Spike.

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This is my best friend, Spike.
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He’s a mixed breed Labrador who had never stopped acting like a puppy despite being 11 years old. It sounds cliché and extremely pathetic to say that Spike is my best friend, but I can’t think of a title that would describe our bond any better. I’ve known him since the day he was born in the cupboard under my stairs when I was 7 years old. We’ve watched movies together, cheered each other up when we’re sad, ran around in the woods and even played hide and seek together. Unlike most dogs, he loves and takes care of all his teddy bears.
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I’ve always said that Spike is not an appropriate name for my dog. He should have been called ‘Lucky’ because he has been dodging death ever since the day he was born. It began when he nearly suffocated after being born, and his mum was too tired to save him. Luckily we were there and he pulled through. Then there are the countless times where his mischievous side would surface and he would run away when the door gets left open, and not get hit by a car. Even the time just last year where he ran away for 3 days, did get hit by a car and lived.

This is the photo we put on his missing poster... it was the only one we could find in 5 minutes, ok?!

This is the photo we put on his missing poster… it was the only one we could find in 5 minutes, ok?!

I had started to believe that we had found the luckiest dog on the planet, one who would surpass his life expectancy with no health issues.

Unfortunately I was wrong.

A few weeks ago, I was hit with the news that my best friend has cancer. I knew that the odds of a dog of his age getting cancer is very high, working out that 50% of dogs over the age of 10 contract the disease; in his breed it was even higher. Still, the diagnosis was heart breaking, as Spike is more than my dog, he is another member of the family. I already knew that even if chemotherapy was affordable, we would not be treating Spike with it. The thought of him being sick everyday was unbearable, and we knew that a Spike who isn’t constantly wagging his tail, or playing tug of war with his dog blanket is not truly ‘Spike’. So instead I’m faced with the morbid reality that I will never see him open another Christmas present, or eat another dog friendly birthday cake again.
Just a week ago, you wouldn’t know anything was even wrong with him. He was still running around like a puppy, and keeping us awake at night begging for food. But now he has taken a turn for the worst. I’ve tried to turn Spike’s prognosis into a positive. I’ve made him his very own bucket list, filled with things we probably never would have done without Spike’s diagnosis. Number 1 was go to the beach, which he loved.

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If time is on our side, the next thing is to give him a whole steak to eat! This post wasn’t meant to make you sad, and I’m sorry if it has! I’m very aware that those without pets won’t understand why this is a big deal, and it’s not a feeling I can ever explain to you. It’s awful to be away from him at university, knowing that the rest of our time together is so limited, but it makes the moments we do spend together extra special. I’m hoping to tick as many things off the list before Spike’s spark leaves us. I try not to get upset, and feel happy knowing that I’ll still be left with photo’s and memories of my best friend Spike.

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Notes From A Pointless Lecture

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-7 minutes late and the lecture begins… he’s working from a powerpoint but he doesn’t have a clue what he’s saying. Talking about morality in creative writing. I just took the keyboard protector off my keypad… it feels weird. I’m putting it back on.
– Ethics of writing… we all have moral compass which are inside of us all.
-Someone’s showing off. He answered a question that hadn’t yet been asked yet. In a lecture. Really?
-Oscar Wilde, ooh. No he only mentioned him briefly.Back to the boring stuff i guess
-Oops I forgot to listen.
-Ebay time.
-Stumbled across this on the internet, and I’m not allowed to laugh… oh dear.

