Archive for August, 2008

Aug 27 2008

When At First You Don’t Conceive, Try, Try Again…

Published by under Blog

In Spring 2007, some young blogger and his wife thought it would be a great idea to bring a bundle of joy of their own into the world. They would give up their social life; they would abandon manic holidays; they would put down the beer bottle and lift up the baby bottle; they would swap their social calendar for an ovulation calendar and they would definitely trade in the XBox for Nappy Rash.

To chart his trials and tribulations towards fatherhood, XBox4NappyRash began blogging his thoughts as he headed towards fatherhood. Sadly, things did not go quite as expected. His wife did not immediately fall pregnant. In fact, all this time later they’re still trying. They’ve been to fertility clinics, they’ve tried different positions to aid fertility, they’ve timed each sexual act with military precision and they’ve never given up, all the way along.


Today, he writes about being asked to guest post elsewhere. There is frustration in the post as he talks about the 18th Cycle (yep, they’ve been trying that long) and how each cycle feels like lather, rince, repeat, but the end of the post remains optimistic and very positive.

His blog is at times moving, at times clever, at times frustrating, but almost always very funny. His positive attitude has his readers willing him and his wife on (which, when you imagine what you’re willing him to do, is a little odd).

Mr XBox, Sir, we’re with you all the way. Best of luck – I have everything crossed uncrossed for you!

13 responses so far

Aug 26 2008

Pink For October

Published by under Blog

Pink for October is a campaign that raises awareness for Breast Cancer. Websites turn pink or have pink banners and badges for the month of October. Photobloggers do their bit by taking shots of pink things and posting them for the month.

Will Knott points out that this awareness is all well and good, but doesn’t help the charities such as the Irish Cancer Society in any financial way. So, what’s the solution? Will is a clever fellow:

Last time I was in Cork city I called in here…


…my local Irish Cancer Society shop. I’m not sure if the Castle Street shop in cork city is unusual, but they tend to have big window displays. So I chatted with the manager (nice lady) about making a window display using pink photos for October. In Cork, the Jazz festival will have its own display, but since she hadn’t planned anything from the start of the month until the festival, she is willing to display the photos.

However it might be worth going one better… donate the photos to the charity not just for display, but to be sold and raise money for the charity.

If you’d be interested in giving Will some help with this great idea, please drop over to his site and leave a comment on this post. Photobloggers, get snapping – it’s a wonderful and important cause and it could be a lot of fun.

One response so far

Aug 25 2008

Headwreckers On Channel4

Published by under Blog

Headwreckers, a comedy show from 5 Dublin comedians, why is it on Channel4? Anyway, I laughed at this:

Drinking non-alcoholic beer is like going down on your sister. It tastes the same, but it’s just not right.

Update: For anyone who missed the show, it is available for a few days on Channel4’s website. Click here to check it out. It’s best viewed in Internet Explorer, it seems. Or if you have an IE Plugin for Firefox, that’ll work too.

15 responses so far

Aug 25 2008

The Wackness

Published by under Blog,Movie Review,Movies

Recovering from a hangover, sitting in the trendy new Lighthouse Cinema, watching an off the wall coming of age movie, I feel as lost as the film’s main character. I knew I should have stopped about three or four Jamesons earlier last night.

The Wackness PosterHowever, I’m glad I made the effort to get out of bed and go see The Wackness. Like many coming of age films before it, it is more of a character study than a plot or action driven piece. We meet Luke Shapiro, just finished high school in New York’s pre-mobile-phone 1994 and about to have his final Summer before college. Some kids work in supermarkets to get some money together, Luke does not. He sells drugs.

Luke, played by Josh Peck, is an awkward, shy, apathetic youth who has no real friends and his only human contact seems to be when he is dealing drugs. His parents constantly fight and have serious money problems, leaving him essentially ignored by them. He, at 18, is still a virgin and feeling lost, alone and depressed. Luke, in exchange for drugs, gets psychiatric advice from Ben Kingsley‘s Dr. Jeffrey Squires, and develops a crush on Squires’ daughter, Stephanie, played by the best friend from Juno, Olivia Thirlby.

Thanks to, Anthony and I got to see this movie and it was well worth it for Kingsley alone. It is taken for granted that Ben Kingsley is a great actor, but this film highlights it better than the bigger Ghandi or Schindler’s List. Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen in The WacknessHis natural charisma, his simple honesty, his brutal wounds-open portrayal of a psychiatrist in a dead end marriage with no friends and no future, is incredibly moving, particularly towards the end of the film. While Luke is coming to terms with his own adolescent immaturity, so too is Dr. Squires. He seems to be reliving his empty youth through the character of Luke, wanting him to have fun, while also wanting the best for him and his life. The relationship between the teen and the aging doctor is worrying at times but always magnetic to watch. And of course, there’s the incredible, never-to-be-removed-from-my-retina moment where Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen make out in a phone booth. It’s ok – he only made it to second base!!!

