Sunday, 7 December 2008

A tale of two footballs

Over the summer I went to two very different football games. So did my friend Michael "Dougle" McDougle. The first one was Dougle's first football or 'soccer' game at DC united. As you can tell he was pretty excited.

Well get a few beers in him and he is! He thought I was taking a picture.

Ah here I am with bottle of vodka in hand and 4 hours early to the match. Now that is a true football fan! Well there was a little thing called a 'tailgate' before that we had to partake in. It was $10 for all you can drink and eat. Why the bottle of vodka you ask? Well they do run out, don't wanna miss out on some drinking time. The term tailgate comes from having a party in the car park while sitting on the tailgate of your car. It is pretty much like going to the pub before them game.

The united shirt went down really well. So many people came up and talked to me as I was wearing a 'real' footbal shirt. Many of them were expats like me. I even met two Shefield united suporters, from sheffield.

I just liked this. A DC number plate.

It was strange to see a smiliar atmosphere at the soccer game. I do miss everyone piling out of the pub or whereever and getting to the game just at kick-off. Notice Greg in the yellow.

Even though it was a terrible game we sang all match. Mark (left) is actually a DC united fan and got us sweet tickets behind all the nutters.

Here is the song that we sang a lot of the time. It was a great atmosphere. Dougle loved the game even though it was a 0-0 draw.

I said it was a tale of two football games. Dougle is a big [American] football fan. I said I would go to a game with him. I was rewarded with the UNC (Chapel Hill) Virginia Tech game (Dougle went to VT). Slightly hungover from the night before we got in Dougles car and drove to the thrill with a Bojangles tailgate special (lots o' fred chicken in a box). It was a lovely day in the thrill to sit just on the UNC campus drink beer and eat chicken and go to the game.

Here is the half time show. The marching bands. VT were down at this point to a strong Carolina team. I was sat with all the VT fans while I had no allegiance to either team I did find the Carolina annoucer rather annoying, so I was rooting for VT. It was a close game in the end and VT came out to win. They eventually won the ACC this year.!

Carolina are in blue and VT white.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

NC: The Outer Banks

Here is the second part of my little road trip with my parents. From Virginia we went to Kill Devil Hills, NC and Kitty Hawk, NC on the Outer Banks and then back to Durham (about 550 miles according to google). You should really have heard of these places. It was where the Wright brothers did the first powered flight. Here is a picture to jog the memory.

OK no more learning. I wanted to go for that reason, but also the outer banks are also beautiful place. We stopped off at the tourist info and couldn't resist snapping the folks acting like Carolinians.

It was just our luck to get there as a Hurricane/Tropical storm was moving up the east coast. I think it passed about 100 miles off NC a few days after we left. It did give a pretty cool

It was pretty grim weather

But being NC, it didn't want to stay bad for a while. We also still got the swell from the storm.

I love watching the pelican fly up and down the beach.

As we were pretty much across the road from where they did the first flight it would be rude not to go to the museum. I really did enjoy it, but I kinda am a geek.

This is the hill that the did their first glider experiments from, and later powered flights at the bottom. It actually moved back in thoses days so they had to put grass on it to keep it anchored, in fact most of the landscape has changed. Certainly all the houses cropping up.

You gotta loves those sunsets.

As an appology for the learning earlier, here have a silly looking American car.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Virginia: The Historic Triangle

My parents cam to visit me in May (ahem sorry for the long time) for my birthday. We did a little road trip. First stop was the Historical Triangle up in Virginia. My reasoning behind this was a) it's not Durham and b) I quite like history. Here is my photoblog. First up is Williamsburg. It's a cool open air museum and was the old capital of Virginia.

I just like this photo

Next up is Jamestown. The first British settlement in America. I am glad I don't have to come over on that boat.

I really am a photo geek. I quite like explosions too. Not bad timing, aye?

Next stop Yorktown. Where we kinda surrendered the US to those colonial types. It's quite a cool place though. Here is the Virginia chapter of the Studebaker drivers club, just chilling out, maxin', relaxin'.

My dad and I both love going on boats, so we took a trip on this bad boy. It was pretty slow going out down the river but got faster on the way back.

Diffraction limit anyone? I'll get my coat.

There was a civil war battle at Yorktown too. They do like recreating stuff.

Speaking of battles. I managed to convince my dad to play mini-golf.

All smiles here but out on the course it was a tightly contested affair. In the end we played two rounds and it ended 1-1.

I really do like taking black and white photos of bars.

Next we moved onto Plymouth, VA. We were driving down to coastal NC and it made sense to stop here. Managed to stumble upon an old red phone box. They get everywhere don't they?

While not on many tourists list of places to go it was actually quite nice.

A little patriotic, but still nice.

They even had the oldest running ferry. It was a cool way to get to Norfolk, VA. Where do they get these names from?

OBX next.


I had the pleasure of going to two weddings this summer. The first was my grad student Andres, whose bachelor party I went in Boone, NC. The second being Mark and Becky's, who I first met at the infamous 'el gigante' incident (they still talk to me and possibly even worse they invited me to their wedding!).

I went to my first and only wedding in the UK the summer before I left to come to the states (Dan and Catheryn's). It is a sign you are getting older when people you grew up with start getting married. Some my even see it as a sign to actually start growing up. Yeah, kinda missed that one, oh well. Saying that I did enjoy that first wedding, even if I was slightly metally scarred by the stag do (don't go drinking with doctors kids, it's not funny and it's not clever), I didn't feel like I had to rush out and marry somebody. It was good to see my old friend up there, it was good to see other old friends at the wedding too, also to see the new friends a made from the stag do.

