Monday, May 31, 2010

Thing 48 Table Cloth Magic Trick


This is it folks. This is where the magic happens... I've always wanted to say that. Actually, in total honesty, this is where the smashing happens. And continuing in the vain of honesty, I can't decide which I like more; magic or smashing stuff.

It was always made to look so easy wasn't it? Quick flick of the wrists, sharp tug and it's done (children, get your heads out of the gutter, that's disgusting). I wonder, in all the magicians who ever tried this, how many plates and glasses were smashed in training? How many items of delph were destroyed needlessly to amuse you? Did you ever think about the orphaned side-plates? Did you? You monsters...

I can hardly talk, I did a number on the new set I just bought in Dunnes. Quality homeware for a euro. Smashing prices... (drum roll and snare...)

Still, it wasn't a bad old effort eh? Take a look see...
That's two large plates, a side plate and a glass undamaged. As for the side plate that's mid-fall on the counter... well, you might want to sit down for this bad news...

What an almighty mess. I love it. I'd like to keep trying, I think I'd finally get there, improving day by day, but I don't think I can afford it, and I don't expect Token Northy and Pony Boy to clean up after me everyday.

Like most magic, this trick is nowhere near as exciting as your head makes it out to be. It's physics when you boil it down. Speed and acceleration must exceed mass over come static energy. Or something like that. I could be on CSI with talk like that... It's one of the big let downs of magic tricks. They're not nearly as cool when you know how.

So for our next trick, Token Northy turns a perfectly good Frenchman into a donkey...
Pictured: Hilarity.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thing 47 Write a Computer Program

This is obviously out of my depth. I had to type the word "obviously" three times in the last sentence just to get it right. So computer programming seems a little bit beyond me no? Thank god my friends are smrt. That's right... smrt, with no "a".

Pony Boy turned our living room into a computer junkie's wet dream with all the technology. To be fair, he's paid to do it. Token Northy just loves gadgets. Big Dog recently got a doctorate in artificial intelligence computer programming. The man spent several years trying to make a computer smarter than he is. Nearly went and did it too. Damn thing can predict stock markets or something. If he'd only changed his project title to making a computer smarter than Dan Mooney, he'd have been done in a few weeks... Shortt Cake is another technological wizz and Panda Bear too for that matter. Lots of smrt friends eh? And of course, Spoon. Just finished a degree in computer games design. He's like the perfect nerd friend (and yes, we willingly acknowledge that we're nerds).

The point of all this, is that I needed help. Obviously enough. I'd like to think that none of you had such high expectations of me that you expected me to write the damn thing all on my own...

Oh wait... The Canuck and Token Northy did. They weren't at all happy with the help Spoon was giving me on this one. But more on that later.

"Hello World" is the name of the first computer program written. Ever. It's a basic little program that requires two seperate libraries of programs in order to execute correctly. We also used a program to write the program. I'm sure there's a clever post modern statement to make on that one, but it's a Sunday, and I'm lazy and I've work in an hour. So "Hello World" it was. You write to the directories you wish to include. Then you open the command functions, and put in a squiggly thing, and then you type some words and then you press the buttons, and I got a little dizzy in the middle of that, so I don't really remember what else. But you wouldn't understand my computer programmer language anyway. I'm smrt now too...

We fancied it up a bit, but effectively my entire program was a MS DOS (remember that? Early 90's flashback going on here) screen that said "Hello World". That's the picture there up top.

This did not satisfy Token Northy. So I decided to be rude about it. Spoon showed me how it was done the first time, and it was just a matter of re-writing some text in my code (still smrt) so I could show him exactly what I thought of his criticism... Here's the photo...
Yep. That's a dirty word written in my computer program. It goes someway to explaining why Spoon is the way Spoon is. This computer programming thing is tough work. Think I'll retire on top of my game and go back to being a coffee swilling, beer mongering bum. Stick to what you're good at eh?
Pictured: Dumb and Smrter

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thing 46 Make a Triple Figure Bet


Can you read what that says? It says 100 euro on England to win the World Cup... Controversial... And already it's earned me some snide comments. But there's method to my madness, if you can even call it that. First let's look at the path to the final...

