the_vulture: (Default)

Yep, I'm up at one the morning. I'm currently trying to swing myself around to schedule I'll be following at work. In theory, I would be finishing my shift about now and getting ready for the 40 minute bike ride home. That last bit is somewhat problematic for me, as I listen to the rush of the rain outside; not only will I be taking my choice of hazards travelling late at night, but then there's the potential for rain to be considered. I guess I'll have to start packing a light rain jacket, one of they types that can be stuffed into a small bag. I'll also have to pick up a high vis vest or the like. Yes, the bike has lights and reflectors, but I don't think I want to solely rely on them for visibility. I gotta say, though, I think all the added exercise will do me a world of good. I sometimes feel exceedingly slothful sitting around counting trucks.

'Course, I've still been losing weight, so I can't be all THAT slothful. I've also noticed that I'm becoming rather vein...y. At least my legs are (okay, the arms a bit, too). Yes, I've noted weird networks of veins on the backs of my calves in the recent past, and now surface veins on my thighs, but I think the topper was when, a couple of days ago, I noticed huge ass veins on my
feet... by the bulges through my socks! I am curious as to what I'm gonna look like by the end of biking season.

In other news, it looks like I'm going to have to shell out a semi-substantial amount of cash to replace the hard drive on my notebook, which has given several startling indications that it will be giving up the ghost in the imminent future (like often failing to initialize on boot up - THAT is worrisome!). Thankfully, I've been able to use Seagate Diskwizard to back up my ailing drive to my external drive, as well as create a bootable recovery disk to sort out the restoration once I've gotten a new drive installed. The only consternation is going to be choosing the right hard drive. The folks at HP say that my system is only rated for a piddly 30 gig drive (currently running 20) at 4200 rpm. Hmm... Meanwhile, going to the online memory shops and punching in my 'puter's model number gives me a range of drives much bigger than that. I suspect that I can actually purchase a bigger drive, but I may have to fiddle with EZ Disk to create a suitable drive partition that my 'puter's wee bios can handle (I've had to do the same with some legacy tower systems). 

'Course, some might ask "Why go through all that hassle instead of purchasing a newer system outright?" Well, frankly, it's going to cost me a lot less to replace the drive than it is to replace the system. Everything else is in fine working order. The screen is in great shape, I've got a full keyboard (the paint isn't noticeably worn off of them, even) and everything else seems to be working well. Yes, it's an older system that's vastly outpowered by even the bottom end stuff put out today, but there's some good stuff to being an older system, like having a DVD player that can be rendered region free with a simple software application and, more importantly, running Windows XP instead of that wretched Vista crap (Why must all new systems be offered with Vista as if that would be a desirable option? Heck, even my somewhat IT illiterate parents came to a quick disliking of it.). The system does pretty much what I really need it to do (or at least will do once the USB 2.0 card I ordered last week finally comes in - then I can watch media off my external drive without it hesitating over a USB 1.1 connection), so why replace it when I can fix it for a lot cheaper? Newer systems can wait till I've got a number of paycheques under my belt. (I've got at least two major trips to save up for, after all.)

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure how I will resolve 'winter'. Yeah, it's really nice and all to be riding my bike during the summer months, as it is FAR less expensive than any other means and gets me in shape at the same time. But in only a few months time, the roads are going to covered with annoying things like snow and ice, which make biking rather treacherous. I've got two real choices as to how to resolve this problem: buying a car or moving closer to work.

The first solution, unfortunately, involves a number of hassles such as trying to find a cheap used car that will actually be reliable, getting financing for the thing despite my horrid credit rating, dealing with maintenance, fuel purchases, insurance, registeration, etc., etc., ad nauseum.  The bennies would include being able to go wherever the hell I want on a whim, like say the beach, or visiting relatives in nearby towns. More importantly, a vehicle would make it MUCH easier for me to get to the various schools I could find myself substituting at. As it stands, from where I am now, any excursion into town takes quite a bit of time. Worse still, some places, such as *sigh* the beaches, are simply unreachable, as there is neither public transit or even reasonable coach service to them. Granted, I could compremise by purchasing something like a scooter. Now, true, those can't be used in winter, either, but, frankly, I don't see myself wanting to visit all that many beaches in winter. 

