December 19, 2014

Coming out of the climatic closet

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:12 pm by Chris

I have a confession to make, and it’s something that not everyone in the community would be comfortable talking about.

I quite like droughts. Actually, let me rephrase that: I quite like New Zealand droughts. Because let’s face it, New Zealand droughts are fairly non-threatening. Three months of no rain? In some places, they call that summer. In New Zealand, for those of us not dependent on tank water for our daily needs or intensive agriculture for our livelihood, it still just seems like an unusually extended spell of pleasant weather. Subject to all speculation about shifts in El Nino frequencies, Southern Ocean oscillations and the vagaries of long-term climate patterns under the increasing incidence of radiative forcing in a anthropogenic world, the thought of the coming summer being long and dry makes me, if anything, quietly anticipatory.

I felt no such sense of celebration about the drought that Australia experienced while we were living there. A drought that lasts for years, that kills drought-adapted trees decades or even hundreds of years old, that’s not much a meteorological pattern as (indeed, I called it at the time) a slow-motion natural disaster. It is, frankly, a bit frightening, a reminder that “the weather” is monstrously large and utterly, callously, unregarding of any tiny lives it might squish as it grinds out its latest whim.

But the prospect of a few months of warm sun, albeit purely spectulative at this point, and based solely on the resemblance of the last six weeks to the end of 2012 in this part of the country… That prospect, as I sit on our deck watching a northwesterly that finally looks like a proper seabreeze turning the Firth of Thames green and brown, surrounded by deep-rooted trees that will cope just fine and a selection of weeds that will be easier to kill if they’re stressed by a water shortage… That prospect I can easily live with.

September 9, 2014

Striking images of a drowned village in Spain

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:18 am by Chris

My Spanish doesn’t give me much of a hint as to the article’s content, but the photos speak volumes:

Pueblos que yacen bajo las aguas

Old stone tower rising from a frozen lake

Apparenlty it’s from one of many villages flooded for a “hydrographic scheme”. I guess we’d have similar momentos in New Zealand, if Cromwell had taller buildings.

July 4, 2014

Who remembers this?

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:17 pm by Chris

June 14, 2014

Notes from the parenting diary #1

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:24 pm by Chris

There were four in the bed and in was 5 in the morning. The little one had just come into bed for an early feed and was very lightly asleep between us. The furry one was snuggled against my other side, safe in the knowledge that it was dark and no-one would see him cuddling. At this point I realised that the alarm was still set for 6:30am, not a time I had planned to wake up this morning. Thanks to the contingencies of moving into our new house, the alarm lies just out of arm’s reach on my side of the bed. Very, very, quietly, I squirmed far enough to turn off the alarm without waking the baby. There was nothing I could do about the cat, however, who decided that activity early in the morning was synonymous with it being his breakfast time. The better to expound this point of view, he came and sat on my head. I am not fond of having a cat on my head at any stage of the day, and particularly not at 5am. I have explained this feeling to the cat before, and attempted to remonstrate with him now. Very quietly. Finally failing in these efforts, I resorted to the same langauge that I’ve used in previous discussions of this nature: throwing the cat as far off my head as I can. Being a considerate pet owner, I prefer not to throw him off the side of the bed, where he might land amongst sundry spiky items of furniture and hurt himself (or worse, wake the baby). Instead, my technique is generally to hurl him towards my feet, where he may attempt a controlled, nay cat-like landing. On this particular occasion, irked by the thought that I might otherwise be getting a sleep-in today, I hurled him perhaps a bit too hard. All the way onto the floor at the foot of the bed, in fact. This was particularly unfortunate given that he had his claws sunk into both of my pillows at the time, and took them both with him to the floor. At the foot of the bed. Where I couldn’t reach them without waking the baby. Who was asleep.

Our mattress is rather on the firm side, and being rather bony about the neck and shoulders I really can’t sleep on it without a pillow. I expressed the horns of this dilemma very quietly to my beloved, who graciously gave me her spare pillow. Which is possibly the thinnest pilllow in our entire house.  I couldn’t tell you at what point in this entire proceedings the baby stirred and started complaining, but I do know that I hadn’t managed to fall back to sleep by then, and nor did I fall back to sleep afterwards, until the inevitable proper waking-up and the enthusiastic squirming, climbing on Dad and attempting to grab the (still head-orbiting) cat that accompanies it. I love being a father, but sometimes I do miss sleeping in!

April 8, 2014

Two new things to read

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:47 am by Chris

“Stop, Thief”: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance

Also:

The Power of Just Doing Stuff

December 6, 2013

Knowing that something is coming doesn’t make it any better

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:25 am by Chris

October 4, 2013

Summer reading list

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:21 pm by Chris

Courtesy of the ever-informative but terribly hard to keep up with BLDGBLOG. Some books to read.

Actually that list is too long for all but the most dedicated bibliophile’s summer, so if anyone would like to split it up and compare notes, say the word in the comments. I bags Beyond the Blue Horizon for start.

July 9, 2013

Testing the WordPress app for Android

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:10 pm by Chris

Coming down of the shoulder of a drought, into a winter that just isn’t taking itself seriously.

March 19, 2013

Something by Warren Ellis

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:03 am by Chris

Warren Ellis on futurism, the New Aesthetic, and why social media isn’t killing our children

“Blogging is a muscle that most people wear out”. Indeed.

October 11, 2012

Wow

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:10 am by Chris

Go get a cup of coffee. Actually you might need two. Then sit down and read all of this: The Heart of The Matter (George Monbiot).

I’ve followed George Monbiot’s train of thought on nuclear power with a great deal of interest, but always some niggling reservations. Theo Simon, who I’ve never heard of before, makes a beautiful, careful case for why Monbiot is wrong. He articulates all my niggling misgivings, and then some. And he does it all with a very English politeness and fair-mindedness that makes the whole thing very mature and readable. Seriously, if you read nothing else about this debate, read that article.

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