Category: Gym

Life Before Shazam

How did we identify songs before the mobile app Shazam? Well you would have to remember a key lyric in the song, ideally the chorus. In most cases you would just have to record those words to memory, rather than write them down as a note in your smartphone. We are talking about the pre-smartphone era, so before the middle part of this decade. I can recall many a time searching for lyrics in Google, hoping the correct song with artist name and song title would appear in the results. Ideally the official music video, which you can then watch on YouTube. In modern times, there is no need to go to such great lengths.

While in H&M in Westfield yesterday afternoon, I heard a song come on the in-store radio system. Instantly I thought the artist was Rihanna, the song had her signature vocal all over the thumping beat. I could even make out what I thought was the title, War Child. I was actually wrong on both counts. I opened up Shazam on my smartphone and identified the song within seconds. It was actually called Wild Child by Australian prodigy Elen Levon. On tagging the song and artist, I quickly share this information with Wunderlist, my To Do List application which records the details under a section called music. Wunderlist has been a revelation for me as a “list” person. Available as an Android app, Windows app and online via the web, I can see my to do list wherever I am. I have a long list of songs I have heard on television, radio or just out and about and need to download.

Over three years ago, in the same store but in a different city, I heard a song but had to wait until I got home to work out who it was by and what is was actually called. Life is so different in this world of instant gratification. I am in my office gym this morning and have listened to the song six times back to back. To be honest, I am glad to finally give my music collection a refresh. My gym playlist has been very stale of late and at time become very repetitive. My podcast diet has been reduced down to mere two weekly podcasts, both from the Beeb. I no longer have the luxury of a two hour commute each day to fill with radio goodness. Listening to Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com on BBC Radio Five Live, while on the treadmill and I try to listen to the Let’s Talk About Tech (the Joy Of Tech was considered too risqué a name for the BBC and although the file name is still referred to by the old moniker) every Monday as that is recorded on a Saturday evening. I tried one of the American gym workout podcasts, GetFitPod last week but just could not get offer some cheesy American DJ, Skip Orem trying sooth me from his warm studio and I’m sweating it out on the rowing machine. I gave up (on the podcast not my workout) after about ten minutes. I did not like his choice of music in any case. Never trust a man with the name Skip.

Shazam can even save the tag, if no internet access is available at that moment in time and identify the song once you are back on the grid. As was the case in point for a song I had tried to identify in HMV a little later on this Saturday afternoon. It was not until later I could identify the song (while identify another song) that the artist was The 1973 – Settle Down.

Vital Statistics

My trials and tribulations in the gym have been well documented. What many people do not know is my first attempt at gaining some fitness actually started over a decade ago. Under peer pressure from my new group of Uni friends, I joined the local gym on campus. I recall a rather funny induction with my friend and flatmate Sippy. The DMU Leisure Centre was a short walk away from our halls and membership was a mere thirty pounds for the academic year. However, the induction was the one and only time I actually went through the doors. A moderate fail but finding the time and discipline to go to the gym was not compatible with my lacklustre life as a student. Particularly as I worked weekends in my first year at a petrol station the other side of city.

In January 2002 just before the second semester of my second year, I joined Fitness First on a pay as you go contract. Based a good fifteen minute drive away from my student digs, around the corner from the soon to be opened Walkers Stadium. I did slightly better than the DMU Leisure Centre. I think I managed three visits before the end of the academic year. In July I started my sandwich placement based in Bedford. The closest Fitness First I could find was in Berkhamstead on the route home. I managed one session here, before realising it was too far out of my way to be worth considering as a viable option. Instead I opted to go to the Fitness First in Uxbridge at weekends, predominately Sunday mornings. I believe I managed around six to eight (I very much doubt I broke into double digits) visits before finally terminating my membership. The irony is that a Fitness First finally opened in High Wycombe, at the Wycombe Retail Park in December 2005. A little too late for me.

There was only one conclusion. I was not a gym person. I would not be breaking out into a sweat at the gym like many other people and I would have to find other activities to keep an active lifestyle. The reality was I was not unhealthy and perhaps a little underweight rather than overweight. All that changed almost exactly four years ago.

Since starting an active gym programme (that is signing up to a gym and actually attending on a regular basis) I have been a member of four gyms and switched over to my fifth, EasyGym this Thursday evening. The concept is similar to any other EasyGroup business. Strip down a business to the bare essentials and charge for all the extras. Rather than a flat membership which encompasses classes, sauna, spa and swimming, have just a two tier pricing model. Basic gym membership or classes and give the member the option to pay as you go for the classes and upgrade their membership should they wish to. The best part, no long term contracts, no excess joining/admin fees. A low cost charge every month I have to admit was the main draw for me, even though this gym is based in the town centre and a further walk away than Montem. I have never used a spa, sauna or swimming pool (I cannot swim) at previous gyms, so these extra are just wasted on me. I created my profile online on Wednesday evening and on Thursday had to have my index fingerprint scanned for the entry turnstiles. This was 2012! :)

I met up with my personal trainer Kas and went down to the office for a twenty minute interview on my goals and aspirations. I then booked in my fitness test for Saturday 11am. I knew the results were not going to be easy to stomach but I had to start over again and even though you have probably heard it many times before I am dedicated to actually getting myself fit this time around. Too often in my gym programmes I have got complacent and just coasted along on the same regime for months (even a year) on end!

