Category Archives: Naval gazing

Things I have not written about.

I haven’t been around here much recently, have I? This post was first written in March, hence the out of date references. I keep sitting down to the computer, idea in head, ready to smash out a Pulitzer quality post. Two hours later I have half a paragraph and I’ve been watching Countryfile so late at night they have the lady signing at the bottom of the screen. I love Countryfile. The other night I learned about why red deer are being culled in Scotland, biodiversity in lowland bogs in the New Forest, and watched a lady get muddy on a bike. It’s hypnotic, and always makes me rethink my sedentary urban lifestyle. Then I remember that I hate being cold and wet, and creepy crawlies give me the wiggins. The countryside is pretty awesome, but probably not for me.

Anyway, here are a bunch of things I tried to write about and failed miserably.

Open It!

Open It! is a beer bloggers’ event that aims to stop people from hoarding ‘special’ bottles for years waiting for a special occasion, only to find they’ve gone off. Effectively it’s a big piss up. Although I didn’t join in with the bloggers’ dinner I did meet up with them later, and hoo boy did we have a good time. Most of the bottles were imperial stouts and barleywines, as they are the ones that age well. There were a few lambics and gueuzes in there too, and I took along a bought-specially bottle of saison. Not quite keeping with the theme of the event, but I find it impossible to keep beers in my flat longer than a month. Almost all these beers were very strong and worth at least £10, and some were worth several times that. Which means that swigging straight from the bottle and declaring “it tastes like beer!” were both inevitable and completely absurd. By the end of the night I had such palate fatigue all I wanted was a glass of diet coke to calm me down.

Food I ate that was good

There was the peach and redcurrant cobbler, the greengage and cumin frangipan tart, my sister-in-law’s amazing ratatouille, a meal I had at J Baker’s in York, bacon jam, an amazing chocolate mousse birthday cake, the entire Leeds Loves Food festival, and countless other great meals that I did not photograph because I was too busy eating them.

Louis CK

A few months ago there was a bit of a kerfuffle about Louis CK’s tweets about Sarah Palin and his subsequent suitability for a fancy-pants political dinner. I wanted to talk about how as bleeding heart liberals we have to hold our own to the same standards we hold the people we rail againt. If Rush Limbaugh isn’t allowed to make disgusting, sexist and homophobic comments in the name of ‘entertainment’, then beloved comedians like Louis can’t either. In his standup Louis talks about why he uses words like faggot and cunt, then proceeds to call his own infant daughter an asshole. Many times. I’m not going to get in to whether or not he’s funny as that’s personal taste (though, if you don’t think he’s funny you are obviously wrong), but I think it’s important that as part of his set he explains what he means by faggot and cunt, and why he uses them. If you have that context it’s difficult to be offended by what he says, but without it he just sounds like, well, a cunt. Twitter doesn’t provide context, and isn’t just visible to people who paid for a ticket. He was drunk and angry, but that’s not an excuse. He’s incredibly smart and funny and a big supporter of gay rights, but that doesn’t give him a free pass. We might forgive him more easily for a lapse in judgement, but why should anybody else? I hate it as much as anyone else when someone I admire does something dumb, but unless we all keep trying to be better how will we maintain our lovely higher moral ground? I like the higher moral ground thank you very much.

The most sexist alcohol adverts

I probably will do this at some point. Suffice to say most women are not so dumb we need characters on our booze bottles in order to identify them.

Low alcohol wine

I’ll probably rant about this in the future too. It’s not wine! It encourages teenagers to drink! It fosters unhealthy attitudes to alcohol! It’s just a marketing ploy! It tastes fucking hideous! And so on.

Todd Akin and related douchebaggery

What the ever loving fuck? Seriously. My body does not have a way to “shut that whole thing down” when raped any more than a mouse can “shut that whole thing down” when a cat is trying to eat it. American politics horrifies me, both as a woman and a person with a soul. I probably won’t write about this any time soon because it is too emotionally draining, and I am too busy being shocked that we still have to argue about this.

The Dark Knight Rises

Do you need another review of the last Nolan Batman film? Thought not. Other films I’ve seen recently that deserve but do not need a review: Rushmore (I know, I’m a bit late to that one), Amazing Spiderman, Moonrise Kingdom (are you sensing a theme?), the second Sherlock Holmes (so boring I can’t even remember the name of it), The Hunger Games and Showgirls. God, I love Showgirls.

The horror of house hunting

Mr Cute and I are trying to move out of the city centre into the area in which we would like to buy a house in a few years, and it sucks. This post was just going to be a massive whine about how it isn’t fair, and I deserve a nice place to live and why is the rent always so damn high? I will spare you this, though if you know me in ‘real life’ no doubt you’ve already heard it. The ‘why won’t my hair just behave like a normal person’s hair?!’ blog would have been quite similar.

The awesome beer I had this week

A few years ago Duvel Moortgat bought Liefmans and subsequently stopped making Liefmans Frambozen. Which was a shame, because it was a great beer. Guess what we found in the cellar of the shop a few weeks back? Yup, probably one of the last remaining bottles of Frambozen in the country. I know at least one person I could have sold it to and made a nice little profit, but instead I invited a friend over and shared it with him over a dessert of vanilla ice cream with warm blackberry sauce and crushed pistachios. It was brilliant. Dark, barely sweet and that couple of years of aging had given it a depth and complexity I don’t remember in the fresh beer. A great match for pudding but I think it would have gone well with some goats’ cheese too, or even a steak.

