Archive for May 2010

An answer for the internet

After asking the question, “should I go to Shanghai”, here’s the answer:

All the discussions* made me think, and in particular Joel & Andrea made me think about my purpose in going and why I would value being there. I value travel to work or to learn but I don’t particularly enjoy being a slack-jawed tourist. It’s fun, occasionally, but it’s not $2k and six tonnes of carbon fun.

If I had the chance to participate or connect, then that would be different. If I wanted to put the work in, I could probably build up some connections but then again, I have enough of that to do here.

So I’ll be doing something else instead.

* – All the discussions apart from those projecting their own desire or guilt onto me.

A question for the internet

I don’t really do ambivalence. If I don’t feel strongly either way, then indifference makes more sense to me than ambivalence. Hence I’m rather out of practise and there’s a question I’m very ambivalent about.

I’ve the chance to go to Shanghai. is performing at the World Expo there for a week in September; if I go with her I just have to pay for the flight. Should I go?

So, in favour:

1) I haven’t been outside NZ for six years.

2) Bloody hell! Shanghai! Showpiece of China. 400 km/h maglev train from the airport to the city. Umm… and things like that.

3) The World Expo.

4) Umm… it’s somewhere that’s not Wellington.

5) It’s a week with . Then again, we see each other regularly, what with living in the same house.


1) It’s over six tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Given a globally fair quota would be three tonnes each, that blows my quota substantially. Then again, I haven’t been on an international flight since 2004.

2) It’s a city with big old stuff. Tokyo had big things, meh. Old? I’m British, I’m glad to be in NZ, where we haven’t got millenia of history weighing us down.

3) Expo? So numerous nations spend silly amounts of money on marketing themselves. The New Zealand pavilion seems to make a big deal out of the fact that NZ has the highest number of golf courses per capita of any country in the world.

4) I like Wellington.

5) It’s $2k that could be in the mortgage. It’s also a week when I could be working on the house.

Hence the ambivalence.

When Civil Engineers Attack!

I kid you not.

There’s two main ways to respond to rising sea levels, defend or retreat. Defence means bigger sea walls, tidal barriers, big, expensive works. Retreat means letting nature take her course, if a coastal area is going to be flooded, then let it. The wetland will provide their own protection for towns and cities further inland.

So instead, the UK Institute of Civil Engineers and the UK architect’s think-tank have got together to come up with a third option – retreat, defend, or ATTACK! If the ocean wants to play it rough, then bring it on! We’ll see you outside, bitch!

More, with pic

House work, with shovel

We’ll be working away at the house this weekend, from 10 am saturday, 11 am sunday. There’s gravel to shovel, weatherboards to nail, and more wood to oil. Any help gratefully accepted.

If you can’t make it this weekend, then when we start the earth plastering on the walls and the earth flooring, we’ll be even more glad of the assistance. And you’ll get to play with mud, like when you were a kid.

More house pics

I’ve been a month and a day since I posted house pics, possibly because we’ve been working away round the corner behind the scaff, possibly because you don’t really need to see endless pictures of waterproof roofing membrane.

Anyway, we now have lighting! And insulation!

Though sadly that’s just the builder’s kiloWatt floods, coz we were up there in the dark, getting the insulation out of the bales so it can expand before installation. It’s yet to actually go in the walls.

We had an afternoon’s wander around with the electrician, scratching our heads, looking at the existing plans, and saying “well, that’s not going to work”. One problem with having gorgeous wooden posts and beams exposed inside is that running electrical cables gets complicated. Cables can’t go over the surface of the posts, going through is doable but hard, and we’ve posts where every wall joins another wall. Oops. Still, we have a plan.

Most of our time up there has been spent nailing weatherboards on. Half of this time has been spent up scaff:

Spot the tieke:

Endless, endless weatherboards:

It’s the walls you can’t see that are mostly done. There’s more weatherboards to go, including over the block wall just left of the front door. So the house currently looks like this:

We’ve got to the point of being able to write down the list of jobs left to do. Windows should be going in in about three-four weeks, and doors not long after, meaning we’ll have something lockable. Then plumbing and electrical, tiling, lining, plastering, painting, then HFC! we’ll have a house.

Oh, and the retaining wall above, plastering, the outside stairs (three sets), painting the block wall downstairs, planting out the green roof, and a million other things that I’ve forgotten.

Still, for now, if you sit on a sawhorse on the deck, back against the boards, looking out at the view and ignoring the smell of sawdust, you can pretend it’s all done:

UK Election Special, part 3