Friday, February 08, 2013

The Fast Show

I'm now into week 2 of the intermittent fast diet.
I know I've lost a fair bit of poundage, but I'm avoiding getting into the realms of scales neuroticism,
(going to weigh myself after a month).
All I know is that my trousers nearly fell down when I ran to catch a number 26 bus yesterday.
That signifies progress.
I caught the bus as well.
Can life get any better?
The downsides of the fasting are experiencing lack of physical energy on the fast days, coupled with
some  difficulty in getting to sleep in a hungry state.
The positive aspects are , as well as the apparent weight loss, that it forces me to abstain from alcohol completely for at least 2 days a week, (alcohol while fasting makes the hunger uncontrollable, ie "kebab syndrome"),
I feel a heightened sense of mental sharpness on the fast days for some reason, and as a result I 've got a loads of shit done I'd normally avoid, (making myself really busy diverts my mind from thinking about food).
 Also, I'm less prone to snacking in general now, as having survived the fasting seems to have given me a new discipline in terms of refueling.
Of course, this is unlikely to last.
I expected to wake up the next day after a fast absolutely ravenous, but this has not been the case.
The fast seems to trick the body into assuming that you had your normal calorific intake, and it just resets the next day to the normal level of craving...although food tastes great after a fast day, and I haven't held back.
Can I sustain it?
That is the question...
I'd say there's more chance of succeeding with this regime rather than intermittently quitting alcohol or getting into all these shitty, overpriced "weightwatcher" products.

I'm enjoying not watching football, and don't miss my football gambling/Sky Sports regime.
The novelty of live football has finally worn off for me.
I've gorged on it because my childhood years were marked by football-on-tv deprivation.
But now I'm fasting on it as well, (do you see what I did there?).

As a football mad kid, there were only 2 opportunities a year to watch football live on tv....
The European Cup Final and the Home Nations Scotland v England game.
That was your lot.
I remember that if the FA Cup Final went to extra time, we were allowed to see that...
Imagine the excitement.

Like many of my generation, hearing the phrase "except for viewers in Scotland" (announced as English viewers were getting information about an upcoming  live match), still makes me want to punch someone.
The SFA bigwigs Ernie Walker and Jim Farry and their Stalinist principles drove me mental.
They are now a "Spinners" tribute band.

I've deserted the football betting punters, and instead have bought shares in "William Hill Ltd" and some smaller gambling companies with my ill-gotten gains.
It's a classic case of poacher turned gamekeeper.
It's going well so far...   (famous last words)
However, I've made more cash buying and selling these shares in the last week than I have in 6 months of football betting.
The William Hill shareprice in particular has almost doubled in the last year.
Of course, for all this to work, you need to exercise "discipline", ie take the profits regularly, and sell if the share drops to a pre-determined price.
And, I may well have missed most of the action as the price is possible peaking before an inevitable correction.
I don't know seems to me that people hardly go out any more, and a night in watching sports whilst making a couple of bets "to make it interesting" is becoming more mainstream.
I've heard a lot of rationalising about this practice that "it's still cheaper than a night on the town".

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Brief Extract

I got a wisdom tooth out on Thursday.
I wasn't looking forward to it as my previous experience was an hour long nightmare, after which I felt like I'd been severely beaten up.
By comparison, Dustin Hoffman's treatment at the hands of Lawrence Olivier in "Marathon Man" was like a relaxing Spar Weekend Break.
Although, saying that, I'm always surprised that some people find shopping in a fairly rubbish supermarket chain "relaxing".
Each to their own.
It was all fine this time, over very quickly, and I had to ask the dentist "Is that it?" to confirm that he'd whippedthe tooth out.
The operation was carried out with the quiet efficiency of a professional hit.
I was very impressed.
I've been treated by a few rubbish dentists over the year... and so, it gives me great pleasure to announce that "Haymarket Dental" in Edinburgh is definitely by far the best, in my experience.
The music playing in the background whilst my tooth was removed was "Pride" by U2.
It was never one of my favourite tunes, so the future association of dental treatment with that song did not trouble me greatly.
It must be terrible though if a horrible dental experience is soundtracked by one of your favourite ever songs.
Gerry Rafferty must have had mixed feelings about "Stuck In The Middle With You" being used for that scene in Reservoir Dogs.

So that's a week with no bread.
Yes, be impressed...what an amazing achievement by me.
I am truly incredible.
Of course this is no Atkins Diet schtick...I'm eating rice and couscous and that sort of thing.
Judging by the looseness of clothing, I have lost a bit, but am not going near scales for a month.
I either find out I've lost more than I thought and then get cocky and lose focus, or am disappointed (particularly when I've actually put on weight since a diet started), and lose resolve.
This is all fascinating stuff, huh?
Oh well, just a writing exercise if nothing else.

