Tag: Diet

Help, I can’t stop thinking about tupperware

(it’s not the right time to be sober, ‘coz now the tupperware is taking over)

I never really got tupperware before. I didn’t see the need to fill a fridge with small plastic tubs when tin foil would do the trick; I didn’t know why kids would lug sandwiches around in those unwieldy plastic boxes, that didn’t even get smaller as you ate their contents. Tupperware was weird to me.

But then I tried using some tupperware, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’m thinking about what I can put in my various Russian Doll-stacked boxes next; I get uneasy when there’s not a hoard of boxed leftovers in the fridge because it means the storage space is going to waste; I’m incorporating them into my evening bag-packing routine, just in front of the folders, snugly alongside the water bottle and beneath the BG kit; I’m even starting to plan meals around what could easily be tupperwared and eaten cold the next day. It’s terrifying.

I think a lot of this stems from the fact that I’m making actual food these days. From my accidentally over-shared lasagne the other week to mash with vegetables to standard stir fries, all of these things can be eaten half now, and half later. This has massively cut down on the size of my meals, and is letting me eat two or three regular-sized meals a day, rather than one heart attack-inducing gorge-fest a day – and still have food for days. I’m also taking my diet more seriously; I’m committed to this vegan thing, but also to the myriad of sporting and logistical responsibilities I have at the moment, and to keep all of these intact I need to be thinking about what I’m eating more carefully. The existence of tupperware in my life means I can eat decent things at regular intervals, rather than bailing and settling for the one vegetable samosa Costa serve every other day. It’s even cheaper too, as my (admittedly eye-watering) one-off investment of nine quid into some tupperware has cut the number of overpriced coffee shop sandwiches and snacks.

Basically I’ve been converted to the cult of tupperware. And no, I don’t care that it’s taking up all my flatmates’ fridge space.

On my surprisingly successful flirtation with cooking

(I’ve jinxed it now, and will kill myself and all my flatmates with the next meal I attempt to make)

For those of you following me on Twitter – SUBTLE PLUG IS SUBTLE – you may have noticed my bizarre and uncharacteristic odyssey into cookery last night, as I attempted to make vegan lasagne from scratch. Happily, this was an almost complete success – not least because I might have stumbled onto the most middle-class snack food imaginable, aubergine crisps dipped in pepper and parsley – and was something that I actually enjoyed.

That’s right I, of the three recipes, two involving toast, enjoyed making food of some complexity.

A lot of it felt like a writing project, just in miniature; there were a few hours of preparation, a few minutes of combining ingredients, and a few more hours of anticipatory oven-watching, as opposed to the months and years that go into writing something like a novel. There was enough novelty in it, however, to make it a useful break from my life of endless writing, as I was doing something with my hands; the judgement calls were based on physical stimuli – the softness of the pasta, the warmth of the filling – opening up a myriad of new decisions to make, rather than all my inputs being conceptual, which invariably becomes draining after a while.

I also got proper food out of it, which is an oddity. My vegetarian, and now vegan, life has been dog-eared by constant fears (grounded and ungrounded) about my naff diet and the fact that I’m doing some kind of sport six times a week with only a banana and some soya milk to fuel me; but last night, I had an honest reason to stop worrying about all of that.

Plus, I got to eat lasagne for the first time in forever, which is always a good thing.

Multi-tasking!

(I’m writing this blog as I multi-task, so it’s like meta-multi-tasking!)

I quite like cooking, but I’ve never got into it, nor have I wanted to. I can’t really smell, will eat anything as long as it’s warn (and, ironically, vegan) and don’t care for pretentious vegan recipes. But in enjoying tonight’s ‘cooking’, that is putting frozen things in various heating apparatuses at various times, I’ve realised that the thing I like about cooking is the logistical side of it; I like managing time, and it’s, literally, even sweeter when I get something to eat out of it.

This shouldn’t really surprise me, considering that I spend my life juggling disparate events and commitments like a jester with all his free time on his hands, and none of it on his schedule. Today, for instance, was two hours of essay-writing in the morning, an hour-long seminar, an hour-long lecture, three hours of shopping and Game Shelf article-writing, two hours of American football, an hour of showering and relaxing, and now cooking, which is split into five-minute intervals detailing the putting on of the beans, or the spud, or the chips.

I think this all comes from a bizarre combination of me being a control freak, but not wanting to step on people’s toes; I’m never totally comfortable organising other people, especially with this kind of precision, so I apply these rules to myself in an extreme, over-compensatory way. This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I took on so many committee responsibilities this year. I know I can organise and motivate myself, the challenge now is doing it with other people.

And with that, my tea is approaching completion, so I’ll leave you; I wanted this post on multi-tasking to be multi-tasked, so now that everything else is done, so is this post.

Breakfast is a good thing

(the most important meal of the day, serving it up Gary’s way!)

I’ve had breakfast for the past two consecutive days and, contrary to all of my previously anti-breakfast sentiments, I’ve rather enjoyed my bowl of bran flakes with suspiciously unidentified ‘dried fruit’. Add soya milk to the mix and it’s not really a hassle, and perhaps even an enjoyable thing.

