Monthly Archives: July 2010

IM Nail and Metal Detectors

One thing I forget to mention in my previous updates about the recovery process of having an intramedullary nail (IM Nail) in my lower left leg was my first experience of going through airport security.

About a month ago I went to Spain on a stag do and I was quite intrigued and anticipating when I got to London Gatwick airport to see what would happen when I went through the metal detector. As I stepped through I was waiting for the alarm/beep, but it never came.

I was actually disappointed and wanted the alarm to go off as it would be like a vindication for the pain and having all that metal in my leg.

So, no, an IM Nail does not set off metal detectors at the airport.

A Ghost on Hampstead Heath?

Although I’ve lived in London for 11 years I’d not been to Hampstead Heath, so last Saturday I decided to correct this. I took a number of photos on my phone and when I transferred them to my PC I noticed one of them contained something a little unusual.

Do you know the unwritten rules of modern communication?

With the proliferation of communication mechanisms in the last 20 years you will have noticed and conformed to as well broken the unwritten etiquette of modern communication.

For example, if someone communicates to you using a certain form of communication, e.g. Email, then you are expected to respond using the same form of communication or something higher up on the hierarchy.

The communication hierarchy is as follows:

Do people still write letters?!

If you respond with a lower form of communication, e.g. one person calls and leaves a voicemail and the other emails back, then the first person might feel snubbed, but it will depend, of course, on the nature/content of the message.

However, the communication hierarchy has an almost inverse correlation to the unwritten social convention of how quickly you are meant to respond to the various forms of communication without seeming rude.

The following table outlines the amount of time with which you are meant to respond to a general ‘how are you doing?’ contact:

Type of Contact Acceptable Response Time
SMS/Text Message Within 24hrs
Missed Call (with Voicemail) Within 2 days
Missed Call (No Voicemail) Within 6 days
Email Within 5 days
Letter Within a month
IM Message No response actually required

These response times can be considerably reduced depending on who is communicating to you and the nature of the communication, for example, if it is your partner, your boss or your mum!

Normally we instinctively know these rules but we all occasionally get them wrong, or some have different views of what the rules are, and then we end up offending someone.

Some people prefer to use certain forms of communication, e.g. my mate Alex always calls and practically never texts, where another Kim always texts and never calls.

We all know people who are particularly poor at responding to any sort of messages. I have one friend like this, but they do it to everyone so some think this is okay. I don’t. I think not responding to a communication shows lack of consideration and respect.

It doesn’t matter how busy you are everyone can spare the few seconds it takes to email or text a friend ‘Hey, how’s it going? Super busy at the moment but will be in touch in a few weeks’.

We have all been offended by someone else’s poor communication, but do we have a right to be upset with them if the rules are unwritten?

Me and My IM Nail Part 5 – 6mths since the Op

<< Me and My IM Nail Part 4 (5mths on)

Me and My IM Nail Part 6 (1 year on) >>

In January 2010 I broke my left tibia and fibula and had an operation to have an Intramedullary Nail (IM Nail) inserted. The doctor at the time told me, I thought rather vaguely at the time, it would be “6 months before you could do the things you want to do”.

It’s now been 6 months since the operation and I can confirm the doctor was right. I can do the things I want to do, but the leg does not feel like it is completely normal and back to full strength and capability. This is not the end of recovery; there is still some progress to be made.

The leg is really starting to feel like a normal leg. I have finally lost my limp and this was confirmed by my physio and friends are very impressed with how easily I’m walking about.

Me with a couple of friends as I am stretchered away from Clapham Junction where I had the accident

I started jogging 2 weeks ago. Not on the treadmill, but proper jogging in my local park, Clapham Common. I just did 10mins and it was at a very slow pace. When I finished I felt so elated to have been able to do this and my leg felt fine as I walked home.

My physio recommended, after hearing of my initial 10mins run, to do 3 runs of 10mins every other day (to give the leg time to rest) to see if the leg was able to cope without any problems and then to slowly build it up from there.

