Monthly Archives: February 2013

Friday Fictioneers – An Old Man’s Pride and Joy

ff_home-made_carHis car had been his pride and joy. It had all happened in that car. His son had happened in that car.

He had been eyeing it for as long as boys eye things like that. He didn’t let him touch it. He didn’t trust him.

You’ll get the car when I’m dead and not before he insisted. He would be there waiting. He was forever waiting. He wasn’t in a hurry.

Didn’t think you really wanted it. Just thought you wanted me gone.

I love you son. Take care of the old girl.

I will dad. I will

*********************************************************************************

(The above is my entry to this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge)

Advertisements

100 Word Challenge For Grown Ups

What the heck. Here are 100 words. This is my first ever entry to any sort of writing competition. This competition to be precise:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week79/

I apologise in advance to those who write professionally or even unprofessionally but well. Everybody needs to start somewhere:

************************************************

The dew had soaked through his trousers. Why was he lying there ?

He was lying there last week too. His mother must despair.

The front door key was glistening only a few feet away. Might as well have been in his hand for all the good it would do him.

It’s the same every Friday. He sees HER and then goes THERE!

Why ? She doesn’t listen and they don’t care. Only his mother cares. Only a mother would care.

Get up, get up! It’s not too late to sort this mess out. Quick, they’re coming.

…Mother, help me!

************************************************

There. Done it. I will get better. Be gentle with me.

Kindle Delights – Taking A Break From the Main Story

Erikson_MidnightThose who have been following me since I started blogging on here will know that I am currently working my way through Steven Erikson’s ten part epic “The Malazan Book of the Fallen”. Well I have just finished book five, Midnight Tides and have cracked open book six, The Bonehunters. Not going to give a review of book five as I don’t think I have the expertise to really critique the work of someone like Erikson. That and I don’t want to give spoilers to those who may be interested enough in my posts to start reading Erikson themselves. With that in mind I would say that what follows contains some minor spoilers, although nothing that would in any way affect your enjoyment of the series. Now onto the point of this blog. That points is to discuss what Erikson chose to do in book 5, namely to move away almost completely from the story so far.

The first four books in the series are all set in the same two locations. There are common characters between all of the books. In short the first four books feel like one large story. It’s not a straight forward tale by any means and the books do cover different, as well as on occasions, the same time periods. However, it is one coherent story. You definitely feel that one continuous epic tale is being woven. The fourth book, House of Chains, ends at a point where you are definitely thinking “I wonder what will happen next?”. Well what happens next is Midnight Tides. The fifth instalment in the Malazan series moves location to a part of our world as of yet untouched by the Malazan empire. Hence we have new characters, new landscapes and new concepts. More importantly we have almost none of anything which was covered in the first four books.

The_Bonehunters_1st_edHaving completed Midnight Tides I have now read the first 50 or so pages of the The Bonehunters. This book takes off a matter of days after the end of House of Chains and thus continues the story we seem to have taken a one book time out from. Truth is I enjoyed Midnight Tides. However, I enjoyed it as I might any other piece of stand alone fantasy fiction. Of course there were tie ins to the other books in the series but so few of consequence that you could have easily read it at any point amongst the previous four. On reflection Erikson did something similar when he dedicated the first 200 pages of House of Chains to the back story of one relatively minor character. At the time this seemed excessive to me and still does. Question is even in a ten part epic can an author afford to move the focus away from the central plot line for so long ? For me the jury is still out.

Problem I had with Midnight Tides is that over the course of the first four books I had bought in to the characters, their issues, their world, their story. To then leave that behind for 700 pages seemed a risky strategy. Perhaps after four books Steven Erikson thought that his readers were already along for the ride. Thus a change of location and the start of what was in essence a completely new arc would be be accepted. Well, I am still reading so maybe he was right. That said I am glad to be back in the world of the first four books again.

