Saturday, 30 June 2012


Today I'm helping friends move. Have said I dunno how much help I'll be as I'm not as young as I was. Hope there's all the trolley things and that to move stuff. Back has been with a dull ache last few days as well.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Criminalise Hate, not HIV. Fear less, live more.

In 2009, the National Association of People Living With HIV/AIDS (NAPWA) criminalisation monograph posed the question:

‘Why does criminal law treat HIV differently from other diseases? What social or cultural “filtering” of the “meaning” of HIV infection informs the decisions of complainants to complain, police to investigate, prosecution offices to pursue, and judicial officers to hear these cases and not cases of other disease transmission?’ 


Australia’s response to HIV depends on an enabling environment which aims to limit stigma and discrimination, uphold human rights, and provide effective treatment for people living with HIV: the same people who fought both to position themselves as whole people – not victims (rejecting the patronising misrepresentation of the ‘HIV sufferer’ tag), and against binary definitions of worth (the ‘innocent’/ undeserving being children and those with medically acquired HIV, and those ‘guilty’ /deserving’ being gay/sexually active/drug using).

I've never much looked into this whole subject, or thought a hell of a lot about it. Disclosure is a huge issue and extremely complex. There are so many nuances and variables involved with all the different lives. The current laws dealing with HIV behaviour are therefore like an ignorant bull in a china shop. Overkill, misdirected, and just plain wrong.

I recently applied for income insurance through my Superannuation fund. I've had so many HIV related health issues last year that I can't say exactly why I was denied cover, but I was. Which is fair enough given my health last year. What I did however find very strange was a question asking me if I had HIV or not. There was no mention of any other disease, just HIV. Being as it's as treatable now as diabetes, why the fuck didn't they ask if I had diabetes as well? Why single out HIV?

I've always tried to be as open as I can about my status, but I did have rather a bad experience earlier on in 2009 (my year of self destruction). Me and a straight guy at a local pub ended up pissed as farts one time, and long story short ended up in bed. I honestly remember very little about it. The next morning I told him of my status as I couldn't remember telling him the night before, maybe I did who knows, and he didn't remember either? He totally freaked. Went and got tested 3 months later. Done the whole bit, claimed I'd not told him before (personally I reckon I would have even when plastered). I kept telling him there was nothing to worry about (I didn't have the heart to say that his dick was so small it barely touched the sides - that I do remember) but he still kept freaking until the test came back negative. I think I freaked out those 3 months at his freak out.

I may be a bit unique in that I don't care what people think, I just tell them if I need to. If they have a problem then that's their shortcoming, not mine. There's enough shit to deal with having HIV without concerning myself with their mental inadequacies. It has however become a subject of protest by the HIV communities around the world that the current laws around the world (including in Australia) actually drive HIV underground and increase infections. 

I would encourage everyone to watch this 10 minute thing. It's a real eye opener:

And this one, Fear less, live more:


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Superannuation money finally arrives... *faints*

I've just picked myself up off the floor after fainting. My Superannuation money has finally arrived in my bank account. I checked online this morning and there it was. The letter advising me of such along with the relevant paperwork will arrive in the mail later. I now have to inform the $guru who will instruct me on how exactly to pay the banks, as the relevant accounts have been handed over to their other depts dealing in client debt.

What a fuckin marathon this has been. Think it was about Oct last year that I finally bit the bullet and decided to get some sort of financial advice as to how to deal with a substantial debt that I couldn't service any more, let alone pay off. This was no fault of my own, but simply the result a string of very unfortunate circumstances, including mental and physical illness. I became a client at BGF and arranged to see a financial adviser there (later to be dubbed by me here as the "$guru"). As a client of BGF this advice was free.

After the first meeting with him the situation looked particularly grim. After investigating all options it came down to just 2 possibilities; declare bankruptcy, or access my Superannuation. I decided to give accessing my Superannuation a go, as a last ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy. There was only a chance off success with this, in fact given comments from other people to me about it, it was most likely to fail. The fact that we ultimately succeeded in getting access from my Super for enough funds to cover all my debts is a testament to the experience and knowledge of the $guru, and to just what sort of mental and physical state I've been through in recent times to actually qualify for early release.

The process itself was extremely difficult, as anyone who's followed the course of this over the months on this blog would know. Never in my life have I encountered such bureaucratic bullshit that continued on over the 5 months that the DHS took to approve my claim. I could not have gone through that without the support and encouragement of the $guru at BGF. On one particular occasion I just wanted to give up with it all and declare bankruptcy, but he said to just be patient. He negotiated directly with the banks on my behalf, with the banks chucking fits left and right. I'd not have had the nerve or know how to do that.

In particular I'd have to thank the Labor gov here, as after dumping king Howard of nearly 12 years, Labor was the one who bought in these laws that now the banks have to follow; that if you find yourself in financial crisis through no fault of your own, you can be treated with compassion and patience, and not be instantly taken to the cleaners by the banks. 

In short, I myself at the start saw no way out of this other than the excruciating bankruptcy scenario. But in the end there was a way out. 

Yesterday also the money arrived in my account from my work payout. I'm sort of slapping my face thinking that this all must be some kind of dream or shit. After struggling for so long, to have the situation change like this virtually overnight. ..... 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Australian's political confusion

A most interesting discussion here from polling done about what exactly Australians believe politically. After reading all of it, I've decided that we're basically pretty confused. Political commentary on these issues is simply making assumptions about what we believe, rather than actually listening to the public to find out.