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-Oliver Twist- Victorian morality. Stop listing the characters. We all know Oliver Twist. Or at least I hope we do as literature students students.
-Art can never change public morality- clearly not. I’ve read some terrible books that made me want to maim the authors.*cough, Twilight cough*.
-George Eliot… German Idealist philosophy who discussed masculine identity. Wait this is a female? Ohh pen name. Sexism and all that. Why do they still call her that? Her real name is Mary.
-All narrative need a sin… this is the world we live in. We’re sick individuals. True though… sick but true. Why is our creativity evil!? The devil can take any form… why not Literature. I bet he’s twilight. Wouldn’t expect that twist would you?
-“If we are offended by something, should it be published? Should we self sensor?” I wish you would have self-censored this lecture.
– I’m feeling sleepy. I knew it was a bad idea to watch Charlie’s Angels. 4 hours sleep will not ‘be fine’. You have an essay to research idiot…which you could have been doing in this wasted hour.
-I want sleep. Ill hide behind my laptop.
-Why do people use abbreviation. It’s so dumb, WTF!?
-‘Lol’- Whats wrong with saying ‘ha’… it’s shorter?!
– I’m getting cranky…. That’s because I’m being bored to death. Thank the heavens that I took my laptop with me.
-Everyone on Facebook is telling me to google blue waffle.
-Don’t google it… or urban dictionary it. All I’m saying is- Gross STI. Ugh. Percy Jackson won’t want this blue food… Rick Riordan fans will get that reference.
– This is just a philosophy lecture! I thought I left that behind at A-level.
-He’s talking about the holocaust now… way to bring the tone down dude.
-Holocaust and religion in the same lecture!? This guy’s controversial.
-Just this… I’m dead. #literaturejokes #ofmiceandmen #notthebandthebook

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-Cadbury’s are releasing popping candy ice-cream. I can feel my butt growing just looking at the picture.
– 3 minutes left… we can do this.
-2 minutes…
-1 minute…
-He’s gone over! HOW HOW HOW… he’s talking about his own moral experiences!? Oh, my parcel has arrived… yay!

ITS DONE… and I have a seminar in an hour. Great. I’m calling in sick.

Unconscious Smiles

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In the still council house bedroom

My sand-fleck sized sister dozes

Too small for a double bed

And an enveloping oasis of a quilt.

Hazy light from the TV borders her face

Almost convincing me she’s alert

But I see her eyes drooping

Half fighting the urge to drift

But giving in and falling

Into a dream-like state.

Sand dunes form on the apples of her cheeks

The ones that roll up

In her desert

of unconscious smiles…

Blogmas day 18: Russell ‘The Revolution’ Brand

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Okay, the inevitable has happened and I have already failed blogmas… but I’m getting right back on the blogging horse with this post.

Those of you from the UK will probably be know the comedian ‘Russell Brand’. Those across seas may or may not. He has starred in movies such as ‘Arthur’ and ‘Get him to the Greek’. He has also made his name as the witty comedian who is a bit of a wordsmith.

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I am not here to flaunt his career, or become a ‘fan girl’ who wants to unleash her obsession onto the unsuspecting public. In all honesty, 6 months ago Russell Brand was a person who I knew of but I had never taken much notice of (sorry Russell!). But recently, I have come to realise that Russell Brand is far more than an actor and a comedian. Recently, he has become my favourite person for the way in which he uses his social status to become a mouthpiece for those who need it. Coming from a relatively dire background himself, his political and social movements are particularly potent because they are real. He knows what he is arguing for, because he has been in the situation.
His YouTube videos ‘The Trews’ attempt to uncover the truth behind the news (it seems that comedians and puns are inseparable) by expressing his views on politicians and various aspects of the news . Don’t let his deep Essex accent deceive you- He is actually an intelligent man. I appreciate the way in which he took a risk in creating a YouTube channel which doesn’t promote his career in any way. He must have recognised the risks of potential backlash that arises from creating such a channel, yet he did it anyway. For years, I have waited for a celebrity to make a difference- a real difference. Not just singing a song for charity, or showing their face in Africa to show how desperately the children need money, before getting a first class flight home to their mansions. It turns out I’ve been waiting for Russell Brand.
He recently made a documentary in which he explored the issue of drug wars. It is rare for a documentary to change and alter my very own values, yet this is what the documentary did. A recovered drug addict himself, Russell can now view the issue of the drug war from an objective perspective; he highlights how we should stop treating drug users as criminals, instead see them as humans who are in need of medical help. My initial thought was of derision, after all we were giving the drug users an excuse to use. I could also not fathom how we could eradicate drug use if we treated it as a medical issue. It’s the user’s fault they chose to take the drugs.
But then I stopped and realised that I was regurgitating the views instilled in me. Were these thought my own? Probably not. Thinking about it, why would anyone choose to take drugs if they weren’t desperate? Drug related crimes are higher in poorer families- can’t we see this correlation? Desperation breeds drug users. In order to stop people taking drugs, society perhaps needs to change and take away desperation from the poor.
Some argue that Russell Brand’s sudden increase in political activity only exists so he can sell his new book ‘Revolution’. For some reason, I have difficulty accepting this. There is a sincerity behind his movement which seeks to positively change society. Russell has the social influence that accompanies being a celebrity- it is refreshing to see it being utilised for something other than self gain.

