It's kickoff time

Brett Favre getting sacked for the New York Jets Finally... finally the NFL season is here! 36 hours until kickoff. I cannot fucking wait! My life has been empty since this years pro-bowl. And after countless hours spent in front of the TV, or online, or in magazines, or fantasy football drafts... kickoff is here! If you can't tell, I'm very excited. The hours spent following free-agency, researching the draft, training camp, pre-season: It all culminates tomorrow night, and right up until the pro-bowl on February 9th, we have football. We have reason to live!

That's one kind of football anyway. The other kind of football is right now demonstrating why I stressed the importance that the NFL keeps the salary cap. Manchester City; bought on transfer dealine day by the Abu Dhabi United Group, already have broken the British transfer record in bringing in Robinho. Now Al-Fahim has been quoted as saying he will buy any players necessary to make City the biggest club in the world. That's what I dislike about soccer. You can buy your way to success. So just as my excitement for the kickoff to the NFL season builds, my respect for the soccer world dwindles even further. If it is simply a game of whoever has the most money, wins, then why do we waste the time of playing a 9-month season? If Manchester Abu Dhabi United, Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim City are built into the biggest club in the world, then my whole respect for soccer as a sport will be lost. I don't want to waste my time on a sport where money is the only requirement for success. I may be speaking with an air of jealousy, as City can now buy whomever the see fit, where as Everton still struggle to find the funds to bring in one notable signing over the Summer. But even if the roles were reversed, I still struggle to see how I could justify to myself, spending the time that I do following a sport when it is simply, all about the money. It just emphasises to me the importance of the continuation of the NFL salary cap. Right now the sport is pure in that every competing team has the same opportunity to recruit players. No team has a financial advantage. I pray that the league and the NFLPA can agree, because like with soccer, the NFL just wouldn't be the game it is, if it became a game of richest guy wins. For now though, we have a cap. Kickoff is here!

Now it'll take a lot to piss me off this close to kickoff. One thing that is trying really hard, is that I cannot seem to get hold of the person I need to talk to in Canada to find out that I haven't got a job. Firstly I called on Monday at about 17:00 UK time, which is 10:00 in Canada. Voicemail. So I called again at 18:00 UK time. Voicemail. So I sent an email, and got an instant response that the person I need to speak to is out of office until Tuesday. So yesterday, I phone at 17:30 UK time. Voicemail. 20:50. Voicemail. 22:45. Voicemail. So here I sit on Wednesday morning, and I still haven't heard a peep from them. Apart from anything else, everytime I get through to this voicemail, it will be charged as a connected long-distance call. But more frustratingly, everything I do from here regarding my travel, hinges on whether I have this job or not. I am literally in a helpless limbo until I can find out, so it's hard to express the frustration I'm feeling right now. I am usually something of an emotional wall, in that nothing really affects how I feel. Even when I get seemingly stressed out, I am always in total control of what I'm doing and how I'm feeling. But just not knowing, combined with my inability to get any work this Summer, is leaving me so frustrated I'm at times just feeling lost. Almost depressed, because all I need is a quick yes or no, and I can get on with things. But just being in limbo, fuckin' eh it's getting to me. I'll be doing whatever I can today to make sure that I get a response, but I even have to wait until 16:00 until the office is even open because of the time difference. Right now, I'd rather know that I haven't got a job, than to not know anything. At least then I can start booking flights and making plans, that will hopefully allow me to be in Seattle when the Hawks beat the Eagles on Nov. 2nd, so I have a use for my ticket. But just waiting around for a damn response, it's really bringing me down.

GBP-USD exchange rate GBP-CAD exchange rate The other joyous fact about travelling that my laptop insists on telling me as soon as I turn it on everyday, is that the value of the pound is still dropping at an alarming rate. This was something that I eluded to in the blog 'Waiting' that I wrote on 13th of August. Back then, just 3 weeks ago today, the value of the pound versus the US dollar was $1.879. Today it is $1.773. It has also dropped noticably against the Canadian dollar as well. Seeing as I'll be abroad, living out of a GBP bank account in a couple of months, I am essentially getting poorer by the day. It's joyous to see. I suppose it's my own fault. Why didn't I hedge my bets when I said 3 weeks ago that the pound is falling? If I bought maybe 1,000 Canadian dollars, that should see me through until I am earning in Canada, which would mean that I could've avoided the consequence of the falling pound. As it is, I am now faced with a considerably weaker pound than 3 weeks ago. The question now, is, is it going to continue to fall? If it is, then it would obviously be in my interest to buy some Canadian currency now, rather than in 2 months, and maybe some US dollars as well, that I would change back when the pound shows signs of strengthening again. But I don't have the macroeconomic knowledge to know when the pound will start to strengthen again. For now I'll leave my money as it is. It's worrying to see this just as I'm about to go abroad though. Less money means a shorter trip, so hopefully in the next couple of months things will pick-up.

Hurricane Gustav One thing that I spent quite a long time talking about in my last blog was hurricane Gustav. Comparative to what was expected, as far as Louisiana and New Orleans was concerened, the hype surrounding Gustav thankfully turned out to be little more that a lot of hot air. I stand by what I said in that last blog though. As many news reports have said, "New Orleans was extremely lucky." There may have been minimal loss of life this time, but unless mankind, particularly the US and China, heed to the warnings nature is giving regarding climate change, luck will eventually run out. Anyone who denies we're responsible for climate change, or who refuses to take action to personally reduce their carbon efficiency, will ultimately be the ones responsible when the next Gustav isn't so forgiving. This time was, quite simply, lucky.

