Thursday, 16 December 2010

M's comic - just seeing if it embeds OK in blogger

Image editor

Who needs to pay shed loads of cash when they can use free online tools like this one? Pixlr  has a range of editing tools like Photoshop express including a number of quick filters. I applied one as you can see above. This is the boy when he still valued fresh air and exercise over Playstation. Last night he went Lazer Questing in an NBC suit. He drank a litre of coke and vomited the whole lot up when he got back. I don’t have a picture of that. If I did I don’t think that even Pixlr could do much about that.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

tech changes, tech glitches and missed penalties

I have moved my blog. I hope, though, that the posts I put on the new host (Posterous) will automatically post to my old one (Blogger). It should make it all easier since Posterous allows me to post directly from e mail which I can do on my laptop or I Phone without having to log in to the blog account. It also makes uploading images, video files, audio and documents that much easier too as they can be attached to the e mail and Posterous does all the formatting. I have had a few issues with embed codes but apart from that it’s bloomin’ brilliant. To embed a Youtube clip (like this one: )I only have to post the link. I have been feeling edgy since not posting much since I got married really. Yeah, my wife does order me around a lot and makes me do stuff like cooking and cleaning but, to be fair, she’s never said ‘stop wasting time on that , nobody reads it’.

Before the game on Sunday I said to a bloke near me that I  didn’t really enjoy the derbies. Even when we were 4-1 up against L’Arse I was edgy so in a 1-nil I have no hope. It was gratifying to see Drogba miss the pen on Sunday after all the misses our lot have made recently. Maybe it’s a hint that he wants away from the Bridge in the direction of the Lane.  

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ken Robinson on education

Not a lot to disagree with here in my view. All we need now is the cultural revolution...handg on, I'm not sure that's the right phrase

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Looking for lost contact lenses?

after the library, a take away

credit to 606er (Galvin and Stacey) for this one. We have to gloat and bask while we can.


Hard Cheese & Sour Grapes
Prawn Brigade Cocktail
Roasted Walnut
Poached egg (on face)

Humble Pie, (cooked with goons fat)
Mashed Spuds*

Pat Mullered Rice
Garlic Breath
Cheesy wums

Bottled Water**
Flat Champagne

*Off the menu
**due to unforseen cirumstances all stock has been damaged

Arsene Wenger takes defeat like a man

It was the water's fault! It's the wrong types of water! Putain de bordel de merde!

What else is there to say...I am buzzing

Friday, 19 November 2010

FIFA narrow goals an inch and forget to tell anyone

Talking of humiliation:

Arses V Spurs

If, as most of us do, Spurs fans accept that the usual roller coaster of a season will continue as normal then Saturday's game against the Woolwich Wanderers will be a dismal affair. Afterthe shockingly brilliant performance against Inter at the Lane I was actually excited as we drove towards that monument to banality that is the Reebok Stadium a couple of weeks ago. I joked that we'd probably play like donkeys but felt that we couldn't be that bad. In fact we weren't that bad. We were worse. It was abject from front to back of the team. Half decent Lancastrian pies didn't go far to ease the pain. Pav's goal was the only hight point in a game that made Bolton look like title contenders.

The draw with Sunderland in the week has only just been made to look half decent after their annihilation of Chelski but we were back to winning ways versus Blackburn. The peak of the roller coaster upturn was not the end of the game mind you. It was about 65 minutes in when we should have been cruising comfortably at 4-0. As is usual with both roller coasters and Spurs the downward rush was fast, shocking and yet pretty predictable. Only Spurs could panic at 4-0 and, to be honest, it could have been 4-4 at the end. Mind you, it could just have easily been 10-6. Defences are often likened to leaky buckets full of holes but Spurs' is more like the Maginot line: A big no entry sign in one or two places but some bloody obvious and easy ways round. Gallas is Belgium in this analogy.

With all that in mind we have some way to go before our cart rumbles towards another upturn. Our only hope is that we get there before the end of the Arse match. If we keep the first half down to 3 or fewer goals against we might prevent humiliation by getting a couple back. I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

so near yet so far yet so near

My prediction of doom looked well and truly fulfilled on Wednesday when, after 10 mins, Spurs were a goalkeeper and two goals down to Inter in the San Siro. When it went to 4-0 the boy and I had even given up swearing at the TV. The incredible hat trick from Bale in the second half means that the record will show a close match and an exciting one. The latter is true but not the former. Still we proved we can score against them. Well, we proved that Gareth Bale can score against them. When that third one went in the boy leaped out of his seat and let out a guttural "YEESS" which then turned into a weird squeak. His voice hasn't been the same since. I then stupidly became optimistic and thought we could do it but the ref had had too much and blew up far too early.

Saturday versus Everton was the very definition of lacklustre. 1-1 suggests a touch of excitement but really I got more of thrill vicariously when seeing the enjoyment of a mate from South Africa who had come to his first Spurs game. I sat in the East Stand away from the rest of the crowd and had to endure a commentary on the ref, a lot of moaning and tutting whenever anyone tried to join in the singing. I may have had a better view than normal but I'm not sitting there again.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Score prediction

I'm often less than optimistic when it comes to predicting Spurs results. When we are playing someone like Doncaster in the Carling Cup I imagine complacency, fluky goals and humiliation. It may have happened on relatively few occasions but those moments are seared on each Spurs fan's memory and tend (in the mind of the pessimist) to overshadow the times of triumph. I do sometimes (usually foolishly) lurch from pessimism to optimism but tonight, at the thought of Spurs' challenge in the San Siro, I am laughing much like a man condemned to death. I feel a 3-0 or worse coming on. I know Rafa has replaced Jose but can't get past our defensive frailties.


