Tag: Health

I’ve accidentally stayed up for 23 hours

(and I’m too aware of my own flaws to want to push myself to the full 24)

Last year my sleep schedule was a wreck, but at least I knew it. I’d go whole weekends without seeing the sun, or go to bed at one in the afternoon so I could get up at nine for a night out; I was a mess, but it was a planned mess, with motives and objectives behind them. Last night, however, was a messy mess. Having slaved away over an essay for the best part of a week and a half, I came home from uni on Tuesday exhausted, and crashed out at about six in the evening; then, as my body was caught halfway between wanting a nap and a proper sleep, I woke up at eleven, where a combination of Football Manager and high blood sugars stopped me from nodding back off.

Long story short, it’s now 10pm the next day, and I’ve spent most of those 24 hours playing Football Manager, writing, or at a scrimmage with the University of Westminster Dragons American football team. All of these things are great fun, and are deserving of their own posts in due course, but have managed to exhaust me logistically, creatively and physically; it’s a trifecta of feeling like shit, and I don’t much like it.

Of course, tomorrow is a new day, and when I get up at seven I’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle all the things I blew off this morning as I recovered from my essay hangover. But right now I’m going to bed.

And it’s 9:48pm.

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.

I’m sick. Badly this time.

(take that, past James!)

I very rarely get sick. I feel a bit groggy from time to time, and I’ve collected all manner of sporting strains and diabetes-induced days-off over the years, but I’ve hardly ever felt unwell to the extent where I’m unable to function. When I was about eight, I was sidelined for most of summer with a stomach bug, but that’s about it; until, as that title suggests, now.

A key part of being sick is knowing when one is sick; I have two surefire criteria to hit for me to diagnose myself as ‘sick’ – I feel cold and I need to take painkillers, as I’m normally far too manly for those things – and hit both of them this morning, a very worrying sign. I was also low, and kinda exhausted, but that general shitty feeling has spread into the rest of the day, to the point where I’m about to comfort-eat some chips then have a nap, like an eight-year-old.

Hopefully this’ll pass; I have far too many things going on for me to be out of action for even a few afternoons – and that’s even with cutting a few corners when it comes to the playing of my sports, rather than the management of them. It should do, as all illnesses have done, and all illnesses will, it’s just a bit of an inconveniently-timed one this time.


(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.