From what I have read the characters and locations of Midnight Tides will return. By then they too will feel familiar. Hopefully though when they do return they mix in with the other characters and parts of the Malazan empire we already know. With only four books left after the one I am reading I don’t think we can afford to leave the central story again for too long without potentially losing readers with only a few laps to go. Just my opinion. I’m sure some Malazan aficionados will be scoffing at what I’ve written. No, I am not an expert on fiction and writing styles. I’m just a reader who thought what an author did was a bit strange! Yes, bring us new characters and new parts of your world but maybe do so while not leaving those we have come to know, love and hate out of our thoughts for so long.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malazan_Book_of_the_Fallen

Her Name Was Reeva Steenkamp

reevasSo far most of my blog pieces have been little windows into in my life. Tales about the things that affect my day to day journey through my time on earth. Yes, that’s what most of them will be. However, I reserve the right to be blunt, precise and above all else at least semi topical from time to time. Well over here in Europe the story you can’t help but pay attention to and have thoughts on is the death of Reeva Steenkamp. Known to most of the world’s press as “the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius”, Reeva was killed in a shooting at the home of the famous paralympic athlete in the early hours of February the 14th, Valentines Day. When this story broke there was a general feeling of disbelief at what had occurred. Watching and listening to the ongoing bail hearing that feeling of shock, dismay and incredulity remains.

At the moment there are only two facts which appear to be indisputable. One. Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead at the age of 29 on the morning of February 14th in the bathroom of the home of Oscar Pistorius. Two. The person who shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp was Oscar Pistorius. At the moment in Pretoria the bail application is being heard. This has so far lasted a couple of days and has seen Oscar Pistorius making a statement as well as the leading investigating officer being questioned and cross examined. So far Pistorius himself has not been questioned by the prosecution. To be honest I didn’t appreciate bail hearings went into this much detail. It seems they do. For those who aren’t perhaps aware of what has happened on that fateful morning a summary is as follows:

  • Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp were in bed
  • Pistorius woke in the night to shut a sliding door
  • While up Oscar claims to have heard a noise in the bathroom which he believed to be an intruder
  • He returned to the bed and retrieved a gun
  • He went to the bathroom and shot four times through the door
  • Oscar then says he returned to the bedroom to ask Reeva to call the police
  • Reeva Steenkamp wasn’t in bed. She was lying in the bathroom with four bullet wounds.
  • Reeva died shortly afterwards.

Thanks to the wonder of Twitter I and 130,000 others are following the postings of Barry Bateman, a journalist from Pretoria. Somehow this chap is following the bail hearing and tweeting at the same time yet he hasn’t missed a beat. Gripping reading for those who are interested. Today’s latest events saw it revealed that the leading police officer is himself under suspicion of attempted murder. Not surprisingly he has been swiftly replaced. Elsewhere both sides have continued to argue for and against Pistorius being released on bail. Not going to get into the legal arguments. All I can say is that due to the case currently being viewed as premeditated murder the defence have to come up with exceptional circumstances to get their man out on bail. Time will tell if they can do that. Whatever happens with bail the trial will follow later in the year.

Really just want to finish where I started this blog in my head. I have no idea whether the tale told by Oscar and his defence is true. It’s almost too ridiculous to be anything other than true. Like most people trying to piece together the facts you just can’t begin to comprehend how this could possibly have happened. Even writing this piece I am still almost lost for words at such a stupid and senseless loss of a young life. The last words I do have are for the victim. Rest in peace Reeva Steenkamp.

Do Your Bit To Solve The Obesity Crisis

myfitnesspalLet me start by saying I am not in any way connected to myfitnesspal the company or any of their employees. This is not advertising spam. What follows is simply the views of someone who has successfully used their website and smartphone app to lose almost six stones. This blog has been brewing for a while. It was near the top of my “to blog” list. What has brought it to the top was yet another day of obesity crisis headlines.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has produced a report which suggests “Fizzy” drinks should be heavily taxed and junk food adverts banished until after the watershed. By Fizzy I would assume they mean drinks with excessive amounts of sugar as not all fizzy drinks do contain the dreaded white powder. For those outwith the UK I should perhaps additionally explain that the “watershed” is deemed to be a time when television in theory becomes for adults only, nominally around 9pm. After that you are free to show people kissing, bare bottoms and potentially now feature adverts for fizzy drinks. Now, the point of this piece is not to take a position on this article. I’m not qualified enough in the field to attempt a serious review of their findings. Instead all I am looking to highlight is what we as individuals can do about this apparent fatness epidemic.

