28 February 2011

Christchurch & Haiti: Quakes in Common, little else.

Read Tash McGill's perceptions. She's a Kiwi who visited Haiti after the quake there in 2010. 
Comparing apples with apples is tricky. Comparing other types of fruit & veggies even trickier. 

Follow the link to Tash's blog.

"Kia Kaha Christchurch. Why I think we're blessed & the truth of how we compare to Haiti. (No offense meant)."

26 February 2011

Cultural considerations. Hope wanes.

There's more to it than plate's shifting, broken bodies & collapsed buildings.

As they deal with bodies, the authorities try to be respectful of culture & faith.

Kiwi's are self-sufficient get-on-with-it people. But now, the ground rumbles and shakes as if it is attacking them. It doesn't stop rolling. People suffer from nausea and from anxiety related illnesses.

Pray for those in Chch who have networks of trust through which they can work to kindle hope. We're organizing food relief, transportation assistance, temporary housing, respite & counseling.

Distraught people are packing what will fit in their car & leaving, not planning to return. Grass will grow around nearly useless houses and the ground will settle as Winter rains come.

And still they pull bodies out of buildings as loved ones await the news the dread, but have already started to know is inevitable. Their texts go unreplied.

25 February 2011

Psychosocial Aftermath is Another Type of Aftershock

Christchurch has had more shallow aftershocks today, causing people to flee buildings and be physically sick from fear and shaking.

Massey University has posted some information on Coping with psychosocial aftermath of another earthquake. 

After 4000+ aftershocks and three major incidents, the people of Canterbury need emotional understanding as well as blankets and food.

This may well be the biggest insurance event ever recorded, with many affects never measured or understood.

24 February 2011


http://www.quakeescape.org.nz over 2300 available offers. Accom for those in need or able to help! #eqnz


NewstalkZB Link Christchurch EQ


Earlier this afternoon, Danny Watson read out the account of an ambulance officer's day the day the quake struck.
 http://bit.ly/fEeQiM #eqnz

Christchurch Quake News Articles

A Day After Quake, Hope And Despair In New Zealand
NPR News 

Social media steps up in quake recovery

Kiwis Rally to Help Evacuees

Christchurch endured 15 more aftershocks in the night.
Cellular mobile service is failing as backup batteries run out.
Over 70 confirmed deaths with loved ones being notified today.
People leaving the city, both for their own wellbeing and to relieve pressure on failing infrastructure.
Even those with water are told not to flush as 80% of sewers are damaged. 

And New Zealanders nationwide offer refuge for those who are distancing themselves from the chaos and shaking ground. 

I housed a stranded traveller in Auckland as the national air traffic control is in Christchurch and was out of action on the day of the quake.

A Christchurch City Councillor yesterday said, 

"We just want to throw our hands up in the air and surrender cause we feel like we're under attack. It sounds like a drum beating as it approaches and then a bang that lifts the house off it's foundations, gives it a jiggle and then drops it back down. Don't count 'aftershocks'. They don't stop."

My chaplaincy colleagues are not physically harmed, though their homes have been damaged.
reChurch staff are leaving Christchurch for various places of relative calm elsewhere on the South Island. 

Tourists have been flown to Wellington on the North Island and Australians evacuated home.

Over 20 Japanese students at a language school are not likely to have survived the pancaking collapse of their building.

Sept 4. Dec 29. Feb 22. When next?

22 February 2011

Christchurch Hit by Another Earthquake

A reporter commenting on the soul of a city:

"The heart of the city has stopped beating with the collapse of the spire of the cathedral." Geoff reporting for TV3.

21 February 2011

Marginalia, A Novelty

Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins 

Follow The New York Times on Twitter @nytimes

"Marginalia was more common in the 1800s. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a prolific margin writer, as were William Blake and Charles Darwin. In the 20th century it mostly came to be regarded like graffiti: something polite and respectful people did not do.

Paul F. Gehl, a curator at the Newberry, blamed generations of librarians and teachers for "inflicting us with the idea" that writing in books makes them "spoiled or damaged."

But marginalia never vanished. When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa in 1977, a copy of Shakespeare was circulated among the inmates. Mandela wrote his name next to the passage from "Julius Caesar" that reads, "Cowards die many times before their deaths."

Read more on http://nyti.ms/gRXj8g

Bucket Toilet Seat: for when the systems fail?

I want one of these.
We had something similar when I was a kid. Not for everyday use, but for camping. It had a folding frame under which you could slide a bucket. Nice, but this eliminates the frame and is just seat and bucket. Brilliant!