Olsen is surprisingly effective as the silly but cute druggy, and this role may point to a decent acting career in her future. Other supporting roles from Jane Adams, Famke Janssen and Method Man are equally engaging. Peck, in the lead role, is good. Just good. He won’t be wowing the Oscars and he is unlikely to land the lead in the next Hollywood blockbuster, but his likable drug dealer straddles the line between touching naivety and street smart hardness. Yes, he learns the moral lesson; yes, he moves from childhood to manhood; yes, he finds friendship through adversity; but the clichéd coming-of-age schtick plays out in a surprising and funny way.

The WacknessThe era in which this film is set (mid nineties) is apparently pivotal to the film. A lot of emphasis is placed on the nineties slang, the clothes, the technology and most notably the music. But I am struggling to see why the era is important. It could just as easily be set today. There is a minor sub-plot where they discuss New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s zero tolerance to crime initiatives, but that is never followed through to any climactic conclusion. The music is undoubtedly important. It is like another character in the movie, showing the differences between young and old, ‘street’ and establishment, but…well, I just don’t like rap music. It does nothing for me and musically, my favourite moment was hearing Bowie as the credits rolled.

As bad points go, this doesn’t drag down the movie much. The fine performances and the very funny plot make this a film an essential addition to my indie collection. There is a twang of Lost in Translation‘s isolation and a refreshing breath of Juno‘s comic air. It may not gain the cult following of those two movies, but it will be watched again and again for years to come.

The Wackness

Notes: Once again has taken me to a great movie free of charge. Check out the site for news, reviews and free previews and thank you to the whole team at

7 responses so far

Aug 21 2008

This Be The Verse

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Way back in school, surrounded by Yeats and Keats and Heaney and Shakespearean sonnets, when I discovered Phillip Larkin‘s poetry it was like a breath of fresh air. I realise how juvenile it was now looking back, but when I first read this, it spoke to me. I loved it.


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.


But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.


Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin (1971)


All these years later, it’s still sound advice. 🙂

13 responses so far

Aug 21 2008

Honest By Default

Published by under Blog

Lottie is heading out to meet some fembloggers this evening, which leaves me at a loose end. That’s fine – I have plenty of ways to amuse myself. 😕

But then I spotted an idle comment on Foley’s blog from an admirer of herself. Now, I can understand people taking a shine to her – she’s beautiful – but now I wonder if she’s really going to meet these mystery ladies, or is she meeting the mystery guy instead…

I sent her an email:

Who’s your admirer?

Lottie replied:

My new loova! 🙂 I don’t know. but I feel all foxy now.

I retorted:


You’re not meeting the ‘girls’ at all, are you? Grr!

(And you should always feel foxy – you’re always gorgeous)

She eased my mind:

Grr- and I thought it was a cunning plan.

I couldn’t have an affair. I wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to blog about it. 🙂


6 responses so far

Aug 21 2008

Iarnród Éireann Does Something Nice?

Published by under Blog

A lot has been said, giving out about Irish Rail (here, here and here, and here, and here), but this morning I was privileged to receive some great service from one of the Irish Rail staff.

I forgot my wallet this morning (yes, I know I’m an idiot). I only realised as I reached the platform at Pearse Station. I got to the exit and I was honest with the ticket collector. He recognised me. I told him I have an annual ticket and I am there every morning. I told him I had forgotten my wallet. I told him I was very sorry and I asked him what I could do.

In his almighty benevolence he said that I looked trustworthy (well thank you Mr Man for letting me know). He asked if I was sure I wasn’t lying (I checked – I was sure). He took out his ticket book and said he would need to take my details, as “rules are rules” and I had no ticket. Before I had time to beg and plead, he said he had lost his pen. “Ah sure, go on this time, but don’t let me catch you again. And make sure you have money for your return journey”. Wasn’t he wonderful?

I know I’m in no position to give out, I had no ticket. But by his own admission this guy recognised me. Was there really a need for a power trip? And his “don’t let me catch you again”? He didn’t catch me – I came forward and admitted it. I have, many mornings, accidentally presented my bank card instead of train ticket and no one noticed or even looked at it. I could have handed him a wet trout and he’d have been none the wiser.

Why does everyone in Irish Rail have such massive attitude problems?

19 responses so far

Aug 20 2008

Terminator Wantsies

Published by under Blog

The Terminator DVD Player


Terminator DVD Player

It’s so cool. Please someone buy me this.

Terminator DVD Player

via /film

13 responses so far

Aug 19 2008

Hall’s Pictorial Memery

Published by under Blog

Anthony posted up his answers to a bunch of questions in the form of a mosaic of flickr images. The result was kinda cool:

Anthony McG's Mosaic

Here be the questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to do when you grow up?
10. Who/ what do you love most in life?
11. Choose one word that describes you?
12. What is your Flickr name?

