Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Civil Unions, American Tim Tams, Syrup, and Swansea

1. Ate a Tim Tam.

Tim found them at the grocery store.

2. Continued to read Syrup by Maxx Barry.  It's very entertaining.

I read Barry's other book, Jennifer Government. 

I like Syrup much better.

3. Felt sad that I no longer love Powells anymore.

I think it's over between us, probably.  Well, it will be over after I use my gift certificate money.   Then I'll likely move onto Amazon and Half Price Books.
4. Ate another Tim Tam.

5. Found an old dream I had about Australia.  This one is from October 13, 2007.

I look into us going into Peace Corps. They have programs in Australia. I am wondering if this is okay.  Australia isn't a poor country. Would it make more sense to go to third world country?   But I know they do have some poverty there.  I look at programs, and it seems peace corps has changed.  There are no long term programs. Just short ones.  The longest about 2 weeks.

6.  Found another old dream I had about Australia.  This one is from October 14, 2007.

I'm at a large table with a lot of people including Tim and my dad.  The guy, next to me, asks about different languages in Australia. I try to say something, but no one listens to me. Tim looks towards my dad for an answer; and all eyes point in that direction. I think the guy who asked the question hears me say "Aboriginal". I sense disagreement from him. My dad scolds Tim for not looking to me for the answer--kind of like "she's the expert. How can you forget that?"

I say there's no official second language. But if someone wanted to learn a new language, they might want to learn one of the Aboriginal languages.

7.  Watched the trailer for The Stepford Wives.

I think it's a clever story.

8. Liked these lines from Syrup.  

I joined her and we munch together for a few moments in what I would like to call a companionable silence, but is in fact, more of a wary silence.

Personally, I think companionable silence is overrated.  People say it means you're very comfortable with each other.  That can be true in some cases. But I think it usually just means you're bored with each other.

9. Went back to bed and had some dreams.

In one, Jack finds Andrew by searching for his blog.  Then they talk to each other.  At one point, maybe they talk about timers.   

In another, I'm in Tallygarunga.   I see there's a character that is due to post soon, but hasn't.   I decide I should write the post.  I do that.  I write it.  I post it. I realize I forgot to proofread, but figure I can proofread it now that it's posted.

Later I'm mortified because I realize I've done something wrong. Characters have role-players, and those role-players are the ones who are supposed to write the posts.  People don't randomly write posts for characters that aren't their own.  I'm embarrassed that people are going to see my mistake.

10. Read article that says people now can have same sex civil unions in Queensland.

The bill about it was passed in Parliament.

I don't know if I knew that gay civil unions weren't legal in Queensland.

I think I've looked into that stuff before, though.

I probably knew and then forgot.  

11. Confused.

I consulted Lord Wiki.  He says that in 2002, same-sex couples were included in the whole defacto partner thing.

I'm not sure what's the difference between defacto relationships and civil partnerships.

12. Found Lord Wiki's handy map about same sex relationships in Australia.  

Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia have de facto relationships.  Although Queensland has now taken a step upwards.

South Australia has a domestic partnership agreement.

New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania have a same sex partnership registry.  

All this stuff confuses me.

13. Tried to get more help from Lord Wiki.

He says De facto is also known as common-law marriage.   Lord Wiki says this is a marriage that does not include a ceremony.  And it's not officially recorded by the government.

Lord Wiki says that, in Australia, De facto relationships are treated the same as marriage relationships in terms of taxation, social welfare, and pensions.

I'm guessing then that civil unions are more formalized. Maybe more official, and more similar to marriage.

14. Learned from Lord Wiki that some people see civil unions as being the same as marriage.  It just has a different name.  Other people say it's not okay to be the same, but have a different name. They want full equality.

I don't know what to think, although I think I have thought of this before.

It seems so picky to want marriage when you can have the same benefits, and it's just about using a different label.  

But then it seems snobby to insist that certain people give a different name to their relationship.  

Maybe the problem is civil unions don't have a good verb yet. Heterosexual people say, We're getting married!    What do gay people say?  We're getting civil unionized? That doesn't sound very romantic.

How are proposals done?  Will you be my partner in a civil union?

