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Dreadful Nonsense

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

26 July 2004
I'd never considered it before, and this is the sixth year in a row that I've returned to work in some capacity in the hospital I'm currently working in, but it's a very odd thing to be working in a building that has it's own chapel where mass is performed twice a day, and the Eucharist is on display for all to see. My current office is located at the end of the corridor outside the day patient's ward, and exactly six doors down from the chapel, and the wards I'm being clerk for are located the next floor up, so that means I get to pass by the chapel about twenty times a day, what with my various wanderings. This in turn means that I could be blessing myself up to forty times a day, if I felt the need to. Given the last few days, I think I could do with a bit of a boost, superstitious, religious or otherwise. My conundrum lies in the thought that, as a confirmed atheist but having been brought up in a very catholic country, I believe simultaneously that absolutely nothing would come of this, and that God (who doesn't exist) would be angry at me for thinking he doesn't exist, and wasting his holy water nonetheless on my non believing forehead, chest, left shoulder and right shoulder, and would smite me down with great vengeance and furious anger.

The job today went well, surprisingly so. This may well be down to the fact that I came in half an hour late (I travel in with the man who runs the hospital - my after - and so if we're a touch late there is absolutely no one to chastise us except him, and he doesn't mind). I then had physiotherapy for an hour from 11am to 12pm, which involved a lot of lying on a bed and having the evil madam pressing down on my back, but was strangely relaxing afterwards. Then I wandered around the grounds for 30 minutes of my lunch break in the rain singing Snow Patrol songs with ne'er a soul in sight. Finally, I spent the afternoon doing half work and half study of OU books on the development of language, and more specifically the forms of communication used by honey bees.

All in all, I could very much do this job for a little while, because it's one of those jobs where you can get away with a lot of meandering, and no one will question you if you're carrying a chart of some kind, walking with a purpose and swinging a set of keys.

24 July 2004
What a monumentally shitty week I've been having.  Firstly, something's gone awry in my back and it's worse than before the epidural.  Then a hairdresser gave me such a bad haircut that I actually cried in the hairdressers and had to be calmed down by the manager.  Then I went to be trained up at the stupid job I'm doing next week and lasted two hours before I had to leave and pop a valium on the bus. 

But all of that pales in to insignificance now, because this morning we were told that our beautiful chocolate labrador Butler has cancer and there's nothing they can do about it and I just spent the last twenty minutes holding his head while he was having an epileptic fit telling him he'd be okay.

I can't even begin to start to tell you how horrible everything is right now.

20 July 2004
Stu may well have made the biggest mistake of his life last night, with the toe curling antics under the dining room table... although this has resulted in the best piece of dialogue ever spoken in a Big Brother programme EVAH -

"Did he use a tool to give it to you or did he use his hands?"

18 July 2004
Good afternoon!  Welcome to Sunday.  Isn't it sleepy?  A wonderful indication that the epidural continues to improve the quality of my beautiful life is the fact that I slept right the way through the morning until 12 noon - that's 10 straight hours of lovely restful sleep that I got.  A complication of my back problem is the fact that I don't usually sleep for more than about 4 hours uninterrupted, unless I've popped a variety of pills, and I'm quite frankly thrilled at being able to sleep happily that long, and then not have whinging stiffness for the rest of the day.  I'd do a happy dance, but that might counteract all the goodness that's come of this.
I'm having a little rearrange in anticipation of the Festival, and have been fixing up some new blogs that will be making up the bulk of our comedy lounge festival edition, since we've always had problems with publishing pages during past festivals.  To this end, it's got me thinking about what we might like to have at this year's festival, and what I might be getting up to on my own blog.
I'd be particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has their own blog/journal on the web and will be attending the festival at any point during the run: even if only for one day.  I'm trying to compile a comprehensive list of festival attendees so that we can hear about the Festival from tons of different sources.  So please let me know, either in the comments below or via email, if you're interested in joining this merry band.
Secondly, I've decided that the link on the right hand side of the page currently entitled "current campaign" will, for the next 6 weeks or so, be a place where I'm going to plug festival shows that I've seen that I think should be seen by all people, because they're plain great.  I've already done a little mock up for the Nice Mum show, because I'm already convinced of their genius, and I think everyone who reads this should come along to see them, except for Dave Mum, who will be there to welcome you all with open arms and possibly a slightly unnerving hug. 

