Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Is it worth it, let me work it

I went to the gym this evening. Very nice. I especially enjoyed the steam room. What's that you say? I'm meant to be working out? whoops. ( I did cycle about 4 kms, run 1km, cross train 1km... so not all bad. Just really a chance to try out all the equipment.)

Lip up fatty, ah lip up fatty, for the reggae

I don't usually weigh myself, as I don't have any scales, and I generally don't think that weight strictly correlates with fitness, and don't agree with those height/weight Body Mass Index charts that people use, as there is no real uniform rule to people.

One thing I do know is that I've put on a hell of a lot of weight over the past few years, basically since I was an adult. From my 5 years at University (as a student and staff) I put on around 2 stone, and although I knew I'd put on more weight since being back in Ramsgate it seems that I've put on a further 2 stone in the past 2.5 years. Holy Shit.

I'm generally quite active getting in around 2.5 hours of pure sport in a week, but I know that where I slip up on is food and drink. I don't neccesarily eat bad food, but I know my portions are too large and that I eat too much bread. For the past 3 days I've been watching what I eat and basically limiting portions to something acceptable. I do feel hungry sometimes, but haven't caved in with the easy option and have instead been munching away on things like celery in between meals.

I've also been making my own lunch in the mornings to take to work. I used to pop over to newsagents across the road from my office and grab a baguette (chicken and mayo) along with bag of crisps, and do I really need all those calories when I'm sitting on my arse at a computer? No. Instead I haven't gone too mad and have instead taken in a cheese and tomato sandwich (2 slices of bread with thinly cut cheese), a piece of fruit, and 2 sticks of celery. There may be something healthier than the cheese but at least it's got some flavour.

Not only is it healthier but it's also cheaper and saves me around £3 a day on lunch.

Along with the diet, I've also signed up to the gym, although I know that the diet is the most important part for me. I was thinking about joining the gym anyway, but have managed to get free membership for 6 months, which is pretty cool, and something not to miss out on. The gym has all the usual stuff plus a swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steamroom, so I can just relax if needs be.

I meant to do all this a lot sooner, but it was this Sunday that kicked it off. I was around a friends house watching the football when we decided to have a quick weigh-in and I was shocked by mine along with another friends. We have basically put on the same amount of weight in the same amount of time and so we have set up a challenge. We are both quite competitive and so have set up a challenge against each other to see who can lose the most weight over the next 6 months. Don't worry, we certainly won't be getting eating disorders but now that we are at the same gym too it'll be good to have somebody to compete against as this kind of thing can get pretty lonely and boring in a short time.

Also to measure my weight I've registered here so that I can keep accurate readings and see how I'm progressing.

I'm only 3 days in so I don't expect anything too quick, and have still got to contend with weekends, but here goes.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

99 bottles of beer on the wall

Can I point you over to here?

I've joined a blog about Beer! Look forward to reviews of beer from around the world (the US and the UK at the moment). You can see my reviews here.

It's nice to think that my beer consumption is going towards something constructive!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Woke up cold one tuesday

Here's Paolo Nutini (Who'll be at the Isle of Wight Festival). I need to start listening to some of the acts I'm less familiar with so here goes:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

All I wanna do is rock

I'm really excited!!! Do you know why? I've just booked my holiday for the summer. I'm off to a little island not too far away.

I'm going to....

I have never been to a festival like this before, and Glastonbury always seems like a lot of effort, especially with the high demand for tickets, so when they announced the line-up earlier this week I decided that I'd go.

I sent an email out to see who else was up for it and there are 8 of us that will be going. I really like the line-up: Snow Patrol, Muse, Kasabian, Keane, Amy Winehouse, James Morrison, The Fratellis, Wolfmother, Paolo Nutini, The Feeling & Ash so far.

Tickets cost £125 (+£10 from the agents) each, but I think it's well worth it for 3 days of music. Of course I've got to add on travel, the ferry, and all the beer food etc. But it'll be worth it. I've sometimes spent that on a weekend by just going to the local!

One the emails I sent around a lot of people were moaning that it wouldn't be as good as Glastonbury, etc, but I couldn't give a toss. I know Glastonbury is 'the' festival but I'd rather go somewhere a bit smaller and be able to see all the acts I want too, and also be able to buy tickets without being interogated by the Gestapo. Another reason is that I really don't go for the whole festival vibe that seems to come out of Glastonbury. I don't do drugs, I don't want to see all the 'hippy' stuff, I just want to rock out and the line-up is definitely my type of music.

