Sunday, December 31, 2006

25 Today

Happy birthday me!

To be honest, a birthday on NYE sucks - I was always feel like I don't really get a proper party for either reason, and too many friends are otherwise booked. (Something that was less of a problem at home, when my party would generally give everyone something to do for NYE, but is worse at Oxford when most people aren't in town)

Maybe it's also still in the post-Xmas hangover. Personally, I think a person's birthday (when they're young) ought to be a bigger deal than Xmas, since it's just about them. If I had kids, I think I'd probably spend more on birthdays than Xmas. Is that unusual? Maybe; I got £25 from my mum today, compared to £100, some CDs and a bunch of minor presents for Christmas.

No definite plans for tonight, but I'll probably update tomorrow with what I got up to.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spurs 0-1 Liverpool

It was important to bounce back to winning ways, and to do so at White Hart Lane with our poor away record and Spurs' good home form was particularly satisfying - especially as I'd have expected this game to be a 6-pointer at the start of the season, even if it is now looking more like Liverpool, Arsenal, Bolton and Portsmouth competing for the CL spots.

Spurs fans may well have felt they deserved a point, it has to be said we've played better without winning, and the goal was a rather messy afair - Gerrard miscuing and Garcia showing his knack of popping up in the right place at the right time to poke it away. The only bad news is Bellamy;s injury.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Blackburn 1-0 Liverpool

And so our run ends. It's a shame, because in many ways it's a match we dominated - 14 shots on target, unfortunately finding Friedel in fine form. (Look at him, James, Kirkland - and how desperate we've been for a decent 'keeper for as long as I can remember)

Sadly, I'd said recently that the lack of a clinical might cost us. Then again, I can remember several of our players (Carra, Cisse, Baros) sustaining serious injuries at Ewood Park and every time saying 'I'd rather we lost the match with no injuries'.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gender Tests

My attention was just drawn to this case of an Indian athlete failing a gender test (via Scott Adams) The nature of the test is unclear, though I like Scott's guess. The article reports she (I'll say she) had passed one before. On the assumption that her gender hasn't changed, this suggests to me that the tests aren't the most reliable.

Oh, and I'd have thought sex was the more relevant thing to be testing anyway...

Liverpool 2-0 Watford

Again, poor finishing could have costing us, but thankfully Bellamy's good form (4 goals in 4 games I believe) continues. Still, three points is the main thing. I expect with a busy Christmas period, we'll see some rotation coming up.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Despite dense fog, the trip home today wasn't too bad. I brought a stack of books home to read, but hopefully I'll be a bit more active online now - computer use in Oxford was curtailed for the last week by a broken mouse...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Charlton 0-3 Liverpool

You might think I'd be pretty happy after a 3-0 away win, but on reflection it wasn't actually that pleasing. Admittedly, I was a bit worried that after last week's 5-1 humiliation by Spurs Charlton - and sub goalkeeper Myhre (ex-Evertonian and all) would be out to prove a point, and maybe hold us. So I'm glad that didn't happen - but that was unlikely from the time Alonso's early penalty put us in charge.

What I was unhappy about was how long it took to put the game to bed. Time and again we carved Charlton open - mainly due to their poor defence - but chances kept going begging. Granted, Myhre did pull out a few good saves, and both Young and Traore made good clearances off the line; but too often Bellamy and Kuyt missed quite presentable chances. When we're creating so many, it's not a problem, but a sequence of flattering wins (4-0, 4-0, 3-0) in our last three games masks the fact that our strikers just aren't the clinical finishers we might need in games where we're only likely to get one or two chances.

Still, with the two teams above us, Arsenal and Pompey, due to play later today - with one of them bound to drop points - this was just the result we needed to keep a hand in the top four. With our next league game against Watford, fixtures should have evened out, so I'm glad to see us finally up there.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Maybe I'm beginning to dislike random draws after all... Though, in fact, the CL draw is satratified by various restrictions (1st versus 2nd, you can't play teams from the same country or group) Given these factors, it was always likely we'd end up against someone like Barca, Real or Inter.

Still, 2005 champions against the holders throws up a number of interesting subplots: Rafa Benitez back in Spain, Garcia and Reina against their former clubs. As a Liverpool fan, I was hoping for an easier draw, but it should be a cracking couple of matches, and no disrespect to whoever loses - may they go on and win!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Only Words...

I just looked through the scattered pieces of writing I have on my harddrive at my latest drafts, and this is what I find:

Introduction 4,621 words
Chapter 1 12,473
Chapter 2 17,986
Chapter 3 8,227
Chapter 4 17,210
Chapter 5 19,396
Chapter 6 9,557

Total 89,470 words

Now, some of this stuff is very rough - indeed some of it may not even be coherent, lifted straight from my MPhil thesis or duplicated between different chapters - but it's a stunning reminder that I really need to be focusing on redrafting and revising, the time has come for quality not quantity!

Monday, December 11, 2006

BBC Weather

I often find BBC weather online a bit unrealiable. No better example than today, where I noticed tomorrow's max temperature will be 9 degrees C and minimum 11!

In fairness, this is a daytime max and nightime min, but I find it hard to believe the night will be at least two degrees warmer than the day.

The Value of a Vote

Some random links concerning voting values, mostly from Make My Vote Count:

Iain McLean reports that voters in safe seats are marginalised.

His interesting looking working paper review doesn't yet seem to be in the BJPS, but looks worth watching out for. (Memo to self, I also need to read this piece on malapportionment and this on deliberative democracy and social choice - with comment and response (from page 23))

Animals Count face difficulties because, like the Greens, their votes are dispersed.

John Cruddas blames our FPTP system for BNP protest votes.

