Friday, December 29, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Herself is running mad about the room.
"Where's my Christmas list?"
"You mean, of all the presents you're going to get me?" I ask, innocently.
"No..... Of all the jobs that need doing before Christmas."
I find the list, which is something like three pages long. Lists are things that run other people's lives. I'm not a fan of them. My mother, for example, used to leave them everywhere for herself to look up later and wonder where they came from.
Something for dinner.
Then in her later life, she would leave them for me. And notes. I found one in a fold of an old armchair one day a couple of years back. It reads: "Fried stuff for Dad in the morning."
It was reminding me to make the breakfast I made every single sorrowful day, in case I forgot.
So, my Christmas list, faulty and all as it is, is inside my head. It consists of two major instructions:
"1. Buy presents (If you want to).
"2. Don't worry (If you want to)."
I'm getting there.
We're all getting there.
Merry Christmas, if I haven't wished it for you already. And even if I did.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Don't do it, lads and lassies! Internet Explorer 7.0 is an invitation to go to Specsavers if ever there was one. Just thank Jaysis for rollback, that's my last word on the subject. ["System Restore...", yes, I know. Terminology important to full night's sleep, etc, etc]
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
"First of all, " she said, "You lock me in a strange bedroom... Okay, so there was food, water, clean litter trays and a comfortable bed, but that's not the point...
"Then you let a monkey kitten* into the bedroom I usually occupy and let it stay there all night.
"Then you expect me to wait for my breakfast?
"It just isn't good enough, you know..?"
*All adult cats think of humans as monkeys, unless they want something from them, in which case they sometimes think of themselves as kittens and the human as a temporary, honorary Mammy cat. A monkey kitten is a human baby.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Because I have always found that, contrary to sterotype, Herself actively loathes shopping, while I don't really mind it, I was surprised today to find myself wishing I was anywhere other than in the shops I was visiting in search of Christmas 2006 presents.
At one point I was in Dunnes Stores, which, it has to be said, has really stretched itself in recent years in the matter of variety of gifts. But feckin' hell! The things that were on sale in the Home Wares department! Either young and trendy mortgage payers are incredibly thick, or someone has found a way to sell wisps of nothing while keeping a straight face.
Those smelly candle things.... They had some tiny lumps of wax that required at least standard eye protectors -- probably the full breathing apparatus rig -- just to walk within three feet of the display. Another of the wonders was a yoke about the size of a whiskey glass, filled with little wooden balls and containing a worryingly small bottle of concentrated scent. Apparently one gripped the little brown bottle with the longest fire tongs one could find and dripped one drop of this on top of the balls, then sat eye-streamingly trendy in front of the television for the rest of the evening. The item was complete with small, wooden manhole-cover lid with a kind of string of ribbon passed through it. I mean, Jaysus! I could whip up a dozen of those yokes from random ingredients in the kitchen in about five minutes.
In HMV the staff are faced with the demoralising task of trying to wring an extra fiver out of the already impatient customers by telling them about a special offer. I passed several long-suffering Mammies, staring in bewilderment at racks of CDs and DVDs, while trying to remain calm on the mobile:
"Right! I can see the row you're talking about! But it isn't there. Do you think you can get your arse out of bed long enough to tell your mother who bore you for nine months (the last two in a fucking heatwave!) what other piece of crap musical selection you want?"
At the counter, a mental battle royale is going on between the slim, premenstrual twenty-something with the stud in her nostril assistant who has not yet had her latte and the going to fat and possibly unshaven twenty-something going on fifteen who is avoiding making eye contact with the queuing public. She says, in pure, purring, over-his head sarcastic Female:
"Is your cash register off at the moment?"
He completes the counting of his crayons and replies without the least inkling that she is any moment going to stab him in the eyeball with the pin of her name tag:
"Oh, no. I was just doing something else..."
He looks up and takes payment for the goods I hand him. In the background, I hear the shop girl saying to a hassled Mobile-phone Mammy:
"Did you know, Madam that once you spend €30 you can choose one of these selections for only half price?"
Slow Poke takes my money and tries his best with the speil on me:
"You can have one of these...." (He realises there is a premium DVD in the stack of cheapos, and starts to shuffle them, all in a fluster, like playing cards) "Well... not including that one, obviously..." (He rallies) "...for only half price!"
"You're alright," I say.
The look on his face says that it is very early in his day and he does not expect to shift many of the half-price offers before quitting time.
There are camping stoves and oil lamps in the camping shop window. The staff are trying valiantly to think up camping gear that might double as Christmas gifts. So am I.
In Easons, I walk around most of the store with a tin box of dominos in my hand before finally putting it back. Someone this year will get a 2007 calendar on the subject of Ferrets, but it won't be anyone I know. I put back a keyring with the picture of a black cat on it just like ours. I can take a picture of our black cat any day. No, I don't want a box of oil paints. Nor videos of great sporting moments.
Then I see a CD entitled "Favourite Childhood memories", hidden in the back of the budget CDs. It's tracks listing is:
Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf / Henry Hall
The Ugly Duckling / Danny Kaye
On The Good Ship Lollipop / Shirley Temple
I Know An Old Lady / Burl Ives
William Tell Overture / Spike Jones And His City Slickers
The Woody Woodpecker Song / Mel Blanc
Me And My Teddy Bear / Rosemary Clooney
Thumbelina / Danny Kaye
I Tawt I Taw A Puddy-Tat / Mel Blanc
Christopher Robin At Buckingham Palace / Anne Stephens
Blue Tail Fly / Burl Ives
The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine / Laurel And Hardy
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo / Dinah Shore
The Big Rock Candy Mountain / Burl Ives
Wonderful Copenhagen / Danny Kaye
The Laughing Policeman / Charles Penrose
A Four Legged-Friend / Roy Rogers
The Runaway Train / Vernon Dalhart
Little White Duck / Danny Kaye
Polly Wolly Doodle / Shirley Temple
The King's New Clothes / Danny Kaye
I'm Popeye The Sailor Man / Billy Costello
The Teddy Bears' Picnic / Henry Hall
Like a fool I decide I'd be better off without it. I'd be better going home and drinking tea and eating something, wrapping what presents I have bought and coming back another day. So I do.
I'm going back tomorrow. I hope it's still there. Bugger this man-thinking business. It just isn't me.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Just got this by email. Seen it before, bu' in enny wey.
The Story of Christmas (adapted for Dubs)
Dere's dis boord called Mary, yeah? She's a virgin (wha' de fook is dah?). She's not married or nuttin', but she's got dis felleh, Joe, righ'? He does joinery an' all dah. Mary lives with him in a flah dowwen in Nazareh.
One day Mary meets dis yungfelleh Gabriel. She's like "Wha are yeh bleedin' lookin' ah?" Gabriel just goes "You're fookin' pregnant so yeh are". Mary's scarleh. She gives him a fookin' earful: "Are you bleedin' startin'? I'm no fookin' sluh. I never bin wih no one!"
So Mary goes and sees her cousin Liz, who's six months gone herself. Liz is on a mad buzz, bud. She's filled with spirits, Barcardi Breezers an' all dah. She sez te Mary "Ah howeyeh, Mary, I can feel me chiseller in me stummick and I reckon I'm well blessed. Think of all deh money we'll be getting from deh social." Mary goes "Yeah, s'pose you're righ' ".
Mary an' Joe haven't goh a fookin' bean so they have to ponse a donkey, an' go dowwen te Behlehem on dah. Dey get to dis boozer an' Mary wants to stop, yeah? To have her yungfelleh an' all dah. But there's no fookin' roohem at the inn, righ'?
So Mary an' Joe break an' into this garridge, only it's filled wih animals. Cowis an' sheep an' all dah. Then these three lads tourn up, lookin bleedin' rapih, wih crowens on der heads an' all dah'. They're like "Ah Jaysis, howeyeh!" an' say dey're deh tree wise men from de East Wall.
