John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 84: Little White Lights

by on Sep.09, 2011, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Episode 84 of Rum Doings comes to you LIVE from when it was recorded, offering echoey discussions of all the most important topics of the day. Like whether we should ban printers. And honeymoons.

John has to break some bad news to Nick, and then pretty much ensures he won’t be having a great time on his honeymoon. Then we naturally move on to incest, and the advantages thereof. And how to continue the line of were-panthers. Then for some reason Nick brings up videogames again.

Why is Chicago great? Can you take a girl out of Wolverhampton? And are we immortalised by this rubbish? Learn about the importance of a safety pillow, and then Nick gives out his diet advice.

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21 Comments for this entry

  • Al King

    The interval thing is called Tabata.

  • Freudian Trip

    My only interesting fact about Cinnamon is one I’ve never bothered finding out if it’s true. In a terrible Douglas Copeland novel it claims that they use Cinnamon to cover up the smell of rotting bodies in apartment complexes as the smell is ‘the opposite’ of rotting corpse and therefore is the only thing strong enough to cover it up.

    Having recently graduated university I’ve moved back in with my parents, which means I’ve had to live with my mothers ‘no carbs’ rule. It pretty much means dinners going to be dull but occasionally me and my dad get lucky and she has something on the side called ‘Quinoa’ which is some kind of South American grain. It smells of nothing and tastes awful but if it means I can have pasta I let her live in her magical world of self abuse that is the no carbs diet.

  • Coccyx

    I live in Wolverhampton and have not yet heard this episode. Will report back with thoughts later.

  • James

    Was John not allowed to stay up late? The best way to watch Buffy used to be in the BBC’s Friday night unedited slot. The VHS copies were subject to the sometime peculiar rules of BBFC censorship. There’s one episode, screened uncut even in the BBC’s Wednesday tea time ‘Star Trek’ slot, in which Giles hotwires *his own* car. When it went to the BBFC for the VHS release the scene would apparently not have been passed even at 18 certificate, as it containted ‘instructional crime’. It remains cut from DVD releases to this day and, since broadcasters are required to respect the last BBFC classification for anything they show, must still be removed when repeated on Sky. Because distributers must pay for any reclassification of a video work, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it unedited again in the UK.

  • George

    I listened to this last night, and something that John said angered me. I felt compelled to leap to my computer, come here and jolly well correct him. Instead I fell asleep, and now I can’t remember what I wanted to say. But rest assured, John, you are wrong about something or other!

  • mister k

    I tried that exercise thing. Turns out its quite hard (also, 80*40=260 apparently?).

    In a world without printers I suspect identity fraud would take on a new level, as we would have to all carry some id on our handheld devices rather than our passports. Also the post office would have extreme difficult knowing where packages should go (I’d say post, but obviously all letters are now obselete).

    (I am sweating quite a lot now.)

    On incest, your conclusion is obviously correct. One objection to gay marriage was always that it could lead to legalisation of incest, which was never an argument unless incest was clearly wrong. To be fair, incest can often have distressing power relationships, especially if we consider that most distressing of taboos, father daughter relationships.

    (I think I’m going to go take a shower…)

  • Nick Mailer

    mister k: *any* relationship where a difference in power is exploited can be distressing. Incest personally repulses me, but then, to be honest, do many other perfectly legal, consenting-adult acts (S&M etc). My personal revulsion isn’t sufficient reason to ban it.

    Certainly, I would deal with forced marriages etc before I necessarily dealt with incest (although they’re often related, if you consider first-cousin marriage incest).

  • sinister agent

    What interests me particularly about attitudes to incest is how many people object almost … well, I want to say “unthinkingly”, but that sounds a bit condescending. But it does seem that a lot of people have a problem with cousins having a relationship, and it seems to be an unexamined attitude more often than not.

    What’s interesting about it is how new it is. It’s not even a century ago that cousins marrying one another wasn’t only socially accepted, but was the norm. Everyone reading this will almost certainly have a family history full of it. My own family history is about 70% Mary and John having nine children all called Mary, John, Margaret or Patrick, who all married their cousins Mary, Patrick, Margaret and John, and went on to have twenty three Patricks and eight Margarets, who married etc.

  • Jambe

    Chicago is nice but I’ve never thought of it as a honeymoon destination. Diff’rent strokes, I suppose. I like things further up the lake at Manitowoc or further still to the Door County peninsula where conifer/birch forests begin to dominate. Beaches that smell of pine needles! It’s best in October when the summer schmucks skedaddle; the quaint motels are thus virtually abandoned and their rates are discounted. The locals’ Scandinavian accents are delightful and their food is tasty, too.

