On exercise, extroverts, and big words

I love big words an’ I cannot lie

I adore huge concepts and just cannot prevaricate!


This weekend I met sportsy person, who did not believe me when I told her I do not enjoy exercising. She said smugly “oh so that’s what you’ve decided to convince yourself to believe”. Erm. Yes, at ripe ole middle age I cannot possible know something like this about myself: it’s just a silly little notion I’ve decided to adopt to make my life more difficult. I asked if it would be acceptable for me to argue that everyone who does not love doing research is working under a false notion they’ve brainwashed themselves to believe – she said she had nothing to say to that.


‘tis no wonder, my dear.


Anyway, after sportsy person’s sportsy husband had pointed out that the audience at scientific conferences might find my papers more interesting if I had a fit arse, he also said something interesting: that when he’s done with his 20K run he always feels great that he’s done it and that he was able to actually do what he wanted. No mention of a mystic euphoria, just a recognition that he’d accomplished something he’d decided to do.


That, I can relate to. WELL, a revelation. I wonder if you saw this study? It essentially says that extroverted people like big, expressive words: they gravitate towards great instead of good; gorgeous instead of pretty, humongous instead of big. Introverts are the exact opposite. They seem to feel like they need to save the really big words for something actually big, you know, like the birth of their first born. That, for an introvert (statistically speaking) might be an awesome experience; for an extravert, their lunch was awesome because they got an extra bit of chicken. It’s not that our subjective experiences necessarily differ: it’s just that extraverts use bigger words to describe everything. (Again, statistically speaking and keeping in mind that in the real world you only meet individuals.)


Maybe part of the reason I simply cannot get sportsy people (and they cannot get me) is just the language they (and I) use? Are unbearably sporty people in fact more likely to be extroverts than introverts? (Hmm.) I come back from a jog (yes people, I exercise. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to do it.) and never, ever have I experienced anything I would call euphoria. If I’d stop to think about – which I don’t, since I prefer not to think about exercise – I would certainly find it agreeable that I, once again, engaged in exercise, which I’ve realised I need to do. If I was so inclined, I could pat myself in the back. I have, in fact, patted myself in the back a few times when I was trying to establish a jogging routine (it took three months, for those wondering) and tried every single thing I thought might be helpful. But I’m not a particularly pat-myself-in-the-back or value-sporty-accomplishments type of person to begin with, so the feelings are really more those of what I would call relief. But what if I was framing them from an enthusiastic, sportsy position? I might just frame them as happiness, joy, accomplishment – I might.


If you are a sportsy person and are now getting excited, calm your tits. This does not mean that I feel like I should change my views or adopt an enthusiastic position. It would be useless and false, given how much I fucking hate exercising. The only thing it has going for it is that it’s healthy and good for you, and that’s a rational reason, not an emotional one. I’m not going to delude myself: if it was entirely ok for me to never lift a finger, I would never lift a finger. But I do find it encouraging that the people larking on about the wonderfulness of exercise might be doing so from a point of view of general excitableness – that they might be talking about something pretty achievable after all. You bloody did it. You knew you had to exercise in order to have a nice life and not get out of breath when you climb the stairs to the second floor and you bloody did it! Yay you!


See: that kind of measured cheerfulness I can get aboard with. Briefly. I can briefly go: well, yes, good on me! Then, let’s stop. Save the super-excitement for those who can stomach it.


(Max Mann Riesling – citrus and green apples. Apples are good for you.)

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!


Why, thank you! Will move my gripes from nuttytart.net here presently. Funny thing: when I bought the domain, nuttytart.com was no available – hence the added that – but now it is! Ah well, I’ll stick with the thatness. [Addendum: I moved the gripes along with their posting dates, hence they come after the Welcome post.]

So what IS my excuse?

Soo, a bunch of fitness females have taken to posting pictures of their six-packs and tight buttocks with the accusatory caption “What’s your excuse?” superimposed on them (and some of them have even made little humans, all by themselves, and added them to the picture, because it makes these women even more remarkable! Squee!). Because, as you know, absolutely everyone in the world is actually dying to have abs like that and the thing stopping them is the fact that they are lazy, fat gits who make up excuses. (I’m also almost equally amused by those people who call this “fat shaming” –as if the only alternative to this is being horribly overweight. Oy.)


Dear fit darlings, I’m not sure how to put this politely so I’m going to be blunt (it’s not as if you are the embodiment of tact either). I would not want to look like you. I’m sorry, but to me the whole sculpted, defined muscle thing makes people look like balloon animals. I understand it’s the result of hard work and discipline and goes with the territory if you’re seriously into sports and fitness, and I totally respect that. But, for Pete’s sake, even you have to understand that you’re taking it to the extreme and that it is entirely possible to be fit and healthy without looking like a balloon animal. You’re effectively trying to make people feel guilty for not being you. I have absolutely no idea in which alternative reality this would be considered inspirational.