Of course, the whole plan of purchasing a car hinges on being able to remain at my uncle's property once my folks have returned to PG for the winter. (This is not an unreasonable expectation as he has to keep the place heated anyway and methinks it might be a lot less hassle for him if there was someone in residence looking after the place.) Staying at the property would be nice in many ways, given the space and the peacefulness. However, I'm not really interested in having to fork out for both a vehicle AND rent, so if I have to do the latter, the former is out.

Speaking of the latter, I'm actually leaning towards moving into town. Yes, it is quite likely that my rent, utilities and what have ye will amount to more than owning a vehicle, but it's far less hassle for me to acquire a new place. Putting myself much nearer to downtown will also help me to get out a lot more, as there will be far more to explore within walking distance. And, yes, I'll be able to reach work even when vehicle traffic is brought to stand still. (Northern Boy is well used to wading through snow.) I wouldn't be able to own a large vehicle for extended excursions, but travel by Greyhound to a large chunk of my relatives wouldn't cost an extraordinary amount (except for maybe some knife resistant armor) and, as I mentioned earlier, a scooter can help me reach the places that transit and coaches don't, so long as I stick to the times of year I'd rather be visiting them anyhow. As for getting to the various schools, with a bit of planning and forethought, I should be able to manage with the local public transit system, even if it is a cludgy way to do it. If all else fails, as it may on some occasions, there's always the fallback of using a taxi.

I also have to admit, I got rather attached to having a space to myself during my last year and a bit in England. So, yes, moving into town seems the more likely.

But, yep, I've still a lot of thinking to do.

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Yesterday I attended an interview for a position as a technical support representative with a major telecom company. The job pays well for its type and the hours I'll be working will allow for teaching supply work. I feel very pleased with my performance yesterday and I seemed to have impressed the fellow I was interviewed by. I was confident and gave quite elaborate answers to his questions. Heck, truly, I think my biggest mistake was simply over dressing for it (as in, whilst waiting for the interview dressed in a nice long-sleeved shirt, trousers, shoes and tie, I was watching guys in very casual shorts, t-shirts and SANDALS walk in and out). Depending on the outcome of the background check, I should be gainfully employed at the beginning of August. Kewl!
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Yep, that's what I think I'm gonna have to eat for breakfast; I need the protein. My thigh muscles (mostly) are currently screaming at me. They shouldn't be, but they are. The day before yesterday, I did 3.5 miles of intermittent running (10 minutes running, 1 minute walking) mostly so I could keep up the running whilst minimizing grumbling from my right knee. That seems to be fine. However, the run was absolutely brutal; my legs were burning fiercely. Now, yes, granted I've just come off a period of sloth, but that was far from my longest break in training and even at my worst, I could still manage that kind of distance well enough. Heck, my lungs still had crap in them from the nasty flu of the last couple weeks but my cardio performance kept up to the job easy enough. I'm still kinda stunned at how much they're aching TWO days later. Yergh! With that much grief from my muscles, it's pretty clear they're gonna need extra protein to pull themselves together.

I probably didn't help them with all the walking I did yesterday. I caught a ride into town and walked about, getting a few things done, like a haircut, picking up applications, talking to a few folk here and there, and, basically trying to get a job for substistence purposes whilst I build up the substitute teaching. Yep, get a haircut and get a real job... *chuckle*

Still, the walking shouldn't have had that adverse an effect on me. I mean, crikey!, I'm so used to being on my feet all the time.

So, I'm gonna lay blame firmly on the bike ride earlier this week. I'm not sure how it works that biking puts more demand on the leg muscles, though less of a cardio workout, but there ya have it. Oh well, at least I've dropped 3/4 of an inch in waist size over the last week.

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 As an English teacher in a secondary school, I wind up going through a LOT of Shakespeare, especially for SAT and coursework preparation. In doing so, I find all sorts of interesting little side thoughts that I just really have to express.

I'll start with Romeo from Romeo and Juliet. I know most of you realize that Shakespeare deliberately made Romeo's early feelings for Juliet questionable, in that it seems he was purely attracted by her beauty at the Capulet Ball (driving out any thought of Rosalyn, whom he believed he loved for the same reason). However, there are a few choice bits of Act 1 Scene 1 which really show Romeo to be truly shallow. Most of these show up in the conversation where Benvolio has a talk with Romeo in order to find out why the latter has shut himself away in misery. It is revealed that Romeo is pining for Rosalyn, the most beautiful woman he has seen. Romeo has this to say about his attempts at courting her:

Well, in that hit you miss. She'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow. She hath Dian's wit.
And, in strong proof of chastity well armed
From love's weak childish bow, she lives uncharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.