I should research the designer of this and create an award.

Anyway, you never know when your power or water might be off for a length of time. I'd rather have something like this I can place in an appropriate place than have short-sighted people in my house use the plumbed toilet in hopes the water would soon flow!

The seats are less than $10 on eBay but more than $50 on TradeMe. Hmmm . . . ..

Happy Monday!

19 February 2011

Manning Quotes

"The Gospel will persuade no one unless it has so convicted us that we are transformed by it."          Brennan Manning

"In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; 
there is no neutral exchange." 
            - Brennan Manning"

16 February 2011

How to Speak in Front of a Crowd: Speech, Presentation, Report - Pt 1

Toastmasters & professional speakers' associations are full of people honing their skills at speaking to audiences.

At random times in our life, we may be called on to present a topic or make a report. To think that you might stand alone, with all eyes on you, with both friendlies and combatants in the crowd . . . well, it's enough to send us to the bathroom!

If the pro's work hard to hone their skills, what of the rest who only speak publicly at random times when called upon? It's like playing golf twice a year and being disappointed your game hasn't improved. It's like dusting off the paint brushes in expectation of a Rembrandt . . .

Let's hear from a pro, my dad, who often inspired crowds, and then left town in a hurry . . . (kidding, Pop)

I would suggest the speaker should NOT give a speech, should NOT use notes, but should rather just talk to the audience... not as a group, but to each individual in the audience.

Engage each individual's eyes at some point in the talk. This applies to a group of just a few or a large audience.

"You" being the most important word in any language, other than a person's name, the speaker should talk about..."YOU". "YOU make the difference" etc. "YOU determine the outcome of any circumstance, either in a positive or negative way." "It's all about YOUR attitude." and so forth.

Don't make a "Canned" talk. Just visit with the audience.

And...............be brief! It's easier to talk for 45 min, and not say a whole lot, than it is to make a good presentation in ten minutes or less. However, the audience will remember what you say in ten minutes but can't possibly remember all you say in the forty five.

And.....you only have 10% of your audience's attention at any one time. So, change your tone of voice, the cadence of your speech and move around to get and hold everyone's attention. Possibly, they will be thinking about your last point and may not keep up with you as you move on to the next point. Help them keep up by doing or saying something that will "grab" their attention again.

Obviously there should be a beginning, a body and a close. Make an outline before you speak., follow same, but DON'T take the outline to the platform.
[sarcasm] If you are going to have an outline, make copies for the audience and let them take it home and read it. You won't even need to appear.

They didn't come to follow the speaker's outline, they came to hear the speaker's talk. If your "talk" is well organized, you and the audience will be able to move from one point to the next. This is one of the things taught by The National Speakers Association. I think it's very important!

If the talk is to be before an audience, the introduction by the M.C. is VERY important. It provides the credibility needed to set the tone of the talk. I always provided a "sample" for the M.C. to use/follow. How else are they going to know what to say? [and they might say something you wouldn't like]

NEVER, EVER.....make a joke about any profession, race, ethnic or marginalized group, etc. You never know who might be offended and even if you don't directly offend someone in your audience, you lose many of them because they all will side with the underdog.....not you! If you want to joke, make the joke at your own expense.

The same with a heckler. Let them do their best/worst. If the speaker is patient, and does not retaliate, the audience will choose the speaker and chastise the heckler.

Don't touch, or even use, a podium if possible. Leaning, holding, hiding behind, etc., are NOT part of a "conversation" the speaker is having with the audience.

To sum up all the above, probably much more than you wanted to read,

When the speaker has a message they believe in, and shares their message in a non-confrontational way by just "talking" to their audience.......it will usually be a success.

Perhaps the most important item might be enthusiasm. " Enthusiasm" comes from the Greek word "enthois", which loosely translated means "The God within".
Speak from the heart and try to make your message change someone's life for the better.
I asked him for a few tips and was thrilled with a fairly thorough summary of everything I need to say in a workshop this week on How To Make a Presentation. He didn't know I was going to publish his advice, and now I'll probably have to pay him. Anyway, all of the above quote was from Stephen J. Shaw, picked up through experience, want to, training and seeing others do it well and badly.

15 February 2011

Sense of Humour?

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Sent to me by a friend today.

12 February 2011

Books: How do you organize your library?

Some things I just may never understand.
And I'm okay with that.
Really, I am.

11 February 2011

Do you Blog?

