Last Year Stats

Sunday 7th April 2013

I was reading that Muscat Mutterings has had over 1 million viewers of his blog since he started, and I wondered what the stats for my blog were.

When I first started, and was posting regularly, and was involved in expeditions, I was averaging a low but respectable figure of 50,000 a year.

In total, I have had 150,000 views, but what shocked me was the country break down.

In the last year, people from over 135 countries have viewed my blog! On top of that, the top countries are surprising in that I expected Oman and Bahrain to figure slightly higher, and there were some surprise entrants like Denmark (thanks to DD perhaps?) Sweden, Belgium…countries with small populations, and where I seem to have no connection.

Country Views
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 7,392
United States FlagUnited States 3,064
Canada FlagCanada 588
France FlagFrance 556
Germany FlagGermany 541
Italy FlagItaly 539
Australia FlagAustralia 450
Qatar FlagQatar 371
Denmark FlagDenmark 355
Spain FlagSpain 339
Poland FlagPoland 335
Sweden FlagSweden 332
Ireland FlagIreland 316
Belgium FlagBelgium 254
Brazil FlagBrazil 250
Oman FlagOman 247
Norway FlagNorway 247
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 231
Japan FlagJapan 226
India FlagIndia 220

Gerard Houllier at ICSS

Tuesday 19th March 2013

Gerard Houllier is an internationally renowned football manager who is currently the Head of Global Soccer for Red Bull.

Gerard began his career as a teacher, playing football for amateur teams while he worked. At the age of 26 he went from being a deputy headmaster to fully turn his attention to the world of football as a player-manager for Le Touquet. From there Gerard rose through the ranks as a trainer, became National Technical Director of France from 1988-98, then became manager of Liverpool FC from 1998-2004, manager of Aston Villa FC from 2010-2011, before taking on his role as Head of Global Soccer for Red Bull in 2012.

Gerard has been awarded the Légion d’honneur and an honorary OBE for services to British Football.

With Liverpool FC, he won the treble of FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in 2001, and also shook up the under performing spice boy era by instilling an era of professionalism at a club far too complacent. He helped introduce Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard to the first team and achieved an up to that point, premier league high finish of 82 points, second only to a rampant Arsenal.

He brought back hope to the Kop and LFC started to became a real threat to Man Utd and Arsenal…until 2001/02. After that high, things progressively got worse until he was fired. Many attribute the fall to the heart attack he suffered during a game in October 2001. Prior to that, many of his decisions were commendable, after that, most of his decisions came under increasing criticism.

Liverpool were so bad at one stage in 2002/3 that I almost gave up on watching the games…but I prefer to remember Gerard for the treble in 2001, and so I was very pleased to have my photo taken with him today.

John Amaechi OBE

Tuesday 19th March 2013

I went to see a panel discussion on “Integrity of the Young” because Gerard Houllier, the ex Liverpool manager was taking part.

“The youth are both the most important and most vulnerable players when it comes to protecting the integrity of sport. This session will look at the threats and pressures to our next generation of sports stars, and to how community and sport-driven programs can help to proliferate knowledge and best practice in those circles.”

“In the context of recent cases of match-fixing and challenges of third party ownership, this session will also address the best training and education measures which could be implemented in order to safeguard the future of this promising generation. The panel will also open up to some of the personalities of the future for sport in Qatar, and showcase the variety of youth initiatives underway in the region.”

I came for Houllier, but I stayed for John Amaechi. He was the first speaker that didn’t patronise or regurgitate the same old stuff we had heard a thousand times before. He was such a breath of fresh air, that at one point, I almost started clapping, and later on, he did recieve a spontaneous round of applause…unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I did talk to him afterwards, and he has invited me to get in touch next time I am in Manchester!

photo_10John Amaechi OBE (Managing Director, Amaechi Performance Systems)

John Amaechi OBE is an organisational consultant and a high-performance executive coach. He is also a New York Times best-selling author and a former NBA basketball star. Since retirement from sport, John works with organisations in the US and Europe, from the business, educational, sporting and philanthropic fields, to help them assess, manage, maximise and retain their human capital. In the UK, John has his own charitable sports and community centre with more than 2,500 young people per week going through its doors receiving schooling in sport, leadership and life skills.

