Sony’s upcoming zombie game, Days Gone, promises to be utter mayhem and I cannot recall when I’ve awaited a game with more excitement. There is still no release date and I heard a rumour that it might be delayed until 2019, but I can wait patiently if it means they want to take time to get it right. A late game is only bad while it is late, until it is good enough for release; a game that is released in a bad condition stays bad for ever.
Anyway, Sony just published a new video to keep everyone’s excitement up. It shows actual gameplay, survival elements and story and I am surprised how involved it is. Someone said it was like the result of Horizon Zero Dawn and The Last of Us getting into bed with each other. In that case, we are in for an unholy treat. Here it is, 7 minutes of gameplay.
Everything is going just beautifully with Harry and I am loving it. He takes all our dates very seriously, so we go out and do things around London. It’s such early days, we only had our first date a month ago, but it feels like something. It feels like dating in a way that is more than just a euphemism for casual sex.
I had to tell Chockney that we are done with each other. I was trying my best but it could have taken years for him to break through the iron fortress that appeared around me whenever I was in proximity with him and he started talking about commitment. I was going to let him come over and do some building work at my flat but then I had a magical third date with Harry which made me want to save my free time for him, so that meant Chockney had to be dismissed. I tried to be nice about it. I let him go.
Harry. We looked at paintings, then we had lunch, then we sat on a sofa in the book shop and looked at books about paintings. I could say a lot of things about how I felt and what I thought. Let me try instead to recall what he was saying and doing.
- We were sleepy after lunch and when I tired of looking at books, he put his arm around me so I could rest my head on his chest.
- If I offer him my hand, he holds it and strokes it.
- He put his hand on my waist when we were kissing. He’s not aggressive at all. He’s very delicate and he moves slowly.
- He made some reference to Our First Date, like it was a thing, which it was. He said happily of our three dates so far (dinner, opera, paintings) that they were all really nice days. I’m glad he’s enjoying himself, I certainly am. I would look at paintings anyway but it is so nice when you have a young companion who kisses you and says intelligent things.
- He said that I am the first person who has had anything positive to say about his work. Everyone else he has tried to date disapproves. But it is his job. It’s a lot easier sustaining or even starting a dating relationship when the other person isn’t dead set against your job. In subsequent text messages, he was quite chatty on the subject.
- I invited him over to my place, he is coming on Sunday. He said ‘afternoon or evening?’ and I said ‘afternoon, but don’t book anything for the evening, we’ll go out and have dinner locally’. This reply made him look happy.
When I see him, it will be our fourth date. And that’s why Chockney had to go.
We went to see Wayne Thiebaud at White Cube in Piccadilly. I absolutely love WT, he is one of my favourite artists. American post-war painting of cakes, slices of pie, sweets, lollipops, ice creams, bubble gum machines. Brush strokes are thick. Shadows are heavy and long. Lollipops lie slain. Donuts are kept in isolation. Quite often, pairs of things appear but are not allowed to have any contact. It criticises mass-produced, synthetic, post-war, commercial food at the same time as participating in it. The items are both grotesque and strangely delicious looking. I think so, anyway. I would eat most of the things painted by Wayne Thiebaud. Harry didn’t agree on this point and I expect that’s why he’s thinner than I am. The White Cube exhibition is on until 2 July. If you can’t make it to the exhibition, I might point out that there are numerous lovely books about Thiebaud here and you should probably have one for your art library.
Wayne Thiebaud, Rosebud Cakes, 1991-95, oil on canvas,15-7/8 x 20 inches.© Wayne Thiebaud/Licensedby VAGA, New York, NY. Pepperdine Center for the Arts
In this week’s episode of Classical Music, Yo, I compulsively went to Royal Festival Hall for the third time because I had tickets for Stravinsky’s Firebird, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra.
I have my mom to thank for this one. She played a lot of classical music on vinyl when I was growing up, esp ballet scores. I heard The Firebird several times as a child, so I knew I was going to like it.
Here’s a Philharmonia listening guide, that is, a short, 7-minute documentary. Stravinsky wrote the music at 26 and in 1910 it was ‘the hottest ticket in town’, in the words of presenter Paul Rissman.
