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Dreadful Nonsense

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

30 November 2004
On 28th December 2001, I had the good judgment to fall down a flight of stairs. This is briefly mentioned here, presumably because at the time I had absolutely no idea of the damage I'd just done to myself, and what was to come. In the fall, I smashed a mirror and made a joke about 7 years of bad luck. My dog died less than a month later.

There is no connection between those two last sentences. The dog was incredibly old, and by the time he died, he had no idea he was still alive. And I'm not superstitious in that way. I could spend a day happily smashing every mirror in sight, because it really doesn't concern me. I mean, if it were true, David Boreanaz has spent the last ten years as Angel, smashing mirrors willy nilly, and this would obviously mean that now his one acting role is finished, he'll never work on anything decent again and will disappear into obscurit... oh. Hang on.

But no, I'm really not superstitious like that. I can walk under ladders and kick black cats with the best of you, and won't be afraid of any repercussions from higher powers who have nothing better to do than write some stupid and pointless laws that can't be transgressed, else seven years damnation and then total forgiveness again, as if their long term memory only stretches to seven years and not a day more or less.

But getting off the plane yesterday, I counted up the indiscriminate collection of religious iconography, knick knacks and variety of possessions that actually belong to other people that I refuse to fly without, and came to the conclusion that I'm quite superstitious for someone who isn't superstitious. My collection included: three pieces of catholic iconography; one American Indian pagan god; two Celtic pagan symbols; something belonging to my dad; an old childhood toy and a bracelet my granny gave me. This time on the way to the airport I remembered that I'd forgotten to put on my dad's signet ring, but decided that I probably wouldn't die, because last time I'd forgotten my childhood toy and didn't die, so maybe I can travel with one thing missing from the collection.

He Who Only Reads This Blog To See If He's Mentioned has pointed out that everyone who travels with me obviously owes me their lives, since I'm carrying enough supernatural protection for us to probably fly safely without any engines. I think I should just be given extra allowance for all my extra baggage.

26 November 2004
The building opposite the window of the bedroom has been completely gutted. Round the front, as you walk past under the scaffolding the covers the four floors, if you look through the badly boarded up windows, through the cracks in the wood, there is no ceiling. Wires hang down like ivy. The floor is a mess of concrete, bricks, rubble and dust. Men in hard hats, faded denim and heavy jackets walk in and out, smoking and carrying heavy tools.

At the back of the building, looking through the bedroom window, the building is also enclosed in scaffolding. The boards creak and protest as the men walk up and down. There are no windows at the back of the building, and so all the debris is brought around from the front via the roof, and dropped from a height through the yellow plastic tubing that snakes down the side to the ground. The men call and yell at each other like monkeys in a zoo. Two of the five have stage Irish accents, the kind of Irish accent only developed after living in another country for long enough. They are working and moving hidden from the rest of the street, and are acting as though unobserved and unsupervised.

When the noise started, I woke with the shock of assumption that someone had accidentally broken through the wall of the bathroom beside the bedroom, but the laughing and joking and impressively eloquent swearing continued between the men, and I slowly realised that the window next door must be open, channeling the noise through. I drift back to sleep, and dream that I am standing at the window of the bedroom, watching the men at their work, swinging through the scaffolding like monkeys in the jungle.

25 November 2004
I'm sitting in an internet place (it's not a cafe, there's no food at all being served) in London, trying to avoid the rain that I've so successfully walked through for the past 20 minutes that really sitting in an internet place with a soaking wet jacket really isn't the best decision I could have made. But privately owned internet places - aren't they the creepiest places in the world? When we were in France myself and Susan took to frequenting these kind of establishments regularly, because we're internet geeks and can't go more than about 28 hours (that's a scientific measurement and fact) without logging on. Otherwise we start to cry, you see.

But this place - it's icky for reasons I can't quite establish. Could be the bad purple walls, or the weird sea shell hangings they have around the windows.

Or it could be the man at the desk who's been staring at me for the last ten minutes without blinking.

I might go.

(London ROCKS.)

24 November 2004
I've an hour and a half to go until I leave the house to make the long trek to the airport. Long trek? Short walk to bus stop, bus to Donnybrook, on to Air Coach, stare out window while panic and denial set in with equal force. Woo! Bring it on.

But I've still got an hour and a half. I can't think of anything to do. I've looked at the internet: there's nothing there. Everyone in the world is at work. Television is unbearable. I only have the urge to listen to one song, and it makes me cry, so I'm not going to indulge myself. Lord, I'm tense.

I used to have this fantasy scenario where I'd go to bed one night, someone would knock me unconscious in a medicated manner (rather than simply twatting me over the head, you understand), I'd be put on a plane, flown to Australia (I'd like to go to Australia) and I'd wake up in another bed on the other side of the world without having to worry about all the flying malarky in between. It'd be so brilliant.

I'm not as freaked as I used to be about flying, I'm really surprised how well I've come on in a short space of time, it's all mind over matter etc, but it's got a TREMENDOUS amount to do with the valium. It really does. Valium plus certain state of mind equals easy flying for Shazzle. So now the worst part of the flying process for me is this bit - the moment I wake up on the day of the flight right up until 15 minutes before boarding when I get to take the valium and start breathing regularly again.

