Friday, May 29, 2009

What you've done

Here's what you've done.

You've put a smile on their faces:

image shows an old woman smiling at the camera, a pretty young girl sitting beside her

The lady on the left? 102 years old. Beside her? Her Carelocal volunteer.

You've got this woman up singing with a band:

An old woman obviously enjoying singing along with a band in a big Hotel room. A Christmas tree is visible in the corner.

She lives in a nursing home. Loves to sing - sang all the time to her family as she got them ready for work and school, went out with her friends to dances and gigs and sang along with the band. Her voice may not be as strong but she still loves getting up and blasting out a bit of Joe Dolan.

You've got these people up dancing:

A group of old people dressed in party hats in a circle up for a dance in a big room. Loads of people up dancing

They don't get out as much as they used to. Either stuck in their houses or the nursing home, they haven't been out for a good dance in ages. Quite the Hucklebuckers in their day, they love having the chance to get up and have a bit of fun, or being worried about how they're going to get home safely.

You've got these people talking:

two women and one very old man smiling for the camera

They don't get to talk to others that much any more. It's lonely at home waiting for someone to call, if they do. In the nursing home they're looked aftr, but people are busy, some get more visitors than most and quite often it's easier just to switch off the mind and watch TV. Sometimes you don't feel up to date or know what to talk about. Sometimes you don't feel relevant.

You've entertained all these people:

shot of many people, some old, some in wheelchairs, at hotel tables all looking at a stage

They're all over in Finnstown House Hotel, having had a great, free meal served to them, having a laugh along with the entertainment and the band. They've been driven to the door, welcomed, fed, watered and looked after for the first time in ages.

shot of old people clapping along to something in the same hotel room

That's what your donations to Carelocal will have done for these people - helped an outing like this for Summer 2009 happen. As I write, the donations are up to €1733.33, which is fantastic.

Fair play to you all. All I'm doing is getting someone else carrying me to jump out of a plane...

Thank you. Sincerely. You rock.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Where the bad jokes come from...

Bill had been getting progressively more bald at a very young age, and it was depressing him quite a bit.

Eventually, he decided to get a wig, and the following evening he came into the pub looking 10 years younger, with a full head of jet black hair. The locals admired his new look, and complimented him on how realistic it looked.

Eventually, Joe asked him for a closer look, and, though slightly embarrassed, he slipped the wig off and handed it over.

However, as soon as Joe took the wig, he began to complain about everything: the weather, his job, the quality of the pint, anything and everything you could think of.

Puzzled by this irresistable urge to moan, he handed the wig to Tom to give back to Bill, and suddenly his normal good humour re-asserted itself.

Tom, however, even in the few seconds he had the wig in his hands, had already announced to the pub that his wife was useless: couldn't cook, and was ferociously dirty around the house, but not, unfortunately, when she got to bed. Again, as soon as he had handed the wig back to Bill, the torrent of complaints dried up, and he was his old cheerful self again.

The three friends, completely confused and puzzled, were starting to discuss what on earth had happened, when the barman leant across the counter towards them, and told them not to worry about it.

"Why?" they asked.

"Ah, 'tis perfectly natural, lads!" he said. "Sure doesn't everybody complain when they have Bill's toupee?"
Have a look at the Pun appreciation thread. There's loads there. The whole humour forum is a gold mine!
  • Energizer Bunny arrested; charged with battery.
  • A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
  • A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative.
  • My wife really likes to make pottery, but to me it's just kiln time.
  • Dijon vu: the same mustard as before.
  • Practice safe eating: always use condiments.
  • I fired my masseuse today. She just rubbed me the wrong way.
  • A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.
  • Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
  • I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.
  • I used to be a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the ax.
  • If electricity comes from electrons, does that mean that morality comes from morons?
  • A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
  • Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
  • Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
  • Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome.
  • Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
  • Banning the bra was a big flop.
  • Sea captains don't like crew cuts.
  • Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  • A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.
  • Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  • A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.
  • Without geometry, life is pointless.
  • When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.
  • Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
  • Reading whilst sunbathing makes you well-red.
  • When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where your skydive donation is going: Carelocal say thanks

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated money, awareness and good wishes to the Skydive for

I visited the office yesterday to say hello and find out more about them. Sheila Desmond, the Volunteer Coordinator is in a unique position with the charity, as she meets all the older people they help and also all the volunteers that work with them.

