Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thing 169 Naked Housekeeping

Yep. That's says naked housekeeping. In case you thought your eyes were deceiving you. I spent several hours this afternoon cleaning the house, in the nip. A few things wrong with that. Outside of the general wrongness of being in the nip in your kitchen; I'm uncomfortable with my own nudity. Seriously. I'm the guy that wears boxers into the team shower. I'm the guy that wraps a towel about himself even when it's only dudes present. I just don't like being naked. You know what I like less than being naked? Being naked and having some men take a picture of it. That's why I've got the oven tray in front of my junk.

It goes without saying that there are appropriate situations for nudity. What I mean to say is... Ahem. What I'm getting at is... You know when it's that time, and you're in company...

Anyone else uncomfortable with this blog? Me too... moving on....

There are services in the States where you can hire private naked housekeepers. Seriously. Former strippers who pop over to your gaff and clean up in the nude. Then some guys got hold of the idea, and decided they'd get in on the act. According to a reliable source, men cleaning is a turn on for women. Mean cleaning in the nip - that's over kill.

Mind you... Is there anyone out there that really needs to see me cleaning nude? Didn't think so.
As you can see, the gaff badly needed cleaning, and there was no one home, so why not? As long as there's no one about to see it, it can't be a bad thing. We've no neighbours with a good view of our kitchen or living room (as long as the curtains are closed), and the lads were all at work. No harm no foul right?

Who'd have guessed that Pony Boy was going to arrive home an hour or so early from work? Honestly? Who? God bless the man, he'll be having nightmares about my two big white ass cheeks at the kitchen sink, while I sang '50's music and cleaned the pots (not a euphemism) till the day he dies.

Not the way you want to come home from work is it? Only in this house. I think The Frenchman was counting his lucky croissants that he didn't get home early from work. Too right to be honest.

It was a strangely liberating experience, I have to say. People with colds/flus/massively debilitating man infections which may potentially kill them (that was for you Thief - I want my sympathy), shouldn't really be strutting their stuff in the nip, but as housekeeping went, this was the most fun I've had cleaning in a while.

Some '50's Rock N Roll on the ipod, and not a stitch on my backside... I should clean like this more often. Except I wont. Obviously.

I do dare you to try it though. Wait till everyone's gone out of the gaff. Turn on some music you really can bop to. Stick on a pair of slippers, and nothing else but a smile and get some serious housework done. When you feel as dirty and ashamed of yourself as I do, drop me an email and we'll start a support group for people uncomfortable with their own nudity.

Thing 168 Dominos

The game Dominos has something to do with dots and lining up dots against other dots. I might still add learning the rules of that game to my list of Things, but this, this one was not about dots. It was about knocking some shit over. I love knocking some shit over.

I went to the shopping centre to pick up some dominos yesterday, with the intention of setting up hundreds of them all over my living room. How much is that for two boxes of about twenty dominos each? Twenty euro? You kidding? No? Right. Fuck that. I don't mind shelling out for stuff, but there's no way I'm spending one hundred euro on two hundred dominos. Apparently I'm not that stupid. Who knew?

I've got a neat little DVD collection. There's about three hundred of them. Domino fun and (mostly) watchable movie entertainment. They really are Digital Versatile Discs. The mostly watchable thing is still up for debate... I bought Doomsday a couple of weeks ago, and it made me want to claw my own eyes out in disgust at how BAD a movie it is. But I digress...
I got some help. Bite Size (she will not enjoy her blog name, but then, who does?) called over to make me some hot drinks or what she calls "Danny's Flu Cure". It's basically whiskey, fruit and hot. It's nice though. So Bite Size suggested that maybe I was being a bit optimistic trying to make the DVDs fall up the stairs. Since science is kind of against the notion of things falling up. Can't fault her logic really.

So we started at the top of the stairs, and worked our way down. Across the hall. Into the living room. Finishing up with the forty or so dominos I'd bought that day. Painstaking is the only word. It's the only word because we'd several false alarms. Try spending the guts of an hour setting up, only to sneeze, and set off a domino effect with the domino effect you've been trying to set up.

I was cranky several times.
So it's a Tuesday night. It's a shitty Tuesday night. I've got a touch of a cold. There's not a whole lot to watch on the box (unless you like watching Chelsea win matches, which I don't). Project to the rescue. There's little more satisfying than getting to play like a child at the ripe old age of twenty six, and having a reasonable excuse to do so...

And it worked. Sort of. Here's a poor quality video (poor quality because it was shot on my phone, in the dark and with me in the way). Still fun though... Click here!!

Thanks Bite Size!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thing 167 Carrantuohill/Muckross/Torc

You'll note the title is unspecific. It's basically just a list of place names. This is because today's Thing should have been Climb Carrantuohill, but the mountain beat us. Who'd have thunk it eh? Ireland's biggest mountain could defeat me, a short, chubby, useless lump? I'm stunned... About one third of the way up, we came across a rock wall. No more than twelve feet or so, but sheer. Wind was driving into us, rain too. Little shitty stingy rain. Rain didn't even have the good grace to be the big heavy fat kind. Which I kind of like.

