Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thing 109 As Many Hubba Bubba As Possible

I swear, I'm thinking of having hypnotherapy for this crap. Eighteen times I've tried to go a day without swearing now. Eighteen times. Sitting down with me for a chat must be a thoroughly offensive experience. Mind you, a South African friend of mine told me that it's not just me. He says every time he goes home to visit he's stunned by how little other people swear. Then he comes back and he's inundated with f's, c's, s's, a's and the rest of the "f"ing alphabet to boot. I'm starting to think I'm a bad person.

I failed at about half nine this evening. Token Northy arrived home and we talked excitedly about County Kerry getting turned over by County Down in the football quarter finals. Stunning result. Cracking game of football. Or as I said: F***ing awesome game of football... Oh crap.

Right. I'm not giving up yet. Short term solution required and we'll try this again for attempt number nineteen.

You'll note the lack of mo-hawk. Mr T eventually had to be retired. I was afraid of Mr T actually turning up. Not really. But a little.

When me and Thorny Wire were small, there was Hubba Bubba, but even with pooling of pocket money it was too expensive to waste a large chunk of cash when there was refresher bars and dib dabs to buy. Economic principles. We grasped them early. It's not that we didn't want them, just that there was so much more that could be got for less. And if we wanted chewing gums, we could have those penny golf balls.

I do remember some of the other kids in school comparing stories of how many hubba bubbas they could cram in their jaws, but it never interested me.

Then when I started the list for The Project I think it was Spoon, though it could have been someone else, but I think maybe it was Spoon, started talking about the whole hubba bubba phenomenon when we were small. Never had it. Stupid economics. I missed a whole phenomenon because I was saving money for Roy of the Rovers bars. I blame Thorny Wire. I blame him because it's safe to - he's over in Detroit. Greedy little economists that we were, we managed to miss out... I wouldn't change it. I loved my Wham Bars...
So there's your answer. 31. I can fit thirty one hubba bubbas in my mouth in one go. That's just over six packets. Beat that kids.

I like remembering my childhood. I don't like gagging on chewing gum. Dare you to try to do better...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thing 108 Greyhound Racing

In the many days to come, when I'm putting myself through some ridiculous torture in the name of The Project, and when I'm sore and cranky or cold and weary I'll remember greyhound racing in Galway. And I'll probably smile.

If you've been reading this blog, then you already know I'm a terrible gambler. I don't know enough about gambling, and when I tried to learn about horse racing for the festival in Galway, I lost my money and tore up many stubs and was unhappy with the world. Packed it in after the second day to dress up like Mr T. Much preferable. Still have the mo-hawk by the way...

So the idea of heading back to Galway for more gambling, but this time on dogs, didn't exactly tickle me. I was unimpressed at the idea of losing more money and standing around watching animals I'd bet on fair poorly. I kind of felt responsible, like their losing was somehow my fault. If it is then there are some horse trainers in the west of Ireland that hate me right about now.

But I was interested to see what the story was. Cue Dave Griffin from Loughrea, who's Dad knows nothing about dog-racing (his Da told me himself), but who has learned for himself how to train a good dog. With his help, his family's help and the help of Fintan (the boss man at the Galway dog track), I get to see how it all goes down.

Awesomely is how it all goes down.
Dave's current dog is named Ben. His racing name is Forty Two Fifty - there's a funny story to that name, but we haven't time to get into it. That's me and Ben taking a walk on the track. It's the parade before the race. Before the parade though there's other stuff...

