Dust off the Bucket List…

While I’ve still got energy to move (emotionally and physically) I’ve decided to cross another goal off my list of artistic endeavours I’ve always wanted to do. I’m going to write some short stories and publish them. Self publishing is a real option these days, and I guess while I can still afford internet I’d best give it a shot. I’ve set myself a goal of trying to have four done by the end of October. Once they’re done we’ll move onto the next step of publishing.

Also I’ve set a commitment of getting at least one post a week on my two Photography sites, that is both the store & the blog. As far as the Store’s concerned I’ve set myself the goal of 6 new photos a week for the next five weeks. As for the blog, at least one update a week discussing some technical issue.

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I must say I’ve been struggling the last few weeks. It seems the constant Black to Red to Red to Black to Red to Red to Red to Black etc of the finances since losing the last lot of part time work has been wearing me down. I’ve noticed quite a few things slipping, and the last one has been the sleeping cycle. I can feel my depressive levels increasing and this has been borne out by the monitoring I’ve been doing over the last 18 months.

I need to pull several things in together and prevent another dive into where I was around June 2015. It’s not the lack of money that’s hurting, it’s the increasing pressure of the services that I can’t really change anymore. I’ve actually managed to decrease my electricity and gas costs over the last six months compared to last year which is pretty amazing considering it’s been colder (I think) for the most part of this winter compared to last. My food budget is well under what most households would be even accounting for my lack of partner & children. Don’t think you can do much better than $60 / week for groceries. Vegetarianism may help a bit, but I’ve already been keeping a fine line on the grocery budget over the last year.

I wasn’t deluding myself thinking I was going to be self sufficient with the Photography Business by now, I’d been counting on part-time work to keep me afloat while still building the business. However without that being enough to meet the outgoings over the last twelve months, it’s been a slow slide. I really can’t last another six months of this “income”. Anybody who thinks that living on $530 a fortnight is a holiday is clearly out of touch with the reality of the cost of living in Australian Society. I know I’m not the only one, I’ve watched several friends lose their roles too, and there’s no guarantees of work for any of us anymore.

Anyway I’m not wanting to be morbid, just needing to express this and move on. I’ve made a personal commitment to myself to really put in some yards by way of holding my days together. So now I have a monthly commitment to a post every day on this site until at least the end of October.

I feel somehow that I’ve sold my soul and not in a good way by signing up to a number of “paid survey” sites to try and scrape up some cash. I have to say I’ve been pumping away at them and feel suitably “dirty”. Oh well, a new personal low.

On a positive note the Furbags will have food until at least the end of the year! I still have friends, I’m warm and have a roof over my head. It’s a good thing I’m a man of simple needs.

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Jumping off the Meat Wagon…

I’ve been adopting a Vegetarian Diet over the last month, but have finally crossed over the line to full-time Vegetarianism now. I’ve been draining the cupboards & fridge over these few weeks of any meat I’ve had left and worked on generating a starting list of recipes to get me into the swing of things at a price I can afford while I’m still chasing more work. Fortunately I know several long term Vegetarians so advice and recipes are not in short supply.

I’m finding it particularly helpful that it’s still cold weather and I’m not having to go full blast with Salad. Not that I mind Salad, but psychologically I think my winter casseroles, stews & soups are the the challenge to get comfortable with at this stage. I think my biggest hurdle will be to see if I can create an enjoyable relationship with Dhal.

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All in a Day’s…

Well so far I’ve managed to move forward with some short-term goals and score some points. I’ve upgraded all my blogs, uploaded some fresh stock to both my Etsy Store & Shards of Arcadia. There’s also been a bit of background maintenance too for my blogs, fixing a couple of problems highlighted by the last upgrades. I’ve also adopted a new theme for this one & Idyllic Moments. Time for a change there, the previous themes had been “gathering a bit of dust” so to speak. Additionally I’d not been using the Photocrati / Imagely themes and plugins that I’ve been subscribed to for over a year with regard to these blogs. The galleries are now much improved.

Hopefully the sleep issues are resolved, as the last few weeks have been very hard trying too pull that sleep cycle back. Unsure if it’s due to transitioning off the Anti-Depressants or just the fact I’m between routines. Either way I’ve been working decisively on that this week just past. I’m going to do a day trip shoot either today or tomorrow, probably just down the coast, weather may determine the directions a bit. It’s patchy rain at present, but couple of chores to get out of the road first, before “hitting” the road.

My Furbags seem to be either in territorial disputes or accident prone, I’m not exactly sure which, all I know is that at a time when I really can’t afford Veterinary bills they’re generating them! Tiggakat had injured her tail but thankfully that’s now come good with no permanent damage it seems. Just a bald patch that’s slowly regaining fur. Chemoux has a similar patch on her back after a slight bite that she aggravated by over-grooming. Both seem to be fine after a anti-biotic shot and an anti-irritant shot by the local Vet. I’m nursing a wounded wallet! But *sigh* what would I do without them! May the Furry Gods continue to look over the feisty furbags.

