Friday, June 30, 2006

Follow my lead on the 1-2-3...!

So, after the last rather self-indulgent post - though what this being a blog about my life and stuff in it, it's all self-indulgent, isn't it? - I'm feeling a bit better. A combo of having a few days off and some cracking drugs have seen a lightness in my mood. I haven't actually done that much, but things certainly look a bit brighter for some reason unbeknownst to me...

Anyway - good things! Just a few random splendid things that are making me grin inanely at the moment:

1. The Pipettes - good lord, there's something about this band that make you want to shake your arse. Think the Phil Spector girl-group Wall of Sound combined with... I dunno, absolute filth. Gorgeous harmonies, knowingly saucy lyrics... it's all For The Win. Currently have a new single out called "Pull Shapes", extolling the merits of dancing to whatever you bloody want to. See also "School Uniform" which is just plain dirty. Rawr!

2. Book Shopping - bought two books today, even though I had no intention of doing so. Both oddly have a Japanese theme too - Haruki Murakami's "Dance Dance Dance" and the original novel of one of my favourite films, "Battle Royale" by Koushun Takami. Didn't even know it existed, to be honest, but I shall read it after I'm finished JPod (which is also really good. Though having the author in their own book is slightly weird. Read it yourself and you'll see).

3. Jose Gonzales' cover of Kylie Minogue's "Hand On Your Heart" - not exactly a happy thing per se, but it's both (a) quite beautiful and (b) absolutely stunning. Video's a cracker too.

4. Tea and Cake - specifically Battenburg cake. Pink and yellow, with more marzipan than your average wedding cake. Splendid. Also, never underestimate the power of the humble digestive biscuit. And with my appetite currently at about 10% of what it used to be, my tea consumption has risen greatly.

And that's about it at the moment. Simple pleasures, making little synapses in my head burst with pleasure. Have a lovely weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Misery Loves Company

Another rubbish day. Apologies if this starts sounding like something of a blues tune, but sometimes you've got to offload.

Anyway. I woke up this morning (doo-doo-doo-do-doo), and... nothing. Slept OK(ish) and the alarm went off at the normal time. But could I get up? Could I buggery. The Black Dog had well and truly taken up residence in my head, and I was going nowhere. Yes, dear people - it's time to admit: my name is michael, and I suffer from depression. Actually, I've never liked the fact that people "suffer" from it - it just doesn't feel right. I much prefer to say that it's something I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Like going to the office (heh!), or cleaning house, but even more rubbish.

It's only recently that I got off my arse and decided that enough was enough, and actually went off to the doctor in a bid to actually get some help. Initially I decided that I'd try the mind over matter approach, and organised some couselling sessions - however, several months down the line, they've still not appeared as there's something of a waiting list (who'd have thought there'd be so many depressed people out there!?). Time went on, I kept on feeling rubbish (thanks to a few events at work and home) so the Big Decision was made. It was time to Go On Drugs.

That was two weeks ago. Escitalopram for breakfast is not exactly the most nutritious thing, but thanks to the Black Dog, I don't actually eat as much as I used to anyway. In fact, I've actually managed to shift a bit of excess tummy thanks to a combo of smaller portions and going out on wistful walks while listening to incredibly loud music, so at least something good has come from this episode. But then there's the other stuff: dealing with your body getting used to the new stream of chemicals that hurtle through your body each morning, the moodswings (like today, when I couldn't face leaving the house), the occasional nausea and - of course - the very messed up sleeping patterns. These are the truly crappy aspects, but hopefully (please!) they'll abate.

So there you go. Today's post has been brought to you by the letters S, S, R and I. And I promise I shan't wibble on about Being Depressed too much in future. Normal(ish) service willl be resumed shortly... unless it gets really bad. ;D

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Sleep. It's basically all I've done today. I went to bed around midnight last night, woke up about nine this morning. A quick trip to the shop for the usual Saturday morning vitals - milk, bread, newspaper - and I crashed out on the sofa again. Dozed on and off for a few hours, interspersed with occasional moments of actual moving about for necessary sanitation visits and a sandwich, then... yup, slept again. Though I did manage to stay awake for the whole of tonight's Argentina vs Mexico game in the World Cup (which was a cracking match, by the way) I'm bleedin' drowsy again!

