Friday, 30 March 2007

The Moose is dead, long live......?

I've come to a difficult decision this morning.

I've decided that the Moose must die.

It was a crude and ill-fated idea to resurrect the past. It hasn't worked. It has served merely to prolong the agony of the loss I was trying to heal and delay the inevitable. This morning my loss has become too much for me to bear in public. It has become too painful a reminder of what once was. I need to build a new, real future and the Moose can't be a part of it. The Moose is tired and needs to wander away alone, sit under a tree somewhere and wait for the snow to come and bury him. Please don't go looking for him. Don't try to rescue him from the snow. Just let it be.

Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.
A little voice inside my head said 'Don't look back, you can never look back'.
I looked back and I should never have done it.

I have to look forwards now. I have to accept the future as it really is, face into it and move on. Harking back to a happier and simpler time will not solve anything. It will drag me further down and hinder me from moving on.

It's been great while it lasted. And I was very happy that you all joined me in my little virtual world. You made it a special place. Thank you.

I feel bad that destroying the Moose also means destroying the place that you all helped to build and create. It's a unilateral decision and it may well be a wrong one. I am in a blue mist and you know how good my decisions are then.

But you will all make somewhere else into a special place instead of here...please, I beg you to make somewhere else into a special place. Maybe even the new me will turn up there one day...

I don't know how to suspend this blog, only how to delete it entirely. I haven't quite got the heart to do that just yet. Not even virtual suicide is painless, the M*A*S*H song got it wrong.

So the blog will still be here for a while at least.
But the Moose won't.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Oh no I've missed most of House!

I've just arrived in not quite remembering what my 9pm date on a Thursday is. Mrs Moose switched the TV on and I immediately remembered....doctors walking in corridors!

Now I've missed most of it and I can't find if or when it's repeated.

Good data day today. Couple of hundred cals over target. Still losing.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

I'm a writer? I'm a writer.

Calories 1,900. 300 cals burned. No exercise at the gym this morning. My body told me to have a rest day and I just had to listen. Went for a walk this afternoon instead.
I've decided that ready made sandwiches are just too high in cals. More than one third of my target allowance in the best possible sarnie. I've started to still be hungry after a soup at lunchtime. My response from now on is going to be a second cup of soup. Or a yogurt. Or fruit. But not a sandwich.

Re-drafted a large chunk of chapter 5 today...most of it in fact. I am finding the re-drafting getting easier. I think it's because the first draft of the later chapters is better and there is less to change.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Give me wine, give me sunshine, give me bed...

The writing group was interesting. There was not much time each as there were 11 people there, but I read from my new chapter 1 and they seemed to be impressed. No improvement comments at all really (probably being nice to me on my first one, and they are not a hugely critical bunch to anyone) and they seemed to want to hear more.
Very interesting how 11 people can have 11 such different writing styles. After the first few I was sweating about whether I would match up.

So now that I have:
- written the whole of the first draft of a novel and
- read some of my work in public and
- got a subscription to Writing magazine (am eagerly awaiting the next copy - thought it would be here by now?) and
- have some work in the drawer, written and awaiting a return visit and
- joined a Writers Group,
do I now qualify? Do you think I can call myself a writer yet?

Can't log my data tonight as I need to get to bed after glugging the rest of my wine. I also need to look at the empty packets (yes note the 's') of sushi in the car to get the calories. I'm estimating 2,000 cals and 300 burned, so 500 or so over my target today...eating on the run all day has been the problem (or maybe it was just the second box of sushi). Will get back to normal tomorrow and measure exactly today's efforts.

I have to keep reminding myself that with these data I am still losing...just not quite at the rate to lose 2st in 9 weeks.

Big gym session planned for the morning hence the need for my bed right now!

Monday, 26 March 2007

I do like Mondays...tell me why

A good day today although I was distracted by being home so late that I didn't do the asparagus/rocket spaghetti but "snacked" instead. Still managed to keep it to 1,800 cals and 600 under my target today. Highest calories burned through exercise today since I started this at 1,200.
I need my bed now though!

