Friday, March 30, 2007

Cross a sheep and a kangaroo?

New Yarn My new wool(1) arrived yesterday. Well, it actually arrived the day before yesterday but as it didn’t fit through my letterbox I had to collect it from the post office. The colours are lovely, and I’m currently knitting up a 4inch square in the pattern I hope to use it for. It knits up nicely, though it does pill a little, I put this down to it being a wool mix, and it isn’t really a problem unless I need to undo it. I’m also very pleased with my attempt at (ssk yo k2tog) (2) which is the pattern I will be mostly using for the new project. It’s a shrug as seen in Simply Knitting recently. I have a couple of new things to learn in the course of the project. There was the stitch pattern (this is my first pattern with ssk or with yo in), there is also some knitting in the round which I have yet to do, buttonholes, and no doubt increasing and decreasing in ways that I have not yet seen.

In preparation for this yarn arriving I have got some dpns(3) in the same size as the needles recommended by the pattern. Hopefully when I have knitted up my tension square it will prove to be the right size, it’s looking pretty promising. Then I’ll be away and knitting my shrug. I think it gets knit all in one piece, so I will not have to do any seaming, which I find quite challenging at the moment.

Anyway, the wool is exactly as I had hoped for! It’s really soft and the colours are excellent. Pinks, whites and browns is a nice combination. I may try to get some more of this wool from the same seller, although chunky wool-mix will probably be a bit warm for spring/summer (if spring/summer ever gets here!)

This does also mean that I’ve finished knitting my first hat-and-bootee set for sending off to the local SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) – they are so tiny, I’m amazed that you can get babies that small! I have lots of 4ply wool though, so I should be fixed for doing a couple more sets before I package them up. There’s also a pattern, from the bliss charity website, for a little cardigan, but it looks complicated! I might have a go at it, but I’d like to know whether there’s a need for such items first.

Anyway, I’ll sort out some pictures of all these bits and stick them into this post sometime over the weekend.

Oh! Last point: I accidentally(4) ordered a sock knitting set from an ebay shop called knitterbabes. I have already ordered some stitch markers from them which were lovely, so I just couldn’t resist. The set comes with surina dpns, opal self patterning sock yarn, some sock stitch markers and a pattern for the socks. Hopefully these will go better than my previous attempt at a sock! Having actual sock yarn should help a lot.

(1) Yes, it’s really wool, it’s a 50% wool 50% acrylic yarn, so I think I can call that wool.
(2) ssk yo k2tog is a sequence of 4 stitches, slip-slip-knit (ssk) is where you start to knit a stitch, but instead of knitting it you slip it onto the right needle, then you do the same with the next stitch, then you put the right needle through the front of the two stitches and knit as normal knocking both stitches off. Then yo involves bringing the yarn to the front of the needles, as though to purl a stitch, but then wrapping it around the needle once, leaving the yarn at the front. Finally k2tog which is knitting two stitches at once but in the normal way.
(3) dpns are Double Pointed Needles
(4) Ok, not really accidentally, but I wasn’t supposed to be buying any more yarn or needles until I’ve knitted up at least some of what I have, and until all of my previous orders have arrived.

Weekend Stuff

So, the family are visiting this weekend. My sister is up tonight and my parents are coming up tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to seeing Gayle again, I don’t see her that much these days. We’ll probably spend a lot of time talking about our up-coming family holiday to Florida. Provided that we don’t have mass-arguments, it should all be fine! Personally I’m looking forwards to the nice weather and to the film studios. When we’ve been before I was a bit too young to appreciate the film studios, and also there will be loads more attractions there now. I am also looking forwards to seeing my aunt and uncle and at least some of my cousins – depending on who is home when we go. I keep up with what Danielle is up to by browsing her myspace every now and again. The oldest of my cousins, Shea, doesn’t have a myspace any more, but she seemed to be getting on okay.

I also have my gym review on Saturday morning at 9:30. I don’t know what we’re going to do to amend the program to make it better for me, but we’ll see. It does seem to be working, I feel more toned and generally more fit. However, it’s not shifting the spare tyre as quickly as I’d like (possibly down to the pizzas and chocolate). I hope that when I do reach a sensible weight and body fat percentage that I will feel better about my body, though I suspect that I may not.

