Friday, 30 November 2012

"Human" - The Killers

Am discovering some of David's music.

"Close your eyes, clear your heart, cut the chord"

Anxiety and depression strategies

Yesterday at the Resiliance workshop we had a session/presentation dealing with anxiety and depression, which of course was right up my ally. When asking us questions during much of the presentation, I was giving answers so correct that they were surprised. I said that it wasn't from a text book but that this was part of my life. Thought at least I had a good understanding of the subject for them to build on.

There were a few things that stuck out for me. The first was how society has trained us into believing that there are good and bad emotions, like happy is good and sad is bad. In truth these emotions all have a place in being human and are the result of our evolution, so obviously they're all there for a reason. It's only when they start interfering in every day life that they get a problem. Example of hunting, you'd need anxiety for your body to be at the ready sort of thing. So that was a big thing to realise, just how much we've all been programmed by society to reject certain emotions, when in reality we'd be better not to put any kind of moral imperative on them. Even in modern life anxiety has it's place if it's at a normal level.

I remember as well an example being used of mine. Say I was thinking of going out and socialising a bit, but then I'd think something like "No one will even be bothered talking to me?" and then the anxiety about going out would follow. Unfortunately (knowing me) I'd likely end up giving my attention to that anxiety and try to push it away, which only makes the anxiety worse. The better thing to do is to give my attention instead to the negative thought:
"No one will anyone even be bothered talking to me?" and examine the actual reality of that thought. It is in fact a hypothetical that's entirely unlikely in a pub situation. To challenge the validity of the thought puts it much more in perspective. Like "well, that's very unlikely to happen", and it follows that the anxiety decreases.

Another thing was recognising that not everything I think in my head is correct, and assumptions that they are are what can get me into trouble. For example, assuming that the thought "No one will even be bothered talking to me?" is correct just because I thought it, gives strength to the following anxiety. A better way is to be able to step back from those thoughts, almost detached in a way, and to look at said thoughts sensibly.

This was one of the better sessions, found it extremely relevant to me.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Moving on

Ended up feeling pretty down yesterday afternoon. I know it was going to happen sooner or later, but it's still been a challenge to end whatever it was that Simon and I had. Kept thinking about all the times he'd helped me and that, especially being there for me last year for a month when I come out of hospital. I suppose it's normal to feel those things after it's over, and I'm thankful at least that although it's sadness it's not in the same vein as other things that have happened in the past with me. This is about dealing with what in the end was just inevitable. I did try, we both did. 

But what do you do when they come out with some of the shit that he did? Particularly the almost brain dead "You should be feeling happy now" comments that he said more than once. Or other things saying "you should......"  Or even the way he thought I'd be better off without taking happy pills, and that I just needed a "tonic", whatever that is. It was obvious he had no idea about my depression/PTSD. Or what's involved with HIV as well. One time in Sydney went round to the house he was looking after to stay the night, then realised I'd left pills at home and had to go back for them. It was pouring rain so he said he'd drive me, but he made such a thing about it. Like I was being stupid to think I needed them anyway, and "pills, pills, pills, bla bla." He made me feel so bad about that, and I wasn't even on HIV meds. Had no idea.

And you know, something I didn't find out until after I'd known him for some time, he hadn't even come out to his adult children. I wasn't even on the radar with them. And I noticed too when we were out and about in the Lightning Ridge megalopolis, he didn't want me to do anything that would indicate he was gay; like not even a kiss goodbye when I was getting on the bus to go. Guess that was OK because we both looked at the thing we had as being about sex and closeness in that sense (I mean fuck the sex was great) but not really about sharing our whole lives. Him being closeted around so many people didn't really bother me until the last few months, and I wondered what sort of a future (if at all) there might be for us if we continued like that.

So anyway David's off work for three days and he took me out for a meal and a few beers last night. I was still feeling pretty sad and I think moody as well, but it's much better it seems when he's around. It was a bit strange getting bought a meal, usually I'm the one doing the paying, and in fact I can't even remember the last time I had a meal out. Usually just cook at home. I don't get takeaways at all now, dreadful stuff it is. 

David is a few firsts for me. The first one who's HIV+ like me, first time I've not been working and he has, and the first one who wants a full on relationship. I must say the change is quite refreshing. I asked him last night, that I see this good looking guy and WTF does he want to hang around me for? His answer was that it's about the love that you feel for each other. Pretty good answer I thought, would've been something I'd have said.

Needless to say we're both really surprised at how fast this is all happening, what all of about a week and a half so far. Is a bit scary for both of us. Is early days, but sometimes things can happen like that.

He's been hurt terribly by life as I have. I suggested rather than either of us trying to explain what's happened in the past, maybe we can leave that for later, and for the moment just know that we both can feel and understand how much it hurts. I mean neither of us wants to go through the trauma of telling about some extremely painful experiences. He's actually very good at hiding his pain, he's mastered the mask. My mask has been in pieces since 2009, have told him I get a bit emotional sometimes, he understands that rawness.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

It ends with Simon

I didn't know exactly how to let him know about David. I'm not good at talking on the phone, even since being a kid I've had this weird anxiety thing about it. Think maybe it's to do with not being able to see the person and talking in real time. So I wrote an email to him saying the basics all in a very nice way. I mean he's a lovely guy and I just didn't want any hurt to be any more than it needed to be.

I got a reply this morning. I won't paste exactly what he said, but he was glad that I sounded so happy on the phone to him the other day (I suppose that's a bit rare for me). He seemed to think though that he knew I wasn't interested in him for some time now, which was news to me. I have of course been interested in him, it's simply been other issues that have gotten in the way so much as not being able to continue with those issues in play.

So I replied back pointing this out. I didn't want him to think that this was his fault, it wasn't. It was nobody's fault. We were just both in very difficult situations. I'd say that the biggest issue was me being HIV+ and him not. He just never understood, although he tried that's for sure. Really, how could people understand all that's involved with it unless they've been through it themselves?

