What I Hated the Least Today 182/365: Toilet Paper (Yup)


Yup. I’m blogging about toilet paper. Mostly because I can. And because I can’t think of anything more savoury to blog about.

I’m a toilet paper enthusiast. I measure the quality of places by the presence/absence of toiler paper. My best workplace was a place where there was always toilet paper. Every single time. There was even a separate restroom for staff—it was a university, and students and teachers had each their own restroom. The students’ one was fancy enough (and there was also paper).

During my studies at another university, there was no toilet paper. That taught me not to assume that the presence of basic sanitary supplies at sanitary facilities is a matter of course. That also taught me that neither is it a matter of course that cubicle doors lock, that toilets flush and that there is hot water (or even soap or even, even towels).

The restroom was what I loved the most about my workplace. I don’t work there anymore (I might again, as the teacher whom I was substituting and who went mad shows no signs of getting sane any time soon), but I continue to indulge in toilet paper in private. I’m unreasonably demanding, so the only Mara-approved brand for toilet paper and tissues is Zewa (tissues can be Kleenex, too).

The Zewa paper I buy is marketed as having flushable tubes. That’s not the reason I prefer it, and I didn’t test this marketing claim in practice. I don’t trust it. But then again, neither did people trust, say, electricity, before it became commonplace. I imagine the flushable tube was invented as an anti-child hack. I mean, childproof.


Changing Seasons 6/12

In response to Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge.

What I Hated the Least Today 181/365: Stet, Let It Stand

Let it stand, let it rust
Let it stand, let it rust

I’m trying to learn to become more of a stet person. Stet, let it stand, is a proofreading mark indicating that a correction should be ignored and the text should be left as it is. Letting anything as it is comes across as an extremely difficult skill to me as someone who, even when she’s not proofreading, spends time poking around, finding faults and, ideally, fixing them.

The urge to perfect what’s imperfect (which is everything) comes with a load of disadvantages attached, including that you spend all the time fiddling with things and have no time left for doing things. The only advantage is that I make a hell of a proofreader, and I’m sure I would make an excellent software tester, which I’d really fancy doing for money since I’m already doing it for free with all software I use.

Blogging assists me a little with developing some stet skills. When I started blogging in a text form rather than just posting uncommented pictures, I took forever to write a single line. I double-checked each word I used and was unsure of (you’re never sure, so each word) and devoted hours to writing and rewriting a tiny hundred-and-fifty-word post.

A year or two later, the present, I’ve grown a bit in the practice. Not only have I been writing a post on an everyday basis for the last half a year—that’s my 365 blogging challenge this post is part of—I also occasionally end up with thousand words or more written on the spur of the moment within a single sitting.

I don’t produce good quality, unless accidentally (I’m still intrigued by how my personally least favourite posts regularly become the most popular ones with readers). A fact of life which I don’t particularly like but have no saying in has it that the point today isn’t quality. While I’m unsure what the point is then, I’m pretty sure quality has become irrelevant. You can trust my keen discerning eye on that.

Blogging is a good example of quality playing no role from the greater perspective. That’s nothing to be necessarily depressed about, it follows naturally that a blog post is a text for fast immediate consumption, to be read and forgotten. No one is going to read my posts twice and ponder on them. In terms of efficiency, there is zero sense in crafting my posts as though they were to be carved in stone.

I may not know what the point is (and being an existentialist, I maintain that there is no point), but I should know what my point is. Well, my point is that the above is good news really—I’m learning to blog freely and carelessly, and I might even learn to extend this stet approach to other, non-blogging activities. Imagine the time I’d have and the stress I wouldn’t have.

What I Hated the Least Today 180/365: No Foodie

Definitely not a foodie
Definitely not a foodie

I blogged about my comparatively successful ongoing effort to lose weight before, always with the cautionary warning that you don’t try it at home. To further my message that slimming is not worth it, here’s a decisively anti-foodie post. Please be warned that the following contains graphic images: extremely bad snaps of rather bad food.

I’m a foodie in the sense that everyone else is—I assume everyone likes to eat nice food—and I’m not a foodie in the sense that I rarely eat nice food (nice food is inconsistent with dieting), I hate preparing dishes (too much effort wasted to too little effect) and I hate arranging food on the plate (it’s not like you’re not going to eat it anyway).

Perversely, I cook daily out of necessity. Stupidly, not only my cooking sucks, but also the dietary ingredients I use to much extent preclude the possibility of tasty results. I cook vegetables, tofu and soya; and when I indulge myself, rice, pasta, fish and chicken. When I don’t cook, I eat crisp bread, which is probably the least awful thing on my menu.

Here are the promised gory images of my disgusting food, deliberately squared Instagram style to poke fun at actual foodies. I’m losing weight, but I’m retaining my weird sense of humour.

