Monthly Archives: November 2014

The kind of forums I love (2)

We had a second Personal Development session last Tuesday.

It was a continuation of the Personal Development discussion session my faculty mates and I had a few weeks ago. It’s central idea was to help everyone identify how they had developed over the past several months. In that first session, as I expected, people had a lot to say. Now, this second session wanted us to identify any developments we had experienced between the first session and the current one. Could we have grown and developed more in the space of just a few weeks? Now, there was a question in the manual I will like to rephrase as “Have you had any opportunity to exercise whatever skills you think you possess, within these past few weeks?”

Yes. I say yes because I have a story to tell to this effect. It all happened within these past few weeks. Here goes:

The school exams time table was unleashed (unleashed and released have two different meanings). My classmates saw it and straightaway decided there was no way it favoured my department. Indeed, the papers for my department were scheduled three days back to back and not one of us loved the idea. We all wanted it changed – if it could be. I personally really did not think the idea would sail through anyways.

You’re probably wondering how the short story in the above paragraph tallies with the subject. Ok, back to story.

In the first discussion session we had, I had claimed to be skilled in written and oral communication. I went as far as saying I could read the body language of my audience and adjust the communication style accordingly. Now, when it fell in my laps to represent my colleagues to make a case to the faculty, I had to put to use what I claimed to possess. Talk is indeed cheap.

With my colleagues right behind me and by my side, I engaged the faculty, and the exams office. It took a letter with very carefully-chosen words, emails, one-on-one meetings with key faculty figures.. lasting about three days, to secure victory. Victory, for lack of a better word. No one lost. We were not fighting a battle.

During the Tuesday Personal Development session, our coordinator analysed the exams timetable situation and pointed to the diplomacy with which the matter was handled on our part as very instrumental in getting us what we wanted. Written and spoken communication.

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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Foxes in the city..


There are foxes in this city. These creatures come out at night. I perceive them as between domesticated and outright wild. The first time I saw one, it felt so strange. Since then, I have seen more and more.

If Glasgow locals talk lightly of the matter (and they do), then it shouldn’t be much of a big deal. But are they tame? Are these foxes not meant to cause concern? Where in the city do they hide during the day? The only time I’ve seen them is at night at which time they roam free and relaxed.

Weird case scenario: A ground floor window is open. A roaming fox spots it and gets a brainwave. He suddenly feels like he is an athlete in the Olympics – athletic enough to try a high jump. He sprints towards the open window and takes a dive through it all to land in a living room – or a bedroom. Imagine what scare he would cause.

OK, that was some wild imagination. I did see a fox tonight though.

Sweet dreams friends.

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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Letting go

You’ve been working with them for weeks.
You were careful to keep them at the right temperature so they wouldn’t die.
You gave them nutrients so they thrive and survive.
They became your friends. You could almost embrace them and say “how are you this morning?”
Because you’ve worked with them for a while, it’s safe to say you have developed a working relationship with them yes? Yes.

Over weeks, you develop a personal bond with these things you’re working with – bacteria. You have USED these bacterial cells to generate multiple copies of a plasmid vector. They cooperated and gave you all – more than what you required, and for that, you should be thankful.

After all that service they rendered, Dr P says they are no use anymore, “Drop them in the bin.” You could feel like you were betraying your bacterial friends. I slightly hesitated when I had to discard my Petri dishes with all the nice blue and white colonies on them. But what use were they now? They had done their job and it was time to let them go.
That tells you how quickly we form relationships with people, animals and even bacteria. It’s a human function.

We are all in a happy (sometimes unhappy) relationship with bacteria. They contribute more to your body weight than the cells that make up you! As helpful as they could be to your body metab, they could be your worst enemies upon changing conditions. There is that flip side to the tale.

But every once in a while comes a time to let go.. to move on.

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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


The delights of Buchanan street.

There is always something to cheer you up on Buchanan street. It could be a Jazz band, a kid performer, the levitating man, an artist.. Anything.

It’s been a while since I walked that street. Back many months ago, I walked Buchanan street almost everyday. I would stop to watch a performer, or go get a free coffee, or stare at the goodies behind the glass in the shops as I walk by.


Walking on Buchanan today brought back those memories. Then the really absolutely amazingly wonderful thing happened. I ran into my British Red Cross colleagues (I am a Red Cross volunteer). I’ve been off volunteering for a few months because of other commitments so it’s been a while since I saw them last. I met them on the job. I remembered how I used to do just what they were doing. I imagined how I would soon be back with them doing just what they are doing now. It is a worthy cause and I’m glad I’m involved with the Red Cross.


Other delights abound of Buchanan street. Only thing is, to avail yourself of them, you would need to drain (i.e., put a hole in, empty) your pockets.


Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


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England 3. Scotland 1.

This evening on my way to church, I saw a lot of traffic headed towards Celtic Park. I got to know it was an England vs. Scotland match. No. Scotland vs England. See, it doesn’t matter.

As usual I didn’t care whichever team won. And why would I even support Scotland? I don’t feel like I’ve been in Scotland long enough to support Scotland over England. Plus, at the end of the day, it’s just what it is – another football match.

The more interesting part to it was that folks still harboured sentiment from the Scottish referendum just a few month back. In the referendum, Scotland lost. Here again in today’s match, Scotland lost. Aww..

Police presence was massive. I hear a chopper somewhere overhead. There were police on horses. Heightened security. There was tension in the air.

England and Scotland should be sisters. Thinking simplistically, this is easy to achieve. But matters are probably more complicated.

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Power outage at GCU..

The news went round a few hours ago that there was a major power outage at GCU.


There is heavy reconstruction work going on all around campus and this might not be unrelated to it – I’m just thinking. GCU makes it’s own electricity like many other higher institutions of learning (so I heard). How major is this outage? Is it a dangerous kind of major? How long will the outage last? What will classes be like in the morning – if power has not been restored?

I imagine that there will be all those auxiliary power sources in place which would have mitigated the situation in some way. If this is the first time in a long time that an outage has happened, did the school anticipate that this could happen, and is she ready for it? Or maybe the situation was not an accident. It may be totally under control which I pray.

Modern life depends almost completely on electricity. Our society will slow rapidly to a halt without power. Whatever it is, I hope the situation is soon restored back to normal. I can’t begin to imagine how far-reaching the effects of an outage could be in a system whose very lifeblood is electricity.

..and oh, the servers that house the school website and related resources have powered down. See what I’m saying? I believe everything will soon be normal again though.

Therefore, smile. Smile

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Visaless entry..

First of all, this is all a joke, so Border Agency guys please be advised.

My friends surprised me tonight. I thought everyone had gotten a visa and flown into the UK. Little did I know.


Majed came all the way by a trans-sahara train. Khaled swam through the Indian Ocean, then the South Atlantic, then the North Atlantic- in one go. Samuel took several gulps of red bull and off into the sky he went. He flew at Mach 2. In a few hours he landed right in the Saltire centre, GCU. My friends are superheroes.


Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

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