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Showing posts from 2018

Learning from top to bottom

2018 has been a year of learning and growth for me. So I could really relate when I saw this in one of those best of 2018 in Tumblr things

2018, love and other catastrophes

Hey everyone, I've been on a bit of a blogging break cause I've been kinda busy. It's safe to say the past few years haven't been great for me, leading to such delightful low points as running down a Central Coast street past a bunch of pensioners in broad daylight with my underpants around my ankles*. 2018 was the year everything changed.

The "colonies" are not a threat to you. They're protection for us

Aw man, I was taking a break from blogging. See, I'm writing a memoir. I know I haven't done much, but "O.J. Simpson wrote a memoir, and the jury said he didn't do anything at all" 1 . Anyway, I have no delusions about getting it published; I'm just going to whack the thing online when it's done, and I'm not going to tie anyone up and force them to read it, and I could , cause I went to the gym a few months back, and even had a little go on one of the weight machines, and I think I'm still pretty pumped.

Disability welfare reform must start at the top

Yet another terrible story of a seriously ill person being told by Centrelink that they don't qualify for the disability support pension. Single father Robert Laughlin is battling stage 3 bowel cancer. He's currently in a Melbourne hospital, unable to speak or move much, and being fed via tube; obviously unable to work or look for work. Centrelink have denied his Disability Support Pension application, forcing him on to the lower rate Newstart unemployment payment, with its "mutual obligation" requirements to report to Centrelink offices and apply for 20 jobs a fortnight.

Pens down

Today is a day I thought would never come.

ABC bias and other urban legends

The Coalition government would like to privatise the ABC. Of course they would, because they can't see the value in anything you can't turn a profit from, especially not one that allows the unwashed masses access to better investigative journalism, local news, drama, comedy, arts and music than they can enjoy on any of the free commercial networks.

Baby boomers: change the system or end up in the terrible nursing homes you deserve

I think I  may have mentioned this , but I don't like neoliberalism. That's okay, because most other people don't like it either. They just don't know it. But the ideology which has  spread like a cancer  through society for forty years - the ideology of maximising profit at all costs, cutting regulation, firing staff, user pays, and the hell with the values of compassion and decency that just get in the way of making money - they hate it. You can see it in the complaints about the terrible toll neoliberalism has racked on our society - everything from self checkouts, telcos sending jobs offshore so you speak to someone overseas who tells you your service won't be fixed for 6 weeks and can't conceive why that's a problem; TAFE unattainable and unaffordable, people with serious disabilities forced to look for work they cannot do, then they hate it. The Liberal party and to a slightly lesser extent Labor party believe that government should "get out of th

The weird psychology of Barnaby Joyce and the Right

Oh, for a skilled political journalist to have handled the Channel 7 interview with former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and his former staffer turned partner Vicki Campion last night. Then maybe we would have had some answers to the questions that really matter - or at least had those questions asked in the first place. Because the real issues here aren't who fell in love with whom, or even what was said in the public confrontation between Joyce, Campion and Barnaby's ex wife Natalie. The questions that needed to be asked - relating to the integrity of our democracy - were ones like "why was a special role in Matt Canavan's office created for Vikki Campion once news of the affair began to circulate around Canberra?" and "Barnaby, considering that it was your fault voters in New England were forced to a byelection because you couldn't get your citizenship sorted out, was it ethical for you to then pretend everything was okay at home when you knew at

No, regrets!

I used to hate Mayim Bialik. Well, hate's a strong word. But I wasn't too fond of her, what with the whole presenting herself as a neurological natural parenting guru whilst having a bris ceremony for each of her of her sons. I'm still not on board with that but with the videos she's been posting lately, I kind of wish she was my best friend. Like when she posted this video about hating, or at least envying, the people who say they have no regrets. Cause she has a tonne, and she shared a few. Mayim encouraged her viewers to share their regrets. And I could get on board with this cause Lordy, do I have regrets. Traveling is an exhausting and expensive affair for me cause of all this baggage I carry around. So here are some of my regrets. I'm not going to list them all, cause we'd be here all day and a lot of it's way too personal, but here's a taste of the car crash of emotions I call my life: I regret not calling out a coworker for the appallingly racis