Given the cacophony of people yelling from the rooftops over the last 30 years about how good this amazing new economic system was for us all, I suppose it's understandable that the assumption would exist that we're all happy with our economic reforms here over that time. I mean after all, look at how well our economy is doing compared to everyone else's. We must have been doing something right.

However despite our country's economic performance as a whole, there is a significant dissatisfaction with the way it's all working out. The common man is feeling alienated and ripped off by the system. The system that has seen a divide open up in Australia between the rich and poor and is currently only getting wider, in what we once considered was an egalitarian country. You'd think with an economy as successful as ours we'd all be happy, but not so.

I would think that what's going through our minds here is very likely what's going through many other minds around the world, particularly in Europe right now. Yet here we're looking at the gov going back into surplus next year and we're stilled pissed off with the system.

Some of it:

What comes out from this broad snapshot is that what Australians believe about the role of government in our society and economy isn’t necessarily what our institutions believe or practice, and probably hasn’t been for a while. Our beliefs as a country are certainly far removed from many participants in the national debate that pretend to speak on behalf of our population and on behalf of our interests. 

Whatever the faults, foibles or otherwise of these national beliefs – and this isn’t an exercise in either support of, or opposition to them – our national debates on the role of government in our society and economy are becoming increasingly isolated from what the majority of the country actually believes. 

Our public debates assume that the benefits of privatisation have reached a conclusion – the public believes that privatisation was and is a catastrophe and that government should own a larger sector of the economy because we trust government more than large private sector corporations. 

Our public debates assume that smaller government and less regulation is universally beneficial – the public supports substantially higher levels of regulation on just about any topic you care to name and struggles to find something they’d like the government to become smaller in. Our public debates assume that economic reform has been such an obviously beneficial thing to ordinary Australians that it no longer needs explaining – the public believes that corporations took all benefits of that reform, leaving them with little more than a casualised workforce and reduced job security. 

If we keep having our national debates like this – excluding larger and larger sections of our population and ignoring what they believe – they won’t be national debates, we’ll just be talking among ourselves generating ever increasing quantities of public opprobrium, contempt and general unhinging. If you haven’t noticed – this is where we are at right now. 

Our national debates need more participants and institutions talking with and to the public, acknowledging what they believe, explaining the increasing complexity of the world and bringing the population along with them in the debate through persuasion. What we have now – a political system struggling to be heard calmly, institutions talking among themselves and a bunch of vested interests shouting and threatening everything that moves – let alone a media unsure of how to be a constructive participant anymore – it will only end in grief. 

As a country we have an unparalleled opportunity right in front of us – not only in deciding the type of society we want to be, but having the capacity to generate the wealth we need to solve any and all of our problems. It would be a tragedy if we fucked this up because some of us refused to acknowledge how important it actually is to bring the public along with us.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gov guaranteed

Feeling a bit crook today. Sorta got a bit carried away yesterday afternoon with a few beers. 

Went to see my neighbour in hospital, and it turned out he was going home shortly after I got there. Neither of us are very familiar with that part of the city so I walked with him to show where the bus stop was to get home. Think he's pretty shaken up by the whole experience. He's the only person I've ever seen myself that has gone into a full on psychosis from alcohol; actually seeing things not there, people not there, hearing voices, must have been a scary thing for him. I suppose his body reached a point where it just couldn't clear the alcohol any more and every drink just added to it. His liver is apparently fucked up badly. He had to go back today to get an ultrasound done of it. He's not drinking he says now for 3 months. I was surprised that he was going to do it. I'd say the doctors must have told him exactly how bad things were. 

Rang Australian Super this morning to see what was happening with the payout I'm getting from them. The forms and everything have been checked and it's all ready to go the guy said, it just has to be processed by the Benefits dept. Said it should be done by Friday. I will of course believe it when I see it, so long this has taken. The guy on the phone couldn't believe how long it had taken the DHS's in Canberra to process the claim (since Jan). Once I get the money I have to contact the $guru so he can direct it to the correct dept he's been dealing with at the banks. 

I also thought it a good idea to open an online account, a simple thing just do it all on the PC. Transferred a few $ to it to activate the account, and will put what's left over after paying my debts into it. It's accessible being linked to my normal account with another bank, and you just transfer money back and forth whenever you want. They have a special on at the moment for new customers, 5.6% for the first 4 months. That's alright, probably better than what my Super fund is currently doing.

I was a bit worried about going with the particular bank I chose as it's a foreign one and with the way things are going overseas......   But they've thought of that it seems, with a bit of info about the gov arrangements here with banks; that certain accounts are guaranteed by the gov for up to $250,000. I remember they did that when the GFC struck.

Jimmy Carter slams US human rights record

The first thing I thought after reading this was that there were no surprises in it. In fact it's what people have been saying for years and years already. After 911 you'd think the American gov would be trying to make friends around the world and to stop people hating them. All they've been doing is blowing up everything left right and centre, with the arrogant justification that it's a "War on Terror". Apparently you battle terror by creating more terror?

It's not rocket science. Blowing up innocent civilians in a foreign country with un-manned drones, calling those deaths "inevitable", and continuing to bomb the place without even declaring war, targeting and labelling people as "terrorists" because of their political beliefs. What do they reckon, people in that foreign country are going to get really pissed off really quickly? No shit Sherlock. 

