Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back in peak condition

I've just returned from the Osteopath.

It would seem that my fettle is fine and out to the fullest. My lower thoracic lumbar spinacticles, linear discography and radial hinge facets are all in rum order and my magnificent all-powerful spinal cord is hitting the right note. Status Quo have two they say, there may be three in Oasis.

I went through the full range of movements as he looked on. In other words, I twisted and dipped robotically and tried to touch my toes, and failed miserably, although the Osteo, Pat, hmmed appreciably at my efforts and was pleased. I think he be's listening out for a big cartoonish twonggggggggggg of something fundamental and spring-loaded snapping in me as I stretch. When I keep body and soul together, he can relax a little.

Your movements are fine anyway, he says.

Yeah, I dropped a big poo before coming in alright.

As in, I think about saying that, but I don't.

"Hop up there on the bench now and let's take a look at that lower back region," he says. "I think I'll do a few manipulations."
Ah yes. Manipulations. I always imagine that someday he'll pause and narrow his eyes or steeple his fingers before saying manipulations in pinched italics, and then twist a waxen moustache like an evil overlord. But nope, he always stays as good old Osteo Pat.

But yes, let's get to manipulatin'. I know what this means, this euphemism for harsh lower backcrackery crickitywhackery, and I take a deep breath and ready steady myself. I give my bones and muscles over to him then and he cradles me and drags my limbs into a big gangly human swastika. He starts kneading and hauling me beyond the limits of all internationally accepted yoga boundaries, and I fear every seam of me will fray and split like a nurse's knickers in a Carry On movie, before the beanbag fillings inside me spill hissing on the floor like grain from a sack.

He fidgets and drags me about the place for a bit. I grunt and try not to drool as I'm face down on his bench and trying to offer feedback regarding my sliding scale of pain. Then he hits a sore spot. I jolt. Feedback indeed.

"Oh," he says. "Seems like a trigger point. Better do some work here."

It's called a trigger point because every time he puts his finger on it it's like you're being shot. So, he shoots me through repeatedly and finally, he holsters up and tells me that's enough for today.

"You're doing well. I think we'll leave it six weeks before the next one," he says.

I think so, says I, wondering should I tell him about the stiff neck I forgot earlier.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dumb luck

My mother always thinks of us McDangers as an unlucky family. As in, we never seem to win competitions in newspapers, the local grocer's Christmas draw, bingo, the Lotto etc.

It all changed utterly with the epic quiz triumph of a few months ago of course. Or did it? Well, judge for yourself.

On a recent trip to the gym, I parked the car right up against the wall, facing out. I went inside and toiled asthmatically for an hour and a half, then powerhosed myself hygienic and headed for home. Outside, I walked along looking forward to a humungous carvery refuelling, but there was a slight problem in the car park, however.

As in, the car. Or, no car, to be precise. The park end of the old car park bargain was being held up just fine, because it was still there, but the car end was sadly lacking, because my car wasn't. As in, car gone. Not where I left it. Dude, where’s my car?

I fretted skittishly. “Oh Jesus the car…robbed…Jesus, Jesus…fuck it…me good sat nav…shite…”

I stood there, frozen in panic with hand to mouth and mouth agape, scoping the carpark like a meercat.

Relief washed over me as I spotted it, quite a distance opposite where I thought it should be. What the fuck? How did it get there?

I strolled over scolding myself for forgetting where I’d parked. Or for thinking I’d parked somewhere else entirely when I clearly hadn’t, resulting in all this anxiety. This sort of thing isn’t unusual for me you see. My head is generally cluttered with random distractions, for instance, what it’d be like to have a competition for shooting oompah-loopahs like they were clay pigeons, so to overlook basic stuff like car placement is not unusual.

So I get to the car, hop in and I realise that the nose of it is uncomfortably close to the plastic bollard in front. Wha?

I get out and look at the front of the car. It’s resting against bollard alright, but no visible damage done to bumper.

Then I get back into the car, look down to my left and realise that the handbrake is off and the car is out of gear. My face puzzles itself up a wee bit.

So, I start doing the maths. I look in my rearview mirror and I see that for about 100m behind me, in a directly straight line, there’s an incidental corridor of empty parking spaces, just one car wide, all the way back to the wall where I thought I’d parked previously.

