Fatty Parry 3: Mission Impossible (Day 14 of 30)

fattyparryedited1As you know from my previous posts (Fatty Parry & Fatty Parry 2: Mission Impossible (Day 6 of 30)), I’ve basically grown sick of being a fatty. And I’m particularly upset that, on my wedding day a mere 16 months ago, I was the handsome 14st 5lb guy in black you see above — but as of January 2015, I was the bloated 16st 7lb chubbster you see next to him. What’s more, I’ve got a photoshoot soon (don’t ask), and I simply need to slim down and get into shape for that. Only 30 days to lose 30lbs. No biggie(!)

In my last update, I vowed to stick to three biscuits a day with my tea and double my gym work. Here’s how I’m getting on.

Day 7 and 8, I did what I said I would: doubled the gym work, ate almost no crap. Tragically, I’ve become ill with a rather nasty cold. That, combined with working a seventy hour week and literally having had no days off, has meant my body has genuinely not been well enough to work out. Today (Day 14) was my first gym session since day 8.

I’ve also not stuck to my junk food goal. Yes, my food has been better and, yes, I’ve over-eaten less, but my wife’s Mum and her boss separately decided to send large packets of cakes and sweets to our flat… for me!!! What on earth!?? Neither sends me such stuff normally, so it’s crazy that at this moment such a thing would happen. Oh, temptation…

Anyway… my weight…

Remember, a mere three days of gymwork out of 8, and my weight is now… I don’t know! The scales in the gym are all not working!

My goal for next week? The same as last week: 2 hours gym on my days off, 30′ work gym on my days at work, and ALMOST NO JUNK FOOD. This week, I’ve actually got to make sure I stick to this!

NEXT GOAL
Date: 4th February 2015 (Day 21/30)
Weight: 16st

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Advertisements

Project Polyglot Parry Update: January 2015

ProjectPolyglotParry_face

I’m a real language lover. Therefore, I’ve always wanted to be fluent in several languages. Unfortunately, aged thirty and after many, many false starts, I’m still only fluent in English! But hitting thirty has me determined that I will achieve my life goals — including fluency in several languages.

To keep my language learning on track, I’m doing regular updates. Read the first post Project Polyglot Parry here.

I’m very proud to say that I’ve completed the English>Spanish tree in Duolingo! 😀 They even gave me this handsome (virtual) trophy!

Duolingo_Trophy_Spanish

Apparently I can now read 66.7% of all real written Spanish.

My next goal is to complete the Duolingo Swedish tree / course. At my current rate of two sessions a day, I reckon I can finish the Swedish tree by around 1st June. And after that, I want to get to the maximum level possible on Duolingo in Spanish: level 25 (that’ll take a while, though).

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Fatty Parry 2: Mission Impossible (Day 6 of 30)

fattyparryedited1As I outlined in my last post, Fatty Parry, I have set myself certain fitness and weight loss goals. The first goal is to get back down to my wedding weight / shape: 14st 5lb (201lb, 92kg). When I made that post six days ago, I was 16st 7lb (231lb, 105kg) — the fattest I’ve ever been. And there’s another problem — other than my rapidly clogging arteries, that is: I had a photoshoot (seriously, don’t ask!) in thirty days’ time.

Yeah, that’s thirty pounds in thirty days I’ve got to lose. I don’t know if such a weight loss is possible; it certainly can’t be done healthily. But I have got to give it a go.

This week I went to the gym for the first time in seven weeks. I’ve been five days out of the last seven. I mean business!

My weight on the 15th January: 16st 7lb (231lb, 105kg)
My weight on the 20th January: 16st 6lb (230lb)

So, it’s heartening to know I’ve lost some weight, if only a mere sixteen ounces! (Oh God! A “pound” sounds reasonable, but when you say “sixteen ounces”, it sounds petty weak!) Unfortunately, I should have lost 6lb if I want to get to my target weight in time for this photoshoot. Yeah…

This week I’ve only done an hour of cardio per visit to the gym, albeit extremely hard and fast cycling. I’ve also not completely cut out sweets etc. So starting from tomorrow, (1) I will limit my rubbish food intake to three biscuits a day with my tea, (2) I will up my gym output to two hours: 75′ cardio and 45′ weights, and (3) I will also attend the work gym on my three long days (14 hour shifts!) for a total of 30′.

