Archive for November, 2011

29/11/2011

RIP Anne MacCaffrey.

As most of her fans surely know by now, Anne MacCaffrey passed away on the Monday of last week the 21st of November. As she is one of my favourite science fiction novelists of all time, as well as a literary heroine of mine I wanted to write something to mark her passing. The first book of hers I ever read was The White Dragon, the 3rd in a series. Within three chapters I was hooked, by the end of the book I had been in tears three separate times. That was Anne MacCaffrey’s strength as a writer. She had a way of reaching into your heart, and wrenching it to one side.

She was the summoner of fantastical dragons, and of powerful female characters you would aspire to be even the smallest bit like.  Whether that character was the driven, fearless Sassinak of the Planetary Pirates series, or the sensitive, Menolly of the Harper from the Pern saga, or any of the myriad of other incredible female characters, if you were a young girl you wanted to be one of them. That want sometimes even following into adulthood.

She was the mistress of intimate small-scale battles, which still managed to tell a much broader story.

And as anyone who has read either Dragonflight or DragonQuest can attest, she was the voice of romantic science fiction.

Her books where the reason I saved my lunch money to buy books. The reason I would skip school to go to my nearest city to scour the bookshops for new copies of her books at sale prices. The raw emotion of her books were the reason why while I shared a bedroom with my brother, I read in a different room. There is a good the reason I still keep tissue near me whenever I read anything she ever wrote.

Going into a bookshop will never be the same again, and while her son Todd appears to be an able heir to the story of Pern, it will never be the same for me. A Pern story without Anne’s heart and soul poured through out it is a hollow thing. But I am glad for the wonderful legacy she has left the world, and glad that I can still revisit her creations in the future.

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26/11/2011

Do you know what it feels like to get something so right?

I am learning to play the ukulele. I’m sure you’ve gathered that by this previous post, and this one, oh and this one too. But what I’ve yet to speak about in my blog, is the fact, that while I am learning to play the ukulele I have virtually no musical background to speak of. I won’t say none, I did learn the tinwhistle for a year in primary school. But at the time I could never even vaguely comprehand standard musical notation, and so learned to play, to a reasonable standard, a very simple, even very limited instrument purely by ear.

Tuesday of this week past was an odd day. I spent much of it trying to script out a burlesque act, or at least what I think would make a fun one. While I did that I chatted with someone special online. But after everything else was finished I pulled out my ukulele, loaded up the .PDF’s of my sheet music, and started to practice.

I’ve developed a love for playing a certain style of renaissance music. It has very few strums, but instead uses a lot of multi-string plucks, and intricate finger style play. It gives the sound of the ukulele a wonderful harp-like quality. And I simply adore playing in that style. Though admittedly, I do usually play any style of music rather badly.

I’m not a natural musician. I do have fairly a decent sense of rhythm, and timing. But I still find reading standard notation extremely difficult. If you struck two notes I couldn’t tell you what either of them were. Often I’d even be hard pressed to tell you which one was higher or lower. But I’ve worked hard over the last few months, and while I still can’t read standard sheet music proficiently, I can understand enough to know how long a note should be held for. How intensely it should be played, and what tempo is required for a given segment. This added to the tabulation method of writing music, at the very least allows me some small chance of occasionally hitting the right notes, in the right order and in the right way.

So Tuesday I practiced for an hour or so. Worked my way through my scales, as well as the various pieces of music I play during each practice session to stretch out my left hand, and improve my accuracy. Then that done I then went on to the internet to see if I could find something new to try my hand at. After all, there’s only so many times you can play “Moon River”, “Scotland the Brave” or “Hall of the Mountain King” before your brains start to melt.

Well, after a little while I found a random piece of 17th century guitar music. Lot’s of double, and triple plucks, only a couple of strums, those nice and relatively simple. In short, ideal. Now before that day on finding a new piece of music, I’d almost always headed straight to YouTube to find out how it was supposed to sound. But Tuesday I decided to see if I could read through the mixture of notations a few times, and then play it cold. So that’s just what I did.

