Vasilios Theodorakis – An Online Author is a digital repository of all my written work (in text and podcast formats)…

September 21, 2010

Roller Coaster

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 5:15 pm

In 1995, a friend who had the flu, unintentionally gave me an ear infection that lasted for months – I should also add that being pharmacologically immuno-suppressed didn’t help matters. Once the infection passed I was left with residual noise – a whooshing sound tied to the beat of my heart. Thinking nothing of it, I lived with the noise for a year or two then started to worry. By the late 1990s, it was finally diagnosed as an Arterial Venous Fistula (AV Fistula). A trauma – the infection maybe? – had caused a clot to form in the main artery of my brain which in turn created a syphoning vessel – the fistula – that ensured the pressure didn’t build up to the point where I had a bleed. The fistula syphoned the blood directly into the main vein, taking blood away from my head, but travelled so close to my left ear that I effectively heard my heart beat 24 hours a day. My brain’s left hemisphere was now receiving far less blood than the right hemisphere because of the syphoning action.

In addition to identifying what was going on, it took many years to find a local specialist that I trusted and who might be able to do something about the situation. My next problem was that I didn’t like the sound of injecting titanium coils or glue into my brain in order to block off the fistula. Especially, since no one could guarantee the toxic side effects of the glue. And so, I lived with the noise for almost 15 years – which probably did more damage to my mental health than any glue would have done to my body.

In January of this year though, under extreme hot weather conditions and while clearing rubble at our fence line, I developed another clot which thrombosed within the fistula and blocked off the vessel. For the first time in 15 years I could hear silence – it was magical and a small miracle considering the clot hadn’t travelled elsewhere in my body.

Fast forward now to Tuesday 7th September 2010 and yet again I had to defend myself, my wife and our property against the neighbourhood nut job. This time he decided to use his roof to terrorise my wife over the fence! Fortunately the situation was yet again addressed by the police, but not before I had to raise my voice far too loudly, maintain my blood pressure in a raised state for far too long and experience adrenaline surges that continued for many days after the incident.

Within 48 hours of defending our home, the therapeutic clot blocking off the fistula had been dislodged and the vessel had reopened. So now I’m back to listening to my heart beat 24 hours a day! After so much silence though, I’m really not coping with the noise and my wife and I have decided to move forward with the artificial embolism. There are many medical risks involved with the process but after experiencing the stillness of silence for 8 months, I cannot go back to listening to and waiting for my heartbeat to stop!

So wherever you find yourself, try to contemplate the nature of an individual whose sole purpose in life is to traumatise and derail other people’s lives. Watching this individual in action, has reminded me of how capable our kind is of pure acts of evil. So much for us being children of God – agents of Satan maybe – but children of God? I have my doubts.

In spite of this, my wife and I continue to move forward as the assaults are again extended to our physical selves. Wish us well in the battles ahead and if you’re a religious person, keep us in your prayers.

Regarding this blog I’ll leave a final posting when I head into hospital. All things going well, I’ll resume the postings as soon as they let me out. If anything goes wrong however, my wife Helen will post a closing commentary to this site. In the meantime, I’m finally back to editing and hopefully completing the upload of my first poetry anthology – “Growing Up”. There’s a handful of poems to get through still and I’m only 12 months behind schedule. ;)

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

September 14, 2010

Vocational Education?

Filed under: Arts,Culture And Society,Science And Technology — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 10:06 pm

It astounds me how our political leaders don’t understand that new ideas come out of endeavours that aren’t necessarily associated with well defined jobs. Do they really think that people like Einstein came up with the “Theory Of Relativity” through their job training? The theory came out of Einstein’s thought experiments!

The current paradigm, that goes back to the late 1980’s, believes all you need to do is get an education or be trained for a job i.e. Vocational Education. The notion of eduction for life and eduction for innovation went out the window years ago. Dreamers and visionaries no longer have a place in Australian society – then again, maybe they never did – and you can see this, when you compare the budgets for the Arts and Pure Sciences against the applied fields and economics. History, Philosophy, Literature, etc. are viewed as irrelevant because they don’t lead to a direct job. Pure Mathematics, Physics, Palaeontology, etc. aren’t valued because it’s thought they don’t accomplish anything economically. The irony is, that without people having studied in these fields and “mused” over “irrelevant” questions, insights and discoveries which have improved society and driven technology would never have happened.

Take for instance your little USB memory stick – this device came out of pure research in solid state physics. At the time of its discovery, i.e. many decades ago, solid state theory had no practical use for the idea, but if those researchers hadn’t been allowed to pursue their research for the sake of knowledge alone, you wouldn’t have your little storage device today!