17 July 2004
Myself and Mrs D paid a visit to the old Comedy Club, something we've not done for enormous ages, due to backs and boyfriends and pay cheques and all sorts of valid reasons.  We decided that we would be attending come hell or high water, because we hadn't been on the new Friday nights yet, and had heard that crowd numbers were slightly down on Fridays, because word hasn't quite caught on that it's open for business.  Less people is a GOOD thing in Shazzle land at the moment, still being quite tender and emotional following the old epidural, and not wanting to have too many people crowding around me, because crowds tend to associate with pushing, shoving and accidental knocking, and when that happens around me I become violently aggressive and usually kick people in shins, swear in faces and spit.  And Mrs D doesn't like that.
So no matter who was in, we had resolved before walking in to the bar, we were going to stay there and damn well be entertained.  (Can you sense what's coming next?)
And damn well entertained we weren't.  Good God, but comedy in Dublin is in a sorry mess at the moment.  Now, don't get me wrong, and please god if you're Des Bishop don't go quoting me on this and then screaming from the stage at Vicar Street about it all. (This is something he did at the last Vicar Street gig I saw him at - ranted on for about 5 minutes about some poor idiot critic who had the gall to question the future of Irish stand up.  Like 99.9% of the audience give a shit what one critic has said, and what one comedian wants to say in return.  Write a letter, Des.)  There are some fabulous Irish stand ups working the Irish circuit right this moment in time.  Barry Murphy is one of my top three favourite comedians of all time.  Ian Coppinger, Eddie Bannon, Neil Delamare, Kevin Gildea, Anne Gildea, Sue Collins, David O'Doherty, Patrick McDonnell, and Des Bishop himself are comedians you could happily see regularly without ever getting bored.  Dave McSavage, Joe Rooney and Tommy Nicholson are great the first time you see them.  There are some brilliant new acts pushing through to challenge the current big boys on the scene, and all could be looking well...
... if there wasn't so much SHIT about at the same time.  It's not just that the scene is so small that once you've attended regularly for a couple a months you've seen all there is to see.  I'm a fan of repetition.  I like to see acts slowly develop, I like to notice when lines have been tweaked, when the order of their set has been rearranged, when they're trying out new material or reintroducing old stuff.  I even like it when they blatantly rip each other off. 
But last night is a case in point:  of the five acts on, we'd seen four before.  And of those five, only one was in any way entertaining.  Contestant number one was the compere, who we'd seen once before, and who was just as lack lustre this time as last.  Even his hair had managed to annoy me by the time we left, and I'm not usually that irrational.  Contestant number two I'd seen about five times in the last four years, and has been hideously awful at each and every performance.  Last night I laughed so hysterically hard at how badly he was doing again that I started to weep. Contestant number three is a character act and is truly brilliant - the only real laughs of the night.  If you get a chance to see it, Sue Collins as Carmel just gets better and better.  Contestant number four was the new guy - very pretty to look at, which kept our attention for all of three minutes until we realised that his act didn't match up to the appeal of his face, and we lost interest.  Contestant number five... ah, Contestant number five.
Number five was my favourite part of the night.  During the fag break, when we didn't know who was headlining, me and Mrs D decided that we weren't sticking around if it was a certain person we'd spotted in the bar.  Turns out it was.  He has been  so awful every time we've seen him before that we usually spent his set texting each other begging for euthanasia to end the pain, but unfortunately Mrs D had forgotten her phone, so we decided to leggit out the back fire door. 
As we unsubtly got up to leave, Number five made some comment from the stage that I didn't catch, because I was too busy giggling at our naughty rudeness.  Mrs D, with the kind of immaculate comic timing Number five would probably give his testicles for, issued him with the best heckle I've ever heard dealt out in a comedy club:  she slammed the door so hard behind her it nearly came off the hinges.
We didn't stop laughing until we reached the next pub.  Now that's fucking comedy.

