Archive for December, 2008

Dec 30 2008

I Should Probably Update This

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10 responses so far

Dec 23 2008

A Blogmas Carol

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Following on from Will Knott’s Christmas Toy Story



Michael has been kidnapped and I have been ordered to rescue him, at any cost. He’s always ending up in scrapes like this and I’m always the one who has to pull him out of it.

I don’t complain…much…but I do find it very unfair. It’s always been this way. The heavy duty work always falls to me and when the mud flies, guess who bares the brunt of it?

As I leave our mobile HQ, the most uncomfortable truck known to man, Bonnie wishes me luck and this certainly perks me up. Since I first met her, I’ve always had a soft spot for her. But she only has eyes for Michael. He doesn’t even realise. This wonderful, funny, intelligent woman idolises him and instead he picks up random wannabe actresses and models, week after week.

It’s a reckless lifestyle and he’ll regret it when he’s older. He’ll end up a divorced and lonely drunk with children who despise and pity him in equal measure. I wonder if I’ll be around to pick up the pieces then, or will I have been replaced too.


So, I’ve to rescue him. I don’t even understand how he keeps getting into these situations. We began this mission together; we always do. Some well financed criminal types were trying to take away the family home of a young woman, Molly. Her parents were dead and she was all alone in the large house. Much of the surrounding land had already been bought up and the gang was trying to scare Molly into selling it cheap.

Michael and I were sent to help. We met her and her family lawyer, Byron Cartwright and, not long afterwards, we got into a scuffle with the gang. Though we won out that time, the gang got away unharmed. We knew they’d return, but rather than wait for that, we decided to investigate their base I didn’t think it was a good idea but Michael insisted.

And…unsurprisingly, while we we doing reconnaissance, the gang broke into Molly’s house and kidnapped her. It took a lot for me to hold back the “I told you so”.

We returned to the house and saw signs of a struggle. The gang was sloppy and left a tyre trail leading away from the house, deep into the surrounding fields. I was able to track them down and, as night fell, we found an abandoned house where they were holding Molly.

Though I disapproved Michael went on alone while I held back. It was not long before I heard fighting and glass smashing. Michael signalled me with his hi-tech watch and I came driving in. I smashed through the front door and knocked some of the gang unconscious. They’ll live.

Michael was fist fighting with one of the head bad guys and I saw one of his lackies run to attack Michael. I burst open my passenger side door and knocked him down.

Then, from the next room, the main boss arrived in with a gun. He was holding Molly too. I recognised him – we had met him before. He was Molly’s family lawyer, Byron Cartwright – we met him right at the start, when we first arrived at Molly’s house. It seems so obvious now.

Cartwright took Molly and Michael by gunpoint into his car outside. He just left me there to look on. But I knew this wasn’t the end – I knew this was to be continued…



So, at the exact same time, one week later, I have to go rescue Michael.

I drive out of HQ and head back to the gang’s base. I was able to track Michael from his watch’s tracking signal. My state of the art computer is unique. On super high turbo mode, I speed to the base. I take each corner with perfect precision. My red front grill seems to smile as I zoom through the desert vista. My sleek black design, my high tech gadgetry, my experimental engine are perfectly in tune. I am the ultimate weapon in the fight against crime. And, as I pull a handbrake turn into the gangs base, I feel empowered, invincible, victorious even.



I am startled then, as a large black van appears out of nowhere. The otherwise unassuming black van was made garish and obvious by the red line drawn around its sides.



Suddenly, I’m in darkness. Am I in storage? I can hear sounds. Through a crack in the wall in front of me I can see a lot of action centring around the black van. There’s a fresh excitement. It must be new – I remember this excitement when I first arrived, back when I was new.

A fight breaks out. I hear a voice –

I pity the fool!

Molly has been rescued. But where is Michael? I don’t see him; I see Molly wrapping her arms around four men, thanking them. Is Michael dead? Has he been replaced? Have I been replaced? As it gets darker, I hear a chilling epitaph, which surely signals my doom –

I love it when a plan comes together.


Have the bad guys won?

Knight Rider and KITT

The A-Team


Click to continue to the next story

14 responses so far

Dec 22 2008

It’s A Wonderful Life

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This morning, I do actually feel like Christmas has arrived. It’s a season that I’ve hated in the past, and I’ve managed to get through with a combination of denial, alcohol and repeats of The Two Ronnies.

However, this whole year has been amazing for me and December has been no different. Thanks to some great friends and the wonderful Lottie, I’m having the time of my life.

So, on this mild morning, heading in for my second last day of work in 2008, I want to say happy Christmas to anyone and everyone who reads my blog. It means so much to me that people read and enjoy the few bits I throw up here. Thank you!