Well, for me weight loss really started to make sense when I began to closely watch what I was eating. You can exercise and you can think you are eating less but if you’re not actually keeping an accurate log of what you consume (i.e what’s going in and what’s going out) you are potentially stumbling around in the dark. The solution? Well if you’ve read this far you already know the answer. Myfitnesspal isn’t rocket science. It is just basic nutritional science. Count your calories, know what amounts of sugars, carbohydrates, proteins and the various fats you are taking in. The food database rarely turns up a blank on any searches. As a bonus with the app you can do direct scans of bar-codes. On an average day I may spend five minutes logging food. It isn’t a chore.

Where logging your food works for me is that you have no excuses. You know exactly what you are eating. You know when you are eating too much and you just as importantly when you are eating too little. Since using MFP I have become exponentially more aware of what I should and shouldn’t be eating. This is key for me as I can’t help but feel a huge underlying cause of obesity is a lack of knowledge of how your body works. You don’t have to be a doctor to go on a successful diet. However, it helps if you grasp the fundamentals of why you put on weight and thus how you lose it.

If you think this sounds like the tool to help you with your attempts to shift some unwanted weight then head on over to myfitness pal. If you do join and want a friend to help encourage you then just give me a shout, my membership name is RedWeb!

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

Cyclists of the World, I Salute You

cyclistsMy main cardio kick when losing weight was running. The younger version of me used to run quite a lot. Nothing competitive. Just the occasional five or six mile run in an attempt to generate and maintain a decent level of fitness. However, a change of jobs and location led to a change in my fitness regime i.e. I didn’t have one. I kept threatening to get out running again. When the light evenings return I’ll be out there losing the flab and getting fit again. Never happened. Well, it did eventually when I declared enough was enough and began the weight loss process which took up most of 2012.

The purchase of a treadmill really kick started the running bug again. Allowed me to get fit enough before I ventured out in public. As an aside if you are thinking about running and can afford to purchase a treadmill then do. Great piece of kit. There is an element of snobbery in the running community which likes to pooh-pooh treadmills but I’m not having that. Fantastic way to begin your path to fitness, especially in countries where it rains a lot! Anyway I digress slightly. Where was I? Yes, the running bug. It returned and along with my strict, almost obsessive, calorie counting I ended up where I am today. So thanks running.

Why am I rattling on about running when the title of this blog is saluting cyclists I hear you ask. Well this is the reason why. When out running I always used to look at passing cyclists and think to myself that they had it easy. They should try getting off the bike and running instead. No free wheeling for me. I had to earn every inch I covered. In December last year I bought myself a bike. I’ve cycled about a 100 miles or so since then. I now think differently about cyclists.

I was sort of right about cycling. You do get to free-wheel at times. However, it is usually required to get over the effects of that hill you just struggled your way up. Distance is another thing I perhaps didn’t take into account. I did 22 miles today. Not a lot to some but a lot for me in my rookie cycling year. That 22 miles included up hills, down hills, into the wind, wind behind, wind across, traffic to negotiate and so on. The very fact that you cover relatively large distances exposes you to all sorts of weather and road conditions. Your body is always having to react and get ready for what is coming next.

