The New Manager

Arrive “late” – 850am

9-10 am
Managers Meeting. Matching our strategic initiatives with senior managements business plan. Confusion over what is an “action” and what is an “outcome”.

Tell GG and KH to (politely) fuck off when they suggest Ant and I drop everything next Monday and Tuesday and fly to Mildura. (Everyone else had several weeks notice.)

Have a quick conversation with GG around the legalities of fee waivers (we aint doing it) for staff members. He’s a former fees guy, so understands the import of us having regular CSP students in the course that LTU staff take for “free”. It’s free to the staff – but it’s not free. tht’s called fraud, regardless of what our fuckwit School of Education stakeholders say. They have to give us a sponsor form with a WBS on it, and we make the magic happen. If they don’t, well, I don’t give a shit.

1030-11am
Lift and shift stand up meeting.

Start the meeting with us all at one end of the room, and the testers at the other. I stop our meeting, turn to the testers, and ask that their “conversation go somewhere else”. They leave.

Heard the phrase from the vendor, “lifting your database is so different from all other lifts we have done before”. One step closer to panic station.

Major issue is half fixed. Vendor developers believe 50% fixed is the same as 100% fixed. I assure them it is not the same, and that some stakeholders will go into meltdown if it’s not fixed.

Issue of escalating the DB sync failure issue within our organisations senior management. Reluctance to do so by the project manager. I waited long enough, and said nothing long enough, that she got it. She headed upstairs immediately to escalate to JP. She wanted someone to go with her for protection.

11-1115
Chasing HR to get AB’s contract sorted. She screwed up and didn’t accept the initial contract while on her student visa. She wanted to wait for her permanent resident visa to come through. It was delayed, and by the time she eventually got it the offer had expired. HR, being jackasses, refuse to backdate a new contract. AB accepts the situation.

1115-12 noon
Fees team catch-up.

12 – 1230
TG meets with AJ and I to discuss her new workplace arrangement (48/52). Whether this actually allows her to be successful in the role, given her chronic health issues, is anyone’s guess. We complete the HR paperwork. I emphasise that we are doing this to try to bring stability to the situation. Not sure TG gets it.

1230-200pm
Lunch. Delicious but well overdue!

Send threatening email to Finance over their engagement of a debt collection agency (aged student services and amenities fee debt, and research student debt).

Contact Victoria University to find out how they handle it (thank you for the contact, FL). VU have a vastly different approach with their agency.

Review support and governance model for new world after lift and shift project completes, and second phase of project begins.

Review course coding changes emails between GG and SX. Agree that a process change is needed, but also agree with his recoding of the courses.

Approve new system access requests.

Approve new equipment purchases for a staff member.

Organise process improvement champions for new SSA process improvement project.

Was provided with a loan request form on which BN had scribbled a new checkbox – “waive guarantor requirement”. She wants me to sign it – will she never learn.

GF: What’s the story?
BN: She got a personal overdraft earlier this year, went on a shopping spree. She owes three months rent to accommodation services. They will evict her this Friday. She wants the loan to pay for the rent. She’s an A grade student and has been approved for a scholarship.
GF: Why no guarantor?
BN: Too long to organise – they will evict her Friday.
GF: Where’s the guarantee the Uni gets their money back?
BN: …yes, it is a risk. But Scholarships team have assured me she’ll get $3000 in two weeks.
GF: (aware the “scholarships team” is BN’s daughter, TN) Did the student say she is being evicted, or did accommodation services say it?
BN: Well… I…
GF: We give her a $3000 loan, and she goes ahead and blows it, where does that leave us?
BN: Yes, it is a risk. But LB (in Bendigo where the student studies) is sure the student is genuine. And she is going to financial counselling with RA.
GF: She’s getting counselling?
BN: Yes.
GF: So what does RA say about her?
BN: Well. I don’t think she’s met her yet.
GF: Is RA in counselling actually aware of this case?
BN: Well, not as of yet…

Don’t know what BN, LB, and TN were up to. Don’t know if they know this kid or not. But I do know that the kid isn’t getting a loan. Computer says no.

200-230pm
Allied Systems Team weekly catch up. Quick meeting as we keep in constant contact. Only new news is exams will be tested thoroughly during lift and shift project. AJ shows me color pictures of Grumpy Cat he has printed out. One of them says, “I am Gary. I am a twat.” Apparently, I am Student Admin’s Grumpy Cat.