Joe goes: 'If you're so bleedin wiyis, wha de fook are yizzer doin' wih dis Frankenstein an' myrrh? Why didn't yeh just bring gold, 20 Blue and Boorberry?'
It's all about to kick off when Gabriel turns up again an' sez he's got anudder message bout some Punchis Pilah' hardchaw. He's like 'Deh coppers is comin an' they're killin all de chisslers. You better fook off to Egypt.' Joe goes 'You must be fookin' off yer bleedin' rocker if yeh tink I'm goin' te fookin' Egypton a fookin' donkey' Gabriel sez 'Suit yerself, bud. But it's your look out if yeh stay.'
So they go dowwen teh Egypt till they've stopped killin deh foorst-born an' all an' annyways it's safe an' dah. Then Joe and Mary and Jeesis go back to Nazareh, an' Jeesis turns water inteh Dutch Gold.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
It's the gloomiest of glum days here today. I fetched myself out into the drizzle to go pick up some items I'd reserved online in the local Argos store, missed the bus by a long spit, and stood like a clam at the bus stop for 45 fruitless minutes before giving up and going home again to dry off.
About 3.00pm, it was as dark as full night, so I turned on all the Christmas lights and room lamps as well as the electric, flame-effect fire, to try and cheer up the general ambience of lonliness, with some measure of success.
Now I've just had the doorbell rung by the local pre-teen oiks, whose original invention of ringing or knocking at doors and running away is giving them no end of fun. Hope the newspaper they bring home from the shop for upstanding citizen Dad is properly soaked.
My other visitors today -- the ones to this Blog -- are making for interesting statistics. The majority are responding to the "George Best €5 Notes, only €10" post from way back when. It seems to be in the top 3 Google results for those seeking a footballer souvenir. I am intrigued to find the "Peed my pants. Again" post is attracting a steady stream (pun intended) of occasional visitors. It appears I have inadvertantly hit on a fetish subject. Fair play to ye, lads (and presumably lassies). I'm just glad I don't have your cleaning bills.
Ah! The doorbell again. They must be on the way back from the shop. What fun!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I think this year must have been one of the most difficult for any of us to keep a grasp on the spirit of Christmas. Anger at the cynicism of the government and capitalist interests of the last superpower on its misadventure. Disbelief at the cynicism of its enemies on their holy war. I have tried to educate myself a little by reading Robert Fisk's book, "The Great War for Civilisation", and find myself chilled to the bone. We are still thugs one step removed from caves, a half-step from the animal world.
At home we're spending money and earning it like never before, yet we dread any type of interaction with a hospital because of the lack of funding and resources. No-one knows how to fix things and no-one knows how to say they don't know.
We're mired in our cars and buses every day in long, unmoving tailbacks that sap the will and leave us zombified for a couple of hours in front of the television before going to bed to get up next day and do it all again.
Wholesale drug use is now so common that cocaine is now the drug of choice everywhere. (You can hear schoolboys planning how to pool their money for a drug-fueled night out as you're stewing on the bus in the traffic jams). Drug dealers are multiplying, no matter how many are arrested, killed by one another, or kill the innocent.
Is this chaos really what we measure as our success? Is it what we want? No one takes responsibility for what they're children do, for what their lack of community input does to their community, for any kind of blame or accountability.
And here we are in the leadup to another Christmas. I can write my traditional glowing tale of Christmas lights and tinsel and childhood memories again. But I don't feel like it. I've had our family losses and set-backs this year as in other years, but it hasn't triggered a catharsis.
I think like everyone, I'm tired. We seem to beat our way to Christmas now as if surviving to it is an end in itself. Perhaps this year, more than any, it has never been truer for more people. What does it mean if we make it to that date on the calendar? Will we be able to shut the world out for those few days and maybe hope for something to change in the New Year? Maybe things were better when we were those people just out of those caves, feasting at the turning of the year, fattening up because the weather would hopefully be getting better soon and we could go out and about again in relative comfort in a few weeks time to do... What? Start religions and religious wars? Victimise each other and ourselves?
My hope this Christmas is for some kind of sea change to come, either from within myself or from out there, I don't know. Something hopeful, wonderful, peaceful, creative instead of destructive. I think that's what I'll be holding onto this Christmas. Is that hope?
Very interesting documentary on Channel 4 tonight, entitled "Unknown White Male." The film-maker basically posed the question in our title and made a movie of his friend's dilemma. The friend, an Englishman, took a phone call in his New York apartment around 8.00pm, when he stated that he was probably not going to go out that night, then at 7.00 am he found himself on a subway train wondering where he was going. He then wondered where he had been. In the next few seconds, he re realised he didn't know who he was.
Getting off the train in Coney Island, he searched his backpack which contained a few inconclusive items. Finally, he turned himself into a police station. The police found that he didn't have any memory before coming to on the train. They asked some questions and went through his stuff, finding a woman's name and telephone number. However, the woman didn't recognise the description of the man and has no knowledge of how he had her telephone number.
Following an examination and tests at the local hospital, it was found that the man had some minor bumps on his head and a small tumour on his pituitary gland. This latter item was something he'd had since birth and was not the cause of his memory loss. Finding nothing physically wrong, the doctors arranged for him to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital. He languished there for a few days before being allowed to again phone the lady whose number was written down in his effects. It transpired that her daughter knew him well. He was an accomplished man who had retired in his 30s from a well-paying job to pursue a career in photography. He had, as the lady's daughter said: "A good life."
The documentary followed his efforts to reacquaint himself with his family, now living in Australia and in other parts of the world, and to revisit his friends and connections in England.
It concluded with him finding a new life with an Australian girl in the knowlege that his memory could return any time. It has never been explained how he lost his memory, but the doctors (the documentary says) feel it is 95% certain it will someday return.
"Will we still be in love?" his girlfriend asks.
His friends and family remarked upon the differences in his character since his memory loss. He was no longer as "outgoing" his father said, but his sister said there was no longer an "edge" about him, that he was more relaxed in himself.
How much then does our memory of life inform our personalities? It's a subject in which I have always been interested. Is Doug (his name), going to change if he remembers "who he is", or what will be the result of what the filmaker called "the collision of his old life and his new" when he finally gets back his memories.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I work near The Square, the shopping centre in Tallaght, which has a parking problem. This means that people who work in the vicinity of The Square, or who want to get a bus into town, or who travel on the LUAS tram, tend to use the free car park as a park and ride facility, occupying parking space that might otherwise be used by, say, ten shoppers over the course of the day.
The management of The Square is understandably miffed by this, as it has a real effect on the retailers who are its tenants. So a few years ago they put up signs which threatened clamping for vehicles which over-stayed their welcome. When this didn't work, they hired a number of parking attendants from a company specialising in the area of car parking problems. Their strategy has been refined in recent times to guarding the entrance gates to the car-parks and questioning each visitor who enters to find out their intentions.
Each morning, I am dropped off by Herself in the car-park of The Square and (except when she decides to go into the centre and buy something) she will generally drive off again immediately and go to work. As our consciences are clear in respect of nuisance parking, we have adopted an attitude of righteous indignation each morning when stopped:
"Good morning. Where are you going?" one man in bright orange asks Herself through her rolled-down window.
"Thank you. Have a nice day."
On another morning, we are asked:
"Excuse me. Are you going to The Square?"
"Yes. Yes we are."
"Go ahead then."
Driving on, she says to me:
"Bloody stupid question..."
We wonder what how much hardened parkers are discouraged by this soft-touch approach. Do they blurt out,
"Well, actually I was planning to park as near to the LUAS as possible, pay €5 to ride up and down on it all day, then return at five minutes to nine tonight and drive off from my free parking space. But now you've mentioned it, I'll just reverse out the gate, shall I?"
A couple of weeks ago, I was persuaded it was vitally necessary to visit a shop in The Square in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. As this flew in the face of 1) my unwillingness, as a man, to get off my armchair on any given Sunday for any given job, and, 2) the [man] logic of knowing that The Square, of all places, was NOT a good place to visit on any given Sunday what with crowds of shoppers, hoards of kids, (some even without wheels in their footwear), and blind-driving shopping trolleys, I was not in the best of humour to begin with. We joined the lines of cars entering the inner network of feeder roads in the centre. Up ahead was a man in an orange suit. Our weekday indignation arose unbidden.