England have a group that's made up of a who's-who of middle ranking teams. It's like they won the lotto getting that group. Algeria, who we beat 3-0 without breaking a sweat. Slovenia, for whom you can't name one player. USA, a potential surprise package, but nothing on the well drilled machine that Fabio Capello has made England (all the while dressing rather snappily). They're winning that group.

That leads them on to the second round where they play the Group D Runners Up. After Germany Qualify from that group, that leaves: Australia (did you even know they have a soccer team?), Serbia (recently beaten by New Zealand. Did you know they had a soccer team?) and Ghana (poor Ghana... they're like the Ivory Coast except without good players or a cool name). They'll win that match.

Quarter Finals are next. With the way the tournament stacks up, it'll probably be the winner of France V Nigeria next. So it'll probably be France next. France. Who probably wont be allowed to handle the ball this time. I know who you're shouting for in that game. And they wont be wearing blue that's for sure. Nor will they be wearing berets and stipey shirts with cloves of garlic around their necks and baguettes in their back pockets (I don't care what you say, some stereotypes are hilarious). England are more than likely winning that game.

That leaves two games to win a World Cup. Anyone can win two games. Burnley beat United and Arsenal this year in the Premier League, and the Parkville Under 12s could beat Burnley on a normal day. So it's possible...

So it's a smart bet. I mean, as odds go, 7/1 for a team that almost has a buy into the semi-finals. That's damn near incredible... I actually want to earn some money on this bet you know...

Next let's take stock of something here. I watch English football all the time. I support and English soccer team. They've never done anything to me, and I've done very little for them. Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand have a wee-bit-o-Irish in them. And I know - The Sun newspaper and Sky Sports will be insufferable for a while if they do win it, but I'd rather see them do it than Brazil... again. Or Italy... snore. Or France.... good lord don't get me started on France...

I know I'll be slated for this.... but I mean it sincerely... come on England...

Pictured: One reason to cheer for England...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thing 45 Brown Sauce in Tea


Seen Intermission? Class movie. There's only a handful of really great Irish movies, and this one is well up there. But why I ask, would Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy lie to me? Why? I've enjoyed them getting pinned down in phone-booths, I've marvelled at them playing at scarecrows. I even enjoyed when one of them was hanging around with Samuel L Jackson, and I don't think anyone is cool enough to hang around with him... So why? Why would they lie?

For anyone who's not seen it, there's a running bit in the movie Intermission (this is not a major plot spoiler, I promise), where some of the more prominent characters put brown sauce in their tea. They all extol the virtues of brown-sauce-tea. Now I get the joke. It's on me. Very clever. It's exceptionally disgusting. And I mean rancid. I've known and drank some disgusting things... you know what I'm talking about, and this is probably the worst yet...

Look at me, I hardly know what's coming do I? And The Canuck looks innocently at his cup, not knowing what's coming next. Poor thing. This guy fought a car a few weeks ago, honestly, he fought a car, and even he had to gag at the tea...
Pictured: Stupidity about to happen... again...

The following is a brief and by no means exhaustive list of things that are good with brown sauce.
Bacon sandwiches.
Any fried meals.
Grilled chicken in a ciabatta.
Mash potatoes.

Not included in this list is tea. It's because tea is not good with brown sauce. I dislike this Thing intensely. Spoon loves it though. He laughed his ass off.

It happens that me and The Canuck took a quick jaunt (yes, the word jaunt is acceptable and is internationally recognised as being cool), up to Carlow of all places to collect Spoon. He was moving home after college. So he promised us tea. We didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for. Honestly.

First of all, we tried it with milk. Obviously a mistake. It curdled the milk. Instantly soured it in the cup. So obviously we didn't drink that... no wait. We did. We drank tea, brown sauce and recently soured milk. God dammit. I promise I'm smart sometimes. So we tried it without the milk. Piping hot water masked the taste initially. So we were able to sip it. We both briefly pretended it was actually nice. Then the taste took over. And it's simply awful...

I'm laying off this stupid junk for a while. The next few Things will be easier on me. Not as much fun for you, but easier on me, and that's important...



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thing 44 Cycle Through a Drive Thru

I love stuff that defies convention. You know those t-shirts that have a picture that makes them look like a shirt and tie? I wouldn't wear one, but they do give me a laugh. Ice Man once wore one to the Arts and Ed Ball in Mary I, all those many years ago when I was a whippersnapper. I like comedy that defies convention - Flight of the Concords being a most excellent example. So this kind of nonsense is right up my street. See that picture? It says drive through only, not cycle through... oh the zany hilarity.

