Thursday, August 31, 2023

June, July, August 2023 consumption diary


Maybe it's more appropriate to call this three-month update an emissions diary, as my family of four flew to Europe and back in June and July - perfectly timing our stay with family in Italy to coincide with the heatwave (what were we thinking?), then got a puppy (what the fuck were we thinking?).

As I said in my last post, I rationalised the trip as it stacked business travel for my wife to the UK and Portugal with downtime in the the Algarve with our friends, then said family time in Northern Italy. My daughter (10) hadn't been overseas since she was 11 months old (coming back from our semester in Iowa) and my son (8) had never left the country. And we aren't planning on going anywhere else anytime soon, financial and environmental limitations being aligned in this respect.

But I still felt fuckin' bad about it.

And then we're over there and people are fainting in the heat and getting burns from the footpath and the next day it's hailing and ice floes are careening through Milan and people are spouting conspriacy talking points about the 15 minute city and not believing cows contribute to climate change until they see the research (fuckin' LOOK) and the there's fuckin' Dubai, where we spent a couple nights on the way back to break up the trip home, which is like Total Recall-style, massive infrastructure spend to support life and luxury in an inhospitable place, built on the back of the fossil fuels that (ruminant animals aside) have fucked the rest of us... And so I get back to my desk at the University of Otago as the Net Carbon Zero Programme Manager, trying to get our 30,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent in 2022 (down from 49k pre-pandemic), down below 20,000 by the end of the decade, and keep these gross tracking down and down beyond 2030, while connecting with others so that what we're doing can have a ripple effect and maybe 10x our impact, or 100x, but whatever-x we do, others are probably going to take advantage and choose growth over justice, profit over planet, now over next. 

And then I'm supposed to pick up by doctorate, looking at sustainability cultures within government organisations and how they response to the dictates of the Carbon Neutral Government Programme...

And I think maybe writing a pissant short story isn't such a daft thing to do while Rome approaches melting point.

And maybe as we approach melting point it's time to finally let the walls between booky-me and worky-me dissolve and coalesce and just do what feels right at the time.



Cousins - Patricia Grace (novel, audiobook, NZ)

Flux - Jinwoo Chong (novel, audiobook)

A Thousand Ships - Natalie Haynes (novel, audiobook)

Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You - Lucinda Williams (memoir, audiobook)

Getting Lost - Annie Ernaux (memoir, audiobook)

Everything is Beautiful & Everything Hurts - Josie Shapiro (novel, audiobook, NZ)

Golden Days - Caroline Barron (novel, audiobook, NZ)

Lioness - Emily Perkins (novel, audiobook, NZ)

Nothing to See - Pip Adam (novel, ebook, NZ)

Audition - Pip Adam (novel, physical book, NZ)

Poor People with Money - Dominic Hoey (novel, audiobook, NZ)

Sellout: The major-label feeding frenzy that swept punk, emo, and hardcore 1994-2007 - Dan Ozzi non-fiction, audiobook) - the rightful heir to Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, which was a foundational book for the failed novel I wrote during my MA in Creative Writing about an indie band that all individually want/need to become famous but can't admit it to each other and thus must connive their way to infamy behind each others backs... This book slots in between the pre-Grunge alternative scene of Azerrad's book and the late-90s/early00's slacker indie (think Pavement) of my manuscript (written in 2006). I can't say Ozzi's scene is my favourite musically speaking (At the Drive-in, Jimmy Eat World and Green Day were the only bands that get full chapters I've ever had much time for), but it's a great book.


Film & TV

The Bear - Season 2 - sometimes who and how you watch a show has a big influence over how you react to it. Season 1 I watched with my wife who really dislikes shouty shows. Season 1 was A VERY SHOUTY SHOW. (She also dislikes ranty books, an example she'd give is Phillip Roth). So I watched Season 2 myself (sometimes on the TV while she was doing a puzzle, sometimes on my phone in bed while we took turns sleeping downstairs in the first fortnight of having the puppy and needing to be handy if it needed to pee in the night). I was swept up in the feast of the seven fishes (ep.6). I cried at the end of Richie's episode (#7). I listened to The Watch podcast's 3-part breakdown of the series as I made it through each chunk, then their interview with co-showrunner Christopher Storer, who spoke about how Season 2 needed to be lighter (incl. visually) and less shouty than Season 1. I communed with the content. I loved it. I might go back and rewatch Season 1 then get my wife to join me next time through Season 2 (maybe closer to Season 3, whenever that may drop).

Colin from Accounts - Season 1

Black Mirror - Season 6

Alone - Seasons 7,8, 9 (all those available on TVNZ+, though I just noticed Season 5 is on Netflix...) - the TV version of whale song or ambient rainfall while I make the kids' lunches in the mornings

Quarterback - Season 1

Muscles & Mayhem: American Gladiators - Season 1

The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin Keystone Collection and Chaplin (biopic starring Robert Downey Jr) - there was a Chaplin collection on Emirates in-flight entertainment

Inside Man

John Wick 4


Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

David Brent: Life on the Road

The Brothers Grimsby (abandoned midway)

Champions (Woody Harrelson bball coach flick)

Taskmaster NZ - Season 4 (eps 1-4 so far)

The History of the Minnestota Vikings (Dorktown) - eps 1-5