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Dreadful Nonsense

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

30 September 2002

I love Little Howard

27 September 2002

Friday Five

1. What are your favorite ways to relax and unwind?
It’s quite a new development in my life, but since moving flats I’ve been taking a lot of baths lately. Edel introduced me to the wonder of Lush bath bombs, and I’ve not looked back since. That’s my favourite way to relax. That, and reading books. But I’m not one of those people that can read in the bath – I’m too precious about getting books wet. So I listen to Radio 4 instead. Doesn’t matter what’s on – the other night, I listened to a half hour programme on the research into finding out new ways of fighting cholera.

My favourite way to unwind is to jump around my room singing / yelling at the top of my voice to the most violent songs I’ve got in my music collection. And then, always, finishing it off by listening to Joni Mitchell’s Blue album.


2. What do you do the moment you get home from work/school/errands?
I used to walk in the door and immediately take off my shoes. Now, I walk in the door and immediately walk back out again, bringing the dog out for our evening squirrel hunt. Then I come back in and take off my shoes.


3. What are your favorite aromatherapeutic smells?
I don’t have any.


4. Do you feel more relaxed with a group of friends or hanging out by yourself?
I feel much more relaxed being on my own. And even more relaxed again being on my own, but with a dog sleeping beside me. And the most relaxed I can be is when I’m on my own, with a dog sleeping beside me, knowing that my mum is in the next room.


5. What is something that you feel is relaxing but most people don't?
I find washing dishes and hoovering and general housework a very good way to work towards relaxing. I don’t find it relaxing in itself, but the sense of achievement and contentedness that it brings out in my warped and obviously irrevocably diseased mind means that I can then sit about and feel good about myself for the rest of that day. I know it’s very wrong, and I’m getting help.

26 September 2002

Two words: sand art







I had a very disturbing and quite surreal conversation with my mother last night, in which she insisted that the swans that used to live on Dublin canal have been eaten by the Romanian refugees, who view them as a delicacy. She also claimed that the ducks from Stephens Green have been eaten too. She is usually a very rational woman, my mother, and not given to flights of fancy, although when she claimed the source for her news was the Marian Finucane show, I did begin to worry.

Even though I was convinced this wasn’t true, I emailed a couple of friends in Dublin to see if they’d heard these rumours. One of them answered, telling me that me about “how the Eastern Europeans have managed to get their hands on every pet rodent in the city. There are even reports of a break-in to Dublin zoo”, before telling me that I was an idiot, and that there are better things in this world to be preoccupied with.

But the fact that my mother is now telling me about this means that, somewhere out there, people are believing it. I’ve searched the usual news sites on the net to see if I can find out if someone has believed it enough to write about it, but haven’t had any luck so far. My mother swore that she heard it from accountable sources, but then used the words "Today FM" and "Joe Duffy" and so we laughed in her face and mocked her until she cried.


In other news -

1. The Guardian Best Blog results are up, resulting in some more places I can waste my lunchtimes hanging around, although the winner’s site seems to have crashed – probably due to increased traffic. Also, only one of the 20 shortlisted was blocked by my work firewall. I thought that was interesting. Just me? Okay.

2. Comedy fan makes quick buck selling oversized t-shirt on ebay. I’ve got one of these, given to my by a friend who attended the recording. I’ll be keeping an eye on this

25 September 2002

The bad news is, I think I might have ‘flu. The even worse news is that I’m at that point in feeling a bit ill where you’re generally under the weather and a bit peaky, but not enough to justify staying off work. I’ve got a headache, I’m a bit dizzy, slightly deaf, my throat hurts a tiny bit, I’m feeling very tired, and a bit achy. But not enough to justify the constant moaning I’d like to do. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up with a runny nose, and then I’ll be able to justify lying around the house all day wrapped in a duvet and drinking lots of hot drinks. Fingers crossed.

**************


"Wow, you really walk a line there," Mr. Donahue said, shaking his white head sorrowfully. "You've got to be careful that theater doesn't overlap the healing."

The fantastic Dr Phil McGraw has started broadcasting on American telly, and already he’s made two of his first three guests cry. His home page includes lots of links to other American navel gazing sites – such as this gem, which offers you the opportunity to learn about yourself for only $29.95 for the first course – and the chance to email in your problems to the man himself. Here is the standard response (never one to pass up an opportunity to increase book sales, you’ll note) –


-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Phil [mailto:phil@philmcgraw.com]
Sent: 25 September 2002 10:24
To:
Subject: Please be advised.


