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Dreadful Nonsense

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

30 September 2004
For Susan's never ending entertainment:

"Dan!.. Dan!.. Dan!..Dan!.. Dan!.. Dan!..Dan!.. Dan!.. Dan!..Dan!.. Dan!.. Dan!.."

29 September 2004



My good friend D was over last night. I've not seen her since she got back from holidays in Italy, and last night I found her to be all refreshed and gleaming, and newly in love. Now, this isn't unusual in D - she's newly in love almost as often as I buy new runners (and that's damn often, people). What's unusual this time round is that her new love is very much entrenched in Italy, while she's back here in Ireland. Still in love. With her new long distance boyfriend.

Now, before I go on, I have to make it very clear here that the following is very much about MY GOOD FRIEND D, and very much NOT about me. Is that clear enough? I think I've made that clear. This is NOT one of those times where I'm talking as if about someone else, whereas in fact it's all very much about me. THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME. Okay then. We can continue.

We got to talking late last night about boys, and more specifically about boys and mobile phones. Her new long distance relationship is at the moment very much text message based, with her new long distance boyfriend sending her new long distance text messages in very broken English, with some beautifully touching spelling mistakes and strange sentence structure.

We moved on to talking about how both of my sisters have inexplicably started whoring themselves in and around the Dublin singles scene with the apocalyptic result that last weekend they both very much copped off with boys. These boys took the mobile phone numbers of my sisters, and promised phone calls and text messages.

For one of my sisters, the boy in question kept this promise, and texted her the following day. She rang me to find out what she should text back. (I hysterically instructed her to "sign it with kisses!!!", advice which she steadfastly refused to take.) She replied. The boy never texted back. Ever again.

For the other of my sisters, the waiting continued for a while until the indignation and finally acceptance stages occurred, when it became perfectly clear that there would be no messages, text or otherwise. Although we all put a brave face on it, in her weaker moments she can still be heard mumbling "but why would he say he would, and then not..?" and we pass her chocolate and mumble back about all men being bastards.

Last night, me and my good friend D were both sitting in my room, clutching our phones, and occasionally giggling and passing back and forth said phones so that we could read each other's messages, in that way girls have of sharing everything in too much detail sometimes. I put forward the suggestion to D that, sometimes, it's very difficult being permanently available to anyone who wants to contact you at any time, night or day, and to find that more often than not, people aren't really interested in being in contact with you at any time, night or day. D wholeheartedly agreed, as did both my sisters when I suggested the same thing to them earlier in the day.

Mobile phones and boys are the pretty much the bane of our lives.

(Okay, so it turns out that this post is actually pretty much about me. Go figure.)

28 September 2004
This, although American in design, is brilliant fun. Everyone should do it.

One of the truly, truly, truly great things about Ireland is our ridiculous ability to adapt to any old thing that life throws our way. We take invasion on the chin, for the most part, and get on with things. We take famine, financial depression and political instability in our stride, and write splendid songs about each of them with which to taunt tourists and sing at weddings and funerals. We drink ourselves in to the ground, and manage to have a fine old time doing it. And now, the creation of beer gardens which, up until about three months ago, didn't exist, purely for the sake of being able to smoke while drinking.

I spent this evening in a pub with my little sister. Little in age, mark you, and not in any means stature, as she'll be the first to tell you (she refers to me, in turn, as her 'little' sister, cos I'm quite small in comparison). We went to a pub that is mere moments away from my house, a pub that Edel (the aforementioned sibling) used to work in in days gone by, and a pub I've been frequenting, mainly in the winter months, for at least the last five years. A pub, in short, that never once in the existence of all time, had a beer garden.

This pub now has a beer garden.

The beer garden has been hastily assembled from what can only be explained away as 'garden furniture', some gas lamps that don't work all that convincingly well, some plastic covering that to all intents and purposes keeps out no rain whatever, and something akin to a song and a smile. It's brilliant.

I've been brought to various beer gardens in and around the Dublin area a few times in the last few months, seeing as how I've been out with big bad smokers, who smoke and are big and bad as a result. I myself do not, as you'll well know, smoke, although some people may have been fooled by the convincing show I put on tonight while sparking up fags and inhaling the noxious smoke that resulted. I still remain an anti-smoker, and I think that's the most important thing, and also the thing that counts.

Again though, I'm impressed by the sheer bloody mindedness that's allowing these beer gardens to arrive unannounced. The "beer" "garden" in Whelans is the most impressive thing I've seen to date, mark you. It's an alleyway in which they used to keep kegs, and now keep smokers, piled up one on top of each other. It's a master stroke of wizardry and cunning, and one that I applaud wholeheartedly while coughing and tutting.

People of foreign lands - on your next visit to Ireland, you must keep an eye out for the Beer Gardens tours. It's truly a work of genius.

(Drunk blogging, mark 2. Will I ever learn?)

Eek. Our comptuer has a brand new virus, one which keeps putting links into my blog where I don't want links. If you see a link that goes to anything near called "search miracle" or any derivation thereof, don't whatever you do click on it. It's a bad thing. Sorry.

