Thursday, August 28, 2014

When you worry call me, I make you happy (Bobby McFerrin)

Robin Williams has been on my mind of late. Goo Goo has a post which touched on him and reminded me that I hadn't really mentioned his passing here.

So here's my favourite five Robin Williams moments:

1 The manic side was clearly on display when he was on a stage. In this case it was as a guest on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

2 Dead Poets' Society was like having an ice water challenge when it came out in 1989. When this came out  I was six years into a teaching career. This had an immediate impact on me. 

3 The second clip from Dead Poets' takes on an even more poignant aspect now that he's feeding daffodils. I actually replicated this scene with a senior class at Cambridge High School. I'll never forget it.

4 This 'run by fruiting' moment always cracks me up. 

5 But this is where it all started for many of us. 

Happy Days gave him the Mork role, which spun off into a comedy whirlwind - Mork and Mindy. It gave him wider exposure, but Wow Reality...What A Concept was the (im)perfect vehicle to his insanely textured comedy world.

It came out at the end of the seventies and it was OUT THERE!

So many great lines which I still use; his stream of conscious comedy riffing (especially the Shakespeare skit and dynamite comedy hell routine on side two) is STUNNING!! 

I know it goes for 44 minutes and who listens to a comedy record for 44 minutes but we did back in the day and you should too. Reacquaint yourself with why you love Robin Williams!

Although imperfect-because he was such a visual comic-this record of his stand up routine stands on its own with intelligent word play, and ad libbing genius.

Thanks Robin.

Love and peace - Wozza from Earth

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Positive vibrations yeah (Bob Marley)

I wrote a post recently about my experiences regarding the past ERO visits I'd been involved in.

I am well aware that the blogosphere has been holding its collective breath for my report of my most recent bout of ERO.

Except...I have to exercise a large dollop of discretion and self censorship for this post.

All I can say is that it was... underwhelming.

They seemed to have little capacity to review a technologically innovative school so the less said the better.

And that's all I'm saying - as my mother said - if you can't say anything nice - don't say anything at all.

So - Next topic: We have a visit to school next week by our Minister of Education.

I've written about Hekia Parata in the past on my Baggy Trousers blog and so...I'm going to exercise another large dollop of self restraint on this one too.

Instead - another next topic: I wrote a post recently about new forms of advertising in the digital age. Here's an excerpt:
The best advertising isn't advertising so says Chapter three in Velocity (the brilliant book by Ahmed/ Olander).

The goal is to create connections with customers and earn their loyalty by serving them; 
This means a shift from selling a product to selling a service.
At a recent school assembly we were shown an advert made by women's personal care brand Always.

You'll be stunned to know that the video itself wasn't about personal care products for women at all!

Instead it takes on the outdated idea of 'running like a girl, throwing like a girl' and promotes the worthy concept of women's self esteem. A self esteem that has been battered by the 'throw like a girl' pejorative term (or so says the advert).

I haven't heard the term for years but there you go.

As we were watching the advert I was getting the growing feeling that I was being manipulated. I couldn't help wondering what this video was selling. What was Always

Unlike the ANZ advert that I featured recently - this one was more insidious. The brand name Always featured only at the end and only in a minor way.

See what you think..

This article mentioned a Dove advert that also effectively targets women's perceptions of themselves:

Clearly these are great examples of the shift from selling a product to selling a service. Who wouldn't want women to feel better about themselves?

I'm sure the Always advert's makers would be delighted to know that their advert was being shown to a school assembly.

My question - when does selling a service stop and selling a product start?

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Yes indeed, here we are! At Saint Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast (Frank Zappa)

I love a lot of things. Anyone reading this weblog over the years knows this. I've written about a lot of my passions along the way.

I don't think I've mentioned my specific love for IHOP before though. For the uninitiated IHOP stands for International House Of Pancakes.

This is how I became an IHOP devotee.

I'm a long time fan of pancakes. The love affair began at 18 Korma Ave. where at odd times we would have pancakes for dinner (we NEVER had them for breakfast or lunch). Very odd! Even more oddly my father was responsible for this aberration.

Before foodmarkets became supermarkets there was no such thing as packet pancakes like we have now. And Maple syrup? Forgetaboutit. Instead a homemade batch of pancakes, coming in a thin crepe style, made by Graham Purdy, became a wildly exciting addition to our meat and potato and two veg staple meals. And before you write PJ - yes, I'm aware potato is technically a vegetable but I'm in the 'it's a starchy carbohydrate' camp.

Instead of Maple syrup we had lemon and sugar. OMG!! These pancakes were amazing!!

Sidebar: We eventually sampled Maple syrup after dad returned from his world business trip in the late sixties that took in Toronto. The real stuff. Once tasted, that was the end of lemon and sugar folks.

Of course now Supermarkets regularly stock a variety of real Canadian Maple syrups (even in our little Waipawa New World store). What a world we live in eh? Who knows what's good or bad.

So, by the time SWMBO, Jade, Fanfa and I visited Anaheim's IHOP during our Disneyland visit in early 2007, we were confirmed pancake aficionados. We had no idea what IHOP was at that point but we quickly became fans and, shock horror probe - I fell in love with IHOP syrup.

