Tuesday, May 26, 2015

F1 is a fix....FACT*

*All facts gathered from people claiming to be genuine F1 and driver fans.

So there you have it, straight from the mouths of unbiased, well informed fans of the sport, the whole thing is just a big show, which is fixed and predetermined by powerful people, with the wins going to the highest bidder. (or something like that)

I thought I would write this blog in order to address some of the questions (in the form of abusive posts) I have received on a simple comment on the Mercedes F1 teams Facebook page.

It read a little something like this..

One question for the angry Hamilton fans out there. If it's foul play, if it's a fix, if it's the plan to have Nico as world champion...... Why is Lewis Hamilton the current world champion, with the same team they were both with last season. And while you are at it, why the hell would Mercedes have just given Lewis another 3 year contract? 
Bad ending to the race, not the first time it has happened in F1, won't be the last. Now get a grip, and move on to Canada like the rest of the fans. 
Thank you Mercedes for having the decency to speak to the fans direct, and offer answers. To the proper questions at least. 

The point I was trying to make was actually quite simple. People were batting around the idea that Mercedes want a German champion, but if that were the case, why is Lewis the current world champion, with the same team and team mate as last year. If Mercedes yearn for this German driver in a German car match up so much. And why indeed have they just RE-signed Lewis for 3 more years.

At no point have I attacked a driver or individual within the team. Some of the replies were constructive, others a little less so, heck some people even went as far as reallocating people a new nationality in order to make their point.. Apparently Toto Wolff is now German. Anyway, I was saying about the fans and their facts that its a fix. And of course the fans and their comments.

Here are a couple of replies I received.

Sherry Ann Ramroop If it was a fix?????Did you see the look on Lewis face?????

Jayme Zazworsky-Opincar If it's not a fix, are we to assume they honestly can't do basic math? Because that's what their error comes down to.....

Riki EspadroniThis one is easy hahaha! Because he is a FAR superior driver to Rosberg. Something that is obvious to everyone but Nico fans and people who hate Hamilton just because. How would you like to have driven a masterful race only to have some idiot mess it up? Hamilton is supposed to be a "good little boy" and high five? A 20+ second lead on a tight course is major. Not to mention his qualifying time was 1.4 seconds off of the track record with a V6 hybrid. Stop being so foolish...
Keira FoxI dont hate Nico or think it was a fix. However I do believe someone needs a headbutt for being such a dufus. Honestly, even if Nico and Seb pitted, Lewis would still have easily won because his tyres were only 30 laps old and right before the race people were saying the compound was quite hard for Monaco and the prime would do all 78 laps if needed. Therefore Lewis tyres would have been fine to hold 1st place for 10 laps. Can I also state I think Grosjean was more to blame than Verstappen, Anyone else agree? I really think the penalty was OTT
Mouna Mardini I think you have short memory ,last year was even worst for Lewis with a lot of sabotage...the only reason Lewis is the champion is because he is the better driver and nothing changes that fact

A mixed bag im sure you agree.

My personal favourites come from another post, which I was told a little about myself

Lovely people, so polite. I love constructive conversations.

Right, so lets look at the facts now. F1 is indeed a fix, a show, nothing more.

Lets for the sake of the Monaco argument take Mercedes F1
Lewis and Nico both drove for Mercedes F1 in 2014. Lewis fought off all challenges, including some high profile questionable moments of the season, and reigned victorious, claiming his second F1 Championship. There were moments of bad blood, and some great wheel to wheel racing, but in 2014 the best man won. Fact..

This year however, with events at Monaco, it is now being suggested that Mercedes F1 want a German champion in their German car, for the German team. With the late pit stop being put down to team tactics to fabricate a win for the German driver by some, this is the factual basis of the title of this blog entry.


Its flawed.
IF F1 is a fix, IF Mercedes are orchestrating the races to generate the winners they want... Then in fact Lewis was handed the 2014 F1 Championship on a plate.
Now I know the immediate answer to this is written above, Lewis is the far superior driver, and won under his own steam. Well in my books, yes I agree, he did win fair and square, as fair as you can get in motor racing anyway. But you can't have your cake and eat it. If its a fix, then its a fix, and Lewis was handed 2014. If its not a fix, then stop crying about a simple and bad decision by the team.

The team said from the start of the saga "we messed up", Lewis said from the off "we win together, we lose together" and stated he too was in on the decision. Lauda expressed his anger at a bad decision. What more do people want to realise it was a genuine mistake.

But lets say for a second it WAS a fix, that it was done on purpose. Lets look at that.
First up, at what point was this fix masterminded? Was Max Verstappen in on the ploy? Did Torro Rosso agree to throw millions of pounds of car into a barrier, along with risking young Max's life, to help another German team win one race? Did an evil genius leave a note on the pit wall saying "Open only if there is a safety car towards the end of the race, Lewis is winning and Nico is within 20 seconds"..With instructions on how to call Lewis in, brainwash him into agreeing it was the right call etc?