Brazenly, I stuck the camera in front of poor Sheila and asked her to tell you where the money you have donated is going and what the difference your help will make to the charity and to the life of an older person. It's a rough and ready take but was loads of fun to do:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interviewed by Cian and Liz from

Cian and Liz have had me on the brilliant podcast that is View From the Quad - a podcast about technology, sci-fi and life. I think I fall into the latter category, though listening to it, I'm not sure where it sits.

The 30 minute interview is about the skydive, about, about twitter, about Star Trek, downloading files in 1997, bloggers, newspapers vs blogs and twitter, about Irish politics and politicians online, about Schwarzenegger, about the 4DayMovie project, about English muggings, about being from Kilkenny, about a manga messiah, Wallace and Gromit, Neil Gaiman, bad jokes and loads of stuff. We talked lots.

You can hear the podcast over on View from the Quad.

There's a lot of me rambling, a lot of me sucking air through my teeth (sorry!), of Cian and Liz waiting politely for me to stop talking (bless you) and random chatter. We recorded it in a city centre studio on Friday afternoon after a long day of work so excuse the waffle. It was a great chat though, so thanks to them both for the plug :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

How many switches are in the Bord Gáis ad? Win €200!

Bord Gais are running a competition through twitter and IGO people:

If you can spot all the switches in our new TV ad then you could win a €200 shopping voucher.

All you have to do is submit your guess on here or on twitter (making sure to @TheBigSwitchIRL so we pick it up). All correct answers will be entered in to a draw for the first prize of €200!!

First correct answer drawn will win a €200 shopping voucher but we also have a runners up prize of a €50 shopping voucher for the the next 4 correct answers to drawn!!

Closing date is this Friday the 22nd of May at 12:00 noon.
How many are there? Well, let's count:




4, 5 and 6:

7 and 8:

9, 10, 11, 12 and 12 and a half or 13...

Assuming the half switch counts as one, here's 14, 15 and 16

and then not counting duplicates, here's another 7 bringing it up to 23 (or 22 and a half)...

Get your answer in quick!! Just tweet Eoin at @TheBigSwitchIRL - best of luck!

Fancy volunteering at The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival this year?

4 people on a stage singing at microphones and posing like ponces - three of them are me, Anthony McG and Darren Byrne
(Yes, that is me, Anto and Darren performing live. Really. Kinda.)

It was one of the best events I've ever volunteered at. I had so much fun with comedians, fellow volunteers and friends and it's happening again this year. Next weekend in fact!

Yep, it's the Carlsberg Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny and they're looking for volunteers.

banner image with Cat Laughs logo and dates 28 May to June 1

There are OOODLES of comedians performing this year - Tommy Tiernan, Des Bishop, Dermot Whelan, Andrew Maxwell, Barry Murphy, David O'Doherty, Karl Spain, Jarlath Regan, Andrew Lawrence, Lee Mack, Ricky Grover, PJ Gallagher, Dom Irrera, Maeve Higgins, Dave Gorman, Ian Coppinger, Neil Delamere, Otis Lee Crenshaw... so yes, there's loads.

The full list and programme is over on their website -

Last year I met the comedians, I met some really cool people (that I'm still in touch with) and got to see a good few shows, all for showing people to their seats, getting the place ready and clearing it after it was done.

Yes, it's a bit of manual work; no, it's not uber glamorous but it's worthwhile for something that brings as much money to Kilkenny as the Festival does and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it lots. I blogged about it here last year.

So yes, they're looking for volunteers older than 18 to come help. As well as the cool and funky t-shirt and lanyard, you get show passes, festival club passes and drinks vouchers. Well, we did last year...

