Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Dip

Well, another fabulous few days. Christmas Eve morning began with a friend calling with champagne, and I never looked back!

On Christmas morning here, there's a swim off the pier in aid of a local charity or group. Growing up in Malahide, there were always a few people who went swimming on Christmas Day, but I never really paid it any attention. Here it's a bigger deal - the whole village comes out to watch - and for some reason, I thought it might be a good thing to take part in.

And so yesterday morning I warmed my swimsuit on a radiator, and poured myself a glass of champagne. Then off I went. Everyone gathers in the sail club, then make their way out along the pier, and jump on in. Brrrr. It was cold - very cold - but not 'ohmygodiamgonnadie' cold. There were about 35 of us, including a bunch of very brave kids. We swam across to the far pier and back again.

And then there's hot ports, whiskies, chocolate.

The day went great: skyping with Doncaster, Dublin and Singapore, and catching up with friends over the day. The venison with chocolate sauce was very very good, and the champagne jelly & syllabub was a perfect follow-on. And then I joined a local family for post-prandial games & conversation.

Most treaty.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You're some bitch

Goodness me, it's been days since I blogged - how simply dreadful!! [I'm filled with Oscar Wilde language at the moment]. Life has been pretty hectic.

Off we went on the ferry to Sherkin Island on Friday evening, and did our first performance. We were extremely well taken care of, and no-one seemed to mind that we perhaps weren't quite polished...

And so the play was followed by a session, and on the second night when we came to the line "I heard you were out dancing till four o'clock in the morning!" there were smiles backstage, for it was all too true. Night Two was followed by Casey's Christmas Party, which finished, ahem, later than the previous evening. The cast were in various stages of tenderness last night, but rallied for the performance (and having a fantastic audience really boosted us all). And so we hurled ourselves into session three, which was, ahem, later still. And involved daylight.

The vampy villain role went down well: last night someone came up to me and said: "Jesus, you're some bitch!" Success!!

Oh, and I had a bad car accident before dress rehearsal, and have been in agony throughout! I have a sash-like bruise across my front from the seat belt - the amount of concealer it took to cover that up!

Tomorrow, I shall start thinking about Christmas...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A glittering debut

That's the vampy lipstick of which I speak, not me. Yes, we did costumes + make up + props + lighting this evening. An Ideal Husband is gradually coagulating - not the most enticing of verbs, but theatre can be a sticky business.

Using the props revealed a whole host of problem areas, and there was improvisation a'plenty on my part. However, we're getting there.

The only writing today was a To Do list: the day was spent between drama things, a minor 'break' for sorting Christmas #2 photos for the faaaamily, and a trip to Skib to proof the programme. Today's Christmas Cardey post is still sealed, because I refuse to open those lovely cards in a hurry...

However, the good news is that I'm responding to a cocktail of cold medications. Feel a little trippy dippy dopey, but that's not necessarily a bad thing...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Elvish ways

The butchers in Field's Supermarket were more like Santa's elves , they were working with such jollity and eagerness; surrounded by spiced beef, game, loins of some creature or other... I could have watched them all morning. But I ordered my joint of venison and off I went. (My sister has a recipe for venison with chocolate sauce which may be the Chosen One).

Speaking of which, the Grand Master of Costumes is clearly the holder of all kinds of occult and arcane knowledge. My voice is worse today. Beyond husky-in-a-seductive way. At normal volume I sound like Darth Vader; loud becomes high-pitched in a Justin Timberlake kinda way; and whispering does a great Gollum. None of which are particularly Wildean.

Oh dear.

However, the good news is that a saviour has been born. Or brewed. Just savouring my first hot port of the season.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Long day's journey...

Long day :-) I left Dublin shortly after 6am, picked up all our costumes in a roadwork-clogged Limerick, then headed for West Cork.

