More of the same….

May 21, 2018

After the last mass school shooting, there was a lot of talk and protest but in the end, nothing really happened. Now there’s been another shooting in Texas, ten dead and it’s the same crap. People saying ‘arm teachers’ (really!), much ‘thoughts and prayers’ but in general, nothing will change. The NRA will keep on being the NRA and doing it’s NRA things. People will weep and pray and hold vigils. Politicians will do political things but in reality not a lot really and then there will be a lull…… Until the next time.

Guns may not kill but if you cannot get hold of them, you cannot bloody well shoot anyone either.

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In Defense of Planet Fitness…

May 14, 2018

I’m not a body builder but I’ve been a gym rat for over forty years and I still enjoy a good hard workout. I’ve trained in gyms all over the place and seen plenty of guys that make the average ‘big guy’ at the local gym look like a wimp. Over the years I’ve had to modify my training to accommodate injuries and just plain old getting old but I’ve done (and still do) my fair share of grunting and dropping weights when need be (I’d rather drop the weight than injure myself trying to put it down gently, but it not my preferred mode of training, just what you need to do sometimes).

So right now I belong to TWO gyms. One is right around the corner from my home, has barbells and squat racks and a good range of heavy weights if you need them. It’s a gym for serious trainers but they also run classes for people as well and those people come in all shapes, sizes and ages.

I also belong to Planet Fitness. It’s a little further away, 12 minutes if the roads are clear, 15-20 minutes during rush hour. Originally I joined for the sun beds as I have psoriasis and UV light helps and the cost of their ‘black card’ membership which lets me use Planet Fitness gyms anywhere is less than half what the local suntan salons want to charge and they have a good range of beds and stand up booths. What’s not to like if you need a sunbed.

So, when I started my current diet I started training twice a day two or three times a week and since I was already going to Planet Fitness for the sunbed it seemed daft not to just train there as well since I was already there.

At first I was somewhat disappointed with the gym as a gym. No barbells, no squat rack, hardly anywhere to do pulls ups or leg raises for abs (I’m six foot five so I need equipment with the handle high up). There’s a gazillion running machines and bikes, plenty of leg extension machines (but not massively heavy but it’s enough, even for me) etc, abs machines etc.

Then there’s the ‘serious’ end of the gym. Four Smith’s machines, cables, benches, dumbbells (but only up to 75 lb) and EZ curls bars (up to 60 lb I think). This is where most of the ‘big’ guys hang out.

There’s also the famous ‘lunk’ alarm up on the wall which goes off occasionally (activated by the front desk) when someone grunts too loudly or drops a weight too loudly (those being the main offenses anyway).

So I got to reading online about the ‘lunk’ alarm which lead my to lots of body builder type sites and bulletin boards that criticized the lunk alarm and PF in general so I thought I’d throw my two cents worth up here as well. You may agree, you may not, I don’t really care.

 

So, the main criticisms seem to be (in no particular order):

  • People in the ‘gym’ who are not really ‘making the effort’ shall we say.
  • The Free Pizza.
  • That ‘lunk’ alarm
  • Lack of Squat Rack/No dead lifting (Even in the Smith machines)

 

So this is my take on these topics:

 

People that are ‘not really trying’

First off, why do you care? Look, at least they are in the gym doing something. They may never be up to your standard but that does not matter, every bit helps. You can look down your nose at them if you like but there are plenty of REALLY serious body builds that could probably do the same to you. In the gym there’s always people that are worse than you and people that are better than you. I often see older people in the gym (older than me and I’m getting on in years now) and I just hope that I’m still doing this game when I’m their age.

My hero of recent years is a guy at my last gym that had Cerebral Palsy (I think), anyway, he was pretty badly disabled and in a wheel chair but he still came in with a therapist and tried to do something. I hope I have that much guts and courage if I’m ever in that situation or anything like it.

Free Pizza

Once a month they have free pizza. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t. Is it the best food, probably not but it’s a much a social thing as anything else and if it keeps people coming in, even on the non pizza days, because they feel part of the gym then where’s the real harm. Let’s face it, a couple of slices of pizza once a month is not going to kill the diet of even a serious gym goer.

