Friday, December 30, 2005


So, there is this tree in this forest in the middle of nowhere. It is completely surrounded by other trees and other plant life and the usual 'things' that are found in a forest. No people.

The tree then falls. I have no idea why because I'm not there. The eternal question. Does it make a sound if no-one is present?

My 1st thought is that 'yes' it must. I mean, why wouldn't it? But then I thought, 'well, i'm not sure'.

A 'sound' is something that is heard by us due to the vibrations of the air. These vibrations are then transmitted to our ears. The signal is the interpreted by our brain which we recognise as 'sound'. So, if there is no-one there, then it can't make a sound because there is no-one there to interprete the vibrations of the air. Sure, the tree falling will make a noise because the falling action will cause the air to vibrate which is the 1st stage of a sound but it will not become a sound because there is no way of converting the vibration into something. I guess you could record it using a tape or something but then again, the recording remains only noise until it is heard but some at which point it becomes a sound.
And that is will never really know.
Really know unless you are there.
Really know until it occurs.
2006. You never really know until it occurs.
happy new year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Minds wander and attention spans drift. What if that happened or if i'd said no to that or agreed to say this. Reflections on the year are almost here. Perhaps it's 'natural' to look back on events. It's almost like a learning aid. I did this and that happened. Cause and effect? Of course, one could 'learn' and continue to learn from past events or one could actually get stuck on a particular event or events without learning anything from them and not allowing the event to pass.

I'm usually found in both camps. Before, I could be found in the 'stuck' camp but migration into the other camp comes with experience and age. These days, their is no real sense i'm spending time contemplating the if's and but's. When your 17 or 18 or similiar, decisions were made that did have large ramifications - University, moving out et al - but then you get to the point in which the big decisions have been made and all that you are doing is continuing with them. Example=teaching. Big decsion. 2005 was a contination of that, so I can have no real complaints. No if's or but's. And that is fine. Yet, if teaching is the bricks, it's the mortar that i'm still in need of. The bits to fill in the bigger bits. And that's the hard part. That continues.

So then...the review of the year. That's not going to happen. The review of the year is every entry that is made. I can't cram 365 days of feeling, emotion, events, actions into a paragraph. Can anyone?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Have been making a concerted effort into studying Korean recently. I have been feeling quite 'into' recently because the stuff that I have been studying has been sticking. Admittedly, it's most been nouns and other small items of vocabularly, but one needs to start with such building blocks instead of being pitched straight into phrases and extented conversations which I may or may not have any understanding of.
It is noticable that my 'method' of learning is very much down to confidence.
If I'm feeling good, then 'it' happens but if I'm not, then it doesn't. Take the past few days. I've been doing well /relatively speaking/ and I have been enjoying it but then I went to the hairdressers as I do. I can get buy whilst in there, well, I can get a haircut anyway but then one of the hairdressers' starts talking to me. It is at this point that all my work and confidence goes to pieces because I can't actually understand what she is trying to tell me. Of course, it happens and I should expect little episodes like that but it doesn't make it any easier to take my complete incompetence. It's both frustrating and demoralising.
2 ways to deal with it. 1=make it inspire and2= lose interest.
Which leads me back to the 'confidence' thing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


This damn American colleague continues to send E-mails like the are going out of fashion. This time outlining the Univeristy policy for x/y/z/. If she was just to report the facts, then perhaps I could be tolerant however she sends them all coloured up. It's enough to give me a migraine. Had an interesting conversation with another colleague about her. He's also an unhappy bunny. He was questioning her and asking who made her 'headteacher'. He's got a point. As my colleague points out, she's only been here a year and doesn't posses any TESOL Certfication yet she is the self-appointed spokesperson for us and has recommended a 'crap' textbook for next semesters 1st year English program. Anyway, I didn't bit and just deleted the E-mails without thought, care or even a raised pulse level. My new found maturity.haha...Perhaps, it's just because I couldn't give a flying f______K - until closer to next semester, that is.

