Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
One of my favourite pasttimes is reading interviews with writers I love, especially when they impart advice rules or advice on the process of writing. Sometimes they can say ridiculousy pretentious and fucktardly things (eg "you have to be true to the child in your soul" etc) but some of the real heavyweights have fascinating insights into their craft.
At the moment I'm trying to write, but find that I'm lacking the motivation to sit with my notebook and beat my head until something comes out. Watching youtube and reading interviews of my favourite writers is really refreshing and I find it helps get you in the right frame of mind to write
I've been a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut since reading 'Cat's Cradle' a few years ago, and he imparted eight rules for writing short fiction:
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
- Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
- Start as close to the end as possible.
- Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
- Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I was on, yes, Facebook tonight and noticed that a really good friend of The Lady had posted a link to an excellent article from the NYT. It deals with the endemic rise of sex slavery in the US - as opposed to 'traditional' prostitution - and how law enforcement sometimes struggles to notice the difference between the two. At 11 pages it's perhaps a bit bulkier than most articles we blog-jobs will read, but it's an extremely important piece, and just as relevant now as when it was written.
This friend of The Lady, who we'll name 'Ms AS', is a really lovely person and incredibly intelligent. She does have a tendency to grasp onto an idea and blindly argue it without acknowledging differing arguments. Usually she's right, and everyone else is wrong. By usually of course, I mean always.
The article had made her understandably angry. When I read it myself, I felt physically sick and absolutely drained and depressed at the content therein.
Of course...then there were the comments.
Now, y'all know that I can be less than sympathetic towards people on facebook. Often I can be a complete prick about it, but sometimes I think a little rant is necessary. Ms AS, in her vehemence not only posted the link to every woman's wall she knew, but also deleted comments that she didn't agree with.
Hmm, I love the smell of unfettered discourse in the twilight.
So, I'm making a record of my response in case mine gets the chop.
Here's what was written, note how the sole bloke gets attacked:
Miss AS: Read this; to be aware and for your own protection. SEX SLAVERY IN MODERN TIMES *link*
Mr JSN: Shocking.
Ms AS: Read the whole article though, it really will make you feel sick
Ms JB: "dozens of men came and went". Who are all of these men and what the hell is wrong with them?! Its so sad that this happens, and even sadder that there are so many 'John's' who finance it.
Ms AS: Yeah no exactly I completely agree JB, it is really tragic, if there was no demand for this, there would be no money to make from it and no industry. I don't understand either who these men are and what is in their head, just so sick.
Ms LGC: Horrid horrid horrid, thank you for bringing it to my attention AS. Some of these men are just average people... Around my office there are many "dance shows" and apparently the area turns into a prostitute area in the evening...so... Now I know what "working late" means ;)
"there are 30,000 to 50,000 sex slaves in captivity in the United States at any given time." What an outrageous number. We don't just merely need sympathy for these victims, we need ACTION! Oh but wait, these are merely women and I'm sure they like it.
Mr JSN: Why is my comment gone / deleted?
Ms LGC: your "shocking" comment is still there...
Mr JSN: I had another comment about how this article is rather old and hopefully this is now stopped. That must have been censored for some odd reason...
Ms LGC: hahaha, the article might be old, but still very relevant. Hopefully not that relevant in the US anymore (as action hopefully has been taken) but as a worldwide topic - sadly too painfully relevant...
Mr JSN: I know for a fact that in the UK this issue has been tackled rather well. Obviously we can never stop this sort of things 100% but they seem to have cracked down on alot of them. The British police has had a few joint operations and they go...t rid of quite a few of these gangs.
In Asia, Africa and the Middle East however, it beggars belief.
Ms LGC: I hope you're correct. However, everyone 1 is too many and what we need to start with is targeting the education of our men and their mental health.
Mr JSN: I disagree
It's not a issue of how well educated these men are; you will find that top lawyers, politicians and businessmen often frequent and abuse women. This is also not a mental health issue - these men are often quite sound. It is a case of 'power' or the need to exert 'power' over weak fragile women.
We need to decrease poverty levels (via increased education for women so they have better chances in their countries and also to facilitate the growth of their local economies) and then to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor (so that the poor are not abused).
Ms LGC: I completely agree with your second point. However, with "educate our men" I meant, we should change the way women are being portrayed in our societies (this should also be done by women). Furthermore, I do believe it is a mental health issue, especially when we talk about men who abuse 12 year old girls, this is not solely about increasing economic innitiative and possibilities for the poor.
Mr JSN: Playing devils advocate here but look at how long it has taken women to be emancipated in Europe and for various equality rights to be established. These regions are quite behind when compared to the Western world, it would be near impossib...le for them to 'catch up'. If for hundreds or thousands of years, women has been portrayed in their culture, society or religion as 'to be abused' - what makes you think that 10 - 20 years of lobbying / reforms / globalisation will change things?
But the girls in the articles are not 12 year olds. They are adults, young adults, I take your point.
Yes, abusing 12 year olds is a mental health issue.
Ms LGC: Yes, but they start out at very young ages.. and then grow into it - as also mentioned in the article. Moreover, even IF in these countries the women are not emancipated etc etc - they are trafficked to the West - our countries and our governments. If our men had no desire to abuse these women, the problems would stay in their countries and societies, but sadly enough it doesn't. I condone all sorts of sexual exploitation worldwide, but especially when it happens in my country by my men.
Mr JSN: They don't call it the oldest profession in the world for no reason....
Ms LGC: Because men are in charge ;)
Ms AS: It's not a profession Mr JSN to be a forced sex slave kept in a prison-like environment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mr JSN: I give up
Ms JB: He obviously didnt read the article. If he did, he would know that some of the children were even younger than 12- toddlers even. And no matter how old they are, it is wrong to keep people against thier will. How can you call rape, torture, and murder a profession? So shameless.
Ms LGC: Most clients are not aware that the women are trafficking victims and believe they are engaged in prostitution of their own free will. In reality, the overwhelming majority of women working in prostitution are victims of sexual slavery."
....... I'm sure the 3 year old boy and 16 year old girl want to have sex with 15 - 20 (even up to 50 sometimes!) different men.
Ms AS: I second that JB. It's not a profession but a crime - and one of the vilest imaginable.
Ms AS: unfortunately LCG i think these men that go to prostitutes are very well aware and they dont care, they just want this ''service'' to be available in case they need it and they dont care about the conditions of the people who supply this even if those conditions are completely inhumane and degrading. The only way to stop this is through the cooperation between police, law enforcers, informants and normal decent citizens -men and women.
Me: Just my two cents worth, but some of the responses here are completely unreasonable, especially some of the ones directed at Mr JSN, so excuse the length of this.
No-one could possibly believe that the crimes mentioned in the article are an...ything other than despicable, but it's totally counter-productive to argue in broad strokes with an issue like this. JSN clearly wasn't calling sex slavery a profession!
The article wasn't talking about the evils of prostitution, it was concerned with the sex-trafficking of vulnerable girls (a large proportion of whom are underage) and the increasing levels of slaves in the US (and elsewhere) as opposed to the 'Pretty Woman' fallacy of prostitution that Hollywood perpetuates.
