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Friday Five #29

Late again. I don’t care.

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1. What are your favorite ways to relax and unwind?

Listening to music, reading magazines, watching TV.

2. What do you do the moment you get home from work/school/errands?

Usually, I take off my shoes, check my e-mail and get something to eat and drink. Not necessarily in that particular order.

3. What are your favorite aromatherapeutic smells?

I dunno about aromatherapy, but I quite like the scent of vanilla, the smell of brand new books, and my girlfriend’s perfume.

4. Do you feel more relaxed with a group of friends or hanging out by yourself?

I’m comfortable socialising with friends, people at work or whatever, but I do prefer and feel much more relaxed being by myself.

5. What is something that you feel is relaxing but most people don’t?

Listening to really heavy music. Grindcore, metalcore, whatever; anything with offbeat timing, a thunderously dextrous bass groove and superhuman percussion. It sets off those certain chemicals in the brain that everyone has, the ones that make you smile and think that life, despite all the shit we have to go through, isn’t that bad after all.

The Tag Rope

I wonder if many people watching this week’s edition of SmackDown! noticed the return of the humble tag rope.

For those who aren’t in the know, the tag rope is a long piece of white cord, similar I would assume to a shoelace, which is tied to the top turnbuckle in one of two opposing corners for a tag team match. When the match is under way, the ‘outside man’ (for lack of a better phrase) must keep hold of this rope in order for a tag to his partner to be legal. (The referee has to see it too, of course, but we’ll take that as a given.) Obviously, the tag rope is there to ensure that the outside man does not stray too far from his post – say, for example, to illegally tag has dazed partner at an adjacent corner.

It certainly seems like an elaboration for a sport that is really just one big entertainment spectacle. But it definitely adds a much-needed element of realism. With all the glitz and glamour and extravagance of the modern era it’s the little details like this that ground professional wrestling in the real world, somewhat. We know wrestling’s not real, but it’s nice to look at how real it could appear to us if we didn’t know.

It’s been a long time since I last remember seeing the tag rope being used; 1995 at least. It’s good to have it back.

Watching Movies

Keyboard problems sorted: I swopped the one that shipped with my eMac for a proper local version, with all the keys in the right place, in town this afternoon.

While I was there I also got a 250mb Zip drive for my mp3s and stuff, so – if everything works like it’s supposed to – I should have fully migrated to the Mac by the end of next week.

It’s a really nice day here today. Too nice for me. It’s very warm, the skies are clear and the sun is beating down like a giant klieg light. Too many people in town as usual, I hate it and I hate them. If I could I would much perfer to do all my shopping online, like I did last night when I bought this. Yeah, I admit it, I’m a total Blogger shill.

I’ve seen a lot of movies this week. Besides Signs, I saw Monsters, Inc. on Wednesday morning on DVD. I was quite impressed; it’s those little nuances that make it great, the stuff that kids won’t notice. Thursday night I went to see The Bourne Identity with Grover. I had been expecting it to be pretty crappy but it wasn’t bad at all. Lots of action – including a great car chase that actually seemed authentic (no massive explosions and other such Hollywoodisms). My only criticism is that it’s yet another in a long line of recent movies that portrays Europe as being plagued by perpetual bad weather. Nothing but snow-covered or rainy streets, and endless grey skies. You know California doesn’t have a monopoly on the good stuff.

Oh, and I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but there was nothing else on TV, and I am a sentimental chap at heart: some time this week I saw the second half of Larger Than Life. Please don’t hold it against me. I mean, Janeane Garofalo‘s in it, so if it was good enough for her….

The IFC are having their annual Open Day today, this year celebrating their 10th anniversary. Free movies all day in both screens, plus the Cinemobile parked in the Bank of Ireland on College Green. The Cinemobile is great; it’s an articulated lorry that turns into a cinema. Genius.

Speaking of the IFC, I’m going to see Crumb tomorrow afternoon. I was supposed to go yesterday, but my credit card bill arrived and I decided to go to the bank to pay it off, like the responsible adult I am. I’m half way through setting up my account so I can do that online in future.

