Friday, October 28, 2011

review of the day so far

Today I ate a yogurt which was 8 days out of date. It tasted a bit fizzy and it had two small lumps in the middle, which I also ate.

BUT I also stole two pens from the bank.


I can't wait until someone asks me if they can borrow a pen, I will smile and vomit yogurt all over their shoes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the Pringle's progress

I got the 8am train to Dublin yesterday morning. There was a man opposite me eating a green tube of Pringles, which are the Sour Cream and Onion flavour, and easily the most disgusting of all savoury snacks, particularly at 8am when some of us are easily nauseated because we aren't properly awake. I looked on in distaste, flaring my nostrils dramatically, "PRINGLES ARE NOT A BREAKFAST FOOD. ESPECIALLY NOT THE GREEN ONES. STOP EATING THEM NEAR ME PLEASE," I thought loudly to myself. He didn't seem to notice.

So with the smell of Sour Cream and Onion burned into my brain I spent all of the 2½ hours of the journey thinking about Pringles.

The Pringle's Progress
by Sarah Gordon

A Pringle starts out like a large pancake or pizza base. It is has a damp, doughy consistency and is usually around 1 meter in diameter.

In the construction end of the Pringle factory, the large raw Pringle is pressed into shape over a horse's back by a man or sometimes a woman Pringle employee.

It is cooked in a large gas oven at a very high temperature, around 300°C for 45 minutes. The horse rarely survives this process.

While still hot, the Pringle is placed in front of an incredibly powerful laser which causes it to shrink by 94%, making it a more comfortable size for the human mouth.

(TRIVIA: The laser was obtained from the NASA space programme, (which had two,) and featured in the movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! Pringle production was temporarily halted during filming while the laser was on loan, but good reserves ensured distribution remained consistent so market levels were largely unaffected.)

The shrunken Pringle is then brought to a second employee who stands at a worktop with 3 condiment shakers, each containing one of the three main flavourings: Original, Salt and Vinegar, and Sour Cream and Onion. (Less popular and limited edition flavours such as Paprika and Texas BBQ are administered in a smaller factory next door, and only on Tuesdays.) On receipt of the Pringle, he or she selects an appropriate flavouring and sprinkles it liberally over the savoury snack.

On occasion the employee occupying this position has been known to lick the underside of the Pringle, which is why there is sometimes less flavouring underneath than there is on the top.

The flavoured Pringles are carefully placed in their cylindrical cardboard packaging using a series of carefully monitored air currents.

It takes 4 days to produce enough Pringles to fill a standard 200g Pringle tube, however only 1 day for the smaller 40g pack, conventionally sold on airplanes and cross-border railway services. The Pringles are left to mature for 3 months before being shipped to convenience stores all over the world.

FOOTNOTE: When you see Pringle written down lots of times it looks like Prinn-glay. I think I would eat them if they were called Prinn-glays.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

three socks on rotation

I am back now from my holidays in Donegal. It was very enjoyable. However I made the considerable mistake of bringing only three single socks. This was an unfortunate accident, I fully intended to bring more socks, but forgot. I also brought 2 pairs of shoes but when we arrived it appeared that actually I had only brought 1½ pairs of shoes. This was also an unfortunate accident but one which matched my three single socks quite spectacularly.

I feel being on holiday permits certain extensions to the boundaries of one's normal levels of personal hygiene, particularly regarding clothes since doing laundry isn't much of a holiday activity. So I just wore the three socks on rotation, allowing each sock an airing period of 24 hours on the metal chair outside every third day. On the second or third evening when I took off my left shoe, I noticed there was a mark on my sock, like someone had used it to wipe their nose before I had put it on. "I don't believe it," I thought, shocked, "the dirty blighters..." wondering which member of my family had used one of my three only socks as a tissue. I took off the offending sock and placed it on the metal chair outside that night, determining to dip it in the sea next time I wore it.

The following day I pulled on my 'most fresh' sock in its place. That evening, I took off my left shoe and found to my utter horror that my sock had once more been sneezed on without my noticing. Everyone maintained it wasn't them. I chose to ignore it. All three socks were getting rather pungent as I'd tramped though a few too many bogs and piles of seaweed. I gradually lost track of which sock was the original offender, but I did notice that all three seemed to have a sort of phlegm-y film. This was deeply upsetting. Someone was secretly sneezing on my socks.

On maybe the eighth day, as I was taking off my left shoe I thought, "that is really funny that the mark is in the same place on all three socks". I thought to myself ,"I wonder...?" and then I said it out loud too, quite dramatically like I was on TV, which I do sometimes when I'm on my own - usually when I'm cooking - "I wonder...?". I looked in the shoe and saw that actually there was a whole dead slug stuck in it. Which had presumably been Resting In Peace there for at least 5, possibly 6 days without my noticing.

