Monthly Archives: September 2005

Another walk

This morning’s weight was slightly down to 198.4 pounds (14 stone 2.4 pounds, 90.0kg). Must have been the rowing, or something. :yes:

I decided to go for another walk today. I started off with a rare visit to the Shipley Art Gallery, which is currently showing a wider selection than normal of its surprisingly large collection. Given that it’s about five minutes from my door, I really should go more often, but I never seem to get round to it.

I then walked into Gateshead and had a quick look in the Gateshead Visitor Centre, located in what used to be an important church before the population of Gateshead drifted south and away from the river. After standing as a derelict, burnt out shell for many years, it was restored and turned into an auction house, before eventually being taken over by Gateshead Council and starting its new job.

After that, I walked past the Sage Gateshead[1] and into Baltic, which is currently showing British Art Show 6, which like many modern art shows, comprises a mixture of the intriguing, the pleasing and a generous dash of the incomprehensible. Lots of DVDs and apparently random assemblages of stuff. Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy[2], but I got a lot more out of the more conventional art at the Shipley.

Then it was across the lovely Gateshead Millennium Bridge and up one of the steeper routes to Newcastle city centre. After a bit of a wander, and a bit of shopping I had a late lunch at Caffe Nero and came home.

It’s been a good week off – I’ve managed to relax quite nicely.

[1] I’ll be going there in December :bouncy:
[2] Shut up at the back!

Enjoying my break…

This morning’s weight was slightly up again to 198.6 pounds (14 stone 2.6 pounds, 90.1kg). Still in the normal fluctuation range, so it’s not a problem. Not yet, anyway.

After yesterday’s long walk, I had a more relaxed day at home today – reading, listening to some music and generally taking it easy.

All this relaxing is leaving me plenty of energy for exercising, so this evening I did 20 minutes on the rowing machine. For the last few minutes this was accompanied by an odd bleeping noise. Yes, the heart rate monitor was telling me that I was over the higher level I set when I first got it last year. The peak rate was 164 – that’s 92% of my theoretical maximum[1]. It’s also the highest figure I’ve ever recorded. Which is interesting, as it didn’t feel as if I was pushing myself that hard. I was working pretty hard, and the rower is usually a good way of getting a high heart rate, but this was a step forward, or something. Certainly my pauses were shorter and the sets longer – I did 2 x 7 minutes and 1 x 6 minutes rather than the 4 x 5 minutes I’ve been doing in recent months, and I didn’t pause long enough for the time counter to reset to zero, which it has been doing.

I’ve now done four exercise sessions in a row, so I think I need a night or two off. :grin:

[1] Based on some dubious calculation involving my age and the square root of an aardvark[2], or some such nonsense
[2] There are a lot of things like that in this fitness thingy. Like Body Mass Index (BMI), which only works if you’re (a) short and (b) don’t have any muscles. But that doesn’t stop people (and governments) making ludicrous statements about it.

That was a good day…

This morning’s weight was back up a bit to 198.2 pounds (14 stone 2.2 pounds, 89.9kg). That’s still under 90kg, and it’s an acceptable daily variation, so I don’t mind. I’m hoping that yesterday’s new low will be repeated or even exceeded soon, though.

After staying in yesterday, I decided to be more active today. I needed to go into Newcastle, so I took a nice long walk. Rather than the usual route over the Tyne Bridge or the High Level Bridge[1], I walked down to the Swing Bridge, then along the Close before heading uphill[2] and ending up near the Centre for Life. I paid a visit to the Discovery Museum before getting my hair cut[3], doing a little shopping, and having lunch at the always excellent Caffe Nero.[4] I then popped into the office to pick up a delivery from Amazon that turned up a little earlier than expected[5], then had a look at a rather nice exhibition on ancient Egypt at the Hancock Museum.

After all that, I was a bit tired, so I got the bus home just in time to avoid the rain.

Not only that, but I did another full exercise session this evening, with a peak heart rate of 153.

I may need a rest tomorrow. :laugh:

[1] Which isn’t very pleasant to walk across while the repair work is going on – the walkway is surrounded by plastic sheeting, making it into a tunnel with no natural light.
[2] Newcastle and Gateshead are set on either side of the Tyne, and the slope is ever so slightly steep.
[3] I’ll update the Lescam image later
[4] Great espresso, tasty panini and I deny anything involving a chocolate cheesecake :tongue:
[5] Watch out for some book reviews soon :grin:

Could this be progress?

This morning’s weight was a new low at 197.4 pounds (14 stone 1.4 pounds, 89.5kg). If this isn’t just one of those temporary fluctuation thingies, it could mean that my secret target of getting below the 14 stone[1] mark might be within reach. :bouncy:

Did the standard exercise routine again, with a peak heart rate of 153. Pant, sweat, etc :eek2:

[1] An aside: it occurs to me that the psychologicackle levels one has depend on the units one is familiar with. If you’re American, you’ll probably think of boundaries of 10 or maybe 5 pounds. If you’re from most other places, you’ll probably think in terms of 5kg, maybe 10kg boundaries. Brits of my age (and even some younger Brits who’ve been influenced by older Brits) will think of the nearest half stone[2]. Not really all that significant, but it’s the kind of odd thought I have now and then
[2] 1 stone = 14 pounds, and please don’t ask me why, it’s one of those old hysterical[3] thingies
[3] Or possibly historical[4]
[4] Or both :laugh:

Malcolm Middleton – Into the Woods

I first noticed Malcolm Middleton when I heard Loneliness Shines on 6Music a while back. It was one of those songs I had to hear a few times before managing to get a note of the artist’s name[1]. I looked around for a CD, but didn’t find it :sad:

Then I found this album on Napster :smile: , and downloaded it straight away. I’ve listened to it a few times on the way to and from work on my Zen Micro, and I’m growing to love it. Middleton is half of Scottish band Arab Strap, who I’ve only been vaguely aware of up till now. Thanks to the risk-free, no incremental cost ability to download any unfamiliar album from Napster, I’ve got some of their work to listen to, and I may report on that later. But for now, let’s get onto what I now know is Middleton’s second solo album.

