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

Monthnotes for April & May 2018

April was quiet enough. I enjoyed WrestleMania weekend, even if I wasn’t moved to write much about it. My Twitter thread is here, though you might need the context of the show itself to follow along. As always, the NXT TakeOver show was the highlight.

As I mentioned previously, April saw a few actual trips to the cinema for me, to see Rampage, Lu Over the Wall and The Breadwinner, the last of which is one of my favourite films of the year thus far.

I started upping my rate of movies watched in May, which I’ll elaborate on in a separate post. I’ve also been watching more streaming TV as of late.

In April I watched the third and final season of Love on Netflix. It was… fine. Definitely the weakest of the three seasons, even though the best-friend characters got some more development: the excellent Claudia O’Doherty shines as Bertie, while there was some nice continuity for the slacker stuntman Chris. Overall, alas, the impression was of a show that had run out of steam. (But if there’s room for a Bertie spin-off, I’d watch it.)

Apocalyptic drama The Rain, on the other hand, runs out of steam a lot sooner, as the promise of its first couple of episodes falls through all the holes in the plot. Saving all of its big philosophical questions for the end doesn’t help, either, especially when the answers are far from satisfactory. Dressing it up with a cool soundtrack — featuring the likes of Protomartyr and Mark Lanegan — only emphasises the emptiness. Blah.

I had a much better time with One Punch Man, a subversion of the tropes of superhero anime that avoids the temptation to slip into ironic cynicism, while also managing to be an excellent superhero action show in and of itself. I enjoyed it immensely. Roll on season two.

On the first weekend of May I attended my first live music event in over a year: pianist Taka Kigawa performing John Luther Adams’ ‘Four Thousand Holes’ as part of the Drogheda Arts Festival.

I’m a dilettante at best when it comes to classical music, but Kigawa’s performance was exciting, beautiful, fascinating; particularly his first piece, a rendition of Karen Tanaka’s ‘Techno Etudes’.

The venue, St Peter’s Church of Ireland, was aesthetically appropriate but lacking on the acoustics front, which is the only negative thing I have to say about an otherwise wonderful evening.

The second week of May I was laid low by a lurgy that sapped most of my energy, and left me feeling quite down and anxious. Not a good place to be; it’s not conducive to doing good work, or getting enjoyment out of the things I love.

Some of the anxiety I can tie to the then-ongoing referendum campaign; it’s a bit rich for me to say that, I know, since I had nothing personally at stake, wasn’t involved in canvassing, etc. But I was as relieved as anyone at the result, and definitely felt a positive shift in myself.

Tell that to my bicycle. On the May bank holiday, I rode north to Carrickarnon were my gears disintegrated, the bearings dropping out one by one, and leaving me with an 11km walk home along the hard shoulders of country roads.

A week in the shop and I was back in the saddle, but only got a few rides in before my latest calamity: a puncture in the cycle lane on the way to the retail park across town. Lucky for me there’s a Halfords right there, where they got me running again. But it only reminds me of the need to learn how to fix these things myself. I’ve already watched a few YouTube videos; now I just need a proper spanner so I can practice on my old bike.

The fantasy baseball season began at the beginning of April and this year got off to a pretty good start for the Dublin Corps. (Yes, that is a pun for librarians.) Mind you, it’s only my third year of taking things seriously, and the first where I feel like I have more than a vague idea of what I’m doing.

I know enough, for instance, to understand that my team’s strong showing in April (as high as second on the table) and subsequent downslide in May (not awful, but my team slipped out of the triple-digit points range) is tied to the performance of a handful of key players, most of whom are currently on the disabled list.

I considered trading my way out of the slump, but my roster was showing improvement right at the end of May, and I’m more apt to ride it out till my top guys are back in rotation, and have patience that the rest will get their groove back, rather than make any drastic decisions. Let’s see how June goes, basically.

One more thing: it was my birthday at the end of May. Another year dinged, not that I’m counting any more.