Golden cracks

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First off, my blood pressure is fine – all within normal ranges. However, I still need to go back to see another doctor to get my form for the marathon signed. I know right… three appointments to get a bloody one paragraph form signed. In my opinion the NHS is a highly inefficient organization as I clearly explained to them that the sole reason why I’m there is to get a form signed. They, however, initially referred me to a doctor who wasn’t even a “proper” doctor – I think she was a registrar (whatever that means… she did examine me, so she must be some kind of doctor). Now, after a few weeks they tell me I need to go back again to see a real doctor. It’s a mess. I have nothing but negative experiences with the NHS and I hope their organization goes bust and burns down in flames. It’s such a hassle to deal with this level of incompetence. They’re also going to charge me £30 (probably to  cover their own ass in the scenario in which I actually die in the marathon) to get my form signed and it takes them up to 28 workdays to do it. If these guys are so incompetent I’m sure many people die at the hospitals here because of neglect, carelessness and rampant stupidity.

In other news, remember my three big exams back in December? You probably don’t, as nobody cares. Anywho, I managed to pass them all. I even got “merit” i.e. 80%+ on the difficult derivatives exam. That one was a real tough cookie… I’m very pleased. However, not a single fuck was given at work – these results are considered normal for me. Now I can add another badge to my collection – CISI Level 7 Diploma in Wealth Management, which means I am qualified to the chartered wealth manager qualification (think portfolio manager, investment manager). I expected to get a second diploma as well, but for some reason didn’t – I’m trying to find out why… So hopefully another diploma will follow up in the near future.

Otherwise, I’ve been banned at work from taking any further exams/qualifications. I’ve got too many and my focus should be on building soft skills – sales, negotiating, conversing, building trust/rapport etc.

Let’s talk Brexit. I recently had my 3 year anniversary in the UK. The reason I bring this up is because I had a client meeting. MR was a British citizen and MRS was an EU citizen. They were married and had a little daughter. MRS had been in the UK for 5+ years and applied for permanent residency. Guess what, she was denied. “Get back to your own country!!!” the UK government basically told her.  How about that? Stories like that aren’t just isolated cases, they are everywhere. I think this situation is inhumane and just plain wrong. I wonder what it’s going to be like for me if I ever apply to stay here longer – although I need to be here for at least another two years before I qualify to apply for anything. It’s not looking good.

I was a bit bored today and went to the British Museum – it’s only a 10 minute walk from where I live. There wasn’t anything specific I wanted to see… I just thought I should go. I always struggle with the concept of standing in line – to enter a museum!!! Of all places. I understand if there’s a line at Starbucks or at the Apple store etc – there’s usually something really good at the other end. But it’s a museum – full of old stuff mostly stolen from other countries…

Anywho I ended up looking at Picasso’s paintings. It was infuriating. The paintings are so bad that it’s so difficult for me to see why other people think he was such a great artist. I just don’t get it.

kitsugi

However, it wasn’t all bad. I found one exhibit which I absolutely fell in love with. It was a vase – a broken vase which was put together with gold. The technique is called kitsugi, where they use molten gold to piece together the shards of a broken object. I love the concept. Instead of hiding flaws, mistakes and cracks – this technique highlights them. The cracks are important, they’re there to be noticed and reflected upon. You can put broken things together and you shouldn’t be ashamed of the flaws and imperfections. I found it very inspiring.

This brings me back to my earlier paragraph. If Brexit happens, the EU breaks down, NHS goes tits up, Marie Le Pen wins, robots take over the world and Trump accidentally blows up a few countries (like many of his predecessors by the way) – I am hopeful that eventually we might get something beautiful put together again.

Mr Salacious

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Posted in UK

Buzzing away in a damp bunker and singing Hallelujah

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Did you know that thinking about your death or mortality before a race improves your performance? That’s what I read in an article. There’s something about that thought which puts our brains into hyper-survival mode and improves physical capability. I will give this idea a go at my next racing event.

I didn’t just randomly start with the above in mind. In order to run Paris, I need to provide the organizers a form signed by my doctor which basically says that I won’t die half way through the marathon.

