Tuesday, December 30, 2008


When on 2 days holiday from work, over and above what you would normally take, and if you would like to spend that time constructively, here is a small piece of advice.

Don't dress as a bumblebee and shake your stuff at a disco in cork, far more energetically than your poor body is really capable of. This will lead to the following ill effects. Your legs and arms and neck will think you have climbed a mountain (while moshing), and will complain loudly about such tasks as climbing the stairs or standing up. You will contract pneumonia from the walk home in the cold, sweat freezing to icicles by the time you land back to your lodgings. Resulting in a furry sore throat, and an inability to concentrate long enough to make a cup of tea, let alone finish your masterpiece.

Other things to avoid include doing online jigsaws. Reading blogs. Writing blogs. Playing with your new camera. Playing with your new nintendo ds. Making lemsips every half hour. Repeatedly checking the website of the nightclub you were in for proof that you were actually there, and getting frustrated when they haven't put up the pics yet, lazy feckers.

The new camera is still blurry at night - (it'd be upsetting if it wasn't really) - but takes hours longer to download the pictures, and is an attractive shade of pink. See below a particularly fetching one of me looking like the guy from "the Goonies".

Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't Panic But

There's only 2 more days of "International put your Poem in a Shop" month left.... Get up off your lazy christmas sofas, get out and put a poem up, take a photo, and email to me.
Do it

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yip Yip

For the two aliens.... whoever you are... Enjoy,

hope it's worth the 15 mins and counting it's taking to attach here, stoopid videos...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another List

Things I might never get used to about my new job:

1. The way that everyone hugs and kisses to say goodbye before the holidays

2. Tasting 5 different curry powders at 8.30 am

3. The proximity of nutmeg, or any other exciting ingredient or smell from all around the world

4. That I no longer have to stop every 3 days to fill my petrol tank

5. The fact that my socks smell more of spices than feet after a day at work

Happy Christmas to all my loyal readers, both of you... hit the fantabulous button below to wish me a happy christmas in return and prove me wrong! (I don't have a fancy hit counter thing, (which may SHOCK some who will have noticed that I am so technologically advanced that I have now mastered big, small, itallicky and just now colourdy writing), so have no idea how many human beings read this) (if you're an alien please hit brilliant)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Book List

People who know me will already know how I like lists, and books, so what better way to combine the two interests than to keep a book list - (which reminds me of the guy who liked Larkin and liked writing musicals but that's a whole nuther story) - so I have kept a little book diary for you. I present them here for your reading delectation, the books I've listened to and read in the past 12 months, I'll include marks out of 10, in my humble opinion - so you can skip the really crap ones, if ever faced with the choice.

The ones on cd first - These were often picked off the library shelf in a blind rush on the way to getting saturday morning cakes in superquinn, often with my eyes closed, in other words completely at random - so there were quite alot of misses as well as the hits - the logic being - sure I've loads of driving time, why be picky? In fairness I think it's worth reading/ listening to bad stuff as well as good, and it was all pretty much better than the radio...

Where the authors name is missing it's because they need no introduction - not because I forgot to write them down - and anyone who says that's why is a liar.

Little Face - 5

Fortune's Rocks - Anita Shreve - 5

In a Strange City - Laura Lipman - 5

Fruit of the Lemon - Andrea Levy - 3

The Snow Geese - William Fiennes - 2 or 10 depending on whether or not you're really really into geese - it was a 2 for me.

Tess of the Durbevilles - Thomas Hardy - 9

Necessary Ends - Stanley Midleton - 4 - despite the great surname

Red Harvest - Dasheil Hammett - 4.5

The Bonesetters Daughter - Amy Tan - 6

The Secret History - Donna Hart - 6

Niagara Falls all over again - Elizabeth McCricken - 9.1

Scribbling the Cat - 2

War Diaries 1 - Spike Milligan - 7.5

The Spy who came in from the cold - John Le Carre - 7.5

Wild Swans - 8

Himilaya - Michael Palin - 4

The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracey Chevalier - 5.5

Dangerous Lady - Martina Cole - 5

Madame Bovary - 6.5

Memoir - John McGahern - 8

War Diaries 2 - Spike Milligan - 7.5

Rules of Engagement - Anita Brookner - 6.5

Murphy's Revenge - Colin Bateman - 8

The woman in the 5th - Douglas Kennedy - 8

Book of Salt - Monique Truong - 4

No country for old men - Cormac McCarthy - 5.5

Barefoot - Ellen Hildebrand - 5

The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 9.2

Pass the Butterworms - Tim Cahill - 5.5

Grace and Truth - Jennifer Johnston - 8

Exit Music - Ian Rankin - 7

Kinch - Matt Brown - 3

Half of a yellow sun - 8

Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones - 5.7

This book will save your Life - AM Homes - 8.5

Never Let me go - Kazuo Ishiguro - 6.5

War of the Worlds - HG Wells - 10

Shock - Robin Cook - 1

Other Peoples Children - Joanne Trollope -2

Books I read are up next - hopefully a few more hits perhaps??

