enitharmon: (Default)
I wanted a tin of tuna for a pasta dish. Preferably yellowfin in olive oil. Could I get it?

The best I could manage was the inferior skipjack in sunflower oil. It was hard enough to find that. What I could find was a hundred and one varieties of tinned tuna: tuna in mustard sauce; tuna in tomato sauce; tuna in lime mayonnaise; tuna in chilli sauce; tuna in mermaid's blood. All right, I made the last one up. But what the hell?

I strongly suspect that this is a ploy by the food industry to fob off inferior ingredients. But what I can't understand is why anybody falls for it? The best way to start a tuna dish is with plain tuna. Tinned tuna is fine for convenience. The only limit to what you do with it is your imagination. I make my own spicy tomato sauce by the bucketful; it uses nothing but cheap ingredients and only requires a saucepan and a blender (if you don't mind a courser sauce you can do without the blender). Onions, dried chillis, garlic, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, parsley, salt, sugar, herbs as available, water. It's good, too, better than any tomato sauce you can buy. Lime mayonnaise? Provided you don't make your own mayonnaise it's a piece of piss. Same for any other mayonnaise with something flavourful and piquant stirred into it.

Don't people realise that all those 'value-added' (one of the most insidious of marketariat weasel words) are actually limiting, not liberating?

It's not just food. See it happen with children's toys, all ready to suppress your child's imagination ready to take her place in the market society as a good, compliant consumer. When I was little, I had Lego as today's children do, but my lego was very general, and you built whatever your imagination led you to build. Now, it's all pre-prepared projects, with very specific units that can only be used for one purpose. Something happened to Plasticene too - once you bought the basic material and you fashioned according to your imagination. Now it's all on rails - make your own Gromit, but for mammon's sake don't think originally!
enitharmon: (Default)
The Golden Rule

This is the Golden Rule, a famous pub in Ambleside where I spent a contented couple of hours on Tuesday evening after my adventures on the tops. It's a fine traditional hostelry where locals mingle with climbers, fellwalkers, and casual visitors; conversation rather than deafening music is the rule, the pace is leisurely, and draught beer, well-kept and hand-pulled, is the drink of choice. It's also the last remaining pub in a busy little town.

Click to read the whole thing )

[Poll #1012336]


Mar. 7th, 2006 01:54 pm
enitharmon: (Default)
I've just had to cave in and acquire a new mobile phone. Unfortunately I'm no longer allowed to have a phone which just makes and receives calls, the marketing creeps have decreed that it has to be full of technowankery. This means I have had to have a digital 'camera' for the first time.

Guess who was my first victim!

This is my third mobile, andf the first on a contract as opposed to pay-as-you-go.

I got my first one, a Philips whose model number I can't remember, in 1999 because I was going to Brussels for a couple of weeks and needed to keep in touch. I chose O2 pay-as-you-go and had every intention of throwing it away as soon as I got home. It never happened.

In 2003 it was still doing a perfectly good job of making and receiving calls but it had built-in obsolescence and the display became unreadable. So reluctantly I had to splash out on a new phone, the sturdy and reliable Nokia 3310. That, too, made and received calls, which was still all I needed.

Recently, however, although it was still working fine, it went AWOL. Whether nicked, or left somewhere, or simply lost amongst the debris of my flat I may never know. I was seriously wondering whether I really needed a mobile, but then I came across the offer from BT, whereby if I signed up to the BT Fusion network I got a new phone which fitted in with my BT Broadbean so that it is, in effect, a mobile when I'm away from home and a wireless handset when I am at home. With it I get a new router (so I can sell the old one) and three months free broadbean, and a free Motorola V3B mobile with digital camera, email and Bluetooth whatnots.

Is it worth it? We shall see. But I still think all marketing people should be rounded up and shot.
enitharmon: (Default)
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It fits easily into the palm of the hand. It comes bundled with hundreds of games, some of them for solo play, some for exciting multi-player real-time interactive play. It's very reasonably priced, if you can find it. But it's very hard to find.

I went looking for a pack of cards this morning. Not that I actually needed one at the moment but I wanted to know where to get one when I do. Nothing fancy. Just plain, standard backs. Nothing promotional. Nothing with Harry Potter or Star Wars characters in place of the court cards. Not Pokemon or Top Trumps or other collecting cards. Not in a big box with plastic poker chips and your own green eyeshade. Just a pack of playing cards. Simple enough, really.

I did find a source. Tucked away at the remotest corner of the top floor of John Lewis, with the childrens toys.

Well, you can't make a fat profit from playing cards, can you? You can't market a New Improved Hi Tech version every Christmas and make parents feel mean for not buying one at great expense. You can't tie it in with fast food or reality TV.

What depresses me almost as much as the lack of availability of simple pleasures is the sheer gullibility of a public which lets itself be manipulated by the marketing oiks. They should be first against the wall when the revolution comes.


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