Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Quick notes on 2014 flipping over to 2015

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

We say true things so we’re outspoken. We call out mistruths so we’re angry. We do this repeatedly and we have an agenda. Truth is some kind of social faux pas these days. 2014 was another year of Snowden “leaks”, Wikileaks “leaks” and Sony email leaks. Truth being released is now controversial. Let’s see what 2015 brings for all things true.

Will the T in LGBT, no longer be a silent T?
Transparent from Amazon was a well received show on a parent transitioning to being a woman, surrounded by her completely batshit insane family. What was fantastic to me was a lot of the crew and cast were trans themselves but the show didn’t need a giant flashing yellow arrow to point them out in the show.

Laverne Cox on the cover of Time. And not a trans show but the BBC airing the Boy in the Dress this Christmas was a fantastic way of moving society forward even if by a few millimeters.

T was just tacked on to LGBT for many years, T issues were skipped or attached to being mental health issues. I’ve been totally ignorant of it, comfortably so for ages because just like fighting for equal marriage, it’s easy to ignore those you don’t know of. I remember only a few years ago the near violent protests when some college LGBT societies wanted to add on the T to their swiss army knives of letters. Some of those most against it then I note are very vocal campaigners for marriage equality now. I’m sure that’s LGBT equality. So maybe with a few things like this, things will change. The creator of Transparent equated her show to Will and Grace for gay rights, I thought that show was awful and very stereotyped but it was a start to having gay characters regularly on screen.

And away from societal stuff…

No more Phantom so I tuned in to 8Radio, Lyric FM with Liz Nolan, John Kelly and Aedín Gormley. John playing Dobrinka Tabakova every Friday.

2FM came back with swagger and I find myself listening to it a lot more than before. Nicky Byrne is perfect for that radio slot with Jenny too. And Chris and Ciara. The music has upped a gear too.

TV series:
Fargo, Breaking Bad was good but just good. Hannibal went a bit too grotesque but man what an ending.
Rick and Morty maybe my fav show. Black Dynamite was good but too formulaic. Archer over-extended. It was not Wired Season 2 if that’s what they were going for. Come back Venture Brothers.

Mostly factual books with me taking lots of notes. 100 years of solitude though. Damn. Currently reading The Peripheral. Not sure what’s happening. Read Iain M. Banks’ last one. Sad it was all over, goodbye The Culture.

Being Mortal will stay with me for a long time and has already changed by 2015 plans about things I wanted to research. I was looking at looking more into things related to sleeping and better sleep but ageing is probably something to consider too. Look after your older people. Falls are their biggest threat according to that book.

Fav site:
TravelPirates, LowCostHolidays, Ryanair. Holiday porn. I know, holiday porn.
Bookdepository for books, too many books. I need to stop looking at Bargain Alerts on Boards too.

Living and Loss at the Glucksman

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

I was in many minds about this exhibition. An art exhibition about illness and death is always going to get you thinking about these topics. That’s the idea surely. The Year of Magical Wanking has left me thinking for years after seeing it. Selfish introspection bit warning: When you’ve been diagnosed with MS in about a half a second you think about your illness, death, impending death, helplessness and knowing what you always suspected deep inside you: that you will not live forever. So let’s go down to the ballgame (or art exhibition) and reexamine all of this. *And we breathe in as we start walking around.* I gather that those that are ill and are post-illness are going along to this too and maybe it’s cathartic for some of them.

Living Loss Catalog

The Damien Hirst stuff to me is boring, I like his sliced up animals in formaldehyde and some of his other works but he’s far too commercial and mill school for my liking these days. There are some in-jokes for his posters of medicines, for those that work in pharmaceuticals or the medical profession.

The two most powerful pieces to me are the paintings of Cecily Brennan and the photography of Jo Spence.

Cecily Brennan’s paintings here of the skin of children: psoriasis on a baby’s hands and chest, eczema etc. pains you that such fragile beings are hurting from this. It certainly makes you feel powerless and protective. Other paintings of post-op skin grafts and stapling are still quite impactful.

Living Loss Glucksman - Cecily Brennan

Jo Spence’s photographic self-portraits of herself and her breasts and the changes pre and post-operation while she deals with breast cancer get to you. Her looking out, cold clinical, factual, something unseen trying to change her life. Giving something a name gives you power over it and Jo writes “Property of Jo Spence” on her breast. Her pieces in this exhibition bring you from the start all the way through to the end of this. I’ll be going back again just to see her photographs.

Property of Jo Spence at Glucksman

There are works too from Martin Cree, Laura Potter, Mary Rose O’Neill, Paul Seawright and Thomas Struth. Local Cork artists The Project Twins also have a few more modern pieces that have a bit of fun with the ideas of pills and medicine. Worth seeing too.

