Thursday, 31 January 2008

Colbey Derrick Johnson

Cyd was delivered by emergency carsarian at 11pm last night. Mum and baby are doing OK.
His name is Colbey Derrick Johnston and he weighed in at 8lbs 1oz.Mum and Nick visited and took these pictures. Smile Nick.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The letter for the America job was good enough to generate an reference request and the reference was damn good as I got to see it on Friday but not good enough to get an interview. At least there was nothing more I could have done. I guess my skill set didn;t fill the requirements

Mortimer rolls back the years

Mortimer stood at the penalty line. His technique honed after 10 years of playing. The foul, a block on the arms of Natayla, occurred with about 30 seconds to go. This was the last opportunity. If those goes in City win and deny their neatest a losing bonus point. Instead of lining up straight Mortimer notices the post is slight off line. Unlike in previous games he does not ask for the post to be straighten but stands to one side. The referee;s whistle gave a shrill blast and Mortimer rocks back on to his left foot and then drives forward and up towards the basket. As he reaches the zenith of his leap he releases the ball and it arcs up towards the basket and after a slight hesitation it drops through and all the points are ours, 9-4. Played pretty well - scored two.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


I had a 5 lesson day including an important observation of my teaching, a load of work to do to prepare for the observation, a trip to organise and a meeting at UEA. I got to 1.45 and all was going well when Stuart arrived to cover my form and I looked at him blankly as I couldn't work out why he was there until I remembered the meeting. I was supposed to be at UEA at 13.45 but had entirely forgotten about it with everything else that was going on. I might be going mad

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

British Schools of America

I went for this job but after an eternity I didn't even get an interview. Have asked for more feedback but it is unusual on just a letter. A bit gutted as it was the perfect marriage of North America and the british school system. Oh well. There are a few more things coming up so it was probably rubbish (thats sour grapes speaking. This is also supposed to be the most miserable day of the year as it is the day you realise this year is probably going to the same as last.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

1 Year Anniversary

It was on Saturday in January that I started a blog. I often wonder who actually reads this mixture of news, fun and comments and if I actually make people laugh, cry or stomp of in anger. Having looked back over the year it is not the big things such as going to Paris or America that stand out as I remember them but the small things such as what I did on June 24th or feeling and emotions at different times of year. Hears to another year.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The To-Let sign

It went after three days but the number of leaflets from rival companies and people offering to sell my house for me was truly amazing.

Charlie Wilson's War

If you have an opportunity to go and see this film then I would recommend it. There is a duality to the film that I have not seen before. On one hand it is about the past but also about now, it is both a bit Republican and a bit Democrat in its outlook, it is quite shallow and yet incredibly deep, it makes jokes at the expense of deep geo-political and religious hatred with Israeli's helping Afghans by using Egypt at the behest of America. It outlines how the birth of radical Islam started but provides answers to how its excess's can be curbed. For fans of the West Wing it was good to see some of the traits from it back in a new context. Long conversations whilst walking in corridors, long spiels about difficult topics delivered at pace and one moment to rivals Josh's speech about victory, bagels and the keg of glory. Well done Aaron Sorkin.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

When I got home today there was a sign outside my house announcing that it was To Let. When I rang up they said it was supposed to be outside No. 55. The company either has a dim sign erector or are able to see into the future as it is possible that in future I will need the company to advertise the house if and when I change jobs. With the phone line being down I contacted the schools to check I had not missed anything and found out that I had not, and they were still choosing who they want to interview. I have to stay the suspense is gnawing at my soul. I don't want to get too excited as there is still a long way betwixt cup and lip and there are repercussions at work such as not being able to volunteer to teach Geology next year as I don't know if I will be there. I hope they decide soon.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Blood Donation

Today I gave blood which I do every three months or so as it is one of the few totally selfless acts that you can do. You give to a total stranger with the only thing that you get in reciept is a cup of tea and a biscuit. The stocks of blood are currently around 2.87 days if you are O neg so go and donate today.

Another Crisis at Luton Town

The mismanagement and state of the club drives me mad (as featured on this link) but I can't seem to stop caring and just turn my back and walk away.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Phone Line

So the phone line to my house can down in some high winds and was lying in the front garden but British Telecom wouldn't believe me. I rang up from school and after convincing them it was my house, phone line and account (which appeared to be in doubt for a while) they did a remote test which proved it was working despite the fact that the cable was unattached and in my garden. Eventually they agreed to come and check and reattached it and I can make calls and use the net again.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

FA Cup Third Round Day

The first Saturday in Januray is FA Cup third round day and I always like to be near a radio between 3pm and 5pm on this day because of the sheer excitement and entertainment that is prodouced. All the teams that have qualified are drawn out at random so there is no seedings leading to a range of games from top 6 meeting each other to huge mismatches. So Cardiff of the Championship get to play Chasetown of the Midland Division 1 (thats 135 league places between the two). Chasetown are in the 8 teir of English football and well below the point where teams are professional. The list continues, Swansea v Havant and Waterlooville (82 places), Wolves v Cambridge City (66 places), Everton v Oldham (50 places), Norwich v Bury (45 places) and Huddersfield v Birmingham (41 places. What makes this really special is that the minnows do relly well and win on a number of occassions. So Chasetown took the lead even thoigh they eventaully lost 3-1, Havant and Waterlooville drew 1-1 and will replay, Cambridge took the lead but eventually lost 2-1, Oldham won 1-0, Bury drew 1-1 and will replay and Huddersfiled won 2-1. The mixture of the minnows playing the big boys and winning is the ingrediant which makes this so special. The fact that makes this even more stratling is that Chasetown's next game after this is against Leighton Town although not at Bell CLose. Could you imagine Cardiff v Leighton Town next year. I am sure that the fans are hoping!