Blog comes from web log.
You know, write a web log of your life, experiences, expertise, peeves or interests?

If you do, you'll want to peruse the content of Problogger, by Darren Rowse, an Australian good guy who teaches bloggers how to improve their game and their business.

"Back in 2002 I stumbled upon an article about ‘Blogging’. I didn’t know it at the time but that moment changed my life. Since then I've become a full time blogger and have blogged on over 20 blogs.

Darren is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips - Digital Photography School - TwiTip Twitter Tips - FeelGooder. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @ProBlogger.

From ProBlogger, "Don’t worry – there’s no big dollar training program to buy…. but I do have a book. In 2008 I was approached by the publisher Wiley who asked me to write a book version of this blog. I joined with fellow blogger Chris Garrett and together we authored ProBlogger the Book. In short – it’s a condensed, updated and logically ordered version of this blog – specifically written for new bloggers (or those wanting to start blogging)."

10 February 2011

Kindles Singles: Novellas, Pamphlets, Essays & Shorts

Amazon have finally opened their Kindle Singles store.

Tall Skinny Kiwi, Andrew Jones, writes,

"I have been talking about this for some time at conferences and this is the sweet spot I have mentioned. Books are too long and too expensive to switch over to digital format without any changes. The size of book for a mobile platform like an i-Pad or Kindle is much better handled in the 10,000 to 50,000 word range - which is the size neglected by paper book publishers for a long time.

Thanks to Amazon for being honest enough to admit it and open a new possibility in publishing that might change the shape of books for mobile platforms.

Did you know that the Gospel of Matthew has about 24,000 words? Luke has 26,000 words. Mark has less. All the gospels are the perfect size of an Amazon Kindle.

Maybe your next book should be also."

Where Kindle ebooks range from $5.00 to $14.99, Singles seem to fall between $1 and $5. Why pay more for more pages that really don't add to the story or necessary explanation of the concept? If the natural size of a book or booklet is less pages than what publishers have traditionally thought normal, must you wade through the extra just to fill out the cover?

Tim Carmody of Wired wrote in October 2010,

"There are print precedents for 10,000-to-30,000-word works — novellas, chapbooks, long pamphlets, extended journal articles, among others — but they’ve usually been either tied to specific genres or downright exceptions to the form. They’ve never been a central part of the publishing model in either fiction or nonfiction.

Kindle Singles is also unusual in calling on publishers to produce stand-alone “born-digital” works that may not ever be traditionally printed. Some publishers may use the form to sell individual sample or advance chapters of longer print books. Individual writers may benefit the most from the program, as it makes it easier for them to self-publish works that precisely for reasons of length can’t find support from traditional publishers."
Charlie Sorrel followed that up last week with,

"Long-form journalism has seen a surprising revival in recent years, with services like Instapaper and Read it Later allowing you to push longer articles off to mobile devices – like the iPad – to read later.

Kindle singles will typically run to between 5,000 and 30,000 words, the no-man’s land between a magazine article and a short book. In the past, there was no way to easily sell work of this length. Magazine’s just aren’t big enough, and book-buyers want to get their money’s worth in terms of page-count. Electronic publishing has no such limits. Indeed, the format seems perfect for tablets and cellphones."

Sorrel finishes with, "It seems ironic that the web, along with cellphones and other portable computers, has saved the very thing we thought it would kill. And short stories may just be next."

09 February 2011

Where, When, How . . . . do you read Conversations@Intersections?

I'm curious.

How do you access the content of this blog?
Is it via an RSS reader aggregator that you've set up to bring all the content pertaining to your interests in to one handy magazine or newspaper kind of format? i.e. Google Reader or your Inbox.

Or do you actually visit the blog regularly?

Do you see the posts on Facebook or have you subscribed and get them as email?

The fact that so few people comment directly on Conversations@Intersections tells me that most people are either not provoked or that they read the content elsewhere.

Either way, it's all good.
I'm just curious so I know my readership better.

The freebie stats counter I use tell me there is a significant regular readership and that the traffic spikes on certain days, in search of certain topics or randomly.

I don't write for a mass audience. I write what I'm thinking about and for you, those who have a degree of overlap with the topics addressed here.

I'd like some feed back though, so comment however you'd like, via the blog, Facebook, Twitter, email, ringing me up, popping in for a visit . . . however you'd like.

