Thursday, October 26, 2006

strange haircuts

Ho hum, I despair of ever trying to keep up with the kids.

Is it the early signs of freaking out due to my recent twenty-ninth birthday, or was I right to ask for that fringe?

I look in the mirror and think, 'that's different, funky almost. It definitely reminds me of something'.

Then I walk away humming and smiling, I walk away with a swagger as I go. Suddenly I'm imagining all sorts of daffodils and strawberries and happiness. Life is good, I think to myself, and it is great to be at an age where you can express yourself through your hair-do.

I catch a glimpse of my reflection, and inwardly without even realising, I remember, 'it's that guy from Spinal Tap, that's who I look like.'

Suddenly the pink and yellow turns lurid and I realise that I have to wear this zigzag fringe until it grows out.

Flashbacks to a spot I had at the age of seventeen, thinking creatively I adhesed a plaster to my face. This created hoots of hilarity in a male schoolmate, who insisted I reveal my growth.

Naively I did, to which he said,

'Jesus, I can see it growing - I swear!'

I recoiled, saying 'really?'

'Yeah - in front of my eyes, it's BLEEDIN MASSIVE. Oh my God...'

'WHAT' I shrieked

'Jesus... That's WEIRD' he said

My hand quickly travelled to my face


Blah. I still haven't learnt my lesson. Tskch, what was I thinking.

an otherwise insignificant day

Winter began today, I can feel it. The trees were shivering off their leaves, and the sky was crying and wailing the end of autumn.

I am cosy, tucked up in my warm house with a big mug of coffee, ten pages into a good book. I pause just for a few minutes to write this and to make a token gesture at writing a hundred words or so onto my story.

The night howls away outside and I sigh, it's good to be at home after a boring day in work and a busy evening doing drama and having chats.

Later, briefly I considered doing something, or as I often do now, spending time agonising over finding direction for my rudderless state and resulting gloom of doom, but no, I smiled contentedly and decided instead to salute the changing of the seasons through adorning my feet with slipper-socks.

Otherwise, apart from brief daydreams about pumpkins and halloween, and making a resolution to be nice to other drivers, which resulted in many waves from fellow road-users, it was an insignificant day for me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why I don't want Ryanair to take over Aer Lingus

This is one woman's campaign against Michael O'Leary taking over Aer Lingus.

Dear Michael,

I know that you are a very successful business man, and I suspect that you aspire to take over the world, albeit gradually. But I would like to ask you not to buy my favourite airline, Aer Lingus.

I think it's in your interest, and mine, if you take over more sympathetic businesses, such as maybe McDonalds, or Tesco, or the M50 Toll-bridge, to fulfil your life's dream, and leave Aer Lingus alone.

All of these businesses would, in their tiresome, tedious lack of consideration for the consumer, better suit your aims.

Take my experience on Aer Lingus this week, flying to and from Paris. It was pleasant, calm, informative, enjoyable and I paid more, as I want to have a pleasant journey. To me, the journey is a key part of any holiday.

Imagine the lengths you will have to go to just to fit Aer Lingus into the Ryanair school of flight. And imagine the efforts I will have to go to just to avoid flying by Ryanair.

I support consumer choice, and anyone who wishes to travel distances at a reasonable price, whilst to a great degree sacrificing their comfort, is as far as I'm concerned, fully welcome and able to do so, due in no small terms, to your adoption of the South West Airlines model of business. Following Porters' strategy of cost, you have succeeded in making a very good product. Well done.

Unfortunately it is a product that I as a consumer, don't enjoy. I travelled once by Ryanair, and perhaps some time in the future due to unforseen circumstances, may again. However, to be honest, I won't travel by that mode unless there is no alternative, as I thought it was rubbish scrambling for a seat, scary that the staff looked so unhappy and frustrated, and smelly (literally, we sat near the toilets, which didn't seem to have been cleaned).

So what will happen to consumers like me?

What is in it for you to erode away a brand that I'm fond of, and trust. Wouldn't it be more to your advantage to buy another airline whose customers rever and respect you - say easyjet, or bmi?

I don't think many people even want you to, your own customers included. They won't be able to feel contented that they're getting a bargain if you own the competition. I mean, where will your selling point go if you buy the dearer brand? They may be suspicious - and if your price goes up at all, they might think, 'is it because he spent so much on that dear airline he used to say was a rip-off?'

And if you go on to buy all the airlines in the world, well then all airlines will be budget, and then the customer will feel jipped either way. Plus I'll be forced to start travelling by Zepplin, and other more imaginative customers who don't like your service, will probably start inventing time travel or holiday at home, Bord Fáilte will be delighted.

Anyway, my arguments won't convince you, and you'll probably do it anyway.

So, I'll dust off my flippers and snorkel, and the Irish sea won't know what's hit it.



ps. Also, I think you'll be bored, I mean, who will you have to slag off - especially if Bertie doesn't get back in this time?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This evening I read a good book, it's by MJ Hyland and is called 'Carry me Down'. Where some people like to read deeply, I seem to favour reading quickly, and while this can be extremely enjoyable, it also can be expensive.

