Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thing 238 Dye My Hair

I've had some pretty outrageous hair-do's over the years. I had braids in my hair once. In college, because I thought it was cool, I'd occasionally dax up the hair and slick it back, like one of the 1950's Greasers. I shudder to think. I've had a mohawk punk style, and a mohawk Mr T style. I've had frosted tips, kinda long hair and most frequently, as shaved head. I'm not one for dying the hair though. It's not that I'm terribly fond of my hair colour, I just nothing it. As in, I feel neither way inclined to like it or loathe it. Mostly, my hair just annoys me.

As you can see from the picture above, I should have stuck to the "No Dye" policy. I look like some kind of badly drawn anime character who escaped out of Pokemon cartoons into real life. Thankfully, The Project lets me get away with all manner of stupidities, and this one is no different. On a slight aside, I'm becoming fed up with the lack of shock value anything I do gets anymore. I had this hair dyed in Thorny Wire's bar, at the counter by Volcanic and Token Northy. Thorny Wire walks in:

"Hello Boone. Dying the hair I see".

Gone are the days when people might have exclaimed at my stupidity. I know the point of The Project isn't shock value, but even a little exclamation now and again wouldn't kill you...
The colour choice wasn't mine to make by the way. There's no way it could be, because I'd just pick something normal and get away with it. Or at least try to. I left it to Volcanic and Token Northy, just because I knew that Token Northy loves to cause me distress when and where possible, and his choice would be the one to cause me most discomfort, and that's the real point - breaking out of a comfort zone.

Red though? Seriously? In my head I was going to let them dye it, let it dry, take my head home with me, obviously enough, and shave it bald. No one would ever know. The lads were having none of it, and rightly so. There's no fun in having a massively embarrassing head and not showing it off to the world. Sure where's the banter in that?
I admire people who can carry it off. Wear the absurd hair colour and not be self conscious about it. Those people, who are few and far between are to be applauded for their creativity and individuality. On the other hand... The people who dye their hair because they dislike conforming, but are self conscious about it, they can be picked out a mile away, make it look silly. I guess it's a confidence thing. I can safely say, I fall into the second category. I was nearly apologising to people who looked at me strangely. I avoided my mother and father like the plague... The abuse would have been too much.

As it was, there was plenty of stick handed out at work, so much so that I wore a hat to cover my shame, and went to our work Christmas party looking like I was doing a Jason Mraz impression. I'll never dye it again, and that includes when I start going gray... "oh I say that now" says you...

Thing 237 Read The Paper Cover to Cover

I know what you're thinking. Read the paper cover to cover? That's not hard. Hardly even counts as a Thing. You'd be wrong. So very very wrong... How do you like them apples. At a rough estimate, because I don't like counting words alot, there's about two thousand words per page, maybe a little over. There are twenty four pages. That's forty-eight thousand words or thereabout. That's an entire bloody book, and not a fun book either. A boring one. About tax or something.

Oh, and that's without counting the sport section. But I don't mind reading that. Except anything to do with boat racing. I have some prejudices.

I buy a paper most days, I do the crossword, read the sport, and bask in the collective crankiness of the nation by reading the Letter to the Editor page (or the Crank File as I prefer to call it). Then I hoard the paper. I can't bring myself to throw it out. I might want to read something in it later, or do one of the sudoku puzzles, or try to figure out why Doonesbury is funny (any suggestions on that last one are most welcome - mostly I laugh at it because I want people to think I get edgy political jokes, but really, I haven't a clue). So typically I've a stockpile of old Irish Times papers knocking around my room and my house. I've never once read any of them all the way through.

There's a reason for that of course: who's got four hours to spare? Yep. It took me four hours to read every last letter in that paper. There was me, sitting down to read, thinking I'd have it done in an hour or so... I speed read don't you know. No such luck. It took four hours. No problem for the first while - the quality of the writing is good, and the first few pages has news I might actually give a rat's ass about. After that though...

Here's a sample of some of the less interesting headlines:

"Lib Dem MP says aide is not a spy"
To be fair, if it's got the word spy in it, you'd think it would be interesting. On closer inspection though: d'uh. Of course he says he's not a spy. Be a pretty shit spy if her boss could tell a journalist that she was a spy right?

"Bridge Notes"
In the immortal language of "internet speak" WTF?

"Next government must be able to make decisions".
Honestly? Are you serious? Actual decisions? This news rocks my world down to it's very core...

"Germany must make its mark in any euro crisis"

"NTMA chief warned Lenihan not to let Nama distort pay rate"
I didn't know what the NTMA was before I read this, and afterwards I realised that there's a reason my brain strives to block out useless information.

"UK tax collector contests pension payment at MacSharry firm"
Dear lord... what the hell am I reading this for?

It doesn't stop there though. Oh no. It goes on. There are ads to be read. Every single ad in the paper actually. The legal notes. The personal notes. Family notices. Obituaries...

I've either got to switch to tabloids or just stop reading the paper... Talk about depressing...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thing 236 Toast Bread on the Fire

This is a brief summary of how I operate. Put in other terms; it's how I roll:

I love a bit of toast. I also love microwaveable popcorn. The reason I love them both; you let technology work and do its thing. When it's done doing what it does best, we're set to go and I get to have good times. With butter. Nom nom nom. It's not a sex thing. It's a taste thing. You've got to get that head of yours out of the gutter.

Here's not how I roll (grammar's important, but succinctness is even more crucial): Doing stuff that takes effort and time. I'm a lazy, lazy man. I opted to toast bread because, like so many things in this life, I've not done it because it is both ridiculous and requires effort. Here's how I want my toast (and if you pretend it's not how you like your toast, then you're a liar): Pop into the toaster. Walk away, boil the kettle, make the tea, get out the butter (not real, I want Dairygold), and slap it on. Tea and melted (sort of butter) on toast. I've barely had to walk a few feet.

For this Thing, I took a long pointed fork thingy type dealie, and speared the bread, then I took it and sat next to the fire, burned myself a little (including singed arm hair), and waited till the heat toasted the bread.

Surprisingly enough, it didn't take long. And it was better than toaster bread, the main downside being that I had to burn some arm hair to toast it. I wasn't particularly fond of the arm hair, it's just the principle.