Friday Five #28

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1. Would you say that you’re good at keeping in touch with people?

No, I’m actually pretty bad at the practical side of keeping in touch with people. It’s a little easier these days, what with text messaging and such, but I don’t often feel motivated to make phone calls or write letters. Even e-mails I find hard to write because, just like a normal letter, I never know what to say. All of this is not to say that I forget about people, because I don’t. Or at least I try not to, because I would not like to be forgotten myself.

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why?

Meeting in person is most preferable, with friends and acquaintances. E-mail is better for people one doesn’t know that well, I find.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it?

I have ICQ, AIM and MSN Messenger on my PC, and ICQ on my eMac. I only really use ICQ. It’s the best of the bunch; it’s the most customisable options-wise, has integration with SMS messaging, and the added bonus of being seemingly the only one that allows messages to be sent to people when they’re offline (very important, that). When I use MSN it’s only to chat to people I knew first offline, and only because they prefer to use it (it doesn’t use a lot of memory; ICQ in contrast is a real gas guzzler).

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away?

Most of them live nearby, within a two-mile radius of my home. Others live a lot further away, but of course the Internet bridges those gaps somewhat. Funnily enough, I don’t have any friends in my neighborhood at all.

5. Are you an “out of sight, out of mind” person, or do you believe that “distance makes the heart grow fonder”?

Distance definitely makes the heart grow fonder, as far as I’m concerned anyway.

Friday Five #27

Yeah, it’s late. Sue me.

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1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why?

Oh that’s easy. Art, Craft and Design wins, hands-down. It was fucking sweet, getting do do stuff that you actually enjoy during school hours. And it’s an exam subject too. (In other words, doing Art actually counts towards getting a place in university.) When you do Art, you do most of the exam before school ends and the main Leaving Cert exams begin, since it’s split into a few different sections (life drawing, modelling or design, a history of art written paper, and so on). Out of my class, only myself and Grover elected to do the poster design rather than clay modelling. One has more time to do the actual modelling (not counting extra time for painting after it’s dry) but I couldn’t model for shit and still can’t. Plus, the sooner I could go home, the better. I think my poster (an advertisement for a museum exhibition of Ancient Greek artifacts or somesuch) turned out pretty well – even if my preparatory work was a tad lacklustre, I was always more of an improv guy in that respect – but it was so good walking out and going home for the day at lunchtime, knowing those other chumps had to hang around till the evening to get their crappy modelling done. Suckers. That’s one of my few good memories of school.

2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

I dunno, I don’t think I had a favourite, I’ve known some crappy teachers in my time but also some pretty cool ones. Some I still know or see now and again (Dave’s dad was a teacher at my school, and I’ve met Mr. Dunne – art teacher – a couple of times at work).

3. What is your favorite memory of school?

I don’t have many. None besides what I’ve mentioned above. I guess anything involving me going home early or not getting any homework ranks pretty high. The last week or so of school in sixth year was pretty cool; we did feck all, and they fucked us out after an emergency assembly two days before we were officially finished. Which was nice of them.

4. What was your favorite recess game?

Oh, that’s way too far back to remember. I was never one to partake of many playground activities. That’s not to say, hovever, that I’ve never joined in in a game of Bulldog. It was against the rules and everything – ooh I’m such a rebel.

5. What did you hate most about school?

I just hated school full stop. Don’t get me wrong, I liked most of my teachers and made lots of friends (the majority of whom I’m still great friends with, even after three years of college), but I just hated the whole strict nature of it all, having to go in every day, having your uniform just so, having all your homework done, studying for tests every week, two-to-three hours of shitty homework every night. I couldn’t wait to get out. In contrast, I loved going to university. There was little-to-no pressure, (usually) no one badgering you for homework and shit, and if you got bored in a class you could just say ‘fuck it’ and leave. Or just not show up in the first place. University rules. I miss it. I can’t wait go back, do a post-grad.

The Dillinger Escape Plan

I’m sure that my opinion will alter somewhat in the future, with more experience, but as of right now I officially declare The Dillinger Escape Plan to be the greatest live band in the world.

They simply killed tonight. Most of the fucking poseurs there didn’t have a clue how to react, but for the 50% of us who were there for the music, we lapped up every minute of it.

It’s amazing how they can pull off what they do, with such awkward time signatures, the stop-start dynamic, and absolutely phenomenal percussion patterns. They must practice every spare hour they can get.

The Icarus Line were excellent too. Their sound is a tad more sludgier now, they played slowed-down versions of a lot of their songs from Mono. I don’t think the crowd really got them either, but what the fuck do they know, eh?

As for the opening band, Shat, what can I say about a band with a naked drummer in an old-man mask, a baby-masked guitarist in a dirty nappy, and a singer wearing only a jock strap and a helmet with five foot-long dildos glued onto it (oh, and the singer and guitarist were also wearing enormous strap-ons)? Their CD has 65 songs on it, so I kinda had to buy it.

Oh, and since I’ve mentioned buying stuff, gotta give props to the nice lady (later, nice topless lady) who manned the merch stand. She had cool glasses.

To Hell With the Grecians

I first heard about this new Greek law banning all forms of video gaming a few days ago. I thought it was an elaborate joke at first. These things tend to spread like crazy in this day and age. But they also tend to be quashed just as quickly, which didn’t happen in this case.

I read the aforelinked piece on the situation this morning, via a link CJ posted to the Watt List. I’ve read it a couple of times, and I can still barely believe it. I mean, how can a democratically elected government – that supposedly would have some system of checks and balances – be so idiotic as to be “incapable of distinguishing innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines”? This is coming from the birthplace of democracy. If all hope is lost there, what does that say about the rest of the world?

But I guess one can’t expect much common sense from a country that convicted a group of British planespotters for spying. If the Greek government can pull stuff like this, imagine what else they could do.

Time to call for a boycott of the next Olympic Games, methinks. Unless, using their twisted logic, the Greeks ban those too.

Friday Five #26

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1. What is your biggest pet peeve? Why?

People in public places, on the street or in a store, walking too slowly, not watching where they’re walking, not moving aside even when you’re so close behind them that they must know you’re there and you want to get by but they just don’t give a shit. People on buses talking loudly on their cellphones when such vocular volume is in no way necessary (but I guess they’re just showing off, which in itself is a peeve). I could do on for a while here, but I feel like popping a vein just thinking about the question. Let’s just say that I fucking hate people in general.

2. What irritating habits do you have?

I procrastinate, which irritates me because I’d like to be more motivated, but most of the time I just couldn’t be bothered. Also, I bite my nails. I used to bite them a lot more, out of habit. Now I bite them to keep them short. Yes, because I’m too lazy to do it the proper way. I don’t think I have any habits that annoy other people (I don’t like to stand out in a crowd).

3. Have you tried to change the irritating habits or just let them be?

The nail-biting thing just gradually wore off. You wouldn’t be the person you are without some habitual rituals. In the immortal words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam”.

4. What grosses you out more than anything else? Why?

Out of a number of things that I’d rather not think about since I’ve just eaten my dinner, people urinating in public, in the street, against walls or down alleys or whatever. I mean, for fuck’s sake, use a fucking loo.

5. What one thing can you never see yourself doing that other people do?

Urinating in public. (Note: not counting the dumpster at the back of Wendy’s in north Toronto.)

Dodgy Dealings

Salon.com: Israeli court approves expulsion of terror suspects’ relatives

Very dodgy dealings indeed. I mean, even if they did have prior knowledge of terrorist activity, is shunting them around the country like second-class citizens, like the animals the Israeli govermnent seems to think they are, really going to help? Will it really “create an effective deterrent and help prevent suicide bombings and other terror attacks” like the Israeli military says it will?

Hell no. It’ll do exactly the opposite, and the military know that damn well. It keeps them in business, after all.