I’ll update this every week. See how I get on! And wish me luck willpower!

NEXT UPDATE: Wednesday 28th January (Day 14)
Target Weight Loss: around 10lb

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

Je Suis Charlie & The Pope’s Epic Fail

Pope Francis

It was only a matter of time before the contrarian intellectualist backlash against Charlie Hebdo began. The body of Charlie Hebdo‘s murdered editor Stéphane Charbonnier is barely even cold, and incredibly not even buried yet(!), but none-the-less one of the original founders of the magazine, Henri Roussel, felt compelled to criticise Chabonnier’s decision to post the now infamous cartoons.

What made him feel the need to drag the team into overdoing it? He shouldn’t have done it, but Charb did it again a year later, in September 2012 … I believe that we [were] fools who took an unnecessary risk. That’s it. We think we are invulnerable. For years, decades even, it was a provocation, and then one day the provocation turns against us … I know it’s not done … [but] I really hold it against you [Charbonnier]. [link]

This is, of course, bollocks. Nobody deserves to be shot dead for printing or saying anything. Roussel, could you have not waited a respectful period before spouting this nonsense (e.g. after the funeral, perchance)?

Luckily, organised religion is always nearby to save the day when mankind is in need of sanity. The Pope said this:

If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others … There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits. [link]

That’s right, folks: the Pope used the same justification that rapists and wife-beaters employ the world over. Well, look at how high her dress is: she was just ASKING for it! The stupid bitch MADE me do it!

Organised religion, you fail. Again. Why is organised religion never there when we need it, but always there AFTERWARDS to do the handwringing and soul-searching?

Yeah, we WERE complicit in the Holocaust, both directly through our support of the Nazi regime and indirectly through our constant stirring up of anti-Jewish feeling which exists EVEN IN OUR FOUNDATIONAL TEXT (!) [see the Gospel of John], but, ya know, we feel we’ve really grown from this experience. 

Some half-senile old crank cartoonist can criticise whoever he wants. He’s wrong, of course. But the spiritual and political leader of around a quarter of the world’s population, a man who wields both spiritual and temporal power as a head of state, a man who rannks among the most influential on the face of the earth — he should know better.

The thing is, organised religion is like all good scams. The pope and all his kind can say or do whatever they want and the mud just won’t stick. He kisses a deformed man once, and apparently he’s flawless.

Dear Francis:

You did not say that the Charlie Hebdo staff deserved to die, I grant you that. But by saying that nobody has the right to criticise religion, you (1) declare your ignorant pre-enlightenment mindset which has not quite grasped the basics of what makes a free and prosperous society possible, and (2) you offer extenuating circumstances to those terrorist, murdering scumbags — you do, in fact, offer the same justification as the rapist and the wife-beater. You are therefore both spiritually and intellectually incapable of being a leader to billions — although, ironically, perfectly suited to being head of the Roman Catholic church — and you gravely let down mankind with your unhelpful and hindersome words.

featured image fromhttps://res.cloudinary.com/the-news-hub/image/upload/v1411278325/sbzxjc7ncshusfczjhov.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

Fatty Parry

image

On Christmas Day, conversation turned to my wedding last year. One of my uncles said that I had never looked better than on my wedding day. Another said I had looked like “an actual real model”. At that time, I had slimmed down to 14st 5lb (201lb, around 92kg). I was still overweight, but I was trimmer than I had been since I was around 20 years old.

Svelte Parry: My Previous "Model" Look, 4th Oct 2013

Svelte Parry: My Previous “Model” Look, 4th Oct 2013

But since the wedding, I have ballooned. Lack of regular gym work plus a slack diet have meant that I am now 16st 7lb (231lb, 105kg). That is quite literally the fattest I have ever been. The phrase, “All bought and paid for” springs to mind.

Well, I’m sick of this. I am comfortable with myself and not especially vain. So I’ve never been massively bothered. But I do need to take care of myself; I’m 30 now, and it’s only going to get harder to stay healthy. My lower legs joints are already half-f*cked, and I sweat when I walk — how am I going to handle a couple of kids and the shopping?