Me and The Frenchman brought a sherpa...
Knight Dad. Experienced mountain climber, tea drinker, road-rage expert and all 'round top man. He's been to the top of Ireland's tallest mountain on several occasions. He also climbed a bunch of other stuff. That's what I meant when I said he was an experienced climber.

The road to the base of the mountain was gently sloping against us, there was nothing gentle about the wind that was slamming into my teeth. Stupid inclement weather. So I've still not been up a mountain.

Time to think of something else...

Enter: Muckross House.

Built for the Herbert Family in 1843, and visited by Queen Victoria in 1861, it's a fancy old gaff. Basically. A nice fancy old gaff, plenty of history. Traditional farms. An arboretum. Tourists. Many many tourists. Place was jam packed with them. For some reason I found it hard to resist the urge to put on an English accent and behave like a tourist. Don't ask, I really can't tell you what was going on in my head.

Magnificent grounds and features. Well worth a look. For an extra laugh, practice being a foreigner while you wander around the majestic grounds. Really there's few places you can go more beautiful than Kerry. Limerick, maybe... ahem.

For further proof of beautiful stuff to see in Kilarney: here's Torc waterfall.

I felt so crappy about not finishing the mountain that visiting a stately home just wouldn't cut it as a thing for the day. I had to go padding in a waterfall too. And so I did.

Guess what else I saw there? Tourists. Lots of tourists. I sang Carrigfergus as I walked past them. Nearly went back for a tip too... Decided against it. Some other tourists got a laugh from Knight Dad threatening to throw my shoes into the plunge pool at the bass of Torc. Charming. I know.

I've never really paid a lot of attention to Kilarney before. I've been there. For drinking. None of the touristy stuff. You know, what with the being Irish and all.

Glad I had some fun with this day. Even if I did get beaten by a fat mountain.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thing 166 Boycott

This blog is not about politics or religion. It's about one tool's journey through a year of extra toolishness, so I'm not about to club you over the head with my religious beliefs, or use this blog as a vehicle to convert people to my way of life (no matter how superior my way is... just kidding). For this Thing to be relevant though, you need a little context.

This is Jennifer Sleeman's campaign. Click on the word campaign there for more info.

Basically, the Catholic Church is a little bit broken. It's got scandals, and it's a little backward from time to time, and it's a little misogynistic when it comes to the notion of women priests. In fact. So Jennifer, who's eighty years old from Cork, wanted a boycott of mass this Sunday. In protest. I agree with her... so... time to put on my big boycott pants...

As a mark of protest, anyone who wanted to show support, but still go to mass could make a symbol of that support by wearing a green arm band. I don't own a green armband. I own a pair of green socks. So... Green sock armband it is then...
There's a few snags about boycotting a mass. First of all, while I am a practicing Catholic, I often miss mass. Work, a hangover, having fluff instead of grey matter - all of these things collaborate against me to miss mass more than I should. So me not going to mass out of principle is far too like me not going to mass because I'm stupid. Basically this means I'd to go to mass, to not go to mass. Turn up, but not go in. Which raises the second problem.

A boycott of one person, no matter how righteous the person, how iron clad their beliefs, no matter how emotive the topic might be, is still a boycott of one. And therefor is sad and pathetic looking. Oh yes, a noble cause you can argue, but pacing up and down on a chilly evening wearing a green sock on your arm is always going to be lame. I might as well have had a sign that said loser.

In addition to these problems, there's the issue of publicity. Not my publicity, the campaign's publicity. Since there wasn't much of it out in the open, not many people knew. Oh there was plenty of online arguing. Lots of letters-to-the-editors written. Tongues and chins a-wagging like no tomorrow. It just didn't really break though to people. So no one seemed to know what I was doing.

So to recap: One man, with a green sock tied to his arm, pacing up and down outside a church and nodding at people as they walked past.

Yes. Apparently I am a crazy person.

If I was going to mass, and didn't know about the protest, and some weirdo was pacing up and down outside, I'd be judging the crap out of him. Not very Christian, I understand.

Boycotting is a lonely place... Next time I boycott, I'm bringing a gang.

Thing 165 Eat Wild Boar

Thorny Wire met me in the Milk Market today. I liked it so much last week, I decided to go back this week. He asked me what my Thing for the day was. I told him - eat some wild boar. I picked it up at the market that day. He looked skeptical and unconvinced. Too easy he said. I tried to explain that it's not all marathons and stadiums and needles in haystacks. Sometimes it's just about the experience of doing something I've never done before.

He reached out and poked me in the shoulder.

"There", he said, "I've never poked you in the shoulder while you were holding wild boar meat before. New thing for me done".

I can't argue with this logic. Touché Thorny Wire... touché.

Still counts though. How many times would someone normally go out of their way to eat wild boar meat? The fact is that with my delicate little tummy, and my OCD about where I eat and who I eat with, and most importantly, what I eat, there's just no way that I'd ever bother eating wild boar meat if not for the Project.

I could have made it more challenging: I could have hunted the boar myself, but that would have involved working. Sweating. And it's a Saturday. After a Friday night. If you don't mind too much, I'd like a coffee and a crepe and a caramel slice (I know, I know, put down the fork right?) and I'll eat some wild boar meat at my leisure without having to kill my grub first.

