An indulgent international adventure of monarchical proportions…

Rentrer a Rennes…

Well hello there gentle readers,

This is a post from exactly one year ago that stayed as a draft. This tends to happen a lot to me as I have moments of inspiration and then I lose my motivation after writing half a blog. So here is last years post in all its half completed glory…

My most recent exploits haven’t involved riding a bicycle which I am sure many of you will be greatly disappointed with. However my only way to counter this is to say that I went to France and it was Fucking Awesome! I quite like the way those two words look. It’s like they belong together both capitalised, standing proud. I am Fucking Awesome! Yeah I like it.

Anyways I was in France, I ate cheese, I drank wine, I ate crepes and drank cider, I danced by the moonlight…

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I also got attacked by a goose.

This was no ordinary goose, it was one pissed off mutha fucker! Going into attack mode against any human who dared come within 20 metres of it or its partner. Aline first found about this angry bird when she decided to go on a lovely walk on a sunny afternoon a few days previously. At the time, she had’t been to this park in a while and was consequently unaware of the avian perils which lurked angrily in her path. Consequently Aline decided it was a good idea to bring me back to teach the bird a lesson. When we arrived at the park on Friday afternoon, the birds were initially quite far away from us however they must have heard Aline coming and as soon as the angry birds caught sight of us, attack mode on. Head low, neck outstretched, honking wildly. We ran, Aline screamed, it was quite the adrenaline rush. The goose also decided to scare the shit out of a dude jogging, and also attack an elderly couple while we watched and laughed. Good times.

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Galettes and crepe were consumed on Sunday as a lazy day reward after venturing to the markets. And this is a picture of prune liquor. A Brittany specialty. It’s strong and delicious and comes with a fun Breton flag. Hooray for regional pride!

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Life’s a beach

Life's a beach

Australia. Sun, sand, surf. That’s what I was expecting when I returned over the xmas period. And that was what I got. This is a picture of a magnificent beach at Hat Head National Park around halfway up the NSW coast. The waves were perfect for swimming, the water crystal clear, the sand golden and fine and the temperature was just right at 28 degrees Celsius. Honestly it was one of my top 5 beach moments. Having my beautiful wife with me certainly added to desirable ambiance. There were barely any other people around either. I really didn’t want to leave this beach and will definitely have to go back when I am next exploring NSW.

Brush with danger: The long battle over a spooky toothpaste additive

There’s some scary stuff in the everyday products we take for granted as being safe…

Grist

A few years ago, I worked at one of those scrappy neighborhood news websites that was supposed to be the future of journalism. (I don’t know if it was the future of journalism. It was certainly a future of journalism.) We rode our bikes to crime scenes and wrote stories about which local developer was having problems with the planning department, which local restaurant had rats. It was very 19th century in a lot of ways.

In one project, we collaborated with a local research university’s investigation of the giant hairball of research that is multiple chemical exposure. They were trying to translate that research to a wider audience — specifically, women who were about to have babies. The public health outreach workers would write what we hoped would be fun, informational articles. I would edit them.

Then the op-eds began to trickle in. In the same way that…

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Beer Review

So as my adoring fans all know I am living in France and currently unemployed, consequently I have the time to indulge some of my passions. Amongst my many loves is one of beer. Not just drinking it like a college kid in the hope of getting drunk, but the appreciation of fine quality artisan crafted beer.

There are levels of quality of everything, and as a conscious consumer I make it my goal to appreciate and enjoy as high quality as I can afford for almost everything I consume. Though France is obviously more well known for their wine, they also produce a variety of excellent beers and ciders. In my opinion many of their better beers are inspired by their neighbour Belgium and have a higher alcohol content and more complex flavour. The beer I am reviewing today is …

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Bellerose Superior Blond Beer / Biere Blonde Extra

I have noticed that many French and Belgian beers relish and embrace the alcohol content of their beers, with some companies even naming the beer after the alcohol content. Leffe brewery have the Ritual 9 which is very tasty and strong with its 9% alcohol, another popular beer in Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh where I am living, is the 8.8 Celtika which as you may have guessed is 8.8% alcohol. 

Now onto the review. The Bellerose is 6.5% as it openly states on its label, however it does not taste like a strong beer. It has a very refreshing fruity flavour, which the brewery describes as Litchi and Citrus and they are not too far off. The three types of hops they have used result in a flavourful tropical cocktail of a beer with distinct Belgian-esque influences. They do not disclose which types of hops they use as I don’t think they are quite targeting that level of beer enthusiast. Their label design does however indicate a consciousness about the type of consumer they believe will enjoy their beer.

