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Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Still unemployed

I didn't get the job I interviewed for on Monday...

...and to begin with I was disappointed but life goes on. I did well to get an interview for it at all to be honest. I was stupidly nervous and I'm not sure I gave the best account of myself, but it's difficult to perform when your mouth is so dry that your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth.

I now have a lot of people to contact and lots more searching to do. I have also restored the post below which took a quick break whilst gainful employment was a possibility.

And now some pictures!!


A cockatoo, these things are everywhere. They screech extremely loudly and strut around like they own the place, a bit like me after the third cup of coffee.


A wallaby. They all give you this look.




Big lizards are very cool and also strut around like they own the place. To be fair, having seen them fight each other, I'm not going to argue.


Sydney harbour bridge at night.




New years eve fireworks from Taronga Zoo.


The view from our front window. It's a tough life innit?!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Give us a job...

The following post is provided for entertainment value and as an indication of the state of mind of the writer. Any similarity to organisations or people living or walking-dead, whether implied or implicit is unintentional, honest. It is also and an indication that you need to find a new job...

Dear [insert bland first name]

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today and answer my standard questions aimed at unpicking the ambiguous and confusing job title advertised on SEEK.com. I have read the role description published on your website and am still none the wiser. I can see from this that you have decided who the role will report to and avoided specificity in all other areas so that applicants remain ignorant of the degree to which they will be used as a dogsbody. Clearly you have no idea what this role will actually entail and have rolled together as many indefinite responsibilities as you can into a single list. I have also noted that whilst your advert states that there are ample opportunities for progression and personal development with the organisation that there is absolutely no concrete commitment to this process in any of your literature and not even a suggestion of it in the role description.

Despite the obvious risks to my career, happiness and wellbeing involved in taking on a role that your organisation is clearly incapable of defining and whose exact nature you are attempting to conceal from applicants, the job title would look good on the increasingly elaborate work of fiction that is my CV and I would like to apply for the role. I have recently arrived in Australia on a four year business sponsored working visa. Since August I have been working for a large boring financial organisation doing something far less interesting and important than I can make it sound.

Prior to this I spent two and a half years working for a UK Children's mental health charity staffed largely by mental children. This was an exceedingly challenging and diverse role where I was made to implement secretive descisions made over my head and against my advice. My major responsibility was to plan, schedule, resource, coordinate, track and report on the complete cycle of training projects to unreasonable timescales and tiny budgets for overdemanding and ignorant clients with the absolute minimum of guidance and supervision.

I also undertook ad-hoc projects which were better suited to the remit of more senior members of staff but were evidently too tedious for them to undertake. These could be as varied as: generating strategically significant marketing collateral that the organisation was too cheap to outsource to a professional service; designing and implementing department proceedures for members of staff to bypass; and coordinating organisation-wide events designed to alienate valued employees or expose organisational weaknesses to competing providers.

I see my major skills as:
  • Guesswork - Being able to read my superiors' mind and act on half-impressions in the absence of proper guidance
  • Bullshitting - Producing written information given as fact based on targets rather than achievements, constructing budget assumptions based on logistically impossible sales targets and being the point of first contact for clients and customers who have bizarre and frightening questions that no one could have feasibly anticipated
  • Manipulation - Strongarming people, cajoling, lying, blackmailing, pleading, bursting into tears and when all else fails asking nicely to get my way
  • Panicking - Arriving at interim solutions that somehow are never converted into full processes, working out of hours, completing tasks well outside my job description and taking the easy, expensive option when important tasks become urgent ones
I want to continue to develop and continue utilising these skills in an organisation that has a reputation for incompetence, an atmosphere of buckpassing, belligerence and recrimination.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Is that an iPod in your pocket or are you just a poser?

I, like many, have envy. I really want an iPod and far too many people I know now have one. The reason I haven't bought one is broadly the same reason I haven't bought a digital camera of my own. When I have money I don't have a computer to allow me to use it properly. Now that I have a computer I'm utterly .


But it isn't just fiscal limitations that are stopping me from buying one. It's also the fact that owning an iPod also marks you out as the kind of person who owns an iPod i.e. an overgrown music obsessed adolescent who ought to stop spending all their money on CDs and grow up a fraction. This isn't simply jealousy talking or me attempting to cover up any lingering I may have. When they first came out the status that an ipod conferred on its' owner could be likened to that of the mobile phone or a . The kind of people that owned one either needed it as a business tool to back up their hard-drive or wanted to be the kind person who needed it and weren't (I shall call these people "Business" Tools).

The iPod seems to have gone through a kind of high speed version of the acceptance that both these functional accessories went through after years of being the mark of a complete prick, probably because of it's stunningly good design and an equally well conceived ad compaign. However, when Levis start making jeans with a remote control, docking station and headphones built in you know it really is going back to being the walkman for wankers. Probably the worst indication of the syndrome is the people that use the headphones that come with the iPod, the horrible little white ones. Proprietry headphones are notoriously and universally bad. The first thing anyone should do when they buy a product that needs headphones is replace the ones that come with it. I don't care who makes them for apple they are by the very definition of the thing, shite. They are also a very conspicuous status symbol, wearing the white headphones is the equivalent of waving your iPod at people and shouting "60 gigabytes of musical pleasure!" in the most obnoxious possible way. When people in London started getting mugged because they were wearing them I was secretly quite pleased (I also wished I'd thought of it first and that I had the guts to try it).