So I put on a wash. There are limits.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a quite nice airport

I am on holiday with my family in Donegal at the minute. I am sitting on a bench outside Donegal International Airport, which hosts the only internet for five hundred thousand miles. The airport facilitates two return flights daily, one to Dublin and one to Glasgow, (which covers the 'international' aspect of the name.) The building is more like a large living room or a church hall than a faceless, machine-run, rapid transit air transport base. It has just one large room, and locals pop in for cups of tea, and discussions about wind currents with the staff. Everybody seems to be related to each other.

Since the airport also serves as the local internet cafe and community centre, it is well kept and systematically run. There is no underlying scent of bleach that you can taste in the back of your throat, and no space sandwiches with a 50 year shelf-life, and no angry passengers storming around saying, "this is bloody ridiculous", (probably because Ryanair don't fly from here). There is also no irritating announcement warning passengers not to leave their bags unnattented. I think this is because they don't have an announcement machine, when they need to make an announcement, the lady at the one and only check-in desk stands up and says, "excuse me, i have an announcement," (which I imagine is generally followed by, "the kettle has now boiled if anyone would like a cup of tea and a chocolate Digestive.") There is one door which says 'arrivals' and one beside it which says 'departures'. I think they lead to the same room. Everyone gets very excited when a plane comes and runs to the window to watch.

Monday, July 4, 2011

quickly, put these packets of jam in your bag

Way back in January, during one rather upsetting thesis-writing evening,  myself and my friend Clare sat feeling thoroughly sorry for ourselves. We decided to book some cheap flights and go somewhere, which always seems like a fabulous idea until the day of the actual flights comes along and suddenly you realise how absolutely inconvenient the timing is, how little money you have, how you have no idea where you are going or what you will do when you get there, and how little you now actually want to go.

Nevertheless, the day after the Graduate show finished, Clare and I did not uninstall our work as we were instructed to, we went to Norway. For €20 return. We brought a tent.

Determined not to spend any of the money we didn’t have in what we had gleaned was an utterly terrifying Norwegian economy, we stocked up on chocolate and packets of dehydrated Mexican rice in Lidl before we left, determining to buy a spectacular amount alcohol in the airport. (Which we did - God bless duty free).

We had cycled to town to catch the airport bus at the ungodly hour of 3am, leaving the keys for our bike locks on top of a phone box, and a series of enigmatic clues as to their whereabouts for a friend to follow. Then the plane was delayed by 5 hours anyway, which rendered our midnight cycle pointless. But it was ok because we saw Nick Cave in the airport. He was with a man who we decided was probably one of his Bad Seeds. We followed him for a while, clutching the Joker cards from our deck, which we hoped he might sign and think we were cool. But we didn’t really know who Nick Cave was, only that he is a fabulous celebrity, and we were scared that if we talked to him, he might ask us which of his songs was our favourite.  And that would be embarrassing for everyone.

Mr Cave

In the end we pottered off to the gate and someone gave us food vouchers, which we successfully exchanged for a sort of limp tomato sandwich. GOOD JOB RYANAIR. We made up for this by discreetly but efficiently stuffing our thermo-mugs with condiments: butters, salts, peppers, ketchups, mayonnaises, marmalades, jams, more butters and a packet of tartare sauce just because it was there. This is not stealing, but I think it is generally frowned upon. And if someone sees you, and you catch their eye they'll make a face like, "sorry, what?" and probably whisper something to the person next to them and then they might come over and ask you what you think you are doing. Under normal circumstances you could just quickly leave before they get to you but if it's in an airport you have to stay in the building, so there's a chance you might run into them in the bathrooms. Discretion is critical.

angry passengers

So we flew to a place called Rygge. A shuttle bus took us from the airport to the train station and then we got the train to an area we vaguely thought might hold a campsite, based on a map we found on a chair in the airport. We accidentally left one of the condiment-filled thermo-mugs on the train, so some lucky varmint got all our marmalade.

All the banks were now closed because we had arrived so late which meant we couldn’t get any Norwegian money. Which effectively meant we had no money. No money and no marmalade. Neither of these are good things to have none of.

We walked about 6km up a mountain in the direction we thought there might be a campsite. Luckily we had obtained a large bottle of gin in the airport and a rather dusty bottle of tonic from a small shop that took euro and seemed to have been in possession of the bottle for a great many years. We had two gin and tonic breaks on the way up the mountain, which increased the length of the journey dramtically but made it infinitely more enjoyable.

A funny thing, every time we took something out of our rucksacks, they seemed to shrink so the thing wouldn’t fit back in. Certainly not without a repack. So along with our rucksacks, we now carried a large cardboard box given to us by a sympathetic lady in a shop, filled with all the things that couldn’t fit in our backpacks anymore. This box got harder to carry the drunker we got.