I didn’t quite follow her instructions and have increased each run by 2.5mins and yesterday did a 20mins jog. I’m a lot slower than I used to be, at the moment, and it takes me 11mins to reach a marker I used to do in 10mins. I’m really quite unfit as have not been to the gym in ages, but in a way this is good as if I was fitter I would be tempted to run for longer and maybe push the leg too hard too soon.

My visit to the physio last week ended up being my last visit, touch wood, as she gave me the all clear. I still have physio exercises to do:

  • 3 sets of standing on tip toes 15 times on my bad leg and once this is quite easy, to start hopping
  • One-legged (on bad leg) lunges or rather lowering my body through bending my left knee
  • Using the wobble cushion (see below)

My physio recommended buying a wobble cushion as she said the receptors in your ankle basically go to sleep when they aren’t being used for some time and standing on a wobble cushion helps wake them up and will prevent you from falling over when on uneven ground. This type of rehabilitation is sometimes referred to as proprioception or proprioceptive re-education.

Firstly, you stand with both feet on the cushion and try to maintain your balance. Hopefully you will find this quite easy. To make it harder, try closing your eyes whilst doing it. It’s amazing how much you rely on your eyes for balance. With your eyes closed it just the receptors in your ankle giving information to your brain about how to stay balanced. Then try it with one leg (the bad one) on the cushion and then with your eyes closed.

I still have my scars and bruise from the accident and kneeling on my left leg is not really an easy thing or comfortable thing to do. A friend of mine who went through the same thing just over 18mths ago thought perhaps he would not be able to kneel properly ever again and then gradually he was able to.

Walking down stairs is easy but I am still very aware of my leg’s limitations and it doesn’t feel quite natural.

As it is 6mths since the operation I thought it might be useful to reflect on the recovery period so far.

I feel I worked really hard and put a lot of effort in the first 3-4 months, but after that either my will or energy seemed to diminish. Once I was basically able to move about (although with a limp), work and socialise I stopped trying so hard. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just sort of happened that way.

I think I was really trying hard to beat the 6mths recovery time and when I realised I wasn’t able to, particularly when the physio told me I shouldn’t start running yet, I lost some of my motivation. But this could be a good thing in a way as I know others who have pushed themselves too hard and that has ultimately led to a delay in their recovery.

However, I am pleased to report to anyone else who is or about to go through the same thing that after 6 months I really do feel quite good and, as the doctor told me, I can do all the things I want to do.

In January, now (as in July) seemed so far away and I didn’t want to think about all I had to go through to get there. Although the pain largely goes away, it is still sore and you are reminded of your leg problem pretty much the whole time, in every step you take, when you lie down, having a shower, etc. That is not the case anymore, thankfully. Yes, I am still quite often physically and psychologically aware of my leg’s limitations, but this seems to lessen by the day.

My advice to those recovering still remains the same, you should be very short sighted and set yourself small goals to achieve, try not to look a long way into the future.

Me and My IM Nail Part 6 (1 year on) >>

Have you even been to a private detective or investigator?

To me, private detectives are people you just see in the movies and on TV. Recently, I got chance to meet one.

Someone I know is having relationship issues and suspected, very strongly suspected, their partner of cheating on them. They decided they needed to know for sure and engaged the services of a private investigation agency (London-based Flyonthwall Investigation and Surveillance Services).

For moral support, I was invited along to their meeting with their potential investigation case manager and although it is a difficult time for my friend I was absolutely fascinated by the process and excited to meet a real life private detective.

Rather than meeting in an office, they offered an option of meeting at my friend’s place or at a coffee shop or bar they knew or felt comfortable in. My friend chose to have the meeting in a bar in central London and the detective was there waiting for us and my first reaction was, and it sounds silly to say, that he looked nothing like a private investigator. I guess he would not be good at his job if it was obvious to everyone.

The meeting was simply a consultation meeting for my friend to discuss their situation and for the investigator to outline what they do, how they work and what the costs would be. I was very impressed with the detective’s approach and the compassionate yet professional manner with which they treated my friend.

