Archive for Train

First Bit and Now With More Bits

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 18/01/2011 by arabrhizome

I completely forgot about this. I’m really swamped with things to do. I will try to complete this post later tonight when I get back, but for now I’m just letting you all know I made it safely from Algeria. I’ll elaborate about my day yesterday later. Anyway, talk soon. Love you bye.

Right, I said I might complete this post tonight and here I am. I would like to apologise for the short post earlier, a lot happened today, well that’s not exactly true I ran out of time because of sleep issues, but I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Anyway, I found myself strapped for time and I needed to lock today’s post, so I did just that. Now to tell you about my trip back from Algeria. It’s always a little bit of an adventure. Of course by adventure I mean sitting in a series of different seats while moving, whether on the ground or in the sky.

So I woke up relatively early on Monday and showered and got ready. My dad was worried about not finding a taxi so we left quite early. We found a taxi straight away, and got to the airport as the check in desks for my flight were opening. I had checked in online, so I went through the fast track desk. Online check in is one of the best things made possible y technology. I think that when the time comes for the machines to become sentient and rebel against us, online check in will side with us, along with the watch again option for tv programs and kettles (I believe that kettles are our friends and that they will not turn on us).

Anyway, I had coffee with my dad before going through passport control and security. It all went very smoothly, as it usually does on the Algerian side. I sat down at the cafe in the terminal and read a bit. The time passed pretty quickly and as I was finishing writing yesterday’s post, the plane started boarding. So I finished the post off, got my stuff in my bag and got on the plane. The flight was very enjoyable. I spent it re-watching episodes from the first series of BattleStar Galactica. BA is a very nice airline, and the cabin crew are always lovely. This makes it easier to be on their side when they are taking industrial action against the management. That being said, I usually find it easier to be on the worker’s side, I am a lefty after all.

When we landed, I made my way to passport control to find the longest queue I’ve ever seen there. I guess three or four plane must have landed around the same time and they were all populated with non-UK and non-EU citizens. I got used to always getting in the line labelled ‘other’, but on Monday there were a lot of others. However, the line kept moving relatively quickly, I barely stood still. It took me about half an hour to get to a desk though. The lady that was checking my passport was in a very foul mood and even though I was all smiles, she didn’t even pretend to be polite. She didn’t even say hello or good bye, but at least she didn’t send me in the special room where the man with the rubber glove lives. So I can’t really complain about her.

After that the journey was quite straight forward, I took the tube to the train station. It was rush hour, so the carriage very quickly filled up. Because I got on at the first station, I had a seat. However, at some point there was a pregnant lady and no one stood for her. I gave her my seat and had to negotiate the crowds on the tube with my bags. I think some people are proper arseholes. If you see a pregnant woman you give up your seat, that’s basic manners. But anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Once I got to the train station, I had to wait until the off peak time, and got on the train home.

The journey was more or less uneventful, I got online and enjoyed the on board wifi. It was nice to be able to connect to facebook and twitter again. I was able to do some online housekeeping that I was unable to do in Algeria. I believe that I mentioned the fact that I was unable to get on facebook or twitter because of very dense traffic. I also uploaded my blog post that I wrote earlier and was disappointed to note that not a single one of you left a comment under my wordpress spam post to tell me if I should turn it into a regular feature, like a weekly or bi-weekly post. Come on people, get your fingers out and let me know.

I got home around 21:30. I was exhausted and thought I would sleep. However, I ended up staying up until 7:00. I had many things to do on Tuesday, and because of my stupid insomnia I knew I was going to have trouble doing them. But that’s tomorrow’s story. Anyway, that’s it from me. I’ll see you all tomorrow for more of this kind of rubbish. Love you bye.

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Long Long Day

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 13/01/2011 by arabrhizome

I’m Writing this post from Algeria. However, that’s a whole different story and will be covered in tomorrow’s post. Anyway, I left you yesterday at the end of Tuesday, feeling sad and angry because I wasn’t able to sleep. So I found myself deciding to see if I could maybe get to sleep a bit later and decided to just hang out doing something else until the time for me to sleep comes.

