Monthly Archives: December 2008

Are You Slaggin’ Me?

This fight was on the TV in my local on Friday night. I’ve no interest in boxing, but it was impossible not to stare at this:

nathan-cleverly

People slag golfers for the lurid clothing they wear, but what about this pair? The guy on the ground seemed to have been sponsored by Damart, the long-john company. His trunks looked as though he had cut them down from an old pair of pyjamas, in the same way Julie Andrews made clothes out of curtains in the Sound of Music.

But what about the other bloke? It appears as if his granny gave him a pair of her bloomers to wear for luck, then his mum gave him a pair of her sensible knickers and finally his girlfriend gave him her frillies, and rather than offend any of them, he wore them all.

Perhaps the guy on the ground suggested as much.

You Wha’?

Tinson1 went for his medical for the FCA on Saturday.

Mrs Tin drove him to Wicklow town, where there was an army truck parked. A man in uniform got out, ticked off a clipboard, and loaded him into the back of the truck, which drove off.

She cried all the way home.

ear-trumpetHe arrived back though with the news that he had failed the hearing test. Apparently he couldn’t hear one frequency in one ear, and this tiny imperfection means that he is unfit to be trained to fire lethal weapons at other human beings.

Seldom has the failure of any of the Tinkids at anything been greeted with such joy.

Or such sympathy. Tingirl’s drama group had an end-of-term show that afternoon (Saturday was certainly the most varied birthday I’ve ever had) and the first part was a mime. “Don’t worry Tinson, they’re not actually saying anything,” I whispered. “Stop slagging him, ” said Mrs Tin. “It’s ok, he can’t hear me,” I replied.

Everytime he’s asked a question now and says “what?” the other Tinkids fall around laughing.

Living in our house will toughen him up far better than the FCA ever could.

“Lucky” is my middle name

I didn’t post yesterday, because I’m not sure how the word “mmnnuuuhhhhh” is spelt, and it’s the only word my brain was capable of processing.

The party was a big success. We ate, drank, danced, and then at the end of the night we had the raffle.

The raffle is an essential part of our company’s Christmas Party. It’s held at the very end of the night, all the staff members have their names put into a hat (ie spouses and partners are excluded), and if you’re in bed when you’re name is read out, tough.

We have about fifty prizes, ranging from vouchers for hotel stays to Cadburys Selection Boxes. Two of the most popular prizes (though not with the boss) are paid Half-days off work. This was my idea a couple of years ago and it seems harmless, but some of the top developers in the Company are very well paid, so they can end up being the most expensive prizes of all for the company.

Anyway, in three years of parties, I’d never won anything, so I reckoned this year my luck had to change. And it did. I won this.

sp_a0007

The worst thing is that I had actually bought it. My ClosestWorkBuddy, GoldenEyes, organises the Christmas Party each year, and buys all the prizes, but this year she was sick in the week leading up to it, so Blondiebird and I went off on Thursday afternoon with sixteen hundred euro to spend in two hours.

I’ve never done Power Shopping like this before, and it was a real experience as we flew from shop to shop buying vouchers, tins of sweets and cosmetics. It was while we were in Boots buying 3-For-2 things that I saw the above box and said “this looks nice”. “Meh,” said Blondiebird, but by then we were knackered, so we took it anyway.

And on Saturday, GE said “next prize is this Perfume Sample Set,” and then laughed herself sick when my name was read out.

Oh well, at least I’ve broken my duck.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia…

…..that’s easy for you to say.

Our office party is on tonight. All the staff and their partners are invited to the Radisson SAS in Cavan to eat turkey and, er, ham, to drink beer at a free bar and then stay overnight. There will be 233 people there.

My boss last year (not really)

My boss last year (not really)

Some may say that this is over-extravagant while banks are crashing, while jobs are dwindling and while Bob the Builder is presumably now Just Plain Bob. The company’s attitude, though, is that the staff have worked just as hard this year as last, so why cut their party? They also take the attitude that if everything really goes badly, in 18 months time it’s unlikely they’ll be saying  “if only we hadn’t held that party – it would have made all the difference between solvency and bankruptcy”.

Anyway, I’m delighted. As I say, there are 233 people going, so it’ll be the biggest birthday party I’ve ever had.

For today is my birthday, and, as you’ll have noticed, it’s the 13th (I know it’s the 14th where you are, LK, but we Irish have always been a bit behind the times). And, back in 1957 (aargh!), the 13th of December was indeed a Friday.

