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Dreadful Nonsense

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

28 November 2003
Tons of things that I've meant to post that I haven't had a chance to over the last crazy week.

(A) Spin Sanity - a reminder to myself to add it to my static links, and a reminder to you to read it.

(B) I didn't like this week's Friday Five so here is one from a couple of weeks ago that I didn't get a chance to post. Bear in mind that I had to look up the word "adjective" before I started.

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.

2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.
Hectic, fastidious.

3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.
Interesting, challenging, (occasionally) irritating.

4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.
Tired, bored, busy, content.

5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.
Happy, rested, busy, laughing, successful.

(C) Good luck to H with her superb travel plans. I thought I was too old for people I knew to suddenly decide to up and leave and travel around the world, but apparently you're never too old. Now I think almost half the people I know have been to Australasia at one time or another, and, as I said in last Tuesday's post, I'm kinda jealous.

23 November 2003
And finally. I note that Jonathan Glasgow is in the full throes of posting again. Some things pass me by for a while, but they won't pass me by forever. He seems to be in love, in the same way that I was once in love with Nik Kershaw, before the police got heavily involved.

Ah, Nik Kershaw...

On Nik's official website, you can ask him questions and he will answer them. He has a son called Ryan who has downs syndrome. Bet you didn't know that.

I started the final part of my unpacking last night, because I've now been home just over a month, and I felt some more boxes needed to be emptied. These boxes came from my old bedroom. It's all old magazines, old comedy tapes, old videos of shows taped off the telly and random rubbish saved from years ago that I couldn't bring myself to throw out. I'm still incredibly impressed by my collection of random things taped from the telly, so much so that I nearly got completely side tracked by trying to find my complete Lee and Herring television collection, and had to physically force myself to put the Fist of Fun tapes down because it was already 11pm and I had to find my bed underneath the piles of boxes. Fist of Fun always was and always will be my most favourite TV show ever.

But it was really weird looking through stuff that was incredibly important to me at 18, but which fills me with some degree of worry when I look back at it now - why the hell was that so important anyway? What did it even mean? Why in the world did I keep it? What am I holding on to it for? I also found autographs from Jasper Carrott, Eddie Izzard and Dominic Holland that I had forgotten I had, and a stack of letters and postcards from Richard Herring and Stewart Lee that confirm I am a horrible, hideous, mad, obsessive freak.

Next Thursday I am going to my first night of stand up comedy in Dublin since I moved home, because I'm getting withdrawal symptoms and need to sit in a dark smokey room filled with people who cough and explain punchlines to each other and occasionally ill advisedly join in with the fun. I won't be reviewing, which will be nice because I won't have homework to do when it's finished, but bad because I won't get in free.

22 November 2003
Friday Five on a Saturday. Go figure.

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
That doesn't give me much time. I'd like to -
Go to at least 4 comedy gigs.
Go to at least 4 music gigs.
Go to Whelans (which can also be included as a music gig).
Get incredibly, utterly and completely trashed.
Stay up long enough to watch the sun rise.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
Sandra, Eleanor, Judith, Janet, Claire.

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
Play guitar, drive a car, smoke joints without throwing up, extend my overdraft limit, know how to make small talk.

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
Buy a house, buy a house next to that for my parents, buy a house next to that for my sisters, rescue about 100 dogs from the dog pound and let everyone I know quit their jobs and come work for me in my new luxury dog shelter.

5. List five things you do that help you relax.
Breathe deeply, take valium, read, sing, get off the plane.

21 November 2003
Mum's operation went very well, very much according to plan, and she was out of recovery and back in her room by 4.30pm. She had funny blood pressure, which kept dropping, which meant that on Thursday night when me and my sisters were sitting around her bed and watching her in her morphine-induced sleep, four nurses suddenly burst in to the room and tipped the bed down until she was virtually standing on her head, shouting "How are you feeling Mrs. Xxxxx?" loudly in to her face and taking her pulse. Which obviously terrified the living life out of us, although we all turned to each other and put on brave faces, as if this kind of thing happens all the time. Yes, yes it does. On Casualty. Right before the nice lady dies.

Obviously, she didn't die. And one of the little nurses (every last nurse there is younger than me. It's frightening seeing people younger than you being clever and efficient in their jobs. Makes me feel like I may well be wasting my life) turned around and eventually explained to us what they were doing, why they were doing it, and the fact that everything would be fine. Which it was. So she wasn't lying.

19 November 2003
Mum went in to hospital today, and her operation will be 1pm tomorrow. Apparently, it should only last an hour, which is astonishing, considering when she had the other hip replaced only three years ago it took a lot longer and seemed a lot messier. Apparently, she will be back up to her room at around 4pm, which is seriously good news.