We arrived at the campsite, red and sweaty and quite drunk, explaining that, em, actually, we had no money but, em, ah, could we please just pop our tent up and stay here anyway? The owner, a large balding blonde man in tight denim shorts wearing no shoes, observed us for a moment over the bridge of his nose. The two of us were slumped sideways against the ice cream freezer, Clare holding a bottle of gin and a saucepan, and me clutching a cardboard box filled with socks, tupperware and hundreds of small packets of butter. Then he said quietly, "I do not think that this will be a problem."

That night we got drunk with a group of Americans, agreeing that the next day we must all haaaaaaang oooouuuuut! In the morning after a night of heavy drinking in a place where the sun doesn’t actually set, we poked our fragile heads out of the tent to see that the Americans had run away. Tents gone. Everything. Not even an indentation in the grass. I think they were a bit scared.

One morning we were lying on a jetty overlooking our local Fjord, feeling hungover, swollen and increasingly sunburnt. Clare wanted to go for a swim but I didn’t feel up to it, and she didn’t want to go in on her own because the water was dark and something might get her. I wouldn't have gone in on my own either. Then the wind picked up my notebook and threw it into the sea. I always keep a notebook, for drawing and writing down things I need to remember in my busy and interesting life, and normally it would be expendable, but this particular notebook had the contact details, deposit slips, and framing orders of everyone who had bought work from me during the show. Which would really not be a good thing to lose. So I took off all my clothes and jumped in after it. I didn’t have time to take off my socks.

I got it back and the apart from the wrinkliness of the pages, the only noticeable damage was that the ink on each page had printed onto its neighbour page. And nothing in the water got me. Phew.

We hitchhiked around the area. There happened to be a major Scandinavian Art Biennale taking place in the tiny town we were accidentally on holiday in. So we went to that, which made the trip feel very purposeful and worthwhile and we saw some really great work. 

The whole thing was spectacularly lucky. We were remarking on how well things had worked out and discussing some of the curatorial choices in the biennale, when we saw a roadsign that said 'farts'. Who were we kidding, we started screaming and ran over to take pictures of ourselves in front of it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

€7.20 indeed?

Today I found a new coat in a charity shop for €7.20, which everyone in the shop agreed was a splendid bargain. We all conceded the coat was fab and I was encouraged to go through with the purchase by all parties. It is a beige trenchcoat which makes me look like a news reporter or Inspector Gadget (as I was informed by a friend post-purchase). I donned it immediately I left the shop. Someone shouted "Weapons!" as I walked by, which is a bit obscure, but I imagine is probably an enigmatic Inspector Gadget reference, as opposed to a shopping list for an impending secret revolution I might have accidentally overheard. Fab indeed. I hate Inspector Gadget, he is a hopelessly irritating character, but that little helicopter that comes out of the top of his hat could come in pretttttty handy...

I am now in the market for a helicopter hat. If anyone has one that they need to shift.

Monday, June 13, 2011

speaking of cups

I have a tumblr now, which has a portfolio of some of my print work currently on display in the NCAD BA degree show which runs until the 19th June, if anyone fancies calling in. I am delighted to have received Graduate awards from both Blackchurch Print Studio (Dublin) and Belfast Print Workshop, so I intend to continue printmaking throughout the next year and will update the tumblr site with the work I make.

The other piece of good news is that I found all the cups. Someone had put them ALL in my room in cunning places which might lead me to think I had placed them there myself and merely forgotten about them. HA! You can't fool me. I considered conducting an inquest, but in the end contented myself with the knowledge that the Pyrex measuring jug would no longer be the only drinking vessel in the house.

One of the cups I found in my room was filled with what looked like blue Oasis, the powdery foam used by florists to create fabulous horticultural displays. I began wondering if I should perhaps take a flower arranging course. I used to think I'd like to be a florist, I would have business cards which said SARAH GORDON: THE LONE ARRANGERI'd watched my Mum do the flowers in the church when I was younger and always thought it looked like a lot of fun. I "helped" by poking my fingers in the Oasis when she wasn't looking and army rolling under the pews and doing very small farts on the minister's chair and playing the organ with my nose and forehead. I loved being in the church when it wasn't church-time, there was something very comfortable and familiar about the building. I loved the slightly damp smell, and the stained glass windows, and the big gold eagle whose vast wingspan formed a handy bible stand. And there was the super slippery floor, which was excellent for sliding on.

