Archive for ‘Living’


A Crohns Girls Travel Kit.

One of my most difficult, and fraught undertakings is travelling anywhere more than five minutes from home. This is hardly surprising when your bowel control can at best be described as tentative. But there are ways to make travelling that little bit safer, the main one being a small travel kit.

What do I mean by a travel kit? Well that’s a little difficult to explain, as it will vary from person to person, so the best that I can do is give you my travel kit. You can then easily adjust it to fit your exact circumstances.

Spare undies 2 pairs pretty obvious really, but make sure it’s two pairs. If you lose it once there’s a good chance you will again.

Heavy flow sanitary pads – Even when I manage to keep things under control until I get to a toilet, I’ll often find myself passing lots of mucus for hours after. The sort of mucus that you don’t realise is there when you fart and….woops sticky mess. The pads will at the very least keep the mess in check ’til you make it back to the toilet. Also very useful if you have piles that tend to bleed.

Motilium, and Lomotil/Imodium – If your symptoms are anything like mine you’re probably going to feel nausea while you travel. So Motilium or a similar medication to control it is a good thing. Likewise an anti-diarrheal medication is a great idea to have with you.

Small hot-water bottle – Sit on it and you’ll have cramp relief, hold it to the back of your neck and you’ll have some relief from a dehydration headache (But remember to drink that sort of headache is not fun.), and if you, like me, find yourself shaking from cold after a bad attack it’ll help you to get warm again. Most places are very accommodating about filling a small half-litre water bottle if you ask politely.

Mints/chewing gum – To help cure the post vomit bad breathe. Alternatively carry a small fold-able travel toothbrush with a really small tube of toothpaste. If you vomit a lot this is really important to keep your teeth…no not clean, not sparkling, I literally mean to keep them; vomiting is basically enhanced tooth death.

Flushable wet wipes/baby wipes – Not only much gentler for wiping a tender backside, but will help to eliminate any lingering smell. But really do make sure that they’re flushable.

I can, with some creative packing, fit all of those in to a very small handbag, and they really can be a sanity saver for the travelling Crohns Girl.

Any suggestions for things I’m missing out on? Please comment below.


So Summer has arrived, apparently. (Or the things I hate/love about Summer.)

So, in a purely calendar based way, we are now 12 days in to my least favourite of the seasons; though the birds drowning in the trees may disagree. I like Winter, Spring is cool, and Autumn is just frikkin’ awesome; but Summer…Summer mostly sucks. Mostly.

It’s too hot! I don’t cope well with heat. It makes me sticky, smelly, and grumpy, while also making it feel like far too much work to do anything that might ease those issues. Being a Gothgirl, with a very healthy respect and fear of skin cancer, I find myself spending far too much time skipping from shadow to shadow.

But on the other hand – The pretty girls wear a lot less. Enough said.

I have to shave…parts – Because I too have to wear less, I find myself having to shave off a season’s leg hair growth. It’s awkward, messy, and my legs sting/itch like a son of a female dog for days after.

But on the other hand – The boys of the world are missing out on that moment when you get in to a freshly made bed, with freshly shaved legs. Oh Goddesses, the sheer sensuality of it all! As an added plus, my legs look great in shorts.

My dogs want to play out the back, not cuddle me on the couch – So I find myself abandoned, even on days where I feel like death warmed up. No, no fluffy cuddles, no hugely satisfied sigh from my Beagle when she finds just the right spot, and goes to sleep with her head on my lap. No hugely satisfied sigh from me when my…fuck knows what…stops trying to climb in to my ear, and instead settles on the back of the couch behind my head.

But on the other hand – I can play my Xbox with the littler of the two insisting on sitting between my legs, with her paws on my hands, growling at everything on the screen. Also no constant opening/closing of the back door as they insist on treating me like their own personal doorman.

No fires – I loved a good fire. I’d cheerful, comforting, warming, heartening, and many, many other words ending with “ing” which you can find in your thesaurus.

But on the other hand – No ashes to clean, no fuel to bring in, no getting up to stoke it.

Too many movies I want to see, but not enough money – Godzilla, or Guardians of the Galaxy. X-Men, or self-respect.

But on the other hand – Who am I kidding?! It’s going to be Guardians, I mean I’m completely hooked on a feeling.

