Monthly Archives: April 2011

Little People

Yesterday, April 29th, was a red letter day. People had the day off, there were street parties, there was only one topic on everybody’s lips, all over the world.

My first post was on April 29th, 2008, so yesterday my blog was three years old.

I celebrated by bringing it to something ideally suited to a three year old. I went to the National Leprechaun Museum.

The National Leprechaun Museum opened on the corner opposite our office about a year ago, and as far as I know GoldenEyes and I are the first two staff members to go. This is because the admission fee is ten euro, which is quite a lot of money when you know that, whatever else might be in there, there won’t be leprechauns (in fairness, if they did have actual leprechauns then I’d be willing to pay a lot more than ten euro).

But a website called City Deals offered GoldenEyes two tickets for eight euro, and at that price it’s hard to go wrong, so we went across at lunchtime and took the guided tour.

If you ignore the elephant in the room, which is the lack of leprechauns in the room, then it’s good fun. The tour guides are enthusiastic and funny, and some of the effects are very clever. There is a tunnel that they say will turn you into a giant, and when you look back the tour guide does look half the size she was. There is a room full of furniture as it would appear to a leprechaun, in that everything in it is huge. There is a room that gives the effect of walking through a rainbow.

The Museum is a real example of the kind of the thing you can get away with if you have enough cheek and imagination. Other places should take note. There should be a National Alien Museum at Roswell, a King Kong Museum on Skull Island, a Loch Ness Monster Museum at, well, Loch Ness.

After all, it’s no sillier than Arsenal having a trophy cabinet.

Window Cleaning

Yesterday’s post about CSI was written, and then re-written. It might not have looked like that, but it was.

I was on the bus typing away merrily (well, as merrily as you can when you’ve found out that your drugs don’t work) when the screen suddenly went blank. Then a message appeared saying “Windows is Configuring your updates”, or some crap like that, and gave me a running commentary on what percentage it had completed, as if it were a child waiting for praise on how much wee it was pouring into its potty.

And then, in the best tradition of clueless support staff all over the world, Windows turned my computer off and then back on again.

My post was gone.

When the machine restarted Windows proudly announced yet again that it was configuring my machine (“look, mummy, now I’m doing number 2’s”) and finally condescended to let me back in, to start my post all over again.

After a couple of minutes a message appeared saying “Windows has re-booted you computer to allow upgrades. Would you like to view these upgrades now?”

This was like saying “Windows has just set fire to yourt homework. Would you like to see the lighter we did it with?”

Bad Publicity

Last summer, just before we were off on our 25th wedding anniversary trip to New York, I started watching CSI:NY. I did it to remind myself of the places we were about to visit, and when we came back I started watching it again so I that I could bore the Tinkids rigid by pausing it, calling them and saying, “see that park/alley/dumpster? We walked past that.”

And I’ve stuck with watching it, even though the dialogue is as clichéd as a crooked politician and the acting is so wooden that it could carry two animals of every type upon it. I still watch it because the plots are often quite clever and the denouement can be quite surprising.

Last night I watched an episode that I taped about a week ago. In it the vic (the word “victim” apparently takes too long for a busy CSI cop to say) was found stabbed in his apartment (slayed in Manhattan, as the film almost says) and the team got to work.

Part of this work involves a tox screen (the word “toxicology” etc, etc) and this revealed that our dead friend had Clonazepam in his system. This sounded familiar so I went to the kitchen shelf where I keep what we refer to as “my stash”, the four different drugs that fight (possibly with each other) to keep me less loopy than I would otherwise be. Sure enough, there my Clonazepams sat proudly in their little bottle, complete with the label warning me to avoid alcohol, drowsiness and heavy machinery. I went back to the TV.

“What’s Clonazepam?” Gary Sinise was asking. “It’s used as an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety drug,” said his know-it-all new partner. “Amen to that,” I said to the TV.

Imagine the joy of the makers of Clonazepam at all this free advertising on one of the US’s top programs. It was the equivalent of Bart Simpson saying “eat my shorts, and also these delicious Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.” I was happy that they were getting the publicity they deserved as I sat waiting to see the CSI crew avenge my fellow depression sufferer, a brother Clonazeponian with whom I was feeling a deep special bond. I was keenly looking forward to them catching his dastardly killer.

I’m reluctant to spoil the ending for those of you who might one day see the episode, but my story will be a little pointless if I don’t, so here goes.

There was no killer. The vic wasn’t murdered at all. He made it look like he had been, to spare his mother’s feelings, but in fact he had stabbed himself.

Because of his depression.

This sudden twist must have been like the twist of a knife in the hearts of the makers of Clonazepam. It certainly didn’t improve my mood either.

I would have taken my anti-depressants, except it appears that they don’t work.

Trump Card

WordPress asks “Do you think Donald Trump would make a good US President?”