27 September 2004
You can listen to the new REM album here. I think you should. It's very good. Except for the song High Speed Train which is a bit long and turgid, and I'm sure will be my new best favourite song ever in a little while.

Also, there seems to have built up some controversy about my last apology. I do apologise, therefore, for the last apology, and as a further apology, please accept this offering -

Better, or worse?

26 September 2004
A special man from the county council arrived at the door on Wednesday, to double check that I was who I said I was, that my claim for disability benefit wasn't fraudulent, but most importantly to MAKE SURE I STAYED INDOORS AT ALL TIMES.

I didn't realise this was a requirement here when claiming on the benefit. I've checked the forms I filled in, and nowhere on it does it say that I must STAY INDOORS AT ALL TIMES. What's more, it doesn't say I must STAY AT MY REGISTERED ADDRESS AT ALL TIMES. But the man from the county council patiently explained to me that the disableds aren't allowed to freely roam the streets.

He then checked my medication, how often I visit the doctor, whether I've been working, threatened me with having my benefits cut not once but TWICE in the space of a five minute conversation, asked me what I used to work as, asked me if I'd considered retraining, finally warned me for a THIRD time that the benefit would be cut off if I worked, and left, warning me to NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE again as it was against the law.

I do get the point of these visits, you know. I understand that some people - and I find it hard to stomach, I really do - would claim benefit when there's absolutely nothing wrong with them, and use the time provided to get up to all sorts while living on less than what they'd get if they were claiming the dole or, I don't know, begging on the street, or cashing in those slips of paper that the bus gives you instead of change. And in case anyone was in any doubt, the government do pay out an absolute fortune to those of us unfortunate enough not to be able to work - they splash out on NEARLY €500 A MONTH! That's roughly £3.60 sterling. A MONTH! FOR FREE! Imagine the life you could have on that...

Seriously, try to imagine. Rent in the area I'm living in averages around €550 a month for a shared room in a house, bills not included. Bus journeys are €1.65 per trip. A pint of beer costs around €5. A packet of fags is now more than €7 (I think. I wouldn't know. I don't smoke, obviously.) My mobile package is €45 a month, before cost of calls. The ntl package for the telly costs around €60 a month. Feeding the dogs costs around €40 a month. My medication costs over €60 a month. A visit to the doctor costs €50 each time you go, more if you can't leave the house and the doctor comes to you. My epidurals cost €350 a throw each time. Imagine trying to live a normal life on just under €500 a month. YOU LIVE LIKE A KING! A king that never leaves the house, eats, buys new clothes or shoes, socialises, smokes, drinks, watches television, gets medical attention or takes any medication.

Thank Christ I've got my parents to pull strings, get cheap meds, cover my hospital expenses and be the patient saints that they are when I spend all my money going to Fringe festivals and paying off my mobile bill. I'm not for a moment complaining that I personally don't get enough money - I just can't imagine trying to live off this pittance if I was out in the real world. And for someone to be calling unannounced at your door, asking a barrage of frankly personal questions and then threatening you to take away the magic money they've so kindly provided for you from the taxes you've been paying for over 10 years, well.

No wonder people on the street stare at me when I'm out walking with my special needs stick. They know I'm not supposed to be there.

25 September 2004
Here, mere months since the last time, lovely Dave Eggers has used my name in a short short story. It's love for sure this time.


There was a writer, named Sharon, who wrote stories and was known far and wide and was deeply read. Her stories were, more often than not, about unhappy marriages, about infidelity, about malaise and marital dyspepsia. She wrote about such things not because her own marriage was troubled, but because she was happily married - to Gil, a life coach whose clients were motivational speakers, chiefly - and she wanted to write fiction that was clearly fiction. Stories about happy people in happy unions would seem, she thought, to be based on her own contented life, and thus to maintain the privacy of her husband she wrote about sadness, rage and betrayal - things foreign to herself and Gil. But her readers, thinking themselves savvy, assumed she was writing about her own life, subtly disguised, that she, Sharon, was trapped in a loveless home, that she found refuge in these semi-fictional outlets-slash-cries for help. About this, Gil was not happy. People stopped him on the street and advised how he might work things out with the dear and talented Sharon. And because so many of her stories involved men with small apparati who cheated on their devoted wives, most people - thousands of strangers! - suspected Gil of infidelity and diminutive prowess. About this, he also was not happy. He brought it up with Sharon, and she laughed and called him silly. But did she consider it silly when Gil began to spend time in clubs where women danced without their clothes on? Was it silly when he took up with a dancing woman named Chesty Bazoombas (the surname was Greek), who listened to him and was a great comfort in many other ways, too? Sharon did not find this funny or silly, and was not smiling a year later when the divorce was final, when Gil and Chesty were off together living in some suburb named Moonpie, and when Sharon had nothing to do - for fiction would only allow her stories of the happily betrothed - but to switch to memoir. And the world had far, far too many memoirs already.


Last time I decided it was a secret proposal for my hand in marriage. And the time between that one and this one is obviously just the time it's taken him to write it, get it to the Guardian, and get them to publish it, so obviously this is his way of letting me know that he's accepted my acceptance, and now we are to be married for sure, just as soon as he gets rid of his pesky wife. He has confirmed he will indeed be one of the many Daves I am to marry.

