Saturday, March 15, 2014


At this moment, the little nation in which I was born is in desperate need for help. Its ruler (as I can’t call that a government) has decided its needs are more important than its people and has selected a few above the rule of law.

Venezuela is bleeding to death and the international community does nothing about it.

Basic human rights are violated every day, people can’t find anything to eat and the government is (on an attempt to remain in power) cutting liberties, and charging favours with nations around it. It has become a totalitarian dictatorship.


What is exactly going on in Venezuela?

The short version of the events is: A protest against food shortage, insecurity and extremely bad administration of the current government has escalated into civil disobedience and huge conflicts between the Venezuelan government and its own people as the government has decided to silence at any cost anybody who chooses to criticise the government.  At the moment the Venezuelan government has murdered 21 people, 33 people has reported torture and close to 261 has been wounded. These numbers are going up everyday.


These are images the government doesn't want to go public.
Weaponless students fighting the national police armed with water cannons, pepper spray, teargas, guns and rifles.
Image via Frank Gomez


A more detailed version of the events is:

After Chavez's death in November 2011 (formally announced in March), the government had to invoke new national elections which were conducted in April 2013. The result was an extremely narrow margine in favour to the second in command, Nicolas Maduro. These elections were obscured as the government actively avoided any international verification of the results or any statistical analysis, introducing a reasonable doubt onto who was actually the real winner. At this point most people wanted a change already as Chavez's policies had driven the economical prosperity away as well as it introduced an enormous amount of corruption at every single level of society, being corruption of the justice, the one granting freedom to those thugs, murderers and sociopaths supporting the government. Insecurity became the most pressing issue for anyone living in Venezuela.

In January this year (2014) a Miss Venezuela went back to visit her family after a long time of living overseas, and while she was visiting the country she was robbed and killed by several gunshots on a freeway between two cities of Venezuela. This event exploited rage into every single student and member of the society, forcing themselves onto the streets requesting from Maduro a radical change in which the rule of law needed to be preserved or a change in the government itself as it had been proving itself inefficient.

The death of this beauty queen forced many to recognise
the difficult situation lived in the country.

Maduro labeled this movement a conspiracy against him and a cue to take the government out and responded to these claims with brutal force (deploying the army, the national guard, the police and the government armed factions called ‘collectivos’, a different label for the government guerrillas) killing students in the process and issuing order for detention and later on incarceration of the opposition political leader Leopoldo Lopez, while restricting internet access and creating media blackout to prevent anybody from knowing about their actions.

Leopoldo Lopez being taken by the national police as he requests freedom for the nation
armed with white flowers in one hand and the national flag in the other.

All these efforts to repress the people had the complete opposite effect. Raged on, people (fearless of any consequence) went in the streets to fight back the now full on totalitarian ruler, who has decided to release these armed guerrillas (in addition to the national police and groups of the army lead by Cuban soldiers) in the streets to kill, rape or kidnap anybody marching against the government.

Students fighting back while the government shuts the protests down.
Image via Frank Gomez

All of this is happening while the world is watching Ukraine and international observers have had their hands dirty with Venezuelan money. Countries such as United States, Canada and Panama have condemned all actions taken against the Venezuelan people and several parliaments and senates of Latin America have raised issues against their own governments to get some action going to protect the Venezuelan people.


Why should I care?

You see, the world is quite little and there is this fabulous theory called “the butterfly effect”. Any action you do as little as it may be, will create a chain of events to produce something completely unexpected on the other end.

If you are not Venezuelan there are plenty of reasons why you must care. The Venezuelan ruler is driving the entire country to bankruptcy and every single industry in the nation is failing massively.

Venezuela is the first oil reserve in the world, it is one of the richest countries with the highest index of poverty and inflation. Every single barrel of oil Venezuela doesn’t produce increases the cost of living in regions such as: North America, Australia and Europe. These are as you very well know some of the biggest economies in the world. Every single day Venezuela continues in mayhem it affects you by increasing your cost of living.


So, what can YOU do?

Spread the word, the more people participate the more pressure we can generate. Venezuelan’s are using the #SOSVenezuela or #PrayForVenezuela twitter hash tags to request for help, but the government is little by little closing all the channels in which any voice may get out to tell the truth about what is going on.

Isaac Asimov once said: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent"


Contact your local media and demand from them coverage of what is going on in Venezuela. The more voices the least our governments can ignore the situation and proper international observers (as well as media coverage) will expose the dictator and introduce pressure for a change that will not involve violence in my home town.

Spreading the word is quite easy, tweet, post on facebook or just talk to your friends.

Contact your political representative, raise your concern about this issue with them. There are many governments in Latin America being complicit about the current situation as they are receiving huge amount of money to maintain their silence. Your representatives aren’t under the same interest, they will create some force in the government to recognise the difficult situation that my home town is living.


Finally, brothers and sisters of Ukraine. Even though my home town is submerge deep in the oppression and tyranny of a totalitarian government we are glad your struggle is getting somewhere. Let’s fight for a free world.

We are united in our fight for freedom and respect of human rights.

Some of the voices joined our pledge:











Friday, March 14, 2014

I know... I haven't publish anything for quite a while now... But I will be breaking my silence soon.

Venezuela, my heart is with you through this hard time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

This post is one of those that I have written and rewritten so many times… I have been upset and bashing the crap out of the keyboard… or calmed, reading everything I have written before and turn it down a notch. In any case, this is my attempt of explaining my experience with a flatmate.
 
