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100 Words, 100 Days: Day 2. I Love My iPhone4.

I love my iPhone4, I love the feel of it. What did I do before I got a hold of it? My life was pretty dull until I saw its face, but now I’m running ’round, shouting all o’er the place.

Oh how my life has changed, my world has rearranged. My old phones now, they all seem so strange. I turn my Facebook on, and I play Angry Birds. I’m peaceful in my heart.

Now I got Google+, with very little fuss, and I got iTunes stored and  now I’m never bored.

But every iPhone has an app that fails.

(With apologies to Chris Martin and the boys from Coldplay.)

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.

Choose Or Die: Join In The Fun

Yours truly, as supplied by novakillustration.com

I’m honoured to take part in Season 2 of Choose Or Die, a “choose your own adventure” style story which allows the reader to choose where the story goes from a given point.

It is the brainchild of Steven Novak, a talented writer and artist and author of the FORTS series of children’s books. Steven got some writers from Facebook together and between them they came up with Red Planet Stowaway.

Last season’s story-line of Choose Or Die was a manic and hilarious chase around Mars, with a protagonist who didn’t know who or what he was. You can read the entire story here.

For Season 2 there is a small change in personnel – and that’s where I come in. I join Steven, MJ Heiser, Richard James, Cathleen Holst, Mandy Ward, John Elrod, Yasamin Alisha, Tomara Armstrong, Leah Crichton, Lael Gardner-Stalnaker and Ryan O’Neil, and together we’ll create a story that will make your brains zing.

The story chosen by our readers is called Welcome To Hellywood. The premise is simple: You’re an aging A-list celebrity (by Tinseltown’s standards) who begins losing roles to younger celebs. You make a drastic decision to go under the knife, but are not prepared for the results.

What happens is this: one of the team will write a chapter and then leave the reader with three possible choices, who then vote for their favourite. The winning choice is written by another member of the team for the following week. The other two choices get their own chapter and usually end with the protagonist meeting a grisly end. Hence, choose or die.

This story can go anywhere…and it probably will. Check out the official trailer.

Twitter Ye Not: Ryder Cup 2010

Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomery and Corey Pavin have slapped a Twitter and Facebook ban on their teams during this year’s tournament at Celtic Manor, Wales. This is a preventative measure on both parts, designed to stop the leaking of information to media and fans alike.

The ban will also stop players from posting embarrassing updates and status reports. Last month, English cricket international Kevin Pietersen embarrassed himself and his selectors by complaining about his non-selection for the one-day series against Pakistan via Twitter. Nice one, Kev!

If Twitter is banned for the Ryder Cup, we would miss out on some Tweet gems such as:

“Tiger missed out on a hole-in-one but finished with a 69. Some guys get all the luck.” Luke Donald.

“Haha! Sleeping in can pay dividends!” Jim Furyk

“Hey Colin! Who ate all the pies?” Corey Pavin

“Fuck off, Pavin! Call me Mrs Doubtfire again and I’ll cut you a new one.” Colin (Mrs Doubtfire) Montgomery

“Should’ve gone to Specsavers instead.” Padraig Harrington

“BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! SOB!” Sergio Garcia

“Keep your fucking hands away from my wife, Woods.” Lee Westwood.

“I wouldn’t touch her with yours, Lee.” Tiger Woods.

“We’ll win by 18 points to 12.” Ian Poulter.

“It’s a 28 point tournament, you Muppet.” Ross Fisher.

“At last, England loves a German.” Martin Kaymer.

“No we don’t. You’re only here because you won the USPGA, you Kraut!” Miguel Angel Jiminez.

“Is the bar open yet?” Graham McDowell.

Time To Move On

My girlfriend and I broke up last night, just three hours after I updated my Facebook status to read, “My girlfriend is beautiful.” In truth she is — beautiful, but no longer my girlfriend.

I’m not going to share all the details; it wouldn’t be gentlemanly of me to do so. Suffice to say the writing’s been on the wall for a couple of months now. In the end, Mary couldn’t see herself spending the rest of her life with me. If I’m to be honest, I didn’t think I could either.

She’s a great woman, but after a year together, she knew enough to know that while she loves me, she is not in love with me. That’s fair enough. I’m sad and disappointed, but I’m not heartbroken or distraught. We gave it our best shot, but it wasn’t enough.

We had a fundamental difference. I don’t drink; Mary does (but not to excess). I don’t believe Mary sees herself with a non-drinker. I’m not sure if being with a drinker is the way forward for me anyway.

Sad but not broken-hearted

Yes, I’m putting a positive spin on this. It’s the only way to move on. I thanked her for a wonderful year, a year I don’t regret, I wished her well and let her know that I’m always around if she needs me.

I love her to bits. I always will. But it’s time for me to dust myself off and take some time-out. I’ve stuff that needs to get done (like a novel revision, for instance) and now I’ve the time to do it.

Onwards and upwards, I say.

Thank you for reading.

A Portrait of The Artist as a Post-Dystopian 24th Century Vampyre

Don't need no toothbrush!

How’s it going’, horse? I’m not too bad, thanks for bleedin’ askin’. This vampyre shit is the business, init? Not that I thought so at the start, mind you.

There I was, knocking back pints of Bud at Molly’s in Ballybough, minding my own beeswax, when all of a fuckin’ sudden, I’m a vampyre! It turns out that the blood transfusion I got at the Mater (you should have seen the other fella – I hit his face so hard he was eating from a tube for months) wasn’t the “good stuff,” if you know what I mean. No, it was contaminated with some stem-cell virus shite. Now I suck blood and live like a parasite.

Not much change there, so. I did that when I was human, living off my dole and my ma. But now I don’t age; I get to keep my ladykiller looks, as well as my Burberry.

Fuck sake, boys, Dublin hasn’t changed much in 300 years. Fianna Fail are still in power. Just our luck that Brian Cowen got infected at the same time as me. Now no one can turf him off his throne. Still, at least the Boys In Blue finally won the 2312 All-Ireland GAA Football Championship, their first since 19-fucking-95.

Wankers!

I joined Facebook For Vampyres yesterday. I’ve 450,ooo,ooo,ooo friends now; but if I start getting invites for bleedin’ Farmville there’ll be hell to pay.

"Dying Light," by D. Scott Meek. Order it now or face my fist!

The vampyre chicks are a bit of a let-down, though. I’m all for showing off some flesh, but bloody hell, lads, wearing nothing but the smile on your pug-ugly rotten faces is enough to turn me off my shrimp curry. I’ve seen better looking birds at a shooting range.

I still can’t get the hang of Twitter yet. I’ve only two followers: my ma and my best friend, Georgie Sparrow. Georgie is the oldest vampyre in Ireland. We celebrated his 301st birthday last week by getting right and royally hammered in Fairview Park. A right laugh we had.

I better be off; the sun’s coming up and it doesn’t play well with my complexion.

See ya next time, suckers!

(C) James McShane 2010

Scott Meek’s Blog: reading. writing. revolution.

The Book: Dying Light.

“Fight Club” Director Tackles Facebook

image: blog.wikeez.com

David Fincher, the acclaimed director of Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac, is tackling the birth of perhaps the most important aspect of everyday Internet use: social networking; specifically Mark Zuckerberg’s launching of Facebook.

The tagline is innovative: “You don’t get to make 500,000,000 friends without making a few enemies.”

Being a fan of Fincher’s work, I look forward to seeing how this movie plays out. You can view the interactive trailer at Mashable.com here.

Let me know what you think.