Barry’s Rants: The Gym

Well, horse? How are we getting on now? You off training? The bag on your shoulder! You always have it with you. The gym? Ah jaysus, you’re not one of those lads, are ya? I had high hopes for you, Dalton boi. Just another young sheep is all you are!

I wonder would you be able to go out and do a bit of honest work with all your veins and your muscles, ha?! All for show, I’d say anyways. Bicep curls and ye lifting little plastic yokes. I don’t know what ye think ye’re doing but it’s not exercise. Ye’re getting bigger alrite, I won’t begrudge ye that! But at what cost? Doing a crabwalk down the aisle of the train when you’re getting on and off? Cramming yourself into the cubicle when you need a piss? Where do ye draw the line? One look at a bale of straw or a pallet of bricks and ye’d be gone home to flex in the mirror!
No, I worked in the office all my life, why? What’s so funny about that you langer?

My oldest grand son is one of those personal trainers, yknow? Telling young ones and Junior B all-stars what way to bend down in the morning! Getting them to throw heavy balls off the floor and off the wall! He asked me the other morning if he could use my garage for work and I didn’t know he was at this shite so I let him at it. I came back after a few pints that night to hooks and chains all over the walls and the floor; big black ropes on the floor; mirrors at all angles! My own grandson! A sex-pest?? Where did his parents go wrong?? Is that what you’re into, ha?? Thank feck my bus is nearly here because my skin is crawling thinking about ye just staring at each other and grunting. Pack of weirdos, the lot of ye.

Look, all im saying is ye can lift all the weights in the world and I’d still bate ye in an arm wrestle down the Country Squire. I’ll be set up in the back room this Saturday night. Entry is the print of a Murphy’s. Bring it to me, wait for me to finish it and a packet of scampi, and then I’ll flip ye’re arms over faster than a feckin mattress.

Best of luck you gowl!

Are Ya There Existential Crisis? It’s Me, Cian!

Different moods call for different movie genres. If you’re mourning a lost love then maybe a romcom isn’t for you at that moment in time. Perhaps a comedy might suffice. If you have a day off and no plans then maybe a thriller will keep you ticking over. There’s no problem with watching your favourite movies over and over again, but it’s also nice to explore your horizons. You never know what you will find on Netflix. It’s an endless trove of new and exciting features and series mixed with foreign language shows and old forgotten favourites. You can stumble upon  a new classic or waste an hour watching a terrible flick.  The one thing to be said for the streaming giant is that a lot of their originals are heartwarming and packed with life lessons.

Last week I received some discouraging news about a college course I was applying for. I took it on the chin at the time but didn’t really let it sink in. I thought, “I am man. I feel no pain.” I stayed true to that thought and for the next five or six days I didn’t really think about it other than the fact that I was pissed off it wasn’t the news I wanted.
Thanks to developing a cold over the weekend I lay in bed late and just watched movies all day, every day. This gave me a lot of time to think about life and what I was and wasn’t doing. Yesterday was the height of my man flu and consisted of comedies and conspiracy theories on YouTube. Today I was picking and choosing more carefully. I watched The Princess Bride, Fargo (1995), The Miami Showband Massacre and The Unicorn Store. The latter of these movies will be my main focus of this discussion. The discussion into my fragile manhood and my constant lack of direction. Warning! It’s gonna be a fun read ahead guys.

For context, I’m not happy with my weight and am gonna ship a good two stone of weight before my holiday to Croatia at the end of the summer. My abs will be the communal washing board for the villagers. My biceps will be the rocks upon which waves will break. Cannae wait.
I’m not bringing in any serious money. I came home from New York, leaving behind a well paying job because of a plan for a better future. That plan is in dissaray and now money is not my friend anymore.
Finally, despite years of hitting the beds after serious gym sessions with the lads, I’m still as ghostly white as the young fella Casper who was knocked down up by Whipstaff Manor there about twenty years ago. Awful tragedy that was.
So in conclusion, I am fat, poor and pale. Not the best combination but you can only play the card you’re dealt; or in this case, the cards you’ve repeatedly sought after again and again and again.