Speaking of Lewis, he said he made a bad call himself, he said he thought the others were pitting. People have responded saying the team could have at least told him that this was not the case. OK, fair enough, they could have. But Lewis said he thought he saw something on a screen indicating it was fact, so why would he even question it? Why waste time on pointless conversation when you know something? Actually, was there even time to have such a discussion.
Its so easy playing devils advocate on these matters, but F1 cars move kinda fast, there is only one pit entry, in reality only one pit window to use during the safety car. For example if Lewis saw the screen a couple of corners before the pit entry, hit the radio button and said, guys im coming in for tyres, by which point he was approaching the it entry, there would be little time to say no, and losing a lap of opportunity would be suicide in itself.

So lets be real about this for a second. As painful as it is to see a win just slip away like that. An incident over which Mercedes had no bearing occurred, causing a virtual then actual safety car. Lewis thought he saw Nico and Seb pitting via a screen around the track, thinking on his toes, not wanting 2 cars with new tyres challenging him on the restart, he called in for tyres. The team agreed with the decision, failing to identify that it would put him out behind them by a close margin. Was the question ever asked about Nico pitting? Who knows. Did it have bad consequences, clearly yes. Is Nico somehow involved in this "ploy", was he always the hopeful recipient of a gifted win, unlikely.

Its F1, its fast, furious, arse clenching, seat of the pants decision making. Sometimes people get it wrong. No conspiracy, no fixing.

Lewis took it very well, behaved admirably, and conducted himself with dignity in the face of a soul crushing loss, which he accepts some blame for. So why oh why do so many people insist on making it out to be something that it wasn't. Mistakes happen, lessons are learned, drivers and teams move on. Maybe its time the fans (and me) did too.
Put it to bed people, let it go, and look forwards to Lewis' fight back in Canada, defending his points lead and indeed his title.

Oh one last thing.. Nico and his celebration. It was hardly over dramatic, not theatrical, and he said himself he was blessed and very lucky, possibly his luckiest ever. Humble but victorious. This is Monaco, the show stopper, the cat walk, the show reel for the big money in F1. Its an awful race, one that possibly should not even be considered a race anymore, but never the less its a necessary evil on the calender. So boring in fact that I stopped watching half way through on Sunday.
For Nico to have taken the trophy then sat on the step sulking, or not smiled or celebrated would have been improper and borderline offensive to the waiting crowd.
Im sure if some of the mature folk who have commented on my Facebook comments were there, they would have welcomed him with booing and jeering, just to show how mature they really are. Thankfully the crowd were genuine F1 fans, and showed some respect.

In short, the summary of the above.
Shit happens, its a sport. Get over it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Formula 1, Nico Rosberg, and Lewis Hamilton

Its been a while since I have written a blog, certainly a long time since I have felt compelled to air my views on something so strongly. Not that my voice matters, but its boiling up inside of me so here goes.

My feelings on Lewis Hamilton have changed back and forth over the years. In times of frustration he has been known to sulk a little and seems to have gained a reputation with the negative media for being childish and a dummy spitter.
That said, time after time Lewis has shown himself to be an amazing driver, a great personality, and a deserving winner of both races and championships. As time has gone on I have realised that all in all he is a good guy, great at what he does, but just a little complex to read at times. Emotions show through and he is being a baby, hide them and he is being arrogant.

Then there is Nico. For me I have always seen Nico as a genuine guy, heart on his sleeve and saying it as he sees it. Happy times, sad times, whatever he is feeling is what is shown on the front. Rarely bitter in defeat, but not unheard of, Nico strikes me as someone who strives to have a good PR game, and tries to perform with grace. He has shown he has the spirit to win at times. However over recent times he seems to have been a little down trodden and settle for #2.

So Monaco..... Last year we had the lock up and over shoot scandal. Forcing his way to pole, ruining Lewis's chances of the position, and therefore stealing the race. A year later, the jury is still out on the matter, with different "experts" batting their feelings on the matter around again on the build up to this years race. Sky F1 for example, Johnny Herbert did 5 mins on the surface and approach to the corner this year, showing undulations in the surface, suspension bouncing, body flexing, and explaining how some favour the right to avoid uneven loads. This was followed by OvershootGate with all the theories once again resurfacing. Even though it had just been explained.

This year, pretty clear cut quali, Nico locking up a couple of times, but no impeding anyone in doing so. Lewis takes pole. Phew!
Or so we thought!

Half way through a rather dull race, I decided to go and wash my cars, so knew nothing of what would happen in the last 12 laps or so. Reading a comment on Facebook I realised that positions had changed, and looking at social media, could see it was getting messy already. Watching the highlights a short while later, there it was, Max having a huge crash (glad he is ok), safety car, and with so little time left, a strange decision by the team and Hamilton to pit.... Was passing at Monaco ever really that much of a threat.
In post race interviews, both the team and Lewis took part of the blame for the decision, and agreed it was a very badly thought out one, with dire consequences. How communication could have been so bad I don't know, but shit happens, and mistakes are made. That's just how it goes. You win some, you lose some. At times you take a gamble and it blows up in your face.

