Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blast From the Past

Many of you know that I worked for a National Police initiative called NEPI from 1995-2000 which ran the national fingerprint, names, AVO database etc. I loved it. Nice people (all tech nerds), stressy boss but it was exciting and worthwhile work until we did a proposal to replace the national fingerprint identification mainframe and the then Police Minister, Amanda Vanstone decided it was a great idea but wanted to run it from Canberra. Crimtrac was born and NEPI dissolved. Anyway, got an email from the biggest white-anter and sirrer at NEPI the other day and have since met up for lunch - I love being on leave! Had a great chat and a lovely lunch over a couple of chardy's. He's now working for IBM so they paid for my meal - thank you IBM - if I'd known in advance, I'd have ordered the lobster!

Tell ya, the public service is a monster. Full of well intentioned people treading water, making sure the process is adhered to, complying with EEO rules but not producing anything. After five years, and of those that worked at NEPI (National Exchange of Police Information) only 2 have gone into the private sector. The rest - yep, treading water in Education, Transport and others. It's no wonder we never get anything done in this country, time to introduce some KPI's and accountability rather than dwelling on flexitime - results count, not the time spent on achieving them, if indeed they are ever achieved. Crimtrac is still running but making most of its money doing criminal history checks for DIMIA (Dept of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs). There's still no national DNA database as the states won't agree on legislation about who can be tested. In NSW you have to be in prison or charged before DNA can be extracted without your permission - funny tho, South Australia managed to change legislation toot sweet during the Peter Falconio murder investigation . . where there's a will, there's a way - all Public Servants need is the will.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Official

TheMacedonian is now "TheBenchwarmer". It's sort of cute and cuddly with a slightly pathetic edge. Poor BenchWarmer dates girl, spends money on girl, moves in with girl, girl gets testy and moves on . . .he's just warming the seat for someone else poor possum . . . Never mind chicken, when you have the courage to confess to your crush, all could change for the better!

When Will This Day End . . . .

Because I've got my leave booked from tonight . . this week has dragged slower than the end of Hamlet (You know where everyone dies but talks a lot before they do . . . goes on and on and on . . .)

Gawd . . it's only 12:45 . . I finish at 1700 and I'm sooooo ready to go home and begin my leave. So here's the plan. Google a bit on marketing to 50-60 year olds as they're our demographic. Write some paper so that when I get back from leave I can finish the 2007 Marketing plan and do some cool and relevant stuff to suck in the baby boomers. Then, take a longer lunch than usual. It's the Christmas Party tonight so Thommo and I are waiving our Chardy lunch which grieves me more than I can say . . . of course I can eat two meals a day! Then again it's pissing down so good day for Red Lea Chips and Gravy . . . mmmmm Gravy. OK so the long lunch, buy Stressany's Kris Kringle for our Christmas Table . . . coupla stocking fillers for ClareBear - DrummerBoy has scored pretty well this Christmas so he's set, apart from something chocolatey. Then head back into work.

Complete some 'while I'm away' notes for Sgt Bilko and Boffin so that they feel fully informed of goings on over the next week or two. Fluff around with emails, delete and quarantine some spam . . . delete my cookies and temp files . . . offer to do some washing up . . . I'm a very 'team oriented' manager . . .waste half an hour having a smoke on the front steps (I never bring my nurrells to work except on Fridays) . . . write a wonderful "I love Yous All" email to staff, wish them a Herry Mristmas . . then choof off at about 4:30 for a shower and prep for dinner. There . . how to waste an afternoon but still look busy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Naming Ceremony

TheMacedonian is unimpressed with my pseudonym and says it's boring and uncreative. Well that's what happens when you're outside the creative environment so here goes.

I need some inspiration. He's 22, large but cuddly, obviously ethnic hence 'TheMacedonian', terribly emotional, multi-lingual, ultimately geeky (I was corrected for quoting XBox without the 360 after it which is apparently important to devotees of EB). He likes to eat, smokes copious amounts of foreign, very strong cigarettes, doesn't drink a lot but I suspect when he does he goes hard. He's sensitive, articulate, physical (i.e. huggy). He's rarely anywhere on time and often has to be woken from a deep slumber - like this morning when he promised to pick ClareBear up from the mechanic after she dropped her car there and left her walking home in the rain . . .He's highly intelligent, well read and totally frustrating to work with because he won't do the boring things. Makes a mean cappucino . . . generous to a fault . . . desperate to find MrsRight. And yep . . . I'd have fired him if he hadn'e left of his own accord.

Now he's Damjanov to some, Macedonian Mammoth to others, Stinkovic to one (because he came to work on more than one Friday smelling of alcohol and cigarettes and B.O. after a hard night out and in the same clothes he'd party'd in!) None of which I find entertaining or flattering . . . he's worthy of something interesting yet fantastically comical.

So, any suggestions for the renaming? It has to be quirky, identifiable, true and ultimately creative . . .

P's Are Degrees!

