June: an accept, two rejects, another paper submission, and a South Island walk

Posted by Patrick Lam on Saturday, July 6, 2024

Table Of Contents

I couldn’t start this month’s summary until a few days into July due to being on a trip, but now I’m in Wellington for two weeks. Monthly summaries are also much smaller tasks with the photos broken out.

Red sky by morning in Wellington; Wellington Open podium; Into the Sunset; Judo Nomad; chest of drawers at Nairn St Cottage; kākāriki; heart-shaped tree trunk at Lyell Saddle Hut; waterfall.


I just saw this Mastodon thread about actual air quality readings. It tracks with my measurements. Restaurants are generally actually not that bad, but meeting rooms are. I do still mask in supermarkets, though probably just avoiding peak hour at the supermarket will get you pretty far.

I took a variety of CO2 readings to estimate indoor air quality. Based on these readings, places I wouldn’t want to be unmasked would be: house gatherings, offices, meeting rooms, conventions, public transit, a plane, funerals.

Places that may not be as risky as originally believed are: supermarkets, pharmacies, and restaurants.

The social graph isn’t evenly distributed, and so the peak that poops.nz showed in Wellington for early June didn’t show so much in my own connections; there seemed to be outbreaks a few months before that. NZ Numbers are now back down to where they were in March or April.

Just in case, I should pick up more RATs, which are to remain free through winter in NZ at least.

Looks like there will be new COVID vaccine formulations for fall, though not any of the newer-generation vaccines. Novavax will be a bit behind because it takes a bit longer for them to get a formulation through, but the mRNA vaccines are fast to update.


We submitted a paper to SCAM. It’s fairly quick turnaround, like 6 weeks.

All the submitted papers got decisions: Onward! got in with strongly positive reviews, ECOOP didn’t, and OOPSLA didn’t.

ECOOP was “try adding another experiment and we can consider the paper again”, and I managed to ask the PC chair to have the same reviewers review it. I hope that will work. We do always seem to get compared to previous work even though we try to say that our technique can do some new things. The next ECOOP round is mid-November, I think.

OOPSLA was disappointing. We got some good reviews from PLDI, but none of the OOPSLA reviewers got it, and they said things that weren’t even true in their review, not to mention that we disagreed with them on whether this work was in scope.

Got the internal RIF funding as an NSERC booby prize, which helps feed my students a bit. Need to work on the NSERC Discovery Grant application this month.

Worked on 20 days: it was actually a pretty big push to get the SCAM paper written. There are 23 work days in June.

Grad students/mentees/collaborators

I was talking to my students and collaborators on 15 days, which is well above average: talking about papers submitted, to submit, and planned. Am now hoping to submit a workshop paper to HATRA with Alex.


None, I guess. I got a request to chair a PhD exam at a time that would have been reasonable for me, but then “oh never mind, we found someone”, all while I was sleeping.


Mostly stayed put, relative to usual for me at least.

Wellington Open

Not quite a trip, but I did fight and referee at this tournament. Unfortunately my category of 5 was unevenly distributed and I lost before the final, leaving me in 3rd place. The silver medallist got lucky.

While I was refereeing, there was this kid who was wearing a white belt, with his opponent in a blue judogi. In that case you are supposed to have your grade belt (yellow, in his case). I told him that and he said “Nah”…

… he changed his belt.

Kāpiti Island Nature Tours Overnight

I was glancing at my Gmail promotions folder and noticed that Kapiti Island Nature Tours had a 50% off winter promo code. Good chance to do an overnight tour. We’d been there for the day as one of our first trips in 2020, but what was special about this trip up to the summit was that we saw a kōkako. Then we got some excellent meals and accommodation that was similar to a holiday park. Plus they have takahē living on their lawn. Night tour for the little spotted kiwi came empty, perhaps due to the full moon. Anyway, I quite enjoyed this trip.

Dog waiting for its person outside Marine Parade Eatery;
bellbird; kōkako; karearea; takahē; 3 kererū.

Old Ghost Road

Stay tuned for the trip report next month. We dodged 60mm of rain by combining days 2 and 3, so that we could stay put in Specimen Point Hut on day 4. It’s a scenic 85km walk, with 17km/25km/25km/0/18km on our days. Since it’s dual-use bicycle/walk, the surface is quite firm. The Mokihinui River was kind of blue before the rain and very brown after it. Day 1 was mostly forest, and we shared the hut with Chris and Jessy from Murchison, until Csaba walked in at 6:10pm, reporting a kiwi encounter. The good scenery was on days 2 and 3 up above treeline and in the alpine valley. Day 5 was quick and next to the impressive brown Mokihinui.