As a perfectly sane and rational male of the 21st century, I’ve been successfully avoiding the doctor for the last six years. Why see a doctor if I I’m invincible and can Google everything, right? And this time has been amazing. However, all good things come to an end.

In late December I surmised all my courage and dialed the local GP (General Practitioner – that’s what they call a doctor here) on my phone. I had to physically go there to fill in a form to register – it couldn’t be done online. I sort of expected to see a doctor once I handed in the application but they said it’ll take about a week to process it. Things aren’t exactly efficient here at the NHS (National Health Service).

Anywho, about two weeks later I found myself being examined by Dr K. That sounds a bit dull, so let’s call her Dr Dre. At first she was a bit puzzled about why I was there and why she had no prior medical data about me on the system. She asked me the same questions from the form I had already filled in – so much for “processing” my form.

I explained that I needed her to sign my paper so I can run in Paris. Dr Dre decided to measure my blood pressure instead. It was high. She did it again. High. And a third time. Still high. I had to come back next week. She didn’t sign anything.

I came back to see the nurse for a new reading. This time the blood pressure was lower but still high. The second and third measurements were slightly lower but not good enough. I had to book another appointment.

Today I went back to get a blood pressure thingy on my arm, which I need to have on me over the next 24 hours. It takes a reading every 20-50 minutes and buzzes and clicks as it does its magic. Each time it registers the reading and then the doctors can get an average over a day. The whole idea is to rule out white coat syndrome where my blood pressure shoots through the roof whenever I see a doctor or nurse. If it’s still high even after the 24 hours they will need to do some further more invasive tests. By the way the device scares the crap out of me every time it starts – I’m rather skeptical about whether this device will do the trick for me.

Obviously, the moment I got my new toy I went off to my acting class. I thought the other kids would never notice… The class started as usual with all of us sitting in a circle sharing ideas of any good or bad acting we’ve seen in movies/plays/theaters to share experiences and make recommendations. Then we had to put the chairs back to the walls. That’s then it started buzzing – I need to sit still and try to relax during the measuring. And the bloody thing doesn’t get its reading on the first go, or the second, or the third. It stopped making noises after the fourth try and by then everybody was staring at me thinking why is this guy ignoring the teacher’s instructions. I explained it quickly and they all now probably think that I’m dying or something. My flu and occasional coughs didn’t exactly do me any favors.

Let me fill you in on the flu as well. I ran a half marathon when it was nice and cold outside – around 2 degrees. I was sick before the race and as a completely reasonable human being I thought that a little run can’t make it any worse. Oh boy was I wrong. First of all it was a fairly crappy finishing time (1 hour 34 minutes and something) which was followed by a week of coughing my lungs out. 10/10 experience, totally worth it. 😀

I know what you’re thinking… acting!!! Where did that come from? Well, boys and girls, it gets better. I didn’t add just acting classes to my repertoire I’m also learning to sing.

The seed was planted when I started my new job as a financial adviser – a job which is quite different from anything I’ve done before. I started singing classes to add vocal variety to my speech – this will hopefully make it more interesting for my clients to listen when I talk and help me have more “presence” with my voice in meetings. The acting classes have a big improvisation component and client meetings have a big element of that – I need to learn to think on my feet, also entertain and make it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

In all fairness I thought that acting and singing would make me very uncomfortable and that it would be a massive move out of my comfort zone – but it’s not as bad as I imagined. Yes, we do things which are uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing but it gets better with practice.

My favorite part about the acting classes is watching the other kids perform an impromptu sketch. They always mess it up and it’s hilarious. The course ends with us performing a small scene where two of us are in a bunker and the world has ended due to a nuclear war.

Singing is weird. It’s not something I normally do but I quite enjoy it. I even made a YouTube playlist of videos which have lyrics on them so I can sing along. My current favorite is the Hallelujah song from the movie Shrek. A close second is Let It Go from Frozen (although it’s quite a tongue-twister). I sing when I’m sad and then I’m a little less sad. It’s amazing how that works.

The Protein Deficient Vegan