Sometimes the only way to face the reality of your situation is to get some hard facts. Weighing myself and having my BMI (body mass index) on paper. I am technically obese believe it or not (even by .6 points)

EasyGym - Body Statistics

Back in the Gym

I have a confession to make. A subject I have been avoiding for some time. The sharp tools in the toolkit out there nay have noted my lack of discussion on this topic , on Facebook but also predominately Twitter! My last session at the gym was way back in mid December.

How do I explain the three month break? Particularly when I was making good progress and feeling very active? It was my proposed move to Swindon towards the end of last year. Rather than sign up for another 12 month contract, or be tied to any long term commitment, I cancelled after the first year, so I could join a new gym once I had moved home. When this purchase fell through, I came up with an alternative plan.

Inspired by the new year, I downloaded RunKeeper Pro (free for the whole month of January) on my HTC Desire to log my runs. I would start running several evenings a week. On top of this, I also had a exercise bike at home and use of a VFit Pro Ab Crunch device. The ethusiasm was there to back up these rather ambitious ideas and on Monday 3rd January (a Bank Holiday, but I had to work due to lack of cover at the office) I came home and quickly changed into my running gear and headed out the door. I lasted a mere five minutes and twenty four seconds. The stats and map from that particularly disasterous run have been private until now. You can see the results for yourself, but to defend myself I was just not in the position to start running, particularly as I have tended to avoid the treadmill during CV sessions at the gym. My breathing became difficult and I felt a slight stitch in my chest, so stopped after less than half a mile, turned around and headed home. My family were surprised I had come back so quickly. I did not think my new fitness regime was going to last at all.

I had been right, even with the exercise kit staring me in the face throughout the days, I have failed to really take any of them up. Sure there was a few weeks when I carried out hundreds of abdominal crunches, but these alone were not enough. I left myself drift and it was not a good looking sight. While, I admit overall I am a skinny person, I have developed or rather put on a pot belly (which I will refer to going forward as my spare tyre) over the past six months. I believe the slippery slope started as soon as I got back from India. I have identified a few of the root courses, but not all. My colleague Fred had moved from his rather blush surroundings downstairs, into my cublicle area and offered up beverages every afternoon around 2pm. I would always have a hot chocolate and this sugary intake did not help. My Mum’s home made food is perhaps the worst offender of my weight gain (in the wrong places). However, I did little to try and combat this weight gain, even the signs became even obvious with jeans/trousers that were much more harder to get into.

Homer Simpson

On Saturday 26th March, after a shopping trip to Southall and Ealing, the decision was made. It took a long and emotional heart to heart but with an AR. I would join the gym with Michelle and become her new gym buddy. This was it, with just over four months to go before the wedding we had a target and it was steadily creeping upon us. The following day, I arranged to get to the gym, the Montem Leisure Centre in the greatest town in Berkshire (across from the Slough Ice Arena where the stars train for Dancing On Ice). I got there around midday and waited for Michelle to arrive (to allow her to upgrade to joint membership). While I waited, I was shown around by Rosa, but there was no membership manager on duty (they only worked Sunday mornings) so I had to re-arrange to come in to do that at a later date. I was keen to ensure that the momentum was not lost, so we booked in for Tuesday evening.

The return to the gym on Tuesday evening was eventful to say the least. Michelle was still unwell (backache) but had come along just to confirm the upgrade from single to joint membership. I had got changed, gone through the usual healthchecks (blood pressure test) to ensure I had no underlying health problems that could affect me working out in the gym. I was then off to my own devices, even though I had booked a Kick Start programme session for Friday afternoon at 5pm. My last recorded gym session based on my DailyBurn calendar was Wednesday 15th December. It had therefore been 104 – yes 104 days or three months and fourteen days since I was last active in the gym. I felt it – believe me! I thought it best to just have a quick warm up on the bike and follow up with a session on the rowing machine. The bike was good enough and it was great that each of the CV machines has a TV screen (I started to watch the opening discussions of Adrian Chiles just before the England Ghana friendly – although the reception quality of the TV was close to unwatchable!). The bike I completed easy enough, but it was a good workout for my knees and legs who had not seen this much action in a while. Moving onto the rowing machine was not good, it took me three tries to find a machine with a working computer counter. As I started rowing, I felt the fat layers onto of my stomach moving around. (As Rich at work would point out at work the following morning – very much like Homer Simpson). The last three months “off” had taken their toll but I am determined to not just regain the lost ground but also push up to the next level in the next few months. Or as FlexSingh would say – get out of reverse gear. Time will tell. The gym was busy, and as expected (this is Slough afterall) there were a few rudeboys around – constantly checking themselves out in the mirror. However, I knew I could work out here and get back on the horse so to speak.