Having to pretend to like going to the beach – I don’t. It’s gritty, smelly, crowded, filled with beer-gut possessing men who insist on pretending they have anything anyone wants to see. Oh, and the water in Ireland is always, always, ALWAYS fucking freezing cold!

But on the other hand – I got nothing…absolutely nothing.


The very worst part of being chronically ill, is the guilt.

No really, I’m not kidding. Worse than; in no particular order,

the pain,

the tiredness,

the diarrhoea,

the bleeding,

the constant low-grade headache,

the skin lesions,

or even having to deal with tin-god junior doctors.

Seriously, worse than any of that is living with the guilt. But what do I mean by “the guilt”? Well that’s going to take a bit of explaining.

The average person can do pretty much what they want to do. Want to see a movie with a friend? No problem, “Which movie, and what time?”

Tell their partner not to worry about the housework, that it’ll all be done when they get home; yup, got that covered.

Or how about wanting to go to bed with a lover, going all out with the flirtation, the foreplay, the making them feel like they’re standing at the centre of a sexual whirlwind; then having to stop because you’ve run completely out of energy, or because your body has decided that this is exactly the right moment to need to throw up?

My own life is a huge list of cancelled plans, lost connections, and missed opportunities. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve gotten ready to go somewhere, only to have to cancel at literally the last-minute. Or how many times I’ve missed events that I was really excited about attending; many burlesque events, artistic events, movies. Hell not that long ago I had to miss one of my favourite singers, Voltaire, because my body decided that it really needed 4 straight days of bleeding from my bowel.

In essence, I am an involuntary flake. Totally unreliable where any social life outside of my own home is concerned. To be able to do something as minor as go do the weekly grocery shop I rely on medicating my body to a point where I will “probably” get a few hours of not needing to be within ten feet of a toilet. Note the “probably”, the quotation marks are there because about 1 time in 10 it doesn’t work, with sometimes rather cataclysmic results for my underwear.

Now, you’re probably thinking that this should all lead to my feeling sorry for myself. But it doesn’t, or at least it only does very rarely. I’m used to not being able to plan with any certainty. The best I can ever promise is “maybe”, or very occasionally, “probably”; I’m used to being like that. I’m used to never being able to even think “definitely”. Definitely simply doesn’t exist in my life, and I’m used to it, I’ve had to grow used to it.

But what I’ve never grown used to is the guilt that goes with constantly letting other people down. For example, I quite simply can not remember the last time I went out for a night with my Partner-in-Crime. No memory at all, it’s been that long. And I feel terrible about it. I know she loves a good night out. I know she would love to have one with me, but…

See, there’s always that but. Even if we manage to make it out the door, odds are I’ll need to come home very early when my bowel starts to voice its disinterest in staying away from its porcelain best friend.

The same goes with friends. Over and over I arrange things with friends, only to have to cancel at the 11th hour because I simply can’t leave the house any longer.

So, boom, guilt for letting them down. For cancelling plans and leaving them in the lurch.

Then of course there’s the other sides to the guilt. The the side triggered by the worry you cause people you love. Or the aspect of it caused by not being able to pull your own weight. Or the guilt that strikes when you realise that you’re just a bad girlfriend, a bad friend, a bad lover, daughter…the list goes on and on.

And all this means that you say “I’m sorry” waaaaaay too much. So you find yourself feeling guilty for being sorry.

Yeah, being ill is rotten, but feeling unending waves of guilt is worse. Now if you’ll excuse me, the toilet is calling my haemorrhoids, by name.


A Poor Girls Guide to buying Electronics.

Everyone loves shiny new electronics. Opening the packaging on a brand new laptop, peeling off the screen protector on a new phone, that first booting up moment when you just want to jump around from joy. The problem is that electronics are expensive. Terrifyingly so sometimes, so for the girl on a budget new electronics, even if they’re desperately needed, are often nothing more than a pipe-dream. (I was lucky enough to receive a loan of enough money to cover the cost of a brand new laptop last January; if that hadn’t happened I’d probably still be struggling along with a half-knackered netbook, which could barely boot-up, much less run any of my graphics programs. As of last month I have half of that money paid back.)

