Afroman would be proud

hysterical-laughter-cartoonSo…a recent request to, *ahem* “Enhance”, my (almost) famous brownies has reminded me of a story that I haven’t told before.

I was working as an IT contractor in Cardiff.  This was in the run up to Y2K.  For those of you that don’t remember, Y2K was a potential disaster.  Planes were going to fall out of the sky, power stations were going to explode, nuclear reactors would lose control, the tills in McDonalds would make every order a Fillet O’ Fish.

The world, in short, was going to come to a rapid and abrupt end.  All because of the little issue of computer dates being stored with a 2 digit year.  Personally, I wasn’t concerned about the world ending, but I was not above milking the issue for all it was worth.  Hence, I was working for a bank in Cardiff, replacing all of their computer systems with the new fangled 4 digit year based ones and my bank balance with a few more digits again.

This meant a lot of time away from home, living in a B&B all week.  Now, when I wasn’t submitting invoices with totals that most people thought were my phone number, I was partying….hard…in Cardiff.  We were a fairly small group that were all fleecing reasonably charging the bank for our efforts and Cardiff can be quite the party town.  So, we partied.  A lot.

A few stories spring to mind. but I do have a couple of faves.  The first of which revolves around AJ.  AJ is (we lost touch unfortunately) a top top top fella.  A good laugh and a genuine person.

AJ had, however, 2 minor flaws.  #1 His love for the weed and #2 His love for the Vauxhall Calibra.  Now, #1 is not really a flaw and I will get into that later, but #2 is where we are right now.

He decided, after putting in an invoice for about 4 hours work, to use that money and buy himself his dream car.  A Vauxhall Calibra 4×4 2.0 Turbo.  Full leather everything, all the mod cons of the time and more power than a powery thing with power written on it.

Now the problem with leather seats is that they are shiny and often a bit on the slidey side.  We had been bowling for the evening (I know, living the high life right) and AJ had insisted on taking the car.  CP had called shotgun and so I ended up in the back seat.  I don’t fully recall the reason, but I did not have my seat belt on.  Maybe it was faulty, maybe I was just being a moron, but whatever the reason, I was not strapped in when I really should have been.

After a period of mockery over AJs car decision making skills from both myself and CP, AJ was determined to demonstrate the power of this beast.  It was quite late and we were on the Newport Road, which is both long and straight (ladies!). AJ floored it.  The car reacted as though it had, indeed, been floored.  And shot off like your bowels the morning after a particularly vicious lentil curry. I was forced back into my seat and the lack of a seat belt was no longer an issue worth contemplating.  The problem with Newport Road, however, is that as you get closer to the city center, it stops being straight and, in fact, goes into a single lane sharp (75 degree’ish) left turn.  AJ saw the turn up ahead and started to slow down.  That said, we are at this point, doing around 95Mph with the turn rapidly approaching.  AJ braces himself for what is coming, CP grabs the door handle and braces himself.  My problem in the back seat became quickly apparent.  Not only was I not strapped in, there were no rear doors (and therefore no handles).

Thinking quickly, I lay across the back seat and tried to brace my back against the side of the car with my feet pressed as hard as possible into the other side of the car.  I felt secure.  I felt confident.  These feelings were misplaced. AJ had managed to get the car down to around 50Mph at the moment the sharp left could no longer be avoided.

I have to say, I will be forever impressed with that Calibra.  It stuck to the road like glue, flew around the sharp turn, stayed on the road and (most importantly) didn’t kill us or anyone else.  That’s when AJ started laughing so hard he had to stop the car to compose himself.  CP was, understandably confused.  When called upon to explain the reason for his mirth, AJ described what he had seen in his rear view mirror at the moment we hit the turn.  Basically, he had checked the mirror as we started to turn and had seen my head lurch from one side of the mirror, very quickly, to the other side and then a split second later my head was replaced by my feet.  CP turned around to see me, on the opposite side of the car from where I had started….upside down and trying to right myself, whilst crying hysterically with laughter.  Ahh fun times.

Now, that story popped into my head whilst I was thinking of #1 from the AJ book of flaws (if you want to call them that).

So AJ was good friends with a certain plant that is known for it’s relaxing properties.  CP and I on the other hand were, at best, on polite nodding terms with it.  This meant that tolerances were a little different.  We decided to give it a go and AJ, being AJ, made us one of his usuals.  We devolved rapidly into a giggling mess and headed back to our B&B where we decided to continue along the path we had chosen, whilst watching whatever was on the TV.

I remember this vividly, it was the first screening of the first episode of “The League of Gentlemen”.  The town of Royston Vasey was there is all of it’s technicolour bizzareness for us, as relaxed as we were, to enjoy.  For any of you that have watched this show without “assistance”, it is fantastic.  Funny and Dark…typical British Humour at it’s finest.  If you haven’t watched the show, stop reading this immediately and go and watch it. You will love it.  Veterinarians, Job Centers, Taxi Cabs and Frog Enthusiasts will never be the same again.  With “assistance” it is downright dangerous.  If we were giggling before the show, we were close to being hospitalised during it.  30 minutes of laughing so much that we could barely breathe and crying with laughter so we could barely see each other, let alone the TV.  Now that I come to think of it, it could well be the reason that I love the show so much.

The show finishes (not that we noticed) and eventually, CP decides to head to his room next to mine and get ready for bed (we did have to work the next morning).  Still giggling and trying to brush his teeth.  It was that moment that I chose to quote something from the show.  I would love to say I remember what I quoted, it was most likely something innocuous like “Mickey Love” “Yes Pauline”.

I could hear that CP started choking.  The trouble was, I couldn’t move.  The ridiculous noises that he was making started me laughing again.  He stopped choking and, about 10 minutes later, was able to explain that the quote I had made had set him off again…the problem was that he was in the middle of brushing his teeth, almost swallowed his toothbrush and spat toothpaste all over the wall/sink/mirror.  I think I was still giggling when I woke up the next morning.

So, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not dangerous…it nearly killed CP Razz

 

 

Culture Club

get-around-in-english-how-to-be-politeDo you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?

To be honest, I am not referring to that particular Culture Club although, now I have started with those lyrics, I cannot for the life of me get the song out of my head.

