Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Titus text / film review; 2000AD review

Second hand bookstores are full of surprises
Like the Arden Shakespeare's version of Titus
Andronicus, which I found near the Printworks,
As far as shops go, believe me, I've seen worse,
But I've seen much better when it comes to guide books,
I was pretty let down whilst reading Titus
I had a flip through, and I thought, wait, what's this?
All this description but no synopsis?!
No character profiles to set the scene,
No chapters investigating the play's main themes?
Even the scenes are void of summaries
Leaving me feeling annoyed at what's in front of me
Most of the meaning would have been lost on me,
Were each page not with a comprehensive glossary
To Arden's credit, the level of detail
Gone into explaining Shakespeare's most feared tale
May do more than just raise an eyebrow,
To some of the meanings I was just like, wow!
And all of the footnotes were on the same page,
So I didn't have to page-flip, which would take days
Shakespeare did more than just penning the verse
It seems he also invented the words!
Before the play's official composure,
There was no record of the word 'closure,'
At least in the sense, if you can comprehend,
Of a problem that now has come to an end.
If you really want to understand
A Shakespeare play, without it getting out of hand
Skip the Arden text, believe me you'd best know
You're better off sticking with York or Letts Notes.

To figure the play out, I thought I'd drop in
On the '99 film starring Anthony Hopkins
As if the play wasn't weird enough,
It starts with a modern-day kid in a huff,
Out of control, smashing up his kitchen
When- SMASH- a horde of ancient Romans blitz in,
They travel back in time to a Roman amphitheatre,
And there, the film begins to adhere to
The original structure of the Shakespeare play
But at the same time, and in a weird way
Partly nineteen-fifties d├ęcor
With Cadillacs and jazz and a Roman emperor
And hectic violence that's harsh and disturbin'
The set design makes me think of Baz Luhrmann
The time period gives a metafiction feel
And the whole attempt is messily surreal
What was the point of the kid from modern day?
What was the director trying to say?
And who can deny that Shakespeare's shittest play
would inspire, and I'm sorry, for this I've got to say,
The worst film on Anthony Hopkins' CV?
I'm surprised I didn't turn off the TV!
Despite the murders, you no what's most distressin'?
The kid doesn't even get back to the present!
I don't care if it's based on Shakespeare,
'The film is shite' is the message you can take here.

Still on lit but with a change of direction:
Please refresh with a little inspection,
Oldham Comic Con took place in May,
And I decided to show my face on the day
I found a free comic almost straight away
Placed near the entrance of Oldham Library.
I thought I might make a purchase maybe,
But I didn't have to with this 2000AD!
I was a fan of the Judge Dredd movie
(The '95 version, so go ahead, sue me)
But I've never actually read the comic
So this week in the sun I sat out and got on it
I'm not a huge fan of the comic book form
But what surprised me, what was different to the norm
Is that comic stories are faster paced
And can be told succinctly in the frames that have been placed
So rather than a written tale taking ages,
A whole narrative unfolds in 6 pages.
2000AD can celebrate 40
Years of blending fine artwork and story.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

No More Chocolate Take 3: Results!

Fuck it. Let's get back on it.

A month ago I started a THIRD attempt to give up chocolate. Well, I managed. No chocolate bars, no hot chocolate drink, no chocolate-covered food or cake, and very little of any other junk food. I started the project at 76.6kg.

Guess what? I put weight on. After skipping in the sun all day yesterday, then ending with a gym session, I was 80kg (12'8). I've been exactly this weight a couple of times before, but never above 80.1kg I think. I've not binged on fruit, I've eaten more nuts, more veg and only 2 takeaways all month, that I can remember. I've done numerous skipping sessions outside (resulting in shocking sunburn despite lotion), I've done an endurance project at the gym which took 7+1/2 hours, and yet I'm STILL a fat bastard. This makes no sense.

To my credit, I did get down to 76.2kg, and I beat a few PBs here and there.