Here’s the music, conducted by Stravinsky himself as a much older man.
Here’s a clip of the ballet for which the music was written.
And here’s one version of the story; there are others, the Firebird is a figure that recurs in Slavic folklore. This is a nice animated version with English subtitles. Like all good fairytales, it has princes and princesses, dark forests, wolves, golden apples, etc.
I had a date with me, for a change. That red-haired model who kissed me at the tube station. I wore a dress, naturally, he was as gorgeous as the music and how appropriate that he had red hair. It was all-round excellent. He is such a handsome man, I want to go out with him more than I want to stay in with him because it is a shame to waste his beauty by keeping it indoors.
Crikey. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it is that I do better when I am busy. After thinking that I was going to have a nice, relaxing time, further to leaving the World’s Worst Company, my life is bursting at the seams with activity. I hardly know what to tackle next. Let’s have a quick roundup of non-work things.
- Gym. I am in the gym regularly and although I’m not yet weighing myself, I can feel that I’m starting to lose some of the fat that I stacked on over Xmas. My pot belly will be the last thing to go and I am not ruling out liposuction if I can make time for it. Gym uses up a lot of time and, as we all know, you have to keep going several times a week if not every day, but it is well worth it.
- Dentist. I am at the dentist aaaallllll the time. Fillings, cleaning, this and that. Periodontist on the 22nd.
- Other beauty stuff. Hairdresser because my hair goes grey so fast. Laser hair clinic. I need to see my Botox man again, haven’t seen him since October.
- Dating. I am very popular with boys at the moment, which is very welcome after being unmercifully dumped by someone I’d sustained a 14- or 15-month relationship with. I went on a date yesterday with an absolutely beautiful model who kissed me at the tube station. When I say model, I don’t mean some 50-year-old, silver-haired character actor, I mean an actual model.
- Art and Culcha. So much of this. I saw the South Africa exhibition that is currently on at the British Museum and will blog about it separately. I am going out again over the coming weekend to hear more music.
- Choir. Is this evening. Need to wash my hair and iron a dress because it’s a big social event of the week.
- Friends. I have miraculously seen 4 of my long-suffering friends who have to wait two years in between meetings.
- Housework. I can tell I am super busy because the house is getting out of control again even though I only cleaned it up last week. I still have not unpacked the boxes that I brought away with me from the World’s Worst Job and I seriously want to clean and renovate the back room, which is now my clothes room.
- Gaming. I have done no video gaming for a solid week, even though I am desperate to get back into it. I am absolutely desperate to play Battlefield 1 and Resident Evil 7.
So there you go. The things on that list, as well as work, are merely the things I’m actually managing to do plus the most immediate priorities. We won’t even mention the second tier of priorities, such as playing other video games, reading, pursuing half a dozen other hobbies and trying to get back into learning Chinese.
I am getting enough sleep, so there’s that.
Dinner. Ocean pie with salad. Xmas groceries arriving tomorrow!
Movie. I watched Independence Day (1996) and then Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). That’s 4.5 hours of alien invasions altogether. The original film is typical 90s sci-fi, in the sense that it is all about spectacular visual effects, with no deep, underlying message or complex character development. Resurgence is much the same. it was critically panned and people complained that it was silly and had no story but what do you expect? It has massive aliens in it, and space ships, so there is plenty to look at. It is certainly silly but that’s allowed. Some of it was set in London and that always scores points with me.
Actual Date. I had my date with the American boy, wow, he was great. He is very smart and Serious, while being built like an American football player. He is very big and sturdy, solid, strong and muscular. Would probably survive an alien invasion without much difficulty. Survived a date with me without much difficulty. I hope he comes back, I would like to see him again. We played with the Playstation. That’s not a metaphor, we actually played with the Playstation.
Gaming. Today’s game was Firewatch (2016). I am too tired to write much about it just now but the critics liked it and said it was a more intelligent game than most. You play a guy whose wife has died so he goes to a national park in Colorado and takes a job as a firewatchman. Once he’s there all by himself, mysterious things start to happen.
Right, I must go to bed. More Xmas tomorrow. Yay!!
