Wednesday, November 29, 2006


it's a bloody hurricane.
Not liking it much. My wig tends to move and I can't get it back to where it was before. I guess youngsters don't have that problem.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I seem to be really in my own bubble at the moment. Head down, thinking and doing 'educational-esque' tasks.
Reading, writing, interpreting, understanding, paraphrasing...the list goes on.
Might have to take a day off soon. haha.
But, there is no escaping an MSc. It's there. It's always there. It's not like a job that when you step out of the office, it disappears until the next time you cross the threshold. Instead, no matter where you are, it's there. The assignments. The last article read. Some little point that someone wrote that might be important. Or some little detail that you thought was little actually turns out to be something quite big.
And that's the problem. You could be on the bus or walking along the street or about to nod off, then suddenly something 'comes' in a flash which changes your perception about the assignments or related stuff.

Seems like I don't have any 'happy medium'. It's either on or off. Usually on.

Monday, November 27, 2006


So, there I was sitting in class today. Kind of bored, kind of tired, kind of hot - not that kind of hot - but listening to some of the arguements relating to whether or not you can teach creativity in the sense of developing a students ability in the arts like music or painting et al.

Clearly, it was the Philosophy class and all kinds of stuff was getting aired. Some of high-brow. Actually, most of it was high-brow. From the likes of medieval times when painters and craftsman had to join a guild to learn their trade which suggests that you can teach creativity to some extent.

And, there I was thinking in these terms...and I decided that you probably can teach creativity to a certain extent but only upto a point. The rest must can from the individual themselves in terms of ability and other factors.

I justified this - not in classical terms as should have been done in class - but in footballing terms. This is perhaps why I didn't utter it outloud to the Professor!

On the training field a coach can tell a player where to stand, where to position his body, how to move etc and by doing this the player can essentially do anything given enough practice and or time. That is 'teaching' creativity if you like.

But, off the training field and in a real life match - that is where you see the truly creative. The ones who don't just practice it but can turn it on in the flicker of eye, completely unexpectly and effortlessly. That can't be taught even by the best coaches. It's instinct.

Example=Ronaldinho's goal on saturday. The cross comes in. He chests it in order to control it but doesn't completely pull it off. The ball is going away from him. A 'taught' player would allow the ball to roll away and then he would try to get it under control. But, he doesn't do this. Instead, he kicks it. Not just kicks it but kicks it over his head and it's the net from 12 yards out. All in 1 movement.
You can't teach that.
A good teacher unlocks the potential and gets the individual to express themselves.

It's as simple as that.
Rocket science, it ain't.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


It's shite being Scottish as some ginger /strawberry blonde?/ bloke once shouted. Well, it is and it isn't.
Football team=win 3 games on the trot and we think we're the dogs balls. All for it to come crashing back down to earth with a defeat.
Rugby team=a few good wins. Nothing spectacular but steady improvements. Then a mere hint that we might actually claim a big scalp only for our own scalp to be taken by an Australia team who aren't that good and who had 1 eye on the beach - and it wasn't Portobello.

Plus, all this wind and driving rain. As mr. scarface said 'is this it?' Seems like it. It's this until March next year. Oh god. It's a nonsense. Why can't anyone else see that this weather is total balls? Are my glasses not working or something?!
It's hard fighting the masses.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I have been getting bogged down in one of my classes - 'The Nature of Enquiry' - as it is known. It looks at different perspectives on knowledge and how one can 'enquire' about the world.

So, each week we have been looking at concepts like positivism, post-positivism, interpretivism, critical theory, post-structuralism, feminism et al. All ways of viewing knowledge...

Mostly, we are surrounded by 'positivism' which essentially expects knowledge to be able to generalise the World and everything in it. If you think of Physics and Chemistry, then you have a idea of it. But, this positivist way of looking the world is everywhere. All those surveys that say 30% of the population are over weight or even examinations in School are examples of this way of thinking.

It's just they way the world is...thank you Plato / you b__D/
Anyway, the assignment for this class suggests that you examine the different ways in which research is done using these concepts mentioned above in our own field. For me, it's second language acquisition.