I picked up my ukulele, and for about two minutes Amanda simply vanished as a conscious being.

There’s a thing that happens when you type a lot. You reach a stage where you no longer think at all about where each of the keys are. You just think and type automatically. It took me years to reach that stage as a typist. But these days I can, and often do type like that. To me that feels like the words flow from my fingertips like a stream of water.

Playing that piece of music on Tuesday. Cold, having never heard it before, felt similar. I read the music, I plucked each note in turn, performed the strums with surprising ease. The fingers of my fret hand seemed to know how to position themselves just right. The fingers of my plucking hand felt like they were dancing over the strings. It all felt right. But I never once thought about what I was playing. I read written music on the screen, and audible music came from my hands. No thought, no consciousness involved.

When I’d finished the piece, and after I’d gotten over a really odd feeling of shock at it being finished, I went to YouTube.

It wasn’t a complex piece, and I imagine for any accomplished musician it would have been laughably easy to play, but to my utter delight I not only played it well, but very nearly perfectly. I held a couple of notes too long, things like that. But it was the first time since I picked up a ukulele that I felt I was actually moving to a realm where I can someday describe myself as a musician. Not just a player of an instrument, but an aspirant musician.

But the best part was how it felt. Touch typing like that feels like water flowing. But that feeling can’t compare to this. When you type, and screw up you hit the backspace, nothing is lost, it’s a natural thing to quickly repair the fault, and move on. When you pluck a musical note, that’s it. There’s no way to ever force that genie back into its bottle. So playing that well for once, using the full limits of my present musical skills, didn’t feel like anything that flows.

No, it felt like flying, and I want to feel it again.

24/11/2011

Let us turn our minds to living in Ireland.

In the gathering darkness of November it is perhaps timely to consider what it means to live in Ireland.

This green and soggy land. This depressed and depressing isle. A place where you’ll never be short an excuse to wear your waterproofs, or carry your umbrella. Where you can mark the passing of the days, by counting the cars gently floating off the quays, and into the Liffey.

This nation clothed by Dunnes, Roches and Primark. A citizenry for whom the height of fashion is to wander the town, pushing a buggy, while wearing your pajamas. A nation where the wearing of fabric boots is a patriotic act, after all how else can we clean up after the floods?

This nation which puts the fear of god into pigs everywhere. A land where if we don’t have cabbage, sure we’ll boil a head of lettuce instead. A culinary tradition best summed up by the great Denis Leary, “Boil it ’til it’s grey, then suck it up with a straw.”

A small dot on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, where we have thousands on housing lists, and empty houses by the truck load. Nothing says “A vibrant economy is based here.” like more houses than are needed, but never ever spreading the wealth with those in need.

A wonderous state where all the political parties are completely different in make up, ideology and ideals. Unless their names are the Greens, Labour, Fianna Gael, Fianna Fail. This country where even a retired terrorist with gallons of red sticky stuff on his hands, (but not blood for heaven’s sake, it was strawberry cordial), can grow up and aspire to get his ass handed to him in the presidential elections.

This land of equality, where in the same election a Gay man can get hauled over the coals like all the other candidates. But better still he can be sure of having preferential treatment, when they also shove some of those coals up his ass for being an uppity queer. “Honestly the cheek, doesn’t he realise he’s supposed to stay in bus, and train station toilets like all the other bent fuckers? How dare he demand the same rights as real people!”

And what of the cities? Those shining jewels. Where the streets glisten each morning with the urine of last nights drunks. And on every street corner a work of street art, cunningly created from regurgitated doner kebabs, cheap beer, and unbridled patriotism.

Those marvelous places filled with caring citizens, always ready to lend a hand or a boot to anyone on the ground. Where any man or woman regardless of age or infirmity, can be certain of absolutely no help what-so-ever should he or indeed she trip and hurt themselves.

And the countryside. Nothing but rolling hills, small towns, sparkling rivers, and historic ruins as far as the eye can see, between the bypasses, motorways and empty luxury hotels. Best if you don’t try to go into those historic ruins by the way, they’re often used as cattle sheds, and so the ancient flagstone floors are usually sunken beneath many inches of bovine delight.

