Hoarding

What’s Causing the Rise of Hoarding Disorder?

Even if they want to downsize (which is rare), there’s the overwhelming difficulty of sorting through the mess. People with severe hoarding disorder tend to be easily distracted and have a hard time focusing and concentrating. Paradoxically, they also tend to be perfectionists, so they’ll put off making decisions rather than risk being wrong. And when it comes to their own stuff, they don’t categorize by type. Rather than see an object as a member of a large group (say, one of 42 black T-shirts), they see it as singular, unique, special. Each black T-shirt is perceived apart from the others and carries its own history, significance, and worth. It’s not even categorized for storage (folded with other black T-shirts in a T-shirt drawer), but rather placed on a pile and retrieved spatially (that particular black T-shirt lives about four inches from the bottom of the corner stack). This leads to a deep aversion to someone touching the piles or sifting through them, unwittingly destroying the invisible ordering system.

It me.

Well, I’m somewhere between untidy and hoarder because when I do actually tidy, there’s a lot less “stuff” but yeah, that’s basically my filing system. Whenever a well-intentioned person attempts to tidy for me, without my knowledge, I always end up losing stuff and… having to buy replacements because I can’t find the thing – which I feel is the opposite of what the ideal outcome would be. :/

So far some of the things lost when tidied include: a boxed copy of Evil Genius (which I’ve just re-bought in the Steam sale as a download), a mobile phone and most recently the cable to connect my camera to my laptop (and also to charge my Mum’s Kobo – so yeah I’ve had to re-buy that one).

And there’s no way of knowing if the lost things are just…here somewhere or if they’ve accidentally gone in the bin.

The 42 black t-shirts is also me. However,  I have a “black t-shirt shelf” to go with my “not-black t-shirt” shelf.

Tuesday

I am languishing in my sickbed, riddled with plague and reading about all this Tumblr stuff.

Maybe not plague. A cold.

I know that the ringing in my ears is louder when I’m sick, but it’s coupled with the sound of the water moving through the radiators and hot water pipes – a similar sound to the one I hear in my ears – which makes it all worse somehow. No amount of earplug-wearing will help when it’s a noise already in my head.

Coincidentally, I’m also reading about how places like restaurants are really loud. I’m constantly thinking about how loud places are and how it seems like everywhere has gotten louder but can’t really decided whether they really have become louder or I just notice more now that I try to avoid loud noises. Probably both.

Restaurants are so loud because architects don’t design them to be quiet. Much of this shift in design boils down to changing conceptions of what makes a space seem upscale or luxurious, as well as evolving trends in food service. Right now, high-end surfaces connote luxury, such as the slate and wood of restaurants including The Osprey in Brooklyn or Atomix in Manhattan.

This trend is not limited to New York. According to Architectural Digestmid-century modern and minimalism are both here to stay. That means sparse, modern decor; high, exposed ceilings; and almost no soft goods, such as curtains, upholstery, or carpets. These design features are a feast for the eyes, but a nightmare for the ears. No soft goods and tall ceilings mean nothing is absorbing sound energy, and a room full of hard surfaces serves as a big sonic mirror, reflecting sound around the room.The result is a loud space that renders speech unintelligible. Now that it’s so commonplace, the din of a loud restaurant is unavoidable. That’s bad for your health—and worse for the staff who works there. But it also degrades the thing that eating out is meant to culture: a shared social experience that rejuvenates, rather than harms, its participants.
And the Underground is SO loud. I mostly travel on the Northern line when I use the tube and the TRAINS are SO LOUD. If you want to talk to someone, you’d have to shout (on the other hand what are you doing, breaking the unwritten rule of not speaking on the tube). I always wonder about how loud people must have the volume for whatever they are listening to on their headphones. I think about how that kind of volume from headphones on my own ears would probably be worse for my tinnitus than the sound of the trains the music would be drowning out. At least I can wear earplugs on the train.