24 September 2004
My tip of the week: Don't, whatever you do, start listening to Damien Rice when you're wavering between a good mood and a bad mood. It'll tip you right over the edge to verging on suicide every time. And that's a guarantee!

My other tip, to myself (but also to all other bloggers). Don't blog when you're moody. It's not big, and it's not clever, and people will hate you.

To apologise for the moody post I almost put up, the answer to this quiz is 'paintballs'. The answers in full are Colin, 23 Meteor Street, Twist, Private Iron, Duane Benzie, Shaun of the Dead, Everything I Know About Men, A tank, Gill and Asia. So now you don't need to do it. Send the word 'Paintball' along with your name and your postal address (if you live in the UK - the BBC are competition fascists) to comedycomp@bbc.co.uk. Then give the prize to me, cos I helped.

As a further apology, this -

23 September 2004
Ah, lord.

I'm leaving the last post untouched, as a reminder to myself to NEVER DRINK AGAIN. EVER. Drinking is bad, kids. Don't do it. Especially don't do it when you know you shouldn't, you have tons of things to do the next day, you can't afford it, you should really know better, and it's going down a little bit too easy for comfort.

My name is Shazzle, and I have an alcohol infatuation problem. Coupled with an inability to not smoke while pissed. Oopsy.

I even got a taxi home, because I couldn't be bothered waiting for the last bus, which meant spending an extra €15, which I can't afford. And the lovely swervy taxi man appeared to be on the brink of falling asleep on the way home. My advice to the taxi man - don't listen to Q102 at 2 in the morning. Not going to help much. Also? Leaning right in to the steering wheel, constantly rubbing your eyes, yawning and driving in two lanes AT THE SAME TIME down the dual carriageway? Not confidence inspiring.

Luckily, I was a little too drunk to give a damn last night.

Today, I feel ill. I haven't had a hangover like this for absolute ages. It's that one where you don't feel too bad, but you're all shaky and cold and then shaky and hot, and no matter what you do you can't get that icky alcohol-and-fags taste out of your mouth, and the look on your face makes children want to cry and hide behind their mother. Not ill enough to justify going back to bed for the day, but too ill to be able to do anything at all for longer than 10 minutes.

Ah, drunk blogging. Haven't done this for frickin' ages.

Went out tonight to meet up with Mrs D and my good friend Carol who I haven't seen for the longest time. It was a riot. Showed off my tatt, gave out all my news, we talked for hours about old things and new things and all was good. I was an excellent child and didn't drink hardly nothing, despite the fact that Mrs D fucked off very early in to the night. We had fun, is what I'm saying. I even rang my sister to check times and locations for last buses and trams.

Off then, after the bar closed, I wandered to the last tram of the night, thinking happy contented thoughts of beds and books and possible dvd choices, and congratulating myself on my near sobriety as I navigated the streets of Dublin. And then?

Disaster of disasters.

I met a comedian friend of mine and Mrs. D's, the one she calls "The Rookie" who I will refer to as the same for fear that he google his name one day and comes across this. Me and Mrs D were first attracted to The Rookie through his undeniable good looks - we spent the entirity of the first time we saw him on stage leaning on each other's shoulders and sighing "He's so pretty..." in to each other's ears. Of course, we're not that shallow, and it soon turned out, once we started listening, that he's actually quite a good comedian.

Anyhoo. Long story shortened, he's a lovely bloke, and I met him again tonight for the first time since Edinburgh. The wise young fella told me he was meeting up with other comedians all fresh from their stage time at the comedy club, and sure why don't I come along, isn't the night still young and full of excitement?

And off, like a little lamb to the slaughter, I trotted.

It was fun, I have to admit. Listening to two jaded old farts of comics bitch about the Edinburgh they had, while three young upstarts of comics listened in and mocked and giggled. I tried my best to keep up with both worlds, chipping in where I saw fit, and it was like being in the Brookes Bar again, but without the immediacy of the bitterness comedians cultivate during the festival itself. Second hand bitterness is easier to deflect.

But I learned a few things about a few people I will be keeping hush-hush until the time presents itself to reveal the gossip in all it's glory. Fun times.

Sweetly, one of the jaded old farts declared that I am the kind of girl that all comedians should be dating. I have to agree.

This post will be deleted/edited just as soon as I wake up.

Night loves.


21 September 2004
Help! I need help!

I need medical help, because obviously my brain is damaged beyond repair to even be considering this, but I also need your help. Yes, your help. Stop looking around. I'm talking to you. Yes, you.

I want to buy this. I really, really, really want to buy this. Cos it's, like, my favourite book in the world ever, apart from some others, but it definitely ranks up there in the Top Ten Of My Favourite Books Ever.

I like it so much I've already got three copies. What? Stop looking at me like that and concentrate.

This edition is special because (1) it's an American edition, (2) it's got an extra chapter within, previously only available on the internet, (3) it's signed, (4) it's got a new name and (5) it's mega cool.

I want to buy it but I can't afford it but it'll go on my credit card, so it's not like real money anyway, so what should I do? Should I buy it? Tell me. I've got just over 8 days to decide. Help!