Mind you, nothing makes people more afraid than defying convention. The guy in McDonald's looked at me like I'd killed six people just to get to the top of the queue. Seriously he looked like he'd be happier if I was trying to hold up the place instead of trying to order Drive Thru on a bicycle. Wasn't the only one either. The family in the car behind me were staring at me. I couldn't have gotten more looks if I'd been dressed in a banana suit... Hmmmm.... there's an idea for The List, a banana suit.... actually never mind...

Is there anything more funny than freaking people out by not doing what you're supposed to? Everyone in their place. Do what you're supposed to. I remember the freak out the guy in the petrol station had when I tried to pay for my petrol before I pumped it into the car. He made me go outside and fill the tank, then come back in and pay. There's simply no way to take money for petrol that's not yet been pumped. What kind of a crazy did I think I was? Or what about starting a conversation at a bus stop? Hilarious. Everyone knows bus stops are where Irish people who don't know each other stand around awkwardly and pretend not to see each other. Convention. We're complete slaves.

Pictured: The impossible actually happening.

In sharp contrast to the fun of scaring people there was Token Northy's bike. And the bike ride in general. They say you never forget how to ride a bike. Liars. I nearly fell about fifteen times just trying to get on the thing (point and laugh if you like). On top of that, the bike itself is an Olympic Racing job thing... Built for speed and acceleration. And torture. It's also built for torture.

The seat is hard and painful. I can see how it was built for speed. My ass cheeks hurt. I'd be trying to finish a race as quick as possible too, just to get off the thing. The handlebars are ridged for your displeasure. Heel of my hand is sore. The pedals aren't actually pedals, they're just sharp spikes. I'm not kidding. Sharp spikes sticking into my feet. I didn't know Token Northy was a closet masochist. Out cycling for the pure pain of it. Pervert.

But at least I got a look at the face on the McDonald's guy when his world as he knew it ended. I mean honestly, a bicycle in a Drive Thru...
Pictured: My sore ass. Kind of. In the distance there. If you can make it out...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thing 43 Go To Newgrange

It's funny to think that we've a piece of history sitting up the road from Dublin that's older than Stonehenge and The Pyramids of Giza (take that England and Egypt). It's stupid when you realise that you've spent an entire year of your life living in Dublin and never bothered to visit it... but then, stupid is something I've got a sharp grip on.

After a couple of days drinking cider in the sun in Dublin, it's nice to spend a day getting some culture, it sure beats the hell out of throwing up raw fish, and cutting someone's toe nails.

Newgrange is 5,000 or so years old. Class. It's made up of hundreds of thousands of stones, with the base stones weighing between 1 ton and 100 tons. Some of the stones had to be assembled from up to 80kilometres away. Average lifespan back in the day was 30 to 36 years old (mid life crisis at 16, as if teenagers don't have enough on their minds eh?). Which means it probably took generations to put the thing together.

Then there's the design. With the electric lights turned off, the inner chambers are completely pitch black. No light gets in. For a week in the middle/late part of December (it's solstice. I could have just saved words and said solstice), at daybreak, the winding narrow corridor into the chambers allows a tiny sliver of sunlight to crawl up one of the passages and light up the inside. These guys must have been geometry and maths geniuses. I went to college with some people who couldn't build a sandwich... ahem... BandMan and GodBoy, you know who you are.

Pictured: The Frenchman getting some culture. Not pictured: Garlic or a beret.

It's actually properly breathtaking stuff. And the tour guide gives you a real sense of awe about the whole thing too. Which was well done- myself and The Frenchman had both been in Coppers the night before. It's hard to have awe at anything after a night in Coppers. But that's how cool Newgrange is...
Not pictured: Cider.

We also put our names in the hat to be invited back for the winter solstice. But it seems unlikely. No one invites me back anywhere... Now where's the cider...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thing 42 Cut Someone Else's Toe-nails

It's hard enough to touch my own feet, much less someone else's. Much much less someone else's on national radio... Damn Paddy McKenna and his hairy feet... I think the word of the day is "eugh". It's the word most widely received by text message this morning.