I'm going to go listen to Joni Mitchell, and shriek along in a melodious manner. It'll annoy the cat no end, but that just can't be helped.

23 November 2004
Dad update: He's fine, I'm fine, everything's fine. I'm sure in a few days we'll all calm down enough to actually discuss what happened, and find out what else can be done, and all that kind of malarky, but as I say, immediate information sharing is not the way it's done round these parts. I get my frankly admirable ability to deny that bad things are happening directly from my parents, and thus it shall be for alway and amen.

But God Bless Every Last One Of You for all the emails and texts that I've been getting today. You've every last one of you made me cry a little, and that has honestly helped, because it's exorcising the bad demons, or something. You're all The Best.

Site admin notice: I've changed my site email address to a gmail account, cos it's easier that way to sort through the spam. You can now email me via the button on the right - one easy click, and you're done! Or you can get me at:

dreadful dot nonsense at gmail dot com

Or any of the other thousand email addresses you've got for me.

Geek announcement: The release date for Serenity: The Movie has been put back to next September, which is so impossibly far away that it won't ever exist. That's after Fringe 2005 for chrissakes! I'd have a sulk about that, but darn it people I've put too much energy into sulking over Whedon-related projects in the past.

London tomorrow. How excited am I? Very. Updates might be few and far between, or they might be constant. You just don't know your luck. Back home on Monday.

22 November 2004
Holy Crap. I'm getting on a plane THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and I haven't given one ounce of thought to it. This, according to my phobia, means that I AM OF COURSE GOING TO DIE because if you don't spend a week and a half dreading it, then you're getting far too relaxed about the whole thing, and that leads to madness and plummeting fiery death.

Flight details, so you can all sob and mourn my passing when it appears on the news:

GOING OUT
From Dublin(DUB) to London Stansted(STN)
Wed, 24/11/2004 Flight 224 Depart DUB at 1735 and arrive STN at 1845


Stupidly, I'm traveling with Ryanair who are of course the most UNSAFE AIRLINE IN THE WORLD (according to my phobia). But the cheapest way of getting from here to London, so it's swings and roundabouts really.

Weird day today, hence the double post. Spent all day with a vague notion of something not being quite right, but put that down to itchy feet and the slowly forming worry of flight coming up at me. Fired off the bitchy post below, which by rights should be deleted because it proves the neurotic, selfconcious maniac I can become on very short notice, but I'm going to leave it up for posterity anyway, because I'm stubborn as well. Emailed and texted various people, started applying for jobs, had a serious conversation with Mrs Bishop about moving out of home and generally didn't get much done, and then my sister arrives home to say that my Dad has spent the day in A&E having had a suspected heart attack that morning at work.

Much and all as we swear and yell at each other as a family, we're not good at communicating the important details, like "your father has gone into hospital". It's so frustrating that I tend as a rule to hear these things after the fact. Siblings, blood relations, if you're reading this (and I know that some of you do) - DO LET ME KNOW WHEN SOMEONE HAS GONE INTO HOSPITAL. I'd be happier knowing, you know. I enjoy the worry. Honest.

He's home now, having gone through a ream of tests. Nothing conclusive, other than they've said that he didn't in actual fact have a heart attack, but they've not said what actually happened, because they're not sure. We've all decided to take this as a good sign, and I think have etched it up as another thing that's happened that we are, as a group, to ignore. Again, I have to question how healthy that attitude is, but it's kept us together as a family for over 30 years now, so fuck it.

I'll be much chipper in the morning, I swear.

We were talking last night about what a powerful weapon the "ignore" is. It's a weapon most often used by ladies in the middle of fighting with someone, usually another lady. The "ignore" is most effectively used in relation to phone calls, emails and text message - never return a phone call, don't answer emails, fail to respond to text messages, and quite soon the other person will be reduced to such a quaking wreck of a person they'll be so relieved and grateful to finally hear from you that they'll accept the blame for the entirety of the problem that prompted the deployment of the "ignore" in the first place. It can also be quite effectively used in person, when you turn away from the approach of another, and for good measure pretend to be talking about them to a third party while smirking as if you've made a valid point, which quite often you haven't.

I honestly remember the first time I ever heard the phrase "give them the cold shoulder". We were sitting under the trees outside the convent, opposite my secondary school. We were a big group together, not cool enough to be smoking, but cooler than those who still used their lunch break to eat their lunch. We lounged. That's how kind-of-cool we were. The middle ground of cool. Boys used to pass through the school grounds if they were feeling brave enough, usually on bikes and in groups of twos or threes. They'd stare at us, we'd stare at them, they'd pass through, we'd gossip about them until the next group came along. And so the hour passed.

One day during the lounging, a group of boys were approaching, this time on foot. One girl - I think her name was Ruth, but I also think that's wrong - urged us all to give them the cold shoulder, and I remember thinking what a cool turn of phrase it was, and also how utterly utterly pointless. We ignored them, staring at our feet, they passed by without making any comment, we continued to talk about them for the rest of the lunch hour, even though other boys passed by. I'm sure ignoring that boy did absolutely nothing for NotRuth's chance of eventually kissing him, because I'm sure that was why we were all to ignore him in the first place.

