Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool (CL semi final, AET)

We were always going to be up against it after last week's disappointing draw, and so it proved - we were good enough to force the tie to extra time (which was more than I really expected, given our poor recent record at Stamford Bridge), but sadly then conceded a couple of quick goals.

It's hard to say what went wrong. Benitez's pre-match criticism of Drogba may have been ill-advised - he really was a disgrace in the first leg, but I'd rather have him diving than riled up the way he was tonight. I remember the way he destroyed us in the UEFA cup (playing for Marseille) yet, like Heskey, I think he's too often a sleeping giant given his pace and strength - tonight we saw the striker he can be when effective.

Even so, I think maybe we could have handled him had we not lost Skrtel to an early injury. Already without Agger and Aurelio, it was a big ask, even if few teams have a fourth choice centre back fit to lace Hyypia's boots. More problematic than the change of personel was that it cost us one of our substitutions, denying us the necessary attacking threat (Crouch) and fresh legs going into extra time.

Chelsea had the better of the first half and, despite a touch of off-side about their goal, I couldn't really complain. We came back well in the second, but I did wonder for a while where the goal was coming from. I was just wondering whether it should be Alonso or Benayoun to make way for an attacking change (Pennant or Babel) and thinking that Benayoun - though he'd been quiet - was the kind of player who could make a goal out of nothing, when he ghosted past several Chelsea players on the edge of the box and unleashed Torres for the equaliser.

At this point I hoped the momentum was with Liverpool and, indeed, I think it probably was, but there was to be no further breakthrough in normal time - so, as many had predicted, with scores at 1-1 (2-2 aggregate) the match went to extra time. Sadly, Chelsea seized the initiative - Essien had already had a goal ruled out for off-side before Drogba struck and then Lampard converted a penalty, all in the space of about five minutes and the tie was effectively over.

If there was any hope of recovering the two goal deficit, it was soon over when Torres was withdrawn - apparently suffering a tight hamstring. To be honest, I'd have been inclined to leave him on longer, thinking that half-fit he's still worth having, and there was little lost if he picked up an injury with our season heading to a premature end. Sadly, this left us a bit shapeless up front too.

Babel's long range shot past Cech restored a little hope, but it wasn't to be. I think Hyypia - though he couldn't complain about conceding an uncharacteristically clumsy penalty for chopping down Ballack - could feel slightly aggrieved not to have won one of his own. I also think we probably should have had more than a minute's added time (since extra time included at least two substitutions, a disllowed goal, a converted penalty and two further goals) with which to search for the equaliser that would take us to penalties. At the end of the day, I think we were at least as good as Chelsea over the two legs (I'd have been disappointed with a 1-0 lead from the first), but there clearly isn't much between the two teams so - after we got the better of them in 2005, 2006 and 2007 - I suppose it's only fair that they won through this time. I guess we might as well toss a coin in future...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Transitivity and Footballers, Old and Young

I've recently been thinking again about transitivity (you can find another example, also concerning football, here), due to writing a presentation for G A Cohen's Contemporary Political Philosophy course, focusing on this paper.

I was interested, therefore, to observe an intransitivity in the PFA player of the year awards: Ronaldo was voted player of the year, and Fabregas young player of the year, although Ronaldo was also eligible for that one! How can Ronaldo be the best out of all players but not best out of the young ones? (A subset of which he is a member). This seems to violate the Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives axiom - and that, presumably, is what happened - people who voted for David James, Adebayor or Gerrard for the main award (letting Ronaldo beat Fabregas) chose to back Fabregas rather than Ronaldo.

It's possible, therefore, that no individual has intransitive preferences. Then again, some footballers aren't too bright. Micah Richards reveals, in his BBC column, that he voted for both Ronaldo and Fabregas, rather than working out which was best and voting twice for him: that would have been complicated, since he's also quoted as saying "Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is the best player I have ever seen" (although, in fairness, that may not mean this year).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Birmingham 2-2 Liverpool

Birmingham are a team we've struggled to beat in the league over recent years and, with very much a 'second team' (as at Fulham) and them fired up not only by their struggle to avoid relegation but to bounce back from a 5-1 derby drubbing. this was never going to be an easy game.

Even so, we had a decent defensive line - even if Hyypia, Finnan and Riise are all past their best - so I was disappointed to go two goals down. I was cheered somewhat by the way we bounced back - Crouch proving he's still in good scoring form with the first and Pennant again proving effective - he's got to play on Wednesday I feel. That Benayoun's equaliser came via a deflection off Jiadi was particularly pleasing, since his antics in front of Reina had arguably cost us the second by distracting him ahead of what was a great free kick.

