Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Finally! A Cure for the Common Cold!

Bleugh. I hate being sick.

Saturday's sniffles turned into a headcold, so I've been moping around like a phlegmy Oscar the Grouch for the last few days, trying to shake it. I have to admit, I'm a bit of a man when it comes to colds; I immediately suspect pneumonia/pleurisy/tuberculosis/something lethal. So I acted accordingly and high hoed it to my friendly pharmacist to find a cure. And find it I did! I feel about a gazillion times better today than I did yesterday, and I managed not only to make it in to work, but to have a productive and enjoyable day. The trick? It's a medicinal regime, tough on the digestive and nervous systems but ruthlessly effective:

  • Exputex Cough Syrup
To be swigged straight from the bottle, as required if wakeful during the night or surreptitiously from your handbag if coughing explosively at work during the day.
  • Benylin Day & Night Capsules
Three during the workday, and a big blue one if you fancy a bit of a nap.
  • Anadin Extra Strength Capsules
One with each of the Benylin tablets, for very effective pain relief.
  • Diet Coke
To counteract the soporific effects of the Exputex syrup (I'm not used to that much caffeine). Except at night, or if you fancy a bit of a nap. Obviously.
  • Strepsils Medicated Throat Lozenges
Just because they're nice, really. Though mixed with the Exputex and the Coke they tend to leave your tongue fuzzy as well as numb.

I'm not recommending this, by the way. I'm sure it's done irreparable damage to my liver and my mental state. And there's always the possibility that had I slept as much as I did yesterday without so much as a Lemsip, I'd be feeling just as much improvement as I am today. Personally, I wasn't willing to take the risk.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm not the family shambles... He is.

(points finger accusingly at her brother)

I was feeling a bit poorly over the weekend (I'm corpse-like today, but how and ever) so when Saturday night rolled around, I dropped around to a friend's house for a few pre-pub scoops but never made the pub part. As the rest of em headed out the door at 10.30 with bottles under their oxters (for the walk) I headed home to bed and Harry Potter. Woke up Sunday in my parents' house, coughing like a consumptive and cursing my ill-health, grumpy as fuck. I decided to share my misery by waking my brother, who'd made it to the pub and was doubtless in much worse shape. But the bedroom door was open, as were the curtains, and there was no sign of him.

Two hours came and went, and still there was no sign of him. I went and did some shopping, tried his phone while I was out in case he needed me to come fetch him. Nada. Got home, and Mam really needed to speak to him to get a phone number for a contractor friend of his who was supposed to call to the house. Tried calling him again. Nada. So I called 4 of our mates who'd been out with him the night before, to see if any of them knew of his whereabouts. One had his jumper, another had his jacket and wallet. The third had last seen him at a taxi rank with friend #4, who wasn't answering her phone.

Then I heard a toilet flush upstairs, followed by a thumping lurch and his unmistakable cough. I went up and there he was, fully dressed, bleary eyed and still wankered. Turns out he'd been in his room all along, but we'd missed him as he'd slept lengthways across the bottom of the bed, fully dressed, on top of the duvet.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Say Cheese

Some time last year I was at a gig, a little bit binned, and ended up kissing a friend of a friend. He's not my type, but he caught me off guard; pulled my hair, told me I was pretty, told me he was a great kisser, dared me to contradict him. I was charmed (I'm such a dick when it comes to flattery) and, as I said, I was binned. So I snogged the face off him, in the middle of the club and in full view of our mates. Which would have been fine had one of those mates not been carrying a disposable camera, and feeling snap happy.

A kodak moment it wasn't.

