Wednesday, 25 July 2012

What I learned on my first bike ride to work

So to fight the ever-increasing size of my waistline and to try and recapture some semblance of fitness I have decided to start riding my bike to work.  This morning was the first time I tried it and I thought I'd share some of the things I discovered.
First of all some facts:  The journey (according to Google maps) is 5.7 miles long and should take 33 mins.  I decided that rather try and find my way down back roads I'd stick to the A6.  It's not a big dual carriageway type road like the A40 in West London but it is still quite a busy road.  I left at 6.50am (about the time I'd leave if I were driving to the station to get the early train) and pulled up at the underground car park where I will store my bike at 7.13am.
Now some things I 'enjoyed' on the way.

  • Getting your body into gear before 7.00am is hard, especially at my age.  An early morning session of bedroom gymnastics?  Yes please.  An early morning session of physical exercise?  Ouch.
  • Maintaining speed is important.  Slowing down or stopping means you have to work hard to get going again. This is a problem when approaching sharp bends, traffic lights or pedestrians.
  • Pot holes, whilst in your car, are a minor inconvenience and may make you spill a little of your low-fat crapaccino latte.  Pot holes whilst on a bike make you flop around like an epileptic with a cattle prod up your arse and can throw you into the path of buses.
  • Speaking of buses.  They are bastards.
  • Roundabouts, especially multiple-entry dual lane ones, are scary places on a bike.  The best tactic I found was to check all entrances as you approach, (maintaining your speed as per above), scream loudly, point at your exit, and shut your eyes and hope for the best.
  • Levenshulme stinks.  (Rubbish, piss and industrial chemicals I think) which you don't get an appreciation of when sat in a car.
  • I didn't know one head could hold so much sweat.
  • Getting washed in a gents toilet makes you feel slightly grubby and weird.

Despite all of the above, I really did enjoy it.  As the days go by, I will get fitter (hopefully) and so the pain and discomfort should lessen.  I should also get into routine of what clothes to wear, whether or not an iPod is a good thing to use etc.  The only downside is now I'm here I have to work!  We'll see how the journey home is this afternoon.  It'll be busier, probably warmer, but at least I have a shower to leap fall into when I get home.  I guess I should also invest in one of those space-age looking cycle helmets.  I could wear my old motorbike crash hat, but that would make me look like a mental person.
I'll update tonight when / if I get home...


Update: some more things I learned on my 25 minute ride home:
Buses really ARE bastards.
Taking the last exit on a busy, two lane roundabout is fucking terrifying.
There are more up hills coming home than going to work.
Catching my reflection in a shop window I discovered I look faintly ridiculous on a bike - hopefully this will improve as I lose weight.

As long as the weather is good again tomorrow I'll be doing the whole thing again.
Have a nice evening all.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Personal space

An interesting day today. Spending the weekend with my gf in Cleveleys which is a nice part of the world, but it's quite a mecca for those coffin dodgers who have given up the ghost and are just waiting for the grim reaper to make an appearance.
There are pluses and minuses to this. One plus is unless a group of them get whacked out on triple strength cough syrup and endless cups of tea it's quite quiet in the evenings. A minus is that they are fuckin' everywhere and insist on being in my way and invading my personal space.
A prime example today. I was in a well known supermarket purchasing some items to make my lovely gf something for tea. Behind me appeared Mr. and Mrs. Wrinkle. They were married I assume and were one of those couples that greeting card companies make a big deal out of, putting their image on the front of some tacky bit of cardboard with "True love lasts" or some such bullshit. Believe you me they would change their mind if they could have got a whiff of the interesting scent that the old fella was giving off.
Anyway, I'm a live and let live kind of bloke so didn't pay too much attention. Until the old fella decided that, rather than wait for me to finish bagging my items and pay the till monkey, he would occupy the exact same space as me. Honestly, if my jeans hadn't been as tight to my arse cheeks I think he could have taken the cherry I didn't ever want to lose. So me being the polite person I am, rather than elbow his ribs to breadcrumbs or push him over, I politely asked if he could move back so I could pay the till jockey. Did he move? Did he fuck. So I stretched past him, handed over my cash, and started bagging the goods.
This gave the geriatric old fart the opportunity he was waiting for and he shuffled even further forward. And I'm not kidding - my gf hasn't even been this close and intimate with me. As I was placing my stuff in a bag he was more or less standing in my own pair of shoes. Was I dead? Was I a ghost and didn't know and he really couldn't see me? I decided to test this hypothesis with a restrained yet growling "Are you in a rush old son?"
He didn't even look at me.
Shit. I am dead. This is my version of hell. Trapped forever in shopping-with-old-people purgatory. I stumbled from the shop back outside to where my lovely gf was waiting and her smile reaffirmed that in fact I wasn't dead, just visiting a town full of crumblies. Thank Christ.
Have a nice weekend all. Peace.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Time for a rant

It's been a while since I posted a proper rant.  But I've just come back from the gents in this shared, serviced offices I now work in and I had to sound off about something.  Two somethings in fact.