We always had to go to the family service in church on Sundays and I hated it. Hannah and I would sulk, stoney faced, separated by a parent so we didn't talk or fight. Martha would sit on the floor, oblivious, struggling with a box of raisins. I hated the sermons and the prayers and the readings and the mindlessness and I hated that we missed all the good Sunday morning TV. (We would watch Little House on the Prairie and Rawhide when we got home but this was a poor substitute for Power Rangers.) I got Confirmed when I was 14 and I had a tummy bug at the time. When they gave me the Communion wafer I threw up in my mouth and then had to swallow it so I started crying but the ladies in the choir thought I'd been overcome by the Holy Spirit and they all came running out to hug me.

For me, the only redeeming feature of church was Sunday school. As the signal would arrive for the children to leave we would embrace our chance at escape with sudden vigor, leaping over chairs and old people as we made for the exit. I remember feeling so sorry for my parents, (especially my Dad who I think would rather have been home watching Power Rangers too) having to stay behind while we got to go and colour in a picture of Joseph's technicolour dreamcoat. Or Moses, or Abraham, or someone from the Old Testament. They all had beards, I was never really sure who I was colouring in. In a Religion exam in 2nd year I wrote a 4 page essay about Jonah parting the red sea and leading the tribes out of Israel. I expressed my confidence in my exam efforts on the train on the way home, until someone said, "Was Jonah not eaten by a whale?" and I stopped.

As I was thinking about all of this the cup I had forgotten I was holding casually tilted forwards in my hand and a bitter, noxious smell of sick started filling up my nose. The remains of what I assume was originally a dairy based beverage, was leaking out from under the inch thick layer of mould that was absolutely not Oasis, and was now dripping all over my toes.

Deeply upset I hopped down the stairs, put my foot in the shower and proceeded to scrub it with conditioner, which was the closest bottle to hand. Then I disposed of the contents of the cup by pouring it down the toilet. The sour milk floated away no problem, but even after repeated flushing attempts, there seems to be an incredibly buoyant little blue mould cake sitting in the toilet bowl. I think it will probably be there forever; quietly growing until it takes over the bathroom and starts eating visitors. We will lose the deposit on the house for sure. I have created a monster. I mean, whoever left that cup in my room has created a monster.

Friday, May 13, 2011

home improvements

Once, two days before Christmas at around 1am, I decided I could only truly be happy if I painted one of my bedroom walls magnolia. They were pale-purple, 'Ghost' by Dulux. They were crushing me. I undertook this magnolia endeavour immediately, with great gumption and enthusiasm, moving all the major obstacles to the lower end of my room and assembling them in a chaotic yet practical manner. I found some paint and a roller in the waiting-to-be-renovated bathroom and got to work. The wardrobe was too big to move, so I just painted around it.

At around 2.30am, satisfied with my level of paint coverage I stepped back to admire my work. At this point my Dad popped in to see why my light was still on. He did not seem as impressed by this sudden creative outburst; clutching his chest and choking, he staggered, seeming to experience a minor heart attack. Undaunted, I took this opporrtunity to announce, "TA-DA!" to which my Father, now swaying and foaming slightly at the mouth, responded by confiscating my paint roller. I was escorted to the spare room where I was informed that I had ruined Christmas. My Mum, who had pottered upstairs to investigate the noise, laughed and snorted silently into her sleeve as I was reprimanded for my foolish actions:

1. Did I have ANY IDEA what time it was?
2. Was I TRYING to kill the whole family with toxic fumes while they slept?
3. Did I PURPOSELY pour paint all over the wardrobe and floor? (Because they are DESTROYED, Sarah, DESTROYED.)
4. Did I REALISE that we would most likely starve and/or freeze to death because we couldn't afford food or oil or jumpers because ALL of the money would now have to be spent repainting my room?


Dad eventually stormed off still holding the roller, twitching and puffing and muttering about professionals. Mum said he was a bit tired. She commended me on my proactivity and initiative saying, excepting the area behind the wardrobe, I actually hadn't done too bad a job. Then we hid in the hot press and did secret laughing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

god love a duck

God love a duck is what my Grandad says when he is expressing alarm or exasperation.

We had some ducks in our garden on Sunday morning. There were two boy ducks and a girl duck. We felt honored and deeply humbled that they had chosen our garden as their duck dock, so we gave them two crumbled up Cream Crackers. It was truly a bank holiday weekend miracle. We have a bathtub in the back garden so, thinking how marvelous it would be if the ducks lived with us forever, we began to gently coerce them up the front steps and through the house to their new home. We could dress them in tiny clothes and feed them the old vegetables that we don't get around to using and use them as an audience for when we do our plays and bring them to parties as our 'plus one'. It would be perfect.

Possibly sensing our plans, the ducks faltered in the act of hopping up the steps. Unwilling to sacrifice their unbridled freedom for the sake of a rusty bath and a few great parties, they turned around and flew away. We cried for a while and then went upstairs and had some eggs and lemonade.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Stay in bed

I wrote a story which has been published in a one-off newspaper by Catalyst Gallery Belfast, created to coincide with their comic and illustration exhibition.

