Friday, 13 January 2012

porky time

Well, this is the last blog of the week and I’m also pretty sure it’s going to be the last daily weekday blog for a while.

As mentioned before chrimbo I’m starting on contract and it will be impossible to update the blog at work from now on.  Since I’m probably not going to be keen to then spend time in the evening doing it (I’m pushed to do much more than watch TV) this will therefore become a weekend blog.

Quite how that will work I’m not sure, but I’ll see what I feel like.

The last thing I did want to mention was my dietary progress over the holiday.  Or rather the exact opposite.

Before the holiday I weighed in at 18 stone 10 pounds. When I weighed myself this last weekend I weighed 19 stone 4 pounds.  That’s a gain of 8 pounds, or just a smidge over half a stone.

I did actually gain  little more than that, as I weighed myself during the holiday and weighed 19 stone 6 pounds, but I actually had the same phenomenon that I had last year where I ate a lot and then it took a while for my digestive system to... “catch up” if you will.

Indeed, this year I actually had a few occasions where I had serous gut pain during the night.  It was the same as the pain I’ve had before when I've seriously over eaten.

Part of the problem is that I went a bit nuts before Chrimbo buying stuff “because I was going to treat myself” over the holiday.  But then my dad also loaded me up with loads of food to take back with me that he’d bought.  Quit why he’d bought so much when he knew we were both only going to be there for a little while I don’t know.

And yes, some of it I could have been sensible and left in the freezer or not opened, but then I’d have been faced with weird meals where you’re only having half of what you expect (so bangers and mash without the bangers, because they’ve been put in the freezer :/) and also after the holiday way over, what then?

Would I have to drip feed ‘bad stuff’ in?  Throw it away?  Or what?

So I essentially forced myself in to a situation of having to eat a lot.

I did still keep walking and did some good walks, although it wasn’t really part of the holiday plan to do walking like I do in autumn or whatever.  However, I think those helped me keep things in check a bit.

Anyway, I’ve now pretty much finished it all off, so it’ll be back to bread and water and lettuce next week.

Also, I think I've come up with a bit of a plan for what to do in terms of walking when I’m on contract.  Basically my problem is that it will be an hour commute each way, but I will have the advantage of working flexi time.  As such, my plan is that I will only take a minimal lunch and then I’ll do a single, reasonable length walk when I get back (literally when I arrive home I'll go for a walk).

Before I was doing three short-sharp walks in and around the estate where my offices are (when I got to work (I’m always super early), at lunch and then straight after work, before I got in my car).  I’m hoping these should be equivalent - especially since the walk I have in mind will involve some steep inclines, making it harder work.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

the rest of the break

So when I returned from my Dads I obviously wasn't feeling great, as the second cold was still in full swing.

This cold wasn’t quite as intense as the first one, but it seems to have lasted longer - I’m still sniffling now a good couple of weeks later.  What this did mean is that the week between Chrimbo and the New Year wasn't as fun as it could have been.

I’d arranged to see a few chums and while I did do most of those I generally didn’t drink very much and tended to go home early and stuff.  Still, it was nice to see them.

New Years was actually relatively quite.  I still wasn’t fully recovered, and I have to confess I don’t find New Years to be that good of an experience anyway.

The problem is that everyone is out.  So if you go out with the intention of getting drunk it can be quite difficult getting any drinks as all the bars are swamped.  Alternatively you could go to some ticketed event, which can be okay, but can also be expensive.

Also I’ve never been much of one for enforced jollity.  It's part of why I’m not hugely ken on celebrating my birthday - it feels like an obligation, rather than something you’re doing for genuine fun, if you see what I mean.

Anyway, the week after New Years was when I entered that lovely bit where I am basically the only one on holiday.  That’s obviously not true at all, but where the week before most people are off, that first week is more like a proper break.

I like it particularly because it’s time entirely to myself.  It’s holiday I take most years when I can and is a great chance to get caught up on lots of the random stuff I put off or ignore or whatever.

So I gave my flat a really good clean, for example.  I also washed some of the more random clothing items, like my dressing gown and oven gloves.  And I got my suits dry cleaned.  I know - these aren’t glamorous things, but it’s a good time to do them.

Apparently, in Japan, they traditionally give the house and work and stuff a big clean up so that they can enter into the new year with a ‘clean start’.  I kinda try to do the same, I guess.

Of course I’d planned into the time way too much to do.  I’d created a big long list of stuff and I’d have needed to take six months off to do it all!  As such I pruned it down to the bear essentials and focused on a couple of things I thought I could achieve in the time.

