By Half


Life is busy, that's just a fact

In your youth you had so much time in a day to do anything and nothing. The world was your's to squander or conquer at will. Then you grow older and suddenly time becomes the enemy. There aren't enough hours in one day, not enough minute in a single hour. Before you know it you blink on December 27th and suddenly it is December 24th of the next year.

To combat this people generally opt for 'the quiet life'. They do as little as possible at the weekends to fully recoup from the working week. Maybe they get involved in their hobbies more, just to be doing 'something' but not be insanely busy. These people generally lead healthy lives and don't 'go postal' from stress levels being through the roof.

Of course not everyone is able to keep life from being busy all the time. People that go from birth to death without every having a single busy event in their life would be considered hermits, or maybe those monks that sit in silence at the top of snow capped mountains. Either way it is nearly unheard of for people to be constantly 'not busy'.

You change jobs or get married. Buy a house or have a baby. People pass away and funerals happen, birthday celebrations for 'the big numbers' occur. Without a doubt a person will have at least one of these busy moments crop up.

There are ways to control them, in so far as the chaos of life can be controlled. You can buy a house without trying to plan a wedding at the same time or get a new job without a baby coming along.

Then you get people like us, myself and the ladyfriend. We decided that rather than do things slow, simple and easy we would pack as many busy events into as short a time frame as possible.

First up, after a considerable amount of thinking and talking, we decided that with the arrival of Nugget our current home was no longer ideal. It was a lovely house when we bought it, large and with potential and over the last five years we have put our mark firmly on it. But with Nugget we realised a few failings of the area we lived in, mainly around transport. The pair of us work in the city, a mere forty minutes away by bus on a good day. In Ireland there are never good days with traffic, so that trip generally takes closer to an hour. Worse the options to get out during certain times of the day are limited if not completely missing. Throw in Nugget and all the things that can happen to a kid requiring ready transport and the house was no longer up to snuff. So we started looking for a new place. Talks were had with banks, approvals gotten, a new and much better house found. It was a chaotic time.

But that didn't keep us busy enough. I decided that current events in my job had pushed me to the point of 'go hard with a shotgun or go home'. I opted for 'go home' because visitation rights for prisoners are not that great and Nugget really should never see the inside of a prison. So, in the middle of filling in bank forms, one source of income for the house just quit their job. With nothing lined up.

The ladyfriend was super supportive on that front. She had noticed that in the past few months my mental health had not been the best and had started to silently worry. When I told her my plans she said it was the best move for us.

So, buying a house and down one income. What next?

Well the ladyfriend wasn't happy in her job either and hadn't been for some time. With some gentle prodding, using my patented jester 'helpful bullying' method, she hunted and found another job. A better job and one that she is ideally suited for.

For those keeping tabs. Buying new house, quit job, ladyfriend starting new job.

Now I had had a slight stay of parachute jumping in my job and was moved into another department. But that hasn't exactly worked out as advertised. Through a series of random events another job with a new place landed on my desk. One that I really liked the sound of. Five interviews later and boom: new job for jester.

Now the tally is sitting at new house, ladyfriend starting a new job, jester starting a new job in a month.

Basically we didn't want to do busy by half and just went full busy for the fun of it.

At a certain point we probably should be tested.


One Year On (2)


Having no concept of time is one of my defining character traits. Not being able to keep track of the passage without major events to bookmark specific points. The birth of Nugget, myself and the ladyfriend's first child, was one of the most important fixed points in time for me. But it seems that noticing a full year had passed from that amazing day is still not in my wheelhouse of skills.

A. Full. Year.

Like, how in God's name did that happen? I blinked, I'm fairly sure I blinked, and Nugget changed from a tiny bundle of cuteness that could fit neatly on my lap to a toddler speed-walking away from me as I try to change her nappy. I'd heard that when you become a parent time seems to move faster but I never believed it. She figuratively changed in the blink of an eye.

What an insanely brilliant year it has been as well. From learning that myself and the ladyfriend can survive on six hours of broken sleep (although that only lasted a couple of weeks and then Nugget decided that she needed eight solid hours herself) to coming home after a crap day in work and see Nugget's gummy smile, it has been amazing.

Seriously there isn't a thing I would have changed from the past year. Myself and the ladyfriend got to celebrate Christmas and our own birthdays with this little nutter smiling away the whole time. We even had our first Mother's Day and Father's Day, all because Nugget was in our lives.

