Sunday, October 30, 2005

Photo Journal Entry #2

Keeping to my promise of trying to deliver a new batch of photos on weeks when I don't supply a written update, here are this week's pics. Enjoy!

This was taken on Friday night when we were all out bidding Ross farewell as he leaves us for Arsenal. From left to right: Marisa, myself, Ross, Claire.

The great thing about England is you can just literally step off the tube and bump into sights like this, the Tower of London.

A packed Roots Hall crowd cheers on Southend to victory over Nottingham Forest.

I took this walking out to the end of the pier, which is 1.25 miles long, and has caught on fire recently, as evidenced in the previous photo journal.

And from the archives...

I wasn't paying attention when it was taken, but I have great memories of the GMAC Bowl in December 2003 when Miami beat Louisville, Big Ben's final game in red.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Under the Sun...

Howdy folks, hard to believe another two weeks has gone by already! Work has been keeping me fairly busy of late, but that can sometimes be a blessing because it makes the day go quicker. This coming week is the last one for Ross, and he will be having a big leaving 'do' on Friday after work. Next Monday then he reports to his new job at Arsenal Football Club, a little team in London (that was heavy sarcasm for those who weren't aware!). I've met his replacment, a guy named Antony, but everyone is more quiet on their first day so the jury is still out on him.

On Friday this past week we had a nice break from the norm when Ross, Declan and I took a table and bunch of Southend United stuff over to the Odeon Cinemas on High Street to pass out at an information fair held there. It was nice to report to work wearing jeans and my replica kit, and great to be out from behind the desk for a day. It was a lot of standing up, but was worth it. This week's picture is Ross (dark hair) and Declan (blonde hair) with some of the more 'colourful' characters at the event.

On the pitch, the Blues have had sort of a rough go lately. Their eight game winning streak was finally ended up north at Doncaster Rovers a week ago last Saturday, and then they lost in the first round of a knockout tournament to a team from a lower league. Just yesterday in a back-and-forth home match, the boys managed to fight for a draw, which is worth one point in the league, but that point was enough to move them back into first for the time being.

My parents and my sister will now be coming over for sure on Christmas morning and leaving on New Year's and I'm really happy for them to be able to do that. Being over in England, even if only for a week, is an amazing experience and I know they'll all have a blast. Now its down to planning out how to fit everything into the short time they're here! I'm sure we'll figure something out.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Photo Journal Entry #1

Hello everyone. In lieu of posting a standard text-based update, which I plan to only do every other week or so, I've decided to also periodically post a photo journal of things going on here, along with an archived photo that people would hopefully be interested in. Hope you all enjoy...

This was taken from the end of the mile-long pier in Southend.

The pier caught fire this week and had to be shut down. It will probably be several months before it is repaired enough to reopen fully. Good thing I got down there early and took the photo above.

A shot of the Southend faithful who made the 200 mile trip to Doncaster on Saturday. Notice there is no seats there. Thankfully I was provided a ticket in the seated area of the main stand, and speaking of which...

Here is what my view from the seats looked like.

And from the archives...

I don't know what to say other than, yes, they were every bit as bad as they appear to be...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Enjoy the View...

These are the 'world famous' Blue Belles, you figure out why.

Some of the players entering the field, Kevin Maher on the left and Darryl Flahavan in the green goalie kit

The Southend fans celebrate their record-breaking eighth win in a row

As you can see, I am able to get a pretty good view of the goings-on during a matchday. I took a video on my camera today of the players leaving the tunnel and running onto the pitch, but decided against posting it because of its size, but you're all welcome to see it when I get back!

Things are continuing to go very well here in sunny Southend on Sea. I say sunny and I mean, as it typically is sunny 6 days a week here. I still can't get over how great the weather's been despite all of the things you here about English rain and such. Maybe it's all up north in Scotland and Manchester areas or something. Who knows. I've heard some say though that since the weather has been so nice lately, that we are likely to have a pretty strong winter over here. I'm just hoping that it stays away until January so that I'm not miserable at the remaining away matches this season!

I've commented before about my love for visiting stadiums, and this has been a great place for me so far. I've only been to five since I've been here, but, looking at the calendar, I should have at least 10 more before I leave, which will be nice to add to the total. My co-worker (and supervisor) Ross Hill will be leaving the club to join Arsenal, but has offered to get Michelle and I tickets for a match at Highbury, which this is the last season that they will be playing there. So that's something to look forward to; sort of like a delayed Christmas present.

As I've mentioned before, being in England is very similar to being in America in many ways. I was finally able to get around and having fish and chips for dinner last Friday night, but didn't enjoy it as much as I could have since I was suffering from a pretty severe headache at the time. It was fun to have the 'cultural cuisine' though, since it's such an iconic dish. However, I'd have to say that I've seen British people eating much more curry dishes than fish and chips and I can also say that I have had that dish now as well since I've been here. I've tried to be adventurous on the food and drink, and I think I'm doing pretty well. I doubt I would have tried curry or shellfish in the US!

Tomorrow starts another regular work week, and I definitely think I've settled in on that front. Ross was away on holiday last week so that give me a little bit of extra responsibility around the office, but it was enjoyable to have a little bit more to keep me busy and gave me a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the week (although I had that bad headache on Friday). On the weekends I always take some time to walk up to High St. (the main shopping avenue which is actually closed to cars so that people can walk and shop). I marvel at how similar it can be to America, with a Starbucks on the corner, two McDonalds' within 500 yards of each other, a Burger King, a Subway, and a T-Mobile outlet. But its always nice to make the 2-mile or so hike up there, have some lunch, and marvel at the monument to consumerism (previous line copyright 'Mallrats').

Not much else new to report, although I'm hoping to hear that my family will indeed be coming over to visit any day now. Michelle has been a definite since July, but they are still waffling. I really hope they decide to come because it would be an amazing experience for them, but I can't push it!!

That's all until next time, take care until then!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Preparing for battle...

I'll have a new UK update forthcoming (probably on Sunday), but just wanted to update about a pretty enjoyable game I've discovered recently.

It's called World War II online, and it pretty much is exactly as it says. It's a Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) in the same genre as Star Wars Galaxies or EverQuest, where you meet up with thousands of other geeks online to play a computer game.

Once entering this world, you select a side (I chose Allies/British; there is no American), a division (2nd Infantry), a brigade (5th Brigade), and then a unit type (I chose rifleman, but you can select from about 7 different unit types, as well as air force, tanks or navy). Then you just start.

Last night I was placed shortly behind the front line, of which I fought over a town called Halle in Belgium. It's basically just Axis versus Allies, and you can track the progress of the front line on the website, which updates the lines every five minutes. The site is

As far as the game goes, the graphics are painfully lacking but the sound is just fantastic. The attention to detail is also incredible I'm told, with real-time loading (a machine gun or tank takes the actual amount of time that it took in real life, for example) of weapons. There's also a good community feel to it as you are pretty much required to rely on others to accomplish the capture of a bunker or depot. All this makes for a great experience and certainly overcomes the lack of graphical quality.