Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Bucks Party in Tokyo

So there he was. It was 7am, the day before the biggest day of his life, and he was wandering around Shinjuku Train Station in Tokyo, the busiest train station in the world. Fair-haired and towering over the local population at 6’3”, it was not hard to spot him. He was wearing a white shirt crudely cut to be short sleeve, stockings, leg warmers, underpants (he’d long ago lost his skirt), a schoolgirl/sailor’s tie and collar, and long black pigtails. Not surprisingly, he was alone. He had one thing in his possession, his travel card to allow him to catch a train.

While all of this was surprising for early morning commuters, what was possibly most surprising was that Chop had done this to himself.

After the briefest of preparations, including jumping off the bullet train from Osaka at about 3:30pm, checking in to the hotel and then running out to get the last of his uniform before meeting up in the hotel prior to heading out. While getting dressed, Chop mentioned to us that he had given his bride to be everything he had of value, except his train pass. There was nothing left for us to take. First stop was the Monster Cafe. There were two tables there – the six of us and a group of six locals. Monster Cafe prides itself on multiple burgers. Stacks of burgers (buns included). The most you could get was six, which is what the table next to us had ordered between them. They ordered first and were served first, well ahead of us.

Chop, of course, was given the six stacker to eat by himself. He was at one stage going to give away one of the six, an avocado burger, until he realised there was meat in the avocado burger also.

Like so many things with Chop, what happened in the following 14 minutes was part art, part circus freak show. He demolished all six burgers in 14 minutes. The only pause was on the fifth burger, and that was only because it was a Spam burger.

He finished before the neighbouring table finished their shared six burgers. And he ate more than the rest of his bucks party combined.

It would prove to be a tactical error on our part to ply him with burgers. It hindsight it was all so obvious: it lined his stomach. So when we went to the next bar, a magnificent stylised 50s Japanese bar, the whale bacon and raw horse really only kept him topped up with food.

Appropriately turning back the clock himself in the retro-bar, Chop recalled his O-Camp days by drinking beer from a kettle. He didn’t have a choice really: that’s how it was served.

The Hub, a traditional English chain pub, followed, with shots of cachaca rum, and mingling with the most camp Japanese guy of all time. The sight of a 6’3” gaijin dressed as a schoolgirl no doubt went straight to the w@nk bank for him.

We left the bar and promptly received a promise from an African spruiker that he would provide some entertainment at a gentleman’s club upstairs. We sat down and were accompanied by what could only be described as an interesting array of ladies. The guy was clearly an equal opportunity employer. Alas, a strip joint is a place that sorely needs to be a meritocracy.

Shockingly, our spruiker friend decided that the conditions of entry did not apply once we entered his establishment. Our 2 hours of drinking, girls and karaoke turned in to 45 minutes, a couple of drinks (some of which may have been spiked) and two and a half karaoke songs, the last of which was cut off mid-song to inform us that our time was up and we had to leave. The ladies didn’t dance – they were “company” for us, not “entertainment” and none of them got a red cent out of us, which in retrospect is probably why we were told to leave so early.

With a combination of wounded pride, Dutch courage, and disappointment at the night turning in to a fizzer, two or three of us stayed just outside the establishment, standing next to the spruiker doing a bit of “anti-spruiking”, telling anyone who could understand us through the language barrier and drunkenness that the place was a rip-off and that we wanted our money back.

Shockingly, it didn’t work. But it did result in at least one of the bucks party being picked up (literally) by a certain 6’3” Japanese schoolgirl (now missing “her” skirt) and dragged away from the spruiker, undoubtedly for his own good.

All the time we were remonstrating, Ranty hadn't moved. He was sitting on a wooden box, elbows on his knees, head slumped, somehow balancing himself in a drunken stupor. He literally hadn't moved. We didn't really mind too much, until we got bored, sleepy and needed to leave. Most of us were well smashed, but not the buck - he was still going strong, with six burgers soaking up the booze in his stomach.

Finally, it seemed this super-sized schoolgirl was useful to us. With Durack and myself fading, and Ranty already out for the count, we needed someone to carry him to a cab, and Chopper was the man (a term loosely defined given his attire). He lugged Ranty to the cab by slinging him over his back.

There was one question still to be answered: who will get him out of the cab at the other end?

With the all-too-convenient benefit of hindsight it is clear now that we hadn’t considered the answer to this question. You’d think that the two of us, Durack and I, could help Ranty get to his room to sleep, but Ranty couldn’t help himself. He was comatose. Dead weight – this time, literally.

Durack wasn’t helped when, on approaching the hotel, I awoke from my own drunken slumber to announce that I needed to do number threes. I ran off feeling the convulsions and gagging, but curiously nothing came of it. A few minutes later Durack would arrive at the door to my hotel room, covered in blood and bundling Ranty into his room, where we threw him onto the bed (only semi-successfully – he was half on the bed until the following afternoon).

What happened in the few minutes intervening was quite extraordinary.

After I’d left the car (running for the bushes first, then convincing myself I could make it to my room), the taxi pulled up at the hotel and Durack tried to instil some clarity and purpose into Ranty. Only a completely drunk friend would attempt such a thing. In hindsight it was like trying tell a rock to dance the Macarena. Ranty was totally unresponsive, so Durack still tried to lift him out of the cab. As soon as Ranty’s weight transferred from the cab to Durack, he teetered.

Just before completely losing control, he had enough clarity to know Ranty was about to smack face-first into the pavement. He reached out his hand to protect Ranty’s face, and perhaps saved him from extensive rhinoplasty. But this moment of chivalry had its price. Durack was himself propelled to the ground thanks to gravity. And of course he had to spare hands with which to break his fall. So while Durack limited Ranty’s injuries to a fairly mild black eye, he broke his fall withe the bridge of his nose.

Blood was everywhere.

From their position at the head of the cab rank at the (five-star) hotel, Durack could see blood all over the place, and Ranty in a blissful slumber on the pavement in front of him. With blood pouring out of him, and panicking like a jealous husband who’s just killed a cheating wife, he went looking for something to get the blood off. After searching the forecourt of the hotel, he ran across the road to a fountain and washed himself clean. He returned, still bleeding but at least cleaner, to the cab rank.

Ranty had gone.

How could someone so blissfully passed out on pavement have disappeared without a trace? On looking up at the entrance to the hotel, Durack found his answer: over-efficient concierges. They were trying to get Ranty into a wheelchair. The limits of Durack’s chivalry had been reached however. Rather than ensure his friend was safe or assist the concierges (or tip them), he took photos.

All I can say is that I wish I could still post photos on this blog. Other than the comatose Ranty, the funniest thing in the photos is the genuine concern shown by the concierges for Ranty’s wellbeing (this concern was not painted on, service industry boilerplate: it was genuine). All the while, his friend is p!ssing blood and taking photos of him.

Not surprisingly, none of us were functional on Saturday.

But where was Chop in all of this? Whether he admitted it or not, he seemed think the Bucks party was in fact an episode of Survivor: Tokyo. While three of us had already fallen by the wayside, Trev, Noodles and Chop remained standing. Unfortunately Noodles had fallen asleep while standing, so was technically disqualified. Trev decided Noodles had to come back to our hotel and sleep on the floor, and communicated this to Chop.

