Thursday, February 28, 2013

A fourth rule

With thanks to Gremlins.

Never expose it to bright light, especially sunlight which will kill it

Never get it wet for that will make it multiply

And, most importantly: never, ever feed it after midnight

And now...

No matter how tempted never EVER EVER ... take a whiff of your sweat flannel (1). 

When I did I recoiled violently from the flannel like a Victorian era woman just revived via smelling salts after accidentally walking in on an act of self-pleasure then shrinking back with the noisome reek of recall. Thank the probs (2) the plods back then actually carried a vial of salts for that very purpose!

I will now, this instant, go to the linen cupboard and get a clean flannel!

(1) A flannel—or face washer—I keep in the shed to mop my balding head with for when I get my sweat up. That happens quite a bit and that flannel has not been washed in months. The horror ... the horror...
(2) Though raised in a church household I have surrendered to the acceptance of the non-divine. So instead of citing God as a thanks I've selected "probs" as in "probabilities" for isn't it delish that we're star dust here by chance?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Start the clock...

Real Time with Bill Maher is typically my Sunday ride viewing when I am atop SoTPC, my exercise bike. The opening line of the credits is "Start the clock" with the music then kicking in. So that theme plus the crowd whoop welcoming Maher as he steps forward to give his monologue kicks me into fast ride mode and off I go at a much faster RPM. 

Another clock started last night when I risked having toast with lemon butter on it. Time of ingestion, 11:50. Time of pain landing, 12:15. The butter ... was butter. As in dairy; not some mock vegetable thing. I got acute gut pain, keeping me up past two, and was still tremendously sore after I woke up. Along with my new companion Fibro! with the old lady flashes sizzling deep in my shoulder every few minutes. Which, when onset at my desk causes me to actually physically contract, my face screwing up with pain as I clutch at the epicentre burst point and reflexively whisper either Fuck, Jesus or Fucking Jesus. 

Suffice to say it wasn't a fun day to be me. Eventually I gave up and whimpered off home.

The gut pain was, however, an own goal I'll grant you. When I got in the house my clenched up guts de-clenched and a most noisome reek was expelled from within to form a kind of invisible stink zone of eye-watering inducement. It stank out the end room well but good, which fortunately I did not need to be in since I was off for my cycle. 

Ah, yes, the cycle. So how's that cycling business going? Well the old lady pain flashes keep coming in my arms, though the tension band use helps, but otherwise not that bad. Save, that is, for the permanent pain of saddle soreness I enjoy courtesy of my fucked-up body. As I rode I felt deep ache set in my legs but I kept pushing through because I irrationally wanted to watch to the end of the title credits of Knocked Up, having just finished watching it and well past my end point of 40 minutes. I couldn't make it and collapsed off the bike even as the stills of crew and cast parent with new baby photos flashed on the screen from the credit sequence.


But with that I am proud to announce the birth of...

BANK: 431

Which, incidentally, is past the halfway mark of the eventual goal of 840 minutes of extra riding, the time needed to compensate for my likely three week convalescence following a probable hip operation later in the year. 

Hooray for a completely arbitrary made up goal! 

UPDATE: Also "Jesus, fuck". 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ouch (wince)

theBoy and I were walking home from after school care when theBoy ran ahead and tripped. He face planted, skidding along the footpath on his forehead as well as banging his knees. He had a cut to his scalp and had scraped away the top layers of knee skin.

He was understandably upset and no longer wished to walk upon the footpath. So I had to carry him.

It was a humid day and I was dressed in my old monk top, a now looser buttoned up collared shirt of t-shirt material that kind of looks like a cassock the way it hangs past my knees. I was carrying the crying theBoy and panting at the exertion.

It was then a car load of older ladies, in some sort of sporty 4WD white Mercedes, pulled up next to me to ask if I needed help. I breathily told them theBoy had fallen and I was carrying him home. As they left I realised they'd seen a sketchy looking man hightailing it with a school child and had probably wanted to suss that out and when they'd seen a bloodied-scalped MiniMe clutched in my arms they'd realised I was obviously his dad. I suppose that's fair enough and good on them for stopping to check if that was the case. And if they'd just stopped to see we were okay, irrespective of their potential pedophile fears, then that's also pretty kewl.

theWife heard theBoy's wailing as we came up the drive, coming closer and closer. She had to spend the next 15 minutes bathing wounds and dressing them with bandaids. 

I felt pretty awful he'd face planted on my watch. But, well, shit like this happens to kids! 

At the time he fell he swore he'd never walk home ever again. But the very next day we walked home anyway and at his insistence. We went to two playgrounds, climbed a dirt pile (we planted a branch as a flag), waved at some dogs, found sticks that looked like boomerangs, tied them up with a found laccy band,  and eventually made it in the gate. And he didn't fall once! What a Chooky.

BANK: 414

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shedspace

If someone ever asked me say even two years ago that I'd be a shed dad I'd have laughed in their face. Shed dads being dads that spend seeming inordinate time out in the shed engaged in various projects. 

My dad was a shed dad. Not in the classic actual spending time in the shed but he used it—his being the back end of an old wooden garage they'd had converted to a bedroom—to store his stuff as he sawed, nailed and hammered outside, projects resting on ancient wooden saw horses whose bones bore the scars of a thousand projects before it. It was either that, or gardening, or nipping out to work on the weekend for a few hours. At any rate he carved great chunks of private time from family in order to meet his solitude needs.

I get it now. There is a need for some solitude. Especially when the house itself is total shared space whose imprint is more from children and mum, with gleeful noise aplenty. Which is, of course, exactly how it should be. A house without laughter and noise is merely a house not a home.

So I am a shed dad now, but not in the proper purposefully manly sense such as creating wondrous items of wood for the house (1). I go to my shed to ride SoTPC, my second exercise bike, for the minimum daily amount of 40 minutes and then extra time if I can. Or I go there to defeat the old ladies with my tube and tone, which I admit on the surface implies I'm taking them out one by one as they surround me in a classic stacks on the hero martial arts scene. No, the old ladies in question are the flashes of pain that shoot up and down arms from the Fibromyalgia that riddles my form, and the tube and tone is a long rubber tube with a handle at each end that when stretched in various ways seems to keep the old ladies at bay.

Sometimes, though, when I head in for my daily riding session it takes a while to actually mount the bike. I prepare for the task ahead with meds, watching teev on myBeloved, or sometimes, like today, just lying on the cool concrete floor with the tablet before me as I read an awesome article sourced from the goodness at Longform. That can take a while. Today I think it was a good half hour before I actually got on. 

