Archive for December, 2012

29/12/2012

Seriously Irish Retailers? You Call That a Sale?

Having received a gift voucher as one of my gifts over Xmas I decided yesterday (Thursday) to convince my Partner in Crime that she really wanted to take me to Liffey Valley Shopping Center. After all I’d been such a good Puppygirl over Xmas, how could she deny my whimpering and the simpering eyes? As it turns out she couldn’t. Or at least she wanted to get out of the house, and I was as good an excuse as any to do so.

Unfortunately the Christmas Sales (at least in Liffey Valley) turned out to be something of a damp squib. Not in the customer numbers, you could barely walk through a lot of the shops yesterday without bumping into people, or stepping on children. No it was more an issue of what was on offer, as in, sweet fuck all! I was actually kind of disgusted. So was my PiC.

The only shop that had anything decent that was both available, and well priced was New Look. HMV, which I had the voucher for, had mostly their normal regular deals. Which is something I love about HMV, if you pop in regularly you’ll always find something nice to listen, watch, or play at a good price, regardless of the time of year. But that was pretty much all they had on offer in their “Sales”. The few clothing stores I looked in, all seemed to have decided that the word “Sale” actually meant “See all that shite in the corner that no-one bought? Yeah, throw it on the rails at its original price, people are thick they won’t notice.”

Now I accept that the sales always include a certain amount of that. And sometimes it’s cool, there’s a piece that I wanted to get, and for one reason or another I missed when it was on regular retail. But so many Irish retailers seem to have done nothing else this sale. All the while laughing up their sleeves at the muppets who didn’t notice…

Well I noticed. And I was not impressed.

25/12/2012

Happy Turkey Day! And why Microsoft should grow the fuck up a little.

Well it’s Christmas Day, and since I already went in to precisely what that means me last year, I thought I would wax both lyrical and pissy about my present from my Partner-In-Crime. You see, as basically everyone with ears or a Facebook account connected to mine already knows, she got me an Xbox. And I am to say the very least chuffed. It’s a nice 250GB one, that came with a wireless controller, headset, some racing game I’ll probably never even open, and of course Skyrim.

So all goodness right?

Mostly, but Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft. You’ve been a very greedy little monkey (and not in a good way either), so Satan Claws will have to be informed. There’ll be no pretty kinky little flesh-stocking stuffer for you next year.

Why?

Well the wireless controller, you dear reader have undoubtedly assumed it would come with either a rechargeable power pack, or at least a set of rechargeable batteries. I mean, you would think that such a thing would be considered a standard part of such a bundle, right?

Well apparently Microsoft think that a pair of Duracell AA alkaline batteries covers things…Okay so let me get this straight, the multi-billion Dollar company, with an annual income which compares favourably with the gross national product of some countries, feels that it can’t stump up a rechargeable battery pack.

But that’s not all. The driving game, comes on a disk. Meh. But Skyrim is download only. Why in the fuck couldn’t they have included a hard copy? I mean would it have killed them? You know what? If it was an economy thing they could have left out the driving game entirely, given us Skyrim on disk, and I imagine that 99.999999999% of all customers would have been delighted with the result.

I mean I know why they did it this way. You HAVE to sign up for Xbox Live to get Skyrim. Which means Microsoft get their grubbing little fingers a little deeper in to your head. But this was just, just…sneaky.

And I’m totally going to tell Satan Claws on you. 😛

(In all seriousness though, I love my Xbox. Best Xmas gift EVER!”

22/12/2012

Okay, it’s official, I’m broken.

I slept precisely no hours last night. None, nadda, zip, zilch…not a lot. The reasons are varied, and disgusting. The end result though is that there will only be this very short post today. When this episode of infinitely worse than normal blurkness started I was able to keep ahead of myself where my writing output is concerned, but that was six weeks ago.

Well over the past two weeks I’ve been gradually falling behind because I simply can not concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. Not to mention my creativity has decided to take a holiday. Be this a lesson to all you fellow bloggers, write ahead.