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene

Romeo & Juliet at the Union Chapel
On Saturday, I went to see Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet at the Union Chapel, with a live choir. Basically that meant that there was about half an hour’s performance of some of the songs from a choir before the film along with some dude saying various quotes from throughout the play. Then they did a song at the end and some guy in the audience then proposed to his girlfriend, she said yes, we all clapped and the choir did another song, dedicated to the couple.
I don’t really get why someone would pick Romeo + Juliet as a prelude to popping the question, as so many people die and namely the “happy couple.” I am sure it was probably a nice evening for them so that must add context.
Romeo + Juliet was great though. I first saw it when I was about 12 and I didn’t really get probably about half of the language used, but it’s like watching Chinese historical dramas – you don’t know what anyone is really saying, but they are doing the right faces. I guess it probably helped that I studied the play at school afterwards and I’ve learnt a bit more about Shakespeare and that since then. Watching now, over 20 years after the film was released, and looking at 20 years ago Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes was kind of weird. I guess when I first saw it, the actors were like 5-10 years older than me and I was just watching stuff happening to people. Watching now, looking at 21 year old Leonardo and 17 year old Claire Danes, from the viewpoint of someone now in their thirties and like… they are really dramatic children. I know in Zeffirelli’s version, Romeo and Juliet are played by even younger actors – but they’re not in a relatable modern setting. I’m sure I must have written an essay about this in school, but man those kids needed some responsible adults in their lives who didn’t enable their nonsense.

It wouldn’t be quite so entertaining a play though.

What else? I think that’s all I have.

102

Today my Granddad would have been 102 years old, had he not died 14 years ago. He missed his birthday that year by a few days. We went out to the local carvery and had roast dinner in his honour. Inevitably we will always go out to eat roast dinner, because the right variety of bits for a roast dinner is tricky when you’ve only got two people to eat the thing.

On Wednesday night, I went to see Larry & His Flask at the Islington Academy. Weirdly I don’t think I had really listened to any of their music, since the last time I saw them live, bought an album and played it in the car on the way home. All I knew was that I enjoyed the last time I had seen them and it felt like ages since I had seen them and that I should see them again.

Which, of course, was the right decision.

Sam Russo, whose music I also like, and Crazy Arm, whose music I’d never heard but I think Emma likes, supported and were good. The last time I saw Sam Russo, he was supporting Dave Hause and he’d done his leg in but remained charming. He’s still charming and his music is still great but seems to admit to a lot of crime? He says he didn’t murder anyone, which is good.

Larry & His Flask though. I was thinking as I stood there listening, that my Dad would have really enjoyed their music. Being an only child, my parents were always fairly protective (maybe overprotective as I’ve always been cautious anyway) so my Dad used to come to gigs with me. He took me to my first gig – AFI’s Nightmare After Christmas gig at the London Astoria back in like 2002. We went to festivals and gigs and I never minded that I always “had” to go with my Dad because we had a great time and he was always up for going. I suppose maybe I was lucky that my Dad would listen to the music I liked – it always seemed more difficult for other people I knew whose folks weren’t keen on them going out late on a school-night and there was the tension between having to hurry home after and not wanting to hurry back. No such problem for me and my Dad, because since he didn’t like public transport, he would always drive us there and back and we didn’t have to contend with the thought of missing the train.

Plus like, he would buy the tickets and the drinks and the merch because he was my Dad and I was the child. I’ve still got the hoodie he bought for me at that first gig – he popped out during the encore to buy me something, have a smoke and bring the car round and miss all the crowds going for their cars and that.

Now, I don’t think my Dad loved AFI, even though he saw them probably 6 or 7 times over the years, but I think he would really have enjoyed seeing Larry & His Flask. This was the thought I had on Wednesday night, along with the thought that everyone there seemed to be really joyful and happy that Larry & His Flask were back on tour and were playing for us all that night.

I really want to seem them again.

Other things:

  • I am hoping that Anthropocene will be at the London Film Festival this year and at a time I can make. Last year, I got lucky that all the various extra religious holidays that my work gives us off overlapped with LFF but this year it’s all a month early so maybe I’m going to have to take actual time off to see films. We’ll see.
  • Our Attitude Toward Aliens Proves We Still Think We’re Special – I guess I just figured that aliens have a Prime Directive, like there is in Star Trek.
  • An idea that really resonated with me:

    “A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits.

    Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. Being a multipotentialite is our destiny. We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).

    Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills. We are excellent at bringing disparate ideas together in creative ways. This makes us incredible innovators and problem solvers.

    When it comes to new interests that emerge, our insatiable curiosity leads us to absorb everything we can get our hands on. As a result, we pick up new skills fast and tend to be a wealth of information.”
    — Emilie Wapnick, Puttylike (found here)

  • The Story We Don’t Talk About: On Irishness, Immigration, and Race
  • I like to think that this ice cream was made from Old ones.
  • About my favourite food in the whole world.