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Another quickie...

Ate my usual average cals today at about 1,800 but did little exercise. I have had a busy day though so am hoping there are some uncounted cals burned as nervous energy. Basically a frustrating 2 hours trying to set up a Video and TV with a negative result and assumption that the new TV is faulty. Then church accounts for a few hours and an hours strenuous ironing.

So I'm 600 cals over my target for today, BUT 2% under for the whole of my first week seen together. Not bad at all given that over the weekend I've had a glass of wine, 2 pieces of caramel shortcake, a hot cross bun and fish and chips!
Back to the gym first thing to get back on the "under target" track - much needed in order to "pay" for my weekends.

I am dying to get on the scales to see if I have really lost the 1-1.5kg that I reckon I should have. But I'm going to be strong and wait for the proper date.

One week down, eight to go.

Can I suggest that Mondays are a great day for making a fresh start, so if you're not with the programme, think you were but have fallen off, didn't get around to starting, then start again today. Don't make a big deal of it, just start. Re-read the rules and go for it.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Quick one tonight

Went for the gym this evening...

Managed to offset a relatively big eating day and end up with 130 cals under my target...

Not bad for a Saturday. Roll on tomorrow. Weekdays are so much easier somehow.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Why I couldn't afford a glass of wine

Moose's Fatfighters data for Friday 23rd March for Moose:
Basic allowance: 3,000 cals
Exercise: 270 cals
Total allowance: 3,270 cals (for zero weight loss)
Target: 1,470 cals (for 2st weight loss in 9 weeks)
Actual: 1,600 cals
Balance: (130) cals

1,200 calories is so hard....I have to find a way of exercising every day to buy myself some calories.
Extreme gardening?
Hoovering at a sprint?
Negotiating with Mrs Moose for me to go to the gym when the mooselets are in bed?
Training the mooselets to be my caddy?
Get up early and go for a run?

There are actually loads of ways I could do it. I'm going away to drink water and think about which one (or more) I'm going to go with tomorrow.

It's important to have an appropriate strategy for every single day of the week. Not every day is the same and we shouldn't treat them the same. If we try to apply our weekday strategy on a Sunday we are setting ourselves up for a tough day. However, if you have a specific Saturday strategy that works with your Saturday schedule, you are so much more likely to stick to it and find it easier.
Don't be afraid of having a strategy - it's not rocket science but simply a case of being prepared for what might be thrown at you and thinking ahead about how you would cope.

My strategy for the weekend is to head for the fruit bowl every time I'm hungry. I'm going to forget about formal mealtimes completely. We normally have fish and chips on a Saturday night - I've yet to work out what to do, but I think probably eat the fish, a very few chips and then do loads of peas to go with it. Yogurt and dried fruit will be my other stand-by's.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Piggy piggy porker

Boy I've pigged out tonight...the biggest meal I've had all week - pasta and sausage/lentil/tomato sauce. I feel really bloated and I didn't stop when full. And yet I'm still 300 calories below my target total for the day. So for once I don't have to feel TOO bad about pigging out.
In the past, not counting the calories, I would have felt bad about it and lost motivation. I would have then had a bad day tomorrow rather than just starting all over again. That's why I believe it's so important to KNOW with certainty your approximate calorie intake.
When I say about being obsessive I really don't mean weighing every foodstuff and counting every single calorie, but I do mean making a decent estimate to know whether you are 300 calories over or under your allowance. Or 3,000! I guess that's where the points systems of WW and other competitor "Fatfighters" clubs come from - they are decent approximations and much easier to count up.

Four days into my 9 weeks and I've theoretically lost a kg already. Not that it feels like that with the pot belly I've got just at the moment! I was noticing today at work just how loose the old trousers were feeling...pretty soon I'm going to have to punch a new hole in my belt.

