Archives for posts with tag: epic true stories from beyond

Unintended gaps, I think we should just move in together. The way we keep meeting up by accident is kind of baffling.

In a nice turn of events, there are positive reasons for the lull in posting of late. After 9 months of unemployment, building urgency, and an almost colossal state of despair and pressure, I started working for A Very Awesome Company on March 1st. Said company isn’t going to be named because I want to avoid what happened when I mentioned the fact to people in real life; doing the same on the internet, where social filters are a thing unheard of, would be tantamount to madness.* Let’s just say for the moment that we’re very happy with each other at the moment and see what happens, eh?

(* For the record, much like when I worked for WIT, I won’t be talking about the new job or the company on the blog, for the sake of good grace and manners as anything else.)

On top of that, stuff happened! I went from sitting around the house in my underwear** trying to get through the first Gormenghast book to being thrown around a rollercoaster of events which required my immediate attention because, y’know, money, power, the women… What this mostly translates to is a bunch of posts I had intended to write up got delayed (the end of the trip to Japan with Osaka, Kyoto, cakes and sumo wrestling) or killed due to untimeliness (the end of CHUCK being the only one that comes to mind – the tl;dr version is ‘Right place, right frame of mind, necessity, weren’t it good, like?’). Some stuff will still get written – the only thing that slows down the Japan posts is sorting through the hundreds of photos of each location, truth be told – and more recent concerns will get shoved in there too coughcoughPottermorecoughcough coughcoughgrowinguneasewithcomicscough  coughcoughMassEffect3endinghasplentyrightwithitcoughcough…

(** Granted, this was by choice rather than necessity.)

Right now, I’m settling into a better place of mind than I’ve been in for quite some time. Getting let go was rough; that both myself and Herself were let go at the same time was brutal; that this was on the back of the crap we had to deal with after getting back from Japan, then quickly followed up by what was not so much a stream as a raging river of crap thereafter means that, and at time of writing, 2011 holds the record for the worst year of my life. I’m in a good enough place to say that out loud now, though. Three cheers for progress, and all that jazz.

So yeah: regular posting will begin again shortly now that I have a grip on my weekly schedule (which right now consists of full-time job, full-time MSc research, activity time so as to not become the shape of mush, time with my Good Lady, sleep, and Miscellaneous Endeavours) I have a notion of how to move forward.

I’ve missed moving forward. It’s nice to do it again.

I go years without one, then three funerals hit in the last month. I was beginning to wonder if, following the second one in as many weeks, a third would follow immediately after. As it turned out, I was lulled into a false sense of security by a quiet week. I’m in the lucky position to be mildly and inadvertently flippant as I didn’t lose anyone myself, but was instead supporting to varying degrees those who did. As per the course of these things, I did start to think about how I was going to cope when the inevitable came along for the people closest to me (likely not very well), but also how when the time came for me, what would need doing.

I really don’t want a funeral.

Or, now that I’ve made the standard and pointless ‘shock & awe’ statement that I’m going to completely undo, I don’t want a normal funeral. Putting aside my ongoing and overstated issues with religion, a lot of it is due to my being really uncomfortable with how death and its ceremonies are often approached. I don’t want people being solemn and depressed and trying to reach for platitudes to wallpaper over my glaring personality flaws. If people are to come together following (or maybe just for) my death, I want them to have a good time.

Dudes, I want a party.

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My most common hits are still coming from Scott Pilgrim searches. Were I to take it as an indicator of scale, O’Malley’s gem is more important than Terry Pratchett.

I can’t choose between them, I love them both too much.

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I’m tremendously happy that I didn’t make a New Years resolution to blog more. Aside from the fact that I have never made a New Year’s resolution with a straight face or possible scale, reality has struck against me and she. I had planned to blog about Japan while in Japan: this was first hampered by being stranded in London for eight days under weather conditions favourably thought of as ‘arctic’; secondary hampering came from trying to write about the said personal disaster. It’s too depressing to go back to a very bad headspace involving high stress, failing health, damaged ankles, impossible phone calls and red tape cutting off your ability to function while on honeymoon. The return fared no better, as we came back to a house still without heating (a long story 13 months and counting in the making), a still-broken fridge, doors as yet still-unrebarrelled and, but a few days after landing the eagle, a kitchen flooded thanks to a burst pipe.