This evening, I’ll be going to see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen in the IFI in city centre. If anyone is around and wants to join us, I think there’s still tickets left at And click here for Lottie’s intersting angle on the film…



12 responses so far

Dec 19 2008

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry Has Died

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Majel Barrett RoddenberryOften referred to as the First Lady of Star Trek, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, has died of leukemia at her home age 75.

Majel has been part and parcel of the Star Trek franchise since day one; her roles included Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek, Lwaxana Troi (Deanna’s Mother) in The Next Generation and the voice of the USS Enterprise computer in almost every spin-off of the 1966 series. She recently confirmed that she would reprise the voice role in the upcoming Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams.

Majel Barrett RoddenberryWhen Gene Roddenberry made his first pilot for Star Trek it was very different to the Kirk and Spock story we all know. Jeffrey Hunter was to play Christopher Pike, Captain of the Enterprise, while Majel was his second in command, referred to as Number One. Naturally, in 1966 studio execs didn’t want to have a woman in charge, so Majel was demoted to nurse and Hunter was replaced by Shatner.

6 responses so far

Dec 18 2008

Oh, How I Laughed

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I love this thing, from

And the original is brilliant too…

5 responses so far

Dec 18 2008

Telling Stories

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Tracy ChapmanI used to baby sit for friends of the family. I used to look forward to it for a couple of reasons. They had Sky television, which was an exciting and new thing to me then. They also had a fantastic music collection. Sitting in their large and beautiful living room after the kids had gone to bed, I discovered a love of so many artists that I had not been nor would not otherwise be exposed to.


Tracy ChapmanI remember finding an album with a curious cover. Dark and brown, with picture of a person on the front that I was unsure if it was a man or woman. The CD case (CDs were fairly new to me then too) had a woman’s name on it, and I had just discovered one of the greatest albums I’ve ever known. Tracy Chapman’s debut was full of rousing ballads and haunting stories. I listened to that album over and over again. I knew every word and loved every note.


Last week, as I sat in the Olympia Theatre watching her perform solo on stage, the nostalgia overcame me. She opened with one of my all time favourite songs, Behind the Wall. This was a song that instantly filled me with both sadness and joy. Sadness for the story and subject matter, but a joy to be catapulted back to that living room, discovering Tracy Chapman all over again.


The gig was nothing short of beautiful. She played all the old favourites and did not disappoint a single fan. Chatty and charming, seemingly overjoyed to be playing for us, seeing Chapman was a treat. It was an experience I enjoyed far more than I expected, and as I left the Olympia, I felt moved by the night.

6 responses so far

Dec 17 2008

Merry Christmas From All Your Favourite Bad Guys

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2 responses so far

Dec 17 2008

Another Life

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Wall Street Journal ChartOkay, here’s an interesting one. Gore Verbinski (he of Pirate o’ da Caribbean fame) is planning to direct a movie about a woman who’s husband had an affair……online. Inspired by an Alexandra Alter article last year in the Wall Street Journal, Verbinski wants to tell the story of a Sue Hoogestraat who wants to leave her husband when she discovers he has another wife, Tenaj, in the online world Second Life.


In Webland, the online couple (named Dutch and Tenaj Hoorenbeek) have two dogs, a mortgage and go shopping together. The husband’s argument is that it is just a game. He has never actually met his online wife and argues that his own wife spends hours watching TV – he spends his time online and sees no difference. Ric Hoogestraat has tried to get Sue involved in his online world but she’s not interested.


He makes a good argument on the surface. Surely it’s just fantasy – he idles away his time online interacting with other avatars, while Sue watches Oprah, Ellen and dog shows on TV. Reading Alter’s article, you realise the scale of the ‘problem’:


Mrs. Hoogestraat pauses on her way to the kitchen and glances at the screen.

“You didn’t eat your breakfast,” she says.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see it there,” he responds.

“They probably won’t taste any good now,” she says, taking the plate.

By 4 p.m., he’s been in Second Life for 10 hours, pausing only to go to the bathroom. His wrists and fingers ache from manipulating the mouse to draw logos for his virtual coffee cups. His back hurts. He feels it’s worth the effort. “If I work a little harder and make it a little nicer, it’s more rewarding,” he says.

Sitting alone in the living room in front of the television, Mrs. Hoogestraat says she worries it will be years before her husband realizes that he’s traded his real life for a pixilated fantasy existence, one that doesn’t include her.


I think it’s fair to say that most people reading this blog have a fairly active online life. We blog, we read, we Facebook, some Twitter, some play games. Over this past year I’ve met so many people online who have become great friends. At what point does it become unhealthy?


For Ric and Sue Hoogestraat (who met online incidentally) there are clearly a lot of issues to work on. But is your online life interfering with your real world? Is your real life getting in the way of all you want to do online? Where is the perfect balance or is there one?


