Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Coffee on the Coast

Caffeine was never a favourite drug of mine, having come up through the 60's with other pharmaceutical diversions, and agree in principle with the flavour of this article, even though it is not at all about caffeine. It is more about the political ramifications of that (my) generation, and what may be missing in this generations passion for change (or lack thereof). Maybe it is caffeine that is lacking! I don't think so. There is no urgency, and the perspective of "having it all" now is out of touch a bit with reality. Which is also a personal perspective.

Back to caffeine. Loving to write, it still requires a certain stimulation in the mind in order to get the ideas from mental to physical (i.e. from the head to the fingers on the keyboard), and I have no shortage of ideas to express. It is engaging the fingers on the keyboard that takes some urging from the wonderful beans of Hawaii, Africa and Central America. I suppose it is healthier than Kerouac's bouts of benzedrine-fueled typing in such works as On The Road, but who is to say? This article, sums up some pretty interesting facts about how our nervous systems are coping these days..

I am fortunate in many ways, not the least is the fact that we have on the island a few very good baristas; and a good strong latte (always in a glass, please) is not hard to find. I don't know whether it is the quality of the beans, or the roasting, or the preparation that has made the art of preparing good coffee mature to where it is now, but I am certainly pleased with the overall results. A recent post on coffee by one of my favourite bloggers in New Zealand, Russell Brown had hundreds of comments around the world from expats and locals alike extolling the vitues or otherwise of their local supplier. The ability to share instantly the intimate knowledge of the food and drink we enjoy is one of the many advantages that the "digital revolution" has brought us. Although I am tiring of that term, and prefer the Ecology of Media, it is still an astonishing leap through time and space to communicate in the ways we are able to now.

Seeing both the content and distribution aspects of media in todays environment from an ecological perspective allows us to understand its dynamic nature. It is changing so rapidly, that the microclimates it creates (blogs, podcasts etc) are part of the whole climate change in information sharing. The "Google Guys" want to organise so efficiently for us, and that is noble of them. I am not as much interested in the organisation of it all as I am in the sharing and dissemination. After all, information is just that, alot of text and pictures, that may or may not be of any use. And then what constitutes it as knowledge? Everyone becomes an expert. There is no shortage of information today, there is a shortage of attention. The transition from information to knowledge to understanding is a more complex process than we might believe at first. What is useful and what is "clutter"? I like discourse, and I like learning. Within the context of those two actions lie many alternative paths that can lead in many directions. I enjoy picking and choosing both the content and timing of the information I receive, and that is one of the huge leaps forward we are making in this transition. Yes, I have an iPod, and although it is only a nicely designed music player, I hardly use it for that at all. Podcasts are my preferred choice, as well as a mobile hard drive for data. Choices and options. So many clever people, I hope they are all enjoying themselves..!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Greetings from Blogosphere

It is taking a bit of time to sort out all that I need to have on this blog, with photos and links, and all the rest taking their sweet tech-time to get through the myriad of other things I am doing at the moment.

We have finished a harvest of 6tonne of Syrah grapes, a wonderful variety that should produce good wine in another year or so fermenting in the barrels. Look for it under the Hay Paddock if you are so inclined(around 2008, I reckon). I am not a wine drinker, I grow , and grapes are just one more experience in how to maintain living plants in a commercial fashion that will help me one day I suppose. Food is important to us. Wars will be fought over water, and living in a place that has plenty of it is a wonderful feeling. Yet, what is it being used for? Food needs to be understood from an ecological point of view, so we know where and when it was grown. Much of what we pay for is simply another supply-chain fossil fuel-hungry system that delivers little at great cost.

The wine will be good, but getting the Community (either this one, or any other) to start to support their farmers, and eating locally grown produce is a passion of mine. So much of what we eat determines out overall health, vitality and attitude. I am SO over packaged, sweetened, and preserved "food", and want to get together with others and produce great food again. I hve done it before, and will do it again. It doesn't have to be a commune (which it was the last time in the 80's , and of course deteriorated in a septic convulsion of egomania and financial malpractice, but that is for another post - the point being it can be done.)

And so as one of the remaining cyclones of the season down here in the South Pacific makes its roundabout way throught the Tasman Sea, I pour over the bills from my business and hope that nobody else growing is put out too much by the unstable weather(we ar only getting the remnants - Queensland got the full brunt.) Still, having ripe fruit, and heavy rain is a recipe for disaster, and there are a few frantic growers around the island at the moment.

It all seems a bit insulated from the traumas and dramas elsewhere in the world, and I am OK with that. My view out over the little community of Rocky Bay, with its reident population pushing 100, offers solace and companionship along a windswept coast, every bit as real as anything in Iraq or Belarus.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Oscars are over, the grape harvest is just beginning, and life on an isolated island in the Hauraki Gulf goes on. We are entering into the Autumn down here in the Southern Hemisphere, and cool southwesterlies are making their way up the islands of New Zealand.

I am an ex-pat (what exactly does that mean anyway?) American and have been living in New Zealand for about 20 years. I love writing, and hopefully I will have something of interest to say for those that stumble across my blog. Karakia means prayer in our indigenous language of Maori, and I am very grateful for the coast I look out on every day from my cottage window. My writing is my prayer of thanks.

I need to figure out a few more things about this blogging business, as I have been writing for years, but not online, and not many publications. It is more my expression, my connection with the myself first, and others as well. I will need to get sorted on all the different information that needs to go on to this blog, and make a few decisions about the kind of articles I will be writing. I mainly stay with natural beauty and social phenomenon, but of late the ecology of media has been fascinating me. I read alot, and hope to publish more once I get myself organised with certain obligations (i.e. paid work).

I have been in management and corporate stuff for many years, and having this lovely island to live and work on the last couple of years has been a godsend. I drive a tractor around olive groves and vineyards that overlook the Pacific Ocean, which I jump into when it gets a bit hot, and really am fortunate to be where I am. I am slowly trying to stay connected with society in many ways, mostly technological, at the same time not entirely engaged in what it is all about. Hence the comment on the Oscars. Nothing could be farther from my life, but at the same time, there it is on my cable showing me the way certain people live their lives. And good for them. The world is in a precarious position right now, and if we can all communicate just a little bit easier with some of these tools, then perhaps there will be less intolerance and more understanding. That is the essence of what I will want to convey as we journey through this process together.