Thursday, July 31, 2008
Punctuate this sentence to turn it into a logical (if cumbersome), grammatically-correct sentence:
He said that that that that that man said was correct.
Yep, five thats.
First to get it right earns my undying admiration.
And sure I'll probably nominate you for an oul' blog award or two while I'm at it.
Even if you're not a blogger.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
"Yeah 3 strawberry Yops...no, not the fuckin' strawberry and vanilla ya muppet. Yeah and Doritos. Did I say I wanted the orange ones, did I? The fuckin' blue ones, Jesus! And a bag of Meanies...they're crisps, man, crisps. No, that's not everythin', I told ya I wanted a blackcurrant Lucozade Spor', you shoulda got that when you were after being at the fridge before. Yeah, and fuckin' blue Rizlas man, the red ones are shite. Fuck's sake chap, it's not difficult. No, I didn't get any petrol, do I look like I fuckin' drive? Ah, did ya not get the chocolate milk when you were back over at the fridge? Fuck's sake man, youse need to go back to Romania."
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
'No Values Voters' Looking To Support Most Evil Candidate
And fuck it, it fills up space and keeps this thing going while I'm still pretty much idealess. If only some other prick could write something horrible about Africa to get me all wound up.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
That wouldn't generally be my kind of thing, but I do like to point people in the direction of new and newish blogs, as that's what they need to get going. I've certainly benefitted greatly (and continue to benefit) from getting a push here and there from other bloggers with a larger readership.
So to that end, I will once again usher you in the direction of Little Miss at Slyscribe. She's recently written some very good posts about some of my favourite subjects, such as insomnia, fudge, frustration at job interviews, and, erm...periods. Which is nice. Or not, apparently.
My favourite way of finding new blogs is to click on the URLs left by commenters on the various blogs I read whose pages I'm not familiar with, particularly if I like the way they've expressed their opinion. It was by doing that very thing on Bryan Mukandi's blog that I discovered Narocroc. His/her inaugural post reminded me a bit of my own, but i noticed that they had written it in January and then never followed up with a second one. I figured if they needed to take six months or so to get their thoughts in order then the following posts were bound to be good. And, after a quick kick up the arse, Narocroc has decided to write more. It's early days, but I can generally tell if I like the cut of someone's gib or not. And I think they'll make a fine sailor.
Also, she really doesn't need my help in any way, but Annie's blog is absolutely terrific right now. And she's nice about mine, which makes it even better.
Then check out Lottie's blog before her rapidly impending URL change, after which we're all going to have to pretend we don't know her real name any more. It's Liz everyone, LIZ. She doesn't like Elizabeth. Or Lizzie. Or Shitface. Funny girl.
I'll say no more so she doesn't poison my cocktails on Saturday.
Hope you enjoy those.
Fibreglass links: Like fluffy ones, but more painful when you rub them on your face.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
To clarify, I don’t entirely disagree with Myers’ central thesis that “self serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa”. Pouring money into Africa without being sure of where it’s going is no help at all, and is liable to end up in the wrong hands, most likely those of one of the many despotic, Mercedes-chauffeured, fat dictators who have so much of the continent in their stranglehold. In a pre-emptive strike against those who might accuse him of being uncaring, Myers is at pains to point out that he has been to Ethiopia and has been hit in the pocket by forking out for these ungrateful little bastards. Well Kevin, I have been to Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and therefore take huge umbrage against his talk of how “the wide-eyed child we saved, twenty years ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty siring children whenever the whim takes him”. Like many of you, I had to reach for the dictionary for the word ‘priapic’. It means:
1. Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus; phallic.
2. Relating to or overly concerned with masculinity.
So Myers is either calling the men of Ethiopia a bunch of dicks or, more likely, he reckons they are overly macho. Yep, macho, gun-happy, promiscuous idiots - that’s how Ireland’s best-known columnist chooses to characterise the men of an entire nation. That, Mr. Myers, is nothing but cheap and pathetic racism. An intelligent man like yourself should really know better than to tar an entire nation with such a disgusting slur. And that is why you have been reported to the Gardaí by the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
Of course, he doesn’t stop there, choosing also to brand the entire country of Somalia as “another fine land of violent, Kalashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts.” So that’s two huge nations dismissed with a sweep of the Myers’ pen. Truly shameful. It is this kind of crass, vile language being applied to pretty much an entire continent of people that leaves Myers without a leg to stand on. I'm bored with his article by now, but he also suggests that malaria "is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating". It's also a particularly horrible way to die Kevin, but you don't need to worry about that, I suppose.
