For the win!

After about a month of waiting anxiously for the outcome of my company’s Melbourne Artist of the Year 2007 art competition, the winners were finally revealed in the art exhibition launch at our offices last night. Some of my friends at work were there at the event to cheer me on. I was also able to get Raquel security clearance so that she could come up to our offices that evening.

I was feeling very nervous during the couple of hours leading to the official announcement of the winners. I had barely enough strength to grip anything with my hands and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. Since, my friend Jo also went to last year’s event, she told us that the actual announcement would likely take place about 30 minutes into the event like last year. I wished that the organisers would just announce the winners and get it over with instead of just hanging around eating kebabs and drinking wine provided for by the company.

I got my wish. Fifteen minutes since the event started, the company Partner in charge of the event decided to announce the winners. My heart rate must’ve jumped a hundred and fifty percent. She asked everybody to gather near the podium. When everybody had settled, she informed us that there were three winners and two honourable mentions. I truly hoped I was at least third place partly because only the top three get iPods as prizes.

The Partner started with the name of the third place winner. It wasn’t my name. Whew. It was a guy who submitted something about being in the sea. Apparently, he had to catch a boat leaving for Tasmania that night so he was in a bit of a rush to leave. Maybe it was because of this that the organisers decided to announce the winners earlier than we expected.

I was now hoping that my name get called. Winning second place and the iPod Nano wasn’t such a bad deal, I thought. And maybe it was the new video iPod Nano and not the older version which I already have. But no. My name didn’t get called again.

It was now down to the announcement of the first place winner of the competition. I was more nervous than ever. And then the name of the first place winner was called out by the Partner. It was my name. I couldn’t believe it! It didn’t immediately sink in. Raquel and Jo who were near me at the time were telling me that I won.

I accepted the award which was made of glass (very heavy glass) with the name and logo of the company, the words “Artist of the Year” and the names of the winners for the two previous years and my name at the bottom. I was also handed a big paper bag that had the 80Gb iPod Classic and an Altec Lansing speaker system for the iPod. Cool! That must’ve been the most I ever got in exchange for doing an art-related thing. It was probably the happiest I’ve ever been in a while. Winning the iPod was cool but I think getting the recognition for my art was even cooler.

Anyway, after I’ve accepted the award, my friends congratulated me. Some of them told me that they kept telling me I was going to win. I wanted to believe them, of course, but I just didn’t want to keep my hopes up too high just in case I failed to win anything. If any of them is reading this blog right now, I just want to thank them for all their support and encouragement.

I talked to the organisers of the event afterwards. They told me that they were really impressed with what I’ve done and so on. One of them told me she had a son who was also very into comics and would like me to take a look at her son’s work. They told me that there might be a charity auction in the future and if I was interested in offering my work up for it. Sure, it’d be my pleasure.

They also told me that the judge of the competition left wonderful comments about the winning entries. I felt honoured to have had a curator provide a positive comment about a piece of art that I did. Here’s the curator’s comments for my work:

Principally this is a really terrific rendering. It’s informed by both perspective and the direction of light, and yet loose enough to give a sense of the artists hand and their quality of exactness, but also a quality of personal inexactness in this work. I appreciate how the artists mark sometimes comes through — it makes it a very personal rendering.

It absolutely addresses the topic. You can immediately feel the passion from the depiction. I get a sense of exactly what this person is passionate about, and the overwhelming sense of drive that encourages their passion, and that level of obsession, it’s clearly depicted in all the little objects that make living this passionate existence possible.

Out of curiosity though, I also asked the organiser whether only the winners got the email saying that we were short-listed as finalists for the competition. She said yes. She wanted to make sure that we were there to accept the prizes. So, that means, if I join next year’s art competition and I got short listed, I would know that I would at least win third place.

When all was said and done, I’m glad I joined the competition. I thank Raquel for urging me to join up even when I thought of not doing so due to time constraints (I found out about the contest pretty late). I also thank Raquel for helping me with naming the piece. The organisers loved the name “Geeky Pursuits”, which was her idea.

Thanks to yesterday’s win, I have more confidence in my art work than ever before. It certainly encourages me to work on my art some more.

To view the photos Raquel took of the event, go here:

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Published in: on October 13, 2007 at 9:34 pm  Comments (10)  

The Poser

While I was surfing this afternoon, I got an instant message from a friend in Manila, VV. Although logged into the messenger, I’ve set my status to invisible so nobody could really see that I am online. Her first message asked me if I’m online. I said yes. However, her next message had me worried. She asked for the time! If you’ve read about my previous post about being phished, the con artist also asked me for the time of day.

So when I encountered the question again today, I was wary to answer. Instead of answering, I asked her why she asked. Nothing, she replied. Uh oh, maybe VV’s account has been hacked into too. Then she said that she wanted to call her sister who lives in Sydney and wasn’t sure what the time here would be. To tell you the truth, that was suspicious too because I’m pretty sure VV would know what the time difference is and if she doesn’t she would be resourceful enough to Google for it instead of asking me. This time though, I told her the time difference, not exactly telling her the exact time. Then I asked her about her pending application to migrate to New Zealand. She replied that it’s progressing and that the NZ immigration department has requested additional documents from her. Hmm… not exactly a specific answer and so I still couldn’t tell for sure if I was really conversing with my friend.

I was still thinking up of what to ask her next when she asked me which of my email address addresses was hacked. You see, when my username and password was conned out of me several days back, I promptly informed my friends that someone else is now in possession of my email address and to ignore all communications coming from that account. Apparently, VV forgot which Yahoo account it was. I told her which one it was.

She then told me that someone is using my hacked account at that very moment and that the con artist has asked her to purchase Globe pre-paid cell phone cards and to email the codes to him. She asked the poser for a mobile phone number to send the codes to but he said there isn’t one and just to send it through the messenger. VV told me that alarm bells were ringing in her head by this time and she also noticed that “I” was becoming insistent, as if “I” wanted her to buy the mobile reload charge cards then and there. The poser is saying that I would be selling the recharge cards to other Filipinos here for a profit. VV asked him for the time and he quoted 10AM. By this time, VV has almost confirmed that it wasn’t me she was talking to. It was 1:30 in the afternoon in the Philippines and unless Earth has started spinning in the other direction, the time here in Australia should be later than that, not earlier.

My friend asked me about the phishing incident and I told her all about it. I was really tempted to redirect her to this blog to avoid having to repeat myself and just let her read about my previous entry. However, I wasn’t fully convinced that I was really talking to my friend, who knows it could still be a con artist that has gone through her email before chatting with me. If that’s the case, the poser would know a bit about me and my friend and would thus be more convincing in trying to persuade me to do something. And if it really was someone other than my friend, I wouldn’t want him/her to know more about me than he/she already did.

After narrating the phishing incident to her, she said goodbye and I did the same. It would have been nice to have chatted with her some more but I was busy with something. Besides, it’s difficult to really communicate with someone if you’re trying not to divulge too much about yourself to the other party. Sadly, the time of asking someone what time of day it is where they are has taken on a more sinister meaning and the joy of catching up with friends via instant messaging has been somewhat marred for me. Perhaps this feeling of paranoia would pass in time, but I hope I never forget the importance always being vigilant.

UPDATE: Please see this post for information on how I regained control of my compromised account.

Published in: on October 13, 2007 at 8:56 pm  Comments (6)