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?

Challenge Accepted!…Mission Accomplished?

Dave - Before and AfterI probably should have posted this a while back, but I am busy with the 2nd phase of my personal reality TV show “Body Transformation -The Self-Induced Trials of a Moron”…

I hit my target a while back.  I dipped below 92KG (a little under 14.5 stone or 200 ish pounds) which was my final target.  That brought my total weight loss to 36KG (over 5st 9lbs or 80 pounds) in 6 months.

Not bad for a lazy fat bastard I suppose.

My current plan involves killing myself on a rowing machine in an effort to increase my upper body strength to the point where I can really hurt myself with a workout that I have been set.  A workout that I simply cannot do at the moment.  It is a real goal for me as it has been set by the same guy that gave me the weight loss program.  Based on results, I don’t think I could place enough trust in what he tells me…so I am really going for it.

Why am I going for it?  Well, I want to tone.  I want what I (now) have to look as good as possible.  I originally thought I was going to just move into a “maintenance mode” where I would make sure to keep what I have achieved, but I realised that I could go for something more.  Something that will make me feel good.  So, that is what I am doing…although being able to achieve a 4 minute “full plank” seems a bridge too far…but, like I say, I trust him.

Here is the thing though.  When you do something like this and lose a shiteload of weight, you inevitably get compliments and praise from people.  Which is great and in a lot of cases acts as motivation to keep going.  It did for me…not only was I seeing results, other people were noticing too and that just makes you want to go on and on.  Add to that my decision to make public what I was doing and, for me at least, I had to perfect level of motivation and accountability to not give up or stop.

That said, when you achieve your goal…something that only months before you couldn’t have imagined ever being able to do, you start to reflect on it.

My reflection turned pride into annoyance. I had been moaning and complaining about my own weight, without doing anything, for years.  The minute I decide to actually do it, I lose the weight easily.  Well, easily to me.  I have told people how I did it and it doesn’t seem that easy to them, but to me it was.  Too easy I suppose, which makes it all the more annoying as I could have done this years and years ago.  I always thought that I was genetically predisposed to be as big as I was.  The few half-hearted diet attempts I made in years gone by did nothing for me and so I assumed it couldn’t be done and that was just who I was.

Now, based on the relative ease in which I managed it, I am thinking that I am probably predisposed to be a thinner guy and I had just let myself go.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make myself miserable…far from it.  I am proud of finally getting off my arse and fixing it.  I am very happy to see women checking me out from time to time and that interest level being increased.  The positives are there….and that’s where the annoyance comes from….I could have had this a long time ago.

So why didn’t I?  Laziness…complacency? Both at a guess..but I do know this, it has definitely changed me as a person.  I am more willing to go out, even if it is just for a short time. Even little things like getting home, getting undressed and then realising I forgot something at the shop…something that I would have previously lived without for 24 hours..I now get dressed again and head out.  Somebody calls me on short notice for something, I make an effort to respond and do it.  It’s great.  I am the type of person I want to be now.  For the most part.

Now, obviously, I could have been doing all those things while I was fat…of course I could.  Being thin hasn’t magically made me a different person.  It has, however, made me (forgive the cheese) a bit more willing to get out there and grab stuff.  Be with friends, help people…pickup some damn milk…whatever it is.

It has affected my gaming though, I have barely gamed in the last couple of weeks.  Although last week I didn’t stream due to party based commitments…I will be back to streaming at least once a week, starting this weekend.  Still, not gaming because I am too busy and am out and about is a lot better than not gaming because I am too lazy to game, or worse, gaming constantly because I am too lazy to go out.

This will, most likely, be my last weight/fitness related post.  Using a public forum like this (and Facebook) gave me the right amount of motivation, accountability and feedback that a fragile psyche like mine needed to keep going and, like the title says “Mission Accomplished”.  I just need to find some other stuff to write about again now Smile

In the meantime, catch up with me on Twitter, Facebook and Saturday nights on Twitch (I hope you like Iron Maiden).  Who knows, I may even get around to actually posting a YouTube video at some point in the future.

Oh, and for the interested amongst you, yes…the picture is really me (6 months apart).

Peace!

More Weight..or Less Weight…

skele…but more updates.

Ok, back on the 1st of April (and no, it wasn’t an April’s Fool), I posted that I was at 109.3 Kilos.  That meant that from February to April, I had lost 18 kilos.  Not bad, I was impressed with myself and I allowed myself to feel a bit proud.

My initial 105 kilo target was so close, so I set 2 more.  The first was an absolutely set in stone target.  I would get under 100 kilos.  I was determined that it would happen and I was confident that it would.  My second target was to try and get to/near my perfect weight.

I knew this would be more challenging.  Especially as that number changes depending on what websites you visit.  So, I set my target weight to 95 kilos.  This would put my total weight loss at 32.3 kilos.  This is a number that, right at the beginning of this, I said didn’t account for how heavy I was at my fittest and I felt that would be unattainable.

