Categories
photos stories

Hello October

Forgive me dear reader, for I have sinned. It’s been months since my last blog update. There’s been a bit going on.

Photos from the last holiday. Must be time for another!

I’ve been preoccupied with finishing a video project, a bunch of smaller jobs, and then trying to line up my next work trajectory.

The project

The video project was a documentary about the Te Ropu Kōkiri-a-iwi response to Covid-19 in Te Tauihu. It taught me a lot about some awesome people and organisations where I live, and it was an absolute honour to be part of it.

It was a complex story, with lots of moving parts, and lots of interview and field footage. I really felt the responsibility of capturing history, and trying to do the story well.

A chunk of other stuff

At the same time I finished some other videos about chlorination, did ongoing social and website updates for another organisation, did three or four short videos for an award presentation (the client got second ) built a website on spec for someone, did some family history – and finished the podcast, Richie’s 50.

In the latter stages of all this there was the first hearing for the truck driver who hit and killed my brother at Christmas. It was adjourned, so that bundle of poop will be opened again later this month.

Next steps

Choosing the work trajectory – one contract, the other contract, or both? It’s a luxurious position to be in, I know. Work has been turning up at my door. Doing both will make me very busy for a few months, but could give me a breathing space next year for a bit more time off. Now that sounds good!

Categories
audio covid stories

Goodbye July

Goodbye to the old. 50 is not old when you’re 70, but unthinkable when you are 30. Ancient when you are any younger than that. Image by @yoyoqua

Zoom went June

Well that month disappeared quickly. It’s been busy!

I finished one video project and have done more than a dozen interviews for the next. All mostly via Zoom. Some was field footage and shooting though, and it made me realise how much I still have to learn. The sound was OK, but my camera skills need practice. Slow pans, manual focusing, getting visual elements to help the narrative…

I’ve also got four episodes of the podcast lined up as well as some trailers to promote it on air. I haven’t done much more outside of that for it. More on that later

Quick retreat

In NZ we’ve left lockdown and everyone is trying to go back to the before. You can shop at will, travel, there’s school sport, and televised rugby. So more than 90% of the nation is happy that life is normal enough again. Those that aren’t happy probably need to take a look around the world and reassess. We have so much to be thankful for, most of all there’s no community transmission. Yes, industries are suffering, people have a lot to deal with, but that was the same before. Now it’s different industries. Most of us talked about realigning, changing for the better. Now we have to follow through.

The nation seemed outraged at a couple of border failures – but the response to the failure was exemplary – all cases since have been caught at the border. Imagine how we would feel if we were in Victoria – suburb by suburb lockdowns, police on each floor of apartment buildings, road blocks… again, we don’t know how lucky we are, mate.

Lots of people are talking about holding on to the good changes that have happened; it’s getting harder though. The ‘return to normal’ seems include acting like Covid-19 wasn’t a thing. But you can’t have a skirmish with a pandemic and then take it all back. Some fundamentals have changed.

For me, I’m thinking hard about how I balance things – money, family, work. I’m determined not to go back to full-time work stress. This will bring other stresses, but for now, I’m ok with that.

Lockdown made me broaden my network, reset my approach and look around for new opportunities. The good news is there’s plenty out there – it’s time to follow up on them. Wish me luck.

Categories
audio songs

Things are tough

THE HIPSURFERS

See things are tough in this old town,
Petrol’s up and the dollar’s down
My plain old job went round the bend
More hammer thumb than hammer hand,

Yes thing are tough in my home town
Right at the bottom of the trickle down
Got a top two inches and a wicked tongue
I ‘m just the same as everyone

Now my beloved just up and left
Took half of nothing, moved it west
Gonna spread her wings, ‘n feather her nest
She called a lawyer, I called it theft

Yeah things are tough so I’m leaving town
Need green fields, put new roots down
Seems that I am still second best
Confirmed it with the drugs test

I’m single and hurting that much is true
Just give me a job and I’ll love you
I’ll do anything that you ask me to
yeah give me a job, then I’ll love you

Still pretty tough in this old town
Oil’s up and the markets down
Unsuccessful, an also ran
Regret to inform you letter again

But if this economic theory’s true
You’ll grow me a job and I’ll love you
It’s always hard for a fella like me
Not the right fit for the company

One thousand and twelve square metre dream
Can not be achieved on my income stream
But if I keep on wishing it might come true
You’ll give me a job. Prosperity soon

Categories
covid stories

Zoom calls, Apple IDs and happy travels…

25, 26, 27 May

So I’ve decided to stop recording the coronavirus lockdown days. It’s kind of over, and we are in post-Covid – no-one is in hospital anymore in New Zealand.

