Saturday 29 June 2013

#24 Really wild

Do you like animals? Good. Now let me tell you about Zoo Lates. Every Friday in June and July, London Zoo opens at night. There's beer, burgers, monkeys, penguins, tigers, pah thai, churros and hoards of tipsy twenty somethings dressed up as animals. It's like Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. I think my favourite animals were the gorillas and giraffes but the meercats and otters were also cool. A lot of people were doing the Aleksandr Orlov voice and the otters were quite aggressive when they got fed.

South of the river has its own wildlife too. The Exotic Meat Company at Borough is stocking a few different types of burgers including zebra, horse, crocodile, ostrich, camel, water buffalo and kudu. I wonder what a BBQ with zebra burgers would be like. 

On Thursday, Battersea Dogs Home decided to stop by our house twice asking for cash. I don't blame them. Apparently it costs £250k a week to run the place and they don't make a lot of profit. They were only speaking to people over 24 for some reason so my house mate told them she was younger but then they asked for her birth date, which she had to work out and in the end folded. Trying to solve the problem of homeless animals by rehousing them is like trying to fix a sinking boat by hauling buckets of water over the side but it's a noble pursuit.

Sunday 23 June 2013

#23 Forty questions

Towards the back of Arthur R. Pell's revised and expanded version of Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937), there are forty questions that appear to be designed to test the negativity in the subject's thought patterns. Thought I'd blog my answers to the first twenty:

1) Do you often complain of 'feeling bad'? If so, what is the cause?
I don't think so. Often lately I feel tired as a result of staying up late watching Netflix but I don't think I complain about it.

2) Do you find fault with other people at the slightest provocation?
I don't think so. I can be quite analytical but I don't think I dwell overly on people's faults.

3) Do you frequently make mistakes in your work? If so, why?
I don't think I'm significantly less accurate than most other workers.

4) Are you sarcastic and offensive in your conversation?
Very rarely. One should treat others as well as one can.

5) Do you deliberately avoid the association of anyone? If so, why?
I deliberately avoid the association of most people from time to time. I like my own space.

6) Do you suffer frequently from indigestion? If so, why?

7) Does life seem futile and the future hopeless to you? If so, why?
I have some hope. It's only natural.

8) Do you like your occupation? If not, why?
I like it enough. The people I work with are respectful, professional and friendly.

9) Do you often feel self-pity? If so, why?
On some level I probably do and I think it's partly in my genes but don't read in to this. I can be proud too.

10) Are you envious of those who excel you?
I think if you dug deep enough you'd find some envy down there but more than a normal amount? I'm not sure. I'm believe I have a reasonable attitude towards material wealth, as most of us probably do.

11) To which do you devote most time? Thinking of success or thinking of failure?
I rekon it's about fifty fifty as I spend a lot of time thinking about both. I'm not sure though.

12) Are you gaining or losing self-confidence as you grow older?
I am more confident around others and in certain situations than I was when I was younger. Overall I have probably gained some with age so far.

13) Do you learn something of value from all mistakes?
One tries.

14) Are you permitting some relative or acquaintance to worry you? If so, why?
No. I don't get the feeling any of them have anything that they want to worry me about at the moment.

15) Are you sometimes 'in the clouds' and at other times in the depths of despondency?
I think occasionally I am but most of the time my emotions are fairly well balanced.

16) Who has the most inspiring influence on you? What is the cause?
My dad. Natural causes.

17) Do you tolerate negative or discouraging influences that you can avoid?
Not usually. I don't drive, smoke, drink excessively or keep poor company.

18) Are you careless of your personal appearance? If so, when and why?
Casual, not careless.

19) Have you learned how to drown your troubles by being too busy to be annoyed by them?
I don't think this would always be a good idea and no, I haven't.

20) Would you call yourself a 'spineless weakling' if you permitted others to do your thinking for you?
Delegation can be useful. I try not to call myself names.

Sunday 16 June 2013

#22 Dude where's my cheese?

When I was at uni, one of the banks put out an advert containing a combination of letters that looked like an anagram. Next to it read the question, "Have you got it yet?". Similarly a couple of days ago, the BBC reported several examples of non-standard interview questions such as "How do you fit a giraffe into a refrigerator?". These are good ways of testing people's reactions to situations that challenge them. I've got to say, I didn't always deal well with these problems in the past. The angry people get angry, the overly simplistic people get overly simplistic and the clever people come up with a clever answer.

