Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Date: January 2003

Friday Five #42


1. As a child, who was your favorite superhero/heroine? Why?

I was never really into the classic superheroes that much as a kid, but when Batman came out in 1989, I was hooked.

2. What was one thing you always wanted as a child but never got?

Right now I can’t think of any one thing in particular. There were lots of MASK vehicles and Masters of the Universe figures that I never got my hands on, I guess.

3. What’s the furthest from home you’ve been?

Toronto, which is about 3,500 miles from here.

4. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t yet?

I would really like to learn spoken Japanese.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

Working on my Movable Type installation, maybe going to see a movie or two, reading and writing some if it takes my fancy.


Changes are in order

Of late it seems as if there has been a mass exodus of Blogger users to pastures new. The proprietor of plasticbag.org is but one of many to jump ship.

It must be said that Blogger is – without argument – the most popular personal web content management utility available, and must be credited for the popularisation of the weblog phenomenon. Without Blogger, blogging would be nowhere near what it is today. Without Blogger, I probably would never have started my weblog.

So it is with a slight tinge of sadness that I announce that last night, after much consideration, I downloaded Movable Type.

Blogger has been great to me. It’s helped me to improve my writing, exercise my research skills, interact with communities and people I would never have otherwise encountered. But I have come to a point where I want more. It may just be a hobby but I am serious about my weblog, and my website as a whole. As a result I want, I need more control over how my information is stored, processed and presented, even if only for my own education; I need more than Blogger can give me.

There’s also the fact that due to its immense popularity, Blogger feels like it’s turning into the Geocities of weblog publishing. Not that I’ve never hosted a site on Geocities before (in fact, this weblog began on Geocities), but I have an admittedly selfish need to move up in the world, and beyond such humble beginnings.

I’m preparing to install Movable Type on my server over the weekend. As I write this, I’ve been spending most of my time knee-deep code, editing the MT templates to fit the current uniform. Things might seem a little weird around here for a short while, but trust me; when it’s up and running, you’ll appreciate it.


Obey Giant

This past Monday was the tenth anniversary of the passing of Andre the Giant.


Stereographic Photography

Jason experiments with stereographic photography.

The effect is similar to those ‘Magic Eye’ things that were really popular a few years ago; one is supposed to cross their eyes and they’ll focus automatically on the intended object.

However – with the exception of the sample image with the blog post itself – when I tried, I hurt my eyes from the strain, and I couldn’t get any effect at all until I shrunk down Jason’s images to about half the size.

I guess my eyes just don’t cross as much as his.


Friday Five #41


1. What is one thing you don’t like about your body?

Its size; I’m working on it.

2. What are two things you love about your body?

Well I can’t say I love anything about it, but I guess my ears are okay, I’ve never had a complex about them. And maybe my nose. It’s got a normal shape, whatever normal is.

3. What are three things you want to change about your home room?

I need to throw out all the junk that I’ve collected over the years, the stuff that I kept thinking I’ll need it but that I’m never going to use. I must find a method of organising all the books I have, as I would much rather they weren’t in stacks on the floor as they are now. The place also needs a general tidy-up; I don’t think the carpet has seen the vacuum cleaner for a while.

4. What are four books you want to read this year?

Well I’ve become a reading demon again so my list is a lot longer than four, but anywho: last night I finished Dave Eggers’ You Shall Know Our Velocity; this morning I began Michel Houellebecq’s Atomised (aka The Elementary Particles). Skipping the books I currently have on the go, next I think I’ll read Wittgenstein’s Poker, Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama, Things Snowball by Rich Hall and The Cheese Monkeys, in no particular order.

5. What are five promises you have kept to yourself?

If I told you any, I’d probably jinx them, so never you mind.


Foreign Visitors

So we were in the park this afternoon, and we came upon a large congregation of foreign visitors:

Canadian brent geese in St. Anne's Park

As you can see, I didn’t get close enough for a great shot; believe me, these brent geese are big. Maybe next time.


Elephants and Turtles

Tonight I read a short story by Donald Barthelme, entitled See The Moon?, and came upon a passage that seemed strangely familiar (from Sixty Stories, p.105):

“”Upon what does the world rest?” I asked.
“Upon an elephant,” he said.
“Upon what does the elephant rest?”
“Upon a tortoise.””