All you gotta do is click here or email for more info. The volunteer manager is Deirdre. Tell her I said hello :)

photo shows me, Darren Byrne, Liz, Anthony, Niamh and friends with Des Bishop and Jason Byrne

If you're in the area or free over the Bank Holiday weekend and want to do something really worthwhile, I can't recommend it enough :) Truly an epic weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Skydive - it's all about the 130mph freefall really

Doyle, I do not have the time nor inclination or energy or patience to read your extremely long (and inane) post about some charity thing, so, what are you doing? Treat your sentences like twitter messages. Keep them simple!
Right so!

In 140 characters or less:
"I'm jumping out of a plane in a skydive from a height of 13,000 ft at a speed of 130mph to raise awareness for charity"

Image shows a sponsorship card with my name on the front of it

What I'm doing - and yes, I'm genuinely committed to doing this:

I'm doing a tandem sky-dive on Saturday May 30 at the Irish Parachute club in a place called Clonbollogue near Edenderry in Offaly.

There'll be 60 people doing it as part of a thing called MediaDive.

We'll be jumping from a little plane like this:

image shows small white plane. I've seen bigger tractors.

and obviously, since I'm strapped to the person that is doing pretty much everything (like pulling the parachute cord (hopefully) all I have to do is lie there and try not to pass out/wet myself/get sick with fear or excitement.

image shows two people jumpsing out of a plane, the guy behind delighted, the guy in front of him, dressed in yellow, scared out of his tree, like I'll be doing

So what is a tandem sky-dive? Well, according to
On a tandem skydive you are secured to an instructor and skydive up to 13,000 feet. Freefall will last approximately 30 secs before the giant canopy made for two is opened at 5,000ft.

image shows a big multicoloured parachute with two people hanging out of it

It will be a 15 minute flight to an altitude of about 13,000ft. The moment of truth arrives all too fast, as your tandem master shouts in your ear "are you ready to skydive?".

You will leave the aircraft with your heart thumping. Here goes! The wind' rushes past you as you plummet ground-ward accelerating to 'terminal velocity', a speed of 130mph.
photo shows another guy, dressed in yellow, strapped to the front of someone else, panicking like i'll probably be. You can see the plane they've jumped out of in the background

So that's 8,000 feet at 130 miles per hour. 190.666 feet per second. Just over a mile and a half. Jaysis.

According to the FAQ's, that's 30 seconds freefall and 5 to 6 mins under the parachute.

What I'm doing it for

I'm doing it for a charity called Carelocal, who work with elderly people in Dublin. You can find out about them here.

Why I'm doing it

I'm primarily doing it because people want to see me jumping out of a plane.

I'm doing it to help raise awareness for Carelocal and all the other charities that don't have huge marketing or advertising budgets; I'm doing it because I was asked and most of all I'm doing it because I've never got the opportunity before and it will be fun.

Things like this help too.

What you can do to help:

Spread the word! Tweet, blog or tell people about it. If you can afford to, Carelocal could really use your help in raising funds for a day out for the people they help. You can find out more and donate here:

What I'll be doing on the day:

Other than panicking, you mean? Tweeting it and perhaps interviewing the other people who are doing the jump with me. Hopefully.

Is that any better? Here. Enjoy this photo. I certainly did.

image shows an Irish skydiver dressed somewhat like Dracula who has just jumped out of the plane
All photos taken from the galleries

That's about it. As Miley Byrne would say: Well Holy God.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Damien Mulley wants me to jump out of a plane. Do you? are organising a MediaDive. They're getting brave souls to go up in a plane and do a tandem skydive from 13,000 feet. That's just off four kilometers. Apparently it's the distance from Dublin city centre to UCD Village.

Let's look at that on Google Maps. It's what me father would call a good walk. I'd get the number 10.