Where, um, I actually had parked previously. It would seem that after I’d neglected to put the handbrake on and abandoned ship, my car had rolled all of about 100m, dead straight through the only available gap in the parked vehicles, and had neither swiped the side or ran up the back of any of them.

I sat there blinking and ashen-faced, dumbfounded at finding out my dumbness, and realised that in sheer mathematical probability terms, I had just won the Lotto.

I’m a winner alright.
I can't fight this feeling anymore,
I've forgotten what I started fighting for

I am splenderfully, totastically, absolifically and bounding fluffily bunnily in love with Caroline Morahan.

She's...she's...she's just a little bit wonderful so she is.

C'mere and I'll tell you all about her.

Did you know, quailing children will quieten and smile if she stoops and gently touches their cheek and smiles upon them? (It's like ET used to do it, only without the retractible neck and somewhat stilted vocabulary).

It's said that when Caroline Morahan sings in the shower, the birds outside her window stop their chorus to listen, but they get frustrated because as winged creatures they can't applaud properly at the end. So they chitter and poo excitedly on her car instead, and then feel all dirty and inadequate, but they still come back for more.

I'm sure you all know about the famous poet who thought it the stuff of high compliment to describe a woman as the Sunday in every week, and I never met the Planter's Daughter in question but if she was all that, then Caroline Morahan is a whole month of Sundays because she's 31 times nicer than any other woman in the world and that's a fact.

Some of my closest friends are reindeers you know, and none of them are as doe-eyed as Caroline Morahan.

I secretly watched the RTE fashion show Off the Rails just so I could see what Caroline Morahan was wearing that week. The time they did a section on what the best jeans were for flattering your arse I almost fainted because it was basically a genteel form of porn from where I was sitting and besides, I defy anyone to manufacture a pair of jeans that curvaceous and wonderful Caroline Morahan doesn't look good in.

When we dance together, as someday we surely will, Caroline will glide with a light, fluid grace while I'll be like a dressage horse playing Twister, but my comic haplessness will only endear me to her all the more. The same will apply when we recreate eroticpottery scenes from the film Ghost.

Listen, do new parents ever bring a baby into your office to show to all the ladies, and when the infant does something cute, all the simultaneous 'AWWWWWWs' in the air sounds like 68 vacuum cleaners all switching off at once? I am similarly awwwwwww struck by Caroline alright, but she never ever turns me off.

The first time Caroline Morahan comes over to stay, as someday she surely will, she will wear one of my shirts to bed and keep it on all of the next day as she pads about the house being lovely. She'll be looking at me from under her eyes and calling me a 'bold scamp' and hitting me with the cushions to stop me tickling her and making her all weak at the knees. Our life would in fact be a series of such cute movie montages, with click this! as the soundtrack.

Yea, I'd roll naked through a mile of broken glass and back again for the hell of it, just for the privilege of picking some stray lettuce out of her flawless smile. I'd be performing a service and getting a keepsake at the same time and who knows, maybe in time that lettuce would grow whole again and then I could eat it myself.

But snort! Do you know what the the really good thing is? We all know that she'll consider me quite the catch.

Call me, babe!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Those golden moments

I was at work, but away from my desk all day today, assigned a project with a colleague well hidden from bossly eyes. It could only mean one thing.


I like a bit of shitehawkery myself of course, but this is the sort of guy who'd ask questions like: "If Margaret Thatcher had a double barrell shotgun right? and just two cartridges, right? and she was challenged to a fight to the death in the woods with an unarmed grizzly bear, who do you think would win?"

So today he goes, apropos of nothing as usual: "C'mere, who's the worst bird you've ever fancied?"

"What do you mean?"

"Like, I have a bit of a crush on Susan Sarandon. She's an OWL (Oul wan I'd like to, apparently, he came up with that one himself). And I wouldn't say no to Pink either, like I wouldn't be surprised if she actually had a cock or something but I'd say she's filthy in bed. I'd have taken a run at Steffi Graf too. Legs on her, Jasus.

"So who's the skeleton in the closet you'd like to bone huh huh?"

"Em...well...nobody really. No, wait. I remember when I was a kid I used to have a bit of a crush on Jessica Rabbit actually."


"Jessica Rabbit. From Who framed Roger Rabbit. She's, well...she's a cartoon."


"With big boobs," I added hopefully, losing confidence somewhat.

