Saturday, December 5, 2015

Guy Fawkes, Dunedin, and Moeraki Boulders

A lot of the past month has been spent on two journal articles and conferences. These activities have taken more time than I anticipated, although they have been really good learning experiences. With everything now done and "summer break" beginning, I am hoping to recommit to my thesis and get a lot written, since there won't be many distracting seminars or things going on at the university.

Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) was fun as usual. We took two friends out to New Brighton, a suburb on the coast, to watch the official fireworks display, then came home and lit off some of our own fireworks. We bought extra to keep us going throughout the year and for New Year's. :)

I picked up a sweet find of science fiction and feminism books at a garage sale for $5.

The weather has been off and on hot and cold. They're predicting it to be a really hot summer, so we'll see.

We hosted a PhD student from Australia and requested he bring some Kraft Mac 'N Cheese for D to enjoy, and he brought three boxes as well as a bottle of wine! Very nice. We bought a Christmas tree and put it up along with some outdoor lights. I think we're the only house in the whole neighborhood to have any lights up, and they are solar-powered so don't last very long if it's a cloudy day. It still doesn't feel like a holiday season with the hot weather and lack of spirit. It is strange to not be bombarded by all of the Christmas atmosphere like in the U.S.

One of my conferences was in Dunedin (about 5-hour drive south of Christchurch) and the weather was unusually hot and sunny, so I went on several walks around the city in the evening because it stays light until like 8:30pm now. The architecture there is nice and there was some cool street art. Other cities are so much more alive than Christchurch -- it's disappointing not to have a functioning city center here.

On the drive back to Christchurch, we stopped at the Moeraki Boulders which were beautiful and mysterious. There's a good description of them at -- here's my paraphrase: boulders weigh several tons and are calcite concretions from about 65 millions years ago. They are gradually being revealed as the soft mudstone washes away. In Maori legend, the boulders are gourds that have come ashore from the voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it wrecked on land.
Bought this in Dunedin. Really makes you rethink how we see the world!

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