The idea behind it is to get people who work in the media to jump out of a plane. You know, journalists, PR, advertising, design, and marketing consultants. There are also a number of charities signed up, who see it as a chance to raise funds. Some have nominated a journalist to dive on their behalf and raise awareness that way.

Damien Mulley was asked to do it recently - you know, to step out into the big blue yonder, strapped to someone and fly to the ground praying the equipment will work, hoping you won't wet yourself in terror or excitement and somehow praying that you'll enjoy the whole thing. I'm the same at Funderland. On the waltzers.

Mulley politely declined, but decided to spice up the proceedings...

screenshot of tweet from Damien reading @Mediaflash Can't but I'll give a hundred quid to charity if you convince @darraghdoyle to do it. #livingVicariously

Yeah, thanks Damien. Even after I attempted a clarification on why he'd subject me to something like that, he came back with

text reads @darraghdoyle (not here) lol no, with parachute, might be extra if you Tweet *before* you land on the ground. No pressure like...

Rick O' Shea, every helpful in these matters wanted to know:

text reads@darraghdoyle Wait. So how much do we have to pay to push you out of a plane? Can we club together....? ;-)

And while the lovely Sinéad Cochrane was rosemantic

text reads @darraghdoyle I'll jump out of a plane with you, but only if I get to be the big spoon.

Red Mum was less gentle

text reads @damienmulley @darraghdoyle nah I want a tweet from the plane and a screaming video of the fall, livestreamed if possible :)

While Mulley, ever the commercial head, thought about the opportunity

text reads: @darraghdoyle @redmum Maybe we can have a whip around and have Twitterfone sponsor the screaming, er I mean streaming...

Jack from MediaContact was on to me...

text reads: @darraghdoyle So what about it @dameinmulley will give 100 squid to charity if you do my skydive???

and I started for a while to consider it. Two big things stood in my way though - one, the date, Saturday 30 May, slap bang in the middle of my volunteering with the Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny and two, I don't like heights.

Seriously, while I'm not phobic, but I like having my feet on the ground (and head in the clouds).

The cost for the event is €260, a 20% discount on the €320, subsidised by MediaContact. While it's a great idea, I don't have that money to hand and I'm rubbish at fundraising and it's next week and ... well, I found my own excuses not to apply.

Enter the lovely Hilda Carroll from, a Dublin based voluntary organisation that has been befriending older people living alone in Dublin since 1974.

Carelocal recruits, trains and matches volunteers with an older person living in their area. Following the initial introduction, the volunteer then visits the older person in their home over a year and real and lasting friendships are formed.

The priority of Carelocal is to identify frail and housebound older people who are experiencing social isolation, as these are one of the most invisible and neglected groups of vulnerable people in our community.

As well as the one-to-one visitation in the person's home, they provide day trips and social outings, live musical entertainment in Community centres and residential homes and information and advocacy.
I'd never heard of them. That in itself is hardly surprising - the smaller organisations with limited resources and budgets can't afford the advertising that is needed to raise profile. Limited budgets too mean the social networking savvy people often can't be hired. It's a vicious circle.

Hilda and I are twitter contacts. She knows I like to tell people about charities and events. She knows too that thanks to some pretty awful jokes - I started a parachute course then I fell out with my instructor - there are people who, like Rick and Damien to pay to throw me out of a plane. And to live tweet it.

The last Carelocal outing was in December. The outings cost €3,000 and CareLocal simply don't have the funding to host one. Linda Desmond, CEO of Carelocal says "All fund raised will go towards the next day trip. For the last two years we were able to provide five outings a year thanks to a grant. However we do not currently have fundings for outings and we haven't organised a day out since Christmas. We have been receiving enquiries from older people as to when the next trip will be and we're hoping that this event will raise the funds to cover at least one trip over the summer."

So, following Hilda's request and that news, I'm going to do it. I'm going to jump from the plane.

Yes, from 4KM in the air, I'm going to raise awareness for Carelocal (who are sponsoring my jump in return for the awareness)

I'm not promising to raise money for them. Instead, I'm taking this opportunity to raise awareness for them, to tell people about the work that they do and to use this blog and my presence on twitter to give their need to fundraise a shout.

