Thursday 3rd October - Issue #16
Kia ora koutou,
Last Friday the third School Strike 4 Climate took place across the country, encouraging everyone to take part. In New Zealand, it's illegal to go on a general strike outside of collective bargaining and health and safety reasons but I managed to get down to Civic Square as the procession left for parliament. You'd think climate change would be the ultimate threat to health and safety, but I digress. Those plucky uni students paraded down Willis Street beforehand to wait at Midland Park to join the procession.
Civic Square was packed, the busiest I'd ever seen it, and I've been to a few protests there. I waded through the crowd and somehow found a less crowded area to the side. Wearing my PSA Youth 'Back to the Hui' hoody in the scorching sun under the watchful eye of The Hand, I heard someone behind me comment to a Justin about the Back to the Future parody on my back and as I turned to watch them pass, it was none other than Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester.
Someone out of my eyesight led practice chants over the speaker system, "Whose future? Our future!" and of course, Tūtira mai ngā iwi. These kids are bloody inspiring and I hope those in power in New Zealand and around the world finally listen to them and the science that our world is on the brink of a cataclysmic natural disaster. But can you really call it a natural disaster when humans are the ones that have caused it? "Climate justice" and "climate destruction" are more fitting than the shrug of a phrase, "climate change".
1. We demand that the Government acknowledges the magnitude of the climate crisis by declaring a climate emergency. This move will set the narrative for the urgent pace at which we need to act on climate change and must uphold our democratic values and obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
2. We demand that all parties in Parliament support passing an ambitious Zero Carbon Act into law that puts in place a legally enforceable plan to get to net zero carbon by 2040.
3. End fossil fuels - we demand that the Government ceases all exploration and extraction of fossil fuels. This includes not granting any extensions of existing permits. This must be paired with Government’s investment in renewable energy production and sustainable transport systems to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as we know that this is causing communities to lose their homes and culture in the Pacific Islands right now. Our collective future is being put at stake.
4. We demand that the Government invests in building a renewable and regenerative economy now. This means immediate investment in retraining and the provision of alternative jobs in clean, sustainable industries that don’t harm the ecosystems on which we depend for survival. This must be done through meaningful partnerships with communities, Tangata Whenua and youth to ensure a just transition and that no one is left behind.
5. We demand that the Government honours its responsibility to our Pacific Island neighbours by ensuring its domestic climate policies align with the Paris Agreement 1.5 goal; releasing a public adaptation plan for Climate Change survivors to migrate to New Zealand with dignity; and actively supporting the regional and international diplomatic efforts of Pacific Islands Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) to increase climate ambition and mitigate the climate crisis before it’s too late.
Directed by James Gray (no relation), Ad Astra takes place is the "near future" where Brad Pitt goes on a mission to the ends of the solar system to find his father who he thought dead, trying to discover extraterrestrial life.
Pitt's character is stoic to a fault. So much so, his heart rate doesn't go above 80 even when his life is in danger. Mission focused, the most we get to know about him is through deadpan voice-over. It can make watching this film a cold, detached experience. Then there are the almost hallucinatory stretches of time as rockets take off and land and as Pitt navigates his surroundings. Time has no relative meaning in space, in this near future.
I couldn't help but feel a similarity between this and Apocalypse Now (or rather, Heart of Darkness) except instead of Martin Sheen giving voice-over while floating down a seemingly endless river, it's Brad Pitt travelling among the stars. Perhaps James Gray's previous effort, The Lost City of Z, is a better comparison.
As for the journey itself, it's a gorgeous trip thanks to the work of countless special effects teams around the world making this thing look as realistic as possible.
Apple Arcade came out September 19th. Essentially, it's a subscription service akin to Xbox Game Pass but for Apple devices where you get access to a whole bunch of games to download. And for a mostly mobile platform (coming to Mac soon), it's quite appealing to me. No ads, no in-app purchases and supporting a bunch of great creators.
Like streaming television, it's the way the games industry is heading. The technology is here with both the cloud of Google's Stadia and the subscription buffet of Xbox Game Pass. Of course, everyone and their dog wants a piece of this pie and like the way television has gone back to the days of America's cable TV, we're going to end up with multiple subscription services. There there are fears that as with Netflix, games will only have to be 'good enough' because services need to pump them out regularly so they have consistent content.
Trying out Apple Arcade on our Apple TV (yes, I'm well and truly locked into the Apple ecosystem) I've noticed some games are more suitable for the touch platform (iPhone/iPad) then some games where you should really use a controller (fortunately iOS now supports Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers). And because the games are designed for mobile platforms the more realistic looking titles don't look so flash on the big screen, such as Shinsekai: Into the Depths and Hot Lava. Putting that aside, here are some of my favourites so far:
Card of Darkness - From famed iOS game designer Zach Gage, Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and studio behind the Bit.Trip series, Choice Provisions. You collect (kill) monster cards by picking up weapon cards and attacking monsters with odd and even hit points while trying not to deplete all your health. It took me a while to understand the game at first. I thought the aim was to clear the screen of tiles, and after I died multiple times I ended up consulting the interwebs to see what I was doing wrong. Turns out you only need to clear a path to the exit and to finish any opened piles. Yes, it can be fun to discover a game outside of the constraints of a tutorial, but I would've appreciated a little more direction! After that, I was up and away and it's become an almost daily ritual for me.