I am not a self-righteous hippy. I am not a politically-correct puritan. But I fail to see why anyone should have to listen to that kind of bile-filled, hateful crap from anyone in the mainstream media, and that is why I will not be buying the Independent again for as long as Myers is in their employment. Kevin Myers, you are not Jonathan Swift and this is not a Modest Proposal. You are a shock hack and this is an indecent proposal.
Update: When writing this piece I completely forgot to throw in a link to another response to Myers I came across that I really like. It's from bodhránbanger and it's called 'Why Kevin Myers is No Longer a Journalist'.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
So here's my attempt at putting his helpful advice into practice, with one of my favourite videos from Radiohead. If you're familiar with the video just enjoy the song, but if you haven't seen it, just watch to the very end and please try to tell me what the hell the guy on the ground says.
You may have thought I don't post videos here because I was above that sort of lazy gap-filling and preferred to concentrate on a decent standard of writing instead, but you'd have been wrong. Things may very well go to pot from here on in.
Hopefully I'll resist the temptation to post too many Salad Fingers videos. If you're uninitiated, just take a gander and try not to hate me afterwards. Worryingly, I was alerted to this by a 12 year-old student.
Friday, July 18, 2008
So I keep sitting here late at night meandering around other people's blogs and trying to think of some sort of subject to post about. But even my standard filler of my 'What others were feeling like today' posts seem like too much effort. So I just get all tired and frustrated and don't sleep, don't do the day job properly, and then sit here the next night feeling the same. It's fucking great craic altogether.
So what I'd like now is some ideas from other people for things I could write about, as it usually only takes a spark to get the juices going, a drop in a puddle to make the oceans roar, a bird inthe hand to make stitches from sow's arses (and other such mixed or non-existent metaphors). I've written stories that began with one word or sentence a friend said to me so why not blog posts.
So leave any old idea for something to write about in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and throw any old random thing at me, or coherent ideas if that's more your bag. If I use them I'll be very grateful and will certainly credit you with the idea and probably buy you dinner in a fancy restaurant and then never call again.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
1. I'm sitting on a deck chair in the car park polishing off a bit of grub with the missus on Saturday afternoon when I notice that the confused-looking chap standing motionless a few yards behind us has clearly recently had the shite kicked out of him. His lips and nose are bleeding badly and from the bruises on his face I'd say he's probably been kicked in the head, rather than punched. I ask if he's OK and where his mates are but get no coherent response (and I speak fluent Northern Irish, so it wasn't just that. A few minutes later he's still there and showing no signs of moving so we offer him a seat and a drink of water. He has absolutely no clue where his mates are, where their car is parked, where he's camped, or even what has happened to him. Herself fetches the nearest steward who comes over looking incredibly pissed off to be called away from his detail of standing around doing fuck-all. He's aggressive and surly to the Nordie guy for no apparent reason. We ask if the guy could get some first aid and he expresses doubt about this and wanders off mumbling something about getting someone else. Five minutes later a more senior steward arrives and points vaguely to the direction of the far end of the car park, saying he might get some medical attention there. "Can you get yourself there?", he roars into the guy's face, as though he's deaf and retarded, rather than shaken up. I doubt the lad could walk from one end of his own bedroom to the other, the way he's looking right now. "Will I take him up there?" I ask. "Yeah, would you mind, I don't really have time. There's cars being robbed left, right and centre." This is blatantly untrue but I don't feel like quibbling with him. So I take the guy on the half-mile walk where he finally receives some sympathetic and competent attention.
