Getting ’round to writing again ….

I’ve been offline for far too long….

My left eye is screwed up by the laser / lasik operation in October 2014 making it difficult to use a screen as I can’t focus correctly.

But today I’ve some time,  and my eye is playing less than usual, so I thought that I get a post written and up on this blog.

Not that many people read it and when they do, it’s mostly my biking posts that get read, but shit who cares, just writing stuff down makes a nice change for me and makes me feel good.

2015 is a particularly difficult year, business wise, The latest French government thinks that businesses should just pay, pay, and pay again, making life unbearable and extremely difficult, luckily I’ll be retiring in the next three years or so, Phew

End of 2014 I was 57, Over the last couple of years I’ve been taking care of myself more and more, what a shame I didn’t do this earlier in my life

Health wise its a little complicated due mostly to stress, again thanks Mr Hollande and the way he is running this country. and also due to a Cretin that almost killed me with his van while on my push-bike January 2014, the left shoulder is still weaker and less mobile than the right side.

Apart from these problems the rest is pretty good, Diet wise, I still watching what I eat and drink, I’ve changed nothing over the last three years http://wp.me/pc5vi-DN or http://wp.me/pc5vi-sn or http://wp.me/pc5vi-ui have a ‘clean’ life though as I’ve previously stated this doesn’t stop me from enjoying my self, eating wrong foods, too much sometimes and even getting drunk from time to time.

I’m pretty careful what I eat, trying to be good most of the time, I now have a tendency to weight my foods, which I didn’t at first, but when, you are serious about either losing weight, working out or keeping body fat low, you need to. It’s actually quite easy to do though a little time-consuming but very useful, especially when eating foods such as high carb foods, pasta, rice etc , it’s so easy to eat too much., so weighing these foods does help you stay on track,

So now here in May 2015 I weigh in at around 76 kilos , my body fat is around the 10% to 12%, this hasn’t changed much in the last two years,

I still workout  at the gym two times a week (was four), and for the last six months or so have been doing some Crossfit, normally two times a week as well, leaving me Sundays for riding one of my bikes, this leaving me with two days of rest from sport in the week. I also now have a small gym at home in the basement, with a F**king brilliant Hi-Fi that I can wind up, and my wife can only just hear it upstairs, I mostly do boxing in my gym having a punching bag hung there, I love this, its works off my stress and keeps the cardio running…. (well until I drop dead, anyway)

October 2014 after doing the Roc d’Azur I decided to take a break from biking, with the winter period coming and started running as I wanted to train for the Paris marathon in April 2015. So for nearly 5 months did some jogging on top of the Crossfit and gym workouts, I actually hate running and looking at the photos and video of me running this shows that I’m not a natural or good runner, the proof was that I didn’t run as fast I was hoping for doing the marathon in 4h43mins where I was hoping for a 4h15mins time, a pretty poor time.

Anyway I got the medal and and have now hung up my running shoes, phew and have started re training on my bikes again. it’s so much easier, last weekend did a 100km ride on my Pompino singlespeed,  http://wp.me/pc5vi-xy far easier than running and its only may 5th workout this year.

Although I have a ‘real’ road bike http://wp.me/pc5vi-vt I must admit I still prefer riding the singlespeed as this really does work the legs, and I love overtaking the roadies (only sometimes) while they are on their nice geared bikes and I leave them behind on my single geared bike and weighing in at over 10.5 kilos 🙂

The last 6 months or so I took some time off from the gym to some Crossfit, I love this as it’s a mix between working out with weights, fitness, cardio etc and so normally do twice a week and still twice a week at the gym

The Crossfit club that I’ve joined is just brilliant http://crossfitcergy.com/ a French box off course, the atmosphere is really very good, far better that the gym where I go, the coachs take good care of us, making sure that we do all movements correctly, It more of a family atmosphere that at the gym. We all work together, I’ve made more friends in six months than the last three years at the gym. I’m loving it, maybe because I’m the oldest guy there and am still able to beat some of the youngsters, which is always good morale booster.

Anyway enough gibbering for the moment , time to AFK

2014 so much to say, so hard to say it

I haven’t done much writing on my blog lately, the last post was about dieting September 2013, so its time to get some more blah blah written down.

Since the last post in September 2013 many things have happened and as its holiday season here in France, and I have a little time, I thought that I’d get a post written and online.

