Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's only love and that is all (The Beatles)

Our passions can define us. 

"It's only every four years", says I to SWMBO every time the FIFA World Cup rolls around and her exasperation grows as I continue my quest to watch every game live and fill in my mega wall chart of results.

It's sad but true - my life has been partly defined by the culmination of joy that is the World Cup every four years.

1967: Representing Auckland aged 10.
The Olympics? Euros? Yeah - they're nice but nothing comes close to the feelings I get from the World Cup.

In rugby the mighty All Blacks will smash England over the next few weeks, the French Open tennis will reach its conclusion, the NBA playoffs will be done and dusted, and I'm pretty sure the NHL's Stanley Cup will play out soon as well.

Yeah they'll be fun but the World Cup is the ultimate sporting endeavour on Planet Earth!!

As I write this post (the first day of winter in New Zealand) I'm watching The Netherlands play Ghana, two weeks out from the start of the World Cup. It's a meaningless friendly but I'm hooked! 

1969: Eden F.C.  'A' Grade Championship winners
(top right with the bowl cut - cheers mum)
I generally love the way the Dutch play football and I'm keen to access their form (if you're interested - Robin missed a sitter and the Dutch flattered to deceive. On that form they won't be troubling anyone!)

It's only love.

My love affair with football started when I was four years old. That's a 52 year old affair and counting.

My parents took me down to our local football club when I was four. I had nagged them hard enough to get my way.

1986: League Champions (played 13, won 13)
(Second from left, middle row with trendy eighties cut
- cheers SWMBO)
Seymour Park was the place and Eden A.F.C. the club. We lived a couple of streets away at the time and I distinctly remember making those early Saturday morning walks to the fields on my own, dressed in my Eden colours - my grandmother had knitted me a black and gold jersey and I loved it! 

I was highly motivated to play the beautiful game. Even if it was in Royal Oak, Auckland rather than the favelas of Brazil.

My mum had bought me the smallest pair of soccer boots she could and a couple of pairs of socks to fill them out and I was off.

I was pretty good too, for a four year old. 

I remember very clearly playing games at Seymour Park as a midget. I was a defender from the start. I guess we did that midget follow-the-ball-at-all-costs tactical manoeuvre but I quickly gravitated to the left back position and made it my own.

At age group levels I was the best left back in Auckland up to the age of 19.

When I left Mt Albert Grammar after three years in the first XI (the last as captain) I drifted away from football during my five years at University, until starting life as a teacher at New Plymouth Boys' High School.

There I was able to be a player coach as the first XI played in a men's grade. When we moved back to Auckland in 1986 I rejoined Eden F.C. and played senior football. SWMBO, Keegan, Adam and I lived in Windmill Road, Mt Eden - one street away from the training ground at Disraeli Street. Perfect!

My competitive playing days ended when we moved to Nelson in 1990, but I continued to play socially, coached girls' and boys' teams and watched Keegan, Adam and later Samantha play football.

The knees have taken a pounding over the last 52 years so these days I am content to just run around like an idiot with my Woodford House Senior XI on training days.

Two weeks to go. Oh baby!!

This weblog began seven years ago - on June 30, 2008, so I've only had one previous World Cup to report on. I can't wait!

Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fill my head with the future, fill my eyes with the sky (Jake Bugg)

The euphoria of the Arsenal F.A. Cup victory and Rochdale F.C.s promotion to League 1 is still clinging to me. It was an agonising wait but the weight has lifted.

In other football news my girls' team (the second XI) at school is on a streak - three wins on the bounce. That's pretty remarkable given that about half the team has never played football before.

My junior debating team also had a win last week against our local rivals (our Spurs if you will - yes, we're the mighty gunners). It was their first debate and for two girls their first debate ever. Amazing.

All this and the World Cup is gearing up in Brazil! Bliss.

I'm hoping it's a huge success and that it doesn't go according to script. You know the drill - England under perform and implode; Ronaldo cries when Portugal get knocked out; Spain Germany and Brazil fight for the final honours.

It would be great if our ANZAC brothers, the Aussie battlers, ruffle a few feathers and an unheralded team manage some upsets. 

I can't wait. Every four years!! Reminds me - I'd better pick up a magazine tomorrow with the draw and posters for my classroom.

Love and peace - a happy Wozza

Friday, May 16, 2014

You'll be OK, follow your heart (New Radicals)

Tango, Dookie, Rocky and Bazil with some humans
My school has a maxim which springs to mind as I write this post: challenge the future, embrace the present, cherish the past.

We always live in the present so this post is about cherishing the past week!

This was the week when Samantha and Jesse surprised us with a dash home from San Francisco last Sunday for SWMBO's mothers' day and Jade's graduation on Thursday. Fanfa also celebrated her 25th birthday on Friday. Quite a week.

Wozza, SWMBO, Jade and Fanfa by Jesse
Fanfa and Jesse joined with us and Keegan for the big graduation celebration on Thursday and we had the added bonus of meeting Jade's new young man - welcome to the whanau William!

Adam is, of course, living in Japan so he and Ashleigh were absent, along with Diya (Keegan's young lady who is in China at present). We never seem to be able to get the whole whanau together outside of a wedding but this was a pretty good attempt.

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Well, lookabell, lookabell, lookabell, lookabell - Oooooh Weeeeee (Jackie Wilson and, a bit later, Dinah Lee)

Regular readers will remember two stories about buying a watch and buying a heater in the middle east. Both sounded like episodes from Seinfeld at the time. Well here's another one.

This is the story of the cardigan.

Be prepared for bewilderment, tears, angst, condemnation, and redemption (I hope).

Bits you need to know first: I wear suit pants to work. Sometimes I wear a full suit. 


Well since 2000 I've been in situations where this has been a requirement of my (senior management) position in a school. It was also a uniform requirement when I worked in the Middle East.

