Somehow Not The Same

Until recently I owned a Bodum Cafetière and it worked fine. I mean it’s just a French Press coffee maker and there’s not a lot that it could do wrong. As an aside I just went over to the Bodum website to see if I could grab a picture of what the cafetière looked like and it turns out there are far more variations on these devices than I thought possible, what a rabbit hole! Then one day while washing the cafetière the glass cracked. I’m not sure how and I didn’t hear anything but it broke. Now, I like my morning coffee and so I wanted to get another French press as soon as I could.

Imagine me now walking down the “home stuff” aisle in Sainsbury’s and I spot a cafetière. It’s not made by Bodum and is branded as Sainsbury’s. Should be OK I tell myself, there’s not a lot you can do wrong with a device like this, and if I’m being honest they seem far more expensive than need be. So, I bought the Sainsbury’s cafetière.

That turns out to have been a mistake. Apparently not all French presses are the same. With this new one there is no way to remove the glass from the surround and so I can’t clean the outside of the glass properly. The gaps between the surround and the glass mean that stuff gets in-between and looks horrible from the inside of the cafetière. I guess that’s liveable with but then the bigger issue is that the lid design has less rim and does not align well so when pouring the coffee it regularly spills down the side of the cafetière and ends up on the kitchen counter.

When this leakage of the nectar first occurred I could hear something in the recesses of my brain from before, when I owned a not-Bodum and it just wasn’t as good. I had flashbacks to another time thinking that I should have spent the extra on the Bodum because the one I bought at half the price was shit.

So, the moral is sometimes the better brands are better.

Oh, and I ‘m still searching for a decent can opener. The latest one works, as in it opens cans, but I’ve got cuts on my fingers because it uses the outside of the rim rather than the safer inside part. Ho hum.

Somewhere Else

It’s almost a year since I went somewhere else. If I look back over my journeys since March 2020 I can recall visiting my parents twice, I think in the summer when we were allowed to visit people in gardens. I went to the white cliffs at Dover in early September I think. I had a walk along the river Medway sometime recently. And that is it. I’ve not been to anywhere vaguely military for a year. I’ve not seen friends and colleagues for about a year. I did return to work Sept through to Dec and saw those people then and it was nice. But I haven’t been somewhere else for a long time. All of a sudden I am very aware this is a modern world problem and that I am quite lucky in reality. No-one I know has died from this virus and I have a home which is somewhere palatable to be. There are plenty out there who have no idea how to feed their families or how to keep a roof over their head.

I am looking forward to being somewhere else. Just to experience other things. The mental aspects of constantly doing the same things and not being able to improve or learn new things has taken a toll. I guess I’ve been doing gaming videos in a bad way over on my YouTube channel and that was quite fun but not the same as actually being outside somewhere else. I haven’t used my camera for quite a while and I think I should. Maybe I need to start doing still life compositions? I don’t know. I guess I could do some sort of project to make sure my camera still works!

I’m not sure that the current moves by the government are the right ones. I’m not in charge and I’m sure they’ve got their reasons I just don’t think public health is at the top of their list. I also worry about the ability of these people to absorb technical and nuanced information about the ‘rona and how it affects us all. The covid recovery group are cunts. I guess we always knew there were a lot in that party but this group have clearly defined themselves as such.

I’m going somewhere else today. I’m looking forward to seeing other things. But I also know from the other times I have been to this “somewhere else” that after about thirty minutes it feels normal. I’m actually looking forward to being somewhere with jet noise and the smell of fuel. Hopefully that will happen later this year.

Strange Little Girls – Tori Amos

I think I’ve listened to this album twice and both times it made me feel unwell. I remember buying it because it seemed a really neat concept. But I can’t listen to it. It’s a bit like White Wine In The Sun by Tim Minchin – I can’t listen to that song either but for very different emotional reasons.

Stiff Upper Lip – AC/DC

Yes, I own a copy of this album but I’m not convinced I’ve ever played it. I’ve got it on now as I write this and I know not of these songs. It doesn’t matter. It’s an AC/DC album and you know how they go.

State Of Euphoria – Anthrax

From the opening cello to the finale this is a great album. It was the first Anthrax album I owned and to me it is a complete summation of their style. They are the only band of the big four that I haven’t seen live and I do hope that changes one day.