I can't keep on top of it. My colleague has a clear desk and a few neat, ordered piles on the periphery. I can barely get to my keyboard to type this. I have a to do list and keep ticking things off but it doesn't seem to diminish the amount I have to do as I keep having to add things to it. "Tidy Desk" always seems so unimportant compared to the other things and, anyway, I don't really know how to tidy my desk. It sounds stupid but it's part psychological, part cognitive dysfuntion I think. I like order. I like tidyness. BUT I am not naturally inclined to achieving that. If literal suffocation or drowning in paper were possible I'd have been dead long ago. Instead I plough on with a permanent sense of foreboding whilst dressing frequent paper cuts.

Werner Von Braun said: "We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming". My 'gravity' is teaching. I'm pretty good at that.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

this is me this is

There are plenty of things that it's worth spending ages getting good at: Piano, football, brain surgery and so on. There are other things of which I found it hard to understand the motivation or reward: running a long way, synchronised swimming, preparing blowfish. This is something I would love to be able to do and I can imagine (almost/ sort of) actually putting in the hours if i had a genuine Bonzini table and a cool French bar to keep it in. ps. I know it's a Nokia viral but it's still impressive. pps. it's 'babyfoot' not 'foosball'.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Blog from iPhone

I tried this when I first got it. It didn't work immediately so as with all things technical I gave up. A virus of some sort on my laptop is only reason I am checking e mail on this and therefore only reason I needed to reject a comment and finally the only reason why I am writing this descriptive account of what I am doing in some kind of more than 160 character tweet. Colleagues were trying to persuade me of the educational benefits of Twitter last Friday at a conference. I tried therefore for a 4th time but I am still missing the point somehow. I also saw a demo of how Second Life could be used in education. I definitely learnt something. Too much bloody effort! It was awful. I felt sorry for the guy presenting but he only has himself to blame- he was nervy, not convinced himself and didn't know how to compensate for tech glitches.

As I post this I am on the phone to my wife. I am in trouble for not concentrating. Or at least I will be when she sees the post time. Perhaps i should change it to earlier this morn. Then, of course, none of this would make sense and all this awkward prodding would be for nothing.

This is the world we live in. Arsebook, twattier etc which can be great but so often is the kind of descriptive banality I have written here. Anyway, I must go and clean my teeth.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Pre-season warm up

Not long to wait now until the friendlies. Then 14 August is the first game. Against Man City. Who says it's a computer that works out the fixtures? I wonder who Cheslea have....? Oh yes, Granny Town FC. Still, I actually think that it's got to be better to play the MiddleEastlanders early considering the purchases they're making. Maybe the new boys will not have had a chance to gel by that stage. Today I heard Ya Ya Toure will be getting more than 200 grand. A week. As the boy says on Facebook: WTF?

Anyway, these will warm everyone up. It was especially chilly in South Africa for Defoe, Crouch, Lennon and King. Not to mention Assou-Akotto, Bassong and Gomez.

fears and irritations

Family medical worries, money, pompous colleagues, change at work, pain in my knackered hand, squeaky breaks on my car, Champions league qualification, The Tory and 'New' Tory coalition, poverty, homelessness, abuse...
Sometimes it's hard to put any of it into perspective; either relative to the worlkd or to each other. Lucky I've got a song and someone to sing it to.

I have nothing to say

Monday, 14 June 2010

Flags and Vuvuzelas

Weeks of build up enabled us to speculate, stress, argue and dream. It's the last one that is the most damaging though. Carried along on a wave of misplaced confidence the flags started appearing about a month ago. After Saturday's performance I wouldn't be surprised if a few have been surreptisiously removed. Some have travelled so far that they are already tatttered and forlorn. It's not difficult to see parallels with the England team each time you drive over a little piece of plastic and cloth on the motorway.

I'm happy for anyone to stick the flag on their car of course. In fact the more Asian cabbies that do it in Bradford the better as far as I'm concerned. My colleague overheard some bloke moaning about 'them' taking 'our' flag the other day so if it's pissing off the Nazis, casual racists or plain old ignoramuses then that's fine by me. Even if I didn't feel a bit uncomfotable with it (as much on 'cool' grounds as anything) I'd still not do it as it seems to invite misfortune on the pitch. I used to stick a scarf out the car window on the way to away games but stopped that when I lost my treasured, childhood scarf on the motorway after opening the wrong window.

On Saturday we got ready for the game and I annoyed the boy and wife (formerly known as girl) by blowing on the vuvuzela I brought back from South Africa- especially loudly after the early goal. I should have known that England could only manage roughly 4 minutes of good play.

It irritates me no end when the 'pundits' discuss pressure being brougfht to bear by broadcasters on FIFA to ban the vuvuzela. You may as well ban the England brass band, giant flags or the army of midwinter shirtless Geordies at St James' Park. All are irritating but they are part of a much stronger fabric than the type used to make the little crosses of St George.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

I haven't abandoned my blog

I know it's the end of the footy season though of course the World Cup will preoccupy me until England get knocked out early and come back with their pampered tails between their legs. This, though, is not the reason I have not been blogging. I got married two weeks ago and the lead up and aftermath (I am sure there's a more apposite word) have been busy to say the least. Anyway, I will be back soon. I'm missing my regular catharsis.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


Marriage, divorce, bereavement and moving house are supposed to be the most stressful life experiences but I can tell you that watching Spurs last night was more stressful than at least one of those (though maybe I speak too soon). In my usual glass half empty way of thinking I thought that today would be all doom and gloom with City fans popping out of the woodwork and closet Tories secretly smirking to themselves about their likely victory. Suffice to say that I was half wrong (so I reckon that makes my glass 3/4 empty) and a crushing BNP failure and hung parliament may have it close to the top. For those City fans who are inconsolable I am happy to share this story of hope that has backfired miserably. There's always someone who has it worse than you (unless you are actually Kirk Bradley). Sometimes it is wise to see an empty glass.

