Revisiting the trials of Don Burke

Over the last several days I had been wondering about the case of one man earlier this year that came out while he was being torn down by allegations. That man was Don Burke who hasn’t really been heard from ever since his interview on A Current Affair or ACA as everyone in Australia knows. Don one of Australia’s gardening gurus or was depending on how you see him, came out as saying he has Aspergers.

My thoughts were as reflecting on the past was would that have meant anything if he had not gotten himself into trouble? Should we revisit the situation and say sure he has Aspergers and is on the spectrum. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and point him to getting diagnosed as he was self-diagnosed.

If everyone is shooting down the self diagnosis, then should we not treat the rest of the self diagnosed in the same way or even those who have a criminal record as they have done some sort of crime, but couldn’t possibly have Autism or Aspergers because of their conviction? I am just putting thoughts down while thinking we are not in a perfect world. I do wonder if he has gone and gotten himself a diagnosis, but is really keeping that to himself.

The Art of Doing Nothing

At the moment I am recharging after finishing the second last Trimester of university. I have around two weeks before study begins again and I have decided to use this time to do nothing about study. What I have been doing in my nothing stage is watching TV shows that I have taped over the last couple of months. There is the shows Mighty Trains, Agents of Shield, Who Do You Think You are?, Great British railways all for my viewing pleasure and slowly being whittled down. Something to think about is that I have not had a beer in the last couple of months. I think it was around last December since I had one. I simply cannot remember that one.


I should include a ‘boring’ book ‘A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising’. Not a history book and reading as I am nearly at the end of the Jack Reacher series and waiting for the new Laurell K Hamilton book. On the list are the three series of ASIO history books and Vietnam War with the Australian involvement. Most will be read after uni studies finish such is the growing list of to reads. I have been playing Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II and finished one chapter and onto the Chaos Rising part. The recharge continues.


Amongst all this I have done some light research into the dinosaur museums in Europe and UK where I have an ever growing list. Still wondering if the one in Dorchester, UK is actually a kids learning museum and not for adults. I should look at places I want to stay soon as I need a list. Really don’t want to stay with the YHA again after the worlds worst snorer last time who was after ‘Beaches (bitches) and hoes’ it was the accent being South American. Him not me. Only advantage of being a party dude, he usually came home at 5am. There is some family tree research amongst the researching too and havnt done much to it.


I did have a centrelink thing to sort out that resulted in a small bill to pay with the DSP, but its not huge deal. Could have been a whole lot worse and it will be paid in time. I do like the idea if you don’t pay them it attracts interest, which could be the scary part.


Today it is official that I have passed my uni unit which was all the months of prep and research that has made me happy. June 2018 will take me as something too. I decided it was time after getting an email whether to resign or rejoin the marine rescue. Due to work commitments and study commitments I decided it was time to resign after 15 years. I no longer had the commitment as I could no longer put the time into being boat crew.

Fun Uncle

With more contact with my nephews, I am doing my best to try and be the one who is fun to them. Sure I may spoil them a little bit like give them something like a Ninja Turtle suit even though I was expressly told not to do it. When told to do that I will actually follow the opposite route and just do it. Though I did try to be funny when my eldest nephew, Master 3 cried over getting a splinter out of his finger and no one still had it out. I grabbed an axe and asked if he wanted me to get it out. He really didn’t at that point. I am just happy that he is liking the Ninja Turtles as in the early TV series from the 1990s.

If it means contact with two nephews, I will be happy to be in their lives even if there were unfortunate events that had occurred in the past. I don’t always get contact as I am always working on weekends. Master several months old seems to be happy to watch the world around him and drool on the carpet. I wonder if he likes Paw Patrol or Ninja Turtles? Maybe he will love Land Before Time like I did as a kid. Turn him dinosaur mad and watch the horror from his parents.


Its getting close to my current unit at uni to end and I have changed to a literature review instead so will see how that goes. The end is coming. The only advice I would give to study is. Do it by correspondence as then you do not need to meet others in a university or be inconvenienced by not having a job to pay for your studies or living expenses. The ‘experts’ tell you that you need interaction, but do you really? I get it through my job. That’s enough. Its all easier to do things at your own pace and Part time.