This must have slipped Chopper’s mind, as he wandered off to Shinjuku station it was still only about 5:30am. Trains had not started running yet. If he was hungry, that was too bad. All he had in his possession was his train pass. He didn’t even have pants (he had to keep it in his shirt pocket). After running around a couple of train stations trying to navigate his way home, he finally gave up, jumped in a cab, determined to pay for it when he got back to his soon-to-be-wife’s house.

As he arrived home, his fiancĂ©e and Noodles’ girlfriend asked how the night went, and where Noodles was. Chopper said that Noodles had got a train home earlier than him, which sent Noodles’ girlfriend into a mild panic. By the time Noodles woke up at about midday, he had several texts and missed calls from his girlfriend, wondering if Noodles had slept in a gutter and, if so, whether he still had both his kidneys. We didn’t know any of this until Chop called us and his first question was “is Noodles OK?”

Our response was “he’s the least of your problems – he didn’t even suffer facial injuries.”

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Full Circle

OK, so it's been a while since I checked in to update my progress. About four weeks in fact.
My last four weekly weigh-ins have been 90kg, 92kg, 91kg and 90kg. The increase was due to the weekend in Melbourne for the AFL Grand Final, which was decadent, especially when I had to drown my sorrows. Since then I've got back to where I was before flying to Melbourne. I still have heaps of work to do!
I've had precious little time to attend to this in the last month. I don't think I've even had time to go to the gym in the last month. I have managed to do a bit of running though (usually on nights when I should be going to the gym, which takes longer). My last three 10km run times have been 46:40, 47:50 and 46:50.
One thing I've noticed about the running is that it all seems to depend on how fast you start out. It seems inevitable that I am going to be knackered and dragging myself along the footpath at the end of the run, so it seems like I need to do all I can to maintain a sustainable but brisk pace in the first few kilometres.
I have been meaning to add a bit more by way of description but have been so busy lately it hasn't been possible to give this blog the priority I want to, which is a shame because it's a good record of my progress through the year, or, as seems to be the case at the moment, lack thereof.
There'll be a further weigh-in tonight also.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Cricket Training begins

I don't think it's unreasonable to forget everything you know about a sport in six months. Nor does my body, apparently.

The good news is my calf doesn't hurt after cricket training last night. The bad news is everything else does. As always, the start of the cricketing season is always a difficult time.

Cricket to me is very much a game which relies on muscle memory, which means the first session for the season can often be dispiriting. Things aren't as easy for me as they were six months ago, and also I'm performing actions I haven't done for six months either. Batting and especially bowling involve actions you wouldn't otherwise do.

So my shoulders, lower back, obliques and abs are all sore because they've been dormant for so long. If you remember, when I organised my gym workout I tried to target these groups but had no luck. Clearly.

The other completely dispiriting thing for me was how poor both my batting and bowling was. But that's another story for another time. Or never, preferrably.

One final comment on the cricket training, something else I saw through rose coloured glasses with the benefit of six months' hindsight: it wasn't the fitness workout I'd remembered it to be. At the end of the session I was sweaty and a little tired, but it was a different sort of training to my normal, endurance training.

Training (and cricket itself) features running in short bursts: running in to bowl, running between the wickets, chasing after a ball. Walking in with the bowler is enough for some of us.

The other trait in training and definitely in cricket itself is concentration. Not just watching the ball, but concentrating on your action and stance. It was this that hurt my lower back, particularly batting. But I know it gets better.

Anyways, while I thought at the time I'd done a bit of exercise, in hindsight I'm not all that surprised with the result of my week's training. I went to the gym again tonight although it was an abridged session (didn't really get time to test the calf), and I was denied a chance to run on Tuesday by an extremely frustrating incident that evening. The less said about it on the internets the better.

In the end, I probably did about the equivalent of one session of exercise this week, so I souldn't be surprised that I'm on 89kg. Up a little even.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


... falling ... off.

Every week I swear I'm finding excuses to not go to the gym, and then feel hideously guilty afterwards. But guilt doesnt seem to be the great motivating factor that it has been - not before I'm due to do some exercise anyway.

This week I couldn't do anything on Tuesday, as we were interviewing potential housemates. Wednesday I came home feeling like rubbish, convinced I was coming down with the flu, with aching limbs, and thinking I wouldn't get to work on the Thursday. Um... today I guess.

So I ruled out the gym, maybe a bit too easily.

Finally, tonight, with a decent wind blowing and rain coming down, I felt obliged to go for a run. It was bloody cold but I had to give my calf a test. I ran for about ten minutes before it tightened up - at which point I stopped immediately.

So a brisk walk for a few minutes and then a jog home after that which went OK.

I can't say that was a lot of exercise really. And so it was a bit of a shock to find out that I was down a bit to 88.5kg.

The depressing thing is that the only thing I can put the weight loss down to is not drinking too much last weekend. What does this mean?! Where could I be, but for my boozing??

I don't want to think about it.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Long Road Back

The weekend was obviously a huge disappointment. Not because I couldn't do the City to Surf, but because I missed a golden opportunity to sit down near my house, which is on the route, eat KFC and use a megaphone to heckle runners as they came past.

Really, it was perfect - cold but clear day, I had an excuse not to be running the race, I live really close (50m) to the course - but I got lazy and overslept.

Ah well, someone else can do it to me next year.

My week, exercise-wise, started very slowly. In fact, I didn't do anything as far as exercise goes until Wednesday. I returned to the gym for the first time since my (first) calf injury, and only the second time since I left for Europe in early July.

I'd been told I was OK to get on the rowing machine and the bike, and to swim. In fact it was encouraged. Anything that pushed my calf out of its comfort zone was good actually. And obviously doing weights was encouraged also.

Weights was a challenge not because of my calf, but because of the muscles I haven't used for so long. My abs and shoulders are very sore now, which of course is a good thing because it means I'm working on them and they're getting stronger.

Most importantly, the calf feels better now than it did before I entered the gym. Not least important, I feel much more confident on it. Earlier this week I was like a horse - I could walk upstairs but not downstairs. Now I can manage walking downstairs if I'm careful.

Still, overall, I didn't get a lot of exercise in. I was busy tonight and couldn't exercise. And that's reflected in my current weight.

Down slightly to 90kg.

So I need to lose 11kg in less than four months.

Not easy, but at least I'm moving in the right direction.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


... uppance.

I'm sure it's on its way.

Following from last night's disaster I applied the heat pack all night and hoped it would pull up OK this morning. Not with a view to running - I was never a chance of that after last night - but to see if I could get around this morning without hobbling.

In short, I couldnt.

I walked in to work, and it didn't take long on that walk for me to be hobbling noticably. By the end of my walk to the bus it was almost pantomime.

It got worse.

At the moment the bathrooms on my floor at work are being refurbished, so to get to the bathroom I have to either go up or down a floor. I felt the call of nature and headed upstairs this morning, which was OK, but coming back downstairs was frankly excruciating. Basically any time I have to point my toes it hurts my calf. Quite a lot. So going downstairs is difficult, and even more difficult if the stairs are not long enough, as is the case in our building.