230pm-330pm
Bombard new Deputy Director with questions about testing the new HR system. Apparently, I have to pay for my casuals to test their new HR system (casual employee time sheet submission). That’s some bullshit right there.

330-430
Meet with lift and shift Project Manager. Get some dress rehearsal stuff covered off. Get some resourcing for testing covered off.

She asks how I think things are going, and as I start talking about her “change in rhetoric” she starts turning bright red. I started to panic she was going to cry, which would suck as she is an awesome project manager and a really nice person (and her husband is good at what he does, too).

I warn her off using such phrasing – “this is so different from what we’ve done before” – in front of certain senior stakeholders. She’s smart. She knows.

FL and RS had asked for a copy of the cutover plan. Neither will understand it, but it’s a free world. Those two worry me.

Leave early – 435pm. Woo hoo.

March 2016

Monday 29 February – Melbourne

Tuesday 1 March – Melbourne

Wednesday 2 March – Melbourne AM; Halls Gap PM

Thursday 3 March – Halls Gap – Pinnacle Motel
Venus Baths walk
Lake Fyans bathing emus

Friday 4 March – Halls Gap – Pinnacle Motel

Saturday 5 March – Port Fairy
Pinnacle Motel owner: “Come back in the winter when it’s quiet.”
Drive south from Halls Gap to Dunkeld
Griffith’s Island walk late afternoon

Sunday 6 March – Airey’s Inlet; Airey’s Pub
Coastal walk; lighthouse

Monday 7 March – Melbourne

Tuesday 8 March – Melbourne

Wednesday 9 March – Tasmania, Hobart – Clydesdale manor; Kathmandu Cuisine

Thursday 10 March – Tasmania, Hobart – Claremont
MONA; Texas Pantry

Friday 11 March – Tasmania, Hobart – Claremont
Orford (lunch), Ross

Saturday 12 March – Tasmania, Hobart – Claremont
Dolphin Sands Road looking east to Coles Bay and south east to Freycinet

Sunday 13 March – Tasmania, Hobart – Claremont

Monday 14 March – Tasmania, Dover – Thelma Retreat
Dover RSL Club

Tuesday 15 March – Tasmania, Dover – Thelma Retreat
Hastings Caves

Wednesday 16 March – Tasmania, Kellevie
Bull ant in loo
Big fry up
Scorpion in loo
Night hike to top of Ragged Tier
Skink family in living room

Thursday 17 March – Tasmania, Kellevie
Sheep rousing; Mark – “There’s still sheep in the far paddock? Oops.”

Friday 18 March – Tasmania, Kellevie
Port Arthur; Tasman Arch; Tessellated Pavement; Blowhole

Saturday 19 March – Melbourne

Sunday 20 March – Melbourne

Monday 21 March – Melbourne

Tuesday 22 March – Melbourne

Wednesday 23 March – Halls Gap

Thursday 24 March – Halls Gap
Reed Lookout – alone with the best view in Australia while dozens of people jostled for space 300 metres away… CFA officer almost caught me up in the control tower, but I saw him coming through the windows of the lookout
Lake Bellfield
Evening walk – Grand Canyon

Friday 25 March – Halls Gap
Lake Wartook
Lake Bellfield – walk along the lake wall; white and brown goats; stars rising

Saturday 26 March – Melbourne
Rousing thousands of sheep – we moved the car and ate lunch somewhere the sheep could not find us

Sunday 27 March – Melbourne

Monday 28 March – Bendigo
Bendigo Wool Mill

Tuesday 29 March – Melbourne

South America

Conversation overheard:

I was watching this show about organ trafficking.

About what?

Organ trafficking. You know. Stealin parts of your body. And selling them.

Where?

What?

Where. Where was it?

Somewhere in… South America. They kill you and take your organs and then they fuckin sell them.

They don’t kill you.

They kill you. On the street. They fuckin kill you and you’re just lying there, on the street, and they pull your fuckin heart out of your chest. And then they sell it.

Where?

Black market.

Black market?

The black market. You’re just dead on the street and they fuckin tear out yer heart and sell it on the fuckin black market.

Well that’s what the black market is for.

What?

That’s what the black market is fuckin for.

What?

For fuckin sellin organs. You sell the fuckin organs on the fuckin black market.

Jeezus. South America.

Yeah.