The search for work is on again, as the part-time work has ended for the time being. I’m remaining open and thinking outside the box on that, and there are some possibilities with irons in the fire. Nothing fully cooked yet.

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The question of striving towards Serendipity came to the forefront the other day while listening to a couple of podcasts. It occurred to me that my Depression works against Serendipity completely. I’ve noticed since my last job finished some weeks ago, that Depression is trying to assert itself again. Currently my sleeping pattern is smashed to bits, and all over the place. My motivation is flagging.

So the last few days I’ve been pondering, mind mapping and developing a regrouping plan for myself. I’ve set some short-term goals, and so far the plan for the short-term (six weeks) is focussed around the following:

  • Regular blogging again
  • Regular shop updates on both Etsy & Shards of Arcadia
  • Daily Photography whether it be something for Stock Art or my shops
  • Daily exercise again
  • Pull my sleeping pattern back to normality
  • Vegetarianism
  • Transitioning off the Anti-Depressants by the end of September

Hopefully with all of these implemented piece by piece over the next month and a half, other aspects of my life will begin pull together again.

In making the decision to move to Vegetarianism, not Vegan, but definitely no meath red or white. Philosophically I’ve begun to be too uncomfortable about the way we treat animals in the quest for food.

I’m thinking outside the box and my comfort zone as far as the type of work that I’m looking for goes, and hopefully promoting Serendipity will lead me to something helpful there soon.

So how does this relate to Serendipity you may ask? Well it’s all making moves towards promoting Serendipity by taking action. Depression pushes me into a zone of inertness and no action. Serendipity cannot happen with no action. If I want my creative pursuits to flourish I need to be healthy, active questing and not passive.

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A Taste of Eden…

Well here it is, next to the last day in NZ. I’ve been a little moody today, most likely due to the fact I’ve got mixed feelings about leaving, but miss the Furbags and would like a night in a comfortable bed. My Van isn’t the most comfortable, but it’s been all I have for the month. I’ve really enjoyed the month’s focus on shooting, walking and enjoying beautiful scenery and meeting wonderful people.

I feel my shooting has improved remarkably with the full-time application of myself to it, day in and day out. It’s been easy without the familiar distractions that to often entrap me while home. This escape for a month was exactly what I needed to step out of my Depression. I will be moving off the medication regime very soon after my return.

I have to say I’m in love with NZ South Island. In fact there’s really no where except one small area that I wouldn’t live quite happily. The people are friendly and still have a very strong sense of community. It’s something that Australians are losing very very quickly. Australians seem to becoming very arrogant over the last decade, and I think this is only noticed when you spend time away from them. We (Australians) have much to learn about dealing with the rest of the world I think.

Anyway I’m considering very strongly how to move over here. Time frame maybe two years. We shall see. But it’s renewed my inspiration, and my interest in life. Hopefully I can bring such re-invigorated zest back home with me and apply it to life back home.

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From “A” to “X” marks the spot…

*Note that this post was meant to have been posted on the 11th May.

Well here it begins, my first international shoot. At 05:20 I have embarked on my first Photography Shoot overseas. Admittedly it’s New Zealand so not as exotic as some destinations, but it’s a huge start for me.

I have to say that I’m exhausted already just getting onto the flight. It seems so much more stressful than domestic flying. Anyway I will be sleeping well tonight (I hope); the flight was a little late taking off so I hope I’m still able to pick up my Jucy Van this afternoon.

I didn’t think I was feeling that excited earlier, admittedly I’m feeling tired, but I confess to now beginning to feel a level of excitement increasing at an increasing pace. At the moment I think it’s mostly about just being completely alone, and able to ignore the banal mainstream struggler that is work, pay bills, try to build my business, work, pay bills etcetera. I know I’m going to miss my Furbags, hopefully they don’t miss me too much: I could not have left them in better hands. I only hope Pat survives the process and they don’t run him ragged playing tricks on him and creating problems for Bob & Jan.

Although this is a trip for Shards of Arcadia, I am hoping to enjoy myself at the same time. I’ve never had a break like this where I haven’t had to worry about work, not working, just enjoying something I’m passionate about with no immediate time constraints and schedule. I have an itinerary but it’s quite fluid and there are sufficiently activities that are optional if time permits. There’s no real hurry. I unsure how long if ever I’ll get this opportunity again in the short to medium term.