"Use the indoor car park," he said.
"Yeah. Sure. No problem," we said as we turned LEFT, not RIGHT, and metaphorically socked car-park tyranny one in the eyeball.
We climbed up to the second level, oblivious to the lines of cars descending, their drivers looking about in frustration. There were parking places, we knew it! All it took was a little patience.
Herself stood on the brake pedal. We craned our necks along the lines of cars pulled in neatly among the painted lines on the tarmac. There were other lines, pulled half up on the footpaths, crammed onto islands on corners, even one resting under a bush in the shrubbery.
Bright reversing lights switched on and a woman in a mock utility vehicle backed in purposefully into the space.
"Blast! Those wans think they own the roads in them yokes."
"Yeah. Who do they think they are? Don't they know WE want to park there?"
A man came across the car park, nervously pushing a trolley full of shopping. He had the air of a lone zebra sniffing out a waterhole which he knew was surrounded by lions. Three cars whizzed in from three different angles, their drivers smiling encouragingly at him. He went to a space, opened a car door and began piling in groceries. Two of the three cars moved off as the fittest predator pulled in smoothly into the vacated space.
"How much petrol do we have?"
"We could be here a while."
We orbited the main car park for another ten minutes without success, then, inevitably, joined the stream of cars going back downhill to Level 1. The little orange-coloured man didn't wave at us or anything as we went by him and we climbed up the concrete ramps into the indoor car park. Lots of little screeches, whiplash, eye-straining later, we had found a spot.
"Should have listened to him in the first place," I said.
"Just. Don't. Start."
Ah, Joy to the World!
Now, have you ever tried to find a free shopping trolley on a Sunday....?
The Compromise International Football Rules series between Australia and Ireland have been suspended and the competition will not be continued in 2007, according to the GAA.
Following a meeting of the GAA Central Council on December 9th, the Association released a press statement:
"The future of the International Rules was discussed at a Central Council meeting in Croke Park on Saturday, December 9. Delegates spoke both strongly in favour and against the continuation of the International Rules Series following the incidents in the Second Test between Ireland and Australia on November 5th.
"The President, Nickey Brennan, stated that the issue had been considered by the Management Committee at length and that a consultation process had taken place with players and the Irish Team Management. He stated that he had also spoken at length to the CEO of the AFL. He revealed that about 50% of players contacted had given their views and that they were all in favour of the Series continuing, as was the Irish Team Manager, Seán Boylan and his Selectors.
"He explained however that they made it clear that any continuation must be contingent on a structure, rules and an implementation process and procedure be put in place to ensure that any future Series was conducted to the accepted norms of sportsmanship.
"The President stated that the Australians appeared to accept that this was a necessary prerequisite to any consideration of the future of the Series.
"On the recommendation of the Management Committee, it was agreed that there would be no Junior or Senior Series of games in 2007.
"It was agreed that a document would be prepared by the GAA, which would put on record the basis of structure, rules, their implementation and penalties on which the future of any Series must be considered. This document will be brought back to Central Council for decision after which it will be forwarded to the AFL for their consideration.
"If the GAA’s terms, as outlined in this document, are acceptable to the AFL, then discussions on the future of the Series could take place.
"Dessie Farrell, the player’s representative stated that while there would be some disappointment amongst players that the 2007 Series will not take place, the decision was, in his view, probably a wise one."
The International Rules series was marred by a number of incidents on the pitch including fist-fighting in the 2006 season. The game, which is a cross between Australian football rules and Gaelic Athletic Association rules, is played only between Australia and Ireland and has a history of robust (some might say violent) play.
Friday, December 08, 2006
So we took the bedding out of the wardrobe where it had been piled against the outer, wettest wall of the house and lo and behold it was damp and unusable. The fact had to be faced that it would have to go to the recycling centre and off we went, deposited sheets, pillow cases, duvets, duvet covers into the great yellow bins from which they will be made into socks for elves in Switzerland. Then we started thinking about lunch.
"I'll buy, if you like," I said.
"Okay. We could go to The Place in the Village. It's nice."
The Place in the Village is in the back of the Pub in the Village and as we had arrived ten minutes early for service, we bought tea and coffee and sat down at our Number 18 table and chatted. A large group of women in their 60s were gabbing away loudly in one large corner. Artificial Christmas trees blinked little multi-coloured lights at us. Kitchen staff busied themselves behind the self-service counter.
When the carvery opened for business, we queued and ordered peppered steak and chicken curry and sat down to eat.
A hand appeared from no-where and swiped the empty tray from my hand before my ass reached the chair.
"Er. Thanks," I said to the back of the girl, now quite a distance away.
Herself proclaimed the steak to be rare, which is not a complete crime in her lexicon of food faults, but is fairly close to the top. Oh, and the carrots were cold. I decided the chicken was tasteless and the curry barely registering. But feck it! It's better than cooking, eh? Sure, aren't we on holiday? Grand.
The hand reappeared and removed the plastic Number 18 from the centre of the table.
"We appear to be no longer sitting at a table," I said to Herself.
We talked a little about plans for the afternoon, then Herself made a visit to the Ladys' Room.
"Excuse me," the waitress cooed in my ear in Eastern European English. "Are you finished?" Her eyebrows wiggled slightly as she nodded towards my plate.
"Er, yes. Thank you."
"And this woman...?" She pointed at Herself's half-eaten steak and cold veg.
The plates blinked out of existence. She scuttled off towards the kitchen.
A new hand appeared and a plastic Number 17 appeared in the middle of the table. Was this demotion, I wondered. Or had we moved up a place in the charts?
Someone walked by and Herself's coffee cup vanished. On the next pass, a hand alighted on top of my ceramic teapot.
"Are you finished?" a Dublin voice said. Before I could answer, it continued: "Oh I'll just leave them." When I looked up there was no-one there.
Bloody hell! You can take the aul' "efficient service" a bit too far, you know?
We got into the car and drove away, checking through the rolled-down windows that the windshield wipers and hubcaps were still on... We weren't finished with them.
Friday, December 01, 2006
To add to my recent catalogue of minor mishaps, I was walking into The Square shopping centre in Tallaght this evening when I stood on a loose paving slab. It didn't tip me over, but it had a void underneath filled with rainwater and whatever way it sank into the space beneath on my footfall, it made the perfect substitute for someone throwing a bucketful of water at me. The right leg of my (naturally, they would be) pale coloured trousers got the full brunt. So I now had one dry, light-coloured trouserleg, and one obviously dark and wet trouserleg. Grinning and bearing it, I fixed my glance steelily ahead and marched into the Square. The people coming towards me didn't betray any emotion, so perhaps looking like someone who'd peed his pants is now de rigeur, I simply missed the announcement. So I then looked down and there's a huge flapping bootlace draggling along from beneath the hem of my dry leg. As I bent over to tie it, I would not have been in the least bit surprised if my evening concluded with a huge big kick in the arse from a total stranger.
The wet leg dried in the half hour waiting in the wind for the bus.
Picture courtesy http://www.clown-ministry.com
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The day started quite well, with both eyes opening at around the same time. Herself said:
"I've to be in work early today. So goodbye."
I said: "Can you leave me busfare, then? I don't have any change."
So she counted out the busfare in tens, fives and pennies and left. I rub-a-dubbed, washed teeth, brushed hair, left for the bus.
"I really don't have much money. I'd better go to the ATM."
So, I tapped keys and withdrew more than I wanted. Bloody machine! Never having the right notes!
Then I dropped 5 cent of my busfare into a crack in the path.
Now, I knew I could get to bend down as far as the ground, but the extra inch of depth was doubtful. I could, perhaps, throw one leg up into the air like a sumo wrestler. But the seam of my pants would probably not stand the strain. So I rummaged in my pockets and found another five-cent piece.
