One of the amazing things about transition is one I completely didn't expect. People have seen me be vulnerable and real, and it has helped them know they can reach out with their own real issues, and I'm only too happy to help. In today's society it's too easy to put up Instagram versions of lives and pretend everything's perfect. But we've had real things to work through, and no real way to do so while still hiding. Old friends we haven't seen for years have seen and felt this, and reached out to share their own challenges. So have tens of newly out trans people and their families.

Together, we've experienced adversity and kicked it's arse. But it doesn't stop.

Someone I care about has been diagnosed with cancer. Apparently minor, and treatment is at hand, but still it's the same C word that took away a childhood friend's mother only a couple of years ago. It hurts everyone, including me.

One of my children needs a brain MRI, and nobody except us seems to care enough to ensure that actually happens. The lack of care of most health professionals involved has been astounding, and it hurts me to think that there could be a real problem, and each day ticking by it may not be diagnosed.

My job has just been moved so I have a two hour commute each way, and I'm really, properly tired. It comes to an end at Christmas, which means I'll be job-hunting again. I probably already should be, if only I could focus on it.

But I'm ok. These are all but challenges with arses waiting to be kicked, and sharing them with others helps.

I saw my counsellor again a few weeks back and it helped. He even said he takes inspiration from me.

So - R U Ok? If not, find someone to share with. That might even be me, or someone actually qualified at this stuff. But make sure it's someone.

This is homework my daughter brought home from school.

It needs a little correcting:

"So why don't we switch everything over to solar power? The simple answer is that fossil fuels are more efficient and cheaper than solar energy"

Is it really more efficient to fight wars and run pipelines for oil, ship it across the planet in super-tankers, refine it with electricity, transport it in trucks to service stations where more electricity is used to pump it into your car which burns it and wastes 80% of the energy in it as heat, noise and vibration; or perhaps just charge your electric car from solar panels at home?

Or mine coal with diesel and human lives, load it on trains to transport it to a power station, then set it on fire wasting about 2/3 of the energy in it as light, heat and pollution; or perhaps just make use of probably the world's most plentiful solar resource and drop a load of panels somewhere in the outback, coupled with batteries and pumped hydro storage for overnight supply, and run your house from that?

As for cheaper, it would take $3b and 8 years to build a new coal plant. The industry isn't doing that, it's investing in renewables instead. Coal and oil is only cheaper if you are ignoring government subsidies, and the sunk and externalised costs (eg. health).

"Solar power is a weak source of energy"

It's strong enough, and cheap enough, for this to be nothing more than a weak argument from a dying industry.

"Although some experimental solar-powered cars have been made, they cannot go very far or very fast and are very expensive"

We literally drop our kids at school in a car we fill up with solar power. It can go anywhere there is electricity (look around - is there a power point near you? We can fill up from that), is faster than our new diesel SUV (that we reluctantly bought for towing and 7 seats), and cost us just over $20k.

"People are hopeful that one day we will be able to use solar power to take hydrogen gas out of water"

The only people hopeful of that are large oil companies, who hate the idea that you can charge your car at home and make them irrelevant. No more drilling, pipelines, refineries or service stations. All of those are still needed with hydrogen, because you can't make it yourself. This is not true for solar panels on your roof.

Almost all actual hydrogen production today is done with fossil fuels, not solar.

Even huge ships are already replacing their diesel motors with electric plus battery, charged at their ports. Given time, they won't need hydrogen either.

The only thing that might still absolutely NEED fossil fuels in our lifetimes will be long-haul flights (massively damaging for our planet, please reduce!), and rockets to leave our atmosphere.

It's things like this that make me really upset, when our school gets a lovely new playground it desperately needs funded not by the government, but the happy smiling people at South32 Illawarra Coal and AGL.

References:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/coal-or-renewables-which-is-cheaper-20190311-p513cs.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_power_station

https://electrek.co/2017/10/26/toyota-elon-musk-fuel-cell-hydrogen/

https://youtu.be/rE_M1n-ClOA

https://youtu.be/1SafVI7vKs4 - we rode on this!

The fun of caravanning is that you want a new van, and end up needing a new car to pull it!
Yesterday we said goodbye to Frosty the Snow Car and now have a near-new Outlander to replace him. She takes a bit more weight on the towball, and doesn't have nearly 200,000 kms on the clock or several bumps and broken bits either.

Mitsubishi do make a plug-in hybrid version of this, but have knobbled it with a reduced tow rating and only 5 seats, so as much as we would have preferred that, this is the AWD diesel instead. It does use less fuel than the old car though, despite finally giving up our beloved last manual gearbox 🥺

Can't wait until we can buy a full-electric car with a decent tow rating for less than $60k. Until then, welcome Roxy!

So I have an opportunity to do a TEDx talk. Yes, a real one.

If I were to do such a thing, what would you like to watch and hear me talk about?

The theme of the entire talk is “Weapons of mass disruptions - ideas that have changed or will change the world."

When you think of me, what do I have to say that fits into that? I'd really appreciate your input, as I'm finding it all pretty daunting. I have some ideas but am throwing it open for suggestions.

I'll even say "thanks for coming to my TED talk" at the end :)

'The number of male calves being killed straight after birth is on the rise again, despite efforts by the dairy industry to end the practice known as ‘the dirty secret’. '

'One dairy farmer, who asked to remain anonymous, explained to the Guardian that she could not find a market for her male calves. “This year we’re shooting the Jersey crosses, because we’ve not got the space or money to keep them. It doesn’t make me feel good.

“We get the knackerman out to do it. I could never do it. I can’t even feed them if I know they are going to be dead in a few days.” '

---
It didn't make me feel good either, once I realised unprofitable male calves being destroyed was an absolute requirement for my two litre jugs of milk for the kids, tasty cheeses, chips with milk solids in them, and absolutely everything that is made from dairy.

It's a very dirty little secret - even our local Country Valley dairy blogged about it a while back [1], saying they hadn't been able to find an alternative to selling their bobby cows after a few days separated from their mum 24 hours after birth, and that was years before they had to ask for sponsorship due to drought. No doubt they haven't suddenly decided to raise these souls as well for no profit. No update on whether the market for them still exists to have even a short life, or they too are now like the farmers in this article.

Life without dairy is achievable, the reality in most of the world, and yes provides enough calcium, with zero cholesterol as a bonus. And no soul needs to suffer for it.

[1] http://countryvalleymilk.blogspot.com/…/story-behind-bobby-…

Back when I first came out and started transitioning, Liz and I really struggled to find two things:
- Any support or social groups for her to be with others in similar situations
- Many other couples where both wanted to make the relationship work in a new, modified form.

So I set up two secret Facebook groups to address these missing areas. We now have a public page and website over at https://tgdsupport.info/ where people can find these groups, and request access by telling myself and the admin of the non-transitioning partners group a bit about their backstory.

Hopefully this is another step providing important types of support that we ourselves found lacking only a few short years ago.