From Manchester Evening News Aug 17 2009

"OPTIMISTIC Blue Kirk Bradley is so sure of Manchester City's success next season that he's had a tattoo announcing them as Champions League Winners for 2011.
The Premier League season is barely underway but already the 25-year-old is so confident that not only will his team qualify for the Champions League this time round but that they will win it at their first attempt next year. So football-mad Kirk decided to have 'Manchester City 2011 Champions League Winners' permanently tattooed on to his body - even though they only finished 10th last year. And although he admits his prediction is somewhat premature Kirk thinks it's an entirely realistic expectation for big-spending City - who have splashed out £100m on new players this summer. "

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Monday, 19 April 2010

Do it yourself

I wouldn't say I am an avid follower of Westminster based party politics but I always vote even if it amounts to a vote against than a vote for. Tradition, values, convention, decency and other things mean that I will almost certainly vote as I have always done. Of course, it would be daft not to see what everyone else is offering even if it's just an excuse to boil with rage for a bit.

The Nazi BNP are so laughable they don't allow me even that oddly indulgent satisfaction. I taught one of their PPCs about 10 years ago. His obsession with one of his classmates (a British born woman of Bangladeshi heritage) and subsequent humiliation and rejection may go some way to explaining his current tendencies. The (almost certainly mythical) stories about Hitler and a Viennese prostitute come to mind. The fact that he was odious and disliked by pretty much everyone around him may also explain his attraction to the loose grouping of alienated and ill-educated outsiders and losers that the BNP quite clearly are.

I listened to programmes about the Tory manifesto and what struck me was the emphasis they placed on an obligation to community action. It seemed that to all intents and purposes their principle policy was 'we can't do it so vote for us so that you can take on all the donkey work'. Was it not obvious that people would say 'Hang on Dave, I'm bloody busy enough as it is'. I looked on their website just now and it seems that they may even be trying to distance themselves from the prominence they gave this ridiculous notion. Their 6 aims are as follows:

1 Act now on debt to get the economy moving
2 Get Britain working
3. Make Britain the most family friendly country in Europe
4. Back the NHS
5. Raise standards in schools
6. Change politics

In other words(?)
1. do more of what Brown is doing?
2. because we do sod all at the moment
3. to attract more immigrants!
4. rather than promise to dismantle it like....?
5. rather than lower them like....?
6. so we can persuade Clegg to support a coalition?

I have to admit that my irritation with all things Tory is much less than it was in the intolerant class war days of the 80s but when push comes to shove do we really want a privileged, smarmy, pseudo 'one of the lads' populist like Cameron in charge?

I won't be putting any posters in my window. I won't be telling anyone to vote for a particular party. Indeed, I'm not allowed to do that at work. In my free time though I will be telling people not to waste their votes and offer a few more rational reasons why a vote for the Tories is misguided. I don't think I hang around anyone stupid enough to vote BNP so dialiogue isn't necessary there though I could be persuaded to throw stuff if they don their black shirts and march through town.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

What the heck is going on?

On Sunday we all had our heads in our hands. The pitch was awful and the ref was worse but you have to be up for it and Spurs just didn't seem to be. Credit to Pompey and I'll be rooting for them on final day. It's hard to believe that with this at the start of the week and my dad seriously ill on Tuesday I could even contemplate saying this is one of the best weeks I can remember. I should say that the most important thing is that my dad is out of hospital and proving he's well on the road to recovery by getting back to his old sweary self. Victories against L'Arse and Chelski though have left me breathless and shocked. Wednesday night was amazing. Today's result even more unbelievable. I'd have taken 2 points from these three games (we have Man U at Old Trafford next week) but this is simply not the Tottenham I know. Gareth Bale ran for 120 mins on the crappy wembley pitch, 90 mins on Wednesday and another 90 today. The elfin features clear hide a terminator like robot body; he's relentless and scaring the crap out of the defences. Gomes has his own set of super powers and if Dawson hasn't proved his worth to Fabio by now then he never will.

In addition to this:

Ledley King was immense on Wednesday
Danny Rose's goal!
The crowd!
see the highlights here
We should have scored 6 today

I still expect Spurs to fluff it when least expected- maybe Bolton will pull off a shock at WHL or Burnley will relax and play free flowing football on the last day of the season. Whatever happens no-one can take the Monday to Saturday part of this week away from us.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The reference list's a ........

I'm marking work at home. We're strict on accuracy of reference lists and the university conventions on referencing (basically how you state where you got your information from). I tend to spend two years correcting it on most students' work until they finally get that it's basically copying a template from the copious verbal and printed examples we give them. For some reason it's one of those things that presses internal panic buttons. I try to empathise by recalling that sick feeling I used to get when the maths teacher at school said the word 'algebra' but when you get the 15th script and the same error is there that you know you corrected in previous work and in a draft for this piece the empathy wanes.

Sometimes people forget to put some items into the reference list at the end. All you need in text is the surname and year. If there are multiple authors you use the first surname and the 'et al.' meaning and others. The reader can then look up the details in a single document at the end. Easy. Easy to miss one out though I suppose. However, how this one was missed is beyond me. For me (Fuchs et al. 1997) stands out as it seems to somehow resonate of the average student's attitude to reference lists themselves.

There is a view that as long as you can identify the source that should be OK and that we're too obsessed with such things. it seems to me though that without our insistence on accuracy and conventions we'd lower the actual bar even further and reference lists would look like this:


some books
a bloke I met at the bus stop
the Internet

Monday, 5 April 2010

Why I love the Guardian

If I'd set this for myself as an essay I could go on for ages. I am sure there are better reasons than this but for me it's those unexpected moments of pleasure that set it apart from the rest. My second flick through the last Saturday's sports pages meant that I didn't miss a real gem. It, as they say, is funny because it's true.

