Monday, 29 December 2014

How to let someone down gently?

Today, an enquiry came through to my inbox from my website.

The enquirer wanted help with driving instructor training. I gave him a call, and quickly, some little alarm bells started ringing.

A monotone voice, a long winded attention to unimportant details, and a certain social ineptness, and total unawareness of that ineptness.

This person had been ditched by his previous trainer, because he phoned them on Christmas day to ask them a question. The trainer was not at all impressed by this, and told him in no uncertain terms where to stick his question, and any further training. This, my enquirer thought, was completely out of order.

Still, I have a two hour session with this person on Sunday, and will do my best to offer insights, advice, and to make him better at what he does.

When I eventually managed to get off the phone, I did a google search for him, and found that he's famous in a way. He did one of those so monumentally awful X factor appearences that the judges put him through to the next round so that they could take the piss out of him twice.

I suspect this person may have an autistic spectrum disorder, and that no matter how much work is put in, and how much money he spends, he's not going to be able to get through the tests, and quite rightly too.

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Friday, 26 December 2014

To the lighthouse

The new year is almost here, and I plan to use the remaining time as a period of deliberate hedonism and excess. Expect some garbled posts both here and in other forums.

For on January the 1st, I intend to institute, implement and instill a few big changes.

1. I can no longer buy alcohol. This is not to say I cannot drink alcohol, but if I want to drink it, other people will have to give it to me, or I will have to make my own.

I have 25 litres of home brew on the go right now, and it should be ready for about the first week in february, although I might start on some of it before it's ready. As one demijohn empties, I will refill it with sugar, water, yeast and flavouring, but I shall endeavour not to buy any more demijohns either.

2. I will make my way from here to Leasowe Lighthouse, without the aid of an internal combustion engine, 5 days in every week, regardless of weather. Jogging there and back would be best, but if I walk or cycle, that also qualifies, at least at first. I'm rather heavy right now. I've measured it on google earth, and it's almost exactly one mile there and one mile back. Not a massive ask, two miles a day. If I'd proposed a more distant target, I'd be less likely to stick to achieving it. Even now, I wonder if I can stay motivated.

3. By the combination of the above, I hope and plan to be two stones lighter come the end of 2015.

The current batch of home brews is an experiment.

1. Using marmite and 2 kilograms of sugar, twice the recommended amount, I'm hoping to make a sort of sherry. Thick, sweet and strong.

2. I'm using just a pound of sugar instead of a kilo. This in in conjunction with fruitjuice, which of course already contains sugar. One of these uses 100% fruitjuice. The other, due to a lack of attention to detail when buying the juice, is reconstituted and contains just 20%.

3. I poured a tin of treacle into a demijohn, and added yeast and water, just to see what would happen. It took a week to get started, but it's bubbling away quite happily now. I haven't got a clue what it will taste like when it's finished.

4. A "normal" brew, with 5 litres of fruitjuice, and 1 kilo of sugar.

The energy of the sugar is not really expended in the reaction that turns it into alcohol. If it were, my demijohns would heat up. So drinking 5 litres of my normal brew is equivalent to eating a kilogram of sugar in calorific terms.

It's been a while since I weighed myself, but after todays blowout, I imagine I've crossed the 15 stone threshold. I will weigh myself at the new year, and record a sporadic diary entry here on how things are going.

And that's all for now.

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