Friday, December 28, 2007

One For the Lay-deez

All Chick-flicks are the same. This is a universal truth embraced by all men. Women aren't quite as willing to attest to this fact. At least not to me.

As a form of personal protest, I will accurately predict my way through any generic chick flick I cross paths with in as obnoxious a manner as possible (the first time I grimaced my way through The Notebook this habit led to my then-girlfriend suggesting we watch something I hadn't already seen).

The worst part about all of this is that the purveyors of this cynical heart-string-tuggery are getting proportionately lazier with each additional million dollars they make off their homogeneous product.

I submit, for your inspection, a picture I took of a DVD-double pack whilst doing some last minute Christmas Shopping.

Just look at that picture for a second. Let it sink in. Now think about the blatant similarities between the pictures. Are they even trying to propagate an illusion of individuality between these films? Would you not think that at some stage, during the shoot for whichever of these was taken last, the unwieldy named Mr. McConaughey would stop as he realised that he had leant against a female co-star before, and say something like

"Um... I think I may have posed like this for another easy paycheck film. What do you guys say we mix it up a little and at least have me stand on the other side or something?"

To which the film's producer would reply:

"Nonsense. Too much effort. In the five minutes it takes to move you over there and re-calibrate the lighting rig, we can churn out another four scripts for films like this. Besides. Women are stupid. They don't deserve any better."

Can we get a new cash-cow? Maybe convince women that they love films about hilarious anthropomorphic animals? I'd happily accompany my girlfriend to something like that...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

'Delicate Decibel Balance'

In 2006, the Library in the University of Limerick was dealing with a constant menace that threatened the very existence of students cramming the night before an exam. This menace was mobile telecommunication devices.

Before I left for my year of study in Pittsburgh, there were signs up at the entrance to the library saying things like "NO MOBILE PHONES!", "TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE!", "SILENCE AT ALL TIMES!" and other such statements that showed the establishment meant business. There were no pleases and thank yous on these signs, oh no. Anyone who dared to upset the delicate decibel balance knew the risks, but they dared anyway.

...Mostly because the only retribution you suffered was some minimum-wage earner looking at you disapprovingly as you gossiped away defiantly. The crack security-personnel were equipped with frowns, and goddamnit, they weren't afraid to use them.

Obviously, frowns alone does not a quiet library make. I'm not sure what happened over the year or so I was abroad, but when I came back, the new regime had made changes.

Drastic changes.

I can only imagine how badly things escalated that prompted such a radical overhaul of the system (maybe a security guard popped a blood vessel during a particularly intense frown-down), as the current arrangement targets the individual chatterbox with laser-guided-missile-like-efficiency.

'Phone-friendly areas' have since been established, where students 'can have quiet conversations', but only within the confines of this magical zone... That's it. That is the solution to the problem. Somebody probably even got a raise for it.

Perversely, these new rules tolerate texting, so long as the phone is set to silent. The constant clacking of keys that sound like termites tap dancing their way into your skull is no longer considered a noise offence, so enjoy those brief moments of respite as that girl with ten thumbs awaits a response from whatever jackass she's sending vowel-deprived messages to.

Other than the stairwell to the side of the building - phone-phriendly areas are located conveniently on every floor. In fact - here's a zoomed out view of the above picture.

Yep. The University is actively promoting the use of phones in the bathroom. I cannot list enough reasons why I think this is a bad idea. Even if you forgo the objections one would have from a hygienic point of view - what plonker is actually going to use the bathroom as a phone booth? Do you really need to take the call? If somebody is ringing to offer you a job, do you really want to risk them overhearing the distinct sound of a flushing toilet? Are you willing to explain to your mother why there's a man with a panic-stricken tone asking you to throw him some toilet-paper?

Consider urinal etiquette for a second - these bathrooms aren't exactly spacious. If you're the pacing kind, you're risking all manner of splashback, as well as some overly-zealous, underly self-assured guy kicking your ass for getting that bit too close to comfort during his shakeoff time.

Realising that such a system is now in place at the library has convinced me never to call one of my friends during his study time if I know he's a multi-tasker...

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I arrived back in Ireland after a rather splendid Thanksgiving in Wisconsin (as you may be aware), and I thought it only fair to detail the kinks of reacclimatizing oneself. (doesn't the word 'acclimatize' just look so wrong?)

That's right - I'm talking about how I fared upon returning to my native lands after a meagre 8 days around the football throwin', burger-guzzlin', signpost shootin', Jesus-lovin', monster-truck watchin', light-beer quaffin', imperial-system measurin', rock-music makin', chicken-flavoured-biscuit chompin', Hummer-drivin', icecap meltin', country invadin' ragamuffins that we know and love as simply; Yanks!

Truthfully, I only noticed one small detail, and it didn't occur to me until long after I left Shannon airport. The following night, when driving in my car I was unusually anxious, if the speedometer was anything to go by. Despite the fact that I was on the same roads that have taken me home for the past four years, my 10 minute journey took 20. The reason?

