Wednesday, December 4, 2013

So what is the problem allowing same sex marriage here?

So what is the exact problem of passing same sex marriage equality laws here in Australia?

I mean come on, most states in the USA, which I remind you are, well yeah "special" have passed laws, hell even most European countries, even our trans-tasman counterparts in New Zealand recently passed same sex marriage equality laws, so what's stopping us then?

Time after time I hear its because the church doesn't like it - tough bickies I say. Mean if they want to lecture us about God hating gays well then honey, your going straight to hell with us for wearing man made fivers (even if its half, your half way there. Aka polyester fibres).

Enjoying that shellfish - thats a ticket to Hell.

Cheating on your partner - Yep you guessed it, you're coming to the party down in the depths of fire breathing hell as well.

You maybe asking yourself why, well the bible does state that no man or woman shall wear man made fibres, beautify themselves (so make up is a big no no), Gambling, eating shellfish, all big no no's in the bible, yet I don't hear the church stopping everybody from doing that (probably because they do it themselves - bastards!).

But honestly if its ok to wear man made fibres, put that foundation on along with lipstick and your eye liner, gamble, even drink alcohol, swear, hell even eat those delicious lobsters and oysters pst of us like, then why is it such a bloody big problem allowing same sex marriage?

I mean really what is the god damn fucking problem?

It just honestly gets to me that all my other friends, who are straight, can get married, have kids yet as a openly gay man living with my loving partner for the last 4 years and being engaged for the last 4 years as well, can be denied marriage because I love someone of the same sex!!

Its just wrong. This isn't the 1950's which most people like to pretend we live in for some fucking reason.

Sorry to rant on but I don't see what the problem is and I am sick of people like Fred Nile (who honestly is quite past it and should be a retirement home for the narrow minded wankers) argue saying the bible doesn't allow it whilst they themselves sin just bad if not worse than the whole gay community combined.

Here's hoping sanity and common sense will prevail...........someday, hopefully!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Second Class" Citizen thoughts

So basically I have come to the conclusion, from both a societies and community view as a whole, I am literally a second class citizen and honestly, if fucking sucks!!

Why am I a second class citizen I hear you say, well it's because I am an openly gay man in a loving same sex relationship but cannot marry like the majority of my straight friends and family. no disrespect to them but it sucks and it is somewhat a major slap in the face when I can't do the same thing with my loving long term partner.

The best thing I can do is either go overseas and stay over there and be married or have a commitment ceremony which basically give no legal title to say I am married nor provide any additional legal rights.

In all honesty I think option A, moving over to New Zealand might be the better option of them all (so moving to another country that allows gay/same sex marriage). It has struck me that NZ, with literally not even half the population of Australia, has had both civil unions for same sex couples, but is now allowing same sex marriage, can pass such legislation before we do here in Australia.

I mean COME ON!!! It's the bloody 21st Century for crying out loud!! We should be more accepting and more open to this option than ever before, but no we're not!!

The other part is because I have a disability and I am what is considered by many, a drain on society and the health system so why waste more money on them basically (and harshly put analogy but true).

I hate going into a hospital or medical centre/clinic and feeling like I am just yet again another number or statistic that literally goes towards the further decline of health services, transport, public issues that either get swept under the carpet or

I mean it shouldn't be this way really. Honestly it sucks and I wonder why sometimes and how society as a whole has allowed things to get this way. In some what I feel like bonking my head against the wall hoping things will change soon but on the other hand I know it won't and thats what's really getting me down.

I feel like I just exactly like many others I know, could be in the same boat and its just so damn fucking frustration.

But again I just feel like there is nothing I can do to make change happen sadly. most people don't understand what it is like to be gay and have a disability. It is extra hard to even absolutely manic because your always fighting on various fronts.

Honestly I am beginning to wonder if I should be happy to call myself Australian or not, because right now I do honestly feel like I am embarrassed to say so or do so.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Transport Solutions - Part 2

So I thought it was about time I try and explain part 2 of my Transport Solutions. So without further delay, here it is.

Duplication of the Richmond Line

In order to support Richmond RAAF base to become Sydney's next or new Domestic airport (which leave Kingsford Smith aka Sydney Airport to become international only with some domestic services), duplication of the Richmond line from Schofields to Richmond would be required.

No with this I have thought long and hard about whether or not the train line should remain open whilst this occurs and given a report last year stated the Quakers Hill to Schofields section could have been built and completed faster if the line was to have been closed at the time, so heeding this I think full closure for the line after preparation works are completed would be necessary. Yes it would mean buses for say a year and a half, but the short term pain for long term gain is far more beneficial than anything.