I was sick for a couple of days last week and it made me realise how living in Germany for almost 11 years has changed me.  We have a culture (in my experience) in the UK of not calling in sick.  For us it is always better to get to work and be sent home, than it is to call in and say you can’t make it.  I am not sure when that trend started.  Probably when companies started providing the minimal amount of paid sick leave before slamming people over onto Statutory Sick Pay.

Here in Germany, however, it’s different.  The idea of coming to work when you are sick is still a relatively alien concept.  “You mean you would consider coming here and making the rest of us sick too?  What kind of an animal are you?” seems to be the prevailing thought.

It made me think about other stuff that I accept after 11 years that, were I to head back to Blighty for more than a couple of weeks, I would probably face the biggest culture shock since Keith “Big Balls” Chaverton went on holiday to Spain and didn’t choose a package tour (the humanity, they didn’t even have a Red Lion…or Pie and Mash).

So, in no particular order, my top 4 points of difference:

#1 Sickness

Not only do we have the “Sick is sick” vs “It’ll look better if the boss sends me home”.  We also have the classic sicknote excuses.

In the UK, the staple “I need a day or two off” is the “Bad Back”.  In Germany it is Kreislauf (Circulation).  Essentially “I’m feeling faint”.

That’s right, apparently Germany is made up of a nation of 1950s female movie stars who swoon at the slightest provocation.

Also, there is a very firm and national belief that drafts are the cause of all colds.  Case in point, I was on the train a little while ago during a heatwave.  The air conditioning wasn’t working and, as it was a 30 minute journey, I cracked open a window.  Blissful air rushed over my glistening face…followed immediately by a blustery woman who slammed the window shut and proceeded to lecture me that she didn’t want to get sick because of my selfishness.  I mean, god forbid that air should actually move across you in a cooling motion when you are at your very sweatiest.  Ah well.

#2 Personal Space

Now, I am going to be honest here.. I could happily live with reverting to the English style of things.  Germans have little to no concept of personal space.  They stand so close to you in a queue (I have talked about this before) that I have, on a number of occasions, asked if they would at least take me to dinner first!  Leaning across you, standing far to close when talking to you..nothing is taboo.

It’s enough to make your average Brit strap some form of hula hoop based contraption to themselves so as to ensure that they are not violated.

#3 Drinking

This is probably the biggest difference really.  Over here, due to far more relaxed licensing laws, drinking is a more comfortable affair.  You see, us Brits think that we have a drinking culture.  It’s an oft user misnomer.  We don’t have a drinking culture, we have a getting pissed culture and it is a subtle, but distinct, difference.

Germans go out late.  So late, in fact, that at the same time in the UK, people are an hour away (at most) from last orders.  The difference, therefore, is that in the UK it is often about drinking fast before you are unable to drink anymore.  Whereas here, you take your time and if the bar you are in is closing, there is almost always another one to go to.  Also, this avoids everyone getting kicked out at the same time and that leads to a lot less drunken brawling.

The nice thing is, you can always spot the groups of Brits…they are the only ones out drinking at 19:00, wondering why they bothered coming to Germany…only to be wrecked by the time the Germans are starting to head out.

#4 Greetings

The final point for today’s lecture, ladies and gentlemen is a very weird thing and, after over 10 years, something that I am still not fully accustomed to.  Brits are, by and large, a friendly and accommodating people.  We will invariably go out of our way to help people in need and are polite to the point of pain in most situations.  Where we are not good, however, is dealing with strangers in situations where we expect zero interaction.

Let me start you off with an easy example..one to help you understand without making you too uncomfortable.

Lifts.

Now lifts are public things and, in a busy city like Frankfurt, you will rarely end up in one on your own.  Doesn’t matter if it is in a shopping center or a car park, it’s a busy place, you are unlikely to be the only person needing a lift.  Now, in the UK, it is a perfectly reasonable expectation that interaction with fellow lift travelers will be restricted to a nod and quite possibly a smile.  The smile is designed to do 2 things. #1 Acknowledgement…we are nothing if not polite and #2 to let people know we have seen them, should they be harbouring any dark thoughts towards us, we are aware of what they look like.  Now, to any right thinking individual, this is perfectly normal and correct.

Not to a German…oh no no nono.  To the average German, the lift is the perfect place to strike up a conversation with complete strangers that are just trying to get from floor a to floor z without any social anxiety inducing conversation.

Also, when you are walking around during lunch time, Germans revel in the act of reminding you that it is indeed lunch time.  Every single person you meet, that even remotely suspects that you work for the same company, will hit you with “Mahlzeit” (literally, Mealtime) as a greeting.  People that would never have spoken to you (apart from in the lift obviously) are now providing you with information you already know ffs.  It is made slightly more annoying when you are on your way to a meeting and are, in fact, being forced to skip lunch because of it.

The most heinous of them all, as far as I am concerned, is regarding men in the toilet.  Obviously if I could attest to what the women get up to in their toilets, I would be writing this from jail.  The urinal serves one major purpose…quick relief.  You might also consider a secondary purpose, aiming practice, but generally it is there so that your average Brit can get in, siphon the python (or wring out the worm if you are unlucky in that area) and get the hell out.  It is not, I REPEAT NOT, a suitable alternative to whatever passes for the European version of a water cooler.  I do not want to shoot the shit, chew the fat, shoot the breeze or any other idiom you want to sling around.  My penis is out people.  I mean, I hope you aren’t looking and I really don’t want you to but..if I am stood at a urinal, I am definitely there for a single purpose, not because I have some kind of ceramic fixation.  There is a time and place for everything…and you have just failed that sentence in every way imaginable.

Finally, to a Brit the toilet cubicle is a private place.  You should be alone with your thoughts (and possibly your phone).  You should not be forced into have a fucking conversation.  Germans do not appreciate this.  You are therefore forced to ninja your way into the toilets, unseen by anyone, just to be certain that the next person to walk in, cannot be certain that it is you.  Alternatively, and quite possibly dangerously, hold it in until you get home.   At least that way you will avoid being forced into discussing the finer points of life whilst trying to surreptitiously (and above all else quietly) lay some cabling.

I would write more but I need the toilet and it’s at least a 30 minute drive home……

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

regret…but then again, too few to mention.  So sang the maestro and it rings true for me.

I think that most people who know anything about me will agree that 2016 has been, arguably, a year of considerable reflection for me.  Not just reflection, but action taken as a result of it too.

Weight loss, friendships, jobs, embracing the German language, who I am, who I want to be and what I want out of life.  I have reflected and acted on all of these things since the beginning of the year.  I could have wallowed, I think most people would have forgiven me for that.  I didn’t, and I am very proud that I didn’t.  It really would have been easier, now that I look back, but easy is not the same as good.

I have a deep flaw that lies in over-analysis of situations.  Well, I see it as a flaw, others might not, but it tends to lead me to exercising a little too much caution a lot of the time.  Over thinking a situation will often cause it to be too late to act when you finally reach a decision (IF you finally reach a decision).

I don’t recall when it happened, but I hit a point where I started to care what people thought of me.  Not too big of a problem you might think, but unfortunately that escalated to caring what everybody thought of me.  Yep, even that guy walking towards me on the street that I don’t know and will most likely never see again.

Taking self-awareness to the umpteenth degree ladies and gentlemen.  That affected my confidence to act.  I stopped feeling free to dance when I went out, preferring to lean on the bar and nod my head with the best of them.  I wanted to dance, I wanted to have a laugh, but something was stopping me.  I gained weight around this time too and my vanity (such as it was) stopped me in my tracks.  Now I wasn’t just worrying about how people were judging “That guy over there” now they were judging “That fat bastard over there”.  It’s ridiculous the more I think about it.

In short I had, for reasons best known only to the dim dark recesses of my subconscious, generated a massive self-esteem issue.  The trouble was, I either didn’t realise that’s what it was or I wasn’t prepared to admit it.  I acted confident and was able to blag it to a certain extent, but I couldn’t quite carry it off completely.

My work suffered, I couldn’t give presentations, struggled with conflict resolution and became pretty angry pretty quickly with situations that didn’t really require it.  I couldn’t trust any of my decisions properly, at home or at work, so I almost stopped making them.  It was not a good time for Ole Davey.

Moving to Germany helped.  It was something that I had always wanted for myself.  Something that I have been saying since I was 15 that I wanted to do.  So achieving a personal goal like that helped me.  My confidence at work started to come back..culminating in me offering to take over a failing section and get it working again.  Which I achieved.  Presentations, hiring/firing, disciplinaries, meetings and all that jazz were flowing again.  I left there and headed to another place.  Promoted in 2 weeks, being sent to London regularly, involved in all sorts of projects and even sent to Santa Clara for a jolly week long meeting.

The trouble was, my personal life was still problematic.  Don’t get me wrong, I had found a relationship with an amazing woman, but I was struggling to deal with speaking German (even though I could), struggling with calling companies about bills or problems.  When I went out…Mr Confident…when I had to deal with daily life stuff…Gibbering Wreck.  I lost a little weight, but mainly I started looking after myself properly.  So, whilst I was still huge, I at least looked OK.  Slowly the confidence started to filter in and I was able to function a bit better on a daily basis.  Still nowhere near the level that I should have been at, but better.  Mostly I persuaded myself that it was better and so, invariably, it actually got better.

Here’s the big reveal though.  I was diagnosed some years ago with mild depression.  It’s something that very few people know about me.  A lot of people wouldn’t believe it and a lot of people would be like “everyone has mild depression sometimes”.  Unfortunately, that’s not the same thing.  Feeling down from time to time is normal..it happens to us all..it happens to me sometimes.  Mild Depression is a different beast.

Now, I am lucky.  I think I have been prescribed Anti-Depressants once in my life and then only for a short time.  I am able to function and my depressive episodes are, generally, not so severe that I can’t fake it until I actually feel better.  Factor in my recent life turnaround/improvements and I haven’t suffered all year.

Then Monday happened, I got sick.  Being more healthy has had the side effect of allowing me to avoid my standard “start of summer” illness that has always plagued both myself and my mum.    I didn’t even think about this until Monday night, when I started to feel like crap.  It left me feeling run down, unable to train properly and completely lethargic.  These things contributed to an “episode” that I am currently fighting to get out of.  One of the reasons for this post I guess.  So, more reflection.

Things have a habit of going wrong.  I think that is true for all of us.  I got married at 21 and had 2 kids.  Do I regret it?  No.  My kids are amazing and I look back fondly on the time with my wife.  Sure, it went wrong in the end, but that doesn’t stop it being good while it lasted.  I spent a bit of time alone, playing the field and then got with someone else for 10 years and had another 2 kids.  Do I regret that?  No…again, amazing kids and I can look back fondly on the great times we had.

Cue a bit more time playing the field and I, somehow, end up with CW for 7 years.  Do I regret the relationship?  Not at all.  Right up until the break up, the relationship was amazing…at least to me (I don’t mean that to come across as bitterness).  She helped me grow as a person, be more willing to take risks and get as close to being “myself” as I think I had ever been.  Sure, there were still times where I was playing a role, but I was playing it well and a lot of the time I discovered that I hadn’t been playing a role for a while without realising it.

Without her, I would have missed out on a lot of music gigs, some great friends and of course the cake shop.  Seeing the world through someone elses eyes can be a real experience if you allow yourself to do it.  She had a way of looking at the world that made you want to drop your own cynicism and just enjoy shit.

The cake shop is the one that people wonder about.  I think a lot of people see it as a failure.  Which is fair, I was forced to close it and have suffered financially (and continue to do so) because of it.  Was it a failure?  No, not even close.  It was a success.  What failed was my body.  The first 2-3 years of any new business are the hardest.  You have invested a lot and have yet to recoup that investment.  You build debt with suppliers whilst establishing yourself.  After that time, things start to get easier and you will eventually turn a decent profit.  So, yes, it was a struggle…but it was a struggle we were going to win.  Unfortunately, things conspired against me.  The finances were not there for me to hire the people that I would have needed to allow me to recover from my ankle problems, which led to me being forced to work crazy hours and made my ankle problems worse.  Hobbling around a bakery kitchen, alone, at 4AM with your leg in a cast and crutches does not a stress-free environment make.

Do I regret it?  Not for a split second.  I regret not being able to continue longer so that I could have sold the business properly, but it was out of my control.  The painkillers that allowed me to work did nothing, the ones that helped stopped me from working.  It was a horrible catch 22 situation and I was forced to close the doors around 6-8 months too soon.  Even with all of the financial issues that followed, I still don’t regret a minute of having that business.

I definitely do have regrets from the last few years.  The biggest being that a lot of the stuff, described above, has stopped me from being financially sound enough to visit my kids often enough.  Same goes for other members of my family.  I have relied on birthday gifts to allow me to travel to the UK for a visit.

