Filed under: creativity, cycling, life, politics, Rants, science, Scotland, stories | Tags: drug cheats in sport, In pursuit of Lance Armstrong, lance armstrong drug cheat, Lyceum Edinburgh David Walsh, The Lyceum
David Walsh is nothing like the pompous, arrogant Sunday Times sportswriter that you might imagine sportswriters for aggressive newspaper groups in search of the scalp of the world’s greatest sports cheat, Lance Armstrong, might be.
David Walsh is a man whose son died in a cycling accident, coincidentally, aged 12 yet went on to be a great lover of cycling, and sport in general.
Tonight, in Britain’s most beautiful theatre (The Lyceum in Edinburgh) Walsh, acknowledging its humbling beauty, told the story of how he went out to get the lying cheat that is Lance Armstrong. And won.
It was an epic tale presented without a single note and narrated for over an hour.
And it pressed every one of my “Why Lance Armstrong is unforgivable buttons.”
Walsh eloquently argued why Armstrong not only used his cancer as both “a shield and a sword” but that his use of Growth Hormones before his diagnosis probably accelerated its invasiveness.
He made reference to the many, many people that Armstrong inhumanely took out, completely ruthlessly, in pursuit of the self preservation of his entirely false achievements.
He defended Sky and Wiggins as doggedly as he vilified US Postal and Armstrong.
And he did it all calmly, reflectively, convincingly, powerfully.
Please God. Tell me Walshy’s not on EPO.
Filed under: family, food, life, science, Scotland, stories | Tags: 50 for 50, campbells meat, complex carbohydrates, Cube Hyde, food combining, food combining diet, low carb diet, mark gorman, mark gorman think hard, nike, Nike Plus, Pete and mark.wordpress.com, pete the meat, peter Flockhart, rachel Apppolinari Fund, steve appolinari, think hard
My friends on facebook will be aware of the challenge my next door neighbour, Pete Flockhart (aka Pete the Meat) and myself set ourselves in the depressing dog days of 2011. Both of us had piled on the weight in the last couple of years as a result of lack of exercise, overeating (or eating the wrong stuff to be more precise) and over drinking.
We’re both 50 in May, ten days apart in fact and the prospect of our local GP carrying out rectal examinations whilst lecturing us about our obesity was too much to contemplate.
So we decided to set ourselves a challenge.
We’d both lose 50 lbs by our 50th birthdays.
Our good pal Doug Cook offered to design us a campaign logo. This is it…
And we set up a blog to follow the journey.
We’ve dramatically reduced our alcohol intake (bar a few binges).
We’ve put ourselves on really good diets. Pete’s a bit heavy on the rabbit food but I’ve been following a food combining approach which consists of Muesli and fresh fruit for breakfast, salad with lots of protein for lunch and a good mix of protein and complex carbs for dinner.
No pies, no crisps, no sweets, very few, virtually none in fact, simple carbs (white rice, white bread, white pasta, potatoes – in fact none of any of them in a month), no butter, reduced fat (the one cal spray you can buy is excellent), no chocolate, no biscuits, no visits to Greggs AT ALL.
And of course, the exercise. I have a Nike Plus wristband which acts as a GPS device, pedometer and calorie burn measurer which is calibrated (extremely accurately I have to say) for stride length and distance walked plus weight.
Our regime has been walking 2 out of every three days across the Forth Road Bridge and back. That’s about 5.7miles (9km) and we have a slightly longer route that’s 7 miles (11km). In January I walked 190km ( 118 miles) and Pete was about the same. However I’ve also recently bought an amazing, really really amazing, new bike – a Cube Hyde Pro – that’s carried me 200 miles in and out of town this month.
We’re taking the opportunity to raise funds for two very deserving charities as we go and you can pledge your support here if you’d like to help us. They are the Rachel Appolinari Fund which has been set up on behalf of a young girl, a friend of my family, who died, aged 19, of a brain tumour at Edinburgh neuro-oncology unit at the Western General Hospital. Her Dad and sisters have already raised £50,000 for the hospital in Rachel’s name. The other (Pete’s choice) is the Chest, Heart and Stroke Foundation in Scotland for obvious reasons. I hope you will support us.
The results are encouraging.
In the first month, which ended today, I lost 22lbs and Pete lost 30lbs. That’s 9% of our combined body weight. Our BMI’s have tumbled but there’s a long, long way to go and to be honest 50lbs may have set the bar a little too low.
We realise the easiest bit is over and we really do need to dig in now, but we’ve been saying that since the end of week one in which Pete lost a staggering 16.5 lbs, so maybe we’re striking the right balance.
A big thing about this, to my mind, is the value of attempting a challenge like that with others. Doing it solo is very difficult indeed. So, to Pete the Meat, Slainte! Onwards and upwards. Together we shall prevail!
Anyway, follow our exploits here. You can sign up for updates on the left hand side of the blog and please support us as best you can.
