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Gym… Who’s he?

Posted by Chalky on Jul 19, 2010 in Life Stuff

As most of you will know, I have finally decided to join the Gym to see if I can’t shift some of my excess baggage. I also want to try and build up my confidence and generally feel better about myself. I’ve been going for a couple of weeks now and I’m already feeling better in myself, I don’t think I’ve actually lost any weight yet but all in good time I guess. I’ve joined along with Jill and my Mum, the idea being that we’ll pester each other into going and also inspire a bit of friendly competition to see who is getting on the best.

We all started with the BodyFirst package which includes a pack with useful information in it and also, more importantly, 3 Personal Training sessions. I found these to be very valuable and gave me a very good head start. As a result of them, I am continuing to have regular Personal Training sessions with Liam who is particularly good as he already understands the problems faced by people with Asthma and is soon to learn all about Dyspraxia.

I was always apprehensive about the prospect of going to the Gym, indeed, it was my New Year’s Resolution last year to start at the Gym and it never really happened. This year however I hope the combination of the:

  • expense
  • fact that my family are also going
  • the fact I can watch TV whilst working out
  • I can use technology to help me

will all go towards making everything go smoothly!

I will be keeping you updated on my progress, my Personal Trainer has got me using the free MyFitnessPal website to keep an eye on my Calorie intake as well as my weight, exercise etc. The site also provides a widget that I will be adding to the sidebar of my Blog.

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You know it’s a Chalky trip when…

Posted by Chalky on Oct 13, 2009 in Bad Luck

There’s lots of Bad Luck! I really should have probably guessed that my trip to Sri Lanka wouldn’t quite go according to plan. I didn’t, however, expect it to start going wrong before I’d even left the country!

A couple of days before my departure, I received an e-mail with my Schedule for the week. The original plan was to leave on Saturday afternoon, arrive Sunday, work for 4 days, enjoy a day off in Colombo and then return Saturday afternoon. As it turned out, I was now working 5 days with no time to do much sightseeing. It was a bit of a blow but I thought I’d at least have the Sunday afternoon to play with… How very wrong I was!

On Saturday afternoon, I embarked on the trip down to London. We set off at about 12:45 and popped to Meadowhead Post Office before heading towards the M1. We were not due to Check In at Heathrow Terminal 4 until 6pm but I set off really early because I was expecting there to be a lot of problems with Road Works and general weekend traffic. I was pleasantly surprised that despite there being 4 lots of 50 MPH SPECS controlled Road Works that we managed to get to the Purple Parking (just a few miles away from the airport) in very good time. We arrived at Terminal 4 just gone 4 o’clock and was immediately greeted with the Departures board informing us that our flight had been delayed until 01:00,the original flight time being 21:35.

After the bitter disappointment and as the Check-In Desk wasn’t yet open, we decided to get some dinner before embarking on our imense amount of sitting around. We headed over to Cafe Rouge, which I’m pleased to say, went without a hitch. I know there is a Cafe Rouge in Sheffield but I have not been for many years, and even then, it was only for a Coke. I treated myself to a Leffe Blonde which I’ve not had since I was in France last Christmas. We also ate there, I had a rare Bavette steak which was lovely. I’m used to expecting sub-standard food from Airport eateries, but this was as I’d expect if I’d bought it elsewhere and reasonably priced!

After the meal, we headed over to the Check-In Desk which we were still expecting to be closed but we though we’d start queueing up so that we could get a decent seat. To our horror, the Check-In Desk had opened early and there was already a huge queue for the flight. By the time we had got to the front, all the window seats had been taken so we ended up being stuck in the middle of the aircraft. This certainly didn’t help matters as I often get Travel Sick unless I am next to a window and I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to see the Maldives as we came in to land as I’ve been told the view is beautiful. But, never mind, I would much rather have had the meal in Cafe Rouge than have been stood queueing any longer that we had already.

