Sunday, January 30, 2005

And for my next trick...

Tomorrow sees January come to a close and I'm proud to be celebrating the completion of a cigarette-free month. Problem is, I've got the "giving up bug" now that the last challenge has been so straight forward, but I don't know what to target next.

The first one ought to be to lose some weight. According to the death clock, I could do with extending my longevity by a few years. However, I know there is a fair bit of travel on the cards with work next month and there is a law stating that when the company is paying, you have to eat very well.

I could give up the bee... that is such a ridiculous idea, I can't even finish typing it. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to stick to the school-night rule though.

What about giving up my single-man lifestyle? Yeah, right. That's about as likely as the beer idea.

I could give up the blog but it's still in it's early days really and over 500 people have dropped in during the last couple of months to check out my inane ramblings. Some have even admitted to it by leaving comments (thanks, by the way - keep 'em coming!).

It needs a bit more thought yet. There's an idea - I know it's become a bit of a trademark on here now, but I could always try giving up my incomplete sentences...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

You know, she was in that TV series...

It was a typical Friday night at the bar last night with both beer and conversation flowing freely.

It really winds me up when you reach the point where the alcohol intake slowly starts chipping away at the old memory cells and you struggle to remember even your own name, let alone someone from a TV series broadcast over 12 years ago.

However, the conversation had started and we were already spiralling downwards well out of control. It had all started with someone mentioning one of the worst sit-coms they had ever seen.

"Surely it can't be any worse than that one with the three birds sharing a flat in London across the corridor from the bloke in the Flash ads", I suggested.

I should have kept quiet, we were doomed from that point onwards.

"Oh yeah, I remember that. Didn't it have Denise Van Outen in it? Yeah, and Samantha Janus, I think that was the only reason I ever watched it in the first place. What was it called?"

"It was something do do with where they lived in London, something wood. Northwood? St John's Wood? Three birds? Babes in the Wood! That was it. Yes, it was truly terrible"

Leaping to it's defence (difficult task ahead) I remembered two funny lines from the whole two series. The first took place in the corridor outside the flat the morning after a heavy night before:
"How's your head?" asked Charlie, to which Carolyn replied "I've had no complaints so far"

The other one was where Carolyn was trying to remember the names of the McGann Brothers:
"There's Paul, Joe, Mark and... Renault"

I should have let the conversation lie there, but no, I had to go on:

"I used to like the other thing that Karl Howman was in. Not, Brush Strokes, what was it? Mulberry."
"Oh I remember that one, didn't he play death, or an angel or something?"
"Yeah that was it. He had been sent down to collect an old woman and ended up working for her. Oh God, what was she called?"
"Geraldine something", I added confidently, without the slightest clue of her second name.
"Wasn't it Geraldine James?"
"No, that was the really tall bird from Band of Gold"
[Everyone at the bar] "Oh I remember that"
"I think it was Geraldine McEwan, the same one who played Miss Jean Brodie on telly"

Strange how we all immediately remembered a drama series about prosititutes but couldn't recall the details of a prime-time family sitcom...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

There's no pleasing some people...

It's been a great day today for no particular reason. How many blog entries start like that?

Enjoyed a good night's sleep following an early night last night and woke this morning suitably refreshed.

After a quick cuppa I set off for my usual trip to work which being pretty uneventful took about 40 minutes.

Had a really busy but productive day, managing to finish off lots of jobs and start several other overdue projects.

Just after lunch I managed to string a few thoughtful (and hopefully amusing) farewell/good luck words together for one of my team who started her maternity leave today.

Worked a couple of hours over (well, to be honest, didn't realise the time).

Another uneventful 40 minutes drive home followed by a long overdue trip to the car wash.

Stew and dumplings for tea, another cuppa, an hour or so watching some crap on TV, then it's time for bed again.

You see, that's why you seldom read blog entries like this. Even with a littering of hyperlinks, it's just so unbelievably boring.

Roll on Friday and the prelude to another "never again" day...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Never again...