There is always a topic to talk about the life in Australia, especially when it is related to how to save a few extra bucks per week in one of the most expensive cities on planet earth. Let’s take any of the Australian cities (like Sydney for instance) where you could be paying close to $2400 per month on a flat with just two rooms, one bathroom, kitchen and something you could call a living room, and you will find no reason (apart from being paranoid or a freak) of why not to share your place with someone else?

Having a flatmate is very convenient for many people as you could share rent payments, some services and hopefully good company for a while... but it could become into a nightmare quite easily... So I have decided to write down this post to understand a little bit the situation I lived for a while and what I needed to take into consideration at the moment of considerate sharing my place with somebody else.
 
Sadly I couldn't find this guide in time...
 
 
Have you lived with a flatmate before?
The very short answer is: no and this probably has a huge impact on my experience. My life in Uni was quite "comfortable" giving that I was living with my parents for a big chunk of it... but when situation required a little space from my parents I used to spend my nights at Uni on the couch of the computer lab or in the department that I used to work for.

Eventually, when I decided to start living with somebody I was in a relationship which it doesn't quite match the description of 'having a flatmate' (although sometimes relationship deteriorate into just having a flatmate and not a couple... but I am not going to go deeper into that subject).
 
 
How was my appreciation of "sharing my place with somebody"? What did it mean to me?

I always thought that: "If I am going to be sharing my place with a someone, it has to be my friend!" hence the relationship with that someone was supposed to be easy going, having conversations during those shared moments together but everyone having their own separate life.

On the other hand, having a stranger as flatmate seemed to be appealing as well, as someone new meant getting to know new people, different social circles and possibly different appreciation of life as a whole.
Either way, with friends or strangers I was hoping to share my place to get a little bit of financial aid and moral support on those times of terrible uncertainty I was living day by day.
 
 
Why did I decided to share my place?
Two reasons comes to my head:
For starters I was going through the separation that was kicking me pretty hard, deep in depression I needed some company to help me out to go through the days without thinking too much.
And I needed a little bit of help recovering my finances while paying a yearlong contract that I had signed just two weeks before the separation. I was in a pickle but I didn't want to change to much my environment while I was adjusting to my new life.
 
 
So... how was my experience?
Well... it was a mixture of not too bad with terrible and awful product of different lifestyles and issues addressed in a poor manner. I thought that offering a hand to a friend was going to be a good idea, offering my home as residency for both while she figured out what she wanted to do with her life, thought it was the safest decision as I was not going to be in the unit everyday and I was hoping she was going to be on her feet quick enough… I thought it was going to be an ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ sort of thing.
The first couple of days were marvelous, talking heaps and catching up during all that time we didn't talk, to which I started wondering "Why did we grow apart?" but surely within that time differences started to show: I became more skeptic and atheist while she became a bit more... ‘extremist’ towards religion and human differences, commenting frequently how she believed 'white people' are superior to any other 'race' and how she was 'pure blooded' being graced by God's will.
 
People... look around, the world has become a complete mixture of cultures, ethnicities and preferences.
Accepted it or become a hermit!

Within three weeks my good friend became just the person I was sharing my unit but I still had the intention of get along with it, not getting on her way and ignoring her nasty eventual comment on "Why I haven't found a job?" followed closely with "… this country is shit, this air is shit... this <fill the blank space> is shit".
On her mind (based on my interpretation of our conversations), she envisioned a world where Australia as looking desperately for any people with some talent throwing money at anybody knocking the door three times, while being face with reality that in Australia anybody has to work pretty hard to earn their money, to pay their rent and make a living just like any other place. That turned her into an extremely bitter person difficult to be around with.
As time went by the situation turned from bitter awkward into critical when she decided to have one of those inspiring ‘white power’ moments, offending me in the process (I really don’t know if she understood the ‘you should better stop your comments right now if you don’t want to sleep on the streets’ as a ‘I am deeply offended by your comment, you dick!’)... People, if nobody ask for your advice or opinion, stay quiet… bite your tongue or go out with someone that actually shares your point of view.
Certainly I did not get to this point (thankfully!) but notes like this were comment in my place.
 
But I was too polite (or stupid) to ask her to leave, although I was short tempered, giving her quick comments to every "I am too clever for you" sort of comments. It took close to four months for her to understand I was not comfortable with her around and she was starting to feel lonely as she didn't want to socialize with people I tried to introduce to her before the incident.
Eventually with a job offer, she decided to move alone to her own unit and I decided not to share my unit with anybody else as my experience wasn’t precisely a ball in the park.
 
 
Did I considerate to look for another flatmate?
Not really, my experience was a little bit of a downer (as I have my own manners that are difficult to tolerate as well) and I thought I was going to be moving by myself once the contract was going to be over… I closed any possibility to have a nice person around as I was not in a position to be understanding or open to other’s idiosyncrasies.
 
 
What things do I think went wrong?
Many things, I was not sharp enough to draw the limit from the start, there was not enough tolerance and the way of living was too different to cope with the other.
 
 
Things you need to have in mind at the moment of finding a flatmate.
I am (for a long shot) not the best adviser on this subject as I shared my place only once and the result was terrible... but, based on my experience:
  • All parts involved need to understand that privacy is going to be an issue.
  • Respect has to be a key element in this type of relationship. If you have your space and don't want somebody else trespassing it, then draw the line to define your preferences with the rest of the members.
  • Some common ground needs to be established. What expenses are you going to be paying and what's fair for all.
  • Be open about others ideas. If you don't share the same ideals or believes you don't have to insult others because of it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I know I haven’t been posting as I used to do before… and this post is not a vague excuse to attempt to restart my blogging habits.

You might be asking yourself, how are migraines related to migrating to Australia?

The answer is quite simple, I suffer migraines and this is my experience of the medical treatment even since I got to Australia and my current status.

