Archive for May, 2011

31/05/2011

I have seen Hell, and weirdly it’s in Ballymun.

I personally don’t believe in a supernatural, post-life hell.  A world of eternal torment and torture, which somehow exists in parallel to our own, this simply does not compute for me.  And yet I have seen a place, right here in our own world, which would definitely tick every box for my own personal hell.

Imagine a place where chaos reigns.  Imagine a place where every spare centimetre is used to the utmost of efficiency.  Imagine a place, where vast crowds of lost souls, wander narrow, seemingly endless corridors filled with everything but exactly what they’re looking for.  Imagine a realm, whose denizens are forced to live out their existence in a dull, ugly uniform, while all the time, smiling at the previously mentioned lost souls.

Now imagine that this realm is built on three floors.  The ground floor has an entrance and exit, but nothing else. The top floor is filled with colorful displays of items, none of which are precisely what you’re looking for.  Of course the middle floor is where the true hellish experience resides.

You see the ground floor is simply the gates to hell.  And once you enter you quickly go as high as you can, the better to see the treasures you hope might fill the floor between.  But the middle floor, oh that tricksy floor.  That devilish, torturous floor.  That floor you see is filled with all the corridors, lined from end to end with treasures.  So many treasures.  But good luck finding the one you want.  And when you do good luck actually building it.  You see, this is flat-pack hell.

This is…IKEA!

Sunday I travelled, with my partner, into the very jaws of hell.  I had entered its gates, yet escaped it clutches twice before.  This time though, I needed a really cheap desk to use in setting up a space for drawing and writing.  Of course, I may have found what I needed somewhere less…damned.  But IKEA had almost precisely what I wanted, at a price so low I can only assume it was created by a vast horde of enslaved souls.  The souls of customers, who having gotten lost in the labyrinthine corridors of the store, failed to escape before close of business.  So knowing what I wanted, and that I had to once more brave the depths of hell, I girded my loins and entered.

Inside I was assaulted by the terrible sounds of 1970’s musak.  The horrifying odours of cheap scented candles.  I was sorely tempted by soft furnishings and sheepskin rugs.  I even sat on the ugliest but most comfortable chair I have ever seen.  Oh that chair, whose comfort has haunted my dreams for most of my adult life.  And yet when I find it, the sadness, for it was both hideous to gaze upon and hideously priced.

But despite all these trials I did stand here, once more victorious in the war against the legions of evil.  Once more I entered the very gates of imported Scandinavian Hell and escaped, relatively unscathed.  More, I escaped clutching my prize to my chest, for I did find my desk and made my exit carrying a minimum of unplanned purchases.  So on the ‘morrow once assembled and suitably modified it will make a fine place to write both my blog and my fictional works, it will also make a wonderful place to make great strides the long journey to the fame and glamour of being a webcomic artist.

But for all that I carry the scars of my latest brush with the hell of flat-packed furniture.  And for all the pains I already described one was worse still.  The flat, empty eyed gazes of the lost souls.  Those poor wretches who had been so foolish as to enter that realm of suffering without a detailed purchase plan.

For I say this to you dear reader, you may at will, enter this, Hell on Earth.  But you risk your very soul, your sanity, your marriage and the balance of your bank account, if you do so without just reason.  For it is a garden of temptations, that place.  Temptations like hideous, but supernaturally comfortable, swivel chairs and such temptations, only the strongest and best prepared can elude the grasp of.

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28/05/2011

Post delayed

I spent most of yesterday either in bed or wishing I was dead, in bed. Kidney infections do not a happy Amanda make. So I have nothing written for today. I’ll have something up at some stage tomorrow instead. So of course, enjoy more Winter while I enjoy more sleep and painkillers.

Buddy and Winter, Buddy is the same size now, while Winter has become an elephant.

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26/05/2011

World wide event review – The Rapture.

Do you remember Saturday night?  The huge global earthquake that finally dumped a large chunk of California into the Pacific ocean? Wasn’t that the scariest thing you ever saw happen?

I mean live on the internet huge buildings were just collapsing.  People killed by the hundreds, when they were hit by huge chunks of falling debris.