"For fucks sake! A cartoon? Bwahhahahaha! You're some freak. Were you were mad after Olive Oyl as well? Jesus Christ!"

He rattled on for a while after that. He started slagging me off then about secret hankerings after Penelope Pitstop and Smurfette. I changed the subject as soon as I could. If it had kept going, I might have admitted that I had a crush on the bunny from the Cadbury's Caramel ads as well.

Was it love, back then, do you think? Sheer force of rabbit, I reckon.
Monday, January 19, 2009

Just wondering

Did you ever stop and actually think about the things you think about. Here's what I've been mulling over this weekend.

I'm going to try and get out more.

Cilla Black
I was looking at Cilla Black on the telly. Remember her, off the heavily-scripted and supposedly spontaneous Blind Date TV show?
Anyhoo, there she was on the telly going on about something or other being "not fair." Whatever it was that wasn't fair is not important here, it's her accent you see. I actually thought she was saying "it's not fur."
Now, I wondered, what if she was signed up to be the face of a new awareness campaign, and the tag line was "Fur is not Fair."

She'd wreck your fucking head so she would.

Shania Twain
According to her gargantuan hit of some years back that my radio apalled me with driving back up from Cavan (That Don't Impress Me Much she called it, with no sense of irony), I could:
Look like Brad Pitt, be well-groomed, drive a deadly car, be a rocket scientist, know pretty much everything, and also be a heady mix of Tarzan, John Wayne and Captain Kirk, and STILL she wouldn't look twice at me.

There's just no pleasing some women. Bitch.

Why don't people say 'taxi' after they fart anymore? We always did that when I was a kid and if you farted and forgot to say it quickly enough, a person near you could call a 'sixer' and freely thump you six times on the upper arm as hard as they liked.
Everybody did it. Did you?
So much of what we once held dear has died out. Farting etiquette has gone the way of the corncrake and Ireland is the poorer for it.

How do you write a simple old commoner garden greeting in an email subject line without risking the receiver deleting it, because they think it is spam?
This applies especially if you're writing to someone you don't normally email, or haven't been in contact with for a while. The natural inclination is to write something generic like 'hello.' But that's very spam.

How about 'Hi there'? Nope, spam central.

How are you? Read this? It's me? They're all wham bam, thank you spam.

Would you like to grow a big massive cock? Hmmm...on reflection, no good for girls and besides, it's solid gold spamtastic.

Pan Pipes
In countries like Peru and Bolivia, where the pan pipes are a popular, mainstream musical instrument, is it a regular occurrence to step into an elevator or supermarket and hear electric guitar versions of their favourite tunes? And do the locals, steeped in panpipe music and knowing no other, roll their eyes and mutter about those "lame as shit guitar versions. Those Beatle bastards ruined Strawberry Fields for a generation. Curses!"
Friday, January 16, 2009

Top 10 movie turnoffs

A personal Top 10 of things that make me hate a movie:

1. Keanu Reeves is in it. He found his level way down there in Bill and Ted where he had to play a monosyllabic, dull idiot, and hasn’t moved on since. Jasus, the time I sat stiff jawed and grit of teeth all the way through the abomination that was A Walk in the Clouds, just to get off with some bird from college, and then discovered she had a boyfriend, well, it was just about the worst night of my life and I blame that wooden dummy Reeves ever since. Dopey mumbling fucker.

2. A woman stares out a window in a supposedly heart rending scene, and tearily tells someone that when she was young, she "used to dream of being be a princess". Cringe!!!! The ultimate movie cliché line. Will you go and have a good shite for yourself love? Thanks.

A parent sternly criticises a child for bad language when they've only said something lame like ‘darn’ or ‘shoot’ or ‘bloody hell.’
No film is ever on my wavelength unless the cusswords are right out of a dank back alley in Finglas. And if one of my kids, if I ever spawn, has a moment of frustration and vents it with something all twee and Enid Blyton, like ‘you absolute rotter!’ or ‘oh blast it!’, I'll immediately make them watch Scarface twice, before sending them to a school in the inner city where they can learn a fleshier and more manly lexicon. Even if they're girls.

4. It's on a channel where the volume automatically goes up by three on the richter scale when the ads come on. It's like the TV sneaks up behind you and pulls the pin on a rape alarm right beside your ear. Bastards. No fucking need for it whatsoever

5. The sex scenes are hetero but only involve the sight of male body parts. As in, no boobs. If you're going to do nudity in a film at all why deliberately forego boobs in favour of dribbly old willies instead? That’s a fundamental re-ordering of the universe right there. You can't be fucking about with the universe like. And nobody wants to see penises anyway, not even women.