I regret that I didn’t tackle certain things from my childhood when I still had the chance to do so.  I regret that I don’t seem able to get out of my own head sometimes.  I regret that I was blind to the issues in my relationship with CW, meaning I was helpless to resolve them.  I regret not looking after my ankle properly years ago.  In general, I have very few regrets.

I am very lucky and, by writing this, I am hoping to very quickly get over my current “episode”.

For the record, I regret the bar of chocolate I just ate….Oh, and I definitely regret last Saturday night…but the less said about that the better  Fingers Crossed

Insomoaniac

complaint-boxYup, I appear to have it.  I had quite a busy and tiring weekend (self-inflicted and not unusual)…so, imagine my joy when I went to bed last night yawning my head off and looking forward to getting some shut-eye….and then couldn’t.  Despite ridding myself of almost all of my “Organic Thermal Protection” since February, I still do not appear to be able to handle the heat.

Some would therefore say that I should get out of the kitchen but, unfortunately, my company do not have offices in Siberia which would be my only realistic option at the moment.

33 degrees in Mid-September.  This does not bode well for a decently cold Christmas and therefore my Christmas Market trips will be limited or non-existent.  Glühwein and Feuerzangenbowle require, at the very minimum, minus temperatures.  You need to feel the benefit of drinking a hot drink on a cold evening.  Then you can convince yourself it is medicinal or healthy or something.  Which you definitely cannot do when it is 14 degrees and pissing it down.  Fuck you Christmas Market 2015 (and 2014 now I come to think of it), fuck you sideways…with something spikey.

Living in Germany means that we don’t generally do Air Conditioning…what we do have are fans that are happy to burn electricity whilst moving warm air around your room.  These are generally about as effective as a chocolate fireguard.

I did briefly consider sleeping in a cold bath…but figured it would warm up at some point and I would end up awake again.  Iced drinks only help for a little while and so I am left with that most British of options….Moaning.

We are damned good at it.  As a nation we have managed to come full circle and perfected it to such a level that we can moan about moaning.  We moan about other people moaning and we moan when situations cause us to moan.

Wow, that is an abundance of moanage in that last paragraph…I might have to complain.  I am not 100% sure why we moan so much as a nation.  It could be the weather, as people love to tell me.  It could be the food (that other favourite).  I don’t know.

All I can say with any certainty is that if moaning was an Olympic sport, the event would never actually start because the Brits would still be moaning about the rules, other competitors, referees, colour of the stadium, time of the event and anything else you can think of, until after the closing ceremony takes place.  And then we would moan that we didn’t win.

I try not to.  I really do, but sometimes it’s the only option.

My point is I like it warm, but I don’t like it this warm and my diet precludes Solero based up-shut-fuckery (that’s for you Peter Kay).

Ermahgerd! I hate trains

997-public-transportActually…that’s not strictly true.  The trains themselves are rarely the issue.  I mean, sure, sometimes the Air Conditioning doesn’t work which makes for especially uncomfortable travel in 30+ degree weather with a full train and no windows that open.  This issue can then be multiplied to extreme discomfort when the driver shuts down 2 carriages and forces 4 carriages worth of people to cram into 2…with the aforesaid lack of windows/air conditioning.

At that point it is not the train itself, but people in general, that I hate.

Occasionally I have an extreme dislike for the train station that co-ordinates badly and then forces said “Sauna Carriage” to be sat on the tracks, in sight of my destination…literally.  The other day I was actually watching people buying frigging Ice Cream while my train, with no word as to why, proceeded to sit for 10 minutes without moving the 200 meters or so required to…you know….LET US OFF THE DAMN TRAIN.

I digress.  What I am driving at here is that despite these things, what I really hate are the other train travelers.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing.  I suspect it is.  First off, queuing.  Germans are bad at this.  English people are good at this.  It’s a fact of life.  Like the French eating cheese and surrendering all the time, you know, common knowledge.

Germans queue in the same way that people who watch Bruce Lee films do martial arts. Thinking that they can chop and kick their way out of any situation without training.  They kinda sorta almost understand what a queue is, but they get it hideously and comically wrong.

Take yesterday (no seriously, take it please)…Due to the ineptitude of the planners in Frankfurt (don’t get me started), the trains are running somewhat erratically at the moment.  This means that my journey begins a good 45 minutes earlier than it needs to, just to ensure that I make my connection…a connection that is a mere 4 minute train journey away…but I digress.  The first thing you notice is that everyone spreads out along the platform in an effort to be in the correct place to be at the door when the train pulls up.

Next comes the inevitable jostling to try and maintain your position at the door.  Immediately after this, the person that has won the battle of the door, realises that there are about 300 people that would like to get off the train and they are now blocking the exit.  Cue more jostling as the people behind spot that this person will need to move which could leave an opening.  Factor in the average German  persons complete disregard for personal space and I am quite surprised when fights don’t break out.

For my part, I position myself in classic queuing pose, complete with shakes of the head and tutting in the right places when people try and move me out of their way.  In itself, attempts to move me are pretty funny.  Yes I am no longer the man hillock (I would love to say mountain, but I am not that tall really) that I once was, but I am still pretty big.

Then comes the zombie shuffle onto the train and the veritable sprint to a seat where you will be, hopefully, left alone to your thoughts.  Again, I must confess, my innate Britishness lets me down here.  I hit the window seat, but do not do the bag on the spare seat, spready outy thing that stops all but the most determined seat finders..so I am often disturbed in my comfort.

So far so moderately annoying.  The real fun comes when you get to your destination.

In an effort to get off the train in one piece, people will invariably get up and head to the door of the train a short while before the train actually arrives at the station.  Not too bad really, but I think that if I had not picked up a car recently, and was forced to go on the train too much longer, I would sit down, wait for the train to pull out of Frankfurt and immediately stand-up and head for the door…such is the competition involved in getting off the train first.

Now normally this wouldn’t affect me, except for the fact that I generally have around 3 minutes to get off the train, out of the station and across the street to make my tram connection.