So post race, interviews with the media showed a rather disappointed Lewis Hamilton, and rightly so, and a very happy, and somewhat gracious (or I saw it that way) Nico Rosberg. From the first interview he sung Lewis praises, empathised as he is able to do, and said Lewis deserved the win.

So, so far, its a race, with an unexpected outcome, a disappointed driver, a happy driver, and a team in conflict with itself. All as expected there then really.

Now lets look at the fans....WOW !

As I have said I am all for backing someone and supporting them, even defending them (even though they don't know me, and probably don't care about my thoughts)
But some people take it all a little too far.. No scratch that, some people take it WAY too far. With personal attacks on the drivers (people they know little about), spiteful comments, and I would think that they even make the person they are supporting cringe a little with some of the comments made.

Lets take a look at a few of the comments posted on Nico Rosberg's Facebook page...

Henry Felix Mwesigwa Shame upon you Nico for the celebrations you made to day in Monaco as if u had won the race when actually u were just cheated into winning the race. Total shame and embarrassment to Mercedes team. U can cheat into winning but can't break Lewis Hamilton's fighting spirit and talent.

Mark Jones Learn to win with grace , you did not deserve to win , so why celebrate like that , I'm sorry but you came across as smug , when really you hould have been more humble and realise the situation you were in , that's why your not a champion

Christina Justice Gillardo Thank Mercedes for handing you the win that you absolutely DID NOT deserve!!! Lewis is a better person and driver than you will ever be.

There are many more where these came from.

One of the biggest complaints, from what I assume are the Hamilton fans is how Nico behaved on the podium. Huge celebrations.
Lets be honest for a second here about a couple of things.
Firstly, this is Monaco, EVERYTHING is big and overdone in Monaco, its the F1 showcase, its the fashion show, the catwalk of Formula 1. The race itself is generally a huge parade, with little overtaking or position changing, unless there is some bad luck.
Secondly, a win IS a win, you can't deny that. Gifted or fought for, crossing the line first is what matters. In the rules, a mistake was made by a team, no one cheated or broke rules. Nico crossed the line first, so celebrate. I imagine there would be even more fury if Nico had "stolen" the win, then refused to show any excitement or celebration in doing so.

At this point I would hazard a guess that Lewis and all other drivers would love to distance themselves from the true haters out there. We all have cheeky snipes, and comments about the ones we don't want to win, god only knows how many jabs I have taken at Hamilton over time, especially when he has acted like a child, or that play the race card moment he had.

I just don't understand where so much anger and hatred comes from in these people, especially given that 99.9% have never met and probably never will meet both their idol and their adversary. Having an opinion on something is all well and good, I mean, look at me typing away. But going to town, assassinating someone's character, judging them far beyond the limitations of the track and sport, and in some peoples cases, obsessing to the extend of hunting out every piece of positive media on someone, and airing an opinion on it, shooting them down with hatred and contempt. That's is borderline worrying.

For me, sadly, this has all become part of modern day sport. Social media is a wonderful thing, self expression, joining a global conversation, airing an opinion. All welcome for sure. But them some take it to a whole other level.

For me, Monaco, Mercedes, Lewis and Nico...
Merc brought a great package to the race, and gave themselves the best possible start. Lewis drove away from the start and controlled the race, as he does so well. Nico stayed close enough to take advantage of any mistakes by driver or team. The mistake was made, Nico was in the right place, gained from the error, and took the flag.
Nico's post race comments were very generous to Lewis, humble in the win, praise for his team mate who he said deserved the win.
Lewis was pretty restrained, not much he could say about the situation, but was nice not to see a hissy fit.
Mercedes admitted an error.
Nico celebrated Monaco style, and as any winner of an F1 race should.

Then sadly the people who call themselves fans destroyed the whole thing with a barrage of hatred and abuse.

Fair play to Mercedes to trying to calm things down a little.

So my message to you 'fans' out there.
Get a grip, its a sport, there will always be winners and losers. Celebrate wins, and take defeat with dignity. The drivers managed it, why can't you?
Here's to Canada, when the on track fight starts all over again, hopefully with a little less off track, on-line immaturity and pathetic behaviour from all the fans.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Back on the wagon.

After two weeks of feeling rough as old boots, and not being able to train. Not to mention a couple of weeks before that of having a non stop sore throat, which resulted in me finally losing my voice a couple of weeks ago, I am back.

Not 100%, but breathing well enough, and fighting hard enough to get back into training. I can't pretend the last two weeks have been good, that would be a lie. Instead its been two weeks of NO training, severely decreased dog walks, with some days only managing about 3,000 steps rather than my average 18,000, and a whole heap of unhealthy eating.

The outcome, I have LOST 2lbs approx from my last weigh in, and am now balancing on the edge of 240lbs. So the next goal now has to be officially set, and here it is. 234lbs. Not far away, not unrealistic, but a good number, and ever closer to the end goal.