I watched some movie trailers with my parents on Monday evening (thanks to the wonderful Apple Trailers Lite plugin on XBMC via my original XBox (ten year old plus) console. We watched the full trailer for Captain America. I, too long for a special chamber, I can jump into and turn me buff like Chris Evans. Check out the trailer to see how he transforms from weedy skinny guy (yes I know it is all CGI) failing admission into the US Army into a superhero with a unbelievable body! I suppose I will just have to stick to Rainier Wolfcastle shouting slogans at me when on the Adominator!

Back In The Saddle

Back in the gym this evening after a ten day break. The reason for this long absence, is two fold. Firstly I was quite ill last week Monday to Wednesday and then by the time I had recovered, I was off for my weekend away in North Wales. There was little chance of me going to the gym on Sunday afternoon, but considering the result, perhaps a good sweaty workout would have been the better option.

It was a great feeling to be back this evening around 5:50pm, by the time I had driven over from Swindon and got changed. It was relatively busy but not too bad for a Wednesday night. The most difficult moment, was bumping into an old school friend at the entrance and starting to have a conversation and leaving it mid-flow. (I will apologise to them later on Facebook.) People say it is a very slippery slope once you miss your first session, you usually add pressure on yourself to make the next session. It can easily become a week missed and before you know, a month has passed. I was keen not to fall into this trap. There was nothing that was going to stop me making it to the Wycombe Sports Centre tonight.

How do I feel? Great! I feel fully motivated to get the ball moving again. I thought it would be difficult to get back into the groove, but it was much easier than expected. Ten days afterall, is not actually that long and my general fitness is not that bad (even though I have been putting on a bit of a pot belly in recent months). I find recording my progress is both a good motivator and way of recording both my achievements and progress. I use Daily Burn. The iPhone interface (the iPhone App is only available to Pro subscribers) is rather fiddly to use on my Desire, so I always opt to update my stats on a good old fashioned desktop.

I am looking forward to a great full session on Sunday morning. I know most of my peers will be tucked up in their warm beds, but I try to get to the gym early on a Sunday morning to make the most of the equipment. (8:30am is too early for most) Plus, it is good to the be able to concentrate on anything else I need to do for what remains of the weekend, rather than have the task of the “gym session” hang over me like a bad smell.

However, I do have a regret to share with you all. Back in May I had the bright spark idea of entering the Swindon Half Marathon with some of my colleagues. While this was initially received with a round of positive responses on e-mail, it did not last. No one, apart from our resident “Iron Man” (regular runner with a local team) was actually bothered. Our super hero had competed in the event previously and only question regarding a relay event earlier in the year had been, “Just tell me how far you want me to run?”. The race was a month ago today and I regret now not taking part – the fact I would not have been ready is not really the point. I feel it would have been the ideal to event to push myself after the challenge of the Bayer 10k. Well hopefully once I am a Swindon resident (sooner than you might think) I can enter some local races and perhaps even join up as the side kick in the running club of my colleague – then again maybe not!

The Gym Xchange: Part Uno

It is 12:21pm on Friday 1st May, as I start this blog post, I am back from what I can only call a legendary session at Pav’s gym. (We were there from 9.30am until nearly midday and I was pushed to the limits of my capabilities.) Not only that but we saw a famous look alike and when I got back and switched on my mobile phone, I had a text from Nuffield. My own gym was closed due to an ‘overnight incident’ in the spa! You could not make this up if you tried.

I heard Em leave the house around 7am and I got up and switched on my phone, it was 7:58am precisely, we were on schedule, plus the sun was shining brightly through the window. Time to get up and get ready. I went next door to wake up Pav, giving him a time check. He commented too on how wonderful the weather was and it was time to get up.

I went downstairs, jumped on the laptop and put on the television. Meanwhile Pav was busy preparing breakfast. This was going to be very different from my usual bowl of Kellogg’s Start. We had a PHd Whey Chocolate Shake, followed by Jordan’s Porridge Oats with honey and brown sugar. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The shake was very sweet and not that thick and went down the hatch pretty well. The porridge was quite thick but still very sweet and edible. I was buzzing a little and ready to hit the gym. Pav meanwhile had to go the extra mile with his BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) tablets, mixed into a Lucozade Hydro Active drink.

I of course had to get online and update the status on both Facebook and Twitter, before visiting my regular blog haunts (for a double hit, as I had not read any from Thursday either!). It felt strange being on MSN on a week day and not being at work. However, eventually I dragged myself away from the screen, got my stuff together and we were off to Caversham. I was really buzzing (even before having a single drop of any of the shakes!). Originally the idea of a gym exchange had been a bit of a chore but now I was looking forward to it so much that it was going to become the highlight of the weekend. I was raring to go, punching the air in front of me and making manly grunting noises as you do (in the company of other men). I had played “Gonna Fly Now” several times from my blog to set the mood. I was all set.