For anyone who missed this on the airwaves, basically 2FM's Breakfast Show have become fans of The Project and asked me to come in and do one of the Things on air. Delighted I said. And I was. That is until we reached a decision on what the Thing would be. Seriously, are feet the most disgusting things on the human body? Answers on a postcard people...




Pictured: Horrendousness.
And disgustingness is something everyone likes to get on board with, whether they'll admit it or not. Producer Siobhan, other Producer Kate and AA Roadwatch Arwin Foley in the background there, rubbernecking... I'd have been running the other way rather than watch some clown cut someone's toenails. People love a bit of disgusting junk don't they? Have to say though - it was rather funny. Genuinely. For something this disgusting, it was surprisingly entertaining. Jim Jim certainly seemed to get a laugh out of it.

The alternative to this, was having to cut Token Northy or Pony Boy's toe-nails, and nobody wants that, do they? Lord knows I don't...

I guess the whole point of putting this on The List in the first place was that I find it hard to compute how chiropodists do their jobs everyday. I guess they probably don't find feet disgusting to begin with, but I'm sure there have to be days when they think - is it really worth the money? And the glamourous lifestyle of a chiropodist to have to chop people's manky toes everyday? The things they must see... Poor mites.

So at least now I know what it's like to cut a national broadcaster's toe nails, and suffice to say, I won't be offering to cut yours any time in the near future. I thought The Frenchman was going to gag into his camera lens as he took the photos. Fair play to him for toughing it out.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thing 41 Eat Sushi

That's just before I almost threw up. What you're seeing up there is the picture of a man just seconds from violently ejecting things from his body. You've been through it before I'm sure, but you may not have known what it looks like.

There's some people who played an important part here. First and foremost; Jammy Girl. Who recently posted about how much she had just tried sushi, and how class it was. I hadn't been looking forward to eating raw fish until Jammy posted about how awesome it was. Thanks for that. Definitely getting a punch in the head when she gets back from Canada.

Just about to taste what will ruin my day...
Pictured: Raw vomit, before it goes into the mouth.

I thought the sushi thing would pass. I thought, at the time, and clearly very wrongly, that sushi was a passing craze at the height of the Celtic Tiger, only to be eaten by people who were trying to look cool and cosmopolitan. It'll pass and be replacedby people who eat only lettuce and nothing else... but it didn't. It stuck around. Presumably because it was tasty... Either that or else people who pretended that they liked it didn't want to lose face and continued to pretend liking it.

I mean, at the end of the day, it's still raw fish.

I ordered "unagi" which apparently is japanese for eel. Who doesn't love a tasty slice of eel on some cold rice mixed with soy sauce...? Sounds tasty right? Thing is, I also ordered king-prawn and avocado with cold rice, and the raw eel beat the hell out of it. Honestly, raw eel beats the hell out of king prawn.

The other people involved who need to be credited: Hurley Girly and Goodtime. Both of them warned me that it would be muck. Did I listen? No. They both walked me around The Big Schmoke, where I'm perpetually lost. And they both put up with alot of nonsense out of me. They're both owed a few drinks...


Pictured: Goodtime having a good time.
P.S. Word is out, 2FM were on the case this morning. I'll be in studio tomorrow morning with Paddy McKenna and Jim Jim to do tomorrow's Thing. Which sould be fun... tune in.
Here's a chance to listen to this morning's show, where they give me a bit of a plug...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thing 40 Fly A Plane


Yep. That's what it says. It's not a mistake. It says "Fly A Plane". Seems like Sundays are turning into "take your own life into your hands with high powered machinery" days. Well, I guess two in a row hardly makes it a sequence, but you get where I'm coming from ya? Yes indeedy; fly a plane. Pilot style... chicks dig pilots, guys want to be pilots, and now I'm a pilot, in my head anyway...

So we're clear about this, and so I don't have to listen to the Blog Police giving out later - I didn't take off, and I didn't land. I didn't even do most of the flying. That's what Colly Wog was there to do, and it's his plane, sort of... But for a little while, I had my hands on the controls, I was controlling the plane. I was flying a plane.

Jesus, it looks terrifying when it's written down.

Doesn't look so bad in the picture does it? Seems professional and reasonable enough... I'd trust that (handsome) guy to fly a plane. Wouldn't trust his fashion sense with that fruity stripy shirt mind you.

