Archive for December, 2008



07
Dec
08

Traffic explosion – thanks

Since I started this blog it has receive a very small level of traffic.  I have received approximately 6 visits daily, which I don’t think is unusual for a new blog. Twice before today I managed to attract 11 hits, which I was quite happy with. Even Arianna Huffington had to start somewhere.

As of 18:30, the number of hits I’ve received today is 43. Again, not a huge number in this arena, but it is a pretty huge jump. This is great stuff.

I can’t say with any certainty what caused this surge, but I can guess. I’m thinking that mentioning Cork in my last post was a factor. Cork people tend to be very responsive when it comes to their native county. However, I can only trace 3 WordPress refferals from the ‘Cork’ tag, and the post in question wasn’t the most visited page today.

Whatever the reason, I’m grateful. It’s really uplifting for me to know people are actually reading the crap I post here. Thanks, y’all!!!

Before ending this post, I must admit the horrible self-indulgence of talking about my own traffic. But fuck it, the whole blogging culture is borne of a habit of self-indulgence.

06
Dec
08

Were you kissing Sheila outside a Supermacs in Cork?

I was awoken this morning by the strangest phone call I’ve recieved in years. First off, the phone rang and when I answered it a young woman said, “hang on a minute,” and hung up.

Having just woken up my mind wasn’t the clearest, and I was somewhat stunned by what just happened. I was considering calling her back to find out who she was and what was going on, when suddenly the phone rings again not two minutes later. The call went something like this:

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Damien?”

“Ahh, yeah.”

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m fine. Who’s this?”

“It’s Sheila.”

Keep in mind that I don’t know a Sheila. I didn’t even know girls are still called Sheila these days. Perhaps realising my silence represented my still-sleepy brain searching every file in my head for a ‘Sheila’, the girl in question decided to elaborate.

“You were kissing me outside Supermacs last night.”

This threw me into a real tail-spin. With the benefit of complete awareness, I know for sure that I did not leave my house last night. But in my morning haze, I almost had to accept the possibility that I was snogging the face off some Sheila outside some Supermacs someplace.

Thankfully, I managed to wake myself up and realise what had happened. Obviously some playa gave this girl – by accident or design – and incorrect phone number that just happened to correspond to mine. But that doesn’t explain why she asked for me by name. Seemingly, the guy Sheila was kissing has the same name as the guy she would later mistakenly phone believing to be the actual kisser. This is just too much of a coincidence to accept.

A couple of people have suggested that someone I know deliberately gave her my name and number for a laugh. However, I asked her where she is and she said Cork. The only person I know in Cork is my sister in UCC. Now I suppose it’s possible that my sister is going around kissing strange girls outside chippers. I don’t know her business. But I’m sure Sheila would have realised she was being lied to if my sister told her her name is Damien, and even still she should have realised I’m not my sister when she spoke to me this morning.

This is truly one for the ages. I won’t be figuring it out any time soon. What I would like to know, however, is why Sheila saw fit to call so soon. I realise one doesn’t want to let love slip away, but calling when ‘Damien’ is probably still suffering a hangover is the wrong side of stalkerage. Still, if you were the person snogging a Sheila in outside a Supermacs in Cork and you’d like to take it further. Contact me and I’ll sort something out.

I should also add that I owe Sheila a favour. My alarm clock failed to wake me and I probably would have slept it in on the first day of my new shitty job had she not called.

05
Dec
08

In this post, I try to get sued by Declan Ganley

It seems that the bauld Ganley is planning to sue RTE over last Thursday’s Prime Time show, in which his business actions were investigated. This is on top of threats to sue Labour’s Joe Costello and seemingly hollow talk of taking action against Colm Keena and The Irish Times.

I did manage to catch Prime Time on Thursday, and I don’t recall anything in it that was particularly damaging. All allegations were address by Ganley in the show itself, or were already well documented and in the public domain. Admittedly, I wasn’t really paying attention. The only part I took interest in was the John McGuirk interview where he was made to look like a fool (this made me happy, as McGuirk is an individual I’ve had the displeasure of meeting prior to his Libertas career).

Allow me to state my opinion on Declan Ganley; he really needs to piss the fuck off. He made a name for himself in amateur politics during the Lisbon Treaty campaign, and did very well for himself. Bully for him. But his 15 minutes are up and he needs to get back to whatever Galway bog-mansion he owns.

Libertas’ campaign during the treaty was one of mistruths and disinformation. For instance, I attended a Libertas public meeting in Ranelagh in which he claimed the treaty if in enacted would assume superiority over the Irish constitution. When I rudely interrupted to ask where in the treaty that was stated, he pointed to an article that perscribed highly qualified scenarios to which national constitutions may be unsuited. I don’t remember exactly what these were, but is certainly wasn’t the scary super-constitution stuff he made it out to be.

He also made much of the EU’s arrogance and cynicism in trying to trick us to accept the treaty. In fairness, he had a point here. There was something horribly high-minded and undemocratic about the way Europe tried to push the treaty on us. But this alone does not mean the treaty was a bad idea, and he was conspicuously silent when Coir (who managed to be even bigger pricks that Libertas) were knowingly telling lies about European super armies and microchipped babies.