TerryPav serves up!

The gym is in Caversham, a mile or so down the road. We parked in the blazing sunshine of the Waitrose car park and then took the stairs to the gym. (Why do all gyms have stairs somewhere in the equation?). Pav asked about the guest past and we went through to do the bureaucracy There is always form filling but not too much beyond the standard health questionnaire and address identification. Then I was issued with a seven day pass and we were off. Pav gave me a quick preview of the free weights room (we just walked passed it on the way to the changing room). I already had on my gear, so just dumped my holdall into a locker, grabbed my gloves, towel and programme card and we were off. First thing is first, the warm up.

We headed into the cardio room, which was quite small. Time for the weigh in. Ladies and gentlemen, the challenger, Terry “The Feather” Tegala weighs in at 64.5 kilograms. Meanwhile the current champion, undisputed lighter weight champion of the world, Pav, “The Beast” Khural weights in at 75.6kg (A 10.1kg difference) Then we headed up the tight steel grey spiral staircase up to the bikes and cross trainers. There were only two spin bikes free but as Pav walked around the corner, he noticed a cross trainer free with the bike next door free also. I jumped on the cross trainer and Pav jumped on the bike, however, I did a full ten minute work out while Pav did just five minutes but then he was going to be pumping some proper iron in a few minutes times. While Pav did some stretches, I finished off and then the real work could begin.

We headed through the door, down the stairs in the main corridor to the free weights room. It was completely dead. Even though it was legs, shoulders and abdominals day for me, I had to go on the bench press and show my true ten pound credentials. Rather than go into the details of the actual exercises and weights covered, I will just get those that are really interested to head over to Gyminee. Both of our respective locker rooms will have the details of the work outs completed on that day.

As we moved onto our second exercise (squats using the barbell) a big guy walked in. I noticed him and then Pav commented to me quietly, “Terry, Rocky is here”. Sure enough, he did look Rocky Balboa (although perhaps a little younger than the man himself from this most recent movie (Rocky VI). It made my day and all I had in my head was the Rocky theme and Eye Of The Tiger. A little while later Pav needed to use the bar and asked, “Have you finished with the bar mate?” His reply was, “No mate, but I think it’s finished with me!” We both broke out into fits of laughter. He had killed me officially and it was the highlight of the weekend so far.

A little Google search and I found a picture which perhaps closely resembles the Rocky look-alike we met in the gym. Although he was wider than he was tall and was loaded with some big guns (well cannons really).

Rocky Balboa

That got me thinking, what did Stallone look like in his heyday. Could there have been a better action hero in the late 1970s to mid 1980s?

Rocky III

We completely lost track of time, it was 11:45am by the time we left the gym, we were well over schedule. Way over two hours in the gym when we had just scheduled an hour into the original master plan. We got back to the flat, showered and then I jumped online while Pav got the healthy lunch meal prepared. While Pav had been putting his new residents parking permit in the Rover, I received a text message. It was from my gym. It was closed due to an ‘overnight incident’. It was once again that time to update status on both Facebook and Twitter. Reena was online on MSN and surprised to see me appear online on the IM client (now that I am no longer able to access it during the working day). It was good to speak to her and confirm that she would be over late on Saturday evening to collect her laptops. However, the chat was brief, we were behind schedule, I had to have pasta and then hit the road. There was not much time left. So the gym exchange was over and I enjoyed every millisecond. Probably the best gym session I have undertaken in the eighteen month period I have been attending a fitness centre (of some description).

Gym Closed

It was around 2pm by the time we left the house and walked into town. Clear blue skies and golden sunshine, this is the way that days off work should be and the perfect way to start the extended Bank Holiday Weekend. Pav called Em and she was on the train and would be arriving in around 2.35pm, so we decided to go The Three Guineas. (Although Pav had originally suggested The Oakford (our regular haunt) but it was a longer work (now we were in the station) and there were better seating options outside the Guineas. Eventually Em arrived and then we headed down to River’s Meadow.

Rather than go into the details of events at the Beer Festival. I will firstly take you back to my blog post from last year, I eventually got around to writing about the day albeit very briefly on Sunday 4th May. Or for a rather better photographic reminder you can check out the set over on FlickR. (Believe it or not I have uploaded some twenty albums since last May!). This year I left my camera at home, but Pav had his camera and took some great photographs and a very surprising video (taken at 8.30pm). To enjoy those delights you need to be either my friend or Pav’s on Facebook.

We got there around 3pm and with no queue walked straight in, the place was mobbed. Obviously with the weather so good, many people may have thrown a sickie, although that would have been a bit suspect so close to a long weekend and of course I could not condone such behaviour. We eventually bumped into Ben and Charlie, then saw the rest of the group and met up with them. It was good to see Foxy and as usual he was on form again.