One of the migraine monsters in my head - by Migraine Chick


A little bit of context is needed, right? In case you don’t want to read it (as it might be longer than expected) jump further down to where it says “shall we move onto the actual post?” where I am relating the one thing it has stopped (or at least have under control) my migraine attacks.

Well… wanted or not here it goes.

I am a migraine victim, have been ever since I turned 7 years and I can still remember that first one like it happened yesterday.

I was sitting in the living room couch watching T.V (we used to have dinner at 6p.m) while waiting for dinner when out of nowhere bright orbs appeared in front of me. Scared of it (as I thought I was going crazy) went running to mom to tell her what was going on but her reply at the moment was that I had enough T.V, giving the sign to stay close to her in the kitchen as she was going to finish up cooking to serve dinner.

My dad was not around; he was either at a party or travelling and my sister was with the door shut closed in her bedroom listing to music; music that I could hear from the kitchen getting mixed with the noise of the frying pan scratching the surface of the cook, and the small radio my mom had hidden under the table with that little bit of static it never went away, and the T.V still making those extremely loud noises (unintelligible from where I was). Every single sound was getting increasingly loud and I was getting increasingly annoyed by every single one of them.

A spoon slipped from my mom’s hand, hitting the ground… to me it was like millions of spoons emanating a hideous high frequency getting to my nerves… the BOM BOM noise coming from my sis bedroom was too much to bare! Stood up, went to her bedroom and hit the door as hard as I could, open it wide. A very stupid move as the noise of the wood vibrating against the frame amplified my bad mood. Told her to turn off the damned noise! That it was too loud! Obviously she was upset and slammed the door in my face right away yelling ‘GET OUT OF MY ROOM!’


At this point I was very cranky, more than I usually was, walked to the kitchen to tell on Vanessa’s behaviour but when I looked up to see my mom’s face the light was too bloody bright and my head was starting to hurt badly. Asked her why did she changed the light bulbs, these ones were too bright and my head was starting to hurt! (rational thought of a kid: "lights seems brighter.. mom changed bulbs.. obviously!")

My mom looked at me with a puzzled face and told me “Here! Give it a try on this and tell me if you think I need a bit more salt…” Took the spoon with a little bit of stew, the vapour with the aroma got to my face and my stomach went mental! The nausea stroke hard, making me chunder right away causing panic on my mom.

Are you alright? Did you hit your head? What do you feel?

I told her that my head was hurting because of Vanessa’s loud music, her spoon hitting the floor, the radio static, the T.V, the bright light and the awful smell of the food (worst thing to say to my mom - the cook).

She understood right away what was going on, went around the kitchen turning off everything and closing the doors. Took a piece of cloth and placed it on my ears while asking “Is that better?” I nodded but my head was painfully heavy now.

She took a bag, filled it up with cold water and placed it on my neck asking again “how does that feels?” It was better; I could feel my cold blood going up my neck, into my skull alleviating the sharp pain on the side of my head. Went to my sister’s room, ordering her to turn off the music as I was having a headache, proceeding then to escort me to her bedroom tell me to wait there for an hour.

Laying on her bed I could feel knives scratching the surface of my skull… trying to get out unsuccessfully… I could tell time was going by as I was listening clinks at the dining table and my mom popping every now and then into her room with a glass of cold water for me to drink it. Eventually the clinking stopped my sister said her good nights going to bed and my mom coming in with another glass of water and a couple of aspirins.

Take these, you will feel better in no time!” whilst taking a sit close to me, caressing my hair… I told her to stop as I could hear my hair making strange noises against my skull… I think I even told her not to touch me at all as every interaction was painful. She stood up, took the bag with now warm water going to the kitchen to fetch more cold water, placing the now cold bad back on my neck telling to try to sleep as it was late. Turned to take a look of the time and it was two in the morning… I could feel as the pain was coming stronger and the cold sensation of my blood getting into my head had stopped.

I stood up heading to the fridge and took a jar of cold water pouring it on my head. The water was exceptionally cold but I could feel again the easing sensation. Took a bunch of ice cubes, put it on a towel and walked back into the room. Told my mom that I was going to use it as a pillow (having my neck placed straight on the ice cubes) and stood there for a couple of minutes until my body decided to let go and feel asleep.

Woke up again with the pulsating sharp pain, soaked wet with my mom on my side, turned around to look at the time and it was 5 in the morning. My mom woke up as well as asked me “how do you feel champ?” to what I replied “Mom? Am I dying? Why isn’t the pain going away?”... I was not trying to be dramatic with that statement I was feeling my head about to explode, my eyes pushing outwards and an intense pain going through every centimetre of my body; I had broken bones before that an this was way more intense than anything else I had suffer up to that day.

She stood up, dressed me up and took me to E.R. One hour later I was completely sedated going back home to sleep for the next 10 hours.

Ever since then the “crisis” (migraine attack phase) because worst and for longer periods of times getting to the critical point of 9 months straight with the same migraine, forgetting what it was "not to have" migraines. At that moment doctors had me reduce my diet to just few things (rice and boiled chicken with no salt... that is grey rubber chicken... YUM!), getting my blood stable and start all over again to continue with tests. At school my classmates got used to call me “migraine boy” (like the MTV character) whenever I was moody as they knew what was going on; finding a new drug that worked for the next two to three months to then started research for the next one. I spent so much time at the doctor that I got increasingly skeptic any new drug was going to work for a longer period of time and decided to just “survive “ the migraine episodes as I was not going to put my entire life on hold because of it. Eventually a doctor found a good combination of drugs (a mixture of fluoxetine a brain oxygenation drugs and rizatriptan) that worked for two years in a row and gave me enough drugs to continue while I got everything back on track in Australia.