Thought that it might not be too difficult because research is mostly positivistic. However, it's changing. Instead we have other forms of 'doing research'. Other forms that are distinct but these 'distinct' forms are quite similiar, so much so that they often overlap. It's all abit of a grey area.

And that has been the problem. I've not been able to visualise the spectrum of research. At one side is this positivistic way of research and at the other, well, I haven't been able to fully get to that side of the spectrum. Hence, the 'bogged' down bit.

But, by some wonder I found an article that has cleared the clouds and has left sunshine. It's certainly not a clear blue sky - more of a typical Scottish summer day. But, it's progress.
It gives a spectrum. Not complete but the foundations of one. I need to fill in the gaps but at least I've something to work with. Now, I might be able to get onto the assignment and think of something to write about.

God, I have no life.

Monday, November 20, 2006


1. Hearts are going to get relegated.
Controversial but might not be that far from the truth. No wins in 7, another 'manager' coming to take over /or might not/ as the case may be. The 'sporting director' calling their supporters racist. Benching their captain and most consistant player. A submariner of a benefactor who couldn't navigate his way of a wet paper bag and an 'us vs. then' mentality. All pointing to well, not the upper tier of the SPL.

2. Hibs will win something. Not sure what but it might only be a prize for playing nice football.

3. Celtic to progress in the Champions League.
Oh yes, we just have. That's nice!
Played off the park buy a near full strength Man. Utd. but it took a moment of brillance from 30 yards to beat them and a big stroke of luck in them missing a penalty. But, a win is a win no matter how it is achieved and with it the 3 points that take us into the last 16. What price that we put our away hoodoo to bed in Copenhagen thus winnnig the group??!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


So, it's been windy and rainy and cold.
Not just windy but WINDY ...I hate it.
But, I'm not moaning, honest.

Friday, November 17, 2006


*caution - cynic alert**

Not apologising for it though.

It's November and all the bollocks christmas nonsense has begun. Actually, it's not 'just' begun, it begun weeks ago. From the nasty 'perfect' christmas family adverts on the tv suggesting that if you go to Iceland or Sainsbury's to buy all your food, then you will have a brillant christmas with all the family around the dinner table. Everybody wearing party hats and smiles with perfectly cooked turkey and trimmings. The perfect nuclear family. Mum, dad and 2 kids. Of course, all these imagines are backed up with the soundtrack to christmas, Slade et al.
Is the reality somewhat different?

But, it's the reality that the big companies want you to believe is possible. You can do it...after all, every family is the same as the tv family. Celebrating the true meaning of christmas and not just the capitalist free for all, which is perpertuated to increase consumer spending thus improving the economy. And allowing the consumers to gain empowerment because they can spend and being able to spend is 'freedom' because you can choose what you want. Myth.
How can I even think that?
It's blasphemy, surely.

It's everywhere though. All the shops encouraging you to buy for the sake of a 'great christmas'. If you buy, you will have a great christmas. Question: when was the last time you had a truly great christmas?

Stone the heretic.
Nonsense. christmas has got nothing to do with religon...and you know it. It's for people trying to believe the hype and buy happiness. If I get x and really nice gift, they will be happy and because they are happy, I will be happy. haha.

I'm tired and weary of it. Every year is the same. Well, it's not really but the underlying principles remain the same.
Take music, for example. Now is the time to shift records because people will buy. Is it original records. Is it nowt. Oasis - 'best of, U2 - singles et al. Funny how they get released now instead of in April or the summer isn't it. Marketing baby, marketing. The laugh is, the Oasis best of isn't really a collection of there 'best' and what's the point of a U2 singles collection? We've already been subjected to 2 'best of' albums. Another question: when where they released?
Money, profit, sales.
or perhaps it's the record companies giving us a gift to say 'thanks' for buying records during the past 11 months since the last time we ripped you off - sorry, that should read 'since we last gave you a gift'.

Even the movies are at it. New Bond...released yesterday. Why? - for profit. Strange that the Bond back catalogue is out on sale now. Hmm.
and the best bit...only another 5 weeks of it to go. Oh and then we have the sales. more selling.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Was asked a while ago about what I was doing for my birthday and what I wanted. At the time, I really wasn't sure. I hadn't thought that far ahead.