Am I alone in thinking that Romeo is whining because he can't even PAY to get into Rosalyn's pants? 

When Romeo first sees Juliet at the Capulet's Ball, he becomes immediately enamored, forgetting completely about Rosalyn. His first comments about Juliet are entirely about her beauty and how it outshines any he has ever witnessed.

When they first begin to speak, things get a little interesting. Their dialogue takes the form of a sonnet. Many would argue that, as the sonnet was the ultimate romantic thing to do, that this signifies the beginning of "true love" between Romeo and Juliet, as an Elizabethan audience would recognize it as such. However, I would argue that Shakespeare used it for the opposite effect. Afterall, everyone in his audience would have known that it was the thing for a gentleman to write to show deepest admiration. In otherwords, it was a fancy pickup line. This idea is further heightened by the skill with which Romeo lays it on to win a kiss from Juliet. Ultimately, she comments "You kiss by the book," indicating that, not only is Romeo skillful with his lines, but he's a pro at kissing. In otherwords, Romeo is a Shakespearan "playah". (Sorry, I couldn't resist that pun...)

It becomes very clear that Romeo feels very strongly for Juliet as the end of the play approaches. However, is it love? If it is, what is he really in love with? Many mentions are made of Juliet's beauty, but what else? Yes, Romeo proves that he is devoted, but is he still as shallow as he was at the beginning of the play? I wager he is.

Anybody else have an opinion on this?

 PS: The title for this post appeared in my TA's notes. *chuckle*

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 Well, as some of you may have guessed, having had time to recover my mental equilibrium to at least some extent, I've once again attempted to resume my running training, this time with greater success. My new training schedule is based on one created for novice 10k runners that can be found here:  

http://www.halhigdon.com/10ktr aining/10knovice.htm

Last week, I ran three times, twice for 3.5 miles, and again for 5.2. In attempting to actually follow the routine, on Saturday, I also rode my mountain bike for a little over an hour for cross training. That's the first time I've ridden any real distance on a bike for, ummm..., decades. That actually did a number on my legs and, yesterday, I was only able to run 3.5 miles when I had intended to run 5.5. Ah well, I did do a long run earlier last week, so that'll count for it. Hal's program allows that kind of flexibility.

As you may have guessed from the times and distances involved, I've NOT gone all the way back to the beginning of that training schedule. In fact, I'm somewhere around week 7. With some modification, I plan to make that my weekly routine. That'll put me in perpetual readiness to run a 10k with only a few days notice. Neat, no?

Speaking of the routine, today I have to do some stretching and strength building. That will consist of an hour long session of yoga, methinks. I'm quite a newb in regards to yoga, but I at least some degree of pride in the fact that I could do the standing tree pose without a chair or even wobbling all that much on my first try (Go Aikido and Tai Chi balance training!). At some point in the somewhat near future, I'll be looking local martial arts clubs to add some flavour, too.

My upper body is already seeing the benefit of all the various bits of manual labour I've been doing around the property. My chest, shoulders and arms are really starting to firm up and I seem to be filling out my shirts a little better across the chest. As well, the strong definition of my forearms is slowly creeping up my upper arms. If I keep this up, by this time next year, I'll be looking quite studly.

And it's that particular thought that compensates for the ache I'm currently suffering in my legs from the punishment I gave 'em this weekend. *chuckle*

the_vulture: (tvinflight)
Browsing through the Forums, I came across a discussion titled "Why Are Girls Weird" (http://person.com/forum.phtml?showtopic= 31165&st=0&p=621330&). It's currently about how many women (and some men) seem to have difficulty accepting a compliment.  

Now granted, there is some there is a fair bit of legitimate argument for the simple fact that many people do not KNOW how to gracefully accept a compliment (kinda sad that they don't get enough practice), but methinks the main root of the problem lies within the current Western perception of beauty.  

Taking my role of pastoral care for my pupils somewhat seriously, I've often brought up the subject of our perception of beauty in class, especially for the benefit of the teenage girls who wind up being placed under tremendous pressure to be inhumanly beautiful. I choose the term "inhuman" for a very precise reason, which is revealed in this short film, by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, titled Evolution. 

It shows how a normal woman, through the use of multiple makeup artists and hair stylists, professional photography, and (most disturbingly) a subtantial amount of digital modification, is transformed into one of the "Glamazons" that decorate our many adverts. 

