Posted May 22nd, 2013 21:06 by Bob
Once more I am grateful to the NHS in general and the staff at Wexham Park in particular. In a moment of terrifyingly bad parenting, following a long day I decided to have a quick blink at which moment Alexander opted to dive backwards off our garden bench onto the concrete floor. I’m not sure if it was hitting the floor or my sudden scream of “FUCKING HELL” which caused the most distress but we had to drive to A&E.
Everyone was lovely and spent the entire time repeatedly telling us that (a) we had done the right thing by bringing Alexander in, we were not wasting their time; and (b) it happens a lot, really a lot. I still feel intensely guilty for allowing momentary distraction but slightly better. Given he’s spent the evening breakdancing and demanding food I’m hoping all will be fine by the morning.
The biggest upset of the whole event was trying to leave the hospital as Alexander had grown very attached to the toy train in the waiting room and screamed “back back back” all the way to the door where he became instantly distracted by the ambulances and police cars outside.
Lessons learned today: Don’t blink EVER and if you want to get through A&E quickly try being a two year old. On a serious note, we are incredibly lucky to be living in a country with a health service and it should be protected at all costs.
I made some more stupid videos. Here are a couple from this week:
Posted May 12th, 2013 16:18 by Bob
After a near heart attack following working out how much I spend on lunch at work I’ve decided I need to find a better solution.
Work lunchtimes are becoming a bit of a challenge, although Maidenhead has a reasonable selection of places to buy instant edible food from once you factor in cost, general health and then diabetes the selection drops dramatically. I appreciate as a grown up I should be capable of preparing a decent meal to bring in with me but mornings tend to be incredibly hectic with a toddler yelling for his breakfast and a general sense of panic to get to work before the world implodes whereas evenings are work filled until late or I’m just too tired to care.
Buying food in the town centre was fine pre-diagnosis (cost issue aside) but since has been a bit more of a problem. I can eat relatively easily if I go to a restaurant but that’s right out on a regular basis for both time and budgetary reasons. So, I’m stuck with supermarket food or takeaways, both of these suffer from the same problem – they tend to be stacked full of the stuff diabetics should avoid: bread, pasta, potato & rice. A large amount of what’s left is either salad or high in fat. The high in fat has to be avoided both because of general health considerations and because diabetics are prone to heart problems. There’s only so much salad I can face and have you looked at the price of a decent salad recently?
The main frustration is with myself, I’m a competent cook, the majority of what we eat at home is cooked from scratch and we have a varied diet I just have trouble transferring this into food I can take away from the house.
So, I need to find a way to eat at work without spending half our profits and without killing myself, my requirements are:
- Must be easy to prepare in advance, preferably in large batches to be frozen.
- Preparation time on the day of eating (or the night before) should be an absolute minimum. Sticking something in the oven for half an hour is fine, anything more is out.
- It must be financially sensible, ingredients should be those we use anyway or things we can make use of elsewhere. If it’s going to cost the same over time as buying lunch in town there’s no point.
- It must be healthy.
- I need to allow for variety, I can’t face eating the same thing all the time. So ideally things I can cook in large batches which can be frozen for a decent length of time.
- I must want to actually eat it. This sounds obvious but since I was diagnosed I’ve picked up some real food issues. There are some meals now which I cannot face and will make me nauseous to try and eat, it’s entirely psychosomatic but I don’t seem to be able to get past it at the moment.
The first solution – pasties! Obviously. Bear with me on this. Normal pasties are clearly right out what with the white flour and fat and all but the general concept is a strong one, a fully contained meal which requires no additional preparation and nothing extra to go with it but contains a decent combination of foodstuffs (carbs, protein, fibre, etc). I make quite a lot of diabetic friendly flatbreads/pancakes at home using a mixture of spelt flour, wholegrain flour, oat bran and flax (it is nicer than it sounds) so I’ve modified the recipe to make a basic pastry/bread type case which I can fill with STUFF, more importantly different stuff each time I make them.
I’ve just finished making the first batch with a samosa type filling (less of the potato and the addition of some mixed seeds/green veg to balance up the carbs/fibre). They look edible, which is a start. Will find out tomorrow and hopefully get away from wasting a hell of a lot of cash.
Any suggestions on recipes will be gratefully received.
Posted May 11th, 2013 06:33 by Bob
I made my lovely friend Tim a birthday card he could colour in, it has a rude word on it. I am considering making more, possibly a kitten shouting ‘Cocksticks’ or a bunny yelling ‘cockwarblers’ (word of the month courtesy of Emily) would you like one?
Posted May 9th, 2013 19:56 by Bob
I started this a while back (about six months) but other things kept getting in the way. I was inspired by some craft projects my friend Caitlin had done and some of the projects on Cut Out and Keep. It’s my first attempt at decoupage (which I still cannot pronounce correctly). I bought a cheap wooden frame and a cheap hardback from a charity shop. Buying the book was the biggest challenge, I have an irrational negative reaction to the idea of ripping up a book for any purpose at all so I chose one that I would absolutely never read (an action thriller of some sort, no offense to the author it’s just not my sort of thing).
Rather that buy expensive decoupage paste I used cheap white glue mixed with water, it took a while to work out the best mix. It turns out the best method when using paper from a paperback is a lot of water and to absolutely soak the paper before applying it or it just comes right off when it dries. I should probably have sanded down the frame first or applied a layer of matt paint, it was fairly glossy and it took a lot of work to get the first layer of paper to stick.
Once it had dried I gave it a bit of a paint over with some white watercolour to brighten it up a little then coated the whole thing in clear acrylic varnish. Pretty happy with the result, I want to try again but something a bit more planned and designed.
Once again I failed to take before/during photos.
Posted March 21st, 2013 20:41 by Bob
I’ve been worrying about mental languor. It’s crept up on me slowly like some insidious mind eating creature from a nineteen eighties Doctor Who episode. Cultural and intellectual entropy has taken hold without my realising, leading me into a spiral of apathy and draining what little creativity I had. In short, I’ve stopped trying. I became aware of the problem a couple of weeks back while at work, eating the same lunch I always eat while checking the same website I always check – for the fifth time that day. I’ve allowed myself to get into a routine, something I’ve previously actively avoided.
Routine in some ways is a good helpful framework for existence, there are aspects of life which shouldn’t need constant appraisal: my son’s bedtime, where we buy our milk, how often I clean my teeth. In other areas it can really cause trouble. Without a flow of new ideas, opinions and images I stop coming up with new ideas myself, without new things to feed my mental process my problem solving skills start to wane and to some extent my intellectual processes generally drop.
In honesty I’ve always had trouble challenging myself to read and watch anything outside of my immediate area of interest and comfort (less so with music for no clear reason) and have often felt jealous of those who can just pick up a book on a new subject and dive in – I do have certain mental issues here to do with fear of failure to understand new things but there’s far too much baggage there to go into. Recently I have reached a new low, in my sparse spare time rather than learning something new I’ve been visiting the same very short list of websites none of which have very much in the way of stimulating content. I’ve made no effort to go anywhere new or do anything different outside of my daily routine. It’s killing me (mentally anyway).
Moving forward, I’ve recognised the problem and am making attempts to remedy it. There’s a world out there full of places to go, second hand bookshops, libraries, art galleries, forests, towns, museums and other things. There’s a massive internet of stuff in here, I can learn anything I want to learn and read about any subject imaginable. This is an amazing time to live in, humanity has never had more access to more information and experiences at such short notice, it’s brutally lazy to ignore these opportunities in favour of quick fixes of cheap entertainment and celebrity culture.
(This may have been partially inspired by going to see Robin Ince the other week).
Posted March 20th, 2013 20:25 by Bob
Work has not allowed a huge amount of time for framing based adventures in recent times, but have managed to get a couple more bits done. I managed to clean up and re-glaze the charity shop frame I smashed a while back and the double mount looks pretty good.
I decided I was unhappy with the frame I painted a while back so gave it a bit of a clean up and went over the paint where it was patchy, realised the main issue was the matt paint made it look dull so after a bit of research I found some satin acrylic and gave it a couple of coats, looks much nicer now.
The office walls are looking a little less bare. I’ve started working on a couple of more challenging refurbs which I’ll photograph when done, annoyingly I forgot to take any pictures before I started.
Posted January 9th, 2013 21:24 by Bob
Minor disaster in the office. I picked up a mountboard cutter for myself as a Christmas present from the lovely chaps at DIY Framing. I went over to see them in Wycombe as it’s just round the corner, really recommend giving them a visit, incredibly well stocked and helpful, they gave me a big pile of mountboard offcuts to practice with. Anyway, because I didn’t think it through I bought (a while back) a whole bunch of arctic white mountboard rather than a nice mixed selection, it looks a little stark in combination with the prints and frames I’m working on. To try and offset this I had a go at double mounting a pic in a nice second hand frame I found in Oxfam a couple of months back. I didn’t measure properly and the double mounting meant the backing board wouldn’t fit, tried to force it and smashed the glass. Fortunately I didn’t damage the print or myself. I’ll get some replacement glass and a greater range of mountboard once I’ve lifted the post-Christmas spending ban again.
Posted January 7th, 2013 21:09 by Bob
I have a growing collection of art prints sitting in a box in my office (mostly Tara McPherson & Jeremiah Ketner), not even collecting dust due to being sealed in an airtight container (after a minor office flood caused damage to a couple of them – this made me sad). On discovering how much cash it costs to get things framed properly and quite how crappy cheap frames can look I opted for the clearly obvious path of learning how to frame things myself from scratch. On discovering that I have not the ability, the space, or the time to make frames from scratch I opted instead for buying second hand frames (incredibly cheap from charity shops) and attempting to clean them up and improve them. I bought a bunch of paint samplers from a DIY store and some basic tools to get me started.
Here’s my first attempt. It went ok, but I really don’t like the effect of the matt paint. I need to find a different type of paint or some way of varnishing them afterwards, all of the varnishes I’ve found state they should not be used on paint (any suggestions welcome).
(the picture came from Tara McPherson’s wonderful online shop Cotton Candy Machine which you should look at. I can no longer look at it, it makes holes appear in my bank account.)
Posted December 9th, 2012 09:31 by Bob
It’s 9am on a Sunday and I’ve already questioned my mortality and made the worst pancakes it is possible to make without actually poisoning my family.
Had a lovely dream in which I was terminally ill, going to die in three days and needed to work out how my family would be provided for, but my clients would not let me have my remaining time off and insisted I work extra hours those last few days to make up for it.
With this cheerful start it seemed only right to make pancakes. Making pancakes is a fucking convoluted challenge in this house with our growing list of food issues. It wasn’t so bad when I could use eggs but they are now verboten following a toddler face swelling horror. Last week I tried just making (wholemeal/spelt flour) pancakes with no egg and no egg replacement. They tasted acceptable but didn’t behave as you would like a pancake to behave.
This week we had a box of American style pancake mix Caitlin had given us. I found some advice that a reasonable egg replacement was apple sauce. That sounds nice doesn’t it? You would assume pancakes with a build in apple-sauceyness would be full of tasty goodness wouldn’t you. Well they probably would be if that’s what I had delivered to the breakfast table (which also doubles as the lunch, dinner and any other arbitrary meal table). What I delivered was a confusing stack of crispy burned items with a near liquid centre. I’ve not been to the states but I’m pretty sure this isn’t the intention. Karen bravely made her way through two, I stupidly attempted three of them because I had to make the damn things and was not going to throw them out unchallenged. As responsible parents we didn’t give any to Alexander in case it constituted child abuse.
Feeling a little funny now, should probably call a doctor but need to get these servers configured first.
Posted October 28th, 2012 20:48 by Bob
Dragged out a bunch of old tracks I wrote a few years back (circa 2003) and stuck them on Soundcloud. A process which generally terrifies me as deal very badly with feedback (of any sort). Some of it I’m surprisingly happy with having not listened to it for years, it seems that the more I have learned over the years about music theory and production the worse my compositions have become, which is a hurdle I need to get over. Here’s some music (in a loose sense of the term), it’s all a bit ‘experimental’…