Thursday, 30 August 2012

Gov announces $4billion dental scheme

I can't find any major detail in it yet, but as I'm on a pension now whatever the case is I know I'll be able to access dental care. The basics are that the chronic illness scheme is being caned at the end of the year, and the money saved spread more widely, particularly to kids. People on "low incomes" and pensions will have better access to increased public health services. 
$2.7 billion for around 3.4 million Australian children who will be eligible for subsidised dental care;

$1.3 billion for around 1.4 million additional services for adults on low incomes, including pensioners and concession card holders, and those with special needs; who will have better access to dental care in the public system; and

$225 million for dental capital and workforce will be provided to support expanded services for people living in outer metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas.
Link
Obviously on a pension there seems no worries. But what is the definition of "low income"? The last time I looked into getting a low income health care card (as I was only earning about $560 a week pre-tax I think) I found that I was earning too much to qualify. The income limit to be deemed "low income" was a ridiculous $470 a week gross.

Last day in Lightning Ridge

Tomorrow I go back to Sydney.

I was rather nervous coming out here before leaving. It's been a long time since I've been out of Sydney for 2 weeks. But life is full of change, and confronting such anxieties is only helpful. I think it really does need a couple of weeks out here to fully appreciate the nature of the place.

Simon and I lay in bed listening to the radio this morning. For some reason he like the ABC, which seems a bit conservative to me, but never mind. It's bloody weird I must say lying in bed in the mornings out here and listening to the latest freak show reports about the Republican Convention in America. 

WTF is this radio station's obsession with it? Fuck the last thing I want to hear about in a place like this is a reminder of the plastic fakery and pretentiousness of two far right extremists in politics from the other side of the world. It's not the Ken and Barbie show, it's the Ken and Ken show. Perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect bullshit. How the hell did the politics in the big shining democracy that America is supposed to be, end up being such a money churning loony tunes obscenity as this?

I don't have much to pack. Have just been wearing normal clothes, only did washing once. The generator is going on today to pump the water up into the high up rain tank. I'll use the opportunity to recharge the phone and maybe a bit of a boost to the PC in case I feel like turning it on on the way home. Have about a 45 minute stop in Dubbo where there'd be reception. Helping Simon do a bit of cleaning around his house before I go. 

He's still very sick, wandering around the place near death apparently. Every so often  he suggests I call a priest, at which I calmly reply that there will be no priests as I don't believe in them. Poor dear he's not at all used to being sick. 

Thought I might shout him a meal in town, that's if he feels like going out. It's a bit difficult helping out around here with the cooking and that. The procedure for even doing the dishes can get a bit complex. Have bought groceries and things, and a meal out is the least I can do to give a hand.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

This is a wonderful place.

I'm going to miss this place. This afternoon I'm posting from the outdoor setting.....

It's warmer than usual, nearly 30 I think, but much more of a dry heat and feels much less than 30 would in Sydney. I've been in the chair in the background, just taking in the atmosphere. 

I guess I do have some kind of affinity with nature growing up on as farm? Who knows. But it's like I could feel the space that I was lucky enough to be a part of here. 

I can't expalain it, words are hard to describe it. 

The russle of the wind softly through the trees. The ancient landscape all around me. The birds singing who've evolved over milenia..... 

I can almost hear the cry of the earth in their voices; so strong are the voices of Australian birds, so strong the voice of the Australian earth. 

This is an ancient land. So ancient it's spiritual. 

Again, this is impossible to describe in words. I can't. But I can feel it.

This is a wonderful place. 

100 year old mining shack

This was right off the beaten track, although near the big open cut opal mine. When opal was discovered here people started moving in and setting up camps to mine the opal. They then went further and put together little shacks on the camps to live in. This was one of the first shacks built, about 100 years ago.

Fuck, I dunno how anyone could have lived in that. I guess it was so long ago that at least they'd not have missed having electricity. How they did even the basics of life I'd not know. I mean obviously no flushing toilet, just nothing but little more than a tin shed. Must have been a bloody rough life. Hope they found a lot of opal living like that and were rewarded for their efforts.

Poor Simon is so sick today with my flu. He's not a particularly good patient either, but I can understand that. It's unusual for him to be sick as he's normally so healthy, would be hard to deal with for him. 

I on the other hand am feeling much better. Still got an annoying cough in the morning and blowing my nose, but it's mostly clear, only the odd bit of yellow slime now. The pain in my throat is pretty well gone. The antibiotics will end the day I go back to Sydney (this Friday) so I can see a doctor down there if I need more. 

Not looking forward to that 12 hour trip again on Friday. Leave here about 9am and get into Sydney about 9pm at Central Station. Will be very very strange being back in Sydney after living out here for 2 weeks.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

My trip to Lightning Ridge hospital

My local hospital in Sydney is the Prince of Wales hospital. It's I think the biggest hospital in Australia. Yesterday I went to, I'd say, one of the smallest. The Lightning Ridge hospital:

It lost it's only permanent doctor in 2006, and since then has relied on visiting doctors/"locums". 

So I turned up there at a bit after midday yesterday, filled out the life history form as I'd never been there before, and was seen promptly by a nurse. My blood pressure was a bit up, understandable. Have been pretty stressed out last couple of days with this flu. My ear was aching badly, and throat felt raw. All I wanted was some antibiotics, and hoped I'd not have problems getting them.