Now, I'm no alarmist but people do die from head injuries. I don't think this guy was about to but he was certainly badly-concussed and anyone with an ounce of medical knowledge could tell you that it's best not to feck around with these things. I fully accept that the job of the stewards in the car park is first and foremost to protect people's cars but I'd like to think that people's safety might come first. I'm far from naive and have seen a few scrap casualties in my time so believe me whenI say this guy was in a bad way. Also, should protecting people's cars not also be the function of the many Gardaí stationed around the place? There wasn't a single one patrolling the car park, yet a few minutes later I see eight of them standing around having a natter at the area where people's bags are vaguely searched for drugs and glass bottles as they go from the carpark to the campsite. Three more are dealing with a young lad who may possibly have nicked a pair of wellies from one of the dodgy vendors there.
What wonderful delegation of resources.
2. The next day and a similar situation unfolds. Starting to feel like the fucking Mother Theresa of Oxegen at this stage. We're passing by the official T-shirt stand, opposite where the skaters are. I notice a guy lying on the ground at the base of a fence and take a good look at him, mostly out of amusement because I find people who are so out of it that they can sleep anywhere pretty funny. I notice he has a vicious-looking bump and gash on the back of his head and has lost quite a lot of blood. It's less funny now. The ladyfriend goes to get a steward, who has to radio someone else, even though he's only a few yards away from the injured guy. No-one turns up for a while so we approach another steward. He's locked out of his skull and looks upset and confused as to why we would ask him to do anything about this. But he approaches the injured guy anyway, just as the steward who'd been summoned by radio. They drag him to his feet with all the dexterity of a gorilla on speed. Of course, a little light training might have taught them that it's best not to suddenly move people with serious head injuries.
We move on, praying these imbeciles will have the cop on to bring him to the Order of Malta tent, where someone will acyually know what they're doing. Had I offered, no doubt they'd have been happier for me to take him there. Literally two minutes later I see six stewards racing after one guy. After a chase so comically inept it would have graced any of the Police Academy movies they eventually restrain him. Two of them high-five this little victory.
3. Final night of the festival and Rage Against The Machine have just left the stage. With no machines readily to hand, many of my fellow campers decide to take out their rage against the canvas. I'm in my tent hoping to grab an hour's shut-eye before driving home in the middle of the night to avoid any traffic and hopefully get some proper bed-sleep before work at nine in the morning. I'm suddenly roared at to get out of the tent by Darren and Lottie. Our friendly neighbours have decided to finish the weekend in style by torching their tent. Their tent which is touching the one I was just asleep in. I stumble out to see my girlfriend taking on these shitheads and asking them to kindly desist. She get a firm "Fuck off" and a stream of abuse for her trouble, the gist of which seemed to be that she wasn't really getting with the festival vibe. Luckily, he and his mates slink away with the charming riposte of "Happy Oxegen, I wouldn't recommend staying here much longer if I was you..." I say luckily because violence against young ladies didn't seem to be particularly objectionable for a number of guys at 'the greatest rock and roll weekend of the year', according to several reports I've heard. We took our friendly neighbour's advice, got the tent down in about 30 seconds and got the fuck out of there. was there a steward anywhere to be seen during our confrontation? Was there fuck.
Now, to qualify all this, I would say that plenty of the stewards seemed like friendly, competent helpful sorts. I'm sure the majority of them were. Thankfully, neither myself nor any of my firends who were at oxegen came to any harm. But people do die at festivals, people get badly robbbed and people get raped. Perhaps these things are unavoidable sometimes but I personally do not find it acceptable. The problem overall seemed not to be the stewards themselves but the management of them, the spreading of resources and the glaring lack of any kind of training some of them showed. I'm old enough to remember 17 year old Bernadette O'Brien being killed at a Smashing Pumpkins gig in Dublin in 1996. I started going to concerts a few months afterwards, causing my mother to absolutely freak out whenever I mentioned one. But for about 3 or 4 years afterwards, a huge effort was made to crack down on any dangerous behavious in concerts, particularly at the Point. Time healed all wounds for the concert-promoters though, and safety standards at live shows are slumping again. They'll adjust them when someone else dies.
Monday, July 14, 2008
The music was great and the craic was, largely, mighty.
