Monday, January 31, 2011


At the end of each month, our department has what is known as a 'monthly meeting'. This is essentially a day in which teaching stops for the day and we as a department all come together for the day. Previously, it was just the afternoon that was set aside for this. Generally, the afternoon was for business updates and a chance for us to ask any questions to the boss.

However, that has been expanded upon and it now encompasses the entire working day. The business update has remained in the afternoon but in the morning, time is set aside for 'classes' to be given by members of the team on whatever topic. Often it is to do with 'learning' and that's all well and good but it can get a bit repetitive. I had, on the whole, managed to avoid giving any classes which suited me fine. That though all changed today. I was essentially told to do on. I 'agreed' and I agreed to give a 1 hour class. That was the easy bit. The hard part was deciding what to do.

In the end, I decided that I wanted to talk about how I as an English teacher would go about trying to give a class to students of low ability. I would go through the steps of a typical lesson and throw in examples. At the end, I would do some kind of related activity in which everyone could join in. My topic was 'clothes'. Fairly generic I guess. The activity though was a good one. A good one in my eyes, though not necessarily for everyone else. It needed materials and it needed to be organised.

Given that 'clothes' was the topic, it seemed sensible to have some kind of 'fashion show'. I would split everyone into groups of 3. Each group would then receive a gift bag. In the gift bag, was 3 bin bags, scissors, tape, a plastic cup and some crepe paper. The groups would then have 20 minutes to design and make an outfit using these materials. After the 20 minutes, a catwalk would be created and each 'model' would have to walk up the catwalk whilst the other members of the group would explain what they had made to the others. I was strangely nervous beforehand. Much more so that I though I would be. I guess it would either be brilliant or crap.

Thankfully, it went down really well. Everyone seemed to get really into it and dare I say it, people actually enjoyed dressing up. Each group really got stuck in to it. When we were ready to 'display', there were cheers, and laughs and the clicking of cameras. It was excellent. I don't think anyone really expected it at all. I believe it was filmed, so perhaps the 'film' will be good.

I think they were expecting just to sit around listening to me but that's not really my thing at all. A few of them came up to me at the end saying that they enjoyed it which is always good to hear. I hope that means that I don't need to have a 'class' next month!

Another bunch of happy campers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


We had a hurricane!

Well, kind of. The wind did reach over 100 Km/h which, by definition, does constitute one. I checked, before you start saying anything!

It was all a bit weird. It suddenly got really dark. Then the wind came. Heaps of it. I was trying to drive at the time but my poor little car just couldn't cope. It tried really manly to get up a hill but with the wind coming in the opposite direction, it struggled. Sand was being blown everywhere as well meaning that visibility was poor. I noticed on the way home, that a number of trees had been blown over as well. One of which was completely covering a road. It could have been quite dangerous.

I managed to get myself home in one piece. Once home, the wind and darkness only continued for a further 30 minutes of something before it all went quiet once again. I've never really seen anything like it before. No rain, only wind and dark clouds. Only in Dubai.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crutches that was the staff party for another year.It was alright. Better than I thought it was going to be. Thankfully it is only once a year. Actually, it's not even been that of late.

The ballroom that it was in was massive. It was fairly quiet when we got there but it did fill up as the evening progressed. We got a couple of drinks tickets as well which was appreciated. However, it was either Foster's or Heiniken. Not ideal.

They started off with speeches from the big bosses 'blah blah blah, thanks for coming and your hard work'. The usual stuff. Then there was some random 'team' games which somehow I got roped into. I was at the bathroom and when I returned all I could hear was 'X' to the front please. EH, no thanks. The first game was one in which you had to dislodge table tennis balls from a bag tied to your back. A bit silly and thankfully I didn't have to take part in that one. The second game involved getting vasaline on your nose andtrying to stick cotton balls to it so that you could transfer them from one box to another. I didn't partake in that either. Then, for some inexplicable reason, that was that. No more games. Indeed, nothing else was said about it. What was the point of doing it, if nothing else was said. Strange.

The buffet came later. Again it was alright. I didn't really eat too much. Dessert though was poor. Ice cream was all I had.

Next up, the raffle. The only thing that was worth coming for. Did I win anything? Did I now't. Not even close. No washing machine or TV for me. Not even a hairdryer. I reckon it was a fix but I can't prove it. Definitely deflated by that. After the raffle,  that was it. Enough. Time to go home.