The boundary commission may need more thought, though I agree with the sensible commentary, particularly about the Isle of Wright (which, if I remember my class on voting apportionment right, really should have two seats anyway)

Why the Tories should care about Electoral Reform.

David Cameron has apparently gone on record saying:

WH: Ok and if we do all these things, is it statistically possible for us to win at the next General Election given the bias in the electoral system? That we got more votes than Labour in England even in this last election but we are way behind in the number of seats - Can it be done?

DC: You are right. It's a mountain to climb, but it can be done. Blair’s majority was made in one election it could be unmade in one election. Particularly now its smaller than it was and we made progress at the last election. You're right about the bias. One of the thing I think we ought to campaign for is for every seat in this country to be the same size, I think your vote should have the same value whether you are in Yorkshire or Oxfordshire or wherever. I think a UK wide boundary commission with all seats the same size should be a pledge from the Conservative Party - There's another clear policy.

(News of the World, about 2/3rds down)

I picked this up from a comment on MMVC, but unfortunately the relevant page in the Radio 4 archive no longer seems accessible. (A cover up?) Further reliable sources appreciated.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Xmas Dinner 3

Today was the appointed day for our flat Xmas dinner. Ed and I did the cooking (him doing all the meat), which went fairly well apart from some disagreement over how to do roast potatoes. We were delayed slightly by Fiona being late back from London, but it was a nice meal (I had the traditional bean burger, rather than stir fry) and good to all eat together for once - probably the first time since we moved in. I also quite enjoyed listening to my Barenaked Ladies Christmas album. Afterwards, we vegged on the sofa watching Life of Brian, in true Christmas style.

Another EoT Dinner Pic

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Liverpool 4-0 Fulham

Another convincing 4-0 win. Admittedly, we had to wait until the second half - and even then a penalty rebound - to open the scoring, but it just shows how much difference getting that first goal can make in a game we dominated. Carragher's first goal since January 1999 was worth mentioning - he snuck in at the far post like a professional poacher - but for me Garcia's 15 yard header (again, assisted by Agger) was the pick of the bunch.

This puts us 4th, and hopefully with games to come against Charlton and Watford we can maintain that top four position - though Charlton may be fired up after their humiliation.

EoT Dinner (Xmas Dinner 2)

Last night was our traditional End of Term dinner.

We had a Scottish Ceilidh/whisky theme. Unfortunately, I left after the meal, so missed the dancing and visit to Baby Love - my friend Steve was having leaving drinks in the KA before departing for New Zealand, while at the same time Iwao was back from Harvard for some job interviews. I ended up in Jonas' room drinking whisky until almost 3am anyway.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I've never been to a funeral before, so I don't know how today's 'celebration of the life of Majorie Chisnall, 19/04/22-19/11/06' compares. Thankfully the service was reasonably short, even if I did think the prayers went on a bit and I don't think I'd ever heard either of the hymns before (I certainly didn't seem alone in not knowing the tunes).

Although not the best occasion, it was quite nice to see several family members again, even if the later 'do' was a bit awkward given the need to make conversation with many old people I didn't know.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


So, in the end I did 6 interviews at Jesus (Philosophy and Theology) and 4 at St Hilda's (Classics). I won't divulge anything here - though I think I know who's in and out - but I will say it's surprisingly difficult and stressful for interviewers as well as interviewees. I'm glad I only had such a small number, but next year it could be more.

Galatasaray 3-2 Liverpool

Alas, our unbeaten Champions League record (this season) is gone, but with first place in the group guaranteed I fully expected Rafa to rest some senior players and simultaneously blood a few of our younger reserve players. With this in mind, it was a shame that Anderson didn't get his chance, but Pennant also needed a confidence boost and had a good game - providing a good cross for Fowler's second goal.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Impartiality Conference

Today and yesterday I was at the second Partiality and Impartiality Conference in Reading. Last year, my brother kindly walked me from the station to the uni (Whiteknights campus). This year I had to find my way myself, which took me 45 mins the first day and 30 the second. Streets really aren't well signposted in Reading.

I missed Sabina Lovibond's paper, because 9:30am was just slightly too early - I managed to catch the 9:15 train, which coincidentally had Simon on it, but we were held up and took about 50 mins to reach Reading. The two papers I did see on the second day were my favourites though, tending to the more political focus.

It was particularly good to meet David Estlund, though I only got to speak to him about his paper and not unfortunately democratic issues. If I'd known he was who Andrew Williams was talking to the day before, maybe I'd have introduced myself then! I also got to meet Martha Klein - who I knew from Oxford, but who didn't know me (having only lectured me) - but mostly hung out with several Reading students, including Julia (who I met at the Oxford Philosophy Graduate Conference), Anna and Fiona (who'd I'd previously met at the Moral Philosophy Seminar). The latter pointed me to another novel I should read.

Wigan 0-4 Liverpool

Being at the conference in Reading, I wasn't able to follow this game, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find the result afterwards. (It was probably better that way - otherwise I'd probably have been disappointed not to add to a 4-0 halftime lead)

Bellamy, court troubles now behind him, had a great game, scoring the first two and then setting up the third for Kuyt. I've been thinking his pace could be what our strikeforce lack, when it comes to breaking down massed defences. It seems he likes playing on the counter attack too, which suits us when ahead.

More generally, we played a 3-2-3-2 wingbacks formation, which has served us well in the past and many have long sought best suits our players - with both Riise and Finnan happy to operate in midfield as well as defence, and accommodationg Sissoko, Alonso and Gerrard as well as Hyypia and Agger at the back. Of course, with Sissoko out anyway, and us having just bought two wingers (Pennant and Gonzalez), it hardly looks like it will become our first choice formation, but it's nice to have the option.

And, finally, an away win.