Movember – One more week to Mo!

So here we are then – just one more week of Movember to go! It’s been fun but I cannot wait to get rid of the ‘tache and return to a normal clean shaven face again.

Thank you to all of you who have donated to me so far… I am really grateful to all of you for your kind words and support for this great charity. Thanks to your donations I have raised nearly £100 for the charity – which would be a nice target to beat, so if you haven’t donated already please click here as it’s for such a worthwhile cause.

Raising awareness for men’s health is a big issue as a lot of the diseases men don’t get checked out for are easily treatable if caught early enough, yet us blokes always wait far too long and suffer as a consequence. Don’t let that be you!

Finally, here’s the latest Movember pic – enjoy and I’ll wrap this up at the weekend with a finally tally and some thoughts.  How has it gone for you so far, my fellow Mo-Bro’s?

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How Mo can you grow?

So it’s been three weeks since my last mo-update, and I have plenty to tell.  To recap, I am growing a moustache (mo) to support the Movember charity for men’s health.  I thought I would use my blog as a diary of my mo-gress and to drum up some support – I would really appreciate it if you could donate to me if you have not done so already, as I think is a very worthy and good cause to support.

So please click here if you want to donate to me – and a big thank you to those who have donated already :)

I have taken a pic once a week, so I’ll introduce each week with a pic and then describe some of my mo-experiences for you:

Week 1:

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Yeah, so this pic was taken after the first proper shave since October.  The beard stubble itched like mad, so I just went and shaved all but the mo area.  As you can see, it wasn’t too much to show off and was bloody prickly.  It was funny seeing so many of my colleagues in the office like this though – and even the ladies got in on the act by wearing fake mo’s!

Week 2:

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Well it started looking more respectable in week 2 – still not totally visible but enough that I started subconsciously grooming it.  Mrs Goat really didn’t like it though as it was too prickly to kiss, apparently!

Week 3:

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Well now it’s starting to look like something!  It’s still a little weak, but it’s nicely softened out now.  One person even commented I have a little bit of a Graham Hill look about me – nice!

Having said that, I really really dislike having the mo – I don’t think it’s a good look on me, it itches like mad and when I meet new people, they think this is what I normally look like.  But it’s all good fun and I really think it’s for a great cause.

REMEMBER::::: Men health doesn’t get better all on its MOwn. Check your bad self once in a while. http://uk.movember.com/mens-health/

Studies show that many men don’t get regular health checks for the following reasons:

  • Fear it will lead to a hospital visit
  • Embarrassed to discuss their health issues
  • Find it too hard to see a doctor because they just can’t fit it into their schedule
  • Just can’t be bothered making an appointment

Statistics show that, on average, men die at a younger age than women – the average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 78 compared to 82). That said, despite trailing the women’s health movement, things are beginning to change, but much more progress needs to be made to close the gap between the state of men and women’s health. Established taboos and barriers relating to men’s health are gradually being broken down.

Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health more openly.

Movember’s primary campaign objective is to raise awareness of men’s health issues, specifically cancers affecting men. We want everyone to know that most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages – including prostate and testicular cancer.

Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, as this will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer. It’s time men face the startling health facts.

So please donate and get yourself checked out by your doctor, as prostate and testicular cancers are not nice diseases to suffer through – and they can be very easily treated if caught early enough.

Anyway, to end on the right note, the plan is to keep the mo as it is and take some more pics near December 1st.  I’ll update you on my progress next week and also have a final reminder to donate ;)

Are any of you growing a mo?  How is it going and how much money have you raised so far?

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MO-vember…

I’ve always been an admirer of a good ‘tache (I am a Nigel Mansell fan, you see) and when I found out that most of the men have signed up for Movember, I was very keen to join in as it’s a cause I do support very highly.

The Movember website has some very good reasons why this should be so:

Why should we care about men’s health?

  • 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  • This year, in the UK, 37,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed
  • 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
  • 26% of men are less likely to go the doctor compared to women

Is Movember Making a Difference?

The answer is yes, absolutely. Recent research carried out by Movember highlighted that the campaign is working successfully in terms of raising awareness whilst having a positive impact on making men think about their health. Movember participants were shown to spend more time thinking about health issues or reflecting on them than non-participants (the general population). To be specific, in the UK, the research revealed:

  • 89% of participants spent time thinking about improving their general health
  • 57% of participants have had a general check-up
  • 70% discussed men’s health with their family, friends or colleagues during Movember
  • 58% carried out personal research on men’s health issues during Movember
  • 51% worried about their general health
  • 77% understood that their health depends on how well they take care of themselves

These reasons alone should make you want to get up and grow that ‘tache, so please do so and help raise money and awareness for a great cause.  Here are the rules of Movember to help you grow that super ‘stache:

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Also, I would really really appreciate it if you could donate to my MoSpace here.  As I said before, I am part of a team that plans to raise £3000 for charity – so I would be grateful for every donation you guys make…

I will be updating my picture and this blog every few days, so you can follow my progress and see what kind of mo I can grow ;)

For reference, here is a recent clean-shaven pic of me:

I really enjoyed the last proper shave for a while this morning and I am really excited for what mo I will end up growing – I have no idea what style I will take (any ideas)?  So why not take part – it’s great fun and you will help a great cause out ;)

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Reaching my goals

I DID IT! I reached my goal of running a 5k under 30 minutes!