That is not the story, that is the front cover of the newspaper. I have put the story here though. Here it is. This next bit.

Stay in Bed until someone tells you it's alright to get up.

My Dad was doing a play for a few months in New York once, and Mum stayed at home with my sisters and I. When summer came and school finished, the producer of the show invited Mum and us over to spend the summer in her house in the Berkshire Mountains so we could hang out with my Dad. I was nine and Hannah was six. Martha was four months.

The producer’s name was Anita (pronounced Uh-neeeet-eh) and she was an authentic ‘original-art-works, penthouse-in-New York, second-home-in-Aspen’ kind of rich person. A converted barn in the grounds of the house comfortably housed the Cook, the Nanny and the Nanny’s own two kids. The Housekeeper and the Gardener lived off-site. There were also two huge Doberman dogs that did the most enormous poos all over the house. The sheer size of the house meant the poos were often left to fester for a while before they were discovered.

One morning Hannah and I woke up early and snuck downstairs, deciding that it made sense to make use of the unlimited access to every TV channel in existence, compared to the mere five we had at home, (we didn’t have RTE at this stage). As we walked bleary-eyed through one of the many atriums leading to the TV room, we encountered a magnificent Persian rug, now festooned with two enormous steaming Doberman poos. Being nine and six, this was utterly hilarious. We hopped on the spot with our legs crossed for a minute, trying to laugh quietly and not wee in our pyjamas.

Once we had sufficiently recovered enough to walk, we staggered off past the carnage to find the television room. We forgot about the poos amidst the sheer excitement of gorging our young minds on some crap TV. Obviously it goes without saying that as the eldest, I was in charge of the controller.

Our parents had some crazy idea that it was rude to be up wandering around someone else’s house before the host themselves was awake, so after we had fulfilled an hour or so of our morning Disney channel quota, we thought it best to go back to bed for a while until everyone else was up and about.

Off we pottered the way we’d come. I don’t understand exactly how it happened; I suppose we were silently wishing we had Sky TV, demanding the bulk of our attention. I stepped into something warm and wet, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘no, it can’t be,’ but it was, it was a poo. I stepped in the poo in my bare feet. It squished up through my toes in a manner not unlike playdough going through the spaghetti maker: slow at first, and then once it had a plane upon which to travel, it all came rushing through at once and my foot was completely engulfed in the stickiest, most largest poo I have ever seen.

I looked at Hannah, completely freaked out, and realised that at the exact same moment (probably because of psychic sister powers) she had stepped in the other poo.  I stared at her in utter disbelief and said “I stepped in the poo,” and then Hannah, looking like how I felt, said, “Me too.” Then we started laughing, uncontrollably, horrified and delighted, accidentally dancing the poo into the carpet as we tried not to wee ourselves, again. It was not an enjoyable experience as such, but it was certainly an interesting, completely unfamiliar sensation, which can’t be all bad to a nine or six year old.

Figuring we should try to clean our feet we slipped as quietly as we could up the back stairs, (trying to walk on our heels, but not really doing a very good job, since large clumps of poo had attached themselves to the ends of our pyjama bottoms,) and into the first bathroom we found. We proceeded to stretch our legs into the sink from a standing position, in order to wash our feet with cold water and Matey bubble bath. Maybe because of all the flailing, (or perhaps the lack of hot water), but instead of washing away the poo was spreading, suddenly it was everywhere, - up our legs, in our hair, on the walls, there was just so much of it, and there was someone coming.

My Father walked into the bathroom in time to see us both trying to contort our legs out of the sink as if there was nothing wrong, by this stage, completely soaked and covered in shit. After seeming to suffer a minor heart attack, he lifted us up, and dunked us straight in the bath, pyjamas and all, and hosed us down with the showerhead. He was so angry. He went off to clean the stairs and then came back and hosed us down some more, screaming that he was going to tell people this story forever, even at our weddings. Which made us cry.

Friday, April 15, 2011

red light means stop

I cycled to college this morning, as I always do. (The morning cycle is quickly becoming the most exciting part of my day.) Today I ran a red light and then quickly had to hop my bike up onto the pavement to avoid a collision with a Honda Civic. I just happened to land my bike a little too close to the shin of a large bald man with a moustache dressed entirely in leather. He was leaning against a wall holding a can of petrol and a hammer, with a hand saw slung over his shoulder. I know it is wrong of me to assume he was dangerous based solely on his appearance and choice of weapons; but I assumed he was dangerous.

