Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today

News from abroad first - Samantha has supplied an Alistair Cooke style 'Letter from San Francisco'. Edited highlights -

Things have been great. Last Monday I met Jesse's grandma. It was her 80th birthday so his mum held this lovely dinner party at the family house in Marin. We went over in the afternoon to meet and greet her but she was out walking so Cathy shouted us to the Sausalito Art Festival - wow it was amazing, there are some really cool artists in San Francisco, very inspiring.

I've been on a few hikes recently to name a few: Mt Shasta National Park. Morgan Territory National Reserve (here we saw hundreds of funky looking squirrels and a Bobcat!!!= very cool). Um, I can't remember the name of the most recent but I can tell you that it was to a small beach cove and that there were a tonne of playful seals, huge pelicans and on the walk back to the car I spotted a wild coyote making his way up the hill.

I saw "World's Greatest Dad" with Robin Williams the other day at the Bridge theater down the road. A really good movie, but the kid actor in it is super annoying in the film. Jesse's mum shouted us a trip to the "Contemporary Jewish Museum" where we saw the "Chagall and the artists of the Russian Jewish Theater 1919-1949" exhibition. It was stunning. I had only ever heard of Chagall in art history class- never thought I would ever get the chance to view his work!!!

Jesse and I were invited to a welcome home dinner for Nate at this awesome restaurant in Marin. It was so pretty we got to watch the sunset over the hills from our table and the food was spectacular! I had Gnocchi, which was a new experience but one that made an impression- it was sooooooo good! After dinner we drove back to San Francisco, played monopoly and watched the All Blacks get their butts whipped! (Whats going on with them? They really need to buck their game up!).

Anyway the day after the All Blacks defeat was San Frans famous 'Power to the Peaceful' music festival. I got to see Alanis Morassey, Sly and Robbie and Spearhead!!! Plus it was all free and full of thousands of hippies, protesters against animal cruelty, the death penalty and a big one was the call for an investigation into 9/11- apparently there was a government conspiracy and all that jazz :) - ahhhhh America is funny.

Oh oh oh I forgot the coolest news of all!! Last night Nate invited the boy and I to a Giants baseball game at AT&T stadium downtown. We think that Dan had been gifted the extra tickets from clients because oh my gosh what seats!!!! We were like a metre from the Giants dugout, three seats from the pitch! It was incredible, we were right next to the Giants players and close enough to talk to the batters as they prepared to take the base. So it was the San Francisco Giants vs the Colorado Rockies and we won 9-1. Tim Lincecum's pitching was on fire, he had 11 strike outs before being replaced around 1 and a half hours in. I got to see Pablo Sandoval, aka kung fu panda, bat and even though he didn't go as well as I have come to learn he can, it was still a real treat. Thank goodness I have had Jesse to gradually explain the rules to me over the weeks, it really paid off last night.

Wow things just got intense around here...we have a mouse! Haha it is soooosmall, just a baby field mouse (hence it is impossible to catch). Jesse's solution was to pour his tea on it- just to stun it=bad idea. I tried to catchit with cheese and a plastic sieve when we cornered it in the bathroom but when it escaped and found refuge under the dishwasher Rich was finally given the go ahead to utilize the mouse trap.

I'm going to go hand out my C.V to a few places and visit the library...hopefully by the time I get back the dirty deed will be done and disposed of. How are you doing anyway...I liked the blog this week, very spiritual. I found the same 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' book downstairs in the garage when I first moved in here but Peter (my room mate nicked it off me and is now fully engaged...so maybe after I will get a turn).

Thanks Samantha. More to come in the months to come I'm sure.

Speaking of Zen - the bit I just read about in Robert Pirsig's book was interesting and reminded me of something I saw in London. Pirsig is travelling with his son, Chris, and two friends - John and Sylvia. They travel over some vast prairie land and Sylvia says, "This is the hardest stuff in the world to photograph. You need a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree lens or something. You see it, and then you look down in the ground glass and it's just nothing. As soon as you put a border on it, it's gone." She goes on..."Once when I was about 10 we stopped like this by the side of the road and I used half a roll of film taking pictures. And when the pictures came back I cried. There wasn't anything there."

Jacky and I were sitting in EAT by The Tower of London one day, looking out at the road (the view looked up towards the road and away from the Tower). I noticed a tour group on a double decker bus (the ones with the open top) and every single person was looking at the Tower through their camera. No one was actually looking at the Tower at all. I wondered at the time about their missed opportunity and the point of travelling to places just to look through a viewfinder. I wonder if they cried when their pictures came back and there wasn't anything there (as soon as you put a border around it - it's gone).

