Category Archives: The List

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A year in the life…

One of the best things about this blog is that I can look back on what I have written previously and smile at the happy memories,  nod sagely at the rants, and swell with pride the quality and humour of the … Continue reading

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I wandered lonely as a poet

One of my challenges was to write and publish a poem. Lord knows why I decided to include that as one of my challenges, the last time I wrote a poem was back in school. But a challenge is a … Continue reading

It’s Coffee, but not as we know it!

One of my 101 challenges is to go a week drinking decaffeinated coffee……..Don’t ask.

We started of Sunday, it wasn’t exactly planned. A while ago Jo’s habit of buying anything that has gone whoops resulted in her coming home with (amongst other things) a pack of decaffeinated Espresso coffee. On Saturday we ran out of regular (delicious, flavoursome, tasty stuff that it is) coffee, so Sunday morning saw the coffee machine filled with unleaded coffee grounds and the start of my caffeine reduced week.

It started well,  the decaffeinated Espresso actually tasted quite nice….but…I was a little confused. decaffeinated – as in all the caffeine removed. Espresso – as in a small shot of really strong, heavily caffeinated coffee. So decaffeinated Espresso – is a really strong coffee that doesn’t do anything for you.

Sunday passed easily, the tricky part came on Monday. I drink instant coffee at work, so I had to stop off and buy some decaffeinated coffee. I was impressed by the selection at my local supermarket, all the big names were there, so I plumped for the coffee I normally drink, Douwe Egberts. I got to work and made myself a nice hot steaming mug of decaffeinated coffee. I tasted it. I added more decaffeinated coffee. I tasted it. I added more coffee. It still tasted bland with a hint of bitterness as an aftertaste. I was not impressed.

So lunchtime I headed back to the supermarket, time to try a different brand. Carte Noire or Kenco? I don’t speak much French, but I know Noire means black, sounded promising. So another jar of coffee bought I headed back to work and tried again. This time it was just 2 spoonfuls of coffee, and there was a hint of flavour, albeit the kind of flavour you would expect from a jar of Netto own brand economy coffee.

I did however make a discovery, a spoonful of each combined makes a cup of coffee that has a bit of flavour, and a hint of bitterness…. not quite coffee, but close enough…..for a week.

So I’m half way through my caffeine free week, “how are things going?” I hear you ask.

Well I’ve noticed a few things, they may or may not be connected to the lack of caffeine. Firstly I am tired, all the time I am tired. I know caffeine is a stimulant, but this is more than just missing a little kick, I think it may be to do with one of the other changes I have noticed. I’m not sleeping very well. Since Sunday, every night, I have had strange dreams, causing restless sleep, resulting in tiredness the next day.

I am also hungry. Very hungry. All the time. I’m not just talking about being peckish here, I mean proper hungry. Today for instance, I had a cereal bar in the morning, then a baked apple grain type bar when I got to work. A caramel waffle with my coffee. A bag of crisps about 11. By midday I was hungry and so started on my lunch of a triple pack of sandwiches (BLT, chicken Salad and Ham and Cheese) by half one I was hungry again and had to nip out for an emergency bag of chips. That saw me through till I got home, where I had Corned beef hash and pancakes, 3 thick ones, and second helpings. I’ve had a another bag of crisps since and I’m considering snackages again.

That is a lot of food, even for me. I don’t normally eat that much and I have been like this since Monday, oddly just after starting on the Decaf. I know caffeine can act as an appetite suppressant, and quite often if I’m feeling peckish I’ll have a coffee instead of something to eat, and that works for me.

The other thing is not so much something that has changed, but something that hasn’t. The theory is that drinking decaf will chill you out, make you relax and not be so manic, and that’s exactly what happened last time I switched to decaf, but I was on about 10 to 15 mugs of proper coffee a day and went cold turkey, I was rather stressed at the time and cutting the decaf helped. Now however, I’m nowhere near as stressed, I’m happy. Things are going good, I’m around people I love, and they i turn love me back, I have a job I enjoy and I have an iPhone 4 ;o). So cutting caffeine seems to have no noticeable effect. I still have mini rants at the fools on the motorway on the way to work,

In summary, I’m drinking awful tasting coffee, I’m not sleeping well, I’m constantly tried, I’m always hungry and I’m not totally chilled out.

Still, only 2 more days to go.

Cheese, Laughs and no Languages

Keeping up with established procedure I haven’t posted for ages and now I will submit you to a long drively blog post about what I’ve been up to, that will end up with me promising to post more often.

So what have I been up to?

Biggest recent news was the very recent visit of my brother and his wife. They live in foreign parts these days and so visits to this quaint little isle are not too frequent. We pounced on the opportunity of the visitation to have a wee breakette ourselves and tootle down to sunny Wolverhampton to partake in merriment and gin. We were not disappointed. It’s the first time that Jo has met both my brother and his wife together, but everyone got on like a house on fire. We went for a very nice curry, drank red wine and gin (the latter from the kitchest cocktail fountain ever) we laughed, we played Jenga, we had hangovers. Due to a slight glitch in communications we weren’t expected to be around on Saturday night, so another impromptu night of drinking was hastily arranged. Itt was a really good weekend, and I can’t wait to get back out to visit them in Merkin land.

