Geek or Nerd: start of the footie fight back

Someone once said combining your passions is a good thing. So Willkommen to my footie and computer strategy blog theme.
RB Leipsch and the Rams are my two teams I follow the most, and with both the passions of their prevailing & pitfalls.

Macca & Tunni strike back

Macca is doing really well with the Rams since Cloughie was cut and moved to the Blades. My fingers are crossed that he will have the same success as I have had with footie manager 14. Back in the EPL and won the Championship with a team no one gave a chance at the beginning. Take a look at the  curtain call before I take you through the highlights of my first season with my good ole Rams,  and what I learned on the way.









The start

At the outset I decided I needed to find a feeder, and parent club, as well as clear out the dead wood and bring in some fresh legs.

For me Buxton was more old school and a defender a bit in the mould of  Vinnie Jones, so I would palm him off. In the middle I dumped Coutts not coz of a lack of quality but he would not suit my formation and someone on the left to mirror him was my squads big weakness. Cancelled the loan of Leon Best not coz he was a tree hugger but not really my kind of player or ruthless and flexible enough.






As I knew I wanted someone like Casteels, and I did not have to splash out for the Championship but more for the Premiership. He wasnie interested so I needed to bring in a second string Keeper who Grant could have under his wing. The Villians Siegrist worked out to be a safe pair of hands for the cup competitions and the weaker teams.

Feeder club was Gillingham and I was surprised at the acceptance of a club I wanted to slightly emulate but be a bit more ruthless than they have been for my parent.





Choose them cause of their possession, passing play and general rep. But knew I would start with tactics that may not be so associated with them.

2 sets of formations/ tactics were decided on coz of guys like Hughes (to be my Shadow Striker/ box to box mid), Thorne (Deep lying playmaker/Regista) and Russell (Trequista/ Inside right forward) in my team.

With at the start an as of then undecided third back up formation, which ended up being 4 -3- 1- 2 to play against teams who did not play wide or were known for counter attacks. Which I decided for around the Jan transfer window after a nice autumnal success.






This result against one of the Rams big rivals showed we could really come back from a losing position. This was part of my reactive tactic of going  from counter/balanced in response to their goals and on the attack when the midfield were dominating and the attack picked up. This tactic worked till the end of the season. With the exception of what I considered my worst result of the first season also as it happens against our rivals dirty Leeds.






In hindsight I probably should not have started with Richardson, but Thorne was not fit.

My biggest surprise was the development of Ugwu, and will loan him out in the first EPL season to have him come back strong for my second season. And of course the medias was –



Never in my classroom: only the teacher teaches

I often get my students to teach each other, but today I had added a twist. I was looking for a fun activity to challenge my technical English students, and came across one when recently watching a QI episode hosted by Stephen Fry.  I always find the end of the QI series  very intriguing as it takes me back to my secondary school physics lessons.

If you are a teacher or even a curious viewer watch the following video below from 39 minutes in without the sound, and try to figure out what the heck is happening.

I then set my students the following task –

1) What? is it showing

2) How does it work? the tech or physics behind it

3) Are there any real life applications?

4) How would you explain it to secondary school students?  * create a handout, summarised to a page and include diagrams if necessary

Two other lessons I have had my students create are underneath.


Explain to secondary school students in a lesson format with a handout the function of the following -

Inductors , conductors, resistors, line cards, transmitters, base stations and MOSFETs.

Senses & Tech

Create a lesson comparing the function of one of the senses to a technological device.

Feel free to road test them and let me know how you get on.

Often the drawback of students specialised in a particular field is that they have broad specific vocabulary, but not necessarily so in regards to general or comprehensive vocabulary. Likewise they are unable to at times paraphrase or simplify. The above tasks/lessons I find help with alleviating this, and broadening the scope of their communication skills. Plus they tend to have great fun pretending to be dumb pupils.

I will give an update to this blog entry when I have done more road testing of the above lessons.



Create 5: Sunday sofa stories; major influences – songs

In my early teens I was really more into the Beatles and would not say I was so much into real rock. Some soft metal maybe, but not what I now consider good rock music, spanning from Led Zep to BRMC to RatM.

Two bands  were the catalyst to that change, and two songs influenced a change in my music tastes at that time.

The first was a real random discovery through reading a magazine my brother collected on the Vietnam War and then getting into Tour of Duty. If you were a teen in the late 80s you would know this series, and either hate it or love it. But the song in the intro was by the Rolling Stones. Although I had heard songs by the Stones, Paint it Black was the first to hit me and started my rock music fandom rolling.

