Monday, February 28, 2011

Thing 302 Record a Song

First and foremost, let's do the thanks-to bit. Half Traffic is a pure and complete ledge-bag wrapped up in a hero. He's also a thoroughly nice bloke. While I'm selling him; he's single ladies, so get in there now, while you still can. Got road frontage. Swear to God. So thanks to him.

Mind you, calling 'round to his place is a little strange. He's got recording equipment and instruments coming out the wazoo, to borrow and Americanism that I can't pull off. At last count the man plays nine (I'm going on memory here, and mine's not razor sharp to start with. If that needs revising, it'll be upward, not down) instruments. He's got drum kits, ten hundred million guitars, saxophones, banjos, the lot. And he's a top notch producer.

There he is there below this line. Top bloke.
When I say he's a producer, I'm not talking about his profession. No, not for Half Traffic. Music production and recording is what he does on the side. Limerick heads will know him from the band Traffic, which he is one half of. Hence the very lazy blog name. And yes, that's a didgeridoo and a djemba drum in the background. He plays those too.

Mind you, the most talented producers in the world can only do so much... so there's no point in pretending that this was ever going to be a smash hit sensation. I can kind of sing. My voice is not going to sell records. Thorny Wire on the other hand, despite what you might think of his sometimes cranky countenance, has the voice of an angel. A dirty, Guinness drinking, cursing, pint-pulling angel. But an angel nonetheless. I'm allowed to say such things, he's my little brother.

There's a serious love of singing in the family. Comes from my Nana, I think. She was a singer in my gran-uncle's band way, way back. Smashing singer too. Thorny Wire got all the good genes. I got the sarcastic writing gene. What a dud. So we love our singing, even those of us that wouldn't be the greatest.

Thank God I've no shame, otherwise there's no way I'd be sticking this up here... Mind you, thanks to Half Traffic's production, it sounds better than it would have. Look at him there, producing the hell out of that song...
In order to be able to make it so you guys can hear it, I've had to splice it into (yet another) picture montage thing. It's me singing, with a bunch of Project photos for fun. Try not to get nostalgic kids. I don't want anyone crying onto their laptops...

I picked Regina Spektor because I straight up love that song. I mean I really love it. Mind you, she can sing the song. I'm just trying not to murder it. It was fine though. As Top Cat says, be proud of it... (even if it is murder...)

Thing 301 Make a Video Montage

There's way too many days when I'm harping back over college days. You'd swear i was some kind of old timer the way I go on. "Back in my day...". I'm a man of many bad habits, so I'm not about to stop this one: Back in my days in college, Dr Frasier and Badger used to be wizards with the movie making on the laptop. Dr Frasier made a video montage of old photos of our college days and set it to the old time tune "We'll Meet Again". Nearly reduced me to tears about a month after we'd finished college. Good times.

I was always slightly envious of his ability to make these things. Badger was just as good, but funnier. He made a video for Little Squirrel that had us all in tears laughing. Poor Little Squirrel had to take a lot of abuse. Mind you, he dished it out goodo too. So I got busy for Thing 301 and made a downloaded the movie maker and got to work.

First problem is that I'm a lemon. A human version of a fruit. Technology wouldn't be my strongest suit in the world, and when I'm excited about something I tend to make a balls of it. So it took me way longer than it should have. Mostly because I accidentally deleted the videos. Twice.

Thankfully I've a wealth of old photos to choose from. The Project has been well photographed over the last eleven months. So here is my tribute to Token Northy, and the many ridiculous facial expressions he has. I've dedicated it, most lovingly, to himself and Lady Northy, because they're engaged, and the wedding is going to be awesome. Plus I figure that the nicer I am, the more likely I am to get an invite. Pony Boy and The Frenchman can stay at home... losers!

But wait... there's more...

Pony Boy puts Token Northy in the ha'penny place with his expressive face, and I felt that I absolutely should. So I did. Here's yet another masterpiece of video making. Starring Pony Boy...

But that's not the best one... the best one is still to come. First; some background.

We're obsessed with our fishtank. It sits in the kitchen and would put Coronation Street to shame for the intricate storylines and plots we get from it. There are some outstanding individual performers in that tank. Firstly there's Catfish. His very unoriginal name comes from the fact that he's a catfish. Interesting note about them is that they grow BIG. It won't be long before he's the biggest in there. And nobody f***s with him. He lives under a rock, and doesn't like being bothered. So none of the other fish go anywhere near him. Then there's New Shark. He's the second of two small shark-looking fish. A late arrival to the tank, he quickly stamped his authority on all around him. By eating them. What a charmer. Then there's Rope Fish. He's a long eel looking yoke, and a menace to the tank. He's the only one who messes with Catfish.

In the early days of TankTown we introduced ten Neons to the others. We called them The Disco Brothers. On the second day in the tank, we noticed there were only nine of them, and Rope Fish was looking fat. The third day, there was just eight, and Catfish was burping out tiny little bones. The next day, just seven and New Shark had unbuckled his belt a little. You get where this is going. All ten of them were eaten.

Never ones to learn our lesson, we bought ten new ones and popped them in. Same story. One by one, they were picked off... until. The last Disco Brother. He's been in there for months now. All on his own. Surviving. He's like the Highlander of Neons. We call him Disco Ninja, and he's either saved his life by becoming someone's bitch, or he's the most badass Neon in the world. I'm choosing to believe it's the second one.

And so...

Without (much) further ado...

The Sluggery Boys present...

Disco Ninja:

P.S. I told you we're obsessed with that tank.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thing 300 Toll House Trek

After a long and irritating day at work and the sixty kilometre or so round trip commute that comes with it, there's nothing I hate more than the slow and painful realisation that I've still got a Project Thing to do. On days such as these, I comfort myself with the knowledge that there's millions of tiny little things that I've never done, and they can be achieved quickly and easily without hassle, so I can spend a night watching cartoons, movies or staring at the fish-tank in the kitchen; happy as a pig in... well, you know.

On the ever dwindling list of easily achievable Things that are within striking distance of my house, better known as The Sluggery, was the enchanting and delectable treat of a Toll House Cookie. Famous from an episode of Friends I once saw, and plastered all over McDonald's advertising boards for the last month or so, I promised myself a nice little treat: Easy Thing for Project; sweet thing for my chubby tummy.

There's a McDonald's just five minutes of a drive from my gaff. Sweet. I can stop off on my way home. The problem with that Micky D's is that it's popular. Very popular. So loads of people go there. The problem with advertising is that it works. It works very well. This combination is not good for me, because it results in a lack of Toll House cookies...

Not to fear, there's another pair of Golden Arches in Limerick City centre. Smack on Cruise's Street. It might be the McDonald's with the greatest drunks to staff ratio in the entire world, but it's not that late in the day, and sure isn't town only a hop skip and a jump from The Crescent. Remember what the problem with advertising is? Well apparently it's no different for drunks than it is for the sober demographic. No Toll House cookies for me in town.

I'm a little miffed, but hey, there's a McDonald's in the Jetland, on the Ennis Road, and that's a short haul from town. It's a bit out of the way for getting back to The Sluggery, but the fish-tank isn't going anywhere, regardless of the schemes and machinations of the Catfish (that's not a blog name, we've got our very own evil scheming catfish in the tank). Guess where else didn't have Toll House cookies?

Now I'm a horrendously stubborn man. And at this point, it's no longer about the Project. It's not about the fish-tank. It's not even about the cookie. It's about me getting what I want. I want it, and I want it now. So I'm having it. Next stop: Shannon Town. That's right. The place where I work. The place I drove to that morning, then drove home from just over an hour and a bit ago. Shannon Town. I put on the angry music in the iphone. Gangster rap and Metallica and what have you.

Guess what McDonald's did have my Toll House cookie? Oh yeah. Get in there Shannon town. I sat there in the "restaurant" munching happily on my first ever Toll House Cookie, and sipped on a latte ('cos I'm fancy me) and turned on the not angry music. Rockabilly and a bit of Jack Johnson. Then I realised I was in Shannon...

Stupid Project...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thing 299 Photoshop

Editing the shit out of pictures is the kind of thing that people just do all the time. Some award winning photographers turned out to be frauds when it transpired that they'd taken the technology that smart people made for them and turned it to their nasty little means, resulting in fakes. Meanwhile some clever, funny and bored Canadian students visiting their mate in Mary I in Limerick a few years ago, showed me how to photoshop the crap out of pictures for funsies. Thank you Canuck.

Thing is, that I never actually bothered to do it myself. There are a few reasons for this. First: It takes a meticulous amount of careful administration. Attention to detail. I get distracted when someone dangles car keys in front of me. Two: When you've got someone good at doing this stuff, let them do it, don't be trying to get this crap done when you're clearly a lazy bum. I'm not talking to you, by the way, I think you're lovely, I'm talking to me. Which makes me a weirdo. I know. You already knew this too, surely. Three: It takes patience. I don't have any. And I mean none. I want it now, or ten minutes ago. So I let The Canuck take care of all the photoshopping. now it's my turn.

What to edit? Edit myself into a WWE ring, clobbering the living bejaysus out of Razor Ramone like I promised myself I'd do when I was ten? How about a photoshop of me along side Steve Jobs, being best buddies ever? No. I opted to photoshop out a pic of the only celebrity in Tinseltown who's close to me heightwise. Smaller than me, by the way, before you start mocking.

The patience required is actually a little daunting, since it takes a serious amount of time to individually pick out my giant fat head from a photo and place it on to an even gianter, fatter head of Tom Cruise. To be fair, I do look better with Katie than he does. I look smugger too, if that's possible.

If you want to know what I think the secret to good photoshopping is; it's layers. Everything is in layers. You can take a whole bunch of photos and, with the aforementioned patience and meticulousness, pick individual parts, people or objects, and lift them directly into other layers. There's a lot of chopping. You can see I've gone slightly wrong with this one. The head's too large, and the colour's slightly off, but that's because I don't have The Canuck's sense of dedication and I got bored and pretty much gave up...

Best I could come up with before stole my attention... speaking of which... I'm off again...

Thing 298 Cinema Date Marathon

Jeez... doesn't she look lonely in there. Apparently I'm mad for my movies these days. I know I'm always mad for a good film, but after thirteen hours of Star Wars you'd think that I'd have enough of seeing films and want to get out a bit. Not so, not so. Instead of that I went on the marathon of cinema dates with The Thief. We got to the Omniplex about one in the afternoon, we left at just after one in the morning the next day...

There's a perverted kind of logic to it. Like I say, I've always been a movie buff, I've over two hundred and fifty DVDs, and that's a collection that grows weekly. I'm at the movies most weeks at least once to see what's on, and then give out about it, or rave about it endlessly, there's no half way with me really. I've always wanted to spend the day there. Just wander from movie to movie, with nought else to do with my time. Thanks be to Project, I get a reasonable excuse to do so.

If there's one thing the Project has done for me, it's erase any vestiges of dignity, shame or embarrassment that I once had. Not so for The Thief who spent half the time in between movies cringing at the the fact that the staff there seemed to be watching us and wondering if we had any lives of our own, or just kept getting confused when we were trying to find the exit. Poor girl was mortified.

First up: Tangled (3D). Awesome flick. Hilarious. You should see The Thief doing her impression of the Chameleon in it. Hilarious isn't even the word, it'd have you doubled over. Only if you've seen the movie though. I love cartoons. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever grow up. Funny thing about this movie was that it was being screened just after one o'clock on a Saturday. I figured place would be dead. Not a hope. Jammers. Packed to the rafters with kids. They were everywhere. Not exactly romantic. The movie was so good that they were rapt though. Not a peep out of them.

After the show we'd to head back and buy tickets for the next movie... Ladies and gents, number two: Black Swan.

Wow... now there's a disturbing movie. The lads had seen it already. So they spent ages telling me about a lesbian scene with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. By the time it come s around, I was way too disturbed to find it anything but upsetting, and it's only five in the evening. Plus we've been back to see the same guy at the ticket desk too times in a row. He was giving us a funny look.

After it was done, it was my call for a show again. Now the dude at the counter is looking at us like we're seriously weird. He'd be right in my case, but The Thief is relatively sane as people go. It was Paul Giamatti movie. The man is a leg-end. So movie number three: Barney's Version.

It's not exactly a pace-setter as shows go. It's very good to watch, without being a classic. I think it'll get a good following on DVD though, because it's the kind of movie that'll translate well on to the small screen. At this point, we've been eating nothing but popcorn, peanut M&Ms (which I normally love, but there's only so much), and Starburst, while drinking only Coke. We're really not very healthy people... honestly. This is also the movie screen in which the photo up there was taken. I'll give you a mo to scroll back up...

Yep, that's The Thief entirely on her own in a cinema screen small enough to fit into my living room. Alright, minor exaggeration, but you get my meaning. Apparently the people in the Omniplex don't think much of Paul Giamatti movies and figured that there'd be only two people there. By the time it started there were actually six of us. Still small enough for us all to say hello and introduce ourselves. That's a new experience all on it's own. Introducing myself to everyone else in the cinema...

By the time it's done it's gone dark outside. And we've switched from cartoons to slightly dark movies about guys who drink.... alot! Time for a new show. Number four: How Do You Know.

Now I'm seriously hanging for some food that's not complete junk. Do nachos and cheese count? The nachos and cheese were the best thing about How Do You Know. A movie with Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson is supposed to be amazing. They're all pretty class. Instead it was AWFUL. I'm sure someone is going to argue with me about that, but it's true. A bad movie... Watch it, and regret that decision.

So now it's after eleven at night, and I've not had a morsel of reasonable food all day, just junk. Never thought I'd pine so much for a piece of lettuce, but there you have it. To add to this, The Thief is still cringing as the staff watch us move around for a fifth movie, and the guy at the till is looking at me like I'm taking the piss out of him. I'm trying not to look like I care, but there's a tiny part of me that wants to explain it's a Project Thing. I don't though.

Number five: A Little Bit of Heaven. It's not my choice. Obviously. Just go Google the title there. Not that I'm not partial to the odd chick-flick. Just that this one was never going to be a light-hearted romp. Something about it warned me to be wary...

It was brilliant. Cast was fantastic. Kathy Bates is brillo in everything. Kate Hudson's pretty cool too, to be fair. Smashing movie, if a little bit of a tear jerker. I didn't cry though. Even if The Thief tells you that I did, it's a lie. I definitely did not shed a couple of tears at the end. No way. You can't prove a thing...

Total money spent: I don't know, but it was something over a hundred and twenty quid... The movies are expensive. They're also great, but in not so hefty doses. It's kind of taken the novelty out of it for me for a while... Still though... great date... :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thing 297 Star Wars Marathon

It's a wonder that I have a girlfriend. It's a wonder that I'm ever even taken seriously. Scratch that second one, no one takes me seriously. The reason that I scratch my head over such things is that I'm a giant nerd. I own DVDs of series' of Star Trek. I can recite passages of Monty Python movies. I laugh at xkcd. I reference xkcd in sentences. I own all six Star Wars movies.

On top of this, and it only makes matter worse, I'm relatively pleased about it. It gets me laughed at by some of my work colleagues, and I know it exasperates The Thief from time to time, but I enjoy being a nerd. It's not for everyone, and I don't expect you all to immediately get on board with all things Jedi, but it's right up my street.

Another list item that's been there since the first day. I've wanted to do it about fifteen times, but I always put it off, because I wanted the day to be just right. Conditions had to be perfect. How sad is that? I wanted conditions to be perfect for when I sat down to watch thirteen or so hours of science fiction movies.
The first dilemma is what order to watch them in: Episodes IV, V and VI (that's four, five and six if you're not from ancient Rome) were made in the 1970's, with their prequels launched in the early 2000's in the form of episodes I, II, III. So far the movies have made over four point four billion. Amazing isn't it?

The dilemma comes from the fact that episodes one and two, which have stars like Liam Neeson, Ewan MacGregor, Natalie Portman and the dddddreadful Hayden Christensen are just awful, while the original three, which actually come after the later movies, were awesome. Particularly since they've been digitally remastered to get over the occasionally crappy CGI, which would have blown your mind wide open if you'd seen it in the '70's. It was revolutionary back then.

I opted for the plot-line option. Start with the early episodes, play through to the good ones. Started at three in the day, or thereabout, I was still a little shook from my night as a woman, which turned into a late one. So myself and Pony Boy, with some occasional visits from Little Flower and The Frenchman, settled down to watch the greatest movie saga of our time unfold.

The amount of popular TV references to Star Wars is shocking. Family Guy, The Simpson's, How I Met Your Mother, Friends as well as countless movies, constantly reference Star Wars. "May the Force be with you" is now a commonly overheard term. The Dark Side is well known, and the famous "I am your father" line is one of the most widely known dramatic moments of all time. Because you see, Star Wars has bridged way more lines than people think. Yes, nerds do enjoy it more than the rest of you, but that doesn't mean that many people who do not have nerdish tendencies don't enjoy the movies. I dare you to watch them...

So without further ado, in the descending order of awesomeness, here's the six movies:

1: A New Hope 2: Return of the Jedi 3: Empire Strikes Back 4: Revenge of the Sith 5: Attack of the Clones 6: Phantom Menace

Anyone reading that list who's not watched the movies and doesn't care is currently shrugging their shoulders apathetically. Anyone who has seen them is getting ready to dispute me. I invite all forms of animated nerd discussion...

I finished watching, all alone, I might add, at just before five am. Yep. That's thirteen or so hours of science fiction. Talk about a pig in shit. I'd a big cheesey grin on all day. As I said, I like being a nerd, and those movies, are pretty much our bible. The only bad thing is that now that it's been done, I'm unlikely to ever watch all six in a row again.

Oddly enough, that makes me a little sad! In the emotional way, not the pathetic way, all though that could be argued too... I'm not going to though.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thing 296 Dress as a Woman

Yeah. That's me. Dan Mooney. I'm a twenty six year old MALE, who apparently can make a pretty passable woman. Pony Boy will never recover. I think he threw up in his mouth about fifteen times. The Frenchman looked ill, and while she helped, I think Little Flower was secretly disgusted with me too.

Initially I had help from Pony Boy and The Canuck, who helpfully looked up how to make male cleavage online, and then taped up my recently shaved chest to make it look like I'd boobs. It was upsetting on many levels. How many times in your life will you thank two of your best mates for duct taping fake boobs into your chest? Speaking of upsetting, here's a photo of me putting on a bra... I'm not what most people will call sexy...
After that, the cavalry arrived. There's no way a bunch of dudes are going to be able to womanify me to the standard required. I'm not talking about looking like a Drag Queen, mostly because I look like that when I put on a wig and have a few drinks, so there's nothing new about that. I was going for proper woman, or at least to see if I could convince friends and family that I'd pass as a woman. I like to think that based on that photo up there it's a case of mission accomplished. But for that kind of look, the cavalry really was required...
Enter Little Flower, Clo Bear, Talker, Tiny Fairy and Blond Boss. A note on Blond Boss - the woman can get so excited that she's like a six year old child, stuffed with skittles, coke and crack. She's an absolute legend though. And she painted my face goodo. I think it was needed. The more makeup the better, I'm hardly an oil painting as a man, trying to look convincing as a woman is going to require about two and a half inches of makeup.... at least.

Just look at that photo. Is it weird that I'm trying to look down my own top every time I see it?
When we were all done applying two and a half hours worth of makeup to my face, and stuffing me into a pair of shoes, it's time to hit the town. It was CiCi Doo's birthday, she's been my older sister since I was born. So the four siblings decided to go for a few bevvies. That's drinks for those who didn't get that. Poor Thorny Wire didn't know where to look, the man was never so uncomfortable in all his life. "I've feckin' three sisters all of a sudden", he said, with a scowl...

So there's his three sisters: Me, Bean Bag and CiCi Doo.
Yep. This is the weirdest, strangest, most unsettling night out ever. We hit five pubs, Blond Boss joined in, and I spent the night looking for friends and people I knew, popping over to them in the pubs, tapping them on the shoulder and seeing if they'd recognise me. Not a lot of them did. In retrospect, when you're a man, dressed as a convincing woman, the last thing you should be doing is drawing attention to yourself.

Mind you, the reactions were funny. The lesson learned: High heels are dreadfully uncomfortable. Sympathy for all women who wear them. I feel your pain sisters.

Thing 295 Shave my Legs

Just look at those pins... Oh yeah. I grew them myself you know. So as hair removal goes, this Project has been busy. I shaved a mohawk in, shaved the hair dye out, had my personal bits waxed, my chest shaved, I've cut someone else's locks, and now... now I've even shaved my own legs.

Ever since the start of The Project, I've found myself watching an awful lot less television. Much as I want to veg out, all the time, there's just no opportunity most of the time. Occasionally I find myself missing parts of it. Specifically, the ads. Isn't that weird? I miss good ads. Good ads like those two fellas in the Fosters ad. Hilarious Australians in their little shack. Even a bad ad can have a strange hold on you - like Barry Scott (whoever he is) screaming at you about how much he loves Cillit Bang. Would we even remember the product if this chap wasn't screaming at us?

There's a point to this, and I'm getting there. Bear with me.

I've always found ads for ladies razors oddly alluring. They make leg shaving look like it's something you should look forward to. Like some kind of personal treat to yourself. The also make lady razors look fifty times more effective than man-razors. I have this mental image of shaving myself with a lady razor, and it being just like wiping my face with a silken towel, resulting in facial smoothness. Which would be awesome, as I hate shaving...
My legs are so damn hairy though, that I'd to use the hair clippers that's normally reserved for shaving my head, and trim those pins all the way down. But I stopped at the line where my boxers start, so now I've got this weird hairline right across my thighs. It's hilarious looking. Then of course I'd forgotten to get lady razors, so I'd to use disposables. And I'd to do it with one leg sticking into my shower, half falling over, and there was no cool music in the background. Those ads lied to me. There's nothing great about shaving your legs.

Advertisements lied to me... how could they? I've never been so betrayed...

