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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

26 March 2002

Tomorrow, again, I get to face my biggest phobia. Not many people get to do this as regularly as I do, but then again most people aren't as lucky to have as many nightmares as I get to have in the weeks building up to the big day.

Tomorrow, I'm getting on an airplane. I'm going home for Easter, and while I dive around my room shoving things in to my bag, I'm wondering why the hell I chose to move somewhere that takes 9 hours on a train and ferry to get home, and only 40 minutes on a plane?

Tomorrow, at 8.50am, I'm getting on a plane, and the thought of it is scaring the life out of me.

Luckily, I'm still got some lovely, tasty, yummy Valium left over from when I threw myself down some stairs just after Christmas. So that will be hopefully taking the edge of it, when I'm up in the air in less than 12 hours time. Urgh.

In the meantime, I'm trying to distract myself by packing most of my bedroom into my rucksack and listening to the Doug Anthony All Stars on a very loud loop. It's not helping.

24 March 2002

I promise I will stop this voyage of self discovery soon, but...
if I was a Beatles song -


22 March 2002

I've just spent the best part of two hours working out how to put links on this blog. I am very proud of myself. Use them wisely.


There are lots and lots of things to find out on the internet. A world of information. For example, today I found out the following details about myself:


 If I was a natural wonder I would be an ocean surf.
 If I was a Rubber Duck, I would be a Sad Duck
 If I was a Dead Russian Composer I would be Igor Stravinsky
 If I was a Letter of the Alphabet I would be the letter ‘C’.
 If I was a Penguin I would be a Fairy Penguin.
 If I was a Tarot Card I would be a High Priestess.


After that massive voyage of discovery, though, very much my favourite was this one – what Calvin character are you? Turns out that…



I am Hobbes!



I hope we have all learned something today.

20 March 2002

Carrying on with my John Edward / contacting the dead thing - which I refuse to term an 'obsession', as I've only got one book on it (so far) - this website caught my eye. If they can talk to you through your pets, through the TV, down the phone and on tape, why not via email? It's crazy, but heck it might just work.

You be sure to let me know if you hear anything back.


This is one of the most disturbing news stories I’ve seen on Ananova in ages, which is, of course, famed for it’s gratuitous attention to detail. Releasing the pictures are obviously essential to finally identifying this poor girl, but the tone in which they are presented, like all other "stories with pictures" on the Ananova site, makes the whole thing seem more like voyeurism.

Also included in the line up today are graphic pictures of the suicide bombing in Israel this morning, with close up pictures of the bus and blanket covered bodies of passengers.

We're becoming far too accustomed to seeing this kind of graphic detail in our entertainment programmes - every television show seems to think that it's never complete without a bomb, car crash or murder to liven things up every ten seconds (and that's just the ). But at least that's all in the manner of jolly fun, and we know that in the end no one gets hurt.

Following on from that day in September, the news people seemed to hold back for a while on the more gory details of every day tragedy and outright slaughter dressed up as a necessary war. They seem to have mislaid that memo now, and are reverting back to type.

Hang on, I seem to be sounding a bit too much like Mary Whitehouse.

I think every news editor and producer needs to be forced to sit down and watch the entire series of The Day Today and Brass Eye before they're ever allowed near an editing suite, before the entire system becomes a great bit parody of itself, and we all start living in caves again.

There.

(Oh, and hello Lorraine!)

19 March 2002

I have to share this with someone, or else I’m just going to collapse in to a Michael Douglas style Falling Down explosion of range at the continuing antics of the woman that sits opposite me at work. For reasons of protecting her identity, and my tenuous grasp of employment, I shall refer to the whole event as the continuing adventures of Sniffy McSnot and her amazing bronchial tubes.

Alongside her long running estrangement from all things tissue and handkerchief related, Sniffy today has decided that, not only is she going to spend the day sniffing at twice the speed and snorting depth, she's also decided to accessorise with some choice deep throat coughing, and plain can't be bothered covering her mouth. Round all of this off with repeated belching, and we've got what I decree to be a winner.

I am now going to blow my own head off through sheer exasperation.

15 March 2002

The new issue of Comedy Lounge has finally gone on line, with just under a week's delay caused by myself and Susan laughing in the face of deadlines, Susan's computer regularly crashing at the least opportune moment, and the dog eating our homework. But it's all about girls this month, which makes a great big change.

Also somebody - who I think is pretending to be someone else - is trying to start up an argument on our guestbook, so you should probably pop along there and join in the fracas.


14 March 2002

I reached a milestone last week that shouldn’t really have gone by without marking it with the smug satisfaction that it most definitely deserves. But, after momentarily remembering it and emailing a few people to be smug and satisfied at them, I forgot again, and carried on without ever throwing some kind of self satisfied party for myself.





