Monday, June 18, 2007

Sparks Fly

"Computers are the future", I was told by the career guidance teacher, "There'll be plenty of work in that".

In my old school, the position of career guidance counsellor was a sort of repository for senescent dodderies. My counsellor was an affable relic that was kept-on out of some kindness. There was some unspoken financial matter in the chap's past that restricted him from taking to pasture as he clearly needed to do. As a result every pupil was individually slumped before the fellow, to spend an hour of their life that they would never recover, as he dispensed the worst vocational advice known to man.

His determination of one's ideal path was algorithmicly linked to the most recent exam results. So the bookish were pushed towards the professions while less accomplished academics were told that lifelong nirvana could be obtained from a trade.

I was able to save the man the bother. Having made up my mind that software engineering would be my life's work at an early age. Even back in 1988 the grey had a vague notion that "computers are the future", and I saved myself perhaps 30 minutes of wasted teenage time.

Nearly 20 years on and I'm less certain. On the face of it the less erudite school boys have enjoyed two decades of unbelievable wealth accumulation. Sitting as I do now, in a home that demands the attention variously of chippies, sparks and plasterers. They can more or less name their price and certainly command hourly rates that make me blanch. That, of course, is if you are lucky enough to get a quote from them. I've had tradesmen who didn't turn up, electricians that took one look and vanished into the ether and a single quote from a sparks with a lasso and ten-gallon hat.

It seems to me that I would be a rich man had I taken up a trade in preference to a career in computer science. I don't blame the should-have-been-superannuated man. My mind was set and he could no more have made me pursue a life as a mason than as a medic. I fear the mistake was mine, but I do fear it was a mistake.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Butt Ban

The Veil

This weekend marked the final opportunity to smoke in a public bar in New South Wales. I'm happy to announce that all my socialising will now be free of passive smoke.

House Warmth

The new house had it's inaugural party last weekend. It was something of a landmark event for me and I'm pleased to say it went swimmingly.

I hate throwing parties. For one thing you never fully enjoy a party that you are throwing yourself. There's far too much running around making sure that everybody else is enjoying themselves. And you have to expend a modicum of time with each guest so you never really get to have a conversation with anyone.

But the main problem with parties is the fact that it provides a potentially brutal barometer of one's popularity. First of all there's the decline-ratio: the proportion of the people you want to be there that don't want to be there. And in my case (having only been in the country for 8 months) there's the thorny question of having people to invite at all.

On both counts I have to say I was very pleased. When I sat down to prepare a list of invitees I was slightly worried that it would be depressingly short. I quickly realised that I had nothing to worry about there. There are friends from work, friends from my old house-share and of course the netball team. The decline ratio was also pretty good. And my little house was duly packed on the night.

My two sofas had arrived at 6:30am on the morning of the party. The only other furniture consisted of 5 milk crates and this fridge that arrived mid-afternoon.
Kool Kiwi

Mandy and Aoife brought me shopping for all my party needs. (I would have been lost without them). The two continued much of the running during the party. I took each new guest on a tour of the property, while Nathan began an industrial scale production-line of baby-Guinnesses.

I'm very content that the party went exactly as I had hoped. Above all I had a strong sense that the people who had gathered there were of the highest calibre, and I'm deeply happy to have made friends with so many genuinely pleasant people so quickly after arriving in a new country.

More photos here.