Thing is, powerful or not, evoking negative and destructive responses as it does, it doesn't work on me long term. I just get bored. My attention span for this kind of thing doesn't run past a week. The "ignore" is right up there in terms of pointlessness with the teenage stomp off and sulk - it gets you nowhere. You never get to resolve anything. Nothing will ever be discussed. No apologies, if apologies are necessary, can be made. The problem will not go away just because you've turned your back to it. And one day, when you're least prepared for it, it'll come right back and slap you in the face with regret and disappointment, and you'll wish you'd maybe taken the time out to talk about it, rather than leaving it to fester. I just don't understand the psychology behind the "ignore", but then again I'm from a shouting and swearing family that expresses its emotions right off the bat rather than bottling them up.

And yes, this message is really only meant for one person. Do feel free to ignore it.

21 November 2004
I've been doing some long-needed admin on the site, and have updated my About Shazzle page. Do go there, and see if there's anything new for you to learn about me. Alternatively, go there to see if you've been mentioned by name. And if you haven't, but feel that you should have been, do let me know by leaving an abusive comment in the comments section below. If anyone has any questions they think should probably be asked in a Frequently Asked Question section, do also leave a comment in the comments section. It's entirely up to you whether or not you choose to be abusive.

What I Learned Last Night:

I made the rash decision to drink an entire bottle of red wine on my own. Although to call it a 'decision' is implying some thought was put into it. Let's just say there was wine, and then there wasn't wine, and all the wine was in me.

I will explain why this is worthy of blogging: I don't drink much alcohol. Don't misunderstand me now - I very regularly drink alcohol. Almost most nights, really. Alcohol is heavily involved in my social life and free time, and since most of my time is both social and free, that's a lot of time for alcohol to be involved. Thing is, though, I'm quite the lady light weight. I'll have an average of two pints of beer, and then have to retire from drinking more alcohol on the grounds that I'm already quite drunk and one more pint would literally tip me over the edge. I'll have whiskey at Christmas and funerals, but outside of those two specific occasions, spirits and I have no association. I don't drink spirits of any kind, because they make me vomit in a manner that is decidedly un-ladylike, and then pass out, usually on street corners. I'll have a glass of wine with a meal, but only if directly after the meal I can go have a lie down, because wine goes to my head and makes me immediately sleepy and very unsociable.

But last night, for some reason, the devils took me over and I discovered that I can drink an entire bottle of red wine, all on my lonesome, without any seriously bad side effects. This morning I felt a little unsteady and a bit precious, but this had more to do with the fact that - gasp - I'd been smoking terrible cigarettes again.

(I swear to God, that's the last night that happens. No more cigarettes for Shazzle.)

But the wine, although it had rendered me quite the drunkard by about 2am and made me bore poor D to death about the glory that is He Who Only Reads This Blog To See If He's Mentioned, didn't leave me lying on the bathroom floor begging for a mercy killing, even though that's what I always thought would happen if I ever drank that much wine.

So what I learned last night was that wine, unlike most other alcoholic drinks, doesn't hate me. It's good to know.

20 November 2004
This morning/afternoon (depending on your perspective - it was morning for me, because I'd just woken up from 8 hours sleep. The fact that the sleeping began at 4am does not affect the fact that, just after I wake up, it is morning. To my parents, who had been up for a good three hours already, it was already the afternoon) found me coming to the realisation that, maybe, after over a year of living at home, it might well be an idea to start considering perhaps, I don't know, just a thought, but since I'm the age that I am I should maybe, you know, it's really only a thought, but perhaps... I should probably move out.

See, what happened is this: I'm sitting in the dining room having my breakfast. I'm reading The Guardian, because I like to think I'm a leftie intellectual but actually I only really buy it for Dave Eggers and Jon Ronson. I'm feeling slightly disappointed by the short short story this week, because it's a bit rubbish. (Little Sister Edel later declared it the Worst Thing Ever To Be Printed Ever but I don't think it was that bad. Could have done with some trimming. Eggers' definition of "short" is getting worryingly longer every week.) I'm reflecting on the fact that I've got tons of things to do today, and can't be bothered considering even starting to think about doing any of them. And then the yelling starts in the kitchen.

My Dad is standing by the counter. He's annoyed because it's raining outside, and that means he can't go play with his friends. Mum's bugging him to start plastering some holes in the wall that were left by the last visit of the electrician and he decides instead to deflect her attention away from him and on to me. He's pointing at things on the counter and yelling that I never clear up after myself.

Ladies, gents, let me make this one thing clear: I'm a neat freak. I'm tidy. I'm a clean and tidy neat freak. Clearing things up is something I do when I'm sad or annoyed or angry or bored. It calms me down. I'll even go so far as to say I enjoy it. Stop staring, accept this point, and learn to see it as another reason why you love me so much. Thanks.