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The beer style, and consequently label, is influenced by the 1950s era of beer production where heavily hopped beers were the norm. Interestingly the brewers decided to include some spices in the ingredients. I am not sure what spices they have used and it is difficult to detect any distinct spicy flavours coming through. Presumably the hops they used were not entirely satisfactory so they added some spice to enhance the flavour. This is what I do with cooking so it doesn’t feel like such a stretch to assume this is the case. I appreciate that they did not add any sugar into the brew to ‘artificially’ increase the alcohol content. A few breweries of high alcohol beers are known to do this and I almost feel like it’s cheating.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful golden brew. It has a richness and complexity of flavour without being too intense. I could quite happily drink this beer on a hot summers day as well as during winter time, which it is now. I am known for liking quite strong beers, with my beer style of choice being India Pale Ales (IPAs), however I have really taken to the Belgian style beers, especially when they are strongly hopped like this one. So next time you think of France don’t just assume its all about the wine and cheese. Their beers are alive and well and delicious.

My new shoes…

My new shoes...

These are Nike Free Run 3.0s and they are my new favourite thing. Now it may seem a little crazy to make shoes your favourite thing, but they way I feel when I put them on is pretty awesome.

They are really light and well designed, and as soon as I slip into them I can envisage the run I am about to do. As I go for my morning run along the riverbank in Rennes I feel free. I am quite fit so I can run as fast and for as long as I like. It is very liberating and a great way to start the day. Even if I don’t have much else to do afterwards.

Running is one of those abilities that almost everyone has. All you need is a pair of shoes and you can go wherever you like. It is a great way to explore a new place or even discover new things about a place you have lived in for a while. And afterwards you feel great. I think one of the biggest incentives of the run is the endorphin release which makes you happy and motivated for the rest of the day.

It’s winter here in France so its a little bit harder to get going in the cold, darkish morning, but once you start running you warm up and its almost like summer 😉

So happy running everybody!

Being inspired while unemployed

Hey so its been a little while since I posted anything of any value. Well maybe a long while, possibly even ever, and this post may not even turn out to be that filled with value either. I start each post with the greatest intentions, feeling inspired just wanted to write to really stimulate my brain. To create. To let others know my thoughts, how I feel about issues. But then I start writing and the madness sets in. Maybe not madness, maybe its more like a lack of motivation, or a lack of direction because I don’t have a set topic. The title of this blog betrays some of that. So lets try and get to a point.

I am currently living in France, and since I am a lazy native English speaker I have not quite mastered the French language. Not living in Paris this can create a few problems. In Paris there is a large tourist population and consequently a large English speaking population. Its an international city as everyone knows, so its much easier for the lazy English speaker to get by without needing to be fluent in French. I however live in Rennes. A much smaller and easier city/town, with a population around 220 000. So I have taken French classes and am learning online, but its a long process.

I had hoped that the whole immersion thing would enable me to just absorb the language and this happens to a point. I can read menus, and know what most of the fruits and vegetables are called. This is due to me being a house husband who does the shopping and cleans our apartment while my beautiful wife is at work earning the euros. For the moment this is ok but without certain creative outputs and inputs it becomes slightly mundane after a while. I go for runs which is a nice way to explore a new city and I have a bicycle so I ride around and go to cafes and meet my wife for lunch.

Of late I have watched a lot of TED talks in order to inspire me, which has resulted in the development of a business plan for a future company. I like the TED talks but I feel slightly restless just sitting around watching shit on the internet. In the end I’m sure I’m going through the same thing most unemployed people go through. Questioning your abilities, trying to find things to do, wasting days, doing a lot of something to distract yourself. I have also started watching The Newsroom. It’s a really good show, written by Aaron Sorkin who did the West Wing and The Social Network.

Maybe I should become a TV critic. Maybe not as I dont have the patience to watch crap. Does anyone remember the Dragon Ball Z movie? Probably not. I tried to watch that and it was awful. Worse than anything I had seen before. I don’t even think the lead actor had acted in anything else before, they just found him on a street. He didn’t even look at all like the character he was playing. Honestly whoever gave that film the go-ahead should be made to watch it over and over and over until they go insane. I turned it off after 20 minutes. I kept wanting it to get slightly better as I thought maybe the action scenes would be cool. But no it was all terrible.

Ok so that was my first official movie review. How did I do?

Is being a sociopath the true path…?

Controversial headline I know, but sometimes those who take what they want are the most successful. Just sayin’….

I was a little bit inspired for this subject matter by watching Hannibal and Dexter and reading the book The Psychopath Test.

It would appear that by holding little regard for those around can often be an excellent way to get to the top. There are apparently a large concentration of psychopaths as CEOs and high profile positions in business and other prominent positions throughout society. So this being the case, should we be advocating for more psychopaths. I would say not. Seems that having emotionless, materially driven, greedy, intelligent people in charge is a recipe for disaster. Case in point being the recession and all that madness caused by greedy arseholes prioritising profits over people and society as a whole.

Anyway my mind has been filled with the concept of psychopaths lately and I just need to say something to get it all out. Ok that’s all thanks for reading my brief and not very concise rant.