"Footprints of astronauts who landed on the moon should last at least 10 million years since the moon has no atmosphere. For the exact same reason, stud marks of footballers who play at Stamford Bridge should last at least 20 million years."

The same can't be said for the Stadium of Light. I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if Spurs had fielded an actual team rather than grannies in disguise. Highlight of the game was Bent's two missed penalities. After his second goal, the mackems sang "are you watching Fabio?" After his second miss we sang exactly the same thing.

Spurs fans are, of course, partisan, but they're also fair. Steed Malbranque played very well on Saturday and was one reason (of many) why they mauled us. He got applause and the customary 'Steeeed' from Spurs and was applauded off after the aforementioned mauling. Bent, on the other hand, is a class A tosser it has to be said. His Spurs tattoo concealed beneath his Sunderland shirt he mocked the Spurs fans like it was us that said Harry Rednkapp's missus could have taken chances for us that he hadn't. I used to defend him and always said there was a role for him. I take it all back. His mockery is a declaration of war. He won the first battle but the haranguing he got after that must have had some impact on his feeble penalty efforts and help explain his substitution. I know that from now on he'll not get applause when he comes to the Lane (like he did earlier on in the season) but vilification and derisory cheers for every fluffed effort.

Darren, You'll never play for England.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Irons in the pink

It may be a rag of less worth and quality than Izal grease proof toilet paper but the Daily Mail pulled it off satisfyingly today with its April fools gag. It may upset a few hardened irons but the pink frills and Ann Summers logo look the part. I think they should consider embracing it. West Sham have of course blown it big time this season but the colour would soften the bummer of relegation. It may mean their new 2nd division/ championship rivals actually warm to them. They've been unpopular too long so I'm sure there's plenty of East London boys looking to widen the circle of their friends. Upton Park could be the New Camp. OK, enough of that's the shirt:

Friday, 26 March 2010


Overheard one side of a conversation on a the train back from Leeds last night. Normally shouty types annoy me. I hate hearing people talking loudly about themselves in public unless I am being paid to listen of course. This time though the bloke kept me amused. here's the best bit:

"No I left Leeds. I'm on my way to Manchester. No not on a plane. On a train. I know they have airports but the're not far enough apart. The planes probably go to other airports. It wouldn't be quicker. Yeah well the flying bit would but you have to check in and stuff."

the psyche of the spurs fan

Some SMS texts exchanged during Wednesday's win against Fulham:

".... I am not happy with our team. We are going to lose 1-0."
"tell A to wear her lucky socks"
"Already done."
"I got my scarf on"

Fulham go 1-0 up
"told you"
From West ham fan: " when the moon something eye, something pizza pie that's Zamora!"
"we're losing it in midfield"
"Come on Harry shake it up"
"they need to close it down like Fulham are."
"don't worry, it's a game of two halves"
"I hope that Fulham tire"
"If they do we've got a chance"
"can't see us scoring"
"wasted free kick"
"can't sit back against this shower. COYS!"

During half time
"It's time to turn up and play some football Spurs!"

1-1: Bentley
"always rated him"

2-1: Pav
"Oh yes!"
"Get in there"
"Harry's done the business"
"super pav"
"s u u u u u p e r"
"we want 9"
"knew we'd beat this lot easy"

3-1 Gudjohnson
"own goal"
"it's dreamland man. city losing, Villa dropped points. rematch against Chelsea at Wembley"
"I'm getting sick and tired of Spurs letting us down. Where's the disappointment? Where's the moaning? it looked good for 45 mins but they ruined it all. If they're not careful they'll win something"

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

No complaints

No-one has mentioned their surprise at my lack of entries this last week or so which means my girl's contention that the 10,000 plus hits are all her being nice and supportive may well be true. Not that I actually write for an audience, though I do have this slightly morbid idea that if I drop dead then my family have some sort of personal record of me beyond the photos on their mobile phones. It does mean I could probably be a lot more risque though I guess. Even so and even when I'm busy as heck I get itchy fingers if I don't put something up here. I used to mock diary keepers, saying they were girly, unnecessarily introspective and embarrassing. At least they were private. I was wrong of course. There's a catharsis in the writing and the odd bit of one to none counselling potential if I read back over entries at random. I can see for example how my mood does lift after I'm low and how there are things well worth being grateful for. As a sort of online memory it's great. Since I have nothing to write about I thought I'd put up photos from the last two London games we went to. The first is Craven Cottage in the FA cup 6th round. The sky was a lot nicer than the ground. As I type Spurs fans are planning their trips to Wembley for the semi finals all but forgetting that the 0-0 scoreline in this game means that we actually have to win the replay first.
The second photo is from last Saturday's win against Blackburn. My ultra brief match summary:
we scored three legit goals: first well made corner from Nico, nodded on by Charlie, tapped in by Defoe. Second breakaway finished by Pav. Third, great cross from man of match Bale to Pav.
They scored from corner after Samba climbed all over Daws. they scored another that was disallowed even though it was legit. Howard Webb missed 3 pen claims- two for us, one for them. Webb was rubbish. He'll be another embarrassment to England at the World Cup. They had about 40 fans there. 10 of them sang 'your support is f***ing s**t' I think they were being ironic. We sang 'What time's your minibus?'

Just heard that John Terry managed to run over a security guard at Stamford Bridge after last night's exit at the hands of the 'special one'. He drove off claiming not to have noticed he'd broken someone's leg. He really is the ultimate tosser. Twice in the last month I have wanted Chelsea to win- once when playing our new arch rivals from the middle eastlands and last night. They blew it both times. Or mysterious forces are at play. I wanted them to win last night because my granddad is a Chelsea fan and it's his birthday. He's in his 80s so his headhunting days are over and he can't get his aggression and anger out by arranging a fight with some guys from a Spurs or Millwall firm.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Sticky toffee win

I could bang on about a game of two halves but that would be such a cliche. I could be grateful for the 3 points and an afternoon's entertainment with the guys but that would be neglecting the impact this game had on my stress levels and heart condition (I mean the condition of my heart not a heart condition). I could even report on such delights as the Spurs fans chanting "USA USA" when Landon Donovan missed an open goal from two yards. Instead though I will give player ratings for each half. I think this says it all.