No more "good blokes": a call for guidelines on reporting murder

Somewhere in Australia, right now, there is a man considering killing their entire family, and themselves. There may, in fact, be more than one. Probably is more than one, in fact. But we know it's a man; perpetrators of familicide, or family annihilation, are almost exclusively male. Maybe he's lost his job, gambled his way into debt, believes the world is an evil and corrupt place; maybe it's for no reason at all. For whatever reason, he's decided that he wants to die. Not only that, but that everyone he loves most should die with him. And why not? If he was to simply kill himself, he'd be leaving them with the debt, with the shame. For that, he may be remembered as a coward. But the man planning how he can wipe out his entire family can be sure that if he does so, that act of murder will not define him. He'll be remembered as a good bloke. Like Geoff Hunt , who pointed a gun at the heads each of his three children and his wife, and pulled the trigger. He was

QuinceaƱera

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the man - the cat - the legend Xander who is fifteen years old today (and doesn't look a day over 6). Enjoy your (butcher's) sausage on a bed of smoked salmon for dinner with a warm lap to finish. A post shared by šŸŒø šŸŒø šŸŒø (@sikamikaniko) on May 13, 2018 at 6:20pm PDT This blog started life from the Xander and Nico pod, so yes I will post to wish my cat a happy birthday. When you have your own blog, you can post whatever you want.

Onward Christian Hypocrites: The strange logic of Trumping God

I don't think there's anyone who, by now, does not believe that at some time in the last 15 years, Donald Trump had sex with Stormy Daniels. The details of who paid how much when to shut who up about what are all a bit hazy, but it's pretty much agreed by everyone that the President of the United States, weeks after his third wife gave birth to his fifth child, had sex with a porn star.  (And on that, why is everyone in porn a "star"? How come you never hear of "porn extras" or "porn character actors"? No wonder porn stars have all got about 280 film credits to their names; they're busy having to do all the acting. I digress).  Even Evangelical Christians accept that Trump has been up to some shifty business, what with the Access Hollywood tapes, and now this; never mind that the man hasn't set foot in a church since elected. Evangelical Christians still love him. Prominent Evangelical Franklin Graham, son of the recently departed Billy

Not a good look

I felt annoyed, kinda disgusted and above all, tired when I saw this photo of NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham at a Greens trivia fundraiser: (I debated whether I should include the actual photo, but decided to because the post won't make much sense unless you've seen it and anyway, with all the stuff I've discussed over the years, this isn't exactly a safe space.) I felt disgusted because it sure looks to me like he's making a lewd gesture that refers to cunnilingus. And that makes me tired. I'm sure it would make many other women feel tired as well, because we're so tired of the graphic abusive messages we receive online. Just recently, a man added me as a friend on Facebook. I don't normally accept friend requests from people I don't know or share any mutual friends with, but in this case, I'd seen him commenting on several political posts and he seemed okay, so I accepted this one. Well, he started with messages saying he wanted to meet me an

Why can't we have anti depressants that work?

I had another mental health episode recently. You wouldn't know anything was wrong to look at me; no talking to angels or strangers. But inside, I felt dreadful; an emotional flu, spiritual hangover, psychological gastro. Without going into gory details, in weighing up my options and desperately wanting to feel better, I considered heading to hospital. But I didn't, because aside from not much being in the mood for boiled carrots, I knew there was very little they could do to make me feel better. Sure, they could give me some valium to take the edge off and make me sleepy for a few hours, but that was about it. Pharmaceutical treatments for depression are still stuck in the Prozac era of taking some pills, waiting three weeks and hoping for the best in the meantime; yet as I discovered there are other treatments which may well offer longer term cures; but the powers that be have decided we can't have them. When it comes to antidepressants, we really haven't moved pharma

The appalling legacy of Jocelyn Newman

Howard government minister, political matriarch, social reformer and Godmother of Centrelink Jocelyn Newman passed away over the weekend at the age of 80.  Don't go to a Centrelink office to express your grief, though; security guards are trained to surround you if you cry. Instead, I thought we'd take a chance to reflect on Ms Newman's terrible legacy. No, not him. When I refer to Jocelyn Newman as a social reformer, it is not a compliment. Ms Newman was architect and engineer of Centrelink, the interface of the Australian welfare system. Centrelink was established on Ms Newman's watch in 1997, combining several previous government departments such as the Department of Social Security and the actually useful Commonwealth Employment Service into a one stop shop of human misery. It's worth reflecting that it whilst the Liberal party claims to be for individual choice and small government, it was a Liberal government who created a horrifying byzantine bureaucracy. T