I was aware that there were good chances that I wouldn’t sleep and have a repeat of the previous day. The problem with this of course is that Wednesday was going to be a very busy day for me. I needed to pack, have lunch with a friend, clean up my flat, make my way down to London, and watch Richard Herring’s Christ on a Bike in the Leicester Square Theatre. So I needed my full mental capacity.

Anyway, I spent the first few hours watching Eureka and doing things around the flat that didn’t involve a lot of noise. For example, I cleared up my desk, and tidied up a few loose papers I had lying around the living room. I also folded and put away my washing. Around 3:00 I was really pissed off because I wasn’t even slightly sleepy. I was heading towards another long long day, except this one was going to involve me travelling down to London and trying to stay up as I’m watching a show around the time I’d probably be passing put from exhaustion.

I got a little sleepy around 6:00 and decided to try to sleep until 11:00. I couldn’t sleep longer than that if I was to get everything done before I travel. I let someone know that this was my plan so that they call me and wake me up if my alarm wasn’t enough. However, as soon as I hit the bed I felt energy rushing through my body. I wasn’t going to sleep and that was that. My body had decided to become a real arsehole to me and to itself it seems.

So I got out of bed and decided to get the day started as if I had woken up then. So I made myself tea and did the washing up. I got my bag more or less ready and did a bit of tidying up. I also, checked in online for my flight and printed out my boarding pass. I really like this part of technology. Online check in is our friend. By that point it was time for me to go and meet my friend for lunch. So I made my way to university and picked her up to go have lunch. We were both very tired and not very talkative. So after eating we said bye and I made my way back home.

I finished packing my bag and got the trash ready to be thrown away. I showered and shaved, the shaving was mainly in preparation for my flight to Algeria the next day. Because I was working on little sleep and two consecutive long days, everything I did was slow and laboured. But I got everything done and made my way to the station to take the train down to London. Once in the train, I realised I was not going to be able to have a nap, as I thought I might. So instead I got my computer out and decided to try the new fangled online wifi. As I was getting my computer out, I realised that I had forgotten my boarding pass that I had printed out earlier today. I quickly got online and checked, and it was fine, I could re-print one at the airport, but for a second I was quite annoyed with myself.

As soon as I got on Facebook I saw that at that particular moment the Lebanese opposition was resigning from the government, that’s 10 ministers. Before going further, let me try to explain the broad picture of Lebanese politics at the moment, and the functioning of the government. There are two major political blocks March 14, the majority, and the opposition, Hezbollah, the patriotic front, and other smaller parties. There are also a few ‘independents’. According to the Doha agreement, which was signed a few years ago because of a major political crisis, just under a third of the Lebanese government will be composed of 33 ministers, 10 from the opposition, 20 from the majority, and 3 ‘independents’.

That’s the broad picture. However, the international tribunal investigating the death of Harriri in 2005 is about to present its preliminary findings and it is said that it might indict a few members of Hezbollah. The tribunal has been a hot topic for a while now, and I have many reservations on its functioning and its lines of inquiry. I believe that it is politically motivated and that it did not look seriously at all the possible culprits. But anyway, the Syrian and Saudi governments had tried to offer a solution that completely failed. And so the opposition resigned. However, for the government to be toppled you need a third of it to resign, that’s why the 3 independents are there as a buffer.

So as I was reading the news the 10 opposition leaders had resigned, but the government still stood. Then a few minutes later, one of the independents offered his resignation and the government was therefore de facto resigned. At the moment the news broke Harriri, who was in the US, went into a meeting with Obama. I would argue that this is a huge mistake. If he wants to be seen as a leader and not an American puppet he should have made a statement straight away, it’s not like no one knew that the opposition were threatening an en masse resignation. But instead he went in. He had the presence of mind to cut the visit short, however, instead of flying straight back to Lebanon, he went to France to meet the French president. Is he trying to look like a puppet? Is he trying to look like an employee of the West? Because that’s exactly what his actions are telling us.

At this point we were asked by the train driver to get out at Kettering and get on another train to London because the one we were on had a fault. I gathered my stuff and got ready to do exactly that, cussing the train companies in the UK under my breath, along with everyone else. We got out and everyone was pushing and shoving and acting like total twats. I decided that I wouldn’t be rude, but I was being pushed and shoved, so I used the only weapon at my disposal, my height. I sneaked to the front and was one of the first people on the train. I sat down and realised that I had forgotten my hat and my scarf on the other train. This bothered me a little, but there was nothing I could do about it.