And there's a new series of House to be watched at 9...knocks Hotel Babylon off top spot for a Thursday night. House, or as my sister-in-law calls it "Doctors walking in corridors"'s true. I can't watch with her around because she shrieks with laughter every time it happens and I miss important diagnosis dialogue.
If you are bored tonight and want something to do to fill time, watch House with a stopwatch and time how much programme time is taken up of shots of Hugh Laurie or other doctors walking in corridors discussing's been estimated that in some episodes it reaches one third of the total air time!

Moose's Fatfighters data for Thursday 22nd March for Moose:
Basic allowance: 3,000 cals
Exercise: 770 cals
Total allowance: 3,770 cals (for zero weight loss)
Target: 1,970 cals (for 2st weight loss in 9 weeks)
Actual: 1,660 cals
Balance: 310 cals

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Exercise is king

Well today shows the importance of exercise. I've been pretty good all day - OK I could and should have done without the Jaffa cakes - and only had 1,460 calories all day, not many by moose standards. But because I wasn't able to do any exercise today (too tired this morning and a quick trip to Addenbrookes tonight with a mooselet with suspected but probably not appendicitis) I was over my allowance. I would only needed to have done 15 or 20 minutes hard exercise to have balanced it off.
But the last 3 days seen together I'm still under and I'm not going to get down about it. I'm also well under my allowance for no weight loss - so I'm still losing. But I have stopped eating now though...determined that no more calories will pass my lips except for the milk in a coffee I'm about to make.

Mrs Moose and the mooselet are still at the hospital checking with more senior doctors that there is nothing to worry about...and I'm just waiting to hear any news.

Moose's Fatfighters data for Wednesday 21st March for Moose:
Basic allowance: 3,000 cals
Exercise: 0 cals
Total allowance: 3,000 cals (for zero weight loss)
Target: 1,200 cals (for 2st weight loss in 9 weeks)
Actual: 1,460 cals
Balance: (260) cals

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

How dumb?

I just had to laugh tonight at the news that Mexican guitarist Rodrigo Sanchez has been denied a US visa allegedly because he has a similar name to another Mexican who is wanted by the US State Department. How dumb are they?

But then it's easy to laugh at the Americans...

At the same time, we'll give a passport to anyone. Ten thousand fake ones issued including two given to wanted terrorists. How dumb are we?

Maybe Rodrigo Sanchez should change all the dates of his tour and come to the UK instead. As a fugitive from justice in the US he should be able to find lots of like-minded people here that will flock to see him and hear him play.

Moose's Fatfighters data for Tuesday 20th March for Moose:
Basic allowance: 3,000 cals
Exercise: 1,100 cals
Total allowance: 4,100 cals (for zero weight loss)
Target: 2,300 cals (for 2st weight loss in 9 weeks)
Actual: 1,860 cals
Balance: 440 cals
Weigh In (start): 111.2 kg

Monday, 19 March 2007

Right. That's it. This time is going to be different...

I've had an interesting morning. It started in the gym with the thought that maybe I should do a "Lose a stone in 10 days" crash to get me started. So despite being a little late out of bed, I did some gym stuff (couldn't afford the 3 hours but then who can?)

Arriving at work, I had breakfast - the bacon and egg sarnie but without the bread. I guessed I could just forego those calories.
I then set out to do a spreadsheet, as is my wont. I looked up the Nutrition Data website (free calorie and nutrition info - highly recommended) to remind myself what my daily calorific needs are and to calculate the extra calories my morning exertions had bought me.

And my conclusion is this - Losing a stone in 10 days is impossible and/or extremely unhealthy.
I guess I knew that anyway. The reality is that I'd have to eat 5,700 calories less than my normal daily allowance of 3,100 every day. This can be reduced by exercise of course. I was in the gym for just over half an hour and burned 500 calories. Let's assume you could do 2 and a half hours of exercise - that'd be 2,500 calories. If you ate ABSOLUTELY NOTHING by my reckoning I would then have minus 100 calories left each day to gorge myself on. How many negative calories do tissues have?

So instead I have resolved to try and lose 2 stone (well actually 13kg) by my birthday. Since it's my 40th I thought it would be good to try and lose it before I'm too old!!! (I know it's possible if you're older but don't tell me that - it'll take away the incentive to do it now.)

