Rants, boots, and comfort shopping


Why do we always treat ourselves, buying something special, to make us feel better?

I just ordered some New Rock boots. Oh dear.

Those who know me and my fashion and music tastes may be surprised to know I don’t yet own a pair of New Rocks. If you’re not sure what they are, think of big, black, shiny, sexy über boots with shiny silver buckles and sometimes devil faces or coloured highlights. They are stompy, tough, not-for-any-old-barn-dancing, expensive footwear. Custom models are available, and could set you back a fair pretty penny. I’ve gone for something a bit more basic, at £85.99 (including the £12.99 FedEx fee. That’s a big Blimey! in itself).

I shall post photos on my own blog found here and on my Twitter when they arrive some time next week. I’m just a little excited.


Why buy new boots? Well, for one thing, my old boots have been letting in water. Whereas my work boots are decent, 3-figure composite-toe-plated safety Magnum Elite CT boots by Magnum Hi-Tec, my normal day-to-day boots have recently been a cheap pair from a shop in town. I own three pairs of Converse, so far this has been as stylish as I get. Time to upgrade a little.

Also, it’s a comfort buy. Work at the DDJ* has been pretty rough recently. Until now, our company has remained fairly untouched by the recession, even posting overall profits this year. However, shareholders have to be kept happy, and takings are down, so changes are being made, pressure is being applied at all levels of management, and those of us at the bottom of the food chain are left picking up the pieces, as always. Hopefully things will improve, but at the moment there are an awful lot of disheartened workers. Thankfully, I’m in a position not to be too badly affected, but it does become a strain when your co-workers are constantly down-trodden and mopey. It’s very hard to motivate people, even harder when customers are of the mistaken belief that they should get things cheaper (or even free) for the slightest inconvenience or complaint.

Trust me, if you’re shopping, remember you are not always right. People who work in shops, especially large, specialty stores like mine, are well trained to know what they are talking about. You want to try re-wiring your house without being a qualified electrician? Fine, go ahead. Don’t come crying to me when your house burns down. Want to plumb in your new toilet but don’t know your U-bend from your elbow? I ain’t mopping up the water. Want to knock through a retaining wall? Fit a new gas fire? Unblock your bathtub with high power drain blaster? Yeah, your funeral, and I won’t be attending. Oh, and if you say to me you’d get better service elsewhere, don’t mind me if I roll about laughing. You won’t. No other company in our field gives the level of training to its staff, or service to its customers, like the one I work for. We’re market leaders (in a buggered market, yes, but leaders nonetheless) for a reason.

End rant. Sorry.

So yeah, my new boots are a comfort buy. Sosumi.


Which leads me to ask what are your comfort buys? What have you splashed out on when you really should be tightening your belt? What impulsive spending did you rack up on eBay for? Useful things like regular clothes or footwear? Or less useful, like party clothes or trinkets, etc?

(Also, my New iPad purchase last month doesn’t count as an impulse or comfort buy. Since I started selling kitchens, I started saving up out of my pay especially to buy it. Last month was when I finally reached my target for the spec I wanted.)

Answers in the comments below. Best ones may get a sweetie, worst ones get fed to Reggie.

* = Dreaded Day Job, the job which many writers must have that pays actual cashy money with which to keep roof over head and food in belly. Not always writing related. I sell kitchens. Stop sniggering at the back there.


Ok, pull the tiller towards you…No! I said TOWARDS you!!!!!

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Hey all, I’m really sorry that this post is late and that i missed my last post but everything has been so hectic lately. I also forgot to submit my story for the first challenge, but there’s nothing I can do about that now… sorry Paul

So as the title suggests, this post is going to be about sailing. I work as a sailing instructor during the summer, which is handy money and well the work isn’t exactly difficult. Basically, I am a glorified babysitter, simple as. I mind snotty children all day but I don’t mind, hell, I WAS one of those children once.

The only part of my job that I don’t like is that I have to constantly repeat myself. I ask a kid to point up and they bear away, I tell them to tack and they gybe. Some of them don’t know their right from their left. But the most annoying sentence that I sometimes have to repeat over and over and over is “Pull your tiller towards you”… no matter how many times you explain to them what that means, they’ll still push the tiller away!!!!!! UGH!!!”!

The weather has been fantastic though, and I am instructing a more advanced level this summer so thankfully I haven’t had to shout too much. I’m working with my best friends but I never have time for anything else. It’s work, eat, go out/go home, sleep. I never feel quite as tired as I do when I’m instructing. It just knocks the juice out of you. Literally, most nights when I get home I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow. That’s if i do go home. We tend to go out an awful lot.. it’s not healthy.

Also, I bought my ticket for oxegen on Saturday. I can’t wait!!! I think it’s going to be one of the best weekends ever!!!

Well, I’m shattered so I think I’ll leave it at that. Until next time.

Brendan McL



For those of you who watch Glee, this term isn’t new; for the rest – Hairography is some people do to hide the fact that really they can’t sing. I’ve found, though, that the concept of that episode, distractions, works its way into this wonderful thing we call ‘real life’. This is especially true of my life right now, where distractions aren’t quite as few as I’d like.

Exam season has well and truly gotten underway. I have gotten through half of my exams (so I still have six left…), but I’m still getting distracted by a number of different things. Facebook isn’t quite as nice a website when there’s studying to be done, and work and other such things at the weekend result in things like this blog post being a day late. Do not be alarmed!  I am merely a human being with real human problems.

Poetry, for me, is a big distraction. Well, fiction too. I find that on my walks to college – they take about an hour, depending on how fast I walk – are filled with little lines of poetry I can’t do anything with, until later in the day or week, when something suddenly clicks into place, and ideas for stories start working themselves out when I have no time to write them down.

But distractions can be a good thing too. For those of you who read my own blog, you will see that I had quite an “eventful” day on Monday, and on Friday (though that wasn’t as positive as Monday…), in which we managed to do no work at all in the space of six hours studying. Yes, six hours studying and we did nothing. See, we found a distraction in the wonderfully rude Omegle.com. I won’t recommend that site to anyone who wishes to maintain their innocence; it’s full of filth, and on that day, some of that filth got a wake up call. I won’t go into the detail here (because most of it is too rude…) but you can read the exciting details here.

Distractions keep us from working properly, and as this post might suggest they can be both good and bad. It’s important to note which things are killing us and which ones actually help. Omegle.com – helpful for relieving stress. Internet games – helpful for wasting time. Now, like I said, I don’t recommend Omegle.com, but if you can find your own helpful distraction, I advise following it up, assuming you still have time to do what you intended to do. In the summer, the long summer ahead of me, I’ll be doing the same thing with my writing. My distractions, my proverbial hairography, will be the day-trips out with friends, the nights out to the pub, the craic, the ceol, the cinema, the life I never led in the past. And I’ll still write. I promise you that, right here, right now, I will write. And my God I will love every bit of it.

And that’s the point of this post – not to preach about not letting yourself get distracted, not to whine about not getting any work done, or having too much work to do, but to stress the importance of taking time out, of letting something distract you from the hardships of life, from all the work, even that you enjoy. It’s a refresher, an experience you won’t have had. I can honestly say everything is different since Monday. Heck, these past two weeks have provided many distractions that have brought me closer to a few friends. So, remember, when all your troubles get you down, just find a distraction. Go out with friends (though if you intend on drinking, make sure to pace yourself… especially if you have an exam the next morning… there won’t always be someone there to bail you out with a coffee! – speaking from experience here… being the one who bailed someone out!). Live your life, and when you’ve relieved yourself of some stress, get back to work.

Peace, Love and Potter,