I'm going to come up with some categories for the different Things, in lieu of actual categories, I'm going to call this a "Rubbernecker". It's where my housemates, or anyone near by really, stops what they're doing to watch. It happens more than you'd think. Free Hugs Thing got a crowd. So did Thomond Park Seats Thing. Now since I wasn't shaving my legs on O'Connell Street, it was down to Lady Northy, Token Northy, Pony Boy, The Frenchman, Little Flower and Tiny Fairy. I think Lady Northy was most disturbed by the whole thing...
Mind you, disturbing is only starting. There's so much worse to come. All too often one of the Things leads in to another. Thing 296 is going to make your eyes burn... Most especially the lads... You can't unsee what's about to come next...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thing 294 Bury a Hatchet

Here's the thing, this blog is personal, and it's a kind of personal journey, and you're all welcome along on the journey, but there's some stuff that's kind of too personal to be shared here. So I'm going to spend half of this blog speaking in vague generalities about a situation that I don't want you knowing too much about, and the other half will be about literally burying a hatchet.

I've a head like a mallet. I'm never wrong. Even when I'm wrong, I'm not wrong. My brother, the Thorny Wire is pretty much the same as me, which made for an interesting childhood. My poor mother aught to be sainted. Me and Thorny Wire have had some spectacular rows. No one literally buried a hatchet, or literally anything else.... just about.

You know how I love the extended metaphors though. This one wasn't even on the list of Things, but it seemed appropriate considering the week that was in it. Every so often, even when I'm not wrong, I'm vaguely aware that there's a chance that I'm wrong. It takes me a while for this thought to form. It starts with a germ of an idea, a vague hint that something is wrong or just slightly amiss. It takes a while for it to develop.
So speaking of my poor beleaguered ma, I'd to raid my parents' house to get a hatchet. Oddly enough, among the junk you can find lying around The Sluggery are footballs of many varieties, guitars aplenty, many different types of hammers, screwdrivers and pliers, four different couches and all of Pony Boy's many many hats... no hatchets. Surprisingly there's two of them in mam and dad's gaff. Neither of them are lumberjacks. It's a little alarming...

So when I've realised I'm wrong, or at least thought of it, there's a few stages to go through. First denial; I'm not wrong. Then righteous indignation; this is definitely not my fault, someone else is to blame. Then acceptance; right, I probably did something wrong here. This may be my issue. And then regret; I'm going to have to apologise... bury the hatchet so to speak.

You see where I'm going with this.

Now I was a little late getting the hatchet, and it was Grey's Anatomy night, so The Thief was occupied, but there wasn't a lot of light left, and what was also missing from The Sluggery? A shovel. So what did I need to do? Yes. I used my hands. Like a dog, if a dog had hands instead of paws. I wonder what the neighbours would have thought if they'd looked out their windows. A man out his back garden at half ten at night, hatchet in hand, digging up the back garden with his free lámh.

So I sent an email. It said lots of stuff. Mostly it said sorry. And I filled the hole with the hatchet in it. Buried. To be forgotten about. Thankfully.

Thing 293 TRM

TRM is an acronym. My job is jammed full of acronyms. Since Token Northy and I work together, it means that on days when work is eventful, we come home and we start chatting, sounds like we're puking up letters of the alphabet. It pisses Pony Boy off something wicked. He doesn't like not being in the loop.

"F*** the two of you, with your SAFP, and TCCA. It's all WIGH and FYHY with you". He's a charmer is the man.

So TRM. It means Team Resource Management. It's one of those many acronyms associated with jobs which probably means something to someone, somewhere, presumably. It sounds like management speak doesn't it? Like "paradigm breaking" or "outside the box thinking". I was not looking forward to a day of TRM. Aside from anything else, I figured it would be a day of lectures, and speeches. I'm famous for my ability to fall asleep on command during speeches.

In fact, I've made something of a habit of sleeping instead of listening when it comes to any form of speech. Last week when The Canuck was explaining his All Day Chilli to me, I nodded off. Not exactly polite. I know....
TRM was a surprise though. It was such a pleasant surprise that I made it a Project Thing. It was my first time doing it after all. What those photos show there are one of the team building exercises. Build a tower using six pieces of newspaper, add duct tape, two pieces of string and a full tin of beans. Three teams to build their own towers, tallest one to support a tin of beans wins... Genius.

That's the kind of competition gets people going. We came second. Out of three. Glass half full or glass half empty that's not winning no matter how it's sliced. Still, better than dead last eh?

There were group discussions, often quite lively. Safety cases, which weren't boring. And for all the official professional nature of it, I still got to wear a "Grumpy" hoodie and not shave.

The whole point of the day is to get people to engage with each other. Discuss problems. See how different people can create difficult solutions from each other. As someone kept saying, in a kind of creepy way; there are many ways to skin a cat. What a lovely analogy.

That was sarcasm by the way. I like cats.

If cohesion's the name of the game for TRM, it succeeded, since everyone in the room seemed to do well to engage with one another. I didn't fall asleep once, and I think the whole thing was actually highly productive. It's not the kind of thing you'd want to be doing everyday, but it's definitely the kind of thing that most people in most jobs would benefit from. At least once anyway.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thing 292 Time Capsule

It's one of the things that apparently drives all people in the entire world. A deep seeded need to leave something behind for another time. Something of our time. A legacy of ourselves. Mine's buried in my Ma and Da's back garden. None of this children or artwork nonsense for me. No sir (or madam). For me a USA biscuit tin stuffed with crap that someone thirty years from now may or may not give a rat's ass about.

I included a bunch of stuff, a CD, a DVD, a bottle of wine, some money, a copy of the day's paper and a note... Here's the very note, and this is what I wrote...

Hello Future Person,
First and foremost, allow me to clear up any confusion for you. You're only in the future from my perspecitve, it's still the present to you, so don't panic. You're not the one travelling in time, that's what this letter is doing. I'm writing this on the last day of January in the year 2011. I'm hoping that this letter doesn't see day light until some time after the start of the year 2031. I'm also hoping it's not me who goes digging for it. My kids, or my nieces and nephew, or, god forbid, Token Northy's kids. If you're reading this tiny Nelli, welcome to the back garden of my parents house... now get off my property. I'm kidding. You're more than welcome.

The point of the items included here is to give you an idea of life back in my time. I've included the following: A bottle of wine. If you're old enough to appreciate it, and I hope you are, it's been aging for twenty years. Should be delicious. Don't sell it on ebay. If you're not old enough to appreciate it, give it to your parents, don't drink it behind the school with your Canadian friend. He'll only get you in trouble. Or you'll get him in touble. Either way, thirteen years later you may be stuck getting each other in trouble all the time.

I've also included a newspaper. It's a means of telling people what's going on in the world. It contains current affairs; politics, sport, opinion pieces, economic news, health news, personal information. It's being suggested in this year, that the newspaper in its printed form will be dead within the next ten years. I can't ever imagine that happening, but lots of smarter people than I are predicting this. That's why the first half of this paragraph explains the context of a newspaper. If I'm correct, and newspapers are not dead in the year 2031 then you've just suffered the most patronising three lines of text that I've ever written. Sorry about that. It's today's paper. Not normally a fan of the Sunday Independent, but there was no Times left, and toilet paper doesn't count as a broadsheet, even if you can use a broadsheet as toilet paper. If you'd like a brief summary of the news today:

Fianna Fail are screwed in the upcoming election, as their current government has completely fallen apart. In Egypt, thousands of people have literally had enough of their Government's shit, and they're doing something about it. Our economy here in Ireland is in tatters. And I mean shreds, but there's some hope we'll start recovering by the end of this year. Fingers crossed.
In the sport's section: Manchester United rule, and everyone else blows chunks. I'm paraphrasing of course, and I'm a little biased, but you'll have that I think.

