Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009: The Year of the...?

2009. A momentous year: I will turn 30. Ulp. I'm trying not to fixate on it - considered and rejected a "things to do before I'm 30" list. Instead I have decided to try to maintain the good work started thanks to the 2008 resolutions, and make a list of things I aim to do, and maintain them, again, here. I was reading a post on feministing about how resolutions are often linked to negative stuff, things you don't like about yourself and, particularly, weight for women. I agree, but on the other hand, it's also a chance to live more positively. I love feeling physically strong; I love being able to be better at the sports I play due to increased strength and fitness. I think if you don't enjoy sport, it's hard to understand, but the confidence that comes with it, with loving physical activity, is unlike anything else, and means you view yourself from a different perspective than the thinness for sexiness that pervades our culture and psyches.

So, these resolutions are to give me a kick up the backside - not to be a "better" person by being thinner or doing things I ought to do, but to do things that I love but that I am often too lazy to do. Without further ado, they are:
  1. Use this blog as a forum for really thinking about what I have resolved to do and actively maintain my resolutions, monthly.

  2. Lower the body fat. Last year resulted in a 1.1% reduction from 29% to 27.9%. I would love to get it down to 26.5% by the end of the year.

  3. Run a 10k with TOH by the end of the year. As such, I will resolve to go to a physiotherapist, finally, and also take it easy with the running, building it up slowly.

  4. Have one nights a week where TOH and I sit in the house but do not turn on the tv. Ulp. That is NOT tonight, what with Pushing Daisies and the Bones Marathon on TNT to catch up with...

  5. Read at least six books from the Observer 100.

  6. Watch at least twelve movies from the IMDB top 100.

  7. Not go onto the internet for recreation until midday every day. Ulp. Yes, indeed, this is one of the punitive-type resolutions. But it will just make me more productive and make me feel so much better about myself.

  8. Cook a new recipe twice a month AND (to make different from last year) recount the successes/failures on the blog.

  9. Eat one piece of fruit a day every day I'm at work. Seriously, how hard can that be? Probably very, in my case.

  10. Win a game of squash! Seriously. I've not won one since I restarted. Thereafter, win something on the squash ladder at the local gym. That'd be nice. I'd also like to score a goal. That'd be grand.
Merry New Year to Everyone! Here's hoping these resolutions will add to a happy 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Resolved in 2008: The Finale

  1. Done and done. I think that while this has been useful to sum up what I've done, blogging about it hasn't necessarily been the spur to keep my resolutions I'd hoped it would.
  2. 27.9. Not as good as last month, but it's 1.1% lower than in January, which is great. Nowhere near the 25%, but that level of drop is just unrealistic for someone who enjoys cheese, beer and ribs as much as I do. It's never going to be like that, or I can't maintain it. Still, a massive rise after several weeks of lacking in exercise and eating badly, but I'm in a much better position than this time last year, and hopefully it will springboard my aims for next year...
  3. No, no, no. And again, no. Although I danced my behind off at the Friendly Fires concert* earlier this month, which was absolutely brilliant. This is a serious resolution that I'm going to repeat next year, stung by my utter failure this year.
  4. Hmm, still in the process of watching The Hustler. But did go to see It's a Wonderful Life with mum at the NFT last week. Rubbish, I know, but again, to aspire to this year.
  5. Not read any classics whatsoever. I've been very much in detective mode, although did recently read The Terror Presidency which I highly recommend.
  6. No. And although my poinsettia is still alive, my little green plant is really, truly dying. That'll learn me for going away for a fortnight.
  7. Cooked Christmas Dinner! I'd never cooked a whole bird before, let alone a turkey supposedly for seven, but it was great. I completely followed Jamie Oliver's instructions and they worked a treat.
  8. We went to see August: Osage County, which was fantastic. Estelle Parsons was out of this world as the manic matriarch, and Johanna Day was wonderful as Barbara Fordham, the also slightly crazy daughter. It was just very funny indeed, and a fabulous present from a dear friend. Otherwise, not really done anything cultural at all. Oops.
Tomorrow: The Resolutions for 2009!
*Play spot TOH if you can!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Parental Guidance Advised

No, seriously.