#93 Egon

there’s more life in the paintings than in the women who posed for them. the freedom of the lines and the half seen colors have an honesty and breath denied to the real women. you can almost hear him say “forget to die” to his models, trying to break the wall that separates them from honesty. but they are incapable; too warm, too breathing too fleshy and so he paints them with crackled line and seeping tones. haughty in the canvas they live, naked and exposed, wanton and beautiful, untouched and impossible.

#92 Semantics

I created the bad feeling by calling her friend, “a whore”. the feeling was worsened by the fact that they were both, as it so happened, whores.

“i meant nothing. it’s what she does for a living.” they harbored insolent sidelong looks drawn cigarettes and crossed legs. “if she was a cop, i’d call her a cop.”

“So you think of her the same way you think of cops?”

“if she wasn’t charging guys to fuck her i wouldn’t call her a whore. ”

“she’s an escort.”

i wondered how much it would cost to get out of the conversation.

#91 Drink Deep

there’s an itchy desperation making us all edgy. we rock on the balls of feet with cold sweats breaking out. we live vicariously and we are in need. there’s a pause – he’s taunting us, drawing it out, making sure we will remember how much this pause this suspension this wait hurts. then, furry head and mane dip below silk covers, muzzling white throat. blood spurts and we relax, laughing. a white figure writhes. the wolf head rises brown and grey, thick red teeth licked by a lolling red tongue. we slip into the dark free until the next moon.

#90 Who’s Schooling Who

Today’s lecture on To The Lighthouse. The lecturer Doctor Lucy. Grand entrance over, she impressed us, black boots and black full length coat that smelled of drying herbs blood and piss. She diluted us, rimmed Woolf, drawled synesthesia, slavered genius. I scribbled acolyte notes: “Woolf’s predilection ran to green rose thorns pressed into the whites of one’s eyes.” Good doctor so lesbian she only played with the boys in class using a black rubber dildo, she smiled at me knowing I could be humiliated by a single word and I watched her with growing excitement waiting for it to come.

#89 Bounty

A sliver moon like a thin scar rises against the black. Dry wind sits in the tree heads, soughing. Tall grasses brush my legs as I pass from the field into the trees. A thing moves in the darkness then I am alone. After some time I reach an opening where a bare rock sits. Wind quietens, I place the bounty on the rock. Ichor seeps. I wait. Eventually the goat appears; a large barrelled billy, slitted eyes knuckled horns. He approaches the bounty and sniffs. Head rises and teeth are bared in grin. “What do you want this for?” I ask. The goat shakes his head mirthlessly. “It’s a secret,” he replies. “A wonderful secret.”

#88 Beat Critic

You’d be mousy if it wasn’t for the sneer. A black bob of sheer black hair, above a pale broad face with down sloped eyes. A perpetually unhappy mouth. The nose is slightly in the air, giving a sense of you looking down on me, the room, everything. Straight white shoulders of an expensive jacket and just below the top of your cleavage sits a loose black undershirt. You are unmoving, almost unblinking, the eyes staring down the nose. There is laughter somewhere underneath, just below the surface, and if you aren’t careful it will start at your mouth and rise into the corners of your eyes.

#87 Once Were Friends

I take a book randomly from the shelves and open it. Oh look it says you are a miserable bastard who’d have thought it. You return the favor and it says I’m a shit. a fun game. i spit on the next book and look at you out the corner of my eye, smiling. you frown, piss all over the next book. i don’t understand why you’d do that it seems so unnecessary. fuck you. i grab a book and tear it in half. this disturbs you so you set fire to the next volume. i cut the lights while a centipede wriggles up my arm. see you soon.

#86 Work Day

Grey men in straight armed suits march down the road, all in single file. They are bone thin, faceless, each walking in the isolation of a lone death. They enter a steel grey building with yawning entrance, each disappearing slowly and definitely from sight. A thin stovepipe juts from the very top of the building, letting out a steady stream of smoke. Slightly greasy. At 5pm the smoke stops and the men exit the building in single file. They are lesser somehow, thinner, as though some small part of them has been consumed and will not be given back.

#85 Jael and Sisera

staggering through the graveyard at night we looked for the one grave. after a few hours someone called out a single sharp sound and we clustered round. it was found. we rocked it back and forth until the stone colossus toppled to the ground. one hand broke off but that was okay. i asked for the tent peg and the hammer, and once they were found i handed them to her. as she drove the peg in with the first hammer blow the pain flowed in my thighs but when the stone temple poured blood all potential was gone.