There's something quaint and rustic about sitting down by the fire and making your own grub, granted I didn't have to cook a meal, just hold my arm in the fire, but on nights when it's minus four outside and you've a roaster of a fire lit and nowhere to go, nought to do but relax, it's nice to take a moment for yourself. Even if it means losing some precious arm hair.
It's getting close to Christmas. Light yourself a fire. Sit down on your ass and stick on a movie. Toast some bread and relax. For all the effort, which I hate, this was still lots of fun. Oddly rewarding too.

Thing 235 Half and Half, Inaugural Saturday

Welcome to the world's most horrendous creation. If X Factor and Big Brother could have a child, it wouldn't touch off the idea of pouring Guinness on top of lager. It's called the Half and Half. It spotted it when I was one hols in the US once. Once is an incorrect assessment. I spent several hours in The Legion bar on City Island, New York and many people consumed many pints over many of these hours and many of these were Half and Halfs. And I was disgusted many times. When I voiced my objection, many old American men told me that I knew nothing - I told them I worked in a bar. They cared not at all. I swore on that day that I'd never pull a Half and Half.

I broke that promise to myself...

More importantly though, it was also Cobblestone Joe's inaugural Saturday night. This was the real Thing. First Saturday night of a new bar. I've worked in plenty of bars. I love it. The banter, the messing, the jokes, the buzz. Lashing out drinks at a thousand miles an hour. Too busy to think, just keep joking and keep on sending drinks out as the punters shell out their hard earned cash on some good times.

This was different though. This was the first Saturday of a new bar kick starting its life in Limerick. Curious drinkers sticking their heads in for a look at the new spot. They want to know that the new bar staff are up to it. What's the porter like? What's the smoking area like? Are there lookers in there? That's an important one...

Here's where it gets weird:

I'd already decided since I was going to be pulling pints, that I'd pull a Half and Half. I'd drink it for myself as a reward for a hard night's work. I like to treat myself now and again. I felt just the slightest twinge of guilt that I'd be breaking my own promise. Then, midway through the night, two rugby fans made their way in, after the Munster match. One of them had an American accent. Guess what he ordered...?

What are the chances? It reminded me of the time with the four in a row on black in the casino. Half and Half. My nemesis.

Any drinker or admirer of Guinness will tell you that this is just not right. Like the Thing which involved downing a pint of Guinness in one go, it's wrong because it goes against my long established ways of drinking, and of socialising. It goes against the grain. It burns a hole in my soul.

To me there's nothing better than a well earned pint of Guinness after a day's work, or even after a day's watching of rugby, or even a day's sitting on the ass doing nothing. To bastardise it in this manner... to ruin it... it's not right.

Plus there's the physics to worry about. Will the Guinness actually float on top of the Lager? It did by the way. Much as I wished it wouldn't...

Anyway. I ruined some perfectly good Guinness. Even if the guy drinking it was chuffed to bits. He was chuffed I'd even heard of it to be honest. I was still too freaked out by the coincidence to explain about The Project...

Here's hoping he's reading...

Probably not...

In relation to the real Thing for the day. I loved it. I've missed bar work so much it's not even funny. The good music. The craic. The drink. The running back to tap kegs. Mind you, next time I see the inside of the place, I hope it's because I'm on the other side of the counter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thing 234 Human Christmas Tree

I know, I know, I was just starting to catch up on all the missed blogs, and then I let it backslide again, I'm very aware that this is disgraceful carry on...


Ever seen Scrooged? It's the 1980's version of A Christmas Carol, it stars the single greatest comedic actor of all time: Bill Murray (no, that's not open to debate, and yes, I've head all the alternative options, for me, it's still Bill, by a mile. I've digressed again, back to Scrooged: There's a scene where the downtrodden family of the over-worked secretary ask their mom for a Christmas Tree. She promptly says no. They wrap a bunch of lights around the smallest kid. He looks cute and pathetic at the same time. That's pretty much what I was going for. I think it's mission accomplished. Cute and pathetic are pictured below...
We decided to shop for our tree, which reminds me of a story:

Last year I lived with Clo Bear and Blonde Boss. As the man of the house, I felt it was my duty to pick out the house Christmas tree. I wondered into town armed with my money, and my savvy and haggling skills. I saw them, they saw me and they knew they'd met their match in terms of haggling...

I spotted the tree I wanted. Fifty quid I said. No way they said. I turned to walk away. "No wait" she cried, "forty five euro". I turned back to her. I'm not paying over forty. It's all I've brought, and it's all I intend to part with. "Okay" she said. And I smiled like the cat that not only got the cream, but also won a lifetime access to a dairy and found the ammunition for a dog repellent gun. I handed her the cash. She said thanks and I went to take my tree... At this point, a smart man would have walked away....

"You know sir", she said (calling me sir, way to butter me up), "this tree here is a far nicer tree. It's about a foot taller, and it's much bushier at the end". I looked at it, wrapped up, and could tell from looking that it was much more full at the bottom... I did not look at the top. I grinned at my good fortune, and I took the new tree.

What I got was a Christmas tree version of a dumb-bell. It was full and bushy at the bottom, full and resplendent at the top, it didn't taper out and get narrower, and it was completely bare in the middle. Like a free weight made out of tree. We put it in the bathroom under the stairs and called it "Toilettree". It was horrendous. I paid forty euro for a pine scented bathroom freshener that was six feet tall...

I'm a shark at the haggling. I think I can still hear that woman laughing at me in my Christmas nightmares...
So when you consider that, this year's human tree is a massive improvement.

I was so caught up in the spirit of Christmas and all about getting the tree put up, that I kind of let most of the day go by without doing a Thing. That's when The Thief suggested that instead of dressing the tree, we should dress the idiot (that's me). I've never seen Pony Boy so enthusiastic about making a tool of me. And that's something that's very close to his heart. Seriously. He's a big fan of that.
Smashing fun had by all. We may have indulged in Christmas fun afterwards, but if you can't enjoy Christmas pints, well, there's something wrong with you.

P.S. Scrooged is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. Watch it.

Thing 233 Pluck A Turkey

Oh lordy did I ever get some serious stick for this one. Cruel is just about the nicest of the seven texts I got from people giving out. Have to admit, it was a little strange. First of all, here's how it works; Siobhan from the Ray Darcy show rings and says "hey, let's do something Christmassy for The Project". Sounds good. What do you have in mind... Enter Ronan, The Friendly Farmer. He's from Athenrye. He rears bronze turkeys, geese, chickens, ducks and other fowl for you to eat for your dinner. One way or another all the birds are going to be ending up on someone's plate.