First and foremost, you've got to take the hat off to Colly Wog. Pilot extraordinaire, and all round decent bloke for getting up early in the morning to take myself and Bean Bag up for a jaunt. The alternative involves me building my own plane, and trying to take off down the hill by Browne's Pub in Parteen. And let's be fair, even my Lego airplanes looked cruddy, what chance of building my own... So here's to the Collywog. And here's a picture of the Colly Wog...


I've got to tell you, there's nothing more beautiful than Irish countryside from 1,000 feet up. You can't pick out all the tools, and jackasses, and all you can see is beautiful coastline and rolling fields... American tourists would love this shit. Kilkee looks awesome from above by the by...

The other cool thing about the plane we were in today (Cessna 172 for all your aviation nerds), is that it's a pretty stable plane. You'd want to be some kind of moron that drinks his own pee and walks about town in ladies' nails and odd shoes to screw this up... Thanks be to whatever powers exist, we made it back safely eh?

There's a proper reason why it takes so long to train to get your PPL (Private Pilot's Licence for all you non-pilot types that don't understand our thrill-seekers language - yes, I still think I'm a pilot). There's so much to this, and I know that seems like a stupid thing to say, obviously there's going to be a lot to defying gravity by putting a heavy metal box stuffed with people up into the air, but it's even more than you'd think. Safety checks outside the plane. Check fuel, oil, tyres, windows. pitot tubes, static tubes. Check all the bright shiny lights inside the plane. See AED, Comms, transponder, fuel pump, and a whole bunch of other stuff that's all spelled in acronyms and amounts to about six alphabets full of letters.

Take off involves detailed instructions, balancing thrust, lift, weight and drag. Flaps, slats, rudder, trimming are just a selection of things that get mentioned that I pretended to understand. I'd love to do it for real, the whole thing. Take off, landing, climbing descending and all that, but it would take a while...

Maybe when the project is all done...

P.S. Ireland really is a smashing place to look at from above... Check out the Cliffs of Moher... that's right, I flew over them this morning... in an airplane...



Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thing 39 Jump Off Ardnacrusha Bridge

There's a debate about exactly how high this is from bridge ledge to water surface. 60ft is Pony Boy's suggestion. Token Northy estimates at about 40ft. I can accurately confirm that from ledge to water is definitely "very high". The canal at Ardnacrusha has rich historical background, which began in bla bla bla... It actually is interesting, but it takes too long to get to the point. If you want to read about it, here you go... It's cool... Though we might disagree on the definition of cool...

The reason I think it's so cool, is because myself and Thorny Wire grew up not far away in the bustling metropolis of Parteen, and it was our regular swimming hole. By the time we were 10 or 11 we could swim across and back the canal. Fit little buggers that we were. It was at this stage that we started to see cool older kids jumping off the bridge. Who doesn't want to be like the cool older kids eh? It was also at this stage that I realised I was a little girl's blouse... I couldn't even look over the edge without getting scared. Honestly. Water looked like concrete from the top of that thing.

Meanwhile Thorny Wire was showing me up by the time he was 12 or 13. He'd jumped the thing several times, while his older brother settled for wading in at the steps... oh the unbearable shame. To be fair though... it's pretty high. And I don't see you jumping off it...


Pictured: A splash from a fat guy hitting the water.

I always promised myself that I'd do it. That and the top diving board at Blackrock in Galway. which I did during the Galway Races last year. So that just leaves the bridge... At 26 years old, and weighing a hefty 12 stone, having jumped from an airplane at 10,000ft, and bungee jumped off a crane, you'd imagine this one would be a stroll. You'd be wrong.

Ten year old Dan took over as I tried to swing a leg onto the bridge to set myself up. Irrational panic. It looked like a hundred foot drop, and the water still looked like concrete. Pony Boy's fearless though. Up, over, gone... to infinity and beyond... It was impressive, and made me and Token Northy, shaking like leaves look like a pair of pansies. To be fair, it saved the day, because once he's done it, it's time to man up and get on with it...

After jumping the following thoughts occur:

"Wow, that was stupid, I mean, seriously, even now, I'm dropping like a rock and the water still looks far away. Ah well, at least I'm half way down now, so i've not far to go. Holy crap, I've been thinking this sentence for ages, and I'm still not in the water... I hope this doesn't take much lon... SPLASH".