The Unicorn Store was a slap in the face for me. It is directed by Brie Larson and stars herself alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Joan Cusack. Larson plays Kit, a 20-something dreamer and creative type who has failed in her own dreams and so decides to make a go of it in the corporate world. Along the way she fights with her parents, deals with difficult co workers and bosses and loses herself a bit in her new pursuit.
There is a scene at the very start of the film when Kit, fresh from flunking out of art school, is flicking through the channels and hearing all about rejection and how she would be better off settling down. This affected me because I was lounging on the couch just like she was and listening to the same message. The only problem is that I haven’t really tried anything. I’ve difted from job to job and hand out to hand out, doing well at these jobs but yearning for something more despite not looking for that thing.
Another scene towards the end depicts Kit and her mother making up and apologising to each other, Cusack reassuring her onscreen daughter that she doesn’t think that she’s a disappointment. This resonated with me because I feel like I’ve been getting cabin fever at home lately and that my parents think that I’m a disappointment. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, but it also stems back to that I haven’t failed at anything because I haven’t really tried anything.

There’s an open mic night in Cork City that I could go to every monday night that I just choose not to. I didn’t do anything creative in New York for two fucking years except for start this blog which gives me some sanity. I’ve contributed to a few college and online publications for three or four articles. As soon as I begin to realise I might enjoy putting my work out there consistently I just bail and leave it be. I don’t know what’s wrong with my creative side but hopefully this post will kick it into gear.

The ending of The Unicorn Store is positive. I haven’t revealed any actual spoilers because it inspired me to write this post and I thnk that everyone should go and watch it if they get a chance. It shows that you are allowed to have these periods of self doubt, as long as you still stay true to who you are inside. You are all unique and whatever you choose to do in life, do it your way and with passion.
To anybody who reads my blog, whether it be the movie reviews, the sports pieces or theses ones where I give out about myself for a while, thank you for even clicking on the post. It means a lot to me. Here’s to the future; to being an average weight, financially able to support myself and only myself, and pale.

Captain Marvel

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The newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit our screens last Friday. Excitement surrounding the Avengers storyline has been high over the last number of years and with Endgame being released next month I wasn’t so sure that this was a necessary movie to release right now. I’m pleased to say that I was completely wrong.
The Marvel films are always enjoyable to watch, mixing action and humour effortlessly. Pithy one liners are a constant and the final face off between the goodies and the baddies are worth the two hour build up. Captain Marvel had all of these in droves while also putting a new spin on some aspects of the filmmaking process.

Captain Marvel tells the story of Vers (pronounced Veers), played by Brie Larson, a Kree soldier being trained to defeat a race called the Skrull, shapeshifters, in an intergalactic war. She has gaps in her memory and can’t remember her life before a Skrull attack six years ago. When she is captured by these shapeshifters and they reveal more about her past she follows them to C-53, Terra, or good old Earth. She meets two young agents, Fury and Coulson and begins to learn her true identity as the first hero of the galaxy.

All in all, I thought the movie was very good. It wan’t as funny as Thor: Ragnarok but was definitely funnier than most of the other films in the MCU. After talking to my friend about the movie, we agreed that if Captain Marvel is to save Tony from almost certain death in space then we cannot wait for the riposte and the banter between the two.
A big part of the movie I liked is that it set a good pace for the story. Due to the fact that Vers has no memory before six years ago and is already imbued with awesome powers we skip the hour/hour and a half of build up and figuring out who she is and who she can become. While this does in fact happen later in the movie, Vers already has her powers, knows how to use them and just gets on with it!
The soundtrack is also perfect. The movie is set in 1995, so the songs chosen are a mixture of Rock, Grunge and Pop/RnB. What a mixture! There is an epic scene between Larson and Anette Bening where Nirvana’s “Come as You Are”, plays. The title of the song is poignant in that moment in the film but it also just fits so well with what is happening on the screen.

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Larson is fantastic as Vers. She plays the soldier/piolet/saviour with confidence and is at ease with other big names such as Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson and Bening. She has won an oscar after all!
Samuel L. Jackson, CGI’d to be twenty years younger in this movie and with both of his eyes, is a scene stealer as always. He and Larson bounce off each other and the characters are like old friends at the end of the movie.
Ben Mendelsohn plays one of the villains of the piece, Talos, a Skrull captain. Although their ability to shapeshift is unnerving and their appearance is undesirable, Mendelsohn is hilarious in this movie. I do have a friend who shall reMuireann nameless who found the Skrull’s attractive. In case anyone wanted to know.