First of all, if you automatically equate all forms of prostitution with sex-slavery, then you're allowing many more people than the estimated 50,000 annually (in the US alone) to fall through the gaps. If people don't realise the difference between, say, regulated prostitution in Amsterdam or Nevada, quasi-legal escorting in most of Europe and the US and then instances of slavery and pederasty which are reported in this article, then there's a risk of them all being pigeon-holed together. If, as the article states, a lot of officers, lawmakers etc don't understand that there are increasing levels of sex slaves in their vice arrests then the problem will get worse.
JSN wasn't saying the article wasn't about sex slavery, he was merely pointing out the difficulty of overnight change. The phrase 'the oldest profession in the world' is accurate, but not as some apologia arguing that slavery is okay, just pointing out that the sex industry is probably never going to stop. There will always be demand and there will always be supply, and that's the most pressing issue at the moment, how that supply is filled.
Accusing him of not having read the article because he was answering someone's opinion just reads as petulant, and actually shows that maybe y'all haven't understood the point of the article. He clearly wasn't equating sex slavery to prostitution, and yet you all jump down his throat for pointing out the difficulty in defeating the sex industry.
Secondly, and again about broad strokes, if you make a 'men are the problem' statement and blame the attitude of men as the sole reason for this problem then you're missing the point. It's demonstrably not a single gender issue.
This article doesn't do so, but a lot of the peripheral comments veer almost towards misandry in blaming 'mankind' for sex slavery. Saying 'men are in charge' and 'I'm sure they (the slaves) like it', even if joking/sarcastic just obscures the actual problems raised.
Yeah, some men are fucking sick and think sex can be bought and that women are commodities, but the VAST MAJORITY don't, and to suggest otherwise is completely false. If you demonise men then some of the more prevalent, and solvable, factors (eg: the cyclical nature of abuse, lack of inter-agency cooperation, corruption, lack of exposure of victim reports, lack of rehabilitation, funding cuts etc etc) just get overlooked more easily.
I agree that there needs to be a vast overhaul in attitudes towards women, but it's not only men who need to do so. It's as important that women change their attitudes too because it's a societal issue, not just an affront towards woman. Just as important is that governments make firm commitments against sex slavery (as has occurred in UK and Ireland in the last decade with some success) or that institutions like the catholic church take a firm stance against abuse in its ranks.
"How can you call rape, torture, and murder a profession? So shameless." - again, that's not what JSN said AT ALL. By hurling your misdirected anger at a man for raising legitimate questions and giving opinions on this seriously important matter, you're being counterproductive. This article seriously pissed me off too, it made me feel physically sick in fact, but there are different levels to the sex industry, and it's important to discuss it in specifics and dissect the problem, not just start leveling hysterical accusations.
So this is basically just an argument that I copy and pasted from Facebook. I'm sorry it's so long, but it's a subject that needs to be discussed and I think it's worth reading about and arguing about. I'd love to hear some opinions from any of the dear readers if possible. I hope I didn't sound like I was justifying anything, but I really got annoyed at the way they swarmed against him. What do you think?
Anyway, that'll learn me for getting into a scrap on facebook eh?
Friday, October 8, 2010
In the meantime, can someone get me a pocket watch that plays this tune and a mariachi band to create a tense 'duel theme' wherever I go?
Sunday, September 26, 2010
It was a very well written piece though, the law student in me liking the source-quoting, the 'close the gate' method of returning to his original point, and he even gave a half-hearted attempt to understand why people would have opinions contrary to his own.
Then the comments...
I was thinking that maybe I'd point out that his assertion that evolution was fact and not theory was erroneous, as the 'theory of evolution' is merely more plausible than sky-wizards and thus has greater scientific credence. I might also have pointed out that atheism isn't timid, it's more precise in scientific terms, science 'being aware' of the fact that it doesn't know the answer as opposed to religious fundies who accept creation theory as explaining a 'truth' how the world came about, and this writer being paradoxically as incorrect as them in proclaiming a universal truth about the creation of the universe.
(Yes, I do find it hard to fill the hours when I'm away from my girlfriend.)
I was considering how best to word this (I thought) rather eloquent riposte, when I scrolled down the comments page and saw that the nuts had got there first.
Anonymous wrote: YOU ATHEISTS ARE ALL MAD!!! If there's no God, HOW DOES THE SUN ORBIT THE EARTH??
I sat back, absolutely dumbfounded. No....no fucking way, this can't....please no...
Then I saw that it was sarcasm, and nearly wept with relief. Life was good again. It was a blogger linking to his online store of atheist t-shirts. I threw a crust of bread at the unconscious hooker on my floor and smiled as my fear dissipated.
It got me thinking though...mind-thinking. Why is it nowadays that people will discourse on a topic about which they know nothing?
When did it become okay to just 'have a go'? When did the world become so arrogant as to believe that everyone is an expert on a topic and has a valid point to make?
Post your comment:
Anonymous says: I attended a one week crash course on the ethics of biochemistry so I can talk with exclusive domain about a topic that people have endlessly debated for sixty years.
Anonymous 2 says: No WAY man!! You're crasy, My bibel tutor told me that biochemistry is what makes hommosexualls and asians, don't mess with God's plan!!!
Anonymous 3 says: Yeah, I half-read an online article about stem-cell research on a right-wing newspaper's website. YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK!!
Anonymous 4 says: I went to an obscure liberal arts college that none of you could afford and we had a very productive coffee-and-humous round table discussion of the moral consequences of stem-cell research. We agreed it's necessary for scientific development. I took philosophy for a semester so I know what I'm talking about. Lol.
Anonymous 5 says: Whats stencil research???
God Lover says: Bless you all, I pity you.
Anonymous 6 says: You know who else used stem cell research? Hitler!!!!!
I mean, when did it become the norm for people to fool themselves that they had an expert opinion on something they've overheard in a pub?
I used to watch a lot of medical dramas (before I pawned my TV to buy chloroform and a handkerchief) but I'd never assume I could perform a tracheotomy.
I COMPLETELY agree with the concept of freedom of speech by the way, please don't think I'm advocating some restriction on people's right to voice opinions. I just wish people didn't kid themselves into believing they were an expert on everything they've read, seen or heard.
It happened to me the other day, and I literally didn't know how to respond. My girlfriend is moving house soon, and she and her flatmates are looking at houses in Northwest London. In fact, one of the places they're considering is Maida Vale, about a mile from where I used to live and somewhere I used to go running. It's one of the most expensive parts of London for property and I mentioned this, along with the fact that the Tube gets really slow in the mornings.
"No it doesn't"
"I've been on that line before, it's really quick."
I was trying to point out that the two lines which service the entire area get extremely clogged in the mornings, as opposed to the east of London where there are more rail lines. Also, I mentioned that one of the lines gets closed every third weekend, thus increasing the pressure.
No, no listening there.
Now, I had lived there, knew the area well and could offer some practical advice, but the Flatmate knew better because she had heard otherwise from a friend. So what's the point?
In the Law, there is a tight control on what constitutes an expert witness. It's true for the Irish, UK and US legal systems. Not just anyone can come and give expert evidence. The court will insist on scrutinising qualifications, looking a practical experience (for say a fire officer in an arson case) scholarly articles and a whole panoply of other factors to to determine whether a purported witness knows what the fuck they're talking about...I'd love something similar in Real Life, like those regulators that stop a moped using above 150cc, or those machines that won't let the car start without a clean breathalyser test.
Because really, what's the fucking point of asking a question if you're not going to listen? Why does that whole fucking world close their ears until it's their time to speak and what the fuck has happened to our generation for us to believe that everything we read, see, hear or hear-from-a-friend-who-heard-it-from-some-bloke-who-overheard-it-down-the-fucking-pub?
So in future, if anyone asks me a question, I'm going to be really 100% accurate in my answer, or just not answer. Because when the entire world is so eager to talk, and no-one will listen to anything which is contrary to what they think they know, why fucking bother?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Parents have that great ability to summarise what you do in negative terms. It's a skill that comes with being a teacher and trying to promote constructive criticism. Sometimes though, it's just fucking annoying.
"What's the plan, son?"
"Well, I want to work for a year, maybe try and get a part-time job and try and get some work placements or experience with a radio station before enrolling in a masters next year."
"So, you plan to bum about for a year?"
(Grrrrr THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!!!)
I won't even tell you what they say when I tell them that I'd love to someday write for a career.
Anyway, I'm trying my bestest, and I'm ploughing my way through work experience applications. The stations that I applied for today are....
Fun Kids Radio
...and that's just the London ones.
I also tried Jazz FM and Heat FM but unfortunately they don't take work experience folks. Smooth, non-job-giving bastards.
So, if I'm trying to get a job in radio and I'm not employable with any of these guys, then I might be slightly screwed.
In the pushing-Marlon-Brandon-up-a-potholed-hill-during-a-mudslide way.
Anybody have any hints or suggestions? Cos Marlon's looking hungry, and I smell of fried chicken...
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Hatchet-faced women in pearls and dyed bobs call in cheery stings about the how good the wine was with dinner last night and the men, red faced and all organically yoghurty, unashamedly berate each other with staccatoed guffaws about the sand trap on the twelfth hole and enquire how their egos will ever recover from 'that' double bogie.
They are all wearing pastels, trews, tank tops and sweaters. I'm half-hoping to see a man with plus-fours and a tam o' shanter, but no. They all look like neon fucktards that were bought in the 'special and smug' section of the Early Learning Centre's golf aisle. The men have been dressed by colour co-ordinated wives whose crookedly bleached teeth speak of liquid wealth and a chronic lack of imagination.
I am in Hell.
Friday, September 17, 2010
That's the noise of a bad moment, a little percussive volley as my corpus callosum is rent in twain and my head explodes, brainz n' all, like an egg in a microwave.
So about 5 months ago (Monday the 12th April in fact) I wrote a piece about my ill-fated and toe-blistering initial attempt to get back into shape as part of my (woefully inadequately fulfilled) 101 things to do and haven't really written anything since.
A cynic would suggest that my pot bellied attempt to be less dough-like stopped my brain working for almost half a year, but I don't think that's the case.
Basically, I had an exam in June, but thanks to the dual forces of working two jobs, and being a lazy earfucker, I managed to fail...spectacularly. Then, after spending the summer studying...I failed again. And lost my job as a lawyer.
So that was yesterday. Now I'm one of the 99.9999% of the world again. I have no fucking clue what I'm doing with life.
Since 2008 I've been approaching my career as a lawyer who was going to become a writer at the first opportunity. It was comforting; financial security, quite prestigious, challenging and keeping with the 'artist' bullshit scenario that we all paint about ourselves in our minds.
That's the problem. When you spend enough time convincing yourself of a fact, it becomes all too easy to see it as a truth. Now I have to rethink some other things about myself that I though were true, like being a great lover, having the physique of a gladiator, or being an original member of The Sugarhill Gang.
So cut throat corporate law is probably not for me. Small-town Atticus Finchery maybe, but not the Michael Clayton red-braces-and-Porsche-Boxter type. Some cliché is coming to mind about heat and kitchens, but it escapes me.
So what now?
I think the next stage for me is a masters degree of some sort. I've been looking at either an MA in radio production or print journalism. I want to give the writing future an actual attempt.
What do you think? Become a nicotine/adrenaline headline jock or an NPR/Radio 4 type doing radio dramas and producer 'Gardener's Question Time'? Both sound good.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
So yeah, I haven't really written anything since April, choosing instead to get my head all muddled up and sent off to the abbatoir to get well and truly slaughtered. I sorta just put my head down, and without realising it, a third of 2010 just trickled away and suddenly I was sitting on a park bench, covered in coldsores and wanking off an old man.
(That last bit's not true, but I've not written anything graphic in months and wanted to treat you all.)
Anyway, I'm back.
"What's happened in the past 4 months??" I hear my few remaining followers ask.
Well, where was I 4 months ago?
-I had 2 jobs.
-I had an important exam fast approaching.
-I lived with my flatmate Sparkleberry
-I was getting ready for Sparkleberry's wedding
-I was single
-I smoked cigarettes like a train.
-I was broke.
-I was depressed.
I have 0 jobs.
I have an important resit fast approaching (my first ever 'fail')
I have moved out of the flat, made somewhat 'third wheeley' by the arrival of Sparkleberry's new wife.
I've quit smoking cigarettes (but still love the old pipe!!)
I have a proper grown-up relationship thing going with a girlfriend woman.
I'm still broke.
I have CHRONIC writer's block.
So I lost my jobs, failed my exams, became (voluntarily) homeless and haven't written anything in months.
There's probably too much in the above list of things to go into too much depth about. So this is a mere ripple in the pool before I dive back into blogging again. Let's just draw a line under the last third of the year as being officially UNDER THE RADARRRRRRRRRR.
At the moment, I'm sitting on my girlfriend's bed, looking at the pile of clothes that will soon represent my luggage before I go back to Ireland to study before my exam on the 23rd of August. This week has been mostly study (except for a fucking bonza trip to the zoo with THE LADY) but there has been one big thing.
My friend Ruairí (Rufus) who has been mentioned here before started a hashtag game on Twitter called #badtvpitches. 5 of us started playing yesterday and today....it's gone febrile. We've had celebs endorse it, it was a trending topic in Ireland yesterday and featured today on Ireland's biggest radio station 2FM.
The game is simple, an example of a few of my own being:
PIMP MY RIYADH: Saudi capital invites X-zibit or Tim Westwood to put subwoofers and rhinestones everywhere. #badtvpitches
TOLKEIN OF MY AFFECTION: autistic savant learns Quenya to write romantic sonnets to a librarian. #badtvpitches
PROCTOR & GAMBON: Short-lived detective series with Lance Kinsey (from Police Academy) and @TheGambon Michael Gambon #badtvpitches
LAA-LAA YAKUZA: Yellow Tellytubby decides to leave the Somme and enter the Japanese criminal underworld with her orange ball. #badtvpitches
I'd love it if y'all played. And followed me in the process. And sent me some money or heroin or something.
So yeah, I'm back. Lucky you.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Hi everyone! My name is Melissa and this is my very first guest post on someone’s blog. I signed up for a blog swap a couple weeks ago, and after completely forgetting about it, I got a very nice message from Conor telling me we had been paired up. 2 days later and here I am trying to write a reasonably not-too-long, not-too-short post about myself and why I started blogging.
As a disclaimer, you should all know that Conor was nice enough to send me his post first so that I could have a little idea of how this whole blog swap thing works. After reading about our future as an old married couple at dinner parties, I got a bit of a better idea on how to write this out. Oh and by the way Con, I certainly hope our future isn’t so grim?! I promise I at least won’t be smoking, that’s not my thing.
