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As a 5’2″ gal, I’m what you’d call vertically challenged. My dear sweet brother had me completely convinced that I was actually classed as a midget til I was about 13 – before I scraped over the 5 ft mark. This was of course after paying me to dress up as an Oompa Loompa for some Halloween mirth for him and his chums. Well the laugh’s on you bruv. After years of sizeable hurdles put in place – never being able to reach top shelf magazines without a fuss, having to climb to reach top of fridge only for fridge to fall on top of you and have a pickle jar break over your head and various accidents as a result of wearing between 5 and 7 inch heels, I’ve begun to start seeing some of the benefits of my own unique outlook on the world.

#1

Umbrellas

It’s probably the only time I’m an actual menace walking the streets but seeing people veer off the road to avoid me and my umbrella (which is the perfect height for eye gouging, like ninja stars but bigger) leaves me with no small amount of pride. My ASBO-certified, hoodied brothers and sisters in arms – I get it! Who said having people fear you wasn’t awesome?

Another rather neat fringe benefit is the covertness a simple everyday tool like an umbrella allows when combined with an under average sized user. When caught blatantly objectifying someone very pretty (or pretty initially and ghastly on further inspection) or (and far more likely around London town) some weirdo’s trying to talk to you, simply grimace, grit teeth, pull down your brolly til it nestles comfortably and neatly on your head and they’ll literally have to bend double to look you in the eye. Win for the shawties!

WAG knickers.

How low can you go?

There’s been talk on Twitter and blogs this morning, just random conversations about being more right wing as you grow up, being disaffected in life and then all the celebrity tweetings about relationship break ups and general disappointments we’re dealt.

Then I came across this sentance from Lyn Gardner :

“I’m a different person from the person I was last week. I’m a very different person from the teenage theatregoer who found Peter Shaffer’s Equus the most thrilling of plays, and who could never understand why Chekhov’s Three Sisters didn’t just get on a train to Moscow. There are some playwrights – Chekhov and Beckett among them – who I think you can only truly appreciate once you’ve experienced the compromises and disappointments of adult life.”

It’s the last sentence that appeals to me most – “experienced the compromises and disappointments of adult life”. I think we imagine these to be the scourge or the burden of the mortals we encounter, the maligned bank tellers, pissed off mothers, disillusioned shop workers. To see it actually in print, well it softened the blow of adult life a little.

Hilton Als is causing something of a controversy with his review of Martin McDonagh’s new broadway show A Behanding in Spokane as ‘shameful and vile’ and an inherently racist retelling of the tale. I haven’t seen the play but I was interested to read the last paragraph in Als article:

“Like any smart immigrant, McDonagh knows that by going after Toby’s otherness he becomes less of an outsider himself. This is how many people, certainly in the Republic’s past, have first defined themselves as Americans.”

I’m not comfortable with that statement or indictment of the Irish diaspora in the USA. And, as Als should well know, McDonagh, although his settings are Irish (the fact that the show is on Broadway shows the subjects are universal), was born in the UK, to Irish parents. I think we can comfortably ascertain McDonagh identifies with his Irish parentage and ethnicity but I’m not sure if he can support that final, damning statement with any other evidence? Am I misreading this, the way I think he did?

Your thoughts?

Turning off the tv, and taking your time back is a concept that’s recently come to me. I moved recently; in my previous house I had Sky+ and boy was I an evangelist for it. To me, it was seriously great, freedom to go do what I wanted and come back to catch up on all my favourite shows and movies. Heaven sent for a girl like me with not a lot of time on her hands. In my new house however, I’ve had no tv for the past few weeks. Has it been a big deal? No. I’ve been unpacking, listening to music, watching internet television as a I pleased but able to dip in and out while updating my twitter or this here blog. And my two of my favourite Interweb gurus Seth Godin and Clay Shirky seem to be thinking along the same lines:

“At the local health food store lunch buffet, they offer stir fried tempeh.
I never get it. Not because I don’t like it, but because there are always so many other things on the buffet that I prefer.

That’s why I don’t watch TV. At all. There are so many other things I’d rather do in that moment.

Broadcast TV was a great choice when a> there weren’t a lot of other options and b> when everyone else was watching the same thing, so you needed to see it to be educated.

Now, though, you could:

  • Run a little store on eBay
  • Write a daily blog
  • Write a novel
  • Start an online community about your favorite passion
  • Go to meetups in your town
  • Volunteer to tutor a kid, in person or online
  • Learn a new language, verbal or programming
  • Write hand written thank you notes each evening to people who helped you out or did a good job
  • Produce small films and publish them online
  • Listen to the one thousand most important operas
  • Read a book or two every evening
  • Play a game a Scrabble with your family

None of them are perfect. Each of them are better than TV.

Clay Shirky has noticed the trend of talented people putting five or six hours an evening to work instead of to waste. Add that up across a million or ten million people and the output is astonishing. He calls it cognitive surplus and it’s one of the underappreciated world-changing stories of our time.”

Your time can be your own. Distractions are detractions from the stuff that’s worth doing.

*I apologise in advance for my overuse of Gil Scott Heron quotes. But he probably won’t ever stop, lyrically, being the man for me.

Michael Foot’s obituary was written by Mervyn Jones, journalist and Michael Foot biographer (and a fascinating character in himself – his father was Ernest Jones, a confidant of Sigmund Freud’s) who predeceased Foot by over a week on 23 February 2010. Not necessarily wrong, but just feels odd

Read more at journalism.co.uk.

This article about Gaddafi banning Europeans travelling to Libya, on the whole, is not funny what with serious implications for business and personal safety of Europeans in the country. But the last paragraph is hilarious. Bar the domestic abuse:

“Muammar Gaddafi bears a grudge towards the Swiss because of an incident involving his son in July 2008. Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife were arrested in Geneva for allegedly beating two of their servants at a luxury hotel. They were charged with maltreating their domestic staff, but released on bail. The Libyan leader was so enraged by his son’s two-day detention that he shut local subsidiaries of Swiss companies in Libya, had two Swiss businessmen arrested, cancelled most flights between the two countries and withdrew about $5bn (£3.2bn) from his Swiss bank accounts. Last year, he submitted a proposal to the UN to abolish Switzerland and divide it up between Germany, France and Italy.”

As you do.

I should start by saying I’m not a football fan. But I recorded Nevermind the Buzzcocks in lieu of watching the second leg of the Ireland V France match. I have a vague idea about the offside rule but a complete mental block when it comes to talk about positions on the field, player form and football strategies. While Irish eyes are more than likely weeping today, there’s something terribly touching and honourable about the general Irish reaction. It’s disappointment and shock but mostly pride in how they performed. I think we all knew they had it in the bag if it hadn’t have been for that goal, that ungodly injustice – even Henry acknowledges it, but from the Manager down, everyone accepts they probably would have done the same, just go on and hope they got away with it.

Anyway, to my country men and women, my deepest heartfelt sympathies. I now truly understand what ‘we were robbed’ really feels like.

I think this picture, from The Irish Times, says it all:

Apologies for my absence, I’ve been travelling a bit and this blog has not been at the forefront of my concerns. I’ve taken some time out in Ireland, heading north to Norway and managed to find myself up a glacier in the Tirol area of Austria in Lermoos. You could say I’ve been getting around.

Anyway, I’ll touch base with a little account of each – the malaise in the midst of recession era Dublin, the odd air in Norway and the comfort of Austrian cuisine, amongst other thoughts. And parting is a sweet sorrow because I’m ready to get back on the blog again.

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