The same "friend" has brought it up ad nauseum ever since, and keeps telling me that he's had the photographs developed, posted them on the net (on fucking Bebo of all places) and encouraged everyone to have a laugh at my expense. He never has. His girlfriend thinks he may have lost the camera and I'm hoping she's right. Still, yesterday he started on about it again and I have to admit, it still gets me worried every time. I'm trying not to dignify his taunting texts with a reply. Thick fucker though, of all the days to antagonise me he chooses the one before we're due to head out paintballing, where I'm positively encouraged to shoot him in the bollocks as often as possible. He may be bigger, faster and stronger, but I'll be the one with upper body armour and a grudge.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sunny Side Up

I finally got over the bad luck I've been having with boys recently with a little help from a college friend. (Not like that, quit sniggering down the back...) We've been mates ever since first year in college, though it's a funny kind of relationship. We don't see each other all that often, mostly owing to geography and the fact that we're both lazy shites. It doesn't seem to matter though, every time we meet up we're straight back into the same comfortable rapport, knocking corners off one another and having a laugh. There's never any guilt over missed phonecalls or the fact that we haven't seen one another in a few months, it's the perfect low-maintenance-high-reward friendship. He jokes that he needs the few months respite so that his ego can re inflate, and I need it to clamber back up a peg or two. We make a good double act, which is why I'm crediting him with Tuesday night's catch.

My stunning good looks, graceful elegance and immaculate dress sense should be more than enough to woo with on a night out, but of late it just hasn't been happening for me. (The teacher never called...) I think I'm at my best though when I have a like-minded eejit to bounce off, and this particular eejit is the perfect candidate. He confessed at the start of the night that he wasn't doing too well himself of late, and seemed a little resigned to it. But I'm his lucky charm, and he has very attractive friends. Our respective stupid grins at breakfast (3pm in the Metro café...) told a different story. We celebrated by spending the rest of the day sipping pints in the Pav (it was sunny! all day! what else would you do on a day off?) and talking about how we have to spend more time together.

As for the gentleman that had me grinning so stupidly, he's a close friend of the aforementioned head-the-ball. And an absolute gent he is. I'd met him a few times before and liked him from the get go, he's so relaxed that it'd be impossible not to. Fortunately for him and somewhat unfortunately for me, he's off on his travels in a month or so. But hey, you can't have everything. I'll see him before he does, at Féile an Dóilín next weekend, so all's not lost (I can't wait... An Cheathrú Rua is mad town on mad day at the best of times, and a festival where they have a Craggy Island style slow bike race and then burn an effigy of the neighbourhood giant while they taunt the neighbouring village is just going to be fucking brilliant).

That's assuming I survive this weekend though. The self appointed chair of our social committee has organised yet another non-alcoholic group activity, and I'm scared. We're heading paintballing in Mullingar. I'm only going because I'm more scared of her than I am of being shot with a semi-automatic rifle full of paint.

Monday, July 23, 2007

If only I had her balls

Catherine Townsend is my new hero. She writes the blog I'd love to write myself, if I didn't worry that some day my mam would read it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tick Tock? Oh Fuck!

Friday evening saw me tired and emotional after a long week in work, so to complement my horrendous humour I sought out the company of two friends I was sure would be truly sleep deprived. The reason? Their 4 day old daughter, a squalling, auburn-haired little beauty by the name of Eadie. She'd been giving her mam a hard time over the last few months so it was a relief to finally meet her, and to see that she'd made it here with more or less the minimum of fuss. Childbirth may be the most natural thing in the world, but it's also very fucking scary, even from a nice safe distance. Apparently the hard part starts now, but at least there'll be help at hand. I've already volunteered my services as chief babysitter, though I haven't babysat since I was about 15 and back then it was all about what was in the fridge. Still, changing nappies is a little like riding a bike... (unpleasant). They're the first of my friends to spawn, so it'll be a while before the novelty factor wears off. For me. It's never going to wear off for them.

I was walking with my brother this morning and telling him all about Eadie and her proud parents (he hasn't had the chance to meet her yet). As I was talking to him about it I realised that through the jokes about sleepless nights and shitey nappies I'm worried that it's something I might not get to go through myself. At 23 I was warned that I might have trouble conceiving. It's not something I like to dwell too much on, especially given that I'm 26 years young and inexplicably single, but there are times when it's hard to be objective about it. My brother, however, knows just how to make me feel better. "Chewy babies* are mad cute though" he said. "Adopt one".

