Category Archives: Humour

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 85. On Caffeine.

You know you’re a caffeine junkie when:

a) You’ve gone to the bother of making the nicest cup of coffee you can, given your circumstances, and you don’t even remember drinking it.

b) Being jittery is your default setting.

c) You can tell your Java from your Colombian.

d) You drain a pot of coffee quicker than a toilet can flush.

e) Your concern for your kidneys is at odds with your serenity.

f) Your response to a customer query is WHAT NOW? CAN’T YOU SEE I’M STRESSED OUT?

g) Going cold turkey fills you with a sense of dread.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 84. On Government Health Warnings.

Don't say you haven't been warned.

Caution: this blog contains flashing images, scenes of a violent nature, strong language and some sequences during which you might consider popping out and making a cup of tea or coffee.

Moderate reading of this and other posts is recommended: no more than five units a week if you’re a male, three if you’re female, seven if you’ve got more than two legs, none if you’re a fish. If you’re a fictional character, knock yourself out. Dosages exceeding those which have been laid down in stone may result in memory loss, insomnia, acne, manic behaviour and, of course, memory loss.

 

 

The Five Stages of Facebook Grief.

Anger: For the love of all that is good and holy, why, Facebook, why have you changed things again? Just as I was getting used to how my feed worked, you go and screw around again. That’s it, Zuckerberg, I’m heading over to Google+. Put that in your hashpipe and smoke it.

Denial: It can’t be happening to me – not again. Not after the last time. It took me four months to have my feed feeding the way I want it to feed. I know what to do: I’ll come back later and maybe someone will have fixed it.

Bargaining: Look, if I quit the whole Farmville thing and unhide my hidden friends and pages, will you give me back my old feed? I’ll be a good Facebooker, honest I will.

Depression: Oh no…now I have to go back to Myspace. How will I be able to look my forgotten friends in the eye again. I’m doomed. Someone kill me now ūüė¶

Acceptance: Oh well, it could be worse, I suppose. At least I know I’m not alone. 500,000,000 other users are in the same boat as me. I had better get used to it.

Life changes, people. So does social networking. You may not like it, but you had better get used to it.

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 25. On Irish Summers.

In Ireland, you can be certain of two things when it comes to summer.

It will rain. A lot. There may be some days when the sun will split the trees and you step out in your Bermuda shorts. But you will feel like a fool, because it will rain. A lot.

There will be spotty-faced, baseball cap wearing, loud and pestering Italian, French and Spanish students. These people will hijack the streets that were once yours by right and covet bus seats that used to take you home after a long day at work.

You will pray for winter.

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 11. On Specs

I’m too sexy for my specs, too sexy for a Becks, too sexy for T-Rex.

I’m not sure that I can see, not sure that I can pee, or read from A to Z.

I’m a writer and I know it feels when I type my little words on a keyboard. I am not bored when I type my big words, and I do all these things from a blackboard.

I’m too sexy for my words, too sexy for the birds, too sexy for wheys and curds.

I’m a writer and I know how it feels when I make stuff up.

Crazy: An Ode To NaNoWriMo

Crazy is as crazy does.

But where we would we be without the

BUZZ

Of NaNoWriMo 2010.

Armed with nerve and steeled by

GRIT

Bit by bit,

We’ll wield our pen

For 30 days and 30 nights of madness.

We say we’re prepared.

We say we’re ready.

But nothing will be the same again,

Once we reach the

HEADY

Heights of fifty thousand.

We’re rabbits in headlights.

We’re ducks in the rain.

We’re caffeinated to the gills,

To take away the

PAIN

Of sleepless nights and thoughts of

1,666.

Good luck to one and all.

I hope we succeed and hope we

SURVIVE

To move to a cottage in Devon.

For it is there we’ll recharge,

It is there we’ll lick wounds

And get ready for

2011.

I, Aardvark: Aardvarkian Origins

I, AARDVARK.

I came downstairs the following morning and found Allie grinding coffee beans. The sound system was on. Coldplay were singing Violet Hill and the aardvark was doing his best Chris Martin impersonation.

“Your taste in music is…”

“What?” I asked, sensing an urgent need for caffeine. It had become clear to me that Allie was neither a prank nor a figment of my imagination. He was here, in my living room, organising breakfast.

