Sunday, July 26, 2009

You say it's yer birthday...

Some snippets from me to you to keep in touch:

There have been a couple of birthdays within the whanau of late - happy birthday to dad in Orewa, New Zealand, and to Irene in Bury, England.

Samantha is about ready to fly off to spend a year in America with Jesse. She's been preparing for this for ages and it's nearly happening!

No lambs yet but daffodils are starting to get ready for a grand opening.

Reading a book at present called 'Three Men In A Float Across England At 15 MPH'. Good to read about places I've been to - starting at Lowestoft, then Bury St Edmunds, Salisbury etc to Land's End. As the three spend a lot of the journey in various pubs it's not that exciting but still...

All Blacks lost to the Springboks. Predictable.

Watched two films on the weekend - 7 Pounds and Valkyrie. Not much chop. Valkyrie is hampered by Tom Cruise's American accent, even when speaking German, and the fatal knowledge that a plot to kill Hitler failed. The box promised action scene's aplenty. Sadly it lied!

Must dash - staff meeting starts in 3 minutes.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, July 20, 2009

Here we go, here we go, here we go.


Just in case you didn't get that - it's a long drawn out phew (the way an exhale is written).

Why the giant expelling of breath? The football is back!! And, okay, it's just pre-season friendlies at this stage - nevertheless the blogosphere and news world is finally over all the transfer speculation and there is some action for us all to talk about, albeit of the crazy score variety (yes, I know this all sounds desperate). How crazy? Villarreal are a pretty useful Spanish side. They recently played Navata, a third division Spanish side, and eeked out a narrow victory, 27-0!!

Arsenal and Rochdale have also been in action and I'm sure you're keen to know what happened. A draw with Barnet and a loss to Everton are the respective answers. But that's not the point, is it?


Apart from poring over these results - what have I been up to? The usual stuff really that makes up my life, thanks for asking.

That means I've been reading, listening to all sorts of music, feeding a variety of animals, getting anxious about things happening at work, keeping the fire stoked/bringing in the wood, checking to see if any lambs have arrived yet (nope, but any day), talking to Samantha and Keegan on the phone (Adam had nothing to say), taking and picking up Jade from her part time work, blogging, emailing Peter Joyce in China and Christine in Bury, planning our farewell to Samantha - she flies off to America on August 5th, marking English essays and planning stuff for my class to do, drinking copious amounts of tea, thinking about the moon landings that took place 40 years ago, attending tedious meetings, sleeping/snoring (apparently I do snore - shock horror!), watching movies and keeping up with the happenings on Coronation St. It's a full life!

The reading? You know of my quaint addictions (sad devotion?) to The Guardian Weekly and Mojo magazine. Apart from them I've just read Nick Hornby's most recent novel - Slam.

My top three Hornby books in descending order: Fever Pitch, 31 Songs, About A Boy. Only one is a work of fiction. There is no place for How To Be Good, or A Long Way Down, or even High Fidelity. Nor is there one for Slam. Which is not to say I didn't like it, but it won't be breaking into my top three.

It's a book about a teenage boy who gets his teenage girlfriend pregnant. It's well written and I finished it in three (teaching) days so it's reasonably addictive and easy to read. Except I had a nagging feeling throughout, that it wasn't written for me (didn't get that from my top three or How To Be Good or High Fidelity). I kept thinking I was reading it to see if it was okay for the school library. I finished it this morning and gave it to Jade to read. She loved About A Boy so she might like this one too.

Meanwhile - back to the football - I'll be sure to let you all know the result of Arsenal's next warm up game against Hannover 96 (yes - WHO?).

Love and peace and slide tackles - Wozza

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Y'know, my python boot is too tight, I couldn't get it off last night. A week went by, an' now it's July.

I've been completely engrossed in blogging on my music blog and have neglected this one for a week! Unheard of. You see I'm 23 posts into a run down of my 49 most significant songs. Why 49? You'll have to read #1 at for the answer.

Not much happening really - second week of the holiday has now passed. I have added a few new blogs to my blogroll though. Dave Barry is a great writer and I came across his blog while searching around the Wired magazine blogs. I got there because of a review of Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Wired editor, Chris Anderson. The review was in The Guardian Weekly's latest issue. Really interesting review. The other blog is about all sorts of cultural artifacts - including this cool comic

Jade and I have recently been discussing the concept of living in the now. #23 on the goo goo blog is about George Harrison's song 'Be Here Now' and co-incidentally some great responses to the question, 'The past goes all the way back. The future goes on for ever. How long is the present?', were in that latest Guardian weekly. I particularly liked this one:
Both "the past" and "the future" are mental constructs. Neither exists outside
the mind. the past is over. the future has not occurred. The present is all there
is and it is infinite. It is always now. It always has been now. It always will
be now.