As my cerebral cogs turned, a nimble search with Google brought up the following description of Terry Pratchett’s famous (infamous?) Discworld:

“The world travels through space on the backs of four elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle.”

Mere coindicence?

Maybe so, as both – upon further hasty research – appear to have been influenced by Hindu mythology.

One should learn something new like this every day.


Friday Five #40


1. Where do you currently work?

Right now I’m unemployed, having quit my job at the end of last month. But I am using the time I have now to write and read a lot.

2. How many other jobs have you had and where?

I’ve only had two proper jobs. The first was at a nearby multiscreen cinema, the summer The Phantom Menace came out. I liked it there at first, until I realised how crap it actually was. (Except the ice cream stand; I think I was the only member of staff who enjoyed being rostered there – I liked being on my own.) I left after six months because the hours, even though part-time, were really affecting my college work. The following summer, however, I was kinda despearate for money, and they took me back on. I stayed for a month, that month was even worse than even the previous six months altogether; there were only 20 of us on staff, so on average we all worked a 40+ hour week, mostly late shifts. It was fucking shite. I left when a large music store offered me a job.

Compared to the cinema, the large music store was a cake walk. The work was easy, the money wasn’t bad and the people were cool enough. And the perks too: many free gig tickets, and sweet, sweet discounts. It was great, really. It only started sucking for me a few months ago, during my third tour of duty, with all the crap that I’m not going to bore you with. When I started wishing I was going home for the day before I even got there, I knew it was time to leave.

3. What do you like best about your job?

What I like best about my current situation is doing what I want, when I want, not having an asshole boss on my back, and more importantly not having asshole customers in my face.

4. What do you like least about your job?

What I like least right now is my lack of discipline. I keep sleeping late every morning, and I really don’t want to. I need to make a schedule for myself.

5. What is your dream job?

Every time I think about what my dream job would be, my concept of it changes. Whatever it is, it will involve information, lots of reading and research, and writing. And hopefully getting lots of free CDs and stuff.


Reading and Writing

Today I read 130+ pages of Stupid White Men’, finishing the book. I also perused the first two issues of Careless Talk Costs Lives which arrived in the post this afternoon, and started writing a review of Star Trek: Nemesis that’s almost finished. All of this accomplished since noon, when I finally forced myself to wake up.

See? I may be lazy, but I’m not completely lazy. I think I owe myself some downtime this evening.


Some stuff I found

A couple of days ago I rediscovered two records that I completely forgot I owned, namely OXXXES by OXES (who else?) and Rye Coalition’s On Top. I don’t think I gave them a fair chance before, but I’m more than glad to have them now. It’s a shame I didn’t realise before I made my list.


Dog Owners Beware

Being a dog lover, reading this story made me sick to my stomach. It wasn’t just the murder (and yes, in my book it was murder) that made me feel so nauseated, but also the fact that a family’s world – anyone’s world – can be turned completely upside down at the behest of some power-tripper’s unchecked, subjective abuse of position. Tom Tomorrow puts it much better.


Friday Five #39


1. Where are you right now?

I’m at home, in my room.

2. What time is it?

Right now it’s 1am.

3. What are you wearing?

My usual, pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt, and my skater-type shoes. I don’t skate, but they’re comfortable for walking in.

4. Any people or animals around you? Describe them.

Not at the moment. I wish my girlfriend was here, though.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

I’m going to get up early, rewrite my CV and read lots. Not very exciting, but certainly productive.


Dark. Darker. Darko.

I saw Donnie Darko for the third time yesterday. This time however it was on the big screen, at the IFC with Eoin and Joana.

Having made many mental notes for the duration of the film, I actually think I understand it now. I’ll have to watch my tape again and write proper notes to tie it all together, but I do think I have it sussed.

Then again, this could just be exactly where they want me.


Friday Five #38


1. Do you wear any jewelry? What kind?

I don’t wear any, unless you count my watch as jewellery. (Note the correct spelling of jewellery.)

2. How often do you wear it?

I wear my watch whenever I leave the house. I never leave without it. Never.

3. Do you have any piercings? If so, where?


4. Do you have any tattoos? If so, where?

Again, nope.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

I’m not sure. I actually have no specific plans, yet there are plenty of things I could do. Must make some phone calls.