Monday, August 29, 2011

The Shoebox (All That You Can Leave Behind)

I used to think that you could derive great meaning and insight into a person by examining the things that surround them. This theory, as it turns out, is total cock. Examining someones Scarface poster and artfully displayed Tarantino-heavy DVD collection tells you nothing about the twisted individual they really are, and the sooner you accept that, the better. Because as I had to learn the hard way, people are not what they appear to be, but what they leave behind.

The apartment I live in isn't really an apartment, in that it's more a few converted rooms above a Ghanaian food shop. But it's bright, and airy, and the rooms are big and the dryer works. Our landlady has also told us that we're only allowed take our bins out in the dead of night, which is concerning, but we've decided to label it as kooky and not think about it any further. In much the same manner, the room I live in isn't really a bedroom as much is it is a large closet. But it has a bed, and a couch, and a wardrobe, so I'm not complaining. I'm also not complaining about the tiny rent I'm paying.

There is one thing I am complaining about, and his name is Travis. Travis and I haven't met, but I already know that I despise him. Travis is the guy who used to live in this room before me. I know his name, because of the "Sorry You're Leaving, Travis!" cards he left in his wake. He abandoned these, plus some other miscellaneous crap, in a shoebox in my closet. Here are some reasons why if I ever meet Travis, I am going to murder him and then vomit on his corpse. If you're reading, Travis: I'm completely serious. I am going to murder you.

He Owns A Sexual Position Di

As most people learn fairly early in life, anybody who owns "hilarious" sex game paraphernalia is a categorical douche and deserves to die.  This is the first thing that caught my eye in The Shoebox.


Travis, I don't know if you got this as a gift in a stag-night goody bag, or as a heavy handed hint from your former girlfriend, but either way spending your first night in a new apartment being forced to ponder your predecessors sex life is NOT COOL. Not only do you own a sex dice, but further investigation of the sex dice reveals that it was created by someone who has obviously never seen another human being.


He Buys Envelopes and Then Never Sends Letters

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but Travis bought and discarded a pack of 40 envelopes. He did not use a single one. This means that Travis intended to write a letter but didn't, or did and didn't send it. What kind of a bullshit move is this? Who is awaiting Travis's letter?

He Left His Teddy

Have you ever gone into a second-hand bookshop, opened a book and found a hand-written inscription? They often say things like "Saw this and thought of you!" or "Thank you... for everything xx". Me and my mother have a long standing agreement that we buy these books whenever we find them. It sounds like a bizarre thing to collect, but I think the main reason we find them so interesting is because it amazes us that someone would give away a book that somebody else had attached emotional value to.

I feel the same way about this bear. People don't buy or give bears lightly. They're totally useless, and there really is no good place to put them. How are you supposed to even react when someone gives you a bear? You say thank you, and "awww", obviously, but you can't just put it down. You have to snuggle it until the person goes away, because they have to know you're using their gift.

Regardless of how stupid teddy bears are, you have to acknowledge their meaning. The person who gave you that bear probably knows how stupid bears are, but wanted some small way to let you know that they think about you, fondly and a lot. And for anyone to just abandon that bear, in a shoebox... well, it's just not on, is it?

He Reads Dan Brown Books (and not even The Da Vinci Code)

Seriously Travis? The rest I could forgive, but this is just not cool.

The shoebox had a few more choice items, such as a bar of soap and some golfballs, so me and Danny decided that there was only one thing that could be done: we posted an ad in the "free stuff" section on Gumtree.

If you're interested in taking the shoebox, you may want to hurry up.

Because the world is a screwed up and awful place.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Panic in The Streets Of

So. In a rather bizarre turn of events, it turns out I don't live in Ireland anymore. In addition to this, I also don't work in a movie shop anymore. Perhaps most crucially, I no longer live with my family. I realize that for many of you, this signifies the end of your relationship with my blog, and honestly, I don't hold this against you.

I've always imagined that if people derived any kind of joy from Work in Prowess it was a peculiar brand of schadenfreude, a theory I've derived from people telling me that they primarily read my blog when they're  hungover. It's ok, I get it. Your brain feels like it's leaking out your ear, your mouth feels like the underside of a couch cushion, and you are inundated with feelings of mild shame and self-disgust. What else is there to do but listen to some lanky bitch give out about her job and lack of motor skills?

Sadly, while Work in Prowess will soldier on, many of you will lose interest, as I am now the lanky bitch who is taking positive steps in furthering her tentatively formed life-goals by moving to London.

