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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Step into the light

It's rather grey outside currently, a shame considering the fine weather we had yesterday. I'm taking it easy, trying to concentrate, for the time being, on just one thing – writing this entry. (Rimsky-Korsakov will just play in the background for the time being.)

Things have been happening – good things I should add. The major item of news being the Mental Health Art Exhibition in East Gosford which finished last weekend (13 & 14 October). The support group, as we did last year, went and had afternoon tea at the art gallery's cafe, and viewed the entries in the competition. Mine, I'm pleased to say, now hangs on some unknown person's wall, seeing it was purchased on the first day (5 October) of the exhibition! The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with people amazed that I took such an amazing photograph with such a simple digital camera. I had to keep telling them there were no tricks involved, I was just there at the right time, and took the shot. There was no waiting for perfect lighting conditions, I just snapped away, and when I checked the images after I had returned from that exhilarating walk through Rumbalara reserve, I discovered this extraordinary picture amongst them.

The artist with his entry "Step into the light" at the East Gosford gallery last weekend.
("Step into the Light" by Geoff G Turner, (c) 2012)

It made people happy. And seeing many people enjoyed it, it made me feel very good indeed. I have re-discovered another talent of mine, seeing I used to be a shutterbug of sorts when I was a kid, taking random pictures of things with an old Kodak camera which probably cost more than the digital one I now use. (Mind you, that was the late 1970's... )

There was a general comment though, from some people, that I didn't ask enough for the picture. Originally I wasn't going to sell it, but later decided that I'll stick a meagre $30 on it to cover expenses, which was all that I was after. Needless to say, people said, including one art teacher from Sydney (whom I suspect bought the picture), that the price wasn't high enough.

That, and so many people wanted to buy it, including the co-ordinator of the exhibition, and one person in the MH group. Last week I had intended to get some prints done for the group, but the size print that I got was too big, turning out small poster sized, and being rolled up rather than put in an envelope. I decided that I'll get some more done, seeing I intend to give both posters away. The first one went to my psychologist, and I'll probably give the other one to my sister. The latter is encouraging me to open up an online store, and start selling them.

I didn't win a prize, but I must say that wasn't the goal. Yes, it would've been nice, but I only wanted to display my work. That somebody liked it enough to purchase it was a bonus. That so many people liked it was an unexpected pleasure.

So, there are two good things about being a “consumer”. Had I not been diagnosed with various ailments, I wouldn't have joined a support group, and would never had known about the art exhibition.

The other being that I have found a creative way to manage my OCD. Sure, it is using up plenty of hard drive space on the PC (which is one of the reasons why I recently bought a 2TB external hard drive) but it is keeping me stable, and is assisting me explore this region, which can be quite a beautiful place.

I say “can be” because on my walks around the area, it has become horribly apparent that we treat this planet like shite. Last Friday I walked from my home in East Gosford to the shopping centre at Erina (roughly a 5km walk, which usually takes me 45mins – with a camera in hand it took 55mins), a walk which takes me along a busy motorway and a slow moving creek. The creek is bordered by mangroves, and opens up onto a larger catchment area, which somehow connects to Brisbane Waters, which I live so close to. Along the way, at various points, were huge piles of rubbish, either tossed from passing cars, by lazy fishermen, “visitors” to the creek, or washed up from somewhere else. The amount of rubbish I saw was equivalent to the amount of rubbish I generally see in the bush around the art gallery in East Gosford. (When I was last there, I found a half-hidden clearing, which contained a piece of carpet that was big enough to cover the entire floor space of my unit!)

And what does the local council do about it? Bugger-all. I feel disgusted and saddened at the same time, seeing the bushland around the gallery receives so many foreign visitors. I can imagine that it sends a very negative message to those tourists.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I had been planning, for some time, to have a chat to my boss, see if he can run a story on it. (My psychologist suggested the same thing.) After all, the environment is such an important issue, and we've recently had local council elections. It would be good to shame them into doing something about it, seeing that's what we pay them for...