15 July 2004
I was rambling through my bedroom drawers last night, moving things from one place to the other because that's what I do when I'm supposed to be asleep. I came across a pile of old diaries, the oldest being one I wrote when I was 12.  I was very young when I was 12, and I've read through this diary a number of times since, but I'm always really surprised at the content, because it really is incredibly childish.  Not childish in the manner that I'm still incredibly childish, but more child-like, in tone and content.  It's odd.  And it's difficult to reconcile that person with the person that I am today.
Flicking through that last night, I also found about a month's worth of entries written in 1998 that I have absolutely no memory of writing.  I was home for the summer from college and pining after a boy who would eventually become my boyfriend (although the diary doesn't stretch off to that date), having problems with my friends that would finally blow up (albeit three years later) into a stand off screaming row that we would never quite recover from, and generally being a bit lost in life.  I remember very vividly all the events detailed in the diary (especially the bits to do with the boy) but I don't remember a single moment when I sat down to write this, and wasn't at all aware of these entries until just now.
The parallels between then and now freaked me out just a tiny bit more than they should have.  Swap some of the names and ages and circumstances about - but don't change the bare facts - and any one of those entries could have been written about today.  This got me a-wondering and a-thinking, and I fired off a text message to my peeps asking them if they thought that we are condemned to live through the same patterns in life over and over again, making exactly the same mistakes with the same type of people and creating the same situations in which to find ourselves.  In short, once you're out in the real world, is your life experience just an endless session of ever decreasing circles?
Mrs D, with her wise head on her wise shoulders, told me really to stop thinking about things so damn much, because I'm just making myself go all twittering for no reason.  And she's right.  I've definitely been reading too many psychology books lately, and I'm seeing patterns where there are none, and trying to create theories around crazy thinking that will eventually get me locked up.  But it is really strange to receive these letters to myself from a past I'd forgotten documenting.  It brought back a lot of memories - not many of them very pleasant, unfortunately.  I find that I only really write personal diary entries when I'm depressed, so if the old plane does go down in a couple of weeks time, could someone please tell my family to ignore all the crazed journal entries they find as the ramblings of someone who hadn't yet been introduced to Mr and Mrs Valium, and not to worry, because really I was always quite the chirpy sort.

14 July 2004
Ridiculously now, Jason is pretty much the only housemate not up for eviction. So much for me opening my big mouth and letting people know what I want. BB producers, stop reading my blog and then fixing the outcome just to spite me. I'm on to you, and surely you have better things to worry about than trying to slightly irritate a 27 year old Irish lady who has nothing better to do than sit and watch Ahmed get more and more irritated by the baby alarm clock this morning, and then watch two episodes of ER back to back even though they're not from the same series, and still know the outcome of every story line? Everyone has better things to do. Even me.

And anyway, the stupid task was failed. Failed, I tells you. Due to the fact that I, as I have just so elaborately illustrated, have nothing better to do, I did witness the BB Privates fail their boot camp almost every day due to stupid infringements, like Michelle helping out in the kitchen, privates drinking from china cups or eating off china plates, or not having correct, full uniform on. I thought I was being a little dusty on the rules, but DS:BB seems to agree with my findings - shock horror, a reality television show is fixed.

Anyhoo. I don't think I need to guide you good people as to who to vote out, I think the clever editing on the BB shows are doing that for you. Not that I'm suggesting for one tiny moment that Ahmed deserves to stay in the house, but the producers seem to be trying to leave us in very little doubt as to who needs to leave. Someone on another forum has however suggested that they may be driving towards a double eviction on Friday, what with the double negative coverage centering on both Nadia and Ahmed. I am thinking though that this is just to get their favourite boy Stuart back in the running for overall winner, and to get the Great British Public's sympathies and support well away from dirty trannies with serious nicotine addiction. Watching last night's show, I fucking needed a fag at the end after all the stress.