Richmond Line to become the new Cumberland Line

Ok so this idea I have stated for a while now to add extra capacity ot what is already a packed and pretty much always cancelled peak hour service/line. What I propose for is say maybe 1-2 trains an hour would go into the city during peaks hours only and vice versa return from the city, but for the remainder of the time, trains running on the Richmond line would become all stations to Campbelltown and return from Richmond. This could only be done once the line is fully duplicated, although I can't see why it can't be done when the new timetable comes out in October.

Carlingford Line

The Carlingford line is almost somewhat like the Richmond line, given most of its route is single line and whilst the former NSW Labor Government did sign an agreement with the Federal Government for an upgrade of the line and extension to Epping and Parramatta (making it form the former Parramatta to Chatswood via Epping idea), its seems that this idea is now mothballed and the Carlingford line will remain as it is.

There is also an idea or plan through Parramatta city council to make this line into a light rail service that connects Westmead and Parramatta with the carling ford line being extended as a light rail service to Macquarie park and some hills areas. To me this would make sense really at the end of the, considering the line is barely used and really doesn't have good connections for commuters as well as an accessible transport interchange for people with disabilties.

Bankstown Line - become all single deck fast metro

This idea comes directly from the plan to have the Bankstown line become part of the the extended North West Metro. The line is considered a branch line and to me it would make sense in converting it to single deck trains with higher frequencies of 10-15minutes in the off peak and 2-5mins in the leak.

There would so need additional track between erskinville and St. Peter's which can be accomplished but we shall see what the over meant may choose to do with this excess land with their just released development plan.

T-way services

Tways such as the Parramatta to Liverpool, Parramatta to Rouse Hill and Blacktown are great services, but are also a problem being they do have limited capacity against a growing demand for more buses which ultimately do clog up the streets let alone also run late and are more prone to breakdowns than anything else.

My suggestion would be to convert the T-Ways into a light rail system with frequencies of services every 10 minutes in the peak and 20-25minutes in the off peak and 30mins on weekends and public holidays. The reasoning beind it is parramatta interchange is fast clogging up with buses and is almost at breaking point. Light rail also offers more frequency and more passenger numbers than one bus combined.

Monorail or light rail at Olympic Park & surrounding suburbs

With the monorail now a distant memory in the minds of Sydney spiders, my suggestion was to move the monorail to Olympic park to service not only the growing hub of commercial and residential development within the main Olympic park area/precinct but to also service newington and the developments around the Olympic park ferry terminal with Olympic park station as the main interchange to feed passengers into train services or other bus services (more so train services).

If by chance the monorail solution was not viable, a plan to have light rail service placed in the same manner but potentially linkin over to Rhodes, Homebush and Strathfield along to Parramatta, still mainly servicing the Olympic Park and Newington commercial and residential developments.

Buy new OSCars to replace remainder non air conditioned fleet

Now this is going to sound crazy, but my idea here surrounded the government buy more OSCars from UGL rail (builders of the OSCars, hunter DMU and the Tangara's) but there would be a twist in which the fleet would have no toilets nor luggage racks and be made to just be purely suburban operation only.

Why I chose this as an option comes from the issues surrounding the Waratah train Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as the builder, reliance rail (which is 50/50 partnership between EDI Rail, builder of he bungled Millenium trains and Hitachi rail systems) has still ongoing issues with delivery of the last train not due now till late 2014. This option was also chosen as the current transport minister, Gladys Berjiklian, did miss the deadline to order a further 20 sets. This does offer an opportunity to filled by an increased and somewhat changed order for more OSCar trains!

In my opinion, UGL Rail have been able to build and produce the OSCar fleet recently on budget and on time, given though it did have trouble originally, they have been able to adapt and make changes quickly to allow for speedy delivery of the new fleet compared to reliance rail/EDI Rail/hitachi Rail.

Replace all V-Set's

Whilst this option is currently happening, it's taking a little too long if you ask me. With that said, most V-sets are still from an operations standing in good condition and yes they do have the most comfy seats from what I can remember, but from an accessible point of view - besides the 4 car V train set that is the only wheelchair accessible all bar the toilet, the rest aren't and this is a huge issue.

A lot of people tend to think that just building lifts or ramps to make things more wheelchair accessible for disabled or less ables people is all that is required!!

My reply to that is FUCK NO!! The trains need to be wheelchair accessible and the V Sets don't offer this at all. Try being in a wheelchair and sitting in the freezing cold or extreme heat because you can't get into the air con area, combined with constantly having to move side to side out of the way not only of the guard or passengers to disembark on the various platform door sides - Its tiring and quite honestly fucking frustrating.

I know that it's something that is slowly being changed but thats just the problem, its taking way to long and in all honesty without real consultation!!