Friday, 4 January 2008

The Iowa Caucus


The most important election in the whole world will happen in 2008 The race for the White House and the result of the contest will affect everyone in the world more than any other through the winner's approach to terrorism, climate change, economic competence and immigration. For this reason I take an interest in what is going on in the US with last night producing the first set of official results. The Iowa Caucus produced its results including winners and losers in both of the races to nominate Democratic and Republican candidates to run for president.

Losers include Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd who have pulled out after polling badly. Working out the winners is a lot more complex. In the Democratic race Barack Obama got 51% of the vote and should be the clear winner but when you factor in superdelegates he is only one ahead of Hilary Clinton and two ahead of John Edwards. When you need 2025 to win it indicates the length of the journey still to go. With the Republicans, Mike Huckabee (a Baptist minister) won, with the voters rating him highly for "shares my values" and "believes what he says". The only problem seems to be the make up of Republican voters as 6 out of 10 describe them as evangelical and 36% said that the religious views of the candidate were the main issue on which they voted. This is not typical of Republican voters in the rest of the US including the next state, New Hampshire in three days time.

There are three observations that I have to make about this. The first is about momentum. The order of the states, the way they hold their election and the makeup of the voters seems to affect the course of the election. For instance, if the election had been in Delaware, where Joe Biden is a Senator, or in New Hampshire, where religious views are seen as less important, this may have changed who is still in the race and who won the most delegates to vote for them. If you look like you are going to win then you attract more money and are seen as a better candidate as more people have already voted for you. It seems a bit strange that candidates might be able to benefit from a positive feedback loop - because you did well - more people in future will vote for you thus making you do even better. I suppose ideally everyone would vote on the same day.

Secondly the campaign of Obama seems to be mirroring that of Matthew Santos in the fictional West Wing. Barack Obama is a 45 year old junior Senator with an Afro American parent. He has only been in the Senate since 2004 before that being a state legislator. He has two children who are 5 and 7. He appears as a fresh candidate with some novel or idealistic approach to politics but has been derided for a lack of experience and some unrealistic policies. In the West Wing Matthew Santos was elected president at the age of 46. He was the first president of Hispanic descent. He has two young children under 10. He had spent some time in state legislature before becoming a little known member of the House of Representatives (there are 435 after all). His policies are fresh and idealistic and he is derided for being too inexperienced and lacking realistic policies, but he succeeds after gaining momentum through the different state elections. It will be interesting to see if fact can match fiction.

Thirdly - the extent to which the results are manipulated and examined is amazing. I have alluded to it above (7 out of 10 voters etc...) but this hugely affects the way the candidates present themselves. Hilary Clinton immediately tried to capture the under 30 vote as they largely voted for Obama and voted in larger numbers than expected. This level of analysis seems to result in a continually changing message from a candidate as they tailor it to meet the figures rather than foster a belief in a single set of policies that need to be explained more clearly so the audience can see their benefits. Eventually all the politicians are putting forward policies they think will get them votes and are reactive rather than pro-active in nature. This then leads to personality being more important than policy. I hope they remember that there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Sorry if you find this boring but it is the most important election even if like me you don't get a vote.

Thursday, 3 January 2008


It was white, it fell from the sky, but they weren't big flakes and they did not stay on the ground. I love snow and snowy conditions. It makes normal views look more attractive and makes you look at familiar scenes in a different way. It makes a commonplace skill like driving something that you need to concentrate on more and occasionally it gives me a day of work.
The list of schools that shut is broadcast on local radio in alphabetically order so the fact it starts with a T helps build the suspense. There are a number of schools that start with Thorpe so adding to the suspense before the crushing realisation when they get to a school beginning with U and the knowledge that head rarely closes the school unless the buses can't get to the school

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Year

Happy New Year to all of the people that read this blog (that is both of you). I have never been a huge New Year person as they tend towards the weird rather than the fun and the desire to drink to excess has passed. I also suppose that I tend to see New Year as the beginning of September and not January. This is the point when I make my resolutions with January as a chance to asses the progress.

At this time of year the leaders of the world give a speech about how they would like the world to change in the coming year so I thought that I would have a go. In 2008 I would like to see the faith of Islam try to regain its position as a a sponsor of the arts, literature and science. In 1324 Mansa Masu helped set up University of Sankore in Timbuktu. A university and centre of teaching that contained 25 000 students. It had a huge collection of books and at the centre of a trading route bringing in ideas to be discussed and experimented on. The curriculum was divided into 4 levels. The first was the Qu'ranic school that required all students to be able to read and write Arabic as well as to learn the Koran. The second was general studies that including science, maths, geography, history, physics, astronomy, chemistry, trade school and business ethics as well as advanced Koranic studies. The third level or superior degree involved research usually in philosophy and the fourth allowed people to wither work as professors in Timbuktu or to travel to other cities and start places or learning there. This is not the only example that I can use. Suleiman the Magnificent (1494 -1566) was responsible for most of the current architecture that is part of Istanbul's sky line as well as paying up to 600 artists and artisans to undertake art and artistic projects. He codified a system of laws that stood for about 3 centuries that ran alongside Shari'ah or Sacred Law. One law raised the status of those with other religions to such an extent that Christian serfs migrated into Islamic held countries as they would be treated better. Schools were introduced to educate children in subjects such as grammar, logic, syntax, philosophy, astronomy and geometry. My challenge to the Islamic faith is to try and return to a time when religion was allowed to flourish alongside other activities and it does not need to be an either or situation.

Happy New Year