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.