We got back to the house sometime after midnight, and I remember finally going to bed around 1:44am, switching off the laptop and content in the thought that the weekend still had three full days to provide. However, as I left the house, looking forward to being back in Wycombe within the hour, my morning was literally smashed to little pieces. I opened the boot to put in my bag and then heard the sound of glass fragments hitting the pavement. Yes, my car had been broken into but nothing stolen, there was nothing worth stealing. The glove box was open but apart from that no real damage. I went back to the house and reluctantly knocked on the door to Pav and Em’s. I would have to disturb their Saturday morning lie in.

Obviously I did not exactly look streetwise cool driving back to Wycombe with a cardboard box taped to where my glass window should be, but I got back in one piece. I had to stop by at the BP Connect up the road, as I was driving on fumes as I usually do. It was around 3pm by the time the glass guy arrived and it was only with the help of a colleague and me providing a drill they got the job done. Then I spent the next two hours (from 4pm) washing the car and getting it clean. It was the first time she was being wash properly for a while. At 6pm, I came in exhausted and it was thirty minutes until the football. My weekend was about to get better, I just did not know what a football feast I was about to witness.

Thursday 30th April 2009

My weekend started early, so while most other people have just a three day weekend, I have given myself an extra day off to make it a super four days off. I left work around 4.30pm and headed back to the flat. I had everything ready packed, so it was just a case of getting changed, doing the dishes and then finally packing the car. It was 16:59 as I got into the car ready to drive to Reading. However, I had to stop by to the BP garage to check my tyre pressures. Then I was on the road, but I was running out of fuel. The computer gave me a range of twenty five miles. The TomTom gave me twenty three miles to Pav’s house. I would make it only just. I was waiting outside the house at 17:52, eight minutes ahead of schedule. Pav was not in and had had to make an unscheduled stop to Tesco to pick up some supplies. He arrived and the weekend could begin.

Pav cooked dinner as we caught up on the week, protein shakes, the plan for the gym in the morning and the rest of the activities for Friday. That is the key comment there, it did feel like a Friday today and maybe not just for me. Em arrived at 7pm and it was good to catch up and find out how her new job was going. We settled down in the lounge for Eastenders and ate our food before heading out as agreed at 19:40 for the cinema. Would we make it in time for Pearl & Dean.

X-Men have never been one of my favourite comic book hero franchises, however, I was forever a fan of the television cartoon series in my younger day and have seen all the movies. Only the third, X-Men: The Last Stand, did I catch on the big screen. I was therefore looking forward to the latest installment, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. While in the hotel in Brighton a few weekends ago, the trailer had come on and Siy had commented that they were truly “milking the franchise”. The only other pre-viewing comment I had received was from Pav’s work colleague, Barry Tuck. “If you wanna see a hairy ripped man running around, it might just be right up your alley”. The film in a nutshell there but after watching the trailer in full at the gym this morning, I was looking forward to the full cinematic experience and not the leaked workprint version. If you ask any X-Men fan, I am sure Wolverine would come out on top as the favourite character. Jackman played the role well in the original trilogy but is given the time to excel here on screen. However, I feel that he could have given more depth to the character, aside from the muscle and anger. Do not get me wrong the movie is very good and Jackman fills the lead role well but I wanted that little bit extra, to find out more about the character. A true test if you will. For a lead role, he does not have a great amoung of dialogue, so there is not the chance to explore the character in the way I would have hoped that the whole notion behind the origins concept. Nevertheless, great fun, loads of explosions, gunfights, chases and escapes. We guys just love that stuff but the story is very good as well, there is a start middle and end and the established link to the first movie. Although there are special effects they are used only when neccessary, the film at the end of the day is about Logan not the blue screen. Sure they has to be a love story and we understand that and many of the questions from the original movies are answered here but then there are many more questions that come to mind. Personally I would have prefered a little more to the backstory of how Wolverine grew up learning to live with his ability, his ‘gift’ and still follow the courageous path. The relationship with Victor is crucial and I would have wanted a better ending, rather than an open ending with no questions answered. If there is no reconcillation, is there truly no place for forgiveness?

Audi R8

Taking a step back in time to Wednesday lunchtime, as the weather was once again so good, I headed to the small garden by the canal. While walking down, I noticed a beautiful car in the car park. Newbury being such an affluent part of the country, I tend to see some glamorous cars about town but this was perhaps the best yet. I had to grab a photograph in the spring sunshine but my E65 does it little justice. I am surprised I have not mentioned this before but in the ABC series GREEK which I watch, the car (purchased by Evan with his inheritance) is refered to as the Iron Man car and not the Audi R8. I never thought it would be so difficult for the American public to refer to a European vehicle by it’s model number and not the movie that it featured in. Although I suppose Paramount do not mind at all and neither will Audi.

