Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Aeon Flux

Aeon FluxWhen I first saw the trailer for Aeon Flux my jaw just dropped. Apart from the fact that Charlize Theron looked absolutely ravishing in it (she dyed her hair black especially for the film and it worked for me I can tell you), the trailer itself looked incredible and by the end of it I was full of anticipation and couldn’t wait for it to arrive in the cinemas. Unfortunately, my expectations were cruelly dashed when I did get to see it.

I am a big fan of sci-fi films and I am usually willing to tolerate a lot of crap from this particular genre but even I am forced to admit that this film is quite dismal and, overall, I was left disappointed. The only saving grace, if you could even call it that, was Charlize herself and only because she spent most of the film prancing about in very revealing clothing but I’m afraid even that wasn’t enough for me, black hair and all!


The Music of the Primes

The Music of the PrimesI recently finished a book called The Music of the Primes by Marcus du Sautoy. If you have even a passing interest in Mathematics (probably just alienated 99% of the planet there) then you should really check out this book. While focusing primarily on the topic of prime numbers, this is not a book full of complicated formulas and dull language.

Instead, the author takes a colourful historical journey through the insular world of mathematics beginning with the ancient Greeks and ending in the present day, a journey full of interesting and brilliant mathematicians like Gauss and Riemann. The central underlying theme of the book revolves around the Riemann Hypothesis, which remains unproven to this very day. If you fancy your chances, there is a prize of $1,000,000 to be claimed by the first person who manages to prove it!


Monday, February 27, 2006

Brokeback Mountain Revisited!

Brokeback MountainAfter much procrastination, I finally got fed up hearing how fecking fantastic this shagging (oops, bad choice of word there) film was, so I decided that there was only one thing for it - I simply had to go see it for myself. So some or other evening last week (ok, it was Wednesday, jeez, like it matters!), I donned my favourite Stetson, grabbed my big cuddly jacket and bravely ventured out into the wild outdoors in search of a picture house. (Alright, some of that last bit was a lie; it wasn’t my favourite Stetson as I keep that for special occasions.)

I duly purchased my ticket for the gay cowboy movie, notwithstanding the few odd looks I got from yer one behind the counter, probably on account of the hat, and then sought out a spare seat next to the manliest guy I could find, just for a laugh to see if the Stetson would freak him out, given the context and all. Even though he did initially clutch his girlfriend’s arm a little too firmly if you ask me, in fairness he braved it out and didn’t move to another seat. Although I’m pretty sure I detected a flicker of fear in his eyes and a few beads of sweat rolling down his forehead when I offered him one of my Minstrels. Anyway, onto the movie!

Having psychologically prepared myself for a barrage of hardcore gay sex, the abundance of sheep and complete lack of any to-do whatsoever for this first half or hour so was admittedly a little unsettling, while not altogether unwelcome at the same time. Eventually, there was a quick thirty second burst of what could at best be described as very softcore gay action - blink and you’d miss it – and that was as torrid as it got. Ya ok, so there was at least three more minutes of cowboy kissing and hugging during the rest of the film but like I’m thinking, what’s all the fuss about? Indeed, no need for the Legion of Mary to start picketing local screenings or anything. (Reminds me of the time I went see Dogma and had to walk past the protesting Catholics. They were dead impressive, they had placards and everything. But come on, I mean fecking Dogma, these people really need a hobby or something!)

To be honest, the most interesting thing about this film from my own personal perspective was the sheer vast bleakness of Wyoming juxtaposed with the desolate lives of most of the characters in the film. If you’re looking for something light and cheery, dare I suggest that this is not the film for you? That said, I thought it was a reasonably good film even thought I do reckon it would bore most people to tears. Oh yeah, one of the best bits was seeing Anne Hathaway playing a real person instead of a princess or something equally wholesome.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not So Smart Telecom Broadband!

Not So Smart Telecom MonkeyThe following post chronicles my futile attempts to get any kind of indication from Smart Telcom as to when they might be in a position to provide with the broadband product they originally promised to deliver to me over six month ago.

At first, Cynthia from the Smart Telecom customer service department was trying her best but I think it was all too much for her in the end and I have yet to receive any reply to my last e-mail. If it’s this hard to get something as simple as a date from them then I’m thinking that it must be sheer Hell trying to actually get the broadband installed once it is available and as luck would have it Donal has already covered that angle in his own Smart Telecom rant!

The whole thing is a bit on the lengthy side so instead of putting it all on my main page I’ve tidied it away on its own special page, which you can read by clicking here. If you do manage to get to the end of it then the reason for the monkey should become clear!

9th February 2006

I am currently a Smart Telecom customer in Ballincollig. I was wondering when your Broadband service is coming to Ballincollig. When I originally became a Smart Telecom customer last May your website said Broadband would be rolled out in Ballincollig by August 2005. Obviously, that didn't happen! So, what's the story, how long more do I have to wait? Eircom are banging down my door with all kinds of special offers even though I'm trying hard to resist turning back to the dark side!


10th February 2006

Hi Rickard,

Thank you for your email. This exchange is on our current Network Build Programme and at this present time we are unable to confirm a date as one has not yet been set. Thank you for your patience.

