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Dreadful Nonsense

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

30 October 2003
Somebody has given out to me for not linking to the blog I was talking about in my last post, the one written by the girl who died. The reason I didn't link was not, as this person who shall remain nameless (but let's all call her Helena) claims, because I am a totally lazy person, but because I can't remember what the site was and have absolutely no energy to go hunting for it. I'm sure it's quite a common occurence, actually, that blogs are continued on by people's friends when the bloggers themselves die. Or maybe it isn't. I suppose it depends on how geeky you and your friends are. I don't suppose anyone I know would carry this on, mainly because that would be a huge waste of valuable time and they'll all be too busy erecting the statues and huge memorials to celebrate my life, and all the general weeping.

So yes, here's the maudlin post I was promising yesterday. I'm currently arguing with my mother's crappy crap crap crap printer and trying to get it to print 44 pages of text from the internet, which I am planning to read on the plane to try to keep calm. In keeping with my total geekiness, the text is recaps of the first four episodes of Season 5 of Angel, which you yourself can read here at this wonderful site. If you wanted to. But I don't suppose you would. But seeing as how I'm intending on dosing myself up to the eyeballs on lovely tasty valium, I probably won't be able to read the words at all. Hopefully I'll sleep.

We'll be getting up at 4.30am tomorrow, getting to the airport for 5.30am. Our flight details from the Ryanair email are -

From Dublin(DUB) to Edinburgh(EDI)
Fri, 31Oct03 Flight FR812 Depart DUB at 06:50 and arrive EDI at 07:50

From Edinburgh(EDI) to Dublin(DUB)
Fri, 31Oct03 Flight FR817 Depart EDI at 16:50 and arrive DUB at 17:50

One of my friends was kind enough to call me this evening "for no reason at all" and "certainly nothing to do with anything that may or may not be happening tomorrow". We have decided that tomorrow shall go down in the annals of my personal history was "Valium Day". And should probably never be referred to again. I rang the hospital to double check that everything was still going ahead (and kinda hoping that they'd say it wasn't) and they said that my scan would take 30 - 40 minutes. I've made a semi-final decision on the CD that I'll be listening to, and I think it will be Ben & Jason's Goodbye. But I might be changing my mind and possibly going with Aqualung's first album since I forgot to buy the second one on time (although if the airport shop is open at 5.30am I might still go with that...)

So that's that then. I'm not sure what I'm dreading more, but I'm a lot calmer than I had thought I would be at this stage. I don't think any of it will really be real to me until I'm actually strapped in to the plane. If you've seen the episode of The Simpsons where they try to go on holiday until Marge freaks out, then you've got a good idea of what might still happen. I just hope this flipping trip is worth it, and they find whatever the fuck is up with my back.

29 October 2003
Hello again. You might have noticed that I've been pissing about with my blog appearance. This is because I am an idiot and don't realise when to leave well enough alone. The site looked a bit funny on my Mum's computer, because her monitor works properly. The old one that I've been peering at for the last two years didn't know there was a right hand side of the page that was completely blank, and so when I saw that for the first time last week, I thought I'd try to do something about it. But by the time that I realised the limited number of templates blogger has to offer for free are completely rubbish, it was too late. And so we are trapped with this horrible, horrible mess, which I'm trying to move around for my own sanity.

Now, one question for the webmonkeys out there. How do I stop every link being that nasty blue colour? I used to be able to make my margin look pretty, but apparently not any more. Could somebody tell me please? Email shazzle at cluas dot com. I'd be ever so grateful.

I'll stop mucking with the colour scheme now.

This site is certified 24% EVIL by the Gematriculator This site is certified 76% GOOD by the Gematriculator

I am seriously disappointed. Mainly because my mother's website is 83% evil.

I posted up something really quite long and boring on Friday, and unfortunately blogger seems to have lost it for good - it was published and present over the weekend, but seems to have disappeared. Have you seen it? In fact, did you steal it? If so, please return it. Although most of it was a bit dull, some of it involved stories about my lovely dogs, and they were quite entertaining. I thought. I might have been wrong.