The dog's got to be weighed. Claire the Secretary in Galway wouldn't let Dave check in the dog. Since I'm the guest trainer I had to do it. Class. I'm a greyhound trainer now. After weigh in, Ben gets a bit of kip in a kennel - he's not going to hit the track till the ninth race. So we pop up for a bite to eat. Chips and a burger? No thanks. Steak dinner please. Fancy restaurant, overlooking the track. Tote Officers stroll to the tables and take two euro bets on each race (you can do more than two euro if you like, but with my luck this week, I just didn't feel like throwing away more money). Still... Token Northy fancies North Gold, so we'll put money on anyway. More lost money. I'm starting to think I'm cursed here.
So when the time comes to spring Ben from his kennel, I get to put on my trainer jacket and parade him out for the punters to get a look at him. Rearing to go isn't even the word. For all the leanness of him, Ben's a big powerful dog. Can't wait to go running. The stadium's buzzing, the whole Griffin family's turned out (and kind of adopted me and Token Northy) and Paddy Gorman who's seen more dog races than I've had hot dinners is getting the dogs ready (Paddy's been at the track for literally decades - he's part and parcel of the races there). I can't resist. Five euro each way on Number 2.
Ben bursts out of his trap like a bullet. In front from the start. Then he kind of gets bored a little and slips back into second, and I'm thinking that my bad luck is affecting Dave's dog. Second to last bend and Ben decides it's time to put on the speed again... He bunches his back legs and tears into the track. First place by half a length!! Get in there Ben!! What a dog!!

I'm done with horse racing anyway folks. Done and dusted. Roll on the opening of the new Limerick course. What a seriously great night.

Honestly, this is the kind of thing I could do more often. It was a fun night out. Not the normal pubs and the normal routine. It was full of characters and banter. I love characters and banter. Bet small if you like. Bet big if you prefer. Have a bite to eat inside, or pop down trackside to watch the dogs cross the line. No wonder Token Northy likes it so much. It's kind of intoxicating. I know I'm not going to get to parade a dog out every time I go, but I don't care.

Every so often this Project is very good to me!

Thing 107 Go Karting

It's like MarioKart except in real life. The significant difference being that I'm good at MarioKart and thoroughly craptacular at actual karting. The Canuck and Token Northy out-driving me and Top Cat. And for additional salt in the wounds, the Top Cat outperformed me too. As an activity for the afternoon though it's tops. A little expensive but totally worth it as an activity. There's this new place that's opened up in Limerick at the Delta Retail Park and it's savage. Fully kitted out with two levels and two tracks. That's two tracks for me to be humiliated on...
What's pictured up there is Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Bowser. Poor little Koopa Troopa didn't stand a chance. I do apologise for all the MarioKart references, but i loved the hell out of that game. Still do. We hooked up the Snes to the giant TV for Battle Mode... genius.

The karts themselves are highly responsive at the wheel and the pace they hit is high. Careful with the tail spins on tight corners, because if there's anyone anywhere near the back of you, you're going into a wall.
If you're thinking about it, keep it to no more than six people or so. More than that and your track will be glutted with people, too many fewer and the guy at the back will spend a lot of time racing on his own... Trust me... I'd know.

It's surprising how much strain it puts on you. I woke up this morning with some tight muscles and skinned knuckles. The Canuck has a scar on the inside of his leg - result of a high impact collision with a wall. Classic Canuck... There's no inanimate object he wont get into a row with.

Give it a shot. And If you do, bring some red-turtle shells, they're the ones that follow the guy in front no matter where he goes...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thing 106 Dress Up for the Movies

Nerds do this. American nerds do this. Giant (both figuratively and literally) American nerds do this. I don't think Irish people do this, and if they do it's probably in Dublin or Leitrim or something. Don't ask why I put Dublin and Leitrim together - I don't know either.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about doing it before. New Star Trek movie that came out last year? Yep. I'm such a nerd I thought that would be the appropriate moment to vulcan-up. Apparently I do have embarrassment thresholds that I didn't know about. So I didn't.

