Friday, November 23, 2007

'A Strange and Wondrous Place'

America is a strange and wondrous place. So much so that acclimatizing yourself to its many sights, sounds and smells can be a little jarring the first time round.

After living in Pittsburgh for 9 months, I didn't think that I'd have to readjust to it after a mere five months in Ireland.

I can handle the crappy money that makes it impossible to intuitively determine what note or coin is what. I can deal with the sight of electrical outlets in bathrooms. Driving on the opposite side of the road doesn't faze me like it once did. Having to request a 'bag of chips' instead of a 'packet of crisps' is still second nature to me. I appreciate the extra mouthful in every can or bottle of 'soda'. Heck, I even prefer that the light switches are larger, more flickable levers, instead of the small stubborn ones I've experienced on the Emerald Isle. All of these minor changes are a given - and I slip into them like a comfortable pair of old shoes. What isn't quite as comfortable, however, is the sheer volume of fatties.

I don't understand how these people are so fat. But merely calling them 'fat' is quite misleading. The people that I find visually offensive are the morbidly obese, four-hundred pounders who wheeze as they waddle about the place.

Sitting in the airport at Shannon as I waited for my plane, I looked around to play the 'what nationality' game. A short lived game, however; the first entity I laid eyes on caused a sensory overload as I tried to extrapolate a gender and species from the mountain of flesh, based on observation alone.

I do find it quite disturbing, beholding these people as they attempt to emulate the bipeds around them. What's more, it seems that my social tact is inversely proportionate to my proximity to one of these beasts. Let's apply that theorem to a recent example.

About four hours into the flight to Chicago, I was watching a (bad) movie (called Unknown that you should never watch), and I felt the floor around me vibrate. When one is thirty-thousand feet from the unforgiving ocean, they're obviously going to pay attention to whatever is causing such tremors. I looked up as two whales stuffed into a moo-moo, Little Rascals style, trundled towards me. The smell from these beasts masquerading as woman was woeful. The unmistakable smell of mould launched a full frontal assault on my nose, as it was shook free from the innumerable gelatinous layers of skin this woman was buried under. My reaction? I exclaimed a terrifically loud "Urrrrghhh" and covered my nose and mouth, oblivious to how noisy I actually was because the headphones I was wearing were blaring.

It's possible my incredibly insensitive carry-on could have been mistaken for a reaction to the film, but I doubt it. And I hope not. We should hector the fatties more. Not just for the sake of their health, but for the poor bastards like me who have to look at them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Good Die Young

Oh Landis, we hardly knew ye...

Behold this picture.

This picture represents the greatest tragedy to befall me in recent times. What you see is not merely a box. It is a cardboard coffin. Inside lies the carcass of my month-old laptop.

While our time was short, I'm able to look back and think of the good times; the way everything loaded faster, the lickity-quick video-editing, the shiny graphics in whatever I was doing... During the last week that Landis struggled through his all too brief-existence, things weren't quite as rosy, and despite repeated successful resuscitations, he passed peacefully last night, blue-screening his last.

As I placed him into his final resting place, I couldn't help but think of Dylan Thomas' most famous poem.


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father computer, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

But not to worry, friends, belief in reincarnation consoles me through these dark days. The mysterious powers at Dell will ensure Landis and I will be together again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Seán O'Sullivan - Mankind's Muse?

Welcome, all ye who have converged on my humble website, to pluck from my bountiful tree of whimsy!

Friends, this is a proud day for me, as I am officially announcing the latest addition to my repertoire. No longer can I just be considered "Seán O'Sullivan, blogger". I can now consider myself officially, a blogee.

That's right - somebody else decided to write about me. And not quite in as flattering a fashion as last time, mind. It seems that my friend Eoghan has taken offence to my recent post that featured the phrase "filthy Christians". Lay it on me, Eoghan.

I don't consider myself to be a christian,I don't consider myself to be any religion but I Do deem myself to be spiritual.I believe in a higher power,a life after life and even I was offended by this phrase.It's SO disrespectful to people of ANY religion.

Caps for emphasis? That's passion.

Furthermore, Eoghan finds some of my insights "to be somewhat...pushy...or offensive"... Can't really argue with that, now can I?

He considers his post to be a rebuttal to mine, but I wasn't debating anything! Referring specifically to the people that run websites like the one I was talking about as filthy Christians shouldn't upset too many people, particularly someone who doesn't identify with extremist, misogynistic scare-mongerers with homophobic inclinations.

My post served to document an incredible, graffiti-related coincidence. The fact that it was Religious graffiti just made it all the more ripe for ridicule! As a person who often is treated to sermons on what my world views are in person, Eoghan surely relished the chance to refute my warblings, even if he was taking my words out of the context of my blog, and into the context of me as a pushy bastard in general.

Don't let his pointless first post scare you away from his blog though. He's shown himself to be more prolific than I (three entries in the time it took me to get one up here.) He's got a better blog title. He's willing to write in a 'dear diary' fashion, laying bare the entertaining introspective neuroses that you won't catch a whiff of on this site. And let's not forget of course, that he crams in more puns than the entire cast of Monty Python at a week long Lame Joke seminar!

I still maintain my punctuation is better.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Saints and Shitters

Here’s another strange one for you, if you’re interested. Remember those Google-ads I told you about earlier? The ones in which filthy Christians were paying big bucks to Google to publicise their shockingly poor websites pushing their monotheistic agenda?

Well, there’s a more ‘grassroots’ approach that you’ll find in public bathroom cubicles up and down the country, and I’m incredibly curious as to where they come from. Here’s an example I found in a restaurant called ‘Mother Hubbard’s’ in Oranmore, facing the user as he sits upon the throne.

“The Bible is the Word of God - A Priest”

I’m sure you’ve seen these before, such is their diffusion throughout the country (I’ve yet to conduct a survey of bathrooms abroad, but I’ll bear it in mind during my next trip Stateside), but how is this getting around so much? Are the priests of Ireland issued with a permanent marker upon graduation from their seminary? Do they believe that man is at his most philosophical whilst exercising his sphincter? Does the thick olfactory fog of human fecal matter act as a catalyst for profound metaphysical thought?

I may be missing the point somewhat - it’s possible that such messages are the richly ironic fruit of graffiti-happy pranksters, and I have unwittingly exposed my ignorance on such matters.

Not sure if you’ll believe this part, so bear with me; I was in a Subway restaurant on O’Connell St., Limerick just yesterday, and I found the following in their bathroom.

I was just about to make a joke about ‘having the lab analyse the hand-writing samples against each other’, when I actually had a second look.

Come on now! You can’t tell me that these two look incredibly similar - ridiculously so, even! Look at the penmanship! Look at the way the sentence is formatted! I will be so bold as to say that these were definitely done by the same person.

I will admit that is is a staggering coincidence that I happened across two of these in the space of as many days, but I guarantee you that I am not responsible for either of them, in case you’re worried I’m planning some elaborate April Fool’s joke or something.

I want to hear you opinion on this in the comments section. (First person to say ‘God put them there’ gets a clout on the ear)