So hello everybody! I'm back. Today I will be variously updating random days between the last time I posted and this post. First of all will probably be the story of what a brave little soldier I turned out to be while in the hospital, and various musings in between on people that annoy me and how great my dogs are. Business as usual then. Welcome back!

10 July 2004
The days following the epidural:

This post is very much for my future self, when I’m facing another epidural injection and I’m reading back through my entries to remind myself of what is now lying ahead.

In the hours after the epidural, while lying in bed and attempting to read and/or listen to my walkman and/or sleep and miserably failing to do any of the above, I kept commenting to Mum about the weird numbness caused by the local anaesthetic. They inject it into the injection site immediately you reach the operating theatre, and from then on you’re blissfully unaware of the canula and the other needles and malarkey that’s happening behind you. It kicks in so quickly, so that they can get this procedure over as swiftly as possible, something I’m keen on them doing.

The anaesthetic then starts to wander all around the region into which you have had the injection. If you’ve watched the helpful animation linked to below, you’ll know that this area is quite low down in terms of your back. It’s your lower back. Now, imagine being numbed from there right down to the tops of your legs. And involving all areas in between that. Imagining that? It’s disturbing. Very disturbing. This is not an area in which you’d normally welcome numbness. And the numbness can last for up to four hours, with areas suddenly coming back to life, announcing their return by producing sensations that feel like spiders are crawling across your skin. Not pleasant.

The injection site also tends to stay quite tender and sensitive for about four days after the epidural. It feels initially like someone has kicked you in the back with some serious force for a couple of days, like you’re carrying around internal bruising. Sitting down in any kind of straight manner is a challenge, and because I can’t sit all twisted up in a chair thanks to my back, my options for about three days after the epidural stretch from standing to lying down and back again. This can become old quite quickly.

Finally, the feeling that you’ve just been beaten up, or stayed up for about 70 hours straight, or have run a marathon, or all of those three along with some heavy drinking will hang around for about three days afterwards, even though most of what you’re doing is lying down or standing up and wandering softly around the house speaking quietly to dogs and then lying down again. This is absolutely normal, as is the slight feeling of nausea about 30 minutes after you eat anything. I’ve come to the conclusion this is down to the steroids, but this also doesn’t last more than a couple of days after the procedure.

And then! Then! The being able to walk! The rapid recovery time from serious pain to being upright again! The shopping! The drinking! The socialising! It’ll all come flooding back!

God Bless The Epidural.

08 July 2004
EPIDURAL REPORT: WARNING - May contain scenes of self aggrandisation. Those of a sensitive nature should go read popbitch, or somesuch.

It all went according to plan this time round. Up and at 'em at 6.30am, after a wonderful night where I dreamt that I was on a rugby team, but couldn't play because of the pain in my back. I was deeply disappointed, but couldn't cry on the bench at the sideline, because that's not in the rugby spirit. So I was quite relieved to be woken. An hour's drive to the hospital later, in which both me and my mum wondered at the number of people driving down the motorway at such a stupid hour - don't they realise they could be sleeping? - and we were at the hospital.

Checked in. Found the day patient's ward much easier this time, being an old hand at the procedure. The ward was full this time, all of us patients of Dougie Howser, but only two of us in for the caudal injection - me and a big burly bloke in the bed opposite who didn't speak a word the whole day. I know all the details of the other patients because I have a habit of reading things I shouldn't, but if the nurses are going to leave charts and forms where I can see them, I'm going to look.

They unnervingly started wheeling people out of the ward at 8.15am, which was a big concern for me. I don't have the ability to keep my eyes fully open at 8.15am and my hands don't stop shaking before 10am on the best of days, so I didn't know how Dougie gets through minor surgical procedures that early without a single outlet of Starbucks in the country.