6. There’s a montage scene showing the nerdy, bullied-by-the-school-jock type going from no-hoper to class leading exponent at judo, kickboxing, rollerblading or surfing. The montage usually starts with a few failed attempts where our hero feels like it’s all too much and wants to give up, but then our man is exhorted to keep trying in a very earnest, frowning and shoulder-grabbing way by his mentor. The mentor, by the way, is usually a washed-up former champion at the discipline in question, whose wife left him because he was always touring, and now he spends his time drinking and sitting in a puddle of his own urine, shouting obscenities at pot plants.
There will then follow a few shots of the hero, nearly but not quite getting it right, climaxing in the successful completion of a very complicated manoeuvre, a high-five and a big bear hug. All with something like ‘Boys of Summer’ by Glen Frey playing in the background. Bah. Get out of it.

7. It’s an Irish movie where the only positive reviews are from Irish reviewers. You always know it’s fairly likely to be a bit of a dog and quite often it is.

8. You can hear crickets in the night scenes. That’s just fucking stupid. Like duuuh! We can tell it’s night time because it’s all dark and shit.

9. There's an **hilarious** parody of the bullet-dodging, time-bending scene from The Matrix. It may have been amusing the first time, just, but now it's as funny as people wearing Fcuk tee-shirts and thinking that they too are edgy and with it.

10. I see something like this. When I saw it for the first time, I was torn between switching it off out of horror at how stupid it all was, or keeping it on because there was the possibility of some more unintentionally hilarious moments. Trust me, this is worth three minutes of your time. Tough guy turns introspective, under the expert and insightful hand of Steven Seagal. Who'd have thunk it?
Monday, January 12, 2009

Bog day afternoons

A romantic daydreamy teen was I. A lover, not a fighter, a thinker, not a grafter. I'd gaze out windows with my chin on my palm and imagine how I'd make my mark on the world. How I'd make the Cavan team before I was 20. How I'd make women laugh and their men jealous. I'd make glorious poetry too. I'd make a 147 in snooker, I'd make people sit up and take notice and I'd outgrow my enemies and make them quail. I'd make sweeping changes. I'd make restless infants sleep. I'd make an impression.

Well, it didn't work out quite like that because instead, I, ahem, made turf.

Sigh, yes, turf - the staple Irish fuel for fire and warmth enjoyed by generations and made famous by Peig Sayers, although I think she was smoking hers. Now I know I usually come across as all urbane and sophisticated here,(effortlessly so!), but there was a long contrasting phase of my life that I spent up to my oxters in squelching, sucky muck, making turf in a bog in Westmeath.

My Dad started it. I blame him the most. We used to just buy truck loads of it that some other poor faceless bastards had to make but he went economy conscious one year and hauled us all off grumbling to some desolate windswept bog in the armpit of nowhere. Here we would make our own turf and save the money instead. Communist in its organisation, I'd imagine Dad as my Stalin as we collectively farmed, doubled over and working, working, stopping for dinner (sandwiches and tea) and then working working...

I groaned when I got there and saw it for the first time. It was just a vast, bleak panorama of brown topped with heather that stretched on for miles, with hordes of people beavering away at the near edge of it where the land had been cleared. Starkly beautiful now, I can safely think at this remove but back then it was dirty, it stank, it had no semblance of cool and it would be home for the next ten summers.

I stood watching that first day as a large digger, spewing diesel fumes and clanking as it shook itself like an animal, cleaved massive hunks of earth from a cliff face at the end of the 'bank'. It fed the peat into a huge bucket/mixer on its back and then it would drive slowly along and, as I came to describe it, 'shite out' rows of turf sods on the ground. It was like looking at miles of gold bars, except they were brown, stretching uninterrupted for about 150 yards. A brown-brick road. My task, my chore.

Our family had command of about twelve of these rows every year, each row eight sods/bars across (see pic), and it was torture work because as soon as one side was dry, every piece of turf had to be flipped over so the other side could dry too. Up and down the bank you went with your back splitting and clouds of biting insects gathering in the late evenings so as well as being sweaty, filthy, sore and pissed off, you could also have swarms of midges and and be itchy as well. We used to light fires along the bank to smoke them away, or wear an orange-smelling repellent, because apparently midges don't like citrus fruit. Of course they don't, why would they bother with a poxy orange when they can have hot dinners instead, i.e. me.

All this did nothing for my cred as a teenager either. I was in that phase of my life where I desperately wanted to be different and individual, a trait I shared with all my friends, and we'd do this by studiously copying each other's taste in clothes, music etc. Something away from the herd like making turf, well, I was a bit of a joke.

Meanwhile, back at the bog, the lovely little turfies had gone through various further drying processes which I won't bore you with (up and down the rows again, Terence!) and if they were fit for burning, we'd put it all in large fertiliser bags we got from farmers. Your hands would sting as traces of fertiliser sank into the nicks and hacks made by the razor-dry turf. Lovely. Then it'd all be loaded on to a trailer and brought home via tractor, and we'd seemingly undo all the earlier work by hefting the bags into our shed and emptying them in a huge pile. And then I'd traipse in and out every day to fill a large bin to put beside the fire.

When it ran out, the whole cycle would start all over again.

Coming home from the bog every evening, after Papa Turf had mercifully decided we'd done enough for that day, we'd swing into a nearby village shop where we'd be bribed/rewarded with coke and crisps. So it wasn't all awful. By the end, it was just me and my younger brother, all the older siblings had fucked off or got their own lives by then.
Despite smelling like an orange rind and looking like a boy-sized shite with limbs, you wouldn't be embarrassed in the shop because they were used to seeing such dirty labourers around their way. We were as common a sight as coal-miners once were in Wales.

"Ah ya were in the bog today," yer wan behind the counter would say. "You're covered in the work anyway, God bless ya sure I can only see your white teeth there and nothing else!"

"No," I'd beam sarcastically. "I'm actually Al fucking Jolson. Give me my change woman."

You know, there was an irony that nobody noticed in how the adults always referred to it proudly as their 'plot' of turf.

Ah yes, the family plot, where little bits of me died miserably every summer and were fed to to the midges. Big sigh! I tell you, the day we got the OFCH in, I blinked away a tear and smiled.

Check out this photographer!!
Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Irish Blog Awards

I don't normally partake, nominate, vote in or attend the Irish Blog Awards because to be honest, I'm really only blogging for the casual sex and not the recognition.

I get slightly more of one than I do of the other, but that's by the by.

Anyway, it has come to my attention that two of my regular readers Radge and Susan have nominated me for a gong at this year's awards, which are to be held in Cork on February 21st. So this post is a thank you first and foremost; like I said, I usually just observe these things from a distance but that doesn't mean it isn't a very nice thing indeed to be nominated. I genuinely feel all warm inside and it isn't the toothpaste sandwich I've just eaten either.

But damn you two too (I love writing shit like that), now I feel that I have to make my own choices which won't be very easy!

Anyway, if you're interested in taking part by nominating your favourite Irish blog in the various categories, just click the link in the first line and poke around, you'll soon find the page where you can read all the instructions, rules and what have you. There's lots of great Irish blogs out there so choosing won't be easy.

Knock yourselves out!
Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Know your asparagus

The follow up to Know your Onions, 'cept it's about asparagus.

I've just googled myself to the realisation that the reason my wee has been smelling as sulphurous as if I'd just pissed on top of a flaring box of matches is because I've been eating a lot of asparagus.

Naturally, wee doesn't smell very nice at the best of times, but when the enamel started peeling off the bowl every time I took a Jimmy Riddle and rotten eggs pervaded the room I knew it was time to investigate. I thought I had a grave waterworks malfunction there for a while, but it turns out that everything's fine - it's just that eating asparagus is the same as sneaking up on three thousand skunks and startling them all at once.

The world wide internuts reveals that quite a lot of people already knew this about asparagus already, except me. I feel a bit socially diminished now, like the only kid in the playground who answers wrong in the peergroup sex quiz chaired by the older chaps.

Christ, just think of how awkward it could have been had I gone on a hot date to a restaurant, had four courses of asparagus and then pissed myself laughing at one of my own jokes, and cringe city! My piss stunk!

I dodged a bullet there alright.

Now you'll have to excuse me. There's a few dogs in the neighbourhood I don't like so I'm off to spray some hubcaps.

Never say I don't share enough.