On the 7th of March last year, I had a bit of a cold, and a cough to accessorise. At the same time, I was working as a medical secretary in the Oncology Department of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, and every morning I would come in to the sight of a pile of patient files on my desk. These would be the files of the patients that had died from various forms of cancer the night before, and I would have to complete some paper work so that they could be filed away forever in Medical Records. It looked like every single one of them were now ex-smokers. Permanently. It seemed a good time to stop.

Over a year later, the only reason I’m even thinking about cigarettes is because I had the date circled in my diary as an anniversary. I’m a big one for marking the passage of time.

It’s quite easy to give up smoking – as the joke goes, I’ve done it many times. And I never wanted to become one of those tedious ex-smokers that coughs meaningfully at other people when they light up and whines about the smell. It’s so tempting, to be honest, to feel like the better and bigger person. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that you need only one thing in order to successfully give up smoking, and that’s definitely not a bunch of conceited idiots coughing at you. All you need is quiet determination. Also, telling everyone that you’re giving up means that you have no choice but to stick with it.

So, for me, it’s a quiet and understated pat on the back to celebrate a year passing. Very well done to me.




08 March 2002
Now that blogger is back and I get to post again, can I just take this opportunity to gloat for a few moments...



Look at his little disappointed face.



Anyhoo, by the difference of only 10,556 votes - an important lesson in the power of the individual voice, kids - the 25th Constitutional Amendment was defeated, with 50.42% voting No and 49.58% voting Yes. I spent all day on the net at work, flicking between www.referendum.ie, RTE News and The Irish Times to see what was happening, and relaying all information to my friends back in Dublin, who are unable to slack off quite as much as I was. It was quite the nail biting finish, with the final result being decided by the last constituency to declare, Galway West. In the end, regardless of all the information and technology at my disposal, I found out the final result over the phone, while Susan in London watched the declaration on Sky News.

I am very proud of my constituency, Dún Laoghaire, not least because it had the biggest No vote in the country - 68%- but also the highest turnout - 53.15% turned up to exercise their democratic right.

Go Team.

07 March 2002


The results of the voting on the Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy) Bill, 2001 - that’s the abortion referendum to you and me - are currently being counted in Ireland today, and the result should be known sometime after lunch. It’s a tricky one, this one, and it looks like it’s going to be quite a closely run race.

The main question centres around whether or not the unborn has an equal right to life as the mother, and among other changes to the Constitution, it threatens up to 12 years’ imprisonment for “anyone aiding or procuring an abortion”, and the threat of suicide, based on the X case, will be removed as a ground for abortion.

The “simple” Yes or No choice has been truly scrambled in the last few weeks as campaigning from both sides got swamped by too much hyperbole, and people seem to be very confused as to which way to vote, even if they know where they stand on the issue. Throughout the voting yesterday, many people registered complaints about the strategic placing of Bibles around the polling stations - another ridiculous example of an Irish solution to an Irish problem.

That said, I’m keeping a very close eye on the news reports today. My favourite quote so far - and also one which sums up nicely to confusion surrounding this farce of a referendum - came from ireland.com this morning:

"This government is totally unscrupulous. It would say anything to get you to vote their way," said Ms Sile O'Reilly (60) who voted no because, she said, "you couldn't get me to say yes to abortion no matter how you dressed it up".

05 March 2002

Look at that for an unhealthy sized gap in the middle of the web log, and just as it was looking like I’d got the hang of it and everything. I have my excuses, and I could even go ahead and make some of them, but to be honest I’m far, far too lazy.

I’ve been having long discussions over my work email system for the last week about something that is apparently common to everyone of a certain age - that’s between the ages of about 23 and 28. We’ve decided, because we’re very clever and like to give things names to make them sound important, to call it the quarter-life crisis, assuming that we get to live to the age of 100.

The main symptoms of this are, as far as we can work out, the crushing realisation that your dreams will never come true, your ambitions will not be achieved and your job is not the stop-gap to the creative dreams you’ve always harboured. This state of mind is complicated with the realisation that you’d quite like a mortgage, a car and even one of this spouses that everyone seems to be getting for themselves these days. I have even been talking about when to start my collection of cats.

In an attempt to rail against the inevitable, I have chucked in my job, and handed in notice of my resignation at Morton Fraser. Again. This, for the people out there keeping notes, is the third time I’ve quit this job, and goddamn it this time I mean it. They’ve accepted too, so that means in 23 days time I’ll be unemployed, foot loose and fancy free once more.

With absolutely no money. I’ve looked in to it, and apparently, piece for piece, I’m worth exactly $1,592,050.00. If you’re curious, find out what you’re worth here.

On another note, my mother last night booked my plane tickets to fly home over Easter. I’ve got a 1 in 105,195,458 chance of dying on this flight. I’m big in to numbers today, me.