After clearning security, we had a wonder up and down the Duty Free area to get our bearings and see what was about. It was disappointing to see that a large number of the shops were actually closed for refuribishment, typically the ones I would have actually like to have gone in too! I’m unsure how we managed to pass most of the time but eventually, we decided that we should probably go for a beverage. The terminal only has one Public Bar which, as you’d expect, was absolutely rammed! So we wondered around some more. Eventually, we were the only people left in the Terminal and I managed to sneak a quick pint of Gaymers in before Last Orders and the bar closing. But, it was still only 10pm so we had another few hours to kill. By this time, everything was shut so we had even less to keep us entertained.

The Depature Screen was updated to show that we were now expecting to leave at 24:00 so we were hoping that would lead to one less hour of sheer bordem. This was not to be the case because as we arrived at the Boarding Gate at 23:00 as advised, it was clear we were in for another wait. We didn’t actually start boarding until about midnight.

After boarding the plane, I’m happy to say that the flight went without a hitch and I managed to have a nice long sleep through most of it and then watched The Proposal when I woke.

When we touched down in Colombo, I was expecting to be bombarded with people wanting to carry my bags for me. I was pleased that this was not the case. It took a little while for my bags to come round on the conveyor belt but eventually I was wondering towards the exit looking for my chauffer over to the Cinnamon Grand. Unfortunately, with a mix up with the dates and the added delay of the flight, there wasn’t actaully anyone to pick us up. Luckily, there was a representative of the hotel at the airport who quickly called for someone to come and pick us up.

After returning from my evening meal, I found that my door kept ‘beeping’ at me. I couldn’t get to sleep because the door was ‘beeping’ so loudly. I went up to the door to see what was up with it; I opened the door to see if the light on the front was flashing. As the door closed behind me, I found out what the ‘beeping’ was, the battery had died in the Card Key lock! So I couldn’t get back into my own room! I went down to the Reception desk, but I don’t think they quite understood my explaination of what was wrong with the door. They issued me with another Card Key which after waddling 7 floors back up to my room, I found didn’t work. So I waddled back down and this time the Receptionist followed me up to the room with a key. He then sent for some Hotel Engineers to come and attend the door. Three sets of batteries later, I then had a working door once again!

Obviously, I have and will have a lot more to talk about, but with the amount of bad luck I had at the beginning, I thought it deserved its own post!

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Posted by Chalky on Aug 3, 2009 in Holiday, Life Stuff

On Friday, I finally got round to having my hair cut. It was long overdue and was quickly coming out of control.

I normally get my hair cut at Scissors on Woodseats but, with me going away on Saturday morning and not having time, I decided to visit a hairdressers in Scunthorpe on Friday afternoon after work. I went to one that James recommended as I had never actually visited one in Scunny.

I normally have Number 3 on the back and sides and then just cut short with scissors on the top of my head. But today, for a number of reasons:

  1. I can wait longer before I have another hair cut, and carry on my lazy trend
  2. I was tired and couldn’t really be bothered to explain how I normally have my hair
  3. I have had pretty much the same haircut for the last 23 years!

 I decided to have Number 3 all over.

Taken on the Open Top Bus on the Isle of Wight

Taken on the Open Top Bus on the Isle of Wight

I’m getting a mixed reaction to the new hair. My White Publishing UK Business Partner really likes it, The Cheif Executive of the Victoria College of Music commented on it too. My Mum however hates the new do and says it makes me look even more like my Dad than usual. I didn’t realise I had a big bald patch… Sorry Dad!

Anyway, answers on a postcard please!

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Prostitution is revolution. You can hate me, until you pay me!

Posted by Chalky on Jun 21, 2009 in Bad Luck, Music, Review

Last.fm Mock PosterI can’t believe it’s been over a month since this actually happened.. Anyway… After two cancelled gigs, on Wednesday 20th May Afternoon I finally ventured down to Nottingham to go and see Cobra Starship. I ended up having to go on my own but I wasn’t going to let this spoil my enjoyment too much.

The journey down to Nottingham was much quieter than I expected was going to be, indeed it only took me 50 minutes to get down there despite the roadworks on the M1 and the fact that the VMSs saying that there was long delays between Junction 27 and Junction 25. There wasn’t any traffic and I was getting off at Junction 26 anyway.

Nottingham greets its visitors by lining the streets with SPECS cameras and Red Traffic Light Camera which makes you feel extremely welcome(!)