The discussion that results amongst my pupils when I show that film can get a bit intense, but it's no where NEAR the reaction I get when I show the short film titled Onslaught (again by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty): 

It highlights just how strong of a presence the beauty industry can have for young women. I recall, during one showing, three 15 year old girls hiding their faces during one segment that they, as they later explained, thought was pornographic. Interestingly, the "pornography" they saw came from bus stop adverts, music videos and other media rated for public consumption. 

The closing statement for the film reads "Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does." 

Kinda hits home, doesn't it. 

Now some of you may be thinking, "Why would a guy care about all this?" I think this short film, titled Amy says it all.

All three of the aforementionded films can be found through the video link for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.
 

This post is dedicated to every woman I have had to work very hard to convince of the truth of her own beauty, and to those with whom I failed.


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It's the start of the English lesson with a fresh batch of year 7s. A couple of them are whining because, the lesson previous, they had to run for an extended period of time and now they are thirsty and wanting to leave MY lesson to get water.

Aside from irritation at the fact that they didn't think to get a drink after they had finished PE and figure it would be okay to lose time from English to deal with the issue, school policy is pretty adamant about leaving lessons to get water so I flatly deny them their request.

To counter the resultant moaning, I begin to explain that when I run, I can do so for an hour without needing water. I only get as far as "When I run..." when one little smart ass interrupts with "What, once a month?"

I looked at him askance and explained that, quite regularly, I run 10k. In response to his look of disbelief, I asked, "You don't believe that I run?" With that, I pull up my trouser leg to reveal the huge mass of hard, angular lines, blocks and trenches that is my calf and shin. I note, with satisfaction, the eyes bulging from his skull in shock and amazement.

 "OH GROSS!!!" he exclaims.

 Kids...

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 In response to a recent conversation regarding the importance of having a decent personality over good looks, I thought I'd share this with you:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG3ExHB13 3k

the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)

Yes, it seems pretty clear that I've changed quite a bit in the two or so years since I've last seen many of my relatives. They are greatly impressed with the amount I've managed to shape up since they last saw me. As such, I'm rather baffled by attempts to press huge amounts of food upon me. Maybe it's their way of expressing love; I don't know. What I do know is that I've now realized one of the reasons why I got so big in the first place *chuckle* 

Ah well; this time 'round, it seems I'm prepared with some measure of self control and *gasp* an exercise regime that seems to be keeping up with the lobster, crab, donairs (not quite like UK kebabs (and, ummm... those are my fault)), turkey, clams, lobster sandwiches, goodies, pleuys (thin buckwheat pancake thingy), drink (though exported Strongbow sucks) and travel munchies. I've actually managed to slim down a bit.

Meanwhile, I've enjoyed a relaxing vacation that has brought me in touch with family that I haven't seen in a long time, in some cases, decades. It's also brought me in touch with some long forgotten maritime roots, especially through hikes along the beach and clam digging. I've also done a few wee bits of sightseeing, including a trip to Magnetic Hill where an optical illusion allows you to believe that your car rolls uphill ($5 well spent!). I also plan to see the Hopewell Rocks and the Bay of Fundy. Speaking of natural wonders, I've also been witness to some pretty amazing lightning storms (and frequent torrential downpours). Aside from that, though, it's mostly about relaxation and time with family.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Limits...

Apr. 28th, 2007 06:05 pm
the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
The last time I tested my limits for running was back on November 11. I ran for just over 92 minutes. I've only just discovered that I've yet to surpass that, having only run 90 minutes today and last Sunday. This is not to say that my limits have not increased, though. When I pulled that stunt in November, I paid for it in a lot of back and knee pain for a good week afterwards. Now, though, I can run 90 minutes without much grief from any of my body parts (knees ache slightly, but that's it). I'm damn certain I ran a lot further in the run I did today (6.95 miles) than I did on November 11. I'm also certain I could run a lot longer, too. However, I'm not going to push it, not yet. I've become a lot more guarded about my physical conditioning and I really don't want to wind up compromising my training more than it already has been. Still, it's good to know that I will have no difficulty completing the 10k in May; I just want the shiny medal at the end of the run as official evidence that I've left couch potato-dom well and truly behind me. 

The change in my physical condition has been noted by both staff and pupils at the school and I've been complimented on my weight loss. Some of the pupils have actually seen me out running and a group of the older boys had, for a short while, taken to humming the Rocky theme song in my presence (tres cool!).

