Home Office

It’s been quite some time since I arranged myself a corner of the flat into a office space, one that was suitable for both work and study.  I deemed it necessary because a) it makes a percentage of my home expenses tax deductible and b) because when I’m working on stuff it really is a lot easier to get into the right head-space if I’m actually ‘at work’ even if it is only 3 steps from the sofa.  It’s a bit of a weird psychological thing but I find myself a lot less easily distracted when I’m looking the to do list on the white board and am working with a keyboard and mouse than when I’m sitting on the sofa with a cat and the laptop on my lap and am also easily distracted onto sites like facebook… It also makes a difference when I actually get dressed for ‘work’ rather than hanging about in my pajamas… (oh, wait… I don’t… er… this is awkward.)

So, there it is above, my little office!!!  No, it doesn’t really have natural light, but in reality, neither does the flat as a whole, which is a bonus in this heatwave.  The flat’s always about 10degC cooler than the outdoors.  The table is actually my dining table around which there used to be 4 chairs… Now I have to dismantle the office when I want to have anyone over to dinner… bummer that, in fact, most of the time we end up eating off our plates on our knees…  (Ed. God, this is boring… haven’t you got anything else?) so now you know how to picture me when I’m blogging, as I’m now (Ed. except for the pajamas part, you don’t want them picturing that… Me. True enough… er, as you were everyone.)

I twittered during the week about having 2 Macs on the go and whether or not I was in heaven or the other place.  I think, after a whole lot of toing and froing to my serviceman (whom I <3 with all my Mac loving little heart) I can finally say I’m a happy Mac camper again… it was touch and go for a while there…  The new love pictured above is an older version of the old love which was given to me by ‘real job’ in lieu of certain other entitlements I had been pinning a bit of hope on.  I accepted it, probably slightly less than graciously because the offer was made after I’d spent half an hour talking over the merits of a brand spanking new MacBook Pro with my sales agent and getting all excited about the prospect of this fancy new machine.  So to take on the older one, while clearly saving me going into debt or onto a lease for a new machine was a bit of a downgrade…

In a rather ironic turn of events the new mac (which is an older mac) had been in possession of another staff member who’d just upgraded and actually, its hard-drive DIED the day before she went overseas… so I have been holding onto my old mac (which is a newer mac) until such a time as I could transistion to the other machine.  Well that was the heaven/hell episode last week, I got the new one and it gave me all manner of grief as I tried to get it into some kind of functional order… bah humbug.

Finally, I took it back to my lovely service man and bless his little cotton socks if he didn’t actually replace both sticks of RAM in the machine for no cost… zero. <3 <3 <3.  So finally I bought it home and was able to get it into a place where it is barely any different than the old machine (which is newer… you get the idea now, right?!).  So, I’m finally feeling the blessing of the machine.  It still looks good, it works fine with one lingering exception I’m waiting for an answer on from my fabulous service man as to why it’s such a noisy beastie and when that is resolved I shall be in fine shape to get my game on for the epic that shall be called ‘study09′. 

So, I am blessed. I was given a MacBook Pro and my leaving gift from the office will be some rather expensive software that I’ll be needing this year and when all of that is in order the ‘real job’ era will be completely over.  I cannot tell you, even after the shaky end to it all, how fabulous it feels to be in a whole new chapter of my story! 

So, here’s to a new year! Hopefully one that will include more blogging, even if it is tedious drivel like the above…


It is with a mixture of expectation and regret that on what is
almost my 7th anniversary of coming on staff that I tender this formal
advice of my decision to resign from the paid team at _________________
effective January 9th 2009.

I feel the regret because a huge part of me is very tied to this
church, the ministry of ___________________ and to the rest of the team
here.  It has been a formative experience, and while I’ll still be
around the traps lecturing in college and taking pictures I will sorely
miss being a so immediate a part of the team.

Expectation however, because after 7 years here and having learned
so much, developed both professionally and personally in ways I could
never have done elsewhere, I am going on to further my skills by
embarking on a Masters Degree at Sydney University.

I wish to extend my grateful thanks to _________________
and the team for their faith in me and their incredible support through
the whole 7 years, it’s been amazing.  The Post-grad program in Arts at
Sydney Uni, to which I’m going, is one of the top 20 arts programs in
the world.  It’s a testimony to the extraordinary step SCA took to
offer a degree program that I’m even able to consider this next move.

I’m so very grateful.

