Latest selfie

Fresh after haircut. 
Shutter release. No mirror. No red eye. I used a diffuser dome on my sb-900. 
This was the most successful attempt. I tried using the mirror to see live view, but couldn't focus properly. 
Now in Monterey and looking forward to taking some long exposure shots of the surf.

Photowalk Sacramento 5-10-2013

A lion on the wall of an old building.
On tripod, shutter release and 70-200mm lens on my Nikon D-300. We were losing light fast, so longish exposure.


Healthcare - US v Australia

First, my Aussie experience. 
While not totally smooth, it was fast and easy. I went to one of the many Medicare offices and filled out the paperwork. Lines were short. I had one hitch. Simply because it was cheaper, I had bought a round trip plane ticket. I had to bring in the expired return ticket to prove I wasn't just visiting. I lived in Sydney for ten years after that. I got my Medicare card within weeks and could go to most clinics for free, because my income was below the threshold. Australia has a multi tiered system. If one makes over a set amount, then there is a copayment. I didn't, so all my doctors visits were free. It helped later on that I had a concession card, but that's another story. 

In 2006, I was granted Disability in Australia, and I applied for U.S. disability as well. After a few weeks, I was granted Aussie disability. It took until 2009 for me to finally get SSDI. I was theoretically retroactively eligible for U.S. Medicare, but was not informed of this. This is where the U.S, healthcare struggle began.

I didn't worry about it while in Oz, because I had excellent free care even on weekends and only once, did I have to go to an emergency room, because the GP couldn't get blood tests done right away and the hospital could. 

I arrived back in the US in October 2012. Remember, this is after 10 years in Oz. I called about getting medical coverage once I arrived back in California. I assumed I was only eligible for MediCal. I was told that I had been eligible for Medicare since 2007. I was also informed that I couldn't get it right away and would have to apply in December and only get coverage in July, but that there was obviously a mistake made by Social Security, and that I could appeal this and get covered sooner. I appealed in writing and via phone. To this date, I have not heard anything about that appeal, but everyone I spoke to at Social Security said there was obviously a mistake on their part. 
So I finally got coverage in July. I still don't have a shrink which is the doctor who would be looking after my disability. Oy gevalt! 
      I got coverage in July and have slowly been getting treated for various medical issues. The doctors have been good, but I never know if I'm going to have to pay, or get a bill in the post.
Enter MediCal. They will reimburse for the amount of money taken out of my SSDI payment to cover Medicare as well as fully cover many medications, and gap between what Medicare pays and the full bill.
I applied for MediCal early in 2013. I did so via phone and post. I thought by May I had sent in everything required, but when I checked back after getting Medicare coverage and seeing my monthly income shrink dramatically, they said I was denied because they didn't have some form. I was told that a supervisor would call me back. This never happened. I called them back and was told that it would be taken care of and to expect notification in the post the following week. Nothing arrived. Yesterday, I went in to their office, arriving before noon. I was given a dehumanizing number by the department of "human" assistance. After waiting around for hours, I was told that my phone interview was no longer usable, and that I needed a new interview. I was told this was to be at 2pm. 2pm passed and I was not called. 3 also passed and finally, close to 4, I got to actually see someone. She was nice and had me fill out some additional paperwork. My case is again pending. I didn't get out of there until about 16:45. I was told to send or bring in some new bank statements, and I have since printed all of that up and put it in an envelope ready to go out tomorrow. Hopefully there will not be further drama.

Major difference, eh? I miss Sydney, but maybe I can make things work here now that I have medical coverage. I still need a good shrink. My Aussie one has said he'll help me find one who has a similar methodology. We shall see. 


Don't dispair. It's not too late!

I heard a great comment from Rick Sammon on his Kelby Training title: Specializing in not specializing.

He said, "It's never to late to be the person you could have been."
Many of us suffer from setbacks as I mentioned in my last post. It's nice to hear that, just because we've not achieved our goal yet, we still can.
It should come as no surprise, that I felt like he was talking directly to me.
I'm getting my health sorted and hope to regain my footing and really make some progress this year.