Not a word from the ATM on the subject either.
And as I walked away, I saw a penny, a shiny one, lying on the ground. Feck it.
For all I know they're both still there.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I occasionally suffer from those muscle spasms in the dead of night when you stretch and forget that unlike a pussycat you can't actually stretch your leg muscles that far and you end up with a passable impersonation (in the dark, if you're lucky) of someone doing the old soft shoe on the bedroom floor while cursing the universe quite roundly.
Last night, while lying on my back in bed, I commanded myself to turn over to the right and nothing happened. Well, that's not entirely true, because my right leg obeyed the command while nothing else did. I had the most peculiar sensation of the sinew above my right knee operating without effect. Naturally, I hopped out of the bed to find to my astonishment that my leg was still receiving the command to turn right. My right foot was quite definitely turned right. And the rest of the leg, which hadn't received the right-hand-turn command, was steadfastedly pointing to the front, no matter what everything from the knee down was doing!
Climbing upwards on the chest of drawers, I decided the best thing to do was hobble out to the bathroom, empty my bladder, and try to get the whole of my body working off the same game plan. I was not entirely sure that, standing over the lavatory bowl, I was not about to pee on the curtains (which, for your information, are [of course] to the right), but I concentrated and everything passed finely.
I figured that the most of my limbs were awake, but that my right leg was probably sleepwalking on its own. Maybe it would wake up if I gave it enough exercise between the bedroom and the bathroom and back again.
By the time I returned to bed, all limbs were again co-operating. I was very circumspect about any commands to change direction for the rest of the night.
Thank God I don't have four legs. I have trouble enough with the two.
Friday, November 10, 2006
She said: "Nioo. I've noit run away from hiome. I just don't loike being there. It's loike... everything there is loched."
He asked: "What do you mean, loike?"
She said: "They switched off my Internet conn-eh-shone. And took my mobile phoine. Loike why did they take my phoine?"
I thought: "Because they were sick of the sound of you."
Thursday, November 09, 2006
He: "Did you see Mrs Greene's son got married? The picture is in The Echo."
He: "Mrs Greene. Years ago. The nice lady used to come in for a small drinkie to the pub when we were going out first."
She: "Don't remember."
He: "Yes you do. Big family. I used to know her sons. The second eldest just got married."
She: "Is that the picture with the v-neckline and the confrabaliddle sleeve detail on the cuff over the white-you-may-call-it bustle-a-bob?"
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
2007 International Impac Dublin Literary Award shortlisted author, Sebastian Barry serves up a wonderfully written story of Willie Dunne, a young Dubliner who volunteers to go to fight in World War I.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Croke Park is the venue this Sunday 5th November for the final match in the Compromise Rules series between Ireland and visitors Australia.
The first encounter last week in Galway on October 28th was entirely spoiled when both teams engaged in football. Fans were left in open astonishment as players helped each other up after tackles, swapped insurance details, and in one case proffered the use of a holiday cottage in Donegal "for as long as it takes to get better."
"This isn't what we came here to see!" said one punter in a complimentary Coca-Cola baseball cap. "How is anyone supposed to condemn the standard of the game and threaten the ending of the series next year with this carry on?"
30,000 fans visited Galway to see the gladiatorial contest bemoaned of every sports writer, but instead witnessed the Compromise Rules equivalent of an episode of Jane Eyre.
"It's foot up the arse, or nothing!" said one disgruntled fan who had travelled from County Kerry. "Sure this isn't a game at all!"
Ireland won the 1st match by a score of 48 points to 40 points. The score will be carried over to the next match on Sunday and the Compromise Rules game will be preceded by an International Shinty match between Ireland and Scotland at 11.45am.
The GAA has announced that a small number of Hill 16 and stand tickets have been returned for Sundays 2nd Test in Croke Park. They are now on sale through the GAA’s website and Ticketmaster, while stocks last.
There's a kind of "Erkk, scritch, scritch, erkk" noise coming from the kitchen. I'm reading blogs on the PC in the dining room. The noise is starting to remind me of fingernails on blackboards.
"What'cha doin'?" I ask as sweetly as I can.
"Scraping wax from the blue thing," Herself replies, matter-of-factedly.
The blue thing is a bowl-shaped candle-holder, the type one fills with nice pebbles, water, then floating candles. We dispense with all but the candles because it looks nicer. In fact, we have a veritable temple to candles all over the sitting room. Sure it's only money burning every night, right?
"Did you hear Bush is now voted the worst president ever?" Herself asks me, between "scritch, scritch" noises.
"Yes it is."
I can hear the tinny sound of nightlights being dropped into bowls in the other room. At least the blue thing is now wax free.
Posted by Willie_W at 6:44 pm
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"Amount of semolina which fell on seaside town
"MORE than two tonnes of semolina fell on a seaside town after a factory silo malfunctioned and blasted the grain into the air.
"Residents of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, woke up to find a dusting of white grain covering roads and pavements. The problem proved a major headache for the local council because as staff tried to clean the semolina away with water it simply turned into the much-loathed dessert.
"Council spokesman John Hemsworth said: "We had 15 people trying to clear it up, but as soon as it got wet it became more of a problem." "
Enterprising eBay sellers are already offering specimens of the George Best commerative £5 note for only £10, including postage and packing.
Now that's Capitalism!
Pic shows George's father, Dickie Best, at the recent press conference held by Ulster Bank.
Edit: The five-pound George Best notes will be available from mid-November coinciding with the first anniversary of his death. Application forms will be available from Ulster Bank branches in Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland or on-line at www.georgebestfive.com or www.georgebestfive.co.uk from 13 November. The commemorative notes will then be available to purchase at any Ulster Bank branch in Northern Ireland from the 27 November.. More information at the Ulster Bank website at this link.
Friday, October 27, 2006
My mother, Maureen, will be dead five years in another hour or so. In no particular order, here are some of the things she liked:
Whiskey and red lemonade
Sweets wrapped in coloured paper
Armchairs with cushions
Little House on the Prairie
Pride before a fall
Miss you, Mam.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Cranes are being replaced by elegant buildings in Tallaght as more and more of the construction work around The Square reaches that sudden stage of near-completion. Stuck in a traffic jam that wound its way around Belgard Square this evening, I admired the new shop fronts and the even newer, uncompleted units that gape out from under the apartments, their unfinished ground-floors filled with white dust and oddments of builder's rubble. The hoardings are now gone and the most minimal of fences keep the public out. Gangs of second fixers march about, shouldering cable reels and pneumatic drills. Heavy construction machinery is being supplanted by fork-lifters, shopfitters, glaziers peering out through new spans of modern glass. It's great. Come on the future! I love it!
Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?
Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.
Did you ever take potato cake in a basket to the school,
Tucked underneath your arm with your book, your slate and rule?
And when the teacher wasn't looking sure a great big bite you'd take,
Of the creamy flavoured buttered soft and sweet potato cake.
Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.
Did you ever go a-courting as the evening sun went down,
And the moon began a-peeping from behind the Hill o'Down?
As you wandered down the boreen where the leprechaun was seen,
And you whispered loving phrases to your little fair colleen
Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Autumn definitely here over the past few days, with slightly rotted leaves everywhere and the smell that accompanies this damper season. Its still tremendously mild, though. Because of the time of year, we have our heating system ticking over at minimum. But because of the unseasonably warmer evenings have to open windows a little at night to avoid suffocation...
I've been visiting the blog, Honey Where You Been so Long? for a while now and enjoying continuing the education on music that I started with the DVD collection, The Blues - A Musical Journey. Heard one of the best blues titles there: "If Blues Was Whisky, I Would Stay Drunk All the Time", and lately one entitled "How Can I Miss You Daddy When I've Got Dead Aim?" Blues might seem a gloomy subject to take up for someone already gloomy, but in fact I find the music uplifting and a definite improvement to the mood. I'm reminded of the oft-coined quote "The Blues ain't nothin' but a good man feelin' bad." It isn't an original quote, but it was used in the movie, "Crossroads", which I hope one day to get from Amazon. It will be interesting to listen to the mimed playing of Ralph Macchio emulating his old time blues heroes now I actually know a bit more about them all.