Peace and love - Wozza

Monday, September 14, 2009

Games without frontiers, war without tears

A mixed bag from all of my teams over the last few days to report on.

Arsenal, of course, got thumped. We didn't take our chances, momentum shifted yada yada yada. It didn't help that Arsenal old boy Adebeyor stomped on Van Persie and anybody else he came close to in a red shirt. And in a disgusting display he scored and raced down to the Arsenal away supporters section at the opposite end of the ground to celebrate. What a jerk!! We'll move on...Rochdale had a good 2-1 win. Wahoo!!

The All Blacks, of course, got thumped. I had an idea we would. This is not a good year for us - the only saving grace is that we beat the Australians and retain the Bledisloe Cup. I would much rather we win this than the tri-nations. The Jarpies are definitely the best in the world at the moment. This is painful to write. We'll move on...

The Pittsburgh Steelers ground out a win to start their season as I wrote about last time. Amazingly the San Francisco 49ers also won and so did the Seattle Seahawks (I keep an eye on them for Clay). Wow!! The 49ers were playing this year's Superbowl finalists so it was a very encouraging win. Jesse, Michael and Fanfa will be excited no doubt.

Love and peace and hup hup - Wozza

Friday, September 11, 2009

Try to see it once my way, everything zen.

Dad continues to make some progress with physio and is still in North Shore Hospital. The football season is finally over in NZ and I had my first Saturday sleep-in today, since about April. A good feeling.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a good start today - beating the Titans in the first game of the new season 13-10. Santonio Holmes was again a hero (and Hines Ward nearly a villain). Do you remember that catch to win the last Superbowl? Check back through the blog. It's worth it. He caught a touchdown pass today in great fashion. Wahoo! He's still my hero.

This is the 101st post on this weblog. Pretty cool huh. I'm quite pleased with its evolution over those 100 posts. I wanted to mix up the mundane day to day stuff with other things and that will continue throughout the next 99.

I'm re reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance again. This will be the fourth time I think. I dip into it from time to time but only three times have I completely reread it. Immediately I was struck by the following passage:

"What's new?" is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow.
This pursuit of trivia is why I haven't bothered with Twitter (well named though, isn't it?). Its 'what I am doing right now?' premise is guaranteed to deliver an endless parade of trivia. It's not for me and even Facebook doesn't hold that much appeal really. I know Keegan has jumped off the social network site Facebook with no regrets.

The latest Guardian Weekly ran a comment column on the world's microblogging culture and the dawning of the age of interactivity. It made some interesting points - that this technological/emotional/cultural revolution is driven by a belief that constantly interacting with others is an inherently worthwhile activity.

The last word goes to the great great Henry David Thoreau who wrote in Walden - "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing to communicate".

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The hole in my shoe is letting in water

It's absolutely pouring down outside and the weekend forecast is more of the same so I looked to the sky where an elephant's eye was looking at me from a bubblegum tree, and thought I'd share some pictures of holes. It's been that kind of week.

The pictures were sent to me by one of my staff. After the last one of the Hoover dam I thought you may be interested.

This is the Kimberley (South Africa) diamond hole - hand dug! 1097m!!

A glory hole in Monticello Dam (California) - used to drain to excess water from the reservoir.

A great blue hole (Belize) - a geographical phenomenon

A sinkhole in Guatemala.

Aren't they cool?!

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You've got to keep in mind love is here today

We had fathers' day in NZ last Sunday. It was nice - I wished my dad a happy day and my children all wished me one too. I like connections like this and it only needs to be a thought doesn't it? It's really why this weblog exists - to make connections. I still love the fact that these little posts wing their way out into the big wide world.

I was impressed the family all remembered actually. Samantha is in another country, Keegan and Adam are in different places in New Zealand and all had to think about me. Jade, of course, is still at home but will probably be in Wellington next year. The empty nest is getting closer.

I am always fascinated by father/son and father/daughter relationships. They are substantially different too. I'm more obsessed by the father/son one only because I'm a son, and I'm a father. I've hinted at this in the past - the film Pelle The Conqueror, the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Robert Bly's Six Winter Privacy Poems are three mentions that spring to mind. Each deals with the subject of how fathers and sons relate. I can't think, off the top of my head, of similar treatments of father/daughters. Can you? Father of the Bride and Three Men and a Baby don't count! I wonder why that is or maybe I'm missing some glaring pieces of literature. Do enlighten me.

