Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's not working

I spoke to Dad yesterday. He's been really unwell since he had his prostate biopsy on Tuesday. The timing of the procedure wasn't good - he hadn't fully recovered from his ordeal on the plane. He reacted badly to an antibiotic he was given - when he called the hospital he was told to stop taking it immediately. Dad gave me all the gory details of the colour of his pee, a subject which came up on this blog recently (although he certainly wasn't talking about just a tinge of red). He was thankful of Mum's golf trip to Alexandra, which she'd been looking forward to for months. She's been swanning around Central Otago in blissful ignorance of Dad's pain. Had she been home, the atmosphere would have made things even more painful, not that there was much she could have done anyway. I spoke to him again earlier today and he's sounding much brighter - that's just as well because Mum gets back this evening.

As I said last time, I am feeling better now, but there's an elephant in the room in the shape of work, or more precisely my boss, and it's sapping me of mental energy. I don't dislike my boss, but I really don't like her being my boss. I think it's pretty obvious that she doesn't care about me nor my colleague doing the same role (my previous boss did care, or at least did a good job of pretending to). I find it almost impossible to concentrate except on the rare occasions that she's away. Some of it is me - I'm really bad at constantly switching between tasks and I don't work well in a team that's so big you can practically see it from space, especially when they're all so outgoing. We've just had our self-appraisals; on Friday I filled in mine and basically hijacked it by giving a critique of the new set-up. I was restrained to begin with, but when I filled in the last box I pulled no punches. Maybe that wasn't my brightest idea, but I saw no other way of communicating my frustration, and on Friday I was well past caring about the consequences. As Christmas approaches, things won't get easier for me in a hurry. The Christmas function, appropriately enough, is on Friday 13th December.

At 5:02 on Friday morning our boss sent us an email. She likes to talk about how busy she is. She pretends to be annoyed by this, but really she's proud of it. I see this from a lot of people. In the 21st century, lack of time has become a status symbol.

Instead of buying a property, and all the angst that has gone with that, I wish I'd bought shares in Xero. If I'd put my entire deposit into Xero shares in December 2011, I'd be a millionaire now. I'll often have lunch near the stock ticker (which is located right beside Xero's head office) and see a half-day increase which would be reasonable in half a year. (I get out of the office every lunchtime whatever the weather, for my own sanity.)

The drink-drive limit is coming down. I don't think it will make much difference (in fact I remember an experiment in the UK which showed an improvement in driving ability under the influence of a glass or two of wine) but the government bowed to public pressure. It's people way over the limit who are the problem, and they're not going to care whatever the limit is. I'm not sure I get the zero limit for drivers under 20 either. It's dangerous to drive with any alcohol up to your 20th birthday, but after that you can have two or three pints and you're fine? This makes no sense to me.

Last night they had the big fireworks display on the harbour. I watched it from the big balcony a few floors up - a good vantage point, even if there was a crane in the way which you can make out from this photo:

Tracy pulled out of our scheduled Risk resumption this weekend - she had better things to do. I was looking forward to it (if nothing else it would have taken my mind off the "elephant"). Hopefully we can still play tomorrow night. I emailed a friend in the UK, a fairly regular board gamer, to ask what he thinks of Risk. "They've since come out with Express Risk - it's a much better game that uses cards instead of a board, and it's done and dusted within half an hour." What? How can that be "much better"? You can't take over the world in half an hour! And if there's no physical board (i.e. map), you might as well play on a computer.

Here's an interesting YouTube video (well I think so anyway) where someone generates random numbers using a radioactive substance. Humans are really bad at understanding probability and randomness. Imagine a NZ Lotto draw, where they draw out seven balls numbered from 1 to 40. Say the first number drawn is 6. That means that 5 and 7 shouldn't come out, and probably not 4 or 8 either. Because 6 is a low number, the other numbers are more likely to be high. Because 6 came out this week, we shouldn't expect to see it next week; in fact the next few weeks should be entirely sixless, until it's 6's "turn" again. And so on. Of course none of that is true (except that if the first number is low, the probability that the next number is high does go up a little, simply because there's now one fewer low number to choose from) but the human mind can't get away from thinking that future outcomes are dependent on the past. I agree with the guy in the video who said it would be fun, for a change, to pick Lotto numbers using radioactive material.

There was more cricket at the Basin yesterday. I noticed three of Wellington's batsmen made joint top scores of 62. Something dodgy is clearly going on - there's no way that can be random. Update: I saw the end of the match today. The green team (Central Districts?) declared, to try and force a result, but Wellington chased down 310 with three overs and four wickets to spare.

Before work tomorrow I'll get my thyroid and cholesterol tested.

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