So when I'm accused of a crime I didn't commit - much as The A-Team once were - I go off the deep end like a latter day Mr T, but without the jewelry or accent, and even these days lacking the fear of flying. I start swearing like a trooper, stating the various facts as I see them. For one, I point out that I tidy up after him every morning when he goes to work and leaves his breakfast dishes all over the place. Secondly, I tidy the kitchen almost every day, because that's what I do while waiting for my coffee to brew and I throw in some swear words for good measure. Thirdly, there is nothing on the counter that was involved in the preparation of my breakfast and some more swear words. Fourthly, more swear words for good measure and Fifthly...

Through my diatribe, I'm stepping outside myself thinking, this is a stupid argument. Who actually cares? Neither of us do. But then Mum joins in.

Swearing is a family sport round our's, and we're all very good at it. We all have a great fondness for the f-word in particular, and the only thing really out of bounds is the c-word, although I still use that quite a lot, just not in front of my mother, who hates it more than she hates people who drive slowly (and by Lord, she hates those people).

At this stage, the initial point of the argument is lost completely under the barrage of swearing that has resulted. And the thing is, we're all kind of finding it entertaining. We stop the swearing, forget what we were saying, I start tidying up the kitchen and Mum and Dad go off to make some plaster for the walls. But really, I think I should probably start considering thinking about wondering if it would be possible to maybe find, oh I don't know, somewhere else to live. I'm not going to use the word disfunctional here, but this can't possibly be healthy. Can it?

19 November 2004
This post is dedicated to Moo, who has texted me twice today demanding a new post.

Last night, I stayed round at D's house. We decided this would be a good idea, because we've both been having trouble sleeping, and we thought that at least this way if we were both still trapped awake at 3am, we'd have someone else to talk to. It's this kind of logical reasoning that's got me in trouble before, but I've not learned and by now am determined that I never will.

11pm found us on the phone to D's ex(ish)-boyfriend, with me sitting close to the phone listening in on the conversation - I have been invited to, this is not my not-particularly-subtle way of eavesdropping. We finish the conversation, and retire to the kitchen to inexplicably eat bananas and begin drinking beer.

1am, and we're still in the kitchen. D has discovered that she didn't in fact have the bottle of wine that she had promised me she had, but this doesn't matter, because for the last hour and a half we'd found something else to occupy us. Herbal cigarettes (if you know what I mean - and I think you do) abound, and we find ourselves discovering the secret to a long lasting relationship with menfolk, taking in to account the differences that lie between the genders - I'm not sure if you've heard, but men and women are different. I remember thinking how brilliantly simple and simply brilliant our discovery was, and how we should write it down or text it to someone because we could make our fortune.

3am. We've been drinking herbal tea - actual herbal tea, if you know what I mean. Cammomile and that. We've started talking about things that the other person does that annoys us. We can't think of a solid example. We're such good friends, it's a beautiful moment.

Skip forward to 4am. We're sitting in her front room, trying to blow up a blow up bed with a foot pump that doesn't quite fit over the valve, so that the more air we pump in, the more air is coming back out at us. This does not stop us from continuing to try for about 20 minutes, occasionally collapsing on to the floor in hysterical giggles. This is the funniest thing we've ever done.

4.45am. My eyes are falling out of my head. We're wrapped up in sleeping bags and I can't quite get the energy to go brush my teeth. D is trying to convince me that staying up ALL NIGHT is better than going to sleep at this stage. Even though I have nothing in the world that I need to do the next day, and could feasibly spend it all asleep, common sense for the first time that night prevails and I slip in to a coma. D rustles around for a bit and does likewise.

7.45am. Our alarms go off. All is hell.

18 November 2004
Hey! It's finally on-line - my first theatre review. I think it's my first theatre review, anyway. I don't remember ever reviewing theatre before. So way-hey! Do read it, and then weigh in and tell me what you think. And yes, I did use the word "eschewed". Don't judge me.

They've moved some of the sentences around, so it doesn't flow quite the same way that I wrote it, but I don't think anything's been taken away altogether. I'd check with the copy I submitted, but I don't really care enough. I'm not sure I'm cut out for this, but then again, it's not ballet. The ballet reviews aren't on-line yet. I might let you know when they are.

I bit the bullet yesterday - not literally - and went to get my hair cut. As you'll know, (because I've said before, and you'll have noted it in your special notebook where you keep notes about things about me, which has a picture of me on the cover, and some scribbles down the side of the inside cover, because you were on the phone one day, and it was quite a boring conversation and your mind started wandering and before you realised it you'd defaced your special "things i know about shazzle" notebook, but it doesn't really matter because it's only on the inside page, and the cover with the special picture hasn't been ruined so you can stop crying.) I've been putting this off because (1) I hate getting my hair cut and (2) what other reason do I need? But my hair was becoming a little erratic, and so I thought it was time. I scouted around among my lady friends to see who had the best hair, but it turns out they're all mingers (hello everybody!) so I just went with the first suggestion I was given.

I went to a jolly place called The Room which I haven't been to for many years, but Moo and Banky (I'm experimenting with nicknames for my friends again - just go with it) go there, and their hair is nice, despite what I said in the paragraph above, so I thought I'd take the chance. And if it all went disastrously wrong, I could just add it to the list of places in Dublin I can never go back to again. That list grows longer each day, dear reader.