Yes it’s a great country to visit, and to live in. Just don’t look too closely at the details.

22/11/2011

The Versatile Bloggers Award.

Okay we’re going to pretend that it’s awards time today, and all because of the blogger extraordinaire, and bearer of many wonderous tattoo’s Kana Tyler. On Friday the 18th she awarded me a Versatile Bloggers Award. This seems to be rather like a blog writers Oscar. Except that it actually means something, seeing as someone has to actually like your work to nominate you. Rather than just liking the brown envelope you just passed them. However this award comes with some responsibilities, and rules.

(Yes I do know there’s a difference between “award”, and “nominate”. But do you know what? I’m not a frikkin’ Nazi of the Grammar, Punctuation, or Dictionary varieties. So we’re going to use those two words in an interchangeable way. If you don’t like that…well I say bladders on sticks at dawn.)

Have at you vile knave! (Image via http://www.badscience.net)

  1. She must link to the person who nominated her for the award.
  2. She must share seven random facts about herself.
  3. She must nominate the next fifteen winners, with links to their blogs. (note; blogs she actually likes.)

So that’s step 1 done, when I linked the blogger extraordinaire, and bearer of many wonderous  tattoo’s Kana Tyler. (Bet you love me even more now Kana. That’s two plugs in one post.)

Now my seven random facts.

  1. I like dull overcast days best of all.
  2. My first dog was a Kerry Blue Terrier, named Snoopy. He hated my sperm donor, and so bit him at any, and every given opportunity. Good boy Snoopy.
  3. On my 17th birthday I was climbing a cliff in a local quarry. I fell, all my gear stripped, and after about a 40 foot fall I landed bum first on an upward pointed stone. This resulted in my breaking my coccyx for the third time, and my having a very red face.  These days I remember that “OH SHIT I AM GOING TO DIE!” moment every single damp day. *Shifts uncomfortably in her chair.*
  4. When I was a little individual, I always wanted to grow up to be a 1930’s science fiction serial film heroine. Think Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, but without the constant screaming, the cowering behind Flash, or the wandering around without a gun all the time. Damn it Dale, stand up for yourself woman!

    "If he steps in front of me, just one more time I'll...." Shortly after Flash was found with his head stoved in. (Image via filesofjerryblake.netfirms.com)

  5. I’m going on my first date in 4 years tomorrow. She’s kind of awesome, very hot, and I’m genuinely crapping myself.
  6. Before I changed my name, I was named after 3 different people. Including a random stranger who just happened to be in the church, and having no family they asked my parents if they could be remembered through me.
  7. On the night I was born a star fell from the sky, and crashed to Earth in the form of Star-Metal. That Star-Metal was secretly forged in to a sword of unsurpassed elegance, and killing power. A sword which one day will be used by the steampunk-heroine, and alter-ego of Amanda Harper, Acidgirl, to slay all the false gods. Thus freeing us all in a Red Sonja/Star Gate-esque manner, from an unknowing enslavement to our hidden overlo….No, not really, but I did try to come out face first. Thus causing my sainted mother to be cut wide open to get my shapely arse out into the world. One of these days she might actually forgive me for that. Though probably not.

Step 3 is going to be kind of tough. I’m not sure that there are fifteen blogs that I read regularly, and actually like but, hey we’ll do our best

  1. Consider the Tea Cosy.
  2. Stacy Bias.
  3. The Musings of a Lesbian Writer.
  4. Threads of Aether.
  5. DeShocks 
  6. Sadhbh Warren.
  7. Ukulele Hunt.

That is literally it. I spend far more time writing blogs than reading them, so I just don’t have 15. It would have been 8 except that I’ve already plugged the blogger extraordinaire, and bearer of many wonderous tattoo’s Kana Tyler twice already…ah crap.

19/11/2011

Motorways, is what you gain worth what you lose?

