What's the Best Way to Register Distaste?

Since I’ve been doing a lot of to’ing and fro’ing between Ireland and Rome, I’ve made a firm decision to never fly Ryanair ever again, unless it absolutely cannot be avoided. There’s a few reasons behind this.

  1. First, and most obviously, Michael O’Leary could possibly be the world’s biggest cunt. The kind of person I would be very happy to hear had spontaneously burst into flames and choked to death on his own melting oesophegus.

  2. I’m sick of being treated like a piece of shit by Ryanair’s barely-competent ground crew. I was blind drunk one night and went into Zaytoon, where the extremely condescending guy behind the counter started acting all “wellity, wellity, wellity, what a surprise, the drunk fat man wants a kebab”. I remember thinking “Hey fuck you, dicknose! You’re the shithead who works in a kebab shop, you’re in no position to judge anyone. Just slice the meat and shut your stupid face.” This is kind of how I feel about Ryanair ground staff.

  3. I’m sick of being hawked shit every ten minutes on their flights. Especially when I just want to sleep.

  4. They’re a false economy. Ryanair gives you 15kg for your checked luggage, and it’s €20 per kilo above that. Aer Lingus gives you 20kg. So whenever I’m booking a flight, I’ll always add an extra €200 to the Ryanair price. They’re never cheaper than Aer Lingus.

Simply avoiding them isn’t enough for me though. I want them to know each time I avoid them. Down the street where I work, there are a bunch of bars that we used to go to, but that we now avoid because they decided it would be better to try and rip us off once than have our continued, regular custom. Now, I’ll occasionally walk into one of these bars, wait until someone acknowledges my presence, and then leave and go to another bar. It’s ridiculous and petty, I know, but so am I.

So I want to do something like this with Ryanair. Every time I take a trip, I’d like to send a letter saying “Hello, I’m flying between $city_a and $city_b, but I decided to fly with one of your competitors because I think your business practices are appalling.” I thought this was a great idea until someone pointed out that they’re such cheap cunts that they’d probably charge me an administrative fee for having opened and read the letter/email.

So what’s the best way to let Ryanair when they’re missing out on a fare from me? The pettier and more ridiculous, the better.

Assassin's Creed 2

Playing the first Assassin's Creed was like going out with some very cute, bi-polar girl. She's attractive, and crazy enough that the sex is amazing, but you have to watch out because her mood could change in the blink of an eye and next thing you know, you're waking up in a bath of ice with a giant hole where your kidney used to be, just because you didn't compliment her on her new shoes.

To strain this analogy even further, Assassin's Creed 2, is like her cute, completely stable younger sister. She's just as attractive as the older sister but, most importantly, she's learned from all her older sister's mistakes (Lesson number one: don't be fucking insane). And yeah, the sex might be less wild/dangerous, but you know where you stand. It's safe.

I loved Assassin's Creed 2. It never had any real moments of standout genius in it, but at the same time, it never had me repeating the same six missions-types for five hours, unlike the first game. Instead, it had a continuous string of smaller, more diverse missions, which meant that you were constantly doing something new. One mission would begin right where the last one finished. You never had a chance to get bored, and you never really felt like turning the game off was an option. I'll say this now: for me, Assassin's Creed 2 did a better job of doling out missions than GTA IV.

In fact, I liked this game so much, I'm ploughing through it to make it the fourth game I'll have gotten all 1000 achievement points on. At least, it would have been, except there's one achievement - for kicking a guy while flying your little Hudson Hawk hang glider - that you could only get on one particular mission that you couldn't replay. Of course, I didn't know this when I played the mission, or else I would have kicked that little bollocks off his perch and gotten my achievement.

With the first batch of downloadable content for the game, titled The Battle of Forli, Ubisoft dropped a whole load of these flying machines into various parts in the levels, which means that people like me who missed the achievement first time around could finally get it.

Oh, and they threw a bit of a story around it too.

