Sunday 1st August 2004

So August is upon us. A fresh start. A special month. Uniquely slotted in between July and my favourite time of year, September. The football season re-starts. The kids are on holiday. Many are away on holiday. The silly season, as often referred to by the tabloid press.

Are you a gamer? More importantly, are you a good gamer? I took my XBox console out of retirement last Sunday. It had been almost seven months since I last played on the video game console from Microsoft. I am not a gamer. Not even a mediocre gamer. Never have been. Although I have played various games in my life, I never been very good at them. There was a phase in the mid to late 90s, when I would purchase every copy of FIFA. Before that phase, I was heavily into football management and worshipped Championship Manager. There was also the ‘shoot ’em up’ era, when I played games such as Wolfenstein 3D (what a classic!), Rise of the Triad, Doom and Quake. The only way I could possibly make progress in these games was to obtain the cheats from the web and then blast my way through all the levels. Is this some sort of genetic disorder? A player, unable to play the game without the aid of the codes. Back in the second year at University, in the rest bite before lectures, we would play Mario Kart on my friend’s N64. We hand four controllers, so we were able to play group games. Who would be last? Yes, you’ve guessed it. I think the most significant moment, was when I was third for the final two laps of the circuit, only to be overtaken a few hundred metres before the finish line. Happy memories for some. A humiliating time for me. Back to the present. The main reason I opened up my boxed XBox was to play GTA III and it’s successor, GTA Vice City. Not exactly the titles to be discussed in light of recent tragic events. However, I loaded up my saved game, but completely disorientated by the setting, I had no idea exactly how far I had got. (Don’t worry, I was not very far in the game at all, even after over tens hours of play!) I headed outside into the street from the hotel (or is it motel?) and jumped into a taxi (it was the first vehicle I could physically stop and hijack) Then toggled on the Taxi Mission. I completed one pickup and drop off successfully, before getting bored and switching off the console. Pathetic. The XBox you will be happy to know is boxed again and will be reopened for another 20 minutes of play in another seven months time. My website is 4 today. Of those four years, nearly two have been recorded in my blog. I was looking back, reading my first entry from August last year, to jog my memory on what I was doing, feeling and thinking some 12 months ago. Then I was enjoying a lazy, empty summer. Now, what is different? Just the fact that I am working, so the week is not as empty, but the rest of the time, much the same. Sleep, eat, blog a little and more sleep. Arsenal are in friendly action this afternoon, as they take part in the Sony Amsterdam Tournament. The game on Friday against River Plate, was very much a non-event. With Jose Antonio Reyes, showing glimpses of the magic, he showed towards the end of the last season. The Gunners play the hosts, Ajax on Sunday and I hope Wenger fields a more experienced team for this match. As always, for the latest news and views on The Invincible Champions (doesn’t that sound great!?) check out ArseBlog. I was in central London on Sunday last week. I was hoping to blog about this earlier, but just never got around to it. I met up with my friend, Tam from Warwick. He is now, off on a tour of Europe, with three of his University friends, this was an opportunity for us to meet up before he headed across over to the continent. We were to meet up in Trafalgar Square, but it was brimming with tourists. Then I noticed that a Sikh parade was about to pass through and waited to witness the event. That is the beauty of our capital. There is always something going on, no matter the time of day or year. Unfortunately, I did not bring my digital camera. Thankfully, Tam did, so he took some snaps.

Can you switch off your mobile? I found it one of the easiest things to do. No problems. I enjoy being able to disconnect myself from the rest of the world. Some of my friends however could never do such a thing. They have a major complex about it. One keeps his mobile on, 24 hours a day. Who exactly is going to call you up at 3am on a Wednesday morning? Also become aware of another hidden complexity when it comes to mobile phones. This did not happen until I got to University. The fear of the ‘withheld number’. One of my previous housemates, refused to answer the phone if the number was not shown on his mobile screen. What is wrong with you people? Please! Many companies operate a strict policy, to not give out phone numbers so no number is displayed when they call. I never hesitate to answer the phone, regardless of the fact if I know the caller on not. Last night, listening to the radio, as you do. I was switching around the various London based radio stations. I heard the chorus of a song. The song was familiar, although I could not quite put my finger on it. However, the vocals were so distinctive. Instantly recognizing the artist, for her signature style and range. They don’t let any old person sing the title for a James Bond film. You know that. Listening to the song, as it trailed off, I thought for a long while. Yes, this was the answer I was looking for. “Nothing Stays The Same…” I know that now, or am slowly coming to realise the significance of those four words. As much I wish things were the same as they were several years ago, this will never be the case. So, we have found the soundtrack for the coming week. A difficult week, I know that already. What exactly the week holds, I do not know for sure. Plenty of time to prepare. I know that certain things will just be coming around again…

And I Believe In Love But What Else Can I Do I’m So In Love With You I Know Nothing Stays The Same But If You’re Willing To Play The Game It’s Coming Around Again

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