Kind Regards,

13th February 2006


Thanks for your prompt reply to my query. I have to say that it must be really great to work for Smart Telecom. In fairness, I can only dream about being able to tell my boss that a particular piece of work is on my "current" program but that I have no idea when he can expect to see it completed. I suppose if I thanked him for his patience he might be duly overwhelmed by my courteous demeanour and simply disregard the fact that I was already six months behind schedule as well as overlook the fact that I had no idea when I'd be finished. To be honest, I've personally always felt annoyingly restricted by having to commit to arbitrary deadlines and I can only conclude that the vast majority of Smart Telecom customers think the same if they are willing to accept a response like the one sent to me in your previous e-mail.

Look, I realise that schedules can be tricky things but is there any way you could even give me a ball park indication? You know, one month, two months, six months, by the end of this year, by the end of the decade, that kind of thing. Every day I am hearing talk in the media about how we are falling behind in Ireland in relation to the uptake of broadband in comparison to other EU states and I am starting to feel that I am letting my country down by continuing to use dial-up Internet access. In addition to all of that, the rest of the house are constantly berating me about the tortoise-like performance of our internet connection and, to be frank, I'm not quite sure how much more of this badgering I can handle. This is further compounded by the fact that I work in IT and that they subsequently somehow feel that I should be able boost the speed of the telephone line by performing some kind of old-school MacGyver like technical wizardry utilising nothing more than a piece of string, a pen-knife and a plastic cup. So please Cynthia, for the love of God, help me out here as I'm sinking fast!


14th February 2006

Hi Rickard,

I'm sorry I can't advise you of a date for this exchange as again one has not been confirmed. I can't even give you a round about date as this could be just misleading.


14th February 2006


I'm beginning to think that you are some sort of saint. In fairness, a lesser woman would have told me where to go when confronted with the sarcastic and cheeky tone of my previous e-mail. You have admirably resisted the temptation to lose your cool and have continued to maintain the professional composure required for someone working in customer service. Hopefully, we can maintain the same level of civility in the future.

In relation to the rollout of broadband in Ballincollig, I understand your reluctance to give me a specific date when you obviously haven't been given one. However, I am at a loss as to what you expect me to do next? Reading between the lines, I can only conclude that you are more or less implying that I might as well go back to Eircom given that Smart Telecom have failed to live up to their previously published intentions and can't even give me any indication as to when they think they will be in a position to provide me with a broadband product. On the other hand, maybe I'm just a bit stupid and perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you are telling me?

To be honest, I'd hate going back to those Eircom feckers, I can just see their smug faces as they welcomed me back into the fold particularly as over the last six months or so I have been steadfastly resisting all of their cold calls and agents turning up at my door with their latest batch of "unbelievable" special offers. Each and every time I was resolute in affirming my satisfaction with Smart Telecom as I told those Eircom wasters where to go, not to mention the special affection that every man, woman and child in Cork has for the red and white colours of your sassy and provocative "Smart" logo. (Up the rebels!)

So, it is now with a sad and heavy heart that I am contemplating ending this beautiful relationship. Is this how it's going to end, me a broken and bitter man on Saint Valentine's Day? Please Cynthia, if you value this relationship at all then throw me some kind of customer service bone so that we can remember the good times and look to the future with some little bit of hope in our hearts.


16th February 2006

Hi Rickard

We do value your custom and do not want to lose you to another provider. If you require broadband and as we are unfortunately unable to provide this to you at this present time, the only other option you have is to go to another provider. If not Eircom then there are plenty of other companies you could go with for this service and you could also stay with Smart for calls.


16th February 2006


Thanks for your reply. I dunno, this all seems bizarre to me. I switched to Smart in May 2005 with the promise of broadband by August 2005. It is now February 2006 and no broadband is available yet. Furthermore, Smart can't even give me any kind of indication as to what time span we're talking about before broadband will be available. It seems ironic that you had no qualms about lying to me last year but can't give me any date this year because you don't want to be caught telling me lies. It's all very confusing to someone simple like me.

In all fairness, if you just told me that it was likely that broadband would be available to me within 3 months, for example, I might very well decide to wait. The absence of any date more or less forces me to move to an alternative broadband provider, which is strange given that you say that Smart value my custom.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Smart have employed an actual monkey who randomly picks where to send the works crews at the start of each day as a low cost alternative to employing an expensive project manager who might frivolously waste money and time producing silly things such as a build schedule. I suspect that the real reason you can't give me a ball park date is due to the fact that you can't simply pick up the phone and get a date from the department responsible for the rollout of broadband because they are obviously all subject to fickle whims of the damn monkey who is probably pissed off at being paid bananas and is deliberately sabotaging the entire broadband rollout effort. If you want my opinion, that's not smart, just plain dumb!

Now this is just a suggestion but hear me out. You know that Keith Barry guy who does all of those Smart ads on the telly, you lot could get him in to read the monkey's mind and find out on what date that slippery simian intends to send the lads out to the Ballincollig exchange. I know it's a bit drastic, I suspect Keith is not cheap but then again if you hadn't spent all of that money hiring him to do those clever tv ads in the first place then you might have been able to afford a real project manager instead of the low cost monkey option that you're now stuck with. Then again, I've never had a good head for business, so I could be talking rubbish.