Anyway, one point virtually guarantees 4th spot and CL qualification (theoretically if we lost our remaining two, and Everton won their three, we could slip out - but the blues would have to overturn a goal difference of fifteen in our favour in the course). Now hopefully we can put our focus into this year's competition - although, having heard how Chelsea beat Utd, I'm not too confident ahead of Wednesday. I'd rather Chelsea won the PL though, and think there are some signs (1, 2) United might be losing it...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Half Rabbits gig

The Half Rabbits (6/10) + Sennen (7/10) + Sunnyvale Noise Sub-Element (7/10) + Cogwheel Dogs (6/10)

Proof the people who matter read blogs - my post on my last gig received a comment from one of the bands! Anyway, since I wasn't doing anything else, my friend Nick was also free on the Friday night, and the bill featured four bands for just £5 in support of OxJam, we decided to check it out.

First up, the Cogwheel Dogs were a rather unusual line up - female singer/guitarist and a guy with a new-fangled cello. It's quirky, with song-writing as unusual as the line-up, but soon grows on me. I have to say the single, 'Cress', was probably one of my least favourite songs, despite the unusual offer of the single plus a piece of encapsulated cress for £3 (Nick and I were struck by the word encapsulated - apparently, according to her bio, Rebecca "is driven by the omnipresent, nagging desire to encapsulate things"). Other songs, like 'Ducking Stool', were rather good though. Not much stage presence, but certainly a band I wouldn't mind seeing/hearing again.

Sunnyvale were second on the bill, and delivered pretty much as expected - at least Stuart's bass didn't give up after two songs this time! I have to say sound levels were rather high and it did seem to put a lot of people off: at the start of the set Nick and I (sat at a table on the side) couldn't see much, but by the end we had a clear view as people retreated towards the bar. Chief talking point: is it really true that to say 'How Spiderman Was Tricked By His Wife' is a song about Spiderman?

Incidentally, I found out that the reason I'd only been seeing them as a two piece lately is because Giles is taking time out to work on film projects. Also that they're launching a new remix/out-take CD-R with another gig @ Wheatsheaf on 30th May. I also got to give Stuart a couple of quid for Audioscope (BBC story) / Shelter, after recently being sent one of their old CDs.

While their experimental post-rock noise may not exactly be radio-friendly, third band Sennen (MySpace) look considerably more mainstream. In fact, as they're setting up (putting fairy lights round the drum set!) Nick and I speculate on what they might sound like - based on the fact that one guitarist looks very like Matt Bellamy (Muse) and the other someone out of The Feeling. Predictably, it's show-gazing indie and not - as I'd guessed - death metal. One of the early songs reminds me very much of The Cure's 'Friday I'm In Love' while latter on I was thinking their rockier numbers were more like BRMC as they seemed set to go out on a high - only to reveal after a gratuitous solo that they had one more song. Rather generic and derivative, but I honestly think they could be indie one-hit wonders. Also, while perhaps not the greatest band ever, I think assessed purely on live performance probably the best band of the night.

Finally, The Half-Rabbits - who I hadn't seen before, but I'd heard good things about them from Nick, who'd seen them twice before, and via Nightshift etc. I have to say I wasn't particularly impressed. They sounded rather like Interpol and - while not bad - I didn't think they were anything special in either music or performance.

Sometimes three or four bands all putting in good sets can make a really great gig. I think to be honest tonight just fell short of that. All the bands were solid, and I wouldn't be averse to seeing any on another bill, but none quite captivated me and I wouldn't be particularly inclined to go out of my way to see any again. Still, it wasn't a bad way to spend an evening and it was in support of both charity and local music.

Photos available over here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

If ever there was a draw that felt like defeat, this has to be a pretty good candidate. Chelsea offered very little going forward - with Drogba seemingly more intent on going down (and winning a number of free kicks for doing so - though Kuyt didn't when Ashley Cole lunged through him, in the most blatant free-kick-not-given I've ever seen). We were as dominant as one could ever expect to be, such that not adding to Kuyt's goal would have felt harsh enough, so to concede to a 95th minute own goal was a real sickener.