It's good to hear finally from someone as influential as an ex-president a voice of reason. It's not so good though that it's taken so long for this to happen. And all he's doing is stating the bloody obvious, it's not like it's some sort of new shocking news. Too little too late?
Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times. 

These policies clearly affect American foreign policy. Top intelligence and military officials, as well as rights defenders in targeted areas, affirm that the great escalation in drone attacks has turned aggrieved families toward terrorist organizations, aroused civilian populations against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to justify their own despotic behavior. 

Meanwhile, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, now houses 169 prisoners. About half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom. American authorities have revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers. Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of “national security.” Most of the other prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either. 

At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends. 

As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the years. 

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. 

The New York Times

Monday, 25 June 2012

Something about the ANZAC character?

I'm about halfway through this book "Keen as Mustard". It goes a lot into the history of chemical weapons since WW1, and follows the events that ended up with the allies conducting chemical weapons experiments on Australian troop "volunteers" during WW2. It's terrible today seeing it but given the circumstances and the time you can see how it all came together to happen.

There was a very real danger that Australia could be invaded by the Japanese, and intelligence reports suggested the Japanese could use chemical weapons. It was therefore considered an urgent matter to research how mustard gas behaved in tropical conditions. Turns out mustard gas is about ten times more effective in tropical heat, which the researchers found out when conducting tests in northern Australia, meaning that the Australian troops often suffered terrible burns during the experiments. 

What I found fascinating though is how their character is referred to in these tests, by the British scientists:

  Chemical warfare scientists and administrators in Britain and the United States became aware early in Gorrill's series of experiments that the Australian subjects were outstanding, uncomplaining and more cooperative than their own troops. Indeed many expressed both admiration and horror at the extent to which the Australians tolerated painful and dangerous testing not only with courage but also with extreme good humour. The view has subsequently been expressed that the excessive tolerance and high spirits of the Australian experimental subjects forced Allied chemical warfare officials to doubt whether British and American troops would cope with chemical combat the way the Australians had done under the simulated battle conditions in Gorrill's experiments. The outstanding nature of the Australian volunteers has thus been attributed as a factor which may have encouraged Allied leaders to decide not to wage a chemical war against Japan in the South West Pacific theatre.
Keen as Mustard, Bridget Goodwin.  
In fact the researchers had to redefine what a casualty actually was because of the Australians:

Gorrill was to make much of this issue in his later reports, but on at least one occasion he had the opportunity to demonstrate to some of his senior British colleagues what he had discovered about the character of Australian troops. A visiting group of senior British military once witnessed for themselves a group who had sustained burns following mustard gas exposure. The volunteers werre instructed by Gorrill to "drop their pants" and reveal the extent of their injuries. The British visitors reaction was one of horror and they declared the ment to be casualties. Gorrill's response was to show the visiting dignitaries what was meant by the difficulty in defining a casualty with Australian volunteers. Subsequently, on Gorrill's command, the volunteers pulled up their trousers, tightened webbing, performed a series of challenges on the notoriously gruelling assualt course and marched away to camp.  
Keen as Mustard, Bridget Goodwin. 
In my own experiences, particularly last year, I always found an outlet in humour when things were terribly bad. The staff in kidney dialysis congratulated me when I ended it on keeping a sense of humour through a very difficult time. The financial advisor has also done the same through all this drama dealing with a debt of tens of thousands of $. And it's still there, the humour. Other week my neighbour (the one in hospital now from alcohol poisoning) was so sick he spewed at the bus stop. I asked simply "So should I call the priest?". We both laughed. It lightened the moment. I still remember a while back somebody in Queensland had half their house blown away by a hurricane up there. The State Emergency Services arrived to help him out. So he's standing there with half a house left and says to them "I'd offer you a cup of tea but we're all out of milk."   

This sort of thing really helps, well with me anyway.

Was looking at a thing from WW2 as I wanted to get an idea to the background of what was happening when these experiments were going on. The Japanese were in fact at our door and we were fighting them desperately to fend them off. The reporter who shot these pictures, Damien Parer, was later killed by mortar on another Pacific island. These were desperate times, with great fear that the Japanese would invade and possibly use mustard gas in it's offensive.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Getting online in country Australia

I had a look at what sort of internet coverage they had in Lightning Ridge. Simon has a land line going into his place but it's not connected, so I'd imagine it'd be some huge drama to even get the thing reconnected let alone set up the internet through it. Would take weeks and be costly. So I decided to go wireless when I'm there. I'm going up for about a couple of weeks next month sometime and wireless was the easiest way to do it.

It will of course be a connection nothing like here. Here it's ADSL2+, the test on the line they did after connection was about 55Mbps. ADSL2 isn't available up there even through a land line. Neither is the new 4G network. According to the map it's in a blue coverage area, which means the 3G network. There are only two providers available up there as well; Telstra and Optus. I decided to go with Telstra, simply because I know it's going to work. I've heard some pretty bad stories about Optus wireless internet from various people.

I looked online to see what was on offer from Telstra, and as the 4G wireless isn't available I had to get a modem that worked with 3G. It has an information speed of up to 8Mbps, which is a bit slow but I'm sure I can live with it. Often it depends on the website servers anyway as opposed to the actual capacity of the connection. I also got a little aerial for it as well to boost the signal if needed. It actually looks quite interesting, sort of funky or something.