GOALS

  • will get down to a healthy weight. For my size and build, I know that is, at max, 13st 7lb, ideally around 12st 7lb – 13st.
  • will achieve this weight loss, combined with general increases in strength and stamina and general wellbeing, by going to the gym a minimum of three times per week, using  my workplace gym daily for 30′ intense sessions, and eating more healthily.
  • will achieve this weight loss by the end of the year; I want to go back down to 14st 5lb by mid-February (as I have a photoshoot; don’t ask!). Hopefully I can get down to 13st 7lb by June, but the key is to do it healthily; so if it takes till December or beyond for me to reach 13st 7lb, then so be it. So long as I am making constant progress.

In order to motivate myself, I will be updating this every month.

Oh yeah, and I’ll also be posting these pics up to remind me to GET A GRIP:

Super Sexy New Look Me: 4th January 2015, 16st 7lbs.

Super Sexy New Look Me: 12th January 2015, 16st 7lbs.

Ooh, Mama! Come get me while I'm young and hawt!

Ooh, Mama! Come get me while I’m young and hawt!

featured image from http://www.epiclol.com/cdn/pictures/2012/04/fat-cat-in-denial_1334642927_epiclolcom.jpg

© 2014 – 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

#Je Suis Charlie 2

Charlie-Hebdo

The two runaway men who carried out the massacre on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, Said and Cherif Kouachi, have been captured and shot. Police forces stormed the Kosher butchers where they were holding numerous individuals hostage. In total, twenty people or more have now died in this tragedy.

Of course, the death of these terrorists does not mean the end of terrorist attacks on our free way of life (Oh, God help me, I sound like George W. Bush or some other improbable American politician there; at least I didn’t say “evil-doer” or “mission accomplished”). We need to remain strong and confident in our values and not allow the spectre of terrorism to either stifle our free speech nor be used by our politicians to restrict our freedoms.

Unfortunately, I am rather disappointed and disturbed by the reaction to these shootings.

Yes, the popular support for Charlie Hebdo has been encouraging and inspiring. Far less encouraging, however, has been the reaction of the press. So far as I can tell, not a single British newspaper has republished the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Someone please tell me I’m wrong and that I overlooked a front page somewhere. I just cannot believe that all of our newspapers have failed in their duty so miserably… again! (2005 Danish Cartoon Controversy, anyone…?)

The respected Guardian newspaper “justified” not reprinting the cartoons at the centre of this massacre by basically saying, ‘We’re not a satirical magazine, so we don’t have to’. Well, sorry The Guardian, but you are a newspaper and need to report the news. None of this massacre has any context or makes any sense at all unless the cartoons in question — not other cartoons from Charlie Hebdo, but the specific cartoons that the terrorist shooters were “avenging” — are republished.

Please do read The Guardian‘s entire pathetic justification. The following extract is particularly telling.

In social media, the call has been loud – and aimed at several British newspapers, including this one – to take a stand by publishing the very images that made Charlie Hebdo a target. For the most vociferous, republishing a sample of the magazine’s usual fare, which the Guardian has already done, is not enough: they insist that true defenders of free speech would reprint Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the prophet Muhammad, especially the crudest, most scatological examples.

That case is straightforward. Since these are the images the gunmen wanted to stop, the surviving free press is obliged to deny the killers that victory. No other gesture can show that we refuse to be cowed by their crime. By repeating Charlie Hebdo’s action, we would demonstrate our resistance to the edict the terrorists sought to enforce on pain of death. We show that Charlie Hebdo was not alone.

There is an appealing simplicity to that stance, but it rests on faulty logic. The key point is this: support for a magazine’s inalienable right to make its own editorial judgments does not commit you to echo or amplify those judgments. Put another way, defending the right of someone to say whatever they like does not oblige you to repeat their words.

Each and every publication has a different purpose and ethos. Charlie Hebdo is not the Guardian or the New York Times, nor is it the Daily Mail or Private Eye. The animating intention behind its work was to satirise and provoke in a distinctive voice, one that would not sit easily in other publications. Other publications can defend – and defend absolutely – the necessary diversity of press voices along with an editor’s right to offend. But the best response is not to be forced to speak in a different voice. The Guardian felt that at the time of the 2005 Danish cartoons controversy, and we feel it now. As Simon Jenkins argued on these pages on Wednesday, terrorists’ chief goal is to make us change our behaviour. It’s best to deny them that victory.

[emphasis in bold is mine]

Yeeeah… I could perform a media student-style dissection of that crock, but I’d rather save my time. I only need to say the following two things.