It's not like I bust into a nursery for turkeys with genius level potential, and robbed one that was engaged to be married and who's fiance had one in the oven. This was a bird reared well, fed well and looked after, but a bird ultimately destined for the dinner plate. Having said that it was alarming to see Ronan dispatch the turkey. I want to go into detail, but I think I'll spare you...
That's Ronan there with Turkey. It's kind of important to point out that The Friendly Farmer doesn't normally dispatch birds himself. There's an abattoir for that, but Ronan is an experienced farmer and he takes care of the birds that he intends to put on his family dinner plate.

I know it's alarming for some people, but I think it's an awful lot better for someone to know where their dinner came from, and know that it's well looked after. Unless you're eating in McDonald's, in which case squeeze your eyes shut, enjoy the taste and hope for the best... That's not how you want to eat Christmas dinner though is it... That's how you eat leftovers the next day... In hope, through your hangover, trying not to die...
So anyway, there's two types of plucking (I said PLucking, I know what you're like with your filthy mind, for shame). Dry and Wet plucking. Dry plucking involves simply pulling feathers immediately after the birds' are dispatched. Wet plucking involves steeping the bird in water for about seven or eight minutes after dispatch to loosen the skin and make it easier for the "townie" who's inappropriately dressed for farm work. In case you missed that description, I'm talking about myself. I was really poorly attired for freezing snow and Baltic conditions. I'm crap at being a farmer apparently.

Tell you what I'm not so shabby at though... feather plucking.

Ronan warned me that I'd make a pure shambles of it, and that I'd be a complete disaster. Nice to know he had high hopes for me... ahem. Mind you, I pretty much figured that myself. I know that I've already said this, but I'm not the world's most outdoorsy person... Still, the turkey was successfully plucked in under fifteen minutes (with just a little help from The Friendly Farmer himself). To be fair, it took me five minutes of that time to get over the shock of seeing poor Turkey get dispatched.

It's remarkable how little things can affect you... I'll have more appreciation for my dinner this Christmas Day...

And by the way... if you feel like ordering online from The Friendly Farmer, here's the link:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thing 232 Nunchaku Lesson

Ten Reasons The Canuck is in fact, a ninja:
1: He appears suddenly, as if from no where. One minute you're sitting having a cup of coffee on your own, then suddenly he's next to you.
2: He can grow a full beard in a day. In the morning, his face is bald, and in the afternoon he's stubbly, by evening time he's got a full beard. It so he can disguise himself better among the hairy.
3: He once fought a car. And won.
4: He's had bones broken and refuses to wince. In fact, he's pretty much impervious to pain.
5: He once punched a bouncer who was trying to set his dislocated knee, and then got paid by management of the club by way of apology for his punching the bouncer.
6: He knows what I'm thinking before I think it.
7: He once had a phone that had no key pad, no protective cover and a cracked screen but retained the ability to send texts and make calls.
8: He ignores physics.
9: He's unaffected by cold. Even in this weather, he's wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
10: He can use nunchaku and taught me how...
For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans out there, this was the weapon of choice for Michelangelo. For people who are not fans of the show, at no point did a cartoon contend that a Renaissance painter was proficient in Japanese martial arts, Michelangelo was the name of one of the Turtles. Mind you, how cool would that be. Painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and in his spare time beat up Samurai's who were attacking the Pope...


I tangent quick...

Anywho; Where we got the nunchaku is none of your bee's wax, they're not exactly legal, but The Canuck is highly trained in their use. He gave a little demo before he started the lesson. The things blurred in his hands and he fairly decapitated several tree branches and frozen bits of wood. If he hit himself once, he didn't show it, but like I say he's impervious to pain and ignores physics, so he's got a bit of an edge.

He's got the temperament for martial arts training. Discipline. Determination. Other characteristics that begin with D. Some additional characteristics that begin with other letters. Take my word for it.
I'm not about to write a ten part list on why I'm not so out for martial arts, but if I did the words "chubby", "clumsy", "awkward" and "ungainly" would feature prominently. Along with some less flattering words. For a full list contact Pony Boy, God Boy, Token Northy, Thorny Wire, The Frenchman and yes, even The Canuck.

It should suffice to say that on a bitterly cold evening I was not so sharp with the nunchaku in my hand. I beat myself solidly about the head and shoulders for a while. My crossover, which invloved flinging the weapons behind my back with one hand, and transferring over to the other hand resulted in some fairly heavy bruising. The thing is, there's nothing to teach you quickly like stinging pain. By the time ten minutes had passed I was catching and swinging with sharp, quick ease... It was that or flake myself all over again.
That picture there is third or fourth time I cracked myself in the shoulder blade. May I suggest that nobody tries this at home. There's little to be said self inflicted pain, plus, unless you're a secret Canadian ninja, or at least have years of practice, you're just going to look silly.


Next up... Pirate lessons! Yeargh...

Thing 231 Be Overdressed for the Day

Pictured: James Bond's butler's butler, doing a crossword.

Already mentioned in the last week: How insanely ridiculously like a butler I am in a tux. Now if you thought I felt ridiculous dressed like that at a ball, imagine the shame of wearing a tux when walking into Arabica to have a cup of coffee...

That's the Thing for this day. Be ridiculously overdressed. I'm not exactly stylish. God bless my poor mother is blue in the face from trying to make me dress "properly". I'm sure I'm an embarrassment to my mates from time to time. One thing I'm never is over-dressed. From time to time we have "Suit Night" where a gang of us hit the town in our finest threads. But even then, when you're among a group (most of whom look pretty cool, curse them to hell), it doesn't count as being overdressed, because they're better than me in suits. Once again, curse them to hell.
So here's how the day went:

Off to the credit union, in my tux. The credit union though, is in the airport, so I'd to walk through that dressed as a penguin's concierge. Right through the airport, and across the departures hall, looking like someone who was running from his wedding day, or more likely, someone who was still drinking after his debs. Credit union was closed, so it was a wasted journey...

Then there was a trip into Eason's to get my newspaper, all the while looking like a fool who got lost on his way to the opera... alright, alright, I'll stop with all the terrible similes. Kind of lost the run of myself there... The woman in Eason's was weak laughing, though she tried to cover it up. The elderly lady in the queue in front of me really didn't see the funny side. She scowled at me, and grumbled under her breath, and scowled again, which got everyone in the queue behind me laughing. What's black and white and red all over? Me in a tux, mortified and blushing to the roots of my hair.

