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Dreadful Nonsense

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

28 October 2004
Firefly stuff:
These two brilliant sites have the full translations of all the Chinese used through the show, which is very entertaining. Although some of it is explained in the DVD commentaries, most of it is new to me. So, if you've ever needed to know how to say "stupid son of a drooling whore and a monkey", you should go here. If you've ever needed to know how to write that in Chinese script, you should go here.

I've just found a script for an episode that was never filmed. I now must go read that all afternoon and do nothing else constructive.

27 October 2004
I know. Multiple posting. It's almost unheard of from me these days. I probably won't be posting over the weekend though, so bear with me.

I've been making a tape to listen to on the not-airplane when I'm not-flying on Friday, because I always forget that you're not allowed to listen to a CD walkman whilst in the not-air.

On one side it's loud songs to block out the noise of the not-engines, and dampen panic attacks.

1. Underground - Ben Folds Five
2. You're No Fun Anymore - The Bluetones
3. Dear Sally - Ben & Jason
4. Harder to Breathe - Maroon 5
5. Words - The Monkees
6. Revelate - The Frames
7. 1,000 Helicopters - npb
8. Satan - Sean Cullen
9. Bad Day - REM
10. last ever lone gunman - Snow Patrol
11. Dog - Ben Folds
12. Freakin' Out - Graham Coxon
13. Hello Amsterdam - American Music Club
14. Faster Sooner Now - David Gray

On the other side it's quiet, calm-down-for-God's-sake music, for when the not-plane lands.

1. The Lukiest - Ben Folds
2. You're The Reason - Ben & Jason
3. Shine - David Gray
4. Lay Me Down - The Frames
5. At My Most Beautiful - REM
6. Rooftop Lullaby - Jack L
7. Sound of Keys (acoustic version) - Mundy
8. The Fountainhead - The Bluetones
9. Bed-shaped - Keane
10. Throw Your Arms Around Me - Doug Anthony All Stars
11. If I Fall - Aqualung
12. How You Remind Me - Maria Doyle Kennedy

Isn't that the oddest mix of music you've ever seen? Weirdly, it seems to work.

My parents, the ever meddling fools that they are, have been meddling in my life once more. One of the main things they seem increasingly concerned about is my credit card bill. I inadvertently left my latest statement downstairs one day when I was busy upstairs doing things on the internet, most likely things that involved using my credit card to rack up further debt. I'm not concerned about it. I don't think about it. At all. It helps to stop the screaming late at night.

My parents, though, seem to think that ignoring all problems and hoping they'll go away isn't sufficient when it comes to owing money to people who hire other people to come knocking on the door to take away your possessions. Since the only possessions I have are second hand books and videos, which aren't worth much money at all, but are absolutely priceless in my eyes, it would most likely be things that belong to my parents that will eventually be hawked away by the evil balding men in trenchcoats. Again, this doesn't concern me, but they've come up with a new plan. They've got me a job.

Now, before you all start ringing the social to tell on me, it's okay, I've done it myself. Y'see, my parents have seen fit to get me a proper job where people will want me to be paying tax and that, and that'll tip off the social quicker than any of you lot. So I rang them today to see what can be done, and what I am and am not allowed to do. The gentleman caller from a few weeks back said that I was allowed to work up to 15 hours a week if my doctor wrote a letter to say that this would be allowable. The lady I spoke to today said that was utter rot.

What happens is, I would feasibly be allowed to work up to 20 hours a week, if I get what they call an "exemption". To get this exemption I must do the following:

1. Get three forms from them.
2. Fill out one form myself
3. Get my doctor to fill out the second.
4. Get my potential employer to fill out the third.
5. Send them back in.
6. Go for a medical exam.
7. Wait for the results of the medical exam.
8. Get the verdict in 4 - 6 weeks.
9. If I pass the medical exam, I might get the benefit taken off me altogether.
10. If I fail the medical exam, I might not be allowed to work at all.

There's no way in the world the people who are offering me the PART TIME job will be able to wait for 4 to 6 weeks for doctors to tell me that I am or am not capable of doing something for up to 20 hours a week that I know that I would be able to do. The job is only available because they're behind in work and need an overflow typist. In 4 to 6 weeks, there won't be any work for me to do. But then if I find another job I'll have to do all this form filling malarky ALL OVER AGAIN and potentially have to face another medical exam.

This is utterly ridiculous. It's like they don't want me to work almost as much as I don't want to work.

26 October 2004
The Guardian have done a fabulous job with their John Peel tribute. Radio 1 have done okay (other than playing Teenage Kicks once every five minutes from 2pm until about 5pm yesterday with Colin Murray sounding way out of his depth). There's a tribute programme here, with some nice words from sellabrities here. The Front Row tribute has had me in tears again.

We were at the 2002 Sony Awards when John was given his gold lifetime achievement award. I'm not sure he was expecting it, he certainly didn't seem to have a speech prepared. We were leaning over the balcony looking down on the tables of people listening as the award tape was played, encompassing a bare fraction of his radio career, as John sat really quietly at his table. When he got up to speak, he burst into tears at the podium, and his wife Sheila joined him on stage as he said he was very humbled to be receiving the award, as all he was doing was living the dream.

