Archive for October, 2008

My Wordle image

October 24th, 2008

I found my way to Wordle via Rowan Manahan’s blog and Wordled this ballog to generate my own cloud of words I commonly use here. Strangely, “cat” doesn’t seem to have been included. I suspect Wordle only interrogated the first page.

Drug may reverse MS brain damage

October 23rd, 2008

Drug may reverse MS brain damage

I don’t normally include headlines about serious topics in my “Funny Headlines” section, and MS is a very serious subject.

But I’m afraid I couldn’t resist thinking about the brain damage I cause myself by bashing my head against the desk every time MS Internet Explorer crashes, or whenever I try to use numbering in MS Word, or whenever something crashes and I click to send the details to MS hoping to receive back some advice as to what I should do to resolve the issue – advice that never comes.

Making your point with a spoonful of sugar

October 22nd, 2008

So yesterday I was picking Gema up from work and I was signalling to move out of the car park onto the main road.

Just one vehicle was coming my way. It was signalling to go into the car park and I was tempted to pull out, but I had a feeling the other car was going to carry straight on, so I paused in order to be sure.

Now if you have never been to Spain, you might not be aware that beeping the horn solves all traffic issues.

Stalled your car? Don’t worry, the beeping of the drivers behind you will get your engine going again.

Had a heart attack? Fear not! The clamour of the claxons is as good as a defibrillator.

Getting a handjob from your lovely passenger at the traffic lights? It’s OK, your fellow motorists will help get you to the moment of ultimate pleasure that little bit sooner.

In my case, the driver behind felt that my problem was caused by a lack of ambient noise, so he beeped at me. Oh, the poor, naïve fool! Now because I don’t own a car (I had borrowed a neighbour’s), my reputation has yet to reach all motorists in Spain, but basically, if people beep at me to hurry me up or tailgate in order to bully me out of the way, it usually results in my slowing down and delaying them longer.

Yesterday, however, I took it one step further.

I got out of the car. Gema pleaded with me not to go, but there was method.

I approached the other vehicle and I was pleased to see the driver had his window down. He had a look on his face that seemed to say ¡Joder! In fairness, though, I hadn’t shaved in two days and I was scowling slightly. Then the method kicked in. I broke into a broad smile and asked him, all wide eyed and innocent (you’d be surprised how butter-wouldn’t-melt I can make this face look):“Did you call me?”

That’s when he flustered and said:No, no. I just thought you were having problems.”

Yeah, right. And beeping was his way of helping. I smiled again and thanked him for his concern.Thanks to my warped sense of humour and his impatience, the poor bastard turned a two-second delay into a sixty-second delay.


Gema had heard me, so she was chuckling away when I got back into the car, despite her initial fears.

“But what if he had been a knacker?” she asked.

I pity the fool!

Musing #35

October 21st, 2008

I’ve just discovered I’m ambidextrous, but only on my right side.

Coffee pot tip

October 17th, 2008

If you like your coffee made in an espresso pot, as I do, you have no doubt at some time struggled to unscrew it when you want to make a fresh pot. Not long ago my coffee pot was screwed on so tight that I actually wrenched a muscle in my back trying to open it. My technique at the time was to grab the top of the pot in one hand and the bottom in the other and counter twist.

So I decided to seek an easier way. I found it and now I share it with you.

Take a cloth, the kind you use to wipe your worktops. Wet it and wring it out. Fold it over a couple of times to form a pad and place it on the worktop.

Grab the pot by the top and press the base into the cloth, then screw the top off. You can stabilise the base with your other hand if you like, but it’s generally not necessary.

It really is that simple.

If you drink poxy instant coffee or slightly less poxy coffee from a cafetière, then please don’t read this post.

Having your cake

October 7th, 2008

My first awareness of poverty was when I was around five years of age.

At the time, we were living near Dublin city centre in a district called Drumcondra. One day, our next-door-neighbour, Carmel, was minding me and she took her daughter and me into town. All I remember about that day was a visit to a family Carmel knew in the inner city. The Dublin of 1968 was very different to today’s. Only less well-off people lived in the inner city.

I have only fleeting images in my head of that day: a tenement building; a dark, basement flat; a small boy’s birthday party. I don’t remember much about him other than that he was around my age. What I do remember clearly are his birthday present and his birthday cake. The former was a set of plastic speedboats attached to a cardboard backing – the kind of toy you might find in a bargain shop these days. The latter was a jam Swissroll.

It struck me as odd, wrong even. It couldn’t be right. Toys like that were something I got if I was a good boy on a day’s shopping, not something I had to look forward to on my birthday. As for jam Swissroll, that was perhaps a treat, but a weekly treat, not a birthday cake!

So there you have it, my first awareness at the age of five that there are people who are a lot worse off.

In the current economic climate, I doubt that most people who are worrying about their future will find themselves reduced to buying their kids’ birthday presents in the “2 € or Less” shop. Somehow I still see them having their Swissroll on at least a weekly basis.

Musing #34

October 4th, 2008

Other people’s fear and pain are personal experiences that cannot be judged by my measure.