Blogmas Day 11: Never self diagnose…

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Yep… I only posted 4 hours ago. And yep… it is 5am. And yep, i haven’t been to sleep yet. I have been self- diagnosing, scaring myself to death convinced my teeth are going to fall out.
Here’s a tip. If you have a health related issue, don’t use google. In this circumstance, google is not your friend. He is your enemy who links every health issue back to cancer or Alzheimer’s. Most importantly, don’t use yahoo answers, they don’t have any answers! They’re full of people who tell you you’re going to die in seven days, then claim to be a doctor.
I’ll try to get some sleep now if there’s any point.
Good night! :)

Blogmas Day 10: I’m An Embarrassment

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Since coming to university, it seems as if the God of embarrassing moments has been following me around and unloading a lifetime’s supply onto my poor unsuspecting soul. Generally, I’m a dizzy person lacking in the thing people call ‘common sense’, but reflecting back over these last few months I have to hide my face in embarrassment at what a fool I’ve made myself out to be. Some things are unmentionable, some things are (I’m just going to interject and say just as I wrote those words, our fire alarm sounded… how dramatic! Not from my doing though unfortunately… it would have added to my list of embarrassing moment) mentionable, but i still-want-to-curl-up-into-a-ball-and-die-able.
Like today, when I went to the wrong lecture and only realised when I sat down and read the title ‘understanding Calculus’. It’s funny, because i thought i was meant to be studying Margaret Atwood. Or another time where I earned the nickname Sarah ‘Lambrini’ McGee, for bringing a bottle of Lambrini to a flat party… it’s a chavvy drink apparently.
Even the time where I sent an angry e-mail to Amazon to say my parcel hadn’t arrived… it turned out, i was just looking in the wrong mailbox.
I could go on but I think I’ll save those for another blog that I’m not writing at 1 am and not feeling guilty for writing something other than my essay. Until then, laugh at me… everyone else does :)

Blogmas day 9: One of Those Lectures…

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Most days, lectures are interesting and filled with information I want and need to know. As it turns out, if the lecturer prepares slides for the wrong book, the lecture tends to be somewhat less productive.
In the end, we were read a story (yes, I kid you not) which was entirely irrelevant to the course, and what I could only describe as ‘soft-porn’. I thought about getting up and leaving several times… but didn’t want to be rude. But I sure did give him some evil looks, don’t you worry about that!
Oh well, at least I got to work on my doodling skills.Photo on 09-12-2014 at 20.10

Blogmas day 8: The Word Count

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Daunting, poweful, important, strict.
Wishing for a smaller word count.
2500 words between freedom and me. But 2000 is a mountain, another 500 is Everest.
Unsurpassable, unforgiving, unrelenting.
Start from the start.
Shave down the words.
Watch them dwindle, fill the space with ‘however’s’ and ‘furthermore’s’.
Get through the word count…
But this point is interesting.
I can expand on this.
Use another quote here.
Argue with the critic.
I’ve reached the summit and-
I’ve fallen off the edge.
3000 words- 500 too many.
Disaster, catastrophe, foolish, idiotic!
Wishing for a bigger word count.

Blogmas Day 7: Short Story- ‘Insomnia’