I adore this man. I hated most of the music he played - and to be honest found his radio show almost unlistenable to - but I loved the passion and belief he had in everything that he did. I loved Home Truths and his ridiculous little off hand remarks that would have people writing and ringing in for months afterwards. Home Truths is such an amazing programme, because most of the people involved in the show aren't professional broadcasters, and people come on to tell the most amazing, moving, disturbing, inspiring, amusing and entertaining stories. I loved the way that he spoke about his family, and always harboured secret fantasies of being adopted by him and Sheila and going to live with them in the country side.

25 October 2004
It's my birthday in 11 days. I will be quite old, but not as old as my Dad accused me of being on Sunday. We will not be talking about my age.

If you want to buy me something, and I'm not suggesting for a single moment that you do, you should look for stuff here (best to log off your own account before clicking on the link, apparently it won't work otherwise).

That's all.

(Sorry, I'm still sick. Sickness makes me the most uninteresting person in the world.)

24 October 2004
It's been a full week now since I had a cigarette. My lungs are celebrating this fact by trying to crawl wholly out of my body through the art of projectile coughing, and crawl in to the body cavity of the nearest smoker, so that they're able to bask in the glory of sweet, sweet nicotine once more. The best time of the year to give up smoking has always been when winter is approaching, but hasn't quite arrived yet. This is now especially true here in Ireland, because you have to stand outside to smoke everywhere on this island, and it's very cold and not really fun any more. The standing in the cold will give you a flu, then you'll get a cough, then you won't be able to inhale deeply, and you'll have to give up smoking for a little while, then you'll realise you haven't smoked for a week, and you'll decide to give it a bit longer, see how it goes, you'll get to six months and feel really smug and go round telling people how easy it is to give up smoking and then you'll realise it's April and nearly summer and the evenings are quite long and bright and warm, and smoking outdoors is actually quite a sociable thing to do, and sure one won't hurt, will it?

Last Thursday night, at about 1 in the morning as we walked towards the night bus in the city centre, myself and my sister Edel stopped to buy a bottle of water, as my coughing had already begun, and we thought it would help. While I was in the shop, Edel got talking to a homeless gentleman who was sitting outside. When I came back out, she introduced me to him, and he delightedly informed me that he was just coming up on a tab of acid that some nice young men had given him earlier in the night. We asked him was he happy, and he said that he was, and that he was on the start of a very nice trip. Then he looked me square in the eye and told me I had very beautiful hair.

You should go hear this - (38 minutes in to the programme)

"Everywhere I look, I see myself. Just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. Everything I touch turns to gold, just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. I flew too close to the sun, just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. I want to have sex with my mum, just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. I was ruled by Chairman Mau, just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. Heaven knows I'm miserable now, just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. I was nailed upon the cross, just like - "
"In the Greek Tales. My brother is Jonathon Ross, just like - "
"Paul Ross"
"In the Greek Tales."

23 October 2004
A quick note about my week, and also a new thing that I want to buy more than anything else in the world, in ten easy points because numbering things makes it easier to write:

(1) I got a cold at the beginning of the week. It involved a sore throat and some coughing. Thankfully by Monday I had given up smoking for a whole day, so that made it easier to bear.

(2) We went to a 'secret' gig from Mundy on Thursday, because it's really been too long since the last time we saw him. We stood right at the front, and he smirked and lost his way through the lyrics when he saw us. We took this as a sign of appreciation of our presence.

(3) On Friday morning, I woke up, got up, had breakfast, and half an hour later began throwing up. I spent the rest of the day throwing up. While not throwing up, I lay in bed with the most seriously painful stomach cramps I've ever had in my life.

(4) This, apparently, is the Winter Vomiting Bug, and everyone who heard I was ill assured me that everyone else in Ireland has this too. That information doesn't help.

(5) I learned that stomach cramps are not stopped by valium, which is otherwise the cure of all evils.

(6) I want one of these more than anything else in the world, even if the prototype looks nothing like the original version. Although apparently there are promises that they will improve it.

(7) The vomiting bug only lasts about a day, although the stomach cramps are persisting. The best thing, though, is now I've got a hacking cough that sounds like I smoke 60 a day. The rest of my cold has cleared up.

(8) I'm going to London on Friday. As I traditionally post my flight details, here they are:


(9) Um...

(10) That's it.

Finally: New Link! To check to see if a certain someone is genuinely not reading this any more, or just saying that to get special attention, I'd like to announce my absolute pleasure at the fact that the "Switt-Swoo" comedian Spencer Brown has now started to keep a blog right here. I like it because (1) through his website he talks about himself in lower case and the third person, (2) for two years in a row used my quotes on his poster and (3) he's quite easy on the eye. Oh, and a very talented performer. Ahem.

22 October 2004
Damn. It's Friday. I've run out of pets. What'll I do... Em... Oh, I'll write about that crap little dog that occasionally comes over to our house. Because it's Friday. Everyone, turn your backs to her, fail to acknowledge her presence, and basically totally ignore the tiny fake dog that is...


Kesh belongs to my sister Edel, although because she lived with me for eight months in Edinburgh, Kesh loves me more than she loves Edel. And that's a TRUFACT that cannot be disputed no matter what kind of rubbish Edel leaves in the comments section.

