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March, 2011

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Centre of my world

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Isn’t that a phrase that we’ve all heard!? I think we all wish that someone thought of us as being the centre of their world, but interestingly enough it’s usually the guys that would be expecting too much if that was the case. I’ve noticed that it seems to be the females who always wants their partner to treat them as if they are the centre of their world or if the woman was single then she might be looking for someone who will look at her as being the centre of their world, but if it is the other way, it’s the female who would come out with words such as ‘the world doesn’t revolve around you’ or ‘you think a lot of yourself, don’t you!?’. It’s funny when this is suppose to be a world of equality, and no sexism, but there are still a substantial differences between the sexes!

I stumbled across the quote the other day which made me write the article, I was looking for a good status message for my facebook profile and the quote I found was, ‘To the world you are someone, to someone you are the world’.

But it’s interesting that there are so many of these type of quotes about, but in reality, does this really happen, certainly not in my experience.

The older you get the more responsibilities you have, and it could involve money, running a home or business, being close to your family and even having children. For some people, they would think more of their job before anything else as that is what pays the bills, and if they were career minded then everything else comes second place, so no one would be centre of their world. So many woman out their have children, so it would be their children that would be the centre of their world, so naturally everything comes second place, and for some mothers, their career would come next before they would consider any other relationship.

I guess the phrase was never really meant for relationships, although the term is used by many woman, but in reality anything can be the centre of someone’s world, but I think it’s just human nature that we all want to be the centre of someone’s world, I just think that it’s nice to think that it could be possible, but it’s unlikey with so many different things going on in all of our lives. It’s just another thing we say without too much thought, because not everything can be the centre of our worlds, instead we live by a priority list, and our ‘other halves’ from the relationship aren’t usually at the top of that list.

Be interested to see what other people’s views are…!?

Disasters across the world

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

It was devastating to hear the latest news yesterday (11 March 2011) about the magnitude earthquake yesterday measured at 8.9 in Japan, triggering a 10 metre high tsunami. This is devastating, not only with the wave of water hitting the north east coast of Japan and bulldozing houses and sweeping cars and trucks along the way, this is the worst earthquake in Japan since the Great Kanto earthquake back in 1923 which was at a magnitude of 8.3. Although there has been others since, like the one in 1995 at a magnitude of 7.2.

From this large earthquake, the tsunami also threatens other countries and coastlines such as Hawaii and New Zealand amongst others, but at least these countries have more time to prepare. So far I haven’t heard of any major damage of Hawaii or along the West Coast, but I guess there will be more news of yet things to come. I only just heard on the news today that the nuclear power plant in Japan has been badly affected by the tsunami, it’s been said that the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has exploded and there is now talk of a radiation leak, so their emergency services is going to be stretched even further to deal with these disasters.

Previous to this natural disaster, there has also been other big disasters like the Indian tsunami which was a tremor measured at a magnitude of 8.8 causing the waves to hit the India coast on boxing day 2004 that took 230,000 lives. The large waves of up to 30ft high swept the coast of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and East Africa from the powerful earthquake, and from some other information I found on the web, there was another quake further down the fault line that was measured at 8.6, I wasn’t even aware of this one and hadn’t even seen it in the news.

Last month, February 22, was the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand measured at a magnitude of 6.3. Although this wasn’t so big as the others, it still caused a huge amount of damage, with buildings colapsing causing people to be caught in the rubble. But it appears to have been worse that the 7.1 magnitude quake they had previously on the 4 September, this was another quake I wasn’t even aware of.

So what is happening to the planet, with the world economy the way it is, countries revolting against their government such as Turkey, Tunisia and Libya, and with the constant damage we are causing to the planet, with cutting down the trees and damaging the ozone layer…are we now experiencing the world fighting back, is it retaliating with the damage we have caused it?

You can’t help but think, what will be coming next? Others say with the new technology we have available now, that we only now get more up to date information with what else goes on in the world within minutes, and that these natural disasters have been going on around the world without us realising. But it was only yesterday that there was confirmation on the news that these disasters appear to be happening more frequently. When looking at the history of these quakes then you can see that’s it’s not often that we get earthquakes with a magnitude of 8 plus, so do we have more reason to be concerned, are we going to see more natural disasters in our lifetime, is the planet slowly fighting back, or are we slowly destroying it, what are we leaving behind for our children, the next generation who will have to live on this planet for longer. It really does make you wonder!

Skydiving and Parachute Jumps

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

This is an activity I’ve got into over the last couple of years, but unfortunately one that I’m not able to do as regular as I’d like, and that pretty much boils down to finding the spare time, as family commitments and even weather can be an issue for this type of adventure sport.