But I'm not going to blog about that, or the extremely bad mood that I've been in all week (which I'm sure will lift when the operation is over and she's back home), and I'm certainly not going to start typing about work because that will probably lead to me being sacked (although kindly blogger have produced a guide about that), so instead I'm just going to install one of these nifty little fire escape thingys so that other people reading this in their working hours will be able to cover their tracks if they hear a boss or two coming round the corner. Neat-o.

I am also in a quandry about whether or not to dye my hair. Just before I left Edinburgh, I put a blue colour in it, but it just turned black and I looked like some desperate goth reject, and so I wore hats for a couple of weeks. Now that that has faded, I want to put a normal-ish purple colour in it, just your standard over the counter hair dye, but the problem is that everyone I know has been saying how nice my hair looks in its natural colour. I think they're all entirely wrong, but in the back of my mind I'm worried they might be right, and I will have spent a fortune buying hair dye every six weeks since I was 15 years old (could someone please work out the sums for that, please?), and made many mistakes when I should have just stuck to the colour that God wisely chose for me... And then I read about the horrors that Susan is going through with her hair.

But I need to cover up the grey that God has now seen fit to give me too. Decisions, decisions.

16 November 2003
Also, I must remember the awesome power that I hold in my hands with this blog. You might remember last Tuesday I was complaining that neither the 'giant nor the 'cat were updating and now! Look! Updates a plenty from both! They obviously paid heed to my incredibly bored whimpers and came running to my rescue. For that, boys, I thank you a lot.

I wrote my Friday Five at work this week, as is the traditional way to blog that kind of crap, but couldn't post it due to the fact that internet access appears to have been taken from me. That's got to be a record - I've only been there two weeks. My email conversations with friends have also been seriously disrupted thanks to the fact that the firewall at work doesn't understand that Irish people need to swear in order to get their point across. But weirder than all that, all emails sent to me are eventually allowed through, so I got an uncensored edition of PopBitch, despite the fact that the firewall deemed in inappropriate. I applaud that kind of crazy logic.

I've spent the weekend doing things that, I've only now realised, were an attempt to force myself to start loving the city of Dublin again. We went to see Intermission on Friday, at a cinema that was packed to the rafters with people, even though it has apparently been on general release in Ireland for weeks now. We like nothing better than having our glory reflected back at us, and this film was really great in the way that it didn't go all Lock Stock on Dublin like I had feared it would - it didn't gangster things up, or shamrock things down, or even have any horses being brought in to any tenement blocks. It was just really really funny. And it is not Colin Farrell's movie, no matter what kind of crap you read. It's Colm Meany's. The man plays a blinder, ladies and gentlemen. Do go see this.

I then spent Saturday night watching Bachelors Walk, a sit com that has been running on RTE since 2001, which I've only managed to start watching now. It's on the third series here at home, but the first series has just been released on DVD, and I've watched 7 out of 8 episodes in two days. Again, I was so afraid they'd go all wanky and "Dublin is just as much a character in this programme as the three main actors", but they haven't. It's a very strong sitcom. The production values are perhaps a little more shoddy than most sitcoms on telly, but it's better than anything Ed Byrne has ever appeared on, and that's a good yard stick by which to judge any Irish television shows.

14 November 2003

12 November 2003
I swore to myself when the last season was released on video, and I knew every last thing that was going to happen just before it happened, and there were no nice surprises for me, that I wouldn't read any of the recaps or pay attention to any of the spoilers, and wouldn't know a thing about the new season of Angel until it was shown on the telly. But I've ruined that for myself, and now I can't stop looking ahead at everything.

To try to stop searching for spoilers on Angel, I've started to read recaps of ER and 24 instead. It's a terrible addiction. I can't help myself. I think I should start smoking more.

11 November 2003
They send the MTV Europe Music Awards to Leith, and are now surprised when all their computers are stolen. MTV, I'm not surprised. Anyone that has ever been to Leith - and that should have included the people who scouted the place for suitability - are not surprised. Good luck with getting that stuff back, by the way.

I was going to put some pictures of all the things that I got for my birthday on line, but it's proven to be quite difficult, since my friends and family have been quite imaginative in what they bought me, and the stuff that I have isn't easily available on line. I'm sure if I keep looking I'll find something resembling them, but really I don't have the energy, and I only came on the computer an hour and a half ago with the intention of reading my email and then going to stare at the telly. Now I can't seem to leave this room.