Anyway, the rest of the journey didn’t involve any problems and we got to London only 10 minutes late, which is alright. I was beginning to feel my usual pre-travel anxiety and sadness rising in me. I always get slightly depressed and anxious the day before I travel, the fact that I was not sleeping properly was going to be an aggravating factor. I made my way to the hostel and found that the bed I was given was the lower bunk and was actually a double bed. This made me slightly happy. I still had an hour and a half to go until my show, so I decided to write my blog post then, that’s yesterday’s one (look at the strange self-referentiality of the text that is my blog, it’s quite intelligent).

I was done with it quite quickly and then decided to go to Leicester square and eat something quick there before getting in to the show. By that time I was quite sad and anxious, so I decided to allow myself to have some Burger King, I know that it’s evil but I never have it, and I needed something quick, and I’m going to stop rationalising now. In there I saw a couple of French-Arabs with their child. The child was being all rude and teenagery. He didn’t want to be in Burger King and was going to sulk about it very loudly and visibly. Then his mom just slapped him across the face, and you could feel all the British people cringe about it. It was entertaining to watch, because I understood what they were talking about. I was like a spy.

Anyway, after my food I went in the theatre and made my way to my seat. It was a very good seat, second row just on his right. I’m going to review his show in a separate post, but I will simply say that Richard Herring is very good at his job. His shows are very intelligent and very well constructed. You can tell that he’s thought about every single word he says. It’s a real shame that he doesn’t automatically sell out. Anyway, if you’re in London and are looking for something to do, in the next 8 days, go to the Leicester Square Theatre and watch him. You won’t regret it.

After the show was over, I made my way back to the hostel and got online for a bit. Someone had their stuff on my bed, which I wasn’t happy about, but I didn’t know who it was. I decided to leave it for now and deal with it when I get back to sleep. By this point I was feeling properly depressed and sad. I didn’t want to go to Algeria. I wanted to go back home and stay there. The thing that bothers me most when I go to Algeria, is that I see my future in my dad. I feel that I keep trying to not become him, but life keeps pushing me this way. Anyway, I know it’s a downer but I felt really bad.

I went back to my room to sleep around 10. It seems someone told the man that it was my bed, because he apologised straight away and moved his stuff. I got ready to sleep and put my alarm for 6:00. I needed to wake up early to make it in time for my flight. Luckily, I was so tired that I slept like a log. I think that, for the first time in a long time, I was the first person to be snoring in a hostel room.

Leicester Part III

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 04/12/2010 by arabrhizome

I’d like to apologise for the short post. Most of the coming posts will be short because I have a lot of work to do and I can’t take too long on this. In fact, I’m going into a bit of a hibernation mode. I’m going to be spending all my time working for a while, at least until I get two chapters written. I’m going to be a bit out of touch with everyone. I do apologise for that, but I have been wasting way too much time on trying to save things that were not meant to be saved. I need to make up for two years of very unproductive work. So here’s my Leicester story.

I woke up a little late on Friday, as I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I Made my way to Leicester for the third time this month. The train station in Beeston was covered in snow, as was the way there. The train was very busy, so I stood by one of the doors on my way. The views were beautiful, and I wish I was in a better mood to enjoy them. Anyway, I got to Leicester and made my way to the mac store. I had reread my bill, and I was surprised that while I thought I was going to pay 230£ for my laptop to be fixed, in fact I was going to pay 165£ because they did some stuff for free.

Anyway, I got there and I was waiting for the genius person to process me. She seemed a bit flustered and there seemed to be a problem. I waited politely, while prepared to hear something horrible. However, I was wrong. It turns out that they decided to repair my laptop under apple care. In other words, I paid nothing for my laptop to be fixed. I was very happy about it. It was a nice surprise in an otherwise quite glum day. I made my way back to the train station. I arrived an the train was on the platform but I had missed the right time to get on by seconds as the doors had locked. I had to wait for a whole hour for the next one. It was very annoying.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all of it. My laptop is nice and clean. I am very happy with it, it’s all shiny and good looking. I will now go back to work. See you soon.