It's a big and wonder filled world.
Posted by Willie_W at 7:43 pm
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I'm not one to say it, because I know what they have to endure from bastard members of the public, but "Bastard busmen!" anyway!
A Chinese woman hopped on ahead of me on the bus this evening, paid her fare, took her ticket and sat down.
I popped my exact-change 90c into the machine, took quite an outsized ticket to the accompaniment of what I thought for a moment was an odd look from the driver and started climbing the stairs. Whereupon the bus took off at a terrific pace into a 90 degree turn in the carpark of The Square, causing me to crunk over on the outer edge of my left foot just as I reached the upper deck. I've a fairly niggling sprain, I think, along the outer left foot.
Of course, the reason was soon apparent when I sat down and looked at the ticket. There was a 5c change ticket attached that the driver obviously felt was his tip. Bastard. My foot hurts.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
My father, Tom, is 79 years of age and apart from diabetes (which hardly bears a mention given his present situation) has had variously a burst appendix, hepatitis, cataracts, bruised ribs, colon cancer and prostate cancer. The colon cancer arose in the past eight years and the prostate cancer in the past five. He has undergone operations to help cure or manage both these conditions. He also received chemotherapy for the colon cancer. The treatments all appear to have been successful until recently when he lost his appetite and complained of pain in the abdomen. The thoughts of his GP immediately turned to a recurrance of cancer of some kind and so he has spent the past couple of weeks in hospital undergoing treatment and a battery of tests.
The family has been fearing the worst, especially since our minds have been concentrated on the matter of death given the recent loss of our Aunt Nelly from colonic cancer and our most recent loss of her (and my father's) brother, Jim, from lung cancer.
In 2006, Tom was diagnosed with an aneurism in an artery. He is usually compliant when it comes to keeping hospital appointments but in February an administration error in the hospital to which he was to go as an outpatient gave him the perfect excuse to walk away and refuse to go back.
Wikipedia says: "An aneurysm (or aneurism) is a localized dilation or ballooning of a blood vessel by more than 50% of the diameter of the vessel and can lead to instant death. Aneurysms most commonly occur in arteries at the base of the brain (the circle of Willis) and in the aorta (the main artery coming out of the heart) - this is an aortic aneurysm. This bulge in a blood vessel, much like a bulge on an over-inflated innertube, can lead to death at any time. The larger an aneurysm becomes, the more likely it is to burst."
On Friday my sisters and I met Tom and the professor heading the team of doctors handling his case. It transpired that the abdominal pain was caused by a stomach ulcer whose initial tests came back clear of cancerous cells. They plan to do further examinations in this area, but he is being treated for a stomach ulcer and is responding well to treatment. Tom is anemic from blood loss, probably from the ulcer, and they plan to treat him for iron deficiency. Finally, a vascular surgeon is going to examine whether or not it would be feasible to treat the now four anurisms in the arteries of his body.
We were so happy to hear the words "You are still seriously ill" because the conference with the professor appeared to rule out more cancer as a cause. In fact, we were positively beaming afterwards. Tom's morale is much improved and he was planning to change out of his pyjamas and into his everyday clothes for the day.
If you had the choice between a potential catastrophic failure with a quick death and a long, lingering suffering, which news would you be happier to hear?
Saturday, October 07, 2006
The arrival of several buses that dropped off passengers then rolled up their "Out of Service" sign did nothing to add to my humour. Then a red-haired girl arrived to join the maddening crowd. And as red-haired girls generally increase my good humour, I thought that things were looking up. She had a maroon-coloured umbrella and she stood to about my shoulder height. This, unfortunately, had the effect such that the wind-blown rain skidded right off the top of the umbrella and sprayed me directly in the face. Not deliberately, I'm sure. Just my late mother having fun at my expense.
There was comment on talk radio on Friday morning about the quantity of the extraordinary traffic on the roads of Dublin on Thursday evening. I don't know what the problem was other than rain, but I know I left my job at 5.30pm and didn't arrive home (a potential 45-minute walk if the rain wasn't skidding along horizontally at 30 miles per hour) until 7.45pm.
Bite my shiny metal ass indeed.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Alluded briefly to the black dog in my post 365 reasons to take prozac and also in this post some time ago. In a good humoured, well-intended (and welcome) reply to the second piece, someone remarked "And you are depressed about something"? (my question mark).
Well, belatedly, the answer is: No. I'm not depressed about something. I'm just depressed. Depression isn't "Oh well. I wish I hadn't painted the room that colour." Or, "I'm feeling glum today."It's something that lives inside the head and trundles around and around without any triggers, without any reason and apparently without any magic-bullet cure. (Hey! No pun intended! LOL!)
This week and last I was watching the television programme hosted by Stephen Fry on BBC2 entitled "Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive" and I recognised many of the traits of the illness as described by the various sufferers, including our host. Stephen, a comic actor whose work includes the TV adaptations of "Jeeves & Wooster", and earlier in the "Black Adder" series was the subject of inexplicable mood swings in his early teens which saw him slap the school nurse for suggesting he tie his shoelaces a particular way, climb about on school roofs, engage in credit card fraud and ultimately get locked up in jail. It wasn't until he walked out of a play in which he was appearing in 1995 in the West End and disappeared that a diagnosis of bipolar depression was made.
In "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive" Stephen Fry explores his own history in a frank and revealing way. Along the journey we are introduced to fellow sufferers, and, sadly, the families of sufferers who have taken their lives. Stephen himself sat in his garage for two hours contemplating suicide, his hand on the ignition key of the car and a duvet stuffed into the gap of the garage door before deciding that he couldn't go through with it.
In the show, we learned that he once owned more than 10 cars at one time and he now owns 13 or 14 iPods. His mania, or euphoric mood swing often manifests itself in compulsive shopping. When he is down, which can happen for about seven to ten days a month, he experiences feelings of self-worthlessness and he spends the time lying in bed looking at the ceiling in his home until the humour passes.
Since his diagnosis, Stephen has avoided the use of medication. The programme explored the pros and cons of various treatments but did not resolve whether or not he would choose to take pills upon which he would have to depend for the rest of his life.
An interesting phenonemon among even those who have suffered horribly with the disease is that given a hypotethical button to press which would mean that they would never have had the condition but would instead have lived an "ordinary" life, the majority of those interviewed said they wouldn't have chosen to press that button.
My own levels of mood swings were at their height (and depths) in my 20s, which co-incides with my most productive time as a writer. It makes me wonder what level of manic mood swing I was in when I wrote my earlier pieces for the roleplaying industry, a time when I had many manic episodes and lived the dreaded peaks and valleys I ascribed to creativity.
Funnily enough, I don't seem to have those wilder swings I experienced in my 20s any more. When I'm happy, I am reasonably happy, not wildly charging off about the place. Not, either, laughing out loud at something I've written that strikes me as uproariously funny. When I'm down, it lasts for maybe a few weeks at a time. I'm in one of those down periods at the moment, and it's reflected in a lack of any creativity. There is no work being added to the blog. No thoughts of writing anything of interest even to myself alone. No push on to get more flat-packed stuff for assembly and fitting in the kitchen.
Someone on the programme (I think it was Richard Dreyfuss, but it could have been Stephen Fry himself) mentioned how they don't think they'd like to commit suicide; they just sometimes would like not to be alive. I know exactly how that feels. There is no active wish to go fetch the bottle of pills or hang off the Dodder Bridge, but instead there is a well of negative energy that sits there in the background. I sometimes think that I'm waiting to get through this life so I can get a better shot in another. It is a strangely comforting feeling and no doubt alarming to non-sufferers to hear.
It was interesting to find the stigma of depression is breaking down a little. Certainly programmes like this one will help non-sufferers to understand things a little better. We ain't moping around, sulking, being stubborn spoilsports. You wouldn't ask a diabetes sufferer why he was making a fuss about that jam doughnut. So why ask me to cheer up? I will when I'm able, okay?
