Friday, June 27, 2008


Sadly, despite being in numerous different countries in my time, hangovers remain the same. In a word 'awful'.

It's neither big nor clever and can get you into trouble. Alas, I can't really remember if trouble was made and that in itself is a bad sign.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Busy week of English Testing. In fact, its been 3 busy weeks of English Testing. Not exactly the most enjoyable thing, giving Tests but its something that needs doing. The guys I'm Testing are the ones who are up for promotion. If they pass the Test, then they may well go up a grade. If they fail, well they stay where they are. I guess there is alot of pressure on them to pass the tests. Indeed, I do get sob stories from some of them telling me about their family situation and how they really need to get promoted. I sympathise but I'm just the English Teacher. I only mark the Tests.

I had one guy come to the Test. Indian bloke. I gave out the Test paper and asked everyone to write their name, staff number etc on the front of it. He couldn't even write his name on the front. Not a good start. As it turned out he had never studied English at all hence he could not write. I gave him the Speaking part of the Test because it might have been that he could do that. Alas, he couldn't. No promotion for this guy. Bit of a shame actually as he has been with the Company for 32 years and is 5 years away from retiring. But I couldn't pass him. No way.

As for the Tests themselves...they are O.K. Having designed them, its sometimes difficult to be objective about them. I do feel that parts of the 3 I've made will need to be changed or altered in some way. Parts are too easy whilst others are perhaps too hard. I have a non-Testing week next week in which to 'fix' them. We'll see how we get on.

The joys of teaching.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

on the merits of being nice.

Sometimes 'yes' and sometimes 'no'. But of the 'sometimes no', its often difficult to detect that you're not being nice even though on the inside you are loathe to help, smile and offer suggestions. Its a faff. Nice for niceness sake and not because you want to be nice. It's just what is expected of you at any given time. If' you are 'not nice' then it is considered that you are miserable or uncaring and that might well be true in that particular instance. Of course that is not the only reason for not being nice. All manner of things influence it for example just not being arsed. But faking it is the key.

This though can get yourself into trouble at some later stage. Being nice is often confused with being friendly. Are the two the same though? No. Friendly is deeper. Nice is superfical. Nice is holding a door open for someone. Friendly is a smile to go with the door opening. Being nice does not mean that you want to do a similiar act at a later stage nor indeed does it mean that the 'nice' act can become a more 'friendly' act over time though that is not to say that it can't become a friendly act. No, nice are the acts that happen to make a situation more managable. Lending a pen to someone who needs one yet should be considered isolated events that are in no way connected to anything in the past or in the future. They are 'stand alone'. Just because you were nice to someone the previous day does not mean that you need to be nice to the some person the following day. You have the choice. Sadly though one nice act is often followed by a similiar nice act and so it snowballs into a frenzy of niceness. It becomes expected rather than hoped for. And that is the problem. If it is expected and you aren't nice then people are offended. The choice is be nice all the time or not at all. You can't choose to be nice one minute and not the next particularly with the same person even though it seems to contradict the 'stand alone' nature of being nice but that contradiction is smoothed by the 'expected' nature of nice acts.

The problem therefore seems to be other people. Being nice all the time and in every situation should be something that occurs yet it is difficult to do this when others are not nice back. If they are not nice back, its easy to ask 'what's the point in being nice if people don't respect that act and aren't nice in return?' This then can lead to niceness being reduced and eventually extinguished. Selfishness is one reason for the one way nature of niceness which is not ideal. It would be nice to hold the lift a few seconds longer so that the person with all the bags can get in but an extra few seconds might mean you taking longer to get to your destination. You don't hold the lift and go anyway. Selfishness. This has a knock on effect. You will have no qualms about doing such an act again. The person with the bags will also be effected in some small tiny way. Will he or she wait for you in the future or indeed for any other person? Perhaps but then why do they need to when others wouldn't do the same? It's a vicious circle.

There is only on thing for it. Be nice. Even when you don't want to be. Especially when you don't want to be. You never know when you might need another person to be nice back. It's hard but...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Sometimes, just sometimes...
I'm fairly sure I've opened a posting with that phrase once or twice before.

That aside, sometimes just sometimes I am reminded of things that I haven't thought about in awhile. Things that have meant something in the past but have been hidden or forgotten about for some reason. In some instances those hidden or forgotten things are best left where they are but one random thing let me to having an urge to listen to the Avalanches. Not sure where it came from or why it came to the forefront but it did.

Alas, I tracked it down and turned it on.

Why on earth did they not sell more records than they did? And why is there really only one album?

I guess sometimes it is best to leave your audience wanting more.

I think that I've mentioned a long time back that I saw them one time by accident and they were ace. Alot of people in the crowd didn't really 'get it' but there wasn't much to get. It was excellent although I'm not sure I needed to see the drummer doing forward somersaults on stage with his trousers down but that's rock and roll for you.

It's an album of sheer listening bliss. It's a summer album. No question about it. It's a burst of sunshine in the morning. It makes you want to tap your feet in 3,4 time. It makes you want to smile. It makes you want to hum the melody. It makes you want to dance even if you're no dancer. It's not even a 'dance record'. It wants you to listen to the loops and the 'hidden' bits. It makes you want to tune in again and turn it up. It's an up and a down. It's a revelation and one I wasn't quite expecting.