The idea:

  • Type your answer to the questions into a flickr search
  • Using only the first page, pick an image
  • Copy and paste each of the urls in the Mosaic Maker

So, I decided to do mine and here’s the result.


Anto’s and my final pics are actually the same, oddly. 🙂

Go on, give it a go.

9 responses so far

Aug 18 2008

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Published by under Blog,Theatre,Theatre Review

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are DeadFriday night brought an unexpected treasure. Anthony and I went along to see the ‘amateur’ production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in the Teacher’s Club on Parnell Square. Staged by CYEBO (I’m sworn to secrecy as to the meaning of the acronym), this was anything but amateur. Performances were solid, direction flawless and the production values were impeccable in a venue that could hold a maximum of 65 people (although I would imagine it to be pushing it to go above 40).

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is Tom Stoppard‘s ultimate play within a play. Originally staged by an amateur company in Scotland in 1966, it tells the existential tale of two minor players in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as they are ‘born’ and exist in the wings of the bard’s classic tragedy.

The pair appear at the beginning of the play and are engaged in a betting game of heads or tails. When we join them they have reached over 70 consecutive ‘heads’, a record. Immediately we hear musings on destiny, chance and the meaning of life.

Rosencrantz: Heads.
Guildenstern: A weaker man might be moved to re-examine his faith, if in nothing else at least in the law of probability.
Rosencrantz: Heads.

Rosencrantz & GuildensternAs the play slowly emerges, it is comedy, farce, drama, enlightened wit and tragedy rolled into one perfect script. We learn that neither character can recall where they are nor how they got there. In fact, they are even confused as to which of them is Rosencrantz and which is Guildenstern, alluding to their minor status in Shakespeare’s play. Occasionally they come close to discovering the truth behind their existence, that, to paraphrase Hamlet, their entire world is a stage and they are merely players, reciting their lines and then waiting in the ether for their next curtain call:

Guildenstern: All your life you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque. A man standing in his saddle in the half-lit half-alive dawn banged on the shutters and called two names. He was just a hat and the cloak levitating in the grey plume of his own breath, but when he called we came. That much is certain – we came.

They question their life and purpose constantly and come close to understanding that they are just bit parts while others around them are the leads:

Guildenstern: We only know what we’re told, and that’s little enough. And for all we know it isn’t even true.

But more often that not, this moment of revelation is lost in the confusion of their ramblings.

They are not completely alone throughout the play, however. They also share the ether with the Players, other bit-parters in Hamlet, and occasionally we meet Hamlet, Ophelia, Polonius, Gertrude and Claudius. In a wonderful twist Hamlet, arguably the literary world’s most famous anti-hero, plays a very small part in this play and is mostly used just to slowly bring Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their inevitable fate.

The Players

I am a Hamlet-head – I love the play and the  many different versions of it I have seen. I first read Stoppard’s play about 10 years ago and have read it a few times since, but I have been unable to see a production of it until now. Perhaps that gives CYEBO an unfair advantage, or perhaps it makes their job harder as I have built it up so much in my own imagination. Whatever the expectations, mine were overwhelmed by the production.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern and trhe Players

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead relies to a large extent on the abilities of the two actors playing the title roles. They are on-stage for the entire play, and for much of the play, they are alone on-stage. In the hands of two unaccomplished actors, the long and winding monologues and dialogues would be difficult to follow and understand. In the hands of two lesser actors, the comic interplay between the two characters might be lost. In the hands of two amateurs, the final poetic moments might come as a relief rather than the thought provoking genius moment that it truly is. Thankfully, David Fleming as Rosencrantz and Finbarr Doyle as Guildenstern are no amateurs. The chemistry between the two actors to produce brilliantly funny moments following existential drama following debate about determinism versus free will following farcical games of questions – these two owned the stage. There was no discomfort, no nerves. On the contrary, Finbarr‘s frenetic Guildenstern was confident and gifted with his speech, while David showed a mastery of the performance, comfortable using every inch of the small stage to its fullest. They should both be very proud of their fine performances.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

The supporting cast, with the exception of The Player, mainly provided light relief (in the same way that our two heroes provided the relief in Hamlet) and were excellent particularly when ‘rehearsing’ the play within a play, The Murder of Gonzago. The Player himself, played by Brian Quinn, who provides some of the answers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are searching for, is superb. His control over his troupe is both hilarious and frightening in equal measure and his throwaway explanation of life as a player and as a character is surprisingly poignant:

We’re actors – we’re the opposite of people!