Perhaps someone is now editing my posts. Have you guessed my password? It's not too difficult. In fact, it's a little too easy to work out, seeing as how it's the same password that I use for everything. I think I will leave it for the present moment, seeing as how I'm getting on two planes on Friday, and that always puts me in to a morbid mood.

A few months back, I was surfing about - I was probably at work, with nothing better to do other than ignore all the things I was being paid to do - and I found a blog, ordinary and slightly dull, written by a 17 year old American girl. The only thing that made it endlessly fascinating was the fact that this girl had died, and one of her friends had guessed her blogger profile and password, and posted up a memorial for the girl, along with links to the local news websites which featured stories on the car accident that killed her. They also created a guestbook so people could leave messages.

Because of that thing that happens when people die, every post she had posted for the preceeding two months seemed so sad and fascinating and profound and profoundly dumb. I can't quite decide if I would be embarrassed for people to find this if I died, or if I feel it reflects me quite well. I think it's a great mixture of both. (Which is probably why I've avoided actually putting my full name on it, lest one of my many stalkers come across it and use the information provided here to follow me home or sit in my garden at night crying in to the fish pond).

Now, I'm not suggesting I'm going to die. I think, in fact, that these two flights will pass without incident and I'll be back to posting on this on Saturday, probably talking about the fact that I still don't have a job - if you did manage to read Friday's post before it was hurled recklessly into the ether, you'll know why - and the plane journey will be but a vague memory misted by the double dose of valium I intend to take on the flight over and back.

Now. For those of you taking notes, I shall assist with a brief summary of my life since Wednesday:

Had job. Job fell through due to not being the job described to me by agency. Weekend was lovely, on my own for most of it with the company of lots and lots of dogs. Thunder and lightning gone, now replaced by fireworks and bangers, so dogs still not particularly calm. Finished unpacking, room now looks presentable. Had another interview today, was offered job pending references. References either very bad or not produced by my referees, since job is still pending. Tomorrow, day off. Friday, flying to Edinburgh and back. Ignoring all events of Friday right now, but sure will post very maudlin posting on Thursday night. Perhaps if you know me, you could text me messages of encouragement / mocking messages about my obvious cowardice. Many thanks.

22 October 2003
Frighteningly, I've got a job. I start tomorrow. The earlier interview went well, but it's not that one I'm starting tomorrow. Tomorrow, I start one that i haven't been interviewed for, whose role I don't really understand, and whose salary is still under discussion. Not a clever way to start a new job, but an unconventional one at least. Tomorrow and Friday I'm just being trained in on their computer system, so it shouldn't be too difficult a day. That said, I'd prefer to be at home trying to sort out the jigsaw puzzle that is my bedroom, but there we are. I am apparently not offered a choice.

Everyone all together now - cross your fingers and pray that I have at least email, even if not internet access.

Goodness me. It's light a Garth Brooks song outside. Thunder rolling, lightning striking. I had to get up extra early this morning just to calm down the two elderly labradors downstairs. Honey decided the best way to tackle the storm was to bark at it loudly every time it rumbled. Butler decided that shaking and bringing slippers to anyone who walked past was the way to go. Neither of them have managed to calm the storm that's been going on since about 5 o'clock this morning. It's very exciting.

Being back home is a surreal experience, truth be told. It's lovely to be back, and a massive hassle, and very relaxing and confusing and comforting all at the same time. I've still not unpacked but have come to the conclusion that I should never buy anything ever again. I also now realise that you can never have too many bookshelves. I need at least one more in my room so that I can empty the last four boxes that refuse to make room for themselves anywhere in my room.

I've been on the phone to recruitment agencies all morning, and all day yesterday, and went in for interviews and all that kind of thing. I've got a job interview today at 1pm in one of the biggest firms in Dublin, I've got a job if I want it starting tomorrow - scary - and there are three other firms interested in me. Very exciting, you can imagine. I don't want to start anything until I've properly unpacked, but the woman from the agency on the phone last night refused to listen to reason.