This is the first time they’ve gone so blatantly parochial, choosing to ignore the fact that many of their users are (a) not American, (b) don’t care, and (c) don’t know enough about Donald Trump to be able to offer an opinion.

Luckily lack of knowledge rarely stops me offering an opinion, so…..

I think Donald Trump would make an excellent President because:

  1. He has a huge black Tower named after himself. This lends him the aura of an evil overlord from something like Lord of the Rings, thus scaring the enemies of the US;
  2. He could solve Ireland’s economic woes by simply buying us, with change from his back pocket;
  3. I’d like to see Tina Fey‘s impersonation of him;
  4. He is a germophobe, so he’d pump millions into researching the cure for the common cold. And he’d have Monk as Secretary of State;
  5. He would re-introduce the Presidential wig, leading America back to the spirit of Washington and the founding fathers;
  6. You’re not serious. That’s his real hair?
  7. Ivana Trump would become FLOTUS (see, I know all the lingo), which is cool, because she doesn‘t have a US birth cert either;
  8. He owns the Miss Universe Corporation and is thus the only man on earth of whom Silvio Berlusconi is jealous;
  9. Trump is another word for fart (we let you get away with two Presidents called Bush, but we‘d just have to make jokes about that);
  10. And finally, he has Irish roots.

Actually, I have no idea whether that last one is true or not, but believe me, if he becomes President we’ll find some.

Just ask Mr Obama, from Moneygall, County Offaly.

Visitors at the Door

On yet another quiet day with nothing to write about (750th post, was going to try and make something of that, but who’d care other than me) I turned again to my spam queue to see if anyone there might simply be, not a spammer, but merely a sad misunderstood soul. In among the dross I found these two comments:

One is from Burger King Menu, who to be quite honest deserves a post all to himself, which he may well get tomorrow if something more interesting does not happen in my life. BKM says:

“Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.”

While Bob Khakshooy wrote:

“You completed various good points there. I did a search on the subject and found the majority of persons will have the same opinion with your blog.”

Bob kindly provided a link from his name, which takes you to the website of the State Bar of California, which lists him as an attorney registered to practice there. I can only hope he attorns better than he writes English.

The thing that attracted my attention to both of them is the post on which they both commented. It was the “About Tinman18” tab on the front page of the blog. I did not expect such adulation simply for explaining a bit about who I am, where I live and things like that.

I am glad that BKM feels strongly about who I am, and would like, sorry, love to learn more about this topic. Since the topic is me, I can only applaud his taste. He is a philosopher, in that he believes that I am on a continuous voyage of self-discovery, as we all are (he may in time discover salad) and hopes that as I gain expertise, presumably at being me, I will update my blog with more information, perhaps about my shoe size, or the colour of my eyes, or whether I ever feel the urge to wear a hat.

It is extremely helpful for him, though I have to admit that I can’t see why.

I am proud of the fact that Bob, who as an attorney is a man of formidable intellect, feels that by just giving my age and where I come from I completed various good points. I feel like a child who has just been given a gold star on his homework.

I have read the story of the prince who dreamt he was a butterfly, and who when he awoke could not be sure that he was not in fact a butterfly dreaming he was a prince (the third possibility, that he was a hedgehog dreaming that he was both, does not seem to have occurred to him).

Bob’s kindness in doing a search on the subject and his finding that the majority of persons have the same opinion with my blog is very re-assuring. It means that most people believe that I am in fact a middle-aged guy from Ireland and not, as I might have feared, a 22-year old girl from Volgograd with even bigger mental problems than I’d thought.

Or a hedgehog.

Boredom, She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher woke, as she did every Saturday morning, in an unfamiliar bedroom (behave, this is not that type of story). She was, as always, spending the weekend in some old friend’s house (see). She looked at her watch, then looked again in surprise.

It was eleven o’clock. It had been years since she had brought an alarm clock on one of these weekends, since every Saturday morning she would be woken anyway by an early morning scream of horrified discovery. This had not happened this morning, which meant that the unthinkable had occurred. Or rather, hadn’t

No-one had been murdered in the night.

Somewhat confusedly she dressed and went downstairs. Breakfast was long over, so she had to make herself instant coffee. She wandered out into the garden where her hostess and her other guests, all inconsiderately alive, were busying themselves in a variety of pursuits. A couple were playing tennis on the court, others were swimming in the pool, others were lying (but alive) on the chaise longues which were there just for lying out on, or for trying to spell correctly.

She sat watching them all, drinking her coffee, and realised that she was bored. This was not what was meant to happen at weekends. At weekends she would go to the house of some friend, and soon a man called, say, John would be stabbed both in the back and in a locked room with an ornamental ceremonial dagger.