I first got into it many years ago when I decided to do some parachute jumps for charity, it was for cancer research, the static line parachute jumps took place in Peterborough at the Sibson airfield. I managed to do two parachute jumps but I never had the time or determination then to all the perfect jumps to then progress to the skydiving level, but things have changed since then.

AFF skydiving courses, which stand for Accelerated Free Fall, which allows people to try skydiving but you don’t jump out on your own, this is a very controlled sport, and whilst training you start with exiting the plane with two instructors holding onto you.

I decided on attempting the AFF training course after doing a couple of tandem jumps, I enjoyed it so much that I just had to attempt to at least try AFF level one. For the first level, there was practical and theory training for a day which is quite in depth, you go through how to deal with parachute malfunctions, how to check your parachute when you’re coming down, canopy control, how the parachute works such as the vents in the canopy, heading awareness, body position, how to land, when to be facing upwind or downwind. You are also even taught how to deal with emergency situations, if they were to occur such as opening your reserve shoot.

Although on the first AFF level, you still have to be taught how to exit the plane, jumping out between 13,000 and 14,000 feet, and how to stablise yourself when in the air, even though you’ll have an instructor on both sides of you checking to make sure you do all the manouvres correctly. You have to go through the full process of arching your back correctly, positioning your arms and legs properly so that you will level out when free falling, you must check the horizon and then your altimeter, turn to the instructor (secondary) on your left and shout out the reading from your altimeter, then turning to the instructor (primary) on your right and doing the same again. There are various hand signals you learn to ensure that you understand what the instructors are telling you, as there is no way you can talk at that altitude falling up to speeds of 130mph, so it’s important you know what the instructors are telling you.

Although skydiving is classed as a dangerous sport, there are some mechanisms in place to ensure your parachute opens, of course there will always be some risks, but if you were to pass out in the air or you didn’t open your main parachute in time, there is an altimeter on your parachute which will detect the speed you’re going at a specific altitude, and if you’re still travelling too fast then a small mechanism will cut the metal chord of your reserve parachute. The device is very clever and will make sure the parachute is open ready for your landing.

For me the sport is very exhilerating, liberating, and is a completely different experience to any other. For me it is very addictive that you feel you want to complete all the levels so that you can exit the plane completely on your own and skydive without any assistance, that is a very big achievement. A very big wow factor for me, that I guess is why it’s so addictive, it’s not an every day sport, it takes determination and time to work your way through the levels to eventually be rewarded with your full skydiving license.

Here is an overview of the 8 AFF levels you have to successfully complete to get your full skydiving license:

Level one – Your first skydive with two instructors, climbing out of the plane, standing at the edge, hotel check and exit count, arch on exit, HASP, 3 x PRCT’s, small circles, lock on, wave off and pull parachute chord.

Level two – still two instructors , climbing out, hotel check and exit count, arch on exit, HASP, PRCT’s (as required), team turns, altitude check, forward movement (optional), small circles, lock on, wave off and pull.

Level three – now down to one instructor, climb out, hotel check and exit count, arch on exit, HASP, PRCT’s (as required), altitude check, heading maintenance, hover control, small circles, lock on, wave off and pull.

Level four – still one instructor, climb out, hotel check and exit count, arch on exit, HAP, 90 degree turns until 6,500ft, small circles, lock on, wave off and pull.

Level five – with one instructor, climb out, hotel check and exit count, arch on exit, HAP, 360 degree turns until 6,500ft, small circles, lock on, wave off and pull.

Level six – no instructors, solo exit, climb out, hotel check and exit count, HAP, instability test, altitude check, forward movement (optional), small circles, lock on, wave off and pull.

Level seven – solo exit, climb out, hotel check and exit count, altitude check, instability test, altitude check, 2 x 360 degree turns, altitude check, forward movement, small circles, lock on, wave off and pull.

Level eight – solo exit from 5000ft, pull within 10 seconds.

Once you have completed all 8 levels and the necessary consolidation jumps, and they are happy with how you perform your freefall and under canopy, then you will be able to apply for your full skydive license. My AFF training took place at the parachute centre which was in Attleborough, Norfolk, but has now moved to the airfield in Beccles, Suffolk.

Society becoming more fickle?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Life has changed so much for most people, new generations are born into a very different society to how it was over 50 years ago, so what is it that has made things so different?

From my point of view, it’s easy to ask a variety of questions, is it the economy, are we under more pressure than we use to be, could it be with how careers and technology has evolved, more ambitions, or are we just too busy…!?

