Category: Offline

Thanking My Past

Knowing my history with computers and data, I made the decision in 2007 to invest in an external drive. This was not an off the shelf consumer device of course, I purchased a 320gb drive from eBuyer and IDE to USB caddy from eBay. Now perhaps I should have had hindsight to future proof this purchase by obtaining an SATA drive instead of the old school IDE but that was not to be a major part of my decision-making process. It was the cost, this was the biggest capacity I could afford at the time. I knew it was a decision only my future self would appreciate. I was talking to Teg from 2013 but unbeknown to me (of 2007), I would be married, living in Slough and working for the biggest software manufacturer services and devices company in the world.

Now having a server, with mirrored drive configuration, did negate the need for a backup drive but I preferred to be safe rather than sorry. I copied all my music and videos and pretty much everything else onto this drive up to the end of 2008. Dagobah arrived in July 2009, so the backup drive was forgotten at my parents place in High Wycombe. My Dad had wanted to place the drive and caddy in the garage, but I had confirmed, that it needed to remain at an ambient room temperature although I’m sure modern drives can last at low temperatures of an English winter. I just did not want to take the risk, because I knew that one day I would need that drive again.

With all the problems I have had with my server of late (it failed again in early January and it took me almost a month to get it back online, with help courtesy of Myles G and a new two terabyte hard drive courtesy of eBuyer.com.) I am still glad many things have been burnt to DVD. My backup regime has been somewhat fragmented but at least I have a backup regime, which is perhaps good in itself. I am able to ‘jump back’ to music videos and TV shows from 2007-8 but the limitations of 4.7GB of data and of course, lack of precious time mean that I only have so much data archived away. This was were the large backup drive came into it’s element. However, in December when I tried to see if I could access the data off it, the caddy failed to work. I needed to buy a replacement but looked for an IDE/SATA hybrid model from eBay. This arrived a few weeks ago but it was not until my server was fully functioning at the beginning of the month, was I able to grab my old drive from High Wycombe and set it all up. I was back baby!

If I could speak to my old self from 2007, I would thank him for having the courage to use not one but two backup mediums. Remember this was a time in my life, when I recorded a great deal of television (albeit standard definition) onto my hard drive. I recall one time in November 2007, catching Beyoncé perform my favourite song from B-Day on Strictly Come Dancing and rushing to from the lounge to my computer to record the segment. Any material over 4.7GB or things I could not categorise into a selection for a DVD burn, remained on the drive. I am so happy I made this decision to copy all my music and video content to an external drive. I now only have a small gap of data missing (the time between 2009 and 2012). The great beauty with digital content though, is apart from some unique and rare features I recorded from the television, most are available to download again or ready to stream from YouTube, if your heart so desires. However, with my bandwidth cap every month, I always prefer the 1080p (full high-definition) downloaded file, which I can stream to multiple devices around the home.

We are perhaps the first generation (of many) whom will have our memories stored electronically in digital ones and zeros and not physical photo albums. We just need to make sure we think about duplicating the effort. One backup will never be enough!

Middle Lane Hog

When I moved into my flat in mid April and found myself in perhaps one of the most undesirable industrial towns in not only Berkshire but perhaps the whole of the South East, I made a conscious decision. No internet access (and therefore land-line) required. I thought foolishly that I would cope with using my smart-phone, regular (if somewhat limited in the web surfing sense) access during work hours and the odd download when at my parents on the occasional weekend I find myself in Wycombe. Unfortunately the reality of living in 2011 Britain is you need a fixed line broadband access. Unfortunately, therefore I would also need to have a Victorian copper phone line.

Originally I had hoped to opt for the fibre optic broadband only option via Virgin Media. However, I am not in a cable area, which is a surprise as these flats were built at the turn of the century. Instead I stumbled upon honest broadband from Yorkshire. The selling point? Unlimited downloads between midnight and 8am everyday. I was sold, and placed my order as soon as I got into the office on Friday 16th September. Within a few hours my phone line was connected and I was given a broadband activation date of just seven days. You got to say excellent customer service. I was sent text messages and e-mails every step of the way! Now the only delay in me getting on-line would be going to collect my router from my parents or having to wait for my dearest sister Samantha to drop it off in Slough.

