catchmyfancy: (Default)
I've had a whirlwind time of it recently, much of it due to [personal profile] john  and [personal profile] toby  coming and staying in my house for about three weeks, with the odd visit from the adorable [personal profile] anatsuno .

I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, but apparently there are some people who just don't ping my argh-people-AWAYgoAWAY radar, and my two lovely International Housepests of Mystery are amongst them. 

Between them, my two other gay boyfriends (Canadian Dave and Arash) and other random friends who seem determined that my FQ (fun quotient) shall not get too low, I have had the most wonderful, alcomoholic, fooderiffic, carefree and lovely time this past month. 

I was sorry to see my IHoM go (especially having a tenor on tap, as it were, and also getting to hear the nightly installment of Adventrs-with-Grindr), but a New Adventure Looms - I'm starting the Graduate Diploma of Music at my Yewni in *gleep* eight days.

I seem to be the only one who is worried about things like timetables and enrolling and credit points and teacher choice and textbooks and assessment  - the staff at the faculty are....well, a little bit free-range and supremely unconcerned about deadlines and I feel like Hermione half the time (cue [personal profile] john  doing his best Maggie Smith: "Five points from Gryffindor, Mr Potterr").  I asked my friend Anna (a fellow music stewent) what the textbook was for Practical Anatomy for Classical Singers and she actually laughed in my face.  Apparently we have to keep a journal about how we feel after each class and how it may have helped us in our practice.  Really.  REALLY?  At this point I have to admit that I am vacillating between horrified and positively gleeful.  Erm.

I know and have worked with both the former Dean and the current Dean of this Faculty in my position as Graduations Lackey...one is now my course coordinator and the other is - now my Dean.  Former Dean was kinda...well, flakey at the best of times and talked a lot about feelings (I see a theme here) and Current Dean (who I have met with, worked with and chatted to on multiple occasions) recently spent 15 minutes talking at someone he thought was me.  She rang me to tell me the gist of the conversation because she didn't want to embarrass him by pointing out she wasn't me.  I would have had NO such compunctions.  This person? Is, yes, large-ish.  Also a caucasian woman.  Also over 35.  Also: half a foot taller, and not, you know, anything like me to look at.   There isn't a *headdesk* big enough.  My faculty management, you guys.

The fun of it will be watching his face when I walk into the prep meeting for their graduation in a couple weeks.  I better see some squirming, is all I can say.

Oh yes, I'll still be working: I am trying to pull this qualification off part-time and still do my job three days a week.

Miracles of miracles, management are supporting me taking my long-service leave at a rate of two days per week during Semester. Possibly because it was that, or me disappearing for three months sometime this year - they all got very nervous when I qualified for long-service leave (not sure what to do for study leave: I may end up being strategically ill - I have 100+ days of sick leave to burn through. Don't get me wrong, I've been ill: just didn't use the leave. Which should tell you all the things you need to know.)

I also have the physical goal of getting much much fitter, and turning my body into a better instrument.  That's what I'm about to become: an instrument. 

Also - wow - must pull together repertoire list for whoever-new-teacher-will-be - it could be this person. Or not. Who can tell?  A tree in a golden forest, people, a tree in a golden forest.

The best bit, though, the thing that makes the tiny anxiety attacks (am typing this in a sweaty state, believe me) and pulling my hair out over getting arrangements nailed down worth it, is that I get to finally - FINALLY - just be a musician and a music student.  Still have to look at that one out of the corner of my eye, because I get a little tired-and-emotional when I think about it properly.  I went and had a prowl around the music library the other day and was looking at baroque ensemble facsimile scores (in which I am interested not at all although they were very pretty), but I got the sniffles anyway.  I'm blaming the dust. 

catchmyfancy: (Default)
19 days.

24 graduation ceremonies.

6,376 students let loose upon the world, clutching their little degrees.

About 80 hours of overtime (not sure what I want to buy - I was thinking maybe Tasmania).

Moving on!
catchmyfancy: (happy sun smiley cupcake)

So.