It got worse.

This afternoon we had a fire drill.

Four floors of walking down stairs, one step at a time, trying not to hold up the people behind me. And, given the company in the stairwell, trying not to swear too much.

These happen about once every three months and they have it today. Friggin' typical.

So at the end of the day I headed to the physio appointment, basically waiting for the inevitable. I explained what happened last night. Sarge gave me a fitness test...

"Try and hop on your bad leg"

"OK, I ... AAAARGH!"

"OK, that's a no then. You're out of the City to Surf."

He gave me a rub down and some acupuncture on the calf.

It got worse.

I'm unable to train for cricket for about two weeks, which is a kick in the guts. But at least I can still do some exercise - the bike, the swim, the ergo, and obviously weights.

But that didn't stop this week being completely disrupted for training. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it, dammit.

Excuse for what?

I'm up to 90.5kg.

Puck. Again.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

C2S: Am I In or am I Out?

An interesting week so far, no doubt about it.

In fact this is likely to turn into one of those things you tell your grandkids about. Real grandkids I mean, not illegitimate sprog. I wouldn't waste it on them.

"Kids, have I ever told you about the first time I tried to do the City to Surf? The trouble I had ...?"

So this is what happened. After speaking to some friends about it I finally went to a physio on Tuesday night.

As I'd already suspected, he confirmed it was strained and not torn, which was good news. He gave it a solid rub down - they hurt more than I remember - and gave me his advice. It was as follows:
(i) give it heat, not ice now
(ii) I'm still a chance to make it to the City to Surf
(iii) do some running between now and then - a little on Tuesday night and a little longer (half an hour) on Wednesday night, and don't be afraid to stop and stretch if need be
(iv) come back on Thursday and we'll see where it's at

Now then, parts (i), (ii) and (iv) were easy enough to deal with, but there were some complications with part (iii).

I was at the physio between getting home from work and heading straight out to dinner with dad. I was still in work clothes, and we were off to have Chinese BBQ for dinner, a decent feed.

I headed out for dinner, filled up, had a coffee with dad, and then headed home. I got home at 9:45 still very full from dinner but had to go for a run - I had to.

My physio said that for Tuesday night I should walk five minutes and then jog five minutes, then do it again, and see how I go. Take it easy, only jogging: not running.

So I did that and surprisingly felt better and more comfortable jogging than walking. I finished the little jog/walk quite confident and happy with myself.

The calf felt a bit tight on Wednesday morning but not too bad. I had a heat pack on it all Tuesday night to loosen it a bit.

Then Wednesday night happened.

I ran where I was always going to run: my old 6.6km course which usually took me about 33 minutes.

It went well for quite a while. Running on a gentle slope along Rosalie Park was not a problem (I thought it might be), and the short hills on Derby Road were OK also.

I got to the end of Derby Road, where I turn back towards Rokeby Road and home, and felt it tighten considerably, so I stopped. It had hurt before but not too badly. I stretched it out, as advised, and walked it for a while on Hamersley Road.

I jogged again a few minutes later and stopped quickly as it soon got back to being painful.

After walking a bit longer, I started up again, along Rokeby Road. It felt sore but manageable. As I was jogging I actually thought to myself "I'm about a 20% chance of doing this on Sunday, which isn't too bad"

I turned the corner for the run home along Bagot Road. It got a bit tighter but still OK.

Then, crossing a road, a massive sharp pain suddenly shot through my lower leg. Just below the calf and above the tendon. I let out an audible yelp (that is to say, I heard it myself over my iPod, which was pretty loud).

I hobbled back to my house, thankfully not too far away, furious.

I'm actually surprised at how gutted I am by this, which will surely rule me out of the City to Surf.

My reaction surprised me because it shows me exactly how competitive I am, and how much I was looking forward to this. I was really champing at the bit to run, probably more than I realised.

I still have to apply heat to it tonight and go to the physio tomorrow, but it seems at this stage like it's a fait accompli, and that I can't run the 12km to the beach. I hope it's not torn, and doesn't rule me out of any cricket.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

More Lethargy

Not very inspiring is it?

This week, on top of my still-injured calf stopping me from running. That's bad.

But I got medical advice from a mate and gave it heaps of rest. That's good.

I was laid up with the flu on Tuesday and Wednesday. That's bad.

But I got two days off work. That's good.

So no exercise for me at all this week. That's bad.

But my flu meant I didn't eat much. That's good.

But I had a heap of tea. That's bad.

But tea is a diuretic. That's good.

But the food I ate when I did eat was not healthy. That's bad.

But diuretic means you wee a lot. That's good.

And despite all that there's been virtually no change to my weight, steadyish at 88kg. That's bad.

As Homer would say ... can I go now?

PS. Clearly the lethargy is extending to the actual writing of the blog.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


Big trouble in fact.

As I was doing my Tuesday run, and I was about as far from my house as I get in these runs, I started up a long, gentle hill. For most of the run, I'd felt a bit of tightness in my left calf. I'd actually felt tightness when I started running and stopped to stretch it out. I couldn't do it properly but thought I'd done enough. And I had for the flat, or slightly downhill part of the run.

But the only real hill - and it's not much of one - kicked in and not long into it the tightness got worse. And then it got painful. It didn't take long until I realised I wasn't going to finish the run. I was less than 5km into it.

So I walked back and swore a bit on the way. But I did also enjoy the view - there are a not of nice houses along my jogging route.

But that was small consolation. On Wesneday and Thursday I couldn't do cardio at the gym (I'm getting some advice on this at the moment - how it's best to maintain some decent cardio exercise), so I was left with about 15 minutes of decent exercise during the week.

And I learnt the hard way today that I need to take a lot of care with my calf. On the way home I literally jumped off the bus and landed on the balls of my feet. My calf twinged again, enough for me to audibly cry out in front of strangers.

I think I am in genuine doubt for my first City to Surf. It's 17 days away, and there are a few hills in that run, which will give the calves a workout. If calves are anything like a hamstring it might take a while to get better.

To literally add insult to injury, I'm back up to 88.5kg.


Saturday, 8 August 2009

Back to the Gym

After the shambles that was last week, this week could only be an improvement.

And it was, marginally.

I couldn't run on Tuesday night because I worked late and had to head to my parents' place, and had pizza commitments on Wednesday nights. I managed to get a run in before making pizzas for the house.

The run felt not much better than last week, with a stitch developing early in the run and never really going away, I felt like I wasnt doing much better than last week, so when I finished I was surprised to see my time was a big improvement on the previous week: 46:20.

I was stoked with that, but even better, I was able to walk 48 hours later, unlike last week.

So on Thursday I headed to the gym and gave my upper body its first workout since my return. Not a very satisfying workout as I was again late getting there thanks to work. Again.

So after a lame week of exercise and (home made) pizza-related diet issues, I had some trepidation in approaching the scales.

Unlike the week after ToMarto Cup, I was unable to convincingly shake off the kilos, and I'm on 87.5kg.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Leppitch is a knob

... who doesn’t know how to use apostrophes.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Return to the Routine

Well, that was the plan anyway.

After four weeks off travelling and recovering from jetlag, I arrived home from work a bit late. I stood in my room for a couple of minutes, half in work gear and half in running gear, wondering if I should just brush of the run, but I eventually went. Again, guilt was the motivating factor. So I took off for my 10km run along the normal course.

I knew I was in trouble when I needed my second wind after 150 metres.

It didn't get much better for the rest of the run. I got stitches in about four places in my belly and felt like stopping many times on the run.

But I got to the end, eventually, taking a laborious 48:30 to get through the 10km. That's about 3 minutes outside of my best time.

It got worse. On Wednesday I was a little stiff, and not in a good way. Quads in particular had ceased up. So I stayed on the safe side and didn't go to the gym. I justified it by saying sometimes I need a day's break between exercise to recover.

Then today I could barely move. I walked like I was using crutches, and getting to the bathroom at work, which involves stairs at the moment due to renovations, was a genuine struggle.

So that time, plus the struggles in the run and afterwards, tells me I've lost a lot of my fitness base.

Given I have just sent out a challenge, this could spell trouble.

In the meantime I'm back up to 89kg. Not entirely unexpected. Cycling for two days on the holiday wasn't exactly keeping up my fitness regime.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The City to Surf Challenge

The Challenge is out there. On Monday I sent this out to friends I hoped would join me.

Yeah I'm competitive, and you can tell, but it is a great motivator.

We'll see how this works itself out...


Today I was off sick from work.

So it was somewhat ironic that I used part of the day to sign up for the City to Surf.

It's on August 30 and I'm doing it (just the 12km thanks, no marathon for me). I've never done it before. In fact I don't think I've ever run 12 consecutive kilometres before.

Some of you have known me for a long time, through the highs and lows of my fitness and weight (both of which are ongoing struggles I'm not going to pretend are over). For those of you who in the past had the luxury of saying "yeah I might be a little unfit but at least I'm not Plugger" your comeuppance has arrived. For those people I have a question for you.

My question to you is this: do you think you can beat me?

I am of course joking a little bit, but I'm keen to take this challenge, in less than five weeks, and I figure it will be much better and much more fun to do this with mates. It might even help us motivate each other. Bragging rights are a great motivator.

If you're keen, then visit here and get yourself organised.

I have taken the rather ambitious step of registering for Group B (you'll know what that means when you sign up). I'm a little bit scared about it now.

So who else wants to avoid the shame of losing to me, or even worse, chickening out? Who else is keen on doing this (with or without bragging rights)?
If you're keen, then get on board.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A Slack Week?

Well sort of. No exercise whatsoever. Not a skerrick.

On Tuesday I couldnt run, last night I worked late and tonight I was busy getting ready for the trip.

In fact I've been so busy I haven't even weighed myself, Having been so slack, I'm not in a huge rush to do so.

And because I'm going away, I don't expect to do much updating while I'm away.

But I will say this: I'm doing the City to Surf. And I will be hassling my friends to do it too, just so I can beat them.

More entries coming soon, including some travel shenanigans.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Wardrobe Malfunction

It's been a long time since I played netball, but I used to love it. We played netball on the tennis courts at UWA, up near the sports centre. We played mixed netball (obviously), and in those days that was enough to make me feel like I was getting weekly exercise.

I played GS.

For the uninitiated, that means I covered a third of the court, and with my good mate Stevie (who played GA) we were the Mounds of Pounds.

Every now and then we'd play when it was raining. Seems shocking now - a lawsuit waiting to happen - but it did happen every now and then.

We did it just enough for me to get romantic about it. I loved the idea of "wetball" and played it just seldom enough that I could wax lyrical about it. Since I stopped playing netball, I've wondered whether I viewed the wet weather games through rose coloured glasses.

But then winter came around here this year. I've been itching for a Tuesday (the night I run) to be a wet day, and in particular a wet night. I've been itching to run in the rain.

Finally, this week, I got my chance.

My heart was a-flutter as it rained during the day. I haven't been this excited about running since I kicked it up to 10kms a few months ago.

It didn't all turn out as expected though. Don't get me wrong, I expected my shoes to get heavy while running, and I knew my fingers would get cold, but I was in for a surprise nonetheless. I wore a yellow shirt rather than the usual white, so I wouldn't give passers by a peep show. Not without paying anyways.

Running up Hay Street, almost home, I ran past a girl holding an umbrella. She looked at me like I was a freak. I was grimacing a bit but I thought it was a little rude of her.

Then I got home. I looked down to open the door and noticed a red stain on my shirt. Funny, I haven't used my yellow Aussie cricket shirt for cricket for a while, so there shouldn't be a stain there. But there were two stains.

My nipples were bleeding.

I just realised how gross that sounds. Just be thankful I'm male.

Anyway my nipples are still sore, after two solid sessions in the gym also. And so are my abs.

So I've certainly earned this: I'm down 1.5kg to 86.5kg.


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Short and Sweet

A very quick one this week. My facebook status tells it all really: I ran 10km in 45:20 this Tuesday. For reasons I won't go into I was frazzled, nervous and bloody tired by Tuesday night. I took off on my run faster than normal, but really struggled at the end. I was sure it would be a crappy time, I was struggling that much. So I was pleasantly surprised - enough to yell out "f*ck yeah!" over my iPod out the front of our house.

Wednesday and Thursday - no gym this week. I'm not saying why but I'm not feeling guilty, unlike other times.

So I've got what I deserved this week. Slightly up to 88kg.

I need to give myself a kick in the pants before I head to Europe. Might have to do a bit more running too. I'm tempted to up the course from 10km to 13km (about the length of the City to Surf - that's no coincidence).

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Snapping Off Two Nervous Ones

The reason I spoke last week about my music was because I expected to update my Fire Up playlist (such as it is called on my iPhone). But I had a series of frustrating encounters with iTunes and my parents’ computer which I wish I could say did not end in copious amounts of swearing.

It took a while – about four separate trips to my parents’ place – to sort it out.

But finally I made some changes, added some songs to my iPhone, which included the following additions to my playlist:

Never Miss a Beat – Kaiser Chiefs

Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall

You Know My Name – Chris Cornell

Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel

Love in the First Degree – Bananarama

You Shook Me All Night Long – ACDC

Thunderstruck – ACDC

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

New Soul – Yael Naim

Man! I Feel Like A Woman! – Shania Twain

Spiderwebs – No Doubt

Sunday Morning – No Doubt

OK, now you’re wondering why I wasted so many hours and expletives on this exercise. Screw you then. If it makes me run faster it’s done its job.

Speaking of which, because of a rather large decision I made this week I have been extremely nervous for the last couple of days (as reflected in my Facebook status). For a while last night, I was tempted not to go to the gym, so nervous was I about what I’d done. But I figured I would never get to sleep if I didn’t do something to tire me out, and I didn’t have enough money for hookers so that left me with the gym.

It paid off – I had a bit more adrenalin in the system (or so it seemed) and I turned some potentially negative energy to good use. I find it’s generally a good thing to do exercise when you’re frustrated or apprehensive about something, or if you’re mentally fatigued. Sometimes it can freshen you up, even if it doesn’t take your mind off things completely.

It was payday today but I took the thrifty option and went to the gym again.