YES, THAT'S RIGHT. Merry old London town. Home of Prince Harry, Sherlock Holmes and the superiority complex. I am now a film journalism intern at the flippin' brilliant film website Best For Film. It's been a rather sudden move, in that I got the position on Wednesday, quit my long-loathed retail position two hours later, and was at a party in Peckham by Saturday night. It's now Sunday evening, and I've spent all day getting myself set up in my friend Danny's flat, which he has quite gamely allowed me to squat in.

Having unpacked my stuff and already sussed out which of the six kebab shops surrounding my apartment is The Bad One, I guess it's safe to assume that my blog, nay my entire life (although there is very little difference between the two) is set to endure some slight changes. Hopefully, we can now look forward to me making a fool out of myself in a host of new and excting ways.

See Caroline unintentionally insulting other cultures!

Getting off at the wrong tube station!

Forsake Irish culture entirely!

Cocking up at the office!

And much, much more.

Friday, August 12, 2011

By the Many Arms of Vishnu

Like many doctors, serial killers and homeowners, sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking I am a God. Not "God" specifically, but a God. If I lived in a largely Hindu culture I am positive I would be depicted as having several extraneous limbs, be entirely blue and have a fabulous golden headpiece thing.

All of this may be hard to believe from someone who has, more then once, tried (and failed) to lick the inside of a cheese grater. But bear with me. I'm going to take you on a journey through time, back to the wonderfully naive, bright era of February, 2011.
James Franco finally pisses on the chips of his ill-deserved popularity by being a douche at the Oscars, and Adele has gone from being an unlikely popstar to leader of the free world.

It's a bright morning, and I have stayed home from college specifically for the anticipated delivery of a letter. A letter that, one way or another, is going to change the course of my life. I have spent the last three months of my life gearing my entire personality toward the winning of a teaching scholarship to Japan. I have bought a Japanese phrasebook, tried (and failed) to eat with chopsticks and have even started keeping up with Japanese current events. Yes really. I don't even keep up with Irish current events.

To me, winning the scholarship was as good as in the bag. Did it matter that I had no teaching experience, was average at languages, and disliked basically all children? Of course not. Once the application committee saw how much I wanted to go to Japan, surely they'd let me in. Right? Right?


They rejected me.

How embarrassing for you

It was upsetting, yes, but mostly it was just embarrassing. Having deigned to show interest in any MA courses, I really felt that I was up shit street without a switchblade. I had told everyone that I was going to Japan, and that nothing was stopping me. I had a perfect image of me being the "exotic one" out of my group of friends, the one that was perpetually having adventures and never stayed in one place. Obviously, this was childish, but I am a child. Ironically, a culture that is so obsessed with avoiding shame was becoming my primary source of it. I began resenting Japan, and started spending long hours in my room, hatefully eyeing up my Haruki Murakami books and Hello Kitty headphones.


And then, of course, this happened.

Although science is pretty certain that earthquakes happen because of screwy plate tectonics, when the March 11 disaster hit, I had a different theory. A theory that mainly pertained to the idea that my recent rants that Japan could "go fuck itself" had somehow affected the karmic balance and that Japan had indeed gone and fucked itself. I knew it was insane, but I felt oddly guilty for what had happened.

But life went on. I started a blog, and Japan rebuilt the shattered template of its existence. Que sera, sera.

Within time I found myself a new dream. I found that people other then me were beginning to enjoy my blog, and reasoned that I may be onto something. I decided that writing, above all other things, made me happy and that maybe this could be a viable career choice. I started writing freelance for a few publications, ultimately deciding that if I wanted to make any kind of impact, I would have to move to a climate where one could make a living from their creativity. London, of course, was the natural choice.

I sent out job applications and spent long hours googling the words "writing" "London" and "money". I applied for bizarre things, such as a subtitle reader for Channel 4 and a product writer for a designer clothes website. No response. My gmail account mocked me with Living Social deals and Amazon book suggestions. I began to start eyeing pictures of Big Ben and Paddington Bear snarkily, wondering who the hell London was to not respond to me.

I am Caroline, God of Wrath.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paying It Forward

In my short time in the blogging world, I've noticed a few things about the traits of bloggers. For one thing, they are categorically hot. I'm not even trying to give myself a sly pat on the back here: it seems the more bloggers I meet the uglier I feel. They literally must be the only breed of people who spend eight hours a day on the internet and still make me want to perpetually suck in my stomach and comb my hair. You'd think this would only be true of fashion bloggers (who I mostly resent or am jealous of), but you'd be wrong. Take a look at Allie Brosh, the mind behind the massively popular humour blog Hyperbole and a Half:

Life is not fair.

