Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thing 349 Wax Fireball

Curse you interwebs, you're a constant disappointment to me and millions of others. I hate when the internet lets me down. Remember Thing 2? It was Coke and Mentos Thing. It was supposed to be an explosion of cola and minty goodness that would have had the local kids sticky and covered in the freshest cola they ever had the misfortune of having rain down on them. It was supposed to be monumental in its explosiveness.

It was not.

It was instead, a slightly mellow waterspout of brown something that barely reached higher than my knee. Why? Because the internets lied to me. It showed me YouTube videos of fountains of cola that hit at least ten feet in the air and refused to ever come down. Much the same with the coke and mentos, the Wax Fireball turned out to be a massive disappointment.
Look!! I even boiled wax over the stove. Here's how the recipe for mediocrity goes. Melt wax, put it over an open flame, let it ignite, add water. Hey presto; fireball. God knows where the science behind this is, but if candle wax hits a certain point of temperature, it ignites and then it's forced to burst into flames. Melted candlewax hates water, or so I'm told, so if you add that, you've got yourself a fireball of epic proportions.

Yeah right. More like a fireball of mediocre proportions.
That's not a photo of the fireball, thank god, it actually got past knee height, just about. I got this suggestion from Spoon, and I thought it was awesome. Last minute Project stuff. I thought it'd be cool and stuff and that it'd be worthy of making a Thing by virtue of how many of my eyelashes it would singe off me. Total: ZERO.

Once the water was poured in it flared up to thigh height and only served to make me and Token Northy feel slightly depressed. Next time I'm adding dynamite. That might rock it out a little...

Reality TV Project

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-project-live

That's the link for the first of the live streaming of The Sluggery... sorry we're a tad late getting up and running. Blame The Canuck and Surfer Girl. Their fault. Hopefully we'll have another couple of channels up and running soon, so you can watch Token Northy cooking in the nip....


Now the kitchen is on the internet, soon the deck and then... the bathroom... so we can catch Lady Northy sneaking herself some cakes.


Here comes the deck... apparently...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thing 348 Shooter's Sandwich

Arguably the greatest sandwich ever made, the Shooter's Sandwich requires preparation, attention to detail and six hours of a wait before you can eat it. Minimum six hours. To be fair, any sandwich that takes six hours to make better be god damn worth the wait. I don't like waiting six minutes for a sandwich, much less six hours. I mean, in fairness, isn't half the fun of a sandwich that it takes so little time to prepare? Great food, takes only minutes to get ready, and you're in taste heaven in no time. Seems like six hours defeats the purpose of a sandwich. You can make chilli in six hours for crying out loud...

This one was a suggestion from The Frenchman, who discovered the Shooter's Sandwich on one of them fancy pants websites he visits, but since there was no way he was spending time making a six hour sandwich, it falls on his gullible and pliable housemate to lead the way. Suggest it as a Project Thing, that way I do all the work, and he gets sandwichy goodness. Sly boots...

In fact, that's a pretty good way to get me to do lots of stuff. Hey, I need you to collect my laundry, you've never done that before, make it a Project Thing... I'm feeling used and dirty, and not in the nice way. In the bad way.
If you're wondering what that photo is... it's an amp, and several weights on a copping board which is resting on a loaf of bread. That's the kind of sandwich we're talking about here, a sandwich that requires weights...

Here's the recipe:

Things You'll Need:
1: An unsliced crusty loaf of bread.
2: Two steaks, any cut that you prefer is fine but I opted for fillet, because I'm a fancy bastard.
3: Shallots or spring onions.
4: Mushrooms
5: Worcester Sauce
6: These are optional, but I used them to good effect; Ballymaloe jalapeno relish, mustard, salt and pepper (the condiments, not the mid-nineties rap duo).

Prep:
1: Slice the top off your crusty loaf and scoop out all the bread inside leaving yourself with just a hollow loaf.
2: Fry up the mushrooms and spring onions/shallots. I went with spring onions, you can have shallots if you want, I object to their name for one reason or another. It just doesn't sit well with me. When they've reduced in size, season with salt, pepper, Worcester Sauce and if you're feeling adventurous, some brandy. Just a splash. You're not trying to get smashed here... When you're happy with the consistency, leave these to one side, the mushrooms should have absorbed all the flavour of your seasonings.
3: Fry up your steaks from the same pan. Flavour should stay with the pan. Cook to your preference, but most recipes I've seen recommend the pink side of medium. I'm inclined to agree.
4: Take the steaks straight from the pan, piping hot and dripping, and fold one into your hollow loaf. Now spoon in your mushroom and onion mixture. Add the second steak on top of this. spread some of the mustard on the steak.
5: Spread some jalapeno relish on the underside of the top of the loaf that you sliced earlier. Be generous with it, that stuff is delicious. Now put the lid back on and wrap the lot in greaseproof paper.
6: Wrap again in foil and place a chopping board on top of the loaf. Begin adding weights to the board, slowly. Keep adding weights every so often. Leave the whole lot for a minimum of six hours, or overnight.

The whole thing should compress down into one tightly compact steak sandwich of unbelievable awesomeness. It's actually worth the wait. Slice it into rectangles and share with your friends. Or don't. Tease them with it if you'd prefer.
I still think a sandwich that takes six hours kind of defeats the purpose of a sandwich, but nonetheless it was delicious, and The Frenchman got himself a tasty midnight snack.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thing 347 Bin Bath

Here's some Things I wanted to do: Wash myself in fresh water, like a stream or a river. Climb out the upstairs window using a rope made from bedsheets. I do love the stupid ideas for Things that I get from the movies and television. There's a little part of me that blurs the lines between fiction and reality, and I consider it possible to tie my bedsheets to a radiator and climb down. Of course it was never going to work, I weigh twelve stone and the radiator is attached rather flimsily to the floor.

Try telling me that last night though. No way. Wouldn't hear of it. Pony Boy had to forbid me doing it. Since it's his birthday and he's the oldest, I deferred to him. The problem of course is that I was just after finishing a long day at work, and options were extremely limited in terms of Project Things. So what to do...

Well Pony Boy takes away and he gives back. The recycling bin out the back is full of water and since I'm never going to have the time to get the whole fresh water washing Thing, well this is the closest thing I'll get to it. A bath in a bin out the back at ten at night. If that doesn't wake you up for a night out...
What a photo, what a sexy beast I am. Well, the beast part is accurate, the sexy bit is up for debate. I'm in favour of the motion, women everywhere are opposed to it. The reason the bin was full, was that we were using it for power-hose water, it's not like it was rain water or anything. I went and fetched the shower gel, Pony Boy fetched the camera, chuckling to himself, Token Northy joined in the laughing, then Lady Northy walked into the kitchen, saw me out the back, naked from the waist up and thought I was out on the deck in the nip. The woman nearly screamed. Not the screaming-fan type scream, the I'm terrified type scream. So much for the sexy bit eh?

So the Thing itself is straight forward enough. Strip down to the boxers. Climb up on the bench, because I'm a midget, and jump in. Just jump on in to the freezing cold water with the temperature outside at a balmy two degrees. In order that I didn't just jump in and out, Pony Boy fired half the bottle of shower gel on me, so I had to wash it off. What a clown.