The Deportees - Roddy Doyle - 6

In the company of the courtesan - 4

The Trial - Franz Kafka - 10

Attachment - Lynda Tavakoli - 7

The Speckled People - Hugo Hamilton - 6

Bleachers - John Grisham - 6.5

Becoming a Writer - Dorothea Brande - 11

Teach Yourself writing a Novel - Nigel Watts - 8

What I loved - Siri Hustvedt - 8

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murakami - 9

The Inheritance of Loss - Kirin Disrai - 4.5

Altered States - Anita Brookner - 5

Hatter's Castle - AJ Cronin - 8

The Ginger Man - JP Dunleavy - 9.4

Tales of Ordinary Madness - Charles Bukowski - 9.2

Be my Knife - David Grossman - 10

Out Stealing Horses - Per Peterson - 7

The Drowned and the Saved - Primo Levi - 10

De Niro's Game - Rawi Hage - 8

This Boy's Life - Tobias Wolfe - 8.5

Are you Somebody - Nuala O Faolain - 7.8

Black Baby - Clare Boylan - 8

Secret Life of Bees - Sue Mark Kid - 6.5

Blind Faith - Ben Elton - 8.5

Things you should know - A M Homes - 10

Bad Day at Blackrock - Kevin Power - 8.5

Wheels - Arthur Hailey - 8.5

South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami - 9.9

Armageddon in Retrospect - Kurt Vonnegut - 8

Swann's Way - Proust - 10

So that's all folks - won't have as long a list for a few years again I'd say - what with the shorter commute not being as good for listening to a good yarn. Apart from that - at least you didn't have to sit through last years list - which would have included Flanimals 1 and 2. If you've bought me one of the above books for christmas - you still have a couple of days to sort it out - not that I wouldn't be grateful anyway - of course.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Laser Lights

Here's something I've been meaning to put up for awhile, a drive through an ordinary Christmassy decorated town - note the crazy lazer things coming down out of the streetlights - only caught on my camera, not visible to the naked eye. Creepy eh?

Background music provided by good ole Leonard Cohen. If you're reading this Leonard, I will accept concert tickets as payment for all the promotional mentions...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meeting famous people

Today I saw Bill Gates, I mean Bill Cullen, same thing really, he was in Easons, signing books or something, I didn't go near him, in case he'd try to fire me, in these tough times you wouldn't know. On Tuesday I met Jack Dee - I mean Jack Charlton, I mean I didn't meet him, just saw him sitting by the door of Liffey Valley, shivering and signing books or something.

From these two sightings, and from the pain in my feet I can now conclude that I have been out shopping too much this week, getting all my presents for people in two evenings, also that Dublin is the centre of the universe and all the glittering stars of the world like to hang around here signing books or something.

Did I take a picture of either famous person, seeing as I had my camera on me? Nope, I did take some pictures of some festive trees to cheer the soul though - hope you enjoy....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Poem by Richard

For Sale:

use by date expired

endlessly reheated

reprocessed, repackaged and reconstituted

microwaveable memories

of a girl who would not return my anonymous phone calls

The above was written by a member of the poets in shops group on facebook and I think it's rather cool - and perfect for putting up in a shop definitely... So Richard - make sure to update us when it's up in a store near us!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Poems in Shops

So I took my little card away from that shop that only puts up cards on Tuesdays - and wrote version 2 of "the poem" - shortened & simplified. I prepared the card with not one but two little pieces of sellotape, ready for it's exhibition.

And here, ladies and gentlemen is the result - another poem in another shop - successful launch!! Try it... seriously... it's a great buzz.
Better than the late late toy show for thrills, and that's saying alot.

Apologies for the poor focus on this one - it's the clean looking sheet selloptaped to the outside of the cabinet. In this mission I disguised my purpose with a large handful of christmas cards, which I held over the area in question while taping up the card to bamboozle cctv watchers. Mastermind me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

To my very own "Big Brother"

Not of the creepy big eye variety - not a big panopticistic brother - but actually to the big brother who happened to be my big brother - happy birthday to you! tried to ring you but couldn't get through - am sure you read my blog religiously tho - so happy birthday you!

Blog will return to normal service of only important international events coverage tomorrow, I promise....

Quick update - the long version

There are now 9 members of the "Poems in Shops" group on facebook, the movement just keeps growing!

I've realised I am able to fluently read Leonard Cohen lyrics upside down. Not that someone is unwilling to let me see them while he's playing the songs on guitar, in fairness while he's using things does seem to be the only time I want them - it's a hangover from childhood, but it's an interesting skill. I realised then that I cannot however WRITE upside down. Altho if I remember the late 90's ad correctly if I had only bought a Penali fountain pen, I would automatically be able to write in any direction with it, even upside down.

It's kinda like the crumb sweeper, an item discovered on Organize.com (don't ask why I was there) (really don't) - the ad says - and I quote "In case your toast rack fails to keep your table crumb-free, pick up those crumbs with this crumb sweeper. It's even good for non-toast crumbs." Pure genius! There was I about to go out and try to source a different sweeper for all the different types of crumbs that asail my everyday life - peanut crumbs, cake crumbs, those stubborn wheatabix crumbs! imagine. And if that doesn't sort out christmas, I don't know what does.

By the way anyone who doesn't put a poem up in a shop this month is only a (boc boc boc)

Chicken!!!! - and a can drinking chicken at that.