Kesh is the boss of all the people in our family. This is clearly illustrated by the photo above. You will note that she's showing the three fools following behind (some, but not all of, my family) where to go, and is obviously Queen Of Them, as they follow her like the sheep they so clearly are. The photo is too small for you to be able to see them clearly, but the best thing about Kesh are her proud buttocks. She walks about shaking her ass more than Kylie.

This is Kesh sitting in my bedroom, begging with her big ears and pleading eyes to come and live with me once more, rather than living with my evil sisters, who beat her on a regular basis and don't have the understanding that me and Kesh share. You can see it in her tiny, pleading eyes. Look in to her face. It's almost as if she understands.

21 October 2004
Thursday. The best day of the week that isn't Friday, Saturday or Sunday. That must mean that it's about time to say it's time to say hello to the second cat of the house - and these pets are NOT being listed in order of preference... Today, let's all give a welcoming wave to:


I only realised when I got these photos back that I'd only got two pictures of Smudge, and that they're both more or less identical. So don't get the impression that Smudge is either (a) always asleep or (b) stuffed and moved around the house for our amusement, because neither of these things are true. Really. Smudge is not stuffed. She is the skinniest cat in the world. When you pick her up, you can't feel that you're carrying anything at all in your arms, and when she sits on your knee, you can't feel any pressure, only purring. She is basically the polar opposite of Anarchy.

Smudge spends a lot of time lying in the same room that I'm in. This is not because she's particularly attached to me. This is just because I'm the lady that feeds her, and she likes to be fed, and when I'm not in the kitchen, she likes to know where I am, because I might be heading to the kitchen some time soon, and that would mean that she could be fed. So this is her lying underneath the computer. She had been lying at my feet, ever ready to jump up if I left the room and went to the kitchen, but she's old so she fell asleep for long enough to let me take this photo.

This is Smudge lying on my bed. She usually lies under the covers of my bed, which leads to great excitement when visitors come in and go to sit on the bed, and the duvet starts moving and it frightens them. The other thing she does a lot in my bedroom is sit on the windowsill, staring at the birds in the trees outside the window, occasionally chirruping in a disturbing manner. And she also throws up quite often. Usually on the windowsill, but occasionally on the carpet and sometimes on the duvet (that usually only happens when I come home drunk and am unable to cope with clearing up cat sick from my duvet).

20 October 2004
Hello! It's Wednesday, and that's the middle of the week. That can obviously lead to only one conclusion: Today is the day to start talking about the cats. Today's Pet Of The Day is...


Anarchy is called Anarchy because that is what my sister Edel was studying in college the day that she picked him up on the streets of Derry, thus saving him from being flattened by a giant lorry. He was a very tiny kitten at the time. He's not so tiny any more.

This is Anarchy being incredibly helpful while I was trying to study for my OU exam. [This, fact fans, is the computer room that used to be my childhood bedroom. I'm standing in the doorway taking this picture. This should give you some idea of how tiny this room is. What a tiny, tiny room. My parents are evil, leaving a teenage girl in such a tiny room. There was hardly any wall space for the NKOTB posters. But I digress.] Anarchy is always happy to be helpful when people are reading in our house. He spends most of Saturday moving from one person to another as we sit and read our supplements, rolling around on each section. He does not do this for attention, because if you try to pet him, he will try to rip your hand off with his back legs. We therefore don't know why he lies on every book or newspaper every opened in the house.

Long, long ago, our house was heated using oil. It is now heated using gas. This green tanker is the last symbol of those olden days when we used to heat with oil. This green tanker was supposed to be removed from our back garden about eight years ago. The green tanker was never taken away because - and this is the truth, honest to God - Anarchy spends long hours of the day, the hours not spent lying on newspapers and books, sitting on top of the green tanker and staring down his Enemies. Anarchy has a lot of Enemies. This is because he is a boy cat. A neutered boy cat, mark you, but a boy cat nonetheless, and boy cats have lots of Enemies at which they must spend many hours on top of green tankers staring.

We had a quick talk when my beautiful dog Honey was introduced about her weight, and the fact that the poor creature is overweight mainly because of her dislocated hip and inability to move comfortably. The important thing that I wished you all to note at the time was that her weight problem was not our fault, and she has in fact lost tons of weight since we got her, and is a lot happier and mobile now than when we first got her. The thing with Anarchy is, he's a lard arse, and it's all of our making, if we're honest. This photo is included just to give you an idea of his sheer girth. The cat is a fat one. He is known as - and answers to the name of - Fat Cat around our house.

19 October 2004
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Tuesday, it's Part Two of a Five Part Series, please welcome...


Butler is the second of the two old labradors that we currently have living with us (I say 'currently' only because I'm constantly trying to talk my mother in to getting more dogs, and specifically more labradors. So far this hasn't work, but I don't let that put me off my dreams). Butler was given to us as a puppy from a litter of six other pure bred chocolate labradors. The only condition put was the fact that all of the puppies had to be named after chocolates. We picked Butler after the expensive Irish chocolates. Other puppies from his litter are Rolo, Tiffin, Buttons, Cadbury, Choco and Deefer. The last one, you'll note, is not a chocolate.

This is Butler lying on my old duvet, which is currently covered with a dog blanket, acos he is a dog. He's getting terribly old now, as is clear from the white beard he now has, although the rest of his coat hasn't really changed colour. He also hates having his picture taken, and refuses to look at the camera, because he's a bit of a diva.