It is clearly an emotional and traumatic time for my friend and through their experience, the detective was able to give practical advice and talk through the consequences of the results of the investigation. They explained that unlike in the movies they do not break and enter hotel rooms but offer services that operate within the law and a set of ethics.

At no time was my friend pressured or even encouraged to begin an investigation, it was completely down to them and the detective simply explained what the services were without any obvious salesmanship taking place. My friend had already decided to go ahead with the investigation but the detective offered them more time to consider the decision.

The investigation did go ahead and, although I was not involved directly, my friend told me that it was carried out very professionally and sensitively. The outcome of the investigation was as they expected, unfortunately, and the detective agency provided them with a comprehensive report that could be used as evidence in a divorce proceeding.

Overall I was very impressed by the service provided by Flyonthewall Investigation and Surveillance Services who really did help my friend rather than exploiting her traumatic relationship situation.

My England Manager Application

by Jake McMillan

Feb 2012 UPDATE: Following the resignation of Capello, read my latest England Manager application to the FA

After England’s miserable performance at this year’s World Cup in South Africa I decided to offer my services to the FA (Football Association). Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Alex Horne, Acting Chief Executive.


Dear Alex,

I will come straight to the point, England’s performance at the World Cup was simply not up to scratch and so I now feel compelled to put myself forward for the position of England Manager and set out the reasons below why I can guarantee success for our national team.

Now is the time to begin new and afresh, to bounce back with a mentally stronger and more able England team. I will deliver this for you.

Completely ignoring my exceptional value (which I’ll get to later), I guarantee achieving success and returning England to a world-leading powerhouse national team, rather than a last 16/quarter-final team as it currently is. In short, I will make the current team actually deliver.

If some of the best footballing minds and managers have not been able to do this, then how will a Consultant from South London be able to achieve such a feat? This would be a cynical view that discounts my multitude of talents and ignores my revolutionary new footballing tactics that the world has never seen before.

The first point I would like to address is the management style and approach. I strongly believe in a disciplined yet highly motivational style of management. Think Gordon Ramsey with less swearing and more vol au vents.

I am of the belief that England players should become more arrogant and cocky. As well as my motivational management style building confidence in the players, I will arrange secret injections of the testicles of each of the players with a safe saline solution to make them larger. This will give them the confident swagger they need to show on the field and also help protect them in free kick situations.

At present, the England Team shows far too much respect to other national squads and I will stop this immediately. I intend to lead by example and will smear my own poo on the opposition dressing room door , their team bus and some of their coaching staff before each game.

To achieve ultimate competition success I will deploy a cunning series of innovative footballing tactics that I have devised. I do not wish to give away my tactics gratis, but the following examples give a flavour of a new approach never yet exploited.

A) Midfield, what is it good for? As a keen student of the game for many years now, I have observed that many of the players can kick the ball quite far and with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Therefore, the requirement of a midfield is negated and once you have removed the midfield you open up a large number of formation and tactical options for attack and defence. To use just one example, a 5-0-5 formation offers super protection at the back whilst also providing many opportunities to outnumber the oppositions defence.

B) The Tank – This attacking formation sees the player with the ball surrounded by all his teammates, thereby protecting him from tackles by the other team. The tank formation allows direct penetrative attacks that can cut through opponent teams and require no footballing skills whatsoever.

C) Formation Switching – To ensure that the opposition remains confused and unable to learn or defend against our system, we will implement a large number of formation switches during a game at random moments. For example, on a given signal all players will suddenly play on the right hand side of the pitch. If executed correctly, this will bewilder opponents and open up scoring opportunities. Other formations to be used in switching include:
(i)  Line Formation: The players adopt a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 formation down the centre of the length of the pitch
(ii) Crazy Legs: Players will use no formation at all and run around randomly like a group of mad badgers
(iii) Phallic: the players will form the shape of a male reproductive organ, including the testicles but without the pubic hair
(iv) Barricade: the 10-0-0 formation will be used for maximum defence, which will lull the opposition into a false sense of security and leave them vulnerable to the counter attack
(v) Circle: the players will surround the opposition in a large circle and gradually reduce the size of the circle, drawing all play into the centre circle