So I started training again on Monday, and took a rest day on Tuesday as I was suffering from the first day back. Dropping the weight, reps and sets to a realistic return number, its actually been quite refreshing to start over. Remembering form is key, and weight is secondary. A good clean session with mid range weights on Monday took its toll on Tuesday (hence the rest). Quads, pecs and tris all suffering a little, but in a good way. However, first week back, I didn't like to push too hard.

So the training ethos of this week is keep the weights down, and keep the form up. With the fresh start I want to avoid ramping the weight up too much too fast again. After all im aiming for more definition and NO more bulk. Clothes are a pain in the arse to buy as it is, so i don't want to make things worse.

With a healthy goal of 234lbs in my sights, and a new beginning, hopefully I can get there in the coming month. Lets see what April brings. Another good reason to keep the weight down and reps up is of course to avoid muscle gains, and promote fat burning. But like I say, lets see where we are in 3-4 weeks time. 6 or so pounds to shift in that time should be pretty routine if I can keep the intake clean enough.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dear spineless arsehole.....

Yes you, the spineless, brainless, worthless little shit that lunged out indiscriminately into the road, at Alan Cartwright. Your thuggish actions, being stupid enough to challenge a cyclist with a knife, for the sake of stealing they bike, cost a young man his life.

While his friends and family grieve, while the people who witnessed your actions deal with having watched a young boy die at the roadside, you walked off, empty handed, before jumping on the back of one of the other bikes your 'mate' had successfully stolen. Closeness with another man will no doubt become something you get used to, in the place you should and hopefully will spend the rest of your worthless little life. (not that there is anything wrong with personal choices in sexuality of course)

I really do hope you are seeing what you have done in the media, and understanding just how profound your actions have been. Rather than strutting around in your worthless social circles, claiming to me hard and wanted. You are certainly not hard, you are in fact a coward, of the very worst kind. Too afraid to even adhere to the basic fundamentals of being a man. Too afraid to confront someone one on one. But instead to take a chicken shit swing at someone.

So many people are killed by idiots on a daily basis, but your actions have really pissed me off on a monumental scale. You and your stupidity is one of the reasons society is where it is today. The 'I want' mentality which somehow gives you the right to kill someone for something as materialistic as a pushbike! Seriously?

Fingers crossed, someone you know will have the brains and the humanity (both existing in unison in any social circle you frequent is unlikely, but worth a shot) to tell the police who you are, and get the legal process underway. Hopefully, the big man streak which runs through you will cause you to put up a fight when you are found, and the firearms officers who will no doubt be there for your arrest will be forced to tase you a few times. I urge you, put up a fight, struggle, resist..... And get just the very beginnings of what you deserve.

On the other hand, you could just do everyone a favour, and disappear forever. I'm sure your mates would forget about you in a few days time, and it would be far cheaper for all the decent hard working tax payers out there who will have to pay your board and lodgings for the rest of your miserable life, both in and out of prison.
But then I would feel for the few people in your life who probably do care about you. As disgusted and ashamed of your actions as they will be, it is unfair to rob them of their loved one.
You know, the way you did to Alan's family!

There is no right way this can go, there is nothing you can do to make amends. 20 years in prison will not being back the life you stole from the Cartwrights, nor is it likely to change anything about you. But it can protect society from your mindless, dangerous actions, and stop you from doing it again for a while.

The nearest to the right thing that can happen is you  willingly hand yourself in, give an open, honest confession to the killing, and show some remorse. Then accept like a man that actions have consequences, and go away for a long time and think about what you have done. Forgiveness is never really on the cards for the family. But understanding of why you did what you did, and the knowledge that you have been punished for it, will in time help them sleep a little better.

I really do hope that the waiting for the family is over soon, and they start to see shoots of justice for Alan. And remember, these were YOUR decisions, YOUR actions, so whatever consequences you face, are all on YOU. Don't blame the school system, the government, or anyone else. We all make our own decisions, you made yours.
Live with it! And understand what I mean by that, LIVE... a life, something you have already deprived someone else of. Whatever happens next, you are still alive.

RIP Alan Cartwright, victim of the definition of a coward.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My legacy

As a deep thinker, an over thinker, and someone who obsesses about some very strange things at times, I have come to realise that one thing bugs me over and over. My legacy!

I recently blogged about dying, cheerful I know, but it was on my mind, so I put it out there. In that piece I questioned what it was all about. Is death to be feared, or lived for? When we are gone, what is left, and what difference does our passing make to everyone else.

Having lost quite a few friends over the years, as well as some good acquaintances, its quite easy for me to make this next observation. Some people I have known who have died rarely ever cross my mind. Other however come into my thoughts on an almost daily basis. Not as sadness, but as memories of times gone by, thinking how a certain person would have liked whatever it is I'm doing at that moment, or just missing them for a moment.

In reality, I'm sure we all strive to be the latter. I know I do. I think I actually fear just being forgotten. I know I have shared some very special moments with some amazing people, and hope already that I have left my mark in life, at least in my own generation. I hope that I have done enough in life to generate a huge amount of 'do you remember when we' type conversations, as I have done about friends who have passed.