Dips- 65 (5 more)
Leg press- 170kg (10kg more)
10 min row- 2263m (74m more)

I may as well go back to eating chocolate again, or try fasting.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Has Anyone Seen Senator Angus King and Bruce Forsyth in the Same Room?

One is an American politician and attorney from Maine, currently sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and at present sitting on the ongoing Sessions Hearing. The other is a British TV entertainer with decades of media work under his belt. But which?!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A Few Resources on Psychology

I've been making a list of ideas for #psychologysaturday blog posts, something I'm committing to doing every week. One idea is to share with you a few resources that may help if you're looking into learning more in that area. Here are seven examples of information and advice relating to psychology. Share others in the comments!

The lastest psychology findings with reports on experiments happening across the globe. Fascinating stuff. Has a search function and categories for the different areas of psychology study. Has recently removed their comment function, so I removed it from my blog's blogroll.

A similar outlet with more of an assistive slant. The site has links to help you find a therapist (in America) and to help you get help (see their top bar). Has a comment function but does not allow you to link back to another website.

If you've read Neil Strauss' bestseller The Game, you'll have heard of David DeAngelo, the Robert DeNiro lookalike who was somewhat of an antagonist in the book. His techniques were the first that I found when I started researching advice on women in 2007. I subscribed to his emails, and a lot of his advice related to psychology- how we can change our mentalities and behaviours to develop ourselves. It took a few months but it certainly pushed me on a few steps. Dare I say it: I was a virgin until I read his info.

The Psychology Book

A Dorling Kindersley book which traces the major psychological findings throughout history. Will probably answer a few questions about your own mind that you've been wondering for a while.

Teach Yourself Psychology

A much smaller but still highly revealing book about the science of the mind, and how it affects the major areas of our lives (psychology in the workplace, child psychology, etc.). My mum has had my copy for many years. Keep meaning to get it back!

Men's Sexual Health

Metz and McCarthy's short guide is more than a description of STIs- it's about being healthy, both physically and mentally, in order to have a good sex life. Fascinating and reassuring.

The New Male Sexuality

Bernie Zibergeld's guide to sex, for men, is a must-read for all adult males. A bold statement, perhaps, but the detail that goes into the book revealing the major problems men have with sex and how to combat them- mostly by deciding on a change in mentality- is incredibly detailed and simple to understand. Again, hugely reassuring.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Socialite on Thursday Night! Taboo Moves from Tiger Tiger!

Club LIV has outdone Alchemist with their crazy unique cocktails.

Book off Friday immediately! Manchester Cool Bars are headed to Socialite, Club LIV's Thursday night party. Hot young people, hip hop and the odd reality TV star, probably. Drinks deals and cheap entry. Very popular. It's also the only decent night I've found on a Thursday, so we might as well.

Join us in Sakana from 10pm.

ALSO: I've just received this Facebook message for party organisers Taboo:


Taboo will no longer running at Tiger Tiger on Tuesday's (sic) as we've found a new home.

Stay tuned for more announcements

They're keeping schtump for the moment. Is it too early to be at History? Probably, considering the venue isn't even built yet. As soon as I know, you will too.

Gossip? Hints? Tweet me.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

I'm homing in on a new phone and contract...

My contract expires on the 27th! Goodbye O2 and goodbye Windows handsets. So. What's next? I'm keen to get back to Xperias, for their usability, their Android system and the fond memories I have of the P. There are a lot of options, though, for the Xperia's current-day counterparts. It's time to think price and features. Which of these do I go for?

As mentioned in last week's #psychologysaturday post, the XA1 Ultra has the 16MP low-light front camera, great for club selfies with celebs. It's a good a reason as any. It's the only handset in the range advertised as having this feature. The Ultra, on sale in the Sony Store at £329, is available a little cheaper if you shop around. Eglobal Central UK has it at £205, a suspiciously low price from an obscure outlet, but trusty Argos offers the Ultra at £278-284. I'd need advice on how to handle this. Having memory difficulties, there will always be some aspect of the phone-buying or contract-buying procedure that I won't register, and the last thing I need is another 2 years roped into a contract and handset that don't suit me (cough cough, Carphone Warehouse).

