Wednesday, 29 June 2016

How To Not Use No Double Negatives

Double negative didn't do nothing is a confession
Double negatives can be confusing, so I'm going to address them in this post so you don't need no further education.

First, what is not a double negative not? Well, first, it isn't not anything else and should you encounter one in a conversation, you may need to determine it's application. Let's say you know a guy called Fred (I've never met anybody called Fred, in case you're wondering), and Fred says: "I don't not like it", and he's talking about your face.

You may be insulted. Perhaps Fred's insulted because you're ugly. How do you determine the truth?

The easy way to figure out a double negative is to identify it, and sometimes this can be tricky. If you can't identify the double negative, then you should go no further. Perhaps, for example, you really are ugly.

Fred's double negative is, "... don't not ...". Now, anybody who has done math before knows two negatives make a positive, so Fred's being a nice guy here. He's saying he likes it, but there again, he could be lying.

Suppose you're Batman and you're fighting a new super hero - let's call it Pandawoman, and like all superhero movies, there's always some banter, so Batman calls Pandawoman fat. Pandawoman tells Batman, "You don't not never ever call me not fat." The entire movie would be at a standstill if it were not for logic. What should Batman do? Smile and nod or flush her big black and white panda head down the toilet?

This is a new scenario because the person saying the convoluted possible-double-negative may interpret what they say differently than what the target audience interprets. It is therefore best to paraphrase a potential convoluted double negative in the form of question. Hence, Batman could say, "Do you think you're fat?" Pandawoman could reply, "I don't not think I'm not fat" and the circle continues until they start liking each other and team up to fight evil, then have Batpanda pitter patter feet everywhere.

So, the lesson in dealing with double negatives is to turn two negatives into a positive, or to paraphrase a convoluted or potential double negative into a simple question.

Now, what isn't it about this post you don't not understand, and do you now think you can't not do this for someone who isn't always not nice?

I'm so glad I had this opportunity to point out the basics. Now go, make friends and spread the knowledge.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Lyme Disease, CFS, politics, and being ill

Lyme CFS Fibro Australia deny ticks carry it
We're told Lyme disease doesn't exist in Australia and despite the millions of travellers and wildlife that enter the country, there's no Lyme here.

Lyme disease is a label denoting an illness from a particular place in America called Lyme depreciates acceptances of symptoms in Australia. I've had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) for over a decade and although I improved with Lyme disease treatment, I'm not better. I'd like to continue to be treated, but the Australian Medical Association took legal action against my doctor. It leaves him without a practice and the ability to help and protect people, and it leaves me with at times, very dark thoughts, dozens of symptoms, and no outside help with organisations like Centrelink pressing me to get better without treatment; treatment that simply isn't available. I therefore become my own doctor and take pills that I have no idea will help, hinder, or at times, kill me. I'm my own doctor, diagnostician, chemist, psychiatrist, and other than my wife, my own counsellor.

Do I have CFS? Do I have Lyme? Do I have both? Each have a stigma and none have a cure, at least, in Australia.

I read personal accounts how Lyme disease and CFS destroys lives every day. Many months ago there was a buzz with politicians ramping up action about Lyme disease including a Senate Enquiry (that's been postponed, oh, we love politics don't we) as they saw so many people were ill from a hidden illness, but today, well, the landscape's no different despite the valiant efforts of some politicians led by Senator John Madigan. That buzz is dead, in part, because of caretaker mode due to the Australian 2016 elections. It leaves sufferers continue to suffer with no help; help they've strove for decades to obtain.

Some Lyme communities suggest there’s a tipping point for Lyme recognition because of  media attention and documentaries like Under Our Skin and Under the Eight Ball. These sure are fine documentaries but Everyday Joe hasn’t heard of it and don’t care much for Lyme. Those few interested persons do a quick internet search and finds it doesn’t exist in Australia so why should they care. The Government are doing nothing about it. Most tests are negative. Doctors don't understand it, and the stigma is appalling.

There’s no tipping point in Australia. In fact there’s no tip at all, just under-dwellers who live out miserable existences with a chronic illness they’ve been told they have which in reality could be misdiagnosed with illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Tell someone you have Lyme and they’ll furrow their brow and look like a constipated monkey. It’s difficult to educate and I take a sharp breath when answering the question “So where do you think Lyme came from?” or comments like, “I thought Lyme only existed in the USA.”

Do I have Lyme, CFS, or both?

I've seen over 50 doctors and specialists who can't help. My psychology changed. I lost my friends. I lost all self-respect. My job. My future. My brain and ability to mentally process information. My memory. My future.

