Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My mammoth monster meme

(Ticker tape, marching bands etc.)

Hurray! It's meme time again. Delve into my deepest darkest regions you lucky people. I was tagged with this by the lovely Susan at Stiney Rover Form. A kindly soul with a big heart, Susan also likes listening to Megadeth and Def Leppard, is campaigning for world peace and wants to bring disparate strands of the global community together by foisting labour-intensive memes upon them, and not taking no for answer.

I have to tag six others at the end. Stay tuned for the announcement now...

What are your nicknames?
I don't think I have any actually. Back in the day when I was, ahem, Radge's BOSS, he would affectionately refer to me as 'Hitler', (bless), but that's about all that springs readily to mind. I can reveal though that nobody but nobody ever calls me Terence McDanger, that's very much an on-stage persona.
If I was to choose a nickname for myself, however, it would be something rugged and beefy, like "Cliffs of Moher splattered in bolognese."


What TV gameshow/reality show would you like to be on?
Reality TV shows are a festering pile of second hand arses so they are, so none of the above. Gameshow-wise, I've always wanted to have a pop at the Crystal Maze that used to be on Channel 4. It looked like great craic and I loved the flourescent jumpsuits. I also loved the Krypton factor come to think of it (more flourescent tracksuits, there's a pattern emerging oh dear) but the king of them all for me was Going for Gold that used to be on BBC at lunchtime, hosted by Henry Kelly. It had contestants representing their EU country and the day Henry started his Guess Who? question, as always, by saying "Who am I?" only for the Norwegian fella to buzz in excitedly and say "Henry Kelly," well that was a great day. I fell about the place.

What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
I don't know what the first one I bought was, but ironically considering it was much further back in time, I do remember the first video we ever rented in our house after getting our first video recorder. It starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, doing a remarkably sensitive turn as a one-man killing army. 'Commando' it was called, but he had boxers on all the way through if anyone's wondering. I think the flick was about Arnie trying to find the dastardly evil-doer that was wiping out all the members of his old special ops unit.
This film informed my Arnie impression for years to come, with such gems as: "I heet Geen Berr-ays for bekkfost" (says he, to an ex-Green Beret threatening to kick his ass. In hindsight maybe Arnie thought he'd said Green Berries. Ho-hum) and also, "please don't deestub my frent, he is dead tie-ert" (to an airhostess on a plane, pointing to the hapless chaperone he'd just killed in one swift movement before making him look like he was asleep) and finally, the immortal "Let off some steam...Bennett," (as he fatally speared his nemesis with a length of Wavin pipe after a 45 minute to-and-fro fistfight, and a dramatic jet of steam signalled his demise).
Glad you asked now, wha?

What is your favourite scent?
The smell of rashers grilling. No messing.

If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on?
As much car as I could get for the money. After some brief reflection, I reckon I'd go for a screaming red Ferrari. I've wanted one ever since I watched Magnum as a kid, in fact I wanted everything Magnum had.
I had the moustache by the time I was seven alright because my mother fed us all Baby Bio as children, but no sign of the Ferrari yet, alas. Or the birds. Or the helicopter. Or a house in the sun. Ah fucks sake, I'm an abject failure at being Magnum, let's just face it and move on.

One place you've visited, can't forget and want to go back to?
That's easy. Click here and you'll find out all you need to know.

Do you trust easily?
Not as easily as I used to. These questions have taken a turn for the effeminate all of a sudden...nobody warned me I'd have to talk about feelings and shit. (Grump).

Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
I am a thinker through and through (see what I did there, eh? Sigh...), plotter and planner to the last. I thought for ages before answering this question, for instance.

Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
In short, Ireland. I'm fed up of the whole shooting lot of it, the crap weather, the clueless government, the brutal service everywhere, the proliferation of scumbags, sigh, don't get me started! Or don't ask me to finish would be more accurate I suppose.

Do you have a good body image?
Ha, yeah, there's a great one of me full-frontal at a works do back a few years ago...wait...oh, ok, I get it. Short answer is yes I do, I look after myself, exercise, don't eat the wrong stuff too often, except when hungover, of course, when zero rules apply.
So yes, I'm grand in me shell, thanks very much.