The biggest drawback though is the extreme cost of the information. The modem comes with 3gigs once I activate it, which expires if I don't use it after a month. Fuck, at home I'd go through 3 gigs in a few days just general surfing. So then when that runs out you have to buy more data packages before you can connect again. For another 1gig (yes, that number again, 1gig) it cost $40 (yes, that number again, $40). Fuck I nearly fainted. Although you do get $10 bonus credit with that, however that works. I don't think I'm going to be watching much YouTube out there. Here in Sydney on a plan via the landline, I get 100gigs a month for $35.

I dunno why it's so incredibly expensive out there. Possibly as what I'm actually doing is plugging my PC into the mobile phone system, and the information is based on mobile phone usage. Surely this must change in the future to reflect the new technology? 

There is the National Broadband Network currently being slowly built across Australia. Likely that will change things. Fibre optic cable to the home. Speeds of up to 1,000Mbps (1gig). Far out. I can't imagine.

Since this post is getting a lot of views I thought it better to update this than making another post. Have been spending some time looking up about the National Broadband Network, as I noticed today online that in Kansas Google has decided to trial an NBN like set up with speeds of 1Gbps. (See here). 

Which is like the NBN here that they're already building with fibre optics. 
93 per cent of Australian premises will have access to the NBN through optic fibre to the premises, capable of providing broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second. The remaining 7 per cent of premises will have access to next-generation fixed wireless and satellite technologies, providing peak speeds of 12 megabits per second.
If You're in Australia you can put in your postcode to find out when it's being rolled out in your area by going here

And they now are on YouTube as well:

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Hyde Park Barracks, our convict history

When I was walking back to the bus after visiting my neighbour in Sydney Hospital, I noticed this:

Hadn't heard much about this place at all. Was free to go in to the museum and I had plenty of time, so I did. Knew nothing about it. Turns out it was built about 200 years ago to house convicts. Must have been a horrible life for them back then.

A lash thing that was punishment. They used it on their backs:

Irons, I guess as punishment? And tools I suppose they used when working: 

The corridor on the top floor, with all the original floorboards. They look polished now, but I imagine they'd not have been 200 years ago.

This was pretty freaky. This was their sleeping quarters; fuckin hammocks. My back hurts just looking at that. Imagine living like that? These people were sent over from Britain because they were running out of room in their jails, sometimes for the smallest of crimes. And this is were they ended up. Just looking at that was rather moving.

What I found most interesting was this sign thing. It was in another room of sleeping hammocks, but all darkened like at night. My mouth dropped open reading the last paragraph. You know it just goes to show that gays have been and always will be part of humanity:

Friday, 22 June 2012

Mr X

I was going to think of a better pseudonym for him, but "Mr X" seems to have stuck. He's surprised actually about how many views his first guest post has been getting. I however think he writes in a very straightforward Australian way is much of the reason and am not particularly surprised myself. Told him he should consider starting his own blog as he's very good at it, and it's a great way to release what's going on with you, especially things that you'd not normally talk about with other people. 

It's interesting too as I was in so much of a mental daze soon after I was diagnosed that I can't really remember much of how I felt about things. I sometimes just dunno what to say to him because whatever happened with me back then my head was sort of in a numb state and I didn't care about anything. Anyway he's says he's writing a book, that would be very interesting to read I'd expect, and entertaining too. 

He's told me he's fine with me posting "any of his bits" As in his "bits" below, he leads a double life:
An absolute panic attack today. I have been to the central clinic place once before for a counselling session - don't mind the people, but the whole place just gives me the creeps. Well that is where I have to go to get meds - nice lady, but by the time I answered a million and one questions and got led into the secret room to get the stuff, I was pretty freaked and then she starts to run through possible side effects etc. - I walked out with 2 boxes of pills, enough printed material on them that would sink a small ship, and was totally freaked about whether my idea to go on early is actually the right one. Im sure it is, and Ive made the decision anyway so fuck it - its day 1 of the rest of my life so here we go, but geeeees - they certainly know how to freak you out. 

Kind of a strange reaction really - today was about the freakiest day of my journey so far - I kinda sailed through it all from day 1 up till now pretty well. I was always pretty choosey - picked guys who were regularly tested and neg, didn't bb randoms in clubs or anything, but you takes your chances in life, so I wasn't happy, but not surprised when I got the news. There's no real point in going into a deep dive as to who it came from, but I'm pretty sure I've worked it out, and I was just a victim of timing - he didn't know he was poz and it was between tests - also, looks like I probs got it as top and not bot - so it is true - works both ways. Then through the whole getting used to it period, because I've always had this double life a totally separate straight and gay one, it was always like "yeh its happened but its not me, its the other me" so I just took it in my stride. I can remember the first time I cut myself after knowing though - looked at my blood and reacted like I have Ebola or something "unclean!!!", practically steam cleaned the bathroom after. But now the pills are mine - not the other me, both me's, Hmmm, here we go i guess. If I break out in rashes, turn yellow, have black pee, heart goes wild, I probably wont freak any more than I did today when she ran me through all that stuff lol.
Mr X

Life between jobs

It all ended at work yesterday with a bit of a fizzle. We went and had a couple of beers at a local pub and then went back to wait for the last bit to do with the Human Services lady. Think the plan had been for her to come downstairs at 3pm and do it all with us, but by 2 we'd all had enough. Nobody was working and we'd all stopped and were just waiting, so we went up to see her in her office. We signed a few things, handed in our swipe cards and locker keys, and were handed the envelope. That was it. Nobody much felt like going for another drink as many had to drive and we weren't in the mood anyway.