Work still sucks, sadly. It’s been okay recently I guess, perhaps because I’m getting less hassle at the moment. Though I know I aught to be looking elsewhere if I’m unhappy I find myself not doing so. Partly through apprehension and partly through procrastination.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It IS possible!!

I cracked it! It is possible to have a 9x9 grid in which each of the combinations A1-I9 appear only once and the numbers (1-9) and the characters (A-I) appear only once in each row, column and 3x3 square like in a sudoku.
Below is the first solution I came up with, I used excel to make sure that I didn't have any duplicates and that I hadn't failed to make it follow the rules. I worked on the easiest sudoku I could find - one where no numbers have been put in yet!
You should be able to see how I filled this in - I can't believe it took me this long to figure out that this was the best way to do it! Pah.

A1 B2 C3 D7 E8 F9 G4 H5 I6
D4 E5 F6 G1 H2 I3 A7 B8 C9
G7 H8 I9 A4 B5 C6 D1 E2 F3
B3 C1 A2 E9 F7 D8 H6 I4 G5
E6 F4 D5 H3 I1 G2 B9 C7 A8
H9 I7 G8 B6 C4 A5 E3 F1 D2
C2 A3 B1 F8 D9 E7 I5 G6 H4
F5 D6 E4 I2 G3 H1 C8 A9 B7
I8 G9 H7 C5 A6 B4 F2 D3 E1

Monday, March 26, 2007

Is it possible?

I am considering knitting the "sudoku" blanket. This is made up of 9 colours and 9 patterns. There is one of each pattern in each colour.
Now the maker of the pattern claims that it is not possible to have both the 9 colours in a sudoku pattern AND the 9 patterns in a sudoku pattern.
I am not sure whether to just believe this, or to spend lots of time trying to prove it one way or another.
If anyone knows why - and can show me proof - this doesn't work, let me know.

Until then I'll be working on my complicated sudoku!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Delayed Gratification

I am looking forwards to yet another knitting related ebay purchase. I bought some stitch markers last night, and a row counter for chunkier needles. I also bought some coloured needles, but that person wants a cheque so I’ll have to wait a bit longer for that one. I wonder whether my wool-mix yarn or my big bag o’ yarn will have turned up yet. I’m already taking over the lounge with the knitting paraphernalia!
I was talking to my Mum on the phone last night and she was a little sad that she didn’t know where her Mum’s (my Nanna’s) knitting things had gone. Mum had bought her a lovely set of needles in a red leather case. It was really pretty – I remember liking to look at it!
My Nanna used to knit quite a lot. Mum used to knit too – I remember Mum knitting me a skirt and top set for my tiny tears doll, but I wasn’t much of a dolly person and so I dressed my favourite bear in them most of the time. They were blue. I seem to recall that I had a cardigan the same colour, so it was probably leftovers. I remember being taught to knit with plastic needles – I think that they were yellow. I always pulled it far too tight! I remember sitting with my Nanna, watching TV, and she would be knitting. She knitted mittens for herself because traditional bought mittens or gloves didn’t fit. She could knit and smoke at the same time too. Not something most knitters would condone now as we know both that smoking is bad for you and that it makes the yarn smell.
I feel that knitting is in some ways a tribute to my Nanna, but it is much more a tribute to my Mum’s patience teaching me all those years ago, and then again this January just gone. She’s even offered to let me knit something for her! I’m hoping that my next issue of Simply Knitting has some nice spring/summer patterns in that I can knit in cotton mixes for our holiday. That would be nice.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Needlessly so...

I was a bit nervous.

But needlessly so, as I passed my theory test!

I only got one question wrong on the multiple choice section, and I scored 60 of a possible 75 on the hazard perception test. Woo!

I am a happy bunny!

Nervous? Moi?

How nervous am I?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Socks Update

As you know, I've been knitting a sock pattern from with my multi coloured yarn. The heel is worked with short rows, which is an ingenious way of doing it, I think.