I have 9 weeks. That allows me 1,200 calories a day PLUS any I burn through exercise - so today's allowance is 2,100 calories (I went back to the gym for a swim this evening - another 400 cals burned). The protein content of my breakfast (plus a few more coffees and some fruit juice) kept me pretty full until much later when I had soup for lunch. I nibbled on some chicken after the swim and then had my aparagus and rocket spaghetti tonight (very reduced amount of spaghetti and hardly any parmesan). A total of 1,600 calories and 500 towards the target. Theoretically that's about 60 grams of weight loss. Theoretically.

I may even bore you guys every day with my progress - some form of public accountability might just help. I promise to summarize a lot more in future!

So can I please ask that all virtual snacking on the blog remains healthy and low calorie. Celery, crudites, soup etc are all allowed. We can then have a big virtual splurge on my birthday to celebrate. Although, if we continue to follow the 20th of the month rule for OAMCs, it might just have to be a real splurge!

And now an invitation...would anyone care to join me with a target and public accountability?
I reckon we could all encourage and help each other to actually do it this time...

(with apologies to those of you that just don't need to join in...)

We're doomed! (you'll have to imagine the scottish accent...)

We were pondering over what the likely projections for this country are.

Sadly, we could only come to one conclusion. All the people who do all the valuable work that we don't value as a society (doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers etc etc - no offence meant if I've missed any...) will at some point get fed up and go somewhere else where they are valued (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France etc etc - no offence...).

These are also a group that make up a decent sized proportion of the ever more ignored majority of normal people who follow common sense thinking. As they leave, the likelihood that we will ever get things changed will decrease. Today, we appear to have about an 80% majority and they don't seem to be able to get their way. As it drops to 75%, 70% whatever, how will it become more likely to change?

So what to do? Bale out and leave ourselves? Stay and keep trying to change it? Hope that a change of government will precipitate the changes necessary? (Don't hold your breath on that last one...none of the changes of government of any colour have done so in the last 30 years or so.)

Maybe I'm just a doom-monger (well somebody has to be.)

Talking of doom-mongering, just a reminder that the OAMC is tomorrow in Covent Garden. Please let me know if you're coming... comment on here, on the OAMC blog, e-mail, however you like.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Time for a new image

I have decided that today was the day that I should begin brushing my antler velvet towards the right. It's nice to have a change now and again, and I find that spring is a good time for a make-over. I thought people wouldn't notice, seeing as how the velvet really is quite short and it makes little obvious difference which way it is brushed.
But I've been getting comments all morning.
I fear it may be making me look like a girl moose.
Or that people will think I've changed my political persuasions.
Maybe I'll get on BBC Breakfast where they can have an in-depth discussion about it.

Update: I was in a 3 to 1 discussion on climate change last night. Apparently there was a program on BBC4 recently that "showed" that the CO2 changes FOLLOW the temperature changes and don't cause them. Something about sunspots and volcanic eruptions producing more CO2 than a population explosion of Chinese coal-fired power station engineers could make in a million lifetimes. I guess the way I think about it, the stewardship thing still holds...if these guys are right then we'll just have to satisfy ourselves that we did a good thing that didn't save the planet. And if they happen to be wrong...

Another small update. Confession time. Indirectly, I have discovered that I will in fact be donating to CR. Mooselet #1' s school appear to have put on a special day for his birthday, where the kids are allowed to not go in uniform if they donate at least £1. So he's going off to school in his party gear (no time to go home and change...) and giving over his couple of quid. Which of course came from my wallet.
Ho hum. Still, on an average basis, I've now done my bit since CR raises a whopping £1 from each man, woman and child in the country or £5 per person that will watch tonight.
Good job for the other estimated £7 billion annually given to charity (2003 figures) - that's about £120 per person. 40% of people give nothing at all in the average month. Another 30% give something but less than £5 per month. 25% give between £5 and £50 per month and 5% give more than £50 per month. Just a bit of perspective...