My final total was a little under $38,000 net. I did ask about if it could at least have been worked out on a 4 day week as I was about to go to that anyway, but of course it had to be on "current circumstances". I wasn't pissed off or anything though, I mean considering the last 2 years in the place and the fact that last year I very nearly got the boot, and nearly chucked it myself too, anything now is a bonus. I'd have walked out with fuck all. This with the redundancy is the best way to leave. We were told the money would go into our accounts about the middle of next week.

Phoned the guy from the agency yesterday who'd been emailing me to ring. He seemed very easy going and no worries to get along with. Turns out he's the guy they ring at work to get the casuals in; the ones that have been working the other two days Monday and Tuesday when I wasn't there. He said to send a resume so as to make it easier to place me around the companies he supplies. Resume? What the fuck is that? After 13 years I'm right out of practice at getting a job. Anyway he's emailed an example of one that looks pretty easy to fill out. He rang my supervisor and had a chat to her as well to check me out. She's who I'll be using for a phone reference in the future.

Anyway he texted me this morning asking if I could work today. Fuck, just couldn't face it today. Told him was hung over and half pissed still, he was fine with that. Wow, wasn't expecting that at all. Thought a bit of casual work might out  here and there, but I wasn't expecting to be asked to work the first bloody day! He'd had a late cancellation from one of his other blokes.

Simon went back to Lightning Ridge on Wednesday evening. He drives later as the traffic is lighter. The bed feels a bit vacant without him. Will see about going up there for a couple of weeks next month, would be good to get out of Sydney after all of thiese dramatics of late.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Espresso Book Machine

Wow, no wonder the printing industry is changing. This machine does it all.

Hat Trick

Can't sleep. Woke up about an hour ago and got to get up soon for work anyway. My head is in a bit of a whirl, can't stop thinking about things. 

Today is the last day of work, after 13 and a half years there. Although I'm very happy about getting the big redundancy payout, I do share in everyone's assessment of the decision; to close the dept and get rid of such experienced and skilled labour is an incredibly stupid one. Tomorrow they will be left with core machines that no one knows how to operate, but are still required as an integral part of operations. 

They've made this mistake there before, although not on such a grand scale as this. Recently they fired someone of over 30 years service in another dept than ours, only to have to bring him back the very next week as he was so needed for the work required. He's still there today. I however wouldn't ever go back after being treated like we have by management. It's not my problem any more, and I have too much self respect to go back to a place that thinks so little of it's workers.

I emailed the agency place last week to investigate if there's any work around through them, explaining that I'd only be interested in work near where I live and not full time. It was only through their web form, but surprisingly they emailed me straight away. Have been pestering me to ring them for 3 emails now, yesterday they sent two emails wanting me to call. Could these people actually appreciate my years of experience and skill in the industry?

I have emailed back apologising for the delay, but that it's been full on the last few days and quite stressful at work. Promised to ring them this morning from work. Ugh, I dunno if I even feel like working right now, but oh I guess it would be nice to work somewhere fresh, in different places if I'm needed. Don't think I could face getting another permanent job right now. Too much responsibility and expectations. Like having to get up every day to get there, am just so over it. But this is of course another option to consider.

This job is the third one in a row where the management has fucked up so badly the job has ended. In Cricket terms (for the Americans) that's called a "Hat Trick"; where the bowler gets three batsmen out from 3 balls in a row. This hat trick has taken 28 years to accomplish, but I got there in the end! Three jobs in a row.

We're going to have a few beers after work in a local pub. Some of these guys don't even hardly drink, but are turning up anyway. Such is the sentiment. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fuck them

Latest on the work thing.

I was rung yesterday by the immediate supervisor (the only manager person to survive the chop) saying she had some "bad news". she went on to say that all of those made redundant were finishing up on Thursday (tomorrow now). I was bursting with glee, but her the poor dear was nearly in tears. I dunno what all that means.

So I get to work today and get told also that we're getting 3 more weeks pay, as the estimate the other day was assuming that we'd all work through the 1 month notice. Now that it's only been a week and we're getting fucked off out the door, they have to include those 3 weeks as added to the final payment. Very good, and getting very bloody close to an in the hand $40,000 payout now. Tomorrow after the days work at 3pm, we will be getting our stuff and handing in our magic cards that open the doors and let us into the place.

I did get a bit pissed off today however. There was a procession around the machines of a boss and the head engineer, that it appeared were no longer going to be able to operate properly as no trained staff would be on the premises to do so. In particular my guillotine. I tried to explain that what they were attempting to do was operate this machine without an apprenticeship and my 30 years experience in the industry.

I was asked "so how hard is it to put a programme into this?" I said that they'd have to get Heidelberg out to train someone as I was officially redundant and wasn't needed any more. They wanted to look at the existing programmes on the machine, which I showed them. They had no concept though that these programmes were a thing in evolution and that you had to be able to set one up with a trades knowledge in the industry to take charge of all that. I was also insulted that my 13 years in the place, along with my 30 years industry experience, they appeared to think could be replaced by some dumb fuck who just pressed buttons with some sort of computer knowledge.