Too low: terrain

Forgive the flight analogy, but it seems to fit. 15 years ago I seemed to be climbing steadily. I was becoming less shy, and the world seemed full of possibilities. Then, in spring 1998 I lost all thrust and stalled, crashing to a point where I could not leave the house. I had had my first panic attacks. 
I managed to become airworthy again, if rickety, and continued my studies. For periods of time, I would climb, stall, and repeat until I graduated early as I just couldn't get the thrust to go on. 
I have wondered if I might ever reach cruising altitude(my potential.) I have continued to make mere repeated, forced touch and go landings often with no gear. As the sparks fly, I wonder if I can recover. I reach out to be social and make friends and something or someone always seems to pull off my wings. I am grounded, try again, repeat... How do I break this cycle? I need loyal, non-judgemental friends, and hugs. Doesn't seem a big ask, but harder than you'd think.
Six am and I cannot sleep. 
While I try, please check out CineDependent.com 
to see the short flight I made today.


I'm an Alien

I am an Alien. Well I've always felt that I was different from other humans, but there is more. My mother is an Alien, and therefor, I must be an Alien. You see my mother Was born in Australia- up north in Toowoomba, and she now lives in the US. She has a green card, which oddly isn't green, but it classifies her as a legal Alien under US law. She has talked of becoming a US citizen, but has yet to do so. So I proudly proclaim, that I am an Alien
That said, what is it like for an Alien Mutt, living in Oz? Well I don't like cricket, or rugby, or Aussie Rules "football." like my British forfathers, football= soccer to me. I like that, but mostly for the short shorts. It doesn't seem to be very popular here. Of course I also Hate football, but I do like "America's Pastime," baseball. I grew up watching the Royals, and recall watching the 1 time they won the world series. I have ordered a DVD of the games as no one plays baseball here and it is one thing I miss.
The other thing I miss is peperoni and sausage pizza. It's almost impossible to find here, which is odd since I live near a large Italian population. They like to put BBQ sauce on Pizza instead of Tomato paste. YUCK!
As for politics, I don't understand Oz politics. I voted to kick Howard out, and the government has been better in some ways since then. I have watched a few bits of Parliament. It's more interesting than C-spann, because of the penchent for members to call others things like "an ignorant nong." Not quite sure what that is.
Also, when I first got here, I got a new uncle. Well there is a saying which basically goes. If you do this that and the other and (you'll do fine) only they don't say you'll be fine. They say "Bob's your uncle. Ironically, I now have an internet router/modem called "BOB." So my uncle is a machine. Maybe I'm part Alien, part cyborg.
Any questions from either side of the Pacific?
This Mutt is signing off for now.
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I have recently started using a biofeedback device from wild divine http://www.wilddivine.com
and was asked by the interactive program to think about my breathing, but not control it.
I discovered, when I was 10 or younger, that it is impossible to maintain the involuntary breathing we do when thinking about breathing. We are forced to take control or not breath. Surely this isn't just me?
Anyway, I strongly recommend the iom biofeedback device and Relaxing Rythems software with which it is bundled. I also use it with Neuroprogrammer to customize and improve its effectiveness.
Another Random thought...
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Day 2

