I saw the sun

It was there. For maybe a minute. I waved and said hi, telling it how I had missed it.

Now it is grey and raining again. Winter.

Today I am going to leave the house for the first time in what feels like forever.

awesome milky way timelapse

Super pretty and amazing.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

flickr hive mind

Over on the sidebar we added this link a while back. It is to a search engine which trawls Flickr for the most interesting images of a given day. So each day you click it, you get a bunch of random pretty and interesting images. It is a nice distraction, a window into many worlds of our world.

Today, for instance:
the spirit of dirty dishes
strobist shiva

Hmm. A lot of my favourites can’t be hotlinked…

Anyhow. Enjoy…

been editing

Most of the last couple of months have been occupied with editing the documentary, which is a skill I learned/am learning from scratch (as is, let’s face it, everything to do with making this movie). Yesterday I showed the cut in progress to Paul, the “actual” editor. Turns out I have done Real Good, which is reassuring. It needs tightening and shortening, but I knew that. The main thing is the thing works. And I have a pretty good idea what I have to do, which is admittedly probably still heaps, before handing it off to Paul for the polishing work.

So yay. A couple of days of positive affirmation of creative work. As most of my creative projects tend to be long term me off on my own somewhere doing stuff type projects, with only my own judgment to go by, it is nice to come back from the wilderness and discover I haven’t gotten totally lost out there.

(However, other things in life have suddenly become more custard-like. So it goes.)

gave a talk

Last night I gave talk about my non-fiction book to the Society for the Study of Consciousness at Victoria University. It seemed to go over pretty well, which is a relief, since it is the first time I have presented the material as a talk, and the first time I have gotten feedback from anyone about the actual content, as my first readers are still heroically toiling on and yet to get back to me… In any case the response was overwhelmingly positive, which is good given the somewhat challenging nature of the material, and the condensing of an already condensed huge volume of information into a spoken format rather than written.

The talk only covered the first few chapters, which is the material which overlaps best with the SSC’s area of interest, so a certain proportion of the book remains un-road-tested, so to speak, but it is reassuring that it seems to hold up well, since the rest follows on from the start…

It was fun to do, which is oddly reassuring, and seemed reasonably natural and straightforward as a process, and a role, which is interesting. But anyway: I know this stuff, and can talk about it. Yay. I think that is all there is to say, really. Yay. A wee milestone.

Transition Towns

A wee while back I read the Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins. (Online version here.) He founded the Transition Towns movement. The gist is accepting that our lives are going to change a lot due to the reality of peak oil and global warming our lives, so we may as well be proactive about adapting to this by making our local communities more resilient and prepared. The handbook is the story of where they are coming from, and how the first TTs went about establishing themselves, and in general is well worth a look.

The Transition movement strikes me as the closest so far to my own thinking. So I went along to a meeting of my local group. (There are a bunch of groups in Wellington.) And it was interesting to connect with other people who get it and are willing to do something. It is very much a do-ocracy, and I am still very much figuring out what it is what to do – but yeah. Interesting.

Climate doom vs positive change

Went along to see Bill McKibben of 350.org speak last week. A global warming expert with 25 years of research and activism in the field, he was refreshingly straightforward and inspiring.

The last 18 months of climate developments have basically been massive acceleration worse than any predictions, creating panic at the cutting edge of climate science.

McKibben’s essential message was as follows. According to the leading climate scientist alive, NASA’s James Hansen, any greater volume of carbon in the atmosphere than 350 parts per million (ppm) is “incompatible with human civilization.”

Currently, carbon is at 387ppm. We need fundamental change in our energy systems by 2012 to avert the worst of the disaster. So we need urgent action now.

He suggests the best way to do this is by attaching a price to carbon pollution that reflects the harm and risk. Why would this work? When petrol prices spiked last year, doubling in the USA, for the first time ever, fossil fuel consumption in the USA dropped. The economic lever is the one that works, so use it.

An international global political agreement is the only way to achieve realistic pricing of carbon emissions.

In December this year, in Copenhagen, the successor to the Kyoto protocols will be negotiated. He views this as our last chance to get it right. If we don’t get an international agreement that makes substantial positive change to our habits, the environmental outcomes will be locked in.

This proposal is currently way out of the discourse of the relevant decision makers. How can we make this change happen?

His answer is build a movement. Fast. The story of 350.org’s growth is pretty inspiring. Internet + raised awareness + participation = movement.

350’s specific proposal is a global day of action on October 24, following up on their earlier motifs. The idea being to get as many groups locally all over the world representing the 350 message in a visual form, to be funnelled live to the UN, hopefully making it impossible for decision makers to be unaware of the world’s willingness for environmental and energy change, even at monetary cost.

Other mechanisms will be required – specific targeting of decision makers, and a whole host of media savvy to get this out there. But on the whole it is a coherent, simple, and practical plan. So yeah. We of the dancing moose endorse this.

NZ local groups are coordinated through 350.org.nz. Coincidentally, thanks to the global date line, images from NZ will be the first seen at the UN…

faces of skid row

Came across this amazing photoset on flickr: faces of skid row.

Here are some samples. There are many more.


Review: Flight 666

I’ve never paid much attention to astrology, but the notion of “Saturn returns” seems somehow apt for Iron Maiden. The idea being 28 years after your birth, Saturn returns to where it was, and this is Meaningful and stuff. 28 years after their debut album, Maiden are riding a massive resurgence in popularity, undertaking one of the craziest tours in rock history, and hitting the big screen for the first time.

The doco is about the fans as much as the band, which makes sense, in a way, since the band is about the music and the fans. What comes through is the way the band reaches the fans through the music, inspiring a remarkably passionate devotion – and it is startling to see the same screaming devotion in places as diverse as Mumbai, Columbia, Tokyo and Toronto. This has been achieved without radio airplay or much media support. Somehow you hear the music and are converted.

The fan refrain is always the same – there is something genuine in the music, and some integrity the band bring to their work – which inspires great love. They are all about putting on a great show, about playing music they love; and the fans are all about seeing a great show, listening to music that they love.

Random highlights: they go to Costa Rica, where they have never played before, and it turns out to be the biggest gig ever in Central America; Columbian guy crying after catching a drumstick; Lars Urlich acknowledging Maiden were always cooler (that was very sweet, subjectively. 😀 ).

There’s not a huge amount of insight into the band members, at least for long time fans. (Dave Murray as the cosmic wise man was unexpected! Though he always seems so blissed out… And I guess they were conscious of giving everyone equal time rather than being overwhelmed by His Bruceness, as could easily happen.) If you go in knowing nothing you will certainly learn stuff. But they come across as nice, genuine guys, who happen to be totally into what they are doing, and are doing it because they love it.

The framing sequence is the band in concert, which is a good move, since that is what it is all about; where the music, the band and the fans converge. Live they put most other bands to shame. It was certainly fun to see on the big screen. (When the heck did a movie ticket hit $20?)

So yeah, recommended as a movie about music, and about why music is cool, and why people love music.