I hunkered down and got dirty, or in this case, hunkered down and got clean. It was not pleasant, but if I'm planning to swim the bay in Kilkee then this is the least of what I've to worry about.
And that photo... I don't know why I added that. They told me you could see the steam rising off me, but I don't see it. I just see a chubby guy grinning like an idiot. Enjoy.

Thing 346 Sports Mascot

I promised you it wouldn't be serious, and I wasn't kidding. There's just no way on earth to inject some gravitas into the wearing of a giant lion suit. Underneath that suit, what looks feels like a fake pregnancy suit to add some bulk, as if I needed it eh? It's only chubbier I'm getting.

Limerick FC's mascot is Leo the Lion. Tragically, lions suffer from a serious lack of originality and tend to name most of their kids Leo. As a lion though, he's pretty awesome. If you're a regular attendant at Limerick soccer matches, as I used to be, you'll see him parading about the outside of the pitch lines, entertaining kids who aren't exactly impressed with the standard of football on display at Airtricity League Division One matches. Which, if we're being honest, isn't sky high.

To be fair, that's not why you go to see your team play. You go to cheer them on, to support the club, to hope and pray that your guys will hit the net often and you can go home with a big smile on your face. I know quite a few guys who used to go to matches purely so they could say they were there. "I stood for ninety minutes in the rain in Hogan Park watching Limerick FC... I'm a real football fan". No, you're not, you're a tool.
I'm off topic. Sorry. Back to Leo. As mascots go, this one is pretty awesome. The suit is cool, and the kids love him. Most of the adults do too, even if they're pretending that they don't. I don't think I was turned down for a single hug all night. Is there something sinister about a man in a giant lion suit walking around hugging people? If there is, I don't wanna know about it!

I got the gig because I asked the people in the know. The Footballer knows all the people involved at the club, and I know the footballer, so, you know. Put those together and voila! The thing was that I was only going to get to do one half, since there's a regular guy who always does it, but they were going to ask if he'd let me take one half, for fun.

He never showed up. Holy crap. This is my moment. My time to shine. Time to don the lion-head and mascot the crap out of this match... I'm really glad the club officials took the time to warn me to bring shorts and a t-shirt. I was going to do the whole gig in my clothes, and that would have been an unmitigated disaster. That suit is like fifty million degrees too hot to be wearing. You can put that thing on, stand completely still, and you're going to sweat.

Imagine what it was like putting it one, and running around like a jack-ass and doing face-plants onto the turf to amuse the children? It's no wonder I was about to pass out. Apparently wearing mascot outfits and running around in them is just another thing that fat people shouldn't do.
The kids were good fun though. They seemed to love my dive-roll. I'd mime like I was revving up a lawnmower, then I'd sprint for a few yards and dive into the air, doing a flip as I went. Nine out of ten times I'd land on my back, and the kids would roar their approval. And then because they're kids, they'd start shouting: "Do it again, do it again..." And I would. And then I'd die a little from exhaustion.

The only irksome bit was when the kids tried to steal the head off the suit. I tell you folks, kids these days have no respect for twenty somethings who wear giant lion outfits and make prats of themselves. Sign of the times...

Loved it overall. I'll look at Leo the Lion a different way from now on. And it's reignited my love for Limerick soccer... C'mon Limerick!!!

P.S. Sluggary TV is still going ahead this Thursday, thanks to an excellent suggestion on one of the blogs. Our house will be reality TV for a day. I promise you several hours of mind numbing boredom watching bunch of people not really doing anything.

P.P.S. The feedback for the Sleeping Rough Thing has been amazing. Thank you. At the end of Project Party in the O'Connell's at the Old Quarter on April 14th (public party, come on down if you're about) there'll be buckets out to collect some cash for Focus Ireland who work with the homeless. See if we can't raise some cash eh?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thing 345 Attend AA Meeting

Wow.... we're two for two in the serious blogs that aren't full of me making a tool of myself here, aren't we? This one being slightly less depressing than least night's outing. To be fair, there are few things I could have done, and will ever do that will affect me as much as last night did. I'm still having trouble shaking it. The opportunity knocked though, and I had to see what was there. An open AA Meeting. A chance to walk in and see how recovering alcoholics cope with their disease.

In this country, of all countries, alcoholism is rife. Like most Irish families, there's a bit of it in my family history. I'm fairly certain that most Europeans would likely think that anyone Irish is an alcoholic. We just do it differently here. There's a soccer match on? Pub it is. Rugby match? Pub. Election coverage? Pub. Wednesday night? Pub...

The funny thing is that there are plenty of alternatives to drinking, if you can be bothered looking for them. I hear people say all the time that there's nothing else to do around Ireland, but there absolutely is, it's just that we're kind of programmed to think "drink first, options later". We're a parody of ourselves sometimes. Begorrah.

If you'd asked me last week which of the Sleep Rough or AA Meeting Things was going to be more depressing, I'd have said AA Meeting, hands down. Oddly enough, there's very little that's depressing about it. It's incredibly positive in both content and in atmosphere. For a group of people suffering from an illness which destroys families and ruins lives, this was remarkably uplifting.

It would be worse than wrong for me to repeat the stories heard at the meeting, they're not my stories to tell, they're someone else's life, but the general idea is that speakers are selected to speak to the open meeting, tell a little about their life before AA, the damage done during drinking days, the incredible, heart-breaking lows, and the renewed hope that comes with deciding to stop drinking.

As someone who likes a few pints (sometimes more than a few) there was definitely a note of warning in there. It's hard to recognise, but it's there. No one is safe from alcohol. You can be the strongest willed in the world but if it catches you, there's little you can do prevent yourself sliding. The stories told were harrowing, and contained references to incidents when drink was taken that I know myself I've been guilty of, and in fact, there's a large section of my mates who'd have to admit similar behaviour. I'm not going into what those things are, but they don't exactly leave me covered in glory.

For all the harrowing nature of the stories, the tone of the people telling them wasn't self-pitying, it wasn't depressed or upset. It was matter of fact. This happened in my life, now it's done and I'm moving on. I wanted to stand up and applaud the courage it took to sit there and tell a room full of strangers about the lowest point of your life.

By the end of the meeting I wasn't walking out thinking "how awful", I was thinking "how amazing". I'm sure there are plenty of closed meetings which are difficult to take, I'm sure it's not all inspiring stuff, and there's no doubt that the cross being borne by recovering alcoholics is permanently heavy and rarely yielding, but at least there's hope. I've seen it.

Right... I promise not to be so serious tomorrow...

Thing 344 Sleep Rough

There's nothing funny about this blog. Just warning you in advance. There are no cute jokes or self deprecating remarks. This was, and I think will almost certainly be, the worst Thing I've done since the start of The Project. It was disturbing, and honestly, a little bit upsetting.

I left The Sluggary at about half seven in the evening, the plan being that I could take only what handful of change I had in my pockets, a sleeping bag and a phone for emergencies, and I wasn't allowed back until ten the next morning. I dressed in some old dirty clothes for effect. I thought I was setting off on an interesting adventure, and I'd have loads of funny stories of drunk students and public disorder to tell about. Not quite.