Filed under: creativity, gardening, science, Scotland, stories | Tags: Amorphophallus titanium, botany, Corpse flower, Royal botanic Gardens Edinburgh, scottish botany, titus arum
Have you been following the progress of this beauty?
You can keep up to date with it here.
I’ve had my eye on it all summer.
It’s called Amorphophallus titanium which roughly translated means absolutely ginormous penis. And it’s growing right here in Edinburgh in the Royal Botanic Gardens’ greenhouse. Currently it is progressing by 10cm a day and when and if it flowers it will have been the first to do so in Scotland and is a very rare happening when cultivated.
Have a freaking look at this. (A specimen cultivated in Stuttgart)
It has the largest “unbranched” inflorescance of any plant in the world which roughly translated means it has humungous flowers.
And the best thing is…it smells like a rotting animal. Hence its common name “the Corpse Flower”.
Best get your ass down there for a look.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, books, business, family, football, gardening, golf, Hibees, humour, Jeana's Gardening, jokes, life, movies, music, photography, politics, science, Scotland, sports, stories, theatre, tv, work | Tags: 1576, 2008, 60 watt, adrian jeffery, amadou and mariam, david reid, did lazarus dig, Ferry Fringe, Golley Slater, Graphic Partners, greenferry, Hibees, Hunger, mighty small, national theatre of Scotland, no country for old men, Poppyscotland, snailbooty, spider online., Story, stv, Suntrap Garden, the black watch, The lyceum Theatre, Traverse
As I head off to enjoy the Hogmanay celebrations it’s time to bring the 2008 blog to an end.
Looking back on the year it was a good one overall. No-one got hurt. Nobody died. We had several achievements as a family. I continued to pay the bills. Barrack Obama got into power.
My blog has hit 340,000 views in the year. Considering I only had 31,000 in 2007 that represents reasonable progress. I hope you enjoy it. And those of you who read but never comment, come on, open up a bit in 2009.
The Hibees were a joke in 2008. Very dissapointing in many ways, in fact Scottish football, full stop, came crashing back to earth after the heady highs of season 2007/8. Our clubs in Europe were pitiful and they became unrequired viewing the more the season progressed. Celtic are unbelievably bad and yet they are easily the best team in this country. God help us.
As The Hibees set off in pusuit of the Scottish cup for the 106th time since we last succeeded we face Hearts in Round 3. That could be a momentous occassion and who’s to say we won’t do it, after all we only EVER play good football when we are up against it. Last week against Kilmarnock totally summed Hibs’ season up… 2 – 2 at half time at home against only 10 men and we lose 4 – 2. That’s unprofessional.
Work was very rewarding and I enjoyed helping out Pete and Iain at 60 Watt in particular, in tough times it has to be said. I also won fabulous projects from PoppyScotland and The Black Watch. My work with the SMA was challenging but I’m pleased with the way it has developed. I suppose the event I led at Parliament in March has to be a professional highlight, but working on behalf on the industry can be soul destroying when people back off. I also did a lot of work with Golley Slater for which I am very grateful and ended the year with a hatrick of new commissions for stv, Ampersand (a stable of Advocates – yes indeed) and Whitespace. During the year I also enjoyed projects with Corporation Pop, as a mentoring programme for nmp, and have been asked to do more work with them in 2009. Story, Spider Online and Graphic Partners also gave me work in 2008 for which I am extremely grateful
I was delighted to be made a board director of The Lyceum in September and have taken on a fundraising role for FCT as well as taking part in the FAT Christmas show and rehearsing the 2009 Easter Show which is a ‘Best of FCT’ over their first 30 years. It promises to be simply stunning. I’m also chair of the Ferry Fringe but it is proving difficult to really get this rolling for 2009 despite the commitment of a small core of volunteers. Watch this space.
However, on a sad note, the demise of 1576, the company I co-founded, in February was a real shock and a truly sad moment. I’m glad to report that all who sailed in her appear to be in gainful employment and moving on; including both David and Adrian.
I’ve already crowed about my golf in 2008 which was my best ever and I really enjoyed it. I threw far fewer clubs about but still had my moments.
Amy’s Highers Grade results were very good and she was unlucky to miss out on her English which is focussing her mind as we go into 2009. We’re all desperately hoping she’ll get into Duncan of Jordanstone to study Art and she’s taking a Portfolio Course at Telford to help in that ambition. Here’s hoping.
Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap overtook mine during the year as he went from 21 to 15. He also got a hole in one in August, something I’ve never done, and won quite a few medals – but none of Ratho’s ‘majors’. I’m hoping that when he gets to 14, as he surely will, he will play against me in the men’s medals at Dundas Park. That’ll be really exciting
If he is not an Olympic Champion at X Box 360 by now he ought to be as he has put in unstinting effort. Shame we can’t say the same about his homework.
Ria continued to improve in her gymnastics but the elusive merit continued to evade her, still, she did master the bridge kick over at last and she was brilliant in Perth in November when her first vault was amazing (we’ll overlook the second one shall we?) She works really hard does Ria and that is showing up in really great results and a huge bunch of really nice friends. She deserves them because she is such a genuine young person.