    Tangentially, a couple recently invited a friend and I on a leg of their Great Loop trip (the bit through Chicago down to the Mississippi). I’d like to try my hand at the whole circuit but I’d perish of shark-phobia on the sea.

    Thanks for another nice episode, etc.

    It’s not rum but you might visit the Koval Distillery in Chicago… it’s a neat tour. They’re interesting and their whiskey is good.

  • Xercies


    I kind of don’t like that Honeymoons must be on sandy beaches in a tropical country, that seems boring to me. A whole city with restaurants, night-life shops and a lot of other things. Probably perfect Honeymoon conditions

  • sinister agent

    I’ve thought for a while now that honeymoons as a concept are a Bad Idea. I mean, you’ll have this big exciting/stressful day, and lots of ceremony and partying and all, then you’ll be off on a romantic holiday that sets a tone and lifestyle for your relationship that is very unlikely to be anything like what reality will be like when you get back home.

    It’s probably less of an issue for people who’ve been together for ages anyway, admittedly, but I dunno. It just strikes me as a bad thing to do right at the start of the marriage. Maybe if it came six months later or something it would make more sense.

  • Jambe

    @Xercies: I’ve just never thought of Chicago as a honeymoon destination because I’m often there and have had bad experiences. But it’s a great city, so why not? Diff’rent strokes…

    To be fair, it’s not just the lovely pine-lined rocky beaches that make northeastern Wisconsin neat; there’s also pretty motels, lakeside eateries, vineyards, cherry farms, big hills and limestone escarpments, dairies, wineries, breweries, etc. And the people are nice. If you just wanted boring old sandy beaches, Chicago has thirty-some.

    My daily life often enough involves cities and big groups of people, so northeastern Wisconsin is more appealing to me as a getaway. I like a bit of seclusion, too, and the only people I can conceive of marrying share that with me. An ideal adventure would be a camping/hiking and sightseeing trip from Chicago up Lake Michigan to Door county and then across the bay into Michigan and finally along to the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior.

    @sinister: if the marriage weren’t a dumb one to start with and if the couple weren’t massively naive, a honeymoon could be great. John doesn’t strike me as a wide-eyed teenage boob marrying his first infatuation, so I imagine he’ll have a good time.

  • devlocke

    As a poverty-stricken person who’s a bit overweight, I find the elimination of carbs to be… impossible. Bread is so amazingly cheap, and all of the other cheap foods have some kind of bread/starch in them. After the LAST podcast, or maybe just reading stuff on Nick’s Formspring, I started thinking about trying to eliminate bread/rice/starches-in-general from my diet.

    But then I went shopping, and it was just impossible to find any way to do that which would let me keep eating. I do errands and stuff for a relatively-wealthy friend of mine with some severe physical problems that prevent her from getting out and about, once every week or two, for 20-40 dollars a go, depending on how many places I’m going and how long it takes. That’s my grocery/cigarette/booze money.

    Even if it was just my grocery money, spending 40 bucks on food would get me, I dunno, 5 or 6 days of food at BEST, without some starches to take up the slack. Even then, I’d be settling for canned shit as far as meat-and-veg go. I can get a loaf of bread that’s acceptably not-horrible for 2 or 3 dollars, and if I have to, I can eat a couple of slices for a meal, even if I’m out of sandwich meat or anything else to put on ’em. If I eliminated bread or bread-based frozen foods from my diet, I would go days without eating at all, most months.

    So, err, what would you suggest to a broke fothermucker as far as eliminating fat-causing elements, Nick? Honest question, because you have me trying to find alternatives.

    On health grounds, what about fiber? I was/am under the impression it’s important to get some of that. Whole-grain bread and rice are, as far as I know, the best places to get fiber. Is fiber just bullshit, according to your current beliefs on healthy diet, or is your no-carb diet lacking in something people need to eat?

    Unrelated note: I couldn’t stop laughing out loud, literally, during your whole flight-controller metaphor. Delightfully tasteless!

  • Jonathan

    As I’ve previously whined about, Chicago is not all that great to live in. As a vacation destination I’m sure it’s lovely — there’s certainly a lot to do and its museums and galleries are extremely good, but I found living there to be underwhelming. Admittedly, I never really explored the trendy North Side neighbourhoods very much, but whenever I was in Wicker Park (generally for Penny’s Noodle Shop) I found it to be filthy and discouraging.

