Monday, July 05, 2010


Didn't quite turn out the way i wanted them, but they look good enough yeah.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

My 11th Birthday

I watched the clock tick slowly upon my wall. Each passing moment seemed to take longer than the last. Until finally the clock struck midnight, and I was officially 11 years old.

Normally this age is considered inconsequential, but not to me. Finally my moment had come. I spent the rest of the day sitting at my bedroom window, watching the world pass by the front of our house.

Our house was on an ordinary street, in an ordinary town, of an ordinary city. And yet today, for me, that would all change.

I was unable to keep still for long, as i could hardly contain my excitement. To keep busy I kept pacing back and forth, not knowing exactly what to expect.

The sun peaked and fell and yet still nothing had happened. Surely there must be something wrong.

A week past and still no news.

The people at the post office were no help when i tried to explain my situation.

Another week, and i gave up hope.

My heart fell as the sudden realisation swept over me. That i in fact was not a wizard.

Till next we meet,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reprise: I am a university drop out

The following is the tale of one man's struggle against a faceless institution and his desperate attempt to simply be heard.

This story picks up where the previous post left off. The situation was that I had read an email from monash university stating i had missed the cut off date for re-enrolment and i was waiting for the university to open back up so i could sort out what was an obvious mistake.

On January 5th I went to the business faculties student services desk. I explained how i received the email, i remembered enrolling and that there must have been some sort of mistake. The lady at the desk said she needs to confer with someone so she picked up the phone and made a call. She then turned to me and said "unfortunately you have been excluded from your course and you will have to come back next year". In utter shock i almost laughed at the notion and said "no there has to be something i can do". She repeated her statement, which once again sounded ludicrous. I then said "no, you are not listening to me. There has to be something i can do. Who was on the phone? Can i please speak with them". I persisted in this manner until eventually this person came out to see me. This person, a bitchy little woman with a blonde pony tail that was obviously far too tight, comes out in and in a very defensive tone and said "no you can't do anything you will have to apply through vtac next year". The sympathy level was zero and when i continued asking questions about other options like midyear intake and grievance processes she obviously became even more agitated only responding with the one word answer of "no".

Seeing that i was getting nowhere and that my feelings were welling up i left the building. My shock turned to sorrow as i come to terms with this information. Blubbering on the phone i call my mother and chris from my car. Dismayed at what had happened i sat there for quite some time before i felt able to drive.

After i got home i attempted to contact Des Casey who was my course coordinator. Unfortunately he is on leave until the 18th of January, his automated email response said to contact Martin Atchison. I was not able to make contact with Martin.

I then contacted Dr Campbell Wilson and Chris Gonsalvez who are both the associate head of IT. They have tried to help me on my behalf, but are unable to help as my course is administered by the Faculty of Business and Economics. My attempts to contact someone of authority in the business faculty where met with auto responses that they are not available until after the 18th.

I honestly believed that I had enrolled so I contacted Jacqui Hamilton (Senior Administrative Officer). She checked the WES server logs but could not find a transaction to support this. I then sent off a request to IT support for them to check the email server to see if I received a confirmation email.

I then contacted the Team Leader of Student Services and booked a meeting with her for Friday January 7th. She agreed to meet with me to discuss my options but told me in no uncertain terms that my options were "limited".

On the 6th of January i went to my doctor and he wrote a note stating 'during October of last year some traumatic issues arose affecting my family structure and emotional stability. That I am still suffering from depression and anxiety because of this and that in his opinion it was essential for my recovery that i be enrolled in university this year'.

I then contacted the Director of the Equity and Diversity Centre who contacted the person i was meeting on the 7th on my behalf. I also contacted the disables office in an attempt to find out other grievance options or avenues that may have been possible.

I then set up a meeting with student rights so they could advise me on the next course of action i could take after my meeting. All the while Chris Gonsalvez is throwing as much weight around as possible on my behalf.