To add insult to the growing injury list, I've been hanging around with that Frenchman for far too long. I'm developing something of a taste for fancy crap that I'd normally stick my sizeable nose up at: Fancy breads. Fancy cheeses. Pancakes with blue berries in them (I know, I know, put down the fork... again). It's no wonder I'm lazy...

So here how we did it. Garlic ciabatta (fancy), grilled a little on one side, some grated red cheddar (fancy) and some wild boar meat (not fancy, manly and not for the faint hearted). Little pre dinner wild animal starter.

Taste: robust is a good word. It's strong, there's no doubt about that. Tasty though. I mean, really it shouldn't be such a big deal, he's only a wild pig, and I eat tame pig all the time, so it shouldn't be an issue, but for some reason it was.

Well worth a try folks. So is that milk market in Limerick by the way. It's really very awesome.

Pictured: Chubby...

Thing 164 Play Softball

As you may already know, I'm slightly overweight. I'm reminded of this more or less constantly by the loving brother I have in Thorny Wire, and by my highly Christian friend God Boy. Less frequently I'm reminded by The Canuck, he finds other things to abuse me about.

As such, I object to many of the Things on the Project as being overly strenuous. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes? Fat chance (pardon the pun). Cycle the thirteen or so miles to work? I'm still living in fear of that one. As for running a marathon? What the hell was I thinking...? Honestly.

Softball counts as exercise right? Yep. I don't want to do it then...

Ever play Rounders when you were small? We did. A lot. Panda would inevitably hit a home run, but every time Thorny Wire caught him out there'd be a row. Someone would end up going home in a huff. It was excellent stuff. Quality childhood gaming.

Ever watched baseball? Great sport. If you're patient. You could be waiting for an hour at a time for something to happen. Lots of standing around and not doing much.

Take Rounders, and Baseball... combine them... Softball.

It's a bigger ball than a baseball, paradoxically, it's a much harder ball than a baseball, but it's thrown under-arm instead of over, so the ball's not flying at you quite so fast. Three strikes and you're out. Ball is caught straight off your bat, and you're out. Three outs and your team is out. Then it's the other teams turn to bat.

Easy yeah? Not really. Panda's a fine coach, but a couple of hours of playing on a Friday is not exactly the same as years of learning. The sport's become extremely competitive, and the UL team I was training with are the Irish champions. Panda himself plays for the Irish softball team - and here's the semi-fat guy puffing his way around the training yard.

Stand there. Throw it there. No no no. If the short stop moves to second base you've to go long to close the gap with the outfielders. Short stop's not going to second base. Dan... Cover second base.

One question kept popping up in my head: Which one's the short stop?

There's an awful lot more thinking in the outfield positions that I thought there would be. Batting on the other hand...
Lines it up...
Puts his shoulders into it...
Drives it hard to left field...

Now, batting is something I think I could do all day. Hit the ball, with the stick. They're not even going to make this difficult; they're just going to throw the ball toward your stick (giggle giggle).

As a way to spend an afternoon, I can honestly tell you, this one's a pretty good idea. Fresh air. Exercise (not overly strenuous, thank God). And I get to whack something with a bat. I think I'll play softball more often.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thing 163 Barter in a Shop

A book, a lighter, some Flake Away (whatever that is) and a hat. Scratch that. An awesome hat. That's what I was willing to trade.

Here's an interesting tidbit for you: According to The Walker (who's got some form of law degree - fancy fella altogether), a price tag is actually an invitation to offer in exchange for goods or services, and not necessarily a fixed demand for money. He may be lying to me, but I always trust people with law degrees. Except Token Northy. He can't be trusted. He once hid an alarm clock in my room behind the curtains and set it for half two in the morning. Frightened the bejaysus out of me. But I digress.

I may have already mentioned this, but I do love to upset the natural order of things. Not in any major anarchist way, just enough to upset the normal operation of things. Like cycling through a drive through, or in the case of Thing 163; bartering in a shop.

So in I walked to buy myself some new bed sheets. Essential stuff. I was armed with the already mentioned items. Girl at the checkout looked kind of bored. I can almost guarantee that I broke the monotony a little.

Brought the sheets to the counter, along with the plastic bag full of stuff. "I'd like to exchange this hat and this lighter for those bedsheets". Honestly, she looked at me like I'd just grown another head...

Her: "The sheets cost twenty euro..."

Me: "Alright, I'll throw in this book. It's very good. It's about drinking stories from some of Hollywood's old boys. Richard Harris is in it...."

Her: "I'm really sorry, but I can't accept those. The sheets cost twenty euro".

Me:"Sure you can. Look, I'll throw in the Flake Away as well. I don't know what it does, but I'm pretty sure it's never been used".

Side note here: What the hell is flake away? And since it's in a pink tub, I'm guessing it's some kind of lady product. What's it doing in a house occupied by four idiots who are not women? Hmmmm? Maybe The Frenchman's not telling us something...

At this point in our conversation, both the nice lady at the counter, and myself, are struggling not to laugh. She's clearly enjoying this, and I'm trying to convince her that I'm serious. It's not working. And it's sort of embarrassing. Pony Boy refused to come with me for fear of the embarrassment.

Me:"Is there anything I can give you that will entice you into giving me those bedsheets"?

Her:"Yes. Twenty euro".

Me, panicking slightly and completely mortified at this point, but still trying not to laugh: "No dice. I'm afraid I'll have to put these back then..."

Her: "Don't worry. I'll do that for you. You can leave them here".

Me: "Thanks so much. Ammmm.... eh.... Have a nice day I supppose".

Her: "You too..."

Face absolutely flaming from the embarrassment. I walked away. What I was hoping for was to kind of put her on the spot. Upset her day a little. I don't know why I wanted to do that, but that's what I was going for. What I got was a massive dose of embarrassment. Never again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thing 162 Take a Mensa Test

This is the kind of test you don't mind waiting a couple of weeks for, as opposed to the type that you really, really do mind waiting for. One way or another, wait is exactly what I'm going to have to do.

The way it works:

Mensa's an organisation for smart people. Not just smart people. Frighteningly intelligent people. The upper 2% of IQs internationally. Basically Lisa Simpson sized smarts. If you want in, you've got to sit a test. If you want to sit the test, it's recommended that you try a home test first. So I ordered one...

Intelligence Quotient. Let's have a think about that for a second while we look back at some Project Things: Drinking pee, look for a needle in a haystack, barefoot for a day, stuffing my face with hubba bubba, betting one hundred euro on England to win the World Cup (man that one will haunt me for some time). Intelligence seems to be sadly lacking...

On top of that, I've recently come in for some criticism. I've been outwitted by The Thief on several occassions. Token Northy seems to be outsmarting me for fun. Then there's Big Red and The Frenchman. And of course... the smug Canuck.

I need a win here folks! I'll prove them all wrong when I get in to Mensa. That'll make me cool...

Alright, that was a bit glib, but seriously, I really do want to get in, and I don't know why.

I'm not allowed to repeat any of the questions, but I'll give you some examples of what comes up.

Furniture, chair (seat, couch, table, clothes, dresser, shirt).

Pick the two words inside the brackets that correspond to the relationship of the words outside the brackets. Whatever that means...

Here's another fun game:


Now imagine that short grid, except larger, and answer the following: What letter is between the letter that is above the letter which is before O, and above the letter which is above the letter A. Answers in the comment box please...

Forty five minutes on a random Wednesday evening, and I can tell you honestly, there's worse ways to spend that time...

I subsequently went a destroyed some braincells...

To Arthur!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thing 161 Look for a Needle in a Haystack

The next time someone says to me: "That'll be like looking for a needle in a haystack", I'm going to reply; "Meh. Should take about two and a half hours. Your arms will get all scratched though, so you should probably wear gloves". Today, I didn't wear gloves. Why? Because I'm stupid and easily led. Token Northy started the mocking when I said I was going to get some gloves, so then I got all indignant (and apparently indignation goes hand in hand with massive stupidity), and decided not to bother with the gloves. Mistake. Arms from wrist to elbow are fairly thoroughly mauled. Worth it? Yep.
I've already washed my mouth out with soap. And I've walked a mile in someone else's shoes'. I think I kind of love these metaphor extensions. They're just not what people are expecting, and they're the kind of thing that people relate to for some reason. This one came in as a suggestion from a listener to Ray Darcy. If I'd spent the next year of the Project trying to think of more of these extensions, I'd probably never have thought of it... as we've already covered: I'm a bit slow from time to time.
Oh, before I go into a triumphant rant about how the rest of this Thing went...

How cool does Grainne the Irish Wolfhound look. She's just chilling there while I make a start on the stack. Her other half is Fionn, and even bigger Irish Wolfhound. Then there's cockerils, guinea fowl, a massive castle, old huts, weaving, threshing... it's class. Harvest Festival is this Sunday. If you're anywhere near Bunratty Folk Park... get there. It's awesomeness. You'll enjoy it. If you do go, check out the hay stacks before they're threshed into thatching. (Cue triumphalism) Marvel at the massiveness of the task before me. Be astounded at the sheer ridiculousness of Project tasks that required me to dive, shoulder deep into these things...
So I've a bad habit of over-thinking things. At the word go I just kind of rushed headlong into the thing (and I don't mean that literally). I started ripping into the stack, looking for any gap in the sheafs. Basically, the hay is stacked in seperate sheafs which are bundled individually. I figured it's next to impossible to wedge a needle anywhere into a sheaf, so it would have to be between them. That's handy to know when there's literally hundreds of sheafs.

After a few minutes of randomly ripping into individual sheafs, I decided to analyse... Aodhagan Behan is the General Manager. He's about my height. He hid the needle. Presuming he didn't stretch, it should be shoulder height. So I aimed at that area for the bones of an hour. Then Aodhagan arrived back and asked where the step-ladder went... He could have been messing with my head. God knows I'd have messed with someone else who's stupid enough to searching for a two inch needle in a haystack that size.

Still... Worth a shot.

After about two hours of searching I basically just starting tearing entire chunks out of the stack. Frustration is apparently a great ally when you're trying to be stupid for entertainment sake.

Half an hour later... shiny... and wee... with a little string on the end of it. YAHOO!! Except... everyone's bored of watching me get my arm scratched. So there's no one there to celebrate. Curses. So I sat like a tool staring at a needle with a massive cheesy grin.
What's the point in ripping apart a haystack if there's no one to celebrate with?? Thankfully it didn't take the ladies who work at the folk park long to get down to congratulate me. Speaking of which; if you're reading this folks: Thank you! You were all thoroughly awesome.