Did it pay off?

I'm steady at 87.5kg.


Thursday, 4 June 2009

My Playlist

I would be nothing without my playlist. Nothing. It keeps me fired up and motivated. Have a look at it:

Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand

Take On Me – A-ha

It's a Long Way to the Top – ACDC

Sabotage – Beastie Boys

Get Outta My Dreams – Billy Ocean

Atomic – Blondie

Song 2 – Blur

Rock the Casbah – The Clash

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters

What's My Scene – Hoodoo Gurus

Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin

Rock DJ – Robbie Williams

Master of Puppets – Metallica

Beds are Burning – Midnight Oil

One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head

Don't Stop Me Now – Queen

Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen

Kung Foo Sing – Regurgitator

Street Fighting Man – Rolling Stones

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Dazed and Confucius – TISM

I'll 'Ave Ya – TISM

Let's Club It To Death – TISM

Greg! The Stop Sign!! – TISM

Out of Touch – Hall and Oates

1000 Miles Away – Hoodoo Gurus

Walk Idiot Walk – The Hives

Hey Ya! – OutKast/Andre 3000

Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

Stand by the Jams – KLF feat Tammy Winette

Suck My Kiss – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Dani California – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Born to be Alive – Patrick Hernandez

A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

Disco Inferno – The Trammps

Father and Son – TISM

Fight for your Right –Beastie Boys

Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head – Gorillaz

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

The Fosters Car Park Boogie – TISM

Intergalactic – Beastie Boys

It's Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Jump In My Car – Ted Mulry Gang

Land of Sunshine – Faith No More

Living for the City – Stevie Wonder

Bohemian Like You – The Dandy Warhols

History Repeating – Propellerheads feat Shirley Bassey

Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon

My People – The Presets

Electric Feel – MGMT

It's a wonderful mix of faster and heavier songs, disco, and catchy tunes.

I did have another song on there, the excellent Love In the First Degree by Bananarama. It's a cracker. At least I thought I had it on this playlist. As I settled in to some exercises at the gym, imagine my horror when some slow crooning assaulted my ears and nearly put me to sleep. A different song, from Dad's collection, was on my iPhone instead! Infecting the other songs with its dagginess! It was Love In The First Degree by Alabama.

I had to get off the machine and change the song as soon as possible. I can be motivated by many ... um ... motives, but spite isnt one of them.

This week, after a run and two trips to the gym (and a long weekend, and decent feed on Wednesday), I'm up just a touch to 87.5kg.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Take a Picture. It'll last longer.

Youl will see on this website over 100 posts. Many of them are stories of my travels through Europe and across the world. In many of those entries there are hyperlinks to photos in my photo album.

There is one thing that has been with me the whole time I've been travelling. And that is my camera.

I have taken literally tens of thousands of photos on my camera - over 1000 in two weeks in India alone - since I got it in April 2006, just before I left for ther UK for the first time.

Actually I didn't buy my camera. It's something I don't remember thinking I'd need before I left for the UK, which in hindsight is absolutely insane. There's no way I'd do that now.

So to whose foresight do I owe a digital imprint of my memories from my mass of travels over the last three years? My sister and (now) brother-in-law. They had been on a world trip themselves, and when giving out presents at the end of their trip they gave me a camera case. I politely thanked them.

Then they gave me the camera. A very hardy little device it is too. It's a Sony Cybershot, 6.0 megapixels, 3.0x optical zoom and 5.1x digital zoom. Those figures are not impressive nowadays, particularly the megapixels. But it was always more than I needed: I always set it on 2.0 megapixels.

Most of the silver paint has come off now, particularly where I hold it. Also, a couple of days before I set off on a massive eight week jaunt through Europe in May 2008, the button that takes the photos broke off. It's now held on by plaster tape purchased in a Parisian hardware store.

But the march of time affects us all, not least digital gizmos, so it is time for an upgrade. The new camera, a Panasonic Lumix, with 10x optical zoom (the main reason I made the change). If it gives me half as much joy as the the Cybershot, it will have served me well.

So thank you Cybershot, you little battler. You haven't quite gone to Cybershot Heaven yet, you're on the bench and will be used in the future, in the case of emergencies.

And thank you so much to Kristy and Dave - you have no idea how useful your present has been to me!

(It's suitable that my picasa web albums are full now. But I will have to get a pic of the little battler up on the blog as soon as I can.)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

All Running, no Gym

Engagements on Wednesday and Thursday nights - as well as my usual Tuesday night dinner - there was no time for the gym, and so it was a tale of three runs.

Er... again.

But this time it was three full runs - 10km each along the usual route.

The first run was, frankly, a disaster. While running down Thomas Road I ran into a bus stop. I was running and I hit a bus stop. I was not drunk and have no other excuse, except that it didnt get out of my f*cking way.

Further to that, I got a stitch not long after, less than 20% of the way through my run. Normally if you get a stitch that early you expect to run through it, but nooooo, that f*cker hung around.

Wednesday went little better. No stitch but it took a long time to get going, never really got momentum and my second wind took a long time coming. I lumbered along for most of the run and felt like I only just made it home.

Come this morning I was feeling sore in strange places. My left hip for example. And my right thigh. By the time I was ready to set out tonight for my run, I was still sore. I almost decided to do some stretching.

But in the end I decided against it and took off for a run. And to be honest, I cruised through it. I got to about the half-way mark, at the end of a long, gentle incline - I won't call it a hill - where normally hit a bit of a wall, and I was still going OK.

I got home, checked the time and I'd done it in 46:20. I was happy enough to say as much on my facebook status.

What I should've said is that finally there's a bit of movement on the weight loss chart. It was a little unclear whether the scales were 86.5kg or 87kg. I was tempted to say I was on the verge of a milestone (losing 10kg), but in the end I've decided to make a conservative judgement, and call it 87kg.

Still, it's progress.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

I Have Been Remiss

... and I don't just mean that I waited until early Saturday morning to post my regular Thursday blog entry. Although, again, I should apologise for that.

I've had a bit of a draining week or two, and come Thursday I pyked. I missed a gym session.

I went on Tuesday and ran (slightly slowly, just under 48 mins) on Wednesday, like usual. But by Thursday things had got on top of me and I was pretty fried from a draining week. Not physically, but definitely mentally and emotionally.

What I knew, in the back of my mind even as I was inventing justifications to miss the gym, was that doing physical exercise would not actually do any harm to me. In fact, when I was in the UK and going to the gym regularly, I felt a lot better when I came out. Really reinvigorated by mentally by exhausting myself physically.

But even though - if I'm honest - I was thinking about that as I was sitting on the couch just after 6pm (when I'd usually be walking in to the gym). But it didn't matter as I needed the rest I felt. But of course I didnt get it as I was feeling guilty about missing the gym.

And rightly so. Mainly because I missed that session I stayed level on 88kg.

I can't say I didn't deserve it. Hopefully I can make up for it by not drinking too much this weekend. I didn't drink tonight. Obviously I'm sober as I write this. I hope you can tell.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

It Runs in the Family

It is often said that some people attract trouble. The story below not only confirms that as a fact, but it confirms that it's genetic.