It was so much fun, I did it a second time. Take that 10 year old me...
Pictured: A majestic Northy floats through the air, like a rock...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thing 38 Cut Someone Else's Hair



I couldn't make a friendship bracelet without help from the two older boys in the house. Nor could I make an origami swan that looked anything like anything other than a finger trap or a mutilated cow. Why on earth would anyone trust me with a razor and a scissors...? Honestly...

I've a shake in my hand, that I presume comes from too much coffee, but that I've never bothered investigating, and I've the sense of style and grooming of a walnut. Surely to god no-one being of sound mind and body would let me do this to their head...

Thank god Token Northy's not of sound mind. Bat shit crazy is a better description. You'd need to be to let me at you with a scissors. I hurt myself last week just trying to make a sandwich...

To add insult to injury, the last person to cut the man's hair was Pixie Head, a qualified hair-stylie person with actual taste and sense of fashion. And to rub extra salt in the sounds (I'm on a roll with the old clich├ęs), Token Northy's got flowing blondey/ginger locks...

Just look at him:
Pictured: Ginger?

Pony Boy took the safe option. Hold the camera and shoot some photos. And swore that there was no way I was going near his wolverine-look. Then he proceeded to tell me what to do, and made jumpy noises and breathed in sharply several times, just to freak out the Northy. Clown.

Pictured: Disaster in the making...

Barbers and stylists make it look easy, and they have the second best small talk in the world (behind taxi drivers) all the while clip-clipping your hair and making sure that you look like a human being when you've shelled over your hard earned cash for the hatchet job they've done on the top of your head. And you never stop trusting them really do you? When you sit into the seat, you're supremely confident that the right person is about to take something sharp and shiny to the back of your head. There's no doubts or worries, because they know what they're at. What must have been going through Token Northy's head? He's got work in the morning... We can't send him to work looking like something attacked him in his sleep...

And this is how it ended up...
Pictured: A fine haircut.

All in all, for a guy doing this for the first time, that's not too bad eh? I mean, it could have gone tremendously wrong, but that's not a bad cut is it? Why do I look so worried in that picture then...?



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thing 37 Fruit For A Day

They say you can never get enough of good thing. What a load of crap. You don't want to know what this day has done to my insides. It's nothing short of horrendous. I've had to turn up the volume on the telly to cover the noise... Pony Boy and Token Northy are looking at me funny.

High in vitamins, minerals and other nice junk that scientisty doctorish people tell you are good for your body. Low in meat. And bread. Because it's fruit and not either of those things I just mentioned.

Typical breakfast for today's shift: Bacon, white pudding, hash-browns, small white-bread roll, some beans, brown sauce and a mug of steaming coffee... perfect.

Today's breakfast: Some fruit and a mug of steaming coffee.

Typical lunch for today's shift: SubWay, Sub-Club; ham, beef, turkey with green peppers, red onions and south-west sauce and a steaming cup of coffee.

Today's lunch: Some fruit.

Typical dinner for today's shift: I dunno; lasagne, casserole, stew or some fajitas, or something.

Today's dinner: Some fruit.

Typical evening snack: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich...

Today's normally delicious evening snack: Grapes.

It's no wonder I'm overweight and dangerous cholesterol levels are about to ensue. You should have seen the state of me in the shop. Watching other people queue up with bread, and pizzas, burgers and chips. The smell of the deli counter... ugh. I'd murder you for a sandwich right now. Ya. You.

Next time someone warns me about five-a-day they're getting a steak sandwich into the face...

Even worse is that I thought midnight was the cut off point. I started to think about the pizza I'd order, and how the ham sandwich would taste with a pint of milk, and a bar of chocolate, or ten. But Token Northy and Pony Boy tell me it wouldn't be legit, and where normally I'd tell them to cram it, I think they may be right.

You don't want to see what I'm going to annihilate for tomorrow's breakfast. I'm getting up and hour earlier just for the hell of it...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thing 36 Smash a Mirror

Oh dear... Now I've done it. It's funny how a little superstition goes a long way. We'd have serious questions to ask about anyone who waves at random animals, but nobody bats an eye-lid at someone saluting a magpie. People, of all shapes, races, genders and creeds will walk around a ladder rather than under it. Which is amazing considering that we're all appallingly lazy, apparently not lazy enough to endure some bad luck. Saw a dude washing the top of BT's on O'Connell Street in Limerick, he was on top of his ladder, and there was a queue of very fancy looking elderly ladies inside the door, refusing to come out, for fear of the underside of a ladder. Initially I thought they were checking out the dude on the ladder, and I thought, fair play ladies, you've all still got it, but it was actually the ladder they were looking at...