Got to go back to quivering dogs now. Just got a text from my sister saying that Kesh is totally wigged out too. How long can thunderstorms last, exactly? This one has been going on for 6 hours already

17 October 2003
I have been avoiding this kind of thing all week, this "one last..." nonsense, but it's still quite a difficult thing to avoid. I'm very aware that everything I'm doing in and around Edinburgh is probably the last time I'm going to be doing it, and we had a tradition in college for doing loads of things for OTS - Old Times Sake. So, for OTS, and for the last time, here's me blogging in Leith.

The phone line gets disconnected tonight at 10pm. My parents were supposed to be here an hour ago, but apparently are somewhere nearby now. My entire life has been boxed and bagged, although obviously I've still not packed my computer. There are over 20 large boxes in the front room, numerous bags and various things stacked in a big, neat, scary pile. I am a great believer in possessions, but I'm very concerned that my parents won't see it quite the same way. Edel said the van was quite small. I may start panicking.

Parent update - they just rang to say that they are checking in to the hotel, and then will be coming back here.

I'm really really anxious about this whole move now. Yes, only now. Shut up. I'm slow, but I get there in the end. I've a whole thing about the journey back in the van, having worked in a hospital and then various law firms where I've had access to medical records that recount in great detail the kind of horrors that can happen as a result of car crashes. And then I've got the two fucking flights hanging over my head like a great big freaking axe. And just general feelings of great unease.

I'm just feeling really jumpy tonight. Not a particularly profound entry there, to finish my blogging time in Scotland, but hopefully next post - probably Monday - should be a bit more cheerful.

07 October 2003
Bad day for Derren Brown, as the police in Jersey - where the russian roulette stunt was apparently performed - have admitted that he used a blank bullet during the trick. They also used the word "prop" repeatedly in their statement to the press. And the following brilliant passage - "This programme was made by a TV company very experienced in pyrotechnics, in making smoke and bullet holes appear. It was no different to film which uses special effects." So for those people hanging on for dear life to the thought that their Derren is really magic, a sad day indeed.

And today's MRI update - I had exactly the same conversation with the MRI gimps today that I had two months ago. We're going nowhere, and we're all going there together. They did confirm that my original appointment is still there, so the plane crash nightmares can continue tonight unabated. But apparently the "gentleman" who needs to speak to the "other gentleman" (her words) wasn't in today, but he would be in tomorrow, and then someone will give me a ring. Seeing as I've been told that every time I've rung since July - apart from the part about the two gentlemen and their important conversation - I'm not holding my breath.

06 October 2003
And in other magician news, we watched Derren Brown attempt not to kill himself on telly last night, playing Russian Roulette. The whole build up to the final stunt was really entertaining in itself, as we tried to double guess how he was going to cut down the volunteers from 100 people to the five people, one of whom would load the gun on the night.

But then when it actually came to the moment when he was going to do the stunt, we both surprised ourselves by getting quite nervous and giddy. I kept looking away and missed the first time he lifted the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. I watched intently then, and didn't miss the second time. It felt quite voyeuristic - which of course it was - and I felt a little guilty having expressed the hope, moments before, that he would die.

On the third shot, he held the gun out to the sand bag and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. Looked like he had miscalculated. We started giggling hysterically. He put the gun back down on the table and started to breathe really rapidly. It looked like he was weighing up the options - either lose his credibility by chickening out, or lose half of his face if he carried on.

And then suddenly he really quickly picked the gun up, held it to his head, pulled the trigger - nothing - and then pointed again at the sand bag and shot it.

It was tremendous. We laughed very loudly, clapped, cheered, laughed and carried on laughing through the ad break. Great telly. Great, great telly.