More shock horror: we CAN't buy IHOP syrup in our Superdoopermarkets.

When Fanfa and her husband, Jesse, visited us this year from San Francisco they brought with them a large jug of the stuff as a pressie (pictured above).

Lately, SWMBO and I have developed a Saturday morning ritual - pancakes and IHOP syrup. Sadly I finished up the last drop of it recently (couldn't bring myself to throw out the empty bottle until today).

I now live in the hope and expectation that we will visit San Francisco in the near as possible future, with the express purpose of visiting an IHOP and securing a refill.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Salvation à la mode and a cup of tea (Jethro Tull)

The best advertising isn't advertising so says Chapter three in Velocity (the brilliant book by Ahmed/ Olander).

This is the third new law for a world gone digital*.

The goal is to create connections with customers and earn their loyalty by serving them.

This means a shift from selling a product to selling a service.

I like this. I think it's right too.

Jeff Bezos ( says 'advertsing is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product'. 


I was again sucked into watching some of the Commonwealth games on TV in the last month. I didn't want to but I'm glad I did because I saw some remarkable advertising from my bank - the ANZ bank.

Watch this:

You're made of pretty stony stuff if that doesn't melt your heart.

ANZ ran a series of adverts on this theme, using a variety of NZ games athletes.


I have had zero loyalty to the ANZ bank to this point. I was a National Bank customer before ANZ swallowed them up.

Watching these adverts made me warm to ANZ. They provided a service and then told me about it.

The best advertising isn't advertising.

Love and peace - Wozza

* The second law? It's easier done than said. Just do it!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My heart is aching for you little lamb, I can help you out but I cannot help you in (Wings)

You find us having finished lambing season at Red Phoenix Farm. 

That always means life and death unfortunately. So far we've lost a ewe and, obviously, the lambs she was carrying; I've also had to bury five other lambs.

One seemed healthy - lasted a couple of days and then I went out one morning to find it had died in the night. Another one was part of triplets that didn't really survive the birth and the others have appeared fine but mysteriously have not made it.

Mother nature can be cruel and we had to give the remaining triplets to Sallie to try to hand rear because the mum is rather pathetic. I put covers on all three and I think that gave them the chance to survive but the mother ignored them and if left to her tender mercies we're sure they also would be dead by now.

The good news there is that Aunty Sallie has had success with two of the three lambs she ultimately had to foster.

The other good news is that the place is buzzing with a plethora of young bleats looking for mum. I tend to lose count after the first two or three. Needless to say they are cute, adorable little souls.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong (Groucho Marx)

It's August! Already??

I seem to be doing these monthly quotes from my 2003 calendar with alarming regularity. 

The one on my August calendar is on the right, although to be pedantic it reads "Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life" (Burton Hills).

Burton Hills seems to be remembered for his quotes and little else - nothing doing bio-wise on google.

August means that July 26 has come and gone. As all who know me (or read this blog) know that was dad's birthday. He would have been 86 years old.

Last year I wrote a poem to remember the date and 'the posterity post' is an old favourite of yours.

Groucho's humour was a big part of Graham's life but ironically dad wasn't the jovial sort. He loved The Goons and The Marx Brothers movies for their intellectual craziness but he wasn't the sort to tell jokes and laugh out loud a lot.

Oddly he didn't connect with Monty Python as my generation did, even though they were similarly anarchic in their comedy.

I believe he was happy though and that's important isn't it. 

Happy birthday dad xxx 000

Me and Ross, having fun in the snow with GNP
(photo by Dulcie)

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The universe is all around us, read the writings in the stone (Haken)

A year ago I wrote a post about going on the school's Year 12 camp - a three dayer taking in skiing on Mt. Ruapehu and doing the Mt. Tongariro crossing. 

The crossing is a 19+ km climb/descent of Mt. Tongariro which takes us about 9 hours to complete.

Last year we couldn't see anything during these activities - mist and white out conditions. It's a bit of a slog if you can't see anything!

I've just returned from this year's version and it was a huge contrast. The weather conditions could not have been any more perfect. I joked with people at school that it was so clear we could see the Andes in South America.

See for yourself!

Actually - that's Mt. Taranaki in the distance, not the Andes but you get the idea.This was the view looking west across the North Island as we made the initial climb up Mt. Tongariro. 

There were amazing views all day long - here's a sample:

Looking down on two other groups from Woodford about to start the climb
to the summit. Crampons and ice axes required. 

Looking further right from the last photo - taking in the crater we
walked across.

Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom in Lord Of The Rings) from the top of Mt.
Tongariro. Mt. Ruapehu is just behind in the distance.

Looking north east to Hawke's Bay. The smoke shows the volcanic
activity still going on, two years after the eruption.

Wow right!! The trip was even better by being shared with my wonderful colleagues - Chris, Sylvie, and Marina, and some amazingly superb out-of-this-world students.

This is my group - Team Ruthless (they can handle the jandal people!). I'm the lucky bloke on the right, and yes - Mt. Tongariro is an active volcano. I know right!! 

Love and peace - Wozza