I guess that point of view hasn't really changed much since...

I really feel as if I don't have that much to celebrate. Yes, i'm 3-0 but it's not a major 'thing'. It's another day. It'll be much like the day before and the day after it. I won't have changed.
Also, December will be set aside for assignment writing. 12,000 words in total. That's what I want to achieve and I'm not sure much will get in the way of that, perhaps not even Christmas or birthday or whatever.

Harsh. Perhaps but being selfish and singleminded are 2 things that I'm particuarly good at these days. Rightly or wrongly.

Which leaves the point that I'm not really 'into' celebrating.

My 29th year started brightly, very brightly but has turned out to be an unimaginable nightmare. With everything I thought was going to happen - and willing to happen, turning completely into something that hadn't even been thought of. Words expressed in this column hinted at it but didn't fully get to the crux of just how dreadful 'things' have been this year.
Can I celebrate that? no.

Which finally brings me to the point of 'wanting' for one's birthday.
The Munro knows.
2 things.
Both outwith my control.
One hopeful, one unlikely.
Both =something that can't be bought.


So we have these 2 cats. One ginger and one black.
The black one is the younger of the 2. She is a sadistic, cold hearted killer. Not to put too fine a point on it.

Often she will bring a little 'gift' into the house. A sparrow or some other little bird /ironic that the only bird's that get brought home are by the cat/. Dead of course. Or sometimes it's a wee mouse.

She doesn't munch them or anything. Just kind of plays with them for a bit before losing interest and leaving them lying about.

Alas, this time it was a mouse. And a live one at that. She took it into my parents room, from which she was chased and shouted at. She ran off and left the mouse to scamper behind the wardrobe.

Cue international incident of Thunderbirds portion. Get Blair, the UN on the case. Thing was it was my mentalist brother who was getting all hot and bothered about this mouse. Since the mouse was a crafty little begger, my brother couldn't find it to catch it. So, with his short temper getting increasingly shorter due to his crapness in cornering this little thing and the inability of the cats to really care, tension was high.

Honestly, it was hiliarious. My 'seasonally plump' brother /17 stone?/ trying to catch this 10 gram mouse whilst the rest of us, including the cats, sat idly by. You'd of thought that the world was going to end...

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Tis the time of year that I think I'm 'relatively' safe from the being old jibes. Alas, Lord Munro of Munro-shire is the same age as myself - if only for a month.
So, ya f__________r, being 29 isn't that bad!

At least you don't look 29 and that's important. However, in a month/6 weeks, you might well look older...late nights and nappies ahead me ol' mucker.

In the meantime, enjoy the shoes!

Friday, November 10, 2006


Sign of a good/bad party:

You arrive to find that there are alot of people there. The majority of them are male. And not Scottish.

No pumping music. Some, but not overpowering.

Pissed bird in the corner who ends up being unable to actually sit up straight.

Plenty of beer in the fridge. Particularly helpful when you arrive with none - due to the fact that all the off-licences are closed (wouldn't happen in Korea).

Afore mentioned bird gets laid with the host of the party, who has another bird in another country.

Queues for the toilet. A big window looking out into the garden to negate the queue for the toilet. Always a bonus.

Puking. Watery, no lumps. From afore mentioned bird - not sure if it was alcohol induced or realisation that she has been a slapper.

Being suddenly alone in a room with a 'relatively' cute bird. (Where'd everyone go?!?). Suddenly, not being alone with a 'relatively' cute bird.

Saying that you're going only for you to forget about going because you've just been handed another rather chilled Stella Artois. In the meantime, someone calling you 'cute'.

Leaving because it's well late and your a little bit pissed.

I'm not telling you which were the 'good' or 'bad' bits. It's all subjective anyway.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Seems like civil war has erupted at my old Uni. Would like to mention all the goings on but might not be a good idea as you never know who is watching and what the watchers might pass on...
not that that would stop any rumours being spread. haha.

