Sunday, October 2, 2011

Victor Hartwell, Harold Annear, Menzies Hotel, and Big Trees

1. Started reading The Accidental Sorcerer by K.E. Mills. 

It took a lot of concentration and energy for me to get through the first chapter.  I was trying not to daydream.

If a book is hard to get into for me, I'll often read the words but not pay attention to what's happening.  I've been trying to avoid that lately.

Once I managed to pay attention, The Accidental Sorcerer was fairly interesting.

I'm going to read the second chapter today, and then I'll decide if I want to quit or continue.

2. Went to bed and had various dreams.  One involved Jack watching Julian McMahon on TV and saying he was nice-looking. Another involved Australian banana farmers who were doing something illegal to raise their profit.

3. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called All Work And No Play.  

The two characters in it are Victor Hartwell and Delia Stapleton.

I think Victor's new to me.

Victor and Delia are both Bourke students. Victor is in his sixth year, and Delia's a third year student.

The story takes place in the Bourke common room.

4. Started reading.

It's the morning of Saturday, October 1.

Victor is having to spend at least part of his weekend catching up on homework.  He's allowed himself to fall behind on that.

Victor heads to the library.  On his way, he passes the Bourke common room. He peers in to see if any of his friends are there. He doesn't see any.  He sees younger students. One of them is Delia.   He sees her struggling with her work and offers to help. 

5. Read more of The Accidental Sorcerer.  I'm enjoying it, even though it's one of those books that take place in completely fictional world.  I usually don't like that type of book, but I'm not minding it horribly in this case.

6. Went back to Tallygarunga.

I'm going to read the biography of Victor Hartwell.

7. Saw that Victor was born in Melbourne.

His face claim is an American actor named Colton Haynes.

Colton stars in a new TV show version of Teen Wolf.  

Colton's character seems to be a bit of a bully on that show. 

8. Went back to reading about Victor.  

He's recently learned that some guy named William Kent is his biological father. That means the guy he thought was his father isn't his father.

This seems to happen to Tally students. They think one person is their parent. Then they later learn they were wrong.

Well, it might not be that prevalent.  Offhand I can think of only two characters besides Victor that have confusing parentage.  That would be Améa du Contiaea and Leanna Evans.  There might be others—some that I haven't read about and others that I've forgotten.

9. Saw that William Kent is a character I've read about before. I thought his name sounded familiar.

He's the one who has David Bowie as a face claim. And he's the one who provided comfort to Professor Rodrigez as she turned into a werewolf.

He has a daughter Sarah, so that means Victor has a half-sister. Does he know that yet?

10. Learned that, when Victor was younger, he was a target for bullies.  Then he gained size and strength, and he became good at sports.   Suddenly the students who had bullied him now thought Victor was cool.   I like Victor, because it says here,  However, he still avoided the people who had bullied him formerly, despite the fact that they now thought he was "cool" like them. He uses his new stature from a recent growth spurt to stand up for himself and his friends.

I think some people dislike popular students and/or bullies simply for the fact that they themselves are not included in the group. When and if they do become popular themselves, then they're happy to join the bullying game as well.

I like that Victor stands up for the underdogs and not just himself.

11. Wondered what Victor would do if one of his friends took on the role of bullying. Would he stand up against his friend?

I love that Dumbledore quote from Harry Potter.  There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

The most selfish people would defend only themselves when treated badly.  If it happens to someone else, it's not their problem.

Other people will stick their neck out for friends.  You hurt my friend; then you're going to have to face me.

But some of these people will do nothing to defend someone who's not their friend. If someone punches their friend in the face, they'll seek retribution. If their friend punches someone in the face, they'll ignore it or maybe even laugh and cheer the friend on.  

12. Wondered why my Internet is suddenly slow.

13.  Saw that my Australian of the day is Harold Desbrowe Annear.

He was an architect from Victoria.

14. Saw that Harold was born in Bendigo, in August 1865.

His dad was a miner.  He had been married to someone else before he married Harold's mother.  Harold ended up with six step siblings.

Wait. How did that happen?  I can understand half-siblings, but the step thing confuses me.

Maybe my brain isn't working well today.

Who were the parents of the stepsisters and stepbrothers?

If Harold's father was the father, then they'd be Harold's half-siblings. If Harold's mother was the mother, they'd be half-siblings as well.

This must be a case of me not reading carefully enough.

Let me try again.

15. Reread the sentences. The step siblings were much older than Harold.

I'm still lost.  

The only explanation, I can think of, is that his mother or father divorced; then one of them remarried someone who had much older children than Harold.  People sometimes repeat the marriage and divorce process more than once. 

