Moving flats, yet again, I should know better by now!

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I should know better than to move after just 14 months. Unfortunately that is what I’m doing. My flat is becoming the proerty of Knox College at the end of the year and they want it for a staff residence. So I am moving which means sorting out my flat and wrestling with the anxiety and sleeplessness that goes with it.

Fortunately I have signed up for a room at Manono House on London Street. It’s about the size of a large lounge and has its own bathroom, close to town, half an hour away from work, and a little further to church. There are downsides, like living with people again, and having no proper kitchen. I hope I can manage for a year or so and then see if there is anything else out there.

The lease begins this weekend and people from the college will help me move. I’m not above having more volunteers to help me move if anyone turns up at my flat on Saturday.

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Who are you?

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The latest meme I’ve noticed doing the rounds is UrlAi which analysizes your blog and tells you what you are writing like. This journal is described as ‘probably written by a female somewhere between 66-100 years old. The writing style is personal and happy most of the time.’ The variables are gender (male/female); age (six different age groups between 13 and over 60); mood (upset/happy); and tone (academic/personal). Unless I’m in touch with my feminine side I would consider that half right as I’m a 40something male. I’m quite happy that I don’t post negative posts (at least publicly), and this is far from being an academic journal.

As a curiosity I put in the imaginary language blog that I have been putting stuff on at Blogspot. It is described as ‘probably written by a male somewhere between 26-35 years old. The writing style is personal and upset most of the time.’ What?! Maybe I’m trying to channel Kamakawi Word of the Day too much when I’m writing there. Although that blog is written by a younger guy than me who is also in tune with his inner senior citizen. Go figure!

The earth moved, the house moved, I was moved, the neighbours moved

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I did not sleep very well last night. I think the agitation of my flatting situation made me restless. It mean that I was still awake when something began to rattle and then the whole room began to roll. It was over in less than a minute. I did not feel alarmed to seek the safety of a door frame. I looked at the clock, 4.38. Checking the internet today I see the epicentre was located close to Christchurch in Canterbury. There was some damage, and also in Wellington. I have sent a text to my brother in Wellington and he replied so he is unharmed.

I spoke to the college building manager this morning and he did not think that renovations will start on my flat before mid-November. This gives me plenty of time to find an alternative. The options in today’s newspaper did not impress me. Nothing in my range that appealed to me. I think I will have to get out and make inquiries and ask people. The master of the college plans to make my flat into staff accommodation for a new position, the dean of studies. Yes, my flat is going to become a deanery!

Wisdom begins in wonder

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I was saddened yesterday to read of the death of David Bell. He was not widely known. When I was reading the Constructed Languages list in the 1990s he was one of the senior members on the list. Sadly he slipped off the list some years ago without being noticed that he had gone, as far as I know. I had stopped reading it regularly about the same time. His website stopped being updated and then disappeared. Dedalvs had discovered that he had died a couple of years ago and this was the first notification that anyone in the Conlang community had of it. He was a family man with grandchildren. I hope he did not die alone and without comfort. I do not expect so.

As I appreciate it the goal of Conlanging is to create a language complete as possible in information about its grammar and lexicon. It is an esoteric form of modelling the universe. As an artform it is appreciated by its own practitioners. Very few others can get excited about the beauty and elegant of a verb conjunction. If language can be emerge naturally then the rules can be used to create new models of beauty and imagination; and maybe even communication. It’s very geeky and I would consider it an artform.

In such an online community David Bell was exceptional because his life’s work was creating a language originally inspired by the works of Tolkien. They created a new life in his own sub-creation. This is remarkable in itself because he was African-American. I would argue that this is unusual in itself. He was unashamably an African-American first on a list that was dominated by European-descended language creators like myself, in short whities. He had also travelled and lived in Kenya and could speak confidently about Swahili. There are other people of colour in the Conlang community. I feel that there are fewer that can represent a group of people like he could. Sadly, as we say at the death of such a person in New Zealand, a great totara has fallen. There is a big gap in the conlang community to be filled there. The imaginary language he worked on will remain incomplete, at least to us for now, unless more data can be archived from the family.

David Bell, mi alasharia la shantih, shantih, shantih.