Archives for category: Random

A Russian lieutenant colonel who’s cool head prevented World war three: Stanislav Petrov. Makes me wonder how many other unsung heroes there are around the world!

A man cooking is a sight to behold, as is the mess left after. I’m not talking about chefs, I’m talking about normal men trying to cook proper food. You know from cook books and stuff.
I’ve always thought that following the instructions in a cook book is an easy task and was mystified by some people’s apparent inability to cook. But now I’ve had a flash of understanding. When a man uses a cook book there is a paradox created, all men generally want to get things done without reading an instruction manual.
In situations where a man has a natural and innate understanding of the task this isn’t such a big deal. Digging a hole, throwing a rock or taking things apart are all tasks that are well undertaken by a standard man. Cooking, cleaning and showing emotion however have typically remained the domain of women. I’m not being sexist, just stereotyping.
In an attempt to navigate this naturally occurring paradox men will try and get through by roughly following the recipe.
Case in point, I was cooking a lasagna. My parents have some very old scales – proper mechanical ones, weights on one side and ingredients on the other. Being largely ignorant of empirical weights (whereas feet and miles I don’t have a problem with) I occasionally quizzed my parents on conversion as they were doing the crossword. I had just come to the sauce making section of the recipe and was getting slightly flustered to try and get it done and in the oven so that everything would be ready together.
‘How much is 40g?’ I demanded
‘About one and a half ounces’ Replied my dad.
That is not a lot of weight, picking up the one ounce weight I was disgusted – this barely weighs anything. It certainly didn’t seem like enough weight to warrant getting the scales out of the cupboard and muddling about with them. But I did have to get roughly the right amount of butter to start the sauce.
In the end a resolve was reached with a rather ridiculous image of me with a one ounce weight in one hand a a spoon of butter in the other, literally weighing them up to guess how much to put in.
To this day I have no idea if I was even close, but I do know that I made a cracking cheese sauce and the lasagna was rather nice. Even if I only used half of the recommended amount of pasta. As is the case when any man tries ‘real’ cooking, there was a heck of a mess to clean up after. It was worth it in my opinion.

It’s been quite a while since my last blog so I could have a lot to say. I don’t really. I’ve been enjoying relaxing at home with my parents. I’ve also had a mad week and a half travelling round the UK visiting and catching up with friends. Which has been great fun!
Progress on ‘100 push-ups’? I got to the end of week three – so half way through before interrupting myself with my friend-trip. I have yet to get back into the habbit, and when I do I think I’ll either have to repeat the first day of week 4 a few times or go from the middle of week three to get back upto speed.
Having said that the improvement from start to now is still very pleasing 🙂

Last weekend I did a day trip to London. A but mad I know but it was a chance to meet with a friend from Guildford who has since moved to scotland (ie damn far away) and earn a bit of money helping him out with some wedding photography. This was great not only for the chance to see him and all that but also as an opporunity to get the most out of my new phone. Google maps, tube status and tube maps – along with my car GPS were all used to full effect to get me there and get me back.
Technology used well methinks. Also makes it seem like the expense of said technology was actually worth it. At least to some extent anyway 🙂

I’ve been back for well over a week now, and it’s still good to be back!! Lots of people seem surprised to hear that I’m glad to be back in the UK it really makes me wonder why so many people live here.
I’m definately over the jet lag now. I thought I’d managed to miss it all together, in some kind of miraculous time shifting event. I got in on Monday (last week) and I felt fine, tuesday – fine, wednesday – no problems. But then thursday and friday, knackerd, as in bed at 9, 11 hours of sleep seems about right knackered.
I’ve met up with everyone in the South West (by everyone I mean all my friends) so I’m slowly coming up with a plan to visit everyone else in the country – also just talking about friends again. As for working… haven’t done any of that yet, living with my parents gives me a ‘no spend living option’ so even though I’m a bit on the skint side there isn’t really any massive rush to get things sorted out. Or at least I don’t have to take a job that I don’t want. I’ve set myself the task of calling an accountant today to try and start my own company… so we’ll see how that goes. Still not too sure about what to call my company which has been the first stumbling block all along to be honest!

So, after nine months of travelling, what have I learned?
Well this is a very difficult question to answer, much to the annoyance of my friends. I’ll have a go – even though I think that the true essance of it can’t really be put into words.
I’d say that about five to six months into my travels I had risen to a higher level of spiritual awareness. I was a better person – I liked being that person. However as with so many things in life I didn’t really realise what I had until it had passed. I’ve dropped back down the hill – so to speak. It’s left me in a situation where I have a feeling of drive to get back to that state, but it’s a rudderless drive – I’m not entirely sure where I should be putting my energy.
Or perhaps to be more accurate I have a pretty good idea of where to direct my energy but it would take a lot of old habits to be broken and new ones to be solidified and the task seems quite daunting.
I’m taking it a small step at a time so hopefully I’ll get there. A random goal that I set myself was to be back to and hopefully passed this state of ‘better me’ by the year 2012. Wish me luck!

I put my van up for sale yesterday morning. And still today afternoon no-one has bought it!

Rude.

I’ve been trying to retrospectively write blog posts too keep you upto date but keeping in chronological order. I’ve been finding that my muse has been slightly illusive, until I had a realisation! I don’t have to write the posts in chronological order, as long as I post them in chronological order. Somehow this has freed me to write whatever event/story is bubbling around in my brain and worry about the ordering later. Good news I think!

It seems that there is a problem with my email, as in I’m not getting any. Not from being un-popular (I sent one to myself to check) but I think there’s a server problem. If you’ve emailed me then I haven’t got it (since christmas eve).
Just to let you know 🙂

I’ve left the martial arts school now, it’s pretty sad. I’m going to have to say my goodbyes in about an hour…
Once I’ve moved on I have no idea how much internet access I’ll get, so my blog posts may get a bit sporadic… well even more so anyway 🙂

Last Sunday we decided to climb the nearby mountain. Simple, easy. Or not. I’m still not quite back to being at 100% fitness. Although this is mainly because I injured my foot. I’m not entirely sure how, it’s the tendon (or ligament) that connects to my big toe. I’m not even sure how I hurt it – the best explination I have is that my shoe was too tight. It was a good long walk. There has been a lot of speculation about how far it actually was. Estimate are: 13 miles up (making a 26 mile round trip) 44 km round trip (27.5 miles) or nine hours of walking at an average speed of roughly 4 miles an hour (36 miles). Any way you look at it, it was a damn long walk!
The most exciting moment would be a toss up between just getting back in time for dinner and being charged by a scared cow (picture to follow). I think either way it was a bonding experience for us all.

Rural China is not a place to come to if you’re in any way scared of insects. Every type of bug you can think of has been super-sized. Moths and butterfly’s that are the size of birds, bugs that are the size of your thumb bug somehow generate some kind of mating call that is deafening!
That's a big moth!
Generally lots of scary things, especially for a city boy like myself.
On the other hand the situation and the views pretty much make up for it: Read the rest of this entry »