And so Friday the 7th came. I had been advised to write a letter with a detailed explanation of my situation and what i had done thus far so if needed it could be handed on. I walked into the building, followed the directions to the office and rang the bell as instructed.

To my dismay the bitchy little woman with the obviously far too tight pony tail opened the door and spoke in what was more like grunt "What do you want?". My heart sank as one single thought rushed over body, this woman could not possibly be the lady i had a meeting with could she. I said i had a meeting with the team leader. She motioned to the chairs and said that the team leader was busy and i would have to wait.

Not too long after a student left the room followed by a much more pleasant looking lady who asked if i was Paul. I said yes and we walked towards her office. She sat down behind her desk and we started to talk. I had a list of questions written down, but it seemed like i didn't need them as she answered several of them without prompting.

The meeting turned to my options or lack thereof. She told me that because my course doesn't exist anymore that i have been granted 1 years intermission, which is deferring for a year. This would mean i would still be able to finish off my course even though it doesn't exist anymore. I was then told i would have to wait until after the 18th of January for a decision to be made. First round offers were send out on the 18th and they needed that information from VTAC to know how many CSP places there were available. She then went to say that if that information did come back favourable the following options may become available to me.

1. Intermission being reduced to a semester and being able to go back in second semester.

2. Only being able to enroll in my two remaining IT units in first semester, and completing my remaining accounting ones in second semester.

3. Being allowing to enroll in my two remaining IT units and one of my business units. (This being the best possible option)

I was then told to stop pushing. In my desperate attempt to be heard i was apparently disregarding 'the system' by going above people. I told her i was pushing because nothing was happening but agreed to stop pushing until at least after the 18th. I left the meeting with the knowledge that i was at least heard and that the ball was finally in motion.

I then went and had a meeting with MONSU student rights. They explained that the team leaders boss who is the manager of undergraduates would ultimately have the final say and that if i attempted to contact the Dean of Business and Economics the matter would simply be referred to her to deal with.

So there i was, having done everything i possibly could only to be stuck in limbo waiting for the 18th to come around. That night i received an email from the team leader who said that i will get a response between the 18th and 20th.

My mind stewed on what even after all of this seemed like the likely outcome. I would not be going to uni during 2010. I researched diplomas, traveling options and full time employment options all the while thinking that this is not how this should pan out.

On the 20th January at 10:29am i received the following email:

Dear Paul,

I wish to advise that you have been permitted to re-enrol in your course for 2010.

I have added one unit to your enrolment for 2010, please access WES and amend your enrolment as soon as possible.

Please be advised that you will be charged a $250 late fee for failing to enrol in a timely manner.

Best of luck with your studies for 2010 and thank you for your patience whilst a decision was reached.

Kind regards,

###### ######
Team Leader, Student Services

My heart lifted as i read and re-read the email. My ordeal was over, and i finally felt like i was in control of the life that for the longest time felt like it was slipping away. My story is one that i am sure is replayed again and again every year. My problem it seemed would have simply been not hitting a submit button, and that for many is the difference between continuing higher education and effectively postponing their life for an entire year.

I was lucky. I post this cautionary tale not to vilify the institution or those involved in 'the system'. But to remind myself and others that the world can turn on a dime without notice.

Live for the little victories, because next time you might not come out on top.

Till next we meet,

Monday, January 04, 2010

Worst first date ever

This was several years back when i was 18. It was the first gay date i had been on. Many would have actually heard this story and there are a few things i left out. This conversation was copied from msn:

Paul says:
ok so ive only just come out
and i had been on gaydar for about two months
talking to people on msn
my dating patterns are kind of weird
i go for long periods of time
where i wont date anyone
and then all of a sudden ill have 2 in the one weekend
sort of thing