He'll be down end of next month and has already arranged to stay elsewhere, so he must have had an idea this was coming. We'll get together then, I still want to see him socially. Feel a bit sad today about it, would have to say he's helped me as best he could over the last 3 years or so, but it just wasn't to be. Likely this would of happened even if I'd not met David, meeting him simply hurried up the process. Think I'd already said that I couldn't see us moving forward unless certain things were resolved, and they were in the end almost impossible to. Certainly beyond my capacity to do so.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Abbott gets the dirt wrong

I think it goes like this. The Abbott opposition claims that about twenty years ago, Gillard (when she was working in a law company or something) set up a rather run of the mill boring sort of union fund at the request of two people in the union that was to use the fund. That was it. Later, unbeknownst to her, those two people misused those funds for their own purposes other than union business. Now the Abbott opposition has been banging on endlessly saying that Gillard was associated with a union "slush" fund, with what appears to be not a shred of evidence. I think that that's about the gist of it.

However it becomes incredibly involved and complicated when the opposition starts pouring over endless legal documents from that long ago, looking for some minutia, some straw to grasp, showing a connection with Gillard and this "slush" fund. The whole thing gets bogged down in legal jargon and so hard for a lay person to follow that most of them wouldn't bother. I watched about half of the live press conference yesterday just before question time, and although I consider myself of average intelligence I found myself just completely lost in most of the questioning, not having the faintest idea WTF they were talking about. I did note though, that despite my complete ignorance, Gillard certainly had the subject matter in hand and was giving very forthright and intelligent replies.

If the press gallery thinks this is a story they've got it wrong. If Abbott thinks this is a killer blow, then he's got it wrong too. It's a pathetic lame assed attempt, a lurching at straws, in the idiotic hope that people in the community are going to give the slightest fuck about what happened 20 years ago when Gillard was a lawyer. And really, they're trying to trip up a bloody lawyer? She's just going to make them all look like a bunch of buffoons FFS! WTF are they thinking?

What's more, Abbott by doing this is feeding right into this narrative the Gillard gov is trying to get out there, that Abbott has no policies and the only thing he can do is be negative. Try and bring down the gov by some crap from last century long forgotten. People just don't care about that. I certainly don't. Every time I hear some more shit about the so called slush fund I groan, it's tedious, boring, and completely irrelevant to Australia in 2012.

You know it does make me wonder. The Coalition did this when Rudd was leading the charge to defeat them in 2007, they threw everything at him including I think the kitchen sink as well. There was some "scandal" about drinks at a club in the US somewhere, and nobody cared in the end. It made no difference to the polls at all, and Rudd went on to win a decisive victory bringing Labor to power after 11 years of Howard. Could it be Abbott is trying the same failed strategy again?

It now comes down to how the public sees this battle. The opposition thinks that tarnishing Gillard will work to its longer-term advantage. The huge file that Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin had when she was pictured with Bishop said it all. 

Gillard is banking on ordinary people being turned off by the rehashing of matters ''re-recycled over 20 years.'' 

Putting the knife in, she told voters Abbott, unlike John Howard, did not have ideas for the nation's future - hence the ''sleaze and smears''. Read more
But her accusers need to be building up to something, and quickly, because in the court of public opinion the Prime Minister is likely to be getting a few head nods when she says people are getting very sick of stories from 17 years ago about allegations they don't understand. Read more

Pink - Dear MR President

Monday, 26 November 2012

"Operation Northwoods"

The CIA had plans to kill Americans in phony terrorist attacks within the US and blame it on a foreign country to start a war. Sound familiar? Well, this wasn't conjecture, this was fact. It happened back in the 1960's with the foreign country being Cuba.
In the early 1960s, American military leaders drafted plans to create public support for a war against Cuba, to oust Fidel Castro from power. The plans included committing acts of terrorism in U.S. cities, killing innocent people and U.S. soldiers, blowing up a U.S. ship, assassinating Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees, and hijacking planes. The plans were all approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but were reportedly rejected by the civilian leadership, then kept secret for nearly 40 years.

Author James Bamford, “A Pretext For War”, discusses the declassified “Operation Northwoods” documents revealing that in 1962 the CIA was planning to stage phony terrorist attacks on the US and blame it on Cuba to start a war: link


Far out.

Our refugee shame

In the race to the bottom by both major parties over asylum seekers, the Gillard gov has been sending newly arrived boat people to Nauru even before it's anywhere near ready for them. We now have this from Amnesty, via a Dr Graham Thom, a "refugee policy expert".
We still don't have answers to some fundamental questions. Why were these men taken to Nauru before appropriate accommodation had been built, before leases had been granted by local landowners, before processing arrangements had been finalised, before staff were hired and accommodation found, and before the visa conditions allowing freedom of movement had been put in place? 

Negotiations with the Nauruan government on several issues are continuing. But the decision to send vulnerable men to Nauru without finalising such basic, fundamental issues is not only extraordinarily ill-conceived but cruel. 

Detainees said to us: ''What is the point of keeping us here when everyone else will be processed in Australia. It doesn't make sense. What have we done. Why us?'' 

I agree that it makes no sense at all. The damage we are causing to their physical and mental health is already apparent. History has shown that most will be found to be refugees. While Australian taxpayers foot the bill to keep them hostage on Nauru in the vain hope it will send a signal to others fleeing war and violence not to come, ultimately, after up to five years of living in squalor, they will be brought here, broken. They are then expected to rebuild their lives. Lives we have wasted. 
Offshore processing will only serve to break vulnerable people who have fled unimaginable circumstances. These individuals should be processed in Australia, in accordance with our international obligations. It is time the Australian government stops playing politics with the lives of these men. They deserve better. Read more
Fuck man we're going right back to the Howard years. What a disgrace for this country. What a dark stain on the Labor party. Using people's lives for political gain. People who're in no position to fight back. 

I dunno WTF is wrong with people in this country to agree with shit like this. Australia is two thirds the size of the US, with only 22 million people, per capita one of the richest countries on earth, and we treat people who need our help like this? Break them to get votes from racists?