Interesting television programme. I shall now stop trying the pulling of oneself up by imaginary bootstraps and just get on with things. This includes feeling depressed, for which, no doubt, the Lord will one day make me truely thankful.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Its heading into its third day since Oceanfree mysteriously shut up shop. Rumour on the Internet points to a changeover going on, but, like many of the Internet service providers, free email suppliers, dot-com wonderbreads, absolutely no advance warning of a loss of service was issued. So I like everybody else, have to sit it out and await developments. I'm without email. Uncontactable. It's spookily quiet, in fact.
There are, of course, many alternative email options. I have a G-mail account (but can't remember the settings without having to go fish out an old diary. Yes, you've guessed, any password questions would doubtless be forwarded to my non-working email account!), and one can always get the dreaded Hotmail going. But there's a comfortable familiarity about using one's own accounts on one's own computer in Outlook, complete with the never-ending Rules and Blocked Senders lists that grow and grow with every piece of crappy spam that comes in.
How much do you rate the chance that Oceanfree (or their new incarnation) are working furiously at spam blockers as we read this? Maybe that's the cause of the delays? No. I didn't think so either.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
On Monday morning the local Council arrives in my area and takes away the household refuse at a fee of €8 per binload. As they come quite early (and, because for the past almost three years, I am now a wage slave and leave for my job quite early) the bins tend to be at least wheeled to the front of the house the night before. We affix a tag to the handle which proves we've paid the €8. As this is a valuable little item, we wait until morning to put it on the bin. Some bugger would surely steal it otherwise.
Anyway, I was standing tending to our wheelbin last Sunday evening when I was mildly surprised to see a circular object whirring steadily over my head about sixty feet up. At first, I couldn't make out exactly what the object was as it hovered there. It seemed to have a large, dark nucleus at the centre around which spun a pale coloured aurora. The think buzzed fairly loudly too and kind of wobbled uncertainly in its spinning motion.
A second or two later, the shape stopped spinning and straightened up into the shape of a model helicopter, the kind controlled by radio transmitter. The tail rotor stopped spinning momentarily, then started up again. Then the machine flew onwards for all of forty feet towards the gap between two houses to the rear of us before all power abruptly ceased and it dropped to a death on (by the sound of it) a concrete surface.
"Talk about having to wear a hard hat in your own back yard!" I said to Herself, telling her the tale.
We sat for an hour, watching television and drinking beer. Then the doorbell rang. Herself got up and answered it.
Smirky Greensleeves was standing on the doorstep.
"I got a new model helicopter today," he said, a picture of buck-toothed innocence. "And my Mom and I were flying it in the field and we lost it. You didn't see it did you? I've asked at all the other houses."
We wondered why he'd asked at all the other houses first. Herself was trying to dice him with death rays from her eyeballs as his little bright halo pinged audibly above him.
"It crashed over there," I said, pointing over my shoulder towards the rear of the house.
His little ratty eyes grew rounder.
"You saw it?"
"Yes. It went down..." I walked towards the back window and counted houses. "... After the second house on the next road."
Mock, fawning, incredulity.
"It went all the way over there?"
Okay kid. I can't hold Herself back any longer. If you don't feck off she will be peeling your skin off in about five seconds.
I retold the tale of the buzzing noise and the yoke spinning around and the short onward flight and the crash.
"You should fly those things close to the ground, you know?"
"My Mom and I were flying it way off over there," he lied, waving his arm back out towards the field. "There's some power in them," he grinned.
Like right. I was a kid too for a while. I know the first thing any kid will do is try to find how high and then how far away a model aircraft will go.
He buggered off. Half-an-hour later he was back again.
"I went around there and there's no sign of it."
"Well, it might have crossed the road to the other houses," I said. "It's difficult to say. I did hear it crash though."
"Well I can't find it."
I looked out at the gathering evening gloom.
"You're going to have a hard time finding it in the dark soon anyhow," I said.
"Yes. I might go home and go to bed and get up real early and look again," he replied through his lollypop-stick grin.
I've not been buzzed recently by any more model helicopters. Either he found it and it was damaged beyond repair, or, as I suspect, a neighbour pushing out their Sunday evening / Monday morning wheelbin found a junked toy scattered about a driveway and swept it up as so much litter.
I like the wheelbin idea.
I really like it.
Friday, September 15, 2006
The fairies have come into our garden, most unexpectedly, over the past few evenings. We can tell by the host of fairy mushrooms that have sprung up in the long dandelion leaves that should instead be a lawn, and all around the pieces of sawn tree trunks. Don't know why but they seem to prefer the log with the solid butt of cement on it and the offcut tiles.
The picture isn't great, I know. Had to take it with the camera in the mobile phone as the better digital camera is out of juice. But they look like little artificial ones that those type of people who like to will paint on the base of a garden gnome. A new wonder.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Nope. I don't subscribe to it. I've been listening to the annual astonishment, indignation, condemnation of the activities of our 15 year olds celebrating their Junior Cert results, and it's the same old annual nonsense trotted out each time. Fact is, we're human beings and humans have dolled themselves up and got hammered to mark all sorts of events from the time we discovered drugs and alcohol. In some Brazilian rainforest a teen is probably painting themselves red and black right now and going on the lash with copious amounts of fermented grandmother spit. The only difference is that our wee lassies paint themselves orange all over and wear more clothes. Barely more.
Same thing next year. Mark it in the calendar.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Isn't that anti-perspirant a total model for having an Irish origin? I mean "Sure it won't let you down" is such a local motto... Anyway, Christy Moore is a high desert Andean mummy in comparison to me when I start doing any kind of physical labour, and so it was in the kind of frame of mind where my clothing had become so uncomfortable that nudity was about to take place that, two hours into adding another flat-packed kitchen cabinet in our never-ending project, last Monday, I received my first text message while standing on a chair inside a cupboard.
"How's it going?" Herself asks.
Well, I'm about to startle the neighbours and lose little pozidrive screws in the folds of my bare, fat, sodden flesh, I wanted to reply, but instead I waxed slightly lyrical about the quality of the box I was putting around our fridge and how much she would like it when she came home. My own opinion of it is not so settled. It is a little off square. B&Q have a device for curing this by adding two steel braces to the rear, but they (unnecessarily) point out that one should be careful not to obstruct the actual fridge by installing them. So I have one brace above the level of the fridge and one out of sight in another room entirely, doing nothing but, I suppose, gathering dust.
I have also acquired the habit of slamming the cupboard door. I may later add those clever little hinge things which connect the door of the fridge to the door of the cupbaord, but for now one opens one wooden door then opens the fridge. On removal of two (count them, it is getitng late after all) tins of lager, one closes the fridge firmly then applies the same amount of pressure -- in this case unnecessary -- to the cupboard door. The resulting BANG! noise has made me almost swallow my own tongue standing in the darkened kitchen over the past few evenings.
My excuse for not doing the other side of the kitchen is now removed. I shall have to learn the arts of not being flooded and not being electrocuted. Love it.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Closing the gate looking up. Or stepping outside onto the grass to the rear of the house with the sun already disappearing. In the last light of navigation the crows begin to come home in twos, then in scores, finally in one great flock like burned papers wheeling over.
They caw-caw at each other. Answering, another caw, further off, fainter, as more come into view. They poke at each other in flight, full of mischief.
"Look out! You're falling!"
"No I'm not! I can fly higher than you!"
The strong beat of black wings, the noise and cackles suddenly overhead now, black crosses flapping by. Some are glossy with this year's feathers. Many beaks are greyer, wiser. The urge to stare upwards vertically is sore in the back of the neck as they pass over.
On windier days the passage is quicker, but no less puncuated with enthusiasm. They streak by, arcing back to circuit over the houses as if the journey should only take so long and no longer, turning back on their flight paths in figures of eight.
