My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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visiting a movie set

I’m back in the States now having done my final leg in New Zealand (which i’ve decided looks exactly like LOTR). What a beautiful country! My only complaint is that it’s bloody freezing and no one thinks that central heating is important – brrrr.

I went to NZ to speak at the Karajoz Great Blend Events in Wellington and Auckland, all arranged by the fabulous Russell Brown. In addition to my public babbling on MySpace, Russell interviewed the folks who made Star Lords. God i love mashups! After my talk, there was a panel at each event with some of the fantastic local web folks talking about community. Justin Zhang (of SkyKiwi) spoke at both events and he was soooo hysterically funny – absolute deadpan humor. On top of the talks, i did a bazillion press events – TV, radio, newspaper… i felt like a talking puppet after a while. But it was pretty trippy – the live press folks in NZ talk much faster than i’m used to so it was a bit insane to parse the accents and try to be interesting at the same time.

I didn’t get a whole lot of free time in Wellington, but i did get to see the LOTR exhibit and purchase Uggs (which i realize make a lot of sense when there’s no heating anywhere). I got stuck in Wellington for most of a day (silly fog) but Natasha from TradeMe was such an angel – picking me up, hanging out with me as we waited at the airport. Plus, the night before, she and some folks from Webstock took me out to this really awesome Maori restaurant where i got to meet one of the local Maori activists.

In Auckland, i had a bit more time and Matt Gibbons (one of the Star Lords kids) gave me a full tour – we went club hopping, saw the sun rise over the city, wandered to the beach, went to the museum, hung out at folks’ houses, etc. The best part was that he was a talking history machine. Listening to him reminded me of the time when my best friend and i went to the San Diego Zoo and ran around after the information buses just to learn random facts about animals. I couldn’t get enough of the random stories about New Zealand history and it was so fantastic to have someone who was ecstatic to tell me all sorts of random stories. Even better was that he did it with funny NZ slang. Plus, he could actually dance (like _really_ dance) and he’s an overgrown goofball which meant that we ended up spending most of the time laughing as we ran around the city. We also managed to meet quite a few quirky characters. At the top of Mt. Eden, we ran into a guy doing butane and trying to sell us $1 visions. In the middle of Auckland, we ran into a guy with wings who gave us mops sticks allowing us to stage mock fights in the middle of the city. At 4 in the morning, we found our car parked next to a man getting a blowjob in an alley as the transwoman giving him head showed off her skills to us. ::giggle::

All and all, New Zealand rocked and i’m sooo going back when it’s actually warm out. Thank you so much to Russell, Kate, Cath, Steve and Nat for making it happening and to all of the quirky characters for making it fun!

Now, moving to Los Angeles….

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18 comments to visiting a movie set

  • Jen

    Why are you moving to LA??

  • “no one thinks that central heating is important”

    I think it’s important… but our forefathers were too tough to considsr the need for insulation 🙁

  • Michael Chui

    Besides Star Lords, you are aware that LOTR was largely filmed in NZ? Might explain why it looks so similar. =P

  • Hey, it’s not just visitors who lament the lack of central heating. Some people like to think that New Zealand is actually a tropical island, not temperate. I suspect the further south you go, the warmer people’s house are, but Auckland is underheated, almost with pride. Brrr!

    I was shivering on stage the Great Blend! It was nice to meet you there, and I’m glad you had such a great time in New Zealand.

  • Ken

    Just curious, but why LA?

  • danah,

    I’m heading to NZ for 3 weeks in December. Will ply you with coffee in trade for travel tips.

    DG

  • kimberly moore

    I moved to NZ 5 years ago and at first it seemed like camping. i mentioned central heating to my friends and they simply think it is ridiculous that Americans actually import oil to keep their homes at a temperature to wear a t-shirt, verses dressing for the weather.

    I had no idea how I was raised with the temp being the same everwhere (68-72) malls, cars homes banks etc… I also had no idea how much energy was consumed to do so…

    I have adjusted and throw on another sweater. All wool of course handknitted and not imported. 🙂

  • Kimberly – i definitely thought about the environment impact of it while there, but i also realized that many Kiwis i met had an ongoing cold (and four had the flu but were still out). But it was really weird that i’d go into restaurants and no one would take off their coats or hats. Wearing sweaters is one thing but being sick and wearing all layers constantly is another. Additionally, i was really sad because i couldn’t work on my computer anywhere – my carpal tunnel completely shut down in the cold. 🙁

    I definitely think there’s a balance to be had. Housing insulation, double-paned windows… these are the first step (lessons learned from San Francisco). Room by room central heating is the trick because then you don’t heat unnecessarily and you focus only on when you’re there.

    My body definitely shuts down when cold. I can’t think, i can’t work, i can’t do anything but curl into a pile under all of the covers hibernating. I don’t want to be a huge oil consumer, but i also can’t live in places where i’m always cold. 🙁

  • The paper today, here in Wellington, has a big feature on why NZers houses are so cold. Lots of reasons given including:
    – the pioneer spirit (the sons and daughters of Britain don’t need no extra heating!)
    – lots of cheap hyrdo power meant we didn’t worry much about heating costs
    – some shoddy building practices

    Gotta say I think it builds character, but my wife – from Maine where it IS cold – thinks I’m just crazy 🙂

  • Pip

    I live in Wellington in an old villa, and we have central heating, but only because the English woman who lived here before us installed it. The first thing I did was put thermal curtains in the lounge and our bedroom – drafty sash windows! But we only heat the house to a comfortable-with-a-jumper-on level, not t-shirt warm. The first house we lived in when we moved down here was damp and had no heating at all. I remember standing in the lounge watching my breath steaming. Not going back to that again! I shut down in the cold as well…

  • Los Angeles? Hit me up – I would love to geek out about social networking with you anytime.

  • Air conditioning wrecks the ambience of the sound of rain on a corrogated iron roof. It is simply a tradeoff between comfort or beauty.

  • Sunil

    Was a pleasure to host you. And your furry hat!

  • cathi

    I have wintered all over the world and I have NEVER been as cold as I am here (Wellington, NZ). But the outdoors isn’t actually that cold – people drop their jaws in shock when the temperature goes below 5degC. We hardly ever get even hoarfrosts, the ground doesn’t freeze. The weeds in the garden keep right on growing through winter, and the wretched grass continually needs mowing. I see central heating being advertised on TV now, but previous posters are right – the houses lose heat as fast as you pump it in. It’s the houses, not Wellington, that’s cold.

    But but but, there are so many other reasons to live here. We make sure the house is dry and mould-free with decent ventilation so we don’t get sick, and I’m learning (after 10 years) to put another jumper on. And then sit back and enjoy the other benefits.

  • It really isn’t that cold here, but in Auckland especially, it rains a lot. Almost as much as in the tropics – but, you do get the sunny days at 15c even in the middle of the winter. Means the trannies can come out and play in the car parks without their mates getting frost bites on sensitive parts for instance.

  • It really doesn’t get that cold anywhere in NZ. Auckland however is very wet in the winter, but you get the sunny, 15C days that make up for it. Means the trannies can come out of hibernation to play and ensures their mates don’t get frost bites on sensitive body parts.

  • New Zealand has been my dream since I frst saw the LOTR.

  • lance

    totally agree on the lack of decent insulation and heating here. We don’t do AC either, so summer can get pretty sticky up North.
    glad you enjoyed your time & LOTR paraphernalia – your visit got a lot of people thinking.