On the way home I am, generally, far more relaxed.  Not always, but generally.  If I am at the door, trying to barge past me is going to piss me off.  Especially as there is nowhere to go…the fucking door is still closed.  Breaches of queue etiquette notwithstanding, barging me out of the way when the doors begin to open will really rile me up.  Now, here’s the thing, if you are in a rush and immediately sprint away the second the doors open, I will be OK with it.  Your need is clearly greater than mine.  However, and I think it goes without saying that this happened to me recently, sprinting down the platform is not an unrealistic expectation of mine.  If you do all of that, get onto the platform and then proceed to saunter down the platform in front of me at a pace that would have the most lethargic of snails and sloths bored out of their minds, expect serious and I mean SERIOUS….tutting.

Still, the car will make it all better…then I only have traffic problems to deal with. Much less stressful  Cry

Super Diet!!

catdietSo, I am being asked more and more for my “secret” about losing all of this weight.  Well, it really isn’t a secret and I have been providing the information to a few people who may or may not be following it.

Here’s the thing, a diet that works is very easy to find.  There is no magic formula.  Take in less calories than you burn in a day.  Simple.  If you do that you will lose weight.  Now, if you add in exercise to the mix, you are burning more calories and the same diet will have a more substantial impact.

It really isn’t rocket science.

I think that one of the reasons that diets don’t work for a lot of people is that a lot of the time they end up being a chore.  Those things you like to eat become more and more important to you as you continue to deny them to yourself.  Especially if you are following a diet created by someone else without you in mind.  This will invariably mean eating something you aren’t that keen on…which will, in turn, increase the intensity of your cravings.  Eat things you enjoy and can look forward to and you don’t really crave anything…or at least that is my experience.

Additionally, and I will admit that this could simply be my OCD talking….routine is important.  Get into a routine quickly and everything you are doing becomes normal.  It is no longer an effort as it is just what you do.  There have been a lot of times that I have decided, halfway through the day, that I simply don’t want to exercise today.  Either I have been tired, not feeling 100% or whatever.  Then, after getting home, I have remembered that decision about halfway through my training.

I had a good friend work this out for me and I am glad he did.  I had a number of criteria though.

#1 Exercise has to be do-able at home

#2 Diet has to consist of foods I enjoy eating

#3 I can’t be forced to eat lunch

The reason I put those criteria in place is to give myself the best possible chance of following through and sticking to it.  I know me and I am pretty honest with myself, which means I know my flaws.

#1 If I had to go to a Gym or go out every night on a run, I would probably manage it for a while and then the excuses would start.  Especially if I was tired.  Doing the training at home meant that there was never an excuse.  If I was home, I was able to train.

#2 I think this one is pretty obvious.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I have been dieting on Pizza and Burgers.  It just meant that, whilst my meal plan is very repetitive, I actually like the diet food and am therefore happy to eat it (and even look forward to it).  I am lucky in that I don’t get bored with food.  I either like something or I don’t and, if I like something, eating it over and over again is not a problem to me.

#3 This was a personal thing.  I rarely eat lunch and have been this way for 20 years…possibly longer.  So if the diet was hanging on me getting that extra meal in per day, it would happen for a while and then I would forget about it.  That had to be avoided.  To be honest, I never eat breakfast either, but I was willing to concede that as long as breakfast required little to no effort, meaning I would avoid forgetting and then not have time.

I already had an exercise bike/clothes horse at home…so that was the exercise sorted and I had a 3 tier food steamer that had been unpacked and never used…and so it began.

Food:

Every Morning:
1 banana and 1 boiled egg plus a cup of tea with milk and sugar in
I tend to boil up half a dozen eggs and then fridge them so they are ready each morning

Every Lunch:
Nothing

Evenings:
Approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour before I want to train, I eat a Banana
Training (30 minutes to 1 hour)
20 minute hot bath (I was initially worried about my legs being in agony the next day..now its just habit.)
Directly after the bath :-

Evening Meal #1
Skinless Chicken Breast (Oven Baked) with Steamed Veg (I always have Broccoli and Cauliflower, but then add either green beans or a pea/carrot mix). I sometimes throw some tomatoes in the oven with the chicken.

Or …..

Evening Meal #2
Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber and Either Tuna..in brine not oil (only mixed with salt and vinegar, no mayo) or baked chicken. For dressing, I only use vinegar…not oil based dressings. Sometimes I put a boiled egg with it

Before bed:
Cup of tea with milk and sugar

Obviously, for me, the diet above was strict…no cheating…that’s all I ate per day. No breads/pasta/potatoes/butter etc.  I switched to black coffee as with my coffee consumption I was drinking upwards of a half litre of milk per day (I haven’t taken sugar in my coffee for years).

Chicken is great, because you can flavour it how you want..I do curry, chilli, chinese, italian, smoked…all sorts really – Every meal tastes different enough to stop it being boring.

My routine is to stick the oven on just before I start training, and then stick the food on to cook when I finish training and start running the bath. Then, 15-20 minutes after I get out of the bath, food is ready Smile

You need to try and time it so that you get an absolute minimum of 1 hour (much better if you can do 2 hours) between eating and going to bed.

Exercise:

Exercise, for me, was dead simple. Use the exercise bike on a comfortable setting.  I did this every day…yes, 7 days per week.

To start, do 45 minutes to an hour every day. Pace yourself so that you can complete the full amount of time you set for yourself…but not so you can do it too easily…You want to be out of breath and sweaty, just not in need of medical assistance.  If you can manage it, make the last 2 minutes as intense as you can.

I started at 18-20kph for example and positioned it in front of the TV so I could watch a show that kept me distracted.

For the last couple of months I have been doing 30 minutes at 36-42kph. Yesterday, for the last 2 minutes I was at 55kph.

As I am now starting to tone up, I have added a Rowing machine and a workout plan from my friend (press ups, crunches, dips etc) into the mix. So I still train every day, but day 1=Bike, day 2=Rowing, day 3=Press ups etc..

When the bike gets easy, my friends advice was to keep the resistance level of the bike the same, but increase the pace or the time you do it for…don’t keep increasing resistance as you will build muscle mass in your legs and won’t realistically be able to track your weight loss.

For me, it really helped to weigh myself every day, and I tracked my progress in a spreadsheet where I listed how much I weighed at the beginning of the month, then how much I weighed every day and the exercise I did (Time/KM for the exercise bike, Time/Strokes for the Rowing etc). Other people say that this is a bad idea…It’s down to you.

On top of all this, I still allow myself one night a week (usually on a weekend) where I go out drinking. I still train and stick to the diet, but don’t worry myself about the beer.

Personally, I have noticed that it is more important to train the day after beer than it is to train on the day of the beer…take from that what you will.