It seems that if you're going to go as far as giving people civil unions; if it really is SO similar to marriage, why not take that extra step?   Why not just call it marriage?

On the other hand, if we're fighting against people who are very anti-homosexuality—ones think homosexual relationships are wrong in general. If we've gotten as far as civil unions, shouldn't we sigh in relief and pat ourselves on the back?

Being forced to call your relationship a different name than marriage IS discrimination.  But it's a minor discrimination compared to other discrimination that's happening around the world.  And I include discrimination that's happening to people who are homosexual.

Here's another Lord Wiki map.   This one shows that there are still countries in the world where homosexuality is ILLEGAL.    And there's about seven or eight countries in which being gay will get you the death penalty.    I'm not sure how often that law is enforced, but still.   It's sad and scary.

I guess what I'm saying is we should put a little bit of energy into getting from civil unions to marriage.  But more of our energy should go to helping people who are imprisoned, murdered, bullied, denied ANY partnerships, denied adoption rights, etc.  

15. Wondered if I was less against Julia Gillard than I imagined. I know she's against gay marriage.  But I wondered, is she against civil unions?

I consulted Lord Wiki.   He says she says that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that marriage has a special status.

Well, by saying it's SPECIAL, I think she's saying it is different than a civil union. Then it's not just a name thing.  It's a more significant discrimination. It's not really fair to say one type of relationship is more special than another type.

So no, I don't think I'm on the same page as Gillard.

16. Read the article that Lord Wiki got his Gillard gay-marriage info from.   I wanted to see her quote for myself.  

Maybe I'd feel differently if she said something in support of formal gay unions.  And I don't know.   Maybe she has.  I haven't seen it, though.  I think I've only seen her say she's against gay marriage.  Does she support civil unions?   Is she for them?  Against them?  

If she's not vocally against civil unions, it is because she's totally okay with them?  Or is she quietly against them, but knows that her reputation will be further damaged if she admits to being against them?

17. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called The Very Thought Of You.   It stars Eudoxia Karras and her man, Jason Miller.

The story takes place on Lygon street in Melbourne.  I think that's the one known for being Italian?

18. Checked with Lord Wiki.

He confirms that.

19. Started to read.

It's the evening of November 19.

Eudoxia is going on a date with Jason. It seems he asked her out with a letter.

She decides to wear purple on the date.

Jason picks her up in his car.  He's dressed up in a nice suit and black tie.

Eudoxia is intrigued by this formal date, but also a little worried.  What if he's taking her out to break up with her?  Or what if he's sick?  

Would someone do that? Get all dressed up to deliver bad news?

20. Saw that Jason has taken Eudoxia to a nice Italian restaurant on Lygon street.

He insists that she choose the meal for both of them.  This isn't easy for Eudoxia. She usually never likes what she orders.   She usually ends up liking what the other person gets.

Why is Jason making her do that then?   Does he not know her bad luck in choosing food. Or does he think she just needs to have more faith in her choices?

21. Saw that Jason suggested the two of them going on a holiday. One of the options he mentions is Greece.  Eudoxia is very excited about that.  She misses her home.  She wants her family to meet Jason.

Will they like him?  Or are they going to want her to be with Thomas?

I wonder what happened to Thomas.  I haven't read a Eudoxia story in awhile, so I'm not sure what has been happening there.

22. Wanted to thank those who have answered the poll on the right. This will help me to decide what I want to blog about in the future and what I will do in my own private (non-blogging) time.  I figure if no one wants to read certain things, I might as well leave it out.  

I forgot to add my dreams to the poll, and now it's too late to make changes.  So...oh well. We're stuck with that.   I'm not complaining because I like including my dreams in the blog. I'd hate to feel pressured to stop with that.  

23. Saw that my Australian of the day is Jessie Argyle. She was also known as Gypsy Argyle.

Argyle's mother was Aboriginal and her father was white.

Argyle was born in Western Australia in 1900.

24. Learned that Argyle was stolen from her home when she was around six years old.  This was because under Australian law, young Argyle's legal guardian wasn't her parents.   It was the Chief Protector of Aborigines.

Argyle lost her home and she lost her name.  This is where she went from being Gypsy to Jesse.  