Anyway I’m going to get in to a sleeping bad, cuddle a puppy, and try to ignore how my body feels like it’s trying to fly apart at the seams. For those who get bored with their families I’ll be back with my regular Tuesday post, on Christmas Day.

18/12/2012

Little Ruminations on Movies – So The Hobbit is out then?

Yes, of course I know that The Hobbit is out. I’m not sure it’s possible to have a pulse, and either eye sight, or hearing, and not know it. The only thing they’ve held back on where advertising is concerned is using a death ray laser to cover the Moon in Hobbit related graffiti.

I haven’t of course seen it yet, but I am forced to admit that I am worried.

I’m sure it will be a powerhouse, tour-de-force, filled with award-winning performances. I’m certain it will be filled with wonderfully choreographed fight scenes, brilliantly written comedic moments, unforgettable characters, and Gandalf.

But have you read the book lately? I mean since that time you read it when you were 18, drunk, and just read it as a primer before finally settling down to read The Lord of the Rings?

What I’m getting at here is that what I remember of the book is not exactly exciting. Unexpected party, go on an adventure, meet some trolls who are dumb enough to argue themselves to death, meet some elves, get rocks thrown at, fall underground, find a magic ring, meet eagles (the animals not the band), meet a kind of warlike hippy (it makes sense in the book), get caught by spiders (or maybe that was in Harry Potter so many scenes are interchangeable in fantasy I kind of lose track), get caught by elves, find mountain, trick a dragon, big battle, the end.

I mean it is fun, but to me it never really felt real. It felt like a real fairy tale, as in something you read to a child. I guess the best way to put is that to me it never felt complete. Where as the Lord of the Rings felt more like a complete story, a window into complete world. And I’m just not too sure about that being on the screen.

Still I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that this time a couple of weeks from now I’ll be ranting, and raving here about how awesome it was. Because it probably will be. But…

15/12/2012

Unthinking assumption of religious views.

One Wednesday morning someone called to my door. They came representing the local catholic parish. And seeing as Christmas is coming I just bet you know what they came looking for. Yes, that’s right, money.

Question, when you’re standing at a strangers door, hoping to convince them to make a donation to your church what would you say the two most important things to keep in mind in a modern western country are?

Yes, you at the back?

No, not breast size.

Anyone else? Yes, you the odd-looking gentleman in the bat outfit.

Okay, you’re Batman that’s nice, you should get that throat looked at, your voice just sounds wrong.

Anyone? Anyone? No, right then.

The two most important things you should probably keep in mind while tin rattling for your local parish are, is the person I’m speaking to actually of my faith, or even a related faith. And “You know what? I should be polite. I should offer them a choice, not gruffly demand.”

Guess what my visitor did? Yes that’s right, they were rude, and never bothered to ask if I was either interested, or even Christian, much less Catholic. For the record I am neither Christian, nor Catholic. So what exactly did they do?

Well I opened the door with a smile on my face, the smile was something of a triumph seeing as I’d spent the entire morning sitting on a toilet while my face was in a sink with foulness coming from both ends. I asked politely, “Can I help you?”

“Ya, here’s a calendar and donation envelope, drop it back to the church with your donation.”

Riiiiiiiiiight…

No, “If you are…” or “Would you mind…” or “Could you…”. Not even a fucking “Happy upcoming Christmas…” or as I think of it Saturnalia/Yulish. (Yes, I’m Pagan.) No nothing polite. Just a blind assumption that I am both Catholic, and would want to make donation to a church which I see as the worlds biggest organised criminal network. Seriously both the Mob, and the Mafia should take lessons from the Roman Catholic Church. And to cap it all off, a rude, obnoxious demand.

Now I have to admit that my response was somewhat, intemperate. I tore the pack they’d handed me in half. I may have said “How dare you…” three times. And having closed the door I definitely tore it up several more times.

But even with the assumptions they’d made, I would have replied with a polite “Sorry no, I don’t belong to…” if they had only been polite to me. After all I may not be Christian, but being polite costs nothing.

So what have we learned today class?

Yes, you again at the back?

Quite right, don’t piss off a sickly futagirl.