After we got back from the cinema, we watched a few episodes of Family Guy (after Em had finished watching Brothers and Sisters). While Pav made the tea, I settled down onto the laptop and started writing up notes and part posts for the blog. I was really looking forward to the gym exchange. I cannot remember the exact time I actually went off to bed but Em had gone up ages and go and Pav wanted to watch the latest episode of LOST, so while he did that I got as much written up for the blog as humanly possible before I could no longer stare at the laptop screen and headed for bed. Tomorrow was going to be a great day. Oh before I forget, I should mention that there was no P&D music at the cinema screening. They went straight into the trailers, the latest Orange Ad starring a very old looking Emilio Estevez. Then it was straight into the movie! Perhaps because it was a Thursday night and the screen was half full.

Friday 17th April 2009

What a week, even it if was only four working days. I now found myself very late on a Friday with 167 things to do before I go to bed. However I feel I should write a quick blog roundup mainly because there is so much going on this weekend I doubt I will find another window. So where do I start, I better consult the few notes I made on Wednesday night. Tuesday was very busy in the office and I ended up staying until 8pm to get some work done. The domino effect being that I missed out on the start of the Chelsea Liverpool match on ITV1. Not to worry but I was just a little annoyed as it meant my TV viewing schedule took a little hit but never mind, I made up for it over the course of the week. So late on Tuesday night I made some food and watched The Big Bang Theory and then Chuck, followed by highlights from the Champions League matches on ITV1. Then just time for some Newsnight before going to bed. I read my book a little before drifting off to sleep at midnight. Wednesday was a new day and a new dawn. The start of my new weight training regime and gym sessions in the morning.

I pulled into the gym car park at quarter past six in the am. I reflected on having to drag myself out of bed around 5.35am to get some breakfast, get ready before heading down. There were quite a few people here already and a queue had formed inside the main entrance. About six people eager to get in, I was pleasantly surprised and it filled up quickly over the half hour I was there. There was only one person on the free weights so I had free roam over most of the kit and got my back and triceps programme completed before heading for a shower and then driving back to the flat. It was a good feeling that I was able to get the gym session in first thing in the morning. More so today, as in the evening I was heading straight over to Bournemouth to catch the second leg of Arsenal versus Villareal with Steve.

I was in a meeting and clock watching. I got out around twenty to six and headed out the door as soon as I could. I got a text from Steve that he had lost his phone. No wonder he had not replied to my last two text messages. I tried to called but it went through to Tesco Mobile voicemail, so instead I decided to call him at his flat. He was there but by the time we spoke I was back at my flat and just checking it was okay to head down to the south coast.It was his girlfriend’s birthday (which typically he had totally forgotten) but he was still going to watch the match. Initially I was going to just stay in Newbury but he convinced me to head down and I did. It was after I had been driving for about fifteen minutes that I got some text messages. He had changed his mind and was going to go out for a meal with Toni instead. I called Steve back but got voicemail again, left a message to explain I was going to turn around and head back to Newbury. The next exit was about six miles away according to TomTom and I was already planning in my head to get some food before heading down to the Hogshead. Then about a mile down the road Steve called and just told me to head down. I wanted to double check this time and he was totally fine with it and I put my foot on the gas. I had left my flat at 18:21 and got into the Richmond Gardens multistory car park at 19:22. Not bad going for a Wednesday night, the traffic had been moderate. The journey itself is not that bad, A43 to M3 then M27 before an A road which takes you right into Bournemouth. I parked in the perfect place and headed into town. I slowly got my bearings, after all, I had been here over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. It felt strange being back and seeing Steve again. We headed to the pub, firstly to Yates (this is where I had watched the Arsenal Newcastle game back in August but it was now closed for refurbishment. So we headed up the road to Bar Vin. They were showing the Arsenal game but on a small screen. The main screen was showing the FC Port ManYoo match. I got the drinks in and Steve found us a spot right underneath the television. Match reports can be read at the Cannon or even the Beeb. Great match and good atmosphere in the pub, it made a good change to be somewhere new to watch the match. Excellent performance and brilliant result. Bring on the Red Devils. However, now it is all eyes on Wembley for the semi final against local rivals Chelsea. Hopefully I will find time to watch the match in between activities tomorrow. I dropped Steve off back to his flat and then drove back home to Newbury, it took about fifty minutes with me arriving around 23:11. Although I should have gone straight to sleep, I could not resist a little time on the computer, just to check my e-mail.

My friend Kev gets married on the 8th May and tomorrow is the Stag do. It has taken some organising, most of it last minute by the best man Jez. He called me on Wednesday lunchtime to just say hello and confirm that it was still planned for the weekend even though dropouts had meant the original venue of Digger Land had changed. We are now going on Bushcraft Survival Course during the day and then out in Brighton in the evening. The logistics mean that Pav is picking me up in about seven hours time (the time is 0:25 as I type this), so I should really be in bed already. However, I have not packed anything or sorted anything out yet, so I feel it will be another early wake up call or I may just not bother going to sleep at all.