In The Footsteps of Thesiger

Saturday 9th March 2013

An old friend from the army, came with his kids to the literary festival, and introduced me to Adrian Hayes, who was also in the UK special forces. Adrian Hayes is famous for doing the 3 poles in a world record time. (North Pole, South Pole and Everest in less than 2 years) Only 18 people have done all 3.

Adrian knew of me already, and his tenant is none other than Lisa, the South African singer who was in a show with Salha. Adrian recently went from Oman to Abu Dhabi on a camel, following the footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger, who wrote “Arabian Sands”.

He talked about his trek across the desert, showed clips from his documentary and of course promoted his book!

Although I am the first Arab to do many of these expeditions, if Adrian is following in the footsteps of true pioneers, I am merely following in the footsteps of Adrian Hayes!

Purple Ronnie

Saturday 9th March 2013

I sat listening to Giles Andreae talk about “How to write successful picture books” when he mentioned that he was the creator of Purple Ronnie. Now I had no idea what this author had done to be giving a masterclass, but Purple Ronnie was one of my favourite greeting cards at university, with its weird rhymes and off beat humour. It turns out he has done quite a lot since Purple Ronnie, which he sold for GBP 5 MM after creating it when he was at Oxford. He is also the author of the “Pig of Happiness” which was a present I gave to DD for Valentines!

Antony Beevor

Friday 8th March 2013

I went to a panel discussion on WW2 and the continuing impact it has on the Middle East. The panel was not really what I had expected, with less focus on WW2 and more on the Palestine / Israel issue, but the reason I went was to see Antony Beevor. When I was at university, I came into possession of a book called “Inside the British Army”. then, he has become a famous and award winning historian, with books such as “Stalingrad”, “Berlin: The Downfall 1945”, “D-Day: The Battle for Normandy”, and “The Second World War”. I went to talk to him after the discussion, and he made me feel like he couldn’t get away fast enough, which I have a lot of sympathy for as it must be odd having strangers come up to you and try to strike up a conversation.

As I was processing this thought, 5 teenagers interrupted me trying to engage Antony Beevor, and asked for MY autograph! They were students from Emirates International School Jumeirah, where I had done the TEDx talk in Dubai on 18th November 2012. Knowing what it felt like, and trying to learn from that lesson, I tried to be as friendly as possible to the kids.

When I eventually got back to Antony Beevor, he was much more friendly, introduced me to his wife, Artemis Cooper, and signed a book for me.


Friday 20th April 2012

Battleship is a 2012 American science fiction naval war film based on the children’s game. The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, and Liam Neeson. Unusually the film opened in many countries outside North America, more than five weeks before its North America release, whereas it is normally the other way around. Perhaps this was a tactic to counter copyright piracy?

In 2005, NASA discovers an extrasolar planet with conditions similar to Earth. On the chance that it contains intelligent life, NASA transmits a powerful signal from a communications array based in Hawaii. Around the same time, the talented but undisciplined slacker Alex Hopper attempts to impress a woman by getting her a chicken burrito; the result of which sees Alex break into a convenience store and be tasered by the police. Stone Hopper, a naval officer, attempts to give his younger brother some direction by forcing him to join the United States Navy.

By 2012, Alex is a lieutenant and the Tactical Action Officer aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, while Stone is commanding officer of USS Sampson. Alex is also in a committed relationship with Samantha Shane (the woman he tried to impress seven years prior), and wants to marry her, but is afraid of asking her father, Pacific Fleet commanding officer Vice Admiral Shane, for permission. During the opening ceremony for the RIMPAC multinational naval exercise, Alex gets into a brawl with Captain Nagata, commanding officer of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer JDS Myōkō; the latest in a string of incidents marring the young officer’s career. Alex is given a dressing-down by Admiral Shane, and later learns from his brother that there is a good chance he will be discharged at the end of RIMPAC. Meanwhile, Samantha accompanies Army veteran and amputee Mick Canales on a hike on Oahu in order to help him adapt to his prosthetic legs. (Double amputee US Army Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Gadson plays the role of a legless recuperating US Army Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales.)

Then, a small fleet of alien ships arrives in response to the NASA signal…

This movie is very much in the Transformer category, but has far more script and storyline, though the method of linking the movie to the game is convuluted. Certainly worth watching for several reasons, whether you are into sci fi, military, action or you are just bored. Just don’t expect a classic.