Monday, December 26, 2005


It's amazing what a bit of downloading does for one's mood. If it doesn't download fast enough, it's a problem but if it flies, then we have liftoff.
Today...we have both!
Music, only though. And a rather fine selection if I do say so myself. Have been trying to get hold of a DFA Compliation # 1and2 without much success. It's on of these complications that you only hear about after the event. No chance of getting in Korea and I'm wondering what are the chances of getting it back home. Perhaps. Although there was another complication, 'Headz 2, A and B' on Mo'Wax that has caused problems. I managed to get hold of B...a journey through 'hip-hop' that I had never heard before and a blast of some rather tasty drum and bass. However, I have never managed to get hold of A. And haven't even come across 'Headz 1'. So, my dilema. It seems that both compliations are not currently downloadable. Some of the individual tracks are...but trying to get a complete set. Hmm.
Elsewhere, I somehow managed to get some random electronica containing 'stuff' i've never heard before and 'stuff' which I've kind of heard like a magical 12 minute version of Goralliz 'Dare' remixed by DFA. The first 6 minutes are Damon and Shaun Ryder doing there 'it's dare...' thing. The last 6 minutes though is just pulsing noise in a way that only remixes can get away with. If only more artists took a chance instead of leaving it to the remixers. It could be a good Christmas after all.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


The 25th December. Perhaps I should get all emotional and philosphical because it's that time of the year. It seems we all need to be best mates for exactly 24 hours. Haha. And then we snap out of it for another 364 days. Such false dawns.

Korea being Korea was suspiciously like the Korea of the 24th..the 23rd...the 22nd. Nothing altered. The same. Strangely, I wonder if anything changed anywhere else? Perhaps but I'm not sure we have those kinds of detectors to measure such changes.

Either way, christmas came and went in a very 'normal' manner. It was Sunday. The traffic was bad. The shops were open. The delivery men delievered. The sun shone. The wind blew and the next door neighbours dog barked way too long. In essence, any given Sunday minus the hangover and for that, I am thankful. Didn't even bother going to Church. That is how good a Christian I am. Didn't even give it a thought. The birth of a kid to some women who didn't even do the 'deed'. A miracle. To some.

Instead, I thought about how fat I had been the previous day. I thought about how long it would take me to demolish that box of 'Marks and Spencers' Chocolate biscuit selection. I thought being at home in Edinburgh being hungry and bored and waiting for dinner but looking forward to one of the envitable Connery Bond movies, hoping that it was either Goldfinger, Thunderball or You only live twice. I thought about all the excess that I would have indulged in and then I thought about my best mates and what they would be doing. Some at home, some on holiday but most importantly, not here. And then I wondered if this was 'actually' home or merely a stopping off place to somewhere else. I think I decided that it was. And on and on and on and on and on and onandon andon and on.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


It's my birthday and i'll cry of I want to.
.merry christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005


The day before the day you turn a year older. Not really a cause for celebration. More like a day to think 's_______________________e, that went a bit too quick'.

It went as quick as any other other of the previous 27 but I'm more aware of the passing of a year now. The endless summers playing football down the Green are well and truly gone. They have been superceded by real issues and real concerns in the real world with real and tangible 'things' needing to be achieved. No longer can I plan on playing football all day, until the sun goes down.
Actually, I'm quite content being 28.
It's neither too old nor too young. Old enough to know alittle and young enough to claim to not know that much. It's perfect. If I could stop ageing, I would remain 28. That's not to say that it's been a landmark year, it's just an age in which physically and mentally, I'm doing fine although it might not always seem that way. I would almost say that I have progressed in every year, perhaps not in leaps and bounds but progression nonetheless. It's when the progression stops, that's when I should worry.
Anyway...enough self-analysing. It's bloody Christmas. The time when you can do anything and say anything just because it's Christmas.
O/K..__I love u all except a few people who I don't. I love Korea but actually, I don't really and why did that Scientist bloke fake all that work. Mate, you look like an idiot now. Not just in Korea but the world. Never count your chickens. Dearest Tony...please try harder. Mr. Bush, you're a knob as is your compatriot who happens to teach at my Unversity. To my neighbour...please can you give that dog some love and attention. It barks and moans alot and that's not fair. And to the owner of my apartment - can I pay less rent next year. Oh yes and there a number of people who have been doing my nut in this year. Can you be nice and not so bitchy. It doesn't cost anything to be nice. And too myself__quit the moaning.
Overand out.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


No University 'chat'/ Fed up and have had enough.
Christmas though is nearly upon us...might be somewhat controversial but I'm not that excited or that bahumbugged. Neutral.

Marketing overkill=probably.
Even the 'real' meaning of Christmas doesn't particularly hold my attention.
The thing that does interest me is this 'goodwill' that often is forthcoming. Yet, why only around this time. Why not on April 3rd or October 18th? Both days are of equal importance to somebody.