I have read a lot of mixed reviews about this chapter of the MCU. Many, like I did origibnally, thought it was unneccessary and would be forgettable. I only went to see the post credit scene which ironically wasn’t worth staying for, but I’m glad I went.
Reviews I have read since have said it is forgettable and that she isn’t a likeable hero. I respectfully disagree on that count as like all Marvel movies, she has serious help from those around her. The difference is that in the end, she realises her true potential and is powerful enough to do whatever she wants.

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This film is an empowering movie for women without claiming to be one. Anna Boden directed this alongside Ryan Fleck, while Boden, Fleck and three other women wrote the screenplay and the story. Pinar Toprak composed the score, making this Marvel’s first ever film composed by a female. These real life women alongside the fictional powerful female characters in this story make this a film worth watching.

 

San Francisco

Just before I made the move back home I took a short trip to San Francisco. A friend of mine had lived there for a year or so and had been telling me how great it was, so I was keen to see the place. Other friends of mine had made the big move across the states to the West coast and I wanted to see them too before i left. Brian and Joanne were getting on great there and Brian, or Broan as I affectionately call him was a massive help to me when I first moved to Woodlawn. I decided to impose upon them for a weekend without their consent, so everyone was happy. They had just returned from a Christmas break to Ireland and I was due to arrive the following Friday, a mere five days later. That was plenty of recovery time for them and I knew they’d appreciate putting me up and showing me the sites.

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I had my last day in work on Thursday of that week. I made the trek back to Woodlawn from Manhattan, relieved to be free of any more responsibilities in the Vanguard. I caught a few hours of shuteye, packed my bag badly once again and wearily made my way to Newark that next morning.
I arrived into San Francisco international airport that Friday evening, still stunned by the beautiful views from my window seat as we flew over Nebraska. I ordered an Uber and made my way to Locksley Ave. Hugo was my driver and after a few minutes confusion as to where he was picking me up we made our way to Brian and Joanne. Hugo talked the ear off me the full forty minute drive, telling me his life story and all about how he was also a concierge in a previous life. He talked, I laughed, he talked, I stayed silent, he talked, I gave grunts and one word replies, he still talked. He got five stars.

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That first night was great. I caught up with two old friends and we went for food in a Caribbean/Brazilian/ethnic resturant. I remember no names of the places I was in because I am lazy and meant to write this last month. We barhopped for a while, drinking Sangria and Vodka Cokes by the jugful. A bar called Milk had so many cutouts of Elvis Presley and impersonators of the King. I put two and two together, got 5 and put it down to San Fran being a cooky place. Not once did it cross my mind that it might be an Elvis themed night. Great lad all the same.

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Along with the weekend came all the sightseeing. We did the lion’s share on the Saturday. We walked down to Haight street, where we were the night before and got a bite to eat, myself and Joanne getting Mimosas and cocktails like all girls do on their hols.
Brian drove us first to the Twin Peaks (LOL). The views were unreal, spreading out over the whole city. In the distance, a tiny speck of land turned out to be Japan. I couldn’t believe it, we were that close to the other side of the world. I had my doubts but Brian explained to me that Earth is flat despite the fact that the globe is round. I was happy with that and happy that Brian would never lie to me. Would you Brian?

Liar then drove us out to one of the viewing points for the Golden Gate bridge. It was awesome up close and the pictures don’t do it justice. I got my picture in with the Holly Bough too, so I was even happier. We could’ve walked it but I only brought a half zip and my nipples were cutting glass. Very dangerous on a windy day.

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That evening we drove out to Sausolito. It is a stunning, picturesque little town that you can reach by car or via ferry from fisherman’s wharf. Right on the edge of the water, droves of tourists took photos perilously close to the deep blue. The city was visible off in the distance, as was Alcatraz, the famous prison that hosted Al Capone and believe it or not, Clint Eastwood.
Japan too loomed large in the background and in my mind.

We had a night on the tiles that night, painting San Francisco red. “But we want blue!”, the San Franciscans cried. We cared not. Brian, Joanne, Sarah and I laughed and roared into the night, painting every square inch of wall red, not forgetting our primer.
San Fran is a great night out in all seriousness but for any New Yorkers that are heading there, last call is 2AM and not 4AM. Be wide.