This time round I had a Chinese National explaining the procedure to me. He had a quick look at my notes, and noticed that I'd had it done before, and so his first comment was that I must already be aware of what the procedure entailed, and what the side effects could be. I acknowledged that I did. He then rattled off a fabulous list, starting with "loss of control over water works" and ending with "paralysis" with all sorts of numbness and bleeding in between. Never having had it put to me so bluntly before, I felt slightly weak in the knees, but that was okay because I was lying down. He then, completely without warning, grabbed hold of my right ankle and pulled my knee towards my forehead. I, quite rightly in that situation, gave a yell of pain and then looked at him in the manner my cat usually uses when we accidentally step on his tail. The doctor carried on regardless.

About 30 minutes after that indignity, the trolley of doom came down the corridor with a particularly jolly attendant behind it. He told me to pop up on the trolley. I considered telling him that my inability to "pop up" onto anything was one of the reasons I was there in the first place, but he declared loudly that I was only a "little one" and lowered the trolley for me. As I climbed on and he very paternally tucked me in, my Mum came over and gave me a kiss good luck. He turned around to her and apparently gave her a wink, and then turned to me and said that since she didn't seem to be about to kiss him, we might as well get going. He was, in short, pure brilliant. He told me on the way up to the operating theatre that I was far too young to be having back problems, that I should be up and dancing in no time, and - I'm assuming this was another allusion to my lack of height - that I had just fallen off the wedding cake.

- Side bar: I'm not that damn small. I'm 5'5", which is a reasonable size to be in this day and age. I have abnormally small hands, but you wouldn't know that until I hold them against yours. I am otherwise completely normal, and don’t understand why at this late stage of my life people are continually accusing me of being small. And that’s the other thing – It’s not “short” I’m being accused of. It’s “small”. Odd. –

Anyhoo. Got to the operating theatre. As you’ll all recall I’d decided that no crying would be taking place this time, because of the unholy show I put on last time round. Also, what was last time unexpected was this time wholly expected, and the knowledge of experience is a great help when you’ve got up to five needles putting various different poisonous substances in to you spine.

I’m very pleased to report that this time round there was no crying. There was even a moment of deadpan joking before the festivities began, when Dougie stood at the head of my bed and asked me how I’d been. I told him in no uncertain terms that I’d had better days and weeks preceding this event, and he asked what he was to do with me. I took this to be a rhetorical question, because if he had forgotten the procedure I was quite literally not in the position to talk him through it. The whole procedure took about half the time it did last time, mainly because the first part could be skipped over altogether as it was no longer necessary to be exploratory. The most painful injection last time had been the dye they shoot up through your nerves, so everything else paled in comparison. I did some very deep breathing and blowing out throw the pain, and the nurse told me that I was doing absolutely the right thing, but still reminded me to breathe in as well as breathe out. And then it was all done.

No tears! Check me! I even managed to lie on my side rather than my stomach for the ride back to the ward and stayed on my side for the next three hours, listening to Jerry Springer The Opera on my walkman and laughing at the swearing, because the epidural was now behind me and the painkilling could begin.

06 July 2004
The computer still hasn't been taken to the doctor yet, I'm not sure why. We had long, serious discussions last week about when would be the best time to remove the computer from the house, and we had maturely come to the decision that the beginning of this week would be the best, because I don't have essays to go through, or videos to bid on on eBay or other important computer related activities. That resolved, the computer has now been sitting here for two days festering in infections that make it almost impossible to go look at any website for longer than five minutes – every time you try to move to a different part of a site or even just refresh the page, we get redirected to some stupid search engine that says the page I was JUST THAT MOMENT LOOKING AT doesn't actually exist, but perhaps I'd like to look at some of these not even tenuously linked pages that are probably all sponsored links, and then the porn pop ups start, and then the whole computer freezes.

I'm even typing this in word, just in case in between typing and publishing the computer tries this trick again.