Now if you've read some of the previous entries that I've written, you know that I like to bang on about efficiency and streamlining a lot. Essentially, I hate things being cluttered. If you don't need something, get rid of it. Yesterday was a day for streamlining electronically. Not only did I delete multiple programs from my laptop, including Party Poker, but after saying in a blog a long time ago that it was something I intended to do, I finally sorted through all my emails. That was 165 pages of 25 emails. In other words, well over 4,000 messages in my inbox. Now I have none. About 3,500 now sit in my deleted folder, and will be permanently deleted in 5 days. The rest are now all sitting in folders. It didn't take as long as I'd anticipated, as putting the messages into alphabetical order, and working back from Z to A, made things very efficient. I could delete the hundreds of emails I had for no reason kept, from eBay for example, in one swoop. Or from Facebook, as they all appeared together. Starting at the back, pages never got refilled with messages either, as there were none sitting behind them. This approximate hour and a half that it took me was something of a look into the past though. Like an electronic time capsule. Never have I been through my hotmail inbox, so I had messages sitting there from as far back as February 2003. So I had all these emails from various universities that I was considering applying to 4 years ago, my emails related to my 2005 travelling, so ferry bookings, hostel bookings, CFL match tickets. Then I had all the emails arranging my year abroad at Dalhousie, and more recently there were all the emails arranging the trip to Mexico. Most, or all have now somewhat regrettably been deleted. Reading through messages, such as my dialogue with varying universities, or seeing my bookings from when I travelled 3 years ago, it made me somewhat nostalgic to relive some of those memories. Now I have 5 days to save those sentimental emails if I can't face losing them. I never thought clearing out my inbox could ignite so many passed emotions.

Complete book of abs As I said a couple of blogs ago, I'd bought the pictured book, The Complete Book of Abs. I'm only about 60 pages in, but it's lit something of a fire within me. It's easy when you workout regularly, to get into so much of a routine, that you forget the fundamentals of what you're doing it for. In those 60 pages, abs have actually been referred to very little, instead covering general fitness and nutrition basics. And the book has taught me very little that I didn't already know, but it has just reminded me of some fundamentals that it's easy to forget, and it has really put a spark back into my motivation to stay in shape. Since Mexico, I was able to lose the weight I'd picked up, really quickly. But since then, I've really been going backwards. I was doing the same routine of workouts, eating the same meals, and my body was really in a comfort zone, knowing what was coming. This book reminded me, it's all about putting your body through what it doesn't want to do, and in some cases, cannot do. So for the passed couple of workouts, I've been doing all that I can to shock my body. Where I'm not doing different exercises, I'm doing the same exercises in different ways. Heavier weights and less reps, or lighter weights and higher reps, or super-setting, or anything I can to take my body away from what it's used to. I'm sore as fuck now, but I have a reignighted fire to torture myself in the gym, rather that just going through the motions. And it's been translated to nutrition as well. I was so worried about eating the right kinds of foods, at the right times of day in relation to sleep and exercise, and ensuring I was getting the right amount of protein, and of calories, that I was eating the same, boring foods everyday. I had forgotten some basic fundamentals of nutrition. Right now, I am not examining the numbers of every food that I eat, and I'm not counting amounts of saturated fats or that kind of thing. I've gone back to basics of eating good wholefoods. Using raw ingredients rather than processed foods. No food is forbidden, but just sensible sized portions, of good foods, at the point my body is asking for it. For the time being at least, I'm not calculating everything I eat. On top of this, I've started back with regular cardio again. Pre-Mexico, it was something that I was doing, but since I've been back, it's been a case of going out running once or twice a week, and then relying on my cycling to make up the rest, which quite simply, isn't enough. Now I'm back to regular cardio everytime I'm in the gym, as well as weights. All this has really reinvigorated my love for exercise right now. I'm actually enjoying the foods that I'm eating, and I was up at 7am to get to the gym this morning. It's amazing the effect this book has had on me. Like I said, it didn't teach me much new, but it just reminded me of the reasons I exercise, and reminded me of how I should be doing it. It even reminded me of the philosophy I used to exercise by when I first started out, a fat smoking teenager: "You're never too tired to take one more step." It's got financial benefits as well. I got a full backpack of food from Tesco for about £4 yesterday. Value kidney beans at 14p. Value tuna at 29p. Value soup at 18p. Not only has this change reinvigorated my motivation for exercise, it's invograting my wallet as well. The diet I was on before always felt dear, even if it did often consist of Value beans at 20p. I'm enjoying exercise again, and saving money. It's incredible the impact a little book on abs can have. Especially as I haven't even got to anything about abs yet.

A couple of words about the website before I finish off, because I don't have too much to say today. Firstly, I've edited the favicon slightly. I've taken out the black background, but Mozilla doesn't seem to have picked up on the change yet, so I don't know how long that will take to come into effect. It has been changed though. Also, I've tested having the webcam on the homepage. I quite like it, and may even have a small player on the homepage, and then a larger one on an independent page, so that the homepage isn't dominated. That is a lot of dedication to something that really provides little value to a viewer though. What is stalling the process now, is that supposedly, I can put a player on my website, that has live IM chat. What I am finding though, is that I can type in this chat, from where the webcam is being hosted, but when you type from this website, it isn't showing up. So I've emailed Stickam about it, and I'm yet to get a reply. Right now, I'd be able to add messages to the feed but no one would be able to reply, which would be pointless. If it can become a 2-way chat, then I think it'd finally add value to having a webcam on the site. If I'm here, I'll be able to talk live to people who visit the site, which might actually have some appeal. Especially because I'll be able to talk to friends who visit. I'm working on that though. Hopefully I'll be able to get it to work. Finally to quote this thread from HTML forums, "I really can't stress enough how cool it is that your first site looks that good." So there you go. It might look shit, but for a first site, it's really cool. So suck on that. I'm done.

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