Not that I'd refuse your money, mind. To that end, I've set up a MyCharity page at

to allow people who wish to donate to do so. I'll be doing the jump anyway - it would be great though if you could spread the word about Carelocal's need in a blog post, a tweet or on Facebook - every little helps and will help some of the most vulnerable and deserving people in Dublin to have a bit of fun.

I've never ever done something like this before. Never looked for sponsorship, never contemplated being brave enough. Good god, I'm nervous.

Last year I did the Spencer Tunick thing because of blog comments. This year I jump from a plane because of twitter. Start laying the bets folks, next time should be epic. Space walk perhaps?

That'd be me

pencil caricature of my face showing big ears and a surprising amount of forehead. Receding hair, me? Never!

As drawn by Eoin Coveney, the illustrator behind Energy Guy.

Something Happens - Parachute

This one is appropriate today. Enough said for now.

(You'll need to let it (down)load)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Norway's Eurovision Winner Alexander Rybak takes a lovely photo

He may be "in love with a fairy tale" but via the live blog on this evening, I learned that Alexander Rybak has had some lovely photos of himself taken...

image shows Alexander Rybak sitting at a laptop, side profile with big smile and eyebrows to the camera

image shows Alexander Rybak smiling at the camera, wearing a big eskimo style hood on a bright orange coat

image shows Rybak sitting with his head resting on his arms, with the flames of a fire in the foreground

and the best photo of any Eurovision Song Contest winner EVER!!!:

image shows three people with a lake and waterski-trails photoshopped into the background, while they're sitting on brightly neon coloured plastic chairs.

If you haven't seen the song already - well, it's not bad... here it is:

The lyrics are:

Years ago when I was younger, I kinda liked a girl I knew.
She was mine, and we were sweethearts, That was then, but then it's true

I'm in love with a fairytale, Even though it hurts.
Cause I don't care if I lose my mind; I'm already cursed

Every day we started fighting, Every night we fell in love.
No one else could make me sadder, But no one else could lift me high above

I don't know what I was doing, but suddenly we fell apart.
Nowadays I cannot find her. But when I do well get a brand new start

I'm in love with a fairytale, even though it hurts.
Cause I don't care if I lose my mind; I'm already cursed

I am not at war with anyone - Luka Bloom and the Gardiner Street Gospel Choir

Steph sent me this yesterday. Food for the soul.

Luka is on YouTube here. The Gardiner Street Gospel Choir can be found online here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Entrepreneurs can do anything - a cute video

Found via lecraic's posterous:

This is from who want you to join the entrepreneur movement and stimulate the economy. I love the music by Carly Comando. Fair play too to writer Sonja Jacob. Great job.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday tune: I heart you online

The lyrics to this are quite cute:

"I want to be in your profile picture, I want to be a permanent fixture on your wall, you're so beautiful..."

From two lovely girls called Hannah Rockcliffe and Sophie Madeleine Ball, both from Bath in England. You'll find their YouTube channel here and they're on Facebook here. They're on MySpace here: Hannah and here: Sophie.

Found via Today's Big Thing.

Twitter as seen through the eyes of B3TA users

I love their image challenges. Always creative, always irreverend and never ever appropriate, the latest round of images from B3TA users really made me laugh.

Apologies for any offence, etc...

Before there was twitter:

Image shows three panels, one, someone writing in a pen in little boxes on a piece of paper with the words No more than 140 letters please; two, it being strapped to a pigeon in a twitter branded container and then three, a lot of pigeons in the air
from Zac Flimby

image shows marcel marceau's twitter page which is, strangely, silent...
From Virulent


image shows account of Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park, who has been spit in the eye by a dinosaur...
From drboon

This is awful...

Anne Frank's twitter page - her last tweet is is that footsteps?
from Squid Ink

Possibly just as bad:

Stephen Hawkins' twitter, reading 8008135 and 00734
From Clagnut

Well if that's what you're doing...