The Premier Inn that I was staying in, the Nottingham Centre (Goldsmith Street), was pretty easy to find and was very convenient as it is on the same road as The Rescue Rooms. They were originally meant to be playing Rock City, but ended up in the Resue Rooms instead. This Premier Inn was the most expensive I’ve ever been to (when you include parking which is normally free) and is the first I have been to where you have to surrender your Car Keys. I’m sure I’ll do a more detailed post about it later.It turned out that most of the Cobra Starship Crew were staying in the same hotel.

pit_and_pendulumAfter settling in the hotel, I decided whether or not that, dispite being on my own, I should stick with my original plan for the evening. After mulling it over whilst having a long soak in the bath, I decided that I might as well go for it. So I headed off in search of the Pit and Pendulum Errie Pub. After leaving the Premier Inn, it took me a little while to get my bearings as it’s been nearly a year since I was last in Nottingham. After walking past the, already, queing Cobra Starship fans (it was only 5pm and doors opened at 6:30) I managed to make my way over to Victoria Street, passing by the Hostel that I stayed in for the Paramore gig last year.

They had a 2 for £6(ish) offer on their Seven Deadly Sins Cocktails so I decided to treat myself to a couple before going for their Double Burger with Cheese and Bacon which also included a pint of Fosters, oops! The bar staff were very friendly however the burger was the greasiest thing I have ever eaten! Didn’t stop me polishing it off though!

I headed back to the Resue Rooms where there was now a long queue which remained civilised until it starting pissing it down whereby everyone rushed under the large umberella’s outside. Once in the venue, I noticed how small it is! I’ve only ever been in the other half of the Rescue Rooms and hadn’t been in the Gig bit before.

MiMi SoyaThe first Support Act MiMi Soya from Brighton were OK but really failed to get the crowd going which made them a bit disappointing. I can’t really remember any of the songs they played. During their set, I started getting a tight chest which I first attributed to the drink but promptly decided it was a mini Asthma attack so I had to drag myself back to the Premier Inn, get my keys back for the car and grab my inhaler. I then sat back in the bar for a while with a glass of iced water. A good start to the evening(!).

By the time I’d finished expiring and got back to the Rescue Rooms, MiMi Soya had finished their set and it was the turn of Cash Cash. <CONTENT REMOVED>

Sing It LoudThe final Support Act was Sing It Loud who were by far the most recongnised by the crowd. Indeed, some of the crowd in front of me got so excited that they started jumping up and down and managed to hit me in the face, leaving me with a nosebleed. At which point, I was beginning to think that the evening couldn’t possibly get any worse!

I had never heard them before, nor any of the other Support Acts but I will certainly be looking out for their EPs and Albums as well as Cash Cash. I’ll be looking forward to seeing them again at some point.

Cobra StarshipAt 8:30, it was the turn of Cobra Starship themselves. As soon as they came out on stage, you could tell that the wait was going to have been worthwhile. Everyone at the gig were true fans and all knew the words to every song that was played. They played all of my favourite and was probably, despite the set backs, the most enjoyable gig I have been to.

Cobra Starship apologised for it taking them so long to get back to the UK and are currently working on their third album. I hope it’s not too far away and they get their act together next time round.

The gig ended with Snakes on a Plane from the movie with the same name.

After the gig, I stumbled back to the Hotel and had a drink in the Hotel Bar and then headed up for an early night after battling with the Key Card for the Lift for some time!

¡Viva La Cobra!

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SONY’s New Stupid Piece of Shit

Posted by Chalky on Mar 1, 2009 in Funny, Rants, Technology
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

I watched this funny video from The Onion News Network in the latest episode of Diggnation.

I was going to turn it into a rant about SONY/at least say something, but in the end, I couldn’t be bothered!

Enjoy!

 
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Signs of Age

Posted by Chalky on Dec 23, 2008 in Life Stuff, Rants

With my 23rd birthday having been and gone, whilst down South in Surrey a few weekends ago, I started to contemplate that fact that I am getting old (as you do). I came to this conclusion due to a number of reasons which I thought I’d share with you:

·         Openly Complaining

Those who know me well will wonder what I’m on about as I’m known for my moaning about pretty much anything. But it’s progressed beyond that, I find myself openly complaining about random things; Instead of complaining quietly afterwards, I’ll complain to the company/persons involved.