Sunday, June 15, 2008


Not much to report.
It's hot. It's humid. It's dusty. It's hazy.
It's work. It's testing. It's passing. It's failing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


How come 'time' only goes in one direction? I mean, the sun shines in the morning and then the next morning the sun shines but its slightly different to the previous day. Why doesn't the sun shine like it did 3 days before?

You could apply the same kind of thought to people. Why do I wake up a day older instead of a day or 6 months younger than I was when I went to sleep the previous night? It's all very linear and in the same direction...towards 'older'. It never goes back to younger which in itself is quite disappointing. At least you know where you stand if it continues in the same direction. You that in 6 months, you're going to be 6 months older. If it wasn't in the same direction and it moved around, we'd get well confused. And presumably you wouldn't be able to 'choose' the the time, it would just occur as a random thing. Maybe it would be last week or next time it would be 10 years ago.

It gives me abit of a headache just thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I'm the messiah.

Big, brash, bold words.

Oh course, I'm not but I might as well be.

All week I've been busy giving English Tests to employees at work. Clearly that doesn't make me the reincarnation of some bloke who lived 2000 years ago. In fact, he probably didn't work for a company nor needed to check the English level of his 'employees'. If the employees do well, then they have the chance to get promoted and an improved job title and the salary and perks increase that would come with it. If they don't do well, then nothing actually. Nothing happens. They stay were they are on the same salary etc. It's not as if they get fired or anything.

Anyway, I have incorporated a speaking part into the Test. It's a good way for me to find out how much vocabularly they have and basically to see if they can say 'stuff'. Sometimes I wish I hadn't incorporated it into the Test because I get the ones who try there hardest to impress me with 'stuff' that is of no relivence to me or the Test. Some of them go off in tangents. Some of them then resort to the sob story of how they have 23 children back in their home country and they need to get promoted in order to feed them all or clothe them. Perhaps what they are telling me is in fact true but at the end of the day, I'm only there to assess their English level. I have no real power to give promotion or even to take it away. All I can do is check and report back to their Bosses. It is they who decide on what happens next. They can choose to take my recommendations or not. And it is they who are the messiahs.

But, one guy came in and sat down. His first sentence to me was 'I can't speak English' to which I thought 'O.K. well lets find out'. He wasn't lying, he couldn't and I sent him packing. No promotion for him, me thinks.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


So the football has started and to be honest, I really can't be arsed with it all. I don't think its a matter of simply saying 'Oh Scotland aren't there, so I'm not going to take any notice'. I really can't be bothered with it.

Games have been on the TV and I've sat and watched none of them. My flatmate is keen to watch every single minute of every single game and gets disturbed when he can't. I can't see myself getting myself worked up into a state if I can't watch. In fact, I'd probably get all worked up into a state if I do in fact find myself watching them.

Who'll win?
Who knows.
Dare I even say, who cares?
That might be a step too far though.

Also, what is with all the national teams strips now...I mean, traditionally the likes of France and Italy and Scotland for that matter have also played in white shorts. Now though, it seems to be 'cool' to have matching tops and shorts. Not liking that at all. Get the white shorts back. I could say the same for the Scottish rugby team to. When are the people who run the SFA or SRU going to make that call to Diadora (come on, get Umbro back for god's sake) and Canterbury and demand a return to the colours of Scotland. Navy blue top, white shorts - red socks for the footy and blue socks for the rugby. And I don't want to hear all this nonsense about them not being like that because they clash with other teams. If they clash, you wear your 'away' top. It's that simple. This mix and match is a sham.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Whiners. And whiney people in general.
I can't be doing with them.
Especially on the telephone.
Particularly when the one who is whinning is male.
What's that all about?
Oooooh this or Aaaaah that.
Again, what's that all about?
Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaats too bad.
OOOOh no.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOk, I'll seeeeeeeeee you /insert name here/.
It's pathetic, manipulative and childish and nothing short of an embarrassment.
What's the point?
Trying to make yourself sound compassionate?
Or cute?
Or in touch with your feminine side in order to sound more appealing to the fairer sex?
To answer those questions bluntly. It is none of the above. It is neither big nor clever.
To coin a phrase, grow some balls.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Finally, it arrived. Actually, I should rephrase that. 'They' arrived.

We'll start with the smallest. During the last week in April, I put in a request with the I.T. Department to get a Memory Stick. Not a big one, just 8Gb. Enough to back up any files and whatever else - all 'business' related, of course. My Boss ok'd it and it was eagerly awaiting its arrival. 4 weeks later, it still hadn't arrived. I get back to them and tell them to sort it out. After a few emails and telephone calls, they promise that it would be delivered this week. I didn't hold out much hope. Alas, it did. So I'm now the proud owner of a Memory Stick. Thank the lord.

Next up on the hitlist was the small case of a desk. An actual one for myself and not a temporary that I was using. Furthermore, the temporary one as small. Large enough for a PC and a couple of other things. That had to change. So, a big desk was ordered along with a mobile cabinet 'thingy' and a filing cabinet. I even chanced my arm and asked for a new PC and a telephone extension. Low and behold, the furniture arrived! Not quite sure where it's going to go but it arrived. My own space.

As for the PC and telephone, both could be coming next week. My goodness. Perhaps working for a big company does make sense after all. Or perhaps not.

I wonder what I could get hold of next?

Company Mobile? New Chair? Company car - like I need that...