Friday, 22 July 2011

cleanse me

So I'm still shower-less.

And it's really starting to get a bit boring.

Basically, as mentioned earlier this week, it stop working last Friday, so it's now a week since it's been out of action and I've been using my landlord's shower. Now this isn't exactly convenient from a showering point of view - I have a 'slot' from 7AM to 7:30AM, which means I don't really have any flexibility - but also it really highlights how interconnected things can be.

So it's my shower that's out of action, but this is stopping me from doing things on my computer like scanning magazines and downloading fansubs. But why?

Well, the stop cock for the shower are in the roof. In order to get up into the roof, you have to go up through the hatch. And my computers sits underneath that hatch. So, to get up, he has to move my PCs out of the way so that the ladder will fit and he can go up.

I download fansubs by leaving my computer on while I'm at work and it gets on with it. It's hardly safe or practical to leave the computer running if he's going to be moving it. Also, the other day it was clear he'd loosened the power lines (either accidentally or deliberately), as I had to push them in properly for my main machine to boot up.

Which also explains why I can't do any scanning. Basically, when I'm in scanning mode, I leave the scanner on the desk and the magazines in various states of disassembly. Unless it's the weekend, it's basically impossible to do an entire magazine in one sitting, so this is a necessity. But I can hardly leave them lying around if he's going to move them about to get up into the loft.

Of course there's the attendant problem that, being anime mags, most contain plenty of pics of scantily clad women, which would hardly be a good thing to leave lying around for him to see. I'm sure to his eyes it would look like a bunch of porn mags - especially the megamis and nyan types, which, let's be frank, are basically soft core porn mags.

The most annoying thing is that it doesn't seem like it's going to be fixed any time soon. Basically, if I get back tonight and it's not done, he's said he'll get the plumber in. Trouble there, of course, is plumbers are often rather heavily in demand, so God knows how long it will then take.

This weekend it's the German Grand Prix. I think they rotate the race in Germany between two different tracks. I think I'm right in saying it's Nurburgring this year, but it's not the full Nurburgring, it's a shorter loop circuit they have there.

Anyway, I'll be watching that this weekend, as well as hopefully polishing off this summary of my holiday so I can post it all next week.

I'll also be hoping to make lots of money via e-bay of course, if I'm going to afford all this dental work I need doing!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

holiday bump up

Considering what I ate on the holiday and the surrounding days, I'm rather surprised that when I weighed myself on Sunday I'd only put on 1 pound.

Well, actually, that's going by my rounding up way of doing things. I think it was probably more like 2 pounds if you take the decimal points way of doing it. But still, 2 pounds isn't a huge amount.

Or rather, 2 pounds isn't as much as I was expecting. It's a lot of weight, representing around 7,000 additional calories consumed, over and above what I needed for my base metabolism and the exercise I did. And I did a lot of exercise - the GP weekend involved walking some 15 miles, I reckon, and that's just the walking. There was all the lugging of stuff around and the calories I would have needed to keep me going without enough sleep and all that.

But the point is I'm not even going to pretend I ate anything like sensibly, but I still only put on a couple of pounds, which probably suggests I did do a hell of a lot to burn those calories off. If I had dieted or even been moderately sensible I bet I'd have lost half a stone.

You also always have to bear in mind that, when you're big, your metabolism is higher because you're burning extra calories just to kept yourself warm and when you're moving to shunt all the extra weight around. So, in other words, sensible (i.e. balancing my metabolism) is somewhere in the region of 3,250 calories, even now.

I think I've managed to confuse myself, as I'm now not sure if I'm arguing my two pound gain was good, bad or better or worse than expected. In many ways I'm actually just trying to fill a blog post where I would normally have an entry about my diet and exercise, only I've been off the diet and the exercise wasn't properly monitored.

What it all does mean is I won't be making my original target, set back when I started this stretch of the diet. Indeed, overall, I'm unlikely to have lost very much weight at all across this period. That's not great, obviously, but at least I've not had a net gain - it will definitely be a few pounds lower than at the start, it's just not going to be as much as I'd hoped/planned.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

kick ass

So I mentioned this week's rental was The Thin Red Line, but a couple of weeks back I actually watched Kick-Ass, so I figured I'd review that first.

I'm not the biggest fan of Mark Millar's comics. I've read a few and he seems quite good at big ideas, but the actual stories tend to lack finesse and always feel a bit artificial, somehow. Take something like Wanted - great idea of the bad guys win and a great power-trip fantasy of loser turns super-assassin, but the actual comics when you read them are a bit thin - things happen too fast, there's too many info dumps and lumps of exposition, the main character never really struggles.

The Wanted film is almost totally different to the comic, as it kinda flips the central concept on its head. In Kick-Ass they've not done that, but they have significantly rewritten it. They've hacked out some of the dodgy bits and given it a more traditional narrative structure, but kept the central concept.

That central concept being why aren't there any real heroes?

Of course, actually there have been a few people who've dressed up in tights and done a bit of vigilantism, but it's a fair enough question.

The answer is actually fairly easy to work out. The vast majority of heroes have superpowers or use magic or have access to impossible technology - that sort of thing. No real world human has that sort of thing.

But then superheroes generally fight supervillains, and those don't exist either, so why would you need the powers if you're going to fight ordinary criminals?