Mountain biking

As with many previous years I finished my ‘sportive year’ doing the Roc d’Azur in October 2013, it went fairly well to begin with  but had a mechanical failure in the middle of the week as my pedal broke off, this causing me to come of the bike, three times in all …. a fractured rib, fractured coccyx and a banged up knee, still finished the week, though in a ‘little pain’

Didn’t really care much about the pain as I nearly always break a rib every year when I fall of my bike,  but boy did they take some time to get better, the coccyx was a right pain in the ass . Luckily when getting back home, near Paris the weather was so shitty that it gave me a good excuse to stop biking and go to the gym instead

How to fuck up your eye or eyes  for the rest of your life

A little after the Roc d’Azur I decided to have a laser operation on my left eye, so that I wouldn’t need reading glasses when reading.

This sadly didn’t go well, and I have all the unwanted side effects that are possible, I have now a lot of difficultly getting the eye to focus on anything,  the eye sees troubled and most of the times double, I have also the impression that I have a fly in my eye, I have a dark shape zooming around as I move the eye. Apparently nothing can be done to correct these problems so am stuck with them for the rest of my life. the worst is now I need glasses so that I can drive and ride my bike safely, I gone from only needing glasses sometime to read to nearly all of the time, with a dicky eye, that is painful and tired all the time, even 10 months after the operation

I’ve written a more detailed post here :  http://wp.me/pc5vi-EFn

Biking 2014 

After a really shitty weather wise end of the year 2013 and the coccyx, knee and rib finally healed, I started to get out on the road bike to get some training in. Unlucky for me one of the first outings, on a nice dry day (so rare) in January I got hit by a large van coming in the opposite direction to me, even though I was wearing a yellow safety jacket and had a front light on and I was on my side of the road, a guy in a Renault Traffic tried to throw me off the bike by coming to close to me, his side mirror (they are big on the Traffic) crashed into my shoulder, I ripped of the whole of his mirror in the process, and somehow stayed on the bike, (I do a lot of core workouts at the gym, I think that this helped me to stay steady and not falling off)

Then he came back and threatened myself and the friend I was riding with a huge pipe spanner as he was ‘upset’ that I’d broke his mirror and he wanted me to pay for the damage, other wise ….

Finally he left us alone and drove of, I then spent the rest of the day in hospital, have Xrays and getting checked out, next day with the Police, and the rest of the week for some IRM and more Xrays, Lucky for me I’m well-built muscle wise (OK I say that myself but my doctor as well) the muscles protected my bones as otherwise my shoulder would have been broken in many places. 30cm more the left and I would have been like a fly on the windscreen

I still had three weeks of work with some physiotherapy get the shoulder mobile again and working correctly, we are now six months later and its fairly good, though certain movements I still can’t do. Of course this screwed up my biking start of the year,  7 months later and I’m still waiting on the police and French tribunal to deal with the driver, for aggression and causing an accident.

Working out – GYM 2014

Although it took a lot of time to get the shoulder and left arm working correctly again, I still worked out most days at the gym.

This year I’ve actually dropped the time at the gym to around a 1 hour workout rather than 90 mins to a 2 hour workout every time as I realised that it doesn’t make you any fitter or stronger, in fact it can actually be detrimental to your progression,

I normally workout Tuesdays Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (Saturdays when nice weather I’ll bike to the gym and home again) Sunday is for biking, either mountain biking when not muddy or road biking

Mondays and Thursdays as a rest days though often I use these to workout at home having  installed a small gym in the basement, just some weights, a step and a punching bag (I hate doing nothing at home, if I’m not working out I tend to sit in front of the TV and doing sod all)

Sundays are still my main biking days, though so so few this year, again because of the should injury and it rained, rained and rained again this year and of course nearly every weekend. As soon as I even hear  ‘pitter patter’ on the Velux I think sod the bike I’ll go to the gym and stay warm and dry.

In the gym I do nearly everything. I’ve learnt a lot in the last 30 months or so, I don’t do big and heavy weights, am only lifting for instance 60 kilos in a Bench press and am not really trying to lift more.