However once aboard  I can usually cycle through without dismounting to rest, though with momentary pauses to adjust tablet settings or select things to watch. Indeed, unless time is pressing, I'm fitter enough now that I can keep riding beyond the minimum 40 minutes. It's pretty much only saddle soreness that defines the upper limit on duration. 

So I'm a shed dad without masculine purpose but rather my purpose is to maintain me. Which, I think, is purpose enough.

BANK: 410

(1) Such as my friend M--- does, now a self-taught carpenter and jack of all trades of a hundred like. He's basically performed all the renovations on their house and the items he makes are pretty kewl. He even passed on the change table he'd made for changing his kids when theBoy was born.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where Mikey publicly defies death...

I did some enhanced death defying (DDs) recently, and this time in public. For those not in the know the death defying was an in the community thing I did in 2012 that I'd always wanted to have a go at. Having enjoyed it a lot, and buoyed by confidence from doing it, I stuck my hand up for a public performance related to the DDs. 

It was just a five minute performance and ... it did not go well. Oh there were contributing factors, sure, but the important thing I'm taking away from it is that I tried. Sure, I tried and (mostly) failed but I tried. And my (mostly) failure hasn't put me off wanting to have another go at it.

Yay, Mikey!

Mind you I have been stewing on this thing for weeks. Fuck, I practiced diligently several times a day (even at work in the underground car park) until I had it down pat. It's just that my down pat wasn't the audience's cup of tea. 

At the end, as I said goodbye to the others that had also performed, I did get one small bone thrown. Someone who'd watched me said not to give up. To have another go at it because the more goes you have the better you get. 

As theWife likes to say, end on a high note. So I am ending on that high note. 

It's an odd thing to go in the morning instead of at night

I had to leave the house by 10:30 and I'm gone tonight until probably midnight. So in order to meet my medically mandated riding of SoTPC (1) for at least 40 minutes I needed to do it before I left.

So it was that by 9:30 on a Saturday morning there I was pumping pedals and all without the benefit of SUPERMEDS!™. The only medication I could take pre-ride—in order I can drive later—was a combo pill of codeine and nurofen. That helped a little but I did miss the massive assist a good dose of the meds can give before you board the bike.

As noted I recently met with yet another specialist (I think she's my 16th). However this time and perhaps for the first time ever in my vast storied history of having a wonky bod I felt I was coming into a meeting having at least done hard yards to help myself. It was actually gratifying to hear someone tell me that what I was already doing exercise wise given the constraints of my bio-mechanicals that I was doing a good job. Indeed that all she had to do was help tweak what I was doing to maximise my efforts and to ensure my body didn't drift into "easy riding", where it becomes accustomed to the one exercise and you get the reduced return on benefits, as well as recommending water-based exercise to tone non-bike muscles.

One technique she suggested for the exercise bike was the sprint; go as fast as you can for a short period of time every few minutes, the idea being that it helps keep your metabolism burning even for when you stop. Since my default display on the exercise bike is distance and speed then I elected to assign the last 200 metres of every kay as my SPRINTZONE. So when the display kicked over to X.80 on the readout I'd pedal like a mad thing. Just by doing that I discovered that when I slowed after the sprint that I slowed to a still faster pace than I was doing before, averaging 21 kph instead of 18. So just that tiny tweak has resulted in dividends I was not expecting (2). 

Still I managed to knock off the 40 minutes and then added another 11. Which means...

BANK: 401

Exactly.

(1) A Nordic-branded super exercise bike with a solid, stable frame and the sequel to TPC (1a), Indeed so stable is the bike I can use the saddle or handle shafts (1b) as anchor points for my tube and tone rubber bands and thus allow me to do flexing after the ride as I take in some pleasure viewing via my Beloved, my Toshiba AT-100 tablet
(1a) An exercise bike borrowed then eventually purchased from Casso—after I killed it by sheer dint of mass—a Valkyrie armed with two swords who rides a trident to battle!
(1b) SHAFT! Damn right.
(2) As frequent readers of Mikey know—hi Casso!—I'm not afraid to admire the male form. Oh, I don't want to put things in the male form, or kiss, lick or fondle it. But if a man is packing a body that's not bad I'm comfortable in my own failed sexuality to realise that dude looks good. C---, a longtime friend and recent babysitting host of theBoy has also taken up exercise bike riding. And it's paying dividends because he is looking fine. Go the C---!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bank, again

I'll blog later. But for now...

BANK: 377

Okay, it's later. 

Recently I had to see a physio. I had theBoy with me and I let him play in the waiting 

room outside, though there were no adults there which was a worry. There was another little boy waiting—a child of one of the staff—so theBoy showed him theWife's iPad which we'd snaked from home so as to keep said theBoy amused whilst daddy chatted to a medical person.

It was actually an uplifting chat. I am on the right path in terms of managing the old ladies, the shooting pains that wriggle and squirm like electricity from an electric eel up my arms. My new specialist did however enhance my moves with some excellent tune and tone rubber tube stretching exercises that, as luck would have it, are akin the the chest expander style moves of one Mr Charles Atlas. The idea being that because I slouch in the day at my desk then at night I need to power stretch in the other direction.

She looked at my bank of films from the past three years, some 40 per cent of my body represented in the array of ultrasound images of shoulders, knees, hips and pelvis. But ... what she saw was encouraging in that it didn't appear I had the über bads of tendinitis or frozen shoulder. That my management of symptoms seems to be working and I need to keep trying at it. 

I do, however, have to suck it up and get into the pool. I told her how I felt, about how my body made me ashamed but then she rightly pointed out all people feel that way—I presume she excluded herself and the rest of the fit world—and that people at pools aren't there to cast judgement on people. And, if they did, fuck them. 

She was kewl.

So I have homework. I have to keep an exercise diary and I have to get thee to a pool. Yay. I can, however, try for a hydrotherapy style option so that's something. At least, then, I'd be surrounded by the like-bodied; hairy, fallen and failed but, unlike me, not really giving a tinkers about what other people think given their age and infirmities. 

