Nostalgia

At the end of the day, life is built on memories. Every new experience, group of friends and places we visit and live shape us as people. We make new memories everywhere we go. We spend 5 days a week for 14 years with our best friends in school, and often spend whole summers with them in between. We head off to college and make a new group of friends, sometimes losing touch with old friends and only consistenly seeing a handful. It’s new and it’s scary but it’s freeing. We have more freedom. Some of us graduate and some of us don’t. Some of us don’t go to college. Some of us move away and some stay at home. Some of us will get married and have children and some of us won’t. In all likelihood, some of us will live happy, fulfilling lives and some of us won’t. But we will all make memories. Sometimes it is good to take stock and reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

I am lucky enough to hold dual citizenship and don’t have to worry about overstaying a visa. A number of my friends here aren’t in that position and are forced to stay here until their status becomes more positive. I can head home at any time I want while they have to stay which makes me feel a bit of misplaced guilt. It’s not my fault that they can’t leave. The guilt comes from being able to satisfy my nostalgic needs if they get too high. I’m not one to let homesickness get the best of me but if there was ever a time that I needed to go home, I could. Nostalgia is a fickle friend, filling you up with happiness and longing all at once.

I follow alot of Irish tourism pages on Instagram and Facebook. I watch a lot of Irish t.v, sports and documentaries on t.v. and streaming services. I keep in touch with friends from home all over the world, thanks to the wonders of social media. I like to keep up with what is going on and scratch my itch of seeing home every once in a while. However, nostalgia and memories can creep up on you and leave you in a heap. A picture of Cork City from Patrick’s hill recently just dropped me back to when I was 11 years old and going to open nights for secondary school. Christian Brother’s School was on the list. I had a knot in the middle of my stomach as I walked through the school, knowing it was more expensive than the other schools. Even then, I worried about money. I knew this wasn’t the school for me and thankfully, despite one of my best friends going to that school, I chose Blarney, where I made other best friends. I chose Music as an elective even though I didn’t particularly like singing in public and only being able to play the tin whistle at an average grade. That class brought me my first girlfriend, constant laughs and most importantly, two of my best friends. We had trips to Dublin where we played Bullshit on the train and went to operas and didn’t understand them, secret looks that we shot at each other in class and inside jokes we would laugh about all the time. I went to different colleges than those friends from the class and we didn’t see each other as much anymore. I wouldn’t say we drifted apart but relationships and distance didn’t bring us any closer.

Thankfully, through living in different countriess and coasts of the same country, and with the help of modern technology, we’re still extremely close. Any awkwardness or distance is forgotten as soon as I see these two girls again and we go for food and gossip and chats. We talk about old times and new times and new memories we have all made in our respective new homes.
I have loads of other memories with these two and with all my close friends from home that I happen to think about randomly from time to time. I could list off pages upon pages of memories with other close friends but the fact is this particular picture put my brain on this particular path to think of these particular girls who I am very lucky to call my friends.
Sometimes I do feel guilty that my buddys here won’t get to see their homeland as soon as I can, but I know that in the future when we are all there together for a wedding or an event or just a casual meet-up, we’ll make new memories.

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 3

The one constant thing in a night shift doorman’s daytime is the easy access to programs on every streaming device, as well as movies, podcasts and articles. The odd sleep schedule that accompanies the job is a tad annoying. The reduced time you get to spend with friends is another grievance but once you are engrossed in a new show you stop feeling sorry for yourself and continue to vegetate. Episode after episode is consumed. Season after season is watched through increasingly aching eyes. You should really take a break, or at least use your phone for something more productive, but that’s too much effort. The only time legs are used are to swing your arse from the couch to the other part of the couch so your back doesn’t hurt anymore. Enough about my Tuesdays!
This week, I started going to the gym again. All summer long I used the excuse of the GAA season to not stay active. I played a handful of games and skipped the rest for work. So I decided that enough was enough and that I would eat healthier and cut out the eating out. The drawback to this increase in activity is the lack of time for binge-watching T.V. shows and movies. I can’t concentrate on podcasts when I exercise so I listened to Eminem’s new album.Let me tell you, that guy is angry! I didn’t watch as much this week because of this. I also didn’t read as much because I left my bag with all the books I’m currently reading in a friend’s house after an almighty session. I did use my night shifts to binge a few things instead of working. So let’s have a look.

