Sunday, November 20, 2011

Choices, Germs, Archibald, and Fawkner

1. Read more of the free Kindle history book and learned how New Norfolk got it's name.  

In 1807, the government put an end to the Norfolk Island prison island.  It had gotten too expensive.   The convicts were brought over to Tasmania.  According to the book, some of the convicts had prospered in Norfolk Island as farmers, and had become fond of the island.

So...

When they went to Tasmania, they named their town after their old home.

2. Consulted Lord Wiki because I kind of remembered reading that Norfolk Island had a hellish history..

What happened is that it was a small quiet penal settlement in the early days.   Then it slowly closed down in the first decade of the 1800's.

From 1814-1825 the island was abandoned.

Then after that, Norfolk Island because the place to send the worst of the worse criminals.

This is a fascinating book.

It's easier to read than most history books I've seen.

3. Found a fun coincidence in my old Livejournal entries. It's from September 13, 2007.

I wrote: Read Australia book yesterday that talked about hospital sign that said "We need business. Get sick."

Then today we watched Koala brothers and it was about Mitzy wanting to be a nurse and wanting someone to be sick for her.


I wonder what the book was, and I wonder what place had the sign.

4. Decided that if I didn't already abstain from eating chicken, I'd be doing so after reading this article.   

The Baiada Chicken Factory in Victoria seems to be a bit lapse in their health and safety standards.  

Well, at least I wouldn't be eating chicken in Victoria.  Although I find it hard to imagine any chicken factories are that trustworthy.

It's disgusting that it's even happening in a factory.  Animals are living creatures. Yes, they're delicious.  And yes they're a good source of protein. But they shouldn't be processed in a factory.

Yuck.

Anyway what happened is some disgruntled workers took photos of what goes on inside the factory.

There's raw chicken sitting around not protected by packaging.

There were maggots and cockroaches.   

Safety exits were blocked by bins.  

It sounds like most of the concerns are for the treatment of the workers.  As for the general public that eats the chicken, I don't know. Are maggots and cockroaches bad for your health? Or does it just add more protein to the mix?

If raw chickens are laying about, it doesn't seem the factory is that concerned about salmonella.

I would worry about a chicken factory that's not overly concerned about salmonella.

I'm very scared of salmonella.

5. Thought more about what type of blogging I'll do when (if) we go to Australia.

I think the last time I thought about it; I decided I'd do the same type of blogging I did for the 2009 trip.

Now I've changed my mind again.

I'm thinking I'll do these types of posts.  I like it, and it's kind of therapeutic for me.  I guess I like numbering my thoughts and experiences. 

I probably won't have internet too often, so I'll write my posts on text-edit.   Then I'll copy and paste them to Blogger.

If they get too long before I get to an internet connection; maybe I'll break them up into multiple posts.

The only downside is it will be hard for me to do photos and links.  I like to link to a place's website when I talk about it.  That will be too hard.   I guess I'll just skip that. If people are really interested in learning more, they can cut and paste the name into Google.

As for photos, maybe I'll do some photo posts when we get home. OR maybe I'll be good and label all our photos on Flickr.   Then I can link to it.

I might have the time to insert a few photos while we're traveling.

I'm also going to try to do some videos.  But I'll do that when we get home.  

6. Learned from I Wasn't Blogged Yesterday's blog that today is International Transgender Remembrance Day.  Well, Australia had their day yesterday.  We're a day behind here in America.

Anyway....

It's a day to remember the unfairness and mistreatment that transgender people face. And while we're remembering that, it would probably be a good idea to remind ourselves to be open-minded and open-hearted.

I think people are more so than they were decades ago.  But we still have a long way to go. Some people still think the world might end if a boy wears pink.

7. Thought of I Wasn't Blogged Yesterday's line here. Recently I saw Chas Bono on Dancing with the Stars in the USA and I was so disappointed to see some of the hue and cry against him being on the show. One comment was and angry tirade which basically boiled down to "thanks a lot,I shouldn't have to explain transgender to my children!!!"

It makes me think of this shirt I have.  It says, I'd turn gay for Sookie Stackhouse.  At times I've been nervous to wear it around kids because I'm afraid their parents are going to attack me.  Why are you wearing that in front of our kids.  Don't you know they can read!   I really don't want to be explaining what gay is to them.

Then I tell myself that there's nothing wrong with gayness, and if they have a problem with the word, that's THEIR problem.