So they key to success here was Aodhagan looking guiltily at a spot which made me suspicious, and the stepladder thing... that was a ruse!! Well, that and being frustrated enough to rip something apart.

Still... A win's a win right?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thing 160 Be On TV (or Pie Someone in the Face)

I don't mean appear on someone's television. I've done that before. I was in the background just behind Bertie Ahern when he was getting a hammering from journalists just before the last general election. I wasn't backing him up or anything, I was just caught in the crowd. As a result of that, I appeared very briefly on the six one news. It doesn't count though, because I didn't have a little bar at the bottom of the screen that said my name and gave me a cool title.

Personally I'd have gone for Dan Mooney, Local Crazy Person. Dan Mooney Project 366 will have to do.

Ostensibly, today's Thing was supposed to be hitting someone with a pie. Much the same as Token Northy did to me way back when we started this whole mess of a Project. I wanted the chance to thoroughly pie someone. Cartoon clown style, and the lovely people at RTE's new youth programme Elev8 were willing to give me the opportunity. I did it, but it wasn't the real Thing. Seeing how this show works was the Thing.

But first... Proof that I got my own name tag thingy - I even put a little ring around it!!

It takes a small army to run the show. There's three presenters; they're full of juice and energy and enthusiasm. Which is great, except as Talker said to me today, I looked like I could be old enough to be their Dad. What a horrible thing for her to say... I'm not THAT old looking. I felt it a little though. They'd all this energy, and I was kind of dead. My guess is that if you work kids TV you just need that kind of get up and go. Then there's the studio team. There were eight other people working on the show who were also in the studio. And I'm sure that wasn't even the whole team. There's one chap who does sound, another who mixes and changes the camera angles remotely. There's a Director and a producer, and technicians... it's unreal.

But before there's that there's make up... Yep. I went to make up and had my face make-up-ed. And my hands. It was surreal. There's an entire room of mirrors and make up artists. Daithi O'Se sitting just down the aisle from me. I wanted to ask him about his boots again, but I decided not to. I don't mind looking like a crazy person some times, but it just doesn't seem appropriate at other times.

The building itself is a rabbit warren. It twists and turns every which way. The amount of technology on offer is astounding. Pony Boy would have a heart attack looking at all the computers. My guess is that whatever you see on screen represents about 30% of the total amount of work being done on any one show.

And it's crazy. Every day contesting with the knowledge that the whole country is watching everything you do...

I'll never make a TV presenter.

I briefly harboured thoughts of replacing Brian Dobson on Six One. Think I'll give that a miss and stick to doing lame Things every day for a while instead.

If you want to watch it...

I debated with myself on whether or not I'd include that link in there, but since The Thief was planning to blackmail me, I think I'll just get it over with and you can all laugh at my sad attempt at being young and cool...

Also; I got to hit someone with a pie. All in all. A good day.

Thing 159 All Ireland Football Final

Football!!! Not the American kind. Or the English kind. Or even the Australian kind. OUR football. The one we invented ourselves, in which the pace and skill and strength make the other kinds of football look lame.

There's lots of things that you can criticise the GAA for, and I'm not keen on going down this road in a serious way, but tickets for the match weren't cheap. There's also the massive criticism that came with eventual decision to open Croke Park for soccer and rugby. Again, I'm not about to start slinging mud at the GAA. Overall, it's a marvellous organisation. Days like All-Ireland Sunday are proof. There were eighty-one-thousand Down and Cork supporters in Croke Park that day. About half and half in numbers. Rivalry was intense, both sets of fans were mad for their team to lift Sam Maguire, but there was no violence. There wasn't even harsh words had. It was pretty much all good natured from start to finish.

Made me kind of proud. Too bad it wasn't Limerick in the final.
Still, I could have made this Thing into "Be Adopted By Another County" - no Clare jokes please. I wore the Red and Black, and I had my flag hanging out the window all the way to Dublin. The Cork chap sitting next to me on the day kept referring to Down as "you". And the Down men, Token Northy included kept referring to their boys as "we". I felt included. Stupid final scoreline broke my heart too. I screamed my lungs out, but the real work was done on Hill 16. It was a Red and Black mass!

I think my adoption process started in Newcastle, County Down some time back, but the flag making, and the campaign to get Token Northy a ticket, they just reinforced my decision. I now, not so secretly, love Down.

That's the other thing about GAA folk. All the way back to Down my sorrows (see what I did there? That's not a typo. It's pure white hot wit...) Cork people kept on coming over to commiserate. And Down people kept congratulating all the Cork fellas. I'm bitter, so I didn't... but that's another story.
The buzz along the entire North side of the Liffey was incredible. Rain poured down in short, sharp showers and had no effect whatsoever on the crowd. People drank pints and shouted to others they knew as eighty one thousand descended on Croke Park. It was hard not to buy into the hype that goes into advertising these things. It was just that impressive.

It was also the very last final for an Irish legend... Micháel O' Muircheartaigh. The broadcaster retires now, after giving everything to the GAA and to broadcasting for a very, very long time. He'll be sorely missed. A nice blogging type has a list of some of his famous quotes:

Here's hoping that sometime soon Limerick make an All-Ireland football final and I can adopt Token Northy for a weekend...

