Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Photographic Memory #5

It's Tuesday; that makes it time for another Photographic Memory! This week, I bring you back to the magical land of Giant Inflatable Slides at God College. I'm sporting my increasingly more faded Heroes t-shirt. We've just gone rushing down the slide at this point when Hyper McHen caught a snapshot. Fantastic. The day was filled with banter and running up inflatable steps. I got one bad burn on my left elbow (which has still left a mark) after the very person in this photo with me attempted to throw me down the slide from the top. I was having none of it. So, while sitting down, him putting an arm behind my back and another until my legs (yes, he was literally going to throw me), I wrapped my arms around his knees. "If I'm going down, I'm taking you with me." I went down. I pulled him down, too, but he happened to land on my arm. His entire weight was on my elbow. Hence the burn. Good times. So what that we had a test later that day?


We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time.

Lazy Day

So I woke up early because my dad was calling my brother to wake up for work. I got out of bed at a quarter past seven, had breakfast, showered and I was soon out the door, bible in bag, for day two of God College. On the bus, I had to make a wake-up call. I was threatened. It was funny.

Bad things happened, subsequently, so one of the key figures in resolving the Thing was late. He was also tired. I had to loan him a pen and give him some paper. He kept the pen. Literally, when I said 'Give me back the pen, you'll lose it,' he said, 'No, it's my pen now.' Yes, I just got mugged in God College.

There was a lot of lazing about after that. I think, in order it was: cigarette (not for me, but I was there), game of pool (I didn't play, because I suck) and a walk to the park. Three of us sat on a bench, talking about stuff like the Thing, stuff happening in our lives, etc. Some of it was upsetting because of the despair associated with the Thing, but there were a few laughs, too. We went to get lunch and invade a house for tea, later. We watched cartoons on the Internet and cigarettes were lit with a toaster.

Our lectures in the afternoon that we'd waited four and a half hours for were cancelled. It wasn't all that great, but we went to the computer room where there was a bit of banter and a lot of Facebook. Eventually we parted so a train could be gotten and I could get my bus. Two lectures in the whole day... part of me questions the point of it. This is the part that does not appreciate how good it was to spend the day with two of my very best friends. One of them, apparently, controls my life. That was fun to learn.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day Back and The Thing

So, the Thing has become a part of my blog. It is entirely secret, because it's not something newsworthy so much as life-altering. And it's none of your business... That might sound rude, but really, I can't spill the beans on anything.

So, first day back in college. Um, I'm tired! I didn't have any lectures, but I did have a few late-night calls. Four, to be exact. Between three in the morning and half three. They went something along the lines of the Drumree team chanting loudly in the background for the first two, and the second two being the drunken mumblings of a Mad Man.

The Mad Man was late for registry, though thanks to a technical hitch we were able to delay the process of handing over funds and money by a couple of hours. We had to finalise some forms and deal with a Battleaxe. Long story. But recent news - the Battleaxe cut deep. This is not good.

There was a lot of talk about the future and the Thing. Lots of fear and promises and doubts and all the usual stuff that comes with the micro-Apocalypse that is the Thing. It wasn't always fun, but... I don't know, I guess it was enjoyable in the sense that it wasn't bad and it was actually proper communication.

Aside from the Thing, the first day back consisted of catching up with lots of people, one of whom knew about the Thing when she shouldn't have known. News spread to a few people. It was not good. I almost cried at one point during the day, but I got a hug instead.

I also got to scare the life out of someone. Yup, I sneaked up on a friend of mine in the canteen and just loudly said to her, "Hi!" She screamed. It was very funny. It had made my morning.

Now, I'm knackered. Dealing with the thing and having been awake since three in the morning, unable to fall back asleep for the noise in the world around me, I was left pushed to my limits just to get things done. I also skipped lunch as a result of being busy with the Thing.

Day two is set to bring all the fun of God College right back to me... lectures begin. And the Thing has to be sorted a bit more. Hopefully the Battleaxe won't destroy it before it can be resolved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Last Remaining Hours

I've got about seventeen hours before I start college again. In this space of time, I need to pack my bag and sort out the Thing. Really, the Thing has to be sorted out before college starts tomorrow. It will be bad and difficult in equal portions without the Thing sorted. That's all I can say. It gets to me far too much to just leave it alone.

In these last remaining hours of mine, I have to get some sleep.

In these last remaining hours of peace, I may have to go to war.