Someone else? Yes, you the guy in the purple tights and the bikini.

Yes, we do live in a multicultural world.

*sigh* Yes in the bat outfit.

Listen son, I’m sorry but you’re not Batman. You’re just a fool in a cape, who I suspect is riddled with throat cancer.

And class I’ve learned to never try, and teach anything semi-serious at a comic-convention.

Besides THIS is Batman! (Image via theweeklyblend.com)

11/12/2012

Ten things I’ve learned this month about… Dogs.

Well you see I had a really awful migraine yesterday, so I got precisely nothing written. And that’s why today you’re all being hit with another list post. Though in truth this is the first in a series of lists I’ve been thinking about writing for a while. So before I end up with another migraine, or one of my dogs decides to murder me, let’s get this monster moving.

 1: Dogs will chew anything that’s left lying around for more than 30 seconds, whether it’s edible or not. And it doesn’t even have to taste good.

 2: Dogs will eat/lick/roll in each others shit with apparent glee while their owners will look  on in horror, before finding somewhere discreet to vomit…true story.

 3: Dogs believe that any humans couch, bed, sleeping bag, or item of clothing is communal property, because…

 4: Dogs believe that your body heat is communal property. Just ask anyone who’s been woken at 7am by a cold dog nose in their bed.

5: While dogs will chew literally anything, including but not limited to coal, firelighters, brush handles, really good chocolate, table legs, chair legs, each others legs, they will only eat certain dog foods, and will randomly decide they don’t like the one they’ve just been given.

 6: Dogs can not be trusted with any human food of any kind, which is in anyway within reach. “Within reach” here being defined as within 1 body length of any surface the dog can stand on. (Where there are two dogs  in a household take the body length of the bigger dog as the base measurement, they’re not above coöperation.)

 7: If it’s bad for them dogs only want it more. Kind of like that girlfriend you once had, the one who smoked, drank, did drugs, and could suck a rugby ball through a drinking straw. You knew she was bad for you, but damn if you didn’t have to have her. This also describes the average dog, and cheese.

 8: Dogs love watching flames the same way I love watching Kari Byron. Though I don’t imagine for even vaguely the same reasons. (Especially when she was rockin’ the kindergoth look, yummy!)

Oh Kari….

 9: Some dogs are posers, and some hide from camera’s. I have one of each.

IMGP1151

Poser! But a good guard.

10: Yesterday I discovered that my dogs will look after me when I’m sick. When I could barely lie still without wishing I was dead Winter (the Beagle) wrapped herself around me and kept me warm, while Lulu the furball stood on guard the whole time I was lying down. Amanda’s heart melted….right up until she bit me on the ear. Even so dogs are some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

The poser, and my shy retiring one.

The poser, and my shy retiring one.

08/12/2012

My Video Ruminations – The delayed blogs…

08/12/2012

A Poor Girls Guide to Being Great With Money – Christmas Planning. (Part 2)

So last Wednesday the Irish Government hammered the living shit out of the Irish people with the sixth austerity budget in a row. And again it was the poor, the middle classes, but not the wealthy, who got their asses reamed with a cactus which had first been wound with barbed wire, then embedded with rusty razor blades. Thanks lads, we all really needed more to worry about right now…

Anyway around this time last year I wrote a short guide to having a somewhat thriftier Christmas. Well no sooner had I posted it than I started coming up with more ideas for having a happy, but affordable Christmas. Now I could have written them in a second guide last year, but let’s face it, I’m lazy, and that would have meant struggling to come up with ideas for this year. So with no further scrambling for excuses here is my second guide to enjoying Christmas without having to sell a kidney in the New Year.

Kriss Kringle: Let me start this by saying I HATE those two words. I loathe how they sound. When I speak them it’s like a pair of gnomes have climbed down my throat and are jabbing my vocal chords with ice-picks. But it is a great idea, and amongst a group of adults is a brilliant way for everyone to get a lovely gift, and save money. Seriously, if you have the option to do this, do it. You could reduce your list from say 6 gifts at 30 Euro a pop down to 1 at 50. For those who aren’t cheating by having a calculator in class (And why aren’t you cheating? Have you learned nothing over the past year of “Poor Girl” guides?) in that case you would have a saving of 130 Euro for each person in that group. Argue with the sense of that.

