the left or in the center would disappear.

Well, we wouldn't vanish from the planet, but we'd end up in a new country.   How about Australia?  I'd like that. Australia could be the left-wing country, but not the extreme left. We'll send those people to another country.  

Would there be enough room for all of us left-wing people? Maybe. Because all the right-wing people would be in America.

There's so many other countries out there, of course There'd be so many choices.   

I was going to say there could be a country for each group of religious extremists. But I think it would be more fun to put them all in one country together. Then they'll be too busy fighting each other to fight the rest of us.

23. Decided there could be a sorting hat. It would know which country is best for you.

Would it work?  Would people get along better that way?   Would there be less internal conflict?  I think so...maybe. Although there'd still be variations within the group, and people would still find excuses to be intolerant.

Families would likely be separated, but there would be email and video chat.

What about children, though?  Do you send them away as soon as they get ideologies that don't fit the country? Or do you wait until they're a certain age?

24. Went to Tallygarunga.

Hey!  Maybe there could be a country for Harry Potter fans. That might be fun.  

25. Found the story thread I'm going to read today.  It's called Don't Push Me, I'll Bite.   It's starring the bully-victim pair— Jack Dalton and Reade Ainsworth.

I saw a really sad bullying story yesterday.  I can't find the article I read, but here's another one. A 14 year-old New Yorker named Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide after years of relentless bullying.  Now even in death, people are being incredibly nasty.  When Lady Gaga's "Born This way" was played in honor of Jamey, people began to chant, Better off dead.

It's absolutely disgusting.

How could people be so evil?

Later that day, we watched The Simpsons.  It annoyed me because of the way they presented the  bullying issues.  Other days I might have been able to tolerate (maybe even enjoy) the humor, but not after hearing Jamey's story.

First, they took one of the show's bullies and showed him in a very positive light.   I'm fine when they do that with Nelson. We've known for a long time that he has a sweet and tender side.  But this was different....at least to me.

Then there were jokes about the whole push for parents to look out for bullying and victim behavior in their children.  

I got the feeling the creators of the show were pushing the mindset that we shouldn't worry about bullies.  Let kids be kids.  It's fine and normal for them to cruelly taunt each other. We're overreacting, blah, blah, blah.

I think it's fine and normal for kids to tease each other a little bit.   I think it's fine and normal for kids to have disagreements sometimes.

It's not fine and normal for children to be relentlessly teased and abused. It's not fine and normal for people to cheer over the death of someone committing suicide.

26. Started to read the Tally story thread.  It takes place on October 1, on the Quidditch field.

27. Confused because Reade's post describes Jack's feelings.

I'm guessing the two role-players talked about it beforehand. But if the first post was supposed to be through Jack's eyes, why not have him do the first post?

I'm lost.

28.  Finished reading the post. I'm guessing for the story to work, maybe they needed multiple viewpoints in one thread.

Anyway, all that aside.....

What happens is Jack says nasty things about Reade's sister.  Reade gets very angry and punches Jack.

In his head he says, Insult me, call me mutie I don’t tangoing care, but don’t you dare talk about my sister like that. She’s thirteen for god’s sake! And Arti is a thousand times a better person than you are on your best day without even trying! You think you’re so tough? See how you like my fist in your face you ass!

It's nice that he defends his sister like that.  It's very sweet.

29. Started to read Jack's post.

He's shocked about Reade punching him.  Good!   I wonder what his reaction will be now. Will he leave Reade alone?  Or will this make him go after Reade even more?

30. Wondered if the role-players were at all inspired by the Casey Heynes story. This was the story in which the teenager finally fought back against his bully, and it was all caught on video.

31. Saw that Jack struggled to fight back against Reade's attack.  He's very angry and also a bit scared.

32. Consulted Lord Wiki about John Pilger.

From what Lord Wiki says, Pilger is probably too far left for me. Well, actually I got those feelings before consulting Lord Wiki— I guess from what I'm hearing in the interview and the little article/introduction that accompanied the interview.  Lord Wiki's just confirming my suspicions.

Pilger seems to be anti-Israel. He's been accused of being biased in that regards.

He blamed the 2005 London bombings on Tony Blair saying that he was the cause of the anger that led to the bombs.  

I'm very much against the idea that violence towards innocent people is deserved, and that it's the fault of the people who made the terrorists angry.  

33. Read some of Pilger's editorial about the bombs.

I do agree that the war in the Middle East was a huge dangerous mistake.  If you attack, something is likely to attack back.

But it all starts somewhere.

Could we then blame Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda for the war in the Middle East?   If they didn't want America to invade Iraq, they shouldn't have bombed NYC.

It doesn't begin there. I'm not an expert on history. But I know Osama Bin Laden and his minions were angry at something the United States did in the past.

It keeps going and going. One group does something bad and the other seeks revenge.Then the other group seeks revenge against the revenge.

