My Intermittent Fasting Experiment

My Intermittent Fasting Experiment

As I work my way through Dr Jordan Peterson’s Self Authoring program, I established that one of my goals was to lead a healthier life style.

In the same week that I started working on Dr Peterson’s self authoring program Mr Money Mustache happened to publish a blog post about his eating habits and frugal lifestyle.

So I thought I’d note down my thoughts on a day as an Intermittent Faster.

It’s mid morning, and as I am working from home the temptation to just put the laptop to one side and go grab a snack is ever-present. I set aside this day as a fasting day as I knew I’d be working from home and that dinner was going to be relatively healthy (baked potato and pork loin).

It’s not yet 10am and I’ve already considered a couple of slices of toast topped with Nutella, and almost absent-mindedly grabbed some spiced sesame peanuts. But i reminded myself what my goal is for today, and continue on with my day, fueled by nothing other than some lemon squash.

Lunch time rolls around and I head to the local supermarket, which also houses our local dry cleaner to drop off some suits.  Previously this would have been a good opportunity to go and grab a couple of pasties from the hot counter.  But fortunately that is at the back of the store, and the dry cleaners is up front.

I get back home and as I’m feeling a little peckish now, I do contemplate enjoying a healthier lunch option of scrambled eggs but this is a fast and not a diet, so I resist and get back to my work.

Before I know it, it’s 3pm and so I take a quick break from work, head in to the kitchen and put the potatoes in the oven for dinner. As my earlier trip to the supermarket didn’t result in the usual purchase of crisps and chocolate I contemplate grabbing a Babybel, or blueberry yoghurt from the fridge telling myself these are healthier options than what I would normally have.  But I muster up the strength to get back to work on an empty stomach.

I managed to make it through the rest of the day enjoying some post dinner carrots and hummus, alongside a sneaky Twix.  This means I went over what I was aiming for today, but did manage to get a reasonable fast in and as my goal was to give my digestive system a bit of a break I’m happy with the results.

Tomorrow is a half day at work so the plan is to start the day in a fasted state, and then after work refuel on those scrambled eggs I’ve been dreaming about since lunch time,  giving me a 40 hour window of fasting broken up with a single meal.

My Journey To The Local Elections – The Feedback

My Journey To The Local Elections – The Feedback

With the excitement and anxiety of my first local election in the rear view mirror. I wanted to give my thoughts on society, democracy, and the tribalism I see our country devolving further into.

Firstly, some feedback on my newly created Facebook group after mentioning how I had singled handily delivered leaflets to 90% of my voting area:

From a hardcore local leftist:  “Mr XXX XXX claimed over £30k in allowance 2016/17”

I’ve never claimed a penny of tax payers money ever, the closest I’ve come to claiming benefits or allowances in my 31 years is my student loans, which I’m halfway through paying back with interest.  If elected would be subjected to the same £6k limit as the Labour and Lib Dem party councillors, also I don’t even know who Mr XXX XXX is, because he sure doesn’t work for the local council.

From a trade unionist working as a train driver: “If elected you’ll claim back thousands won’t you, greedy tory greedy”

Apart from the irony of a guy who simply drives a train all day and gets paid more than me, my teacher wife, and every single member of my family, calling my greedy.  The guy knows nothing about me, and if he did his research he’d probably find a lot of common ground.

So lets move on to the door to door interactions.  Firstly we had the lady who stormed out of her house to throw away my leaflet like I had just put dog **** through her letterbox; the lady who kindly offered to give me my leaflet back the moment she sure the banner with blue, and not red; the gentleman who was happy I wore a blue rosette and therefore got his wife to sign a petition I had to hand, the gentleman who wouldn’t vote for me, because he disliked Theresa May (who doesn’t know I exist), and finally the champagne socialist who equated every idea she didn’t like to rape…

All of this to me just screams of tribalism, which when you consider most local election only had an approximate turn out of 30% is quite scary. What it means is that despite only campaigning for 7 weeks in the run up to the local election, I gained roughly 25% of a vote, where the winner received just over 35% of the vote.

What it meant was that I could have literally been Hitler and as long as I was running for the Conservatives or the Labour party, a large number of people will vote for me.  If I stood as a Conservative candidate and suggested I wanted to shut down the NHS, i’d still get votes, if I stood as a Labour candidate and said I wanted to raise income taxes to 100% i’d still get a healthy number of votes.

So while I tried to keep my campaign, very clean and kept the people/parties I was up against out of my mouth, I completely understand why politicians get so dirty when it comes to voting time.  As my pseudo math would suggest nearly 70% of people don’t care 20% will always vote for their tribe regardless, and 10% will either listen to the arguments, or vote Green/trade unionist/UKIP/Pegida/Independent etc.

So, do we keep trying to get more people talking and discussing ideas from all sides? Or do we just let the extremists fight it out between them?

My Journey To The Local Elections – The Walkthrough

My Journey To The Local Elections – The Walkthrough

Approximately 8 or 9 weeks ago I made the decision to get involved in local politics.