So for the girl on a budget, how can you replace that netbook that smells distressingly of ozone? Or that cellphone with the cracked screen?

1: Save.

Saving is not always easy, but sometimes it’s a necessity. When I bought my current laptop, the one I’m typing this on in-fact, I had saved up a little over 1/3rd of the cost myself. It had taken me over 6 months to do so. Okay, I still had to accept a loan from my Partner in Crime to cover the last 2/3rds; but thanks to that period of saving I’d already gotten used to giving up the money needed to repay her each month. That’s the key, making saving a habit. Once it’s a habit, it becomes easier to maintain, even if it does mean less in the way of day-to-day fun-stuff.

2: Sales.

Watch the websites of your preferred electronics stores like a hawk. Most of those stores will have something on special each week, or month. So with patience you can pick up what you want at a hefty price reduction. I once picked up a netbook which had been almost 400 Euro the week before, for just over 210 Euro. It wasn’t an end of line, or any other special type of sale. It just happened to be on special that week, and had been massively reduced. Of course I’d been sitting on that money for a few months at that stage, so patience and self-control are key to this working.

3: End of Line.

Almost every year, or at most every second year, most electronics companies will release a new version of each of their various lines. This is great even if you can’t afford those prices, because the stores have to get rid of last years line, fast, if they’re to have any hope of shifting those newer up-to-date models. (Never mind that sometimes the only difference is a slightly different casing.) Often this means that to get shot of those last few examples of last years model the stores will have end of line sales where the sales price is often just barely over cost-price. Meaning huge savings can be made if, as usual, you can be patient enough to wait, and quick enough to get in there first.

4: Display Models.

I love Hewlett Packard’s Ipaq line. I’ve owned two of them, and I quite simply think that they’re the bees knees, the rats arse, the…they’re really great. My last one gave me four years of sterling work, being carried from one end of Ireland to the other as an aid to my writing, an ebook reader, and even an emergency MP3 player on more than one occasion. It was also bought as an ex-display model. Bought in the box off a shelf it would have set me back 300 Euro, but as an ex-display model I got it for just over 100. It was undamaged, unmarked, and needed only a replacement battery (8 Euro plus 3 postage and packaging at the time) to make it absolutely perfect. This sort of find needs a lot of luck, as well as patience. But are well worth looking out for.

5: Accept Charity/gifts.

I have a house rule, “No unwanted computer goes without a home.” Simply this means that if someone offers me an old PC, tablet, laptop, or mobile phone I will always accept.


Because until my current laptop, all of my performance computers had been built from the best parts of older machines. My current ebook reader, is a gratefully accepted donation of an old Pandigital 7″ tablet which had been rooted; which may be reaching the end of it’s serviceable lifespan, but still gives me hours of joy every single week. I haven’t had a “new” cellphone in almost a decade. My friends know that if there’s an old mobile that they’re replacing, well Amanda will find it a loving home.

Charity is not a bad thing. Especially if it means that an old machine doesn’t wind up rotting in a landfill, or lying gathering dust in some forgotten corner of a home. And really especially, (I know, bad grammar.) If someone, if you, might find great use, and greater joy in using it until it finally just has to be taken behind the woodshed for a close encounter with a deer-slug to the processor. Of course you should do the same to with anything that may be useful to someone else, sharing is caring.


Am I old now?

This morning while listening to the 80’s radio station on Spotify I actually came out and said the following to my Partner in Crime.

“80’s music was just better.”

Then I was called old.

I’m 35 years old.

Strictly speaking Amanda, is still less than a decade old.

But if I am totally honest I do feel old. Some days very, very old.

As any of my readers by now knows, I have a lot of physical problems. And one of the more troublesome aspects of those problems is that most mornings I wake up feeling as though I’d been beaten in my sleep. Hard. With a cricket bat. This manifests in my barely being able to walk the 15 feet to the toilet, and usually having to collapse back on to my bed for a little while afterwards.

Even 5 years ago I used to jump out of bed, and immediately be able to move gracefully. Now, I sort of half stumble everywhere for the first ten minutes out of bed.

Emotionally, I don’t fall for people like I used to. In fact in the past 12 months I’ve only had one crush. And even there I find myself not having any hope in my heart at all. It kind of feels like I found wisdom in loving, and that wisdom sucked the joy of adventure from my heart.