Lyme illness sick dying, you bastards
It's not in my head. I have painful symptoms that have drove me beyond despair and tested my resolve to live. Despite this overwhelming blackness of depression, I have to face people regularly who say CFS isn't a real illness (a specialist told me that), or Lyme doesn't exist in Australia (many doctors have told me that). I'm on numerous herbs and pills and an antidepressant. I can sleep and rest now, but that's not what I want in my future. I want a future in my future. Not a bed.

If you want to know about Lyme then the main way you’re going to do it is either contract the Lyme bacteria and get sick, know a person who has Lyme and willing to discuss it, or, actively pursue Lyme as a specialist. As of the time of writing, CFS does not appear to be a bacterial illness, but people like me are ill with something, and that invisible something is an appalling reflection on the Australian medical community.

Let’s face it: when was the last time you watched a documentary about genetically modified organisms or the adverse effects of vaccination and the information empowered and sent you flying into action like Superman with his Kryptonite butt on fire? You wouldn’t unless you had a reason and knowing stuff about Lyme doesn’t make good conversation. “Hey, Harry, get me a beer and I’ll regale you with information about Lyme and the history of the Borrelia spirochete” – won’t work and you might not get that beer you asked for.

Cancer is mainstream and everyone recognises it as an awful and potent life-taking illness. But what’s Lyme again? Who would’ve though the Salk vaccine (polio vaccine) – cited as a modern day miracle, contained SV40: Simian Virus 40 believed to contain the cancer virus. Accident or experiment? If you didn’t know about this then what are you going to do after reading this article? Do you remember being vaccinated with the polio vaccine? Do you have SV40 floating around your body? Interested in finding out more?

Lyme: experiment or naturally occurring? I’d like to see in my lifetime specific details about Lyme and its biowarfare history (if any, of course). There may be a Borrelia lineage to present day, though. We know it existed before the 1960′s and well after top hats were cool. My bets are hedged on it being man-made and initially tested on humans (eg, the Tuskegee experiment). Perhaps it got out of control like a Justin Bieber fan (or Justin Bieber) and spread worldwide like a virus (like .. Justin Bieber fans). There’s some evidence the 1918 superflu was manufactured by Nazi Germany and backfired (I'd love to read peer reviewed articles about this - email me if you have any).

Picture of CFS after a social life
Lyme disease is not only a stealth pathogen in the body but also in mainstream media. It hides under the radar and avoids detection from the most avid of journalists and doctors. If current research is correct the acknowledgement of Lyme in Australia could have a resounding impact on the country. People who have suffered from numerous chronic illnesses may need to see a Lyme-literate doctor and be treated for Lyme instead of whatever they were initially classified with. Thousands of people could be cured or/and their lifestyle and that of loved ones substantially improved through antibiotic treatment and getting wildly drunk and talking about your Lyme experience hoping you don’t wake up with a Mike Tyson tattoo on your face, sleeping for a week after seeing friends for a short time, assuming there are any friends left.

If not cured, then at least have their quality of life improved. As a CFS/Lyme sufferer, I can tell you without doubt that any improvement on the quality of life, no matter how small, is an improvement. I thank my stars I met a doctor that in hindsight was able to stop my deterioration. I can understand why some see suicide as an alternative. I don't say that lightly. I truly understand it.

Why is Australia Lyme-averse? Ignorance is one issue, sure. As remarked above we’re a Lyme ignorant country that can't admit the bacteria can change in our environment. The world was flat until a small group ventured to prove it wrong. Lyme disease in Australia is blind to the mind of society and its governments. It needs to be addressed.

For known sufferers of Lyme, CFS, and related illness and for those suffering a chronic medical problem as a result of an known event, the Australian government must accept this insidious disease is real and start educating the public about the health hazard they may be exposing themselves to each day. Instead, I know two doctors who have been told by their regulator to stop treating victims of Lyme. The country is going the wrong way. Maybe it wants its citizens to be ill.
TIO Australia poor performance and ignorance
For the last seven months, I've experienced one of the worst cases of customer services in my life, and I'm currently entering all my notes on a dedicated blog called I've experienced appalling service including lies, deception, lack of help, contractual issues, significant downtime, and other maladies a customer must endure when a company simply doesn't care for much other than having an invoice paid.

On 09 December 2015 I wrote about these issues to the Australian Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (the TIO) for assistance in resolving the problems with Vaya. During my discussions with them, it became clear early on they were backlogged or had poor administrative systems; inadequate enough to help. I later had to give up university because they didn't respond in a reasonable time. I don't get out much due to chronic illness, so I rely heavily on the internet. I received no reply from them and I followed up with them and sent through my document that at that time detailed what was happening. Instead of helping, the TIO told me to stop sending them things. The Vaya service continued to decline, I couldn't manage everyday activities like online banking, and it put a significant amount of pressure on me.