Out of about 100 programmes on the machine, there will be only one left when I leave tomorrow; the one currently being used. I'm happy to get the redundancy money, but I'm not going to be insulted like that. The non used for years instruction manual has also gone. To train someone using Heidelberg, they charge I'm told about $200 an hour. Or if they have to rely on agency people, they're about $60 an hour that the place gets charged. Much more than my $26 an hour.

But fuck them. I'm taking the money and running. These dumb fucks can sleep in the bed they've made. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Photos: The Great Barrier Reef

Have been talking with Simon about another possibility with the new money, that being him to sell his place and we combine our money to buy a one bedroom place in Cairns (far north Queensland) or some other cheap area. Have been looking online and apparently the bottom is falling out of tourism up there because of our strong Aussie dollar. Developers moved in and built all these places and now they can't sell them. Another option to consider. 

Anyway, I mentioned that I'd been up there a couple of times on holidays, and he found that hard to believe as I'm so settled at the moment where I am. So I went to the box of photos to see if I could find anything of up there. It's the first time in years I've looked in there as previously it's been too strong with memories and too painful to look at the photos. I just got some of the ones out of the trips up there, and spent some time this morning scanning a few into the PC.

This one is when My wife and I took a tourist flight in a little plane over the Great Barrier Reef (well a tiny bit of it). She was scared shitless poor thing, and we found out later that she was also pregnant with our daughter. So we were sort of all three of us in the plane back then. I was in the back seat with a camera, back in the days when it was just film not digital. It's not super spectacular, but it does show how the waves of the Pacific Ocean get subdued by the reef. Inside the reef the swell is barely existent on the beaches.

This one was over Green Island. We'd later go on a day trip out there on a boat. 

Here is on the highway between Cairns and Port Douglas. As I said, there's no waves to speak of inside the Reef.

Here's at Palm Cove, just north of Cairns.

We went on a day trip out to the reef on a boat. They had a glass viewing area that you could walk downstairs too on a platform out there. Snorkling there as well, but I'm just not that outdoorsy enough to do that. The photo of the top of the reef from the boat is interesting as it shows the waves breaking in the background.

And lastly here's a couple from the day trip out to Green Island, near Cairns; the one in the photo above I took from the plane. 

There's a lot more packed away, but that's all I felt like looking at so far. As I said, it's the first time in about 5 years I've even gone to that box of photos. The mental paralysis and pain made it impossible to view them. Being able to view even these few now, is another small step forward.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Guest Post

I was contacted through the blog the other week by someone only recently diagnosed with HIV. We've been emailing back and forth a bit, and in my opinion he's very good at expressing his feelings in those emails. In an, aah..., rather Australian way. I asked him if he'd mind me posting some of it on the blog as others would also find his experiences interesting, which he was happy to agree to. Of course he wishes to remain anonymous, and I'll edit where necessary for his privacy. Haven't thought up a pseudonym yet, so for now I'll just call him "Mr X". 
What a stupid fucking disease we have gotten ourselves into. Healthy as an ox here but feel like I’ve been waiting for the hand grenade to explode. If you’re such a vicious thing that's eventually going to be part of my death Mr HIV – fucking do something, don’t just lie there and say “It might be alright now, but I’m going to get you one day!!!” - well fuck you Mr HIV 

So, I had my doc visit today – this is only the 3rd or maybe 4th since the happy news. 

WTF????? so CD4 which had been climbing, took a bit of a hit and went from 760 to 670, still, I have a cold, had gastro since last time, and had Gonorrhoea at the time of the test (I am the most vulnerable person in Australia to that – I swear, I really could catch it from sitting on a bus seat – fuck it). So not great news but not that bad.

 But then the other bit – viral load, now remember, no meds here, cd4 dropping, so nothing good – fucking thing dropped below 1000 – I’m damn near close to becoming undetectable without meds which is almost unheard of. Go figure!!!! Explanation? “ yep its getting you, when it crops up it is clobbering your immune system, so when it replicates you get hit, but there is something about my chemistry that seams (at the moment at least) to inhibit its ability to replicate”. 

My answer? – I didn’t wait to hear the results anyway – I have already decided that while I know the drugs are serious stuff, it is just doing my head in sitting here waiting for the bug to do something so I said – “don’t care, its drugs for me and the sooner the better”. 

So fuck me – walked out with a script. 

Fuck, never seen such a reaction – I gave about a litre of blood – 9 viles for all sorts of things, had an ecg, go for a bone density test next week, and some other test I don’t even understand but come some time next week when I get the script filled – were off. Not looking forward to taking such serious stuff, and I know I probably don’t really need it yet, but I had to – it was just doing my head in thinking I was waiting for some stupid thing that I couldn’t see of feel or had any effect from, to just breed and come up and hit me. 

Next interesting thing – latest CD4 was 670 – the medicare guidelines are 500 and while I’m happy to pay for bits and pieces, fucked if ‘I'm going to sign up for thousands ongoing for meds – Answer –” just don’t worry about it mate” says doc – “its just a guideline – if we get audited then we will have to chat but its my problem not yours” = love my doctor. We agreed that it is actually quite defendable – I'm [over 50], under medication for blood pressure and cholesterol (both of which currently measure better than normal, but we’ll leave that bit out), have a slight case of heart palpitations etc. so its kinda justifiable. Guess what??? After paying [a lot of] taxes for the last 20 years – I am actually going to get something back Wooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!.

Signed, "Mr X".

Heffernan's homophobia, Update

I commented on this originally here.

