Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I'm walking on sunshine, whoa (Katrina and The waves)

In praise of: Fitbit.

Is it a watch? Is it a pedometre? Is it a heart monitor? Is it a sleep monitor? Is it a calorie counter?

Um...yes, it is!

I've flirted with the idea of one of those fitness tracking bracelet thingys for a while. 

I couldn't resist any more and during some retail therapy on the long weekend SWMBO and I both took the plunge.

Hey, I'm my father's son! He loved gadgets and he would be VERY impressed by the range of data coming my way from my Fitbit bracelet.

Once it's synced it gives a huge range of breakdowns including my fitness times, sleep activity, and general daily exercise.

I haven't set any specific targets yet but that will be fun too.

It's light, with a great robust strap and unlike my smart phone, the battery lasts for 5 days. Amazing! Oh, and I don't have to wear my fluro Nike sweatbands while it does its bits!

All that and it looks pretty cool too. 

The only downside is my lovely watch (you'll remember the watch story from the Middle East I'm sure) has gone into temporary hibernation until I can figure out how to wear both devices.

Being right handed it's natural these things go on my left hand. Sigh. Problems, problems.

I'll get right onto that dilly of a pickle and get back to you!

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deliver us from the stormy sea (Alun Davies)

All hail Unity Books!!

One of my recent purchases there was Boris Vian's Red Grass.

I had mentioned to the guy that I was a fan of Haruki Murakami and wondered if he could recommend anything similar.

He came back with an armful of contenders. One of which was Red Grass.

Written in 1948-1949  Red Grass is similar to Murakami's work in that it's written in another language and translated (French in this case). 

It's also phantasmagorical and wonderful!!

Here's a paragraph of Vian's style for ya:
Beyond sinuous swaths of shade gleamed shiny, coloured stones, vague reflections, spots of clarity that faded away in response to the unpredictable movements of the earth. Like the light of an opal, or one of the mountain crystals that emit a golden dust when someone tries to grasp them. Like octopi. Like a sudden and savage flash of emerald. Like the tender traces of a colony of degrading beryllium. Lil walked in short little steps, thinking about the questions she would ask. Her dress obligingly, or rather flatteringly, took its cue from her legs.
So, so cool!!

Must dash - have a great book to read!

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form (Bob Dylan)

I struggled to buy some Isopropyl Alcohol recently.

Went down on a coffee run from work and popped into the chemist for some contact lens cleaning stuff and...oh yeah - could I have a big bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol please?

Being the professional school teacher that I am, I was, of course, dressed in my customary shirt and tie holding a tray with two take out coffees on it.

I must have looked dodgy.

Suddenly the shop went quiet, the nice lady serving me looked at the floor and a man in a white coat approached me from his platformed area behind the counter.

BTW - I'm with Seinfeld on this. Why do they need to be higher than us? And what's with the white coat anyway? Are they performing such delicate operations up there they need to be dressed in sterile white coats?

My dad (a pharmacist) would have liked that!

Anyway - he walked purposefully towards me and sizing me up as a potential deviant, asked what I wanted the Iso..A for!

Clearly he thought my shirt and tie and coffees were an elaborate cover.

"Um - it's records", I eventually offered.

Apparently the stuff can be used for other purposes!! Who knew?

He smiled, so I managed to score three bottles of the stuff. 

Spent today cleaning up a stack of vinyl I got from a local second hand dealer (among all the dusty Val Doonican, Ivan Rebroff, James Last and Nana Mouskouri there were a few pearls that he let me have for my appraisal) and now they are playable at least. 

Jobriath (a pretty cool find) is a little crackly but hasn't stuck yet and the crackles add a layer of character. 

Thanks Mr Chemist!

Love and peace - Wozza

Friday, October 16, 2015

I'm like a bird (Nelly Furtado)

Some days the fates work in your favour.

For some time I've been meaning to get a replacement drivers' license after my Nu Zild one was lost in the U.K. a few years ago. I've been using my U.K. license since then but it expires soon so needs must.

I've been dreading it. Nu Zild bureaucracy is one thing but officious nit picking shop 'assistants' are an entire other thing. 