Well the film gives a pretty solid answer to that question as well - because of things like guns and knives and gangs. You'd stand a pretty good chance of getting killed or at least badly maimed. The Punisher probably comes closest to how a real life superhero might work, but he's more like an anti-hero.

I think you can tell that I thought the film worked quite well, as it takes that basic big idea and goes at it in a fairly realistic way. To be fair, the comic also made similar points, but the comic had some rather unpalatable stuff in it too, which this removes or changes.

Where it did loose me a bit was towards the end, where it kinda tried to realise a comic book fantasy, but by doing so got a bit too far away from that realistic tinge. But apart from that, I really enjoyed it - it looked great and sounded fantastic (but then there were 4 composers!) and had plenty of blackly comic stuff in it.

Something I did quite like was that you could probably enjoy this if you had only a cursory knowledge of comic books, but if you really know comics, there was a lot of extra stuff to enjoy. This also worked at multiple levels, with some more obvious nods, but also a structure that reflects some classic themes of comic books characters.

As this was a Blu-Ray, I guess I should also note that there were plenty of extras - a full commentary and then a documentary that was roughly as long as the film itself, and a few other bits too.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

crappy start of the week too

Sunday evening/night didn't exactly go according to plan either.

I had an important meeting Monday morning which it turns out I was really nervous over. I didn't actually think I was - I didn't feel nervous, but the almost total lack of sleep I got would tend to suggest otherwise. I guess it didn't help that I started watching Top Gear quite late and it was quite an entertaining episode.

Of course, my nervousness could have been because of my dental appointment. The dentist always seems to cost a fortune and bring me bad news.

The bad news on Monday was particularly bad - I need two fillings, one rather urgently. I really can't understand how come one of the cavities has gotten as big as it appeared on the X-ray since my last appointment. It seemed huge, but he didn't mention it last time.

Including the cost of the hygienist (now there's money for old rope) it's going to set me back more than £200. And looking at it on the X-ray it's not something I can really put off.

The meeting for work actually went pretty well, I think. It was not really in my technical area, and I was obviously more than a little tired from the lack of sleep, so I didn't really contribute much, but the people we're working with seemed to be talking the same language as the customer.

The real difficulty to it is going to be the timescales - there's very little time available.

I have to confess, though, there's another piece of work I'd much rather being doing, but it's been a while since we've heard anything, so I don't think we've won that.

And yesterday I returned to find my shower was not actually fixed. He's bought a new one and had started fitting it, but has discovered that the fittings are in different places to the old one, so it looks like a much more serious job.

I'm sure it won't be long, but I hat being tied in to things like having a set slot to go and use his shower. Part of the reason I am uninterested in flat/house shares (which would save me a lot of money) is that I don't like being in a situation where I'm either dependent on or could be frustrated by other people (obviously I'm speaking domestically here, but I think it's probably true generally - I'm a bit of a control freak).

Monday, 18 July 2011

crappy weekend

What a crappy weekend.

It started out being rubbish on the Friday, when I made the stupid decision to bake a cake. I think I mentioned before last week was holiday from the diet and stuff, so I thought I'd go out on a blow-out. That was fine, except baking a cake was definitely the wrong decision. A far better decision would have been to make some fairy cakes or something like that, as it would have put far, far less of a burden on me to have to eat such a lot of bad stuff.

Actually, technically it started with the shower buggering up. This was inconvenient, but I think it's clear from what I posted last week that I was expecting it to be a relatively simple fix - some pipe was blocked or something.

When I got back my landlord told me that the shower was completely knackered, he'd taken it off the wall and couldn't get a new one until Monday at the earliest. That meant I'd have to use his, which means I've been wandering into his house at 7AM every morning to use his shower.

But Saturday's rubbishness really got going when I went to the recycling centre. Now exactly where and how it happened I don't know, but as I was driving away I realised I had a load of wet pain on me. Whether this was from some area of wet paint they'd painted or because of something someone had spilt or what I don't know, but it's ruined my coat.

It's white emulsion paint by the looks of things and I had a half-hearted attempt to hand wash my coat and it had no impact on it whatsoever. I mean, I'm not fundamentally bothered about the coat - it's very old, the zip is knackered and it's now too big for me, but the point is it was another area where I was trying to hold on and not spend any money. Now I've got to as the summer is providing to have lots of spells of shit weather and I can't really go to work in a coat spattered with white paint.

And that was another shit thing - the weather was rubbish this weekend. Every time I thought I had a bit of slot to go for a walk it was raining or just about to. It's nearly August, it shouldn't be like this, surely.

Saturday evening I watched the Thin Red Line, which was shit. I've seen good reviews, but I thought it was awful - like an attempt at an art house war movie and way too long with it. I'll review it properly, but there's three hours of my life I won't get back.

Because my PVR recording went tits up I was also forced to watch a bunch of stuff on Saturday. Not that I minded the stuff itself, it was more that because stuff often expires after a week on the iPlayer (which is otherwise marvellous) I had to watch it all on Saturday, just in case.

Sunday the rubbishness was initially focused around the photos and posts about the Grand Prix. I'd thought I'd be able to rattle them off in an hour or two, but it took well over four hours and I'm still only about half way through. I guess that four hours actually includes the time I spent on putting some e-bay auctions together, but I'm pretty smooth with that now, so I don't think that took much time.

Of course e-baying is always a bit depressing, so I didn't really enjoy that either. Especially as I realised now I've somehow missed a couple of things I was keen to get on.

I'll continue tomorrow.