Terry says:
Ah yea

Paul says:
ok there was this guy who was bugging me to meet up
and i finally caved
he lived in frankston
and i had never been to frankston before
and didnt particularly want to drive
so we made a date that would be just a movie on the friday
so i could catch a train there from uni
anyway as i said
i tend to get stints where i date
so i jumped in with both feet
and ended up with a date for saturday and one for sunday too
so date #1
i catch the train to frankston
get off at the stop he suggests
and i wait there
i ended up waiting 45 minutes before he finally turned up
he wasnt answering his mobile
and i had no other way of contacting him
so i just had to sit their at the train sation
he looked nothing like his photos
he was much more heavier in person
anyway we walked back over to his car
as i opened the passanger side door
what seemed like a weeks worth of maccas wrappers fell out onto the ground
the car was littered with them
we get in and we start driving
now again ive never been to frankston before
and i dont know if you have
but as we are driving along
the houses start to get less
until they are replaced by trees
and the road becomes gravel
we are out in the middle of no where
and the date was supposed to be a movie
through my window i can see an open ground mine
i think they just mine minerals
and the topic of conversation he decided to bring up was
"im not a murder or anything, but i bet i could dump a body down there and no one would find it"
not exactly the type of conversion you want to hear while in a strange persons car in the middle of no where
i grip the sides of the seats
and start thinking to myself what have i gotten into
the road eventually comes back and so does the houses
he says he needs to stop by his place first so he can pick up some money
i said fine, so we drive into his driveway, he gets out of the car and goes into the house
i sit in the car and wait
15 minutes goes by
and another car comes and parks behind up in the driveway
a dirty old ute
and out comes an equally dirty man walking up the driveway
he stops at my window and knocks
"ere iz he"
i point to the house
and inside he goes
the next 15 minutes all you can hear is yelling from inside the house
between the date and what i could only assume was his father
he eventually comes back out
and so does his father
the father backs out of the drive to let us out
and again we are off
he says that he is going to park at his work (pancake parlour) because its free
we get there and he says we have time so we should go in so he can check his shifts
i sit down at a table facing the kitchen
and off he goes into the kitchen
there he stays for 35 minutes
i only see him when he is standing in the door way of the kitchen
pointing me out to his friends
he comes back over and we go off to the movies
the movie was one of those "shoot em up" playstaton games that was made into a movie
like evil dead or something
i dont know whether you smoke
and ive asked a few friends who do about this
because i found it so weird
during the course of the movie which was only like an hour and half long
he left the cinemas 4 times to go smoke

Terry says:
Yea not cool
This sounds a fucked up date so far

Paul says:
its not over yet
anyway his one redeeming feature
was that he didnt want me to catch the train from frankston station
it was like 11:30 at night by this time
and he said he would drive me to the next station in
he ended up driving me like 5 stations in
to a station that he knew they had security on
which i thought was nice
he left i blocked him on msn and didnt return his messages
but there i am
at 11:30 on friday night
thinking to myself that this couldnt possibly be what every date is going to be like
and then shitting myself because i had two more lined up!
on the train ride home
there wasnt many people in our carrage
there was a guy probably 23/24 across the aiel from me
a couple further down
a lady who had fallen asleep with her head up against the window
and a hobo
who was walking back and forth
there was a fair few stops to get back to mine
during the course of the trip the hobo would walk past me and back again
until he ened up sitting next to the lady who was asleep
as i was leaving i got up to go the door which was nearest the sleeping lady
and as we pulled into the station i turn to see the hobo licking the ladies face
and you know what the horrible thing was
i thought to myself well my day could have been worse

Terry says:
That is the worst date story I have ever heard
Oh man that must of sucked

Paul says:
well i didnt want to go again
but i already made plans
and i hate cancelling
anyway the second guy was possibly one of the best dates ive ever been on
and i tried to replicate it with the guy on the third date
but couldnt
eneded up dating guy #2 for 8 months


This was pre-facebook and the reason i am posting it here is because i have recently tracked down this person!

I am a university drop out

Or at least that is what Monash is telling me. On the 31st of December I logged into my Monash email for no real reason to find a rather worrying email with the subject line "You have not re-enrolled".