On the train

On Saturday, I got on the Northern Line to return home from hearing the Space Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall (which was great). Anyway, I spot an empty seat between some dude and some lady, whose bag is on the seat.

I stand in front of the seat. The lady moves her bag and I sit.

Now back to the dude, who had been sitting knees akimbo and is now sitting with legs significantly less akimbo. The dude looks at my leg, right next to his leg. The dude looks at my arm, right next to his arm.

The dude turns to his friend on the other side and comments to him about the inexplicable closeness of our limbs, deeply surprised that yes, yes I am right up in his personal space and yeah, my elbow is now on the armrest, where his once was and is not moving no matter how incredulously he peers at it.

Turns out this dude has seriously underestimated exactly how fat I am and how unconcerned I am about personal space on a mode of transport where traditionally the passengers are packed on like sardines. LOL

So the lesson is, when you spot someone who clearly likes a few pies and can generally be described as “sturdy”, you should expect them to take up a whole seat.

Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little: it was all Bath.

Which is pretty true, tbh. I have no idea what house Uppercross and Kellynch might be based upon but visiting Bath last week was excellent and I’d heartily recommend a trip there to pretty much anyone. I’m not entirely sure why we never visited Bath before, since it’s only about two hours drive away.

Bailbrook House Hotel
Bailbrook House Hotel

I randomly managed to pick a hotel within 5 minutes drive of Bath and that turned out to be very comfortable with nice grounds and fantastic staff at a reasonable price (at least in comparison to what else was on offer in the area). Handily, it also turned out to be within 5 minutes (in the other direction) of the nearest Catholic church and that church turned out to have a decent-sized car park so we didn’t end up taking the 30 minute walk there on the Sunday were were there.

I don’t think I’ve eaten so many eggs for breakfast in a week at any other time in my life, but what are you going to do when the breakfast restaurant will do poached eggs (or in fact, eggs benedict) or soft boiled eggs and soldiers so well? Plus I’m sure it fortified me for a day’s sightseeing. Yes. That is exactly it.

The Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent

As with most holidays that don’t have a pre-planned itinerary from a tour operator, we ended up sight-seeing at random. First up was the Royal Crescent.

It turns out that while house numbers 2 to 30 Royal Crescent have been turned into a swanky hotel, no. 1 Royal Crescent has been turned into a museum and decorated in much the same way as it would have been in the late 18th century. The rooms and history of the house was fascinating, but what really stood out was how the staff all seemed to be really interested in the house and sharing information about it and the Georgian period with visitors.

More about Bath to come!

Continue reading “Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little: it was all Bath.”

2015 in films ‘n’ stuff

As for… probably the last 7 years, I remain largely not much of a blogger anymore. Every year that I’ve attended the London Film Festival, I mean to write about what I saw and…. never get round to it.

Well. Here goes – a few words about all the new films I saw last year. At least I got into the practice of keeping a list of all the new films I saw over on Letterboxd and every time I added to it, took a look to re-arrange everything in order of how much I liked the films.

In reverse order then, starting with the film I enjoyed the least.