Tell me you haven't thought about it though? Eh. You've seen people getting ready for Harry Potter movies and you've thought about being a wizard or a witch. Admit it. Or what about Sex and the City eh? Ladies? Don't tell me that you didn't kit out for that one. It was the thing to do when they launched that travesty.
So, I know what you're already thinking. And I want you to know that I think you're a racist for it. Mr T can't be played by a white pasty Irish lad? Racist is all that you are. I did commit to it. Look at that mohawk... And Token Northy was the obvious choice for Hannibal. Because he's pushy and thinks he's in charge. The Canuck is perfect for Murdock; this is because he's bat-shit crazy. Did you know he once got into a fight with a car. Twice. That's not a joke. He really did. Now if that doesn't qualify him to play the part of a mentally deranged explosives and flying expert then nothing does. Pony Boy is surely to be Face. We'll all grudgingly admit that he's handsome. The less said the better though, because he's got a big fat head.
So to the movie... Awesome isn't even the word. It's spectacular. At times thoroughly unbelievable, but let's be honest here - it's the A Team. We're not talking about a documentary. I promise that it's well worth the entrance fee. And well worth dressing up for too. Even if white people do make bad attempts at being Mr T.

Thing 105 Make An Obscure Bet

This Thing was supposed to be betting on an obscure sport (and it was supposed to be blogged yesterday, I know, I know, I got carried away at the Races and stuff. Also some excuse about Guinness). So I was going to find an obscure sport on a proper gambling website and slap some money on it. Then I saw what Paddy Power were offering...

Odds on what colour boots Daithi O'Shea would be wearing at the races. Either way I'm throwing away money, and I've never done it ever before so... Mind you, ten quid at 10/1 on white boots was an extra layer of stupidity, even for me.

There was actually a lot of obscure or "novelty bets" available. I had to pick one as stupidly ridiculously lame as Daithi O'Shea's boots.

By the by, I've realised that there's quite a lot of gambling related Things on the list- this is accidental, and only reflects my complete lack of gambling knowledge. Plus, they're a lot of fun.

So me and Lord Gort arrive at Ballybrit for racing and "Daithi Watch". I turned to Lord Gort - "Daithi Watch" starts now. Lord Gort turns to me and says "there he is". Shortest Daithi Watch in the history of all Daithi Watch games ever.

So I had to go say hello. He seemed like a nice guy. In a decent pair of ordinary brown boots. No money for me. Fits in with the rest of the experiences in Galway. Damn bookies took my money... again.

Last novelty bet I ever put on.

The important thing is that Daithi seems like a nice chap.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thing 104 Horse Racing

Let's be clear from the word go - I'm not, nor will I ever sit on a horse for the purposes of competing in a contest of speed against another person on a different horse. When I say I went horse racing I mean I went to watch others race horses for my amusement (and massive consternation).

Thorny Wire knows a thing or two about horse racing. But he lives in Detroit now. That's an inconvenience to me. I hope he knows how difficult he's made this experience for me by leaving the country... just kidding. He's alright. I'd never much of an interest until Thorny Wire got me into it a bit. I never knew a whole lot. I picked the occassional winner and more often than not I lost money. Too often I could have just handed the bookies the money and walked out. Save some time.

So I couldn't leave for Galway this time 'round without information. Keano at work knows what he's about when it comes to racing. So he gave me a tutorial. Here's what I learned: Something to do with weights. Form guide. Race card. Going soft, going good. Local trainers. Maiden stakes. Something to do with hay I think...

I'm kidding here too. I learned a lot. I was pretty pleased with myself heading for Galway yesterday. All psyched up to take all the bookies money. Oh yeah. They were going to be cursing my name and I'd be drinking champagne in Taafe's Bar by half nine...

Not to be.

Definitely, definitely not to be.

Stupid bookies. Stupid outsiders. Dermot Weld only won two races. TWO!! "Back the Dermot Weld horses" they said. "Can't go wrong" they told me. Bah humbug. In the first half of the day I lost every bet from race one to four. From race four to seven though... won 'em all.

"Win some, lose some" is an interesting old saying. I did both. But the ones that I won, had an awful less money on them than the ones I lost.