The last three days have been a blur of activity. Monday was a straight-forward work day. Tuesday was an early start.

I was to be picked up at 0720, but got a text as I got out of the shower just after 7. We headed into town to pick up a whale jaw bone, and took it over to Wairau, where I spent the day at the offices. It was so strange to be out and about and doing things! I finished the day with a couple of Zoom catchups.

Wednesday was also busy, with work and zoom catch-ups. I have a lot of editing to do for my birthday podcasts, and had a meet up with Matt about those today. Might have to ease back on the sweary … but it will make a funny series.

Some of the video work I have been doing is coming to an end, but it will be replaced by another contract for a different group, so I am very fortunate to have that!

Ansd speaking of fortune, when it smiles, it shines! After more than four months of discussions and bouncing back and forward, I’ve made some progress at recovering my deceased brother’s Apple ID.

First I had to have a death certificate and ID for him. Then ID for me. Then a letter from the trustee approving me to act. After supplying the required documentation, it’d be easy, right? Apple would press a couple of buttons and the transfer would be complete!

Wrong. Then it got harder. To reclaim the Apple ID, there was a phone number associated with the account. We had four different mobiles for my brother – he travelled to a lot of different countries. None of them worked.

The customer care team said in the end that if we didn’t find the number, we couldn’t transfer the ID. It was a technical issue that the engineers couldn’t resolve. I was astounded, and more than a little worried.

So we would have to find the number, scouring through emails and bookings and reservations of a man who spent his life travelling. Different countries and languages. It was down to emailing people in his address book to see if any of them had a match.

Fortune was with us, we found the number through a friend of my brother’s in Moscow. It will take four days to find out how long it will be before we can access the account, but we were so lucky! Listening to the Apple Support person I was working with, it doesn’t happen that often.

It could have been so much worse. I hate to think what it would have been like if we didn’t find the number. For us this wasn’t a technical transaction, or following a list of instructions to resolve an issue. 
This is our last connection with Keith.

In a few days I will get a text, and will find out how long it will be before I can access the account. Whatever I find, even if it is just receipts for three badges and a fridge magnet, I will cherish it a great deal.

So my heartfelt thanks to Greg and the team at customer care in Apple Australia. We are very grateful indeed.

My personal measure of whether a day on the road was a good one is set fairly low. If I can go to sleep with a roof over my head, warm, with a full stomach, I’m better off than many in the world. So finishing inside a dry tent, in a warm sleeping bag, with a warm belly will mean it was a good day.

However, I can’t see the point of spending thousands of dollars on a bicycle and gear before such an adventure, only to try to preserve the hundreds left over by turning into a miser; skimping, scrimping, and “saving” money every day on the tour; spending as few dollars as possible each day.

It makes more sense to me to economise by using practical solutions for any needed gear, and spending the thousands thus “saved” on enjoying every day of the tour, memorable experiences, or touring for longer.

Keith Liddicoat, Philosophy: Where I Prove I’m Crazy
Categories
covid stories

23, 24

Coronavirus days 59 and 60

It was the end of a couple of months of coronavirus. I had a weekend! Din’t write or do much, but had a few calls with friends and reflected a lot on the last eight weeks.

This time has been massive change – and there are good, if uncertain, times ahead.

Categories
stories Tastes

When in doubt, improvise!

Corona virus day 58

A more settled day, but some how it seems it is the calm before the storm. Busy week ahead next week. An important meeting, a trip over the (physical) hill, the last of a line of things and a gathering for being over the (metaphorical) hill.

A long birthday podcast interview which was really nice, and an even longer follow-up call with band members. There will be about 30 more in the coming weeks.

Too many Grolsch, and I blame economics. It was on special for $20 per dozen. Now how does that happen? Dutch pilsner available in Nelson, New Zealand, cheaper than the local product?

Anyway, I’m going to be so busy, I’ll have to improvise…
Some memorable phrases from today:

  • Ask 1000 whys and write it down
  • 100,000 ways of describing friendship

Categories
audio stories

Is it a full moon?

Coronavirus day 57

Weird things happen around the full moon. I don’t know if today was a full moon or not, but it felt like it!

