Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hello world, today I feel like someone (The Tremeloes)

Christmas 2017 is in the books. So too, soon, will be 2017.

Highlights: Seinfeld with Jade; McCartney with SWMBO; holiday in Keri Keri courtesy of the Purdettes; Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi; first year living in Roch-dene (Maungaturoto version); seeing Dunkirk with SWMBO; Christmas with three of four Purdettes (any time we touch base with members of the whanau is a special highlight).

SWMBO/Woz, Fanfa, Adam/Ashleigh, Jade/William

Things to look forward to: Christine and Tom arriving in January; new goals for 2018 (hop over to Baggy Trousers for the details. Go on - off you go); starting each day with Venerable Master Hsing Yun's 366 Days with Wisdom (seen in the Keri Keri motel and ordered from the Buddhist Temple in Auckland); planning for Christmas 2019 (no idea where beyond a northern hemisphere location - exciting)

Be here now: today, right now - seems I have picked up a cold from somewhere; Arsenal are live within the hour - playing Crystal Palace; SWMBO has a cracked rib from a recent farm accident and is feeling sore; I'm about to have some brekkie:

Love and peace and happy new year - Wozza

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rebel scum (Finn)

Star Wars: Episode 8 - The Last Jedi

Three reasons why I think it could be the greatest edition yet to the saga. If not that, up there with Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back.

1 Resonance - it acknowledges the Star Wars universe and history seamlessly and naturally. When Luke needs persuading to help train Rey, R2D2 shows him the original Princess Leia hologram that she sent to Obi Wan. Perfect. Some sort of dust molecule must have got into my eye at this point. Yoda's reappearance feels natural and he provides focus for Luke as a character (there's always a bigger fish), as well as perspective - same old Luke - always looking to the horizon according to Master Yoda.

2 Depth - it has layers. More integrated layers than any of the other films (with the possible exception of Empire Strikes Back - interestingly, another Jedi training middle-of-the-trilogy film). The idea of growing through failure (a favourite concept of mine) is woven through the film. Many characters 'succeed' and/or 'fail' even when they think they don't. The sub-plot involving Finn and Rose's doomed attempt to discontinue the trace on the rebel's command ship through light speed is great because they are doing their best to succeed. Poe's dreadnought 'win' is deemed a failure that he can't understand until later in the film. 

3 Hope - I love this theme (but I would, wouldn't I). The final image of the film is a beautiful image of hope. Aligned to the hope is love. The humanity within the Star Wars universe gives us all the universal connection that we yearn for in a film. It's largely why we believe in and love these characters. And is one of the key reasons this is the greatest franchise in movie history. Chewy, Luke and Leia, Han Solo in absentia and now Rose and Finn, Rey and Kylo Ren. It's about people, people!

I'm ready for my third viewing now. The first was special - with a party including Jade, Jacky, and Fanfa (all of whom have been my Star Wars viewing partners over the years). Second was awesome too, with Adam and Ashleigh - who shared my enthusiasm and love for this film.

If you haven't seen it yet, I envy you.

Love and peace - Wozza

P.S. Merry Christmas everyone out there in my little corner of the outer rim of the blogosphere. Many of you I know. Many are strangers. All of you deserve  the peace and love that comes with this time of the year.

In the immortal words of George Costanza - take it easy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The eyes were too deeply set in their pockets of shadow to be seen (Sourdust's eyes)

Re-reading the Gormenghast trilogy is a daily joy.

A joy that will last for a while. In more ways than one! The version I have compiles Mervyn Peake's three masterpieces into one volume of 1023 pages. That's a lot of joy!

This is the third time I've read these books.

Way, way back, when I was a teenager, I bought the three books as a boxed set, using a book voucher from a Christmas gift.

Second outing was about ten years later, as a young man at university (pre SWMBO and children). Improbably, it was a set text in one of my papers; writing an exam essay on it in the Old Arts Building at Auckland University is a very vivid memory. I wish I had a copy of that essay!

Almost 40 years later, here I am for the third time. 

I had an urge to reread it and found this copy at The Piggery in Whangarei.

Aged nicely, its pages are framed by a variety of browns, the heft of the book is also impressive. Even the fact that the binding is very delicate is oddly appropriate (pages 1 to 28 have already liberated themselves).