This issue was recently covered in ABC’s Radio National – Big Ideas presentation titled: Weaving the Rainbow: The Poet and The Scientist Speak. The presentation included Les Murray and Barry Jones talking about where Education has gone wrong in Australia and how there is no vision for the future.

Unfortunately our nation’s politicians don’t seem to understand that one needs to pay more attention to the nation’s thinkers – i.e. our thinkers are the true visionaries, guides and seers into the future. Instead of taking on board what people like Jones and Murray have said over the years, the current PM has down graded education to such an extent, that we now don’t have a Ministry Of Education in the new parliament – just 3 smaller ministries preparing people for jobs! We are well and truly on the way to becoming the region’s Eurasian trash. All the country will be good for in the long run, is handing over resources and doing menial jobs that drive the immediate economy.

I therefore fear, thinking and dreaming will have to be done elsewhere – God help Australia’s creative young who spend all their time “musing” on things that are deemed irrelevant! Not only will they be unable to develop their ideas into robust theories but they’ll have no means of earning a living from their intellectual passion!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

September 10, 2010

Site Update 056

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:22 pm

This week’s commentary talks about the day Australia matures as a nation. Its simply called Maturity. The author of the week is another Science Fiction great – Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote the Barsoom Series about civilisations on Mars. People might better know him as the author who created Tarzan.

And finally, I can’t let the digital day pass without wishing my wife a happy wedding anniversary. Its been quite a journey but one I can’t imagine having shared with anyone else. All my love Hally.

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – September 2010

September 6, 2010


Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 10:50 am

Australia will have matured into a real nation only when it embraces its entire history and only when it sees its existence as stretching back more than 40000 years, not just 212!

Until we accept that indigenous history is also the nation’s history, and until the average person on the street understands and is proud of the fact that Australia still holds the oldest continuous cultures and society in the world – we will never get past the current illegitimacy of the nation. i.e. That since colonialists came to this land and occupied it without compensation and treaties, the business of settlement was never completed.

As we’re stuck with what has happened and as we’re unable to change the past, we should at least ensure the future is based on uniting our pre and post colonialist history in a just, honest and pride inspiring way. I look forward to the day when non-aboriginal kids wish they were indigenous and aboriginal kids are so full of pride they almost burst whenever the topic of their heritage is raised. What a day that will be and what a great nation we will have become – despite the mistakes of the past!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

September 3, 2010

Site Update 055

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 7:11 pm

This week’s upload includes my last outstanding post which deals with the notion of reflection. The piece touches on one of my medical conditions and how anyone can get on with life no matter how bad the circumstances – that is, as long as one doesn’t give up. It’s called: Beaten And Bloodied We Crawl Forward.

Two other commentaries written this week include:
Contact From The Future and
Creating A Nest

Finally, the author of the week is the Australian poet – Judith Wright. An incredibly passionate person, she was also a strong environmental and aboriginal rights advocate. Judith Wright died in 2000, and like Oodgeroo Noonuccal I had an opportunity to meet her but never followed through before she died. Yet another example of me not seizing the day!

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – September 2010

September 1, 2010

Creating A Nest

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 9:51 pm

Statistically, we are one of the few high order creatures capable of procreating without first preparing a safe and stable environment in which to raise our young. Almost all other complex organisms will try to build a nest (or equivalent) before bringing forth the next generation, but since we’ve managed to separate out our sexual activity from our need to procreate, children often arrive before an environment is prepared for them.

In addition to this, we’ve removed ourselves from the cycles of the natural world, swapped the nest for dependence on vast societies and allowed ourselves to get pregnant irrespective of whether we have access to food and shelter – please note, I’m not talking about women who get sexually assaulted here – that’s different. What I’m talking about, is couples who do not have the resources to raise children.

Living in smaller communities, unexpected offspring were usually catered for by the larger family grouping. The problem we now face however, is that modern societies tend to be apathetic, hostile and not orientated to look after their constituent’s babies – not unless they’re forced to – i.e. procreation is the individual’s problem! Groupings have become too large and impersonal, ideology too self centred and people uneducated in the need to gather the resources to build their own nests ahead of time. As a consequence, those unprepared for children, fall through the safety nets of society as there’s often no family or community to depend on anymore.

As a social worker, I saw this happen again and again – people having children first and worrying about a roof over their heads later. The instability and stress this has on kids is shocking, and having to deal with it on a daily work basis, scared the hell out of me. So much so, that I decided I would not bring a child into the world unless the nest was built and ongoing resources were available.

I therefore strongly believe we need to get back to basics when it comes to our young i.e. unless we have first built the nest – don’t lay the egg! Laying and balancing an egg on a branch can only end in disaster! How stupid has our species become! I really don’t see the logic in viewing this aspect of our lives as human evolution – if anything, its a backwards step for our species!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

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