Until next time.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Have annual staff party tonight at some 4* hotel. It's for 'our' area of the business which covers quite a lot of people. I must be honest, and say that I can't really be arsed with it all. Hundreds of people sitting around in tables of 8 or 10 or something with a dancefloor and a DJ. The only thing to make it bearable will be the beer I would have thought.

It'll be full of people that I will have small talk with 'Yes, how's it going? Busy your side? Are/Have you been anywhere recently? Blah blah blah. Then there will be the ones, particularly in my department who will be kitted out with camera and/or video camera to take shots that they will hold onto in order to stitch you up at some later date. Then there is the music and the 'dancing'. Boring. As the majority will be, how can i put it? From the 'Sub-continent', it'll be Hindi and Bollywood classics I would have thought. With the token pop song thrown in to keep the senior /western/ management happy and/or amused. I can feel the yawns welling inside of me as I type.

Oh, there's going to be a raffle as well. Yes, a raffle. That'll make it all the more exciting. Brilliant. Only, knowing my luck, I'll win something totally pants. Or just some pants. The last party I attend - in fact, the only party, I've attended I won a hairdryer. Wonderful. The closest I get to a hairdryer is when I get my haircut and that is generally just to blow the cut hair off me. I've never bought one in my life and given that it's odds on that I'll be losing my hair within the next 20 years, I can't say that I'll even get round to buying on for myself. That last party we went to, one of the guys in our area won a bloody washing machine. And it was there, in the bloody room for him to take away. How the heck, after a few beers is he going to get a washing machine home? Didn't anything think? O.K. it's a decent prize but didn't something think logically 'how will the winner get it back to there place?' In the end, we carried out of the 5* hotel the party was at, and into some blokes 4x4. After a few beers and and 3am in the morning. Did we look stupid or dodgy? Yes. Both.

I'll just have to drink and be polite. That said, I might just get all snotty and irritated. Oh goodness.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Don't buy a Peugeot.

Well, not from Swaidan Trading here in Dubai. Cowboy's, the lot of them. Very poor at customer service and leave complaints hanging open for a week despite E-mails, telephone calls and answer machine messages.

The story began 5 months again when we bought a used Peugeot convertible from them. It was a nice car and all was well. Though, strangely, there was a CD stuck in the CD player when we got it. We took it to the service centre to get it fixed yet they looked at it and said that we had to get a whole new audio system. My arse. We went to another place who took 10 minutes to rectify the problem. The car was scheduled to go in for a service. Nothing unusual there given it is recommended at the mileage that it was at. The steering was a bit off and we hoped that it would be fixed. They had it overnight then called to say that the service was complete and that it would cost 2000 Dirhams which is about £350. Seemingly the steering rod needed replaced amongst other things oh, and the battery that was in it was not powerful enough, so had to be replaced with one double the power.


First of all, the battery. How can the battery need replaced with a more powerful one after only 5 months of working perfectly well? And why wasn't this noticed when they serviced it prior to selling it to us? Meanwhile, the steering rod was fine 5 months ago and now it needs replaced even although the car only goes from work to home 5 days a week? OK, wear and tear but again, how could it have degraded so such an extent after only 5 months? There are so many questions.

We sent quite a forceful E-mail to them. We suggested that they had not done the proper checks on it before selling it to us. We didn't demand anything off the bill or anything, we just wanted these particular questions answered. They did give us 200 Dirhams off the bill and said that they were 'looking into it'. OK, fair enough. If they have the paper work, then we'll get to the bottom of it. That was Monday. It's now Thursday. Nothing more has come from them despite a number of calls. It's funny how they aren't picking up.

They'll be back at work on Saturday and I will be paying them a visit. Let's see what nonsense they come up with this time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Sometimes, I have a little laugh to myself and think 'what are they talking about?' I find myself doing this more often actually. I wonder if that is a poor reflection on me than anything else. Maybe I'm getting more intolerant of things? More sceptical? Probably.

The latest reason for this was a certain report in the 'excellent' Gulf News. It reported an UAE 'think tank' of academics who had come to the conclusion that by the year 2021 the population of the UAE should be upto 80% Emirati's, with less expats. All well and good and all that but what nonsense.