What is your favorite fruit?
Sigh, the great question of our age. What with the fateful role of fruit in the great stories of Adam and Eve, William Tell, the iPod and Isaac Newton and what not, I think on the whole, I'll have to plump for the Kumquat.

What websites do you visit daily?
Facebuke, various blogs, fantasy football site, sports bulletin boards. And Radgery if he's doing any of his 'special' photos.

What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
Facebuke. It's a feckin' great yoke altogether.

And the Sopranos have had me sitting in rapt attention up until lately too, just watched the last series, a disappointing end I thought. I was wondering would Carmella turn out to be a government mole, or would young Meadow throw it all up to run off to Ireland seeking the hand in marriage of the author of a blog that touched her heart. This one, in case you're wondering. None of the above happened.

Chasing girls is also occupying my mind of late, only in the refined and gentlemanly way you'd expect from me of course. I'm enjoying being single again. Tee hee.

What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Susan's a bloody good egg so she is. I initially thought she was from Cavan
but it turns out she's from West Cavan, or USA as some folk call it. Like all good women, or the ones I tend to like at any rate, I feel she laughs at about 60% of my jokes here on Moo-Dog and that's good enough for me.
She's a fresh and interesting writer, does a fine line in Victorian-looking cartoons and is a woman of good works to boot. Nuff said.

What's the last song that got stuck in your head?
Well once I got over the Galway Girl nausea (see sidebar) I was quickly buried up to my neck in sickly sweet bubblegum popshite by the monumental schlock-burger of a song that is
The man who can't be moved by 'The Script.'

Hrrrmph. You'd be fucking well surprised, so you would, how far and fast you'd move with my retributionist foot up your arse, young man.

Favourite clothing
I bought a lovely Guide shirt there a few months ago, I like it very much. It's Italian I think (probably made in China) and manages to make me look very trim altogether. It got a few votes from the females gallery as well so happy days.

Well alright, me sisters said they liked it.

So it's top of the tree at the moment. Cost a bob or two actually, but I usually shop more frugally and well within my means in Jack and Jones, I always find something in there I like.

Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
No. Eating mouthfuls of crisp nothingness for breakfast doesn't do a lot for me. It's like the start-the-day-version of candy floss, so it's a no from me to crap, slapper and plop. Porridge all the way here. And no, porridge isn't sexy, you're right, but breakfast is for eating, not for shmearing all over your rippling torso and gyrating in front of the enthralled neighbours.

What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
I'd be all over that situation like a drunk Frank Spencer doing gymnastics. Oooooh Betty, I would.
I used to love finding money as a kid, if there was nobody about, I'd pocket it, I'm not ashamed to say. Unless it was a massive amount like, which never actually happened so I was spared the moral conundrum.
Odd but related aside: the night meself and the girlfriend parted ways for good, I walked in a bit of a daze towards Pearse Street and found two 50 euro notes lying in the gutter. Strange that, I always thought.

Items you couldn't go without during the day?
Sigh, it's a cliche but...I have a little 'spectacles, testicles' moment every day before closing the front door behind me and it always goes, in order of importance: keys, wallet, mobile. All three are usually stowed close to my lower regions so there does be a slight element of Michael Jackson genital husbandry at the door, which amuses the neighbours no end. It's a kind of an arse, crotch, upper thigh routine.
These three things cause much mortification if left behind. The day I forgot my keys, my former other half was down the country so I had to throw myself on the mercy of the neighbours who kindly admitted me to use their phone, once I convinced them I wouldn't molest myself.

What should you be doing right now?
Writing a proper blog post that I thought of myself!

Ok, drum roll.

The chosen few are:

Rosie, because I'm not even going to dare poking the wasps nest that is the Spanish Exposition with the flaming petrol stick that is a tagging, so instead I'll opt for the much more amenable Kath Chocklett, er, I mean Lockett.

(But if Rosie's feeling energetic or is doped on goofballs or something, she can go ahead.)