I've now managed to work over 50 rows, which is pretty good going. It's not quick I must confess. I do think I'm getting faster with my knitting, but I couldn't turn out pairs upon pairs of socks in a day!

The yarn is making a nice pattern across the sole. I'm quite looking forwards to getting to the toe, as I hope that then it will look more like a sock. Although I can certainly see it now! It's a bit daunting that when I've done this sock I need to make another one that matches the first sock! I'm also quite pleased that the heels are not coming up in holes (yet) so the wrapping I've been doing must be right. You see, the pattern calls for you to wrap and turn the work, and I was too lazy to look up how to wrap, so I made it up! Seems to have worked though.

I'll not post anything more about the socks until they're done, it's only fair.

Monday, March 12, 2007

London, Harrow, Oxford

This weekend Leon and I went to London on a coach trip through work. We had to drag ourselves out of bed at a horrible hour to get to the bus for 7:30am. I then made the disappointing discovery that I had only brough half of the things I needed for my current knitting work in progress. Boo. We then trundled down the M1 to Watford Gap (which we were both surprised to learn is nowhere near Watford) for a breakfast stop.

Once we’d breakfasted, we returned to the coach for the next leg of our journey. By 12:30 we were at Marble Arch. There was a minor mishap with the bus window, but no real concern! Leon and I picked up a tube map, and a map of London so that we could figure out where we were and where we wanted to be. Then we jumped on the tube and headed for South Kensington. This is the stop for the Victoria and Albert museum. We picked up tickets for the Kylie exhibition and then had a bit of a wander. As I was carrying the luggage (something I’m not used to) we had a break and went to the tea-rooms for tea and cake. I had some strawberry and mango infusion, which was excellent: it tasted really nice and sweet, and it was pink!

At 3:00pm we were allowed into the Kylie exhibition, but I decided I needed to go to the loo. I had a bit of a dilemma though, as the ladies had a really big queue. So, I decided that my only option (I was busting by this time) was to use the gents. So aside from the man who was washing his hands as I left, nobody seemed to mind. The hand washing man just looked at me a bit funny. Maybe he thought I was just a bit effeminate. I was wearing a pink stripy hooded top.

I really enjoyed the Kylie exhibition, although it was very busy. The costumes were fabulous, and there were some really cool things. Even her dungarees from Neighbours! I think that my favourite costumes were the ones from the “showgirl” tour, and also the white dress from “Can’t get you out of my head”. I also got a poster which doubled as the exhibition guide. Woo!

After this we had a bit of a wander around the fashion exhibits. I wanted to see the 60s fashion, but there didn’t seem to be anything other than some paper dresses. Then we decided that it was high time we headed off. So we wandered back down to the tube and made our way to Northwick Park.

We got off the Tube at Northwick Park and decided to have a wander around the University of Westminster campus there before we headed off to the hotel. We took a walk up the street which led to “the street” on campus, and had a nosey at the new block of halls. We wandered around the back to see what had happened to the bungalow too. It all looked very familiar.

The hotel was nice. I made a cuppa while Leon ran a bath. Once we were all clean and refreshed we headed into Harrow itself for dinner and drinks. By about 7:30pm Niall and Tasha, Andy, and Sean had arrived. We drank copious amounts and I had steak. We had quite a laugh before we went for a drunken (except Andy who was driving) wander around Harrow town centre. Then we stumbled back to the hotel to bed.

Breakfast was at 7:45, which is very early. We weren’t the first there, but I suspect that some people didn’t make it. We had coco pops and then a full English, though in my case that was egg tomato and bacon. I had plenty more tea, though it was an insipid grey colour, and orange juice. Then we returned to the room to prepare to head off again.

The next stop was Oxford, which I don’t think can be seen in three hours. We had a bit of a wander around but I was very grumpy and hung over. When it got to noon, we went to CafĂ© Uno for lunch. I had spinach cannelloni, which was very tasty. Then we went shopping in WHSmith for some magazines and then to Primark where I bought some new pyjamas. Woo!