Please be advised.
I have received your e-mail and I am working through my mailbox as quickly and diligently as possible. I have thousands and thousands of letters to respond to, so please be patient. When I do respond it will be in the context of Life Strategies, the Life Strategies Workbook and Relationship Rescue. If you have not read these, please do so. If you can not afford them they are available at your local library. Thank you for watching and reading.
Dr. Phil


24 September 2002

A really quick wrap up of all the pertinent links I could find in my lunch break, in response to reading Tony the Blair's dossier of doom, or "10 reasons why we should go to war".

- Gulf War 1 veterans express their fears that we have learnt nothing from the first time round.

- The "corrupt, feckless and downright dangerous" people Bush wants to succeed Saddam Hussein.

- We know what nuclear components they have because we sold it to them

- The weapons inspection team of the International Atomic Energy Agency take part in a webchat for the BBC

- Voices of opposition from within the British government.

- Not in my name: Do you know what your government is doing?

- "Coming up next: Sources say Saddam may have anthrax-laden ballistic missiles aimed at your child's bedroom!" - This modern world

- Protest Bush: Citizens for Legitimate Government

23 September 2002

I just made Edel take the Indie test, even though she hates this stuff. Har har.

she is a mix taper!



She's really enthusiastic about the music that she likes. She attempts to discover her new favourite
band every week. She continually tries to get her friends into the music she likes, which annoys the fuck
out of them, but she doesn't know it. At least she's not arrogant about it.


Oh, okay. Two tests.
what dr. seuss book warped you?




It's Monday, so just one quick personality test for me.
How indie are you?

i am an indie snob



You're just too cool for school, aren't you? You're pretty narrow minded and opinionated with regards to music (and probably most other things as well). But you're allowed to be, because you really are better than everyone else. You take pride in obscurity. You probably prefer vinyl too, you elitist bitch.

20 September 2002



A really fast Friday Five

1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people?
Depends on the people, really. I am excellent at keeping in touch with some, and others I’m not. It doesn’t usually have anything to do with likes or dislikes either – some people I can’t seem to shake, and some others I can’t seem to keep hold of. Such is life.

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why?
Depends. I’m very much a telephone / text / email gal. Above everything else my favourite form of communication is email – you get to think long and hard about what to see, and then dash off a “spontaneous” reply which gives the illusion of wit and intelligence. Telephone I’m also very good on, so long as I know the person I’m talking to. If not, I lose the power of rational thought.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it?
No, I don’t. I used to have, and it really annoyed me when I got random messages from freaks on the internet wanting to call me. My sister has installed one on the computer at home though, and I keep forgetting to sign her out of it when it’s me using the computer. Therefore, a lot of her friends thinks she’s ignoring them. Har har.

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away?
Far far away. Some in New Zealand, some in Australia, very much most others in Dublin. I miss everyone all the time, but it’s great to manage to stay in touch with those that I stay in touch with – I find it’s a verification of the strength of our friendships.

5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"?
Distance doesn’t help at all, and out of sight never makes one jot of difference, in my book. If you’re meant to stay in touch with someone, you always will.

19 September 2002




Ahoy there, me hearties!

As everyone already knows, today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. I personally have come in to work with my peg leg, my eye patch and a dead parrot that I found on the street, which I have nailed to my shoulder.

Some suggestions on what you can do on National Talk Like A Pirate Day (with thanks to special genius Wil Walker):

- work out in the Gym,lad.
- have open me'hearty surgery.
- walk to the studio of dead German record producer Conny Plank.
- find someone born late Feb' 94 and call them "Pisces of 8".
- paint your long johns silver.
- make a prank phone call to anyone listed as Peggy Legge.
- cover your acne with a little cross.
- put a bottle of cod liver oil into a toy boat, an' sail the 'Seven Seas'.
- pretend your little B&Q toolbox is a chest of treasure & bury it on a traffic island.
- find a circular church and curse its 'curvy nave'.
- place your expensive boots in the freezer to shiver your Timberlands.

Or just go find your pirate name.

18 September 2002

I am, it has very recently been stated, quite a suspicious person. I'm also mildly technophobic - I can blog, certainly, but I couldn't tell you how or why it's working. I've only just been introduced to the 'Profiles' section on my mobile, and have no idea how to set the speed dials - so when I read this posted on a discussion group, I thought they were making it up.


Subject: Astonishing
Posted by 'Blown mind' on 13:08 18/Sep/02 :

"This is truly amazing and bloody handy to know about.
If you've ever heard a song on the radio/TV and wanted to buy it but not known who the artist is here's how you find out.
Dial the middle keys on your mobile (2580) and point your phone towards the music for 15 seconds. Within minutes you'll get a text message with the name of the track and artist. It costs 50p and you don't have to register...
Apparently it's taken two and a half years of complex maths and programming so software can recognise the difference between a cover version and an original song..."


Unless this site is part of the elaborate hoax, it must be true. Someone email me and tell me if it works, please. I'm too cheap.