So, how about a little bit about me and why I write. My blog is 85% music and my adventures on the borders of the industry. Now, I’m not some huge musical genius who can quote any song dating back from 1975, but I am in love with music TODAY. There’s something about seeing an artist or band perform that makes me feel like I know myself a little more.
If you’re looking for me, try one of my best friends’ cars, in a random city, or at a local bands’ show. There is NO better place in the world to me. The road is where everything happens. You discover the greatest new songs, you see the most beautiful views, and you spend time with the best people. Every concert I go to is like falling in love with music all over again.
Now all of this is really great and fun, but I can’t say that it’s really a blogging style or a reason that I started my blog in the first place. It is, however, the reason I keep doing it 3 years later.
I originally started blogging way too long ago to even remember the specific date but I must have been 15 or so. I eventually started writing on BlogSpot when I was about 18, and I moved over to WordPress over 3 years later. I’ve always been the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve- I always needed an outlet for my thoughts. Maybe that’s a big reason that I can’t live without music. To me, it’s the ultimate way to express your emotions.
I have to admit that sometimes it’s hard to remember why I keep going back to my blog. Why not a good old fashioned journal? Maybe it’s because I’ve relied on it so much over the years; maybe it’s simply through habit. I think everyone has their own reasons to keep their little space on the internet open. Conor pointed out in his post something that really made me laugh because it was just so true. He quoted George Orwell who stated that one of the reasons he writes is the sheer egoism of it all. Everybody wants to be remembered or thought of when they’re not around- has blogging really become the modern day way to do just that?
The more I think of it, the more I realize that it’s become difficult to sift through the thousands of bloggers out there to find the quality ones. Everyone seems to have something to say, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be publishing it online. Every once in a while I’ll come across a really GOOD blog, one that’s worth adding to my very short blog roll. I think that’s my favorite part about the blog swap. I would have never found Conor’s blog among all of them had it not been for our random pairing. Looking through his archives, I found myself laughing at his sarcasm, his humor and his (sometimes) blunt honesty. All qualities that you really do need to keep up a good blog. Hey Con, how’s that for an opening line at our future dinner parties?!
In any case, I write exactly how I speak, if that makes any sense. If I’m feeling sarcastic, I’ll write that way. If I’m feeling angry… you get the point. I don’t know if any of this is considered a ‘blogging style’ but maybe that’s a blogging style on its own. Forgive me, it’s getting late and I feel like I’m not making much sense anymore. I’ll give you an example though. I was looking over Conor’s blog and vlogs earlier, and I noticed that he does the same thing. His posts each have their own writing style, in some funny way. They each reflect a new part of him and who he is on that day.
Writing this post has probably been one of the most difficult things I’ve done all month. It’s nearly impossible to sum myself up, my thoughts on blogging and blogging styles… but there you have it. If you’ve read this far, thanks for not losing interest in my ramblings. And Conor, thanks for letting me take a little space on your blog! I’m really glad that I found your blog among the thousands out there. Keep up those incredibly entertaining vlogs of yours and keep in touch!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The weird new implement bought by Spark for potcleaning.
My little fiery amigo, Mr McIlhenny
Biting cutlery, as you do.
Relaxing post meal with my straight-stem.
Where's my Pulitzer, bitch?
Oh yeah, under my belly...
I'll work it off in the morning.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The band, Blonderbraü, was made up of teachers from the area, and we would hang out in the pubs they played at. I think this night this was recorded, I was sitting right beside the the camera, and we made up about half the pub, it was fucking excellent.
The reason I can't get out of the chair is because my legs have stopped working. They no longer do what ask them because I was mean to them earlier today. So now, I sit, morosely staring at my dinner spoiling. my stomach rumbling mercilessly.
I was back in Ireland last week, spending some time with the family and generally chilling out and at some point getting rejected AGAIN! Anyway, at some point in the week, we all went to the island where I half-grew-up and went swimming. In the Atlantic.
It was fucking freezing.
Because the water was essentially colder than the endothermic version of hell, we had to wear wetsuits. As I zipped mine up, I looked down and realised I looked like a lumpy pillowcase full of tits. Then when my wee bro, sis and I were swimming, I realised I was nowhere near as fit as I used to be. Seeing as the last time I did any exercise was in June 2009, I have come to terms with the fact that I'm now mostly made of molten cheese. So, in the vein of self-improvement, I went for a run this morning.
Here's the route I took...5 miles in total, including a workout at the Kilburn outdoor gym afterwards.
I. nearly. died.
View Larger Map
I returned to the house an hour later, lay on the floor, and tried desperately not to cry. The Guinness Baby is not long for this world, I tell thee.
That seems quite positive right? Getting up at 5:45 to go for a run. Well it isn't, I came home from work and now find I can't use my legs. They've stopped working...
ALSO, my toes have become all blistery.
Now, if some of you might remember, I have a weird fascination with the 'Cysts and Pus' genre of youtube porn. I decided to film my own. My toes are really long (..ladies) and they're important, so when I went to pop the blisters I thought I'd add to the pantheon of Pus Porn. Yum yum.
Prob best look away if you're easily nauseated.
Now I'm lying in bed, in my jammies, trying not to sound like an old man when I move, dreading having to do my pervert shuffle tomorrow on the way to the Tube. Hopefully my legs will be gone when I wake up and I can get Spark to give me a piggy back...
My feet say goodnight!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I'm back in Derry at the moment visiting the family over easter. 10 days of convivial comfort, heat and laundry, a full fridge and all the cheddar cheese I could ever possibly want.
Work had me really run-down recently, and as such, I'd stopped blogging, was soldered into a god-awful routine, played my usual MIA japes with my friends and did all of the usual things that gets one down in the dumps when they're a bit depressed with life. A wee break is the absolute tonic, and it's really great to see my parents and wee broheim and sister again. This week is rent-free relaxathon.
As you may know, I tend to make strong opinions about things rather quickly, and recently I've been a bit off the mark in terms of judgment. Being negative and cynical is fun most of the time but not if there's no enthusiasm or attempt to take things at face value, then that would make me a bit of a twat.
So in that spirit of infectious enthusiasm, I've diverted my usual boundless energy into finding the bright side of things I've been negative about recently...starting with Chatroulette.
(nb: when I say 'boundless energy'...I am presently pyjama'd, sitting in my bed drinking camomile and spiced apple tea and watching the little broheim play 'Zelda: Ocarina of Time' on the N64 - GUNG HO!!)
My previous experience of this vidcam-based chat generator involved alcohol, and a seemingly endless supply of perverted fuckwits whacking off for our amusement/mental scalding. It was a bit surreal, and made me want to use a cattle brand to sterilise my eyeballs into scotch egg pub snacks. No matter how many cold ones we threw back, the sight of a sixty year old Belgian man with assless leather chaps and his dick in his hand was oddly sobering. Yuck.
This time, I was sober to begin with, and it was the day time, when only some of the weirdos come out. I finished my coffee, sat upright on the bed and with an ouverture of knuckle-crackery and neck-crickery, I logged in.
The first site that greeted my was a skinny white torso in FUBU boxers, a forlorn dick hanging out. Lovely.