I sat on Thomas Street for an hour, during which time three people that I know, and talk to regularly walked right by me. Within five feet of me, and didn't see me. They saw a homeless person, they looked away as they passed, they did not see me. After an hour and a half I got anxious to talk to someone, and there was a group of scumbags down the road watching me, so I moved on.

Stopped outside Arthur's Quay and sat on an electricity box. Had nowhere to go, so it seemed as good a place as any. A security guard came out. "Move on there buddy". But I'm not doing anything, I'm just sitting here... "I said move on, so get going..." Why? I'm just sitting here like... "I told you to move on, so fucking move on". I moved on. I was literally doing nothing but sitting there.

On the way back up the road another homeless guy intercepted me and told me there was drinking in the park, and I was welcome to join him and his mates. I was glad of someone to talk to, but too afraid to go. I went and bought some cider and sat with the unopened bottle on Catherine Street, just watching people go by. Another two people passed who I know well. Neither of them saw me.

In the next hour or so, five different homeless people stopped and shared a bench with me. I lied to them and told them that I wasn't from Limerick and had nowhere to go. We talked about this and that, and shot the breeze. One of them shared a couple of cans with me. I was so pleased to talk to someone that I didn't refuse the cans, and we sat there just chatting about how hard life is for twenty minutes or so.

At this point I started feeling like a fraud. I could go home any time I wanted. None of these people could. I stayed out anyway. Went for another walk. Thus far the highlight of my night was just having some company. A man walking by stopped me, gave me a cigarette and stuffed three euro into my hand. Told me he was sorry for my troubles. I tried to refuse the money, but he insisted. He was the first non-homeless person to speak to me, who wasn't telling me to leave the electricity box I was sitting on.

I settled back on Catherine Street and met Danny. He's homeless, and if I'm being honest, a bit frightening looking. His face is scarred, his teeth ruined, and he's got an intimidating manner. When he goes begging for cash, he gets right into people's personal space, and leans in to look them in the eye. People don't like it, and most people brushed him away and kept going. One charmer told Danny to go fuck himself, and then spat in my face as he went by.

By now the whole "adventure" thing was a memory. I was a little frightened, and the only people I wanted to talk to were homeless people. I had spit on my face. Danny told me he'd look after me, and show me the ropes. He brought me from place to place, showing me his favourite spots for begging. Promised to share everything we made fifty-fifty. The feeling of guilt at being a fraud was getting to me. As he walked, he kept an eye out on the ground for cigarette butts that weren't smoked all the way down. He collected them, and when he needed a smoke he'd take one out and light up.

Two more people helped out: One of them was a woman who, when asked, told us she'd no cigarettes. She stopped into a bar, bought some cigarettes, came back out and gave us one each. If I didn't think it would frighten her, I'd have hugged her. Just the gesture alone. The second one was a guy I actually know. He didn't recognise me, but I spotted him collecting from his mates outside the bar, and handing a lump of change to Danny as he left.

We walked to the river. Danny sprinted off as a Garda van drove passed where we were. This made me more nervous. We drank my cider, and Danny's cans and walked from place to place all night, him collecting money and cigarettes, me sitting on the ground. We were shouted at routinely by people.

Just after half three, I handed Danny the money I'd been given earlier, took my sleeping bag from its hiding place, went to the side of the Franciscan Church and curled up to sleep. I was freezing. Before I left Danny, who was now gone so aggressive that he shouted abuse at people who wouldn't give him money, he asked had I any smokes. I told him no. He dug into his pocket and took out his stash of unfinished cigarettes. He pushed them into my pocket and told me to sleep well.

It might be one of the nicest gestures I've ever received. I felt horrendously guilty.

At just after half six, a street cleaner woke me to get out of his way. I was half asleep and didn't know where I was for a minute or two. He scowled at me. I shuffled off. For a little while I wondered about, killing time until I could go home. At about eight I couldn't take it any more, and I walked back to The Sluggery.

I did not have an adventure. I felt like shit. I had a shower, and the guilt of knowing that I had a double bed and an en suite of my own, a deck down stairs and a fifty inch television, it made me feel like crying.

There's nothing romantic about being homeless. It's despair and isolation, no identity and abuse. I couldn't do it for one night, how do people live like this every day? People will tell me I'm too pampered, and they're right, I am. I've had it too soft for too long, but I don't think there's anyone with a roof over their head who could even try to understand. Myself included.

It's weird. I wish I'd never done it.

Told you it wasn't going to be funny.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thing 343 On My Feet All Day

Y'all know the expression (wait, did I say "y'all", feel free to punch me the next time you see me, I deserve it), on my feet all day? Yep, I literally stayed on my feet all day. Next time you hear someone say it I want you to question them rigorously, interrogate them to ascertain if they spent any part of that day sitting down. Fifteen minute coffee-break eh? No sitting then? Are you sure? What about your lunch? Any sitting? The car on the way home or the bus? Don't you stand here telling me that you spent all day on your feet when we both know it's a lie. I'm the only one who's ever done it properly. Ever.

I got out of the bed, made my way to the shower and that was it... I never once spent a minute off my feet. This involves, as previously mentioned, no car to drive. I walked to the bus stop with The Frenchman, got on the nearly empty bus and stood next to his seat. I started worrying that the bus driver would tell me to sit down, so I prepared a story about having hemorrhoids. Those are the lengths that I'd go to for a Project Thing. I'd tell a stranger that I have hemorrhoids.

Now I always seem to be trying out my Things in Arabica and The Old Quarter, so we decided to try something different - surprise, surprise, me doing something new, who'd have thunk it. Since the sun was still shining we went to The Locke. It's a smashing bar where people sit out by the Abbey River and enjoy a pint or two. I stood out by the river and enjoyed a pint or two. Swayed from side to side, shuffled my feet, did anything to avoid standing still. As long as I'm moving it's not bad. Standing still is the enemy.

Then it was back home to make the dinner. No problems there, I tend not to cook sitting down. It's never been a favourite of mine. Next up was where we hit the real problem... Tuesday night in Thorny Wire's Bar has become a bit of a fad with some local musicians. With work in the morning there were no pints for me to be having, so I wasn't staying long, but I wanted to pop in. No buses this late though. So God Boy drove us in, with me standing up, hunched over and buckled in on the back seat. My ass never touched the comfort of the chair which was now just inches away. Same thing all the way back.

Thorny Wire couldn't resist mocking. "Sit down here with me Danny..." Hilarious. Man's a comedian.

Got home and stood about watching Chuck. I'm something of a fan, but watching TV standing up with a cup of tea is not a good idea. If you're standing you always feel like you should be going somewhere. If you weren't planning on going somewhere then why not just sit down? It tricks the body and the mind. I kept feeling like I'd somewhere to go.

So that was that. My whole day was spent on my feet. From the moment I got up, till it was time for bed. Ankles didn't thank me for that yesterday morning I can assure you.

Thing 342 Buried Completely in Sand

Let me begin by saying; You can leave your hat on... deh duh deh duh deh deh... Check out Dr Frasier in this sex shock topless photo. He's working that swimsuit. Secondly let me say; this was a really terrible idea. I suffer from claustrophobia. Exactly what did I think would be the result of burying myself in sand completely? It was always going to be a terrifying experience.

