Friday, October 30, 2009


Yeah, yeah, I'm not very good at updating regularly these days. I'm over it, I'm supposed to be getting a degree, remember?

Anyway, I mentioned that I might write about the other thing I discovered at some point (the first being that knowing you're angry for a bad reason only makes you angrier). So I shall.

I mentioned that my foul mood had been broken "largely due to home-made soup and a new book arriving." This was true. Interestingly, the soup made me happier than the book - I love books of all kinds, and I wasn't even that hungry.

The reason seems to be that it was home-made. Tinned, powdered and condensed soups are probably the work of the devil. Very few things in life are worse than thick, herby, hot ketchup masquerading as tomato soup - making it from scratch avoids this ever occurring.

The same is true of many foods, they taste better if you make them from scratch (assuming you know roughly what you're doing, or you carefully follow a recipe). From soup to lasagna to cheesecake, buying pre-made means buying inferior. Often it also means more expensive and less nutritious.

It's not even limited to food. When I told people I was moving into a hell-hole that needed lots of TLC, bleach and DIY, most of them immediately offered to help with the final acronym (some immediately commented on my overuse of acronyms instead, but I'm not friends with those people anymore). Based on this I'd like to state a postulate.

I suggest that doing things for yourself makes you happier than having someone else do them for you. Especially if a challenge needed to be overcome in order to complete the task, or if there is an obvious reward.

For example, to go back to food, it has long been known that baking has a massive therapeutic effect. It's not the same as cooking (though obviously I'm personally enthusiastic about that too). You don't need to do it, so it isn't a chore to do so - it's an opportunity to use some creativity - and when you're done the reward is cake/brownies/cookies/whatever.

DIY follows a similar pattern. You put in some work to improve something, and then you enjoy the benefits. Perhaps my OCD is all that makes me think that cleaning is the same, and I agree that it is much more obviously a chore, but that's just a mindset, there's no need to suggest it's the right one. Gardening works too - especially if you're growing something you can use (herbs and vegetables are more satisfying to grow than flowers, which are in turn better than shrubs).

Perhaps this is coming back to my standard rant about not liking TV very much. I think more than that it's about hating wasting my time, or being bored. I'm happier when I'm doing something productive, or more generally, when I've completed something worthwhile.

If I ever get depression it'll be because I spend too much time on facebook. The cure is to remove my internet access and give me a cookbook.

Monday, October 19, 2009


*Looks around sheepishly*

Um, hello?
Oh, er, nearly three weeks you say? Well... um... doesn't time fly when you're... um.
Anyway, back now, that's the important thing, right? Friends again?

Today I discovered two things. I'll tell you about the first one, maybe you'll get the second one later. I know how you all value my wisdom.

1. Being rational and logical about emotions doesn't make them go away.

For example, I wanted a mug of tea this morning. Not a huge ask, it's something I want every morning. I boiled the kettle, poured water over the bag in the mug. I went to the fridge. No milk. Disaster.

I remembered that because I am a ridiculous person (but in the very best way) I occasionally bow to the wills of my flat mates, as well as to my own cravings, and make pains au chocolat. One of the ingredients for which, is 3 tablespoons of powdered milk.* I rummaged in the cupboards until I found a tub of Marvel.

Marvel is a misnomer. It isn't one. Not at all - in fact, it's about as far from being marvelous as powdered milk can get. Trust me when I tell you that the competition for that superlative is strong.

The side of the tub indicated that if you wanted it for tea or coffee you should simple sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of the powder into your drink and stir well. I did so. My beverage turned grey for a few seconds. By the time I'd carried it back to my room it was dark brown again, since the powder had sunk. I stirred it with a pen, and drank quickly.

Foul beyond belief. Easily the worst cup of tea I've had in a long time.

All of this nonsense should have been hilarious to me. Or, at worst, a little disheartening. Instead, I was furious! Nothing could have filled me with more rage. I stomped to uni ready to scowl at people, angrily. Hoping that someone would say something incredibly stupid so that I could vent my anger at them (taking it out on the tea-cup seemed irrational even in my fit of rage. Tea cups are important).

Fortunately by the time I got to uni I'd calmed down a bit, although not much. I knew my anger was irrational. I knew how I ought to feel about the tea (i.e. it was silly to even remember at this point) but I was still severely peeved.

Interestingly - and this is what I learned today - knowing that you're angry for a stupid reason doesn't cheer you up much. Quite the opposite.

I am now completely back to my unbearably cheerful self. Largely due to home-made soup and a new book arriving. I must wonder if I have a hormone imbalance. Can't help thinking that chocolate ice-cream would never make me angry, no matter how illogical I was feeling that day. Perhaps it really can solve all the world's problems.

*Requests for the full recipe to the usual address.