And here's where I lost interest. The story in The Battle of Forli is bullshit. Total bullshit. The 'dramatic' climax has you fighting a metric fuckload of guards as you chase down the last remaining bad guy. I only bought this DLC to get the achievement, so at this stage, I cared so little about the story that I just ran past all the guards. It was like a Benny Hill sketch, me tearing through the Tuscan countryside with 50 sword-wielding soldiers chasing after me. All it was missing was a bit of Yakkety Sax. In the end, the bad guy reaches his pre-scripted "end" spot and turns around to fight me, at which point I smack him in the head with a hammer before he can even draw his sword. End of DLC.

The perfect end to a storyline I couldn't have cared less about.

Update: I got the last of the 1000 achievement points this evening. As if you care.

Why is No-One Watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?

I don't get it. 30 Rock is massively successful and gets nominated for all sorts of awards every year, despite coasting on fumes for the past three seasons. I can't remember the last time that show made me laugh. Meanwhile, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - the one show on TV that will consistently make me gut-laugh until I feel like I'm going to pass out - slips under almost everyone's radar.

Okay, I understand that jokes about main characters developing crack addictions to get on welfare and finding dumpster babies aren't exactly for everyone, whereas Tina Fey joking about eating pizza instead of going to the gym is something completely inoffensive that everyone can find adorable. But fuck, is that really an excuse for hardly anyone to watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?

Not only is this show funny, it's also full of great ideas, especially if you're on a race to the bottom. This show introduced me to the idea of drinking wine out of a soda can, which has immeasurably improved my ability to party. Now I can dance and gesticulate wildly while not spilling a drop of my wine. And then, of course, there's Kitten Mittons:

Seriously, if you haven't seen this show already, you should stop what you're doing, turn off your phone and spend a weekend getting caught up. If you have seen this show already, wouldn't now be a great time for a re-watch?

Why is No-One Watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?

I don’t get it. 30 Rock is massively successful and gets nominated for all sorts of awards every year, despite coasting on fumes for the past three seasons. I can’t remember the last time that show made me laugh. Meanwhile, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — the one show on TV that will consistently make me gut-laugh until I feel like I’m going to pass out — slips under almost everyone’s radar.

Okay, I understand that jokes about main characters developing crack addictions to get on welfare and finding dumpster babies aren’t exactly for everyone, whereas Tina Fey joking about eating pizza instead of going to the gym is something completely inoffensive that everyone can find adorable. But fuck, is that really an excuse for hardly anyone to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia?

Not only is this show funny, it’s also full of great ideas, especially if you’re on a race to the bottom. This show introduced me to the idea of drinking wine out of a soda can, which has immeasurably improved my ability to party. Now I can dance and gesticulate wildly while not spilling a drop of my wine. And then, of course, there’s Kitten Mittons:

Seriously, if you haven’t seen this show already, you should stop what you’re doing, turn off your phone and spend a weekend getting caught up. If you have seen this show already, wouldn’t now be a great time for a re-watch?

Is This Thing Still On?

Oh, hai.

If you know me, you know I'm not particularly great at managing my time. I'm not one of those smug cunts who can churn out 3 books and a PhD defense before breakfast. I have trouble staying focused and finishing the things I start. My wife loves it when I leave wet laundry lying on the bed because I got distracted halfway through hanging it up.

Right now, college is sucking all of my time. I'm in my final year (fingers crossed!) of an arts degree, and so I'm up to my nuts in postmodernism, victorianism, romanticism -- lots of -isms -- Kant, Plato, and the various ontological and cosmological reasons for God. It's all fun stuff - even more so when my computer hard drive craps out right in the middle of writing an essay. Hilarious.

This is something I really, really want to finish. I don't want to look back on the past three years of college and think of it as a giant pile of wet laundry. So, this means that I don't have much time for anything else. Sorry, Dragon Age! Sorry, Demon's Souls! Sorry, Bioshock 2! Sorry, this blog!