Application Essay; for my records, really.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  As my career, in recent years has become more enmeshed in digital communication I look back on my high school years and wonder just how different things might have been if my early propensity for programming had been fostered.  No one really knew in the mid 80’s that computing was going to become so fundamental to our daily lives and certainly, in small rural schools no one expected a girl to get involved.

My, how times have changed.

My daily work life is grounded in HTML, CSS, ASP, YouTube, Video streaming, and large-scale communication with organization members via a comprehensive website, RSS feeds, Podcasting, electronic direct marketing and bulk SMS messages delivered via the web.   While self-taught, I’ve honed these skills by hours and hours of experimentation and research.  My home life is spent maintaining friendships via Facebook, and Twitter and my overseas family keeps up to date with my life via a blog, Skype and a Flickr account.  Here I am embracing digital life and I couldn’t be more fascinated with where the web will take me next.

I’m passionately interested in digital culture, not just from a personal point of view, but professionally.   It could be considered an interesting stretch to wish to extend a Theology degree into an MA but as someone who has spent significant time working in an active and contemporary church, and who is seeing how modern life has embraced digital culture I’m committed to appropriating new technology to keep our organization on the cutting edge of where technology takes us next.  In the past, religious organizations have steered clear of new technology, fearing for their ‘mortal souls’ perhaps. It is my belief however, that ‘joining the discussion’ is critical to the dissemination and appropriation of new ideas and information, but equally important to maintaining our relevance to the post-modern generation of people with whom we connect.

It’s Official

The week has been a bit mental.

I’m spending way too many hours editing photos I took of dancers on Saturday.  A very well paid gig but which I need to upgrade my gear to ever consider doing again!! So every night this week I’ve been working on the photos till around 2am… I may even have to consider a half day tomorrow so I can get them printed on Friday…

I’ve also been trying to get my appointment with the boss of all bosses to stick.  It has been rescheduled twice and is booked again for tomorrow.  The best possible thing about the rescheduling is the following, which was waiting in my mailbox when I got home…

The University of Sydney
Faculty of Arts…

Dear Miss [er... insert real name]

The Faculty is offering you a place as detailed below…

Course of Study: Master of Digital Communication and Culture

Department/School/Centre: Digital Cultures Program.

So yeah… I’m going to be a student next year… which begs the question really.

“Dee,What on earth were you thinking?!”

Thoughts on Going to Uni Mk 2

[The comment comp is still running... at the rate we're going this could take a while... I might even have time to get my photography site up before we have a winner!!]

So, Fi has been asking what the deal with Uni is, and I’m procrastinating from my epic house clean to give you an answer babe!!!  Thanks for the distraction!!!

It was nearly three years ago that I blogged this.  Having met that challenge head on and coming away with a Bachelor’s Degree in April of this year I decided 2008 was going to be one without the added pressure of completing assignments and turning in papers.  I have still been walking about the halls of academia but this time on the other side of the desk, as a tutor.

In embarking on the Bachelor’s I hadn’t given any thought to taking things further into a Master’s, I mean… what for?  To prove I can write papers?  However, I hadn’t counted on getting so inspired by the business of learning and crazier still, the business of teaching.

At grad, when I’d sat in the Great Hall at Sydney Uni waiting for my turn on the stage to get my piece of paper I was a bit bemused.  It really is a farcical ceremony and in truth, the pomp and circumstance was completely lost on me!!  However, in its course I saw people going across for their Master’s and actually started to wonder if I had it in me to take things further.

I went straight from graduation into our biggest conference of the year, and it’s easy to get excited about the future when you’re hearing all manner of inspirational speakers and the like.  So one night, after an epic day of taking pictures at the conference, I came home to wind down in front of the computer and on a whim, began to google for Master’s programmes. You know, just to see what was out there.

As an aside, you may or may not know that I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and as committed as I am to my church and my faith, I really didn’t want to pursue that further.  I started with a BTh because it was there and was only 8 papers (subjects) away.  But, truth to tell, I have no desire to be spending hours picking apart the Bible for new and amazing insights into the human condition… (I know, and I call myself a Christian…) instead, my interest is still more technology/arts related…

Interestingly, the first and only programme that I came across that night was this, a coursework (as in no major research paper) Master’s of Arts in Digital Communication and Culture at Sydney Uni.  I was immediately drawn to it, it touches on so many areas of my interest in web/blogging/development/new technology, and to the prospect of getting further into where technology has changed and will change culture in the future.  Looks totaly fascinating!!! 

Since then (April) the idea has been percolating away… I considered whether to do it part time, or full time, whether to start mid-year or next year and to date have decided to apply for the full time programme, starting in March of 2009.