The animals are from the place I helped house sit over Christmas/New Years. They looked curious to me.
Why go to Google Images when I have my own fascinating faces for your viewing pleasure. Alpaca & sheep

07 February 2011

Functions of Science & Religion

“Science investigates religion interprets.
Science gives man knowledge which is power,
religion gives man wisdom which is control.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your thoughtful response, please?

Calvin and Hobbes was a syndicated daily comic strip that was written and illustrated by American cartoonist Bill Watterson and ran from 1985-1995.

06 February 2011

Waitangi Day, New Zealand

Identity is shaped by many things, not least of which is nationality or local history. I grew up thinking of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln much the same way I thought of my great grandfather and other ancestors. I was a product of and benefited from what they had done years and generations before me. I had a place in history and that place rested on names and dates and events I was reminded of in books, movies, stories, and ceremonies.

Non-Americans ponder the patriotism they see on display in the U.S., sometimes with respect and often with derision. The sheer quantity of flags staggers visitors and onlookers.

Living overseas for so many years has given me a vantage point that I appreciate and am grateful for. It has also introduced me to different national histories and given me the opportunity to participate in some different events. I've celebrated Waitangi Dy by going to a Pasifika music festival where I was definitely pale by comparison. I've gotten up early for ANZAC Day parades and ceremonies.

This weekend is Waitangi Day in New Zealand, commemorating the signing of a much misinterpreted treaty between the Maori, aboriginal settlers of these islands, with the representatives of Queen Victoria.

Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs signed what is New Zealand’s founding document.

The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.For some people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Maori, it is the occasion for reflecting on the Treaty.

Since the 1970s the style and mood of the commemorations on Waitangi Day have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the place of the Treaty in modern New Zealand.Waitangi Day is recognised as New Zealand's national day, but the long-standing tensions associated with it are always likely to surface in one form or another. The date is an important marker in the country's history. NZ History

Every country needs leaders and no significant change happens without them.

The photo shows Apirana Ngata leading members of the Maori Battalion in a haka in front of the whare runanga on the Waitangi treaty house grounds at the 1940 centennial celebrations.

Apirana Ngata (1874–1950), of Ngati Porou, was born at Te Araroa on the East Coast. He graduated from Te Aute College, and later completed an MA and a law degree. He was the first Maori to complete a degree at a New Zealand University. He returned to the East Coast and became involved in improving Maori social and economic conditions.

Unlike a number of other tribes, Ngati Porou had kept much of their land. The young Ngata, armed with legal expertise and determined to achieve progressive farming techniques and land tenure reform, encouraged sheep farming and investment in land development.

In 1905 Ngata was elected to Parliament representing Eastern Maori. He was to retain the seat until 1943. He was a superb debater and a hard worker.

During the First World War Ngata maintained a Ngati Porou tradition of loyalty to the Crown, and recruited Maori servicemen. He later built on the respect Maori servicemen had won during the war, achieving inquiries into many long-standing land grievances. Among them was the Sim Commission, which investigated land confiscations after the wars of the 1860s and upheld many grievances, despite limited terms of reference.

In 1927 Ngata received a knighthood, and in the following year became Native Minister in the United government. He was now able to press ahead with state-funded Maori land development, and set up land development schemes all over the country. His wider aim was to strengthen Maori communities and revive Maori culture.

Much of his success came from working through traditional tribal structures. In his land development work Ngata also encouraged a revival in Maori art and cultural studies. NZ History

I'll be camping North of Auckland, reading an art magazine and the next book for my book club. I'll go to a music concert and enjoy a slice of Kiwi culture without flying any particular flag.

05 February 2011

Doubt as a philosophy of life

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."
— Yann Martel in Life of Pi

04 February 2011

Spirituality and Religion

What's the difference between spirituality and religion?

03 February 2011

Cyclone Comparison: Perspective on Tropical Cyclone Yasi, Northern Queensland, Australia

Cyclones in Northern Queensland,
Australia, Snow storms in the US. What next!?

Anna Bligh, the Premier of Queensland, leads well in crisis. Read more on the government website.

While comparisons don't help those who are struggling in the dark with winds howling outside, it gives us a perspective. Sand bags are in place and windows taped or shuttered. Whatever can be tied down or tucked away has been, but that's only good if the roofs stay in place and the ropes hold.

A catastrophic power failure in the entire northern region is possible as the towers have never been tested against winds of 300 kph!

I don't know what they do about boats at anchor. The area serves the Great Barrier Reef, so there are many boats for diving, snorkeling and fishing, including one I've gone out on twice. All disasters are heart wrenching, but when it is happening in a place I've visited it really grabs my heart.