Fix the differences in platform heights

This is one of the bigger issues which really should go at the top of the list and this blog but I can't be bothered because I know I will be wasting my breath on it. But I the various height differences between the train and the platform is becoming bigger and quite higher, as if the platforms are either sinking of the trains are taking some serious hormones to grow taller!!

In London where the now Sydney Trains CE (chief executive) was working, did have "humps" where a very small sections of the platforms (sometimes there could be up to 3 humps at a platform) would be raised like a hump to allow wheelchairs, strollers, walkers etc, to easily get on and off tube trains without hassles and without assistance of ramps.

Now this is something Sydney SHOULD and I stress the point SHOULD be looking at because the ramps that are placed at stations when a train comes in for a wheelchair person to board or disembark is becoming a nightmare if not very unsafe because of the height differences.

But alas I have very strong believe and knowledge this won't happen because to Gladys Berjiklian, its too costly (yet she can use her credit card on wasteful things like uniforms that don't fit staff - almost 6.6 million blown on that along along with a supposed 6 million payout to Tennis Australia for the continued use of the new hop logo. Stupid *&*&$*#^^%&$*#&)

But these are just part 2 of my transport solutions and whilst I just travel on the trains and for people who work on the railways, they hate my kind, to us enthusiast my suggestions are just that - suggestions. So if you work in the railways and have lasted this long and are reading this, rolling your eyes and either swearing your brains out, sighing or wanting to comment a bitchy comment back - BRING IT ON I SAY!! Sometimes its better to have fresher eyes and perspective than a closed one I say.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Should Nokia branch our of Windows Phone?

Hot off the announcement of Nokia's new 1020 41megapixel camera phone, it got me thinking - should Nokia branch out of Windows Phone 8?

Sure Nokia has its "Asha" brand which is slightly different and rehashed form of Symbian mobile operating system, which really is slow, lagging and not really bringing any further enhancement nor actually worth investment anymore.

So what should Nokia do?

I do believe Nokia should take a leaf out of HTC, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, etc and actually branch out into not only Windows Phone 8, but also Android and they should also look at bringing back MeeGo as well.

Nokia can make great hardware but its software choice is lacking and quite honest, boring to say the least. So here is what I think they should do:

Make an entry/low and mid end Android Phones

Nokia should look at making not only an entry level/low end device but also a mid tier device to help resurrect their fortunes in the mean time, enabling them to really kick ass with great hardware and software alike. 

I honestly think Nokia could excel in the android arena with they way they can honestly make great devices that people used to love and still somewhat do with an incredible, growing and popular OS.

Resurrect MeeGo

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 really did bring a very simple to use and very clean operating system with a fantastic phone. I honestly do believe Nokia should look at bringing back MeeGo through again an entry level/low end and mid tier devices. Maybe even a high end device like the N9 could be on the cards here for Nokia to create.

I have to say, owning (yes I still have an N9) the Nokia N9 really has opened my eyes, because it is just simple, beautiful and not as fussy or clunky like iOS or Windows Phone7 and 8 combined.

Have less dependence on Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia 710

I will say this, whilst I hate Windows/Microsoft in general, Windows Phone 7/8 is ok......ish. In my honest opinion, it still has a very long way to go before it could or should take on Android and iOS.

Nokia needs to shift from being 100% Windows Phone reliant and really Stephen Elop should just admit he made a very big mistake staking Nokia's future on an OS that is far from popular or worth investing time and money into.

Bury and close down Symbian & Asha

Well I think the sub heading really says it all. Nokia should just end their stake within Asha and Symbian and focus on the above core OS' instead. Honestly, Asha and Symbian have been dead in the water and any justification to keep these OS operating and in production would and will create headaches for Nokia and its shares/money.

Oust Stephen Elop

I am not generally a fan of mutiny, but I think Stephen Elop should be overthrown and kicked to the side for even staking not only his reputation but state the reputation and money of such a wonderful company on a failed OS would be ensuring that share holders and stake holders alike watch their company continually shrink its market share and eat into profits and continually loose confidence within the management of the board failing to turn the companies fortune around.

This is where a change in leadership would be required to end the contract with Microsoft and look at other alternatives to help stem losses and bring back former Nokia consumers back from its competitors.

Of course this is just my opinion and ideas, but I would be intrigued if this is in fact what could be happen within Nokia, because there have been rumours and reports the senior management, board and shareholders and stakeholders are watching with baited breath and trying to get Nokia out of its worse situation it has ever been in.

Here's hoping they do something fast and soon to bring a once mighty and respected company back into reality and into today's modern standards OS wise.