You've heard wacky and at times frustrating stories of mine from Krakow, Munich (actually, Munich twice come to think of it), Romania and Bulgaria, Paris and a few others too.

My dad returned from Vietnam a couple of weeks ago, and he came back with a story. He had his dictaphone on him soon after this incident ended, and dictated his story while it was fresh in his mind.

One thing he doesn't mention - which he mentioned to mum and I when he told this story to us (on Mothers Day) - is that he knew Ure knew his stuff when he said his nursing sister was coming to Perth to work in St Vincent's Hospital.

Mum, who used to be a midwife, told dad there was no St Vincent's Hospital in Perth.

There's two things I should also mention. The first is that the cream dad refers to is some beauty cream he was trying to promote at a conference. It's the reason he went to Vietnam.

The second is that dad does like a bit of a punt. It's a hobby of his in fact.

Here is dad's story, as dictated contemporaneously and typed out by his PA. Hmmm, I need a PA.


I met Ure with his sister in the street here, he approached me.

I think this was the 27 April 2009.

He stopped me in the street for 5 minutes and wanted to talk to me and also I said I was from Australia.

He said he had another sister who was a nurse who was going to nurse in Australia and that he was interested in obtaining details as to residence for his sister while she was nursing in Australia,

I gave him my card and told me where I was going to be and I said I was going to Vung Tau and would be back in a few days.

He asked me to ring when I was coming back from Vung Tau as he would take me out to lunch and discuss the possibilities.

At the time I mentioned I had some creams I was trying to distribute and he expressed some interest in the creams.

It was agreed we would meet up /contact each other when I came back from Vung Tau on the 30 April 2009.

When I got back from being in Vung Tau at about 11 am I rang him from the Mai Hotel where I was booked. He said he would pick me up.

He picked me up with his sister in a cab and took me out to their house for lunch.

I do not know where there house was, but it was a long way from my hotel.

When we got there and we sat down and had a coffee and I explained to his sister the creams I had and I gave her 2 brochures and the information that I had had typed and samples.

She expressed a lot of interest in these as she said she had a shop in Thailand and that she would be very keen on marketing these creams in Thailand etc.

Before Lonoh Ure said that he was a croupier who did croupier work for Star Cruises and also explained to me the ins and outs of winning/loosing at the Casino and also the situation where you can have an arrangement with someone who was gambling at the table to the effect that you the croupier/dealer in black jack could make sure that the customer won and you could split the winnings with you.

He said that after lunch he would take me up stairs and show me how to do it.
We had a Thai lunch at his house.

He then took me upstairs to what appeared to be a bedroom or at least his bedroom, it had a neat little table set up in one corner which could accommodate 4 people.

For about half an hour we sat at the table and he showed me the signs and signals when you are playing black jack as a means of the dealer co-operating to win. The signals include touching a ring, whether the pack of undealt cards was pointed diagonally or straight up and down on the table.

He also went through the series of signs you can make as to the number of cards as I recall the right hand on top of the left hand was an ace and half way up the forearm is 2, the elbow is 3 and the shoulder is 4. The left hand on top of the right hand was a 5, half way up the forearm is a 6, the elbow is a 7, the shoulder was 8, the left hand on the right should was 8, the left hand touching the chin was 9 and the left hand touching the forehead was 10. These were the signals he said a croupier could give to his co-operating party indicating what the value of the next card was.

He then put me through a couple of games to check me out. I think about half way through this time his sister came up with cups of coffee. We had the coffee.

The other signal he gave was that when you wanted to end the game you or the croupier would refer to the possibility of having a coffee, tea or a beer.

In the practice session he produced a series of blue, green and red chips. He went through the practice session and said it looked OK.

The next thing that happened he said that there was a lady he was playing with at the casino recently along this fashion and she had pulled a bit of a shifty on him because she had not given him the desired/ planned share of the winnings I think he said it was half and half and she had not given it to him. He said she was coming to his house to have a game at his invitation, apparently, and he was going to use this and myself as a means of getting the money from her.

The way he said this I expected it to be some time in the future.

Then in about 5 or 10 minutes this lady to my amazement she came far quicker than I was led to believe.

She was ……….heavily decorated with gold, spoke English with a Spanish accent, was apparently sophisticated, and certainly knew about her cards. As part of what I imagined the sting Ure gave me $US200 as an opening bank. We had a few hands and Ure used his signals to me and with his card skills I won. Eventually after one or two hands which I won she became a little bit aggravated and wanted to up the stakes so she could out-bet me.

I did not have the money so Ure "lent" me US$500 and asked me to initial something which I did. I had some more wining hands and she wanted to up the ante to many thousands of dollars and pulled out a wad of money which she said and appeared to be US$40,000 and this was utilised as stake for the betting.

Eventually the betting got to the stage of a final hand, I said it was the last hand and Ure gave me the nod that I could go all the way to cover her $US30,000 but I had to provide US$30,000 in credit.

All the way along when I was doing this betting Ure said to me wink nod that he would guarantee any sum that was payable.

On this last hand I had 3 cards totalling 21 and she the queen of diamonds and another card.

Ure was giving me the nod that everything was quite OK, don't worry about it, but come to the party and produce a credit/cash for US$30,000 to cover her US$30,000.

I said this was out of the question.

He took me aside and said don't worry about it, it will be OK, just put your signature on it. He tried to give the impression that I had the money at the hotel.

Eventually a deal was made of that, the two hands would be sealed in an envelope while Ure and I went out to get the money to cover the cash to cover her bets.

Ure magically produced these sealed envelopes and I put my three cards in my sealed envelope and signed it.

He took her 2 cards and made the notions of putting them in her envelope at the same time showed me that they were a total of 20 i.e. and I would win the bet. He sealed them in her envelope and she signed them. Her money and the sealed envelopes were then placed in a case with a combination and a key, and he gave me the key which was about ¾ of an inch long and gave her a key which appeared to be a different key as a means of giving everyone security.

The deal was that he would try to raise some money and I would go out and try and raise some money.

She was very insistent that the only thing she would accept was security on the table before she would lift her hand was cash, no cheques etc. She was a highly sophisticated gambler, a good looker and well jewelled in gold. I was told later she may have been from Brunei or had contacts in Brunei.

She appeared to be really street smart. Had no hesitation in handing over the $40,000 cash in any event the deal was that I would go off with Ure's sister Ann to find cash and we obtained a cab, in the cab was Ure's brother-in-law? side kick/possibly stand over man.

On the way back to my hotel Ure said he rang on his mobile and said he had raised $15,000 and was looking to see what I could raise.

During the drive to my hotel Ure rang his sister several times and wanted to know what I was doing etc. I said I wanted to go to the hotel to make telephone calls etc.

Ann his sister wanted to know if I wanted to get out of the game, and I said I think I do and I gave her the key.

In any event we got to the hotel and I got out of the cab and this would have been about 2.30 pm. I was asked to ring Ure from the hotel. At the time of dictating, 6 pm I have not been to the hotel.

It was evident to everyone I believe that I was extremely nervous in the whole matter as events had really out of my control.

In the ultimate I don't know why they needed me because if Ure was sure of winning all he had to do was to let his sister take my hand use the key and provide the money.

