Thursday, June 09, 2011

Dear Dairy: June 8

Penny has started writing a diary. How 19th century, I thought. And then I thought some more.
And decided it was an interesting idea, and maybe I would try it for a week, and I would use blogger, cos it's here, and because I've always seen it as my diary, rather than anything anyone else will read.
Though I've come to realise it's not the place to fully, crudely, express how I feel about work.
So- June 8.
Mild head-cold.
Rushed over the hill and through town because we left late, and the twins had to be at school before 9 to catch a bus to the northwest festival practice day. We made it... which meant the studio lights were on, camera fired up, and I was emailing an audio file to a lecturer when Herbert and then Antoine turned up for interviews about flexible learning in the aftermath of the quake. Alan followed, and then I hastily sent some files to Scratch for Janelle and walked over to a meeting with marketing.
Once again rubbing up against other people's frustration with the University. and once again we re-invent stuff. Dave, the new head of marketing, is keen on a sort of marketing UCTV. He sees the content as student generated (with prizes- I'd make something myself for a Fiji holiday :))
Interesting, but...
Greg showed me some nice implementation of video galleries of short student 'testimonials'. I didn't know they were there. I think they were shot, in fact, by Eve, the photographer. Clips not streamed, simply hosted .flvs on the servers.
Yet again: another individual initiative heading off on its own to- who knows where. It drives me a little crazy, even when I like what people are doing.
I'm coming to the realisation: my job is changing, as is the University. University life won't ever be the same. This is down to a combination of current management, long-term erosion of funding levels, and new ways of thinking about the value of Universities- factors that are worldwide.
Ditto Christchurch. Never the same again. Mostly down to the earthquake.
Ditto New Zealand: now 7th worst in the OECD in income inequality, 2nd only to the US I think in imprisoning our own, and heading in the wrong direction.
And maybe the world, too: food shortage, global warming, economic system teetering.
This avalanche of change is unsettling for an old guy, but I have to accept it or go crazy. Each step into the unknown. We shuffle forward, carefully extending each foot, feeling for firm ground, as I do when walking down to the generator without a light on a dark night- or we just stride on, out the opened window, not knowing what floor we're on. Expect the unexpected. Worry for the kids. Keep an open mind...
Ate lunch while burning CDs, the computer/edius/disc burner crashing when I try to encode dvds. Something has crept in: "corrupted mpgs in the temp folder" is a clue, not an answer.
The afternoon kicked off with a discussion with AV of integrating services. It all seemed to flow around format shifting. Gil was bitter and unhappy. Wayne was more-or-less only interested in metrics; systems for measuring how long we spent on each task.
I find this mind-numbing.
We cheered up towards the end, agreeing to share space, set up some AV gear here; that tasks/requests will come to me via Julie (she will get the metrics rolling!); that Andrew and Matt will happily share some of the work if possible. It's a mess, and we skirted some things. clearly there is a 'no money, no chance' attitude from SMT and we will continue to work bitsily in the absence of any vision from above. But we can get on with each other, at least.
Managed to burn the DVD, and picked up the twins in the dark. Arrived home and Poppy and Toby were just agreeing what to cook for dinner. Combed Oscars hair for lice. Gina grumbled about sick kids at school, and he may not go tomorrow. He's very clingy, seems insecure, and hard to get to sleep.
Second to last chapter of Archer's Goon (the twins are now finding it very exciting) and finally, after Oscar dozed off, P and I watched the second episode of series two of Treme. Great characters and dialogue, moderately engaging plot lines (they have to keep a host of characters alive each episode) but it's the music- the spirit of the music that really gets me.
Especially one short sequence of a kid, maybe 10, playing brilliant experimental blues on a keyboard in a music shop. Almost all the characters are on a downward spiral at the moment: Davis lost his job, the bar isn't working out, the chief's insurance company won't pay out for his wrecked house; the Dutch busker, who's just been robbed of his cash-jar by kids on the street, looks in at this kid in the music store and smiles grimly.
You can't tell if he's pissed off at being out-played by a 10-year-old or affirmed in his love for NO where this musical brilliance just seems to rise up out of the busted sidewalks.
Oscar came up a couple times, but on the third return to bed, about 12:20, he slept through the night.

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