My heading speaks for itself and I'll elaborate a bit more once I've had a proper night's kip and am feeling a little less tetchy about various things I encountered there. If any fellow revellers are passing by and have any wee anecdotes to share then do feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll respond in due course. Or you can discuss the Middle East peace process, the merits of botox, or the impending collapse of professional football as we know it if you prefer.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Here you go Daz:
2. A boat
3. a fuckload of junkfood so you don't have to pay 18 euro for a burger (Oh sorry, they do fancy organic, healthy food now - 18 euro for some falafel).
4. A fucking good sense of humour.
Still, can't wait buddy.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
1.List two things that irritate you for a reason (and list the reason!), and two things that irritate you for no apparent reason whatsoever!!
2.Give credit to the person who tagged you.
3.Link your answers to the original blog, that’s here (http://www.skillett.com/)!
4.Tag four new people to participate.
My original idea was to put up a few links to the posts I'm most proud of so far. Then I noticed that the idea has also occurred to both Bock and Rosie recently. Only they have back catalogues worth showing off. It also dawned on me that I've only been in any way satisfied with my output in the past couple of weeks or so, and linking to those posts would be unlikely to show my readers anything they hadn't already seen.
So, to save anyone who is fairly new to the blog the bother of looking around to see if there's anything worth reading, here's a selection of some of the worst things I've ever put my name to. For fuck's sake, do not click on them.
1. My first ever post. How that got comments at all is a testament to how welcoming and supportive other bloggers can be. Particularly if you know 2 out of 3 of them.
2. The time I got really, really drunk and thought it would be funny to try and express what was going on in my head. It wasn't funny at all. Only worthwhile if you like attractive young ladies in bikinis.
3. My post about marriage. This could have been a decent post if I'd made the effort to raise my standard of writing above that of a pretentious 15 year old. Why I felt the need to pontificate about the merits of marriage escapes me now.
4. A post just as the result of the Lisbon treaty came in. I think I must have genuinely fantasised that my blog was a source of breaking news and valued opinion for a minute. It's not.
5. This post. What kind of a wanker trawls through his blog to find the worst posts he's written so he can tell people about them?
Monday, July 7, 2008
Started the new job today. Not since my supermarket shelf monkey days have I had to work five straight hours without so much as a sniff of a coffee, a bottle of Club Orange or a cigarette. There wasn't even any scones in the place for God's sake! How do some people live with themselves? Thankfully today was a once-off as there was heaps of new students to assess and steal from and stuff. Really don't like this whole 'work' thing though, 6.30 is meant to be the time I go to bed at, not the time I get up.
Tell me this, dear readers: does every other blogger work a desk job that allows them to blog as they please during working hours? There's feck all posting done at the weekends, or even the evenings, from what I can make out. Annie has bucked the trend a bit over the past couple of weekends though. Maybe everyone else actually makes a living out of this nonsense.
I've tried blogging during working hours but the kids kept saying things like "Erm, sir, we've finished that work you gave us and Larry keeps sticking his pen down his sweaty arse-crack and puttin it in my ear. And I think I like it." Like, seriously, fuck off you little shits, I'm trying to write a witty post about what an hilariously incompetent teacher I am. And if you'd shut the fuck up down the back and leave Lisa's skirt alone I might be able to work out how to embed Youtube clips of Alan Partridge onto my site.
Having said all that, I did come across a new blog I like very much over the weekend. Slyscribe, written by the enigmatic 'Little Miss' is neatly designed and has short, snappy little posts that get straight to the heart of what she wants to say without all the fecking around that many of us have to do before we make any kind of a point. We at Chancing My Arm (sometimes I refer to myself as a collective to feel more powerful) like people who shoot from the hip, speak from the heart, and that kind of thing. So far she's only had the comments of myself, Darren and Lottie to sustain her ego and, God help us, that's a wretched state of affairs to be in. Frankly, I'm so blogtarded I don't have a clue how many people actually read this page but if you do, and you've made it this far into possibly my babbliest post to date, then get over there and drop some comments and lurve.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
After mentioning Bryan Mukandi's new blog Outside In the other day I also said that I imagined he would post something about Zimbabwe soon. It turned out that he hadn't been planning to do so but he obliged me anyway with this post. He then challenged me to write a post of my own about it in the comments on my post. So, hesitant as I am to do so, here's my post.
