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

Weeknotes #459

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday — Beginning of this week is a bit of a blur. I spend some time on Project Hannibal, but mostly watch movies from the backlog on the DVR (nothing I’d go out of my way to see, though the first Harold & Kumar was stupid fun) and try to recharge my batteries.

Also: still writing up my NYC notes. Need to upload my (mostly rubbish) photos to Flickr, too. I didn’t shoot as much or as often as I expected; guess I’m just not confident/comfortable/shameless enough with the camera. But I’m also thinking: it’s great to have photos as a memory aid, but do they need to be my own photos? Surely I can get the same feelings/memories from looking at others’ snaps of the same places. Yet there’s still a part of me that says that’s cheating.

Thursday — Back at the office today: some admin stuff and production prep. Early finish to go grocery shopping and make a flying visit to Raheny. Getting depressed by the dull weather, the shortening days and the inexorable march towards winter.

Sautéed sweet potato for dinner. Didn’t turn out as nice as the last time; maybe it was the chicken that made that meal. Will try again.

Later on I read more Eno and listen to noise rock on my iPod (Arab On Radar, Mars, AIDS Wolf – not in the right mood for the latter, makes me feel claustrophobic) while Bee plays Red Dead Redemption. Games always look great on the Enormotron.

I’m finding myself amused by Bono’s bullshit philosophising about music in the Eno book. This coming from the singer of one of the most musically uninteresting bands in recent memory! I’m reminded of Socrates’ maxim that true wisdom lies in knowing that one does not know everything. Clearly that concept doesn’t apply to Bono.

Aside: on p187 Eno makes a cryptic reference to Negativland, misspelled as ‘Negativeland’ – although elsewhere (p396, Sharing Music) he’s apparently sympathetic to their position. (Must listen for context: the songs that caused the ‘U2’ controversy in the first place.)

A quick browse online before bed turns into an hour-plus session: an ILX thread about bad artist-created album art grabs my attention for far too long. I’m fascinated with musicians who must honestly put a lot of hard work into their recordings, yet seem determined to self-sabotage their efforts by saddling them with such amateurish, cringe-worthy covers. It’s not even a case of making a virtue of a shitty aesthetic (see Pen & Pixel); it’s like they simply can’t see what’s wrong with the picture.

Friday — Terribly humid this morning. I wake with yet another fever. Legs feel like lead. Am sluggish most of the day. Work not worth mentioning. Popped to the shops on my lunch break and picked up ingredients for a chocolate fridge cake. But I’m too tired to make it when I get home – too tired for much of anything, really.

Saturday — Nachos for breakfast, and more Eno reading. Went out at lunchtime to collect the laundry and pick up the paper, then back to the book. Returning to my earlier point about Bono, I disagree with Eno’s take on pretension (p381):

Robert Wyatt once said that we were always in the condition of children – faced with things we couldn’t understand and thus with the need to guess and improvise. Pretending is what kids do all the time. It’s how they learn. What makes anyone think you should sometime give it up?

I’ve got an answer for that. When children pretend, it’s with an implicit awareness that the whole group is pretending and in on the game. The problem when grown-ups do it is that they’re not playing – they actually purport to be something they’re not/understand something they don’t. Games and play are useful, maybe even necessary, but pretension is just bullshit.

Eno’s take on the mid-1990s CD-ROM/interactive computer craze is more interesting for seeing how much has changed in the 15 years since he said this (I wonder if he feels the same way today):

Shall I tell you something? Conceptually, the whole project is wrong from the ground up. I think the whole idea that you want to sit in front of this and go to places is a bad idea. I think that’s the whole principle that has dominated the thing so far. Only idiots actually want to do that with their lives. Only people who have nothing else to do actually find it interesting to go and look at bloody pictures on a computer. It’s a pathetic way of looking at things.

I make that chocolate fridge cake in the afternoon, and it turns out well. Very sweet though; next time I’ll only use dark chocolate instead of half-and-half dark and milk.

Out to Crawdaddy later for Estel’s gig with Steve Mackay. Awesome, noisy show, but totally unpretentious. Bushie’s stage banter is hilarious, and Steve looks like he’s having a whale of a time. Also: that makes two people who played on Fun House and aren’t named Iggy that I’ve seen in the flesh.

John’s downstairs filming the show with his crew. I play sidemouse taking photos from the balcony; my Plastic Fantastic lens gets some great results in the low light. And my hearing holds up pretty good, too (I forgot my earplugs, but improvised with wads of tissue).

Home by half eleven with a chip supper from Burdock’s, but I save most for tomorrow’s lunch.

Sunday — Up at nine to read and watch wrestling. The current WWE storylines don’t inspire me; in fact I’m getting really annoyed by creative’s failure to comprehend the face/heel paradigm. Two cases in point: Randy Orton is booked as a face but looks/acts/feels like a heel; and John Cena is supposedly the top face in the company, but does decidedly heelish things like attacking opponents unprovoked, or like he did this week: walking away like a coward when a group of heels turned on one of their own. If the characters never obey the conventions of their own characterisations, how the hell can we suspend disbelief? Why this complete ignorance of basic storytelling logic?

Discover two more mysterious cuts/scratches on my hands. What am I doing when my eyes aren’t watching?

Noon supermarket run for Pepsi Max. Vicar Street smells of piss and Fisherman’s Friends. Afterwards I take out the rubbish to the bin shed. The nerve of some people: why do they always fill the front dumpsters to the brim and beyond, but leave the back ones completely empty? I mean really, just suck it up and hold your breath for 10 seconds, it’s not that hard.

Idea: Ireland’s second city as the world’s premier producer of hybrid cutlery — Cork, home of the spork.

Bee’s playing Red Dead Redemption, at the point where John Marston meets the character named ‘Irish’. Jesus H Christ, that accent!

After lunch I finish the Eno book, and go through the notes I made along the way (cf Thoughtwax’s notes from 2008). A good eureka moment on p128:

Violence in movies: perhaps this whole thing about kids becoming immune to violence is wrong – what they’re becoming immune to are media. They know they’re just watching a film (a detachment I can’t make).

On p169, a telling insight on Tony Blair at the time of the Bosnian crisis:

Blair has said nothing whatsoever that would reveal even the beginning of a policy line on this. He’s so anxious to get elected he can’t actually say anything about anything – and doesn’t. Very disappointed in him lately – not just about this, but about his lack of fibre. Is this what it takes to get elected these days?

Just wait till 10 years later, Brian – you don’t know the half of it! Last but not least, Eno gets prophetic (p283):

Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit – all these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided.

In the afternoon: the All-Ireland semi-final is a let-down. Dublin do well in the first half, getting four points clear of Cork, then proceed to throw it away in the second with a stupid penalty. Guess it’s back to ignoring Gaelic games for me – and hoping the Mets get a wild card for the playoffs.

I bookend the day with more wrestling, this time TNA. Two things: What’s going on with the weird blue lights? And what’s up with Eric Young’s nipples?