20 September 2004
All this afternoon, and creeping in to this evening's festivities, I've had an almost overwhelming urge to have a cigarette. I haven't, as yet, succumbed, but it's all a bit touch and go. If, for example, one single cigarette was present in or around the house that I'm currently sitting in, I'd kill any person who stood in between me and that cigarette, and then flick the ashes on their lifeless bloodied corpse while laughing triumphantly and then immediately coughing and spluttering, because I'm not very good at laughing while my lungs are filled with sweet, sweet tar any more.

The reasons for my craving are two-fold: my brother has been here for most of the day, hogging the computer with his girlfriend as they search the interweb for a house to buy. This in itself was not a big problem, because it meant that I could be freed up to do other things, like read books and tidy and walk to the bank and back and be completely soaked by the rain. The problem lay in the fact that, every five minutes until I left the house to walk to the bank in the pouring rain, my brother kept asking me for cigarettes. He refuses to accept the fact that I've given up smoking, because the last time I told him I'd given up smoking, I was still hiding cigarettes in my bedroom and refusing the acknowledge their existence, except for when my parents went to bed and then I'd be sitting on the step outside smoking my happy little lungs off. My brother, because he's that way inclined, was kind enough back then to steal those cigarettes from my room and smoke them himself. This is what is known as the perfect sibling crime, since I couldn't fucking complain that he'd nicked them, since I wasn't supposed to have them in the first place, and he could therefore deny ever having done it. He is a genius in sibling crime terms. So, every five minutes until I left the house to ensure getting a complete and total soaking, I was reminded of cigarettes, and when I start thinking of cigarettes, I find it very difficult to stop.

That brought on the cravings. What's kept them up through to this evening is the heavy cloud of boredom that has landed on my shoulders and refuses to leave. I am, you'll already know this, very very very easily bored. I get up and walk away in the middle of most television shows, which is why I like american telly so much - every five minutes something exciting happens to ensure that people stay to watch after the ad breaks. British telly tends to invariably slump around the 10 minute mark, leaving me enough time to wander off and forget what I had been doing, and by the time I've remembered I've lost any interest I once had in it. Once the boredom has properly set in, I can't read, I can't watch tv, I can't concentrate on dvds I haven't seen before and can't decide out of the ones I have seen before if I want to see them again. I'm trying to lay off the telephone, due to the magnitude of my last phone bill, and being stony broke means that I can't pop off to the pub because people stare at you if you sit there without a drink, and I'm terribly susceptible to peer pressure.

I don't know why my brain therefore thinks that cigarettes will help pass the time - there'd be about 7 minutes of feeling all "YAY!" followed by a good four days of feeling guilty and disappointed that I'd given in again. Plus the choruses of "Join Us..." that would come from all of my still smoking friends and family members would be almost impossible to resist.

I ain't going to, though. What I'm going to do tonight is sit down and watch Happiness in the darkness of my room, swearing at Lara Flynn Boyle's far too thin self, and maybe follow that up immediately with Magnolia, because Phillip Seymour Hoffman always makes me want to be a better person (even in Punch Drunk Love when he plays the most horrible person in the world).

19 September 2004
The very wise Rathwel has suggested that, to fill in the days when I've got naught to say, what I should do is "borrow" from other blogs, or throw up some pictures. And, although I do admire his style very much, and think that he may very well have just cracked the secret to good blogging, I will instead be trying to sound interesting and exciting by telling you in too much detail about my...

Oh Christ. I think I've lost my inspiration for good. Here is a list of things I recently bought on the internet.

1. Some Stewart Lee badges.
2. Shaun of the Dead DVD from Amazon.
3. Tickets for the American Music Club gig at the Village.

Things I didn't buy:

1. Tickets for REM, Mundy, The Frames or BellX1 because I've got no damn money.
2. First edition signed copy of Paperweight by Stephen Fry. Because I've got no damn money.
3. A signed DAAS poster. Because I've already got one.

I'm so very, very sorry. Tomorrow, I'll think of something to write about.

18 September 2004
I decided last Monday that I was going to post up to this thing every day from now on, come hell or high water. This decision was based on the fact that, well, I've nothing better to do. Unemployment is a discipline that must be stuck to rigorously - one slip, and you'll accidentally find yourself applying for jobs, or even worse, getting a job. And I find that I spend the vast majority of my time, when not lying on the floor playing with the variety of dogs we like to keep in the house, sitting in front of the computer, aimlessly wandering around the various websites kindly listed on the right. And so I thought, well then, one aim for each day (if there is to be an aim at all for each day) would be to blog at least once, so that in years to come when I look back through the archives I can curse myself bitterly and vehemently for wasting what precious free time I was given, before my loveless marriage and being encumbered with such a vast amount of wealth and adulterous affairs, and all these prescription drugs I am intent on being addicted to in the near future.

Thing is, though, the degeneration of my finances has reached such a level that I'm starting to be forced to refuse any and all offers of social interaction, and have to instead rely on my own wit and whimsy for entertainment, and Mark Watson's book for company. Sure, there are those that text me on a regular basis, and I'm very grateful for their support through this difficult time, but Jesus H-ing Christ it's not quite the same as being out and about, is it? Added to the fact that one of those regulars saw fit to drop kick his phone across a room yesterday, and I'm facing the long and yawning silence that is my mobile, and no amount of promising debut comic novelisation can combat that.

