Monday, May 29, 2017

Me & The Moment

I started writing this last night as I was waiting to see what was happening with the thunderstorms in the English Channel.

As I was spending a lot of time just staring at the lightning detector, I had time to ponder.  I guess I have plenty of time to ponder - over two hours a day commuting for example but maybe my tiredness and glass of vodka red bull were helping me direct my ponderation.  The question I was asking myself was, "how happy am I?".

For sure, I am enjoying my life right now.  Saturday I went to a Spanish festival of queuing near Tower Bridge - I could quite happily spend hours just watching that bridge, without being surrounded by beautiful Spanish women.  Yesterday I went to, erm, Essex.

Last weekend I had a Sunday afternoon boogie in Greenwich, the weekend before I went to watch us get relegated, I've been to Kew Gardens, I had my parents visiting - I am certainly filling up my weekends with lots of fun things.

The fun doesn't stop, next weekend I'm going to watch Raving Iran, have a political roast dinner, the weekend after is the general election on the Thursday, going to Bodean's (the BBQ place), going out somewhere undecided on the Sunday - there is the cricket at Lord's coming up in the not-too-distant future.

I am definitely taking advantage of the opportunities of living and WORKING in London.  I love it.  Why the Brexit didn't I move here earlier?

Yet I'm not as happy as I should be.  I feel that my underlying levels of happiness are not quite what they should be - and the main reason is my weight.  It is the one thing that can get me down very easily.  It is good to feel good about how one looks - beautiful hair and short shorts are not enough.

Being unemployed, I lost weight.  I went from 90kg to 85kg in a few months.  The detox definitely helped.  Since gaining employment, I have gained weight.  Significantly.  I am now 92kg.  7kg on in 7 weeks!!!  Oh and if you voted Brexit and are stuck in the past, here is a weight unit converter.

I am pretty annoyed with myself.  I know why it is - alcohol.

If I don't drink, I consume around 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day.  If I do drink, even just 3 pints, then I consume between 3,500 to 6,500 calories per day.  And the day after I consume more too as sausage rolls suddenly appeal more than salad.

Last week I drank on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - only two days excessively, but still way, way too much.

Getting my weight down to a healthy level has to be my number one priority in life now.  I have decided that if I don't get it back in the right direction over the next two months - ie approaching 85kg instead of 95kg, then I need to take drastic action.

Said drastic action will be giving up alcohol.


Totally giving up alcohol.

Well, until I get down to say 78kg.

As much as alcohol is present in many of the good times that I have - I do believe that it is at the centre of any problems too.  Most definitely my weight.  Being nearly 40 - if I don't sort out being overweight, I expect this will become a health problem.  I simply have to do it.

I should be able to lose weight and still have the occasional beer.  But at the moment, it isn't the occasional beer.

The other priority in my life is, of course, my job.  I've settled in well, and feel like I am contributing now.  I don't complete as many tasks as the others, and sometimes are overwhelmed by requirements - but mostly I work out what I need to do, and how.

I did, for the first time, manage to annoy my boss on Friday morning - not on purpose either.  Innocuous but avoidable.  And I've also made one or two silly mistakes - but nothing you wouldn't expect from a junior developer.

Likewise, I have also done some pretty good work, and I have some good ideas for improving the website into the future.

I do still have to pinch myself about what I have achieved.  It was really quite stark last week, thinking that this time last year I was in an office in Bracknell, bored out of my skull, constantly moaning about the heat, being made to wear shitty shirts and trousers that I hated, getting abused by customers, rarely using my brain, and did I mention that I worked in Bracknell?

I did work with very nice people though.

Now I'm in a very cool office in London, doing a job I really enjoy, I can wear what I want - we even have fucking air conditioning!  Free cakes, free beer (hmmm maybe that might not help) - working in the centre of the universe, surrounded by good bars, restaurants - a tiny little park to sit in when it is hot and sunny.  Loads of beautiful women being too fat to be beautiful in return.  An art gallery around the corner, the Barbican within lunchtime walking distance...Shoreditch 5 minutes away (albeit Shoreditch is about as appealing as Leicester Square nowadays).