One: newspapers are supposed to report the news, and by not reprinting the original cartoons the newspapers deprive readers of the essential context at the heart of the news — imagine 9/11 being reported with no pictures of the planes going into the Twin Towers. Can you even imagine that such a thing would have happened? Of course not.

Two: note the Orwellian inversion of logic that, in order to not “change our behaviour”, as the terrorists want us to, we need to thwart the terrorists by persisting in our established behaviour of being cowardly as ever and not fighting back by printing the original images. What on earth?? Peace is war, cowardice is defiance — apparently.

Will it take the merciless slaughter of a British cartoonist, such as the Guardian‘s own Martin Rowson, before our newspapers stop sliming their way out of their duty? What is the point of a free press if they will not report the news — the core of the news here being the original cartoons?

Well, bollocks to our cowardly newspapermen! I suggest we plaster the offices of all of our newspapers with print-outs of the original Charlie Hebdo cartoons. I would also commit to not buying any of their papers anymore — except I long ago grew sick of the sludge that passes for news with these cretins, and so no longer read the mainstream newspapers.

P.S. Here’s a wonderful response to the media’s cowardice by Don Asmussen. Thanks to Jerry A. Coyne for posting it on his blog.

bad150109

featured image from http://eyedrd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Charlie-Hebdo.jpg
Don Asmussen cartoon from http://www.gocomics.com/badreporter/2015/01/09

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

The Guardian joins the roll of cowardly papers

Sums my thoughts up precisely.

Why Evolution Is True

Is it surprising that the Guardian joins the growing list of those newspapers who refuse to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons? But that’s what I would have expected given that rag’s repeated failure to condemn the religious nature of Islamic terrorism. And, in an unsigned editorial in yesterday’s Comment is Free, the paper gives an unconvincing explanation for its decision not to show those cartoons. The reason: because those reprints would chance the “voice” of the Guardian and “alter their editorial values.”  Cry me a river!  Here are the paper’s weasel words:

In social media, the call has been loud – and aimed at several British newspapers, including this one – to take a stand by publishing the very images that made Charlie Hebdo a target. For the most vociferous, republishing a sample of the magazine’s usual fare, which the Guardian has already done, is not enough: they insist that true defenders of free…

View original post 462 more words

#Je Suis Charlie

b6wzoy8cmaa_b6v

Cartoonists around the world have been proving that the pen is mightier than the automatic weapon. I thought I’d share some of my favourite cartoon responses with you. Also, please show solidarity on Twitter with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie and by (re)posting relevant cartoons including those posted by Charlie Hebdo.

See my post on the breaking news yesterday here.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

images from:
https://twitter.com/paristuzun/status/552853803955793920/photo/1

https://twitter.com/davpope/status/552844593046097920/photo/1
https://twitter.com/amolrajan/status/552888670718803968/photo/1
https://twitter.com/RteeFufkin/status/552937192252006400/photo/1
https://twitter.com/NYMag/status/553068764846358528/photo/1
https://twitter.com/dylsharpe/status/553110186215612416/photo/1
https://twitter.com/candorville/status/553003288488988672/photo/1

 

B6whmqsCcAAsmmCb6wzoy8cmaa_b6vB6xBSYzCYAEDB7ZB6xtcfVCYAAbq_VB6zlHH3IMAAjGA8B60KxrACIAA4Ya7B6ypj4fCYAI1FUx

 

2015 Shooting at Charlie Hebdo

Terror-Attack-on-C_3156886k

The offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been attacked by Islamist gunmen. 12 people are currently confirmed dead including the editor. This was supposedly done in response to the magazine’s publication of cartoons offensive to Islam.

This is a tragedy. But we cannot lose our rationality and we cannot shy away from the truth. Let’s be clear about this:

  • These gunmen no more represent the majority of Muslims than The Westboro Baptist Church represent the majority of Christians. We MUST NOT allow ourselves to start viewing Muslims as outsiders or terrorists. Yes, there is a serious issue concerning how religion motivates (destructive) behaviour and deeds. I myself am an outspoken secularist and atheist and have been speaking out for years about the dangers of religion (see my YouTube channel for various such videos). But we cannot as a society become divided by the actions of these terrorist scum.
  • Even if Charlie Hebdo‘s publications were in violation of good taste or incitement to hatred laws, then the law and discussion would resolve the situation — NOT KILLING PEOPLE.
  • We CANNOT and we WILL NOT allow our free society, a society which has literally taken all of human history to build and which is unrivalled in prosperity and freedom for all, to be diminished, damaged, and ultimately destroyed by the acts of scumbags, people who are enemies of mankind. Satire and comedy are weapons of freedom and free use of them must be defended. Therefore, in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and the family, friends, and colleagues of those who have been killed, I republish the following images from the magazine. I call on everyone to do likewise, just as we did after the Jyllands-Posten “Danish Cartoons” attacks.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