A while back I was part of some research survey for a university about autism in Sydney and I decided to recently ignore the emails as I had lost interest in doing so. I am not worried if they lose someone from a survey group as they would always have someone else. Last I heard was they had not any contact in 24 months. Tis life and then you move on.

A nooth in a nook

This time of year is beginning to become really busy with work and other things that is called life. Life is a bunch of tokens you place into a machine like Pac-Man where you eat pills in a darkened room or is it that life is Twisted.


In the last month my bike has been for its first service in Brisbane and the funny thing was there seemed to be retired people buying Spyders. They know what they want. Then I had to have a tooth removed as it was dying as a cyst had formed. Lets say with the bike and the dentistry it was starting to become an expensive month. That was all in the same week and the first time ever that I had a tooth removed. No pain at all and was one of my baby teeth. It is a little awkward to eat some things, but I have eaten fingerbuns again. After the operation, which I had general antiesthetic, I had KFC for dinner. That was chips, popcorn chicken and potato and gravy. P&G was what I had after a major op in my teens. I recommend it as its better than jelly and custard. I now have a denture or does that mean I am in-dentured?


The biggest thing to occur is my research for university and that means a step closer to finishing my bachelor degree by the end of the year. I am free styling with my own research project involving New Zealand. That is the Militia, who were civilian soldiers and I need 5,000 words. I went overboard last November in collecting records from the National Archives in New Zealand. I had to secure a lecturer as well, which means phone chats. So far it has been one and the request for a literature review on the sources I am using. So far I am having a nice time chasing down other sources.


What are my plans for after my degree? No idea and I don’t have to pay of my HECS debt, which doesn’t have interest and I am happy for that. I do plan a trip overseas, but first a walk through the Milford Track as a celebration for finishing my degree. Then next year a trip around Europe visiting some museums and that includes the UK too for some family history. I prefer to travel on my own at my own speed.


It might only be the beginning of April, but I havnt actually seen very much about Autism Acceptance, Awareness, Appreciation, Tolerance, Trendy Month. Looking through the online local news in the mornings at breakfast there hasn’t been anything blowing or lighting up in various colours including puzzled people talking about the phenomenon. Maybe everyone is waving Aussie flags wanting gold medals at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Maybe they are all asleep and the media is aware of other things that are more interesting like a bare bum in the opening ceremony or Camilla reading a book. Why don’t I share or say anything about the month? It’s a little bit tokenistic when we go back to sleep showing a token effort for something once a month when it should be year-round. I dont do group things and happy doing my own thing. I have enough on my plate with work and study.

Here is your ‘token’, spend it wisely this month.

When leaving isnt time to leave

Two weeks ago I came to the conclusion that it would be best to resign from my volunteer work with the marine rescue. It was not for the reason I had burnt bridges or was off side with anyone at all. I thought it was the easiest way and have the best outcome that I had thought about. I had been there for quite some time, which is 14 years of active service as boat crew and in the past as a radio operator too. I had been told that these days you can either do one or the other, but not both anymore. Work commitments always gets in the way of doing things. My main goal of the year is to complete my history degree.


2018 is going to be a bigger year than I know of and work was only part of the reason to walk away. My employment involves weekend work and I never want to lose my Sunday shifts for obvious reasons. I had asked for one Sunday off a while back and lost all Sunday shifts for a while through roster changes. My worry was I was wearing myself down since I two shifts I can attend in the mornings for only around four hours at a time before heading to work. That day involves a 5am start to get to the boat before a 7am launch. It used to be 630am launch before they changed the time. I start work at 1pm, which finishes at 10pm. It would have been alright if I had not finished work at 10pm on the Friday, but the weekend tired me out a bit.


I felt because of this and the fact I was now a trainee crew instead of a qualified crew member that I couldnt do the study that is involved from knots, flipcharts for different lights showing from vessels at night for their meanings, different navigational markers and their meanings, collision regulations otherwise known as Colregs. I have to know these off the top of my head and I will include a link for those who think I am being precious. This includes me trying to finish my university degree as well and I am wanting to finish by the end of this year as it is something I have strived to complete more for myself.


I had read the information in regards to resigning and I thought that by leaving without being in the bad books, I could return in a year or so. Sure Sydney being the Headquarters might not have a problem with someone not being a troublemaker of any sorts. I was not worried about going back to basics as it is something that I feel I probably should do especially some of the information, I cant seem to remember like the knots. Something I have always struggled with, but I give it a go anyway.