I've also included a CD. That's compact disc. It's definitely going to be obselete excpet as a retro/vintage gift to give to an older cooler relative. This CD is Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms album. It's amazing. Money for Nothing is possibly one of the best rock songs ever.
I've included a receipt for some grocery shopping. I'm not sure if you'll have abolished wealth as Star Trek has suggested to me, but if not, here's how much things cost now (prices in euro and cent): 2litres of milk: 2.38. Butter: 1.25. Sliced pan: 1.25. Eggs:2.26. I hope the receipt hasn't faded too much.

Here are a few predictions I'd like to prognosticate for your amusement:
Newspapers will still exist. CDs will be obselete. Gaelic Games players will be fully professional and the games will have spread throughout Europe, their popularity growing yearly. The United States will no longer be a superpower. China will not be communist. The euro will be the world's strongest currency. The middle east crisis will never be solved.

Here's hoping I'm right about some things. Wrong about others. If we haven't broken the internets again, then look up and you'll see why I've done this. You'll also see some photos of me and my buddies.

See you in the future.

Dan Mooney

Personally I think the note says it all... so there's no point in continuing this blog further...

But I love going on and on and on, so I'll continue: Here's hoping this one sees the light of day some time. I know that my message in a bottle has never been answered, and in all likelihood, never will. Think of the shock I'll get years and years down the line when some gets in touch to say they found it. I really hope that gaff still belongs to my folks...

Thing 291 Solve a Rubik Cube

Ignore all the numbers, they're not important unless you want to play sudoku at the same time as solving the Rubik Cube. Which I don't. I've had considerable difficulties from time to time just getting my feet into the correct legs of my trousers, and now you want me to solve a Rubik Cube and a Sudoku Cube at the same time... bah. I'll stick with the Rubik part.

Them's the colouredy bits. Green, orange, purple, blue, red and pink. Each to match up correctly on every side so that all the correct colours are in sequence. Shouldn't be too hard right? There are plenty of teenagers who can do this shit in under two minutes. I haven't been a teenager for nearly nine years now. I can surely kick these kids asses...
Success. It only took two hours and fifteen minutes. I'm too lazy to go back through all the previous blogs to check, but I'm nearly sure I found a needle in a haystack quicker than that. A six metre by six metre haystack, and I found a needle quicker than I could solve this. Having said that, I'm totally chuffed with myself. Seriously, it's no easy feat. Ever tried it? It's not simple.

I may have seriously confused myself though. I did ask for some outside help. See if you can make head arse nor tail of this guy. Because Lord knows I couldn't.... Click me! So yeah, I was cheating I guess, not that it did me any good mind you. I was utterly clueless about what he was saying. Algorithmic this, formula that. Utterly pointless trying to use this guy. The worst thing is that he thinks he's making it easy to understand... my eye.

So I started just twisting. Over and over. I flicked a bit this way, then that way, and if you asked me to do it all over again, I really wouldn't know what to do. I was nearly completely lost. In fact, I'd stopped paying much attention and was watching TV with The Frenchman, Little Flower and Pony Boy. I was only paying mild attention to anything else.

The next thing I look down and i'm nearly there. I'm talking just two blocks or so away from completely perfect. That's when I started panicking. I don't mind making a balls of it completely when there's nothing there to really make a balls of, but when you're this close to the end...

Thankfully, I didn't completely destroy it. I took the long way around and I did look up some tips and tricks for helping, but that's only because I'm stupid, and require help.

You would too.

Thing 290 Shotgun a Can

I know that the actual purpose of The Project was to break me out of a comfort zone, and that there are few things in this world that I'm more comfortable with than the idea of a bunch of cans, preferably hammered home in shocking time, but it's still a new Thing and it still counts...

Kind of surprising that it's new though. I'm pretty sure that'll come as a shock to the people I went to college with. We weren't exactly shrinking-violets when it came to parties, and we were relatively experimental when it came to different methods of alcohol delivery systems. For example, Newbie, Badger and Little Squirrel were all famous for drinking neat whiskey from a pot. Classy boys. I hope you're reading this.

So considering that's the kind of company I kept (and continue to keep) through college, I think it's pretty amazing that I never shotgunned a can before.
Now, the messers from college are scattered here, there and everywhere. For example; Badger lives in London, Little Squirrel just landed a smashing job lecturing in Irish over in the United States and nobody's seen or heard from Newbie since 2006. He's presumed armed and dangerous... We presume this because that's how he's always been.

So with those bums not around to show me how to shotgun the can... How am I going to learn how it's done? Enter: Pony Boy. The taller, funnier version of me. Of course he knows how, and even has a little key that's ideal for the job.

Alright, here comes the science bit...
Once the can has been pieced at the bottom, and quickly covered, the trick is to open the can at the top, then there's something about a vacuum, and physics comes into play somehow, something to do with Isaac Newton and voila; a whole bunch of beer rushes out the tiny hole and the can crumples. At this point it's all about swallowing or choking. I'm not a fan of the latter so I gave the former a shot.

Fifteen seconds from full to empty. I resisted the urge to crush what was left of the can with my head, frat-boy style. I've already done that for this Project.

Pony Boy kicked ass though. Less than ten from full to empty. Legend...

It's not my style though. Drinking like that was fun when I was in college. These days I'm more refined... but don't look into that too deeply. I'm not exactly squeaky clean in the department.

My old college gang would be ashamed of me...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thing 289 Be Ordained

I'm aware of the difference between fiction and reality, in case you're wondering, all I'm saying is that if this guy can become a Minister, then so can I. It's not just Joey from Friends you know. Barney from How I Met Your Mother gets himself ordained as well. And who says kids don't mimic what they see on television?

So you may call me Reverend Dan Mooney from now on. Or just Rev if we're friends. Many people have been mocking my ordination since I signed up, but I spare them no thought. If they'd paid the fifty dollars and spent fifteen minutes of their precious time signing up online then they wouldn't be slagging. Minister school was hard for me. Mostly it was hard because I maxed my credit card recently and had to borrow my mother's in order to get ordained... it was quite the spiritual journey.

Seriously; for the princely sum of fifty dollars and about fifteen minutes of your time, you too can be legally ordained to practice whatever faith you like in the United States. Here's the skinny: The first amendment of the US constitution and the same constitutions declaration that anyone can practice any religion of their choosing means that if you establish a church in the US, and it's registered, you have the right to ordain ministers in that church as you please.

On top of that, it's completely legal, and no one has the right to say that you're any less of a minister than a man who spends seven years at minister school and gets a first class honours degree in Ministering from the Head Ministerer. Which means I can now legally perform weddings, funerals, baptisms and house blessings in the United States.

All thanks to a registered Church called Universal Ministries, who have the power to appoint a Minister, and exercised the power to make me Reverend. Very Reverend actually.

I'd nearly travel to the United States just to be the man who ties the knot for someone. There has to be someone over there who wants a short, weird Irish guy to perform the biggest ceremony of their lives?

In a day of highs-and-lows, I was immediately disappointed to learn following my ordination, that facebook don't want people changing their titles to Rev. I don't know why they don't like this, but what's the point in me making a fifty dollar spiritual quest if I don't get to show off. Surely the main point in being a man of the cloth is that you get to show off right? Or am I missing the point?

If anyone asks me what church I represent, I'm going to tell them the Jedi Church, then I'm going to wave my hand in front of their faces and tell them that these are not the droids that they're looking for. I should probably start dressing like a Jedi too...

Look, we all know this isn't real, it's a fraud. While I am a spiritual person, and I have my faith, this Ministry is legal in the US but means nothing in the eyes of anyone with faith. Having said that, I'd love to go back to my old Primary and Secondary schools and tell some of my teachers that I became a Reverend. Heart attacks all 'round.

Now to start working on a sermon to issue to the lads of a Sunday, and see how long it takes Pony Boy to try punching me in the face.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thing 288 Australia Day

When most people hear the word racism, Anti-Australian sentiment is not the first thing that pops into their heads. And rightly so. I don't think that there is a large amount of anti-Ozzie feeling out there. Nonetheless, if you walk around town in shorts, a vest and a short-sleeved shirt, pretending that you're about to go surfing and drinking cans of Fosters, I think it would be fair to call that racist. Basically it's just mocking Australians.

Turns out the joke's on me though. Because walking around in your shorts and flip-flops (or thongs as the say in Australia) in Ireland, in January is stupid beyond words. The Thief and I went for cake and tea, and I'm nearly sure the woman spent most of the day trying to get away from me, crossing roads and hiding her face. Because being seen with the man who's either clearly insane, or obviously stupid is nobody's idea of fun.
I watched Home and Away. I "threw shrimp on the barbie". Literally. I bought shrimp. I opened up our barbeque, I stood a reasonable distance away and I fired shrimp on to it. I didn't cook them, obviously. Just threw them. I drank Fosters and I visited my Irish based Australian friend Wombat. That's him up there in the photo. He was having an Australia Day party. That's a first for most people, I just like to drag the arse out of these Things, hence the reason that I spent all day looking like a clown.

I've got some Ozzie friends in Australia who are, thankfully, too far away from here to punch me in the face for mocking them (see you all for the wedding in October folks... you can form an orderly queue for punching then). And I've visited Australia for three weeks with Blond Boss back in 2009, so I think, somehow, without applying any logic, that I'm allowed to make fun of Ozzies... Don't think too deep into that one, just go with me on it.

I have to say, all messing aside, I think I love Australian culture. It's like American culture; a mish-mash of other countries' and nationalities mixed with some Aboriginal ideas and all melted together into a commonality that can only be called Australian. For example: In Leederville, Perth, WA, I went to a cafe and ordered a latte and a slice of cake (I do love me a slice of cake). I was on my own, so I sat down to read the paper. Lost track of time and fifteen minutes later realised I'd not gotten my cake or coffee. I went to the counter, not exactly angry, just a little miffed. The girl behind the counter smiled; "Aw yeih, I forgot about you..."

There was no "sorry". No free coffee. No guilt or embarrassment. If it happened in Ireland, there'd be a scene made. I told Band Man when I got back to his house and he laughed. Ya, that's typically Australian apparently. Too laid back to care, and either you slow down to their pace of life, or you'll get frustrated fast....

What a way to live. For all my taking the piss out of all things Australian, I like their style...

I don't like their fashion. Or their Vegemite... but that's a different story.

Thing 287 STI Clinic

Well... this is awkward for us all. Ahem. How about we act casual and pretend this isn't embarrassing and we'll get through this quickly. If you could avoid looking me in the eye that would be great. How about the weather we're having eh? Not nice out there today I can tell you.

Ha. What's that? Oh yes, yes. Terrible about the Government. Election soon I believe. 'Bout time too says you, heh? You'd be fed up with the lot of them wouldn't you? Yeah....




Terrible about the parking around here isn't it? And it's the same in town you know. Parking rates are a complete disaster in the city centre. It's no wonder everyone's heading off to the suburban shopping centres. Yeah...


I've never in my life sat through so many awkward silences. Not since Jack Rack dropped his pants in a lecture theatre packed with students and slapped his bare arse until everyone stopped talking, have I experienced such deafening silence. It's so Irish it'd make you weak laughing if you weren't trying to die of embarrassment.

Getting checked out at a Clinic is socially responsible. No matter how sure you are, and I was completely sure, that you're clean and disease free, it's a good thing to do. Shows you're considerate. And takes confidence.

The thing about being Irish is that we've got a guilt complex. Some will tell you it's a left over of the authoritarian rule of the Church. Others say it's from tipping our hats to the British Empire. Many will point the finger at the famine and the subsequent exodus from our country. One thing is clear though. We've got a guilt complex no matter which way you slice it. It's never so clear as it is in the waiting room of an STI clinic.

I knew before I went in there that I was clean. It was a Project Thing, nothing more. Ten minutes later I was sitting with my head bowed, silently praying that no one sat next to me. Nobody spoke. Well that's not true, there's limited conversation like the one shown above. Frighteningly embarrassing.

As for the tests themselves, well that's the easy bit. The nurses and the doctors are friendly, like super friendly. I guess they can sense the tension in the waiting bit, so they put you at ease. Expect the following things: Needles. Eugh. Embarrassing questions asked in a charmingly disarming manner. A swab. Ladies you can stop reading here.

Lads: It's not a fun place to be swabbed. I promise you that.

You'll all be glad to hear; all clean. Heart attack one night, clean bill of health the next. It's full of ups and downs is this Project.

Thing 286 Spinning Class

The Doctor told me that he's nearly certain that I didn't have a heart attack. I'm not kidding you. This isn't my usual brand of self-deprecating humour. Doctor's exact words:"I'm nearly certain that you didn't have a heart attack".

Two things wrong with that sentence. 1: I'm twenty six, not sixty-six. There shouldn't even be a hint of a suggestion of a heart attack. There should be no late visits to the on-call Doctor to figure out what this searing pain in my chest is. TWENTY SIX. And I'm not even that fat, despite what the rest of the clowns that I hang around with try to tell you.

2: "Nearly certain"? Honestly, that's the least reassuring thing a Doctor has ever said. Nearly certain. Bah. How many times did they cover that in medical school. Top of the agenda is to discover if the patient is sick. As long as you're nearly sure they're not, you can let it slide. Nearly certain I didn't have a heart-attack is like being nearly certain that you're gun isn't loaded when you let a child play with it. It just doesn't seem to cut it really...

Nearly certain. Double bah.

I went to the spinning class with Token Northy. For the uninitiated, like I was, it's an intensive exercise class that last half an hour and involved varying degrees of intense cycling followed by breaks of slower cycling. Sounds easy right? I dare you. I double dare you to try it for yourself. It's intense. I'm nearly certain that Token Northy deliberately cajoled me into this one in the hope of watching me pass out from over exercising.

I lasted somewhere between seven and ten minutes. Then the pain in my head kicked in. Quickly followed by dizziness. Sometimes I can be a stubborn ass, refuse to lose and all that. Not this time. I jumped off the saddle and bolted for a bathroom. I didn't get sick though. Instead I got this shocking pain in both sides of my chest, high up near my shoulders and a sensation of pressure, squeezing down on the centre of my chest, like someone was trying to crush me.

I sat down to catch my breath, which was coming in short, ragged gasps. I decided it would be best to call it a day and go home and get ready for my night shift. The scary bit is that it didn't go away. I was driving home with the stinging pain and this awful sense of pressure squeezing my chest. I got a little nervous... Called up the one person you have to call when disaster strikes... my mam. She gave me the on-call Doctor near my house. Called him up...