Bojack Horseman (Season 5)

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I couldn’t remember much of the specifics of the first four seasons of Bojack because I binged them all separately and never together. I loved the show before and remembered the basics; Bojack is an asshole who sometimes redeems himself but always manages to ruin his life and other people’s lives; Diane is the book smart friend who may or may not have feelings for Bojack while being with someone else; Todd is the zany, typical comic relief who slowly develops into a rounded character; Princess Carolyn is the unlucky in love agent turned manager who can’t have kids while always batting for Bojack. I was not prepared for how much of their awful, sad lives that I couldn’t remember would come flooding back as I watched.
It is a truly fantastic show that is tough to watch because each episode packs a lot of jokes and comedy around a seismic gut-punch of emotional growth or regression in a character. The fourth season especially dives into Bojack’s childhood and his mother’s reasons for being cold and unloving. It was tough to binge that season because, while the episodes were marvellous and some are ranked in the top echelons of IMDbs top rated episodes, each one left me feeling emotionally drained.
Season 5 is no different. I’ll have to watch it through again to fully appreciate the season. The writers pull no punches, really plumming the depths to which we, the viewer, are willing to go to keep rooting for Bojack. He is plagued by demons even more so in this fifth outing and his past indiscretions are coming back to the surface.
Princess Carolyn spends the season putting out more fires and trying to adopt a baby. Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter have split up and are trying to wade through life without each other. Todd, now crashing on Princess Carolyn’s couch, finds himself in another wacky adventure as one of the top dogs at a website that tells people the time. This show is just fantastic.
Special mention goes to Episode 6, “Free Churro”. The entire twenty-five minutes is just Bojack delivering a heart-wrenching eulogy at his mother’s funeral. Television gold.

Crazy Rich Asians

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I do love a good rom-com. I enjoy the comedy, the always over the top endings and the soundtracks. Movies like About Time, Me Before You and Love, Rosie are some of my favourite movies of all time. They have interesting plots and are just the right amount of corny and cringy. That’s why I was surprised that I didn’t like this movie. The cast are all generically handsome or beautiful; there were sad English songs sang in Mandarin/Chinese; one of the climactic scenes was so over the top it as surreal. Despite all that, it just wasn’t good. The dialogue was clunky, the plot kind of raced along without a whole heap of context and the conflict between the two leads seemed forced. That being said, the aforementioned over the top scene was absolutely fantastic.
Funnily enough, I used to watch Glee, up until the fourth season when the show about an unbelievably diverse group of teenagers running around and singing and dancing in public became unbelievable. Harry Shum grew into one of the main characters. I had seen he was going to be in this movie and he was promoting it pretty heavily online. The prick wasn’t in the actual movie, only a mid-credits scene that apparently sets up two sequels. I was fully sure I just hadn’t seen him on screen.*
So, anyways, the movie is not bad but it is not a great rom-com. I do think it is important for movies of other cultures to be seen in the Western World and I am probably in love with Gemma Chan so that was a plus. But I wouldn’t pay $14 again to just enjoy a wedding scene.
*Disclaimer: I was high as a kite watching this movie so it very well could be an absolute masterpiece hahahahaha

Following up on last week, I didn’t finish Jack Ryan. It just got too much for me. They kept going on about a second 9/11 and I thought there would be more of John Krasinsky and less troubled military guys. I’ll try and finish it this week. We’ll see. I might let ye know. Happy watching!

Things I’ve Learned – a 24 year old’s guide to nothing

The inevitability of growing old is a hard pill to swallow. We see our parents growing old. We return home to see teachers who once seemed larger than life suffering with the same trials and tribulations of every day life. In the same vein we see educators, coaches and authority figures turn from figures who denoted fear and possibly a lack of fun be normal human beings as we near adulthood. We had an Irish teacher up until Junior Cert who was a hard man, rarely joked and if he did it was at the expense of one of us. Usually one of the lads, a repeat offender. “How do I say, ‘the plane took flight’, in Irish, sir?” Oh, we broke our holes laughing. This teacher just exuded authority and power. He lost his daughter in an accident while she sledded down a snowy hill, lost control and hit her head on a tree. She died a few days later. I think we were sixteen at the time. That really opened our eyes to how short life could be but also to how our teachers were human too. Sure, we had seen them get angry with us and have a laugh with us. We went on trips with several of them, but that tragic accident allowed us to see their proper human side. The side that suffers and has real emotions.
I started thinking about this recently because I cursed one of my coworkers in my head for the fifteenth time that day, wondering how he could be so dense. He had to leave early to help his grandfather with a health issue. I was a bit ashamed at how I had reduced him to just being a coworker and not a fella with problems like the rest of us. We’re all in this together, after all. Shout out to Troy Bolton, high school musical alum. This got me thinking about how everyone fights their own demons. Everyone needs a break. Everyone needs to be alone sometimes and be surrounded by friends and family sometimes. Here’s some things you can do alone or alternatively with lots of people.