Last year, when I returned to middle management at Woodford House, I sometimes wore a black cardigan that I'd bought in the Middle East. This was as an alternative to a suit jacket. 

Because of my, now long established, habit of wearing suits, I don't like jerseys over shirt and tie. Feels off for some reason.

Upshot was the black cardigan got a lot of wear in the winter of 2013.

A few weeks ago SWMBO and I were in Palmerston North meeting Jade.

We arrived early and while we were waiting to have lunch with her SWMBO asked if I needed anything clothes wise.

Another thing you need to know about me - like many blokes, I hate clothes shopping with a passion. SWMBO knows this, so from time to time I arrive home to find a new business shirt, a new jersey, or...ahem...smaller items laid out on the bed for me to try on.

So when she said, "Anything you need?", and we had time to kill, I knew I was sunk. "Um", I said, "I wouldn't mind an alternative cardigan - I wear the black one a lot". 


What was I thinking?

It meant we now had to visit every men's clothing outlet in Palmerston North in an illusive search for a snow leopa...sorry - dressy cardigan to go with my suit pants.

We ended up in Farmers. Weary and dulled into submission I tried on a variety of things and ultimately opted for, I thought, a smart grey cardigan. SWMBO assuring me, btw, that it would be fine for work. Yes, she did!

Forward to Monday this week - first day of term 2.

Final thing you need to know - I work in an all girls' school and the staff are overwhelmingly female (I am one of five blokes on the teaching staff). 

Not only that - they are an especially fashion conscious bunch.

So, I'm at my work station in the staff room - waiting for briefing to start - when I get my first comment from young Katrina - "Where are the slippers granddad?".

Oh oh, I think - this isn't good.

Next person walks past me - "Warren! You need a pipe and a rocking chair".

Oh oh daddio. 

This cutting edge, state of the art banter goes on all day long. [And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday - even Friday night during after school drinks!]. 

The only bright spot during the day was young Toni asking me if I was wearing my target pants. YES - I WAS!!!!! (you'll need to go back to the gluten free post to understand this reference to target pants).

Wounded, bloodied, limping, bent over, with my tail between my legs, I drag myself home on Monday night and tell SWMBO my sorry tale.

She laughs! Tells me to ask the women at school what I should wear!!?!? 

Support? Respect? A consoling shoulder? Ha!

I've now, of course, followed her advice and consulted our style guru on the staff, young Ange, for some tips. She's thoughtfully provided me with a range of websites to check out, thanks Ange!

Now I'm ready to get back on that (clothes) horse and make a more suitable purchase. The Wozzashank Redemption, I hope.

Watch this space for how I get on. Will it pass the Woodford House fashionistas??

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mountains of despair, I can see the pain (Mastodon)

I read an extremely interesting article on the Guardian website about Game of Thrones which has prompted an internal debate and also one with SWMBO about whether I/we should continue watching it.

The substance of the Guardian bog post is that the continued racism and sexism has got the better of this particular writer and she's decided to stop watching Season Four. 

She's certainly weathered quite a storm - incest, season long torture scenes, murders and deceit by people who aren't nice - but it appears that rape scenes in the last two episodes aired have been the final straw.

The comments to her post are also fascinating - I urge a gander. I particularly liked the Marge Simpson reference (her target - Itchy and Scratchy of course).

The history

SWMBO and I started watching Season One while I was reading (and enjoying) the first book. Season two we watched as a Box Set (after I read the second volume in the series) and Season Three I taped off the Soho channel (didn't read volume 3 - couldn't get into it as much). Now Season Four is playing weekly on Soho.

The Trigan Empire had it all!
What do I like?

  • Tyrion Lannaster - he's evolved into an erudite 'goodie'.
  • Cersei Lannaster - an evil Lady MacBeth. She wants to be King you know.
  • The Shakespearean treacheries and machinations.
  • The medieval fantasy world of knights and swords reminds me of The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire comics I loved as a child.
  • The Starks in general who have now been pretty much wiped out by treacherous evildoers.
  • The suspension of disbelief is mostly achieved (those damned dragons!)

What don't I like?

  • Dragons? Oh please.
  • The rape scenes - Cersei's rape by her brother was stomach turning.
  • The season long torture of the evil Theon Greyjoy by the even more evil Ramsey really tested our resolve.
  • The lack of a payoff in the above and elsewhere - evil abounds.
  • The gratuitous sex scenes of all description - incest, orgies of all descriptions.

Why we will probably not give up on it just yet

  • The 'why we like it' column wins - 6 to 5.
  • Habit
  • I need that pay off - I need the white hats to win out along the way.
  • Unlike Banshee, as well as the blood and guts, there are still all those Shakespearean plots to follow.

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's like that and that's the way it is (Run DMC)

Been a little while since I got all nature on your nether regions so here's this morning's sunrise from our front door, with a token arty shot of it, and me, reflected in our front windows.

How's that serenity?
Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The power to dream, to rule, to wrestle the world from fools (Patti Smith)

Okay - enough looking back. As a few whanau have commented - with the last few posts I was getting dangerously close to suffering a similar fate to Lot's wife.

Luckily it's a new month, so time to celebrate a new quote on my 2004 calendar. Oops - again with the backward glance? Sorry cannae help myself.

But that's quite an appropriate quote isn't it? This really spurred me on in 2004 to kick start travelling to England.

I have no idea who Grace Hansen was/is. A Google search didn't help and the various quotes repositories list three or four quotes by Grace but don't offer any biographical data so... she could be anyone. Maybe you're Grace Hansen? Get in touch!

The Humans Are Awesome series of videos on YouTube is similarly inspirational. Here's an example of daft/heroic things humans are capable of:

Love and peace - Wozza