Stare Into Space

Ghost Clock

Posted on | January 20, 2013 | 3 Comments

Some kitchen alterations meant we had to move the wall clock.

Now, though, bloody muscle-memory means I never have a clue what time it is as I keep staring, in confusion, at a bare wall. It’s been more than a month and there’s no sign I’ll adjust.

I wear a watch. In every other room I look at my wrist if I want to know the time. That never even occurs to me in the kitchen.

Toast: An Insight To The Mind

Posted on | December 2, 2012 | 2 Comments

Time and again, proper science research has shown that you can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they butter their toast. Typically, the shy and retiring scientists have always chosen to shun the limelight and this research has languished in dusty, though worthy, tomes in The Big Library Of Science.

Until now.

I’ve read extensively on the subject and will attempt to distill the knowledge from this—admittedly vast—field into layman-friendly sound-bites.

All of the toast buttered with no bare toast evident: Careful and methodical while at the same time creative and artistic; highly intelligent; a leader of men; not mental; generally very attractive.

Butter smeared in slap-dash fashion with swathes of toast unbuttered: Hippy slacker; slow-moving and slow-thinking; probably smells of unpleasant stuff; harbours ill-conceived dissident ideas; likely to be dangerous if not so ploddingly lazy.

Look to your breakfast companion. Look into their mind.

Fry-Up Filled Idiot In The Mist

Posted on | July 24, 2012 | Comments Off on Fry-Up Filled Idiot In The Mist

This was my view when I got up yesterday morning.

Pretty cool, eh? Well, until you remember that I then needed to pack up a tent and make my way up into that fog. For a second, bloody, day.

I was out in the hills with the brother and a mate. Rucksacks crammed with sleeping bags, too much food, and a couple of sneaky beers to put the night in. Not a very long hike but thick fog and strong wind made for reasonably tough going. What should have been around a five-hour walk probably ran about six hours as most of it was navigated by compass only,

Luckily we were camping below cloud-level. Even threw together a hearty campfire. Splendid.

Day two was much the same conditions for most of it. A rough section with no trails proved heavy going in that same fog and wind. About half-way through the walk, the clouds broke up a bit and the sun came out a bit. So pleased was I to be able to stow my woolly hat that I neglected to replace it with my sunhat so I’ve now got a bright red bonce. Silly, that.

Burny head aside, it was a great couple of days in the hills.

It also included what was likely the best breakfast-roll the world has ever seen. Oh, yes.



What’s Wrong With You People?

Posted on | June 27, 2012 | Comments Off on What’s Wrong With You People?

Not just today or even this week. Most searched keywords on my site EVER. They’re always there.

Seriously, it’s not right.

And It’s Goodnight From Him

Posted on | June 17, 2012 | Comments Off on And It’s Goodnight From Him

IMG 2618

I don’t usually post images of family but, come on, how could I not?

The Circle Of Life

Posted on | June 3, 2012 | 2 Comments

IMG 25481. Wife buys various flora with plans to plant in gargen.

2. Wife leaves them in back yard until she gets around to it.

3. Plants keep blowing over and rolling around garden.

4. I repeatedly pick them up—scooping back up as much compost as I can—for four to six months.

5. Plants die. Go to step one.

A Nice Cup of Tea and a Book: A Game Of Thrones

Posted on | May 31, 2012 | 2 Comments

IMG 2331I’m suggestible. 

I recently watched the Game of Thrones series from HBO and loved it. Around episode seven, caught in a frenzy of fantasy fondness, I ordered this book. It was a risk, to be honest. I’m not normally one for the fantasy genre but I figured I’d give it a go. Like I say, suggestible. 

George R.R. Martin has been hammering away at this story for twenty-odd years and A Game Of Thrones is the first in a series of books (currently five with another two planned, I think) under the ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire’ umbrella. I’ve read that Game Of Thrones is the most pirated TV series ever. I’ve no idea if that’s true but I figure there can’t be many who don’t know the deal with this particular instalment of A Song Of Ice And Fire.

It’s a tricky thing to summarise the story but, here goes: Lord Eddard Stark is charged by his pal, King Robert, to become his ‘Hand’ and, essentially, sort out all the crap the king doesn’t want to. Ned’s not keen but, you know, kings and all that. Cue much Machiavellian scheming and plotting and stabbing of backs… Across two continents. 

There’s a lot more to it, of course—this is 800 pages here. It’s worth noting, for instance, that there are multiple protagonists. Martin splits each one’s story and every chapter comes from a different character’s point of view. While trying to avoid any spoilers, this allows him a lot of freedom, as no one character is really the ‘main’ focus, and he can get away with a lot he couldn’t if we followed one person all through the book. 

So, did my suggestible risk-taking pay off? 