You can imagine my frustration to discover the broadband was live on, a mere week later on Friday 23rd September but my sister had forgotten my router, so I had to go without on my first night of internet access. I could wait twenty four hours, I could honest. Plus 3G on my HTC Desire kept me going for a few more hours, that was enough. I ran a speed test at the time but forget to capture the image, so I have captured an image after the ten day stabilisation period. I had been quoted a speed of seven megabits per second, which was more than double of what I was used to. Back in High Wycombe, I live too far from the exchange in the town centre and therefore the speed is limited to three and a half megabits per second. (Although to be fair, there is the option of Virgin Media at home, as we are fully wired up to cable. We had ComTel phone lines for a few years).

Teg's Plus Net Broadband Speed Test

I have missed the inter-web! Being able to quickly check Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo! Mail without having to worry about exceeding my monthly usage allowance (I never have but it always at the back of my mind when on line on my smart-phone!). Finally being back on MSN Live, the IM client is where I have tended to live in recent years. It was rare for an evening to go by and for me not to be chatting to friends, ex-colleagues and other acquaintances on line.

The internet has become a human right that we all should be entitled to. I have just moved from being out on the hard shoulder into the middle lane. This is after nine years spent crawling in the slow lane.

Sunday 26th October 2008

I begin as I must while I am officially in offline mode, with an update of my time in prison. The time clocked up so far, is 2 days, 22 hours, 11 minutes and 29 seconds. I am writing at around 9.43pm on Saturday evening but it will take a while to get everything written and I want to capture all the events of the weekend, so this post will not be uploaded until Monday.

Being offline does have it’s benefits. I can get on with tasks and complete a blog post in record time. There are no distractions on MSN, or the latest scores to check on BBC Football or just dive over to Radio Times to find out what is on television in the next hour or so. Of course, I wish I was online, I feel disconnected, off the grid but I will be able to check my e-mails on Monday at work and hopefully it will only be a few more days before I am up and running. I survived twenty-days last year (with the help of Pav, whom introduced me to a little known US TV show called Heroes), I am confident that I will not be breaking into double figures with my counter this year.

Had a good day today. Got up just before 9am, had a quick breakfast, watched some BBC News and then got ready. The rest of the morning was spent on the computer waiting for my parents and sister to arrive. With the morning to myself, the care package (volume 4) had arrived and I was spoilt for choice in terms of what to watch. So, I opted to watch Sarah Connor before then switching to Freeview. I watched Click and then was close to the end of Football Focus before they arrived. It was a good afternoon. My family had brought over quite a few bits and pieces I had needed and we had a big lunch of home cooked food, which was lovely. We then went into town to show them around Newbury and my new office before heading back to the flat. We then headed over to the retail park to go to Pound Stretcher and Comet. The TV booster we got from Comet didn’t work :( so my Dad and I headed quickly to Robert Dyas to get another booster (which was much cheaper) and it did the job. Although I need to download the latest software for my TV card to get it working fully, some of the channels are a bit juddery.

My parents left at 6pm and I decided to go on the computer for a while before settling down in front of the box for a few hours. I watched the start of Strictly Come Dancing before switching over to the other side to watch Harry Hill’s TV Burp and then The X Factor. Swing is not my favourite style of music, it is okay but not my cup of tea. Having said that, the standard was extremely high and the right person went home, in my opinion. Just his body language as the results were read out, you could tell he knew he had not done enough. Then during the sing off he just went through the motions and the judges had no choice. Still JLS to win in my opinion. What is the theme for next week?

What did I watch on Friday night? Well there was Knight Rider, then Big Bang Theory and then Fringe but I’m missing episode three, so stuck at the moment, I have episodes four and five knocking around. Episode two was good but it is a typical JJ Abrams affair. Just like LOST (not that I ever seen an episode) there is a sinister big corporation behind or involved with this “Pattern”. Interesting stuff, but very much X Files meets another show, (perhaps CSI) but I will give it time, it deserves my patience. Plus, I have little else to do before my net is up!