Terrible. Absolutely terrible.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Introducing David

I met David a week ago today, and have posted occasionally about him here. In the interests of privacy I didn't use his name but simply called him "anonymous", however he's happy for me to use his name he's told me. He also Googled the blog and has been reading it, I guess that's one way to find out about someone. I was going to give him the link anyway, but that's great that he's already found it (hi David *waves*). 

It's been a good week, have so much enjoyed his company, just being around him, and of course the sex! Looks like we've both been through the wringer, with not only being HIV+ but with shit from life as well, far outside the realms of what normal people would consider a lot of shit. We both just get each other's pain. There's no need to inform or educate about it all, no need to explain, just being around each other we know.

It's so much easier with someone who's positive. I certainly don't blame Simon in any way for not getting my shit, I mean FFS there's a lot of it to get. But it's nobodies fault, not mine or his, that there's this barrier of understanding between us. I'm really starting to think that it's pretty impossible to understand the sort of psychology and pain that you go through with HIV unless you've actually been through it. Some people I guess may be superhumanly empathetic, but they must be very rare. 

Sadly much of this pain is caused simply by the whole social attitude about HIV, and ignorance. Yes it's just another disease and all that, but communities very often don't look at it that way. We have to confront stigma and prejudice, think about things like disclosure and the consequences of it, not to mention how we think about ourselves having it.

With David there's none of that sort of hassle. No crisis about when is the time to tell him I'm positive. None of all the complications and dramas that go with being with someone negative.

But it's more than that. We really connect. I didn't want to get involved with any sort of relationship, but right now I'm feeling like just giving up and letting him in to my life. You know there's all these barriers I put up because I don't want the drama or hassle of it all, and then someone comes along like David and just sails right past all the barriers and all I want is to just be with him. Fuck, I was seriously trying to avoid this, thought I was so good at keeping people at an appropriate distance. Where the fuck do I go with this now? Strange as it may seem after only a week, I really feel I love him. And believe me, after being with my wife to the end I certainly do know what love is.

He's spent a couple of nights here. Or was it three? In fact we've seen each other every day the whole week. After the last time my daughter comes and chats to him (um, think was more of an investigation). They chatted easily in the lounge room over coffee, but she seemed a bit stunned sort of. He's younger than me and is pretty cool as far as a 22 year old would think for someone older than them. It was like she was thinking "wow dad, you got him?" pretty funny. David picked up the same thing off her, and I can read her like a book anyway being my daughter.

Have told Simon about him but not as yet about how strong it's getting with him. I'm gonna have to do something soon as he's coming in about a month and it's going to be extremely awkward if he wanted to stay here with me when David and I are so involved. Fuck it's only been a week since we met, what will it be like in a month? So I better give Simon some warning that he'll likely have to stay with his friend down the road that he looks after her house sometimes. It's a bit hard he's such a lovely guy Simon, and I don't want to hurt him. I suppose that gives an idea of how much I'm thinking of David now. But I mean Simon's was an open relationship and sometimes in that situation these things happen.   

Is the Facebook craze over?

I'm one of those strange people who have never liked Facebook at all. I did have an account on it for a while but found it to be just too much hassle to be bothered with.

Firstly, the thing was bloody complicated as hell. It's bad enough having to learn the latest Windows operating system and other upgrades that come along, but to spend 5 minutes at a time trying to figure out how to do something on Facebook was just bullshit. And it didn't seem to get better the more time I was on it. Maybe just me but I couldn't see any point bothering with it when if someone wanted to contact me just to send an email.

Then the people that found me on it weren't people I wanted to be found by. There was a period when suddenly my account was swamped with all these new "friends" that were from that dreadful church I was in many eons ago, with stuff plastered on their walls that would appear on mine; things like gay hating religious bigotry suddenly started showing up on my account as friends posts. Ugh. In the end I had a mass purge and deleted these new Facebook invaders.

So I was pretty much left with just people on my facebook friends list that I could simply email anyway if I wanted to say hi. At that point I gave up on it, but still left the account open. It was virtually un-used for about a year I suppose, until that nut bag from Germany here on a bridging visa sent me a full on death threat through facebook (which was followed through court with an AVO against him). That was it, I disabled the account and want nothing more to do with it.

Looks like I'm not the only one getting the shits with facebook. Even Australians who use it are getting over it.

A quantitative survey we conducted of 753 Australian Facebook users (selected to represent the general population) tells the story even more succinctly. Thirty-one per cent of Australian Facebook users feel that they spend too much time on the site. This number doubled to 61 per cent among those aged between 18 and 29. 
Anyone with a Facebook account could relate to these figures (c'mon, we've all watched the hours spent on Facebook slip by with a pang of guilt at ignoring the kids/washing/work/study/sleep) but what surprised even us was that this feeling of burden was driving users to consider opting out altogether. Forty-three per cent of users have thought about closing their accounts, with slightly more - 47 per cent - of those aged between 18 and 29 admitting to considering disliking Facebook for good. Read more
Other than it being a complete waste of time fucking around on it, there's also the security issues. People have their whole lives on facebook, along with their real names and fuck knows what else. That sort of information could be massively useful for some gov or corporation wanting to know what's going on with an entire population. A gov could use that info to slant it's election campaign to strike a chord with voters, or a corporation could use it to find out what people want to buy. There's been some pretty scaring stuff in the last year or so relating to the cavalier nature of Facebooks attitude to information privacy.

Overall, I'd be glad to see the thing become much less powerful. All that information in one place has got to be bad. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Amnesty Int. slams Nauru centre

Got an email today from Amnesty Int, in it they report on conditions in the Nauru detention centre where boat people asylum seekers are being dumped.
I've just arrived back from the detention camps on Nauru. Even after years of visiting these sorts of places with Amnesty International, I was shocked by what I saw [1]. 

14 people to a tent. Tents that reach 40 degrees in the midday sun - yet it is so humid that the tents are wet, causing detainees to develop skin conditions. I met two detainees who've been hospitalised following hunger strikes. I was shown a pole where a man recently tried to hang himself, and many people showed me scars on their body caused by self-harm. 

These people are not criminals [2]. They're people who have been locked up with no hope, and no idea how long they'll remain there. 

