It was the words of an ex-girlfriend that spurred me into action. For someone as ‘intelligent’ (her words) I was rather narrow in what I did at the time, having two hobbies of chess and jitsu (both of which I still do). Since then I’ve been involved in a wide range of things. As well as becoming a more rounded person (thankfully in the multifaceted, versatile sense, not in the physical), I have become a lot more confident and socially aware.

Things I do, have done or been involved in:

Chess – learned the game when I was about 6, but never took it seriously until about 17. Won the under 125 [rating] tournament of the British Championships in 1998 with 5/5. Currently rated 170 ECF, 2061 FIDE, which places me something like 600th in the country, 26000th in the World at the game. I don’t think the World Champion is losing any sleep just yet, but I cause nightmares for some of the players in the Nottingham league.

Free Internet Chess Server – I wrote the code of what is the largest non-commercial chess server (something like 100000 people logged in last year) colaborating with other people around the globe to put together the service and run it. In addition I worked for a commercial service for 3 years (working from home for an American company) Work is so much nicer when it’s your baby you work on and when you can work whenever you want.

Jitsu – currently a light blue belt in the style I do (2 more belts to make instructor grade). Tai chi – been doing the martial art for 2 years now (no it’s not just the slow form movements that you see people doing in parks).

Theorems On Rust – the company I work for now has a band and I sing in it. We do charity gigs twice a year. Might be also playing some guitar this time around.

Use Your Head Society – helped run this society at university to teach study skills and run self-improvement workshops.

Street Dance – still not very good, but it’s fun. Street dance is a mixture of dance styles such as hip-hop and is usually choreographed. Think Jackson or Diversity. Salsa (and merengue and bacchata) – haven’t done them for a while, but managed to get to a fairly good standard.

Nottingham IVC – a social club where members organise events for other members. Always lots of events going on and a good place to meet people. I’m on the committee this year.

Spanish – learned the language from scratch (getting B at A-level) in 2 and a half years. Interest in Latin American music drove my interest to learn the language. Starting to get a bit rusty now though.

A-levels – I missed learning, and that made me want to study again after I left university. Other than Spanish I did Business Studies (97% on the AS), Psychology and Human Biology (was in the top ten in the country). That gives me 7 A-levels now (I did Maths, Physics and Economics back at school).

Anything else… hmmm.. oh yes, there is… MissImp – been going to the jams for a couple of months now and even assisted in a show (looking like I’d been hit by a Hawaiian holiday). It’s lots of fun and there are lots of friendly people who like to socialise.

Remember life is too short to live sat in front of the TV or on Facebook. Get out there and enjoy it!

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