Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I can hear music, sweet, sweet music...

Before I get to my annual music round up (it's a newish tradition, that is - this is the first) here's a little snap of me with the school's senior leaders. If you want a formal version you'll need to go to the Principal's blog - http://shsprincipal.blogspot.com .

The last Mojo I read was the January 2009 edition – containing their Best of 2008 list and their usual end of year survey of what some celebrities and musos listened to in 08. As a little exercise I went off into my CD collection and rounded up all of the 2008 CDs I’d bought. I was a tad shocked – there were only 14! Most of the stuff I bought was much older. I don’t keep up!

So here’s my top 14 of 2008 - in order of how much I listened to them (and therefore liked!)

14 – Ringo Starr – Liverpool 8. Yes Ringo put out a new album in 2008 – bet you didn’t know that! It’s not very good (you DID know that). Sorry Ringo, but I bought it out of a sense of duty (that’s why I own ALL of your back catalogue). Liverpool 8 has one goodish song that is worth listening to twice – the title track. The best thing about the CD is a picture inside of George and Ringo in Beatlemania times – in Liverpool, in an open top car. They look gear!

13 – Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun. I’ve tried to like this but after repeated listens it hasn’t hooked me. Sorry number 2 to Brian - I did try, really I did.

12 – Madonna – Hard Candy. A disappointment – I think it’s a mistake that she’s retreated to her ‘True Blue’ voice – you know the helium fuelled one. I bought it cos I loved her last few. This one can be avoided.

Okay – into the decent ones now – 11 – The Desotos – Cross Your Heart. Roger gave me this CD with some other Ode releases and I listened to this one a lot. I like the open road/New Zealand feel to the songs.

10 – The Datsuns – Headstunts. A return to form after their last few albums. I bought it out of a sense of duty cos I have all their stuff and they come from Cambridge High School of all places. Good (at times Great) New Zealand guitar rock.

9 – Opeth – Watershed. I didn’t listen to this a lot because Opeth polarises the family (they hate it!) but when I do it gets the juices flowing and there were times in 2008 I needed to put on some REALLY LOUD music. Opeth and Watershed were great! There are some really prog moments on this (rather than their death metal approach).

8 – Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely. Adam Jenna and Keegan gave me this for my birthday but it’s an album I would have bought if they hadn’t. They made a good choice in other words. Another Good (at times Great) rock album.

7 – Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns. I really like Snow Patrol (not love though). I listened to this a lot and it reveals it’s quality over time – I like albums like that.

6 – Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul. I really like Oasis (not love though). Another one I like to listen to over and over because I hear new things in it each time.

And so to the top 5: 5 – Coldplay – Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends. Not an album to love in an uncontrollable way (like I do X and Y) but has some classic Coldplay on it.

4 - Sigur Ros - cool Icelandic moodly soundscapes (it's a bit weird in other words). It's actually a strange album - it starts off with some off kilter pop songs and then just gets more and more ambient sounding until it feels like that scene in 'Never Cry Wolf' when he's dropped off into the Arctic. The plane leaves and he looks around in total silence and finally says..."Interesting".

3 – The Kooks – Konk. The Kooks I do love cos they remind me of Lewis’ old band – Plus Special Guests for some reason. I love pop music and the Kooks know how to deliver. This feels fairly ramshackle in places (more reason to love it). Great British pop!

2 – Aimee Mann - @#%&*! Smilers. If Aimee has made a duff album I’m yet to hear it. This is music that is appropriate in any circumstance – Saturday night, Sunday morning, before school, after school - whenever. I love her voice, the texture of the music, the lyrical flips and the off kilter pictures of America/ Hollywood. She’s the woman! This is a great album. Go and buy it and tell me I’m wrong.

