Went for a bike ride on Sunday to Richmond Park and back, 17 miles, which is pretty pathetic really. Nice ride though - after Wandsworth, which isn't that far from Brixton really, you can get off the roads completely by cycling across Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common to Richmond Park. A circuit of Richmond Park would be a nice thing to do in future, the road layout is made for it.
Map of route. I'm getting quite into Gmaps Pedometer.
Made a Sunday roast on Monday. I usually do lamb but I've been doing a chicken the last few weeks. I get a decent sized schmorganic one from Tescos, costs about a tenner, and stuff it with a big bunch of tarragon, a chopped up lemon and a few cloves of garlic. Then cook on high for twenty minutes and low for another forty or fifty. The lemon and wet tarragon seem to steam it from the inside so the meat stays really moist. I may have found the answer to the great dry Christmas turkey conundrum that has puzzled the best minds for generations.
I have balked at spending a tenner on a chicken in the past but the bloody thing feeds me all week. This makes me very smug about environments and credit crunches and stuff. On Monday and Tuesday I have a chicken curry (should be noted here that these haven't been very successful so far, I think I need to take more care with which meat I use, the darker meat is too strong tasting).
I make a stock with the carcass by leaving it on a very low heat in a pan with peeled carrots, celery and onions for a few hours, and use as a base for a soup made with the leftover veg from the Sunday roast. This tastes amazing and it's all down to using proper stock. It's a big enough soup to have as a main meal, so that lasts me Wednesday and Thursday.
Friday I usually get drunk and have a kebab.
Saw "There Will Be Blood", which is just fucking fantastic. If you remember, this came out at about the same time as "No Country For Old Men" earlier this year and they sort of got lumped together as the two big worthy Oscar films of our time. Personally I think "There Will Be Blood" is in a different league.
I'll try not to give too much away, but it looks at American frontierism and the clash between frontierist capitalism in the guise of an oil prospector, and frontierist religion in the guise of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. At least that's how I saw it.
It's a very sparse film. While always present, the dialogue is quite low-key, made up for by outrageous, over-the-top but still believable performances, especially from Daniel Day Lewis. It is beautifully shot throughout with a real sense of space and and a feel for the harshness of the environment. Best of all for me though was the music, which was apparently composed by him out of Raidohead. It's strange without being too distracting, very powerful, and has been showcased by being put so high in the sound mix.
Anyway, film of the year so far. I actually can't wait to see it again.
Decided to try a bit of Freud and read "Civilisation and its Discontents", a 100 page tract on humanity and society Freud wrote in later life, which tries to explain almost everything and gets very close to succeeding.
The first thing to say about this is how beautifully it is written. Freud's writing style has him start with a simple premise and build on it with relentless waves of logic into this tottering, elaborate pile of genius, which he will then demolish before starting again from a different angle. It makes him a real joy to read, and approaching his sometimes very difficult ideas from multiple angles makes them a lot easier to get your head round.
"Civilisation and its Discontents" concerns itself with the way the individual has internalised society. Our natural drives towards sex and destruction (whose origins Freud also explains in this book) are tempered by a realisation that in the long term, fulfilling these desires can be personally damaging, due to the problems it causes with our place in society. Freud sees the tempering agent, the super-ego, as a sort of garrison of society's soldiers that has occupied our minds and keeps our base drives in check. But this in turn leads to a dissatisfaction with society, as it denies us our base drives, and furthermore is the only source of one of our worst enemies, guilt.
The picture Freud paints of a constant state of battle between our sex and death drives and the super-ego, representatives of ourselves and society, is fascinating and does a great job of dampening down any latent utopianist ideals. He also posits one of the best arguments for atheism I've come across yet, tackling the possibility of moral absolutes and the existence of objective good and objective bad head-on, rather than skirting around them and just shouting RELIGION IS BAD even louder.
I definitely want to read more Freud now, but in general I want to read more about the mind and mental illness, and have ordered "The Divided Self" by RD Laing (not to be confused with KD Lang) for a more contemporary perspective - though to be honest Laing's 60s LSD-and-shagging methods have probably dated a lot worse than Freud's.
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