All the nuclear power plants blew up simultaneously.  I mean, even here in Kildare,  I’m walking around the house glowing like Casper the kinky ghost,  after he “fell” onto that light bulb that time.

What about when all those people on the street just vanished without a trace?  You remember the moment that felt very similar to that time when it was your tight-arsed friends time to buy the round.  Poof, gone without a trace, like the careers of all those 80’s sit-com actors.

Hang on your not telling me that you didn’t notice The Rapture?  Really?

Don’t worry neither did I, and no one else did either.

In case you missed the story of the greatest non-event in the history of mankind, here’s a summary.  Recently, an 89-year-old man named Harold Camping, predicted that Jesus Christ was going to return at 6pm on Saturday the 21st of 2011.  What’s more the true followers of this very white Jesus, and only the very truest of his followers, would be swept bodily to heaven.  This of course, ignoring every known law of physics, though who knows maybe the Christian god has figured out how the transporters in Star Trek work.  As well as ignoring the fact that if there even was a real, historical J.C., he would have looked a lot more like Saudi oil-prince and a lot less like what Donald Trump thinks he sees, when he looks in the mirror.

Needless to say it didn’t happen.  This resulted in much egg was wiped from some faces.  While much beer and cake was devoured by other more, rational ones.

So that’s the end of the story, right?

Nope, sorry but according to Mister Camping he got his sums wrong.  Now call me a doubting Thomas if you like.  But this is the same Harold Camping who had previously predicted the world was going to end in 1994.  Strangely it didn’t, and I still had to sit my damn Junior Cert.  But now, after proving for a second time that his understanding of the “secret code” built into the Bible,  is matched only by his understanding of the words “give it up”, the man, so right he went and hid in a motel when he was wrong, is back.  Yes that’s right, he somehow forgot to carry the 5, and then he divided by 3, when he should have gone for a psychiatric evaluation and been put into a home, alongside all the other unfortunate people suffering from psychiatric problems.

The upshot of all this being that, yes that’s right you guessed it.  Buddy Christ’s world destroying alter-ego, Super Christ will be arriving to slay the unrighteous on the 21st of October.  Sounds like a damn good day to schedule a big party, drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of cake and who knows maybe lick a few drops of “Boy, are some people dumb” off of the butt of some really hot, tattooed and pierced goth-girl.  I will of course be at said party, and will write a full review the following day…get it?  The following day.  I crack myself up.

So people get ready for build up to –

October 21st 2011

The Rapture Party 3

The Armageddon party so bad-ass, even Jesus was too scared to show up the first two times!

(Image via Snarkerati.com)

24/05/2011

Straight out of the mouths of babes, while you’re trying to be good.

I have written before about the Force of Nature. We often babysit her, which is needless to say always a joyous, wonderful, stress-filled evening for two of the three of us.  However the darling child does sometimes visit with her mother, like she did just this Sunday past.

Now I suffer from frequent migraine.  For anyone who has been lucky enough to have never experienced a migraine, I shall now take a short diversion and describe one.  To start with, imagine the worst hangover you’ve ever had.  Now add the distinct sensation of an elephant, wearing hob-nailed boots, standing on the side of your head.  As if standing on your head while wearing hob-nails wasn’t bad enough, now the leathery arsed git starts to jump up and down, in perfect time to the beats of your heart.  But wait kids, it gets so much worse.  Suddenly, every little noise feels, weirdly, like someone stabbing you through the eyes with a pair of red-hot knitting needles.  That’s in addition to the other two white-hot knitting needles, which find their way there every time you see anything even the slightest bit bright.  Bright things like those slight shadows you see while lying in a pitch black room.

I love the Force of Nature.  Adore the little troll.  She has the brightest smile I’ve ever seen.  Gives the most powerful hugs, the most healing hugs, I’ve ever experienced.  She’s a little wonder.