“Depressing.” Allie broke open some eggs into a bowl and began whisking. “We can use some of the cheese for the omelettes. I hope you like them runny.”

“I don’t normally eat breakfast,” I said. “Mornings are hit-and-run for me. I hit the shower, then I run out the door.”

Allie’s snout drooped. “I know. I had to go out and buy some provisions. Just because you skip the most important meal of the day, it doesn’t mean I have to.”

I opened the fridge and took out a bottle of Coke. Allie rolled his eyes. “That’s healthy,” he said.

“You sound like my mother,” I replied.

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Did you sleep all right?”

“Good enough. Once I got over the whole talking aardvark thing, I pretty much conked out.” I thought of something just then. “Did you say you went out?”

“Yes,” Allie replied. He was now stirring the omelette mix in a pan. To my surprise, I found I was getting hungry. “You hadn’t any eggs and you were low in milk. I hope you don’t mind. The receipt is on the table.”

“But how…?”

“How what?”

“If I’m the only one who can hear you, how did the people at the shop know what to give you?”

Allie shook his head. “Jimbo, Jimbo, Jimbo. Ever hear of a shopping list?” He scooped out the omelette, divided it up into two plates, and handed one to me. He took his own plate and sat himself down in an armchair beside my CD and DVD shelves. He sucked his breakfast slowly, appearing to savour every morsel of egg and cheese. “I wrote out what you needed and and picked them up at the Spar.” He giggled to himself. “I caused a bit of a stir, let me tell you.”

Ballybough Community Centre

“I’d say you did. We don’t get many aardvarks in Ballybough.”

“I think it was more your Stetson.”

“You wore my Stetson?”

“Yup. Black goes well with blue.” Did I mention that Allie was blue? I am now. “How was your breakfast?”

I swallowed the last of them. “It was good,” I answered. “I have to get ready for work soon. Then I have to figure out what to do with you.”

“What’s to be done with me?” He gave me a concerned look. “I hate to say this, Jimbo, but you’re stuck with me for the time being.”

“But there has to be some kind of law that says I can’t.”

“I checked on the Internet.”

“And?”

“There isn’t. Unless there’s an antiquated Domestic Aardvark Act that I’ve missed somewhere along the line, you and I are a team.”

I put down my plate. “Well if that’s the case, you better come along with me.”

“To your job?”

“Yes.”

Allie’s front paws and snout rose in exultation. “Yippee! I have a job. What do you want me to do?”

I looked at the coffee pot which had just finished brewing. “You can start by getting me some coffee.”

Allie saluted an aardvark salute, which involved both paws and snout meeting at the centre of his forehead. “Aye, aye boss.”

I sighed — again. “No need to call me boss, Allie.”

“Okay, boss,” he grinned. “Can I wear your Stetson again?”

(C) James McShane

The Star Wars Crawl

Create your own Star Wars crawl, care of Lucasfilm. I made one of my own.

What can you create?

http://www.starwars.com/games/playnow/crawl_creator/?cs=ye9k2dy5yc

Allie and The Witches of Salmon

Ray the chef was having trouble scooping out a pumpkin. Lunch had finished and he decided he had plenty of time to get ready for the pub’s Halloween party on Sunday night. The 4.40 at Haydock Park was two hours away. Loads of time to get a bet on.

“Ping!” Allie the Aardvark was playing with the microwave again when I brought in the last of the day’s dirty cups and saucers. He and it had a special understanding, it seemed. I couldn’t see the attraction myself. But then, my little blue friend found amusement in the strangest of places. Maybe there weren’t any microwave ovens where Allie came from. Which reminded me: as long as I’ve known the aardvark, he’s never really explained his origins. He was just…there. The winning prize of the pub’s weekly lottery and I somehow adopted him.¬†Or he adopted me.

Whichever. I don’t really know.

Ray cursed loudly. “Whose bright idea was it to order a pumpkin?” he said.

“Mine,” Allie said. “Halloween is not Halloween until a pumpkin has been well and truly scooped.”

For those that don’t know, Allie is a one-of-a-kind; a talking aardvark that only I can hear. He loves playing up on this.

“What did he say?” Ray said.

“He said it was his idea,” I replied. “What’s the problem with it?”

“It’s as tough as my granny’s you-know-what,” he said.