Aoife O’Donohue directed this play. I was lucky enough to chat and have a drink (or three) with Aoife after the show and she informed me that this is the first CYEBO production, her first production after DramSoc in UCD. It is very clear from the fine performances extracted and the excellent production values that she has a very strong future ahead. She is hoping to reprise the show at some point soon, so I will be looking out for it and everyone else should too.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern and the Player

Note: Photos courtesy of Aoife O’Donohue of CYEBO

10 responses so far

Aug 13 2008

Why So McSerious?

Published by under Blog

McDonalds Joker

via SlashFilm

10 responses so far

Aug 13 2008

Is This The Best Ever Summer Song?

Published by under Blog,Music

Foley mentioned this song on his show today – the bastid didn’t play it though. I think it’s the best ever summer song (I was very young when it came out and probably didn’t appreciate the subtle sub-story beneath the deep lyrics):

What’s your favourite Summer Song? Here’s a list of the 100 best Summer Songs from Entertainment Weekly to help you decide.

12 responses so far

Aug 13 2008

My Leaving Cert Results

Published by under Blog

Well, the Leaving Cert results are out today. Well done and commiserations to anyone it matters to.

Crying BoyMy results day was a bitter-sweet affair, as I’m sure it was for a lot of people. Since the day the exams finished, I had been on a high. I don’t think I gave my results a single thought until the morning of the results. I had a brilliant Summer – one that has only been rivaled this year. I met so many wonderful and strange people. I had money and went out a lot. I had a girlfriend with loose morals. Life was good. I had no reason to ponder my future – the present was good enough for me.

So, I walked up to the school (I think a group of us went up together – it’s a bit blurry). I collected my results and left (alone). I opened them as I walked towards the front gate of the school. I reached the basketball courts, the halfway point, and collapsed in a heap on the ground. My chest hurt, my vision tunneled and I bawled my eyes out. I saw my future and it was short. I had royally fucked up. Me, a good student, an intelligent student, I completely ruined my future by not studying. I cried. I cried. I cried.

I have a vague recollection of one of the bimbos in the class consoling me. At that moment in time, much as I needed consoling, she was the last person who was going to make me feel any better. I pulled myself together.

Within the hour we had congregated in my local pub. I was feeling better. No – I wasn’t feeling better, but I was hiding it better. We had a few drinks, we discussed life, the universe and anything. I remember seeing Lottie that day (we were not going out together at the time). Her group got kicked out of the bar for being too young. Ah, how we laughed. 🙂

By 3 o’clockin the afternoon, I was far too drunk for anyone to be at three o’clock in the afternoon. I decided to go home (I’m not sure it was a conscious decision). Lying in bed in the early evening, I cried once again. I could see nothing ahead of me. My girlfriend at the time made efforts to comfort me, but she wasn’t particularly good at it. I think she was the only person who had more disdain for me at that point that I had myself.

I don’t remember if I went out that evening or just stayed in bed. It’s all lost to the ether at this stage. Over the following three months my life took so many twisting changes that it was hard to keep up. I ended the year 2000 with a new job, a fun college life, a new home in Dublin and, most importantly, Lottie.

I‘m happily able to look back on my life now with very few regrets and, awful as that day was, I wouldn’t erase it. The Leaving Cert is NOT everything. There is so much more to life than results and college places. I would not swap my uneducated life for anything now. Sometimes even the bad moments in our lives can have unexpectedly positive outcomes.

17 responses so far

Aug 12 2008

I Have A Cool Scar

Published by under Blog

After Mulley‘s suggestion, I’m going to tell you something stupid:



The day after my birthday, two years ago, I was doing the washing up. There was a lot of glasses to be washed up after the party the previous night. Lottie was passed out in the bedroom with a hangover and I was feeling pretty damn good.

I got my hand stuck inside a pint glass while washing it and as I yanked, the glass broke in my hand. I didn’t feel it at first and the tap was running, so I didn’t notice the gash on the back of my hand. But slowly the sink began to fill with blood. I looked at the cut on my hand and between gushes of red, I saw bone.

Darren's HandCalmly, because I’m like that, I wrapped my hand in a tea-towel and walked in to the bedroom. Then Lottie heard the words she dreads more than any other – “Don’t worry, everything is fine”. They were followed with “but I think I need to go to the hospital”. She sobered instantly and grabbed her car keys.

A few hours and three stitches later we returned home. Two years on, I have a constant reminder of my stupidity. Honestly, I still get nervous washing pint glasses.

24 responses so far

Aug 11 2008

Brevity Is The Whole Of It

Published by under Blog

Image Not FoundLike Polonius, I probably spend more time talking about how important it is to keep things brief than actually practicing the words I’ve preached. The photobloggers do not. Often they manage to encapsulate a moment, a single second of perfect time and I am in awe. What day is day, night night, and time is time, were nothing but to waste night, day, and time; therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit…I will be brief. Go here and be impressed. I particularly love the context Phil gives to the pictures.

2 responses so far

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