Last night I couldn't sleep even after I wrote the previous blog. I went to sleep around 8am.
Today I mourn the loss of my "nephew." He is the only child I've ever bonded with and I looked forward to watching him grow up. Today he was taken from my Aunt and we will likely never see him again.
This is the worst loss I have yet suffered. I'm sure worse will follow some day, but I hope not for a long time. I hate to lose those I love. I hate to lose track of friends. Once I was in a shopping mall with my boyfriend and he disappeared for a while. I didn't know where he was, and I was afraid he might not come back. Illogical, sure, but I have somehow come to expect to lose people. This, after much consultation with my shrink, stems from loosing my father. No he didn't die. Not literally anyway as far as I know. Before I started university in San Francisco, I spoke to him on the phone for the last time. I needed a hernia operation and because I was a full time student and under 25, he could have added me to his healthcare. His response was appalling. He said it was unethical. I said "I should have known better than to expect anything from you." Those were the last spoken words to him. After I started seeing a shrink in San Francisco, following a major panic attack, I wrote him an email listing things that he had done that had hurt me. His response was to take no responsibility and also to confirm that he is a biggot.
When I was young he was there for fun stuff, but was never there for me emotinally. He did come and pick me up from a summer camp when I couldn't cope. We were forced to sleep in absolute darkness and, though I didn't know it at the time, anxiety was keeping me awake and I had nothing I could even look at. I also suffered a major migraine and ended up upchucking on the way to the nurse.
I recall my father telling jokes all the time, even though they were usually bad ones, we laughed. We went on drives together. We went rafting. But then when I was 13 or so and had just discovered, though could not admit that I was gay, my mother divorced him. I took her side because he was out nights when my mother asked him to stay home so I wouldn't be alone. He was out fooling around. This was confirmed when she called one of his workmates in a panic after discovering his closet had been emptied before he left for a business trip. Of course he never admitted to anything and claimed that my mother left him because she was a lesbian, thus starting the gossip mill. After that, I still saw him and we did fun things together. He wanted me to live with him, but I knew he could not be there for me emotionally and my mother could be. It wasn't his fault. His father wasn't really there for him emotionally either. He rebelled in his youth.
But then he married the evil stepmother. She had 3 children from a previous marriage and I got on well with the two older ones. My father began to joke less. My step siblings told me they feared violence from him. I came out to him, in the only way I could. I wrote a letter and hand delivered it to him while my mother and a friend waited in the car as we were on our way to San Francisco to explore the gardens which are now overshadowed by the Sony Metreon.
I remember my father, before the divorce walking with a begger woman into a supermarket to buy her food. But by the time I was 13 he was already detached. I wanted him to play catch with me in the park across from our house, but he wouldn't, which seemed odd because he loved baseball. I felt I was no good at it and at that age, I wanted to improve to fit in. I never did, though I did take a friend to see the Kansas City Royals play the Oakland A's. We had lived in Kansas before moving to California.
Anyway the joking, generous man ceased to be and was replaced by a cruel and hateful hypocrite born again Moron. So in a sense the father I knew is dead. This thought has been with me for some time but with fathers day signs everywhere I have been thinking what it would be like to have a father who not only was there for me but accepted me for who I am.
The last time I saw my father in person, my mother was going camping for the weekend, but I wanted to spend one last weekend with my step siblings before going to Brisbane for six months.
Whe I arrived, my Stepsister was out front with an African American boy who was a friend of hers. Soon the dopplegaenger of my father came and told me that I shouldn't be there on a weekday, that I was a "bad influence on his kids," never mind the fact that I'm his only son paternally. He then skulked off to his bedroom upstairs and sent the evil stepmother down to tell me how I had hurt my father by coming out to him. I was devastated and called my mother to come pick me up. My father called her before I did and complained that there was a "black boy in his driveway..."
So, if you've read this far, don't ever let your loved ones go if you have a choice. And if you want to be my friend, it must be forever.
I am hoping to get a further extension on my video assignment given that I've been ill all week, missed class Monday, and now have this irresolvable family crisis to deal with. I think I'm now moving to stage three. First I was angry, then all day I've been in Denial, but now I'm just depressed. My Aunt sent me a text just a while ago saying that she had said goodbye to him for the last time. I floated the idea of my cousin fighting for custody, but got no response. A pipe dream I guess.
Hugs would be greatly appreciated right now.
Hope to have good news to report next time when I've finished editing my cut of our group film.