I bought the DVD of bachelors walk yesterday, so that I could start watching the second series, which started on RTE last night. But it's not the second series, it's the third series, and it will be impossible for me to keep up with them all. But even so, it's one of the first comedy programmes produced by RTE for years that has lasted past one series, and that has been welcome, pretty much across the board, by everyone as a good idea. I had intended to watch most of that tonight. I haven't quite got round to it.

Bloody hell. It's 10.30pm. Where did the night go?

Fabulously, after making a small song and dance about it, my two year anniversary as a slightly demented blogger has gone by without even a single post. That's right, ladies, gentlemen, people related to me and others, last Friday my blog was 2 years old, and when I did that Friday Five, I forgot.

I had intended some long posts over the weekend - some birthday related bits, perhaps a reflection on the past two years, even maybe a drawing or two, some commemorative plates or the erection of a statue - but nothing came to me, due to be entirely unable to stop following other people round the house mumbling "I'm booooored".

But I've also found tons and tons of new blogs that are actually very interesting. Now that my lovely regular people whose blogs I used to read lots and lots, like the plastic cat and james bachman have decided that they're just too cool to regularly post, I've had to find my entertainment elsewhere. And I have! But I'm not going to link to my new buds here. No. That's right. I'm keeping them my little secret, and you can't see them.

Actually, okay, here's one of them, nicked from someone else's weblog, apparently written by what my mother used to call a "lady of the night", and what my sister likes to call a "skanky hoe" (although I'm not sure how to spell that second part). Belle is, apparently, a prozzie working in London. I'm not entirely sure that that's the truth.

It's one of those weblogs that arrives out of nowhere, fully formed, almost as if someone has been writing a blog about their own life for some time, has got bored of it, but sees the potential to make it more interesting, and has created an entirely fictional life. I would know all about this, cos I was writing a completely different, utterly fictional and slightly rubbish weblog which I may well return to any day now, just as soon as I find a way to add extra hours to my life.

But Belle is still an entertaining, if completely office unfriendly read.

10 November 2003
Consider the following a form of holding muzak, until normal service resumes -



- - - -

It really IRRITATES me when people do not use proper grammar. It does not AGGRAVATE me. Do you understand that? IRRITATE means "to annoy," and AGGRAVATE means "to add to." So, if you're already IRRITATING me with your abominable speech and your insistence on smoking a cigar in my living room, your saying, "Hey buddy boy, don't get so AGGRAVATED; I'll open a window," will only AGGRAVATE the situation.

You can no more ALLUDE a former business associate whose job you procured than you can create the ALLUSION of an unprofitable year for the IRS. The words are "ELUDE" and "ILLUSION," respectively. Don't make me repeat this. You can ALLUDE to or make an ALLUSION to The Art of War in an email, and this is quite a different thing than REFERRING to or making a REFERENCE to a specific passage from the same book, because an ALLUSION is an indirect mention, and if you just pull the whole thing off your Quote-A-Day desk calendar, it's a REFERENCE. Sometimes spell check doesn't cut it. Use a dictionary.

I'm going to try to put this as simply as possible, because I realize that some people thought of English as an elective in college. "FARTHER" is a word that refers to distance. "FURTHER" refers to time or quantity. "FARTHER" has the fucking root "FAR" in it. Like "FAR away from my sister." Do not confuse these two. Note these two sentences: "My brother-in-law has his head FARTHER up his ass than I thought was humanly possible," and, "I have no FURTHER interest in hearing your opinions concerning what we should do about the city's 'Jew problem.'"

I was wondering AS TO WHETHER you are intending to offend me with your idiotic opinions or if you actually think I'll sit here and listen to this shit. AS TO WHETHER? AS TO WHETHER? What the hell is "AS TO WHETHER"? Why are you sticking an "AS TO" on the front of "WHETHER"? Just as it is unnecessary for a person to qualify every single statement with, "I'm just saying, I went to Wharton Business School, and...," the "AS TO" is not needed. You're not being paid by the word. Just say "WHETHER." "WHETHER" is fine.

Think about this. Am I IMPLYING that you are a fascist, elitist prick, or can we simply INFER that from the data at hand?

In the name of everything that is good and holy, please, do not ever, ever, ever say "IRREGARDLESS" anywhere near me. What you mean to say is "REGARDLESS." REGARDLESS of whether or not you think of the English language as solely a means of ordering more sushi or bragging about your BMW, its rules must be respected, and there is no such fucking word as "IRREGARDLESS." It makes you sound even more stupid than you actually are. The prefix "IR-" is a negative. The suffix "-LESS" is a negative. How many fucking negatives do you need in one goddamned word? So help me God, I will beat the shit out of you with a tire iron.

