Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why machines are better than men!

My friend Majella got her new iphone 4s. She was practising by sending a message to her husband.
"Brian", she commanded.
"Brian, husband", responded the dulcet tones of the man hidden in the phone.
"I will be home at seven tonight."
"Message sent".
Forgetting what she was talking to, Majella automatically finished by saying
"Thank you."
She realised her mistake and felt quite foolish.
Imagine thanking a machine.
"Your satisfaction is all the thanks I need!" came the response from the phone.
She nearly fell off the chair with shock. She couldn't remember the last time someone said that to her!

When she got home at seven o'clock, poor Brian was chastisied.
"You so need to get the iPhone attitude!"
Men, you have a lot to live up to!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reality check.

I can't believe it's that time of the year again.....our girlie Christmas night out. Genevieve, Majella, Rose and I headed out for our annual dinner.
Last year....

This year....

I know I gave up alcohol for November, but hey it was the 26th. That's close enough to a month!
I blame the vodka for the fact that we ended up in Mantra nightclub
Or Mantrap, as my nieces like to call it....so you can image the age group!
That aside, we had a great time. I was a bit taken aback by some of the "outfits" almost worn by the girls!
That's a real sign of my age!
Honestly, I've seen ants dry themselves off with larger pieces of fabric! The fact that we didn't expose large areas of flesh didn't deter one brave soul. He approached us with the classic line
"I have a nesst and I'm looking for a laying hen!"
I had to burst his bubble.
"Sorry Pet, but if you're counting on my eggs, you'll be sorely disappointed!"
Later we said our goodbyes and Genevieve and I got a taxi back home. Our taxi driver was a lovely man, full of chat. We discovered that Vincent, Genevieve's husband, plays soccer with Mr. Taximan's brother-in-law. That's Ireland for ya. You never know where you're talking!
He was telling us that he would head home at about four o clock to have a cup of tea and a shower, then he would head back into Dublin to work from 5.30am til about 11. The reality of the economic state of our little country suddenly reared its ugly head through our vodka induced haze. He told us he was only taxiing for the past two years. Before that, he had had his own auctioneering business and had his retirement planned out. Then the shit hit the fan, and now he's working as a taxi driver.
He wasn't grumbling or complaining. In fact he was very upbeat. I'm quite sure he didn't think three years ago that this is what he would be doing on a Saturday night. But he was just grateful to have a job at all now.
A very sobering thought.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St. Kevin Part 2

Today saw the completion of the story of St. Kevin. I set the kids the task of illustrating their favourite part of the story.
That's teacher talk for "Draw a picture"!
After a few moments I could hear the word "goalie" emanating from a group at the back. Getting them back on task I said
"Now lads, what has a goalie got to do with St. Kevin?"
As quick as lightning one of them retorted
"Maybe he was signing him for Glendalough Celtic!"
What could I do but laugh! They are the most quick-witted kids I've ever taught. Luckily for them I have the same sense of humour!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A bird in the hand....

The topic in Religion today was St.Kevin. The story goes that St Kevin stood in the lake up to his waist, arms outstretched, reciting the psalms. One day a blackbird started to build a nest in one of his hands. Being very fond of nature, St Kevin didn't move until the nest was built, eggs were laid and hatched, fledglings had flown away.
Phew! He must have had some biceps after that.
This was too far-fetched for the class to believe. So I told them this true story involving my Dad.
Dad was also an animal lover, and this included birds.
I obviously didn't take after him as regards the birds!
He was building a house and had the walls up. He came back to it after a weekend to discover that a bird had started to build her nest in the house. Dad refused to destroy the nest and proceeded
to build the house around it!
He left an opening in the wall for the mother bird to fly in and out, the eggs hatched and a few weeks later the fledglings flew away. Only then did Dad fill in the gap.
The kids were dumbfounded at this story.
"So Miss, your dad was a kind of saint?"
He sure was!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The X-Factor

I was googling Ancient Egypt for history class when I came across the date 1300 BCE.
Is this a typo?
No! Further investigation revealed that Christ has been obliterated and it is now Before Common Era.
I don't know about you, but political correctness has gone mad. Like it or lump it, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah etc are momenteous historical as well as religious figures and references to them are found in all areas of life. You can't just wipe them out. How much more correct would it be to accept our differences and simply.......