While the tie is still technically on a knife-edge, Chelsea now have the advantage of an away goal (something they never had in 2005 or 2007) and Stamford Bridge has never been a happy hunting ground for us as far as I can remember, save one year when we won thanks to Bruno Cheyrou(!) - I don't think we've even scored there under Benitez, as we'll need to next week. Sadly, I don't think this is our year - in which case, I hope whoever comes through the Man Utd/Barca tie can stop the Chavs in Moscow.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fulham 0-2 Liverpool

It's pleasing to see that we can now make eight changes and still put in a professional performance and win. Particularly pleasing as we controversially lost this fixture last season, again with a weakened team and eye on the CL. Maybe Rafa was being cautious, or maybe he's concerned to get fourth place sewn up, but the line-up today was all first team players - when personally I'd have liked to have seen Insua, Plessis and Nemeth given a run out for the senior team.

Hopefully knocks to Hyypia and Mascherano aren't too serious, and Stevie's neck injury will have recovered in time for Chelsea on Tuesday. I think Pennant may have played his way into the team with a goal and an assist today - plus the fact that he has in the past done quite well against Ashley Cole. Several people on the Liverpool message board seem to be debating Pennant versus Kuyt, but I'd play them both (on the 'wings' of our 4-2-3-1) with Babel on the bench as an impact player.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CL Ticket Lottery

Tickets for events such as Wimbledon and the Oscars are routinely allocated by lottery. It seems that, to meet UEFA guidelines, all the Champions League semi-finalists have to announce their ticket procedures now in case they should reach the final in Moscow. I'm pleased to see that the Liverpool website says "Once we have received the applications they will not be taken first come first served because that would be unfair. Instead, we will have a random process. Having weighed up all the options and the concerns that fans had last year we feel that the system we have come up with is the best and fairest way of distributing tickets."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's in a Job Title?

According to the BBC article, Bez (of Happy Mondays fame - seen in action here) is a "dancer". The court judgement they quote describes him as a "journalist and a musician".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Wikipedia entry fudges this important controversy, refering to him as a "dancer and percussionist".

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teaching Jobs

I recently applied for a job that required me to outline two courses I could devise and teach for final year undergraduates. Thankfully, as far as I'm aware, the job application process isn't as bad here as the other side of the pond, where it seems candidates are regularly expected to submit statements of their 'teaching philosophy', sample syllabi, student evaluations, and who knows what else. Here the norm is apparently to rely on referees (as if any of mine have any idea what I'm like as a teacher...)

Anyway, this post on Leiter Reports about advice for those applying for teaching jobs still seems to be of some relevance.

And, while I'm linking, I think I may have linked to this humorous attempt at writing a teaching philosophy before, but I also recently saw this observation about student evaluations. This, of course, raises the same question about who's competent to judge the performance of experts as Plato did long ago.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunnyvale Gig

Sunnyvale Noise Sub-Element (8/10) + Foxes! (7/10) + 1877 (7/10)

Attempting to put right the dearth of recent gigs, I made it two in two nights (after this) by checking out some more local bands at the Purple Turtle. Contrary to some false advertising, the event wasn't free, but at only a pound not much to complain about (contrary to McDonald's poundsaver menu adds, this gig was much better than a burger).

Sadly, the PT seemed pretty disorganized. Doors were supposed to open at 8 and they were indeed open when I got there at half past but, after I saw a band setting up and sat around for half an hour, a security guy then threw me out of the performance area because they weren't ready. I had to wait in the other half of the PT until gone half nine - although there was no real indication when they finally started so by the time I actually made it to see 1877 I was only able to catch their last song. It sounded very Joy Division influenced, like Editors or Interpol. While I can't really pass much judgement from that one song, I'd certainly be willing to see them on a bill again.

Next up were Foxes! who featured a rather unusual line-up of a female singer-drummer and two guys with guitars (one of whom shared singing duties). They describe themselves as indie / powerpop / folk rock, which I suppose just about covers it, though I can't really think of anyone they sound much like for purposes of comparison. It's an upbeat kind of indie-rock that has feet tapping and people dancing - and it looks like they've brought quite a crowd of admirers, who great each song enthusiastically. Despite the poor singer having coughing fits between each song, they go down well.

Headliners Sunnyvale were due on stage at 10:45, but it's around 11:20 by the time they finally do get on. This is the fourth time I've seen them, which is more than I've seen any other band, though it shouldn't be concluded I'm that big a fan - this is over a period of six years on the local scene! Nonetheless, this is the first time since I bought the Techno Self-Harm EP, and I think I enjoy it more for knowing and recognizing most of the songs (even though they now have a full length debut album).