I workout most muscle groups mostly in order, back front, biceps, triceps etc. More often than not though I do the workouts any order so that my body doesn’t get used to a routine, but I do all, legs, arms, trunk, abs, shoulders, back, lower back  etc, working maybe a little more on the abs section (that’s often at home in front of the TV with a 5 kilos medicine ball) as I’m oldish and the skin is a little flabby with age (56 now), sadly no matter how much you works the muscles the skin rests the same flabby and old, sniff sniff

I still use Jefit http://www.jefit.com/ which a smartphone application, and which is great as not only does it show you what to do and keep track on what I’ve done, it for instance has a report section with a pie chart so I know when I’m slacking an a certain area, or doing to much in another area.

Dieting 2014

I’ve been dieting like going to the gym for around 30 months now,

It’s not really dieting in the sense that I do not follow any particular diet, but I DO watch everything I eat, unless out on the town or invited somewhere, (you need to be able to switch of sometimes and eat what ever is on the plate and have a drink or two)

I still write down just about everything I eat using Myfitnesspal Android app,  (I can be found if you look for Minty95) I love counting calories and seeing how many carbs, fats or protein I intake per day, this is for myself and sometime just to annoy my wife 🙂 I keep my calorie intake to about 2000 per day, below what a man should intake (2500/2800 is the standard amount) but its enough for me except certain days when I go overboard on mountain biking ride for instance with the ride itself using 3000 / 4000 calories, then maybe I’ll eat more.

My wife thinks I’m crazy as I also like weighing what I eat, OK don’t get me wrong I don’t weigh everything, (yes you do, shit : stop listening to that voice in your head) mostly only things like meat, or the carbs, lentils, bread, pastas that I weigh, the rest is guessed, when I really weigh everything then its time to call in the white van with white wheels and guys in white coats.

Dieting is fairly easy and I still have a hard time wondering why people can’t lose weight, it’s just a matter of self-control and getting it right, not eating the wrong things, or rather eating the right things and often or not just cutting quantities etc.

I watched for a while the TV program called Secret Eaters where people were saying “I don’t understand, I eat well but I’m putting on weight” but they were pigging themselves eating in one meal what I would eat for a whole day, drinking gallons of fizzy drinks. I admit I’m careful what I eat, preferring chicken breasts (I’m a kinky guy and like breasts, OK … ) to pork chops or sausages. vegetables rather than chips. Again I admit I have a wonderful wife (Sophie) she loves cooking and cooking real meals with fresh and healthy food, we very rarely eat ready bought meals.

I never eat fast food, rarely eat chips or cakes, it’s just a question of getting into a certain habit and a life style, I’ll order a real burger in a restaurant if its home-made, I’ll just ask for no sauce, I’ll keep the cheese and bacon ’cause its to yummy and have a side salad instead of the chips. little things like that to keep the calorie count down

My weight is stable between 76 / 77 kilos.

Body fat has dropped from 19.5% in March 2012 (which for info is a normal ratio) to 10% and I’ve added over 3 kilos of muscle while loosing 5 kilos of weight 82 kilos minus 77 kilos

I use  Tanita scales so that I can check on my body fat, arms legs and trunk,  in other words lost around the 8 kilos of fat in total

The muscle added is of course due to going to the gym and working out, as they say in the gym “no pain, no gain”

Watching what you eat and doing some kind of sport is a great combination and the two work great together.

Leuchtturn1917 vs Moleskine Evernote notebook

The last two notebooks that I’ve used have been Leuchtturn1917 ones rather than the Moleskines.

Why
To be honest there is very little difference between the two, they are almost the same size, about the same thickness, with little or nothing to tell them apart.

The new Moleskine Evernote version has icons embossed on the cover making it more attractive, for the moment the only cover colour is black ,  the Leuchtturn1917 has several colours available like a normal Moleskine but it’s cover is plain which is a shame, as the Evernote cover is rather nice.

Both have lined paper inside except the Evernote version has dotted lines rather than a straight lines, the difference is negligible. Here’s a link explaining why there is a Evernote version of the standard Moleskine  http://evernote.com/getting_started/moleskine/

For those who have a Iphone and use Evernote this may make the Evernote more useful

The pages on the Leuchtturn1917 are numbered given it for me one of the main advantages over Moleskines,  normal or the Evernote version.

At the rear of the Leuchtturn1917 there are 8 pages that can be detached without having to rip them out,  so very useful when you need to jot something down to give to someone (I hate having to rip of pages, its so messy) this for me is the second main advantage over the Moleskines.