Let’s make this simple. We’re all different and we all make choices based on what interests us and what is important to us. Our choices become our actions and decisions regarding where we invest our time and energy. As surprising as it might seem to these fitness fanatics, evaluating the state of my arse in the mirror on a daily basis does not even make my Top 100 list of Things To Care About In This Life. There are books to read, rants to write, cats to rescue, cakes to bake: all this and a myriad of other things are more interesting to me than the general appearance of my arse, or indeed, abdomen.


It’s not an excuse. It’s a choice. Now go and be happy with your choice, your muscles and fitness and remarkable self-discipline, and quit being a judgmental, condescending ass.


If you’ll excuse me, I shall now go and produce a picture of a smug woman holding a PhD certificate with the text “What’s your excuse?” superimposed on it, and see how that goes down.

Movie musings of the gripey sort

Long time, no gripe! Enjoying a glass of Villa Maria sauvignon blanc and feeling a gripe coming on.


Saw Skyfall. Thought it illustrated three problems plaguing films these days perfectly. Script writers, take note.


1) What’s with the plots of Twist with a Twist, With a Twist on the Second Twist Added, with a Bit of a Twist at the End? It is tiresome to have endless “But wait! That’s not it at all!” moments.


2) You can apparently explain away every single oddity and impossibility and thing that makes no sense in the story by saying You See He Hacked a Computer. Oh you see the computer predicted – a year ago! – what a person would do in these circumstances today by using a Really Nifty Algorithm! Oh you see the computer was used to blow stuff up in a place where no one can go! Oh you see he hacked a computer and reprogrammed the laws of physics!


3) Thou Shalt Not Make a Film That Runs for Longer than 120 Minutes. Never, ever, ever. By 120 minutes the viewer’s butt is numb and s/he needs the loo. If you cannot tell your story in less than two hours, write another one.


The wallpaper overlords

(Energy provided by mere natural bile. Having a dry January following a very wet Christmas holiday in Cuba, plus suffering from the mother of all flus so don’t feel like having wine anyway(!).)


TLSO and I are redecorating the upstairs half bath (=TLSO does all the work and I look at pictures of pretty half baths online for inspiration). We have one guiding principle: all rooms upstairs shall be warmly coloured. This, naturally, includes the half bath that is currently stripped to the bone. Off we went, hopeful, to hardware stores in our area to look for a lovely sturdy wallpaper for the half bath. In warm colours. Warm red, gold and bronze tones, warm browns and beiges, all possible.


We could not find a single one. Not one warm-toned wallpaper. The dozens upon dozens of wallpapers we saw in several shops were all cool: minty greens, pale blues, rose-coloured reds, pinks, bluish purples, purply browns and cool beiges. All cold colours. Every last one. Which begs the question: who makes the decisions regarding wallpaper fashion? Why is it that we simply cannot buy warm-coloured wallpaper at this time (we certainly could a year and a half ago when we were redecorating the upstairs bedroom)? I doubt it’s the chain store buyers as coldness abounded regardless of the store or the chain that the store belonged to. Surely buyers do not hold bi-annual meetings where they all decide, en mass, what will be made available? One would think that not having the same exact stuff as all your competitors would be a good thing.


I rather suspect there is some sort of wallpaper designers’ guild – much like designers in the fashion industry, you know – who have wallpaper shows somewhere nice, like Nice, for each season and who make random decisions along the lines of ”No one shall have warmly coloured rooms in the Spring of ’13! No one! Bwahahaha!”. I can see them now, showcasing their cold designs on the walls surrounding the runway, sipping champagne, laughing demonically and loving the power they have over regular folks’ half baths.


The bastards.

A date with the end of the world

Dear people who await the end of the world,

1) To those who fret: please stop worrying over something that you cannot control. You might as well worry that you should be able to control your local weather, and you don’t, because you know you can’t.  If the world does come to an end, the world comes to an end: there would be nothing you could do about it because it would be a Pretty Big event. Also, save that suicide plan until the very last minute – when your end-of-the-world induced death is imminent – on the very-probable-off chance that you’re wrong, and you would in fact be alive, well and pretty relieved on December 22nd.

2) You folks who are digging bunkers under your house and hoarding canned food: just what kind of a lame ass end of the world is it exactly, if you’re fine as long as you stay in a bunker with canned food? An end of the world that couldn’t commit? Pfft.


Cheers to Deep Root Riesling Trocken.

Swedish saunas do not exist

Dear English-speaking world: please stop calling it a ”Swedish sauna”. It’s an irrational combination of words.