It's been a "never again" day today. I always try and stick to the not-on-a-school-night rule, but this one started yesterday afternoon so I'm not sure whether it still counts or not.

Why is it so difficult to go out for a quick pint? Is it because they keep the beer really well? Or the parade of characters that come and go throughout the day? Probably both. Perhaps if I'd gone out with the intention of downing 10 pints of strong real ale I would have talked myself out of it. And I'm not sure that the large malt nightcaps contributed much to my well-being (or lack of) today either.

On a positive note, I still didn't succumb to the evil weed, so although my memory of the evening's proceedings is somewhat hazy now, I obviously still had some wits about me.

So that's it, I'm never touching another drop. Well, not before Friday anyway...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Just going for a p...

Our pub is wonderful local where the choice of ales and good food could only be surpassed by the variety of folk who frequent the place. It occurs to me sometimes though that although much conversation takes place on the subject of the preferred brew of the moment, probably as much is discussed about the excretion of the inevitable excess fluids.

Firstly there is a question of timing. It is a well known fact that you can drink for hours without going, but after that first visit you will be back in there after every subsequent pint or 20 minutes, whichever is the sooner. I don't understand the science, but there have been nights when we've timed it.

Then, at this allotted timescale, we apparently need to announce our intentions in a variety of no-longer-amusing ways to the everyone at the bar:

"I'm just off to...

...shake a leg"

...shake hands with an old friend/the wife's best friend/the unemployed"

...point Percy at the porcelain"

Why do we think anyone cares? The only reason I can think of is to give your mates a chance to air some of their favourites to explain your absence:

"He's just gone to...

...drain the vein"

...syphon the python"

or if you've been gone a while

...drop the kids off at the pool"

Once in there, the "urinal psychology" game begins. Let me explain.
Lets suppose there are five urinals. You walk in, there are none in use, so you take your pick - no problem.
If the first one is occupied, most blokes have to leave a gap, i.e, head straight to 3, 4 or 5. In this scenario, I usually opt for no.4 and when a third bloke arrives you can almost guarantee he will head straight for the cubicle rather than stand next to someone!
It gets complicated after this point if another arrives (assuming the hand basins to be strictly out of bounds) as the dilemma is to try and work out which "neighbour" is likely to finish first.

Imagine how confusing it would get if, like our female counterparts, we had to go in two's ...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Well isn't that typical...

When I first started this blog, I wasn't entirely sure what direction it would take and to be honest, two months later, I'm still not much nearer finding out. Originally inspired by the likes of the now legendary Scaryduck, I guess I always knew that I fell way below those dizzy heights in terms of both creativity and repetoire.

Yesterday when reviewing some of my earlier posts I realised that to date, it was mainly a mixture of rants and more recently gloats of my short term success in non-smoking. To remedy this, I thought I'd attempt a topical news post, linkng to some of the funnier news items I'd found and what happens? My headlining link has disappeared. I swear it was there yesterday "100lb girl eats 6lb burger", complete with ridiculous ads at the foot of the page. I even did a "Save as" in case of such an event, but now I can't retrieve it in the right format!

In hindsight, the laughable feature was one of the "Ads by Google" and I guess you should never bite the hand that feeds you. However, I'm still gutted that they've cut the story and that my link should die so young.

Twenty Major has a great word to describe people who do things like that...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

And in today's news...

I stumbled across this story this morning which made me smile. The item itself was nothing spectacular, although fair play to the girl in question. No, the source of my amusement was the generic eBay ads at the foot of the page inviting us to check out their huge selection of new & used cheeseburgers. I didn't get a big breakfast this morning, but somehow I'm still not tempted...

Then there is the Romanian couple who have named their first child "Yahoo" after the place they met. I'm just glad they didn't get together through one of my favourite sites...

Here's a great example of extremes people will go to in the attempt to cheat a few quid (or Euros in this case). I'm sure there's a wise crack about chips going begging here somewhere...