So what are your thoughts on what Nokia should do?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Should Australia have another telco?

So after hearing Vodafone has flicked the switch on it's 4G services for not only existing customers with 4G enabled phones, but now for new customers, it got me thinking, does Australia need a new telco that has its own infrastructure (as in mobile reception towers etc) to come in and challenge and bring more competition away from the big three telco's?

I would say somewhat yes.

Why? simply put, the big 3 telco's have way to much power to cause a monopoly, but also because the networks do open certain parts of their network as a wholesaler to what is known as VMNO or Virtual Mobile Network Operator, which don't known the actual infrastructure but instead lease or piggy back off one of the three major telcos.

For example:

Boost Mobile uses the Telstra Next G Network whilst Aldi, Kogan and Telechoice use the lower 3G bands of Telstra bandwidth infrastructure.

Virgin Mobile (who is a wholly owned subsidiary of Optus) uses the whole Optus 2G, 3g/3G+ and 4G bandwidths along with iiNet whilst Dodo, Amaysim, Woolworths Mobile, TPG, iPrimus, M8, Yatango ,  use the Optus 3G bandwidth network.

On Vodafone, well there's is a little more complex as they did have a partnership with Telstra for the 3GIS network which has since been dissolved and split between both parties, but Vodafone now has an agreement to piggyback off Optus for 3G+ services. Red Bull Mobile and Think Mobile do utelise the Vodafone network (believed to be the 850mghz but unconfirmed)

So even though we have all these various and upcoming VMNO's the issue still remains that there is really only three main competitors that control the networks and really and ultimately calling the shots to not only customers but also to the VMNO's.

Having being burnt with Dodo because of Optus' reception issues within greater western Sydney area and also within the city, this proves to me that we are being short changed and customers as well as VMNO's would be far better off with another Telco causing a shake up to a very dull if not cut throat industry.

So yes I think Australia would be better with another telco network, if not to shake up things and bring more competition to us consumers who ultimately pay currently pay for mixed services but to stop the monopoly the 3 major telcos currently enjoy.

I mean why can't a mobile provider like T Mobile, Sprint, AT&T or other mobile network providers actually come down under and rock things up a bit, but alas I don't think that could or would actually happen.

But it certainly is something to ponder. So what are your thoughts? Should Australia allow another telco provider in that owns its own infrastructure to operate and shake things up from the current big 3 telco's??

Just my little random thought of Android & How much I like it!!

Well this is a hard thing to say, but I decided that I would put it out there to challenge what people think about Android and the OEM’s or Mobile/Tablet manufacturers who build Android devices.

The thing is that, I used to be a Apple fan boy, to which I did honestly think that everything Apple was the end all, be all. But now I know that’s not true.

So what changed, well I found Android and have not looked back really. My first android device was my little Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini, which yes it was a very small phone, like seriously you have no idea, but it challenged what I thought mobiles should be like. It made me wonder why I even bothered with Apple’s iPhone.

I know it seems silly, but I still like my old X10 mini and still have it. Yes it has a small screen and the battery life is less than spectacular, but it goes to show that Android can be made to fit into smaller device and it shows because this is where smart watches powered by android can take their cue from really.

That to me is what makes the X10 fantastic because Sony Ericsson (now just Sony) had a gamble to create such a small device that really did pack a bit of punch, and that to make is what makes OEM’s like Sony make to turn and look to see what they are creating and how they bring that innovation to the market.

Since then, it has made me truly realise how much Android as an OS has changed and evolved and how  I have now got two android phones (one is a Motorola Razr M and the other is a Samsung Galaxy Note 2) and I have since added to this with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7”. 

But why Android? Why not try and find some medium within Apple’s ecosystem and products? 

The answer is simple really - Android offers more than just apps, movies, magazines, music, it also offers greater flexibility to customise your phone, make it more personal, make it you basically.

I know that Android is more than just an ordinary mobile OS, its more a social OS that allows one to keep in touch with friend and family without restrictions or compromises. I would honestly believe that android is a more socialised network and OS compared to iOS.

The one thing I will say with Android, there is so many possibilities to which are endless. I mean there are more apps that are free on android’s OS then iOS.

As for malware issues, that mainly relates within older devices that aren’t upgradable but still in operation. Google have released updates for the security flaw that was uncovered, unlike and unreported by a certain reporter said. Funnily enough, News Corp, which owns has several Android Apps for various products and brands it owns, maybe we should all be worried and uninstall those apps because they could end up having malware/spyware in them (meoww that was bitchy!!).