For example, on the way down to Surrey a week last Friday, travelling down the M1, I drove past Leicester. My daily dose of Paramore kept getting interrupted because BBC Radio Leicester kept broadcastingthe RDS TA (Radio Data System Traffic Alert) Flag. Normally this is a good thing because you are kept up to date with the lastest Travel News. However, on this occasion BBC Radio Leicester were broadcasting the flag and playing some dire Caribbean/Reggae music. Each time I switched back to my CD, the flag was sent again.

It got to the point where i actually rung up BBC Radio Leicester to complain about it! See what I mean!

·         Referring to my Youth

Now, it’s not quite “When I was a lad, things were diffrerent, young peoplehad respect for their elders.” But, I do find myself reminising days gone by and I often talk about School/Sixth Form/University life as though it was many moons ago when, in actual fact, it was only a couple of years ago.

·         Commenting on Students’ Dress Sense

I know that I haven’t got any reason to talk, I’m hardly the fashion item of theCentury, but I just find some of the clothes that the Students at work wear are completely mental. It’s even just clothes really, for example, there is one Student at work who has bright orange hair. When I say bright orange, it more bright than any orange I can find in the text colour selector. It’s bright highlighter orange and basically looks like they’ve cracked a Stabilo Boss pen over their head!

I mean, I didn’t even think they made hair dye in that colour, I wonder if it was some kind of custom mixture. Although, it’s not like I hang around the Hair Dye aisle of Tesco so for all i know, it would be their best selling Dye!

So, it could just be my old age but I just can’t imagine how that could be thought as looking good. I mean, it must be a good thing for their friends because they’ll never be able to lose her, even if they wanted to! No offence to the Student though, I’m sure she thinks she looks great.

·         Inability to handle alcohol

“Back in the day,” I used to be known for my ability to down drinks rapidly. However, in recent months, I’ve found that this ‘skill’ has somewhat dwindled. Even if I want to, I can no longer down a Pint of Carling like I used to be able to. In fact, it takes me nearly an hour to drink a Pint these days.

·         No idea of who 95% of the people in the UK Top 40 are and have no desire to listen to their ‘music’

I don’t know if this is to do with age generally or just because my taste in music has changed/got stuck in a timewarp over the years. Either way, I couldn’t tell you more than 2 or 3 people that are currently in the UK Top 40, nor could I recongise the songs associated with those artists.

 
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XBOX 360 in Disgrace

Posted by Chalky on Nov 29, 2008 in Bad Luck, Technology

Well, it was inevitable really wasn’t it. I should have known from the first crash that with my Bad Luck it was a sign that my XBOX 360 was slowly crawling onto it’s deathbed! Pretty annoying really when I’ve just bought 2 games for it and I’m getting Guitar Hero World Tour for my Birthday from Jill.

I was a bit worried at first because my XBOX 360 is coming up to its 2nd Birthday which would mean that the Console is out of warranty. Seeing as my XBOX was fine before the installation of NXE I thought I’d give them a ring to see what’s what. I endured the torture that is Max. Max is the name of the XBOX Support Line Automated Voice Activated System. Unfortunately he is seemingly deaf and has been programmed to respond to an American persons voice, meaning that he has completely incapable of understanding what I was saying. However, I eventually managed to get to talk to a real person, for future reference, the trick is to keep saying AGENT and he’ll eventually dial out to the Call Centre. 

Luckily (I know, it surprised me too), the 3 Red Lights of Death/Doom/Unhappiness is covered by an extended warranty of 3 years which means that my XBOX 360 will be repaired for free. So really, it was quite lucky that it happened now and not a year down the line! I’ve just got to try and get the game out of the XBOX and remove the Hard Drive before I package it up and send it on it’s merry way. They said it’ll be returned 2-3 weeks after it has been picked up. I’m hoping it’s the former because otherwise I won’t have it for my Birthday!