Thing 158 Milk Market

It's one of the oldest Markets in the country. It's been sitting there, smack in the middle of Limerick City since 1852. One hundred and fifty eight years. For two of those years I hated it. Not because it was a market. I hated it because all the market goers on a Saturday morning would rob my seat in Rubens.

Seventeen year old me had possession issues with seats. Clearly.

It's probably the last bit of serious business that gets done in the City Centre. Limerick's been something of a ghost town since the old Recession kicked in. On a Saturday morning though - the market's up the walls with passing trade. Stalls, bustle, it's almost like a city centre should be.

The significant problem: It's on in the morning. I hate the morning. By the time I get out of the scratcher and into town, most of the market is done for the day, leaving behind a mess and a bunch of people who won't get out of my way while I'm trying to drive. I know, their stalls are more important, but I don't care!!!
On the 17th of June this year, the new Milk Market was unveiled. There's no point in lying about this, I'd been to the previous market, back in it's previous incarnation. But two million euro later, this is a whole new ball game.

The Frenchman loves the new place. Every Saturday he's out of bed early, strolling around with his necklace of garlic bulbs, through the market. I kept promising that I'd go. I kept not going. My mam asked me why I was going to great lengths to try new things everyday, and refusing to do something new that's right on my doorstep.
I had no answer to that.

So Saturday, me and The Canuck went walkies into the new brand new (three months old) Milk Market.

Two things for you: Gourmet coffee and crepes. Sold. Never mind the stalls with the fresh fish, and the butcher stalls with exotic meats, and the fact that you can get practically everything there, all with a nice cosy little spot to sit down and drink. For gourmet coffee and crepes, I might actually get out of bed early this Saturday.

I still think it looks ridiculous from the outside - seen the picture up top there? Not think it looks out of place? Worth the visit though... I wonder would they let me work a stall there as one of the Things?

Thing 157 Eat a Blue Steak

Due to poor quality camera work, that steak looks more well-done than blue. I promise you, and you're going to just have to take my word for it, it was a blue steak. I can hear some of you asking: What's a blue steak? Alright, I can't hear that, I'm typing in an empty room, but for those who are unaware of the majesty of steak cooking, a blue steak is a steak cooked so little, that it's actually cold in the middle...

The Dan Mooney sliding scale of steak cooking it goes like this:
Very Well Done- why not just heat up some boot leather and serve it with chips? Also. why are you paying the price for a fillet of steak if you're just going to cook the unmerciful shit out of it? I mean, it barely even qualifies as meat anymore.
Well Done- I'll take a stab that the average price of a fillet of steak is about twenty five euro. For just two euro you can get a Double Cheeseburger at McDonalds. It's also cooked well done. At least the outside of it isn't charred...
Medium- Alright, you like meat, you don't like it bloody. That's fair enough. I think you're missing out on realising the true quality of the beefy deliciousness, but that's your prerogative. I wont call you an idiot to your face... I'll wait till you go to the bathroom.
Medium Rare- Now you're talking. Get some chips on the side of that. And some pepper sauce. Now you can soak up a little blood and some pepper sauce on your chips. Nom nom nom... Dammit. I'm making myself hungry here.
Rare- Eh... okay. You like a little more bloody, that's okay. You really want to savour the juiciness of the meat. That's okay too. Is it just the light in here or are your eyes a little red? Holy shit... Are those fangs?
Blue- Why not just walk into a field and take a bite straight out of a cow?
I've changed my mind about the sliding scale after last Friday. Once you go blue, you never go back (it doesn't rhyme, I'm aware of that, but I don't have the creativity to come up with some witty rhyme).

It was melt in the mouth deliciousness like I've never had before. I was put off ever trying by a customer who came into Moll Darby's restaurant when I worked there as a waiter. He said he wanted blue steak I got him his blue steak. He very politely said; "this isn't blue enough". I asked him how blue he wanted it (in retrospect, there's a sinister dirty element going on here too). His answer was thusly:

"I want to hear the echo of the cow's last heartbeat..."


It put me off the idea of ever trying it. That's where the stupid Project comes in...
So me and Token Northy decided we'd head for a bite and and test the waters of badly cooked meat. Odd waters them. By the way, River Bistro on George's Quay in Limerick. Awesome. A bit romantic for two fellas who mostly dislike each other, in fact, with the candles, and the other people in the restaurant who were clearly on dates, it was uncomfortably romantic. Lovely if you're trying to impress a potential romantic interest. Not so much if you're bringing your mouthy flatmate...

Sorry Token!!
Doesn't he look pretty there?

So all in all. Delicious. I don't think I'll go back to medium rare. From here on out, it's blue steak for me. But only if it's being cooked by a pro... I just don't trust some of these housemates of mine... :D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thing 156 Barefoot for the Day

Alright, bad Fr Ted joke coming: Are those my feet? Classic for Irish people. Not so much for the foreigners. Sorry guys...

The Canuck's got an awesome saying, should be entered into some kind of quote book; Everything's better when you're barefoot. Now, I've a tendency to disagree with much of what the man says, not because he's wrong, but because I'm disagreeable. Contrary even. On the barefoot thing though... I think he might be right.

