b3ta.com user Bernard Bernoulli
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» Gyms

How to get fit
Okay, I've been in gyms before; but frankly nothing interesting happens in gyms. Unless you're one of the roidhead weightlifters whoo goes to homoeroticise it up with your mates, there's little in the way of social interaction. So, I'm going to give you the dubious benefits of my wisdom on how to get fit without spending the equivalent of an XBox 360 every year on gym membership.

Shockingly, my advice is this: Run. Unless you live in a place where you can't actually step outside without fear of death, you should be able to find some decent running routes. Find a friend with which to do it, because there's always a little extra motivation when you're with someone. Go to a proper running shop and get your feet tested to see whether they pronate or not - this could save you from injuries in the long run. I've never understood why anybody bothers with a treadmill. First, think of you're running action: When you run on a road, you drive yourself forward with your stride. A treadmill, on the other hand, pulls your feet back: It's therefore doing half the work for you. Second, treadmills are boring. Get out there and see the world! And if you wind up getting chased by chavs or dodging bullets in Croxteth, that's just a little extra motivation.

If you're a fatty and can't run for any length of time, start off by walking, for about an hour at a time. Then mix short sections of run into your walks; set yourself targets (i.e. I'm going to jog from this lamp post to that bus shelter 500m away) and then make damn sure you meet them. I'll say that again: NEVER fail to achieve your own targets or you may as well just slink off the MacDonalds with the rest of the tubbies. As a complete beginner, your goal should be to run for about 40 minutes non-stop. If you can do this three times a week, you should really start to lose the pounds.

Once you're more established, consider your times. For under-30's, I would say that if you can run 2.5km (that's just over 1.5 miles) in under ten minutes; and you can run 10km in under forty minutes, you may ordain yourself "not crap" at running. You're not Paula Radcliffe yet, but you're probably swifter than most of the people in your age group.

Some final thoughts:

- www.mapmyrun.com is a great resource for measuring out routes and finding out just how far you've run.

- Aches and pains are par for the course, especially when you're just starting out. But if anything is really agonising or persistent, rest it and see a doctor or a physio. This especially applies if the pain is in your knee: Once fucked up, your knees are terribly hard to unfuck.

- You may need to stop and take a breather every now and then. So long as you don't take the piss, that's fine. But never stop halfway up a hill: Always make it to the top of ahill, and then even if you're blowing out of your arse, you'll get a psychological edge.

- Lots of people like cycling, as it's easier on the knees.

- Take up a team sport. It's fun, it gives you something to train for; and even if you play like a spastic, your running fitness should enable you to impress teammates with your hustle.

So hit the road, foo'.
(Thu 9th Jul 2009, 18:59, More)

» Hypocrisy

Trainspotting vs car-loving
I think it's generally agreed that trainspotting is up there with bellringing and D&D in the pantheon of tragic hobbies. But, why is it so much more socially acceptable to obsess over cars? I know laddish, red-blooded males who could tell you the Aggregated Spunk Output of a Bugatti Veyron; or that a Ford Mustang has Dual Hyerdrive Buffers. Yet take them down the local railway station and they're laughing, name calling and possibly throwing things at the anoraked ones.

I think some of these car fanboys need to have a good hard look at themselves.
(Sun 22nd Feb 2009, 10:58, More)

» Banks

Several years ago, I used to work for a certain Royal Bank doing security checks on people's cards. Essentially, someone would be putting through a transaction (usually a large one) when a message would appear on the card machine telling the shop assistant to ring us. So they would. We'd ask security questions, the customer would loudly assure us that they were extremely rich and had loads of money in their account (for the benefit of everybody else in the shop, of course); and then we'd give the shop assistant a little code to put into their machine, so that all would be well.

So far so tedious.

Mostly you ended up with a load of irate customers, but the high point of your working week was when you found a card that was genuinely stolen, so that you couls consider yourself a Batman-style crimefighter. With a headset and little nameplate above your computer. So this one time, I had the following conversation (abridged):

Me: Blah blah blah how may I help you?

Shop person: Hi, I'm calling from xxxx shop. Can you do a security check on this card as we're a bit suspicious of the customer?

Me: No bother, can you say why you're suspicious?

Shop person: Well, the name on the card is a Mr. Elvis Tserivanga* and the customer's a white person.

Me: That would do it. *looks up account info* Can you put the guy on?

So, the guy came on the phone, I gave him the spiel about it being a routine security check, then we got down to business.

Me: Can you give me the first two letters of your mother's maiden name?

Him: Err...SB?

Me: That's not it. Would you like to try again?

Him: QZ?

Me: This isn't your card, is it?

Him: No.

Me: You know that I'm going to have to cancel the card, right?

Him: I guess.

Me: Can you put the shop assistant back on, please?

Him: Okay, sure...bye...

Shop person: He's just left the shop.

So, a very polite but dim criminal. How did he think he was going to get away with it?

*Not the real name, but that was the gist of it.
(Tue 21st Jul 2009, 20:12, More)

» Buses

Everyone's probably experienced this
Where you climb onto the bus, ask for a ticket and pull out...a note! And the bus driver looks at you like you've just felt up his wife and says: "You've got to be fucking joking."

I mean, for crying out loud, do they not issue you with change at the bus depot? Hasn't it occurred to anyone that your passengers might have come straight from the cash machine, and not the dole queue? Is there any reason to swear at me for trying to pay with legal money?

(Tue 30th Jun 2009, 10:33, More)

» Buses

You'll have to bear with me on this one...
It would have been more than ten years ago now, and my memory's a bit hazy. Then again, I may have blotted most of it out. Anyway, I was getting on the bus to work one afternoon and, lo and behold, a woman at the wheel! Now I know what you're thinking, and I've got nothing against women drivers generally, but this one was really something special. Christ almighty, you'd think she'd never driven a bus before - it was like one of the Chuckle Brothers had taken too many amphets. Pavements were mounted, cars walls and lamp posts were narrowly missed. And as for the woman with the pram; all I can say is she had a very lucky escape. I swear that we didn't once go below 50mph on that stretch.

I was getting pretty damn concerned by this point, especially since she seemed more interested in chatting to some bloke she'd picked up earlier. If anything he was even worse, but he seemed to have some strange effect on her. The guy was a total chopper, the backseat driver from hell: He spent the entire trip alternating dubious advice with patronising encouragement, and occasionally hitting on her. From time to time he'd turn round and shout at the rest of us, like we gave a toss what he had to say. By this time I was just staring out of the window and praying for my stop to come.

Alas, it was not to be. Perhaps it was because of him, but her navigation was spectacularly awful as well. We went careering off down a road that had been closed, and spent a good half hour doing circuits round the airport. Everyone was seriously disgruntled, but the two Fuhrers at the front wouldn't let anyone off; and the nice lady who did try to assert herself got such rough treatment that nobody else dared after that.

Anyway, it took police intervention to persuade her to let us off in the end. Her mate wandered off - something about catching a tube train - and the bus whizzzed off down the airport runway and exploded.

Bindun, surely?
(Sat 27th Jun 2009, 11:11, More)
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