Caffeine Crusade

I used to have random nights where it would take me hours to fall asleep. A year ago I figured out that it was due to excess caffeine during the day. I stopped drinking coffee / tea / red bull / pro plus (caffeine tablets). I learnt to live with my post-lunch sleepiness by taking placebos.

There are good health reasons to cut down on caffeine. But the most important is not to be a slave of “Big Caffeine”. These heartless corporations will put their stores up in every location. They will use subliminal advertising to make you think that caffeine binges are cool. A culture will be created where caffeine teetotallers are social outcasts.

I overcame these hurdles and my sleep problems solved, except for the random nights of exam stress and/or audit stress (should I use pink files or blue files?) Unfortunately, the result was that I developed ridiculous caffeine insensitivity. Even, de-caffeinated coffee will keep me awake.

Yet, I still love/worship Starbucks. How do you reconcile that with a caffeine intolerance? By buying Starbucks shares and drinking caffeine free Diet Coke.

coke The least-manly drink ever.

Three Little Things That Define You

People always want others to know about their greatest achievements and attributes. Like the time they saved 24 Chihuahua’s from a sinking ship, or that they are the fastest Guinness drinker this side of the Mersey. It probably derives from parental-attention deprivation during childhood. (OK, just me then).

But what about the small, seemingly insignificant things that you do/are that wouldn’t usually get talked about? I came up with this idea four years ago. My original list was:

  1. I hold doors for people
  2. I remember names
  3. I remember birthdays

I’m revisiting this idea because I want to examine how I have changed. I’ve also run out of other interesting things to talk about on this blog. So, do I still do these things?

I hold doors for people
Probably less so these days. It’s due to the crazed rush I usually in. I’m more likely to shove you out of the way onto the tube. Old ladies, you have been warned.

I remember names
Less again. This idea stemmed from reading “How to Make Friends and Influence People”. I used to religiously write down new peoples’ names in my diary. I once mentioned to a friend that we had met three months ago to this day and showed her name in the diary. She wasn’t impressed. It’d be a useful habit to pick up again. It’d be easier if I didn’t work in a firm of 1000+ employees.

I remember birthdays
Interesting. I used to have store friend’s birthday’s on my phone with handy reminder. This worked well until my phone was stolen and I realised that paper backups still have their uses. Now I have a separate birthday calendar on Google Calendar. It’s saved forever (in Google’s servers I trust), except I never bother to check it. Don’t expect any happy birthday text messages soon.

Three Little Things 2009

  1. I don’t sit down on the fold-down seats on the Underground during rush hour. On every carriage on the Underground, there are 8 fold-down seats that strictly shouldn’t be used when the train is packed full of passengers. I don’t blame those who have choose to sit down. The tube journeys on a summer’s day are horrible and a seat is a welcome respite. I admit, I do get jealous. But I choose to make the journey a little more bearable by standing up instead of sitting down. Of course, I can never sit down again after making this statement 🙁
  2. If you injure your ankle, arm, eyeball or liver, I’ll ask if it was the left or right side. It seems like the obvious thing to ask.
  3. I remember the simple events in your life, and ask how they turned out. Something like, “remember you mentioned a year ago that you wanted to buy a blue tortoise, how did that turn out”.

I’ve had enough of setting myself up to fail. Please add the “Three Little Things That Define You”. It doesn’t have to be an action. It can be a fun fact, object you own, personality quirk, interesting crimes – anything, as long as it is small.

Running Challenge Victory!

Every mile killed and it never seemed to get any easier, but after 80 days, I defeated the amiable Graham in the running challenge.

These were the tactics that I used to beat Graham:

  • Brutal consistency – wherever I was, whatever the time, and no matter how much audit work I had done, I ran. However, I did discover that I develop a rain allergy while I ran. Brutal consistency became a quiet cowardice.
  • Nike New Balance Trainers – I like the big “N”.
  • Graham’s two knee injuries – perhaps the most successful tactic. I claim full credit.
  • Counting – the mad rush to catch the bus/train/DLR/audit work papers was counted as a mile run. This made up 99% of the distance covered.

Running Graph

The highlight
Running through Bath on a cool spring evening after a hard day of audit. Admiring how the historic houses looked so much better than my purple apartment. Eating the room service that awaited at the hotel.

The lows
Running up the hill in Greenwich park. I stopped 4 times on my first attempt. 4 minutes of hell that only ended when I reached the canine waste bin. My fastest time was when it rained really hard. Apparently, Lord Sebastian Coe used to use the same hill for training. It was no consolation.

But the running challenge was a pyrrhic victory as the graphs were produced using Graham’s superior Excel skills. I tried to recreate the graphs myself and gave up after two hours. I missed a planned session because of it. This morning, I came up with the genius idea of using Graham’s perfectly good graph and just apply the cosmetic changes myself, which was to change the cell colours from white to transparent.

And what of the £50 prize money? I decided it was unfair to accept this after (causing) Graham’s knee injuries.