Idealistically, it should be everyday but then when do ideals ever become real. Haha.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


tHOUGHT this 'grading' nonsense had been consigned to the past. Alas, it hasn't and really it gets worse so much so that I am so disillisuioned with the whole episode. I'm embarrassed by certain colleagues. I'm embarrassed by my Department and I'm embarrassed by the lack of leadership we have.

It seems that our Head of Department has decreed that us 'foreigner' teachers can grade any way we like and that our grades will entered by over-riding the set rules regarding grading that the rest of the Univeristy abides by. Some members of staff are clearly delighted with this as their less than honest means of grading has now been accomodated.

This in itself, brings out alot of additional issues that I'm far from happy with and the messages that it sends out.

It sends out the message that you can use rude and abusive language to your colleagues. You can slag off the place you work and the country you live in yet nothing will happen. In fact, you get your own way against University policy.

Furthermore, this should have been the time when real leaders would have lead. We needed a lion and we got a mouse. The Head of Department does not need to rule with an iron fist. He should show leadership though. If this is leadership, then I'm a chicken. Ducking issues, fudging responses and not making decisions are leaders who shouldn't be leaders. He should have 1. Told us, this is University Policy, period, end of story. 2. Disciplined the perpertrators of the abusive and foul language and 3. Simply been strong instead of this wishy washy crap.

Oh yeah and the clincher...we've been told that we can over-ride the grading policy but don't tell the Korean members of staff /the same Department as ourselves/that we're doing this, otherwise they'll find out and will not be very happy about it.

oops. just blown the cover. good.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005


I was reading about this Trade Summit that was taking place in Hong Kong. Seems like some deal or other was close to being reached. But, it wasn't that, that caught my interest rather it was the protestors and more specfically, the Korean protestors who are a more 'radical' bunch.

They seem to be complaining about the influx of foreign rice imports into Korean. This would then have a detrimental effect on the team as the foreign rice imports would be much less than the Korean equivalent. /i'm not going to get into the rights and wrongs of Korea's Economic policy regarding the influx of 'foreign' goods or the preferential treatment Korean business' enjoy 'cos that would open a whole new can of worms/
Anyway, the Korean protestors donned their headbands and set off and did their thing, yet the really crazy, militant ones did more than that. They did something to really show the world how serious they are, something that now other band of protestors would, something so controversial that the policitians would have to sit up and take notice of them.

They all jumped into Hong Kong Harbour...with life vests.

What's the point, I mean really. It's winter, the water is cold and fairly polluted and you're wearing a life vest. That's not militantacy, that's just stupid. Apparantly, the Harbour authorities had to pull them out, one by one. I'm not sure if they were arrested or charged or anything...Had I been in charge, I would have just left them. With any luck, they might have been swept all the way back up the coast to Korea along with their headbands where they would probably receive a hero's welcome. "Well done boys, you really showed them..."

Sunday, December 18, 2005


*Caution advised. Might not make pleasant reading**

Word of the week: 'Sack'

She has to go. Simple. This 'unnamed' teacher cannot speak and act in this fashion and expect nothing to come of it. To my Boss...your time is now. Do the right thing. Alas, I fear it won't however.

Phrase of the week: 'Grading Curves'

Big deal. Get on with it. Get the grades in and shut up.

Sight of the week: 'Fall'

Walking home at about 2mph on ciy pavements is not fun. I spend a lot of energy concentrating on where I'm walking and how to avoid making a tit of myself. I took great delight in seeing a group of middle-aged men walking along the pavement and one of them going arse over tit and landing on his head. In doing so, he almost took his mates with him. It was, without doubt an gold medal winning act, worthy of a 9.5. I pretend not to see it but was secretly killing myself with laughter. Get in there!

Song of the week: 'I will survive' by Gloria whatshername / 'The killing' by The Rapture

Purely for 'Go...walk out the door nah nah nah you're not welcome any more' / '1-2-3-4 kick that fucker out the door'

Saturday, December 17, 2005


ANother year away from the Motherland and another year away from music. My music collection is stagnant which is a definite shame. It's so easy to lose touch with what's good and what's not. Often it would be a little chance taken on some cd that somewhere you heard was alright. Sometimes, the cd in question wasn't that great but sometimes you would get surprised by one. It would grab you and it would be onrepeat. You'd tell your mates about it but they would be like 'yeah, yeah, yeah - but ur taste's in your arse usually'.