Speaking of work, I am solely doing delivery runs now (for the time being). One week (the week just ending actually) I do one day of work, which is the Peninsula News run around Woy Woy, etc. The following week, on Tuesday I deliver the papers around Gosford, on Thursday and Friday I do the Wyong Shire run, which now incorporates my sister's locale of Gwandalan, which is the furtherest north we go. We've incorporated this into our run quite well, seeing that before turning off to Gwandalan, there's a turn off which leads to three schools at Lake Munmorah (one of my nieces goes to high school there). Coming up on the highway, we do these first, then carry on to drop papers off at two places in Gwando (a local abbreviation) before coming back down the other side of the highway to do the other drops, including the Doyalson RSL club. All this is included in our Thursday Day One drive, or the “Far” drive.

Last Thursday, the case manager informed me that it has now been three months since I started work at Ducks' Crossing Publications. I can hardly believe it's been three months, and in that time so much has happened. I feel like a different person, one that has gained back some confidence in himself and his abilities. I no longer feel “different” or alienated like I used to, and have discovered for myself, a niche where I fit in. Sure, I will have bad days, but I can cope with them a lot better now.

My psychologist stated that the main goal of the therapy, is to no longer need your therapist. I have reached a point, she said, where my visits will be something like once every three months. (It's a pity to some degree, I quite like her!) The only thing I have yet to properly deal with, is my acrophobia. The walk-bridge near my place being one thing that I am still unsure of. Though I have managed to cross a number of other bridges, I still can't cross this one.

So, the last appointment in this group of ten, will be dedicated to getting over that bridge.

Back to work. My case manager also informed me that I have worked a total of 181 hours in those three months. The problem being, I should've worked 195, as per my agreement. The wording on it states “15 hours per week”, which makes things a bit awkward seeing I'm doing three days one week, and one the next, totalling very close to 30 hours (but not quite 30 some weeks). If I don't reach 195 hours, then the business doesn't get the subsidy for my wages. So, I can imagine there will be some creative book-keeping to make sure I have “worked” the 195. However, my case manager discovered that on the paperwork that she needs to send off to the agency that handles my funding, nowhere does it ask her to put down a week-by-week amount of hours. However, it does require the total amount of hours worked during that period...

Gees, bureaucracy eh?

On another pleasant note, yesterday (20 October), I became just the sixth player in the country to have played all 24 races in official Blood Bowl tournaments. Sure, the last two tournaments have been wholly forgettable, but I achieved the feat, and it was briefly acknowledged at the end of the tournament.

So though I'm not an elite player, I am now one of the “elite”, the special group which has undertaken the challenge, of which apparently there are fewer than twenty of them around the globe. Though yesterday's tournament was again another lesson in humility (I was once again, in the last round, battling to avoid the wooden spoon) I was rejuvenated by the congratulations after the final round, which once again subdued any thoughts of retiring from the game.

What did I do to celebrate? Well, after I returned home from Chatswood, I went and bought some Chinese takeaway (and it was very nice), a large bottle of Strongbow, one of those new strawberry crumble Magnum ice-creams, and a packet of white chocolate Tim-Tams.

I also sat down to watch some more of the Sons of Anarchy series. I bought series two of the show on Friday, and cracked it open once I had completed re-watching series one. I must say Katey Segal is brilliant as Gemma (a far cry from her character in the sitcom Married with Children) and still looks great. Ron Perlman is good as the gang's leader, and I'm pleased to see some other familiar faces, like Mitch Peleggi (from X-Files), Dayton Callie - who played Charlie Utter in Deadwood, and a rather lean Henry Rollins, who is playing a white-supremist group heavy. I readily look forward to sitting down and watching the rest of the series.

And on that note, I must just wrap this up. There are other things to do on this lazy Sunday, like write some letters, play Empire: Total War or Shogun 2: Total War, seeing that they're both installed on my new PC. At least I don't (urgently) have to paint any more BB miniatures, like I have been doing over the last month. I think I can take a break from doing those for the time being, even though I still have quite a few to do...


P.S: Early next month, I will be going to Sydney for an evening with Billy West and John DiMaggio (better known as the voices of Fry and Bender from Futurama). I've already paid for the ticket, and will be traveling down with one (or more) people from the comic book store in Gosford. The show is mainly a review of their voice acting work, and an opportunity for the audience to ask a few questions as well. Should be a good night.

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