I got heckled by a friend at a Burns do last night for using "outwith" in conversation.
My first reaction was to be impressed by this, because it is a very specific complaint.
I think I was talking with another friend about politics and there was some point I was making about events "outwith Scotland".
She maintained it was one of our indigenous Scottish words that she found really annoying.
I'd actually no idea that this word was used solely by Scottish people...and immediately disputed this.
However, after some googling. it turned out she was right!
"Outwith" is only used up here.
If I remember rightly, the point being made was that you could just as easily substitute the more popular (and admittedly less wanky) "outside" in any context.
I think "outwith`" can help creating the illusion that you know what you're talking about it.
It sounds a bit more formal.
I don't know how often I actually say this though.
I'm now monitoring it.
I either picked this up from "Newsnight Scotland", or possibly from Joe Jackson's big hit
"Is She Really Going Outwith Him".
Not sure which though.

Today is a day that I am mightily relieved that I quit football gambling.
It's been a weekend of huge upsets, and the UK is now like the aftermath of a vicious battle, with wounded and bleeding gamblers, lying moaning in the fields where they made their last bet.
The guy who died while attempting an armed robbery in a bookies in Plymouth  is actually an accurate analogy of how this weekend has played out for gamblers in general.
Meanwhile bookmakers themselves, are dancing with joy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Darwin Awards Nomination - Jim Park Comedian

I went for a jog a couple of nights ok, in spite of noticing that the pavements were a bit icy.
"Should be ok" I thought to myself.
I'm not one for the New Year Resolution, but in 2013 I think I'll resist doing something when I think to myself "should be ok".
When this occurs there's obviously an alternative health & safety viewpoint to be taken into consideration, which is being largely ignored.
What happened was , while jogging, I slipped sideways on the pavement  and banged into a parked car, hitting it with my shoulder, and ending up in a heap.
This then set off the car alarm.
Thankfully, I was uninjured.
I fall over quite a lot and am now quite accomplished at making a good paratrooper-style landing.
I wasn't sure whether to hang about or just continue running.
I decided to wait a couple of minutes in case the owner appeared, so that I could explain what happened, as running away looks suspicious behaviour.
It's times like this that I'm grateful that I don't live in Texas.
I'm sure that seeing someone dressed all in black, including a  balaclava, standing next to your car with the alarm going off, fully warrants a volley of semi-automatic fire from an assault rifle.
Any judge would see me as a "tangible threat to the life and property" of the shooter, and he would be automatically aquitted of all charges.
Hopefully, there might be a small demonstration by comedians outside the court protesting at the verdict?
But that would be it.
In the end, no-one appeared, although there was a fair amount of net curtain twitching going on.
I decided to take no further risks, and walked home after that.
I went swimming the next day instead.
The car park and overflow car park for the Commonwealth Pool were jammed, yet for 45 minutes I was the only person in the pool.
I was hoping people in the viewing gallery would presume I was an eccentric billionaire who'd paid to have exclusive use of the pool for an hour.

I worked out that my farcical "soup diet" of 2012 (put on 4 pounds) failed because I was eating approximately 500 calories of bread with every bowl of soup.
I genuinely never realised that the bread I was eating was so calorific.
What a clot.
I'm now giving bread a miss for a while.
It's no big deal to me, I can take it or leaven it really.
However, I'm having to write an low-carb version of the Lord's Prayer though, which is a bit of a hassle. (settled on "give us our daily oatcake")
I'm not one for faddy diets (I am ), but my latest weight loss technique is to have a big healthy breakfast every day.
It comprises of a glass of beetroot juice (aquired taste) and a large bowl of raw oats,fruit salad, natural yoghurt, hemp seeds, sultanas & pine nuts.
Other than that, just the normal diet (without the bread)
I'm not obsessive about this (I am).
I just want to get rid of a stone.
I was always 12 1/2 stone . Always.
Then one night the lardy fairy visited me. and overnight I became 13 1/2 stone.
Just want to get back to my fighting weight, then it'll be back on the fried bread rolls to celebrate.
Watch this space.

It's disappointing to see Colin Murray getting the boot from "Match Of The Day", while Lawrenson, Hansen & Co continue with their apparently "jobs for lives".
It reminds me of the apocryphal tale of some golf club in which lady members sitting on a balcony overlooking the 18th green complained to the club committee about the foul language used by gentlemen members playing the 18th green.
The committee reacted by banning women from sitting in the balcony.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Running Man - Jim Park Comedian

It's time to start running again...
My normal route has been clogged up with all the New Year Resolution idiots trying to get fit in 2013.
Thankfully, most of them seem to have given up  now, and it's once again time for the proper athletes to take to the streets.
I expect the regret they're experiencing, in terms of their failure to maintain their new fitness regime, has led them to break their vow not to drink alcohol in January.
Before they know it, they'll be back on the drugs again.
It's a slippery slope.
I consciously increased my alcohol intake in the first 2 weeks of 2013,mainly to annoy my friends who are on the wagon, but am now reining it in a bit, and have decided not to drink at home.
I found a loophole though, in which I can stand in my back garden and drink a can of cider during advert breaks on the television.
But I've decided that's just stupid.