1 (Best thing I bought in 2008) - Fleet Foxes - You're probably saying - 'Who?' This is their first album and I only bought it because Mojo did a rave review of it during the year (and it incidentally ended up as their record of the year too). I love harmonies (Crosby Stills..., Beach Boys etc) and these guys obviously love them too. It's again fairly off kilter stuff but I've gone back to it time and again. You will too!

Other stuff -

I get quite a few weird emails from my staff alerting me to 'fun' sites and jokes - most of them are pretty lame but here are two goodies. First up a youtube advert from T Mobile that was filmed guerrilla style at an underground station in London:

and finally get a load of this!!!

Look at the picture above, and you can see where this driver broke through the guardrail, on the right side of the culvert, where people are standing on the road, pointing.

The pick-up was traveling about 75 mph, from right to left, when it crashed through the guardrail.

It flipped end-over-end, bounced off and across the culvert outlet,and landed right-side-up on the left side of the culvert, facing the opposite direction from which the driver was traveling.

The 22-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger were unhurt, except for minor cuts and bruises.

Just outside Flagstaff , AZ on U.S. Hwy 100.

Now, look at the second picture below . . .

Whoa nelly!!!

All for now - take care. Love and peace - W

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go but all I've got is a photograph...

A bumper edition of photos for you all in this post. It's been back to work with a vengeance this week - not much time for any downtime apart from rewatching the last series of 24 with Jacky and reading my current book - 'John Paul George Ringo and Me' by Tony Barrow (The Beatles PR man in the sixties). A gift from my Executive Officer at school, it's okay but he's pretty pompous with overblown prose throughout. Apart from that our mower has been away for repair so I've only had the weekly harrowing of paddocks to keep me amused on the weekend.

Thank you to Dad for getting in touch to clear up the blighty thing for me -
Blighty is an English slang term for Britain, deriving from the Hindustani word vilāyatī (विलायती) (pronounced bilāti in many Indian dialects and languages) meaning "foreign", and is itself derived from the Arabic/Urdu word wilayat, meaning a kingdom or ministry.

Joan (remember she and Deirdre recently turned 50) also got in touch to mention that her lovely son sat her down to talk about her birthday and tried to console her that turning 40 shouldn't be such a problem. Bless!

And so - to the photos - a few more from Japan for a start:

The rest are from Jade's three day camp at Vertical Horizons last week - you'll remember I went out for a night and took these photos of her and friends (Jade is on the shoulders in the water, on the beam across the water, and in the 'yellow' photo she's somewhere! This is MacAllister - one of our four Houses and these are the Y13 leaders).

Nature watch - we're back to two horses - Jack has returned to his owner, and the temperature continues to slide downwards - we're experiencing autumnal weather conditions at the moment. I haven't been sleeping very well for a few weeks - I seem to wake at about 3.30am - 4.30am each morning. This morning at about this time there was an eery mist and strange filtered moonlight through the murk. I didn't go back to bed - just made cups of tea, watched the day slowly dawning and the mist lift off the paddocks and trees. Good thinking time!Henry David Thoreau in his diary for 18 Feb 1841 - Sometimes I find that I have frequented a higher society during sleep, and my thoughts and actions proceed on a higher level in the morning.

Currently grooving to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' album - Raising Sand. It kinda gets under yer skin (like sand!). I've played it every day for the last week and haven't got sick of it yet (especially good on misty mornings). Also dusted off Ryan Adams' 'Heartbreaker'. I read an interesting interview with him in Mojo which inspired me to listen again.

Annette sent me an email about a great site that I can also recommend (it's on my 'fun places to visit' bit on the left - just scroll down). Her words sum it up though so - over to you Annette:
Just found this site http://www.6billionothers.org/index_en.php which is part of a film project -- I watched a few of the people talking, and will dip in and out of it occasionally. Keep clicking and you will get to a screen where you can click on people and hear their comments (translated into English).

I found it humbling and moving to realise yet again how similar we are as human beings in our loves, fears and desires. I need to be reminded of this in light of world news and views of people as one-dimensional stereotypes with our attitudes and fears projected onto them.