Sadly, things don't go too smoothly as - after just two songs - Stuart announces that his bass is busted. This results in a brief delay, before he resumes using a replacement (from 1877), which he has to play upside down because he's left-handed. Sadly, that delay when the night was already running late means the band only get two more songs - 'How Spiderman Was Tricked By His Wife' and 'Girl Thief' - in before calling it a night (whether due to technical troubles or a midnight curfew, I'm not sure). Only four songs was massively disappointing, but given the gig was only a pound one can hardly complain about not getting value for money. I enjoyed what I heard, and can't hold the technical difficulties or PT's inability to keep time against them. I guess now I might have to go see them again at one of their up-coming shows (25th April @ Wheatsheaf)...

Liverpool 3-1 Blackburn

On their day, Blackburn are difficult opposition, as shown by the way they frustrated us earlier in the season. Thankfully today was one of their off-days, perhaps because they now have little to play for - it seemed they'd hardly turned up.

Even so, it looked like it might be one of those days when it took an hour for Gerrard to open the scoring. After that, it wasn't quite the opening of the floodgates but it certainly paved the way for Torres to net his 30th of the season (in front of the Kop, unsurprisingly) before Voronin put a slightly flattering gloss on the score at the end - only to have it pegged back by an injury-time consolation from Santa Cruz.

Mark Hughes may well moan that things could have been different had Skrtel been red-carded when he brought down Roberts. The commentators on the radio certainly seemed to think it could, if not should, have been red - but Samba could well have seen red earlier on for a challenge on Gerrard, so I don't think there's much to complain about.

With Everton set to play Chelsea this week, hopefully this leaves us in pole position for 4th.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Winchell Riots gig

Winchell Riots (8/10) + Her Name Is Calla (8/10) + This Et Al (7/10)

I haven't been to a gig in quite a while - at least, unless you count the cover band at Nick & Roo's wedding - but tonight I put that right by going to see The Winchell Riots (formed by ex-members of Fell City Girl) play a gig at the Wheatsheaf, with Nick & Roo.

Opening band, This Et Al, weren't one I'd ever heard of before, but they were pleasant enough, with songs ranging from stoner rock to upbeat indie-pop - while none really stood out at least there was some variety.

The band I'd really come to see was Her Name Is Calla, who we saw supporting Glissando at the Port Mahon last July. A truly multi-instrumental post-rock group, they only serve up three of their typically epic songs, but are typified by closing number New England, which veers from fragile vocals over sparse backing to a rousing crescendo which culminates with all four of the band beating drums. Thoroughly enjoyable.

As I said, it was Her Name Is Calla that I'd initially come to see, having joined their mailing list at the previous gig, but - while I was never a Fell City Girl devotee (having seen them only once) - the chance to check out Phil McMinn's new band was a welcome one. I don't remember Fell City Girl making a particularly distinctive impression on me, though the songs from their later Swim EP did grow on me.

The Winchell Riots were playing to launch their debut EP, Histories, which I bought after the show, and I thought they had a lot more character and individuality - though that's probably me being unfair to FCG. Perhaps they can go on and achieve the big things FCG were tipped for. They'll need to write some more songs first though - Phil admits they have no more for the encore, so resorts to a solo performance of FCG classic February Snow to popular acclaim and participation. (That YouTube video is actually from the gig itself; here's the FCG original)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Music Personality Test

See my results here.

Pretty interesting, but I wouldn't call them terribly accurate. It seems to assume, for example, that if you like rock and metal you prefer music that's 'edgy and aggressive' rather than 'reflective and complex', as if all metal was Amen rather than Tool.

Consequently I get some inaccurate ("People with low scores on the reflective and complex music-preference dimension tend to be traditional, physically active, and prefer the straightforward to the complex") and contradictory ("People with high scores on the energetic and aggressive music-preference dimension tend to enjoy taking risks and engaging in thrilling experiences. They also tend to be dominant, imaginative, and energetic. They tend to be politically liberal, and believe that freedom, independence, and excitement are important aspects of life. When it comes to lifestyle, lovers of edgy and aggressive music, tend to come from the middle to lower classes" versus "People with low scores on the energetic and upbeat music-preference dimension tend to be introverted, less assertive than the average person, and detail oriented. As for politics and values, they tend to lean to the conservative side, and value intellect, ambition, and high art. When it comes to lifestyle, low scorers on the energetic and upbeat dimension often come from the middle and upper classes") personality results...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal (CL, 2nd leg)

So, after two recent draws (1, 2), it's Liverpool who establish an aggregate victory and progress to the Champions League semi-finals - and pretty much ending a season that had initially promised so much for the Gunners.