Another thing I've noticed about bloggers is that, whenever anyone asks them why they started their blog - to many a thankless, inane activity - they all respond in the same way. A shrug, a half-smile, and some variation on the phrase "I was bored."

This is only partially true. What they mean is, I am tired. I am tired of everyone not thinking I am as awesome as I think I am.

A few days ago, I made one small breakthrough in my own personal battle, "The People VS. Caroline's Ego", when my friend Cliodhna of Dann Sind Wir Helden awarded me this thing.

Whatever it is

Apparently, it means my blog is good. At least that's what I'm taking from the word "blog" and the cartoon heart that quickly follows. I've also been informed that it is my solemn duty to pass on this award to 3 other bloggers who have under 100 followers. So, uhm, here it goes.

The first that springs to mind is a little-known blog called Manmachine201's Uneasy Guide to Life. I know very little about the man or the machine, but he is one of very few bloggers that can give you a laugh while still getting a worthwhile point across. My favourite is his hilarious post about the media's sympathy war between Norway and Amy Winehouse.

Another blog I'd like to mention is AWNYA, one of the few craft bloggers that doesn't seem like a total dickhead. Not only are her designs wonderful, she also brings a lovely presence to her blog, and completely avoids that smugness that Properly Creative people seem to be perpetually hampered with.

Lastly, I'd like to mention This Guys Pet Peeves, a blog that is so fuelled by vitriol that it's entirely likely that "This Guy" will despise being tagged in this post. This blog is the internet's answer to Seinfeld. Another comment he'll probably hate.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Deals I Am Currently Working Toward

Let's face it, readers. The chips are down, the jig is up, and I hate my job. It's time to kick this blog into generating revenue, which is a fancy way of saying that I want money. Not even a ton of money. Just barely enough to afford a helper monkey, and then enough extra for him to afford a reasonably decadent lifestyle. It's time for me to crack out a book. Maybe even three books. After that, I can just borrow Jordan's ghost writer and spend my time googling myself.

As middle-aged people seem incredibly fond of telling me, there's a book in everyone. Actually, I think that middle-aged people just say this so they can say there's a book inside them. Whether there is or whether there isn't a book inside you, I strongly recommend never showing me the book inside you.

Here are the books that are not inside me, but I strongly feel will make me tens of thousands of euros.

S. T. You&ME


Two lonely people. One big city. A connection. Boy meets girl, girl likes it. But there's a twist! Of course there's a twist. There's always a twist.
The boy and the girl meet at an STD clinic, noticing one another on their initial visit. Romance gradually flowers as they are both diagnosed with sexy infections and they keep meeting eachother in the same clinic waiting room.
Then there's probably some kind of plot device toward the middle. Maybe they both got STD's from the same bathroom? I dunno. You figure it out.

Critical Lauding:

"A tongue-in-cheek criticism of tongues in cheeks. Insatiable!"
- Elle

"Boy meets girl meets erotic urban dystopia. Darkly brilliant."
- Sunday Times Culture Magazine

(Have you ever noticed how things are never just "brilliant" anymore, they have to be "darkly brilliant"?)


(yes, i drew a Kippah on a picture of a werewolf)

Of course, if the chick-lit thing doesn't work out, there's always teen-lit. Thanks to the good people at Kindle, reading is now hip amongst the 13 to 18 year olds, and I think I may have cracked the strategy for their market. The teen books that seem to do really well are either supernaturally themed, or set during a historical period. Does "Boy In The Striped Pyjamas" or "Twilight" ring a bell?

How do I use this information to make me a millionaire? Why, concieve a cheap hybrid, of course. Hunt is a teen novel told through the eyes of Liesel, a bright but awkward Catholic girl living in Nazi-occupied Prague. She spends the novel attempting to hide her Jewish friend and love interest Edvard. The twist? Edvard is also a werewolf, making him incredibly difficult to hide. And love.

(Incidentally, "hunt" is the yiddish word for dog. Yeah, I've researched this.)

Critical Lauding:

"Sink your teeth into this historical fantasy!"
- Teen Vogue

"Brittle, banal and blasphemous. Don't miss this peppy summer read!"
- Hassidic Times

Actresses of The 1950s Dressed in Ballgowns


Every Christmas or birthday I seem to get some variation of this book. It's usually 500 pages long, and there are about 1000 words in it. The space is taken up almost entirely by A3 sized photographs of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. (As we are well aware, the only three actresses that worked during this era.)
I've asked around and apparently every other girl between the ages of 17 and 26 have recieved some variation of this book from a friend or relative. As with most things in the consumer world, it's simply a matter of repackaging it, adding some disparaging paragraphs about Darryl Zanuck and Louis B. Mayer and stick in a bit about Judy Garland on diet pills. That will be €39.95, please.