All in all though, you really can't top an experience like this. The buzz, the fashion, the crowds. Bookies shouting over the heads of excited would be experts. Young men in fancy suits pretending they know what they're talking about, operating on pigeon knowledge and guess work. Grizzled veterans with the look of the country winking knowingly at each other across the bar. The shouting and the din. I'm coming back again. In fact... I'm heading there right now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thing 103 Kick A Rugby Penalty

It's amazing how a Project designed to get me up off my fat ass and out into the world can involve so much sitting on my fat ass. Honestly. Sure, there was a marathon, but there's also been pizza, cake, cookies, McDonalds and fast food feasts. There's been pints of Guinness and skittle vodka and down the line somewhere there's going to be a cocktail invented. Altogether, this has not been a healthy Project to date.

Today was going to be no different. Hee Hee was going to lend me his snazzy Z4 BMW and i was going to drive a convertible with the top down for the first time. I imagine I wouldn't have looked like a douchebag at all. Not even a little. I'd have looked perfectly fine in it.

But the weather was mankerrific and I wanted to sleep off the night shift. Then in the afternoon I had (lame excuse goes here) and then I wanted to sit down because I was tired from (additional lame excuse required here). This is the kind of laziness I was trying to avoid. So Top Cat encouraged me to get off my backside.

I listen to what he says.
The thing about me and Top Cat is that we like our rugby. Like it a lot. We love it. We're those clowns that enjoy discussing the bits that most people don't understand just because we know it's only for people who really know the game of rugby. It's called Talking the Talk, and we're good at it. We could tell you kicking success percentages till your blue in the face. We could tell you when and why some kickers should take three points, and why going for the corner is the wrong option. Oh yeah. We love Talking the Talk.

We wouldn't hit the broadside of a barn door with the banjo that missed the wide side of a bull's arse. We do not, Walk The Walk.

There were some kids pucking about a sliotar in the next field who were more in danger of being hit by our rugby ball than ever the post was. We continued to Talk The Talk when we were missing three-pointers to beat the band. We blamed boots, technique, wind, grass, dogs, cats, apartheid, Bush, Geldoff and anything else we could think of for our poor kicking percentage.
Pictured: Riverdance? Goosestep? I'm a little unsure.

For all of our inability to make it count (I think Top Cat managed five or six proper conversions to my four), it was proper fun. Two hours or so of booting a rugby ball around for fun. No pressure, just a bit of banter.

Glad I got off my lazy arse now. Delighted in fact.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thing 102 Fast Food Feast

Ugh... And I really mean ugh. I've not been this disgustingly full since the Great Beans on Toast Disaster of 2002. And we all know how badly that went for everyone. I don't want to talk about it. Honestly this is dreadful.

I think maybe the McDonald's Day Thing ruined fast food for me forever. Also, being sober. That never helps. Fast food tastes divine after a pile of Guinness. Not so hot on an empty stomach. Not that I'm abstaining from it - I'm a fat guy. Fat guys love food. We love junk food.
Disagree if you like. But here's how the menu goes: McDonald's Chicken Selects. Burger King's Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Supermac's chips. Abrakebabra's Taco Fries. Eddie Rockett's Strawberry Malt. Chicken Hut's super gravy.

Top that. Pixie Head disagrees, but you're all welcome to that. This is my disgusting dinner, and therefor I get to choose. The Burger King XL Bacon Double Cheeseburger should be renamed "The Defibrillator" in honour of the machine that will be required to resuscitate you should you continue making this a proper diet. The super gravy is incredible. Limerick people will be agreeing with me. The rest of you foreigners just wont understand.

I'm done with it. Done. No more. I'm finished with eating fast food. Someone bring me some damn lettuce.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thing 101 Throw A Surprise Party

Parties. Now there's something I can do. Easy peasy. I've done loads of them. Beerpong parties. Scumbag parties. Chat roulette parties. Yep. I like 'em. I've also been blessed with a group of social deviants who're famous for having little to do and drinking on short notice. Makes party planning easier. Bang out a text - "Beer at mine - then town. Tomorrow night. Dress like something from the 80's". Job done. The cast of Breakfast Club will turn up the next day.