The experience of luxuriating in Peake's gothic castle and his descriptions of the vast grotesque cast of characters is superb. I am finding myself exercising mindfulness to a deep degree to understand and visualise everything Peake is communicating.

Speaking of the characters: I need to keep a record of them, if only to remember their glorious names.
  • Rottcodd - the curator of the Hall of Bright Carvings
  • Mr Flay - the Earl's butler
  • Abiatha Swelter - the chief chef
  • Steerpike - one of Swelter's kitchen hands
  • The Grey Scrubbers - they scrub the kitchen walls
  • Doctor Alfred Prunesquallor 
  • Irma Prunesquallor - his sister
  • Pellet - their servant
  • Lady Gertrude, the seventy-seventh Countess of Groan
  • Lord Sepulchrave - the seventy-seventh Earl of Groan
  • Titus Groan - their baby son, just arrived
  • Fuchsia Groan - their 15 year old daughter
  • Nannie Slagg
  • Sourdust - the old librarian and advisor to Lord Groan
  • Keda - the wet nurse for Titus
  • Pentecost - the head gardener
  • Shrattle - of the armoury
  • Springers, Wrattle, Spurter - kitchen boys
  • Cora and Clarice - Sepulchrave's sisters (and twins)
Perhaps, I say, perhaps, you can now see why I needed to write them all down.

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree.

Apart from the lack of snow...

Christmas means digging out that long box that houses our Christmas tree and the other box of decorations we've accumulated over the years.

For the last two years we haven't used them because we've spent Christmas in London at Patrick and Randy's house.

Last year we had Christmas dinner at Acoustic, the cafe opposite their house in Stoke Newington. Freezing cold outside. Lovely and warm inside Acoustic. A great meal. Just me and my best girl. 

Great times.

So...the Christmas tree and box of accumulated decorations has been stored in various garages we've owned over the last three years (Otane, Waipukurau, Mangaturoto).

But this year we have family flying in from the U.S.A. (Fanfa), Oztraya (Adamski and Ashleigh), and Palmerston North (DLG and William).

Christmas at home meant I went in search of the Christmas tree in the long box and the other box of accumulated decorations. I remembered where they'd been stored - the tool shed.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. Over the years, various rodents had visited the box it appeared. Tell tale little blue pellets on the top of the long box. Boy did it stink.

When I opened the long box I immediately saw why it stunk. At some point in the past three years, Ratty had made his or her home in the fake branches - mixing scraps of cardboard with string. 

A very dead flat rat lay underneath the fake branches.

2017 version

For some reason SWMBO wouldn't entertain me cleaning off ratty's home and water blasting the branches. 

So, off to the Warehouse we went. The last one in the store became ours.

We constructed the new Christmas tree and unpacked the accumulated decorations (separate box and not penetrated by ratty).

Looks good huh!!

Its now sitting decorously and calmly in the lounge, waiting for the Purdettes and their significant others to visit.

Roll on Christmas.

Love and peace and ho ho ho - Wozza

Sunday, December 10, 2017

If I could save time in a bottle (Jim Croce)

Photo by Corey Blaz on Unsplash
Taking stock.

I gave myself two goals at the start of this year: 

1) Continuously work on a couple of post for each blog in advance, so that my writing improved (more drafting = more thinking = better writing).

2) Read 50 books in 52 weeks so that my reading discipline would improve (I love books but eeking out time to read has been an issue). 

Your focus determines your reality (Qui Gon-Jinn). 

These goals have been in the front of each blogging/reading week and that's lead to a certain impact on my psyche.

Not a bad thing (relentless positivity) but the clock was ticking all year and I did feel the pressure at times.

Time is always the issue. I knew it would be.

'Eeking' was the right word to use up there. Time snatched before school, after dinner, during found moments. Getting a balance has been tough!

Apart from 'me' time (that includes dancing to music time), there's relationship time, school work time (huge chunk of the week), making and drinking tea time, chore time, walking the dog time, project time (horse yards sort of stuff), eating meal time, socialising with colleagues get the idea.

So, how did I do?

Hmmm. Not so well with the first. Although I still managed (for the most part) to maintain the post a day regime, I only managed to keep ahead of the publishing date with three blogs, but Wozza's Place and Baggy Trousers posts were often started the night before and second draft before posting in the morning. Not good enough!

