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 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.


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:

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 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 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 :)

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, 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)

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 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 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.

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 :)

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).


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) 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  :-P

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 :D


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 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 :)

* 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 :p

Weight Loss Update

1446250367129So, it is exactly 2 calendar months since I started on this journey of weight loss.  In that time I have skipped exactly 14 days of exercise.  That sounds quite a lot, but I was actually away visiting people for 5 of those.  The others, I will freely admit, I was too tired or too busy to work the exercise into my schedule.  But, that means I have missed 14 out of 60 days of training.  Which, admittedly, is quite a lot now that I come to look at it.

I have cheated on my diet for exactly 8 meals (which includes my time away visiting, which accounts for 6 of those).  I don’t include the fact that I still go out for a drink once a week or once a fortnight.

All in all, I seem to have struck a successful balance.

As I write this I have now lost exactly 18 kilos in 60 days.  If that seems a lot, it is.  That said, I have done it the right way and I plan to keep doing it.  I said that I needed to lose 35 kilos to get down to a bizarrely low weight that I can’t imagine getting to.  I have set myself a target of 22 kilos to lose.  #1 that seems a little more realistic and #2 gets me down to the same weight I remember being at my fittest (around age 18).  If I am not happy with how I look, then I will keep going for a bit longer.  Who knows, maybe I will end up losing the full 35 kilos….I doubt it, but who knows.

I had a job interview today and put my suit on (as you do).  Without the belt, my trousers literally fell off.  With the belt, I had to bunch them up a ridiculous amount.  It’s a great feeling.  Except when I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and noticed that I looked like a kid wearing his Dads suit..I ended up apologising for looking ridiculous to the people interviewing me.  I think it went well though :D

I have dropped 2 jeans sizes and have officially run out of clothes that “used to fit me” and am now moving into the territory of having to replace everything.  My, formerly, perfect fit T-Shirts (most of which I absolutely love btw) now look like tents and that means I have found the downside to this experience.

Damn, I love those T-Shirts.

Tonight, I will have a small drinkypoo to celebrate getting under 110 kilos (109.3 to be precise) and possibly treat myself to something very bad for me…to be honest, I may have to introduce that as a standard thing…between yesterday and today, I dropped over a kilo…and that’s not healthy, despite how happy it makes me.  At this rate I should reach my target in a week or so.

Fingers crossed.