10 November 2008

plus ça change

Half-way around the world, another country embraces change. Upstairs at my place, things are more the same than ever.

The upstairs rooms are still in a state. I've been meaning to tidy up the bathrooms, but I got gastro a couple of weeks ago and I didn't feel like doing much for a few days. That set everything else back, so I'm only just getting back to it now. Admittedly, I've only got a few odd jobs left to do before I set upon my own bedroom, but getting back to them has been a bit of a struggle.

My parents and my brother are coming down for Christmas and New Year and not much else. They're only getting here the day before Christmas itself (so I'll miss Dad's birthday), and they're only here for a few days after New Year. Now that I've got plenty of places to put them up, that's not going to be an issue. Plus, I won't have many days to fill up with things to do. Still, I only get to see them in person once a year, an experience sadly not available on Skype.

I invited a few friends and relatives out to celebrate my birthday - not on my birthday, because nobody could go, but still, the celebration's the thing. I wanted to bring together people from different circles but that I knew would get along, so I invited them all out for dinner at one of the local restaurants. It all went off pretty well. Not everyone could turn up, including my lady friend who isn't my girlfriend; she did drunk-dial me to invite me out afterwards, though.

Since someone has already asked, I should mention that this time was much easier and much less awkward than two weeks prior. Sure, she got nearly as drunk and I was even more sober, but the pressure came off: the expectations were much more subdued, and having learnt what she gets like, I understand a bit better how I should treat her. Even the weird things drunk people say - which might be insightful unspoken truths, or which might be random crap - don't affect me as much any more. (Actually, they affect me a lot more than I care to admit, but I'm getting more graceful about it.)

Actually, on that note, I did meet someone a week ago. I was at a presentation about the limits to economic growth, organised by Economic Reform Australia. It was an excellent discussion - the presenter just about wore himself out with his own enthusiasm, and everyone seemed to hang on his every word. I hung around afterwards to join in the afterglow, and in the process, I met a young lady who had come from China to do her PhD in environmental accounting. We got to talking about climate change and peak oil - normally a good way to end conversations with the uninitiated, but not in this case. It was actually something of a novelty for me to talk to someone both intellectual and open-minded about the subject: most of the people I know either worry themselves sick about peak oil or refuse to acknowledge the problems in any way. I've sent her a couple of emails on the subject, so she's got plenty of homework to do, but I can't help but wonder if she'll get back to me. I mean, I'm happy enough to network for now, but I wonder if she'd like to continue the conversation over a coffee. Oh well, we'll see.

* * * * * *

The thing that's really bothering me at the moment is work. Things are going from the sublime to the ridiculous, and I'm still bored out of my mind. However, it has taken a turn for the worse in the past week or two.

We are working on a task that has turned sour before it has even started. I suspect my boss doesn't know what we're doing either and is just making it up as he goes along. This wouldn't worry me, normally, but not only is he holding me up by our not knowing, but he's working hard to pretend both that we do and that I can't see through it. Every time we talk about what's happening, I learn something fundamental about the project that I should have been told weeks ago, certainly before we started submitting documents about it.

I spent some time writing my boss an email, in which I collated the whole array of things I hadn't been told in a timely fashion, or hadn't been told at all, that have gotten this project on the wrong foot so early. The email turned pretty nasty pretty quickly, though, and I wasn't sure it wouldn't do more harm than good to send it. Normally, I prefer to write something a bit more positive and a lot more constructive, even if the nasty version says things that really need to be said. I don't know whether I can hold back this time. Maybe my patient really is at an end.

For all the time I've had wasted by having nothing to do at work, you'd think I'd be welcoming this with open arms. However, that's not the point. I'm sick and tired of being treated like a mushroom in this job. I've been so patient with him, and I've been consistently let down. This has to change now. The question remains: even if this will make things better for me, do I have the guts to do it?

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