Manly things. Like buying TVs

Men like doing manly things.

It used to be hunting and clubbing baby seals on the ice.  Nowdays such opportunities are limited and in any case frowned on.  So what is “manly” seems to have evolved.  It includes talking about cars (ala Top Gear, er I mean the Grand Tour), barbecuing meat, and, bizarrely, gadgets and electronics.

Hold on I hear you say: geeks are not manly.  We’ll you might think so, but watch how the conversation takes off when you talk about buying a new phone, or when you say you need a new TV.

Being manly of course involves the need to demonstrate prowess and superiority.  However rather than achieving this by wrestling a black bear to the ground in the wilderness, it now seems to come from in-depth knowledge of strange acronyms, functionality, prices and of course, deals.

Whether it’s the Top Gear team running-off some obscure lineage of predecessor car models, or your friend explaining Ultra 4K HD, arcane knowledge is part A of the gold standard in manliness.

Part B obviously comes back to size.  And of course everything is a thinly disguised metaphor for your Johnson.  No, not Boris.  It is unquestioned that 60 inches is better than 42, or that 400 HP is clearly more befitting of your prowess than 120.  So in addition to arcane knowledge, its important to extol the virtues of your physical assets in a manner that implies a proportionate stature in your personal, tangible assets.

There is also a Part C: value and deals.  This is important to show that you’ve not been taken advantage of in your pursuit of size maximisation.  I may have a childish need to have the biggest thing, but at least I got it at a bargain price.  Of course, the there is the question of “what is a good deal”?  Just because the chap at Currys told you its 30% off, doesn’t mean it isn’t twice the price of Argos!  Here the internet comes into it’s own, and the truly manly can monitor the emergence of amazing deals just like a lion watching it’s prey move across the pampas.  Want to see what I mean?  Check out these TV deals.

Hold on.  Let’s take a step back.  Being manly now involves:

  • expansive knowledge of arcane product features (e.g. ingesting marketing)
  • needing to have the best / biggest / shiniest product or appendage
  • meticulously monitoring pricing and deals

This isn’t what I signed up for!  Bring back the good ol’ days when a fella could eat raw meat and then drag women back to his cave!

Ever considered sailing?

I mean, who wouldn’t want to take up a highly stressful, ultra expensive and generally unpleasant pleasant past-time?

I bought a copy of Yachting Monthly this week (hey, I was in an airport and bored, don’t judge me).  Key highlights:

  • Multi-page article on minimising sea-sickness
  • Story of someone who nearly died and started hearing voices cross the Atlantic
  • Multiple articles on how not to run aground, sink your expensive boat and kill your crew
  • Man-over-board horror stories (titles use MOB with no explanation, I guess because its that common)

Sounds fun!


But I can see it has many advantages to diving.  In diving you also spend your time trying not to die.  You can also get horrendously sea-sick.  But the cost of your equipment is small in comparison.  In sailing you can literally sink hundreds of Gs!  Unlike diving, the experience also goes on for days.  You lie awake at night, partly because your sick, partly because your wondering if the anchor is dragging and you are about to end up on the rocks.

And in between the high stress periods of the actual sailing, you get so many other benefits.  Like paying more than the cost of a new car just to moor (“park”) your boat for year somewhere vaguely accessible.  And endless maintenance and upkeep. And haulouts and cleaning. Boat owners I know spend more time doing chores for the boat than actually sailing it.  Wait, what else does that remind me of dear?

And don’t forget the glamour.  Take a dump in the heads on passage and you’ll see what I mean.  Or use the facilities at marinas that will charge through the nose but deliver bathrooms that would be considered barely passable in the Soviet gulag.

So if you are thinking of buying a boat, my sage advice is this: take up croquet instead.

The perils of not following you own advice

Ahh, hiking

So my last post explained in detail why hiking is a very bad idea.  This was motivated by the fact that SWMBO was dragging me on an impending multi-week hiking odyssey.  Well it started as a weekend, and then extended.  I’m part way through the trip, and I now have more than enough evidence to support two statements:

  1. I was 100% right: hiking is not good for you!
  2. I am an idiot for not following my own advice and skipping the trip!

I’m not going to lie, I may not survive.  Possibly that was SWMBO’s idea, it certainly would make sense of those life assurance papers that arrived last month…

I also have manged to already destroy a good chunk of the awful plasticy hiking clothes I own through wear and excessive perspiration.  My son noticed this in a photo I sent him, and sent me a link to a half price sale at Mountain Warehouse as a consolation.  Little bastard!

