Monday, September 29, 2008

Eat-driving

It seems that eating a McDonalds® meal whilst driving a manual-transmission, power-steering-free, cupholder deficient vehicle through a suburban area then a country road at night is a difficult task.

Y’see, a manual transmission, power-steering free vehicle generally requires the use of all limbs for effective piloting. The left hand is responsible for changing gears, operating the handbrake, the indicators, and toggling the headlights between high and low beams; the right hand is tasked with turning the steering wheel, assisted by the left hand when turning (due to the difficulties imposed by a lack of power-steering). The left foot is necessary to operate the clutch, while the right foot operates the brake and accelerator. It’s not a complex system, as basic co-ordination between limbs in this inter-reliant fashion will generally lead to safe locomotion.

Difficulties that arise when additional duties for the four limbs are introduced can be overcome by implementing a proprietary driving system, such as the official McDonalds® ‘I can’t wait ten minutes I have to eat now’ system, which compensates for the multi-tasking limbs by introducing less dexterous - hence underused - body parts.

For instance, whilst the driver holds a McDonalds® Sweet and Sour dipping sauce in his left hand, and a carton of McDonalds® lightly salted French fries in his right, the operation of the steering wheel is sub-contracted to the subject’s knees. This duty is compounded by the presence of a McDonalds® 500ml carbonated beverage clamped between his thighs, which must be held together despite the constant movements of left and right feet on the pedals. This three-way conflict of interest means that the driver must maintain a balance between maintaining a safe position of the vehicle on the road, the vehicle’s rate of acceleration, and maintaining only a gentle grip on the beverage between his thighs, so as not to warm it.

When changing gears, great care must be taken not to spill the McDonalds® carbonated beverage, as the depression of the clutch involves considerable leg extension. Great care must also be taken not to spill any of the McDonalds® Sweet and Sour dipping sauce, which should be gripped between the thumb and index-finger as the gear-stick is manipulated with the palm of the left hand. A similar process is involved when indicating and toggling the headlights between high and low beams, making use of knuckle of the thumb to activate the switches.

When taking sharp turns on a car without power steering, two hands are generally required to turn the wheel. This is generally problematic, as once the right hand has been handling McDonalds® lightly salted French fries, drivers do not wish to transfer the residual salt to the equipment in the vehicle. A sharp turning manoeuvre can be performed satisfactorily whilst holding the McDonalds® Sweet and Sour dipping sauce between the thumb and index finger as before, and gripping the wheel at the 10 o clock position with the left middle, ring and little fingers, and placing the wrist of the right hand under/over a spoke on the steering wheel as appropriate, and moving it in an anti-clockwise / clockwise direction.

Follow this guide, all drivers of cupholder-deprived, power-steering lacking, manual-transmission vehicles, and enjoy the sudden improvement in the quality of your life today!

[Note: Has been known to cause serious injury and some cases of death]

Sick Note



That picture was taken last Friday at the Cahercalla Clinic in Ennis, just before I got my wisdom tooth pulled.

In advance of the surgery, I was advised to take a week off to recover. I was looking forward to the this process, thinking it’d afford me a few days to write and blog and job-hunt with the kind of zeal my present obligations have a tendency to interfere with.

For the past few days I’ve felt a desire to defend the procedure, lest anyone think any less of me for the fashion in which it was carried out. This compulsion is enforced by the phenomenon that most people I’ve talked to have had more teeth pulled with much less ado.

Y'see, my lower right mandibular third molar (to use its proper title) was removed whilst I was under general anaesthetic, on an operating table, wearing only a hospital gown. My father couldn’t help but compare this with his experience, in which he had four wisdom teeth removed in a dentist’s chair (whilst conscious, wearing his own clothes) on a Friday, and was back at work on Monday. Any efforts by myself to situate such incidents as belonging to a more barbaric time are immediately rendered fallacious by my girlfriend who underwent essentially the same procedure not too long ago.

For these reasons, I feel the need to regurgitate half-understood buzzwords from my dentist’s diagnosis to elevate my seemingly childish ailment into a testament to how severe the situation was. When someone innocently remarked “I’m surprised they knocked you out for just one tooth”, I couldn’t not stick up for myself: “The one tooth I did have was coming in horizontally!” I spluttered, as if such an orientation gave it explosive properties. I followed this up with a swift appeal-to-medical-authority to quell the quarrelsome lay-person: “Also, it was so close to the nerves for my tongue and lips that they didn’t want to take any chances”.

When dealing with more-credulous profferers of sympathy who unwittingly stumbled into the realm of undermining my condition, I’d occasionally indulge in some purely speculative exaggeration. “My wisdom tooth came in horizontally, and was pushing against my teeth – in time they could have looked like a line of collapsed dominoes!”

Anyhow – whether or not I managed to impress upon those around me that my recent “surgery” deserves the quotation marks or not, I can at least assure you that I believe it was an ordeal. The amount of pain and swelling I’m experiencing is still on a sharp upward trajectory; whereas the lump in my cheek was the size of a ping pong ball yesterday, it’s more comparable to a tennis ball today. As my face balloons, I can hear my speech growing increasingly indistinct, and I’m starting to sound a poor man’s impersonation of Marlon Brando in The Godfather.