In these last remaining hours of summer, the rest of my life may be mapped out distorted and cruel and filled with pain, with no solace. Bitterness, sour and devouring, may take me. I can taste it in my mouth already. I need to figure out how to stop that from happening, in these last remaining hours.

In these last remaining hours of boredom, I cannot write. Stories evade my grasp of words, so all that's left is an encapsulating logical mind-set. Logic, without emotion, sometimes. But when there's nothing for the logic to focus on, then there's only emotion, pure and unleashed on the world around me, trapped within these four walls, spinning and swirling and destroying everything.

In these last remaining hours, I have to learn to live.

In these last remaining hours, I need to stay alive.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Adorable Puppy Mascot!

At work we do this Story Time thing, with a colouring competition related to one of the picture books chosen for the hour. Since Marley and the Kittens was one of the books, we went with a puppy colouring page. When all the children left and we still have half an hour to go, we decided to colour in puppies ourselves.

The end result? An Adorable Puppy Mascot for the Drumree hurling team, who are in the final tomorrow, Sunday 12th of September.

Original picture taken from here
I call him Drum. Isn't he the cutest thing ever? I think so, anyway. Not bad from a few minutes' work and some crayons. Yay puppy!

So, the point of the Adorable Puppy Mascot? To wish Drumree all the best of luck tomorrow in the final!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Friend #5

It's Friday; you know what that means! Friday Friend! *party poppers* This week, I open with a question. Do you know a Jedi? I do. The honourable Countess Rascal. She's in God College. She's very cool. She was one of the first people I spoke to (fourth day of the semester!) and she's helped me with lots of stuff, like copping on to myself. And she has two lightsabers.

She "borrowed" some priest robes at Halloween last year to dress up nice and fancy for the party. I must say, it was quite an outfit. I don't think anyone else put half as much effort into their costume as her (though there was a member of the Ghostbusters... and I was Dracula... and Ferris was a pikey - he's never dressed so poorly for as long as I've known him!). But anyway, no one went to the effort of actually getting something from a priest, wearing it backwards, putting on a big belt and big boots, electric blue make-up and doing their hair all mad like in the movies. While carrying a lightsaber.

All that, and there's still more. Between battling a love for Macaroon bars (well, they are delicious) and keeping up with her studies (okay, she's actually a genius and seems to do well with minimum effort), she put on a great show for Drama - Donalbain. I've mentioned the play before, I believe. But I didn't tell you she won an award for Best Director for it! Go Countess Rascal!

This is the part where I tell you what I like about the person in question, isn't it? Um... let's see... I like that she's perfectly happy being herself, and not just some idea of society as to what people should be like. I like that she always seems in control of herself. I like that she knows what to say to people who are upset. I like that she crashed my birthday party. I like that she has so much time for people who are just themselves.

Excuse the abruptness of that. It has been a long day. I will see the Countess on Monday, anyway. Use the force, Miss Rascal, and use it well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coping Mechanisms

Stuff's messed up. Let's leave it at that - vague and possibly interesting. It's not my place to go into this. Even if I get permission to start talking freely about this, I won't.

Basically, the Thing has come has quite a shock. Sort of emotionally crippling. That's just the way I am. So I have to find a way to cope. Normally I write, but I can't seem to find the words. They just don't seem to matter very much. All the fiction in the world doesn't seem to have as much importance as the Thing.

So I'm doing all I can to cope with this. This starts with Research. In this case, Research led me to a website that I had to do some thinking over. I have been called Detective Carroll before, and it is for stuff like this (and my ability to observe when something has happened... and those times when I state the obvious.) So I started joining the dots. I had to ask a few (too many) questions, but I have a better understanding of the Thing.

It still bothers me. It won't stop bothering me until the Thing becomes a Thing of the Past, and even then this is based on the outcome of the Coping Mechanism.

See, fiction isn't helping. Not this time. So I have to resort to facts. I'm beginning to see the Bigger Picture of the Thing. I can't do much to help with it, so I can only offer small insights into my understanding of the Thing. This might help. I really, really hope it helps. If it doesn't, I need to find a new Coping Mechanism for the Downside of the Aftermath of Failure.

I have a Plan. I obviously can't keep hanging about looking for a way to Cope with Nothing. So I need to build a Contingency Plan  that will go forth regardless of the Outcome of the Thing. No matter what happens with the Thing - which I believe can still come out Okay - I want to make sure everything else isn't destroyed.

