Youth and drugs

Last weekend I was on Radio New Zealand’s Sunday programme talking to Megan Wheelan, Richie Hardcore, and Nadia Freeman about youth and drugs in New Zealand.

It was a great panel discussion which ranged far and wide, and it got me thinking about some things. Have a listen on the link below first and then further (extensive) thoughts are below that.

Continue reading →

ORA Safety + BAC calculator

It has been a crazy few months in the Akina Foundation’s Launchpad programme. Ora Safety, finally got its first product out, a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) calculator so people could figure out the new low limits for drink driving.

You can check out the calculator here:


Seven Hundred & Thirty

Tuesday was my two year soberversary. Mrs D over on Living Sober asked me to write her a post about being a male in recovery and dealing with life on life terms. Not sure if this is what she wanted but it is what came out of my head.

So here it is below and it originally appeared on Living Sober here.

Today I am happy to be celebrating two years — 730 continuous days — of sobriety.

Those of you who have been following along on this journey with me will know the past 365 days since coming out of the sobriety closet and into the world of vocal recovery have been pretty darn crazy.

The first 365 we pretty crazy too and I’ve kind of covered the decision to stop drinking and here and here. But I haven’t really talked much about what it’s like to be in recovery. So here is an eclectic mix of contemplations, observations, introspections, and reflections on what it’s like to be a late 20s guy in New Zealand who doesn’t drink.
Continue reading →

Long overdue update: PledgeMe + Ora + albatrosses

Okay. So not the most fastidious blogger. But I have been busy.

albatross coloured small
Firstly, in July I started working for PledgeMe. It’s an awesome company which helps people harness the power of their crowd to fund the things they care about. My official title is “Chief Media Wrangler” which is probably the best job title I’ve ever had. Anna Guenther, the boss lady, is pretty awesome, and the rest of the team, well… that’s just Jen… is pretty cool too.

The big news here is that we just attracted $100,000 of investment with our very own equity crowdfunding campaign and we did that in under 24 hours. Which means Anna and my record of working together on crowdfunding campaigns remains untarnished.

The other thing I have been doing is super cool too: I’ve got my own start up happening. Ora is making workplaces safer and healthier by measuring the thing that matters to workplaces accidents, impairment. I’ve written a blog post over on the Ora site about the initial startup phase. Keep an eye on the blog over there.

The other other thing I’ve been up to is supporting the Chatham Albatross in Forest and Bird‘s Seabird of the Year. I know this is a diversion from my usual favourite feathered friend, the Tieke/Saddleback, but F&B didn’t accept my argument that they were seabirds. Even after I dressed one up as a pirate.

So Chatham Albatross it is. It’s a mean-ass bird who roves the South Pacific in search of food and mates. Josh Drummond knocked me up the amazing gangpatch above for the campaign and we’re getting t-shirts made. If you want one let me know.

It’s great to be involved with some awesome organisations. I love PledgeMe and working with the Akina Foundation and my super awesome team on Ora, and Josh is an old pal who I love working with. I hope he is reading this and gets the hint and moves from Hamilton to Wellington. It’s amazing how much you can achieve when you have a supportive crowd of people around you who you can collaborate with. Good work everyone!

Wellington Local Approved Products Policy submissions

The Wellington City Council is calling for submissions on its Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP). For those of you who aren’t down with the lingo that means the WCC is going to be regulating where New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) (aka ‘legal highs’) can be sold in our city.

Some background: last year the Government passed the Psychoactive Substances Act, the first piece of legislation globally that flipped the onus of proof onto NPS manufacturers to prove the substances were safe before they were allowed to be sold. Hallelujah. It was supposed to solve the legal high conundrum. Plenty has been written about this law else where and we can argue about whether it is working or not, but it’s the law so it goes. Continue reading →

How to get an asteroid named after you

When I was trying to find people to comment about my asteroid story on The Wireless, I put out a call on Twitter to see if there were any amateur astronomers out there. Shaun put me in touch with this chap called Warwick Kissling who is one of a few kiwis who have asteroids named after him. Warwick’s comments didn’t quite make it into my article, but — once again — I thought it was a cool little story about NZ’s space history. Continue reading →

Space rocks and love

Space rocks! Except when space rocks rock earth. Bad things happen, like dinosaurs going extinct. Luckily, unlike the dinosaurs, we humans have a sophisticated space programme. And Bruce Willis. Here’s a cool little story I wrote for The Wireless about asteroids, impacts, and Aotearoa.

The interviews with Alan, Philip, and Jess were really interesting. As I’ve been finding with a lot of my stories for The Wireless, you could almost write a book with all the information that doesn’t make it into the final cut.

Alan Gilmore — Resident Superintendent of University of Canterbury’s Mt John Observatory, based at Lake Tekapo — shared this informative and heart warming piece of personal and NZ space history when I asked him about what got him interested in tracking Near Earth Objects (NEO).

“I got interested in this work in the 1970s when at the Carter Observatory in Wellington.  The Carter Observatory had an excellent new telescope with a 16-inch (40 cm) mirror.  It was not doing much science.  Almost no one in the southern hemisphere was measuring the positions of comets and asteroids to help calculate their orbits.  So I built a device that allowed us to move the photographic plate in the telescope to follow the moving object while the telescope was guided on a background star.  At first we measured the plates on a machine at the Physics & Engineering Laboratory (PEL) of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in Gracefield, Lower Hutt.  (PEL became Industrial Research Limited and is now called Callaghan Innovation New Zealand.) We were much encouraged in this work by international specialists in comet and asteroids.  Soon were able to borrow from the US a machine to measure the plates on.  (The ‘we’ is Pam Kilmartin and me. Pam was an amateur astronomer — as was I originally — and qualified librarian who joined the Carter Observatory as Librarian and Information Officer.  We quickly made an observing team and married in 1974.)”

Lovers bought together by DIY skills and a fascination for NEOs. That is super cute.

Alan rounded out the interview saying he and Pam hope to build or buy some smaller but useful telescopes to allow them to do some follow-up work on NEOs at any time.

“I’d say how lucky I feel that we have been able to pursue our NEO programme for so long and through such remarkable changes of technology. That it has been a joint effort with a life’s partner has made all the more a delight.”

Once again my heart melts like a comet screaming toward the sun.

Been writing

HOLLA. I’ve been writing for The Wireless. It has been fun times.

Check out my stories on Risk, risky sex, and huffing.

Also had a lot of fun making images for the risky sex story.


Another story will be up next week about what happens if asteroids crash into earth!

Letter to Quinovic

Quinovic said I stole a hose. It was the last straw in a two month ordeal to end lease agreement.

Continue reading →

Internet Policy in New Zealand, or, Why Kim Dotcom Needs A Figurative Slap To The Face

I unashamedly admit to being a nerd – in fact, of the names I get called on a daily basis, that one is by far the nicest. I’m also a student of politics who has no particular loyalty to any party. It’s because of these two things, Kim, that I feel an overwhelming need to grab you by those mountainous figurative shoulders and figuratively slap some literal sense in to you.

Regardless of any other motives you may have around your extradition, I have absolutely no doubt that you believe what you are doing is best for New Zealand’s internet policy. After all, a lot of the things you believe in would be wonderful for this country — for example, a competitor for the Southern Cross cable. Continue reading →