The article can be found here.

My main gripe with this is the fact that, currently, the low paid jobs are done by expats. When I say low pay, I mean the guys that are loading bags on to airplanes for £150 a month, or the street cleaners or brickes, heck, even shop workers. These are the jobs that have been taken by the likes of Pakistani's or Indian's. I would suggest they don't really want to do them but compared to what they would get back home, it's somewhat better. The country needs these workers or at the very least, it needs someone to do them. Yet, if the expats were driven out in order to make the country more Emirati it would therefore mean that these low paid jobs would have to get done by Emirati's. With the handouts and all they get now, do they honestly believe that Emirati's are going to to work for such a low wage? You're having a laugh! Not a chance. Is some Emirati going to sweep the streets? Of course not. They wouldn't get paid enough. If that were the case, the average salary would need to increase and with it, prices etc would increase also. I'm no economist, clearly but...

The reason Dubai and the UAE 'works' at the moment is because of expats. Let's be very clear about that fact. The building trade is ruled by cheap labour. Retail is much the same. Hell, would Emirates be making such a profit if it didn't pay it's lower grades of staff less than £500 a month?

But, at the end of the day, it's their country and they can and will do as they please. If that's how they want it, then fine. I have no issue with that. After all, I would be very shocked and surprised if I found myself here in 10 years time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


'tis the day of Mr. Robert Burns. No, not that bloke from the Simpson's but the one and only poet, storyteller and song writer. He is a national icon. He may have been a bit of a rogue but his legacy remains intact. Auld Lang Syne needs no introduction, neither would To a mouse or Tam O' Shanter.

Today is Burns day.

The day for tatties, neeps and haggis which, here in Dubai is not likely to happen. A dram might well be found however in honour of the great man himself. Slainte.

A Parcel of Rogues remains apt:

Farewell to all our Scottish fame,
Farewell our ancient glory!
Farewell even to the Scottish name.
So famed in martial story!
Now Sark runs over Salway sands,
And Tweed runs to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Through many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O, would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My old grey head had lain in clay (be buried)
With Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour
I will make this declaration :-
'We are bought and sold for English gold'-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Damn, bloody sore throat.

Yes, it's back. It's kind of been here since the end of last week and it had improved somewhat but not today. I can feel it particularly when I try to speak. My voice must sound worse that it normally does. Certainly when I 'hear' it, it does. It sometimes goes all high pitched as well which really isn't a good look at all. The best thing to do would be to shut up. Not always easy when you are meant to be teaching and explaining 'things'. It just adds to the strain on it. Not only that, but I had speaking testing in the afternoon which I have no option but to ask my students questions. I did have water on hand but that didn't really help all that much.

Now that work has finished for the day, I hope I can rest it for a bit. Hopefully.

I'm not quite sure what is wrong with me. I have had a sore head for the past few days as well as the sore throat. I guess I've probably come down with something which is hardly surprising given that it is winter. I really hope it's not tonsillitis once again. It's hard enough to spell let alone have to deal with it. I got it a week after I finished University but I didn't realise that I had it. I thought it was a sore throat. I did get it again when in Korea. I did get it diagnosed and treated which was an improvement of sorts. I seem to remember that it was pretty severe. Alas, it could well be back. Better not be.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Came across this on the Beeb website. Fascinating read and really is incredible. I first thought that it was something of a wind up, an early April Fool's but no, it's a real condition. It just begs the question of how much do we not know about the brain. Scary...

Alien Hand Syndrome sees woman attacked by her own hand

Imagine being attacked by one of your own hands, which repeatedly tries to slap and punch you. Or you go into a shop and when you try to turn right, one of your legs decides it wants to go left, leaving you walking round in circles.
Last summer I met 55-year-old Karen Byrne in New Jersey, who suffers from Alien Hand Syndrome.
Her left hand, and occasionally her left leg, behaves as if it were under the control of an alien intelligence.

Karen's condition is fascinating, not just because it is so strange but because it tells us something surprising about how our own brains work.

It started after Karen had surgery at 27 to control her epilepsy, which had dominated her life since she was 10.Surgery to cure epilepsy usually involves identifying and then cutting out a small section of the brain, where the abnormal electrical signals originate.