So, that's what's happening. This is why I've been acting so weird. And yes, I am aware there is an annoying amount of capitalised words in this post. Deal with it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review - An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of KatherinesI'm don't think I've ever been more astounded at how an author can tell similar stories so differently. John Green, your Super Nerd status seems to be getting out of hand, but I think it is down to having Super Nerd friends, too. I am insanely jealous.

See, I just finished reading An Abundance of Katherines, Green's second published book. My friend gave me a loan of it on Sunday night while in a mutual friend's kitchen, over 80km from my house, which is a whole lot closer than the loaner's house. We stayed for the night, we left the next afternoon, and I started reading the book. It's Wednesday, now. I read the book between adverts on television last night. It was very hardcore stuff.

So, you've read the back catalogue of John Green; how does this compare to everything else by him?
(Dude, that was tame...) I won't lie; this was my least favourite of John Green's books. This may be attributed to how tired I am reading it. However, I will point out that "least favourite" does not mean that I did not love the book. In fact, I could barely put it down. I just found that I enjoyed the stories of Q and Pudge a whole lot more than Colin's story. It wasn't that I didn't like Colin, I just liked the ideas behind the other books better.

Eh... why?
Yeah, this kind of comes down to the fact that I found I was too much like Colin, sometimes. Okay, I'm not a prodigy child and I haven't dated nineteen Katherines (it's in the blurb, it's no big spoiler), but the whole word thing got to me. Okay, so he's more or less terrible at coming up with words in the right order; rearranging words is more his speciality. I write, but I can't anagram too well. And I'm quite bad at remembering new words.  That's just one of the things. I don't really want to get into the rest.

Weirdo...
Very much so. But seeing similarities made it difficult, because I kept thinking of all these weird things in my life. Still, he was an interesting character. His anagramming and his learning and all the languages that are used in the book are all remarkable, and I'm certainly not capable of any of it.

So, what did you actually think of the book?
Brilliant. Simply brilliant. I loved the idea of a guy who only dates Katherines. And there was a road trip. I like road trips. John Green is great at them. There was also a wonderful scene that showed the power of dialogue, that I won't go into too much because you really have to read it. It's not exactly what was said that makes it a great scene, but how John Green writes it. You'll understand when you read the book (by the way, you have to read this book).

Will you keep on reading John Green's books?
Pope says yes. (Sorry, God College joke).* I have one more to read before his next book comes out at some stage in the future; it has a female protagonist, but that's all I know about it. Until then, I'm left to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and that'll be it for John Green. Then I'll have a sad. But anyway, that's a bit of a way to go. I have college in five days, so I may not have time for personal reading. But yes, I will continue reading John Green's books; just not immediately.

*Incidentally, John Green also studied Religion and English at college! I jumped around excitedly when I found that out. It was a fun coincidence, not a matter of choice; I hadn't even been watching John Green's videos on YouTube for very long (if at all) when I chose what course I was going to do in college. Also, Pope says yes is a twist on a joke, Pope says no, which Ferris Bueller came up with.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Photographic Memory #4

It's time for another Photographic Memory! This week I bring you back to the land of Offaly, where the milk was directly from cows* and the sunset was a fantastic blaze on an undisturbed horizon. The picture was taken in a park near the shopping centre we had gone to; there were children occupying the swings in the playground, so we went for a walk and found ourselves at this fountain. The water was dying down by the time we got there, so it's not so fantastic as it might have been. But it was still a great day, and one that I won't be forgetting any time soon.


Oh my God, it's Miley Cyrus!

* I know all milk comes from cows, but this wasn't pasteurised or whatever it is that you do with milk before it gets sold in shops; this was just refrigerated so it wasn't warm like a cow. I barely noticed the difference.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Great Perhaps

John Green wrote about the idea of the Great Perhaps. I don't think I fully understand that as anything other than something very big that might happen if you take certain actions. So I went looking for a Great Perhaps.

It centres around a book. I wrote this as a novella. It has since taken a mind of its own and had be come up with lots of extra plot - a second half. It is now a Work in Progress for the second time in its life, on its way to becoming a novel. It has, at the moment, seventeen chapters, each one a definition of love. It has three protagonists, each of them unique in their approach towards the world.

It has truths, lies and secrets, sometimes all three at the same time. It has false names and false lies, twisted motives and subtle movements. It is love, itself. And I've just done something with the first half of it that I cannot go back on. Sick of promises, sick of silence, I took action. In the last words of Fran├žois Rabelais, “I go to seek the great perhaps.”