Then we had only one more stop before home, which was a service station again. I don’t know where. I bought a milkshake and a smoothie for Leon.

We were back in York at 6:15 or so, and home just after half past. After I called home I went in the bath. We ordered Chicken instead of cooking. I forgot to set my alarm, but it was okay because Leon woke up and made me get out of bed.

I was glad to see the guys again after so long. We really should make more of an effort more often.

Sock update

I have started to knit the sock pattern from Knitty that I mentioned in an earlier thread. I am only about half way through the heel, but it’s not too hard so far. Leon has taken the Mick of the colour. [will update with picture]

I hope to move on to a nice shrug that I have the pattern for, from Simply Knitting magazine. I will have to check how much yarn and of what type I need. I would like to do the sudoku blanket too. The concept of the one in the mini mag is that you don’t repeat the same colour in any square, line or row. I was mildly disappointed that there might be a repeat of pattern though. I think I might make up my own pattern for a sudoku blanket which may be a tad more complicated, we will see.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Knit Pics

Scarf 2 I finished the scarf properly now, including weaving in the ends, which was very easy in this yarn. I think it looks especially fetching on my OH. It's just 16 stitches wide on 7.5mm needles. Keep knitting in both directions until it's long enough!

iPod cover Then I knitted the iPod cover - which is really simple - it's for a nano and I made the pattern up.

Bag with hearts Lastly, this was actually my first finished knitting wise, but needed to be made up. I didn't block it and the seams are a bit dodgy, but I'm still pretty pleased with it. I keep my accessories in it.

Sock it to me

So, thanks to a thread on MSE that I began only a day or two ago, I now have lots of useful (and recommended) knitting links, and also I have discovered some fabulous knitting blogs to entertain me. so, I thought it might be worth a post about them. I am also seriously considering having a knitting blog. I worry, though, that like the failed recipe and book blogs I still have but don’t maintain, if I split it out, the blog will cease to be. So, in the meantime, those of you who are not interested in knitting will just have to skip past the knitting related posts. Sorry about that.

The knitting blogs I have visited so far are as follows :
Knitting Mama is a nice little blog by Robyn about knitting and her baby son, Sean. It’s quite an endearing read, and I’m looking forwards to seeing her next baby-knit project.
Lolly Girl is another American lady’s blog, but looks promising. I haven’t had time to dig through the archives of this blog yet.
Katie Knits is my latest discovery, courtesy of the MSE community. Katie has just finished a herringbone sweater, which looks lush! Also, she lives in London – a British knitter’s blog! So I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

I have also found a sock knitting pattern on Knitty which doesn’t require circular needles or double pointed needles. It’s not that I'm afraid to use either of those, but I have lots of normal needles (varying lengths, varying widths, varying colours) and I have only a few double pointed (dp) needles in a limited range of sizes and no more than four in a set. I have absolutely no circular knitting needles yet. That means that in order to knit up the random selection of wool I have, I need patterns which allow me to use my existing needles, otherwise it’s going to become expensive! The only trouble I am having at present is that some of the needles I have are plastic rather than metal. While they then do not make a huge noise when I drop them on our laminate flooring, they don’t feel quite so nice to use, and they don’t slide quite as well as they aught.

I also like to work on more than one project at once. Variety is the spice of life after all. Sadly, the next project I have lined up requires the same needles I am already using for a current project. I haven’t picked another for after that yet. The vast amounts of eyelash yarn I have means that I’ll be needing the same needles yet again! Perhaps I should get some duplicates of this size, though I could probably knit up the fancy stuff on the next size up or down without too many issues.