Today, for example. Today I went swimming, wandered about aimlessly for a bit, played with a jack russell, tried to adopt a stray cat (my mother refused), had dinner with my uncle and his partner and then stared into the middle distance while watching a programme about Peter Cook that failed to make any claims not already covered in the last five documentaries about Peter Cook that I've seen. And. That's. It.

Mrs D was kind enough to ring me to invite me out, but because I've already been out once this weekend - last night, to see a band improbably named Porn Trauma at The Village (you do the google search for that band. Dare you. Double dare you. Why are all the websites prefixed by the word "healthy"?) with my sister who - screetch! - knows one of the band, so I had to be good and stay in tonight, pleading severe financial restrictions. Mrs D eventually took this as some kind of worthy excuse, but has promised to meet me in a pub tomorrow for a swift half to make up for it, because I don't think I can go that long without leaving the house, or seeing someone that's not a blood relation of mine.

So, the problem I'm now faced with is, what the hecking hell do I blog about? I've done nothing today! I've got nothing of interest to talk about! Sure, I could write about the cat that me and Edel found outside the house for a while, but lord knows I'm starting to sound like a Crazy Cat Lady already, without introducing actual stories about actual cats into the equation.

(A brief but related aside: myself and my younger (but not that much younger) sister Edel have recently experienced the trauma of being at a wedding of a peer, and suddenly coming to the realisation that (a) we're not getting any younger, (b) we're not married and (c) we'll more than likely die alone. Apparently this trauma is usually faced by ladies on their 30th birthdays, but we've decided to be efficient and go through the trauma earlier to save time and energy. Edel decided that her plan of action would be to find a husband at the first opportunity, get married, and therefore save herself a life of regret and wasted opportunity. My plan was to get a lot of cats, and then when I die, at least they'll have something to live off until the stench tips off my neighbours, and I get buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. Edel said it would better to plan to get married.)

So really, this post is a long winded way of saying I've got nothing to say. I think I've made a claim like that more than once in the past history of this blog, and I've no doubt at all that I'll be making a similar statement some time in the near future. Meanwhile, you should all continue on with your normal lives. Nothing to see here, etc.

17 September 2004
Well, you asked for it, you sick skanks. (And when I say 'you', I do specifically mean you and you. I hope you're both happy now). Here, in all it's skanky glory, is my tattoo, in a photo taken about an hour after having it done.

(Funny how I'm calling you sick skanks, and I'm the one posting photos of my ass on the internet. Hello Internet!) I had no idea at the time quite how skanky it looked. It looks skanky. Not any more though. Now it's glorious and wonderful. I'll have to take some fresh unskanky pictures.

As an added bonus, here is the bandage that was on the tattoo for an hour, after which I was told to take it off and let it 'breathe'. I especially like the turin shroud quality of the bandage, where you can clearly make out the shape of an angel through the blood.

16 September 2004
My sister Edel, our friend Maire and I decided that tonight, for shits and giggles, we'd go and see worthy fast-food exposing film Supersize Me, just because. We wisely decided to eat before seeing the film, because I've read in a few places that you'll not feel up to eating once the film has finished, and potentially never again. We decided to be sensible, and all had salads for our dinner, as the rain tipped down outside, but between us also had nachos, because everyone knows that if you share a plate of food that's bad for you, it's not actually bad for you, because you've shared it. On the way to the cinema, Maire gleefully informed us that she'd had McDonalds that day. For breakfast. What she describes as a "big dirty burger".

Thing is, I suddenly realised today what made me quite so disturbed by Shaun of the Dead. Sure, zombies and people dying and coming back to life and being cornered in a bar and having to kill your friends and family and all that but... the one scene I hated the most of all of them was when one of the main characters was pulled through a window, and then Paul Putner started eating his innards. Innards. It's more than I can bear.

So, of course, I never once thought about what might happen watching a film about a man who only eats innards burgers for a full month. Up close on a giant cinema screen. And filmed, lest we all forget it's a documentary, on a shaky camera so bad that we were feeling nauseous before the eating even began.

Halfway through the film, myself and Maire decided we were probably going to throw up. This was around the time of the stomach stapling surgery, for those of you taking notes. We didn't. We survived through to the end, but by the skin of our teeth. Edel was not even mildly effected.

It's a good film, if a bit obvious, and a very stupid undertaking, which makes it entertaining. There aren't really any truly shocking moments - I've seen things more shocking on Dr Phil in the last week alone - but it thunders along at quite a pace, and is worth seeing if you're a well meaning lefty like me.

Mind you. When we left the cinema, the only thing Edel wanted to do was get a coke from a fast food place - apparently the craving for it had started about 2 minutes in to the film. Maire declared that there was no way she was eating McDonalds again - tonight at least. Tomorrow, probably yes. And I've not eaten McDonalds for many years since becoming a vegetarian - and haven't been in any fast food restaurant since Fast Food Nation was first published.

