D4D

I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.

Archive for the category “Health”

Saturday – Slow

While I was walking in London two weekends ago, I posted a ranty bith on Facebook, asking

HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE, WALK AND THINK SO FUCKING SLOWLY, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE?!?!?

To which Gordon asked how I live with being so irrationally angry to others.  The answer to that ended up as a bit of a rant, but was still absolutely true, and I thought I’d add it here as well, rather than losing it to the vagaries of Facebook.

That answer was this…

In fairness, my friend, if any of them had any awareness of what was around them, I’d be fine.

I fully acknowledge I walk a buttload faster than most people, and think/move/avoid at similar pace. I take on at least 90-95% of the responsibilities for getting out the way, and for understanding/accepting that difference.

All I ask – well, hope for – is for people to have the ability to see this fast-moving juggernaut of a human being, AND NOT WALK AT ME.

Fair enough, I’m enough of a fat bastard that I obviously create a gravity well and people just fall at me. I get that, I accept it. But they could make a bit of sodding effort.

It’s not even like I’m hard to see. But still these motherfuckers walk at me, stop in my path, decide to suddenly stop and take selfies (which is how I’ll end up on fucking Crimewatch, I just know it) or just look me dead in the eye, stop, and see what I’ll do, like they’re expecting me to slam into them.

So yeah, if there were even a smidge of acknowledgement, avoidance, observation, or even just a conscious fucking thought, I’d be fine.

But no. None of it. So you get the rants.

 

All told, it was a bit of a throwback to the D4D of old…

On Being A Cretin

With life taking several turns over the last year, I’d given up a bit on going to the gym.  OK, I’d given up on it a lot. So I’d put my membership on hiatus, paying a small maintenance fee rather than the full monthly amount. (Because while I’m definitely an idiot, as will be shown shortly, I’m not a complete idiot)   It meant I wouldn’t have to pay a re-joining fee etc., and could reactivate things really easily once I was back to being in the mood for it.

Last month, I decided I wanted to get back to going.  Again, a number of reasons, but mainly just realising I wanted to do more, as well as some preparation for my idiot event in September – of which more later.

So I went to the PureGym website, logged in, and reactivated my membership.  Oddly, I had to pay a joining fee again, but I thought I’d just not read the terms and conditions properly, and it’s not a huge amount, so there we go. The proper payment comes out of my bank about a week later, and all good. Job done, I’m going back to the gym from June 1st.

Come June 1st, I look at my bank account, and there’s that maintenance charge again.  Weird.  Maybe it’s connected to that billing cock-up where I paid a joining fee.

So I call PureGym, to try and find what’s going on.  They tell me that the Direct Debit reference I’ve given them isn’t connecting to any of their records, so they’ll need more information from the bank, to know where that DD started, where it’s going etc.   Annoying, but indicative that a significant cock-up has occurred.

I ring the bank, and speak to someone there.  Let’s cancel that under the DD guarantee, here’s the details, it’s a Direct Debit for The Gym…   And a light goes on in my head.   I’m a cretin.

For whatever reason, I’ve got “PureGym” in my head as the one I’m going to. (And it’s one I was a member of, in two different locations)  Only that’s not the one I’m using. I’m using “The Gym”, and that’s where the maintenance payment’s come from. So I’ve re-joined a gym I don’t want, and not restarted the membership of the gym I do want.   For fuck’s sake.

The lady at the bank (having laughed) reinstated the DD for the Gym, and re-paid the money to them that’d gone out that day.  Then I went back to PureGym, explained that I’m a complete idiot, what had happened, and asked if it was possible to get my money and joining fee back from them.  No problem if not, we’d class it as an idiot tax, but if possible it’d be great.

And they did. It’s not a standard thing, but I’d not used the gym, it was still on the first full day of “membership”, and – I suspect most importantly – I’d admitted it was entirely my fault, and that I’m a moron.  (It also made them laugh, which is fine)

All told, I got lucky in many ways.  I’m lucky that (in general) my bank are pretty good on this stuff. I’m lucky that both gyms in question are month-to-month ones rather than contracts. I’m lucky that the people in both cases were nice, and obviously far more used to people shouting and swearing, and making out it’s all Their fault.

I’ve not lost anything (except some self-respect) and it’s all worked out.   But man alive, do I feel like an absolute cretin.

On Dealing With FitBit

This week, I was unlucky enough to have to try and deal with FitBit‘s idiotic e-commerce system.  I’ve had a Fitbit for several years now (well, two or three devices over that time, but all Fitbit devices) and the strap on the current one is getting a bit ropy, so I wanted to order a new one.

The ordering part is… OK, I suppose.  Then we get to entering addresses.  It tells me that it can’t validate my preferred delivery address at all, and won’t progress the order any further.  Not “Would you like to add this address to the system?” or “Please confirm the details, and we’ll accept your word for it that you know where the hell you work“.  Just point-blank ‘Computer says No‘ dead-end.  So far, so unhelpful.

In fairness, that should’ve been the warning sign.  But I carried on.  Rather than delivering to my office, I’ll set it to deliver to home.  That’s OK, except for the standard “Royal Mail PAF says this address should be in [nearest city], so do you want to use that, or the info you’ve entered”.  I’m used to that – it’s ridiculous, but it’s PAF, so I’m used to it, and it’s not going to change.

Enter in the card details, all well and good. Do the ‘Verified By Visa’ bag-o’-shite verification, and complete the transaction.  Get the email saying “It’s on its way”.  Happy day, job done.

Or so I thought…

Half an hour later, I get another email. “There’s a problem with this transaction”, saying that either…

  • The billing address provided doesn’t match the address on file with your financial institution  (No, it matches fine)
  • Your financial institution denied the charge for unspecified reasons (OK, maybe)
  • Your financial institution denied the charge due to insufficient funds (Nope, definitely not)
  • Your financial institution doesn’t recognise Fitbit.com as a vendor   (that sounds like cock to me)

I call the card company.  Nope, all fine, not even a declined transaction.  And “doesn’t recognise the vendor” is a bag of cock.  To quote them, “If it were for ISIS-Iraq.com, we might be blocking it, but not standard stuff”

I call FitBit, who are *massively* incompetent, unable to understand basic English, and can only “resubmit the transaction”.  Can’t change the card details, just ‘resubmit it’.
“OK sir, that’s gone through fine, so you’ll get a confirmation in a minute”
“Has it actually gone through the card company this time?”
“Yes, it’s gone through fine”
“What’s the transaction authorisation code?”
“We don’t know yet, it hasn’t gone to the bank”
“……”

So…. Fitbit, these <sarcasm>masters of eCommerce</sarcasm>, don’t do the card transactions immediately. They cache them, for some fuckforsaken reason. And no-one knows ’til then what’ll happen.

When I checked the resubmitted one, the phone cretin had also decided to change the address for billing and delivery to the PAF-recommended one (without even asking) so I ended up talking to them again, they edited the order, and ‘confirmed the transaction’ again (i.e. re-submitted it, and played wait’n’see with the cards)

That failed too, unsurprisingly.  Same email, you need to speak to us, same list of possible reasons. Card company re-confirms that absolutely nothing has touched the account – they’ve had a 1p pre-authorisation amount go through, which verifies the card details, but after that, nothing else has been received by them at all.

In the end, I’ve called Fitbit (again!) and just cancelled the order.  There’s better and quicker ways to do this. Hell, I can get a pikey knock-off strap through Amazon for a tenth of the price, and it’d be delivered tomorrow.

The really telling thing though, for me, was that when I cancelled the order, there’s not even a process for it. No questions about why I want to cancel, no attempt to keep the order, nothing. Just “OK, that’s cancelled. You’ll get an email telling you so”.  That tells you everything you need to know about whether a company gives a shit or not.

Weekend Walking

On Saturday, I went into London – primarily to see Don Juan in Soho again, as I’d booked a ticket for myself, and then my friends booked theirs for a couple of weeks earlier. If I hadn’t enjoyed it when I saw it with them, I’d have given up the ticket or whatever, but I did like it, so I was OK with seeing it twice.

This time though, I wasn’t going to be drinking beforehand. Among other things, there were some bits of the play I was hazy on, or couldn’t get to gel with the rest of it, so that was another reason to see it again.  Instead, it was a nice day, so I decided to go for a bit of a walk.

And, because I’m an idiot of world-shattering proportions, I came pretty close to breaking myself. I didn’t, but it came closer than usual to happening.

I hadn’t accounted for a couple of things – primarily, the sun and temperature. London on Saturday was bloody hot, and sunny. Me being me, I hadn’t really made any plans or preparations, I’d just got a route in mind, I’d got my boots on, and walked it. Two hours, and 7½ miles later, I was pretty knackered.

Because of the warmth, I also noticed that the plane trees along a lot of the route were chucking out something that affected the back of my throat, and made it harder to breathe – not life-threatening by any stretch, just harder work than usual – which made it all more tiring.

Having now read that Wikipedia page, I’m more sure of this – the quote

However, it has a number of problems in urban use, most notably the short, stiff hairs shed by the young leaves and the dispersing seeds; these are an irritant if breathed in, and can exacerbate breathing difficulties for people with asthma.

seems to confirm my theory somewhat.

By the time I’d got to the Albert Memorial, I was pretty much stuffed, and also thinking I’d probably been in the sun for longer than I should’ve been.  But by then, well, I was on the ‘final straight’ so I kept on going, just at a slightly slower pace.

I did OK though, and was then more sensible once I’d got to my intended destination, by opting to sit downstairs in the shade, drink lots of water, and generally take some time out. From there, it was a simple short stroll to the theatre, and once the play was done, I closed the circle of that route, and walked back up to Euston.

Once I was home, I was properly knackered, and my legs were more sore than I’d have expected as well. But happily it all recovered overnight and was fine, so I’m happy with what I did – I just could’ve been more sensible about the entire bloody thing.  I suppose that “being sensible” might actually happen one day, rather than only ever occurring to me in hindsight, but well, we’ll see.

 

Blood Lines

Way back in the dark ages, I used to get nose-bleeds on a regular basis. I’ve still no idea why they used to happen, but eventually they got fairly well sorted by dint of getting the inside of my nose cauterised with silver nitrate.  (And believe me, that hurts like an absolute motherfucker)

After that, for a long time I’d get nose-bleeds when I was in the presence of aerosolised lemon scents. All I had to do was walk into a room where someone had sprayed a lemon scent, and bang, blood everywhere. Again though, that hasn’t happened in a fair while – I assume that the chemical makeup of those scents has been changed, and it now doesn’t affect me in the same way.

Regardless, I haven’t had a decent nose-bleed in years. (Which I’m happy about, don’t get me wrong)

Until yesterday.  Sat in a cafe, eating my lunch, and bosh, nose-bleed. No warning, no reason, just a goodly flow of blood.

Since then, I’ve had two three more. I assume that whatever triggered the first has weakened something so it’s all a bit more fragile at the moment.  I’ll see how things go today and over the weekend, but if they keep on coming, I might have to pay a visit to the GP…

Doing Less, Doing More

After this coming weekend, life calms down a bit once more. (I know, it’s a recurring theme)  From here, I’ve got fewer weekends with stuff already booked – at least until September, which is already idiotic. (Of which more later, or in a future post)

However, that doesn’t mean I’ll not be doing much.

Come the end of September, I’ll be walking a marathon distance, and I want to have an equivalent distance already under my belt by then, along with some other practice/training walks building up to it.  I did a half-marathon distance back in October, but then haven’t done anywhere near as much since, and I’m aware that I really should have done. Oops, as they say.

So in the run-up to the end of September, that’s (part of) what I’m going to be doing. Taking some time, some days out, doing a shitload of walking. It won’t all be London-based, although the majority will be.

I know I could easily just rock up on the day and complete the course – but I do want to at least appear to be taking it more seriously than that.

Changing Routines

Of late, I’ve noticed that I’d been getting a bit complacent about exercise, walking and the like.  I’ve still been doing it, and meeting my targets, but it had all got a bit easy, always making my target.

Since getting the Fitbit, my daily target has been 5,000 steps – about half of the recommended (but completely arbitrary) 10,000, but a daily target I could live with, and that was feasible with my work, commute etc.

Some days have been harder than others along the way, but I was always getting at least five out of seven where I’d reach my target, and some of those would absolutely beast the total, so I’d average around 60,000 steps a week.

This year, though, I’ve noticed that 5,000 step target has been easy – I haven’t missed a day this year so far.   I also ended up not doing as much – if I’d done that 5,000 by the end of the working day, I didn’t do much in the evening.

So last week, I upped the target, this time to 7,500.  It’s still doable, but does require me to do more. (Logically enough)

The only downside of this is that, because Fitbit have written abysmal code, the app can only handle one step target – so it’s updated all my targets since Day One to 7,500 – which means I’ve got a lot more missed days than I did have before I upped it.  In short, this is known as Bollocks.

But hey ho, it means I’m doing more and walking more, and that can’t be a bad thing.

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