16. Learned that Harold believed architecture was an art not a profession.

I don't get that. Can't it be both?

17. Learned that Harold designed homes for the most part, but he also did a few other things.

He helped with the reconstruction of the Menzies Hotel.   

18. Saw that there's a Menzies Hotel in Sydney.

Is that the hotel they're referring to?

19. Saw that Harold died in 1933.  The hotel was built in 1963.

And in 1933, Robert Menzies hadn't been Prime Minister yet.  Why would a hotel be named after him?

Maybe the hotel had a different name initially—back when Harold Annear was reconstructing it.

20. Found something on Google Books.  I always ignore that source for some reason. I don't know why.   I should probably use it more often. 

The book I'm looking at is called A City Lost and Found: Whelan the Wrecker's Melbourne.    It's written by Robyn Annear.

Ah...same last name as Harold.

This is getting interesting.  

21. Started to read some of Robyn Annear's book.

It turns out the Menzies hotel was not referring to Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister. It's referring to Archibald Menzies.

The (Archibald) Menzies hotel was built in 1867.

It was at the corner of Bourke and Williams Street.

Is it still there?

22. Found the corner of Bourke and Williams Street on Google Maps Street View.

I can't tell if the hotel is still there, though, because I'm not sure what the hotel is supposed to look like.

23. Learned from Robyn Annear's book that Danny Kaye stayed at the Menzies Hotel. He requested there be a ping pong table in his room.

24. Learned from The Walking Melbourne site that the Menzies Hotel was demolished in 1969.

25. Went to Robyn Annear's website.  She writes books about Australia history.

I can't find any information on whether or not she's related to Harold Annear.

26. Learned that Harold Annear designed the Church Street Bridge in Melbourne.

This website has a photo of it.  

27. Consulted Lord Wiki about Harold Annear.

It helps my brain to absorb things when I read it from a second source...sometimes.

Lord Wiki lists some of Harold Annear's projects.

One of them is the Federation Arch on the Princes Bridge.

I saw that mentioned on the Australian Dictionary of Biography, but I was unsure what they meant.    They said it was done to honor a visit from the Duke and Duchess of York. For some reason, I imagined it might have been a temporary structure.

Now that I think of it, that seems kind of silly. Why would an architect be known for a temporary structure?

28. Felt even more silly when I went to a photo on Flickr, and learned the arches WERE temporary.  

The arch lasted for only 12 months.

So I guess an architect CAN get kudos for something temporary. 

Well, everything is temporary, if we want to get technical.

29.  Learned from Lord Wiki that Annear was the architect for The Springthorpe Memorial. That's the one commissioned  by a doctor to memorialize his wife. 

30. Started to look at Baroo42's Darwin to Perth Flickr set

31. Thought this rock looked like a wild boar, or maybe a warthog.  

32. Figured this guy is probably Baroo42.  

I think it's one of those things where someone holds the camera out and takes a picture of themselves. 

33.  Wondered if this is the same tree I've seen before. Is there one famous tree that looks like this...or are there many?  

I think I've seen it in association with the movie Australia; maybe on a promotional picture?  

The term boab tree is floating in my head.

34. Googled.

I found this site.  

I'm right.  It's a Boab tree.

There's not one Boab tree. There're many.

The Kimberley is known for the Boab trees.

The trees are related to African trees called baobobs.

35. Learned that Boab trees are very old.  They don't get their rounded trunks for hundreds of years.

36. Learned that Boab trees have edible parts.

The seeds are high in Vitamin C.

The Boab tree roots are eaten.  The website says their texture is like water chestnuts; so I might not like them. I hate water chestnuts.

37. Learned from the website that there is one particular Boab tree that's especially famous. It's one that was used as a prison for Aboriginal people.  It has a circumference of 14 metres.

That's about 42 feet.

How can that be?????

38. Looked at a site about Redwood trees, and got the dea I may be misunderstanding circumference.   They say the diameter of full grown trees is 10-15 feet. I went to a online conversion calculator and saw that 15 feet would equal a 47 feet circumference. 

That just seems so huge to me.

39. Looked for the circumference of Spaceship Earth at Epcot to get some perspective.   This website says it's 518 feet.  

It's about 12 times bigger than the prison Boab tree.

That makes sense to me.

40. Returned to Baroo42's photos.

I love the colors in this one.   

The water looks so blue.

41. Reminded of 127 Hours when I saw this photo.  

42. Wondered what's in the frying pan?  

43. Thought this was a great wild kangaroo action shot.