The staff there were extremely friendly. When I told the nurse I had HIV I was half expecting some kind of reaction, but she didn't bat an eyelid. It turned out a doctor was going to be there at 1pm so she'd get him to see me too. Only about 20 minutes away. Long story short, I got the strong antibiotic Amoxycillin , with another one in it as well. All up I was only there for an hour and a half.

They seemed to have made a difference already. Still coughing badly and can feel the crap on my lungs, but the terrible raw pain is going. This just after the first night taking the pills. Actually slept last night without getting up constantly to gargle the Difflam C and anaesthetise my throat. In fact I had the last flu pill when I went to be and not even any Panadol. So appreciated the pain subsiding like that, even though it was still there.

The nurse was saying that an infection in the ear canal inside can be very painful. I said it was like there was someone with a needle sticking it inside my head. I likely had something to do with the headache on the right side of my head and neck as well, as this morning that's largely gone.

But yes the health services, despite being stripped to the bones, still was able to help me and provide the medication I needed. It did however require me to turn up at the hospital with the flu (something I'd rarely do in Sydney, if ever, as I'd see a doctor first and leave the decision to them if I needed to visit hospital) and a certain amount of luck, with a doctor being there shortly after I arrived.

What I didn't enjoy though was the assurance and peace that I have in Sydney that seeing a doctor in a hurry/same day isn't going to be a problem. I've constantly pointed out on this blog that HIV and stress just don't mix. To be worrying about a basic service that's taken entirely for granted in Sydney is extremely unhelpful. Unimaginable really when you're used to the services in the city.

I dunno what the gov can do but there must be something. They need much more incentives for doctors to actually come out here I guess. Often doctors, who've spent much in HECS university fees to train themselves, need to stay in the city where the money is, even if they did want to come out here. It does seem to me that having a hospital with not one permanent doctor in it is an unworkable situation.

Simon's got it now, just as I'm starting to improve :( Spent half the night sneezing and coughing, and he looks terrible this morning, poor dear.     

Monday, 27 August 2012

Open cut opal mining country

Went down the road yesterday to an old open cut mine that was ended years ago. They can't do mining like that now as the land has to be left as you found it after mining it. Simon reckoned he's taken me out there before but he must've gotten confused with someone else. I thought it was very interesting, not only the open cut mine but also there was a couple of views of the sort of typical Lightning Ridge setting. It's quite hard to get a picture like that as it's all so flat out here, and a rise like in the photo is rare.

This one is just near the mine, and is typical of the sort of landscape around the place; lots of big piles of dug up dirt from people mining for opal. 

This one shows typical Lightning Ridge; people come and set up camp on some land and mine opal. This was while we were walking around the big open cut mine to the lookout that they've built there.

It was a bit of a walk, but eventually we came to this sign (not sure why it's on a car door).

Got to the lookout, and this was a sign there (click to enlarge if you want to read it):

And these are some of the mine itself. I was very pleased about how the colours came out in the photos.

Had a bad night last night. The fire was a bit smoky, as one bit of wood wasn't burning so well. Think the throat and nose infection has slowly been improving, but the smokiness aggravated it badly. It was so bloody painful, hurting to breath. Simon gave me a couple of Panadeine Forte when I went to bed, but even that didn't get rid of the pain. Very unusual as that always works for me. Considering a visit to the little hospital here to see what they have to say. Seems a bit silly going to go a hospital for the flu, but what do you do in a situation like this?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Martian landscape

Took some pictures of Simon's property here. Being as the Mars thing is landed on the planet and taking pictures of it, I couldn't help noticing the similarity. Took a close up shot of some clear dirt:

And this is the same area but a normal picture:

A long shot. 

It's a big worry here about the amount of grass that's grown everywhere and the coming summer fire season. Simon's got grass on his property that's never grown there before. The whole lot would go up in a very short time with a bit of wind. Looks like he may have to hire someone to come in and whipper snip it all back. Can't mow it as there's rocks and stones everywhere, and not even.

Have dosed myself up with flu pills and been gargling like mad. Went to bed early last night and coughed up more thick yellow shit from the top of my lungs. I suppose that's a good sign. Simon has offered to take me to the little hospital here today as he's still worried, I dunno will see how I go today. Perhaps some sign of improvement this morning.
Evidently if they need a doctor there at the hospital they can call him out from the local medical centre in town to come to the hospital. That sounds a bit more reasonable. But honestly I just can't believe one fuckin doctor in the whole town. And I can't believe the dramas involved at the local chemist just to get something that would've worked better than the flu pills I'm taking now.

Simon can't understand why I've not got any antibiotics with me. What? He says he doesn't take them all when he has them and saves them. My reply was that I've had to take the whole lot to stop the virus from coming back. Last year I had something that took 3 courses of antibiotics to get it better.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Opal jewellery

I'm in the community centre here and have plugged the PC into the wall to recharge and using their blue Ethernet cable. It's as fast as the internet at home in Sydeney. Won't cost as much as last time either as I'm now going to be on pensioner rates.

Still not well today. Haven't had any of Simon's strong tablets though so maybe am getting better a bit. Ack, what I was coughing up this morning was revolting, thick yellow slime from the top of my lungs. Hurting behind my ear and in the back of my throat; a sharp pain, like someone poking inside with a needle. cleaned out the ear but there's no wax or anything in it. Judging by past experience I'd say the ear's a bit infected, probably red inside. 