I laughed. He's right. They are mad cute.

*A very politically incorrect but affectionate term he has for Asian children

Friday, July 20, 2007

We didn't do too badly... considering.

I got it into my head last weekend that I was going to assemble a crack team of music nerds and conquer Phantom FM's table quiz in the Sugar Club on Wednesday night. I had heard an ad for it on the radio, you see. I don't actually have a radio, so when I do get to hear it I get a little overexcited. Team-mates turned out to be a little hard to come by, which baffled me. It had all the elements of a great night; music, booze and nerdage. With the faint glimmer of glory and prizes beyond my wildest imagination. Oh, and it was for charity. Win-Win, as they say.

I finally badgered a few mates into it with a promise to feed them beforehand. We had a few drinkies with dinner, just to be sociable, but as I didn't have the foresight to get any wine or beer in, the drinkies were perhaps a little spirit-heavy... We were in flying form by the time we headed off to the Sugar Club, though admittedly a little late and reeking of garlic. The ticket said doors open at 8(we'd bought it in advance, not very rock-n-roll). We barrelled in at 9, full of the joys... to find them finishing round 1, and happily occupying every seat in the house. Bastards. So we stood around like panicky and slightly drunk pricks for a few minutes til one of the nice lackeys sorted us out with answer sheets and gave us a hurried read through round 1's questions (in the middle of yer man calling them out for round 2, which was distracting). We rocked round 2 though, the "cheezy pop" one, as not many of the musos knew the Cheeky Girls' hit "Touch my Bum" or that Gary Barlow's debut was "Forever Love". Rock-n-roll indeed. Our smug sense of self satisfaction was added to when the bar staff presented us with a table and 5 stools they'd magicked up from nowhere. Special treatment all round! We celebrated by naming our team ("Sorry We're Late") and getting another round in.

Of course, once the real questions began we were rightly humbled. I love music, but... I've a head like a sieve when it comes to detail, I'm numerically dyslexic so can't remember release dates and I download all my music for free and never see any album artwork. I can sing along, but heaven forbid I'd have to name the tune. So I wasn't much good. We had a secret weapon however in Peadar an Gruaig* who seems to know everything about everything and is only slightly smug about it.

Our downfall was that we had a major handicap in Eimhear Rua** as she was acting as secretary, and seems to be dyslexic. Or at least on a very different tangent when it comes to spelling. I don't know if we were penalised for "Deaf Leopard" but we probably should have been. The one that made me laugh drink up my nose was when The Gruaig whispered "Black Dog!" (correctly identifying the intro in the audio round) and Eimhear transcribed it as "Black Doll". No, sez he, "woof woof"! Which she duly put down as the name of the band.

We came 8th, i think, out of 20 or so teams. So we didn't do too badly... considering.

*His real name
**Her real name

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A hard rain's a gonna fall

As unpleasant as it might sound to you right now, you would be wise to reevaluate your lifestyle. Both the time you have been spending so freely and the money you have been spending so freely are in danger of running out sooner than you might think, so the time has arrived for some strict conservation on your part. Challenge yourself to see how little money you can spend in a day and how quickly you can run through your errands. You just may surprise yourself.

Fuck that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chances of survival? Not great, to be honest.

I thought Sunday's experience in Dunnes would stand to me a little more.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunday's Shopping Excursion

I've been an awful lazy wagon on the housekeeping front lately. By the time Sunday morning rolled around, it was officially a month since I'd last done any grocery shopping. I was away for a bit, I ate out a lot, but mostly I just didn't bother my arse. But we ran out of jacks roll, so enough was enough.