It all went well, though. With the shrieking of TLC in the background, the gently camp hairdresser asked me a ton of questions about what I did and didn't like about my hair, and then did exactly what he said he was going to do - which is UNPRECEDENTED in my experience of hairdressers - while continually checking all was well with me. This was great, although it did take AN HOUR AND A HALF to finish, which is ridiculous considering the size of my head and the length of my hair. When I cut it, it takes about five minutes. Although there is a stark contrast between the results I get and what he's done to my head.

I wasn't sure how much I liked it when I left, but he hadn't left me looking like a cartoon lesbian which is what usually happens just after I've had my haircut - people virtually hand me dungarees and doc martin boots to complete my look, such are their immediate presumptions. I went home, mucked about with it a bit, and then went out to the pub to meet Moo, Banky, Clur, Mrs Bishop and Mrs Bishop's current beau, who we're all going to call Jason, because that's what I always want to call him, even though it's not his name.

The true test of a hair cut, as everyone will know, is what reaction it receives from bar staff. We went to The International last night, in the hope of seeing some comedy (we were sorely disappointed, let me tell you). I was nominated to get the round in, and I went to the lady bar staff and reeled off the list of drinks as quickly as I could, else I'll forget them all. She asked whether I was old enough to be buying drinks of an alcoholic nature.

Did we all catch that?

SHE ASKED WHETHER I WAS OLD ENOUGH TO BE BUYING DRINKS OF AN ALCOHOLIC NATURE.


I've not been id'd at a bar for a long while. You've no idea how chirpy that made me. God bless my new hair cut, and all who sail in her.

17 November 2004
If you're fortunate enough to be in London, and at a loose end, tomorrow, then you should do what I would be doing if I was there, and at a loose end. You should go on the Alternative Alternative walk, only because if you did then I'd be able to find out what the heck this whole idea is all about, and if it's any cop at all. I'm deeply attracted to their manifesto, primarily because it contains long words and sounds intelligent, but also because when you actually read it it makes no sense at all, which is important when trying to create a new, pointless movement in comedy. See Cluub Zarathustra for further reference.

I recognise two of the three comedians here, but am only able to put a name to one, because I'm becoming useless at this game, having been out of the loop for... oh... about a week. If anyone could help me with the names of number three and number three, I'd be ever so grateful.



15 November 2004
I got a brilliant package in the post today. It was my copy of Crap Jobs, the book that I inadvertently contributed to through The Idler website. You'll remember I squealed about this back in June. Well, today I got the book, which looks a bit like this -


It's a Top 100 of horrendously horrible jobs, with some ancient jobs thrown in, along with some really cute cartoons, and occasional photos of the authors of the hideous stories. I'm very very pleased to report that, for some reason, I've made number 30 of the Top 100 worst jobs. It was apparently worse than being a door-to-door salesman (number 33), sperm tester (54), salmon head slicer (75), maggot farmer (84) or a chicken inspector (92). I'm very proud.

Also, I've spent most of the morning looking through the gallery of sorryeverybody.com. It's a very beautiful site.


14 November 2004
Before we begin this story, there are two things I have to make clear at the start, or else some of what follows may not make sufficient sense.

1. I am mildly allergic to milk. This means that my body doesn't tolerate milk very well, and expresses its discontent when I do have milk by coming up with different ways to punish me. This time round, it has seen fit to punish my intake of two mocha coffees the previous day by inflicting me with some wonderful teenage-style acne outcrops on my chin.

2. I am mid-haircut. I have been cutting my own hair myself since July, but don't panic, I'm going to a proper qualified hairdresser on Wednesday, so that they can survey the damage and tutt, and then make it pretty again. Because I'm getting my haircut on Wednesday, I'm letting the hair dye slide slightly. At the moment there is a red kind of hue coming off my hair, but on Thursday, my hair will be a chestnut brown. Imagine that. Can you?

So. Bearing these things in mind, let us now talk about The Bad Man Who Was Mean To Me In Lush, Yesterday.

Me and Little Sister Edel were in Lush yesterday, on our way home from the ballet (yes, I'm very cultured). Little Sister Edel was popping in to purchase some things for Little Sister Louise, and I was waiting patiently in Lush, being nicely pummelled on all sides by the madding crowd. Lush on a Saturday is not somewhere you want to be if you're in the mood to be left alone, let me tell you that now. Not only are there rabid females being driven mad by the thought of rose petals in their bath and the overpowering scent of everything in the shop all together at once, but also the staff there are trained to greet you like a long lost friend. I don't mind the greeting. I can take greetings as well as any person, and I tend to respond in kind, because then they usually walk away and start throwing bits of bath bombs into buckets, so that everyone around them can go "oooooooooh" at the sight of soda.

A Spanish man, from hereon in referred to as The Bad Man Who Was Mean To Me In Lush, Yesterday (or TBMWWMTMILY), came up to me while I was standing staring at some moisturisers. My exact thoughts at that moment were "I couldn't use any of these crummy moisturisers, because they'd give me spots". TBMWWMTMILY approached me, giving the customary welcome of the Lush Employees, which is an overenthusiastic "Hello!" I think I gave a polite murmur back, and returned to my staring, but TBMWWMTMILY wasn't going to be put off by that. His first question to me was "Have you ever used a cleanser before?"