When you compare the topics and content of an art exhibition or any kind of content to your own life, you’re knitting them around your own thoughts about your life This exhibition and Jo Spence for certain will be remembered by me for much longer perhaps more than some watercolours of fields in some art museums.

On the topic of touchy feely stuff, I’ll be on a men-only panel (How this Week in Politics!) at Banter about men and their feelings. I’ll be talking about “coming out” with my MS and the positive and negative results of putting it all out there. Living and Loss runs until March 10th 2013.

Man love

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Wrote this to my iPhone notes the other day:

Some of my older male friends are weird about doing more than briefly shaking hands when you meet. You will accept the MulleyHug, dislike it all you like mofo. The younger generations of men are fine with contact, comfortable with hugging each other, enjoying their closeness. Might be a softening due to liberal attitudes, more interactions with girls and gays perhaps. Who knows for sure but touchy feely is nice. The yearning to touch and be touched, physically and emotionally is surely a natural human condition. We’re not talking public face fucking, like.

Then this popped up via Kottke yesterday:

David Brooks argues that over time, people (especially men) have become more emotionally intelligent and that this shift might be responsible for a significant portion of our cultural progress.

and Brooks points out:

Body type was useless as a predictor of how the men would fare in life. So was birth order or political affiliation. Even social class had a limited effect. But having a warm childhood was powerful. As George Vaillant, the study director, sums it up in “Triumphs of Experience,” his most recent summary of the research, “It was the capacity for intimate relationships that predicted flourishing in all aspects of these men’s lives.”

0 sleeps til

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


Every now and then I decide to give something up to appreciate it more or to see can I do it. I gave up booze for a year before, it was easy enough, tried to give up meat and fish for a year and lasted 3 months and for 2009 I’ve been off chocolate.

I’ve loaded up on 7 selection boxes (two were presents), some O’Conaill’s chocolate, Lindt chocolate and I was given a present of Butlers chocolate too.


So did I miss it? Absolutely. I’ve been a chocoholic all my life and chocolate has been a comfort, a treat and a mood enhancer for me. Bad mood? Chocolate helps. Want to relax? Chocolate helps. Good work done today? Have some chocolate.

Will I appreciate chocolate more now? Perhaps, I don’t know. I’ve seen how the French appreciate good food including chocolate by taking small bites and appreciating every chew. Perhaps I’ll do that after first biting the head off a chocolate bunny I’ve nicknamed slugtard and swallowing in one go. After that I’ll train myself to take small bites and to chew.

So what am I going to give up for 2010? Well it was suggested I give up bad language, when I told others of that suggestion a mini-protest started. Apparently people like my strategic use of colourful language in person and on Twitter and this blog. It’s much easier to give something up though than take something on, as an old classmate said about Lent before. So maybe I’ll give something up and take something on. I’ll let you know what in a year.

Damien Offline

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

For the first time in maybe 7 or 8 years I’m going away and I will not be checking my phone or email the whole time I’m avoiding thunderstorms. No Twitter, no blogging, no leaving dumb comments on YouTube videos as Jake256ard. I think I might become smarterer from being away from it all.

I’ll see you all in 12 days.

Fuji Provia 100F - Canon EOS 1n
Photo owned by (cc)

We need more Helens and Conors

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I know the woman who wrote this letter to Dermot Ahern about her sons. She’s brilliant. It won’t be self-serving, cliquey, rainbow waving gay groups or “pride” parades that’ll bring about equality, it’ll be people like Helen Doody talking about her gay sons, it’ll be Conor Pendergrast talking about his two mums and it’ll be friends of gay people who are sharing their experience about their gay friends with greater society. If gay people are hiding themselves away at work and skulking in gay bars on weekends and only coming out in daylight for a single annual pride parade, exactly how can society understand and identify why we want to be treated as equals? It’s easy for a society to be ignorant and even hateful of a vacuum. Who’s creating that now though?

Dear 2008

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Damien is Free

Thank you.

From the suckiest 2007 to the best year of my life. Some move! 2008 saw me finishing up in my day job and working for myself and being diagnosed with MS. No no, this was good. I got a tattoo with the word “Free” inked on my chest a few months ago just to remind myself of this year and what happened. MS was the best wake-up call ever. It made me realise life is short, most people are worth loving while a few aren’t worth your time at all. I’m caring more and I’m caring less. I’m working harder than ever and loving every single second of it. Work for me now is 7 days a week, 16 hours a day at times and it’s totally fun. Money and tangibles became even less important for me in 2008 than previously. I’m saying “ah well” more than ever before too because I’m taking risks and that’s a phrase you’ll say now and then after you take that risk.

I’ve lost some friends but I’ve gained tonnes more and am now not just surrounded but mobbed by amazing and inspiring people, many of them read and contribute to this blog. You all rock! I’ve got some plans for 2009 and 2010 and 2011 and 2012 as it happens but I don’t care too much if they work out or not. If they don’t: Ah well. The journey is the real fun and interesting bit.