What a race – I was so nervous beforehand that I was shaking while I was running… I started off really well, but the route was quite challenging with a lot of people around. The ground was very soft and spongy because of the rain too. So I fell behind on my pace and realised at the 4km Mark that I may not make my goal. My average pace was just over 6 min/km.

Luckily this is where my interval training kicked in. With half a kilometre to go, I decided to really go for it. Loads of other people were slowing down, but I felt I could push it to the finish. But boy, was that tough! As soon as I reached the finish line, I stopped the clock and could not believe that I had beat my target by TWO SECONDS!

You couldn’t have scripted that but it’s absolutely honest!

DHL

I was so happy after the race that I could barely breathe. I walked over to my wife, gave her a massive hug, and in between gasps of air, just said the words “I did it…” which is nice, because without her support I wouldn’t have been able to.

The DHL Relay was a big success, we managed to field two full teams wearing lovely shirts and everyone ran well. But the best part was that everyone came to thank me for organising our teams after the race.

So a great evening and well worth the effort. Gonna have to think of a new running target now ;)

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World Cup Predictions

OK, this is a quick one and just for fun. I would like your World Cup predictions on the following:

  1. World Cup Winner
  2. Top Scorer
  3. Best Player
  4. Biggest Surprise (Team and Player)
  5. Biggest Disappointment (Team and Player)

(Note: 4 and 5 need not be the same for both player and team, it’s entirely up to you…)

I went with:

  1. Spain
  2. Kaka
  3. Messi
  4. Team - New Zealand scoring a goal. Player – Landon Donovan (USA)
  5. Team – England, as always – they’ll get to the quarter finals, play well and then fall apart. Player - Ronaldo (POR) – I think he’ll be relied upon too much by his team mates…

I’d love to know yours, so please leave me a comment with your predictions and we’ll see how you do ;)

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Ashes to Ashes

So Iceland is in the news again.  The little country the size of a small town yet again holds an influential position over Europe – albeit for more ‘natural’ reasons this time…

A volcano in Iceland erupted, spewing ash into the atmosphere and the whole of Northern Europe’s airspace has been closed down because of this.  Yet when I look outside my window, the skies seem pretty clear to me.  I’m not an expert or anything on the subject but I have had firsthand experience with volcanoes erupting and getting my flight disrupted…

That’s because today’s shenanigans reminded me of a similar incident involving me and my family over 15 years ago.  We were emigrating from the UK to NZ and to fly from Heathrow to Wellington back in 1996 involved a stop in LA and then a transfer in Auckland to another plane bound for Wellington.  This means a journey time of between 30-36 hours, plus you have to put your clocks forward 12 hours when you land.  So not a short journey by any stretch and one which is physically and emotionally draining…

Now, for those of you who do not know, like Iceland, New Zealand also straddles a fault line, meaning that there are a few active volcanoes.  One of the most active in recent years has been Mt. Ruapehu, which lies in between Wellington and Auckland.

Now, it had erupted in 1995, but it was also quiet for a few months.  Little did we know that when we departed from Heathrow on the 4th of July 1996 that it had started again.  When we landed in LAX we were informed of this, so we sat around in the holding lounge for about 4 hours, munching on coffee and Danish while waiting to take off again.  It didn’t help that the local TV news had stories like ‘flight of terror’ for sure!

We finally set off on the second 12-hour stint from LAX to Auckland, only to be told that we needed to land in Fiji to take on fuel in case we were diverted or delayed further.  We stayed on the plane, which did not seem to take too long from memory.  The trouble started when we approached Auckland.  Now, the fog from the ash was so thick, that when we tried to land, the pilot had to abort.  He made a second attempt and felt like he had got really close to the ground, but aborted again (really gunning the throttles too).  He announced he was going to land in Christchurch instead – which meant somehow flying around the volcano over the North Island to get there.

We actually flew near the volcano while it was erupting!  Now, not through the ash cloud or anything, but even though I was jet lagged I clearly remember what I saw.  The whole horizon was covered in a low cloud (which we were flying above), and I saw what looked like a giant hyperactive smoke stack in the distance.  It was the volcano erupting!  Sadly I didn’t get a pic, but man it was an awesome sight to see!