Morning in Liverpool, Afternoon in Train, Evening in Nottingham

Posted in Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 29/11/2010 by arabrhizome

I woke up on Sunday before my alarm rang at the incredible time of 7:30. My alarm was set for 8:00, but somehow, even though I had a very rough night, and I had slept very little the night before that, my body wanted me to wake up early. I was very happy to be up, I realised that one of the occupants of my room was in the bathroom. So I checked my emails and did some internet surfing on my phone while waiting. I also got my stuff ready for my shower and teeth brushing. Anyway, I was dressed and in the lobby by about 8:15.

We went into the dinning room to have breakfast. It was very nice. We decided to have a big breakfast, that way we can have a light sandwich on the train and not feel too hungry. An asian girl, I think she was chinese but I’m not sure, sat with us at our table. She was on a tour of the UK. She had already been to London, Cambridge, Belfast, Somewhere in Scotland she wasn’t clear where, Manchester, and was here in Liverpool on her way to Oxford. She mentioned that when she finishes, she’s going to Italy. She kept asking us about the food and about britain.

After a while, her friend came in and she left us to go and sit with her. It was clearly very cold outside, so we decided to stay in the hostel until around 9:30, in order to go around and some shopping before we made our way to the station by 12:30, the train was on 12:52. I thought I should buy myself a pair of proper boots in order to be able to deal with the snow down in Nottingham. So we hung out at the hostel lobby while the concierge told us he wasn’t able to go to Edinburgh because of the snow.

Eventually though we made our way out and it was quite chilly, but not as cold as we expected. most stores weren’t open yet so we walked around a bit waiting for them to open. We eventually made our way to the big John Lewis, I played a bit with an ipad there. I know it is completely useless and is something that I, along with the rest of the human population, do not need, I still want one more than anything in the world. We kept going from shop to shop. I bought myself a pair of Doc Martins boots. Even though I was a grungy kid in the 1990s I have never owned a pair. My mother never bought them for me and I never had enough money myself to buy some.

We also went in a very nice bookshop, I bought a for dummies book, Singing for dummies. As some of you know, I cannot sing to save my life. I am quite musical and play guitar, bass, and a little bit of piano, I am also looking to learn to play violin, as soon as I have a bit of extra money. However, I cannot sing to save myself. I hear myself singing out of tune but cannot do anything about it. I am aware that this has as much to do with ability as it has to do with bad posture and bad breathing. So I’m hoping this book will at least put me on the right track to singing.

Anyway, we got to the station at the right time and bought ourselves sandwiches for the road. Once we got on the train, we were able to find seats, but very quickly the train filled up with a great number of people. Again, there was a bunch of genitals and bottoms pressed against me. the trolly lady on this train was the same as the one on the train up to Liverpool, and the one on the train back when we went there the first time. She’s from Lithuania and recognised us. The train journey was a little boring, and long. We did enjoy looking out on some snow covered fields. We were very tired and had to fight not to sleep.

Anyway, we arrived in Nottingham, and it was quite cold. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching tv and listening to radio. I did a bit of work and watched  Match of the Day 2. I had mentioned that I wanted to sleep early, but was sure that I wouldn’t. It turns out I was right. I stayed up until about 3:00. I was hoping to see some snow falling, however, by the  time I went to bed there was no snow. I was a little bit bothered that there was no snow. Anyway, that’s my very busy Sunday.

Liverpool Again

Posted in Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So as I hinted at yesterday, well I actually told you, I went on Saturday to Liverpool. But before getting to that bit of the story I’d like to talk about the previous night and the mixture of wonderment and frustration I felt. So I went to try and sleep at a normal time, thinking that I had to wake up at a normal hour the next day. I was quite tired as well, which was lucky. However, as soon as I got into bed my tiredness went away and I was wide awake.

This is something that does happen to me from time to time, well when I say from time to time I do mean most nights. I was very frustrated about that. I kept fighting it and trying to sleep anyway, but to no avail. So I got up and made myself some herbal tea and tried to relax and eventually go back to sleep. Around 2:00 I looked out of my window and it was starting to snow. It was wonderful. I love snow and sat there sipping my tea and watching the snow fall. Around 3:00 or 4:00 I did go to sleep and was able to have a few hours of rest.