Maybe the lyrics some how keyed into my teenage angst, but I also became a  Stones prude, as I am with Indie music, U2 and Pink Floyd. With the Stones it was and still is more about Brian Jones than the effervescent Jagger. Unless you are a real fan, you will not know the story, but it is worth looking into the guy who started it all and became mixed up in a lot of the seedy side of music and fame.

Since being broken into the Stones through this song it has become almost an anthem of my teens. And you could see me in clubs in the North West rockin’ out to Paint it Black. Not so sure I would like the Tour of Duty now. As there are many things from that part of my life that lose their gloss with age, like the film Rumble Fish.

Tune in next week for the second song that rocked me out of my safe music taste rocking chair.

Becoming Denglisch: What I would miss from Leipsch!

As promised a bit of an insight into what I think I would miss if I were to go back to the UK. I have lived in Leipzig for well over a decade now and see this as I said as my home. This is the place I have settled and set down some roots in for sometime, and even if hard at times the challenge has been worth it.

Let me put on my imaginary world hat and think about what I would miss from here.

In the UK other than around Preston I never was in such a great city for cycling than Leipsch. Many cycle paths and five minutes to the forest make it a great place for my wheels. Even if we have no hills ( well one hillock), unlike the Peaks I loved in the UK. Having lakes nearby is also an added bonus.

This is a cliché but something that I know holds true even with others who have moved here. It is harder to make friends than with other more gregarious cultures, even for a social butterfly like me. Now, a lot of Germans see the Brits as reserved. But any who have lived there for sometime and in different areas may hold a contrary view. There are exceptions in the UK and Germany, but I do believe the mates & acquaintances circle is larger quicker for Brits. However back to my point, once you have broken that Germanic exterior friendship tends to be on very solid foundations. So of course I would miss my German friends as much as I have missed some of my friends from the icckle island. Maybe because it takes longer to get to that close friends thing here.

Even if I am self employed, the Public holidays would be something I would certainly miss.  Even after a decade here I forget when they are. I am sure all my German friends have them solidly locked in their dairies or calenders despite there being so many. Even with German holidays in my google calender they still creep up on me in a nice pat on the shoulder way.

It is hard to compare like to like. But this has been a annoyance of mine when going back to Lancashire.  A bus service that runs so badly over the Christmas and New Year means taxis make a bomb from now stranded occasional visitors like me. I would miss the tram system of Leipzig. It is a great alternative to the wheels. Not perfect, especially the awful heating system. But they run regularly and during holidays.

The Reluctant Gambler by Ralf

Although this is changing in the UK due to austerity and alcohol prices, the drinking culture.  It is not as simple as how much is drunk, cause Germans drink enough to sink a small battleship sometimes. However, in general you tend to go out later and drink steadier over a longer time . Of course binge drinking exists, but being a night owl this means my later hours in the UK were generally spent clubbing.

Sitting out in the summer in Leipsch till 1 to 2 in the morning, enjoying beers & cheers, all for shits & giggles is just fab. And if I am not too far out of my tree, cycling home at this time is a pretty nice end to the jollies.


Becoming Denglisch: UK missing you, well kinda!

Like a lot of ex-pats I see England as my vacation land now, but lots of the locals here ask me if I miss home. Not oodles, but here be a few things I do find it hard to replace after over a decade in the Europe of the East.

With the youtube age my music input has changed so much since my early screamager years. Jools Holland and Jo Wiley were my musical sources for years in the UK. I knew I could rely on them to bring me a least one top tune or band every week or two, and a dodgy tone deaf one or two as well. Of course I watched Top of the Pops, but at College/ Uni more Top of the Pops 2 as this was my phase of getting into music older than my jeans. Good ole Jools and Joe I miss in Germany. And to be honest the lack of music diversity on the radio kinda sucks here. But this variety for all I know may also have disappeared on the airwaves in the UK.

Yes in Germany, I have gone through my phases of Uncut music mag, and now the Mahogany/Balcony/ Black Cab sessions. But “Later with Jools Holland” was one of those weekend things I looked forward to, or catching up on an episode or two through the mystical medium of VHS. Number one!

 Starsailor was one of my very first Jools gems. A great Wigan band that really only did two good albums in my honest opinion. And took their name from a great Tim Buckley album.






 For awhile I thought I missed the beer. But tastes change, and I am now a full convert to Hefeweisen, Schwartzbier and Czech/Polish pils or lager. Working in pubs in the North West and having frequented often with the O’erish I do miss a good Guinness or even stout. Murphys I can drink in Germany, but Guinness is my snobby thing. In that once ya have drunk the good shit ya cannie stomach poor imitations. Guess it is a bit like once ya have drunk good coffee ya have a hard time getting ya taste buds round weasel water Nescafe or Muckefuck.