I am worried that in addition to Fibro that my arthritis has returned—I had a nasty bout of it back in the late '90s just as I entered the workforce and my first job just happened to site my under the fucking vent of a giant air conditioner. Because I get flashes of pain shooting where it hasn't during this Fibro business, and that new pain feels like the horrid flash of pain that arthritis would bring.   ­­ 

But, as I always keep telling myself; am I doing everything I am? If yes then don't worry about it. You'll deal with it as best you can; you always do. 

Gosh I'm self-empowering. Also, lately, when I've thought of younger me and those younger me moments that made me sad I can't but help thinking of current me giving younger me a hug and telling me that in the end it will all be okay and that he will do the best he can. And that there's a Chooky waiting for him to come along.

Aw, current me is so nice to younger me. Of course younger me is where the organs are at...

SLURP!

BANK: Still 377 ... but it's going to likely be more. I'm headed back into the shed!

BANK: 390.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Aw, he went looking for me

I ducked out early this morning—I have to bank as much work as possible before I go under the knife in two to four months—and theBoy was still asleep when I left. Normally after seven he comes into me and we tell stories until it's time for me to start the getting ready for work process.

So when he arose he went looking for me. theWife eventually heard him outside at the shed door as he'd presumed that's where I was when he couldn't find me in the house.

I did leave a note saying I'd left. On the back of an old envelope I drew a pic of me with shutters either side with the word "GOODBYE!" and left the envelope on the counter. The goodbye and shutters were a reference to the infamous Wendy house next to our front gate where for a while theBoy and I were taking in turns to hide in so as to yell "HELLO!" at the other, throwing open the shutters when doing so, when the other came in the gate. The Wendy house is now a locale I am now banned from scaring theBoy from because my scares were too scary. This ban does not apply to theBoy.

So theBoy saw the dead envelope and that I'd left him a message saying goodbye. Only ... he thought there was something in the envelope and was saddened further at the absence of goodness within.

Aw... I hate the idea of him being sad when I go to work. My poor little Chooky!


UPDATE: Later, during my cycle in the shed, I endured three bouts of theBoy induced Sheddus Interruptus. The first occasion was him opening the shed door to somberly announce that 'mummy had farted'. The second was to say that he'd heard mummy say that she loves me. On the third occasion, after having been told not to yell in case he sparked off my old ladies—my Mikey shorthand for the flashes of pain that occur from muscular spasms up the limbs, typically my right arm— he opened the shed door in mime mode with over exaggerated silent mouthing of words so I could tell what he was trying to say. Which was that he loved me. Aw... 

BANK: 350

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It just seemed to make so much sense

In Bossypants, the autobiography by Tina Fey (1), Tina talks about getting to create one of the kewl ad fillers for Saturday Night Live, or SNL. For those of you not in the know SNL is a broadcast live variety show in that a guest host and a guest music star team up to star in set piece sketches in addition to two music spots by the musical guest. Interspersed between sketches, typically I think after the first sketch following the guest host's monologue, are filmed pieces or digital shorts. 

One of the go to filmed pieces is the spoof ad and it was one of these that Tina Fey fought to film; an ad about the joys of the belted menstrual pad. Yes, that's right, once upon a time menstrual pads had to be belted on so Fey's idea was to make an ad showing all these women enjoying the "classic" look of the belted pad like the pad was a retro product release. Fey, being one of the few women on the writing staff, found it a struggle to get it across to the male writers why that was funny. And it mattered because the filmed pieces were big budget item so only a few of these ads were made each season. 

Well she got the spoof ad up and yes it was funny.

Yesterday I experimented with a combination of sweat flannel and headband, the latter securing the former to the scalp. I needed my sweat flannel—a face cloth keep by the exercise bike so as to daub away the worst of the Mikey fluids that seep from my scalp pores as I ride—to serve as padding for my head for the rubber tubes that I then stretched down over my dome, the stretching of tubes required to work out my arm muscles to keep the old ladies at bay (2) and the headband added to keep the flannel in place. A combination I have affectionately dubbed the T.E. O'Toole (3) .

Today I repeated the technique and then made a discovery. Even without tube stretching upon my head then securing the sweat flannel to my head meant the sweat produced was mostly absorbed by said flannel, the remainder then picked off by the headband keeping it on. In other words it worked exactly like the belted on menstrual pad as spoofed by Fey and the SNL cast.

So ... I left the T.E.O'Toole in place for the remainder of the ride. I did think, however, it would be an unfortunate scene for anyone that walked in on me—I upon the exercise bike, naked from the waist up, a flannel secured by a headband across the top of my balding heat.

The shed door cannot be locked. However if you're inside it you can jam the tongue grove for the handle to stop the handle turning. I made use of some black plumbers tape (4) and some cardboard and constructed a wedge for that purpose. Mainly to keep theBoy from opening the shed door so he didn't come in while I was in there—there's lots of dangerous things in the shed and I don't like being interrupted while exercising. 

I'd jammed Mr Wobble—a Ben 10 themed space hopper—in the window of the Wendy house by the front gate, a sign blue-tacked to the hopper shouting 'HELLO!'. I am banned from hiding in the Wendy house to scare theBoy when he comes through the gate but I figured this was a fun thing I could do if I was home before him as a call back joke. So theBoy had encountered my "trap" of Mr Wobble and wanted to tell me even though I was in the shed and atop the cycle. 

Despite the wedge he simply violently turned the handle back and forth until the wedge was dislodged, and he pulled open the door ... to see the half-naked me me atop the bike (5), the sweat flannel MacGyvered to my head. 

Fortunately he wasn't perturbed. But then why would he be? To him I'm normal.

Aw ... I think there's something in that for all of us. 

BANK: 320.

(1) Loaned to me by my good friend A----. A and I worked together for about five years I think. We were an isolated pocket of intellectually curious lefties in a conservative apathetic sea. I miss his presence. 
(2) Mikey's term for the muscle spasms and flashes of pain as caused by Fibromyalgia, a condition synonymous with elderly women
(3) So named for the headgear as sported by Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia
(4) I also used that tape to secure one of the plastic caps for the leg of the pedestal fan—the cap kept coming off when you moved the fan. Years ago we did the typical heavy-set person thing and tried Jenny Craig—which proved to be a mostly stressful and futile endevour (though our weigh in coordinator was a joy!). The rubber tube tension band I am using in the shed alas was branded with the Jenny Craig logo. When the Jenny Craig Weightloss Centre phenomena took off in Oz in the '80s, we had Eliot Gould of all people spruiking it at one point, then naturally any fat kid at school was mocked about it; why don't you go to Jenny Craig? Ha, ha, ha—you're fat. That sort of classic observational humour. Anyway I didn't like the cursive script of Jenny Craig looking up at me so I gaffered that up with plumbers tape as well. 
(5) Last night, after using the rubber tubes to flex my arms, I realised that my standing right behind the exercise bike with the rubber tubes looped around the saddle shaft as I pulled back on the bands, my pelvis thrust forward until my stomach grazed the seat's back, that this too would look sketchy to anyone looking in...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where Mikey MacGyvers his sweat flannel as a makeshift barrier

It's an unpleasant place, the shed, for people who are not me. For one every time I'm in it there's a half-naked hairy man in there. Sweating and looking like the midpoint in a hybrid-to-human werebear transformation. For the other it's full of creepy crawlies like spiders and assorted bugs. It also smells of chemicals ... and the damp of  ... moist cardboard (1).