But there is a bone of contention in there, and one that doesn't sit well with me. My true legacy.
I am 42 years old now, far from old, but certain opportunities in life have reached a point of no return now. Choosing to have a child now, the primeval instinct of the human race, is quite a stretch in my world now, and not a choice I would make. Like a woman with her biological clock ticking away, I share that feeling of a door closing.
Of course, I have a child, or should I say, I fathered a child who is now a 20 year old woman.

It doesn't get to me too often, not something that I dwell on too much. I know in the years I have been absent she has been well looked after and loved. Raised well, and strives to make great academic achievements. I would say I'm really proud, but then that is a little glory grabbing really as its none of my doing.
Or is it? On a gross and scientific level, I do have something to be proud of. My genes after all went into her genetic makeup, she is 50% me, and while one part of the biological equation seems to have forgotten I am quite intelligent, thankfully her brain hasn't, and a part of me is indeed responsible for her success.

The truth is, my legacy as it stands is in 2 very separate pieces.
On the one hand, another generation has a life, will out live me, and a bloodline will continue. Regardless of my role and presence in the past 16 years, without me, there would be no her. Someone else maybe, but not her. Regardless of our interactions in years to come, her wishes to know me or involve me, she is my legacy. Like it or not.

Then the second part is the lives I have shared. The memories of the people I hold dearest to me, and who I have shared moments of happiness, sadness and of course stupidity with. A part of my life I have full control over, decisions I have made, and futures I have shaped. I hope I have done enough in those peoples lives to be remembered until their final days too, and for the stories of our adventures together to be told for decades to come.

Do you strive for a legacy? Or just take each day as it comes, and not care about what happens when you are gone?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In the blink of an eye...

I have blogged about this quite a lot over the years, but from time to time the urge to try and connect with my true feelings on the matter resurfaces, and eats away at me for a bit. Like now. For some reason, after watching the scene from a TV drama, the matter of death comes flooding back.

February is always a pretty dark month for me anyway, even with the sunshine on top, below the surface bubbles a little anxiety, and I guess a little sadness. For years it was about my daughter. How dare I celebrate a birthday without her in my life. Especially with hers being just a few short days before my own. But as the years have passed, the reasoning has changed, and possibly to more morbid reasoning.

Feb 13th 2008, my mum came to me and told me she thought she might have cancer. My birthday that year (the next day) was spent at the doctors, first getting her an appointment for that day, and then being there while the doctor examined her and confirmed she very much had breast cancer. And a long journey began.
With her 70th birthday just around the corner the appointments started, and a few days after her 70th we went the hospital where I was called in to the consult room and asked to reason with her by the specialist. Having examined her she had cancer in both breasts, and was refusing ANY treatment. By the time we left she was open to the idea.

After a long fight, and some true highs, on August 5th 2011 mum finally passed away. Sitting by her side, watching her breathing become laboured, before finally exhaling for the last time, it was quite a surreal moment to watch your only parent die before your eyes. Thankfully, it was a rare occasion that myself and my sister were with her, with no kids etc. So part of me feels she found peace in that moment, and chose it herself.
Medically the morphine inhibited her breathing, and her already weak body gave out. Either way, she went peacefully and with dignity, just as she would have wanted.

Mum's passing is probably one of the most profound for me, as you would expect, but the list of people I have lost in all manner of ways is just too long, and one that haunts me every time I recall who, how and when.

In fact the above is the reason I am writing this now, as another year ticks around for me, and I turn 42 now, I look back at the long list of friends who have not even made it this far in life. Ill health, accidents, and suicide, has taken some of my closest friends over the years, all my junior. I said many years ago, back in my twenties, that I would be dead before I was 40. However at that time I really don't think I had given the thought of death much real consideration. Greatly unaffected by it at that point, it was just brave to talk trash about death, but as the years have passed by, it means more.

Given it can come in so many ways, never knowing what the cause will be. So many lose their lives at the hands of others, through no fault of their own. Accidents on the UK motorways today are a great example of this.
Take a look at the statistics for a moment. In the last week of January this year, 12,900 people in the UK died. That's 1,842 people a day or 76 people an hour. More than one a minute.
Now of course yes a lot of these are natural causes, illness etc, but what difference does that make? Mum knew she was going for 3 years, but still left 2 kids, 5 grand kids and her sister all with a hole in their lives.

My point is, and its a very vague one, death is all around us, just around the corner, how many people in the UK alone have died in the time you have been reading this. How many families every hour begin the painful journey of letting someone go?

The age old question, are you scared of death? Well are you? I have thought about this over and over for years, and still can't make sense of my conclusions. Death itself is final, once its happened, its done with, for the deceased at least. Fear goes away, pain too, but for the families it is only just starting.
My feelings on it are maybe a little too rational for some to comprehend. In conversations I have had about it in the past, I have come out looking a little strange to say the least.
When I think about death, it makes me sad. I like being a part of peoples lives, I like making a difference, and creating memories with people. When I look back at people I have lost, its the memories which keep the person with us. The thought of that ending is sad for me. Just as it saddens me that I no longer have them in my life to enjoy their company and make more memories.
The cold harsh truth is though, we all move on. While we remember those we have lost, our lives continue and adapt. So to believe that our passing is anything but an event in our friends and loved ones lives, is to me at least, somewhat irrational.
That said, my take on death in general might not be what you would call the average or common perception.

