Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Being abroad has its plus points and its drawbacks. Too many to name; too few to mention. Sometimes it would be nice to blast back home for a few hours or a day though. One of those times would be right about now actually and that would be to congratulate the Penicuiker in person rather than a text message.

The reason being that he has forsaken batchelordom and decided to, well, no longer be a batchelor. I guess it takes some courage to make that decision. I for one haven't and suspect that I won't need to be making for a while yet. Indeed it is a brave decision particularly in light of the geographical constraints but ultimately, what is distance?

I've always been a bit confused about all this 'marriage' stuff. I guess it is what people do but when I say people, I actually mean 'other people'. But, this view of 'other people' has become a slow trickle of 'people' aka people I know and that is great. I'm delighted that they have found someone that they believe they can be with. In fact I'm not delighted, I'm more than delighted and in many ways in awe of that level of trust and commitent placed by one individual in another individual. It's remarkable. I really have significant doubts that I could do that. Perhaps in the past I could have but life and living it have taken their toll. I'm not discounting it but I'm definitely not ruling it in.

I'm getting sidetracked - this post is not meant to be about me, its meant to be about the Penicuiker being brave and inspired. I would like to say that the two of them are well suited and compliment each other etc but in all honesty, I have no idea if they do because I've never met them both at the same time but I trust his judgement. He may not always be right but he is rarely wrong and that is good enough for me.

Best wishes
Best of luck
Best of whatever...

Monday, May 26, 2008


I was watching the Dubai News the other day. I tend not to watch the local news actually. In fact, I tend not to watch TV that much. But, the reported that the Dubai Government is getting tough. Not tough on immigration, or illegals, or shady landlords, or big businesses. Instead, they are getting tough on people who crossdress. For this, you can get arrested, fined and imprisoned.

They really are going for the criminal majority here. Apparently it contravenes the moral structure of the Country and leads to homosexuality which itself comes from poor parenting and mental issues. This from a 'leading' figure in mental health.

Of course, we can't have people contravening the moral structure of the Country because that is what the Country is basd on /i'm actually quite sincere about that/. The issue is the second point about how crossdressing leads directly to becoming gay. Frankly, I see no link between the two. I base that purely on being Scottish and from wearing a Kilt which to the thick is a 'skirt'. So by definition that makes me a 'crossdresser' and by extention, likely to be gay and also in danger of being arrested, fined and imprisoned. A nonsense.

I just can't believe that some 'academic' is spouting all this 'stuff' on national TV. People believe what they see and hear on TV and don't question it at all. It's not get an issue here but everywhere.

So, I'm off to burn my blouse just in case.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I might as well get the weekly moan over and done with...

Last week, I was in touch with the Senior Admin person at another Department. She wanted X amount of her staff Tested for English proficiency to see if they would be able to make the step up to the next level within that particular Department. I had said that I was happy to do the Testing and that I had a Test ready for the job in hand. She asked me when and where the Tests would take place. I replied, and copied in her Boss and my Boss into the E-mail, telling her that the Tests would take place this week on X and Y days at Z time, in this particular classroom. I also asked that she tell me how many people would be coming for the Testing because I would need to sort out photocopying etc. So that was last Monday.

By yesterday morning I still hadn't heard back from her. So, I got back in touch with her beasically asking for a progress report. How many are coming and are we still O.K. for this week? With about 2 minutes before the end of today, I get a reply from her...I thought, 'O.K. cool, better late than never'.

I opened up the E-mail to find her asking when and where the Tests would take place.


I thought I was dreaming or I had suddenly become part of a time warp. It was exactly the same question she had asked 1 week before. The questions that I had answered within 2 hours of asking. Given that it was the end of the day, I was not going to spend time dealing with her numptiness /is that a word, or have I totally made it up?/. Instead I went straight to my 'sent messages' folder, found last weeks E-mail to her, forwarded it back to her with a note saying 'please refer to my previous E-mail below'. I then closed my Outlook, turned off my computer and left.

It'll be interesting to see how she deals with that one because she clearly is thick. Or just can't read. Perhaps I'm being harsh but come on. I can't be bothered with all this waiting for people to get things done especially if they are crap at what they are meant to be doing. So, I would hazard a guess that this weeks Testing will not be happening which is a pain in the ass because I've booked classrooms, and I know that its going to be difficult getting classroom space in the next few weeks. Everything was looking so rosy...

I have another Department trying to orgainse themselved for Testing also. I wonder how that lot will compare? To think that 'lot' are getting 14 weeks worth of bonus today. Shocking.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


That's the Championship decided then. Didn't think that Celtic would sneak it at the end but lets be clear; if Rangers hadn't got so far in Europe they would have won the League. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Not that that is meant as a slight. It was not a 'vintage' season by Celtic. Effective, certainly.

Disappointed that they didn't win the UEFA Cup. I could be small minded and say 'I'm glad they lost' but I'm not. I'm going to say that it would have been great for Scottish football if they had. But, in the end the Russian team had the resources, the rest and the players to win comfortably. That is 3 losing finalists Scotland have provided in the last 20 years. Not a bad record but someone has to break the hoo-doo sometime.