The only things that are not better when you're barefoot are; plugs (not plugged into sockets), boxes, doorframes (who knew they were so dangerous?), bits of things, I specifically mean sharp things that you know not from where they came, but they stick into your feet. Then there's roads and footpaths... Because I did make the silly mistake of taking my bare feet to the streets.

There's something of a conundrum to deal with in all of this too. Namely: I hate feet. I hate my feet and I hate your feet. I think we've covered this, but I'll re-cap. I've nothing against your feet personally, but I hate them because they're feet. How and ever... I love being barefoot. It's liberating. I love wearing sandals or flip flops around town, even in shitty weather. I love these things only because they give my feet freedom from the leather prisons that society tells me they have to wear.

I don't like shoes. Jeez... it's all about what I don't like today isn't it? Sorry...

The Talker kept telling me (along with The Frenchman that walking around in my bare feet would mean I'd catch diseases). I don't know why they associate barefootedness with hepatitis, but that's what they were threatening me with... What a horrendous threat. Thanks you bums.
I went to the petrol station. A woman carrying a small child was (by the most bizarre coincidence) scolding the child for forgetting to bring her shoes from where they'd come from. As she walked past me she was still giving out- "you can't go around without putting on your shoes. Look that fella's walking around without his shoes". Either she didn't realise that I could hear her and she was telling the child not to be like me, or she totally forgot that she was supposed to be giving out and just observed that my feet were bare.

I went to McDonald's for ice cream for me, Pony Boy and The Frenchman. The guy behind the counter spent his time laughing as he tried to talk to me. He was laughing because the people behind me in the queue were splitting themselves laughing. There was no point in denying it. When they asked why I'd no shoes on, I told them it was a religious thing. I happened to be wearing a hat at the time. So I told them I couldn't wear shoes and I had to cover my head. They didn't argue. It's rude to mock someone's crazy religion...

Sharp stones outside. Tiles inside the Crescent Shopping Centre... cool, relaxing tiles. With nice people who stared at me like one of the crazies who only come out at night. A guy driving passed the entrance shouted at me to put shoes on. I wanted to give out... but I couldn't.

He's right. Not wearing shoes is stupid. Sandals, okay, I'll give you those, not in the rain, because you'll catch your death of cold. But shoes, they're important. In retrospect... The Canuck is wrong... everything's not better when you're barefoot. It's nice, once in a while, but in moderation... I'm wearing my socks from now on...

A final thought... feet are like the marmite of body parts. Loved or hated. Nothing in between.

Thing 155 Hang The Giant Flag

Another day of firsts for very different reasons... I could have made the title for this entry: Wind Up North Cork. Sorry Cork people... I couldn't resist. I've got nothing really against you, I'm sure you're all very lovely people. But I've adopted County Down until the next time Limerick make an All Ireland Final. I'm throwing my lot in with the Mourne Mountain Men (I'm also apparently throwing my lot in with alliteration). So we strategically located the best place to put the flag...

On the road from North Cork to Dublin.

Mallow and Charleville Cork people will be driving underneath. Wave at my flag...
I just realised that it's a damn cruel thing to do. Cork people are going to be taunted by a gang of Limerick morons (and a Token Northy).

Oddly enough, there was a lot of support, at least I think it was support, people beeped horns at us as they drove underneath, waved at us as they drove passed. I can't understand why, but I felt like I should have been sneaking. I think I'd have been more comfortable putting up our banner in the dead of night. With a balaclava on. Dressed all in black. Not out in the day time at three o'clock in the afternoon with people watching us.

I hope Cork people don't hate me... But I really mean this: Up Down.
The other brand new experience:

Young Munsters 12 Shannon 9

I've been watching Young Munsters since I was a tiny child. I miss out sometimes, shift work, laziness, hangovers, Frenchmen. But I'm a Cookie (it's what Young Munsters fans are called. I'm not trying to refer to myself as a baked good) through and through.

In all my years watching Young Munsters, I've never seen us beat Shannon. City rivalries are a good banter. The crowds turn up. There's tension and suspense. There's loads of slagging back and forth. Shannon typically win. They've been Ireland's most successful rugby club for the last fifteen or so years. I've never seen us beat them. Last night. We did.

This is my favourite Thing ever... On a day when hanging the giant flag I spent five hours making was supposed to be my Thing for the day, Young Munsters steal the show.

Congrats Cookies. You've given me a new experience I'll never forget!

Young Munsters Charity Cup Champions 2010.

Thing 154 Make A Giant Flag

There's not enough Arts and Crafts on this Project. To make matters worse, there's not enough GIANT arts and crafts. It's like fun for a giant family. Specifically a giant from County Down. To make our giant flag we used the following tools:

Money. A little more money. 4 metres x 2 metres of black fabric. 4 metres x 2 metres of red fabric. Some little hole making things (alright so I'm not up to date with the lingo), hemming tape, and lots of white pillow cases, an iron, an iron instruction manual, taco fries and some dumbbells. Yep. Apparently weights were crucially important in the flag making industry.
This was another example of seriously over-estimating my own abilities. Couple of hours work I thought. How long can it take, it's just a damn flag. Cut out some letters. Iron them on. Hey presto. Token Northy was recruited to outline the size of the letters, then to draw them. Alright there's no point in lying, he did most of the work. I cut out the letters, while I watched football, and sliced my own hand a little... I told you all I shouldn't be trusted with sharp things.