The next issue: I need a contract. A SIM-only contract that's cheap and gives me a plentiful amount of data. I was hoping for unlimited, but the cost of such contracts have gone through the roof in recent years. In 2012 I got a 24-month unlimited data deal with Three, for £27pm, something Carphone Warehouse told me I couldn't get. On Three's site, it's still listed. This is, however, SIM-only now.

A few friends have suggested Giffgaff,  the contract-free network provider. The £20 goody bag, with unlimited data, is tempting. Their customer service has a bad rap, though, although many say they've never had to use it.

A problem for people with memory difficulties: The people who are experts in mobile phones are the people who sell them. The people who are experts in memory difficulties are either NHS psychologists (some of them, a least) and charity workers like the great people at Headway and Ways to Work. I haven't found anyone with the combined knowledge of the two. The closest person to that... might be me.


Or, it might be you. Tweet me if you can help me, otherwise the only person advising me will be the technological rock and lifeline in my life, my amazing dad.

Friday, 9 June 2017

I Just Spent Seven and a Half Hours at the Gym.

Oldham Sports Centre, where I spent pretty much the whole of Wednesday

No, I am not on the juice, before you ask. I was making a vain attempt to get my body weight under 70kgs for the first time since 2010.

I started at 1.30pm by weighing myself. On entering the gym I was 76.8kgs, 12'1. I followed this with a 10-min warm-up on the cross trainer, and an hour of heavy weights. Fairly early on I set a new PB on leg press, 170kgs. I'm confident that if I focussed on this movement I could make serious gains quite quickly. I then upped my dips record to 65, another movement that I could improve on if I dedicated myself to it.

I ran through pretty much every machine in the gym, including resistance machines, free-weights and cardio machines- in that order. I wanted to keep my strength for the bigger weights, then rep out with kettlebell swings and the punch bag, followed by battle ropes. These movements are muscular but used more for endurance than strength building. After this I moved onto a series of ten-minute cardio movements, and ended with a long slog on the cross trainer.

Throughout the day I ate nothing, putting only water into my body. Adrenaline will keep you going once the food in your stomach is used up, and fat burning I understand takes place normally after 90 minutes of working out.

I decided against using the pulley row from now on. After a conversation with another gym-goer it seems there's too much inclination to move my back, putting most of my body into the rowing action. This will result in damage eventually. It's too hard to keep your back still when you get to the heavier weights

Although this project was about fat burning, I still, as mentioned, wanted to improve strength. During the day I still tried to beat some PBs, something I've not really focussed on in the last few months. Here are the results:

170kg leg press, extra 10kg
65 dips, extra 5
10-min row 2263, extra 74 metres

I was impressed that I still had the strength to do anything notable on the cardio machines as I'd pretty much worn myself out on weights, or so I thought. But I slogged on half dead 'til I was kicked out at 9pm. I walked out at 76.2kgs, 11'14. 600g (1.3lbs) down.

There were a couple of movements that I didn't try yesterday- box jumps I didn't have space for, and 60-minute cross trainer I didn't have time for, for instance. If I'd have got there earlier I could have fitted them in, but realistically I wouldn't have beaten PBs on them and I would have gassed earlier. For the last couple of hours I was in a daze trying to make anything happen. I was running on empty.

It as also my plan to make use of the sauna and steam room facilities, and even the swimming pool, but I typically forgot to bring swimwear. I'd probably have sank like a goddamn stone anyway after the gym.

It was perhaps not the most successful gym session. I've lost more than that in the cardiotone classes that OCL run every Thursday, which lasts an hour. It might be worth trying to pencil in a few more classes to my routine throughout the week. (It also helps if you don't reward yourself with a massive portion of chicken and chips at the end.)