What I Hated the Least Today 179/365: Night Owl

An early riser
An early riser

I’m a convinced night owl. (Isn’t night owl a tautology? Not if there is a day owl, but is there such a thing?) That means, among other dis/advantages, that I get in contact with early birds. (Again, is it a tautology or is there a late bird? And isn’t late bird an owl?) I constantly stumble upon early birds at my usual bedtime, which is early morning. (Are you confused yet? I’m starting to be.)

I have regular dealings with actual early birds, which start twittering noisily at four a.m. the latest at this time of the year, as if they had no nest to sleep in quietly so as not to disturb night owls who are trying to get some work done. I also regularly observe human early birds, who start at about the same time, at four a.m., at any time of the year. If I had a heart, it would be breaking at the sight of those unlucky people getting up at a time when I’m not even asleep yet and plodding to their day jobs. I’m lucky to have a night job. Or a day job that can be performed at night.

I’m on first-name terms with the guy who pre-delivers post, driving a van and distributing packages of mail among the post utility boxes from where the actual postman picks them for individual delivery. The guy is a sore sight: he’s ancient and he limps so badly that he shouldn’t be even driving a car, let alone drag heavy loads on a weekdaily basis. I’m also familiar with the grocery van which arrives at dawn to stock the shop on the ground floor of my building. The vans come the first, and then the foot walkers come out. (Foot walker is certainly a tautology and I have no idea how I came up with this ridiculous phrase.)

Other people’s misery is good for appreciating that I don’t have to get up early. (I don’t have to get up, even, provided I could work from bed, which I can’t because I find it uncomfortable and inconvenient.) An early bird catches the worm, they say. An early bird catches the worms, if anything, I maintain. (Provided that birds have worms, which is too unsavoury an idea for me to Google. On second thought—I did Google to satisfy my curiosity and guess what. Yes, birds do get worms. Another reason for not wanting to be an early bird. It might give you worms.)

What I Hated the Least Today 178/365: Old WordPress Editor

The old
The old

I’m all for innovations and no adherent of If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m disappointed with myself that I still use the old WordPress editor because I can’t deal with the new and improved one.

My general complaint about the new editor (which is now getting old, when you think about it) is its limited functionality. I like to be in control and I don’t like it when any application tries to presume that I don’t know what I’m doing and attempts to help me with it. There’s an easier way to create on WordPress.com. Switch to the improved editor, says the banner in old WordPress admin area. That’s actually a fair way to advertise it: it is easier to use the new editor because it doesn’t allow you to do fancy things.

Among the actions that you can’t do in the new editor and that I regularly perform are these:

  • Switch to a distraction-free mode. I don’t normally hide navigation elements, certainly not when writing in an offline text editor like MS Word, but this function of the old editor has grown on me and it’s hard to give it up.
  • Copy a post. I always use my old posts as a template for new ones. When you copy a post in the old editor, the categories and tags are copied, which comes in handy when you’re like me and blog serially in the sense of, say, 365 projects.
  • Edit an image directly from the new post screen. You can’t resize, crop or rotate the image. You can add a caption and change the display size, but even there, you can’t choose a custom display size.

It’s difficult to switch to an editor in which I can’t do what I’m used to do. I find the trend of withdrawing functions rather than improving the current functions or even adding new ones quite disagreeable (to put it nicely). I hope the old editor will stick around for a while. Sure, it probably needs an update by now, but not really the update it received. This post is very much an ode to the old editor, may it live long and may I not be forced to write an elegy to it any time soon.

What I Hated the Least Today 177/365: Sounds

Homely home sounds
Homely home sounds

Do you ever think of the sounds your home makes when it’s otherwise quiet? I don’t, unless I spend a night out of home and am confronted with an entirely different set of sounds. Moving homes a year and half ago also made me more attuned to the peculiarities of soundtracks of places, so to say.

My current home produces some sounds that were not entirely straightforward to get used to. In winter, the fuses tend to buzz when the floor heating kicks in; which sounds like electrical overload to me, but I had a technician checking the fuses and insisting that nothing was wrong with them. I eventually got used to the buzzing.

In all seasons, the water heater tunes in with random screeching sounds. It sounds as a train braking in distance. It’s sometimes hard to tell from actual train screeching, which I get as well, since I live near a cargo train depot.

In summer evenings, I have noise from the pub across the street, which is actually quite pleasant. It’s good to hear that there is life going on outside even when I’m locked inside working or blogging. The pub shuts its outside seating area at 10 p.m. sharp, which is probably the standard curfew to keep if night disturbance charges are to be avoided.

The best sounds of all are the cat sounds. I don’t mean the noise of the blinds being torn down or the squealing of the toy mouse being chased around, though in the case of the latter, I appreciate it when the cat  engages in human-approved, furnishings-friendly activities.