But to be fair, it is indeed £60million or so that people probably wouldn't give otherwise and it does do a lot of good. And I'm sure a lot of the celebs involved are in that top 5% of charitable givers. So have fun tonight if you watch, have fun if you don't.

I expect to spend my evening getting paint off my fur and tattoos off my antlers. I'll probably spend it regretting the number of sausages, crisps and bits of cake that I ate. And fussing in front of the mirror trying to decide whether to stay with the left to right velvet or switch back.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Stewardship and Instrumentality

After a lot of ranting and joking on the subject of climate change and recycling and the environment generally and thoughts about favourite words, it occured to me that a small, serious word on it was necessary to bring my mind back into check.

The earth was created as a home for us and we were given stewardship over it. Stewardship is a pretty old-fashioned word these days but I like it. It has a serious tone about it, a real sense of responsibility. Something has been entrusted to us and we have both the duty and the ability to look after it. A bit like our own bodies and our kids. We are instruments intimately involved in the welfare of the planet. And we can choose to be instrumentally positive or instrumentally negative. However small an instrument (apparently size doesn't matter...?!?)

There really is no argument about each of us doing our bit. It doesn't really matter whether everyone else is doing theirs or not. It shouldn't change our attitude whether China builds a new power station this week or not. George Bush (or we could even wait for Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton) signing up to emissions reduction targets would be a great thing. Our government and oppositions getting together to agree policy to reduce emissions is laudable. But whether they happen or not, none of it changes our own, individual duty, responsibility and ability to do our bit and to try and persuade others to do theirs.

So I for one will continue to recycle - including paper because I'm not convinced that the entire life-cycle does prove that it's better not to bother. I will continue to drive a diesel car because I think that the increased fuel economy outweighs the other more harmful elements in it versus petrol. I will think very seriously about where I fly and how often. I will even seriously consider carbon offset programs - even if they don't completely offset, planting more trees has still got to be a good idea, hasn't it? I will continue to be annoyed by excess packaging. I will continue to try to get a local organic veggie-box delivered (the village is too small and they won't come to us unless we sign some others up). I'll continue to use home delivery for my shopping rather than individually drive a 20 mile round trip to do it. I'm still pleased the mooselets were in cloth nappies.

And I will buy a motorbike because it's even more fuel efficient (even a BMW...) And I will fight to get Mooselet #2 into the same fantastic school as his brother because then we'll drive less miles on the school run.
Ooops, those last two slipped in there...
Maybe they aren't quite so altruistic - even though they are true.

The truth is what we all do matters in so many ways. More, we matter to other people, we matter to the earth and the environment and most importantly we matter to God. Every single one of us out of all 6.6 billion people matters.

Our choices determine not only the state of the planet for our kids to inherit but also the well-being of our hearts and souls. Practising appropriate stewardship and recognising our responsibility and instrumentality are good things in themselves and I'm all for them, even if they don't save the planet.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Is it me?

...But why do we have to make such a big show of giving money to charity? Call me a curmudgeon, call me a grumpy old man, call me whatever you like. For I know I am going against the flow and most likely find myself in a minority of one. I'm probably about to offend some or all of you so stop reading now if you want...

....Ok, you asked for it. Brace yourselves, but I just don't understand Comic Relief and Children in Need. I find the evenings themselves tedious beyond belief. If there ever was anything good on the TV (unlikely for a Friday night) then it's cancelled for this rubbish. And it's all just such a waste of time.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for charity and people giving until it hurts. We have it far too easy anyway. But why do people have to sit in a bath of beans to get us to donate 50p? Another 50p will get some long-haired bloke to shave his hair off. Just tell him he looks terrible anyway (sorry but they usually do) and get him to give the 50p to charity as a thank you for letting him know and saving him years of future embarrassment of looking like a twat.
And if some so-called men want to get their legs/arms/chest/back shaved then they should just do it, wear their wives dresses and high heels, put on some lippy and a wig and be proud of it. Don't hide behind the old "I did it for charity" excuse if you are really a closet transvestite.

