The Early Bird

So what can be African, Emperor, Little or Macaroni?

African springs to mind elephants but there no Emperor Elephant, there is an Emperor Penguin and I think there could be a Macaroni Penguin so I think I’ll go with that. But the early bird catches the worm and I don’t think that worms are the main diet in the Southern Seas. I’ll still go with Penguin for the lack of any better thought. Good job I’m not a codebreaker really.

Something New

For Christmas I received a thoughtful present of the GCHQ Puzzle Book.  So Im going to try out the questions to tax the brain cells, one per day.  The first set are Starter Questions, my answers tonight and then the real answer in a couple of weeks time (I want to make sure I don’t accidentally see future answers)

Go Tigers

When Channel 4 started showing American football I didn’t know anything about the sport so I got a book. There among the pages on rules, equipment, positions and the NFL were a couple of pages on college football, a world completely unknown to me. This book had been published a couple of years before as the then current National Champions were Clemson. This stuck in my head because I knew where New York, Dallas and San Francisco were but where on earth was Clemson?

Fast forward about 32 years and I’m doing what 12 year old Andy would have found amazing. Up at 4:30am and watching the 4th quarter of the national championship as the Clemson team comeback against powerhouse Alabama. A little cheer as the Tigers score the deciding touchdown with one second on the clock. Congrats on your second national title Clemson Tigers. 

Photo attribution Matthew Blouir via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 2.0


Fitness: 5,196 steps, 2.72 miles, 7 floors.Still perishingly cold out there, even for me but my first success of the week.

Trains: 05:55 SOU > CLJ arrived at 07:20 (7 minutes late), 19:12 CLJ>SOU arrived at 20:42 (20 minutes late).
Sort it out South West Trains.

Work: Mainly working on the reporting cycle, Allowed myself to get interrupted too often during the Working Day 8 import which then took two hours longer than it should have. Cough getting worse which means I should be getting over this cold. 5/10

Best Television: Managed to watch the first 20 minutes of The Rack Pack which seems like it could be good.

Best Song: Of course, it’s Semper Dowland semper dolens


Fitness: 4,311 steps, 2.27 miles, 8 floors.
That’s a fail and my excuse today was it was too cold at lunchtime to get that extra bit of walking done. Tomorrow I will pack a jumper (can’t use the same excuse twice).

Trains: 05:55 SOU > CLJ arrived at 07:13 (on time), 20:12 CLJ>SOU arrived at 21:27 (2 minutes late).
Overall that’s a well done South West Trains.

Work: Quite productive even though most of it was redoing something that had gone wrong in a previous reporting cycle. I’ll give myself a 7/10 for today’s work.

Best Podcast: Systematic with Brett Terpstra (episode 155: Space, Time and Thought with Ben Elijah). Seriously thinking about picking up Ben’s book, I’m already a GTDer but like Ben, contexts are a bit of a mess for me.

Best Waste of Time: Still New Star Soccer, just got to the end of my seventh season with AFC Fylde, the one where we repeated as Premier League winners, won our third League Cup in four years and won the Champions League at the first time of asking. Highlight of the back end of Season Seven, winning at Man City 8-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi final.

A New Start

I ought to start or restart again a sort of log of what I’m actually doing with my life. I’m sure that there’s some kind of scientific algorithm to prove that this Monday is the most depressing day of the year but the Monday before you get paid for January and its tipping down with rain too is a strong candidate.

It’s far enough away from New Years to start to take stock of what’s going on.

2016 is most likely to be a keeping station sort of year. I am not planning to leave my current employer nor am I likely to change jobs. There is a restructure document due out at the end of this month but I can’t imagine it’s not going to have me doing exactly the same job at the same grade.

I’m also not planning to move, the house is pretty much perfect for me except that it’s not in walking distance of work and if it was then I wouldn’t be able to afford it. The commute into work isn’t too bad either and when it starts being in the daylight again, it’s going to feel a lot better again.

So with no changes to my life, I do run the risk of doing the same old thing day by day and end up 2016 no better than I started, not as financially secure as I could be, not as fit and not as ready for the next step up in my career. Doing a log of what I’m up to will show that most of my days are much the same but hopefully it’s going to show an improvement on finance, fitness, work and knowledge.

Finance is the first thing that I needed to sort out, an expensive Christmas combined with a few unexpected bills (that shouldn’t have truly been unexpected) left me facing a bleak midwinter. I have a debt that is high enough to be uncomfortable though not unmanageable. Even though I’m being open, I’m not going to put the amount in here.

There’s also small arranged overdraft facility (£200) and I was getting too used to looking as that as my money rather than the bank’s that they charged me £6.50 a month to use. So I think I’ve kept a better track of my finances, I managed to pay for my water bill, could pay for electric and gas but I’m going to not go overdrawn, they can get paid when I get my January pay. The first two weeks of 2016 have been really positive for this and should be able to report good news soon.

Fitness is something I really need to get sorted out or I won’t have too many years left to log. I would love to be able to run a 5k by the end of the year, but most Couch to 5k programs suggest that I’m several levels below Couch. So the first three months will be baselining, the next three will be Comatose to Couch and then only in the Summer I’ll try Couch to 5k. In the meantime that means 10,000 steps on my days off work and 5,000 steps on my days at work. Helping that is a game called Ingress which is about going to places in the real world to ‘capture’ them for the team. I think sometimes this is going to seem to be mainly about Ingress.

Work is going to be station keeping for the first months of 2016, my boss Jonathan is moving onto pastures new at the end of January and my job I assume then is to keep all the regular tasks ticking along. Knowing what to share about my job is difficult and I have got into trouble for sharing too much about what I’ve thought about people I’ve worked with before but I will record what sort of things I’m doing (even if I have to be quite abstract) for the simple reason that sometimes I am just on the Sleep-Travel-Work-Travel-Eat-Sleep cycle and if I didn’t take about work then I wouldn’t have any material.

Knowledge means in this case my CIMA studies, I’m setting myself a target of passing at least two exams this year, but I’m not going to start for various reasons until March to get seriously started. I’ve let my Lynda membership lapse because I was never really using it, but I may restart it towards the end of the year for me to improve on other software packages.