Nap. Costume fittings. Rehearsal - which is still going strong, but I'm not in Act IV, so I dragged my ready-for-a-sleep self home. Got a head cold over the weekend, so I snuffled a bit through my evil conniving vampy scenes. (The Master of Costumes this morning thought I'd lost my voice as well, but I reckon that's just a result of family conversations & playtime.)

Anyhoo, home now; I have taken a certain mother's advice, and poured myself a glass o'wine.

I also test-drove my new "food machine". Obviously. Aaah, chilli popcorn - such a warming treat on a wintery evening for a tired snuffley lady!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Spice of life

Charging charging charging... phone, camera, toothbrush. Off to Dublin tomorrow, for my second Christmas celebration of the year :-)

The pub quiz finale was a tense affair, and although our only success was in the raffle department, it was good craic. Highlight for all was during the movie theme music round: the pub door opened to the opening strains of The Godfather. "Here he comes!" someone called out. And sure enough, a local godfatherly-type figure entered slowly, and made his way through the pub, smiling benevolently upon us in our helpless laughter.

My popcorn maker died a few weeks back, and I am really feeling it this week. To tide me over, I prepared a vat of spicey pumpkin & sunflower seeds: plenty o'chilli, sprinkle of cayenne, salt & pepper. Kind of addictive, as it turns out. But bursting with protein, magnesium, B-vitamins - all kinds of good things.

Still miss popcorn though. This weekend...

Speaking of which, have a great weekend folks :-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So wrong it's right

Goodness me, we have the pub quiz grand finale this evening, and the day has just slipped away from me. I'm all behind like the cow's tail...

Sometimes, a typo is entirely successful: it just wins you over with its accidental charm. Like the sweet mice topping on the menu of my beloved pizza place in Garajau. Typos like that, you wouldn't change for all the world.

There's a big tv looming over a couple of check-outs in Field's, running local ads and making Christmassey announcements. They show a big colourful ad for a restaurant (coincidentally, a pizza place) in Ballydebob.

That's right. Ballydebob. Which if you pronounce in proper local fashion, would be Baal-d-bob.

I thought Baal-d-hob was the jauntiest place name ever, but this...


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Thinking about Christmassey music today. I don't mean the tinny cover tunes piped through shops, but actual music. Music that you might not hate.

It started with the O Holy Night from the Christmas episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The fab soaring hymn production style of W.G. Snuffy Walden (what a great name) is given a real New Orleans twist. Just phenomenal.

And from there I got thinking of The West Wing and so to The Yale Whiffenpoofs, whose Christmas album have been added to the family music collection in recent years. (Our childhood staple was John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together to which we used to decorate the tree each year.)

Anyhoo, so The Whiffenpoofs led to a capella, and on to Straight no Chaser, a group from Indiana University. I hadn't come across them before: in addition to 'straight' songs, they do funny medleys of boy bands or sitcom tunes or hipiddy hop. And their 'Lion Sleeps Tonight' is worth a listen. But keeping to the theme, their 12 Days of Christmas is a treat. Christmas should have some argumentative songs!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

dear fat furry catpuss

Rest in peace, Mister Postgate, creator of Bagpuss. Your work will live on.

I cannot believe there were only thirteen episodes of Bagpuss made. Thirteen? Why don't we end up referring to it Friends-style, 'The one with the ship in bottle', 'The one with the ballet shoe'? I guess it was always more about the characters than the plot.

I had a look at the episode guide; smiling at the audacious imagination of the little mousey population of that curiosity shop:

Episode 12: Professor Yaffle has a basket which is full of odds and ends. The mice investigate it and find an old-fashioned broom which is made from twigs. The mice decide to make a flying machine out of the basket.

Episode 8: Emily brings back a box to the shop. The Mouseorgan mice open it up to discover that it is a Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Mill. The mice start the Mill and using breadcrumbs and butterbeans make chocolate biscuits.

Breadcrumbs and butterbeans... what else? :-)

And in other mice news,the computer mouse turns 40 today. Who would have thought...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Defenestration: throwing someone out of a window

I've been exploring Wikipedia's page on the unusual. It's subdivided by names, places, numbers, language, science, death - whatever takes your fancy. Now, I'm not a huge Wiki person, since accuracy is so very difficult to control, but that said, this is fascinating.