Right now I am looking out at the grey sky, the ripples on the pond, the wind blowing the trees. I'm half listening to Mark Knopfler's soundtrack to The Princess Bride and Jacky who is talking on the phone to her dad. I'm thinking about what I do next.

Love and peace right now - Wozza

Saturday, July 11, 2009

You're so warm...oh, the ritual...when I lay down your crooked arm...

I've had a cold for the last few days. Maybe it was from refereeing the football last week (we had our first win - a 6-2 mauling of Inglewood High School, who had coincidentally beaten us by the same score back in April), or maybe that haircut the day before the football - hey it's cold enough without losing a protective covering. Who knows - but I have a cold. Jacky has done her damnedest to convince me it's H1N1 and, "Get a swab!". But I'm sticking to my cold theory. She's been working so with that and the cold, I've done quite a few posts on wozza's place and goo goo. I can't think of anything inspirational to write on the principal site so that'll have to wait.
So what have I done of late while laid up? Well, watched movies, listened to records (yes - records), tuned into the Tour de France on TV and fed the horses and Ducky hay when I've felt okay. Ricky Jervais kept me laughing and you can read for the music I've been playing. This post is about formats and two brilliant photos I need to share from the 24 hours in pictures Guardian site - the tiger diving for food and the cute monkey.

A mojo questionnaire asks famous people, among other things, what format they prefer - CD, vinyl, or MP3. Clearly there is something of a generational shift at work, with the general mojo demographic going for vinyl. Clearly I would answer in the same way. And why is that you ask? Well for three reasons;

1) The packaging - yes my eyes are getting worse but the CD packaging is usually pretty bad and always small! MP3's have no packaging so that leaves my beloved vinyl.

2) the two sided format - the restricted nature of vinyl means I don't get bored - each side has a distinctiveness that I love. I like the fact I have to turn the record over and touch the vinyl every once in a while. It's a very tactile format all the way round (pardon the pun) - CD's don't have anything real touch them, just a beam of light. MP3's are even worse - a collection of songs - nothing for me to fall in love with (maybe if I was a mathematician - then I could appreciate all those zeros and ones).

3) the collectability - MP3 has none - it's ether music. You download it and place it in a small functional device. CD's are a necessary evil these days and I can play them in the car but I wouldn't label myself a CD collector. No - it's 'record collector' for me, even though I don't buy that many records anymore. And it's big speakers, amp and turntable please

Three current records from today - side two of the Grateful Dead album Terrapin Station, Grandaddy's Sumday and the late Dan Fogelberg's Souvenirs. La de da, la de da!

Love and peace and sounds - Wozza (oh and this post's title is from Pearl Jam's Spin the black circle - a great song about records)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Let go your head, let go your heart and feel it now...

At the risk of having you break into song (Feelings, nothing more than feelings) this post is indeed about 'Feelings' (with a capital F). But we'll bypass Albert Morris' song if you don't mind.

Instead - let's rip into the Jackson Five's disco down boogie of Can you feel it?

The title of this post comes from the stupendous David Gray song Babylon. And just because I adore this song here it is too
David Gray - Babylon (Official Music Video) - The best home videos are here

The third of my video homages to Feelings is from The Feeling - a great British band that I've mentioned before on my music blog

Uploaded by huntylch. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

That's all nice 'n good, I'm sure you're thinking. but why is he telling me this? And why isn't this post on his goo goo blog thing anyway? And why don't I have anything better to do than read this stoopid blog??

Well I'll tell you - it's all because of a Time magazine dated May 3 1999. Yes, that's right - 1999! It suddenly appeared in my pigeon hole at school. The cover introduces a story on the new Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace. Turns out the librarian at school came across it and thought of me! I'm pleased she did too. I've been reading this copy for weeks now. It has the aforementioned cover story but it coincided with the Columbine massacre and that story is still chilling and fascinating to read. It shook me at the time and it shakes me still. Aside from those two stories it's been interesting to look over a ten year old magazine. It puts the 'now' in perspective in many ways.

But anyway - feelings - remember. I am getting there - trust me.