What followed was a detailed lesson on anatomy, specifically that of the serial masturbator. I should have been a fucking urologist, I could have written a thesis on middle-age sag and the likeness between a sixty year old ballsack and free-range scrambled eggs, an epistle on the hiphop-boxer-to-foreskin-ratio of you average internet sexpest. There were more dicks than at a conference of Private Investigators.
Ba Dum Tish.
However, just as I was about to log off, and tell myself to fuck all the way off for setting homework for myself during my holidays, I found myself looking at a purple fringe and a pair of extremely beautiful eyes. Extremely beautiful eyes.
I stalled, this might be a normal human, best not make any sudden movements. Remember, they're more scared of me than I am of them...
I straightened to make my face look as non I-might-whip-my-balls-out-at-any-second as possible and gave a small smile.
Okay, all good. We had a conversation afoot.
I'd imagined that we would chat for a few minutes before my new friend would just hit 'next' and I could go and write about how I had done my homework. It lasted a bit longer.
One of the things you learn about yourself from chatroulette is exactly HOW boring you are. I explained that I was studying/training to be a lawyer, was sidetracked in construction recruitment and wanted to be a writer. I bored myself witless writing it, moreso writing it again just now. My conversational partner had manners of steel, if that's even a figure of speech, and didn't stab herself in the hand for distraction once. Not once!
Jule, for she has a name, is a student from Liepzieg, and like I say, she has extremely nice eyes. She studies English studies and loves London, but hates how Londoners can't make eye contact and how they roam through life like insular cattle. She didn't put it like that exactly, but her English was better than mine and I now feel the need to compensate by using overtly florid language. She had a lovely sense of humour, was quick to smile and laugh, and could do that European thing (mainland Europe only I'm afraid) of smoking a cigarette nonchalantly and looking as cool as Lou Reed on a polar ice-cap. When I didn't realise that Liepzeig is in Saxony and not Bavaria as I originally said, she was kind enough to not point out my mistake. She works in a cinema part-time and wants to become a professional film critic. I tried to convice to start blogging, but she said it was too personal, too open. So she was also mysterious.
I was a smidgen away from asking for her hand in wedlock when she had to leave, bloody slightly-younger people with their interesting lives and social circles. We exchanged emails, and I promised I'd send her a link to my blog. This one your reading.
So my verdict?
Chatroulette is a (frankly terrifying) natural development of the way we communicate and interact, a step further in our social evolution to an androgynous species subsisting on the ritualistic one-two of masturbatory reclusion and invasive omniscience. It is a junkie's gallery of quick-fix friendship and instant gratification for some, and a place to show the world how you and your 'boyz' are really adept at drinking low quality lager and being passive aggressive to someone half a world away. It also presents one with an enormous amount of laboured metaphors with which to describe it for future blogs.
The sushi buffet of conversation and friends may be vaccuous and rather soulless, but it IS oddly democratic and like anything in life, if you persist, you can find something that makes the whole experience worthwhile.
So try it out, I urge you. You might just find two beautiful eyes and a new friend, or at least an old Belgian fella wanking himself blind.
Friday, April 2, 2010
I remember the last time I attempted to travel back to Derry, a few days after a rather nasty 'fall' I had here in Londontown, in late December. My original flight was cancelled and my parents had to book me an alternative one, which was great because hey, why not spend money on a flight three days before Christmas?
There was a fantastic moment where I had to get a £70 train to Birmingham for my flight from there and I was rather glum about how things were going for me, and a bit self-pitying and generally stupidly emo. Things were seemingly relentless in their general shite-hood (still no job, a 'bad fall', writer's block, depression, finding out Santa's not real etc etc etc) and I sat and scowled as we sped across the heart of England; tired, jaded and listening to Morrisey, because I'm a clichéd twat.
Then the sun burst and this is what I saw as we rocketed along, 'How Soon Is Now?' blaring in my ears and the hair on my neck shivering to attention:
And for some reason I was completely delighted. The fact that it was shrouded in mist was what did it. I couldn't for the life of me see where I was and didn't give a fuck. I could just imagine those fields going on and on til they reached the sea, without a soul for hundreds of miles. I was completely, truly alone, and sat in the empty carriage, grinning like an idiot.
It's weird, sometimes the tiniest of things can make you smile. Then again, sometimes it takes the coldest winter in decades, an overactive imagination, solitude and Johnny Marr's guitar virtuosity.
We'll see how tomorrow goes then. It's apparently been snowing back home all week...
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Also, there's been very little to write about. Not much has been going on, apart from the usual wok-eat-sleep-gasp at council tax-sleep routine, plus I've been broker than a clay hammer so I've had to curtail any form of crazy lifestyle and keep to a pretty strict budget.
I have been doing a bit of writing though. Not blogging really, but something that I've been chipping away at for a while. My little moleskine has taken a battering and I've got reams of poorly handwritten Irish notes to wade through, but I think I'm quite near to beginning. I've just got to stop myself from either procrastinating or getting evicted too much, and I should be good to go.
So I was up visiting my friend Bunny on Friday. He's one of my buddys from home and I managed to get him a job at the office I work at, so we've been hanging out more and more. We were up in his flat, drinking very cheap beer, when someone suggested we go on Chat Roulette.
Now, there were about 6 of us there, just chilling out and watching TV, and the last thing I expected to see was a lot of cocks.
We saw a lot of cocks. And naked women. And groups of naked people.
It was a bit weird. Essentially the most action I've got on a recent Friday night is seeing a bunch of perverts jerking off down the blagonet to a group of surprised (and sorta horrified) non-perverts. Good times.
Then, yesterday I went on a date. Yes, a date with a female woman. From Australia.
I had asked her out before my birthday, and we had planned to go out that weekend (to the zoo...) but both ended up ditching the other. It wasn't on purpose, just a load of crossed wires, but I thought I had been stood up, and so did she.
So, on St. Patrick's day (St. Paddy's NOT 'St. Patty's') when I went to have my customary pint of Guinness and she served me, we shouted at each other for a few minutes, then agreed it was quite funny, and arranged to meet up.
We had dinner last week, both got very drunk (hangover at work FTW!) and arranged to make up for our lack of a zoo visit by going to the park. A less-expensive and probably less mental place to take a young lady.
So yesterday, we went to Hyde Park and walked about. I've only been there a few times before, but it's a really cool place, and we spent about 2 hours coming up with the latest new cop show that'll sweep the nation. It's called Davis and Spinner, and has a blaring jazz soundtrack. The first episode is going to be called 'The Jazz-Pasta Conspiracy" but I can say no more.
We ended up in the park by accident, as we were supposed to go to Hampstead Heath instead, and ended up soaked to the skin when the heaviest rain EVER attacked us.
I'm Irish, so walking through mental rain is a bit of a cakewalk, but she's an Ozzie, and doesn't feel comfortable in any temperature less than 'broil'. We made for the Tube, and decided food was necessary, so arrived back in my place, cooked a HUGE dinner of Tacos. Then watched two of my favourite fims; 28 Days Later ('eeeeek, zombies' *hug* nb: even though they're NOT zombies) and The Warriors ('you see what you get when you mess with the Orphaaaaaans!!') so that she wouldn't go home associating spending time with me with rage-infected monsters, but rather would spend the time in the taxi thinking I was cool, and probably in a New York street gang. It was a good day.