The american weddings I went to were pretty much the same affair as the UK one. You know, ceremony - lots of food - lots of drinks - talking crap to people while slightly under the influence (ahem). It felt different to the UK one in the sense that I hadn't known these people all my life, I only met them a year before. I felt accepted though, I was doing the same as the other wedding, celebrating two friends with other friends.

Here is a picture from the first wedding, of Andres and Kelly. It is in a bar [well] after the ceremony, in Lancaster, PA. The best man, brother-in-law and the trouble makers, were rocking it well into the night.

Here is the second wedding in Durham, NC. Unfortuately I only got a picture of the hooligans here. Look how happy they are, anything to do with free booze? Yes, I was in the same state.

Ah, I see they got a snap of me too. Note the rosy red cheeks, ah bless.

More hooligans, I think Jeff (left) was contemplating climbing something here.

This is one of my favourite photos I have taken so far in the states. It's actually photoshopped, but it looks quite good, aye?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

US election 2008

The election has pretty much been a constant feature of my time here in the states. It started before I got here over 18 months ago. Sheesh, they do go on a bit don't they? As I have been bad with the blog of late I thought I would write about my experiences of it all.

I didn't pay too much attention to the whole thing at first, as my general response was "but till more than a year! why are you bangin' on about it now?" or words to that effect. My take on it was, well I'm not too bothered as long as they are not republican, which I guess is the same as most British people.

The republican party did in general scare the bejesus out of me. I am sure one of them killed babies for fun, well at least puppies and/or fluffy bunnies. The only one that was kinda normal was John McCain. Thankfully he got the nomination or it could have got ugly.

It didn't really get going till democrats started hacking it out of each other. I still don't get this! I thought the republicans were the enemy guys? It was interesting hear people say things like "if Clinton get the nomination I am voting republican". To me that is like saying "Oh I really hate Blair so I'll vote BNP, even though I don't agree with their politics I just can't stand that Blair". I guess this is one of the many problems of having a two party system.

Well thankfully we had Obama win and we didn't get sensible people doing silly things like voting republican. By this I was pretty much sick of it. Like I guess the rest of the world, and most of America, well maybe except for FOX news as it gave them a good chance to be super right wing.

Watching the results lastnight was quite a surreal experience. Firstly it was in a bar. I never watched the general election results in a bar before. You would miss what Peter Snow and his swing-o-meter! It was a very american affair. Lots of clapping, high-fiving when Obama got a state. I did feel like a outsider. It wasn't my presisdent they were cheering for. Yet he will make a impact on my life, and on the lives of people in the rest of the world. I didn't join in. I was just glad it was going to plan.

When Obama won there was a huge roar, lots of clapping, congratulating etc. It was as if they had won a war. I felt slightly different. I was glad he won, but to me this is the begining. Not the end like these people were acting. The world has a long way to go to heal what Bush has done. Although I did join in for this bit. You know when in Rome. It did feel like I was witnessing history. We shall see what kind of history it is.

Next time I am not having a TV again till its over. It's just too painful to watch.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

North Carolina: Wilmington and Jordan Lake

After Charleston we decided to take it easy and have a night in Durham and off and another small road trip to Wilmington, NC. It's only a 2 and half hour drive and both Jimmy and I like the beach. North Carolina beaches really are lovely.

Apparently, Wilmington is twinned with Doncaster (or Donkey as I like to call it). From that sign I reckon that Sheffield is about 3900 miles away from Durham.

Last time I was on this they were filming One Tree Hill, no such luck this time.

After our little trip to Wilmington, we stopped by Jordan Lake. Which is rather nice.

We got there at just the right time. Partially due to one of my famous short cuts.....

We finished the day with a burger at Dain's. Although we didn't have any Bojangles Jimmy did have a good tour of NC and SC and it was damn good to see him again. This concludes Jimmy's adventures in NC, more of my other adventures wil be coming soon.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

South Carolina: Drinking in Charleston

Charleston is a really cool place to visit for all the touristy things, but also it is a really cool place to go out drinking. Here is the photographic evidence of us getting wasted. After our day of walking we got pretty thirsty so we stopped in a Irish bar for a cheeky pint (or 2). Then got ready to go out and hit a brew pub first. They offered a selection of all their beers for $10. They didn't have the eighth so we got to choose our favourite at the end. I think it worked out as about 3 and a half pints in the end.

I was obviously so excited I couldn't even keep my eyes open. Well it passed the time while we waited for food.

This bar we actually found in the day. It was the place where we found a good cupa... water, juice and nice bit of apple strudel, everything three growing boys needs to get over a hangover. The waitress took a shine to us and said we should come back later when it was a bar. So here we are after a few drinks, the tequila slammers come out.... not so good. The aforementioned waitress was kind enough to document it for us.

We hadn't even got going and Andy had borrowed her top....

Cheers! To England! etc

This really does remind me of the three monkeys.

By the end we had progressed onto surfers on acid and quite happy about it.

We even found an English pub which I was extremely happy about.

Yes Andy did steal the waitresses coat, it was really hot, but it brought out his eyes. She got it back in the end.