Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Putting the 'b' in subtle.

I'm buying morning coffees again, and I'm not miserable. You'd expect me to be, you may even want me to be, but take your schadenfreude and stick it up your bollix because being back in work isn't all that bad at all.

I wonder would I have managed the accidental alliteration of that previous sentence had I not returned to work.

I wonder would I have managed the accidental alliteration of 'accidental alliteration' had I not...

I have to go to bed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heaven knows I'm miserable now.

Ollie just texted me.

'Your last day.' it read. The fucker. He knows.

I'm back in work tomorrow, and the dread is building in me hourly. Not at the work itself, you understand. This December I'll be eight years in Setanta, so familiarity breeds a kind of comfort.

What I dread is the end of four months off, four months that landed differently in reality to how I'd planned them. The two months abroad turned into four broken up weeks, hotel rooms and trekking and drinking watching people walking.

Salzburg and Antwerp will see me again. So will Paris. Strasbourg too was enchanting, but Marseille and Brussels, Bruges and Vienna all left me a little bit cold.

Summer good times:

1) Dingle with Dave and Emma, then my da. Drinking down by the harbour, and busting my lip in An Droichead Beag and being so drunk I laughed about it.

2) Euro 2008. Torres with the winner in the final. Get that done.

3) Wicklow with Anne. We took a spin up to see the place where she'll marry John next June. A rural idyll if ever there was one. And she bought me lunch.

4) Heidelberg and Das Fest. OK, the music was pure shite, but Stef was a friendly face in too much alone time.

5) Salzburg. My favourite place from the summer, great food, bars and peoples.

6) Blogging. I've been more prolific than ever, and it helps when there's a loyal little group of commentators. Most of it's been utter shite (my Tropic Thunder review is not me at my most verbose), but one or two I might look back kindly on.

7) Spain. A week with the folks in the sun. Thawly enjoyable.

8) Owen and Emma's wedding. Magic from the Sunday afternoon to the Tuesday morning halflight. And a bit of romance to boot.

9) I nearly forgot, and I'm going to break the chronology. Owen's stag in Galway. We took it to the max, to bring back an old 5X favourite. Jesus. The greatest destruction of my life.

Summer bad times:

1) Gastritis. Still on the tablets.

2) Marseille. Dirty, shitty city where I got ripped off by a Cristiano Ronaldo lookalike.

3) Fleeing Vienna.

4) Belgian woes. I came over all melancholy in Belgium. No reason to it.

5) The Griffith/Setanta conundrum. Offered two classes a week. Only able to do one. And the spy in my class does not help.

6) Wedding aftermath. She's gone back from whence she came.

7) Finishing The Wire - the latest great DVD box-set gone to televisual heaven.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lime marmalade.

She was always humming, my grandmother. You'd walk into her kitchen and she'd be at the sink with some unknown tune, while he sat in his corner chair reading the Irish Times or one of his books.

I never remember asking what song was going through her head, whether it was something made-up, or if it was from some long held memory. I liked to listen though, as if I knew as long as she was humming she was happy. It was the world uncomplicated.

I had two homes. On one side of the house there was homework, dinner, toys, squabbles, my mother and father, Anne and Emma and I.

On the other side were my grandparents. He called her Chick, she called him Finghin with a fada on the second 'i'. The smell is lost to me now, but I reckon it was some combination of orange peel, faded cigarette smoke and washing up liquid. She was always at the sink, and would never let anyone else do the dishes. She'd watch us on the swing in the back garden, or my father in his workshop. Stationary and humming, with a reading bald man and Gay Byrne for company.

I think she was always checking to make sure nothing had happened, that everything remained. She liked to think of the world working, didn't hold much truck with weekends. Monday was her favourite day.

A few times a day she'd take a cup of tea or coffee and talk. We'd play snap and I'd win 10p. She'd sit and make salads. Nothing extraordinary but I'd take it all in.

I was in there, with her and Granda, every day.

I'd give him my homework and I'd listen to her tell me things too big for a child to hear. She told me the nature of depression, the nature of alcoholism, the nature of these things that a ten-year-old can barely pronounce.

She had never taken a drink in my lifetime, quitting the year before I was born, but she told me the temptation was always there. It was there for her Higher Power to stave off.

I liked that she never demonised it, though. She knew I'd grow up to take a drink, and that I'd seen my dad and granda half-cut on occasion, and she wouldn't put the worry in me. She said it was a great thing in moderation, but she couldn't do moderation.

I'd drive with them to Howth or through the Liberties, up to Hart's Corner or to the shops. It always annoyed me when they'd refer to "Superquinn's" or "Quinnsworth's", or when my granda would describe something as "highly" insulting or "highly" inappropriate.

She'd pass Giant Mints to me in the backseat when we'd drive her through Charleville Road, where I live now, to Grangegorman where she volunteered.

I loved hearing about old money, the glimmer-man, about my da's childhood, or her own early life when she moved to Castle Avenue in Clontarf from Dingle (my love affair with Dingle started years before I found it for myself, before I saw the house in Grey's Lane where she was born). Random stories that she gave to me.

She was patient and childish and unreasonable, and she never complained of feeling 'well'. But she taught me a lot about strength, and how it had nothing to do with size. She was good to the core, treating meanness as leprosy and making allowances for everything else.

When my parents moved to Limerick, I moved next door with them. It wasn't an easy time, I was 16 and stupid, they were old and ate too much Irish stew. But the humming never stopped and I kept listening. She even got to like the Smashing Pumpkins.

She passed away exactly a year after my folks headed southwest, on July 14th 1996. My granda followed in December that same year.

In the intervening months, my dad asked Finghin how he was doing since she'd died.

"The thing is, Mike," he said. "I don't still love your mother. I'm still IN love with your mother."

Such a thing to aspire to.

Comic blunder.

Stay away from Tropic Thunder. It is utter toilet. I nearly walked out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Disaster!

Shit shit shit...

Shit.

A less than auspicious start to my second term lecturing Sports Journalism. Christ this isn't good. My course administrator is in my class.

My course. Administrator. Is in my class.

Now this won't mean much to most, if any, of you, but for me it's ever so mildly catastrophic. She told me beforehand that she'd be 'taking my class this term,' but I thought this was admin-speak for 'I'll be overseeing things and making sure you have the necessary assistance.'

I didn't take it to mean 'I've always had an interest in sport so I thought I'd use my connections to wangle myself some of your unique brand of tutelage. Sir.'

Cue tonight's class, and the horrific realisation that I've got me a mole. If I fuck up she'll trot the eleven steps to the head of faculty's office and do me in, and my nascent career in lecturing will be lopped off at the head.

I will NOT be able to bluff my way through this one. Fuck.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is it wrong?

It started the minute I woke. A simple text message. It read 'And I off.' Oh Ollie, I thought, I know exactly what you mean. He meant drink, it being the first day of the week, and I meant to please him.

Fuck this cold. Fuck the fact that I teach a new bunch of students tomorrow. Fuck being inside.

"I'm coming."

We met for lunch, open seafood sandwiches in Davy Byrnes. I made noises about heading straight off - as though I had a life - but the man Skehan knew me better. He suggested Kehoes, I wasn't prone to objection, and so began our latest destruction.

This day has held reverence for us for years, the devilish Monday afternoons spent lowering stout while others cursed and banged about another working week - our tiny protest a porter or ten in the Stags or Nearys before 6pm, and who to stop us?

Nobody.

Kehoes turned to Nearys and our party doubled to Noel and Melissa, Irish coffees and more lovely courses of lager and dark brew.

Shtap.

Noel had other business so it was left the three of us - Ollie, myself and his belle - to carry on with bluster and booze and diet 7-Up in the case of the lovely lady driver. From Neary's to Waga Mama (we sat beside some Leinster rugby goon by the name of Kearney, apparently) and then to Sheehans, a favourite pub of mine where you'll always find a corner to poke ridicule at one another and then fall home gassed.

So it has proved. I promised the quare pair I'd mark our night with a post, so here we are with me searching my fridge for biscuits and realising Ollie took the last one. The cunt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh God, it's a...

Susan has tagged me with a meme, deviant sadist that she is. I'm supposed to tag six other bloggers, but I can't be so cruel, especially since Rosie spoke so ill of them in a recent post of hers.

How and ever, I always not so secretly loved these types of emails (before I'd ever heard of a meme) to while away the workless hours, and seeing as I have another week of arse-scratching ahead of me, I figured I might just take the time.

1. What are your nicknames? Radge to almost everyone, Titface to just the one.

2. What game show and/or reality show would you like to be on? I'd like to bring a vial of smallpox into the Big Brother house and get all biological warfare on their asses. Apart from that, I'd settle for a short colour piece on Nationwide.

3. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD? Hmmm. I don't remember what VHS it was, but I can tell you that I bought Raging Bull on DVD for the aul lad back in the day. I'm credible like that.

4. What is your favorite scent? There's something about the word 'scent' that's a little unseemly. A little too CSI for my tastes. As for smells, freshly ground coffee, paint, churches and perfume on my sheets. Preferably not my own.

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it? I'd buy my uncle's house on Bantry Bay. It's up for sale and I just about can't afford it at roughly 950,000 notes.

6. What one place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back to? See number five.

7. Do you trust easily? Yes but I'm trying to quit.

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think? I generally think before I drink.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days? I don't care for the way this question is phrased. But yes. Something has made me very unhappy these days but this is not the forum.

10. Do you have a good body image? I can't remember the last time Vanity Fair called to tell me.

11. What is your favorite fruit? I enjoy the occasional grapefruit.

12. What websites do you visit daily? My blogger pals, Football 365, Google, the job sites, the unemployment statistic websites.

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately? The final series of The Wire. And memes (as lately has a relative meaning).

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? I reckon she's kind to her peoples.

15. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? Ideal answer - Bonnie Prince Billy's 'The Way'. Actual answer - Nick Drake's 'Black Eyed Dog.'

16. What's your favorite item of clothing? My bedtime onesie.

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? They look like something genital. I'll leave that image with you.

18. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground? I'd think those American tourists should really be more careful with their cash, go to the nearest bank, exchange it and buy myself a new question.

19. What items could you not go without during the day? Micro cleaning crystals, Garnier Nutrisse with aloe vera extract and Closer magazine.

20. What should you be doing right now? Getting into my onesie.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saw me coming.

I've just discovered a drawback to living alone - nobody to moan to when I have a cold.

I currently have a bastard behind the eyes, and every time I look around for sympathy I'm treated to a sink full of dishes, a silent mobile phone and that stain on the wall that I've never been truly comfortable with.

Times like this I miss living with Johnny, when he'd tell me to stop moaning - "you terrible cunt" - and fire a medicinal bottle of Stella towards my snuffly head.

He almost always missed.

Anyway, yeah, this came on me this evening. Cactus throat followed by sneezing and the urgent need to moan. Fuck it.

In far better news, I have a new laptop. About time too, as my previous machine would give a tiny little simper and pass out after roughly seven minutes, much like the girlfriend I don't currently have.

Got this little dinger in town today. Not knowing my gigobytes from my Intel pentium processors, the salesman probably sensed blood the second I left my flat. Still, the keys don't stick and this Vista lark seems easy enough to negotiate. It won't let me download MSN Messenger though, so if anyone can help, leave an unmoderated comment.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please be upstanding...

What a time, what a wedding, what surroundings in Dromoland as Emma and Owen got married. I had great, swelling pride as my sister walked up the aisle, flanked by my mam and dad, and the whole thing was magically done.

There was mania leading up to it, of course, from the moment I landed in Limerick on Saturday with my top button open. Buttons featured throughout, indeed. Done, undone, waistcoats, shirts, buttons pushed and hearts full. Yar.

Myself and Emma stayed up late on Saturday, drinking and talking.

They met through me around the 1999/2000, Owen a friend of mine from college. I shat it initially, he was four years older and she was finishing school.

Still, my initial anxiety soon abated and eight years on they're away to Tokyo, to Las Vegas and to New York on their honeymoon.

Sunday was a great preamble, full as it was of people arriving in the Clare Inn for beer and pre-wedding bawdiness.

Oh it was brilliant, I eventually took myself to bed at 3am for the day itself.

It went as weddings tend to do, with toasts and teary eyes, and a very beautiful bride. My sister Anne was on chief bridesmaid duty, dressed to kill and performing her tasks of nipping, tucking and organishing with aplomb.

I was among the last to leave the banquet hall, tired from dancing and whiskey on rocks. No sleep was had...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nuptials

Wedding house. No madness yet. All happening tomorrow. My sister Emma and Owen. Hitched. Lots of tuxedos. Dromoland Castle. First dances. Bouquets. Drunk, sick heads at 3am. Residents' bar. Bad singing. Worse dancing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Staropramen.

Whew, this is a dinger of a hangover. Myself and Ollie in the Stag's Head, setting the world to rights in our favourite setting, while steadily inebriating ourselves.

Then it was on to that new pub Le Cirk on Dame Street for pints of Staropramen. We liked the place, the staff were chatty and friendly and you could still smell the paint. Not bad for a former Centra.

We finished with an Indian in Diwali. I'd be a fan.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Get off your hole!

I just got off the phone with Terence, comrade in drinking and blogging and sometime journalysis.

I think we all agree that he needs to blog. This is a very public demand (well, public to me and the five of you). Get it done Terence. None of your shite.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Here Be Monsters.

The Strangers, I think it was called. These films have such vague, generic names that they're forgotten by the first shriek of "the lad in the ski mask is BEHIND you, you silly dumb bint."

And so it proved. The sound effects jumped me enthusiastically throughout, and Liv Tyler does a lovely lip quiver, but it's been done and done and done before. And what's with the hand-held? Does every film since Paul Greengrass' first burp have to come with motion sickness as standard?

Does it? That wasn't a rhetorical question, like.

Halfway through I had the strangest urge to slowly place my hand on the shoulder of the girl sitting in front of me, just as the tension was nearing the end of its crescendo, but I chickened out. She could have been one of THEM, for God's sake.

Time to take my paranoid yet critical ass to bed.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

If it ain't broke, break it.

Well, I did promise.

I'm not landed two hours and I've limbered up my tapping finger (slow learner, me) to type you tales of Spain.

1) I sat in the sun.

2) I swam majestically.

3) I did the dishes.

4) I drank beer and wine and whiskey in modest, then immodest, then modest amounts.

5) I ate a lot of quite nice food.

6) I checked my email, but couldn't summon the will to blog.

7) That was about it, really.

It wasn't the most exciting of weeks, to be honest. I just went where the folks told me and tried my best not to wreck their holiday. Once or twice the aul lad and I overdid it on the sauce, while my mam quietly judged us, but by and large it was all about the fuck-all-doing.

That being said, such glorious relaxation ends soon for me, what with my return to Setanta Towers in three short weeks.

Add our Emma's wedding to the mix and there'll be scant time for spending-a-week-staring-stupidly-at-the-gathering-nothingness, but I think I'm ready to rejoin the world.

I've been offered a new and improved lecturing post in the college. Two classes a week, each three hours in duration, a huge jump from what I had last year.

However, I have to wait to find out if 'big bill-paying job' will be compatible with 'small yet far more worthwhile job'*. It's out of my hands, something about contracts and nixers and bureaucratic idiocy, but I will prevail somehow.

I'm even prepared to juggle the two using subterfuge, just like Michael J Fox in 'The Secret Of My Success'. I just need to work on my lovable rogueishness.

*I really hope one of my fancy female students falls in love with me this semester.**

**Must remember to delete this post.