Of course, such criticism always linger in and around music due the subjective nature of it. Yet,it's the 'taking the chance' that i miss. The days off spent down Fopp /the original one, not the imposter on Rose St./ just looking around or listening to whatever they have playing at the time. That's how the likes of The Strokes or The Avalanches or Gomez Et al were 'discovered' just that tiny bit before they became larger.
I guess I'm taking the long way round in saying that i've not really managed to make great strides on the musicial front this year. A few notable exceptions - Death from Above 1979, Maximo Park, Tom Vek, UNKLESOUNDS, The Go! Team having been located yet I hate to think what I've missed and the perennial problem...what have I missed?

Suggestions/comments/ ideas/chances. Please share./

Friday, December 16, 2005


That's it. I've had enough. A farce.
This 'unnamed' teacher has finally done it.
Not only did she slag off the Head of Department and our closet ally, but she has continued this 'group E-mail' by 1. Slagging off the University where she works and 2. Slagging off Korea, the country in which she lives and works. Three strikes.

How can she continue? If she had any decency, morals or ethics she should leave. How can she insult us all, the University and the Country and remain in her position?
She said that she 'can sleep easy knowing that she doesn't regret anything that she has done or said'

The balls on some people. If I was the Boss, I know the route I would take. It would start with a copy of the Bus Timetable for the Airport Shuttle Bus for her viewing pleasure.
A reply came back from the Junior Professor suggesting that perhaps she was one of the incompetent teachers who had been giving out too many A's thus resulting in this new 'Grading policy.

In many ways, that is the whole thing. This unnamed teacher has done exactly that yet she is the one who is making the most noise. Strange that. Is she perhaps trying to cover up for herself. After all, she did promise any student who helped her at some Internattional Conference, an A+. An A+ without having to sit a Mid Term test, a Final Test and without even needing to attend class. The students were attracted to this little sweeter, like flies to shit. If you were a student, what would you do?

So, she has all these students that were promised an A+ but then suddenly the goalposts changed. She can only give a maximum of 30% per class an A+. Cue slagging match.

And that's why i'm upset.
Then today, there is a little note on the Head of Department's office door from this unnamed teacher suggesting a new textbook for next semester.

'Gross Misconduct' doesn't seem strong enough. The Boss must act. In any other University or even company, would this be tolerated? Not a chance.

Taxi for _____________.
Go now.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


The last of the's the day you look forward to but there always seems to be a sense of anti-climax about it. I had my last group can and do there test. They were fine. Not great but equally not too bad. I thanked them and wished them a happy holiday. Off they went, closing the door behind them and I was left in the classroom alone with just the whirring of the heating for company.
At that point, a big wide grin and a sense of 'i'm done' should envelope me yet, it doesn't. It's just a nothing kind of feeling. Neither here nor there. Even 20 or 30 minutes later, back in my office, it's still 'nothing'.

In a quasi romatic way, it shouldn't be like that. It should be a contented happiness after a long semester in which I've done the best i could. But, when does a 'romantic, idealistic' picture ever come true?

All I can say is, it's good to be done. What comes next?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Further to yesterday's 'Grading' situation, it seems like the s___________e has well and truly hit then fan with a certain unnamed American female teacher with one son getting personal by slagging off both the Head of Department and one of the junior Korean Professors - who is perhaps our biggest ally. She hasn't done this in private by visiting them and explaining her point of view as adults would do but by lambasting them in group E-mails.
I've never heard such inexcusable and abusive language used in the public domain.

I had to E-mail the junior Professor and say that such behaviour is completely uncalled for and in no way reflects my own or other peoples views regarding this Grading policy. I was shocked. It's something that, usually, I would wade straight into but it's best just to watch the situation unfold. And i'm sure 'it' with unfold.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


In the past, we at University have essentially been given free range to give the students any grade we see fit. There has been an 'guide' to how we should grade but a loose one that hasn't been strictly enforced.
That though, has now changed with the University's Computer system dictating that this 'guide' is now enforced. In essence it's a grading curve which is in practice and many other Univeristies and Instituitions here in Korea and one would suspect throughout the World.

Such a method has it's rights and wrongs. No question of that.