What happened to the migraine once I got to Australia?

Shortly after my arrival I decided to pay a visit to the local drug store with my prescription (written on English) just to find out the prescription had to be written by an Australian doctor… Thinking it wasn’t going to be too much hassle to go to the doctor and get a new recipe I waited until my medication ran out and had to get a new batch… But for some strange reason my migraines disappeared for almost one year… Don’t know what was it: change of environment? Was it the fresher air? Or was it the decrease of stress in comparison to America?

Eventually (motivated for a pretty strong flu) went to the GP with the assumption he/she was going to take my previous recipe and generate a new one but his response was “until you don’t have a migraine episode we are not going to do anything… For all I know your migraines might be gone! If you get an episode give it a try to the any headache drug and see how it goes

Inevitably the day came; I was at the office when everything started happening quite fast. First the light orbs, then the noise and the light. I was going through my things trying to find the Tylenol and Ibuprofen as fast as I could but it was useless… It took about 15 minutes that I could recognise as the prodromal and the aura phase (early stages of migraine) before the attack phase started doing its own thing. My mates at work saw me and told me to go home as soon as I could but again… it was useless, the bloody migraine lasted four entire days.

Went to the GP on the second day to ask for the fluoxetine and the rizatriptan prescription, getting as response an extensive inquiry of why I wanted to do with those drugs. The doctor was refusing to provide me with the prescription even though I told him to contact my previous doctor in Venezuela to get his diagnosis providing me with quotes of “I find extremely suspicious you got here with this ‘alleged’ bad migraine attack… You could be addicted to these drugs, using the excuse of migraine to request for your doze. Let’s do a ‘clean up’ phase to verify if you really have migraine to then continue with whatever drugs you used to have. But I am going to tell you… fluoxetine is not for migraines and is highly addictive!

Finding a good doctor is hard and bad doctors are not easy to spot as this fellow.

He sent me home with a panadol box (the weakest thing you could probably imagine) that did nothing that entire day; feeling pretty bad decided to go to a different GP and explain everything yet again while the migraine was happening (that was on day three). Taking a deep look on myself and asking me when was the last time I used those drugs, the doctor decided to give me codeine the stop the migraine entirely, leaving me to rest with a different drug and comeback to me with a fresh mind without the attack episode full on.

It took a while (almost four months) until the doctor allowed me to go back to rizatriptan giving me a prescription indicating how to dispense the drug to me with limitations (as the rizatriptan may cause renal impairment) working for a while… but then, with my marriage failing, depression striking hard and stress migraines came back with or without the rizatriptan; my life was utterly miserable as the migraine was affecting everything I did. I had to move on and continue searching for alternatives.

Every now and then headaches went away, enough time to allow me to ride my bicycle and exercise, losing weight as I was moving into a healthier diet based entirely on eating the way it should be (heavy breakfast, medium lunch, and light dinner without anything that might be metabolized as sugar).

Even still migraine continued to strike every time it could.

Note: my experience with healthcare in Australia has been a mixture of good and bad experiences. Dealing with migraines has been a nightmare as most GPs will discard your symptoms and assume you want to take drugs just for the hell of it. It may well be a problem with the migraine itself as anybody who suffered a strong headache says “I suffer migraines” without any medical report actually assessing the condition, or maybe there is a hidden problem to which I am completely unaware and Australians try to get any kind of renal impairment drugs just to get more kick out of a beer; honestly I doubt the last one. I am going to continue telling my experiences with medicare later on as I have to comment on my knees surgery.


But that is enough boring history about my migraines… Shall we move onto the actual post?

The real reason why I have got to this post is to comment on a new treatment I am following and it has proven (at least on myself) extremely promising. More or less seven (7) months ago I started taking magnesium as daily supplement and most of my nasty episodes (attacks) have stopped or became completely manageable.

Shortly after my knee surgery a friend (later on my girl) went home to take care of me as I was unable to walk freely when see commented out about an article (and book) she happened to stumble upon saying how effective the magnesium was against migraines and some muscular related diseases. I was quite skeptic about this efficiency as I had multivitamins for long periods of time and couldn’t find anything satisfactory about it (related to migraines)… so another daily supplement wasn’t going to be helping me to deal with my migraines… or so I thought.

Went online to read about this miracle cure she was speaking of, finding dozens of articles about people being treated with one high doze per day to remove magnesium deficiencies have found as a lucky side effect an effective migraine prevention tool… I was still skeptic as I couldn’t find any medical paper indicating such discoveries but in a state where I agreed to read a book about it and eventually was informed enough to give it a try (which I am going to describe below) and after one month my frequent migraine went away. Up to this day there have been just three episodes of migraine and all of them have been under control in matters of hours.

Now, I have to add a disclaimer: I read lots of articles and two books about magnesium and migraines (one other book after I started treating myself) and I must say it is not a magical solution for everybody although it might help making you feel better overall. Nevertheless the magnesium is an important component of our body; you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.


What do I do? Where to start?

First thing… check with your doctor in case you have some condition that prevents you from having magnesium. Then find the right type of magnesium for you and you have to be patience, migraines will not go away after two days (although it will go pretty fast).

There are several things you need to know about magnesium before use it as treatment… that is the main reason of why you need to find the right one for you.
The magnesium has laxative effects if your body doesn’t process it so you better do the trial when you know you will have a bathroom at your disposal. Because of this same reason you don’t start with a full on full doze.

Lots of food contains magnesium... but is hard to absorb by the body.
You might need to use supplements.