Why do we find it so difficult to just give the money quietly, without any fuss and bother, and then get on with our lives? Set up a direct debit so the charity gets a regular flow of income (they can usually function better like that). Instead of using the time we spend having our parties, pushing people around in supermarket trollies or watching the dreaded CR does Fame Academy, go and use the time for something really worthwhile.

And celebs...don't get me started on the celebs. Too late!!! Even before we knew that some of them get paid for hosting these tediously banal events, I question why someone as rich as them thinks that the best thing they can do is present a show, sing a song and dress up or whatever. These people have loads of money. Together, they could eclipse the donations that all the little people make in a flash and not even notice the dent in their bank accounts. The ones who get paid for it don't notice that they've been paid for it, allegedly, so they wouldn't notice some money flowing out. Or would they? Do they have so much money precisely because it's "easy come and nothing ever, ever goes"?

I will not be watching on Friday. I will not be donating to Comic Relief. Nor to Children in Need. I never have and I'm not going to start now. I will not be sitting in a bath of beans. I will not be having my back waxed or shaved (even though it could probably do with it...). I will not be singing a song on the TV (I used to think that my lack of singing ability precluded this anyway but that clearly is no longer a relevant criterion). I don't like the Vicar of Dibley and couldn't care less if it's the first or last episode. Peter Kay is funny but not worth enduring the other crap to wait for his bit...I can probably watch it on YouTube within 24 hours if I want to.

Why can't we, just once, have one of these events where we all just say nothing. Do nothing. No beans, no waxing strips. Just cheques, direct debit forms and wads of crisp cash in collection boxes. If anyone tries to say anything about it, just hush them up gently, shake your head and move on. A giant NON-event in aid of charity.

I'll tell you why not. Because we wouldn't raise as much money. And I find that very sad.

Monday, 12 March 2007


...if Tony Blair had David Cameron arrested to stop him campaigning against him
...if anyone had dared to say that Henry VIII wasn't fit to be king (oh they did - look what happened to them!)
...if everyone made decisions based on being taxed £12m for not destroying the environment
...if businessmen were regularly abducted here
...if we were told by North Korea and Iran that we weren't allowed to have nuclear energy

It's a funny old world!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Great Expectations

So, imagine that you are expecting something bad to happen. You spend your day with your mind going over it. You try to steel yourself for it. You try to prepare for it. You ponder over ways around it, avoiding it, confronting it. Eventually you get yourself ready for it. You are resigned. You are prepared.

And then it doesn't happen. The bad thing just doesn't materialize.

You should be ecstatic. You should be grateful, thankful. Even just happy.

But you're not. You resent the pain and torment that you have been through unnecessarily. You feel robbed of the self-righteous reaction that you had been planning and looking forward to.

All of a sudden you have nothing. You are left with nothing to rail against, nothing to vent your frustrations at, nothing to justify your feelings of anger and despondency.

So you implode instead. You are grumpy and moody and those close to you can't understand why you have this reaction to the bad thing not happening. They begin to wonder if you think the bad thing is bad at all or whether you actually think it's a good thing. And the potential positives of being grateful and thankful are completely and utterly lost. just goes to show that it's expectations that are the killer in anything. Get them wrong and all sorts of wild and wacky things can happen. I'm trying to work out how I get the expectations straight.

Saturday, 10 March 2007


Why are people sycophantic?

There is one school of thought that people try to fill the emptiness of their own lives with what they perceive to be useful things from outside themselves. They build up a kind of worship relationship with the supplier of these things and sycophancy is born.

Some people's view of religion is similar. The God that they believe in (or have created for themselves) becomes this supplier from outside and the worship/sycophancy relationship kicks off.

In the modern world, there are more and more people who have rejected religion but without giving up the very human tendency towards the sycophantic. They therefore create a need to find an alternative object of their sycophancy.
The most common object for this is some form of "celebrity". It can be a radio DJ, a television presenter, a sports star, even an entire football team or a soap program.