My concern was that I would be asked to put the money in or be "attended to" if I did not put money in and they could change the card and whole thing was a scam to get the money out of me and 6.30 pm the jewelled lady from Brunei was part of the scam.

As of the present I am reluctant to go back to the hotel because I think they might be waiting for me.

The man in the taxi when we were going back who was the alleged relation of Ure looked a bit on the heavy side in appearance and mannerisms. Ure asked not to mention to him what was happening.

I think him picking me up on the street as a pre-arranged operation as they hit me cold turkey about the whole thing in the street.

I do think however that Ure has a sister going to Australia and Ann his other sister had some operation in Thailand.

Ure had a card evidencing him as being associated with Star Cruises.

At the time of dictating I have not been able to find that card.

He said as the final carrot before I left to go that my entitlement out of the scam would be US$20,000 as he was going to take the other half.

I felt extremely fearful and ill at ease from the time of the last hand till about 2 hours later when I started thinking it through.

Ure was extremely skilful of the cards looking back as he seemed to be able to serve to myself and the lady in gold exactly what cards he wanted.


Dad was to leave the country the next day, and ended up staying away from the hotel for about 5 hours. He was surprised that noone was there for him when he returned. He was also surprised that they didn't wait for him when they dropped him in the hotel. He didn't even go in - just walked straight off.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

A Tale of Two Arses

I had no idea what I was going to write about tonight until I was half way through my workout tonight.

Normally I write a good chunk of these posts during the day at work - not really dedicating any time to them but just jotting thoughts down as I go. In reality this usually consists of a blank email until about 4:55 when I scramble a few words down. But I doubt that you can tell.

No time today at all, but I had a stroke of luck while working out.

Two weeks ago I spoke of a tale of three runs. That was more about me. Let me allay your fears by saying neither of the arses concerned is mine.

In every gym, there is the Gym Hottie. Well there's probably two - a bloke and a girl - but I only notice the women. And theyre different every time - it's just whoever is the hottest in the gym, and you know they're the hottest for two reasons, neither related to their physical attributes.

The first is the way she carries herself. Really it's pretty obvious - it's confidence. She will walk around shoulders back, assertive but not over-confident, quietly attracting attention.

Which brings me to the second reason: she's the one that every bloke in the place thinks is the hottest. Peer pressure is an incredibly powerful force, and you can tell without even making eye contact with other blokes. No looks need be exchanged - you can just feel the tension when someone takes the machine next to the Gym Hottie. They stumble ever-so-slightly when they hop on and off. Its a wholly observable phenomenon.

So, to the arses...

The first, it will not surprise you, is of the Gym Hottie. She was on the cross-trainer, which faces out to the pool. I was on the benches resting between sets of dumbell fly reps. I was facing away from her, and she from me. But I had a mirror I could look in to. And I have to admit it was hard to take my eyes off her but it didn't stop me going back to my reps.

But that wasn't all of it. There was a bloke on a machine between us, facing in her direction. The machine was a leg curl one. The bloke - a younger chap of about 22 I'd say - sat on the machine and I seriously doubt whether he actually did any exercise. Eventually he hopped off, I don't know why (she was still on the cross-trainer and I can't imagine he'd grown bored). A gym instructor replaced the young bloke. He was a bit older, late twenties, and was showing around another girl who was clearly at the gym for the first time.

The instructor sat down on the machine to demonstrate how it works, and he froze. I was listening to my iPod (I think Disco Inferno was playing at that stage), but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he had stopped talking altogether and was drooling. I felt for the other girl.

When I finished my reps I hopped on the cross-trainer next to the Gym Hottie. I stumbled visibly when I hopped on.

Straight after the cross-trainer I jumped over to do some reverse crunches, which oviously involves lying down. It was then I was confronted by the second arse in question.

First, a bit of background. The arse belongs to a bloke who works there. He's a personal trainer and to be fair I haven't really spoken to him - I haven't had the need to. But every time I go there he is there too. He wears a polo shirt which is a bit too small for him - it comes just past his waist but not much further.

You might wonder how I, a flaming heterosexual, noticed that. Well, I couldn't help because of what he wears leggings - those "Skins" things - without any shorts. Basically I can tell what religion he is.

That's bad enough, but when I went to do my crunches, he was infront of me, facing away from me, bending forward and facing away from me, spotting for a chap doing a bench press.

And yet it got worse - today he wasn't wearing skins. He was wearing cycle shorts. Very short cycle shorts - essentially boxer briefs. Ew. I honestly don't know how someone - well, a bloke - could wear something like that at a gym.


Now I should admit right now that my weight tonight had not changed. It's 88kg. Bugger.

That doesn't mean the story above was a distraction. To be fair I'm due for a haricut soon, and need to clip my fingernails so maybe that was a factor.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Trouble a-brewin'

This is my first “back to normal” week: French on Monday, run on Tuesday and gym on Wednesday and Thursday. And booze this weekend.

It started well enough, with my 10km run on Tuesday. I’m noticing it getting slightly easier, even if I’m not getting any faster.

On Wednesday morning, I felt a touch sore – my thighs and calves, naturally, had a bit of muscular soreness, but the outside of my left foot was a bit sore also, and it wasn’t muscular.

It got a touch worse as I ran from work to the gym but was still manageable (although I definitely dislike running with a backpack on – it really affects my action). I also ran my usual 15 mins on the treadmill at the gym also and it was slightly aggravated.

Still, I was keen to push on and run a couple of kms home from the gym. I started out OK but it got worse dramatically and as I was crossing the freeway at Loftus Street I had to stop and walk most of the rest of the way. It was incredibly frustrating – all the more so when I spend most of my time running trying to resist the urge to stop.

I hope the foot is OK. At the gym tonight I focussed on low-impact exercise – specifically not running. I also took my gym stuff to work again so walked straight to the gym from there.

So I finally did two gym sessions and a run in one week – something approaching my ideal, balanced routine.

The outcome? A modest improvement (which is all I need if I stick to my routine). I'm at 88kg.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Better late than never

OK, OK, so I ran out of time to make my weekly blog entry last week. I’m sorry, OK? Jesus, get off my back!


Exercise last week was curtailed by the long weekend (so not doing anything on Monday, which is how it will be from now on anyway with French lessons back on tonight), and the fact that I had a prior engagement on the Thursday night (err ... watching Wolverine), so I couldn’t do any exercise that night either.


Truth be told, I should have done some exercise on Thursday or Friday – a 10km run for example – but I was kept late at work on Thursday and Friday I like to slip into weekend mode as soon as possible.


That’s slack, I know, and the upshot of it all was that I went to the gym on Wednesday and did my 10km run on Tuesday and that was it for the week. And when it came to my weekly weight-in on Thursday night, well ... I got what I deserved.


I small step backwards to 89kg.


Curse my desire to start the weekend as soon as possible.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A Tale of Three Runs

This week I returned to the gym for the first time since Easter. Chastened by my weigh-in last week, and with the advantage of an additional free night (because French doesn’t start for another two weeks), I was determined to undo the bad work I’d done in the previous weeks, fun though it was.