Also, now I am toning and maintaining the weight, I don’t worry if I miss a day of training from time to time.  As I now know what I need to do to get rid of any weight that may have built up in the off time.  I am still training every day and, whilst my diet is largely the same, I snack if I want to as long as I keep it in moderation.

And there you have it, the secret to my success.  Do with it what you will.  If you are able to follow it as I did, it will definitely work.  However, if any part of it won’t work for you, chances are that none of it will.

The main thing is, you need to want to do it.  Don’t do it for other people, don’t do it because you think you should.  Do it because you want to do it.

Good luck!

(Using this diet/training plan, my weight loss since February 1st 2016 is 39.5KG at the time of writing this)

Watching over Overwatch

Yey, a gaming post!

So I identify as a gamer, I love gaming and my PC is very much what it is due to gaming.  However, I also identify as a social being and as a social being, my gaming is regularly impacted.  Normally just after an announcement that I will be gaming/streaming more…I am invariably busy socially.

Couple that with having no car recently and the train journey to work causing me to lose over 2hrs more per day and my gaming time recently has suffered.

I do, however, keep up with what has been going on with my fave games.  Specifically, this means Overwatch at the moment.  There have been a couple of patches and the introduction of Season 2 competitive since I last played.  Heroes have been nerfed, boosted and nerfed again..this will be never ending for Blizzard, as you will never get the balance 100% correct and every change, however minor, will have at least one set of people losing their frickin’ minds.

I did see an interesting video from Stylosa (Unit Lost Gaming) where he refers to Play of the Mercy.  Essentially he finds it exceedingly annoying that Mercy players can just hide out waiting for their team to die, bounce around the corner and resurrect everyone just after the opposition has blown all of the Ultimates to stop/force the push.  He then asks for people in the comments to offer up their thoughts on changing Mercy (if they feel it necessary).  He suggested a casting time for the resurrect or something else that would introduce a delay, the thinking being that it would give the opposition a small chance to take Mercy out before all of their hard work pressing Q was undone.  He also mentions a possible limit to the number of heroes that can be resurrected.

I do understand what he saying, and it is frustrating sometimes…but it’s also frustrating when any other ultimate fires off that can’t be stopped.  Most of them are instant after all.  What he fails to address, however, is what goes into making Mercy be able to resurrect in the first place.

Now, I am pretty much a Lucio main…so I am support focused, I will freely admit that.  That said, I am an average to below average Mercy.  The skill involved in spreading the healing love, when to switch to damage boost, when to risk zipping over to someone closer to the front line and risk death…essentially, actively participating to the game, cannot be underestimated.  Let’s not forget, building your Ultimate requires activity.

If a Mercy player was to spend the whole time at the back line, healing ranged characters and hiding…the Ultimate wouldn’t build much beyond it’s standard rate.  Meaning you might be lucky to get 1 or maybe 2 resurrects per game.

That ignores the fact that the “hiding” that a Mercy needs to do, needs to be close enough to the action to resurrect everyone…you can do it from behind a wall, but there is a range limit.  Getting into that kind of position on a lot of maps, without being seen and focused down, is an art form all of its own.  It also ignores the fact that the video implies that playing Mercy and getting POTG is easy…then a few seconds later refers to himself as a “Terrible Mercy”…unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways.

Now, do I think that the Mercy Ultimate is perfect?  Not at all, but I do think it doesn’t need much doing to it.  When I watch live streams of competitive matches with the pros, you know that they are able to, fairly accurately, work out when Mercy has her Ultimate.  They do this with most Ultimates.  Generally they see it from positioning, or from another Ultimate dropping (combos are fun) etc etc.

So the exact problem that Stylosa is describing isn’t really an issue when you are playing Overwatch with something other than pride on the line.  Tactically, resurrect is a difficult one.  Drop the resurrect in the wrong team fight and you can throw a match…the same goes for holding it back too long.  You really have to be clever with it.

I do think, though, that it should be changed a little bit.  I don’t want to see it slowed down, I don’t want to see the radius reduced…nor do I want to have it limited to X number of heroes.  I would like to see it have a cost and therefore make it a real tactical choice.  For me, if I am resurrected by Mercy, my Ultimate charge should be reset to zero or 50% of what it was…something along those lines.  If I am killed, and go back to spawn, my Ultimate charge stays where it is.  I think that is OK, because I have to get myself back into the fight to use it.  If a team drops a load of Ultimates to, for example, stop a push…having Mercy resurrect them all and have them immediately be able to press Q is where I do tend to agree with Stylosa.  That is frustrating and, perhaps, a little unfair.

If a Mercy using her Ultimate meant that I no longer had my Ultimate available, it would make the usage of resurrect an incredibly tactical decision.  Do you go for the res and try to keep the push going or is there enough time available to head back to spawn, keep your ultimate fully charged and head back into the fray.

It’s not perfect, but it could be a good change.

Other than that, leave her alone…She is most definitely not an easy character to play.

Love is…

…a many splendored thing apparently.

That said, and cheesy songs notwithstanding, times they have a’changed.

I have been saying this for a long time now, and I hope I don’t get any hate for it…but Men (boys, guys, geezers etc) are the new Women (girls, gals…you get the point).

“But what do you mean by that?”

Let me first add this disclaimer, I don’t see it as a negative thing in any way shape or form…really.  No really.  Also, there will be a modicum of generalisation…but it is simply my experience and observation.

When I were a lad….yes TV was in colour and you have to read that in a Northern English accent…When I were a lad, the female of the species were not quite so forthright as they are now.  I am sure they were just as strong and knew what they wanted, they just didn’t show it as often.  Jeebus I sound old..press on regardless Dave, press on…

There were certain expectations of guys to “take the lead” in a lot of areas of life.  Being the provider is the obvious one, being able to have a serious career and from the perspective of single Dave….Making a move of the romantic persuasion.

So why are Men the new Women?  Well, think about it.  Look around.  It is now a genuine, and fucking awesome btw, option for the guy to be a stay at home Dad while Mum brings home the bacon.  It is normal for women to pursue, and be successful at, previously male dominated roles…the reverse is also true.

Now I am not saying it is perfect, I am not saying that there isn’t still a struggle for women to succeed, I am not suggesting that we have hit equal opportunity utopia…but it is definitely on it’s way in the right direction and I honestly believe that we will get there.  Should it be a struggle?  No of course not, but we come from where we do and where we are is a million times better than it used to be as recently* as when I was a kid.