Last week my partner in crime, and myself drove from Dublin to Cork and back. As has become normal these days we mostly travelled on Ireland’s new motor system. And there is no getting away from the fact that it is an amazing public amenity. The Dublin to Cork road journey could at one stage take anything up to four hours. You would, if you timed your journey badly, find yourself trapped in various towns which seemed to exist purely as bottlenecks. These days however you get on the M50, then hop from motorway to motorway, pay two tolls along the way, and boom you’re in Cork. Or reverse it, and boom you’re in Dublin. And all in, at most, two and a half hours, with a lower fuel cost from the efficiency of driving at a solid cruising speed.

So you gain a lot from motorway travel. Lower fuel costs, shorter journey times, and due to the quality of these new roads less wear-and-tear on your car. But what are you losing?

Less than a decade ago I can remember travelling from my home city of Cork to Dublin. It wasn’t an insignificant journey. It took easily four hours, cost , for the time, a lot in fuel. And even more in frustration from getting stuck in the numberous small towns the motorways now by-pass. But there was a pleasure to that journey.

You got to see many small Irish towns that were actually rather beautiful. You would drive past the Rock of Cashel, numberous monuments, ruined Norman castles in fields on the sides of the road. In short you got to see, of at a distance, a lot of the intrinsic, and historic beauty of Ireland. You also didn’t get bored.

Last weekend after the first 30 minutes on the motorway I was so bored that part of me was hoping for anything to happen. After 45 minutes I would have gladly welcomed seeing a meteor taking out the distant Abbeyleix. By the time I got to Cork finding my home city under a Biblical flood would have been wonderful, just for the break in the boredom. Motorway driving is quite simply sickeningly boring. It’s a long, long, long, almost totally straight road. Often many feet below embankments on both sides. With nothing much to see except other cars, and a hell of a lot of tarmacadam. What you do get to see of the country is at such a distance that it may as well be on the television.

Oh and we won’t even get into the hypocrisy of paying road tax, and fuel duty, which is intended for the maintenance and upgrading of the road network, only to be tolled twice on one motorway.

Now admittedly motorways can be great for girl (or guy if you’re that way inclined) watching, but only if you’re a passenger. Otherwise its hour after hour of mind, and ankle numbing repetitive driving. But after finishing the two-way journey, I found myself wondering, is the gain in time really worth the gains in boredom? Is the convenience of motorway travel worth the loss of the event that crossing the country used to be?

For myself I don’t really have an answer. Except to say that watching a driver turning into a zombie by the monotony of motorway driving is a terrifying thing to witness. And it was, and is madness to have such a boring road with no services along its entire length, refueling a wandering mind is just as important as refueling a car.

17/11/2011

Rift AMD/Ati graphic card issues, Radeon HD4850 solution.

At the end of last month I wrote a short review of the MMORPG Rift. In it I waxed lyrical about its many wonders. I also mentioned its fatal flaw, namely a semi-random incompatibility with AMD/ATI graphics cards. Since then I have stumbled across what seems to be at the very least a potential fix.

I currently run an ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb card. (And right now any of you non-techie folks reading this are scratching your heads.) It’s a little out of date to be sure, but still a nice piece of kit. However when I first installed Rift it would barely run the game at all. I had constant lock ups, character, and world freezes, even some blue screens of death. At that point I partially overcame these by overclocking the living snot out of my card, crossing my fingers, and praying to the digital gods for 20 minutes of uninterrupted play. Sometimes I got it, mostly I got 30 seconds of okay-ness before opening my inventory, or the map, or you know walking locked everything up, and I was back to square one.

Now normally I would prefer not to overclock my hardware. I am quite capable of doing it, but it has the potential to massively reduce the lifespan of your hardware. However with my HD4850 I felt okay doing this because quite simply my card was dying anyway. For the last two months it’s been giving me some slight problems, and had started to smell distressingly of extra crispy electronics. I knew that despite regular maintenance its time was running out, that soon the smoke would leak out, and to be honest I felt like giving it a hero’s end. All that said, it didn’t really work. By the time I wrote the review I had managed perhaps 3 hours of acceptable play, with a truly terrible graphic quality, and my heart permanently in my mouth, but not in a good way.