But despite its many repellent features the shed affords me a relatively safe and environmentally protected locale with which to grapple with exercise and other manly pursuits. Manly pursuits that now include flexing of arms with tension bands so as to put my upper body through enough work that the fibro flashes that come will be reduced in number and severity. In other worlds my body is now its own electrified cupcake (2). If I don't use it then ow! (zart!) ow! (zart!) ow! (zart!)

You get the picture.

I needed to pull down on the bands from up high and without a beam or rafter low enough in the shed above my mounted form there was only high object about; my barely covered with hair dome. The tension band, from theWife's Tune'N'Tone kit, these ones hollow flexible tubes with grip handles on the end, could not be pulled down upon my naked head without the tubes snagging what hair remained. But what to do?

I keep a face cloth—or flannel if you're of British heritage like me—next to the bike so I can mop away sweat when my head starts to rain. So the face cloth would serve as an ideal safety barrier between head hair and tubes. But what to secure the face cloth with? 

Ah, the headband. 

And so it was that I went total T.E. O'Toole and headband-secured the sweat flannel so I could then stretch rubber tubes across my dome. A MacGyvering, in other words, by making creative use of materials and tools at hand.

That's the crap you have to do to keep the old ladies at bay (3).

Stupid old ladies ... with their doilies and Victrolas (4).

Bank: 280 (5) UPDATE: 297. I went again later that night.

(1) As voiced by Charlton Heston.
(2) Sweet ... cupcakes...
(3) My now newly adopted fun name for Fibromyalgia, a condition synonymous with women (nine times more afflicted) and the elderly. Mind you it totally sounds like we live next door to an old people's home who went final stage of a zombie virus and they've besieged the house; "Get the fucking oven spray and pass me the lighter!" (HSSSSSBUUUUUUURRRRRRNRN).
(4) On the day we put down our cat L--- I sat in the waiting room of the vet with theBoy as theWife dealt with admin at the counter. Two guys—50s I guess; trim public servants—with their dog between them were seated in the waiting area next to me. Out into view came another dog, a neck cone around its neck to stop it gnawing on itself. Without thinking I said 'That looks like a fusion of His Master's Voice' ... a reference to the logo of the Vitrola company. The older of the two lost his shit, breaking out in a great fit of giggles. Despite the sombre occasion I couldn't help but feel pride at pulling off an obscure dated media storage reference joke. And how awesome I was next to someone old enough to understand the reference! I still got it (waggles tie).
(5) I've decided to do a Bridget Jones and coda my blog posts with the current total in my exercise bank (5a) ... so I don't forget and I diddle myself out of time; no more time diddling for Mikey!
(5a) I have to earn 840 minutes time before my next hip operation above and beyond the 40-minutes of exercise bike riding I do each day. The bank is the current total of extra time done

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A physical high (with a little help from my friends)

I added 11 minutes today to my bank, for a total now of 278 from memory (target of 840) of minutes I've gone above and beyond the daily target of 40. 

When I rounded the 10 kay mark I realised I had it in me to keep going beyond the target of 13. I had a steady pace of about 21 kph on resistance nine, my default setting on SoTPC—my Nordic-branded exercise bike and the second bike to bear my frame (1)—and I was in da zone. A zone abetted by the presence of SUPERMEDS!™. Thus it was I kept on going, powering through to 15 kays before I clicked over to the time setting to discover my additional bounty. 

The fibro pulses that fired were somewhat unpleasant so I spent slabs of the ride with the tension band wrapped 'round my fists, pulling my fists apart so as to tense the muscles of my pulse-rippled arms.
 
While I was beset with pain as I rode, the meds and viewing poison I had helped drive the pain to the background. The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are a fine accompaniments to medically mandated exercise session. Then when I returned for a arms only bout I fired up Community, a show whose eps can be watched again and again with repeated enjoyment in each viewing. 

So there are benefits to having to exercise. I get to hang out in the garden shed watching cool-as-all-heck teev, my own little place of privacy and contemplation. 

Our garden is now a friggin' delight. Healthy plants reaching for the sky, a multi-hued glow of lanterns gleam at night, the cells of the lights powered by the sun during the day. On weekends I ride around mid-afternoon, typically as theBoy and theWife are outside. I can hear them at play through the shed wall, theWife watering and theBoy either lost in himself or attempting a bit with theWife. Sometimes I hear them together, he helping her  and enjoying the fruits of the harvest and snacking right from the vine. On occasion theBoy will race to the window, I've only screened the glass with a towel as a curtain where the window reflects my florid form, and he will hold up something for me to see such as a giant squash he and theWife just plucked from the earth. 

I think perhaps between us theWife and I have lived in 30 houses or more and this house now is the house we've been in the longest together. 

And this house is easily my favourite.  

Anyway today I not only got a physical high I banked extra time as I did. Not bad for a 40-year-old man designed to die just after birth. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, malformed physique! (2)

(1) Because, with delish irony, I buckled the frame of the previous bike from a year and a bit of mounting it from the right-hand side.
(2) Do not stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bank!

Do you remember The Weakest Link? It was hosted by Cornelia Frances whose host persona was essentially identical to the bitch-queen Morag she played on Home and Away

The show is a team of contestants who take turns answering trivia questions and aiming to create a chain of consecutive correct answers to earn an increasing amount of money for a communal pot within a time limit. The number of "links" in a chain are equal to the number of the contestants at the start of the show. An incorrect answer breaks the chain and loses all the money accumulated up to that point; however, a contestant can say "bank" prior to their question being asked, the accumulated money is stored, and the chain resets to zero (1). Then Morag would interview the people to point out their many flaws and the people would vote one of the "weaker" peeps off.