I've got my final exams in the middle of May and then I'm heading off to the Primavera festival in Barcelona immediately after. Things might get back to normal after that.

Is this thing still on?

Oh, hai.

If you know me, you know I’m not particularly great at managing my time. I’m not one of those smug cunts who can churn out 3 books and a PhD defense before breakfast. I have trouble staying focused and finishing the things I start. My wife loves it when I leave wet laundry lying on the bed because I got distracted halfway through hanging it up.

Right now, college is sucking all of my time. I’m in my final year (fingers crossed!) of an arts degree, and so I’m up to my nuts in postmodernism, victorianism, romanticism — lots of –isms — Kant, Plato, and the various ontological and cosmological reasons for God. It’s all fun stuff — even more so when my computer hard drive craps out right in the middle of writing an essay. Hilarious.

This is something I really, really want to finish. I don’t want to look back on the past three years of college and think of it as a giant pile of wet laundry. So, this means that I don’t have much time for anything else. Sorry, Dragon Age! Sorry, Demon’s Souls! Sorry, Bioshock 2! Sorry, this blog!

I’ve got my final exams in the middle of May and then I’m heading off to the Primavera festival in Barcelona immediately after. Things might get back to normal after that.

Ira and Philip Glass Performing Live

This sounds amazing - From This American Life:

Hi everyone—

Ira here. Philip Glass, the iconic composer of operas and film scores who—there's no non-weird way to say this—is also my cousin, is doing a live performance at the Apple Store in Soho this Thursday, January 21st. Apple is filming it and is going to offer the video on iTunes at some point, maybe that same day for all I know.

I've been asked to perform a piece that Allen Ginsberg used to perform with Philip, Ginsberg's great Vietnam-era poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra." Philip set it to music years ago, and there are a few great recordings of them performing it together, which you are just a google search away from, or try this YouTube clip, and at this point by the way are we still supposed to capitalize Google when we use it as a verb or adjective?

I've performed this with Philip once before. He plays that piano a lot louder than you might think. It's like reading a poem inside a helicopter. It's also really fun. Ginsberg used to perform the thing with a beat poet grandeur I'd be embarrassed to attempt. When he calls down the gods in the second half of the poem, he really calls down the gods. Needless to say, it's kind of the opposite of talking on the radio, where the whole point is to sound off-hand and conversational.

I'm the smallest part of this event. Philip will be playing solo, and with cellist (also his GF) Wendy Sutter which is always fantastic and really emotional, and with his chamber group.

If you've ever listened to an episode of This American Life, then you've probably heard Wichita Vortex Sutra before, because they use it as part of their interstitial music all the time. It's the one that isn't by Why? and isn't from the Amelie soundtrack. It's also one of my favourite songs in the world - actually, all of Philip Glass' Solo Piano pieces are terrific - and I'm completely psyched to check this performance out.

Ira and Philip Glass Performing Live

This sounds amazing - From This American Life:

Hi everyone—

Ira here. Philip Glass, the iconic composer of operas and film scores who—there's no non-weird way to say this—is also my cousin, is doing a live performance at the Apple Store in Soho this Thursday, January 21st. Apple is filming it and is going to offer the video on iTunes at some point, maybe that same day for all I know.

I've been asked to perform a piece that Allen Ginsberg used to perform with Philip, Ginsberg's great Vietnam-era poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra." Philip set it to music years ago, and there are a few great recordings of them performing it together, which you are just a google search away from, or try this YouTube clip, and at this point by the way are we still supposed to capitalize Google when we use it as a verb or adjective?

I've performed this with Philip once before. He plays that piano a lot louder than you might think. It's like reading a poem inside a helicopter. It's also really fun. Ginsberg used to perform the thing with a beat poet grandeur I'd be embarrassed to attempt. When he calls down the gods in the second half of the poem, he really calls down the gods. Needless to say, it's kind of the opposite of talking on the radio, where the whole point is to sound off-hand and conversational.