Since we're enjoying all the fine weather, and it's awesome and all that, myself and Lady Awesome Mermaid Elegance, Dr Frasier and Surfer Girl headed for the West of Clare. No specific destination in mind, but we ended up in Lehinch. It has this strange magnet which draws you in. I was all about the Kilkee, but apparently we don't live in an awesome dictatorship over which I rule supreme.

I broke my swimming duck for the year, which is kind of a shame since I do look forward to my Galway swim in June, but it had to be done, because I was completely covered in sand. There was sand in places I didn't know I had. There was sand in places I did know I had, but never ever wanted to get sand in.

Once again, it's only logical to assume that if you bury yourself in sand, you're going to be sandy afterwards. Where's my head at?
I felt bad for the guys, I basically turned them into workers on my behalf. We all spent some time digging a hole large enough for me to lie down in comfortably. Which actually turned out to be more work than previously thought. Much respect to the five year olds who dig holes this big on the beach every year. I salute your tiny working hands.

In order to aid breathing, I cut the end off a two-litre bottle, and stuck the top in my mouth so I could breathe properly. The lads waited till almost all of me was covered, then I popped the bottle in the mouth, squeezed my eyes shut and they shovelled sand all over me. The second my ears were covered, the panic set it. Sound getting drowned out, pitch black behind my tightly shut eyes, the noise of the others talking and laughing became muffled. I couldn't move my arms or legs in the densely packed sand.

All reason leaves, and quick. I know there's Dr Frasier standing near by, waiting to pull me out if something goes wrong, but there's not a lot of logic or rationality in a phobia. Which I guess is the kind of idea. I panicked, my stupid tongue caught the top of the bottle, briefly cutting off my air supply and I panicked like mad... burst the head up through the sand and spat the bottle out like a petulant child. Sometimes I'm an incredible wuss of a man...

Photos hadn't been taken. Crap. I had to put the head back down and get another shot. Curse my wussy countenance. Isn't this kind of the idea though? Challenge myself. Good god I can't wait till this Project is done...
P.S. Reality TV live from The Sluggary on March 31st. Links will be here.
P.P.S. Birthday/End of Project Party in O'Connell's at the Old Quarter in Limerick on April 14th. If I've forgotten to send you an invite, it's not because I don't love you, it's because I'm stupid. Pop on down.

Thing 341 Crossbar Challenge

What did I tell you about good weather after Paddy's Day? Sometimes my face hurts from being right all the time. So on a day like this, even if I did have a night shift the night before, the only thing to do is get out and enjoy some sunshine. Lord knows that there's going to be enough rainy days over the next few months, you've got to take them when you get them. Like Cadbury's Cream Eggs...

Anyone else remember the shocking embarrassment of the first time I tried to kick a rugby penalty? No. Quick refresher: I talk so much gas about rugby, but I'm all talk, I wouldn't kick snow off a rope, I was dreadful. This time 'round I wasn't so bad. Competition gives me an edge and I badly wanted to see God Boy humiliated. To be honest, him being humiliated is a major motivation for most of my day.

God Boy's so competitive that when Top Cat suggested the Crossbar Challenge for the day's Thing, the first words out of his mouth were: "It's my dream to get that crossbar first time, and then spend the rest of my time laughing at your pudgy arse". What a charmer. And this is the guy I call one of my best friends.

Basic rules of the crossbar challenge: From the Twenty-Two metre mark, kick the ball onto the crossbar. It can be drop kicked, kicked out of hand, or place-kicked onto the bar. First one to hit it wins. Easy peasy, and a smashing Project Thing to do in the sunshine.

Also, you'll straight up never believe what happened next. Have a look:


First time. The miserable clown. First time victory. I think I hate that man a little.

I had to include this photo... balls of rubber apparently.

I eventually hit the bar. Took me a little while, I'll have to admit it. There's no point in lying since God Boy would probably sue me for falsehoods. He's as bad at winning as he is at losing, the fat clown. Top Cat got it twice, but since he was filming for comeonmunster.ie and he was off screen for the first victory, he'd to do it all over again. Fair play to him too, he managed it. And it's not easy I swear.

The worst thing about the gombeen of a tool winning in the way he did was the manner of it. When me and Top Cat hit the bar it was out of the hand. For God Boy it was a drop at goal. He dropped a goal to hit the bar. I loathe him winning.

During the video you can clearly hear him saying "I f***ing told you..." What a gimp.

Oooops. As it turns out I'm just as bad at losing as he is.

P.S. Don't forget... Sluggary TV will be live right here on March 31st. Reality TV never looked so boring/disturbing at the same time. All the Sluggary Boys and Girl live on the interwebs. Also, in the spirit of reaching the end of this Project, there'll be a party. A very public one in O'Connell's Bar at the Old Quarter in Limerick on April 14th. If you feel like having a pint, just join us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thing 340 Drink from the Beer Tap

Dear Sir/Madam,
Considering the outrageous fees which are charged by your school for annual membership, I'm appalled at the standard of the work done. Our son was enrolled at your institution for the purposes of learning what is now the almost lost art of gentlemanly conduct. This family prides itself on manners and courteousness as well as dignity and decorum, and your finishing school promised to deliver such an education. We feel this is sorely lacking in our eldest son, Daniel.
Enclosed are several photographs taken on his latest endeavour to "experience more" from his life. As you can see, the effect of your ministrations on his behalf are clearly not in evidence. Is this really the standard of behaviour expected from one of your students? As previously stated, the fees for your school are nothing short of astronomical and we expected a more lasting effect on our son.
Nowhere to be seen in these photos are the virtues and beliefs which are apparently installed in all of your students. You'll note also that his brother and an attractive member of the bar staff have apparently led him astray. Is this the level of sophistication to be expected from one of your graduates? What, precisely, can you tell me did we spend our money on? The man is drinking beer from a bar tap. Is this one of the classes given in your establishment?

We look forward to reading your reply regarding our wayward son.

Sincerely,
Dan's Ma and Da.



P.S. Thanks to a most excellent suggestion posted here not too long ago, we're going to be making a reality TV show our of our house. Sluggery TV will be streaming live here on the blog site on March 31st all day. Watch Token Northy walk around in his underwear. Watch Pony Boy taking a nap. Watch The Frenchman eating a baguette. Watch Lady Northy being classy. All here, all live, all day.

Thing 339 Bake A Tart

In typical Sluggery fashion, that's me, rolling dough with an empty wine bottle. We're all as classy as each other in this place. Except Lady Northy who's way classier than us all, and Token Northy who's at the other end of the spectrum.

Now while this one is undoubtedly similar to "bake a cake" Thing, there are significant differences. They are as follows: My Mam and my Nana never baked cakes. They baked tarts. Also, since pie is another word for tart, I'm also baking a pie, and as we all know, pie is awesome.

Unlike the mediocrity that was the cake, I was pretty determined to get the tart right. My Nana and my Mam mastered the art of tart making. Mam still does them every so often, and you can smell them the second you pull up outside our house, tongue hits the ground, Wile E Coyote style and you've to drag it behind you all the way to the oven. Nana's not with us anymore, but oddly it's one of the strongest memories I have of her. That, and how she used to tell me that she'd "soften my cough" for me, or "give me what size boots fit me" when I misbehaved. She was class.