Finally, M-Law have announced the 8th Wacky Warning Label Award winners. I worry sometimes at the depths of stupidity we are increasingly expected to cater for. And as for this...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

So that was the catch...

Into my third non-smoking week now and still no cravings, or for that matter, even the slightest tempatation to light one up, all still without the aid of a safety net.

One minor point I had overlooked (or forgotten) is that as soon as your body realises that you've stopped, it goes into auto-clean mode and as a result, I have had the mother of all colds this week. OK, we're not talking man-flu here, we all know what a traumatic experience that can be, but bearing in mind one of the reasons for stopping was to improve my health, it still seems a bit unfair.

The other thing I've been trying for the last couple of weeks are these "friendly bacteria" drinks (aka very runny yoghurt in one-gulp-size bottles). I've completed the two week challenge and they were right, I certainly can "feel the difference". In fact, I felt pretty crap this morning.

I'm sure that has nothing to do to with the numerous pints of Hobgoblin and family size pizza with garlic bread from last night...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me...

What a juvenile title for a posting.

Anyway, it is now officially my last year as a treigenarian (?) no, I don't think that is a real word. To be honest, I couldn't find reference to anything younger than sexagenarian (that is real). Why shouldn't we celebrate "pentagenarians" or "quadraganarians" (or whatever the hell the Latin stem for 4 should be)? After all, somebody cobbled together this one for the irrational fear of the number 13.

I had another surprise when I saw the Chinese star sign in my blogger profile because after 38 years of thinking I was a horse (well, wishing maybe), it turns out that because I was born before the Chinese New Year, I've been a snake all along.

So, perhaps my ex-girlfriends were right after all. Sounds like a good excuse to go out and get hissed later.

OK, that was poor even for this time of the morning -
I'm signing off...

Saturday, January 08, 2005

There must be a catch...

I've just completed my first non-smoking week - well, not technically my first as I didn't start until I was about 19 and I have given up a few times before. However, this time around a smoke free week has gone by and I'm a bit disturbed at how easy it's been.

I don't remember it being this easy in the past, no cravings, no changes in eating pattern, I just put one out last Friday night and haven't bothered about them since. All without the aid of patches, nicotine gum or lozenges.

Incidentally, I did call in to our local supermarket last weekend to pick up one of the afore-mentioned "in case of emergency" and was disgusted at how expensive they are. You would think with all of the pressure in the media at the moment encouraging us all to quit, they would make these things a lot more affordable. I'm sorry - I'm not paying £20 to keep feeding my nicotine habit while I'm trying to shake it off, I'll do it the hard way.

So far, so good. I've enjoyed a couple of lengthy sessions in the pub this week too and haven't even been tempted. We have a joint birthday celebration planned for today (probably most of today) so I'll put myself to the test once again.

Only 129 weeks to go to beat my previous record. I thought that was a bit more motivational than 900 days. Let's not lose sight of the fact that it's still very early days yet...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Still going strong...

Nothing much to add today, just wanted to say I'm into my 4th day without smoking and it's not been too bad so far.

Only 908 days to go to beat my last record...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Another year, another attempt...

First of all, Happy New Year!

Well, as predicted in an earlier post, I've decided to have another go at giving up the "evil weed". I have been saying repeatedly throughout 2004 that I will have stopped by the end of the year and sure enough, I put my last one out with at least three hours to spare.

Not that this is my first attempt, as I've always said, "it's easy giving up smoking, I've done it hundreds of times". My record stoppage to date is about 2.5 years with a few lesser attempts of anywhere between 6 and 12 months, so I'm not overly excited at having cleared a smoke-free 24 hours. Alcohol hasn't been in the equation yet either and from memory, that's always been a contributing factor to previous failures.

Still, as the old Chinese proverb* goes, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

Apparently we're in for some heavy groundfrost over the next week or so...

*I couldn't find the original source. A quick search on Google attributed it to at least 3 different Chinese philosophers, Mahatma Gandhi and "English fokelore" - perhaps they all said it?

In fact I might get a name-check myself after this posting...