A game of pool in a pub, sometimes for a few quid.As a boy I was a snooker guy, living in the East Midlands and growing up in the time when Stephen Hendry was just hitting a dominance similar to that Vettel had in F1 for awhile, it was kinda cool. Also a badge of honour was to be a honrary member of the working mens club in my local town, where they had the good tables. This all changed when I moved to the North West, where the smaller and lighter cue, and different tactics played out. It was a bit like going from chess to draughts (checkers). Going to a pub to meet friends, or just a pick up game was my life for neigh on half a dozen years.


A good butchers. There are some here, if you look. But often I lived in the UK where I could have a butchers (pun intended) at the different meat other than pork, what  the local cleaver wielder was offering.


Second hand English book shops. Before Waterstones became the beast that it is, these were a dime and a dozen. I could spend hours in them, browsing and discovering new authors. I was almost like the Cheshire cat from the Japser Fforde books. A cheeky quite content cat grin from ear to ear.


On the flip of these five and to keep some of you curious cats happy, I will write about the 5 things I imagine I might miss if I were ever to go back to blighty.

Create 5 challenges – duet to trio or more

We all need new challenges and sources of inspiration. When it comes to art and performance and business I luv collaboration. With the right partners you bounce off their ideas, they bounce back. You ride the wave of great vibes. So far I have done duets with the wonderfully polemically passionate Rima and surging back to Renaissance Maeshelle. They have contained some of the best moments to treasure.

Next up I would like to do a trio. Inspired by these guys, and I would like to big them up. Admirable poetical passion –

My fav line from this vid is –


“this is an apology in the form of an unsung telegram, I sometimes watch too much TV and screen go save, but one day this world will turn fast food chains into second hand book stores, and finally we will be well read.”

Still working out the collaborations. Lets see what avenues of expression this fosters. Exciting times.

Bring em on!


Geek or Nerd? How obsurd!: Teachers are boring and old fashioned. Rap battlers?

The more I delve into this profession of mine the more this adage is a smelly old sausage.

Most peeps into the slam and TED scene will know Taylor Mali. But just as good, and someone I wanna BIG up today is Mark Grist. Last night I went back to the Don’t Flop stuff .

For those not street enough it is a ballsy beattastic underground rap battle network where rappers, hip hoppers, slam poets and lyrical hobbyists fight it out in solo or two tag team clashes.

I stumbled across Mark Grist awhile back and thought maybe he was just doing this as a novelty factor. But no he has stuck with it, and made himself a name with MCs in a very cut- throat scene.

Check out one of my fav battles of his:

The memorable lines for me were, one disin his opponent Auke’s rural background

” most Sundays your sipping Chianti slow mo, wrapped in a Kimono ,  yanking ya meat Oboe, as you watch Antiques Roadshow”.

A nice dis at the standard of his opponents art form –

” to you boys the phrase ‘anything goes’ is a quality control statement”.

And he even gets a  hint of that typical British trait of self deprecation in there –

“I would still rather watch any other station. I would rather sort out my loft insulation. I would rather be made to re-watch Lost in translation. I would rather go to my bathroom, and throw up in my basin”.

In some American shows he has been criticized for not being the “norm”, but I luv his twist on this supposed street art form. Turning up in a suit, using his knowledge of English stanza and form to create lyrical flips and punchy prose poetry hits.




Create5 cooking! Home made bread, und Bäckerei!

Back in the day my Mum made her own bread, and a nose memory that lingers to this day is the kitchen and corridor filling with the smell of fresh loaves, wafting through the family home. 

Bread making is someat that we have lost in that fight for time, & money. Losing what is a foundation of family, & the basics of our cultural heritage.

Why bother when we can rely on Warbutons or Wendel?

There is an urge in me to go back to many lost skills I once had, or rekindle dearly held memories.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me bread making brings joy, relaxation, & breaks many myths I have held about this art form.

  • Bread making is a science of measures & patience.

The latter is true in my limited experience; never rush a bread. But I do not keep to recipes, or to the ounces/ grams of ingredients. It is more about the texture, the feel of the mixture, the dough, the time you take to kneed, & the willingness to change the heat in the oven.

But being experimental goes back to my mentor. As a Padawin I learned how to cook at the wheels of an amazing man who was paralysed & not happy with his care givers. As he loved his food, & they in his eyes failed in cooking , feeding him & therefore giving him a simple pleasure. So he made a deal with an American,  & a French colleague of mine & me. Stay two hours longer than your shift ( we were his assistants come carers), & he would teach us to cook. From that day to now I have learned how to have the feel for the food, how to take a risk with the taste.