In the end knowing that my card was on its way out, and that I would need to replace it anyway I ordered an Nvidia card. Which led directly to my finding at the very least a somewhat reasonable fix for my HD4850. Here’s how.

1: I uninstalled my HD4850. By this I mean I used the Catalyst uninstallation software that came with its drivers.

2: Then I rebooted in safe mode, (usually to reach this you press F8 during boot up, and choose it from the boot options.) and ran my copy of Driver Cleaner Pro. This removes all the small traces of the ATI software that may have been missed by the uninstallation software.

3: This was followed by yet another reboot to safe mode. This time I ran a Registry cleaning software, followed by a full shutdown.

At this stage I tried to install my new card. Not that it worked though. As it turns out that my power supply unit was just a little bit too wimpy to run it. But since this led me to reinstalling my original card (until I can replace the PSU as well) it also led directly to my finding this fix.

4: Boot up again, and make a fresh install of the most up to date Catalyst drivers for the ATI card. Reboot.

Having done this on a whim I tried Rift again. I was pissed off, and just had this forlorn hope. As it turned out that hope was realised. I can now run Rift with 20-24 frames per second in a capital city, and 40-60 FPS everywhere else, at medium graphics settings. I haven’t had a single lock up, or character freeze. My card is also running cooler than it has in months, and the scorched electronics smell has reduced a lot. I still intend to replace it with my new card as soon as possible. But for now I have Rift running on a card which only a few days ago used to run to a corner, and then have a massive panic attack when I loaded up the log in screen.

And there you have it. This worked for me, and I hope that it may work for some other frustrated denizen of Telara. So see you at a death rift sometime soon, just make sure you bring that extra can of whup-ass you’ve been saving. You’re going to need it.

15/11/2011

Have a comic – No real post today.

As you may have noticed I have an annoying number of migraines. On those days I can’t really write, seriously, breathing and thinking about how miserable I feel is hard enough. So I had a thought. As you also probably know I’m in the run up to starting a webcomic. But I decided that I needed more practice with pen, pencil, and graphics tablet. In any event, I draw a lot, and I figured why not start drawing little things. You know, to make up for those days when I am unable to bash you all over the head with my own brand of insanity. SO here’s the first one ever. Enjoy.

Me, in about 30 seconds.

12/11/2011

The ten most awesome things about being – a writer

I don’t think many people would argue that only two groups of people have perfect jobs. Those of course are presenting Top Gear,

or any of the guys who work with the divine Miss Kari Byron.

But a very close run third place must belong to those who are lucky enough to be writers, and here’s why.

10: You get to set your own work hours, to a degree which is nothing less than insanely fantastic. Seriously, if your work schedule is four hours of writing per day why not write at night? When there’s nothing good on television. You can write anytime, anytime at all…

 9: Writing can be your go to reason to get out of almost anything. Hated in-laws call over? Oh I have a to go write. The dog poop needs to be cleaned up in the back yard? Sorry I’m writing. Someone puts X-Factor on the television? Thank fuck I have to go write! (Though in my case with the exception of the last one the others are of course not escapes  I would use.)

 8: I’m not day dreaming. I’m writing in my head. This one’s serious by the way. I do 95% of my writing in my head, character, and plot development, along with basic dialogue, and scene layouts are all done long before anything get’s put on paper.

 7: I’m not having a nap, I’m doing research on a deep subconscious level. That’s why I keep something I can take notes with next to my bed. Usually my Ipaq.

 6: Writing is an excuse to experiment. Everything you experience is something you can draw on for future writing projects. So the best way to get more material to use in your work is to experiment. A three-way with 2 beautiful, submissive, redheaded lesbians? Yep that’s for me, thanks, I’ll take it over here.

 5: If you’re a novelist your job is playing make-believe. That’s right you get to make stuff up, and possibly get paid for it. Every kids dream right?