On the subject of weekends and drinking we’re just in the middle of another really nice weekend. Last night we had The Kiwi & the Carbon Offsetter over to stay for a session of drinking and raclette (a cross between fondue and an indoor picnic – very delicious) there was much alcohol drunk  (judging by the empty bottles) and much cheesy nibbles eaten, as well as much laughing, chortling and discussions of Non=Newtonian Liquids. Tonight we took the boys out to the local Italian restaurant and they were so well behaved and ate so much, and now we are sat watching DVD’s drinking and chilling out. Tomorrow will involve trawling the second-hand market and taking the boys to ride their bikes.

My job is great. For those that don’t know I got promoted last October, I now get a little more money, work closer to home, don’t do evenings or weekends, don’t have to work with the public, and I’m working with spreadsheets and the like which I love doing anyway, so all in all I enjoy what I’m doing and they are paying me for it. Win – Win situation.

Oh and the list….I’ve made a few alterations. Gone are the challenges that are ludicrously impossible due to time constraints, money or my ability to do things and in are a few more viable and satisfying challenges. I am no longer expecting myself to learn 3 different languages, at the same time as doing a years worth of university courses. committing myself financially to things that would unnecessarily stretch my budget Or trying to master things that, as soon as left unattended, would be hijacked by the Demons and utilised for the powers of evil, Instead I have replaced them with things like taking time to give praise where it’s due, giving more attention to the boys, ensuring that they learn new things, making an effort to change little things about myself that I feel could be different, as well as making sure that I give a little time to making sure I appreciate myself as well as all those around me.

So there we have it, fairly long and drively, but I promise from now on I shall be posting more often….honest ;o)

 

101 things I may do at somepoint

The 101 challenge thing is well under way, so I thought I’d have a little review of what I have left to achieve.

Lets have a look at some of the things I have left to do:

10: Dejunk my belongings….. I am working on this, after 9 months in my new house I only have about 3 or 4 boxes of stuff left to sort and I am getting rid of most of it…honest.

14: Set up a birthday book….. Well, this may alter slightly, seeing as I am now the proud owner of an Iphone I’m pretty sure I can find an app for that ;o)

15: Fix the pile of broken electronic stuff….. hmmm, at the time of writing the list there was a small selection of toys that needed fixing, most have been done and are working, some were “liberated” by the boys and have disappeared, some were beyond repair. Looking at this challenge I have no hope of ever actually not having anything to fix. It’s just impossible. Not with the Destructo Brothers around. they have a very keen interest in how things work. I’m going to consider this one of the ongoing ones rather than an absolute challenge, much easier that way.

24 – 28 Visit various places….there are plans afoot, I shall say no more.

31: Play crazy golf….. I’ve got a week in Scarborough coming up….this shouldn’t be a problem.

33: Have afternoon tea….. Technically I’ve already done this one, when we stayed at the Wrea Head Country House Hotel….but it wasn’t up to my expectations, there were no sandwiches or cakes, just scones and biscuits….I’m holding out for the real thing.

35: Swim in the sea….. when i can find a bit of sea warm enough.

37: Go Snowboarding….. there are times when i can be slightly ambitious…this may have been one of them.

50: Cook a proper meal 30 times….. this could be tricky. Not because I can’t cook, but because Jo is such a good cook and enjoys doing it. Why on earth would I subject people to a huge wait for substandard food when she can whip up a luxury banquet from leftovers and whatever in the fridge in five minutes flat?

54: Drink no alcohol for 2 weeks….. No Comment

55: Do 100 push ups in one go……No Comment

56: Do 100 sit ups in one go….. see above

59 – 61: Learn conversational French/Spanish/Dutch….. what was I thinking? 3 languages in 3 years? get serious! I’ll be taking a hit money wise on these, but at least the charities will benefit.

65: Learn how to use the gizmos on my phone….. I’d almost done this on my old phone, but alas as mentioned before I now own an iPhone :o( the app store has hundreds of thousands of apps in it, I may be at this a while ;o)

79: Go a whole week without swearing……. Bugger forgotten about this one…..ah balls got to start again now.

80: do not get frustrated with stupidity for one day….. I am looking into hiring myself a small isolation chamber, seems to be the only option at the moment.

89: Start a list of 1001 things that make me smile….. you’d have thought this would be easy…and it is. For some reason I’m being really slack on this one. I shall make an effort to get this sorted, tomorrow maybe.

92: Raise £100 for charity….. I’m keeping an eye out for charity beer drinking contests, or maybe a charity PS3athon, no luck so far.

96: start following a sport….. I tried with the world cup, i really did, I got a wall chart and everything……still can’t see the appeal though. Ice Hockey is looking promising.

99: Win a competition….. Would make this one a bit easier if I started entering a few maybe.