What I’m quite in love with is the sound of the cat’s paws tappity-tapping on the hard floor. I can hear her in my sleep as she is prowling around. It doesn’t disturb me, it’s a comforting heads up that the cat is live and well (and up to no good, but never mind that).

Speaking of good sounds, here’s a good song called “That Sound”. Whatever it is that works as that sound for you.


Fire in Progress

Around 1:30 a.m., uncomfortably close
Around 1:30 a.m., uncomfortably close

I should be working, but I find the mushroom cloud of smoke outside of my window slightly distracting. The above was snapped with my not-iPhone from my flat’s terrace at 1:30 a.m. when I first noticed that the sky got itself smokey eyes. (I’m entitled to treat a fire in a flippant tone when I’m sitting 800 metres away from it.)

In retrospect I recalled that I did hear sirens earlier, but since it’s Friday night and since I live next to a hospital, that’s a perfectly normal background noise. I’m mildly discomforted by the fact that I’m siren-deaf—I physically perceive them but I don’t mentally notice them. I’m also somewhat disappointed in my cat. Just before I saw there was a fire, the cat acted weird, hid in a closet and then came out for a cuddle. And I thought she was just happy to have me.

Two hours later, the local fire brigade tweeted that it’s a textile warehouse on fire—before that, there was no information anywhere to be found. It’s cool that they added photos and even a video, but I’d rather know if I should pack my emergency bag (and if my favourite supermarket next to the warehouse is burning too). A storm just started—the cat retired to the closet again, she’s scared of rain for no reasonable reason, especially when considering that she used to live outdoors.

I guess being almost a kilometre away and with the rain now, I should be safe enough, but I’ll probably stay up to see what’s up—or more to the point, what’s burning down. Should you be concerned about my morbid humour (but you should surely be used to it by now), let me state for the record that no casualties were reported and given that it’s a warehouse that caught fire in the middle of the night, casualties are unlikely. I’m not even freaking out by now (too much).

Around 4 a.m., hopefully under control
Around 4 a.m., hopefully under control

What I Hated the Least Today 176/365: Summer

Getting hot in here
Getting hot in here

It’s the season of the year again when it’s getting hot around here. I withstand the heat better than the cold. Rumour has it that my skin is made of asbestos (in other words, that I’m a thick-skinned monster) because I like my shower so hot that it would cause most other people third-degree burns. Rumour also has it that I’m a reptile (in other words, a sleazy slick snake) because I only ever feel warm in what other people call overheated rooms.

My current room temperature oscillates at 27°C (80.6 F) and while it is a bit stuffy in here, it’s not warm enough for me to even take my socks off. I’ll have 30°C (86 F) inside when the full summer heat kicks in, which is when I do remove my socks and put on shorts. I’ve been called nuts for not minding the heat (to the extent that I don’t bother to own a fan, less so use it), but then, I like nuts.

When things get heated up, I have a plant sprayer on standby to refresh myself with. I don’t have any plants, but I bought the sprayer when I moved in with my cat to use it as a deterrent. It comes in handy for human refreshment, though the cat is in a state of permanent alert in summer when I have the sprayer resting on my table. The cat overreacts, it’s not like I waterboard her.

I’m quite looking forward to the shorts and spray season. Summer just as well might be the season that I hate the least, and not just today.

What I Hated the Least Today 175/365: Recycling

A bagful of rubbish
A bagful of rubbish

I recycle like I plan to live on this earth forever or like I want to save the planet. As to the former, I won’t continue to live even through my offspring because I don’t intend to reproduce; as to the latter, I don’t suffer from a saviour complex, and let’s be realistic. Despite my relentless scepticism, I persist in activities that more optimistic people would call meaningful. Like recycling.

It occurred to me that when you recycle, you ultimately find yourself living on a heap of rubbish. I have an entire cupboard filled with rubbish. There are three shelves, one holding a large basket for plastics, another a basket for paper and the last one is a home to glass bottles. I don’t take my recyclables to the bin until the baskets are full.

Today it was time to drag my hoard of paper out to the bin. The cat showed a great interest in my undertaking as I was moving the contents of the basket in a bag to carry out, but she showed zero interest in assisting me. As I was rummaging through my rubbish, I made the following findings:

  • I have a large consumption of boxed tissues. That makes sense. I live in a bedsit, yet I always have three tissue boxes distributed around at strategic locations.
  • I seem to live on crisp bread. That’s also about right. The cheap kind comes in plastic bags, but I fancy the fancy kind that comes in boxes.
  • I get a lot of junk mail. That’s curious, considering that I have a NO JUNK label on my post box. Council newsletters are apparently not regarded as junk by the postman.

While I didn’t particularly love my dealings with my rubbish, I do like it that now I cohabit with less rubbish than before. I should probably make trips to the bin more often. For the kick out of it, for the entertainment of the cat and for the profit of whoever steals paper from communal bins to sell it for ten cents per kilo.