After that, there was lunch. Down to Arabica. Frank is so used to me acting the tool, that he didn't bat an eyelid at me strolling in in my formal wear. The rest of the customers though... One woman passed a comment as I walked by: "Would you not clean yourself up, you're a mess...". She said it with a smile. I laughed.

It's odd how many people contributed as I walked about. Traffic Wardens, passers by, Panda. I wander about dressed normally and I'm completely ignored. Put on a tux and suddenly everyone's a comedian. Nothing wrong with that mind, funny stuff.
I also went to O'Connell's (which I still keep calling the Old Quarter, I'll get used to change eventually) to do my crossword and have a coffee. More of the same. The staff we weak laughing at me.

Not that I blame them.

Here's typical attire for a day: Jeans, sambas, a tshirt, a jumper, a coat and a scarf. I don't do slacks. I rarely wear a shirt. I dislike wearing actual shoes. Runners are fine, shoes are almost always a no-no. On a night out: Jeans, a shirt, a coat a scarf, and probably runners again, very occasionally shoes. On the morning after: Pyjama pants (yes, I own a pair of pyjamas, don't you judge me, I'm comfortable with who I am), a hoodie, slippers, a hat and my gressy grouw (dressing gown). Never let it be said that I'm overdressed for any occasion.

Wow. In retrospect this blog makes me look like a slob. Holy crap... I should really spruce up my appearance... ahem.
Seriously though: how stupid must I have looked... honestly. This is embarrassing.

Thing 230 The Inaugural Pint

I'm fond of a pint. This is not surprising to anyone who knows me, or anyone who reads this regularly (I think there are people who read this regularly, I can't be sure). For anyone else, well it's hardly a stunning revelation. Would make a funny headline though: Local Twenty Something Admits To Enjoying Pint... I've got a pecking order for bars too, but most of the bars that I like, have been around for donkey's years. In the case of two of them, my grandad was a regular drinker there in his thirties, that'll tell you how far back we're going.

I tend not to like the new fangled bars, with their fancy interiors and expensive looking glasses. I believe the technical expression is "fancy schmancy". I like a bar that doesn't make you feel under-dressed if you walk in there in a pair of jeans and a hoodie. So when the new places open up, I tend to be underwhelmed by their appeal.

Enter: Cobblestone Joe's.

Dell Dar is a buddy of mine. Nice chap. Himself and his brother decided that they want to laugh in the face of recession, and stick two proverbial fingers up at economic downturns. Such trifling matters are of little consequence, and they decided to open a bar. They took an old lot, just around the corner from O'Connell's, right in the centre of Limerick, and they gutted it, built it again, fixed this and that and patched up the other and made a bar out of it.

It's not like the other new bars. It looks like an old bar, and it has a neat little fire, and a large heated smoking area. These are things I appreciate in a bar. But none of that's important. What is crucial is what they decided to do for The Project...
Like I say, this wasn't a bar before, ever. It was an empty lot. So brand new taps. Never before had Arthur's finest creation graced a harp-emblazoned pint glass in this establishment. Hours before they opened their doors to any other customers, and before even a single test pint had been pulled Dell Dar called me in. With the tools still lying around, and wood chips still on the floor, he took a new glass and pulled Cobblestone Joe's first ever pint. And handed it to me.

First things first: Free pint. Yahoo.

Secondly: Guinness. Yahoo.

There's popular myth that does the rounds about Guinness, and beer in general. It goes like this: the first pint, or the last pint (depending on who you're talking to) are always bad pints. This is untrue. Once upon a day, when drink came in wooden barrels, maybe this was true. Modern booze tastes the same from the first to the last drop.

Where Guinness does taste muck, is in bars where it's been sitting in the line. So typically the first pint or two on any given day are not going to be good ones. It's because since the end of service the night before, the drink's been sitting in the lines just at the tap, not in the keg. That's not a problem for this Thing - since the line had never been used before.

So to answer the question of whether or not it was a good pint, I provide the following picture as evidence...
Yum Yum.

Like I say, it's a lovely little bar. I'm sure it'll stand the test of time, and if it does, then in years to come, I'll be able to pop in and say to myself (smugly), that before anyone ever had a drink there - I did it first.

P.S. If you're in Limerick any time, and looking for the bar, Cobblestone Joe's can be found on Little Ellen Street, right on the corner... Tell them I sent you. Or don't. I don't mind.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thing 229 Tantric Meditation

Now doesn't that look suspiciously like a cult? Don't worry, I'm not in that picture. I'm not even in a cult. How boring is my life? I should really join a cult, it'd be an interesting way to socialise. You know, meet some new people...

Right, first and foremost; tantric meditation is not specifically to do with sex. I know, I was disappointed too. I jest. It's nothing to do with American Pie and that slightly creepy nerd character who almost gets off with a plant in the second movie. It's about bettering yourself in the universe that's having you. Namely this universe.

"The spiritual art of love...of connecting spirit and soul. It is experiencing love through the beauty of the earth and all existence. It is about acceptance, rather than deniel. It also embraces compassion...about truth within unconditional love..."

I feel I've been sadly lacking in the unconditional love department. So much so, that I failed to even unconditionally love the webpage I was using for advice on the subject. Instead I judged it for spelling "denial" incorrectly. I also considered punching Panda in the face the other day. I really need to consider how much I lack the whole unconditional love thing. For example, I don't even know Simon Cowell, but not only do I not unconditionally love him, I kind of want to punch him in the face too...

I guess that put me off to a bad start. Nonetheless... I persevered.

I set up my place. I brought an uplifting book to read from briefly as was suggested. I even had a fresh flower nearby. I sat down, crossed the legs (this is hugely uncomfortable for me, I've got the knees of a seventy year old man, and the flexibility of a lame cow), and started to draw deep breaths...

Breathe in... two count... breathe out... two count... breathe in... two count... check my phone... two count... breathe in.. what's that noise... breathe out... send a text... right. Starting again. Breathe in... feel stupid... breathe out... feel ridiculous.

The problem with tantric meditation is that it's utterly pointless unless you really expect to get something from it. Clearly, I don't have enough faith in the methodology to feel anything other than lame and bored. But I decided to try finishing out the half hour anyway. No point in giving up after five minutes.