The reality is actually tougher. I had printed out the resignation letter, put my stuff like ID, name badge and epaulet into a folder. I had spoken to no one about my decision not even the head of the boat operations who might have been understanding. The deputy Commander was who I spoke to and his response when I told him why I was wanting to resign (I only spoke about work problems)  was ‘NO’ as I had spent a great deal of time with the organisation and I could always go to fundraising instead to keep myself as an active member. Also it would be difficult to return once I had resigned in bad blood or not. He gave me six months leave to think about it and I was on my way. I would be taken off the roster and to come back when I am ready. He reasoned that I had gotten through the toughest time with work being Christmas


I have heard along the grapevine that people are wondering why I wanted to resign though they have not contacted me or asked my reasons yet. They don’t seem happy that I had been told to basically go flip burgers as part of fundraising. The funny part of having a history degree is the burger flipping comment. I have not told any of them about my history degree that I am wanting to complete by the end of the year. They only really know about my work as I only interact with them through the organisation not outside. Maybe I should do that, but I only really talk to them if I see them at work. We shall see what happens by the end of the month as I will rock up to the boat shed to have a discussion to explain my reasons, but for the time being I think it is best that I have six months off, although I know the training stuff will fall down. I think I am more respected than I realise. The funny thing was I had the thought I could always write the unit history as a volunteer thing and they can publish the book much like for the local life savers I have seen with their centenary book.


The reasons, well the main reasons I will list again, but with additions.

  1. Work commitments. I work more hours and unique shifts than I did when I first joined since I was unemployed and training was far easier.
  2. Trying to finish my university bachelor degree in history. I have two subjects left and they both will be tough. Trying to remember everything on top of the rescue stuff fries the brain I think. Maybe it was only time that it would come to this. I have my own research project that I need to start and finish. That is something I need to concentrate on.
  3. Hoping the big boss doesn’t come down hard on me because I have not completed all the training. So thought resignation would be easier, only to come back later. I don’t want to be forced to complete everything. I had already been given the hard word to leave as a radio operator and time was a factor in that too.
  4. I don’t know how much protection I would have and I don’t really want others to watch my back or cover for me from one very angry person if it comes to that.

  Maybe I should tell them that I am a slow learner and some things I have difficulty with, although if that gets to the ears of the wrong people I might actually be kicked off the boat. Part of the reason why I have never mentioned Aspergers or as it is called these days Autism Spectrum Condition / autism. It makes my life easier and less complicated as they probably have figured out that I am a tough on the slow side. I would say its a huge combo of everything else and something had to give.


Australian Maritime Safety Authority


Shoppergeddon and that screamer

I thought I had already written a blog on this subject, but cant seem to find it. Maybe amongst the blogs it is there hidden and waiting. Since it happens to be the time of year when Shoppergeddon happens I should post some thoughts especially within the supermarket life. This time of year means school holidays and there would be opeople all over the place including upset kids


You will always hear about people with autistic kids having a melt down or something similar while they are in a shop especially a supermarket. Then they complain they are getting nasty looks from the people who work in the supermarket and / or sometimes they lash out at the worker thinking they are special and they are ‘protecting’ their child in a meltdown. My response is actually build a bridge and get over it.


Why the attitude? The reason is this. You are nothing special. You are just another person with a crying, upset child. It is something that is seen everyday and all day. I do actually find this to be amusing and I am giving a look of disgust, but also laughing that you are stuck with the young one and I am not. If you are wanting to lash out at a worker. Then be very careful as you yourself will be in for loads of trouble. Think before you say or do anything as you will be on camera well before you leave the store and it could be handed on to the authorities including the security for a shopping centre. Retailers are starting to take a zero tolerance for any abuse be it verbal or physical towards their staff members. Maybe this updated blog can serve as a reminder. In the last couple of months the retail union has pushed out the information as it will no longer be tolerated and I think this should serve as a reminder for all those living in Aspieland. People do remember you and word does spread especially when you do not act normal or do something that is not expected.