An interesting editorial in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday:

The Liberal Party has grossly mishandled allegations of homophobic misconduct by Tony Abbott's NSW enforcer, Senator Bill Heffernan. Senator Heffernan has admitted that, at a rowdy branch meeting in May, he effectively outed a gay 67-year-old party member, Ray Carter, and called him a derogatory and homophobic name.

But the Liberal Party doesn't want to acknowledge the truth.

Mr Carter's original allegation, published in The Sunday Telegraph, included a claim that Senator Heffernan had pushed him. CCTV footage of the event indeed shows the Senator laying his hand on Mr Carter -- but police say the encounter does not justify a charge of assault.

The Liberals' spin is Senator Heffernan has been exonerated.

That is patently untrue, and wantonly mischievous.

Today's full story leaves no doubt Senator Heffernan uses homophobia and intimidation to achieve his ends.
Senator Heffernan has admitted he spoke in disparaging terms about Mr Carter's sexuality and called him "a poof", as witnesses have detailed.

This spat is at the centre of an ugly factional brawl on the Central Coast, where the forces of the party's Right are split and the Liberal head office -- backed by the authority of Tony Abbott -- is enforcing its will.

Allegations swirl from the Heffernan side that Mr Carter and other allies of powerbroker Chris Hartcher illegally collected developer donations, which they deny. State president Arthur Sinodinos, secretary Mark Neeham and federal leader Tony Abbott are allowing Senator Heffernan to run rampant with behaviour that would get him sacked in any other field of endeavour.

Last week, in a rival publication, Heffernan claimed "gay friends" were very upset he had been called a homophobe. Really? In 2002, Senator Heffernan falsely accused the High Court judge Justice Michael Kirby of trawling for under-age prostitutes. Heffernan, who used parliamentary privilege for the attack, was censured by the Senate and forced to apologise.

A gracious Kirby said: "I hope my ordeal will show the wrongs that hate of homosexuals can lead to." It's a lesson Senator Heffernan -- and the NSW Liberals -- clearly didn't heed.

This is a man from a bygone era. How the fuck he gets voted in is beyond me. He's either a really good bullshit artist, or his constituents are equally as stupid as him.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Amazing file attachment technology

Another good thing happened last week during the whirlwind of good news. 

When I got the letter about my Superannuation from the Dept of Human Services (DHS) I then had to fill out a form to send to the Superannuation fund itself, Australian Super. Found it on their site and printed it out, a simple 2 page thing. In sending this off to their Melbourne head office I had to attach the letter from the DHS instructing them on the amount of funds to release, as well as certified copies of my Passport and such to confirm my ID. 

Being as it had taken the DHS 8 days to attach an email to my file, I soon became worried about how long it was going to take myself to attach all these things together to the form. I couldn't afford wasting another minute on this, let alone 8 days. Therefore I began a desperate search for a much improved way of attaching things together than whatever method the DHS was using.

At work I looked on my supervisors desk, and noticed a particular little pile of strangely shaped metal wire things. They were curved at the end, and elongated in a straight line, in such a way as to open slightly when paper was put in them and thereby using the tension of the wire to hold said paper together! Marvellous  I thought. It looked like it would work fabulously! 

So I took one home to experiment, and sure enough, success! Not in 8 days, but in seconds!

The beauty of this file attachment device is in it's simplicity. A simple bit of metal bent in a certain way. Easy to use as you simply pick it up, hold it with two fingers, and slide it onto the edge of the paper. Not only can you attach one file in seconds as opposed to 8 days, but you can attach multiple files at once. In only seconds! I was able to send all the required attached documents to Melbourne within a day of getting the letter from the DHS.

Living on the edge

We went out for a few drinks yesterday afternoon, and I commented on the bus that I was feeling a bit strange. Sort of light headed, like I'd had too much coffee, but I hadn't. We got to the pub and on the first beer it occurred to me that perhaps I'd forgotten to take all my pills this morning. I'd slept about 12 hours overnight and didn't get up until late, and couldn't remember sitting up in bed and taking them. I usually take them about 6-7am, as I get up for work at 6. The more I thought about it the more I couldn't remember taking anything.

So I said this to Simon who was rather nonchalant about it I thought. "Oh pills, pills, what pills?"  I said that I wasn't worried about the blood pressure ones as they'd do fuck all missing the morning ones, but it was the 300mg of Efexor that was the big concern. In all the time I've been taking it I've never missed a dose, such has been the importance of it in avoiding suicide. He just told me to stop worrying about it.

After a while though I started feeling really strange. Much more light headed, and scared and anxious. Couldn't see straight and my vision was very blurry. Decided now that there was no doubt I'd missed taking it and said I just had to go home. Tried to keep myself together on the bus, was agitated and impatient. And feeling emotional. It'd not be so bad had I been on a much lower dose, but as it's 300mg it's a huge thing if I miss taking it.

By the time I got home and in the door I was starting to hyperventilate and was feeling these terrible pain emotions that I'd not felt in a long time. Swallowed the two pills straight away and sat on the chair in the bedroom near the window. Couldn't help it, just started crying from how much I was feeling this pain again. Fuck, it was still there after all this time, just waiting under the surface. An unexpected visit from the pain monster. 

I ate something as well to aid the pills being digested, and after about an hour I was feeling a bit better. The experience itself though was very scary. That is how close I am to that pain still?  Just a day missing my dose and I'm that fucked? Talk about living on the edge. It'd have been a simple matter to end it in that state of mind.   