charliehebdo 1charliehebdo 2

Charlie-HebdoCharlie-Hebdo-Muhammad-insultCharlie-Hedbo-18-Sept-2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

charliehebdo 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

featured image from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/11330196/Paris-shooting-Gunmen-storm-Charlie-Hebdo-magazine-office-in-pictures.html

images from Charlie Hebdo taken from http://www.publiusforum.com/images/charliehebdomuhammedcartoonssept_large.jpg, http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Charlie-Hebdo-Muhammad-insult.jpg, http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/getreligion/files/2012/09/Charlie-Hedbo-18-Sept-2012.jpeg, http://vladtepesblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/charlie-hebdo-toon-1.jpg, http://eyedrd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Charlie-Hebdo.jpg, https://twitter.com/LesNews/status/552816012396331008/photo/1

 

2014 Reviewed & New Year’s Resolutions 2015

 

jenkins

2014 was to be the year in which I’d turn 30, and so it had to be the year. Y’know: the year when I pull my finger out, get some focus, and start to achieve my goals in life — or, as my wife puts it in her hilarious pidgin English, ‘stop living with the butterflies all around’. It was serious: I made a five year plan with charts and everything!

image

You’ll even have seen a glimpse of that determination to make 2014 the year from my post Project Polyglot Parry.

Unfortunately, 2014 didn’t go quite to plan. In fact, 2014’s been a bit shit, really. Various things have just kept popping up and it’s kind of stalled our progress. Although you can’t blame sweet and innocent 2014 himself; the malaise already began in early 2013 with a delightful family disaster and us being made homeless.

But you can’t make excuses; life is never going to be perfect. I’m quite a neurotic person who also loves a good moan. Whenever something good happens, I don’t get too happy; I expect that it’s just a precursor to an even bigger fall. And I recognise this fact about myself. So to counteract my natural negativity, I try to live my life according to the old Stoic maxim that nothing is really good or bad, but it is our reaction to the thing which makes it so. You just have to soldier on: if you wait to feel perfect and for everything to be fine before you ever do anything, then you’ll never do anything (which is pretty much how I’ve spent most of the last thirty years, to be honest). So we’ve pushed on this year, albeit frustratingly and in fits and starts.

In this post, I want to take stock and go over my goals for the year that was and set myself goals for 2015 (let’s not call them resolutions, because that inevitably curses them to not be fulfilled).

My goals relate to personal development: improving my mind and my skills, being creatively fulfilled, and sorting my life out — including finances.

And lest this list seem like a random collection, there is a logic and an urgency behind it. You see, I am now thirty, my wife, thirty-two. We got married last year. We’re going to need to start thinking about kids and houses and stuff like that — before our nether-bits dry up and drop off. So I really need to get a grip of my finances and career, and I really need to get a grip of my creative endeavours before I end up like my Mum — put them off off off, have kids, never achieve anything artistically at all, ever. The life of the frustrated artist may sound alluring, but it really ain’t.

One last warning: This post is more for me than for you. Like when you tell everyone you’re quitting smoking, the idea is to engineer a situation where societal pressure will apply and you will be spurred on by the fear of public failure resulting in impending castigation, ostracisation, and shame. So this post won’t be a witty review, but a disappointingly (for you, I bet) po-faced look into what I was supposed to do, what I have done, and what I will definitely surely no doubt do next year (touch wood).