Another thing I found out reading papers and books: magnesium and calcium does not mix because of a very weird thing our body does… This is important to know as the magnesium will be more effective when your digestive system doesn’t have calcium (that includes dairy products, calcium tablets and multivitamins… especially multivitamins!!).


What type of magnesium is right for me?

Magnesium as such is a mineral… pretty tough for our digestive system (in fact, most of the times it goes in and out of your body without being absorbed) and because of that is mixed with different types of transporting substances to may have different behaviours on each of us.

Look up online the differences between each of the magnesium listed below, but have in mind that pretty cheap magnesium powder or pill are usually made with cheap poor transports that doesn’t really work.

  • Magnesium Orotate (Excellent source of magnesium)
  • Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate (Pretty good as well)
  • Magnesium Citrate (Low in magnesium but is absorbed almost entirely)
  • Magnesium Chloride (good)
  • Magnesium Lactate (Is moderately good, but you have to avoid it if you have kidney problems)
  • Magnesium Glycinate, Malate, Taurate (this is the only source of magnesium that can be mixed with calcium)
  • Magnesium Sulfate (this is one of those that are pretty cheap)
  • Magnesium Carbonate (The CHEAPEST you can get… pretty bad as supplement… excellent as a laxative)
  • Magnesium Oxide (this is also known as magnesia, it can prevent reflux and be used as a laxative… but isn’t great as a supplement)
Here you can find a bit more description of the types of magnesium or here.

Which one was right for me?

I don’t know if the brand is important… but the one I am using at the moment has a mixture of Magnesium orotate and amino acid chelate as the main components followed by Chloride and Taurate and small quantities of magnesium oxide. It cost close to 60 bucks per 300 grams every three to four months (about 3 grams a day).

Ok, I bought it… now what?

The recommendation is to start with small quantities. If the container says “take 2 grams twice a day” you will take 1 gram just once… checking your tolerance for a week or two after which you may want to increase slightly the amount to continue checking the tolerance, eventually you will hit the limit indicated by the container. Avoid calcium two hours before or one hour after having the magnesium, that is avoid dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt or any good source of calcium).

Any mineral or vitamin is best absorbed during the morning, given the magnesium is hard enough to get in your system, try having it early in the morning with fruits and plenty of water. Avoid multivitamins as well as all of those have calcium in it.

How do I know if I am doing it correctly?

If you are having it in the morning (as I am doing it) having at least two glasses of water (one glass of just water and another glass with the magnesium in it) you will notice it in your pee colour as it will be pale in colour (or almost transparent)... assuming you pee many times a day.

If you pee is bright yellow it means the mineral was flushed away from your body as it was blocking some other process and needed to be removed from the system. That was one of the first things I learnt about multivitamins… all of them suck as you bought something to have an expensive wee.

If after a while (three weeks) you don’t notice any significant reduction of your migraines intensity or frequency then the magnesium might not be helping.

Final words of this post

I must say, I was quite skeptical the magnesium was going to free me of migraines… and even though I had three other migraines on the last seven months I am quite happy I gave it a try and that it works.

Finding the right one can be unpleasant (one of the blends I tried made me very gassy and another one had a terrible taste) nevertheless it was better than having migraines every week for three or four days.

I had to adjust my diet to fit the magnesium in a spot where I was not going to be having any dairy products (such as cheese or milk) for a period of time of three hours but is not impossible (and definitely not a sacrifice).

If you suffer of migraines I will recommend you to give it a try as well.

Cheers

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Many people of first world nations think about the third world as a series of slums/poorly coordinated nations directed by a bunch of dictators; the stereotypical representation of a banana republic... and I know, I know... generalisations are usually wrong but the idea with this post is to share my point of view of those lessons rich/developed nations should always take into consideration about small societies from the third world.


I have come a long way from Venezuela to be here but every time I try to compare the States, Australia and Venezuela I notice clear differences between its societies... as well as the dangers hidden in the state of the well being.

Trying to explain these points of similarities and hidden dangers I am going to use three short phrases to state the obvious (yet so many times forgotten in the past).

  • Nothing lasts forever - Anonymous
  • Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity - Albert Einstein
  • The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people - Martin Luther King Jr.

Three great phrases everybody has to remember every time they look up onto the depth of the sky, breathing fresh air (well... as fresh as you could get) enjoying every single bit instant of freedom.

Why? You may ask...

Well... let me take you through a small tale, introducing as I go along each of these phrases... How about if I tell you:

Once upon a time there was a young boy, sitting in front of a cliff facing the ocean, thinking to himself “How marvellous earth is... creating something as beautiful as this scenery where the waves crushes against the walls of the cliff, bursting with foam and sounds and colours! Marvellous indeed because I could take a seat every day and enjoy such a wonderful permanent painting in motion as it is!

Eventually the young boy grew up, he became a man with a family to maintain; moved to a bigger brighter place to be happy and work until one day... when he was old and grey decided to come back to his favourite place to contemplate this painting once more... but this time he couldn’t find the cliff in front of the ocean; instead a beautiful beach laid in front of his eyes and he couldn’t believe it.

Where did the small mountain go? Am I at the right place?” – He could definitely tell he was where the mountain used to be as it was located in front of his town; the very same between the valleys and neither the valleys nor the town had moved. At that moment he understood the waves were not just making sounds on each coming hitting the wall; it was eroding the rock little by little; imperceptibly until it disappeared completely into the white foam of the sea.

Don't fool yourself taking things for granted

Hence, “Nothing lasts forever” or as any old Venezuelan granny would say “nobody will suffer a sickness for hundred years... neither the sickness will be that strong nor the victim will endure it that long” but you could apply the same logic and reverse the direction, instead of something bad like a disease it could be: “well being won’t last forever

If you are an optimist this shocks you (although you might think is obvious at this point), like a cold bucket of water thrown at you while sleeping forcing you to wake up.