The other part about dying which really sucks, is the future. The crazy and dynamic world we live in is constantly promising and making leaps forward, space travel, technology, health care etc. To think that at some point I will stop seeing these advances is one which actually saddens me deeply. Maybe its my techy geekiness that drives that emotion. Maybe its my detachment from others around me which makes me feel this way. Grasping for something to hold on to and be relevant to me.

So am I scared of death, and the event it is? Hard to say, I have never been close enough to know the answer to that. My rational is simple, I can't control it, I am not the master of my final act, and whatever lifes plan is for me, I have to suck it up. Its nice to imagine it will be painless, but not for me. More for those around me. I don't want a wake of sadness left behind me, and I guess that is one of the reasons I try to be so open about my thoughts and feelings. I can't say another word when I am gone, so would love to think that in my ramblings both verbally and written, that people can find the answers to their questions. Who I care about, love, and my feelings on all aspects of life.

I like to think I am an open book, I encourage those in my life to challenge me, question me, and discover all they want to know on a daily basis. One day, the final day will come, and I hope dearly that I leave no confusion or unanswered questions behind. Until that day, I will keep throwing my thoughts out there, and try and make sure I have it all covered.
I do have a project I really must complete one day, one I have spoken of before. It has had many names, but 'If tomorrow never comes' seems the most prudent.

A frank summary of all things truly meaningful to me. Feelings, memories etc, which I would want those involved in it to know, just to confirm they know, and will forever know how I feel about them and our time together.

So, that's my thoughts for this Valentine's Day 2015, and of course my birthday.

Live every day like your last. Tell people how you really feel about them, and don't try and find the right time for things... It might never come, then it will never happen. Most of all, smile, and enjoy the gift of life you have, and spend it with people you care about.

Thanks for reading, sorry for the downer.

PS, some stats for those interested. A full breakdown of the 491,348 deaths in England and Wales in 2009 (yup almost half a million people in one year)


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wow, I made it to week 5!

OK if I am totally honest with you all and myself of course, I really was expecting to pick up an injury or illness before getting this far. However I am super happy that I haven't. Even more delighted that I am still finding the motivation twice a day, six days a week to hit the home gym and bring the pain on. Certainly supercharged my body, and seems to have got some testosterone flowing too, but that's a different story, literally!

As the weeks have gone on, I have been careful to check back over my past weeks, and make changes where I see fit. Increasing weight, reps or sets. Dropping exercises which are starting to cause issues, and modifying where things can be improved. All in all, being my own boss, not being a slave to a routine laid out by someone else, is really working well for me. Didn't honestly think I had it in me in this day and age (getting on a bit, birthday in 9 days) but turns out I have.

My battle now, as I have said before is keeping the bull in the pen. Not unleashing the beast and pushing myself too far. Each day, as the strength grows, I know I can push and pull a little more, but am mindful of the purpose of it. In my 20's benching 3 plates a side was all about ego, numbers and bragging rights, now in my 40's its more about self preservation, so no need to go all out. But still important to be moving a worth while weight.

Dips for example, first couple of weeks, trying to get the strength to do them at all, then once I had it, found myself doing very untidy and rushed reps. High numbers , poor quality. Now, its lower numbers, slow and super clean, and boy can I feel the difference. Same can be said for a number of other exercises too. Writing my plans up on Sundays, its nice to read back and see my achievements, then see where I can raise the bar, and where I am at risk. Changing the movements slightly each week to keep it fresh. But still hitting the same groups.

Going for chest, back, shoulders, and arms, I have to say I feel great hugging myself lol. Sleeping and wrapping up in my own arms, there is a whole load of firmness and bulk now, and it feels egotistically great! Nothing like waking up aching, and thinking, I know what will make me feel better, a workout! Its a great stretch and warm up for the body in the mornings, doing the floor work, almost the perfect solution to a heavy weights workout the night before.

So on this slow, lazy morning, with a lay in, and no dog walks done (raining) I am about to hit the floor and wake my body up, then head off to get some work done on a tattoo I am in the process of getting done. Should make tonight's workout fun, being on my bicep and shoulder!

Right, so that's me, almost at the end of week 5, and no end in sight.
Weight loss and numbers wise, nothing amazing to report, but feeling great, and that's what its all about to me. Strangely got my upper abs just starting to break through and show, through a still rather podgy stomach.

Have a great day..... I will !

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Profiling and pigeon holing....

Its something we are all guilty of to an extent, just part of human nature, and  a sub concious part of our predator vs prey defence system. Regardless of if you are trying to make judgements or decision, or its just happening all on its own, your brain is constantly assessing people and things around you. Now, most of those results are very simple. Scanning for danger, threats, or warning signs around us. Its how we cross roads, drive cars, and even just walk down the street. They are quick, sub-concious decisions, made in less than the blink of an eye. Like the decision in a flow diagram, each response triggers an action and so on.