GOALS FOR 2014: SUMMARY

  1. Continue attending El Instituto Cervantes in order to learn Spanish. (I’ve always wanted to be fluent in a foreign language, and being the proud owner of a Spanish wife means that one day we’re likely to move to Spain; therefore, I probably need to learn the lingo).
  2. Sit and successfully pass A2 and B1 levels of the DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera: the Spanish language qualification that you simply must have if you want to get on in Spain).
  3. Start a GCSE in Ancient Greek. (See below for rationale).
  4. Join a Swedish class and sit and pass a low level Swedex (Swedish language qualification). (I’ve always loved Swedish).
  5. In order to help us buy a house and generally get a life, save 20% of my post-tax income (P.S. I’m a terrible saver).
  6. Continue with my campaign to become a local elected councillor… and to actually get elected to the chamber!
  7. Go to Thailand with the missus, probably in the Spring. (We were supposed to go for our honeymoon).
  8. Sit and pass the International Phonetics Association exam in the Summer.
  9. Research and apply to do an MA/MPhil in an area of Linguistics. (This is part of an ultimate bid to teach undergraduates at University).
  10. Get one feature length script up to 2nd/3rd draft stage.
  11. Send off the pilot of one of my sitcom series ideas to a producer.
  12. Over the course of a year, do an average of one 30′ sitcom script per month — total redrafts of scripts are counted towards this goal.
  13. Start learning to drive; particularly, do the theory test and pass.
  14. Get a better paid job.
  15. Start up a proofreading and editing business.

GOALS FOR 2014: REVIEW

1. Continue attending El Instituto Cervantes in order to learn Spanish.

HALF-SUCCESSFUL

I continued going to the Institute but by around April I had begun to struggle. I had to take full days off in holiday from my job in order to attend class; my job doesn’t let you take a few hours only. I ran out of holiday. I ended up spending two-thirds of the year with no holiday time to take for myself(!) and no time to take for further studies. So I missed half my classes. So I got behind in class. So I dropped out.

Yes, I did try to attend. Yes, I dropped out. I tried to restart classes again in the autumn, but I have been so financially hard up that I haven’t been able to. I thought I would do the Institute’s AVE scheme: study online and at home. But in the last few months, I haven’t had money even for that!

On the up side, I have tried to make up for this by not only carrying on with Memrise, but also starting CatSpanish and Duolingo. I’ve been doing quite well.

So… not a successfully achieved goal. But not a total failure, either.

2. Sit and successfully pass A2 and B1 levels of the DELE

FAILED

As I said above, I became overwhelmed for various reasons and had to drop out of the Institute. I do actually already have A2 / B1 level of proficiency, anyway, but not the papers to prove it… But again: I could not afford to do the exams! Great…

3. Start a GCSE in Ancient Greek

FAILED

I finished an MA in Christian Theology in 2013. I quite enjoyed the course. But it was a waste of time. I was a fool. I made a big mistake doing the course: I should have focused on stuff directly related to my goals. The only thing I have salvaged, psychologically, from the course, is that at least I learnt Greek! And so I need to keep up my Greek by studying and getting qualifications in it.

…But I haven’t. Haven’t kept up studying Taylor or Duff. Haven’t signed up for a GCSE. I have tried, though, but no schools want to take me on(!) Perhaps they thought I was a prankster or worse…

4. Join a Swedish class and sit and pass an A2/B1 Swedex (Swedish language qualification)

FAILED

This one wasn’t my fault. The best, perhaps only, Swedish school in London has constantly cock-blocked me. Kinda not their fault, either; but they simply haven’t been able to find a timetable which meets my work needs. And in the last half of the year, as I said earlier, I have become seriously skint.

To try to make up for this, I have not only kept up with Swedish on Memrise, but I’ve also been working on Duolingo. Still, I need those Swedexes, though…

5. In order to help us buy a house and generally get a life, save 20% of my post-tax income (P.S. I’m a terrible saver).

HALF-SUCCESSFUL

I did save some money, though not 20%! But between us, we have scrimped and saved and are on the verge (touch wood!) of buying a house in my wife’s home city. This could be my sole greatest accomplishment of the year.

We’ve been handicapped in our attempts to do this, however, by lack of jobs, lack of better paid jobs, and a London-sized rent on a London-sized gaff (that is, grotesquely dear for absurdly small).

But even though it’s been frustrating, being on the brink of buying a gaff and saving a few quid cannot count as a failure. But it ain’t “SUCCESSFUL” until we’ve signed the papers and got the keys…

7. Go to Thailand with the missus, probably in the Spring.

FAILED

Why didn’t we go? In a word: money. That’s becoming a somewhat familiar theme, isn’t it? To kind of make up for it, we did go mental in the third quarter of the year: Corfu in August, followed by Edinburgh and Budapest in October.

