Sunday, May 31, 2009


Without sounding 'weird', I've been following the Air France plane that has vanished over the Atlantic Ocean. It doesn't appear that it will be anything other than a tragedy sadly. I'm no pilot, heck I don't even know that much about airplanes in fairness but the thing that has shocked me by is it that everyday I go to the office, I regularly have a similiar Air France Airbus parked less than 100 metres away from me. It often arrives in around 8am and departs again at 11.30am. I wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to learn that the airplane that has vanished has been to Dubai and has parked just up from me.

I'm not going to add to all the speculation about it; instead, I'll just say that I hope clues are found and some answers also.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


The 'big' 5-a-side football competition was held the other day. We didn't win. No large shock there to be honest. In fact, we weren't really at the races for most of the time. The opposition had played many times before and we, let's face it, faster, stronger and fitter than our bunch.

The first game was started brightly and we could have been a couple of goals up early on but in the end, defensive errors and not tracking back cost us as they scored 3 quick goals. And then a fourth. But, I did score which was nice. Not a tap in as per usual; more of a shot from outside the area. I didn't actually see it go in as a defender obscured my view of it. I only saw the net move and a heard a muffled 'yeees'.

The second game we actually won. That was a shock. 1-0. No idea how we managed as we were under the cosh for the majority of the game. I think we scored too soon and were hanging on at the end. I didn't score this time but I did set it up. Kind of. It was a mishit shot that was redirected in. They all count. All we seemed to do after scoring was boot it out to waste time.

It went down to the final match. We still had a chance to qualify but in the end, we lost 1-0 going on 10-0. Again, we were lucky. They even missed a penalty - the guy whacked it into the face of our goally. Ouch. Perhaps a bit of sour grapes but they were quite a dirty team, it must be said. I was delighted when they got knocked out. Harsh but true.

I was knackered by the end though. It was only 8 minutes per game but my god, its non-stop. Somehow I wasn't subbed. What's that all about? I wonder if we'll be able to mount more of a challenge in the next competition. I hope but as the cliche goes - it's the taking part. Whatever.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Final preparations have been made for the 'big' football competition this coming weekend - the 5 a side Inter-departmental tournament. For the past week we have been playing on tarmac instead of that god-awful sand pitch. My muscles haven't been aching as much, surprise, surprise. I'm still crap but at least my passing is crisper along with my control. The heat though has made running about daft. You need to conserve your energy and play the percentages. I think some people may have been playing the percentages too well as they only seem to move when the ball is played directly to them.

Anyway, it appears that we are in a group of 4. It originally was 5. Top 2 qualify and thankfully, we're not playing til 2pm. Initially we were due to be there at 8am. I'm quite happy about that!

This week's big 'discussion' has been whether or not the Department would authorise a budget for us so that we could get matching kits. Thankfully, we got one. Not massive but enough. I think some of the guys are somewhat taking the p*ss though with it. Shirts and refreshments are really all we need. I got an email the other day saying that some people were wanting new trainers out of the budget pot. I was not impressed with that, I must say. I mean, everyone has trainers - they play in them when we meet for practice! What do they need new trainers for? It's a joke and I've told them that. I think it's unnecessary. Not only that, but I was the one that essentially had to go to the monthly managers meeting and beg for the budget. And now they want trainers? I'm having nothing to do with it. I hope my Boss gets hold of the recipts and tells them where to go. In fact, I'm sure he'll have something to say about it.

But back to the footy. If we qualify then all well and good. I'm not convinced though. We'll see what happens. Of course, it should be all about taking part. What a nonsense. I want to win and that's it. If we can't win, then I want to play well and score goals. Selfish but there you go.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I warn them.

'Them' being the guys that come to my English Tests. I have 3 basic rules. The first politely reminds them to turn their mobiles off. The 2nd makes it clear that there should not be any talking during the Test. If they want to talk, they talk to me only. The 3rd is done graphically. Do not copy from others. Try it and see what happens.

Mostly, there are no problems. With this particular Test, I do get people asking for advice on how to answer. I give them hints, and hints only. There are days in which there are problems. Sometimes it is quite subtle other times it is blatant.

Blatant would be an understatement the other day. This Pakistani guy came for the Test. I just knew I'd have difficultly with this guy. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and I did with this guy. For the first 2 questions he came and asked how to do them. Fair enough. Then the next question. And the next one. And then the same one he had just asked about. Then he wanted me to give him the answer to a particular question. Then he wanted me to write the answer for him. I think not.

It got worse. As he went back to his seat, it became clear that he was trying to look at other peoples papers. The final straw was when he leaned over to the guy to his right and tapped him on the shoulder and asked for this guys answer. Please bear in mind that this guy was in the front row, right next to me. Needless to say, words were exchanged. Actually, I don't think they were 'exchanged' as such; rather, I just told him that it was not on.