I woke up to realise that while I was very happy to see the world covered in snow, I don’t actually own shoes that can help me walk in snow. So I put on the closest thing I have to boots and, after showering and getting my bag ready, made my way, carefully, to the bus station. I was very angry to see two busses pass by quickly, I couldn’t run so I realised I had to wait for a while. I did wait for a long time and finally two other busses came together and I got on one. It was full and I was soon packed like a sardine in with the other punters.

I wanted to make it a little early at the station in order to renew my rail card, and withdraw some money for the weekend. However, I made it in time just to buy a ticket at full price, it was an off peak but still. I then got on the train and made my way to Liverpool. The train ride was okay at first. We were passing through the snow covered Yorkshire vales. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. But then the inevitable rail confusion occurred. We stopped many times without any explanation. I really hate how bad the rail service is in this country. They invented it and are now one of the worst people at it.

The train was full as well, we were lucky to have found seats, but as usual that meant that some genitals were pressed against me. Anyway, we eventually made it to Liverpool and first put our stuff in the hostel and then went for a walk. We were in Liverpool to watch a performance by Guillermo Gómez-Peña, but it wasn’t going to start until 20:00. So we decided to walk around a little bit, but then we thought we would eat early, that way we can make it to the performance early.

So we went to Jamie’s Italian, a lovely restaurant we had sampled the last time we were there. There was a queue of people that stretched to the outside, even though it was only in the 18:00 region. We eventually got in and were seated. We shared some excellent food, mainly fish and sea food based stuff. I really recommend eating there if you have a chance, it’s delicious.

After food we made our way to the performance. Liverpool is currently hosting an arts festival featuring disabled artists. We got there a little bit early and waited in the lounge while a series of different musicians were playing. It took me time before realising that they all featured or were all disabled. It was nice to see that. The point though is that it is a sad indictment on our society that this whole sway of people need a special event in order to be properly represented.

Anyway, We made our way to the performance area and waited at the door before we were allowed in. One of the signs on the door featured my favourite phrase of all time: ‘This performance contains adult themes and incorporates a dead goat’. I don’t think I will ever encounter a phrase as good as this one. So when the time came we made our way in and the performance began.

I came in not really knowing what to expect. I knew that he was an experimental performance artist. The performance happened over an hour and a half. The audience was encouraged to circulate within the installation participate in anyway we find fit, and even go out to the bar and have a drink before coming back in. This performance was like nothing I have ever witnessed. It was brilliant in almost every way. The audience was a little dead and needed a lot of priming from the performers. But even though that was the case, it was still fantastic.

I don’t want to talk about what happened in it too much, as it is very difficult to describe it without somehow doing violence to it. However, one of my two favourite bits involved us decolonising the body of a woman by removing tiny acupuncture flags that were put on her body. The lady, her name is Maria was brilliant and her performance involved a whole bunch of stuff. Anyway, this bit was fantastic.

The other thing was another female performer who came in at some point in the middle of the performance dragging a bunch of stockings hanging from her naked body, these stockings were filled with books. These books were an eclectic array of theory and literature. Many of these books are ones that I have on my bookshelf or that I have read. She made her way onto a podium, with difficulty. It was really good.

Anyway, basically I am now a fan boy. I would love to see another performance of his at some point, if I have a chance. I would like to watch him with an audience that’s not as stuck up as this one. Anyway, after the performance we made our way back to the hostel. It was very cold, but we made it in one piece. We were quite high from the performance and had a cup of tea in the hostel and discussed it a little bit. Then we went to try and sleep.

It is then that I wrote yesterday’s post. I sat in my bed and listened to a podcast, I wasn’t very sleepy. Finally around 23:30, I was tired and ready to sleep. The problem is one of the people in my room was snoring like a very loud snoring man, I misjudged my ability to come up with a good simile there. It took me very long to get to sleep as I wasn’t able to tune out the noise. But eventually my tiredness meant that I couldn’t stay up anymore.