Further along the physical fitness front, I've started training in a new martial art, Bushin Kenpo, at a local club. Normally, I would've sought out some Aikido, Tai Chi, or Wing Chun, but no clubs exist within reasonable transport range for me. In fact, the Bushin Kenpo club is the only one around here. This has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The art is actually a highly pragmatized combination of Aikido, Ju Jitsu, Wing Chun and a variety of other arts. The club has a relaxed attitude and the head instructor is not only really competent, but also a lot of fun! I'm really enjoying it so far and learning a lot. This is a good thing!

In other news, it has been confirmed that I will be teaching a full English timetable next year. Whilst I'm not entirely pleased by the resultant mark load, or that I'll be teaching only lower ability pupils, it is reassuring to know that I'm valued and, more importantly, retained for a further year of work. *grin* I've also just found out that I'll be the form tutor for a group of year 8s next. I was told this by the head of KS3, who, at the same time, explained that when she was given choice of who to pick for tutors, she was glad to be able to choose me as I had shown a lot of good rapport with the younger year groups during summer school last year. Needless to say, I was chuffed. *big grin*

There is some issue of what room I'll be teaching in, as my current one will be given to the trainee teacher who will enter her first year of teaching next fall. I was despairing of being stuck in a much smaller room, but likely class sizes (let alone my form size) have ruled that room out and it's quite likely I'll be getting the room that I was doing support teaching in. There are some disadvantages to it, as it is away from the English block and has poor temperature control, but it is a large and airy room with the best view in the school and I'd be pleased to take that one, even over my current room (let alone the dinky one they were originally going to give me).

And that's pretty much the substantial bits of news for me as of late.
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Ya know, for the longest time, I thought they didn't, at least not to me. A couple of years ago, however, I wound up on a blind date for which I almost wish I had been blind. I had met her online, though a service similar to this. The photo she had on her profile was a bit blurry, but I didn't think anything was amiss. Besides, from online chatter, she seemed to have a great personality and shared many of my interests.  

What I didn't know until I met her in person is that she was badly disfigured. This was truly a shame, because she was a wonderful and amazing woman. She was intelligent, well educated, caring, funny, motivated, the list goes on... But I just couldn't get past her appearance. 

I don't consider myself to be a shallow person; I've been attracted to many women who do not match the glamour mag version of "beauty." Frankly, if given the choice between dating a plain woman who can carry an intelligent conversation and a runway model with all the personality of a soggy tuna sandwich, the former gets my company every time. 

Still, deep down, I know that I'm not the high idealist that once thought I was and there is a minimum level of beauty that any potential girlfriend must have if I'm to accept her as such. I rather dread saying that, because I know there are many, many women out there who think of themselves as ugly, when truly really they are not., and I may lose the opportunity to meet these people as a result. But if I cannot be wholly honest in my own blog, where else can I be?

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Right, so it's been a while since I last posted. Much of that is not being in the mood, or simply being preoccupied. Some pretty startling things have occurred:

1) A few days prior to Valentine's Day, my girlfriend of over a year broke up with me. 

2) Pondering my possible whereabouts over the next year got cut short by the offer to continue teaching at the school I'm at next year. Again, Swiss Army Teacher wins the day by being able to teach English and IT part-time, apparently with a few support classes for added flavour.

3) I have survived two months of exceptionally tight finances due to paying off damage deposits and dual rents for a short period of time.

4) I got somewhat addicted to an online dating site called person.com. Games like Play and Flirt make it just too damn fun. Through this site, I've made quite a few online friends around the world.

5) I survived the English department's annual LEAP review. Though not completely happy with my personal results, I at least did not receive any unsatisfactories.

6) I am currently down to 235 lbs. I have not been that weight since, I think, my very early twenties.

7) I would have enjoyed nearly two weeks of Easter holidays, but have spent much of that either ill or marking coursework.

8) Training, on account of illness, has been substantially delayed. Fortunately, however, I still possess more than sufficient capapcity to complete the 10k run; I'm just working on how much grace I do it with.

9) On Wednesday, I took a lengthy walk to meet one of my new online friends and her family at a major shopping centre. 'Twas fun!

10) Marking of coursework is going according to plan. There will be no last minute panic to finish.

11) Tomorrow, with luck, I'll be visiting the standing stone site at Avesbury. This will be my upcoming birthday treat to myself.

12) I now have broadband. (Yessss!)