"Mr Mooney, I'm a little concerned that you may be having a heart-attack..." You're a little concerned? Imagine how I feel buddy. After a little row about where I go next (I'm no great fan of hospitals) it's decided that I'm to go home and take two Panadol. In retrospect, this is the most ridiculous conversation I've ever had. The doctor is trying to warn me about potential heart-failure and I'm arguing him down to two Panadol and a lie down on the couch.

One way or another, it improved. I felt better after about half an hour from the time I took the painkillers. So I called him to tell him and he insisted that I go to see him before work. Quick check to see if it was muscular pain, which it wasn't and a serious reprimand about how much I'm smoking and I'm on my way. But not before he tells me that he's "nearly certain" that I didn't have a heart attack. Thanks dude.

Token Northy and Lady Northy can take their Spinning Class and stick it somewhere unpleasant... Sorry guys, it's not their fault that I'm doomed long before my time...

That's the end of the smokes for me eh? Still though, makes for a good story... I'll die for this Project yet I tell you!!

Thing 285 Mac and Cheese

Ah yes... American stuff and junk. It says Mac and Cheese in the title box, but don't let that be the limit of your disgust, I also had a first in the peanut-butter covered M&M's that Lady Awesome Mermaid Elegance brought back from the United States. Oh sure, it sounds innocuous enough now - but once you've bitten into that part chocolate, part salt snack you just know that regular peanut M&M's are now ruined for you forever... plus, chocolate and salt. Eugh.

American culture, as previously discussed, pretty much wormed its way into Irish culture over two decades or so. No bad thing really, in small doses. I'll never for the life of me understand the Irish teenagers having American twangs to their accents, nor will it ever be acceptable to me to see Irish people mimic our cousins from across the big pond in terms of their clothes (I'm looking at you, wanna-be-gangster-rappers) or in terms of their attitudes (I'm pointing the finger at you girls-who-think-they're-cheerleaders).

But as I say, it's not really a bad thing. Mixing of cultures is good for us in general. Broadens the mind.
The weird bit of it for me is just how much of the American culture we're aware of, but have almost nothing in common with. Example: Superbowl Sunday. We know it exists, and for one day a year, every Irish person from Malin to Mizen pretends like they know something about American Football, but we really don't. I'd be amazed if there was more than a handful of people all over the country who could name the entire "playing roster" for either one of the Superbowl teams. Yet we pack into pubs in shocking numbers to take part in a little slice of Americana.

Mac and cheese is another one. A staple of American (and even Canadian) diets, this meal of pasta and *shudder* powdered cheese has been a favourite with the North Americans for some time. It's not widely eaten here, yet for some reason we know all about it. The chap who plays Booth in the TV show Bones is mad for Mac and Cheese (I watch Bones. So what. Don't look at me like that).
LAME went off the US of A and returned with these small pieces of America for me to consume. I should have started with dinner, and moved on to the horrendous dessert already mentioned, but I didn't, because I like being unconventional and I can't ignore sweets for longer than twenty minutes. Having eaten the M&M's I figured I was in for a bad day...

Powdered cheese? I mean, really. Cheese that you have to add milk and butter to, before it takes on the properties of a thick cream which the package assures me, is in fact, cheese. At what point was that ever going to be tasty. My favourite bit was reading the package that said the meal was pure organic but had a use-by date that was somewhere in the year 2036. Apparently mac and cheese, cockroaches (which we don't have either) and twinkies (it's just a who's who list of American things) are the only items guaranteed to survive a nuclear holocaust.

Tommy Tiernan made the joke about the American obsession with cheese, and maybe it's that obsession which drives the popularity of this disgusting and tasteless meal, because I can't think of any other reason.
If my American cousins and friends are reading this, and I hope you are, please explain this Mac and Cheese thing to me, because I'm at a complete loss. But, because I feel like I've been giving out way too much about all things American, I'd like to leave you with a list of the awesomeness which you've given us:

Baseball. Top notch television shows. Oprah. The concept of pizza delivery. The vast majority of the world's greatest comic books. Star Wars. Zooey Deschanel and personal computers. You guys are pretty cool. Thanks for that stuff.

Thing 284 Stop at Setright's for a Pint.

Families own their own traditions. Closer the family, the more traditions they own. Some are traditions shared with other families, like Christmas Eve in Browne's Pub in Parteen, or the old Greenpark Bonfire on May Eve. Others are family specific traditions. In our case, dad used to take me, Ci Ci Doo, Bean Bag and Thorny Wire to Galway for the June Bank Holiday and our first swim of the year. We didn't swim in April or May, not because we didn't want to, but because swimming then would mean our June swim wasn't the first of the year... I love those kind of traditions. I hope my family, when I'm grown up enough to have one, are as keen on the small little traditions as I've always been.

So, and you've probably already seen this coming: Setright's is something of a family tradition. I work in Shannon. My Da, coincidentally, also Dan Mooney worked in Shannon, still does sometimes. His Da worked in, guess where? Shannon. Boom. Also, his name was Dan Mooney. See we're big for our traditions in this family. Back in the day, stopping off for a few pints after work was the done thing. You couldn't do it now, what with drink driving being a criminal offence, and rightly so. Back in the 80's though? Different kettle of fish.

Right, so now you can scroll back up to the top there and have another look at that photo. Right in the middle there you should be able to see a name: DP Mooney. And at the bottom; Setrights' Tavern. That was presented to my Grandad in 1983, a year before I was born, on his retirement (Not just him, mind, there were others there too).
I drive past Setright's everyday on my way to and from work. It's now three years since I started working in Shannon. That's three years of promising myself that I'd stop in to Setright's one day on my way home from work, and have one pint, so I could be the third generation of Dan Mooneys to do just that. Like I say... nuts about traditions.

Pint was tasty. Saturday afternoon in January, with Munster on the telly (albeit in a dead-rubber of a match), warm fire blazing. Myself and Dr Frasier stopped off in the bar where my Dad and his Dad stopped on their way back from work, and the two of us had ourselves a pint.

Course then we couldn't go anywhere for an hour and a half while we let our bodies break it down. And there's nothing else there except for an overpass for pedestrians... and I've already spat off one of those.
Now here comes the really cheesy bit. I feel better about myself for having done it. I'm glad I stopped off. I think my Granda' would have got a kick out of knowing that I went there for a pint, solely because he did and Dad did. I also think he'd get a kick out of knowing that plaque with his name on it is still hanging on the wall.

New thing with a bit of family history.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thing 283 Goth for a Day

The problem with allowing The Frenchman to take photos with his super-awesome-super-camera is that it makes things look so cool, that you may be temporarily unable to recognise a complete tool when presented with one...

Not so in this case, thank God. There's no questioning the toolishness of the above photo, and indeed there's little but tool to be seen in the photos below either. I'm not saying that all Goths are tools - simply that my attempt at looking like a Goth feel short of their style and hit the mark in-or-about the vampire kid/tool person.

Some people were surprised, including Little Flower that I'd never had a Goth phase as a teenager. I can see why they'd be surprised; I'm a fan of alternative music, including but not limited to Nirvana, Everclear, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Muse... I drink coffee excessively. I mean in shocking quantities that really aren't good for my health. Apparently this is some kind of pre-requisite for Goth culture. Not only do I read poetry and philosophy, which are cornerstones of the life of a pretentious brand of Goth, but I went and got myself a degree in these two things. I also have a very serious looking face. Apparently.
Despite all of that, I never qualified as a Goth. I had too much interest in sport. And colours that aren't black. I've been fond of other colours for some time now. Still, because so many of the people I regularly socialised with as a teenager were Goths, I've always been curious about it...