Here he is in the garden, still trying to avoid the camera. Of note here is the fact that he's got one of his huge collection of teddy bears with him - this one is a hedgehog that formerly belonged to my sister Louise. He tends to carry socks and brushes around with him wherever he goes, presenting them to people occasionally, but importantly not actually handing them over. He's also quite partial to empty plastic bottles and the inside of toilet rolls. We keep a handy stash of teddy bears all around the house so that he's not walking off with socks and brushes, which are more important to our every day life than our teddy bears.

18 October 2004
It's Monday! It's the week you've all been waiting for! It's time for:

Yes, I've been at home for a while now, and I've noticed how many pets we have. We have, it has to be admitted, a lot of pets. I thought I'd write about them for this week, seeing as how we're avoiding mentioning a lot of other things. Plus, it's fun to write about animals!

Today, we are proud to introduce: My Beautiful Dog Honey.

Honey is approximately 10 years old, although could in reality be anything from 8 to 12. She's a rescue dog, and was found wandering the mean streets of Cellbridge looking properly miserable (as does everyone in Cellbridge). She's got a completely dislocated hip on her back leg, which can't be repaired as it's been broken for too long, and terrible muscle wastage. She is also the fattest dog we've ever owned, thanks partially to her inability to walk for long, if at all, and thanks otherwise to the fact that she's a giant greedy guts who would anything in the world ever. Honest. We've experimented.

This is her lying on her bed in the room currently known as the dog house, since the dogs have completely taken over. She has a sock under her leg, thanks to Butler, who you will all meet in pictorial form tomorrow. The expression she wears on her face is the one she always has when she's been woken up (and coincidentally the same one I adopt first thing in the morning). When in this position, she loves nothing more than to have her tummy rubbed.

This is my beautiful dog Honey sitting at the back gate, trying to avoid the constant eye of the camera. Chances are she's staring at the cat: she spends a lot of time staring at the cat. She still can't quite believe, even after over a year in our house, that she's living in a house that allows cats to carry on living. Every now and again she forgets that (1) she's not allowed to kill cats and (2) she's not able to kill cats and she goes completely apoplectic with rage when a cat enters the room. It's amusing and entertaining in equal measure, although obviously not for the cat.

This is a very rare picture of my beautiful dog Honey in that she's both standing up and in the midst of barking. Being quite considerably old and having been neglected for quite a lot of her life, she's not particularly territorial, plus she's gone completely deaf in one ear thanks to a simple ear infection that was never treated by her previous evil owners who should be shot without trial. When the doorbell rings, she usually doesn't notice. When someone comes in to the room and she's not looking at the door, she usually only knows through vibrations on the floor. It's therefore very easy to sneak up behind her.

17 October 2004
If I was able to do audio blog entries, today's entry would consist entirely of me screaming, very loudly, for a very long time.

15 October 2004
I got my mobile phone bill today. I get it on a monthly basis. It's a curse that we ladies have to endure. And it's getting more painful by the day.

Last month's bill, we'll all remember fondly, was up and over the ?350 mark, mainly because I was overseas during August, and so the charges were far higher, and I was drunk more and using my phone a lot more than I should have done, and because August isn't real and doesn't exist, I thought I would wake up as if from a dream in September and there'd be no repercussions. It didn't work out that way though.

But I parted with the money, tried to think no more of it, and carried on in my usual carefree manner, skipping through meadows, feeding orphaned children, and restoring poorly kittens back to full health. And then today the new phone bill arrived.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't shocked. I was shocked, you see. Shocked, stunned and more than slightly appalled. But through the tears of shock and shame, I did notice that all the calls for the month of August seemed to be redisplayed, as if to mock me. And then I did notice that I was being charged for them. Ah-ha, I thought to myself, mopping up my tears and smiling weakly, there might be something to this. I'm going to call my phone company.

So I called my phone company, and enquired in a small and wavering voice whether or not it was possible that I was being charged for something I'd already paid. The lovely lady at the other end of the phone said she'd check, and then made loud and elaborate noises on her keypad which sounded a little staged, if I'm honest. She clicked and clacked for a bit, and then explained to me that these were the roaming costs, incurred on August but only now entered on to their system. I collapsed on to the floor.

I asked the lovely lady if she could click and clack a little bit more, because I obviously amn't on the tariff that most suits my phone usage, seeing as how my bill is quite, to say the least, excessive. The lovely lady at this point laughed. Reader, she actually laughed.

So I've changed tariff, and made a decision, then and there as a lay weeping in a fetal position on the floor of my kitchen, surrounded by concerned and elderly labradors, that I wouldn't use my mobile phone to such an excessive and expensive extent any more.

Then texted everyone I knew to tell them the lovely lady laughed at me. I'll never learn.

14 October 2004
Following on from yesterday's blogging related problems discussion, I've got another I've encountered a lot, particularly recently, that's bleeding in to everything I write: what do you do when something that concerns someone else is really heavily overshadowing your life but you can't write about it, but you're not thinking about or doing anything else sufficiently enough to be able to post about anything else?