So it's in the family, on both sides. Surely there's a tart making gene right? What a gene to have.
If there's a mess making gene, well I definitely got that one. It's spectacular the amount of mess I can make. This was a basic apple (and strawberry, I got adventurous midway through, when I forgot that I'm Dan Mooney and not Jamie Oliver) tart. From the state of the kitchen/my clothes afterwards, you'd swear I was baking a wedding cake for fifty people. I'm pretty sure there was more recipe ingredients on me than there was in the apple tart itself.

Thanks be to Little Flower for the help by the by. While The Frenchman laughed (in that haughty French style) at my efforts to make dough, Little Flower just calmly assured me that I was doing fine, and didn't shriek at me when I was getting it wrong. Which I was doing for nearly all of the baking.... You know me.

Got it finished though; wonder of wonders.
Some notes on the baking. I'm something of a night owl. Unhappy with mornings, which I believe were invented only to prevent people's night times from running into their afternoons, I tend to stay up late, and I function better when the sun's gone down. This goes some way to explaining why I was shopping for ingredients at midnight, like some kind of nocturnal baking freak. I didn't start actually baking till one am...

Who bakes a tart at one in the morning? I do apparently. Also, given my tendency to take forever and a day to do anything, it wasn't till after three that I got the thing out of the oven. Still, it looks awesome right? And it tasted great too. Honestly. I'm totally chuffed with my own baking abilities, which I expected to tank, but surprisingly, were excellent. Very tasty pie. Could done with some sweetening, but altogether, a fine pie.

The the stupid Frenchman takes the leftovers and makes a "Apple Strawberry Crumble" which absolutely blows my tart away with its awesomeness. Sometimes I hate that guy...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thing 338 Inside Outside

Generally the weather in this country isn't great. I know, I didn't need to tell you. You've been rained on too. I spend days walking about town humming the lyrics of Travis songs. The Locke Bar in Limerick does a roaring trade on sunny days, which means that it sells drink maybe two weeks of the year. Smashing bar though.

I like to think that what whether we do get that's any way decent, well it starts on this day... St Patrick's Day. Yep. This was the Thing for the day. Not marching in a parade, not drinking a green pint, not dressing like a leprechaun and granting wishes. No sir/ma'am. Not for me. The reason being that I hate town on Paddy's Day. Hate it with a vengeance.

(Cue Old Person Rant)
It's too loud, too crowded, too faux Irish. There's too much vomit, too many scumbags and too many people drinking in front of their kids. Yes indeed, for many years now St Patrick's Day has been spent in the house, with some mates, drinking some cans and playing the guitars. It's just lovely. And usually, the weather is pretty awesome too. For some reason, Paddy's Day has always struck me as the start of summer.
So, in the spirit of doing something new for the day, without having to hit the town, we enjoyed ourselves some sunshine, from the comfort of our living room. Which we placed on the deck. Yep, there's nothing like sitting down on the couch on the deck on a sunny Saint Patrick's Day. Got Spoon, Dr Frasier and The Frenchman. Got guitars. Got some wine. That's plenty. Always room for more people, you know, banter-wise, but that number suits me down to the ground.

It's like the perfect combination of something old and something new. I never go to town, and this year was going to be no different, but I've never put my living room on the lawn before so I get the best of both worlds.

Initially we sat out in the sun, t-shirts and jeans, then it started getting a little chillier so we put on some jumpers. After a little while the cold kept on coming so we put on jackets. No one for going inside, we were all about the sitting in the freezing cold... I think it's an Irish thing. Hardy to a fault.
There's a limit though. After a certain point Baltic cold is just Baltic cold and when your wine is chilling itself just by sitting on your new outdoor coffee table, then it's probably time to go inside. Our regular living room seems so crappy by comparison.

I want to move onto the deck.

Thing 337 Stakeout

That's where I used to live. Which in retrospect is a pretty crap place to have a stakeout. In my defence, there's a logic to this which is based around not wanting to be parked outside a stranger's house and be caught doing it. Top Cat suggested it as a Thing. We both love a good cop-movie, and "the stakeout" is regular feature of such fare. You know the drill. Cop pulls up outside house/business and watches for his badguy to make a move.

Example: Rosewood and Taggart waiting outside a hotel for Detective Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop.

First mistake I made was going on my own. Usually a stakeout is between two partners, and they have clever witty banter because one of them is tired and doesn't want to be there while the other is overly enthusiastic about sharing the workload. Sadly, the radio on my car is broken so I couldn't even pretend that there was witty banter to be had with the DJ.

Second mistake I made was smoking. Harry Callaghan in Sudden Impact, spotted a bad guy who was on a stakeout outside a bank. How did he do it? Well it's important to remember that he's Clint Eastwood for starters, but mostly it was the pile of cigarettes outside the drivers window. Clever clogs. I'd a similar pile mounting up as I sat outside Blond Boss's house for about forty minutes just watching the front door.

Third mistake, and this one is crucial, is that I was staking out a house I used to live in. Initially this doesn't seem so ridiculous. I don't want to look like a complete psycho, so if anyone asks I can always just hop out of the car, walk over and stroll in. No problems. I'll say I was on the phone or something. The stupidity becomes apparent when the neighbours that I used to live next to walk by the car, smile, wave and "hello Dan". So much for Guy Incognito.

Two bad things that happened: First of all, I parked in a designated spot, someone arrived back to take their spot, so I just pulled out, and drove off, thinking I'll drive back in a minute when they're gone. Arrived back to park up and they were still unloading their car. This makes me the guy who was parked doing nothing, left, returned two minutes later and sat there parked doing nothing. I'd have called the cops if I was them.

The other bad thing that happened was that nothing happened. Blond Boss didn't come out, I couldn't get a clear view of the living room and the estate was quiet enough. This means that for forty minutes I was just bored.

God I'd hate to be a cop in a movie... how boring would that be?

Thing 336 Oprah/Multiple Personalities

This is one of the rare occassions where I'm not terrible fussed if you're judging me or not, but I did spend a full half a day watching daytime TV. It's not like I've never seen daytime TV before, I've seen loads of it, but I've never spent six hours watching it on the couch before. Also, I've never seen Oprah before. Sure I knew who she was, it's not like you can escape the woman anywhere on this planet, I'd just never taken the time to watch her show before - exception being the time I found a YouTube clip of Tom Cruise apparently losing his mind and jumping on here couch.

Like I say, I don't really mind if you're judging. When having a day of being sick/terribly sorry for yourself, inspiration and motivation are hard to come by. Thankfully these days are few and far between enough for me to never have subjected myself to this terrifying ordeal before. And let's not row about this - daytime TV is a truly frightening experience. At times it's a little intriguing, like the moments when you find yourself trying to decipher exactly what Daithí O' Sé is saying to Claire Byrne. Other times it's enlightening, like that moment when you realise that Claire Byrne is going through the same thing you're dealing with. You can almost see it in here eyes: "What the hell did he just say...?".