In his piece, Bryan talks about how 'abstract suffering', such as seeing footage of things like the earthquake in China, are painful but bearable, because they do not really impinge on our lives in any way. Bryan is Zimbabwean, so the situation there is very different for him. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like having friends and relations stuck in a country ruled by a despot who refuses to give his people any choice whatsoever and brings violence and misery to those who stand up to him. Then, while doing a little research into this topic (I never thought I'd find myself doing research for this blog!) I came across this picture at the top of the article. You would have to made of stone not to be deeply upset by this image. This is Blessing Mabhena, an 11 month old boy, whose legs were deliberately broken by Robert Mugabe's thugs in order to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe. You can read the full story here. I found myself just staring blankly at the computer screen for about ten minutes after reading this story, unsure of what to do next.
Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg; one of thousands of horror stories of atrocities committed by the followers of Mugabe in order to intimidate and terrify anyone who dares oppose him. What can anyone do in the face of such actions? It was a sad day when Morgan Tsvangirai announced he was stepping down as the opposition candidate to Mugabe but entirely understandable. The man knew that he was placing the lives of thousands of his followers as well as his family and loved ones into jeopardy. He was fighting a battle he could not possibly win.
For footage of just how ludicrously easy it was for Mugabe to rig the vote in Zimbabwe check out this incredible video clip from The Guardian.
I know a few people from Zimbabwe. They are mostly, but not solely, white. Whatever you feel about the way land was divided up in Zimbabwe before and after the break up of Rhodesia, there is nothing that can excuse what many white farmers and landowners have had to go through in the past few years. People who have never lived anywhere else have had their life's possession taken away from them and been forced into exile. I have genuine sympathy for those who resent the long history of white supremacy in their country but looting and random beatings are no way of resolving a long and complicated issue. Good people have had absolutely everything taken from them and will never get it back.
As a child I lived for three years in Tanzania in east Africa. I attended a local school in the city of Dodoma, which was nominally the capital although in reality all power at the time resided in Dar Es Salaam. When the Tanzanian president at the time Ali Hassan Mwinyi and his Kenyan equivalent, the monstrously corrupt Daniel Arap Moi visited the city all local schoolchildren were required to stand on the roadside waving flags and cheering on these great leaders, blissfully unaware of just how rich these men were becoming, as thousands of their nations' children slept on pavements and foraged in rubbish dumps for food.
Africa has long had to endure the spectre of the 'untouchable' leader, who cannot be publicly criticised without reprisal. This is where things really need to change, and hopefully they might just be starting to. South Africa's spineless president Thabo Mbeki has been notoriously reluctant to speak out against the Zimbabwean administration in any way. Thankfully, his infinitely wiser and braver predecessor Nelson Mandela has not, criticising Mugabe for his 'tragic failure of leadership'. And I'm delighted to see my old home country refuse to recognise Mugabe's win in the recent election, along with many other countries in the African Union.
Much more of this kind of leadership will be required if Zimbabwe is ever to climb out of the pit Mugabe and his cronies have brought it to. Thankfully, it appears that the hope, the brains and the bravery to do so still exist. Enough is enough.
To follow the Zimbabwean story carefully check out the superb This Is Zimbabwe Blog.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Which meant I was able to get a nice solid 3 hours sleep before getting up hideously early to drive the little bro for an interview with Aer Lingus at Dublin Airport. Sadly my car radio doesn't work so we had to plug the iPod into dodgy laptop speakers that only worked occasionally, and with all the clarity of a radio station broadcasting form Antarctica when they did. We named them 'Ice Station Zebra'. Bruce Springsteen's Radio Nowhere never sounded more suitable than when limping out of those speakers.
Having reached the airport with heaps of time to spare, I had the chance to rediscover why I love sausage and egg McMuffins so much. Truly the best thing they ever did.