Grindstone - From Capybara Games, Grindstone looks like a match-3 but it's really about picking paths through primary colour insects to slice and dice.
What the Golf? - It's no ordinary golf game and each level has you rethinking how to actually make it to the flag at the end when what you're hitting isn't always a golf ball.
My new favourite thing on YouTube is extended video essays about videogames that go down rabbit holes, solving very specific mysteries. Yes, like most documentaries of their ilk these videos are often constructed in such a way to elicit that rush of curiosity, but I don't care. Nick Robinson has made some killer videos about the bizarre driving game Driver: San Francisco, a game designer infamous for blocking his fans on Twitter and a Nintendo character that had zero Google results.
Most recently a video found its way to my YouTube home page from Jacob Geller, a YouTuber I hadn't heard of; The Decade-Long Quest For Shadow of the Colossus' Last Secret. Sometimes the algorithm works, I don't know what to tell you. This one is about a group of forum users who believe there is a secret hidden inside the PlayStation 2 game, Shadow of the Colossus.
A restaurant owner writes for The Spinoff on how the upcoming immigration changes will hurt the hospitality industry. The changes announced won't help eliminate exploitation by employers because not only do employers still have control over migrant livelihoods but they can also decide whether or not they can live here at all. The only way to eliminate such exploitation is to not tie somebody's temporary residency to their employer. Furthermore, granting permanent residency to only those with incomes over $104,000 (which apparently means "high skill") is elitist and will hurt our country. I don't have a six-figure salary, are you going to kick me out of the country too? We need their labour and it's only fair we give them some semblance of a future.
I first got onto Foals from the ending of the adventure game, Life is Strange (I'm currently playing Life is Strange 2 as they release new episodes). In that game's conclusion, you have a final choice between one of two options so it is quite possible that the other option wouldn't even have this Foals song. But my choice gave me Spanish Sahara by Foals, a slow melancholy song eventually soaring into life and it's only recently I decided to check out the rest of their catalogue. And good timing too, they've just put out the first part of their double album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost.
Laura Vincent from Hungry and Frozen puts out one of my favourite newsletters, featuring recipes of vegan meals and baked goodies. I recently tried her Lemon Syrup Cake and it blew me away how well it worked for a vegan cake (the secret is coconut cream). You can find the recipe over on her website.
Now for something not so vegan. A recipe inside a Mrs Rogers star anise packet (for last time's mulled wine) inspired me to try something new. I don't know what it is about pulled pork, I'm not a big fan of pork generally but whenever I've had pulled pork in a burger I've loved it (smothered in barbeque sauce of course). I had to borrow a slow cooker to do it and voilà; pulled pork tacos. Here is the recipe (please note that apart from the rub I skipped the first three steps and just chucked everything straight into a crockpot for 10 hours):
Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork
Mrs Rogers Sugar & Spice issue 90
4 Tbsp Mrs Rogers Low ‘n Slow Meat Rub
2kg Pork Shoulder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 apple, diced
1 ½ cup chicken stock (or cider)
½ cup quality bbq sauce
Preheat oven to 160 degrees bake. Sprinkle rub evenly all over the pork.
Heat the oil in a large fry pan, sear meat on all sides then set aside.
Add onion to the pan and cook until softened then add apple and stock, stir and bring to boil.
In a lidded casserole dish, pour the onion, apple & stock/cider mix.
Place the pork on top, then close lid and cook for around 3.5 hours.
Check occasionally and add more stock/cider if the dish is drying out.
If you have a probe, you want the internal temp to be minimum 95 degrees which is when those connective tissues give up and give you the tenderest, moist yumminess. If you don’t have a probe then use a fork or spoon to test if the meat falls away with little resistance when pulled. If it is still firm then give it another half hour and check again.
Once done remove the meat to a dish and wrap with foil to retain moisture, spoon off any fat from the surface of the liquid in the casserole dish, mash the apple and onion with a potato masher, stir in the bbq sauce then pour into a separate bowl.
Place the pork in the casserole dish using forks to shred, removing any large fatty bits and bone, then add enough of the sauce back to make it moist. Use the rest of the sauce to dip, or pour over your meal.
If the sauce is runny, reduce it in a hot frying pan to thicken: it will also intensify the flavours! Perfect for tacos, burritos, burgers, loaded fries, nachos and more!
What You Can Do Right Now
You should have received your local election voting papers. If you haven't already, please take the time to look up the candidates on Policy Local or even their Facebook pages and vote accordingly based on what you value. If you don't have voting papers you can apply for a special voting form at your council before 12pm October 12th.
If you enjoyed this newsletter, slow cook it for 10 hours.
*waves protest sign*