But, there was great success with the second goal.

Week 47 is just getting underway. In the last month I've read two books and started another two. 

Book 46: Submission (Michel Houellebecq) from The Piggery (Whangarei). I really enjoy reading books in translation - they provide a great edginess. Houellebecq can be frightening. If you've never read him try this one for openers.

Book 47: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (L. Frank Baum) $2 from a Hospice shop in Waipu. Yes, the inspiration for the movie - great little book in its own right. 

Book 48: Platform (Michel Houellebecq) also from The Piggery (Whangarei). An exercise in examining a thoroughly unlikeable protagonist.

Book 49: Thank You For Being Late (Thomas L. Friedman) was mentioned at a conference earlier in the year and I noted the title, bought it online from Mighty Ape. Great - up there with Velocity (high praise indeed).

Book 50 (and onwards 51 -52): As I've mentioned previously - I want to finish the year (and this exercise) by re-reading the Gormenghast trilogy (Mervyn Peake).

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone (Billy Joel)

In the company of strangers - it's a good title for a blog (interesting that, among other things, it's the name of a fashion label in Nu Zild).

For a blog, it sums up my daily ritual of conversation, as I publish a post and send it out for the viewing pleasure of strangers.

As Seth Godin says: More than ever, people, lots of people, hordes of anonymous people, can watch what you do.

They can see your photos, like your posts, friend your digital avatar.

An essentially infinite collection of strangers are in the audience, scoring you, ranking you, deciding whether or not you're succeeding.

If you let them.

The alternative is to focus on the audience you care about, interacting with the person who matters to you. Your audience, your choice. One person, ten people, the people who need you.

Everyone else is merely a bystander.

My audience, my choice.

I'm not sure it's as binary as Seth indicates - either bystanders or those who know me (even then...).

This blog started out as a means of communicating with my immediate family. It's grown, and sometimes that gets in the way. I need to be careful, after all.

Some may get the wrong impression, for some things I need to respect privacy.

My audience, my choice?

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, November 30, 2017

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Shedding a skin is a vital activity for me. from time to time But for others it is uncomfortable and something to be avoided.

The new beginning idea is at the forefront of my thinking right now.

A while ago, SWMBO and I decided to sell up and look for another property with a bit more land. We love where Roch-dene is right now (I take Roch-dene with me where ever we go), but the horses and, therefore, SWMBO need another paddock or two.

Roch-dene is on the move, again.

Not too far away, we found another place to be - loads of land, with native bush and a large lake. An island on the lake really appeals. The romance of that - the idea of being on our own bit of land surrounded by water!

Problem being we're in a buy/sell chain. We need to sell to buy, the people who want to buy our place need to sell and so on.

So, it may work out, we hope it will. Inshallah.

The other skin shedding exercise is happening at work. We are moving out of the old crusty administration/staff area so that a wrecking crew can come through next week. 

Over the holiday break a spanking new space will be created.

Some love the idea (me) and embrace the change, others find it a chore but are doing what they need, others hate the idea of shifting out temporarily.

Meh. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lie to me, say that you need me, that's what I wanna hear (Lene Marlin)

With the end of the school year fast approaching you'd think I'd have more time for reading (High-Rise by J G Ballard) but actually it gets more manic at this time of the year and the reading has slowed down.

Snatches of quiet time are the norm of late. Nothing much sustained. Not good.

For me, reading is meditation time. I can slow my thinking and relax my body. School is the opposite of that - fast thinking, fast movement.

Doesn't help that High-Rise is a rather one-dimensional Lord Of The Flies in a high-rise apartment block dystopian yarn. Although it's written well, I don't have any emotional attachment with any of its characters.

It was made into a film, but I can't find it on Netfix or elsewhere - although, true, I haven't tried especially hard to find it.

Already I'm looking forward to the next book - whatever that may be.

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I wanna be your dog (The Stooges)

I used to be a cat man. Never a dog man.

Then I met Jacky and it's been a story of loyal dogs ever since - Wynton, Bazil and Jerry (with two memorable miss-steps along the way - Tori and Dukie).

But cats? Another story entirely. We can't seem to get it right with cats.