One good Aussie leads to another, that's you there
Baino McBanterest let's be having you.

Susan took Radge already but no harm done because I know a Scotsman who'll love this.
Adullamite, sharpen your pen. That's pen I said, not dagger, leemee alone!

Someone I owe a jolly good tagging to is
Grandad. Think of it as meme, the revenge.

And finally, I'd like to hear from the blogger that makes me hungry every time I visit, the stupendous kitchen whizz that is
English Mum
Monday, September 08, 2008

Return from Malta

Where to begin is only a slightly more difficult proposition than where to stop once I do. I shall try to be succinct.*

I had a highly enjoyable time on my ten-night, sunbaked sojourn in the Mediterranean. I ate, I drank, I explored, I sweated, I ate and drank some more, I marvelled at the power of sun block (but like discovering how much you liked someone only after they're dead, only on the day I forgot to put it on), and I wrote down every last minute of it, for posterity, in my fancy Moleskine journal.

Hic...fuggin boatsh...won't shtop...fuggin moving...hic

Sigh, they were good times. Malta has a hell of a lot of heritage and history behind it, and ample locations to learn it all at. I felt like I'd landed in deepest Nerdistan. Between the Phoenicians and the Romans and the Knights and the Turks, and then the Brits and the Nazis, Malta's had an eclectic shower traipse through it over the centuries but fair play to them they all left a bit behind for muggins here to potter about in. The Knights now, were an interesting bunch. They were originally hospitallers but evolved into Christian soldiers who squabbled with the Turks, built lots of walls and grand houses, and then coughed it all up to Napoleon before going back to be hospitallers again.
Valletta's attractions, where my hotel was, were mostly of the daylight persuasion. I have a penchant for always selecting the most sedate areas when it comes to nightlife, and just like Lisbon a few months before, it's a place that slumps over in a corner and dies on its deserted arse after 8pm. So my daily routine was get up, explore, come back, shower, eat, get a bus to the place where the other humans go drinking.

The Grand Master's Palace. That'd be 'Grand Master' in the Head of the Knights of Malta sense as opposed to anything to do with Rappers. Swaaaaanky.

They have religion over there too, big style. St. Paul it was who crashed off the coast of Malta during a night of big wind, (and Lord knows I've had more than a few of those myself but none of them have sank ships, as yet), before coming ashore and spreading the Good News and setting Malta on a course to a fervent brand of Catholicism that endures to this day. Between churches and other buildings there's about ten sites all called St. Paul's Shipwreck Somethingorother so maybe the poor cratur crashed more than once. Either that or they're battling over where he was shipwrecked, which on reflection (given the splintered nature of your traditional shipwrecks before the advent of the riveted steel hull) may well have been in several locations all at once.

Sigh, don't mind me, I'm always like this.

Back in the day, religious persecution was all the rage. This is a Maltese torture museum's touching recreation of poor St. Agatha having her breasts cut off. Yikes! As a firm believer that breasts should be seen and not hurt, I wasn't exactly thrilled by this.

Now, one was slightly miffed, as something of a breathless WWII groupie, to find that not one but BOTH of the main war museums in the city were closed, one for renovations and the other for reasons unexplained. I did make my way to some underground bunker which hundreds of Maltese hollowed out by hand so they could huddle safely during copious air-raids, sleep in gathering pools of water and even give birth, but I still felt like I'd missed out overall. The tour guide, by way of compensation, conspiratorially confided in me when all the other tourists had gone however that back in the war, food was so short, they fed rats to the locals and never told them. As the only one to learn this, I felt somewhat important. They know how to make you feel special in them bunkers so they do.

Malta walls. They're everywhere.

One gripe - and I always have a gripe - is Malta's fairly arbitrary approach to opening hours. First off, everything shuts down totally on a Sunday. That's alright I suppose, they're big into Jesus after all, but they also shut on weekday afternoons as well. Now, again, this is ok by me, different cultures and so on, but it's the scattergun approach to it all that befuddles me. You'd go to one shop at about 2.30pm and find it shut, while the one beside it would be open, then you'd go off to some tourist sight or other and find it closed as well, despite the opening hours on the wall outside stating that it ought to be otherwise. Many were the times I barrelled hopefully up to the front door of somewhere or other only to find I couldn't get in. Most frustrating. But I eventually got around them all I think, I just had to do it in instalments.