Where I see the biggest change and, talking to my friends about it, other people agree..is the arena of luuurve.

No longer are women prepared to fake orgasms and tell you that you are the best lover in the history of lovers.  Nope, and this is the good part, they now help you and guide you into areas and positions that make it better for both of you.

Now, as a nice guy, this makes me very happy.  Let’s face it guys, we don’t really change.  If we get to have sex, we will orgasm and enjoy it.  This will happen just the same if it lasts 5 minutes or 5 hours.  We are a simple creature with simple needs.  We are definitely more aware of the needs of our partner…but at the end of the day, our needs are pretty cut and dry.  So guidance, for the nice guy, guarantees that both of you have fun.

So sex has changed, for the better, but to get to that stage there is the romancing phase.  This is where the biggest difference is and where I find myself floundering a bit.  Back in the day, you approached and were either accepted or rejected.  Simple.

Now….well….frankly I am still trying to figure it out.  Women seem to want a decisive guy.  Which to the logical mind of the bloke means the same thing as it used to.  However, when a guy does this he is creepy, aggressive or a “player”.  When he doesn’t do this he is weak.  They want a nice guy who they get to know, but when they get to know them they drop them in the friendzone (even when, by their own admission, they like the guy).  They want someone that is fun, but then they find they can’t take that person seriously…not fun enough and they are sullen.

I guess what I am trying to say is that women need to MAKE UP THEIR MINDS…. We men find ourselves in the unenviable position of where women were a long time ago, waiting for the girl to make a move or, at the very least, give us the clear sign that will allow us to “act like men” and make the move that they expect us(??) to make.  It reduces us to the behaviour of school children, tugging on pigtails and hoping for a reaction.  The role reversal transition is clearly not complete.  Were it complete, the woman would simply make the move (and it does happen, occasionally) and be done with it.  Unfortunately for us blokes, we seem to be in a middle ground of women having both sides of the role right now.  To be honest, I am impressed that anyone is getting any these days…

Ladies, my recommendation would be to carry your personal rules/wants/dos and don’ts in the form of, say, a flyer that can be handed out to every guy that comes within 3 feet of you.  This would save a lot of hassle. Especially if you make it a checklist and provide one of those little Ikea pencils.  As a bloke, I can then just run through the list ticking things off and provide the signed form back.  Possibly with the numbers of a few references so that you can verify that the information is correct.  All being well, we can get it on.

That would work, right?

* Fuck you – I know what you are thinking.

 

Frequently Infrequent

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

So I have been sat here for a while, thinking about what to write.  I will definitely be doing some gaming related blogging soon, once the ideas formulate in my brain head place properly.  I looked back at the times when I was blogging regularly and irregularly and saw a pattern.

Regularly – Lot’s of observations and rants, many stories about fun times in the past.
Irregularly – When I remember, normally about stuff happening now.

I think it is pretty obvious what happens to me.  When I am unhappy I am either ranting or harking back to better days…when I am happy, I don’t really have anything to rant about and as things are good, no need for nostalgia.

There we go, pretty fucking obvious when you think about it.  What I would like to do is find the happy medium.  I mean, things still annoy the living hell out of me…I just don’t fixate and get all ranty/obnoxious when I am happy.

It’s due to this that the blog is all over the shop.  No fixed abode…topics a’plenty.  Do I turn it into something else?  Game specific, news opinion etc etc?  Nah…I think the title of the blog really sums it up.  My rambles are Discombobulatory.  It’s what I am thinking about in that moment.  Which is why I have a lot of unfinished drafts and, when I go back to finish them, I can’t..I can’t actually remember the circumstances that prompted me to start that topic and then it is gone, never to be recovered.  Even when I regale you with stories of my wonderful (and not at all embarrassing) past, it has been prompted by something that happened to me that day.

Not the recipe for a world renowned blog but, there again, that was never the point of starting this.

I even tried having an app on my phone to allow me to blog whenever I think of something…but doing it on the phone is not comfortable enough so I always convince myself that I will be better off at home…by which time it is too late.

The last time I had a drought, it lasted 7 years between getting with CW and no longer being with CW.  I recently started blogging a little more often and I kind of expected it to scale up more and more…which it didn’t.  I rapidly became focused on diet, exercise and friends.  Which, surprisingly enough, placed me firmly into the happy bracket a lot quicker than I anticipated.  And thus, the blog resurrection was short lived.

I am a more determined person these days than I was in the last 7 years…arguably more than I have been in 20+ years…so I am really trying to keep this going…but the drafts keep building up.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t help that I can’t think of any stories that I haven’t already written on here…although I am sure there are some.  You know how it is, the mind blocks out traumatic events.  Which leads me to observations of which, because I have functioning eyes, I have many..but most of them lead to exasperation…not blog posts.

Work is, in the main, pretty good.  My social life is particularly social and my love life, while limited to hook ups at the moment, is not all that important right now.  So not a lot of topics there…although the social life might just throw up (no pun intended) a few..

I’ll just keep generating drafts until I eventually finish a couple and am able to post.  In the meantime, and almost as a throwback to my “No Post Today” post…this was a post about not posting.

The Midget with the Widget…

dwarf_jumping_by_matushyzny-d6nsrp6Ok, so there was no widget and I just wanted a catchy title.  There was however a midget…and so begins an embarrassing tale.  A tale that, surprisingly enough, I have never told the interwebz before.

Picture the scene a young, free and single Dave* is hanging around with a group of somewhat older RAF lads**.  Much to the chagrin of my Dad***…but I digress.  We were regularly found to be going to a Night Club of a weekend for fun and, where possible, hi jinks.

Now, it should be pointed out at this point that the club was in a place called Ashby De La Zouch.  Not, as the name might suggest, somewhere just south of the Dardogne but actually in the far more exotic Leicestershire.

Now for a club in such an upmarket location, it is quite the surprise to discover that there was no dress code.  I know, right?

So, in an effort to stand out, myself and my good friend Craig came up with a series of cunning plans.

Plan #1 – Clothing
We would stand out from the (jeans and t-shirt) crowd.  This involved wearing suits.  It really is amazing what a difference that makes.  Think about it ladies…you are in a club, dressed up to the nines.  Looking good, feeling great and every guy you see is dressed in whatever the early 90’s equivalent of Hollister T-Shirts and Wrangler (hey…90’s remember, don’t judge) was.  Then, in walk two guys that are also dressed to the nines (personally, I would say tens but I guess I am a little biased).  Of course you are going to notice them, maybe even pay more attention to them than the clones wandering around the club.  See…psychology innit.