When this does not work, or when the damaged area cannot be identified, patients may be offered something more radical. In Karen's case her surgeon cut her corpus callosum, a band of nervous fibres which keeps the two halves of the brain in constant contact.

Cutting the corpus callosum cured Karen's epilepsy, but left her with a completely different problem. Karen told me that initially everything seemed to be fine. Then her doctors noticed some extremely odd behaviour. 

"Dr O'Connor said 'Karen what are you doing? Your hand's undressing you'. Until he said that I had no idea that my left hand was opening up the buttons of my shirt.

"So I start rebuttoning with the right hand and, as soon as I stopped, the left hand started unbuttoning them. So he put an emergency call through to one of the other doctors and said, 'Mike you've got to get here right away, we've got a problem'."

Karen had emerged from the operation with a left hand that was out of control.

"I'd light a cigarette, balance it on an ashtray, and then my left hand would reach forward and stub it out. It would take things out of my handbag and I wouldn't realise so I would walk away. I lost a lot of things before I realised what was going on."

Karen's problem was caused by a power struggle going on inside her head. A normal brain consists of two hemispheres which communicate with each other via the corpus callosum.

The left hemisphere, which controls the right arm and leg, tends to be where language skills reside. The right hemisphere, which controls the left arm and leg, is largely responsible for spatial awareness and recognising patterns.

Usually the more analytical left hemisphere dominates, having the final say in the actions we perform.
The discovery of hemispherical dominance has its roots in the 1940s, when surgeons first decided to treat epilepsy by cutting the corpus callosum. After they had recovered, the patients appeared normal. But in psychology circles they became legends.

That is because these patients would, in time, reveal something that to me is truly astonishing - the two halves of our brains each contain a kind of separate consciousness. Each hemisphere is capable of its own independent will.

The man who did many of the experiments that first proved this was neurobiologist, Roger Sperry.
In a particularly striking experiment, which he filmed, we can watch one of the split brain patients trying to solve a puzzle. The puzzle required rearranging blocks so they matched the pattern on a picture.

First the man tried solving it with his left hand (controlled by the right hemisphere), and that hand was pretty good at it.Then Sperry asked the patient to use his right hand (controlled by the left hemisphere). And this hand clearly did not have a clue what to do. So the left hand tried to help, but the right hand did not want help, so they ended up fighting like two young children.

Experiments like this led Sperry to conclude that "each hemisphere is a conscious system in its own right, perceiving, thinking, remembering, reasoning, willing, and emoting".

In 1981 Sperry received a Nobel prize for his work. But in a cruel twist of fate, by then he was suffering from a fatal degenerative brain disease, called kuru, probably picked up in the early days of his research while splitting brains.

Most people who have had their corpus collosum cut appear normal afterwards. You could cross them in the street and you would not know anything had happened.

Karen was unlucky. After the operation, the right side of her brain refused to be dominated by the left.
She has suffered from Alien Hand Syndrome for 18 years, but fortunately for Karen her doctors have now found a medication that seems to have brought the right side of her brain back under some form of control.

Even so I felt it was tactful, when I said goodbye, to give both hands a firm "thank you" shake.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


No, it's not me.
It's actually a TV program that I've been watching of late. The Inbetweeners. Comedy gold!

It's about these 4 teenagers who have 2 years of high school left and it's basically them getting into some stupid situations mostly involving trying to get girls. I hadn't heard of it before but having watched it, I wish I had discovered it earlier. I tend not to watch to much TV but this is ace. Definitely recommended but perhaps not for those who can't take the f-word, and slang. There are a lot of both, but used in all the right places!

Will, eh, doing a sh*t

Friday, January 21, 2011


It bloomin' poured it down today. It was murky right from the moment I got up, but in the afternoon, it started. The rain started as a light drizzle yet by the time I had come out of the shopping mall, it was heavy. So heavy in fact that I had to put my windscreen wipers on for the first time in almost a year. The front ones were fine, but I had to have a play about to figure out how to get the back ones up and running. Yes, I know that is pathetic but there you go.

On the drive home, I stayed at a steady speed all the way yet I still had blokes in their 4x4's whizzing past me as if there was no rain and the roads were dry. Stupid. I'd be interested to know how many accidents there were today. Needless to say, I would be surprised if those kinds of statistics were published in the media.