So, really. We achieved and learned nothing tonight. Go Team.

14 September 2004
Last night, I stayed up most of the night thanks to starting the night watching Shaun Of The Dead on dvd.

I'll first start by saying what a brilliant film it is. It's really brilliant. It's funny, it's stupid, it's very fast paced, it's excellently cast and written and performed, and it scared the living bejaysus out of me because for some ridiculously stupid reason I didn't expect it to be scary.

Why didn't I expect it to be scary? I don't know. I'm an idiot, apparently. Before I sat down to watch it, I asked Dave, who's seen it, if it's scary. I told him to bear in mind that I found the zombies in the episode of Spaced that had zombies (I'd check for the title, but the Spaced site has imploded) quite scary. He said that, yes, in that case, it's scary. But only to pathetic ladies like me who are scared of actors with contact lenses and fake blood walking very slowly towards a camera or main character scary.

I thought I'd be brave, and distract myself during the zombie moments (surely there won't be that many of them) by looking at the zombie faces and finding all the comedians / musicians / comedy fans who agreed to be zombie extras. Once I started picking out the zombie faces of Chris Martin, Joe Cornish, Michael Smiley, Paul Putner etc, then I won't be scared, I reasoned.

I was wrong. It's a scary ass film, and contrary to what stupid beliefs you might be holding right now, there are a lot of freaking zombies in it.

In the cold light of day today, I was wondering why the hecking heck I found it scary, and even why I find horror movies in general scary. Because I do. They freak the living daylight out of me, and I can only watch them in living daylight, with the remote control in my hand, and some pillows to hide behind, and preferably someone sitting beside me telling me not to be an idiot. In college we made a short 10 minute scary movie. I was one of a core team of four people who wrote, filmed, directed, produced, and edited the film. I was there for every step of every moment of production. I still found the fucker scary watching it back. It's ridiculous that I'm so suggestive.

What's even more stupid is the fact that my favourite American television show of all time is about a vampire who fights demons. In a series that has lots of CGI and decent make up and a brilliant stunt team and amazing writers that make things quite scary at times. Thinking back, there's zombies in at least one episode of Angel, and at least two episodes of Buffy. I didn't find those bastards scary. Much. Okay, I did a bit. Shut up.

13 September 2004
This evening, Susan made the terrible mistake of telling me that she was sitting in front of the webcam in her office. So if you've ever wondered, for whatever reason you might have, what Susan gets up to in her office, then wonder no more. This is what she does:

Susan at work, in front of her computer. Posted by Hello

Susan pretending to be busy and important. Posted by Hello

Susan points at something. Posted by Hello

Susan takes a drink. Posted by Hello

Susan looks at internet porn. (Okay, not really) Posted by Hello

I'll stop now.

11 September 2004
An evening spent changing the colours of the blog, only to find there's absolutely no way of making it look any better. So I found a picture instead. I've also been listening to the 99p Challenge, Jeremy Hardy and Rigor Mortis while doing this. It's taken me that long.

Dave has been sweet enough to join in with this pointless exercise of minor redesign by contributing this, his distillation of my blog. An edited version will live forever more in the margin, to warn off future readers.

"I'm bored. I hate my hair. Went to the comedy club on friday. Something about Mrs Bishop. I love my hair. I hate my hair. My back hurts. I hate my family. My back doesn't hurt. The cat's sat on me. My back hurts again. I hate my job. I love my family. Yay! I'm going to the Edinburgh Festival. Went to the comedy club on friday. Something about Mrs Bishop. Something obscure about Angel. I've been sacked. I'm bored. I've got a job. I want to be sacked. Yay! I'm at the Edinburgh Festival. I hate the Edinburgh festival. I hate my hair. I hate everything. Yay! I've comed back from the Edinburgh Festival. I wish it was still the Edinburgh Festival. I'm bored."

Anyone got anything to add?

10 September 2004

If you don't believe me, here's my conclusion:

"Francesca Happé’s studies into this area have suggested that in some previous studies in which adults and adolescents with PDD passed such tests, they may have relied on simple problem solving strategies. It has been shown that many individuals with PDD and other Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) achieve considerable social and personal adjustment without any real relief of their initial autistic symptoms (Happé, 1994). Furthermore, people with PDD can come by their social and mind-reading skills after a delay, resulting in the fact that the normal developmental context of these skills is absent. This can often mean that the skills they posses do not serve them well in all situations (Roth, pg. 274). Therefore, it cannot be said with any certainty that the findings of this study can be applied in a wider context, and more work needs to be done in this area, with a wider and more varied clinical group, to fully explore whether or not these more naturalistic assessment methods are useful in exploring the mind-reading deficit of adults with PDD."

I'm going out now, to drink alcohol with my sister and listen to questionable live music. Hurrah.

God, writing this essay is like pulling teeth. Tedious, pointless, and more than a little painful. Please, have mercy on me. Could someone please write a critical review of this and send it to me? I've done a critique of the design, I just need to summarise the findings and then critique the methodology. But I don't want to. I want to go to sleep.

681 words looks like more than it is. I thought I was at least up to 1,000. I'm giving up. I'll do it all tomorrow. When I've got absolutely no choice in the matter, and can't keep putting it off.