And that’s just the highlights!

It’d be very easy to just roll over and whine, but to Amsterdam with that noise. This is an upbeat blog, goddamnit, and if I can avoid cursing up a storm here and on Twitter through sheer force of will in the last few weeks, then damn it we will beat Misery’s ass until Kathy Bates turns up with the notice of surrender. For all the rough, nasty, horrible crap we went through in the days that preceded and followed the Wedthing, we also got to meet a lot of good and splendid people and relish fantastic opportunities.

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While the temptation to bitch endlessly around the vagaries of climates and airlines is still present (and will fallalal along soon enough, worry not), I thought I would take the time to post the six comics I drew as part of our wedthing favours. This, in part is because I’m not sure if anyone managed to get all six, since we put them into the bags individually and at random. So prease to enjoy and click to embiggen!

Sarcasm and Silliness Read the rest of this entry »

We’re in an odd stasis of sorts in Operation: Wedthing right now. I often feel I should be talking about this here more, for Olivia’s sake if nothing else. I don’t want her to think that I’m not thinking about it, which an absence of bloggery can imply (however erroneously). But I tend to be big on novelty as a function, in the sense of trying to inform with news rather than dwelling further on what I’ve already discussed. If there is little to report, I’m more inclined to wait until there is more for me to say than three lines and a packet of crisps. But I digress…

The stasis isn’t an emotional one, worry ye not. We’re at the point of trying to confirm with multiple parties the go-ahead for a single, unifying date so we can more forward with all the everything that is waiting in the wings on this one motion. Getting away from my back-and-forth between bow-ties and cravats (once so simple, now conflicted by a cunning argument!), it’s mostly a case of outright public awareness. We’ve hopefully had the information disseminated to the active majority of attendees, but I’m bouncing at the bit to make sure everyone knows definitively in a simple, practical way by getting the damn invites off. It’ll be nice to have at it, since it will be the final thrust of who to invite (which has become such a circular thinking for me that there is a groove in our living room for the cats to play in, an inner conflict I have mentioned before and a prime example of what was mentioned earlier). I have no problem with living with the consequences of whatever is chosen. It’s the paralysis of indecision that precedes it that is the problem…

It’s weird. There is a lot to do, and yet there also isn’t. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what readings we could use, and a decision there must be made. I’ve even downloaded a lot of old, ex. copyright books to scour for passages and texts to plunder (a love letter by Mark Twain being a definite favourite, while Vonnegut has surprised me a little by not really having much of anything usable, save for a justification of why he won’t write about love and et cetera). I am forever hampered by poetry, thanks to an unfortunate dislike instilled in my youth that has never been quite shaken off.* The work flows slower than I would like, and yet and yet and yet… I think my own contributions are sorted and I’m really just in the act of making sure I’m sure, to be sure. Vows I started work on long before now, they simply need to be set in ink and thunder. It’s a grand scale of work quickly done…

Then again, my best work is always done with a lack of time, an excess of necessity and utterly without consciousness of form.

The website is built and tested, the colours and takeaways have been chosen, the key players are in place and most matters have gone without hitch or problem. Much has, in all honesty, been done. What dread there is comes from knowing that there is also the issues not springing to mind that are there nonetheless. These panic me out somewhat, since I know I should know what they are, and yet the edam cheese I call my memory lets them slip just far enough out of view as to make them problematic. A glimpsed corner is all well and good, but not fine enough as to allow recognition. Worse yet, Olivia will have told me often and repeatedly and it is my inattentiveness which creates the issue out of the nothingness. I should (and likely will) just commit them to yet another list to be stored in my wallet, to be ticked off as they are trounced by will and action. At the worst, they will remain there taunting me and prompting me to work so as to avoid the impending sense of inadequacy that is my detested (yet wonderfully motivational) bedfellow. A guilty conscience is the friend you love to hate.**

But yes: long story short is that no news is as much good news as anything else can be these days. Work proceeds, albeit planning permission is awaited for the last construction work to begin. Life remains steadfastness in its boredom for the most part. After the interesting few years it follows, the boredom-of-a-sort is welcome relief.