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – Ugggh. This film was mostly just disappointing. What was going on with the Natasha Romanov/Bruce Banner thing? It came from nowhere and the relationship seemed out of character for both Romanov and Banner. Probably more because there was no lead up for us to see how it could have developed. Maybe…Nick Fury and Maria Hill were consistent with the rest of what we’ve seen in MCU? Everyone else? Not so much. 🙁
  • I Am Belfast – A kind of wandering essay film about Belfast. It was nice to look at and the people in it were great to hear from. That’s all I’ve got.
  • Blood Of My Blood – Half the film is set in 17th Italy and the other half in the same village in the modern-day. Amusing but felt kind of like there were 2 different films that didn’t have quiet enough story on their own kind of smushed half and half together.
  • Exotica, Erotica, Etc. – So I saw this film and then a few days later I saw Jay Malinowski at the Lexington (ditching one of the films I had planned to see at LFF because live music will probably always trump a thing I can see on DVD later) AND it felt like both things kind of mixed together – Jay Malinowski’s set was largely stuff from Martel, an album with a sort of nautical journey theme woven through.
  • Elstree 1976 – A documentary about some of the actors who appeared in the original Star Wars trilogy and how the films has affected their lives. I
  • Office – I can’t say that I ever thought I would see a Chinese musical in 3D entirely set in the corporate world but there it was. I only wish I understood the language to better enjoy it because I am CERTAIN there was clever wordplay that could not be contained in the translation.
  • Truth – Even though I was about 20 in 2004 I had no idea that the events in this film were even happening so it was fascinating to watch.
  • Youth – All I remember is that while I enjoyed this film, it felt like nothing really happened for a really long time which may have been the point. Also, Rachel Weisz was awesome in it.
  • Suffragette – Enjoyable enough but the main character Maud was a bit empty and obviously it was implausible for a newly minted suffragette to be at all the big moments of the suffragette movement at the time BUT I guess they had to somehow have a self-insert character for the audience to move through the story with? Maybe. Perhaps a film that followed the story of a real woman who was fighting for the vote would have been better.
  • Twinsters – SO I heard about these two sisters who had been adopted as babies by parents in different countries and who had found each other on Facebook a while back BUT THEN I guess they made a film and people I follow on twitter mentioned watching it and THERE IT WAS on Mum’s Netflix so I watched it and it was delightful and moving and heart-warming and all the things.
  • Magic Mike XXL – A DELIGHT from start to finish. I don’t think I have ever watched a film where every single person in the cinema with me had such a good time.
  • A Perfect Day – I don’t think I expected to watch anything so funny when I bought the ticket for this film, thinking “Oh yes, a film about aid workers in a war zone will be interesting,” but it was and I recommend it to everyone.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – All I knew about the series that this film was based on was that it had Robert Vaughan and Ducky from NCIS. Lots of fun to watch and obviously features Henry Cavill eating a sandwich as a key point in the film.
  • High-Rise – The thing about the London Film Festival is that I buy all my tickets in one go based on what the BFI website says the film is about and then I forget ENTIRELY what I have signed myself up to see. And it’s not like I know much about JG Ballard or Ben Wheatley anyway. I knew that this was about a futuristic apparently utopian 70s tower block with its social hierarchy arranged on the various levels and everything then degenerating into a dystopic horror show and at some point Tom Hiddleston got his kit off. It turned out to be GREAT and a DELIGHT and HILARIOUS.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I feel like I have only just seen this film (and kind of yeah, that’s true) and that I want to see it again in the cinema really soon BUT it is still my sixth favourite film of the year. Finn and Rey are ENCHANTING and I wouldn’t mind just watching a film where they go on an space-road-trip and discover the galaxy and everything they’ve never imagined.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – While it feels like I only saw The Force Awakens five minutes ago, it feels like I watched Fury Road at least a year ago – even though this was my birthday film and that was only in May. I liked that this was basically the story of Furiosa and the Wives rather than Max.
  • John Wick – The violence and killing and everything was great and my Mum and I both enjoy violent action films but the REAL HIGHLIGHT was Keanu Reeves hanging out with a puppy.
  • Spy – So I guess a lot of my top ten includes film that were pretty funny but Spy is probably the funniest film I saw all year.
  • The Martian – I don’t like watching bad things happening to astronauts SO the idea of an astronaut being stranded on Mars was a bit daunting but this film is great and heart-warming and well-paced.
  • Jupiter Ascending – OF COURSE Jupiter Ascending was going to be my favourite films this year. It was ridiculous and awesome and Jupiter is a great heroine. It totally filled 2015’s Pacific Rim shaped space in last years cinema-going.

And that’s it. Who would have thought that Jupiter Ascending would have been so much better than Avengers: Age of Ultron at the beginning of the year?

Weird Dreams and Old Clothes

This morning I dreamt that I bought roast duck, flew with a jet pack over London, got on the Tube, spotted Captain America in a restaurant and got a bit lost but eventually turned towards Wembley Stadium because obvs that’s a good landmark to head towards.

Not quite sure how I could see Wembley from central London (which was…. on fire from an alien invasion?).

I’ve been having a lot of wacky vivid dreams.

Also this morning, my Mum tried on all the clothes that we cleared out of my wardrobe as “things that Rachel has grown out of”.

She’s now going to wear my old Phonogram shirt to her line dancing class and has a new range of spooky/creepy t-shirts for it too. 😀

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Meet the Filmmakers

I went to this last Friday. It was awesome. Anthony Mackie & Sebastian Stan are a FANTASTIC double act.

Video under the cut. Well. Unless you’re viewing this on dreamwidth or livejournal and then you’re going to have to come to my actual blog. Possibly.

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