Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Return to the City of Doom

It's been exactly a year since I left the rat-race, but now that my cheese supply is running dangerously low I find myself in that horrible and dreaded position of being forced to sell myself to the system, to once again enslave myself to 'The Man'. I have half-heartedly sent my CV to a recruitment agency and have applied for a couple of roles directly.

I went to my first interview yesterday. Two things really struck me. First, there was the familiar smell of the London Tube system (the eau de toilette of the working man), and then there was the Pret-A-Manger, the choice feeder of the hungry masses of worker ants. I jumped in to a Pret to while away an hour before my interview, and to escape the intermittent rain showers: this place provided my nourishment day in, day out, when I was a working man. The trusty egg mayo sandwich was my staple, and then, for those special occasions, there was the grand humous and grilled vegetable sandwich.

Am I ready to step back in to this way of life? I don't know. It may kill me, and if it doesn't it surely won't make me any stronger. Is there no way out? I am forever looking for an escape, a secret passage.

Interesting words list

Some interesting words:

Flea injection 1-2-3
Cobra kai

Mr Jiggery
Mr Pokery
Give your address there
Give me your mattress

This list is ongoing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sly Stallone

Wise words of nutritional advice, from the man who gave us Rocky and Rambo:

'Anything with a face, that's what I eat, with something green next to it'

Friday, March 17, 2006

Hypoxi spacemen

If my local gym is anything to go by, the new fitness gadget of the moment is a machine that makes the user look like a cross between a diver and a space man (think Neo in the Matrix when he was wired up to a pod, acting as a human battery). The 'hypoxi-training' system has proven results, is created by an Austrian scientist, and has glowing testimonials.

I think the pipes do a combination of pumping air and collecting sweat, and because the suit is very much like a diver's suit, people using the system will no doubt be producing a lot of sweat. Losing lots of water is a sure way to lose weight and give users that 'instant' result. Of course, you'll put this weight straight back on after a few drinks. As for the fat loss effect, the machine uses air pressure to 'suck blood directly in to the fatty tissue', apparently accelerating the burning of fat. I'm sceptical. I'm not saying it isn't beneficial to use the machine but I just can't see it being around in a year's time. Fancy machines and gadgets come and go. There is no magic bullet solution, but hard work. Now give me ten press-ups!.

Westwood goes mainstream

Good news for fans of Tim Westwood. This Sunday, the big dog will be presenting the Top 40 countdown on Radio 1. His message to competitors: 'All you other charts, pack up your bags and go home.' My sentiments exactly.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stick fighting

What a treat. I am happy to report that I have recently discovered the long lost art of stick fighting, a kind of martial art for the English gentleman. Judging from the pictures and text below, carrying sticks and being attacked by other people with sticks must have been quite common at the turn of the 19th century. Oh, if you need to contact me I am just popping off to the local stick shop to acquire a suitable stick for my person. You will be able to find me in my garage, practising the various techniques described below.

In Pearson's Magazine in 1901, E.W Barton-Wright, published an article titled 'Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions'.

Barton-Wright assimilated the knowledge of stick-fighting it a system, and he called it 'Bartitsu.' Here are some of my choice sub-headings, related quotes and pictures from the article.

With the proper grip of one's stick, the author says 'In this way blows can be made so formidable that with an ordinary malacca cane it is possible to sever a man's jugular vein through the collar of his overcoat.' Serious stuff, eh!

Heading : Double-handed Stick-play -- Showing the Best Way to Handle with Two Hands a Stick which is too Heavy to Manipulate Quickly with One Hand, when Attacked by a Man Armed with a Light Stick.

Heading : How to Defend Yourself, without Running any Risk of being Hurt, if you are carrying only a Small Switch in your Hand, and are Threatened by a Man with a very Strong Stick.

Heading : Another Way to Defend Yourself when your Adversary is Armed with a Stout Stick, and you are Carrying only an Umbrella or an Unreliable Cane.

Heading : A very Safe Way to Disable a Boxer who Attempts to Rush You when You are Armed with a Stick

Under this heading, '...the man with the stick anticipates the move, and bayonettes the boxer in the heart before the blow can fall. As his stick gives him a longer reach than the boxer's, he runs no danger, and the strong, upward thrust with the stick should completely incapacitate his adversary.' A direct blow to the heart? Jeez, that would sure teach any boxers not to try and rush you again.

Heading : A Safe Way for One Man to Disable Another when both are Equally well Armed with Sticks.

Heading : One of the Safest Plans of Defence for a Tall Man to Adopt, who has not much Confidence in his own. Quickness and Knowledge of Stick-play, when Opposed to a Shorter and more Competent Opponent.

Heading : How to Defend Yourself with a Stick against the most Dangerous Kick of an Expert Kicker.

Heading : One of the Best Ways of Knocking Down a Man in a General Scrimmage, when there is not Room to Swing a Stick Freely.

Heading : The Safest Way to Meet an Attack with a Spiked Staff or Long Stick when you are only Armed with an Ordinary Walking Stick.

Heading : An Effective Way to Defend Oneself with a Hooked Stick when Attacked by a Man Armed with an Ordinary Straight Stick.

Once you have your assailant in a suitable position, 'The assailant is then at the mercy of the man he has attacked, who can choose any part of his body on which to administer punishment.'

Heading : The Best Way to Disable a Man who Tries to Rush You, and get under your Guard, in order to Prevent You Hitting him with a Hooked Stick.

When you have pulled him down sufficiently far to prevent him recovering his balance quickly, let go your stick, and seize him by the shoulders, as shown in photo No. 4, being careful to keep your feet well out of reach of his hands, so as not to give him the opportunity of throwing you backwards. Then, with a sudden jerk, pull him forwards, and simultaneously jumping close into him, strike him with your knee in the face.
It is necessary to be very careful when practising this trick, as the slightest blow with the knee in a person's face is sufficient to break a nose and several teeth.

How to Use a Walking-Stick as a Weapon in a Crowd.

A very Simple Way to Protect Yourself with a Hooked Walking Stick against a Boxer.

After having using your hooked stick to pull at the boxer's ankle 'Having so hooked his foot, pull his legs apart, and bring him to the ground, when you can apply the stick where and how you please.'

Heading : Another Way, when Armed with a Light Cane, to Disarm and Overpower an Opponent who carries a Superior Stick.

Heading : One of the Best Ways to Meet a Direct Attack upon the Head with a very Heavy Stick when Armed with an Ordinary Stick.

In the conclusion the author comments that 'Besides being a most useful and practical accomplishment, this new art of self-defence with a walking-stick is to be recommended as a most exhilarating and graceful exercise.'

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crash gets Oscar

Last night, my favourite film of 2005 received the Oscar for best picture. This is a thoughtful, fast paced and well acted film. I'm also happy to report that King Kong picked up three Oscars for sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.

A few years ago, it looked liked Hollywood was headed down the road of making derivative, formulaic rubbish and it was a disheartening period for movie buffs - the plus point being that it forced me to venture out in to the wonderful realm of world cinema. We still have to deal with offerings like Big Momma's House 2 (yes, they made a sequel!) and Date Movie, but films such as Crash, Syriana and Goodnight and Good suggest Hollywood may have turned a corner.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

ATM horror forces realisation

I spend several weeks carefully scrimping and saving only to go and leave £50 at the ATM, for the next man to pick-up. By the time I realised what I had done, I span my car around and raced back to the petrol station (where the ATM is), but it was too late.

I will fight til the end but I am getting the horrible feeling that I will soon have to go back to work. Alas, my retirement may have been somewhat premature.