Way to spend half your weekend, michael. Round of applause for you there...

Anyhow, I need to beat the sleep monster, so tomorrow will be spent doing proper stuff in the Outside World. There will be walking. There will be lunch in a pub, trying to hold down a broadsheet newspaper while eating a burger with a fork. There will be the watching of more football (England play Ecuador at 4pm). Then (and only then) will I come home. And probably die from exhaustion.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Grrrr. I'm angry with myself today. After calling in sick to work yesterday and spending the vast majority of my day in bed (thanks to a combination of both insomnia *and* drowsiness), I got up this morning feeling... not that much better, actually. However, as things usually fall apart at the office if I'm not there for seemingly anything more than an hour, I dragged my sorry self (now with bonus sore throat, so I sound like a raging bear) to work.

This, of course, is always a mistake.

Nothing has been done. I have 200-plus emails. I have 40-odd voicemails. It's almost as if nobody noticed I wasn't actually in... so I check. I speak to The Manager, who is confused. He honestly believes that I was in yesterday. In fact, he talked to me, and I even made him tea, apparently.

Now, either he's been drinking, or I've got a very lazy clone. And if it's the latter, I'm going to find him, and beat hell out of him.

Anyway, I've now been in work for 4 hours, and have *just* finished dealing with all the backlog. Now I can get on with today's work, as long as I can calm down and stop threatening everyone who passes by my desk with random violence. And yes, I still feel rotten. At least there's only a few hours until the weekend begins, which will mainly comprise of sleeping, eating, and watching the football. It's a good plan.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The greatest time of the month is upon us - Payday! A little retail therapy never goes amiss, so the last couple of lunchtimes has seen me wander into town at lunchtime to follow my senses and see if anything appeals. Yesterday I finally got round to picking up the new Douglas Coupland novel JPod, under the recommendation of Mr Juxta. Now, normally me and the works of Coupland do not get on. I find him a little too straining, constantly trying to be cool just for the sake of it (a problem I also have with Bret Easton Ellis, but meh...). However, I found his previous dive into the world of geekdom - "Microserfs" - was splendid stuff, and I've been told that JPod is of a similar ilk. Looking forward to it. Didn't pick up the limited edition version - even though I wanted it - as there was no way I could justify spending twice the money the regular one costs just so I could get a random little toy Qube fellow. I have more than enough tat all about the house, thankyouverymuch.

Also - finally! - got round to buying the "Clerks X" 3-DVD set. Only had it on video, and that's been worn to skinny ribbons after weekly viewings since pretty much the beginning of time. Seriously, if you've never seen it - GO BUY IT NOW. It's 100% The Greatest Film Ever Made. Even just reading the script is arse-quakingly funny, and the boxset I got today has *everything*. Alternate cut of the film, documentaries, out-takes, music videos... bloomin' loads. I'll probably spend a whole weekend watching the thing, if I ever get a free one again.

Last but certainly not least; my final purchase was Death Cab for Cutie's fine album "Transatlaticism". I bought their latest offering ("Plans") on the strength of hearing one track in a random record shop in Brighton a few months back, insisting to my friend Jo that "once in a while you must take a chance on something you find immediately beauitiful". While she scoffed, I am pleased to report that Plans was beyond wonderful and is often played loudly here at Idle Towers. However, The American was aghast that I'd not even heard "Transatlanticism", and demanded I get it as soon as possible following her recent visit. Hell, I didn't even know that DCfC was basically The Postal Service (I can often fall woefully behind the times in music, but soon catch up). Anyway, I heeded her advice, and will post impressions on it soon. If it's half as good as the other one - and The American insists it blows "Plans" out of the water - it'll be fully aces.