She is also very accurately described by the title Force of Nature.  Though admittedly usually not for the first few minutes after she arrives.  So Sunday the Force of Nature and Mommy arrive for a nice Sunday dinner.  Force of Nature has her face buried into Mommy’s shoulder and is playing it coy.  This playing it coy, is something which only comes out when she arrives with Mommy.  When we pick her up she’s usually all energy, bouncing, talk and more talk.   But Sunday she was in coy mode.

And apparently starving.  The Force of Nature’s eyes are often much bigger than her belly.  But that’s fine, after all that’s what puppies named Winter are for, clearing up the remains of small dinners left behind by small girls.  So Sunday was a typical dinner with the Force, lots of “I want, I want, I want.”, followed closely by “I’m full now.”, when only four or five mouthfuls have actually been consumed.

What many probably don’t realise is that “I’m full now.” actually has a very specific meaning when it is uttered by the very young.  That being,  “I’m full now, but I still want jelly and ice cream…can I have jelly and ice cream now?”  The last part is always said in what the Force thinks is a very cute endearing manner.  But what actually comes out is a whining noise that makes certain women very glad that the universe has seen fit to grant them the gift of sterility.

Of course, she gets her jelly and ice cream.  Though not without a lot of face-making and eventually having the word “please” physically dragged out with white-hot tongs.  But for all that, moments later a very happy and vocal Force of Nature is up to her ears in jelly and ice cream.

The chatter is flowing, and the Force has spent ten minutes parroting back everything, everyone else says.  Anyone, who has been around young children for more than thirty seconds, will have encountered this at some stage or other. A darling little girl or boy, suddenly takes it into their head to repeat verbatim, everything that is said around them.  While a little irritating it usually ranks a mere 5 on the justifiable homicide scale of young kids being annoying.  This puts it far behind continuously asking “Are we there yet?” which ranks a good solid 8 on the same scale.

Usually ranks a 5, that word usually is very important here. Remember that migraine I described?  Well guess who had a truly horrific one on Sunday?  Want to guess how much higher on the justifiable homicide scale that migraine puts parroting by a young child?  No, oh no, not an 8.  Look behind you.  See that figure 8 way back there on the horizon?  That should give you a clue.

Well anyway, after listening to this parroting, for more minutes than my fragile sanity could handle. I Amanda Harper said in a joking voice to the Force of Nature,

“You know Force of Nature, sometimes, you really are a pain in the derriere.”

The Force of Nature, between big mouthfuls of jelly and ice cream smiles back and replies,

“You know Amanda, sometimes you really are a pain in the…ASS!”

Let this be a lesson to you all.  Never mind that you had all the best intentions in the world.  Never mind, that you have castrated your swearing abilities for 4 years out of a sense of responsibility.  Never mind that the pain in your head has you thinking dark, dark thoughts.  The facts of the matter are that laughing hard with a migraine only leads to more suffering and little, angelic-looking 4-year-old trolls probably know more swear words than you do.

So buggery to being good.

21/05/2011

Top ten signs that you might be – a computer addict.

Ah the humble computer, but do you have a problem?  Well let’s see, you might have a computer addiction if…

10: You occasionally wake up your partner, by typing on their back in your sleep.

9: Your keyboard cost more than any three pieces of jewellery you own.

8: Your mouse/trackball is a collector’s item worth more than all the rest of your computer put together.

7: You learned to touch type not in a course, but due to uncountable hours spent chatting with people you don’t even like in chat rooms.

6: You’ve ever had a nightmare that ends with your computer being stolen.

5: The first thing you do in the morning, even before you put a pair of panties on, is turn on your computer.

4: You find it incredibly easy to conduct a romantic relationship online, but find it almost impossible to do in reality.

3: You actually know who Leroy Jenkins is. (This is also a good sign that you might have a World of Warcraft addiction, but we’ll get to that.)

2: You can’t remember what day/month/year it is without looking at your desktop.

1: You don’t just own a computer, you actually collect ancient laptops and old computer components, because they’re cool.  (Oh crap I do this one. Ah feck it, have I told you all about my Compaq Aero Contura?)

19/05/2011

The Joy of Minecraft – Part 2 – Multiplayer

In mid-March I wrote a review of the singleplayer version of Minecraft.  Back then I promised to write-up a little more, when I had experienced the multiplayer version of the game.  Well I have and I am still highly impressed.