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Apparently it's because:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • sex (4x)
  • pain (2x)
  • stab (1x)
Brilliant. Someone other than me thinks I'm a hazard to children.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Your Starter For Ten

Whatever else can or cannot be said in praise of Air India, anyone whose idea of a starter is a packet of crisps and a glass of whisky is fine by me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Such a great word. Sadly, not so great an occurrence when it happens to your back and you're stuck on the sofa for three days, and when able to get up creak around like you're ninety. Good thing we weren't again in Mexico with nothing to do but surf. Nonetheless, I love weird coincidences, and was struck that while trying to soothe my back in the bath, I finally managed to get my wireless working and listened to an early Round The Horne (courtesy of BBC7) which featured Kenneth Williams' creation Spasm the Butler... brilliant.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Random Rules: The Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Generation

I've been meaning to try out the genius function on the new iTunes, but not got round to it really, and now I don't want to use it to generate this list as I've managed to erase half my tunes and am in the process of trying to reconstitute my library. Hmm, not having so much luck with the music these days. Anyhoo, it's Thursday, I'm bored, so here we go with a fuller iPod than last time...
  1. The Universal - Blur. Oh, how I loved Blur. Passionately, madly, obsessively in the way that only a teenager can. I think if you've really, really, really loved a band it becomes slightly weird to be this older person who doesn't keep up with everything that's happening, who doesn't embrace that kind of love again, and who doesn't know the words to every song that a band could feasibly play at a concert. But I felt the flame reignite at news that Blur have been considering reforming - possibly with ALL the members... sigh sigh sigh. SO overexcited. I also utterly love this gently swaying song, with its lush sound, strings and brass. Sigh. I also recently rediscovered The Great Escape - it's nowhere near as bad as everyone leads you to believe. It just happens to be a somewhat dull filling when sandwiched between Parklife and Blur. Although Modern Life Is Rubbish still holds the dearest place in my heart.
  2. Nothing Lasts - The Hacker. From a 2 Many DJs compilation. Fudgy fuzzy baseline, sounds pretty decent.
  3. She's The One - Bruce Springsteen. I love me some of the Boss. I think Nebraska is my favourite album - so bleak and beautiful - but I love the power pop of Born in the USA - I can't help it. This is from Born to Run, which is less compelling for me, but I remain immensely overexcited about the prospect of Bruce at the Super Bowl.
  4. William's Blood - Grace Jones. This is wonderful. It comes from her new album, Hurricane, and is just gorgeous. Her voice sounds incredible, the production is spinetingling. Someone on the guardian music podcast described it as a seemless transition from the groove-based dance she did in the 1980s to now, and I think that was incredibly accurate. I am definitely purchasing this whole album.
  5. Putting on the Ritz - The Dizzy Club. Dudes doing covers of standards. Awesome and loungey and somehow very Christmassy.
  6. Wordy Rappinghood - Chicks on Speed. This is from the Spank Rock Fabric Live album. I really think that's an excellent series of albums. I know, I know, we're supposed to own all these things individually and not buy compilation albums, man. I hate that - it fundamentally disses the art of DJing - you like the way it all melds together, and that someone else puts effort to putting these things in this order and mixes them this way. And if it inspires you to buy the underlying records, great. But quite often the DJ has chosen the best bits or best mixes, and you end up disappointed...
  7. Babe Ruth - The Mexican. Kind of sounds like a weird deep purpley version of Grace Slick. Like it!
  8. Afrika Shox - Leftfield. Off the admittedly not awesome Rhythm & Stealth album. Although I fricking love Dusted, the tune with Roots Manuva. But I do love the way it really pays homage to the Bambaataa pioneered sound.
  9. High Rise - Orbital. This really, really, really reminds me of typing furiously in the computer room at college. I'm a last-minute kind of person, clearly, so I would faff and maybe write a bit of an essay, but then about 4 hours before it was due I'd just rewrite the whole thing from scratch. And as I didn't have a computer, I'd do it in the computer room, listening to this album. Ever since it's been a go-to album for that kind of stressful output.
  10. Born Loser - Kyza. I reckon this might be the best British hip hop album since the awesome Awfully Deep. This isn't one of my favourite tracks, but it's still great.

Monday, December 01, 2008


This is really interesting: a divorce calculator. I worked out the likelihood of TOH and I having got divorced if we'd got married in the first three years of our relationship. Apparently, 47% of all people of the same age and "similar social background" (whatever that means - they just asked me my level of education and whether we had children) are already divorced, and 21% will get divorced in the next five years.

It's an obvious point, made time and time again, but given that most straight people don't treat marriage as sacred, why on earth do they care about gay people denigrating the institution? These figures make it even more obvious. They also make it clear that forcing people to get married earlier and earlier in order to have sex (because people are guilted into thinking they should only have sex with their one and only spouse but also get really rather randy in their teens/early twenties) really does nothing to ensure the success of the marriage. I then calculated our chances if we'd married at 23/24 (rather than under 22) - that would lower the divorce rate to just over a third.

Or, on the other hand, you could just wait until the day you get married to first exchange saliva with your other half.