No one has complained about it, though.  So that's good. Sometimes people can pleasantly surprise me.

The other thing I worried about is that I'm promoting the idea that homosexuality is a choice.

But I DO think it's a choice sometimes.  Some people can go either way.  Then they have to choose.  Do I want a man, or do I want a woman?   Or I guess they could have both...if they have a lot of time on their hands.  

I don't like the emphasis on homosexuality NOT being a choice.  It's like people are saying, People can't help being gay, so it's okay to be gay.  

Who cares if you can help it or not?  There's nothing wrong with it. Love is love. If a man can only love a man, then he should love a man.   If a man can love either a man or woman, and he chooses to love a man, that's fine too.  

8. Thought of the argument against myself.  Some people are against homosexuality. And MAYBE they'd be more sympathetic if they knew people couldn't help themselves.

I don't think it works, though.  If people are against homosexuality; let's say for religious reasons.   If they accept that people are born gay; they're likely to believe gay people should fight against their instincts.  Yes.  I know you love men.   I know you're sick that way.  But you have to fight it against it.  Get married to a nice woman and make babies together.  

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if we can accept the traits people are born with; then we should also be able to accept their choices.   

If we don't like something about a person; it's not going to matter that they were born that way.   In many cases, we'll feel they should work to change themselves.  

9. Thought of another way of saying what I'm trying to say.

Instead of the message being, I can't help being this way; it should be, I'm happy being this way.  

I know there ARE people who can't help being that way, and they'd rather not be that way.  But hopefully one day they'll reach a point where they can be happy with who they are.  

10. Thought of a person I know.  She's a lesbian.  Other people I know accepted that in the same way they'd accept someone who has down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, etc.  It's sad they're that way, but we need to not judge them.   They can't help themselves.   

Then later, the other people I know heard the lesbian was dating a boy. They acted happy and relieved about that—as if this person had been wrongly diagnosed and now she had a clean bill of health.

I saw her simply as a woman who prefers woman to men; but has a few drops of heterosexuality as well.

I'm a heterosexual with a few drops of homosexuality.

I'd increase those drops if Anna Paquin landed on my doorstep.    

11. Learned from my Australia history book that when Hume and Howell went on their expedition, they ended up hating each other.  The book says they never patched things up.

That happens sometimes.   People start off okay with each other.  They try to work together, and then they no longer like each other.

12. Decided to check the Australian dollar.

It's up a bi, at least compared to the American dollar.

It's now at 1.02 dollars. The last time I checked it was at 1.01 dollars, or maybe even less than that.

The Australian dollar is now worth .64 British pounds. It was the same last time I checked.

It's worth 6.83 Swedish kronor.  The last time I checked, it was worth 6.87 Swedish kronor.

It's worth 78.53 yen.  The last time I checked, it was worth 78.10 Swedish yen.

So it's gone up in America and Japan.  It's gone down in Sweden.  It's stayed about the same in the UK.

13. Read another article about the infectious disease scientists in Geelong.   It talks about the movie Contagion and how it's based on a real virus called the Nipah virus. The Nipah virus is related to the Hendra virus.

I haven't seen Contagion, but I've had someone tell me about it.  And I just consulted Lord Wiki as well.

It's scary, and scientists are saying the movie is scientifically realistic.

We've become germaphobes at our house.  I'm sheepish about it most of the time.   But after reading some of this stuff, I'm feeling we're probably doing the right thing.

It's a balance.   Germs are everywhere.  A little bit of illness builds up our immunity.  We can't all live in a bubble, and living in a bubble isn't that healthy for most people.

We do a lot of hand-washing though, and we use antibacterial gel. 

The three of us were laughing at ourselves when we went to a character dinner at Disney World.   Each time a character came to visit us, we'd be delighted.  We'd take pictures.   We'd shake hands with the character.  Then when the character left, we'd put the gel on our hands before eating again.

The thing is, those characters are going around touching a lot of other kids. If the kids are sick, the Disney character could pass on the kid's illness to us.

14. Thought about times in which my paranoia has become too strong.  For example, I'll shy away from wanting to eat at buffets or eating anything that comes from a bin.   What if someone was sick and they touched it?

But there comes a point where you have to just relax and hope for the best.

If you relax too much about the whole thing, I think that can get dangerous. And maybe that's what will lead to a pandemic.  