I clicked on a few people talking about the dreams they had for life when they were children. My favourite was the guy who had a dream about going to Europe. Just look at his smile!!!

Love and peace - W

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Somewhere near Japan

Waitangi weekend came and went and I got busy with wallpapering the hallway (5 doorways, a powerbox, a big window, and three power points...I know I know - cry me a river). You may remember I told you that I stripped off the old garish paper last year and the job has been waiting in the queue. I'm not a keen wallpaper hanger and I can lose temper with near and dear ones when things don't go right so it's best to stay away when I'm in wallpaper mode - which is what the family did! It looks pretty good though and I'm happy with the results. The next interior decorating job is the lounge - I've also picked paper off that room too and it looks worse than the old hallway. It'll have to keep for the next holidays though when I can get some days in a row to tackle it.

Adam sent some pictures from Japan which I'm sharing with the whanau:

Why he has that expression I have no idea but there you go.

An update on the family - Jade is off on her year 13 leadership camp at present (I go out for a night tonight so I'll take my camera for some action shots), Samantha is currently in Wellington getting her new flat organised. She's been feverishly planning her year of late. This includes leaving for America during 2009 where she'll stay for a year. Keegan is hard at work in Auckland.

Nature watch notes - we've had some stinking hot days but then some torrential rain yesterday. Today we have overcast and cooler weather which is nice. The grass has stopped growing in the paddocks - too much heat/not enough water. Jacky is sending a loan horse back this week - the horse (Jack) has been stroppy and Jacky's shoulder injury means the horse is too much for her. Jade left the back gate open yesterday (and the back door to the house). When Jacky came back from physio she was met by the sheep in the back yard and in our laundry and toilet area. They made a mess! Jade wasn't popular!!

Currently grooving to Porcupine Tree, Ozric Tentacles and Spock's Beard - prog bands!

Sports thought for this post - Chelsea fire their coach (Big Phil Scolari - a football genius!). This is insanity. I would be in despair if I was a Chelsea fan - if it's not instant success the coach is history. They've had 4 coaches in (I think) the last 2 years. Meanwhile Arsenal struggle (nil nil draws lately) and no one says Wenger must go. Rochdale continue on a winning season. Wahoo!!

Love and peace - W

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Go the Steelers and Santonio Holmes

Wow! The superbowl has been and gone and I'm still buzzing with shock. The game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals went to script - for three quarters The Steelers were grinding out a win, up 20 points to 7. They had stiffled the one potent weapon the Cardinals possess - wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (remember I told you he can catch anything right?), and I was worried!! I watched all the play-off games and I knew a comeback was a-coming and that 13 points wasn't enough. And then the 4th quarter...and the Larry Fitzgerald show took over and the Cardinal defence stepped up...and the Steelers were in trouble with less than 2 minutes to go (down 23 to 20)...and I was on the floor in front of the TV begging for a momentum shift and a Steeler win. It was 35 seconds to go and I was saved by Santonio Holmes.

Santonio Holmes is heading my inspiration list - not for this spectacular, miraculous catch to win the game for the MIGHTY STEELERS but for the last two plays in the sequence including the catch. The quarter-back (Ben Roethlisberger) threw a perfect pass into the left corner. Santonio Holmes leapt high - but the ball sped through his hands. The Steeler fans and players watched as, maybe, the game was lost in that non-grab. The next play after this bitter disappointment was again to feature Holmes - this time on the right hand corner and surrounded by THREE Cardinal defenders. The throw had to be high (it was), fast (it was), and pin-point/centimetre perfect (it was), and the catch had to be held (it was), and the receiver had to stay inbounds - that is he had to touch the ground with BOTH feet AFTER the catch (he did).

Wow. The guts of the play-call, the throw, and the catch was amazing. I couldn't speak - the shock of the moment is still with me. Steelers win! Holmes is my hero!