I mean, this blog isn't meant to be a diary. It's not an honest, open and frank account of my life. I'm not sure what it is - quite often, it's just a place I go either to swear or to show off, and sometimes both. And when I started, I made a decision not to put my full name on it - I was working for a newspaper at the time, and didn't want people googling my name to come across it and find me - and I also thought this would stop people from finding out about it. And it did, for a while. But three years later, and I found myself sitting on a bus last night as one of my friends googgled my name, and started reading out the results that she found.

And I was panicking. Even though I shouldn't have been, because I know full well that I've never said anything nasty about her, unless it's been right up to her face. But as she read out this nonsense I'd actually written for someone else's site, my heart was racing and I was turning bright red on the bus and I was desperately trying to think What have I written? What have I said? Where else will she look?

I don't want to betray people's confidences, and I don't want to offend or upset, and I certainly don't want to be arrested, or cited in court cases, or sacked from further jobs, due to what I write on this, on what is really supposed to be just a stupid sidelined hobby that I started doing at work because I was bored out of my head one day and thought I'd experiment with html.

I'd love to follow the example of someone like Creepy Lesbo, who's managed to keep her identity more or less a secret, and so is able to write about who and what she likes without any real restrictions. And I'd love to be able to do like dooce, and just be as open and honest as you like because those that you're writing about either ignore the fact that she has this website, or are obviously perfectly happy for her to blog on about them as much as she pleases.

So this post, in summary, is a post about something and nothing, because the real something I desperately want to write about can't be written about, and so I've got nothing to say.

13 October 2004
I recently encountered another blogging type conundrum - I was going to say 'problem', but it's not a problem for me, per se. I was wondering what you good clever people might have to say about it. That said, you good clever people haven't been playing along for a while. But let's try to group together and change this, shall we?

Someone recently told me that they'd stopped reading my blog, because it felt like 'stalking' to them. Now, I've made the joke about cyber stalking a trillion times, particularly when I've discovered a blog of a person that I didn't previously know blogged. But any time I've found a blog that belongs to someone I know or that I've met, I've always immediately given them a hello, just so they know I've found them, and so they can respond in any manner they see necessary. Most people, because blogging is just like that, don't give a darn who's reading their blog. What is written on a blog is written for wide public consumption. And if you want to hide your identity, it's very easy to hide. Use a pseudonym. Don't post personal details. Don't give out your email address, home address or phone number. Don't post up photos. Etc.

I have been writing this for too long to be able to hide that much of my identity any more, and I wouldn't really want to. I started the inadvertent twin in an attempt to see if I could write under a pseudonym. I discovered that I could, to a certain extent, but what I can't write is fiction. It becomes too boring for me too quickly. And I think if something is too difficult to blog, or too personal to put in to words that you're happy to have your name attached to, then don't, for fuck's sake, put it on the internet where people will find it.

So. What I put up here, I put up in the full and certain knowledge that there's every chance that someone I hate beyond redemption may read it. That any time I'm writing about any person, that very person has a great chance of finding this blog. That there is a striking chance that if a bus knocks me down and kills me tomorrow, all of my relatives and friends will be trawling through the archives to find the meaning of life (I'll save you the time - it's not here).

The other thing with blogs is the fact that, because you have the opportunity to portray yourself in any matter you so wish, people for the most part tend to write about themselves in a very becoming and flattering manner, giving off the impression that their life is great, that they are great, that everything and everyone they touch is deeply attractive. Some people don't have the eloquence to do this, and this sometimes entertains me more than those who do. But for the most part, a blog is not a true reflection of someone. It's a reflection of the someone they would really like to be. It's positive reinforcement of the image that you hold of yourself, and not often an accurate reflection of the person that you really are.

It's not real.

I have another friend who is well aware that I keep this, but who claims that she doesn't read it much, if at all, because she prefers to talk about things in real life. This is fair enough - it took me long enough to become interested in writing about the vagaries of other people's lives, although once you're hooked it's impossible to leave your computer without checking on the 10 or so most important clicks of the day. But I have never and would never stop reading someone else's blog - I think whatever you put up on the net is open season.

Has anyone else ever had a reaction like this?

12 October 2004
The exam, to no one's surprise but my own, went extremely well. Now, that makes me sound really big headed, like everyone around me knows that I'm going to do very very well, and only an idiot would assume otherwise, what with my mensa-scoring intelligence (in case you've forgotten, I've got a measured IQ of 131)... Well, yes, I am that idiot. I always assume that I'm going to do really badly on exams, mainly due to the fact that through my life I've done really badly on exams.

I'm not an exam person. I'm not good at revising, I'm not good at holding names and statistics and dates and methodology in my head. I'm very good at writing essays, because that's basically reading things that other people have written, and then putting it all in to your own words, or rearranging their words to make it look like your own words. I'm good at writing essays moments before their deadlines too, and I'm excellent at surprising myself that I've managed to make the deadlines. But I'm crap at exams.

The reason I ended up doing a degree in Media Studies is because I'm crap at exams. The whole way through my secondary school education, I had decided that I was going to be a speech and language therapist, as this seemed both a useful and interesting vocation. You leave college fully trained and experienced, with a proper job and title, and then you spend the rest of your life doing that. It seemed like the perfect plan. Except that I didn't get enough points in my leaving certificate to get a job in McDonalds, partly due to the fact that I spent the last two years of school messing around with Mrs D and D, and partly due to the fact that I'm very very rubbish at exams.