I decided I'd make an adventure rather than a chore of it. Off I set, backpack on my back, bound for Aldi on Parnell St. I love Aldi. Nothing seems to cost more than €2, none of the brands are familiar, it's utter fucking chaos and nobody understands anybody else, so it's like being on your holidays. I got as far as O Connell St. and decided to go via Henry St. for the stroll (my subconscious was craving a new pair of shoes, presumably). As I was passing Dunnes I noticed their new shop had opened, so naturally I went in for a look-see. Not that there was much to see... The place was devastated. I haven't seen Dawn of the Dead (I tried, but I was home on my own and it was too scary) but I'm willing to bet that Dunnes on Henry St yesterday afternoon comes pretty fucking close. Apparently they opened on Friday, so I was arriving in on the third and final day of their opening bonanza, a half price sale. Bad oul' timing. The place wasn't too packed, but the folk in there were all very very mental. The womenfolk were milling around in a state of heightened agitation, scavenging what was left on the bizarrely empty shelves (there was nothing in the shop to buy) and the harassed looking husbands were crowded around a flatscreen TV (screwed to the wall and not for sale) watching the Dubs.

Any sensible person would turn on their heel and hightail it to Penneys (given that their regular clientele were all battering their kids in Dunnes instead) but the anthropologist in me wanted to see more. And like everyone else, I thought there might be something -anything- on the shelves upstairs.

Nope. I paid dearly for my curiosity too. Failing to find the stairs I had to take the escalator back to the ground floor (I don't like them as the handrails invariably give me electric shocks). Nobody else could find the stairs either, so there was a mass exodus via the escalator, the end of which had the queue for the checkouts snaking across its path (what the fuck they were buying I don't know, as I said, there was nothing in the shop to buy). The stubborn shites in the queue weren't moving, and the idiots on the escalator (my stupid self included) were moving at a fair pace towards them and couldn't do a damn thing about it. Cue a nice snarly mash-up on the shop floor and my flip-flopped toes getting chewed by the metal lip on the stairs. Bastards.

Aldi was an oasis of calm by comparison. I enjoyed it, right up until my laser card was declined.

What a day.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Umbrella Etiquette

Carrying an umbrella does not make you invisible. Stop picking your nose. And eating it.

Got a golf umbrella? About to walk under some hoarding that the builders have kindly erected to keep you from being run over? Take the umbrella down. You won't fit. Trust me, I've seen some other retard do it every day this week.

Carrying an umbrella that's just a bouquet of broken wires and torn canvas will not keep you dry. It will, however, take someone's eye out at the traffic lights.

Allow for the fact that your umbrella means you occupy at least twice the space you normally do on the footpath. Move the fuck over, and don't knock me into the canal.

Share. Don't just let your umbrella dribble onto the poor umbrellaless unfortunate keeping pace with you.

Tilt your brolly to one side when you're passing someone on a narrow path, or -better still- have some fucking manners and step aside. Don't hide your face behind it and plough on remorselessly. Chances are, they're doing the same.

If the rain should ease off, follow Sherri's instruction.

And finally: Do tilt your brolly back and give a big beaming smile to someone if you like the look of them from the brolly down. It'll cost you nothing and it'll brighten up their shitty wet morning. Especially if you're a handsome suit, and the someone is me. (Cheers, mister!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Operation Lardarse

Vodka has calories! Lots of them! Who knew?

The last month or so of merrymaking has taken its toll on my already less than shapely figure, so now that I've three weeks to kill before I head off on my travels again I've decided to hop on the wagon and lay off the booze (midweek, anyway) and make a conscious effort to lose some podge. Only eating every second day because you've a hangover does not count as a diet, and walking up a few flights of stairs a day is not a substitute for exercise. Yes, there are my amazing bicycling adventures, but let's face it, that's 20 minutes a day. If I walk (oh, the halcyon days when it wasn't pissing rain and I could skip to work and wink at boys on the way!) it's an hour's round trip, which is decent, but given the fine Irish summer we're having, the bike tends to win out.