Innocent people die.

I say the blood of the innocents is on the hands of those who couldn't resist seeking revenge.

34.   Read more of Pilger's editorial. It's pretty much America and Israel=very bad. Muslim Countries=innocent victims.

It's really not that simple, and that type of attitude annoys me as much as the far right's attitude.

I wish the far-right and the far-left would get together, have their fights, and leave me out of it.

The annoying thing, though, is that some of the far-right people seem to assume I'm in agreement with people like John Pilger.  This is the thing.   If you don't think America is the best and most important country in the world, and you don't think all Muslims are evil and the scum of the earth, then it must mean you hate Israel and support terrorism.   

35. Wondered if I'm being ridiculous by not immediately recognizing the parallels between what's happening in the world and the fight scene between Jack and Reade.

I liked that Reade stood up for himself and attacked Jack. I enjoyed that violence. I thought Jack totally deserved it.

So if I can cheer on Reade, shouldn't I also cheer on terrorists who fight back against what Americans have done in the Middle East?   Should I then have sympathy for those who cheered about September 11?   Should I feel the bombings in Bali were valid responses to what's going on in the Middle East?   Yeah.  It's sad that some Australian tourists died, but hey it's not the fault of the bombers.   It's the Australian government's fault for being too friendly with America.  

I think it's very different though.   Reade attacked only Jack.  He didn't go and kill innocent wizards in honor of his anger towards Jack. He didn't kill innocent wizards so he could scare people into not-supporting Jack.

It's one thing for a bully's target to fight back against the bully. It's another thing entirely when they take a gun and start shooting random students in the cafeteria. To me, the former is somewhat admirable. The latter is disgusting and evil.  I don't care how much torment the bullying victims have endured; once they kill innocent people, they're just as bad as the bullies.  

36. Annoyed at the world.

I think it's no longer a matter of what's right and what's wrong.  Most people pick their good guys and
bad guys; and stick to that no matter what.

America can do no wrong. They're always right.

America is the cause of all the world's problems.

Israel is always right.

Israel is always wrong.

The Muslims are bad.

The Muslims are all good.  None of it's their fault.

Americans all disagree with their government.

Australians are all friendly and love Americans.

It would be really nice if we could move past generalizations and hyperbole.  

It would be really nice if we could condemn the violence and/or hypocrisy of those on our own teams as much as we condemn the violence and hypocrisy that we see coming from the opposing teams.

37.  Saw that my Australian of the day is an artist named Leonard Lloyd Annois.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says he more often went by the name Len Annois.

Len Annois was born in Melbourne in 1906.

When it came time for him to choose a career, he picked engineering.  He did that, and then he became a concrete salesman.  I guess that means he sold concrete?  Did he lose interest in engineering, or were there no jobs available?

38. Learned that Len Annois lost his concrete job during the depression.  He then started taking art classes.

Without a job, how did he afford the classes?

39. Saw that in 1935 Len Annois became employed again. He got a job with the advertising department of G.J Coles and Co.

I googled that, and learned it's Coles, as in the supermarket.

40. Learned that Len Annois painted landscapes.   The Australian Dictionary of Biography says he went beyond the typical sunburnt plains and blue distances seen through gum trees. He tried to give a different perspective of Australia.

41. Looked at a website that has Len Annois' paintings. 

I don't really like any of them too much. I don't think it's my type of thing.

42. Did like this Annois painting a little bit. It's called "Country Road".  

43. Went to blankankle's YouTube channel.  

He has walking fingers with a cover of "Little Red Riding Hood".  




It's very....interesting.

I think he sings pretty good.  

As for the fingers. I think he does a great job of making them look like legs.   I'm just not sure their movements match the song very much. Sometimes they do....sort of.

44. Watched blankankle do a cover of a Dave Matthew's song called "Typical Situation"



I hear a good voice in there, but it's kind of a struggle to hear it. The guitar's too loud.

I'm getting the idea it's hard for people to balance instruments with the voice.   I'm finding people sometimes sing too quietly, or their instruments are too loud.  

45. Started to look at more of Baroo42's Darwin to Perth Flickr set.    

46. Liked this photo.  It looks very stereotypical Australian.  

I like this one too.   It's beautiful.  

46. Liked this photo.   

There's a lot of lovely scenes in this set.  

47. Loved this picture.  

I'm sorry I'm being repetitive.

I'm at a loss for words.  There's not much you can say about beautiful scenes.   As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  So why add more words?

48.  Figured this might be The Pinnacles.  

And this picture makes me believe it even more.  

49. Looked up the Pinnacles (near Cervantes) on Google Maps.   I forgot where it was. All I remembered was that it was in Western Australia somewhere.

Anyway, it's about 2 hours north of Perth.  

50. Thought this rock looked like a friendly troll-type creature.