There is stereotype that annoys me and that is to do with autistic people lining things up to look all neat and tidy. Like all the vegies in fresh produce looking like they are lined up and neat after some ‘autistic’ employee spent hours doing the display up. I would say great marketing as its not the reality. In 11 years I have never seen this nor would any manager allow anyone to do this on the clock. My boss would disagree too especially when there is a constant game of Jenga being played and I am not that neat unless time permits me to be, but that is actually rare. My ears should really be burning on some days.

Who supports who? Calling them out

While I was working, I had a thought that was about the Coles Quiet hour. I wondered how many statements, I could find from Advocacy groups within Australia that were in support of the Autism quiet hour. I thought I would at least come across blogs excluding mine, but Google either hides press reports when looking for them or the main groups have chosen to remain quiet. I am not looking on Facebook as there are just the usual news article shares. Not everyone is on FB or even actually follow the news online. I will say it here to start off with as I do want to be proved wrong on this topic and I will say so again further down.


I havnt done a thorough search to see what I can come across and I was excluding everything from Facebook. Some groups I knew had websites and one like the self advocacy group, I had trouble remembering the name of. All I could find was news articles and apart from ASPECT who is part of the whole thing there was nothing. Nothing from the ICAN Network, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, Australian Autism Asperger Network, Australian and New Zealand Autistic Self Advocacy Network are just for starters through a quick search. To say I am disappointed is an understatement, but I am beginning to think none of the Advocacy groups in Australia actually truly care. They seem to rather play on the Don Burke’s of the world by covering all the negativity. Maybe positivity is just ‘inspiration’ porn for these guys. I do not know the names of individual advocates within Australia as in the people so I do wonder if they actually support stuff like this or are they holding onto the negativity cards just to say ‘I told you so’.


Its been a couple of weeks and one Don Burke saga where nothing has happened. I would hazard a guess if it was Woolworths doing this then everyone would be over it like a rash or would there be the sound of silence? Maybe they are waiting for the whole thing to fail before these groups will crow about the failure in the system as it is what they really want. A huge fail. I do not know, but Looking on the websites there are no press releases or anything written. Maybe they need all their asses kicked into action due to their slackathon. Maybe they will tell me to stick my comments where the sun doesn’t shine and Clementine Ford will rocket me to the moon. No disrespect to her, but maybe she would love to take the subject on board. I would love to be told that they really do support this endeavour, but they have to be quiet for political reasons. Someone at least prove me wrong. Maybe they all need someone like me who is an actual outsider to point out their failings and maybe they need to list the stores in their specific regions.


I would love to see some officialdom for the Coles Quiet Hour or at least a little bit of support. ‘Nothing about us without us’ is starting to sound like a catch cry without doing anything or supporting real grassroot causes beneficial for all. I wonder if Autism Speaks leant their support towards this then people will wake up. Maybe someone should tell Coles to take the ‘Autism’ out of the quiet hour as maybe the community doesn’t really deserve such a thing and the general community is more deserving especially when there are people who would love not being blasted by anxiety inducing sensory overloading sounds that are not even on the Autism spectrum. I maybe a small minnow in a sea of discontent, but I have written about the Quiet Hour twice. Maybe the groups need to know that without the support of the people then they are actually nothing, but hollow shells.

Work with me

In my line of employment I have seen people come and go over the time I have been there. I work retail, specifically within a supermarket and part of a huge chain. It’s a great place to work, but I should point out that not everyone can hack working at the pace we have to work.


We have to work to a specific time frame which means within a shift you have to do more than one thing. In my shift I usually have to fill the freezer, fill milk and fill the ice if it is empty and talk to customers. Work cannot be left for the next day or else you have the snow ball effect and put people who are on the next day out as they have their own work to do. We are all supposed to be working to a certain carton rate per hour, just depends on what it is. Mostly it can be around 52 boxes, but can change.


I will be honest, I do not actually care about your ability. The only thing I care about is if you can get the work done or not. If you cannot do the work specified then, I actually don’t want you. I always know within a couple of weeks who the slow people are and the fast ones are. I should point out that I am not picking on you, I am making sure you keep the work up. If there is still work to be done and someone else has to jump in to help then we all know you are in need of help, which cannot always happen. If you do not turn up to work them everyone regards you as unreliable. That’s the whole reality of the situation.