This will likely mean, giving up my real job, which after 7 years will be a bit of a shock to the system… (however, you lot, more than many others in my world may not be surprised that things haven’t necessarily been rosy there this year).

 It will also require finding work for part of the week to cover my expenses… so if you know anyone who’s going to need a part-time web developer/maintainer… let me know nearer the time!! I’m considering the possibility of making my business pay the bills… but we’ll see how that goes…  That may take more faith in myself than I’ve currently got…

So, after attending the Uni’s post-grad open night and hearing people talk about this degree, in wandering around the campus and feeling what it would be like to be a student there,  I have really only been able to see myself as a student next year.  [Ed. and so, she joins the lunatic fringe...]

I’m acutely aware how lucky I am to be free enough to consider doing such a thing without having to take into account the needs of a husband or family.  I’m no less desirous that these things would happen in my world sooner rather than later, but I’m not going to sit on my hands waiting for it.  In the meantime, I’m loving the chance to learn more, and to have more to teach… so, yeah… wish me luck…  I’ll let you know as soon as I hear whether the university thinks a chick with a BTh could cut it in the upper echelons of technology and cultural studies…

Wish Me Luck.


It’s Academic

No.  I’m not bipolar.  But I am happier in the last few days.

Not bipolar, but creative, and so I swing from black to bright by nature, with all shades of grey and beige in between.  Can I put my finger on the current happy?  Because, seriously, nothings changed at work. 

I guess it’s the business of separating myself from the nonsense, being less emotionally involved in it.  Letting it go and saying "I can only do what I can do, so I’ll do that well… and for now I’m letting God take care of the rest."  It certainly rests easier in my soul to be less angry, and I’ll speak up when I believe I’ll get heard but in the meantime it’s ‘cover my ass and get on with the job’…  we’ll see how it goes…

I told you I’m tutoring/lecturing at college right?  Actually that’s one of the things at the office that’s keeping me sane… I LOVE it.  Part of the love is having the respect of my students, I’ve earned it in the last few weeks, putting the time in, giving them the info they need, doing my homework, and because of that they keep showing up to class, and furthermore they actually listened when I flat out gave them the hard word on Thursday.

You know what, I think that’s a big part of the happy.  The teaching I’m doing.  And the reason it makes me so happy is that I’m respected, by both the students and the faculty of actually having something valuable to offer.  It may be that the wider organisation considers me valuable, but the vibe I’ve been getting is that I’m completely invisible, whether they mean to give that vibe off or not.  (So thanks PIA for the gig, it means more than you knew!)

Anyway, on Thursday I’ve got 5 kids sitting round the table (ok, so they’re not kids really… but I am old enough to be a parent to at least 3 of them…) and we’re talking about assignments, and college and effort and I realised I could really make a difference, so I told them things some real truths and hard things along the lines of…

"You may well be marking time doing this degree just to get a piece of paper, skating through the assignments on ability, but why not make the most of HAVING to be here by improving the quality of the degree you get, you’ll get a whole lot more out of your time and you’ll be a much better employee at the other end…"

"Slow down, read it to me again, no.  Slow.Down.  What’s the question they’re asking of you.  No, I won’t give you the answer, slow down, you can do this, read it again.  What’s the question?  YES! RIGHT… see?  You can do this if you just SLOW.DOWN!"

"it’s true, things may not be as orgnaised or as structured as you’d like.  Seriously, but the only thing you have the power to change is how you react.  You’re a degree student, not at school any more… the information you need is available you just have to work harder to get it.  And if you’re not finding it, ask!  But watch how you ask, because if you go to the Dean angry and combative they’ll only react to your demeanour… go humble, you’ll get a lot further… (anyone see where I learned this???)"

The cool thing was that in the last situation the Dean came to me and told me of the dramatic change in that particular student’s manner when he came looking for his answers the next day… talk about having an impact!

The truth is, in this studying lark I’m not there to blow smoke and tell them they’re fabulous.  The ARE but I think because the part of a wider group who aren’t doing the degree program, even as degree students they hold back and operate at VET level (vocational education and training) like their peers… Not good enough for me… no sir!  It felt really good to be listened to, to be respected and today I’ll be marking their first lot of assignments.  Next week I’ll be marking the ones that came AFTER the chastening… I’m looking foward to seeing if there’s a difference.