Plan #2 – Backstory
Now, if you are going to a club like that, dressed like that, it is clear that you are trying to trigger female interest.  That suggests the potential for playing around.  So Craig and I came up with the great idea to be interesting each weekend.  We would pick an accent (for we are both talented in that area) and then pick a job that we could make shit up about.  Weird when most people would have been quite impressed that Craig was a serving British Airman and repaired jet fighters for a day job.  It would probably have just been easier for me to “work with him” and that would have been that.  But that wouldn’t have been fun enough…so we made shit up.  I absolutely can’t remember all of them, but we were (in no particular order):-

Scouse Firemen (duh!), Scottish Oil Riggers, Cockney SAS Servicemen, German Footballers, Irish Vetinary Surgeons, Doctors (recently returned from Ethiopia, thanks Comic Relief for the info on that one)…

Along with various other job and accent combinations that we thought made us all windswept and interesting.  Certainly it made us stand out – Which was the goal after all.

Plan #3 – Cheesy Lines or even Cheesy Non-Lines
“Get your coat love, you’ve pulled.”
“Is that the telephone I hear or are your knickers (w)ringing?”
“Aren’t you tired?” “Why?” “Well, you’ve been running around my head since I got in here”
“I seem to have lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?”

These are just a few of the lines that may or may not have been used.  Adding to that, and I can’t quite believe that I am telling the internet this…to be honest, I will be quite surprised if the internet believes it at all..but it’s a thing…we also used to have a go to “move”.

In the inside pockets of our suits, would be a number of red roses.  The move involved waiting for the object of your lust desires to be sat at a table or leaning at the bar.  You approach, place the rose in front of the lucky (hahhah) lady whilst saying, and this is important, NOTHING.  Don’t look at her, don’t say anything, don’t acknowledge her in any way…then walk away.  You might be surprised at how often that worked.

So, with all of that taken into account, we had reasonable success (as we measured it anyway) and were having a rare old time.  “But where does the midget come into the story” I hear you cry..or at least wonder vaguely.  Well, I am getting to that.

So, we have arrived at the club, suits on and I believe we were German Footballers on tour (please please please don’t judge us, we just wanted to get laid…nothing sleazy Razz ).  Craig and I head straight to the bar and order a couple of beers in our best broken English.  Also at the bar, two women and a little further along the bar two guys…OK so maybe 1.5 guys.

The women decide that we would be prime targets, for reasons best known to themselves, and approach us at the bar.  To be honest, we hadn’t even received our pints yet and had been in the club for around 3 minutes, so we weren’t all that ready and/or interested.  You know what it’s like, you have to warm up, get the lay of the land…you don’t pop off shots at the first person you see when there you have a target rich environment Wink

The ladies seem to get the message and head off, which causes both of the guys to sidle up to us.  Whereupon the tiny one proceeds to give me some advice to “stay away” from their girlfriends.  Had the jealous little fecker been watching the interaction (which I can be fairly certain he was), he would have noticed the direction of the interest and our distinct lack of interest.  However, rather than deal with issues in his relationship, he decides to threaten two people who want nothing to do with the girls anyway, even more so now we know that they have boyfriends.  Meh, guys…what can you do?  Amiright?

Fast forward to later in the night and, to be quite honest, a time where Craig and I are a little drunk now.  Dances have been danced, women have been insulted hit on (and in some cases made out with) and generally a fine old time was being had.  There was, however, one constant..well two actually.  Both of the women from earlier just wouldn’t leave us alone.  We would dance on the left side of the dancefloor…so would they.  Mid-dance we would dance across the floor to a new position…they would follow.  Frankly it was throwing us off our game.  To top it all off, we had the Lilliputian equivalent of the Family Guy monkey tracking our every move.

 

 

 

 

 

After a while, the diminutive dolt decides that enough is enough.  Both myself and Craig have been pursuing his girlfriend (in reverse obviously) for far too long.  He has warned us once, he shouldn’t need to again.  He decides another conversation is in order.

Craig, it should be pointed out, is at this point at the bar.  I am therefore alone, separated from our little herd of two and ripe for the plucking…or something.  The minuscule moron approaches me in the fashion of a mafioso while his friend stays back to keep an eye on both the situation and Craig.

Aspersions on my parentage were cast, Oedipus complexes accused and other such pleasantries were delivered.  I would say exchanged, but damn if those little dudes can’t speak quickly.  Plus, after trying three or four times to point out that neither Craig nor myself were trying anything and maybe he should consider having a chat with “er indoors” instead of the guys she and her friend won’t LEAVE ALONE, I started just laughing at him.

Now, maybe that was cruel.  Maybe he has been laughed at for his entire life due to his height.  Maybe I undid 10 years of therapy.  Or maybe it was simply the fact that I was clearly not listening to him.

Whatever it was, he was quite severely triggered.

Now you might be thinking, quite rightly, why didn’t I just put my hand on his head so that he would be forced to ineffectually swing wildly while I continue to drink my beer…until he eventually tires and I can just walk away?  Well, I didn’t have any beer (that was why I was alone, Craig was off buying said beverage) and secondly, the pint-sized prick was a lot quicker than I gave him credit for.

This meant that he jumped ladies and gentlemen.  Jumped with such pinpoint accuracy that the top of his head connected with my nose.

My node**** exploded and I was too busy trying not to get blood all over my suit to react.  Things went into slow motion, I turned away to avoid Mr Rocket Boots getting another shot at me.  When I turn I see a couple of bouncers heading my way and Craig (my hero) vaulting over the railing that separated the bar from the dance floor.  They all converge at roughly the same time and luckily for the teensy tosser (or possibly Craig the way things had gone thus far), the bouncers were a step or two ahead of Craig and grabbed him before Craig could do anything.

He was thrown out and the police called.  I get cleaned up and carry on my night.  It was a very good night in the end…and no, I did not go after his girlfriend to spite him, although I was sorely tempted.

So yes, a midget with a distinct lack of widget beat me up in a night club.

Jeebus, why do I tell you this stuff?

* much like at the moment
** not at all like at the moment
***meh, probably like at the moment if I bothered to ask
**** You see what I did there?