To quickly recap, Minecraft is exactly what the name implies.  You mine materials, everything from sand to diamonds, and then you craft items and build objects from them.  The only limitations being, your own imagination and the fact that like with Lego, you can only work in diagonals if you don’t mind a very jagged edge.

So about playing on a multiplayer server.  Well the game is the same.  Mine and craft to your heart’s content.  But in multiplayer, you have obviously enough have other players in the world with you.  This can seriously improve, or wreck your experience.  Improve by having someone to help with that huge project you’ve been putting on in singleplayer, or wrecking your experience by them laying large quantities of TNT around that same project and blowing it sky-high.  Help or grief, these two words best sum up the multiplayer version of the game.

Luckily the server I play on, which belongs to an old Wow-head friend of mine, is noticeably lacking in griefers.  Though it is filled to near overflowing with creepers, zombies, skeleton archers and spiders.  All of  whom seem to take a perverse pleasure in jumping on you at the worst possible moment.

So the question now is do I still recommend Minecraft as a game?

Oh Goddesses yes.  This game is still described as digital crack cocaine and the option to play with other humans only adds to that experience.  So much so, that after a mere half hour session, I often find myself plotting out the next ten hours of play, while cleaning up the apartment, showering, walking the dog, trying unsuccessfully to sleep.  You know all the unimportant things that aren’t Minecraft.

17/05/2011

Our closest neighbour and also our closest ally.

Today, the Queen of England arrives on the shores of the Republic of Ireland for the first time.  For most people, there is no difference between her visit and that of President Obama later this month.  It is simply the arrival of a foreign head of state, on a goodwill visit.  However, for a vocal minority, her arrival is seen in almost the same light, as the arrival of the anti-christ is seen by some Christian sects.

There is no denying that the United Kingdom and Republic of  Ireland have to say the least, a sordid past.  Ireland having been occupied by Great Britain for centuries.  While appreciable parts of Britain have been blown apart by Irish terrorists.  But, that is the past.  True it is a recent past, but it is still the past.

I am a proud citizen.  I am proud of, and believe in, my country.  I am also extremely loyal to my country.

However I also welcome the arrival of the Queen, to our small island.

“How can this be?”  I’m sure some of you are wondering.

Well last year the U.K. government gave our Republic genuine aid.  How quickly we forget, that when we as a nation were on our knees, our old adversaries, now our closest allies, gave us a loan of 7 billion euros.  Yes it will have to be paid back, but in the wording of the loan there is a noticeable lack of punishing interest rates and no veiled attempt to reformat the Irish Republic as Europe’s equivalent to Puerto Rico.  A mere protectorate, with neither voice nor hope of a voice.

That act.  That 7 billion Euros worth of genuine aid, was hardly the act of a sworn enemy.

“So what?”  Some of you are thinking, “they’re still the descendants of our colonial overlords.”

Some of them, a tiny few, are.  But many of them are descendants of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of Irish men and women, who have at one time or another called mainland Britain their home.  The loudmouth minority in Ireland are always so fast to forget that there was a time, not so long ago in fact, when Shepard’s Bush in the greater London area was essentially an Irish colony.  The blowhards are so quick to ignore that a large number of Irish men and women, men and women who love their birth nation no less than anyone else, never came back.  But instead made lives, raised families and helped in their own way, to soften the harsher attitudes that had existed between our two nations.

“But what about the absentee landlords?”

What about them indeed?

These landlords who often treated their tenants in the U.K. mainland just as badly, sometimes even worse, than how they treated their Irish tenants.  Let’s not even get into the treatment of the native populations of India, Scotland, North America, the Far Eastern colonies and possibly the worst treated of them all, the Australian Aborigines.  Yes there were harsh landlords, who made their fortunes off of the backs of the poor. There always has been, there probably always will be for that matter.  Human nature is often cruel.  But there were also numberous examples of British landlords, who created reasons to employ the starving, the destitute of Ireland, in the hopes of helping them.  That is how many of the architectural follies that dot the Irish countryside were built.