However, certain members of staff are up in arms about it because they have promised or indicated to their students of that grade they will get but find that they can't enter them because they already have the alloted number of 'A' grades or 'B' grades. Meaning that some students are going to be very disappointed and some teachers are going to have to perform a mighty fine U-turn akin to taxi drivers over here - they are experts!
I'm not really sure how to align myself with this.

I can see that perhaps some student could be a borderline case but will get marked up or down depending on quotas and not on their ability. And if you have a number of students with similiar points, how do you decide on who gets the grades? So, in reality their grade is not entirely based upon their ability but other, non-ability defining factors. It could become some sort of lottery which is far from ideal given the competitiveness of the University scene and the importantance of overall grades.
Plus, you have the curious situation in which some teachers have told their students their grade which they will not get. In this instance, i'm not too concerned because I haven't told the students their grades. They may have an idea but not 100% confirmation which makes it slightly easier for me becasuse my 'word' is not on the line. Yet, some teachers are effected by this. It's funny that the teachers who promised half the class 'A' grades are making the most noise about it...
I guess it's a case of ethics.

Yet, other Universities employ this practice. I'm not suggesting it's good or bad but it reduces the possibility of teachers inflating their grades artifically or abusing the system with has clearly been the case with the implementation of this grading system.

Anyway, i'm sruggling with which camp I should be in. Apparantly a letter might go out from us 'Foreigners' about it. Can I sign it? I'm not entirely convinced I can since I have no strong views for or against. Perhaps I will when I total up my grades and find that I will need to manipulate the grades...

And then it kind of struck me that isn't the whole point of tests, so that you can separate out the students? If everyone is getting 'A' grades then the tests are too easy. If you get a good spread of grades, then you know that your test has done it's job.
In Scotland, that is how the Standard Grades and Highers work. You get an amount of students who can cope with 50% of it, therefore passing but then as the test continues, the more able students will be able to complete the entire test whilst the less able students will be able to do parts of the test depending on their ability and the grades show this. Essentially the questions are set so that a spread is achieved.

Should this be applicable here? Probably.
No doubt this will rumble and rumble and rumble and rumble.

Monday, December 12, 2005


It's all around and quite honestly, i've had enough of it.
Point scoring. Being extra nice. What a nonsense. If you're going to be nice, be nice but don't turn it on and off like a tap. Same for being a ba_______________________d. If you want to be a ba_______d, be one but be consistant.


Sunday, December 11, 2005


Word of the week: 'Off'

My office heater. For 2 whole days. That's not strictly true given that it was blowing out cold air. The lovely University repairmen were wonderfully swift in their action. Only 2 days. Well done boys.

Phrase of the week: 'That's it?'

All 'us' teachers have been requested to report to Immigration in order to complete some document indicating where we attended University. Apparantly this is the Korean Governments wholehearted and full proof method of rooting out all the illegal teachers. So, off I went. An hour on the bus there and an hour back...all for the sake of being in the office for approx. 49 seconds during which time the official looked at my document, checked my passport photo and told me that he was finished. This country is going places. And fast.

Sight of the week: 'Boop'

Was waiting on the bus back from Immigration. It was cold so I got on it and proceeded to my seat. There was another passenger already on the bus, sheltering from the cold. Then this middle aged women got on and asked if it was the 11am Bus to Cheonan. To my delight, I understood exactly what she was asking. The other passenger didn't respond to the middle aged women, so I had too. Getting all excited, I replied that it was. She wasn't convinced but I was no longer paying any attention to her due to my chuftness. A couple of minutes later, the same middle aged women checked if it was in fact the 11am Cheonan Bus. It wasn't the 11am Cheonan Bus, but the 11.20am Cheonan Bus. D'oh. My moment of triumph slowly evaporated as I got off the Bus and onto the 'real' Bus. That's the last time I answer anyone.

Song of the week: Still liking the Go! Team!

Saturday, December 10, 2005


In the summer, I commented on the fact that bathrooms tend to be devoid of Air-conditioning which causes problems when a particularly large call of nature occurs. And when it did call, you would find yourself with a drip or 2 of sweat on your brow. Not an ideal situation but there you go...

But then, most bathrooms don't have heating either. Of course, that's not usually a problem - until winter. There's nothing worse than waiting on your call of nature when it's chilly especially since you can't phyisically answer the call fully dressed unless you wear a particularly large nappy. I doubt though that they are obtainable here in Korea. Anyway, the point being spring and autumn are the best times of the year for a number of reasons.