So the title of this post is not Mandarin, Klingon or indeed Keyshitatrandom, it is the term for Fear of Friday the Thirteenth.

friday-the-13thThe great advantage of being born on F the T is that it means you can never be superstitious. It’s hard to take rubbish about magpies, walking under ladders or breaking a mirror seriously once you’ve survived bring born on the The Day Most Fraught With Peril. Magpies are bad because they are loud and steal other birds’ nests, walking under a ladder is unlucky only if the guy at the top drops something on you (you could say the same for walking under a bridge), and breaking a mirror is bad because, well, you’ve to buy a new mirror.

In the office last week we got new Golf Umbrellas delivered to give to our clients, and I opened one to see what they were like. “You can’t open that in here,” said MyAgeGirl (the only other Over-50 in the office, though very few people know it), “it’ll bring you bad luck”.

“Jesus, MAG,” I said, “You’re talking to a guy with heart problems. What more bad luck can I get?”.

Which makes me think. In the past 18 months I’ve had 17 blackouts, three operations, and a pacemaker. I have scars on my forehead from one of my falls. I have a condition where I don’t fully experience things anymore. I’d a tooth taken out yesterday and a crown put in. I’d to pay €470 for that, and last week I’d to pay €100 to get the heater fixed in my car.

Not only that, but Ireland were awful in the Rugby World Cup, the world economy is banjaxed and the Cassini spacecraft has stopped transmitting (I know these things aren’t just my bad luck, but I’m on a roll now). Chrysler and GM are going broke. Pigs can kill you. Martina Navratilova didn’t win I’m a Celebrity. It’s pissing rain.

None of this, of course, is due to when I was born. Touch wood.

******************************************************************

(Ps. As my birthday present to you lot, a word of advice. Don’t ever type “Office Party” into Google Images. And, if you do, don’t look at the fourth picture along.)

Look, I told you NOT to.

Play it Again, Sam

We’ve been given a second chance, amazingly.

When the Nice Treaty vote was taking place in 2001, we were told that if we rejected it, there would be no second chance. We duly rejected it, and were made to vote again in 2002, when it succeeded.

But that was a once-off, we were told. We HAD to vote yes to the Lisbon Treaty last June, because this time there was NO WAY we’d have a second vote.

We voted no anyway (threats have seldom been the best way to win over the Irish), and now, having been told we were very bold and been made to sit on the naughty step for a few months, we’ve been told today that we’re very, very lucky, and we’re going to be given a chance to vote again.

lisbon-boobsOne pretty obvious outcome of this is that every future EU referendum that we face will be defeated first time round, while we wait to see what extra concessions we might get. If the Government have any sense they won’t even bother campaigning first time round. In fact, if the EU have any sense and a touch of deviousness (and remember these are politicians I’m talking about) they’ll work out a Treaty but then tell the Irish it’s something different and less favourable to us, so we can reject that, and then they’ll offer us the real Treaty as a “re-negotiation”.

This political master-stroke is offered as free advice. Who needs well-paid Spin Doctors?

It does surprise me that apparently the change concerning us keeping a Commissioner will be enough to persuade the people to vote Yes next time round. At the moment each of the 27 countries gets to appoint a Commissioner but this was to change so that the Commission would be smaller and the countries would get to appoint people on a rota basis. It seems the fact that we would lose our Commissioner was a major stumbling-block. I can’t see why.

What happens when Croatia, Ukraine, etc, join? What happens when there are 40 countries in the EU, will there be 40 Commissioners sitting around a desk?

No organisation is run like this. It’s like saying that every child in a school should have a parent on the Board of Management. Meetings would have over a hundred people at them, and nothing would ever get done. Instead parents elect a small number from among their ranks, and assume that they will do what’s best for everyone’s children.

Insisting on keeping a Commissioner for each country implies that we don’t think like that about the EU. That we believe that all the other countries can’t wait to get us off the Commission, so that they can do us down. That they’ll behave like bloody foreigners, in other words.

I think that’s sad.

Comfortably Numb

TNG

TNG

I’ve written before about TallNeuroticGirl in our office,  a walking tornado of nervous energy on top of the longest pair of legs on the planet. I still remember the wide-eyed, open-mouthed look on the faces of Tinson2 and Tingirl when she came to vist me in hospital and talked non-stop at 100 miles-an-hour about her sleeping difficulties, the problems at work and her eating disorders.

The important part of that sentence, though, is that she did come to visit me in hospital. She is caring and sweet, and will do anything for anybody.

Yesterday she brought me out for lunch. It’s typical of her that she did that purely because I helped her with something at work last Friday that took me about two minutes.

We had a great time as she is terrific company, if only because she is always either talking or asking questions. She told me a lot about her own issues (she was off work for over six months last year with stomach problems) and quizzed me about mine. I told her about the numbness, and that I think it’s something called Depersonalization Disorder.

