We are more alive than ever

Wedding went really well. Everyone had a great time and the axe cut very cleanly through the cake. My voice was mostly back for the big day. All went to plan. Some very moving speeches and generous gifts. A really great way to share our love. The honeymoon in Spain also very pleasant, strong Andalusian experience throughout. Went to Seville, Granada and Marbella for 2 weeks and tried living as locally as possible. Would definitely go back for Cadiz and Cordoba in the future. I am rekindling the feeling by playing Blasphemous, a game developed by some guys in Seville and based off Goya’s work.

I am settling into married life with Mrs. Gainz. You definitely feel different when you are married, there’s much more meaning in even the small things. Getting a new shed shortly which I will use as a modelling room eventually, and will house a clothes dryer once we run power out to it. We have managed to keep the weight off/on so far. All is going well, but a malaise with work hit us hard the last few weeks, so we are planning on heading away to the Far East for 3 months next year. Japan, Korea, Taiwan and perhaps mainland China.

A much loved dog of a close friend was buried recently. It was the dog that got me over my fear of dogs. The two pigeons who browsed our garden have returned. I finished all of last years wood in the fire – it dried out really beautifully over the year and split at the ends. Made a knife. A friend got engaged. The hatchet my best friend got me a few years got some good use in the coldest and wettest November for a while. I am still training 2-3 times a week, but tweaked my back moving awkward IT in an office move. So that’ll take some rehabbing to recover.

I am going for the AWS Security Specialism in 2 weeks, and I’ll probably get a CISSP next year all going well. I feel like security is where I want to be with my background in IT, Law and audit.

I am hoping Advent lets me rekindle the strong feelings I had this year as I prepared for marriage in the church.

last post as a single man

Voice is nearly 100% again. Successfully bridal carried the Falcon in a test run. Last few days before the wedding, all coming together. Feeling excited now. Had a really spectacular meal in town Wednesday, drank some Alsace pinot gris from 2017, the year we were there. We literally walked through the vinyard it was harvested in, that was cool. A really powerful, full bodied white, so good with food. The old vine stuff we brought back from 2017 I took out of storage, going to serve 2 pinot gris and a Riesling at top table for dinner, and a muscat for dessert. Hoping it goes well with the food, and doesn’t get guzzled by my mam.

The suggestion to back off and do more volume is working well, took the zercher squats to 10×5 @50KG, and my 3×5 @70KG yesterday was very easy. It has paid off as I was able to bridal carry the Falcon who is now about 74KG, having lost an amazing 15KG. I am about 77KG, so haven’t actually gained much, but have gone from 22%bf to 20%bf according to the scales. Not going to be training for a while I don’t think, will do what I can while I’m away on honeymoon. Very handy having that strength, had to move three couches into the house today from the in-laws. A very direct transfer from the zercher squats. No damage from the hurricane that hit Ireland, thank god.

I have been brushpainting little pieces of scatter terrain, trying to make more natural pieces and less grotesque ones:


saying “I do”


Slight hiccup in the wedding preparations. I got laryngitis and I’ve lost my voice for the last 5 days. It keeps getting worse too: more pain and less voice. Totally mute now. I had laryngitis around Christmas last year, took me 5 weeks to get my voice back. Yesterday, I did the needful and went to the doc who prescribed steroids. So hopefully this kills it as I’m just over 2 weeks to the wedding. I have been off work, and I’ve been using espeak in linunx to talk at the house. The Falcon is sending around videos of me using the webapp, inviting people to the wedding.

I used Powershell in the past to make computers “talk” and answer questions for a bring-your-family to-work day. Now it’s looking like a possibility I have to dig that out for my wedding. There is a Microsoft Sean as an option.

This stems from a viral infection I had 2 weeks ago, but I mentally can’t rule out nerves. My dad when he was married had his ring finger swell up so much they could barely get it. Maybe it’s a family thing.

Losing my voice kind of sucks, but there’s nothing I can do but rest it as long as needed.


or like taking mdma and getting fingered on the dancefloor by someone you can’t even see

Passed the AWS SysOps Associate exam. Much easier than I had expected, think the Solutions Architect exam beforehand prepared me well for it. Also learned some things I’ve applied in work, which is a relief. My message of continual improvement and automation is coming through. We are starting to make progress. Incidentally, a previous job I applied for is still interested in me, will see how that turns out. Would be a nice move to the cybersecurity field I always wanted to be in. But also worried about losing the physical elements of the sysadmin job I enjoy.

More medium term, I would like to be self-employed once again. Chatting with people has made me miss that sense of agency and involvement with work.

I survived the stag. The rubber NBC suit was way too hot to drink and move around in. Definitely made me feel for anyone who had to train in it. Made me consider the plight of the stalkers running, fighting and not showering in the Zone… rubber really seals in the flavour.