The truth is I could spend eternity answering the questions of the hate-filled minority.  But that minority will never be satisfied for the pain and suffering which Ireland endured at the hands of Britain.

But we are fools, all of us, if we willfully ignore the pain and suffering our own countrymen have caused in Great Britain.  Through acts of terrorism Irishmen and women, self-styled citizen soldiers, have caused immeasurable pain across the narrow Irish Sea.

And yet, the Queen, head of state of our nearest neighbour, a neighbour who extended a helping hand in our hour of need, a neighbour who lived in fear of Republican bombs, is still coming here.

In Ireland there is an attitude, that we’re closer to Berlin than New York.  That our support, and our future lies with Europe.  The last few months have surely disabused us of that idea.  The truth is that we as a nation, are closer to London than anywhere.   Bound by painful history and the blood ties of scattered families.  Bound further, by the plague on both of our houses which Northern Ireland has become.  Bound and bound again, despite our own sons and daughters, waging a horrific war of terror on their own shores.

Yes I welcome the Queen of England to our shores.  She represents a nation, which is our closest neighbour and our closest ally in these harsh times.  Which has again and again given home too our young, when we have nothing left to give them ourselves.

Long may she reign, may her family be happy and healthy, and may her nation ever prosper.  But most of all may the vocal hate-filled or hate scarred members of both our nations, never tear asunder the ties that bind us together, and may we, in some future time of difficulties, come to their aid as they not so long ago came to ours.

The past is dead, and it need not be prologue.

14/05/2011

Summertime and the breathing is wheezy.

Well it’s that time of year again, hay fever season.  After a three day migraine, I woke this morning to the delightful sensation of blood dripping from my nose.  This being a yearly occurence which only happens during the opening days of my annual hay fever, I am pleased to announce the beginning of Summer.  Yeah, yeah I know, technically it’s been Summer for a fortnight, but to me nothing says Summer like coughing, wheezing and occasionally bleeding.

I am to say the very least not a Summer person.  After all, to any good gothgirl that shiny yellow bastard in the sky means only one thing, potential death to our hard-won paleness.  But add in the sensation of being too hot to move, along with the sun blazing through windows every morning, at horribly early o’ clock and you end up with a very unhappy night owl.  No Summer does not make this gothgirl happy.  Instead of bouncing happily through the overcast streets of Dublin, I shall be slinking from one pool of shadow to another.  Waking up even grouchier than normal.  And ejecting my own body weight in mucus from my sinuses on a daily basis.

That said it is also true that Summer does have it’s…compensations, especially if you lesbian.  It is when you come down to it, the only time of year, that here in Ireland, the lesser tattooed hottie emerges from her Winter coat to bask in the warm Summer sun.  For those of us, dedicated to the hobby of hot-tattooed-bird-twitching, (this being a lesser known branch of birdwatching in general), there is only a short window in which to gaze with awe, reverence and wonder at this most wonderous of natures displays.  Indeed nothing brings greater joy to the heart of the gothgirl hot-tattooed-bird-twitcher than to spend, literally hours, sitting comfortably in a local watering-hole with a few of her closer female friends, while watching the arrival of this rarest of Irish sights.

Look you and see how beautiful they are.  The choppy, elfin haircuts with their plumage of many primary colors, provided by peroxide and Crazy Color.  The tight, tight clothing wrapped in small strips around bodies that are, thankfully, not too skinny, but instead look as though you could give them a good squeeze without fear of breaking their spines in half.  And yes, yes, OH BIG MOMMA YES!  She is both tattooed and pierced.  And we’re not talking a slag-tag here, we’re talking a full sleeve of perfectly drawn tattoo’s and yes I do believe that she also has a really wonderful chest piece also. Oh and she has sub-dermal implants.  Divine, simply bewitching.