I’ve just read The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford, The Art of War by Sun Tzu (obviously the thing one would read next, ha ha) and Willpower: Rediscovering our greatest strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. The Baumeister book is interesting, solid, traditional psychological research, and Tierney polishes it up and makes it useful and glossy for the consuming public. Despite its polish, it is quite no-nonsense. Here are some memorable extracts from the final chapter. They do not waste their pity on you.
- The best way to reduce stress in your life is to stop screwing up.
- People who have more self control are better at arranging their lives so that they avoid problem situations.
- People with good self control mainly use it not for rescue in emergencies but rather to develop effective habits and routines in school and at work. They use their self control not to get through crises, but to avoid them.
- There is a strategy for going on offence.
- Rule 1: Don’t keep putting it off. Do the right thing. Be orderly in your habits. Exercise discipline.
- Rule 2. Control your impulses. When faced with a boring or unpleasant task, resist the temptation to improve your short term mood by doing something else. Stop and think about the courses of action available, predict your feelings about the outcomes.
- Your willpower resource each day may be limited, so do the more challenging and difficult things that need more will and better judgement in the early part of the day.
- Watch for the symptoms of emotional arousal, whether positive excitability or distress. Detach yourself. Delay before replying.
- If you are depleted you are more likely to make mistakes which result in money spent, weight gained, etc. If you eat properly and get enough sleep you will make better decisions.
- When you pick your battles, look beyond the immediate challenges and put your life in perspective. Are you where you want to be? What could be better? What can you do about it?
- Have an idea of what you want to accomplish in a month and how to get there.
- “We simply ask our managers and other workers to set their top goals for the week,” Patzer says. “You can’t have more than three goals and it’s fine if you have less than three. Each week we go over what we did last week and whether we met those goals or not, and then each person sets the top three goals for this week. If you only get goals one and two done, but not three, that’s fine, but you can’t go off working on other goals until you’ve done the top three. That’s it – that’s how we manage. It’s simple, but it forces you to prioritise, and it’s rigorous.”
- People exhibit more self control when their desk is clean. This is also why you should make the bed.
- “Write or nothing. It’s the same principle as keeping order in a school. If you make the pupils behave, they will learn something just to keep from being bored. I find it works. Two very simple rules, a. you don’t have to write. b. you can’t do anything else. The rest comes of itself.”
3 Books points. Today I drafted a daily schedule for myself with disappointingly little effort, no opportunities for procrastination there. I also activated some financial planning software. Then I locked myself out of iTunes by mistake. Then I went outside and walked for 1 hour, so 1 Health point. And I bought groceries because it is Thursday. Now I need to get offline and do about a month of housework because there is the prospect of a cheeky date at the weekend.
Work is still kicking my ass. I have suspended my online dating account again because I am too busy to meet people. I told Leroy I am no longer dating anyone else and he was pleased about that, in a rather serious way, that was designed to let me know he is taking it seriously, so at least someone’s happy.
The Honcho has been quiet this week.
Travel is coming up over the next several days so fingers crossed for sunshine and nice photo opportunities, despite it being winter.
My Shiseido face cream that I had for my birthday ran out. I decided to go back to Clinique for a while, the default brand choice of so many women. I already have a bottle of the famous yellow everyday moisturiser, I think most women over about 24 have a bottle of this somewhere in their bathroom. It is light, easily absorbed and really is good for every day, but as I get older my skin is losing its fine texture and I wanted something to give my face a smoother, more polished appearance without resorting to laser skin resurfacing, which is what I would actually like, along with a neck lift and a lower face lift and a boob job. So my new thing now is two pumps of Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum mixed with two drops of Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus. Put on your face using upward circular motions (as though you would do anything else), then use the surplus on your neck. It applies a silky coating to your skin which smooths everything out and hides pores, which is good. I think the latter item is the one delivering instant results and the former is the one where you are supposed to use it every day for a while before being impressed. So I will let you know how I get on.
So that’s me. Travel plans are coming together. Botox has been booked. Teeth have been recently bleached. The drycleaning is at the drycleaner’s. I have a couple of new items of lingerie on the way, in a size that I believe I can actually fit into. Face cream are go. I may be fat, but I am beautiful and everything is going to be okay.