This is how interesting the essay is - here is my introductory paragraph:

"This essay will review the paper on testing empathic accuracy in adults with a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), carried out by Roeyers et al, and first published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2001. The study centres on the research and test methods used to provide evidence for subtle social cognitive deficits in adults with PDD, and introduces new variations to older, established methods of research developed specifically for this study. The conclusion of the study claims that the mind-reading discrepancy between normal adults and adults with PDD may only be apparent when this more naturalistic empathy accuracy test is being used."

It's a crap experiment, and as a direct result, I'm writing a crap essay. I blame society.

I'm going to bed.

08 September 2004
It's official. My brain is broken. It doesn't work any more. I have the attention span of a 4 year old with ADD. Who's been hit on the head with a mallet. And who has been brought up by wolves. With ADD. And an unhealthy diet which consists of Sunny D and super sized McDonalds meals. Fat, lazy wolves who pay no attention to their adopted 4 year old child. My brain is that child.

I'm sitting here staring at the computer, pretending to write a critical review of a journal article called "Advancing advanced mind-reading tests: empathic accuracy in adults with a pervasive developmental disorder", which obviously should be the easiest thing in the world to concentrate on, especially because their research and conclusions don't match AT ALL what the experiment is or my understanding of what the experiment uncovered, and therefore is just an annoying waste of my time. And I've got lots of words with which to say all of this, and really I should be doing that now.

Instead, though, I'm doing lots of other things. The other things I'm doing:

1. Emailing my sister at work. She's got email and her own office, and can pretty much spend all day on the internet, which is pretty much what she does. I applaud her.
2. Emailing Mrs D at work. I'm currently trying to persuade her to come watch football tonight rather than going to comedy, because you don't have to pay to watch the football, and we could probably recite every single word of each of the acts sets, so there's not really much point in going to the comedy. Please, join me in telling her this.
3. Checking the tarot, the runes and the i ching on this site that Edel sent me. I've asked them all the same question, and they've all given me basically the same answer, but it's the wrong answer, so I think this site is rubbish. Although I do keep going back to rephrase the question to see if it comes out any different.
4. Listening to the amazingly brilliant oneclick comedy. It's got Andrew Laurence, Colin & Fergus, Jo Neary, Andrew O'Neill & Josie Long, Marek Larwood, Roisin Conaty, Will Hodgson, Susan Murray andSteve Hall. These are all good people. The music, although irritating initially, is actually brilliant. This show is brilliant. You should be listening to it too. You've only got until tomorrow to hear this one. Hurry up, for fuck's sake.
5. Reading this, wondering how much is true.
6. Trying to work out how to put pictures up on the blog, and wondering if a redesign is in order.

So pretty much not doing my essay.

05 September 2004
The drive out to the church is absolutely terrifying, winding along as it does along scary ass roads which basically lead to sheer drops of terrifying heights. Ballycastle is a coastal village, and you can only appreciate the term properly when you're driving along narrow winding roads that are, quite literally, coastal. Very high up and coastal. These are the kind of roads where drivers suddenly discover they have serious vertigo and can't go any further - cars have been left abandoned along the road. On Saturday, there is a clear view across the sea to the coast of Scotland. If you look carefully, you can see the glint off car windscreens on the other side.

The tiny blue church, built in the name of the Saviour of the Sea, faces right out over the ocean. The father of the bride is buried in the graveyard which towers above the church, a fresh bouquet of flowers placed on the grave in the bridal colours. The wedding ceremony is one of the simplest and least ostentatious I have been to. The bride and groom are both calm and collected, smiling widely and looking absolutely delighted to be there. She wears a dress that she has designed, and that has been made by the mother of the groom. Outside the church, we all gather to congratulate them, as we blow bubbles in place of confetti, and the bride begs around for a cigarette.

The reception has a traditional Irish band, playing old ballads and rebel songs. Members of the congregation keep getting up on stage to join the playing - friends, brothers, even the bride and groom get up with the band in turn to thump out songs. The wedding speeches are short and simple, filled with love and affection , sincere sentiment and off the cuff emotion. Later, the disco changes to The Smiths and The White Stripes, songs chosen by the bride and groom. Their first dance is to "I will always love you" by The Cure. The entire hotel has been booked out by wedding guests traveling from all corners of the country, and people leave for a quick lie down and come back later to join in again. It's wonderful, it's glorious, it's beautiful.

My parents catch me and my friend Claire standing outside the hotel at 1.30am, smoking and talking about boys. It's an oddly liberating experience.

More Edinburgh memories popping up on the internet, this time on the excellent It's Alright For Some site, which is just a front for Michelle and Zena to waste their lives away following boys around comedy venues. If only I had thought of something like that. My two favourite pictures are the ones involving me, obviously, because I'm greatest. First is this one, taken at the Perrier Party, which is me and Kris Mum celebrating my one and only goal at table football. My complete lack of talent to do with any kind of sport apparently extends to the kind of sport played on a table. I had no idea. T'other nice one was taken on the very last night of all of the Festival, which is why I have no eyes. The other people are Susan on the right, looking slightly lacking in eyes herself, TV and Radio Star Robin Ince at the bottom and a girl called Lisa, who is stabbing him in the head with a theatrical knife. During the Festival, Lisa took a shine to my future husband Dave Mum, and so shortly after this picture was taken, I had her killed.