By the time I parked the car and ran across the street, I was actually wet. Not just a little but quite a bit. The alley way to the building resembled a swimming pool as well. There is a drain but what good is a drain if the ground is totally flat. Surely it should have a bit of an angle to it so that the rain water runs away. Clearly not. Just round the corner, a full scale swimming pool had formed. That part of the neighbourhood is the lowest point and all the water runs to it. Is there anywhere for the water to go? Eh, no. Again, great design and planning. I don't think.

Please can the sunshine come back because I don't like the rain much.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The Dubai Duty Free Tennis championship is coming to a tennis stadium 200 metres away from the house!

Close enough to actually get tickets and go and watch some of it. I'm not a huge tennis fan but given it's proximity, I might as well. Seemingly a host of big names are set to appear for it. Whether or not they actually turn up is a different matter. We have a month until it starts, so it wouldn't surprise me if we see a few call offs.

I went up to get tickets the day the went on sale. I couldn't go early because I was at work but I went up after work. As I waited in the queue, news had filtered through that the men's final and semi final had both sold out. Nightmare. The ladies final wasn't yet sold out but was on a Sunday - a normal working day for us. So, that was out. Instead, I could only get tickets for the ladies semi final. I shouldn't complain too much, after all, there might be someone I've heard of playing!

But, it'll be a day out nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


There are those days, or should that be, those mornings that you just wake up and immediately you come to the conclusion that something is wrong with you. Today was one such morning. Generally I'm up early to go to work. I have never needed an alarm and for some reason I just 'wake up'. That wasn't the issue this morning. In fact, if anything I wake up a little earlier than normal. I just kind of ached all over. I thought perhaps that it was simply the way I had been sleeping and that in a few minutes, I would be right as reign. I wasn't.

I had a headache, I felt fatigued, my muscles were sore and my throat just didn't feel right. I was willing it to be the end of the working day before it had even begun. A bad, bad sign.

I did get to work though but it was a long day. I didn't really improve any over the course of the day. When I got home, I had to have a 20 minute lie down. It kind of helped but I still feel off. My headache runs from my left eye up my forehead and round the back. Even that is unusual. Perhaps it's just a 'winter' thing. I hope so. Thankfully though, there is only 1 more day of the working week and I should have enough energy to last the day. Then I can come home and be as sick as I want. Not that I want to be sick exactly.

Early to bed tonight.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Rain. Not much but enough to make the road wet. Yes, I know it doesn't sound like much but when each and every day is hot and sunny, slight changes are amplified. It has been cloudy and it seemed like only a mater of time before it came. The amount though, was disappointing. Despite the small quantity, the number of cars I heard skidding or screeching outside was surprising. It seems that all these drivers actually have no clue how to drive in 'rain'. It's quite scary to think that. I wonder how many additional accidents there will be because it?

More rain is forecast so we shall see.

Yet on the flip side, there seems to be alot of rain and the like hitting other parts of the world. It is shocking to hear about. Such is the fury of Mother Nature at present. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It's not been the best start to a year.

Let me explain.

First up, on the afternoon that I finished up at work I bumped into one of my co-workers. We exchanged pleasantries and bade each other a Merry Christmas and a see you in 2 weeks. That was the last I ever saw of him. I got an e-mail a few days later to say that he had died. Literally, just like that. By all accounts, he finished the working week on the Thursday as normal. The next day he had a high fever and was rushed to hospital. The following day he was unconscious and on a life support machine. By the time the next working week had began he had passed away. He had some kind of blood infection which resulted in 'multiple organ failure'. I was shocked. Given that I was away from the department and everyone I didn't really know the full extent of 'things'. I get the impression that members of the department were left devastated. I can't really begin to comprehend that. A few days afterwards, he was 'ready' to be flown home to Sri Lanka, his home country. He flew on the Emirates flight back within his coffin in the hold. As a mark of respect, the entire flight was handled by members of our department /members of our department actually train the 'real' staff to do such a job on a 'normal' flight. Not only that, but there was an unprecedented number of staff next to the plane to pay their respects and to see the plane off. Even now, a few weeks later, it perhaps still hasn't sunk in that he is no longer around.