So now, when I ride, I yell "bank!" when I'm done because the extra minutes done above 40 go into the bank. 

Today, for the first time I think, I rode for over an hour without dismounting (2), a total of an hour and one minute. So that means I add 21 minutes to my bank which now stands at 267 with the pre-op target being 840.


Awesome. 

I also took the opportunity whilst riding to send hilarious texts to various peeps on mah contacts list. 

You're still welcome, humanity. 

On a side note... 
Last night we got to go see two movies, with theBoy safely lodged with A--- and C---. Thanks, A--- and C---! It felt so decadent seeing movies back-to-back, but I would like to note I only had the one popcorn—and a small one at that! I did, however, have a medium-sized and then large-sized blue slushie because blue slushies at the movies are for shizz.

(1) Edited snippet from the wiki for the format of the show
(2) There were some incidental pause moments for tablet access purposes and once when I considered stopping. But otherwise maintained a steady pace throughout. 

Elitist patriarchs mock elderly woman who just tried to vote

America is a glorious country in that it is akin to the flawed hero. There's so much great about it but then there's so many needlessly self-afflicted flaws that bedevil it.

One such flaw is the primitive electioneering mechanics "enjoyed" by Americans. Unlike almost every other industralised country America lacks a Federal oversight agency or organisation to monitor and run elections. Instead the responsibility is devolved to the State governments and then voting administration is further devolved to the country level. Not only that but partisan elected officials have "oversight" of the process and thus they've developed a set of voting mechanisms that basically scream out to be fucked with by the people who are in position to fuck with it.

In the 2012 US Presidential election long waits to vote were common. The media highlighted one example of an elderly woman, 102 in fact, who waited many hours for her chance to vote. 

Fox news, on the other hand, the delicious perversion of journalism brought to you by the ultimate white patriarch, Rupert Murdoch, ­ ­thought the fact an old lady had to line up for hours to vote was a storm in a teacup. That complaints about the sclerotic and confused voting mechanisms in the US were a beat up. 

Unless, of course, the complaint is voter ID. If that's the case then Fox is all over it. I'm sure it's nothing to do with the face that poor or minorities are far more likely to lack official photo-based ID documentation. 

Actively seeking to disenfranchise people from voting, whether it's closing early days or creating circumstances where to take part in an election a 102-year-old woman has to stand in line for seven hours, is nothing less than voter suppression (1); a hallmark of corrupt and oppressive governments everywhere. Indeed, especially the case in the US considering purging voters from the rolls in Florida before the 2000 US election helped give Bush the state and therefore the presidency. 

So no real surprises coming from Fox. They'll do anything they can to keep old white males a top the power pyramid.

(1) It should be noted that in the voter's case the then State elected officials of Florida did use emergency legislation powers to keep polls open. 

Taking a sea breath

theOlderBrother gave me some good advice the other day when I texted him about some of my workplace misery; "Take a sea breath, brother". 

All of us have pride, even those of us who shouldn't. So each time I think of crap going down at my workplace, part of me feels a lump of anger and hurt of having been perceived as having minimal value or not being good at my job.

But, like theOlderBrother says, I have to take a sea breath. A deep intake of air with the reminder to view this in perspective, and exhale to let the tension away (1). It may be some people's opinion I lack any worth but I've only ever tried my best with the resources I've had and they can't take that from me. 

So chin up, Buttercup (2). You're doing the best you can. You always have and you always will. 

(1) An also technique from theWife who once did a round of Toastmasters speaking; clench every part of your body then release, exhaling as you go.  
(2) The other day I finished a complex piece of writing. My inner voice said "Well done, little bacon, well done." Nice to see I have his support. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

You sit before the crone as she holds up a coin

"Queen," said the crone, the image of a queen in profile glinting in the candlelight. The crone twisted her hand to show the coin's reverse. "Wheel"

The crone flipped up her long bony-nailed thumb, the coin spinning into the air...

If the coin came down on "Queen"
There's a faded five dollar bill in the shed, more pink than purple now. The bill's on the top shelf of the 'welcome to the group house!' white bookshelves I purchased for theWife on her moving into my group house back in 1995. The shelves cost $20 (1). The Queen on the bill is upside down relative to me. Her withered glare witheringly stares up at me when I see her from atop my position on the bike. Why do I attract the scorn of a faded Queen?!

If the coin came down on "Wheel"
I'm at 241 in the bank on SoTPC, or Son of TPC, the sequel to my previous exercise bike, the TPC, or The Purgatory Cart, purchased via the lend-lease program from Franklin D Roosecass, the cigarette-holder chair-afflicted President in da highhouse! (2). I killed the TPC (3) by my always mounting that bike from the right-hand side, eventually buckling the bike's frame from my weight. A discovery only made when I realised I had been riding for some time on a noticeable slant. 

I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a condition that affects nine times as many women as men, and where onset is typically when one starts to age. In other words I have a condition synonymous with old ladies. The best way to stave off the fucker—for in addition to abdominal yuck the Fibro causes flashes of pain to pulse up and down limbs—is exercise, with regularly used muscles experiencing less flashes and reduced severity when they occur. 

My legs are fine—I'm riding on average 40 minutes a day—but my arms need a work out lest the flashes flare. theWife found her tension bands—lengths of stretchy rubber of different tensile strength—and handed them on to me. One stayed in the house, another to work, but I took the last and most durable one to the shed. As I ride I pull back on the looped band with my fist when my left foot pushes down on the pedal. 

Tonight, as I rhythmically rocked back and forth on my second stint, clocking another 21 for the bank, the band snapped 'fore my fist and my hand flew back when it was freed. Fortunately I was grasping the handle with my other hand and I did not topple from the bike from the Newtonian wobble.

Yes, that's right, Mikey assaulted yet another piece of exercise equipment. I only ripped an end chunk of it free so at least the band is still readily usable. 

Though it's a pain to have to do more than I want to in order to keep it at bay thank the probs Fibro is mostly self-manageable. It may be more common in old women but I am young and fit enough I can arrest much of the yuck through exercise and care. 

theBoy was in the bath yesterday when I was pulling on the housebound band, an olive brown band of medium stretch. I looped the band around the Jesus bar in the shower and stretched back on it like I was skiing behind a boat, the band stretched before theBoy as he sat in the water. I explained to theBoy that my body doesn't work right and that I had to do these things to keep being healthy. And that it was thanks to modern medicine I survived this far at all. He seemed to take the idea in; he does love his science.

