Monday, 26 June 2017

Flirt Friday This Week

My phone contract expires tomorrow and I haven't got my next phone...FUCCKKK. After two years of pissing and moaning, now that I need to get organised and move on from this ridiculous handset and contract I haven't done. Anyway.

Come out on Friday night! Yes, I know you'll be tired but you'll wake up when you get out to Mambos. It's a good chilled out start place with good music, and the perfect launch pad before Flirt at nearby Birdcage. It's a bit of a random shout- a little different to Spinningfields or the likes of LIV or Panacea- but the last time we went it was a good fun night. Nine of us in Cool Bars are going. Join us!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

I finished for Annual Leave last week on Wednesday.

The previous posts have any notable info on the start of the week, so I'm going to dive in with the Thursday just gone.

I read Star Wars: Rebel Heist, a four-part comic I bought at Oldham Comic Con back in May. Each part signed by the author Matt Kindt, the story tells of a rebel fighter coming face-to-face with the legendary Han Solo, some time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It's darker, grittier and more evocative than the films- the story hints at the smells and gut feelings of the characters, with less cartoonish characters and more storm troopers chasing the familiar main characters down darkened city alleys. Each part focusses on a different main Star Wars character: Solo in the first, then Leia, then Chewbacca and finally Skywalker. Star Wars nerds would lap up the intermediary story that enriches, but never treads on, the original movies.

A few of us met in Be Impossible Manchester, the new bar occupying the unit on Peter St that formerly housed Bar 38 and, briefly, Purity. No Twitter yet.

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Trendy upbeat bar on the ground floor, alpine lodge with fur-draped couches on the upper. Unique and slightly weird, but appreciatively so. A new outfit for the unit, which has been empty for around half a decade, has been long overdue, so to see it finally open is a great improvement to the street. Existing outfits like Sakana will see some competition, and nights out in The Albert Hall and LIV have a new starting place. I bumped into the Socialite staff before I headed over there, so I'm not the only one with that idea. I wasn't drinking but Impossible seemed to have a decent cocktail menu and back bar. Keep your eyes peeled on Meetup for a trip there in the near future.

Saturday: I dropped in on Heart for Art in Sale and got my first tattoo at their fundraiser. The Manchester Tattoo Appeal is still going strong, raising money for the families of those who died in the recent Manchester terror attack.

I got there early and beat the majority of the queue, and chatted to an Australian girl while a live band played outside. We were given a colour and number, and before long my number was called and I got this straight on the shin:

Not as painful as I expected, although years of Muay Thai deadening my nerves may have been a factor. I still nearly bit through the wooden spoon I brought with me though. Great work for a brilliant cause. I'm really happy with it. Advice from the staff: let it breathe, but keep it out of the sun for a week.

Back at work tomorrow. Oh well!

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 décor
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.)

Monday, 5 June 2017

Book off Wednesday!

This week get using your annual leave. You'll need Wednesday off. Come party with Manchester Cool Bars in Tiger Tiger tomorrow night. Taboo draws to a close this month as the students are soon to go home, so the weekly Tuesday night doesn't have long left. Young hot people, no chavs, great décor, a busy three-floor club and, of course, drinks deals.

I realise Manchester is perhaps not people's first choice for nights out at the moment but I'll reiterate- don't be intimidated. We'll still enjoy ourselves. Hard Rock Cafe from 10pm!

Something is planned for next week too- have a look on Meetup...

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Avoid Grill on the Alley

Another blogger has told me that the staff at this Ridgefield St venue, just off Deansgate, don't wash their hands as often as they should. Just passing the info on. Regarding the restaurant, we follow each other on Twitter but I have no other affinity. Never been.

Also Manchester Cool Bars had a great meetup in Panacea last night. Will be back.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

What is the best smartphone for combatting memory difficulties?

I've so far had three smartphones, and my contract on the third is due to expire in a few weeks. I honestly can't wait to get off the Windows Lumia 640 as the handset and operating system has many drawbacks, particularly if you have memory difficulties but also for people of any ability.

The Windows mobile has an awkward operating system that makes it difficult to find information, its store it lacks key apps like Snapchat and ColorNotes, and also it's unlikely to have apps for local businesses. Health restaurant Kettlebell Kitchen, in Manchester, has an wards scheme that is run through the smartphone- provided, of course, you're either on Android or iPhone. There's no Windows app. Other apps, for instance mental health assistance tools (See Mind's list) are also lacking on Windows. The web radio apps aren't as good as Android's and Whatsapp has a sinister black background, in contrast to Android's grey.

But anyway, about memory. The advantage of a Windows phone is that OneNote, the notetaking system, allows for the incorporation of pictures with written notes, a huge benefit when you're- for instance- photographing DJs and you can't remember who's who. Or photographing anyone. Putting pictures into notes with text alongside it has been a benefit that, as far as I was aware, Android's Colornotes couldn't do. But Colornotes was easier to organise, simpler to find your latest notes, or most recently updated.

The Android system also didn't arbitrarily shut down apps as you're using them.

That said, I've found the Windows calendar easier to update and quicker to set reminders on. These two advantages are all I can offer for Windows phones, but then, it's been two years since I was on Android. For all I know, Android has closed that gap.

What was I on before? I started with an HTC Wildfire, a decent Android phone for its time with a 5mp camera and a 3.2' screen. It was light and compact, and did what I wanted. £20 a month for 1GB data. But HTCs fell by the wayside, smothered by iPhones and the like.

After this I stepped up and shelled out £27 a month for a Sony Xperia P, another Android device with an 8mp camera and a 4' screen. This also came with unlimited data, meaning, among other things, I could stream whatever radio station I wanted. The key advantage of this: if I needed information on something, no matter what time of the month it was and no matter how much I'd streamed radio or video, I could still go online. I never had to battle with dodgy TfGM public transport wifi, I could get on the Meetup app (which is rated an adult site, so transport companies wouldn't let you get on it) and I never had to tether to upload videos, meaning there was no accidental forgetting to do so and whacking out 3/4s of my data at the start of the month.

After this, cutting a long story short, I ballsed up and ended up on Windows. This is my final few weeks of this contract. I'm going back to Android, and to Sony Xperias, as soon as possible.

But which one? Look at the range. If all 21 are on Android they'll have a similar setup to the Xperia P. The only specific thing that strikes me as important is the low-light front camera, available on the XA Ultra. As someone who hounds Z-list celebs in dark, overpriced nightclubs, it's important that- if I can't get someone to take the pic, I can get a decent selfie without sending myself and said-famous-person temporarily blind. And I stress, important.

Other than this, as long as all the Android apps are still available, and as long as the camera is better than 8mp, It'll do for me. Question is, which of these is best for holding info? And which is most affordable? And where can I buy this outright and unlocked? And, finally, which is the best sim-only contract? These are just a handful of queries I have. I don't want to find myself, once again, roped into a 24-month contract where I'm paying through the nose and receiving very little in return.

I'll return to this subject for the next #psychologysaturday blog post, where hopefully I'll have made a decision.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

I met Team GB's Nicola White in my local gym

Tuesday night: standard gym session at Oldham Sports Centre, only I recognise someone doing kettlebell swings at the back of the room. It's only Oldham's Nicola White, Olympic gold medallist from Oldham!

She was kind enough to stop for a picture. 

She told me she was living in London these days, but was back in Oldham seeing family. Being an Olympic athlete, she explained, she can use council gyms across the country for free. Her mum, working out with her, took the picture.

I mentioned how I was on the edge of my seat in the hockey final against the Netherlands. That penalty shoot-out was intense. Check out Ms White's equalising goal halfway into the match. Bosh!