Training going well – managed to progress my OHP to 3×6 @40kg , my bench to 3×6@60kg, by DB reverse lunge to 3×5@30kg and my zercher squat to 3×5@60kg  with plenty in the tank. Unfortunately I can only make 10KG jumps in the office gym as there are no smaller plates. Not sure how to program the OHP for progress now – maybe do lots of set of 3x40kg? I don’t really want to be ‘that guy’ with the fractional plates under his desk. Haven’t been able to bulk and have been losing weight throughout, so any kind of progress is welcome here. Once the wedding is over, I can bloatmaxx like the old days again. The Power Perfect 2s are getting good use, glad I kept them through the brokeback mountain days. Eventually the time would come again to be under a load.

Wedding getting very close. Have to drop a lot of stuff. Airbrush broke on the weekend, narrowed it down to the switch not getting power. A replacement relay switch will take a month or two to come from China. So I am chosing the dad path over the gamer path.

Ran a STALKER game recently – likely the last for a while.

bend over, this won’t hurt

Still lifting, still not snapped my shit up yet. Done a fair amount of stretching and feeling much more mobile. Reached the heaviest DBs in the gym for goblet squats, now zercher squatting instead.

After so much fear about allowing any bend in my lumbar spine, I have been slowly adding lumbar flexion in for cable rows and enjoying less pain and weakness overall. I am not at the stage of adding in good mornings yet, but I think Celiax is right in saying you’re meant to move it. Also light deadlifting has helped.

Wedding approaches and with it the wife lift. Don’t think I can get into a wider zercher squat position in a tux, however. My stag also approaches – an array of rubber NBC suits, forced hikes, funnelling beer through a gas mask and shooting awaits if the pictures in the Whatsapp group are anything to go by. Things seem tamer these days: in the 80s, my dad’s friend ended up chained naked to a railing on the first ferry to England. My dad narrowly avoided being kidnapped for his stag, managed to get out of the city.

Bought some more Warhammer as a hedge against Brexit, figure these kits will only go up in price as time goes on so am saving money. It’s practically an investment.

AWS Sysops exam approaches next week. Scoring fairly highly on the practice exams, but feel “wrong” somehow studying for tests when I should be automating my work environment. But there’s a limit to how much you can care.

Haven’t had time to run a STALKER game, it’s on hiatus for now.

wife carrying mk2

I have been in the new job now about 5 weeks, not enjoying it. Was promised it would be 80% cloud computing, 20% internal support. It’s been about 70% internal support, and IT helpdesk stuff crops us when you need 2-4 hour blocks to complete a project. The constant switching on my attention is really annoying me. People are nice, gym is great. Won’t complain too much about it, commute is 20 mins in the car.

Wedding is coming up in about 2 months, planning is going well. The Falcon has been doing that CBT weightloss app Noom, has really helped with her emotional eating. She’s also been getting to the gym twice a week. As a result, she is down to a healthy weight, losing an impressive 12KG in 16 weeks, but even better, she has changed her behaviour and understands portion size better. So hopefully this is something that sticks.

I am back in the gym doing a crappy 3×5 AB split until I stop linear progression, supersetting the first two exercises.

A DB Lunge, incline DB Bench, rowing, Glute work

B Goblet squat, OHP, glute bridge

With pullups coming in somewhere once or twice a week.

Lunge is up to 20KG DBs, cable rowing 40kg x12, DB bench up to 20kg. Goblet squat at 25KG. OHP at 40kg.

Currently fairly pain free which is nice. Still too inflexible for squatting and deadlifting, these produce too much pain. Doing yoga twice a week which is helping, but walking a lot less which is bad. I was down to about 77KG and 19% bf unintentionally. Think I can keep progressing the lifts if I have my diet and sleep down without bloating out too much. Stretching a lot more which has helped my low back pain.

I plan to lift the new wife over the threshold, so I should be able to hit that goal in 2 months. This is psychologically important to me – the wedding is a fraught threshold for many things and I would like to put my best foot forward.

homeowning = anabolic?

Multiple people reported I am looking juicier. Probably down to the pullups and dips. Up to 12 pullups on the bar now. Once I get to 15 I can start weighting them. 3×12 on the straight bar dips at the park too. The Falcon has barred me from doing anything gymnastic on the rings until I get a crashmat. She doesn’t want me dying.

Since stopping cycling so much, I dropped 2KG to 78KG. Legs lost a bit of size in the 6 weeks. Down to 20%bf based on scales. Can’t help but think weightloss has helped the body weight stuff. Looking forward to getting into the gym in the new job – will certainly help being able to row with barbells and maybe start squatting and deadlifting again, Ripptoe-willing. Back not too bad these days, trying to keep the hamstrings stretched and some glute isolation.

Garden is coming alive – pulled out a 1.8m weed there last weekend. Garden gets a great amount of sun as it’s south-facing – but I am cutting the back lawn too infrequently and having to hammer it. Left a large section wild for the bees and birds until last week. Front gets less sun, so it’s easier to manage. May have to go weekly on the back lawn. We now recognize the magpies and crows that come by. Still much to do. Supplementing with fish oil again, haven’t been getting that much sun as weather mixed. Good for grass, less good for IT workers.

Played a big Warhammer game recently and painted some pieces I had in the to-do pile for a long time. Happy with the results, think you’re always better off trying than not trying.

Nevertheless have been struggling trying to keep all the plates spinning between home, life and changing job. Should start getting easier soon.