Monday, April 18, 2011


On going one better

"Do I get presents?" asked my wife meekly, in response to my post celebrating her 11,000th day on earth. I like buying Rosie presents, she's always surprised and appreciative of whatever morsels I bring her home. Biscuit, our recently adopted cat, wouldn't have dragged home as sorry an article as I did this time around, though.

The key to buying a present for someone you live with, I've always thought, is getting them something you would be perfectly happy to enjoy with them, but that doesn't appear to be an act of self-interest thinly disguised as generosity (like if I came home and presented her with a weekend trip to London, then mentioned that most of it would be taken up with an Arsenal match, for example. I haven't done that, yet).

I can often strike the right note with music, as we have some similar tastes and some contrasting ones, though rarely contrasting enough to cause upset. Rosie likes ambient music and minimalist electronica a fair bit, while I enjoy it perfectly well, but wouldn't be inclined to spend money on it for myself. So when I saw the Buddha Box in Tower Records and read the slavering blurb on the wall about how it was the future of ambient music and other such guff I reckoned it might be just the ticket.

It wasn't. Essentially, I was under the impression that it might be able to do something as super fucking deadly and addictive as this magnificent thing, only in a more portable form. It does not. The latest incarnation of the Buddha Box fizzles and crackles inexplicably and plays very short, downbeat loops of a Chinese instrument called a Qu Gin. The pitch of the instrument can be altered slightly, in a manner akin to detuning a guitar. Left thrumming introspectively to itself for a little while the yoke starts to create a soundtrack to 'Futility: The Movie' and the largely ignored sequels 'Despair: Gazing Deeper into the Navel' and 'Less Than Nothing'. She politely let it play for about half an hour or so as we sat on the couch and pondered unacknowledged trees falling in the Yangtzai forest and the cubed inside of a table tennis ball, while Biscuit glared angrily at it before flopping abjectly on the floor.

A night or two later I was searching the shelves of Spiceland!*, the local Asian food shop for exciting new curry powders when my eye, invariably drawn to things of a sugary nature, alighted on colourful boxes of custard. "Rosie likes custard," I thought, "so I shall go one better and get her banana custard." €1.50 for a massive fuck-off box of it, it was, which may well have been the first portent. The second was when I opened it after dinner, gleefully announcing "I got you something special for afters," just as an acrid puff of manky bubblegum powder hit my schnozz. Undeterred, I added warm milk. I had no answers as to why it was lurid green now. I stirred briskly and fretted over whether I was doing it right, as I do when I < open scarequote >cook < close scarequote >anything new. She couldn't eat her bowlful. I couldn't blame her. I couldn't eat it either, but I did anyway, and then hers. The point I was proving escapes me at this juncture, though the resulting stomach cramps barely have.

That night, as we lured Biscuit out of the bedroom with a turkey stick and turned in, Rosie reminded that she wouldn't be home until late the following night as she had a meeting in Kilkenny. She looked anxious. "That's grand," I said, "I'm playing poker tomorrow night instead of Thursday."

"Oh, thank fuck. I thought you were going to sit there all night listening to the Buddha Box and eating green custard with the cat like a piece of conceptual art."

*Exclamation mark my own, as I feel it really adds something there.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible

She won't know it until she reads this, and she may not thank me for pointing it out, but today is Rosie's eleven thousandth day of life. It's not that I have Rain Man-esque abilities, it's just that during a recent chat with some similarly-aged friends, I realised that we hit our ten thousandth day sometime after we turn 27 and grew curious about exactly how many days old I am. This site does the job nicely, but make sure you enter your date of birth in that backwards way that Americans do. Days are more significant than years, if you think about it. You don't remember the year of your first kiss, or the year you got shitfaced drunk and made a holy show of yourself in a Spanish karaoke bar, or the year someone ripped out your heart and pissed on it, do you?

We've still only been together a little less than a thousand days, Rosie and I, but we both have had a fair idea of what's gone on for the other one in every single one of them. Speaking personally, they were when things suddenly got a fuck of a lot easier. The first 10,000, though, are the ones we really talk about, slowly.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Once again, you've embarrassed me in front of real people

The thing about blogging is that there's every chance that once you've been doing it a while you may well end up meeting other bloggers and even get to know the blighters. The upside to this is that you might just make some new friends. The downside is that you now feel like you can't put up a post entitled 'cracking wanks I've had lately'. Which, given the face-achey dose of Nose AIDS I have at the moment, is about as much as I have to offer right now as I think I've already ruminated on the gibbering wonders of Deal or No Deal here.

Tell me, do other bloggers out there let real people read their blogs? Like, people they work with and non-blogging friends and stuff? My sister drops by pretty regularly, as does one of my cousins, but my brother just gave me a look that said "wow, you're far more of a spa than I thought" when he heard I was at this lark. People in work sometimes ask how I met my wife and I tell them it was through blogging. They then ask what the blog's called and I start this little dance of pretending I really don't want to tell them until they've asked a third or fourth time. It's a lot like Peter denying Jesus, really. If i tell them then they lose interest and say "Right, I'll check it out sometime", before realising that some of my posts are an awful lot longer than a Facebook update and that I might just be a little bit weirder than they thought. And then the whole thing never gets mentioned again. One colleague was quite happy to tell me that the whole concept is self-indulgent. It is. The irony was that she somehow felt that the novel she is working on, which will (as is inevitable) contain multiple lengthy fictionalised aspects of herself that she will one day hope to sell to people, isn't.

I dunno, the sooner we accept that we're all just confused souls pouring stuff out into the ether and hoping that one or two other confused souls get it, the better for all. And, furthermore, what does it tell us that Blogger's spell-check doesn't recognise 'bloggers'? 'Floggers', apparently, is fine.