Authorities haven't begun processing a single detainee's case for asylum. No one has legal representation - Australia doesn't provide lawyers, and Nauru has no private lawyers on the entire island. Conditions are cruel, inhumane and degrading. There aren't even enough shower blocks and toilet facilities. 
It's heart-breaking to see people fleeing war, violence and persecution being treated this way.
You can take action here.

This is appalling. I can't believe how low the fuckin politics has got with this. It's become about appeasing Australian racists rather than appealing to our better nature. By both major parties. It's the reason why I could never vote for Gillard; it repulsed me under Howard and I'm still repulsed under Gillard. Same shit.

I just don't know how some of these politicians can sleep at night with treating people like this. The saddest thing is that these are the weakest and most vulnerable. What an outrage.


Had the best day yesterday. It's full on with this new bloke, we connect somehow in a very special way. Holding each other we both feel safe, sort of home. Next to each other all night. Haven't felt like this in a long long time.

I think it's easier with us both being positive. That's not to say that a positive/negative relationship can't work, but there's no adjustments or worries about understanding the whole HIV thing. We both get it. No explaining needed.

Dunno where to go with this now. I guess I'll just go with the flow and see where we end up. If that means it'll interfere with the Simon thing then so be it. I can't simply ignore something as special as this.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Dealing with change

Had the 4th session of the Resilience workshop yesterday. Not sure how much in the mood I was for it as it's been a lot of stuff to take in each time. Have had a bit of a head cold last couple of days and not particularly wanting to sit for 3 hours, but anyway...

This one was about ways to manage change, and using a small example from your own life in an exercise that breaks the change down into smaller easier to handle bites. It is useful that, as if I'm trying to do something often I just look at the whole problem and feel overwhelmed by it, then sometimes avoid the issue for as long as I can. Obviously that doesn't solve anything.

Had a bit of a moment too during it. I suppose the odd moment here and there is to be expected with something like this. I think the question was what causes change. I was going to say something about the random nature of the universe interacts with your life, or something along those lines. But then my thoughts went to a conversation I had some time ago with the psychologist about why things happen. In that talk I was saying yes, random events with no rhyme or reason, but sometimes chance deals you a really shitty hand and you just have to deal with it. I related this to the group and my comments in that conversation that all I wanted was another hand to be dealt. Another chance, in this life of chance. There were a few tears by me darlings, and I don't think anyone else's eyes were exactly dry either. 

It was simply talking about change, that lead to those memories coming back, and how badly I'd felt back then in that conversation. I was back in that pain. The memories are more than recalling events, they include all the feelings and emotions as well. It's like being transported back in time and reliving the event.

We went on to talk more about change and how to deal with it. I was feeling pretty flat after that though. Drained. It was pointed out by others that our own interaction with chance can change things too, that everything isn't set in stone. Is how you deal with things more so than trying to avoid dealing with them. This in itself can influence future events.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hamas bad. US drones good?

This stuck out like a sore thumb when I saw Hilary Clinton giving the US gov's position on Israel on the telly. The language she used, I thought how the hell can they talk like that about Israel and do exactly the same thing as Hamas in Pakistan?

Well today it looks like I'm not the only one to pick up on this hypocrisy. This via chycho. First, watch this little thing with Obama speaking about Israel. The language used is pretty mind-blowing in that nobody seems to notice a very big elephant in the room.

And then read this. 
To emphasize the hypocrisy of US foreign policy in the following reply from President Obama, the word “missiles” has been replaced by “drones”, the word “landing” replaced by “striking”, and the word “Israel(i)” replaced by “the country’s”. Obama’s actual video reply follows the modified quote. 

"Let's understand what the precipitating event here was that's causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of drones that were striking, not just in the country’s territory, but in areas that are populated, and there's no country on Earth that would tolerate drones raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. 

“So we are fully supportive of the country’s right to defend itself from drones striking people's homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians, and we will continue to support the country’s right to defend itself.” more

Boat people aren't "illegal"

For those outside Australia who aren't familiar with the politics of a mere 22 million people, there has been a huge debate in this country for years about people arriving by boat from Indonesia seeking asylum in Australia. The whole debate wasn't going along too badly until Howard used the asylum seeker issue to stir up racism here about them to win the election at the time. The debate has been clouded by that racism ever since. 

I'm not going to get into the current gov policies in regard to asylum seekers. That's been going on for years and I think frankly that people (including me) are sick to death of the whole issue being dragged endlessly through the media. 

What I would prefer to see I guess is a constructive debate about the whole subject free from bigoted lies and racist fears. I had a neighbour with his wife and two kids a while back who was an asylum seeker here (dunno how he arrived BTW I never asked), so I know what these people go through when they come here. Contrary to popular belief, he wasn't given a house (the four of them lived in a one bedroom unit) and he had to work to pay all the bills. He wasn't entitled to any welfare like all those Centrelink payments for families and the like. They really struggled to get by, but were still very nice people. I actually wrote a reference letter for them as being nice people for the Dept of Immigration when he requested it. Recently he got his Australian citizenship.

So, not for any sort of political reason but because I actually lived next door to an asylum seeker family, what annoys me about the whole debate going on now in Canberra and around the country is the simple ignorance, lies, and fear about, almost bordering on mass hysteria in some parts. Probably the worst thing of all is that instead of finding a decent solution to the problem the politicians are engaged in politicising the problem for their own political gain. With me I know how that feels being in a vulnerable minority myself and how the whole marriage equality issue gets dragged through the political wringer time after time. It's taking an issue that affects people's lives in a big way, and demeaning it down to a Punch and Judy Canberra stoush. 

I suppose that with Abbott's popularity fading after he misfired on the carbon tax scare campaign, he's now looking for another issue to galvanise support for him again. I expect the Coalition is extremely worried about a new resurgent Labor and desperately want to get back to the good old days of Abbott, who waged such an effective scare thing with the carbon tax that most commentators were writing off Labor nearly 2 whole years out from the election with the Coalition 16 points ahead in polling. Now it's much closer, and it appears Abbott has found his new fear thing to monger about. 