By the way, the ratings are out of ten and are the numbers after the name not the squad numbers which are at the front.

First Half (Spurs 2- Everton 1)
01 Gomes 7
03 Bale 9
19 Bassong 7
20 Dawson 7
22 Corluka 8
06 Huddlestone 7
12 Palacios 7
14 Modric 9
21 Kranjcar 8
09 Pavlyuchenko 8
18 Defoe 7

Second half (Spurs 0- Everton 1)
01 Gomes 5
03 Bale 6
19 Bassong 5
20 Dawson 5
22 Corluka 5
06 Huddlestone 1 (Kaboul 52 mins) 5
12 Palacios 6
14 Modric 7
21 Kranjcar 6
09 Pavlyuchenko 6 (Crouch 82 mins) a big fat zero
18 Defoe 7 (Gudjohnsen 71 mins) 2

If you prefer high level critical anlysis from people on the front line this is what David Moyes said: "It was a game of two halves. Tottenham were better in the first and we were much better in the second. "
And this is what 'arry said: "Overall I thought we played well and we were terrific at times in the first half. "
Yeah well, they must have been watching too much of the smug non analysis on Match of the Day.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


I know web traffic tends to be measured in millions but I'm still oddly pleased that my counter has hit 10,000. I just noticed it was on 9,999. I used to occupy myself on long journeys by avoiding looking at the milometer and trying to guess 5, 10 or 20 miles. 99s and 999s were always special somehow. Logically they shouldn't be but then logic and numbers, although natural bedfellows, have to combat the powerful force that is some sort of combination between superstition and the attractive aesthetics of sequences and patterns. As far as probability is concerned 1,2,3,4,5,6 may as well be your lottery numbers but I bet there aren't many people that choose those. I suspect that if they actually came up there'd be an outcry and claims of a fix. I always used to use that notion to help illustrate why buying lottery tickets was a stupid waste of money. Of course a massive jackpot win by someone very close made me look pretty dumb. Likewise we go bonkers on December 31st and especially bonkers when the year counter hit 2,000. Nerds all over the AD world deseprately tried to point out that the new millenium technically didn't start until 2001 and that's when the big party should be but surely they missed the point: why celebrate at all? It's just another day surely. We like to mark time, lives, events and web pages so decimal landmarks are easy to target and then celebrate I spose. I will try to break that mould and henceforth look forward to 14,324. What a day that'll be.

Friday, 26 February 2010

stir crazy

A day working at home and a Friday evening in and I'm going bananas. That's with endless cups of tea, as much crap food as I want, multimedia entertainment opportunities and access to toilet facilities that don't come with soap retrieval requests. How would I cope incarcerated? On this evidence not very well. It is chucking it down outside and this village doesn't offer that much in the way of entertainment but I have decided to go out. I'll stride past the bus stop chavs like I have somewhere to go and the freedom and fresh air should shake me out of this gloom. Just thinking about it makes me realise I'm not nearly grateful enough for my liberty to do pretty much anything I want. Nowhere better epitomises the idea of the right to do whatever the hell you want than America of course. The shift of the US embassy to Battersea despite their website's suggestion that there has been 'consultation' is just one small example of the freedom the US exerts, even in a foreign country. Whether the ambassadors understand irony or not, this freedom is not something enjoyed by a resident of Battersea, Shaker Aamer. I say resident but in fact that's his former address. Since 2001 he's been resident in Guantanamo Bay (not the nice bit) even though he's never been charged with anything and officially cleared. You can read more about him here and here. You have the freedom to do so.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Euro cows

The following is by the boy. It's his homework but North and South thought it deserved a wider circulation. So we doubled the readership by putting it here. Matt is away.

Memories are like movies. For me the ones from last week and the week before are mostly as clear as glass. Much like the HD movies of today. Older memories become cloudier and cloudier the further back you go until you can only get tiny snippets of them, such as your 4th birthday when your Granddad bought you a bike or when you first went on a plane to Spain. These are the memories that make us as people. Everyone has different memories, so everyone is different.

Holiday 2003
Eight countries in a week. Well, eight days to be exact. Eight years old as well. Me, my older step-sister and my younger brother are all eight years in age apart. My siblings didn’t go on this holiday. It was just me, my Dad, and his best mate.

We took the Euro-tunnel from Folkestone to France. My dad and X had several hours driving ahead before the next stop. They both used to work for Euro-camp. The tales they told of French girls and Pastis were the cause of much side-glancing and laughter. But they are experienced drivers, they know the language and they know the roads well too.

I’m here now looking at the old photos of this trip. I'm much smaller, of course, cuter, if that is the word and Dad; he’s not grey.

I'm thinking back to the time in Germany, a petrol garage. Just a routine stop. I specifically remember this because it was very strange. Mega-Bubble Bum-Bum was the name of the chewing gum. I called X and Dad over, they laughed aloud. We bought a pack, still laughing all the way to the till. The German lady looked at us funnily; I remember that well, the eyes, questioning what we were all giggling about.
The gum was shaped as a cigarette. The hilarity increased. “What sort of gum called Mega-Bubble Bum-Bum is shaped like cigarettes!” was the question we were asking. I remember this maybe too well as it probably doesn't mean much to somebody reading this. But for me this was one of the defining aspects of this holiday.