Both Kāpiti Island and Old Ghost Road are mainly visited by domestic tourists when we went. Old Ghost Road hut books suggest that it is also overall domestic as well. Kāpiti Island may get more international tourism on the overnight tours.

From the bus stop to the trailhead at Lyell; mossy tree trunk; sun through trees; clouds in mountains; above the treeline; Stern Creek Hut; river at dawn; mist and reflections; S Island robin; normal level of Mokihinui River.

Travel planning

I changed my Auckland trip for Dunedin at the end of August. Also did yet more travel planning for Australia and some last minute juggling for the Old Ghost Road. The taxi from Seddonville to Westport is $150, but a shuttle (not running in July) is $120.

Movement statistics

Almost all around Wellington except for the trip to the NZ West Coast at the end of the month.

  • 🚶 Walking: 139km on 22 days (mid-range even with a big part of the Old Ghost Road at the end)
  • 🚲 Biking: 131km on 15 days (every second day!)
  • 🚗 Driving: 210km on 4 days (mostly to Kapiti)
  • 🚗 Taxi: 0
  • 🚌 Bus: 191km on 4 days (including Nelson to Lyell)
  • ✈ Plane: 164km (WLG-NSN)
  • 🚣 Boat: 17km (Kapiti Island plus the Zealandia boat)
  • 🚡 Cable car: 0.7km (1×)



I posted twice as many pictures in June as I did in May, which makes sense given how much I travelled in May.

  • Sets of pictures posted: 22
  • Total pictures posted: 704
  • Total pictures in selection pool: 2259
  • Accept rate: 31% (min 13%, max 68%)

As always, pictures are clickable to go to the full gallery.

Queenstown Trail view; from Ben Lomond; kiwi habitat and wind turbines; Napier municipal theatre; "flying" penguin at National Aquarium; MP with the late Sylvester; Faro at MONA; Mount Ossa.

June posts

More Overland Track segments, with parts 2 to 4 posted in June:

Four days to go, and two days of photos (but I need to free more space on my hard drive before I can get to those!) I also posted the Christchurch/Queenstown/Doubtful Sound trip report that was part of the May summary:


I was in New Zealand all month, though I went off to the South Island for the last 4 days of June. Easier to have a routine when not travelling for sure.


We were making some merengue. I guess it’s theoretically possible to hand beat that, but it seems hard. I don’t love buying a $17 mixer, but here we are. (Tried to get a used one, but the op shops did not have.)

I also don’t love the battery’s external charging, but my good headlamp is broken, so I am using my secondary headlamp, and I don’t want to use AAAs.


Judo practice 8x plus an all-day clinic by Julien the Judo Nomad. Perfect attendance for Tuesdays/Thursdays, not bad. Well, the last Thursday I was in Nelson and ended up taking the class.

Climbing 8× as well. I still don’t know if I’m making progress, but one of my shoes does now have a small hole, which is annoying.



  • The Bakery & Cafe: excellent croissant (stuffed with ham and egg) made for a good lunch


  • Aurora Argentinian Bakery: dulce de leche croissant ended up being quite sweet (I guess it’s supposed to be), and I liked my empanada.
  • Kapiti Island Nature Tours overnight: dinner was good (moki), but lunch was awesome, with mussels.
  • Marine Parade Eatery: better food than website-fu. Had a tasty hash. Not much choice on a Saturday morning but they fed us.
  • The Green Man Pub: well, fries are pub food. What can I say? Not poutine.
  • Curry Lounge, Raumati Beach: definitely a place for curry, you can smell it (and afterwards). Wanted to come back after Kapiti Island but we just went straight home, alas.
Breakfast hash from Marine Parade Eatery; goat curry masala from Curry Lounge; fries from Green Man Pub; dulce de leche croissant and empanadas from Aurora; ham and egg croissant from The Bakery & Cafe.


Nothing unusual to report here either: same same. I did go to a Conservation Kōrero about Impactful Conservation Volunteering at Zealandia. People say that NZ’s “productivity” is low, but that’s measured in $. I wonder if NZ has more volunteerism than other countries.

Touristy in Wellington

  • Nairn St Cottage: a historic house; offers tours with interpretation about the eras of the house, with associated artifacts. Had a museum staff on working holiday from Ireland who had done quite a bit of learning about the history.

  • Light Cycles, a trippy light show in the Botanic Garden right next to our place. The price was kind of on the high side at $39 per person, but it was certainly worth some number of dollars.

Light Cycles: Crystal Grove; Forest Frequencies; rays; Memory of Water; The Hearth.
Nairn St Cottage: restored wallpaper, an actual hearth, appliances from various eras.


Not a bad month, on the whole. Just right in terms of a mix between travel and routine: good amount of going to the gym and to judo practice, plus walking. And produced a number of words that I can live with.