But seriously, the claim by Apple and Microsoft that users are flocking to their brands because of malware or spyware issues is baseless and false. If anything Android is growing. Just look at Samsung’s sales of the Galaxy S4 - over 20 million sold to date (probably past that now but still) and Sony, HTC and other Android OEM’s are continuing to see growth which can only mean dire futures for the competition. I must mention though, I did see Apple’s on sale at Woolworths recently as well, can only give you an insight of how bad things have gotten wouldn’t you say (I know, not actually Apple the company related, but you only have to look at their declining sales margins and profits).

So with that I say, next time your looking for something shining and new mobile wise, have a second look at Android and don’t discount it. You won’t be disappointed

P.S - I would like to go on the record officially as stating that I do own an iPad and a Macbook, but my iPad is really starting to bother me and I have begun to use my Galaxy Tab 7” more than anything, whilst my MacBook is just more to do with my hatred for Windows - a cheap nasty product that is!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The NDIS Levy - It's about time

Ok over the last week or so, I have been hearing a heck of a lot about the incoming NDIS levy and why it is such a bad thing, for their ego and precious money.

My reply - Bitch please, shut the FUCK UP!!

The NDIS or Disability care is something that is hugely required now and is well overdue. For someone who has a disability, when I hear someone say people with disabilities get everything, I really wanna just slap them Ally McBeal style because it's not true.

For example, a new wheelchair can cost from about $5,000 (as a basic chair) well up to the hundred of thousand dollars which yes, some people can get their chairs through Enable NSW (of which I am lucky this time round I can, but the next time I might not) simply because we may earn to much or work full time or part time.

It's not easy and cheap to have a disability, the costs all add up and quite frankly anyone who tells me that they could do it, I would like to see them try.

For example, I have to wear pads (yes as in pads women wear) and  just for one pack it can cost up to $20-$30 depending on where I get them from and thats just for a pack between 20 and 38. Now times that by about 6 or so packs, its a lot of money. Then add on top the cost of a single catheter which I also have use. Now they cost up to $2.50-$5.50 for a single one, yes single one. Now times that by 100.

The costs all add up at the end of the day and for someone with a disability who may just only get the Disability Support Pension (or DSP as it is known), that whilst they get say roughly $800 a fortnight, that money has to not only pay for these medical expenses, but shopping, transport, rent and maybe, just maybe basic health insurance so they don't have to be on long waiting lists at hospitals for surgeries etc. The costs all add up and it's not far.

So excuse me when I say that anyone caught knocking the Levy, think about this, how would you survive as someone with a disability with all these expenses??

I sure know the answer cause I have done it and still are somewhat even though I working part time.

Its time we just accepted that the NDIS is coming and the levy is needed for it to be paid to ensure everyone with a disability has a better chance in life and can have the pressures and burdens of these issues lifted if not helped to be partly reduced.

Sorry but I had to just get it out there because I am sick of the knocking down by the press and certain public figures on TV, News etc.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Transport Suggestions - Part one

So I recently decided that I think its about time I put my two cents in and provide some insight into what I honestly think is do-able in the sense as a commoner, without any background or degree in transportation, engineering or planning.

With that said as a sort of disclaimer, I thought I might start off with my suggestion for Sydney's second airport, being not Holsworthy or Badgerys Creek, but utelising existing infrastructure under Richmond's RAAF base.

Now before I hear you all want to lynch me up crap creek, just hear me out.

I am saying that why not use Richmond RAAF Base like they do in Newcastle Airport, being it is an existing RAAF that also shares with domestic flights. I honestly think this should be the same for Richmond, as such a civilian or public airport would provide the Federal Government additional revenue as they would lease part of the land for terminal and serving buildings, as well as provide Western Sydney, which is crying out for more jobs considering that we are somewhat within, well recession (yes thats right, its true we are).

But I think the best arguement for Richmond to be converted from full RAAF to Half RAAF/half civilian airport purely because of the existing infrastructure around Richmond, being there are at least two CityRail/Sydney Trains stations nearby, main road access on both sides in and around the base, existing runway, lighting, tower and aviation infrastructure, it would be in pretty much every sense, the better if not more viable option.

Now I am lead to believe that another runway would be needed to be built if Richmond was to be somewhat converted over, to combat crosswinds, but this can be done at considerable little cost compared to undertaking construction from scratch for a whole new airport.

It would also require less Government funding from both the Federal and State (NSW), who are arguing about their budget bottom lines and calling out poor.

Really when you think about it, the sound yes would probably be an issue, but Richmond and most surrounding suburbs are already used to this given they continually get RAAF aircraft flying over through the day and most nights.

I do believe that this is the only real solution, other than doing a high speed rail link from Sydney to Canberra in which would be a far more costlier option, being the rail line, from the sleepers, the rails themselves, signalling, to locomotives or EMU's would be required to be upgraded and/or built.