But then he also loves mayhem.

Which is why I suspect he will become a super villain. I'll be so proud!

(1) That was a lot back then—I was unemployed, supplementing with occasional part-time work. Fortunately for me, I received benefits but didn't have to go to a job program because I'd successfully sneaky-completed one back in '91 when I had my first stint of unemployment. theWife had to go on one, but it eventually led to rostered part-time work as disability support carer. We lived that year in a kewl group house. It was, for all its faults, my most-favourite of group house experiences. However it turned out the best flatmate I ever had ... was theWife. She's heaps better than the other flatmate we have, theBoy. That dude makes such a mess; and the histronics! Sometimes he acts like a five-year-old.  
(2) Casso is blessed to live in the same suburb as me, but high upon the hill above us. Well, she's higher up. She lives near the toilet tree on the main road—a tree on whose trunk is large circular knot that looks like a toilet seat with the lid up from a birds-eye view. Casso, you will now forever think of that when you drive past. That is my gift to you.
(3) And yes, I am aware I am in effect saying The The Purgatory Cart; it sounds better with the the when it's in the TPC mode.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm an aberration

I've been in the Public Service for over fifteen years, and most of that time in the one key role.

And that's weird. It is; in the modern Public Service you're expected you shift every three years or so, hopefully on promotion. Not me; still here. There are advantages to duration; I'm a bank of corporate knowledge the like of which typically does not exist; a golden thread over years of how we worked. There are disadvantages; I'm seen as unambitious and I have to justify my role and my purpose with each grind of organisational change.

I sat in a meeting today, the only man in the six people present. All bar one of us were 35 or older and in our lifetime the way we did our business had changed twice. Once with the rise of the web, the second with the rise of social media.

We laughed about how mad we sounded to S2, who is in her early 20s, discussing technology and practices now dated. It was akin to me as a kid hearing about phonographs and how they had to be wound in order to play.

When my father was born penicillin did not exist, personal computers weren't even a concept, we hadn't gone to space, women in the west were culturally oppressed and to be gay was for many a horrid life given the abuse from people and society as a whole.

And here I am, 40-years-old, a man who would have died in infancy were it not for penicillin and modern medicine. A man with an artificial limb joint who can post his views for free without real censorship to potentially anyone on the planet should they wish to read them (1).

The rise of the printing press fundamentally changed civilisation. Information was no longer the province of few but many. Now here we are and old ways of information are shearing away; centuries of how communication occurred and the power systems they built fundamentally altered in just twenty years. Witness the death of print media and its struggle to find a working business model in the online-is-free environment.

Wow.

S2 is at the coalface of a brand new way of doing things. I wish her luck!

(1) Oh and it turned out gays and women were people after-all. Who'd have seen that coming?! Certainly not the old white male patriarchy ... who were hetro. 

I'm at 220

Two hundred and twenty minutes in the exercise bank now. To be likely "spent" when my hip operation occurs at some point soon. The fibro flashes are more frequent now so I spent most of the ride using the tension band to keep them at bay. Even now they're pulsing through the crook of my elbow. 

Stupid disease synonymous with old ladies. What's next? Menopause? Ovarian cysts? 

Jesus. 

But, as I keep reminding myself, I'm still here and walking, talking and picking up stuff. Even if my body is riddled with these pain flashes I am still here. And I'm not going anywhere while I have a say in it.

(Reaper turns up; Mikey knees him in the pelvic void then runs away)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And the popemobile drives off into the sunset

So Benedict the Sixteenth is resigning, the first pope to skedaddle pre-death since a hermit in the 12 century according to the ABC

Do ... do you think they'll tie cans on strings to the back of the popemobile under a 'Just retired' sign? That way Ratty can rattle off into the distance and the setting sun!

1D12

Roll 1d12 and consult the below table.

1—I recently learned the alt code for em-rules, my most fave of all punctuation. You need a number pad. Hold-ALT and type 0151 on the number pad. It's 0150 for the en-rule. You're welcome, humanity. 

2—theBoy's ability to make me laugh is increasing daily. He can now do a wicked hydraulic-piston noise to represent his stalking mecha, theBoy in Storyverse armed with a monster robot—a robot shaped like a monster which is monstrous in size; the robot, not the monster persona though that, by the very dint of its covering the robotic exterior, is itself monstrous—which eats villains, nuts and bolts and excretes the former out in cages whose bars crackle with electricity and into the waiting arms of the custodians at SpaceJail™. He's also increasing in sneakiness. I was recently banned from scaring theBoy by hiding in the Wendy house near the door then throwing open the doors to yell HELLO! at the top of my voice. Only, there's no counter ban. I came in from getting something from the car and BOO!; near-scared the crap out of me. You should have seen his grin of victory beaming from his face within the tiny house and its thrown open shutters.

3—theWife, bless her genes, is afflicted with a sometimes need to get her cleaning freak on. So on Saturday theBoy and I got to go to the movies while theWife gardened and cleaned for three solid hours, probably fueled by the power of five espressos. theBoy and I saw ParaNorman. I know I tend to laud things a bit too much—I merely think it's a tier thing where if I like something enough then I will write about it (1)—but it was an excellent movie. And ParaNorman fuck-off scary in parts. I used to hide at theBoy's age under the couch from badly-fitted Cyberman falling against the rickety walls of a "spaceship". theBoy only wanted to leave a couple of times—we also had two trips out for the loo as well, thank-you "medium"-sized lemonade—from fear but he returned to his seat each time. On the way out he asked if we could get it. After that it was off home but first we had to go down the mountain, the steep stair that connects the upper level of the Hyperdome to the sidewalk outside opposite one of the "You're lookin' huge, mate!" protein powder shops (there's two on that street alone). How awesome that I get to go to the movies while chores get done and how awesome that kids' movies today are not the hideous pap-ridden drek of the before ago (2).

4—I recently ran a session of D&D, using a modified 3.5 rule-set. The plot revolved around stealing rare herbs that caused infertility to provide to poor women a means of birth control. How progressive am I?! Even in D&D there's Mikey banging on about community and extending healthcare to the disenfranchised masses. Mind you thanks to clever play the player characters (PCs) pinned the crime on another would-be thief and now a somewhat irate thieves' guild is after her—the owners paid protection money to the guild—instead of the PCs. Well played ... well played... (Mikey strokes his bearded chin as he plots his next move...)

