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Friday, October 03, 2014

Comic Cuts - 3 October 2014

At last... Arena is due out any day now and I can finally sit back and relax.

No, no I can't, because I'm trying to finish off the Harry Bensley/Iron Mask e-book and get to grips with a first draft of another book. And I've got to sort out the next print title from Bear Alley Books. So that'll be why I don't feel especially relaxed.

That said, I have medical evidence that my blood pressure isn't a problem. I had to take a trip down to our local GP mid-week so they could run a couple of tests to see what my chances of having a heart-attack or a stroke were. Coming from a family with a history of high blood-pressure—most of my family rattle from all the pills they take to resolve the problem—I thought that might be the thing I was pulled up on. But no.

While Lynn, who was doing the testing, seemed happy that I was losing weight, although we both agreed that there was a long way to go, and was surprised and pleased with my blood pressure—down from the last time it was taken when it was the high end of OK—she was not happy with my cholesterol levels. My level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), "bad cholesterol", was double the maximum it should be while my levels of HDL, "good cholesterol", was half the minimum it should be.

I've got to go back for another test on Monday week to check my sugar levels and they'll also do a more refined cholesterol test. In the meantime, I'm advised to eat less burgers and more oily fish. And looking through the British Heart Foundation booklet Eating For Your Heart—a brilliant title for a horror novel—it seems that everything I like (sausages, bacon, ham... most pig-based products, in fact) should be eaten only in moderation.

Part of the problem is that I tend to eat cheap processed meats packed with salt and saturated fats. Now, I've changed my diet slightly in an effort to lose weight, but I may have to make some further changes. Looking at the pie-chart showing "The balance of good health", I noticed that potato is listed amongst the superfoods... and so is bread... which means chip butties must be doubly super. Mel says that's not how it works but I say it's there in black & white.

And Lynn says that I'm only supposed to eat processed meats "rarely" but refused to define how often "rarely" is. Longer than once a week, I asked... longer than once every nine days? eleven days? I never did get a straight answer. So I went to our old friend Google Search and asked it "How often is rarely?" and got the following answer, from the Speak English Today website which defines the most common frequency adverbs with an actual numerical value:
Always—100% of the time; Frequently—about 90% of the time; Usually—about 80% of the time; Often—about 70% of the time; Sometimes—about 50% of the time; Occasionally—about 40% of the time; Seldom—about 20% of the time; Rarely—about 10% of the time; and Never—0% of the time.
From this we discover in practical terms how often I'm allowed to eat meat: 10% of the time. Some might define this as meaning once every ten days; they are wrong, because logic tells us that the actual figure is around 2½ hours out of every 24 hour period.

And this is how you scientifically prove that it's time for a bacon sandwich.

Most of the week has been spent split between two projects that fall under the heading of "Rogues Gallery" projects. Harry Bensley is one of them. I've now received the last of the certificates that I needed to finish the rewrite—during my research I discovered that one of Harry's "wives" had a second child but I needed the birth certificate to prove it; and there was a stray marriage that looked suspiciously like it might have been Harry. Of the two guesses I was right 50% of the time or "sometimes" on our frequency scale.

Our weekend was "usually" concerned with Mel's ongoing birthday celebrations; we were "often" out for lunch (probably why my cholesterol levels were huge) and I only "seldom" managed to get any work done. Hence the lack of posts this week. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday hacking away at Harry Bensley/Iron Mask. The revised version runs to about 12,800 words at the moment and I'm trying to fact check everything written before I put it out.

I want to get straight onto the next Bear Alley Books book. I've a reasonably firm idea of what I want to do, so it's just a case of making sure I have all the strips I need to put the book together.

It's the end of the tomato season and our two plants were looking so withered that I've consigned them to the compost. For two spindly, overgrown pot plants, they supplied us with dozens of tomatoes over the summer. The grand total was 235, of which 172 were cherry tomatoes. This is our best haul ever and almost certainly down to the long, dry summer.

Random scans. I picked up the first book in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series—entitled Rivers of London—and have managed to pick up the next couple of books over the last fortnight. I've yet to read any of them (I have a vast pile of books already teetering on my bedside table that are going to be the "next" book I read), but I'll let you know what I think when I do.

As I trawl through charity shops every week, I tend to pick up books for other people. Mostly for my Mum, who has been reading an awful lot of books since she retired. I've recently been picking up the Inspector Lynley novels penned by Elizabeth George but now that I've run out of those to buy, I've started buying any novel I can find by Ann Cleeves, especially her Vera Stanhope and Shetland (Jimmy Perez) novels. I've been a fan of both characters since they first appeared on TV in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Mel, who has managed to read a couple of the books before I pass them on, tells me they are highly readable. More books that I need to put some time into.

Next week may again be patchy. I have a couple of things in for review, so I'll hopefully do that over the weekend. And hopefully people who have already pre-ordered the Arena book will be receiving their copies around this time next week.

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