Extremes of temperature are neither big nor clever.

Friday, December 09, 2005


It seems that students here can get a job in their final semester, thus foregoing having to attend University because the have 'a' job. It is dependent upon getting a letter confirming the job from the employer.
Slightly strange practice given that you go to University to learn and take exams whereupon you get a Degree based on passing your exams and doing coursework etc. It seems odd that a student should be awarded something of this much importance when in fact, they didn't even go to University.

I guess that some student could, in theory get a letter from his or her Part-Time employer - a saturday job for example, or a job in which they work 2 hours a week for a 'friend', the net result being that they don't need to attend University.

It does strike me as somewhat unethical or even dishonest. Why should a student work his or her backside off for the full duration of the course whilst someone who is doing the exact same course gets their 'mate' who just so happens to 'own' a company, write a letter stating that he or she is working for them, get Awarded the exact same Degree.
It's a nonsense.

It's like me telling a Driving Test Instructor that I'm pretty good at some Playstation2 racing game in order to get my actual Driving Licence.

Perhaps there are some real students who are genuine and sincere but there are some who are not and it is them that should be busted for there exploitation of the 'loophole'.
Needless to say, I have 2 students who are in this position.
Clearly, they have failed their original attend at passing the basic English course the 1st time around and are re-sitting but low and behold, they have a job so no class for them. They were told that I would e dragging them in for testing. They were notified about their Mid-Term tests but didn't show. They have been notified about their Final Tests. If they come, they have a chance of passing but right now, it's not looking good. There is a very half chance that I'll be failing purely because they didn't come to the Mid-Term test. It was their choice not to come. And I won't be feeling bad giving them an 'F' even if they are in their last semester. Job or no job.
I could be unethical and pass them, like /allegedly/ some of my Korean counterparts but i'm not that 'Korean' yet.

Oh yeah, and did you see all the Korean Politians having a right good right fight in the Parliament. They RULE this country. Babies, the lot of them. How can this country be taken seriously when they act like that in the Parliament Building...Can you imagine dearest Tony and David Cameron rolling around the floor during Prime Ministers Question Time?
Not a chance.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Sometimes, just sometimes my students surprise me.
They sit and do nothing for 15 weeks. They aren't interested, they want to go home and they do their best to go a whole semester without uttering a single word in English. But, in they came to do their test and utter 'something'. And the something turns out to be of quite a good standard. Full, grammatically correct and meaningful sentences. And lots of them. Shocker.

It's like all semester they have been going through this 'quiet' period in which they are monitoring and storing information but they do it so you don't know that they are actually doing it. They would make great spies because they don't give anything any.
Yet, there are still the ones that, as soon as they walk in the door, you know that it's not going to happen. It's going to be a difficult 5 minutes. Alas, it happens but then that is the nature of things and why teaching is such a damn challenge...more of the same next week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Oh dear, oh dearoh dear. Football has gone mad.
The impossible has happened. Rangers qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 1st time despite being 5th in the Scottish League and on course for not even qualifying for next seasons European competitions. It wasn't a particularly difficult group but still, I will offer my congratulations, purely on Scottish football moving to the next step. Meanwhile, Man Utd. crashed out from a group that again, wasn't too difficult but 3 goals in 6 matches tells it's own story.

Man Utd. in crisis. As close as it is possible to be. Questions will asked. Mistakes have definitely been made but how is it that they can beat Chelsea, the Champions yet fail to qualify for the knock out stages. They have a decent nucleus, Ferguson is right to suggest that but they need that little sprinkling of class to make the difference and it is that, that they lack currently. Yet, how do they acquire it? If Man Utd. came knocking, no player would turn them down. However, their are other teams that have upped the stakes and one must say the Man Utd. are not quite the glamourous destination for the top players anymore. Barcelona, Chelsea, Milan et al are where the best players want to go. This has been proven by the likes of Essien and Robben ending up at Chelsea. No doubt Ferguson will find the answers. He invariably does. But, will a certain family of Floridians allow him to find those answers?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


A story that has been rumbling in the uk of late is the revelations that the American Government has been using commerical airports to transfer 'terror suspects' to 3rd countires for 'questioning'. The Foreign Secretary even waded in by writing to his American counterpart, Condalezza Rice. That was big of him.
It would not surprise me in the least of those claims were true but it is remarkable that the Americans have again managed to squirm their way out of it but suggesting that they have never done anything wrong. They didn't deny that the practice occurs but haven't completely acknowledged it.

