Monday, 24 November 2014

September - November 2014 Review

Usually I have no problem writing these monthly reviews, but clearly something went on in September and October that I didn't want to look at, or at least took away the motivation. Sometimes I just have a duff few weeks.

I started September with some food poisoning over the first weekend. That always sets me up for a good week. I got another bout at the end of October, and had a couple of days off in November with the autumn cold that has lingered since. One Wednesday morning I coughed and put my lower back into spasm, and wound up with a £70 visit to the osteo. My left hamstring decided to tighten up, to the point where sitting was actually slightly painful, and that lead to a £55 visit to Petra the sports massuese. After the last episode of food poisoning, I'm no longer drinking coffee, or eating cheese or eggs. Breakfast is suddenly a lot simpler.

My trusty six-year old 15" MacBook Pro developed Flickering Graphic Card Syndrome in September. The guys down in the basement at Mac1 Spitalfields gave me a quote of around £350 + VAT to fix it. So I didn't do that. I have an Air, and that's enough for my needs. My Marantz CD 6003 decided it would throw a fault so obscure - “Sub Q error” - that nobody had heard of it. Since these faults cost almost as much to repair as an upgrade, I went for the upgrade, the Marantz CD6005, and very pleased I am as well. The £300 or so did get me the amazing CD6005. I collected a new pair of Silhouettes with varifocal lenses that cost £800. That's an indulgence, but a) the glasses look sharp, and b) the lenses are fantastic, especially when I keep them clean. I got round to finding a gardener to fix the back fence, re-cover the shed and remove some old grass that had become infested with moss and lay in some new stuff and fill in the vegetable patch I never really grew any vegetables in. VAT, Labour and materials came to about £600. And this time of year brings all the insurances, as well as the annual review of where to put my meagre money for the least awful return on it.

I spent about two weeks in September wading my way through Lee Smolin's book Time Reborn. Things like that make reading feel like a drudgery. Neville Shute's Round The Bend make it a pleasure again. I also read Horror in Architecture by Comaroff and Ong, Cortezar's Hopscotch, Hemingway’s Men Without Women, the Foundation Beyeker’s book on Odilion Redon, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucuses, Daniel Lieberman's The Story of The Human Body, A Scream in Soho, Gil Scott Heron's memoir The Last Tour and his novel The Nigger Factory, the Edie Sedgwick biography Edie: An American Biography, Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity, plus The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book, Reproducible Research with R and R Studio, and A Man's Guide to Healthy Aging.

Movies were: A Most Wanted Man, Maps to the Stars, Human Capital, Life of Crime, The Equalizer, Gone Girl, The Judge, Mr Turner, Interstellar, The Imitation Game, Nightcrawler, The Drop and Citizen Four (which brings me up to date). My new Go-To Cinema is the Everyman Baker Street: not the cheapest in town, but pretty darn comfortable. I probably watched the first two series of Game of Thrones as well in this time. I also saw Sequence 8, Triz and Parabelo, the Thomas Ades See the Music, Hear the Dance, and Plateau Effect at Sadlers' Wells, with light suppers at Moro beforehand.

Sis and I dined at Ham Yard and Rules.

What I remember from this period is that I was still scuttling home after doing whatever it was I had gone out to do. I used to go out, for walks, to see films, go to meetings, or just for a coffee and a slice of cake and a browse round a bookshop, out of sheer restlessness. I am now, of course, no longer restless, and I miss it a little bit. I could blame the years, or I could just admit I'm getting lazy. And let's face it, if I hadn't had two bouts of food poisoning, it would have been a pretty darn good autumn.

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