The next step is to think about your relationships, with friends, family, colleagues, whatever you like. Think about them... I wonder what Pony Boy is making for breakfast... Will Token Northy help me to pick out a new car in the new year, he seems to know what he's talking about. I wonder if The Frenchman weighs more than Thorny Wire...

I'm definitely missing the point by now...

I won't lie and tell you I spent half an hour at this. Even with no one else in the room and complete privacy, I felt like too much of a clown to bother with a full half hour. It was similar to the spirit guide quest. If you don't have faith in the process from the start, how are you expected to achieve anything. I hope tantra works for others, because the message itself seems like a good one. For me though, dead loss... oh well.

Thing 228 Cocktails and Cupcakes Ball

Ever notice how super villains are always at fundraisers for charity? James Bond (or whatever hero you're having yourself) usually turns up too, to expose the bad guy. I've always wanted to go to a charity fundraiser. I could pretend to be James Bond or the bad guy, and for this one, I'd to wear a tux and everything. The problem is, that while every other man alive looks like 007 in a tux, I look like Bruce Wayne's butler's assistant... Honestly, I'm the only man alive to look this ridiculous in a tux.

Which brings me to my first lesson of the day. When trying to look fancy by getting yourself a waistcoat to wear with your tux, have someone smarter than you pick out the appropriate attire. When the guy in Tony Connolly's (they're the lovely people who let me be a mannequin for a day. Thoroughly lovely people) asked me what kind of tux to get, I half panicked... "I dunno... eh... a good one"? "All of our tux's are good ones". "Excellent", I said, "one of them then...". There's something particularly wrong with me having any kind of say in matters of fashion or style. You've seen what I look like right?

The next fun thing to learn about was exactly how long it takes for a man to get ready for a night out. The Canuck had plans to hit the town. Drink a few pints of Guinness and play him some guitar. Jacko, The Thief and I had a spare ticket to the Cocktails and Cupcakes Ball. The cab had already been called when we told The Canuck he was coming with us. You'll note I said told him, not asked him. By the time the cab got to the house, ten minutes later, he was suited and booted. He'd even taken the time to comb his awesome handlebar moustache and slap a bit of gel in the hair. Only the lord in heaven knows how long it took for the girls to get ready, but it was the best part of all day. The Canuck: horrible to handsome in ten minutes. Classy dude...

By the way, in the background there; that's a giant cupcake tiered cake... I think I might be in love with it.
The weirdest thing of the day though, by a long way, was going to Thomond Park, not in a Munster jersey, not even to watch rugby. Going there in a tux, for a ball? It just seemed wrong. Really well done though. Smashing function room, and Heritage Green were the band, so we got to see Barry Murphy and Felix Jones, in Thomond Park, and it had fuck all to do with rugby. Things like this upset me greatly. As you may have guessed; I'm easily upset.

So fair play to all concerned, the event was a fundraiser for Pieta House, which is the centre for the prevention of self harm. It's an excellent and worthy cause. They're opening in Limerick now. Worth shelling out a few bob for that kind of cause. Not worth shelling out a few bob to look like Alfred's butler... Stupid tux...

Thing 227 Watch Gay Porn

They told me I wouldn't do it. They said that I couldn't do it. They said it would make a perfect Project Thing.

I did it. Most awkward five minutes of my life. And I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thing 226 Celebrate Thanksgiving

American television has a lot to answer for. The list is pretty long, but right up there is the celebration of Thanksgiving. I'm one of those (many many, too numerous to count) saddos who's seen Friends fifty million times. Including the numerous Thanksgiving specials. I shouldn't know anything about an American traditional holiday. I don't know anything about Italian traditional holidays or Ethiopian holidays... curse you American TV, every time I learn about something new it pushes old things I learned right out of my head. Just knowing about Thanksgiving has erased my memory of maths...

For example; I know there's American football on Thanksgiving day, and that it's the last Thursday of every November. So this year we decided we'd celebrate it. We're not American, but we have things to thankful for: Cheese, for example. The International Monetary Fund. The Rubberbandits... this list is not exhaustive...

It was a pretty awesome day. We (and by we I mean Spoon and The Frenchman) fed seventeen people. We packed seventeen people into the house, and Spoon and The Frenchman cooked up a storm. I crushed some garlic. See, I can be useful...
On top of that, Size Two Shoes turned up for some grub, and while the turkey was roasting in the oven, they performed a little impromptu gig in our living room. How many Irish Thanksgiving Day parties include gigs in the living room?

In fact, it went so well, it started to look like a Budweiser ad. Honestly... It was positively cheesey. I loved it. Guitars all over the shop. Beers. A fire. Plenty laughs and a toast to the things we should be thankful for. This kind of cheese is right up my alley.
Now, to feed seventeen people you'll need the following: A Frenchman, a Spoon, a ten pound turkey crown, about two car loads of potatoes. Cranberry sauce (apparently it's an American thing). You'll need boatloads of gravy. Steamed veg, roast veg and boiled veg (of any variety). You'll also need to get any clowns who'll just interfere to stay out of the kitchen. Which is what I did... It was my contribution to Thankgiving: do nothing. I'm sure everyone was thankful for it.
P.S. I was mostly taking the piss, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, today CiCi Do gave birth to her fourth child, my third niece. Baby Grace was born at 7:15am on the morning of Thanksgiving 25th November 2010. Healthy, hale and hearty. Now there's something to be thankful for. We toasted her future.

Thing 225 Disney Studios

There's an arbitrary photo of me doing the Thing. Which was to see the Disney Studios. Which were cool, but have absolutely nothing to do with studios, or at least very little. So I did the Thing. It was great. The Thief loved it. Wish there was a bit more studio in it, but that's all fine.

The real new experience of the day was the trip back home...

I'm not sharp with my money. I'd blown most of it in the first three days of the trip, so I kept the little bit aside for the following; car parking back in Dublin. The bus from Disneyland Hotel to Beauvais Airport. Money for the extra check-in bag full of shopping which was now needed to bring on to the flight. It left little in the way of funds for hacking around. In fact, it left almost nothing. Credit card was maxed out too, with the last of it going on some grub at the airport...

Now, on top of being craptacular at minding my money, I'm also not the sharpest in the world when it comes to time-keeping. The two are related, probably. Or something. I'm trying not to delve too deep. One way or another, I'm not great at either. A prime example of not being good at timekeeping includes not setting your clock to Paris time and thinking you've two hours to kill in the airport, when in fact, you've got only one.