The body would be discovered (cue the scream) and Jessica would get to work. She would know she was getting close when the killer would try to kill her, but she would narrowly escape. Since she was over seventy and the killer had already been proved capable of killing John, who was young and worked out twice a week, you can only admire her remarkable luck. Then her host would make some off-chance remark, a light-bulb would go on over Jessica’s head (it was actually visible, though only of course in the dark), and she would gather everybody in the drawing-room, though why they all agreed to show up was almost as big a mystery as where the actual police were.

Once there she would spout secrets about all of them. ”Well, at first I thought it might be the butler, because he’s been stealing the silver and John was blackmailing him about it, or perhaps Mary, because John wanted to end their affair and was going to tell his wife,” and so on, until she had humiliated everyone there. She would then dramatically reveal the true killer, John’s wife. John’s wife would hide her guilt at first behind a veil of bad acting, then suddenly say “yes, and I’d have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for this pesky old boot,” an expression she had borrowed from another show.

Jessica would go back home leaving everybody happy, except Mary and her husband, who’d begin divorce proceeedings, and the butler, who‘d go to jail for petty theft. The next weekend she be invited to some other old friend’s house and the pattern would repeat itself.

This Saturday, after a tedious afternoon wasted in a deckchair in a sunny garden, she gathered with the rest of the guests (still irritatingly undead, though not in the zombie sense) for dinner.She studied everything and everyone. She tensed as the she saw the butler take the silver cutlery from the table, then relaxed disgustedly as he put it in the cutlery drawer. She suspected her hostess’s young nephew might be there purely to kill her to inherit her money, but he turned out to be a software developer who was twenty times wealthier than his aunt. The two women so obviously having a gay relationship turned out to be just that, so obvious and open about it that they were insusceptible to blackmail, and therefore to sudden panicky action.

Suddenly one of the guests, a wealthy millionaire married to a 20-year old wife, started to choke, clutching at his throat. “At last,” thought Jessica, but he was rapidly Heimliched by said wife until he coughed up a chicken bone that had gone down the wrong way, which is in fact the only way a chicken bone can go down. It transpired that the young wife actually adored him. Jessica knocked back the rest of her wine in one gulp, refilled her glass to the very brim, and stormed disgruntedly off to the library.

There she tried to occupy her brain on a book (Wally was wearing a red stripy jumper and big glasses, for God’s sake, it was simple to find him), tried playing a board game (Professor Plum with a candlestick in the study) and even watching a DVD (he’s obviously dead from the very start, she thought). She was slouching moodily in an armchair when her hostess came to find her.

“Do come and join us in the drawing-room, Jessica,” she said. “Normally we gather round the piano on evenings like this, but in honour of having a famous sleuth such as you here we’ve decided to play “I Spy”.

Jessica punched her in the face.


Jessica Fletcher woke, as she did every Sunday morning, in an unfamiliar bedroom (nope, still not that type of story). This time, though, she was in a top bunk, there was a bucket for a toilet in the corner, and there were bars on the window.

Punching one of the most respected ladies in Napa Valley had earned her 30 days in jail. She got up, fell off the bunk, dragged on a most unfetching set of overalls and was brought to the breakfast room to once again share a meal with a set of strangers.

The conversation here was very different, though. During the night someone had had their cigarettes stolen, a gun had been found hidden in a toilet cistern, an inmate had been beaten up in the shower, the first four feet of an escape tunnel had been discovered beneath the floor of the kitchen and someone had luridly and dyslexically graffitied “GOAL SUCKS” on the wall of the warden’s office.

Jessica mentally rolled up her sleeves. She was starting to feel at home.

Sweet Sixteen

When you have a child you give him or her all the love in the world.

Then a second one is on the way, and you start to panic. Will they get half the love each? Will you ever feel the same about the first one again?

The second one arrives and you realise that parental love will stretch forever, that what you had thought was all the love in the world has now been doubled.

I’m sure that is true if you go on to have ten children, although I have no intention of testing that theory.

Anyway, Tinson2 is sixteen today. His sister Tingirl will not thank me for the chubby-baby picture half appearing above him on the left, but the one of him, taken when he was about two, sums him up as a baby – earnest, intent, always finding something of his own to do.

Tilly Bud’s eldest son was 21 during the week, and she congratulated him on surviving her inept parenting. I feel the same about Tinson1, who had to endure all the mistakes of two people doing absolutely everything parental for the very first time. But Tinson2 survived something even harder – two parents who were three years older and an awful lot tireder.

If Tinson1 dropped his soother it would be whipped away from him, sterilised and placed in quarantine for a month or so, and replaced with a brand-new one taken from its box using surgical gloves and tweezers. If Tinson2 dropped his it would be picked up, wiped on his shirt and stuck back in his mouth.

