Leaving the weight behind

Almost a year ago, I was standing in a hotel bathroom, in Manchester, feeling rather sorry for myself. Although I was immensely enjoying the convention I was attending, I was also feeling rather out of sorts thanks to being overweight. Finally, here in this hotel room, years of poor diet and lack of exercise had caught up with me. I’d reached 18st 10, and there standing in that harsh hotel bathroom light, I looked every bit of it.

Reaching a weight like that doesn’t happen over night. It’s a gradual thing when you’re not paying attention. You never worry about the takeaway you’re eating now. Or the Guinness you’re drinking now. Because you know tomorrow you won’t wake up suddenly overweight. But all those nows add up, until eventually you’re standing in a hotel room with indigestion for the third morning in a row.

I guess there are many good reasons why I resolved to lose weight that morning. Mostly I realised I hated my own body. But I was also fed up of buying larger and larger clothes. Of struggling to tie my own laces. Or of slowly becoming a carbon copy of my late father. Unlike him, I care about being a good parent, and part of that means sticking around for my children, so my lifestyle needed to change.

I said nothing to anyone about my plan to lose weight. I didn’t know whether I could do it, and publicly admitting failure was something I wasn’t willing to contemplate. So I quietly changed my habits. Out went alcohol, completely. Also white bread. Cakes. Biscuits. Crisps, and chocolate. Anything vaguely unhealthy was gone, replaced with fruit and vegetables.

Next was the exercise. I already had an exercise bike, but it wasn’t getting used. That changed very quickly. Every day, twenty minutes peddling, rain or shine. Tired or not tired. Kids or no kids. Third was calorie counting. Trust me, knowing exactly how many calories you’re consuming is a game changer. The moment you know that portion of chips is an hour on the bike, those chips are out.

Finally, I started to weigh myself regularly. Not eating the food I loved was hard work. Not drinking was hard work. Exercising after caring for two young children all day was hard work. And without the regular reward of seeing my weight go down, I would have been lost. I cannot stress how important knowing I was making progress was, given how much I was doing without.

And then one day, somehow, I was down two stone. Then Four. I was looking slimmer, and my clothes no longer fitted. About six months after starting, it was beginning to sink in that losing weight was something I could do. Once I’d hit Fourteen stone I knew there was no going back, this was going to stick.

Currently I’m sitting in another hotel in Manchester, twelve months on, and a shade over twelve stone. Fruit and vegetables are a permanent part of my diet. I haven’t had a stomach ache or indigestion in a year. There’s even the merest hint of some stomach muscles. I’ll probably never have a six pack, or be a ripped Adonis, but I’ll also never be eighteen stone again either.

What lies ahead is probably the toughest part of this journey; developing a healthy relationship with food. I need to work out how to eat more calories but still maintain a healthy weight. How to not obsess over the calorific value of everything, and how to start enjoying food again without worrying about how fattening it is. But if I’ve learnt anything this last year, it’s that I can do this. And I will.

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Big ol’ pile o’ shame – The SteamCon panic edition.

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Having not given myself any sort of deadline to demolish the pile o’ shame, I wasn’t feeling particularly worried about getting anything finished within a certain time frame. As per the last post, I picked something I felt like painting at that particular moment, and it got finished as and when. The only slight wrinkle to that is the fact that there are a few models I’d like to take to SteamCon in November, so they would need to get bumped to the top of the ‘To do’ list.

Briefly flirting with that top slot were the Ratcatchers. Having played a few games with the Morticians recently, I started to toy with the idea that painting the Rats in time for the convention was something I ‘could do’. Thankfully reality came to the rescue, and it didn’t long for me to realise it was something I ‘couldn’t do’. With work halted on them, I got on with making a start on Rookie Salvo, and building and painting my new Morticians goal token from the Broken Toad Mob-football (read: Guild Ball) goal token Kickstarter.

So here then is my progress. To keep track, I’ve come up with what I’m calling my Super Hi-tec Image Tracker (or S.H.I.T) photo, developed at great personal expense after lengthy research in to the available solutions. I think you’ll all agree that the manner in which it informs you, the viewer, of the current progress at a mere glance adds an air of professionalism to the project. I hoping to get photos of completed models up in the future, along with a write-up on the Green Dragon terrain, but that wont be until after SteamCon at the earliest.

If you’re heading to Manchester for SteamCon, say hello. Other than that TTFN.

Big ol’ Pile o’ Shame

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Okay here we go. First blog post in over a year, and yet another attempt to get back on the blogging horse. Those of you with a particularly sensitive irony meter should probably back away slowly, as I’m about to use this comically overdue update to talk about how I’m using it to motivate myself to get shit painted. Yeah, whatever… but before you wander off, this one involves self-flagellation. Sort of. I’m talking real shame here, folks. A big ol’ pile o’ shame to be precise, and I’ve decided the only way I’m going to tackle it is by being honest.

Behold! My wanton non paining of the things!

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You know how it goes; you buy something shiny, it goes in a box or cupboard until you have time to get round to it, you forget all about it, then another shiny thing comes along that you just gotta have. Eventually you get here, a big pile of unpainted stuff that sulks moodily in the corner of the room. Fear not though, fellow addicts, for there is a solution that doesn’t involve begging your local vicar to perform a resin and plastic-based exorcism – painting!

Right now, this picture is my motivation. I’m going to pick something pictured above, paint that thing (and only that thing) until completion, and cross it off the list. Then I’m going to pick a second thing. Then a third. And so on. This photo is my painting schedule for the foreseeable future. I need to get on top of my mountain of unpainted toy soldiers, and right now this particular pile of plastic and resin feels like the easiest to climb. Next update I’ll tell you all about how I kicked off my journey by buying more Guild Ball minis, but until then…

Hobbytime Update – April

The pre-Salute episode!

But only just. Yes, once again I’ve spent more time thinking about writing this post than actually writing it. To be fair to myself, I really was quite serious about sitting down and typing something, but oh I don’t know…. I was abducted by a wandering gangof geese. Or something.

Ok, I wasn’t. But I did get stuff done this month. A fair chunk of that “getting stuff done” was actually correcting mistakes of my own doing though. Both Jaecar and Bonesaw had to have a relaxing acetone bath to correct my poor choice of colours, but I didn’t panic, and they ended up quite nice.

Once I’d finished messing around with those two, I got stuck in to a selection of Guild Ball players that were either half done, or could be quickly painted. Both Dirge and Veteran Velocity were quick wins, and Vileswarm and Mother were half painted.

Other than that, I managed to paint Egret without cocking her up, and Compound was finished today. With my backlog of Guild Ball players down to four, it’s high time I stocked up again. Good job it’s Salute this weekend. So until I have new Salute loot to show off, I’ll finish with a group shot. 

Hobbytime Update – March

So in January I had this plan to write some sort of “New Year’s Hobby Resolution” post about a new me and getting stuff done. I would follow it with easy-to-write monthly updates. It was a good plan.

And then it was February.

In February I came up with a second, better plan, that would cover the same sort of things, but skilfully avoid the appearance of being late by cleverly not mentioning the whole Resolutions thing.

 And then it was March.

In March those dowdy old former plans are history. March is the month of action. March is when mobile apps and gaps between feeding and nappy changes become blogging gold. Strap in people, because we are GO!

February  is when we finish some things.

First up is six of my Gouged Eye Orcs from the new Blood Bowl box. Realising that it would probably take me a year to finish two teams if I painted them individually, I decided to batch paint them. 

Starting with half of them, I spent an hour a night doing one thing on at a time. The first night I painted the armour to completion. The next night, trousers. Before I knew it, I had six Orcs waiting for decals and Purity Seal. 
Also finished in February – although somewhat less impressively – were my first few Hunters Guild minis. I say less impressively because the only one actually painted was Chaska. The others pictured were painted a while a go, but needed the bases finished off. It all counts though!

March is also going to be a month for finishing things. Salute is on the horizon, and new Hunters will be incoming, so I’d like to be as near to finished with my Engineers and Morticians as possible. I’d also like to squeeze in a few other small things too.

But that’s all for now. Next month I will have an update on my progress, but until then… TTFN.

Hitchhikers and Birthdays.

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Don’t Panic.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read those words, or listened to those words, or even spoken those words. Lots. In fact, probably some other adjective that’s bigger than lots. Because The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of those books for me, and over the course of my life, I watched it, read it, listened to it, and quoted it more times than I care to remember. I could tell you – in detail – the differences between the original radio play scripts and the books. I could regail you with tales of my research in to the correct method for making a really good, strong Brownian Motion producer. And I could even spend many, many hours explaining why sitting through the film is infinitely worse than listening to Vogon poetry. I could do all that and more if you asked me to, and yet there was still room for me to undergo a largely unexpected epiphany regarding my most favourite book.

42

I’d like to think that one of the things that all humans have in common is the ability to feel incredibly stupid without any help from others. Like when you figure out a fiendishly simple puzzle. You stare and stare at the damn thing for hours upon hours, knowing that what you’re looking for is really fucking simple, but without ever finding a solution. Then one day, like a Chesterfield sofa, it just pops in to being all on its own, robbing you of any sense of satisfaction or relief you would have gotten from solving it yourself. That’s what happened to me this year. A huge, really rather obvious Chesterfield-sofa-of-an-idea turned up in my brain, and like Arthur Dent on a Thursday, I’ve struggled to come to terms with it ever since.

Life? Don’t talk to me about Life…

You see it’s my birthday today, and I have become the very embodiment of the meaning of life.  I am Majikthise and/or Vroomfondel standing in front of Deep Thought, bewildered; I have reached the age 42 without a single clue as to what I’m supposed to do next. And this is where my epiphany comes in. Because just this year, after years and years of enjoying my favourite book, I finally joined the dots; Don’t Panic…. 42…. DON’T PANIC ABOUT BEING 42!!. Holy shit it all makes sense now. I know, I know. Douglas Adams explained where the number came from, and it wasn’t about hitting that age. But I like to think that subconsciously, the part of his brain that created the Chesterfield sofa was quietly working on the idea that hitting 42 was the kind of thing that might make the average ape descendant plunge in to a fit of soul-searching panic.

It’s not easy being a cop!

Probably not. But I do know that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has come to mean more and more to me as I’ve gotten older. A lot has happened to me in 42 years; I’ve come to terms with the fact that my father’s death means I’m never going to be able to fix our broken relationship. I’ve accepted that I’m never going to have a career – successful or otherwise – because I’ve been blessed with more children than any sane individual would want. And I’ve also learned to come to terms with the fact that society will forever shun me for not finding the “comedy” film Anchor Man funny. The one constant throughout it all is Douglas Adams’ message that life is pretty fucking absurd, and I find that quite comforting some how.

They still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

So no, I don’t have a fancy car on the drive, or job title that impresses other people, but I do have four wonderful children, and they are going to have to look after me when I’m old and smelling of piss, and shouting abuse at the world. So the universe can suck it, because I’ve figured out whats going on. I know the mice are in charge. So until the dolphins all bugger off, and Earth is demolished by an overly bureaucratic species of alien, I’m going to enjoy the absurdity of it all. Fuck dwelling on the fact that I’m 42, and have none to things that society says you need to be successful. If Arthur dent taught me anything, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with being good at making sandwiches. No, wait… that wasn’t it. Oh fuck it, I’m just going to enjoy my birthday.

Don’t Panic

Disastrous DiRT Daily Ep2.

Guild Ball – Engineers Starter Set

Time for a little update on my doings within the tabletop realm. During Salute 2015 (which I totally intended to write about, but didn’t), I picked up two starter sets and a rulebook for Guild Ball. The first set painted is the mighty Engineers. Whenever I pick up starter sets, I always make sure I have two sets of forces, one for me and one for my victim opponent, and the Engi’s are mine. The other set I bought – The Morticians – is yet to be painted, but I thought I’d post up some pictures anyway.

 

The starter set in all it's glory.

The starter set in all it’s glory.

Ballista - Team Captain

Ballista – Team Captain

Salvo

Salvo

Velocity

Velocity

 

 

Damaged Bunker Build – Gallery

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Good news! I’ve managed to pacify the youngest child long enough to post something on here. I still don’t have too much time however, so I’m keeping this post short and sweet. Bellow is a gallery of my last terrain build. Based on the first bunker I blogged about earlier, this one has more detail, and far less cover. I tried to keep a kind of photo diary of how I built it, and hopefully you’ll enjoy watching it come together.

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Its not a game this time!

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Normally when I update my blog after a long absence, I mention my latest addiction to a video game by way of explanation. This time around, something rather more important has kept me away. On the 16th of February, my other half gave birth to our third child, and as you would expect, that has been keeping both of us rather busy. Originally, my plan was to have a post about the event ready and waiting, but the baby had other plans, as she arrived two weeks early.

Naturally, all the things I usually blog about have been put on hold for a while. I’m still doing a bit here and there, but by-and-large, modelling has gone out the window for now. So for the next few months, posts are probably going to be both infrequent and brief. At some point normality will resume ( as soon as we’ve worked out what normality is ), until then you’ll have to make do with the little my sleep deprived brain can muster.

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