Switzerland, the best hotel we’ve stayed in so far. I had the Playstation Portable with me. ‘Abe’s Oddesy’, a game that you could play for hours, was the game I was on. I remember the sounds from this game much better than the images. “Yo yo yo yo yo” was what the avatar would say when you wanted to move an object with telekinesis. ‘Abe’, the protagonist moved back and forth across his futuristic landscape.

My room looked out on the beauty of the Alps. The slopes, crags, rock faces and snow covered peaks were stunning. The mountains could see everything. I remember looking to these mountains before I went to sleep, they compelled me. The sheer difference between this and what I was used to in Ipswich and London was the thing that got me. Clean and fresh, yes, a toothpaste ‘ad’ spectacular.
Luxembourg. People laugh at Luxembourg. Dad and X didn’t. They already knew the city. I reckon if you grew up there you would always be OK. Not a great recommendation I know. Even though Luxembourg is an incredibly small country, it’s a wealthy place. Safe and secure. It fits snugly between France, Germany and Holland. We’d crossed those borders before.

For some unknown reason there were cows everywhere. Not real ones, but big, life sized ones painted in seriously bright colours. They were just stood around the city randomly. You could touch them but there were signs in French and German saying ‘Do not sit on this cow!’ I remember dad and X laughing. They were always laughing. That night we stayed at Victor’s, X’ friend’s house. He never explained the cows. Thank God. Really nice chips and chocolate. It’s true about Belgium. We indulged there, especially on chips, and high on carbs we took the motorway back through to France, heading home.

Austria and Poland are snippets that are missing from this memory. I know we went there, but like the bits of movies that disappear.......

Friday, 12 February 2010

fly like a bird

A news item caught my ear on the radio this morning. It relates to this story about the international Olympic committee's decision not to allow women to compete at Olympic level in the ski jump event in 2010. Apparently the women's ski jump lobby have been pushing for years with no effect. The reason cited by the IOC is that there are too few nations able to compete at the elite level despite there being more women and more countries involved at that level than in other allowed Olympic events. The speculation is that having women competitors would undermine the masculinity associated with it and affect the sponsorship revenues of the rough tough derring doers who want to maintain the awe they inspire every time they throw themselves off that ramp. What I really liked was the aside that said that women have been ski jumping since the 1880s but at that time they could only do it if they held a man's hand! I wouldn't do it holding hands or otherwise.

In the 80s (1980s not 1880s) I was in Innsbruck with best mate and a local lad named Georg (pronounced Gay-org) showed us round the city. He told us how a car manufacturer had filmed an ad where they sent a car down the ramp there. Incredibly they did it with a driver at the wheel and two of these guys were hospitalised with serious injuries. Perhaps they should have held a lady's hand.

Incidental to this Georg wore lederhosen which he proudly boasted had been both his father's and his grandfather's before him. And they had never been washed. I hope, if he has passed them on to his son, that someone has at least given them a wipe over with a J-cloth.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Nominative determinism

It is estimated that in the 13th century about a third of men in England were called either John, William or Richard. I suppose the addition of an extra name was inevitable. One way that people 'earned' surnames back in the olden days (with such precision as this it's clear that I studied history isn't it) was through their occupations. John the blacksmith became John Smith, John the Carpenter became...well it's pretty obvious. Here are some more:

Archer = professional Archer
Bailey = bailiff
Carter = cart maker
Carver = sculptor
Chaplin = chaplain
Chandler = candle maker
Cooper = barrel maker
Day = dairy worker
Fletcher = arrow maker
Frobisher = Polished armour and swords
Gardner = gardener
Hooper = Fitted hoops on barrels
Kellogg = A killer of hogs
Leach = doctor
Machin = stone worker
Naylor = nail maker
Proctor = steward
Redman = thatcher (reed man)
Sawyer = wood sawer
Trinder = wheel maker
Ward = watchman

Puts a whole new light on Kellogg this does. Suddenly the name is elevated in my mind from the bland to the rough and ready.
"Matt Kellog is in the neighbourhood ma!"
"Lordy lordy, hide them hogs now boy."
The famous Kellogs should have done gritty, no-nonsense muesli, not golden flakes of nutritionless cardboard.

Anyway, I got to thinking about nominative determinism yesterday. The term is a coinage of the Feedback column in the British popular science journal New Scientist, stemming from this item in 1994:

"WE recently came across a new book, Pole Positions - The Polar Regions and the Future of the Planet, by Daniel Snowman. Then, a couple of weeks later, we received a copy of London Under London - A Subterranean Guide, one of the authors of which is Richard Trench. So it was interesting to see Jen Hunt of the University of Manchester stating in the October issue of The Psychologist: "Authors gravitate to the area of research which fits their surname." Hunt's example is an article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology (vol 49, pp 173-176, 1977) by J. W. Splatt and D. Weedon."

In a sense it's like names have come the full circle. What you were once named for is somehow in your psyche and you end up being pulled towards those jobs. The reason I was thinking it is because someone applied for a course because he wants to be a swimming instructor. I can't say what his name is here but suffice to say it suits the job to a tee. Other occupations he may consider is baggage handler and elephant inspector.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Spurs 13 Crewe 2

pure class! click on the picture to take you to the Pathe film of the match


Thursday, 4 February 2010

(something you're aiming for) you're having a laugh

The snow started at about 4pm as I was driving home from work. By 5.30 it was quite thick on the ground and we knew that it'd be an effort getting to Elland Road. Accidents and scared drivers made it a painful approach but we managed to dump the car in a car tyre sales place in a gloomy industrial estate in Leeds. At this stage everyone seemed pretty friendly and jolly but, from what I've read this morning, they weren't feeling quite as jolly after the game and decided to 'hang around' in a menacing way outside the away end, and this was why the police kept us in for a full 45 minutes after the end of the game. The walk back to the car was a little more edgy with very brave Leeds fans giving us the throat cutting sign from behind the glass of the pubs they were in.