5—If I park in the effectively-free metered spots right outside of work I hate being seen emerging from my car. I wait for any building occupants outside who can see me to go beyond my view before I slip out.  I then enter in the rear so as to avoid seeing them on the way to my desk. I'd say it's because I'm embarrassed by the exertion it takes for me to get up and out of my low-down shitbox and the fact I have to kind of rock back and forth before I can self-extract.

6—The shitbox, the old white car that was our car before we got our first ever new vehicle, has not gone into scary engine temperature range since I topped up the radiator with four litres of water a couple of weeks ago. That and the temperature has been mild of late in Canberra since the car typically only gets scary hot on hot days. theWife made motions towards buying another shitbox, one that is less shit that this shitbox, since we could get a newer car with still working air conditioning for probably around $2000. She's right, of course. But the annoyance factor versus the shitbox's continuing though occasionally erratic functionality has stayed our hand. However its time will come soon and likely before the end of the year when Summer returns with vengeance.

7—I recently invited a building colleague to join our coffee circle when I ran into her at the shops at lunchtime. When I got back I told the others. Unfortunately they don't like her. Whoops. Oh, well. Only some people stay to chat when they get coffee. Perhaps she will be one of those?

8—I always have coffee when I watch radar!

9—My niece recently turned 13. Fuck, 13. She's already going through puberty. I remember her being in her car capsule on the floor of our then-house some five kays from here back in 1999. Now she's 13. She's wicked smart but she's got our genes. So I hope her teen journey is a not-so-bumpy one like some of us had. 

10—I had a chat with theBoss about work stuff. It was part kvetch and it was part acceptance. Things will change this year but I will be part of that process. And in the end you're better being part of a change management process than having your change managed for you. theBoss also acknowledged what I do is hard and that it is stressful; a combination of my having low power but extreme visibility if I fuck things up or my quality control is lacking. We've both likened our internal report production process to a Sisyphean task and neither of us have the energy or resources to keep rolling our production up the hill. Especially in the face of acute indifference, or even hostility, from others in our organisation. I know, white people problems. Here I am warm, clean and fed with a decent wage and conditions, as well as support network for if I get sick—and private health; a mandatory get for anyone in Oz with a sketchy bod—kvetching about some esoteric workplace thing that affects just a sliver of other well-fed Australians. Imagine trying to describe this stress and angst to a woman who spends all day tilling the field to ensure her family eats.

11—theWife gave me a number three on the weekend. We flipped the bench out over the grass and I sat on one end. The new clipper set was too "rippy"—the clippers pulling hair out as much as cutting it free—so we returned to our earlier still-working set I've used to clipper my beard for the last decade or so. theWife did a good job! My hair has to remain short. If I get any length to it then the fine hairs that remain atop my spreading dome sprout up, especially post-ride when sweat slicks what's left into spikes.

12—I'm at 200 minutes now. Two hundred minutes stored in my time bank. I have to earn at least 840 before my hip operation to factor in my likely downtime from riding of three weeks. If I can do 10 extra a day I think I may even get there. Of course the 10 extra a day is a stretch, I can generally only go another two or three minutes after I cross 40. But we will see. All I can do is try.

(1) Like Mindy in The Mindy Project has a best friend tier—multiple female friends who have achieved that status as opposed to a singular bestie. If you've not seen The Mindy Project then do. Kaling is a friggin' gifted writer and actress, and now gifted show runner. The show has a balanced cast of flaw-ridden but well-meaning people and Mindy's golden thread of wanting a life of romance but failing at every turn—mostly through happenstance it seems—makes for a strongly plotted show. It also has scope for side adventures of the support cast (Morgan the male nurse is my favourite). The great fracture of television that happened with the rise of cable and then the rise of the Internet means awesome shows like this that are very much creator controlled are a standard of quality beyond the TV executive-meddled canned laughter fare of yesteryear. What joyous time it is to be a consumer of TV in this day and age when fine shit like this is just a click away. You know what? Keep your fucking flying cars. I'll settle for this. 
(2) i.e. last millennium. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

I just did a 180!

Okay, that's misleading. I did a 180 in the sense my bank is at 180, the grand total of extra minutes I have done beyond the mandated daily 40, not any form of driving display. 

Hooray! Of course it massively helped having both medication and eye candy to watch, such as TV on a stick via myBeloved, my Toshiba AT-100 tablet whose presence changed my life for the better. 

Tonight as we watched awesome teev my fibro started to flare. I grabbed one of the tension bands and started to pull and it staved the fibro off quite a bit. But I needed to really have at it to put it to bed before I went to bed, so I headed to the shed for another ride and pull. All up today I added 35.

After the last hip operation I was three weeks off the bike. And even when atop SoTPC's predecessor, the TPC (1), the reintroduction was slow. I think I lasted but five minutes on the first re-board.

So with 40 minutes a day, and presuming 21 days off, I need to bank 840 to make up for the loss and to minimise the deficit of the re-introduction.
 

Eight hundred and forty minutes; fuck. 

Fourteen months on and I'm fitter than then. Oh, I can't run, walk or climb without feeling not fine. But that's when I am afflicted by gravity and my weight through my hips. Atop SoTPC sometimes I glide, pumping along with sweat runnelling down face, my heart thumping and strong.

I may not get to the target before I go under; the chance to go early is always there if someone ahead of you drops off the perch.

Despite my crap I'm still mostly-able. I can walk, talk and eat; bathe, drink and shit. There's people in positions far worse than me. And presuming I make it, and beat off hospital infections, I'll have better quality of life once I'm recovered.

Well twenty thirteen promised to be a bumpy ride. Time to grab the Jesus bar and pray (bump! bump! bump! 'Oh Jesus!' bump!)

(1) An evil cooperation owned by several pension trusts, all controlled by Casso, queen of the data-spiders!

The Toymaker; make room!

Harry Harrison is one of my all time favourite writers. I devoured his Stainless Steel Rat series and I have most of his short story collected works as well. 

Harrison's dystopia novel Make Room! Make Room! was the starting base for Solyent Green, starring the now cold dead Charlton Heston (1). I think it came out in the late '60s and its background of an overcrowded environmentally ravaged future earth was the Malthusianism writ large. Let's see if I'm right ...  Hmm, sort of. 