When I used to return from a 10K run I would be tired. Bit out of breath but never that stiff or sore. 22 miles in the saddle covering all sorts of terrain and you better believe I am stiff and sore. I have no idea how professional cyclists can knock out 200K in a day over multiple mountains in searing temperatures. Well, we sort of do know how some managed it, but in general it must take an incredible level of fitness and stamina to be able to do it cleanly. Despite what I used to think cycling is a very tough and demanding sport. Whether you cycle to work, are part of a club, like the odd pedal around country lanes or even just take the bike to the shops, I salute you.

ps. I also salute runners and anyone else who gets out and moves their body. Whatever works for you just keep at it. Every little helps.

Save Wrestling As An Olympic Sport!

2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival - Day 5Ok. I’ll be honest. I don’t like Olympic wrestling. I used to enjoy watching the exploits of WWE superstars such as The Rock and The Undertaker but amateur wrestling has always left me confused. Nothing much seems to be happening and then it’s all over. The bottom line is like many people I don’t appreciate the subtleties or indeed the rules. Makes it all seem a confusing bunch of nothing. However, to those who love the sport as either competitors or spectators it is clearly far from nothing.

Hence the expected uproar when it was announced that wrestling was to be dropped as an Olympic sport from 2020. Whether you actually like wrestling or not doesn’t seem to me to be the point. At times you should stick with tradition. In Olympic terms there isn’t a sport as traditional as wrestling. Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, was included in the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. It has been in every Games since, apart from Paris in 1900. For me it is an almost uniquely Olympic event. One of those things that people often only watch once every four years.

Perhaps wrestling just isn’t sexy enough. Perhaps it doesn’t sell enough advertising space. What it does do though is retain the real spirit of the Olympic movement. It is the sort of sport which you could actually imagine taking place in ancient Greece and the Roman empire. It is a sport which has transcended generations and one which embodies what Olympic competition is all about. Reading various comment pieces on the web one sentiment is commonly voiced. The best quote I could find to sum up the general feeling comes from a wrestling coach in the USA:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Any wrestler, former or current, lives by this creed. Wrestling teaches the participants there is nothing greater than the battle itself. Wrestling is as much a battle of one’s own mind and thoughts, as it is a battle against your opponent.”

Whether you like the sport or not. To me it doesn’t matter. Sometimes things should just be left as they are. To help save Olympic wrestling please visit, read and if you feel so inclined then sign the following petition:

https://www.change.org/petitions/the-international-olympic-committee-save-wrestling-as-an-olympic-sport-saveolympicwrestling

I Just Blogged To Say I Love You

Redweb1For those of you who follow my blog or may be thinking about doing so I should perhaps apologise in advance for luring you here today under false pretences. You see today’s words are aimed at one person and one person only. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible i.e. the next blog. However, if you want to read on please do, I’m happy for people to read what I have to say on this day, February 14th.

To my other half, the good Doctor, the woman in banner image. You know what you’re called. Hope you like the picture I attached to this post. Still think it’s probably our best picture together. Really do need to use these fancy smartphones of ours to get a more recent one. In the past I’ve sent you cards bought in shops, I’ve made cards myself and filled them with my own words. This year I have gone one better and written to you on a public blog. I’m sure you won’t mind me sharing my thoughts.

I’ve called you a few things on here so far. However, there is one which I haven’t. The best words I can use to describe you for anyone who cares to listen is my soul mate. Yes, it may be corny. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You are my best friend. You are my lover. At times you are even my mother. Any one person who comes out on top in all three of those categories deserves to be called my soul mate. You have earned that right and I hope you will be proud to keep being known as such for the rest of our lives.

I could go on. I could get mushy. I’m not going to. I’ve said all that needs to be said. Most of if didn’t need to be said as I’m sure you knew it any way.

Latest New on Sony Xperia Android Upgrade

andjbLast week I excitedly blogged that Sony Experia users could shortly expect an upgrade of their Android operating system. Wasn’t sure of the exact timetable but some further digging around the web this Sunday afternoon has uncovered the following:

http://blogs.sonymobile.com/2013/02/07/kicking-off-sony-software-upgrade-including-uplift-to-jelly-bean-android-4-1-for-2012-xperia-smartphones/

I could add my own comments but the article from the horses mouth i.e. Sony tells you all you need to know.