What can happen next is as varied as the individuals concerned.
Common themes are:
- planning lives around these people's "appearances"
- feeling part of their lives and feeling that they are a part of ours
- going to extraordinary lengths to see them, follow them
- a reduction in attention to the other parts of our lives in order to accommodate the celebrities

So what's the way out if we are caught up in the sycophancy?
In observing people that are distinctly NOT sycophantic I have observed the following traits:
- they are incredibly busy living their own lives
- a large proportion of their "busyness" is focussed on others
- they are very private people
- they are very aware of their priorities and constantly assess and readjust them
- they are often very outspoken about celebrity
- they are unaware of who many celebrities are

Consider the following sliding scale as an example:
1. You have never heard of "Comic Relief does Fame Academy"
2. You have heard of it but never seen it
3. You have heard of it, seen a little of it, but don't really have any idea who any of the "z-list celebrities that can't sing" are
4. You have heard of it, sometimes have it on in the background while doing other things, and you know who 3 or 4 of the celebrities are
5. You have heard of it, always watch it, you didn't know who a few of them were at the start but you do now
6. You plan your life around the BBC1 episodes. It is "can't miss" TV. You have a favourite, opinions on who will win, who should win, and you vote occasionally.
7. As above but you vote regularly.
8. As above but you not only watch the BBC1 episodes, but also the BBC3 behind the scenes, you vote so regularly that you have RSI in your texting thumb from the frequency of voting, you talk about it at work every day with your friends.
9. As above, but you've also started watching other programmes that the "celebrities" are in as well - Eastenders, Casualty, Blue Peter. You've started to lose sleep worrying that your favourite might have a sore throat or was a bit nervous on their last performance. You wonder if there is anything you could do to help. You try and find an e-mail address that you can send an offer of help to them.
10. You write about it in your blog.

I'm a 10 - what about you?

Friday, 9 March 2007

Go gently with me...

Ow. My head hurts. Can you please keep the noise down to a whisper...
I'm not entirely sure what happened last night. All I know is I don't feel too good. You'd better ask McCrumble - he was driving.
I am off now to drink a bucket of coffee and lie down somewhere in a dark room. I'll try to be back for lunchtime.
As it happens, I do have my Cornish tartan shirt on today, hope that will be OK...if I'm still unconscious at 1, just take it off me.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Back to Boston

I am determined to actually get on and do some writing today. Too much planning can be a bad thing. I've done enough now and it's time to get back inside the lives of my characters. More Bryan and Katie today I think. Well, there's nothing else to do...

...Check out the OAMC blog for new and reminder details for March/early April dates...

...and prepare for the inaugural Moose McCrumble Enterprises Ltd Board Meeting tonight.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


Maybe I'm not cut out to be a writer.
I've spent today trying to create two character profiles for Katie and Bryan. Some of the stuff came easily...Bryan is a 6 feet 2 Texan Adonis with blond hair and blue eyes, lean and strong from all the rowing. Katie is 5 feet 8, also blonde (what else?) who wears a lot of surfer chick chic.
It's when I get to some of the other more personality based profile questions that I start to struggle. I manage to make things up but I have less confidence in my convictions that the answers I have are believable and recognisable. I need to understand more about real people and their answers. And I couldn't think of anyone more real than my virtual friends.

So I thought, if it's Ok with you, to try and get a bit of free research. Don't feel obliged to answer any or all of the questions if you don't want to...reveal as much of yourself or as little as you like. Or go for an anonymous post if you'd like to.

What would most embarrass you?
What is the worst thing that could happen to you?
What motivates you?
What makes you happy?
What makes you sad?
What is your best personality trait?
What is your worst?

Monday, 5 March 2007

The alternative 10 steps to happiness

Call me an expert if you like...

1. Plant something and nurture it - preferably marijuana
2. Count your money at the end of each day
3. Take time to talk - use an hour a week to chat up good looking members of the opposite sex
4. Phone a friend that you have not spoken to for a while and scream at them for not being in contact - it's good to release the tension and if you haven't spoken for so long they can't be that good a friend
5. Give yourself treats whenever you feel like it even if it takes all day to enjoy them
6. Laugh all day every day, no matter what happens
7. Get physical - have sex at least 3 times a week
8. Smile, say hello to a stranger and then stalk them for at least an hour while grinning inanely
9. Throw your TV out - and buy a 40" widescreen HD with surround sound instead
10. Spread some madness - have a funny turn every day

Is risk worth the risk?

