Slán go fóill, a chairde

November 29, 2006 at 9:28 pm | Posted in exam, fun at work, nonsense | 26 Comments

You may note I’ve been unable to get around to your blog recently. Sorry about that. I won’t be around at all for the next week and a half or so. Try not to be upset, there’s probably plenty of posts you haven’t read, so get going on the archives. I’ll be testing you when I return. Anyway, it’s crunch time for this exam (it’s on the 9th), and I have an interview with these guys next week too. Wish me luck. Or not. Whatever. There’s no such thing as luck.

Say hi in the comments if you’re so inclined. Shake it handy everyone.

Top 5 Scary Moments – #3

November 29, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Posted in Galway, nonsense, scary, scary moments, tales of youth | 12 Comments

If I tell you I used to drink Buckfast with pant-shitting regularity, will your opinion of me change? If you don’t know anything about Uncle Buck, the link will tell all. Suffice to say it has something of a reputation as being the beverage of choice for anti-social miscreants intent on wreaking havoc on “the man”, the man in question being any cunt who gets in their fucking way while looped up on the old B.

It is not a pleasant drink. It has a consistency and viscosity similar to cough syrup, and I’ve always found the taste to be positively gag-inducing. However, the combination of high levels of caffeine and alcohol in the drink makes for an almost amphetamine-like buzz, ideal for someone who loved to mosh mental in clubs but needed a bit of a kickstart to get going. Since most of my late teens were spent in clubs lepping about to the music of the day, Bucky was frequently my beverage of choice. Thankfully, I was never involved in causing any of the violence or anti-social behaviour that are now synonymous with guzzling the brown sauce.

I’ve been witness to it though: beatings, bottlings, awful stuff, stuff that happens because some people can’t manage a drink, not because of what they drink. Some cunts just can’t go out and enjoy themselves without feeling it necessary to do harm to others, regardless of whether they’ve had a feast of pints, a bottle of vodka, a couple of lines, whatever.

If I were in primary school, this essay would be called “A Narrow Escape”.

One evening, myself and two of the lads, Droighneán and Snoopy, were on our way out to Salthill, and we stopped at the bottom of Taylor’s Hill to drink our Buckfast from our Supermacs* cups. (To complete the filthy hobo look, you had to call into a fast food place for some paper cups, and drink your beverage – concealed in a brown paper bag – from the cups. Made you look completely innocuous, instead of looking like the kind of trouble-causing fucker who drinks from a bottle. A few packs of Tayto Snax were also considered an ideal complement to the beverage.)

To save an unnecessary and boring description about where we were, please see this diagram:

The red blob is us – the three of us were sitting on a step in an alleyway, guzzling our beverages, when two minky-looking hard bastards walk past. We can feel them looking at us as we do our best to pull off the I’ll-look-at-anything-else-as-long-as-I-don’t-have-to-make-eye-contact-with-this-
scary-cunt face that you have to put on when you go out around town these days. One of the two, real friendly-like, asks us for the time. We tell him, and they move on.

If Snoopy hadn’t been there, I have no doubt I would’ve ended up in intensive care just up the road in the Regional that evening. He was sharp, that lad – his spider-senses were tingling as those lads walked away. Droighneán and me, pah: never mind any extra-sensory perception, our regular senses were blissfully apathetic, dulled from the consumption of the oul Bucky. We’d have been fucked without Snoopy. Bless you sir.

As soon as those guys walked away, Snoopy stood up. He was a bloodhound, and he smelled trouble. Paul and I were sitting on the step, still sucking down the brown gloop, needing to get drunk enough to enjoy CJ’s later. CJ’s was an awful club. We’re bantering on, talking the usual shite we always talk, when Snoopy shouts “Run byes, run!”

The urgency in his voice leaves little to question. I have a split second to look over my shoulder to see the guy who asked for the time come sprinting towards us. Lack of cuddles as a child means he now wants to cuddle us, though I suspect it’s the less traditional type of cuddle, where intense agony, rather than love, is shared. He’s pulling a balaclava over his face, he’s fisting one of those cosh** things and he is fucking flying at us. Fear is a powerful motivator, and we’re all reasonably fit; he hasn’t a chance of catching us with that much adrenaline on our side. We run like fuck up Taylor’s Hill, in time to see Thug #2 coming around from the other direction (see diagram). They’d been attempting the old western trick of heading us off at the pass, but, thank Christ, Snoopy had been onto them faster than most people would’ve been, and we were able to get the fuck out of Dodge just in time.