Once I got used to knitting the pink fluffy stuff, it was quite nice to work with. It knit up pretty quickly, although the scarf I’ve made is rather short. I may use two balls of the blue and see what that length is like. I still have a ball and a half of the pink, plus three of the blue, and three each of the red and white eyelash. I also have a ball of chunky pale pink, some slightly less chunky pink and cream (for my strawberries and cream pompom hat) a ball and a half of multicolour DK, most of two balls of white DK, most of a ball of black DK, a ball each of purple and orange DK and about half a ball of pink DK. Not ideal for doing anything bigger than socks or mittens. There’s also the minor drawback that because it’s mostly cheap stuff it’s not 100% wool. In most cases they are 100% acrylic in fact! That’s okay for scarves because they’re nice and warm and not on your skin as much, but for a sock I’m not so sure. I guess I’ll have to try it and see. Once I’ve managed a basic sock (which I think will take half of a 100g ball per sock) then I may have a go at putting some pattern to them (either with colours of wool or with patterns from my pattern book). It’s all exciting, but I have a problem too. I spend so much time at work that I don’t have much time for knitting! And I don’t even have an especially long week.

I did KIP (Knit In Public) more than once recently. I did it on the mini bus between my office and the other offices in town. I also did it in the waiting room at the hospital. So that’s not taboo now, but I have to remember to bring whatever I’m knitting with me. It’s quite hard to knit something with a pattern away from home though – I refer to the books quite a lot and might need photocopies for that to work. Which gives me an idea for going down to London! I will take some knitting for the bus.

Knitting links I will be trying over the next week or so If they’re good, I’ll add them to my links on the right there. I’ll probably write another post about it too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chav filled Gym

On the exercise front, I managed to go to the gym last night, although I only did my cardio because the gym was (once again) full of chavs. I wish they’d all go pose somewhere else! I don’t mind the body builders, at least they’re worth looking at! But the chavs are wearing ridiculous baggy clothes (so even if they’re fit you can’t tell) and most of them are, like, twelve. And then they have the cheek to watch me while I'm working out! Okay, I may look fairly svelte (the sarcasm drips) in my new support top but that’s no excuse. Though I guess at least they’re not making trouble. The worst ones are the chav girls! They wear uber tight jogging bottoms, or ones that have a slogan on the bum. They go around in threes wearing too much perfume and fussing over their hair. Get over yourselves girls, you’re here to make yourself fitter and look better outside of the gym, who cares if you look a bit sweaty in the gym? For goodness’ sake. (apostrophe police – is that correct?)

However, I was pleased with my cardio, I managed to do 15 minutes at 8.4 kmph, which took me to about 2km, plus the three minute cool down made it to nearly 2.5km. I’m not too worried about how long I’ll take doing the race for life this time, because if my sister asks me to run/walk with her I will do.

Sleepy Knitter

I’m tired all the time at the moment. I'm not sleeping well. part of it is worry about L, I keep waking up thinking I’m going to hurt him on his wound. Add that to the amount of annoyance I have from work each day and you have the makings of a poor night of sleep. Then I go to bed later than I should.

As a result, I haven’t done much knitting over the last couple of days. I’m still knitting the scarf for L, although it’s curling at the edges something chronic! I don’t know whether I maybe should be knitting it a bit wider or what. I’m using stocking stitch. I don’t know whether it’s the most sensible stitch for a scarf, but L likes the pattern.

I do intend to finish my pink feathery scarf (the ends need weaving in) and then I’ll get a picture of it, though the light in the living room is not so good for that sort of photography. I might ask L to use his camera which has a flash. I will also take a picture of my bag – according to the pattern it’s meant to be a makeup purse, but it’s huge! So I’ll probably be using it to keep some of my short needles and knitting paraphernalia (pins, needles etc) in until I make myself a knitting needle roll.
I have picked the material I will be using for this, it’s the same material I used to make an “indian squaw” dress for Jaq’s birthday a long time ago. I also made chaps for L, and there’s still a big chunk left over. I may have to line it with something – I’ll have to see. I would put a picture of the dress up, but I don’t have any, and though Jaq does, I can’t figure out how to link to pictures on other flickr sites. If you’re interested, it’s here

Otherwise though, my next project is due to be a hat. I was going to follow a plan in one of my knitting books, but I don’t have a set of double pointed needles of the correct size. However, I did find a pattern for a hat not requiring circular or double pointed needles. The main difference is the colours (which I can change) and the fact that the new hat doesn’t have a pompom (which I can also change).