My huge peeve is the use of the word Xmas. It is a celebration of the birth of Christ. You can either celebrate it or ignore it. But you can't just change Him into an X, and then go and have all the fun!
If you do that then you must also
  • Erase Sunday and Monday from the calendar, as they were named in honour of the pagan deities of the sun and moon. I'm sure that offends someone. They are henceforth to be called Xday 1 and Xday 2
  • Tuesday  is named for the Norse god of War. So shall we call it, say Xday 3?
  • Was Wednesday named for weddings? No. Another in the line of days named for Norse gods. This one was for Woden (or Odin), the chief of the pantheon. Xday 4, perhaps?
  • When you hear thunder on Thursday you will remember how this day got its name. It was named for the Scandanavian god of thunder, Thor. You guessed it, Xday 6!
  •  Friday is the only day of the week named for a woman. Her name was Frigga and she was the consort of Odin.  The slapper! She should definately be renamed Xday 7.
Now see how confusing the whole thing gets. And don't get me started on the months! January is called after the god Janus, definately a two faced character. So in case it offends someone, lets call it Xmonth 1. And on and on it goes.
But why stop there? Your designer Nike trainers are a no no. They are named after Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. And in all fairness, the Greeks are not exactly winning at the moment!
Why can't we just accept that we have different beliefs...or perhaps none at all. This is what adds fullness and diversity to the world.
Why do some people want to suck the colour out of life and paint it grey?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The rhythm is going to get you.

First it was invites to 21st birthday parties, then it was to 30ths, onto 40ths and now its the 50ths! And they get bettter and better.
I headed up to Leixlip for one of the above.
I won't say which!
It still being November, I am sticking to the Coke. Oops, let me quickly verify that..... I am still on the Coca Cola. Liz had driven over as well, so she was teetotalling too.
The band started and we were up on the floor. It was right up our alley, you know, music with words that you can hear! Queen medleys, followed by a bit of A-Ha, with Footloose thrown in for good measure. This was then followed by a good old disco, with more of the same. It was better than any aerobics workout.
I eventually left the floor and got my coat to head back home. When some of the other party-goers saw me with my car keys in my hand they exclaimed
"You're not driving? What if you're stopped?"
"It's ok. I haven't been drinking."
"What?? Judging by the moves you were making on the dancefloor, we were sure you had been drinking!"
I know a couple of guards who thought the exact same thing last weekend!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bloody hell!

It was a crisp autumn day. I was walking around the school during breaktime as I was on yard duty. Two of the younger boys came racing towards me, in their shirt sleeves, oblivious to the cold. Despite the fact that I was muffled up in a scarf and coat, I stiil shivered on their behalf. I halted them in their tracks..
"What are you doing? Get back to your classroom and put on your sweaters."
Off they sped.
Two minutes later they were back, one of them sporting a bloodied elbow.
"What happened?" I enquired.
"I fell and scraped my elbow."
Eh doh! What does it look like?
I brought him in to doctor him up. As I wiped it and applied antisceptic, I couldn't resist the urge to give a mini-lecture.
"Now if you had been wearing your sweater like I said, then you wouldn't have scraped your elbow so badly."
Two big innocent eyes stared up at me.
"But Miss, I was running back into my classroom to get my sweater, like you told me, when I fell!"
What? Who? When? I didn't say that! It's not my fault!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vertically Challenged

On this very auspicious day we watched the inauguration of our new president, Michael D Higgins.
What other president in the history of the world can attribute their election to a simple brown envelope?
My class were engrossed as they watched the live broadcast of him entering the chamber of Dublin Castle, walk up the aisle flanked on either side by his aides-de-comp. The kids weren't even born when our last president was inaugurated. There was absolute silence in the class as they watched the pomp and splendour unfold. Then a genuinely puzzled voice asked
"But Miss, when is he going to stand up?"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Simple Machines

