Couple of Good Things

‘It Takes a Killer’ on CBS Reality

It’s not Mad Men or Girls, but I really can watch episode after episode of this. Each instalment chronicles a real-life murder or series of murders and the police investigation around them. The show is very fast-paced and has an assured, modern style. The video-game Metal Gear Solid springs to mind. Stuff flashes by: photos, maps, text, talking heads, stock visuals and snatches of reconstruction. On paying a little closer attention I noticed that every move is accompanied by either a ‘whoosh’ or ‘blade unsheathing’ sound effect. The guy working the sound board must surely have developed arthritis. The voice-over is as you’d expect from the title- grave, heading towards devilish- but not dorky and overdone in this case. The experts are compelling characters in their own right: Weary LAPD guy, distant 30-something English woman and slim pork-pie hat dude. It’s quality stuff; there’s a lot of background material, footage and police evidence from each case, some of it jaw-dropping, and interesting wider perspectives are presented. I think much care has been taken. Two thumbs up.

Podcasts

I first heard the term ‘podcast’ back in 2009/10. To me it sounded like something both second-rate and troublesomely technical. I was aware that Ricky Gervais was doing one and I didn’t like the sound of it either- him and his mate laughing at a buffoonish third guy. That was it for me until 2014, when the podcast ‘Serial’ appeared and had HBO-like credibility. They’ve crept up in a big way since then and I have various ones on all the time now. Life is better for them- it’s ‘take what you’re given’ no longer culturally speaking (or even more-so now anyway), plus they make dull tasks tolerable.

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Tack

I’ve started counting my daily calories. I’m using an app called ‘Diet Diary’. It’s as vanilla as they come, which I love. The icon is a cartoon cucumber and notepad, with the words ‘Simple Diet Diary’ in a comic sans-esque font. It’s the pure-hearted underdog of diet-tracking apps. It has only the few computational conveniences you want, and no more. I keep track of calories and protein. The app shows me my totals so far for the day, and I can copy and paste past entries. For the last seven days my average daily calories has been 2172 and my average protein 141 grams. The idea of recording calories for evermore isn’t such a wonderful prospect. It sounds a bit of a strangled existence. The thought of it gives me butterflies. But not counting them is also a headache. It may well be a thirty-days-to-build-the-habit kind of situation, by which point it will have stopped feeling uncomfortable. I’ll have to see.

Sunday

Today I woke up to- what a quick wikipedia has revealed is- ‘racing brain syndrome’. It’s something that can be brought on by ADHD or anxiety disorder, but in my case is due to sleep deprivation, I think. My experience of it is snippets of dialogue and things being said that have no context, are nonsense, and follow one after the other very rapidly. At night sometimes when I’m lolling towards sleep and having the racing brain thing, I’ve been jolted back awake by a sudden, loud, clearly spoken voice, directed at me, as if someone jerked the volume up to full for a second. Just a word or two. I’ve no memory of which words specifically. That’s been fairly terrifying when it’s happened. But also interesting. Not boring in any case. A little thrill. Maybe I’m going to go full-blown batshit crazy and ‘come to believe things that aren’t true’, to quote the pretty chilling description of schizophrenia on wikipedia. Nah, I don’t think so though, thank God. I’m just a common, or garden, variety dickhead who has a bit of insomnia.

After I woke up I got a bowl of fruit and fibre and returned to bed to read my magazine for a while- ‘Wired’ magazine, which I haven’t bought in years. I read about how the google driverless car has been tested on a couple of million kilometers of public road and has been involved in only 14 accidents, all of which were the fault of the human driver at the wheel of the other car. The guy concluded that driverless trucks won’t just be common in a few years, but will be a requirement by law. Awesome. I got up finally at 12.05 and checked to see what time the gym class I wanted to go to was on. It was to start at 12.30. I quickly ate a banana, had a Gentleman’s shower- bar of soap to the armpits- and got into my gym kit. I drove three or four minutes to the gym (because an uphill jog on the way back would be unpleasant after a class) and headed in the direction of ‘studio 4’ where the class was being held. I’m constantly worried, trying out these classes, that it’s going to be just me and a roomful of yummy mummies or something, once I turn up. But thankfully I spied a healthy mix of men and woman through the glass door of the studio before I entered. The class had already begun the warm up so I took a few paces into the room and joined in, as you do. It turned out to be a tough session and I think the guy pushed us too much towards the end. I was pulling huffy faces at the stuff he was making us do in the last ten minutes, even after we’d completed the class proper. I’m not a believer in going so hard that you can do nothing but collapse onto your back in a pool of sweat after. That’s how people drop dead at the end of marathons, taxing their central nervous system too hard, or something. I regretted the huffy faces afterwards though, I must have looked like a right asshole.

Louis Vuitton

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I saw this ad on the back of a broadsheet newspaper several years ago, a Sunday paper I think. It was huge- the entire back page in fact. I couldn’t do much but stare at it for a few minutes, mouth agape. It’s Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones, in an ad for Louis Vuitton. ‘Some journeys cannot be put into words’ the tagline reads. You’d laugh to hear that said out loud, but in the context of the ad it’s convincing on some level. They’re flashing such intimidating credentials you’re in no position to argue. The ad is transparently an effort to lord it up over the viewer, and not much besides. Pretty joyless affair. Ok ok, Louis Vuitton, you win, I surrender. Pricks.

