Monthly Archives: March 2014

Men: Can’t Get Skinny with Them, Can’t Get Skinny without Them


In general, all holidays and social situations can be linked to weight changes in both men and women. There’s the commonly recognised periods of weight gain like the Christmas bloat, the Easter sugar level rise, and the summer diet that fails miserably and results in even more chocolate than before. However, there is one particular situation that all women can agree has altered their weight – relationships. And not the obvious types of weight change either like that of pregnancy or leaving yourself go in your eighties because neither care what the other one looks like. This is the type of weight change that, in your loved up state, you don’t notice it creeping up on you. Or it’s the type that you can credit to the bloke who left you not only with a broken heart but drove you into the arms of comfort food. I’m not going to dive into the cliché mind you, no woman really sits there holding a tub of Ben and Jerry’s weeping into his sweatshirt. Women gain weight in real ways for real reasons.

Certain reasons for pilling on pounds during a relationship are purely practical, while others can be attributed to a certain frame of mind. Some women just give up once they’ve bagged a man, considering the fight for a fit body to be over. They’ve won the man and so why struggle to impress anymore? Others don’t even notice it, for gaining weight comes with the couple lifestyle. Club nights, midday yoga and liquid lunches with friends are swapped for movie nights in with a Chinese takeaway. It’s an unnoticed fact that eating with a man-beast who devours cakes whole and asks for a second pizza for himself will make a girl feel less guilty for her third slice. The mentality exists that if he’s having a mountain of food, then I can get away with a bit extra too. For others, exercising is simply pushed as far back in their minds as possible, their couple hibernation comes first and keeping fit is no longer a priority for their time – cuddling is.

Then there’s post relationship weight gain, where after the cheating slime leaves you, your friends finally own up to the fact you’ve put on a few. So he’s left you with a burning hatred for men, two years’ worth of stupid fluffy teddy bears that just take up room and fat ankles as well. At this stage in any chick flick or American sitcom it’s the time for an inspiring montage of the girl standing up, burning the teddy’s, hitting the gym, getting a makeover and taking to the town with her friends. In real life, most Irish girls simply run home to mammy for a whinge and a roast dinner. Your friends sit there offering you cigarettes and endless cups of tea and in your heartbroken state you couldn’t bear the thought of a gym full of self-obsessed men. Wallowing in your own pity party and unable to face the social scene yet, you lie at home eating takeaways in your pyjamas feeding the scraps to your dog. Thus more weight gain.

But eventually your attitude will find balance with your single life. You’ll find the motivation to hit the gym or go for a run in all the obvious places. In the form of pushy friends who want to get fit for the summer. For the look of pure regret on you ex’s face when he sees you and your no longer fat ass in the tightest of tight jeans. And that guy you flirted with once that said hello and actually acknowledged you last week. You’d like to think you’ve thrown out all the takeout menus, except for the one that’s stuffed under the sink, you know just for emergencies. You’ll get approached by luring creeps in the pub again and get stalked by them on Facebook, returning your confidence and balance to the world. The aforementioned certain someone will catch your eye and convince you he’s not like the others, even though he clearly is. Just like the man that has made you gain weight this one will influence you to lose it. You’ll push yourself to look your best to bag him, and when you finally do – let the cycle begin again.



A letter from my pre-college self

regina george

Just as I’m about to graduate college in August (fingers crossed of course), I’m still going to be considered fairly young among the average age of graduates. I started first year journalism in UL at 16, so in August that means I’ll be getting my degree at age 20. For most that’s a very young age to be graduating and entering the big bad world. I never laughed so hard when I was openly discussing those terrifyingly foggy post college real world plans of mine among a group of people in our class. When someone asked what age I was, as people often forget, a mature student was never so shocked. He turned to me and said, “You could literally go to bed and sleep for five years, wake up, and then start your life.”

Now this isn’t going to be one of those hair pulling grit your teeth roll your eyes annoying blog posts about the whiney “What will I do with my life?” question. I don’t know yet, and I’ve come to terms with that. This blog post is looking back at my sixteen year old self the day before she started college, who as part of some long forgotten orientation exercise, had to write a letter to her future self. And for all the cringe factor in the world, I swear I don’t care what you say, I secretly kept it. And I couldn’t be happier that I did because that teenage me was such a naïve loveable idiot.

So for the benefit of all my friends who secretly read this blog hoping to find this exact soppy stuff to torment me with the next day as I do them, here you go:

Dear Roisin,

Im sitting in UL right now and Im a ghost from the past writing to you in the future. Is UL fun? Is your teacher nice? Are you keeping up what I expect is the high intake of alcohol? Are the studies hard? Bet you’ve turned 17 by now. You finally able to say your age? No?

This isn’t a very impressive letter if you consider Im (or rather UL are) sending this to a student of journalism who by now has a few weeks of worthwhile experience under her belt whereas I have practically none but my Leaving Cert English. Don’t forget we were once proud of that qualification. See ya later chick keep it real. X

In retrospect, that wasn’t all that mortifying to write. I love reading over this little piece of memorabilia. While not much has changed, I definitely know to use more punctuation marks in a sentence. Aside from that, I love how enthusiastic little 16 year old me was. That wasn’t so bad overall now was it? Well, except for the sign off. Who did I think I was, Limericks version of Regina George?