Well, fast forward to today, and I am now sat at 97.3 kilos.  So far, I have shifted 30 kilos of my, not inconsiderable, bulk.  95 is so close, I feel like I can try to aim for the 92.  The last few kilos have been massively difficult to shift, which I think is a good thing.  I am not losing muscle mass (if anything I am gaining) and my weight loss has slowed to a fairly realistic pace.  Also, I am allowing myself days off the diet from time to time, I still go out once every week or so and on those nights, I drink what I want and don’t stress about it.  I have struck a balance that I am comfortable with.

So far, my weight loss has been :

  • Feb 1st – Mar 1st = 10
  • Mar 1st – Apr 1st = 8
  • Apr 1st – May 1st = 5.4
  • May 1st – Jun 1st = 4
  • Jun 1st – Jun 13th = 2.6

Total lost from Feb 1st – Jun 13th = 30 kilos (4.7 stone)

Based on that, I think I am on track to lose around 5 this month..which will take me to under 95 kilos.

As you can probably imagine, this makes me a very happy bunny indeed.  Couple that with the fact that my younger (and considerably more athletic) brother..is desperately trying to shed weight now…I think in an effort to keep me as the porker of the family…I realised that I am no longer the porker of the family  Razz

What is weird now, is that I switched jobs on May 2nd.  So when I tell people that I am dieting..they are all wondering why.  When I tell them how big I was a couple of months ago, they don’t believe it.  It is strange to think that there are people that only know the new me…my old work colleagues met me at my heaviest and saw me drop a massive amount of weight.  It is nice though, I mean..don’t get me wrong, the praise and compliments are fantastic and really help motivate me to keep going, but to have people only know me at “normal size”, is also good.  It’s hard to explain, but I guess it is nice to just be normal and not be the “former fat bastard”.

So, there it is.  30 kilos down and only a few more to go.  I feel great and I have absolutely no desire to become a “former, former fat bastard”.  Also, I am targeting a pair of size 34 jeans that I bought as a challenge to myself…fingers crossed Grin

Dave

Stream Quality Improvements

audio-519575_960_720Well, it has taken me a while, and I am still messing around with the settings..but I have finally got the quality and audio issues, that have been annoying me, under control.

This is great for me as I now feel comfortable to start making Let’s play videos for YouTube.  If I ever get around to it is an entirely different issue, but at least I am happy with my setup if I do.

Also, my setup for being able to record locally, has finally allowed me to organise my stream audio levels better too.  I streamed some Overwatch on Saturday night and, for the first time, it sounded like it was me streaming and not that I was just on comms with another guy that was streaming..  My voice levels were previously fine, but I just didn’t have enough granular control of my comms software, where I could turn it down to the stream, but keep the volume high to me personally.

So, thanks to Virtual Audio Cable and VoiceMeeter Banana..I now have a decent setup.  Saturdays stream was proof of that.

You see, I use OBS Studio for streaming and recording.  I love it, it’s free, flexible and relatively free of bugs.  The only trouble I was having was that it would only record everything I heard and everything I said.  1 track for everything I hear, 1 for everything I say…so I could turn up my voice, but if I wanted, say, Mumble to be quieter..I had to make it quieter for me too.  This is a problem, obviously.  Especially if I want to have some Music playing and chat to some friends when I am just recording gameplay.

The current options in OBS are pretty much all or nothing.

I do seem to recall that the OBS dev mentioned that he hoped to be able to bring in applications as independant audio sources, but had no idea how long it might be.  Also, buying a mixing desk and differing hardware solutions was not a financial possibility for me.

So, I needed a solution.

Virtual Audio CableI installed Virtual Audio Cable and told it to give me 4 virtual cables.  Being a kindly piece of software, it did just that.  I then set my PC Playback Device to use Virtual Line 1 as an output.  All of my Comms programs (Skype, Discord, Mumble, Teamspeak) to use Virtual Line 2 and MusicBee to use the VoiceMeeter Virtual Input.

 

VoiceMeeterNext up, VoiceMeeter Banana.

I set “Hardware Input 1” to Virtual Line 1 and told it to output to channel A1
“Hardware Input 2” is then Virtual Line 2, which outputs to both A1 and A2
Hardware Input 3 (no quotes, actual hardware) is my Rode NT-USB Microphone, set to A3 output.

Virtual Input 1 is set to A1 and B1 output.

Hardware Outputs are then set as follows:

A1 – USB Headset
A2 – Virtual Line 3
A3 – Virtual Line 4

Why do it this way?  Well, A1 is effectively a monitor now. I can listen to everything at the volume I want, but it is literally just that, my listening volume.  Recording volume is then set in OBS.  Also, outputtiing my Mic to a Virtual Line, allows me to apply processing on the fly and get my voice sounding all silky smooth when I stream, not just when I record.