Taylor’s Hill is a steep feckin hill – we made it about halfway up before we stopped. Those enormous cunts were nowhere to be seen, but we decided it might be best to make our way out to Salthill regardless. Soon we were laughing about the near-death experience, high and jittery off the bucketloads of adrenaline, and we nearly collapsed with laughter when we looked at each other and realised that throughout the entire incident, we did not spill a drop of drink.

*Irish fast food joint. Tasty and tempting food.

**blackjack

~

In other news, go and check out Blunt Cogs. I just had my first cartoon published there (thanks to Kim), which I reproduce for you here:

Red Hot Chili Peppers: 1999 – 2006

November 28, 2006 at 10:52 pm | Posted in nonsense, red hot chili peppers, tales of youth, woodstock | 16 Comments

This is a continuation of this. Never mind the fact that you don’t like the band, just read the fucking post.

1999: I go all the way to America to spend the summer hanging around with Irish and Scots. For the first time in my life, I am successful (to the point of being choosy) with female girlwomen. Ladies of all nationalities are throwing themselves at me. I take full advantage of their foolishness, then act like a dick. Until I meet Linzi.

One morning around 5am, first light, walking home wasted from a party, I find $300 in $20 bills scattered on the street outside an Eckerd. Don’t ask, I can’t explain it. Later that day, I blow the lot on CDs and clothes. One of the CDs I pick up is the recently released Californication. The music on Californication is still a powerful reminder of the summer of ’99 (particularly as I got to see Red Hot Chili Peppers at Woodstock*), and getting together with Linzi. When we say goodbye to one another that September (unsure if we’ll be seeing each other again), one of the things I give her is a copy of that album.

2002: By the Way is released at the same time as I emigrate to Scotland. In six turbulent months between July and December 2002, I fail, then pass my driving test (sitting two tests within five days of each other), I emigrate, move in with my future in-laws and sleep on their couch for four months, start a new job in a new city, buy my first house and car, get myself £10,000 in debt to do up the house, learn to drive badly, then well, on a motorway, and top it all off by getting married. And By the Way was in my CD player constantly.

That time in my life is a yardstick for measuring stress; nothing in my life has come close, not even when we found out we were unexpectedly with child.

2004: For certain reasons, Scar Tissue is the first song I play my first-born child.

2006: Stadium Arcadium is released, but I am now too poor to buy CDs. I still haven’t heard it. Is this how it ends? Are such sacrifices in the name of raising kids normal?

*incidentally, I must have been too stoned or drunk, but I missed all the violence and misery at Woodstock ’99, and had myself a feckin great time. I saw some fires, and remember a crowd of dickhead American jock types singing the roof is on fire, but I wasn’t privy to any of the terrible stuff the event became known for afterwards.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: 1991 – 1999

November 28, 2006 at 9:00 am | Posted in nonsense, red hot chili peppers, tales of youth | 19 Comments

The Swearing Lady, in her hernia-inducingly humorous posts about how to be Irish, cites a love of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as one of the prerequisites to being a real Irishman (or Irishwoman, if you were, for example, female). Yesterday, a commenter in her blog said “The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band with two songs. Californication and the other one.”

I was appalled, so my response was:

Holy God…you blasphemous bejayzer. Two songs my hole. I can track my youth from the age of 12 on Chili Peppers songs.

I was half-joking, but thinking about it on the train* home, I realised, you know, that’s not so far from the truth:

1991: I start secondary school the same month that Blood Sugar Sex Magik is released, but it’s to be more than a year before I get to hear the album. Then, some time in ’92, a lad at school called Cronan gives me a tape, a copy of a copy (ridiculous hiss almost drowning out the music – you kids today with your MP3s and your HIVs don’t know how good you have it) of an album called What Hits?!, a kind of a mock Greatest Hits album by the Chili Peppers. It’s a hodge-podge of covers and originals going back to their earlier days, and includes a brilliant version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. There are a good few stand-out songs on the album (Show me your Soul and Knock me Down come to mind), but the one that made me really fall in love with their music was a little known song called Under the Bridge.