I have to say, this was the most nervous game of football I've endured in a long time, probably more than either of the recent CL finals I've experienced. It was always going to be close, but the way Arsenal began looked ominous - they were all over us, opening the scoring after just twelve minutes. I always though one away goal wouldn't be enough! Thankfully, at Anfield, almost anything is possible and - having been very much under the cosh for almost half an hour - we equalised when Hyypia lost Senderos at a corner to head home. I'm not so sure whether it was our belief growing or Arsenal (who'd been on the back of a poor run, until beating Bolton) faltered, but certainly the goal swung things in our favour.

If Arsenal had had the best of the first half hour, then we probably edged the next third of the match - either side of half-time - coming out after the break all guns blazing in the search for a winner (at 1-1, the prospect of extra-time and penalties loomed). No surprises who delivered, in front of the Kop - Torres scoring a goal worthy of winning any match. The 2-1 lead (on the night) was always precarious, however, because another away goal for Arsenal would take them through.

At this stage, both teams were looking tired and nervy, but while Liverpool may have been caught between whether to stick or twist, there was only one option for Arsenal - to attack. The commentators had been warning all game about the impact Theo Walcott could make, coming on from the bench to run at tired defenders, and their words proved prophetic as - after a fluffed corner at the other end - he was allowed to run most of the length of the pitch and cross for Adebayor (with two other Arsenal players) to tap in from close range. It was a great run, passed several players, although to be honest I was disappointed with the defending. Had it been Hyypia, instead of Aurelio, on the half-way line I guarantee he'd have - as the commentators put it - 'taken a yellow [card] for the team' (i.e. cynically brought Walcott down, although - unlike Rob's favourite Solksjaer moment - with cover behind him).

I'd been literally shaking with nerves during parts of this match and now, with one late (85th minute) goal looking likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of defeat, I was utterly deflated. When the commentators had earlier been building up Walcott's potential impact, however, I'd been reassuring myself that our own Babel is also quite an impact player, and so he proved. Just minutes after the goal, he charged into the Arsenal area before going down under contact from Toure. The penalty gave us a chance to restore our lead (3-2), but it took nerves of steal from Gerrard to score - seemingly completing a real rollercoaster of a match. In fact, there was time for Babel to prevent any further see-sawing, as a long ball gave him the opportunity to race through Arsenal's half (the tired Fabregas was never going to catch him, despite his despairing attempt to grab Babel's shirt) and slot in the decisive fourth.

It's hard to sum up such a match; it's a real shame either team had to lose (of course, I'd far prefer Arsenal to Man Utd or Chelsea). At the end of the day, whether through inexperience, lack of squad depth or (related) tiredness Arsenal lost. Of course, Wenger's first response was to blame the ref. While I think Toure's challenge on Babel probably did merit a penalty, I have to admit that it was probably no worse that Kuyt's on Hleb in the first leg, so in that respect Arsenal can count themselves unlucky to have one given against them but not get one themselves. Neither, however, were cast iron penalties, so perhaps to the extent that one makes a 50/50 challenge in the box one opens oneself up to moral luck...

Monday, April 07, 2008

How to Pay the Rent

I just got paid for last term's teaching, and was pleasantly surprised that it was actually a bit more than I'd been expecting - although it still won't cover a term's rent until I get round to reclaiming tax (which, with the new tax year, I should be able to do as soon as I get the various necessary P60s - which will probably take a while).

Teaching, on an hourly paid basis, can just about support you, if you can get enough of it (and, sadly, exams next term mean there isn't much to go round) but it's not exactly a decent living. That's why I'm job-hunting now. It seems, however, that it's possible to earn up to £30,000 (via) - more than most of the lecturing jobs I've applied for - writing essays for other students!

As the article notes, these essay writing services normally claim their products are to be used as guides or templates. I've been tempted to provide my students similar model answers myself, and don't see anything wrong with that. The problem is that most of them allow students to not only ask for any essay title they like but also include further personalisation, such as the bibliography style (and, presumably, what's on it/referenced). Their defences would be more credible if they made it harder to pass off these essays as one's own - e.g. supplying them in a distinctive format, in PDF files, with the source clearly identified, and copies submitted to online plagiarism checking sites.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

White Wedding

Last night was my friend Nick's wedding. Since I'm not currently in Oxford, it meant a quick trip back. This reminded me how bad public transport can be. Buses from my house to Colchester station are supposed to be about every 20 minutes on a Saturday but, since the one I went for didn't seem to turn up, I had to wait about 25 minutes - ironically it took me about as long to get to Colchester station as it then took to get to Liverpool Street. Thankfully the rest of the journey went smoothly, with short waits for quick trains - even one from Paddington that only stopped at Reading and Oxford (which I don't think I've ever had before). Sadly, things look like they'll be much worse today, although at least I'm not in Kent.