A feature of blogging is that sometimes a lot of different people link to the same site. Sometimes, this is a great thing. This site, the homeless guy, is a weblog written by a homeless guy using public computers and learning everything at the library. It's really well written - so well that he's even had to 'prove' his homelessness to doubters who have recently stumbled across the site, probably due to his sudden fame among other bloggers. Well worth a visit, and a good tweak of the conscience.

16 September 2002

I am, I’m not afraid to admit, quite a suspicious person. I also have the bad habit of reading meaning into things when there is no meaning to be read. If there is a right end and a wrong end to grasp, I will invariably grasp the wrong end. I have also developed quite a knack of brooding over things I have no right to brood over, and I have a great collection of conclusions I have come to that make no logical sense whatsoever.

So today’s question is – what does it mean, in a group mail, if your address is one in the ‘bcc’ section. As in, someone sends round a group mail – change of address, a collection of jokes, a link to a funny picture or website. That mail goes round to people, made up almost equally half and half of people you know and people you don’t. What does it mean if you can see everyone else’s address, but you can’t see your own? You’ve been bcc-ed. You’ve been blind carbon copied. You’ve been hidden from everyone else.

I’m only asking because it happened three times today, from two different people. The second time made me start to wonder. The third time made me want to email those two people back and ask them why the hell I’m being made unvisible.

Does it mean that they’re embarrassed to be mailing me? Does it mean they’re hiding my address from other people? Does it just mean they pressed the tab button once too often while composing the mail, and my address went from ‘cc’ to ‘bcc’ totally by accident? I have no idea, but I’d like to take an hour or two to be anxious about it.

And while you’re here –
Dear God, won’t somebody think of the children.

14 September 2002

As the official 'mourning period' for the September 11 attacks is officially over, more voices of protest are beginning to appear in the American press. Now, someone has finally begun to question if they are actually the good guys after all.

Printed last Wednesday to coincide with the US anniversary coverage, ''Afghanistan remembers''.

The Washington Post finds that there is little evidence or justification for going to war with Iraq.

Mitch Benn pens funny song about the Bush Boys.

And finally... For fuck's sake.

13 September 2002



A really fast Friday Five


1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people?
Depends on the people, really. I am excellent at keeping in touch with some, and others I’m not. It doesn’t usually have anything to do with likes or dislikes either – some people I can’t seem to shake, and some others I can’t seem to keep hold of. Such is life.

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why?
Depends. I’m very much a telephone / text / email gal. Above everything else my favourite form of communication is email – you get to think long and hard about what to see, and then dash off a “spontaneous” reply which gives the illusion of wit and intelligence. Telephone I’m also very good on, so long as I know the person I’m talking to. If not, I lose the power of rational thought.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it?
No, I don’t. I used to have, and it really annoyed me when I got random messages from freaks on the internet wanting to call me. My sister has installed one on the computer at home though, and I keep forgetting to sign her out of it when it’s me using the computer. Therefore, a lot of her friends thinks she’s ignoring them. Har har.

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away?
Far far away. Some in New Zealand, some in Australia, very much most others in Dublin. I miss everyone all the time, but it’s great to manage to stay in touch with those that I stay in touch with – I find it’s a verification of the strength of our friendships.

5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"?
Distance doesn’t help at all, and out of sight never makes one jot of difference, in my book. If you’re meant to stay in touch with someone, you always will.


It's Friday, 13th September 2002.
It's 2.30pm.
It's time to mock religion!

A Baptist guide to dating, that includes the following sound advice to those "many wonderful Christian ladies whom I know who I believe would make very good wives."
"Many adult singles have become so independent and self-sufficient that dating someone less than perfect appears to be a burden and intrusion into their secure lifestyle. That's the kind of selfish thinking that will keep you single or tempted to chase mature married men who appear to have it all together."

The brilliant, if slightly worrying entitled Train Up A Child, which offers The Biblical Action Figures (tm) Collection. In both dark skin and light skin figures.

Finally! Catholic Supply present new Occupational Jesus Statues!


The Ashbrook Centre uses unsubtle means to remind suicide bombers that "It's Still Evil, Stupid".

The good people at Atheism is wrong and shouldn't be allowed tell us, with the use of random capital letters and 14 number points that "God is God. God is good. Do not judge God unless you are over God. If you think you are greater than God, you think you ARE God. But since you are NOT God, quit judging God as though you are greater than God."

12 September 2002

I've just learned that my website is reported as accessible in China. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

And while you're online, why not waste valuable study/work hours by reading Trev and Simon's Stupid Book.

Thanks.

