All posts in Writing

Seven Hundred & Thirty

Tuesday was my two year soberversary. Mrs D over on Living Sober asked me to write her a post about being a male in recovery and dealing with life on life terms. Not sure if this is what she wanted but it is what came out of my head.

So here it is below and it originally appeared on Living Sober here.

Today I am happy to be celebrating two years — 730 continuous days — of sobriety.

Those of you who have been following along on this journey with me will know the past 365 days since coming out of the sobriety closet and into the world of vocal recovery have been pretty darn crazy.

The first 365 we pretty crazy too and I’ve kind of covered the decision to stop drinking and here and here. But I haven’t really talked much about what it’s like to be in recovery. So here is an eclectic mix of contemplations, observations, introspections, and reflections on what it’s like to be a late 20s guy in New Zealand who doesn’t drink.
Continue reading →

How to get an asteroid named after you

When I was trying to find people to comment about my asteroid story on The Wireless, I put out a call on Twitter to see if there were any amateur astronomers out there. Shaun put me in touch with this chap called Warwick Kissling who is one of a few kiwis who have asteroids named after him. Warwick’s comments didn’t quite make it into my article, but — once again — I thought it was a cool little story about NZ’s space history. Continue reading →

Space rocks and love

Space rocks! Except when space rocks rock earth. Bad things happen, like dinosaurs going extinct. Luckily, unlike the dinosaurs, we humans have a sophisticated space programme. And Bruce Willis. Here’s a cool little story I wrote for The Wireless about asteroids, impacts, and Aotearoa.

The interviews with Alan, Philip, and Jess were really interesting. As I’ve been finding with a lot of my stories for The Wireless, you could almost write a book with all the information that doesn’t make it into the final cut.

Alan Gilmore — Resident Superintendent of University of Canterbury’s Mt John Observatory, based at Lake Tekapo — shared this informative and heart warming piece of personal and NZ space history when I asked him about what got him interested in tracking Near Earth Objects (NEO).

“I got interested in this work in the 1970s when at the Carter Observatory in Wellington.  The Carter Observatory had an excellent new telescope with a 16-inch (40 cm) mirror.  It was not doing much science.  Almost no one in the southern hemisphere was measuring the positions of comets and asteroids to help calculate their orbits.  So I built a device that allowed us to move the photographic plate in the telescope to follow the moving object while the telescope was guided on a background star.  At first we measured the plates on a machine at the Physics & Engineering Laboratory (PEL) of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in Gracefield, Lower Hutt.  (PEL became Industrial Research Limited and is now called Callaghan Innovation New Zealand.) We were much encouraged in this work by international specialists in comet and asteroids.  Soon were able to borrow from the US a machine to measure the plates on.  (The ‘we’ is Pam Kilmartin and me. Pam was an amateur astronomer — as was I originally — and qualified librarian who joined the Carter Observatory as Librarian and Information Officer.  We quickly made an observing team and married in 1974.)”

Lovers bought together by DIY skills and a fascination for NEOs. That is super cute.

Alan rounded out the interview saying he and Pam hope to build or buy some smaller but useful telescopes to allow them to do some follow-up work on NEOs at any time.

“I’d say how lucky I feel that we have been able to pursue our NEO programme for so long and through such remarkable changes of technology. That it has been a joint effort with a life’s partner has made all the more a delight.”

Once again my heart melts like a comet screaming toward the sun.

Been writing

HOLLA. I’ve been writing for The Wireless. It has been fun times.

Check out my stories on Risk, risky sex, and huffing.

Also had a lot of fun making images for the risky sex story.


Another story will be up next week about what happens if asteroids crash into earth!

ADF article

Here is an article Catherine McCullough and I wrote for the Australian Drug Foundation’s magazine. Continue reading →

Are Twitter DMs official information?

A few weeks ago @h_yd_n asked an interesting question on Twitter:


The conversation that followed led Di, Hadyn, and I to actually make a request under the Official Information Act.

We asked a pretty straight forward request to see if DMs that were run by Ministers fell under the act in the same way that email does. Our thinking was that Twitter is another communication tool that politicians are increasingly using to communicate and wanted to test (in a non-malicious and not too silly way) whether that was the case.

So here is the response we got today from the Prime Minister’s office. Note that other Ministers are yet to respond.

Twitter DM Official Information Act Request by Jackson James Wood

So what does this tell us?

Di and I think that it confirms DM’s sent by Ministers are OIAable.

In this case because

“Rt Hon John Key does not respond via this account personally, the account is managed on his behalf by staff in this office. The only DMs sent from the account are occasional responses to correspondents suggesting who they should get in touch with regarding their query.”

it does seem fair that there is no public interest in releasing the information and we’re happy to take the PM at his (and his staffs) word.

However, with Ministers like Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) who do personally use their twitter account we might see something interesting.

After all, Twitter is just another way to communicate. It does make sense that “official correspondence” might take place via Twitter, it is pretty cool way to talk to people.

So, in theory, anything that isn’t covered by S9 of the OIA should be released with other ministers when they get back to us.

It will be interesting to see if any official correspondence has taken place via Twitter, this might be a world first if it has!

Our OIA also raises questions about whether Facebook messages and other ‘private’ functions on social media are covered by the act.

We know that there is a grey area between “personal” and “official” correspondence, and we wonder whether the Cabinet Manual should be updated to include rules around social media use and whether the act itself needs to be updated.

We thank the PM and Mr Eagleson for their response and we look forward to the other Ministers replying in kind with the spirit the request was intended.


Will put in all the Ministers responses here.

Anti Science brigade, why you so anti science?

Hamilton City Council recently made the ill-informed decision to remove fluoride from the city’s drinking water. Now the ill-informed people who blindly pushed for that outcome are saying Wellington is their next target. This worries me.

It worries me a lot.

Read more over on The Ruminator where this post was originally published.

About a drug: Salvia

About a Drug: Salvia by Jackson James Wood

First published in Matters of Substance May 2013. Web version here.

About a Drug: Cocaine

About a Drug: Cocaine by Jackson James Wood

Cost of Our Convictions

Cost of Our Convictions by Jackson James Wood