And there is the point form summary of (most) everything that's happened with me over the last while.

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I'm still in dire need of new furniture, and other odds and ends, but I'm settling into life in the new flat quite nicely: I've found good trails to run on, I'm no longer so ridiculously broke and the nearby off-license carries a tasty brand of pear cider. I've also acquired some new work trousers, size 40. Yes, I did try to squeeze into size 38, but I've got a ways to go for those yet. (I did get the fly buttoned, though!)

Exercise wise, the upper body is solidifying nicely and the major masses where my six pack will appear are quite apparent.
The most recent bit of good stuff, however, was the invitation I received yesterday evening to join some of my neighbours for an impromptu drink.
Yep, methinks I may come to really enjoy life here.

Surviving

Feb. 16th, 2007 12:04 pm
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Thanks to D., I've managed to weather Valentine's Day without [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin reasonably well. There's still a heart shaped ache (and, at night, I still cuddle the stuffed toy I was going to give her), but I think I'm done shedding tears over the breakup.

As for silver linings, being once again unattached has re-opened a lot of options for what to do in the future. I'm contracted until the end of August. Once finished, I'll have three years of international teaching experience; that can get me quite far in that particular sub-field of endeavour. Obtaining my QTS (still working on that) will not only allow me to remain in the UK, but also give me the opportunity to apply for work in New Zealand. There's also plenty of very well paying jobs to be found in places like Saudi Arabia. A visit to a hiring fair could find me work somewhere else in Europe, like say, Geneva. Or, I could finally choose to be really adventurous and take up work in Japan, China, or elsewhere in Asia.

The biggest temptation, though, is to return home. I'd have a much tougher time to find steady work, but being home, or close to it, would be very good for me, emotionally. I wonder just how quickly I could scale Mt. Doug now.

Who knows what the future holds for me? I've got at least six months to think about it, more if the school I'm currently working at decides to keep me on for another year or so..

I'm back in my new flat, after a few day's visit to Aylesbury, and, though nigh on utterly broke, I'm doing fine. An initial visit at the local doctor's office has revealed evidence of what a lot of people have been telling me; I've lost a lot of weight. I'm currently down to a little over 110 kg (242 lbs). This is the lowest body weight I've had in a very, VERY long time. This may explain why I am in great need of a new belt to keep the new size 40 jeans up. Now that I've found nice, long, (and most importantly) unpaved paths(usually around and through farm fields), I've begun running more frequently again. The brisk 10 minute walks to and from the train station also are helping to keep me in shape. I've even been making use of a chin-up bar left installed in my bathroom doorway to improve my arm strength. I'm still a long way off from actually doing a proper chin-up, but I'm progressing nicely.
the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
I cannot recall the last time I was able to do this; I only know that it has been many years, quite likely over a decade. Today, I tried on, and purchased, a pair of size 40 jeans. Yes, I can now officially fit size 40!
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At other schools, I've caught grief from pupils for wearing my favourite shirt twice a week. I've also caught grief for having stains or sweat patches. Jokes have been made about my style of hair.

This school is different, though. For sometime, my shoes have been riding the very bitter edge of absolute failure, with the sides beginning to split out. The nearest mention of them by pupils, however, was when I finally was able to purchase new ones ("Hey Sir, you got you new shoes!"). Instead of making jokes about my trousers becoming all loose and baggy to the point that they are beginning to resemble those of a clown, I get words to the effect of "Hey Sir, have you lost weight?"

Could it be that the pupils at this school simply have a higher level of respect for staff in general or me in particular? Quite possibly - I'm finding that I am having a MUCH easier time teaching full time English at this school (to the point that I actually enjoy it at (many) points). But I think that the economic background of this school's catchment area also has something to do with it. These are NOT the spoiled rotten kids of other areas I work with. I do NOT see every third or fourth child wandering around with a Sony PSP. Most of these kids have had to make do with what they have. Whatever other failings they may possess, they are NOT about to knock someone for showing the same level of financial lacking that they have been, or still are, in.

Progress

Nov. 18th, 2006 09:44 am
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Life over the last little while has been reasonable. Though my new pupils still occasionally give me grief, overall, they have settled a fair bit and are becoming more productive. I'm particularly pleased with my year 10 Literature class and, especially, my year 11 Media Studies class; they are now finally ready to dig in to the introductions of their coursework essays (though, granted, the year 10s (a weak set) require a substantial amount of spoon feeding).