SWMBO and I have also been renewing our English ancestry visas and the British immigration office responsible for that show how OTT things can get: we have had to send off our NZ passports, birth certificates, answer a 77 point questionnaire and do a load of other things as well. It now takes four to six weeks to get everything, including the visas, back.

Very daunting. 

It also meant I had very little documentation to take with me to the Hastings Automobile Association (AA) to get a replacement license; just my cancelled passport and a wing and a prayer.

Imagine my delight then, when I fluked the (maybe) one sane sensible person who works for AA. She was incredibly helpful and accepted my cancelled passport.

I was in a daze - sort of waiting for the 'but...' and I think she could sense my amazement as she told me it was no point being pedantic about it. Huh?

Then we discovered my license had indeed expired in 2012 but that didn't faze her either! Eyesight check and photo followed in a blur.

I wondered if the door to the AA had opened on to Narnia for a while but she gave me a temporary license and told me I'd get the new proper one in the post soon.

I'm still pinching myself. Did I dream it? Nope - just checked - the temporary one is still in my wallet.

Maybe...just maybe...there is still hope.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, October 12, 2015

Advice for the young at heart - soon we will be older (Tears For Fears)

I'm going to sound like a grumpy old curmudgeon during this post. I just know it!

Recently, SWMBO and I went to Wellington during our break from work. We always stay in central Wellington and wander around places like the waterfront and Cuba Mall.

I enjoyed our stay - I always do as I visit old haunts like Slow Boat Records and Unity Books.

Wandering around though, I was struck anew by how unattractive the latest trends are and how deeply unattractive smoking is ( a lot of it too - we see smokers less and less around Havelock North and Hastings).

Apart from smoking, I'm specifically talking tatts, piercings and hair colour. 

I fail to see how a ring through the middle of the nose is either a good idea, hygienic, or attractive. News flash - you just look STUPID!

Tattoos also have me mystified. I don't get it. At all.

And then there are the sad middle aged overweight women trying to be hip and home dieing their hair green or red or pink (or all of the above). Same news flash ladies!

Having said all that, visiting this alternative universe IS interesting for the buskers, the homeless panhandlers, the young university students caught up in the first flush of independence, the knowledgeable shop assistants who give a damn, the variety of ethnicities, the weird and the fact that SWMBO and I stand out like sore thumbs (BTW I literally have a sore thumb thanks to Tango - maybe that's why I'm vaguely grumpy at the moment).

Enuf. After a dose of blandness in central Hawke's Bay I'll be pumped for a return trip pretty soon I suspect.

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, October 8, 2015

And as the years go by our friendship will never die (Randy Newman)

One of the hardest things in life is saying goodbye to an old friend. This post is dedicated to Bazil.

I had to make a hard call this week with Bazil. He was in a lot of pain and we couldn't allow him to continue to suffer.  

He had been on a cocktail of drugs for a while and his old body had been showing signs lately that while his mind was willing, his legs and body and hearing weren't. 

Dogs give love and loyalty unconditionally.

Bazil was an amazing pet and as Jade posted on her Facebook - a beautiful soul. 

When she was just about to enter teenagerhood, Samantha worked on me for two years - she would love a puppy. In the end I gave in. 

Bazil was a nightmare as a puppy! Noisy mainly but he quickly endeared himself to us via his insatiable appetite - anything was fine with him; and his playfulness (Samantha set up obstacle courses around the house and Bazil loved racing around trying to please her).

After a time Bazie just became part of our family (extended family too - when we went overseas on our adventures Sallie provided a new playground for him) and we thought he'd last forever.

Of course, that proved impossible and so we had to say goodbye. 

Now it's quite weird around Rochdene this week with no noisy Bazie presence (his breathing was a struggle). Whenever I have worked outside for the past 13 years he has always been within three metres of me. Now there's a large gap where he should be.

Old age catches up with all of us. Even that seedling in the styrofoam cup eventually dies. Doesn't make that moment any easier though, does it!

We love you. Rest in peace Bazie - you deserve it!

Love and peace - Wozza 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I chop down trees, I wear high heels, suspenders and a bra (Monty Python)

It's Déjà vu all over again!

Holidays! Chain saw! Lightning tree!

Love and peace - I'm a lumberjack! And I'm OK!