I can’t stay up late anymore. I want to be in bed with a mug of hot milk by 10pm every, single, night. And if I do stay up late it takes me days to stop feeling tired.

I can’t drink anymore. It just makes me feel, yuck.

I find myself watching old movies, and preferring them to modern remakes. I actually realized last week that I prefer The Thing From Another World (1951) to The Thing (1982).

I find myself wishing that gaming companies would stop making new games, and start updating the graphics on old games. I’d love to play a version of the Breath Of Fire series, where nothing has been changed aside from the music and graphics.

Do all of these mean that I am now old?

I’d rather sit in with a DVD than go out to a bar.

Actually I’d rather sit in with a parasitic worm infection than go out to a bar.

Am I setting in my ways.

Are carpet slippers, and 30 cats my next port of call?


My Journey Towards Liking The Smashing Pumpkins.

When I was in high school there was a terrible day, an awful day I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about without ending up in tears. I was in Transition Year, and a really special girl was in the class with me. She wanted to be a journalist (at that time, who knows what she would have ended up being. But what ever it was in the end, I know she would have excelled at it.). She was beautiful. She was smart, I mean cutting herself on herself sharp. She was easily the best student in the year.

Then she went to a concert, and died.

I can still remember the last time I saw her as if it were happening right this moment. She was laughing at the reaction of the rest of the class to her having dyed her hair. She’d used one of the then new, Schwartzkopf colours. So her hair had this almost holographic purple sheen to it. She was so excited to be going to Dublin to a concert the next day. The last words we ever spoke to one another were.

“I hope you have fun.”

“Aha, see ya Monday.”

I never saw her again.

If you’re a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins from those days you know precisely what happened next. The crowd surged at the stage. The band asked them to chill-out. The crowd ignored them. And somewhere in the crush that girl was swept from her feet, and died a horrific death. That was 17 years ago, and I still some times have nightmares where I imagine how she felt, what she thought, how it hurt her.

All I can say for sure is that they had to have a closed casket funeral. I sometimes wonder if that was a gentle blessing, or the worst curse to those of us who remember her. I know that after her funeral I refused to ever go to a funeral again. And to this day I haven’t.

If you’re wondering why this all affected me so deeply, it’s probably important to know that I had a huge crush on her. To the point where that last sentence I spoke to her had been the most words I’d managed to string together for her in weeks. I’d hoped to ask her out before the holidays, I didn’t expect a yes, but…well anyway. That’s the heart of why.

I’m not proud of what I’m about to say, but here goes.

I hated The Smashing Pumpkins after that.

Loathed them.

Every time I heard even the first bar of one of their songs, I would feel sick, then want to smash something, or someone.

I wanted them to just fail, go away.

I wished they’d never formed.

It took me 16 years to realise how, nuts, my reaction was. It took me sitting down and forcing myself to listen to the entirety of “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” to realise that it wasn’t their music I hated. They’re music is pretty good. I mean, to me at least, it’s pretty middle of the road, semi-maudlin, overly opinionated 90’s music. Rather typical of the era. But it’s definitely good.

Once I came to that realisation I decided to sit down and work my way through their back-catalog. And as I listened I started remembering all the times I saw her listening to them on her Walkman (Damn I’m old.) before class. How much she smiled when she listened. How happy they made her. And after 16 years it finally clicked.

I blamed the bands music for the death of someone I liked.

Not the band as such. But the music itself.

These days I rather like The Pumpkins. I don’t actively seek them out, or own any of their songs or albums. But if they come on I don’t change the channel anymore. Which is pretty big progress I guess.

Well anyway, ya, that’s my story.


Surviving – Panic attacks.

As most of my readers will know, the past six to eight months have been kind of hellish for me. I’ve gone through, even for me, extreme physical illness, but on top of that so many issues related to my childhood sexual abuse have cropped up, that I have literally feared for my sanity at times.

Without going in to too much gory detail I have been dealing for months with almost constant heightened anxiety, and almost daily panic attacks. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with panic attacks as a whole, and competent adult. And you know what? I’ve learned a lot from them.

I’ve learned just how freaking strong I am; very.