Other change is that I have retired from gambling and have shut down my Betfair account permanently.
I was actually doing pretty good overall, but I'm just really fed up watching shit football matches.
The problem is that I make a rule of only betting on football matches which are live on TV and which I can monitor continuously.
I do this as I like to continuously adjust my betting position throughout the match.
ie immediately lay off the stake I've bet on a team to win the match, if they go into the lead, and always bet on a draw if there is only one goal in it with 10 minutes to go.
I find this is the only way I can make a decent profit in the long term.
The past few months have been really good, and I reckon I have just about made enough to cover a trip to Mayrhofen for some snowboarding and comedy festivalising in March.
But in spite of this, I've had enough.
It's too many hours sitting watching too much rubbish.

The straws that broke the camel's back were probably the last two Hibs/Hearts encounters (the fact I backed Hearts in both matches to win didn't help).
I've never seen such awful, turgid excuses for football matches, totally devoid of skill.
I experienced something of an epiphany and decided that life is too short to carry on watching this type of stuff.
(There were other clunkers, but these two matches really stood out for all the wrong reasons)

So it's goodbye Virgin Media and SkySports, and it's hello Freeview.
Interestingly I get the Glasgow version of "Scotland Today" even though I live in Edinburgh.
Has Freeview worked out that as I am Glaswegian by birth, I should watch the local news from there rather than from my adopted city?

There was always a thought at the back of my head that this wasn't the most honourable way to supplement my income anyway.
What would my ancestors have thought?
Not a lot.
 (btw I'm not related to Paul Daniels)
I'm still obviously affected by "parental approval" issues.

I want to do some make a have more in common with George Bailey than Mr Potter, if you catch my drift.
I want to lassoo the moon!

But more importantly, I wrote a few new jokes and they all worked pretty well.
So THAT"S good.

And, yes Lance Armstrong was wrong, but I still regard him as an incredible athlete, who would probably have still won all his titles if everyone was "clean".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy New Year

2013 began disastrously for me with a burst pipe last Sunday.
This wasn’t just any old leak…this was a fountain of water on mains pressure spraying from under my sink.
If I was selling the animation rights to this story (which I am, if anyone is interested?), I would be portrayed as bobbing up and down on top of a giant, gushing torrent of water, as might be seen in an episode of “Top Cat” when Benny Ball opens up a street hydrant, with hilarious consequences, much to the disdain of Officer Dibble.
The next hour is a blur of me filling buckets and basins with water, trying to get hold of emergency plumbers and trying to shut the mains water off, (something I’ve never needed to do before).
I got a hold of one plumber who said he’d send someone round, but then called back to say it wouldn’t be for 8-10 hours.
I cancelled, reasoning that in 8-10 hours I would be starring in a tribute episode of “The Undersea World Of Jaques Cousteau”.
Eventually, I found another one who could be round in less than an hour.
An hour later, the plumber and the “cancelled” plumber both arrived simultaneously, (he maintained that the cancellation message hadn’t been passed on to him).
There then followed an argument of about 20 minutes as the cancelled plumber demanded a call-out charge, with the other plumber waiting to start the job, with me arguing and simultaneously emptying buckets of water into the bath.
Eventually, the cancelled plumber left (no payment, not my fault), and the pipe was fixed.
It was at this point that I could have reasonably expected Jeremy Beadle to appear, were it not for the fact that he is sadly no longer with us.
Happily,  it was a snip at £150, (well it did take half an hour, so fair enough)
It turns out, that you can isolate the mains water by adjusting valves under the combi-boiler ; but regrettably I didn’t know that, (I do now).
I have to look on the positive aspects of all this…at least I was in when it happened.
If I’d been out the result would have been catastrophic.

I’m still gobsmacked by all the Jimmy Savile revelations…
I have to confess as liking him a lot when I was a kid.

He was the first person that I saw in real life whom I’d only previously seen on television.
I was 9 years old, and on a family holiday in Scarborough ; he was fooling around in the main street, on the back of a lorry shoving bales of hay around with a pitchfork (no idea why!).
A crowd had gathered around to watch and he was bantering away with everybody much to their amusement.
I was mesmerised by this.
Jimmy Savile! The guy who presented “Top Of The Pops”. Jimmy Savile off of the telly! …in real life! There…right in front of me!
I bored my classmates at school for months afterwards with my celebrity spotting lifestyle anecdotes.
This was a time when there were relatively few people on television, and as a consequence “tv celebrities” were much more revered.
Of course nowadays every bastard is on tv and the associated Hollywood-esque glamour has drastically faded.
I hated “Jim’ll Fix It” (too twee), but liked his radio shows, and generally
regarded him as a one-off, harmless maverick.
But this now seems on a par with saying that Hitler could paint a bit.
I always thought I was a fairly good judge of character.

In the early 80s, a friend of mine, Fiona, assured me that it was common knowledge “in the business”, that he was a necrophiliac.
I remember laughing uproariously about this and taking great delight in repeatedly rubbishing  this “fact”.
The necrophiliac allegation hasn’t been proven, (possible problem with witness testimony?), but I’m treating this as a “no smoke without fire" scenario, and I’d like to take the opportunity to apologise to Fiona for my summary dismissal of the veracity of her initial claim.

I’m currently keeping my fingers crossed that Eric Morecambe and Tommy Cooper will survive unscathed in the current climate of “entertainer