 4: If you’re a factual writer you get to be a know-it-all for a living. Surely the stuff of dreams for failed college lecturers the world over?

 3: You will probably be admired for doing something other people feel they can’t. This is an odd one, and I’m going to be serious about this. I know so many people who have amazing lives which they could easily use as the foundation for a book. But they don’t. The simple fact is that most people don’t have the determination to be a writer. Even a roughly 500 word article like this one takes a good hour to write, rewrite, and edit. Even then, if you have the right temperament to be a writer, you won’t be happy with it, you could spend a year on it and never be happy with it. So just like your admirers you too may well feel that you can’t do it, the only difference between you and them is that you say “screw that.” and do it anyway.

 2: You get better at it all the time. This is one of my favourite parts of being a writer. I started this blog to become a better technical writer. I mean let’s face it, when I started this blog my writing was a lot less skilled than it is now. After over 120 posts I like to think I’ve become a better writer. Certainly my punctuation and grammar have improved.

1: Chicks dig writers. No really, nothing is more sexually appealing than someone who never get’s much sunlight, and so is pale enough to pass for an Anne Rice character. The ink stains on their hands, and the callous on the side of their right thumb from hitting the space bar are just the icing on the sexyness cake which is the average gothic, lesbian, transgirl writer. (Okay this one might be complete bullshit, but damn I hope it’s true. Miss Amanda needs a new adoring slavegirl.)

10/11/2011

A review of the Mahalo Les Paul ukulele.

Right so I was originally messing about my my lil sisters Ohana uke while she was wandering around Spain for part of the Summer. Of course when I expressed orgasmic delight at playing it she went and bought me a Les Paul electro-acoustic model as my first uke.

So what do I have to say about it after three months of ownership? Well I do love it.  There’s simply no getting away from the fact that it is delicious to look at. It’s slightly larger than a standard soprano ukulele, but considering the fact that at 5’10” I’m slightly larger than the average ukulele player this is definitely a good thing. It comes pre-strung with Aquila strings, this for those who don’t know is a wonderful thing. Most uke’s come pre-strung with knicker elastic. They’re hard to tune, and impossible to keep in tune once you do. Where as Aquila’s are easy to keep in tune once the initial stretching period is over with.

For a mass produced instrument the finish is good, not excellent, but good. There are several small imperfections in the varnish, and the dye beneath it. The tuners are good quality and have never needed adjustment to hold tune. The action might be slightly high for a lot of players, but since I have kind of strong fingers don’t have any problems playing it myself. That said when I do restring it I will probably reduce the action very slightly.

I did come up against a few minor niggles. The wires inside the body of my uke buzzed at first. That problem however was easily fix by unscrewing both of the external panels in turn and sticking the wires down with miracle tape, aka duct tape. Then I found that it was still buzzing when I played the C string with any sort of gusto. After a little effort I traced that issue to a cable tie inside that hadn’t been trimmed down, and so was vibrating against one of the braces on the back of the soundboard. So out came long pair of scissors, and a long jewellers tweezers and that was fixed.

Other than that there are some very minor intonation issues with some frets beyond the 9th or 10th fret. But they are extremely minor, and since I have something of a tin ear from too many concerts, nightclubs and raves in my 20′s, to my mind they add to the unique sound of my particular uke. Although they do make my puppy, and violin/guitar playing partner wince a lot of the time, she being one of those perfect pitch type people. (By minor I mean that on a chromatic tuner the note on a given fret is either only very slightly high or low. And I mean very slightly.)

My only real gripe with this ukulele isn’t actually with the instrument, but rather with the instrument bag it comes with. It’s flimsy, badly stitched rubbish. Frankly if you wrapped it in brown paper you would be vastly improving the situation. I wouldn’t trust it to keep dust off of my uke. So the very first thing I bought was a hard-case for my baby. I would strongly suggest you do too.

Now there are those who say that only about 1 in 3 Mahalo Les Pauls are actually playable. So perhaps I got lucky. But I have since getting mine, fiddled around with a few in random music shops , and so far I have yet to find one that’s as unplayably awful as some people make them out to be.