Boozing Up: The great thing about wine, and beer, and vodka, and delicious, delicious bourbon is that they don’t go off. (Or at least not quick enough to really matter.) This means there’s no reason, aside from self-control, that you can’t pick up those special offers on drinks over the course of the year. And in so doing save yourself a fortune on your Christmas shop. Also spreading the cost makes it far more bearable. Of course you could just not drink, but that’s madness, and crazy talk.

Sharing a Meal: I get the whole, “I have my own family now we should have dinner together, and visit ye later…” thing. Kids like to be in their own space, with their new toys. You like the idea of crawling back in to bed. You know all that jazz. But the thing is, if you all band together just for the meal, and share the costs, you can all end up saving big money, and still have a great time. Not to mention it’ll make Nanny happy. Of course you could do what I did one year, and spend the whole day alone in your apartment, watching telly, and eating reheated curry…fuck that was such a good day. Problem is it made everyone I love miserable thinking about me on my own. Anyway, ya share the costs people!

Re-use/Rebuild/Re-gift: People give out to me because I’m really careful not to tear the wrapping paper, because it could be reused. I’ve rebuilt PC’s using my MacGuyver like know-how, and my huge collection of spare parts are presents. Or given modified toys. I have even, it is true, given someone else, something which a well-meaning soul previously gave to me. They’re all valid ways to save money, and really, if you don’t use it then why shouldn’t someone else get some fun out of it?

Just frikkin’ make one!: Most of my friends have gotten pieces of chainmaile as gifts from me at some point. Usually at a point where I had zero money, but almost infinite time. I’ve also gotten beautiful gifts which were made just for me, my favourite of those being my hand drawn sketch of Pauley Perrette, the one that hangs over my bed, looking all sexy, and stuff. If you can’t afford to buy, make. I know the materials cost money, but usually for the price of one gift you can get the materials for several. And really most people will appreciate the effort more than the cost.

So that’s it, year two of my guides to a thrifty Christmas. Goddesses alone know what I’ll come up with for next years, ’cause I sure as hell don’t.

07/12/2012

Wonderfully worded, and I feel reflects the experiences of a great many transfolk in Ireland.

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

While the country was getting ready for the budget on Wednesday, elsewhere in the Leinster House complex, an Oireachtas committee took evidence on the experience and legal situation of trans people in Ireland.

All of it is worth watching, but I was particularly moved by the evidence of Darrn matthews, from 8:30 into the film:

Darrin Matthews:

Hi. My name is Darrin Matthews. I am a board member of TENI and also run he Cork Peer Trans Support Group.

I am a transgender man.

[…]

I had a woman from the Disability Allowance Office ring me and she wanted to know why my name had changed from a female name to a male name, and when I told her it was because I was transgender, she laughed at me and hung up the phone.

When I go out and I get asked for my passport as identification to get…

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04/12/2012

Little Ruminations on Homekeeping – Cleaning a wood burning stove.

I may have mentioned that I have a wood burning stove. Oh look at that, I did. Well as it turns out sometimes you have to clean those buggers out. I don’t just mean emptying the ashes from under the grate here either. I mean dismantle that sucker, clean off all the built up crap, and then somehow put it all back together.

Sounds kind of intimidating doesn’t it? Well worry not dearest reader, I’m here with a step-by-step guide based on my own experiences. Enjoy.

 1: Wake up, stare bleary eyed at the ceiling for twenty minutes wondering if you are really awake, or if this is in fact another one of those weird dreams where you’re waking up, only to wake up with a start a few minutes into it wondering what the hell is up with your subconscious.

 2: Realise that, yes, you are in fact awake. Get up, pee, miss the toilet bowl, get dressed, mop the bathroom floor. Go downstairs.

 3: Walk into the living room intent on going through to the kitchen for some yummy fake Cocoa Pops. Five minutes later realise that you’ve been staring at the stove which only yesterday simply refused to light.