But it's days to see a doctor here and the hospital they only have nurses there, no doctors, according to Simon. WTF? Can you believe that? I know it's only a little hospital, but how the hell can you have a hospital (even if it's a little one) without a bloody doctor in it? So I can't even turn up at the hospital to get a prescription and be examined.

So anyway I decided to get some Difflam C at the only chemist in town. I was put onto that a few months ago in Sydney. It's just an over the counter gargle for extremely sore throats. It kills bazillions of germs and also actually anaesthetises the area that you gargle in your mouth. Works really good and I have some permanently in the bathroom in Sydney. But of course I didn't think of bringing it. Also thought I'd get some cold and flu type pills that would be better than just endless fuckin Panadol.

So I walk into the Chemist here just before. I ask the lady at the checkout for some Difflam C. She says it's behind the prescription counter so I have to go and wait in the prescription line. There's 3 people in front of me and it's filling up behind me with more people. About 10 minutes and I get to the counter. Explain I don't have a prescription and that I just want the gargle and some tablets for the flu (I've decided it's definitely some kind of flu as my muscles are really aching all the time).

She asks if I'm taking anything else. That's right I remembered last time when I was there they gave me the third degree about what I was taking and had to get permission off one of the pharmacists doing prescriptions if I should have it. I've taken Codral before with no dramas and asked for the strong stuff of that. The strong stuff though is out the back and you need to provide ID and all (for flu pills?) so I just say not to worry and give me the normal. Then she asks the pharmacist and I'm not allowed to take them as I take blood pressure pills. Oh FFS! So the give me Dimetap tablets. Whatever. 

Am starting to feel miserable about feeling miserable. I'd be well gone to the doctor by now if I was in Sydney. Only here another week so there just doesn't seem any point in bothering. Poor Simon is worried, I told him just to stop asking how I am as I'm sick of sounding like a broken fuckin record. Fuckin typical isn't it. Come here and immediately get sick. 

We were chatting yesterday about his jewellery making; he makes jewellery with opal stones. He had a couple of rings on (to advertise his wares to people) and as I had the camera with me and the light was good I decided to experiment with the macro lens. The pictures came out pretty good I think. 

Of course this close up you can see things not normally seen with just looking at them. His jewellery is quite unique and not the normal run of the mill things.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Sick in Lightning Ridge.

Has been some improvement overnight of the throat/nose cold/slime thing. Yesterday was very painful again, and got worse at night. Was sitting watching TV, feeling and looking very miserable. My head was pounding, and pain behind my ear. 

Was starting to get really concerned about where this was going. I've learnt from past experience with HIV not to just assume a thing like this will get better on it's own, and it was one of the major worries of mine about being here that what would happen if I got sick. FFS it takes a week to get in to see the doctor.

I asked Simon about what do I do if I needed a prescription of antibiotics, as if I'd reached that point I'd not be able to wait a week for a prescription. His answer was to go to the little hospital here and they'd sort out some pills for me. If things were still getting worse today I was going to ask him to take me there, but thankfully they're not, and even seem slightly improved. Although it's hard to ascertain a slight difference in such a painful thing. Still coughing dark coloured yellow slime, but the pain is somewhat less in my throat and ear. Nose running a little less.

I don't even know where I got this. It could even have been just from the bus trip from my place to Central Station in Sydney. Or maybe the air conditioned train. Or the air conditioned bus from Dubbo to here; there was someone coughing on it across the aisle from me come to think of it.

Really hate being sick like this here. Feel like a bloody broken record. Simon has been so worried asking me all the time how I am. 

He had a good birthday yesterday I think. His two kids rang him, and a couple of others to wish him well. We had a meal in town and a beer at the pub, came home and had a fuck. Was funny, he's pounding away and I say "Happy birthday darling!", ha ha ha......

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Rainwater tanks

Well my head and back ache from yesterday is a lot better. Wow, that was so bad. Today however I woke up and there was pain in my upper lungs, and have been coughing up yellow slime for the last couple of hours. Hurts when I cough. A bit worried about it as it takes ages to get in to see the doctor here. I suppose I could go to their little hospital and get a prescription there. Evidently that's what a lot of the locals do. Will see how I go. Haven't had any blueberry super-food thing since I left Sydney, so will see if they've got anything like that here in the supermarket. I get the frozen ones when they're out of season as they are now.

It's taken Simon and I a few days to get close again after such a long time apart. It's been me in sort of shock after that 12 hour trip, and us adjusting to being in the same place again. Last couple of days have been feeling very attracted to each other again and after the dip in the hot springs yesterday we had a very special time together in bed. The first fuck after a time apart always seems such a special time. Was unseasonably warm here yesterday too, 27 I think, a nice time.....

Took a couple of pictures of his water set up. He's not connected at all to the town water supply, and instead has 3 big rainwater tanks. Like this one:

And once a week he turns on the generator and a water pump pumps water up to a smaller tank higher up and fills it up. Being high up like that the water that comes out the taps inside and the shower is gravity feed. It's not the sort of water pressure like in Sydney of course, but it works fine. 