I have mixed yoghurt in with bread when I have not had honey or some other ingredient. I have replaced the basics of Focaccia; rosemary & sea salt for garlic, leaving the basil and the toms. At the mo I am learning the nutmeg, ginger & cloves you have in flat breads of Afghanistan, India, & Turkey adds something with a nice twist.

  • Keep to your ingredients & the tradition.

For an old Ma & Pa recipe this could be true. But I as of yet I do not have one in my repertoire. My Mum gave up bread making in my early youth. And I have not so far had the guts to pry the trade secrets out of the lightly floured hands of those peeps I know make good bread. My learning has come from the many, only until recently, mainly unused cookbooks collecting dust & crumbs in our kitchen.


But also one new thing I have learned in this last few months is to really have a feel for the texture of doughs or any other mixes. I think this could come from my tactile nature as a lapsed sculptor & oil painter. Even adding how to turn that planned bread dough into a dessert or an English style flapjack. Switching around flour, oats, oat bran a& flax. More of that in a later blog.

I think this desire has been hidden in me for too long. This could come from changing my diet from cereals to the typical Brötchen of Germany. And also a luv for the way a Georgian friend of mine spoke about her bread making. She also happened to be one of my first guest bloggers here.

800px-Shoti_gorgian_bread Holy Bread

Mainly as I have done quick/ flat breads, except Gypsy Bread (with cranberries and dried plums) with a Nutella topping, this apron wearer’s Meisterstucke are only a fresh behind the ears clone.

As a tactile person, the kneading is very enjoyable, but one thing I am so surprised at is how bread making is a great work out, & mood changer.

Try it out, & let me know if it breaks the loaf of your Warbutons & Wendel traditions.


Geek or Nerd? How absurd! Going back to school.

I have run this task a lot recently in Technical English courses. And I am not surprised how my techie students really get their teeth into it. As well as enjoy trying to explain how comparative systems work.

The task is split into two different levels of language, that I refer to as pitch level. Using the document below as a starter:

tech jargon starter

It focuses on explaining technical jargon in such a way that the recipient understands a summaritive overview, and the crucial factors to understand the comparative systems.

As an example statement I show the comparison of the language teaching jargon terms of ESL & EFL, and what they respectively mean.

As a pseudo tech head I have come across all these systems, and their lovely jargon, and had to get my head round them.

The task usually in class is to write an overview statement explaining the two comparable systems (see the document). Being a short and sweet task this is something easily done in the normal one and a half hour block.

As an additional task (I set this as homework) the students then take one of the pairs of systems and create a screencast, presentation as training, and handout suitable for secondary school IT students.

The screencast should be done in the style of a “quick starter guide”, like you often get with new out of the box devices.

The presentation as training is pitched at secondary/high school level, and therefore can be done as though it is an IT lesson at those educational institutions. I am sure it could also be run at Higher Education/Further education pitch level. Likewise the task is no doubt adaptable to any business field as all of them as we know have jargon that needs to be explained to the layperson.

Their is a great benefit to get students to reflect on how things work; in this case the inner workings of teaching basic tech.

A good Geek will use their tools to hand to enhance their understanding, my techie students are my technical playground. Where I can play in the sandbox, and pick up some grains of knowledge through them. I greatly appreciate this opportunity to widen my horizons and deepen my insights.

Tunetastic! Shooting from the hip about hip- hop

A lot of genres have their soul ripped out of them by the corporate machine, like a high street is destroyed by the chains of stores and their uniform mediocrity.

My issue tries to align itself with the fast spinning graves of Dirty Ol’ Bastard & Gill Scott Heron.

Cypress Hill were my first steps into this genre, through clubbing in Grunge/Rock clubs in the 90s. Too young, probably on the wrong island and too white to back then really see the influence of Universal Zulu Nation.  Who would have thunked it, but theLingoGuy is a fan of hip-hop and rap.

I like most genres, but have a real luv/ hate relationship with both Country Western music and hip-hop/rap.

Now, back in the day and ole skool, a lot of hip hop & rap was about sampling and protest music. It had a voice, and was shouting for change. The beats were breaking it down, and the lyrics were hitting the notes of your conscience.

Then the grubby hands of corporate slimeism got their dirty mitts on the genre, pulled it into the mainstream and made it about bitches, bling, bucks and could have been Buicks. But any ole pimped up car will do.

Now you may say, “ey, stop taking it so seriously”.

Mainstream rap and hip-hop should be left to wallow in their own juices. But still on the edges you have great stuff like the Welfare Poets, Atmosphere and  Asian Dub foundation (rap-core).

Any fresh newcomers to rap and hip hop, I do hope you take time to check out the roots, and not just blindly follow the route of where the mainstream will lead you.

But all good music, like literature needs to be wheedled out of the nooks and crannies it resides in. Thank goodness for the net and youtube, innit.