However much I rail against the iPod though the fact remains I desparately want one. I tell myself that I am waiting for the technology to settle down, that the current 60gb machine will eventually reach the size of the current iPod nano in accordance with , that I'd break it and that there are better storage devices out there that do more, but well, they just aren't as pretty really are they? Another problem is that I don't really need one. A 60gb iPod can store about 15,000 songs. That's more than a thousand albums which means unless you are a slightly obsessive DJ you will have paid for an awful lot of empty space. Even if I used the iPod to store pictures it will never be full, it can hold 150 hours of video, I don't watch that much TV, especially not on a screen that size, I don't buy DVDs and I go to the cinema quite a lot.

In any case I'd probably rather have a book than listen to music and the portable eBook reader is still a woefully innadequate thing by comparison almost certainly because books do not have the profit margin of music. Perhaps I will wait for an apple version of the technology that links with something like the iPod (an iLibrary?). Text is a much more easily stored and compressable data format than music, pictures or video. Sony quote an average figure of 800kb for an eBook file. That means that, even uncompressed, you could fit over 76,000 books into 60gb of storage. You could have an encyclopaedia, a dictionary, a thesaurus and a truly vast array of fiction to take with you everywhere. You might just persuade me to pay for that.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year!

New Year's day and I wake up in an oven. Is this a hangover induced suicide attempt? Am I trying to end it all rather than face a week-long headache? Tutting at the inefficient method of bringing about my own demise - clearly I was drunk when I thought that one up - I decide to go and find a better one that will deal with the overwhelming feeling of nausea more swiftly. Perhaps I could fill my lungs with gas and inhale a lit match, that at least will be swift and relatively painless and has the added benefit that someone else has to clear up a lot of mess...

Why is it so bloody hot? Vaguely I stagger to my feet wondering what callous bastard has shrunk me and is now trying to cook me. Perhaps I have been kidnapped by a race of giant sadists intent on roasting me for a celebration lunch. I started fumbling around and find that I was actually in the flat, which means at least there will be something cold in the fridge. The fridge!! Quick climb in the fridge! Ahhhhhhhhhhh, that's better. Well what d'you know the little light stays on! Ooh look a nice cold beer. Mmm beer, now how the hell am I going to open it...oh rapture it's got a twist off cap!! What the bloody hell is going on? The door's opening, someone's going to try and take my beer! No getoff stoppit shutthefuckingdoor it's hot out there!

I find myself extracted from the fridge by force, removed from my comfortable perch atop the salad crisper and thrust back into the oven that the flat has become. My mother is shouting at me in a whispery kind of way. Ah, no she's actually whispering. What's this strange uncomfortable feeling? During my brief refrigeration I have sat on the broccoli. Not all my faculties are incapacitated, swiftly I break of a couple of florets and shove them in my ears. The world returns to an almost normal volume. Yes, yes, happy new year to you too now why the bloody hell isn't the air conditioning on? What's that you say? You're going to flay a pig? That's no way for a vegetarian to behave. Ah no I've misheard you haven't I, you're actually going sailing. The ocean, that's a good idea it might be cooler in the ocean.

At top speed I charge back into the bedroom and smack straight into a wall of flashing lights and pain. Making a mental note that moving too quickly makes the chattering monkey that clearly crapped in my mouth hit me in the eyeballs making it difficult to see I struggle with my boardshorts. I remove the lower broccoli and try again - success!

No time for footwear moving as quickly as the pain will allow I grab a towel and charge out of the front door. I can see the ocean, it's calling to me, soothing cold water...ouch...must quickly get to the soothing cold...OUCH... aaaAARRRGGGHH FIRE FIRE FIRE Why the hell do they make roads out of black stuff in this country what a stupid idea. Dash for the sand, that'll be cooler. No it's bloody not!! FUCK.

There are thousands of people between me and the sea aaaarrgh!! In a move that would have amazed my secondary school games teachers who tried in vain to get me to play rugby I flatten six people and run round a further five. There is an audible sizzle as my feet meet the water. The lifeguards are advancing on me menacingly. I offer them some broccoli in an attempt to placate them but it only annoys them. Out into the water pronto, they'll never catch me out there. Look they're jumping around and shouting with raw naked frustration. Call yourself a lifeguard and you're afraid of the sea? You big girl's blouse!

Bloody hell the waves are big today. The rip tide's quite strong too. I wonder if that's what the lifeguards were...SPLADOOSH...glub...WHOOSSSHHH...

New Year's Day was the hottest day in Sydney since 1939 and the hottest New Year's Day on record for the city. Not good weather for a hangover. Thankfully the fairly sizeable swell coming into Maroubra Beach knocked some sense back into me.

Naturally with it being a public holiday and 44ÂșC everyone, and I do mean everyone, was at the beach. So was I until common sense intervened, I went back to the flat and cranked the air conditioning up. Unfortunately whilst the waves were working their magic the sun was burning my back. Hangover + Sunburn = You Have Only Yourself to Blame. Bugger.