But that was then, and he got his way. So why is he still on my telly. In his defence, there has undoubtedly been an effort by The Irish Times and RTE to highlight the ‘controversies’ over this finances. But he’s partly to blame for this for his superficial adherence to campaign funding regulations. It’s time for him fuck off home. He’s the most insignificant successful political activist this country has ever seen. He does not speak for anyone but himself. His objections to the treaty were self-serving. Mr Ganley, you know you’ve never acted in anyone’s interest but your own. Please go away.

In the meantime, here are some facts about Ganley you may not have heard. Declan Ganley has a bizarre leather fetish. He is directly to blame for my joblessness. Prior to the campaign, he spent only three weeks a year in Galway. As a child, he longed for Gargamel to kill the Smurfs. He is bald, which scientists have link to impotence. He has never satisfied a woman. He has attended donkey shows. And if he reads this post he isn’t going to sue me.

04
Dec
08

Trade unions and Ryanair, not very likely

So it looks like Michael O’Leary is going to reinstate the Shannon-Heathrow link if Ryanair’s merger with Aer Lingus is successful. He’s also going to recognise the trade unions at Aer Lingus.

Details here
This sounds like scam to me, much like the fictitious prices on Ryanair adverts. He’s just telling us what we want to hear. The Michael O’Leary I know would sooner get into bed with Joe Higgins (in a literal sense) than permit his employees membership of a union. Now my flatmate points out that he would be required honour his promise now that he’s gone on record, but I’m not convinced. This is the man who shamelessly ripped off Munster fans who’d already paid for their tickets.

Aer Lingus is far from the best transnational carrier out there, but it’s not the worst either. And I for one would like to see their service protected (if improved a little). Now it’s clear that Aer Lingus has been severely mismanaged since it was privatised. These are the guys who tried to replace their cabin-crew with outsourced contractors with no personal investment in the company, and continued to sell itself as the airline that knows it’s the little things that make your flight enjoyable. Some sort of restucturing before the company is run into the ground is welcome. But is Ryanair really the answer? This is the airline that made its name by providing an openly shite service for next to nothing (even if “next to nothing” actually means five times what they say they’re charging). Surely we can do better for our national carrier.

04
Dec
08

New Lazer card

Bank of Ireland sent me a letter today (they actually sent in last week, but assuming it was just a statement I didn’t bother opening it until this morning) informing me that my ATM card is to be cancelled, making way for the fancy new lazer card contain within. I’m not sure I’m happy about this. I mean, the culture of banks offering services that people didn’t need or ask for is what got us all into to our current mess. But fuck it. If I don’t have to queue at ATMs when doing the Christmas shopping then who am I to complain.

04
Dec
08

Classism in a recession

Yesterday was sign-in day at the social welfare office, which meant filing up with my Finglas brethren to prove to the government that I still exist. I’ve come to hate going to the social welfare office. Not because of the snotty staff or the frustrating bureaucracy (though these are certainly issues), but because it involves interacting with my neighbours. Yes, I admit it, I’m a snob.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel any embarrassment about being unemployed, like it’s below me or something. I grew up in a fairly working class environment, so I can usually feel at home in such environments. But the proudly ignorant prattle of Finglas’ residents, with their borderline retarded accents, is destroying my faith in humanity. I really don’t think I can take much more tracksuits or gaudery jewellery before snapping.

Of course this is my problem and I have to deal with it. I don’t expect anyone else to tolerate my prejudice. I mention it only because it has gotten me thinking about Ireland’s class-structured culture in these recessionary times. For as long as I’ve been aware of such issues we Irish have been telling ourselves that we don’t have a major divide between the working and upper classes. It was a stick for us to beat those uppity English fuckers. It was also clearly a lie. Our class structures may not be as pronounced or overt as that of the English, but it’s certainly there. And we don’t have any right to be self-congratulatory just because England is more honest about it.

I’m not sure if it was always there or if our classism was a product of our recent affluence. As we concerned ourselves with designer labels and how much our property was worth (regardless of whether we intended to sell it or not), did it become easier to look down on people? Where once we saw the salt of the earth did we suddenly perceived chavism? Maybe a level of classism was always there, but became more streamlined during the celtic tiger years, or maybe there was no change at all and we’ve always been this way. I don’t know the answer to this. I can’t remember back that far.

If there was a change, what facilitated it? I always got the impression that the working class were seen as the source of much of Ireland’s racism and homophobia, which obviously became a major issue as the country became more culturally diverse. However, this is a fallacy as far as I can tell as the upper middle-classes can be as equally racist and homophobic as anyone else, or at least that’s been my experience. Maybe we can lay the blame with the working-class themselves, as un-pc as it may be to say it. Did they replace their previous honest, hard working ethic with one that was far uglier in the eyes of outsiders?

Whatever the truth, what happens now is going to be interesting. Are we going become more understanding and less judgemental as we become more frugal and thrifty? Will we become less likely to whisper, “typical,” when we see young fellas smoking joints on the bus (based on actual events)? Clearly not, if I’m anything to go by. Conversional wisdom would suggest that if our class culture is a product of the celtic tiger, it will be reverted now that the tiger has truly deserted us. I really hope so. I hope we (me especially) will recognise that scumbags belong to all classes. I’m afraid, however, that I’m just not convinced it’s going to happen.