Friday, May 2, 2014

Going down...

Eight days in the job. Getting to know quite a bit about pipes. Compared to people, pipes aren't too bad. They had drinks after work today. I didn't want to be there but I didn't want to be at home either. After work I had that sinking feeling. The end of the week, but weekends are hard work. I was wishing I was still back in Auckland doing some kind of temporary work where I could relax and not face the impossible task of building a rapport with my workmates. Did I mention that my job isn't permanent? It's a two-year contract. Two years feels like an eternity. The money is better - that's something - and the work is interesting, but there's all that other stuff. And I'm staring at a blank calendar with nothing to look forward to.

On Monday I got a letter from the apartment next door about excessive noise, both in Kevin's room and in the lounge. For me, that's actually a good thing - it gives me more ammo when asking Kevin to turn down (or off) the bloody TV. It's the second note I've had from the people next door.

That evening I played board games with Tom and Tracy. We played two games of Qwirkle which involves placing rows of tiles with matching shapes or colours in a similar fashion to playing words in Scrabble. It was a nice simple game, and I felt I had a reasonable handle on it. (I won the first game and came second in the other.) Then Tracy's mum joined us for a co-operative card game called Hanabi. Unlike any card game you've ever played (except Indian poker if you've ever tried that), you see everybody's cards except your own. Interesting concept certainly.

My new employers have come up with a new "logo". It's terrible. For a start it isn't a logo at all. It's text on a yellow background. Wellington is full of creative people; I don't see any creativity in this block of text.

Much debate on the Guardian website after the execution of Clayton Lockett. He was injected with a previously untried cocktail of lethal drugs, and only died 43 minutes later from a heart attack. I'm against the death penalty. Yes, some people commit such heinous acts that you wish they could be wiped off the face of the earth, but by killing a convicted killer, it starts to make you as bad as them - two wrongs don't make a right. There's little evidence to suggest that capital punishment reduces murder rates. Plus there's always the chance that you'll execute someone who was wrongly convicted. And nobody, no matter what they did, deserves to die slowly in agonising pain.

Also from the Guardian, here's a rather alarming article about prenatal screening for autism. Having met many warm, kind, intelligent people who happen to be on the spectrum, the idea that their very existence could be denied as a result of a positive blood test is repugnant.

I've written several times on the demise of sport as we know it. Most popular sport these days is like fast food, and it's amazing how people just mop it up. They announced this morning that rugby will soon feature a super eighteen. Yes! An upsized competition. Bigger is better. Then there's English football where the top players are paid obscene amounts and fans happily part with a large chunk of their own wages to see them play. As more and more money flows to the top of the game, some of the smaller clubs are struggling to stay afloat. One of these (and they aren't even that small) is "my team" Birmingham City, who are dicing with relegation to the third division (which is now called League One - go figure) for the first time since 1995. They've lost their last five games, and have only won two of 23 home games all season! Tomorrow night they travel to Bolton in their final game. They could draw and stay up on goal difference, or if they're really unlucky, they could win and still go down. It's hard to predict results on the last day (some teams have nothing to play for so you don't know what sort of side they'll put out or how they'll approach the game) but I reckon Blues are marginally odds-on to be relegated.

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