Be All, End All – great riffs, fast pace, tuneful vocals and changes of pace. Such an excellent song.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind – the second song with a comma in the title and another where the opening riff changes to fast paced melodic riffage. I think Anthrax manage to make excellent pace and riff style changes really well, a great band.
Make Me Laugh – some superb reverse drumming in this and while I know what I mean I’m not sure you will. Doesn’t matter. Pretty sure this song is about evangelical christians screwing money out of people.
Antisocial – not written by Anthrax but by Trust, a French metal band whose music is pretty cool. I think the original is better but this is a great version and brings obscure French rock to the masses.
Who Cares Wins – a lovely acoustic opening heading into lovely ringing chords and finally thrash riffs.
Now It’s Dark – I love this riff. Bouncy and excellent for the pit. The vocals are really melodic and overall this is great. A little bit of swearing too which is always excellent. The change of pace half way is brilliant.
Schism – a great song.
Misery Loves Company – I’m pretty sure this is about the Stephen King book but I’m not really a lyrics man so maybe it’s about something else completely but the book hypothesis seems to work well.
13 -spooky opening, strange sounds, lovely short instrumental.
Finale – The opening sends shivers down my spine, that echoing guitar blat. Lovely. Over, finished, done, gone, out.

Even The Kitchen Sink

I’ve decided that the life of things in a house is around ten years. Things apparently wear out after that length of time or at least the high use things do. Given my hatred of decorating in now comes to the point in the house when I need to make some decisions and get myself prepared to reboot the rooms. I recently noticed that my kitchen sink was dripping water into the void underneath and I found it was the tap causing the issues. The tap was also rusted to the sink quite completely. This necessitated a new sink and tap which I was OK with. I found a sink that was the same size so that hopefully removed the necessity to cut the counter top and with luck the waste pipes would line up well to avoid plumbing issues.

Old Kitchen Sink
Old Kitchen Sink

The old sink also had a fresh water tap that I had removed and so it was possibly time to rejig it anyway. All the limescale is me just not having cleaned the sink for a while but there is a lot around the tap and it leaked into the basin but also through into the pipe system. The limescale in this area of the country is pretty harsh and things die after a short time. A friend bought one of those clear kettles to see the water boiling but every week it would need descaling, it’s best not to be able to see these things.

Kitchen Sink - Halfway
Kitchen Sink – Halfway

This level of piping is quite frustrating I think. Most of it isn’t used anymore. I used to have a water softener but after a while I noticed that it wasn’t plumbed in correctly so I removed it. There are also spare pipes for cold water access to the bathroom as the hot water pipes to the bathroom were replaced a few years ago. I kind of know what all the pipes do and the ones that aren’t needed are clearly shut off. Oh, and two stop-cocks because apparently you need one before the water meter.

The new sink fitted snugly and that pleased me. There would be less hassle and no cutting of the counter top. The waste pipe could be aligned with a tiny amount of force so officially I have a pre-stressed pipe system, but that stress is low. I did have to cut some of the support wood to get the sink screwed in properly but I’ve been gluing that back and have a plan to secure it more. The new sink feels smaller but I don’t have a huge amount of washing up to do.

New Kitchen Sink
New Kitchen Sink

Overall this all went well and I will have to start planning the next thing in the house which needs sorting. There’s also the loft and I’ll have to tidy and sort that at some point.

Clean Up

I’m just about to start writing this communication and I have realised the irony involved, however, I shall continue and ignore the double standards I so clearly employ.

As I come out of a two day migraine which was probably required by my body to make me do nothing I have realised a few things. I guess what I mean is that there are a number of things that I knew separately but I have only very recently put them all together to come to a conclusion, which I suspect is that actual definition of how a realisation works.

I’ve been spending time trying to change my behaviour for the improvement of my mental health. I have times when the weight of the world rests on my shoulders and I need to learn that there are some things I can do very little about. So, I have stopped obsessing with the news and feeling anger at all the terrible things that are happening. I have removed the Twitter app from my phone and I even deleted two of my Twitter accounts. I’m toying with the idea of deleting the final remaining account but I’m not sure about that yet. I’m failing at overcoming the “sunk Cost” fallacy where I feel that the Twitter account contains details of my life and I’ve put effort into it. However, I don’t look at my historical tweets often and I only check that place once a week or so, primarily to see if Pom has been in touch. The grander idea behind all of this Twitter removal is that no-one else cares what I think. Literally. People might be curious to see my reactions to things but the truth is no-one cares. Chucking ideas and thoughts onto Twitter doesn’t change the world and more than likely won’t change anyone’s mind about anything. It just allows me to join the faux outrage at whatever thing I should be outraged about.

Twitter used to be a place where I kept in touch with friends. But nearly all of them are now connected via WhatsApp! which is problematic in itself but that’s for another time. Oh, I learnt recently that the developers of WhatsApp! came up with the name first and then tried to work out what the app would do. So, the opinions and thoughts of people I genuinely care about are accessible to me via other methods that web based social media. I don’t expect I can change any of their minds about things, we’ve all known each other for too long to know our own thoughts on issues but if I want intelligent conversation then I can chat to them on the messaging app. I don’t need to have Twitter to chat to the few people within my “circle of trust”. By that I mean those people whom I consider to be absolute trustworthy friends. I’m fortunate to have people I trust implicitly and the only downside to those groups is that we aren’t physically close enough to meet up once a month to get wasted.