* I would love to like poetry or at least get a sense of appreciation beyond “Well it’s all very nice for those as likes it, innit?”, but without a contextual entry point I just feel bewildered. I presume this is what it is like for someone who would like to read comics but has no idea which issue of Uncanny X-Men will allow them to not go blinkered with information-overload or bewildered from an absence of same.

** Or hate to love. Relationships based on mutual disdain can be confusing in their fetishisation.

Dear Irish Rail,

What the what, man? It’s bad enough that you schedule trains to run to anywhere that’s not a city in a haphazard fashion, making it increasing difficult to get to somewhere that isn’t Dublin or Cork without having to take time if not the whole day to make the train to get to these places. You keep raising the prices of your tickets, making these very journeys exorbitantly costly. Even when you create a system that allows for some control over this, as with your online booking site, you start to extract the urine: having a handling charge because of credit cards is something I was willing to accept because of the issue surrounding bad credit in the financial tailspin that is the soi-disant recession and that you gave the option of paying by debit card at no extra cost. Except that now you charge punters irrespective of what type of card they use to pay. Let’s be clear on this: we do your job in organising the ticket, guarantee you a sold and paid-for attendee, lessen the number of people queuing and creating a backlog particularly at peak commuting hours, therefore reducing the tension and stress and workload of your understaffed workforce and you are going to make me pay you for this?! To paraphrase that most defining of modern poets, camels got back and this is the straw that does that thing…

Let us consider the service you are providing when I book: a site which frequently does not process my transaction, meaning that I have to reenter everything I have already done, including selecting the trains, the times, the seats and payment details; when I do book, I may have to ask people to leave my seat when I arrive at the train because you have not properly indicated that the seat is pre-booked; if the person refuses to move, I have no actual recourse, since you no longer maintain conductors on the train and there is no guarantee that there will even be a ticket inspector who can help me; if I miss the train, I have to pay you extra in order to avail of standing space on any subsequent train, the fee for which may be in excess of buying another ticket; oh, and my fiancee cannot book a ticket in advance, as her free travel pass demands that to avoid fraud she purchase a new one-way ticket at the box office with each journey for a train that she has no guarantee of having a seat for as a result, in spite of the reason that she has a travel pass is because she has a physical limitation which requires the ability to not have to stand for several hours.

In short, if we travel together, there is no guarantee we can travel together without my forgoing the seat I have paid for, or paying the travel costs which are inexplicably higher by buying from your box office. Are you seriously contending that this is an acceptable public interaction in the modern age, with all the resources that entails? This is not an attack on your staff who, for the most part, are pleasant and friendly under often-strenuous circumstances. They have a job to do, and to the letter of the law must they follow it. Against them in this, there is no grudge.

When you are a company that is subsidised by the government to allay the losses incurred by running services that may not be profitable, the idea is to break even, not to gouge the consumer base. In order to travel from Waterford to Westport to see my family, I have to spend eight hours on two trains, tolerating all the noise of beer-drinking psychotics and screaming children, the smell of your chemical toilets which, if I should need to enter, will leave me reeking of human effluent for the rest of the day. For this joy I will spend nearly eighty euro. And that’s on the cheaper tickets. I can fly to London and back for less in a matter of hours, yet at the mercy of your excessively costly service I lose two days each way, with a lack of facilities provided for the waiting periods in between trains because if I schedule my trains too close together and the first runs late I will miss my transfer and have to pay you more yet again. The distance is not your fault, but the fleecing for substandard service and provision thereof is entirely on you.

Irish Rail management, you suck and not in that pleasant way that boys think fondly of through math class in secondary school of a hopeful Friday afternoon.