Mr Abbott toughened his rhetoric against asylum seekers on Wednesday, saying more than 2000 are ''coming illegally to this country'' every month without papers. 
''The people who have come illegally to this country need to know that they are breaking our laws, that they are, if I may say so, taking advantage, unfair advantage of our decency as a people,'' Mr Abbott said. Read more
Well it worked for Howard right? Sadly it worked horribly well for Howard. I remember during that election campaign and an old lady at work just crapping on about how Howard was going to protect us from the terrorists/boat people, bla bla.... fuck she was really up in arms about it. It's to Australia's shame that the people let them selves be manipulated like that, seeing Howard win that election on racial demonising. 

Will it work for Abbott? Dunno. Abbott isn't Howard, and like I said people are sick to death of pollies and the media banging on about boat people for years and years. There's also the small detail that Abbott's credibility is shot to pieces after his "sky is gonna fall" thing with the carbon tax. People are getting a bit more knowledgeable about the subject too I think, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the population isn't as gullibile as it was years ago when Howard first bought race into politics.

Just a bit of truth in the debate would be nice, that's all. No matter how much Abbott raves about them being "illegal" they're not. It's not illegal for anyone to seek asylum from persecution, period. To say it is is a lie and simply demonising these people to gain political advantage. How repulsive.

But ANU international law professor Don Rothwell said it was clear it is not illegal to enter Australia without a visa and seek asylum. 

''Any person who arrives at Australia's borders, whether it be at an airport or harbour or being intercepted by navy patrols is entitled to present an asylum claim to Australia,'' he said. Read more

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Well that was a lot of fun. Definitely think I've got another strategy to fight depression with: have really good sex man. 

Dunno where this is gonna go, but as I said neither of us want some relationship thing, ugh. Both think the same way, both too complicated and can't be bothered with the hassle of it all. 

Simon was playing the drama queen (usually that's my area of expertise) saying by the time he gets down to Sydney I'll be in a relationship and will have thrown him to the wind. I said "it's me your talking to". I just can't bear the thought of having to put all that effort into it, happy just to enjoy each other, no strings.

Will just go with it. The sex is mental, you know when you feel that intense closeness with the person. That doesn't happen very often, but it's marvellous when it does. Certainly a change from the 3 months or so of depression I've been going through. Feel much better today than I have for a while.

"Dumb ways to die"

This is pretty funny. I didn't realise until the end what it was.


Computer says no

This gives a good idea about just how lame online retail is in Australia. 

A whole bunch of companies get together and organise some big online sale thing to go for a day. Mega hype, advertised everywhere, they called it "click frenzy". Or as it's been christened in the online world, "click fail". 

Yep, you guessed it, the site crashed big time.
Just when local retailers thought things couldn't get worse, the landmark national online sales event that was supposed to be Australia's chance to ''fight back'' against international online competition, crashed before it even began. 


But it was not just the main Click Frenzy website that crashed under the heavy weight of traffic. The websites of several other participating retailers, including Myer and Toys 'R' Us, also failed during the opening hours of the sale. 

The Click Frenzy website was up and running again about midnight, along with the other major retailers. 

The crash on Tuesday night came just hours after David Jones' attempt to hijack the event with a one-day sale of its own backfired when its site crashed for two hours mid-afternoon. 

Steve Ogden-Barnes, a retail industry fellow at Deakin University, said the online meltdown was ''an embarrassment" for Australian retailers ''who treated online shopping as an afterthought''. 
''They say they are worried about losing sales offshore but many of the bigger players have never really taken this channel seriously … this just proves it.'' Read more
What a total fuck up. Is that the best retailers can do online in this country? Better start getting rid of those penalty rates for the checkout people, that'll fix it right?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Met mr anonymous at the pub on Sunday afternoon, one of the Oxford St ones. We were just chatting and got on like a house on fire or some other cliché like that. We started kissing and OMG, it was like going to another fuckin world man. Neither of us could believe how much we connected.

But neither of us want anything out of it, other than a bit of company, um, and a lot of sex it appears. BTW I think I've found a new strategy against depression; go and get a good fuck. WTF am I supposed to say? It's worked marvellously the last couple of days.

We went home Sunday to his place, and fuck, the sex was just fuckin mental man. Again, we both couldn't believe it. Just sort of both stunned after each episode. Was so nice for both of us just to cuddle after that and all. Half the time that's all I want eh, just someone there to hold in the night.

He had a day off work yesterday and we ended up in this text thing wondering WTF to do as we both wanted that sex again and how it felt. I suggested perhaps another round; drink-smoke-fuck (I guess a bit like shit-shave-shower but better). Met at a pub and had some drinks, couldn't fuck keep our hands off each other. Remember the kissing and closing our eyes and kissing for like a minute at a time, and then opening them and like, fuck where am I? Such was the other world we went to just kissing. 

Going round there this afternoon. He texted me, I was gonna leave it for the weekend but hey, that's fine. Will play it by ear. I really didn't think he'd be in contact after the first time, you know sometimes it's a bit awkward as you dunno if they want your phone number or to part and never see them again. The never see again is usually simply just people wanting a one night fuck and that's it, um, often like me.....

But he texted this meaningless message "hope you got home OK" yesterday. Fuck, that's just a text saying "so do you want another fuck mate?"

We're both HIV+. We both don't want a relationship. We both enjoy each other. 


Retailers blame the workers

It's no secret that the retail industry in Australia is struggling. As much as the mining industry would like to think that Gina making bazillions is good for the overall economy, it appears those bazillions haven't found their way to the retail sector. 

And as much as the retail sector would like to think it's none of their fault all this difficulty they're now experiencing, um, a lot of it is. In short, many of them have been caught with their pants down by online shopping, in more ways then one.