Good Lord, I thought to myself, I know I've got a few spots, but that's taking the piss ever so slightly. I wanted to explain about the mochas, but he'd immediately instilled such a weird feeling of shame because obviously I looked like I'd never washed my face in my life that I just muttered something of no meaning under my breath and started to fervently wish he'd go away. He explained quite loudly, in good if heavily accented English, about how cleansers work to free the skin of "imperfections", while I turned purple and tried to bury myself under some bath bombs.

I again tried brushing him off with some mumbles of how I was only looking, and would he please go away, but he suddenly changed tack and asked me, in a voice louder than that of God talking to Moses, if I used colour in my hair. My hair, for those of you that don't know, is a shade of red that isn't possible in the natural world. Nothing in the natural world is or will ever be this shade of red, unless it was born too close to Sellafield. I looked askance at him, wondering what he was going to say next, and said that, yes, I do dye my hair. TBMWWMTMILY asked what I dyed it with. I could think of nothing else to say, so I said I dyed it with hair dye. Without skipping a moment's beat, TBMWWMTMILY asked if I'd consider using henna, as it's "kinder". As he said "kinder", a withering look of pity, coupled with a look of minor disgust crossed his face as he surveyed the ruins of my between hair cuts hair.

At this point, my choice was to go one of two ways, as he’d managed, in less than five sentences, to highlight not only to me but also to the rest of the shop, the rest of Dublin even, the two things I was feeling most sensitive about that day. I could either burst into tears there and then in the shop, or I could slap him across the face and tell him to mind his own fucking business.

I of course did neither. I carried on mumbling things about thanks and yes, and I’d think about it and then I made a beeline for the door, being stopped only twice on the way to have some honey flavoured soap shoved under my nose by another Lush Employee who wanted to know if I’d ever smelt anything nicer than that, and another Lush Employee who wanted to know if I needed any help.

I love Lush products, I really do. But I am NEVER going back in to their shop. The sales technique is cloying and inhibiting at best, and intrusive and bullying at worst.

Although, in retrospect, I may have been feeling a little delicate yesterday, and may well have taken it all a little too personally. Even so. TBMWWMTMILY will be dead by sun down.

12 November 2004
I went to see my trusty GP this morning as part of my ongoing campaign to possibly get a job, and maybe kick start myself back into some kind of adult lifestyle, rather than this flippant routine I'm currently in of lying around watching Will & Grace and ER repeats all day. My trusty GP, however, was not in residence today, and I instead got to meet and greet with the crazy man who set up the medical practice about 20 years ago.

I love old gentlemen doctors. Old gentlemen doctors are the best kind of doctors, and indeed the best kind of old gentlemen, ever to walk this earth. They're all so understanding and polite and informative and slightly patronising, but in a lovely way. I do enjoy a meet and greet with them, so long as nobody starts talking about my reproductive system or any other business of a personal nature.

So I was quite surprised when, halfway through a conversation about something almost entirely unrelated, he started to lecture me, in my position as a "lady of childbearing age" (I want my date of birth on all forms of identification to be replaced with that phrase, and when I reach menopause I want the word BARREN stamped across it in red ink) on the importance of the regular intake of folic acid.

Now, I'm a lady. We all know this. I'm also a lady of childbearing age, which most of you may have also realised. As a lady, and one who is technically if not emotionally or mentally capable of bearing children, I'm already fully aware of the importance of folic acid in relation to the making of babies. I've watched soap operas, read trashy novels, and been witness to some of the more disturbing output on the Discovery Channel, and so I know that folic acid is good and proper, and that you can find it in both broccoli and (for some reason known only to Kelloggs) Rice Krispies.

The old gentleman doctor, though, must have just read about this new invention and decided to bother all ladies of all childbearing ages with this new information. The weirdest thing about it was the statistics he kept spewing out, as if mentioning numbers in the middle of sentences would make a difference on how affected I would be by his manly speech making. He used the phrase "spina bifida" so often I'm not convinced he really knew what spina bifida was. And the clincher for me, the best part of the whole routine that I hope even now he's repeating in front of another unsuspecting lady, is the warning that if I don't take folic acid from now until the day I'm barren and useless, I MIGHT HAVE A BABY BORN WITHOUT A HEAD.

Honestly. He said that, for some poor ladies of childbearing age who haven't been responsible enough to remember to take their folic acid every day, their punishment was to give birth to babies WITHOUT HEADS. He even used a medical term for it - anacephalic - which actually means babies born without brains. Not without heads, sir. But I didn't correct him because I was too busy trying not to giggle.

11 November 2004
There's a hidden track at the end of one of the Ben Folds Five albums - I forget which one, but I think it might be "Whatever and Ever". Anyhoo, there's a long pause between the end of the last song, and then a screetching voice comes through, obviously recorded at a gig at some point. The voice says something (if memory serves) along the lines of "Ben Folds is a fuck-ing Aaass-hoole" and then there's a big cheer.

Today, that hidden track popped straight in to my head when I got the emails announcing that Ben Folds has postponed his UK & Ireland tour, cos of he's ill. I heard months ago that it was going to be postponed, but for different reasons. But whatever reason he has, and I'm sure it's a damn fine one, I'm still going to have a sulk on for at least the next week. June 2005 is so far away it doesn't exist even in my imagination.