It's his birthday today, so we're going to go somewhere into the downtown Lightning Ridge megalopolis for a meal.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Solar powered

Not feeling so well today. Woke up this morning and that bloody pain in my back was back, around my shoulder blade and going up the side of my head. So far have taken 4 Panadol which did fuck all. Luckily Dr Simon has some Panadene Forte that has codiene in it, which I'm allowed to take. It seems to have helped a lot. The pain was so fuckin bad, I lay in bed until nearly 9am, got up and walked around thinking maybe that'd help. Was like a bloody zombie. Think will go see my GP about it when I get back to Sydney, maybe he can give me something stronger than piss weak Panadol.

Noticed when I got here that Simon had modified his solar panel set up; got another one (don't think that was here last time I was up) and has set up all the batteries inside rather than having them outside. Thing is it's all 12 volts, not 240 volts. To get normal power like that you have to turn on the generator. He did that yesterday for the great recharge of everything; phones, cameras, the PC. I didn't know how long it took to recharge then PC but when he turned the generator off it was 95% so that's fine. Can always take it to the community centre as well where they have the net cafe and plug it in. 
 

Other than that, there's quite a lot you can run off 12 volt power. It's the same as in a caravan that supplies it's own power. Lighting, a little flat screen telly and DVD player, and all kinds of various things that are made for camping. 

We're going later to the bore baths; the baths that are from hot springs a kilometre down underground, full of minerals. Very good for my back I expect.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A lake that comes periodically

Lake Coocoran is near Lightning Ridge, only a few kilometres away. Simon took me out there yesterday to look at it. I was incredibly interested as I've never seen a lake like this before. In the ten years or so drought in recent times here it wasn't there, it was just covered in grassland and dirt, Simon saying he'd even driven across it. But as there's been a lot of rain out this way in more recent times it has come back and has now been there for about the last 3 years. Incredible to think that there was nothing there, but now is this whole big lake 5 or so k's across and 25 or so k's long. Took a lot of pictures, here's some of them:

These are walking down from the top of the hill, showing the normal sort of landscape in the foreground, and the lake in the distance.

This is down next to the lake. You used to be able to drive across it here.
 
Incredible the difference in the normal land here, and the vegetation next to the lake, as green as anything in New Zealand.

The PC has been lasting fine here. And the internet is OK, considering it's wireless. Only really notice it though when I'm uploading photos. Simon's gonna turn on the diesel generator today and we'll plug everything in to recharge it all. The PC I set to "powersaving" mode, and it's still got about an hour left of battery (20%) after all this time. Very happy with that. My phone too still has 3 bars of battery left, about half, although I've not used it much. A few texts from my daughter is about it.

US pollie defines "legitimate rape"

The radio is usually on the ABC news in the morning here. We listen to a bit of news before getting out of bed. And in today's news is something from the lunatic fringe in America. I'm not sure why exactly they put it on the news here; to send us all into dumbfounded shock, or fits of laughter? In my case it's been fits of laughter.

WTF? People have actually voted for this guy?This sleezy old jerkoff telling women some fictional health thing about their bodies? And WTF is going on with that hair? What a weirdo. It just keeps coming on the news here over and over, sorry ladies I know it's obscene but I can't stop laughing at this idiot.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Assange condemns America from the embassy

Simon has the radio on, and it's the big news here about Australian Julian Assange speaking from the balcony of the Ecuador embassy in England.

I'm disgusted with the Australian gov for not standing up for one of it's own citizens in this. It's obvious America wants him after labelling him a terrorist, and even wanting his death. He's now been given asylum by Ecuador, who are now in a stand off with the British gov to get him to Ecuador.

Some of what he said from the balcony. Listening to him on the radio, I think this is a defining moment in this whole thing:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy to ask US President Barack Obama to make his country "do the right thing" and "renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks". "The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation," he said. "The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute … our staff or our supporters. The US must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful. 

"There must be no more foolish talk about prosecution of media organisations, be they WikiLeaks or The New York Times." ................................ 
Wearing a shirt and tie and sporting a new crew-cut, Mr Assange demanded that the US return to its "revolutionary values" before it lurched over a precipice into which it dragged "all of us": "A dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the threat of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark”. 

The US “war on whistleblowers” must end, he said, making a forceful call for the release of Bradley Manning, an American soldier detained over espionage claims for allegedly leaking material to WikiLeaks. 

To loud cheers from dozens of supporters - held back by more than 40 police - Mr Assange said the United Nations had found that Mr Manning had endured months of "torturous detention" at Quantico and was about to have his 815th day in jail without trial.

Great Southern Land

Took this picture yesterday afternoon. Is out the back of Simon's place, with his little dog. 

It's so peaceful. No noise at all of traffic. Just a breeze blowing through the trees and birds singing. Has been cold at night, only 3 degrees again last night and we had the fire on again. But today will be 21 (C), pretty good for the end of winter.

Had a beer at the local pub yesterday, and they had the telly on with music. This song came on, very apt I thought for the area. Icehouse, from 1982:

 
I've liked that song for years. There's such a sense of timelessness about the land out here, you can almost feel how ancient it is. ."..... hidden in the summer for a million years..... " It's very hard to explain without somebody being out here to feel it in the same way.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Pyromaniac!

It was a cold night here last night. We had the fire going, something very unusual for me in Sydney. I am a bit of a pyromaniac. One of my jobs on the farm growing up was to burn the rubbish is the incinerator in the paddock (actually it was just a big drum with a big hole cut in the bottom). I became rather an expert at lighting things and making them burn fiercely. It appears it's a tallent I've not lost.