After ruling out running as an independent due to a lack of time and resources, the toughest decisions became deciding which party I would run with.

Historically I’ve tended to lean towards the Liberal Democrats, and consider my self quite a liberal person. However i’m not against the state reclaiming the swathes of empty properties owned by foreign investors and actually using them to house legal residence of the UK, so standing for the Labour party did cross my mind.

But in the end, i’m a small government, low taxes guy who believes individual effort should determine individual results, and so for that reason I decided to run for the Conservative party.

Joining the party was very pleasant, and their local group warmly welcomed this 30 something year old guy from a working class background; despite us understanding that while I agree with the majority of the Conservative party values, I don’t necessarily agree with all of their policies or ideas.

So once I was all signed up and the Conservatives were happy for me to represent them, it was time to get on the campaign trail. This mainly involved walking for miles on end delivering leaflets through doors, explaining who I am and why I wanted to run. My main points were:

  • Ensuring a local playing field wasn’t ripped up as part of plans to build a motorway service station
  • Supporting a local school
  • Improving a problematic roundabout while still allowing cyclists and pedestrians a safe passage way
  • Identifying a way to deal with the ever-growing parking problem in the town

I should point out that my reason for running in the first place, was to become more aware and involved in the shaping of our town.  A town I have grown to love over these last 3 years, and one that I want to see prosper for future generations.  And as we’re talking about local government here, none of my ideas are particularly controversial and none of my ideas really deviate across party lines.

As I was fairly new to local government and the Conservative party, it felt only right that I earn my place on the ballot paper and put the effort in to deliver the majority of my campaign material myself. And so in the space of 3 weeks, I managed to rack up nearly 50km of walking delivering to 30/34 streets in my voting area.

Election day finally rolled around, and I was tasked with helping a fellow candidate in a very marginal seat.  Many hours later the polling stations finally closed, and it was off to the ballot counting to see who the people had voted for.  In all there were 15 seats up for nomination, and after many many hours of waiting around, and watching people who should be counting votes waiting around, the results were in….

I didn’t make it.  I managed to earn 27.7% of the vote, while second place earned 34.7% of the vote, and the winning candidate (the incumbent candidate) earning 35.5% of the vote.

So while I did not win a seat on the local council this time round, I did enjoy going through the process, getting out there and walking those miles, and putting myself in front of people – which as an introvert was one hell of a challenge.

Will I do it all again next year?  That’ll all depend on how life changes once our new arrival joins us in 2 months, but for now i’ll continue to get involved where I can, and make sure the voices of tomorrow are heard today.

Next up, will be my thoughts on the feedback I received from complete strangers during this process…

Hating Capitalism Through An iPhone

Hating Capitalism Through An iPhone

As I see more and more liberal-minded people being labelled alt-right/ far-right/ ring wing or nazi’s for simply not supporting the immediate shut down of opposition ideas I thought I’d comment on what I am now terming the alt-left.

I recently canvassed for a local election here in Basingstoke, and perhaps one of my favourite/most troubling moments was watching naive young lady (I’ve assumed her gender) who clearly didn’t need to take any time off work to canvass.  This young lady was very much of the opinion that Capitalism is the route of all evil.  She explained this by posting a message on Instagram via her iPhone, while wearing her store-bought clothes, sitting in a car which didn’t look government designed.  All that was really missing from her anti-capitalism rant was a hashtag professing her love for ordering Coca-cola from Amazon.

For someone who seems to enjoy quite the life of luxury via the rewards of free market capitalism, it really concerned me how strong her views were considering how incompatible they were with her existing lifestyle choices.

And this is what scares me the most about the future of our country.  As someone who recently pinned their colours to the conservative group, I like to believe that my ideologies (small government, keep what you earn, and earn what you keep, equality of opportunities as opposed to equality of outcome etc) are perfectly aligned with the sort of government I want to see in power.

But for a large number of alt-left people out there, who seem to want to push us down the same hell hole that Venezuela has fallen into, the same hell hole that every single socialist government has eventually thrown their country into.  Their ideologies seem grossly incompatible with their current lives, and so I can only draw the conclusion that what they are really after is a tyrannical government that forces the majority of us to live like cavemen, hunting dogs in the street for a meal.  While they continue to live their capitalist lifestyles from their ivory towers, proclaiming how there is no more inequality among the commoners, because we’re all equally poor and starving.

An Inspiring Story Of A Man And A Car Wash

An Inspiring Story Of A Man And A Car Wash

I wanted to share with you a great story I read on Quora recently:

Why working in a car-wash (at age 44) was the best thing that could have happened to me

This really spoke too me, because in our modern economy we are always looking to take the next step forward, or the next step up the ladder, and if we’re not doing so quickly enough we look to pretend we are still heading in the right direction. Struggling to admit defeat, ask for help or start again from the beginning.