This of course leads to the polyamorous, gothgirl hot-tattooed-girl-twitcher,  thinking about slowly approaching said rare specimen.  So you stand up, straighten your babydoll dress, making sure you won ink and piercings are visible and over you walk, in as sultry and alluring a way as you can.  You open your mouth to tell her how gorgeous she would look in your arms, though not quite that blatantly, there is after all a place for subtlety in this situation…

And you snort out a huge dollop of mucus, closely followed by a steady flow of blood, right onto your own breasts…

Damn it I really hate Summer, the season of wheezing.

13/05/2011

Oh joy, it’s the Eurovision Song Contest.

In Ireland it is apparently a hanging offense to be lesbian and hate the Eurovision Song Contest.  And yet here I stand, both lesbian and in receipt of vast oceans of loathing for this annual, continent spanning, televisual torture.

Eurovision is camp, and therefore if you are a card-carrying member of the LGBT Brigade, you are supposed to love all things camp.  For the record, there really aren’t any card-carrying members of the LGBT Brigade, there are just a lot of gay pillocks who act like there are.  But we were speaking of camp, and gayness, and song contests.

I think, that after almost 60 posts on this blog, it’s probably pretty clear by now that I am a girl, who likes other girls.  Yep I’m gay, but I hate what is usually described as camp.   Graham Norton, makes me think longingly of shotguns loaded with deer-slugs.  Drag queens, make me dream about cans of hairspray and cigarette lighters.  Well you get the picture.

The Eurovision Song Contest however, makes me desire only three small things for Christmas.  A couple of tonnes of Composition 4, a radio detonator and a good vantage point from which to enjoy the ensuing carnage.

For those reading who have yet to discover the delights of this European institution, I shall explain.  The E.S.C.  is what happens when you tell twenty odd European nations, and Israel for some incomprehensible reason, to gather a singer a piece to compete.

“What do they compete for?” you ask.

Good question.  They compete for the opportunity for their country, to host the following years contest.  At vast expense. That’s about it really.  Oh, and the women all dress either like Hollywood stars receiving an Oscar, or like the village bike, waiting to receive a prize of a very different texture.  While the men, somehow, all end up looking like a Tory ministers secret, rent-boy lover.

We won’t get into Jedward here.  It’s enough to say that someday, I fully expect Ireland as a whole, to be brought before the Court of Human Rights in the Hague over those two.

With one, literally one, exception I have never yet enjoyed any Eurovision performance.  To me they all sound like one long liturgy of bland.  The only change from year to year, being the current form of bland to be most in vogue.  And ultimately that is my problem with the E.S.C.

I don’t like the cheesy commentary.  I don’t like the ridiculous, overblown production made out of what is essential, continental karaoke.  I don’t like that if you’re gay it’s expected of you to like it all.

But I hate, truly loathe, the sheer tsunami of bland and mediocre, that my ears get assaulted by on those years where I am unable to escape.  So much so in fact, that I am forced to ask, why?  Why the bland?  Why the mediocre?

Every nation has singers of superlative skill and talent.  So why do we insist on sending, what can charitably be described as aural rape, every goddess damned year?  Just one year why don’t all the nations of Europe, and Israel for some incomprehensible reason, agree to actually send their best?

That’s it. I’m taking a stand and this is my challenge to Europe. One year, just one year, I challenge every nation of Europe and Israel for…oh you get it by now, to send only their very best singer.  Then hold a Eurovision Song Contest where the performers are required to stand still.  No dancers, no fetish-wear, no looking and moving like a hooker hopped up on crystal meth.  No they just stand there and sing their guts out.

And at the end everyone votes for the best singer and song.

That I might actually enjoy, because that might actually be worth watching.

Failing that bring back these guys, I did say I liked one act…

12/05/2011

Apologies – delayed post.

All of yesterday and last night, I had the sort of horrific migraine that makes you think longingly of a revolver with one bullet, for the woman upstairs using her washing machine at 11pm.  The upshot of all this, is that I have no post ready for today and am somewhat brain fried from all the pain and painkillers.  So I will post a game review tomorrow and get back to my regular schedule on Saturday.  Sorry for the delay and thank you for your patience.

For today I prescribe a large dose of beagle cuteness to keep your strength up for the long 24 hour wait…

And a knee for a pillow.
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