So as you can see, Richmond is honestly the best option when you compare the real facts at the end of the day. But I would like to hear your thoughts. So please comment below because I think open discussion is the best policy if not the only way real solutions can be found!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just a ponder or thought

I was on the train the other day travelling to the city with Brett, to see my Dad who was having an angiogram at RPAH (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) and I just had a random thought because of a fellow commuter or mother with two wonderful kids, one them having Downes Syndrome.

No I know most of you are thinking, yeah what is so special about this kid, but its not so much as to what his disability or ability that make him unique per say, its more the reaction of other fellow commuters who just saw this little kid who could be no more than 2 or 3, who was bouncing around in the pram while is twin brother just sat behind him (they were in a double pram) quite content trying to watch what was happening.

But I digress, the main thing was how the commuters reacted, as the kid waved at people, made cute comments and they where happy to react and make wonderful comments to the mother how cute they both where or how actively wonderful the kid with Downes Syndrome is and the mother was happy.

Now it got me thinking, rewind to say about 10, 15 heck even 20 years, would this even be something that would have remotely could have happened, where compliments where given versus just silent glares of horror or worse, words of discouragement, because I can tell you that was the case. I mean I should know, my mother, heck even family got horror looks from people or worse, rude and quite absurd remarks/comments. The worst I had was when I was shopping once in my wheelchair and this kid was watching me with some confusion but happiness as I heard him say to his mum 'I want a chair like that' to which the mother replied 'No your won't ever because he has a disease!!'.

So what happened to make change happen all of a sudden I hear you ask. Well it would more than likely be a combination of things of which one main thing stands out to me - the Paralympics.

But why the Paralympics, I mean they are no different at the end of the day, why would they cause changes and thats simple - with the Paralympics being telecast nationally and over the web or through print media on the medals won or how how a Paralympic Athlete has beaten all odds to win or progress to the next step and how that is achieved have, in my opinion, made society realise that at the end of the day, we are all the same regardless if we need walking sticks or a walker or even use a wheelchair part time or full time, we are all the same.

Sure things can be a little different when it comes down to daily chores, but not every one does the same things the same way, we all have our different ways of doing things and really we are all the same regardless.

I certainly believe this is what has cause society to realise where its problem is and made change happen for the better, at least to a certain degree.

I just hope that this kind of spririt of thinking can continue and that it develops and becomes more accepting at the end of the day.

All I can say is that at the end of the day, regardless if you have a disability or not, you will achieve greatness in your own way and that is what makes you and everyone else unique.

So as I finish off my little pondering session of which I have made you think about what I have said, I am curious though, what would you think or do if you saw or know or knew of someone with disability, what would you think of them and what would you do at the end of the day? Would you talk down to them or would you help them or would you avoid them altogether.

Leave your comments below because honestly I would like to know what you would do or give suggestions on how you would deal with these scenarios.

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Coming Out Story

Recently I have been watching and reading stories about young and well mature men and women coming out of the closet and finally accepting who they are, but what has been more alarming is the stories of young people who have their whole life a head of them taking the option of ending their life because of all the hate that seems to be about.

Now most of these stories have been coming out of the US but I have read a few that have come from our own backyard, yes down here in Australia and it just saddens me to think that this is the only way they can finally end painful suffering they have gone through because of these narrow minded people who continue to make their life a living hell through their bullying and berating tactics.

What I don't understand is how very little any government is not willing to step in and try to help end this sufferring. Yes we do have Sydney Mardi Gras this year, which aims to try and say to the whole community in a whole that we are here, we are queer and we are proud, but for me this is not the case this year because the organisers and committee of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (formerly New Mardi Gras after the collapse just a little over 10 years ago) decided to change the event name from Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival to Sydney Mardi Gras!

This to me is a bit of a slap in the face the organiser dropped what is essentially a parade and a campaign for awareness and civil rights movement for the GLBTQI community. this to me would help fuel some hate campaigners because they, in my belief, would try to drown out the support most of the community have given to the GLBTQI community for years.

I know it seems like I am ranting, in which I am about the lack of support or even recognition of these problems by governments and organisations, yet there have been some progress in certain areas to change and make same sex relationships recognised under certain laws, but it is essentially not enough. More has to be done.

The problem is what? How do we try to rectify these matters of bullying and harrasment and if anything how can we support the victim and punish the offender in a matter that would help them change their ways and if that doesn't work, how do we make sure that the offender does not make the same offense again with a new or in some case the same victim?