Surprise parties require a little more meticulous planning how and ever. Token Northy turns 26 next week. Yep. Next week. The first masterstroke is to organise the party a week before the big day. He'll never suspect... Kudos on this end of the plan must go to Lady Northy - this was her brainchild. Now all I've got to do is make sure the people get here.

Apologies came in from Blond Boss, Top Cat, The Canuck and The Frenchman. The Frenchman for crying out loud. He lives in this house... So attendance wasn't exactly through the roof. Ahem But many thanks to those who did make it.

Next up is making sure they get here at an appropriate time. If Token Northy tells you he's leaving for dinner with Lady Northy at half seven, it only seems okay to tell people to turn up at half eight. When he's still in the house at twenty-five past eight. Worry... Send texts, divert the people. Don't arrive back in the house with a ton of food and drink. Nothing quite gives away a party like loading boxes of beer and frozen cocktail sausages from your car into a house right in front of the subject's nose.

Finally, co-ordinate with your decoy. Swap numbers. Be able to text/call each other at a moments notice to warn of impending arrival. Don't send facebook mail to someone sitting down eating dinner with the subject because you've forgotten to give her your number. Turns out the surprise was on us... when he pulled up outside the house and we had no idea. Lady Northy had tried to warn me, but I'd forgotten to give her my number... ahem.
Mind you, he still got a surprise. The whole "week before" thing still threw him off, and like all good friends his only suspicion was that I was planning a practical joke involving something to do with his destruction... I've been planning such destruction for some time now. Plus, any day with two cakes in it is a success. Thanks Pixie Head... look at the carrot-birthday cake... awesome.

For my next surprise I'm going to

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thing 100 Skate in a Skate Park

I remember thinking skateboarding was cool when skateboarding wasn't cool. Then it became cool, but by then I was old. Even when it wasn't cool, but I thought it was, I hadn't the dexterity or the coordination to make a skateboarder of myself. Or the patience. Apparently it takes lots of patience. I'm a little scattered for that kind of thing. If I'm not instantly good at it, I'll probably just not do it.
These guys though - they've been at this for years. One of them's broken serious bones, they've had cracked ribs. They took pity on the old fogies that turned up at the skate-park (Pony Boy and me). I brought my crappy cheap board that I'd picked up in a toy store. They all had the good grace not to laugh out loud in my face when I arrived in.
They all had the even better grace not to laugh too loud when I fell on my ass. I did a fake laugh. I pretended I didn't care. Stupid skateboard. Stupid kids with their funky dress sense and reasonable dexterity. Damn their graceful boarding and chunky shoes. I bounced twice more before one of them came over to help.
How cool does that look? Oh yeah. I'm out on the edge. I live life to the full. I'm in an ad for pepsi max and it's the mid 90's. I definitely didn't fall on my face and or back and roll ten feet in front of the end of that slope. And there's no way you could prove it if I did.
And I didn't have to use my crappy board either. The boys gave me a lend of theirs. But not before demonstrating some excellent stunt stuff. Hang ten or something like that. I figure I should have been giving out about the young people, with their long hair and their rock musics and their hip hop. But these guys were actually kind of cool. Not what I expected skateboarders to be. There was none of that teenage angst crap. Just pretty decent blokes showing us the tricks of their trade.
Dammit. Even Pony Boy looks like one of them punk kids. With his hat. And his face.
Yep. There's nothing like finishing a long day at work, getting home at half nine in the evening and picking up a skateboard, having never practiced before, and heading off to a skate-park. I've sore bits. I'll never make a boarder now. But at least I know some people who are eh? Thanks to Brian, Conor and Alan.

Damn kids.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thing 99 Outdoors for 24 Hours

I'm not an outdoorsy person. For my nature fix I like the seaside. Cliffs. Waves. Swimming. Salt air. I also like looking at mountains or pictures of mountains. I like walking by rivers on carefully laid paths. I don't like climbing hills or trudging through mud.