They were in a no lose situation as far as I could see. They did themselves credit on the pitch and the vast majority did the same from the stands though the talk this morning on forums like 606 suggesting the Spurs fans were quiet is embarrassing sour grapes I think. My ears and sore throat attest to amount of noise we were making and everyone who saw it on TV said that noise from both sets of fans was great.

The result was right, the quality difference was also about right for the gap in league positions but the once mighty Leeds made it hard work by running their socks off for a good 150 of the 180 minutes that the tie spread over. Rightly so too. This is what makes the FA cup so good. No doubt we'll take a fall at some point in the future to lower league opposition (later rather than sooner and PLEASE not to Bolton) but last night showed some of the quality in depth 'top' clubs are supposed to have. Without Palacios, Assou-Akotto, Lennon, King, Woodgate and (thank God) Keane we dominated possession and as Harry rightly said, should have scored 6 or more. It wouldn't be Spurs if they didn't make you wince and clench though and, sure enough, with a little help from a myopic Linesman, Leeds got back into the game on half time after Defoe got the first of his hat-trick with a bit of a lucky chip from all of 5 yards.

Second half was great- Spurs fans singing 'Oh when the Spurs....' in that slow, almost choir-like way that seems to irritate opposition fans; Leeds fans singing 'We all stand together...' or some such (I think it's their version of that Paul McCartney frog song though I need to listen more carefully next time) then a second goal from Defoe that helped us all unclench for a bit. They never really threatened second half and some players really stepped up the mark. Apart from Defoe, whose third goal at the end made up for a miss from a similar situation in the first half, notables were David Bently and Gareth Bale. Both played well, especially in the second half and the more they used the space on the wings, the more Leeds look unable to cope.

I am so glad they dumped out the other United and will watch with interest their results over the next few weeks in the fizzy pop league. All joshing aside, they are too big a club to be languishing down there in the 3rd division. When you look at the attendance Wigan got on Tuesday night for their FA cup game it makes it all seem topsy turvey.

I won't be going to the Bolton game being as it is on Valentines day. And it's in Bolton. It's interesting that it was already earmarked for a live TV coverage- just shows that the TV people were really hoping for another fairy tale. Even though Leeds blokes have a habit of calling one another 'love', there won't be any fairy tales at Elland road for at least another season.

ps. I only took one of these pictures.

me, the boy and S gave the following ratings to the Spurs players (we would have done Leeds too but couldn't rememeber any of their names apart from Beckford). I think these are what we said but it was late and I was driving in rotten conditions , drunk from euphoria and over-singing.

Gomez 6, Bale 8, Bassong 6, Dawson 7, Corluka 7, Huddlestone 7, Jenas 5, Kranjar 6, Bentley 7.5, Crouch 7, Defoe 9.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

word cloud

created at

I'm not sure what it's for either

Thursday, 28 January 2010

street art

The boy's doing a project on street art- he showed me some stuff that I quite liked and it all ended up very complicated with Banksy Christmas presents and a trip to the world's smallest art gallery (it's nothing more than a corner shop window in Harrogate- at least that's how it seems until you marvel at the two whole rooms they have behind the counter). Anyway I read all this posturing up-their-own-arses stuff from Banksy, people pretending to be Banksy, some Brazilian twins (forget their names), this bloke from Essex who leaves 'art' on cardboard boxes, a guy from Barcelona who calls himself 'sixeart' and others and felt a bit disappointed really. Banksy is, thus far, the biggest sell out though. £9000 for a quick spray with a stencil? Cheeky capitalist pig. Having said that, I can't help liking his lines and visual gags, especially the ones at the expense of the police.Before they realise that they could actually become very very rich these guys go on about using the landscape. To that end I submit a favourite bit of street art- the spots on the trees that some smart arse decorated on the Southbank last summer were full of graffiti - mostly it was 'Lopez este en Inglitterra!!!!' but some of it was worth trawling through all the crap for: "my mum has pants in this material". I have no idea if the point of them was for this- I know I looked it up and read stuff but I think my short term memory made a few judgement calls about priorities around that time.

The above is my own attempt at street art. I spotted the random yellow line and installed the boy. I hope to return to North Wales this summer so that I can collect him (and my healthy commission)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Stress level

I told myself before the game that it didn't matter. I told myself that league position was more important. BUT the FA cup always gets you in the end and I sat there pointlessly shouting at the screen, twiddling my thumbs and trying to keep my blood pressure down. Watching live for some reason is easiest. When you're at a game defeat is much easier to deal with, the match passes quicker and control over internal organs is greater. Watching on TV is much more stressful for some reason. I bet more people have heart attacks watching at home than they do at actual games. It's even worse on the radio. perhaps it's something to do with the effort put into perception and imagination. At the ground you have the whole pitch and get a feel for the ebb and flow. On TV you only see a window; you can't see the player just off screen who is going to comfortably make that crucial tackle. On the radio you imagine it all, listen to the crowd, listen to the intonation of the commentator and as such your mind's eye puts you in a permanent state of anxiety. I always complain about commentators who are distracting because they say 'errr' or 'you know' too much but perhaps that is a deliberate ploy to stop their listeners dropping dead at the wheel while listening to the match on their way home from work.

I knew that Leeds would get a last second equalizer last night. It didn't stop me from feeling sick about it when Beckford's pen hit the back of the net. Occasionally I allowed myself to get absorbed in what was actually a fantastic cup tie but then frustration kicked back in as I realised that by not burying any of the many chances (including a penalty- that's four misses in a row for Defoe) we would 'do a Spurs'. I'll probably go to the replay just to avoid the anxiety of watching on TV or listening on the radio.