Then it was time to find the Aer Lingus building itself and get thoroughly drenched in the process. The bro was looking dashing in a suit but I had gone undercover as a skanger for the day. Aer Lingus look at bedraggled skangers quite dubiously when they rock up and slump into their comfy sofas in the main lobby looking like they might fall asleep at any moment. We were soon urged to move into a "more private" waiting room, where my bro could work on his epic pile of paperwork for Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority - which mostly consists of writing 'I am not a terrorist' a couple of thousand times. Unable to take any situation seriously that doesn't affect me directly, and even worse when underslept, I proceeded to wreck his head my attempting to build myself a little fort with the chairs in the waiting room, writing 'semtex' under the Interests section of his form, then picking up his Leaving Cert results and sneering "loser". I then enlightened him with the 3 Golden Rules for Job Interviews:
1. Never use the word 'I'. Refer to yourself only in the third person or as 'The Talent'.
2. Always adress the interviewer as 'sweetheart', whether they be male or female. Women will think you're a lovable charmer and men will think you're side-splittingly hilarious.
3. Conclude the interview with the line "Look sweetheart, The Talent didn't come here to fuck around. He's hot shit right now so he'll be looking for big bucks on this one."
Another applicant came into the room while my bro was in the interview and I was engaging in a phenomenally good nose-pick but I soon saw him off by making him the same offer some guy made to Lottie on the Dart.
When the bro returned to finish off his paperwork another applicant came in and I graciously allowed him to stay for a while. Despite my appearance he asked, with seeming sincerity, which job I was going for. I pursed my lips and replied "Junior Vice-President". When he was summoned for his interview my brother magnanimously wished him luck, while I offered up an alternative pronunciation of the word 'analyst'.Good times.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I lost one before by leaving it on a bus to Kilkenny. Which is why the mention of that place still makes me a little sad, despite some recent very positive experiences there - which someone else has blogged about far better than I could.
I'm driving my bro to the airport tomorrow for an interview at a ridiculously early hour of the day and am likely to be doing a lot of hanging around. I need the fucking thing.
My music collection is now spread across two computers so reloading it all would be long and painful.
Bet I left it in my car and some little fucker grabbed it before I had the thing locked.
Mr. Apple, if you're reading this I promise to rave about iPods every day for the next six months if you'll give me a free one. Both my readers are very suggestible.
I know, "it'll be in the last place I look", etc.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Now, he's already been linked to by Mulley and the other bloggers on the Irish Times site so i doubt he needs my help, but I'm still gonna point you in the direction of Bryan Mukandi's new blog Outside In on the funky new Irish Times website. In a rather silly oversight, if you go to www.irishtimes.com/blogs you won't find it listed, but I'm sure they'll fix that soon.
Bryan is Zimbabwean, so I'm sure he'll have some pretty strong thoughts on what's going on there to come soon. I'd been thinking about tackling the subject myself but I think I might wait and see what a vastly more-informed person makes of it first before adding my own tuppence-worth. I've been looking for something to fill the void in my life left by the sad departure of Shane Hegarty's blog and I reckon this might just be it.
Had to do an interview for American TV on the lawns of Shepperton Studios to promote The Homecoming film. ‘Who would you like to be if you weren’t Peter Hall?’ said the interviewer. I have never considered this before. I had to be honest and say that I had no desire to be anyone else at all. I’d like to be a better me, a cleverer me, a more organised me. And wouldn’t mind being a me of twenty-eight knowing what I knew at forty. But the thought of being somebody else is inconceivable. Not because I’m particularly pleased with myself – I just can’t imagine being somebody else. Perhaps you only want to be somebody else when you are very much in love. You want to become the other person.
I don't want a job, how am I supposed to play with all my new friends on the internet?
Or manage to trot out a short little post every two out of three days?
Will I have to go to bed before 4 am some nights?
And shouldn't I be going for my fortnightly shower now instead of being online?
I don't like this at all.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Dr. O’Leary: I see. Tell me, do you masturbate much?
Me: Huh? Umm, well y’know…is that really relevant? The pains are only in my stomach, nowhere else.
Dr. O’Leary: If you could just answer the question honestly, please.
Me: OK, well, like, yeah, but I wouldn’t say a freakish amount or anything…
Dr. O’Leary: Fucking great, isn’t it?