Sunday, July 30, 2017

Mutton chops: Fortnight 13 of the Burns

My son warning me to turn back and work on my novel, or else, Pounawea
As the ancients used to say, productivity comes before a fall. 

History will record Fortnight 12 (14,262 words) as The Bubble and Fortnight 13 (...wait for it...) as The Crash (and not in the Ishigurovian sense).

Fortnight 13 total wordcount: 3,572 - sadly, that is not a typo.
* Week 1: 2,024 (all on the novel)
* Week 2: 1,548 (all towards blog posts)

The litany of excuses is long and contains petty mix-ups and pretty photos.

We had people staying with us (a family of four and then a family of three) every night except two this fortnight.

I took the second week off to spend time with visitors and take them to the Catlins. We did the Southern part of the Catlins in March and did the Northern part this time.

It was ace.

Floodwaters, East Taieri, (this is normally pasture)
on the drive south 

Purakaunui Falls


Tunnel Hill

Nugget Point, with nuggets
Roaring Bay
(we had a five minute window [=kids], but saw a yellow-eyed penguin
 from inside the hide on the left side of the bay)

Catlins Brewery Scotch Mist Manuka Smoked Ale (would recommend),
Kaka Point

I spoke at the Otago Institute's annual What's Hot event on 20 July at the Otago Museum.

I talked about the use of imperfect AI in poetry, which segued into my experiments with Recurrent Neural Networks which I blogged about in May.

But I went a bit broader, and more humorous, which took some prep. I even experimented with an Powerpoint-augmented poetry reading (and it wasn't as horrific as it sounds).

A fun event (other speakers covered what's hot in neuro-endocrinology, virtual reality and the medical humanities) and I've been asked to repeat my spiel to a class of undergrads later this semester.

I took part in the Meet the Fellows Event at the Art Gallery on 23 July.

This didn't take much prep, it just soaked up most of a Sunday. But I don't normally write much on Sundays and I had guests anyway, so this isn't really an excuse for pour wordcounts, more of a thing that happened this fortnight.

Also, an excuse to mention the latest WRONG NAME with which I've been saddled.

I've had Cliff Craig, Chris Craig, even Colin Craig. But Chris Curtis was bold new territory!

(I'm a little bummed we've skipped the phase where I'm confused with Cliff Curtis.)

I've started work on my paper for the Dan Davin Short Story Conference, which kicks off in Invercargill on 1 Sept. At the moment, it's mostly reading so many Kiwi short story collections that they begin to blur into each other - which is a deliberate ploy. More on this to follow, I'm sure.

I went to Wellington for two nights (landlord duties) in the first week of fortnight 13. The good news: EQC is paying out for minor damage from the Nov 2016 Kaikoura quake. And the current tenants are looking after the place well.

(But secretly: I might be over Wellington. It's expensive and most of the cool stuff you don't really get to enjoy when you have young kids. And you have to work there. Like, in an office and stuff!

It officially rains 50% more there than in Dunedin and don't get me started on the wind. One swallow doesn't make a summer and I'm not going to make any rash judgments two months into my only winter in Dunners, but it seems a pretty sweet deal to give up a 2 or 3 degree hit on the thermometer for all the other gains.

I mean, this is what it's been like the last two days:


Sick kids, again. They've been alright this last week, but slept poorly last night and all signs point to more fevers, ear infections, Dr appointments and writerly misery.

My internet connection at home has been seriously compromised this last week. It's had very little impact on my output, as the things above all but scuppered any writing time, but if it persists, it's gonna eff with my writing next week (calling ISP, staying home for technician, etc etc). Ugh.

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