Needless to say, the first day of my well-intentioned week hasn’t been very productive. Not only has my work ethic been kicked squarely in the nuts, but my level of concentration has taken a hit also. Whilst driving my car earlier on, I noticed the lack of the symbiosis between man and machine – I was on edge, trying hard to focus on what I was doing, but having little success and feeling quite unsafe in the process. There was an editorial-piece that I was going to get around to writing today, but if I can’t trust myself with the mechanical operation of a motor-vehicle, I’ll hold off on any attempts to provoke-thought for the time being. Instead, I’ll post something that I wrote last week, decided ‘nah’, and figured I’d touch up before posting at a later date.

Since I’ve spent the past 600 words hedging the following entry with a ‘don’t blame me, I’m on medication which affects my judgement!’, I think I can safely post it without the edits I planned on making whilst of sounder mind. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WTF of the month

[Note: this isn't a regular feature, in case you read too much into the headline]

True story: a week or two ago, I attempted to visit this very blog to have a peek at what I was up to a year ago (it's no secret that this blog serves as my online memory), but instead of arriving at 'Sully's Blog - the angry warblings of a narcissistic atheistic pedant', I found myself looking at 'AZT.com - Mega site of Bible studies and information'.


My jaw dropped. For the first four seconds I wondered if the site had been hacked by someone displeased by my good-natured ribbing of organised religion, but realising how utterly insignificant my site is in the grand scheme of things, began to look for alternative hypotheses.

So I checked the address bar. I wasn't on ssully.blogspot.com at all! I was on ssully.blogpot.com!



It seems that these evangelical types decided that they would buy a domain to catch typo-prone chaps like myself, and convert them in the process. Of course, if they'd learnt from the experiences of Jehova's witnesses, they'd know that few people enjoy spontaneous religious pontification, but it's a nice effort all the same.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

With friends like these...

A few months ago, I decided to add the Feedjit widget to the blog, which sits to the right side of the page and displays where the last few hits came from, for all that are interested (such as myself).

Late last night, I got a message from friend and fellow-blogger Fin, suggesting I have a gander at the detailed results page for the widget.

From the details above, it seems that someone came to the site from Ireland, using Firefox as their browser, running Mac OS X, and found it through google after searching for 'people who are shit at halo'.

After a bit more scrolling, I saw a few more unusual entries of dubious veracity:

As you've probably surmised by now, my friend is an idiot. A very clever idiot. If you're interested, he's written up the same tale with a bit more technical information, on his new look blog! (Oooooh!)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

"Broken"

I'm posting this video because it deserves to be shared and seen by as many people as possible. If you're not interested in US politics, you might want to give this post a miss, however.

The clip is a delightfully succinct summation of the type of brazen hypocrisy that propaganda-spewers will indulge in, and the highest concentration of these offenders seem to sit on the right-wing, making the job of political satirists like Jon Stewart a very easy one indeed.

It's testament to how broken political reporting is in the United States when Stewart can just compare statements made by pundits (and politicians) and get the laughs he does. To a casual-follower of US politics, Jon Stewart's comedy (!) show is essential viewing, as it represents the most forthright and concise criticism that one can find on US television.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Close Call

Whilst playing videogames with my seven year old brother, I became distracted by the fact that he had stopped looking at the TV screen and was directing his gaze towards me, as if gearing up to broach an awkward subject.

“Can I help you sir?” I asked.

“Se├ín” he squeaked.

“Yessir”

“Do you know America?”

“If by ‘America’ you mean the nation known as the United States of America, then yes I do”

He took a moment to process what I had said, then continued:

“Do you know that there’s a hurricane there at the moment.”

I chuckled and said “Oh Really?”

He seemed taken aback by how aloof I was about our exchange, and proceeded gingerly:

“Do you know who’s there?”

“Who?”

“Caitlyn.”

He paused, waiting for the shock to register on my face, then gave me a little prompt:

“Your girlfriend.”

At this point, (after another chuckle at his concern), I put his mind at ease by explaining to him that America was a very large place, and that anybody I know over there was not in any danger.

And in one fell swoop I learned a few things about my littlest brother: he likes my girlfriend, he has a means of keeping abreast of major world affairs, and unlike his second-eldest brother, he endeavours to be tactful and discreet in potentially difficult conversations!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Excuses Excuses...

It seems every other month I find myself apologising for some perceived infraction of the blogger - blog-reader covenant. Dear reader, I am truly sorry that I only managed a feeble three posts during the month of August, and I'll try my best to counterbalance this dearth during the month of September.

In the meantime, I humbly present my excuse:

I couldn't update because I had a few things to do. Things like:

Going to Pittsburgh to see old friends!

Going to a wedding in Wisconsin!
Checking out a baseball game in Milwaukee!

Being best man at my brother's wedding in Cork!

Visiting Northern Ireland!
Graduating!
Going to my graduation ball!

Next post should be business as usual: over-zealous effusions about things people care little about!