After the game I thought I deserved some cheering up so I went in search of sweet things from the 'treat cupboard'. After much deliberation I settled on two chunks of Toblerone and a long chewy sweet called a 'stinger' that I'd put in the fridge earlier. I had tried to eat one a few days before (possibly after the Liverpool game) but found my teeth and jaw weren't up to it. On that occasion the thing had ended up about eight foot long as I pulled it in to ever thinner strands. The fridge thing worked. I broke a piece off the Stinger and chewed away almost contentedly while 'The Wire' whirred into life on the PS3. As the opening scene unfolded I threw caution to the wind (or with gay abandon as it was when I was a kid) and bent the Stinger back to snap off a massive chunk. Before I knew it this thing exploded in my hands and pieces of sharp chew were over my jumper, the chair and in my hair. I got up and looked in the mirror. A small sliver had embedded itself in my forehead just above my eye-brow. As I pulled it out it actually drew blood. An inch lower and I could have been in hospital fighting to keep my eye, surrounded by disbelieving doctors muttering about how if I'd been ten the social services would have been called ages ago.

I ate the bit I pulled out of my head. I don't think I would have done if it had gone in my eye.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Bad behaviour pays

I read the following article with interest for a number of reasons. Firstly Supersport United are the team to beat in the ABSA prem but I went and chose Kaizer Chiefs when I was in SA. Chiefs have climbed the table since I was there so actually having abetter season than Spurs (now that we dropped points v Hull and let 'pool win on Wed night). Supersport are top though and play some decent football. I had no idea there was such a strong link between Spurs and Supersport.

The second thing that caught my eye was the bit at the bottom about how the project is funded. There's something wrong there somewhere but I can't seem to put my finger on it. Robbie Keane takes a whole bunch of team mates to Ireland for a "golf weekend" just before Christmas and gets two weeks wages fine. "To be sure, it's ok," he says, "We did it for yer orphans in Africa". I'm glad the money goes there but what if they all start behaving themselves?

SuperSport United, our South African academy partner, made a special delivery on behalf of the Club to the SOS Children's Village in Rustenburg, South Africa, earlier this month.
The delivery of education packs, including dictionaries and stationary, was part of our ongoing support for the SOS Children's Village. The packs were hand-delivered by a number of the SuperSport United first team in time for the start of the new school term.
SOS Children has been our global charity partner since 2007 and has helped fund and construct the charity's orphan village in Rustenburg, South Africa, including the development of the Tottenham Hotspur House.
The 'Spurs House', which is uniquely funded by monies received from players' fines, now provides orphaned children in Rustenburg with a family and an SOS mother they can call their own.
Over 78,000 orphaned and abandoned children are cared for by SOS mothers in clusters of family homes in more than 500 Children's Villages in 124 countries worldwide. For more information on SOS Children's Villages visit the website

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

ice 2

Probably not very funny for the people involved but you have to wonder why they even tried to drive on that surface.


Well it's not quite like this where I live today but it may as well be. My car isn't far off the one above; it has a thick layer of ice on it that isn't responding to de-icer or my agressive hacking action with a small piece of plastic, laughingly described as an ice-scraper on the handle. Scraping is all very well but if it doesn't remove anything then I may as well rub flowers on my windscreen. The boy fell over on Monday (after I told him not to go the 'quick' way) and we had to go to hospital for the second time in a week. I sent him out today and watched nervously as he stepped tentativley into the road. He turned to face me and, with the universal submissive 'I don't know what to do' gesture, proceeded to slide gently sideways out of my field of vision. Even this wasn't enough to persuade him out of his de-riguer trainers and into some sensible footware. I then watched as a woman tried to turn her car round next to my house. We looked at each other as, in slow motion and not without a degree of balletic grace, her car slid into mine and bumped it ever so delicately. She gave me the same gesture. I think there'll be a lot of that in the UK today. I have given up the idea of driving into work and am about to brace myself for at least 3 falls while I negotiate my way to the station. I had a look on the work's facebook page and there are a lot of unhappy people. Buses aren't running and the only thing hot is the underside of colleagues' and students' collars who are struggling in for pay or EMA with little sypathy from an instituion that assumes everyone lives just around the corner. Maybe I'll take the boat in....

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

xmas footie

5 clean sheets, 4 wins, a good draw at Fulham...when's it all going to go wrong? Oh yeah, we've got Liverpool on Sunday. We always lose when it's 'our best chance in decades of getting a result'.

The 4-0 win over Peterborough was unusual. There was no tension at all. It never seemed like we'd blow it. Strangely though that lack of edge meant that something was lost. Credit to their fans though; they were great. Much more satisfying was the win over Wet Spam. Again they weren't very good but they could have got something from the game and that tension makes the relief and the goal celebrations that much more sweet. Their fans, in contrast, were nasty and humourless.


Some views from round my way

I was trying to work out why people say it's so beautiful. White is, of course, the colour of the mighty Spurs but that can't be the only reason. Cold itself isn't beautiful, it's uncomfortable and expensive. Snow isn't so beautiful either when you fall on your arse in your new shiny boots and put your hand in something nasty. Why is it that dog crap doesn't freeze?

Snow's great when you get a day off work or school. The boy was awake at 7 listening to the radio to see if his school was shut. Once it was confirmed he went back to sleep and stayed in bed till 11. He hasn't thrown a snowball yet. What's wrong with the youth of today? When I was his age I'd have been out in it so long I'd have frost bite by now.
This is how I'm getting to work tomorrow.

Health and safety gone mad

Spotted by the boy at Craven Cottage on Boxing Day.

1 of your 5 a day

me and the boy went for a curry in Woodford in Essex over the new year. The food was first rate though I may have reported differently had I mustered the courage to try the Alu Bengan- in case you can't read it from this crappy picture, it's described as 'Potato and Aborigines'.