101: Buy a bottle of champagne and keep it chilled until I’ve completed the challenge….. ah well, I did have a bottle of Moet sat in the fridge for this, but um, well, it kind of got drunk. Best get back to Rhythm and booze.

So in short, some challenges I’ve not completed cos I can be a bone idle arse at times, some not done as I was far to ambitious in writing my list, and a fair few to be having a go at. Keep watching, I’ll keep you updated ;o)

Physics and Idiots

I’m having a problem with one of the items on my list. Number 80- Do not get frustrated with stupidity for one day. My main problem is that I drive to work, and so therefore I encounter a plethora of stupid people before I even have to deal with the great unwashed public at work.

This morning for instance, I had an encounter before I’d even got on the motorway, and it blew the challenge out of the water for today. What really got my goat was that the person in question was annoyed at me, presumably because he thought I was tailgating him, when in reality I was just trying to stop running into him, of course one he saw me so close behind him he continued to travel at a ridiculous speed until he turned off.

Now I think this person was a twat and incorrect in his response to me being right behind him and I intend to prove so using elementary physics. (here comes the science part..concentrate)

So a few things we know about this incident….

My initial velocity (us ) was 40mph, which is approximately 18 metres per second (m/s).

(I appreciate that some of you may be going glassy eyed already, feel free to skip to the conclusion marked by a red asterisk)

The “twats” (T) final velocity (vT) was 20mph, and so therefore my final velocity (vs) was the same, this is approximately 9 m/s.

It took approximately 3 seconds from T pulling out of the junction to us being almost one car doing 20mph so ts (the time for me to stop myself hitting him) = 3 seconds.

As the other car had to manoeuvre out of the junction before accelerating to vT I will take tT o be 1.5 seconds.

The distance from myself to the junction was approximately 30m.

Now don’t be alarmed, I’m going to keep this simple. As I am just proving a point there can be quite a substantial margin of error. For instance, all the above velocities, distances and timings are approximate, and I shall be assuming linear acceleration rather than progressive acceleration to avoid having to complicate things with calculus. I shall be ignoring the effects of gravity, momentum and friction, and also the gradient of the road.

I shall be simply working out a hypothetical model based on a closed frictionless system to support my theory that the gentleman in the other car is indeed a twat and should be thankful he hasn’t got a whiplash claim on his hands.

So lets see now.

I went from 40mph (18 m/s) to 20mph (9m/s) in 3 seconds.

Using the formula Acceleration = Change in velocity/time taken for that change to occur (or as=(vs – us)/ts) we can enter the above data to find my acceleration:

as = (9 – 18)/3 = -3 m/s2

and using the formula s = ut + (at2)/2 to find the distance travelled by me in that time (ss) :

ss = usts + (asts2)/2

ss = 18x3 + (-3x32)/2

ss = 54 + (-27/2) = 40.5

So assuming a linear deceleration of 3ms-2 it would take me 40.5 metres to reach a velocity of 20mph. Now as I have said before I was 30m form the junction to start with so I would have been 40.5m – 30m = 10.5m past the junction when I reached the speed the twat was going.

* Now for a very important calculation, I need to find out the distance the other car was from the junction by the time it had reached 20mph, if it is greater than 10.5m then I was indeed tailgating the other car and they are justified in their rude hand gestures and bad driving. If it is equal to or less than 10.5m then the bloke was an idiot who can’t drive and physics has proven him a twat.

I shall use the formula s=(v+u)t/2 to calculate the distance the twat travelled before reaching 20mph.

sT = ((9+0)x1.5)/2 = 6.75m

There, proven! The guy was a twat. If it weren’t for gravity, calculus, friction, my reactions and the laws of physics he would have an Aygo shaped dent in the back of his crappy old escort.

Physics has proved him to be a twat of the highest magnitude, and therefore driving for 100m at 20mph in a 40 zone because he thought I was tailgating means I am justified in ranting at him and teaching him a few hand gestures that he didn’t know before as he was totally oblivious to other road users and is a danger to himself and everyone else..

Of course I encountered more numpties on the journey, so I still wouldn’t have completed my challenge, but it feels good to be proven right.

Cordon Bleu chef extrordinaire

One of my challenges is to cook meals from scratch, I got my chance on Sunday, unfortunatley Jo was ill and the Child Shaped Demons were getting a tad peckish, So i cooked the age old cure for any illness, saviour of the weary, resurrector of the hungover….The Full English Breakfast.

Sausage, Bacon, Egg, beans and Mushrooms.

Not a tricky prospect you may say, but I put to you that a fry up is one of the most complex meals to cook. Think about it, how many more meals are there that almost every constituent has to be cooked separately, for different times, and need to be turned regularly? and then to top it all, just at the point that everything can burn, you have to put all your concentration on cooking chicken ovum’s in boiling fat – but without making the yolk hard.

I rose to the challenge, took me 45 minutes to do, but I fed everyone, and the boys loved it. A greater accolade than any Michelin star ;o)