Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dear friends and whanau and readers from the blogosphere in general,

As you know I am in China for a while and unfortunately my access to blogger, even with a vpn, is hit and miss. More miss than hit. So I will continue to post about our adventures in Wuxi, musical things and such on another blogsite that I can access. Please go to http://wnpurdy.blog.com from now until further notice for all the juicy bits that are fit to print.
Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bicycle race (Queen)

Hey hey - I'm back on blogger!! The great firewall of China has blocked access to my blog so I've had to use a different site for a week http://wnpurdy.blog.com but it was far far away from the standards I'm used to on blogger.

You can go there to find out about my first week living and working in China.

I'm off with SWMBO to suss out some bikes today.

Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You got my future in your hands (Stevie Wonder)

Phew - in the end it wasn't as close as had been predicted but it was gripping drama none the less as Obama made it over the finish line ahead of Mr Flip Flop or was that Mr Flim Flam?

I read a Guardian article recently that indicated Obama was the world's choice (apart from China apparently) but that's the kind of thing that Americans hate. Oh you want Obama? Okay well we'll vote for the other guy.

I am staggered that so many would actually vote for Romney and can only put it down to that perverse desire to piss off the rest of the world. How can anyone vote for someone who engages in such abrupt about faces? His expedient changes in stance (he had no policies) were dizzying. What a scary notion - that he could actually be the leader of the American Empire. 

The CNN reporter in Boston (Romney HQ) said that Romney's motorcade had left his hotel and the concession speech would be in 4 or 5 minutes. Then she indicated that the Hotel was attached to the area where the speech would take place. He could have walked the 5 minutes, but instead took a motorcade?????? What a plonker.

The concession speech by Mitt (really?) when it came was nice and he seemed almost human for a moment but then 15 minutes later Obama emerged in Chicago and delivered an electrifying address that had me on the edge of my seat.

I loved the choice of music before he spoke too - Stevie Wonder - oo baby, here I am: signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours.

SWMBO and I fly off to China tomorrow night, arriving on Friday morning for the next bit of our great adventure. Stay tooned for further developments.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, November 4, 2012

And I think to myself...what a wonderful world (Louis Armstrong)

I thought to myself recently the other day that the whanau continues to grow and expand. This is a great and fantastic thing.

My aims and objectives of this post are to introduce and welcome some new inductees and arrivals to Wozza's world (have a look see at the whanau map).

The above paragraphs, collection of sentences are dedicated and named in honour of Peter Joyce who loves tautology. I'll take a money order but, please - no cheque (why do Americans spell this 'check'?).

Anyway, enough of that (sorry)...a big hello to all the new members. 

Thanks to Fanfa and Jesse, Margo and Clay, we now expand to include the Loud, Dunn, Grossman, Peterson, Rowbotham and Kennedy families. It gets complicated but I think I've got everyone in the correct place on the map. Feel free to send in corrections on a stamped elephant

Okay...so who are these people?

My old university buddy, Chris Loud and his wife Lill Dunn live in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Margo and Clay passed on their emails and we have re-established contact.

Jesse's extended San Franciscan/ Danish families make up the inductees: his dad (Michael Rowbotham), stepmom (Karin Peterson); mom (Cathy Kennedy), stepdad (Dan Grossman); brother (Ian Rowbotham); and half sisters/ step brothers and sisters (Lina, Sara, Emily, Rebecca, Nate and Jamie).

Giday, hi, kia ora, hej, ni hao!
Hand shakes and kisses all 'round!

Love and peace - Wozza

My ally is the Force...Life creates it, makes it grow. It's energy surrounds us and binds us. (Yoda)

One of my heroes.
I've had some lively debate of late with Keegan and Adam about the recent sale of Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney company.

They seem to think that having the Star Wars empire under the Disney umbrella will result in an embracing of the dark side, i.e. the future movies will become Mickey Mouse vehicles and quality will nose dive.

Like vast numbers of people they are huge fans of the first trilogy (episodes IV to VI) but are not as impressed by the second trilogy (episodes I to III). They have heard reports that Disney will not stop at a third trilogy (episodes VII to IX) but continue to milk Star Wars into the future.

Keegan, also argues that George Lucas has a less than stellar reputation as a director (hhmmm, by selling the franchise he effectively removes himself from the director's chair as well so that's less of a concern I would have thought).

My p.o.v. is different.

As a director he is responsible for two of my top 10 movies of all time (Star Wars episode IV 'A New Hope'; and American Graffiti), Not bad considering he's only directed six major feature films in his whole career, and four of those were Star Wars movies (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and A New Hope).

That makes five movies and THX 1138 is the sixth. All six are fine movies in my eyes and yes Jar Jar Binks, The Ewoks Adventure, the animated Clone Wars, and Howard The Duck were embarrassing mistakes but that shouldn't colour things as much as they do.

The next three Star Wars movies will start being released from 2015 which is right and proper as Lucas always intended the Star Wars story to span nine movies (I remember reading a story in an American Film magazine that indicated this, even if Lucas has insisted it's a six film series in the recent past). I see no huge problem with the story working towards that conclusion, aside from the actual plot.