Further, they maintain that they do not torture these captives. At 1st, they said they don't do it on American soil but 'perhaps' it occurs on foreign soil. Yet, they know say that they forbid it on both home and foreign soil. Papp is all I will say to that. Ms. Rice is a clever women but can she say with 100% certainty that torture does not occur at all. Such naivety or blind lies. Of course, a Government official will never come out and admit this or that. I'm pretty damn sure that the practice of torture has been an integral part of 'questioning' and will continue to be employed. Or perhaps they will sub-contract the 'questioning' out to a 3rd party, so that they can employ such strong arm tactics.

I'm tired of all these secrets and lies and the usual abuse of power. We can do it because we're the Government or we can justify it because we are fighting a war on terror. This faceless enemy nonsense. The kind of fearmongering that we see.
F________________________Koff. Anything and everything is being justified by this. How far will 'things' have to go before someone calls a halt to it all. Perhaps it might stop when we get a regime change. That would be ironic. The pigeons coming home to roost.

Monday, December 05, 2005


The trials and tribulations of doing tests with a heavy cold. Not a great combination especially when you want to give the students the benefit of the doubt. It's hard to though when your in a bad mood. The slightest 'hmm' doesn't go in the students favour. That kind of day.

Plus, I nearly went head over tit on my way to University. The pavement was icy as hell. I was trying my best to stay upright and I did manage but only just. That's winter for you.

Oh yeah, and today is the 1 year anniversary of this. The cheek of it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Word of the week: 'Childlike'

Seems that I'm not alone in thinking that perhaps there are a number of Korean women who are somewhat emotionally immature in some shape or form. Throwing tantrums or going in the huff if you happen to disagree or do something not to their very definite liking. There are 3 ways to deal with it. Agree with them wholeheartedly. Disgree with them and tell them so and finally just ignore them however by doing this you almost always end up getting back to the start which means that you're only real options are the first 2. But then if you go with option number 2 you end up in another circle which leads back to the start. Which means that there is only 1 real option. And in the words of that Barwomen turned Policitian from Australia 'I just don't like it'.

Phrase of the week: 'Oh just f/-----------k off'

Clearly, illness and Korea don't mix. It seems that the slightest thing is enough to do my nut in. From the cold wind that is blowing to the blatant stopping of people to stare into my stopping trolley. The next person is going to get it. Hopefully, that will happen today, so I can get out of my system before my Final Tests start next week. Otherwise, there might be some unhappy students.

Sight of the week: 'Headless'

Got on the bus to University the other morning. There were no seats, so I stood. I was looking around and thinking how I was going to get off the bus without whacking my head when I noticed this middle aged guy sitting next to the window. Nothing overly unusual with that but I had to look back at him because something just wasn't right with him. And then it hit me...for a brief second I that I was missing something but this guy actually had a quarter of a head. If you look at any normal person, there head is kind of oval shaped. Well, imagine the bit above someones left eye, around where the hairline is. It was that bit that was missing. An 'L' shaped kind of bit was missing. His ear was there but there was a definite gap. This gap was covered in hair which seemed to be growing normally. Anyway, I was shocked. Surely he must have been born like that as I can't imagine that this 'hole' would have been caused by some sort of accident or operation. Strange.

Song of the week: 'Ladyflash' by The Go! Team

It's a swathe of pure unadulterated lushness. Akin to the Avalanches in that it's not that easy to classify. There's a bit of this and a bit of that. The Avalanches did it by pinching parts of songs for other artists but these guys...i don't know. Nevertheless a definite uplifter. More than a toe tapper, a swing your hips to 3minutes and 50 seconds.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Thanks for the messages.All patriotic but living elsewhere. The 2 are linked. I'm sure.

I know what you mean. Goss, chips and broon sauce and irn-bru and me mates. Sounds idyllic. Reality though is something different. Kimchi, hot pepper sauce and soju.
Home is Edinburgh. The more one is away, the more it is missed and appreciated particularly in Korea where, really, it's not a scenic place despite what people may suggest, it's an ugly place borne out of necessity rather than anything else. Apartment blocks, building sites,cars and an ever shrinking 'green' landscape. It wouldn't be allowed at home. But, Korea plays by it's own rules. It's functional rather than spectacular.