My promise was to keep this book locked away. However, as a promise to me by this person was broken, I feel I can get away with this. This is a book, if nothing else. If there is no longer any deeper meaning to this story, it is still a story. One cannot hide stories when they consume all things in the end.

The same John Green said, "For me at least, fiction is the only way I can twist my lying memories into something true." I have a great memory, I once told That Guy I Am, it's just the recollection bit I have a problem with. So when I write fiction I too extract these segments of the past and turn them into something I can believe in. Every story is true, even if it isn't factual.


Now that I have taken action, there is but one thing to do: await consequences. This, I think, is a Great Perhaps.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sleep, please

I need sleep. Seriously. This act of trying to function like a regular member of society becomes increasingly more difficult with each disturbed night that I lose sleep. I can understand the sort of sleeplessness associated with going through a tough time emotionally, but for frick's sake I'm over that! That's the past. This is just verging on ridiculous.

I literally haven't stayed asleep throughout the night for the past three nights running. First couple of times it was because of the heat in the room. Incidentally, I suffer from the exact opposite problem in the winter months when the room is too cold to get to sleep. But I digress; the heat was keeping me awake, and then it was stirring me from my sleep.

Last night, I thought things would be different. I was sleeping well. Admittedly it took a little too long to actually drift away into the Land of Nod, but I was rightly out cold.

Until That Guy I Am arrived home and the alarm went off. Not the blaring Someone is Breaking In alarm, but the beeping that's associated with opening the front door when the alarm is set. Beep beep beep WAKE UP PAUL! At half four in the morning. He ruined the one chance at a good night's sleep I've had in two weeks.

I literally did not fall back asleep. By the time I was tired enough to sleep again I had to use the toilet. Five minutes later, my alarm to get up for work went off. So there goes those three hours of rest I could have gotten.

I need to sleep. Please let me sleep. Please? I'm asking nicely. Seriously, if you wake me I'm going to have to kill you. Them's the consequences of waking me. I'm like a sleeping dog, only I can hold a knife.

Okay, that was slightly hyperbolic (I love that word!). But seriously, wake me up and you will suffer the consequences. I'm weird when I'm tired, and not in the good way. People will begin to notice, except that I'm staying off the Internet for most of my time off so that I don't say something stupid.

It's too early to sleep. Too bright out. My curtains do nothing to block light. They just filter it into a different colour. Absotively useless. They were my mum's addition to the room. My dad's addition was adding shelves that don't hold an awful lot, breaking my bed a bit and adding the flat-packed furniture. The wardrobe looms overhead like a great white beast. It's a couple of inches shy of the ceiling.

I digressed, again! See what happens when I don't sleep. This is why I can't write too much, these days. My thoughts are going sideways. Okay... tea. Yes, I think I need more tea. Too tired to stay awake, but I won't sleep with the noise of the neighbourhood children and their screams that pierce my eardrums, and the cars driving too quickly through a residential area roaring as they pass my house. The sun hasn't quite set, though it's hidden behind houses so it no longer blinds me through my bedroom window. It's still bright out, though. Not even that grey light that falls over everything like in the winter months when the sun has gone down just enough. And not the orange glow of the street lights flaring their sodium bulbs with a slight buzzing. It's just the faded hours of an autumnal Saturday slipping away into half-light.

Yeah, I need sleep.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Friend #4

It's that time of the week, again, where I exploit the fact that I have friends worth talking about. I think it's time to take a break from the wonderful people I know from college and go back a little further in my life; James Joyce. He's so-called because that was how he looked before, with particular glasses on and without having shaved. It was wonderful how much it annoyed him to be in the likeness of one of Ireland's most famous writers.

I think the first thing James Joyce ever said to me was, "Did someone try to ruin a Darren Shan book on you?" Or something along those lines. That was in first year in secondary school. Towards the end of that year, it was James Joyce, who happened to be something of a genius, who came up to me and said, "You're Paul, yes?" Well, it made sense to confirm I was one twin and not the other. He brought me over to a poster in the noticeboard. "Look, you're nominated for Best All-Round Student." I had to sit down.

So, you can probably tell straight away James Joyce had a bit of an affect on me. He'd liked one of my favourite authors and he was the one who told me I was nominated for an award I didn't even know existed in the school. (Note: I did not win, because first years rarely win anything in the school awards; I was just delighted to be nominated!)

In fourth year, James Joyce was the Managing Director of our mini-company. By the time we left school and got our results, he had the tied-first results in the Leaving Cert exams for our year. In all that time, we'd become really good friends, and he was the first person to take an interest in the fact that I wrote. Because of that, he was the first person to get to see a lot of what I wrote.