Even today Nugget showed just how brilliant she is. For a few weeks she has been giving people 'high fives' if you held out your hand. Today she started to blow kisses. True it was at anybody that smiled at her (so I may need to start sharpening the swords for future-boyfriend-skewering) but still. How somebody so small can bring so much joy into your life is a mystery and one I couldn't be bothered solving because it's just great having her here.

Not that she knows today is in anyway special. Except maybe that for dinner she had a slice of cake to smash into her face. Ah, sure you only turn one once I guess.

If you ever get around to reading this in the future: Happy Birthday Nugget!


That's Con Folks


Another year, another con (another rant as well, been a while ;)).

Dublin Comic Con 2016 wrapped today and it was another crazy experience.


This year the stalls sold out in record fashion. If you had a buddy you wanted to be placed near you could let the organisers know and they would accommodate you. Last year I talked about the stall buddy I had made and figured we would pair up this year. Sadly he didn't get a stall before they sold out, so that sorta messed up that plan. However being the smart guys that we are we split my stall instead.


Stall buddies just make the entire event so much easier. During the lulls in sales, or interest from con-goers, you can shoot the shit with your stall buddy. Always a great way to pass the time.

Interviews & Questions:

This year I had some strange visitors to the table. Last year people would drop up and chat to me about the books on offer. How I had come up with the idea? Where did I print the books? That sorta thing. These questions cropped up again this year, but then I had new questions. Questions from aspiring writers.

Asking me for tips on how to actually write a book. Wondering how I edited the books so that they were the best I could get them to be. Promoting them. It was a bit crazy if I am being totally honest. Six people came to me asking for tips on writing. Six years ago I would have been the one asking writers for tips. It's a funny old world.

Of course none of them bought a damn thing, but I suppose I am investing in their future :|

Myself and the stall buddy were also interview by a journalist for a UK based paper/magazine/website/something-or-other that I can't remember. Once that article appears I will post a link.


Saleswise things were slightly slower than last year. Last year I had sold out all but seven books by the end of the first day. On the second I had them all gone by lunch. This year sales didn't seem to happen as fast. Even interest in the books was a little less. Thankfully this didn't seem to be a problem just for me. Many other stall runners said that while the sales were solid, it wasn't as fast as previous years. Still I came out with a few pennies in my pocket and that was after making a silly convention purchase. In sales terms that the good crash landing scenario. Of course I sold nearly the same amount as last year (not far off it actually) but had triple the stock this year. So it all adds up really.

Return Custom:

Hardly surprising for people that know me: I am my own worst critic when it comes to my hobbies. Dunno why, don't ask. Anyroad I never considered the books good enough to cause people to return a year later to purchase other ones. Turns out I was wrong. Three guys all came back to get the latest book. That's not bad for a little hobby writing.

I also had a lovely young guy come along to the table after he spotted my banner. He recognised the cover of the first book that was on the cover. His mother really enjoyed it, she had bought the book last year. But all he had left was five euro and he really wanted to get her the second book. So, being the nice idiot that I am, he was sold the book at less than the price.

Karma better come back to me in a big way for that :)

The Ladyfriend:

As Fate would have it Nugget was sick this weekend. Not bad, but enough that we were a bit concerned and figured she needed to visit a doctor. Of course we only have one car and two destinations that needed getting to. Luckily the brother-in-law was able to drive me into the con, leaving the ladyfriend with the car for doctor visiting.

But in all the re-planning I left a few bits in the car. Such as pens, tablecloth, lunch. That sort of thing. The ladyfriend, in her usual awesome way, brought Nugget to the doc, got her seen to and medicine, then drove into the con to drop off these bits for me. Not having a ticket she asked a nice Staffer to drop the stuff up to me. However through some confusion and the presence of Nugget to distract she was able to get into the convention without paying.

She's wily is the ladyfriend.

All in another good year for Filthy Henry books. Few new fans, few happy old fans. Sure what's not to love.

What a difference a year makes:

Last year the ladyfriend helped me setup the stall and was even snapped sitting behind it. At this stage she had Nugget in the oven.

Fast forward one year later and Nugget gets to attend the con in person :)

Can't read-but can hold like a pro.
Can't read-but can hold like a pro.