Sauna is not a Swedish word: it’s Finnish. The Swedes do have a passing knowledge and modest experience of saunas, but they call them bastu. Why would you call it a “Swedish sauna” when you could simply call it bastu? And more to the point, why do you feel the need to add “Swedish”, if you’re talking about sauna – which is a Finnish phenomenon through and through? There are approximately 2 million saunas in Finland, a country with a population of 5 million – and I couldn’t in fact find statistics from Sweden because they really are so much less common over the other side of the small pond. No one in Finland builds a house without a sauna; in Sweden virtually everyone does. Heck, even the Swedish Wikipedia entry on bastus talks mainly about the Finnish sauna phenomenon – bastus or saunas have not been researched, put into statistics, written or talked about much in Sweden, because the Swedes are a bit lukewarm about the whole sauna culture.

So quit with the Swedish thing. Sauna is Finnish.

… unless, of course, you’re talking about one of those sad versions you sometimes come across outside of Scandinavia: you know, the odd, brightly lit rooms with a temperature of +45 C and a big sign over the stove forbidding you to throw water on it (on account of it being deadly dangerous as you shouldn’t mix water and electricity – uh-huh, yeah) and where everyone insists on wearing a swimming suit, two towels and a hat; possibly sandals too. Then, as a Finn, I can’t begrudge the “Swedish” tag, because no Finn wants to be associated with an atrocity of that sort. Mind you, neither do the Swedes, in all probability. If you’re referring to a, er, “sauna” of that sort, just call it “a room in which one could practice hot yoga”.

This Has Been a Public Service Announcement Combining Semantics with a Smidgen of National Pride

PSA fuelled by Bucellas Arinto, which starts out currant and ends up lemon, and which I hereby proclaim a curmony wine.

On how-to videos

Whine wine: Anselmann Weißburgunder trocken. A fine whine wine, as whine wines go.


My queendom for a short and concise how-to video online. Why is it that all these people in fact want to make a video about themselves? If you want to see a demonstration of, say, how to finely chop an onion, you, more likely than not, have to sit through all of the following:

1) Opening titles (appearing one word at a time, naturally)
2) Chipper chopper-person smiling brightly and telling you HI!, who they are, why they are qualified to make this video, where they are, what this video will be about (because the two titles that you have seen so far are def. not enough to make you confident that you’ve opened the correct video), what they will be doing, and how this is all going to be so super-duper.
3) Chopper-person walking through the kitchen to fetch an onion from a basket, opening a drawer to retrieve a knife, and a cupboard to take out the chopping board, perkily explaining what they are doing the whole time.
4) Chopper-person placing an onion on the chopping board and taking a knife in their hand, explaining all details relating to the onion, the chopping board, and the knife.
5) Chopper-person actually chopping the onion, detailing how they do it as they do it.
6) Chopper-person smiling brightly with their chopped onion, telling us that they chopped an onion in an ever so effective manner and it was so great and awesome and you can now do all sorts of things with the chopped onion, like, wow, the onion got well and truly chopped.
7) Chopper-person smiling brightly without an onion and talking about what the video was about and hopes it was useful and that you enjoyed it and will come back with your other chopping needs and have a nice day and see you next time and wave!
8 ) Closing titles (long, rolling, include chopper-person thanking their dog for unwavering support).


You only need to film 5). Really.


On escalator etiquette

(Another bottle of Steininger Riesling – it seems to be my go-to bottle when I can’t be bothered with decision making at the local monopoly shop)


Look: this is very short and very simple and not difficult to grasp at all.


For Pete’s sake, DO NOT stop at the top/bottom of an escalator when you get off! Even though you stop dead on your tracks in order to contemplate where you should be heading, what you need from the grocer’s and what the meaning of life is, really, the escalator does not stop moving, and the people on said moving escalator behind you have to go somewhere, and you are blocking the way.



I hate silicone cake tins

(Whine wine: Fernway Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – nice, albeit a touch more herbal than I prefer)


Anti-stick my foot! Never, ever trust in the supposed releasing magic of silicone tins, for it does not exist. You still have to butter & flour the tin if you wish to get your cake out of it. As an added aggrevating bonus, if your cake does stick to the silicone tin, there is no way, no way at all, you can get it out in one piece. With your trusty old metal tin, you could try the cold towel trick, and in most cases it would actually work. Nothing can be done to save a cake that has become stuck to a silicone tin: you can forget about pretty cake slices and start planning a trifle.


Silicone tins are also bendy and twisty: this means that they only work with very sturdy baked goods anyway. A delicate cake is going to start going to pieces when you try and invert the useless, spineless mould, because it won’t hold its shape. Oh, and let’s not forget that you must always place the tins on a cookie sheet, for the very same reason. How handy.


Unless you only and exclusively bake very hard bread, the only thing silicone tins have going for them is the fact that they don’t go ”clangggg!!” when you put them in the cupboard.