He disliked all foods other than bread rolls and jam, so we fed him on these (we called them Jam-dogs) for the first ten years of his life. He has rewarded us for this by growing taller than either of us, and is rapidly overtaking his older, sensibly-fed brother.

He has rewarded us further by growing into a clever, pleasant, funny teenager, great company, very caring and a downright nice person. He was a huge hit in the office during his work experience last week, and they have actually asked him would he be available for the occasional day’s work during the summer.

It is 11.14 am as I write this and needless to say there is no sign of him. He is still the indestructible sleeper. But his cards are ready, his presents are ready and when he does eventually get up he will be sung at, fussed over and hugged until he flees back to his room.

We love him and are proud of him.

Happy birthday, my son.

It’s Not the End of the World

Today’s WordPress prompt is:

Forget 2012, when do you think the world will end?

Er, I don’t know.

It’s a question that you can’t possibly answer accurately. Neither do I know where does the time go to, what all those keys in the kitchen drawer are for (we only have a front and a back door), or why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near (perhaps you have birdseed in your pocket).

I’m going to say October 4th, 4327.

(Since this blog will stay on the internet pretty well forever, you can bet I’ll get a whole load of Flamers on the following day pointing out how wrong I was).

So, that should be that. But hang on. What do they mean by “Forget 2012”?

Google, Goddess of Knowledge, provides the answer. There are apparently many predictions of an apocalypse, of alien invasions, of a massive solar flare, of the fact the there will be an end-of-the-world type movie called 2012 (this film does in fact exist, which is a tiny bit worrying). The main plank of the argument, which may be the origin of the expression “thick as a plank” is that a 5,000 year-long Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. This may simply mean that they ran out of paper, or that the guy doing it suddenly looked at his life and thought “bloody hell, what am I doing?” and just stopped.

If they are right though, it’s bad news for a number of people:

  • My credit card company, because they’ll never get all their money back;
  • The English paparazzi, who had planned to spend the next two years following Kate Middleton taking pictures to see if she might be pregnant, so that their might be an heir to the heir to the heir to the throne;
  • Anyone who wins a medal in the London Olympics, since they’ll be champion for a mere four months;
  • People who’ve been waiting five years for the release of the Hobbit, since they’ll have a two days to watch it;
  • Someone who wins the Lotto on Saturday December 15th;
  • Anyone hoping to get the Justin Bieber 2013 Calendar for Christmas.
  • Longtime frustrated girlfriends who ask their boyfriends to marry them on February 29th, unless they have a really quick wedding already organised.

On the bright side, at least my birthday’s the week before. I might ask for a Harley-Davidson.

Guardian Angel

Back in February I wrote that it’s ten years since my breakdown and first real bout of depression.

I couldn’t remember the exact date that it started, only that it between February 14th and 28th, so I picked a day and used that as the anniversary.

I can’t remember the exact date of the event I’m about to recall now either, but it was on a Saturday night in April, and the 21st was a Saturday in 2001, so today will do.

When it all started I dragged myself to my doctor feeling embarrassed and ashamed, and he assured me that I was far from being the only person who‘d ever fallen into depression like this, gave me tablets and lots of advice.Among other things he told me that the tightness just under my breastbone was the muscles contracting through stress, and that a long walk every evening would help this.

He was right. Each evening I took a long walk the whole away around the town and by the time I got home the tightness would be gone. I was still desperately depressed, still desperately fearful about who-knows-what, still very, very sad.

And one Saturday evening, let’s say ten years ago today, I was out on my usual walk. Part of the walk took me through a narrow lane, and on this particular evening there were a group of teenage lads and girls hanging around the entrance. I could hear their accents as I neared them, they were the kind of kids who were probably all at university and were into rugby, and long evenings chatting about how old people (those over 30) were fecking up the world (God, they’d no idea, we were only starting).

One of them was a slightly chubby, bespectacled guy, slightly taller than me, who looked like a teenage Elton John. I have no idea what came over him, but he suddenly ran at me, thrust his face close to mine and roared a sound that’s almost impossible to spell, but was more or less like “Whoaaaaarrrhhhh!!!!”

I’m not sure what reaction he thought he’d get. I bet he’d never thought he’d get none, but at that stage I was so dead inside that I wouldn’t have recoiled if he’d been carrying a machete. I never broke stride, but did turn my head to look expressionlessly at him as I passed. His eyes met mine, and for a brief second he stared into deep, soul-destroyed blackness.

I’d often heard the phrase “his face dropped”, but for the first time ever I knew what it meant.

His roar petered out, he shuffled backwards back to his mates, I kept walking.

If we do have Guardian Angels I’d rather mine looked like the one on the right. But it seems they come in unexpected shapes and sizes, and I got that kid instead. Because as I continued my walk the look on the his face kept coming back into my mind and eventually, for the first time in over two months, I grinned.

It was the night I began to get better.