Both notebooks have a back pocket to hold slips of paper, a credit card or anything else that is not to fat.

For the moment the advantage for the Evernote version is not available for Android phones and so scanning the pages with an Android be it Evernote or Leuchtturn1917 is the same.

The paper quality is very similar, I use a Lamy 2000 fountain pen for my notes, no problem whatever notebook I use.

Update : After writing a couple of pages I’ve noticed that the writing on the other side of a page shows through more on the Moleskine, meaning that the paper must be slightly thinner and more transparent, nothing to important but again a reason to prefer the Leuchtturn1917.

The Leuchtturn1917 for me is a better notebook, better paper quality, better build quality, numbered and detachable pages all give it the edge, only the green elastic band fastener and embossed cover make the Evernote version look sexier.

Analog – Moleskine – Leuchtturm1917, pen and paper – Am I going back to the stone age……

Paper notebooks :
Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917, fountain pens and ink in a bottle …

I’m crazy, I’m mean we are living in electronic age, are we not …

I think that I can class myself as a techno geek, I rely  heavily on computers or electronics devices, I tend to buy most gadgets that are around, though mainly if I feel them useful, the latest GPS for my bikes, a new phone about every six months, in fact I’m writing this on my Motorola Milestone 2 and am awaiting for the Milestone 3  to come available here in France . Probably my next gadget shall be a tablet.

Update 2012 : The Motorola Milestone 3 or 4 never came to France, so now using a Sony Xperia S. (2014: its now a Nexus 5)

So anyway the other day I needed to buy a small notepad for when I’m out and about looking for geocaches and need to write something down, OK I could use the phone, but as the battery life on the phone is rather short, the less I use it, the better, try running a couple of geocaches in the sticks using non stop the compass and the GPS and you ‘ll know what I mean.

So there I was looking for a notebook, I’m a difficult / choosy bugger at the best of times, so of course a cheapo, any old notebook is not my style. So looking at all the models in the shop, I came across two very small notebooks made by Moleskine which seemed rather nice at just the right size, 6 x 10 cm, just right at the time for noting GPS position, cache details etc.

So I bought this notebook or rather these as they are sold in pairs, Each Moleskine notebook includes a short history of the legendary Moleskine notebook inserted inside the back cover, one was open so I read it, this helped me to buy then as I found it very  interesting, The cost was around 7 euros I think.

For more details check this link : http://www.moleskine.com/moleskine_world/_the_legendary_notebook_moleskine.php#top

What pleased me about Moleskines straight away was the quality of the fabrication, the paper that is acid free, the ribbon that is used as a book mark and I loved the expandable inner pocket in the back cover that can used to keep/hide slips of paper even a credit card though for me I have a wallet for that, simplicity, also not to forget the leather cover and the elastic band that hold its closed. Quality has to be the word best describing these notebooks.

After buying these Moleskines and reading up about the name, the history, the buzz around it,  and other details on  forums, even if some of the posts are rather dated, and seeing that many people are tweeting about Moleskines ( how strange tweeting about paper notebooks, a contradiction, no ? ) I went out a bought a second model, this time the pocket size 9 x 14 cm, to see if writing in a note book was my style or rather that I could / would use.

Not for a blog, as WordPress for that is just perfect, not as an agenda as Google agenda and Memotoo.com do this just fine and course they are synchronised with my phone. Just to jot things down, what I’m not sure yet.

I just wanted to see whether in this day and age and with 53 years behind me I and all the gadgets that I own would I use pen and paper, I feel as if I’m taking a step back into the stone age

I also bought or rather ordered a Moleskine pencil as they have a pen and pencil which are rather cleverly designed as the clip on the cap can be clipped to the edge of the notebook (sideways) rather than over the top.

The reason I like this is I find it difficult to have a notebook and a pen or pencil that is just clipped with a horrible clip to the top or just just lying around at the bottom of my bag, OK this paragraph make me sound a bit like ‘Rainman’, but I admit I can be slightly complicated.

So back to the first pocket-sized unlined notebook, I added a couple of printouts from my printer, for instance for the moment I getting some new biking clothes designed and made for myself and my team mates, so after each change I cut them out and glue them to the pages, scrapbooking …… also I’m started to write little things down, “picked up xx from the airport” or “started writing probably the biggest page in my blog that nobody will read …” nothing of importance but I admit I always have things floating around in my head, so why not try to jot them down.

Update 2012 : Scrapbooking I’ve left aside as no longer do it.

At the same time I’m writing down the things to do, OK I have that on my phone and on my computers, but I never use them as they just don’t work for me.

More time spent on the forums and I came across and an article or rather a couple concerning GTD (getting things done) planning using pens and paper, I tried  many planners in the past either on my phones or computers and again, never have I found one the works for me, so these articles were at least worth reading and trying out.

So I have just bought some more Moleskines ( now my wife is laughing at me) , all the same size pocket-size as they can be slipped into a back jean pocket. 1 with lines, 1 with blank pages, 1 with squares rather than lines.  This one I’m going to try using it a planner for my work, using some of the ideas taken from the above finds on the forums. I will try to post how and if later.

So I have now about four of these notebooks, a couple of pages have already been filled, dribble, useful (if so only to me but what the hell, when I pick up these notebooks I feel good, maybe it reminds me of a first days at school, though god only knows I didn’t go much, and what I do feel which is very strange is how to start writing something on such clean virgin pages, really weird.

I came across after spending some time on their site a  travel Moleskine notebook, the one that I purchased is for New York, http://www.moleskine.com/moleskinecity/cities/new_york.php the travel notebooks I think are great, it didn’t take me long to realise that they could be very useful and make  great presents, they have maps, underground guide, useful phone numbers, addresses and such and many other details that may be needed when on holiday somewhere. Now when I’m away from home in France I often use Yelp or Tripadvisor to find a good pub or restaurant, but the problem when in a foreign country data on the smartphones costs an arm and a leg, and free wi-fi is never available when you need it, so this travel notebook will be filled with many details that may need when we go to NY late this year and of course before I go.

Update : The New York notebooks was just great, I had written everything down that I wanted to do for our trip to the states, addresses, phone numbers, what to see etc. and it worked perfectly

Update : though the moleskine pencil in its form/shape is perfect, with a side fixing clip, the lead for me is to soft, it’s a 2b, so I’ve ordered their pen, which has the same form, now waiting for the delivery.

I’ve also ordered a Lamy2000 fountain pen (all the critics are very could) so does that mean that are not critics but ……..

I’m still awaiting the ballpoint pens from Moleskine, update received them, same shape as the pencils,very nice, they write OK, (these are for when I’m about and about and don’t want to carry my Lamy) so I bought some Faber-Castell PITT artist pens S, these are very fine tips 0.3 and am using them on my second moleskine for the time being though they will have to lie at the bottom of my bag 😦

At work I’ve always used a fountain pen to sign all documents and cheques, etc.  (I’m the boss) so I’d ordered a Lamy2000 for another notebook that I am going to use for my projects here at work, this notebook will stay at work most of the time so clipping it to it will not be a problem.

The Lamy 2000 has arrived and I must admit it’s completely different from my Parker sonnet, it is so smooth its unbelievable, it just slides over the paper, I wanted some Shaeffer blue-black ink to go with it but the shop got the order wrong and delivered black Lamy ink, but TBH it’s fine. the tip is the M size and it’s a little on the large size as I tend to write badly and smallish so I might change it for a F or VF size.

I bought this pen after reading so many good things about it on the forums, the photo pleased me and when receiving it I was not disappointed , it holds just right in the hand and feels just perfect posted or not posted, I love the Bauhaus look and feel.

I am continuing with this analog craze of mine, I bought some more notebooks yesterday except that I purchased two Leuchtturm1917 a small and a medium size, that have a couple of differences that seem to make them  better. The paper is slightly thicker as its 80 gms against 70 gms for the Moleskines, They have labels / stickers with them for archiving them nicely, the pages are numbered, this is nice in the medium size as I use it for planning / projects for my work, have started a GTD system afer reading many articles and so far so good

I also bought some ink yesterday as am awaiting a second Lamy2000 to arrive with a finer nib, I went mad and bought some Iroshizuku ink (now I have a notebook and ink with unpronounceable names … ) this ink cost me an arm & a leg as it’s over 30€ the bottle.