Joined the library on Monday, then on Tuesday after work headed down to see if I could get a book I had been looking to read. They did not have in stock in the West Berkshire Network. It would be a £2 fee to see if they could source book from another library network but it is perhaps easier for me to buy the book from Amazon. I wanted to read a book of my own choosing but also have my friend’s twenty-five “Books to Read before you Depart” list. On Friday, as I was allowed out early, I headed to the library and opted to loan out The Hound Of The Baskervilles. I had enjoyed The Sign Of Four which I had read earlier in the year and there is just something appearing about the detective Holmes as seen through the eyes of Doctor Watson.

What did I do today? Well I got up before 8am (GMT) and after a quick breakfast was in the car around 8:14am and headed to the gym for a quick workout. When I got home, there was an answer phone message (my first!) from Chris. His football match had been cancelled and he was happy to pop over later on in the day. Great, so two gym sessions in one day! Not bad, plus I have to make use of the free guest passes I have, they expire tomorrow! Will be good to see Chris and catch up, plus we can hopefully grab some food and catch the early afternoon kick off down in town. It went slightly different from that plan. Chris wanted a lie in for a few hours and came over later in the afternoon. He got here around 1.30pm and after a quick tour of the flat headed over to Cannon’s Health Club. I had to sign Chris in with my guest pass but after filling in the paperwork we were free to get changed and head up. We went for a 15 minute run as a warm up, then got on with my weights programme. I could feel that I had already gone through this programme, only six hours previously. However it was well worth it, just to get the advice from Chris and a second opinion on my programme. After completing everything, Chris introduced me to two new machines which I will start phasing into my work outs. We then headed home and Chris decided it had to head back to Henley which was a shame. I was hoping we could have gone into town and at least caught the first half of the football (soccer or NFL) depending on which pub we decided to go to.

Instead, as soon as I was dropped off, I came in, made some food, watched some television and then jumped onto the computer. I wanted to tape, the national anthems from Wembley before the NFL International Series match between the San Diego Chargers and New Orlean Saints. The Star Spangled Banner was performed by NeYo (minus his trademark hat) and God Save The Queen by the shoeless Joss Stone. Quite clearly to see, just like on the end of May when the US football team came to play England, that the American National Anthem is just a class above that of my own country. It does pain me to say it but it is true. What do you think?

It is Sunday evening, eight minutes until 6pm and my count down timer has reached 3 days, 19 hours, 22 minutes and 5 seconds. I am listening to the closing minutes of the West Ham versus Arsenal match on Radio Five Live. The Gunners lead two goals to nil. Not sure how to spend the rest of my evening. I have already ticked off quite a few things off the list I made late last night for today. Burn all the best music videos onto four DVDs to take up to Wrexham with me on Friday. I still need to back my bags and print off my e-tickets. Plenty to keep me busy for the rest of this week then, on top of everything else.

A quick update, I tried to upload this blog post today (Monday 27th) at work but unfortunately I only have read only access to FTP sites. So therefore, I am going to e-mail the HTML files to Pav and get him to upload from his end. It is like having contraband, smuggling it across enemy lines and finally releasing to a public that are eager for news!

Thursday 23rd October 2008

When I switched off my work laptop around 11.30pm yesterday evening, it was a big wave goodbye to internet access from my flat. I had to return my cousin’s Vodafone 3G dongle to him today and dropped it off on the way to the gym. I am trying to be positive but having chosen Tiscali as both my phone and broadband provider I think this may be a case of poor judgment on my part. I am hoping to be proved wrong. In any case, although access via Vodafone was limited (no web versions of MSN or Yahoo! Messenger) it was useful and I could have the odd intermittent chat with friends on Facebook. I will be back soon, I just do not know exactly when.

Friday 17th October 2008

It is Thursday evening as I begin writing this post. My first day out in the wilderness with no internet access. Well that is not strictly true, I went to return my cousin’s house key (and dongle) to him at 7pm after my cardio session in the gym and he has let me hold onto to it until Thursday next week (when my own broadband should be connected). However, I have made the executive decision not to install the Vodafone 3G dongle on my desktop, plus I left my laptop in the office.(Pav would be proud of me for going cold turkey!). So much to cover and with the time currently 20:38, I am sure it will take me a while to put everything up here and will complete the entry late tomorrow night when I am back in the more familiar surroundings of home.