25. Learned that Argyle became a domestic servant.

The Australian Dictionary of Australia says, Aboriginal servants remained under the strict control of the Aborigines Department, received low wages for long working hours, and experienced poor living conditions, isolation, curfews and abuse. 

That's so sad and disgusting.   It's bad enough for children to be taken away from their families when their families love them and take care of them.   It might be a tiny bit less bad if the children were put into situations where they had happy wonderful opportunities.

If a family is experiencing difficulty; and let's say it goes beyond having the "wrong" skin color, I'd say the BEST solution is where the family is given resources AND allowed to stay together.    So if a family is experiencing extreme poverty, then I think it's best that society helps the whole family get food, shelter, good sanitation, clean water, etc.

What's less good in my opinion is taking the children away so they can have better opportunities.   Children shouldn't have to choose between their parents and a healthy life.   But maybe in some circumstances, this has to be done?

What's inexcusable is taking children away from their loving home and giving them a shitty life.

I'm guessing there probably were white people who broke up Aboriginal families because they had good yet racist intentions.  But I think other times it was just about getting cheap labor.  It's about exploitation.

26. Learned that Gypsy Argyle got married and rented a house.  The house became a sort of community center for the Aboriginal community.

27. Saw that the Australian dollar is worth 1.02 American dollars.

Today is the day I'm supposed to check—Sunday and Wednesdays.

It feels kind of weird and sad, because the main reason I would check before is to know how expensive things might be for us on our Australian trip.

That's not happening, so....

I don't know if I really want to know anymore.

Maybe I'll check every so often.

It's so funny.   I haven't been really sad about the cancellation, but now looking at the dollars has made me sad.

I did have a twinge of sadness this morning.  I thought of our summer trip to San Francisco. We're doing that in July. I had been thinking of that trip as being something that happens AFTER we return from Australia.  But now it's not.

It's all silly, really.  

28. Started to look at Fredweng's day seven in Australia Flickr set.  

It looks like most of the photos are from Swansea

29. Looked up Swansea on Google Maps.   It's about 2 hours north-east of Hobart.   It's on the east coast. 

30.  Thought this photo was beautiful. 

I like this one and this one too.  

31. Loved the sky in this photo

32. Decided I'd probably like Swansea.   The scenes in these photos set are breathtaking.  

33. Thought the rock in this photo looked like an elephant with a broken trunk.

34.  Thought this photo of Wineglass Bay is amazing.  

35. Enjoyed seeing Fredweng bond with a wallaby.   Hopefully, if he's feeding him, he's feeding him something that's healthy for wallabies.

35. Wondered if the animal in the picture is a pademelon rather than a wallaby. From what I remember, they're the same except for size.   The pademelon is smaller. 

36. Consulted Lord Wiki.  He says it's more than just size.  Pademelons have shorter and thicker tails.

I'm not sure how he'd classify the tail in Fredweng's photos.

37.  Loved this photo.   It's from Hazard Bay.

Lord Wiki doesn't have anything to say about Hazard Bay, but he does talk about The Hazards.   I'm guessing the bay is part of them.

The Hazards are a mountain chain on the east coast of Tasmania.  They're in Freycinent National Park.

38. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to take a general quiz that's labeled as difficult.  

What's harder on Funtrivia—difficult or tough?   

39. Got question #1 wrong and learned the first Australian to do beer brewing was John Boston.

Lord Wiki says Boston made beer from Maize.

That reminds me of one of the classic Modern Family scenes. 

40. Got question #2 wrong and learned the first international surfing championship was held at Manly beach in May 1964.

41. Got question #6 wrong and learned the first Australian surf club was in Bronte Beach.

I thought it was Manly.

42. Went to the website of the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club.

They promote their place in history on the front page of their site.  

43. Got question #14 wrong and learned that it was 1974 when people decided to change Australia's national anthem.

44. Got question #15 wrong and learned there are about 50 types of kangaroos.  

45. Finished the quiz.   I got 10/15 right.   The average is 7/15.

I'm glad I did better than average.

My self-esteem could REALLY use a boost right now.

46. Wrote a lot of personal stuff.  Then deleted it.

Maybe that's the compromise.

I can whinge—get my feelings out.

But so my blog isn't too boring and personal, I can just delete it after I write it.