In science class today we were discussing simple machines and how they develop into more sophisticated ones over the years. We took the example of a washing machine and traced its history.
  • beating your clothes off a rock in a river (preferably after taking them off first!)
  • hand washing them in a tub at home and then squeezing them through a roller to wring them out
  • a twin tub, where a machine washed them but you had to transfer them into a spinner
  • our modern day machines, in which you throw your clothes, press a button and come back when they're washed and spun (at least that's what I do!)
We then went on to predict what the washing machines of the future will be able to do.
"So if you were to develop a new washing machine, what other tasks would you make sure it could do, to make life easier for us?"
Most of the children decided that what was needed was a machine that would gather your clothes off the floor and actually put them into the machine for you.
"Very good class. That would be very useful."
"But Miss," said my smart Alec. "That's already been invented. It's called "Your mother"!
I know his mother well. She'd kill him if I told her what he said!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

See, it's not just me!

When I saw this I whooped for joy.
Yessss! I'm not a sole paranoid nerd. I have a superhero!

These are my previous thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome to my Crib......I wish.

Isn't it wonderful the way one little daydream can change a mundane activity into a magical moment?
This afternoon I went into the pool in Mullingar Park Hotel for my mandatory swim. Usually there are a few people racing up and down the pool or lounging in the jacuzzi. But this afternoon there wasn't another sinner in sight.
I slid into the water and began my lengths. It was so glorious to have the place all to myself. I didn't have to check for other swimmers trying to cut me off at the pass. I could do front crawl, breaststroke and back crawl to my heart's content.

I indulged myself in a little daydream.......that this was actually MY pool. You know, like the houses on Cribs.The only difference is, I would actually use MY pool! It wouldn't just be for decoration.
I then spent some time in MY steamroom and MY jacuzzi.

Feeling very relaxed I headed off for MY changing room. As I approached the door, another woman exited, adjusting her goggles. I was in such good form, all I could think was
No problem. Just go ahead and use MY pool.
God, I'm so nice!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The pen is mightier than the sword.

This gem of information came up in the course of class today.
A female swan is called a pen.
As a teacher you are always trying to push the boundaries and so I asked the question
"Does anyone know what a male swan is called?"
There was a silence while they tried to retrieve an answer from the recesses of their brains. Not wanting to leave me waiting too long, a voice came from the back of the classroom.
"Eh, would he be a Ballpoint?"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One of those nights

I was heading into town to meet the girlies for dinner. With the hour after going back for winter time, it was a dark and dismal night. I had just left my house and was almost in Raharney when suddenly......
Jeez. Where did they come out of?
Out of nowhere there were five young lads walking along the road IN DARK CLOTHES. I didn't see them until I was right beside them. Thank God they were on the other side of the road or I would have mowed them out of it.
I was very shaken at what could have happened. It made me even more careful......which was very fortunate. As I was approaching Killucan I thought I spied something in the distance. I slowed down and as I rounded a corner, there on my side of the road was another young fella on a bike WITHOUT A STITCH OF A LIGHT.
FFS! Has everyone got a death wish tonight?
I seriously considered turning around and retreating to the safety of my house but I powdered on.
I indicated to turn left off the motorway to take the sliproad into Mullingar. I could hear a motorbike behind me.
 I looked in my right wing mirror, no sign of anything.
I looked into my rear view mirror, nothing.
I was about to veer off left, when I suddenly realised that the gobshite was overtaking me ON THE INSIDE!
I'm practically a mass murderer at this stage.
I got into town without any further near-misses.
I'm off alcohol for November. I know most people do that for religious reasons and offer it up for All Souls, but I'm afraid I'm not that noble. I'm doing it as I want to lose weight before Christmas!!! So, a jug of water with dinner, three diet cokes and two still waters later I was weeing for Ireland!
At around 2am I was coming back home into Raharney. At the end of the village there is a fork in the road at the local pub. I live off to the right, so I indicated to get ready to turn. Then I saw flashing lights up ahead and realised that there was a garda checkpoint just up the road to the left.
Shit. Now where do I stop? I'm not going left. I'll just pull up here in front of the pub.
I did just that, and out of nowhere there was a guard at my window.
I rolled it down and she stuck her head in, obviously to smell for alcohol.
"Where are you coming from?"
"Have you been drinking?"
"Are you 100% sure? You seem to be trying to avoid the checkpoint."
Damn. that was the wrong decision I made.
"Oh God no. I live up that road there. I stopped here because I wasn't going up as far as your check point."
I could see that she was still sceptical.
"Could you step out of the car?"
Oops. I'm in trouble now.
"Of course."
Out I got. No wobbles....even if I was bursting for the loo!
"Do you mind blowing into the breathalyser?"
"No problem."
"Can I see your licence?"
"Here it is", as I leaned into the car and took it from the sun visor.
By this stage she could see that I was actually telling the truth.
"Ok. Off you go."
Ah what? No breathalyser? I'm a bit disappointed.
Obviously I didn't say that out loud. I was about to get back into Roxy when a voice boomed out.
Wha? Where is that comin' from?
A second guard had appeared on the scene. I was about to lauch into the reason again.
"I realise that it must have looked suspicious but I  live up this road and........."
Getting a bit irrate I said
"But I did stop."
Guard #1 intervened , gave me a rye smile and said
"It's okay here. Off you go."
And I did!
What I want to know is,
Where were the guards when I was almost mowing down camoflagued road users?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three strikes and you're out!