Next year, maybe…

8. Sit and pass the International Phonetics Association exam in the Summer.

FAILED

Basically, I was not able to make it due to work commitments (which I could not get out of due to lack of holiday time; see point 1) and lack of money.

Again, there’s always next year…

9. Research and apply to do an MA/MPhil in an area of Linguistics.

FAILED

I’ve made some half-arsed attempts at research. I’ve written some stuff down somewhere. I even sent a few emails off — no response though, and I never chased it up. In short: I have not applied for an MA or MPhil. I can’t even write “half-successful”, as I am frankly skint and so need to win a grant or other funding, and I haven’t researched how to.

10. Over the course of a year, do an average of one 30′ sitcom script per month — total redrafts of scripts are counted towards this goal.

FAILED (abysmally)

Whoops. Nowhere close.

I’ve put a lot of effort into other stuff — especially language learning, politics, and trying to sort my housing and job situation out — and I haven’t even managed to finish an overhaul of one episode. Not a single one. This is the failure of the year which really grates the most. Made me wince just writing it down. I failed to do a single episode. What a sap. How am I ever going to be a writer when I carry on like that?

My intention and desire is there, but there’s never any follow-through. Scripts take concerted effort, and I’m just struggling.

11. Send off the pilot of one of my sitcom series ideas to a producer.

FAILED

Well, I haven’t even managed a successful redraft or new script. Not one. So there’s clearly no way I would have sent anything off. What a loser.

12. Get one feature length script up to 2nd/3rd draft stage.

FAILED

Yeah, like I said in points 10 and 11, I haven’t even managed to (re)draft a single 30′ sitcom episode. That’s like 40 pages, maximum. How the hell would I have got around to doing a feature length screenplay (that is, 100+ pages)?

Plenty of ideas. Quite a few notes. Some pretty original ideas and some others where I really think, yeah, that idea was meant to be written by me. Yet nothing has materialised. I really cannot abide my creative failure this year. Unacceptable.

10-12. Addendum

Despite my horrific failures on the creative writing front, I did commit to certain blogging goals. And I have thus far stuck to them. Four blog posts a month, generally every Monday, has basically been upheld for around six months now. And I’m rather pleased with that. I managed to keep up my blog goal on my blog Wrixlings for about five months. Unfortunately, I’ve currently run out of stuff to say for the moment and so I’ve dropped back from two monthly Wrixlings posts to one. Bear in mind that the subject matter of Wrixlings is rather niche and therefore there’s a limit to what can be said on the subject.

But the blogging never was supposed to take the place of my actual writing. The blogging was and is meant as a light snack, an hors d’oevre, to the main event of writing scripts and performing comedy — none of which has happened.

13. Start learning to drive; particularly, do the theory test and pass.

FAILED

Yeah… I haven’t done this. No excuses. My idea was to get cracking in the Autumn. Just basically being worn down by life has kinda killed my zest right now.

14. Get a better paid job.

FAILED

So, this hasn’t happened. Up until about June I had a lot of juice and submitted a lot of applications. I completely overhauled my CVs and covering letters. I even got some interest — but only for jobs that were lower paid than my current one! I seem doomed to not get anything better because “you don’t have the experience”, despite the fact that I’ve got the transferrable skills and experience.

Genuinely not sure what I’m supposed to do about this. In the last few months, I’ve tried to aggressively self-promote to my managers due to management positions opening up. But I got less than nothing for it. I do a lot of good work and have a lot of skills, but maybe I’m not promoting or marketing myself well enough. I’ve begun to try to show my worth in a more see-through fashion in the hope that I might get promoted eventually at work.

I think I also need to do what my missus always does: actually cold call and go to people’s offices, try to go direct to the boss. All this online stuff just isn’t working out for me.

15. Start up a proofreading and editing business.

HALF-SUCCESSFUL

I got the software and hardware. I’ve done some jobs, paid and unpaid, and have done some studying. I’ve approached the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) about local meet-ups and training. Were it not for a lack of cash, I would’ve done a course in November. I’ve set up a website and generally got the ball rolling. I still need to take it to the next level:

  1. Do two courses with the SfEP that I’ve ear-marked.
  2. Further develop my website including regular articles.
  3. Research setting up a business (I’ve begun this already).
  4. Stop mucking around with odd-jobs and unpaid work, and set myself up as a pukka business with the government and thereby actually be able to do this properly.