It's the twitter stream for the Hokey Cokey - tweets include putting my left leg in, putting my left leg out and shaking it all about
From M3essential (with a nod to this sketch...)


Someone has quit cigarettes - tweets include it's now 4 hours and 37 minutes since my last cigarette. I'm starting to sweat.
From Puromycin

This is Eminem's Stan talking with @Eminem using the lyrics of the song
From Half of Stephen Fry's left buttock

And my personal favourite, Splitter...

based on the Splitter scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian, this is using the dialogue from Reg I'm not oppressing you Stan, You haven't got a womb to Eric Idle's character saying I want you to call me Loretta

A visit to Leinster House to meet the Green Party

Yesterday evening a group of us were the guest of the Irish Green Party at Leinster House. Organised via Damien Mulley through Ciaran Cuffe's office, we were invited to talk to the politicians and take a look at the inner workings of one of the most important buildings in the country.

It was an interesting mix of bloggers, members of the political forum and journalists. We were welcomed by Ciaran Cuffe and Damien Connon, the Communications Manager for the Party. After a brief orientation we were brought on a tour of the offices in Leinster House - more modern perhaps than the exterior suggests but hardly luxurious. I was struck by the juxtaposition between the architectural beauty of the building and the function aspects of how this was built.

Ciaran Cuffe's office was a perfect example of a busy and well used workspace. Maps adorned the walls, particularly of his own consituency of Dun Laoighre and evidence of both his past in architecture and town planning and his current role as Party Whip and spokesperson on Transport and Marine; Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Foreign Affairs.

His openness and frankness in discussing the pressures of his job was refreshing, as he explained how, despite how it might appear, his day was filled with meetings, hearings, emails and the simple matter of getting things done.

A wordle on his noticeboard reveals a lot about him and his commitment to the job

while his desk, though admittedly tidier than either of mine, shows a hectic workload

Following this tour - taken in two segments due to the size of the group - John Gormley, party leader, joined us to discuss some of the issues he faces in his role, in how Leinster House operates and how the requirements of his role can be both frustrating and, in the current climate, more important than ever.

With probing questions from Mark Coughlan, Ciara Brennan, Gav Reilly and Cian O' Flaherty among others, they handled all questions frankly, with fairness and a certain amount of resignation to the fact that the only answers were the honest ones.

We were joined briefly by Senator Deirdre de Burca as talk turned to online engagement, what parties can do (and shouldn't do) and just what people do and realistically should expect from a politician online.

I feel honesty was the main thrust of the feedback and while the conversation was brief, it signified a need for more of this dialogue to take place. Our presence and their invitation indicated a willingness to talk, listen and learn, which in itself is an important development and indication.

We then were invited to the public gallery to watch a vote take place. It was a pretty full house - all of the main labour faces I'd recognise were there, though I didn't spot Brian Cowen. The photos (very sneakily (and illegally) taken were at 20:55 which shows that it's not all holidays and expenses...

Leaving, politicians like Joan Burton, Jackie Healy Ray, Mary White and others greeted us, some aware of who we were and why we were there, others just friendly.

One of the striking things about Leinster House is the side that many people don't get to see - the amazing art, sculpture and building decoration in the building. I was particularly impressed with some of the sculptures and the care that is taken in placing them. Some shots below:

Leaving Leinster House after a drink in the bar and a chat with some friends and twitter acquaintances, we took the chance to strike a pose. Who knows when the next time the opportunity will come?

Overall, an interesting introduction into the workings of the building and some of what goes on there. There is a change in how politics is run and how politicians communicate both online and off, and I firmly believe that parties interested in engaging with "new media" (a phrase I detest but will have to do) will be the ones to succeed. It's a learning curve for everyone but talking to those who talk to others is always a good thing.

My thanks to Damien for arranging, to Damian, Tim, Ciaran and all in the Green Party office for the welcome and hospitality and to everyone else for providing good company and interesting conversation. Very impressed.