In sharp contrast to these dislikes, I properly enjoy being comfortable. This seems like a tautology, being comfortable is by its own nature likeable, but I mean, really comfortable. I like my memory foam pillows. I like my giant TV. I like my electric shower. I like my nice spacious double bed. I like many of the little luxuries I've accumulated over the years.

Total number of aforementioned luxuries available in the "great" outdoors? None. What's so damn "great" about the outdoors. In this country outdoors means wet. It means cold. It means being soggy. Biscuits should be soggy. People should not. I'm not a biscuit dammit!!
Big Mac is the most outdoorsy person I know. He's like Bear Grylls on smack. Token Northy is the camping type too. Pony Boy is a dab hand at outdoor living, and The Frenchman has slept on his fair share of mountainsides. I say good for them. Well done. I applaud them from my couch, while wrapped in my dressing gown with my slippers and hot water bottle (these things are all cool, no matter what you say). This was always going to be an interesting task.

Those first two photos are me sleeping on the swinging chair out the back garden of the lovely gaff we're renting. Nice little canvas cover on the top of it. I stepped outside the back door at 1am last night with my sleeping bag and rain gear, and, by the rules laid down, could not go indoors anywhere until 1am this morning. So I slept on the swinging chair. Not exactly eiderdown... but it rocked soothingly.
Things I liked about this Thing:
At ten in the morning it started raining. And by raining, I mean the heavens opened. It had been raining before then, but this new rain was like a scene from Angela's Ashes. Water cannon rain. I was warm in my waterproofing with my hat and my gloves and my sleeping bag. I rocked back and forth, dry as a bone, warm as toast and watched the rain bounce back up off the deck. It was nice.
Secondly, without my luxuries - my laptop, my computer games, my car, my TV I had spare time. Lots of it. I took a nice walk and ended up on a motorway. I practiced my guitar all day and butchered the work of Bell X1. I read Conor Clery's May You Live In Interesting Times and loved every second of it (it's like actually being there for many of the major world events which have shaped the modern political landscape. In other words - it's an awesome book). Nice to take some time out.
Thirdly, I was the single most pampered outdoorsman ever. The Frenchman brought me tea and toast this morning. Token Northy brought me more of the same in the afternoon. Pony Boy cooked fire-cracker beef and served it to me on my little rocking throne. What kind of Bear Grylls has firecracker beef and an I-phone at his disposal??
Things I didn't like about this Thing:
The cold started setting in early. It soaked through my layers. By eight this evening I was bitterly cold and damp all the way through. Did I whinge about it? You betcha...
No car meant cycling to town for coffee in the afternoon. I got to sample all four different kinds of Irish rain extensively.
I missed QI.

What's important though is that for a full 24 hours I was outdoors. In the wide open. Exposed to the elements. Don't ask me about my bodily functions, because I don't want to talk about it.

What's more important is that I'm blogging from the comfort of my nice warm bed... Take that rain!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thing 98 Art Attack

Anyone else remember the TV show Art Attack? It was sooo cool when I was a kid. Little bits and pieces of arts and crafts you could manage at home, and then for the finale, the host would do this giant piece of funny arts and crafts where he'd use household items. Genius.

I remember being little (don't laugh, I know I'm still little. I'm never going to be a tall man), and thinking that I'd love to try one of these things. So I made it a Thing. Now I have to try one of these Things.

I wanted to do one outdoors. There wasn't a breeze all day. It was muggy and a little bit threatening, but it was okay. Then, for the first time since the Project began, the weather got
in the way. Check it... Here's how it started...Nice right? On the deck out the back. Weather reasonable and outdoors definitely an option. Ring ring... ring ring... Oops. That's my phone. Back in two...
There's a lot of rain. Lots and lots of rain. I'd to hang the black sheets of A1 paper on some clothes horses. This is not going well. Art isn't supposed to be hard is it? Oh wait. Nevermind. There's Spoon there in the photo. When The Project began i had only a book with a list. Spoon made more of it. He spread the word. He pushed the boat out. He made more of it. He encouraged others to take part. To venture ideas. To make me do terrible things to myself. Fair play to him. Then he left for Scotland to make computer games or some crap. Damn him...
Basically twelve sheets of A1 paper. Lots of salt and a little chalk later... art. I hope you like it Spoon. We miss you.

