Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hobbit has its premier today in New Zealand.

Wellington, new Zealand, the capital of Middle Earth is going odff today as thousands of people. many from overseas come to celebrate the premier of the Hobbit. The streets are full of people strecthed either side of the 500 metre long red carpet. We as a nation are so proud of Sir Peter Jackson, our talented film maker. Go see the movie and then come and visit Middle Earth. See our wonderful scenery, even the parts where the film was made and partake in our tasty cuisine. Open a bottle or two of our wines and go for a picnic on a deserted beach.
I can't wait to see the film.

yipee---I got my 50,000th hit on my blogs---wish I knew who it was!

Yeah, I'd give them a free book. Anyone wanna claim it by making a comment---the best one wins--anywhere in the world. Chooese a book from the three.

20% of our kids are failing%

I sit somewhere in the middle for this debate. It has been plain for many years that most of the kids at the bottom end of our educational system are from poorer segments of our society. We know that they are coming out of our schools with little or no qualifications and go on to have families that replicate the failure.
Why is this so surprising? If the resources are not in the home in the form of roll models, will, monetary resources and consistent parenting, then the students starts way behind their classmates from more affluent families. That is not to say that parents I poorer areas are bad parents.
We all know of hard luck, bad luck, ‘struggle stories’ and we can hold these up as shining examples of success, despite the deficits described above. We need to ask, why is it that some students succeed despite the odds stacked against them.
Some people talk about ‘cultural capital’ as the explaining factor to success. Put simply, that means that students from families who are familiar with the  ‘basics’ of what it takes to succeed; including family values that are reflective of the dominant sectors in society, real economic resources that can support education, role models who have succeeded and understand ‘education,’ uncrowded housing, to name a few.
If students succeed despite these odds then we need to examine what bios different about their stories. Was it good teaching, personal character, school or Sate policies around education or something that we have missed?
Either way, what are we going to do? Teachers and school systems, backed up with good resourcing going into looking at engagement that will bring these kids who are failing back into the system. We as teachers will need to think outside the square, because if we keep doing what has clearly failed without looking at our own practises, then the failure will continue.
 I am well aware that many teachers in many schools are doing just that. The problem does come down to what we are prepared to look at and having Government policy that supports this rather than the mish-mash we are getting from a directionless Government   that occupies parliament at present.

Bariatric surgery---The big decision--to my friends, readers and colleagues

I have been considering bariatric surgery for the past two years and my doctor has increasingly put gentle pressure on me to go that way. Once I told friends and colleagues that I was thinking of taking up the option, even though it was going to cost me a great deal, because I am too old for the free operation that people can get in New Zealand if they are under 50, they tried to talk me out of it.
I was told---‘Neil, you will never cope with not having food as a central part of your life,’ or ‘Neil it’s all about portion control,’ or ‘Neil, try this diet or that approach,’ or, ‘Neil, it’s all in your mind.’
OK, I love my friends, family and colleagues and I believe that they have my best interests at heart, but they are not me. Everyone is different. We all have different beliefs, different body types, physiology, metabolic rates and God knows what else. These differences are what make each of us unique. BUT---I know myself. It’s not that I am weaker when it comes to making decisions. It’s not that I don’t try. It’s not that I don’t listen and it’s not that I don’t care about myself.
The fact is that I have tried, and then tried something different. I believe that I started putting on weight that would not come off as a ‘net loss,’ after trying all of these diets and ‘lifestyles.’  The trend is always up. Yes, I would lose weight and then put even more on. It’s that crucial factor that something within me ‘turns on, (or off as it may be), a switch’ that makes me get off the programme, whichever one it was---like Weight Watchers or Sureslim, not to mention the wacky and stupid ones---the ones that we get sucked into spending heaps of money on.
My dear friends--- thanks for your wonderful support but if I get a blank look on my face when you ask me if I have tried this or that diet, it's not that I am trying to tell you to ‘feck off’ as dear Mrs Brown says on that funny TV programme (Mrs Brown’s Sons), it is just me preparing myself for this new challenge.
Thank you to the fantastic people who are encouraging me who have been through this operation. Special thanks to my friend Ngaio in Australia who has been through all this and has witnessed me in the past going through the rigours of countless diets. Ngaio, your words yesterday were inspirational. Thanks for ‘knowing me.’ Maybe when I have transformed I can come and see you in the dessert--- knowing that I can outrun the snakes, scorpions-----ooooooh I’m scared!
OK, enough of the soppy stuff. I feel a few unPC things coming. I have my first consultation with the specialist on December the 13th.