Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
Conflux is fabulous - again. We had great fun on the panels - can you believe that someone thought it was a good idea to put me as chair of a panel looking at Australia from the outside? A whole hour of belittling our West Island friends!
Best part so far was taking the disco by storm. I'm a notorious non-dancer, but I acquired a new toy earlier this year and was keen to try it out. It's a shirt that flashes leds like the equalizer on a stereo in time with the beat. So I cranked out a few slick dance moves aided by my electric t-shirt. Woo Hoo!
Back home tomorrow, sadly, once again leaving all my Aussie friends behind. I'll even miss Gillian. I get home to the copy edit of my latest novel, Dark Heart. I'm ecstatic with the way its shaping up ... but it would be nice to stay here just a little longer ...
The first of my con reports ...
Here I am in Canberra, visiting friends before Conflux starts on Friday. Today I'm having lunch with Gillian, and if I survive that I have a book signing at 6pm tonight at Dymocks Belconnen.
Dymocks Belconnen have been a great support to not only myself but many other writers. It gives an author a great feeling to know there are bookshops out there who treat you as more than just 'product'.
Of course, I'd have to include Pennys Bookshop in Hamilton on that list. Now if only they'd get rid of that crazy Linda ...
Went to a craft fair today with Dorinda. Dozens of stalls stocking exactly the same things, quilts everywhere, from the dreadful Appalacian geometric things to the most wonderful avant-garde, zany, colourful and three-dimensional stuff. And many middle-aged women.
A week ago I went to a home show in Auckland. Far busier, far more interesting (to me, anyway). But what is odd is that in the first five minutes of the craft fair today I was jostled and bumped more than my entire day at the home show last week. Bits and pieces of these aforementioned females brushed, poked and slid across my arms, back and chest, with no acknowledgement or apology. Erk. I didn't know where to look. Eventually I found someone I knew and talked to him while Dorinda overheated the credit card.
It was the weirdest thing ...
Stuff.co.nz, one of New Zealand's major news websites, today ran a poll in response to the government's announcements of new measures to cope with carbon emissions. They asked: 'Are you doing anything to address climate change?'
Over 49% of respondents said no, either because it was 'too difficult' (9%) or because they are not convinced there's a problem (40%).
I'm staggered by this result in a country that tries to sell itself as 'clean and green'.
There are two parts to this thorny issue. The first part is: is the climate changing? There exists compelling evidence in the affirmative, and I'm not going to bother recapping it for you. You can find it on hundreds of web sites.
The second, and much more difficult part, is: is human activity the causative agent? Now this is not, and never will be, scientifically provable. The global climate system is far too complex to be amenable to experiment. We can't hold the world in stasis and alter one variable to see if it has an effect.
The best we can do is examine correlation, not causation. We see this trend, and that trend, and judge it likely that the two trends are co-related. But we cannot with any degree of scentific certainty say that one caused the other: both, in fact, might be caused by a hidden third variable.
And it is on this confusion that the nay-sayers base their anti-global warming rhetoric. Trouble is, if they insist on this degree of proof for most global issues, no one will ever be able to act on anything.
Don't wait until there's conclusive proof that you are contributing to climate change, because you'll never get it. Instead, consider the game. If you clean up, even if your actions aren't linked to climate change, you've not done any harm. In fact, you've kept some resources for future use. And if there is a link, you've helped ... er... save the planet. Erk. With sentiments like those, perhaps I'd better join Greenpeace.
... finally! I've had to erase and reinitialise the hard disk - just as well I keep meticulous backups. So it'll be a few days yet before I get things back to the way they were. In the meantime talk amongst yourselves.
One odd thing. I frequent a site called progarchives.com, a valuable resource for progressive rock music. I've done quite a few reviews of various albums for them, and they've asked me to become an official reviewer. The odd thing is how inordinately proud I am of this. I'm not sure why. I suppose everybody likes to be taken seriously ...