It's all about balance.  Be a little paranoid and careful, but not too paranoid and careful.

It's like, put on your child's helmet when he rides his bike, but don't force him to keep the helmet on all day.  

15. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Help?  Please?

The Tally characters in this one are Riley Lightfoot and Gwendolyn's sister, Neural Spencer.

It takes place place at the West Wall of Tallygarunga, on the afternoon of Friday, November 18.

16. Started to read.

Riley is at the wall, which is on the grounds of Tallygarunga.

Why is there a wall?

17. Saw that Riley is annoyed that he can't climb or jump over the wall.

The wall is his enemy.

18.  Learned that Riley wants to climb the wall because he wants to get back at some student for causing his grade to be lowered.

Who's that?

Maybe it was his tutor?

19. Saw that Riley spotted Neural, and now he's asking for her help.  He needs her to toss over his backpack.  He got up the wall, but he forgot the backpack.   Oops.  Although maybe if he had been carrying the backpack, he may not have been able to get over the wall.

20. Started to read the biography of Nerual Spencer.   Her role-player is part of the mother-daughter writing team. I think that's very cool.

Her face claim is Jennette McCurdy from iCarly.  

McCurdy is also a country music singer.



21. Saw that Nerual was born in Minnesota.  Where was Gwendolyn born?   For some reason, I thought she was born in Michigan.

I get the two states confused sometimes.

22. Checked Gwendolyn's profile.

She was born in Michigan.  I had to look up the abbreviation though.  It says Grand Rapids, MI.   I had guessed Michigan last time, and saw there was a Grand Rapids Michigan.

But now I just checked and there's also a Grand Rapids Minnesota.

I looked up MI though, and it's the abbreviation for Michigan.  

It makes sense though that the two sisters were born in different states. If I remember correctly, their father worked in a circus.  Or did that happen after they were born?   I forgot.

23. Learned that Nerual has a human form and a fairy form. Does Gwendolyn as well?

In Nerual's fairy form, she is tall for a fairy—18 inches.  When she's a human, she's 5 '3.

24. Learned that Nerual doesn't like wearing dresses or skirts.

25. Learned that Nerual is shy, but she will speak up sometimes.   She'll speak up against bullies.   This is because her sister was bullied.

Why was Gwendolyn bullied and not Nerual?

26. Learned that Nerual was born on Christmas.

27.  Started to read Nerual's history and realized it's the same as Gwendolyn.  I think it was cut and paste.

That makes sense.  They'd have the same history.  Why write it twice?

28. Learned that Nerual loves chocolate and reading.  We have that in common.

One thing we don't have in common dresses and skirts.  I like wearing them. Nerual doesn't.

29. Saw that my Australian of the day is Jules Francis Archibald. 

Maybe this Archibald is the fountain guy.  

30. Learned that Archibald was born in Geelong in 1856.

Now I've come to associate Geelong with infectious disease scientists.  I think I'll be afraid to go there.  What if one of the viruses escapes?!   Then again I spent five years living in Atlanta, the home of the Center of Disease Control.   I survived that.

31. Learned that Archibald's mother lost her first baby.  This made her love Archibald with intensify.

I guess it made her realize how fragile life is.

That would be an interesting thing to study.  Are parents who lost a baby likely to be more attentive and affectionate with later surviving children?  

32. Liked that the Australian Dictionary of Biography says, By contrast his mother was impulsive and sunny-natured; having lost her first baby, she loved her eldest living son with special intensity and must have vitally influenced his wit, mischief, and faith in human beings.

I like that they present strong motherly love in a positive sense, rather than the usual thing of presenting it as smothering, spoiling and damaging.   

33. Learned that Archibald's mom died when he was four

That's very sad.

One of my biggest fears is leaving Jack motherless.  

I think losing a parent can scar a child for life. It happens, though....sadly.

34. Learned that Archibald became an apprentice in a printing company when he was fourteen.

Back then it seems a lot of people started working at that age.

Someone on Facebook wrote that they were appalled about Newt Gingrich wanting school children doing janitorial work for income.  

I personally don't see a problem with it.  If the work is safe, why not have children do it?

I DO see an unfairness to it.  Gingrich is talking about low-income children working. The children from wealthier families wouldn't need the work.

What if all children were allowed to work for money?   Some might do it to help their family.  Others might do it to get some extra pocket money.  I think I'd prefer that rather than targeting families who are poor.