So, are you ready if a similar disaster strikes in your area?

Be Ready! I've written about preparedness on Conversations At Intersections before. Links for US FEMA and NZ Civil Defence.

Photos on ABC (Australia) show empty shelves and cars lined up for fuel. I remember that happening in Indiana when blizzards threatened or ice storms shut things down.

  • Do you think to fill up when bad weather threatens?
  • Do you have water tucked away and a radio & batteries at hand?
  • Do you know where candles and matches are?
  • Do you have gas in your BBQ bottle or other fuel for cooking?
  • Could you cope on your own without electricity or water supply for at least three days?
Radio comes in to its own during a disaster. TV just can't funnel the info instantly and power outages limit access.But radio is only good to you if you have fresh batteries.

Twitter is amazing as I watch updates from Australia.
"The roof has just gone."
"It's getting hot in this bathroom."
"The sound is scary."
"I'd rather be here than amongst a bunch of strangers."
"Wonder how others are getting on?"
"Anna Bligh says calls for help starting to come in but too dangerous for emerg services to respond." #Heartbreaking #tcyasi

02 February 2011

Traumatic Transitions: All our life.

Upon little boy's arrival at school for the first time, tears start.
Boy turns to mum, "You know I was happy at home!"

Joel, Queensland, last week. Real.

01 February 2011

Do you carry a notebook in your pocket?

My dad used to tell my brother that a man wasn't dressed unless he had a belt on. What would some of the saggy bottoms of today say to that? "huh?" My dad has also always carried a handkerchief and a pocket knife, especially handy to his mother when she needed such an item. It seems in days gone by, a pocket notebook was carried by men of nearly every occupation.

Have you ever come across such a little notebook in your grandfather's or great-grandfather's things?

This comment from Brett & Kate McKay in ‘The Manly Tradition of the Pocket Notebook’ shows some of the good old-fashioned values of the blog as a whole:

Carrying a pocket notebook . . . It’s a manly tradition that ought to be continued today. Along with a pocket knife and handkerchief, a notebook should reside in the pocket of every man.

The repositories of eminent men’s personal effects nearly always includes a pocket notebook full of their ideas and musings.

A friend of mine recently showed me her husband's ancestor's notebook which is now carefully wrapped in tissue paper and handled with great care. It was of great value in writing the family history, listing dates and costs and names, much as Ernest Hemmingway did. “I belong to this notebook and this pencil,” he declared. Post-it notes and 3x5 cards just don't measure up next to such a treasure.

Of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, Jessica Palmer of bioEphemera wrote: "Leonardo’s notebooks always give me the impression of a vast, benevolent curiosity. This man was into absolutely everything, [...]"

In the post Pocket Notebooks of 20 Famous Men by Brett & Kate McKay, "Beethoven used his notebooks to write down personal thoughts, maxims, and passages from literature and poetry he wished to remember. But their key use were as musical sketchbooks, where he would compose the beginnings of symphonies and then tinker with them in page after page. He believed that writing stimulated his imagination and even at home he kept a small table by his piano where he would hash out his creations on paper.

His notes and sketches were indecipherable to his associates. Wilhelm Von Lenz wrote in 1855, “When Beethoven was enjoying a beer he might suddenly pull out his notebook and write something in it. ‘Something just occurred to me,’ he would say, sticking it back into his pocket. The ideas that he tossed off separately, with only a few lines and points and without barlines, are hieroglyphics that no one can decipher. Thus in these tiny notebooks he concealed a treasure of ideas.”

If my brother were to carry a notebook today it would list the things he'd want to remember; the part number for the truck my nephew is rebuilding, the date of my niece's wedding and my other nephew's address. He'd want to remember the things he'd need to buy for his bow, his granddaughter's birthday and maybe the coordinates to the deer hide. Think how those things would reconstruct his life for those who follow and what they would say of the man.

Where do your ideas go?

Do they get lost because you have no safe place to tuck them in? Are your ideas captured digitally into your phone or computer? Will they be accessible to future generations?

Last log book entry of legendary yachtsman Sir Peter Blake:

"To win, you have to believe you can do it. You have to be passionate about it. You have to really "want" the result - even if this means years of work. The hardest part of any big project is to begin. We have begun - we are underway - we have a passion. We want to make a difference."

Other Uses of a Pocket Notebook: Ever think about keeping a food diary to see what you are eating? Just like with budgeting or trying to see how many miles to the gallon, you must have information to make informed decisions.

From a previous post on Conversations@Intersections