Congrats to my sweet thing. ClareBear has officially passed the most gruelling 4 years of her life attending the University of NSW College of Fine Arts full of pretentious pricks and fuckin' charlies. Despite the rigours of GymJunkie dumping her on the last day of uni (no celebrations that night) then the reality that she's back in the dating game that she hates so much (no celebrations that week), then an escape to Byron Bay that apart from a fleeting encounter with the rather gorgeous Jack Johnson really didn't provide enough of a distraction. She finally received word that it's all over and she has her degree. My little Bachelorette of Design . . .

Whilst she's still not feeling too celebratory, she managed to party hard last Saturday and get a bevy of phone numbers from wannabe suitors, is spending a lot of time with the Macedonian . . . he makes her feel 'worthy' and he has an XBox and is also in the position of dumpee at the moment so there's lots of empathy there - she's also meeting a prospective date next weekend so it's all looking up. She looks great and the birthday hair straightener is justifying it's enormous price tag and the daily jogs paying off in looks and fitness. You're lookin' good kid . . . and I'm breathing out after the semester from Hell.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fear God? For Christ's Sake Why?

ClareBear says that I'm judgemental and jump to conclusions . . .

We live in the North Western Sydney Bible belt . . . 900 metres from Australia's largest evangelical church Hillsong and not too far from one of the most right wing, conventional Anglican congregations in Sydney. So religious fanaticism of the Christian kind, carrying and reading of the two-columned book is a common occurence. The problem is, Christians or at least the Evangelistic Anglican kind are soooooo . . . two-faced. On the one hand, they're rude, uncharitable, unwilling to slip outside their comfort zone, help others in need or develop an empathic relationship with anyone. I even had one say to me that they don't care about the environment because they're going to be 'saved' and go to heaven which means they don't have to give a shit about the state of the world (as he blithely threw his chocolate wrapper on the ground). Another who refused to have sex before Marriage because he was afraid of eternal damnation if he did . . not because he 'believed' it was the right thing to do. What is this fear that these people are absolutely gripped with?

So, they go to Church on Sunday, get involved in the op shop, do a bit of marriage counselling (totally unqualified I might add) and that redeems their soul so that they can be negative and critical assholes to everyone for the following week before they purge their sins with arms waving, eyes shut and the lord's light beaming down on them.

Its a world where disability or obesity is not tolerated. Women have to look good for their husbands, the accumulation of wealth is encouraged and the attendance of ethnic minorities reviled- White is might - Get rich first then choose your charity.

I work with one who even has "Fear God" emblazened all over her back windscreen - now that's taking the 'fish' sign a little too far. I bet she doesn't let her kids watch Harry Potter either . . . what happened to the forgiving God, all things bright and beautiful - the Lord God loves us all - seems he's turned into a vengevul, nasty bastard whose rule of thumb has them all worried they're going to spend eternity in Hell.

OK ClareBear, you might have a point . . .

Friday, December 08, 2006

What Is It About Window Treatments?

What is it about redecorating that gets the workplace fired up. Everyone wants to put their two-cents in and everyone is suddently a member of the Fab Five just busting to take part in the magic makeover . . . except when it actually comes to 'doing' anything. I wish they had the same enthusiasm for washing their coffee cups and doing the filing. The office refit is almost finished but I am constantly asked about the foikn window treatments. We've had frosting replace our daggy grey venetians on both floors and the whole place has opened up. This combined with bright yellow walls and dark blue trim has breathed new life into a very boring old 'grey' office. Last week it was "Why are the venetians still up now the frosting's been done?" "Why haven't all the pictures been hung?" "Why does this door still stick?" Answer: because I'm too foikn busy pandering to fragile egos, changing water bottles, stopping leaks (literally), creating workflows, writing a marketing plan and putting out office fires . . . you'll have to wait for the handyman.

This week it's been the bloody board room curtains. "Why did the rods go up before the curtains?", "What sort of curtains?", "Do you think yellow is appropriate?", "Why curtains not blinds?", "When are they going to be finished?" Really, I don't care but I do know that whatever happens with this blasted fitout, I will be remembered . . . not for my five years of faithful service, my marketing innovations, my supreme practice management and people skills. Nope . . I'll be that employee that painted the office yellow and put those God awful window treatments in.