A tribute cartoon outside Ollie Reed's last pub. He died as he lived, pissed as a newt, Lord rest him.

The undoubted highlight of the trip came on the last day however. I'd been to every last place of interest, including the pub where Oliver Reed had his last pissup before the years finally caught up on him and he was carried off in the arms of Bacchus to the great liver transplant surgeon in the sky, and somewhat at a loss I just hopped on a bus and got off when the notion took me. Soon after I uncovered a gem when I stumbled on a car museum (not mentioned in any guides), owned by some mega wealthy collector. It was stuffed full of Ferraris, Lotus, had a Dodge Viper, a new Ford Mustang, a Jaguar E-Type and a racing Jag worth an estimated half a million sterling. And, ehhhh, a Fiat 131 Mirafiori. Needless to say, I was as happy as a pig in shite, and I was the only one there so I had all the shite to meself as well, heh heh. I won't go on about it though.

Ferrari F350 Maranello. Feel free to look upon it and weep with envy.

Other than that, I just ate and drank a lot and gambolled and capered about in the sun, musing knowledgeably in front of monuments and stuff. In terms of nightlife, Malta's legal drinking age is 16 so if you go to the wrong areas you'll be ankle deep in horny teenagers (mostly foreign language students) all earnestly trying to have sex with each other in a fashionable way, before throwing up the night's beer. There are places that cater for people of a more mature vintage like meself however and you can get by without feeling like too much of a grandpa.

One other word to the wise is that the people are probably not quite as friendly as the tourist shpeel would have you believe. From my research, I was expecting everyone to be gaily dressed, wispy of moustache and charmingly rustic like in a Dolmio ad. Possibly keen for me to marry their eldest and most radiant daughters as well. Or at the very least, not object when I'd have sex with them. Alas, nobody spontaneously hugged me, playfully pinched my cheeks, kissed me or pledged to give me their Mama's secret ray-sippy. This in itself was, to be serious a moment, not a problem but be aware that at some of the busier places very firmly on the beaten track, staff can be a bit, er, abrupt to say the least. The food gets very samey after a while too.

And the local delicacy is rabbit and no, I didn't chance it.

Shitcrates ahoy! I thought those old yellow school buses we have in Ireland were bad, but Jasus...

Price-wise, hotels go right through the full range. Mine was cheap by comparison at €80 a night B&B, and no palace, but it was well located close to the buses and had everything I needed. The buses by the way were for the most part 40 years old or more and were so rattlesome and noisy it was like getting a lift somewhere during a minor earthquake. They were hot as hell too but pretty cheap. I haven't a clue what I was supposed to be paying but I always seemed to get change out of a 50c piece no matter where I went.
Eating out is fractionally cheaper than Dublin, which means you'll just be genteely overcharged instead of flagrantly ripped off, but it depends where you eat and what you order. Pleasantly, beer is cheap, bottles of Corona were €2.33 in the dearest place I was sober long enough to remember such practicalities as recording prices, and the local stuff is very drinkable also; and little surprise, because at about €1.50 a skite I'd drink Jabba the Hutt's bathwater if it got me hooched and happy.

Across the Grand Harbour at night, taken from the Valletta Waterfront

Oh yes, the ladies are gorgeous as well. They're very gorgeous indeed. One of them even seemed to like me for a while but eventually grew distressed at my inability to be loquacious and charming in Italian, and took against me. Hey girl, I'm still trying to work out how to do it in English like.

Anyway, I can't think of anything else to say about Malta right now. As you'll see from the date I started writing this ages ago and didn't get back to it until now. Terence is a busy boy. For instance, I have set a date to go shopping for pipes and tobacco with a doctor and am looking forward to practising my pipe-flourishing, tamping and popeye-esque wielding of same. Immensely.

Later people. Oh, I'll post some photos on this later...