I'm the smallest part of this event. Philip will be playing solo, and with cellist (also his GF) Wendy Sutter which is always fantastic and really emotional, and with his chamber group.

If you've ever listened to an episode of This American Life, then you've probably heard Wichita Vortex Sutra before, because they use it as part of their interstitial music all the time. It's the one that isn't by Why? and isn't from the Amelie soundtrack. It's also one of my favourite songs in the world - actually, all of Philip Glass' Solo Piano pieces are terrific - and I'm completely psyched to check this performance out.

Ira and Philip Glass Performing Live

This sounds amazing — From This American Life:

Hi everyone—

Ira here. Philip Glass, the iconic composer of operas and film scores who—there’s no non-weird way to say this—is also my cousin, is doing a live performance at the Apple Store in Soho this Thursday, January 21st. Apple is filming it and is going to offer the video on iTunes at some point, maybe that same day for all I know.

I’ve been asked to perform a piece that Allen Ginsberg used to perform with Philip, Ginsberg’s great Vietnam-era poem “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Philip set it to music years ago, and there are a few great recordings of them performing it together, which you are just a google search away from, or try this YouTube clip, and at this point by the way are we still supposed to capitalize Google when we use it as a verb or adjective?

I’ve performed this with Philip once before. He plays that piano a lot louder than you might think. It’s like reading a poem inside a helicopter. It’s also really fun. Ginsberg used to perform the thing with a beat poet grandeur I’d be embarrassed to attempt. When he calls down the gods in the second half of the poem, he really calls down the gods. Needless to say, it’s kind of the opposite of talking on the radio, where the whole point is to sound off-hand and conversational.

I’m the smallest part of this event. Philip will be playing solo, and with cellist (also his GF) Wendy Sutter which is always fantastic and really emotional, and with his chamber group.

If you’ve ever listened to an episode of This American Life, then you’ve probably heard Wichita Vortex Sutra before, because they use it as part of their interstitial music all the time. It’s the one that isn’t by Why? and isn’t from the Amelie soundtrack. It’s also one of my favourite songs in the world — actually, all of Philip Glass’ Solo Piano pieces are terrific — and I’m completely psyched to check this performance out.

Guardian's Best TV Drama

Something very strange is going on in the offices of The Guardian.

Before, I thought maybe it was just a temporary blip - that someone had spiked the punch at their Christmas party, and that's why they voted Team America as the fourth-best film of the noughties. I thought maybe they were just giddy with the excitement of 2009 finally being over - surviving the first decade of the Will-enium - and that's why they voted Borat as the second-best.

Because it definitely seems as if they sobered up, realised what they'd done and made up for their moments of giddiness by finally doing the right thing and voting There Will Be Blood as the best film of the 2000s.

There's no excuse for their list of the 50 best TV dramas of all time. A lot of the results are artificially inflated by bullshit sentimentality, or worse.  For example, your teenage boner for Sarah Michelle Gellar does not mean that Buffy the Vampire Slayer had better drama or was a better show than, say, Battlestar Galactica or even Band of Brothers.

But seriously, Mad Men at #4 and _The Wir_e at #14? Did some wires get crossed somewhere? Let's leave aside the fact that The Wire isn't the clear winner and focus on Mad Men for now. I'm sure that if she was still around, Vivian Mercier would describe Mad Men as the kind of show where nothing happens, a lot. In fact, so much nothing happened in the second season that I'd be hard pressed to find any one of my friends who managed to watch the entire thing without having to go back and start again. Don't get me wrong, I still watch Mad Men, and I still enjoy it. I just think it's a little premature to put it anywhere near the top of a list like this.

As if to acknowledge that their list is completely pants-on-head retarded, the Guardian has launched a TV club to go through some of the shows that didn't make their list, starting with the terrific Edge of Darkness. It's a great idea and I hope it goes on for a while.

And maybe when it comes around to 2020, their next list will be better.