Note: Chart from Alexandra Alter’s Wall Street Journal Article

12 responses so far

Dec 16 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

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My laptop, my house keys, my work keys, my Sky viewing cards (for the Sky service that WILL be installed this week), my USB Card Reader, a USB key with numerous photos, a compact camera, a notepad with a lot of good blogworthy material, a collection of Moo Stickers, badges, two books, a magazine, Anthony’s copy of The Watchmen graphic novel, a phone charger, a camera charger, an iPod cable, batteries, various nice pens.


These are all the things I had in the backpack which I stupidly left behind me in Insomnia after meeting Darragh, Maybury, Lottie and Daisy for a coffee after work.


Lottie and I left the coffee shop, did some Christmas shopping, walked down to the DART, went to sit down and then my usual routine of taking off my backpack seemed wholly unnecessary as my back was void of bag.


I froze solid as my brain hurriedly retraced my steps and worked out where I may have left it. I ran out of the station, I ran up Westland Row, I ran along Nassau Street, I ran up Kildare Street, I took a break as I was out of breath and my chest was in pain, I walked swiftly along the Green to reach a closed Insomnia Coffee Shop.


My heart sank.


In the back, I saw light. Then a girl emerged with a mop and bucket. I was never before so overjoyed to see a girl with a mop and bucket. I can’t imagine a time in the future that I will ever be so glad to see a girl with a mop and bucket. I frantically knocked on the door of the coffee shop. She mode some strange gesture with her hands. I pleaded with her. She waved her hand. I waved back and knocked again.


She walked towards me and was mouthing something incomprehensible. As she reached closer to the door, I realised what she was saying…


“The door’s open”, she said, pushing the door towards me.


Full of apologies, I asked if a bag had been left behind, but before I had even finished my sentence, she said yes and a second girl showed up with my backpack in hand. I was so thankful.


I wasn’t always so scatter-brained. What’s going on with me lately?


17 responses so far

Dec 16 2008

One Day International – Blackbird

Published by under Blog,Music,Music Review,Politics,TV

One Day International InterviewA couple of weeks ago, Darragh interviewed One Day International in Le Cirk. I took a few photos and managed to purloin a copy of their album, Blackbird.


I threw it onto my iPod last week and listened to it on the way home on the DART. The first track, Closed Doors, was nice. It was simple and sounded like a lot of middle-of-the-road pop songs out today. Though not overwhelmed, I enjoyed it and looked forward to an album I could right a pleasant review about.


One Day InternationalThen I heard the second track, Little Death, and my opinion completely changed. Quirky, with an upbeat melody fused with a melancholy lyric, I was excited to hear what would come next.


I wasn’t disappointed. Track after track of great tunes makes Blackbird one of the best albums I’ve heard in years.


Lead Balloon is a theatrical number, reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright‘s prime, while Sleeping on Trains is a dark and moody track, like a lullaby for a very bad child. Like many of the tracks on the album, it has a slow, wistful beginning which escalates to a damning crescendo. Maybe not unique, but certainly ahead of the game.


One Day International InterviewMiss Your Mouth, one of the most marketable singles on the album, is another beautiful tale of lost love. It’s a delicate with a memorable melody, without being a repetitive pop tune.


Shiver begins as an instrumental piece showing the perfect collaboration between Cormac Curran on piano, Eimear O’Grady on cello and bassist Danny Snow. It makes you think that this entire album could be a great movie soundtrack; this piece would be a flawless score even without the introduction of the simple and glorious vocals of Matt Lunson.


Not Over You has some of the finest lyrics on the album. Like much of the album, it speaks of loves lost but not forgotten.


Do you remember the moment we met?
I can remember we spoke about shortness of breath.
Do you remember not showing for work
And sleeping together late on in the afternoon?


Black is the Bird is the title track and deservedly so. It captures all that is great about the band. Beautiful piano sounds, haunting melodies, memorable tunes and gorgeous vocals.


One Day International InterviewAs I listened to the first half of the album, I began to draw comparisons between One Day International and acts such as Duke Special, Cathy Davey, Lisa Hannigan and Divine Comedy in particular. I was then pleasantly surprised to reach track 9, Aliens, which I already knew from Neil Hannon‘s version on The Cake Sale. I actually thought it was a Hannon penned track and I was delighted to discover that Lunson is the writer. A tiny bit of research told me that the Cake Sale’s producer, Brian Crosby, also had a hand in Blackbird.


Big Surprise and Darken Your Door close out the album on a downbeat and sad note. Further evidence of the theatrical nature of this album are in the lyrics of Big Surprises.


If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise.
They’ve taken all of the trees away, right before our eyes


Darken Your Doors continues the melancholic lost love theme and as it ends I find myself clicking the buttons that bring me back to start all over again.