So there you go, three different media, and all great. I'm brilliant at shopping, me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

This is, at the moment, my favourite painting ever. Suerat's "Un dimanche après-midi à l'Ile de la Grande Jatte" is a work of pointillism, created using thousands upon thousands of teeny dots.

If you look really close-up at it, everything disappears, blurs out. Pull back and the image reforms. It's really quite lovely, and took two years to paint it. The picture has been in residence at the Art Institue of Chicago for many years, and is (oddly enough) featured in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. One day I'll get to see it for real.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Top of the Pops

Music! It makes the people come together - it makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.

The UK singles chart is an organic beast, and something that I have loved deeply since I was a little idlemichael. Holding a tapedeck next to a transistor radio copying the songs on a Sunday evening (or lunchtime if I was in Ireland) so I had stuff to listen to for the next week. Obviously now I'm older I can afford to buy music *ahem*, and my tastes have widened to lots of different genres and stuff. While I will always have a place in my heart for whining guitars, wistful indie boys singing of lost love and the odd thundering drum solo, there is also a small part of me that clamours for the latest offering that the world of Pop presents for our delight.

Currently at number one in the UK (for the second week) is Nelly Furtado, with "Maneater" - not a cover of the Hall and Oates classic. Nelly used to be like a bird; now she is like Courtney Cox crossed with a lapdancer. Seriously, this is one hell of a makeover from the slightly rubbish folky crap she used to do. The song's produced by Timbaland, who in between making shoes actually comes up with some great work. The vocals are a bit nasal, but still work well - but the real power is the bassline. It makes you want to shake your arse bigstyle, and that's a Good Thing.

Shakira (featuring Wyclef Jean, who was a Fugee) is our highest new entry for the week, with "Hips Don't Lie". Having not heard this song, I can only assume its about transexuals, and people pointing out men pretending to be lades who can't be ladies because they are too thin and hips don't lie. See? That's the kind of song that should be in the top 10.

The Automatic's "Monster" is at number four. It is a wonderful song, and we'll all be sick to death of it by the end of the summer. Until then, however, enjoy it, and campaign to make it the new Welsh National Anthem. Bon Jovi are at five with some dreary shite that kept me awake last weekend because they were playing live down the road VERY LOUDLY. They've done nothing good since "Livin' On A Prayer"! Who keeps buying this?!

"Paris To Berlin" is by Infernal, and is in at six, like an old woman from the supermarket. And it is fucking shit. And yet people love it. It confuses me, though I'd have probably danced my ass off to worse stuff when I was young and bangin'. Ahem. The rest of the top ten is pretty much football songs to celebrate the World Cup, the only good one being the Lightning Seeds' "Three Lions", which seems to have been reissued every two years since 1834. Still good to sing when drunk though. And I do hope England win their group.

Outside of the Top Ten (which is pretty much ALL THAT MATTERS) Brittany Murphy has a song with Paul Oakenfold called "Faster Kill Pussycat" at 13, which I rather like. Actor / music crossovers are usually doomed to disaster, but this is actually rather splendid. A real doof-doof stomper of a tune, and the video is very shiny. This appeals to my magpie-like tendencies, and I am hypnotised when it comes on the music channels on the telly. Very good. 8/10.

There's also Primal Scream's "Country Girl" (23) which really should be The Big Summer Tune at all of the festivals. It's AMAZING, completely ridiculous, very shouty and just about perfect. It's got all the fun and games of stuff they did years ago like "Jailbird" and "Rocks", but without any of the "desperately trying to sound like The Black Crowes" rubbish. They have grown up, and fair play to them. Meanwhile, the rest of the Top 40 is actually pretty dull - mainly as summer's a dire time to release new stuff - aside from Eurovision winners Lordi, who's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" is hanging on at 36. Everything else is either a very poor football song, a reissue (Armand van Helden's "My My My" for the umpteenth time, anyone?) or has been around since the beginning of time and we're bored of it. Stand up "Dani California" and the Red Hot Chili Peppers! Bah.