There are options, in which Mother Moster aka Lady Gaga has tried with President Barack Obama in trying to convince the president to introduce law for the introduction of tougher discrimination laws within the USA, but here in our own country such discrimination laws are state based legislation and if anything they either have big gaps or wholes in which victims of same sex bullying or harrasment will fall through and be let down by an undersighted problem.

The question is now, how to we change it to ensure no one falls through these gaps? Well again that is a good question as it does depend on whether state governments are willing to take the time and effort to support and make change, but this again take in most cases to much time!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Opal card not so useful for all

Ok so yesterday I noticed at Town Hall Station that one of the barriers (by the name of " Charlie Barrier" near the lifts for platforms 1, 2 & 4) had the new opal card readers. Now it looked quite impressive being all shiny, new with a opal coloured light above, but I noticed instantly a huge if not major big stuff up by the transport minister, Cubic Transportation Systems and Transport for NSW.

What's the issue I hear you ask, well let me put it this way, if you were in a wheelchair and could not properly usetilse your arms (or legs in some instances), relating to your disability, then you honestly could not touch on or off your Opal Card without having someone either go rummaging for your opal card through your personal belongings let alone have a carer have your OPAL card with them.

So why would Cubic Transportation systems let alone the NSW Government or Transport for NSW have not thought about how this will impact the disability community and commuters who travel in most cases by themselves for work and want to maintain their independence completely baffles and surprises me.

It just goes to show how literally top management/ceo's of transport departments, current government representatives in NSW and the private sector are so far out of touch. Yeah ok its great that our transport systems are somewhat wheelchair accessible, but we are talking about a system that by 2014 will be fully in force, with tickets no longer in use and the only way to pay for fares is via this OPAL card its any wonders why people can't think what EVERYONE'S requirements when it comes to implementing transport requirements instead of just implementing and thinking about the actual issues later.

I am sorry but it's just plain stupidity and not acceptable at all. Not at least in this day and age when you think about it. But instead I am going to offer a suggestion I did put to a couple of my friends at CityRail, who I might add, reckon it could be some feasible if not looked at as an alternative additional option.

My suggestion/option is to have like an etag thing that is the exactly the same thing as the OPAL Card, but has a slightly stronger signal that can be read by a scanner (somewhat like the etag system for cars but for wheelchair passengers) that is only applied for by people who actually require them (so people with disabilities that require the use of a wheelchair, walking sticks, crutches and or/a walking frame). The card would be put on a lanyard or kept in the pockets of the passenger and the scanner would be located at the top of the wide gate prior to openning with a loud beep given to indicate the pass has been accepted. There would also be a little screen either at the top if not at one side where the passenger can see the balance display.

Of course this is merely a suggestion, but one which in all honesty should be looked into as a matter of urgency and I would love for the Minister for Transport NSW, Gladys Berjiklian, to either talk to the disability community about these issues and find out suggestions how to better plan instead of looking like a right old mess - which in someways she actually does quite well on her own, don't you think ;)

Below is an example of the new Opal Card scanner located right next to the wide gate at Town Hall Station.

Transport for all - Not really for all

Ok so first off, I want to point out that this is in now poking or having a go at the honest and wonderful staff that actually do care and help people with disabilities, assisting them get on the various forms of public transport in and around NSW, but more so having a go at the incompetent staff who don't care and are honestly rate just bum around mostly.

Back in March, I attended a public transport forum called Transport for All, at Parliament House after speaking in late 2012 with the shadow transport minister, Penny Sharpe (NSW Labor) in which the forum talked and had general discussion regarding the lack of transport facilities and accessibility not only on the CityRail/CountryLink rail services, but the various ferry, bus and taxi operators and the issues which are having a profound affect on anyone with a disability trying to utelise the somewhat ok public service systems we have.

I have to say that whilst the discussion where productive and some pretty fantastic solutions were suggested, that the issues will still remain. Don't get me wrong, Penny Sharpe and her Labor colleague/Party have vowed to improve services for people with disabilities, but the current NSW Liberal Government seem to be hell bent on sticking to a disability action plan that had no or absolutely little consultation with community.

Yet to them this is all part of their fixing the trains, which honestly, If you ask me, isn't being fixed at all. Why? well it all comes down to $$$ and whether or not politicians of the current government really want to shake up services that could lead to strike action and voter dis-satisfaction that could see their seat gone to the other party. to me, that is just sad policy.

The old saying 'build it and they shall come and be happy' no longer works because its more than just about building some lifts and revamping or refurshing and completely rebuilding a station to make it accessible.

No there is a lot more that come down to it, such as staff training, trains becoming more wheelchair accessible, signage much more clearer and somewhat cleaned up so there isn't as many what I cann information overload, which only leads to confusion and frustration.