My weekend had two distinct start points, the first was when I put on my mp3 player on, as I started to run out of my cul-de-sac. With a burst of energy I headed into Victoria Park. The song I was listening to was Release Me by Agnes. I had heard it before on Scott Mills on Thursday 9th April, as I was driving out of the gym car park for my drive back to Wycombe but only caught the last few verses. A great dance song and ideal for my run. I wanted to cover around five miles but only managed 4.5 (according to Google Maps) but it was in a steady 41 minutes 34 seconds. Not bad and I did not feel that bad at the end, I even thought I could go faster. I need to go out again next week and actually start pushing myself much much harder. I need to complete six miles within the hour which is possible but it will not be easy. The second start of my weekend was when TMF played Lose By Breathe by Destiny’s Child. I knew my weekend had started but I just do not know what is in store for the next forty eight hours or so.

I watched GREEK on Thursday night and as usual Dale got a classic line but I have to say with my current predicament I do feel that there is a lot of truth behind what Rusty says. It is with that dialogue I leave you on his Friday night (now Saturday morning). Hope you have a great weekend. Hopefully try and post again on Sunday. I will also try and send mobile tweets, so just follow me on Twitter.

Rusty: “I just don’t get how easy it is for some guys, like all they have to do is exist and they get the girl!”
Dale: “It’s a gift but heavy is the crown too!”

Sunday 5th April 2009

I am actually writing this post late on Thursday 9th (boy hasn’t today felt like a Friday!) but feel instead of trying to pump all the events of the past weeks into a mega blog post, I should space them out under the dates of when they actually occurred. Everyone knows that if there is a long gap between entries it must mean that Teg has been very busy on his adventures.

On Friday night I decided to watch The Bank Job. Even though for a moment, I thought I might catch up on The Apprentice. I had missed episode two as I had been watching the England World Cup Qualifier on the other side! However, Sir Alan and his band of potential apprentices could wait. I wanted to have some escapism and this was just what I was looking for. Pav had already told me that it was a very good movie. It had been sitting on my hard drive for several months, obtained sometime in November I believe. What Pav failed to tell me was that the lead character (played by action man Jason Statham) is called Terry. Fantastic! The film got going from the word go and had me on the edge of my seat but the first half was over too quickly and the job itself seemed too easy, but then this is just the build up for the second half. It does get a little gruesome in places (although nothing graphic on screen) but the mindless violence goes with the territory I suppose. Every little subplot was intertwined in the ending, with the ending you would have hoped for. It was great fun with some great performances and the fact that it was based on a true story? I would highly recommend it, it has a bit of everything, action, twists and turns, a love story (in parts).

What did I do on Saturday? Well I got up at 9am which is late by my standards for a Saturday morning, had breakfast, cleared the flat and then spent a bit of time on the computer. I then watched Football Focus before deciding how to spend the afternoon, it was a glorious day. I went to the library with the mission of getting my West Berkshire discount card but as I walked in the posters informed me the launched was delayed by five days to Monday 6th. Rather than head back out of the door, I decided to see if I could get a book to read. I know I am already currently reading The Invisible Man but wanted something else, plus it is a short book, I should have it finished soon. As you know I want to read Dreams From My Father by President Barrack Obama but it is still on loan, so while browsing the biography section, I found a book by Gordon Brown. For a while I wondered which author had the same name as our Prime Minister, then I realised that it was by our former Chancellor. So I had come in to the building hoping to pick up a book by one of the most charismatic leaders of a generation, only to leave with a book my perhaps one our most dull grey but effective politicians. The title, ‘Courage’ appealled to me instantly, courage is something I lack. Perhaps the best way to develop such a characteristic is to read about special people from the past who had great courage and learn from them, all the way to contemporaries still having to face the struggle. I took the book out, using the fancy new check out machines and headed back to the flat. The sunshine had meant Victoria Park was packed, it was after all the first day of the Easter holidays for the children, families were making the most of it. The one thought in my head was to vacuum my flat when I got back.

As the vacuums bag had arrived on Friday, I had no excuses, so cleaned all the rooms and then decided to get some food. It was around 3pm, I watched a little of Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News and then decided it was time to watch Sarah Connor Chronicles, closely followed by Dollhouse. During Dollhouse, I fell asleep on the sofa and the last fifteen minutes or so of the episode are a complete blur, so I may need to get a recap at some point before this Saturday’s episode. Meanwhile, during most of the day I had been backing up and rebuilding my friend Reena’s laptop. It was nearly finished on Saturday afternoon, just need to install Office 2003 and then copy back all the personal files, photos and mp3s. I left that job for later on Sunday but I would not find a slot.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful, I spent a bit of time on the computer, going through quite a lot of admin and making a big pile of receipts to shred. Then I watched the last in the series of TV Burp before getting some food. Then it was back on the computer for a while before catching Match Of The Day. I watched the highlights of the Arsenal match but was struggling to keep my eyes open, so I got into bed and then felt awake again for some strange reason and read the introduction to Courage: Eight Portraits. Brown is surprisingly good writer and his personal passion for the subject matter and these people from all walks of life is touching. I will let you know how I get on.