The overall mood (though not the actual sound) reminds me of nothing so much as the Smiths, in the way that dark, almost depressing lyrics are laid over some quite perky tunes, but Middleton isn’t Morrissey. He isn’t Johnny Marr either, but then, who is?[2]

Opening track Break My Heart is irresistible. Like all the songs, it’s sung in an uncompromising Scottish accent[3], and perfectly expresses the idea that creativity and happiness are often incompatible

You’re gonna break my heart I know it
But if you don’t
You’re gonna break my run of unhappiness and destroy my career
I’d rather feel full than sing these shit songs
I’ll sell my guitar and never look back

Then there’s Devastation, another twisted love song, dripping with self-loathing, as if he can’t believe that he could be loved

And you’re the only person that can make me feel alone
Just withdraw your eyes and you’ll hear me start to moan
And how can you like me
With this head and these arms
How can this shallow freak be accused of having charm
The way the earthquakes land when I blow my nose
How long can I be myself before you get up and go

Next up is the single Loneliness Shines, which passes through darkness into a kind of enlightenment

I think I’ve cracked it
We are what we do
We’re made up of actions and there are no rules
But don’t stand on heads to get higher, listen to your angels,
And spread through life like a fire

before ending on the perhaps inevitable sour note

Spill my guts tell you everything
Like how I’ve got it all but appreciate nothing

The album proceeds in a variety of musical styles – from mostly acoustic through synth-pop and more, but the lyrical style is consistent throughout, best summarised by the first lines from A Happy Medium

Woke up again today
Realised I hate myself
My face is a disease

which has the jauntiest tune on the album, of course.

The album is liberally sprinkled with the kind of language that upsets the kind of people who get upset about that kind of thing, which all seems quite appropriate in the context. Of course, he knows exactly what he’s doing, and how people might react. The closing track, A New Heart, opens with these words:

I’ve been asked to write a song without a swear word or a slight
At myself or another, for my mother for my bride

and he just about manages it. Almost.

As you might have gathered, I love this album.

[1] Partly due to me doing other things with the radio in the background, and partly due to DJs being rather poor at actually telling listeners what they’ve just played, mutter
[2] Not even Johnny Marr seems to be Johnny Marr these days
[3] Some furriners might be glad of the lyrics page

Office blunders caused by computer jargon

Asymptomatic spotted this report from the Western Mail[1] about people having trouble understanding computer terminology. It includes the obligatory quote from the kind of user that makes IT staff cry :cry: – not only do they not understand anything, they don’t want to. Bah.

But the best bit is on the second page, where some journalist has provided a “helpful” guide to some complicated IT “jargon”. Presumably this journalist didn’t bother to ask his/her/its IT department for advice.

Quite apart from definitions of megabytes and gigabytes that manage to contain no useful information at all, there’s this little gem:

Excell – this helps to run programs on your PC

Hmmm. All these years of working with PCs and I never knew that. :rolleyes:

[1] Which bills itself as the National Newspaper of Wales[2]
[2] Which means its the morning paper produced in Cardiff

Much better

Hmmmmmm. This morning’s weight was down quite substantially to 197.8 pounds (14 stone 1.8 pounds, 89.7kg). I think my digestive system had been on a go-slow for a few days, or something :smile:. Anyway, that’s just below the 90kg mark, which is another one of those psychologicackle barrier thingies. :bouncy:

Apart from going to Tesco’s to do the shopping I would have done at the weekend if I hadn’t been working, I had a nice relaxing day at home, and finished that off with a full exercise session[1], with a peak heart rate of 148.

[1] All the usual, bike, etc…

All done

Back to work again. Not quite as early as yesterday, but quite early enough for a Sunday. We got the last set of computers sorted out and tested, then removed two old printers[1]. All done by 12:30, so we got a bit of the weekend back. Not so bad for me, as I’ve now got a week off. Not so good for Aaron, who will be dealing with the inevitable problems that arise when people get moved around.

Again, no exercise other than moving computers and very heavy printers.

I forgot to weigh myself in the morning, so today we have a just before bed figure of 200.4 pounds (14 stone 4.4 pounds, 90.9kg).

[1] Replaced with one new one

Bit of a long day

This morning’s far-too-early weight was down a wee bit to 200.8 pounds (14 stone 4.8 pounds, 91.1kg). And why was it early? Because I had to go to work. On a Saturday. Again. This time it was because some new furniture was being delivered, cabling was being done and desks moved, so the IT guys[1] had to do a smaller version of a job we did last year. We started on Friday by disconnecting and moving PCs and phones, then today, once some desks had been fitted, reconnecting them. It’s one of those jobs that always takes longer than you think it should, mainly because running cables through the tracking stuff in the desks takes ages. We had hoped to get it all done today, even if we had to work till 7pm, but as 6pm arrived, it was clear that we had a lot more than an hour’s work ahead, so we stopped and went to get something to eat.

No formal exercise, but I think running around the office carrying computers counts. :grin:

[1] That would be Aaron and me

Must be getting old

This morning’s weight was up again to 201.0 pounds (14 stone 5 pounds, 91.2kg). Had to stay late at work, and was way too tired to even contemplate the exercise thingy. Working the weekend, too. :cry: But I’ve got next week off. :cool: