Monthly Archives: July 2011

Coming and Going

A few minutes after I finished yesterday’s post a man arrived from Eircom to see if he could sort out what was wrong once and for all. He moved wires around, put in something called a splitter, climbed bravely into our attic (where be dragons – well, there might be, none of us ever go up there) and got our internet speed up to over twice what it was before. He had a look at our modem and said “I don’t like the way that light is flickering, I think this might not be working properly, I’ll get a new one posted out to you”.

Then he left. Five minutes later the flickering green light he was so worried about turned red, and we lost the internet again.

It works intermittently, which is how I’m here, but I find that I’m typing gently so as not to break my fragile connection to the world.

There will be a post tomorrow, but only because I’ve set up the one I did on Friday to publish tomorrow morning. This means I already know what’s in it, it’s like being able to see the future, though not the useful parts like football scores and lottery numbers.

By Tuesday I will be definitely back, because I’ll be back at work, and if necessary I’ll write stuff there (note to boss who sometimes reads this – that is a joke).



I wrote the above about an hour ago, tried to save it and the internet had gone again. !’m trying again now, but now I feel like I’m trying to smuggle messages out of a prisoner-of-war camp, uncertain that anyone will ever get to read them.

If none of you ever get to read this, let me assure you that it’s the best post ever written.

Out of Contact

Here is this week’s Six Word Saturday:

Internet Was Broken – That’s My Excuse

I had no post here yesterday for only the second time this year. The first time was simply because I forgot to hit “publish” when I had finished writing, the kind of mistake that could be made by anyone, so long as they’re a total idiot.

Last night was different – I arrived home with my post already written in Word, all I had to do was cut-and-paste it onto my blog, but I found that I couldn’t get in. A big sign should then have appeared on the screen saying “the internet is down – sorry for any inconvenience”, but that would mean Microsoft, or Eircom, or Al Gore, or somebody admitting that they had screwed up, and this is not what happens in the computer world. If your computer suddenly crashes Microsoft will tell you, not that some of its programs are crap, but that you have performed an illegal operation and have been shut down, which makes you sound like a badly-behaved robot.

Anyway, instead of the big sign I kept getting helpful messages suggesting that perhaps I was typing in the wrong address, or that the site that I was looking for no longer existed. Since it was my own site I was looking for this was like being told that I was too drunk to find my way home, or else that some Government agency had erased all record of my existence (it happens, I’ve seen it in films), possibly because of the illegal operation that I performed in the last paragraph.

Just when it got to the stage that my language had moved beyond “fruity” to “consisting purely of symbols” (e.g., *!@#!!&*#@?!!) Tinson1 arrived home and told me that the internet wasn’t working, that he had rung Eircom and they were looking into it.

I kept trying at intervals during the evening until eventually midnight came and I accepted that I had lost.

It was still off this morning and since this is a Bank Holiday Weekend here in Ireland I reckoned that was it until Tuesday, but Tinson1, suffering World Of Warfare withdrawal symptoms, rang them again and got someone to do something technical that probably involved turning something off and then turning it back on again, and we are back.

Which is just as well. Six Word Tuesday just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

(For more Six Word Saturday posts, go here:)

Blog Meets Slog

Tinson1 has taken up archery. His first lesson was last night and he arrived home with a strange leather strap that goes over his wrist to prevent friction burn and with a quiver with two pointless arrows in it, if you know what I mean.

He was not permitted to bring home the bow, though I wouldn’t count that as carrying a concealed weapon unless he found some way of sticking it down the front of his trousers and walking like John Wayne.

The point of this tale, though, takes place the night before, when he first announced he was doing it, and I said “but you did that before”, and then realised that he hadn’t.

A couple of years ago I revealed exclusively here that Shakespeare had been a blogger, writing as Bardman, and I published some excerpts from his blog (yes, I’m linking to old posts, so what, it’s the summer, even the BBC show repeats).

In one of Shakespeare’s posts he announces that Bardson1 has taken up archery and this was what was in my head when I said it.

I’ve mentioned here before that while Tingirl and I were looking for a book at home one day we came across Philip Pullman’s The Tin Princess and I said to her “look, that’s you” a fraction of a second before I remembered that she had no idea she was called Tingirl (she has, though, always known that she’s a princess).

These are two examples of the kind of thing that happens when the blogosphere meets the slogosphere, which is the reason for the title of this post (I felt that my original title, “Life Imitating Art“ hinted at dangerous delusions of grandeur).


(And that was to be the end of this post. This sentence was not originally going to be here, but the spellchecker in Microsoft Works, where I typed this on the bus, kept trying to substitute “blogosphere“ with “photosphere“ (I didn’t even know that was a word) and there was something surreal and touching about the fact it did it each time, so that each time I tried to tell you that it had happened I end up with the phrase “to substitute photosphere with photosphere“.

It settled for drawing a disconsolate red line under “slogosphere”. I think I’ve broken its spirit.

Blind Leading The Blind

From one of my wonderful spammers:

My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

Do you reckon, perchance, that he has come to the wrong blog?

House of the Rising Sons (and Daughter)

WordPress asks us to describe our dream home, and it won’t take long to see where I’m going with this.

My dream house would be a bungalow. It would have four bedrooms, enough for each child to have his or her own bedroom. This would be achieved by having each room too small to swing a cat in, though this wouldn’t matter too much since (a) I don’t own a cat, (b) I’m pretty sure they don’t like to be swung and (c) they have claws with which they can make their feelings known upon this point.

The house would be getting on for 40 years old, an astonishing achievement since it would have been built by County Wicklow’s best known firm of cowboy respected builders, and will have been so badly built that someone (perhaps some blogger) would once have described it as “having been built out of Weetabix held together with snot”.

Just as George Washington’s axe supposed had both its handle and its head replaced often, yet still remained the same axe, this house would have few parts of the original still in place, yet would retain the essence of the original house.

This house would be occupied by a couple and three wonderful teenage children, which would occasionally cause a bit of an atmosphere, such as when one of the teenagers, say the young girl, wants to get one earring at the top of one ear. Generally though it would be full of clutter, full of laughter and full of love.

It would look something like this:

It’s not my dream house. It’s my dream home.

A conservatory and a Jacuzzi would be nice, though.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colourful

This week’s photo challenge is Colourful, which WordPress represents by this picture of some flowers.

I am taking a colourful photo to mean one filled with colour, so I have filled this one with the lid of my laptop:

After all, no-one says colour-full has to contain more than one colour.

Oh. I’ve looked it up and apparently it does. Very well, then, prepare to shield your eyes from the most vividly-coloured item in the universe:

This is my reading-glasses case. I bought it, not because I’m colour-blind (in fact, I bet it could cure colour-blindness), but because I wanted a hard case and it was the only one in the shop. On the bright side (and never has a phrase been more apt) it works. I know this because I once reversed my car over one of our bags in Dublin airport’s car-park and this was the only thing in the bag that survived.

But the photo I’ve settled on is this one:

It’s not often I get to outdo WordPress’s effort, but my flowers are more colourful than theirs, are on the roof of a bus shelter, and are pictured from above. I did this by dangling Tom-Cruise-in-Mission-Impossible like from wires hung out of a nearby street lamp.

Which sentence proves I have a colourful imagination.

Two By Two

Sidey’s weekend theme is What If. What if the story of Noah’s Ark was actually true…. 


The rain had definitely stopped.

Noah gazed out towards the horizon. The water levels did seem to be dropping. He picked up a dove and sent it forth, as they used to say in those days.

The dove had travelled about twenty yards when an eagle shot out of one of the windows of the ark and ate it.

“Bollocks,” said Noah, though he knew the Lord would wax wrathful about his language.

Bigger than this...

The incident pretty well summed the entire forty days and forty nights aboard Noah’s Ark II. Since God had given instructions for the size of the ark in cubits, and since Noah had no idea what a cubit was (well, do you?) Noah’s Ark I had been the size of a baby’s bath, so for his second go he’s just made it up as he went along, and had ended up with a thing the size of the Titanic. Which was just as well, since two of every type of animal add up to, well, a lot of animals.

And a lot of trouble. On the very first day an anteater had eaten the ants, which in fairness Noah should have seen coming, the name was a fairly big clue. A cat had swallowed a spider, which wriggled and jiggled and tiggled inside her. The lion lay down with the lamb, and then ate it. It had taken every effort of Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth (three names that you don’t hear a lot these days, possibly because they’re the daftest names any parents have ever given their sons) to control the carnage thereafter.

And there were other problems. Since chicken sexing is a difficult, highly paid job even today, they had accidentally brought along two males, which was to have disastrous consequences for a Colonel Sanders many, many years later. On the other hand, they had definitely brought a male and female rabbit. Noah knew this because they now had 14,367 rabbits.

But at least the rabbits were at it with each other. The amount of cross-shagging that had gone on had astonished Noah, and had produced a number of new species – the ostrich (a camel and a turkey), the panda (a bear and a raccoon) and the porcupine (a hedgehog and a very determined pig).

But now the rain had stopped. It looked like the ordeal was nearly over, and sure enough a few days later the Ark came to rest upon the top of Mount Ararat.

And, of course, toppled over.

By the time Noah finally dug himself out of the tons of animal-poo that had slid to the side of the Ark along with him, most of the animals had fled, spreading out all across er, whatever country Mount Ararat is in. He had a look around. The unicorns, which contrary to the song had actually made it aboard, had unfortunately been landed upon by one of the elephants and were now as dead as the dodo, which had been landed on by the other one. Other than that everyone seemed to be fine. Noah and his sons left the Ark.

“What are we going to do now, Dad?” asked Shem.

“We’re going to find a plot of land and grow potatoes, and carrots, and tofu,” said Noah. “We’re becoming vegetarians, I never want to see another animal again.”

Questions and Answers

Time again for Six Word Saturday:

I Want To Hold Your Hand

Since a six-word description of most of my Saturdays would be Snoozed In Front Of The TV I sometimes have to borrow from other days. Last night I went to a quiz which was a fund-raiser for a new soccer team which is starting up in Greystones.

There are many oddly-named football teams. Scotland has Partick Thistle, England has Accrington Stanley (sorry, Accrington, Spellcheck doesn’t even believe your town exists, never mind its football team) and Sheffield Wednesday. Then of course there is David Beckham’s current club, LA Galaxy, which when you think about it doesn’t really mean anything.

Let me introduce you to Three Trout Rovers.

In fairness there is a Three Trout Stream which flows through our town, so the founders didn’t just think up the name while on a drinking binge. Anyway, the quiz was great fun and my team finished third. We actually finished joint second, but they had a tie-break question (what is the population of Galway) and the bloke we sent up from our team got it more wrong than the bloke from the other team.

I did apologise to the rest of the team when I got back to our table.

As I said the night was great fun and I wish the club every success.

What? Oh, the six words. It’s the Beatles’ highest selling single. I knew the answer and, judging by the lack of cheering when the answer was read out, I was the only one in the room who did.

Possibly because I was probably the oldest.

(For more Six Word Saturday posts, go here:)

Best Foot Forward

I haven’t used a WordPress prompt for ages, but suddenly I’ve used three in a row. Earlier this week they asked Planes, trains or automobiles? What is your favorite way to travel 500 miles?

And I know Laughykate is dreading what is coming next, because of her comments on this post and also on this one.

It’s simple.

I would walk 500 miles.

(Sorry, LK).

In Order Of Preference

WordPress (yes, I’m using their suggestion two days in a row) ask us to Write a top ten list about why top ten lists are lame. They bemoan the fact that too many blog posts take the form of top ten lists, and indeed that whole websites are devoted to them, and they invite us to pour scorn upon this practice.

They do also allow that if we are feeling more positive then we might “go for a top ten list of why top ten lists are awesome.”

Since I have never done a Top Ten List on this blog the latter would be a silly idea.


My Top Ten List Of Why Top Ten Lists On A Blog Are Awesome

  • You can just name ten of whatever you’ve chosen in no particular order, no-one’s going to know you made it up.
  • Eventually someone even lazier than you will cut-and-paste your list into their blog. Someone else will then copy theirs, and so on until the stuff you made up becomes accepted as hard fact, and is even taught at school.
  • You can have fun making up lists that are actually ungradeable – Top Ten Victorian Table-Legs, for example.
  • If you mention something like an iPad in a Top Ten Pieces Of Technology list they might actually send you one. No pressure, Apple, though if I am displeased it could easily get replaced on the list by the Electric Nose-hair Trimmer. (Note to the Acme Electric Nose-hair Trimmer Company – please stop sending me stuff).
  • Nobody reads below the first five, you can say what you like after that.
  • You can just name ten of whatever you’ve chosen in no particular order, no-one’s going to know you made it up.
  • On the BBC’s website this very day they list the 50 most noted examples of Americanisms entering the English language in the UK. If the BBC can do lists then you can bet your ass they’re gonna float my boat too.
  • You can include your wife in your Top Ten List Of Beautiful Women, making her day and earning brownie points too. Until she suddenly says “hang on, why am I at Number Four?”
  • If you don’t actually number the items on the list nobody will notice that you’ve only listed nine.