As over the last few years online shopping has grown at a rapid pace, people doing so started noticing huge differences in prices with what they could get overseas and what the shops were selling here in their stores. I mean really big differences. To the point that the issue started being reported on in the news and current affairs programs. Over time I think it became obvious that Australian consumers were being massively ripped off by the retailers here, and had been for years. It's even more blatant now with the Aussie dollar worth more than the US$, but still price differences. I can't see why a telly made in Asia should be more expensive here than in the US; we're right next door to Asia, the US is right on the other side of the world from them. 
"The growth in online has brought transparency not just to consumers but to us as retailers," says David Jones' group executive of merchandise, Donna Player. "That has given us greater ability to go back and negotiate with suppliers."

Ms Player says the department store commenced a program of "global cost price harmonisation" at the end of last year and has negotiated wholesale price reductions of up to 50 per cent across hundreds of international brands and thousands of products.

Rival department store Myer has undergone a similar process and says it has achieved price reductions of up to 40 per cent, primarily across cosmetics, clothing and homewares.

Retail industry fellow at Deakin University, Steve Ogden-Barnes, says the greater transparency brought about by window shopping online means retailers' motivation for negotiating better wholesale prices has shifted.

"In the past retailers have negotiated firmly with suppliers primarily to increase profit margins," he says. "Now those negotiations often have a primary focus of reducing prices to prevent losing sales overseas." more  
Well look at that last little paragraph. How very telling..... And 40-50% reductions? Fuck, that's a lot. We then were getting ripped off by 40-50% at least, and it's still not as cheap as overseas! Where was all this money going that they were gouging out of us? To "increase profit margins". Pathetic. They're only just realising now in 2012 that a better way to go is to actually think about the customer and reduce prices instead of lining your pockets? Fucks sake! Shear unbridled incompetence.

So people got the shits and more and more bought stuff cheaply online. Retailers scratched their heads wondering WTF was going wrong. Finally some of them are waking up to this small little fact of price competition and are moving accordingly, albeit at a rather late stage. Yeah, another case of management with it's finger on the pulse.

There's also been issues of retailers setting up an online thing, but it being not much more than a token gesture. Lots of their stuff you could only get in the store and it wasn't available online. So what happened? Yep, people bought more cheap stuff from overseas online and got it delivered to their door. More management stupidity. Fuck how old are these retail sector gurus? Fuckin 70? Hello, here we all are on our PC's.

And now today I read this bullshit submission from the retailers to Fair Work Australia. Oh, guess who's fault it is that the retailers are up shit creak. Would it be the incompetent management spending years ripping off us all in something like daylight robbery? Would it be the fossils in the office who haven't actually realised that computers exist? Oh no, it's not their fault.... 
RETAILERS want Sunday pay rates cut by up to $8 an hour. Associations and organisations representing most retailers will tell Fair Work Australia that penalty rates - in recognition of working unsociable hours - should be cut or abolished. 

Unions last week argued that current pay rates and penalties must be protected. Read more  
I think I got it now... The people at the checkouts and stacking the shelves, they're sending the industry broke all by themselves. Never mind that they get paid fuck all anyway, but it's their fault for being paid too much. This is of course whilst management has spent decades lining their pockets instead of building their industry.

What a load of shit. I've heard it all before. 

Police aren't "punching bags" - Scipione

This was a very well put together piece about the death of Curti and the coroners findings. I do feel for justice to be done the police should be charged over it, like anyone else in the community who killed someone. 

The guy in the video, Mike (husband of Curti's sister) summed it up brilliantly with this comment near the end.
 MIKE: Until that happened, I’d always maybe had this sort of faith in the police force - that they were out there to do good, and to protect the public, and all that sort of thing. And after seeing what they did to Roberto, I don’t trust them anymore. transcript
Exactly. I don't trust them anymore. People may wonder why I'm so anti the NSW police, long before Curti's death. It's because I've experienced their brutality myself, and their bloody mindedness in trying to get a conviction on me; not giving a fuck if it destroyed what little life I had left.

Andrew Scipione has been the NSW police Commissioner for some time. I always remember these comments of his for some reason back in 2007 in the build up to APEC being held here in Sydney. Took a while to find the article. The city looked like Fort Knox with barricades everywhere, whilst the Labor gov and the police force involved itself in a campaign to demonise anyone who dared to protest (which incidentally just made more people turn up to it, sort of an Australian thing; if some idiot in power says we can't do something that we're allowed to by law, we go and do it just to piss them off). I took part in the protest BTW, many people were marching simply because they felt they had a right to and no one was going to tell them otherwise.

But I digress......  Here's Hitler's Scipione's quotes from that build up:
Addressing reporters on his first day as police commissioner, Mr Scipione said Sydney's APEC meeting was his first priority and challenge and the force was ready. 

"The most important thing from my perspective is (officers) now have been given very clear directions ... our police, particularly in APEC are not there to be punching bags, they are not there to be spat upon, they are not there to be assaulted and if people do that our police will act appropriately, but they will be very decisive, it will be very rapid," Mr Scipione. 

Mr Scipione said officers were "not there to take a pounding" and will arrest people to prevent the spread of violence. 

"I will not let them be put up as battering targets for those that want to hurt them, that's just not acceptable," he said. 

"I've got a responsibility to ensure that my police don't become targets for anyone." more
Those words came back to me after my experience with the cops, and seem extremely chilling now after Curti's death. 

Scipione remains the NSW police Commissioner, despite a change of state gov. IMO he should be sacked. All we want are cops to protect us, not a fuckin war with them.  

Monday, 19 November 2012

Our expensive housing

I dunno how but Australia's housing has shown nothing like the declines like overseas. Much to the angst of many people I'd guess. Sydney is diabolical. Younger people often simply just leave and find work somewhere else as to buy something first off is way out of reach. I dunno if it's still true but a year or so ago I was talking to someone who their son was buying a unit locally here; half a million $ it was. Just unbelievable. Then that affects the rents too. You can pay $500 a week now in eastern Sydney easily to rent a 2 bedroom unit. As I live in an old dump for 5 years now it's against the law to increase the rent by an unreasonable amount, but if I had to move I think I might be rather in the shit.

Maybe there's hope for us mere renters though. People are actually starting to think that housing won't be the boom industry it has been in the past. It's all very well to make money out of property investments, but what happens when the prices get so high that many people simply can't afford to buy them? We're already there. Have been for years. Now with the rest of the world having property vastly less priced than ours, how can we possibly expect the property to continue to increase in price?