“I think I’ve read something about that,” she said. Within ten minutes of us getting to the office she had sent me five links to sites she had found, emailed a neurosurgeon friend of her dad’s to ask did he know anything about it, and contacted a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist asking for information.

Then I got an email from her that said

“I remember now the case last year”, with this link:

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mhauqlgbeyid/

When I had read this I went round to her desk (she works about five feet away, but will carry out twenty minute conversations with you by eMail) and said “how is that meant to make me feel better”?

“Dunno,” she said, “I just wanted you to know that other people suffer from it too”.

Thanks for that, TNG.

Hot Water on Tap

I’ve just been in the kitchen in the office.

tipperary-waterOne of the guys was microwaving his plastic bottle of Tipperary Water, because it was too cold.

Jaysus. We used to be the Fightin’ Irish, a tough-living, hard-drinking, are-you-lookin-at-me-breed feared and respected all over the world (well, just feared, really).

What ever happened to us? Buying water, when it never stops feckin’ raining, & then heating the bloody stuff.

And yes, I know he will poison himself if he keeps doing that, but I just couldn’t be bothered telling him.

Sometimes, natural selection is a good thing.

Told You So

I knew the pork industry would survive.

At yesterday’s school Christmas Fair, we took in €228 at the Hot-dog stall.

Death - inna bun!

Death - inna bun!

Now it’s possible that this means that one depressed person tried to commit suicide by eating 114 contaminated food products, but I prefer to believe that 114 different individuals decided “yiz won’t tell ME what I can and can’t eat”.

You have to love the Irish.

Oh, and I’ve just read that the feed supplier that caused all this is owned by a guy called Robert Hogg. Please feel free to insert your own joke here.

Turkey and Spam

A couple of days ago I made a reply to a comment from the Sexy Pedestrian on my Oranges and Lemons post. I said “I hear Aldi’s  white pudding is cat. Possibly literally”.

It turns out now that this would be a GOOD thing. Anything as long as it isn’t pig.

mad-pigAs if enough hasn’t gone wrong in this country over the last few months, we’re now being asked to throw out all the pork and bacon products in our fridges. Anything bought since September 1st may be contaminated by cancer-causing toxins, apparently. (“And what about stuff bought before September 1st?”, asked RTE’s reporter last night. “It’d probably taste like shit by now,” said the face of the expert she was interviewing. “Er, they would be toxin-free,” said the expert’s lips.)

It would have been helpful if they’d announced this on Friday. However, with the wonderful sense of timing that has characterised so much of the performance of this Government, they announced it on a Saturday evening, after we had all stuffed ourselves with the traditional Saturday morning cholesterol-bomb of sausages, rashers and black & white pudding (with a half-tomato added to give the impression that it’s a healthy meal).

While this has serious implications for the livelihood of small farmers, workers in meat processing factories, and breakfast roll salesmen in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it’s also hard not to laugh. I’m writing this at the Christmas Fair for Tingirl’s school (it’s quite dull sitting in a back room tallying the money) and we’ve already had a discussion about whether to sell the Ham and Mushroom pies that some parent made and donated (we’ve decided yes, with a massive don’t-blame-us  warning).

On Friday our company had it’s Client Christmas Lunch, where we took out 140 clients and fed them, well, turkey and ham. Good PR for us, then.

Last night in the pub I had a look at the prizes for our local GAA Club’s Christmas Draw. Eight of the twenty prizes include a ham.

But all is not lost for the pork industry. The government told us to vote for the Lisbon Treaty, so we voted against it. They told us to accept the Budget costs in Medical Cards and Education, and we marched till they backed down. They told us it would be unpatriotic to do our shopping in Northern Ireland, and we’ve practically doubled the North’s economy overnight.

turkeyNow they’ve told us not to eat pork or bacon.  So on Christmas Day we’ll all eat a large ham with strips of bacon across the top, served on a bed of sausages, with black-and-white pudding stuffing, and a pig’s trotter sauce.

Turkeys are going to think it’s Christmas.

Smithers, Release the Hounds

see-my-vestYesterday’s post about music sticking in your head reminds me that a friend of mine once told me that his two young daughters had learned all the words to “See my vest” as sung by Mr Burns during a Simpsons episode, and that they would sing this at breakfast and it would then drive him mad all day.

Some months later the team that I support played like sick nuns during an important game on the TV. The following morning I got a text from said friend saying something like “great performance by your lot last night”.

Though his own team have their own poor moments and I could have replied in kind, I simply texted back “see my vest, see my vest, see my vest”.

Ten minutes later I got the one word reply “BASTARD”.

To borrow laughykate’ s phrase – “I am Tinman, do not fuck with me”.