By the by... I'm blogging from the deck, in the rain. I wont be back indoors for the next 24 hours. Entirely outside for a full day. Dammit... this is going to be unpleasant.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thing 97 Tee Off Into The Ocean

I'm little and the ocean is big. It's bigger than that actually, it's vast. Vast is a word that's thrown around a lot these days, and it loses its meaning until you stand on the top of a cliff and stare out at the huge and endless realm of water and realise that even the cliff you're standing on is little compared to the ocean. Tiny in fact.

Golf balls are littler than me. Much littler. To golf balls, I appear vast. So knocking a tiny golf ball into the vast ocean is a tiny little insignificant statement that makes you feel way better than it should. Honestly. If you're feeling like shit, and I've been that way recently, there's little better you can do than this to cheer yourself up. I strongly advise finding something immense and huge and getting yourself a golf club, and whacking something into it.

Wee hangover (as the Token Northy might put it), after the rum and the cookie baking. So me, Little Flower, Top Cat and The Canuck hit the road for Kilkee, County Clare. It has a beach, as any good seaside town should. What it has that's even better are natural swimming holes when the tide is out and a rock cove when the tide's in. It also has a big cliff, called George's Head. I've always loved it. It's big, and waves smash off it and it just sits there being high and cool.
As I say, I've not been a happy bunny of late. If I hadn't already smashed a computer monitor for one of the earlier Things, I'd be doing this again, just to let the rage out. Teeing off into the ocean beats that hands down. It's hard to put the finger on why, I guess you'll just have to give it a shot to know why. And I really urge you to try it.

Little Flower is a lefty, so my right handed pitching wedges were no good to her. For her first shot. She nailed the second one like some kind of golf pro the second time 'round. We finally found out something The Canuck isn't good at - teeing off. Mind you, he beat the hell out of me. But it's not about being good (I keep telling myself), it's about hitting something hard and watching it get swallowed by a vast ocean. Proper fun. I love it. Do it...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thing 96 Bake Cookies

Alright alright... I take your point. No more baking crap. Well, one more... I've got Pavlova or some crap still to go, but i promise it'll be the last baking attempt I make as part of the Project. Honestly. I'm crap. Baking's not my strong point. Mind you, the bottle of rum didn't help. The Canuck loves his rum...

So for the remainder of this installment, actual recipe shall be in regular font, with my recipe in italics. This is so you can get a better grasp on why I'm crap at baking.

Take 125g of margarine or butter and mix it with 50g of soft brown sugar.
Get a big pile of butter and whack a load of brown sugar in on top of it.

Mix until fluffly and light.
Beat it with a wooden spoon till it's not one or the other.

Beat an egg and add it to the mix along with 225g of self raising flour.
Fire in an egg, pick out the bits of shell, whack it with a fork for a bit. Fire in some self raising flour. That's not enough. Fire in a bit more. Ooops. Too much. Spoon some of that back out.

Add some finely diced chocolate or peanuts.
Lash in a bag of peanut M&Ms.

Place in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 mins.
Place in a pre-heated over for 20-25 mins.
The Canuck warns me against adding pepper. He's right.

They weren't a total disaster, and they weren't like the shocking mediocre chocolate cake either - in fact, they were particularly delicious. But they looked all wrong, and they fell apart. Alot. It was actually just one big giant baking-tray sized cookie if I'm being honest. Tasty is the main thing right?


Okay. Well it doesn't matter, I told you I was retiring from the baking business anyway.
There's something very relaxing about the idea of baking cookies. It's been handed down to us from american television. After all, our ma's baked tarts and buns to cheer us up, not cookies. Sure nobody in Ireland ever even heard of a cookie till the mid nineties. But TV has taught us to associate cookies with comfort, and I think I might be just about suggestible enough to have bought into it. Too bad I'm shite at it.

