Thursday, 28 January 2010


Last weekend we went to London to see the shows and have some time away. The first was Les Miserables based on the book by Victor Hugo based in the early 19th Century and with the themes of redemption, poverty and singlemindedness at heart. I thought that show was captivated and it drew me in and get me glued to the stage for the whole show. There were a couple of plotlines I did not catch such as the suicide of Javert but the generally the lyrics were clear and the music haunting. The sight of the bodies lying over the barricade was moving and the acting/ singing of the main characters, especially Jean Valjean, were sensational. The only disappointment were the seats. They were not sold as an obstructed view yet the upper tier cut the top of the vista and the legroom was tiny and I was in pain from the metal bracket jabbing into my knee for three hours.
This was my favourite song.

The second show was a good balance to the serious atmosphere of the first and was called Avenue Q - a rundown street on the outskirts of New York inhabited by the newly graduated who had yet to find their chosen career. There were also a couple of monsters. All the characters are played by people holding puppets and the synchronicity between the person and the puppet was great as seen here.

It was just a feel good time and with songs like Everyone's a Little Bit Racist and The Internet is for Porn as well as characters such as Lucy the Slut shows the level of the humour but seeing the puppets having sex was one of the funniest thing that you can see. The two Bad Idea bears who kept giving bad advice were hilarious and Trekkie Monster were also very funny.

On Sunday after a slow start we had a look at the Westfield Mall which annoying bit not open any shops till 12. I know that they can only have 6 hours but 10-4 and 11-5 is a bit more reasonable. On the train home I soundly defeated Angela's phone at Backgammon.

I do not own these songs and did not make the recordings or make any money from this blog. If you want to blame anyone try Youtube. Please don't sue me.

1 Year in

After Barack Obama's first year of presidency it is becoming clear that the US system of government is not working. The need to fund raise means that politicians court the large companies who are making money in the status quo and do not want serious change. The only time that change becomes easy is when their is profit to be made. It can be argued that if the major companies are profitable so are the workers but this is only true of the educated and employed. For change to occur people in charge need to be free of others trying to maintain the status quo at the cost to the disadvantages.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

RIP Bill McLaren

The voice of rugby has sadly died today. You can hear that it was not only the way he described the game but the analogies he used that made him so special. His famous saying when a team won was "that they would be dancing on the streets of ... tonight" famously Auchtermuchty in Scotland. A parody occuring when the Welsh league was won using the words "They will be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight" by Jeff Stelling.

I leave you with these two clips.

Teaching Teachers

David Cameron has decided that to teach you need at least a 2:1. As a mentor to new teachers I can tell that personality is far more important and that one of the worst student teachers we had had a First from Cambridge.

Haitian Earthquake

There is a particular group of people that are morbidally interested in earthquakes and they are geography teachers.The first instinct when an earthquake announces is "oh good" followed swiftly by "how can this fit into what we are doing" followed by "oh those poor people"

After this a quick scan of the web locates information and resources that can be used. For instance yahoo provide this website explaining why Haiti is so vulnerable, an excellent case study for Yr13 essays. It is also an good example for the geology students as it is an excellent example of seismic gap theory - the plate had not moved for over 250 years and the pressure in the fault had not been released slowly leaving over a large and dramatic failure.

Heartless - yes a bit.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


I love snow although it makes teaching a touch tricky as the sight of a snowflake can disrupt a whole class and lead to speculation as to when the school might shut and why the head keeps the school open when the other schools in the same area close. There was an added distraction yesterday when a cat got stuck up a tree -all visible from the classroom window. The cat had been up there since Monday and was stuck on the end of one of the smallest branches of the tree. Eventually 6 firemen came to rescue it but could not get close enough as the branches were too weak for the largest ladders. Apparently today a tree surgeon finally rescued the cat and the Facebook group to save it closed. I am glad the cat has been rescued and it is nice that the distraction has been removed.

The school was closed today and there are two factors I think that played a part. The amount of snow just before the rush hour meant that there was no time to get the roads cleared and by closing most of the school this takes a large number of journeys from the roads. The second element is the forecast. Today they forecast more heavy snow showers and this means that there is concern about getting people home again. Today those showers did not come but the threat of them added to the decision.

I went for a walk in the snow early when it is pristine and went up to Mousehold overlooking the whole city and took these pictures.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Darwin Awards 2009

A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises Honoring those who improve the
accidentally removing themselves from it!

A Catholic priest recently ascended to heaven on a helium host of party balloons.

This priest's audacious attempt to set a world record for clustered balloon flight was intended to publicize his plan to build spiritual rest stops for truckers. But as truckers know, sitting for 19 hours is not a trivial matter even in the comfort of your own lawn chair.

The priest did take numerous precautions, including wearing a survival suit, flying a buoyant chair, and packing a satellite phone and GPS. However, the late A.A. made a fatal mistake.

He did not know how to use the GPS.

The winds changed, as winds do, and he was blown inexorably toward open sea. He could have parachuted to safety while over land but chose not to. When the voyager was perilously lost at sea, he finally phoned for help--but rescuers were unable to determine his location since he could not use his GPS. He struggled with the unit as the charge on the cellphone dwindled and died.

Over the next few weeks, bits of balloons began appearing on mountains and beaches, indicating that God had guided him straight to heaven. Ultimately the priest's body surfaced, confirming that he had indeed paid a visit to his boss.