Once I have done with the hat, I think that I should be feeling up to progressing onto something a bit more complicated. The main problem I have is that my three knitting books aren’t 100% useful. The first one I bought (I can’t remember the exact title, will update) was a really good beginner’s guide, and took me through the basics. Mum showed me how to cast on. Then I bought Stitch ’n’ Bitch (cheapest here on 7-Mar-2007) which has been excellent, but is in American. By which I mean that the wool weights and names seem to be a bit different than in the UK! All the amounts of wool are in skeins, all the weights are in American (worsted which is between DK and Aran perhaps?) and so I have to do lots of test squares! The final book that I got, Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns (cheapest here, 7-Mar-2007), is more of a way of embellishing existing patterns. It’s great, and I’ve already used one of the patterns on L’s new iPod sock I made. (pic of that to come too!)

Anyway, yes, something more complicated. I have a variety of choices here, either I find a free pattern online, buy a pattern, borrow another book from the library, or make one up (risky). We’ll see…

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Building Excitement

So, I’m beginning to get excited about my planned trip to London this weekend. I’m letting myself get a bit excited about it because there’s a pretty good chance that L will be well enough to come (hooray!). We’re considering going to look at Kylie’s pants (and other items) at the V&A, or possibly visiting the Tate Modern. We should be in central London for about 6 hours hopefully (from about 12:30 til 6:30 ish) so while we’re there we’ll be getting some good old sightseeing in, or museums, or at the very least lunch!

Then we’re coaching across to Harrow on the Hill, the location of my old University’s Harrow Campus. I’m most excited about that. There has been some brief mention of perhaps checking out the old SU bar – the Undercroft. However, I’m concerned that it will ruin my (somewhat blurry) memories of the place. Who knows?

This will be my first return visit to my university since I graduated in 2003, so it’s been almost 4 years. I don’t know if we’ll have the time (or the inclination) to have a poke around and see the new halls and what has become of the bungalow.

Ah, the bungalow was a fantastic deal for us third years (and to be honest, for most of my second year!). You see, in the first year you can get a place in halls, however in the second year you have to move out and rent a house with some other students. However, for three lucky students, in the third year you could rent the bungalow. This was a halls-price single story building with three reasonable sized bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge and kitchen. It was furnished, including a piano. L was one of the fortunate three for his year, and as I didn’t like my house in Wembley much (especially when the heating wasn’t working) I spent an awful lot of time there. Then, I applied to live in the bungalow for my third year. Given that my parents were below the halls income threshold and given that they lived a long way away, I was accepted. I lived there with another third year and his other half, plus two different third persons. The first of whom I didn’t always see eye to eye with, the second of whom I really didn’t like! Anyway, it was only two minutes from campus (making me the last person to any lecture or lab session) and was convenient for fire drills too. The last good point was that it was just across a small (50 feet?) grassy area from the Undercroft bar, and less than two minutes’ stagger from the on-site club Area 51. (They’ve probably renamed that again by now).

So, I’ve tried to contact all my old course mates to see if we can get together, and I’ve had pretty good responses. That’ll be the nicest bit, catching up and seeing what everyone is up to now. I hope that they’re all doing well for themselves! I wish I had better things to report on my job front though.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Change of Plan...

I have decided that I'm going to quit my job and become a goat farmer.

Only kidding

No really though, I am currently reconsidering my career path. Any constructive thoughts are welcome, although ridicule will also be accepted.


My OH, who most of you know, is recovering well. :)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Losing weight isn’t easy.