How fragile that strength actually is; also very.

All the different things that trigger waves of anxiety or panic for me; so frikkin many things.

But the most important things I’ve learned are the different tricks which have helped me to at least gain a semblance of control over my own emotions.

Please note; these work well for me, they may or may not help you (though I truly hope they will), but what is lost by trying?

1: Baby powder.

I never would have expected this when I started out trying to find ways to rebalanced myself, but the smell of baby powder has an immensely calming effect on me. I suspect this is because I was well looked after as a baby, and the tiny part of me that remembers something of that time associates the scent of baby powder with being safe. Now, I don’t want to come off as a sales rep for Yankie Candles, but they do baby powder scented candles, and wax tablets. I can not recommend the tablets in particular enough. I make a point of carrying one with me most of the time when I’m out and about, so that if I feel a panic coming on I can take it out, sniff, and have at least a little help.

2: A big ass teddy-bear.

Okay, bear with me on this one…*pauses for moans to stop*…anyway. I live with someone, duh, I mention them all the time on my blog. But even so I have to spend time alone. Work, family, loves, babysitting all eat into my time with my Partner-in-Crime. Which is actually pretty cool most of the time. I like some time to myself, time to do messy projects, or listen to loud obnoxious music, or play XBox. But it also means that often I’m alone when a panic attack hits.

This is a problem, because one of the things that helps me to get through a panic faster is being held. Thing is though, teddy-bears have arms, and legs, and heads. They’re kind of us shaped, and mine is so fluffy I could die!

(I’m just gonna leave this clip right here, it’ll be important in a while.)

And cuddling it when I’m panicking helps, a lot. I feel calmer as soon as I hold Marshmallow (What can I say? He’s big, and fluffy, and soft, and white.), and the tighter I squeeze him the better I feel. Again I think it’s a kiddy thing coming back and calming the ageless emotions lying under an adult mind.

3: Talk to an animal.

I own two doggies, Winter and Lulu-Belle.

They’re soft, warm, fluffy, and smell comforting in that doggy way. They make me feel loved, and wanted, and needed. They look after me when I fall apart. And they’re great listeners, not that they really have much choice. So for me when the choice is between curling into a ball, and shrieking from emotional pain because there’s no humans around, or telling my problems to my loving puppies, I’ll pick the puppies every, single, time.

Thing is it doesn’t have to be your dog, or even a dog, or even alive. Even writing down how you feel is better than not expressing it at all. But I have to say talking it out with Winter when I’m in serious emotional trouble has saved my sanity on many, many days. As my Partner-in-Crime has said many times of late, I’m not sure I would have found the way back up in to the light without them. I’d be lost with out my furry-kids.

4: A happy place, needn’t be a place.

Remember that video above? I said I’d get back to it. It’s from Despicable Me, one of the funniest, and funnest movies I’ve ever seen. And also strangely calming to me. It’s one of my happy places. I can watch it anywhere, and feel safer. It’s not my only happy place, that isn’t a place either. Another two are musical, and pretty kick ass.

My puppies are another. My Partner-in-Crimes arms are another. It takes experimentation to figure them out, but everyone has some, and how you know that they’re real happy places, and not just a gopher-hole to bury your head in is simple. They’re not destructive to you in any way. This is why alcohol isn’t one.

5: Asking for help is a good thing.

I take 10mgs of Amitryptoline twice a day. It’s a tiny dose of a very old fashioned anti-depressant. But it’s just enough to let me view my day-to-day anxieties objectively, and to blunt my panics just a little. I don’t want to have them blanketed by a chemical haze, I want to learn to cope with them, and maybe, eventually, if it’s possible to eliminate them. But I wouldn’t have even that tiny dose of chemical help if I hadn’t asked for help from my GP to start with.

I work with a really good therapist. He’s helped me to recognise some of my triggers, some of my coping mechanisms, but mostly he’s listened to me when I needed an impartial human ear. But again I had to ask for help.

You don’t need to spend every day in anxiety, or panic, or fearful of dreams. There’s help out there if you just let someone know you need it. It’s a good thing, and as far as I’m concerned is the first real step in recovering your stability.


HMV are rising from the grave. So they’ll now be named HZV?