What will these episodes be about? Who knows! George Lucas says he doesn't know (I think he's being disingenuous). The original story is wrapped up - Luke has saved the galaxy and redeemed his father by destroying the Sith so that piece of the story is finished. It also can't be a prequel to Episode I because it's already being labelled Episode VII (can it?). So...it should be interesting.

Of course I am hoping for the best but Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were unique products of their time (actors, budgets, technology). It's ridiculous to expect episodes VII to IX to be like the middle trilogy. The CGI gloss of the first trilogy took some getting used to and, fer sure, I'll need to adjust for what Disney come up with (I know that sounds like I'm apologising already). That's fine, I can live with that, and I'm heartened by the news that Lucas (and Kathleen Kennedy as President of Lucasfilm) will still be around to keep an eye on his creation for a while yet.

It's just a shame we all can't return to 1977 for when Star Wars started, or to the late 80s/early 90s when my children were discovering Star Wars for themselves. That initial surprise and magic cannot be recaptured. We're all older, wiser, more experienced, but the inherent magic of Star Wars will be discovered by new generations into the future, and I think that's nifty!

Love and peace - Wozza

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'd catch a grenade for ya (Bruno Mars)

A rummage through my back pages for this post. So you get assorted images of the brood and their significant others (Di-ya, Ashleigh and Jesse).

Highlights: Adam sent these pictures of him teaching from the 'English Learning Room' in Japan which I love; the minister of defence in his Cap'n Pugwash pose; various family members filling their faces.


SWMBO has finished her radiotherapy treatments now and has been given the all clear so we are off to China on Thursday.

Love and peace - WNP

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

God bless the child who's got his own (Blood Sweet & Tears)

You've had news and pictures of Keegan, Jade and Samantha (and her fiance) recently.

A reminder... 

J M Purdy; K W Purdy who both love seeing their
photographs on my blog.
J Rowbotham; S M Purdy actually DO love seeing themselves
on the blog.

Poor Adam must be feeling a tad overlooked so today it's his turn.

Adam was recently given 20kgs of rice, which was nice.

It was payment in kind from his school principal for work done on his farm.

The principal at the school in Japan where Adam is working also has a sideline business as a rice farmer. He asked Adam for some help to harvest his crop and Adam said, "Sure, I can do that".

It meant Adam drove a kind of rice harvester for the day and had dinner provided for him (and Ashleigh who was also invited for the dinner part).

A Hope feeling at home in Japan.
Adam didn't expect anything but was delighted with the 20kgs of rice. Apparently the price of rice there is like dairy products here - hellishly expensive!

A L Purdy on the rice harvester thing.


There you go Adam!

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spring is here, the sky is blue, whoah oh oh, birds all sing as if they knew (The Dixie Cups)

I am thrilled to be able to announce to the blogosphere that Samantha has accepted Jesse's recent proposal of marriage!!

Jesse did the traditional stuff brilliantly (seeking my permission was a classy start), including the one knee proposal in (by Jesse standards) romantic circumstances.

This was not totally unexpected news but it was joyous none the less. Wozza's world has not been the most fun filled place of late and Fanfa's news has well and truely rescued 2012.

Jesse and some of his fantastic family have been whanau members for some time, but they now move up the whanau ranks from 'American friends in America' to 'outlaw' status. As well as my sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law I will soon be able to add son-in-law to the whanau map. This is exciting stuff!! 

Jade is equally excited for Fanfa and for the wedding as she'll be the maid of honour. Of course, mother-of-the-bride (soon to become a, shock horror, mother-in-law), a.k.a. SWMBO, is over the moon with this news as well.

Luckily we love Jesse and his family so I can sincerely say a big 'welcome to the family!

Rest assured we will be getting prepared for the nuptials by sussing out the various relevant movies over the coming months - Father of the bride, Maid of honour etc, and looking forward to getting the Rowbotham and Purdy families together somewhere in the world to celebrate in style.

I leave you with this segment from Seinfeld (everything can be traced back to Seinfeld!)

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oye coma va mi ritmo (Santana)

The catch ups with old friends continue.

My friendship with Margo and Clay goes back 32 years when I met the phenomenally talented duo at Auckland University. Margo was finishing off her masters degree while I was starting mine. She then started her PhD. Meeting and befriending Margo led to meeting and befriending her partner Clay.

The planets came into alignment, celestial choirs swooned, a bright spotlight hit me (think The Blues Brothers scene in the church) and Also Sprack Zarathustra boomed out of the cosmos.

I'm not sure if I adopted them, or they adopted me. As a teenager I loved American culture and having Clay (from Seattle) and Margo as enthusiastic experts on all things cultural was immense for me at a crucial time. We found that we shared a love for certain types of music and in our discussions they educated me into new worlds of art and culture and new ways of thinking. 

We became really close friends as our friendship developed. When I married SWMBO in 1984 Clay was my best man and Margo the MC. When Keegan was born they became his godparents.