Cats can be evil (Ben) or stoopid (Scraps). They can suddenly disappear on us (Waffles/Rocky) or get bowled by cars (Scraps). They can catch diseases (Kramer/Flower and Scooter) or they can hate dogs with an extraordinary passion (Seven). 

Lewis and, to a lesser extent, Persia were pretty cool for cats but we had to give them away to lives of luxury when we went to live in England.

Latest in the line of cats was (yes, past tense) Sensei/Tom. You remember him. He featured in the previous post.

All was going well until he attacked Jerry for no reason and peed on Jacky's curtains (I thought I was part owner until she yelled out - 'he's peed on my curtains' while we had dinner).

So it's back to the SPCA for Sensei/Tom. No more cats!

Jerry is mightily relieved!

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I get high on music (Headband)

Introducing another new member to the menagerie. After a brilliant weekend away in Keri Keri (the kids shouted us two nights away for my birthday) we cruised past the SPCA in Whangarei to pick up a tabby SWMBO had found a week or so ago. 

Original name - Sensei. We're flirting with a new name - Tom, for obvious reasons.

Homeward we pootled, delivered Tom back to Roch-dene, and I picked up Jerry from 'Auntie' Mandy's place. She and Winston kindly dog sat for us - where Jerry and Winston formed an instant bond!

Tired, Jerry spent the rest of the afternoon freaking out Sensei/Tom, pining for Winston, and catching up on some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz in ART.

SWMBO and I had a great restful weekend in Keri Keri - visiting the Stone Store and its surrounds, wandering around the town, fine dining at Cafe Jerusalem, eating bacon and pancakes for breakfast and shopping!

There's a pretty cool music shop (no vinyl though) in the main street so I whiled away an hour (or so) in there. Along with a few CDs, I picked up a Rory Gallagher DVD I hadn't seen before - Live in Cork!

While 'laxing in Keri Keri, I also finished book #44 (end of week 42) - The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde: good detective whodunnit story.

Six books to go before reaching my goal of 50 books in 52 weeks.

So, now it's down to six books in ten weeks. Should be easy peesy.

Currently, I'm onto #45 (now week 43) - J.B. Ballard's High Rise which I picked up from Molly's Little Book Shop in Keri Keri.

I'm keen to reread the Gormenghast Trilogy as my last three - as the ten weeks takes in the Christmas holidays I feel that's doable.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Don't take my Kodachrome away (Paul Simon)

Friend of mine, let's call her Renoir set me a challenge recently.

Post a black and white photo each day for seven days on Facebook with no humans appearing in said photos.

Cool. So I set the Canon to monochome and wondered what to shoot.

Here's my first set from which to choose. More to come.

Interesting that my first subject was a variety of faces.

Love and peace and cheese - Wozza

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nowhere man, the world is at your command (The Fabs)

Jerry Update:

Jerry has bounced back from his Parvo scare and is smelling the flowers (and, ah, digging them out) again. 

Sail update: I've moved onto the sails over the deck to the front entrance of Roch-dene.

Reading update: week 40 book 43 was Gregg Hurwitz' sequel to Orphan X - an excellent thriller in the Matthew Reilly style. 

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Along the rivers of your mind I saw the ever changing plants and trees (The Rumour)

Zen garden number 3 is now pretty much completed.

This time we've gone for a zen stroke patio stroke dining stroke relaxing area - combining garden furniture, Buddha, potted plants, sail, paving, cap cod chairs and screens.

All sitting happily outside ART (Abbey Road Three) and bathing in the luxuriant soundssssssss.

View from ART

SWMBO water blasted and painted the screens we found by the potting shed, we put up the sail, moved garden furniture around and tried various combinations of plants.

Jerry wants to say he 'helped' too.

It all looks pretty cool but even better that that it works. I spent an hour today in Zen 3's shade while listening to a Brian Wilson album playing in ART, and reading Mojo. 


Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, October 23, 2017

I'm thinking about a-this whole world (The Beach Boys)

I am Brian Wilson. 

Well, actually, I am Warren Purdy but the 'I am Sparticus' joke I tried to weave in there didn't want to work.

I've just finished I Am Brian Wilson (start of week 39, book 42) and it's a really good title. I feel like I know him a little more than I did before.

That's a pretty cool thing to say about someone's autobiography.