Until I gave up smoking except on the rare ocassion when I do, I thought nothing of spending over six euro on a packet of twenty cigarettes, which I would chuff merrily in a day or two or three.

This habit of reading is obviously more positive to my health, and while you might argue the environment suffers as I chug my way through tree after tree, I would counter attack that these tomes provide ample insulation in my little house.

Still, reading at my current speed is more expensive than smoking - I bought Arthur and George late last week, and the aforementioned book today. I also am nearly finished a biography of Clive James (I intersperse this with other books - Clive is funny, yet I'm strangely repelled by his honest description of masturbating as a schoolboy, and have to take a break every fifty or so pages). In between I devoured many papers and magazines. There is no sating this appetite for reading at the moment.

I find it comes in waves too, sometimes I will lug a book around for weeks, so enamoured am I by the smells and intrigue of the real world. Leaves will tumble from trees rather than gummed binders, and I will meet with friends for laughs rather than uncover plots and hidden truths.

A month and a half ago, I was in a twilight created by Philip Roth, reading The Plot against America, American Pastoral and My Life as a Man over a few weeks. Then just because I felt like it, I stayed in America (north and south) reading the aptly named 'Indecision' for that is what I felt, and I bought the book on impulse.

Of course, nobody can stay in America for too long without a visa, and so I find myself back in old Europe with the intriguing 'Arthur and George' which is a semi real/fiction account of Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji's childhood and subsequent intertwinned moment in history. I thought it was an extremely well written, quite literary romp. And boy do I like a good story. I've stayed in Europe with today's book also, and even travelled home to Ireland for this one.

Is there something disconcerting about transcending continents and decades so quickly? I feel completely spazzed after finishing Carry Me Down a few minutes ago. MJ Hyland travels from Wexford to Ballymun, both places I'm familiar with, and she uses an eleven year old boy as our guide. I found Patrick McCabe's Butcher Boy brought to mind. Not to say Hyland is derivative, rather she has her own style of writing, which is beautiful, poetic and flowing.

I was terribly impressed, and possible bought the book, based on an endorsement by JM Coetzee on the cover. I love the two Coetzee books I've read - Disgrace and Youth - I feel that he speaks honestly, rather like Roth. Albeit that they speak from two different continents - Africa and USA respectively.

Who knows where I'll travel to with my next book - Margaret Atwood has a nice one out, except as it is hardback I don't know if I can stretch to it on my budget. Toni Morrison was recommended also, maybe I'll try her. Although I have been going through a period fetish reading Somerset Maugham, so who knows maybe they have another of his if I search far and wide enough in the book shops in town...

I love reading, I love writing. But I love reading more.

Monday, October 09, 2006

a few of my favourite things.

In an effort to Pollyanna all the ills of the world to rights, these are a few of my favourite things that happened today:

Smell - Leftover blueberry cake from Superquinn.

Moment - Blissed out in yoga class during relaxation, feeling absolutely nothing / Nice txt from someone saying thank you for something I almost forgot I did weeks ago.

Laugh - Larry David and Ted Danson scrapping in Episode 1 of Third Series, Curb your Enthusiasm / Black humoured comment in work, that I can't repeat here...

Taste - Last glug of my cappuchino at lunchtime

Sound - Distant sound of the washing machine through the floor while I write is really cosy

Recent Memory - Swimming yesterday and being underwater listening to the sounds above / Reaching 68,000 words at 1am this morning

I was hoping for some profundity in my analysis, but retrospectively it was just an uneventful day.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The onset of madness

Last night when I was sleeping I was someone else. And this morning I realised I'm not sure how long I've been me, or whether I've always been me, or if that was who I really am when I'm asleep. Tough thoughts first thing on Monday morning.

The fact is, this morning when I woke it took a few minutes, or many seconds for me to remember who I am, of course morning radio blows the cobwebs out and while it's the strangest sensation, of being someone else and then being yourself, but not recognising yourself, well you get on with it really.

Still I'm not sure if this dream just randomly occurred, or if a conversation I had earlier this week precepitated it.

Apparently, I was informed by a reliable source that people often have accidents after which family and friends report their personality have altered dramatically.

They may have been a wild child, who suddenly becomes studious and introspective, or a really serious individual becomes a prankster.

Take people who have experienced life threatening diseases - a friend of mine who sadly passed away a few years ago, told me that prior to his first bout of cancer (I met him between this and his last), he had a high powered sales job, and the impression he gave me was that he had been quite the stress head until he faced his disease. When I met him, he was like a rock of calm in an ocean of malcontent, and he certainly took much anguish out of my early twenty angst with his reassuring presence.

Either it's just a one off dream, or I'm slowly turning insane.

The other thing about this dream where I was someone else, was it reminded me of times when I was in primary school and when I woke from a deep sleep, I would panic that today was the first time I had been this person, and for all I knew, that after sleep that night, my memory of being who I was today would erode, and that it was all a futile waste of time.

Since I've grown up a little, I don't tend to indulge in such navel gazing philosophical questions, and yet, if your subconscious is forcing you to confront the nature of your reality and the frailty of your personality, there isn't much escaping the nausea.

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