OBS Studio:

In OBS, I then setup audio captures for Virtual Line 4 (My microphone), Virtual Line 3 (Comms Program), VoiceMeeter Speakers (Music) and Virtual Line 1 (PC Audio).  This means I can set their volumes individually.  Which is how I can now keep Comms nice and quiet in the stream, turn the music up and down etc.

This means that I don’t get to apply any VoiceMeeter control or processing to Line 1 (as I access it directly in OBS), but I don’t need any processing on that so I am not worried.

Using this setup to record local MP4 video, I can get each audio capture on it’s own track thanks to the OBS Studio mixer..so when I (eventually) import into Sony Vegas, I can mute the music or the comms, or my speaking etc etc etc.  It makes it possible to have a gaming night provide viable footage.

It seems so simple now, I don’t know why I didn’t do this before.  So simple that I helped r4tty set it up too and now he is back to having his DJ Voice from days gone by.

It’s amazing what technology can do for you, when you put your mind to it of course.

I realise that this is a bit of a techy post, but I figured it might help some others who have had the same issues…

A man is not dead while his name is still spoken. GNU Terry Pratchett.

terry-pratchett-advice-590x452On March 12th 2015, I was happily making cakes for the shop as normal.  LW came up to me and asked if I had heard that Terry Pratchett had just died.

Initially, I thought it was a mistake and then, after I checked that it had happened, I cried.  I was completely taken aback at my own reaction, but I am not too proud to admit that I cried for 5 minutes or so.

Quite honestly, Terry Pratchett is the only celebrity whose death has ever brought me to tears.  This alone brought home the importance of his work to me, an importance that I hadn’t fully realised.

I have read every single piece of work that Sir TP ever wrote.  Short stories, childrens books, Graphic Novelisations of stories I have already read.  I have watched the TV shows and even the (quite bad) animated versions.  If I run out of books to read, I will inevitably re-read one of his.

Where it all started?  The very first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic, in 1983.  I don’t recall how I came to have a copy….possibly a friend loaned it to me or recommended it or something…that’s not important.  What is important is that, to a 10 year old Laughing Wolf, it spawned my desire to read in a way that had previously been left to the realms of Football Annuals and The Beano*.  I am a voracious reader and couldn’t even begin to count the number of books I have read since that day in 1983.  Too many.  I have a very large collection of books at home, I have thousands of ebooks that I get to carry around with me on my phone.  Whenever I have a spare couple of minutes, I read.  However, never has any book meant as much to me as The Colour of Magic.  Weirdly, it’s not my favourite Terry Pratchett book**, it’s not even my favourite Discworld book***…but it is the book that means the most to me.

I also remember that it hooked me in about the first 20 pages, which no other book had ever managed to do.  Since then, I have read every book (many, many times over).  A new Terry Pratchett book has been such a big deal for me over the years that I have either received multiple copies, or family members have argued over who is going to buy me the next one for Christmas, Birthdays etc.  Apparently I am difficult to buy for, but a Terry Pratchett book is guaranteed to make me smile.

His Discworld books have a world that is as intricate and as complex as any World-Building Author that you could name and he manages to weave parodies of our own world into it with such ease that you can be forgiven for not noticing until later.  Even the non-Discworld “Worlds” feel complete.  The dialogue is amazing, characters are fleshed out and belong where they are.  Nothing is forced and the books are easy to read (that doesn’t mean that they are simple, just that you don’t hit a section of the book that you struggle to get through until it gets good again).  There is no condescension in his writing (a personal bugbear of mine) unless the story/joke calls for it.  On top of that his jokes, and in particular his footnote explanations****, are hysterical.  Finally, the stories themselves are great…yes he is a fantasy writer, but his stories cross all sorts of genres.  A lot of authors that I read would be happy to get a couple of these things right, hitting all of them should be unattainable, but Pratchett managed it.

That isn’t to say his books are perfect…he had a few that were clearly not as good as the others, or were slower, but they were still good enough to sustain the series.  Each story adds something else to the world and always adds something of value.

I have a bookshelf that is dedicated to Terry Pratchett, I have even started painting the Discworld miniatures from Micro Art Studio…although that is taking me much longer than anything else I have ever painted, as I am determined to have them be the best I can possibly make them.  I like to do everything to the best of my ability, but with the TP miniatures, it means more to me and therefore I am taking far more time than I should.  Maybe I will post some pics on here when I have a few done.

Why has it taken me over a year to write this post?  Because I still get upset to think that he is gone and there will never be another book from him.  That saddens me, probably more than it should, but it does.  I realise that, in spite of his daughters protestations to the contrary, at some point there will be a collaborative effort to finish off more of his work, but there will never be another book from him that wasn’t touched by someone else.

That saddens me, so I will be re-reading Jingo to cheer myself up Smile

* Damn right The Beano…Screw The Dandy and that Desperate Dan loser!  Dennis the Menace RULES!!!, amiright?
** Good Omens with Neil Gaiman
*** Jingo
**** Yup, these things, well a much better version of these things Razz