Finally, thanks once again for your patience and I would just like to reiterate that I am directing all of this angst at Smart Telecom, the company, and not at you personally. I realise that you are only doing your job, which can't be easy given that the fecking monkey isn't helping things much.



Saturday, February 18, 2006

Swing 'Til You Die!

The Roaring Forties Swing Til You DieThe Roaring Forties, Cork’s finest and best swing jazz jump jive band, are launching their new CD “Swing ‘Til You Die!” on Friday 3rd March. To celebrate this joyous occasion, the band will be playing at 9pm in Scotts that same evening. So if you enjoy good music and like to dance, this is the place that you need to be. This band has to be seen to be believed and the lead singer, George, will probably tell a few jokes as well for free! What more could you ask for of a night’s entertainment I ask you???

You should be able to get yourself a copy of this fine collection of tunes at Virgin, HMV or Tower Records and you can also buy it from their website. It will have you dancing around the kitchen and will go down a blast at parties so you really can’t lose!

Finally, if you have yet to petition The Late Late Show about giving the band a spot on the telly, be sure to read my previous post on the matter without further delay. Go on, get to it!

Labels: ,

Friday, February 17, 2006


Doubletime with DJ GaryFor those of you that haven’t had a swing jazz fix since Christmas, take heart in the fact that Doubletime is back at 10pm on Saturday 25th February in An Spailpin Fanac on South Main Street. Once again, DJ Gary will be dropping the best of beats from the big bands of the thirties and forties.

As a special treat, a swing dancing class (or Lindy Hop class to be precise) has been arranged for the same evening at 8pm in the Unitarian Church on Princess Street so that you can impress everyone with your snazzy new moves at Doubletime later that evening. Apparently you don’t need any experience or a partner so you really don’t have any excuse for not giving it a go!

As DJ Gary says, it’s time to party like it’s 1939!

(If you’re based in Dublin, be sure to check out the Dublin Lindy Hop website.)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Saint Valentine's Day

Funtime SindyUpon reading Knackered Kaz’s Valentine’s Day rant on her blog, I started thinking that something had to be done. So I thought about it for a while and this is what I’ve concluded.

The fundamental problem is that Valentines Day is a day for couples and there is no corresponding day for singles! So I reckoned that if Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers then all that I needed to do was Google the patron saint of singles, sheer fecking brilliance I thought to myself. Unfortunately, things turned out to be a little more complicated than I had first thought.

It turns out that Saint Benedict Joseph Labré (there's more than one Saint Benedict by the way) is the patron saint of single men and that Saint Agatha is the patron saint of single women, those wonderful Catholics and their zany saints. At first I thought about instigating a Saint Agatha & Saint Benedict’s Day but then I cunningly decided that it was time for all long suffering singles everywhere to get one up on their coupled brothers and sisters. Subsequently, I’ve elected that two separate days should be created for singles, one for each saint.

As luck would have it, both of these saints already have their own day, which saves me the trouble of picking them. Saint Agatha’s Day is on the 5th February and Saint Benedict’s Feastday is on the 16th April.

Now all I have to do is figure out how these two days will actually work in practice. Do you buy yourself a nice gift? Do you randomly buy stuff for other singles that you know? Do you decide to take yourself or other singles out to dinner? Damned if I know! However, I do know that there are a lot of smart people out there who could probably work it all out for me. Answers on a postcard please...

(Thanks to Funtime Sindy for the picture.)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cork Jazz Big Band

Cork Jazz Big BandI went to see the Cork Jazz Big Band again last night in Cyprus Avenue. This was the second week of their regular Monday night gig and it’s a great excuse for going out so early in the week, which is also a bit of a curse given how fecking tired I am this morning!

The band themselves are a bunch of very talented musicians and they rattled off a string of tunes from the big band era. However, if you like dancing and prefer something lively then this may not be your ideal cup of tea as they tend to play more moody and down tempo pieces. Even so, they are well worth checking out and for a measly €5, how can you go wrong? So stop dithering and be sure to get your butt down to Cyprus Avenue next Monday night. If only they’d start at nine instead of half ten, I mightn’t be so shagging wrecked!

(Thanks to Donal for the picture.)

Labels: ,

Cork Blogs!

Michael CollinsFor those of you that are tired of the misguided anti-Cork sentiments of less enlightened Jackeen bloggers, United Irelander springs to mind for some crazy reason, take comfort in the fact that we Cork bloggers now have our very own haven of sanity in the form of corkblogs.com. (And there was much rejoicing!)

Now you can whittle your time away perusing the undoubtedly sound musings of other like-minded folk, safe in the knowledge that all of them know in their hearts that Cork is in fact the only true capital of Ireland. Yes indeed, for once I find myself in total agreement with United Irelander, if only we could figure out a way to cut off Cork from the rest of the country and create our very own little island paradise!

By the way, as I couldn’t find a Cork Blogs link image, I went and made the following one. Feel free to rob it! Cork Blogs