I was wearing my new red sweater which has a picture of a mouse with a pepper pot and a pair of scissors peeking out of one pocket, and a rabbit with a gold tooth and a crayon peeking out of the other. It makes me look like a 1990's children's TV presenter whose personality description includes the words "bubbly" and "enthusiastic". I did not feel the sweater was a good choice in this particular situation.

We had a moment of silence, me and this man, during which I tried to think of something to say and he considered whether or not he would let me live. Then the light turned green and I blurted something like "Sfarrlar" and without getting off the saddle, walked my bike away as quickly as I could, which was in fact quite slowly. The man did not pursue me, I think he was reluctant to cut me up with a hand saw on such a busy stretch of road. As I hobbled away I could have sworn I heard him whisper, "Next time, kid."
I don't know if this was because I ran the red light or because I was wearing annoying clothes. I must stop doing both.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

tuesday statistics

Total number of dried apricots eaten during breakfast:   3
    "             "      dead birds seen on way to college:   1
    "             "      red lights ignored while cycling:   3
    "             "      bits of chocolate discovered dried into elbow:   1
    "             "      hard boiled eggs currently in my possession:    1
    "             "      people spoken to today:    7
    "             "      pieces of chewing gum sat on this morning:  1
                                                                                 TOTAL:          17

Monday, April 11, 2011


Yesterday there was a large wasp in my room. He was about the size of a kidney bean, which by wasp standards is large. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to intimidate him with dirty looks, hoping he would pick up on the bad vibes go home to his own house. I had been sitting on the roof of our house in the sun, but I decided it would be better to stay inside and watch the wasp, that way he couldn't sneak up on me and take me by surprise later on. Also I felt if I left him alone in my room he would probably try on all my clothes and vomit on my toothbrush.

There was a flying insect in my room last week which had been biting me in my sleep, so I killed him with the back of the Lethal Weapon boxset. He squished up against the door in a mass of legs and blood. I felt mortally offended when I reasoned the blood was probably mine. How dare he steal my blood.

This large wasp was absolutely not taking the hint and seemed to be getting more and more angry in response to my bad vibes. I didn't feel I could kill him because he was so big, it would be like killing a large spider or a small bird - I could practically see the whites of his eyes. But he started buzzing all up in my face, so I ducked athletically passed him and ran out of the room, slamming the door behind me. Then I sat in the kitchen, fuming, picturing the wasp putting my DVDs in the wrong boxes and making long distance calls on my phone.

Instead of dwelling on this unfortunate turn of events, I cycled to the coast with some friends and went for a swim in the sea, which proved to be much more pleasant than last time. There was the usual initial paralysing shock of mind-numbing cold, causing my muscles to seize and my lungs to collapse but I got over this by breathing very loudly and steadily to the beat of Brown Girl in the Ring by Boney M, which I sang in my head.

When I came home the wasp was gone; my clothes seem unworn, my phone shows no signs of unusual activity, and none of my DVDs are in boxes anyway. I can't be sure about the toothbrush, but I am choosing to believe that it remains unblemished because it is purple and yellow with a bendy neck and I have come to like it.

On a happier note, this morning I was thrilled to receive an email from Sir Ivan Smith, Microsoft Promo Coordinator, to inform me I have won the sum of €1,000,000. I just have to send him my bank account details so he can deposit the money in. Thrilled.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

trying to get in a film

Last night they were filming outside a house on our street. It seemed like a large operation, there was a crew of about 40 people, 6 or 7 trucks of equipment, and a group of passers by who had stopped to watch. As I cycled home past the 'set' (film term) I let go of the handlebars and put my hands in my pockets, cool as a goddamn cucumber, imagining the director's gaze following me, instructing his people "Her! Get me her! She's perfect!"

When I was twelve I played a maid in a godawful 'youth drama' production of Nicholas Nickleby. For my audition piece I chose to recite Humpty Dumpty, but forgot the words. This role (which I was offered only because the original maid dropped out), is the height of my acting career to date, but last night I was feeling optimistic.

Luckily we didn't have any milk in our house so I volunteered to pop to the shop to get some. I walked, uncaringly, straight through the hoards of people who had gathered to watch the shoot, taking long determined strides, yet appearing completely nonchalant, (like a nonchalant antelope - a nonchalantelope, if you will,) thus proving to the director my ability to exercise sheer control and professionalism in a situation that would render others hysterical.


They shouted "action" as I passed so I kept my pace for a bit in case they were filming me, because obviously I didn't want to ruin the shot. As it turned out they weren't filming me, so I casually dropped my shoulder and doubled back to watch. They were filming the house; a little girl opened the front door and shouted back "it's no-one" and then looked around the garden. Then a man behind the camera waved a red jumper in the air and the girl started screaming and ducked down covering her head. I see two possible interpretations: either the jumper was made of wool, which she is allergic to, or some goblins with switchblade knives and broken bottles will be computerly added afterwards.