Other times it's outrageous, like the moments when you find that you're laughing along to Ellen. That's the moment when you enter your shame spiral and hate yourself a little...

So I watched Oprah. If I'm being honest with myself, I can actually see the appeal. She's a pretty cool woman for someone who could actually declare herself the Empress of Humanity. As a Thing though, I worried that it wasn't enough.

So I did what any right-minded person would do in my shoes... I hit the town running.

After the productive members of the household arrived home from work, I realised exactly what I'd achieved with my day so far. Nada. So, I decided I'd get out, stretch the legs and try on a few different identities.

I hope you've all seen "How I Met Your Mother"? I'm going to assume so. If not, take a quick break from reading, get downloading/buying a DVD and get on it. Finish reading this later.

The Barney character, played by Neil Patrick Harris, routinely lies on his never ending quest for more sex. He's a hilarious character, and I'm sure that there's no one reading this who's never told a little white lie on a night out before, but what I was going for was not small fibs. I wanted to see if I could convince people to believe the most outrageous lies in the world.

Straight face is something I can do. And do well. It should also be mentioned that I wasn't trying to get laid, I was just trying to see how far I could push the line. Turns out very far, or not far at all, with little way of distinguishing between the two.

I told lies to men, women and bouncers. I told them I was a footballer playing for Sunderland, at home because of a knee injury. I told them I was a British Airways pilot from Glasgow who had a stopover in Shannon. I told them I was an American researching the family tree of the billionaire that I worked for in the hope of finding an heir. Not one person called me a liar. Some of them asked me questions, but I think I fielded them pretty well, and actually managed to convince them that I was who I claimed to be.

Problems: Limerick is tiny, and I know lots of people. Also, since I didn't bother to remember the names I'd given to people, I wasn't sure if people were calling "me" or not. Then there was times when I'd bump into people I knew, and people "I'd" just met.

Then there was the aftermath. Outside the club, everyone was congregating (I do love the word congregating by the way) and it became a minefield. I just pretended I was on my phone till I'd navigated my way through.

Goes to show though, if you're going to lie, you better be good at it, because otherwise, you're going to get caught, or make a giant tool of yourself. Not that that's anything new to me eh?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thing 335 Metropolis the Movie

There are many people who will claim that watching a movie I've never seen before is a cop out. Several people have told me that The Project is easy, just fill up the days with unseen movies, and I've told them about their body parts where I'd like to shove that idea. This one though, this one is different. This one is Metropolis...

How many people do you know who get frighteningly excited at the prospect of watching a two and a half hour, black and white silent movie from 1927? Just me then? You'd be wrong if you thought that. This movie is not "a classic", Metropolis is "THE classic". It invented science fiction feature movies. Without this, there'd be no Fifth Element, no Blade Runner, no Matrix for crying out loud. And I wasn't just watching the movie, I was watching it on a cinema sized screen. I was also on my own, which I'll admit, made me look a little bit like a crazy person.

I stood outside the theatre in Mary I where the movie was being screened and asked everyone walking in if they were going to see the movie, with what must have looked like a kind of creepy smile. See no one else wanted to go, and I desperately wanted to talk to someone about it. This combination is what makes people think I'm not all there, in the head.

Two and a half hours (that's a rough estimation, it's much closer to two hours, twenty minutes, but I like rounding things up for dramatic effect) is a long time for a movie even today. In 1927, it was unthinkable, but the director, Fritz Lang knew what he wanted. Sadly, he didn't know what the critics at the time wanted, and his movie was slammed in the press. Which only goes to show you that movie critics are cynical know-it-alls who should be burned at the stake for witchcraft.

In the ensuing panic, which in 1927 must have involved monocles falling into champagne glasses and women fainting everywhere, the studio cut out twenty five minutes of the movie. That made the story-line senseless and stupid. Then when the most expensive movie of its time turned out to be a flop, they binned it. And the original twenty five minutes wasn't seen again until 2009.

Seriously. An archivist in 2009 found an uncut copy in Argentina. Isn't that amazing? No? Why aren't you people excited about this. It's basically the first ever science fiction movie, and for eighty odd years it was assumed lost.

Fine. I'll be excited about this all on my own then.

Basically it tells the story of a Utopian city called Metropolis, where the wealthy engineers and upper class live in the clouds, and the workers live underground. The son of the unofficial ruler of Metropolis sees a working class woman and falls instantly in love. Chaos ensues and life is turned on its head. It's a little sentimental, and the sci-fi part is basically secondary to the love story, but who's judging? Hell, if they can put a love story in Star Wars...

At times the movie is hilarious, without intending to be, but that's because silent movies needed to make up for the lack of dialogue with some serious over acting, and when that happens, most of the audience were pissing themselves. Except for one guy up the front who kept telling people to shush. No, it wasn't me. I love the movie and all that, but I couldn't help cracking up at the facial expressions of the guys who were supposed to be portraying lust. If that's what lust looks like on a man, then women must spend their lives in eternal fear of being eaten alive...

What I went to see was a very rare opportunity to watch the full version, on a theatre size screen. It was epic. Amazing. Oddly enough, it was also free. Maybe it's just for sci-fi nerds and movie buffs, but I seriously think everyone, if given the chance should go to see a piece of cinematic history that you just cannot buy on DVD.

Just me? Fine. I'm going home to watch Fifth Element and blog angrily...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thing 334 Battered Chocolate

According to the world's most hilarious comedian, Danny Bhoy (no that's not incorrect spelling, look him up on YouTube, he's thoroughly awesome), Scottish people have terrible diets. In fact, I think he used the term "worst diet in the world". One of the finest dishes that they've imagined ever, in fact one of the greatest ever imagined dishes in the history of dishes that people imagined anywhere since someone looked at a cow and thought "mmmm, tasty" is the battered Mars bar.

Wow. Long sentence. It's a serious bit of grub is the battered Mars bar. Chocolate covered in the same batter they use to make battered fish, and deep fried. Because apparently some stuff is simply too unhealthy on its own for someone not to f*** with it. You know, because heart attacks are no big deal eh?

So we decided we'd try some for ourselves. When you've had a bad day, and believe me, this was one of the worst I'd had in a long, long time, comfort food becomes important and your mates become important. So I rounded up the crew, and a pile of chocolate and we started making batter...

How disgusting does that look? Don't answer that. I know I'm a pig... Pony Boy also weighed in with an outrageous and dangerous decision: Battered Skittles. Because the chocolate idea was never going to be extreme enough.

Remember how crap we were at making eggnog that ended up being frighteningly good? This is pretty much the same effect. Take a house full of relatively competent cooks, add whiskey, "batter" which earns those inverted commas by virtue of the fact that we'd only a vague idea of what we were making, and stir.

It's a recipe for deliciousness, a dreadful mess, and a lot of laughs.
We made the "batter", we got our chocolate, and we destroyed the inside of our deep fat fryer. I thought Tiny Fairy was going to be sick, and little flower excused herself from the room. Meanwhile the two diabetics; Dr Frasier and Lady Northy started tucking in. Hilarious.

