Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Would you look at him? Sittin' there with his hooter scrapin' away at that book! (Paul's grandfather to Ringo)

My second book: The Story of Ferdinand was a birthday present in 1962 from Uncle Glen and Auntie Nancy.

I don't know who they were/are. I wish I did. They were certainly not real uncles and aunties, but friends of my parents obviously. In mitigation: I was 5 at the time.

I am forever in their debt though (maybe they are on Twitter, Facebook, or they scroll the interweb hoping I'll get in touch) because I loved this book.

First published in 1937, everybody knows the story of Ferdinand, the reluctant Spanish bull. 

The story must have struck a chord with me because I know I've read it a billion times.

It helped turn me into a reader. Age 5.

What a gift Glen and Nancy - you and Ferdinand opened up a window, not only to the lure of exotic international destinations, but to wonderful book worlds with secret gardens, tight friendships, thrilling chases, monsters, heroes and evil doers who always get their comeuppance.

The third book that I've managed to keep hold of from over 50 years ago is apparently my third best book: The Lone Ranger Annual from 1964 (I was nearly 7).

While I lacked consistency with spelling my own name - I did have total command of the apostrophe rule!! I'm seriously impressed!

The book is a collection of adventures in comic form by The Lone Ranger and his faithful Indian companion and it kick started my love of comics and heroes.

I loved the TV show, the comics, and the radio serials that played on a Sunday morning and no amount of 21st century revisionism (Johnny Depp?? Eh??) can dampen my ardour for the masked man.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, October 26, 2014

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse (Pink Floyd)

The first time always remains in the memory does it not?

The first kiss, first day of school, first time seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, first time ever I saw her face, you get the idea.

The loss of innocence and the venturing into the unknown can be scary.

As an episode of Grey's Anatomy that we watched recently discussed (the one where April reveals she's a virgin) - the know...time, is also always memorable for a variety of reasons.

For me the first time was when I was very young. She called herself 'Ladybird' and she was very beautiful and I fell deeply and instantly in love. 

I still have her, actually.The love affair has been going for over five decades so far.

Her full name was Ladybird Book of Bedtime Stories and she entered my life in 1958. I was one year old.

The book is not in the greatest state of repair - it was read to me a lot and the years of shifting and storage have created many wrinkles and rough edges. 

I pulled it off the shelf recently with my next two memorable books, I'm not sure why. I wasn't feeling especially nostalgic or anything but I'm glad I did.

I sat down and reread it and the magic in the pictures and the stories is still there.

One of the rhymes sums me and my surreal Wozza's World up pretty well so I have included it here for you to share:

Isn't that just wonderful? My mum read that to me when I was one. My fleeting glimpse. Says it all really.

Begs the following questions:
  1. What was your first book?
  2. Do you still have it?
  3. What are the 21st C kids getting for theirs?
Love and peace - Wozza

P.S. Books two and three to come next post.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hey you! Don't help them to bury the light (Pink Floyd)

Media watch: Recently, I've had a blast on Twitter finding my favourite media personalities and places. It's made me especially media conscious of late so here's a brief run down on what I'm reading, listening to, and watching.

Words: I'm in between Mojos (new one must be close) so I've been reading a heap of things at once: 

I'm enjoying Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath book. It's subtitled Underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giantsGladwell's style of writing is very conversational, which makes it easy to pick up from time to time.

Karl Pilkington's The Meaning Of Life was a present from Jade for Father's Day. He's weird man and he's a weird man but he makes disturbing sense disturbingly regularly - "They say having kids is a life changing experience but so is losing a leg". WHAAT???

If you read my Baggy Trousers blog
then you already know I'm hooked on Velocity by Ahmed/Olander - it's a m a z i n g! I'm rereading it before giving it to a friend to read.

Finally - I've started reading Dr Ian Hunter's Imagine (what Wedgwood, Da Vinci, Mozart, Eiffel, Disney and many others can teach us about innovation). The doctor is a recent acquaintance- he gave me a copy of his book when I saw him recently- much appreciated Ian!

Sounds: As you all know I can't live without music. Currently I've been listening to a pile of new CDs - Steven Wilson, Pineapple Thief, Jack White, Dungen, Anathema, Mastodon, Shearwater, Opeth, Ray LaMontagne, Jake Bugg and some old Pink Floyd albums.

If you read my music blog you also know that I'm working my way through my singles collection - currently up to Wilson Pickett.

Views: I've had a yearning to watch Samuel L Jackson movies of late so Snakes On A Plane (a terrific film), Shaft, Coach Carter and others. TV series - The Mentalist season five has just been completed and as regular readers know I'm working my way through Seinfeld again - up to season 7 now. It IS the greatest sitcom ever!

Love and peace - Wozza

Friday, October 17, 2014

The lunatics are on the grass (Pink Floyd)

My life is a load easier at present. Literally.

Oh what could it be? What could it be? Please tell us Dr. Science!

Okay. So two weeks ago we had two dead motor mowers on our hands and a dead weed trimmer [one was a legacy from SWMBO's dad and the other she bought on trademe last year].

It's spring so this was a problem. No really - this is serious. The grass at Red Phoenix Farm is a killer: loads of trees mean a ride on mower isn't really an option, plus a hundred metre drive way and extensive lawns all around the place mean it's a bad motorfinger to mow.

I took all of these mechanical issues to a local cycle/mower repair guy. And waited. Phone calls resulted in continual reassurances, and I waited some more.

Until two weeks limped by and the grass was now like...well - like this picture! OUT OF CONTROL MAAN!!!! We were FREAKIN' OUT!!!!