Perhaps it's a culture thing? Perhaps I'm just not clear enough when setting out the rules? Perhaps this guy was an ass? Perhaps I should have taken his paper from him and asked him to leave? Maybe I should have just picked up his paper and whacked him with it?

Afterwards, I give them all a speaking test. In the speaking test, I got this 'cheater's' life story. Of course, he volunteered it. I cut him short though. Do I care? Not really. All I'm interested in is assessing English ability. Everything else is outwith my concern. Harsh but that's the reality of it. Am I passing someone for having 25 brothers and sisters? No I'm not. Am I passing someone for answering the set questions? Yes. It really is as black and white as that.

In the end, he failed. Not a big shock. I may get the 'pleasure' of his company once again some time down the line when he comes to take the Test or the classes. I'm literally bursting with excitement.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The small mindedness of a certain minority/majority * within Scotland really do trouble me. I speaking of the 'football fan'. A fickle lot and a lot that really seem to have no real sense of anything. It's as if they are completely cut off from the real world, blinkered.

* delete as appropriate.

I speak of 2 particular examples.

The first being the curious case of Gordon Strachan at Celtic. Yes, he's resigned and no, it doesn't come as a big shock at all. If you look at the cold statistics of 3 League Championships, a Scottish Cup win, 2 League Cup successes and consecutive last 16 places in the Champions League in 4 season, then you would undoubtably say 'he did well', in fact you'd go further and say 'bloody hell, that is top notch'. It even surpassess Martin O'Neill's haul in the first past of the decade. It should also be noted that this was achieved on a far stricter budget and with less money to spend that O' Neill. Strachan inherited an ageing team. He reduced the average age and wage bill yet still achieved what could be classed as a monumental set of achievements particularly mixing it with the big boys in the Champions League, most notably the beating of then Champions A. C. Milan and of course Man. Utd.

Yet, the statistics have been ignored by the 'fans'. They never 'rated' him. No love was lost for him and indeed they simply didn't like him. The biggest 'farce' I've heard is that he wasn't 'Celtic-minded'. What exactly is that? To me, it sounds like another way of saying that you need to be a Catholic and Irish to have anything to do with Celtic. A joke. I thought bigotary was on the way out but that simple phrase reeks of it. Indeed, it appears that his replacement needs to be 'Celtic-minded'. Utter nonsense. You get the best man you can to do the best job he can. It's that simple. All this small mindedness is a remanent of another age. Leave it there.

I think he did a decent job in trying circumstances. Of course, time will tell if that is accurate but good luck to him whatever he decides to do next. Perhaps he'll land at club that actually appreciates what he does, particuarly on the training field.

The second example is that of Calderwood up at Aberdeen. He's left 'by mutual consent'. Aberdeen were crap when he joined. Constantly fighting relegation and changing managers. He lead them to the top four and got them into the last 32 of the UEFA Cup where they even draw with Bayern. That alone is a wonderful achievement. Yet, he was essentially forced out by the fickle numpty fans who didn't fancy him. Stupid. Again, next season will dictate how good Calderwood was.

Give these 'fans' the smelling salts please.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


...and the so football season goes down to the last game. It shouldn't have but it has. Celtic had a 7 point advantage in January but poor away form has opened the door. Even last week, it could have been so much better. A draw at Hibs wasn't good enough. In the end, it's win and or, well, not win. It's that simple. A win and Rangers dropping points. Likely? Bear in mind that Rangers haven't won at Tannadice since 2006. There is hope.

In England, Man U won. No shock there. Liverpool came close but not close enough. It would appear that their manager is a particularly sore loser indicating that the best team does not always win the league. Eh? After 38 games, the best team wins mate. At the bottom, all of the North Eastern teams could be on the way out. Newcastle, lets face it, deserve to go. They are crap. Simple as that. Delusions of grandeur abound. They are and have been crap for a long time and I have no sympathy for them.

The Champions League concludes soon also. It's got to be Man U for that. Not disrespect to Barca - they are pretty on the eye and score a heap of goals but this Man U team are one that won't come around again. They might have 1 more season in them and I suspect if they win the league again, Ferguson will say enough is enough.

As for my own football, the company tournament is coming up at the end of the month. The damned sand 'pitch' is still causing big issues. I hate it. I don't even go into the centre now. It's too soft and the ball doesn't run. It's awful. That and a few little injuries haven't helped no doubt due to the pitch. I was at the 'committee' meeting to decide the draw for the tournament. Before the draw took place, they announced the rules and regulations. All fairly standard. Apart from rule number 9 which said that 2 yellow cards or a red card would get the player a 1 game suspension. Fair enough. Rule number 10 however said that a player who is send off would be banned from playing another game. Me being me, queried this. I mean, which is it? Is it a suspension or a ban for getting a red card? They guy I was with was mortified that I should even question it, but come on! The committee just didn't get what I was saying and tried to explain what the situation was. In the end, and after some debate amongst themselves they concluded that they would reword it rules. The 'sent off' and banning thing was to be applied to those who swear or misbehave on the sidelines when watching. Why didn't they just say that in the first place? Don't leave anything to the committee in any organisation. They're crap. It's all fairly academic actually, as we aren't that great a team and we'll likely get knocked out pretty early on. It's the taking part that counts, huh?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This month has seen me giving English Tests to another Departments staff. It can be quite boring actually given the cycle of sitting around invigilating, then listening to each and everyone of them in the speaking section of the Test. Then there is the small matter of marking each Test and compiling the results.