The rest of the flight?  We landed safely in Christchurch, which was chock full of planes, people and all the food had ran out so we were starving.  We were delayed another 8 hours and then finally got on a rickety old propeller plane to Wellington.  were were probably over 12 hours late when we finally landed, and luckily my parents’ friends were there to pick us up.  But we were exhausted!  What a way to start your new life in a country you knew almost nothing about eh?

My final thought is this: the Ruapehu eruptions caused widespread fog, heavy rains and bad cloud conditions.  Yet today’s eruption in Iceland doesn’t seem to have done that (and is a lot further away).  So why close down all of Europe’s airports?  I understand the concern for safety, but have we been over cautious?

Perhaps the eruption I saw wasn’t a typical one – or that ash is quite fine and harder to see.  Who knows?  But if you are affected by the delays or cancellations or know someone who is, then I hope that you are being looked after and that you are able to make your journey as soon as possible…

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Spot The Stiff

I don’t know about you, but I love watching war movies and disaster movies.

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The Towering Inferno – one of my absolute favourite Disaster Movies

One of my favourite things I like to do while watching these is to play a great game called ‘Spot The Stiff’.  It’s a game invented by the brilliantly funny comedy duo of Punt and Dennis – and I think it came from their TV show they had a while ago.

It’s a fun game you can play with all the family and it’s very easy to play.  As you might have guessed from the name, all you have to do is try and guess which characters are going to live or die before the end of the movie.  There seems to be a few simple generalisations that can help you, but I’m not going to spoil any movies by giving you examples ;)  Here is the list of ‘rules’ which these films seem to follow:

The Hero

The hero of the movie hardly ever dies.  He has more chance of kicking the bucket in a war movie, but in general he will do something death-defying and still survive.

The Fish Out Of Water

You’ll know this character as soon as you see them – they’re the useless, pathetic one that would have no chance of surviving in the real world, yet miraculously survive the movie (often at the expense of another, however).  May be a person with a disability, which will be portrayed in a condescending and demeaning manner…

The Last Mission/Turning Point

This person normally will say something like “This will be my last mission” or “Let’s do this one more time” (if it’s a War Movie), or “When I get back, we’ll get married/start a family/things will be different”.  These people are almost guaranteed dead meat and therefore, easy points can be had here!

The American President

Hollywood loves to make it’s films from the perspective of the Good ol’ USA, and with disaster movies being on the national scale at the minimum, this means the leader of the free world gets a good part in the film.  Sadly, they usually die heroically, often ‘going down with the ship’ in some way.  If they’re Black, you may as well not bother scoring points as they are guaranteed to expire before the movie does :(

As a consequence of this, the president always seems to be replaced with a bureaucrat from the White House who is so hard-nosed he decides to sacrifice lives of ordinary people to keep his evacuation plan running.  But don’t worry, the hero always stands up to him and manages to convince everyone else the hardnose is wrong and they should try and save the people.  This often will put the hero into life-threatening danger, but he pulls through saving their lives and his own ;)  The hardnose then apologises and admits he was wrong, and all is sweet again!

Pets and Children

Ah the cute little blighters.  What would we do without them?  Well we’d be without a plot device, for sure!

Pets and children are only in the film to get into danger and therefore need to be rescued.  It seems that Hollywood has decided that we cannot tolerate the emotional distress of seeing little Timmy or Snuggles the Cat kick the bucket – so they always survive.  However, their owners/parents (delete as appropriate) don’t usually share the same fate, often perishing to save them.

The Bad Guy

They can be crooks, Thieves, Fat Cats, or just generally mean and nasty types.  They will be built up during the film as a hate character who you will boo and hiss at, yet they often end up dying to redeem themselves before the end of the movie to become the Anti-Hero.  In a war movie this is often a spy or an enemy soldier.  Hard to spot, so worth good points here!

The ‘Other Lover’

In some movies, a plot device involving a main character and two lovers is used to try and inject a bit of plot around the special effects.  You can be almost certain that one of the lovers will meet a grisly end before the film does.  The trouble is that it’s very difficult to figure out which one it’s gonna be!

The “He’s not that bad you know” Type

Otherwise known as “I promise to get to know him after all this is over”.  ‘He’ is a dead-cert, quite literally speaking!

So there you have it.  Not a definitive list by any means, but a good base nonetheless.  One final word of warning is that sometimes these boundaries get muddled and you can often get characters in the movie that display a combination of traits listed above.  Be warned that this makes it more difficult to pick if they’ll survive and should be rewarded accordingly ;)

I hope you enjoyed this post – let me know if I have missed any categories and how you got on when you tried playing this game, eh? :D

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