I can't believe I have to wait over 3 months to go though!! I hope it's sunny.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is that where it ends, with your life thru a lens?

You should all know by now that I love taking photos, and the majority of them are proudly displayed on flickr, but I did something yesterday that I haven't done for years. I got some photos developed!

There is something about having an actual physical photograph in your hand as opposed to viewing them on a screen and I really think I need to get more of my photo sets developed too.

One reason I did this was because it was free, and as you know, I love free stuff. are doing a promotion whereby when you register you get 30 free photos, and if you follow this link and use the promotional code "20EXTRA", then you can get 50 free photos in total.

It's a simple case of uploading your photos into a set, and then selecting to print them (you will need that promotional code now). I did this for 50 photos, and only had to pay the £1.50 postage, and the photos came the next day.

The prices are actually very good, and although you may be able to save a few pence on each print by physically going into Boots, this does remove the hassle of having to go there, drop them off, and come back the next day to pick them up. Instead they were delivered to my door. Easy.

This is also a great way to have a physical back-up of all those digital files that we hope will be safe for ever, but can't be too sure about. At least this way if it goes all apocalyptic Rise of the Machines stylee then I'll have some nice memories.

(I've also blogged about this here)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

It's oh so quiet

I haven't got anything to write about for the please excuse me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A little bit of history repeating

So this is Christmas Monday and what have you done? Well at the weekend I did bugger all. I went out on Friday night and that was it really. Done. Nuff said. Some things never change.

Anyway here's something I've been singing along to lately:

I like the video too. odd.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Sunday here again

Following on from yesterday's post I've been at it again, and this time it's Chris who get's the treatment:

(click the image to see a full-size version on Flickr)

It was a lot easier this time but there's still some bits I'd definitely improve next time. You can see the original photo here.

There's still the competition from yesterday too, and I'm still open for questions.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Paint my face in your magazines

I've been using Photoshop quite a bit at work lately but only for making posters, banners etc, and nothing amazingly creative, but it did get me in the mood and so I've been playing.

It was my mate Ian's 24th Birthday yesterday and I usually like to personally make something for people's birthdays (see here & here) so I thought I'd make him an arty portrait and here is the result:

ian photoshop_orig
(click the image to see larger version on Flickr)

You can see the original photo here and I must say I'm very happy with it and I feel confident enough to try some more and get even better results (I know there are bits that can be improved). What I like about Photoshop is that although I've been using it since 2002 and think I'm pretty good with it, there's always more to learn and there are some amazing tutorials out there. I actually got this tutorial from here although I usually get quite a few from here.

Do you like it? Would you like your own portrait? If you do then send me a message via the email address in my profile and tell me why I should.... Easy as that. I'll upload any I do to this blog (I need some content) and I'll send you a high-resolution copy for yourself.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Why don't you tell it like it really is?

I've been listing some old CDs on ebay, and one of them is Just Enough Education To Perform by the Stereophonics. Not only does it remind me of a cover band I once saw called the Monophonics, but also of a great song on the album.

and truth is in a tall beer

Out of college, money spent, see no future, pay no rent

I authorised my new HSBC credit card yesterday and then paid off another £200, meaning I've paid off £1,000 since October. I did mention that I was going to pay off a big lump sum this month as I'd been putting away a bit in savings, but as the card is interest free for another year, I decided it's be better to keep some in the savings account. In theory it doesn't actually matter where I keep the money as in an emergency I could just use the credit card, but somehow that seems a lot different.

I've been paying out a lot lately, and so it comes as no surprise that the roof lost some tiles in the recent bad weather and has caused quite a few more to come loose. This means that the roof needs to be re-tiled and so yet more money to be spent. Regulars here should remember that I live at home with my mum, and so I'm sure we'll split the cost somehow. I like to pay my way and as well as the usual £120 per month rent, I also buy other things, such as radiators, for the house, and will help out where I can.

I moved back home in 2004 after living away for 5 years, and only envisaged being there for a short time, but my Grandma, who lived there too, was very ill and passed away over the Christmas period. That left just my Mum at home, and then my move became permanent. I was happy I'd moved back then though as I couldn't have bared it if I'd been away and missed the last few months of my Grandma's life.

It's a funny situation to be in at home, because I do have my own flat on the back of the house (living room, bedroom, bathroom), and can remain quite separate, which is what I like, but my mum does get lonely and I try and take this into consideration by going into her part to eat evening meals. I like to have my own space and due to the proximity I don't feel I do. I like to be messy, I like to not do the washing up, I like to let my clothes pile up until I have none left and am forced to use the washing machine, I like being able to shop for one, I like playing music loud, I like lots of things that I used to do when I lived on my own. My Mum would argue that I am self-contained and can do whatever I want but it is not true and as long as she comes in and tells me to tidy up, or she comes and does my washing, then I will continue to feel this way.

Obviously there are options. I sacrifice my true Independence for the pure fact that I have a roof over my head, which many do not. I could move out and rent somewhere but I would then be in a worse situation as I'd then have a landlord to report to... and I bet he wouldn't wash my dirty clothes! And of course that still leaves my mum, who would then be alone, in a big house, which used to have four residents but would then only have one, and I don't think I could do that to her. Well no for the moment.

The house is expensive to run, and I know that most of my Mum's wages go into keeping the bills payed, and so the solution would seem to be to move to somewhere smaller and use any profit on the house to pay off her debts and live comfortably, but move where?

This is big ol' cans of worms here, and there is no simple solution. I will stay at home because it is the best thing for both me and my Mum. Instead of getting into more debt by paying more rent, or getting my own house (with a huge mortgage), I know that I need to stay around for longer, and my Mum needs it too. Of course it's not just about money, although many of you who read regularly will think it is, as it seems that every other post I write is about it. I think a few changes need to be made, starting off with me reclaiming a few things, such as washing and ironing my clothes. I had no problem doing all this before, but somehow it's been transferred onto Mum. Yes I do stuff for her, like being her chauffeur and doing all the cooking in the house, but I still don't think it all weighs up and she does too much.

OK. So from today I am reclaiming my laundry privileges, and please hold me to it, that is the first step to Independence for both me and my Mum. The next steps would seem to be moving out, but the smart thing is definitely to stay where I am, at least while the housing market is where it is, meaning that single first-time buyers can't afford to get a new home without risking a lot.

I think you've learnt quite a bit about me in that post as opposed to the usual reviews of nights out etc, and so in this time of sharing and opening up, I open the floor to any questions you may have. They may be simple or complex, and I don't guarantee that I'll answer them, but fire away in the comments section and you may learn something.

Monday, February 05, 2007

So stop your cheap comment, cos we know what we feel

Today has been a quiet day. I was working last night so I decided that today would be an easy going day at work and so as well as doing all the bits I have to, I've also been surfing around and making a few comments on the blogs on my blogroll.

I haven't been commenting that muchlately , simply having a quick browse at the posts that pop up on my feedreader, but thought I'd make the effort today.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's like 10,000 spoons

I had a dream on Friday night that I was at a cash machine and was trying to put in my PIN but kept putting in the wrong number, and realised that the keys were not in standard formation. When I did put the correct pin in something happened and all my money in my account came out in one go! Shit! There was no way I wanted to be carrying around that amount of money and I went into the bank and tried to get them to sort it out as it wasn't my fault, but they wanted me to count it for them.

It was at that moment that I realised that I was counting crockery and cutlery and not money, and I was trying to figure out the denomination for each piece. I figured out that forks were worth £1, but what was the rest worth?? Were plates worth more? And would it add up properly?

And my dream ended there. odd.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I hurt myself today

My legs simply wouldn't work at Football tonight as I had terrible cramp in my calves. I played indoor football on Tuesday for 90 minutes, then played two 30 minute Ten-aside rugby matches on Wednesday, and then tonight was an hour of football on outside on astroturf.

It was yesterday's rugby that did me in though as I played with the Uni team at a friendly tournament in North London, and hadn't played for a while. There's definitely more running in Tens than there is in Fifteens rugby, and we played the matches in immediate succession. We spent 2 hours on the minibus getting back to Broadstairs and then I went on the town with the team to watch the remainder of the Arsenal vs Spurs match (got to the pub after 35 mins and 0-0).

Arsenal won, which is always good, and then as I couldn't be bothered to go home I stayed on a sofa, a very small sofa, and that didn't help as it was only a 2-seater, and so I woke up with a very sore neck. Luckily the house is very near work and so I got into the office at 8:45am, grabbed a towel and had myself a nice shower before work.

And that was yesterday.

(here I am running with the ball)