I did actually re-enroll so naturally i thought this was just some sort of mistake. I had been at Monash for 4 years and will (maybe..) finish my two degrees this year. I open the email and it tells me in no uncertain terms that re-enrollment closes on the 24th of November and that the late re-enrollment period lasts until the 18th of December.

Enrolling in the late re-enrollment period carried a fee of $250 and a warning that if you do not re-enroll you may lose your position in your course. I check the date again and yes it was still 31st of December well after the late period and during the time when Monash is closed for the holidays.

I must say the words that came from my mouth at this point were less than dignified. For you see my course actually no longer exists, individually each degree is obviously still running but there has not been a combination for a few years. There has also been changes to unit requirements in both these degrees that previously didn't effect me because of the stream i was in but i have a fear may come back to bite me in the ass when i become re-enrolled.

Monash like a lot of business opened back up today, but my efforts of communication with them have yielded nothing. Three calls where i was met with an answering machine stating the office i was attempting to get in contact with was currently busy is not a good sign. I sent an email on the 31st so maybe that will have better luck but i think it might be prudent that i go in tomorrow after work.

Not that i anticipate it is going to happen, but the thought of Monash saying i would only be able to get in for semester 2 is rather scary.

Till next we meet,

Friday, November 13, 2009


Well we will see.

This year has been one of the most challenging experiences in my university life. In the third year of my IT degree external clients hire Monash to build them an IT system that they then incorporate into their business operations.

The clients do not pay anything, but in the same respect they are not promised they will receive something of industry standard. It is a "you get what you pay for" situation as the people who are producing the system have no actual technical experience.

All throughout uni i have worried about what would happen when i finally have to participate in one of these industrial experience projects. I am doing a double degree and as such the people that i started uni with had graduated last year. This makes it difficult because by doing units with others you tend to get an indication of their skill level and work ethic, and based on that you are able to select the most appropriate team members to work with.

So as the start of this year began i became very concerned about who the rest of my team members would be. This is a year long project and a rather large burden if you have to carry the majority of the workload yourself.

As i stared out across the lecture theater on my first day, all my eyes fall upon were unfamiliar faces. That was until Evan (someone who i have actually had units with) said hello sat down next to me. This was quite a relief. Evan is an extremely talented person whose technical ability is at the same level (if not better) than my own.

The lecturer went on to give a little introduction about what will be happening over the course of the year and what we could to expect of the experience. When the lecture ended we all headed over to the computer labs for our first studio where we would be selecting who would be on our team.

My heart sank when Evan said he was in a different studio but knowing my luck i wasn't really surprised. I was determined to have Evan in my group so i proceed to ask (rather loudly) to a countless number of strangers whether they would be willing to swap studios with Evan. We eventually convinced someone and my team of one because a definite two. I would have been happy with that, it didn't matter who else was in our group because Evan and myself would have been able to produce what was required.

And then something else happened, Ryan (someone who i had only done one unit with) came up to Evan and asked to join our group. Evan then told me that Ryan was as technically capable as us. I was agog. I honestly couldn't believe my luck. Before the studio had even started i had some how managed to collect arguably (and which became rather apparent throughout the year) THE top people three people in our degree.

So that is how the story of this year began. I'm mentioning this because over the past year i have been writing a chronicle of my experiences working within this group in an attempt to produce a system.

All this writing has lead me back here. Whether this leads to a resurrection, i haven't decided yet. But we will see soon enough.

Till next we meet,

Friday, May 30, 2008

All good things

Its an odd feeling writing this. This blog was started without any intention on my part to post a single piece. And yet it survived 2 and a half years (with much neglect). But as a wise man once said 'nothing gold can stay', so like oh so many other things, it is time to give it up.

This chapter in my life is closed, leaving me with mixed feelings. I now know its silly to hold on. I no longer see it as it once was, something that would from time to time place a smile on my face. So here it remains, a testimonial of who i once was, imperfections and all.

Thank you for listening.

Till next we... perhaps not,