And the deep fried skittles were AMAZING. Here's to Pony Boy. I'd love to tell you the recipe, but since we didn't know what we were doing at the time, it's a little hard to recall how to implement it all over again. Pancake batter will do just fine, but try to thicken it up a little so that it sticks to the chocolate a little. Turn the heat down on the fryer just a little and go nuts.

Blame me when you have your sugar crash.


Thing 333 Bar-Boot Sale

I'm not sure I even spelled that right. Barboot sale? Bar Boot sale? Bar-boot sale? Anyway, I think this is a genius idea, and I really mean that. It simply would never have happened in 2006. No way. Remember jumble sales from when you were in primary school? I think some people called them bring-and-buy sales, but it's the same thing. Stuff you no longer want, think someone else would like, and hope to make some cash on; you bring. Set up a stall. Price the items and sell them.

There are so many venues it's frightening, because there are so many empty retail units in every town in the country. You can rent them out for a day because people are so hard of cash. So you get a prime location, and a pretty fun atmosphere.

Think it'd have happened in 2006? No way. If you'd mentioned an adult jumble sale to any of us in 2005, we'd have shuddered, slapped you with a wad of rolled up fifty euro notes and then gone home to wash the smell of poor people off ourselves. Slight exaggeration, but we were pretty snobby back then. These days we're much more open.

By the way, how awesome is that picture up there? The Producer spinning some tunes on his decks for the shoppers. Class.
This is a Limerick City Centre bar boot sale. Right smack in the middle of town. It had some decks for music. Some guy who roasted his own coffee beans had a stall there, and he was pouring fresh coffee. Artists and photographers sold their own prints and stuff. There was a small platoon of women who'd brought their dresses and fancy clothes that they didn't want to wear anymore, and there were DVDs, records, even a Fender guitar. You name it, it was there.

It had a party atmosphere, and bless her cotton socks, but I think somehow it managed to hypnotize Lady Northy for a while. I think she likes shopping.... surprise surprise. I have to say I kind of loved it too. I don't regard shopping as a sport (sharp intake of breath as legions of women prepare to flay me where I stand), but shopping in a party is pretty cool.
It's also not a bad way of socialising. Does that seem strange to anyone else? It's just that it was so chilled, and the people were all happy to be saving money, and/or making money that there was good banter and plenty of general happiness. I'm fond of general happiness. It beats the crap out of general miserableness. I also like buying DVDs, so everyone's a winner right?

Look one up in a city near you!! Or just come to Limerick. Whatever.

Thing 332 Magic Card Trick

Magicians are cool. You already knew this, I'm not providing you with new information. Usually, the first contact with magicians is through the classic art of the magic card-trick. Through sleight of hand, and well mastered deception, a good magician will make you make that "oooooooh" noise when he/she shows you the card you thought you'd picked randomly. I love that oooooh noise. I want to make people make the oooooh noise. Mostly I get them to make the "aaaawwww" noise. Example: "Aaaaawwww, he's a little bit soft in the head, bless him".

I'm not ever going to be a magician. Firstly, I lack the determination. Secondly, nobody would trust me with keeping that stuff secret. I'm crap at that. I'd be all about the explaining it. What I can do though, is master the art of the magic card trick, and hope that I can make people make the "oooooh" noise.

It worked on Lady Northy. She seemed mightily impressed. First off I'd to buy a little book of magic card tricks, which was easy. Then I'd to pick a trick that's not too difficult, which was not easy, because some of them involved being sharp and quick. I'm dull and sluggish. There's also a glossary of little terms and terminology for card tricks. "The plant", "the swipe", etc etc. So I'd to pick one with as few of those in it as possible, because, let's be honest, there's no way I'm learning additional crap unless it's absolutely necessary.

I learned two tricks. In the process of learning them, I successfully tricked myself. Which I think is an achievement all on its own. How many people can say they're so good at magic card tricks that they confused and deceived themselves?

Here's a basic rundown: I tell the mark to split the deck, giving me one half, keeping one for themselves. I glance at the bottom card on my half. We both select a card from the centre of our stacks. The Mark is told to remember theirs and place it face down, on top of their stack. I place mine on the top of my stack. I place my stack on top of their stack. Because I've glanced down, I know what card is on top of the mark's card. So I can now announce what my card was, pretending that it was whatever I glanced at, then find the mark's card and both will be side by side.

See, I told you I couldn't be trusted with this stuff. Now, if you found any of that confusing, that's okay, it's because I'm such a cool magician.

I'm not boring you to death with the details of the second trick. If you see me in the pub, you can challenge me to show you. I'll be the one with the deck of cards waiting to show off...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thing 331 Spur Steak Challenge

WHAT WAS I THINKING???

It's four pounds of beef. I like a steak as much as the next guy, more so even, but this is just stupid. I didn't help my chances either, I've a bad habit of being talked into things by Siobhan on the Ray Darcy Show. They set up this little debacle for me ('cause they're nice like that). It was supposed to be on the Wednesday evening, and then we could have a chat with Ray the next morning, no problemo. But noooooo. Ray had to have it on air, and I, for some reason cannot say no to Siobhan.

So I went to Spur, at nine in the morning, and tried to eat four pounds of beef. Sixty four ounces of rump-steak. I'm an idiot.

Here's how the challenge works: You call up Spur Steakhouse in The Crescent Shopping Centre (for the Dubs reading this, I think there's one in the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre too), and tell them you want to try it. They arrange your date, and give you one hour to eat sixty four ounces of steak, with sides of chips, fried onions and coleslaw. I hate coleslaw by the way. If you can eat it, it's free. If you can't, it's sixty euro. That's right folks, you get to pay sixty euro to not finish your dinner. What a world we live in...
Not very appetizing is it? It was actually nice steak. Me with my tactics, I thought I'd get it cooked medium-well instead of my usual; bloody and dripping so I can soak up the juice with my chips. Nom nom nom. The more it's cooked, the smaller it becomes. Super clever right? Wrong. I don't like well cooked meat, so now I'm just eating more of something I don't like.

I'm so cock-sure though (less of the giggling please, the word cock isn't THAT funny). I was giving out about the coleslaw before the whole thing started. I don't want to eat it... as if the coleslaw was going to derail the entire thing, and not the baby sized portion of beef.

The guys in Spur were class though. Sound out, and very encouraging. The Boss inside there told me that none of the big guys ever finished it. It was always done by a small guy, not much larger than me, and professional rugby players had tried and failed. Sweet, I thought to my stupid self.

One guy in Dublin ate it in twenty one and a half minutes. He came back the following week, ate it in twenty two minutes and then had desert. I want to meet that guy and shake his hand. Leg-end.
The problem with talking about this stuff to Darcy is, that it being national radio, people find out about it. Local newspaper turned up, and I made the front page. Yep, a kind of fat guy, trying to eat steak. The Journo made me sound like a legend though, so my embarrassing failure wasn't as bad as previously thought. Other people from shops around The Crescent came down to the store to laugh at me through the window, and take photos. Can't blame 'em. Everyone loves a freak-show right?

So another failure. I ate about thirty ounces of steak. Not even half way. That's still nearly two pounds of beef, but there's no prizes for nearly-rans.

I've not eaten steak since. I guess it'll be a little while before I'm able for it.