So, those are the blogs you could have won. Stay tuned for a tour of Parisian patisseries.

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Is ‘quarter life crisis’ the most annoying phrase on the internet?

No, no it isn’t. I spend too much time here to think it’s the most annoying phrase, but it is pretty bad. Nevertheless, I am headed straight for my twenty fifth birthday, and I’m not sure what else to call my sudden need to publish my life.

Between the ages of approximately twenty one and twenty three I worked in a bar and made some of the best friends of my life. This place wasn’t just any bar, it was my first big city bar. It was also the first bar I worked in for more than a year, and the first place I held any real responsibility. It was also the bar that drove me to a minor mental breakdown, but let’s not dwell on that here.

Those best friends and I were called Team Amazing. There were four of us, and a few others we allowed to be honorary members. We were all of a similar age, worked together and had the same interests. Those interests were mostly drinking, watching bad films, and bitching about our boss. We once wrote down some rules for a night out, and they included the following:

  1. Be Awesome
  2. Do NOT drink pints of gin and tonic

That’s all I remember. I’m not sure we stuck to that second rule.

Since the heady days of pints of gin, I’ve got married, one lovely boy has had a baby, another found God and the best of best friends, the other half of a sub-team called Girl Amazing, is moving to Korea for work. I’m not sure if it’s possible to show more succinctly how much everyone changes in the few years of their mid-twenties.

So, crisis really isn’t the right word. We’re all pretty happy with the turns our lives have taken. My wedding and marriage was and is, if not blissful, really quite brilliant. The new baby is a perfect little poop machine and the new Dad is tired and happy in equal measures. Our evangelist has found something that makes him happy and more fulfilled. And my darling Girl Amazing is going to have the most exciting adventure of her life.

Only, now we don’t hang out much any more. In a few days my Girl is going to be on the other side of the world for at least thirteen months. Babies, we have discovered, are quite the time suck, which leaves far fewer opportunities for ill-advised drinking. So do jobs with ‘normal’ working hours. So, I think that’s where my ‘crisis’ is coming from. In our mid-twenties our lives change fundamentally and very quickly, often taking away the tight support systems you had before then. While I’m wondering if my life has any purpose now that the temporary distraction of wedding planning is gone, another friend is too sleep deprived to think in whole sentences and another is trying to learn an alien language* in a matter of days.

We’ll always be Team Amazing, but the nature of that team is shifting and it’s sometimes scary to trust that we’ll come out of it unscathed.

* Have you seen Korean?


So how do you write a blog anyways?

The first step to having a blog is actually writing something I suppose? Instead, I decided to spend months thinking about how I didn’t have anything to write about, which is fairly representative of how I live my life. You’ve never met a better procrastinator in your life, or someone more likely to get distracted by pictures of cake. I have no focus, and can only get something done when I have a deadline looming over me. Here are some things that do not have deadlines and which I have therefore not done;

Learn to drive

Clean my oven

Finish reading Anna Karenina

Buy a replacement cafetiere for the one my husband smashed

Clean out my cupboards of all the out of date half filled tubs of baking powder (they’re already out of date)

Finish sending the thank you cards from my wedding five months ago

Take the pile of clothes that don’t fit anymore to the charity shop

And I just found myself staring at the paint flecks on the radiator instead of continuing with this post.

I wanted to start a blog when I left Uni some years ago to stop any writing ability I had from atrophying. But I was too busy watching Gilmore Girls and experimenting with gin. People suggested I write a food, or beer or cocktail blog, not realising that the few delicious homecooked meals or elaborate birthday cakes I made them were horribly outweighed by evenings spent gorging on MacDonalds and/or cheap wine.  Then I wanted to start a blog to document my wedding planning, but there are more wedding blogs out there than brides and I felt I had nothing to offer. Besides, I was unsure of the practicalities. Do I talk about the mundanities of finding a venue that will work with the caterer, or the reasons I chose a silk lining over a synthetic one? Because that’s not even interesting to me. What’s interesting are the emotional dramas that come with trying to pack  two families in one room and forcing everyone to have a good time. But are they my stories to tell? If I told the entire internet the funny, dramatic and occasionally heartbreaking stories of my family and friends, they would probably feel fairly violated. If I stuck to my personal emotional journey, my husband would probably feel violated too, and would I want something so personal left out there for the world? My boss could read it, or my future children. I learned the hard way (as most of us did) that the blog posts I wrote on Myspace when I was seventeen didn’t just disappear after I forgot about them. So I pretty much talked myself out of writing a blog.

Until now! Aren’t you lucky! I don’t have the self control to remain anonymous (and Snoozy Cute is my husband’s nickname for me, so I blew it already anyway) so I’m going to try not to get too personal. Until I find some focus there will probably be a fairly jumbled assortment of whatever’s in my head. Food, beer, bars, my inability to lead a productive adult life and so on. I’m going to try and learn the art of telling funny stories, so expect plenty of boring ones until I get the hang of it.

Until next time.

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