As for the Champoins League. Let's be honest, the best footballing team in Europe won. No doubt about it. They won it without a striker. Madness. The Chelsea striker did indeed strike but it just so happened that it was a defender just infront of the Referee. An idiot!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


When I first arrived here, I needed to get an Airport Pass in order to, guess what, pass into the Airport or more specifically to pass into the areas that the passengers are not allowed into, for example the tarmac or the Duty Free Area and just about everywhere in the Terminal. This Pass was only a temporary one and was only valid for 3 months. I remember my Boss saying at the time that I should apply to get it renewed about a month before it expires because it takes the DCA /the government run people who operate the Airport/ so long to get their fingers out and issue a new one. I did as he said and applied a month in advance. It was due to run out today.

By close of business last week, I hadn't heard anything so I contact our HR person to ask what was going on. She didn't know and said she would chase it up. Close of business on Sunday /we work Sunday to Thursday here in Dubai/ still nothing. I was getting slightly worried. So yesterday I contacted our HR person again. The news was not good. It still wasn't ready. The DCA still hadn't sorted it out. Though it did seem as if all that was required was the Police /the DCA and the Police are 'close' friends/ to sign it off. My HR person said that it would probably be ready for today. No problem I thought. If I don't have a Pass then I can't get to the office and it might mean that I have to take the day off. Was quite liking the thought of that.

Alas, I got a text from the DCA saying it was ready. Damn them. At the close of business my Boss and I went to get it. It wasn't there! The DCA person couldn't find it. I was secretly quite happy as I mentally planned wha I could do with my day off. My Boss though was not impressed and said that he would come back in an hour to see if it was ready. He said that he would call me later with news. My day off was now hanging by a thread. The thread broke 2 hours later when he called to say he had it.

So today I now have my new Airport Pass. The photo is the original one I gave them and it is a shocker and it is not the photo I had given them when I re-applied!

The DCA have charged 300 Dirhams /40GBP/ for the Pass. It seems that everyone who needs a Pass has to pay that. Can you imagine how many Passes that is and how much money they get just for issuing a required Pass. Plus, they charge 10 Dirhams /1.50GBP/ for something which they cheekily call a 'Knowledge Fee'. What the hell is that? Never heard of anything quite so stupid. Who says Dubai is a tax free haven?

Guess the day off will have to wait.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


So I saw this headline in some newspaper 'American boy dies in Korean sauna'. I didn't take the time to read the article or anything, I just saw it in passing.

As it transpires, I knew the 'American boy' and his Mother. In fact we were co-workers at University in Cheonan. I never really like her much as I'm sure long time readers might recall /long time readers i.e. me/. We had one or two run ins and alot of the other members of staff had run ins with her also. Her son was fine in small doses but that was because I can't really be bothered with 'young people'. That aside, it appears that the boy 'drowned' in the sauna. First of all, it is quite common for people to go to the sauna and it is perfectly acceptable unlike in certain other countries. 'Drowned' though seems strange especially given that there would have been people around to see what was going on. Anyway, I don't want to get into the 'how' or 'why' - that is a matter for others. All I really wanted to do was say how shocked I am. Despite not really getting on with them, the events of the past week (?) are not events that you would wish upon anyone, ever. Tragic, a waste, whatever. No real words will suffice and as a consequence I'm not really going to offer any. Perhaps that will come across as crass or uncaring but it really isn't meant to be. I am extremely saddened by it.

I guess it is a fact of life, whether it is sudden or long, it happens. I don't have a 'healthy' relationship with death. I'm terrified of it in all honesty. I suppose people deal with the thought of it in different ways. I wonder if 'faith' plays a part in it. Those with some kind of faith perhaps have a certain acceptance of it. They accept that it occurs and it will happen to them but have a belief that when it comes, it will be 'fine'. They will go somewhere better or different or whatever. Then there are others that lack 'faith' who don't really want to accept it. I am one of those. I don't want to accept it and am petrified of how it will come about. I don't want to see it coming. That is, the 10 seconds or 1 minute before it does happen. At times, I find myself trying to 'imagine' how it might happen but then I get sucked back to the here and now whilst trying to extinguish any of the previous 'thoughts' I've had. Perhaps that makes me a bit 'odd' or 'strange'. Or perhaps not, as no-one really talks about those kinds of things.

Perhaps I've said too much.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Sometimes you just go weeks and weeks and weeks with really very little to say for yourself. The time is now. I haven't.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Somehow I cut my thumb just below the knuckle back in February. Nothing major at all and I expected it to heal itself up within a week or so. It kind of did but kind of didn't. At the moment, I still have a little mark where the cut was. It's not that big and you probably wouldn't notice it at all but it is a mark nonetheless. Just wondering that, had that happened to me 5 years ago, would it have healed up and left no trace? Perhaps it would have done.

the passing of time.