Of course, if you're a cynic, it was very easy to see how he planted the little bloke in with the rest of the crowd, very easy to make it look like he was chosing him with the other four goons, very easy to stage the whole thing. We didn't see the gun actually being loaded - the stooge did it under the table, apparently so that Derren couldn't see which chamber the bullet was going in. Rubbish - that could easily have been done in our sight. But obviously that would have taken the tension out of the actual trigger pulling. The magical tradition of "Oh no, I've messed the trick up", quickly followed by "Hey, I did it!" was just in keeping with all good performances of this kind of illusion. And it's very easy to rig up a small explosion in a sand bag, to make it look like it had been shot. If it can be done on EastEnders, it can be done for this.

All in all though, really exciting telly.

In other, less fun news...

I talked to the MRI gimps again. No go with the old scan, it seems. They said that they can't move my scan forward unless the consultant says that I'm a medical emergency, which obviously I'm not. I'm really frustrated now, because I've been saying to them that my appointment needed to be moved forward since last July, and it's so stupid that after waiting seven months, I'm just two weeks short of the actual scan.

I texted my Mum to let her know, and it seems that the waiting list in Ireland is a hell of a lot longer, and it will cost over 1,000 Euro to get it done there. I would need to get an appointment with an Irish consultant before even being put on a waiting list, and that wouldn't even be until January.

So Mum and Dad have cooked up this wild, hair-brained scheme in which they think they've solved the conundrum - get me on a plane, fly me to Edinburgh, scan me, and then fly me back. I have many, many problems with this scheme, the two main problems being FLY?!!! FLY?!!! Are you mad?? and FLY BACK?!!! FLY BACK?!!! Are you mad??

But they've both offered themselves in the role of companion / minder, to make sure I get on the plane, and to make sure I get on the plane on the way back. Which would be interesting - Mum has been exposed to my airplane madness before, but my Dad hasn't had the pleasure. I'm not sure which one of them would be a greater comfort - I really need someone who will at the same time ignore me completely and make sure I don't choke to death on my own fear.

This is turning in to one crazy nightmare. I have to ring the radiology people again tomorrow and ask them three questions -
1. Can my appointment be moved forward?
2. If not, have I still got my original appointment for 31st October?
3. Can I take valium before then?

If the answer to 1 is "Yes" then the other two are redundant. If the answer to 2 is "Yes", then everything relies on the answer to 3. If the answer to 3 is "No", then in the immortal words of Mr T, I aint getting on no plane. Fool.

04 October 2003
Las Vegas magician Roy Horn, of Siegfried and Roy fame, has been savaged by one of his own white tigers and is in a critical condition in hospital. Is it wrong that I laughed long and hard when I heard that on the radio this morning?

In other news, today in the post I received the new - and final - Ben and Jason album, Goodbye. Nine days before the official release date, so many thanks to the lovely Setanta website for being very over-efficient. So that knocks the other B&J album off my list of albums to bring to an MRI scan. Keep casting those votes, folks.

And also, buy this album when it reaches the shops on 13th October, or order it early from setanta records. The song $10 Miracle might be the best song you ever hear.

03 October 2003
I got a letter from the hospital today giving me a date for my MRI appointment - two weeks after I leave Scotland for good. I've spoken to the radiology department, hopefully they'll be able to reschedule. But in the meantime, the four page letter that came along with the appointment card threw up something else for me to consider in the meantime -

I'm allowed to bring a CD of my choice in so that when I'm trapped for an hour in a tiny space, not allowed to move, with a massive machine whirring and moving and sending magnetic signals through my spine I can listen to something that might stop me suffering from claustrophobia.

I can't decide what to take with me, but I've whittled them down to a short list -

Aqualung - Aqualung
The Soft Bullettin - The Flaming Lips
10 Songs About You - Ben & Jason
San Francisco - American Music Club
Song of Evil Reindeer - Reindeer Section
Final Straw - Snow Patrol
Moondance - Van Morrison

So. I've decided that you should decide. Edel has already cast her vote, for Flaming Lips. Email me with your choice on [shazzle at cluas dot com], I'd be ever so grateful. Deadline will be whenever the hell I actually go in for the scan - hopefully in the next two weeks.