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Broadcast analysis: The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk FM 7th Feburary 10am-12:30pm

Pat kenny

The show opens with the 10’ o clock news presented by newsreader Kirah McDonagh announcing the headline news and cuts to sport and weather with Oisin Lankin. His shows main competitor at this time of day in terms of listener ratings would mainly be RTE’s Radio 1 show Today with Sean O Rourke, seeing as it’s on 10 am on an opposing station. However, seeing as Pat Kenny’s show opens with news and then features, Sean O Rourke includes more business. So those who want more current affairs and then a human interest story will tune into this show.

The headline news items of the day are:

  • The Minister of Justice’s reaction to the comments made by Oliver Connolly to a guarda whistle-blower.
  • Public accounts committee say it’s not acceptable for Rehab to only answer questions they deem appropriate in terms of their spending.
  • Communications Minister said the government wants to tackle the worrying rise in Dublin property prices
  • Gardaí investigate the discovery of three viable explosives found in Tallaght last night.
  • Russia’s defence ministry said fighter jets on their Western boarders have been put on combat alert.
  • Four men to appear in Cavan district court in relation to a burglary.

Pat Kenny, the shows presenter, comes in to analyse one of the lead stories of the news, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and their response to rehabs denial to give them requested information. He then adds his own story about the Irish rail ban of alcohol on trains and then continues his series of interviews with what he calls the “Telecom giants” today’s interview being with UPC. He does a profile on who was Rosie Hackett and then tackles the issue of eating disorders, bringing in a young woman recovering from anorexia and getting an expert opinion from a psychologist giving tips on how to deal with an eating disorder in the family. A sit in in a pub in Waterford and why, and making money on apps and its profitable industry.

I will be analysing part 1 of this show, an hour long segment, which ended after the UPC interview.

The running order (RO) makes sense from the news value angle. He opens with one of the big news stories of the day, PAC’s John McGuiness and continues to discuss a second news story with the panellist, the GSOC development. He also includes a clip of Mike Wallace in the Dail, adding a further dimension to the debate. They devoted almost half of the shows airtime to discussing these two topics – roughly 20-25 minutes. Then took a break when John McGuiness left the show after thirty minutes, and when they cut back in Pat Kenny began by reading our people’s reactions to what they just discussed, either texts or tweets.

Then he followed with a story that affects most public transport users on Irish rail with their recent alcohol ban on a couple of their Waterford routes, speaking to an Irish Rail rep on their new legislation. He then continues with a tough interview with the UPC manager. After those three stories, he moves into the more human interest features side of his show, with a profile on who was Rosie Hackett, moving to how an eating disorder will effect families and finishing with a business based topic.

This is a sensible format, with the majority of the show dedicated to the interview with John McGuiness, talking about the PAC’s opinion on the undisclosed salary figures which then goes on to the discuss the Garda whistle-blower scandal.  I thinks the airtime is suitable since it’s almost necessary to hear the back and forth opinions and an in depth analysis on two huge issues currently in the news. People will want to hear what Mr McGuiness has to say, and they really want to see how far Pat Kenny will push him.  But personally I think the telecom interview is slightly unnecessary as there’s nothing in relation to it currently in the news, it seemed to me to be more of a filler than anything else. Also I would have moved the app business based story up a bit further in the RO too, to keep business after news and then to end with its features.

Pat Kenny’s own style as an interviewer is quite good, especially in the way he addresses his audience. Before any official quote comes in he clearly and slowly outlines who they are and what they do, so the listener is never lost.  He knows how to seek a direct answer – in terms of the PAC story he wouldn’t let the topic drop unless he got the answer he needed. But he knew how to work with them to get the answer he wanted, softly suggesting a new area of discussion. His tone is also quite conversational and easy to follow. He keeps a strict balance of topical debates between politics, current affairs and human interest. He has direct panellists relevant to each story and link in audio clips when he needed more balance.

The show is most definitely aimed at the 30+ age group, especially the elderly. It caters to the over 30’s in terms of its update on current affairs and its expert opinion and debate, and its family based segment on anorexia. Especially to the elderly age group, since he does a historical look back at Rosie Hackett born 1892. However I do feel that many twenty something’s will be part of his demographic given that they too will listen to the current affairs issues, and the alcohol ban discussion may have tuned in a lot of young people who like to travel to events and expect to be able to drink while doing so. He engages and includes the audience feedback regularly throughout the show after every add break, he reads out a handful of responses to what was discussed. When I checked there wasn’t too much activity on Twitter, only a handful of people who tweeted their response to the show with #PKNT (Pat Kenny Newstalk). Two being on the issue of Rehab, and the third (humorously) on the waiting time on a UPC helpline.

Listen back to the full show here: