Category Archives: Life

2013, and New Beginnings

So here we are, a new year again, and time to reboot my writing plans here at Fat Al.

I’ve got plans for what I want to write, and a couple of outlines for ideas, so I’m going to see how they go.

My goal is to write between 750 and 1000 words a day this year – at least ’til the ideas either work or they don’t.  If I don’t do the writing on one day, then I’ll be aiming to make up for it the day after.

Honestly, I don’t know how realistic those plans are, but it’ll do for now. I don’t really make New Year Resolutions, although I do have plans that tend to fit in with years. (It’s either that or do them November to November, working with birthdays)

Still, that’s the plan – we’ll see how we do.

Getting Started

From today, I’m trying to get back into writing again. I’ve slacked off a bit over the last few months, although I can explain that with a lot of the stuff that’s been going on and needed dealing with before writing could come back into the options.

But now, with available time, some motivation, and some ideas, I’m going to see how I do.

As I get into it, it’s initially going to be an aim of 30 minutes a day, and we’ll see from there. Ideally I’d like to do an hour a day (or at least average out to that) but well, we’ll see.


Size Perceptions

Of late, I’ve been watching a number of things around weight on TV, in particular “Supersize vs Superskinny” on Channel 4.

Intellectually, I know I’m overweight, and need to lose the weight – and I do intend to do so. But my mind and emotions don’t show me I’m fat. I don’t really see myself as fat – despite the name of the site – or at least not necessarily in the way that sees myself as really fat. I’m a big guy anyway – I weigh 24 stone (152Kg, 340 lbs), and 6’4″ (193 cm) tall, with a 50″ chest. That’s chest, not stomach – and my shoulders are wide too. So even when I’ve lost weight, I’m still not going to be in (probably) even a “Large” size, because of the structure of my skeleton.

It’s hard to explain how I feel about my body, or what I see, but I’ll have a go.

On the TV programmes, I’ll see someone who is heavier than me, but they’re visibly far fatter than I am. And I mean *massively* so – these people, some of whom are of a related weight, but they’re covered in fat and ripples, have problems walking, that kind of thing. And I just can’t relate to them at all, I can’t compare their lives and bodies to my own.

As I said, I know intellectually that I need to lose weight – I’m under no illusions about that. I’m not fit, and I want to lose some weight and improve my fitness. But in some way I still don’t see the urgency.

What annoys me more is that I also can’t really compare what I eat with what the people on the TV programmes eat. I’m not perfect, not by any estimation. But I don’t eat a load of the crap that the TV people eat – I’m not stuffing myself all day with chocolate, doughnuts, cakes and the like, nor am I eating 5 meals a day, living on take-aways and convenience food, snacking all day, or any of the other sins I’ve seen.

As it is, my normal daily intake is something like :

  • Breakfast
    • 2 slices of wholemeal toast with butter and jam
    • large glass orange juice (currently OJ and Lime from Tropicana)
  • Lunch
    • Two wholemeal rolls, usually with ham and Branston pickle®™
  • Evening Meal – Largest meal, something like
    • a pasta bolognese
    • sausages and mash
    • jacket potato
    • and other similar meals

And that’s it. I only really drink Diet Coke – and I know I drink too much of that, but it’s the only thing I enjoy drinking.

So I don’t really know what I can change or cut down. I need to improve my exercise levels, that’s the main thing. But food-wise? There’s not a lot to cut out, so far as I can tell.

All told, it’s a bit frustrating. I know I need to do something, but I don’t quite know what I can do – and all the normal suggestions and quick-fixes or easy solutions don’t apply in the first place.

I’ll figure it out – I always do – but in the meantime, I’ll just keep on trying things as I go along.

We’ll see.

Intrusive Rudeness

I’d forgotten about this ’til now, but it annoyed me at the time.

Over the weekend, I went in to the local Asda store.Along with some other things, I bought some Diet Coke in 500ml bottles. I prefer them that way for drinking in the car, or whatever.

Anyway, I got to the till, and put them on the conveyor belt thingy. At which point the woman stood behind me pointed at them and said “Osteoporosis“.

*shrug* OK, weird. I know, but frankly what business is it of yours, lady?

Obviously she hadn’t stuck her nose in enough yet…

That’s really bad for you, you know

Yep, I know. Mind you, I’ve always said that it’s either Diet Coke, or I can take up heroin instead.

Her daughter laughed out loud.

And I can’t imagine all that chocolate and sweetener you’re buying is going to do you any good.



But really, how fucking rude do you have to be, to shove your (unwanted) opinion in someone else’s face in the middle of a supermarket?

Publishing Methods

Way back in the day, I very nearly got caught out by a vanity publishing outfit – thankfully I had my suspicions when it came to paying in order to get my book published.

So when it came to restarting, I was wondering what I should do in order to look at publishing.

Getting an agent is usually the recommended way of going – and in time I’ll probably look into that more seriously. But equally, I don’t really want to sit in the ‘slush’ pile of an agent or publisher for [x] months/years. So I think it’s going to be worth trying out the self-publishing route via Amazon and their Kindle Direct Publishing program(me).

I might be jumping the gun somewhat, but I’ve registered with the KDP programme, and I’m going to see how I go. It’s also a good motivator for getting some stuff written and thrown out into The World. If it works out, then that’s grand. and if it doesn’t, well, I’ll see how I go.

In fact the only thing I can currently see as a minor downside is that KDP wants/prefers manuscripts to be done in Word’s .doc format. And I was hoping to use CeltX, a writing application I love. Still, it’s not a big thing, just a bit of a pain in the bits. Fortunately, I haven’t gone too far down the line with the first writing piece yet, so I can move it into Word / OpenOffice, and create a .doc from there.

And then we’ll just see how things go from there…

Scalzi : What Makes a Writer

Over on Whatever, John Scalzi discusses when you may call yourself a writer – and answers three questions…

  1. When may you call yourself a writer?
  2. When may you call yourself a professional writer?
  3. When may you call yourself a good writer?

It’s a good piece, and well worth the read.