Well. The time since my last weeknotes did not go exactly as according to plan. But that’s nothing unusual for me. Here are the highlights:
A few print deadline scheduling changes meant planned writing was either scrapped or put on the long finger. Ultimately that turned out to be a good thing, as I made the time to wrap up my fourth Noises On! column for Thumped: long, long delayed, but hopefully you’ll find something of interest in it. Of course now it’s up, all I can think of are the records I didn’t mention. FOMO and all that.
Only two film reviews, as previously linked, for Free Fire and A Cure for Wellness. Scheduling conflicts meant a bit of a screening drought for a few weeks, but in recent days I saw a couple of late April/early May releases, and have another one on the agenda for next week. Still trying to spend less time with passable movies in my leisurely viewing, which has meant more TV than films in my diet; lately we’ve been flying through The Legend of Korra of an evening.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen my site’s had a bit of a redesign.
Well, ‘a bit’ is putting it lightly: I coded a whole new site template from scratch over the last three days, building on the Skeleton framework that a lot of people seem to be using (from snooping around their sites with view-source, like the old days).
It’s been ages since I’ve done so much web coding — more than three years since my last redesign. I think I’ve kept things clean enough under the hood, and it resizes nicely on my smartphone.
The new look was pretty much a necessity seeing as I’ve finally migrated from Movable Type to WordPress. And boy has that been a learning curve. Not so much using the CMS itself; I’ve become familiar enough with that posting things on other sites. But getting my own stuff into the system was a challenge.
I should’ve been posting this via a fancy new super-fast broadband connection over the national grid, one to which our new supplier was only too eager to sign us up and get us connected. Dundalk’s one of the launch towns for Siro, after all, and there’s quite the drive locally to get people hooked up. Our own connection was scheduled for eight days ago. But it never happened. Because apparently the clearance to the nearest electricity pole is too far, and our house is too low. Funny that, considering every house in this neighbourhood is a bungalow.
It’s well and truly winter now, even though the leaves have only fallen in the last few weeks. I think the snow in some parts is sign enough, if not the calendar. It’s also fucking freezing, but on the plus side, that appears to have finally killed off the wasp nest in the extension that’s prevented me from mowing the back garden since midsummer. (And annoyed the shit out of us with dying wasps spontaneously appearing in the house.)
It’s been a productive September on the writing front, with seven (and a bit) film reviews under my belt so far. There’s bit of a breather for the next few days, as I don’t have any press shows on my calendar till the end of next week, but I have got a couple of screeners to watch this weekend, for which I’ll have my little notebook ready.
Summer went by all too quickly, or not quickly enough, depending on which way I look at it. I’m already missing the long days, as sunset creeps earlier and earlier with each passing evening. But the rotten stuff of life that spoiled days and weeks, I could’ve done without. I’ll trade daylight after seven for the knot in my guts, no question. Let’s see what the rest of September holds.
Well, April went by fast. Too fast to stop and take account, though on review I didn’t achieve that much. I watched a few movies and a bit of wrestling and a lot of anime. I listened to hours of podcasts. I read a whole bunch. I suppose that all adds up to something but right now I couldn’t tell you what.
I spent a day or two over my mid-March week off trawling through my photo archive, going back quite a few years, looking for things worth posting to my dormant Flickr account. It turns out there were quite a few, and they’re not half bad.
There goes March without much fanfare and, apart from the day job, little to show for it in terms of productivity. Not compared to my busy February, at any rate, when I ploughed through freelance work and the words flowed from my fingertips.
Not the best fortnight for me, in fairness. Existential anxiety last weekend reverberated through the following days, and I’m foggy on the details, so they’re a write-off. Then as soon as I started feeling more like myself, it was head down for a production deadline. And with the hauntings of a cold and all.
Week 755 brought a modest web article assignment and some freelance subediting (a nice bonus for a short month) that continued into the following week, leading into three straight production days, and the requisite subbing, layout and hair-pulling (a bit less of the latter than the last few deadline, though). But it began with a full day of film screenings, one of which was decent fodder for a review (and which I linked last week; I’m doing better!).
My did the last two weeks fly by with little to show for it. My work hours were off schedule again, which always throws things for a loop. And Daniel Bryan retired, casting a unexpected pall over proceedings. But I made the time to spend a day out with Bee in the city, write up a film review last weekend (that I remembered to link here this time) and join in the #MWE fun on Twitter.
Not a whole lot to report for the last few weeks. I’m still playing catch-up on my music promos, and I’ve seen feck-all movies so far this year. I did have a few film reviews published but I forgot to blog about them here. (Sorry.)