“That bad, huh?” I didn’t want to ask what the ‘you-know-what’ was. Some things were best left alone.

“I need a chisel,” Ray said.

“You can’t take a chisel to a pumpkin, Ray. You’ll hack it to pieces.”

“It’s either that or it goes in the bin.”

“The bossman wouldn’t like that,” Allie said. “He spent twenty euro on a pumpkin. For that kind of money, he’ll want it to serve drinks, too.” Martin was the owner of the pub. He was as tight with cash as Ray’s granny’s you-know-what was tough. Real tight. Real tough.

“What did he say?” Ray asked again.

“Don’t use a chisel,” I said.

“He’s no bloody use,” Ray said. “Ask him to take a took at the 4.40, will you? I need a winner badly.”

“After the last time,” I said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Especially when you’re thinking of chiseling a pumpkin.”

One of Allie’s many talents is the ability to predict certain events, events in which he has no direct involvement – like horse racing. He found a winner for Ray the day after he got here and was sorry that he did. Even though the aardvark tried to dissuade him, Ray still tried to get one more winning horse from Allie.

“Let’s go, Jimbo,” Allie said. “I want to see what Halloween is like in Dublin.”

“I hope you like bangers,” I said.

***

My new friend wore my Stetson all the time. I brought it home from my trip to the States last year, but it suited him better than it did me. He had a head for hats. I just looked ridiculous. We took a bus into the city centre and got off at Marlborough Street. We crossed O’Connell Street, avoiding chuggers along the way, and strolled up Henry Street. The shop windows tried in vain to entice people to come in and sample the very latest in fancy dress. Allie walked toward one of the displays. His snout perked up.

“See something you like?” I said.

“I’m not sure,” he replied. “It seems to me that the latest fashion designs would have the Witches of Salmon weeping into their cauldrons.”

“The witches of who?” I sensed an aardvarkian history lesson on its way.

“Salmon,” he replied. “I mean, look at these.” He pointed at the mannequins. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say this shop sold school uniforms for Lady Gaga fans. Who in their right minds goes around wearing stuff like this?”

I didn’t know what was more surprising: the fact that Allie had an opinion on fashion or that he knew who Lady Gaga was.

“This is what happens on Halloween, Allie,” I said. “The young ones dress up like tarts, get blitzed on alcopops, and spend the next day throwing up monkey nuts.”

“Charming,” the aardvark said. “Wouldn’t happen in my day. The witches wouldn’t allow it.”

We continued our walk up Henry Street. On the corner of Moore Street, some guys were selling fireworks and bangers, despite this activity being against the law. One of the hawkers approached us.

“D’ya want some fireworks, bud?” he said.

“A witch’s curse be upon you!” Allie replied. “May your spawn suffer the ignominy of perpetual boredom!”

“Allie!”

“What did he say?” the hawker asked.

“He said no.” I grabbed Allie’s snout. “Let’s go, you.” We marched further on. “What’s with the cursing? It’s not nice.”

“If the Witches of Salmon were here, such vendors would be afflicted with boils and plagues of locusts.”

“Really?”

“Yes, Jimbo. On the Feast of Salmon, all witches’ covens got together for their Annual General Meeting and debated ways of making their day of celebration more even and meaningful, less shallow. Hence the term ‘shallow evening.’ Of course, over the centuries, almost everything was lost. Shallow became hallow, Salmon became samhain.”

I stopped in my tracks. “You’re pulling my leg, aren’t you?”

“What, you think all this is to do with druids and ghosts?”

“Well, that and a good horror movie.”

“It’s marketing, Jimbo. It’s St. Valentine’s Day with vampires. The Witches of Salmon would…”

“I know, weep into their cauldrons. Hubble, bubble, boil and trouble.”

Allie’s stomach rumbled. “I need some M&Ms, Jimbo. All this talk of food is giving me an appetite.”

We retraced our steps. “You know, Allie,” I said, “if all this distresses you, you could always Hum them away.” Allie’s only weapon, as far as I knew, was his psychic Hum; a sound that penetrated people’s minds and hearts and made them do his bidding.

“I thought of that,” he said. “But it would cause more trouble that its worth. If I make these vendors go away, others will take their place next year.” He looked at me with those dark expressionless eyes of his. “I might not be here this time next year.”

I hadn’t thought of that. I felt my face fall.

