Monday, October 31, 2005

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays

Having a little trouble today (Monday…fuck!).

My brain is definitely not wired to hum to the buzzing of a brand new week filled with potential. As early as 11 this morning I was casting drowsy glances toward the corner placed clock cast by Windows XP and sighing into my mid-morning tea. Admittedly, the office vibe today is slightly lower than muted desperation licking the balls of frustration. It’s Monday. Christmas campaigns are in full swing (5 radio ads scripted and sent out for approval) things should be Happening and for the life of me I couldn’t care less.

I’m not depressed. Just B-O-R-E-D. The weather is shit and I spent 20 minutes outside in the lashing rain and gusting wind in front of the recording studio at 10 this morning waiting for a cab. And once I was picked up, I spent the next 15 minutes drowning in the following conversation:

Cabbie: So what’s the craic with you this weather?
Me: Guh? (I equipped my Northern Ireland Babel Fish and realized not a moment too soon that he was giving me the local version of, “What’s shakin’, daddy-oh?”
Me: Oh, yeah. Good. Good. I’m good. Weather’s a bit shite…”
Cabbie: Och! Aye! Nerfumble bollocks crack-schnapps.”
Me: I hear ya. ‘Spose it’s that time of year tho…”
Cabbie: Arck! Yer a wee cheeky gobshite! (Uproarious laughter). Cracker!”

Somewhere, hidden within this exchange was something to do with this winter being forecasted as one of the worst Britain will see in decades and how nobody over here knows how to drive in snow. Fascinating stuff and not made any better by quaint regional accents. I think after five months over here I’m getting a quick dousing of culture shock. But there you go.

When we pulled into the company parking lot I managed a weak smile and a wave to the cabbie.

I’ve spent the rest of the day typing out amends and trying to come up with a clever line for the company Christmas card.

So far I’ve come up with:

Season’s Greetings!

It's a phrase that's sure to be all the rage this season. I just know it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thankin' You

Unlike Jett over at Letter to America, I DO check my stats from time to time. Yesterday, I had a record 58 hits in one day sending my counter past the 500 mark for the month. Now, I know that's not much, but for god's sake, this blog ain't much either and the internet is a big place. How you people are finding me is a mystery but keep up the good work, it is much appreciated. Also a big thanks to LTA and Jefferson Davis for linking to my site and kind words of encouragement. (P.S. to JD-- the Mournes are in County Down...about a 30 minute drive or so from Belfast.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled Ordinary Life.

(P.P.S. The new podcast is up at LTA. I think the guys have outdone themselves yet again. There's a voice there screaming to get out and when it does it'll be big, baby!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

This might explain a lot


I just took this test.

I won. Or lost. Not sure.

Anyway, I got the right answer. Or the wrong one.

Depends on how you look at it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Some Eye Candy


I don't want you people to think that living here is all politics and brothels (see LTA). This is one seriously good looking country and I wouldn't have it any other way. Enjoy this casual pose of my lovely wife taken overlooking the Mournes.

Great, beautiful, awesome stuff.

My cell phone hell...


This is why I hardly ever carry my cell phone (mobile phone for the UK peeps). This thing is GINORMOUS!!! Perhaps there's a little photo magic going on here but maybe not! You decide! Keep in mind that a British pint is 20 American ounces.

This damn thing could give me a hernia.

D...U...M... spells dumb


In case you haven't noticed, I wrote a completely dumb ass entry for LTA... something about Bush and strange pre-teen white supremacists. Never mind. This is why I never go political. I just jam my big ol foot in my big ol mouth. (Of course it didn't help that I was posting from work and the Big Dog Boss Man was staring down my back while I was posting... Note to the kiddies: Do your blogging in your room, goddamn it!)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Welcome to Snoozeville


Welcome to Monday.

No sleep this weekend? Well hell! You owe it to yourself to get some much needed R&R. Work can wait 'til Friday! In the meantime, relax with a little LTA. It'll set you right.

Tell 'em Wayne sent ya.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Forgotten Heroes


Sometimes there are pioneers that make an impact and we never know diddly-doodly squat about them (Whoa! Bad Ned Flanders channeling going on there). Charles Rocket was one of them.

OK, so he said "Fuck" on Saturday Night Live and got fired for it. Maybe not such a big deal these days, but I have to think that it was guys like this that made the internet and the quest for true freedom of speech a somewhat reality.