Not really. It wasn’t for me, to be honest. It seems that my liking for fantasy is restricted to occasional shows from HBO. This isn’t a snobbish thing—I’ve no problem with the fantasy genre or those who properly appreciate it. It’s just that I’m not among them. I’ll get my personal geek on with sci-fi until the space cows some home but throw in fantasy elements and I lose interest a bit (famously, I threw my copy of LOTR away in disgust when Tom Bombadil began singing at trees, killing a passing cat*). 

A Game Of Thrones is well written, if a little rambling at times and has intricate plots and turnabouts more twisted than a Spineless Swerve-Serpent from the Swamps of Smurgh (a little, slightly condescending, nod to fantasy, there). It keeps you on your toes as there’s so much betrayal that nobody’s safe.

That said, it just wasn’t my cup of tea (see what I did there?). If fantasy’s your bag, you’ve probably already read it but, if not, you’ll almost certainly love it. I’ll be watching the next season on TV but I probably won’t be buying A Clash Of Kings. 


*In reality, I only wounded the cat, causing him to limp for the rest of his nine lives, but I did give up on LOTR at that point as real life contained enough tedium without Tolkien cramming in more.

Twitter Archive

Posted on | April 11, 2012 | Comments Off on Twitter Archive

I wish my genitals had a pocket for stowing them during sleep instead of getting sprawled around like a dead octopus whenever I turn over.
Gerry Hayes

A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Book: Christine Falls

Posted on | April 10, 2012 | Comments Off on A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Book: Christine Falls

IMG 2275I haven’t done one of these in a while. Let’s put that to rights.

Regular readers may know that I have quite a liking for John Banville’s work. I haven’t read a Banville book that I didn’t like. Personally, I’ve always considered that there wasn’t a literary foot that Banville could put wrong.

But this is Benjamin Black…

Benjamin Black: The worst-kept secret identity ever. Seriously, Clark Kent pops on some specs and nobody suspects he’s Superman but the Banville-Black connection was the talk of the remotest group of yurts in deepest, coldest Siberia. Incidentally, there are those who are annoyed by the perceived snobbishness of a ‘proper, literary’ author employing a pseudonym to write something as base as some genre, detective-style fiction. While I can concede this to an extent, it wasn’t really something that worried me. I came to Christine Falls with only my usual Banville-Is-Great preconceptions.

For me, though, Benjamin Black, isn’t Banville.

Christine Falls is a dead girl. She died under mysterious circumstances and the novel’s hero, Quirke is a pathologist who finds himself caught up in cover-ups and violence as he tries to unravel the secrets behind her death. This thing goes all the way to the top, to the top of something, that’s for sure.

The book is set, for the most part, in 1950’s Dublin and it’s all drawn quite believably. The atmosphere is thickly coloured throughout—I could smell the smoke and booze in a way I haven’t since the heady, stinky, days before smoking in pubs was banned.

From time to time, however, the action moves to Boston and it was here that my main problem with Christine Falls was most evident.

That problem is that it all feels too hard-boiled. It feels like the dark and sleazy, noir, detective thing is too forced. For me, that seemed most apparent for me in the scenes set in the U.S. but it ran through the book. Dare I use the word cliché? In Dublin, a hard-drinking (too hard) pathologist hero who’s lost his wife and is in love with someone else’s? In Boston, a hard-talking, hard-fighting, hard-loving truck-driver who loves a beer and dreams the American Dream? A tough-as-nails old woman with a heart of gold who helps fallen women? A prissy, couldn’t-be-more-different brother? Etc.

I couldn’t get into it. I kept getting pulled out by the bloody, hard-bitten, tough-bastardness of the thing. Even the hero’s (adoptive) father calls him Quirke, for Christ’s sake. I kept waiting for Quirke to arm-wrestle Sam Spade—winner gets a small figurine of a bird.

Hard-boiled Banville is not for me, I’m afraid. That said, many seem to disagree so go for it if it sounds like your cup of tea (pun intended). For my money, if you want some ‘crime-fiction’ (in that it’s fiction about a crime) from Banville, you’ll stick with the sublime The Book Of Evidence.

Now I have to figure out what to do with the second Benjamin Black novel that I pre-bought.

Damn you, Universe!

Posted on | April 9, 2012 | 2 Comments

IMG 2266

The Universe and I rarely see eye to eye. I’d have followed the five-second rule if there weren’t jagged shards of porcelain everywhere. Stupid Universe.

Now I’m having cake for lunch.

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Gerry Hayes

Gerry Hayes

I mostly sit around all day and drink tea. Occasionally, I write stuff and send it to strangers so they can humiliate me and deride my efforts. Other than the self-harm to dull the shame of failure, it's not a bad life. Like I say, there's tea.

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