Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A years worth of hardcore toil and all I get is a bash on the head and a laminated piece of printed paper - welcome to Graduation.

Well, in essence that was what happened, including the whack on the head but some old, foosty bonnet. Apparantly its tradition. But, I can't complain. It was a good day and nice to see my clasmates once again. It maybe that we will never all be in the same place at the same time again given the international make-up of the class. I guess all this must pass however and the next stage of our post-student lives begin in earnest. It seems that a few of our Chinese friends are claiming that they are hoping to continue onto PhD's but i'm not so sure. I can certainly say that the PhD route is one that I would like to take one day but I don't think that its going to happen in the near future as other things seem to be occuring on the job front, more of which is likely to follow in due course. more studying. for the time being that is.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Oh dear.
Oh dear indeed.
Actually, the 'oh dear' isn't as sincere as it could be. In fact, its not sincere in the slightest. In fact, its more of a grin than a word. A grin that has, on occasions, turned into something of a chuckle.

Yes ladies and gentlemen the 'mighty' English will not be packing theie bags for Austria/Switzerland next summer for Euro 2008. Alas, neither will we but then we knew that would be the case when the original draw was made.

At least we played with a swagger and a determination to fight and scrap. The English though couldn't say the same. They seemed to think that they could simply turn up and win. And win they did not. All they needed was a point. At Wembley. But they couldn't do it and what a way not to do it. Being 2-0 down, before bringing it back to 2-2 and then losing it in the final 10 minutes. Well Mr. Middle-England with your 2.4 kids and your Mondeo parked in the driveway - this is how it feels to be Scottish. Kind of. Even Motson could speak at the end of the game. Cue the studio and a shellshocked Linekar, a rather smug looking Hansen with Shearer and Wright not knowing what the hell was going on. Brillant. I missed the time when the Beeb was showing the Northern Ireland Vs England game in which N.I. won - I wonder if the 'studio' looked as glum that night also.

But, its the 21st century and Scotland should refrain from all this anti-English nonsense. The bottom line is that Scotland and England are not going to Euro 2008. Dreadful. We're not good enough. That isn't a shocker but perhaps England will have to wake up and take the time to review and find out what the problem was.

It's all to easy to blame the manager. Of course it is. On this occasion though, he must shoulder alot of the blame. He was mince. Playing a 4-5-1 at home with big Crouch upfront was a crime. The Croatians must have been happier than a kid at christmas. Big man upfront? How are England going to play? Hmm? You don't need to be Newton to figure that one out. Indeed the manager seemed to be good at setting his team out the wrong way. I could go on...

Also, given the £750 million spent on Wembley, you would have thought that they would have had a decent pitch to play on. It was a disgrace. Think the old council football pitchs here in Edinburgh are in a better condition.

Anyway, a feast of football will be served in the summer and we won't be invited. Again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So...there I was sitting in a taxi thinking 'I'm going to be late - can the day get any worse?' It did - and it didn't. The day getting worse, that is.

I guess I should rewind slightly.

I was not sitting in a taxi here in Scotland, rather I was sitting in a taxi at 7.20am in Dubai on my way to the first part of my 2 stage interview with Emirates Airlines. The interview was for the position of 'Training and Development Specialist'. I had been shortlisted for this position and had been invited over to Dubai for the interview, with Emirates picking up the flights and hotel costs.

The reason for my dismay was the fact that the 1st part of the interview was a psychometric test which was due to start at 7.30am. I was up, dressed and organised having asked the hotel to reserve a taxi to take me to Emirates' HQ at 7.00am. It was meant to be at most a 20 minute drive from the hotel to the HQ. By 7.15am the taxi hadn't arrived. One did finally arrive. I told the driver where I wanted to go but he said he didn't know where the HQ was. Confused, I got out of his taxi and waited for another. One promptly arrived. Again, I asked the driver to take me to the Emirates' HQ. Again, he didn't know where it was. Getting seriously concerned by this, I gave him a couple of numbers to call for directions. None of the numbers were helpful. Finally, after callnig his mate, he got the directions he needed. By 7.20am we were en route.