Of course, this is helped by the fact that my weekends start with an hour’s walk to work, so I can get any lingering glucose out of my system before I have to do any thinking, so I never feel the annoying post-meal high that I usually do.

I’ve also moaned in the past about the expense of eating two meals a day, but that’s rather counteracted by my current employment, and my recent realisation that I don’t need to drop forty quid on a new game every month.

So basically, the need to get a job saved breakfast for me. Cheers capitalism.

Night-Walking Pro Tips!

(the not-very-long awaited!)

As someone who bumbles around London well after the sun has pissed off to the safety of its flat, presumably up near the Waitrose on Holloway Road because the sun can’t really afford a more central property but hails from the sort of family where shopping at Waitrose is considered the norm, I’m quite good at not being murdered while doing it. So I’d like to give you some advice on walking in cities at night, advice that is to be taken with a pinch of salt, but may actually be useful. Blimey, I’m doing proper advice now.

1) Use headphones to your advantage

If you’re nervous about walking around, don’t wear over-ear headphones, the big clunky ones that cover your whole ears and can’t be worn under a hood. This flags up to potential murderers that you’re likely to be deprived of a sense (sound, which is critical for locating and assessing threats outside of your field of vision), and also affluent enough to afford a stupidly overpriced set of Beats. Conversely, you could use them as a kind of creepy bastard-radar, muting your music to give the impression of idiocy and vulnerability, whereas in reality you’re primed to leg it if that guy who looks like he’s been tailing you for a block makes a move. Although the latter use is generally for ballsy motherfrakkers, so I’d not encourage it.

2) Stick to main roads

This sounds obvious, but light tends to be safer than darkness, and main roads are generally more secure than even cute little residential areas that look harmless during the day. There’s a secondary point here too, that you ought to be confident wherever you walk: attackers tend to lurk in shadows, and so you sticking to them may make yourself vulnerable and make it difficult for a friendly passerby to see you’re in trouble, as opposed to unseen and safe; if you’re stomping up Camden Road in Doc Martens, people are more likely to think you know what you’re doing with yourself, and may avoid you.

3) Dress like a peasant

This may sound like a bit of a contradiction at first – how can I be confident and self-assured if I’m not wearing my favourite jacket?! – but it makes sense; your favourite jacket, while empowering, is encrusted with gold and woven with unicorn pubes, and is a beacon of foolish wealth much like an expensive set of headphones. Generally, dark, baggy attire will help create an aura of ‘I’m angry, young and poor, don’t piss me off’-edness and can disguise your frame if you’re not a particularly well-built individual. Also, this isn’t to moronically de-gender your outfits – everyone knows that wearing a dress doesn’t actually make a person more likely to encounter trouble – as the emphasis is on appearing nondescript and independent, rather than masculine or feminine.

4) Know where you’re going

Getting lost and going for a wander can be marvellous, especially in a fun place and/or with fun people. Just don’t do it at night. I like to march up a main road, then straight back down it again, ensuring I make note or tell others of where I’m heading.

5) Bring a friend

This is the biggest one, and rather covers all the other tips by itself: if you’re with someone, headphones are a non-factor as you’re chatting; you don’t need to make an effort to appear confident as two people have inherently more presence than one; a bodyguard or police-caller is infinitely more effective as a deterrent than a loose hoodie; and you can make even the most tedious of one-way walks amusing with a buddy. Plus, you get to do the whole socialising thing, which is nice, and it’s a decent form of exercise.

Or, you can stay in 24/7 and slowly grow into a lethargic Mario Kart-playing blob. I can attest to the crapness of this latter idea.

I Am A Dromedary

(camels are too mainstream)

Drom

(pictured: my uncle Kevin)

I am a dromedary. I go for days, weeks even, without sustenance, crossing the oft-fatal desert of living alone for the first time. It’s not that there isn’t food and water available – there are many watering holes, oases even on my path – but I rarely find them, too often distracted by the rabbit hole of some footprints in front of me, some sky writing that might actually be a clickbait title, and a copy of Jim Lindberg’s Punk Rock Dad dangled on a string just ahead of me.

But every now and then, I am forced to stop. Sporadically, a TV pokes its antennae out of the sand, and The Great British Bake-Off is playing, Mel and Sue bouncing around their unusually sandless enclosure like baby dromedaries. And when I stop, other dromedaries give me food, until my hump is bloated, I struggle to walk, but at least I’ll survive until next week.

When I’ll do it all again.

This is, indeed, my way of communicating that I’m overstuffed with my parents’ food, found an amusing picture of a dromedary online, and am probably high to the point of incoherency all at once.

Photo credit – http://www.todayifoundout.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/camel.png

Yup, I’m Still Alive. Sorry About That.

(or, not?)

It’s been over a month. Soz.