So wondering why I still hadn't been approached by anyone asking me to be in the film, I went off to the shop and got the milk, all the while practicing my articulation (tip-of-the-tongue, lick-of-the-lips, piece-of-the-pie, etc.). On the way back I stood and watched this little girl doing more screaming. I had forgotten to wear my watch, but I pretended to look at it anyway, demonstrating my general acting skills, my versatility regarding green screens (the watch could be added afterwards), in addition to implying I had somewhere more important to be. Then I sauntered slowly home, making sure they could see which house I lived in.

They did not, as it happens, turn up at the door asking me to be in their film. I went to bed thinking that ultimately this was for the best as I wouldn't want the burden of fame.

But today, i found a piece of gold tinsel stuck down the leg of my tights. This actually happened for real, I did not make it up: tinsel? Tinseltown? Coincidence? (co-tinsel-dence?) I think not. I am taking this as a sign that in fact I am destined for stardom. Next time I will be more aggressive, perhaps just keep running in front of the camera until they let me be in the film.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the upside-down effect

Overwhelming feelings of restlessness, claustrophobia, entrapment and stress are causing me to feel stagnant and frustrated. To fix this I decided I needed a drastic change, so I have started sleeping upside-down in my bed. Deceptively simple, but it is working surprisingly well, - I feel like I am on holiday from the normal end of the bed. I find myself quite excited when it is bedtime and I remember something is different to how it usually is, like when you tidy your room or your walls get painted or you get a new duvet cover.

However after a week this simple solution has lost some of it's golden glow and in fact seems ultimately dangerous for my health. I keep waking up and smacking my face against the wall because I am facing the wrong way. The lack of headboard is causing me to push the pillows off the end of the bed in my sleep, so I frequently wake up on my face, (presumably after an abandoned attempt at rescuing the pillows,) which makes my eyes swell up so i look like ive been stung by a bee and taken a bad reaction. The change of sleeping environment is causing extremely vivid, often violent dreams from which I wake up completely naked in a cold sweat. Yesterday I woke up with the most terrible pain in my neck that rendered me immobile from the shoulders up (except for blinking) for the whole day. Not only did this put me in a foul, bear-like mood, but my inability to turn my head resulted in a few close encounters with the 49A on the cycle home.

I am beginning to reconsider my solution. I think I should just get a new duvet cover. Maybe a Harry Potter one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

every home needs one

THINNER! FASTER! SLIPPERIER! iPad2: what's not to love?! I feel a bit sorry for the iPad1 - it didn't last very long, (although ultimately I feel both products are ridiculous and just asking to be sat on.) I wrote a poem evoking a presupposition of the relationship of iPad1 to the iPad2.
(To be read at a solemn yet tasteful ceremony by Bill Murray, who will take me to dinner afterwards.)

By Sarah Gordon

O, Thinner! Lighter!
Faster data transfer capabilities; eternally enshrin'd
in thy gilded semblance
thy youth and affinity
cite my own mortality;
I dare not chide:
I am old and fat and slow,
Discarded like so many a redundant Apple product
Lo! Flame retardant, bulletproof, vegan, presumably,
Made from nought but recycled teabags
and hedge clippings, probably;
My wretched despair lies with me, at the back of the cupboard
We each but half of a whole
Together could, perhaps, make one

There is of course a gaping hole in the market, which I think needs addressed:

Have you eaten any pancakes today? Quickly! Eat some!

Friday, March 4, 2011

rite of passage

I decided at a very young age that my first official act as an adult would be to purchase a jar of Nutella and eat the whole thing in one go with a spoon. I attribute this to my ruthlessly restricted access to the delicious substance as a child. Now at the tender age of 22, and nearing the end of my time in the bubble of education, the word 'adult' is looming over my head. I imagine it like an Acme anvil in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, except the adult anvil is made up of loads of important documents, bank statements, insurance forms, account details, mortgage documents, pension plans, the sort of things I will definitely lose, which will cause me to get into loads of trouble and not have any money or proof of existence.

Thank god for the Nutella loophole.

I am comforted, firm in the belief that I am exempt from adulthood until I have completed this gluttonous act. So I don't ever buy Nutella, just in case. Best not tempt fate.

Congratulations, you are an adult

Sunday, February 27, 2011

swimming in the sea

The weather was excellent today. Clare and I cycled to the seaside to go for a swim, resolutely ignoring the fact that this is February. We joked about how blood-coagulatingly cold the water would probably be and laughed nervously. We cycled to Seapoint, about a half hour away, by which time we were melting under the heat of our plastic anoraks, so a swim in the sea seemed like a great idea. We stripped down to our swimsuits, which we had very cleverly worn under our clothes (ta-da!) and then stood in panicked silence for a second, realising it was too late to back out.