I’ve been clearing out my email inbox and I have removed all the email subscriptions that I just “mark as read” without even reading them. Why should I get those emails if I don’t care about the content? Am I worried I might miss out on something that I want? Probably but maybe I should wait for the natural processes rather than be pushed into buying something because the marketing department thinks I should. It’s curious that outdoor clothing shops keep sending me emails telling me that this new jacket is great or these shoes are brilliant but I’m expecting my current jacket and shoes to last twenty years. Why would I want to know about more of them?

I’ve cleared out all the cookies within my browsers. This is so that I can refuse all the tracking cookies that come along with visiting most sites. I don’t really want advertisers to know what other things I have looked at. I’ve also been over to turn off the custom advertising that Google wants me to use and while I was doing that I have set a time limit on the browsing data that Google keeps on me. So, this means that I’ve got things in my history in case I need to find them but also anything older than 18 months goes away. If I haven’t looked at something for a year and a half then the chances are I don’t need to keep it in my history.

I’ve deleted the Reddit app from my phone. I found I was spending around thirty minutes a day browsing through Reddit and none of it really added to my life experience. Most of what I looked at was aircraft and things designed to kill other people. I’m having a bit of a break and trying to use my time more productively. Which, I guess, also includes writing this stuff which is read by approximately three people. I found that most of the time I could avoid looking at Reddit but once I opened the app that was at least twenty minutes gone and maybe more if I didn’t keep an eye on the time. It would be a better use of my time if I read Scientific American instead.

I would like to remove or close my Facebook account. But I can’t really. There are two communities I belong to who only seem to use FB. First the 360 Radar bunch use FB as their main way of sending information out to people who contribute. So if there is an update that needs to be completed I need to have access to that information. Also, my friends within the CCF all are on FB and if I want to get in touch with them then I need to maintain that access. I only check my account once a week and that is within a browser that is used only for that. The browser also has add-ons to remove tracking. This way I hope to minimise the information that FB can gather about me, although I suspect I would be rather surprised at what they do have.

I’ve also turned off the Google Advertising customisation options. I can’t quite remember what URL is used to do this but you can access this in your Google account settings. This way, I will no longer see adverts aimed specifically at me. I will just see general adverts. I can cope with that. If I want to buy or spend money on something new then I would like to leave the choices to my own flawed thinking modes rather than relying on someone else to point me in their direction. Yes, I know this whole argument is flawed but it feels good to lower the amount of tracking information that these very large companies keep about me.

Interestingly there is, of course, the problem that this website contains an awful lot of information about me. You can find my interests, purchases, bands, travel and political ideas. But this is a site that I control and the information you see is just the information I want you to see. It is very rare for me to delete a communication and if I adjust them then my policy is to try and make sure that those changes are clear and open. This site also runs counter to the convention that no-one else cares about what I think or feel about the many issues I have written about. Again that is true. But as I say on the homepage, this site is about me and how I think. It’s got nothing to do with looking for approval. I know people don’t care what I think. But for me, this is my diary, sort of.

Stand In Line – Impellitteri

I have spent ages trying to remember who lent me the tape of this band back in around 1990. I know it was a friend of SR and I also know which shop this person’s mother ran but I just can’t remember her name. I’m genuinely not sure why this was leant to me but I do know that I really liked it. It’s got a particular 70s rock fantastic feel to it especially with the vocals. There’s a cover of Since You’ve Been Gone which wasn’t really needed but it’s ok and rocked-up quite a bit. There’s also the “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” which, I think, annoys the shit out of me. This album is kinda what would happen if Yngwie J Malmsteen got hold of some of your favourites.

The album opens with an ominous bell tolling introduction to “Stand In Line” which contains the lyrics “in front of the cigarette vendor”, who does that? “Secret Lover” is a speed assault on melodic rock and works, I think. I like the bass sounds. “Tonight I Fly” chucks along and hits all the right early 80s sound points, the verse sounds slightly discordant but over this is a good song. “White and Perfect”, is this about cocaine, Jesus, white people? Oh, it’s about British colonialisation of Africa and India, but the bad bits. “Leviathan” I do like the operatic feel to this one. “Goodnight and Goodbye” doesn’t really stand out and along with “Playing With Fire” closes out the album.

This is the last, alphabetically, of the three Impellitteri albums I have. It is the best of those as the others are, amusingly, incredibly religious and while that doesn’t necessarily make an album bad it does not make it any better.