An early start to get work done, school run, then a drive to Motueka to meat the surgical theatre bus. Sounds great doesn’t it, getting surgery on a bus in the car park of a hospital!

It wasn’t for me, but I was the helper and the driver. It was an excellent setup really, and they got through a fair number of patients.

While that was happening, I took the dog for a walk, and then did an interview at the Marae. Quickly brushed up on my paku mihi (and thank God for Te Aroha, neh?).

We moved on to the interview. It was brilliant, captured such wisdom and gems of knowledge – except that the recorder wasn’t going. Shame-faced, we started again. My phone rang!!

It was the CEO of the iwi, probably the only thing that saved me, but I got the hard word to turn it off completely! Everything that could go wrong did, but my guest was gracious and accommodating. In the end the audio came out very well, and everyone was happy, but it was a hard-earned win!

That was fine, but of course, I missed the three calls from the hospital to come and collect the patient … When I did finally arrive, they looked at me like I had abandoned the person, and gave me suitably filthy looks.

Got home, with a stop for food on the way, settled patient in. Off to the school run, then home to edit audio, chop, chop, chop. LAter edited video, chop, chop, chop.

A long, and busy day.

Categories
covid stories

A long talk, a few cans if you can

Coronavirus day 56

A long conversation today with someone interested in the same kind of service design field I am. We shared tales of woe – in terms of how hard it is for smaller centres to do the type of work they want to, and that their citizens are expecting. Small teams, under resourced and only able to do one or two projects at a time.

Sharing and collaboration will help, but if you’re not beholden to a vendor, you’re stuck on one platform or other, and even if you used open source for everything, you can easily end up with a highly-customised thing that costs a fortune to maintain.

Because in the end, vendors of al stripes want you to be mine, be mine, tonight. How about that for a tortured analogy… Still there are opportunities, so when the conditions are right you need to be ready to go…

Categories
Uncategorized

Something out of nothing

Coronavirus day 55

A long interview today – it will end up being a two parter, at least, on the podcast. It will be really good when it is done. But it has been slow, intensive work. About four and a half or five hours editing for a 15-minute piece.

I’m going to be pretty tired by the end of it all!

Heading to Wairau next week, buys times ahead. Also more meetings with opportunities next week, so yay for that!

Categories
books stories

Meatnik

Out now: Meatnik

Buy on Amazon.com in kindle format.
Read on any device with the kindle app.

Meatnik is something I have been working on for a while. It’s a pulpy, schlocky tale set in the future. Meat is a thing of the past. The drug market is controlled by the government. The lucrative black market trade is now human cells, as cartels try to put meat back on the menu.

Durn is a muso, who drops a few cells on the side. At band practice, he gets a call – and gets shot at.

Little does he know people have been watching his drops, checking out his DNA. Turns out he could be the person who could solve the missing meat link.

What follows is an entertaining, gripping and comedic adventure into cow smuggling, danger, and DNA deals.

Coronavirus day 54

Categories
covid stories

Back to not normal

Coronavirus day 53

Time is ticking, tomorrow the bubblemates go back to school and work. I will stay put with the dog.

I think we’ll all be very careful, and get back into things slowly. I like the slower pace. It has been such a strange time.

We celebrated tonight with a delicious roast, and the minor miracle of the teen getting organised independently … and I have to say she has done brilliantly overall. Let’s hope the renewed enthusiasm lasts!

Tomorrow another week begins, one that could bring some news and some change, perhaps an opportunity or two.

Roll on Monday!

Categories
covid songs

Not a winning ticket

Coronavirus day 52

I’ve started a zoom call, interview birthday celebration podcast thing. Had the first call today with the fastest facebook commenter, JB.

He made the astute point that we’re not, strictly speaking, in lockdown anymore … so I deleted that word from the subtitles.

Today was a domestic bliss day – cleaning, washing, gardeing, chainsawing. Reclaimed the view from the dining room by giving the silk tree a bit of a haircut. Now have about 50 tonnes of green waste to move.

Supermarket trip, few beers, and later the call with JB. We covered a lot of ground, how we met at the National Library, fortunnes and failures, and how time flies, as well as some sad news.

I’m asking everyone to include a song in the interview. JB chose Hallelujah by Pentatonix. We’ve had a few nights around the guitar singing this song, but never this well!! Cheers JB, great to catch up.