The one thing that springs to mind is that when anybody gets involved in a relationship, is that it seems that we look to see if we’re compatible, any slightest disagreements or interests that are so different, then it’s so easy to give up on it and move on to another. I think the one thing that makes us less tolerant and patient with people is due to the ease of meeting new people now. We have so many dating sites, social networks and improved communications with mobile phones and apps. Certainly over 50 years ago, this wasn’t available, so I guess meeting people was so much harder back then, so when you met someone worth staying with, you put in all the effort to make it work. Nowadays, as soon as we’re faced with problems it’s so easy for us to throw in the flannel, walk away and find someone else online. You can communicate with so many people online in any one time, which allows you to vet them before you even decide to meet them, this is a privilige we have now, that our forefathers never had!

But how do we find love and happiness? Happiness we can find in many activities and hobbie along with friendships and relationships, but how do we find love even though we could possibly be more fickle about it? Less people are getting married, and those who are choosing to get married, the divorce rate is on the increase. Has the seven year itch turned into the two year itch in these modern times!? So what does that say about love, we appear to have many more partners in a lifetime. So is love really love, or are they just strong feelings, do we put up barriers to prevent us from getting hurt so that it is easier to move on if we have to, or if we decide that the relationship isn’t working without really putting in the effort to give it a real chance?

I know that this is not the same for everyone, there are the minority that may have started in life not being hurt and given earlier relationships every chance of working, and maybe for some people who have been hurt, may have ended up resenting relationships because nobody likes feeling that way, and this is something that many people do struggle with, as it affects their friendships, work and family life, as many people around them who are close to us can be drawn into it.

I guess we shouldn’t let the old phrase affect us, ‘twice bitten, twice shy’, we all get hurt from time to time, from a relationship that may have not worked, if we think it’s worth fighting for then we should do it, if we don’t then we must learn from it, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and give it a little bit of time before looking for someone new, we all need time to reflect and recover mentally before rushing into anything new.

With social networks and dating sites allowing us to meet many new people online without leaving our sofa’s, we need to remember that occasionally it’s always good to get out and leave your home to meet people, as it’s easy for people to hide behind the computer screen and pretend to be someone you’re not. Is this where we get the idea of how people are more fickle with relationships?

Although society may be more fickle than it use to be, let’s hope that it’s just a phase and that times will change again, once peoples pressures ease off, allowing us to focus on other things in our lives again. But hey, as we all know, it’s money that is the necessary evil, and it’s money that makes the world go round!

Be interesting to know your thought, feel free to post your views.

Hapkido Martial Arts

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Hapido is still pretty new to me, but during the last year learning this very active cardiovascular form of martial arts, I’ve come to realise that you have to be very dedicated. I have been committing myself to one session per week, while others may do two or three sessions. Not only is this great for self defense but it’s great way of keeping fit, but to also learn how to relax, destress by meditating and breathing exercises. This is a very disciplined art just like other martial arts.

These classes start by 10 minutes of warming up, it’s important to warm up all your joints so that you don’t pull any muscles when you later start trying some of the hapkido moves. This may consist of a little runing, star jumps, and other exercises to help warm up your wrists, elbows, hips and knees.

This form of martial arts is a lot more active than others, Hapkido involves a lot more jumping around compared to Karate, for me, I needed something that was going to keep me moving and have me working up a sweat, as I was looking at continuing with this sport as a replacement for my cycling through the winter months.

The exercises really does get all your joints moving, learning side kicks, punches, how to hold a good firm stance, break falls, forward rolls, jump kicks and some judo moves. Regular grading gets you progressing through the different colour belts, but the order is very different to karate, and there are about three tabs on each colour belt too, starting at white as a beginner then moving on to orange, gaining three tabs before continuing on the next colour belt.

All I would say, is that this is martial arts, you can still get hurt, so you must be very carefull, so it’s still classed as a dangerous sport so best be careful, and you have been warned. I learned after a free-fighting session, when I dislocated a finger and fracturing a knuckle, at the time I didn’t think  too much of it, so I just popped my finger back in and carried on fighting, I just thought it was the right hardcore thing to do, and nobody at the time seem to be too phased about it, except for the instuctor. I had another free-fighting session before I thought it was time to talk more about what happened and whether my hand needed looking at. After the instructors realised that it was the first time it had happened and that it wasn’t a regular occurrence, they strapped my fingers together. It was only the morning after, that my fingers started looking a little grey and knuckle almost black that I have to make a trip to the doctors on the way to work, although that wasn’t enough. They sent me to A&E! It was then they found the fracture after an X-Ray, it took a while for my three fingers to heal properly especially the dislocated finger, this took a good six months…! So beware…!

This is a great sport, it well get you working up a sweat, keep you fit and help you learn some self defense too!