Well I hope that this makes up for yesterday’s shortish post. I am now going to watch match of the day 2 before getting ready to sleep. I am hoping that I will sleep on the early side, but I am aware of the fact that I probably won’t sleep too early. Anyway, good night.

The Great Journey To Watch Live Football

Posted in Culture, Friends, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 21/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So as I mentioned yesterday, Saturday was going to be a huge day for me. A and I were going to watch our first Barkley’s Premiership game. In my case, this was going to be my first ever league football game. I went to sleep with a lot of trepidation and excitement. I woke up with even more excitement and trepidation. In fact, I clearly had way too much adrenaline in my body because I woke up very early. I think I wanted the day to come so quickly that I actually made myself wake up earlier than I had to.

Anyway, so I woke up and had to wait for a very long time before A passed by for us to walk to the train station and make our way to Birmingham. So I spent my morning reading stuff online and drinking tea. I took a shower as well, just because I needed to kill time, as I had showered the night before. The time was passing so slowly and I had so much energy flowing through my body that I felt a little bit trapped.

Anyway, time did pass in the end and A called to let me know that he was on his way. Rather than wait for him to get to my flat and buzz me. I put on my coat, over my big wooly jumper long sleeve t-shirt and t-shirt, my hat, and my gloves and walked towards him. I wore so many clothes because I didn’t want to be cold at the stadium.

Anyway, A and I made our way to the train station, bought our tickets and waited for our train. Now we were clearly very excited about going to watch the football because we got to the station way too early. A was in a bit of a moany mood, which was very funny. We were both quite hungry and were trying to decide what we were going to eat once we got to Birmingham.

The train journey was unremarkable. We were standing for the first bit of the journey, until Derby, and then found a couple of seats. We played some trivial pursuit on his iPhone. It’s a nifty little app, but we realised that we were a little too good for it. I’m not being arrogant, it’s just that we ended up getting on a role of some sort and the person playing would finish the game before the other had a chance to answer. So the games were a little one-sided. But still, it helped pass the time, and we finally made it to Birmingham.

Now A had looked up where the stadium was and was confident that it was a few minutes away from town center. So we thought we’ll find something to eat, as we had two hours to go before the game. We walked around trying to find a pizza express, that’s what we decided we wanted to eat. But couldn’t find one in the town center. At this point I remembered the fact that we both have iPhones that are connected to this thing called the internet, and so could look up the closest restaurant. We figured that there was one in the bullring, which is a giant maul. In fact, Birmingham felt like a giant maul city.

So we made our way there, but before that we asked at the tourist center how to get to the stadium and were told to take the bus. The man there, who seemed to hate the fact that he had to do his job, told us that it was too far to walk. This led to us being in a little but of a panic, as we weren’t sure we would make it in time. We got to the pizza express, but there was a very long queue and we felt like we didn’t have time. So we made our way to where we thought the bus stop was and joped that there would be food at the stadium.

We eventually found the bus stop and got on the bus, it wasn’t the one that the man at the tourist center told us to take. A nice man at the bus stop told us which one we needed to take. We were both tracking our progress on our maps app, as we didn’t know where the stop we needed to get off at was, and the bus didn’t tell us. There was a little bit of traffic, so we were a little tense fearing that we might not get to the game in time.

However, we were very quickly there and it was clear that the man at the tourist center is just a lazy bum. So we got to the grounds in time and thankfully there was a bunch of burger vans around the stadium and so we could have something to eat. So very quickly the tension went away and we were able to satiate our hunger.

Our seats were on the other side of the stadium. So we walked around it and thought for a second that we were going to be seated with the away fans, Chelsea in this case. But it turns out we were not, so that was a bit of a relief as these particular fans looked a little rowdy. So we got in and made our way to our seats. We were sitting on the eights row in between the halfway line and one of the goals. The seats were incredible. We could spit on the players if we wanted to.

The players were warming up when we sat and it was impossibly exciting to see these great players in the flesh, and so close to us. We were watching the Chelsea keeper pass the ball to one of the reserve keepers, who was half way in the opposite half. The ball kept falling exactly in their hands, without them having to move at all. The amount of skill this involved was incredible.