One Day International are playing The Button Factory on 18th December and tickets are available here. The album, Blackbird, was released in October and is available on iTunes here. For more information on the band, check out their blog.


6 responses so far

Dec 16 2008

Turn And Face The Strange

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DarrenI met an old school friend of mine for Christmas drinks last night. He’s just back from a year in Australia, so it was great to catch up. In more than one of our conversations last night, I was reminded of how much I have changed over the years. And not small changes either – huge, dramatic personality shifts.


When he first knew me, I was beyond shy. I was nervous, timid and quieter than a corpse. I had the complexion of a corpse too. Skinny, sickly and permanently stressed, I was the polar opposite of what I became by the end of my school days. By then, I was über-confident, cocky even, healthy, talkative (in the extreme), could have most any girl I wanted (and I knew it). I thought I could do anything, be anything.


It wasn’t long before all of that came to a crashing halt around me – reality can be devastating. The person I am now is neither of those people. I’m certainly not shy these days, but I’m not over-burdened with confidence either. I’m chatty when I need to be and would like to consider myself a good listener when required too. I’m sure my relationship with Lottie has given me a grounding I sorely needed, but so too has it given me the opportunity to be free in myself, to take risks and chances knowing that there will be someone to catch me if things go wrong and I fall on my face.


I like who I am now. And, last night, it was interesting to look back over the way I once was and see the journey I’ve taken to be where and who I am today.


Anyway, there’s no great point to this post. It’s just something that was on my mind. Happy Christmas!

11 responses so far

Dec 15 2008

Bush Gets The Boot

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A soleless would be assassin threw his shoes at George Bush during a press conference. Luckily, the situation was tied up fairly quickly. The attacker, Muntazer al-Zaidi, must have been some sneaker to get past security. The Secret Service will surely sock it to this guy now. At the very least, heel probably be booted from any future press conferences.


Though many first supported the attacker, they now seem to be flip-flopping on the issue and praising President Bush’s witty remark – “I’m OK. All I can report is it is a size 10”.  Rumours that the shoes may have been laced with chemicals proved unfounded.

Sources within the US government are reported to have said,

When evil is afoot, the righteous must toe the line.

Here’s a photograph taken of the incident:


Must…resist…urge…to say……strange things are afoot in Iraq.


Some might say this is a cheap post full of bad puns and that I am not funny…… Well, if the shoe fits…



10 responses so far

Dec 15 2008

This Is Gonna Be Great…

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The Other Fellow


I am The Other Fella [as Grandad caustically calls me] who does the typing on Head Rambles.

For years I have lived under his irascible thumb, but enough is enough.  I will have my say.

My name is Richard, and I live very close to Grandad.  We are not related in any way, shape or form, though some people seem to think we are.

I confess I do look a bit like him, and we are the same age, but there the similarities end.

Where he is a cantankerous evil sod, I am a placid, rather quiet person.  Where he drinks himself into a stupor, I will remain sober and abstemious.  Where he happily murders tourists, I will greet them and help them on their way.

I may sound like a dull person.  I suppose I am.  But I have one thing going for me –

I have all the dirt on Grandad!

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Dec 14 2008

Something To Inspire You

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We’re in recession. Friends of ours are losing their jobs. Others are suffering cutbacks. No one has any money and morale is low.

Perhaps all we need is a pep talk. Here’s the motivational speech to end all motivational speeches:




Shame on you. This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re going to let it be the worst. And I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walking out, letting them get the best of you. Well, I’m not going home. We’ve come too far! And I’m going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. A day may come when the courage of men fails… but it is not THIS day. The line must be drawn HERE. This far, no further! I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. You’re going to work harder than you ever worked before. But that’s fine, we’ll just get tougher with it! If a person grits his teeth and shows real determination, failure is not an option. That’s how winning is done! Believe me when I say we can break this army here, and win just one for the Gipper. But I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: you’ve got to get mad. I mean plum mad dog mean. If you would be free men, then you must fight to fulfill that promise! Let us cut out their living guts one inch at a time, and they will know what we can do! Let no man forget how menacing we are. We are lions! You’re like a big bear, man! This is YOUR time! Seize the day, never surrender, victory or death… that’s the Chicago Way! Who’s with me? Clap! Clap! Don’t let Tink die! Clap! Alright! Let’s fly! And gentlemen in England now abed shall know my name is the Lord when I tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Independence Day!


5 responses so far

Dec 14 2008

Jesus, Dead And Loving It

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2000 years later and Jesus is still keeping busy. While the Vatican has recently forgiven John Lennon for his claim of greatness forty-odd years ago, Jesus is very much keeping with the times.


He loves hip hop:


Jesus Hip Hop

And he’s given up his sandals in favour of a motor cycle:


Although, he may have gotten a  little excited about his second, ahem, coming…


6 responses so far

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