So, yeah, I think that’s the root of the problem.  I’m dealing with a whole bunch of people who want stuff from me and are prepared, all the time, to go over my head to get it.  They have no interest in my experience or expertise, nor any trust that I even have experience or expertise in my field and so I feel like I’m caught as an uncool, unhip oldster between a whole generation of kids who think they know better and a bunch of boomers who appear to feel the need that, for whatever reason, they ought to give the kids everything they want.  So there I am, keeping the status quo in some areas, yielding repeatedly in others against my better judgement ,and all the time feeling as though I’m a tool for empowering unnecessary expense and decadence, all for the sake of an aesthetic with very little substance.

Talk about invisible.

THIS is why Thursday was so powerful.  The students are no less Gen Y than any of the others I’m talking about, but because I have their respect they actually listened to me and it did some good, probably even more good for me than them.

Too bad I only have them 1 hour a week…

Back To Class

Someone called me Jesus today.  Can’t begin to imagine how hard HE laughed at that… a roll on the floor laughing His ass off kind of situation I think… (yes so! Jesus has an ass – he rode into Jerusalem on it… geez.)  I mean me… as the salvation of the world.  I’M rolling on the floor laughing my own ass off …

The salvation really only extended in this case, to a group of 6 individuals, the context was a college tutorial.

It happens that I’ve been seconded, by virtue of my proximity and my distinction average to tutor a class in Creativity and the Imagination; seems like they need a linear thinker like me to make sense of the course material and by extension the essay questions which are written and delivered by a particularly creative individual… Don’t get me wrong the material’s great… just hard to qualify and quantify… (which is where I come in)

Anyway, both last week and this found me going through required reading, trying to make sense of it myself and learning about, and imparting the meaning and practice of autoethnography to a bunch of 2nd years… They’re seeing the light at the end of the essay question and calling me Jesus…

Futhermore it seems like a disctinction average has the potential get my halo all shinied up for the faculty as well – as there’s the potential that I’ll be getting another tutelage gig next semester too which in the scales of ‘Should I Stay, or Should I Go’ (which I teeter on constantly) causes the weight to lean towards staying…

Which, quite frankly sucks.  To leave is to give up some very good things, like tutoring and my mac.  To stay is to continue to navigate the waters of change, change that isn’t necessarily done well and which is discombobulating.

Me – Jesus! … discombobulated.

I think I’ll leave the salvation stuff up to Him.

To Cap and Gown it all Off…

Heark back if you will to January 2006.  I put to the blogosphere the prospect of my going back to do a couple of years of part-time study in order to upgrade my Adv Dip in Christian Ministry to a Bachelor of Theology.  Today marked the end of that particular journey.  Man, 2 years never went so fast…

I’m  pretty satisfied with my results, 2 credits, 4 distinctions and 2 high distinctions with an average of 80%, and I’m really pleased to have achieved the work required and say I’ve done my degree but I have to confess I thought I’d be more excited…


thegraduate.jpgOk, maybe I look pretty excited… 

I can’t put my finger on it… but I can see myself sitting in the Grand Hall of The University of Sydney today surrounded by gorgeous sandstone and stained glass wearing the traditional garb alongside my fellow graduands listening to soaring organ music and a beautiful choir and it all just seemed a bit daft really… a case of people taking themselves waaaay too seriously.  I mean, have you really looked at the guys up on the podium?  Don’t they make you want to laugh out loud?  Or wouldn’t it be really funny to deflate a whooppee cushion at a really quiet moment just to make the place giggle (after the collective gasp of horror…)!?

Interior of the great hall.jpgThe Grand Hall, University of Sydney

Maybe I’m just too egalitarian to think that a degree puts one person ahead of another…  Maybe I’m less interested in the outcome than the process of learning… and maybe my ambivalence is making you wonder why I bothered in the first place.

I bothered at all because a) because I could, b) because if I didn’t I would have gone out of my tree LONG ago out of sheer boredom, c) because having now got a degree I’m eligible to pass on some that knowledge to others as a tutor and d) because I can go on to further study in some other areas I’m interested in, and maybe even at such exalted palaces as The University of Sydney rather than a Divinity College.

I’m under a bit of pressure from PIA to do my Masters.  I scoff at the prospect most of the time but I’m actually not opposed to the idea… however, should I actually decide to do it…  I won’t be doing Theological Study – I’ve given God enough grief…

…and I don’t want to push him over the edge to a heart attack…


Top Marks

That marathon assignment, that major work of all major works that took me OMG too many sleepless nights and days of mucus to finish, came back to me today.
With a stamp of 89%. That’s a High Enough distinction in my book.
Totally worth the effort even if I was a little verbose… when you work that hard you really could care less that those extra 600 words cost you marks. Especially when the marks are that good.
That’s one point off 90%.
I am v pleased… can you tell?

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