A few months ago I posted about my sorrow at the passing of HMV. Well, it was with immense joy that I read yesterday morning of the return of HMV to my local shopping center, in about 6 weeks. This is huge news, immense news. I to be perfectly honest punched the air, and may have uttered the words “Fuck Yeah!” There will be only four stores opening to begin with. Three in the Dublin area, and one in Limerick. Fair enough I suppose. HMV had become something of a lumbering giant before its fall, so it only makes sense that its new owners would downsize in a huge way.

So in celebration here are my Top 5 reasons for immense joy at the return of HMV.

5. I’ll actually be able to find DVDs. Seriously, since HMV folded, Golden Discs has also downsized also. That leaves people like myself who live on, as my Miss would probably put it, the clippings of tin, with Xtravision, thrift stores, or a 90 minute round-trip in to the city if we want to add a DVD to our collections. That would be alright except that with Xtravision and thrift stores you’re talking about pre-owned/pre-viewed DVDs if you want anything for less than a tenner, with the very real possibility of a DVD that has been used at some point to spread jam on bread.

No really, I once bought a secondhand DVD in an Xtravision that had strawberry seeds stuck to it. Though in fairness they did exhange it for a different copy.

So really that just leaves a trip to town, with the costs involved with that, and either Golden Discs in the Jervis Shopping Center (Small selection, generally overpriced with a small chance of finding something interesting at an affordable price), or Tower Records (Good selection, but zero chance of an affordable price.)

Hurray for HMV!

4. Another source of secondhand Xbox 360 games. HMV is where I got my treasured copy of Bayonetta. It’s also where I had hoped to find many other games. Then it closed, leaving me with Gamestop. *Sigh* Gamestop…

Look Gamestop, we know you now have essentially a monopoly on the secondhand game market. There are a handful of plucky little shops which also sell used games, but really we all know that right now you’re the Big Kahuna. The problem is we know, you know it too. But that doesn’t make it right for you to charge 1 Euro less for a secondhand copy of Borderlands 2. ONE FUCKING EURO! Yes, I really did see this. Now, I’d have said something if was a copy of the collectors edition, with all the DLCs included. But nope, this was a secondhand copy, of vanilla B2.

So yes, competition is welcomed. And hopefully the new owners of HMV will realise that they have a chance to not only stick up for the consumer, but also twist the knife a little. (The whole Xbox One situation, is a completely different rant where I actually come down on the side of Gamestop…yes it does make me feel dirty. And not in a fun way.)

3. Shopping will be enjoyable again. My shopping center is Liffey Valley. It’s a huge, airy, air-conditioned slice of retail heaven. But when HMV closed I suddenly realised just how much of my time in Liffey Valley used to be spent flicking through DVDs, and games. I miss that, I miss walking in with nothing, and walking out with many, many movies.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like a mooch through New Look, H&M, Easons, and Dunnes as much as the next girl. But I miss buying movies, heading home, and spending a glorious evening on the couch with my puppies, and my Miss watching Liam Neeson punch the world in the face.

Shopping just hasn’t been the same.

2. Competition lowers prices. Now I’m a realist here, I never expect HMV to be as cheap as it used to be. It used to make a loss, because they were too cheap. But since they folded Golden Discs and Tower Records have basically been without competition, and frankly most of the people who go to one of those, won’t be the same people who go to the other. But EVERYONE used to go to HMV, the problem was that not everyone bought there.

I never understood that. They would after all have at least a hundred titles available on special every single week. Outside of that even their new titles were set at roughly the same prices as anyone else, maybe a little lower.

You know what the problem with HMV was? It wasn’t movie streaming, or movie piracy, there are plenty of people like me who like to own the DVD in the case, on a shelf. It wasn’t the t-shirts, or headphones, though frankly most modern headphone sets are massively overpriced penis-extensions. No I think the problem with HMV was that you would walk in, and not be able to move in the movie sections. While in the music sections…ghost town, tumble weeds, a lonesome coyote howling at the wind. The music sections that took up roughly half of each store.

The music audience has moved on. Hell even I have an Amazon account for buying my music, I refuse to give Apple the steam off my piss much less the sight of my cash. People, more often than not I suspect, are over the whole owning a CD. Everyone has am MP3 player of some kind. Everyone has a PC or laptop. I mean I can tell you the last time I bought a CD, it was 10 years ago Transmission by Violent Delight, I bought it the day it was released.