Apparently I just did something that I have just now realised Them Upstairs at my work were not entirely sure I would be able to do: on a couple months' notice, with not nearly enough resources (one of my team only got an actual computer of her own instead of hot-desking three weeks ago. let me repeat that: she had no computer unless someone was on leave or sick. neither did she have a landline.  and often she had no clue because she didn't know what to ask and therefore I did not know to tell her), and no time and far FAR too many people in charge, we graduated 6,300 people in 23 ceremonies in 19 days.

For extra fun, one of them was a double-header ceremony of 700 graduands at the Royal Exhibition Buildng right in the middle of the ceremony round.  I hate, loathe and despise off-site ceremonies as you pretty much have to build them from the ground up and they take 47,678 more hours to sort out than ones on-site.  When one finds oneself leading a gaggle of minions back up from the Music Faculty, each of you clutching a music stand in each hand to use them as de-facto sign-posts at the venue (following the cunning deployment of A3 signs and blu-tac), one has to ask oneself the following: What THE?

Since we cleared the last lot of new graduates out of the hall only 36 hours ago, the emails from Them Upstairs have been oozing oilily (what? 'oilily' is totally a word, and I'm in charge and so it is so nyer DO NOT QUESTION ME. QUESTIONS WILL NOT GET STUDENTS GRADUATED) down from on high and the enormity of what we just pulled off with about a 0.02% error margin is beginning to crash down upon me.

Fortunately in about two hours, three nieces will be bouncing about all over and around me, and I can save the shivers for the Month of Kevin.

ie hooooooooly crap.  But now: too much food; my mother nagging me about recording my CD; and hopefully getting presents that keep my luggage allowance under 15kg seeing as I am coming back on Rex airlines, with the teensy tiny planelet.
catchmyfancy: (that's disturbing)
14 ceremonies in 7 days.

4 more to go tomorrow and Weds.

I have resolved to do my OIC-ing for the final one in a dress and heels.

It's a new dress, and sometimes a girl just likes to
(a) glam up; and
(b) add a degree of difficulty just cos I can; and 
(c) have a Gnger Rogers moment (ie, watch me do everything you can do, only backwards and in high heels.)

I will not miss the 7am - 11pm days tho.  And i appear to have a full set of matching Louis Vuitton luggagey things under my eyes.  Phooey.

Still: new dress!   Plus Boss was happy to approve overtime of doom!




catchmyfancy: (interesting (in an...interesting way))
Through some odd quirk of genetics (and/or just sheer bloody-mindedness), it appears I can work 14-hour days for six or seven days in a row. 

Seriously the schedule is:
  • get up at 6am;
  • ablute
  • put on all-black everything (if I could find just some black hankies.... )
  • pick up Kim at 6.45am
  • go into work about 7am.  Get long black from Pronto Pizza peeps.  Open eyes.
  • prepare for 1pm graduation ceremony (I will spare you all the flappage associated with THAT, as I know some of you were delicately reared)
  • do 1pm ceremony.  Watch 300 graduates run off into the sunset clutching their little certificates like the special little snowflakes they are.
  • be more than a little peeved that it all runs very smoothly and under time after all the work and flappage
  • prepare for 6pm ceremony (with extra flappage, usually with a crisis or six to liven things up a little)
  • do 6pm ceremony. Watch 300 more graduates run off into the sunset clutching their little certificates like the special little snowflakes they are.
  • prepare for next day
  • attempt to keep team from falling into Slough of Despond
  • leave work about 11pm
Rinse and repeat.

it drives one ever so slightly nuts.  eg, this evening I went to the local large Maccers.  Now I know what hell will be like: a place full of the clattering, mindless minions of Evull; the redolent smell of sizzling flesh; despair hanging in the air; and a queue that never moves.

Hence quietitude here and around the traps.  I'm not anywhere but in my bed (yes: still by myself!) or at work.

A thing I wish people would stop saying to me: "I don't know how you DO it!".  To which the only answer is: I don't know how you can't.

Two more tomorrow.  Six more next week.  Then we are DONE. 

And I, for one, am planning on draping myself over a chaise longew with a cold compress on my forehead and calling pathetically for tea.

catchmyfancy: (work)
Further evidence that my WORK (it's a job, they pay me, it's just a job, just a means to an end yes yes yes it IS) has risen up like a very large wave and gone FWOOSH and broken and gotten everything, everything, sopping wet and I'll never get it dry again:

1. An ETA on my adorable, twinkly little Valedictorian - he emailed me to tell me that he was belatedly ushered into the Departmental office and told in hushed tones that he had been chosen as the valedictorian.  Bless him, he did his best to act surprised, apparently even using the word "gosh".  And, he assured me somewhat breathlessly in his email, that he thinks he may have gotten away with it. 

It is possible I may have to bring him home and put him on my mantelpiece to preserve the extreme cuteness, because going on and working as an intern is just gonna drain the nice right out of him.  And this was the best email I had all.day.

2.  So after rescheduling twice because of this wretched Office Lurgy O'Doom, I finally trotted along yesterday afternoon to audition for Richard Gill and Opera Victoria in the rather lovely surrounds of Horti Hall on Victoria Parade.    Yes, the audition went well, yes I was (mostly) happy with my performance (the middle and lower notes were still a bit sticky, but the top notes were extra-pingy to make up for it) and I sang Pace Pace and was able to pull off my usual trick - thank the goddess of sopranos, Hysterica - of singing the final page on pretty much one breath including nailing the final top B flat to the wall and asking it some Serious Questions.  And yes, R.Gill said they were "interested" in me and were putting me as (yawn) a potential chorus member on (snore) the "first openers" list (whatever the hell that is - one assumes it basically means "don't call us, we'll call you".)   Roughly the same outcome as 2005, only this time they let me finish my aria (!) and were more effusive about what they would use me for.   Which I suppose is some kinda progress.

But guess what - the man came and talked at a ceremony two years ago and so we had a nice little chat about that; and then (oh this is telling), before, when I was waiting to go in, I was chatting away with a pair of smiley brother-baritones, one of whom I did the ill-fated Turandot with at the end of 2004.  And he remembered I ran grads - and then he said "hey, can I ask you something?" and we went into a loooong detailed discussion about his graduation options.  Cute, smiley brother baritones...and I talk grads.  *sigh*

3. So after going back to work, and deciding around 6pm that I only had one life to live, I hied me hence down into the city to Rivers because they had a sale on, and detoured via a couple other shops and was on my way back thinking "home home home home HOME" on an endless loop in my very tired brain and very nearly about to get off the tram when I spotted [livejournal.com profile] tigerdenbodu  next to the doors.  She said "I'm off to the pub. Do you know where the Clyde is?  Hey - you should come!  Did I mention I'm a bit pissed from going to a Union Arts function?" and so there I was, in the Clyde, singing and chatting with all the nicey-nice choristers and getting hugged by tall basses (which sort of took me back a bit, but in a nice way) and I came away with somebody's phone number and email scrawled on the back of a liquorland receipt in my pocket.....

Don't go getting excited though.  A couple of the choristers were students (and wanted to know alllll about their graduation, *sigh*) and one of them wanted to know if she could do some work at ceremonies, so gave me her contact details.  *headdesk*

Nyawwww

Nov. 27th, 2008 11:52 pm
catchmyfancy: (unstable)
The majority of my *ahem* client-base could  very easily (oh, SO easily) be labelled soul-sucking, self-absorbed oxygen thieves with the sensitivity and empathy of a rotting whelk (with no disrespect intended to rotting whelks, or, indeed, whelk-fanciers everywhere).

But very (very) occasionally they are just BEYOND adorable.

Exhibit A: the conversation I had with one of my kiddies today. 

To set the scene: our Medical Faculty are about to have their annual graduation go-round.  Every year I ask for a Valedictorian; and apparently every year the clinical sub-deans almost have to resort to drawn scalpels at dawn, because they all have a candidate and there's practically biffo in sorting out whose candidate wins.  After mopping up the blood, they have finally given me the name of the Valedictorian. I am now proceeding to call them about arrangements given we are only a week out from the ceremony and the poor kid must be fretting, wondering what to do....

Me: hello, it's Alexandra from the Graduations Office, how are you today?

Clueless graduand: I'm fine.  How are you?

Me: <dear god it has MANNERS> I'm fine too, and I understand congratulations are in order, seeing as you're the valedictorian for your Faculty

Clueless graduand: .......

Me: Are you there?

Clueless graduand who is now also apparently the Valedictorian: ....I'm in shock.  Really?