How has my first week been, fending for myself? It has not been too bad actually, I have coped and managed to get everything done I needed. Although there are a few minor issues, I will get to them later. It was very strange getting up on Monday morning and wondering where the hell I was! You know that early morning moment when you are stretching to either switch of the alarm on your mobile phone but not quite fully awake. I am trying to get into a routine. Although I must say it has actually got worse as the week has gone by, with me arriving later and later into the office. I got in at 8:15am on Monday and I think 8:45am today. My plan is to get in by 8am and then work until 5pm but always have the option to leave earlier if there is a need. Obviously the ultimate aim is to get up at 6am, get over to the gym for opening at 6.30am and after the work out, shower, change into suit and then either drive direct to the office or drop off the car at the flat and walk into work. There is such a thing as wishful thinking.

Monday evening has become my designated food shopping day, with a trip to Sainsbury’s which is next door to the racecourse (almost). It is a medium sized town centre store and with the help of the list I made over Sunday I got everything I needed. I think I need to make a full list and then go to ALDI for the bulk stuff and Sainsbury’s for the day to day stuff. We shall see how it goes. However I am glad I have not fully stocked the fridge as it has actually been freezing my drinks and food. Not sure if it is a fault or because the freezer compartment will not close but I will have to take it up with the landlord.

Without the internet (or rather limited access) I have tried to fill my time with television shows. I have in fact caught up with Greek and should my third care package arrive in the post tomorrow, I can get fully up to speed with US viewers. Pav has been unable to send me anything as he was on holiday in Maldives and only got back yesterday. He is off on holiday again tomorrow (UK based this time though, no ten hour flight back!) but did confirm he was just off to the Post Office, late this morning to post me something. Greek has been very good, I did not think they could keep it going but the introduction of new characters and schemes has made it enjoyable viewing. I highly recommend it, particularly to those people out there like me, whom wish they had had a chance of an American College Experience.

Might be going into slightly more detail with my routine here but after Newsnight I tend to read my book (less than fifty pages from the end) and then listen to FiveLive on DAB (if my batteries last!). I am missing my audio system and need to get something in my room ASAP. MightyMouse recommended the Logitech Squeezebox Boom, which looks incredible but is a tad expensive. I have my heart set on an Internet Radio device of some description preferably with either DAB, FM or both. Maybe I can get something for my birthday or Christmas. It is strange not having music to listen to in the morning or evening when I get home from work and get changed in my room. I suppose I should be realistic, it has only been four complete days in the flat, I have plenty of time to put my signature on it.

I actually look forward to my cardio programme at the gym on Thursday evenings. It was the reverse at my old gym, when I detested them. I got onto the bike and at first tuned into Channel One (Sky News) but opted to switch to Channel 3 (Chart Show TV). After a few songs, they played Britney Spears – Womanizer. I had the opportunity to view the song online over the weekend but was too busy to got distracted by something else. In any case, what can I say? The Pop Princess is back and good for her! We expect big things from her album Circus when it is released in December. The song is infectious and I am sure it will be killed by radio play before the month is out.

It has just gone 9pm and I cannot think of anything more to write for the moment. I am sure I will think of a dozen things by tomorrow night but for now I am going to watch Fringe. The series I have saved just in case of an emergency scenario like this when I have no feasible internet access.

It is four minutes to 9pm as I pick up this blog post. I am now back in Wycombe and it does feel strange being back. I know I was here exactly a week ago but my room feels rather bare with my computer gone. I suppose it is something I will get used to over time as my visits home become more infrequent. I finished work at 5pm (the day dragged big time, particularly the afternoon) and had my car packed and was on my way out of Newbury just after 5.30pm. Considering it was a Friday night and busy with traffic (a hold up on west bound) I made excellent time and came off the slip road at junction 8/9 at precisely 6pm. I got home, unpacked the car and waited for my family to arrive back from Slough.

I have been listening to a song by Jennifer Hudson, almost non-stop on the mp3 player, the PC and now this evening the car. No, it is not her debut single, “Spotlight”. (You know the rule, I rarely like the debut single by any artist). It was recommended by the fantastic RnB music blog Toya’s World. I agree that the song does share many similarities with Energy but I still prefer the song by Keri Hilson, it is more edgy and raw. If This Isn’t Love is very much the traditional radio friendly pop ballad. I particularly like the vocal during the bridge. It is very infectious but perhaps not ideal driving song. My weekend truly began when I was half way between junction thirteen and twelve on the M4 and had the new MP3 CD I had created on mix, the next song played was Numb (Encore) by Linkin’ Park featuring Jay Z. My weekend could finally begin.