Anyway, the big day looms tomorrow, and I won’t be able to use the computer again until Friday anyway, since the post-epidural procedure is to lie down for a couple of days, to stop the bad poison they inject to stop the bad pain could travel to my brain and that would be BAD apparently, although I can’t see for one moment why that would be. Last time round I managed to avoid the migraine-type headache that’s quite often associated with this procedure, and I’m hoping my luck holds this time too, because it’s painful enough without further complications.

I had a bit of a panic induced ruckus with my dad last night, because he flounced about the house pronouncing that I should be out working, while I was curled up in the bed in fetal position trying to remember how to breathe through pain and spasm, all the time fighting the urge the leap out of bed and hit him square on the face. Which would obviously be totally impossible for me to do, so instead I screamed some quite elaborate profanities at him and eventually calmed down enough to tell him he was forgiven for his insensitivities. The insensitivities he was only aware of after my mother explained to him, for the 1,000th time, that I wasn’t particularly good with pain.

I’ve been very much a brave little soldier about the whole thing, and have been telling everyone who tries to ask me about it that I’m kind of looking forward to it, and then change the subject, because I really don’t want to have to start thinking about it. And no, it’s not that awful a procedure, but I do remember that day and the day after and for about a week afterwards I was trying to remember how horrible it was so that time wouldn’t mellow the memories. It really is horrible, and the pain isn’t the worst of it. It’s the whole being in hospital, being wheeled around on a trolley, being in an operating theatre, and having four people stand around you talking all surgical while you lie face down screeching. That last part, the screeching part, that was my contribution to the proceedings, and I’ve decided that I’m going to try not to do that this time round. I’m taking for my role model the episode of Firefly called War Stories where Mal and Wash are tortured but don’t break down at any point. Them’s some brave fictional men.

So, for anyone who needs reminding, this is what'll be happening to my back tomorrow. Talk to y'all later in the week, unless the computer actually leaves to be fixed.

04 July 2004
Hello kidlings,

My, but it's been a long time. I'm terribly sorry for leaving you all in the lurch in such a hasty and unnecessary manner. I promise that I've not spent the whole time laughing and replaying my video tape of England being knocked out of Euro 2004 - honest. I've been doing other things too. Some of which I have detailed in the back entries (stop giggling) you'll find detailed below.

Now, the reason I've been so tardy when it comes to blogging are two fold. Firstly, the lovely computer that I do honestly adore so very much has been whoring itself around the internet like a dirty slag, and has contracted a number of different viruses as a result that need to be removed quick fast by a qualified doctor. The dirty, dirty computer is therefore being taken from this place early tomorrow morning to a place of computer cleaning where it will be cleansed of it's sins and reborn again, with a renewed firewall and hopefully a few less downloaded and pointless search engines and the like.

Secondly, my epidural approacheth. And alongside that, great wheezing episodes of pure pain have been visiting my life with a regularity last experienced only days before my first epidural, and this has been restricting not only my blogging life, but also my social life and my patience to a point where I've been quite a whiny, snappy bitch to a lot of people, and a miserable silent anti-social bitch to a lot of other people. To both those groups of people, I do apologise. To those of you who have not been personally affected by this, I obviously don't take you enough into consideration to give you the pleasure of my bad moods. I do apologise to you too.

Now. The computer will be out of the house for at least two days. On the third day, I will be in hospital getting Doogie Howser MD to inject me with some delicious drugs that will, in the words of Atomic Kitten, make me whole again. So, blogging should probably resume some time around Friday. For this week, I ask only one thing - please, please, please, if Jason is up for nomination this week, VOTE HIM OUT. For me.

Thanks loves.


01 July 2004
Last year, a comedian fell off a wall and broke both his wrists, thereby making it impossible to hold a microphone but garnering a great amount of press coverage before the Festival even started, helping to publicise a show in the cheapest (but potentially most painful) manner possible.

This year, Nick Wilty has gone that tiny step further, by accidentally "severely damaging his genitals" in Glastonbury. You can click on this link for pictures. I warn you now - they're gory as all hell.