1992: A lad at school gives me a tape, a copy of a copy…seeing a pattern here? Heh. I’ve long since gone and bought all this stuff legitimately, but when you’re in your early teens and your family’s poor and you love music, there’s no other way to listen to it except copying tapes. Anyway, I get a bootlegged copy of Blood Sugar Sex Magik and it gets me through the next few (shitty, awful) years of school. I mean, the song I Could Have Lied may as well have been written for angst-ridden teens going through the agony of unrequited love, and I basked in my angst, oh yes, I relished the pain of what it was like to be an ugly teenager with a crush on an unattainable girl, and RHCP were there with me every step of the way, tending to and ripping open my mental wounds, scraping and soothing in equal measures. I love this album and know practically every word by heart.

1995: In ’94 I get my first job (truly depressing to think that I’ve never not had a job since), and I buy a CD player. My first CD is Soundgarden’s Superunknown, but Chili Peppers’ One Hot Minute is top of my list when it comes out in late ’95. After the near-perfection of BSSM, One Hot Minute is a disappointment: a fractured, disjointed effort sorely missing John Frusciante’s beautiful strumming and alot of the signature harmonies that made Blood Sugar Sex Magik so flippin great. Navarro just wasn’t right for the band, and he didn’t last long after that. That said, there are some classic songs on the album: Aeroplane, My Friends, One Hot Minute and One Big Mob all kick arse, but the one that surpasses them all (and the price of the album’s worth it for this song alone) is Tearjerker, a devastating, poignant tribute to Kurt Cobain written after Kiedis found out about his suicide. It’s a beautiful song, a perfect counterpoint to some of the near-metal Navarro-influenced tracks, and again, was a balm for a wanker in his late teens who was wallowing in despair at never being able to get anywhere with the opposite sex.

1997: I start going out with my first serious girlfriend. Chili Peppers have no new albums out. I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out. The relationship lasts until 5th June ’99, and ends with a kiss goodbye at Shannon Airport when I leave for America.

Coming soon: Red Hot Chili Peppers: 1999 – 2006.

*in between listening to the inane conversation of two of the stupidest bitches ever conceived – here’s a memorable snippet of idiocy:

Neddy bitch #1: “Do these trains have drivers?”

Neddy bitch #2: “Nah, they’re all run by computers these days.”

What the fucking fuck? Does she honestly think that the rail infrastructure of the UK is run by a few lads sitting in an office using PCs? I really wanted to turn around and shout “You stupid fuckin eejits, what kind of big thick foolheaded geebags are you? I bet you think planes are flown by remote control like some sort of winged Scalextric, don’t you?” before banging their heads together to try and knock some sense into them.

The eye (updated)

November 27, 2006 at 8:41 am | Posted in blog backup, family, nonsense | 18 Comments

I love lazy Sunday mornings. Yesterday morning was, for reasons unknown, very quiet, and I fancied my chances…

I arch an eyebrow, Bond-style (yes, in my mind), and give Linzi a look that says I Am Mentally Undressing You, Be Aroused.

No joy. She’s engrossed in her novel. I’m obviously being too subtle. Better make my intentions clear.

“Jaysis, I’ve an awful serious horn for you.”

Cue the rolling eyes; it’s all in the eyes.

“Kav…we had sex last night, how could you be so horny this morning?”

I am flabbergasted. Sometimes I wonder if she knows me at all.

“Wha? That doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t say ‘Oh, I’m not hungry this morning, I ate yesterday’, or ‘I’m not tired this evening, I slept last night’, would you? No, you wouldn’t.”

“Stop answering your own questions, I hate that.”

I know exactly how to push her buttons.

“Would I stop answering my own questions? No, I wouldn’t.”

“Jesus Christ, you really know how to get a girl in the mood, Kav.”

The monitor crackles to life.

“Waaah, waah, waaah. Waaaaaaaaah.”

Oh yeah, that’s right. We have kids. I was thinking it was a bit quiet around here this morning.

~

On a serious note, I’m attempting to use this software to back up my blog. If you give even a small crap about your blog, it might be worth backing it up. It’s FREE!

I’ll let you know how I get on – if all goes well, I’ll recommend it.

UPDATE: That software’s pretty damn easy to use. It’s highly configurable, but if all you want’s a straight copy of your blog copied to a local folder, it’s ideal. I’d recommend it, but only if you have a decent connection. Dial-up users will be clawing their eyes out. It took me about 20 minutes on a 1Mb broadband connection to back up all my blogs. Worth it for the peace of mind.

Anomalous serious post (here’s a topic you’re welcome to rant about)

November 24, 2006 at 11:54 am | Posted in bill, electricity, fun at work, price of electricity, serious | 30 Comments

Things aren’t always as they seem, eh Madge?