In the next office is one chap from India. He does shift's so I don't see him more than once a week. We get on well and he has never caused a problem or difficulty for me. He is tall but certainly could do with cutting down, weight wise. He had gone back to India on holiday, but he is no longer on holiday. By all accounts he has now been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of the neck which has spread to his nose. Stage 3 is definitely not good. It's serious. He now needs chemo and radiation doses. 40 in total. That is scary beyond words. I had heard that should he pull through, he may have to have a whole in his neck to help him breathe and possible a tube directly in to his stomach to allow him to feed. It's astonishing to think that something like that has happened. I wish him all the luck in the world, and hope he gets better. It's just unbelievable.

Is there a 3rd thing? Not so far, but all things considered the year could have been better. Can everyone please not get sick or injured or anything. Please.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Oh, this football malarky doesn't get any easier. Today was the 7 a side competition on grass. Yes, real grass. That green stuff that we don't have much of here. It wasn't good quality grass but there you go.

I arrived at the prescribed time. 8.30am on a Saturday. I should have still been in bed. I was under the impression that we would be playing early. How wrong was I? It was a full 2 hours before we played our first game. I could have stayed in bed for some time longer after all. Not good.

But, this time we had 3 games to play. The first against the Skywards department, the 2nd against the Accounting and Finance team then the Technical Services team. Seemingly people in our team fancied our chances. Given our past history their positive words seemed misplaced. We weren't too great on grass in last years competition in which we draw 1 and lost 2.

The first game was relatively close. They did score half way through but we were causing them problems after they took the lead. They had this one guy who was doing my head in. Whenever we got a free kick he could stand right infront of the ball so as to slow everything down. It's not extra cheating but it's not in the spirit of the game. He did it a couple of times and when it happened for a 3rd time, I had to get involved. He was standing there, so I went up to him and placed my hands on his chest and pushed him back 10 yards from the ball. He was impressed. Tough. He was interfering. He started moaning to the referee but for what? He was in the wrong. As I trotted away feeling quite good about myself, he turned to me and said 'Don't touch me'. So, being the man that I am, I went up to him and touched him on the chest once again. And left. Idiot. The same idiot essentially cost his team victory as well. He was timewasting and the referee added a minute or 2 more because of it. In the dying moments, a diagonal ball was made into the corner. Their defending for some reason let it sail over his head. I ran onto the ball. It was to the left of the goal and to be honest, the angle to goal was quite tight. But, I hit it with my left foot and it went in at the near post and beat the goal keeper. 1-1. Not long after, the final whistle went. Cue arguments between their team. So what, we didn't care, we had drawn which was a good start.

The second game was less eventful. It was fairly even for the most part. I blasted a shot of the post early on much to my displeasure. Again, the angle was quite tight but I really should have scored. Thankfully though, we did score from a deflected shot. 1-0. And that is how it remained.

The 3rd game was the important one. The team we were to play had beaten us at 5 a sides. Not just beaten us but stuffed us. They were one of the favourites actually. We did what we could but in the end, they won 2-0. The first goal was quite soft, the second, was a last second penalty. Not too great. We had hoped that we had come 2nd in the group and that would have taken us through. Alas, it wasn't to be. I think goals against meant that we didn't go through. Disappointing but definitely an improvement. One 1, drew 1, lost 1.

And now, as I write this, my legs hurt and so does my head. All this football is good but not really good for the bones. I'll be fine though. Get that deep heat out. I'll stink but there you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


We have the annual 7-a-side football competition coming up. I had been trying to get fit for it. I had been up at the gym running and cycling in a last ditch attempt to do so. Two weeks of doing that certainly wasn't the best way to prepare, particularly given that it was the first 2 weeks of fitness work in months and months and only a couple of weeks after Christmas. I did though have to go to football and try to play over in Sharjah even if it was only the once.

And that I did.

I was nice to get out and run around. I did have some nice touches and a couple of shots at goal but no goals, sadly. I did manage to beat 2 players with a shimmy, I them played the ball past the 3 defender. I put the ball past him on the right hand side, but knew that I couldn't follow the ball. So, I had thought I would confuse him by running to the left and around him in order to collect the ball. No such luck though. He body checked me. Big time. My one moment of glory, gone in a single second. But, it was all about the fitness.