Plans for the weekend, well quite a lot to cram in actually. Haircut in town (yes my hair is quite long but also a shabby unmaintainable mess). Then I need to rush back home and wash the car before then doing some domestic chores. Such as moving the computer from the lounge into my room and then perhaps even moving the router in the process. Then I have a few boxes of things to clear, so I can sort out what else to take with me to Newbury. Factor on top of all this that my cousin is coming over and that we most likely will be having takeaway tomorrow night.

If all that was not enough I also have a care package from Pav, which arrived perfectly on queue this morning in the post. So I have several episodes of my favourite television shows to watch. To mention just a few there is, Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Heroes, The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Knight Rider. So, without any further “ado” I better get on with watching Fringe. I watched the first half of the pilot episode last night but only twenty minutes in did I realise that it was a eighty minute feature length pilot episode. Won’t look as great on my laptop screen but never mind. I will try and post an update again on Sunday evening when I am back at my flat.

Wednesday 6th June 2007

The final total period in the wilderness was 21 days 18 hours 3 minutes and 50 seconds!

Saturday 2nd June 2007

The injury time equalizer came as a bit of a blow to dampen what had been a great day. However, the draw aside I had a fantastic time. Let me start from the beginning, I woke up around 8am, which is late by my standards. Dropped my Mum off at work and then headed into town to get my haircut. About quarter to ten, I was back at home and started to get ready. Chris called, he sounded hangover and had just got up, he would get to my place around 11.30am. This gave me time to get all my things together and watch some television with my Dad in the lounge while I waited. Chris called again at 11.30am, he was just leaving. We were running slightly later than planned but it was not a major issue. Chris came to pick me up just before 12pm and I bought my tickets from the Fast Ticket machine at exactly 12:06pm. We were on our way. The next train to London departed in five minutes from Platform Three. However, when we got up to the platform, we noticed after two stops it would be heading directly to Marylebone. I had only bought a return ticket to Wembley Stadium as I had an Oyster Card for any tube trips. We turned around and headed back to Platform One, the next train was at 12:32, we waited a few minutes and then boarded the train as soon as it arrived. We were on our way to Wembley.

As the sun was shining and we had clear blue skies all around, I had planned the following for our day. Get over to Wembley, take some photographs while it was dead. Then walk down to Wembley Park tube station, get into city centre, grab some food, chill out, meet up with Chris’ Uni mates and then head back for the stadium around 5pm. It was not perfect but better than our original plan, which was for me to head to Henley and then catch the train from there. This would have involved two changes and a hellish journey back. Looking back, I think we made the right choice.

As we pulled up at Wembley Stadium, quite a few other England fans had decided on the same course of action. The arch looked amazing against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. We took some photos, but my CyberShotU batteries packed up after just a few photographs and I was gutted. It was down to Chris to rescue the day and take photos for the rest of the day. We walked down to the Bobby Moore statue and took some photos with us standing next to the England legend. I looked up and noticed the sun just behind the arch, so grabbed Chris’ camera and took a few photos. Easily my favourite photograph of the day.

P1000827

We then walked down Olympic Way to Wembley Park Station. It was a hot and glorious day and we looked forward to the thought of coming back in four hours time and seeing the place packed with fans heading to the match. We jumped on the Jubilee Line heading to Green Park. Here we changed for the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square. We then decided to get some food, opting for the Pizza Hut Buffet. I had been in this restaurant a few years ago (September 2003, in fact) with my sisters but did not realise there was additional seating downstairs. During our meal, there was an irate customer that started ranting and raving at the staff, including shouting “Get me your MANAGER!” at the top of his voice! There was just no need for that type of aggression, the manager appeared from somewhere to take the man into his office. After lunch we decided what to do, I was not really in the mood for doing anything to exaggerate (or expensive). We thought about catching a movie but opted to walk down to Trafalgar Square and relax. As we walked passed the National Portrait Gallery we saw the final few blows of a fight. Two guys were out cold on the floor and a third guy was being smashed down to the ground by a young lad, who swung at him with a kung fu kick. The victim went down like a sack of spuds. It was all over quickly and the gang responsible casually walked off, while bystanders went to the rescue of the three victims. It was not long before the police were called and two ambulances arrived.