So this afternoon I decided to expand my repertoire and indulge in my favourite form of exercise, sadly abandoned some months back when our office relocated (it meant that Solas was on my route home -ish- instead of the Markievicz pool). Back in the happy days of my unemployment I swam every day in the local gym's pool, 60 lengths each (mid)morning. Between the gainful employment and the social life I can afford as a result, my standards have slipped and though I made the occasional trip to the Markievicz, it was always a bit half-hearted.

Not so today's expedition. Because you'd have to be pretty fucking determined to go swimming in the public pool in Rathmines. I used my googlemachine to search for photos, but apparently nobody's been that brave.

In fairness, it could have been worse. I didn't swallow any band-aids, and my feet haven't sprouted verrucas just yet. What alarmed me more than the place itself was my attitude to it. When did I become so middle class? I was one of those verrucaed kids, splashing merrily and leaving a trail of scabby plasters in my wake. Suddenly I seem to have morphed into one of those strange birds who strips off to use the communal showers, rather than leaving her togs on to preserve her modestly like any decent god fearin' woman. Though I blame the Belarusian trip for that. Bloody communal showers and lowered inhibitions. I had em off and was merrily lathering my hair before I copped that everyone else was dressed, and staring.

Anyway, other than my Venusian body giving the other water babies a bit of a scare the trip was a relative success. I forgot a hairbrush though, and the fact that public pools tend not to have mirrors or hairdryers, so the half hour walk home had given me a Wurzel Gummidge do by the time I got there. I also had two very fetching rosy cheeks, scalded by the chlorine and the lack of moisturiser (which I had also neglected to bring, quelle surprise).

So there's work to be done, both on the planning and the execution (I didn't manage 60 lengths...). But it's a start.

Overheard in Work

...on the way back from the jacks (with one of those insouciant swaggers because I'd just broken one of the taps but was busy pretending it wasn't me)

"We need to get pest control in ASAP, Jim."

I looked briefly alarmed, thinking they were talking about me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bad Habits


Monday, July 09, 2007

Beswankled once again, but feeling the better for it

I've just returned from 5 days in Italy to a miserable rain sodden Dublin. What the fuck is up with the weather at the moment? Granted it makes for a wonderful conversation opener with the city's taxi drivers, but it's putting everyone in awful bad humour. My good self in particular, as I had to pay one of the city's finest to ferry me home from work today. I'm not usually a lazy shite, preferring to stroll the leafy-with-love banks of the Grand Canal (even in the rain!) or to dice with death and pedestrians on my bicycle, but I had to fork out a tenner today to listen to some bollix's patter all through the traffic home. My trip to Italy was wonderful in all respects but one; I got another mosquito bite. Just the one, but yet again the cunt went for my ankle and almost immediately it ballooned into a discoloured and horribly unattractive swankle. I haven't been able to get into a pair of shoes since last Thursday, and though the flip-flops served me well in Italy, they're not so suited to Dublin's monsoon rains.

Of course, a four mile round trip isn't the best idea on a swankle anyway. Neither my finances nor my patience will stretch to daily taxi rides though, so I've my foot on ice and a face full of antihistamines (they're smashing right before bedtime!) in the hope that I'll have ankles again by the morning. A nice brisk pace in and out to the office will go some way towards counteracting all the eleventy course meals I ate while away. So will not eating for the next week.

The trip had a purpose other than gluttony for pasta and veal; a treasured friend was biting the bullet and marrying his seven year sweetheart. I just had to go to see it for myself, as did the other 109 guests. The wedding was in Italy as they wanted to keep it small and minimise the pomp and ceremony, so one can only imagine what it might have been like were it in Mullingar as per the original plan. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it to be honest, feeling a little under pressure to look lovely and charm strangers (only the latter would be a forté of mine...) not to mention behave myself in the company of both my parents and copious amounts of free booze, but I had an absolute ball.