The Beach Boys have long been an obsession - I own all their albums, even the pretty duff ones with Mike Love 'leading' the lineup like Still Cruisin' and Summer In Paradise. I'm not sure why I own those ones. I'm not a fan of Mike Love.

But I love Carl Wilson, Brian's music, and I love the idea of Dennis Wilson. Given there is a lot of stuff about Brian in the public arena, I have never really thought much about Brian Wilson the person. 

Until I Am Brian Wilson.

I have no idea how it was written but the whole thing sounds like Brian. And Brian is very candid about his voices, his relationships, and his music.

It's real, is what I'm trying to say. And real is rare.

Love and peace to you Brian - WNP

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It's my birthday too, yeah (The Beatles)

'Tis my little brother's birthday (18th of Rocktober). He turned 58.

I'm pretty sure his knees don't look like that anymore but who knows - I haven't seen him in shorts for decades.

We used to be close - as in we did everything together for many years. I would say until I hit Manukau Intermediate for two years and he was still at Royal Oak Primary. I think it started about then.

Although going into separate bedrooms at 18 Korma Ave. about the time I started school at Royal Oak Primary may have contributed as well.

Whatever, increasingly, we got different friends, our interests more radically diverged, we didn't share stuff and I entered boy teenage fog at Mount Albert Grammar. I don't think he did. He's always been finely tuned.

By the time he caught up to me at MAGS he was my young brother who I didn't need to look after as I'd done at Royal Oak Primary.

Then we went to Auckland University. Me first, of course. I went into the arts, his path further diverged into sciences.

Our belief systems changed along the way. I became aware of social injustice. Our motivations changed.

I left home first. We lost touch more and more.

We met and fell for very different women.

I got married first, started a family first. Moved around the world.

It's now been a long time. We've grown apart, as many brothers and sisters do. But he's still my brother, he always will be, and I miss those years when we were ignorant of our differences and were close. 

Love and peace and happy birthday Ross Graham Purdy - Big Brother.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I've got everything, like a moving ground, an open road, and everything (Deep Purple)

Holidays mean time for reading (usually while waiting for SWMBO in the car around Whangarei).

It's the start of week 38/52 for my reading goal. Book number 39 was a DC Comics collection called America At War

I picked it up from The Piggery after waiting a few months for it to reach a half price special. I'm not normally that patient but $44 seemed steep for a second hand comic book.

The main draw card for me was the inclusion of a few of my favourites - pre-eminently, Sgt. Rock!  

While browsing at Real Groovy I found book 40 - Ian Gillan's autobiography - Highway Star. Gillan being the lead singer for Deep Purple off and on since the early seventies. 

It's okay and kept me interested for the most part but he often pulls his punches in an annoying way - especially on his bandmates in Purple. So it's a little superficial at times and becomes focused too much on his 'solo' activities with the Ian Gillan Band and Gillan for my liking.

Current book (41) is a thriller of sorts - Chris Bohjalian's The Guest Room. Early days - page 22 but I'm already absorbed and impressed by his style.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, October 9, 2017

Met my friends all in the material world (George Harrison)

A Facebook message from Noel Forth,  an old mate (old as in I've known him for yonks), reminded me of my mid seventies silk screening activities.

I began via mucking around in art classes at MAGS during my second year fifth year (1973 for those keeping score); someone was impressed and asked me to screen print shirts for the rowing squad.

Hmm, I thought (to myself) - I could do this at home!

So I made my own silk screens and drew stencils to create some fan art.

Some designs for stencils

Noel in Adelaide had been a pen pal for a while and so, in a quid pro quo deal, he sent records and I sent bespoke screened T shirts. 

Which he wore!!!!

Collection of my fan art from 40 years ago

Some of the screens were really huge - the Lennon print is a mitre square!

Anyway, at the time I printed a copy of each shirt design onto a piece of material and squirreled them away into my keepsake suitcase.

And here they are...

And here's Noel modelling them (in legendary aussie bands Tortis and Vertical Hold) with Mick and Jim...

I know, only a glimpse, but clear proof. The last one is my Paul and Linda McCartney shirt - here's one of my prelim sketches for that stencil... 

And to finish, only Noel will appreciate this, but what the hey - I came across this in my treasure trove with the stencils: not sure why I did this - Noel may have the answer:

Love and peace - Warren Ono Purdy