#84 Park Bench

Cutting one wrist he moved between book shelves, found a book on the female nude, opened the cover, bled onto it. After a few minutes he closed the cover and left. Walking through the nearby park he stopped and bled into a fountain. A small boy stared, bit the head off a cockroach he was holding, and held out the body to the man. The man shook his head, waved the bleeding wrist as explanation, and walked off. Later, as he sat dying on a park bench in the sun, the small boy approached and sat beside him. The sun shone down. They felt good.

#83 Monkey See Monkey Do

Inside, the ex-junkie was talking to my father, telling him how dangerous it would be to have a crash house open nearby . My father was deeply opposed, all “common criminals” and “think of the children”, and the ex-junkie was pretty mellow and telling what he was getting paid to tell.

Outside, his 18-yo associate was entertaining me with stories about his part in the Vietnam war. He pulled a six inch blade and waved it in front of my eyes, telling how fine it was to scalp men, and how you had to hold the blade “just so”.

#82 Long Haul Greyhound

we cozied the southern white trash behind the cash register while she made comments around her dangling cigarette about the negro fag and how hungry he would be cos she sure as hey-ell aint gonna serve him and a man standing behind her with hands in pockets boiler suit engineers cap smiled through broken teeth and the negro fag looked at me and I pretended like I hadn’t heard anything and surely i had not seen him once on the hours long bus ride from New York City and the burger didn’t taste so good after that

#81 Khajuraho

Spotlights hit the half hidden temple, and through the trees it is all crazy light dark. Earlier, I looked at the sculptures, the bas reliefs, stared at them in wonder. There was a certain grand madness to it all that deeply impressed me. Out here in the jungle, with monkeys and mountains, someone built this. I sat on the cool stone while night fell. No one came to eject me, but someone cut on the lights. Things unseen slithered in the grass, and creatures bounced in the trees. Someone was chanting in the shadows. This country began to dissolve me.

#80 New Bush Camp

Out there in the darkness, beyond the edge of the lamplight, the bush ticks. Wild calls sound for a moment, then stop. Padding, stealthy and deliberate, comes close, passes as the hot wind, straight in off the limitless desert blows through black and blue dry and dead. A thing howls in the dark and a low chorus erupts from the lagoon. The wind sits in the heads of the trees and moans.

I turn in the heat, close my eyes to sleep, and the bush ticks. The dead air slips over me and I know I will never sleep peacefully again.

#79 Joe Blakes

Do you remember how you’d tell me, “Watch out for the Joe Blakes – they’ll be in a bad mood” whenever it was a hot day? I’d immediately be on a mission, turning every rock and fallen stump, hoping to find one not find one. All these years later and on a hot day I still get the buzz of fear adrenalin when I kick over rock tire stump. The fun of the threat has seeped into my bones hands feet. And every time I take that short quick half step back I can hear you saying the words.

#78 Patience of the Dead

The daily tedium. The effort of getting up early. Getting ready. Not having time to eat slowly and savor every bite. Out on the road by 9am and in the traffic. Pedestrians kids girls in short skirts dogs bicycles all day the situational awareness required drains a man. I think smoke drink coffee drive watch the girls. It is difficult this life this long life is difficult. No one appreciates the daily challenge. And hardly ever do you see the one. It takes time. And practice. But luck also. Goddammit I see her but she has slipped through the crowd and there’s nowhere to park the moment is lost the electric fades I keep driving driving

#77 Seely

Your playful slap led to his unprovoked assault. The official report said he threw eight punches, but he insisted it was five. Claims of moving ring from left hand to right were never settled. I entered the toilet block while two friends were holding you up, the three of you standing in a makeshift island of bloodied hand towels. Your eyes were already closed. As you turned for the door I could see the puckered contusions on your face. Half of everyone said you could have died. Years later I saw you at a party, young, handsome, laughing with a beautiful girl. I wondered if they defined you to yourself, those five punches, as they defined you to me.

#76 Strange Plaster

Being normal is hard after an ashtray has gone through the wall. The hole was small and square, looking planned it was so neat and predictable. She told me to clean up the plaster which was insulting as the fight had been between them. Max laughed quietly, his eyes slipping over my parents’ faces, as he appraised the two of them anew with this revelation. He asked what led to the fight, and she went still while he muttered something.

We didn’t have the money to fix the hole, so normality was restored by hanging a family photo over it.