Fear. Fear of the dark.

That's right folks! After 8 days of being a passenger on a small offering of the State's brilliantly lit (not to mention straight as an arrow) road network, I managed a reprise of a fear most people forget about around the same time they retire their training potty (mine was called Mr Gobbles).

Initially, I was appalled with myself - I was being ridiculous! But upon reflection, I realised that maybe hurtling headfirst into the black abyss at 100 kilometres an hour guided only by small beam of light to cut a swatch into the pitch-black before you might be something that we as a squishable species should shy away from!

What's worse, when your eyes finally manage to adjust to the scant few drops of luminance on a country road that features no public lighting, and your photoreceptor cells are suddenly flooded with the glaring headlights of the oncoming car that has come out of the bend you only saw pop out of the black a second ago. It's at this point that you are no longer driving based on what you can see - you are now blindly flailing the wheel around in whatever mental-snapshot you managed to take of the 10 metres of straight road ahead of you, and you're hoping your vision comes back before any dog/tree/child/wall/Yank/ditch imposes itself into your path.

Sounds exhilarating, yes? So is ingesting 1.5 litre bottles of sherry anally (twice). [Seriously - if you only ever click one link on this site - let it be that one!]

Sunday, December 02, 2007

100th Blog Post Spectacular!

Welcome to my 100th blog post! It took me 16 months to get to this point, and I'm delighted that over those months I've always found something to write about, even if only barely!

It seems only natural to me at this point that a Retrospective is in order, so I've read over my last 99 posts to see if this blog has any coherence or consistency whatsoever!

Originally, I intended my blog to be a means for me to keep my friends and family up to speed on how my Study Abroad experience was going without having to go through the arduous task of sending e-mails to each and every mother-loving one of them. As a result, the the first few posts consist of a crappily written travelogue! The first interesting post wasn't until I managed to rip off an airline using sheer brashness alone!

Despite the presence of one or two funny lines, I really do feel sorry for anyone who read the blog during the initial two months. The writing is sloppy, the tone is inconsistent, overly familiar one minute, and totally cold the next. It's not until late September, early October that I began to hit my stride of cynical-bastardry!

Rather than pore over each and every post I've ever made, I think I should just point out the highlights. A common feature of this blog seems to be running into unnecessary complications, mostly relating to air travel, of which there are too many posts to link to. I'm also quite fond of the subjects that are explored over a series of posts, such as the Sully the Terrorist? saga, everything from Belgium Week, and of course, the recent Teetotaller's Tiff.

My Worst Posts

These are the posts that were generally ill-conceived or don't really strike me as particularly compelling.

Sweet Jesus
Obligatory Sight-Seeing Blogging
Sulliver's Travels

My Favourite Posts

After scouring the blog just now, the posts that struck me as particularly entertaining seem to be the ones that took me by surprise. Here is a list of some rather random, entertaining posts.

You know you're back at RMU when...
Spam - Saviour of Human Race?
Hooked on Phonics
Let's talk about Sex, Baby
Sully in 'Not Every Post is a Corker Shocker!'

Choice Quotes
I was afraid of the woman who sat underneath it - she could have eaten me, and I've learned it's best not to upset fat people.

the whole experience was pretty worthwhile - so much so that I'm willing to post a rather "Mommy, what happened that man's face" picture of me having a good time there.

5 bucks (€3.89) says that tomorrow I'm gonna get a latex-gloved-finger shoved into every orifice I know of (and probably a few I don't).

On my next bowel movement, I'm going to crap out a cake!

I'm stealing your pen, and you will never see it again, you arse-faced rapscallion

this isn't that kind of blog - the dull 'dear diary' drivel that attempts to arouse feelings of sympathy from the reader while dwelling on insipid introspective notions, fuelled by an emo-soul and a 'they don't understand me' complex.

Needless to say, I probably won't be making an appearance at the party, for fear the music stops, and the glares start, and somebody ends up with a cocktail stick in the retina.

At this rate, I’m expecting to be declared legally dead by the time I’m thirty and come home from work someday to find the bank auctioning off my house.

Greatest Comment that could be taken out of context:
Now if you'll excuse me im off to watch Stevie Wonder fight Steven Hawking in a ladder match.

I consider this blog a success, if for no other reason other than the fact that I have a written record of what I've been up to. This readthrough has reminded me of some incredible things that happened to me over the past 16 months which I somehow managed to forget about, and I'm sure it will continue to serve this purpose for years to come.

Reading over the past 16 months of my writing output took quite a while, but I'm glad to report that I enjoyed most of it, and I hope you do too. Thank you for reading my blog, especially if you have ever left a comment.

Speaking of which, do you feel that I've overlooked something noteworthy over the past 16 months? Do you agree with my best/worst/quote list? I want to hear from you!