Ahhhh, the charts. I remember a time when I'd only pay attention to everything outside of the Top 20, because everything Up There was a sell out. I was young and naive. I'm sorry. And now I'll shut up. Toodles til next time.

Friday, June 16, 2006

La la la lala la la laaa la la la...

...everybody loves Katamari Damacy!

Hangin' on the Telephone

So, my usual messing about on the Interwebs at work (basically the one perk of my current position is that I've got full net access, which I abuse to the fullest as a means of killing time) led me to the lovely image you see above. Apparently, this is a conceptual future comms device, designed by some Swedish Uni students under the instruction of Nokia, the mobile phone company. You wear it as a necklace - most appealing to me, as the few pieces of jewellery I own are made of plastic - and each thingy represents a person. Squeeze said thingy, and you'll call them up. Apparently it takes all of the hassle out of *sigh* actually dialling someone's number in order to speak with them. Still, it's a pretty whizzy idea, so sign me up. I like the idea of wandering around with little plastic toys in your pocket or bag, and handing them out to nice people. Though my one would be rather sparse, as I can be a right miserable bugger...

Everything In It's Right Place

The American is a good person. She knows the value of a rousing national anthem, appreciates that everything isn't always that the world portrays, and also the necessity of having a good pen about your person at all times. She is well travelled, and seemingly can talk to the animals. These are impressive qualities. I'm thankful that she's about.

The American came to visit a bunch of us last weekend - literally just for the weekend, and a stunningly fun time was had by all - and came armed with goodies. Ohhhhh, such wondrous stuff - bottles of Mountain Dew, a Mr Happy cooling pack (my obsession with cartoons and stuff will be well noted as time passes) and The Ultimate Sweet. The American brought Jolly Ranchers.

We used to have them over here many years ago. Now, whether they were removed from UK shelves because they weren't popular enough, or were just plain filled with too many e-numbers and artificial things, who knows? All I care about is that they still taste amazing. I may have to harrass her into a regular delivery. Anyhow, see...

...they even LOOK bad for you. Food should not be so brightly coloured. But they are amazing. They taste exactly how they're meant to - even though I've never seen a blue raspberry in real life - with top marks going to the Cherry and Watermelon ones. Ultimate respect goes to Grape flavour, as there is nothing on earth tastier than American Grape Flavor (please note also; correct contextual spelling). Apparently they're available in That London at CyberCandy - http://www.cybercandy.co.uk - but I've still got one and a half giant bags to work through before I need to go fetch more. Thank you, The American!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Well, here we are... welcome. Wipe your feet.

This is my blog - though actually it's a second attempt at creating and running one. The v1.0 blog ran into... difficulties. Extenuating circumstances meant the poor bugger had to be put to sleep, so never will you be subjected to the thrill-ride that was me eating fish for the first time (which was actually a rather odd thing for someone who's *ahem* quite old). Maybe I'll recount it in a fit of mania at some point.

Anyhow, hello, pleasure to have you here. A few details. My name is michael - which for some reason lost in the mists of time I always write with a lower case "m". I am 30. I try and keep myself to myself wherever possible, and if they were Olympic sports could probably represent my home nation (Ireland, for the record) in both Lurking and Hanging Out. It's a hard life, but such is the way.

I read, I write, I design puzzles, I play games, I listen to lots of verrry random music, and I (like most of the rest of the planet) dislike my job (Let the bitching and stuff commence!). I am, however, managing to do something about my current employment status - I begin training to be a Primary School Teacher this forthcoming September. It'll be like Kindergarten Cop, but with less guns and more whiny guitar music.

So, there's post #1. Hopefully the first of many, and I swear to keep this reasonably regularly updated. Oh, and I also hold up John Allison's promise (from www.scarygoround.com - well worth a visit!) - Never will I tell you what I ate for dinner.