As I write this, the day after it, my legs are hurting. A good, positive sign. I think. I hope the soreness goes away before the competition on Saturday. I need to be fit and healthy for it. Like that'll happen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Doesn't it just frustrate you that people in 'power', can be totally stupid and ignorant in the area in which you are the 'expert'? Not only that, but they think that they know better and can do a better job.

Well, I'm here to say that that isn't the case. I have this bloke who seems to 'know' English teaching and English as a Second language like the back of his hand. Not only that, but it appears that his department lackey's know as much. It's funny how everybody seems to think that they know best despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Take English tests. There is no, one ideal test. That's clear. I know that and I account for that. I do though have to maintain the level as it should be. For that, materials are available. Yet, the 'lackey's feel that they can go online, nick some English questions and stick them in a test in which all the questions are at a consistent level of difficulty. Yet, this is without knowing what the level actually is. It's amazing how everyone is an expert. Totally amazing. The best bit is telling them so. They don't like it and get all defensive. And don't speak to you. Oh the joys of office life.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


I am trying to update this as much as I can. It's not always easy and often I have nothing of interest to say. In fact, that is most of the time. That said, I will continue to wax lyrically. Or not depending on your point of view.

I'm aiming for 10 posts a month. That should be doable, even if it means waffling like a wafflier. Which is often.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


What would I like to happen this year?

I would like to become more involved and perhaps even more motivated at work. I would say I am 'stuck' in something or a rut. That's not a clever thing to say. I do what I do, and I'm good at it. I get the job done and my manager's appear happy with me. In that respect, everything 'looks' ok. But I find myself not really enjoying it. Perhaps it is a motivation thing. Perhaps if I was more 'pushed' I'd get the finger out. Up the game somewhat. It's interesting that this is the longest full time job I've ever had. Almost 3 years. The other teaching jobs I've had, have lasted perhaps 2 year a piece. That suited me though as I wasn't entirely content and I knew that I could move jobs and do well in that new position. I wonder though if I know now that 'responsibilities' are coming my way and it might be best not to rock the boat and just continue what I'm doing. Certainly that is the sensible option and needs must. I need to consider that my CV doesn't necessarily come first now.

A wedding is coming my way also. I some ways, it's particularly scary yet in other ways, it isn't at all. It's the most remarkable thing ever. I didn't really ever think that something like that would happen to me but now that it does, it is an amazing thing. No doubt more will be said about that in the coming months. It may be '2nd' on the list here but it is not the 2nd most important thing. Far from it. It's the only thing that is on my mind most of the time. I guess it just seems so far away. It probably isn't though!

Health and fitness. To remain healthy and improve my fitness. Every year this comes up. It's important however.

The rest will happen as and when. 360 odd days of it. Let's see.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Yes, the first of the year. Though, it's no longer the 1st day of the year. In fact, being the lazing ass I am, it is almost mid-January already. Terrible but true. A belated Happy New Year for 2011. Another year leaves us and another one appears. Of course, mixed feelings on that particular front. Perhaps that is par for the course when you get to the age I am at. Let's just say, I'm no spring chicken any more. I might be 'half-way' if you catch my drift and quite frankly, I don't like that at all.

I digress though.

New Year was totally fine. A BBQ on the balcony. Well, kind of. The BBQ was set up and everything was ready to go but the charcoal would not stay lit much to my annoyance. All in all, it was a let down but at midnight the fireworks went off across the road. Not great but not bad, then we danced the night away with Dance Central on the X-box. Or tried to. Dancing isn't my 'area'. I need to sort that out given that I have a first dance to master in August.

New Years resolutions. Be more active would be the biggest. I am by no means 'fat' but I feel that I need to be more active whether that means doing more walking or jogging or something similiar. I don't think that would be a bad thing. I am ready to do it. I have the 'hunger' for it once again. Last year, I wasn't particularly excited about the thought of doing all that. I am now. I'm not sure what else I should add to the list. I need to 'tweek' things - work wise for instance, and reply more readily to friends. That though will happen, I'm sure. All the other resolutions remain, though they are more lifestyle choices more than anything. Save more money, eat less chocolate blah, blah. It's mostly common sense I would have thought.

In terms of the year ahead, well, I've leave that for another day. Happy New Year.