11 September 2002

"I can remember thinking that all of them were like rag dolls, their arms and legs stretched out," he says, giving this interview in his flat, the sky where the towers once soared now empty. "Most people fell with their arms stretched out, almost like a crucifixion. And feet-first almost always, strangely enough, even though the head is heavier. They looked so tiny against the building."
Conor O’Clery in the Independent

“Osama bin Laden’s hijacked planes not only attacked the Twin Towers of the Word Trade Center and the Pentagon. They also attacked Islam as a faith. They attacked the values of tolerance and coexistence that Islam preaches.”
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi in the US Daily Star


"Kevin's remains have not been found. He just went to work one day and vanished into dust. I'm going to scoop up some dust, put it in an urn, and take him back to Australia. For me, the dust represents Kevin. That's all I have."
Richard Dennis in the Australian Advertiser


"How are we to memorialize an event of such unspeakably horrific proportions?" Fox News senior producer Jeff Kent asked. "How can we eulogize those whose deaths we can scarcely comprehend? Well, Fox is giving it a shot with the two-hour special The Day America Changed. I think you're going to like what you see."
The Onion


This morning, when we went in to make our first cup of coffee of the day, we found there was no milk in the fridge. Turning around to fill up our water bottles from the water cooler, there’s an out of order sign stuck on the front. “It’s going to be one of those days”, we sighed at each other, walking back to our desks. But it really isn’t.

This time last year…

Everyone knows what they were doing this time last year. This is our JFK / Death of Elvis / Walking on the Moon / Declaration of War day. This is the day we’ll tell our children about. This is the day our children will be taught about in school, as the turning point of world politics, possibly even as the catalyst of what turned out to be World War 3.

Every paper has got special supplements. Almost every TV station have 9/11 specials that last hours. Every church is holding a special service. There is to be a minute’s silence held across the UK at 1.46pm, the moment the first plane struck the first tower. And at the back of everyone’s mind is the thought: can it happen again?

This anniversary is not about politics. It’s not even about terrorism. This anniversary is first and foremost a reminder of our tenuous grasp on life, and how easily it can be taken away. It is a constant admonition of our mortality. 3,057 people left their homes this day last year, most of them only going to work, and never returned. 1,721 families were left without even a trace of a body to bury.

My one abiding memory of this time last year is my very slow walk home from work. I had been kept up to date with events by Susan, who was working in an office in London with Sky News rolling on TV screens around them. She had begun to panic when offices in London were evacuated, and I begged her to go home, without even realising the full extent of what was happening in America. I listened to Radio 4 on my way home, and looking at the first photos printed in the evening newspapers, slowly realised what had happened. The one thing I’ll always remember is looking around me at the other people slowly shuffling home, and seeing that many of them, too, were walking along with tears rolling down their faces.

Timeline of events, 11 September 2001

9/11 in numbers

WTC and Pentagon Memorial

FDNY memorial

10 September 2002




some voices of opposition or warning, coming in the wake of the terrorist attacks last year -

The Observer site has compiled all of the past year's coverage from The Guardian and The Observer into this War on Terrorism mini site. Another interesting section of the site includes the Liberty Watch, which makes for sobering reading.

Two other great sites, asking for people to step back for a moment and just think about what and why we're doing this -
Why This War?
Stop World War 3

Finally, a collection of photographs, taken by amateurs and professionals, and donated to one gallery to be resold, with all proceeds going to children's charities. A Democracy of Photographs brings the events slightly closer to home, with attention to tiny details as well as the bigger, more familiar picture.

09 September 2002
it's coming up to one of those occasions where everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing this time last year. one thing I'm slightly grateful for - along with the fact that I and all of my friends and family are still alive and healthy - is the fact that i wasn't doing a weblog this time last year, when so much was going on. i'm not sure my thoughts at the time would have been worth recording, being as they were so similar to everyone else's thoughts at the time. but in the last week i've been rubbernecking like hell, reading up on as much stuff as possible as i can find on the net while wasting a lunch hour at work. in the next few days, i'll be posting up some of the more interesting and outrageous stuff that i've found.

i became completely entranced by this article from the New York Times today, which details the 102 minutes between the first plane strike and the collapse of the second tower, from the perspective of the people trapped on the top floor - none of whom survived (you have to sign in to read this).
fighting to live as the towers died

there are many weblogs that recorded people's initial reactions to the events, from the perspective of television viewers, to those who were there at the time. these are just two, from writers that i regularly read.
for thou art with us
andy's chest

finally, some of the more stupid and surprising urban legends that got emailed round in the first few weeks after the 11th - and whether or not they are true.

- Clean-up workers at the World Trade Center found two metal beams in the shape of a cross
- A properly folded U.S. $20 bill reveals images of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
- Women: Take off your clothes and scare terrorists
- An unburned Bible was found amidst the charred wreckage of the Pentagon
- A mother cat and kittens were found living in the basementof a restaurant beneath the rubble of the WTC