Saturday, March 29, 2008

Today! Today!

The new dog is coming today!

He's called Woody, and he's an 8-month-old lab, who apparently is very friendly with dogs, cats, and children. The slightly worrying news is that he's probably very bouncy. The good news is that he hasn't been straying all that long, and it's quite possible that someone is still looking for him, so he may only be here a short while and could be reunited with his actual owners as opposed to being shuffled around from pillar to post again.

Poor Milo and Cody. Look at them, snoozing away over there on their sofa. They have no idea what's about to happen.

Men called Paddy and their little dogs

Most generalizations about people are negative in some way: fat people are jolly, BMW drivers are arseholes, Londoners are cold and stuck up, accountants are boring, and so on. However, one positive generalization that I can never help believing in is that old men called Paddy who are friendly and have friendly Jack Russell terriers are always nice and should be helped wherever possible.

And so it was that when I met an old man called Paddy on the beach this morning with his little, delicate-looking JRT, we had a nice chat and remarked that it looked as though the rain was on the way. Sure enough, when I met him going in the opposite direction 20 minutes later, the rain was like darts being thrown the length of the beach, and my two dogs were huddled behind me for shelter as I walked. Worse again, Paddy's dog was gone, having disappeared off to chase the seagulls. And now Paddy was worried because he couldn't find him and the weather had really turned very nasty, too bad to be traipsing up and down the beach looking for him. So, because I have a car and waterproof clothes, I took Paddy's mobile number and packed him off to wherever he was going and said I would look for the dog. I walked about and drove about and couldn't find him anywhere. I rang Paddy.

"He might have gone home," he suggested. He gave me his address and asked me would I mind driving by the house to see if the dog was there. I did not mind. I did drive by, and the wee dog was there, shivering on the doorstep. So I bundled him into the car and turned up the heat full blast and away we went to reunite the little chap with his owner, who was waiting for us up the road.

Paddy was delighted to see him, and I was glad that the little dog wouldn't have to sit in the cold and maybe even wander off again before his owner could get home to see him.

The whole time this was happening, Milo and Cody sat in the back of the car and stared at the new arrival, but otherwise accepted the situation. I have high hopes that the new foster (if it ever comes at this rate) will fit in well.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Havers!

How am I only seeing this now, I ask you?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I didn't listen to Kev-lolz, and I paid the price.

There are four explanations for why I thought this book was completely rubbish:

1) There is some kind of cultural disconnect going on here. This is, after all, Microserfs updated for the Google generation, which might mean it's too young and hip for me to understand it, which is why it sounds to me like the dialogue is utterly unrealistic and the list-making games and the obsession with Ronald McDonald are just bafflingly desperate.

2) I hate fun, which is why I didn't think there was anything funny in here at all.

3) The book is crap.

I think it's option 3. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that I knew what I was letting myself in for when I saw that the first sentence said something like "I feel like a character in a Douglas Coupland novel," which made me want to throw the book away. And yet, against my better judgement, I persisted with it. I should not have done this.

Edited to add: As Ray points out, I left off secret option 4. When I started writing the blog entry I was convinced I had four reasons, but then I could only think of three, but I went ahead and published it anyway. Maybe I'm hoping someone will find a defence of this book that I haven't come up with. I would rather think I misunderstood it than that it really is that bad. Because, you know, it certainly seemed that bad.

Look, it are a ickle dog what is singin'

We all love the VW Polo ad with the Jack Russell who is very shy and nervy in social situations but comes into his own when he is happy with his lady owner in her VW Polo. Of course we do.

I would, however, really like to know how they made him shiver so much in his nervy scenes. I really hope they didn't traumatise him too much or blast him with loud noises or something else. I'm hoping it was just some trick they taught him to do.

It isn't a trick, is it? They've done something awful to that poor little dog, haven't they?

Oh no. Now I have to hate the ad. I can has conflict.