Ask any foreign money manager what scares them about Australia's stockmarket and they will invariably say the risk of a housing collapse because of gross overvaluations. It makes a lot of sense. Virtually all the Western world has seen house prices crumble since 2007 while Australia's residential market has defied gravity, recording only gentle declines. The median house price in Australia is six times the median household income - 30 per cent greater than the US and the long-term average. Read more

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Drones continue under Obama

So how's Obama going with rebuilding the world's confidence in US foreign policy, and ending the drone strikes on a country without even declaring war on it? Well, pretty bloody abysmally. Can't see my faith in him returning anytime soon. Meh.

Coalition wants to abandon car industry

In a stunning display of stupidity only now months out from a federal election, the opposition Coalition party has ruled out ongoing protection for the Australian car industry. This is after only this week 200 people at Ford lost their jobs in Victoria. A can't presently think of a more glaring example of a political party shooting itself in the foot. Has the Coalition simply decided it's going to chuck away this coming election. WTF were they thinking coming out with this shit?
THE Coalition has ruled out protection for car manufacturers if elected, prompting government claims it would wreck the industry and cost more than 200,000 jobs.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said there should be no more blank cheques for the industry.
While there would be some assistance, he said a Coalition government would place much more stringent conditions in return for funding while boosting competitiveness by changing industrial relations and abolishing the carbon price. ''We're not saying no [to investment], let's get it right,'' Mr Hockey said. ''Protection is not the answer.''Read more
You don't have to be a union member, or someone who's lost their job in manufacturing recently here in Australia, to know that the sort of radical capitalist dog eat dog idea of exposing an Australian industry without protection to the rigours of the massive Chinese economy (complete with pathetic wages and conditions) isn't a good idea. Manufacturing is dying here, with much of it heading offshore. This is something understood throughout the general population here. Iconic Australian brands have over the years slowly been moving all their manufacturing to places like China. Every bloody thing is made in China, and sadly the quality of many of the brands sent there for manufacturing has tumbled. Now, right on the back of Ford redundancy's, the coalition states it case of removing what little protection there still is for car manufacturing. Are they insane?

Apart from that, I think many in the community who aren't necessarily associated with any union at all understand the language when the coalition talks about "changing industrial relations". Remember WorkChoices? It wasn't the only issue that turfed Howard out on his ear (becoming the first prime minister to lose his own seat since some bloke in the '20's, which was also because of industrial relations) but it was certainly one of the main ones. 

Then it's the trifecta; the Coalition if winning gov will remove the carbon price. WTF? It's taken years and years to finally get a green system in place in Australia that's actually a positive thing for the environment. It cost Rudd his prime ministership when he abandoned it, his popularity caved in overnight and his position became untenable for the Labor party. Gillard has actually done it, bringing in a carbon price on July 1st. The green industry is now taking off with investment and jobs. So what does the Coalition want to do? Kill all that by removing the Carbon price. Fuck, what a bunch of morons.

Of course the manufacturing issue is high on the agenda in the union world who are representing workers who're losing their jobs left right and centre. I got an email containing an article about it just this week. It's an issue very much on our minds, and I would guess on the minds of many more people than just union members.

Manufacturing got Obama over the line – Australian politicians should heed the call.          Nov 14, 2012

There has been a lot of discussion about the coalition of women, African Americans and Latino voters that supported Obama all of which is true and important. Yet we seem to have missed what pushed the swing states over the line. 

The key to understanding Obama’s victory is the not simply the auto-bailout, but his ability to convince people that American manufacturing is worth supporting because it is in the national interest. That it represents the future. 

Take a look at his speeches. Or his adverts. Many of these were targeted at Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan and used the real stories of manufacturing workers, the lessons of the auto-bailout and contrasted them with the position of Romney who argued that the auto-industry should be allowed to go to the wall. 
Manufacturing was at the heart of Obama’s pitch for re-election. 59 per cent of the population of Ohio supported the auto-bailout. more
There's a little clip from the Obama campaign too. He actually seems engaged and inspiring in this, I guess he realised it was such a huge issue which would resonate with the population.

This must be why Abbott doesn't want to release any Coalition policies at the moment, especially when their poll lead is only 2 or so points now. When he does come out with Coalition policy much of the population recoils in horror. 

(*also posted here).

Coldplay on Sunrise

Other day I turned on the telly by the bed in the morning so see if the northern hemisphere had finally disintegrated overnight (just joking darlings) and Channel Seven had Coldplay on, live on the Opera House forecourt. Can't say I'm much of a fan, and I'd hardly consider them the "biggest band in the world", and many times if someone performs on these breakfast shows the result is pretty dismal. But this was really good I thought, very well done.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Matthew Mitcham's struggles with depression

Matthew Mitcham, gold medal diver in Beijing and openly gay, is releasing a book about himself next week. In it he talks about his struggles with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, low self esteem, and self harm (as a teenager).

These are not things that you'd expect of someone who was so successful as to win the highest award you can get in sport; an Olympic gold medal. 

He also tells how he used Ice (crystal meth) during times when the demons were about, quite a revelation I guess for goodie 2 shoes middle Australia but certainly not exactly out of the ordinary around eastern Sydney. I mean I got involved in it during some incredibly bad times, and although you know the dangers you don't think about it. You just kid yourself that you're only using it "casually", which for me meant probably a couple of weekends a month. That's a couple of weekends. Start Friday after work, spending the time at the friends house and not eating or sleeping until a bit on Sunday night before work on Mon. We were all injecting of course (fuck that place went through some fits). If backing up the next weekend, I'd only really just come down from the previous weekend by Friday, and then off again. Yeah, "casual use"....

It never got much more than that though, simply because of the money, ice is expensive. I guess if you've got stacks of money it may be easier to get right out of control with it. Needless to say once the use goes up to a out of control level, everything turns to shit. Some people seem to be able to use the stuff for years and not have any major problems, but others can just go off the edge straight off the bat. It doesn't destroy everyone's life, but it massively fucks up a lot of people's. 