What a rough week and then some

I've been feeling ill for some time. I've been having migraines as well as fevers daily and have not been able to get out much lately. School has started up again and I've switched from Creative Writing to Media Arts. I'm supposed to be working on a film edit, but am having trouble with linux and had to totally reinstall windows last weekend. I saw a specialist yesterday and was reasured that my scans didn't show anything to worry about. My ear, which was perforated, is healing nicely and there is no sign of it re-opening. So that's good news. But that was yesterday.
At 1 or 2am I spoke to my mother and found out that My Cousin's Girlfriend has been lying about him being the father of her boy. Well maybe not totally knowingly lying because she wrote in her diary that it could have been 1 of three people. So my cousin got a paternity test which came back negative. Of course he's crushed. His mother is crushed. I'm crushed. My mother is crushed. The boy is now two and the two of us have bonded. Now he is being taken off by child protective services and I will probably never see him again. I've never liked kids but I liked this one. Partly because I thought he was the son of my cousin with whom I've been close all my life even though we don't see each other that often. And of course the kid is adorable.

Anger: My thoughts were negative before learning about this lengthy deceit. My doctor's appointment fell on september 11th. I looked up some numbers on Iraq. on 9/11 around 3000 people died. But now. 7 years later; god I can't believe it's been 7 years; Bush's totally unrelated Iraq war has claimed the lives of over 4000 Americans and over 90,000 Iraqis. Meanwhile Osama has had time to regroup in his hidout and the last time I heard Bush talk about him he said "I don't think about him that much." So much for bringing the perpetrators to justice. Afghanistan is in a sorry state and they don't have enough troops to fight the Taliban, much less find Bin Laden. 7 and a half years later, it will be the job of the next president to find him and get us out of Iraq. It's good to see some change here in Australia though. Now the US is the ONLY major civilized country not to sign Kyoto. Australia was the 2nd until the last election, not that I follow Australian Politics that closely. Friends tell me not to watch the news because I will be depressed by it. Maybe there should be news light for those who suffer from strong Welfschmerz. I look at the world and think what it could be. It could be so much better.
I was watching the West Wing as its fantasy whitehouse is so much better than the real one right now. In the episode I watched last night Bartlett invoked the 25th ammendment, stepping down from the presidency temporarily. Apparently GW has done this twice, a very scary thought, both times to have a colonoscopy. Anyway the point, yes there is one, is that Someone had to read the oath of office. I was struck by the first part of it and imagined that with Bush's penchant for not reading anything longer than a page, maybe he just didn't think about the part about protecting the constitution and only got as far as I ... do solomly swear that I shall faithfully execute the office of President of the United States." Yeah I think he's at least maimed it. It's pretty had to get the worst approval rating since Hoover. And in Hoovers defence, he didn't actually cause the great depression. Bush on the other hand is fully responsible for what has happened though apparantly Dick and Rove have been making many of the decisions as Bush recently intimated, saying he wasn't in "those meetings." As for Congress, well I'm quite dissapointed in my representatives. The speaker of the house represents my district in the US, and she refuses to hold actual impeachment hearings when here we have a president and vice president who without a doubt in most peoples minds have commited major crimes and in outing Plame, even treason, yet congress won't impeach. Congress tried to impeach Clinton for years, wasting lots of money, and the only crime they could even come close to pinning on him was purjury, but even that is doubtful. He only said that under the precise description given by the lawyers, he had not had sexual relations with Lewinski. Outside the courtrooms definition, yes he lied, but purjery is still questionable and if purjury is enough to impeach a president then how can a torturing, wiretapping, constitution ignoring president be given a free ride by a Democraticly controlled Congress, whom we voted in to change things but they haven't been able to.
This world is a crazy place. It's times like these that I'm in a way glad I don't get out much. Life is much simpler in the world of my imaginings.
Anyway I've been up all night after hearing the news about my little lost nephew, so I should try to get some rest, but I haven't posted a blog on here in so long, I thought it was about time I added something.
To all the good people out there, wherever you are, peace and love.
TM signing out.


photo trek

I took my new Nikon D50 with a nice double coated Hoya UV filter and a cheap sunpack Polorizer around Hyde park and Circular Quay and the Rocks on Wednesday and here are some of the results. Below.

hmm a blog. I'm a first timer at this

I found out about this site from photobucket. I've been posting photos on photo.net for some time and am starting to get really annoyed with how little constructive feedback I'm getting. I get an anonymous rating, the meaning of which isn't totally clear, but very few real hints at improving my photographic work. So I decided to try this out in conjunction with photobucket. We'll see how we go.