Jeana won yet another award for South Queensferry in the Summer’s Britain in bloom competition with a Highly Recommended award. The village continues to progress under the Greenferry team’s amazing dedication. She also started her own blog which you can find here and whooped with joy about two weeks ago when she got her first ever comment. She’s not far short of her 1,000th view so get reading.
I had a sloppy evening at Cath’s 80th that constituted the Bad Hair Day of the year.
In books Cormac McCarthy’s The Road simply blew me away and was my favourite read.
In music it had to be Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave but I am growing increasingly interested in African Music and Amadou and Mariam’s new album, Welcome to Mali, is lovely. But check out Je Pense a Toi and Dimanche A Bamacko too (the latter is stunning and their best to date).
And my movie of the year? Not my busiest ever year at the movies so it’s hard to choose a best but I guess it was going to be No Country For Old Men (also based on a Cormac McCarthy book) until Hunger (by Steve McQueen) came along. A really outstanding and breathtaking movie.
TV show of the year? I loved Gavin and Stacey, but my most anticipated show each week was Later with Jools Holland which seemed to find a much more interesting mix this year than of late.
Best theatrical experience, amongst many, was my cousin Susan’s show at The Traverse; Nobody Will ever Forgive Us, which was a stunner.
My gadget of the year was unquestionably the sublime Canon G9, what a wonderful wee camera this is. I also got myself a much more muscular beast – a Canon EOS 400D which is fab too and this has been reflected in my continued devotion to Flickr. I love Flickr. Undoubtedly my find of the year on Flickr was Snailbooty. I mean, look what he just posted today. How good is that?
My man of 2008, was unquestionably Barrack Obama.
Best day out was Alton Towers in the pissing rain in July. It rocked.
Result of the year? Terry got the all clear from his cancer and joined me at the School BBQ in June.
Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. Again.
Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.
And so to 2009.
Hibees win the Scottish Cup. (LOL. That is so stupid.)
Tom gets down to a 10 handicap.
Tiger Woods comes back and kicks ass. It wasn’t the same without him.
I win something, anything, at Dundas Park
Amy gets into D of J. (And enjoys it.)
I am healthy throughout.
The FCT 30th Anniversary show is as good as I hope it will be.
The credit crunch doesn’t ruin everything for everyone.
Filed under: business, humour, jokes, life, science, stories | Tags: fibonnaci sequence, maths
I had an intriguing conversation with a very creative friend of mine yesterday in which he explained to me why mathematics and creativity can be inextricably liked.
He introduced me to the Fibonnaci Sequence which is explained below.
It’s a piece of piss really.
Basically 1 +1 =2.
2 +1 +3
3+2 = 5
8+5 = 13
13+8 = 21
21 + 13 = 34
34 + 21 = 55
55 + 34 = 89
11 pints of lager + 1 kebab= spew.
It’s what makes shells spirally.
And web sites boxy.
Filed under: family, humour, life, photography, science | Tags: alton towers, nemesis, roller coaster
Jeez. One thing we did on holiday was visit Alton Towers. Nemesis is a twenty odd year old rollercoaster but it packs a punch as you can see from Tom and my expressions. (Click on the image for a close up.) Tom’s is most telling because he claims to have no fear at all on these horrorfests.
But I do detect closed eyes and pursed lips.
Needless to say Tom and Ria did the lot. I did them all too, Nemesis, Air, Rita Need for Speed – all great but I’m afraid I drew the line at Oblivion.
One step too far.
Even Jeana joined in…
Filed under: family, Jeana's Gardening, life, photography, science | Tags: conservation, eden, eden project
I’ll write more about the Eden Project later, but suffice to say that at the heart of it lies a quite wonderful sculpture of a seed, carved in granite.
It made for a great Carravagio-esque backdrop with a wonderful sultry model.
Kate Moss, eat your heart out.
Filed under: business, humour, life, photography, science, stories, work | Tags: investments, who are they?
I accept that fashion was different in 1978. But really, would you have shelled out mucho mullahs?
But then, you didn’t know that Microsoft was going to rule the world.
Filed under: humour, jokes, life, science, videos, work, Youtube | Tags: dentist, negotiation, negotiation skills, tooth extraction
Next time you’ve got a bit of dental pain and want some treatment you can learn something valuable from this guy’s technique. Good denoument too!
Filed under: life, science, stories | Tags: greenland, Nobel, Nobel science prize, Prof Cary Fowler, seeds
You probably heard about this guy’s life work, setting up a seed store 150 metres into a mountain in Greenland on the news yesterday.
I think this is really a very important piece of scientific persistance and it smacks, to me at least, of Nobel Prize winning work.
The essence of his idea is that all of the world’s seeds are collected in one place; in theory, at least, the situation is immune from earthquake, nuclear war, global warming’s greatest extremes and power cuts.
One can never know the potential value of this, but it is hard to underestimate.
Good on you mate (and the Norwegian Govt).
It’s hard to take people with you to do what is the right thing.