So, in honor of a guy who just wanted to push it a bit further, let's all join hands and repeat after me:

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck."

He's Charles Rocket. Good night and watch out.

I have no life you say?


I was just listening to the latest chapter of Letter to America where it was insinuated that I have no life (thanks guys) and that my comments were lazy. In fact, my performance was so half-hearted I was practically accused of 'phoning it in.' Well, let the record show that I WAS phoning it in thanks to Skype.

But this podcast has me thinking. Do I have a life? Or am I just another hamster running on this crazy wheel we call Northern Ireland? You decide.

This is my typical day:

1. Get up.
2. Get on the train.
3. Get off the train.
4. Spend the morning thinking of yet another radio ad for yet another shopping centre.
5. Lunch.
6. Spend the afternoon looking at this.
7. Get on the train.
8. Eat.
9. Watch TV.
10. Go to bed.
11. Rinse. Repeat.

(I think that schedule is pretty darned...what's the word I'm looking for? Shitty? That'll do, I suppose.)

However, today has taken a magical twist. I have 8 paid vacation days that I literally HAVE to take before Christmas.

(This isn't the States folks! Over in Bush Land, taking your earned vacations is akin to a right proper "Poke" in the boss's "Bake". (That means a "Punch" in the "Weasel Like Face" to those who only speak American English) Your holidays are not yours to actually take. Ha! HA! You fool! No, you simply accrue them to show your boss how much you love working for him by NEVER taking them. That's what a loyal worker bee does! You work until you die! Then you may take your vacation. You've deserved it!)

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yeah. My magical day off. Let's compare and contrast just how different today is from every other day:

1. Get up.
2. Make coffee.
3. Drive my wife to work.
4. Do laundry.
5. Go to the grocery store.
6. Do more laundry.
7. Make dinner.
8. Watch TV.
9. Go to bed.
10. Contemplate suicide.

See? Big 'ol difference! Boy, living abroad sure is exciting and different! I can't wait to start my day!

But before I do, I think I'll add just one more item to the Honey-Do list so that my day is just as full as any other:

11. Go to liquor store.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Lord works in mysterious ways...

I've just noticed that I can't load the ScienTOMogy page from my own blog. Looks like the word is out. Also, I believe they've been served papers by the creeps (the Scientologist) themselves. Keep trying tho. It really is worth taking a peeky-poo at.

(Quick update: It's working again.)

Spread the word


Tom Crusie freaks me out. Now somebody has taken the time to put up a website fulfilling my lazy ambitions. Good stuff.

See it here: ScienTOMogy (Picture added to increase the "Ick" factor. It certainy makes me go all gooey. And not in a good way. I thought about adding black lines over the eyes but that would give it an extra weirdo 70's porn vibe. He certainly doesn't need that.)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

YES... I Know I'm A Freak...


I have to admit that I DO have a strange phobia... I'm deathly afraid of taxidermy. Don't know why. Never did understand it. This pic was taken by my wife as I clung for dear life to her shoulder...

Am I afraid of death? Not really, but those dickheads who like to kill things and then stuff them and THEN put them in their living room is a bit disturbing to me. Show me dead people all day long and it doesn't bother me... something about this being an art form pushes me over the edge, I suppose.

I'm trying to use this photo as a way to desensitize myself because you can't swing your arms in this country without hitting a castle and said castle ALWAYS has some taxidermy on display inside. It's bound to give me a coronary someday.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

UGH...


Seriously, I would like to make a decent post today but I feel like total shit. Sore. Achy. Stuffy head fever so I can rest medicine type sick (sorry, advertising reference... shouldn't do that, I suppose.)

Anyway, I'll come up with something as soon as I don't feel like a train wreck anymore. Besides, nothing too exciting has happened over here the last couple-a-days anyway; except that I suffered my most embarrassing purchase in my life (besides trying to buy a porn mag when I turned 18-- an experience I won't relate right now). Lord knows that buying a video game should be a comfortable experience but, apparently, if you're over 30 and don't have kids, buying this cosey-cutesy-wootsy game puts you in the league of child molesters and Catholic Church clergy.

Well, goddang it! It IS a cute game and the fact that I had to go to THREE different stores to find it today should say much more about the appeal of this totally ridiculous experience than the fact that I copped out sick an hour early from work to hunt it down.