Two hours is plenty of time to check in a bag. Alright, that queue is looking a little long, but there's lots of time. Now, checking in luggage at the airport means handing over your boarding passes, and taking your docket to a seperate counter to split with your cash... or in this case, and according to the terms and conditions (which I didn't read, let's not make this a list of my shortcomings please) on the Ryanair website, your credit. They don't accept cash. Which would be fine if there was money left on my card... Now what to do... Panic? No, sure there's loads of time left to sort this out...

It's at this point that I realise my clock is still set on Irish time...

Yes. It's now time to panic.

I've no credit in my phone, and The Thief's battery is dead, and she's no charger. Thankfully there's interweb on my phone. So I can webtext... At this point I'd like to thank Panda for his prompt reply. And for the unending suspicion that there was some kind of scam act going on. He was insisting that the person webtexting wasn't me, and was in fact some kind of French scam.

By the time he figured out that it wasn't a scam, they'd closed the check in desk. How many twenty six year old men do you know who are on the edge of heart attacks? Seriously... I could nearly feel the tingle in my left arm. Thankfully the nice lady had them re-open the desk. Sprinting to the boarding gate.

By the way, don't do that. Security in France aren't going to be rushed, and even if you don't set off the alarm, they're going to put their hands in your socks to search for drugs. Yep. In my socks. Do I look like the kind of person who smuggles drugs? On second thought, don't answer that...

Raced all the way down to boarding gate. Where everyone was waiting... so much for running.

So while the Thing was to see the Disney Studios (which I really do recommend), the new experience was Beauvais Airport... it'll be the last time I experience it. I'll swim home before I fly out of there again...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thing 224 See Eiffel Tower

If I quit The Project now, which I won't, I'm having too much fun, then at very least I'd be able to say that it forced me to go to take in one of the most amazing sights that I'll ever see, and visit one of the most impressive cities on earth. The French didn't defend the city during World War Two, because basically they didn't want the Germans to wreck the gaff in a fight for it. On top of that, the Allies didn't bomb the crap out of it because it had little strategic importance, and when it was liberated in 1944, the retreating Germans didn't level the place like Hitler had ordered. Effectively, I think anyone who sees the place likes it too much to want to smash it up good. It's amazing to think it made it through the war unscathed.

Around sixty tonnes of paint are required to paint Gustave Eiffel's giant monument to amazingness, which he built with his bare hands in 1887... alright, I made up that last bit, but he was the main man involved in creating it (fun fact, he also designed the internal structure of the Statue of Liberty).
As world sites go, this one must rate up there with the very best and most incredible things to see in your life. The Colosseum in Rome is right up there too, and I've seen that. Statue of Liberty, Pyramids of Egypt, Great Wall of China, Big Ben... all of the world leading attractions, and now I've seen this one. It's the kind of thing that you can't really have an appreciation of until you've seen it. I mean, everyone's seen pictures of it. You all know what it is, but until you're right there and staring at its immenseness, you're not really going to get what I'm trying to say.

There are some other fun places to see in the City of Light. Arc de Triomphe being one of them. Another impressive piece of architecture that you won't really appreciate till you're watching nutcases drive like lunatics around it. The Thief appreciated the hell out of it too, not as much as the shops on the Champs Elysees mind you, but appreciated nonetheless.
I also got to walk along by the Seine River all morning, and stop off under one of the bridges. Just like Sinatra sang about. I know that's sad, but I've always wanted to do that. In fact, after the Notre Dame Cathedral and the open top bus tour, as well as Parisien coffee just off the Boulevard Saint Michel, I like to think I crammed about a weeks worth of Things in one day.

Too bad The Project doesn't work like that. Still, a pretty productive day right?

Thing 223 Disney Parade

I was in Disneyland once before, with the Tiny Fairy when we were all of eighteen years young, fado fado, when I was small and innocent and we didn't have television or something to that effect. In the time we were there we saw a few bits and pieces, but not a lot of the Disney characters. It's a sad thing for a twenty six year old man to admit, but I love those Disney chaps. I know that people say Walt Disney was a bit odd, but I grew up with Thorny Wire on a steady diet of Jungle Book, Alladdin and the highly underrated Robin Hood cartoon. Awesome.

It would also be extra sad for a twenty six year old man to admit to finding Disneyland "magical", and "amazing" and "breathtaking", so there's no way I'm going to do that. But when the Monsters Inc crew and Baloo the Bear are singing Christmas songs on a stage with Mickey Mouse and Woody from Toy Story, it's hard not to be blown away. I'm still not admitting to it. Thankfully The Thief was so excited she was like a six year old, which means she didn't notice me flipping out...
The Thief made us get up at eight in the morning. I hate eight in the morning. The one thing it did mean was a fun-filled day in Disneyland. One long ass fun filled day. We took in Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain Mission Two, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, the Tea Cups, and it on and on. I got my photo taken with Winnie the Pooh, and watched Mickey and Minnie Mouse walk off into their castle thing hand in hand. Sweet.
There's a thing about Disney. For the twenty somethings out there, Disney movies are instant transport back to your childhood. A blast from your past. It's memories of Saturdays spent sitting on the ass, rapt as King Louis did his thing and Baloo dressed as a lady monkey. These days I'd be looking at that and wondering about the merits of a cross dressing bear monkey, and whether or not it's appropriate for the King Louis to be clearly attracted to this odd animal. Sorry if I've ruined that for you... I'm a bit of an asshole from time to time.
After a long day of taking in the Disney phenomenon, it was nice to just stand back and be impressed by a massive display of lights and fantasy like you've never seen. It was also cool to see how amazed and impressed all the kids were. Tiny little faces completely blown away by the spectacle of it all. If you've got kids, and you can afford it, Disneyland is the place to be. Amazing!
By the way on a slight tangent here, there's a serious Goofy discrimination campaign currently going on in Disney. We could find giant stuffed toys of the most obscure Disney characters you can think of; the tiny aliens from Toy Story, the bit part monsters in Monsters Inc, a massive variety of Pluto the Dog toys wearing a bunch of different outfits and not a Goofy toy to be seen. Nowhere in the park could we find Goofy... if I wasn't lazy and apathetic I'd be all about a petition or something... But I am those things, so I'll give it a miss.

Seriously though, does anyone else miss Goofy?