On the exercise front, yesterday I ran a hill that I used to do occasionally to challenge my cardio levels. It had been a few weeks since I had last run it. Yesterday, when I did so, I completely "owned" it. I'm also continuing to see much shrinkage of the waist line. All of this does have a downside, however: I'm already down to the last hole on my latest belt and many of my trousers are becoming just too loose to wear properly. Another shopping trip for clothes is badly needed.

As for relationship stuff, I'm really looking forward to spending the weekend with [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin. On account of illness, we haven't been able to visit each other for close to three weeks. I've really missed her.

Anyhow, I must move on with the day. Before I leave for [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin's I have to get a run in, shower, empty my camera memory, pack, and other little odds and ends before heading out today.
the_vulture: (Default)
I happened to be looking in the dressing mirror after my run today (yes, the fifth this week) and I noticed that I had a vein popping out on my shin. Yes, my shin. Now I know that my legs have been changing quite dramatically (with thigh muscles starting to look hardcore), but I never expected to seen a vein on my shin; it's not one of those places that I figured would need a lot of blood flow, unlike, say calves or feet.

In other bits of news, I'm still at home, as opposed to spending the weekend with [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin. Scheduled maintenance has shut down rail service to her place for the entire weekend, replacement bus service is arduous and her car is out of commission. (sigh...) Ah well, I got a start on tidying my room (it's been needing it for a while), got lots of practice on my didge (I'm thinking I may have to get a better one if I'm to progress much further), and did a lot of puttering around on the internet (I even installed the Jabber program to chat real time with the lot of you!). I even had a really nice lay in this morning (till 10!).

I've still a fair bit to do, such as finishing my room, preparing the new timetables for my pupils (as our schedules will be changing as of next week), ironing my clothes, and watching Underworld: Evolution.
the_vulture: (Default)
There's not a whole heck of a lot that's changed recently. I'm well into Week 7 of the running program. On Sunday, as part of a running session, I ran the 12 minute run again. I scored better than I did last time, though still average in rating. Over the course of the half hour, though, I ran three miles; 5k marathons are not that far into the future!

In theme with all the physical stuff, I've managed to dip below 125 kilos and stay there. On the downside of all this, the nice, new trousers I purchased at the end of summer and just got hemmed now fit rather loose.

Other bits of news:
Last week I was volunteered to organize a visit to London for the whole of year 7 (gleep!). Though this is quite a task, I accepted it as one of the few things left I need to have evidence of for QTS is the understanding of how to plan a field trip. This, methinks, oughta do just fine.

Today, at a local store, I discovered t-shirts and short sleeve shirts in my size (Squeee!). Better still, they'z cheap, too!

And my classes are running reasonably well, though I've had to bang a couple of skulls in the last week or so.

All-in-all, things are smooth-ish...
the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
I did it again; I completely forgot about International Talk Like a Pirate Day. All that time thinking up great pirate-theme activities during the summer gone up in smoke. (sigh...)

As for the rest of life, I'm now into Week 5 of the running program and going strong. I did a half hour this morning, clocking over 2.2 miles, and will do two more this week. For the last few days, I've been pretty annoyed because I still can't get the scale to budge below 125 kilos, in spite of all the training. It doesn't seem like I've lost much waist size, either. I also wasn't impressed when I did a 12 minute run test and determined that I'm at the bottom end of "average" in terms of physical performance.

A closer look at my physical improvements... )

School is going well, so far, though I still have a fair bit of work ahead of me in terms of getting my planner organized and my room sorted. Aside from a few problems here and there, the kids have been great. I'm especially enjoying working with the year 7s; they're really sweet! (I really do think I should've been a primary teacher.)

As for the gaming club, I'm really looking forward to the next session; my (very) newbie players, having finally finished their characters, have managed, in the ten remaining minutes of last session, to get themselves into an altercation with local toughs in a country inn. Yes, in true D&D tradition, their first adventure is starting off with a tavern brawl (chuckle).

Sadly, though, it'll have to wait till next Wednesday, as tomorrow I'll be away to visit an ear-nose-and-throat specialist to diagnose me for obstructive sleep apnea. Otherwise, I won't be able to obtain the prescription I need to replace my CPAP machine (which is acting up a bit) in this country.

And things with [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin are also going well. This weekend we had a good, reassuring heart-to-heart that really clarified things for us about how we can adapt to each other's idiosyncrasies.

So, all-in-all, life is currently good.

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