The good news is that my current weight is lower than what I weighed this time last year. The bad news is that the difference is not very much, as most of the gains I made between January and June were lost in the upheaval of moving out of Dublin and finding a new routine. No more 45-minute cycles to and fro the office to burn off the excess intake, alas. (Though if I’m really honest, I’ve simply been snacking on too many sweet things to take the edge off.)
It’s a new year, and as I write this I’m coming towards the end of my Christmas break from the day job. Wrestle Kingdom 10 is on Monday morning, so I’m back to the grind on Tuesday — but even that’s not all bad as I’ve got a screening of The Revenant on Tuesday morning to kick things off.
Week 741 saw the writing calendar fill up a bit, with two gig reviews plus a handful of press screenings. It’s that time when the screenings bunch up a bit so the PR people can knock off early for Christmas, so there are a few January releases coming up shortly, it seems. (January releases for us, anyway; most of them seem to have come out in the States weeks ago.)
Getting paid. Getting a haircut. Writing up some newsy things, editing others. Solving layout problems with InDesign. Oh yeah, and completing my tax return. That was week 739.
Then week 740: deadline crunch time, then more newsy writing, more editing, and a night out with Mick Foley marred only slightly by the three drunk idiots sat in front of us, who thankfully didn’t get the mic to ask their presumably inane question during the Q&A portion of the show.
It’s well and truly winter now. The clocks have turned back, meaning the black of night comes as soon as half past five. And coupled with the kind of gloom that steals what little available sunlight we have, I’ve been in a shitty mood too much of the time. I need one of those SAD lamps or something.
Not every day has been so shitty, mind you. I can see blue through the skylight as I write this. The Mets made it to the World Series (I know!). I watched a half-decent live WWE show (twice!). And I dragged myself out of the house to see the Deathcrusher tour in Dublin on the bank holiday (Voivod? Great, set too short. Napalm Death? Also great, poor sound. Obituary? Tight as fuck but no stage presence. Carcass? Second time round, a bit too slick for me; the light show was like something from Vegas).
Time to write something about the last fortnight, so. Not much pause for self-reflection: subbing, layouts, writing, wrestling, gardening and housekeeping, in no particular order. I’ve got some things I want to say about recent grappling happenings but those will have to wait till the end of the week, after I finish this album review I’m still working on.
Week 732 saw me spinning a few plates more than usual, with press screenings in the first half (that I still have to write about) plus an impromptu trip to the old neighbourhood for new shoes (there’s a factory store, y’see), then the usual production tasks throughout, plus a whole bunch of InDesign proof corrections and extra freelance subediting towards the latter half. There went my weekend! Continued…
Week 730 was a non-eventful one, subbing and layout bookending a day of press screenings and some review-writing midweek. It’s tiring stuff, though, all that thinking and brain work, so most evenings, after dinner and Great British Menus, I was dead to the world.
Little energy to muster to read the few new books I’ve loaded on my Kindle, for instance. I’m on a short story kick — or rather, I would be, if I were reading them and not just thinking about it — so I’ve got some Joe R Lansdale, some Lydia Davis, some Kelly Link, some China Mieville. Bit of a mix there, I think. I’ve even got Borges in my Tsundoku folder, for the classics quota. Continued…
The predominant experience over the last few weeks? Tiredness. I’ve been sick, mostly minor ills in the big scheme of things, but for the better part of a month. First the threat of a cold that turned into a horrid chesty cough that took a week (and two bottles of Benylin) to shift, then a few days later a proper headcold that blindsided me for a whole weekend, and left everything smelling and tasting of slate mucus for even longer. Even as I write this a week later I’m still groggy from congestion, the kind that sloshes around inside your head and makes your ears sting when you bend over. Ugh.
Towards the end of May, we received notice that the rent on our apartment was going up by 25% from July onwards. And that was that: we were finally priced out of Dublin. The city where I was born and grew up, and where we can’t justify spending to live anymore. That’s Ireland in 2015.
Anyway, cue a somewhat frantic, stressful search for a new home — which we found three weeks later, 80km to the north, in Dundalk. That’s where you’ll find us today, paying less rent for a house with a garden, in a quiet, leafy neighbourhood that’s still a short walk from the town centre. And paying less for faster broadband, too.
My grandfather told a story of an old farmer whose wife of 60 years died. “Ah well,” he said, “had a good innings.” A month later his bull died and he was broken up. “Losing his wife,” my grandfather, a doctor, said, “was too big. This was small enough for him to get his tears around.”
I didn’t know him, never met him, but to me and millions like me, the Hot Rod was an indelible part of my childhood, and my wrestling fandom. He was arguably the best talker in the business, not to mention one of the greatest heels ever, and maybe the first (well before Steve Austin at any rate) to transition from ‘most hated man alive’ to perennial fan-favourite without losing the attitude, the edge that made him so magnetic.