Samantha left behind a best of Billy Connolly DVD which I watched a few days ago. In it Billy talks of his relationship with his own father - a pretty difficult one from Billy's point of view. His father couldn't 'get him' and Billy kind of shrugs that off with a - but-that-was-okay kind of comment, then tells a warm story of his father taking a jokey comment of Billy's at face value (a car needing a prescription windshield) and Billy being obliged to go along with it so as not to hurt his father's feelings. I could sense in the routine a feeling of regret on Billy's part - that his father never really approved of the career Billy took - singer/comedian and actor. Which is a shame cos we all have to follow our own path don't we.

I'm reading an interesting book at the moment - Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield, a writer for Rolling Stone magazine (no - I hadn't heard of him either). I got it for $2.50 from Whitcoulls (North Shore City) on their sale table. They had a huge pile of them (oh oh - never a good sign). I needed something to read while staying at dad's place a few weeks ago and this one had a reasonable story and had a strong music bias, was cheap and so I took a punt. I read the back and thought it was a novel - about a husband (also called Rob)/wife (Renee) relationship changed by Renee's death.

Then I started reading it and saw 'memoir' in tiny print on the cover. Well that changed things immediately, and for the better. Fiction revolving around music is rarely successful in my experience. In fact I can only think of one title worth recommending - Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity. Can't think of any others though, how 'bout you? Each chapter of Love...Tape is introduced by the list of songs on a mix tape that meant something to either Rob or his wife. Quite a snazzy idea.

What could potentially be a pretty depressing read - Renee dies young from a pulmonary embolism, or a sloppily sentimental triumph-over-adversity snooze, is actually quite gripping in its own way, clear-headed and affecting. Rob writes well and with some self-deprecation which I always like. If you see it on a sale table in Whitcoulls or WH Smith snap it up!

Couple of photos to end. First is of the hoover dam - dad sent this to me just before he had his stroke. It's really impressive as a photo and as a piece of construction. He also sent some pictures of Samantha's place (38 Blake St) in San Francisco from Google Earth.

And finally - here are some great photos of English countryside from Christine that cheer me up no end!
Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And the girl in the corner said boy I want to warn you it'll turn into a ballroom blitz

Jacky and I have just returned from Auckland where dad is making some good progress. It's been a time of family catch-ups - dad, Keegan, Adam, Ross and his family - have been showered with our attention of late. We've also been thinking of Gavin/Michelle. We went to Gavin's step-dad's funeral on Saturday. He (Alan) sounded like a great guy, a gentleman in fact and deed. I was particularly taken by stories of his earlier life in Scotland. His mother died shortly after giving birth and his father left him in Scotland and went to live in New Zealand!! Only the other side of the world. Amazing that Alan should eventually come to NZ himself and make a great life for himself. I sat and listened and thought about how we interconnect with each other in so many odd ways. I don't like funerals at all but I like the rituals attached to them and the eulogies are a fundamental part. Alan would have liked the eulogies in this instance. They did him justice (even though I didn't know him particularly).

I was also sitting there thinking about Edward Kennedy. What a giant. The ripples of his life have affected so many, including me. Definitely not perfect (nor were his brothers) but a worthy life, like Alan's. Both - kind and decent men. I loved Ted's eulogy for his brother - Robert Kennedy. It is justly famous for its sincerity and warmth and it strikes me that what he said of Bobby, is also true for him.

Other family bits and pieces - We've heard from Samantha recently. She is recovering from a bit of a car accident in America but is otherwise in fine fettle. We've also been kept up-to-date on Biddy (in her mid nineties) who is also unwell at present.

Jade, of course, had the school ball last Saturday and there are many photos to prove it. Including one on the front page of the Taranaki Daily News of her dancing (actually doing air-guitar - I'm SO proud!) http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/2816043/We-want-to-rock-and-roll-all-night

Photos of the whole ball shebang can be seen at http://trodge.smugmug.com/Other/Stratford-High-School-Ball-09/9449893_ezt4s#633827843_Mswjg (yes that's Mr and Mrs Purdy in the first 3 - seek and you'll find photos of us plus Jade and plus others)

Here's the stuff we took at home (please keep in mind the theme of the night was Moulin Rouge): First up - Jade and 'er indoors

This is me, Jacky with Jade and her date - Craig.

And finally - one of our 17 lambs (not bad for 9 ewes huh)

Love peace and top hats - Wozza