    Chicago is just too crowded, and I almost always resented the fact that I couldn’t enjoy any of the lovely museums outside the working week because of all the people/tourists. So look forward to resident Chicagoans resenting your presence too, Mr. John!

  • Nick Mailer

    What about fibre? There’s some recent scientific controversy about the fibre hypothesis. Fibre’s primary benefit seems to be in the way it slows down or absolutely limits the absorption of high GL carbohydrates to minimise their damaging insulemic effect. Thus, if you limit those carbohydrates, the degree to which the concomitant fibre is necessary is debatable.

  • Nick Mailer

    Also, vegetables are a much better source of fibre than grains, because you get the fibre without the mineral-destroying phytates etc.

  • Nick Mailer

    devlocke: Eggs are great. Nutritious, some of the best protein. Then, stock up on cheap frozen veg – in particular, things like spinach. A big plate of spinach with lots of melted butter and a fried egg is very cheap and very filling and very tasty without a starch in sight. Get yourself whole chickens, whole joints of beef, lamb etc. These will initially cost big chunks of money, but you will be able to get days of good eating off them, supplemented by lots of veg, eggs and fats. And then freeze anything that remains.

    I know of people on very restricted budgets who are perfectly able to avoid cheap, nasty starches: it’s simply a matter of changing one’s perspectives and priorities.

  • Nick Mailer

    Oh, and don’t worry about butter, olive oil, proper cheese etc. So long as you keep the starches and sugars away, these will help to satiate you without kicking off the fat-storing insulin.

  • David N

    Hi, John and Nick,

    The weight loss topic is of great interest to me, as I managed to lose a large amount of weight this year using similar methods to those which Nick discussed. I’ve also been doing a great deal of research into the topic of weight loss, body composition, and general fitness since I started my efforts toward becoming thin.

    I started in February of this year after becoming disgusted with how fat I let myself become. I was 5’11” and 225lbs and felt awful. After reading a very interesting book called Why We Get Fat and What to About It by science writer Gary Taubes, I began my journey into low-carb dieting. It was a bit tough giving up bread and other starchy things, which were previously my staples, but I immediately had more energy, less hunger pains, and the rapid weight loss I experienced was visibly apparent, so I kept it up. As of today, I’m down to 162lbs, and I plan to keep going. I want a visible six-pack (yes, I’m a bit vain)! After being mildly overweight to obese for the last few years, I can say that I am completely transformed. I have energy levels greater than that of when I was in my teens (I’m 26 right now), and I never get the constant hunger pains I used to get two hours after eating a grain-filled carbohydrate-heavy meal. I sleep much better, think clearer, and never experience bowel problems or flatulence (I haven’t needed to fart since February–seriously) anymore. It’s really quite incredible, to me at least.

    Another reason I chose to respond is because John seems to be stuck in the conventional wisdom mindset that calories-in/calories-out is the sole factor for weight loss and that dietary fat and cholesterol are bad. While calories may matter, they tell us nothing about why we get fat. To paraphrase Gary Taubes, saying that we get fat because we consume more calories than we expend is like saying a room gets crowded because more people entered it than exited. It’s a pointless thing to say and ignores the myriad of hormones and other biological factors that control our body composition.

    In short, it’s all about controlling your blood sugar in order to control insulin. Keeping insulin levels low is the absolutely most important thing when it comes to losing weight. The easiest way to keep your blood sugar under control is to avoid starch and carbohydrates. The primary culprits are wheat-based products and sugar. Modern wheat (the genetically modified dwarf wheat that began appearing during the Green Revolution and now comprises around 99% of all wheat grown in the world) is particularly destructive to the human body in far more ways than just causing obesity, and should be avoided at all costs. Did you know that modern wheat spikes your blood sugar higher than an equivalent amount of table sugar (sucrose)? Exercise, especially resistance training that encourages muscle growth, is important for a variety of reasons, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that over 90% of weight loss is a direct result of diet. You can effortlessly become thin without exercising.

    On the topic of exercise, I’ve found great success doing simple resistance training using my own body weight. Wall press, push-ups, plank push-ups, air squats, etc. I also occasionally do sessions of high intensity interval training via the Tabata sprints that Nick mentioned. It’s extremely effective and efficient for building endurance.

    You shouldn’t focus on calories in/calories out or sessions on an exercise bike; it’s all about sending the right signals to your hormones via proper diet and sensible exercise.

    If you do nothing else, I implore you to check out the following three books and at least read their Kindle previews.

    The Primal Blueprint:
    Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It:
    Wheat Belly:

  • Shine

    I know you’ve heard this before. Why the black background? I guess it’s ok with the white text…sort of “glary” though.