I have yet to talk about how it sounds when played as an electric-ukulele. This is because right now I  don’t have the means to test it. But you can expect a review of this aspect in the New Year. Yup there’s an Orange mini-amp that’s seductively calling my name.

I feel that the Les Paul is a pretty good first uke. It’s a joy to play, a joy to look at, and it makes me smile everytime I pick it up. It’s a budget uke so you do get what you pay for, which is relatively cheap and cheerful. But be warn this one will lead to a very severe case of Ukulele Addiction Syndrome. I should know I’m already planning on not just buying an nice concert uke in the future, but on actually building more than a few also. Stay tuned for more information on that in the near future.

08/11/2011

Why no hairdresser should ever commit a serious crime.

Right Off the bat let me say  that I really like hairdressers. If it weren’t for them my hair would not be radiating the interestingly radioactive shade of purple currently is.  Also the ones I’ve known are genuinely interesting and nice people. It doesn’t hurt that a few of them have also been serious crushes over the years. But let’s face it, they should really avoid committing serious criminal offences.

Yesterday I accompanied my partner in crime, and her eldest daughter to a hair care wholesalers. I should point out now that this particular daughter is a hairdresser, and in fact is my hairdresser, so in the interests of keeping my hair attached to my head let me just say she is brilliant at what she does. Actually you should all go to her business for your next hair-do. Right then that’s the shameless plug out-of-the-way. Anyway, We went wandering to a wholesalers because My Excellent Hairdresser (MEH) was running low on certain hair-care essentials. Don’t ask me what they are, what I know about hair care could be written on the back of a stamp, “Wash it now and then”. Also I needed some purple hair color to brighten my own radioactive locks.

At this point I must digress for a moment to speak to you about having interesting hair colours. In the last few years my hair has been pitch-black, a red never seen in nature, blue, and now a deep purple. So over the past few years I have learned something few people know. Those colours are a bitch to keep fresh. Seriously, even look slant-ways at a shower and they fade. Go walking in the rain with the intent of looking soulful/gothic, and you’re more likely to end up resembling a very tall, oddly coloured Smurf. On the other hand no-one will ever miss you in a crowd, and it does increase your “fuckability” quotient quite impressively (admittedly the latter is a personal opinion, but when I see a girl with interestingly coloured hair, that’s where my mind goes…). So it really is swings, and roundabouts.

Anyway, there we were in the wholesalers, buying hair-dye, really dark blue nail varnish, and stuff I didn’t recognise, but which I assume is used either as;

a: Sexual lubricant.

or

b: follicle torment.

We were just leaving, intent on returning MEH home, when something occurred to me. You can instantly recognise a hairdresser in any group of people. And conversely, in a group of hairdressers you can always recognise the one non-hairdresser. The hairdresser is the one with the insanely sharp, impossible to maintain hairstyle. Which despite being impossible to maintain, without a trained staff at your beck and call, she does, maintain it that is. This is obviously because, with a some exceptions, most hairdressers actually do have a trained staff at their beck and call. Which leads me to the following scenario.

Human beings are notoriously bad witnesses. You can have a brutal murder seen by a hundred people, and maybe one will be able to give a credible witness statement, or description of the suspect. But hang on…

“Officer she had bright blue hair, in the sharpest, most perfect pixie-cut.  Oh and she had full “going out” make up on at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon.”

This the witnesses statement given after the notorious “Hairdresser’s scissors buried in his skull.” murder. Though in her defense it genuinely was an accidental death, his cologne was really bad, it made her sneeze, and when she jerked, WHAM! Scissors buried in his skull. Woops.

She still ended up serving a decade in Mountjoy though. A decade where she was known by the prison population as “Glove”. All because you can pick the one hairdresser out of any crowd.

It occurs that this could also be true of the hairdressers mother, sisters, nieces, grandmothers, aunts, and closer friends. But hey it still really narrows the field of suspects from everyone, to just a few.

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