Monday, 30 June 2014

Psychological Testing on Facebook - The Logical Evolution

So, we discovered that Facebook carried out some psychological testing to see what happened when people got bad news, and when they got good news.  Unsurprisingly, people were generally in better moods themselves when their newsfeeds were full of good news, and vice versa.  It's all very interesting, and I'll put to one side the outrage over Facebook doing "secret testing" on over half a million people.

Let's think about this.  What else could they do as a result of this?

Imagine if you had a college essay coming up.  The weeks before you could see lots of creative posts like this:

Or if you wanted to lose weight, it could help you out by showing you posts like:

However, we all know that advertisers are the heart of Facebook.  So, when we're in the market for some new bedroom furniture, we're far more likely to see:

(Check out my last post about vomit absorption and mattresses!)

And of course ultimately, this is what all of us will see.

Happy Facebooking!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

What's in a mattress?

I had to resort to doing some chores today, reluctant though I am to dabble in household arts there was simply no option for me but to buckle down and do stuff.

When I was changing the bedding on my sons bed, I happened to glance at the information label on the mattress.

I'll save you from reading all the notes, but two bits stood out to me.

One - "Manufactured without the addition of Phosphorous, Antimony or Arsenic".

Well, thanks for that.  Yes, that last item was Arsenic, well known as a poison, and is classed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a "class 1 carcinogen".  So that's a bad thing (although it does have many uses apart from killing biological species).

Not entirely sure why they felt the need to write that on the label.  The only assumption I can make is that it is commonly used in mattresses - if that's the case, perhaps it's time to wear some pyjamas to bed.

And the second point I'd like to flag up is a large warning towards the bottom of the label. It says...


Who buys a mattress that is good at soaking up vomit?  Can you imagine how hard it would be to clean a vomit soaked mattress?  And if you did frantically need to clear up some vomit, how many different materials would you choose before thinking "Well, there's nothing else for it, better throw a mattress on it"?

(Of course I do understand issues around babies being sick and the need to ensure that it is dealt with appropriately, but even then I can't imagine any reasonable parent, having spent the morning investigating a variety of beds and mattresses, finally saying "Let us buy this mattress, it actively absorbs vomit so if little Hercules is unwell we don't need to worry - it'll suck that sick straight out of our baby and contain it safely within its springy interior"

As an aside, I have a new video up on my channel, feel free to check it out here (or watch it below), I've ranted about shaving and how razors and shaving gel are not up to the task.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Thanks for reading!

This is really just a quick thank you to everyone who has read my blog in the past, and especially those that for some reason continue to read!  According to Blogger I am currently at 99,949 views, which means that by the morning I should have passed 100k views.  Now to be fair a lot of those views are from bots and robot crawlers and things (i.e. not real people) but there are a fair few of you that do come and check out my posts and I do really appreciate your time.  Thanks!

It's about a year ago that I went to the Little Weighton Steam Engine Rally, and the photo below was taken.  I hope to replicate it on Saturday when the rally takes place again (not to mention sampling the beer and cake in the refreshments barn!)

I do have some more videos upcoming on my YouTube channel which hit 50 subscribers the other day, thanks also to all of you that subscribe and I hope to provide more mediocre videos there!

Sunday, 22 June 2014



Yes, I'm tired.  It's been a busy (but good) weekend, although it has included a fair portion of shopping and cleaning the house, which, whilst certainly needing to be done, doesn't quite get me excited.

Plus, I've had to water the garden.

I have a certain opinion about the garden.  I believe that as the garden is essentially nature, and nature has the rule "survival of the fittest" where elderly and infirm animals are generally eaten by a wolf (or me), that plants shouldn't need watering.  If they need watering on a regular basis, I do think that they ought to be left out to die as they clearly aren't suitable for their location.  You wouldn't put a sunflower in a cave and then take a sunlamp in there to give it the light it needs to grow, so why water plants every day?

Of course, it isn't as simple as that - the plants do indeed look nice (certainly nicer than if I did leave them to their own devices), and all through the winter don't really need any maintenance so five minutes with the watering hose (which has a rather cool gun attachment) isn't overly onerous.

If you haven't noticed, the summer solstice was yesterday.  Putting aside the theological aspect of this day, basically it means that we're heading for winter and Christmas now. Having baked myself whilst driving this afternoon I can't say that it really feels as though winter is coming, but nevertheless it is.  I just wish that it had come soon enough to keep the beer on my desk cold.

I have published a new video today, with some reviews of alternative milks - as part of our bid to become healthier, the family have given up cows milks.  While in the video I do talk about oat milk as being my favourite, we are actually now all on almond milk, and I must say that it is very nice indeed.

Finally, whilst mucking about on my YouTube channel (I'm on 48 subscribers and 9,942 video views - I'd love to make those figures up to 50 subs and 10,000 views if you feel the need!) I noted that I could enable Live Events.

So I did.

So, I can now do live events.  I have no idea of any live events that I could do, or even if I did do an event whether I'd do it on YouTube or on Twitch, but it's nice to have the option.  If anyone does have any ideas for live events, or video collaborations, or indeed blogging collaborations, do get in touch, I'm always keen to hear from people and work together on stuff.  It makes this creating thing fun.

Speaking of which - I tried to make a new video the other night, but it didn't work out due to my smartphone auto-focusing halfway through (it's one where I need to do some special effects so it makes it really bad) and not having quite the right area in shot.  But it involved shaving foam and a bottle of cognac.  Ideas on a postcard (or in the comments below!)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

What does Doctor Who and the Milky Bar Kid have in common

There are two heros from my childhood that stand out in my memory.  A sparse two that, through string theory and dimension travelling, have not one, or two, but three things in common.

I am of course referring to Doctor Who... and the Milky Bar Kid.

If you are not familiar with the Milky Bar Kid, basically he's a young kid who goes into some kind of ruckus in the wild west, and handles the situation thanks to a few bars of milk chocolate.

If you're not familiar with Doctor Who, well there's just no hope I'm afraid.

Here we go!

3 - They save people

The save people, of course.  Doctor Who has saved the planet more times than can be remembered, generally on Christmas Eve, and particularly focusing on London.  He is suspiciously inactive in other parts of the world.  I'm not sure if he's ever been to Swaziland.

But he doesn't just save people, oh no - he saves them through bizarre and fantastical actions.

And sometimes he has to headbutt his deepest secrets into James Corden.

And the Milky Bar Kid equally saves people, and again in odd ways.  Here he stops an evil sheriff in his tracks with a lasso, some treacle, and the assistance of a few chickens.

2 - They both regenerate

This one is pretty obvious.  There has been eleven twelve a lot of doctors in the fifty years that Doctor Who has been on the television, which is a good job really because otherwise the doctor would really be getting on by now, and the same for the Milky Bar Kid - an aged man in a white suit offering children chocolate bar gives the wrong impression I would feel.

And this comes to...

1 - They've both been around for ages

Both Doctor Who and the Milky Bar Kid first appeared in the early 1960s, and have shown up in various forms ever since, taking the odd break now and again.  The Doctor has been away from our screens for thirteen months, and we haven't seen the Milky Bar Kid for a few years... but he'll be back.

In other news, I've got my latest YouTube video up for my series of trying to get fit.  It's a late night update where I managed to fight off the temptation to eat junk food, and I yawn quite a bit.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Versatile Blogger Award nomination!

I am typing quite quickly at the moment, having dashed upstairs for a swift 15 minutes blogging during half-time of the France vs Honduras World Cup match - I didn't intend to watch it, but was quickly sucked in to the game and am waiting to see by just how many goals France will beat Honduras by, both teams are also quite... physical... shall we say, with some assertive tackling going on.

Anyway I digress!  I have been nominated by Tony Payson of The Writers' Bloc for a Versatile Blogger Award, which is very nice of him - thanks Tony!  Although I'm certainly not in the nature of blogging as a living or anything else (which is a good job as it does not form a large part of my income!) it is nice to know that people do look at my blog now and again, and more importantly think that it is of least vague interest.  I'd strongly recommend checking out Tony's blog.

Congratulations of course to Tony for his nomination, very well deserved.

In turn I would like to nominate the following blogs, which is nowhere near the 15 blogs I'm supposed to:
  • Andy at BadDogGaming - Andy is an old friend of mine, participant in my World of Warcraft parody video, and a very funny and smart guy.  He tends to blog mainly about computer gaming, but also delves into other (often dog-related!) topics.
  • Duncan at Nobodys Reading Me - Duncan is a brilliant writer, and very entertaining.  Someone I aspire to be in the fullness of time.
  • Tim Clark of Life, Explained.  Tim in some ways I almost think of as a kindred spirit, as a producer of blog posts that I would like to, if only I had the talent Tim does!  Probably my most regular read.

And now I have to tell Tony 7 things about myself.  Well, I may as well say them here rather than just emailing him, or leaving a list on his doorstep (plus it's less effort to be frank), so here we go:

  1. I was educated at home, with my first experience of formal education being 3 years full time at Hull College.
  2. I can't swim.  I've never needed to swim, I do vaguely think that I ought to learn, in case I see a drowning toddler or something, but haven't got round to it.
  3. I can't ride a bike.  This one I see less point for learning, yet I get more people telling me that I should ride a bike.  But I have legs, and if I need to travel further than is practical to walk, I also have a car.  I see little advantage for a different form of transport which seems more dangerous than a car, less comfortable and slower than a car, yet makes you sweatier than just walking.
  4. I technically hold three degrees - a Foundation Degree in Information Communication Enabling Technologies (which is actually more like a HND) from the University of Lincoln, a Bachelors in Computing (Information Systems) also from Lincoln, and a Masters Degree in Construction Project Management from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.  I remember thinking once "who would be a doctor, and have to spend seven years studying", and then realising that between 1998 and 2012, I spent 12 of the 14 years studying.  Damn, I could be a doctor by now.
  5. I dislike moldy fruit intensely.  Honestly - I absolutely hate it.  My other half can threaten to throw a moldy apple at me and I will run out of the room screaming.
  6. And I scream like a girl.
  7. Seventh thing?  I don't multi-task at home particularly well.  It's strange, when I'm at work I believe that I can multi-task when necessary (although I certainly prefer to focus on a single job at a time), but at home, if I'm doing something like cleaning the kitchen, and then have to stop to put the dinner on, I get really stressed because the kitchen hasn't been finished.  Very odd.

Thanks again to Tony for the nomination and I hope the folk that I nominated are pleased for theirs :)

Friday, 13 June 2014

Lots and lots to talk about!

I'm really tired at the minute, because I've gone to the gym?

Why have I gone to the gym, of all places, on a Friday night?  Well, I have a new video series started!  And it's basically me tracking my "journey" (sorry, it's a bit of a fluffy word to use) while I lose weight over the next year in preparation for getting married.  The videos are a bit different to my usual ones, they're a bit more serious (and the quality has gone backwards which is very annoying - got some black banners at the sides of the first couple of videos, I'll watch out for this on future ones) but hopefully it'll provide some regular stuff to watch.

 Catch the first video here.

In other news, I came across something slimy on the kitchen floor last night.  I don't know what it was, but assuming that it was a small slug, I decisively plucked it from the ground (using a kitchen towel obviously, there's no way on earth that I'd touch it with my naked flesh) and lobbed it out of the window.

It might have been a bit of a pepper now that I think about it, but at any rate I dealt with it.

And of course I have to ask, are you watching the World Cup?  As past readers of my blog may be aware, I'm not a huge fan of football, but the World Cup is a bit of a special occasion and I do try to make a bit of an effort to watch some of the games.  Plus we've got a contest going on at work to see who could predict scores most accurately, and as things stand after 3 games I've attained four points out of a possible nine, which isn't perfect but it's a start, and there's a lot of matches to go.  We're also doing a sweepstake and I got Chile, which I'm fairly happy with, I certainly think that they've got a chance of winning (although Brazil are definitely the team to beat!) and hopefully it'll make for some interesting matches over the next few weeks.  Do comment and let me know who you're hoping is going to win.

If you enjoyed this post you might like this one which features ice cream instead of creativity.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Free Time

On Sunday morning, I had the morning to create stuff.

Of course, when it came to it - I couldn't think of a damn thing to write, or record, or make in any way.

So I ate ice cream.

Actually to be precise it's Ben & Jerry's Greek Style Strawberry Shortcake Frozen Yoghurt, which we bought from the shops purely because I love the advert so much!

I have a new video up on my YouTube channel, looking at how to make a healthy taco snack.  Apparently this is quite controversial, the only thing you can do with a taco is load it up with spicy beef, rice and cheese, but having never been to Taco Bell I'm unable to comment.

And unusually for me, I actually have videos spare!  I have two videos unpublished and ready to go, including one which is going to be the start of a year-long series, which I hope people will get on board with.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

More Liebster Award answers

So, I was nominated again for a Liebster Award, this time by J R Palmer of Attempting to be a Domestic Goddess - thank you!  I'm not going to do my own nominations and questions as I've recently done this on a previous blog, but here's my answers to the questions set to me by the domestic goddess:

If you won £/$1000  what would you spend it on?

Hmm... I would like to spend it on some new video editing kit or maybe a new computer, but I'd probably just put it towards bills (boring eh!)

What is your favourite singer/group?

This changes regularly, Pink, Steps, Alanis Morrissette, Psy, Charlene Soraia... at various times in my life I've listened to all of these hugely.  Steps is the most recent one, but as I write this I'm thinking that I haven't sung along to Alanis for ages...

If you had one wish, what would it be?

Guns. Lot of guns.

(Only joking - it would be for my family to be happy. Dull but nice!)

If you could meet anyone famous, dead or alive, who would it be?

Stephen Fry.  I love his work and his intellect, I bet he'd be brilliant company.

Why do you blog?

It's an outlet for my creativity.  And I guess in a way I feel "needed" because I do have people visiting my blog, and I like to entertain them.  Needed is too strong a word because if I stopped blogging overnight I doubt anyone would be really bothered, but nevertheless I like to feel needed.

If you could give something up for 24 hours,what would it be?

Fat absorption.

If you had the chance to move to any country, what country would it be?

Difficult to say as I haven't experienced the place yet, but Canada would be high on the list, probably either Toronto or Vancouver.  I can say that I had the most wonderful time in Paris (and sod what people say about Parisians being rude, almost all of the locals that I interacted with were great!) so it'd be one to consider.  Dublin is brilliant too but I don't know if I'd want to live there - I think the pubs would be too much of a temptation for me!

First car?

A 1986 Nissan Micra Collette.  I loved it.

First favourite pop singer or band?

First favourite - I remember getting my mum to buy me a Madonna album when I was very small.  But that was basically just because I knew her name.  I'd probably have to say Shaggy or 2 Unlimited.

What pop song would you not admit you liked?

I don't really go in for not admitting this sort of thing, I know that I have a dreadful taste in music!  2 Unlimited, Steps, B*Witched.... they're all great :)

Thanks again to the domestic goddess for the nomination.  Also, thanks to Tim and Jay for their excellent guest posts this last week while I've been away in a caravan enjoying the sunshine!  Thanks guys and if I can return the favour in the future let me know.

This was the vegetarian breakfast I had one morning while on holiday.  With extra bacon.

I've recorded three new videos this evening and am in the process of editing them so hopefully my YouTube channel will show some more regular activity in the weeks ahead, I've got an idea for a new regular video that hopefully I can do several times a week too so fingers crossed for that.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Good Times at Haunted Hill High - Betrayal at House on the Hill review

Today we have another guest post, this time from Jay aka Nerd Speaker, he's a brilliant blogger specialising in reviews.  Jay has kindly volunteered to write a review of tabletop game Betrayal at House on the Hill - I must organise another tabletop gaming day!

Good Times at Haunted Hill High

Have you heard the one about the priest, the gypsy, and the little Asian boy who get lost together inside a haunted house? Well, it’s no joke! It’s a common scenario in Betrayal at House on the Hill from Avalon Hill games. Designed by Bruce Glassco and previously featured on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop, this game puts you in the shoes of a plucky explorer who must wander with his or her companions around a house uncovering creepy events and omens. Once enough omens have been revealed, it becomes apparent that one of the explorers is actually a traitor, and the rest of the heroes must then work together to fight against that player and all manner of evil nasties. It’s a fun and tense game with fifty different haunt scenarios to keep the game fresh and engaging, though some haunts are better than others.

Right off the bat I really enjoy exploring the house. Each time you play the house looks completely different since it is made up of turned down room tiles in a stack that are only placed upon passing through a doorway. Rooms will offer the chance to draw an event, item, or omen card. The flavor text on these cards is well written and must always be read out loud in a dramatic / spooky voice. Events cause all manner of glory and mischief, sometimes helping you to find items or level up your stats, and sometimes causing you to fight a deranged voodoo doll with a spear or get pinned by falling debris, not unlike real life. If you’re into balanced play, you might get frustrated when you get beaten to a pulp through unlucky event draws and dice rolls before the haunt even begins. Items make you feel godly, and omens too are generally items of great power. Every time an omen is drawn, that person makes a haunt roll, and if the number of pips is less than the number of omens on the table then the haunt begins (if the haunt happens early… good luck, non traitors).

At this point the haunt and its traitor is revealed in The Traitor’s Tome by cross-referencing the omen that caused the haunt with the room it was revealed, and then following the instructions. Your good mate Ox, with whom you’ve weathered the hard times, turns out to be an occultist. Shit luck. The traitor then gets all sorts of powers, and often control over monsters, while the heroes generally get bubkiss and have to band together or die screaming.

Traitor and Heroes each get their own manual for the haunt and sequester themselves to read up on their abilities and objectives. There’s a short narrative in the manuals that add some context to the haunt, and they’re fun to read (and give you the opportunity to get in character). It is highly suggested that you don’t read the haunts in advance so that they’re fresh, and so that there is still an element of mystery – the traitors don’t know what the heroes need to accomplish to win a haunt and vice-versa. Information sharing is very much on a need to know basis, and you’ll have fun and aggravating times trying to figure out just where and why the traitor player is hauling a corpse.

The haunt is generally a tense time for everybody. Success or failure in an action is determined by a roll of the dice, and the amount of dice you’re allowed to use is dictated most often by your stats, which sometimes just aren’t high enough. There was a time where my friends and I were stuck in a room trying to light a damn candle but our knowledge was just too damn low (durr… *throws candle against wall*). In some haunts the rules are so strange and contradictory to normal play that it causes no end of disputes and the looking up of things on Yet strangely it’s these frustrating and tense times that make the game so much fun to play. You’ll have countless arguments and “I don’t think you’re allowed to do thats” and it’s oh so satisfying to be deemed right. Whether you’re the hero or the traitor the odds generally seem to be stacked against you, and unless the traitor had so many items before the haunt that he or she is essentially the German ubermensch, the game could always go either way. For all the chaos of dice rolls, however, the game does reward those who have a good feel for strategy, so take heart. Since there are fifty haunts though, they can’t all be winners – some are just plain unbalanced and stupid (you know it’s true if even the winner says so).

So basically if you like a game with a narrative, a blend of strategy and chance, arguments, and nearly endless replayability, this is one to look out for. Oh, also, if you win, you get to give a victory speech. ‘Nuff said.

Jay Borenstein AKA Nerd Speaker is a friend to the cosmic owl and the keeper of one of the keys to your heart. He lives on the internet.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Hi - I'm not nearby a computer for a few days, so fellow blogger Tim from Life, Explained has kindly volunteered to do a piece.  Tim's great and a very funny blogger, he's well worth checking out.

Take it away, Tim!

Hello.  Mike Raven is on vacation this week, and will not be able to return your calls.   Actually, I don’t know how long he is on vacation for, and whether he has a phone or not.  He seems to have some technical prowess, and sounds very bright, so he probably has some sort of communication device, but that is not what I am here to talk about.  I am here to discuss vacations (like Mike’s) and the best ways to get through them undamaged, sort of.

First there is the matter of diet.  It is too easy to overindulge while traveling.  Since you don’t have to clean up afterwards, or do dishes it is tempting to have three or four things at once.  “Give me a burger, a hot dog, a bratwurst, and pancakes, with a milk shake.”  That does sound good, but it will lead to an expanding waist line, and clothing budget, and unbearable ridicule from co-workers, friends, loved ones, and the people at the clothing store, smug, arrogant, thin philistines that they are.

A good way to counter this is to order a salad.  Green, leafy vegetables help keep the weight off, lower serum cholesterol, and help control hypertension.   Your rule of thumb should be one meal every day consists of a salad.  Following the one salad a day rule leaves you free to be a little more liberal with your other meal choices, steak, baked potato with extra sour cream and real butter, fried shrimp, and hot rolls fresh from the oven, steaming piles of noodles with melted cheese, and garlic butter, what an appetizer, I can’t wait for dinner, and dessert, oh man, could I tell you about desserts.

If you are a vacation veteran it is ok to call anything with lettuce a salad, a bacon cheeseburger, a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich (lettuce and tomato that almost counts for two salads) a club sandwich, all of these are similar to the fountain of youth on bread.   You are getting younger by the minute.

With a little discipline there is no reason a smart person can’t come back from vacation healthier than when it began.  It just takes a plan and some will power.

In a spontaneous act of kindness and sympathy Mike has agreed to let me write a guest post for his blog.  The readers of my blog are so very grateful.  A little vacation for them as well, I hope they are enjoying the time off and eating wisely.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Eight things you learn when you go to a slimming club

Even if you've never joined a slimming club, you probably know what one is.  Basically, it's a group that you go to regularly (typically once a week), you get weighed, you get encouragement to lose more weight, and often tips on healthy meals to cook.  And they absolutely work for some people.  Perhaps even most people.

It didn't work for me, but that's probably down to my own views and opinions than anything else.

Nevertheless, if you are considering going to a slimming club, here's a few things that you'll learn.

8) There's a plan that if you stick to it, will make you thin.

The club will have a plan specific to itself, that if you follow it, will make you lose weight.  Weight Watchers have points, Slimming World has red and green days (and extra easy if you're a more recent attendee), others will have their own plans.  All you have to do is work out what you can and can't eat, and stick to the plan!

A bottle of water, and three tacos filled with chicken, salad, a dash of vinaigrette and a little american chip spice, with a side of pickled onions?   That would be free on a brown day.


7) No one sticks to the plan

Sure, you do at first.  The first week of your slimming club, you'll stick exactly to the plan.  You might even be a little stricter on yourself.  And you'll do fantastically well.

But over time, your willpower weakens, and reasons pop up that mean, absolutely, that you must drink huge amounts of beer tonight and follow it up with a deep fried cake kebab.

One of the great things that I remembered when I did Slimming World was what was known as "Twilight Night".  On Slimming World, you had a number of "sins" that you could use each day for unhealthy foods, like a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps.  But on the day of the weigh-in, what you would do is use your sins beforehand (although see number five), but then after weigh-in, people saw it as a free night.

I will absolutely guarantee you that at least 30% of the people leaving the slimming club immediately went for a takeaway.  And the other 70% couldn't afford it, because...

6) Slimming club costs money

It isn't a free evening you get here.  You have to pay to attend (and often pay even if you skip a week), and the club will be selling recipe books and the like there, I remember when I went to Slimming World they sold their own healthy snack bars called Hi Fi bars.  Hi Fi bars are bloody gorgeous but not desperately cheap, and because you could have one as a "healthy extra" instead of using your limited number of sins on a typical chocolate bar, you buy them, and as a result you find yourself getting through a couple of packs of bars in a week.  Then you often need to donate a piece of fruit or something every week for a competition for the biggest loser that week, or make an example of a healthy meal to take in, and the cost of the group adds up.  I'm not saying that it isn't worth it, but it could be the cost of a takeaway right there.

Speaking of takeaways, all those twilight nights have added up, and you're not losing as much as you want to.  So...

5) You try to cheat.

The day of the weigh-in people go to ridiculous lengths (except obviously for exercising) to manufacture a weight loss, because if you get weighed and you haven't lost, the group leader will be asking questions of you.

The steps taken may well include:
  • Not eating or drinking before the weigh-in - you'll find people often getting weighed, then having a cup of tea. Not the other way round.
  • Going to the toilet right before the weigh-in to maximise that loss (or minimise that gain).  Good luck if you're in a rush for the toilet at slimming club, because prior to weigh-in, every single person there will be in there trying to make the difference between staying the same weight and losing half a pound.
  • Getting a haircut - or even shaving off arm hair.  This makes virtually no difference whatsoever but you try it anyway

However, what it won't include is trying lighter clothes.  This seems logical to me - start slimming club in jeans, a padded shirt, a jumper, a coat, and trainers, and if one week you've not done very well, switch it for shorts, t-shirt and flip flops, but it is a unwritten rule that you must attend slimming club in exactly the same clothes every week.

Of course, none of the above cheats work, so you will end up with everyone looking at you while you get interrogated by the leader as to why you put on half a pound this week, but if this happens there's an easy solution.

All you have to do is slip in a comment about a rival slimming club, because...

4)  Every other slimming club in the world is wrong.

The one thing that the group leader hates more than someone gaining weight is a rival slimming club.  I don't remember a single occasion where any of the group leaders that I've experienced (yes I have tried multiple slimming clubs) had anything good to say about one of the other clubs.  I kind of imagine that while the plans may differ from club to club, their general aim is the same - to lose weight.  So I foolishly imagine that perhaps eating more fruit and veg, less fat, and maybe going for a bit of a jog now and then might be a good thing.

Oh no - it's all down to whether you're counting points, or whether you're counting sins.

My partner has suggested occasionally that I give Slimming World another try.  The last time she suggested it I threatened to join Weight Watchers as a response.  She never mentioned the idea again.

But for me, I found that after a while sticking to this plan starts to get you down.  And you discover that...

3) The most critical thing in the world has to be done, by you, at exactly the same time as slimming club happens.

Slimming club will be at the same time, on the same day, every week.  Within three months of starting you'll find something - anything - that absolutely must be done at the time, with the result that this week, you can't make it. Doctors appointment, cat to be taken to the vet, the lawn absolutely must be cut tonight, whatever it is, you can't believe that it's clashed with your club, you've really got absolutely no option but to miss it this week.

Just this week, of course.

But why would you not want to attend your slimming club of supportive friends?


2) Slimming club folk hate other slimming club folk

I've already mentioned the group leaders, but not your fellow losers at the group.  The competition for the title "Slimmer of the week" is intense.  I've had some nerve wracking evenings when, after securing a weight loss of two and a half pounds, you have to sit through twenty other people, and all you can do is hope and pray that no one did better than you.
 "Mary, you lost half a pound! Well done Mary!" the group leader says.  You all burst into applause, while silently thinking that's not enough Mary, nice try!
This will go on until almost at the end of the group, you are defeated by someone who lost eight pounds because they're been in bed all week with stomach flu, and let me tell you, the applause that follows that announcement is almost drowned out by everyone thinking you lucky bugger, I wish I had been throwing up all week!

But there is one last thing.  And I have to tell you about the mistake that everyone makes, and the reason why.

1) Slimming club folk despise the fallen.

Everyone picks the slimming club closest to home.  Of course you do - it makes sense, it's the least amount of travelling time, it's convenient.

But if you're not one of the ones that manages to get down to their target weight, and end up dropping out of the slimming club, you can never get takeaway again, because every time you do, you will walk out of the takeaway, whilst stuffing your face with chips or pizza, and come face to face with someone from your old group, one of them that didn't drop out and is now six stone lighter.  And they'll look at you with a smile of superiority.

Which almost conceals the look of lust they give your burger.

You can't even go to the supermarket because one of the group will work on the checkouts and see the black forest gateaux you've purchased - and because you chatted to them in the group, they'll know that you live alone, and they know that you're going to get home, microwave it so you don't have to wait, dump it in a bowl and eat it with a ladle.

All in all a good reason to order your food to be delivered, I feel.

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