The TIO asked for additional information and I provided it on 14 December. I received a reply in mid June 2016. The reply was they can't help because my inquiry is too old.

To my relief, Vaya finally terminated my connection on 30 May 2016, six months after the issues first occurred, and without intervention or assistance from the TIO. Vaya issues persisted, however, with incorrect invoices and hundreds of dollars of non-legal fees.A few months ago, due to the complexity of my "case", they advised it had been referred to a Special Investigative Unit. I still received no contact whatsoever. The final straw was just a little over a day after Vaya disconnected me, I received an email from the TIO entitled, "TIO Case Update",  the contents of which contain no update whatsoever:

"I refer to your complaint that is not resolved. 

The TIO continues to experience a high demand for its services and this is causing delays.  

We encourage you to continue to work with your provider to resolve your complaint.

You do not have to take any action as a result of this update. We will keep you informed about the progress of your case.  

We apologise for this delay"

Sound sincere to you? No. I didn't think so.

So, thank you, TIO for absolutely nothing. I hope your thumbs aren't sore from all that twiddling they do.

Customers ignored TIO and the NBN - the future of sucking

Australian broadband sucks
As a boy growing up with a couple of jobs to earn a bit of cash and see me through my early teenage years, I always believed the customer is king: it was a term used and valued. It means something to me as without customers, there's no business. No business, no money, so I treated everyone accordingly. It isn't only this motto: a personal sense of value and morality ensured I treated others like I wanted to be treated - a time-honoured principle advocated by many of the great philosophers with stories in the Bible and other religions and philosophies.

Today, I believe the customer isn't king unless it's the name of a dog. Most organisations I deal with don't show they care about their customers, whether it's a pizza shop that treats you like a number and keeps you waiting, or a communications company like Vaya that exceeds the worst of customer performance and expectations.

The national broadband network (NBN) has many problems that both the Coalition and Labor parties devoutly say they'll fix, despite both historically having the power to do so and not doing it.

I moved to Telstra's Belong ( as the NBN is supposed to be fast and the future of Australian internet, and as a backbone infrastructure with speeds far exceeding ADSL, the NBN is a natural move. I'm so wrong and I pay much more for bad performance and service. Belong advertises on its website:

"Hassle free broadband on the NBN"

We joined Belong because of the woeful experiences with Vaya (click here for more, and as of the time of writing, much more to come). Because of our experiences, we were prepared to pay a little more for a reputable organisation and felt that Telstra, or a subsidiary thereof, would be the best place to go. This, clearly, is wrong.

Since connectionwe have more internet dropouts than hours in a day and it seems every time I go to use it, or want to use it, the internet isn't working. When I wanted to write a blog post, it disconnected four times. Today, I went to use the internet twice and it was down both times.

Not only that, but when I first contacted Belong, I realised there were no other avenues than telephone number - no email support. I am on a pay-per basis with my mobile phone.
  • My first call I couldn't complete as I ran out of credit.
  • My second call was when the entire national NBN infrastructure had crashed.
  • My third call took half an hour and I was advised they couldn't help, and somebody would call me back within 72 business hours.
  • My fourth call, because Belong didn't call back during the prescribed 72 business hours, found me talking to somebody who told me the timeframe for callbacks is 5 business days - not 72 business hours. Tell me, I wonder - if you had a technical problem would YOU wait 5 business days? Well, I apparently have to.
  • I filled out a survey from NBN advising how disgraceful the service is, asking for somebody to call me back. Nobody did. Go figure.
  • And, my fifth call will be this coming Monday because again, Belong didn't call me back.
  • Unfortunately, I'm still on a pay-per mobile plan and I have to enter a monthly plan just to call Belong.
  • We went with Belong and spent that little extra money, but we sacrificed our home phone to do so. 
  • I filled out a second questionnaire from NBN again asking someone to call me back. Again, nobody did.
  • It took seven - SEVEN - months for the ridiculous Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to call me back on a three month disconnection from Vaya, where the TIO stated they couldn't do anything because it was too long ago, and our current issues are not the original complaint (dumbass). If I go to them, our 12 month contract with the inferior will probably expire.
This is turning into another Vaya problem so I'm going to be asking to get out of the contract and I'll simply go elsewhere - somewhere without a contract requirement.

So, well done, Belong, the National Broadband Network, AND the TIO: congratulations on doing nothing other than ignoring me although I'm very sure I'll be receiving an invoice for your full services that you're apparently delivering.

Of all the products and services within Australia, telecommunication services are one of the worst issues to deal with. Nobody listens or cares as long as they get their money and/or funding.

Telstra's Belong FAIL