Oh no, wait. Having looked at the comments on YouTube (always a great way to make yourself feel better about your opinions and those of your friends), if I am worried about how they made the ad, I am a crackpot protestor. Because, you know, humans aren't really sad when they cry in ads and shows and films and things. They are, apparently, acting. Which means obviously this dog is as well.

It's great to have brothers

And sometimes, if you're really lucky, your brothers are engaged or married to top class birds who are like real sisters to you.

And you can go and stay with one of those brothers and his bird in Glasgow, and you can meet up with the others and friends you met at the wedding, and laugh your ass off for an entire weekend.

What's also great is if you have Internet friends you've never met before, who, when you do meet them, seem to be more like great mates from college you knew really well then but just haven't seen for a long time.

And another great thing is when you meet your other Internet friends who you have met before, and they continue to be top class fun and you just hang out in one of those fantastic high-ceilinged Glasgow flats and play Wii and have a great time.

What's not great (in case you thought my brain had gone overly soft) is when you sit for about three hours in a freezing cold venue and discover that your top class comedian brother has been stuck on a bill with the kind of comics you would expect to see at Butlins or similar.

Sleety snow is no picnic either (I fully expect a hollow laugh from Queenie here). Nor is coming home to a house empty of all animals except the goldfish, who don't form much of a welcoming committee, bless them.

But we're all here now, and I'm going to tuck into the final Harry Potter book tonight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Look upon me in shame, Dubliners...

...for today I have truly become a culchie.

First, let me say that this story starts with "there is a woman who walks her dog on the beach...", a phrase that usually means a bad story is coming. Today though, there is no bad story.

There is a woman who walks her dog on the beach, who we often meet. Her dog is called Indy, and she is a german shepherd lurcher, who is still only really a puppy, although, in the time we've known her, she's gone from being smaller than Milo to being bigger than Cody, and she still has some growing to do. Anyway, Indy loves to run after Milo and Cody and their ball, and they've now become so familiar to her that she will run across half a mile of beach to meet them, and her owner follows after her and we meet for a chat.

Today, the tide was out and there were no boy racers around and the wind had abated somewhat and there was this big yellow god in the sky, warming us. So we tootled up the beach and chatted about dogs and living here and our cars being broken into and set on fire and so on, but it wasn't moaning, it was just chat. And I found that I was asking her a lot of questions. Her name. What she does for a living. Whether she commutes to Dublin or to Dundalk (which are your two main options here). Where she lives exactly. And so on. And I realised that I was behaving like someone not from Dublin. And I wonder now if she thinks I'm nosey.

Maybe I'll ask her next time I see her.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Shout out

I'd just like to say to StevieB, RayC, Dr. Groove, and LukeM, that I hope you're all happy. I have, today, missed an entire whole day of work because I was watching The Wire.

A whole day.

You sure are some burdensome friends.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I had a lovely day today, thanks. Mister Monkey brought me an omelette, bagel, coffee, and juice up to bed this morning, and put some Prince on the stereo to remind me that I am going to see Prince in June. This is great news, because I couldn't decide whether or not to go to the concert. We love Prince, but we're not so crazy about huge outdoor gigs, and neither, we seem to remember, is Prince. Nevertheless, his greatest hits gigs in London were supposed to be spectacular, and if this really is the last chance ever to see him perform things like "Raspberry Beret" and "Sign Special O the Times", then I would be an idiot to pass it up. Now that Mister Monkey has bought the ticket for me, the decision is made.

In related news, I feel terribly old. Fortunately, I feel terribly old and drunk on champagne, which is at least some reminder of the fineness of the life I live.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


ComedyB met a well-known English actor lady recently, who told him he looked awfully like Havers. I think she may have said it more than once.

Now, every time I see Havers, all I can think of is saying "Havers!" in a plummy voice.


Chariots of Fire is on right now, while I'm having my tea, so I get to think "Havers!" to myself a lot while eating my orange.