The ‘Lunk’ Alarm

This is probably the most hated item among serious gym goers. However, you have to realize that PF is a low impact gym. Some (including PF themselves I think) say it’s not a gym but if you do exercise in the place, it’s a gym in my mind so I’m going with that. I can understand that a lot of people that have not spent their lives in the gym like some of us might be intimidated by big machines, big guys and lots of grunting. The lunk alarm is just PFs way of trying to get the more serious people in the gym to tone it down a bit. What that means is that if you are a serious gym goer you are going to have to modify your workout to fit into the PF culture and rules. It’s not that you cannot do a hard workout at PF, it’s just that it’ll be different from the workout you might do at a more hardcore gym.

No Squats/Deadlifting

This really falls into the same category as the reason for the lunk alarm. It’s to keep things more low impact so as not to intimidate the less hard core people using the facility.

 

Final Thoughts

If you are a hardcore gym rat/bodybuilder/whatever, find yourself a good hardcore gym and enjoy what you do. If you find yourself at a Planet Fitness for whatever reason, accept that it is NOT a hardcore gym and that the clientele is going to be different. That does not mean that a lot of the people there are not working hard, it’s just that what is hard to them may be easy for you, it’s all relative so stop looking down your nose at others and get over it.

The rules are there to make it a better experience for them, not you so adjust to it. Personally, I do different workouts between the two gyms. It works for me, your mileage may vary.

 

 

You’ve called him what?…

April 27, 2018

When I heard the name of the new royal baby I could not help but think of King Louie from the Jungle Book cartoon….

King-louie

So, what is ‘the force’….?

April 16, 2018

If the force, as in ‘use the force Luke’ from Star Wars is all in the mind, then why does Darth Vader reach his hand out when choking someone with ‘the Force’?

 

DarthVaderChoke

I need…

April 8, 2018

A project…..!

Trump…

April 8, 2018

Is an asshole…

There, I’ve said it….

Do you have a flag?…

March 27, 2018

The title of this post is actually a line from an Eddy Izzard sketch. However the point of this little bit of drivel is just to highlight the similarities and differences of a few flags. So lets start shall we….

Chile and Texas

OK, so Chile is a country (in South America) and Texas is a state in the USA but it’s remarkable how similar their flags are. They would certainly confuse me….

Chile

Chile

Texas

Texas

The USA and Malaysia

Interestingly I saw an article recently where someone believed that Islamic State had usurped the flag of the USA.

USA

USA

Malaysia

Malaysia

And Finally the United Kingdom and the flag of the Confederacy.

This one beggars belief but as brits in the US, we have flown the Union flag (of the UK) on our house in the past and been told that people thought it was the flag of the Confederacy. Being proud (or something) of your southern ‘heritage’ is one thing¬† (even if I don’t agree with it. Hey, each to their own)¬† but not even recognizing the flag that represents your view is pretty sad.

UK

UK

Confederate Flag

Confederate

Not even bloody close!

 

 

Nothing will happen…

February 20, 2018

Without wishing to diminish or minimize in any way the horror of the recent school shooting, here’s what will happen in the next few weeks:

  • There will be an outpouring of support for the victims.
  • There will be a wringing of hands and a wailing of grief.
  • There will be a candle light vigil for the victims, maybe even more than one.
  • Questions will be asked about why warnings about the shooter went unheeded.
  • Questions will be asked about how we has able to legally buy the rifle used in the shooting.
  • There will be calls for gun control.
  • Politicians will waffle on without making any commitment to anything resembling action until the next crisis, whatever it may be, looms.
  • Moms against Guns or some other similar organization will claim their two minutes of fame with yet more pointless dialog about whatever.
  • There will be much talk about arming everyone on the planet because obviously, more guns will make us safer (or at least able to fire back, so goes the logic). It also makes you a target but let’s not go there.
  • El Presidente will change course several times, often issuing conflicting statements in the same breath before complaining that it’s not about him and that it’s all fake news.
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Whitehouse mouthpiece) will dig an even bigger hole for herself and then (we can only hope) jump into it!
  • The NRA will remain remarkably quiet.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget the 2nd amendment, I’m sure there will be calls to repeal that etc.

And then….