And behaved myself to boot. I even met a nice boy (a teacher! how horribly respectable!) and didn't kiss him; a sure sign that I've a genuine interest. Judging by the sly winks and unsubtle nudges I was getting from the assembled company on my last night there, he may have been exhibiting some signs of interest himself. He's still there (being of a respectable profession with a ridiculous amount of holidays) but I've made some preliminary enquiries, so let's sit back and hope like fuck that he takes the bait when he gets home.

Someone has to.

Anyway, back to the wedding. At the risk of sounding like a big girl's blouse, it was a genuinely moving occasion. There was a series of misfortunes and a comedy of errors in the run up to it; the groom's sister took ill and didn't make it over, the groom left his suit in the airport, the choirboy got wankered and smashed his head off a pool table (needing 8 stitches and a good slagging), one of the groomsmen had his clothes and cash delivered by the cops having woken up in his knickers in the piazza in the wee small hours, one of the pretty ladies stood on a sea urchin, that kind of thing. But the day itself went without a hitch. (Or it didn't... pardon the disgustingly obvious pun). She looked beautiful, he looked proud, they both looked happy and grateful for their good fortune. I got to wear my big sunglasses and a bigger hat, and someone told me I looked like Buffy in that dirty teen chick flick adaptation of Les Liasons Dangereuses (untrue, but very flattering). There was no Come on Eileen, no Birdy Song, no Cliff Richard, just some ancient local boys who looked like they'd been embalmed and then reanimated for the occasion, belting out the tunes in the corner as we ate our way into the early hours of Saturday morning. My brother -the best man- gave a speech that was both sweet and utterly mortifying, and carried it off with eloquence he didn't know he had. My parents reminisced about their own wedding (at 22 years of age, it seems unimaginable now) and my faith in romance felt magically restored.

So here's to optimism. I hope a few more of my mates decide to tie the knot soon, because in spite of the rain and the swankles, it's put me in a good mood.

How Embarrassing

There was nothing wrong with my i-pod. I'm just thick.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rotten Apple

In other news, my i-pod's fucked. I haven't had it that long and have been taking excellent care of it for fear that the benevolent man who thoughtfully bought it for me will throttle me should it come to harm. It's a first for me, owning something worth more than €20 and having to look after it. But I've obviously done something wrong. It shouldn't be breaking my heart this early in our relationship.

I haven't even slept with it yet.

A Sad Day in Kinlough

I got a call on Saturday evening to tell me that my flatmate had lost her dad that morning. She's an alarmingly strong character, this woman (in direct contrast to me; the bould rip of the house, constantly in need of reinforcement and reprimand). So to hear her come undone as she spoke to me of his loss was heartbreaking. I'd never met the man, he wasn't a frequent visitor to Dubbalin's fair city and yesterday now marks my maiden voyage to Lovely Leitrim. But if the crowd assembled to mark his passing yesterday evening was anything to go by, he was as well loved as his two daughters are.

It was the first time I'd ever attended a funeral alone, and it's something I hope I never have to do again. Aside from the fact that I'd had my hair dyed a vivid shade of pink on Saturday morning (not all the rage in Lovely Leitrim, it seems, and quite a talking point amongst the mourners, who apparently equated it with me being thick-skinned and hard of hearing) I felt very uncomfortable. So much so in fact that I didn't go on to the church, but left after the prayers at the funeral home. Still, by then I'd done what I came to do. As the funeral party left for the church, I got a minute to express my sympathy and give her the hug I'd been bursting to give since I'd heard the news. Being the woman that she is, she bollocked me for making the 8 hour round trip just to hug her and make her cry. It was worth it. And I didn't tell her that it only took me 7 hours in total. I'll wait until she's ready to smile again and then tell her the funny story about the summons I got in the post.

Caroline, a chroí, maith liom do bhris.