For some reason, there seems to be a large amount of people coming to this particular Test will very, very basic English skills. When I say 'basic', I mean 'can't read or write'. I'm totally serious. The amount of people that have essentially sat in the classroom for the entire duration of the Test doing nothing; not even attempting any of the questions. In fact, a number of them have had difficulties completing the first page of the Test. The one in which you need to write your name and staff number. I know I'm in for a long day when that happens.

It appears that it is the staff who have been with the company for a long time are the ones who struggle. The 'newer' ones tend to be relatively alright. It's a bit of shame really. The older essentially have no future in that they will not be considered for a position at a higher level until they pass this particular English Test. It would be some feat of teaching to get someone who scored less than 10%, to a level in which he might pass. Whilst not discounting that it could happen, it would take a while to do and I'm not sure the management would allow all that time to be spent trying to do that. It's all about money and resources, I guess.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Your host for this evening is currently enjoying:

Passion Pit - Manners.
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
Cazals - What of our future.
The Juan MacLean - The future will come.

Meanwhile, LCD Soundsystem's 45.33 suitably does the job when treadmilling.

You host is also debating whether or not to comment on the really rather boring and cynical marketing ploy that represents this, and every years, Festival 'circuit'. There, he just did!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


My god, the amount of time this website takes to load is frighteningly bad. I wonder if the powers that be are subtly trying to still the masses having their say. Nothing would surprise me at all, particularly in this part of the world. Can I say that without be apprehended?

Since I'm being somewhat critical, I might as well continue in that vain. I might as well get apprehended for something hardcore rather than something stupid an silly. So here goes.

I saw that there was a video circulating of a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family 'interviewing' some random bloke. It wasn't your usual interview, in fact it looked rather like torture. This random bloke was hunched over on the ground and surrounded by this Prince and - check this, the police. The random bloke was clearly kakking his pants. I would be to given that a semi-automatic weapon was being fired either side of him. Apparantly, this random bloke had done something to annoy the Prince. The thing that bothers me most is the fact that the Police were in attendence. In collution. It doesn't send out a good message to normal, law abiding citezins does it? Forget the mantra, the police are here to help because they only 'help' the rich. It seems as if power and wealth buy you immunity and you can be considered 'above the law'. I heard another 'story' also regarding some member of the Royal Family here in Dubai. I have no idea if it is true or not. Apparantly, this junior member has managed to accrue something in the region of £10, 000+ parking fines and essentially parks where he likes. Now, any normal person would be hauled before a court and have the book thrown at him. Clearly, it's one set of rules for them and one for us.

I'm sure there are a number of other examples of this inequality. Again, some if it might be heresay - for example, the level of window tinting you are allowed to have on your car window. 'us' lot are not allowed more than 30% tinting whereas 'them' can have there windows completely blacked out. It it does beg the question though: what else?

I'm going to start being more aware who is around me - just in case I'm being followed!

Friday, May 01, 2009


Is Gordon Brown the worst Prime Minister in modern history?

A big question certainly but there seems to be overwhelming evidence to suggest that he is crap. I mean, everything he touches seems to go to pot no matter how much he tries to rectify things. Any hope he may have had of going down in history as a great or even a decent PM have pretty much gone in the wind. The irony being that he didn't even need to win an election to get the job. He got a shoo-in and he still can't do it!

The market crash is something that didn't just happen overnight. The seeds of it were sown when he was in which position? Oh yes, he was the Chancellor. He was the guy who was in charge of money and finance and all the stuff. He cocked up there by not restricting the march and rise of the culture that pervades business. He knows this and guess what, we know it. Hence all his monumental efforts to 'fix' things. A guilty conscience Mr. Brown? Next up we have the MP's expenses and his attempt to change it all. I guess it needs to be overhauled given that MP's can claim for 2nd homes that they never live in or their wife's, cousins, dog's flea lives in or indeed the Home Secretary can claim for a porno that her husband paid to watch in some hotel room. Oh yes and all this Gurkha's thing. Not quite sure what's what there. I guess the Gurkha's fought with the British Army in the past yet are not allowed to reside in the country that they fought with. Hmm. To say nothing on all that e-mail stuff about trying to smear members of the shadow cabinet. Yawn.

What's next Mr. Brown? Surely there is something you've missed?

Perhaps he will shock us all however. Maybe it's all part of the Masterplan. He's actually just toying with us so that we think that he's shockingly bad then will resurrect himself, Messiah-like and we will be mesmerised by his ability and vote for him. Or maybe not.