Flat out working

Wow, I’ve been slack with blog posts, that’s for sure. We’re nine months into the year and I’ve posted almost nothing this year. Hmmmm…

Since July things have rather exploded. In addition to my work with apc.au, working as part-time hot air balloon crew and managing the Experience This! blog, I also picked up some other work:

  • I spent a month working as a digital producer/project manager for an online advertising agency. I was filling in for one of their team who was on leave and it was great to work in the creative world once again, coordinating work with designers, helping out the account managers and keeping some developers in line. Of course, not having to wear a suit helped too :)
  • I started a whole new aviation podcast with Steve and it’s really taking off (to push the inevitable pun :) We’re calling it Plane Crazy Down Under and it’s getting a bit of a following both here in Australia and around the world. Definitely worth checking out – apparently even non flying junkies are enjoying it.
  • Just over a month ago I started a new contract as an IT Infrastructure Project Manager with Aussie Home Saver, a start up company that’s growing rapidly in the home insulation business. As you might expect with a start up, there’s a LOT to do and we’re flat out providing a stable technology platform to support the growth. Fortunately our efforts have been successful and well received so we’ve hit a few home runs and are working hard to keep up the momentum.

It’s certainly kept me busy and at least I’m earning some real money once again. Juggling all my responsibilities and commitments is proving to be rather tricky, but I’m getting there.

Been a long time…

Well, it’s been about six months since my last post. A lot can happen in that time and it certainly has:

  • We moved house in February to be in the selection zone for McKinnon Secondary College, a school that should be great for Nykolai when he starts grade 7 next year. It gets great reviews and is supposed to be one of the better public schools in Melbourne. The selection zone is rather small and demand to attend the school is high, so renting costs more in the zone than outside. He’s still going to St Kilda Primary for the rest of this year so there’s been a bit of commuting, juggling and so on but we’re managing.
  • Things didn’t work out at Evolve and I finished up there at the end of February, finding myself without work right in one of the worst job markets anyone’s seen for ages (it’s worse than the recession of the 90’s, that’s for sure). I’ve spent the last few months applying for jobs and it’s only been in the past few weeks that agents have been calling me back – usually it was silence or rejection slips. Very much a buyers’ market as companies can specify exactly what they want and there are so many people looking for work that they can pick & choose. The market appears to be turning as we enter the new financial year, so that’s a plus.
  • I’ve set up and am managing the World Aviation Experience blog. The main aspect of WAE is their Flight Experience Melbourne 737 simulator and the merchandise they have for sale at their online store. We’ve set up the instructors at the simulator on Twitter where they’re tweeting the cool flights that they do and there’s quite a bit of content in the blog already. We have some big plans for expanding the content and linking up with other ventures, so be sure to link in with the blog’s RSS Feed to keep up with the news.
  • I’m back crewing the hot air balloons in both Melbourne and the Yarra Valley. I really enjoy it and have been getting some great photos. Of course, we’re in winter now and the flying drops right off over July/August as the weather gets worse.
  • I’ve been working on a couple of proposals at apc.au, one an international development project and the other for a refugee based project here in Australia. The Australian project’s under way during July but the international one got put on hold. We’ll see how things go over the next month or so.
  • I’m still naffed off that the Australian Government is still pushing ahead with their idiotic Internet Filter plans and have started expanding its intended coverage (gee, there’s a shock). As much as I thought Howard was a complete bastard of a Prime Minister, this insanity is showing that Senator Conroy is the worst Communications Minister we’ve EVER had (and that’s saying something as we’ve had some shockers).
  • We’ve been to see Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion production and thought it was good but Varekai was better.
  • Kitt and I went to see Dylan Moran live at the Arts Centre on Easter Sunday and, more recently, Avenue Q at the Comedy Theatre. Dylan was hillarious and our sides were aching from laughing so much through the whole show while Avenue Q was brilliant (imagine a deranged adults only version of Sesame St merged with a dash of Tray Parker & Matt Stone). Very happy we went to see them.
  • We’ve been watching season 1 shows from Heroes and Dexter (yes, we’re WAY behind – whatever) and have watched all of True Blood (including the latest few episodes on season2). I’d say that these shows plus Battle Star Galactica and the ROME series show that there’s a chance for TV yet, but then I think about the rest of the crap that’s on and have to admit that it’s doomed.

Otherwise, that’s about it and life goes on. I’m keeping busy with applying for jobs and these projects but there’s no real income, so we’re surviving on my savings (now finished) and Kitt’s income. A plus is that I’m getting time to exercise, so I’ve lost a few kilos – still a long way to go, of course…

I ate what?

