Smirking From Home

Turning ideas into words.

What’s On Your Mind? – Revisited

Last month I vented forth on the inanity of Facebook. For the most part I vehemently stand by my original opinion, albeit now, with a slight amendment. The reason for doing so is inherently selfish and I cannot feel ashamed nor guilty about it. Accusations of hypocrisy will be taken on board, mulled over, chewed a while, swallowed and removed via the appropriate canals. Every so often a little spot of verbal sparring does no one any harm, so as always, I’m happy to correspond to any contradictions pointed out.
Recently I’ve been adding some old muckeroos and muckerettes to my friends’ list. It’s nice to know they’re all still knocking about and keeping well. One of them has, bizarrely enough, even scaled one of the highest mountains in the world, something which I had casually and unknowingly remarked about in my initial blog post. I’ll readily admit that as I received each friend invitation and acceptance e-mail, a fond memory came with them. IF you’re prone to the occasional moment of sentimentality, then Facebook can offer you a brief moment of comfort in these troublesome times. However, I will also admit to being delighted at the increased size of my friends list as it means a potentially larger number of individuals reading this blog.
A mercenary tactic? Well it would depend on your viewpoint. I genuinely don’t believe it is. The best critics of anything you do in life can be your friends or family, a lot less likely to pull their punches. True, they might also take the opposite route and be untruthfully kind but as someone who aspires to write more and to develop a unique style, a larger reader base is confidence-building. 
Any budding writer’s output will not be to everyone’s taste. We all like different styles of writing and varying subject matters. There are many out there who find Henning Mankell’s work hard going, particularly the non-Wallander novels, yet I believe he’s the most interesting detective in modern literature. Stieg Larsson is accused by his many detractors of blatant misogyny but like the more abundant fans of the Millenium trilogy, I understand he held the opposite view of women and tried to highlight the many injustices they suffer at the hands of men. I’m not intending to compare anything I ever write to their works. Rather it’s an acceptance that not everyone will find the humour in my posts nor agree with my political views. Hell, some of them might even find Dancing on Ice quality entertainment. That’s their choice.
Facebook is a means to an end. Where that end will be I have absolutely no frickin’ clue but the journey will be fun. Although the blog title “Smirking From Home” may convey images of a sad, greying 30-something, sitting at a PC, spewing invective at the modern world, I’ll point people towards the byline. It is about turning my ideas into words. Rantings and ravings, musings and mullings, all rattling around inside this big haired noggin. Like a damn good trump, better out than in, even if the side effects can be messy.
Baby wipes can be provided if you’re prepared to take the plunge. 

March 25, 2010 Posted by | Communicating, I Am What I Am | , , | Leave a comment

The Gombeen

Playing around with names for a blog is not as easy as you might think. Trying to find a healthy balance between attracting people to read the blog or offending them is akin to walking a tightrope on yer tippy-toes. One slip either way and it’s hello obscurity. Mind you, until I herd a few readers into the pen of the Gombeen, I’m beginning from obscurity anyways. Still it’s better not to alienate anyone from the word go. I was considering another analogy to describe this balance, one involving tongues and a certain number in the sixties but that proves my point. A potential reader with a prudish mindset may not come back for more.
I was always under the impression that Gombeen was a term of endearment / colloquialism for a village idiot or buffoon, a character from a Patrick Kavanagh or Spike Milligan novel.  A toned down gentle version  of a gobshite if you will. Understandably someone might be wary clicking on a link with the term gobshite in it. Who knows what types of visual delights may await them if they would do so, farmyard or otherwise. So in my infinite wisdom I opted for gombeen, only to subsequently learn the term was unfavourable to say the least. Gombeen is an old term for a conman or blaggard, one of unsavoury virtue, always out to snaffle a quick buck at another’s expense. Lovely. Just the type of image I wanted to create. I’m considering changing it and renaming the blog but until I can determine how to easily transfer the content of one blog to another, Gombeen it shall remain. Actually I’m still rather fond of the term. Rapscallion or village idiot, I know which description I would prefer. 
Aye, I’ll stick with the name as it is for the time being. Have no fear, dear reader, I’m not after yer daughters or yer geese. I’m not looking for your bank details in which to deposit the inheritance of some African prince. I’m just going to tell you a few stories about my life and about the world in general. And hopefully put a smile on your face.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | I Am What I Am | , | Leave a comment

Smirking From Home

Life as a government artist has its upsides and downsides. A major benefit is you’re saved from listening to the inane chitter from the office millies about the latest reality show or how Liverpool still have won more European Cups than United from the besuited plebeians. When you work in an office environment you are dragged into these cesspits of verbal diarrhoea whether you want to or not. It’s akin to being paddled with wet towels about the head, your brain eventually resembling that of a Hollyoaks scriptwriter. There was a numbing inevitability about walking through the office doors each morning that I no longer miss, now being a recipient of governmental generosity for the foreseeable future. And yet the grass on this side of the unwashed divide isn’t exactly a whole lot better.
Yes there’s no longer the endless commute to deal with or rubbery pasta from the canteen for my savoury delectation, but there’s also the undeniable fact that daytime tv is for the challenged of many varieties. Fancy a free holiday? Then pretend you want to emigrate to Australia. Pack your shiniest synthetic clothes and head off Down Under whereupon you’ll discover that you can’t buy a new house in Oz for the price of a wigwam and that the indigenous wildlife isn’t all resident in the local petting zoo. You’ll dream about having a pool to spend your sunfilled evenings by, not realising that at some point a friendly neighbourhood kangaroo or possum will probably deposit a few faecal fancies for your cleaning pleasure. Maybe you’ve only decided to emigrate because some spiv in a suit has told you that Great Aunt Bonjella passed away and as sole heir you inherit their estate. She was a lovely lady, always willing to play with you when you were a child you’ll say, conveniently forgetting you have no idea who this person was, apart from a vague recollection that your Da had an Aunt once who smelled of catpiss and lozenges. You then find out she had no liquid assets but had an attic full of 17th century bedpans and fat porcelain figurines. One auction in a room full of retired schoolmasters and carehome daytrippers later and you’ve made a few bob and you are ready to travel. A small word of warning though. Australia isn’t Scunthorpe so any complaints about the length of time travelled will not be tolerated. Oh and here. Here’s a DVD of your family saying how much they’ll miss you and how much they want you to stay. It’s mainly the grandparents of your kids to be honest and they’re easily bought off. A free taxi to the local auction house and a packet of firelogs and they’ll say anything. No point in telling the producers that they’re delighted to see the back of your hyperactive halfwits and can now enjoy retirement in peace and tranquility. No more Yu-Gi-Oh for them. 
All of a sudden your morning’s over and you have the joys of afternoon television to feather your tickly-bits. By now, however, you’ve hyperventilated enough from shouting at the magic box in the corner, that you need a  Rich Tea or some similar sedative. After scooping the soggy biscuit from the bottom of the cup with a teaspoon you then realise you forgot to pick little Kyle or Jade up from pre-school. Luckily for me, I have until 2pm so this mistake is easily avoided. I have the pleasures of BBC Newsline to enjoy at one-thirty, a fun-filled affair proving that prostitution must now be legal in the corridors of Stormont. For now there’s no five-dollah whoors in Ulster’s corridors of power, even Ian or Gerry hasn’t mastered the pingpong special just yet. One is waiting for the great baby oil split to happen anytime soon. It’s only a matter of time.
To kill this slow crippling poison that has invaded my life, I’m going to spout, spew and speculate about stuff from the comfort of my black swivel chair. A view from the welfare state, you might say. Well it’s your taxes after all so I’d better give something back.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | Ondatelly | , | Leave a comment

Big Hair Traps Big Ideas

“I’d like to be you Daddy”, the wee lass said, “but without the hair”.  Six year olds don’t hold back when it comes to speaking their mind. She was right though. I have, well had, huge hair. After dropping her at school that morning I ventured forth and had a veritable scalping. Well that’s what it felt like anyways. Yes it’s all neat and tidy now but there was something primeval about its recent state. A wild, rampant and uncontrollable follicle feast, the scourge of daylight and small household pets everywhere. I loved it. The hairdresser loved it. I knew she was weeping silently as she glided the scissors through its leafy grandeur but its’ time was up. It had to go.

It made me realise though that sometimes a change of direction is needed, a new beginning. I had previously been blogging about gold-making in World of Warcraft and writing stories about non-playing characters in the same game. It’s something I intend on continuing but even amongst friends and contacts, there’s little long-term appeal in those ventures. That’s where the Gombeen comes into play. There are ideas and thoughts I’d like to share with people, things which have a more generalist appeal. I have the time on my hands and it has to be put to better use. This may ultimately not be that avenue but it’s a start.

The intention is not to have any specific theme to the blog. What’s in my head one minute could be gone the next so what I write could be construed as a stream of consciousness albeit edited and hopefully proofread. Right, that’s enough of this wittering for now. Let the proof of the blog pudding be in the reading.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | I Am What I Am | , | Leave a comment