So anyway, Mitcham relates as to why he was smoking it, and it all sounds very familiar to me:

Self-doubt came crashing back, fuelled by injury. Secretly smoking crystal meth to boost his moods, he was soon in the grip of addiction. 
He knew the drug's dangers. But ''taking it was something I did … to take my mind off things that were upsetting me - to make me feel better about myself.'' Read more
Exactly. I understand completely where he was coming from with that. I'd go round to this friends place and just tell him straight out that I wanted to have a break from the train wreck crashing everywhere around me. Looking back I don't regret those weekends being off the planet, it wasn't good no and I'd not recommend it, I'm sure there's better ways to deal with depression and anxiety, however that was just where I was at back then and if I could have two or three days when there'd be no problems and feeling wonderful I'd take the opportunity. I'd be lying if I said those weekends didn't help me get through some of those times when the demons wouldn't leave me alone. They were gone for a whole weekend.

People reading this who've not been around drugs likely would be aghast, and I assume the media will go bananas about Mitchem and the ice thing, but I can honestly understand the reasons he had for doing that. 

And who would have thought, Matthew Mitchem, Olympic super diver, would suffer from depression? Not to mention all the rest. This too not long after Ian Thorpe (Olympic super swimmer) wrote in his book about his own struggles with depression. Both of them are to be commended for being so honest and forthright about their lives. How many people will be helped by their stories? These are the sorts of people who are true Olympic role models.


Found this about his dive in Beijing that one him gold. Is the most perfect dive ever, has never been beaten. 

(Oh, just noticed, it has to be watched on YouTube, just click the "watch on YouTube" when it says to)

This comment on 60 minutes was interesting too:
  MATTHEW: I had so much shame for the depression I felt as a teenager, because I felt like I had no reason to be depressed. And there was a whole sports macho mentality about that as well, like I didn’t - I saw it as a weakness, and if I had’ve known what I know now, like, I could have saved myself all that pain.more

Mike Tyson afraid of a Koala

Tyson is here for some speaking thing about his life. Meh, not interested. He was going to go to New Zealand as well but was refused entry because of his rape thing in the early 90's. Lovely bloke.

What's caught the countries attention though is this little bit of footage. He was too scared to pat a Koala, much to the amazement and disbelief of all those standing around in the group.


So I guess we can add another thing to our list of Australian dangerous creatures (well according to Tyson anyway). Killer koalas mate!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Come a long way since 1984

Had another session of the Resilience workshop yesterday, the third of 6. Had a couple of guys sharing their experiences over the years having HIV, one of them being David Polson who wrote his story in an article in the latest Talkabout magazine. Was diagnosed in 1984, a very different time. They were treated like they had the plague back then.

We also had a talk by someone from the Black Dog Institute, who had been struggling with depression for many years. Perhaps it was because she was talking from her own life experience that it was so easy to relate to what she was saying. The Black Dog Institute isn't an HIV organisation and this was the first presentation she'd ever done from there, I imagine she must have been a touch nervous, I dunno if she'd have even known anyone with HIV let alone be in a room with 6 guys with it. Despite all this though the subject matter of depression is universal to all who suffer it, HIV or not, and it was a very informative talk and discussion, she did very well we all thought.

One of the things in particular she was saying was about how much easier it was once she was honest with people about her depression. There can be the assumption or fear that by telling someone about your depression then they're going to think your nuts, or back off from you, or whatever. She however found the opposite, and that she'd never got so much help and support since being honest about her mental condition, and those fears were groundless. I guess there's much more understanding these days in the community generally about depression and it's not viewed the same way as it was years ago. There's a lot of assistance now in health care for people with depression, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors. The first big step though is to admit the problem and take steps to get help for it, and to know there's nothing shameful or weak about having depression.

That did strike me about not feeling ashamed or weak with having it, and that much of what dealing with depression is about is dealing with the unhelpful guilt that can go with it. Guilt that can exist in my own head even without anybody implying anything. It's very hard to get past that at times, I feel like I've not done well enough or something. It's about accepting who you are, warts and all, and being comfortable about it, not ashamed. Not feeling bad if you spend the whole day doing fuck all because you couldn't be motivated to. OK, well that's me. It was a bad day. Don't blame myself for that. It's not my fault. Will see what tomorrow brings.

One surprising thing was the mentioning about finding things that stimulate your mind that you enjoy doing as that helps with depression. I'd never heard that before. Like reading books, or getting involved in activities that are interesting. Apparently then,  when I get on here blasting the fundies over there hatred of gays that's actually good for my depression :)  How lovely! How therapeutic! 

I also found a correlation with much of what she was saying about feeling scared and anxious about divulging to people her depression illness, and being comfortable in who she was even though she had depression, with HIV. I mentioned this after the talk  and she seemed a bit stunned, obviously hadn't thought of it like that, I mean why would she not being in contact with people with HIV? Perhaps she'd not even considered that someone who had HIV could even be unashamed of it, dunno. But it was a particularly powerful concept for me, that when disclosing my status to people (it gets much easier over time BTW) that I'm feeling OK about having it; accepting who I am. HIV to me is part of who I am now, part of my identity, and why be ashamed of who I am? I've actually never had a bad experience at disclosure yet BTW. Yes people can be shocked at first, but nobody has felt the need to abandon me once they digest the information, quite the opposite. I've never had so much help and assistance from all quarters since finding out I'm HIV+ and being open to people around me of my status. Many people hide their status as much as they can, and if that works for them that's fine. This is what works for me.

I thought of the earlier talk from David Polson who'd been diagnosed in 1984, and some of the horror stories he told about the utter discrimination and hysteria surrounding HIV back then. Back then he said the advice was to tell only a few close people. There must have been such incredible guilt inferred by that. Things have changed so much since then. Society has become more educated, the treatments save your life and let you live almost normally now. Much effort has been made by various groups to reduce the stigma and ignorant hate of people who have it. So today I can tell people I have it with no shame, no guilt, and be accepting and comfortable with who I am. HIV being a part of that. We've come such a long long way since 1984.