But why does it apply to me (that I live in the States, Canada, UK, Australia or whatever)?

Because of a bitch called entropy

A bloody attribute of our universe that states everything has certain level of chaos that can’t be taken away, only displaced to a different system in order to create a temporary state of order.


This is the chaos star (designed by Snoopydoo) the perfect symbol of chaos.
The symbol represents forces pushing outwards of a circle (not on this drawing) breaking the balance of things.

It means that if your country wants to be rich with well coordinated society and high standards of living it has to take all the unwanted things and dump it somewhere, as well as take the wealth out of somewhere else (lands, producers, markets... the money has to come from somewhere, right?).

(Sigh...) I wish that picture would be just that simple but no!... entropy tells you as well if you want to preserve that ordered state, you will need to constantly use energy to push that chaos away from your ordered system.

The Yin/Yang symbol represents the balance...
but in order to maintain it both parts needs to swim around each other.
(Drawn by Chinese Ranger)

Well... first world nations achieved (via hard work, war, battles and education) an ordered system where each citizen contributes to maintain the order by being polite with their neighbours, participating into political, economical, social and scientific aspects of it all; while those of the third world are struggling to gain that fine balance needed to succeed as a rich and developed nation. Look at it as every citizen is an agent of order or chaos, if you do your part the order is maintained but if you don’t, little by little, just like the waves crushing against the walls of that cliff, the energy used to maintain the system ceases to circulate, the system starts its slow degrade to its natural state of chaos, collapsing eventually the system.

But if people know this, they surely will keep doing their good work, right? 

Prosperity makes people go blind... blinded by the illusion of well-being maintained over several generations until... one generation that doesn’t really remember the what or why of several rules and dropping it as “everything works as it should so why bother?”

There is when I remember the second phrase by Albert Einstein - two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.
Speechless...
Albert, you said it perfectly after you realised how humans used your discovery of the formula of energy to build bombs.

And true it is! Humans are a silly stupid race; instead of studying "why the weather is more extreme each year?" or "how can we all live better?" we sit down to discuss who is right and how's wrong? Is it really getting hotter or colder? What’s the secret agenda behind everything everybody does?

Instead of helping each other (as collaboration has been proved to be more effective than individual work) we sit down with pointing fingers, blaming whoever committed a mistake. 

Instead of forcing ourselves into consider the implications of our acts we prefer to ignore certain situations and relay in others to solve any problem; to which my mind praises the third and last phrase of this post, wrote by Mr Martin Luther King Jr. - the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

And what of this ramble is related to Venezuela and how can we all learn about it?

Venezuela is a nation of wealth and natural beauty to such extent that it holds one third of world oil reserve with massive amounts of minerals (iron, copper, gold, titanium, etc) yet most people tend to forget their duties and responsibilities (such as voting in national elections or actively pursuing the truth), hoping for a messiahs of some kind to come down from heaven to take them to paradise without any kind of effort or sacrifice.
Venezuela is a country so dependent of its wealth that has forgotten it won't last forever and it has decided (actively) any kind of investment on any other source of income such as its people.
It has become a nation where its politics seek a way to secure power and become richer and faster without thinking of future generations, feeding chaos into the destruction cycle of those systems created by previous delegations of countrymen.

Is difficult not to establish a comparison between the Venezuela I knew and the nowadays Australia (the so called Land of Plenty), when walking down the streets I overheard somebody criticising the government followed by a "but you know what? I don't care... we will be fine." or when you turn on the TV and listen to people trying to 'protect' as much as they can the carbon industry of Australia because their retirement depends on it instead of proposing new ways to generate wealth or develop this nation... I know, I know... is not as bad as the rampant corruption, street gangs, daily violence and number of death Venezuela suffers at this moment... but my parents didn't think the current situation of the country that was known as "the Switzerland of America".

Here comes the ultimate lesson to learn: all it takes is you to do nothing to contribute on the destruction of order. Do you take your part as an agent of chaos? Or do you try to maintain the order by teaching morale, ethics and the importance of good education to future generations?

Still think the voice of just one person doesn't make a difference? Take a look to the following video...


This man opposed the mark of tanks with just groceries on his hands.
This man stood in front of tanks regardless to everybody else's comment, hiding from the scary barrel of the tower of the tank.
This man became history because his will dictated his actions.


We might need to do less if we all chip in...
Think about it.

Cheerios!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just minutes ago, my family has grown a tad more with my newest nephew’s birth: Leonardo David. I still don’t have any photos and I couldn’t be there for obvious reasons but I sent from here all the love I can for the newest member of my family :)

My family picks names because of different reasons, is a tradition… our names are meant to represent our personality, charisma and illusions for the future ahead.

In this case, Leonardo (strong as the lion) David (beloved) will be a strong of character person who will be loving and beloved by his peers.

Now... this blog post is for him, hopefully you will read it when you are old enough to understand this words.

I would love to introduce you people you share name with, and hopefully will inspire you in life to be the greatest on whatever you want to be.

Probably the guy that has the most influence on your mother (besides your father)...
Leonardo Da Vinci
We don’t expect you to be the next Leonardo Da Vinci, although I am sure your genius, creativity and intelligence will be a fantastic addition to the world.

Leonardo dared to go beyond anybody of his time,
to dream incredible machines,
to create mind blowing contraptions that changed the world forever
and keep changing in it inspiring thousands.