Now I hear you say that it all does cost $$$ and that money is better spent elsewhere, and whilst I may agree slightly, public transport for people with disabilities is an essential service because they can't drive and need to either go to work or go to hospital or various health specialist appointments.

What is also needed is campaigns advising fellow commuters about people with disabilities and to give up their seat for those fellow passengers that need them, or to stand clear of ramps that station staff or guards place down so someone in a wheelchair or scooter can get on and off a train safely without causing harm to staff, fellow commuters and themselves.

We also need clearer audio announcements on older trains regardless of costs, as well as continuing the refurbishment program of that Tangrara fleet to remove roles that are in the way of wheelchairs and scooter. Also tactile tiles need to placed at all stations, more covered awning areas and lighting.

There is also a need for the roll out and more accessible toilet facilities that ustelise MLAK or Master Lock Access Key system. Also a much more faster and accessible application prcoess for people requiring the MLAK Key. I mean I got mine through a staff member at one of my regular stations because they said I really do need one, yet I have applied for one numerous times but nothing, not one thing stating if I was successful or not.

Staff training and more clearer signs and audio announcements are required now and whilst some announcements have become better in the last month on my travels on the train, there is room for improvement.

Whilst I know most of these suggestions can't be fixed immediately, they can be fixed over time to help drag the cost out to a more reasonable amount as well as give more time for the issues to be fixed lrogressively without delays (or at least as many delays).

The only thing I now really waiting for the the damned Opal Card to come to the western line, now that should be something to really look forward to and help streamline one part of my travel requirements to say the least, but that too alas seems like it will never come if not be further and further away for the roll out to occur!

Just to also show you an insight to what is a daily occurrence not only for me, but for fellow disabled commuters on Sydney trains, the ABC followed me for a day and this video (kindly uploaded by Penny Sharpe) gives you brief if not somewhat eye opening experience of what it is like to have a disability and travel on public transport.

You can view the ABC News NSW video by clicking here.

You can also view a copy of my video talking about the issues at the Transport for All forum on March 15th at NSW Parliament house by clicking here.

Was Margaret Thatcher really that bad?

Earlier this week, Britain lost it's one and only former female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher but instead of mourning her passing, they are instead partying and rejoicing and this somewhat concerns me greatly.

They are rejoicing because what they believe was and still will always be "the wicked witch" to be finally dead. I mean they have ensured that an old song from the Movie, Wizard of Oz is spear-heading to the top of charts with "Ding, Dong, the witch is dead".

I have to say this concerns me and also make me feel very sorry and upset of the family who have lost such a dearly loved person in their lives, but have to put up with such hatred and utter nonsense. It make me wonder if some people actually have a brain or if they just seem to think that this kind of behavior is acceptable at al..

For me it is appalling, but with that said, I haven't personally been affected nor am part of the country she once ruled over so to speak.

But I do want to, however, reflect on some of the things I think she has done well at for Britian and its fellow countrymen, women and children and how her legacy still somewhat lives within today's modern political underworld I guess you can say.

Looking at what dubbed 'Iron Lady', Margaret Thatcher did in some ways help give Britain the good, well deserve kick in the ass I think it needed back then. I mean Britain was down, crying like a baby who needs their nappy change or to be fed or burped, but no one knew what to do back then.

Yeah she did massive budget cuts in which did cut services and jobs through what was a bad recession, but it doesn't compare to the current recession nowadays that Britain is experiencing and only then that is because the pound is where it should be whilst the Euro dollar is highly inflated, but I digress.

She lead Britain into the 21st century, having cut spending of which needed to be done to bring the country back into the green or black by financial standards. She also stood stedfast and firm against the Argentinians when they tried to invade the Falkland Islands.

She also made it clear that women can do the same job as men and become Prime Ministers or Ministers. She wasn't scared to get her voice across and I think that did in some degree scare the male politicians, because there was a change of the guard.

I do also believe that she wasn't afraid to tell the truth to the people as well and explain her reasons, which in this day and age is lacking quite a bit if you ask me.

So as you can see, I do honestly believe Margaret Thatcher did do some good things and make Britian once again a stronger and more prouder nation, that is until now, with those people who want to be so stupid singing and praising her death. To me that is just wrong and shows how bad their society really actually is.

So I say this, is it really and honestly worth the bad naming, reputation and down right despicable act to praise such a wonderful person's death over some little if not old or previous experience?

I would say in all honesty no, but I shall leave you to ponder that thought deeply.

I would also like to take this opportunity to pass on my sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the late former Prime Minister of Britain and Baroness Margaret Thatcher. May she finally be at rest and out of any pain or suffering. My thoughts are with you during this hard and extremely emotional time