Working in the UK utilities industry (gas/electricity/renewables), one of the questions I am asked with irritating regularity, usually posed to me in an aggressive tone as if I alone were responsible for the horrendous price rises over the past couple of years, is “How the fuck can you cunts justify whacking on a 10/20/30% price-rise on electricity to the customer? It’s ridiculous and unfair, considering the enormous profits you guys already make.”

The problem with the answer to this is that I can’t give a simple response, so people end up losing interest half-way through my explanation, content to bathe in the vitriol of their chosen viewpoint rather than consider that perhaps there’s a valid reason behind this after all. If this is a topic that interests or concerns you, bear with me and I will try to explain how it works, albeit on a very simplified level.

If it doesn’t interest you, fuck off and read some of the fluff below.

My comments here refer to the UK utilities industry, but the ESB in Ireland is organised in roughly the same way.

The electricity industry is divided into three main areas: Networks (aka Wires/Transmission), Wholesale, and Retail. The networks industry is concerned with the infrastructure used to supply electricity from the power station to our homes and businesses. There are few players in this industry, for obvious reasons: pylons and overhead cables are rather unsightly items; if companies were given free rein to build their own infrastructure, there would be a mass of ugly power cables criss-crossing the land. Therefore, the networks industry is tightly regulated so that each area of the country is managed by one company. This company is wholly responsible for the wires in this area.

To prevent anti-competitive behaviour, there are equally stringent regulations in place in the next area: Wholesale. These regulations prevent favouritism; for example, if my business manages the network in this area, I’d be tempted to sell electricity to the wholesale side of the business for less than I sell it to our competitors, thereby increasing profit margins. However, this is velly velly illegal (as fatmammycat might say), punishable by enormous fines and the like.

The upshot is, at any given point in time, all companies buying wholesale gas and electricity must be charged the same amount for it. The trick is in knowing when to buy and when to hold off, a practice known as hedging. Some companies are brilliant at hedging, and this makes the company serious dough. Taking a common example: currency. Say a pound is, right this second, worth two dollars. If you buy a million pounds worth of dollars, you then have two million dollars. Five minutes later, the dollar price drops and a pound is only worth a dollar fifty. You sell your two million dollars, but because the dollar has strengthened against the pound, you make back £1,330,000, or an extra £330,000 on your initial one million investment.

The figures used there are kind of extreme, but you get the idea. Market fluctuations means this happens hundreds of times every day, and the key is knowing when to buy and sell. The exact same rules apply to the wholesale business buying electricity.

Networks and wholesale are known as the regulated industries, because they are strictly governed to ensure they’re run fairly. The third area of the electricity business is completely deregulated, meaning it’s a free-for-all out there in the market. The third area is the customer-facing side of the industry: retail.

This is the side of the business the average man on the street is familiar with. You know all the big and not-so-big names, I’m not going to list them. You’ve seen the ads with all of them telling you they’re the best. I’m not going to argue. The beauty of modern regulations is that, unlike years ago, we’re now free to choose who supplies our electricity based on which company is cheapest for us.

All of the above is a background to give an explanation as to why the cost of electricity is increasing. Put simply, the fuels (coal/gas) used to power the stations used to transmit the electricity to your home and business are becoming scarcer and more costly to mine (deeper, harder to find). Therefore, the power station is charged more to buy the coal/gas. Therefore, the increased cost of producing electricity must be reflected in the wholesale price of the electricity.

Due to the factors described above, the wholesale price of electricity has increased enormously over the past few years. Clever well-managed hedging allows businesses to make profits in the wholesale area, but it is inevitable that such price increases will eventually be passed on to the customer. The industry does not take this lightly, but the fact remains that it has to be done. My company, though it makes good profits, actually makes a loss when you look at the retail side of the business on its own. This is considered a necessary evil to keep customers happy.

It needs to be understood that traditional means of generating power will, probably in our children’s lifetimes, no longer be viable. Tens of millions of pounds are invested every year into ensuring that renewable sources of energy, like wind turbines, are created, but not enough’s being done. Part of this is a cultural problem, part of it is lack of support from the government. The government have seen making promises regarding renewable energy as a vote-loser, so rather than drive the issue, they’ve proposed penalising the industry with huge fines if targets aren’t met by certain deadlines. The industry needs support to achieve its target, rather than penalisation in the event it doesn’t, if it’s to be successful in developing next-generation methods of energy production.

On the cultural side, you’ve got the NIMBY folk who on one hand are clamouring for something to be done about the situation, and on the other are saying, “Oh no, no wind farm in my area, those things are ug-lee.” You can’t have it both fucking ways.

And finally, the industry themselves need to speak up. I can’t for the life of me understand why this isn’t explained in layman’s terms to people. It’s not like it’s a secret – any of this info I spoke of is in the public domain. It’s just that it’s usually described far too technically for people to take it in. The industry needs some good PR people to explain the situation.

Anyway, I realise I will be lucky if more than two people read this far, but it’s something I needed to spill out. I’ll come back and check this for sense later, but for now, what you see is what erupted from my mind.

Just to clarify: I’m not claiming everything here to be 100% accurate, and my views are entirely personal and don’t reflect those of my company or the industry. All the shite I spout here is just opinion.

HAVE A SPECTACULAR WEEKEND.

Top 5 Scary Moments – #4

November 21, 2006 at 7:54 pm | Posted in Galway, nonsense, scary, scary moments, tales of youth | 27 Comments


On the rare occasions when there’s a heavy fall of snow in Ireland, the country’s infrastructure more or less grinds to a halt. Snow is an unprecedented event in a country kept depressingly ambient by the Gulf Stream. When I was young, I often wondered what it would be like to live in a place where the seasons were seasons, punctuated by clear changes – hot in the summer, cooler but still sunny in autumn, snowy and crisp in winter. Spring, pah. Spring’s a shite season. You never hear anyone say spring’s their favourite season. Feckin lambs flouncing all over the place, the gays.

Anyway, Ireland’s weather pattern is usually rain followed by scattered showers with intermittent periods of drizzle. Fo’ shizzle, no dizzle. The slightest hint of sun sweating the streets dry triggers jumpers coming off on the pastiest fuckers this side of that albino lad in The Da Vinci Code (ie Irish men).

You can be sure that every year after Ireland’s allocated two weeks of sun near the end of May, there’s two or three stupid cunts whose backs look like burnt rashers. Great fun slapping them though.

Heavy snow meant that half the school (the ones from out the country*), including the fucking redneck teachers, would not show up. Lack of staff meant that us city boys who had no choice but to brave the elements and walk to school would be given the rest of the day off, free to chuck snowballs at the harassed public.

On this particular morning, we were sent home from school, and three of us were walking towards Woodquay, past the Town Hall. This was back when the Town Hall was still a rat-riddled cinema, not a fancy-dan centre for the arts and culture like you see in that link. Traffic was, as you’d expect, at a standstill.

We were playing a game, as stupid dickhead teenagers do. The object of the game was to, using utmost stealth, toss a concealed snowball over your head, so that it lands on the roof or (ideally) the windscreen of one of the cars stuck in traffic. Done right, this was a near-foolproof way of throwing snowballs without getting caught.

All was going well until one of us (not me) decided to throw a snowball at a Toyota Hiace.

If you’re Irish, you will at this point be shaking your head and saying “Kav you stupid cunt. Big mistake.” Well, I told you, it wasn’t fucking me who threw the bastarding thing. Not that it matters.

If you’re not Irish: Toyota Hiace vans –

– were (are?) the vehicle of choice for knackers, a breed best known to foreigners by Brad Pitt’s role in the film Snatch (see top image). They were called pikeys in Snatch, but they’re the same thing, more or less. Sound until you cross them, and then you’re fucked. A large cross-section of them are dangerous creatures, ungovernable by society’s laws and social etiquette.

So when Kevin hit that Hiace, we knew we were fucked. We didn’t even need to wait for the sliding door to roll back, we just ran like zoo-freed chimps. No matter. Seconds later the van door rattled open and our legs turned to jelly as we caught sight of the bullnecked neanderthal bearing down on us, intent on tearing us to shreds with his bare hands.

He was a smart fucker; he went for Kevin first. He could probably smell the guilt. Kevin, sensing this gorilla’s bloodlust**, regressed into an infant before our eyes, just as the guy’s slab-hands wrapped around his throat. The tears flowed fat and quick and he bawled and begged and at that point he did not give a shite that he would be slagged mercilessly for this for months to come, all he wanted was for this big scary motherfucker to let him go.

It worked. He released Kevin, and leapt at me. He was possessed, fuelled by rage and liable to do anything because of it. One of us had almost damaged his Hiace, and that’s worse than riding his sister.

You know how people say “Things went kinda hazy for me at that point?”. That did not happen. I can recall that moment in high definition clarity (four times sharper than your average memory). As he wrapped his hands around my neck, I thought of Homer doing that to Bart in the Simpsons, and when he started to squeeze and snap my head back and forth, he was roaring “Was it yaw? Was it yaw yaw skinneh cont? I’ll rip the fuckin head aff yer shawlders, wha the fock threw it yaw cont?” and while he shouted flecks of spit hit me in the face and one went in my mouth and all I could see were his red eyes and I knew that any second now he was going to slam his forehead down and burst my nose like a ripe tomato and somewhere a girl was shrieking over and over saying “It wasn’t me, please please, it wasn’t me” and then I realise it’s not a girl it’s me and my voice hasn’t even broken yet oh Christ I’m far too young to be killed by a knacker and then he shoves me to the ground and I land in the slush and he storms back to the van because there’s a break in the traffic and I’ve never been so grateful to have a cold wet arse as I am right then.

*in those days, out the country meant anyone living in Carnmore or beyond. Galway’s expanded so much since then that there’s no real distinction between city-dwellers and country-dwellers anymore.

**apologies to Mr Gorilla Bananas, this was written for comic effect and was in no way intended to stereotype gorillas.

Professor Farnsworth says it best

November 21, 2006 at 8:36 am | Posted in fun at work | 17 Comments

I’ve kind of been approached by a company. A big one. They want to interview me. For a job.

They must be mental.

Frailty, thy name is man

November 20, 2006 at 1:01 pm | Posted in family, nonsense | 12 Comments

This morning would be laughable if it hadn’t been such a cliché. Got up late, no time for a shower, raindrops like fists which necessitated the red umbrella, and to top the morning off, wet feet for the day. I’m even making that sucky welly-stuck-in-mud schlop-schlop sound when I walk, so saturated are my phalanges. Walking to work was like the start of one of those ads telling you how shit your life is until you use whatever wonder-product is being flogged. That bit is usually filmed in black and white to emphasise what a dull, unfortunate bastard you are; once said amazing product is used, the world comes alive with vibrant colour and your life improves at least threefold.

I’m waiting for the second half of the ad to kick in.

Linzi is still sick. Pale, snotty and weak, she seems amazed that I’m still angling for a shag these days.

To help her recover, or at least recover her strength enough to be able to shag, I ensured she stayed in bed this weekend. I didn’t really think this through, though. It meant that all weekend, I had sole responsibility for the children. I’m knackered. Coming back to work is a break, and that’s saying something.

After Jack was born, I had the naïve impression that having a second child would be easier. You know, we’d been there before, had two years parenting experience, and all that.

It isn’t easier. It’s harder. Exponentially harder, which seems a bit unfair, really. Shouldn’t it only be twice as hard? It seems not.

With one kid, it’s possible to have some time for yourself, if you’re fairly organised. With two, you must prepare yourself using a level of tactics and strategy that any corporate-policy-loving wanker would be blown away by.

For instance, when you wake in the morning, you hear your older child playing with her doll’s house. You go in to say hello and give her a hug, right?

WRONG!!! Back to training camp, rookie. You leave that kid there while she’s still happy and try to grab a shower before the other one starts screaming blue murder. If you go in and see her, she’ll remember she’s hungry, and she’ll get cranky, quickly, if you don’t feed her. On the other hand, leave her alone and she’ll play contentedly for at least another half an hour.

Or: You wake up, and find holy crap! Jack’s slept right through to half past seven, and he still isn’t waking up. He’s normally devoured a full bottle by half six. Great stuff, you think, and you roll over and go back to sleep.

You stupid cunt. Back to remedial school you go. You see, he’s going to wake up any second now and scream his little lungs out because he’s normally been fed an hour before this, and this means he’s absolutely starving. Inconsolably so. Therefore you must get up right now and put a bottle on for him while he’s still quiet. Go on. You might be exhausted, but you won’t regret it.

There are many pitfalls and ways to avoid them, and I don’t have time to share them all. Unless you’d like more incredible parenting tips, in which case I’d be happy to share. For an appropriate fee.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Enjoy that brief calm spell in the morning before you get them up, because you will not have another one for the next twelve to fourteen hours, after you’ve put them down for the night.

Having kids is fantastic, without a doubt one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a person can have*. This said, based on my experiences over the weekend, I can understand why some women have such a struggle to retain their identity when they become mothers. For the life of me, I had no idea who I was this weekend beyond being “Daddy”. Had sex been available, I imagine I would have been too tired for it, and I’m usually hornier than a bag of rhinos.

I’m lucky enough to have a full-time job – I can leave the house and have a life outside work, however banal that life may be. My admiration for Linzi deepened this weekend, because she does not have the luxury of skiving off for half an hour if she can’t be arsed doing her job. She cannot leave a problem for a day or two in the hope that it will go away, or someone else might deal with it. Well, she could try, but this might lead to someone’s death, or a dose of the runs.

In spite of the stress associated with just getting up and dressing and clothing herself and the kids each day (and let me tell you, just doing this is stressful), Linzi manages to surpass herself every single day. She keeps our house (more or less) immaculate, and the kids clothed and fed. What’s more, much more than this, I did it my way she finds time each day to help them develop. She reads them stories, plays with paint, playdoh, crayons, music, dancing. It’s a conscious encouragement for our kids, an inverted payback for the lack of it we ourselves received. It works. Might not sound like it, but it’s a big fucking deal, too. It’s far easier to just dump them in front of a DVD.

She always makes the effort. When she’s not covered in snot and shivering uncontrollably, she does her hair, dresses nicely, and has time for me, despite being physically and emotionally drained from the “job”. I notice this, and am grateful for it. She’s a no-nonsense person, always wanting to just get on with things, a constant lesson for a faffer like me.

Hamlet had it wrong. Two short days, and I know there’s no way I am cut out for the job Linzi does.

~

I must apologise, I’ve not been commenting on your blogs these days. Things are a bit hectic, and the pressure’s mounting for this exam that’s coming up. I’ve still been reading you all via the magic of Bloglines, but I’m unable to visit you until things calm down here a bit. Don’t worry, I still think you’re cooler than the liquid nitrogen used to burn off the warts I had as a teenager.

*if you want the kid.

Alba de Paor

November 17, 2006 at 2:49 pm | Posted in fun at work | 10 Comments

Goodness me.

Have a good weekend.

And now the birth, death and marriage notices for Galway

November 17, 2006 at 10:05 am | Posted in Galway, random, tales of youth | 12 Comments

One of the things I miss about Ireland is the radio. Not because it’s very good; on the contrary, it’s mainly cack, just a different kind of cack than you get over here. In a typical morning hour on my local station, Galway Bay FM, you might hear Keith Finnegan discussing such diverse topics as mobile phone charges, new mobile phone masts, and the traffic problems in Galway (including drivers using mobile phones), interspersed with a few tunes that haven’t been in the charts since Jesus was a boy.

The ads are terrible, but I’m convinced they’re made that way intentionally.

Example: An ad for cheese, two local-type voices kick the ad off (the marketing team have done their research and know that this appeals to the average joe, who thinks, Lord Jaysis, that ad is so true to life, so realistic, it’s almost as though it could be happening in me own house!)

Voice 1 (female): Jimmy, what are you doing up at three in the morning wearing your underpants?

Voice 2 (young male): (chewing sounds) I can’t stop atein this cheese Mammy.

Voice 1: Ah Jimmy, get up to bed, you’ll have bad dreams with all the cheese you’re eating!

Voice 2: But it tastes so good Mammy!

Smooth voiceover kicks in: If it’s cheese you’re after, try new Galway Cheddar! It’s so tasty, you won’t be able to stop the kids eating it!

Example 2: Local businessman thinks it’s a good idea to do his own ad. Businessman (sounding a little bit uncertain, his monotonous, inflectionless voice confirming that he’s reading from a script):

Hello friends this is Tom McDonald from Old McDonald’s Furniture Bedding and Farming Supplies in Headford County Galway. Sale. Sale. Sale. That’s right folks we’re having a sale here and prices are so low you’ll think that I have gone totally and utterly insane. Couches only forty Euro. Blankets only ten Euro. Milking machines now half-price including installation. But you’ll have to be quick folks. Things are going fasht and when they’re gone they’re gone. So remember for all your furniture bedding and farming supply needs come and visit me Tom McDonald at Old McDonald’s Furniture Bedding and Farming Supplies in Headford County Galway. We’ll give you a personal service that you won’t forget. Hurry down this weekend and get a free spoon with every thousand Euro you spend.

The best bit about Galway Bay FM, though, comes just after the news and weather at the top of the hour. During the news and weather, there’s all the razzmatazz and sound effects to support the broadcaster’s voice, but suddenly, all that drops away, as a sombre voice says

“And now the death notices for Galway.”

No music. No sound effects. The closest thing I can think to it is in the old days on RTE Radio 1 when they’d read out barometric pressure readings from various points around Ireland’s coast. “Malin head, 996 millibars, falling slowly. Achill, 1004 millibars, rising steadily…etc.”

It’s a peculiar phenomenon, listened to fondly by the elderly as a means of organising their weekly diaries (“Julia O’Toole, funeral Monday 11am”) as well as allowing them to bask in the smugness that comes with outliving their contemporaries. For most of us, though, it’s like a snippet of life from a bygone generation, transplanted and spliced into our modern programming*.

Behold, a sample of death notices lifted directly off the website. That’s right, the deaths get posted online too. These would be read out, word for word, in a sombre tone to indicate sympathy:

“And now the death notices for Galway: Joseph, also known as Joe Murray, Killimor, Ballinasloe and formerly of Esker, Banagher. Reposing at Portiuncula Hospital Mortuary this afternoon from 4:30. Removal at 6:30 to St. Joseph’s Church, Killimor. Mass for Joe Murray tomorrow Friday at 11:30. Funeral afterwards to Killimor Cemetery.

Mary Quinn nee McInerney, Geeha, Doorus, Kinvara. Reposing at her daughter Margaret Conole’s residence in Geeha this evening from 5. Removal at 8 to Doorus Church. Mass for Mary Quinn tomorrow Friday at 11. Funeral afterwards to Mount Cross cemetery.

Galway Bay FM would like to sympathise with the families and friends of all the deceased.”

Every time I hear the death notices, I snort with laughter, not out of disrespect for the deceased, but at the concept of broadcasting news of these deaths to the entire city. What possible use can this serve, except to depress people? I mean, if you know the person, you’re going to find out if they died, and if you don’t know them, you don’t give a shite anyway.

And in case you’re about to start defending this ridiculous practice, answer me this first: why is there no newsflash for births or marriages? Galway Bay FM needs to pull their socks up. Either add births and marriages to the report, or get rid of it altogether.

*tongue well in cheek at this statement.

The hunt is on

November 15, 2006 at 1:25 pm | Posted in fun at work, nonsense | 49 Comments

Being a heart-stoppingly incredible husband and father while maintaining a full-time career isn’t easy, but somehow I manage.

The past few days have had me working from home, tending to a sick wife and two cranky but lovable offspring, all the while airing my views at important work meetings, smiling with equal parts benevolence and malevolence, educating starving orphans on the risks of having unprotected sex, and dedicating 25% of my profits to charity. It’s been a trying few days, leaving little time for me to study for the exam looming on the grey horizon that is November’s end.

What a bleak bastard of a month. Roll on December 9th. There will be much alcohol consumed, including some of Samuel L Jackson’s Badass muthafuckin Ale.

I’ve had a lot of nosebleeds recently. They’re quite an accurate measurement of my stress levels. Almost every exam or major life event (wedding, driving test, going down on a girl), even some dates, are preceded by nosebleeds of varying intensity.

Just last week as I jogged through the arid Outback towards the moister northern regions, I was attacked by an elf-like creature with hands made of tinsel. He attempted to thwart my search for fresh blue-winged kookaburra (seasoning for a recipe I was working on) by menacingly shaking his shiny foil hands at me. As luck would have it, my nose chose that exact moment to gush, and I doused Tinself (as I came to know him) with lashings of the red stuff, before setting him on fire. His burning attracted kookaburras from miles around. Dinner that night was a talking point among the web community for days. On my way home I sang, to the tune of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’: “Nosebleed, nosebleed, nosebleed, noseblee-eee-eed, I’m bleeding like a piglet cooked for ham.”

Hmmm, just realised that I’ve covered posts on shitting, puking, farting, phlegm and now, nosebleeds. All I need to do is pull one together on pisses I have had, and that will complete Kav’s Bodily Functions Omnibus, Volume 1. Volume 2 will be dedicated solely to some classic tales about wanking.

~

There is major shit going on at my work at the moment, of particular interest to any of you Scottish blaggers out there. It will undoubtedly make headline national news, and will probably be a bit of an international item as well. Alas, codes of confidentiality and all that cack prevent me from doing anything except dangling this carrot, but those of you with Site Meter and access to Google already know who I work for and can put two and two together from what you’ve already seen in the news about it.

Gah. Fearing for my job does not help the stress levels.

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