I can't even deal with "LAY" and "LIE" right now. I'll smash something. I know it.

Do you actually mean to say that he LITERALLY dropped dead when you told him you were assuming his position in the company? Do you have any idea what you're saying? You're saying that your former boss was lying (not LAYING! not LAYING!) on the floor of his old office, with no pulse, until paramedics came and brought his lifeless body to the morgue? No, I didn't think that's what you meant. Why don't you get that dictionary and look up the LITERAL meaning of the word "LITERALLY," jerkoff?

You do realize that "THAN" and "THEN" are two different words, don't you? Do you know how you can tell? Because they're spelled differently. That "a" and "e" aren't interchangeable, you callous shitwheel. You can't just spell it how you like depending upon your mood. "I'm a stupid, fucking, big shot stock broker who doesn't give a shit about anybody but himself and spews his moronic opinions like vomit and probably cheats on his wife, and I think I'll spell "THAN" with an 'e' today." No. That's not how it works, asshole! "THAN" expresses comparison and "THEN" expresses a passage of time or distance! Think of it this way: I'm literally going to grab your dick and pull it farther from your body THAN you can possibly imagine, regardless of how shrilly your screams fall upon my unsympathetic ears, until your dick comes off in my hand and I shove it down your goddamned pontificating, no good throat! THEN we'll see whether or not you start giving the simple fucking rules of English the respect they fucking deserve!

[This is lifted straight from mcsweeneys which you should all run to immediately. Go! Go now!]

07 November 2003
1. What food do you like that most people hate?
I love Marmite on toast, and I used to be one of those people that hated it too. Then my friend had a baby and her baby liked marmite on toast, and I was forced to try it one morning, and actually it’s really nice. And I’m the only person in any of the houses I’ve lived in that has liked it, so it’s mine, all mine and no one else can have it. Ha.

I also only like most food if it’s bordering on being burnt. Everything has to be incredibly well done. The measure for when my food is cooked is that the fire alarm has been going off for about 5 minutes and you can’t see the grill any more for the cloud of thick, black smoke.

2. What food do you hate that most people love?
Anything with eggs, where the eggs are still even just slightly egg like. Or even a hit of egg. Or if an egg has been placed beside it, even if there is no egg in the meal. Or if it looks a bit like an egg. Or if the word “egg” is written somewhere nearby. Also mushrooms are appalling. It’s the greasy texture that kills me, I don’t mind the taste of mushrooms but to have one near me makes me want to run away. And finally, even the sight of someone drinking a glass of milk gives me an actual physical urge to vomit. Therefore my siblings use this as a form of torture.

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?
Probably Tom Cruise, but glancing through other Friday Fives this is a common answer, so maybe he’s not as attractive as everyone is told he is. I find most American actors unappealing, so you can keep your Brad Pitts or your… um… no one is coming to mind, actually. You can keep them all, then. Generally, if they’re considered a heart throb, I find them completely unattractive. The exception to this rule is Colin Farrell but I think his appeal to me has a lot to do with the fact that he’s Irish and I am genetically programmed to find him attractive.

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find

Oh, everyone anyone has ever said isn’t attractive. In Buffy the early years, I loved Xander when you were supposed to love Angel. I loved David in Roseanne when you were supposed to love Mark, but then switched to loving Doyle in Angel when you were still supposed to be loving Angel. I had such a huge crush on Paul Merton for years, I still have a crush on Mike Mills from REM, and don’t mind admitting to absolutely adoring Philip Seymour Hoffman in an entirely inappropriate manner.

5. What popular trend baffles you?
Most things, until they’re pushed down my throat for so long I start to like them, and then they go away. The sweat band thing still worries me. And actually anything that is remotely like anything first worn in the 1980s sends me to giddy distraction and the need for a brandy. So I can never watch Girls Aloud, for a start. Which is good.

04 November 2003
Day two of New Job... can I start another New Job diary? So soon after starting and then suddenly stopping the last New Job? I think I can. It may well be a right of mine under some constitution. And of all the jobs I've had, this would be the one where I'd be most likely to find out which exact constitution. If indeed we have constitutions in Ireland. Could someone look that up for me? Many thanks.

So, New Job. I'm working for two underling style solicitors - they're not partners, they're not even associates. These two girls (who fill me full of dread and fear thanks to the fact that I think they may well be younger than me, and will be even younger than me tomorrow) both report to other people, and since I report to them, that makes me the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. But! I'm getting paid a heck of a lot more than I ever did in Edinburgh. So there are upsides. Plus, with the euro, it looks like I'm getting paid over twice as much. Which I'm not, but it looks like it. And if life has taught me anything, it's that looks are all that ever count. Judge by appearances. Don't be scared.