Thing 330 Scientology Personality Test

I've always been fascinated by Scientology. Not in the "can't wait to sign up" kind of way, more in the "how weird and sensational it seems" way. I can't get my head around it. It's their lack of sense of humour, all the while they preach about how honourable they are. It seems odd. Isaac Hayes, he played Chef in South Park, quit the show on the grounds that it mocked his religion too much. Tom Cruise is, well, he's Tom Cruise, and the less said the better, I don't want the man suing me.

It's a fully organised religion, which has it's own information department, which pumps out propaganda like there's no tomorrow. You should see it. The Scientology website has promotional videos. They're actually kind of creepy. Smiling people, pristine buildings, everyone grinning like idiots, and non stop talk about how amazing their religion is.

It's possible that I'm too long exposed to the mainstream media, and I've let South Park mock it for so long that I've started picking up the bad bits, but holy shit, do those people seem like they're bat-chit crazy. I watched the videos, half afraid that there was some way they might have been brainwashing me. Seriously, it was beyond creepy. Don't watch it, in case they get you...

Mental health is a big thing with these guys too. And they have personality tests for likely candidates to take. That's totally normal for any religion isn't it? To have your faithful congregation tested for personality defects? If that was normal for my faith, they'd probably be kicking me out. And God Boy too. Band Man also. Wow. We're a degenerate bunch of Christians.

So I took the test. It was long, and weird. It asked probing and strange questions. It went on for pages and pages. Non stop. "Do you think that your friends listen to your opinions?" A positive, negative or neutral answer box to tick for each one. "Are you a person who likes having responsibility?". "Do you experience black moods or rage". On and on it goes. If I'd been writing the questionnaire, I'd have definitely thrown in a few joke ones: "How much do you hate wearing pants?". "Have you ever wondered what a cat would look like if it could take off it's fur voluntarily?". My guess is that my line of questions probably says enough about me, and Scientology isn't famous for a sense of humour.

When it's all done and dusted, you've to take your reference number and head to the nearest Scientology Church to get your results.... Ammmmm.... I don't think so. In fact, I'll be avoiding the shit out of that one. I don't want to be brainwashed. I already love the leader.

Sorry. Bad Simpson's joke.

Thing 329 PRO Duties

If there's one thing that I'll have to admit about this Project, it's that it's given me a serious amount of drive to get some stuff done. Stuff that I'd previously not have bothered my ass doing, or at very most, talked about doing, without ever actually getting 'round to the action bit, I'm actually getting done now. It's shocking. I don't know what to do with myself. It's been weeks since I procrastinated pointlessly.

So here's the latest one, I'm now the PRO for the Norris for President, Limerick Branch. Someone apparently thinks I've enough competence to be trusted with stuff. Apparently I'm all about the get-up-and-go these days. Part of the new me if you want to call it that. No more sitting on the sidelines for me, no sir. It's action or nothing.... I'm lying. Even as I typed those last few sentences I realised how much of a lie that is.

That's the motivation anyway. It's all about trying to get the drive for doing more than giving out. Which I do regularly and often.

So for the Thing, I discharged my first official duty as PRO. We held a meeting. Talked about how great Senator Norris is, and then we had some pints. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff. I sent some emails to some journalists. I talked some more about how great David Norris is and then I sang a few songs.

Perhaps choosing my brother's bar as a meeting venue wasn't the best choice... Thorny Wire loves it though.

As I said, the whole idea is to get involved. Stop whining and giving out about bad politicians (among many other things, like Liverpool Football Club and the severe lack of Kit Kat Chunky in so many shops). This is going to be my personal contribution to society.

On top of the getting involved bit, I like a bit of responsibility. I know that by the time comes to the election itself, there's going to be serious work required, electioneering, postering, papering, other things that start with p.

It's a long slog, and it's likely to be a challenging one. And it started here. Which is nice.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thing 328 Don't Speak For a Day

If you know me, then you're aware that me not talking for a whole day is about as likely as a genuine apology from a politician. If you don't know me then you may have already guessed from the excessively wordy blogs that I'm a mouthy, gabby asshole. I never know if I'm repeating myself or not, but in case I'm not, I'm going to tell this story over again. When I was about eleven months old I was talking. Not just one or two words, I was having actual conversations. Dad tells me that people followed him and mam around the shopping centre on grocery day, watching the tiny child talking to whoever would listen.

The problem, as my da pointed out in his toast on my 21st birthday, was that they couldn't shut me up. Nice one da. I lack the switch in my head that certain people have which allows them to stop their tongue from moving when they want to. I just keep talking...

I tried this thing twice before. Two fails and both inside of an hour or two of starting.
So I resorted to writing on my hand as a means of communication. Writing on anything really. It hurt my face not to be able to talk. Aside from anything else, it was ignorant as hell. The Barista thought I was drunk. Normally when I walk into Arabica, he says "hello Dan", and I typically (and probably too loud for the volume in the room) shout out "Hello". This time I walked in and he said hello, I just smiled and nodded. Apparently that's what he thinks I look like when drunk. So I felt rude. I wanted to make sure that if I did this Thing, I wouldn't just hide around the house. I'd get out and not talk. I had to scribble my coffee orders on beermats in O'Connell's at The Old Quarter. I think the staff there must have thought I was insane. They're not far wrong, to be fair to them.

The Canuck, like clockwork, of course, started baiting me. Politicians deserve more money, he told me. They don't get enough in pension payments. One of them definitely did not commit perjury. What a dick. I was seconds away from punching him, let alone just talking. To be honest I expected it. My friends are antagonistic from time to time. The Canuck more than most. Much love to the man.

So in the spirit of testing the limits of my no-speaking tolerance, the entire Sluggery crew got together and signed up for a table quiz. Imagine me, of all people, at a table quiz, where I can't open my mouth. Just answer questions with my pen and be quiet. It wasn't easy, but at this point I'd gone about nine and a half hours. Not one word spoken.

Table quiz rolls on, as table quizzes are wont to do, but I'm still not talking. We're not winning, we're in second or third, but all the time we were catching the front runners. Someone mentions someone at another table using their phone to check answers... danger... danger... I can feel it coming. Nothing said though.

Final round. We're about ten points behind the winning team, but there's ten points per question in this round. And, to add insult to injury, there's a question about airlines... no one else is going to know the answer except me and Token Northy. That's when Pony Boy lets a roar out: "Stop using google..."

"WHO'S GOOGLING???"

The words were out of my mouth before I knew what was happening. The worst part is that there were plenty of tables of people who knew me who all made that loud "oooooooooooooooh" noise, when they realised that I ruined it.

A whole day, no talking, nothing said, when I wanted to. Absolutely nothing uttered out of my mouth, and then I had to go roaring "Who's Googling". That's not even a real sentence. That's when the row starts. Because some people are claiming that since it's after midnight I've technically done it. Token Northy insists that the time was 23:59. One minute in the difference.

Not that it matters, the row was pointless. Thing doesn't end until I go to bed. So I'd failed. The lads said that the attempt itself counts as a new Thing. Token Northy and Pony Boy tell me that I should do something else that's new to make up for my failure.

So they pour me a glass of fishtank water. And I drink it.

For the millionth time: Stupid Project.