Now, I'm watching helplessly as the hours rush forwards mercilessly towards 5, when I'll have to go back to the old man pub and work again. Hopefully no-one will come and wave a rusty saw around tonight, as it's a Sunday, but you never know. Ah well, guess I'll stop being a 'sook' and man up. Yay for the one-day weekend!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I am satisfied. Feeling like I've just eaten a big meal that I can still taste, hours after, with every burp. I'm sitting in my bed in my pyjamas and a Law Society t-shirt, smelling like mint after a very long hot bath and listening to my playlist. I just talked to my lady Lopez and I'm contemplating bed.
I imagined getting a tweet or a Follow Friday from the Queen, but alas...
QEtooooo : One wishes @conordarrall congratulations for his 100th blog post and for still being alive after all this time. Pity he's a bloddy Paddy lol :P #FF #Blogs
Plus, I hate her and her stupid punchable face, so I SO would have unfollowed her.
The last 24 hours have been eventful.
I went out for dinner with an old friend Emma last night. I stayed with her while looking for the Uberflat last summer and we hadn't seen each other since Christmas. She didn't know it was my birthday, so when I told her (after a while) she was mortified and took me drinking.
This bar wouldn't be my favourite in the world, but it does have a barmaid, Chess, who is ridiculously pretty, and who I've never had the courage to ask out. Emma and I chatted and drank, and when she stood up to leave, she looked at the barmaid and said, 'You should totally ask her out' extremely loudly, so that in the wake of her exit, Chess was looking over. We eventually got chatting, and getting quite drunk, I asked her out. It was smooth...
Chess "Oh I don't usually date customers, I'm sorry"
Me "Oh no, it's alright, I never drink here if I can help it"
Chess "Okay, so where should we go?"
Me "Um.............the zoo?"
So yeah, I asked a beautiful women to go on a date with me to the zoo. Perfect work, maybe next time that happens I'll see if she wants to go visit a recycling depot. The good thing is that I got the date, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was because it was my birthday and I was (technically) drinking on my own so she took pity. We'll see...
She is VERY nice though.
TODAY, I woke up a bit hungover (read: very hungover) and stumbled into work, bleary eyed and useless. I didn't tell anyone that it was my birthday apart from a few of the guys who I've made friends with and my buddy Sean whom I got a job for. At about 3, the Big Guy came over and stood right next me.
Oh shit, he can smell that badness seeping out of my pores and wants me to clear my desk
"I've got a problem sunshine"
"Um, you do?"
"Yeah, I don't like it.........when people who work here don't tell us it's their birthdays and make us check Facebook!"
He pulled out a few bags from behind his back, he had bought muffins for everyone in the office to celebrate. It was lovely. I was a bit embarrassed but hell, it was such a nice gesture. It's little rays of sunshine like that that make the place eminently bearable.
Also, another little ray, the Prohibitively Mean Secretary (PMS) got fired today. She's a compulsive liar, and had been causing a lot problems by lying and not doing any work. I'll miss her 8-hour-long monologues that chart her real-time thought process. The absence of that tinnitus buzz of shite that pours out of her mouth will be sorely noted.
ANOTHER little ray of sunshine. My ubercool uncle/godfather/musician Brian called to wish me a happy birthday and tell me he likes this wee blog, was thrilled to hear it. Then Mamo, my granny, called and we spent 20 minutes chatting about blogging.
It was surreal: in the meeting room, stinking of stale booze, the shakes, exhausted, on my birthday, with PMS leaving for good, holding a muffin, chatting to my gran about blogging. She thoroughly approves of it, but I've warned her off reading. My description of things and post titles (think HGFLMcP and the Work Life Skullfuck for example) do tend to have a bit of swearing in them sometimes. She wants me to collate all my posts together and try and make a book out of it. I'd love to do that, but the writing needs to improve I suppose.
I write a little notebook on the commute to and from work. It's like an old fashion version of a blog that is in a little book made of paper that you type in by using a pen. I keep my notes in Irish so the nosy cunts can't read over my shoulder (and it's also private, and looks vaguely intellectual) and I just found the last thing I wrote, without thinking, as my train pulled up to the station
Is fíorr a rá go dtéim ar strae in ámanna, ach in aineoinn na crúachtáin a thiteann ar an bhóthar anseo agus ansiúd, ag déanamh iarracht mé a bhrú as an slí, tá an t-ádh orm go bfhuil mé in ann léim thart orthú agus leansaint ar aghaidh.
I think that's true, but only a handful of you will ever know how much you've done towards this, or what it means to me. Most of that handful aren't allowed to read this blog, and the others are too polite to stop reading :)
So, not the best of 'Century's and hardly deserving of my lovely 50 followers, but frankly the best you could expect after 23 years of baths and pizza. Maybe age brings wisdom; I know for a fact it brings grey hairs, a beerbelly and obscene levels of rage.
Perhaps the next hundred will see me finally get to punch my beloved racist, let's hope so.
ps - this is what I'm listening to as I try to go to sleep, it's such a beautifully mysterious piece
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This may be the shortest post I've ever done. But there's one thing I'd like to put forward. Tomorrow is my 100th post and I am soooo happy. Perhaps it's truth that the best of attempts eventually get left by the wayside, but for one I'd rather waste my time than never have spent the time
Anyway - - - now at a mundane age I ponder. What a loser I am. But I'm actually okay, ao it's fine. I'm now 23.
I can't write anymore, I'm too drunk
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
It's called the Funeral of Queen Mary by Purcell, and is used in the classic Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange, based upon the blood-chilling epnumous novel by Anthony Burgess. The book and film tell the tale of Alex, a psychopathic teenager, and his gang of Droogs as they nightly wander around on drug-laced milkshakes in an orgy of 'ultraviolence', rape and burglary. The book caused a sensation when released because of its violent and sexual language, its graphic depiction of rape and murder, the invented argot (a mixture of slavic, pigdin russian, gypsy and street slang) of the main character, and the perceived strong anti-societal message. It is obviously one of my favourite books. Alex, the charming psychopath, reminds me of a younger (albeit less murder-n-rapey) version of myself.
As I sat in work today, back hunched and sweating towards my targets before the quitting hour, a message popped up on my screen and I was informed that all my work for the day (finding, interviewing, referencing and taking documentation) with a candidate - about 7 hours worth - was now ENTIRELY useless because his safety tickets were expired. I felt a bit like Alex. I wanted to go on a bit of an ultraviolent rampage myself (again, without the old rape part) and kill lots of people. I can see how people go on killing sprees. The problem is though, that my psychopathic side (and it does exist) doesn't have the stamina for relentlessness. It's only good in short bursts or periods of mania. Not always and forever. Therefore it's a fake clockwork orange I am. A clockwork spraytan.
When I got home however, I had received a card from my granny and granddad. They're the best old people in the world, and it cheered me up completely to get it. My granny (Mamo you can read about here) is a wickedly funny and cruelly intelligent person. She once gave a police officer a dressing down when a bomb was suspected to be near her house, just because she hates the Po-lice. My grandfather is a writer, and he's written a lot, over 100 books at this stage (the links only shows some of his publications apparently) in his own name and with psuedonyms. I'm not sure how many, but's it's LOADS! He calls himself a hack, and told me all about the story of Ned Purdon when I was younger, the character of the Oliver Goldsmith poem:
Here lies Ned Purdon, from misery freed, Who long was a bookseller's hack;
He led such a damnable life in this world, I don't think he'll ever come back
He's an amazing man, and a phenomenal writer. Every time we chat we talk about writing and he always tells me that to keep as busy as possible is the key. When he asked me how much I write, I told him that it could alternate from 200 to 2000 words in a day, depending on the day. He told me that the best trick was to polish off 500 words that were almost perfect if you could. It cuts down on the edit, and makes for a speedy process. Of course when I seriously get down to writing, I'll try to do double that, but it probably wont be near as good. He also tells me that no writer worth his salt is published before he has a collection of shoeboxes filled with rejections slips. He's not wrong, I fear.