I almost managed to get them finished and I reckon I’ll use this next weekend to knock them on the head.  They’re also things that should save me a little bit of money when I’m done, so that’s always nice.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

white noise 2 - the light

I watched a few rental DVDs over the Christmas period, the first of which was white noise 2.

I seem to recall I quite liked the first white noise, mainly because the ending was somewhat unexpected.  It led up to something that, while I don't think I would really classify it as a twist, was quite an interesting ending.

The second film is less successful.

Mainly, I have to confess, because it seems to go in a direction that isn't really a proper follow-on to the first film.  In the first film the idea is that the souls of the dead are essentially captured in radio and television static - hence the white noise.

While it's bunkum in terms of spirits, this is a known phenomenon, where, if you record static occasionally bits of it - interference in particular - will sound a bit like someone speaking.  The human brain is particularly attuned to pattern finding, and these noises, with a bit of imagination, can seem to sound like words being spoken.

So the first film used this idea as if it really was spirits communicating, with the main character being recently bereaved.

In the second film it kinda tries to tie it in to the static idea, but takes it in a direction that is really similar to the Final Destination series.

In those films someone gets a premonition of their death as part of some big, tragic disaster and then manages to take themselves and some other people out of the line of fire.  However, death then 'pursues' them, essentially trying to bump them off in the order they should have died.

In this second white noise film, the main character acquires a similar sort of power - the static now seems to point out to him people who are about to die, giving him the opportunity to save their lives.

Now there is more of a traditional twist to this story (which I saw coming a mile off so that probably suggest it isn't a very good twist) but the problem is, because it feels like it's a cobbling together of the two films and doesn't really follow on from the effect used in the first, it feels a lot less original.

Also, where the first film was built on a known effect that anyone can encounter, this second film endows the main character with special powers.  And they're special powers that seem to give him a view of things that nobody else does.

I mean, it'd be okay if they worked it so that everyone sees the effect, but only he interprets it in that way or sees something extra, but no - only he sees it, and it's a definite thing and is never really cast doubt on.

I'm being quite harsh on the film - it's not really bad as such, it's just the first film worked a lot better.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

back to work

First day back to work today.

It feels a bit weird, as I’ve had quite a long time off.  Well, actually it’s only just over two weeks, but it feels like it’s been a nice long break.

So I guess I should talk about Christmas and the new year and holiday.

Christmas I went to see my dad and my sister at my dad’s.  We had Turkey for Christmas lunch.  It’s a bit weird having Turkey as my Dad and sister have both said they aren’t hugely keen on it before, so I don’t tend to expect to have it.

However, we’ve had it for the last couple of years, where usually they like to have lamb or beef.  I think part of it is that my Dad has found a good butchers and buys what I think is called a Turkey crown.  Whatever it’s called it’s basically just a huge hunk of breast meat.

I’m assuming it’s from the one bird - that’s how he described it - but it must be a monster of a bird.  He’d basically chopped it up into three huge chunks and frozen two of them, sending me and my sister away with one each.  The third bit was what we cooked and it was a whacking great chunk of meat.

Unfortunately we got the timing a bit wrong.  We tried the thing where you skewer the meat and look for the colour of the juices, which was clear, but then when my Dad started cutting it up it clearly wasn’t quite done.

I mean, it wasn't a long way off, and we could probably have eaten it as is, but it’s always better to be safer rather than sorry with poultry.  As such my dad cut off enough for us to have then and we nuked those bits to finish them off (everything else was on the table, so we couldn’t really wait) and put the rest back in the oven while we ate.

In hindsight we should have cut it open when it came out the oven before resting it, just to make sure t was cooked and then we’d have known.

There’s normally one mistake for the chrimbo lunch, and otherwise it all went smoothly.

Unfortunately the rest of the time at my Dads was a little marred because I caught another cold!

My sister was riddled with cold when I arrived and was coughing and sneezing a lot and I could start to feel it come on within about 36 hours of arriving, so I think I caught it off of her.  Since she lives a fair way away that also would tie in with a different strain.

However, there are a couple of other possibilities.  Firstly it could have been my first cold making a comeback.  This is certainly possible, but y the time I wet away I was almost over it.

The second more likely possibility is that I caught it off someone else at work.  When I went on holiday almost everyone else in the office had a cold.  Now I had obviously assumed this was the cold that I had caught off of our “typhoid mary” (the introducer of the virus) that had then been past on, but apparently someone else’s partner had also got a cold and so there could have been another strain kicking around.

However, as I say, my belief is I caught it off my sister.

I’ll continue later in the week.