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Microsoft XBOX NXE

Posted by Chalky on Nov 23, 2008 in Bad Luck, Technology

Well, after having my XBOX sat in a corner unplugged and unloved for such a long time, I thought I’d better wipe of the dust and give it a whirl. What sparked me to do this was a discussion at work about the New XBOX Experience which, for those who don’t know is the latest (and biggest) overhaul since the XBOX’s release. 

It’s not been a particularly easy journey getting it to work on my XBOX. When I plugged it in I immediately got a message telling me an update was available which lead me to think that the process would be completely plainless. WRONG! As usual, the Chalky Bad Luck kicked in and my XBOX crashed quite a few times during the installation.

Anyway, I got it working in the end and I have to say I’m quite impressed. Where it is clear in many places that they have “borrowed” a few ideas from the Wii. However, in a complete opposite to the normal Microsoft way of doing things, they have managed to make an improvement on the idea.

I haven’t explored all of the new features yet, but I have made my Avatar:

I found that there was 100′s of different ways to change the Avatar’s face but they’d skimped a bit on the clothing department. The Shirt I chose wasn’t ideal but it was the only one I found that I fancied. I was also a bit disappointed that there wasn’t any trainers either. I’m sure that this is something that Microsoft will keep adding to!

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The Real Cost of Going to University

Posted by Chalky on Nov 21, 2008 in Life Stuff

They don’t go on about this at the AimHigher crap at College/Sixth Form, do they!

I worked out that at my current rate of pay, come April, I’ll be paying my loan back at a rate of 45p per month! Jim reckons it’ll take me 7,500 years to pay it off. Great isn’t it!

You’re a bit screwed if you are self employed because if you want Revenue and Customs to calculate your repayments you have to return a Self Assessment Tax Return by 30th September 2007. Lets hope that you did a BSc in Time Machine Making for that one!

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Not So Premier Hand Car Wash

Posted by Chalky on Nov 6, 2008 in Bad Luck, Driving, Rants

If, like me, you’re too lazy to wash your car properly yourself you’ll probably take your car to your local car wash. I’ve always been told not to use a mechanical car wash that uses brushes and I’ve heard a tale or two about the consequences. Now I have my own story!

For the past year I’ve been using the Premier Hand Car Wash on Queens Road next to Halfords. I’ve taken all 3 of my cars (Pipsqueak the Seicento, Percy the Punto and now Clarence the C3) as well as my friend’s Daihatsu Terios and not really had any problems… until now (and they certainly made up for it)!

I took my car in this afternoon because it was well overdue for a wash, I think I must have left it a couple of months and with the recent bad weather it was looking a right state. So I popped down to Queens Road and got my car washed. Everything appeared to be OK, but I noticed they seemed to be taking an extraordinarily long time to clean my car and kept blasting it with the pressure washer. I just assumed this was because my car was extremely dirty. 

However, once I got home and got out of the car, I realised the real reasoning for the extra time spent:

 

Front-Right Door

Front-Right Door

 

Rear-Right Door

Rear-Right Door

 

Between Right Doors

Between Right Doors

 

Aerial

Aerial

It’s pretty much the same on the other side too. Suffice to say, I wasn’t best pleased so I went straight back down to Queens Road. To be fair, they were very apologetic and did take full responsibility, but that doesn’t stop my car looking a complete wreck.

It turns out that they’d managed to spray the Acid that they use on wheels (to loosen dirt) all over my car and that they had realised which was why they kept spraying my car… Nice of them to tell me first time round! They’ve arrange for their bodyshop man to come and sort my car out next week. I’m a bit miffed that I’m going to have to drive the car for nearly a week in the state that it is in but I suppose there’s nothing I can really do. I certainly won’t be settling for anything less than the handles looking in perfect condition as they were pre-washing. If not, they’re going to have to pay for them to be replaced.

Whilst they’ve assured my that this won’t damage the paint work on my car, I’m not really convinced so I’m going to get my Uncle Nigel to check the whole car over. He’s hoping it will be OK but he says I’ll find out by Sunday if it’s not going to be (by the very fact that the paint will start to come off)!

So, the moral of the story is don’t be lazy and wash your car yourself! But, if you are still far to lazy to wash it yourself, you might want to think more carefully about where you take it!

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