With a shaking head, clenched fists and gritted teeth,

Half of the work in this Wedthing seems to sprout like a new hydra head from the sputtering neck of matters already vanquished. Right now we’re in the process of trying to align all the locations for a single date, but also have a new and shiny list of additional matters to consider. Chief among them: what do we do afterwards?

I am by no means a traditionalist, and I suffer an allergic reaction to a lot of things people like to do at weddings. Chief among these? Sing-songs. I freaking hate sing-song sessions. I hated them in college, I hated them when I worked in bars and to this day, my ire has not diminished any. They’re not soulful, they’re not bonding, they tend to be mawkish or obnoxiously political… When you can’t sing (or dislike being serenaded), they’re just boring. I dread sing-songs sessions when I’m out because I have to sit there and wait it out with a gormless smile on my face. I know I’m in a minority in this. I know that this sort of event requires compromise. But you know what? It’s a day for me and she, and I should be able to enjoy that. Which brings us to the problem of what to do.

Oh, what to do?

The poll above counts some of my better ideas so far. Doing some research has turned up neat ideas that probably are not very practical given the realities of who we expect to turn up, verging on potentially embarrassing for all parties concerned (On the Spot Poetry seems like a great idea until you add the context that unless you come from a family of poets, the results will be meant well…) It’s not even a case of expense, which is a nice change, albeit not making the matter any easier. I don’t want to bring a group of people together only to have a section of it feel as bored as I would be by a session. So to the peanut gallery I doth implore: what would you like to do that is atypical of a wedthing setting?

Meanwhile, who would ever have thought that a guest list would be so difficult? This is entirely sourced in my not having seen some people in years and wondering if 1) they would like to be invited, 2) were happy to forget I existed, never mind get an invite, 3) they will be annoyed that they weren’t invited when a shared acquaintance is or 4) I am, as with all things, vastly and inexorably over-thinking the matter and I should stop worrying and just do as I please [mix and match as applicable]. I’ve mentioned this before, but existential ennui is a bosom buddy of mine of late, and this all ties into deeper issues within my life I would prefer not to face as I will then be able to fight the eventual anthropomorphic personification of same in an awesome kung fu duel and DESTROY THEM. So: repetition!

At least the location issue is finally nearing its conclusion. I wanted those invites sent out in July

Bearing in mind that you will be affecting the haute couture of Cian, Shane, Alex and myself…

Suggestions are welcome, as I am making vital decisions that will affect the future of being awesome!

I mentioned last week that myself and Olivia would have an Art-Off here and today at Turn Your Brain Off. Unfortunately, we also forgot that we had agreed to babysit her cousins this weekend, and child care services frown on putting the welfare of a blog and awesome drawings over that of tiny human people things. Oop and ack, oop and ack indeed!

So, er, yes. Our apologies to anyone who might have been looking forward to the grand return of my comic stylings. This should now debut next Sunday, provided our limbs and spines and whatnot have recovered…

The weirdly appropriate My Year in Lists is rattling through my head like a meme on the meta-amphetamines.

Trying to assemble a guest list is an interesting cliff face to mount. You have people you want there and will be there, people you want there but you don’t know if they want to be there, people you haven’t seen in years and would love to see now but you don’t know if that’s placing undue pressure on them because you’re kind of embarrassing to know, people you don’t want that desperately wish to come out of a misplaced sense of a affection, people who have kids that you don’t know have kids and said kids don’t get invited so that when they see other kids you knew about present begin to seethe in That Way, people you have to invite because if you don’t will kick up such a fuss with Our Maureen that you will invite simply to spare poor Our Maureen because frankly who deserves that kind of abuse, people you want to invite but don’t because you don’t think they would want to come, even though they do…

Of course, I have been known to over-think these things. I have already been advised by people who have survived the war before me and know better to just do what I like and screw the white noise. But when have I ever listened to good advice? That’s just what they want me to do! Right now, I’m a weird mixture of a self-doubting coffee fiend and Lt George.

I think the safest way to move forward is play the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and plow through the current list before I hit bat country.