Thing 222 The Flight to France

Every so often the blog Things get a bit difficult. They're not stupid or outrageous. They're brand new and difficult to execute, but they're mundane enough. So here's the first thing that's brand new to me. Finish a night shift, get home, DON'T go to bed. Instead of hopping into a nice warm bed and dozing until the mid afternoon, the new job is finish packing and take Lady Northy to Dublin, and continue on to the airport with The Thief to fly out to Paris.

Driving to Dublin after a night shift without any sleep is a terrible thing. Flying anywhere is also a terrible thing. I know that people older than I can remember a time when flying to somewhere wasn't a chore, but these days... No checked in baggage. Two carry ons, but The Thief must have mistaken the length of time that we were going to Paris and packed for four weeks instead of four days. She also somehow managed to get it into the one carry on bag, and jam what she couldn't fit into a giant handbag... It was dodgy walking through the boarding area. I was full sure someone was going to give out.

Then there's Charles De Gaulle Airport, which is a circle. One large circle. I know this because we were walking to find our bus connection to Disneyland, and it occured to me after about half an hour that we'd passed the same set of dodgy looking taxi drivers about five times. Cut me some slack, I was tired. So tired in fact, that I slept past out hotel in Disneyland and got all the way to the wrong hotel before I we woke up. I don't have any French, but thankfully, The Thief is smart, and better educated than I, so she was able to tell the driver that we were asleep while I stood behind her apparently playing charades and mimicking someone sleeping... like a clown. I'm awesome at charades though.

Then there's the Disneyland Hotel we stayed in. Now there's a new experience. Donald Duck standing in the lobby as you go to check in. French accents everywhere. All I could think of was "Faux De Fa Fa" by Flight of the Concords (here it is, in case you're interested). The hotel room had a TV, and I normally love hotel tvs, you just never know what kind of a channel selection you're going to get, and then they're always really circumspect about offering you porn. It seems to be in every hotel room I' stay in. Our Disneyland hotel though had one channel where a very annoying young English teenager talked endlessly about Disneyland and then every other channel in French. This shouldn't have surprised me, but it did...

Mickey Mouse shaped soap holders and shampoo. A large bath. Two beds. And the sound of excessive Frenchness everywhere. It's like living with a Frenchman... no wait, I already do that.

On the list for the coming days: Disney Parade, Paris City Centre and Disney Studios...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thing 221 Get a Tattoo

There are several reasons why this one was monumentally stupid.

1: I'm now permanently scarred. A tattoo is a permanent scar. And I've now got one running down the back of my arm from shoulder to elbow.

2: I'm afraid of needles. Not the fear like you might have about missing your bus in the morning, or the fear of running out of milk. No, this is a mind numbing, reduce me to a blubbering child, hyperventilating fear. ( I had to get a lumbar puncture when I was about three, I think this might be where I get the fear... Have you seen those lumber puncture needles? They look like joke needles you'd get in a clown's oversized novelty doctor outfit pack). A tattoo requires a needle to drill my arm.

3: It's a painful spot to get a tattoo. If you don't believe me, pinch the flesh on the back of your arm above the elbow... see. Now take a hot knife like drilling needle and stab yourself in the arm lightly for twenty minutes or so. And lash some ink into the open wound...

When phrased logically like that, it just seems so massively stupid. The thing is though, I kind of love my tattoo. A lot.

Ogham is around two thousand one hundred years old as a language. And it's dead now. As in, no one uses it, but it was here before you were, and most of the old ogham stones that can be found will probably outlive you too. Sorry. That's a little morbid, I'm just saying it's a cool part of Irish history.

It's an entire alphabet of Old Irish entirely in the form of some lines notched into stuff. Rocks mostly.
So, I wanted to get "invictus" tattooed on my arm, because it's the world's most magnificent poem, and I love it. In fact, I love most of William Henley's poetry. So years ago, I decided to get the title of that most famous of his poems tattooed on my arm. Then some one went and made a Matt Damon movie out of it. Now Matt Damon is cool, and Morgan Freeman might be the coolest thing that ever walked, and there's no doubt that Nelson Mandela is awesome, but I'm not fond of having the idea of a movie titled permanently scarred into my arm. If I was going to have a movie title in my arm it would probably be "Old School" or "Anchorman".... I jest, it would be "Con Air"...

I jest again. Had you going for a second though right?

So I translated "invictus", which is latin for indestructible. And found it's Irish kind-of equivalent. It's actually closer to insurmountable or inviolable than anything else, but it's close enough. Then I translated that into ogham. Then I went to the same lovely people who stuck an earring into my fleshy bit of my ear in Living Art in Limerick, and hey presto. Twenty minutes later I was tattooed and ready to go. It's not as painful as I was expecting. Buddy in Living Art was pretty decent about the fact that I was a giant girl's blouse about the whole thing. He went at a good pace, but not one that was rushing me. Thank god.

By the way, that's the second time that Living Art have been heroes to me. I owe those guys a couple of drinks or something. Here's a look at their website. Proper legends:

So anyway, it's done. I've got a tattoo now. Here's hoping I don't decide to change my mind... Thing 222: laser removal surgery?

I jest.... again!

Thing 220 Be a Bouncer

First of all, I know I'm shockingly late getting this blog done, but I've been crazy busy. It's a full time job having a full time job you know. Also, I'm incredibly lazy and there are times when the sight of this laptop makes me nauseous. I spend way too much time online.

So anyway...

I don't know what height I am. When people ask I touch the top of my head and tell them that's how tall I am. Which is cryptic and unhelpful, but sometimes I just like being contrary. It should suffice to say that I'm not that tall. I'm a tad below average height I guess. It doesn't help that I slouch. Years of my parents giving out couldn't prevent this from becoming a reality. I slouch a little every now and then.

I'm not skinny either. I wouldn't say I'm morbidly obese or anything, just a little bulky here and there. I've big shoulders and a large chest, which would be admirable qualities if not for the beer belly...

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't have the physical attributes you'd normally associate with bouncers. Namely; tallness and muscleness (yes, I am aware that I just made up an adjective, we can discuss that some other time). There is no way anyone would take me seriously as a bouncer...