I do need to book a holiday at some point - I need to go on an adventure some place new.  The Bernina Express looks like the trip for me.  Trains and mountains - what more could one want in the summer?  I also feel the need to meet one or two new people in London, to add something to my life.  Apparently drunk James wanted a girlfriend on Saturday night as I apparently messaged various women on Plenty of Fish.  Scary.  Thankfully none replied.

I  have also bought a new computer to upgrade my life which I am waiting to arrive - next will be a new mobile phone as this one is dying a death.  And some more short shorts.

Life is pretty close to what I have been aiming for - I am definitely achieving my goals at the moment and living the life I dreamed of (well, apart from the bit about a Spanish wife and living in Ibiza).

If I can put as much effort into losing my belly as I did into getting this career change, then I will be even happier.  But it might take quite the sacrifice.  And that will have to wait until I am past the excitement of drinking beer in the sun.

I am actually pretty happy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Complaint: My Subscription To The Economist

The last of my complaints from last year that I've been meaning to put up for, oooh, weeks.  I was not amused by the price increase of my quarterly subscription and wrote to complain.

I have recently actually cancelled my subscription, due to unemployment, then two days later I was offered a job.  So I have signed up again on their 12 issues for £12 deal.  I wonder if I can do that every 12 weeks?  Hmmm.  That would be economical.

I digress, complaint incoming.


Good morning

I note with disappointment the quite significant rise in the subscription price.

I am sure that most subscribers to The Economist wouldn't have a clue how much they are paying for it, however there are a small fraction of us that are on low wages and every pricing increase is an economic decision that has to be made.

Given that I am from Hull, I appreciate that I probably am not expected to be reading anything more intellectual than the Daily Star (which is not even a good source of boobs nowadays), however something bizarre happened and I ended up semi-intelligent.

My teachers once even thought that I could be the first person from Hull to go to Oxford or Cambridge University since 1756.

I tried my hardest to be as dumb as possible - drinking every weekend by 14, in trouble with the police by the age of 13, a love of fires, vandalism and fighting lit up my teenage years (though I tended to end up on the losing side of fights).  Not to mention smoking copious amounts of weed at university and dropping out - of course, I didn't even get into Oxford Brookes, let alone proper Oxford.

Now I find myself in Bracknell, befriended by fools who actually want to leave the European Union to "get their sovrenty bakk innit".  I have the most brain-numbing repetitive office job which a robot could and probably will soon do - I have taken to writing letters of complaint on my lunchtime to test that I still have a grasp of English and can establish paragraphs without using copy and paste.

The Economist has become almost my only solace from a world of Kasdashians and ketamine.

It is very likely that I will shortly be unemployed for a spell, so I may have to heart-wrenchingly interrupt my roughly 10-year subscription to this wonderful newspaper and be left with conspiracy theory nutcases on Facebook for my only source of news.

I appreciate that you are not going to reverse your decision on the price of a subscription after reading a little self-defecating prose from a common grunt from Hull, but I do ask that you bear in mind that not everyone that subscribes to The Economist can afford a new Louis Vuitton handbag every day.

Kind regards
James Winfield

ps If you know anyone looking for a junior front-end web developer, please let me know.


Dear Mr Winfield,

Customer Reference Number:-

Thank you for contacting The Economist.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused in this matter.

We would like to inform that your subscription price is increased from £38.00 to £44.00 with your next payment due on 14th June 2016.

The price quoted is correct. The discounted rates previously available to your subscription no longer apply and currently we do not have any offer.

We would like to inform that the increase in subscription prices is not related to our new ownership structure. Our commitment to delivering high quality journalism demands a continual and significant investment.  We don’t want to compromise on our high standards so this requires us to review our pricing every two to three years, 2013 was the last time we reviewed our pricing and for customers paying the full subscription price we’ve kept the cost of their Economist subscription un-changed.

Should you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards

The Economist subscription centre