I headed to the gym on Monday, fearing the worst. After my 5 min rowing warm-up, my worst fears had been realised. I was knackered already.

It got worse when I hopped on the treadmill for 15 mins of running at 12kph on a 4% incline. After three minutes I had a stitch, but simply thought I’d run through it. But the bloody thing hung around for the remaining twelve minutes and added some more friends, like Breathlessness, Aching and the Loping Gait.

It was a struggle to get through that and I spent much of the remainder of the session recovering from it and re-acquainting my shoulders and abs with weights and core strength exercises.

On the Tuesday I woke in quite some pain, but spent the day at work willing myself to go for my 10km run that night. I ran it too, passing a speed camera on Thomas Road but not daring to run in front of it and hear its controller laughing at my lack of speed. I got puffed and had my second wind disturbingly early in the run and reacquainted myself with the Loping Gait in the last couple of kilometres. I thought I was in big trouble to get through it by then, but I managed to get home.

In fact I came home to an empty house, which was just as well as I was sweating everywhere.

On Wednesday I was back at the gym and when I hopped off the treadmill after 15 minutes I felt absolutely fine.

In a way that was a bit scary – in two weeks I’d fallen behind a bit in fitness, and caught up noticeably within a week. But its very easy to fall off the wagon!

Just to be safe I went for a second 10km run tonight to compensate for my lethargic fortnight, and came home again dripping in sweat.

The result? I'm back on track baby! Down to 88.5kg!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Nightmare Week

It was always going to be difficult. ToMarto Cup, an annual three day cricket match we play over Easter, was always going to intrude into my New Years Resolution.

The previous week, as I may have mentioned, I didn't get a chance to go to the gym. I reconciled myself by running ten kilometres on Wednesday. I don't think I mentioned that I was 89kg last week, which was as good as could be expected.

Er, I'm sure I mentioned that last week, but with very little other exercise to report, I have very little to talk about.

So ToMarto Cup, which involves a weekend of cricket and decadence off the field (lots of booze and plenty of food, and also heaps of greasy recovery food), was never likely to give me a boost on this quest.

Easter, which had no exercise except for the cricket itself, was followed by a Tuesday in serious recovery. I hadn't recovered much by Wednesday (when I had planned to run 10 km again) - in fact I was surprisingly sore in the body after cricket (rather than in the head after the booze and karaoke that followed). I felt like I'd somehow pulled a shin muscle. Do shins even have muscles? I was in no state to run.

Chastened by this (that's almost certainly not the right word by the way), I was very keen to get to the gym tonight. As I got within about 50m of my house, I reached down for my keys and I'd left them at work. No access to a car and therefore no way to get to the gym (it was too late to run).

So no gym work or running at all in the last seven days. As I went to weigh myself, all I could cling to was the vain hope that the cricket would be enough to keep my weight at least stable.

I'm on 92kg.


Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ahead of the Curve

It’s not a curve really, is it though? More of a diagonal line.


I have entered my weight loss progress into an excel spreadsheet throughout the year so far, and I’m tracking my progress. I’ve had some difficulty loading it onto the website so far, but as you can hopefully see, I’m ahead of the curve at the moment. I’m on 89kg, while at constant rate of loss I need to be on 92.1kg to be on track.


But being ahead of the curve is to be expected. In fact, I wonder if I’m far enough ahead at this stage.


Obviously when you change a diet and exercise regime your body takes a while to accommodate the changes…


Hang on, let me stress that this is completely uninformed speculation. Some will probably call this completely ham-fisted.


… anyways, my layman theory is that once these changes occur and your body has adapted to your lifestyle, it stabilises again.


Even before I finished that sentence I could see holes in that theory. Useless. When someone has an unhealthy diet with heaps of fat, and the energy/calories you put into your body is more than you take out, when would you possibly stabilise your weight? Seems nonsensical to me in that respect.


But maybe it is still true for losing weight, exercising and changing your diet. I can’t lose weight like this for ever, so my body must stabilise at some stage.


I dunno. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not celebrating too hard about my progress so far. I think the second half of the year will be much tougher.






Monday, 6 April 2009

Inappropriate Barber Banter

I think as a barber you have two jobs: to cut hair and to offer a bit of friendly banter while you’re at it.


So when I came to the barber today, and a younger chap came to cut my hair, I was expecting a bit of both. And I’m not impolite enough to ignore him when he speaks, I’ll gladly pull my weight conversation-wise too.


The chap is definitely not an old-school white-coated scissorman. He’s got a head like a porcupine – spikes everywhere, but keep that wax away from any heat – and arms covered in tattoos.


He points me in the direction of a chair and I sit down there. But before I know if he’s nicked off to chat to his mate. He ambles back and we get down to business.


He starts quietly. In the background the proprietor is talking about the hooligans in Freo, and the amount of litter left out in North Freo, including a broken shopping trolley. He’s got photos on his mobile, which he shows to his customer. For the record, I consider this to be too deep an involvement conversationally for the customer. This crosses the boundary from banter to venting one’s spleen and belongs on talkback radio where no one important has to hear it.


Anyways, my spiky friend (I have to call him that as he’s armed with scissors), starts cutting my hair and vaguely starts borrowing the conversation we can both hear, and talks about the deros and druggies in Freo, and how there are too many drunks there. He’s very uncommitted to the conversation because, I suspect, he is not sure whether I’m an older, more conservative bloke who doesn’t go out (not bloody likely) or if I’m young like him (which is correct, only I’m way cooler). Either way I’m likely to have a strong opinion about his plagiarised topic of conversation. But I dead-bat his comments, making the right noises but nothing more.


After about two minutes he says to me “sorry mate, just gotta make a call.”


A bit unusual mid-cut but I sat there, hair half cut, hoping he’d remember to return. Somewhat surprisingly, the call was personal – to his sheila, returning her call. He got the message bank, and after he left a message he started talking to me again. “’Call me back when you’ve finished’ she said. ‘Call me back when you’ve finished.’ And now I call her back and she doesn’t bloody pick up.”


I looked up and him, with my hair half-cut. Clearly he hadn’t finished.


Not to be outdone, he started talking about his sheila, and that they’re about to have scans and tests for their first baby. Still unsure of which side of the Freo-hooligan watershed I fell on, he meekly asked if I had kids.


“No mate. Not that I know of.”


Its an old joke, and one I’ve made very often. Took him a while to get it though.


I wished he hadn’t.


He started talking about his brother. “He’s probably got a few he doesn’t know about. Man he’s stupid.”


I was dumbfounded. He continued.


“Yeah, my brother was with this girl, and you know they were going for it and she said ‘yeah, yeah this is all good, just don’t come inside me’ and he said ‘no worries’ but what does he do? Comes in side of her”


This, I’m sure you’ll agree, went beyond banter (or venting spleen, or any form of polite conversation).


Mercifully, his phone rang again. It was his sheila. They organised to have lunch together in a couple of minutes. Thankfully, it didn’t even take that long to finish my hair. I was out of there like a flash.


Barbers and hairdressers can I guess get derided for the lack of qualifications necessary for their profession, but after this it’s safe to say you can tell the difference between a good one and a bad one, certainly in terms of the banter they employ with their fare.