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Sunday was supposed to be full of sights and tourism too, but after seeing the Golden Gate, the Twin Peaks (LOL), along with Lombard street and the house where Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed, as well as a hangover that would kill a Belgian Blue, we decided to just keep drinking.
Pints of Blue Moon, several shots of whiskey and board games came out in favour of sightseeing and I think we were all a happy bunch.

I did a bit of solo sightseeing on the Monday. After rising from the cot in the early afternoon I made my way to Haight street where I grabbed a bite to eat. I bought a few t-shirts and postcards because that’s what people do on holidays. I hopped in an Uber and travelled down to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf.
I decided to stay put and have a look around. I was transfixed by the Mechanical Museum where arcade games and old attractions were on display and available to use. There was a whole village that was powered by 75 cents. I must add that it is a miniature village made of wooden figurines, but after you put in the money and walk around the glass display it is just amazing. Countless characters have their own individual movements, some even interacting with others.
There was a Simpsons arcade game, basketball games and shooting games, but I was taken in by the slow moving, intricate depictions of different scenes like the one I just described. Despite all that San Francisco has to offer I would tell everyone to go to that museum, bring a roll of quarters and just have a blast.

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After a last supper with Bi-Bri and Jo-Jo, I flew back to Newark late that night. I didn’t really have time then to think about my experience in San Fran as I had five days to pack and prepare for moving home. After taking two months to get off my arse and write some long-winded spiel about the craic we had there, I know I’ll definitely be back there, I’ll definitely be back for longer and Brian and Joanne are fantastic hosts. I’m willing to look past the fact that they lied to me about the geographical location of Japan in relation to San Fran. Dishonor on your families.

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Anal Beads

Part 2 of the Instagram Sessions, coming to you live from a secret location in Chelsea. Today, I delve into the history of a topic brought to my attention by a delinquent friend of mine, who I will not name today. Amidst all the lovely suggestions of writing about beer, Doon G.A.A. and mental health, a certain someone suggested writing about anal beads. I originally planned to have the title in all caps and just write “NO”, under the heading and that would be it. I’d get a laugh out of it and maybe others would get a cheap laugh too. I’ve since thought about it and yes, I will write your post. I’ll play your silly game by my rules.

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This reporter is delighted to bring you an exclusive story fresh from the international creative scene. The American National Artist Liaison, founded in 1975 by Hugh Jass, has announced a partnership with Binge Eating and Excessive Drinking Session ltd, founded in 1993 by Richard ‘Dick’ Butt. The aim of this partnership is to send artists from ANAL to the European headquarters of BEEDS in Dublin to examine the Irish relationship to excessive drinking, binge eating and then drinking again to get over the fear. ANAL and BEEDS have flirted in the past with regards to a similar venture but this time there was no pussyfooting around. Straight in, as Hugh Jass said at the press conference in Anus, France.
“We don’t want to be behind the times,” said Dick Butt. “We want to dive straight in, as Hugh just said, but gently. It’s not like starting a lawnmower. You have to be gentle with the Irish lads, or the beeds as I call them. They might have severe cases of the fear or man flu, and we feel deep in our guts that the artists from America can showcase the plight of the Irish male and his need to binge eat and drink.”
“We are setting up centres for the artists all over Ireland and America. Muff, Co. Donegal and Slickpoo, Idaho, will be our two main thought-centric and idea-haven places where the artists and subjects can get together and really get to the bottom of what’s going on with us males.”
“We’re really excited about this,” continued Jass. “When I made Dick my no.2 on this project I had a feeling that it would all go well. We know that it sounds outlandish. I mean, when you think of the two companies, do you really think anyone will volunteer for this project. Surprisingly, many people did, even outside the businesses. The two main centers in Muff and Slickpoo, as well as numerous support centres in other towns in the two countries, will host hundreds of Irish males in the throes of the fear, as well as artists from across the states who will be attempting to depict our unique ability to soldier on through the fear and the gut you accumulate from a day’s drink, only to do it all again.”

The project will officially be launched in Poo in Spain, allowing the artists and the subjects one last session to tear the arse out of it, but gently.

This has been Cian Dalton, reporting for Rambling House News, on the ANAL BEEDS partnership of 2069. Slan go foill.