Friday, July 4, 2008

Invisible vampyre, drought, and local politics

Or -- ooops. We did real, genuine booboo, for which we apologise profusely: the site upload happened on time, on target, but in the hurricane of work required, we forgot to go over to for two minutes and nudge the vampyre novels over onto the public list. Sorry, guys: honest oversight.

NOCTURNE and TWILIGHT are now available, and to smooth out the wrinkle, I'm going to give you a link right here -- not a link to go to the website and order up, but a link to Lulu to get the damned books right here:

Order Nocturne from Lulu, right here,


Order Twilight from Lulu, right here

That'll save you a trip to the webpage. (Those links are for the paperbacks, incidentally. The eBooks were available from Payloads on time; and the hardcover versions are still in the works.)

The US is gearing up to celebrate July 4th, and so long as you guys don't get invaded by aliens, you'll have a grand weekend. Down here, the winter sun is shining, but that's something of a mixed blessing. Sure, it's nice to get the blue-sky days just a couple of weeks after the solstice of winter, but this country (and particularly this state) is the the grip of the worst drought on record...

So far, during this winter, we've had only 25% of the rainfall we would normally expect (and we never get much by the standards of Europe and North America). If it doesn't rain soon, we'll slither into next summer with some reservoirs showing only 15% of their seasonal average ... and this is bad news.

The summer water rationing started a couple of years ago, but it was mild by comparison with what'll need to be done next summer, if we don't get dumped on before October of '08. We live in hopes of a forty-day, forty-night deluge.

A desalination plant to supply the city is being build on the site of the recently-closed fuel refinery, but it won't go online for a long time. We've been hearing estimates of 2012, 2014. That's going to be too long. Last summer, for the first time scientists began to say 'IF the rains return.' Not 'when.' Looking back across the last century of record-keeping, it turns out this state (if not the nation as a whole) has a history of long dry periods. We could be entering a 30- or 50-year dry ... which is a grim thought. The last time the state suffered this, the population was around half of the current level. Sure, more reservoirs have been built since then (the city of Adelaide is ringed around by them), but there's industry and agriculture here, now, which sucks more water than the human population ever did. The desalination plant that'll keep the city hydrated won't help agriculture, and although I've seen brochures for small desalination systems suitable for dairy, vinyards, orchards, the problem is the pricetag. What bankrupt farmer can afford a cool quarter million bucks for a machine to make the mineral-heavy gunk he pumps off the water table over into useful fresh water?

Time for the government to come to the rescue, you ask? I would agree. The problem is, a lengthy span with a Liberal government has landed this country in a fiscal swamp, and the Labor government that was voted into office only last November, has to slow down the juggernaut of decay, get it stopped and turn it around. They probably don't have the funding to put pocket-size water machines into thousands of farms. (The US is surely going to go through a similar trial by ordeal, after the hand-over in February 2009.) Things are still getting worse down here; new taxes are being levied, interest rates are up, so is unemployment, and so on -- the usual round of social woes. All of which gives the Liberal opposition a vast supply of heavy-cal ammo to shoot at the current government! The voting public just has to grasp that the problems we're struggling through now are the result of the aforementioned economic juggernaut still careening down the road to hell as a result of its own momentum! The brakes are ON, but she won't stop on a dime, and till she does, and starts to back up ... patience.

That's what I keep telling myself. Patience.

Meanwhile, it's a glorious blue-sky day in the middle of winter, and I'm going to grab the camera and go enjoy it!

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