Frighteningly enough, just wearing the all black get-up, with the heavy black coat and the leather gloves was enough. Put on the serious face and stand there with conviction. I even raised one eyebrow a couple of times, like a tough-guy skeptical look. I totally pulled it off. Respect my authority... People actually pulled out their IDs when they saw me in the doorway. Power.... it's so deliciously addictive...
I realise this photo will do little for their street cred, but those are the two real bouncers at AuBars in Limerick. They babysat me while I pretended. They're both thoroughly nice chaps. We basically stood there being bouncers for the guts of five hours of a Friday evening and shot the breeze.

Top Dog walked passed with some of the lads, en route to a session of drink. He made a most interesting observation: Both of the other bouncers at the door at the time are large men. Big and burly. Clearly I'm not. So for the average punter on the street, they're wondering what kind of psycho nut case boxer/ninja I must be in order to be a bouncer and not need to be big and burly. After hearing this, I practiced my psycho look. Worked well.

It's funny how deferential to bouncers people are. Makes sense when you think about it. On a night out, the only thing between you and your fun is the bouncer. Play nice and the fun starts sooner. There were six guys in their early-thirties walking up the street bantering and joking loudly. Big guys. Loads of slagging and messing. As they walked passed us, the tone changes, and they all nod and quietly say good evening as they file in. Be nice to the bouncer. Cover up the fun in case they think we're drunk...

People are also quite chatty with the bouncer once they're inside. At several stages they'd wander over, mid-cigarette, and strike up a chat. Typically a one-sided chat. I can't really hack drinkers when I'm not drinking. Odd, I know.

It was an eye opening experience. At one stage the real bouncers had to refuse a regular who was too drunk. I'm sure the regular felt hard done by, and tried to argue his case. I'm sure this seemed like a reasonable decision to him at the time. It's only the next day that you realise that these are bad decisions. With massive patience the lads talked to him, but refuse to bend on the rules; too drunk is too drunk. He got more annoying. He kept arguing. The lads stayed cool. I felt like spinning him 'round in circles until he threw up. There are girls trying to chat the bouncers up quite a bit while they're trying to do their jobs. There's rows, and drunks. There's spilled drinks and fake IDs. There're nice punters and asshole punters. All of this while standing in the freezing cold.

Who'd be a bouncer? Not me anyway. I'm leaving it to the big people.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thing 219 Beat Box

In the long, and by no means as yet exhausted list of things I'll never be good at, you will NOT find beat-boxing. I'm not saying I'm very good at it, yet. But considering the disaster of a time I had trying to whittle something, trying to bake, trying to kick rugby penalties (and this list goes on, but it's harmful to the ego, so I think I'll stop there), my first pop at beat-boxing wasn't half bad. See, I've been running my over exercised mouth since I was ten months old. There's pretty much no noise known to have come from a human that I haven't covered at this stage. It's just about putting those noises in the correct order.

To make this happen; introduce experts. Or at least one expert. Moley O'Suilleabhain, him of Size 2 Shoes fame. By the by, is that not an awesome name for a band? Well this guy is pretty cool. He teaches people to beat-box, and he pretty much taught himself. The weird ass noises that come out of Moley's mouth are hard to top... Link coming up, this was him beat-boxing this very evening (ugh, did I just type "this very evening"? The 1920's called, they want their parlance back. Double ugh. Did I just use the word "parlance" in a sentence.... shame).

You can click on that bit up there if you like...

It's a hard thing to just start learning, I mean, there's no real way of ever knowing what a good starting point might be. Do I just start making strangled cat noises and hope for the best? Is it ever okay to pretend that your hand is scratching an invisible vinyl when you're making a scratch noise? Is there any possible way to make that scratch noise and not feel hugely self conscious. So many questions...

Moley, bless him, just broke it down to some individual noises. Make this noise. Make that noise. Put the first noise and the second noise together... Holy crap... I'm beat boxing.

After that, it's about practice and adding specific bits and pieces yourself to make your own style. It's also about controlling your breathing. Token Northy, The Canuck, The Frenchman all play guitar well (I still struggle). Surprise surprise says you. But I do love to get in on the sing song. It may be a little while before I break into beat box mode mid way through Paul Simon covers, but there's no way I'm passing up the chance to keep practicing this. Am I going to sound like an anus for the next few weeks? Sure. Will I keep Token Northy and The Frenchman up at night? Absotively. Will I become Ireland's beat-boxing champion... well, not likely. But I'm definitely going to get better at this...

Oh yeah, here's the video of me and Moley free-styling... God how much of an ass do I sound like? Free-styling? That's worse than the "parlance" blunder a few paragraphs ago.

Give me a month or two and then I'll be available for bookings at parties and funerals.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thing 218 Book Launch

That there, ladies and gents, boys and girls, and those of you who fall somewhere in the grey area between, is a rather shaky photograph of Alan Quinlan. For those of you not in the know; Alan Quinlan is, in my humble (but typically correct) opinion, one of the finest rugby players the world has ever seen. Definitely in the top five most determined and committed and top of the pile by some distance in the most cunning. He's also large. Like huge. I realise I'm not exactly a mountain of a man, but seriously, the man makes me look like a ten year old next to him. Lovely chap though. Wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of him mind...

A typical book is launched like this:
A copy, or extended extracts are sent to various journalists prior to the official "launch". These extracts are chosen for their newsworthiness. Journalists run stories on them, or publish the extracts in their papers. This generates interest in the book, and provokes reaction. The official launch then takes place and journos turn up to ask questions which arise in the wake of them seeing the extracts.

Alan Quinlan's book is launched like this:
He gives a newspaper a few extracts. They contain excellent pieces on his time with some rugby greats. Good stories. Not sensational news. No one else sees the book. He turns up (an hour late, but who cares? He's Alan Quinlan) on the night of the launch bringing every famous rugby player he knows, and that's some serious players and no one else has seen a copy. He has a little chat with the assembled family, friends, fans, media. Then he sits down and signs a copy for every single person who wants one. Simple. Straightforward. Uncomplicated. Legendary.
Look, it's midget version of me with Alan Quinlan. Alright, before you start I realise that the only version of me is a bit on the tiny side. Quit making fun of my height...

The book launch is a bit of a frenzy. It's like the whole of Limerick has turned out to see the Tipp man who's given so much to Munster rugby. The man's bled for this team, for years he's put his body on the line. He's been through the mill in terms of his discipline, but he's worth every mistake fifty times over for what he's given on the pitch.

My very first book launch could have been a nerdy one. I could have gone to see a fantasy novel, or a book of poetry or even, shudder, an academic publication.

I'm glad it was to see Quinny's book. Hero.