OK. I bought it. I have to live with it. (And, yes, I REALLY am sick.)

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ahem..

Thanks to several emails I've received (well, ok...ONE), I've figured out how to block the blogspam (That would be a good name for a rock band--Block the Blogspam. It's got a certain ring to it). More fool me in thinking that my humble musings wouldn't be found by the scum of the internet.

Thanks to everybody who's left comments.

Except you spam bastards. (Hmmm, that could be a good name too...)

Smurfette...RIP


All the world joined in a moment of silence today (9am GMT) to remember Smurfette.

Initial reports claim she was brutally murdered by UNICEF on Belgian television. I hope they're pleased with themselves.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Just for fun...


I'm noticing that this Google AdSense, or whatever it's called, is putting up some strange ad banners based on their "scans" of my blog. So for the hell of it I'm going to try to influence what it puts up there. Bear with me people, this is science at its' most pure. Let's begin...

Hmmmm...let's think of something outrageous and see what happens... thinking... thinking...Ok! Got it!

Cucumbers. Cucumbers. Cucumbers. Cucumbers. Cucumbers. (The results, I'm sure, will be simply amazing.)

There is a God!


I would just like to express my bed-wetting enthusiasm for the new More 4 channel that debuted last night on Freeview. (For my US reader(s) Freeview is a digital broadcast service that is available by buying a Freeview box and hooking it up to your regular antenna (yep, people still have antennas over here, or "aeriels" as they call 'em. It's kinda like cable, I guess. I honestly don't know how the hell it works.)

Why am I so excited? Three words: The Daily Show.

For my non-American reader(s) this is proof that not all Americans are drooling pin-heads that lick up every word Dubya vomits through his Texan drawl. This is important to me. I'm tired of defending my fellow Americans. Some of us do have brains, afterall.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Oh... and Another Thing...


I'm not sure you'd ever see a sign like this in the States.

But that's not to say the Irish haven't discovered an untapped market.

It Doesn't Take A Wizz


It’s the little things that make living in Northern Ireland so different.

Apart from the domestic cleaning products named after the domestic mess you’re trying to get rid of (see pic) there’s the way the British take a normal, innocent, coming of age fashion transition and transform it into an evil, sinister way of life.

Note the following:

American Redneck: Fun loving good ol’ boy. Likes his beer, loves his girlfriend Urleen, and will protect his family come hell or high water.

British Chav: Juvenile delinquent. Likes booze, loves puking in the street and will text you before he slams a cinder block through your living room window.

(True story: recently a young girl was attacked by a gang of these thugs. After they’d tortured and raped her, they stole her cell phone and called her mother to laugh about what they just did. I’m not trying to be funny here. They really are complete losers.)

Well, all I can say is, it doesn’t take a wizz to know which group I prefer.

Hitchin' A Ride


Ah… Another Monday, another race to catch the morning train.

Little did I know that the local timetables had changed over the weekend whilst I was away tasting some of the finer single malted things in life for an upcoming ad campaign for a new local distillery.

(Now that I think about it, if I was back in the States my weekend jaunt could possibly be construed as research. I was, as they say, “trying to get my head around the product” in an attempt to “crack the brief” as I “slowly got drunk on company time”. Surely that counts for something. I must look into this.)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Just in time for Christmas


Short entry today.

I've been out on a top secret mission over the past couple of days so keep posted for an update later this weekend or early next week.

In the meantime cast a gander at this goose.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another Day in Belfast


And on it goes...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oh yeah...


This, my friends, is what living in Northern Ireland is all about.

I need not say more.

It's shit like this...

This is why I really hate the French sometimes.

Ok, not the French so much but their controlled territories. Read the article but cover up the pic of the poor pooch.

Apparently, somebody thought it was a good idea to 'fish' for sharks using live bait. In this case, dogs. All joking aside, this is the first photo in a long time that has sent shivers down my spine and made me want to eat 'Liberty Fries' for the rest of my life.

(WARNING: Seriously. Don't look at this. Especially if you're a lover of doggies. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

DON'T LOOK AT THIS!

Let's get acquainted...


History Lesson:

This is my third time living in the U.K.

My first crossing was all the way back in January of 1990 when I was a sophomore in college and going for the all important semester abroad in Wales. Not that Wales is the all important destination; I mean the going abroad part is the main thrust…well, never mind. You get my drift.