Wow – over a month since the last post and I’ve only logged one post since Oct 15th. Can you tell I’ve been flat out lately? So, what’s been happening – well, here we go:

  • I left EDS and started a new role as Service Delivery Manager for Evolve Information Services, a small company based in Melbourne CBD. We are a small, growing software development (primarily C# .NET) and business intelligence reporting bunch and I’m trying to keep it all ticking over while the boss grows the business (can’t run it & grow it at the same time). It’s keeping me absolutely flat out but I’m loving it – I’m being stretched and challenged by a great bunch of people which is exactly what I need to get my career up to the next level. Woo hoo.
  • Things are ticking over at apc.au as most of the projects are settling into the Christmas quiet time. Andrew’s over in Graz (Austria) with lots more travel likely in 2009, so I’ll be keeping things running as smoothly as I can from here.
  • Nykolai’s doing well and has just finished Grade 5 with good results – he still needs a bit of work on his maths, but otherwise he’s doing great.
  • We’ve managed to survive Christmas staying at home this year. Usually we’ll travel up to Kitt’s mom’s place in Tweed Heads but this year she’s coming down later so we decided to stay home. We’ve picked up a Christmas tree that is, admittedly, plastic but looks extremely realistic. Kitt did a lot of great work cooking & preparing some excellent food for us all to enjoy – check out the photos at the Christmas 2008 gallery.
  • Laura, a friend of ours from San Francisco, decided to come to Australia for a holiday and arrived on Christmas Day so she’s hanging out with us and then travelling around Oz checking the place out. It’s been great fun having her here – especially when trying to explain to her that wonderful game of Cricket – if we’re lucky we’ll get to take her to a test match before she goes and then she will discover that Baseball is not the most boring game on the planet.

There’s been other things happening but these few have been the big ones so far. With luck I’ll have more energy after Christmas (assuming I survive digesting the food and booze, that is) and will be more regular with my blogging.

No matter what your persuasion or alignment, I do hope you’re having a great holiday and enjoying yourselves. We certainly are.

Exit, Sensis

Since early October 2007, I’ve been working for EDS on a project at Sensis. At first I was sent in to turn around the Transition to Production (T2P) operation as part of the online directories support team (White Pages and Yellow Pages).

At the end of June this year, Sensis IT went through a bit of a shake up and our engagement with them moved as well, with the T2P process now being performed by dev rather than support, etc. As part of the change, I was asked to be Production Support Lead as a temporary role from July 1st until a permanent replacement could be arranged. As of this week, my replacement started and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be handing over to him and backing out.

The Sensis gig has been one heck of a project and quite demanding. It’s taught me a few things and I’ve met a lot of fun people but after almost a year in there it’s time to move on. I’ll miss the people and the fun but I probably won’t miss the health hassles (I’ve been sick so often since last year – I’m sure that place has a problem with aircon or something). Not sure what my next project will be but I expect I’ll know more in another week.

Some days are better than others…

Today was mostly a day of frustration, a day where one considers that no amount of work is sufficient to get on top of things, let alone clear the backlog and that Dilbert is sadly all too real. It’s not as bad as working for Vogons but it did begin to look like it might just be heading that way. The joys of working for large organisations, I guess…

My new project

Late last week I mentioned that I was starting a new project and that it promised to be “interesting” – oh yes, indeed it is. Not sure if you’ve ever seen the EDS commercial about building an aircraft while it’s in flight? Well, it’s pretty much spot on for what I’m trying to make happen with the new project.

You can go to YouTube to see the EDS advert about building an aircraft while it’s in flight. They also have an earlier advert that is about Herding Cats – haven’t hit this bit yet, but no doubt it’ll come soon enough.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I work for EDS??? :)

Long time no type

Yet again it’s over a month between entries – oh well – what can I say? Busy, not much to report, etc?

Same ol’ same ol’ here – employed by EDS as a Project Manager and working on a Telstra project (yeah, back at Hellstra :(

Kitt and I both have tax debts to clear plus Nykolai had to have a specialist eye check and now needs glasses. He has a 1-1.5mm congenital cataract in his right eye – not worth operating on at this point but the eye is actually far sighted (behaves like it’s short sighted) so we have to get glasses for that eye and a patch for him to wear at home.

I’m booked in to attend another of Rob Thomsett’s project management courses (his Masterclass course). It’s here in Melbourne in late November so I’m really looking forward to it.

Thanks to all this though I’ve not had enough funds spare to go flying, so once again I’m grounded for a while. Not happy but at least I can use the time to study (and gnash my teeth as I look up at the clear, blue skies filled with aircraft *sigh*)

That’s about it for now – I’ll try to let you know more about what’s happening as it comes along :)

Oh my gawd, I’m employed!

Well, after a few weeks of serious concern re: would I ever get real income again (crewing hot air balloons and doing some IT consulting is fun but it sure don’t pay the big big bucks) I am now gainfully employed. I had been doing a few interviews for a contract Business Analyst position with Sensis but, although they liked me, they were concerned about attention to detail and so on.

While they were pondering this and checking with my references re: my tendancy to be a pedantic S.O.B, another agent found me via LinkMe and threw me at an interview for a Project Manager role at EDS. I went to the interview thinking that, what the hell, let’s just have some fun ‘cos I’m probably too “out there” for EDS – interviewed at 2pm on Friday, got asked by the agent around 3:30pm to supply references and was given the job by 5pm. Wow.

I signed the paperwork yesterday (Monday) and start tomorrow (Wednesday).

As if all that weren’t enough, Kitt got a promotion last week as well. Good news all round then, eh? :)