After your letters are done, hemming tape needs to be put down underneath each and every letter. Not just one or two strips. Every inch of lettering has to be covered on the underside, and then ironed on through a wet towel. It's painstaking work. Honestly, it's non stop.

The Token Northy did it for The Canuck, made a giant flag . It was a Canada Day flag. I saw Token Northy do it, and I decided to help out.
But I've a shocking attention span, so when I saw a letter D. Hilarity ensued... No, not really. I just put my head in it. It's easy to get a few cheap laughs. Not from you obviously, but from myself. When I'm bored. It was taking too long to get it done, and my attention span was shortening by the minute, so I recruited help. Living with Token Northy is fun, and practical. It's like having your fourth class teacher in a room across the hall. Except obviously I'm 26 now. So we called him. And the work was done in half the time.
You know when you go to a match and there's a serious banner hanging over a railing, or being passed over the heads of the crowd members? I've always wonders who made them? Do people go all the way out of their way to make these things? Or are they smarter than me and get some professionals to do the job? I'm betting on professionals.
By the way, this Sunday... Up Down!!

P.S. Token Northy's real name revealed... (as if most of you didn't already know).

P.P.S. We made it onto Lamebook. That's not always a good thing, but in this case, I thought it was awesome. Have a look...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thing 153 Spider Hunt

I have named him Dedalus. If you ask me why, I'll give you a cryptic answer that relates to poetry, or ancient mysticism. It'll be a lie. I've named him Dedalus on a complete whim. He's about the size of the palm of my hand from front foot to back leg. He's big and he's exceptionally creepy.

I've deceived you somewhat with the title, for that I'm sorry, but that doesn't make this any less skin crawlingly awful, it just makes me an awful lot girl's blousier. I didn't hunt him. He didn't require stalking. He's not dangerous. He's just a house spider. Apparently this is their time to shine... At least that's what Dr Frasier tells me, sometimes I wonder does he make things up for fun to make me look silly. Spider Season.

(It's like Shark Week on Discovery channel, except with arachnids. So effectively, it's absolutely nothing like shark week. Sorry)

So we're clear: I'm not afraid of spiders. They hold no fear for me. But, and I think that even the brawniest, manliest, testosteroniest, will admit; they're creepy little bastards. Especially the big ones. They scuttle. I hate things that scuttle. They move into your gaff and think they own the blasted place. We named the one at the front door Simon. He's just there all day - hanging out in his web.

In previous spider hunts, the easiest way to remove them, is a sheet of A4 paper and a glass. Trap them in the glass, slide the paper under, bring them outside. Let them loose.

For today's spider hunt (actually yesterday's, I realise I'm a day late with the blogging). I had to pick up Dedalus there. With my hands. Nought else.

Sounds easy.

The noise I made when he scuttled over my hands and up my arm can't be replicated in text. It was something like, but not limited to: Eeeeeeiouuuuughhgggggeeiiiiiiiiingg.... Except it lasted less than a second and came out a decibel range I didn't think I could reach. Classy. Manly. Tough.

I dropped him. He ran behind the counter. I walked over. This time, I thought I'd just cup my hands over him and sort of scoop him up. In my head Token Northy's voice cold be heard... "suck it up. It's just a spider". Damn pushy Northy, criticising me in my own head.

This time he made for under my sleeve. I think I reached an impressive five feet in the air. He hit the ground. All in all, it took five attempts to pick him up. I am in fact, a giant girls blouse.
Curse you Dedalus... He lives out in the back garden now... plotting his way back in.

I decided to add something else for the day to cover my outrageous spider shame. It's still only counting as one Thing for blogging purposes. I just really felt like making up for how ridiculously badly I handled a very trivial task.

Ever heard of Lamebook? If not, and you know what facebook is, then you're in for a treat.

Lamebook. That's also a link. You can click on it. Seriously... it's okay...

I realise you're going to have to zoom in like hell to see that photo down there, but Token Northy started something amazing... and we all got in on it. Take a TV show, swap one letter, or add one letter, or subtract one letter to make a brand new show... probably not a suitable one considering how childish we all are, but funny nonetheless.

Examples for Irish people: Reeling in the Bears. A classic look back over archive footage of people trying to capture bears in the wild using a fishing rod. Also, Feather Ted, an animated series about a very religious piece of a bird's wing.

For the Minnesotans (is that right? Is there such a thing as a Minnesotan?) and the other Americans, and in fact, for all the non Irish people, here's some US TV hits: Prison Freak - a tense thrill ride show about a prisoner trying to escape from a maximum security holding, who also has a foot for a face. And, coming this "Fall" (Autumn, just call it autumn); MTV Crabs, the reality show where MTV invites itself to some happening mansions, and checks the owners for sexually transmitted infections.

What a fun game.

Token Northy posted it on his facebook page, The Frenchman, Big Red, Top Cat, Lady Northy and myself, as well as the Ozzie at the start, all waded in with our contributions. Some of them were so funny I thought I was going to cry laughing.

So I submitted to Lamebook. Two things done today. One covered in shame. The other in glory...
Feel free to zoom all the way in... you should really have a look at this...