In exams, my brain freezes up and I lose the ability to write anything but the most ridiculously general nonsense. Not even specific nonsense, you understand. Just general stuff. About air and colours and trees and windows and monkeys. In every exam. It tends to get you low points.

So when I left school, I didn't get a place in college, I wandered around my life for a year being really quite unhappy and working in various banks (which didn't help alleviate the unhappiness) and finally started a foundation course in media studies, because I liked watching telly, and that was media studies, wasn't it?

Yes, it pretty much was.

Unfortunately, although arts degrees are the best thing to do in college, because college is really all about fun and living away from your parents, and running up debt and working out how much you can drink before you pass out, and meeting boys and such, and not so much about the education and career prospects, they don't leave you with much more than serious liver damage and some recurring STDs... I would imagine.

So, to the exam I had today, which, as I said at the start before I went off on this unexpected rant, went well. In the first section, you had to give short definitions for 5 out of 10 options. I was able to answer 3 of these to within an inch of their life, and had a fair stab at the remaining two. In the second section, there were three essays. Two of them I managed quite well indeed, and one of them I totally made up. Completely. It was based on nothing at all to do with my degree, or anything I've learned in the last year. Which should be interesting to see, marks wise, when the exam comes back.

In December.

I don't get my results before then. So until then I can dance about in the happy knowledge that I've maybe probably passed this part of the degree, and just be content with that.

11 October 2004
OU exam tomorrow. Full update to follow after that, possibly including pictures of dogs. Can you wait? I can't.

08 October 2004
Oh, this is the funniest thing ever.

I was just going through my archives, thanks to a google searcher that landed on me with the weirdest phrase, and I wanted to see when, why and in what context I had used that phrase. Anyhoo, there I was trawling through March when I came across this entry, which had been commented on five months after the fact.

Oh, how I laughed. Haven't stopped laughing yet, in actual fact.

Gerry Mallon, you're a frickin' mental comedy genius.

Oh, no, wait. You're just frickin' mental.

07 October 2004
Lord almighty. I seem to spend more time hungover and mopey than anything else in the world. Must learn to stop drinking at the point where I think "I should probably stop drinking now", rather than breaking on through that barrier and carrying on until after the last night link has left town.

I'm not well again today. This has not been helped by the fact that our cat Smudge has got an eye infection, and keeps rubbing her face up against me. I had to go get tissues and rub the gunk out of her weeping eye and I don't know about you but I'm ready to B-A-R-F at any moment now.

But I have made an important decision this morning, and I'd like you all to try help me in any way you can. Send kind thoughts and money in my direction when I announce the fact that:

I'm giving up smoking. Again.

Seriously. I have to stop this right now, because going from not-smoking, to social-smoking, to I-have-a-packet-of-cigarettes-in-my-bedroom, to lighting-up-on-the-way-to-the-bus is really not good. This is the pattern it always takes, and so I'm stopping dead right here and right now, because I'm sure it's adding ten fold to the hangovers I'm getting these days.

So the new rules are:
Don't let me smoke. Ever.

There are two strict exceptions to this rule:
1. I'm allowed smoke if I'm in excruciating pain and can't walk. But only one cigarette.
2. I'm allowed smoke if a boy has made me cry. Not a girl. A boy. Again, only one cigarette.


06 October 2004
Things for you to do today:

Watch the actor / comedian Cliff Kelly in the new Streets video. Cliff can be clearly seen necking some beer, and then later on wading in to the middle of a fight. It's the most entertaining thing I've seen in absolutely ages. FYI: Cliff Kelly was one of the children who frequented Rod Hull's Pink Windmill (this is not a euphemism). Further FYI: He was also the child who sang the Finger of Fudge song ("A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kid a treat...") Supplemental FYI: One of the readers of this blog has kissed him. On the lips.

Go listen to That Was Then This Is Now (known to the cool kids as TWTTIN - pronounced "Twuh-Tu-Tin") on the Radio 2 listen again thingy. It's got Richard Keith Herring in it, along with evil Emma Kennedy-Williams.

I'm going to the theatre now. Bye!

05 October 2004
Strange as it may seem to the many of you that hold me as an example of how to live the perfect life, with the greatest use of time and energy, I still have some ambitions that I would like to fulfill. Happily, I've already covered some in the brief, twenty something years I've been alive, and all without breaking a single wrinkle across my smooth forehead (unlike Mrs D who is a wrinkled old crone. Hello Mrs D!).

Some of those already achieved include:
To have my name appear in television credits
To appear on television, in any matter whatsoever
To see my name in print
To see my name on a poster
To speak as a guest on a national radio show

Some that still need achieving include:
To have a book dedicated to me
To be thanked in the thanks part of a book

These two came flooding back to me yesterday when I was standing in a book shop in Dun Laoghaire clutching the second edition of a historical biography written by a friend of a friend. I cracked open the book to have a look at the dedications, and noticed that lovely Patrick had gone on and on a bit with the thank you section. This, I presume, is because it's a second edition, and he can do what he likes. Reading the thank you section to his friends was like reading a list of the people I hung around with about seven years ago. Actually, not just "like" that. It was exactly that. In alphabetical order.

My name, it need not be pointed out, wasn't there. And I wouldn't expect it to be, at all, since lovely Patrick is very much in the friend of a friend category of people I know, and could very well be attributed with the telling of any number of urban myths.