Bupkis, nada, ziltch, zero, nothing.
It will gently waft into forgotten history (except for the families of the victims) until the next time when I am sure the news channels will resurrect it and use it to talk endlessly on about how nothing has changed.

I will admit that I will be the first to be surprised (and a little bit more than happy) if something real actually does happen but I’m not holding my breath

If it were their kids…

February 16, 2018

That had just been murdered by a kid with an assault rifle, you can bet your last nickle that congress would bloody well do something about the gun issues facing the country.

Instead we hear the usual ‘cautious’, i.e. non committal, answers from those we choose to ‘lead’ us. Sadly I am not sure where exactly they are leading us but a picture of lemmings comes to mind…..

The Trump Giveth…

February 2, 2018

In the form of a tax cut, and the health insurance industry taketh away (in the form of increased premiums).

Overall, bubkiss is about what I got although I am sure that come tax time next year, it’ll be even worse.

 

 

The (cable) cord is cut…

January 16, 2018

Terminated my cable TV today, was TWC, now Spectrum. We moved house last year, just as TWC became Spectrum. They said we could have the cheap rate then changed their minds and said we had to stay on the old rate (almost $200 a month for TV and Internet).

Recently I finally got a decent Wifi setup at home (eero) and as we now have good wifi speed all over the house I looked into various non cable options. Got a cheap Roku to play around with and signed up for free trials from DirectvNow, Sling and CBS all access. In the end I liked the DirectvNow package better so went with that. We were already paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime so I’m not really counting the cost of those as we had them anyway. Kid has hulu so we use that as well. Added Britbox so we could watch UK TV and we are good to go.

Got a second Roku for the bedroom TV the other day and took all the cable TV hardware back today and cancelled the TV service. Overall we’ll be saving about $55 a month. Not a fortune but better in my pocket than theirs and we can always try other services if we want and as packages evolve, which I am sure they will.

So far, not missing cable TV at all!

The Effect of Fake News…

October 10, 2017

So called ‘fake news’ is all the rage these days. In fact it seems like it does not matter if it is fake or not, just calling it ‘fake’ is enough and therein lies the problem. We tend to trust certain sources of information. As a Brit I have always tended to trust the BBC as a source of news, even though it was revealed that the UK government fed the BBC and other news sources ‘false’ information about troop and ship movements during the Falklands war for both strategic and political reasons. You might call that propaganda but it’s really still just ‘fake news’.

The propagation of fake news is not helped by the fact that news outlets are often quick to jump on a story and ‘report’ it without doing any sort of due diligence because they are afraid of missing out on it and thus losing viewers/readers/eyes and of course fewer eyes on a channel means less advertising revenue (yes, even the news is about earning $$$’s these days).

The effect of all this is that as consumers of news we become less and less trusting of our news sources to the point that in the end we don’t trust any of them and that becomes a problem because in many countries (but not all sadly), the press could be considered the conscience of the people at large or at the very least a watchdog against underhand dealing by corporations and governments.

At this point, those same corporations and governments have won the war of words. They are free to spin their own version of events, safe in the knowledge that it has become easy to discredit any source that attempts to contradict their version of things because people no longer trust those alternate sources of information.

And once you control the press, even if that ‘control’ is in the form of making it untrusted, then you control the people.

 

 

Watching…

August 16, 2017

Trump is like watching a slow motion train wreck. You know how it’s going to end, just not when.

This is how social media works…

February 17, 2017

A while ago someone that I do not have a direct connection with on Facebook (basically a friend of a friend), posted something of a political nature (’nuff said) to which I replied, perhaps not in complete agreement. Their response was that “they did not want to start a conversation on the topic” or words to that effect.

Now it strikes me that this person completely misunderstands how things like Facebook work.

If you want to post something and not start a conversation then you have to lock people out of responding, share it only with direct ‘friends’ or make it private in some other way. If you make it public then it’s fair game and you have to accept that some people may not agree with your point of view.

THAT’S how it works.

One Day In…

January 21, 2017

And there is now conclusive proof that the American political system has elected an idiot to be our President!

Gun Follies 4…

January 18, 2017

No mail Monday because it was MLK day but the spring arrived on Tuesday. Here’s a picture of it next to a stamp for a size comparison:

gunsprint

I took the gun in today and got it fixed so I’m good to go. Funny thing is, another spring turned up the following day but at least I now have a spare!

