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Great food in Manchester

The people who know the real me needs no introduction to my inclination to eat out more than I should. Here are a few photos of the places I’ve visited with my partner, friends and family over the lat few months:

Simple at Tib Street, Manchester:

Simple is situated at the heart of Manchester, England, although relatively few people know it exists. Although it is known largely due to its cocktails, their food is amazing too. Pictured below are: Chicken and mushroom stuffed chicken, BBQ half-rack ribs and another pic of Chicken and mushroom chicken; Chocolate and peanut butter torte, a blurry glimpse of the bar/restaurant, and my favourite chocolate chip sundae.

Ban di bul:

Ban di bul is a Korean restaurant which is also located in Manchester city centre. It is a rather small and simple restaurant which serves up the best Korean food in the city. Pictured below are: Korean hot and spicy rice cake (ddukbokki), spicy tofu and pork with rice (?), Hite beer, and deep fried pork with Korean sauce and rice (?). I don’t know the Korean names of the two dishes but they tasted great!

Drink Tea Eat Cake:

Drink Tea Eat Cake is a tea and coffee place (again) located in Manchester, England. They serve homemade fairtrade teas, coffees and cakes which begs you to come back for more.

Visit all these amazing places if you can! You won’t regret it! 😉


“That’s gay”: evidence for the continued existence of homophobia

Having worked in primary and secondary schools in England and Wales, I’ve had my fair share of lunchtime and breaktime duties. These times are spent supervising pupils on canteens and playgrounds, listening to their conversations and observing the way they interact with one another. One of the most striking things that I have noticed is their use of the expression “that’s gay” when pertaining to something negative. For instance, a child might say “I’ve got English next”, to which another child would reply “oh that’s gay! I have PE next”. Not only do I hear this in school playgrounds, but in adult conversations as well. People use the word ‘gay’ interchangeably with negatively charged words such as “bad”, “terrible”, etc. I couldn’t help but ask why. Is this a reflection of how we as a society see homosexuals?

According to Cox et al. (2010), society still assumes that everyone is heterosexual unless proven otherwise and that sexual minorities are seen as deviant. With gay rights activists and legalization of gay marriages in certain countries, one would hope that homosexuality is lessened substantially nowadays, but expressions such as the one mentioned still shows that people openly display homophobia and/or a negative attitude towards sexual minorities.

I know from researching this very area that we have moved on from total negativity towards sexual minority to accepting and acknowledging their existence. However, whether you are aware of it or not, using the expression in question does not help the move away from the horrible past. So please, stop using it.

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster boy?

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a form of Autism that is in the mild end of the autism spectrum. Similar to other forms of autism, AS is characterized by deficits in social communication, social interaction and imagination, but usually have average or above average IQ levels. People with AS always think literally, have little to no clue about facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures. They find other people difficult to ‘read’ (Theory of Mind), hence may view others’ actions as confusing and also fail to behave in socially appropriate ways. Most conversations with them are one-sided, with them leading and rarely taking your opinions. Finally, they stick to their routines and have a special interest that they may excell on.


Anyone who is familiar with the show ‘Big Bang Theory’ will know that all of the characteristics mentioned above describe Dr. Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons (pictured). In the show, Sheldon is a top physicist who works in a university and hangs out with his friends Leonard (who is also his roommate), Raj and Howard. Being a physicist is an ideal job for people with AS due to the literality of the subject (as supposed to social sciences). Most of Physics are underpinned by mathematical equations which are perfect for AS-affected individuals, as supposed to, say Sociology or Psychology which are founded on researching human-beings in ways that Sheldon will find repulsive.

Sheldon also does not understand sarcasm (see video below). To be able to get sarcasm requires abstract thinking, knowledge of varying tones of voice and a firm grasp of the social situation one person is in. Sheldon does not possess any of these- Leonard actually ended up putting a ‘sarcasm sign’ for him to understand. As seen in the video clip below, Sheldon struggles to understand the consequences of his actions and also Penny’s and Leonard’s emotions.

Also, he is incapable of ‘faking’ his emotions in order to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. In the video below, Sheldon does not agree that Raj is getting featured in Time Magazine’s 30 under 30 issue. As a result, he insulted Raj. His friends then decided to invite Raj to dinner. Notice how Sheldon asks how he can fake his happiness. Children who have AS are often given social stories which teaches them how to behave appropriately in different social situations.

Sheldon also voices his dislike in a change in his routines. The first video below shows Sheldon explaining why he sits in a specific spot in the couch and what difference it made when he tried to sit on a different space. In the second video, the group decided to eat Thai food instead of pizza, which Sheldon is used to. He explained how he likes consistency and in order to accept ‘anything can happen thursday’, he persuades the others to go to the comic book store. Getting others to agree to what they want is a common tactic employed by people with AS.