Critical Lauding:

"A revealing look into the world of old-school Hollywood. In ballgowns."
- Italian Vogue

"Delve into this retro vintage-chic delight for the eyes! Unmissable!"
- Fashion bloggers everywhere

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When It's OK To Be An Asshole

Today, me and a group of friends decided to have lunch. No wait, stay with me. It wasn't just any kind of lunch, it was one of those lunches that has sprung straight out of a nineties sitcom, where no-one seems to have anywhere to go, or anything they have to do, and everyone is just free to sit around and eat cake and drink coffee and read horoscopes until the cows come home.

This may be because at least three-fifths of the table are under-25 and unemployed, but let's try to avoid that particularly depressing avenue of conversation for the meantime.

While everyone is having a lovely time at our seemingly endless lunch, something with me doesn't feel quite kosher. Maybe it's the cheese toastie, or the lemon cheesecake it took me 35 seconds to ingest, but something about my stomach was beginning to confirm my recent suspicion that I was developing some brand of late in life lactose intolerance. (Which kind of syncs up with my "bloggers are the Jewish stereotype of the internet" theory of some weeks ago quite nicely.)

Within minutes of our plates being cleared I could feel myself sweating with nausea, and it occurred to me that every sudden movement I made brought me closer and closer to the possibility of vomiting on my friends.

"I don't feel so great."

No-one really notices. Or if they do, they just assume (correctly) that inquiring further about my feelings will lead to a very boring conversation. Some time passes.

"I really do feel sick now."

I mean it, too. I seriously need to go somewhere that has a bed and a plentiful supply of smelling salts. Everyone still seems reluctant to acknowledge this. Again, I don't blame them. When they hear "I feel sick", they understand it to mean "My tummy has butterflies from my big day out!" or "If I eat anymore cake I won't sleep tonight, ho ho, yes!"

As the pain and nausea seer together to become one summer salad of unpleasantness, it dawns on me: If I want to get out of this social situation alive, I am going to have to be a complete asshole. I am simply going to have to annoy as many people as I possibly can until someone eventually brings me home, so I can die.

I make a decision. I do this.

My voice goes from grumble to full on whinge. I whimper, and I kick my legs, and I tug on Ryan's sleeve. I emit a shrill, banshee-like noise anytime I'm even remotely dissatisfied. I can feel myself being annoying, and I know I'm single-handedly responsible for killing the mood of the afternoon. And I don't care. I am sacrificing myself for the long-term good of the group. When I'm eventually taken back to the car, I give a limp "sorry everyone" and pass out for most of the journey.

This is one of the times in life when it is OK to be a complete and total asshole. In case you're wondering, here are some other times when you can just barely get away with it.

You are at the Self-Service counter in Tescos

In the old days, shopping meant that there was one person you could casually despise, and that was the checkout girl. Now, with the wonders of self-service, you can freak out at any number of people.

For one, there's the person who answers their phone while they're at the check-out, who will just drop their bag of mandarins mid-scan and use this oppurtunity to catch up with their mother about the dogs angina.
Then there's the man in his mid-thirties who carries a change purse. I am convinced this guy spends all week fishing for brown coins in the couch just so he can torment me when I'm trying to buy houmous with ten minutes left in my lunch break. The cool thing about this situation is that you can exorcise your true asshole tendencies in the passive aggressive manner places like Tesco encourage.

Sigh loudly!

Roll your eyes!

Look generally exasperrated!

Someone is trying to play you Reggae music

Do not listen to anything with this man

Kick. Stamp your foot. Try to ruin the aural experience as intensely yet as succinctly as possible. There is no convincing some people that reggae is horrible, and it is your lot in life to live with that. But you should never have to cope with listening to it.

You are in costume

It's a fact often acknowledged that girls tend to embrace Hallowe'en because it gives them carte blanche to dress like a total whore. What people take slightly longer to realize is that Hallowe'en gives you carte blanche to do basically anything.
Like the look of that guy's hat? Take it. It's yours. Why? Because you're dressed like a Smurf, that's why. The power of costume is two-fold in that it partially cloaks both your identity and your shame. Be selfish. Be arrogant. Demand that two-hour piggy back, because who knows when this chance will come again.