Since then I’ve bought movies in physical form, and when legal downloading of music appeared on the scene I started doing that. I honestly can’t see myself ever buying a CD again, and I doubt I am alone.

So anyway, yeah the number 2 reason I am violently delighted by the return of HMV is that their return will push prices down, at least a little. And who knows. maybe the HMV bargain area will return too.

1. HMV, might be renamed HZV. Well no, not really. Of course it’s not going to be renamed His Zombies Voice, though HMV owners if you’re reading this have your people contact me, just saying. But I am looking forward to discovering what form its resurrection will take. Will it be a case of walking through the doors, and into last year? Nothing really changed, the bargain area, the merchandise section, the gamers corner, the really cute girl with all the tattoos. My refuge from a shopping center filled with bad fake tans, screaming kids, and people who really think that a girl who has her fingernails chewed up to her elbows, would really want a manicure.

Or maybe it’ll be some new form, with only echoes of its past glory. A new evolution of an old dear (occasionally VERY dear) friend.

Aside from the workers of Hilco who knows. And that’s kind of exciting. HMV is my favourite shop of all time. I bought my first, and my last physical albums there. I bought my first VHS tape, DVD, and superman t-shirt there. Hell, I kissed my first girl there. And I’m excited for its new future.

(Of course, I’m probably going to be horribly disappointed.)


H&M, turn down the fucking lights!

An afternoon of mooching through my local shopping centre was needed. New Look, BB’s for hot chocolate, and to my current detriment H&M.

H&M are not one of my favourite clothing stores. What they do is nice enough I suppose, and it tends to be reasonably well priced. But it’s all sort of cookie cutter…

“Take 1 bolt of cloth.

Cut in shape of XXXXX



DO NOT engage imagination in design process.”

…is how I see most of what they sell. Though I will admit that if you want a t-shirt that you’ll still be able to wear in two years time, and at a good price, they do kind of rock.

Where they do not however rock, and/or roll, is in their current in store lighting scheme. I mean, Dear Goddesses was that shop bright! Someone in their limited wisdom decided that what they really needed was simulated daylight, at an intensity only ever seen in the Sahara Desert, at high-noon, in the Summer, during a supernova. Needless to say, this is a light level of a type never found naturally in Ireland, where year-round, a dull matt grey is the prevailing sky color.

Now I’m sure for those weirdos who wander around indoors wearing sunglasses, because it’s obviously not cool to let other people see your eyes, it was probably the perfect lighting. They might actually have been able to see without squinting, or shading their eyes. However for those of us who are of less fashionable victim stock, it was simply painful. Unfortunately here I literally mean painful. Because guess what it triggered?

That’s right, yet another migraine!

Look H&M I kind of like your stuff. But not enough to risk blindness, or at the very least blinding headaches by shopping in your store. So please for the love of all that’s unholy turn down the bloody lights, or and I mean this, I will walk right across the hall, and do all of my shopping in New Look instead. Aside from anything else some of their bits are actually kind of funky…fully lined red red and white gingham prom dress I’m talking about you.


Okay I’m burning out.

For most of the past month I’ve been struggling with the worst migraine cluster I’ve had since my teens. As I write this I’m sitting here squinting at the screen through a fog of pain caused by my 17th migraine in 24 days. Even so I’ve mostly managed to keep on top of my blog, my web-comic, and my second novel. Well I can’t anymore. I just can’t.

I’m taking a break. I have to give myself a chance to get over this cluster, and stressing every single day over the work I didn’t get done yesterday simply is not helping. So for the next while I won’t be writing, and any drawing I do will be a huge bonus, not a requirement.

So my blog is going on hiatus until the 9th of April.

My web-comic will probably be updated in that time, but probably not weekly.

I have to apologize for this to my regular readers, but the choice is very nearly between taking a short break now, or keeping going and ending up in a situation where I never want to write, draw or otherwise be creative again. And I so wish that last statement was an exaggeration. Anyway folks, be good, have fun, and I’ll catch you all again when I don’t have a hateful lil git somewhere in my skull stabbing my brain with his pickaxe.

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