My grandad - Séanie, we call him (sha-nee) - can also sing a song for almost any word you can ever come up with. When he was a teacher he used to write librettas and musicals for the boys he taught. His office, in my grandparents place, is like a museum. The entire house is full of books, and his study has a huge bureau, with wall to wall bookcases and two huge cabinets stuffed with the pieces he's written. We've all had dedications I think; mine was in a book of childrens verse that he compiled and dedicated to my broheim and I, and it's such a source of pride in the family. Him and I are very similar in ways, and we have this running joke about the books I borrow (he has 1000's of them!) from him and never give back. All books in his house are 'our' books, so I can take them at will.
So now I'm going to go to bed thinking of the many stories and words he's written, and dreaming of those that I'll write myself someday.
Goodnight folks, keep writing.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I have a favour to ask of you all then. Let me know what you want me to write about please, it would be really cool to hear your ideas. (Also, seeing as there are about three people who actually read this blog anyway, it'll be like a little party).
Until then however, I'll let you in on a little phenomenon that has dogged (or helped) me for the past few years. You see, I come from a city that has a 2:1 ratio of girls to guys, I went to a co-educational school (again full of girls) and my course at uni was about 80% girls, which is a big huzzah for all the sisters out there who claim that the legal profession is sexist. Put simply, I've always had quite a high proportion of female friends, and they've always tried to fix me.
Now, 'fix' implies 'broken', or as some of the ladies would imply, merely sprained. No matter what way you act, dress, romanticise or cook, one of them will come up with suggestions.
The best by far was a girl called Nadia. N is a friend from uni who I haven't seen since graduation. She is a tiny wee thing and used to be able to verbally browbeat me into submission, berating me with kindness until my viewpoint changed or I had adequately acknowledged her displeasure. We would go and drink mint tea, and she would frown, then cringe, then give a helpless laugh as I told her about my misadventures around college.
It still happens today of course, but I have fewer friends in London, so it's not as often. There's TV Girl, of course, who wants me to get into TV writing, and who tries to 'fix' that about me, there's VideoGirl, whom I speak with online, who I think might find me a bit of a downer sometimes, and there's Posh Friend, who recently met me in a bar with big news.
"I have two friends I want you to meet"
I enquired about the two, was told I should only ask out one. That's the way girls fix you. PF has taken up matchmaking recently, and is trying to get me to no longer be single, and doesn't like the type of girls I usually date. I think the combined mixture of years of me being single (or in and out of weird relationships) and her desire to see me mature a bit, coupled with, let's face it, boredom, does the trick.
I'm not complaining of course, because I love my friends dearly, nor am I making fun of anyone. It's just remarkable how girls can make a project of someone. Almost every girl I know tries it to some respect. It's a wonderful trope in the female being.
So, to you ladies out there. Do you ever try to 'fix' guys? I mean, is every guy a project, or are you happy for the men you know to be sad, single, stupid and scruffy?
Guys? I won't ask you the question, because you'll probably only get the answer wrong.
As ever, you can email all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, March 6, 2010
All over London now, women in high heels and low cut black dresses are drinking too many vodka-based drinks and dancing to poorly produced music in wannabe nightclubs, more similar to germ-infested Thai sweatshops than bars. They drink as if they're afraid of something and then go home to vomit or fuck strangers, or claw the eyes out of other girls or pass out in doorways.
Men, or boys, in clothes-with-other-people's-names-on-them dance badly to poorly produced music and talk to each other based on arbitary and ill-defined social rules about how much they can drink or what person's name is on their boxers, the waistband of which everyone in the bar can see, or which celebrity they wouldn't have sex with or which gaudy piece-of-shit platinum and diamond-soaked timepiece they would like to buy. They drink as if they have something to prove, and then go home to vomit, to fuck strangers or to get into an argument to the point where there's almost, but not quite, a fist fight.
They are tired. They act like they've got more money than they actually do. They hate all but maybe 20 of the people in the club. They take thousands upon thousands of photos and they will wake up tomorrow and convince themselves that they had a really good night, despite the hangover, the cut lip, the STD, the Facebook photos and the broken relationships.
It's one of those evenings where I realise that the fact that I'm a boring shite is okay. I've been really down recently, and part of that probably has something to do with the fact that I, more often than not, am one of the faceless 'They' to whom I refer. We have all been conned into believing that the only way to live is to spend our money and hard earned free time gravitating towards alcohol, with an accompaniment of shite wannabe-music.
I've just realised the irony of the word 'wannabe'. It's officially a word, as it's in the Oxford English Dictionary, but it shall nonetheless always be a wannabe word in most people's estimation. 'Nonetheless' is good, as are most threesomes of any sort.
Spark is surprising me tonight. After having known him for almost five years, we've never sat and listened to hip-hop together. I don't mind rap, but I wouldn't be a fan of the newer stuff, and Spark's always hit me as an Acoustic man, but here we are, listening to Jay-Z while S bobs his head and I type. We are breaking ground on new territories in our friendship it seems.
Now he has put on the main song from Civilisation 4, Baba Yetu. This reminds me of that time we both lived in Virginia for a year. Mark sings along and does that thing he does where he sings a song in a different key or adds an impromptu harmony
I tell Mark that I've started writing about him when I had initially intended to have a wee rant about how culture dictates us to go and act like guffawing wankers in shitty nightclubs, "getting the cans into us" as S says. He tells me that my blog has gone downhill in terms of content if I'm using him as subject matter.
We listen to YoYo Ma playing Ecstacy of Gold from his Ennio Morricone album. It's simply beautiful and as the vibrations (from the bitchin' Bose bass amp that S bought last summer) creep across the floor and make the phlegm in my chest vibrate, the hair on my arm rises up and I've suddenly got goose-pimples. This really reminds me of the time we lived in Virginia. It was absolutely the best time of my life.
One of the guys in our apartment in the US had a huge computer screen and ran linux. He was a very good fellow, a scientist turned law-student, who was interested in Goethe, talked to a stuffed mascot of Nietzsche (whom we all called Saddam) had a copy of Milton's Paradise Lost (with the original Gustav Doré wood engravings) and played the cello. His name is John.
My happiest memory of the flat is sitting on a Saturday night, with a Dominos pizza the size of a cartwheel (a thin-crust pepperoni with green peppers) and a bottle of Coke, playing Civ 4 for hours on end and listening to Yo Yo Ma. The pizzas were always cut into a grid of squares instead of the traditional wedges, and we would eat it as if it were fine finger food at a champagne reception. It was great. People always talk about their perfect year, that was mine, a beautiful year.
I'm sitting in the kitchen now, it's 03:09, and I've been typing, listening to music and spotifying. I've collected the music we were listening to before Spark went to bed, and added a few more that'll help lull me off to (if not sleep) rest. Here it is, folks.
I just realised that I've been smiling for the past twenty minutes, even though I've been sitting on my own in the living room, typing my vague and innane thoughts and trying not to yawn. I might not go to bars or clubs for a while, they're starting to annoy me. Sitting with Spark tonight was really cool, perhaps that's something to do more.
ps - we decided tonight that instead of 'poker night' or other man-things to maintain guy friendships, we're going to have a Pizza and Civ5 night when we're both lawyers.
PPS - this is the first post in almost a year, and almost 100 posts, with the tag 'PIZZA'. How the hell did that happen?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I had to spend several minutes wiping pesto off my tie after that I'm afraid, as upon reading the letter, the thought that someone thought me as academically advice-worthy caused me such mirth that snorted into my bucket of luncheon pasta.
Anyway, I tried to help the guy out, as he seems to have hit a rocky patch in his newfound educatia, and therefore, I launch my new column, ASK AUNTY:
Hey Conor, I've run into a few problems this week and was wondering if you could offer me a bit of advice (no contract pun intended). I know you don't need reminding but I'm doing law up here at uni. To be honest, I've run into a few problems this week and was wondering if you could offer me a bit of advice (no contract pun intended).
In first term I did the typical student thing of messing it up a bit- the social/laziness aspect beat the academic side hands down. The January exams were a kick up the backside so my work ethic's been a lot better this term. The only thing is I don't feel I'm getting as much out of the work as I'm putting in. I'm in the library 3-4 hours daily on top of lectures but I'm just not getting the improvement I expected.
So before I get too indulgent in self pity here, it would be great if you had any tips for improving learning/information retention/concentration levels.
First of all, don't beat yourself up. It's the silly bollocks who spend all their time in the library who end up doing badly, if that doesn't sound like an oxymoron. I was never a great shakes at study, but I managed to scrape through.
The key thing is to absolutely ignore a good 75% of what people around you say. Most of what they claim about study is bullshit, and they say things like 'OMG, I spent like 9 hours in the library...is that enough?" They're the sorts who have no lives, who play mind games (like hiding books at exam times wtf?) and who sincerely believe that class rankings matter for more than self aggrandisement.
The big thing about fact retention in Common law is the head notes of a case. Don't spend 3 hours reading some criminal judgment when all you need to know is that there's been a slight change in Judicial practice, or that the Court dynamic has changed a wee bit regarding x, y ,or z. The bare bones of a case is all you need, with maybe a memorable detail to keep it locked in there:
R v. Conor (2010) Ct Crim App.
-killed guy with novelty oversized dildo
-fact had mentioned owning a dildo "just in case I need to cock that big guy up"
Something like that. Then when you've got a list of a few cases per issue, or per aspect of law. Write them over and over so that you develop a free hand. Honestly, my final notes looked like a list of Star Wars robots in a lineup, and I was able, because I had intensely learned them, what they meant.
The old adage of ILAC is best once you have your bare facts down.
Issue (what's the controversy here?)
Law (current law)
Apply (application of law to facts)
Conclusion (what the court did or should do)
I - a) is a rubber cock a weapon?
- b) if so, does owning it = premeditation
L - giant rubber phallus a weapon if the intention was malicious.
A - in this case "for cocking that guy" = malicious
C - was a weapon = premeditation = murder.
The second big thing is choosing your topics. Try and get a feel for what may come up in the exams. A large percentage of what you study during the year is useless for two reasons.
1) It'll be obsolete or changed by the time you graduate or
2) It won't be examined, and you'll never use it
a) if you practice or,
b) you don't practice, which accounts for about 85% of law grads anyway,
You can prune a lot of stuff out by playing a guessing game based on trends/ the prof/ the size or detail that went into teaching it.
If you cover, sticking with the crime example, Infanticide in one lecture (which btw, from experience, is prob the one Crim Law lecture you should definitely NOT show up to drunk) and spend three weeks doing defences...
Well, it sounds obvious, but it really isn't when the chips are down. Another good way to compress or prune is to base the core of your learning on the Seminars. The lecturers have designated them as either
a) alternative time to teach you new stuff and
b) extra time to make sure you understand important stuff.
Figure out which stuff is 'B' and learn it.
The final thing is this, if you feel that you're fucked, utterly, in the arsepipe, with a rusty genital appendage from a metaphorical Truck driver of exam pain, take a look at the dribbling fuckwits in your class...the one's who can barely tie their shoes or who almost forget not to soil themselves regularly, and breathe deeply. Lavender helps for this.
Hope it helps
ps - you can ask aunt conor yourself by contacting me thru the old blog or by emailing me - email@example.com :)
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Work is interesting at the moment; I've been recommending some friends for jobs and have been sent out on errands across London. Although this DID lead to a situation yesterday where I had had a four hour round-trip to Romford in Essex and after walking three miles showed up soaked to the skin at the client's headquarters. That was......fun.
As I've been recently promoted (yahoo!) I have to work a bit more, but I've discovered that the earlier rise is actually pretty cool. The Tube is much less busy, for one. I can walk from my door to the Tube and get a seat within 5 minutes, and withing 40 I'm at my desk; all accompanied by my awesome iPod shuffle playlist, which was totally worth a beating to protect. I sat today, slightly dazed after a great sleep (with weird dreams) listening to a bizarre mixture of Patsy Cline, Rachmaninov, Kate Bush, The Rolling Stones and And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
I've been reading a bit more recently too. I finished 'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut yesterday, and found it one of the best books I've read in years. It's a terrifying, hilarious, heart-breaking, poignant and most importantly, incredibly intelligent; dealing with the Arms Race, the misapplication of science, religion, lies and writing. Vonnegut has quickly become one of my all time Bad-Ass favourites and I can't wait to read the rest of his stuff. He's my sort of writer; ballsy, interesting and with an imagination that could light a sun. Excellent stuff, and with such a cool life.
So I felt really good about pay day today. Money isn't everything, I'll be quite adamant about that, but holy fucking mackerel it's nice to be able to buy stuff.
After work today there was a pool-pah of a commute home, and I had to meet Spark, my flatmate (and a recently engaged young groom-to-be) to get a suit fitted. I think it looks okay, it's a charcoal-grey three-piece and it's really comfortable.
What do you think? Yay or Nay?
Then, afterwards, Spark (Jude, the fiancée) and I decided to eat in town, and went and had a lovely meal. It was one of those great unplanned evenings that happen now and then where we were all much too tired (and happy to have an impromptu night out) to want to go home and cook, and instead had a great cheap meal, a bottle of good wine, and some kick-ass potent coffee. It's maybe the best espresso in London that I've had yet. It's short, extremely intense, and although bitter, has a nice aftertaste. It was a great meal, and a steal at £20 a head for a two-course with wine.
Spark and Jude. Awwwww
Then walking back to Bond Street to get the Jubilee Line, it was cool to see London at night. I see it all the time, but every so often you realise just how alive and interesting the place was. I think we're going to have more of these sorts of nights (even if I'm a MASSIVE bell-end third wheel for the Lovebugs) and hang out a bit more. The two of them make a perfect couple, and I kinda like being their rough-edge inappropriate friend, and it's cool to hang out with them, even if only to dispel my never-ending cynicism at the world. They're remarkably refreshing.
So, if you're a bit jaded, make friends with an engaged couple. And go for a walk in the City at night. And maybe go out to dinner once in a while. Oh, and try the espresso!