35. Looked at a comment on an article about it.  

Peteykins says, That's insane, like creating indentured servants out of unfortunate students whose only "sin" is having poor parents. When would these kids have time for homework or, you know, playing, being kids?   

First of all, it's not indentured servants.   It's not like they're telling kids, do this work or you'll be kicked out of school.   

Second, if it's not okay for kids to do janitorial work, why is it okay for them to do homework?

Homework is time consuming and takes time away from playing. It also takes time away from hobbies and other independent learning pursuits.  

I agree with child labor laws when it's about protecting children from dangers, low pay, and exploitation.  I don't agree with child labor laws when it's about making sure children have enough time to be educated.  There are other avenues of education besides the classroom. Working is one of those.   

36. Learned that Archibald became a journalist.

37. Learned that at one point Archibald had a hard time finding a job.

He became disillusioned.  

I can relate to that.

38. Learned that Archibald longed to work for something called The Argus

Lord Wiki says The Argus was a Melbourne newspaper.  It ran from 1846 to 1957. It started off conservative; then in the 1940's, it started leaning towards the left.

I'm guessing, since Archibald wanted to work for The Argus, he was conservative.  

He ended up working for The Daily Telegraph, but wasn't happy there. 

He left that and went on to pursue other things. Then he went through a stage of reclaiming his French heritage.

I went through a Jewish-pride stage.  Archibald went through a French pride stage.

39. Confused.  I reread the paragraph.  Maybe I have things wrong.  I was imagining that Archibald WAS French, but didn't pay attention to that until a certain point in his life.

But now I'm thinking maybe he never was French; and he just made it all up.   The Australian Dictionary of Biography makes it sound that way.  

He changed his name.  His birth name was John Feltham Archibald.  It was during his French-phase that he renamed himself Jules Francois.  Then he also started telling people his deceased mother had been French.

40.  Learned that Archibald went on a mining adventure in Queensland.   It involved a snakebite.   I'm not sure though if it's he who got bitten, or one of his companions.

41. Learned that Archibald is one of the guys who started The Bulletin.  

I'm thinking he IS the fountain guy....and also the art contest guy. Well, because those two guys are one and the same.   

42. Learned the first issue of The Bulletin came out on January 31, 1880.  It sold out.

I like hearing that, since at one time Archibald had such a hard time finding a job.

It gives me hope since I've been so often rejected in life.

Maybe one day I'll be involved with something that sells out.

43. Learned that, at one point, Archibald went to prison because of a libel thing.    If I'm understanding things right, he didn't go to jail because of the actual libel thing.   He went to jail because he lost the case, and then didn't pay the money he was supposed to pay.

44. Learned that Archibald was anti-British and wanted Australia to cut away from it's British ties.

45. Learned that Archibald had a difficult marriage.  His wife became an alcoholic. Two of his children died.

46. Learned that Archibald was a workaholic.  It was hard for him to take a break from doing the newspaper.

He also suffered from depression, mania, and hypochondria.

After awhile all these problems made it hard for him to function.

At one point he went a bit nuts; I think mania-type nuts.   He started ordering huge quantities of wine and giving poets huge paychecks.   

Archibald's business partner had Archibald committed to an asylum.  Archibald wasn't too happy about this.   He was humiliated and angry.  Although the business partner might have been doing it out of kindness and concern, Archibald was unable to forgive him.  

47. Learned that Archibald recovered and went back to doing well in life.

That gives me hope too.  It's inspiring.

You can go crazy and then be okay again.

You can spend time in a mental hospital and still end up (or continue being) successful.   You can even have a big beautiful fountain named after you.  

48. Learned, from my Australia history book, that when David Collins led a group of convicts to the Port Phillip area in 1803; a few of the convicts were allowed to bring their children.  One of these kids was John Pascoe Fawkner.

Collin's venture was an early failed attempt at settling in the Melbourne area.   Decades later a grown-up Fawkner would lead a successful attempt at settling there.

49. Reminded by Lord Wiki that Fawkner bought a ship in order to lead the Port Phillip adventure.   But then credit problems forced him to have to withdraw from the adventure. Poor guy.

Fortunately, Fawkner was able to catch up with the group a couple months later.

50. Wondered why Fawkner decided to return to the area as an adult?   Was it an idea that suddenly came to him, or did he carry the dream through his childhood?