I might even start my own rumour just to see how big and morphed it becomes - not a nasty rumour. Perhaps something like 'I'm returning to Uni. next semester' or something equally unlikely. Perhaps something more fanciful would be appropraite. Like I'm returning to become the head of the Department. Come to think of it, that might not be a 'rumour'...I'll have to think about what to put out.

I might start on a campaign of mis-information starting now, right here. Everything you read here might be true but then it might be Borat-esque. You'll never know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Using group (confidence building vs. maths skils) as an independent variable and score in statistics examination as dependent variable, what might the null and alternative hypothesis be?
What would the implications of using a one- or two-tailed test?
What would the type 1 and 2 errors be?
What are the arguements for selecting the significance level to use?
What implications would this have for the power of the test?

Above represents 1 question from my 'Statisitics' homework...needless to say, I'm not really 'getting it'.

I get the concept of hypothesis testing and the fact that you can reject the null hypothesis if you have a low p-value. I even get the bit about the one and two tailed tests to find the significance of it all.

But how does that relate to the question. And why aren't these questions written in non-technical language?

It does frustrate me that alot of 'academic stuff' is written in such terms...why not open up journals and stuff to the public by using language that could be understood by the non-academic. What's the point in trying to prove that you have a large vocabularly and by trying to prove that you are intelligent?

I think the Frankfurt School might have something to say about all that. The oppressor vs. the oppressed.

Getting back to the point...stats. is not that easy...yeah, that was the point.

Monday, November 06, 2006


To kill or not to kill.
Not sure that I have the ability to do such a thing both morally and physically yet it seems that the bumping off of old Saddam has been given the green light. Perhaps in that particular culture, it is an acceptable way of doing things. If that is 'waht is done' then fine but is this going to be a 'kill him to make an example of him' or is it 'kill him because it is the right thing to do'.

I'm not convinced that bumping him off is going to solve anything even allowing for what he did or didn't do.

And how much external influence was put upon the judge to pass such a sentence. You bet your life that there was...

Sunday, November 05, 2006


in purely philosophical terms:
In looking at these opposites, you would think they are representations of black and white, yet in many ways it's not that easy to say that something is good or bad because each term is context dependent. Not only is it context dependent but it is subjective. What might seem good to one person may be bad to another and vice versa.
Black and white? Never. Shades of grey...context is the key here. Is right to murder someone? In history, some cultures would argue 'yes'. In todays world, some cultures would argue 'no'. Perhaps an extreme example but the point remains.
guilty/not guilty.
Again subjective. Context based. Evidence and facts. Although both do not completely prove someone guilty or not guilty. They do however sway opinion.

Then, at what point is it 'good' or 'bad' or 'right' or 'wrong' to admit 'guilt'?
What conditions are 'suitable' for this to happen?
If we could outline the conditions, would the conditions ever become 'suitable' for this to actually happen?
However, why would anyone want to admit guilt?
Would it serve any purpose?
Does someones conscience play any role in the prevention of admission of guilt?
Of course, if I admit i'm guilty to myself, what purpose does that serve. No-one else knows that I'm guilty, so why admit it - can you be guilty only to yourself?Surely guilt must be between 2 or more people.
Cause and effect.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Right then. Credit were credit is due.
Today was a nice day. Not the classes or what was on tv but /and I should whisper it/ the weather. Yes, it was. No sarcasm or anything, it was nice.

Description:bright blue clear sky, sunny with no wind. Alittle chilly but warm enough to be outside without thinking 'it's baltic'.

Now that is what I want. If it's not summer, then I want the days to be like that. Simple.

And that is the root of my 'complaining'...we never get days lke today that much. Instead, it's wet, windy, dark and miserable. Today wasn't and well played the weather for deciding that.
Keep it up.

Can you see where I'm coming from now? was the same as winter in Korea /well, it gets colder in Korea/ but the point i'm making is I quite liked winter there because it was clear, bright, often sunny and dry.

*...newsflash...was sorting out my inbox when I came across an email from June from a certain Munro. In it he said 'You have to come home: 1. (not going to tell you what he actually said in number 1) 2. So we can grumble about the weather...'
Clamped ya bam!
I have it in black and actually gave me permission to 'grumble' about the weather if I came home!**