Although there was no mention that Sheldon was diagnosed with Aspergers’ Syndrome and even Sheldon reasoned that ‘his mother had him tested’, all signs point to AS. We should note however, that even though Sheldon may have AS, he is managing to live significantly comfortably. He has picked a profession that suits his condition and most importantly, allows him to excel. He has surrounded himself with people who not only tolerates him, but teaches him how to behave in particularly difficult situations. His friends mostly agrees to what he likes, and even though they usually find being with him a challenge, they still see the positive side of him.

I believe that Sheldon’s situation in the Big Bang Theory shows us a good example of living with and being around people with Asperger’s Syndrome. It shows both the fun side and the difficult side of being with individuals with AS. Granted, not every episode shows the gang’s good side in terms of dealing with Sheldon, but never the less, it shows that people with AS can be brilliant and at the same time, a good friend to be with. Whether they purposely did it or not, I think the makers of the show is doing a good job.

For more info on Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and other ASDs, visit


More on Autism:

He flaps his hands and screams a lot but he doesn’t mean to annoy you

Optimum Outcomes for people with Autism

DSM 5 and its implications to ASD diagnosis

Diagnosing Autism: What you need to know

Vote for Miss Montana 2012, Alexis Wineman

What does Autism mean?

What is PDD-NOS?

Communication difficulties in Autism

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Still unsure if Sheldon has Asperger’s?

DSM-V and Autism

The Autistic Me: BBC Documentary

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds

Autism in the classroom:

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Common signs of Autism in the classroom

First day back to school: Top tips for parents of children with Autism

Practical tips to make your classroom Autism-Friendly

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)

Carly Fleischmann

More on Savants:

The Psychology of Savants: Memory Masters

Artists with Autism

The Einstein Effect: Is there a link between having Autism and being a genius?


Bug Art: Manchester Museum’s Big Saturday

Since I was a kid, I was always fascinated with science. As I got older, one of my wishes was to work in a museum because I’ve always thought that museum workers are really clever and they know all about science. Today, thanks to the British Science Association, I had the opportunity to fulfill my dream, even for just a very short time. Along with other volunteers, I helped set-up a stall that aimed to explain the process of pollination to children. We also gave the kids the chance to make their own bees to take home.

This is the model bee that one of our colleagues made for us and the kids to copy:

Looking at the picture below, we aimed to explain pollination through the use of visual aids. The flowers of the left contained little soft balls that represented the pollens. The bee takes them to a different flower for pollination or to its beehive (which is where the bee is sitting):

These are my colleagues in action:

Look at all the people having fun:

There were also some other exhibitions and activities during the day. Here are the pictures of some of the insects on display:

But I guess the best part of the Big Saturday is the maggot painting. Maggots were placed into trays with paper and paint and were guided by the one painting either by brush or by torching them. (Any reader who can explain this better please comment, as I have only caught a glimpse of this).

These are the maggots:

And here are some of the paintings. Can you see the maggots?

For more info about Manchester Museum’s upcoming events, visit:

My favourite guitar solos of all

As a guitar player, I’ve always been asked to name my favourite guitar solos of all time. I’ve been inspired by players from different genres and my favourite solos/songs change from time to time. Below are only a few of my favourite ones. Please note that they are not ranked and I am not claiming that they are better than any other songs that were not on the list. This is simply a list of the solos that inspired my own personal style of playing. These songs are the ones that I would listen to time and time again:

Mr. Big’s Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy. Introduced to me by one of my best friends, Mr Big features Paul Gilbert- one of the best alternate-pickers of all time. This song took me a month to learn and 3 months to perfect.

Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Randy Rhodes’ Crazy Train. This song has the groove that makes me wanna pick up my guitar everytime I hear it. The solo’s easy to learn but involves leggatos and tapping techniques that I believe every guitarist should have in their arsenal:

Guns n Roses’ Paradise City. No, it’s not Sweet Child o’ Mine. This song’s solos are far more complicated (for me) than Sweet Child’s and far more harder to learn and play- I still don’t know how to play this song in full.

Pantera’s Walk. I don’t need to explain why I like this song and it’s solo. If you’re a guitarist, you SHOULD know how to play this note for note. This is one of those solos that you don’t change when you play it live.

Avenged Sevefold’s Afterife. Yes, A7X lost it’s appeal when they went mainstream, but this song’s riff and solo is just out of this world. Learn to play this really really slow in order to play it up-tempo:

Derek Trucks’ I Wish I Knew. Honestly, I can’t pick a single song that will represent the genius of Derek Trucks. Just watch and learn:

Poison’s (Ritchie Konzen) Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice). I know the songs cheesy. But everytime I hear the solo, I always wish that I was the one who wrote it!

Al Di Meola’s Mediterranean Sundance. I know this is not your typical song and it may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but watch him! I am too scared to try to play like him!

Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues. Slow, easy listening song with a mean, mean solo!