Today I had an extremely busy day. It did not help that I got up later than I wanted. I got to the gym for around 9am, when I had wanted to get there for opening at 8am, complete my weights programme before my scheduled review with Adam at 9.30am. As I was there so later than I had hoped for, I did only a few exercises before meeting up with Adam and hitting the free weights. This is my first ever adventure into the realm of free weights, to date I have avoided them mainly due to the fact that I was just not ready. Matt, the personal trainer at my previous gym was going to give me a free weights programme, but obviously I left Castle Royle before that could happen. Adam here took me through the various exercises, they do not look easy. If I thought my last programme was hard, this was going to be insane. We started with the bench press and barbell, only 10lbs in weights but I think the barbell weights 10kg alone. Four sets of ten on most of the apparatus now. We then moved over to the incline bench for dumbbell lifts 8kg but I may drop down to 7kg, see how it goes. I will not bore you with the full extent of the programme, that you can find over on my profile page on Gyminee. I was aiming to start my programme tomorrow but we ran out of time. At 11am, Adam had to go to see his next client and I had to rush back. I had a very busy Sunday so I could not wait around or start on any of the new exercises. I would try and complete my programme review on Tuesday evening, late at 9pm.

I drove over to the station to pick up Preeti, she had come over to help me do some cooking before we headed over to Iver to see the TV show. The day would not work out exactly as planned but then what does? We went back to the flat first, to drop of some bits before the heading over to the big Tesco Extra at the edge of town, it was midday as we got to the store and we left some fifty minutes later. It was a big shop, loads of items to get, including weighing scales and a baking tray. We then headed back to the flat and got cooking. The menu had changed, we were not making mango lassi now. It was just the white chocolate and mango cake with coconut icing to start, then mushrooms filled with chives and herbs, jacket potatoes and humous! The cooking went well, all things considered. Preeti supervised and showed me how to make a start on a few things. Due to my lack of bowls, we had to build up the cake mixture in two batches but we got there in the end.

SupercookCupcakes

While we had our food, we watched Burn After Reading which has to be one of the strangest movies I have ever seen. Preeti had brought some horror DVDs (still in their plastic packaging) but I turned them down, you know how squimish I can get, even if they are more borderline on suspence than gore. I had seen the opening few minutes before but given up several months ago, so it was good to get another movie off the ‘watch’ list. A great cast and some excellent acting but it all seemed quite pointless. Then again perhaps that is the whole point of a black comedy, there is no point. I mean, come on would a gym really be called Hard Bodies?

At 5.30pm, we headed straight out of the door and onto the road to Pinewood Studios. It took about an hour to get to Iver, Buckinghamshire from Newbury. The backlot has changed a great deal since I was last here in April two years ago. A new roundabout and new entrance, plus an extensive car park. We drove in, were directed to the marshall and told to park right up next to the red Toyota (ignoring the parking lines completely). There was already a big queue but we were here in plenty of time, doors did not open until 7pm with filming starting at 7.15pm sharp. Plus there had been a similar queue for The IT Crowd filming, so was not concerned. How wrong I was to be. We had been in the queue less then two minutes when a member of staff came up to us and about four people ahead, said that no body from that point would be getting in, the studio would be full. SRO Audiences always oversubscribe their events and rightly so, many people do not turn up or with less people than on their e-mail confirmation and nobody wants to film a show infront of half an audience. I was gutted as this was to have been the highlight of the weekend.

Pinewood Studios

Before we even confirmed my name on the list, we decided to head to the cinema. I wanted to see The Damned United but knew it would not get a look in so was happy to see whatever was available. The man with the clipboard came to us in the queue, I confirmed my name and number of tickets and he took note of the details and said he would e-mail us tomorrow. As we headed back to the car, we tried to decide which cinema to go to. The Odeon at Uxbridge was closer but for Vue, it was either tracking back to Reading (not an option) but also Acton. Although initially I was keen on Acton, I realised how much further away it was and having to negiotate around the A40 into the Park Royal retail park, so opted for Uxbridge. It made sense, it was closer. It was coming up to 7pm, and I thought we may have to wait for the 8pm showing it being a Sunday. However we were in luck, Monsters versus Aliens was showing at 7pm and it was in 3D! My first ever 3D experience. No people, not those old fangled cardboard red and blue glasses, I am talking about Real 3D. Yes, you have to wear glasses but the effect is so much better than the old fashioned technology. The film was generally very good and fun. No, it was no Toy Story but it had good elements and it was more of a extra long trailer for 3D animation. At the beginning of the film, there is a moment when a guy is using a padal with ball on string and it appears to be flying towards you. Difficult to explain but well worth going to see.

I got back to Newbury around 9.30pm and then felt a really bad pain in my stomach, I drank some water and went straight to bed. I had wanted to watch MOTD2 and jump on the computer quickly but it was too late. I had to sleep and knew that with a very busy week ahead (albeit a short one) I better get some rest. It had been a great weekend, regardless of a few things not coming together as planned.

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