Important update

Sadly "International put your poem in a shop" month is not the roaring success it first promised to be. Tried to install my 2nd version of the poem onto a new noticeboard this evening, only to find some shops are not quite as easy going about the whole putting signs up thing as others. This particular shop has their signs under lock and key.
When I saw this, I almost gave up, almost walked away without even approaching the counter, what if they demanded to check the card before I put it up, and what if then they were to giggle at me for my effort? Horror of horrors. But I said to myself
"NO, I will not just walk away from this challenge, 6 members on facebook of the group "poems in shops" plus my countless reader(s) internationally are counting on me".
I had to continue. So I asked the girl for a card. She was up to my tricks though - she could obviously see through my innocent appearance, right through to the subversive darkness lurking beneath. She said, "We don't put them up straight away" this suggesting a series of rigorous hurdles that my poor little poem would have to work through. There was I thinking putting a poem up in a shop would be easier than getting it published somewhere proper. Next thing she said to me completely wiped me out, astounded and confused me so much that I could only walk out with a dazed head on me, clutching the still blank little square of paper in my sweaty hands... What she had said was "We only put them up on Tuesdays" shaking her head at me, telling me I'd better walk away now, and not cause a scene, not to dare respond with a "But today's tuesday!" Instead I nodded - beaten for now.
It's not easy being a renegade artist. Bansky I fully understand your pain...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Poems in Shops (continued)

So here it is - the infamous poem, now up in the "shop" for the world to appreciate, as opposed to being online for the world to appreciate. It's published anyhow. A word of advice for you who are eager to join in - bring your own sellotape so you can get it up quick and make good your escape!!

And yes the above photo was taken inside one of the cubicles of the local public loo - where the writing and photographing took place, so if you're the one who was outside wondering what the camera was pointed at - now you know.

In Situ it looks like this... (the one behind the postbox) --------------------------------------------------->

So c'mon the rest of ye and join in to make this the most successful "International Put your Poem in a shop" month ever! If you have a blog - put it up in your blog - otherwise email it to me and I'll post the picture of your poem up in a shop here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Poems in Shops

Emerging writer will know exactly where this idea came from, but here it is. This month is now officially "International (readers in america and england - you know who you are) Put your poem in a shop" month.

The idea is simple. Now that capitalism has officially collapsed, why not use some of it's structures for art? I'm not talking about spray painting whole buildings, or even taking over a chip shop to put on a play. I'm talking let's start small. Let's take just a postcard sized space, you know the little free ads area in every "good" supermarket. I want everyone to go and fill one of those up with their own little poem, and place it up there, proud as punch, do it on your holidays, in towns you're passing through, or in your local store. I want people searching for used cars, or rooms to rent in Walmart, Asda, Tesco and Supervalus the world over to suddenly come across a little poem in the shop, in an unexpected place. Something small, thought provoking, or whatever - probably needs to be short so you'll remember it. If possible make it look a little like an ad so that it'll last longer. That's it. Out you go. Post your poem on the comments section when you have it ready, you can do it anonomously if you want. See mine in comments section

Let's all take our own piece of the world back - 10 cm X 8 cm at a time

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stalkers and Fear of Slagging

As the dramatic title suggests, I have a stalker - not really, actually not at all. But I do have a fear of slagging - more on that in a while.

On the stalker - he's actually a very nice person who mistakenly recieved a package addressed to me, and he went to the trouble of finding me by googling me on the "world wide web," and managed to find me. Speaking of google reminds me of a brilliant clip on youtube - search for "IT Crowd and google" -- again can't upload it for some strange reason. Thanks though Philip if you're reading, not many people would go to that much trouble - ya creepy man! (only messing!)

On the fear of slagging thing - what was in the parcel was my new poetry book - ok actually the compilation which I have a poem in, (and which is launching tomorrow night - yippy doo!) and to be honest having been informed by one of my learned new colleagues that country people think toilets are only machines for washing potatoes, and that all country girls just want a brad pitt lookalike but with a dublin accent - the thoughts of them finding out about it, it's actually very terrifying....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First December Post

Actually we got some bills yesterday, but you know what I mean. Started the new job yesterday - a million miles closer to my homeplace, working with a friendly close knit bunch who sent up a great welcoming groan when they heard I was from Cork.

The car doesn't know what to do with itself with the shorter drive every day, but I've been filling the time nicely - still haven't got round to my yoga, cleaning the house, finishing my novel, getting dogs and walking them, etc etc that I was planning to get done.

Someone I know is off to new york tomorrow, havin a girly holiday, and importantly buying fancy clothes for herself. Similarly to the spending of extra time, I sometimes wonder where all my extra cash must be going that I am saving by only going as far as the a-wear in liffey valley when my stuff is falling apart...Then I remember the goldfish(es) - they are bleeding me dry with their constant food cravings and messy parties. (seethes silently on the couch looking at the goldfish).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday Snippet 2

The place was crawling, builders in vis vests, chips thrown in the fat, gushing, sizzling. Was that really only this time last year? Delilah wiped a hand against her floury apron once more, shivered from the open door, left open by the boxx, tryin to entice em in - passing the door on the way to lidl - if they get the smell they'll be in - he'd said, his face a slightly paler reddish purple than it used to be. Her friends all laid off, one by one, herself and prune were the only ones left. No need for a big staff when they only open weekends. I wouldn't mind but Lidl's closed f*^ks sake, she glared at the soggy cold chips in the bucket. She'd seen the shadow passing earlier, a quick step of blackened tracksuit against the orange black night, another gurrier. She couldn't decide if they were always that bad or had they gotten worse, thought about the "I've had enough" ad, where people were givin out about people who'd had too much to drink. I've not had enough, she thought and stepped behind where the burger grill was - taking her baby bottle of whickey from her hip. In the front a brick came flying through the door - hitting the counter and flipping eventually into the bucket of chips. Her first thought was "The eejits missed the window".

Another excercise from "Group" this time the aim was to write a piece where the action lasted 5 seconds. For another example of something that arose from this excercise - check out Dom Oubliette's blog

Friday, November 28, 2008

The curious incident of the tea bag in the day time

I drink big flasks of tea when on a day off, trying to write. When I have finished said tea, I like to tip the tea bag out into the cup cap type thing and squeeze the last bit of strong semi-warm tea and savour the taste. Sometimes the tea bag doesn't drop out immediately and I have to search around a bit, shake the flask, or even reach in and drag it out. Today I had two flasks of tea, the first one was absolutely unremarkable, tipped the tea bag out as normal. Flask 2: No bag. The tea had tasted perfectly normal. I shook the flask. Still no bag. Looked deep into the flask. Checked the lid again. I don't think I forgot to put a bag in. I think the bag will show up some day, under the couch or in the fish tank - they were the only witnesses to this weird occurance.

I sometimes worry that pointless blog posts take up energy that someone (perhaps even myself) could have otherwise spent reading an important newspaper, or feeding themselves. Hmmmm.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

At the White House

No - it's not the political commentary promised in the earlier post - just a bit of "in other news" news - that being that Lucan Writers had a great night last night at the White House Poetry Revival night in Limerick. I read first, mainly because I was the most nervous - my second public reading ever. I think I'll keep count - and bore the audience every time by telling them what count I'm on if I get any chance at all, "This is my 17th time reading in public" - I can imagine kind of underwhelming them with that info. Anyways it was a great night, everyone read really well, the crowd were magic - most of them were talented poets themselves as they demonstrated at the earlier part of the night - and they were super nice.
I have to report now on a strange phenomenon - I have no hangover - yet. I'm feeling fine, domestic goddess like I've done the shopping and started cooking a fabulous roast since driving all the way back across the country, and beginning to wonder if there's some truth in the "Excess" skit by Armando Ianucci, (you'll have to check it on youtube - not because I'm too lazy to stick it in, I did try... really) maybe too much alcohol and too little sleep are actually the perfect way to freshen yourself up. I certainly hope so. Ah it's probably just a sneaky 2 days later kinda hangover.

Happy Birthday !!

A little note to say happy birthday to my other half - who shares his birthday with Jimi Hendrix, and some other comedian (not that Jimi Hendrix was a comedian) (although he might've been good with the audience, I don't know - I never saw him live)

The point is anyway that you are the best in the world my love, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

(Sorry, promise won't use blog for soppy personal stuff anymore - important political and economic commentary only from now on)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

End of an Era

I'm now between jobs. For the next 3 days I fully qualify as an unemployed poet, and I fully intend to milk it for all it's worth.

Today was a weird day - saying goodbye to people I've known and worked with for the last 8.5 yrs.

I won't miss the long drives, (120 miles every single day), but here's some nice things I got out of it.

  • Everyone's undying pity for how tired I must be

  • 38 books read on the road this year (on tape)

  • Some great views - (more on that below)

  • Getting to see alot of my eccentric nice mechanic man

  • Having 1.5 hours to wake up before getting to work, and 1.5 hours to wind down afterwards

So on the great views - one of my routes to work took me past the sugar loaf - a loverly mountain to look at in all types of weathers - see here my amalgamation of pictures taken in different seasons over a few years which I thought would look ALOT more dramatic when I was taking the pics than it actually does...

Also got to watch a pony grow up alongside its mother - getting slightly bigger everyday - it's nearly a horse now. So that's the news - will be reading poetry in a pub in Limerick tomorrow night - fully living the delinquent artist life - well imagining it anyway...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

dangerous book, dangerouser writing

I'm reading a very dangerous book in the car - don't remember the name of it, but it's a book about Samuel Pepys' Diary, and it is so very dangerous - because it is only inches from making me fall asleep at the wheel. I've been reduced to listening to the radio in order to stay alive, until I can get back to the library for a changeover. The only interesting thing the book had to say was this: Samuel wrote the diary in order to experience life's events 3 times - once while they actually occured, the second time while writing it, and the third time reading back over it. Presumably he never reread back over it, therefore getting unlimited use of his life, no - just the 3 times. Anyways I guess that's partly what blogs and writing in general are about.

In other news - The Shoestring Collective was on last night. A brilliant, diverse evening of thought provoking art and entertainment. One highlight for me was Kevin Barry's genius reading of one of his short stories from "there are little kingdoms", I'm still giggling today over some of the lines and the way he said them. But he does make me want to quit the writing - like what's the point if there are people as good as him out there - and he's only young, dammit.

Then there's more discouragement in the shape of the brilliant (and also young, dammit) Colm Keegan's "A Night Time Crackle", a story that puts goosepimples on your neck in print, and packs a powerful punch delivered as a short play by the talented Shea Brennan. It's a story that could carry on - only Colm can decide where it goes to next - but I think everyone in the audience would agree on the crackling effect created by the electric words. And to end this demonstration on how not to write a great review about two great writers, I think I shall finish by saying, "goodnight goodnight" - to borrow a phrase from Pat Kenny, a very intelligent man (I'm told) - though that's possibly not the most intelligent thing he ever said - at a guess.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Economy is saved

Hurrah! rejoice everyone! - the economy is saved, as long as those ingenius people at Kleeneze keep coming out with these amazing products, that you cannot help but buy. Yes at Kleeneze, apparently they really follow the wise old chinese saying "there's no such thing as a bad idea."
The catalogue speaks for itself, and I predict it will become a cult bible, but just in case you haven't been lucky enough to recieve one - here's some of the highlights - astounding inventions that fairly goggle the mind. For Example: I don't know how I've lived this long without a banana gaurd -Which accomodates "Virtually every size and shape of banana".
- Or how messily topped my eggs have been in the past, but no more, I'm gonna get me an "Ultimate Egg Topper" - a gizmo that will fearlessly decapitate all future boiled eggs made in this house perfectly every time
Have you ever seen anything as fiendishly clever as the below?- a match shaped lighter. God how I wish I'd had that in my college days, I'd have been so cool - imagine waving one of those at that REM gig in slane... course I'm dreaming - a match shaped lighter wouldn't have been invented then - this is all cutting edge,

And last - but definitely not least - how about giving your loved one a healthy present this christmas? Not a Gym membership, or even a voucher for yoga classes, No Sir - what your special someone needs is something convenient, that they can use at home, but that will give them hours and hours of entertainment. And the winner is.....

"The Excercise Wheel" - specially appropriate for hamster owners, this little gadget will provide hours of fun, and is invaluable to any high powered game of wheel barrow. And any one who says it's just a broken wheel barrow wheel is just jealous they didn't think of it....

Kleeneze people - I salute you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Exciting Fame kissed day

Today I shared a plane with Ronan Keating.

Me and 200 other Aerlingus passengers. We didn't have a sing song or anything though - dissappointingly.

Other than that I posted a slightly weak comment on Dilberts blog - quick take a look before he removes it for not being clever or funny enough!! Link on the right --->

I also shook hands twice with 2 people who I will probably never meet again and whom I will not know if I ever meet them again, unless we happen to get around to talking about a food presentation they had with a new supplier to them, one of whose staff they never met again... Since I'm leaving. Although that wasn't mentioned today. I think my colleagues are all in denial or else they are cleverly waiting till there's some problem, and they can say, "Oh that was her fault - we fired her, remember her? yeah she's gone now, so that'll never happen again.

Finally I had a stick of Rock for my dinner - yes Rock - and if that's not Rock and roll - well maybe if I had a roll that'd be rock and roll. Fine I'm going to go out now and buy a roll, and some butter, since the curry I seem to have won still has shown no sign of turning up...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Saturday Snippet

"She loved all things new.

Not that everything in the house had to be new, just new to her would be fine. Religiously every month she would move everything around her room. Posters moved to the ceiling. Bed shoved into an alcove. She put a lot of energy into finding ways of waking up in a new world every day.

Unsurprisingly her relationships never lasted very long. Her friends from belly dancing quickly found themselves dropped in favour of the scouting group she briefly joined, who were then ousted by a frivolous set of socialites who organised parties with extremely strange themes. She herself hosted one where everyone had to bring a piece of rotten fruit and they sadly sang "If we could turn back time" to the blackened bananas and mouldy grapes.
Boyfriends were easy to find. She wasn't picky, as long as she had never met him before she found any man devestatingly irresistable. That was it. No other requirement, she was the kind of girl who stopped to flirt with the wolfwhistlers, smiling eyes aglow when a new face was shining its radiant attention on her. She didn't care about the beergut, the way he'd lewdly clutch at his groin, or the way his jeering turned to fear as she approached. She was responsible for the demise of that tradition in any suburb she moved into. Naturally she moved around alot...."

Produced every two weeks, the saturday snippet is usually inspired by a random object at the writers group I attend. 10 minutes of scribbling down whatever occurs. This weeks (inspired by a Novel) actually turned out ok - you should see some of the others. I wonder if I'll be brave enough to keep posting, even when they're not of such amazing high quality? Stay tuned to find out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tribute to a Black Berry

Ok this is the only photo of berries of any kind that I had handy, (the picture I was gonna use of a blackberry - which the kind people at work have temporarily entrusted me with - is languishing in my camera, which is languishing in my coat pocket, languishing all the way out in the hallway) so this will have to do.

I like reading - as per my earlier posts. I've read in many unusual and fun circumstances, while walking, queuing, driving (mainly just the road signs), went through a phase of reading books in the shower when young, (and not even the handy plastic type - oh no - proper books - sticking the paper back to the tiled wall, ruining the book, but ensuring I got maximum booky time in the day, - terrible really), while knitting etc - so yes - an addict as previously admitted.

What to do then - when as a guest in someone's house, after a few scoops out with the gang, you realise that you have no book? This was the problem I faced last night. Well that was where the amazing blackberry came in handy - bringing me a full chapter of HG Well's The Time Traveller, which I just happened to have on my work email somehow, to soothe me to sleep, and I didn't even have to leave a light on. Great stuff.
Just finished listening to Well's War of the Worlds on the way home from work today, really funny listening to it, published 110 years ago first, it's a real classic, brilliant altogether.

Anyway in an attempt to bring me back to my original point, the coworkers are circling around said blackberry like vultures at the moment, I truly don't think I've ever been in possession of such a coveted item. Who will get it when I'm gone? All I'll say is good luck to them. I'm not bitter, I'm looking forward to a time again when I'll open my work email and won't already know exactly what mails are there, won't already have responded to the quickies, I look forward to that fizz of excitement while I await the pop up "You have new mail"......

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Amazing Thing

There were alot of amazing things I could share with you from the week in Barbados, I think I used that word "amazing" a hell of a lot more than is healthy, but it was really just so different, a world away really, and my first real sun holiday.... Anyway rather than trying to tell you all about all the amazing things (which were faithfully recorded in the most lost notebook in history, which as I type is winging it's way across some ocean or great land mass, safely nestled in the seat pocket of the chair in front of window seat 30K - beside the wrapping of someone's free airplane blanket or maybe an empty bottle of water)

( - here's a pic of the notebook in question by the way - in case you see it around)

- anyway - so I'm not going to bore you with all the amazing things, instead I am restricting the blog to ONE amazing thing. well kind of one thing - one is a generalisation. The thing I am sharing is probably the first amazing thing I noticed on stepping out of the car into my auntie's front garden - the frogs.

Play the video first - which gives you a good feel for how these things sounded. Think Paul Mc Cartney's "we all stand together" song

The other amazing thing was their size. In the below - if you can make them out one is crouched down for a snuggle, the other is looking upwards. Maybe it doesn't seem that amazing, when you're sitting looking at a picture of them, but these things are seriously tiny, they're so small two of them could have worn my ring at the same time, and not just on their fingers...

Not sure if frogs do have fingers or not - answers on a postcard please.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mired in Secrets and Lies

I am very excited. To the extent of doing little excited involuntary dances, and laughing coffee out my nose during lunch breaks, and the reason?

Me & my Boyf are off to Barbados on Saturday - to surprise my mother - whose 60th it is.

RELAX everyone - she doesn't read this....

So now I can share with you the heinous plot. We are getting the same flights as the folks to Gatwick, but getting a later flight than them out to the island itself, so we're pretending that we just so happen to feel like a night in London - at 8.15am on a saturday morning, with two big suitcases in tow - we will not be rattled - I've actually got a guide book on britain to pose with on the first flight to lend some credence to our excuse....

Will let you know how that goes... Back on 9th Nov

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting Noticed

Today I handed in notice... with the only employer I've ever had - outside of fruit fly labs, counting cars, sweetshops, fastfood joints, cardboard box factorys and various bars where I worked during college - in other words my first real job.
It was a bit of a momentous occasion, reactions were surprising - in a good way though... It's strange - people were mostly very supportive about it. Think I'd a good excuse for slinking away - reducing my commute by over 90% is hard to argue with. I will miss the aul place, feel like it's kind of an extended really really huge family, some cranky aunts, bratty cousins, drunk uncles, but mostly sound people, good place to work really. Hopefully the new place will be even better - will keep my avid readers well posted... actually will just be saying it's wonderful - in case they're reading... hahahah (crafty eh?)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My name's "Various" and I'm a bookaholic

Or - to steal a clever term from a website - I suffer from fiction addiction.

Spent today in blustery Dun Laoighaire - wandering around all it's bookshops. We hit the second hand store first, got some cheap Theodore Zeldin, Paul Theroux, and AM Homes, (the discovery of the year - more on her later). Then spent an agonising hour walking around the Huge and Huge best book shoppe in Dublin - with it's great categories, loads of quality, all laid out in tempting, colourful surroundings. Managed to evade temptation there, had a coffee instead, while reading a bit of the latest book I've started, "Reefer Madness". Then went upstairs in the shopping centre, and found a way around my ban on buying new books, since I simply had to buy a present for my ma, who's birthday is coming up really soon... and the fact that she might then pass em on to me, that's hardly my fault. Home after that, and finished reading "Bad Day in Blackrock" - a brilliant first novel from Kevin Power, just launched, and getting a nice bit of well deserved publicity - it's really really good - one of those books that has a real point to it. After that, had a bath, while reading a short story from Tobias Woolf's "Our Story begins", it ended a bit abruptly but was amusing all the same - the story - not the bath. Then had my drying hair read - a book I keep by the hairdryer, at the moment it's AM Homes' "The end of Alice", a very disturbing, but also astounding read, you can't help reading on altho you sometimes don't want. AM caught my attention from reading her short story collection "Things you should know", and during the week I was chauffered to and from work by her "This book will save your life" - another quirky and amazing little gem, but not one for the car really, her writing is really good - but doesn't work on the road - it's too dense, you want to rewind every few seconds - lucky I still have a hard copy - another second hander - to peruse sometime - maybe while on my upcoming great big sunny holiday....

I'm reading Haruki and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as Haileys' "Wheels" - will keep you posted on them when I finish - I need some help -

Best book title seen today "If you liked school, you'll love work"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

my chat with Ann

Went to a little gathering, haw haw, to see Anne Enright last night - see how I spell Ann/Anne both ways, so that I'll be guaranteed to be right 50% of the time - in the Irish Writer's Centre. Part of the hourglass readings - and they actually do have an hourglass there, v impressive stuff.

Ann said - among other things that winning the booker prize didn't matter, that she can multitask to the point that she can write several books at once while reciting her kids schedules, and that she can't wait to settle into writing another book - she finds it good to have one constantly on the go - to occupy the obsessive part of the brain. She read - no really performed a brilliant story written on the theme of Pride, done for a 7 deadly sins kind of thing for RTE.

I asked a couple of questions - from the second last row of the audience, really deep and meaningful stuff like "do you show anyone your work before you're finished it?" (The answer was no - if you care - she doesn't anymore because her husband gave up years ago - also she said that in writing groups etc you know you're on the right track if you think you're right and everyone else is wrong,,, hmmm. - what if you're just disagreeable??)

Well worth a visit anyway - the hourglass readings are run by the ever entertaining Dermot Bolger, their next visitor is Deirdre Purcell, followed closely by John Boyne in striped pyjamas.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bukowski on Poetry

Came across this yesterday in U tube. Couldn't resist putting it up. Be warned - he does use some colourful phrases, and doesn't have much time for other poets - so sensitive souls might be best advised to give it a miss!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The pip and the pip squeak

So - here's the latest on the books that have been accompanying me to work and back in the last couple of weeks.

Knew Mr Pip would be good, and he didn't dissappoint. The book is about fiction, and the importance of books, their function as friends, and a very real means of escape. It is engagingly told from the point of view of a young girl, whose world is a bit shattered by the conflicts tearing through her isolated island. The real horror comes up a bit suddenly, had to rewind the cd to see how my hero was left in the position we last saw him in. The end dragged very slightly, if I was to cut anything out it'd be the little bit about the trip to England. But really a very fine book otherwise.

Now on to the pip squeak. At the moment I'm listening to a horrific sci fi book called "Shock" - by Robin Cook. Thankfully it's not the politician, but instead an american who specialises in Medical type stuff. The writer calls his characters "The women" all the time, "The women went for coffee, the women laughed, the women exchanged their signature glances". The story itself is a good enough yarn, but "the women" found themselves enwrapped in their current conundrum only after 10 rather tough going cds where every bit of high tech is gasped over in their working day - it sound like it was written in 1980 - when a phone with a list of phone numbers in it would have been impressive, you'd forgive this of course - only for the fact that wikipedia assures me that the book came out in 2000. hmmm. I have no doubt that "the women" will make it through the next 2 cds and miraculously come out in one piece, but will be sure to let you know if they don't.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

The best stand by far at the leapordstown wedding fair.

Look closely at the title.

Worth every cent of the 10 euro entry fee....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mystic Meg

I have found a loophole in the time space continuum and have just realised I can travel back in time to write Saturday the 11th's lotto numbers, today!

So here they are:

7, 23, 25, 42 - I forget the rest - too lazy to write em down - I'd be a really rubbish time traveller...

In other news. This morning I filled my little travel mug as usual with a hot black liquid, I knew I wasn't as perky as usual - put it down to Thursday tiredness, but guess what? I got home only to find, to my horror, that the coffee was "Entkoffeiniert"!!! - This was translated this evening for me, by my cosmopolitan other half, to mean decaff!! I was as sleepy as a 5 week old golden retriever - as illustrated in the below. Watch it - he's so darn cute!

And yes - if you're wondering, I have already given up on my noble resolution of yesterday. Darn it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Case of the mysterious dissappearance of the magical flying CarPet

Yes the wonderful little car pet that I spoke of in the last post is no more. He was last seen Tuesday morning, and stuck with the front windscreen as far as Castledermot, it is rumoured that he may have kept going straight there for Carlow. Tis a pity. I think the fame got to him, all the people eager for news of him, simply got to his tiny little head, not to mention those calling for his death!
New resolution for me regarding blogs by the way - "must not ever do blogging unless have done some other more important work - ie real writing.... even a little bit." So whenever there's a post here, you'll know it's a little reward for me, having done something brilliant for myself - the post will be a celebration, a little whooppee for me - rather than the work dodging excuse it has sometimes been up to now. And by work I mean real work in the pretentious "My life's work ie writing great novels" kinda way. Not the other thing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Fly

I have a pet fly who has been accompanying me to and from work for the last week or so. It's a bit weird. It's a small one, with 6 superthin legs, almost the shape of a mosquito - but bigger. Not that I really know what a mosquito looks like. He sits on my windscreen, and I keep having a quick little guilty panic when I turn on the wipers, cos I think I'm about to crush him, but then I remember he's on the inside. He's a remarkable little fellar really, withstands all kinds of temperatures, from the icy cold we've had in Lucan lately, to the near sauna conditions, that I sometimes have the urge to experience via the heaters in my car. He's also extremely well travelled, for a fly. What other little fly can say he's travelled 500 miles or so in each of the 2.5 or however many weeks they live? (not including those sneaky smug little buggers that come in on aeroplanes). My fly has really seen the world. And to think, I tried to shoo him out the window when I first saw him. I mean he's extremely well behaved too. Never flies into my face when I drive, unless of course he's planning something, lulling me into a false sense of security. Although he's not really a fly that looks like he's planning something, not the type of fly that rubs his front hands together - not like those sneaky blue bottle feckers. Enough! If you're still reading this - I commend your endurance - you probably watch the apprentice too, hell you could be the apprentice, you should enter next year.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Half of a yellow sun

Just finished listening to the above titled book in the car on the way home this evening. It's good, really good. Tough in parts, if you don't like that kind of thing - haunting images of war etc. Makes you appreciate how good we have it I suppose. With all the talk of the car crash that is our world economy, I feel lucky not to live with the fear that my fiancee might be conscripted, or that where I live will be taken over by soldiers. Sobering listening.

Not that I'd be driving drunk - like I don't need sobering listening for that reason, I just like it sometimes. Mister Pip is up next, have seen the writer talking at the writer's fest, so am looking forward to that.... not sure how deep and meaningful it is ... something about an isolated island somewhere south of the equator and charles dickens.... I know you'll be on the edge of your seat till you hear more about that one.....
Don't blame me by the way if half of a yellow sun is really bad/ boring for long stretches - some of the cds were scratched, and I glazed over for some other bits - concentrating on the driving!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Competition is good sauce

Ok - now there is no way I am letting that chicken chow mein go to Domestic Oubliette without a fight - so here's my entry for Uiscebot's turn cheesy photos into art challenge.
See below - My version of Andy warhol's Marylin melanges. Looks a bit like a twisted, overpopulated version of the brady bunch. So if you want it, save it now, cos this is one that's goin up for a limited time only. Mostly all taken on one slightly eventless journey from the midlands - there's a me for all seasons....

That's quite enough of that now!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Morning

It's a real sunday morning - slightly sunny, no deeds to do, all's quiet - except for the dishwasher, car alarms going off in the distance, birds walking on the corrugated style plastic roof over the kitchen.

Felt like a listen to the following

The weather in the vid is a bit miserable, but it's worth a listen. Love a bit of Lou.

It does take ages to upload videos though, so now I've been surfing you tube for the last 10 mins, listening to all of Lou's back catalogue. And not doing any actual work - hate that. Don't expect to see too many more videos here, I might as well warn ye now....

Do I just need a faster computer?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The late latest

Well, as promised - here's the low down on the coolest show in Ireland - the late late.

Last night it was so cool, Pat had not one, but two non interviews. Anyone can do one - see Domestic Oubliette on Dave Letterman's non interview of John McCain. Pat didn't have Prof Keane on to talk about health. Then he showed an interview with a Rabbi - and then admitted - only after the fact, that the Rabbi actually wasn't there in person, prerecorded. What a legend!

Another highlight would have been witnessing Boyzone's latest attempt at a dance routine, they must be older than I thought, but it basically consists of them shuffling about, pointing their feet in different directions. It became clear later that they were just trying to conserve their energy, since Pat forced them to stand up for their brief interview. It was heartbreaking really, to see the small cute one grovelling - saying "Thanks for having us Pat" "That's fine lads, just once you understand you're not big enough to sit down with me anymore". They nodded and shuffled off. Even Brendan Bowyer looked more cheerful, with his happy song about the fact that he doesn't break like Crystal. He does have a great voice.

Anyway - I did have a nice lie in, after all, so that was good.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The holiday ends....

I've just had three lovely days off. Am about to embark on two more days off, but everyone else is off too - so they don't count...

Like the above lazy mutt - I just want more lie-ins. Sadly, have been too excited of late to lie in for ages, or maybe I just haven't stayed up late enough.
Alright - tonight I am going to challenge myself to stay up for the entirety of the late late show - full report tomorrow!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another First

Well, the reading in the ballroom of farmleagh went very well. I am assured by my mother, and my Fiancee that I was one of the best of the thirty or so poets who read, and they're not biased, honestly. Some real highlights were provided by the other Lucan writers who were there. It was a great evening, and the pace was perfect.

Another high point of yesterday was my first time talking to Pat McCabe, who gave an impromptu interview with Dermo B (if Triona can call him that so can I!). I use the term talking very loosely. I was there, and he talked, and I asked a couple of questions. It was a huge thrill though, he's one of the reasons for writing. Reading the worst bits of the Butcher Boy, felt like getting punched in the gut. It was so cool to hear his story, also the fact that he idolizes Dorothea Brande's "Becoming a Writer". A brilliant book about writing written in the 30's, it has a fantastic approach, and includes invaluable advice on the best types of typewriters out there...

On another front - think everyone should see what's happening in Denmark - it's a real shame - nice place - if I can just attach it... here goes - my first video on the blog - the first thing is getting irritating now right?