GOALS FOR 2014: ANALYSIS

In 2014, I was SUCCESSFUL in 0 of my 15 goals, HALF-SUCCESSFUL (i.e. not successful, but achieved something approximating my goal) in 3 goals, and outright FAILED in 12.

That is not an acceptable tally.

The main factors holding me back have been:

  1. Lack of sustained motivation and a regular routine (e.g. calling one company regarding job positions every morning, starting every morning with a gym session, setting aside 10pm-midnight  every day as my screewriting slot, etc.).
  2. No free time to achieve goals due to long working hours, partly caused by making up work days I missed in order to attend classes.
  3. No real money.
  4. Constantly waking up late on my days off, e.g., at lunchtime.

Clearly, I need to get a grip and (i) achieve a regular routine including waking up early on my days off, and involving making slots/times for my various activities, and (ii) find ways to earn more money including cutting down our outgoings. I also find that I have so much that I’m interested in and that I want to do that nothing ever gets done; solutin: focus on one or to things at a time, with great intensity, until completed? Apart, that is, from longer-term projects which require daily input, e.g., learning foreign languages.

Before I go on to my goals for 2015, I need to think about whether my goals are that important or worth getting hyped up about. I mean, ‘Learn Swedish’ — really!? But the thing is, I really don’t want to end up like most grown-ups I saw when I was a kid. That is, I’m an artistic person and a smart person, and I don’t therefore want to end up creatively frustrated, my passions denied, and myself in a living situation which I am not happy with. My goals can be classified as GEN[eral], LANG[uage], ART[istic], future LIFE stuff, and WORK related.

GOALS FOR 2015 & EXPECTED DATES

  1. [GEN/KEY] Create a timetable with slots, just like at school, and fill that timetable intelligently with all I need to achieve… and STICK TO IT!!!! [JAN]
  2. [LANG] Continue my programme of 30′ minimum every day each for Swedish and Spanish using Memrise and Duolingo. [Effective immediate]
  3. [LANG] Do an A2 DELE and at least begin the course which leads to a B1 DELE. [JUL-DEC]
  4. [LANG] Do an A2 Swedex and at least begin working towards B1. [JUL-DEC]
  5. [LANG] Complete Duff and Taylor GCSE 1 again. Upon completion, look into doing GCSEs in Ancient Greek again. [Begin JAN; one Chapter per fortnight, expected finish date NOV/DEC]
  6. [ART] Do one cartoon per six weeks; begin to upload them and/or other artwork online. [Begin Jan]
  7. [ART] Get the first draft of Part II of a book I’m writing, code name 21CLF, finished in a “polished draft”. [JUN]
  8. [ART] Get the first draft of Part III of “21CLF” finished. [DEC]
  9. [ART] Get one feature length script up to 2nd/3rd draft stage.
  10. [ART] Send off the pilot of one of my sitcom series ideas to a producer. [MAR]
  11. [ART] Over the course of a year, do an average of one 30′ sitcom script per six weeks — total redrafts of scripts are counted towards this goal.
  12. [LIFE] My weight has ballooned again: cut myself down to a healthy BMI & weight (around 13st) and stay there through healthy changes of diet and exercise regime, specifically, a minimum of three days going to the gym, daily use of the work gym for 30′ intense sessions, and less snacks. [Begin JAN]
  13. [LIFE] Finish buying the/a house. [FEB]
  14. [LIFE] Pass my driving theory test and begin lessons.
  15. [LIFE] Save ideally a minimum 20% of my post-tax income (or minimum £300, ideally £600, per month). [Begin 27th JAN]
  16. [WORK] Sit and pass the International Phonetics Association exam. [JUN/DEC depending on when they run it this year]
  17. [WORK] Research and apply to do an MA/MPhil in an area of Linguistics. [JAN/FEB]
  18. [WORK] Begin a DELTA to improve my ESOL career. [ASAP]
  19. [WORK] Do the first two editing courses, set up as an official business, network and set up online media relating to the business. [ASAP]
  20. [WORK] Get a better paid job. [ASAP]
  21. [GEN] Go to Thailand with the Missus. [during Thai dry season]
  22. [GEN] Finish reading the Koran. [DEC]

FINAL WORD

I’ll try to post an update at the end of each quarter in order to try to keep me on the straight and narrow.

featured image from http://www.getalifeman.com/jenkins.jpg

© 2014 – 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry