As another year draws to a close, it leads one to become somewhat introspective - well it does me anyway...:-)

This year has been, to put it bluntly, a complete bitch for me, both personally and professionally.

It started with me *not* being offered a permanant position at Australian Catholic University, despite 4 years of promises by their so-called "Human Resources Manager".

I contracted for 3 months to Baiada Poultry, one of our national chicken producers - and, despite having a geographically-diverse network, sometimes with sites (chicken farms) connected via something marginally more reliable than a piece of wet string, one of the most professional and dedicated bunch I have ever worked with.

Curtin University in Sydney then headhunted me to take over as their IT Manager in the Sydney campus - only it was really just to cover the work during their enrollment period as the previous guy had realised what a bunch of complete twats they were (Financial Manager was in change of IT and didn't even know how to use Windows !!).

Then I fell into my current position with Cardlink Services (credit card processing for the major banks) - supposed to be PC/LAN support but the other admin wants to concentrate on desktops and has left all the servers to me. Despite being a Windows LAN Admin position, they have a number of Solaris boxes I can play with and also the mail system (Exchange) is run through a number of OpenBSD boxes, which I have "inherited".

It's a high-security environment (iris scanning to gain access, etc) and we always have the threat of PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance hanging over us (fail certification and we're all out of a job), but it finally looks like I've found a company which is not only family-friendly (kids are sick / I've got a hangover = work from home for a few days), but are willing to pay for training (just did a MS Exchange course - yeah, it's Winders !!!).

Only time will tell, I guess...:-)

Having a 7 year old and a 2 year old has certainly been a trying time for both Jill and I - and as much as I love my daughters and would defend them to the death, sometimes I can't stand the little buggers... Does that make me a bad Dad ?

Katelyn (7yo) has been wearing glasses for most of the year to correct long-sightedness, and has really been pushing the boundaries of parental love. The tantrums have been unbelievable, to the point of punching and kicking her parents.

Sally (2yo) has started the "terrible twos" behaviour, very similar to her sister in many ways - not getting her own way results in tantrums, whether in private or in public. Yelling, screaming, etc.... At daycare she's accomplished every milestone that a 5yo would normal have accomplished, so we're having her tested for the "gifted and talented" program at the school she'll be going to in 2 years...

But they are completely normal kids - it's just hard sometimes to believe that other parents are going through the same thing we are...:-)

And I've been guilty of ignoring many people; a friend's 60th birthday which I was just too damn tired to attend, a friend who only comes to Sydney every few years, and you - my friends and colleagues of the WFTL-LUG - yeah, it's hard to get to the regular chats, or to hear Marcel on the radio because of work and time differences, but I should have made more of an effort.

For this I beg your forgiveness...

2008 will be bringing many challenges, both professionally and personally, but I will NOT ignore you again.

Happy Holidays

Jon