Bottom line is you need to wait until your phone says the upgrade is available. I actually tried using the Sony PC Companion software to check for an update but it tells me my phone is already up to date. This implies to me that my mobile provider (T-Mobile) must need to make it available to their customers. At the moment they don’t appear to have done this.

I will keep reading the Sony blog over the next few weeks as well as trying to get more information from T-Mobile. When eventually the upgrade appears on my phone I’ll report back on life in Jelly Bean land. According to the blog post linked to above it sounds like a significant upgrade. Not sure if I can contain my excitement much longer !

Does A Picture Really Tell A Thousand Words?

For anyone who has visited my blog before you will notice a change. Well you might if you were really paying close attention to the layout. For those who haven’t visited before it will all be new so there is no point it in stringing this out. Yes, I have an updated banner image. The previous effort was done by my own fair hand and I do not profess to be an expert in the black arts of photo editing. The new design was done by someone much more capable and the difference is clear to see. For those new to my blog you will of course see no difference but believe me there is one !

I write a blog and have written thousands and thousands of words over the years on a variety of web outlets. I like, indeed love the written word. It is a skill which we need to cherish and maintain. We need to resist the tide of god awful text speak from becoming an acceptable use of our various languages. The point I’m making is nothing will ever beat a well written article. However, what may help it become even better is an appropriate image. In some cases I’d even go as far as to say the image may save the day when the author wasn’t quite on their best form.

A little explanation behind by banner. I christened the site “FromHereToThere“. This could of course describe any number of journeys undertaken during the course of my life. That was the point I suppose. Make it applicable to several aspects of my days on our blue planet. Aspects which may well find parallels in the lives of those who take the time to read my words. Weight loss journeys, relationship journeys. Just the general journey through life.

dcm_2005_0626_105908AA

Me and a camera. Both models out of date !

As it happens all of the pictures in the banner are relatively recent, as within the last 10 years kind of recent. Think there are two reason for this. Digital photography has made it so much easier to keep and use photos online. Secondly the person who took most of the pictures has only been part of my life for the last 10 years. On reflection perhaps my real journey didn’t start until that person entered my life. I had been going somewhere. Down dead ends mostly. Over recent times life has had a focus and more of a purpose. As such it seems like my journey through life has truly begun.

Enough of the prose. Time for a little bit of background on the banner. From left to right the pictures are:

  • Myself and my sister from the late 1980s. The cat and dog are the long departed pair of Sooty and Sweep.
  • Myself and my other half in 2002. The two dogs are another long departed pair, Phrederyk and his mother Vinya.
  • Phrederyk and myself on the west coast of Scotland in 2002
  • Me and the good Doctor from Easter 2009. On reflection the signs that a diet was needed were becoming clear.
  • Small picture of myself and our Golden Retriever Tobermory on the Isle of Skye.
  • The penultimate two images are during the last year of diet and exercise.
  • …and lastly there is me today. Well two weeks ago to be precise.

You don’t have to adorn your website with images. Perhaps a picture doesn’t really speak a thousand words. However, it provides an alternative source of information as well as catching the eye. For me a site without good use of images is quite simply missing an opportunity to cascade both their message and their philosophy. Take a picture today and start documenting your own journey.

ps. I do realise this article doesn’t actually have it’s own featured imaged. Bit of a faux pas considering what I’ve just written. However, in this instance please imagine the site banner to be the featured image. Which seems fair enough to me. Moving forward featured images will become the norm !

Kindle Delights – Malazan Book Of the Fallen

Like some people. Let me try that again. Like a lot of people I hadn’t heard of George RR Martin and his epic A Song of Ice and Fire before Sky Atlantic started showing Game of Thrones. Straight away I was hooked. Not only into reading all the books in the series but also into the epic fantasy genre. Yes, I had read “Lord of the Rings”. Who hasn’t? That apart though my fantasy reading history was fairly thin. George has probably changed that forever.