B.B King’s The Thrill is Gone. This man plays fewer note than most guitarists, but the notes that he plays are the right ones. I never knew what the BLUES is until I’ve seen this man live:

Lastly, my favourite solo of them all is John Mayer’s Slow Dancin’ in a Burning Room. I honestly don’t know why I love this solo so much. Everytime I hear/play it, I discover something new. I would never get tired of this song:

LeBron’s not the only one to blame on Cavs’ elimination

As we all know, the Cleveland Cavaliers were yet again eliminated from the playoffs by the veteran Boston team led by Rajon Rondo. The Cavs were expected by many to win this year as they have acquired Shaq and Anthony Parker during the off-season and Antawn Jamison during the late stages of the regular season.

Jamison was acquired to be ‘Bron’s number 2, but his numbers and his play suggest that he’s no Pau Gasol. He was not able to adopt quickly to the Cavs’ way of playing, and hence could not fulfill people’s expectations. Jamison looked like he’d rather go home than play in the playoffs during the Boston series, whcih was very disappointing to Cleveland fans.

Shaq and Parker played OK, but were outsmarted by their opposite numbers in the Celtics. Although Mo Williams showed some flashes of offensive brilliance, he was a no show on the defensive end of the court. The coaching staff looked as though they failed to study the Celtics’ defensive rotation and hence were not able to exploit its holes, probably because they were too busy trying to figure out how to stop Rondo from humiliating them.

As most of us know, LeBron’s elbow is probably worse than what was reported, but by no means should that be an excuse for playing the way he did on game 5. His mental toughness was also in question as Charles Barkley pointed out. He’s the MVP, he’s supposed to be the best ball player in the world, so a bum-bow is not an excuse. Kobe’s probably more hurt than Lebron but does he complain? No.

But Bron-Bron’s not the only one to blame. James’ supporting cast and coaching staff failed to do what their supposed to do. Basketball is a team game. The whole team is to blame.

The Internet…Man’s New Best Friend?

We have come a long way since the internet first appeared many years ago. Thanks to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Search, we can now easily find information about almost anything and everything, from answers to  ‘How to’ questions to deep philosophical questions and debates. It can probably be a substitute to a human teacher!

Social Networking Sites (SNS) have also revolutionized the way in which people, predominantly youngsters up to the age of 35, connect to each other. Such sites are used to send messages via ‘comments’ and through private messaging, which are (in most sites) free of charge. Visits to these sites dominate a youngster’s net-surfing time (see Tancer, 2008). Since most social networking sites allow their users to update their profile pages, users spend a lot of time changing their pictures, status, profile backgrounds, layouts and music. By doing so, they can either be the person they are, or the person they want to be. In effect, SNS give individuals freedom to express themselves and present themselves in ways that only they have control on. SNS also allow people to find long lost friends and create new acquaintances.

Online dating services are also available. These sites provide people the chance to meet potential partners by browsing user profiles. People with social phobias may find these services useful as they don’t have to meet someone unless they are satisfied with that person’s profile. Chatting to potential partners online can save them a lot of money that could have been spent on a potentially horrible first date (which can obviously still happen). Given that there is a well-known risk that criminals could be hunting for their next victim via dating sites and SNS, one can still find these services useful, provided that they use them with caution.

The internet can also give someone respite from personal problems. Websites such as and give anyone the chance to anonymously write life stories, even personal issues and problems. The internet,  being a non-judgemental ‘listener’, become a ‘friend’ or a ‘safe haven’ for people who have issues.Some websites allow strangers to comment and/or give advice to a person’s problem. Also, by using search engines, one can find information about issues concerning their private lives that can be too shameful to discuss with friends and family.

Even though there are a lot of potential setbacks for using the internet, by looking through the list above, we can see that the internet can be a big help for those who use it properly and with caution.

My Ibanez JEM 777dy…finally!!!

This is my Steve Vai Ibanez JEM 777dy which I’ve bought just moments ago. For me, this guitar is worth more than what I have paid for it. Ever since I started playing guitar 10 years ago, I wanted to own a Steve Vai guitar. About 6 years ago, I saw a Steve Vai JEM 7v in a guitar shop for the first time and never have thought that I could afford one due to its price. Since I started working, everytime I get my paycheck, I always look for a cheap one of these but I’ve never found one. Until last week.

Although the one I have now is not exactly what I dreamt of having and even though it’s not brand new, I feel that this is so much better. It’s 21 years old, sounds better than a JEM7v, and it has all of my favourite colours!

I’m going to enjoy this guitar for sure but it’s not going out of the house!!!!!


Hello blog world! This page will contain my thoughts and opinions about anything and everything that I see, hear or read. I do not claim to be an expert of anything. I just want my opinions to reach a wider audience and I feel that I can achieve this through blogging.

I hope you find my future entries interesting. Feel free to write comments and send me messages about my blog. Also, if I write anything offensive, please inform me.