The only guide you'll ever need to the Reserve Bank of Australia Museum

Some people mark the end of their treatment for cancer by going to Disneyland or swimming with dolphins. I celebrated the end of my treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome by visiting the Reserve Bank of Australia museum. Don't hate me cause you ain't me. You may not even have known there was a museum at the Reserve Bank of Australia HQ, which is on Martin Place in the Sydney CBD, bucking the trend of Australian government entities being based in Canberra. I didn't know there was a museum there, until I happened to be walking past after completing treatment at the Sydney Hand Hospital and saw the small sign proclaiming the existence of a museum. I decided to go in and take a look. I figured somebody should. I neglected to take a camera to capture my experience in the full, rich detail it deserved, so photos are from the Reserve Bank Museum website . It was less busy when I visited. Considerably less busy. In fact I was the only person there, and the nice but not overly friendl

Cruising

It's coming up to autumn in my corner of the world, and my friend Ridge* and I have been discussing going on a cruise. I know - I know! - I can't afford it. But I've been through kind of a shite time , what with all the custody stuff, and maybe if I save real hard... I know cruises aren't everyone's idea of fun - someone on Twitter described them as going on holiday at a Westfield mall - but I like the all inclusive aspect; you just get on the ship and switch off your brain for six days. My brain is always whirring to dark and uncomfortable places; it needs a rest. And above all, at less than $100 a day if you get a good deal, covering travel, food, accommodation, activities and sightseeing, they're cheap. Anyway, it's fun to day dream, although slightly unsettling. Once you've been searching for cruises, the logarithms dreamed up by the boffins of the internet keep showing you stories about cruises, nearly all of them bad Cruises have been in the news l

The Best Church in the Whole Wide World

I need a new church. As I've mentioned, I moved house recently . My old church wasn't perfect and I certainly didn't agree with them on many doctrinal issues, but they were a sedate enough bunch and served my spiritual needs adequately. In inner Sydney moving 5km might as well be moving to a different state though, and it would now be a pain in the arse to get to Sunday services in time on public transport, so I've been looking for a new church. My quest for a new church could be summed up pretty well in this comic from Berkely Mews : But I'm going to prattle on about it for another few hundred words regardless. Evidently, churches have decided a big reason people don't go to church anymore is not feeling welcome when they get there. And what churches have decided to do, pretty much all of them, is to assign parishoners to stand at the door of the church in the manner of greeters at Walmart and welcome newcomers, except it would be like if the Walmart greeters t

Moving

Posts have been a bit scarce lately because - I don't even want to know how many times I've posted this in the fourteen years since I started blogging - I've been moving house. Again. What can I tell you. Luckily, with so many moves under my belt, I've got the whole thing down to a fine art: starting two weeks ahead of moving day, I pack one beautifully organised box full of books, clearly label it "BOOKS", stick it in the corner of my lounge room and do nothing else until the day before the move.   I hoped that maybe this time, though, things could be different. Looking online for boxes, a major retailer's website promises me that I can  "Take the stress out of moving with Officeworks handy moving guide". Excellent; who doesn't need to destress when they're moving house. So I read the guide, which seems mostly to consist of suggestions to purchase Officeworks products. However, they are a big smart corporation and I am just a people, may

The Hollow Woman

I read Lena Dunham's article about her decision to have a hysterectomy at the age of 31 with a great deal of interest. I've never been a big fan of Ms Dunham for all of her clunky clueless white feminism that leaves those of us who are white and poor, queer and disabled on the outer, when there's a heap of white feminists who are poor and pissed off and trying to make space for ourselves. but of course it's impossible not to feel a great deal of sympathy for Ms Dunham having to make such a heart breaking decision. Even so, I find myself second guessing the choice. Maybe it is human nature to think we know better, stemming from a subconscious need to protect ourselves, thinking that it, whatever it is, can't happen to us because we know better. If she wanted a child so much, why didn't she have just one and arrange the hysterectomy at the same time as the c section? This post isn't about Lena Dunham though. It's about me, and the other women like me. Th

Barnaby Joyce, Parts I & II

Yesterday saw the establishment media finally break the story every politically attuned social media user in Australia has known for months; that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was carrying on an extra marital affair with one of his political staffers, contributing t the break up of Joyce's 24 year marriage and with said staffer now pregnant with his child. The story finally hit mainstream circulation in the most salacious way possible; a Daily Telegraph front cover featuring a paparazzi shot of Joyce's former staffer, highlighting her pregnant belly. The affair has gone official, and those of us aware of the many long standing rumors surrounding Barnaby Joyce are now waiting for the other shoe to drop. If the affair has been confirmed, will the much darker stories surrounding Barnaby Joyce get an airing as well?  The Telegraph story came as a surprise to no one who follows the Australian politics hashtag #auspol on Twitter. The story of Joyce, his marriage breakdown and