noideadog: (monkey!)
Happy Christmas, peoples! I hope everyone's having a lovely day.

We sure are. Lazy shites that we are, we opened presents in bed while slugging champagne and eating gingerbreads. My best thing: a fleecy, goose-downy Lululemon winter coat with zip-off hood and useful pockets. I love Lululemon gear, and doubly so when it means that my bike rides stop being a bit shivery. Joel wins at Christmas. After presents, we phoned Joel's family (calm, cooking, enjoying Christmas day) and Skyped with mine (eleven people in the house including a baby and everything is madness and excitement.), still without getting out of bed, then finally, heroically went upstairs to eat cheese and do some NY Times crosswords. A very lazy day. Everything is good.
noideadog: (lucy)
We've had a rough couple of weeks. All the men in our household had interesting digestive issues. All of the women were useless with depression. A combination of time, lightboxing, medicine and good pizza fixed three of us right up, but Lucycat got worse and worse until she was spending the day frozen on the sofa: no eating, no movement, no interaction beyond occasional eye contact.

We called the vet, who emphasised that cats who don't eat get dead pretty quickly: if they dont starve themselves to death (and they will if you let them), they mess up their livers badly enough that it's just a matter of time. She prescribed "stinky junk food". "Give your cat a big mac", she said. Sardines, cheap and smelly cat food, warmed up beef liver, cat treats, chicken broth, cheese, aerosolised catnip on everything, whatever smells strongly and don't worry about whether it's good for her. A few days passed during which we waved all sorts of appalling crap in front of our cat's face and received ennui and long-suffering silence in return. Fuck. Eventually the vet's office took her in for the day to inject fluids and stuff her full of valium and appetite stimulants. If that hadn't worked, we'd now be talking about hospitalisation and IVs and how much we're willing to spend on keeping our cat alive, but they did magic and we are relieved. She ate food last night and again this morning. Nobody dies today. Christmas is _on_.

Dudes, I had no idea I could agonise so much about a tiny mammal. I don't know how people with kids aren't constantly out of their minds with worry.

Christmas really is on. I walked home with a new box of Scrabble under my arm, looking in the windows at the poinsettias and decorations. Our house is all presents and cards and soft lights, cheeses and gingerbreads, fizzy wine, blankets to curl up in and Angry Birds to playgood books to read. It's a lazy, peaceful time of year, indoors and out. My neighbourhood is an even nicer mood than usual. There was a long line outside the pastry shop, and another at the cheesemonger's, everyone jovial and chatting. The florist gave me a lollipop, then called me back to present a second one, in case there were lollipop fights on Christmas day. I love living here.

Tomorrow we're going to have ravioli and champagne for brunch and open presents here, then head to the city in the evening to meet a bunch of people for indian food and a pint. A traditional family Christmas :-P
noideadog: (monkey!)
I used a circle saw today. Man, that is a scary and powerful tool. WHOMMMMMM, as it slides through wood like butter. Now we have several pieces of wood with primer drying on them, and our house is an obstacle course of components for a project which I will describe later if it's successful and never mention again if it doesn't work out. I'm pretty excited about it.

I have added the circle saw to the drill and the sabre saw in the collection of powerful instruments I treat with respect but not fear. (Also root privileges, angostora bitters, high credit limits, yeast, cheques, immigration officials, etc.)

Secret Project JCP is the second feat of heroic domesticity performed by Team Tanya and Joel today. Here's the first:

Man, christmas puddings are rich. Eggs, butter, sugar, beer, brandy, juice, nuts, spices, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit zest... the reason we only make it once a year is because otherwise we'd all have gout. It's currently bubbling away, and I'm excited about that too.

Overall, an excitement-rich day.


I want these motherf*cking snakes off this motherf*cking plane! HAHAHAHAHAHA.
noideadog: (Default)

Originally uploaded by xymb.
Joel made huevos rancheros and black beans for breakfast, I did ravioli and a bottle of fizz for lunch, and we went out for Thai food for dinner. This is the kind of traditional Christmas that I can get behind.