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The “Disorder” of “Multiple Possibilities”…

I was watching a TED Talk late one recent evening, and stumbled across one that truly struck home in what may be yet another of my life’s epiphanies. I wonder how many you can be lucky enough to experience? Either way epiphany this idea may very well be for me. It’s the idea of “multiple potentialities. Why does this resonate so strongly for me? It ties in with something once said to me as a young man barely in my Teens. It ties in with something I’ve struggled with most if not all my life.

I had a teacher who I would say was a cut above the average. By that I mean not only was he genuinely interested in helping young people gain knowledge, he was a keen and shrewd judge of character no doubt developed by his other life experiences prior to coming to teaching. Additionally he recognised and acknowledged the responsibilities that came with his position and influence in the young people he dealt with on a daily basis, often for years, some for over a decade at a time.

He had noticed that I was in one of my early periods of depression and was in some way reaching out to me: even then he could see that for me, there would be a dark path before reaching the light. Although they didn’t have quite the same level of debilitation accompanying them at that time in my life, such bouts of Depression were clearly noticeable to some then because they spent a lot of time with me. Anyway, he’d come across me in the yard one lunch while he was on yard duty. He could see I was clearly troubled and just basically started chatting in a more casual but candid manner than the standard Teacher to Student. The upshot of which was that while unrecognised by me at that stage, he’d clearly recognised I was confused because already I was experiencing frustration with an education system that wasn’t acknowledging the intellectual being that I was becoming. He could see what I had yet to recognise, and which even later once seen am still just accepting now. The succinctness with which he expressed it still surprises me today.

It is the following that has stayed with me since that day.

“Your problem is that you could be anything you set your mind to be, and you have no idea what that means for you other than you’re afloat without a compass,” and slight further on, “no single path will ever satisfy you.”

The enormity of that statement was lost on me at the time, but the statement itself was not, and for that I’ve always been grateful, although, until now, I’ve never really known why.

So back to this TED Talk presentation. It’s called Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling.. I sat watch just nodding my head with bells ringing like crazy. I still haven’t quite regained my emotional & mental balance two days after, but I’m getting there. This has opened a whole new mental hallway for me. I’m NOT mediocre, I’m NOT flaky, I’m NOT undisciplined (mostly), I’m just too interested in too many things and too good at a lot of them. I’m NOT a genius, but I’m very damn good at most things I put my mind & hands too! It just seems I’m the last to see this in me.

Other than the above mentioned discussion, if your interested or wondering more, Start Here.

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Breaking New Ground…

Well I’ve been very quiet online lately, but don’t take that for sitting in a bottomless pit of Depression. Take it more as a sign I’m busy.

I’ve been working hard on consolidation regular work back into my lifestyle, as it’s easy to fall out of the habit when you’ve been off work for a length of time. It doesn’t matter whether that’s due to holidays, long service leave, long illness or unemployment. Being away from that routine for those of us who fundamentally find it an imposition on what we’d rather be doing with our lives, is dangerous. It’s easy to become focussed on different “realities” and practise our days in ways that don’t easily fit that 9 to five routine.

There’s been a couple of “flat times” but been working out strategies for those days when they happen. I’ve also decided to really push the positivity train from now on, so it’s likely you will receive emails on occasion from me just because I think something is Cheering, Enlightening or just plain wonderful and can lend some positivity to the day of others as well. If you find these emails not to your taste just let me know and I’ll make sure you don’t keep getting them.

I’ve set up a dedicated Studio at home on a trial basis, moving my bedroom to the spare room. Visitors unfortunately will be relegated to the couch at this point in time (unless you are partial to sharing). The hope is that this will prompt more technical work with the camera and associated gear than sitting in front of the computer using software. It’s time to focus on some technique again, as well as becoming fluent with the equipment I don’t use on every occassion, but will be used more so from this point on. If I find that it’s not achieving positive results after six months, I’m most likely changing back.

The car is getting a service and I’ve put “hybrid” tyres on it to facilitate more confidence when going into the bush further now than I used to do. There were several times last year when I made the choice to not proceed some places believing the tyres I had unsuitable. Now that shouldn’t be an issue unless I fancy driving in swamps up Cape York with the Crocodiles!

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The Truth is out There…

The Truth may well be out there, but given that the bulk of people in this country who actually will be keen to watch X-files show no interest in waiting for anything else they want to watch and will most likely download it to watch, I can’t see that the network 10 is doing themselves or the show any favours. Personally I for the first time have put money into “pre-ordering” via an Apple TV / iTunes Store Season’s Pass. Yet, I feel I will still get shafted and be waiting an inordinate amount of time to watch this show. I’ve made the gesture of playing the Industry’s game and legally purchased in good faith. I suspect VERY strongly I shall be proved the fool. Where the Entertainment Industry is concerned though, it will be the first and last time. They have only this chance to demonstrate they deserve my business.

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