02 September 2004
First proper day out of the Festival. It's been two days since I saw any comedians. I think I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. From alcohol, nicotine, whatever is produced by staying up until 6 in the morning, going to shows, running away from people laughing, and literally just from laughing. I've spent the last month laughing until I was crying at least once every day, and I'm missing it.

I decided to fill the gap today by going shopping. This is something that Susan kept suggesting doing, and I poo-pooed it initially, because my credit card is seriously getting it's ass kicked at the moment, but after I'd been to see my consultant this morning (waiting time: 40 minutes, consultation time: less than 3 minutes) I couldn't think of anything better to do. No, that's not true - I could think of a list of better things to do, but since they all involve me being in London, none of them are really possible. So I went shopping, ostensibly for things to wear to the wedding I'm going to this weekend.

I bought new boots (not very nice, but cheap), a purple poncho thing (quite nice), a necklace (nice enough, matches my wedding skirt), a long pink scarf (which matches nothing I own, but is very nice and long and pink. And a scarf), some blue socks, and some other things that I really didn't need at all, but decided to buy because, y'know, I was on a roll.

So now my credit card has reached the dizzying heights of over 1,000. But it's okay, because that's only euro, and doesn't count. Really it doesn't. The fact that I have no job isn't worrying me.

The thing that is worrying me - and shhhh, don't tell anyone - is the fact that since I've got home I've been listening to Keane almost non-stop. This is a terrible thing because I remember vividly complaining at the Perrier party when the band started playing a cover of their song. I'm not a music snob at all - I don't know the first thing about music and although I'm quite proficient at bullshitting about almost every topic, including religion and politics, sounding like I know what I'm talking about when in actual fact I don't, I can't carry a conversation about music at all. But I know what I like, and I don't like Keane. I didn't like Keane. Until Susan played it every freaking day of the festival until I had to give in, and it helps keep some continuation between what was happening two days ago and what's happening now. And it's either Keane or Morrissey and I know which one I'm more comfortable with.

I keep dropping off to sleep at odd moments too. I can't sleep at night because - and it's happening again, I can feel it - I seem to think I should be drinking Tennents Tops while surrounded by people who I alternately hate and adore until 6am. But during the day, anytime I stopped walking or shopping, I'd fall asleep. I can't watch tv at all yet, which is a great disappointment to me.

So we're all off to a wedding in Ballycastle tomorrow. It's the wedding of my sister's best friend, and our entire family is invited so we're all trooping up. So I might be posting from the hotel tomorrow, or I might be posting late night on Sunday.

01 September 2004
The flight went spectacularly well, in that we didn't crash screaming in to the sea, and that's the way I like my flights. I astonished myself by bursting in to tears halfway through though, but even I wasn't as astonished as the man sitting embarrassed beside me. It definitely wasn't the flying aspect, because I like everything about flying after the first six minutes. I think it was the minor overdose of valium coupled with a month's worth of drinking and about a day's worth of sleeping during that month, particularly in the last week. This year was really different from any other year we've been up, personally and professionally. I wasn't working, other than pretending to be Comedy Lounge (and not doing a very good job), so there was so much less stress from that angle. I'd be really tempted never to review professionally again, but I really enjoy doing that when I'm in the middle of it all.

We've got big plans for next year though.

The moon outside the window is the brightest I think I've ever seen it.

I'm really exhausted now, but not really tired at all - my body clock is now set to waking up around this time, ready for the night ahead, rather than trying to relax, so even though we got about 4 hours sleep last night something in me seems to think I should be heading off to the Brooks bar some time soon.

I've totally finished unpacking. I think I did it in half the time it took me to pack.

I'm going to go back to staring at my phone now, trying to will text messages through the sheer force of my gaze.

The best thing to do the day after a festival has finished, and it's half one in the morning, and the cast and crew "party" of Every Body Laughs (consisting of three people, each wearing two hats each) has just left your flat, and you've not started packing yet, and the flat is messier than it ever has been before, and you're quite tired and emotional, and drunk for the 30th time in 30 consecutive days... the best thing to do is to sit down and blog and forget about it all, because really it's all under control.

I'm flying later on today. Cut me some freaking slack, people.

Flight details as follows:

I am, as ever, worried. But slightly less than I was a month ago. A month ago, I didn't have my guardian angel branded (almost) on my ass. Now I do. So it all should be okay.

This Festival has been an ever so good Festival. It's been brill. It got particularly interesting towards the end, and I'm looking forward to further developments. I'm being vague, but I am drunk.

On Sunday, Dave Mum was complaining about the content of my blog. I do believe he made me a solemn promise to write a 60 word guide to/summary of the blog that would thereafter be displayed on the right hand margin for ease of access to new readers. Dave, get to it.

This will all be overhauled, probably tomorrow night (if I survive the flight) due to no longer having any money or anything else to do, because the Festival has finished and my life is over.