New Job is quite nice, really. I'm in an office with three other girls, I don't have the net but do have email, I have my own direct dial, they've got really nice coffee on brew all the time, and I don't start until 9.15am every morning! Which means that if I pretend in my head my working day starts at 9am, I'll never be late again! I can see that it will probably become stressful quite easily, but I've decided I might try to avoid being stressed out. I'm working just beside St Stephens Green, so I sat in there on the grass at lunchtime. I might go feed the ducks later this week.

Tomorrow, gentle folk, is my birthday. And in three days time, this here weblog will be two years old. I'm considering having some kind of party to celebrate the birth of the blog, or maybe just a quiet toast, or even a crafty fag. If you'd like to join me, please do. The email address is on the right hand side there. Send your messages of congratulations in to the blog, and I'll post anything and everything I get sent, word for word.

Someone - who we'll still call Helena - has been making mocking noises on her weblog (which I won't link to because I'm not sure I'm allowed) about my fear of flying. Her precise comments were: "She is scared of flying which is clearly wrong, flying is absolutely brilliant." Helena is actually the one who is wrong. Very wrong. Everyone, quick, make fun of Helena.

01 November 2003
So then. That's yesterday over and done with. Surprisingly, it only occured to me as I sat strapped terrified to the seat on the plane back to Dublin, just before takeoff, that I had spent the day doing all the things that frightened me the most, apart from having needles put in me, or being covered in spiders. I really entered in to the Hallowe'en spirit, and I didn't realise I had done. Well done to me.

The day went on for at least three days in all. We got up at 4am having gone to bed at 1am. We got on a plane - I burst in to the tears in the boarding area, but managed to calm down until the plane started taxi-ing, then I started crying again. Mum was really great and quite patient, but didn't realise I had taken double the dose of valium I was supposed to. I was totally stoned by the time we landed, which didn't do much for my map reading skills as we tried to find the hospital.

When we got to the hospital, I started to sober up a bit with some coffee and then was dragged to the MRI machine. The CD I had chosen - Ben & Jason's Goodbye - wasn't the best of choices in the end, as you need some very loud rawk stylee music to be able to hear over the din of the MRI scanner. Which is terrifying. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. People, I had just been on a plane - my biggest actual fear of all time - and this scanner still scared the holy crap out of me less than an hour later. You're completely enclosed by the thing, your nose is virtually touching the top of the machine, and you can't move your arms or legs at all. Things vibrate and spin and shake and scream from all around you and you're supposed to control your breathing and constantly fight the instinct to get the hell out of there. For some reason, the only song I could think of to try to stay calm was 'The Wild Things' by Ben & Jason, and that didn't particularly help.

But then that was that. The rest of the time in Edinburgh was brilliant - we met Olivia in the hospital for coffee (she works in the HR department), we went to Matalan and bought stupidly cheap clothes - I got lots of cute pygamas, we had lunch in Ocean Terminal, which is covered in MTV promotion, we went back to my old flat to pick up post (all bills), we popped round to my friend at work so I could drop off her presents of Tayto crisps. Then we had to go back to the freakin' airport.

My mapreading skills were further proved to be rubbish when, although I accidentally found the right ringroad to the airport, I sent us in the wrong direction. We still got there on time. Second plane journey was slightly easier than the first, right up until the moment of take off. Then I had another hissy fit, much to the disturbance of the drunken man from Glasgow sitting beside me. Once I had counted the first five minutes in my head (it's a trick I learned off the net. If a flight is to crash, chances are it will do it in the first five or last three minutes of the flight, so once you're past the first five minutes of the flight, you're probably going to be okay until just before landing. Counting in your head helps because 1. People don't notice if you're crying, 2. It stops you screaming, 3. It calms your breathing) I took out the Angel recaps and only managed to read the first episode before we landed.

We landed up such a jolt that it felt like my spine had been fused together through force. But to be honest, I didn't give a shit, because we were back on ground and we were home. Although we were the last people to get off the plane due to me not being able to walk. I told Mum I'd probably need another MRI now. She didn't seem amused.

We stopped the car on the way home on the top of the Dublin mountains so we could look out across the city and watch all the (totally illegal) fireworks going off. It was brilliant to see everyone celebrating my safe return in such a way. We then went to bed at 9.30pm, having successfully dosed through an episode of John Edward. It's good to be home.