I guess I've been looking for it for about a year now. One day you're eating fifteen miles for breakfast, the next you're eating cereal and takeaway food. It definitely wasn't out at Canary Wharf. Two summers ago, I went through a phase of getting up at around six and going for a walk around the block before work. Since I first found that slight edge, every now and again I'd do something to convince myself I still had it, whether it be going to the dentist for the first time in seven years or hanging around outside Elephant and Castle tube station at 3am in the morning. That's probably a different story.

I like being back in my old team at work. The people are supportive, the commute's easy. I've been sleeping better lately, more confident. If I can keep it going, the second half of the year will be more fun. It's been pretty dull so far.

Sunday 9 June 2013

#21 A "guessed" post

Room's tidy, shirts ironed, kitchen and cat's room clean, lounge deep cleaned, cleanest since moving in. Ate fruit. Ate veg. Ran 5k. Drank water. Read. Worked. Listened to music. 

The next bit of this post is courtesy of Dan's housemate, hi blog readers.  I think he ran out of things to say this week. I tried to write a blog once too, and did four posts before I stopped because I realised a) I had nothing interesting to say and b) no one would read it.  According to the blog stats, my readership was mainly from Russia.

So this afternoon we discussed the following things: 2001: A Space Odyssey, poetry, holidays, what we each got up to on the weekend, and somehow this led onto me asking Dan if he felt like he needed to control things.  The reason I say this is because everything in his life is spotlessly clean - he showers once a day (or twice if he's had his run) (edit to add that some people don't shower once a day, which is gross, so it's good Dan does), he washes his clothes when they're dirty, his room is clean and organised, when he (occasionally) cleans the house, he's the best cleaner ever, and everything gets lined up all neatly in a row.  You can always tell when Dan has cleaned.  

I like this about him, and it got me thinking why I can't be more controlling of my surroundings. The reason is, because I don't care enough about it - it bugs me when things get messy, but I don't care enough to actually not make it messy in the first place.  Eventually I will get annoyed by the mess and clean it up, but usually after a couple of weeks of mess (I am thinking of my bedroom here, not communal areas).  He says that he isn't controlling and doesn't even think about it, it's more about force of habit that he puts stuff back in it's rightful place once he's finished with it. But isn't this itself controlling your surroundings? Who knows. I don't even know what I am talking about anymore. I can't believe Dan has given me free reign on his blog. I mean I could say anything! I could disclose all of his secrets! I could ruin his online reputation! Fortunately for young Daniel, I don't know any of his secrets.  Apart from the fact he wears Y Fronts. OK I made that up.  Also going back to my original point,  I guess a controlling person wouldn't leave their blog in the hands of someone else, so maybe he's right. 

Anyway I think this blog needs a pic to brighten it up.  I will leave you with this.


Saturday 1 June 2013

#20 Denaro

There were a few articles in May about the prospect of a cashless society. Like this one and erm... this one. See? Ok those articles are probably rubbish. I think I read one somewhere. Anyway the point is, the concept's getting media coverage at the moment, which is good because cash, much like foreign languages and your average swimming pool, is an economic inefficiency. Its maintenance requires significant investment, which could be redirected towards more appropriate causes in the long term, if it were to be phased out in the short term.

Eager to embrace this particular upcoming societal movement, imagine how happy I was to be given a premature chance to do so when I accidentally left my cash at home yesterday. There I was, strolling particularly smugly along platform thirteen on account of having gotten an early night on Thursday, hauling my ass out of bed and dragging it along to London Bridge at 08:20 only to find that dressing down on a Friday is much less fun when your wallet is still in your suit jacket.

A couple of minutes after the train back to East Dulwich had pulled away from the platform with me on it, I realised that my keys were also still in the house, unlike any of my housemates. This day was getting worse all the time. Alighting at South Bermondsey with the intention of getting a third train back to London Bridge, it occurred to me that this station didn't have a ticket barrier, so I wandered down the steps hoping to walk the rest of the way. What South Bermondsey does have is a decent set of platform guards, who saw me U-turn after having spotted them and called me over. Knowing ones photocard ID number is helpful in such circumstances and it got me a temporary pass to London Bridge. The unlucky customer that stood beside me wasn't quite so convincing and when he protested with the guards that his ticket was valid. Ok said the guard, if you think you're right, try and walk past me onto the platform and I will physically stop you. Rail staff that regularly have to deal with Millwall fans aren't worth testing.

Now Natwest will fall over themselves to give you cash if you have photo ID or an emergency cash app. Without either it's a little more tricky. Knowing your card number, account details and security answers will get you a maximum amount of £10 and you'd better find an open branch because the telephone service offered on cash points is only available to people that have the app. Still at least I was covered for breakfast and lunch and just about managed to get to work for 09:30.

Probably not ready for a cashless society just yet but it was fun giving it a go.