I wasn't at the service itself, but the reception was held in Teddy Hall - which confusingly has a hall named the Wolfson Hall. Nick and his wife had booked an indie covers band and chosen songs to be played between and after their two sets, which gave the night a really individual feel - they both have good taste in music and the result was very them. I did think a few of the song choices were a bit odd though, but that will have to be a separate post.

Since Nick and his wife have known each other since school, there were obviously lots of old friends who have known them both a long time. There weren't too many from Oxford, although we did have a 'Jesubite' photo (the couple plus me, Lisa, Sara, Steve & Vicki). It didn't matter too much, as I knew several from the stag weekend and met a few others (through them), then spent most of the night dancing anyway. I should also mention the food - there was a very nice buffet selection (which I wish I'd had more of!), particularly the brandy snap baskets and - instead of a traditional wedding cake - a selection of cup cakes.

All in all, it was a very fun night, and I wish the two of them many future years of happiness together. Too bad that when it ended, at midnight, there hadn't yet been any snow though. Waking up this morning, Oxford was covered in a particularly beautiful layer of white that really would have made it a white wedding!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see this match as I was travelling back to Oxford for a wedding, but I did get to follow most of the second half. This is the third meeting between these two sides this season to end in a 1-1 draw (first, second). I suppose I should be grateful that it's better than last season, when we got knocked out the FA and League cups in the space of a week!

Another 1-1 draw on Tuesday, in the second leg of our Champions League quarter final,
will see the match go to extra time (which, other things being equal, I'd probably settle for right now - we'll be at home and I think our players seem fresher). It's no doubt with that in mind that both managers chose to rest players, with Benitez making eight changes including handing a debut to 20 year old Plessis (who's earned good reviews in the reserves this season).

Liverpool's second string had the better of the first half, and led through a Crouch goal. (I was surprised not to see Crouch last week, given how he tormented Arsenal last season). Sadly, Bendtner made some amends for clearing a shot off our line on Tuesday by equalizing and that was how the match ended, despite cameo appearances from Gerrard and Torres.

I can't say I'm too disappointed. Assuming Everton beat Derby, they'll now only be three points behind us, but their remaining five games include Arsenal and Chelsea, which will both be tough even if the London clubs rotate/rest players. A point from the Emirates isn't bad, especially with the side we put out (though Arsenal rotated too) and Tuesday is more important now.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Random Acknowledgement Link

I was just working on an application for a job in Aberystwyth when I remembered that I once read some papers for Nkiruka Ahiauzu, who's a lecturer in law there. I saw the one she gave in Oxford has been published, with me thanked: ‘Multiple Principles and the Obligation to Obey the LawDeakin Law Review. Vol. 10. No. 2. 2005. p. 524-44.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (CL, 1st leg)

So the second match between Liverpool and Arsenal this season also ends in a 1-1 draw (read about the first here); again with Arsenal probably dominating play, but not overly exerting Reina. Many pundits said an away goal could prove crucial, but at one a piece I think this is still the most closely balanced of the four semi-finals (Chelsea's shock defeat makes that now close, but I'd still expect them to progress at home).

Arsenal have such dangerous attacking players that I wouldn't bank on a clean sheet at Anfield, and if our away goal is cancelled we need a win or extra time (which could be a distinct possibility). Before that, there's another visit to the Emirates in the league, but I'd probably be willing to concede defeat there in exchange for progress on Tuesday. Only time will tell whether arsenal will still be in the hunt for two trophies...

UPDATE: It's something of a shock to see Wenger criticizing someone for not seeing something on a football pitch.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Priority in Practice Report

I'm happy to say the Priority in Practice workshop (mentioned here) was enjoyable. I got to see several interesting papers and, though I didn't really meet anyone I didn't kind of know already, I did get to catch up with some familiar faces and cement a few acquaintances. Plus, since there was no registration fee, it proved that there is such a thing as a free lunch too!

I stayed with my friend Mike in LSE halls too, which gave us a welcome chance to catch up (though we in fact have a gaudy [college reunion] next week to do that). He helped escort me round London - I now have somewhat better bearings, and was able to walk from UCL back to Liverpool Street, which took about an hour and gave me a blister, but was good exercise, a chance to see the sights and did avoid the very crowded rush hour tube.