Friday, June 30, 2006

I Survived My First Week

I have made it through my first week at the new job. Actually, it was only 3 days as I started officially on Wednesday. Everyone has been very nice to me and they are easing me into everything slowly. It's going to take me a bit of time to learn who everyone is and what policy areas they are working on. This office has more meetings than I have ever seen in my life- it's amazing that people get any work done! I am still waiting for my email account to be created (which I need so I can deal with the calendar on Outlook), and I should finally get my security pass on Monday. You can't travel through the buildings without one.

My main job is as executive assistant to the learning policies branch manager. I will be maintaining her calendar, organizing various meetings and doing minutes and other things as needed. I get to sit in on the meetings of all the group leaders in the branch, so I will get a good sense of what is going on. I also hope to get involved with various projects that the branch is doing and not get locked into being seen as just an administrative person. There is going to be a bit of a restructure of the branch, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out (don't worry- my job is safe). The biggest concern seems to be people losing their expertise areas and there being more "breadth than depth." We'll see what happens.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Have A Full-Time Job!

It's a miracle! On Monday I interviewed for a job at the Department of Education and Training for Victoria as a policy and project officer for the Office of Learning and Teaching. The interview went well, but I got nervous when they said I was overqualified for the job. After worrying and being a bit pessimistic about my chances, I got a call today and was offered the job. It's all very exciting and such a relief! I will be working as an assistant to the student learning policies manager and across the branch to help out with various projects, both policy and curriculum related.

I never thought I'd actually get to utilize both of my degrees. This job will also be a great entry point for me in the DE&T as it is a fixed term position (through to the end of December 2007) and will allow me to get to know a wide variety of people in the department. There will definitely be a career path and advancement options available to me. I did want to get into working on education policy eventually, so this is the perfect place. I just finished up my job at the University of Melbourne, so the timing couldn't have been better. I start work on Monday.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why Is Everyone Leaving?

My exodus of friends out of Melbourne continues, which is sad. Will and Helen headed off to Cambridge in the UK a couple weeks ago as Will embarks on his new job working as an energy engineer for the British Antarctic Survey. He will even get to live in Antarctica two months out of the year! This week I have been helping Ben pack and clean his house as he is moving to Brisbane this weekend. And in a few weeks Adrian will be jetting off to the US to work at UCLA in the physics department. I guess I can't blame everyone for leaving as I am guilty of doing the same. Perhaps some of my Aussie overseas friends will return to Melbourne to stay.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Jump, Jive, and Wail

Tonight I went to my first swing dancing lesson put on by Swing Patrol Brunswick at Bridie O'Reilly's. I was there with Ruth, her friend Katie, and Michelle and her sister Emma. It was a lot of fun and the instructors taught us some Lindy Hop steps. You rotate partners throughout the hour class, so you also get to meet people. I would love to go regularly, but at $14 a class, I think I need a full time job first.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Return of Split Enz

On June 11th and 12th I attended the Split Enz concerts at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. This short reunion tour around Australia was inspired by their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame last year. I last saw the Enz in Auckland at the Millennium shows as we welcomed in the year 2000. I never thought I'd get the chance to see them perform live again, so I took advantage of having them play two shows in town and bought tickets for both (and they weren't cheap). The band for this tour was the "True Colours" album line-up of Neil Finn, Tim Finn, Eddie Rayner, Noel Crombie, Nigel Griggs, and Malcolm Green.

The first night I was on the floor in the center section, row G. The seats were amazing, and it was lots of fun to be with Fran, Sonia, and Lara. The band has been playing pretty much the same set list at each show, which was as follows:
Shark Attack
Poor Boy
One Step Ahead
Give It A Whirl
Nobody Takes Me Seriously
Double Happy
I Hope I Never
Message to My Girl
Dirty Creature
Stuff & Nonsense
Devil You Know
129 (Matinee Idyll)
Strait Old Line
Pioneer/Six Months in a Leaky Boat
I Got You
What's the Matter with You
I See Red

Encore 1
Talk a Walk
My Mistake

Encore 2
Bold as Brass
History Never Repeats

All of us girls were up and standing for the start of "Shark Attack." Unfortunately, the majority of the crowd didn't seem to understand the concept of a rock concert, and remained seated for two-thirds of the show (It was even worse on the second night where some people sat for the whole thing). You could tell which side of the arena bought tickets from the pre-sale because they were the ones standing and dancing throughout the night. I was right at the boarder of those pre-sale seats. At least the band could see us enjoying the show, since everyone else in front of us was sitting. We compromised for those behind us and sat down for the slower songs, but got up and danced for the faster numbers. Thankfully, once they played "Six Months in a Leaky Boat" the entire audience on the floor stood up and stayed that way for the rest of the night. It made the show that much better.

I was really impressed that they did "Jamboree" and segued into the intrumental "Double Happy." I always love hearing the 70s songs. Neil did "Devil You Know" acoustic on guitar and was sounding a bit horse towards the end of it. "Message to My Girl" got a funny intro as Neil talked about walking past his old house in South Yarra (he said they brought tissues along "just in case"). Tim gave a shout out to Caulfield and his "Hasidic Brothers" and then Neil started calling it "Cornfield" for some reason. The other funny/bizarre moment of the night was Eddie and his towel flicking of a female audience member. When Tim called out "Who would like their buttocks flicked by Eddie?" I guess some people just couldn't resist.

The sound of the shows was excellent, and it's easy to forget what great musicians they all are still. Eddie is just a genius on the keyboards, and Nigel plays such strong bass lines. Crombie was his usual self and besides the infamous spoon solo he has added electric guitar to his musical repertoire. They ended the first encore by dragging "Hendrix Crombie" away from the guitar and off the stage. Mal Green traded off with Noel on the drum kits (they have two set up) and percussion. The costumes and backdrops were great and full of typical Enz flare. I think Noel likes texture in his backdrops as they were similar styles to the sheep clouds of the Millennium shows.

For the second show I was on my own- this time in the center section, row D. It was pretty much the same set list as the previous night except for a couple glorious additions. Phil Judd (founding member) seemed to be on Neil's mind because he threw in both "Sweet Dreams" and "Titus." It was fantastic! Tim paid tribute to Phil and said (to paraphrase) that despite their very dysfunctional relationship, they created some great songs together and that the boys will continue to sing them until they're dead.

The other highlight of the night was the frisbee battle between Neil and Eddie. They each had three frisbees to throw across the arena and see who could get them the farthest. Eddie went first, because Neil said "Age before beauty." Each toss got further and further back into the crowd, with both of them eventually sailing their frisbees across the entire floor section to the back of the arena. I think Neil ended up winning by getting his frisbee a few rows further up than Eddie. It was very entertaining.

I had such a great time both nights. Peter let me hang around with him backstage on the second night while he was working. I got a brief glimpse of the band before they changed into their costumes but didn't get to chat with them. I even had a pass to the after show party, but because of public transport issues, I had to leave so that I could get home. I didn't want to get stuck in the city with all those crazy Socceroo fans when I had work the next morning.
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