Friday, November 8, 2013

How to make sewage look good....

Wow, have I been slack... long time since I posted here. And not because life has been boring, I just think I have too many choices about posting on the internet. I may have to whittle down my options and 'consolidate' my web presence.

Anyway, here's a bunch of images from a visit to the Werribee Sewage Treatment Farm. Yeah, I know, not exactly a place you'd think to take a camera. If you are thinking big buildings and miles and miles of pipes, you'll be quite surprised. I didn't see a single significant structure, but there is plenty there to photograph.

I'm not into birds, so I only know about half of the ones here. There are places where the view is quite spectacular too.

OK, this one's easy - Pelicans :)

A Spoonbill

Cape Baron Geese


A triptych of flight

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Same sex marriage, love and refugees...

A hot topic currently is 'same sex marriage', with people from all sorts of fields being asked to make comment on it... politicians, church ministers, celebrities, even footballers (just to add the surreal to the situation).

And lately I am being asked what I think.

Straight off the top of my head I think, 'Who cares what I think. What possible relevance does my opinion have?' The facts are, some people of the same sex fall in love, some have affairs, some live together, some want to legalise their relationship. My opinion is of negligible consequence to all of that. Yet the questions keep coming.

So for what it's worth (very little actually) here's what I think.

It's a topic that is being pushed to the fore at the expense of what I consider far more weighty issues in our society, like Australia's inhumane treatment of refugees. The breakdown of families and the consequent problems that causes young people. The selfish vapid and empty 'look at me' ethos of the celebrity that our media pander to and our young people aspire to.

Against this, how my friends Joey and Peter want to live is small potatoes to me. What they want won't bring Australia into a moral morass. We're doing that fine just on the refugee issue thanks very much.

Then there's my friends who say 'But you're a christian, shouldn't you be toeing the church line?' Well, yes I am a christian, in that I have surrendered my life, present and future to God and His grace. And what I read in His word are things like "Do not judge, lest you be judged", "God loved the world so much He sent His Son so that we may be saved", "He who is without sin may cast the first stone", "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest", "And they shall know you are Christians by your love".

So, as a christian, I'm all about emulating the very basis of God's character - Love. Yes, there is judgement in the Bible, but that's not my job, and I am in no way qualified to judge ANYONE, being just a sinner saved by grace myself. And I don't know a single other christian that is any better equipped than I am to do God's job for Him.

I've had friends who are so riled up about it from the other end of the scale too, saying things along the line of "I believe in equality and if you are against same-sex marriage then you are no friend of mine and you are a bigot." Well, from my vantage point, that's bigotry itself.... saying 'if you don't agree with my opinion on this topic then I have no time or place for you in my life, as your opinion goes against my opinion'. Yet they seem to think that gives them the moral high ground, when all it does is potentially drive otherwise good caring people away with hatred and hostility. 

You may have noticed that I haven't stated unequivocally whether or not I support same-sex marriage. I could cover all sorts of arguments, like is marriage a legal or religious institute... what parts of the Bible are relevant today?... Are we a christian nation?... 

All these are furphies, like having a theological debate over should we help the homeless. It turns into a wordfest. So I will reiterate... Why do you think my opinion is so important that you need to know. How I live is far more important than what I think about one issue. And here is how I endevour to live - Love God, love others.

If you don't understand that answer, then I suggest you put aside all thought of these 'hot topic' issues like same-sex marriage, and meditate for months on just how you live, and whether or not love is the basis of all that you do.

Greg Carrick

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A week to live. (Confession of Depression)

I have lived with depression since I was a teenager, although I didn't know that until I was 40. I thought it was just my mix of being an extrovert/introvert. That and the blanket of silence that stifled any talk of depression among men, the heavy grey lives that edged closer and closer to the solution of a shotgun or fatal 'single car' accident.

I'm writing this now in my own home, with my wife and daughter close by, Spring is just starting and my diary has things to do in it for the next few weeks. But not long ago I none of these things. I was homeless, had lost my family and gave myself one week to live. My story is not uncommon.

Loss is a major component of depression, and it starts with losing the truth. Your brain lies to you, telling you black is white, and white is black. I believed that no-one loved me, no matter what they said, as there was absolutely nothing about me that was at all lovable. My sense of self worth had been sucked into the black hole that also took my humor, my smile,  and worst of all, my hope. When I lost all sense of hope, that was when the inevitability of suicide was most in my thoughts.
The lies that were in my head drove me down a road that had no turn-offs. It was a lie that my wife didn't love me, but I believed it to be true. It was a lie that I was worthless, that there was no glimmer of value or good in me, but that's what I believed. It was a lie that I had no choices left in my future, that killing myself was just a matter of time, but I was heading there without slowing down or seeing a way out.