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Stupid Capitalists

Well what a week! It's not every week you get the news nearly $75,000 is soon to come your way. I will be able to pay off all my debts, and it looks like about $45,000 will be left over. Now after the initial euphoria, I'm faced with what options I have with this money now.

I've thought about the Lightning Ridge thing, and although I'll definitely go up there and spend some time there with Simon for a month or so, I've decided it's just too remote a place for me to live permanently. I've thought about it before and it always comes back to the same conclusion. The medical services are completely inadequate for my needs, particularly as it takes a week to see the one doctor in town. With going on HIV meds at some point I'd be worrying about getting them out there to the chemist, or would I have to get them from the local hospital pharmacy? Who knows. It's not something that a mistake can ever be made with and to miss doses with. Simon also has only solar electricity of 12 volts, needing a generator for normal power.After 30 years in Sydney I don't think I could live like that long term.

So that leaves living in Sydney and paying $210 a week rent (currently). With $45,000 I could probably stretch that our for over a year at least if I wanted to, or maybe try to find a little part time job somewhere. Dunno. A year off sounds pretty appealing. Maybe I could even do a bit of volunteer work for some of the HIV services around the place. It'd be a nice change from what has been the endless drudgery of being a machine operator in a dying industry.

Or maybe I could buy some little place to live in the country? I doubt there'd be much available at all for that money, but it might be worth looking into. It's all up in the air right now. I'll be having a big discussion with the psychologist early next month, as he's known me since my diagnosis in 2009 and would be an impartial judge of what options would be best for me. Oh what a fuckin dilemma; how to spend $45,000!

Apart from that, some people at work weren't so happy. Those who'd not been there as long as some others of us got a much smaller payout, one with a family and the sole income provider, another with a new baby born only days before. Even my dept head got the boot, and he'd not been there very long either. 

Overall it's an example of stupid Capitalists after short term profits for shareholders, at the expense of a very profitable dept. Yes, we were making them a lot of money. But they decided it was cheaper to outsource the work and sack us all. Complete and utter greed, and like taking a wrecking ball to the company. They have sacked the only two qualified guillotine operators on the site for example, me and the other bloke. The sort of work they will have left to do they need someone who knows what they're doing. They even asked me to train one or two of them to show them how to set up a programme on the guillotine and operate it. WTF? Get fucked! They sack me telling me I'm redundant and don't need me, then they want me to train someone for my job? They obviously have no idea. And who's going to change the knife? A particular procedure twice a week that you have to know how to do it to do it safely. A metre long sharp as a razor. You have to be a tradesman to do it, simple.

Anyway it's not my problem anymore. It's been interesting though since we got taken over a while back. A lesson in how to destroy a very profitable company.  

And this is the work that is soon to be no more. I've been cutting this one for the last few days. It's 2 million in quantity, that job alone worth $80,000 and very profitable.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

"This is beautiful"

"This is beautiful"

 This is beautiful.

How are you Southerners?

All god down there darlings?

Just for you guys there in the pink, here's a really good porn site for you all. It's all free, register a username and it's free torrents.

Why is this so funny? Any opinions?

$36,000 work windfall!

This is life changing.

Today near the end of the shift, our entire dept got called into the office for a special meeting. I get so bored with office meetings, but this one felt different and exciting from the start.

The boss guy came in and went through a power point presentation projected onto the wall. In it was a general thing about this and that, and in the end was the announcement that our entire dept was being made redundant. They were from here on going to outsource the work due to the competitive nature of the industry now, with printing companies going broke left right and centre as technology changes.

Of course that means that will have no control over quality like they do now, and in my view is a short term decision for short term profits, but hey all I could think of was how lucky I was!

As I've been there for 13 years, and as the union over those years has negotiated a very good redundancy deal, I immediately started salivating about how much I was going to get. They handed out individual envelopes to each of us with an estimate of each of ours pay out. 

I opened mine later after leaving for home. There is of course the 13 weeks service of redundancy, being at 44 weeks pay. Also an extra week of notice because I'm over 45, on top of the 4 weeks notice required. Also an extra 25% on the redundancy payment as I'm over 45 years old. The redundancy payment also doesn't get any tax at all as it's exempt from it being redundancy money. And so the grand total of my work windfall is:

I walked out of that meeting happier than I've been in years. Not only is all my debt about to be cancelled, I'm also getting $36,000 into my hand next month.

I think I've gone into some kind of orgasmic shock. I did have hopes for my 50's after the train wreck 40's, but this shit is beyond my wildest dreams. Suddenly I have options, and life isn't about work anymore. 

I've already decided to go up to Lightning Ridge and spend time with Simon there. With money I can set up a wireless internet connection with him and blog from there. And I was getting worried actually as we are so close this visit, and what it might be like without him. We've fallen into a way of sleeping together for example that's just so natural and lovely; either I lie with my ass next to his dick, or the other way around. Both involves love and closeness.

It also cost bugger all up there. No rent, no electricity bill as he's solar. The money I'm getting would last for years and years up there. I do hope it's the end of work for me. Hey, they retire at 50 in Greece right? It's just that they have to pay debts that the problem! 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

He's here for a week now :)

Simon is here tonight, for a week now before he goes back home. We're cooking dinner and I need an early night, maybe him not I dunno. I was up early this morning as I couldn't sleep.

Got the whole thing together for the Australian Super. Simon is going to send it off tomorrow.