Was only 1 degree outside, but pretty hot in here.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

I have arrived in Lightning Ridge

Wow, what a bloody long trip that was. I'd forgotten how draining it was to be travelling for 12 hours. The train trip wasn't so bad but by the time I got on the bus my back was aching from the last few days and it seemed like the bus had no suspension at all, although Simon assures me that it's the roads not very good rather than the bus suspension. 

At one point the bus got full and someone sat next to me so I had to put my carry on bag on the floor, and the bus was bouncing and jerking around so much I had to hold the bag with my legs to stop it from moving across the bus floor. At the end of the trip I felt sort of stunned from it all.

There was hardly any phone reception all the way out here, until you got into a town. As soon as you left it went back to nothing again. I texted Simon when at Walget, which is about an hour away from the Ridge, and he was there when the bus finally arrived. There  were only 2 of us left on the bus at that stage, and the other bloke the driver let off near his home rather than taking him to the actual stop.

After a trip like that my head feels sort of numb. All I could come out with to Simon was "Fuck I feel like a beer". Then he asked if I wanted to go to the club or just go home with a six pack. All too much of a decision with a numb head. We went home with a six pack, he decided. Had a meal and a long chat and went to bed. Wasn't very cold here last night, and I was very warm.

Here's a couple of pictures along the way. This one at Central Station in Sydney:

This one at Dubbo, and the buses next to the train platform. This was the bus I got on for Lightning Ridge, and the towns that it stopped at along the way. Was about a 5 hour bus ride, the last stop:

And I wasn't going to take this but was rather fascinated by the colours of the sunset. Is near Lightning Ridge after leaving Walget. It gave a real sense of space somehow. This was after the sun went down, but the colours got even more deep. I guess the redness is somehow to do with further west and the red desert. A bit blurry as it's just out the bus window bouncing around like fuck:

Somehow after you leave Walget something changes. There's a different atmosphere. Is hard to explain. 

The internet is working marvellously here. I don't even need the little aerial, a bit disappointing as I think it looks very cute.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Packing for the trip

I'm spending most of today slowly packing. Made sure I gave myself a whole day to do it so I wasn't overwhelmed by the task. I dunno why it's so hard to do, it just seems like I go to the bag and stare blankly at it. Weird man.

One of the things that I was worried about was, doing everything online as I do, I'd forget passwords out there and have to go through the whole "forgotten your password?" thing with the email. So I wrote them all down. WTF else am I supposed to do? Some of these sites won't accept the 8 digit one I've used for everything for years, and so I have to come up with a variation with letters in it. Some of them too they don't even accept letters unless some are capitals. Have tried to keep them all fairly similar but sometimes it's just ridiculous.

I got a new man-bag the other week too, only a cheap one, but it will be big enough to carry the PC and associated cables. Fuck, so many fuckin cables! I wanted a cheap looking one, the theory being that if it's a proper PC bag some bastard will rip it off. Other than that I don't think I'll need much out there, just regular clothes to wash. Suddenly realised yesterday I had to buy another toothbrush as the one I have is electric!

Had a painful night last night. Dinner just didn't agree with me at all. Really hoping I don't get diarrhoea again tomorrow travelling. Course there toilets on the train and bus but it wouldn't be at all pleasant. Tossed and turned half the night, pain in the stomach so bad was going through to my back. Today back is aching badly, going up my shoulder and the right side of my head. It's quite debilitating. I may have to go have a good lie down through the day. Bit annoyed as I'd pretty well got to the point of hardly taking any painkillers at all after ending work in June. Hoping it'll be improved tomorrow as well, would be bad travelling all day with aches like this. 

I'm assuming my daughter will be fine. She's nearly 22 now, can't see any problems. The rent goes out automatically every week. She may get a bit of a shock though next time she runs out of toilet paper; I seem to be the only one capable of buying it. And coffee. And sugar. And milk.....

When bitches attack!

This is my laugh for the day. The two girls on the right are from the woeful disaster of a show "The Shire"  here. The fight is about their mobile phone numbers being made public and them being targeted on Facebook, or something like that. Somebody filmed it, and even held the camera steady:

 

They're all class, these ones.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The diarrhoea dilemna

Haven't been very well the last few days. Not anything drastic, but it started with a general sort of unwell feeling, and I had about 2 days then of diarrhoea. The sort that your stomach is sore a lot and you don't even feel like eating because of the soreness. 

I know it comes with the territory (HIV resides a lot in the lower intestines and often the body does the diarrhoea thing to get rid of what it perceives as an infection) but it can be a bit much at times. The other day I didn't quite get to the toilet in time and had to change clothes and all. 

Got a bit upset about it at the time. Was glad I wasn't out anywhere and just at home. But still, it's pretty bad losing control like that. A reminder of my illness.

D'Arcy's European vacation, in pictures

Just when I thought it was safe to turn on the telly and not be bombarded with Olympic bullshit that does nothing but piss me off, our two "bad boys" (as the media likes to call them) of the swimming team, D'Arcy and Monk, have managed to get themselves right back in the shit again. Only this time they have really got themselves in the shit. This is, as I type, currently going viral across the main stream media here. Not just the online community, but top stories on the morning breakfast shows on telly. Both of them, but especially D'Arcy, will be having to do rather a lot of explaining when they finally get back to Australia from their European jaunt.