And it's not just nice old ladies who suffer from superstition. The manliest of manly men do too. Builders, in their vests and hard boots, with diggers and and hands like shovels, diverted the Ennis Bypass around a fairy tree, because nobody messes with fairies... Honest.

We're also afraid of: Friday the 13th, black cats, stepping on cracks, opening umbrellas inside the house, birds flying into your house and albatrosses.

And of course... breaking mirrors....

Pictured: Seven years of bad luck wearing a ridiculous attempt at eye-protection.

I guess superstition makes fools of us all. I won't bet against Munster in rugby, even when I think we might lose, because I think it's bad luck. I've been known to throw salt over my shoulder from time to time, to erase previous bad luck... Yep. That's right. Perfectly good salt. Ruined. Even today, when I was buying the mirror, I was being ridiculously careful not to drop it. Which is stupid. I was only planning on breaking it anyway... It's also possible to erase your bad luck by turning clockwise seven times.

But I'm not doing that. I'm starting the fight against superstition here...

P.S. If anything bad happens me, tell my family that I love them... Oh, and come visit me in hospital: Bring four-leaf clovers, horseshoes and rabbits feet...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thing 35 Wear Odd Shoes for a Day

Fan of Shawshank Redemption? That's a stupid question. Everyone likes Shawshank Redemption. Today reminded me of a quote: "Honestly, how often do you look at a man's shoes"? I spent a whole day wearing two different shoes, and Token Northy was the only person who noticed. Honestly. A whole day. I went into town. I had coffee and deliberately stretched my feet out in front of me in the hope that people would notice. Nothing.

I went to HMV to pick up How I Met Your Mother, Season 3 (it's great, I love it). I deliberately stood back and paid for the DVD with about two feet between me and the counter in the hope that the girl behind the counter who notice and say something. Strolled around for a while too, hoping to bump into some friends or people I know, so that they might take note...

I went to Eason's for a newspaper. It's hardly a mammoth task. Twenty-five minutes later, I left. Twenty-five minutes. Nothing. Nobody said anything. All in all, an entire day sloping sideways slightly, shuffling around in two completely entirely different shoes. With zero effect. PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!

Now I know how Tim Robbins got away with it in Shawshank. And I didn't have to crawl through 500 yards of sewage shit...

Pictured: A tall glass of water with a silver spoon up his ass.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thing 34 Count to 2,000

See that face up there? That's the face of pure concentration. Focus. Determination. Normally I lack these things. But there's nothing quite like three assholes trying to ruin your day to help you get your mind right. If anyone recalls, I tried the counting to 2,000 Thing before. It was ruined by Token Northy and Pony Boy collaborating against me. Second attempt was in front of the same offensive tools, but now they had The Frenchman with them. Unpleasant trio.

Token Northy's actually become famous for pranks, and general mischief. you'd swear that butter wouldn't melt in his little angelic mouth, but you'd be wrong. He's also got one of those personalities that makes peoples' parents love him. "He's only a lovely fella", they say. Everyone knows someone like him. Your ma and da think he's awesome, and he's super-happy to meet them, but when left to his own devices the scheming Northy will ruin your life.

Pony Boy's got revenge on his mind. So laid-back and unsuspecting is the man, that he leaves his facebook page open in the house, and subsequently gets ruined by me and Token Northy. Revenge he plots in his normally all-too-pleasant head. And let's not forget that he was the one who ruined the last effort.

As for The Frenchman... I really thought better of that guy. He's got a deeply hidden evil-streak that nobody suspects. I wonder does Tiny Fairy know? Honestly, this guy is the last person you'd suspect. He's quiet and shy... but then, it's always the quiet ones isn't it?

Look at them... gangsters...
Pictured: Evil, and possibly French...

Pictured: Revenge Pony
Pictured: Token Bad Guy


The whole point of the counting to 2,000 bit started when I was 19 and working in an un-named grocery store. Half an hour to go in the shift on a Friday night at half nine... Everyone else out having fun, propping up the bar in Claw's or Molly's, and me still at work. It's half nine on a Friday. Who's out shopping on a Friday at half nine? Nobody, that's who...