Sucka

There’s a clothes shop I quite like called Pull and Bear- it’s like H and M, but originating in Spain, and the clothes are slightly better and £10 more expensive. Their masthead reads ‘Pull and Bear 1991’. I was a bit surprised at that. They’re going all ‘Gap 1969’ on our asses, romanticising the year. That’s jarring for me because for ages I was fully convinced the early 90s were nothing more than a joke. The entire time I was growing up that was the received wisdom, and I didn’t question it. MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, ho ho ho. But now I turn around and it’s ‘Pull and Bear: Birthed in the cultural firestorm of 1991’, kind of thing. Probably there’ll be an ad with a languid whispery voiceover (or maybe a more assertive tone is the thing now, I’m not sure): ‘Pull and Bear: Nighting nighty one’. They’re completing an about-turn that started a few years ago. It appears I’ve been a pawn in some vacuous cycle. All just a bit of fun you could argue, but I’m pissed to realise that I’ve been holding fast to an idea, about the early 90s, that I had no input on. It was handed down to me by the fickle overlords of taste and I complied. I still hold it, this post was originally going to be me joking about ‘Pull and Bear 1991’ being silly, but I realised the joke’s on me. Someone more enlightened than me is going to come along and explain that 90% of my opinions are like that, that this is just a glaring example of it. You live and learn anyway. Blogging saves the day again.

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Cupboard

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I thought for a bit of fun I’d do a post on the contents of my kitchen cupboard. Pretty pathetic, but I never claimed to be Ernest fucking Hemingway.

There’s some Uncle Ben’s boil in the bag rice at the top left. Uncle Ben is operating at the very top of his game right now. This stuff is amazing, much better than the own-brand alternative. Easily worth the extra pound.

Lots of tuna next to that. Lovely tuna, chicken of the sea. For lunch mostly.

Noodles, penne and linguine packs next. About the only proper meal I cook at the minute involves the noodles. Noodles with prawns and ginger and chilli’s. I used to use a lot of those stir in sauce tubs sitting in front of the pasta. Less so these days. What even is it? They just sit there at room temperature and don’t go off for a year. I’m suspicious of them now.

Below is a box of some ‘light’ popcorn, because I’m a complete woman. I’ve actually struggled with popcorn a bit since the scene in Arachnophobia where the big ignoramus couple sit down in their dressing gowns with a bowl of popcorn to watch Jeopardy, and as the guy dunks his hand in the bowl, with his eyes glued to the tv, a little black spider emerges from below the top layer to deliver it’s lethal bite. It’s just the spider being about the same weight and shape as a bit of popcorn that’s so shudder inducing to me.

Going left there’s some more tuna, then beans and some bargain tinned dinners for when I really can’t be bothered. Chicken Jalfrize and tinned meatballs. Pretty shameful. I have some chickpeas back there too. I got excited about chickpeas a couple of years ago but I’m over it.

On the bottom shelf there’s some bread sitting on top of some own-brand fruit and fiber cereal. The cereal has no fruit in it whatsoever! It’s just bran flakes. I put my hand in and scooped right to the bottom and all. I’m tempted to write a letter of complaint. I’ll have to get Kellogg’s next time, but that shit is seriously expensive. The bread sitting on top is this Northern Ireland’s own thing. It’s extremely doughy, like 200 calories a slice. It’s a real treat but as with the pasta sauce I’m wary.

The box with the green side is sea salt. Huge great shards of it. It’s great. You can almost eat it by itself. Then some vinegar next to that. I originally bought that vinegar to add to the bucket to mop my floor. The whole flat stank of vinegar for several days, so I’ve reverted to classic vinegar use- strictly food.

There are some spices and stuff next, renaissance man that I am. I’d very much recommend the coffee there- Nescafe Azera. It’s rich and creamy ‘barista style’ instant coffee. It’s fantastic. Who cares about coffee machines and what have you. Instant coffee would have blown your mind a few centuries ago. I’m happy enough with it. The white containers are some supplements for my joints- fish oil and ‘glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin’. Absolute bullshit. Do nothing in all likelihood. Rarely remember to take them. I sometimes leave them on the worktop to remind myself but if anyone is coming they go back in the cupboard, so it doesn’t look like a convalescent home.

 

Clothes Wish List

I read Tom Ford said dressing well is a form of good manners. I really can’t see that myself. Good manners are about offering respect, dressing well is about commanding respect. Dressing appropriately I would agree comes under good manners. But everything after that is conceit. Getting the basics down, buying them in multiples, then never giving that shite another thought is a goal of mine. I think this is a very nice outfit:

Bootiful

Great though it is, it’s too slick, with the white trainers and the shirt buttoned to the top. That said, if you take those wide-boy elements away, you might be looking at something slightly oddball-ish. Whatever the case, nicely fitting dark-wash jeans and a coat that looks well on me are priorities. Once that’s sorted I’ll give some thought to people falling from the landing gear of commercial planes frozen to death and being trafficked into unending sex slavery and the like.