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I shuffle into my apartment with a hill where my back should be. This must be how Atlas felt when he carried the weight of the sky on his shoulders.
Somehow, my overworked feet carry me to my bathroom, even though they are fighting against me, trying to walk to the bed.
“Bed is the enemy feet”, I declare whilst reaching aimlessly for a light switch in the darkness.
Click. Flash. Light.
I feel my eyes squint in protest, as they attempt acclimatise to the bleak, artificial brightness that bounces off the bathroom walls. As soon as I greet my reflection, I immediately wish the light would shatter. What I look at (and what indeed looks back) is the result of 5 consecutive nights without sleep. The eyes are no more than bloodshot piss-holes in the snow, with inverted half-rainbows of purple and grey underneath them. The skin- like undercooked pastry covered with angry bursts of spots.
“You’ve gotta quit the third job Aislinn”
My reflection stares back with a blank expression, knowing as well as I do that quitting is not an option. I can barely pay rent as it is. I pick up a bottle from the side (let’s hope it isn’t bleach) and drink. My reflection drinks too- and I’m sure we can both taste the bitter dregs of a €5 bottle of wine.
The clock is mocking me. His twitching moustache turns uncaringly onwards, and the minutes pass by.
It’s 3am already.
I can see the bed in my peripheral vision- perfectly made, like it has never been slept in; I feel myself swallow down an overwhelming sense of fear and revulsion.
“Tonight is the night”, I say as I strip to my underwear- hating myself for the shake in my voice. From the window, I catch vision of the moon, half of his cratered face peeking out from behind a cloud.
“How are you Moonie? I didn’t see much of you last night- were you not in Ireland?”
The moon hovers silently- although I swear I could see him wink in confirmation.
We understand each other. Many dark hours we have spent sharing our troubles, and slagging off the sun. He doesn’t get much sleep either, as to why I’m not quite sure- he doesn’t talk much.
I’m about to procrastinate further- avoid the unavoidable process of ‘sleep’ and suggest the moon and I play a game, but he has fully disappeared behind a grey cloud.
I sigh and turn back to the dreaded bed. I reach out with my hands- heart thumping with anticipation- as a try to find the crisp, cold linen of the bed sheet. It feels unfriendly beneath my hands- even more so as I lie on top of it.
“Just close your eyes. Think about nothing.”
Exhaustion presses on me like sheet of lead, yet my brain won’t be quiet and let me drift off to sleep. I feel the familiar barrage of suppressed thoughts rise from the pit of my stomach like acidic bile that invades my brain.
I hear the clock ticking- imagine the moustache hands- throwing seconds of time away.
You- Will- Ne- ver- sleep- a- gain. You- Will- Ne- ver- sleep- a- gain.
Who would have thought that regret would feel so bitter and gut wrenching? It’s your soul’s way of saying “You’ve fucked up”. I close my eyes tighter- clench my teeth so hard they squeak.
What have I done with my life? I’m 32 and I’m stuck waiting tables, and serving pints to the drunkards of Belfast. If I’d have just studied that extra bit harder at school- paid attention instead of making an infamous name for myself as ‘the dumb hussy’.
I could have been a lawyer- I could have been something more to my parents than a disappointment.
I wouldn’t be so alone- only living to work, or to drown my sorrows in a cheap bottle of rosé.
“Sleep why are you avoiding me!?” I scream ripping open my eyes and searching for the clock- the hands tell me it’s 5:20 am.
I have to be up in less than 2 hours…
I feel the perspiration of panic line my body like another layer of skin, and I wonder why our worst thoughts and nightmares come to haunt us in the darkness of night.
Why does my brain betray me when I need it to shut up and sleep?
Think of nothing and sleep.
Think of nothing and sleep.
Think of nothing and…
‘Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.’
I open one eye with trepidation- I’m hallucinating. I must be, otherwise the blinking ‘07.00’ on my alarm clock would mean that I actually got an hour of sleep last night.
That’s progress at least!
I notice the sun has replaced the moon in the sky and his beams are pouring in through the window. He looks refreshed, and annoyingly jolly- like he’s happy to embrace the day, and does so with enthusiasm.
“Smug bastard” I mutter with a thick, heavy voice.

Blogmas day 6: I’ve Been Robbed!

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Something terrible has happened… My university dorm room has been broken into and ransacked. That’s the only possible explanation for the culmination of mess that has exploded in my room!
Sure, nothing was taken which may lead one to assume that no robbery occurred. One may then suggest that little Curlysblog is not the most organised person and would much rather throw her clothes onto the floor than into the washing basket which is 2 feet away- but this truth lie is clearly a vicious rumour developed by the very imaginary real robber’s that broke into my room.
After all, how can one person make such a mess in the space of 2 days?
While we’re at it, those hooligans had the nerve to eat food from my plates and didn’t even clean them up afterward. They look like the’ve been there for weeks! They even have the magical ability to make milk curdle in a cereal bowl, and all in the space of a minute.
Therefore, I declare my room officially ransacked by looters, It’s the only logical explanation. Plus the flies that hover can back me up- they saw the whole thing and they have 4000 eye lenses each!

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