Monday, October 31, 2011

This is not our dream home

One of our favourite TV shows is Grand Designs, and it's nice to see that host Kevin McCloud has taken an interest in our broken city (Campbell Live pre-trip interview here, Chch interview here). We've always enjoyed his take on the building process, especially his little asides to the camera during which he questions the sanity of the people involved, and the likelihood of the project being completed on time or under budget.

And it always seems that, no matter how long the delays or how big the cost overrun is, the house and its completion are of the utmost priority and it just gets done. These are grand designs after all, the dreams that people have spent years thinking up while searching for the right site, looking for the window of opportunity, or just waiting for that perfect moment when time, location and funds all come together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Of bricks and daughters

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately... it's pretty much expected when you're a student, I suppose. But it's not always scholarly thoughts that swirl around the brain, sometimes it's that awful, unanswerable question: "what if?"

It was my mother's 60th birthday on the weekend, a birthday she may not have seen had the fickle finger of fate been pointing in her direction on February 22 this year. Walking along Colombo Street that day, my mother and her colleague were both incredibly lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries after a mountain of bricks rained down on top of them in the earthquake. My mother lost a shoe; her workmate, a pair of glasses. It could have been so much worse.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Counting up and down

For an Arts student, my life has been filled with a disproportionate amount of numbers lately. I think the only thing I haven't been counting is sheep...

In the last week I've given two presentations, one of which was filled with numbers... but I suppose, given it's a survey project, that's not exactly surprising.
Here's a graph I found in my collection, and used on the opening slide:
It's quite an early one, from September 9, 2010. Remember those days? When 395 seismic shakes seemed like a lot? I'm not saying that it wasn't - look at all those lines right next to each other - but at least it's settled down a little lately. Still, thirteen months later we're now up to about 7,600 or 8,800 quakes (depending on the source) since the time of that graph. That's a whole lot of shaking goin' on, whichever number you choose.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I don't like Mondays

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Or so it seems round here these days... I'm still not used to being able to smell the water as I raise my glass - it's just not right! Our water used to be so nice once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in some fairy story called 'normal life'. Now it's tainted, treated with smelly but necessary chemicals, just in case.

And it was strange, yesterday, to read of the water restrictions that are to start this weekend. Strange, because it was teeming down with rain (as it had all day on Monday as well), and the start of water restrictions always used to mean that we were in the grips of a drought. Not these days though, now it's because normal spring/summer water usage would overwhelm our fragile infrastructure. These water restrictions are probably going to be in place until February, and the message seems to be that if we don't behave ourselves and stick within our allocated water budget, a total outdoor watering ban will be imposed.