Make Room! Make Room! is set in an overpopulated New York City of 1999. Police detective Andy Rusch lives in half a room which he shares with Sol, a retired engineer. With brownouts and long periods of no electricity common Sol has adapted a bicycle generator which he uses to power an old television set and a refrigerator. The old man clambers aboard the bike and starts riding, charging the battery that powers the TV and fridge. 

My hair is mouse grey now and what remains hover spikes upward around the desert of my dome. Add to that the headband, the panting and the nine inch screen and I'm the lickety-split of Sol atop the bike.

I now spend much of my ride with my right fist wrapped in the end of a rubber tension band, the band wrapped round the handle in front. As I ride I pull back on the band with each turn of the pedal, to relieve the intensity of my spasming arm.

So I have an odd back and forth saddled gait with my turning legs of and pulling of band. I feel like a Toymaker riding his arcane machine in the basement, only it's a Gilliam-esque scene. Instead of the fun kind of Toymaker who wants to leave his factory to kids, my half naked slicked body and dungeon surrounds suggest a different fate.

So I got that going for me, too. 

(1) Gun sold separately.

I'm like Mr Sandyface

My fibro flashes—muscular spasms that typically shoot up or out my right arm—are more frequent of late. Pain meds help, but they don't stop flash. They merely dull the intensity. 

However theWife got me onto to tension bands—strips of rubber of various stretchiness—which I can use to help stave off the symptoms. 

I loved comics as a kid. I tried to get and read as many as a could, with supplies limited due to my regional New South Wales youth. The library at least had Asterix and Tintin galore even now, thirty years on, I could look at just a page and tell you which album that page is from. 

Given I only had a limited supply I would read and I'd re-read all the comics I had, cover to cover, including the ads. The ads, for US and Canadians only, within were glorious. Spiderman beating up some similarly dressed proto-supervillains in matching green rubber suits who have been distracted by Spidey-emplaced Hostess™ fruit pies, ads for novelty toys like x-ray specks, or an ad for a fuck-load of toy soldiers that came in an allegedly genuine reproduction footlocker. 

One oft seen ad was a comic strip of this weedy dude who's dating a woman beyond his station. At the beach a bully kicks sand in his face and when he complains he's threatened and emasculated in front of his girl. Cue Mr Sandyface chucking a snit over his and one order of exercise know-how and bling plus months of training later, Mr Sandyface reclaims his cock from the bully with a strong fist to the jaw (1).

I imagine that the exercise Sandyface did to get all buffed included a lot of arm stretching, using those tension spring things that you punched with, the springs providing resistance against your punch.

I'm the only (dis)abled in the building that I know of. So I sometimes I dash into the disabled toilet—it's roomy in there—with my rubber tension band. I stand in the centre of the white tiled room, the band wrapped over my shoulder, the band's end clenched in my fist. Then I frantically punch forward, punch after punch to downgrade the sting of the fibro flash.

At night, when the flashes come, I head out to the shed. I slot myBeloved tablet on the still-working boom box from Costco and watch something I like, old eps of Community or recent discoveries like PhoneShop. Band wrapped over my shoulder, end clenched in my fist, and the punching begins.

It's royally irksome to be forced to exercise. Though I admit the fact I can now reliably do 40 minutes a day on the bike, with frequent bouts of stretching, gives me a sense of achievement (2). Especially for those times when the session hasn't been bad; even enjoyable in its own way.

It's likely my go button on the sequel to the TFCWM, our name for the attending gloop—that crisis crap that crops up in a family from time to time—of my original hip replacement, is  sooner than I had foreseen. And with the fibro flaring even now as I type I may have to go on leave even beforehand. 

I'm trying to hold off as much as I can. Last time the TFCWM came with a bunch of attending disasters. Not only did I nearly die two days after the operation—coming to to discover I'd been revived and death or brain damage from lack of oxygen prevented—theWife and I picked up gastroenteritis. A bowel-loosening condition that's somewhat more challenging when you're on crutches.

The other element too has been a slab of fear and shame. When I nearly died the attending physician in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) sneered at my sweat slicked bulbous furred form and presumed my weight meant apnoea and therefore my unconsciousness was my fainting from fatness more than anything else.

theWife had been with me when I'd gone into the ICU. Given my resurrection, lack of glasses, and state of mild panic I hadn't taken in what had just happened and part of me presumed the Doctor was right. That it was me that did it to me and so if I do this operation again then it will happen once more.

It wasn't my failed me, of course, that was to blame. We found out later it was an embolism; a chunk of marrow floating free during the operation and drifted into my blood. The clump lodged in my lung and down I went. I still felt, however, I was to blame. Because I didn't just lapse into sudden unconsciousness. I felt I'd merely fallen asleep because the last thing I remember was eating breakfast, a spoonful of diced peaches in my mouth, and that I thought I might have a light doze before I swallowed. 

In other words, that the collapse was me and my morally-fallen biology was to blame. And that even if an embolism is what took me down, my lumbering over-laden form exacerbated what happened. 

I am the least reliable witness to what occurred after my collapse, but theWife reiterated the doctor was a malodorous sneerer. A physician who insta-deemed me the cause of my own near-demise without evidence considered beyond that of her eyes. I remember being bewildered when she went on about my weight, and my weakly protesting I rode 20 minutes a day, but felt shame and accepted her critique was right.

I have the same chance of something severe going wrong—one in a thousand—I had last time. Perhaps they'll be more careful given what happened before, lengthening the odds further still. But I'm fitter now than I was back then and I'm still young enough that my recovery time will be quick, fibro et al not withstanding. 

But of whatever happens in surgery or after I'm closed then at least I can say one thing for sure. I tried. Fuck me, I tried. And not even I can take that from me—and certainly not some anti-fat prick whose opinion was set the moment I rolled through the door.  

(1) Deliciously, that's apparently more or less the actual origin story for the man behind the exercise system—Charles Atlas.
(2) Occasionally I imagine I'm on the back field of the private school I was so foolishly jammed within—the fact no apology has been proffered over that particular fail still grinding—and the bike I am on is riding around the oval there. And as I pass Mr H---, the high-waited short gym-short wearing balding fucktard with his John Newcombe moustache, I expertly shoot him in the nads with a paintball gun. Oh, and 400 metres later I get to shoot his prostrate groaning form again, since, as I recall, that oval was 400 metres in length. Hey, we all need our motivations. Imagining villains of youth put paid to by middle-aged me seems to keep me peddling along.