So, out of boredom and in anticipation of drinking and banter, I'd start quite literally counting the seconds - model employee I know, but in my defence, there was nothing to do. I never got past three minutes. I'd get distracted by something shiny and lose the head. 2,000 - if you leave one second for each number is just over half an hour. So I was determined to get there.

That's when they started. Token Northy started counting backwards from the next decimal up, The Frenchman started asking me questions, leaning in to block my thoughts. Pony Boy started tearing up paper and firing little paper-balls at me. It wasn't working. So they robbed my phone. They began texting everyone in my phone book (apologies if you got one of those texts), until I wrestled it back from The Frenchman passing number 900 or so... Then Token Northy texted as many of my mates on his phone, telling them to ring me. Cue fifty odd phone calls. People shouting down the phone. They dumped sugar into my coffee, tried to do the crossword without me, they did everything they could to stop me...

As I passed 1,990 they clamped their hands over the ears and la-la-la-la-lad all the way up to 2,000. Boo-yah!!

Take that!!!

Me: 1 Evil: 0

In the interests of evil, we tea-bagged The Canuck after he fell asleep on the couch. Not that kind of tea-bagging. With your filthy mind....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thing 33 Ride A Motorbike

I once asked my Da if he'd object to me getting a motorbike. His response: "Ya, I think it's a great idea. Every morning when I'm off to work I'll reverse over the it. And every evening when I get back from work I'll drive into it. And every night when I'm locking up the house, I'll pop outside with the baseball bat you have in your room and spend ten minutes smashing the thing..." So that's a no then??? As you can tell, my parents were not big fans of motorcycles and actively encouraged their little darling not to go thrill-seeking on a mechanised death-trap. But I always wanted one... I've had some friends with 'bikes though. And I always tried really hard to pretend that I wasn't massively impressed, but secretly I envied them...

Thanks be to Evil Dave for coming to the rescue. He's got a Yamaha 600 Diversion, or Inspiration or Elimination or something motor-bikey. Which to be fair is a pretty class bike to drive. A pretty poor choice for your first driving lesson mind. Token Northy informs me that the motorbike would easily outperform his Audi for speed on a straight stretch of road. Yep. I took my first motorbike lesson on a rocket with two wheels.

Here's Evil Dave showing me how it's done.
The cool thing is, that I actually did it. For a short little spin in an empty industrial estate (almost empty, I think one of the Spin South West presenters, Lisa Lawlor actually drove into the parking lot we were in - I gushed a little) I managed to get both feet off the ground, onto the pegs and drove that bad boy all on my own. It can hit a top speed of 112mph in 12.5 seconds, apparently. I wouldn't know. I didn't get out of first gear, nor did I go any faster than about 6mph. But it doesn't matter how fast I went... I was driving a motorbike. Yahoo.

I was a little nervous before we took off...
All messing aside, I know I don't know join a biker gang, just because I managed not to crash and die in a nearly empty car park. But it really was a rush. There's something eminently cool about some bikers, and something dreadfully, horrendously uncool about others. Remember the remake of Starsky and Hutch with Ben Stiller? The scene with them driving the Harleys to a biker bar looked class, even though it was supposed to be a piss take. Ditto Wild Hogs (terrible movie by the way), which was supposed to be a complete joke (unfunny) managed to make William H Macy look kind of cool. Steve McQueen rode one - also looking cool.

Then there's "bikers". You know who I mean. Entirely unaware that they look, and act like complete tools. Oblivious to their own irritating behaviour. Think South Park Biker episode. Except in suburban Ireland. Go on, give yourself a giggle at the South Park... Makes my eyes water with how annoying they are. But I guess that's the way with all people. In every walk of life you'll meet the cool people and the annoying ones - from pilots to teachers to other motorists (I'm talking to you, anyone who owns a convertible in Ireland).

It's up to you to decide whether or not this fits into the Douche Bag category or not. Token Northy and Evil Dave think it fits into the "smug bastard" category. I'm inclined not to disagree...

P.S. The Project can now be accessed through Boob.ie. It's a manly website with funny things on it. And there's also some boobs. Nice....