Lost but Won

Great picture with Scott and Dave

So we lost. But don’t worry, I won. While the Lions were soundly beaten though not by a great team, I had a great night. My leaving night was full of people, beer, memories and fun. I got home at 7.30am and am very grateful to all those how turned up. I was humbled too by the amount of people there. We had the roof at Scrooges to ourselves and completely filled it. I didn’t buy a drink all night but enjoyed myself immensely. As the rainy season arrives, it will be saddening to leave the people I’ve met recently but I leave happy

And the Day Arrives

The Lions play today. Play the All Blacks. You have to wait 4 years for a tour and now I only have under 2 hours until kick-off. I’m feeling jittery, nervous, weak. The anticipation is just amazing. Will we get hammered? Will we pull it out the fire? Along with my leaving do, all the nostalgia, reminiscing, beer and friends, it gonna be a big day, all round. Days you live for. Come on the Lions.

A Reality Too Far

I watched The Contender the other night for the first time. The Stallone-Ray Leonard fuelled show that pits 16 middleweight boxers for a $1 million prize and a fighting chance to make it. It features the usual personality focus on a rag-tag group. While most reality TV shows feature all sectors of society and the clash between them, this show puts the pressure on 16 simple guys. It seems a little unfair and especially cruel. Boxer tends to rear from the lower-echelons of our societies, lacking in education and direction, more often trying to get by rather than live a dream.

The boxers know this maybe their one chance and put so much into it. They all said “I’m doing this for my family,” or “I got one chance and I ain’t gonna blow it.”

This proved particularly true in the one episode I watch. Najai, a young, raw Philadelphian with an amazingly cute two-year old daughter got his moment to fight. All the fighters feared him due to his rangy style, physic but primarily, his avoidance of eye contact. After a gutsy performance but ultimately losing effort (against the eventually winner of the show Sergio), Najai spoke to the camera. With tears running down his face, he asked, “I said I’d win. I gave my word. I can’t keep my word. How can I be a man if I can’t keep my word?” You really felt for the guy.

A few months later a 23-year Najai blew his brains out. In his car. Outside his gym. It was linked to his custody battle for his daughter but you can’t help feeling that the show and his failure to win had an impact. But producer Mark Burnett told the New York Times that his death doesn’t affect the series at all: “Nothing changes. I’m not even going to make any edits because it’s real.”

Sure it is. Thanks for the memories Mark.

Figo, Figo, ohhh Fiiiggggggooooo

Getting quite excited about this prospect now. though I imagine the wages demands will become an issue. I say just pay it. he will be a great asset and won’t give us the Kluivert trick of making himself seem invisible.

Luis Figo’s advisers are understood to be in “reasonably advanced” talks with Newcastle about a one-year loan deal. Suddenly unwanted by Real Madrid, where he has 12 months left on an £80,000-a-week contract, the 32-year-old winger had asked his advisers to find him a Premiership club.

Newcastle would probably be asked to find around £40,000 a week of any salary, with Madrid picking up the remainder. Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and even Middlesbrough had declined to sign a man who until fairly recently was ranked as one of the best in the world.


Figo feeds Ameobi who…

Don’t quite know whether to believe this but it would be nice SkySports is headline today that NUFC are in negotiations to sign Figo from Real Madrid. I wouldn’t bother mentioning this crap normally but this story first surfaced three days ago and is still running.You never know these days as teams happily jump all over each other but…..


Sin departed

It’s a shame to see influential Cardinal Sin of the Philippines dying today. The toppler of governemnts was 76 years old. But you gotta wonder where the calling for a man called Sin came from. What did the church think when he sent in his application form to be a man of God….

Bishop: “What’s your name Father?”
Sin: “Sin, your worship”

Just a sign that God has a sense of humour I guess and so for all those guys out there called Hitler, Stalin and Pol, don’t worry about it, don’t be shy, get out there and get a good job. I heard Weinstein are hiring.