7 More Sleeps

Just seven more sleeps and I'm on leave for 3 weeks. After the works Christmas party on 15th, it's total rest and relaxation until the 7th of Jan. I sooooo need it. I'm snapping at everyone like a banshee, have zero tolerence especially for the lazy men I work with and am absolutely over the religious nutters that seem to gravitate towards financial planning . . . or maybe it's just where I live in the middle of the suburban Bible belt . . . I'm beginning to feel very NIMBY about the two columned book!
Tonight, I'm really getting into the spirit, Clare's coming home and we can start getting Christmassy. At work we have the cutest mini wind chime that sounds like fairy bells when someone walks though the door, perhaps not the most professional of doorbells but it's really uplifting. I have two bouncy Santa Clauses made out of tin and in separate poses, one with Ho Ho Ho sign and the other with a lantern and ginger bread man in his hands. Tell ya, it's Kitch but not bad taste. Babysis on the other hand is going a little too far with a fluffy Turkey which sings Christmas songs . . .
Anyway, back to me . . my bouncy Santas will form the centrepiece of our Christmas table and scored an amazing 2 china mobiles with little santas on them as well as some bouncy bottle stops. I'm definitely into bouncy things this Christmas there's a very 'boing' theme emerging. I've nearly finished all my shopping with the exception of some Kris Kringle things for work and Christmas night as table gifts. So, yep, it is beginning to feel very micrassy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

e-Merging Madness

A recent Parliamentary Committee has recommended that due to inextricable historical links, Australia and New Zealand should form a merger and become a single nation. Now before Stan and Johnny Dodge have a heart attack, this is merely a suggestion from some silly standing committee (read public servants justifying their existance). The committee is of the view that Australia and New Zealand would benefit from collaboration at the parliamentary level to ensure ongoing harmonisation of their legal systems and to investigate future options for mutually beneficial activity, including the possibility of union.

Now in ozziespeak this doesn't mean jack shit. I think what they're trying to say is that the two countries are so alike that we might as well get into bed with each other and bugger the trans-Tasman rivalry. No way Jose!

Whilst I admit to having never been to New Zealand and that it is on my itinerary of lovely things to do one year when I can't afford a real holiday . . . there are some serious problems inherent with the combining of the cultures. For instance, if we adopted a singular currency like the Euro . . would it become the Aussibro? How do we solve the dilema of conflicting Rugby Teams . Surely the Wallabies and the All Blacks can't be friends? Then there's the political dilema - Little Johnny, friend of il diablo and the lovely Helen Clarke (I don't think she has any friends).

What next, will they ship our possums back? Do we export our snakes and spiders in the interest of equal bilateral relationships. Will Bondi become little Auckland (oops - already is).

Although on the positive side, we'd have to enter into a Treaty with the indigenous owners of Australia as King George did with the Maori. We'll have to sharpen up our extreme sports venues and buy a few more snow making machines.

Now - don't get me wrong - I'm all for friendly bilateral relationships with the Kiwis. Love taking the piss out of them and all that but as for us all blending into the same mixing pot . . it will be chaos and our merinos won't be safe. Leave it as it is Pollies.

I hear its a nice place to visit . . . .

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Puddles, showers and Downright Downpours

We all know Australia is the wide brown land but no more than at the moment as we enter our fifth year of drought and suffer under level 3 water restrictions. No sprinklers, no car washing unless you use a bucket only. Plant watering 2 days a week with a bucket or hose and definitely no hosing verandahs or patios or using pressure hoses (my second favourite power tool outside the leaf blower). Our once lush, wooded acreage has been reduced to dust and leaf mulch and 7 green olympic rings where our Envirocycle (told you we were green) sprinklers sporadically pop up and water a 10 metre circles out the front.

A friend in Jersey emailed to say he couldn't open my emails because he'd dropped his laptop in a puddle and it was behaving badly. "Puddles? What are they" I retorted, seriously - haven't seen one for months. Then yesterday the sprinkling started, heavy skies and just enough moisture to stop the washing getting dry. I knew there would be trouble as the dogs went ballistic trying to come inside before a mighty crack of thunder and wham . . . a downpour. The smell of all that fabulous rain hitting the parched earth was superlative. To make it better, it rained all night - yeah this morning I saw puddles - it usually dries off in 10 minutes in this heat. Another 5 days of this and we might have a bindi free patch to sit on during the summer! Then again, it takes more than 1mm to break a drought. Ok lads, if you're gonna pee on the garden, do it on the green patch just outside the pool . . . it needs all the watering it can get!


DrummerBoy has taken over the maintenance of the swimming pool as he's now the pool expert having worked at the pool shop for 2 years. Yesterday, he duly arrived home with one of those 20 litre blue containers of liquid chlorine and some stabiliser to make sure the water doesn't go green during ThePrincess' aquarobics and this stupid 40 degree weather we keep having. The drum comes in an unsealed plastic bag to stop it dripping where it shouldnt. No problem, does the usual, sploshes some in the deep end, then in the shallow and sits it on the side of the pool. Adds the stabiliser which is a sort of granulated white powder and sits the stabiliser packet, still 2/3 full, on top of the cholorine bottle. Oops, time for a shower and a shave before partying hard! 15 minutes later we hear a noise resemlbing a large falling branch only with a sort of explosive 'pop'. Yep, the stabiliser has dripped on some of the chloring around the top of the bottle and blown the entire thing out of it's plastic bag, blown the chlorine bottle about a metre and it's now snowing little white granular bits - very Christmassy! Good job it wasn't in your car on the way home DrummerBoy - you'd be toast. Message: don't mix chemicals, save that for the suicide bombers!