I also bought some J. Herbin ink to try, I bought the famous ‘Violette Pensée’ as this is a colour known to most French people (of a certain age) who used it at school, surprise when I showed it to my wife, “I want some” she said, So I going to have to buy her a pen as well …..

http://inkyjournal.blogspot.com/2009/09/iroshizuku-kon-peki-deep-ocean-blue.html

http://www.jherbin.fr/detail-2.html

I will try these inks and notebooks later and add more info 🙂

I’m using four different notebooks now :

Small reporter notebook, this one is when I’m geocaching and need to scribble GPS coordinates down clues to find the next cache and such like. (update : used when out doing geocaching)

Small lined notebook, this I’m already writing one to two pages per day, anything and nothing, not dates or  meetings as these are on my agenda on my phone, just ideas / thoughts that may be useful at a later date  (update : used all the time, but mostly when at home)

Medium size squared paper, this is for work, ideas, planning, projects; Am working on a slightly modified GTD system, will when finished I’ll add details.  (update : used at work or in meetings)

Small blank page carnet, I’m ‘scrap booking’ images in this one , not sure if it will be continued but my wife laughs when she sees me gluing images in it, so when she laughs I’m happy UHU ……..  (update : used rarely, will not re-buy)

Update :  The Lamy2000 VF has arrived and is being used with Kon-Peki ink, a nice not to dark blue colour ink that cost me a arm and a leg (about 35€ a bottle), The M sized Lamy I gave to my wife with the Herbin violet ink, which she apparently uses at work)

What is amusing is the marketing around these notebooks, check twitter with Moleskine, its alive with tweets, check with Leuchtturm1917 and there’s nothing and yet TBH they are (to me anyway)  the same, both just notebooks, both coming from smallish but  decent company’s that aren’t multi national … MARKETING

I find that after years of not writing (just typing) hard too put things to paper, its strange to actually write and not just type even if the end result is the same.

example: I updated the bios on my MB, and so had written “updated my bios”, “ram setting to XXX”, etc. a week later crashed the system and of course couldn’t find the ram settings to reset them, so I just flipped back some pages and found the settings that I written down, OK I could have written these down in Evernote (which I use as well) but one the computer was down and two, it’s not normally the sort of details that I take time to : open the program, find the section that I’m going to use and then type it in, the notebook just sits on the table next to me in the sitting room and just gets jotted in when I think of something.

Update January 2012

I’m still using my notebooks, for work I use a medium size for taking notes for work, this is just perfect. I use a one ligne index to point me to the main page and then just jot down the things I need, if I run out of space I then go to the next free page, and this page number is written down the previous page used. It works well. GTD. When I get back to my office I transcribe the notes onto http://www.workflowy.com, a rather simple but very clever web site and at last the only one that suits my needs, almost perfectly (I have tried many in the last couple of years, this is by far the best), for an online GTD  /idea system https://workflowy.com/

For my private notes I use a Leuchtturm1917 small notebook, http://www.leuchtturm1917.de/ olive’ish green colour, (now gone for the black colour) I find the build quality better than my first Moleskine (which I’ve filled up since starting this article)

I write something down nearly every day, “went to the gym”, “diner at so and so’s”, “doctor” etc. mostly rubbish of no interest to any one, at the end of the book, I have a small index, with one line max and the page number (another reason why I prefer Leuctthurn’s notebooks, their pages are numbered), so when I visited my Doctor : I note it with the treatment that I received, on the index page I note “Doctor –  ears, page xx”, simple and effective.

As for the pen the Lamy200 extra fine is just perfect and I’m still using the Kon-Peki ink as I love the colour, I had tried some Shaefer ink, it wrote finer than the Kon-Peki, and so after a page I went back to the Kon-Peki.

Update 2014

I’v gone back to the dark side? Iv’e been using Diaro https://my.diaroapp.com/ on my phone and sometimes using their web site to note my thoughts and private diary

Its simple but easy to use, I like being able to add photos and go back and correct my spelling or add later thoughts, so the note books have been left on the shelf, when I write I still use the Lamy 2000 but am a little annoyed with it as its been sent back twice for repair, concerning leaking problems.

PS I still use the Moleskin NewYork notebook, we have been to NY 3 times in the last 2 years and every time I add addresses, things to see, notes etc as havinge a data connexion abroad costs a arm and a leg, so a paper notebook is very useful.

Minty95 @google+