Anyway, don't judge me. I can't bake, so don't call me if you need someone with great recipes or junk. If you've difficulty with word problems I'm your only man. Sadly, you can't eat crosswords.

Now where'd that Canuck put the rum...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thing 95 Speak Only When Spoken To

Pixie Head tells me that when I have something to say, but for the purpose of sanity, and not getting a slap from herself, my chin disappears. There's a photo up there with Mini Pony - the least aptly named man anywhere. Pony Boy's little brother, who at 18 years old, shouldn't be towering that much above me... but I digress. My chin goes hiding. I spent the better part of the whole day today with a sneaky hidden chin. So much to say... so not able to say it.

My folks tell me that I was speaking before I was a year old. Mathematics tells us that I've been speaking for just over twenty five years. It's difficult to moderate one's speaking habits after years and years of non-stop talking. It may already have occurred to many of you, but I have lots to say and I pay very little attention to the manner in which I say it. Until today that is.

I think about 50% of what I say is unsolicited. Little quips and observations about the world and the people in it. I joke a little every now and again. Also, there's crossword time. I hold the paper and the pen and call out the clues for The Frenchman and Token Northy (and Big Red, Curtain Call, The Canuck, Spoon and Pixie Head). It's unsolicited. Nobody asks me to do it. Nobody says its okay. I rarely ask for permission to open my trap. I've never considered that it might annoy everyone before.

Not that I plan on changing my ways. There's no way I'm suffering today again.

They say that children should only speak when spoken to - it's considered polite. In adult life, it's the exact opposite. I spent the day being rude and ignorant to people. I didn't mean to be, but people expect a certain amount of talk. Then when you don't speak, they wait... very polite of them, but it makes me look like a complete ass.

Arabica's a lovely little coffee shop in Limerick City Centre, I like going there for lunch every now and again. The staff are nice too. Now I'm worried if I should give it a few weeks before I go back... I was positively rude to everyone. The waitress asked Token Northy what he wanted to eat. He told her. Then she turned and looked at me. I looked back at her. She waited. I waited. Nobody said anything. Token Northy sat silently trying not to break his arse laughing. I eventually pointed to what I wanted on the menu... what a douchebag I am. I left a huge tip just out of guilt. Points for Token Northy. He got a laugh.

To the shop for a newspaper. Handed the lady the Times. She smiled at me. I smiled back. She took my money. Handed me the paper. I walked away. I felt like a complete ass. Token Northy keeps smiling to himself.

To O'Connell's for my coffee fix. Thank the heavens that staff know me well enough to know my order, and I didn't have to ask for anything, thought I was on to a winner... Until Token Northy and The Frenchman started discussing how amazing Jedward are, and how important their contribution has been to the Irish image abroad... Urge to kill rising... But I resisted the urge to talk without being spoken directly to.

Now for transport. I've left my car at home so taxi it is. Pixie Head forgets my task for the day, so offers little in conversation. I've said nothing to the cab driver. I love talking to taxi drivers. The guy must have thought I was a complete tosser. I hate this stupid task!! It's nice chatting to people. Big tip for the cab driver too to make up for me being unpleasant.

Home then for dinner, and a new idea. Every time I wanted t speak, I'd put my hand up. I felt like a child all over again. Getting permission from housemates to talk is a sad moment for me. The Pixie Head always allowed me to open my trap though. Which is the main thing.

To be fair, they all could have been a lot harder on me than they were, but all in all it was an unpleasant day. I don't like feeling like a rude ignorant clown, but that's exactly what I was. Here's hoping large tips balance my karma...
P.S. The Token Northy bandwagon rolls on... sign up to his new facebook group. Today he thinks he's a walrus... Sorry lad, best mate you may be, but this has got to be done...

Sign up. It's fun.