Goth-curious. It's a real thing.

So I slapped on the eye-makeup, and the black combats, black boots, black jumper, black coat and a strange choker thing on my neck. I also increased the seriousness of my face by a factor of thirty to fifty percent. The net result was a tool that you'd pick out from the other side of the street. A spectacular brand of tool the likes of which you've rarely seen.

I had a list of chores to do in my new found get-up. Post office to pay the ESB. The post office is strange. It seems like the kind of building that should be getting emptier and more run down, but it just gets busier instead. Lots of old people there. Elderly people love to stare at Goths apparently. Lots of staring at me. Lots of squirming out of me. That's not very Goth is it? They don't really squirm do they? I mean, they're proud of their lifestyle choice. Which is why they can wear Goth clothes and not look like tools. Confidence. The confidence to exercise their lifestyle choice.

Next was to the bank. A nice healthy mix of people in there, and I'm starting to think; Surely the whole world is used to Goths by now? Have we not grown accustomed to the black=clad members of our society, wafting, ghost like through our lives and coffee shops? Apparently not: there was a healthy mix of judgement in the bank.
Next errand was to the insurance place. Sat in the waiting area with about ten other customers. Phone rings. It's my ma. I totally forget that I'm supposed to be a Goth, which is quiet and unhappy. I'm all brimming with chat, and my Ma can be quite funny, so I'm having a laugh with her. By the time I hang up the phone they fella next to me is openly staring at me with the world's most confused look on his face. Oops.

Rounded out my day as a Goth with a trip to Arabica, where most people that I know like to hang out. Here's some free advice. If you feel like a giant tool, try to avoid places where people you know and like hang out. Otherwise they're going to magnify and intensify your feelings of toolishness.

Also, don't pose looking like an extra from a Blade movie for your housemates' benefit. The evidence (pictured above) will only serve to further embarrass you...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thing 282 Rip a Phonebook in Half

I hope that there video loaded correctly, in the event that it did not: Click Me! Click me!!!

At the very end of the video you can hear two things: One is The Thief giggling like a child. The other is Pony Boy providing the greatest analysis of a half minute video ever: "Like the Incredible Sulk instead of Incredible Hulk..."

Chuckle chuckle chuckle... People would want to start being nicer to me, now that I've discovered how to rip phonebooks in half, you know, tread lite, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry and all that junk.

Alright, if I'm going to level with you, and I'll pretty much have to, the instructions are right next to my video on YouTube, there's a trick to this one. Dr Frasier suggested the idea of showing a manly show of strength, you know, to try to put Token Northy in his place a little. Phonebook ripping was his initial thought. It's fine having thoughts like that when you're built like that man, but at tiny-foot and short-inches with what some may call a "portly bearing", it's not like I walk around considering what's the things I can rip apart.

Still, he persisted and he let me in on a little secret- ripping a phone book in half is easy. Anyone can do it... except maybe The Thief... she's a wee bit wimpy. It's not nearly as hard as you'd imagine, Superman makes it look easy in Family Guy too. I spent ages searching for a clip (ages can be defined as anything from thirty-seconds upwards), but couldn't find it. Effectively the Family Guy joke is that a prostitute makes a crack about Superman being "faster than a speeding bullet", so he "tore her in half like a phonebook".

If you're easily offended you shouldn't have read that part, and if I was more organised I'd have put that piece of advice before the slightly offensive material. Oh well.

It conjures up and image of the immense strength Superman has. Fraud. He probably used the same YouTube tutorial that I did. In fact, everyone should. Get ripping. Click here to find out how...

Effectively it's just air gaps caused by creasing the phone book. Oddly enough, the principle of the thing is such that the bigger the book, the easier it should be to rip... Alright, I get that this was a fraud of a Thing. You look at the title of the blog and start thinking I'm double-rock hard. Men everywhere cower behind couches. Women swoon in admiration. Superheroes run in fear. Then it turns out an internet guy taught me how... I'm the Milly Vanilly of bloggers.

I'm still pretty chuffed with it. I'm saving it on my camera and showing people the next time I hit the bar... bouncers think they're so great just 'cause they're tall... hey wait... I AM the Incredible Sulk...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thing 281 Wash Car Windows at Traffic Lights

I'm not kidding you folks. People are hostile. You should know; you're people. Are you hostile? I spent the guts of an hour or so at the traffic lights at the intersection of Shannon Street with Henry Street in Limerick. Big bucket of soapy water, large sponge, squeegee and a smile. By the way, who knew it was spelled like that: Squeegee? Not me. Had to look it up. Everyday's a school day folks.

So what's important about the above photo? One word: Hot coffee. No wait... two words. Crap. Anyway, I went in to Arabica for a coffee, and to ask The Barista if he'd fill the bucket with some warm water. I explained what I was up to. Several of the customers moved seats to get a better view through the window. They knew what was coming...

One by one, each driver approached would flick his hand at me, and mouth "go away". None of them said it out loud, I guess it's normal not to realise that car windows aren't in fact sound proof, and I'll be able to hear you if you speak normally. Nobody smiled at me and said hello. Everyone attempted to avoid eye contact. One of them (driving a shiny white 2011 BMW if you please) actually mouthed the words "f*** off", rolled down his window and shoed me away like I was a dog that had followed him for too long.

I doubt he reads this blog, but if he does: Hello there douchebag!!

One sweet lady nearly started crying, she avoided eye-contact like everyone else, but she rolled the window down just slightly, and said;"I'm sorry, I've no money. Please don't clean the window, I've no money to give you". I felt really bad for her. "Don't worry", says I, "it's free. No charge. I'm only doing this for fun". Yeah. A pile of fun. Walking around with people telling me to where to get off, and shooing me like a dog.

Mind you, every time the lights turned green again, I'd head back for my bucket and watch the customers in Arabica absolutely creasing themselves laughing. I mean to say they were weak from laughing at me. No surprise really. The Barista was laughing too. And The Frenchman. Which in turn, made me laugh. Even if all the people were horrendously hostile, it's hard to be cranky when you're making a giant tool of yourself and people are smiling encouragingly at you.
So back out I'd go, with a big cheeky grin and a soaking wet sponge and my squeegee and I'd try hard to make as much eye contact as I could. I wasn't collecting any money. As I explained to the confused and highly amused passers-by, I'm not trying to make money out of The Project, I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to do with it, but make money certainly isn't the name of the game. So I just kept popping from car to car, and watching people get increasingly uncomfortable. The friendliest were cab-drivers, you know, once they'd realised that you weren't trying to get their money, they'd have a great laugh with me.

Told one of them that I'd balance his tyres the next time he drove by. We both chuckled. Having said that, the vast majority of the day was unpleasant. And that brings me back to the first photo...
Wait, that's not the photo... that's a different photo. I'll give you a minute to look back at the first one again. Take your time...

The best thing about that photo is the bottom right corner. The large hot steaming coffee. The Barista who manages Arabica was watching me make a giant tool of myself, and watching me get told to f*** off by complete strangers, so he dandered out with a large hazelnut americano. No charge. Just because I was having a rough time. Top man that fella.

So apparently not everyone in the whole world is completely hostile.