Another weird thing was that there were two goals in each half. It meant that the pitch had 4 goals. We later learned the the extra two goals were there only for the warm up. The team warming up on our side was Chelsea and we saw Drogba, Malouda, Anelka, and the rest of the gang warm up by shooting at the goal. We both noted that they were missing a lot, and that even though there was no pressure on them, like there would be in a game, they were unable to burry the ball at the back of the net that often. Did this mean that they would miss a lot during the game? Or were they getting the bad shots out of their systems and were going to be great during the game?

Anyway, there was still a bit of time before the game started and the giant screen was right in front of us, so we sat and enjoyed the entertainment there, while waiting for the players to come back onto the pitch and start the game. The pitch at Birmingham City is a strange one. It is a little small. As some of you know, even though football is such a huge international sport, there isn’t a single standardised pitch size. This one was a little small in length.

The game started soon enough with Birmingham attacking towards the goal that we were near to. Chelsea began quite confidently and had a shot on goal almost straight away. They were top of the table, but had suffered two defeats in a row. Birmingham on the other hand were in the relegation zone and haven’t been playing their best football. However, it was clear that they weren’t that bothered by these facts and were going to play positive football. They very quickly took the ascendency and started being dangerous. They didn’t have many shots on goal, but most of the action was on our side of the pitch.

Around halfway in the first halftime a lovely long ball found the head of Cameron Jerome (Birmingham’s striker) who played it for Lee Bowyer (a midfield player) who seemed to slice open Chelsea’s defense. After a lovely control and an even lovelier strike he scored Birmingham’s first goal. The Birmingham fans, which were very quiet so far, erupted in a deafening roar of cheers and applause. It was a great goal. The Chelsea fans who were doind most of the chanting fell silent and the Birmingham fans started singing and cheering.

It was an amazing moment. I had seen the underdogs score against arguably the best team in English football this season. We hoped that Birmingham would continue to play so positively, but knew that they would probably end up playing a more defensive game now and try to maintain their lead. This is exactly what happened. They did have a couple of promising counter attacks but nothing of note.

The half ended and we tried to get some tea but we ended up staying in line for way too long and had to make our way very quickly back to our seats. The game was already on its way but only for a minute. This time around, Chelsea were attacking on our side. This fact turned out to be a very good thing. Indeed, Chelsea threw everything, including the kitchen sink at Birmingham. However, the Birmingham goalkeeper was having one of those days when everything he did was perfect. He couldn’t do anything wrong, and the one time he couldn’t get to the ball the cross bar denied Chelsea.

This fact meant that we witnessed most of the action in front of our eyes. It was a very exciting game of football. Even though it was a low scoring game, I don’t think either of us can complain about the quality of football we witnessed. The last minutes of the game were nail biting. However, when the final whistle sounded the Chelsea players walked off the pitch without shaking hand with the Birmingham players. It was a very dickish and divaish attitude. I was very disappointed by them. Birmingham didn’t play dirty football, so there was no reason for them to act like this.

The point is though that I have caught the bug. I love live football, it is so much better than watching it on tv. I am seriously thinking of getting tickets to watch Nottingham Forest live. Anyway, at the end of the game the Chelsea fans were starting a bit of trouble. They were hurling abuse at the Birmingham fans and the police stood in front of them and moved them out. We made our way out and passed near their exit. It was blocked by heavy police presence and a bunch of vans.

We walked back to the train station, it took us about 20 minutes. Next time we come to watch a game in Birmingham we’ll just walk there. At the train station there was a little bit of commotion. It turns out that Stoke City had Beaten West Brom, and the Stoke City fans at the station were being really rowdy. Again the police had to intervene. It’s a shame that these idiots ruin such a fun and beautiful game.

The train journey back was nice and quiet. We played a bit of trivial pursuit again on the way. I got back home feeling very tired but also very satisfied. I did a little bit of inconsequential work. I stayed up to watch Match of the Day, and I think that I saw my hat during one of the actions on tv. It’s very exciting.