The Square was packed, with many tourists all enjoying the first glimpse of June sunshine. As we walked up to one of the fountains, I noticed a girl in full cycle gear, being interview for television. The web URL on her top revealed, all Cycling.TV. We just chilled out here for a while, taking some photos and generally relaxing. Chris then suggested going and sitting at the bottom of Nelson’s Column and so we did. There were many young children running around with their parents close at hand. It was the last day of the half term holiday after all. We had arranged to meet up with Chris’ Uni friends for a drink before the game but they were not going to arrive until 2.30pm. We decided to head down to the river and on route, give them a call and locate them. We headed down Whitehall, based Horse guards Parade and Downing Street before crossing Westminster Bridge. I was handed the free London Lite paper and looked at the preview to the big match. They had Kaka against Reading’s Nicky Shorey with the verdict, “Kaka too tricky for Nicky!” Chris text our colleague Peter, who is a Reading season ticket holder.

As you would expect the place was swarming with tourists. As we headed down towards the London Eye, we walked passed County Hall. They were hosting a Star Wars Exhibition. On another day, I would have popped in to take a look but I had to make do with the Clone Trooper posing for photographs outside. The Eye was extremely busy with the queue stretching across back towards the Shell building. As we walked by, the sky had turned a dull grey and we both knew it would start to rain any moment soon. Within a few minute, it start to lightly spit but not progress into a full shower. We went past the a skate park and then came under the cover of a railway bridge. There was a book sale on, but to the left was the BFI. A bar come cafe backed by I assume, The British Film Institute. We ordered some drinks and sat down. That was a well earned break. We decided what to do next. The anticipation was in the air. You could sense it. It was Friday afternoon, people were beginning to leave work to kick off their weekend. Chris spoke to his friends and they were about to make their way back to Wembley, so we decided to do the same. I grabbed my tube map just to confirm in my mind the trek back. Walk back to Waterloo, grab the Jubilee Line direct to Wembley Park. Twenty minutes or so? A few minutes later we were heading back. The roads and pavements were busy with commuters heading back home after a long week. We went to cash point first and joined a queue of six or seven. Then headed back to the Waterloo Underground entrance but realised that this was not for the Jubilee Line, so headed back down the station to the far left and entrance we required. Chris had never been on the tube at rush hour and this was going to be experience for him. Luckily, Waterloo has disable step free access, so we know where to board the train. There was standing room but not as tight a squeeze as I would have hoped. Looking out the window, I could see the arch in the distance and the sun softly setting in the distance. We rushed off the train and out of the station. The place was heaving with a great number of police and LU staff.

We walked down Olympic Way, it felt strange. We had been here just a few months back for the Under 21 international but the atmosphere now was different. Much better in my opinion. We walked past Jake Humphrey from CBBC (he occasionally has filled in on Football Focus). Chris does not watch peasant television, as he calls it and did not recognise the television celebrity. We walked half way up the left hand side ramp and waited. There was a barrier of policeman ahead of us, checking bags and looking out for suspicious characters. Some people had been granted access to the upper most tier of the stadium and were looking down at us. Lucky people! Further down, outside by the Booby Moore statue, a group of fans and tied a England flag of Saint George with the letter EFC and Everton Crest to the railings. Chris just had to take a photograph. His friends were on their way and eventually Andy B, Alex and Chris arrived and we made our way up to Wembley. They were in the upper tier and went in, as we walked around to turnstile N. As soon as we went through, I knew that we would not be able to go up and meet up with them for a drink. We asked a steward who said we could catch an escalator. We walked around but I was concerned we might not be able to get back to the lower tier. We came across a security guard and asked him. To give him credit, he was very helpful and pointed us in the direction of a team supervisor but left saying it had a special magic pass that enable to go anywhere. For a split second we thought he was going to do us a favour. We came to the realisation that there was no way of us going up to the upper tier, even though Chris did want to actually try and talk his way pass some stewards. He got a drink and we headed for our seats. Block 125.