 

Gun Follies 3…

January 12, 2017

Bad weather delayed the mail a couple of days but parts arrived yesterday. One screw (that I need), one rear sight elevation plate (that I don’t need) and NO spring. Called them up, seems it was fulfilled (Not sure if that’s the same as shipped!) that day so I ‘should’ have it in a few days (I am hoping so anyway).

I also call again today to see if I could get a screen shot from the gun schematic of how the spring fits under the elevation plate. Seems there’s a notch under there so it goes into that and not (as I would have thought) with the screw through it since putting the screw through it would have locked it into place but I guess it cannot come out unless the screw comes out so I guess it’s good as it is. Anyway, was told they did not have schematic (!!!) but above was explained. Guess we shall see once spring comes and I can get to the gunsmith!

Tell you one thing. I’m putting some lacquer or something on that puppy once it’s back in to keep it in place and stop it backing out!

Gun Follies 2…

January 3, 2017

So just to be sure, picked up the phone today and spoke with someone about my concerns about the spring. Turns out there is one but it’s on back order (that’s what he told me anyway). Anyway he ordered the part then I asked him to check my other order from the chat session yesterday. Seems that order includes the screw, spring (the one they said did not exist) and even the elevation plate.

I also contacted them via Facebook and the response on there was that the orders I have include everything I need and that I ‘should’ be good to go. I remain skeptical but hopeful that all the parts I need will show up soon and that I’ll be able to get the sights fixed and get back on the range.

I will admit that they have been very responsive, even on the first day back at work after the new year so we shall see how well this all works out.

Gun Follies…

January 2, 2017

After many (MANY) years of being, if not anti gun, at least not totally for them, I finally exercised my 2nd amendment rights and bought a small pistol. After much time spent online reading reviews and watching videos, I settled on a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact, just for fun at the range.

For my needs, it’s great and I don’t regret buying it at all. However (you knew there would be an ‘however’) didn’t you!) second time out at the range the rear sight elevation screw dropped out and disappeared off somewhere, probably in front of the firing line but I never found it. I only noticed it was missing when I suddenly found my self shooting six inches low and while I am no marksman by any stretch, I am not THAT bad either!

Of course this was New Years day so no possibility of doing anything and that was the end of my session for the day which sorta sucked!

Now from what I can recall (you never look at these things in detail until it goes wrong) the rear sight sort of sprung up against the adjustment screw so I assumed I had lost the screw AND a small spring from under the sight that pushed it up against the adjustment screw. Went to the gun store today and of course they don’t have parts so they can either order them from S&W or send the gun in (with I am told, a five to six week turn around time currently) or I can get the parts from somewhere like Brownells and the gun shop will install them, maybe take 10 minutes.

Latter option seems best so I toddle back home and go online. Cannot find the parts at all online and of course, being Jan 2nd and still really New Years day, cannot chat with anyone so I tried S&W web site. I was in the middle of composing an e-mail when I thought to try chat ‘just for the heck of it’ and was pleasantly surprised to get a response. So I explained the situation and could I get the screw and spring. Was then told that there is no spring, just the screw and a rivet and that if I need just the screw they would send me one, no charge but the rivet was a factory install option only.

Now I cannot see at all how not having some sort of spring under there to force the rear site upwards works but I went with the flow and asked them to send me the screw and I’d see if that was enough to fix the issue.

If it does not, then the gun will have to go off to S&W with that five to six week turn around time!

So it’s picture time….

This is what it should look like:

gunsight1

And this is mine (sans screw):

gunsight2

The rear site is now just floppy and lose and just sits anywhere between up:

gunsight3

And down:

gunsight4

This is how the inside of the slide should look with the screw just poking through (no sign of any rivet):

gunsight5

And this is mine now:

gunsight6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why does anyone think…

January 1, 2017

That staying up till midnight to watch the calendar flip over will make the next 365 day period any better than the one that just ended? And if it does, why not do it every day. After all a year is 365 days (plus one every once in a while!) so what difference does it make which actual day the event occurs on!

So even though it’s a stupid tradition, I’d just like to wish my reader (you know who you are), a….

appynewyear