Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Consumption Diary (with extras)



I got a bit of media coverage after a session I ran for the Otago Energy Research Centre, which was followed by this piece by Uni comms about me and my writing background and how it links in with being their Net Carbon Zero Programme Manager.

Work is equal parts fun and daunting at the moment. Every week brings new connections, which bring new opportunities and obligations. Right now it feels like things might start to settle down about 2024 or 2025...


Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan (essays, audiobook)

Published in 2011, collecting magazine pieces from even earlier, but it didn't feel dated. Sullivan was tapping into the racial, religious and economic discontent that would propel Trump into the White House - that's part of it. But his voice is so clear, distinct. I really want to read a collection of his essays from the last 10 years...

You Have a Match by Emma Lord (novel, audiobook)

YA high school drama and romance... A couple of years ago I would have turned my nose up at such a thing. But I really enjoyed it and Lord is excellent at pushing a plot forward with the right amount of challenge and comfort. Highly rated.

The Heap by Sean Adams (novel, audiobook)

A bloated Crying of Lot 49. A very white writer dude novel. Bold. Nuts. Shoddy. But bold!

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson (novel, audiobook)

A different kind of bloated. I couldn't help comparing this unfavourably with Neal Stephenson's Seveneves. Like, kudos for the melding of imagination and scholarship, but then again: that's all you managed to say in so many pages?

Maybe I was grumpy because it seemed to accept so blithely 100 years of piss-poor climate action from our present to the present of the novel. 

Maybe it was because the characters all seemed to be experts in (American) history 1970-2020, which would be like me or you knowing all about the gunfight at the OK Corral, the economics of the dustbowl or the early days of photography (without Wikipedia!).

Aimless Love by Billy Collins (poetry, audiobook)

Listening to Collins read these selected poems made me wish I was listening to Hera Lindsay Bird instead. Or Mark Leidner. Or anyone with a pulse and a sense of humour (dad jokes don't count).

Ghost Species by James Bradley (novel, audiobook)

Maybe I was still grumpy from like, three books ago, but this seemed undercooked.

American Blood by Ben Sanders (novel, audiobook)

Strong Reacher vibes. Attempts at Elmore Leonard-y dialogue. Just lacking 900 volts of originality to really stick out. 

End Times by Bryan Walsh (non-fiction, audiobook)

I thought this was going to be Notes from an Apocalypse, but it wasn't. It read like a run of Time Magazine cover articles, the annoying uncle of dinosaur media that delights in telling you about the Drake equation, Moore's Law and R values as if you didn't know about that shit already. 

And yeah, I was super pissed off by Mr Walsh's chapter on climate change, which a) is downplayed as an existential risk and b) he reckons the only answer is geo-engineering... without sufficiently considering the risks (when it made messing with nature ever go wrong??) and the inequitable distribution of those risks.

But his chapter on pandemics, written before COVID-19, is pretty fucking prescient, down to the risk Trump would pose if something like H5N1 or H1N1 ever kicked off while he was in the White House.

No one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thurnberg (non-fiction, audiobook)

The Liver Cleansing Diet to Walsh's three cheese lasagna. Basically Ms Thurnberg reading a bunch of her speeches, with a bunch of repetition. But rather than grate, her taglines hit like sitcom catch phrases. Oh no she didn't!

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria (non-fiction, audiobook)

Hey, this was quite good. Except for the fact it could probably have been written pre-COVID. And can I remember any specifics from it? Hold on, I'm sure I can... I mean, beyond the fact it didn't make me want to shove a Phillips head in my ear, and I felt kind of worthy listening to it... 

Hold on... 

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (non-fiction, audiobook)

For a more successful way to use the constantly restarting/reframing technique, see:

250 Ways to Start an Essay About Captain Cook by Alice Te Punga Sommerville (non-fiction, physical book)

Funny. Scathing. Frank. Smart. But really funny. 


Oh, and we managed to buy a house in Dunedin this month. We put unsuccessful offers on three houses and attended an auction for another where the bidding went mad early so I never technically got to bid/offer, but still had to go through the rigmarole of having finance and insurance sorted just to sit in a room and watch a woman burst into tears when a property investor kept out-bidding her and her husband...

So when you win a tender, you're like: Oops. Should I have offered that much? Did I just leave someone else in tears? 

At least we're going to use it as our family home. We'll make memories and compost and cider there. There's a park across the road with the biggest pear tree I've ever seen, so I guess that'll be pear cider. I might even write a book or two. One of them will probably be about how problematic golf is. All that private land parading as public utility green space. All that water. The selfishness of the sport itself. But, o, the glory of it. The simplicity... 

Which may just be a self-deceiving scheme to let me play a round or three at the local courses here...


Mare of Easttown (Season 1 - up to episode 6) - so good

Starstruck - Season 1

Line of Duty - Seasons 1, 2 & 3

The Masked Singer NZ - the kids are weirdly obsessed, even though they don't know who the celebs are

A Fish Called Wanda

The Trip to Greece


Promise Shona said...

I have been Diagnosed with Hsv2 for some years,i did everything within my powers to see that i could get rid of it, Tried everything possible But all was in vain, I almost gave up cause i really tried my best i was scammed, lied to, forsaken, HSV2 became a threat to my life. On a very good Monday morning, I came across a contact of a Natural herbal healer called DR.USELU Online. I decided to contact and tell him about my problems and all that has happened in my past before meeting him. Behold he promised that everything will be fine and my problems will be solved, few days Later he prepared a natural herbal medicine which he sent to me and as i followed his instructions on how to take the herbs and how long i was going to take it (2 Weeks)....Today i am completely cured and free from HSV2 and my Life have been perfect since then. Pls , If you need his help, Contact him on email; or whatsapp:+2347052898482 you can also check his websites for more info about DR.USELU and be rest assured that you will definitely be cured as i was cured from HSV2 or any illness, cause he also taught me that there is no such thing as incurable disease. only the lack of will and that nature has given us everything we need to be healthy.

Emma Ava said...

I want to appreciate the great work of Dr USELU, i have been diagnosed of HIV virus for 3 years, i have lose all hope that there is a cure and i have been taking medicine to sustain myself not until i got to know about Dr USELU, i contacted him and he sent me his herbal medicine which i took as prescribed by him for some days and i went to the hospital after finishing the herbal medicine. To my greatest surprise i was confirmed HIV Negative after years of being positive, it is indeed a miracle.You can contact him for help. he can also cure the following (1) BRAIN TUMOR (2) LUPUS (3) CANCER (4) HSV-1 (5) HPV (6) HERPES (7) PAD (8) DIABETES etc. his whatsapp number +2347052898482 email: is website:

Jessi Millwood said...

Natural Herbal Medicine To Cure {HERPES DISEASE} TOTALLY HERE
Do you need a solution to cure your Herpes Disease contact Chief Dr Lucky to help and he will surely help you to cure your Herpes Virus .. I have suffered from Herpes-2 Virus for 4years ago that almost took my life. But one day I was searching the internet and I found Chief Dr Lucky saw so many testimonies on how Chief Dr Lucky helps people in curing their deadly diseases, and I contacted Chief Dr Lucky, asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. He prepared herbal medicine for me and I received the herbal medicine and after using it for 2 weeks my condition has greatly improved, all my symptoms including Abdominal pain, Nausea and vomiting, Loss of appetite stopped, so I went to my doc and was confirmed negative. I am Herpes Virus free! contact the herbal doctor via his email> also visit his page> or his cell number / WhatsApp> +2348132777335 Website >