So all perfectly natural up until this point.

However, sometimes we allow our decision making process to become a very concious thing, and that's where it takes a turn, sometimes for the worst. When we profile a situation, say walking past a group outside a shop. The average person listens for raised voices, checking for anger and aggression, looks for body language, very visible arm and hand gestures, lots of jumping around, or calm... We make that decision very quickly and act accordingly. Some people however allow another influence in to their decision making process. Stereotypes and pigeon holing.

For these people, the answers to the first questions were all safe, calm, relaxed, no shouting... But hang on, what's their ethnic origin.. Once we know that then surely the decision rests on that and that alone. Are they from a nation stereotyped for thefts, violence, harassment? Well then clearly the situation is dangerous. Turn back before all hope is lost!

Statistics bare some of the blame for this, as well as negative reporting from all aspects of mainstream and social media. Each group claiming the other is to blame, each group stereotyped for certain behaviours.  Just like all Chelsea and Millwall fans are mindless violent thugs, all Romanians are deemed thieves, or Nigerians are scammers. Its this kind of pigeon holing of groups in society, both official and public that cause most of today's problems. This isn't to say of course that there is NO truth in the statistics, of course there is. But how it is reported, and how it is interpreted by society is what really makes the difference.

If a headline read "20 black men detained in street brawl" certain groups in society would role their eyes and draw conclusions about how violent they are, and it must be a gang. If the sub headline then read. "100 armed white men descended on a Jamaican club this evening, starting a racially motivated attack. Police detained the victims in a police carrier for their safety" then some clarity would appear. However the choice of headline is what gets the ball rolling on how we perceive a story, and from that point on, we have already drawn a preliminary conclusion to the matter. Its all about getting the whole story, and not relying on a single line or statement to make our decisions on.

Sadly this darker side of profiling is present in all walks of society. Hatred and anger towards the armed forces, politicians, and the police. Obviously I am going to focus on the police here.

Now, starting with me experience of the police, something I can describe accurately and openly.
In trouble with the police in 1990 for the first time in my life, having encountered them on many occasions as a kid, just from being a little scallywag. In 1990 I did something wrong, and was dealt with for it. I was dealt with quite firmly, but maintained my respect for the police officers I was in communication with. Needless to say it was a different force back then. Mainly because people respected them. And not because they behaved differently as such, not because they were nicer people and fairer or anything. But because encountering the police in an official capacity meant you were busted, and there were no political correctness groups, hate groups, human rights groups or other 'its not fair' lobbyists telling them what you deserved.

One thing that has become SO very apparent over recent years is grading. And by that I mean of offences. Why is it every time someone is stopped or arrested for something, the line "do some real work, go catch some "insert here whatever crime the arrestee considers worse than theirs".Its a funny old world, where the criminal of whatever degree now has a say in what's right and wrong. Well if their feelings on right and wrong are so strong now... What happened during the offence?

In later years of my life I have experienced the changes in how the force works. From the difference in stance needed when making a simple traffic stop, to the paper mountain that now consumes the police. Most of which is necessary because of the onslaught of do gooders and PC activists who think they know best.
Example. Years ago I was stopped in Epsom, late at night, driving a modified car. Friendly stop, and soon became apparent that the motive for the stop was to ask questions about the car, as one of the officers was about to buy one. After a long chat, the officer in question apologised and said he was going to have to issue me a producer as there was a record of the stop, so all the boxes needed ticking. As he wrote it he continued to apologise, and we joked about how things had changed and they were not even able to stop me for a chat without paperwork.

It fair to say that not all encounters are as smooth, and I recall another stop, in the same car in Victoria. Again late at night, a car on blues wove its way through the one way system, came in behind me, flashed once, I indicated and slowed looking for a safe place to stop. This was followed by frantic headlight flashing, so I stopped immediately, sadly on zig-zags. The officer raced from the car, greeted me as I exited my car, and opened with "well that's a stupid place to stop". I responded by questioning his decision to become over excited with his headlights at this exact point, and offered to move the car a little further to a safer location and was told "don't bother, you are stopped now!"
So, its not all positive I have to say.

So lets go back to the beginning, profiling, snap decisions, and our reactions.
Many believe that officers of all nationalities and races have issues with the black community, and have no tolerance towards them. Fairness goes out of the window, and all are met with aggression and harsh treatment.
Having worked on housing estates for many years in an official capacity, I have seen many such encounters start, around the Notting Hill area, it was not uncommon for the police to sweep into an estate in the evening and do stop and searches. ANY group not making a fuss was dealt with quickly, as informally as possible, and with a happy ending (unless of course anything was found). However other groups who displayed frustration or anger, were indeed met with hostility and a very different approach. From the EXACT same group of officers who had just stopped the last group.