Me: <resisting the urge to say "Really truly!">: Oh boy.  I TELL them to talk to you first.  I really really wish they would talk to you first.  Yes, they want you to be the Valedictorian.  Are you okay with that?

Clueless graduand who is now also apparently the Valedictorian: ....I just have to sit down.  Wow.  That's - wow.  Really?  Well, of course I'll do it - it would be an honour.

See?  Completely adorable.  Should be on Cute Overload or something.  Sometimes you just want to hug them.  And hit clinical sub-deans.  But mostly just hug the little graduand.

catchmyfancy: cheerful and happy primitive-style picture of a lion in a savannah landscape (rowr)
I had the following conversation 70 gajillion times today:

Student: Hello, I did not return my form in time, because <insert increasingly bizarre excuses here, many involving Australia Post apparently holding onto mail for a week and then delivering it all THE DAY AFTER the deadline> o waly waly waly.

Student: <in tone of one who has now satisfied minimum requirements of lip service to idea of SO TOTALLY NOT MY FAULT>: So, can I still graduate in August?

Me: No.

Student: What?

Me: We have closed off responses.  We did that yesterday.  The deadline is past. It has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisbule.  It is an EX-DEADLINE.  The ceremonies are full and we cannot fit you into them.  YOU MISSED THE DEADLINE. 

Student: oh, but I need to graduate in August.

Me: Sorry, but we will not be including you.  Your options now are to graduate in absentia or defer your graduation to December or August.

Student: <pause while they digest this.  I can hear their brains trying to get around the simultaneous ideas of "no" and "have to wait"; it's vaguely reminiscent of a dodgy car transmission trying to change gears and failing miserably>: You mean I won't be able to graduate in August???

Me: **HEADDESK**** 

Me: No.  Did you want to defer or graduate in absentia?

Rinse.  Repeat.  Listen to increasingly silly reasons why we should rearrange the Universe around them.  Tell them again that it ain't gonna happen and explain why.  Begin to wish I had taken up that offer for a glamorous career in washing car windscreens at the lights.  Go onto lzuji.com and look at flights to Paris.  Do data entry on name changes.  Mime "no I cannot talk to you right now" at cow-orkers. Scroll through email.  Rearrange papers on my desk.  Start making shopping list. Continue to explain why the universe is a cruel and unforgiving thing and why this is not really like getting an extension on your essay.  Contemplate cleanliness of fingernails.  Finally, finally student goes away, wounded tones trailing from my headset to the last.

And then five minutes later, the phone rings again.

GAH.

Sometimes it's good to be the king and have dominion over my little grads demesne.  Sometimes I wish there could be a bloodless coup and I could be sent into exile somewhere where there is a lockable office door, a minion to answer the phone and decent coffee.  Am POOPED after a day spent popping little bubbles of Clueless Hope (well, is there any other kind).
catchmyfancy: (Default)

Not Well.  

Many graduation ceremonies approaching, yes yes.  Two tomorrow.  Euch euch euch.

When I go to the gym, I have to literally push myself through each minute to get at least 30 of them on my score sheet.

Yesterday my iRiver battery died about ten seconds into my workout.  I spent the next 29 minutes and 50 seconds yelling at the senior exec of the University in my head.  It got me through.

catchmyfancy: (Default)
...well, apart from the fabulous theory of the Monkeysphere as put forward by Mr Bat...

....is explained in the following conversation I am about to have 47,000 times in the next week (I call it the So, Can I Get It in Blue? phenomenon):

Student:  Please please please please can i graduate in August?  My grandmother will die happy/world peace will be established/it shall be a prelude to The Rapture/the drought will break/the IR Laws will be abolished/someone will invent calorie-free chocolate that tastes nice/I will love you forever and send all my kids to this university IF ONLY you could include me in the ceremony.   Oh PLEASE.

Me: Okay, I have looked at my numbers.  If I do a number of things that hideously inconvenience me and several other members of staff....I can squeeze you in on the 25th at 3:30pm.  

Student: (loooooong silence) (Go to the back of the class if you thought there would be gushy happiness at this point)

Me: are you still there?  

Student: (long silence) (Finally consenting to speak) Oh - I wanted to graduate on the 14th.

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