Many things have happened between now and the last time I trackpadded my way onto the little WordPress shortcut I have at the top of my Chrome window, and I intend to give you the highlights; sadly, everything has been a highlight in what may well have been the single busiest thirty-day stretch of my tiny, insignificant life. And we’re all about blowing up tiny insignificant nonsense into epics of Homeric proportions on this blog, aren’t we? So let’s get to it.

The biggest change is that I’ve moved out. Not to a shitty student room, and not to the unspecified wilderness of ‘down the mines’ that was a favourite parental threat back in the day; no, I’ve moved to a place of my own! I (my flatmate) found this place, I’m (my dad is) paying rent, and I am (my estate agent is) sorting my utility bills, just like a proper adult! I’m living a bit north of Camden, for those of you who know London, and London for those of you from farther afield. I’m also living with those strangest of creatures, ‘friends’; specifically, the two young women featured in this rather infamously popular post, plus a third woman who I don’t recall vaguely describing on this blog, but is a lovely person with excellent taste in TV shows who is one of three people in the universe to have curly hair and not look butt-ugly in the process. I may name them for the sake of convenience later, because I might be writing about them often if they’re inhabiting the same space as me for long periods of time like a shitty council estate infested with two different clans of rats who get on rather well with each other, but for now that’s all I’m prepared to say.

Another big change is that I’m a vegan now, having decided that straight edge vegetarianism is a lifestyle with not quite enough needless restraint. I think I mentioned this in passing last month, but it’s now been two and a half months without dairy, so I’m comfortable saying ‘I’m a vegan’ rather than ‘I’m giving veganism a go’. So far, I only miss Cherry Bakewells, and am suffering from slight exhaustion as a result of changing my diet without the accompanying change in lifestyle: I’ll still go for walks having eaten nothing for eight hours, which is a problem when your only food intake is bread without even the fat from butter. But I’m committed to this veganism thing, and my lifestyle will just have to adapt – in the experiment that is my life, the veganism is a fixed variable, and my walking and working habits are the ones that can change.

Speaking of working, my studies have gone better in the past week than any point in the previous year. Part of this is that I’m studying the things that I want to – namely medieval nonsense full of letters that no-one born after 1437 can pronounce – and so ‘working’ is a less arduous task. Also, I read Peter S. Baker’s excellent Introduction To Old English basically cover-to-cover. It was a textbook in Old English last year, but we only used it sporadically as we trundled over the relevant bits of grammar in our seminars; reading it in the order it was written makes building up an understanding of the language so much easier, rather than rote-learning random case endings and verb tables, which works at year eight French but not at degree level. It’s gotten to the point where translating Old English is one of my favourite pieces of work to do, as it becomes the literary equivalent to having a flawless run of Tetris, sliding grammatical blocks into place and watching the archaic unintelligibility that veils dead languages shatter, opening up a world of new ideas and approaches to humanity.

Notice I said ‘less arduous’ in that last paragraph, however, as opposed to ‘fun’. I enjoy my studies, but they feel more like highly enjoyable pieces of work than activities that bring genuine joy. What brings joy to me is ludology. And yes, I’m going to insist on using this pretentious pseudo-Latinism. This is the academic study of video games, introducing schools of criticism such as psychoanalysis or literary criticism to the narratives, characters and worlds of games; I feel that games occupy a unique place in human cultural history, bringing the audience into the narrative-forming process through interactive storylines in a way that books or paintings never can, insisting on a rigid divide between artist, who makes the stuff, and audience, who can only react to the stuff. When I pick an ending to Mass Effect 3, I feel like I’ve shaped a story, and can weigh the moral and individual implications of that story not as one observing it from afar, but as someone more involved in the creation of art than even the most learned of Shakespearean critics could be. Ideally, I’d like to be a gaming critic; not a reviewer, but someone with a PhD in a field related to the literary narrative of games, someone who writes books with fancy embossed titles and blank back covers that line the walls of university libraries across the world; I’ll probably settle for being a particularly pretentious gaming journalist instead, or at least initially, but now I have a goal in my life, which is a rather profound thing to have found. I always knew that I wanted to do something with games as a career but, much like finding out there’s a term for my sexuality, knowing a community exists of like-minded people makes that dream so much more tangible, and so much more valid.

With that in mind, look out for a new project from me in the near future! I know I’ve got this blog, plus another two that need rebooting, and I think six publications to be writing for, as well as my novel that I’ve only written 12,000 words for in the last month, plus a game I want to write and/or produce, but it’s a project I’m looking forward to, as are all my other half-baked and indefinitely suspended projects. I’m on three committees next year, and will to go for a first; I want to write short stories again, and will try to bang out an essay a week whether my tutor asks for one or not; I’m going to represent my uni in all four of my sports next year, and I’ll be eating nothing but plant matter and Party Rings in the process.

I love doing things in all their guises, and meeting great people when I do them. That’s why this blog is so important to me, a hub that is both a platform for my personal projects, and a way to find awesome people with things to say, advice to offer, and insults to bandy around.

I’ve missed writing these posts, and frak knows I’ve missed you guys.