Did he like the place a lot?  Was he sad when the early settlement failed and everyone returned to Tasmania?

51. Started to look at more of Fredweng's 4th day in Australia photos.  

It's all animals.

That's good.

I like animals.  

52. Thought this was a cute penguin.  

53. Thought this Southern Cassowary looked like a grumpy old man.  

54. Thought this Kookaburra was adorable.  

55. Forgot the name of this parrot again.  I know it's a rosella though.  I remember that.  

56. Thought the background of this photo looks like a stretched out face.   It kind of reminds me of the painting "The Scream".  

I see an eye and a very stretched out mouth. 

57. Thought this parrot looks very sad...like he's been rejected.  

58. Thought this parrot looks wicked. 

59. Went to the Funtrivia site to take another Australia quiz.  This one's about the letter T.  

60. Got question #3 wrong and learned the Todd River in the Northern Territory is 315 Kilometers.

61. Learned from Lord Wiki that the longest river in Australia is the Murray River.   It's 2, 375 Kilometers.  It's about seven times bigger than the Todd River.

62. Got question #4 wrong and learned William Bligh did not name Thursday Island.

Oh.  This is a fun story.

The quiz answer says he named it Wednesday Island.  Then mapmaker made a mistake and wrote it out as Thursday Island.  

63. Got question #8 wrong and learned eighteen turkeys survived the First Fleet journey to Australia.

64. Got question #9 wrong and learned Wendy Turnbull is a tennis player.  

65. Got question #10 wrong and learned Tim Tams were named after an American horse that ran in the Kentucky Derby.

Really?

That's new to me.

66. Found a website about the Tim Tam horse.  

It says her biggest victory was in 1952.

When did the cookies come about?

Lord Wiki says it was 1964.  And he talks about the horse story.  Ross Arnott attended the Kentucky Derby and though the horse's name would be a good name for a line of biscuits.

67. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that Pepperidge Farm announced in 2009 that they'll sell Tim Tams in America every year—October-March.

Maybe they changed their mind because I haven't seen Tim Tams lately.  I checked the other day, and I checked when we went to Target in Orlando.

68. Saw that Pepperidge Farm has a Tim Tam page.  They do say they'll have a shipment in October.

I'll keep looking......

69. Read this review of American Tim Tams.   Yuan-Kwan Chan says they're different from the Australian ones.

That's a shame.  

It does make me happy that I ordered Australian Tim Tams for my birthday.   I was thinking maybe I made a mistake in doing that since they're supposed to be coming to our local grocery store soon.  

Yuan-Kwan Chan says Australian Tim Tams have less of a cookie aftertaste.  What is a cookie aftertaste?   And why is that bad?

70. Went back to taking the quiz and got question #11 wrong.  I learned Squizzy Taylor was a gangster and not a bushranger.

71. Got question #18 wrong and learned there's a swimmer named Ian Thorpe; and he had size 15 shoes.  

72. Got question #19 wrong and learned Tasmania and Victoria are 240 kilometers apart.

73. Got question #20 wrong and was reminded that the Big Trout is located in Adaminaby, New South Wales.  That's sad because I recently learned about all those big things.  

74. Finished the quiz.   I got 11/20.  The average score was 12/20.

I hope to one day get to the point where I do average or better than average on the quiz.  

75. Felt it's doubtful that we'll be going to Australia because Tim is still not doing well. We're both skeptical about the migraine diagnosis.

I have a feeling we're going to be struggling with all this for years.

I'm bringing this up in hopes that the universe proves me wrong.  Then I'll look like a fool.   The universe likes to make people look like fools.  Well, at least it likes to make me look like a fool.  

Maybe in a few months we'll be in Australia.  Tim will be feeling healthy.   You guys will laugh at me and remind me how I was so pessimistic and negative.

I can't say though that going to Australia is my biggest concern right now.

It's hard dealing with a family medical problem, whether it's serious, not-so-serious, diagnosed, undiagnosed, rare, common....or whatever.  

I want to say I hate it, but that's silly.   Who doesn't hate it?

Well....I guess someone with Munchhausen by Proxy wouldn't hate it.

76. Wanted to say that if any of you are religious or spiritual; if you could do a prayer, meditation, magical spell, ritual dance, etc. in honor of Tim feeling better....I'd DEEPLY appreciate it.