Losing weight isn’t easy.
Nobody ever said it was, of course.
I managed to lose a stone last year, which I think was much more down to the jogging and not really down to the diet. I think this because I lost all the weight between March and September which is the period during which I was actually running. I did manage to keep the stone off (bar one pound which I put on over Christmas – that doesn’t count towards the weight I’ve lost this year, so I’ve lost a pound on top of getting rid of the Christmas pound.) I only count weight as having been lost when I consistently measure that weight in a morning before breakfast for at least three days.
Anyway, I thought (silly me) that starting up exercising again, the weight would just drop off, and so I’ve been disappointed every time I’ve got on the scales. I am trying to bear in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, but as my fat percentage measures the same too I think I need to do more.
Of course, a big driver behind this, as I have mentioned before, is that we’re going to Florida in August. Although I accept that I will not be the size 8 waif that I was then, I would like to be slimmer.
My BMI is 24.25 according to the BBC which is within the healthy bracket (18.5 – 25) but only just! And considering that I can’t use my actual height, if I use the one that’s below my height (I’m five feet, five and a half inches tall, but I usually round up to five feet six inches) it gives me 25 on the nose. Lovely. It does say “A BMI measurement is not as accurate if you're an athlete or very muscular (muscle weighs more than fat) as this can push you into a higher BMI category even if you have a healthy level of body fat. It's also not accurate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people who are frail.” and while I am not pregnant or breastfeeding, I am also not very athletic or muscular (though I’d like to be a little bit of both).
Apparantly, for a woman, one should have at least 11-14% fat, this is essential fat. Athletes tend to have between 12-22% fat. A “fit” level of fat is 16-25% fat, and while up to 31% is only “at risk”, 32% and higher is obese. (the rates are much lower for men, I got them from this site.)
My fat percentage is above 25% at the moment (As I recall it was 27.4% this morning, sadly) which is in the at risk category.
I am already doing something towards reducing this number though, with my workouts at the gym. I managed to do all of the exercise on my plan except the rowing and the chest press (which was busy the whole time). In case you’re interested (why else would you have read this far) here is the exercise plan I’m on at the moment:
  • 5 minutes warm-up on the cross trainer, level 5, 2.5 mins at 50-60 rpm, the rest at 70rpm.
  • 15 minutes on the bike, level 8 on random, 80rpm.
  • 15 minutes on the treadmill, no incline, 8.0kmph plus a 3 minute cool-down.
  • 2x12 reps of 5kg on the chest press.
  • 2x12 reps of 12.5kg on the lateral pull down.
  • 2x20 reps of 10kg on the seated leg press (I’ll be putting that up soon).
  • 2x12 reps of bicep curls using a 3kg weight in each hand.
  • 2x12 reps of tricep kickbacks using a 2kg weight.
  • 2x20 reps of sit-ups.
  • 2x20 reps of raised leg sit-ups.
  • 10 reps of ball-bridge (using the ball under your heels, lift up your whole body on your shoulders).
  • one of: 10 reps ‘slow’ sit-ups, 10 reps ‘V-sits’, 2x20 reps Swiss-ball sit-ups
I hope to up the running somewhat as I’m back in training for the Race for Life again. (sponsorship page coming soon)

I hope that I can motivate myself to go while L is incapacitated.

Broadband Woe

It seems that everyone in the country is complaining about broadband at the moment. With good reason in several cases. So, here is my story of broadband woe:

On the 20th January, I got a new phone from my mobile provider, with the explicit desire to get free broadband from that provider. This required me to take out an 18month contract, which I had to do to upgrade and change plans anyway. I was happy with this (see other issues in Phone and successful phone-getting in General-ness)
However, on the day I purchased the phone I was told that I’d have to call up the next day to do the broadband as my phone wasn’t activated. Fine.
So I did.
That didn’t work. They had some kind of issue, and asked me to call back in a week.
So I did.
They had to set me up in someone else’s name (I didn’t much like that, but the man said it would be fine) five days later, we did receive a modem in someone else’s name.
The man had also said that our broadband would just automatically switch over.
On the 27th Feb I was a bit worried that it hadn’t switched (and we were still paying our existing provider) so I called my mobile provider’s help. They lady on the phone was very nice and very apologetic. However, she informed me that the order for the broadband had been cancelled and so I’d have to start the process again.
This means several things for me:
  1. I have paid for broadband from my existing provider for an extra month
  2. I have to call my existing provider again to get a new MAC as the old one has expired (this will be my third MAC)
  3. I will probably have to restart my contract, which basically means they’ve tied me in for 19 months by being incompetent.
  4. I will be writing a strongly worded letter to my provider complaining.
It’s a shame, because up until last September they’d been really good mobile phone providers.