It goes back to pigeon holes and profiling. Groups of society learn from others, from past generations, we are taught what each group is, and somehow allow ourselves to be drawn into the mind of the hive. Reacting towards our first encounter with a group, with the lessons we were taught about them. If you grow up in a group or area with bad experiences, or just bad feeling towards another, it is going to be hard to shake those teachings. When the real encounter is made, we revert to instinct and behave accordingly.

When groups of people with historic bad experiences meet, a chain reaction begins. And as it continues, it snowballs, creating more memories and generating more bad blood. Somewhere along the line someone , somehow needs to stop the perpetuation of this. But the end is nowhere in sight.

So, to add to our pigeon holing exercise, all police are mindless thugs! A statement some would happily endorse. The media happily gloats at the continuation of bad feeling between social groups and the police, but like the headline, only tells you the information which will insight bad feeling, perpetuate the story, and give them a great story.

For the record I do NOT believe, nor endorse the above statements of pigeon holes. I feel that each member of society is an individual and starts out deserving respect and consideration of others. I do however believe also that our actions have consequences. Sometimes severe ones, and ones some find unfair and harsh. In this day and age I consider myself law abiding, and a decent member of society. I don't walk by on the other side, nor turn a blind eye. I expect all encounters with the police to be civil, unless I have behaved otherwise.
My final example, Sydenham High Street a few months back. Following a large brawl which I was not aware of at the time, the high street was shut. This had followed a big road traffic accident. Being nosey I made my way up the road to see, on crossing the road I was beeped by a bus who had decided to move off. Angered by his sudden action, and shocked due to being unable to move fast at the time due to ill health, I shouted at the driver. He stopped a few yards later and I made my way to the door to express my anger and frustration. I was greeted very quickly by two pumped up officers, telling me to back up, leave it, and giving me a good talking to. Now further angered and frustrated, I bowed my way from the situation and took to Twitter with some strong words.
Later than night I became aware of the mass brawl earlier, and realised that my actions followed those of the others, and in behaving in the same unruly manner, I had provoked, what I considered at the time, an over board reaction. Realising I was thoroughly in the wrong to have given the officers a hard time, I wrote a formal apology to Lewisham Police. Had I NOT toned down my anger at the time of the incident, I would have expected to have been strong armed to the ground, cuffed and led away. Thankfully having some respect for the officers, and indeed having been greeted in such a high energy manner, the situation calmed very quickly.

Sometimes the strong armed approach is the right approach, other times the gentle approach works better. What you have to consider here is, its training, drilled into the officers, self preservation kicks in and they will react to what they are confronted with. Batoning an 11 year old shoplifter would be excessive. But then believing you have a right to punch, kick, and bite an officer while they try and cuff you, is also very wrong.

Not all officers get it right, a tiny minority allow society to form negative opinions about them. The same way as the minorities in all walks of society create bad statistics and bad feelings about the majority of their groups. Two wrongs don't make a right, but put two groups together which are immediately defensive, and its a recipe for disaster, over and over again.
Then hype these encounters enough, make it seem like its the right thing, and society will believe you and the hatred and anger perpetuates.

This blog was written based on a sweeping statement made by someone, in this case towards and about the police. Using language which would be deemed offensive and inappropriate towards ANY minority group in society. Written media is a powerful and dangerous force. Just as this blog can be too. The written word is only as good as the choices the word-smith makes, and indeed the perception and interpretation of the reader. With no form of immediate discussion, its as simple as the black and white its written in.

There is no one group in society, official or public responsible for the world we live in, we have all played a part somewhere. Anyone who thinks otherwise, I simply disagree.

I could go on forever with this entry, but will end with the following.

Never judge a book by its cover. Colour , nationality, and background tell you nothing about what is inside. Take a second look, take a moment to think rationally, and give EVERYONE an equal chance. Everyone deserves one.

In a minute...

We have all done it.  Woken on a lazy day,  routine slightly broken but one or two pressing things to do. As the morning wears on,  the number of times you think about it multiplies,  but the motivation to actually get up and do it wains.
For me it's rainy mornings. The usual routine is up and straight out with the dogs,  get an hour of life under my belt before coming home and getting on with what's left.  Training is next, (after feeding the dogs of course),  and once I have got my sweat on and worn myself out a bit,  the chores around the house take next place.

Of course today being Saturday and raining  meant no rush to get up,  and even less to get going as the dogs don't usually go out in the rain. By 10am my morning is almost usually complete but today I was not even out of bed. In my defence a long day of walking yesterday meant my achillies were long over due a break,  so they got one.  Finally at about 10.30am I finally trained,  and I'm glad I did. It's out of the way now,  and no training tomorrow means just today's PM to do now. Then a new week means new routine.

Hopefully it will dry up a bit outside and I can get out with the dogs a bit later,  to make up for slacking. And of course keep my week average of steps up.

Til then though,  it's sin day today,  so treats are in store.  Slight weight loss again today,  couldn't resist checking again after yesterday.

Right better get on,  I have absolutely nothing to do today,  but open to invites lol

Have a good weekend all.