Drastic measures were required cos the mower guy wasn't doing it for us. I went and picked up the two dead mowers (motors' stuffed was his professional diagnosis- genius) and headed home. 

A steely resolve started to grow in my chest (either that or it was the Ploughman's sarnies I'd had for lunch). By the time I got back to Red Phoenix and made my way through the grass there was only one thing to be done. 

SWMBO and I swallowed hard but made a key decision: we needed to buy a new mower. OMG!

Throwing caution to the wind we headed off to Mitre 10 Mega and bought a Lawnmaster ultra powerful beast - a bright red tough son-of-a-bitch Nu Zild made one: the first new motor mower I've ever bought!

It's wonderful! 

Last week I had to tame the elephant grass but this week was much easier on the mulch setting. 


Love and peace - Wozza 

P.S. He's still got the weed trimmer - apparently it's 'on the bench'. Yeah, right!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Welcome home, you total stranger (Roy Harper)

A student told me recently that I should put more of my creative stuff on the blog. I thought - yeah, why not. 

So here we go.

I wrote this after coming across the Walt Whitman poem - Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. It's a long poem but if you want to check it out (and you really should read more Uncle Walt to improve your vocabulary and cognitive functions) it can be a click of the mouse away -

My writing was done with this poem in mind. It's called divinist aromas after a line in Walt's poem: 
You necessary film, continue to envelop my soul, 
About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung our divinist aromas

Although I posted about this a few years ago I didn't include my writing so this time...

divinist aromas

While towing the horse float
and negotiating the corners

I considered the here and now
   and my place,
my belonging,
   to this point,

and the circumstances
that put me here and not there
inside me, not inside you.

I thought, in that moment, about the people
encountered along the way, the path, the route
so far
and wondered about their lives/
   their thoughts.

I waited at the lights for the ones to cross
and thought about her and the brown clothes she wore;
children in the back with
their futures and goals intact
but maybe not: sacrificed
   in the pursuit of others;
others with smug contentment;
young ones- still so indestructible.

I sensed them, their lives, their conversations,
their humility, their aromas
and how they connected to me.

In that moment I felt the connection with Walt
as he spent time on a ferry
hundreds of years from here
about similar things-

about all the people who had come before him
and the generations to come after him
generations leapfrogging to now.

Trust him to see me.
Trust him to lead the way.
Trust him to guide me.
Trust him to write it down first.
Trust him to write me.
Trust him to paint the picture.
Trust him to describe me.
Trust him to see the future.
Trust him to see me.
Trust his vision.
Trust him to connect.
Trust him.
Trust him.

The centuries to come
and our small part in them
are secure.

The importance assured,
the windfall tree will spill onwards
and the journey will continue.

He has seen it, he has seen it
and it shall come to pass
and it will be more of the same.

The same sunsets and commemorations,
the rituals of life,
voting governments for the people,
mowing the lawns of tomorrow,

and it will be great, 
it will be great-
maybe even

as great as Walt.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's a buck dancer's choice my friend (The Grateful Dead)

Well well well - here I am back on Twitter!

I joined up a few years ago after a Derek Wenmoth presentation at some conference but it didn't do anything for me - all 'I had toast and cereal this morning' and no substance.

Fast forward to the ulearn14 conference last week in Rotorua - the Baggy Trousers blog has all the goss - and my colleague's prediction of a rehook up came true - let's call her Toni Dunstan - thanks Toni!

Craig Kemp is the man responsible for my tweeting retooling. He claimed it was the best P.D. ever and convinced me that if confined to educational use, Twitter can be very valuable.

So far so good. I've been back for about a week and even if I can only check one recommended thing a day it's worth it.

If you want to follow me - and let the good times roll! 

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Baby, sometimes I think of you (The Only Ones)

A big welcome to Red Phoenix farm for LOML's new horse - was 'Jimmy' now renamed 'Neo' (by me). Why Neo? Neo is the ancient Greek word for 'young' but more relevantly, Neo in The Matrix is also The One

Neo has settled into the general scheme of things well and looks right at home; even the sheep have been keen to say howdy!

And now...back to poetry corner to finish off his Roctober post:

Born Alone
I met them at close of day 
when I had spread it all on 
the linen cloth he dropped - 
more sullenly than wearily - you know. 

The flax-clam festered in my heart. 

What is it to be born alone?

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, October 2, 2014

That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well (Abraham Lincoln)

The Rocktober quote by honest Abe apparently came about after he failed to achieve an A+ grade for an essay at school and he was trying to convince his teacher otherwise.

He was really cheesed off because he'd heard that another student in a different class was given an A+.

History doesn't record how successful he was in swaying the teacher's opinion.

But I bet he crashed and burned.

Why is it people (and yes I mean teachers) are so reluctant to give 10/10, A+, Excellence 8 grades?

I hate that!!

I was watching an episode of Escape To The Country recently - the home hunter gave a property an 8/10, saying that she never gave 10. Yep - she was a retired teacher.

To me, if it's a 10 point scale or a D- to A+ scale or a Not Achieved 0 to Excellence 8, then use the blimmin' whole scale!! Sorry fer the language but it really gets my dander up.

Here's my favourite perfect scores (great success):

  • Arsenal F.C.'s 2003-2004 season (the Invincibles)
  • The Beatles' Revolver
  • Seinfeld Season 1 to Season 9
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
  • The Four Seasons by Vivaldi
  • Bananas by Woody Allen
  • William Wordsworth's Prelude
  • Rory Gallagher's July 1, 1980 concert at the Auckland Town Hall
  • William Goldman's screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band's album of the same name

I could go on.

Have a great Rocktober!

Love and peace - Wozza