But I would ask if any one of the people reading this are on the brink of publishing a book, do please include my name in the list of thank yous. I'm not asking that you dedicate it to me. Although, of course you can if you like. Of course.

04 October 2004
Another day, another gig. V gave me a Mundy update last night, saying that the one I missed (Saturday) wasn't as good as the one I'd been to (Friday), and that she was going again (Sunday), and would I like to come along? I had to decline again, much as I'm developing an almost fixation on all things Mundy (my parents won't stop telling me that they heard his song on the radio), and I've just bought the new album, which isn't quite as good as it is live, but passes the time... but I'd already booked gigs months ago to see the American Music Club and I wasn't going to back out now.

It turned out to be a very, very odd gig. Most of the gigs we see in The Village tend to be a bit strange, not because of the bands they put on, but because of the clientele that place attracts. We've been regulars at Whelans for far, far, far, far too long now, but don't really feel out of place because we refuse to grow up and act respectable, and because Whelans still plays The Cure and The Smiths and Teenage Kicks every weekend, and who are we to argue with taste like that? However, those that feel they have outgrown the usual Whelans crowd seem to have decamped to The Village, where they buy pints and stand about quietly, staring in the direction of the stage, and occasionally swaying a bit if the music becomes particularly raucous.

What I'm saying is, the crowd at The Village can be described as "unenthused" at the best of times, and "frozen and corpse-like" at the worst.

This very much suited the sound and mood of the AMC last night. Mark Eitzel made vague attempts at communicating with the crowd at the beginning of the gig, but his vague communications were very much that - mutterings that weren't really audible, and so didn't garner any reaction or response. After a while, he spoke up just enough to tell us that he didn't like the sentiments of the next song they were going to sing, and then declared that he doesn't usually bother with all the audience bullshit, and so wasn't going to bother tonight. No one really knew how to take this, and so The Village audience wisely decided to keep with tradition, and all but ignore the band that was on stage. They don't chat among themselves though. Oh no. The Village audience are what myself and Edel sneeringly refer to as "musoes" - the kind of people that have more vinyl than friends. Or consider their vinyl their true friends.

(Me and Edel are better than them, you see. Our true friends are our dogs.)

It was heavenly hearing Eitzel's voice live and in person. He has this amazing quality that no other singer in the world, between now and ever again, would be able to replicate. I was sure it wouldn't sound as astonishing live, but even with the mawkish drivel they've released as their latest album, his voice is still breathtaking, and is able to give life even to the most clichéd sentiment. So when he was singing that only love would set him free, good lordy but I believed him.

03 October 2004
I was rushing out the door today, to meet my mother and her mother who were picking me up on the dual carriageway to bring me to the farmer's market, where we would be buying organic vegetables and feeling middle class and eco-friendly. It was later than it should have been, since I'd become mesmerised by the Hollyoaks omnibus, in that way that only happens on Sunday mornings (and it's the first time you've woken up in about a week without a throbbing hangover). I was rushing around the house in the manner only usually seen by ladies getting dressed in Richard Curtis movies, and was being followed all around the house by my beautiful dog Honey, who was desperately trying to convince me to give her a piece of the toast and marmite that I was all but ignoring, since I couldn't find my shoes and my granny would be waiting. My beautiful dog Honey is quite right in thinking that marmite is one of the best things in the world and she, like me, harbours deep suspicion about anybody who thinks otherwise. In fact, Honey has been noted in the past as saying that she would never marry a boy labrador who doesn't like marmite, and I'd have to agree wholeheartedly with her.

I eventually found a pair of shoes suitable, and now had to round up cats and dogs, gathering them all in the kitchen or outside - our house is a democracy, and it's very much up to the individual to choose where they want to wait until our return. The best way to get my beautiful dog Honey moving is the promise of food, and so I held out the final piece of toast and marmite I had left in order to coax her back in to the kitchen. She's a bright dog, that one, and realises that if she stays in the hallway, she'll be more likely to be taken out when people are leaving for adventures outside the house walls. So she's never that willing to go to the kitchen when asked. However, she will do absolutely anything at all for food. Any food.

I, in my Curtis-style haste, had failed to consider this. Dear reader, my beautiful dog Honey came bounding as if a dog of half her size and age, and took a great big chunk out of my hand.
There will be, you'll be thrilled to note, some pictures of my pets online by the end of this week, as I've been doing some paparazzi style stalking of them around the house this week, so you'll see with your own eyes the size and age of my beautiful dog Honey. It's not an inconsiderable thing to have hanging off your hand, let me assure you. And those teeth, though old, can cut right through to bone given half a chance.

Bless her, but she had the grace to look embarrassed about what happened, and apologised profusely by collapsing to the ground in that manner she has and offering her belly to me to rub. I did so, but swearing quite loudly, which caused Butler the other labrador to start apologising too, and also bringing me teddy bears. I left the two of them to discuss the event, and went to rendezvous with my mother and her mother.

I'd forgotten how much it hurts to be dog bit. I'd forgotten that, two hours after a dog bite, it hurts even more. But my beautiful dog Honey is still offering her belly every time she sees me, so I've forgiven her.