The magazine also had a great interview with Bill Moyers and George Lucas. Those of you who've been along on the blog ride with me since the start will remember I'm a huge Joseph Campbell fan - he of the 'follow your bliss' line. I have a series of great interviews on video between Moyers and Campbell in which they discuss the mythic properties of, among other things, Star Wars. So when I saw this interview in this old issue of Time my heart started to pound.

Moyers: In authentic religion, doesn't it take Kierkegaard's leap of faith?
Lucas: Yes, yes, definitely. You'll notice Luke uses that quite a bit through the film - not to rely on pure logic, not to rely on the computers, but to rely on faith. That is what "Use the force" is, a leap of faith. There are mysteries and powers larger than we are, and you have to trust your feelings in order to access them.
I love this idea! Lucas says at another point in the interview that, "You have control over your destiny, you have many paths to walk down, and you can choose which destiny is going to be yours...You must let go of your past and embrace your future and figure out what path you're going to go down". This is when the 'Trust your feelings' lesson means things for me. David Gray in Babylon says 'Let go your heart, let go your head, and feel it now'. Same deal. Go with the inner voice, trust that. Is it instinct? The Holy Spirit? The Force? Different people will have different answers. I don't know what it is for you. For me - trusting my feelings leads me into the larger mysteries of the universe.

I'm reading a very interesting book at the moment by Susan Jeffers called 'Feel the fear and do it anyway'. It's a self-help book (I find these books affirming at various stages of my life - I'm there now) and her basic message is in the title. Again with the Feeling you'll note! I found the book by complete accident. I was watching CNN and a short clip from China had a person say he'd read this book called 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' and it had changed his perceptions of life. Okay! So I, of course, googled the title and then went to my local bookstore - who had a copy!

I'm enjoying the book and one passage resonates with me and all this Feelings stuff - "Stop fighting your life. Let go and let the river carry you to new adventures by the way you experience your life." I like this idea of letting go, simplifying, casting off old skins. It's very liberating! Time to stop fighting.

Love and peace and may the force be with you - W

Pages turning, pages torn and pages burning.

We're into the first week of the July holidays. Samantha has been with us for a few days and has now returned to Wellington for a week to earn some money. She flies to America in August but got a job for a week and so was off this morning. While she was here we (Jade, Jacky, Samantha and me) went up north to see dad, Ross and family. Samantha is away for a year so it was a chance to catch up with everyone before she goes. On the way we stopped off in Hamilton to see Adam, and in Auckland we caught up with Keegan. We stayed at the Skycity hotel - right next to the skytower in central Auckland.

Jacky and I ventured into the casino for a look (and to validate our parking). What a disgusting place! To quote Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious". I hated it - all the garish lights, the noise, the smells of greed and stale alcohol, all those shattered dreams. We couldn't wait to get out! Keegan's right - it's very disorientating being in there - not like the real world at all.

Although we had little time for looking around (not even Real Groovy or Marbecks) we did find some shoes for Jade to go with her ball dress. Yes the ball is also coming up in August - pictures are sure to follow. Then it was back to Stratford to feed all the animals. A hectic couple of days and my first and last time in a casino!

Love and peace - W

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

But suddenly it's so clear to me, that I'd asked her to see what she would never see.

Here's the best reaction I've seen so far about the major pop star who died recently and has dominated the news in such a comprehensive manner but who shall otherwise remain nameless because you all know who I'm taking about.

Hours and hours and hours and hours of meaningless babble, blather and balderdash on FOUR cable news stations. Yeeeccchhhh!

I read an interesting justification for the saturation coverage on a BBC editor's blog. You can read it yourself at - just scroll down to the second post. I notice she's had over 100 comments on this post - clearly it's an issue with a lot of people. I've read a few of the comments and they seem to follow a similar theme - sure cover the story for a start but what is the point of days and days of coverage after the whole world knows he's dead. I can understand why the BBC did so - everyone else was! But really - we expect more from the BBC - the only quality news gatherer on the television.

I'm thinking of reinstating my ban on television news. We get four news channels - Skynews, CNN, Fox, BBC plus TV1 and TV3 news hours of the terrestrial variety. Fox is the worst by far - all gloss/glamour and zero substance (kandy floss has more nourishment!). Sky is next - all brash headlines, extreme close-ups and gore galore. CNN is passable most of the time but not very comprehensive - obviously a bias towards US coverage. The BBC, therefore, stands alone. When even they stoop to blanket coverage of sensational events, we are in serious trouble!

Love and peace - W