09 November 2004
As part of my occasional hobby, I was sent by a newspaper to see a play last night. For her sins, I dragged Little Sister Edel along, because she looked like she needed boring to death, and no one suits boring to death more than Little Sister Edel. Also, someone needed to show me where Tallaght was, and that someone had to be taller than me. Therefore Little Sister Edel was probably the only man for the job.

We decided for the fun of it that since we were going to Tallaght, we should get the newest Luas line out there, and properly and once and for all lose our Luas virginity at both ends. I do get very giddy at the thought of traveling on forms of public transport that, say, bend in the middle, or run through traffic while we scream for our lives, or divert in ANY TINY WAY from the 46A bus route that I've been living on all of my conscious life (I even get the 145 sometimes, even though it runs the exact route of the 46A into town, just because the front of the bus says 145 and not 46A and that makes it a tiny bit different). Little Sister Edel was even good enough to pick up the tickets at Abbey Street, just so I could spend longer standing by the side of the track and clapping my hands like a mong.

When we got on the Luas, the front two seats - the ones that look straight in at the driver and out over the tracks - were taken, so we hummed and hawed and tutted and dribbled on the people there until they moved for us, and then there we were, me in all my leg swinging happiness. I can swing my legs on Luas seats, you see. They're just high enough off the ground.

It's not as great traveling in the dark, cos you can't see most of the route at all, but we amused ourselves by watching as the drivers from each tram said hello to each other as they drove past. Sometimes there was the simple hand wave. This was often combined with a flashing of lights. On one notable occasion, there was the tooting of a horn, and a couple of times the driver even picked up his walkie talkie and made what sounded like a ribald comment (although you can't hear clearly what the drivers are saying behind their security door). Also of greater amusement was trying to guess what the Irish translation of each stop would be. We were right on the nail for most of them, which is shocking, considering how poor my Irish is. But then again, people naming the stops of the Red Luas Line don't seem to have the greatest of imaginations.

The play itself... well, I've reviewed it elsewhere, and been paid a pittance to do so, so I'm not going to bore you with more details here. Suffice it to say that half way through the second act, Little Sister Edel grabbed my reporter's notebook (because I'm a grown up professional) and wrote

WORST PLAY EVUR

in large capital letters across my notes. Which is a fair summary.

06 November 2004
Today is just a new link round up, rather than anything newsbased, because I've done nothing newsworthy today. My day today, in a brief list: got up, walked about, bought the paper, lay listlessly in a variety of rooms, went shopping for a bit, sang very loudly, did this.

So. To the links:

Now that Belle De Fake has buggered off, there's room on the blogosphere for another naughty lady to fill in her shoes, with occasional entries about... em... occasional entry. That might be ruder than I intended. I'm not sure. Anyhoo, she's A New York Escort, and don't get her started on possessive apostrophies.

Also, someone I've been meaning to add for ages is more than words. I like this blog because it can occasionally produce brevity that I can only dream of.

And for anyone else who runs a weblog, I'd highly recommend that you follow my great example and add this disclaimer somewhere on your site. It's basically the best Read Me for blogs I've seen.

So now you've done that, three things to listen to, in this order:
1. This wonderful audio tribute to John Peel - only there for a short while, so be quick (thanks to Smacked Face for pointing this out)
2. The last episode of TWTTIN - if you listen closely, you can hear me say "Ow. That hit me in the face" towards the end of the show.
3. One Click Comedy, which this week features my comedy Super Hero Mark Watson**

**(who is neither more famous, more talented, better looking or younger than Someone Else Who Cannot Be Named)

05 November 2004
We were out last night for the final night of me being slightly younger than I am today, thanks to the ravaging effects of time. A night out in Dublin is usually a good night out, but a night out on a Thursday seems to have a magical effect on everyone involved, in that it can go one of two ways. Either (a) everyone suddenly throws caution to the wind, gets drunker than they’d consider doing even on a bank holiday weekend with a week’s holiday already booked in advance to get over the ensuing hangover, and we all wake up in Germany, or (b) everyone stays quite sober and upright and proper, and you have lovely soft conversations about kittens and literature, and everyone goes home with a clear head and conscience. I’d like to say we all had the former last night, but apparently it was just me.

I’m not sure what happened. After a week of relative sobriety in London (I suddenly found that, while on British soil, I was unable to drink with any kind of conviction. This has never happened to me before, and hopefully is something that will pass, and soon), I presumed I wouldn’t be able to drink all that much in Dublin either, and said as much to Maire on our way in to town. I think that might have been my first and most serious mistake.

It being my not-birthday, drinks were bought for me at a tremendous rate, and I didn’t notice when I finished one pint and started the next one. This meant, of course, that I wasn’t paying any attention at all to what was going on. Being surrounded by kind, intelligent people who were all having kind, intelligent conversations with each other around me meant that I was distracted by the kind, intelligent conversations and when you’re all having a lovely chat, you don’t notice that you’re slowly getting quite seriously squiffed.