That's close!

We've always kept in contact, but, because of our years living overseas (UK 2004 to 2006; Middle East 2009 to 2012) and in Stratford (2007-2009), we haven't actually seen each other for about 10 years.

It was great to meet again at Auckland University's Business School with Keegan, Jade and SWMBO also in attendance.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, October 22, 2012

A new level of confidence and power (Pantera)

Spring weather in Nu Zild during October/November is always a trial. Windy, wet, sunny, hot, cold, calm - often all on the same day, especially if you happen to be in the Auckland region as we now are. Lately we've had a fine day followed by three wet and windy ones.

I went down to Palmerston North recently (huge thanks to Graysy and Jansy - two stellar members of the whanau who looked after me for a few nights) and brought Jade back to Waiheke to enjoy some peace (love) and quiet before her exams start next week.

We had a lovely day on Saturday and tried to take full advantage. Brian's place on the island overlooks Sandy Bay - a great place for exploring rock pools, paddling about and walking around the bays at low tide, so that's what we did.

  L&P - Abu Keegan

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tell me how do I feel? (New Order)

Leo Bertos in blue September
As the whanau knows we have had some sobering moments during the last two months.

When I worked at Cambridge High School I described working with Alison Annan as having a bucket of cold water thrown over my head; a big stimulating of the senses act, in a gigantic wake up call kind of way. More and more cold water shake ups seem to be coming thick and fast these days.

Our week days have established a kind of systematic routine (even when we have visitors like Jade who is staying on the island for a few days). Is 'systematic routine' tautology at work? It may be. Jacky has her Auckland radiotherapy appointments at the Mercy Hospital each morning.

We get up earlyish and Brian delivers us to a ferry terminal on Waiheke. From there it takes 35 minutes to sail across where Keegan picks us up from the Auckland Ferry building and delivers us to the hospital (when he can't we catch the Hospital bus). Jacky has her zap and we get morning tea before Keegan takes us back to Queen Street and we catch a return ferry, then another bus back to Pope's Corner in Oneroa (a part of Waiheke Island). We walk home to Brian's place from there. SWMBO needs to walk for a bit each day and then rest. We eat early (for her tablets to work) and then Brian gets out his movie collection on a gigantor hard drive and we select a movie to watch ( we laughed when GI Joe ended with the audience standing up in front of the credits!).

Up to last week I hadn't considered that men would also be undergoing radiotherapy at the Mercy. Up till then I'd sat with the women patients who have to change into a blue smock prior to their zap, but then, last week, I sat with an overweight middle aged guy wearing a shirt and tie and a blue apron around his lower bits I was a tad shocked. Keegan was too.

It was blue September recently - a month dedicated to getting men to have their prostate checked (yes - been there done that in case you're wondering). There were a series of adverts and such during September but I reckon all it would take would be a sobering visit to this waiting room to convince any men who didn't think it was a good idea to have regular checks in this region.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before (The Smiths)*

Adam, Ollie, SWMBO and Teenie
SWMBO and I visited another old friend this week - Tina and her husband Adam with their two year old son, Ollie. Tina very kindly provided us with lunch and even took us to and from the ferry building. She's a great girl is Teenie.
Ollie provided the entertainment and we had a wonderful afternoon catching up. Last time we saw them Ollie was in a pram, now he runs about shouting 'abuse' (thanks to his grandma), 'lady Yacky' (to SWMBO) and emptying the cupboards.

Jade rang me during the visit and asked if it brought back memories, and blow me down if after a while it did. Most involved a two year old Adam eating weird stuff after escaping from his cot in the early hours of the morning (sitting on the floor eating flour from the container in the kitchen with a large amount on the floor as well as in his mouth is a vivid memory).

After our visit we headed back to Waiheke Island where we are staying with the Minister of Defence (as my Arabic mates would call him), my father-in-law - Brian Smith.
The beach at Oneroa on Waiheke.
Life on Waiheke (unkindly but not inaccurately called the Cadbury Isle by Aucklanders) is...different. If you ever wondered what became of the Woodstock generation - 8,000 of them ended up on Waiheke!

It's slower in general, maan, although the jalopies still hurtle around the corners at times, friendlier, and much more alternative than life on the Auckland mainland (about 35 minutes away by ferry).

SWMBO and I are walking a lot each day - part therapy, part adventure, part necessity (we don't have our own car on the island), and it feels a little like walking in Dubai at times - a real lack of pedestrian friendly roads, a place out of time, and plenty of sand.

It does give us an opportunity for sightseeing though. I have been impressed by the variety of letter boxes on display and so I decided to compile a bit of a portfolio (I hope you are impressed Jesse).

Somehow the home made, quirky, innovative, humorous, weirdly creative letterboxes sum up the Waiheke experience quite nicely.

And my favourite on what appears to be an empty section of land (as in there is no house attached to the letterbox)

Love and peace maan - Wozza

* The title this week is an in joke that only my children will fully understand - SWMBO's maiden name was Smith and 'Smith humour' has legendary status in our household.