Late, and deeply hacked off I arrived for my tests. Thankfully, the awful first impression that I had created didn't appear to be too significant particuarly in light of the excellent results and feedback from the testing. Logic and word logic tests were well above average - high 80%'s actually. I surprised myself there.

Later in the day was the interview proper. I was 40 minutes early for that. I made sure of that. This particular interview was split into 2. The first part was a demo lesson for my interviewers on a grammar point of my choosing - modals of obligation, keeping it simple. After a nervous start, it went well and I feel that it was of a good standard. The second part was the more conventional question and answer interview. It's sometimes difficult to analysis that part of the interview. I lift it thinking that I had done as well as I could. I don't think I was spectacular but I think I was solid and got my point across well. They said that they would let me know within the week if I would be offered the position. I believe I have a good chance but with anything, its hard to tell. I can do little other than sit and wait. The question is though, would I take it if they did?

'probably' what I'd say at the moment. Fantastic company to work for with a very decent tax-free salary couple with perks that I've never had before and I'm not sure I could turn down.
The thing that would worry me is living in Dubai. I'm certainly not afraid of moving per se but based on what I experienced over the 3 days I was there, I'm not entirely convinced about Dubai as a location. Of course, its difficult to get a true sense of a place after only 3 days so perhaps i'm just being silly. That said, I would be worried but how I would get around. Public transport is crap. Taxi's are cheap but there is an acute shortage of them. Also, the traffic is mental and I would have to add to it if I moved there. There would be no option really. Plus, its quite hot. 31C last monday - and thats in winter!
Anyway, all that is currently all 'if's and but's'. We'll see. It was interesting that my colleagues already think I'm going but that is much too premature.

We'll see.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Just sometimes an album comes along from a band that you've never heard of. You've never heard any songs that they have done nor do you really have any idea of what kind of music they even make. Sometimes though you hear of a band indirectly and you take a little chance. A chance that could be worthwhile or could be ill-advised. It would be common to ask around to see if anyone had heard of this 'unkown' band in the hope that at least 1 person had heard of them. Alas, that particular avenue didn't yield much information. In the end, I took the chance and I have been rewarded in spectacular style.

Ladies and gentleman, it might only be November but my nomination for album of the year is here:

It's 'Untrue' by Burial.

Yes, I know you've never heard of them. Neither had I until a few weeks ago but its an album that upon listening to that you are struck by the notion that you haven't really heard anything like it before. That's not to suggest that its a complete dirge - on the contrary, it is a soundscape of electronica, random beats and almost etheral vocals. It's hyponotic and trance-like. It's ambient and its drum and bass. It's garage and it's movie soundtrack. Its a collage, a missmash if you like - and it works brillantly. It's have people who like it and others who hate it but isn't that the sign of a good album, one that generates debate and causes people to investigate further. And I would tell anyone to try it even if it is only to discount it.

I'd hate to think how many quality albums simply slip through the net. This one can't slip through. It's remarkable.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Not really had that much time to be sitting around letting of gas on this thing. All been abit hectic of late actually.

Graduation is on in 2 weeks. Not that excited about it but I'm sure I will be closer to the time. Not sure about the green and white splashes on the robes though.

Off on 'holiday' tomorrow. It's not a holiday as such - more of an interview that just so happens to be in a holiday destination. I'll not go into too much detail at the moment. Needless to say its for a teaching job and I would quite like it. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity and one that doesn't come along all that often. I could be big-headed and say that'll I will get it but lets not get ahead of overselves. I think its the kind of job that I deserve though...

And of course, the Mungall man is shame in that. Alas, will not be out and about for the party since i'll be sitting on a plane.

Scotland 1-Italy 0. Dream score. I believe. Lets shake of this 'nearly' tag.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


It was him.

That knobhead of a bus driver who drives like he has all the time in the world...he was the driver again for the second morning running. I got on the bus in my half asleep state only to see him. I gave him a look that said 'you are a knob - pull a stunt like that again mate, I'll have you'.

And he did.

Twice in 2 days.