Some entries might be familiar (the town of Hell, Michigan; the sobering thought of safety coffins; or maggot therapy, by all accounts wonderful and worthy of celebrity endorsement and a massive awareness-raising campaign).

Others are more curious or bemusing or downright worrying: a list of death-defying situations resolved by MacGyver (in the pilot episode he disarmed a missile with a paper clip - seriously); the Ontario town of Punkeydoodles Corners (known for its frequent sign theft - and who wouldn't!); and there's a whole section on Exploding Animals. That's right. The good news is that Exploding Head Syndrome is a total misnomer. Phew.

And coincidentally, the same Wiki page also details the Wilhelm scream, which I only just heard about from my brother this very day. It's a staple in-joke of the film industry, apparently, and you can hear it in all its glory below - from its 1953 origins through Reservoir Dogs to The Phantom Menace.

Note to self: pay more attention to death screams.

Friday, December 5, 2008


The other team members were able to reel off any current affairs tidbit that you could possibly want to know about. But then came the question: "Who is Declan MacManus better known as?"

Ah, how I love that man! Just hearing his name makes me smile...

Well, the dates for the play have been finalised:

> Friday 19 December: Sherkin Community Hall
> Sat 20 & Sun 21 December: Baltimore Community Hall
> Friday 2 January: Skibbereen Town Hall (Note to self: schedule disco nap for that afternoon. And not too much fizzy on New Year's Day...)

Tickets on sale... whenever they're ready from the printers. Baby steps...

And in other news...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Distilled genius

Blustery rainy day. Spent the afternoon curled up with intent, with a toasty fire and plenty o'candles. Still contemplating a word that means scribbling-but-on-a-laptop; in the meanwhile, tappy-tap-tapping will have to suffice.

So, you know when unwrap a new DVD box set, let's say it's The Wire Series 5 for the sake of argument. And before you immerse yourself in the next epic journey of these characters, you want to indulge in a quick, atmospheric recap?

Well, here it is. The Wire: 4 seasons in 4 minutes.

It's in the same vein as The Nine Minute Sopranos; which is also quite a rollercoaster...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A mixed bag

Catching up on a miscellany of things today, none of which will feature in this week's pub quiz I imagine (other team-mates are picking up the slack, reading the Examiner).

Anyhoo, there's a nice interview with Toni Morrison here. And who knew there was such a thing as Lebowski Fest - yes, that's right, a celebration of all things dude-ly, with a healthy scattering of White Russians along the way. Wonder if there's something similar for Diner, where you sit around with friends and talk about Presley over sandwiches and debate nuance vs gesture until the dawn...

Here's something I meant to post weeks ago - a glimpse at Loy Krathong, held on the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai calendar. Like so many great winter festivals, it seems to feature flowers and candles and themes of renewal and hope. Looks magical.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Masqued Intentions

I guess everyone has a marketing weakness. My purchasing vulnerabilty centres around Absolut (see the disco ball for details). The new limited edition - Absolut Masquerade - is currently bringing sequinned festive cheer to an off licence near you. "In an Absolut world, every night is a masquerade." A soft slip-case with over 3000 sequins; unzips slinkily down the back...

Those marketing people would have me from hello.

Monday, December 1, 2008

All losses are restored

Ahh, I am back on coffee. The healing is complete.

A weekend of scribbling, reading, rehearsal and housework (seriously - the post-illness house is spanky clean). Pummelled through Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep; I really want to read the Blade Runner script now - fascinating choices made in the adaptation.

Anyhoo, for now, let's return to penguins. Or one penguin in particular, with honed survival instincts and problem-solving capabilities.

Whaddaguy!! Although I gotta say, with killer whales circling, I'm surprised no-one in the boat panicked and suggested tipping the little guy back in. Or maybe I've just seen too many movies...