It was sad to hear of the girl that died while walking on Dartmoor. On the radio this morning I heard an outdoors-type person defending this type of activity, on the basis that if we don't give our kids risk in a socially acceptable setting, they'll go looking for it in a socially unacceptable setting. I have to say I'm inclined to agree with him and I want the mooselets to do outdoors stuff. Not necessarily the highly dangerous but dfinitely hiking, camping, canoeing etc.

This morning made me stop and think. It's all very well in a theoretical, sociological and altruistic way to advocate these type of risks. But I wonder whether the girl's parents feel that the risk was worth it?

If one of the mooselets ends up being involved in an accident while doing these things, will I still feel the same? I think I will, but until you've been there, I don't think you really know.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Sleep glorious sleep

Well I think I made up for the last 2 nights....I hit the sack at 9.30 last night, and despite being awoken a number of times during the night by various restless snuffling children, have slept well. The 7.30 on a Saturday morning was actually a joy this morning, ready to get up, make a coffee, switch the laptop on, and I feel ready for a day of washing, de-cluttering and whatever else gets thrown at me.

Have been litening to a debate on childhood obesity on Five Live- doctors are now treating 3 and 4 year olds. I think maybe I should take the mooselets along for malnutrition treatment. Not that they were malnourished last night - they got the remains of my sausage/lentil combo and after some persuasion ate it all.

Hoping the weather gets better later so I can throw the boys out in the garden for some running around.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Friday, 2 March 2007

It's all about learning

When your WORK bucket is full after it's been empty for a long while, you kind of forget what it feels like. This week, I've fallen back into a bad old habit. The last 2 nights I've done something I used to do a lot but have essentially stopped doing. I fell asleep on the sofa, TV blaring, until about 2am.

Work - prep for a Board meeting on Monday - has left little time for other things this week. The compulsion to even switch my laptop on in the evening, let alone write anything, has deserted me. I am back to the simple male compulsions of food and sleep when I get home in the evening (2 out of 3 ain't bad). As you know, the food bit for me demands my time in cooking and cleaning too. While my sausages in lentils with sweet potato mash were absolutely delicious last night (and I'm not the only one to say it, so it must be true!) it was about 9.30 when I'd finished eating.

I remember Hotel Babylon finishing. I even remember thinking that it's not actually very good so why do I like it? It's not Life on Mars is it? I remember the news starting. Then all I remember is tidying the kitchen at 1.30am, feeling like a dog, making an unnecessary packed lunch for the mooselets (at least I know what my tea is tonight!) and going to bed. There was a moment just after my head hit the pillow, head thumping, that I thought I was in for an honorary membership of the insomniacs club, but fortunately that didn't last long.

So now, two coffees and a bacon and egg sandwich into my day, my prep is just about finished, I'm waiting for the boss to give the go-ahead to send the papers out, and then I'll be back to normal with nothing to do.

This week I've tried to fill some time gaps with some more uplifting and valuable tasks. Today will be my third mentor meeting of the week. The other two have, I hope, been useful for the mentees concerned. Even if it's just for them to know that someone cares.

I also learned some stuff. I learned that the things I've been working on lately aren't anywhere near as secret as they should be. I learned that some of my efforts in my previous work life are appreciated now I'm not there any more (the graduate scheme appears to have imploded without my sponsorship - a sure case for schadenfreude! - I said they'd miss me when I was gone!). I also learned something about buckets.

I now need to learn (or rather remember) what it is that snapped me out of my sofa slumber habit and do that again. It might be as simple as blogging. Switching the computer on keeps me more alert so that I don't go all soporific. It also keeps me upright as it's difficult to type lying down. And switching the laptop off some time after 10 is also a great cue to switch everything else off and go to bed.