After finishing the latest in book in A Song of Ice and Fire, Dance With Dragons I needed more. Well, there will be no more from George for a while. It took him five years to complete Dance with Dragons so even if he speeds up a bit we are still likely to be waiting for another couple of years. I then did what I usually do in this situation. Joined a forum and asked for help. Several authors were mentioned. A few were tried and dismissed. One, Joe Abercrombie, was tried and thoroughly enjoyed to the extent that all five of his books to date have been read. However, I still wanted more. I wanted more epicness. I now think I have it.

Steven Erikson is a Canadian author who I had heard of but ignored as the word was his books were almost unreadable. His masterpiece is the 10 part magnus opus that is The Malazan Book of The Fallen. As I said I had heard of it and been told it was very much a case of like it or loathe it. As it happened I stumbled across a free copy of book one, Gardens of the Moon, and so I had nothing to lose. Straight away I could see why so many people love this work. To be honest I could also see why some hate it. A heady mix of mythology (i.e. gods and things), military campaigns, a vast world of contrasting continents and cultures and more races and forms of humanity, and non humanity, than you could wish to hope for. In short there is a lot going on.

Currently I am about half way through the fifth book, Midnight Tides. Five more to go after this, ten if you include the contributions of fellow author and close friend Ian Esslemont, who co-created the Malazan world. Steven Erikson has actually now begun a new series which is a prequel to the Book of the Fallen. Sounds good but it will be a while before I get there. So to finish. If you want epicness on a truly grand scale. If you want ideas and concepts which at times may baffle you. If you want characters who you are really interested in no matter how good or bad they are. In short if you want a thumping good read then the Malazan Empire awaits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malazan_Book_of_the_Fallen

Headwinds. Not Good for Rookie Cyclists.

Went out on my by bike this morning. Had a 20 mile route planned. Yes, I know that’s nothing for you experienced, big thighed veteran wheelers but for a relative novice it’s not a distance to be sniffed at. My last cycle of note a couple of weeks ago featured a seven mile uphill start which I hadn’t quite bargained for i.e. it nearly had me throwing up ! However, I fought through it as if nothing else I’m stubborn and will keep going until my body really says no more.

For today’s run I made sure there wasn’t going to be a repeat of my climbing struggles. A nice flat route. No real lumps but the ones it did have wouldn’t be a problem. Journey started easily enough. A bit downhill, no real breeze that I could feel. However, after about three miles I turned left and my worst fears were realised. A headwind. Worse than that. As the next five miles showed it wasn’t just a headwind it changed to a full blown crosswind at some points. Didn’t matter which direction I was going the wind was playing havoc with my pedalling. Actually had to stop a couple of times as I just wasn’t getting anywhere. Either that or I felt like I might be blown off the bike.

Eventually at around the ten mile mark I made another left turn and this time the wind dropped. From there to home there were only small stretches where I was fighting the elements. Think in time these winds will be less of an issue for two reasons. One. I will try my best to avoid them. Plan routes where I know that the wind is at my back on the tough sections and into me on the easy, perhaps downhill parts. Secondly I will get better at cycling. Combination of improved bike control and more power in my legs should see me cutting through pesky headwinds as the months and years go by.

Back home. Bike washed and cheese and ham toastie consumed. Blog written. Time for a soak in the bath and a haircut. Hopefully there are no headwinds between here and the bathroom.

Android Upgrade Alert – Jelly Bean is Coming !

This morning my other half switched on her phone to be told that an Android upgrade was about to begin. Her phone was already on Jelly Bean 4.1.1 and the resulting upgrade was moving her Samsung Galaxy S3 to 4.1.2. This led to wonder whether my Sony Xperia T was in line for any sort of Android injection. At the moment I am on Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4. I therefore did a spot of googling for “Android Upgrade” and the first main story which came up was:

http://androidcommunity.com/sony-begins-sending-out-xperia-t-jelly-bean-updates-20130202/

Yippee !!