We were half way between the goal and half way line (if that make sense?). Towards the left of the pitch. Sorry that is rather pathetic description of where we were sitting but for those of you whom caught the came on television, I think we were part of the ‘O’ of “Welcome Home” which was formed by the crowd (as well as the cross of Saint George) during the national anthem. It must have looked impressive on television, all I caught was the image replayed on the big screens within the stadium. It just was amazing to be part of something for a change, to be there. My first ever England international, the first at the home of football. It was a moment I had perhaps never really thought about until now. I remember Chris and I talking about getting tickets back in early 2006, discussing buying tickets with the accounts department at work. Here I was, minutes away from kick off.

Well it ended in a draw, which I suppose was a fair result. I have been given Chris’ photos and uploaded the best over on a fresh FlickR set. As we headed out of the stadium we had to get into a queue for the Wembley Stadium station. Our queue, was in the middle and quite a long queue. This was for all trains heading northbound. The announcer was some camp guy, and after I thought about it for a while, he must have been the son of Gordon Brittas from the Brittas Empire. He over emphasized the words “Safety” and “Aylesbury” to great comic effect. This had most of us in the queue, including many children in stitches!

Thursday 31st May 2007

It is just before 11pm on Wednesday 30th May and I have just watch the finale to series one (or Volume One as the producers would prefer to call it) of Heroes! I stepped up my game and watched four episodes back to back last night. This was after my marathon session on Monday and Tuesday night. What can I say? I am really looking forward to the second series, which the BBC have already bought (strange when they are still yet to screen the 23 episodes I have just watched!). Super heroism, is one of my favourite genres and this series appealed to me in a way like no other. I should really qualify that statement by making it quite clear that I have not seen that many television shows, particularly US imports. I was surprised to discover that Executive Producer, Timonthy Kring, was also responsible for Teen Wolf Too (a movie I have not seen, as it surely could never live up to the original). With most shows, I can be quite disciplined and watch one episode a week, even if I have the whole boxset on DVD. Somehow, this show got right under my skin and I was hooked almost from the word go. Two characters appealed to me, Hiro from Tokyo and of course Mohinder from Madras. Not knowing what was coming next, not knowing how the story would end, it all added to the suspence. Sure, the series will always be listed as a drama but it is a pure scifi dream. There is a spin off Heroes Origins coming soon and then series two which should fall in September. I just cannot wait. In the meanwhile I have downloaded the ‘web comics’ (all 35, 538 megabytes worth!) to read over the weekend to kill some time.

It has been over two weeks without broadband and thanks to a television show, I have not gone completely insane but I am missing every aspect of my online life. My Dad got a call from Sky this afternoon in response to our letter of complaint and was given the activation date of 6th June. Although they did say the service could be switched on earlier depending on BT. By then, it will have been three weeks out in the wilderness. There is a sense of relieve that the ball is in the court of my new ISP and I am not tearing my hair out trying to get people to respond on the phone or to e-mails. However, there is a small sense of apprenhension, as I read the stories on Sky User of users spending hundreds of pounds on phone bills and going months with no active broadband connection, some going as far as to cancel their Sky connection. Fear not, Teg will return, it is just a few more painful days to go through.

Been waiting for a while but it is finally here. Just another football match? Another friendly? Friendlies are pointless, aren’t they? Not if they are the first England game at the new Wembley Stadium. There could only be a handful of opponents that founding country of the game, could play and Brazil are perhaps the most gifted and entertaining to watch. Who would have believed that by the age of 25, I would have seen Brazil play on English soil, not once, twice but three times! However, the previous two occassions will not compare in anyway to tomorrow evening. Why? It will be my first ever England international (at senior level) at the home of football. Need I say any more?

England v Brazil

At exactly 4.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon I received a text from Pav. It was a picture message with the following text, “Sorry to rub it in but I’ve hit a new record!”. Part of me wanted to throw my phone at the wall, part of me wanted to jump for joy. I still do not know which feeling I felt most! I will let you judge for yourself, but something tells me the Guinness Book Records will not been in touch anytime soon mate!

New Record

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