Take him as mentor, challenge the world with your curiosity!
I don’t know if you are going to be good with numbers as Leonardo Fibonacci (although it runs in our veins the thirst of science and the curiosity) but certainly the way you will see the world will be amazing and we will love you whatever you decide your path is going to be.

Fibonacci looked more than plain beauty on things...
He saw how things grow and replicate themselves..
He thought in a way to explain the beauty of the world using mathematics because
he dreamed to challenge his imagination
Finally be noble, strong and courageous as  King David

Highly probable to be a misdirection from the actual image of David...
But angels will come down to watch over you.
But I know you will be strong enough to fight your demons and vanquish the giants lying on your path, just like King David

 I also know you are extremely loved and this will continue for as long as we have blood running though our veins, air filling up our lungs and strength to protect you with our heart.

Welcome to this blue marvel, orbiting around the star we call sun on this vast
and amazing universe.

Welcome to this wonderful planet my dear nephew, it has some bumps and is not on its prime because we have been sloppy and careless... but certainly is beautiful and full of joy; my arms aren’t long enough to hug you from where I am but my love will definitely reach the deepest regions of the cosmos to bring you all the very best.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trilogy Time


Have you ever felt identified with a book, TV series or movie?

In my case I have felt identified lately with How I Met Your Mother because I found myself going through certain aspects of my life and can’t help to notice similarities between my Ted’s emotional state and mine own.

Ted is the kind of guy who is always trying to find the bright and romantic side of the story, filling with hope every corner of his mind with his dream girl yet reality hit him straight on his face every now and then to remind him how life really works and to stand up and keep looking forward, remembering the details of his life to later on tell the story to his kids.

In a way, I am Ted; loving the story telling and trying to compose it in such detail a matter that the audience enjoys it as if they are watching my life on their minds.

Although I don't plan to tell my kids the story of
everything girl in my life...

That doesn’t explain the title of this post, does it?

Trilogy Time is How I Met Your Mother’s 20th episode of the season 7 where Marshall, Ted and Barney agreed to watch Star Wars trilogy every three years just to imagine at the end of it how their lives will be different in three years time. As for me there is no trilogy to watch on my comfortable couch but it is a time to remember the sacrifices I have done over the time to achieve part of my dreams.

If you don't watch Star Wars at least every three years... the dark side wins!

Three years ago I was for the very first time taking my first breath in Australia, waiting for friends to pick us up (Kathy and I) at the airport to then enjoy the rest of the day waiting for the night to arrive and finally, give some space where to rest our exhausted/jet lagged bodies.

Three years ago I took a seat in the balcony looking west as nightfall came upon us gazing at the starry sky, trying to understand this familiar yet different celestial vault; searching for the location of Orion’s belt, Southern Cross, Arcturus, Vega and then Spica (my favourite stars).

Three years ago I couldn’t imagine the types of changes I was going to go through neither the challenges I was going to be facing. My dreams were different to those I have now and definitely there have been changes I couldn’t foresee...  

But... three years ago Australia gave me a marvellous sunset and an amazing night sky to allow me to energise for a new tomorrow and a new start.

That is, one thousand and ninety six days since I arrived to this fantastic place and I don’t regret any of it.

Three years full of stress, sadness, happiness... but nevertheless...
Three years of pure awesomeness.

So... What is 2015 going to look like?

Short answer, I don’t know... but whatever it is... is going to be amazing!

Keep posted cuz more is coming ;)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

These last three years in Australia have been amazing on different areas and well... different on certain other aspects.

Australia gave me personal satisfaction towards my work as I am working with a group of smart and capable people motivating me to deliver my best most of times; even though my personal life has taken a severe change and the company culture has been changing towards a more corporate/ less creative environment.

Another thing I noticed (and I couldn’t appreciate it when I was in Venezuela) was how close some of my friends really are to me... and when I talk about friends I am referring to the real friends, those that remembers the best of you out of the hard/awful times.

Finally it brought me internal peace from those last seven years in Venezuela (and a few more in here) of charged tribulation, tension and uncertainty of the direction of the country, my relationship and work.
Internal peace brings clarity of judgement, allowing me to see things clearly looking back in time so I can reconsider past behaviour and how I reacted to some of it. It enabled me to self discovery to find spots of improvement instead of plain self critic.

Up to this point, I want to expose something very personal I have found of myself over the last couple of weeks. I am not the kind of people trying to be friend of everybody as most of times I felt I couldn’t communicate with others effectively, wondering constantly if people understood what I was trying to say; making me a very stubborn and insecure person trying to cope with the rest of society just to blend in (regardless to the reasons of why this insecurities took place in my head and my heart). So... for me it was extremely difficult to recognise love or concern others felt for me.

The relationship friends develop over time are not subject of discussion between the members of the friendship; they just know you could count on them for anything in times of need and the friendship is never put under the microscope to find the little cracks, to later on exploit it to tear it down... If they do, they are not your friends.

So based on that definition I got to admit... I was a pretty lousy ‘friend’ as I was constantly evaluation people around me in terms of how much damage they could do to me (psychologically) if I let them get in my ‘comfort zone’... but eventually you meet people that really likes you and wants you to see it even though you might try to push them away as you feel vulnerable as you start caring for them. To me, these special people were four friends I meet over several years that I meet in primary school or university.

To all four of them I tried to convince to come Down Under with me. To all four I invested a considerable amount of time to explain to them the benefits of moving here as I was trying to decide the path I wanted to follow and how I wanted this people to be part of my life. Sadly I couldn’t convince them all; one of them lives in Denmark and the other still lives in Venezuela but struggles to take the decision as she is pretty close to her family.
But two of them decided to take the leap and join me in this marvellous adventure. At least I wasn’t going to be moving for long by myself with any extended family.

