Tuesday, 28 July 2015

dust in the wind

my mum has cancer.

encapsulated ovarian cancer in at least one ovary.

she will be having both ovaries surgically removed in the very near future.

more than that I do not know right now.

worrying times.

it looks like it has not spread beyond her ovary(ies) but it's too early to say for sure yet if the surgery will suffice to give her the all clear.

my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of years ago, and underwent various treatments including radiotherapy and HRT to shrink the prostate gland. He responded well, and is doing fine.

Bren now has diabetes, anaemia, fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. she's on so many pills, she rattles when she walks.

every fucker is falling to bits, including me, although I have been eating a lot more healthily recently.

once upon a time I was young, and there were two generations between me and old age. now it's only a matter of months or a few scant years before I start losing those closest to me.

holy fuck.

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Saturday, 11 July 2015


make the same response to a given stimulus a thousand times, and it becomes difficult to do anything else.

Fair nuff?

If, having done so, you then wish to do elsewise, it takes some effort of will, but having made that effort of will a thousand times, a new habit becomes emplaced.

Such a change though, has to start with that effort of will.

Dear reader, I've been unhappy for quite some time with what I've been seeing in the mirror, and about a week ago, I made a spontaneous and frivolous decision to download a calorie counting app for my ipad.

Having made a few inputs about my height, weight, lifestyle and goal, the app set me a daily target of 1740 calories per day.

I can eat lard, drink beer, eschew lettuce, eat three eclairs and a cheese and onion pasty, but that's my limit. 1740 calories. How I get there is up to me.

Making a conscious decision to do things differently has actually been quite easy. Just a simple tap on an ipad screen got the ball rolling.

Doing things differently has been easy too. Since I'm making a conscious effort, maintaining the old habits but in a different way is straightforward.

I spend a few hours working, and I'm hungry. I drive to a supermarket and buy something to eat. My brainstem says "buy easy energy - pasties, cheese sarnies, etc) my conscious mind over-rides this. Result being a full belly, energy being released over a longer period of time, and both fewer calories, and more of the good stuff.

Today I popped in to a shop for lunch, and I got an apple, a banana, a reduced fat egg and cress sandwich, and some short dated organic on the vine cherry tomatoes.

It cost a little less than the sugary fatty usual, and meant that tonight, having only eaten about 600 calories, I have a surplus of about 1000 to use however I want.

I'm getting drunk on 4 or 5 bottles of strong ale. Huzzah!

Initial results have been spectacular. I've gone from 14 stone 8 pounds to 14 stone 1 pound in a few days. Only the greek economy is shrinking faster.

I'm told that such a rapid loss is unhealthy, but that I should normally see such initial gains when I start dieting. Fat cells, when depleted, dont just cease to exist, they just shrink. So, I should expect to find the pace of weight loss slows, and that it's all too easy to regain.

But for now, I'm enjoying the task I've set myself, as much because I've tasked myself as because of anything else.

The hard part is to take the time to input everything I'm consuming into the app. But the specifics don't matter. If I get through 1900 calories because I didn't bother inputting the scoop of icecream I had at the end of yesterday, It doesn't affect the bigger overall trend.

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Is this the most beautiful infographic ever?


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Monday, 6 July 2015

Greece is the word

If, a year or so ago, someone had suggested that we could see people starving in a developed European nation within the decade, they'd have not been taken all that seriously.

The left blame the bankers. The right blame the feckless spendthrift masses.

The people in my blogroll to the right of your screen have, by and large, a different take on things.

And so it begins. We live in interesting times.

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Thursday, 25 June 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly

more vague ideas coalescing into more solid intentions.

Firstly, I don't really want to recruit current instructors. I'd rather train people to do things in a certain way, and get the best of them working under my name, until they've developed what they need to make a go of it for themselves.

I now have two trainees. One is the guy I blogged about back in January. The other is a bus driver, who did some instructor training about 10 years ago but never took it too far. He's been with me for a couple of sessions now.

Back in January, I wrote,

Anyway, the other night, I took someone out for an instructor training session. As I mentioned in a recent post, this person didn't seem ideally suited to the role, but without ever meeting him, I couldn't really form a judgement...

...The training session went quite well. The feedback I got was positive. My pupil was about what I expected. Essentially bookbound. This is inevitable. To teach, you have to know, and when you first start, you need the props. My wannabe instructor, who'd come across as something of an oddball from what I'd seen on the internet, turned out to be a nice guy, who was trying very hard. There's a lot of work to be done, but I can work with that. Nice guy, trying hard. That's not at all a bad starting point
Six months down the line, and we're really no further on. For all the good intentions, this guy has absolutely no idea what he's doing, and no amount of training will turn him from the sow's ear he is into the silk purse he needs to be. He won't give up, but after 3 attempts at his teaching test, the option to continue will be taken from him. Meanwhile, he's spent thousands on a second hand car to teach in, and is now attempting to teach real people on a trainee license. Poor sods. He's already had to take one of them home in floods of tears after trying to get her to be able to reverse into a parking bay on her second ever lesson. He blames her for this rather than himself. I explained that really the second lesson should be about consolidating from the controls lesson, and that apart from a few very specific circumstances, you leave reversing until they have some idea how to drive forward. Today I saw him doing reversing in a quiet side street. I got my pupil to do a quick u-turn and we hightailed out of there.

I do feel some guilt about all this. It would perhaps have been better in retrospect to have just told him that I could not get him to where he needed to be, indeed that he was attempting to fit himself into a role for which he had no aptitude, yet all I've done is try my best. I didn't realise that someone could be quite so unreflective and unresponsive to their training, and by the time I did, we'd both invested a lot of time, effort and (for him), money. It seems we're locked into a rather macabre path, who's end I can see only too clearly, and which he seems to be oblivious to.

So it was good to get this new guy. He's keen, motivated, amenable to change, and has the makings of a good instructor. O happy day!

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