As the story says all Xperia T users can expect an imminent upgrade to the Jelly Bean version of Android. Amongst other things this will give us access to is the rather neat looking Goggle Now application. Not exactly sure when the upgrade will arrive but sometime in the next month or so would seem a fair bet. These upgrades seem to be done on a region by region basis and the fact that the Netherlands has the upgrade hopefully means the United Kingdom isn’t far behind.

I like upgrades. Doesn’t everybody ?

Thanks WordPress !

Been doing websites since the late 1990’s when it first really became possible for the common man to have a presence on the fledgling internet. Using a product called Microsoft FrontPage and a crackling dial up modem connection my Stirling Albion match reports site was born. Fifteen years later we are still here. Along the way I have added a Scottish Islands site to my portfolio. However, now changes are afoot. This is my last season doing reports for Stirling Albion. Takes too much time and frankly more dedication to the cause than I am willing to give any more.

Problem is/was I wanted to still have somewhere on the interweb where I could post personal thoughts, including the occasional homage to my former sporting obsession. How could I do this ? Answer, a blog. First thought was blogger. However, a quick review of the competition quickly led me to WordPress. Confession time. My Stirling Albion site is also in WordPress. However, it wasn’t an immediate thought that it would also host my blog. It was then I realised that WordPress.com exists and is in essence a “light” version of our self hosted WordPress.org football site. Light may sound bad but to me it was exactly what I wanted.

A week into my blog and I now like to think what I have set up looks fairly pleasing to the eye. In total I have spent the princely sum of $30 to get the Custom Design kit. Considering what WordPress are giving me for free it seemed churlish to think of this payment as anything other than a token gesture. So I definitely think a thanks to WordPress is in order. A quick and easy way to get on the web. A quick and easy way to have your say. What more could anybody want ?

Do I Really Look Sick ?

I’ve worked hard to lose the weight I’ve lost. Almost a full year of intense dieting and exercise which I stuck to with with a stubbornness which bordered on fanaticism. I reached my goal and beyond. If anything I could do with putting a little bit back on but for now I am happy maintaining in and around the 80kg mark. I think I look so much healthier and fitter than before. Unfortunately the odd person I meet thinks I need to sit down !

In the bad old days I would have a takeaway every Friday. In itself not that big of a deal but when combined with the rest of my weekend eating and a basic lack of portion control during the week it eventually took it’s toll. These days I allow myself one takeaway a month. I have earned the right to one meal every four or five weeks when I’m not worrying about calories, fats, sodium and all that malarkey. One meal just to enjoy being a little bit bad.

Anyway that’s the background to this blog. What got me typing was the reaction when I returned to my favourite Chinese takeaway after what has been almost a year. The initial reaction by the woman behind the counter was along the “haven’t seen you for a while” lines. Fair enough and it was nice that she recognised me. Then it started to get a bit strange. Out from the kitchen popped the main man, the owner of the establishment. The look of shock on his face was unbelievable. It’s like he’d just seen a ghost. I did my best to reassure him that tales of my death were clearly exaggerated. However, he didn’t seem convinced. At least three or four times he asked if I was all right. He seemed genuinely concerned for my well being and appeared sure that I had a major health issue. No I assured him. I’ve just lost a lot of weight. Eventually he accepted that I wasn’t sick. At least I think he did.

Problem here is one of perception. People get used to what you look like. If you’re overweight, have a bit of a belly and a slightly podgy face then that is you. If you stop looking like that then somehow you’re not you. Well, this is me. What you saw before was an obese version of me. I should never have looked like that and people should never have got used to expecting me to look like that. I accept if you haven’t seen me for a while I do look a lot different. However, this is what I should have looked like all the time. This is what I plan to look like for the rest of my days.

I hope if I see people who have lost large amounts of weight I don’t first of all think that they’re ill. Maybe I do. Maybe we all do. Why is that ? Perhaps it’s human nature to think the worst. I don’t know. Bit confused if I’m being honest. I mean, do I really look sick ?