I’ll enjoy being free next year too and whatever number of years after that. Thanks 2008. Thanks to everyone that took time out of their lives to read, to leave a comment (even if calling me an asshole) and to share their thoughts and opinions with me offline too. See you on the other side.

Mulley and Markham on MS

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

I contributed to a piece that Markham Nolan helped put together on Multiple Sclerosis for the Sunday Business Post. My scowl is on the cover of the Agenda section and Mulley on the rocks is on pages 6 and 7 too. Oh how that photo will be reused for a future public upset…

Mulley scowling
Picture of the front cover taken by Bernie.

Markham covers his mother and the tough experience his whole family had with her MS and I give my experiences of being diagnosed with it earlier this year.

The piece I contributed is much longer than what’s in the Business Post and they added in my age to the piece too. I’m 31, not 27 as the article states. 31 and 3/4s at that. Overall the edited version reads very well. However the last two paragraphs which I thought the most important were edited out too, which is fair enough. They’re the pros. I’m including them here as I think it’s worth covering as if it wasn’t for this blog I wouldn’t have encountered other people that have MS experiences:

There are many like me who have MS, perhaps the majority but I only thought of wheelchairs and crutches before my own experience with MS. I might never get another attack and all I have is a slightly moany left side that I can easily deal with. I knew some of the history of Markham’s Mum and I was thinking would that be me in a few years. A few hours after I got out of hospital it was Markham I contacted to ask for his experience. Since I “came out” with MS a good deal of acquaintances and friends have told me privately of their MS or that of their spouse or parents. I was shocked at all these people close enough to me who have experience of MS and I never knew.

My blog has a phrase “invisible people have invisible” rights. When people with MS came to me, telling me their story it helped a lot. I wouldn’t have heard 80% of these uplifting stories had I not disclosed my MS on my blog and to friends and family. It is a personal choice though and being open about my MS has been of immense benefit to me. This was my story, why not tell yours.

Update: A post on this from Markham.

IrishRail’s gaywatch – Confirm they are on lookout to stop gay couples

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

It seems that IrishRail is actively watching out for gay and lesbian couples who might be getting the train. Minister for Setting things back 30 years Mary Coughlan, when she was in charge of social welfare put a law in place that denied samesex couples the ability to travel on a companion travel pass and IrishRail started enforcing it this year. They now have public notices in train stations that state:

Only named persons that have signed the rear of the pass and that are of a different gender are entitled to use the pass.

Irish, blacks, no gays

The “rules” mean that you can claim a companion pass even if you are unmarried, once the person is of the opposite sex. You can blab on about the Constitution and the protection of marriage and such but if unmarried couples who are not gay or lesbian can get the pass then that’s some serious inequality there. Or an old person with a non-loving, non-sexual partner. Up to the rule change by Coughlan, samesex couples could claim the pass if they passed the same eligibility tests as heterosexual couples. Of course if an elderly gay couple(I hear there’s at least 4 in the country) and an elderly lesbian couple went training around the country they would be allowed if they put a person from the other couple on their pass and vice-versa.

IrishRail’s spokesperson confirmed in an email to Suzy Byrne that they have been stopping gay couples from availing of this.

Maybe they should those World War II propganda posters too?
Photo owned by Ligadier Truffaut (cc)

How do you think?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

There’s a lot of thinking going on this week on this here blog. After today it stops. Right?

Well anyway. I was thinking about thinking last week and specifically how we think and remember things. When I do the odd bit of study for my Law degree and attend lectures, the only way I recall things is visualising the “story” I’ve read and heard about. Writing it down is all well and good but the text is only the crib notes for the visual masterpiece that I see in my brain when I commit it to memory.

I’d never put much thought into how I thought about things and how I remembered things but when i did some research (yeah I Googled) I found that visual thinking isn’t very common. So I asked people on Twitter how people thought. The answers varied wildly. How interesting.

Today is Leaving Cert results day with people doing really well and not so well and breaking down after years in the grind of trying to commit things to memory and then bringing them back and putting them down on paper. What ways did they do this? How do they put that information in and take it back out?

pain chart
Photo owned by gbSk (cc)

Do you see images? I see full in-depth movies with colour and wonderful layers if I have to recall facts about legal cases, I see the colour of uniforms, wonderful diamond encrusted rings and dark wooden floored barren houses when it comes to cases about the Law of Property. I see ginger beer and taste it and my stomach slightly turns at seeing a snail inside the bottle when I think about the Law of Tort.

As I mentioned in this blog post, I look like I’m daydreaming or switched off when I’m paying full attention. I guess I am daydreaming in a way.

What works for you? How does your brain work?