Then, a mirror version of their first appearance, the throng thins as the majority seek roosts further down the road in the trees beside the convent and by the river. Some few pass by in sixes, fours, twos, until only one more comes lately by, calling for the others, wings beating purposefully homewards.
It happens every evening. I am glad.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Overdue tax returns notwithstanding, I attacked the bathroom with a dodgy mastic gun and a bottle of sealant on Sunday morning. Anything to avoid doing the dreaded online return, I suppose. We had a bit of an accident involving a large boot and a toilet a long while ago. The replacement throne was inserted into the throne-shaped gap in the tiled floor and left to prove itself awhile before I went to the trouble of sealing and tiling around it again. The "proving period" turned out to be more months than I care to remember at the moment. But considering an almost entire tube of sealant had to be used to bring the cavity around it up to the floor level of the tiles will probably hint at why I was loathe to approach it. Once cured, I will put some nice dainty likkle tiles around it, daisy-petal like, as it was before the boot and bog accident. 'Tis hard on the knees though.
The above headline in a spoof newspaper in the oft-repeated "Naked Gun" movie is about the highlight of the past week. Naturally, I've been drinking whiskey, which I love drinking but which nonetheless has a dampening effect the next day on my mood. Had a face like a slapped arse this morning in work. Quite sure my workmates wondered if I was still taking the correct pills. The day was busy in a paper shuffling kind of way. I am to be left to my own devices from Wednesday onwards for five weeks when my most-valuable and much appreciated clerical officer goes on holidays and I have to phone-juggle and report write at the same time. I think I shall have to take to wearing the flip-flops that Herself bought me during the summer after all, so I can write with both bare feet while speaking to irate customers and typing up-to-the-minute statistics for my boss's boss's bosses. Where did I leave that bottle?
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I rediscovered a forum I used to operate a few years ago. Amazing to look back at the gripes of yesteryear. Under "I'm beginning to think I'm unemployable" I found:
Date Posted: 05:57:58 07/03/03 Thu
"I'm beginning to think I'm unemployable"
You know I was talking to someone yesterday and I was saying that where once I had a little business of my own (albeit a poorly-paying one) and looked after it, now I spend most of my entire day trawling through job adverts and apparently making no headway whatsoever.
"I can't make any promises" was the response of the latest job recruitment person I spoke to. God, I hate agencies. I apply for a job thru one, and all it is is an excuse for them to run you through a typing test, put some of your details in a database, and tell you "that particular" job is now filled, but they'll get back to you. Fuck.
Me: "I'm looking for part-time work."
She: "Now wouldn't you want full-time work?"
Me: "Yes... But I'd like to start with part time..."
She: "Now, those people are ONLY looking for part-time employees."
Me: "Yeeeeesss... And that suits me fine..."
She: "Wouldn't you like full-time work?"
Bugger. 55 WPM typing speed and 100% accuracy in a test straight off the rain-sodden streets...
She: "Out of ten, how would you rate your computer skills?"
Fuck's sake! What was the test, the long list of skills I carefully prepared in my CV and the letter of application for...?
Me: "Seven and a half...?"
She: "Okay. I'll ask those people if they're interested. No promises though."
Should have saved the busfare into town.
Date Posted: 09:15:00 07/03/03 Thu
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 05:57:58 07/03/03 Thu
The thing is...SHE has a job; her job is to ask you the dumb questions as it states in her job description. Have you thought of trying to put together your OWN agency?
Here the deal is to make the CV as concise as possible, since there are so many people out of work, and nobody really reads the resumes unless they are truly striking.
I have a great looking CV, but it too often gets stuffed in a drawer because people don't take the time to read it. I usually tell people I only want part-time because I'm working on a novel. LOL Sounds better than "I'm too damn old to hack full time".
I saw a state job here yesterday that I'm well qualified to handle, but damn I just don't want to work for the government anymore.You have a good personality, a clever wit, and the skills...it'll happen one of these times.
Meanwhile write an article about the trials and tribulations. It makes good reading...
Date Posted: 15:16:00 07/07/03 Mon
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 05:57:58 07/03/03 Thu
Willie Sorry your going though the wringer in fonding a job.
I does stink and ya find the dumest hopes to jump though to get a job now a days. Well I was once told this that it take 100 tries to land a job. So you are that much closer to getting one. True it did not help when I was looking like mad to find one.
Just keep trying Willie one will open up for you. If not well one can fallow the rest of the Irish wake over the pond and muddle around in the states or england for a bit.
Take care Frank
Date Posted: 00:58:27 07/08/03 Tue
In reply to: Frank 's message, on 15:16:00 07/07/03 Mon
Yesterday on Nixers.com... (advert is now gone, so I'm paraphrasing here...):
"Helpful individual with PC skills and pleasant telephone manner to work 11am to 3pm 5 days a week."
The email I get from the agency reads:
Thank you for your interest in the above position.
Unfortunately, on this occassion you have not been short listed for interview I will however keep your CV on file and keep you advised of future opportunities.
I resisted the urge to tell him how to use a spelling checker.
Date Posted: 07:37:48 07/08/03 Tue
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 00:58:27 07/08/03 Tue
Ain't tha' th' trut...
How many times have I seen "withdrawl" instead of withdrawal on a patient chart. When I mentioned it to my co-worker, the keyboard wizard transcriptionist, she in her 45-year-old wisdom replied...
"Well, HOW do you spell it?"
How many boy children are listed in the birth records as Jermey, rather than the intended, Jeremy?
Do it right has been replaced by Get it DONE.
If one thinks about it...the consequences of that have become more tragic than funny.
Date Posted: 10:09:15 07/08/03 Tue
In reply to: Angh 's message, on 07:37:48 07/08/03 Tue
Well I for one can not complain about other spelling. I have my own typos to remind me on how well I do. (LOL)
Willie have you thought of looking work is the fast food joint just to get some form of a pay check. (true it suck as work goes) try to keep you spirts up. I know your ship will come in, it's just when is the question.
Take care buddy
Date Posted: 02:58:40 07/09/03 Wed
In reply to: Frank 's message, on 10:09:15 07/08/03 Tue
I consider you a friend, Frank, so I'll not give my thoughts on your suggestion of working in a fast food joint...
I've decided to ease off on looking for work as it's a complete waste of my time. I have to figure out what I can do that will bring in some money and that I'm INTERESTED in doing any more.
If something comes up in the meantime, so be it.
Date Posted: 12:02:00 07/09/03 Wed
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 02:58:40 07/09/03 Wed
True. Fast food work does stink and any other foul name that can be used to describe it. Well you said writting AD&D Moduals payes and you like doing them. I know I do not have the time to write or understand the new game any more.
Have you thought of being a roving reporter and sell you stories to the local rag? (don't know if this is still done)
One could sell your self as a tourest guide (please do not choke the #### out of the american tourest they tip well)
Knowing you Willie you will think up something and I hope it covers all of you monie needs.
Date Posted: 16:37:53 08/05/03 Tue
In reply to: Frank 's message, on 12:02:00 07/09/03 Wed
Willie...it's me..... the missing link...
If I recommended a book that I've read recently would you ask to borrow it or tell me where to shove it ? I've been looking around lately because I'm stuck in a rut in my job and seeing as I spend more time there than I do at home with the kids it had better be stimulating.... so i've been reading a bit about this whole career-life-job hunt thing.
Frankly you were smarter some 20 years ago than all of the gobshites I'm working with now. There's nothing doing in my neck of the woods at the moment but if you want to call/mail and talk about some ideas then give me a shout. You are able to paint vivid pictures with words - that's a gift and anyone who says differently should consider a career in teaching.... There are businesses out there that need smart people like you. The problem is finding them.... because they're not going to find you that's for sure (if they could find you they'd be smarter than they are now and probably wouldn't need to hire you.... but let's not go down that road.....).
For what it's worth... here's my advice....it's worth what you're paying for it......