The Savages

This is a film about two adult siblings (Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who are a bit messed up and kind of rubbish, and the call that they get one day that results in them having to put their father (Philip Bosco) in a nursing home. I think people might be staying away from this film because they think it's going to be about older people with dementia, but it isn't really. The dad has only a minor role (although Philip Bosco is fantastic). Really it's a film about the siblings having to learn to be grown up, and having to deal with their pasts without wallowing in them. I really enjoyed its slightness and lightness of touch, and the fact that it dealt with a number of issues that, in other hands, could have been appallingly mawkish and touchy-feely and huggy-learny. Instead, the Savage sibs learn a little, and hug a little, but in a way that feels more real than in other movies.

I really enjoyed this film.

Also, hats off to the young man who was working at the box office. While I was waiting for S, a woman went up to the box office to ask what films were about to start. "Well, there's The Savages," he said.
"What's that about?" she asked him.
He told her what it was about. Then he said, "there's also Margot at the Wedding."
"And what's that about?"
"It's shit."
"Right. I'll have a ticket for The Savages, then."
That's the kind of service you need more of in Irish cinemas, I think.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The prominent Irish monuments weekend

At the weekend, our pals Aldo and F were over from the Big Island, because why not, right? In the past, this is the kind of weekend I've always slightly dreaded. What the hell do you do with people who come over the for the weekend? Where do you bring them, how do you entertain them?

It turns out what you do, especially if your friends are staying in the Mespil, is go to Birchalls in Ranelagh on the Friday night. Then, if you are us, you get back into town way too early for your bus and go to the Gresham for a cocktail while you wait (at €5.15 for a pint of booze drink, it's far too expensive, but is at least comfy and warm and not full of wankers at 10.30 on a Friday, which is a big deal). Then you leave them to their own devices on the Saturday, and have them come out to your house on Sunday morning on the excellent Matthews coach service.

At 9.40, we met them off the bus and went down the beach with the dogs, who were their usual stand-offish selves. We had a stroll around in the freezing cold, then came back to the house and had happy breakfast, before piling into the car and setting off to Newgrange. Aldo and F got on a tour immediately, and we hung about the centre. We found a comfy bench in the sun and out of the wind to sit on, and we watched the Boyne go by and smiled at the tourists and generally had a cheery morning. The tea is terrible in the visitors' centre, but the cake is lovely. If you're bringing visitors and not planning to go to Newgrange yourself, though, I'm not sure you really need to see the exhibition. Certainly we paid it little attention as we walked round it, because Aldo and F go to this kind of monument all the time, so they were able to tell us things that weren't written on the posters.

After that, we paid a visit to Mellifont Abbey, where some guys in their twenties, pissed off that our arrival meant they couldn't freely throw stones at each other any more, left. We wandered around there and saw the stones and drank in the quiet and examined an early wasp before getting back in the car to go to Monasterboice to look at the round tower and the high crosses. Monasterboice is great, because the graveyard is still in use, so there's a feeling of it being a proper centre of the community, despite the fact that there are very few houses around the place. The tower and the crosses and the rookery are all atmospheric and creepy and olde worlde and the view of the countryside around is relatively unobstructed by Southfork-style ranch houses. By then, though, it was absolutely freezing, so it was home for a bit of vegetable soup and more coffee and a bit of a sit round in the warm before putting the others on the bus again.

Not a very exciting story, you might think. But it's interesting to me, as someone who has, almost all her life, lived in an area that people come to visit, to have places I can bring people. It gives me more confidence when I say "you should come and visit us", because I know there is stuff on offer that you will like. Of course it helps if, like the Aldos, you are fun and happy to go along with whatever entertainments are presented to you, and you like both dogs and cats.

So, you should come and visit us.

Edited to add: Excitingly, Aldo has come up with a real product that Mister Monkey can put up on the Slard website: chocolate-covered bacon.