Sharing a communal kitchen
A lot of us, at some point in our lives (work or personal) will have shared a kitchen.  Either with flat mates, partners, work colleagues, parents.  Now I'm going to disregard the partner / parent situation because unless you are very unlucky these people love you as much as you love them and are kind, considerate and pay attention to making your life as easy as you try and make theirs.
I will also (for now) ignore the flat mate situation.  I may return to this subject at a later date.  For now, I'm going to focus on the work colleague one.  I am not tarring everyone with the same brush here - I am sure all you people reading this are considerate, thoughtful, clean, tidy and otherwise proficient in cleaning up after yourselves and leaving things as you'd like to find them kitchen-wise.  I am going to talk about those ignorant, lazy, selfish, diseased bell ends who constantly regard the shared kitchen as their own personal space to fuck up with spilled liquids, rubbish, empty food packets and dirty cutlery.  I've lost count of the number of times I have gone to make a brew in the kitchen here at my current place of work, only to find spilled milk on the counter, or dirty cutlery scattered around the sink / jar of hot, washing up liquid'd water rather than IN the fucking thing.  Finished with that pot noodle?  Put the pot in the bin.  Finished with the milk?  Put it back in the fridge.  Seriously - are you that busy and rushed for time and important in your own little mind that you can't spare the  3 seconds (yes, 3 seconds - I timed it) to put the milk away?  The spoon in the dirty spoon jar?  And when making a coffee, try this.  Put the sugar in FIRST, then put the coffee in.  That means, no coffee in the sugar bowl for those of us that don't want coffee in their tea.  I dread to think what these peoples home kitchen must be like - or is it really only in a work place that these people feel the need to become uncouth, dirty, lazy fucktards?  Which brings me onto...

Male toilet habits
This is what triggered this particular rant.  And please forgive me if this makes you gag a little.
I can no longer speak of the habits of women when it comes to using public conveniences - not since the court case and subsequent adding of my name to some register.  But let me tell you, men are fucking disgusting.  The office I work in now has a gents toilet on this floor with no urinals, just three cubicles. And I swear, to some men, I think this is seen as a challenge to see who can make the most disgusting, fucked up mess in one cubicle in one day.  Luckily I've yet to see a dirty protest type situation, but just now I needed to visit one of these havens of pestilence and filth to ... let's say, 'drop a deuce'.  I entered one of the cubicles, looked down, and found that someone had considerately pissed all around the floor of the toilet, on the seat and on the cistern at the back.  Lovely.  So I went to the next cubicle (the third being occupied) and found another ring of piss colored puddles surrounding the toilet.  Think about that for a second.  If I wanted to 'evacuate my bowels' (to paraphrase Dr. Sheldon Cooper) I would have to lower my trousers and underwear into someone else's piss.  Fuck that noise.  Why are we, as a gender, so unable to steady, aim, fire at a target that's no more than a few inches away and wide enough for even the most overly-optimistically misjudged penile length? And OK, sometimes the initial spurt maybe a bit wild and inaccurate but please, for the love of all that's pure and decent, have the common courtesy to wipe up your own mess.

I guess both the points above come back to one thing - thought for others.  If we could all just spend a second, whilst doing anything around other people, to think about how our actions would affect those other people, the world would be a better place.  Yes, I know, trite and simplistic and probably wishful thinking but it's so true.  And maybe it would stop me having to wipe up other peoples piss.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Male PMS

I had to think for a little while about posting this, but in the end I decided that even if one person agrees with me or feels the same, it would validate my own feelings.  (Not that I need my own feelings 'validated', but you get the point I hope...).

I'd like to know if any other males go through an emotional cycle on a monthly(ish) basis. Yes, I know, some of my more low brow friends and acquaintances will now be shouting "gay!" at me, and wondering if I'm going through a trans-gender procedure but I can hold my hand up and honestly say I think I do go through this.
There has been some research into this - for example in 1929 a researcher carefully followed the moods of 17 men and it showed that they did go through an 'emotional cycle' every 4 - 6 weeks - however, I can only speak of my own experiences, and maybe see if anyone else out there feels the same.

I can't pinpoint the exact start and end dates of these feelings, but I do know that periodically I start feeling quite low, sad, fed up, bored. There is no cause, it doesn't happen because of any particular event, and quite often there isn't a lot I can do about it until the feeling passes.  Sometimes it lasts a day or two, sometimes nearly a week.  These feelings in themselves shouldn't be destructive in any way, but for me they bring on periods of self reflection and I tend to focus on the negative things in my life - which combined with the previously mentioned feelings make me feel even worse.  The logical part of my brain knows that I am very lucky in some ways (health, home, son, loving partner, family & friends etc.) but during this period of maudlin introspection I can't see the value in these things and tend to think too long on the negative - failed marriage, weight issues, money problems, isolation.
I lose interest in social media, I find that I want to cut myself off from people, and nothing seems to keep my interest (reading, TV etc.).
The company of my son, the support of my partner, the communication with my friends & family can help alleviate some of the depression but at the end of the day all I can do is ride it out.

I realize I could be opening myself up to some ridicule with this post - but you know what?  I've been bothered by these feelings for too long and I thought it time I see if I'm not alone.

So I throw the question open to anyone who still reads this blog.  Men - do you get these feelings?  If so, are you confident enough to be able to post in the comments about them?  Women - do you know / live with any men who seem to get 'moody' for no discernible reason?

As always - peace.