Friday, January 22, 2010

Something idiotic about football

Since I don't want to post two thought-provoking posts in quick succession, I decided to write about which players Fabio Capello might be looking at in the next two months in deciding who should go to the 2010 World Cup for England.

The team selection is not as concrete the last time I had an opportunity to look at the squad. Injuries and loss of form, especially at the back of team, makes the friendly against Egypt in March more likely to feature new faces.

Since David James is currently injured and doesn't look like being certain of the No. 1 jersey, other candidates such as Robert Green and Joe Hart have stepped up to the mike. Hart's recent form for Birmingham City has definitely been impressive, with the Brummies climbing up to the top eight and vying for Europa League spots. Paul Robinson is in the reckoning if James doesn't recover or doesn't haggle a move to Stoke or Tottenham during this transfer window. Also look for Ben Foster angling for a loan move to get some needed first team action. At the moment it looks like Green, Hart and Robinson are going to be called up against Egypt.

With Wes Brown and Rio Ferdinand perennially injured, Glen Johnson, Wayne Bridge and Joleon Lescott recently crocked and out of form, Capello needs to dig deep into his reserves. Micah Richards looks in line for a call up at right back and if Johnson doesn't recover soon, Capello might have to look further. Tony Hibbert for Everton is out injured, otherwise he may have been given a thought whilst Luke Young has retired and Gary Neville is passed his best form. After those players it looks like scraping the barrel, with Tyrone Mears, Andy Wilkinson, Phil Bardsley and Richard Stearman. It looks slightly rosier at the left back position with Ashley Cole and Stephen Warnock still fit. Leighton Baines could also be called upon if needed. With John Terry likely to partner Matthew Upson if Ferdinand remains on the sidelines, Capello might want to give Gary Cahill a debut as he is increasingly likely to go and hopes for Phil Jaglieka to come back from injury. Don't be surprised if Roger Johnson, Scott Dann, Ryan Shawcross or Michael Dawson gets a call up in the March friendly against Egypt if Lescott and Ferdinand don't recover. For March it looks like Johnson, Richards, Brown, Terry, Ferdinand, Upson, Lescott, Cahill, Cole, Bridge and Warnock to be called up but considering half of these defenders are injured or out of form, you could see other names as well.

With Aaron Lennon injured it might be the time for David Beckham, Shaun Wright-Phillips or even Theo Walcott to shine. Also it seems likely Owen Hargreaves is less likely to play football ever again so England will be forced to bring Michael Carrick (shudder). On a slightly more positive note is the form of James Milner in the centre of the park with Ashley Young and Stewart Downing doing well on the wings for Aston Villa, putting them back in the international fold. It may be the Gooner in me but I can't see Tom Huddlestone or Jermaine Jenas getting into the England squad since they don't offer anything defensively or offensively. So see the likes of Beckham, Lennon (if fit), Wright-Phillips, Walcott, Milner, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard (if fit), Carrick, Young and Downing in the squad come March.

I still expect Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey to lead the line but the likes of Jermaine Defoe losing form and Carlton Cole being injured leaves the space open for Peter Crouch, Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor. All six of these strikers could make the selection in six weeks' time.

As the last three months has shown, the loss of form and injuries could allow anybody in. I think the player to look out for in the next few months will be Milner, who has shown adaptability in playing different positions and shown good form.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fuel economy

I've been quite busy recently, so I haven't had time to post. In the past few weeks, my time at Accident and Emergency has been hectic and occupying. Most of my free time has been thinking about how lonely I am. Even when I'm asleep, my dreams are constant reminders I want sex and love (not necessarily in that order). I wish I could do something about it but I'm too shy and cowardly to do so.

For this blog post I'm not going to whinge about the lack of companionship but fuel economy. As most of you know I bought a new car a few months ago - a Volkswagen Golf TSI. It's a basic car but I love it. However I noticed it is a constant drain on financial resources. I have to pay for the license, car insurance, toll fares and most of all petrol (or gasoline for those American savvy readers). I know I cannot alter how much I spend on the first few things but at least I can control how much petrol I use.

As most of you reading know I'm a fan of the BBC TV programme "Top Gear". Although they portray themselves as motor loving enthusiasts who care nothing about the environment, they have produce a few clips about fuel economy. There was the clip a few years ago when Jeremy Clarkson went from London to Edinburgh and back, a journey of 800 miles, on a single tank of diesel in a Audi A8. Just two years ago there was a clip showing a BMW M3 could be as fuel efficient as a Toyota Prius, depending how you drive it. And only a couple of series ago the presenters went from Basel to Blackpool on a single tank of fuel.

I know they were using diesel cars and they had the time to do these challenges but what they did offer a lot of top tips. Most of these tips can be found here as well. I experimented myself with the drive from home in Hong Lok Yuen, Tai Po to the hospital. The average time of my trip is 30 minutes. If I drive really fast, for example late at night when the roads are clear and there isn't much traffic about, I take 27 minutes. If I drive fuel efficiently, such as slower acceleration and much smoother braking, it only takes me 33 minutes. At most it takes six minutes more to get to work. Most of the time I do set off early and there hasn't been many traffic accidents on my way to work.

For once Jeremy Clarkson is right. Even though car manufacturers should be doing more to make motor vehicles more efficient, fuel economy is in the hands (or feet) of the drivers and we can do more by not just the choice of our cars but how we drive.

Monday, January 04, 2010

"I'm so ronery..."

I haven't blogged for quite a while. Quite a lot of activity has been happening in my life. My brother is back from UK for a holiday and I recently ended my surgical rotation. I'm currently in my A&E / ER / Casualty rotation, whatever you like to call it. I'll write about my experience so far at a later date. Now I have to spend my day off figuring out how to pay tax and updating my family medicine logbook.


I recently met up with my supervising family medicine mentor. She explained to me that being in family medicine can be lonely at times, having to rotate through different specialties for short periods of time and not being around other family medicine residents. I told her that was fine with me, as being a loner was something new to me. Being in England by myself in a predominantly English environment and being in Hong Kong in a vastly Chinese culture having being brought up in a Western background has left me with enough experience to be on my own.

When I said that to my mentor, I knew it would sound awkward to some people that you don't mind being alone. I have few close friends and even then I don't engage with them that often. Or is it the other way around, that they don't engage with me that often? I can never tell the difference. I just find I'm rubbish around people. I'm really a bore when it comes to conversation because I have nothing to say - my life is pretty dull and I don't have any remarkable stories to tell. Also I can never engage in petty chit-chat or gossip. I don't really care who goes out with who and who is stabbing who's back. I don't care in the first place and I don't really give a shit when it is said.

When I want to go out, it is usually by myself. I go to the cinema by myself, I go shopping (which is very rarely) by myself and I go to the golf driving range by myself. I want to spend my time how I see fit and going out with other people means being accommodating to them as well. If it is friends, that is fine but when it is colleagues or other people it can be quite boring since they talk about matters which you don't find not a slight bit interesting. I do find doctors very boring to talk to since they talk endlessly about work.

I remember when I was in secondary school, I attended the Sixth Form scholars' dinner with the headmaster and his wife. Mrs. Seldon commentated that being a scholar can often be a lonely existence. I find that true with being different to everybody else. The more different or far from normal you are, the more likely you are going to spend time alone. It is just something you have to get use to.