D) Underhand Tactics – these, of course, should not be allowed, but every team uses them (e.g. diving, timewasting, etc.) and so I intend to bend the rules as much as they will allow without breaking them to ensure we have a tactical and psychological advantage:
(i) multi-ball – at strategic moments 30 or so footballs will be thrown onto the pitch creating confusion whilst our player with the actual ball proceeds forward into a scoring position.
(ii) shorts-pulling – shirt pulling is common place in the 18 yard box, why has not shorts pulling being tried? This is a far more effective technique, especially with increasingly vain footballers, who will forget their defending assignments to pull up their shorts and protect their modesty rather than the goal.
(iv) magnets – I have spent a great deal of time and research into the use of magnets in football and certain applications will create match-winning possibilities. We will insert small magnets into the football and place magnets with the same polarity into the gloves of the opposition goalkeeper meaning that he will never be able to catch the football due to the repelling nature of the magnets. Likewise opposite polarity magnets will be placed into our keeper’s gloves to aid catching. They may also be placed inside the opponents’ goal, but this may draw attention when the ball doesn’t bounce out and the logistical problems of swapping magnets on goals during halftime will be too risky to use. If this had been applied in South Africa we would have beaten the USA and not had to play Germany in the last 16.
(iv) trapdoors – like in roman gladiatorial times, trap doors may be used to lower people and allow new people (or lions) to come up into the stadium. Not to be overused.
(v) extra players – I may need to check the exact rules on this one, but if footballers not officially representing England “happened” to be on the pitch, they could unofficially help the team with a few passes here and there. Having more players than the opposition is a clear way to create a massive advantage.
(vi) naked women – my extensive research in this area has lead us to the conclusion that men can be easily distracted by beautiful naked women. By fielding a defence full of naked women we will distract the opposing team, retain the ball and go and score (a goal that is).
(vii)  inflatable devices – again, this an area massively under-exploited in International football. Here are just a few ways that they can create more than just a competitive advantage: 1) weapon – balloons and inflatable objects are allowed in football stadiums so why not arm each England player with an inflatable hammer? 2) expand size – by giving the goal keeper the opportunity to expand his size, it significantly increases his chance of blocking shots. In fact, I have been negotiating with one manufacturer who claim they can create an inflatable fat suit that will fill the entire goal! 3) additional players – inflatables don’t count as real people and so the defence can be assisted by inflatable football players (e.g. For free kicks). 4) airlift – by holding the ball between the feet and grabbing a large balloon/inflatable, a player can literally fly over the opposition defence and goalkeeper. However, tight training will be required to ensure players do not accidentally fly out of the stadium.
(viii) Psychological – I have just acquired a copy of Photoshop and feel confident I can superimpose a picture of one of the opposition’s mums face onto a pornographic image of a woman being taken from behind. I also have a good contact in the t-shirt trade and can get these photos printed on the England shirts for a very good price. The end result will clearly enrage the opposition and put them off their game
(ix) Rosa Klebb – If you remember this famous baddy from the classic James Bond Film ‘From Russia with Love’, she had a poisoned spike that would stick out of the front of her shoe. I think you can already guess where I am going with this one!

Although not an exhaustive list of my tactics, it clearly demonstrates a brand new and innovative “out of the box” approach that will achieve not only considerably more entertaining games, but certain success for the England team. As a patriotic Englishman, I wish to apply them to our national squad and not take up the rather lucrative offer by the Andorra Football Association for my services.

This brings us to the matter of my fee. Whatever you are paying the current manager,  I will accept 80% of this and I am very happy to negotiate performance related bonuses as I feel we should all be motivated and rewarded by success. So for less money, you get greater value and greater success!

I look forward to hearing from you and I hope you will wish to meet in the near future so I can discuss my approach and ideas in more detail. I have one of those Taste London cards and can get us into a Pizza Express with a 2 meals for the price of 1 deal.
Yours sincerely,

Jake McMillan