Perhaps that is how I describe it now, in a more personalised way. Initially, it was 'whoa' what is this place. Money, decent apartment and an o.k. job. Time passes and the 'whoa' has passed. The other variables remain the same. Money, decent apartment and fantastic job. And really, it's that last one that keeps me. Fantastic job. The rest, I could probably do without. I've always kind of thought that if I had 'this' job at home, then that would be idyllic. Clearly, though i'm a 12 hour flight away. And that's it. Ideal. Clearly not.
What of the getaway.
That's it.
That's the question that I really can't answer. It's been a constant but how do you know when the game is up and really, that's what it is. A big game, a big adventure. Is it real life. Yes and no. Yes, in the sense I'm living it but no because I'm in another country missing out on xyz. The only thing that I can definitely say to the 'question' is that it's going to have to be something 'big' that'll get me back. True to form, I don't know what the 'big' thing is though. I guess we're all searching for something and perhaps i'm still searching. Teaching fills a pretty big part of that. I need to fill in the blanks although I'm worried about how long that will take. Perhaps i'll 'just know'. People who are married might be able to identify with that...u just know until then, what do you do? Just wait. Pro-active or reactive?

I suspect that everyone is searching. Seems like alot of people are finding 'it'. Did you find 'it'. Instead of looking, it's easier to make a list of things that i'm not searching for. That would be too easy and consists of the usual suspects.

Round and round and round and round in circles. Seems to be a habit.

Straight answer. Home? ________________when I'm done. If I get home, I probably won't go away again.
Isn't great having the 'flu and a high temperature.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I think my march into adulthood is slowing gaining speed. It's something that i've been trying to avoid for as long as I can. Perhaps i've mentioned that i'm in denial about my age and how i'll be considerably older than I was in about 3 weeks. I think i'm about 24 or something. I see all these 'old' folk about and it never really hits home that, actually, I'm older or at least the same age as them. I don't have any great wish to become any older. Now is fine. I'm neither here nor there age wise. Inbetweener and I have no wish to advance to the next stage.
Anyway, tangents.
I'm becoming an adult because I am no longer just looking after myself. I'm looking after my plants. All 3 and a half of them. To be honest, they are doing o.k. I might even say that they are getting in there. I'm worried about the 'half' though. 1 of my plants was getting too big, so I give it a little haircut. The chopped bits where then 'replanted' with the aim of getting them to grow themselves and making a whole new plant.

I did that a week ago and surprising the 'half' hasn't died yet. Suppose that's a good sign.
I wonder what I can look after next in my quest for adulthoodness. A fish?1 step at a time.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I had just arrived back in Edinburgh last summer when the story broke that some 18 year old black kid had been attacked and killed down in Liverpool. I was shocked by the attack since it had been racially motived and appeared a completely random act.

The reports at the time suggest that this 18 year old, his white girlfriend and his cousin where waiting at a bustop when 2 men started taunting them and racially abusing the 3. The 3 did the sensible thing and walked onto the next bustop. In doing so, they took a short cut through the local park. During this short-cut, the 2 men followed them and attacked them. The girlfriend and the cousin managed to run to safety and raise the alarm. The 18 year old kid wasn't so lucky. He was attacked by an ice-axe, so severely that the axe was imbedded 5cm into his forehead. He dead later in hospital.

The 2 men were caught and have just been found guilty of the act. Both will be in jail for at least 20 years.

Attack and killed because of his skin colour. Awful, awful, awful. I just can't really understand the mindset of the 2 men. It's something that you never really think people are capable of doing and in such a cold, emotionless way. Following their prey and then inflicting that kind of violence. Furthermore, it must have been pre-meditated in some form. Who carries an ice-axe during summer?
It's sickening actually.

One thing that has inspired me since the decision is the actions and words of the dead kid's family. They have haven't condemned or sought revenge for this. Quite the opposite. The mother suggest that she had to forgive the 2 men. What else could she do?
Surely that is the sort of family that should be a model for all of us. A glowing beacon of light. I glad to report that human spirit is alive and well in this family. It is people like that who should be up for Nobel Peace prizes and the like. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two. I hope that other people are as equally touched and can aspire the live their lives which such dignity and value given the loss that they have suffered. It certainly puts alot of immaterial things into focus.