I think this is the point where I say what I like about someone, right? Okay, I like that he always has time to talk about things. I like that he's really good at understanding people. I like that he can bring a whole new level of wit to a conversation. I like that he's modest about everything. I like that we can have long talks out of the blue, just for the sake of catching up. I like that it's still easy to be friends with him despite not seeing him as much as I see lots of other people. I like that he can see the good in everyone. I like that I've been friends with him for so long and we've never fallen out over anything.

He really is one of my best friends, and I don't know how different my life would be without him in it. It'd be a whole lot less interesting, anyway. I mean, how many people do you meet in a lifetime who taught themselves piano and who can take control of a situation without ever having to resort to violence? How many people do you meet who can be the funniest person in the room one minute and the most serious the next, depending on what's needed?

James Joyce, if you're reading this, don't ever stop being the way you are; the respect you've gotten from so many people just for being yourself is unbelievable. You're an inspiration. I don't care whether or not you agree, because it's the truth. Thank you for being such a good friend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walkies

I have a habit of going on walks that are far too long for my own good. Today was the longest walk I've ever purposely gone on. It was, unfortunately, a bit too long. Longer than I'd planned, too.

I left my house at twenty past eight in the morning. I headed through various suburban areas until all there was was a road. This was eventually met with a hospital and a new housing estate, which in turn became a bigger road. This bigger road had nothing on one side of it and commercial buildings on the other side. I focused on the derelict world to my right; unused fields of grass and weeds as far as the eye could see, interrupted by power lines and a massive silo of I-don't-know-what. On the other side of a fence there was a courtyard of grit and stone and nothing else in it.

The road continued like this until everything became commercial. There was businesses all around me in the industrial estates, and the sun was scorching me from above. I was in search of Ferris Bueller's work place. I intended to get there before him, to surprise him when he showed up.

I got lost in the industrial estate he was supposed to work in. I called the place he works; it wasn't supposed to be open. Two rings and, "Good morning, *insert name of business here*" Hang up! It was Ferris. Shit on a stick it was Ferris. He did not know it was me.

My plan was ruined. He was there early. He's never there early. He's been there late, before, but never early. I was definitely not going to beat him there. And I still couldn't find the place. I called 11850. Nothing, only a number I already knew. I texted 57118. Nothing, only the old address and contact details. I checked the Internet and got a unit number. I asked around. No one had heard of the place.

Shit. On. A. Stick.

I called the place again. It was open, by now. I asked where they were. Ferris hadn't answered. I was safe, for now. The guy who was speaking didn't know where to go from where I was. And he called Ferris's surname. Hang up! Another close call. And messing with their heads for a second time.

I decided to try the other way into the industrial estate, going back onto the main road. And there it was, outside the estate. I swore, a bit. But I went in. No one. Went up the stairs. And again. And again. Yes, they were up several flights of stairs. They had the whole building, and the customers had to walk all the way up the stairs. I immediately asked if Ferris Bueller was there. Of course he was there - I'd seen his car outside; he'd answered the phone earlier and I'd hung up on him. He came out from his office - yeah, he has an office. "Paul Carroll," he said.

I was brought into his office. I gave him a Mystery Envelope. We chatted a bit. He showed me an article from the newspaper that he was in for hurling. He showed me how he sometimes gets up to devilment. Then he had to go out to watch the showroom. One of his co-workers came back. He said, "So how did you get here?" And I told him, "I walked." He asked, "From where?" I said, "From *insert name of my area here*."

The look of shock on Ferris's face was priceless! "You walked?!" I shrugged. I told them, "I also got lost across the road. For an hour."

Ferris showed me his smoking spot. It was out of the way. Reminded me of John Green's smoking hole in Looking For Alaska. We went to the front of the building. He offered me a lift some of the way. I declined politely. He went inside, I left.

Oh. My. God. Hot day + Paul = Dead. Vans + Walking = Pain. 13 miles. At least. Owie!

I took no photos, but I had a good time. And, most importantly, I wasn't at home to go crazy during the morning hours. Success! I won't hear from Ferris for a few days unless he gets really drunk (always possible, considering where he's going this weekend). Haven't heard from very many people of late. Don't want to walk for a while. I just want to sleep until Tuesday.

Advanced Scheming is hard, sometimes. And twice it's brought me to strange and unknown industrial estates. I just didn't want so much the first time...