My world was shrinking without mercy. I no longer felt welcome or comfortable in my home, the only place I felt I was tolerated was in the middle of the couch, any other place made me feel I was an unwelcome intruder and in the way. All these feelings were lies that depression was telling me, but to me it was truth.

Being so badly depressed affected all areas of my life, I ran my own business, and that went down the drain, as I had no energy or inclination to keep it working. I felt I was a failure there as well. My friends were hurt by my 'attitude' and to this day I have lost some through those times. I don't give any the blame, as I know how low I got, but it was just another example of how I had no glimmer of light or happiness in my life. Everything was broken.

And now comes the hardest part to write about. With darkness all around, I was awakened one day by some light and warmth, given to me by a lady. Over months we tried to answer each others needs, and try to find some happiness with each other. When I look at other men who desert their wives and families and have an affair, I have had no sympathy for them, but now I was doing the same thing. I can blame depression, I can make excuses, but I can't change wrong into right. All I can do is accept what I did and grow from there. Some of my friends couldn't, and some reading this won't be able to either. We all have to go through our own journey, and no reader owes me loyalty anyway. I've had to come to terms with judgement, not the least because I judge myself harshly.

All that came crashing down, as it was bound to being built on damage and desperation, and I was worse off than ever. By that time I was living week by week in a caravan park, my income was so low I had to choose between rent and food. I believed that I had a week left before I would kill myself. To me that was just a fact in my mind, something that I would do next week. There was only one thing that would stop that from happening.

I called my wife, who I hadn't spoken with for six months. I had no idea what reception I would get, I didn't know if she would even want to talk to me.

I believed i had been without love for years, and I had tried to find hope where I could, but with hope gone, the desire to live was also stolen. I had just that once chance left, would my wife want me? If not, I had no reason to live.

And here's where I found the difference between hope and despair, love and disdain, life and death.

My hope was answered in ways that met and matched the darkness I had lived through. I was shown grace which was given as a gift of love to me. Healing began, and it had to take it's time. It was six months before I could smile. A year before I felt like being sociable with others. I made mistakes still. I should have changed doctors. Mine would not contemplate any medication for me. I went for years up and down though depression toughing it out without any help. It shouldn't be like that. Through it all my wife gave me room and time, no demands or recriminations. That was my rock, the love and non-judgemental acceptance I was given. I had enough judgement from myself, learning to accept and forgive myself has taken some years.

I am still alive. I am stronger now. I have an understanding and empathy for others that came the hard way. And I know that grace and love can defeat depression.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Red Pill Blue Pill

In the film 'The Matrix', the choice is given to take either the 'Red' pill, or the 'Blue' pill. The blue pill lets you believe in the world as you have grown up to see it, but the red pill will transport your understanding of the world to how it really is.

Well, today, I'm offering you the chance to take the red pill!

You see, the 'world' that you live in is, not so much a lie, as a severe distortion. You (and I) are used to thinking that the world that we live in is the same world everyone lives in.

And therein lies the lie.

Your everyday world (and mine) is actually more like a gated community, separated from the majority of the world and acting in a very insular way.

Firstly, to be fair, the reason we see our 'world' as the real one is because we control and consume the major media outlets. So our 'News' is largely a navel-gazing exercise. We read about ourselves, we watch TV about ourselves, we listen to radio talking about ourselves and we visit websites geared to ourselves.

Yet we are the minority.

Now, I've made several claims here that I really need to back up, so I've used figures released in March 2011 by Nielsen Online. (Found at

Broadly, just 30.2% of the total worlds population (now 7 billion) use the internet. To turn that around just under 70% of the world do not use the internet. The reason I'm picking on the internet first off is that it is the vehicle that most media people (and most companies) use to measure what they call 'the world'. For example, there's a lot of press given to the (unreal) claim that one gadget or another (e.g. iPhone) will 'change the world'. To believe this sort of hype, you'd have to completely ignore the fact that even less people use internet connected phones than use the internet in general, bearing in mind that internet users are in the minority anyway.

You may be rolling your eyes now and yelling at my blog that this is just marketing at work. Yes. Yet that's the way we think. We think that the world is 'connected' and that we're all in the same boat, living the same sorts of lives. We lie to ourselves, because we're too tired, too lazy, too brainwashed to think beyond the hype.

I'm in Australia, where just 60% of people use the internet. That's right, 4 out of 10 people I pass in the street don't use the internet. If you are reading this in Nth America (even more inclined to think they are 'the world') over 20% of your fellow Americans don't use the internet. If you are in Europe, almost half are not connected. In Asia, less that 25% are internet users. And in Africa, almost 9 out of 10 people don't use the internet. It all adds up to more than 2/3's of people in the world aren't online. At all.