On Saturday 15th November 1884, elderly spinster, Emma Keyse, was brutally murdered at her burnt out house at Babbacombe Bay, South Devon, England. The person accused of this atrocity was her employee, 20 year old John Lee, a young man from nearby Abbotskerswell. However, evidence was very circumstantial.
There was no CSI:Babbacombe.
Lee happened to be the only male in the house at the time and he had an unexplained cut on his arm. Despite this and his constant claim of innocence he was sentenced to hang.
On 23 February 1885, he was led from his prison cell in Exeter prison to the gallows in the courtyard. The noose was placed around his neck, the lever was pulled and....nothing.
The trapdoor failed to open.
Strike 1.
The mechanism was checked and all was in order. The process was repeated......with the same result. The door did not budge.
Strike 2.
I suppose they thought "Third time lucky" and they went for it again. You've guessed it. The door  remained firmly closed.
Strike 3.
The place was in total confusion and John Lee was brought back to his cell.
 The case was brought before the Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt. He obviously thought that the poor devil had been through enough mental torture and that fate had intervened. He commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Lee continued to petition successive Home Secretaries and was finally released in 1907.

So what's that got to do with me, I hear you ask!
Well, last Thursday I was in Mullingar Park Hotel for my swim. My membership was due for renewal so I whipped out my cheque book.
Hey, I know that's so last century but  I was using up my last one.
Ger, a friend of mine appeared on the scene, we started to chat and I got distracted. Then we went off on our way.
The next day I had a call from nice Mr Leisure Centreman who told me I had forgotten to actually sign the cheque.
Strike 1
Oops, it was a genuine mistake Your Honour!
I apologised profusely and said I would be in  to rectify the situation.
The next day I went back. There were different staff on who didn't know where the cheque was. So they said to come back another day when Mr Leisure Centreman would be on duty.
Strike 2
This time the guy at reception did know what I was talking about and said the cheque was in the till. Somehow it's hooked up to the computer. He pressed a few buttons and hey presto......nothing! the till refused to open just like John Babbacombe Lee's trapdoor!
Modern technology, my eye!
Help was called, but to no avail. The drawer held fast. I can only imagine the relief that Lee had felt, but I just decided to go for my swim and reassess the situation when I was finished.
45 minutes later and the till was firmly closed.
Strike 3!!!
Today I will make one final attempt to pay my debt. If it fails, I am pulling a "John Baabcombe Lee" and appealing to the Home Secretary/ Mr Leisure Centreman for clemency.
I think Fate has decided that I don't need to pay my fees for this year.
Wish me luck with that one!!!