It does very much appear that there was a lot of opposition here to D'Arcy even being let allowed to go on holidays to Europe with his family. Being a bankrupt there are apparently strict guidelines for his travel, to the point where he has to surrender his passport to his bankruptcy trustee on return to Australia. This bankruptcy trustee here will not confirm or deny if he even gave permission for D'Arcy to go to Europe (I smell a rat there - is he mates with his trustee?). And it turns out that it was D'Arcy's dear old dad who convinced the piss weak Olympic officials to let D'Arcy go on a "family holiday in Croatia". 

His father has since returned to Australia from this "family holiday" (I smell another rat).  Monk has also met up with D'Arcy on his "family holiday". *A note here, he got to the other side of the world/London on taxpayers money, to attend the games.

One of the conditions of being let to go there instead of straight back to Australia, was to not post on social media for the duration of the Olympics. They've broken that ban.

They have posted pictures of themselves together on Facebook, holidaying over there, flying in the face of the ban and D'Arcy's bankruptcy, and literally adding insult to injury to Simon Cowley back here in Australia who hasn't received a cent of compensation off D'Arcy for his assault. The media has grabbed hold of this and I can almost hear the public outrage from my PC chair!

 
 

The pair were banned from using social media until the end of the Games, but that has been ignored with the posting of these photos.

It appears that despite promising to holiday with their families, the pair have met up on the Croatian island of Hvar.

The photos on the luxury boat appear to fly in the face of D'Arcy's financial situation.

D'Arcy declared himself bankrupt in 2011 after a court ordered him to pay former teammate Simon Cowley $180,000 in damages after D'Arcy king hit him at a nightclub in 2008.

Cowley's lawyer Sam Macedone said D'Arcy's new travel arrangements should never have been allowed.

"If he has been given permission to go on a holiday, I want to know why," Macedone said.

"I understand the trustee gave his permission to go to the Olympic Games to try to win a gold medal, but that is it.
"The fact that he's gone from London to Croatia, to me is totally against his travel conditions.

"Macedone said Cowley was "just shaking his head" over the 25-year-old's latest movements.

"Nothing shocks him any more in this matter."

D'Arcy's father Justin, who convinced the AOC to let his son stay in Europe, is believed to already be back in Australia. Whether other family members are still with Monk and D'Arcy is unclear.

The two swimmers were forced to surrender their Olympic accreditation and leave London after public uproar over photos of them brandishing guns in a US gun shop in the lead-up to the Games.

D'Arcy's bankruptcy trustee Robert Whitten would not confirm if he had given D'Arcy permission to travel to Croatia.
Link
It's clear to  me the whole family holiday thing was a lie, along with the bankruptcy and the promise not to engage social media. I suspect also the bankruptcy trustee of D'Arcy's is a mate of the family and all part of the plot to avoid paying Cowley any money (but that's just speculation on my part I should point out). I mean seriously, does he think we're all as stupid as he is? 

D'Arcy should have never been sent to the Olympics. What a grossly immoral choice. The AOC should have a long hard think about all this, before choosing some other asshole just because he can swim fast. They are there to represent Australia, not to try and make a mockery of our intelligence. I'd say that D'Arcy is entirely unrepresentative of the Australian community, both in character and intelligence.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

... why it feels so good, to be dancing with death...

 

I've been waiting for this song to get online for years. I so wanted to share it with people, but there was nothing at all online from the first album (it was also released on CD) of Johny Diesel and the Injectors.  This is from that first album, and it's the first video I've see of it ever. 

The song identifies me a few years ago. Maybe now? I dunno. The line, "Tell me why it feels so good to be dancing with death..." is how I've felt on many life occasions.

I'm meeting Mr X

Mr X, who's been recently diagnosed and has done the odd guest post on here, is coming to my area and we've decided to meet up in real life. He doesn't live anywhere near me so there's not been the opportunity until now. We'll have a beer tomorrow somewhere.

Nobody lives anywhere near me in fact that I've met through the blog. I think it's maybe like an Australian or Kiwi thing. Despite the internet changing communications since it's arrival, we're still geographically very isolated. 

So you get to know people online, but it's very rare to actually meet them in the real world here. It's sort of a buzz when it happens. Often they're completely on the other side of the world.   

Preparing for Lightning Ridge


Couldn't figure out how to do the amazing advanced thing of embedding the above map from Google maps, so I just settled for a snip. This is part of the wonderful state of New South Wales, and on the bottom right is Sydney (*waves from Sydney*). It's pretty big now, has 5 million people and takes a while to drive through it. I'm about where the white dot is, in the eastern suburbs. Lightning Ridge is up the top where the red pointer thingy is. It's too small a place to zoom out that far and still have Google maps show it's name. I had to Zoom out to fit Sydney in the picture as well.

The trip on Friday will be an all day affair. Leaving from Central Station at about 7am and getting to Lightning Ridge at about 7pm. First is the train trip out to Dubbo (sort of north west of Sydney) and then a bus from Dubbo to the Ridge. 

As usual I'm nervous about leaving home, especially as it's so far away and that I'll be out there for two weeks. I'll still be on the mobile though so my daughter can ring or text if she wants, or anyone else for that matter. And I've got the PC all prepared; activated the wireless thing today, saved the site where I can recharge it if I need to as it's pre-paid. One of the things last time out there, I just about had a withdrawal crisis without a working PC in the place. Simon just doesn't understand being older and all, but I spend a lot of time online and find a real outlet and expression in that. Taking the camera as well and posting pictures.