Christine’s Gayometer

(Terrible picture I know)

Got a couple of gay friends at the moment. Don’t mean they are gay at the moment though that’s the trick. At first I didn’t know, I felt unsure, hesitant, suspicious. They used to say queer. There was conflicting evidence, conversations about porn, ex-girlfriends, love of sport etc. I know these are stereotypes, but most men deal in easy images, easy reference points. If we didn’t, we’d be like women. However Christine’s gayometer is pinpoint. She picked my friends immediately and it makes me laugh now how acutely I denied her claims. I guess an apology is in order.

I have a debate, not vocal but personality clashes with a few friends who believe in blacks and whites. This extends to almost everything. It irritates me because the world and its populace are far more difficult to catagorise. So Americans aren’t Americans, they are African-Americans, Korean-Americans, Hispanics etc. The world is becoming Switzerland, (God help us). Nobody knowing where anyone stands.

But I like that now. I want people to be open and non-judgmental. In a world where distinct lines between races, sexes, acceptance and rejection, where women get 9 months for rape and men wear make-up for aesthetic value. We should be trying to use differences as a starting point for life rather than a divisive issue. A moment from which we can learn to be comfortable with each other. After all, no one is going away soon.


Stifler immortalised the phrase “bitches “ in the film American Pie. After talking to two shallow girls at a party, we walks away and shouts “bitches ” It’s a funny and perfectly apt description description of some girls. Those girls (and I mean girls, not women) who have the old British adage of delusions of grandeur or in their case, beauty and importance.

I have had this “bitches” experience of late in my new office with two girls who work at the same place as me….. It has been hilarious. Naturally, they are tall, squeezed into fair-sized trousers, well-set girls, not as attractive as they wish to be but in a foreign land, their uniqueness, large breasts (and ass) provides a cloak of specialness. These kinds of girls need cliques, where they feel safe from outsiders so for now bitchiness unites them until the day it divides them.

Running on Empty

A few times in my life I’ve run myself into the ground, caught in a whirlpool, unable to hold back from it all. I head out night after night, talk incessantly with friends, get little sleep or food, staying til the dawn, only to recover easily until the final day when the jittery-ness mounts, the smile fades or becomes forced, my fingers shake, my limbs twitch and my skin tingles to numbness. I’m forced to sit it out, avoid company, content but hollow.

I become a little stressed and depressed through the recovery, easily irritated, passive in the face of friends. Like most men, I wish to return to my cave and be alone. To retreat and start again. Back on weekday wagon, sleep with a bananas-filled stomach, vowing to improve. Guess one day I will. One day though.

Not in this Korea

Some koreans will tell you that “homosexuality was brought to Korea by foreigners.” Most, especially those over 30 will still refer to it as a disease. That’s because in Korea, homosexuality is still listed as a medical disease or affliction by psychologists. Curious eh?

Others, those in their twenties and especially women will ask curious questions. Women always are more open-minded than men and understand that life isn’t simple. Men still swim in Da Nile. But knowing a few gay people here and having visited a gay nightclub here, its evident that the nightclubs are full of men who swim in two ponds but shark in the one. The nightclubs positively vibrated with young Korean men and their sunglasses. Part denial I guess.

When my students have asked whether these gays get married, the reply produces a relieved breath. For Koreans first reaction when told that one gets married, he must be straight and before was merely a phase. But the miss that the potent mix of Confucianism and Christianity strait-jackets them, leaves few choices and banishes other thought. For all men who get married, can’t be gay and its not the limited choices of hopeless marriage or social pariah. For gay men can’t have sex with their wives so they won’t get married. So gay men can’t have kids, can they?

Makes sense if you have a homogeneous view of the society I guess. But meeting young Korean men and hearing tell a familiar story of personal youth, private lives, future nuptials and off-spring in a sexless marriages wrapped in the only panacea available, denial.