Also, presents. Joel got me a sextant, a rugged waterproof compass, a divider, a notebook, some still-mysterious other apparatus, and a copy of Celestial Navigation Simplified on DVD. (The picture shows William F. Buckley Jr's earnest blue jumper talking about taking sun sights in a time before irony. Look, they're on a boat.) I've spent a lot of today learning about zenith distances and declinations and working out the altitude of the kitchen ceiling and that kind of thing. I'm looking forward to trying it out on actual suns and stars. This stuff is brilliant.

This evening we saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie, which was a bit average. Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are good fun apart and glorious together, and Rachel McAdams does fine with the cardboard cut-out character she's given, but it's still kind of meh. With a setup so rich, I was disappointed by how obvious it all was. Those characters, those actors, and the steam-punk setting gives a great opportunity to be a bit offbeat and interesting, but it was the usual collection of tropes, explosions, extended fight sequences and sequel preparation that makes up any action movie. Kind of a waste of the material, I thought.

Now I'm drinking a beer in bed (such decadence!) and considering whether to sleep or read. It's not a school night, and tomorrow's not a school night either. These holidays are, as advertised, happy! I hope they're good for everyone else too.
noideadog: (coffee)
This evening has been all about internet failure. Every year I leave my Christmas shopping until the last minute, certain that I can buy things quickly online, and every year I am bewildered by how difficult it is to get places to ship to Ireland, to fight through hostile user interfaces, and to use websites without having Internet Explorer (this last one at least is getting much better).

This all seems very basic to me: you're an online seller, so your customers can find your site from any country and from any computer, including from a mobile phone. You are presented with a guaranteed sale: a customer on your site, credit card in hand, trying to buy your product. It's close enough to Christmas that they'll probably pay any amount of postage just to avoid having to go outside into the jingle madness. And you say no, you don't ship outside the UK. Or yes, but first of all you have to hack your way past this buggy javascript. Or maybe, but you have to enter your credit card details to find out that the shipping address can't be different from the billing address. What the hell? You'd have to hate money.

Here's some things I've learned about trying to post things to Ireland. might do, but don't count on it. The less mediaish it is, the more likely that they don't ship it. This even applies if you only select items shipped directly from amazon. Failure: nothing I selected could be shipped to Ireland, and I couldn't see how to refine my search to exclude products that didn't actually exist. I wasted forty five minutes or so before getting too pissed off to continue. No fuzzy slippers for my family. (They'll probably survive). don't sell a whole lot of stuff, but they include Arnotts and Eason, which are at least known quantities. Side note: I'm bemused by the site's "Gifts for mom" link. Are we saying "mom" now? Is that true? I missed that memo. Anyway. Success: plain white Hilfiger shirt for my brother who apparently likes such things.

The sells historical ordinance survey maps of Ireland. I've wanted these for me and for my dad ever since I saw the visiting exhibition at Dublin castle, and finally they're for sale. The site is complex and javascripty, yet works surprisingly well on firefox/chrome, right up to the 'buy' button, which doesn't. Also, I'm not certain that they sell actual paper maps, as opposed to A0 PDFs, but I haven't been able to figure that out from their site. I mailed them to ask. Failure: no 1836 map of Kells for my dad, after a full hour of carefully lining up the boundaries of the map so that I'd included as many points of interest as possible. I was so excited about this one. I hope it can be done.

There are many online directories of shops which ship to Ireland, most of which contain a hundred or so broken links. They're like little sad graveyards of online businesses. seems to be an exception, in that it links to shops that still exist. They must be making money off the six million amazon links, but there's other good stuff there too. They were by far the most helpful site today.

The indo have a shopping site too at The site's rocking five years ago and the products are a bit unlikely, like a "Steam O Power Clothes Steamer" and a "Handheld Bridge Mate", where you'd expect to find Jamie Oliver cookware and an iPod. It's possible that they only sell Irish-made products, but it's depressing to think that this is the best we can do, so I prefer to believe that they're mentallers. The site's actually worth a look for the tragic late-night-infomercialness of it all.