As Edel so kindly put it this morning, what seemed to happen was that I stood up sober, went to use the little girl’s room, and emerged drunk as a judge. I don’t remember this, but then, of course I wouldn’t. We even got the highly social and not at all disgraceful first night bus home, and I was tucked up safely in bed by about 2am. And I’ve checked my phone messages, I didn’t say anything I shouldn’t have to anyone that I shouldn’t have, so I think I got away with it. Just.

I’m too old for that kind of messing around.

04 November 2004
The flight home was, as ever, uneventful, not particularly interesting, and importantly, not frightening at all. Now, either my valium has moved on to new and better places, and no one has told me, or I’m getting used to the flying. I perversely found myself enjoying it. I even looked out the window for BOTH THE TAKE OFF AND THE LANDING which is something you should NEVER do because THAT MAKES THE PLANE CRASH. It didn’t crash. Either the vast amount of religious iconography I carry around with me is now affecting my mood re flying, or I’m over the phobia. Which is good, because apparently I’ll be going to and from the capital of England more often in the near future than I would have imagined I would six months ago. Next flight, flying fans, is in 19 days.

The only unfortunate thing about the flight was that I got trapped in one of those crying fits that descends upon us ladies from time to time – you start off crying about something, get over that fairly sharply when you realise (a) you’re in public and (b) crying does not look pretty, but then something takes over and it becomes a physical reaction that you can’t control, along the lines of sneezing. So even though I really wasn’t as darned miserable as I must have appeared to be, I just couldn’t stop crying. I’m blaming the valium, and the fabulous mix tape that I made for the plane which unfortunately played through the ‘sad’ side as the journey progressed, and I was a little too doped up to be able to fast forward and get back to the rocking songs. The lady beside me looked decidedly uncomfortable, but wisely decided to leave me buried under my jacket trying to compose myself. It’s difficult being a lady and having one of those lady’s funny turns in public. ‘The Luckiest’ by Ben Folds had a particularly bad affect on me. I may have to re-think my flying tape for next time.

03 November 2004
While in London, I remembered that it was my goddaughter’s birthday on Friday. I am not good with birthdays, dates, anniversaries, or even knowing the day of the week that we’re currently experiencing, so although this looks like a ridiculous oversight on my part, it’s very well tolerated by my god daughter, because she is now (or will, in two days time, be) a grown up lady of 14 years old.

I texted her to find out what kind of special thing she’d like for her birthday, and she replied that, of course, she would like something colourful. That is not helpful advice from a nearly 14 year old, but I did my best to look about for shiny things. I also thought that maybe it would be fun to get her something that her mother would disapprove of, but couldn’t quite put my finger on what that might be. We’re saving getting her drunk, stoned and then getting a skull and crossbones tattooed on her until she’s 16, you see.

She also reminded me of a promise I very unwisely made to her on her 10th birthday. I was 14 when she was born, and so the age of 14 is kind of a magic age between us. I told her that while she was 14, if I got married she would be bridesmaid, and that if I had a baby she would be godmother. So she also suggested that, for her birthday, she’d quite like me to get knocked up, because I think even she realises 2 days isn’t enough notice to organise a wedding.

Strangely enough, my other goddaughter, who has just turned 8 years old and is one of the prettiest little girls on the planet, asked me very recently when I was going to have a baby. They both appear to think that I’m a lot old than I am (which is TWENTY FIVE and always will be, no matter what calendars, time or God says), and are monitoring my biological clock closely for me, because lord knows I’m not paying it due attention.
This kind of insistent train of thought wasn’t helped by the fact that, around Stoke Newington where I was staying in London, there are a TREMENDOUS amount of babies. Happily, the vast majority of these babies are of the very ugly, only-a-mother-could-love-a-face-like-that kind of babies. I’m really not very interested in babies. Cigarettes, booze and sharp implements interest me a lot more, and apparently you’re not allowed any of them around the little ‘uns.

02 November 2004
Oh, okay, then. Since all of you (one of you) are insisting on updates, and since I've got up to 20 minutes credit on my easy nothing account and can't think of anywhere else on the internet to look, I'll give y'all a quick update. But just a quickie, mind. I've things to do. In a bit.

Plane journey went smoothly, as anticipated by no one. The wind and rain and storms of the previous week had been giving me cause for concern, because I thought that there was a chance my plane journey would be cancelled altogether, and then I'd have to spend the weekend in a puddle of my own misery, because when I've been promised a plane journey, it's cruel to just take it away from me through the medium of weather. But the winds died down just long enough to let us have a wonderful journey with a decidedly controlled landing, and the disturbing flying time of 15 minutes faster than it should have been. 10mg of valium and I had the time of my life. The valium did seem to take forever to wear off on the other side though.

I'm starting to think that maybe the vast majority of the world has a point, and that plane journeys really are quite a safe form of transport, and probably shouldn't be the biggest overriding fear of your life. We'll see though. I'm back up in the sky tomorrow and actually now that I've suddenly realised that I'm starting to feel a little quivery.

Flight details, as are traditional:

AER LINGUS EI 177 ECONOMY CLASS CONFIRMED
DEP LONDON/HEATHROW WED 3NOV04 7.45PM
ARR DUBLIN WED 3NOV04 9.00PM