 4: Get very, very pissed off.

 5: Get your toolkit, and stand in front of the stove.

 6: Pick up a flashlight and rap it sharply on the metal part of the door.

 7: Quote Liam Neeson in Taken to make sure that the soot is truly aware of what’s about to happen. Of course it’s going to be a little confused by why you’re coming after it to get your daughter back, when the soot had her shipped off to a petting zoo for rich anthropomorphic panda’s the previous week. But it’ll still set the tone nicely.

 8: Open it’s door.

 9: Stick your flashlight, and head in to find the various nuts you’ll need to remove.

10: Sneeze. Remember to cover your nose, and mouth with your hands when your sneeze. No need to cover the dogs in snot after all.

11: Spend 10 minutes cleaning last nights ashes out of your eyes.

12: Clean out the remains of last nights ashes.

13: Try again.

14: Remove the side plates.

15: Using a vice-grips, because you don’t own even a single spanner, removed the nuts holding on the back plate.

16: Remove the back plate.

17: Swear loudly as the top plate lands hard on your fingers,

18: Gag when you get a mouthful of foul-tasting ash, and soot after trying to suck on your aching fingers.

19: Take out the top, and back plates.

20: Unbolt the plate covering the upper air vent.

21: Look proudly at the pile of parts.

22: Swear loudly when you see the huge pile of soot, and ash that is now covering every inch of your sitting room floor.

23: Use a stiff brush to removed most of the soot clinging to inner walls of the stove.

24: Deal with the disappointment of realising you’ll never get it all. I recommend a six week course of intensive therapy with a qualified psychologist at exorbitant hourly rates. OCD is a cruel Mistress.

25: See what’s inside the opening to the flue for the first time. Nearly die of fright.

26: Have a stiff double whiskey.

27: Use your brand new vacuum cleaner to clean up all the soot which has already made its way into the room, as well that which has filled up the space created by your having earlier cleaned out the ashes. After all it’s all going to be downhill from here, the worst is behind us.

28: Stick the vacuum cleaner nozzle into the flue, and get as much of the loose soot build up as you can.

29: Stick you hand up the flue.

30: Panic when you can’t get it back out.

31: Wonder how that guy who cut his hand off with a blunt swiss army knife felt.

32: Let go of the the handful of soot you were holding, and sigh with relief as your hand easily slides back out.

33: Realise you’ve let yourself in for a bigger job than you thought, one which you do not own the right tools for.

34: Go to the DIY store to buy a flue brush. Yes, they do exist.

35: Wonder why everyone is looking at you weirdly.

36: Get home, and using the newly acquired brush vigorously clean out the flue.

37: Sneeze, and swear as the living room gets covered once more in a not so fine layer of soot. Remember to cover your nose, and mouth with your hands when your sneeze. There’s still no need to be covering the dogs in snot after all.

38: Wrap the brush head in a plastic bag, and put in the shed.

39: Leave a thick trail of soot, and ash between the living room, and the backyard on both the way out, and back in.

40: Using the vacuum cleaner, clean up the living room.

41: In what you think is the reverse order you used to dismantle the burner, remantle it. (I know it’s not a real word, but I like it, so there!)

42: Try this three times.

43: Realise you’re doing it wrong.

44: Do it right.

45: Cross-thread two out of 4 nuts.

46: Replace these nuts with another trip to the DIY store. Again wonder why everyone is looking at your funny.

47: Clean up. This should include, but not be limited to, the sooty paw prints both dogs have left on the television, the walls, the curtains, the staircase carpet, the sofa, each other, AND somehow the inside of the fridge.

48: Light a fire.

49: Bask in its warming glow.

50: Look up at the mirror above the fireplace for the first time all day, and realise that you’ve somehow managed to cover your face with a mixture of mucus, soot, and ash.

51: Try to decide whether it’s awesome, or awful that you look like this…https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/STLastBattle.jpg

52: Be told by your Miss that you look really cute when you’re all tomboyish, and mucky.

53: Strut!

And there you have it. 53 steps to a clean wood burning stove.

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