So this article by Micheal Aumock, was really refreshing to read. His attitude change from simply showing up to a job he disliked and wallowing in self-pity, to trying to be the best in his role, is the exact attitude I am trying to develop.

I may not be the best blogger out there.  My opinions at the time of writing may prove to be incorrect, or I may misinterpret the intentions of another writer. But isn’t that how we grow?

If you have a spare 5 minutes I would strongly recommend having a read of Michael’s story.

Ruining A Company With Socialist Rewards

Ruining A Company With Socialist Rewards

Like it or not the world runs on free market capitalism.

If your product is too expensive, of inferior quality, or lacks a unique selling point.  Then there will always be someone cheaper/faster/smarter looking to take your customers, and leaving you to find a new way of making a living.  To compete you have to adapt, constantly improve and price your products for individual customers/markets. As there is no overlord making sure each company in your market gets an equal share of business.

So why is it, that many companies still feel it is acceptable to implement company wide rewards schemes, where everybody is rewarded equally regardless of effort, attitude, or contribution?  I appreciate the thought process that the company success out ways any individual accomplishments.  But where is the motivation of the most skilled employees to dedicate themselves to the company, verses jumping ship for greater rewards and recognition?

If you take proper socialist countries like Venezuela, you find that the one thing socialism ensures is that everyone outside of the top government officials are equally poor, and the productive/valuable members of society who could get the country back on track have fled for greener/capitalist pastures.

You can even look at parenting for a more simple example, give a child the choice between cleaning their room, or playing video games and regardless of their choice, they’ll get ice-cream.  Which task do you think they are going to undertake, given that they are not going to be rewarded for completing the less pleasant task?

So in the corporate world, if you expect one exceptional worker to watch as their lazy co-worker gets the same reward for significantly less effort, then don’t be shocked if your company ends up looking a lot like Venezuela where productivity is not rewarded.

Do not be shocked, if that graduate who worked their socks off, researching and developing their skill set outside of the office, leaves for much greener pastures when you decide their effort is worthy of a percentage increase in remuneration on par with the 5th year worker who arrives late, leaves early, and spends most of their day on social media. A percentage increase in remuneration which also means that the gap between the two workers actually widens!

So if you are in a position of power, consider the next time you apply a generic reward to company employees, if you’d be happy if everyone worked as equally poorly as your worst employee. As that is the message your best employees are seeing.

Is Social Media more damaging than Porn? – Anger at your fingertips

Is Social Media more damaging than Porn? – Anger at your fingertips

Continuing on my topic of social media potentially being more damaging to society than porn.  I now want to focus on Anger and our interactions with people (usually strangers).

If you have any sort of following on Twitter of Facebook, and you post anything other than cat or baby pictures i’m sure you’ll have received some level of abuse.  At the lower end if may have just been a friend calling you an idiot, but at more sinister end of the spectrum you can have hundreds or even thousands of people calling you every name under the sun, threatening your life, and posting your personal details online allowing the hatred to spread into the real world.

If a right leaning politician posts a comment on a local issue, you can be sure he or she will be called a racist / a nazi / part of the patriarchy / a one percent er etc etc by the nicer trolls out there. In today’s society the same is true when comments are made by Feminist scholar Christina Sommers or Jewish commentator Ben Shapiro post fairly reasonable arguments which should be debated.

The worrying thing about this online hatred so many of us are spreading, is that half the time the person doesn’t even need to write the comment themselves, they just have to be accused of making a comment by a virtue signaler, and before you know it the bandwagons have been jumped on, and this person is desperately trying to defend the name and save their career.

Take for example the outrage shown by your parents/ grand-parents when they share the fake posts warning you that “Facebook is going to start charging for its service unless you share this message”. Or the protests in America which were organised by Russian trolls.  Both are examples of online information that people have taken at face value, and have caused mild annoyance in one case, and orchestrated violence in another, simply because people are taking what they see online at face value if it fits their agenda.

Now if a friend has said to you in the pub that Facebook is going to start charging, you’d ask to see their evidence, but read about in a tweet from a stranger and it suddenly becomes the gospel truth.

It feels like people are so eager to take offence, and so eager to virtual signal, that they are sat by their computers / phones just waiting for that next piece of news to get them all riled up, and give them something to rant about.  Heck, from some of the comments I read on Twitter I can only assume I am doing it wrong, by following people I find interesting, instead of following people I know say things I disagree with, who I can then heckle behind the safety of my computer / phone.

So my current view-point is this.  Instead of trawling through social media posts and news content looking for the next thing to offend you, so that you can make someone else feel bad by ranting at them, or make yourself feel good, by having other virtue signalers tell you how brave you are to be offended by some writing.  How about you follow in the foot steps of Boyan Slat the young inventor who saw a problem with plastic pollution of the worlds oceans and focused his time and energy on developing a solution.  You’ll find life that much more fulfilling if you go out and look for solutions to the problems you identify, as opposed to ranting at the people who disagree with you.