We paddled down the concrete steps which were built into the water and Clare, wisely deciding not to prolong the agony, dived (dove?) in immediately. I was a little less intrepid, wading down to the last step until the water was above my knees, and then sort of falling off the edge in a reluctant dive.

It was freezing, of course, so I started swimming. I swam out quite far, scared that the cold would get worse if i stopped moving. Then I swam in circles, screaming obscenities and laughing maniacally.  I do love the sea a lot even though it is a bit cold. A concerned family who were standing nearby seemed to think I was having a stroke and looked on anxiously. Then the cold hit my bones and my jaw locked and my lungs collapsed and I couldn't catch my breath and my skin burned like it was on fire and I stopped laughing and started to panic. So I decided to get out.

Clare stayed in a bit longer and then followed. The two of us stood at the edge of the water squishing up our faces and clutching our frozen brains. Realising we were starting to turn blue we stiffly got dressed and cycled on to Dun Laoghaire to enjoy an overpriced coffee.

I couldn't get warm in the coffee place because my blood was so cold. Clare was the same. We just sat there, being slightly blue and slurring our words because our faces wouldn't work properly. On the cycle home I pulled the drawstrings tight on my hood to keep the wind off my wet hair. The hood poked up at the top in what I assume was a sort of mammary fashion, based on the fact that someone leaned out their car window and shouted "Boob" as they drove past. Which is ironic, because Clare calls me Boob.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

worms on the stairs

Yesterday evening I came home and realised I had forgotten my keys. Well actually I had realised this earlier in the day, but had since forgotten about it. I took out my phone and called up the guy who lives downstairs to ask him to open the door.

I got upstairs and then remembered that actually I didn't have the key for my apartment either. So I plonked myself down on the stairs, rather sweaty from the cycle home. I looked at the carpet which I now noticed was all covered with dry rice grains. I stared at them, wondering when my housemates would be home. That's when I saw that the rice grains were moving. I was in fact, sitting in a pile of loads of worms.

First of all I freaked out, understandably, I think. I did the 'oh-my-god-I-am-covered-in-tiny-worms' dance, scrabbling at the walls. Then I gathered myself, found a rice free spot and ripped out my computer to try and identify them: more importantly to ascertain whether or not one of them could have got inside my skin in the short time I had been sitting amongst them.

The rice worms move very slowly, attatched to the carpet fibres by their bums, sort of gently flicking their bodies back and forth. I looked closely at one. He had a hard husk on the outside, which is the bit that looks like a grain of rice, the worm is actually inside it. He stretches his body out of his case sometimes, presumably when he wants to eat bits of carpet or write letters or play cards with his friends. It is a cunning disguise.

The general feeling on the Internet seems to be that any domestic pest is probably a carpet beetle, (I am unconvinced), however one source suggested they could be tapeworm eggs. This made my skin crawl and I started retching and had to run outside and take my coat off in case there were any worms in it.

When Clare came home we did some more research but found little else, just grossed ourselves out by talking about the worms, (the words hatching and larvae are much worse when you say them out loud). I took the precautionary measure of stuffing kitchen roll into the gap under the door, reasoning that if the worms get past this they will have to deal with the vinegar and chilli powder and salt I have sprinkled on the floor. I imagine contact with these substances would make them burn or fizz or something. I hope they don't like condiments, or they will just come over to our house any time they get chips.

I think I am developing a rash.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a sunday afternoon in the graveyard

Last Sunday my friend Tom and I spent a pleasant few hours looking for our names on the headstones in the local graveyard (it was a slow day and we don't have a tv.) At about 4.50, feeling all funned out, we pottered back to the entrance. It was only when we were pressing our faces against the bars of the locked gates, trying to fit our heads through the gaps, that we entertained the idea that we might be in a spot of bother. Surveying the scene we began to notice the 12 or so signs flanking the entrance; REMEMBER GATES LOCKED AT 4PM SHARP. We did not see these signs earlier. I think they put them up after we came in. Probably to trap us.

While we waited passively for our predicament to resolve itself we played an elaborate game with four large orange traffic cones called (deceptively), 'Cone'.

The rules were very complicated, only diagonal shuffles were permitted, stickles were off, and we played no trumps. (I don't really know who won. I don't know if there is any such thing as a winner in 'Cone'.) We hung around, alternating between playing Cone and singing "What would you do?" by City High. After about an hour a man with a plastic bag came and opened the gates. He wouldn't let me take his picture. This was suspicious. When we got home and our keys didn't work in the lock, our suspicions were confirmed: 15 years had passed since we had entered the graveyard. The man with a plastic bag was a ghost. So were we. This is a posthumous-post.