Race for Life – three weeks to go!

Just a quick one before I head off to work. On Sunday July 20th I will be taking part in the Race for Life at Westpoint in Exeter, alongside fellow Slimming World members from my old Monday night group.

Please sponsor me!

I’m doing the race this year for my Mum, who is recovering from bowel cancer, my old pal from Notts Jackie K, who has also kicked cancer’s arse and, yes, I’m also doing it for me. Two years ago I signed up to do the race in Nottinghamshire. But I was too unfit to go through with it, so I chickened out at the last minute. Now, over 10 stones lighter and walking at least a mile a day anyway, it seems like a good way to celebrate how life has changed.

I wanted to get a Sports Racer t-shirt but I doubt it would arrive in time for the race. Maybe one of these would work just as well…

Any support you can offer through sponsorship would be greatly appreciated and rest assured Michael will be waiting at the finish line with his G9, filming me at the end.

Good luck to everyone else doing the race, and well done to everyone who’s done it so far. Looking forward to joining you all.

Slimming World – 20th June 2008

Week four in my new Thursday night group, and I’m already feeling the benefits of Katrina’s full-tilt, gung-ho, I’m gonna get you to target if it kills me, you and wipes out half of Tiverton spirit. Some Consultants take the comforting, gentle approach which works well with nervous newbies (me, last year). Katrina however, bless her heart, gives it so much passion and welly that you can’t help but run out of her group screaming…

> Grrrrarrrr! I’m gonna take over the world!

And it’s that all-guns-blazing spirit that’s going to take me to my target weight of… er… um… haven’t quite decided that one yet.

Anyway, on Thursday night I was fired up once more by a 3 and a half pound weight loss, taking my total weight loss back over 10 stone and seeing off almost all of the amount I gained around my birthday. So when Katrina asked who was up for a challenge, my response was…

> Grrrrarrrr! Bring it ON!

She passed around a bag, containing stars with numbers on them. Each number represented a challenge on Katrina’s Challenge Board – because all good Consultants are part coach, part counsellor and part game show host. As Image Therapy kicked off, she revealed the challenges on the board. They were:

  1. Eat at least 5 pieces of fruit or veg every day before any syns.

  2. Drink at least 4 glasses of water each day.

  3. Use a food diary, honestly, for 7 days.

  4. Have at least 10 different Healthy Extra B’s this week.

  5. Speed food – each day have at least 5 ‘S’ or ‘SS’ foods

  6. No more than 10 syns each day for the next 7 days.

  7. Cook a new Slimming World recipe this week. (can be a simple one!)

  8. Do at least two Success Express days.

  9. Donate £1 to charity for each pound gained.

And finally…

  1. Katrina will give you £1 for each pound you lose!

Not surprisingly, there was only one star in the bag with number 10 on it. I drew number 7. But, as I was fired up and ready for action, cooking a new recipe just didn’t feel like enough, I felt the need to up the ante. So I threw down the gauntlet and offered a challenge of my own… If I manage challenges 1 through 8, then I qualify for challenge 10. She accepted my challenge and I ran away from the group screaming…

> Grrrrarrrr! Guess that buggers up my plans for going to the chippy tonight!

I’m now on day four of this insane mega slimming challenge and I have to say that for the most part it’s going rather well. It just requires a great deal more thought than usual, especially now I’m working on challenge 8 and trying to get my head around Success Express (that’s when you divide your plate up into thirds and have Original and Green in the same meal). So far, so good, so get your chequebook out, chief! Or pay me in HiFi Bars, either’s good.

So yeah, fired up and ready to rock. The only thing I need is some backing music. And when I think about pushing up the ante, only one song springs to mind. When you’re ready, Mr Kilminster:

Selling through PhotoShelter

Following a link from an ad on The Show, I had a look around PhotoShelter on Friday, and decided to apply.

Happy Frog

I submitted ten images, but didn’t actually regenerate them to match their requirements. After reading their standards later, they should have been saved with AdobeRGB, not sRGB, should have been output at a higher JPEG quality level, shouldn’t have been sharpened, and shouldn’t have had their colours played with as much as I did.

So, I’m quite pleased that they accepted three of the images, which can now be bought for use as stock photos. If you want to see what got accepted, here’s my photo page. I’ve submitted a few more now, so hopefully some of those will join the initial three soon.

Submitting the images wasn’t too difficult – very similar to uploading to Flickr. For generating images with the right settings, I’ve made a new export profile in LightRoom, and I’m creating second versions of some images so I can do more colour tweaking and add vignettes for the copes that I’ll put on Flickr, while keeping the ones for PhotoShelter a bit cleaner.

Why PhotoShelter rather than one of the many microstock sites? A few reasons:

  • Most microstock sites I’ve looked at have very precise standards for submitted photos, with many wanting really huge files. That’s extra time and effort to produce the files, and extra time to upload each one.
  • Very small payouts. They are geared up for selling images as many times as they can, but the payment per sale is usually only a few cents.
  • Most will only accept ‘perfect’ images, with very little style to them.

I’d end up spending a lot of time and effort doing the sort of photography I don’t really enjoy, with relatively little reward.

PhotoShelter seems to have a chance of more payout, though that remains unknown until one or more of my photos actually sells, but they accept images of they type I actually enjoy taking.

Funky Moped

I had a couple of days off this week, so I walked with Sam as she was going to work, then walked back home. We walked around by the River Exe on Thursday morning, to kill a little time before Sam needed to be at work. Someone had disposed of a rusted old moped by parking it in the river.

I can never resist photographing rusty things.

Old Moped and Beagle

A couple more:

Old Moped in the River Exe

Moped Silhouette in the River Exe

Kitten Cuddling at the Blue Cross

Sam and I volunteer at the local Blue Cross animal shelter, giving the animals some social time. Yes, they need people to volunteer to walk dogs and play with cats and kittens.

This weekend, we were having big problems with PigPog, so we didn’t have as long as we usually do. We decided to skip the dogs, and just do the cats. The cats had recently had some play time, so they asked if we’d mind playing with kittens instead.

Well, alright then. If we must.

Step in to My Office

The first bunch were lively, and wanted to explore everything. Some of the others didn’t want to get out of bed, so we had to crawl on the floor to get to them. All good fun, though. More pictures:

Exploring

O HAI

I used flash for the first three, but it seemed to be making them nervous, so I turned it off. I got very few decent shots after that, but they did occasionally stay still for a second or two.

Er, Hi

This Bed is Gritty

Tired Kittin

Sound like fun? Contact your local Blue Cross centre – they’re very grateful for volunteers, even if you are only doing the most fun things.