The end of a lovely relationship?

So a while back I blogged about the latest G-Shock I had bought (the G-Shock X-Large Combi). I was so delighted to have found a white version of this fine watch available for delivery to the UK and initial thoughts were excellent.

Now though, less than 8 months on, I am returning the watch to Casio. The strap has deteriorated hugely, the resin peeling away and the casing/bezel has become discoloured and losing resin too. G-Shocks are highly regarded for their toughness, used by all sorts of people in rigorous situations. It seems however I have got a dud. See photos below of how badly the strap has peeled and the resin has been discoloured.

This is not my usual experience of Casio and indeed G-Shock however, having owned and loved many other models previously. I really hope Casio can either replace the strap and housing or swap over a brand new model under warranty. I have it all packaged up and ready to go in the post on Tuesday.

Keep your fingers crossed. I will keep you posted with progress. Here’s hoping it isn’t the end of a beautiful relationship.






One Big Family

I first saw this advert a few weeks ago and half way through, was trying to work out what John Lewis, Waitrose or some other higher end brand was advertising? Was it summer food? Outdoor furniture? And then my jaw hits the floor. It’s KFC. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now go back and read who I thought it was for? Really? KFC in the same bracket? Well, apparently so. It’s a really classy advert and a world away from their previous offerings which felt pitched somewhere between Aldi and Argos.

This really is such a move away from the pre-conceived ideas about the KFC brand. I look forward to see where Bartle Bogle Hegarty take us next.

So here it is, in all it’s Middle Class chicken glory. KFC – So Good

(Music is Temple Cloud – One Big Family)

Motivation: Be Great

Motivation is a difficult thing. I have struggled a little this week to get out the door and keep to my training. I have however got over the threshold and out running both times when I felt like I couldn’t be bothered. As Austin said after my run on Wednesday morning, “Just getting out is the main thing”. He’s right (as ever!).

One of the things that has motivated me in the past is the fear of failure. But now what I want to do is show people what I can do. Not be afraid of what I can’t. This is what motivates me. This is what gets me out of bed at 6.20am 4 mornings a week to go and train. I am building towards The Fight and raising money as I go. If you can spare a few quid for Aware Defeat Depression, please visit my donation page.

It was great to meet some of the other fighters on Tuesday evening and get into the boxing gym and see the place. It’s going to be a great bunch of people to spend 8 weeks with but standing around, you couldn’t help sizing everyone up, wondering if they were going to be the opposition on the 23rd June. The one who would be coming for you. The one you would have to beat. I can’t wait to get stuck into the training. It will be a fantastic experience.

I came across this video and I liked the quotes about motivation. You can read the full transcript below.

Be Great, Be Powerful Beyond Measure

“Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep movin’ forward. That’s how winnin’ is done.” – Rocky

Here is the full transcript of the video:

You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you youre no good, and when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know, the world aint all sunshine and rainbows, its a very mean and nasty place and I dont care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life; but it aint about how hard you hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.
Thats how winning is done.

Cause if youre willin to go through all the battling you gotta go through to get to where you wanna get, whos got the right to stop you.
I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to somebody, something.

And youre told no even after you pay your dues, whos got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody.
Its your right to listen to your gut, it aint nobodys right to say no, after you earn the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do.

Now if you know what youre worth, then go out and get what youre worth. But youve gotta be willing to take the hits.  And not pointing fingers saying you aint where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that aint you! Youre better than that!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

All you chumps are gonna bow when I whoop him, all of you, I know you got him, I know youve got him picked, but the mans in trouble, Ima show you how great I am.


Getting punched for a good cause

Me and Ricky Hatton

Hoping that standing beside this guy last summer will have somehow rubbed off some of his skills!

So since January I have been back training again properly and slowly building up my fitness to where it was last summer before my injury. Whilst the training has gone well, I have been looking for an event to train for. Suddenly out of the blue came something I have been wanting to do for a couple of years but previously had been unable to take part in – White Collar Boxing.

Yes, it means I will probably get hit a few times but it’s going to be worth it. I decided it would be a great idea for a bit of fundraising and so after a few enquiries here and there, I decided to try and raise some money for Aware Defeat Depression. I have friends and relatives who have suffered from depression over the years and I have seen how it can affect people. Depression affects around 25% of the Northern Ireland population, (this could be indirectly – carers, family etc.). Aware Defeat Depression support carers and family as well as people experiencing depression. They’ve got 20 support groups across NI that are free to attend but cost around £400 a month to maintain. My target of raising at least £600 will at least go a little way to easing this burden.

In approximately 75% of all suicides, depression is cited as a factor. There were 260 deaths by suicide in 2009, which averages as 5 per week. Between January and September 2010 there were 234 deaths by suicide, averaging 6.5 per week. The suicide rate in NI for males is 3.5 times higher than for females. These statistics make for shocking reading. By supporting Aware Defeat Depression, you can help lower the number of deaths.

Training starts in earnest on the 26th April and will continue twice a week until I climb into the ring on the 23rd June at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. I am excited but also nervous, it will be a test of physical and mental ability as well as my discipline and nerve. I would love to have your support, knowing that I have a bunch of people behind me, raising money for this excellent charity would make a huge difference. I won’t let you down.

If you can afford to donate, please do by clicking here, if you can’t, then thanks for reading and please tell a few people and encourage them to support this cause.

The murder of Ronan Kerr. Not in my name.

Ronan Kerr; will his name be the last on the memorials? Any decent person will be hoping so but you can’t help but fear that his will be joined by others over the course of time. His is now the latest PSNI death in the long history of terrorist murders in Northern Ireland, just below Stephen Carroll who was gunned down just over 2 years ago.

For many young people in Northern Ireland, these murders will seem all the more shocking, out of the blue and totally at odds with the current lifestyle Northern Ireland has grown to know. I was reminded just how many people on Twitter and Facebook were being exposed to the real horror of these things for the first time – many of them young enough to have been shielded from the worst of the Troubles. Also of note was the very real sense of anger on social media, a platform for people to join together in instant protest at the murder of a young man, going about his business on a regular Saturday afternoon. The #notinmyname hashtag was quickly latched on to and became the vehicle for those unable to do anything else but stand shoulder to shoulder, across communities both on and offline.

It was best summed up by one tweet I saw:

“Do you know a 25 year old? Someone who’s just started a new job? Well, someone just like that was just killed today, for no reason at all.”@theronster

Also very sad was a tweet from Philly Taggart, member of Omagh’s own rising stars Colenso Parade:

“RIP Ronan Kerr. Can’t believe what happened today in Omagh. He was in my class fourth and fifth year. He was a total gentleman.”@PhillyTaggart

The futility of the murder has baffled me. It furthers no cause. Wins no battle. Wins no support.

If anything it will forge communities together. Increase solidarity. Make people more defiant to defend the peace we now have.

Perhaps the forthcoming election will be a chance for those who have previously been apathetic about politics in Northern Ireland to come out of the woodwork,  become part of a record turnout and vote. Show the world that this is the way to make a change. Peaceful change.

To place a bomb or other such device under a car in order to kill someone is ultimately a cowardly act. It’s hardly a fair fight and the perpetrators don’t have to witness the outcome, no mental image to live with for the rest of their life. Somewhere, there were celebrations of this cowardly success. Someone saw them, someone knows who did this. It’s time for those people, the ones who know the names, to be real heroes, to stand up for something that really matters and come forward and share that knowledge.

And all this – #notinmyname