Sunday, June 12, 2005

Dog-walking at Termonfeckin

Yesterday morning we joined in the weekly Drogheda Animal Rescue Centre walk on Termonfeckin beach. Jessica brings along all the DARC dogs from her kennels, and people who have DARC dogs in foster (like us) bring them along too and we all walk or get pulled along by our dogs for an hour. It's great fun and you get to meet some really sound people, as well as some really sound dogs.

I mostly walked Elk yesterday. She had been surrendered to the pound and Jessie took her out. She's a lovely dog. It's no coincidence that a lot of the dogs that rescues end up with are big breeds (lots of GSDs and pointers and lab crosses) that have passed the cute puppy stage but not reached the sensible adult stage, and are hard to control and pretty strong. These are obviously the dogs people bail on. Funnily enough, these are exactly the kind of dogs I'm attracted to.

There was a greyhound there as well, called Ellie. I knew greys were beautiful, but I'd no idea their coats were so soft, like thick fur rather than hair. Just lovely.

Then all four of us came home for some big nap action. Result.
Original comments
Sounds nice. How lovely to see a photo of you!!

Posted by on Jun. 25 2005, at 9:59 PM

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Another exciting instalment of...

... why play with the toy when you can play with the box it came in?

I love how Milo, a thin, well-cared for dog, manages to look like a fat slob in this photo.

Fat Comic and the Milky Bar Kid

On Friday afternoon our shop was robbed and loads of cash stolen from the till. Luckily, no-one was hurt or even threatened, but we'd had a good day in the shop and there was a lot more money than there usually is.

Ed to the rescue. He organised a lunchtime fundraiser in Cleere's for us, starring himself, Dara, Colin and Max. It was a brilliant gig. All four comics reckoned it was the best one they'd had in the festival and Colin got ten minutes of new material out of it. And we raised enough to replace the stolen money twice over.

Hurrah for the sad clowns.
Original comments
You must tell us when Dara is next on in Dublin, we keep meaning to go see him.

Posted by Ray on Jun. 07 2005, at 11:24 PM
I just keep forgetting, because I don't go myself most of the time.
Posted by perfectlycromulent on Jun. 08 2005, at 7:37 AM

29: Oh well, back to sleeping with the light on

I was amused to discover yesterday that I am not the only person who knows which room in my house is the safest place to go in case of zombie/vampire invasion. Friends Dara and Susan have recently moved to Chiswick and have, like me, selected the attic as their place to escape from demon hordes. Of course, they have a Velux window in their attic and I don't, but I'm thinking about getting one. You never know.

I am Legend is part of the the Gollancz SF Masterworks series. It's the third one I've read and every one has been a winner so far. When it came into the shop I remembered having heard the name somewhere, and as I settled down to read it I realised on page one that I was reading the book that inspired The Omega Man, a film that scared seven types of fuckery out of me on more than one occasion. The book is short, and combines SF and horror in a tightly frightening little package. I can't say enough good things about its commentary on the human condition past and present and its ultimately uplifting and profoundly atheistic message.

You should definitely read it.
Posted Jun. 07 2005, at 10:11 AM

28: Hard-boiled Galway

I don't read a lot of crime books, but recently was trying to shift a bunch of them out of the shop and started reading about Ken Bruen. He turns out to be a very interesting man (everyone but me probably knew this already) and highly respected among international crime writers. His books don't show up in the shop very often, so when one did, I jumped on it.

The Magdalen Martyrs is not a happy book. It is crime fiction of the most hard-boiled type. In fact it's boiled, then soaked in brine for a while, then air-dried, then baked, just to ensure maximum hardness. The main character has a drink, drug and general fucked-upedness problem (he also listens to Van Morrison, which I just can't identify with), but he's funny and well-read and doesn't scare the shite out of me in the same way as, say, everyone in a James Ellroy novel would.

The story is fairly simple and doesn't twist and turn like a twisty turny thing, so you can almost disregard it entirely and just immerse yourself in the seamy underbelly of, er, Galway. It's a quick read, it's fun, and I highly recommend it. If you come across Ken Bruen in an airport, definitely take him on holidays.
Posted Jun. 07 2005, at 10:04 AM

27: yarrr

I'm amused to see that the new edition of Scurvy has had its subtitle changed from "how a surgeon, a master mariner, blah blah solved the greatest medical mystery in the Age of Sail" to "helped Britain to win the Battle of Trafalgar". Now that's a pretty good cash in on an anniversary, no?*

Anyway, this book isn't really as interesting as you might think it's going to be. It has plenty of opportunity to be interesting, given that it gets to cover

* the symptoms of scurvy (unpleasant)
* the prevailing medical theories at the time (a bit daft)
* the living and working conditions of mariners in the Great Age of Sail (appalling)
* the career of Captain James T. Cook (brilliant)

But somehow it still manages not be a very interesting story. I think the problem is that the author tries to present it as a narrative, and it doesn't make that interesting a narrative because it's a bit like once upon a time there was scurvy, and some people tried to cure it using X, but it didn't work. Then they tried to cure it using Y, but that didn't work either. Then they tried to cure it using Z, and that did work but it was too expensive to use on a daily basis, so they didn't use it. Then England went to war and decided that scurvy really needed to be cured, so they cured it. The end.

I suppose the most interesting thing about that is the notion that governments only bother their arses trying to cure fatal diseases when there's a danger that the national economy and/or security will be compromised because all of the able-bodied men and women who are working/defending the country are dropping like flies.

Hmm, I wonder if there's any comparison to be drawn between this and the HIV/AIDS epidemic? Hmm.

*This year is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

26: BB bollox, back to books

I've been putting off blogging this book since I came back from holidays, because I'm not really sure how I feel about it or what to say. On the face of it, it's the kind of book I like, because it describes a single life-changing event that takes place on a single day and it goes into huge detail describing that day. On the other hand, it's a book that's described in its blurb as being as much about poetry as prose, which normally makes me Run Away!

Because it's an "arty" type of book, any failing I've spotted could well be intentional. For example, all of the characters in the book live together on the same street and do not have names, so you need to remember them by their descriptions and house numbers. Which is fine when the character is The Boy on the Trike or The Old Couple. But some of the younger characters meld together and it's hard to tell which is which. But maybe that's deliberate. It seems, for a book that's trying to be very realistic in its descriptions, to have a lot of very wacky characters in it. But maybe that's deliberate too. Sometimes the timeline seemed a little muddled to me. But maybe... you get the picture.

Overall though, despite my reluctance to embrace anything which isn't a linear narrative, I enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written, the major characters are interesting and I cared about what happened to them. And sure, what more can you ask for in a modern novel?

Posted Jun. 07 2005, at 7:58 AM