“Don’t fret too much, Jimbo,” he said. “We have much to accomplish before I go anywhere. But first, I need…”

“M&Ms,” I said.

“Yes,” the aardvark replied. “And I want to have another look at those school uniforms.”

Welcome to Allie’s World: Aardvarkian Origins.

I will be returning shortly to the world of Allie the Aardvark. To massive public clamor, as well as a petition signed by such notables as Barack Obama, Salman Rushdie and the bloke who runs the local chipper, Allie fans will wait no longer.

Tomorrow I shall post the Halloween special; but for now, read and enjoy Allie’s first appearance in my life.


WELCOME TO ALLIE’S WORLD.

The top prize of my local pub’s lottery draw sat in my armchair, eating chocolate peanuts through its snout, and flicking through the channels of the TV with my remote. It looked very much at home.

“When’s Judge Judy on?” it wondered.

“You know who Judge Judy is?” I asked, very much amazed that it could talk.

“She’s must-see-TV.”

I looked at my watch. “It’s five after midnight. It’s too late for Judge Judy.”

“It’s never too late for Judge Judy. You got any pretzels?”

“No.”

“You can sit down, you know. I don’t bite.”

“You suck.”

“I hope that’s not an insult.”

“I mean, you’re sucking up those peanuts.”

“That’s what we aardvarks do. We suck.”

“But I thought you ate ants?”

“Among other things, yes. Please, sit down. You’re making this aardvark uncomfortable.”

I sat down, not taking my eyes from this strange creature. It put down the sweets and extended its hand, paw, whatever, to me.

“My name is Alistair Reginald Boothroyd lV, but you can call me Allie.”

I shook its..whatever it was. “I’m James, but you can call me Jimbo.I didn’t know aardvarks could talk.”

“We don’t.”

“But I can hear you.”

“That’s because you’re supposed to.”

“Huh?”

“Jimbo, come on. You arrive into work this evening to find that the top prize in your bar’s lottery draw is an aardvark. Stuff like that doesn’t happen every day.”

He was right, it didn’t. Usually the top prize was cash, but ticket sales have been down since the economy went pear-shaped. So we rang up suppliers, asking them to sponsor the draw. Only one came through for us. Hence the aardvark.

The winning numbers were 2, 3, and 5, and there were three “lucky” winners of the top prize. All of them took one look at Allie and passed, taking instead the consolation prize of five free drinks. This left me, as stand-in organiser of the draw (the boss was on holiday), stuck with an aardvark. So I put him into an empty cardboard box and brought him home with me. I considered myself fortunate that I didn’t meet anyone I knew on the way back to my apartment.

“So why is it that only I can hear you?”

“The powers that be have decreed it so.”

“The who?”

“I don’t know. I may have made that part up. You got anything else to eat except chocolate peanuts?”

“I have cheese.”

“I can’t suck cheese.”

I looked in my fridge and found some yogurt. “Will this do?” I asked, showing Allie the carton.

“What flavour?”

I checked. “Blackcurrant.”

“Nice. I like blackcurrant yogurt.” I gave him — it was a “he” now, seeing that we’d been introduced — the yogurt. He tore off the foil cover and sucked up the contents. The sound was like that of a vacuum cleaner, sucking up clotted cream.

“I have to go to bed soon. Are you all right down here?”

“I’m fine,” he replied. “Leave your laptop open, if you wouldn’t mind. I want to check my Facebook.”

“You have a Facebook?”

“Doesn’t everybody?”

“But you’re an —

“–aardvark, I know, I know. So you keep reminding me.”

I started up the stairs to my bedroom. I was dazed.

“You got any good books?” Allie called.

I stopped and looked down. “What do you read?”

“Any King?”

“Just¬†Cell and¬†Lisey’s Story.

“No¬†Dark Tower?”

“Not yet.”

“Man,” Allie replied. “You’ve got to read the¬†Dark Tower series.”

I sighed. “So people keep telling me.”

Ten minutes later, when I was about ready to put his whole episode down as some sort of elaborate hoax, I could hear the sound of jewels exploding, followed by hoots of joy.

“122,500 points. Jimbo, when I’m good, I’m very, very good.”

I pulled my pillow from under my head and buried my face in it.¬†Tomorrow, I thought.¬†I’ll sort this out tomorrow.