 

  1. Go to the cinema alone sometimes. I’m telling you, it is liberating. Up until I was eighteen I had never even let that thought enter my mind. ‘Go to the cinema alone?! But that group of younger teenagers in the back will think I’m a loser! How will I ever go on?’ It’s not an easy lesson to learn, especially in the age of social media, but not everybody cares about you or what you are doing. Not every stranger on the street is wondering why me, a handsome, strong young man is in the cinema on his own. They have their own shit going on. Once you can get past the psychological barrier of watching a movie alone, you can enjoy the benefits, which are plenty.
  • You can go see whatever the fuck you want. If you want to go see Brooklyn, or La La Land, or whatever movie the lads would slag you over, go see it. Let the world know you like musicals and rom-coms set in ‘50s New York.
  • You can eat whatever the fuck you want. You don’t have to get a medium meal because your pal got a small with a water and your other pal is on a keto diet and popcorn isn’t keto. YOU ARE IN THE FUCKING CINEMA! Get yourself a large popcorn with extra butter and a large coke, and give me a big bag of Munchies too, please, while you’re at it. Treat yoself, bitch.
  • You can sit wherever the fuck you want. You don’t have to sit up at the very back in an attempt at nostalgia, reminiscing about the time Johnny Mac an Tracy O’Whatever shifted up the back for the whole movie and missed the plot and had the absolute gall to ask us about it afterwards. I used to work in a cinema and the best seats are in the 4th or 5th row from the back, a little to the right of dead centre. The sound is just right. Quote me on that. Don’t @ me, though. Don’t fucking @ me.

 

  1. I could write a whole post about going to the cinema alone, but I would also recommend going to a restaurant or diner on your own, too. This isn’t revolutionary stuff, lads. A lot of people do this but I’ve had people ask me why I go on my own a lot of the time. It’s partly because I work evenings and nights and my friends and room mates are on different schedules or live in other parts of the city. It’s also because I like going on my own, taking my time and getting to know the servers and waiters. It’s partly because I am an antisocial bastard at the best of times if I don’t have about ten bottles of magners in me and would like to eat in peace. Sometimes, I’ll even bring my notepad or my laptop and pretend I’m writing the next great novel. I’ll puff on my mahogany smoking pipe, take my monocle off and twiddle my thumbs on the edge of my handlebar moustache. Thank God none of that is true.
  2. Take some time off. I don’t mean leave work unannounced. I’m talking about this more in the sense of taking some personal time, away from housemates and anyone else. Not everyone has dark days, but everybody has some bad days. Take a breather. Watch whatever you want on Netflix. Coop yourself up in your room. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Everyone should understand. If they don’t, just turn around and walk away. Wait for them to turn away. Turn around and sprint at them. Give them the RKO and then continue running. This is your life now. You are a vigilante Forrest Gump. The rogue RKOer. You will be infamous wherever you go, doling out RKOs like they’re candy.

I lost myself for a minute at the end. Although I am only a young fella and I have done next to nothing in the grand scheme of things, please heed my advice. Lolz. I look a lot older though, through years of drinking whiskey and smoking, so taking my advice is like taking it from a half-drunk, middle aged man sitting at the end of the bar on his own. You didn’t want to talk to him and you didn’t invite him to stand right in front of your face as he tells you to, “Get out of Woodlawn, man. There’s so much more out there.” But you’re stuck with him for another hour as he buys you bottle after bottle. Take this bottle from me. Keep the head up anyways, lads and girls. I’ll be back with ramblings on football, hurling and soccer after the World Cup. That coworker is still a tit, though. His grandfather is fine again, so no worries there.