Ideally, I was hoping to get accepted into a program based in London which turned out to be full by the time I got around to sending out my application. But since I was only 20 years old and still fairly naïve in terms of world geography and political ideologies I settled for Wales because in my mind it was, “just another part of England.”

(Note to the kiddies: England and Wales are ENTIRELY different countries. Saying Wales is part of England is like saying New Mexico is part of Arizona or that cats are just a different breed of dog. Someday I will explain the whole political situation here in Northern Ireland… it’s too early to open that barrel of whiskey at this point. Having said that, opening a barrel of whiskey and talking about politics anywhere is ALWAYS a bad idea. That's a tip kids. Write it down. I'll wait).

Where was I?

Oh yeah, so Wales was my first extended stay in the UK which lasted six months and was ultimately responsible for my catching the dreaded infection that many, many unskilled English majors around the world are so vulnerable to: Bovine Scatology!

(Whoops, sorry. That’s the technical term for bullshit, which is another thing most English majors suffer from. Because we’re so pissed* off that the real world is simultaneously more and less fucked up than we thought it would be after reading all those John Irving novels in high school, we have to add our own little dramas here and there to make us more cosmopolitan. That and berets.)

No, the term I’m looking for is Wanderlust or “Itchy Feet” as they call it over here. And the worst thing about Itchy Feet is...

Oh! But look at the time!

So in conclusion, I have to say that living in Northern Ireland is pretty “bitchin” or “sweet” to use common American vernacular and I look forward to spilling my life story like a badly poured pint of Guinness over the course of this blog.

Until that time, Cheerio!

*Cultural note: Pissed in Northern Ireland terminology is a disgusting, vulgar way of saying “Schnockered” or "Shitfaced".

Not Theresa Heinz Kerry necessarily...just Theresa(s) in general


If there’s one name in this world that I can’t stand it’s “Theresa.”

In fact, just typing it out has raised blisters on my fingertips. (SHIT!)

It’s a name that I will forever associate with a yammering twat I knew growing up in the States. Nothing was ever good enough for T, she always knew better, her hair style was always kickier than everyone else’s, her breath was always fresher-- not like Stephanie who oh-my-god came to school yesterday after eating pizza the night before and only brushed her teeth but didn’t floss or rinse out with mouthwash or anything, etc.

Theresa was the most boring person I have ever met-- and she would never ever EVER in a million years, shut the fuck up.

So, needless to say, this morning on the train to Belfast, a Theresa sat down next to me.

In my opinion, if it’s before noon you haven’t yet done enough with your day to have actually earned the right to speak in public. But if you are Theresa you’re just simply dying to tell your bestest train buddy (this morning, it just so happened to be moi) about how you’re just so tired this morning because you just couldn’t sleep at all. Not one wink!

Really? Not at all? I thought. Yet you have far more energy than everyone else on this train combined? What must you be like on a good day?

In an act of self-preservation I did, at one point, make a grand gesture of putting my earbuds in and turning on my iPod in an attempt to clue her in that I was about to tune her out but, as these things are with the Theresa’s of the world, it just made her talk louder.

Little drab, plain, unassuming Theresa, working away (I assume) at her bank job or PA position (meh, not good looking enough for a PA. We’ll stick to cashier at the bank) and happy to do so because of course she is fantastic! JUST ASK HER! with not a clue in the world that she is simply trudging her loud mouthed way obliviously into obscurity like the rest of us...

The rest of us who have the good goddamn common sense to keep our yaps shut at eight in the morning on a crowded train.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Proof At Last!!!


When I first moved to Northern Ireland (the first time, that is...long story) my wife INSISTED that leprachauns were as real as the nose on my face. And as your standard cynical American I pooh-poohed her ideas as the end result of too much whiskey and bag upon bag of Irish skunk weed smoked in college.

Well, folks, the proof, as they say, is in the puddin' and just look at this little puddin' here! This photograph was leaked to me less than a week ago, and though the "groom" is actually wearing a Scottish kilt it has been confirmed that the wedding merely took place in Scotland and that he is actually... wait for it... IRISH!

My god, man. I'm gonna be rich!

(Black bars added to preserve the sheer magic of the moment)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

This could be interesting... I suppose

Just found this.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4299074.stm
I might get a glimpse of it through the hair-product-smeared window of my morning train.