Leicester Again

Posted in Friends, Me, Palestine, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So the day of reckoning came on Wednesday. I am not being melodramatic. I woke up early and got ready to go to the train station. I was hoping that there wouldn’t be any drunk people around the train station this time. I had some time before going, so I had a nice little breakfast. Nothing special, just some tea, cereal, and fruit. I then made my way to the station. It was a little dreary and cold. When I got there I tried to buy a train ticket using my railcard. It usually makes my train fair cheaper. However, not this time. It made my train ticket more expensive. I was annoyed about that. Clearly the machine was mistaken but there was nothing I could do about it as there was nobody at the desk.

Anyway, I sat and waited for the train. There were no drunk people around, which was very nice. However, before I got on the train I checked my twitter account and realised that I am being followed by an account called TalmudReadings. It is based in tel aviv, and is clearly managed by some mental people. I had a look at their timeline and they are a crazy fascist account. I think you might all enjoy some of their more insane tweets. So here we go:

‘Shabbath 116a. Jews must destroy the books of the Christians, i.e. the New Testament.’ Also, ‘Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile (“Cuthean”),there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.’ Another nice one is ‘Soferim 15,Rule 10.This is the saying of Rabbi Simon ben Yohai: Tob shebe goyyim harog(“Even the best of the gentiles should all be killed”).’ And ‘Rabbi Yaacov Perrin- “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” NY Daily News, Feb. 28, 1994, p.6’. And finally ‘Sanhedrin 58b. If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed.’

So I noted on twitter that I find it quite strange that a person who believes this kind of murderous fascist account chose to follow me. I then started wondering if they are a joke account of some sort. I thought they might be a satirical account that tries to show the violence in the talmoud in order to highlight the fact that Islam isn’t the only violent religion. But given the people who follow that account I doubt it. It seems they are really just a fascist account.

Anyway, I had a little bit of fun calling them fascists and nazi wannabes. Then the train came and I got distracted. The train journey itself was very pleasant. Once I arrived in Leicester, I made my way to the mac store. It was much earlier then my appointment, but I thought I’d chance it. It turned out to be a good idea, as there was no body being served at the genius bar. I talked to one of the technicians who was very nice. I explained what happened and he had a look at my computer.

It turned out that my Apple Care doesn’t cover accidents. Which meant that I had to pay. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too expensive. If it was I had decided to buy myself a new computer, rather than fix this one. Thankfully it turned out to be a very reasonable price. I was lucky as only the display screen was cracked and not the whole monitor. This meant that they don’t have to change the whole thing, but simply refit a new screen. They also offered to redo the finish for free, which was very nice.

The whole operation is going to take a week, but thanks to A I have a computer in the mean time. I have to admit though that there was a tiny little bit of me that was disappointed that it could be fixed for not too much money. I secretly hoped that I would buy myself a new toy. But now I know that I will buy a Macbook pro at some point later, rather than just a Macbook. And in the long run that’s better.

I made my way back to the station and wanted to get on my train back. However, the train was cancelled. A man came and offered us a bus replacement service. I decided to wait for the next train, which was going to be there an hour later. I just didn’t fancy being on the road, especially that it was going into two other towns before getting me home. So I bought myself a coffee and sat around in the station waiting.

I have to admit that it was a little boring. But the train arrived eventually and I made my way back home. When I got home I felt a little ill. My right ear was particularly bad. It was painful and blocked. My throat was acting up as well. So I took some lemsip and decided to try and sleep it off. I was planning to go A’s flat later to watch the football but at the time I was almost sure that I wouldn’t.

However, when I woke up I decided to go anyway. I wasn’t feeling a lot better but at least the pain was mainly gone. So I went and watched the football. We had a little bit of a bet going over who would win. It was France against England. I thought that England would win because their line up seemed a lot stronger then the French one. However, it was very  clear that France were playing a lot better than England. The only player that seemed to be playing for England was Andy Caroll, who’s a great player.

Anyway, the betting system allows us to change our bets at halftime. I decided along with someone else, to bet that France would win with a 2-1 lead. It turned out to be the final score and I ended up winning. After a very enjoyable evening, even though it was a little bit dampened by my ear being blocked, I got back home. I came home to find a note that said that my gas was turned off at the meter with a number to call. I decided not to worry about it until morning and just went to sleep. More about the gas thing tomorrow. Don’t you like how I’m ending on a cliff hanger?