This time of year makes it tough as it is the Christmas season where you have to work hard and fast especially with the amount of work that appears and the people wanting all sorts of stuff as it literally flies off the shelf. I tend to see people posting on pages about not working to your potential in regards to Asperger / autism. I have said it before and will always say it. The people who are posting online as blogs or talking about such nonsense at conferences are the ones holding everyone else back. I enjoy my job and they should let people do what they want, not what the ‘professionals / advocates’ want. My advice is don’t listen to half of what is said as they are usually paid and are promoting something for their agenda. I think I have covered two topics right here.

Paying Attention

It might be considered bad behaviour, but it is otherwise called trolling in person. I have done this for a while and no, I don’t care what others actually think half the time. I am an adult, but need to have some fun and also see what happens. It seems wherever you go that people are not really paying attention to their surroundings and I am one who like to put that to the test for my own enjoyment


On my last trip away I had to signal for a passing bus for it to stop. I noticed that the four other people at the stop were not paying attention, so I did not wave the bus down. I had thought they would, but the people just watched the bus go past. I don’t know if they commented, but I was smirking while listening to my music. I was happy to wait a little longer to get back into the city. Not my problem if others are not paying attention. We did get a bus around 20 mins later with more people who had arrived. An afternoon in Auckland when the school buses are doing their think makes for a busy trip.


In other places I have done similar like at airports when you see groups of people and you have a bag trolley, so you stop and start laughing when one of the people actually walks into you. It can be quite funny when they apologise when you were basically setting them up. Nothing new there and is a part of my life. People do cross the road looking at their phones and the least you can do is either step out of their way or see if they will look up in time to avoid walking into you. I have done this while in London when using my bags as a virtual battering ram as I look like a backpacker with bags hanging off me and people don’t seem to want to get out of your way.


What I do is if I have to look at my phone, then I step to the side and look at it so that I don’t get in the way of the human traffic. People seem to have their focus on other things in life.

Self diagnosis of The Don

I had always wondered what would happen when people self diagnosed themselves with Aspergers and / or Autism, when people flat out not welcome them to the fold. Turns out that day came during the week when Don Burke a celebrity gardener in Australia decided as part of his interview to drop the bomb shell that actually was like a balloon going flat that he had Aspergers. He later said that he self diagnosed himself due to some of the issues that resolved around the whole thing. While he thought he would be well received, it bit him in the ass mightily. The autism community seem to be great in that way. Be both welcoming and then with something not to their liking its basically instant death.


Something that I found amusing was the community is usually welcoming of any celebrity diagnosed officially or self diagnosed. I do wonder if Don had dropped the bombshell without the allegations against him, then the Autism community would open their arms to him. On one side I do see this a little hypocritical of the community for a reason as it’s a national sport to diagnose everyone and everything. Cats have aspergers apparently and so does Baron Trump and Putin from Russia. I think if it has legs then it will now have aspergers or autism to some people including that tree over there that looks shady. It also turns back onto the people with comments like ‘You know nothing about autism’.


It will be interesting to see what the so called self diagnosed crowd will do as they have been damaged by Don’s revelations. Are those people to be trusted or mocked for their mathematics? They get 2 plus 2 and equals five or six. Will the event still have people reluctantly diagnosing themselves or will there be a heap of people suddenly come to the revelation that they have Aspergers like Don does. Will people be fair game afterwards as the Autism community can be very unforgiving, but all over the place. I do wonder what the thoughts of those watching on from their Ivory towers. Will people come out and say criminals who were convicted and such are not autistic as obviously an autistic person could not have done that? I think I did see something along the lines during the week and I cannot remember who wrote it.


My response at the time was ‘Bullshit’ and now just ‘meh’ as it doesn’t impact my life. Maybe Don would become an honorary member of the Autism community later down the track, not that I have a crystal ball or anything. I do wonder if there will be more regulation amongst the autism community over diagnosing Godzilla and King Kong as soon it will become very silly. I don’t support Don for what he has said, but I bet it caused an uproar throughout the entertainment industry and Autism community both. I am kind of Chaotic Neutral on any issue as fallouts within the autism community doesn’t have any impact on my life and I am very fortunate for that.


Next issue: Motocyclists dont have autism as they can manipulate fine motor skills to ride a bike on a road and autistic people cannot do that.