02 October 2004
Day Two of the Mundy Extravaganza...

This time round, the concert was, to put it lightly, 1,000,000 times better than the night before. Not that Thursday night wasn't up to scratch, but it had just managed to reach scratch level, and then decided that it was comfortable, right there at scratch, and couldn't be bothered moving up the ranks any further. And that, quite often, is a good night at Whelans. It's a wonderfully brilliant venue, but goodness me they'll let any old idiot with a guitar through the door and up to the stage, where they will whine with their sub-Radiohead or sub-Buckley or, these days (shudder) sub-Thrills nonsense while we stand at the back waiting for them to finish so that the moshing can begin in earnest.

We chose, for tradition's sake, exactly the same seats as the night before, but this time spent the duration of the support act saying hello to the people we'd seen the night before, and generally swanning about like the giddy fools we were fast becoming.

The gig itself, as I've said, was astonishing. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had a passing familiarity with the songs now (I only own one of the three albums he's released, and don't have the newest), so I knew which ones would be the big winners with the crowd, and I now knew all the choruses - I only have to hear something once, and then I'll remember it. It's a blessing and a curse combined. Myself and V spent the time kneeling up on seats, leaning further out over the balcony than I'd normally be comfortable with, and screaming at the top of our voices every time a song ended, because we'd had a couple of "looseners" before the gig started and were feeling healthier at that moment than we had all day.

We swanned backstage, still walking about in a self important manner, and this time I managed to keep up one half of a conversation with Mundy that lasted, on and off, all the time we were there. Backstage was packed out, it being a Friday (all the usual liggers were in) and we made do with talking to the tour manager, Mundy's accountant (or so he claimed), the guy that does sound, the guy that's making a documentary about Mundy (or so he claimed) and a guy that's employed by Whelans to give massages to any and everyone backstage. He gave me and V a good rubbing down, I can tell you.

Thanks to talking politely and with great enthusiasm to the tour manager, V managed to secure herself another two tickets for the gig tonight. I can't even begin to consider going, due to the fact that Thursday's hangover has joined forces with last night's to form an army. But I'm sure she'll find a willing accomplice.

01 October 2004
It seems these days that, written in to the rules for my attendance of gigs, is the provision that I must always end up, somehow, backstage talking to the performers about the performance. I'm used to this at comedy gigs, and quite often this is the highlight of the whole process, because I'm a geeky comedy nerd who enjoys ruining the fun by constantly analysing and dissecting the process, and thankfully so are most comedians. Also, I'm very good at lying to people and telling them they're hilarious, while carrying on a double life as Kate Copstick's ghost writer (that's the geekiest comedy reference there could ever be, and if you get that, you're a big fat loser too).

Last night, my good friend D, her good friend V and myself were in attendance at Whelans, seeing the glorious Mundy play new songs from his new album, and three songs from the only album of his that I own. He is, in fact, playing 5 gigs in a row at Whelans, to celebrate their 15th birthday. Mundy, if you didn't know, is quite big news in Ireland, and probably will be following in the irritating footsteps of Damien Rice quite soon by becoming over-hyped and over-successful in the US.

I had been planning to go along to one of these gigs, but never got round to booking tickets or talking Edel in to coming with me. Thankfully one of V's friends dropped out at the last minute, so I stepped in to the breach, because I'm good like that.

During the gig, I tried calling Edel to leave songs on her voicemail, but apparently Whelans has been designed so that the acoustics destroy any chance of hearing a song properly, and instead it all sounds like tuneless shouting. Edel made up for this instead by gatecrashing the gig, using the all time classic of brazenly walking up through the back entrance like she's supposed to be there. It's a trick we constantly use in Whelans, and usually works out well for us. We are nothing if not resourceful.

Post gig, and D & V went for a wander while me, Edel and her friend Bronagh went for a boogie on the dancefloor, moshing like fools to songs none of us knew, but all sounded vaguely familiar, probably being within the Green Day / White Stripes / The Strokes genre that I refuse to become interested in. I got a text message from D about ten minutes later, which read -

"We're up in the VIP lounge having a beer with Mundy. Come on up. Ask 4 V or Mundy."

We ran.

The funniest thing about it all was that, during the gig while I was enduring that peculiar girly bonding moment of standing in a queue in the toilet while people take far too long in the cubicles, a bunch of ladies were trying to come up with some kind of plan of action to get closer to Mundy post gig. These girls had apparently bought tickets for every night he's playing, and will be in attendance every night, staking out the back stage area and trying to get to know the bouncers. I'd laughed to myself about this, since I'm far too old for those kind of crazy shenanigans. An hour later, I found myself cruising past them and giving the secret knock on the back stage door, while they shot us dagger looks and I tried not to look too smug.

I managed to all but completely ignore Mundy for the duration of time we were there, since up until 2 hours before I had no idea what he even looked like in real life (according to the girls in the toilets, he's looking "a lot better" since getting his hair cut). We did manage to help him solve the Irish Times crossword though. I feel I impressed by offering "epinom" as the solution to a particularly difficult 1 across. He repaid my kindness by continually providing us with free beer.

So the great big ridiculous plan for tonight is to do it all over again. Having gone from not actually being bothered to book a ticket for myself at all, now I'm going to see the man two nights in a row, the second night being happily placed on the guest list. I'm now officially known as "Plus One".