Of course I'll be with Simon so I won't be spending as long online out there, but I'll be posting as usual only from in the middle of nowhere :s   I gotta check the power settings too on the PC I guess, as you have to start the generator to plug the thing in to the normal power. Otherwise it's just running off the battery. 

Haven't started packing, usual story I haven't the faintest what to take. The thought of organising what to  take for 2 weeks away is a bit overwhelming and I find myself just not starting.  

Monday, 13 August 2012

OMG! The Olympic nightmare over!

Thank fuck the Olympics are over. I've never been, ever, been pissed off about them before. This time however it was like a two week fuckin nightmare. 

And here we have just the icing on the shit cake. OMFG! Maccers feeding elite athletes. I wonder if there was any fuckin pet food in that meat? Oh yeah..... they can only do that in America.......... Roll on Mad Mitt:

 

New eHealth record system

I only just heard about this a day or so ago. It was launched on July 1st, but I haven't seen any advertising or publicity about it at all. It was only somebody in the opposition mocking it as only a few had signed up for it so far that I found out about it, and went to take a look.

I've succeeded in registering for it online, and I now have a brand spanking new eHealth record system. I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to do with it though :s  I think it means that my doctors, specialists, any other health type people, can put records on there. And then other doctors can access those records without me having to spend 20 minutes giving a life history. 

If you register online I think a bit of patience is needed, as it takes about 15 minutes. Well it did me. I chose to prove my identity online, which involved putting in my Medicare card number, the last specialist I saw, and the last date I saw my GP. It's all on their records and had to match up.

Think it's quite good. Might email my GP about it tomorrow. He would know much more about it than me. Also good as it feels like I'm more in control. Although nothings been put on it yet, it means I'll be able to access my own medical records online, as well as all the other people involved in my care.

"23 Things they don't tell you about Capitalism"

I found a half hour video from the author of the book I mentioned in the last post, "23 Things they don't tell you about Capitalism". Ha-Joon Chang, from Thailand. 
Ha-Joon Chang teaches in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge. His books include the bestselling Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. His Kicking Away the Ladder received the 2003 Myrdal Prize, and, in 2005, Chang was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.
 

My next book to read: "The Capitalism Papers"

Nowhere near the end yet of "This is your brain on music" (BTW which is turning into one of the most interesting books I've ever read) but I've already lined up my next book to read. Will take it out to Lightning Ridge with me in case I finish the first one out there. This one is called "The Capitalist Papers: Fatal flaws of an obsolete system". Sounds pretty radical man!

Unlike other books I've read on the subject (Like "23 Things they don't tell you about Capitalism") which don't go anywhere near as far as this one apparently does in coming straight out and saying pretty much, that the whole system is fucked and unsustainable on a planet with finite resources.

The book description at the above link is good, but there's a much more detailed critique of it at the Dissident Voice, and giving a summary of the six arguments in the book:
  • Amorality – increase of individual and corporate wealth is the only core principle of capitalism. Recognition of any social concern or relationship to the natural world that transcends the goal of increasing capital accumulation is extrinsic to the system. 
  • Dependence on growth – capitalism relies on limitless growth, but the natural resources essential to wealth production are finite. Super-exploitation is exhausting those resources and destroying the ecosystems of which they are a part, jeopardizing human survival as well as that of other species. 
  • Propensity to war – since the only goal is to accumulate rather than distribute wealth, resources that produce wealth must be controlled; therefore war is inevitable. 
  • Intrinsic inequity – without any constraining outside force or internalized principle of social equity, capital accumulation leads almost exclusively to more accumulation, and capital is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. 
  • Anti-democratic – democracies are corruptible: wealth can purchase most of the representation it needs to get the laws necessary for further accumulation and concentration of wealth. This means that as the concentration of wealth increases, democracy is degraded and ultimately destroyed.
  • Unproductive of real happiness – human happiness and wellbeing are demonstrably tied to other factors besides capital accumulation. Extreme poverty is clearly unproductive of happiness, but so is wealth, past a relatively modest level. Happiness is most widespread where there are guarantees that basic needs will be met for all, wealth is more equitably distributed, and bonds between people and the natural environment are still stronger than the desire to accumulate wealth.
Personally I'm not sure about it all, but I do agree that what we've got now has to change in some way. It hasn't worked, and in the only places where society has remained reasonably egalitarian is in countries where the gov's have had a large control over the economy and tempering the inevitable excesses and immoralities of Capitalism and profit at all costs. The gov has had to step in, if you will, to make the system more moral than it would otherwise be. 

For example, I still think it was morally wrong of my last job for them to make redundant an entire dept and outsource it, with the higher profits being more important than the jobs of about ten people. But at the same time we all got a tax free payout according to years of service, provided by the industrial relations system given to us by the gov. I'm damned sure the company didn't want to pay it, and in fact in the last on site Enterprise Bargaining Agreement signed two years ago, we had to threaten strike action as the company wanted to reduce the redundancy payout to a maximum of 16 weeks, down from a maximum of 49 weeks. We succeeded in securing 51 weeks in the end, through the threat of legal strike action that was part of the industrial system we worked under. In short the gov imposed a certain moral outcome, even though the company wouldn't have done it.