A quick update on progress for those of you who care about my suffering is below.


Day 2

Internet connectivity is not the best here, in fact abysmal.  Day 2 came and went as we climbed an imposing hill with what was a good view until the mist rolled in. Very pretty.  Just a shame it was the wrong hill.  A 2hr backtrack got us to the confirmed view that at each decision point check the GPS don’t just follow those in front.

Day 3

Day 3 also came and went.  The most noticeable event was when SWMBO decided to put a bandage around my failing knee. Just over the crag of a hill there I was looking down at the vista of the valley below with my Daks around my ankles with SWMBO bending down in front of me applying the bandage and I’m not sure what the guy who came over the crag thought but his retreat would suggest it was not good.

Day 4

Day 4 was pretty but much the same as the other days when the weather closed in.  But it was the first day we arrived in respectable time.

Day 5

Today was indeed our last day in the Lake District.  To wave us goodbye we were presented with a climb of  so e 4,400 feet in total with the highest hill just shy of 2,500ft.  Coming down was worse than going up but the real difference today was no rain see attached view, but it did increase the swear levels.

Knee seems to be holding up, given away the bandage for fear of upsetting further hikers and replaced with 2 knee brace bandages which I wear one on top of the other.  Also the anti-inflamatories  make a big difference.

3 reasons why hiking is bad for you

The hiking conundrum

Hiking is bad for you

Huge technological advancements over the last century mean that mankind should nowadays be spared the indignity of long distance travel on foot.  We have mass produced transport options largely affordable to all in the developed world. Cars, bikes, buses, trains, helicopters, airplanes, hoverboards.  You name it, we have invented it.

And yet, we still seem to be beset with a plague called hiking.  Sell inflicted pain in the name of enjoying nature.

You guessed it, this was a hiking weekend, apparently because of the good weather.  “Damn chaps, it’s actually a pleasant day.  How could we be miserable?  I know, let’s cram backpacks full of heavy items and then carry them for 20 kilometers up and down hills.”

As we walked today I was reminded of my older and wiser cousin’s thoughts on the subject which I failed to heed.  Keith’s thoughts were “..having walked a fair portion of Hadrian’s wall 2 weeks ago……(and)  having recently achieved this goal, I feel highly qualified to offer some good advice when walking the cliffs and crags in the north. Don’t do it.

With this motivation in place, I feel compelled to offer you my top three tips on why hiking is bad for you, and that your general sanity and disposition would be better served with a cold beer on the sofa.

Three reasons why hiking is bad for you

1. Hiking is good for your health

Hiking is sustained moderate exercise, good for your cardio-vascular system and is recommended by doctors for most people.  It reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems.  Sustained exposure even reduces the risk of diabetes and cancer, and increases energy levels.

This is problematic.  It likely means you will:

  • Live longer and contribute to the pension deficit and aging population problem.
  • Continue emitting green-house gases, contributing to global warming and destroying the planet.
  • Grand-children who don’t even know your first name will have to spend years of their lives visiting you for some reason unknown to them, and you won’t even be able to afford proper Christmas presents given you have to spread your savings over a long lifetime.

2. Hiking burns calories and will reduce your weight

It took me years to develop a solid gut that I could grab with both hands while rolling around in my lazy-boy arm chair laughing.  I’m talking about hard graft, excessive drinking and a carefully curated selection of high energy foods and snacks across a prolonged multi-decade period.  I have to be very careful about preserving this asset.  It may even be the source of all my power.

3. Hiking seriously undermines your fashion taste and judgement

Hiking wear.  Plasticky, “breathable” clothing.  Lycra.  Carrying around strange skiing poles.  Backpacks with cups and bottles dangling from the side.  Most of it isn’t even necessary to get the job done.  And then, slowly but surely, it makes its way from the mountain side and field into general weekend wear.  And then before you know it, you are wearing comfortable sports apparel to garden parties and bbqs.  You know it’s true.

Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.

Scientific fact: women dig funny men

There maybe debate about how funny I am.  But there is no debate that funny guys get action.  And now science has affirmed this fact to.

A study, by no lesCareys than the Stanford University School of Medicine, has monitored the brain activity of men and women, and confirmed female brains are hardwired to respond to humor and view it as a predictor of familial bliss.  Apparently women have evolved to appreciate humor.  I guess that’s the only way anyone could put up with me.

No, I’m not making this up – check out this Telegraph article.

Of course, they don’t seem to define humor.  Let me be clear: The Big Bang Theory is not funny.