Agencies are a waste of energy and time. Sending CVs has limited success. You know what you're good and and what you want to do. I suggest you follow the 'networking' path... tell anyone and everyone what you do and that you're available to do it for anyone who will pay you. If you know of (or can find) a business that might possibly need your skills then try to find out if you know someone (or someone who knows someone) who works there. Once you get the basic link to a real human being who has the authority to either hire someone or contract someone then you talk to them..... not the organ grinders monkey.
Hmmm. Now that I've read some of that back it looks like pure shite. But give me a shout and I'll fill you in on some of the stuff I've learned - I've been interviewing people for a few years and it never ceases to amaze me that I've had to go looking for smart people to hire... they never seemed to come to me... A lot of folks who mentioned to me that they did such-and-such and were available actually got something because I remembered them.... I've read dozens, nay hundreds, of CVs. Can't remember a single one of the bastards. not one. But I do remember this fella Larry Bass who cornered me at a party and told me about his ideas for making videos and stuff. He quietly bought the 'Popstars' franchise for a pittance and produced the series... bastard.... I should have nicked his ideas ;-)
Date Posted: 01:57:45 08/06/03 Wed
In reply to: Fitz 's message, on 16:37:53 08/05/03 Tue
Well I have gradually come around to the idea that sending CVs is a load of bollocks. I'm at the age when you and I were taking our first employment steps in the 80s when it was considered unlikely someone would be employable -- not far off 40 and toiling around in a shrinking job market.
What's interesting to me is that there has always been a particular pigeonhole into which particular jobs and skills "fit".
The classic one is a tale I told on here some time ago:I phoned a number in search of an advertised Receptionist's job and was finally told "But we're looking for a girl." I wasn't asked one thing about any skills whatsoever.
So I'm taking what I know from this useless quest for gainful employment and trying to do something with it. Many of the email addresses one sends the invisible C.V. to have their own server but have no accompanying Website. The best they have is one of those "This site is reserved for a customer" pages. If I can't get the fuckers to let me answer their phones, maybe I can get them to allow me to make a Website. We'll see.
What bugs me most is that I was doing all this job-hunting shite 20 years ago and I got no-where then. I don't really expect to now either.
Date Posted: 13:06:49 08/06/03 Wed
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 01:57:45 08/06/03 Wed
Sitting in the local yesterday talking to a local fella, Harley rider, electronics tech, egg seller. He is also active in the Vietnam Vets MC Club so we bought a couple t-shirts and ordered a dozen eggs with the promise to bring egg cartons we've been saving for him.
Another fella...logger type bellied up to the bar and before I left, the leathered up biker/egg man (Wayne) had a job doing something for the logging outfit, I disremember what, but it ain't loggin'.
All he said to the fella was,"If you hear of anything going on, I'm looking for work and I'm a working mother fucker."
Wayne LOOKS like yer typical scooter trash, but somehow he presents as a standup pillar of integrity.
Now...I do CVs for a little money, and have a whole list of people who GOT jobs on the strength of the persona I created for them...but CVs as a be all end all doesn't work anymore, because the HR person isn't reading them. There's just too many of them coming through the door.
I've got a great CV, but am packing too many years, and won't do a lot of stuff for the money they offer these days.
Fitz...I enjoyed reading your post...some real sensible shite there.
Date Posted: 16:15:57 08/06/03 Wed
In reply to: Angh 's message, on 13:06:49 08/06/03 Wed
True the CV is not worth crap.My wife sent out hers to god knows how many and no takes.
She also tried the mail offers to get her own companie going and we sent out 5000 flyers and not one taker.
I like and think their good and how I landed my job by going to job fair. (might be called something diffrent in your area Willie) One goes and talks to a real person who can hire and knows what their looking for. Some time they just take names and to get back to you but don't thats crap and a waist of my time. I now ask then if they are actively hiring or just taking names. If they dodge the question I walk saying I am look for work and not playing games. This is how I got my job I am in now for 13 years.
I truely think it is just luck and how you present your self will lead to one getting a job. Again do not give up hope and Fits is right on the mark that you are one hell of a writer. Have you tried the local rags or did some volentering work for the local paper? It is a way to get ones foot in the door. You did write for the tourest board rags maybe they need a new writer with your flair for words to revive their old tourest pamplets.
Chat with you later.
Date Posted: 02:24:18 08/07/03 Thu
In reply to: Frank 's message, on 16:15:57 08/06/03 Wed
This morning I applied for a job with a Rosary Beads manufacturer. I applied to them last June without any response for what I think is the same position on offer.
My next application was to a Press-Cuttings company who are offering a princely sum to mount, fax and email cuttings to clients. I would have about €200 per week after tax if hired.
I'm not practicing my breath-holding skills on either. As for writing, it's all well and good having a skill in something, but being skilled in something you no longer want to do makes it kind of irrelevant, no?
Date Posted: 09:57:30 08/07/03 Thu
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 02:24:18 08/07/03 Thu
Well then maybe learn how to be a bartender. It seam to me they are alway are in demand. (S)Good luck with these two slots and I hope one come though for ya.
Date Posted: 12:20:34 08/08/03 Fri
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 02:24:18 08/07/03 Thu
I had a job packing garden hose once. It went well until they decided I'd make a garden hose winder, on the machine that stood ominously in front of the extruder where the garden hose was spit out for processing. The winder was foot pedal operated, and if one forgot to let off the pedal upon completion of the wind, one would be launched over the top of the machine. I didn't get bucked off the machine, but it DID bang my wrist hard enough to make my hand swell like a Michelin Man. I was sent home and never went back.
Now, counting Rosary beads might be something I could do.
I had a temp gig once, counting syringe needles...100 to a packet. That was easy enough, and I was fast enough counting that I could do it twice to autocheck myself without them noticing. ROFL.
Writing to spec would be an awful thing, like an endless Comp 104 class. I'd rather the inspiration hit you because you care deeply about something enough to put it out there.
So...will stop nagging about your writing. *S*
Date Posted: 06:27:27 10/16/03 Thu
Was out and about today at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) which is, as we all probably know, a snobbish reservation on the Southside of Dublin where the horsey set usually congregate to rub fetlocks.
A certain organisation had sent for me and 800 others to sit a "written examination", the purpose of which is to thin out applicants for an Administrative job.
First-off, most of us arrived at 8.40 for the 9.30 "registration", which consisted of us finding our names and numbers on a list, the clerk checking that we were identical to our photos, and sitting down on a chair at a desk these latter items made for a dwarf. An anorexic one at that.
I guess the 9.30 start probably meant a 10.00 examination, and so it proved to be.
A tall, thin, greying countryman made his way to the microphone and said:
"Nolph, welfome ebbly n. Nay zam doo ar. Irr s NUMERICAL REASONING..."
We nodded our comprehension at that part.
"Ec e ape. Ple il ape ou."
He looked around him. There must have been a few puzzled faces down the back, because, to be sure (I suppose), he said:
"N est on?"
There were none.
Does anyone know why a painter would want to know why he's five-elevenths of his way through the job after three hours and thirty-five minutes?
Date Posted: 01:05:12 10/10/03 Fri
We think it's been about a year since I started actively searching for work. Yesterday I received the three-month contract from **** and their "Pre-Employment Pack", which amount to a number of manuals and a great number of forms to submit to various departments. The gist of all this is that I've been offered work as a "Clerical Officer (Word Processing)" beginning at 9.30 a.m. on Monday 20th October.
Regular income... The mind boggles...
Date Posted: 01:46:01 10/10/03 Fri
In reply to: Willie 's message, on 01:05:12 10/10/03 Fri
Tickled to death for you. *S*
How civilized to give you a chance to exhale, make arrangements if needed, and celebrate a bit before you have to punch in the first day.
I really hope you'll enjoy the job my friend. With your wit I'm sure we'll get lots of interesting tidbits about the experience of hiding from the enemy in plain sight.
At best there's no fear the bureaucrappy sand will wear away at your edges. At worst...if you hate it, take comfort that companies really prefer that you already HAVE a job when you come looking for one. Odd, but it's true.
Congratulations...eat your veg...and never let 'em see you sweat.