Sunday, 30 January 2011

2011 exercise regime

So yeah, at Christmas, amongst all the eating and presents and stuff, my brother said I was looking a bit jowly, and to be honest I had been getting concerned about my figure.

Some time in the mid-nineties I sold my soul to the devil in return for eternal youth, and whilst I kept my boyish good looks for the past twenty years, my teenage figure is getting a bit flabby. In fact some time between Christmas and New Year my alluring but unidentifyable ladyfriend called me a 'potbellied pig' and 'fatty fat fat'. So, I was going to have to get back in the tracksuit.

For the past thirty days, almost every night I've been on the crosstrainer, pumping away.

That Eddie Izzard chap did some thing for Sports Relief where he ran a marathon every day for the best part of two months. I reckon I can do that.

Its a bit nippy for running outside at the moment, so I'm building up my stamina on the cross trainer. In case you're wondering, its a Confidence USA ellipictical crosstrainer from Amazon here a bit of a bargain at £79.99. As you can see from the graph, my best distance so far is 19.5km, almost half a marathon in one session.

We can also see some other neat trends on the graph, whilst not exactly running every day, I run more often than not. I have two modes bog standard daily distance, which was like 8.4km for the first few weeks, then 10.5km, and now 12.6km I reckon, then there's my trying really hard distance which is also increasing.

The main problems I have at the moment is that the crosstrainer is wearing. It squeaks like a bugger after the first 10km unless you pull the hand handles inwards when running. And there's the tension belt thing that it uses to control the resistance, its wearing through, has snapped twice, been mended using an old guitar strap, which has worn through too.

Anyhoo, I'm back in the tracksuit, I'm buff, toned, and a mean machine.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Public Sector, the state and petrol prices

I'm not sure if I'm filled with rage, or just paracetemol and lactic acid, but I received this email from a colleague who happens to work in the state sector.
Dear All,

Here is an interesting idea to think about (and act upon?)...unless you've already received the same message independently!

Please see what you think and pass it on if you agree with it.

We are hitting £129.9 a litre in some areas now and soon we will be faced with paying £1.50 per litre. So Philip Hollsworth offered this good idea:

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the 'don't buy petrol on a certain day campaign' that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to hurt ourselves by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work.

Please read it and join in!

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a litre is CHEAP, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS - not sellers control the market place. With the price of petrol going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their petrol! And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. Here's the idea:

For the rest of this year DON'T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one) i.e. ESSO and BP.

If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact we need to reach literally millions of Esso and BP petrol buyers. It's really simple to do!!

Now, don't wimp out on me at this point... keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

I am sending this note to a lot of people. If all of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)....and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) ... and so on. By the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it.....


Again, all YOU have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all (and not buy at ESSO/BP). How long would all that take? If each of us sends this email out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!! Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.

PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES It's easy to make this happen. Just forward this email, and buy your petrol at Shell, Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Jet etc. i.e. Boycott BP and Esso

I remember when I was young my father would drive a little out of his way to fill up on petrol at a petrol station that was a couple of pence cheaper than the nearest petrol station. I'd question the logic, but he'd costed it out and knew his fuel efficiency, and paying 43.9p per litre ten miles away was better than 45.9p at the petrol station opposite.

These days things have changed, petrol costs £1.30 a litre, most of that money goes to the government, about 80p is fuel duty and VAT.

Bear in mind Esso, BP, Shell, Tesco and all the rest are private sector companies.

I used to be a private sector company, I used to make CDs and sell them. They cost about 50p to make, to print on my desktop printer, and burn on my PC, cos I made so few of them I never paid VAT or any kind of tax.

Imagine if you will, that the government decided to force me to charge a duty and VAT on those CDs so I could no longer sell them for 50p each, but instead had to sell them for £1.30 each. I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Every few years we have a general election, we vote in 665 members of parliament, some of whom make up the government, but those in the government can't do much themselves, they need the vast vast apparatus of the state, thousands of employees, public sector workers following their dictats in order to collect taxes and spend the money. These people are all complicit in raising the price of petrol at the pumps.

And that is what exasperates me right now, that not only does the state artificially push the price of petrol up, but they also complain about the high price and suggest ways to put the companies out of business, to force them to lower their prices.

Ethically, public sector employees who object to high petrol prices should quit their jobs.

Here's another way I look at it. When I spend £1.30 at the petrol pump, I don't get £1.30's worth of petrol, I get 1 litre of petrol plus 80p's worth of government spending on schools, hospitals, European Union bullshit, MPs expenses, antismoking enforcement, Police officers working undercover, benefit payments and so on.

Actually I'd rather just have the petrol I pay for.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Kroll, the City of London Police and my blog

Happy new year dear blog readers.

Last year this blog had its biggest ever-readership
27,000 hits for 2010, up from 22,000 hits in 2009. Alas, its not quite call for skipping round the office, high-fiving my online journalistic success, the number of returning visitors has declined. I see these people as being folk I used to go drinking with before I moved to London, and slowly they're forgetting I exist.

Furthermore, it was in the first half of the year when the site got the most visitors.

The most popular posts being ones where I'd used magic google-juice to summon the search engine traffic (putting the right key words in the url), such as the Hollie Creig story and the Paul Chambers Twitter Joke thing.

For the latter half of the year, I've been blogging less and my subject matter has been boring.

That said, there's been one or two exciting moments, like when I blogged a moan about my temp agency messing up passing me for a week, and within minutes of clicking "PUBLISH POST", my mobile ringing with someone from their head office, raining down a firestorm on the local office, I got my money in the end. I feel a little guilty cos I was partly to blame. Anyhoo, I took that post down, fearing for my job, even though the company I work in are quite different from the company who pays me.

There was another thrilling post where I was frustrated by the amount of time it was taking my former housing renting landlord folk to give me my deposit back. They took a few hours before phoning me, the money arrived shortly after and they even phoned back the next day to ask that I update the blog post.

This is the future, rather than actually phoning helplines, just write arsey blogpost about stuff, let google do its work and someone else can run round resolving any problems.

Its a thrilling way to live.

The other week I was inspired to write a blogpost about some banner that had been strung up over a road, this blogpost in fact.

One thing I didn't mention in the original post was Kroll, they're a private investigation company who it is alleged under the auspices of Guy Carpenter, persuaded the City of London Police to expend vast resources on bringing Ian Puddick to justice.

A day or two after I clicked publish post, I noticed a Kroll ISP address in the server logs, as having read my blog. I was terrified, I felt threatened and intimidated. So, in a funk I took the blogpost offline until my nerves had calmed and I'd stopped shaking. It took quite a few sleepless nights, but eventually I thought "fuck it, live by the blog, die by the blog". I've lost countless relationships and jobs cos of this philosophy, I'm crazy, but I get the job done.

Its a weird thing about threatening and intimidating things, its all in the eye of the beholder.

Do you fuck with the olive oil t-shirt ninjaI discovered a neat thing about my ADSL wifi routery thing, I can rename it anything, and so whenever my neighbours search for their networks they'll find one nearby called "MI5 mobile surveillance unit 23".

Is it Kroll's fault that I felt threatened by their ISP's appearance in my server logs? Well yes, they did hunt down my website. On the other hand I am just being a pussy by being intimidated by such things?

I dunno. Should I fuck with Kroll? Probly not. But does this blogpost count as fucking with Kroll? Well, that's up to them, innit?

There is another angle...

As part of my job, I spend hours at work randomly surfing the web, reading up on episodes of Lost or V or obscure statistics about far off lands. Its not really part of my job, just that I am incapable of doing productive work unless I have some kind of inoffensive release for my curious mind, without it, my work rate would fall.

Perhaps, Kroll appeared in my server logs because my counterpart, some underpaid temp at Kroll, was bored in his lunch break and arrived at the aforementioned blogpost randomly, with no prejudice or malicious intent.

This is how wars start, people feeling needlessly threatened. We could all do with being a little more like Samantha Smith.