So much for 'our world' being the norm.

So what's my point exactly?

Just this. Open your mind. Don't swallow blindly all the claims we hear/read/see every day that the way we live is the way the world really works. Get your brain out of the gated community and see the world as it really is.

Oh yeah, are you a Christian? Agnostic? Muslim? 'Middle-class'? Home-owner? Well, you're in a minority.

Have a nice day :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life is....

If you spend much time trawling the internet, or hanging out on social media sites, you will no doubt have come across things like these....

Pithy one-liners that try to be the answer to life...

As a designer, I have to admit they present themselves well, altho the style is copied again and again - just include a teen girl, some bokeh light-play, pastel colours and try to use helvetica.

Where they fall short is the actual advice. None of these quotes will answer the quandaries that the world faces.

So what, if anything, will?

In Matthew 22, Jesus gets tested by the religious leaders of the day as they try to trap him: Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law,tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

One word. One word that covers the ills and evils of people, that can turn the misfortunes of individuals and nations into blessings.


Not justice, or even mercy, not self or even sacrifice. Love.

On an individual level, love will replace selfishness with care for others, will make kindness and compassion shape our words and deeds, will open our eyes to the worth of every person.

On a psychological level, we would eradicate depression, anxiety and fear. Love would calm and reassure us.

On a social level, we would have no crime, we would have no need for law. We would have no need for lawyers, courts and jails. 

On a national level, love will stop the displacement of whole communities of people, wiping out the worldwide problem of refugees. Love will redirect the trillions spent on war into food, health and education needs. Love will negate the warped need to have 'Homeland Security' treat us all as suspect.

The words revenge, selfishness, jealousy, hate and terror would not exist.

On a spiritual level, we would be able to understand God, who is Love. We would be able to commune with God and be fearless in His presence.

For love is not a warm fuzzy feeling, but a fiery burning force that works through action. Love is a verb.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Choose Happiness

There's a lot of this going around….and as much as I like to see positiveness among people, I also like to see some balanced realism.

It's a bit like saying, choose slimness, or choose good health. Because many people aren't slim, and no matter their diet, won't be. And many people would love to be in perfect health, but their genetically shonky heart won't allow it.

Happiness is a byproduct, rather than a choice. Some find it easy to attain. Others wish they could taste a bit of it.

I've been suicidally depressed, and I've been happy. But I've never been able to hit a switch and flip from one to the other.

Ah, you say, but it's about making choices.

Let's get a bit real folks, when you are depressed, (and I'm not talking about feeling 'a bit low'), choosing to get up off the couch may be beyond you. Choosing to 'be happy' is out of the question.

These images are 'feel good' fluff. And to those who are deep in the pit of despair, insulting.

The 'foundation' of our behaviour, (the way we live) effects everything we do. And that foundation is our beliefs. What we do (our behaviour) springs from what we think (of ourselves and others). So if we change the way we think, we change the way we live. 

A lot of people stop there, thinking that's enough to enable you to 'choose happiness'. But, there's another level. What we think springs from what we believe. 

So we have to work on what our beliefs are. If a person believes they are unlovely, all their thoughts will be along those lines (I'm useless, I'll never be any good, no one can love me...) and their actions will follow those thoughts, self harm, eating disorders, depression, possibly suicide. 

So then, when a person can believe they are loved, their thoughts are uplifted, they think of themselves as of value, as precious, wanted, and they are able to think of others that way also. Their action follow their thoughts, they are happier, they participate in life, become more outgoing, look after themselves and so forth. 

It's not a quick fix (like 'choosing happiness'), but may require decent counselling, and the support of family and friends to change from one belief system to a better one.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Forgive and Forget?

Forgiving someone of a  wrong they have done you can be very healing, both for them and for yourself. You no longer have to carry around that load of hurt, day after weary day. 

Sometimes we are told we should 'forgive and forget', which sounds all noble and good, but is it really good advice, or even do-able?

We may have grown up being told this from the pulpit, held up to us as an 'ideal' we should aspire to, but where did this ideal come from? 

"For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And their sins will I remember no more." 
- Hebrews 8:12. 

Sounds like 'forgive and forget' doesn't it? Yet it isn't. God doesn't forget anything! Yet here He says He will remember our sins no more. There's a difference there, an act of will. An act of love.

God chooses to not bring our faults to mind, He chooses to not hold them before us, or hold them against us. He knows all about them, but puts them aside, "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." - Psalm 103:12.

What if we forget? A large part of our experience in life that brings us wisdom and maturity comes from remembering things we go through. If we forgot those things, we would being going backwards in our growing! We aren't asked to forgive and forget, but to emulate God's ideal, forgive the hurt and choose to not hold it against them.

It's still a tough act to follow, but it is an act of love.