They are not as close as I would love to...
Hello finger... give me a big hug!

But I knew I couldn’t move to Australia without more contacts or support from other people and what’s better than finding a common goal to relate to others?

That’s how ‘The Aussie Neighbor’ and this blog were created, or at least the reasoning behind the impulse of sharing ideas over the Internet with strangers/anonymous/mates/friends; I wanted to meet new people with goals in common to myself (at least common enough to envision a life in the Land of Oz) and feel connected to something a bit bigger than my lonely journey.

That is how I met my new family and friends... that is how I got to open up to others without judging them in terms of how much I was going to suffer in case of misunderstanding (because I do care about people around me and their interactions).

These people were an essential part of me when I need them the most. They decided to support me even though I was shutting down; grieving my problems while failing to comprehend how it all went down that path... and it was when I understood the phrase:

“Remember that the darkest hour of all is the hour before dawn”

Despair and fear blocks your sight but even though everything looks grim, your friends will help you out to stand on your own two feet while dawn starts to show its true colours.

To all of them: the new and the old ones thank you!

I am truly and deeply grateful of having such great people around me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Warning! I might be using profanities a tad. You have been warned.

This post was going to be a series of post (seven posts to be precise) where I was going to be describing a number of different events happening in my life on these last four/five-ish months.

But after careful and detailed reading I noticed I was providing a story telling that I could be selling later on to CBS for a series of the episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

For those of you who don’t know anything about the TV series I have the following phrase:


Samuel L Jackson tone of voice: You piece of shit, what the fuck do you motherfucking think you doin? Get the fuck out of here and watch how I bang many bitches ‘til I got stuck with your mom! Then get you sorry ass here motherfucka!


Get the fuck out of here!
Without Samuel’s tone of voice: “Please, watch the How I Met Your Mother then come back”.

In any case, I don’t have more than eight (or more) years to tell you about how I met Kathy before things went to hell and we decided to split up... so she is not your mother... and is not auntie Robin...

Spoiler alerts! Oops... too late!

I know! I know... By now your eyes are going back to the same paragraph above to detect the joke or the misspelled word that changes the interpretation of the content...
No... I am not joking...

Stop going back to the same paragraph, damn it! Is not going to magically change to say “Foool you!” Notice how the title of the blog, the author and everything else changed!

It is true, Kathy and I have decided to hit separated roads and keep moving forward just not together.


How did this happen?

Shit happens.

Is only takes a moment to understand when things aren’t going as you expected and another to open up your mouth and say the words.

But before those two moments there a huge number of difficulties, troubles, and fights nobody has to know! Still all these factors contributed to get to the point where you don’t love as you used to and there is no turn back.

In our case, we grew apart, love stopped flowing and there was nothing else keeping us together.



What does it mean?

It means that eventually I am going to explain how to get a divorce in Australia.

It means that I have some good advices (even though I have shared tons of my wisdom related to this topic) and observations that could apply to anyone; not just those planning to move to Australia.

But my dreams are mostly unchanged.
I will still have a beautiful family that I am going to make extremely happy one day, providing plenty of love and I will still live down under, where the women glow and the men chunder! Just that those dreams aren’t with Kathy anymore.


Why am I telling part of my story?

When you move to a new environment there is always the risk things don’t go the way you planned. But more importantly, many people think they are on this on their own... And that is not true at all.
I was lucky I got enough support (because of my depression and my separation) to get things going to feel better, calmer and hopeful about the future. Otherwise I would have got stuck for quite a while without being able to understand in totality next couple of steps to get on top of this situation.

I overheard at some point the number of divorces from families coming from overseas is close to 50% after many years.

The reason?
Yourself and your partner will have each other to deal with situations, problems and find comfort in general... but after a while those little things you used to find annoying about your partner start being more notorious, irritating and possibly unbearable.

Now... can you imagine if you already had issues with your partner and decide to jump the pond? There will be only two different outputs; you will get closer or not, hence 50%.

So... if you are going through a similar situation and need to talk about it, I am here to try to help you out as somebody helped me. My comments are moderated at the moment so if you want to publish your comment and not make it public just let me know and I will keep it to myself, leave your email to reply to you though.


Words of advice

I have said before, if you have problems with your family: be aware you could be stepping into the final stage of the decline of your marriage (it doesn’t matter if you are newlywed). Moving to a different country, different culture often implies more stress that has to be dealt somehow; otherwise you will be extremely unhappy.

In my case, I applied pressure on Kathy to commit to this decision (move to Australia) which thankfully none of us regret it. I was decided from the start to migrate with or without her... and eventually she excluded herself from this recipe. I will continue my process by myself and she will continue by her own means. The moral is: are you ready to take this kind of decision knowing the risk?

Finally (but not least), I don’t regret my time with Kathy (even though I have to recognise at the end I was extremely miserable) as she provided me the support I needed to fight for the future I always wanted but didn’t know if I was strong enough to achieve it.

Also I have got a clear panorama of the things I want to get in life. I want a beautiful girl that sees me for what I am, likes it and is willing to share herself, her love and her thoughts with me as willing to grow with me in every possible way, provide me feedback to be better for her, for me, for our family. I want her to show me what's the real thing of being utterly in love. I want to make this girl as happy as I can, to love her to the fullest.


My singing is terrible... but I will tune this song everyday just for her.

So... ladies... that means I am open for business and the higher bidder will take it all and all I’ve got to offer. I am not going to make a ‘As Seen On TV’ sort of joke as that stuff tends to break after a little while and I am built to endure whatever you want ;)

Cheers and until the next post.
Over and OUT!

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