Maybe there's some middle ground in all of this? 

One thing that's definitely not going to work is that bizarre nut bag Romney and his new vice president cohort Ryan. I can't think of policies that are more wrong. If by some tear in the space-time continuum happens and they actually gain power, they will take what's left of the country over there and destroy it. Go back to the 1950's and undo much of what's taken the US forward over many years. Rip the guts out of middle America and hand the spoils to the rich. Punish pensioners for the crimes of Wall St, spouting bullshit about the "road to prosperity". Let Capitalism have it's immoral way, where profits and gain are more important than people, unfettered.

This is honestly the scariest picture I've seen come out of America in many many years. It makes Reagan look like a leftie pinko hippie. I shudder looking at that, right from the other side of the world. Don't do it America! We love you and don't want to see you fucked over by these people!


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Olympians and HECS?

The Higher Education Contribution Scheme is what university students here access to pay for their courses. It's been around since 1989. I've never had anything to do with it myself so I had to look it up to find out the details. The latest article from the SMH gives the suggestion that this could be used for the elite sportsmen who use gov money to train for Olympic competition.
Persons seeking to enrol in award courses at higher education institutions are required to complete and return to the institution a Payment Options Form. This Form nominates if they are going to pay their HECS up-front and receive a 25 per cent discount, or if they are going to defer their payment by asking the Commonwealth to pay their HECS for them. If they pay up-front, then the Commonwealth pays the remaining 25 per cent to the institution from the HECS Special Account. If they choose to defer payment, then they must provide the institution with their tax file number so that the Tax Office can be informed of their HECS debt.

The HECS debt is indexed using the Consumer Price Index each year. The adjustment is made on June 1 and applies to that portion of the debt that has remained unpaid for a year or more. No interest is charged on HECS debt.

HECS debtors are required to begin repaying their loans when their 'HEC repayment income' reaches the compulsory repayment threshold. HEC repayment income is defined as taxable income plus any reportable fringe benefits and any reductions for net rental loss (i.e. income cannot be reduced through the negative gearing of rental property). HECS repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect changes in average weekly earnings. It is possible to defer the compulsory repayment if it can be demonstrated that such payments would cause serious financial hardship.

It is also possible to make voluntary repayments at any time. For voluntary repayments in excess of $500, a bonus of 15 per cent is added to the repayment.

Voluntary repayments and payments made through the tax system are paid into the HECS Special Account. Any shortfall between these repayments and the payments made out of the HECS Special Account for loans or discounts is covered by a Commonwealth contribution to the Account. The DEST Annual Report has an appendix containing financial data relating to the HECS Special Account. Current and former Annual Reports can be obtained from this page.

HECS debts are cancelled at death. There is no requirement for the deceased person's family or beneficiaries to repay any remaining debt. Link
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm sensing a groundswell of public opinion on this - demanding better use of public money and more accountability by those who access it. I'm sure there are many university students around the country, past and present, who are annoyed that Olympic sportsmen are given a free ride whilst they have had to pay for their training. People who have studied for high end work such as doctors and lawyers, along with other important jobs in the community, but because they're not training for an Olympic medal they have to pay and be accountable for the money they access.

The most recent Olympic spend for London was enormous; about a third of a $billion. This is from a country of only 23 million people FFS. Sure, lets fund sport, but do it fairly in a way that the whole community benefits, not just a few Olympic medal hopes.
The levels and purpose of public funding are set to be hotly debated after the London Olympics, at which the cost of each medal won by Australians as of yesterday was $10.3 million, the Herald reported yesterday.

The federal government is investing a record $1.2 billion in sport over four years from 2010-11, $170 million of which goes to high-performance sport, mostly Olympic sports.
.................................
Professor Bloomfield praised Australia's Olympians but indicated the allocation of resources may have moved too far towards the pursuit of elite success. He supported high government investment as a preventative health measure but said it would most likely invest more in sport if it knew it would recoup some of the expense from financially successful athletes.

''They wouldn't pay it back until they earned enough money,'' he said. ''So, if you don't make anything, you don't pay anything back.

''But you've got to remember these are public funds. There are some tennis players, for instance, who went through sports high schools, state academies, the Australian Institute of Sport - all publicly funded - and are now earning a lot of money. They should be paying something back.
Link
London may well be shaping up as a watershed here for Australia. We can't just go on forever handing money out for nothing except a medal or three and a bit of patriotic zeal. It's not only unsustainable, but grossly wrong.

And yes it's hard to win a medal, and we hear Olympians relating to us how hard they've had to work to succeed and nobody's challenging that. Our gold medal winner in track and field for example, Sally Pearson, told of how your body is on the absolute edge as you push it so far to it's limits to win. OK it's hard and takes a lot, but why are their efforts apparently more important than other Australians who face their own life battles? Not for the glory of a place on a podium on the world stage, but simply in the events and challenges of their own private lives? Sometimes pushing, or being pushed, themselves very much to the absolute edge.

One thing about Australians and their sporting nature, is a belief in everyone having a fair go. A level playing field. A fair society. It's high time the AOC was reigned in from it's elitist attitude and continual expectations of ever increasing funds with no public accountability for them. Everyone else has to justify the spending of any public money they get (including me to get as I recently did the DSP). Why not them?

Instead we presently have bankrupt D'Arcy on a European vacation, with no requirement of him to account for anything.