Dorothy Perkins, French Connection, Coast and Miss Selfridge all deliver to Ireland. I don't know that I'd ever buy clothes online, but they're maybe useful if you already know what you're looking for. Coast also has a .ie site and prices in euro, so it wins at being online (though it still loses at sizing, and you can tell it I said so.) are also apparently quick and reliable and they ship to Ireland., and are good places to find neat junk and novelties. Success: Microwaveable bear and squishy brightly coloured pillows for very pregnant sister.

Smyth's Toys are at

Woodies DIY are at, and they reckon they can deliver things up until December 21st. Apparently they're exactly the same people as Atlantic Homecare, so if you've already looked there, don't bother. is another tooly place.

It seems really obvious that Argos and Ikea would have international online shops, seeing as they're already so catalogue-based, and yet it's entirely untrue. (Argos act like they do, but then you have to go collect the stuff from them.) Debenhams don't deliver to Ireland either. Space madness.

If you're shopping for people who aren't picky about things being new (environmentalists love secondhand stuff, or at least have to pretend that they do -- tip!), has way more stuff based in Ireland than it used to. seems to sell a bunch of different things, like digital cameras and baby car seats and diamonds and action figures. They don't supply any information about how, when or even whether they deliver to Ireland, but they have 'ie' twice in their url, and their prices are in euro, so presumably they do. The site feels a bit like it belongs to a shop called Valuworld! or Eurozone2, and my spidey sense tells me to get the hell out of there before someone activates a singing Christmas tree.

That's about as much as I have strength for tonight. Here are my conclusions:

Conclusion 1: online shopping in Ireland is not that much less stressful than offline shopping in Dublin ten days before Christmas, but at least you don't get stepped on by freaks.

Conclusion 2: a lot of companies haven't really made the connection between having a website and using it to sell their product to customers. Judging by how easy it is to buy anything online in New York -- I swear I could have a rhino delivered overnight to my desk if I was willing to pay -- this will change. Once lots of countries start being properly online, we'll also need a better way of searching for products to buy in a particular geographical region. "buy [thing] ireland" is just as likely to return a [thing] covered in appalling celtic knotwork and shipping from Iowa.

Conclusion 3: shopping in sterling when you earn dollars is still painful, but is much less bad than it was.

Conclusion 4: there are a lot of bad web designers out there and I suspect that most of them have never heard of usability or user interface design. I like to think that this will get better too. It's a new science. (it's not really that new, but let's be kind)

Conclusion 5: I go on a bit once I get started. Sorry.
noideadog: (nyom)
Good puddings! It turned out that half of the recipe was still way bigger than could fit in a single mixing bowl, so we ended up making two. Early illicit sampling[1] indicates that it does indeed taste like Christmas pudding (authentic!), and that it is so rich that you get gout just from being in the same room (double authentic!). It needs to sit for a few days before I can be sure, but it seems to be like it should be. Job done. I'm very happy about it.

[1] The recipe says "Don't take the lid off, but this is impossible so slice a tiny bit off the top and put the lid back on really quickly."
noideadog: (Default)

christmas pudding, day 1
Originally uploaded by xymb.
Today was Day 1 of Project: Christmas Pudding, and I met some unexpected early challenges.

Christmas Pudding is not an institution here. You can't just walk into your local Tesco and buy a plastic Christmas Pudding bowl. I tried our local discount store; I tried The New York Bake Shop; I even ventured into the hyperactivity of Bed, Bath and Beyond two Saturdays before Christmas -- that's how much I wanted one -- and basically it was a fail. I have a bundt cake metal tin with a lid, and a kind of shallow pyrex dish, and you can get away with a regular bowl with some foil tied on tight, if you're stuck. It's a pity not to be able to do it in the traditional manner, but I will live.

There are further ingredient-based complications. "Two bags of raisins" makes perfect sense at home where there is a designated size for bags of raisins, or at least a most popular brand which has a most popular size. It's the same for "one thing of cherries", and "a teaspoon of mixed spice". I could go into a shop in Kells and ask for "a thing of cherries and some mixed spice", and I would probably get exactly the correct thing of cherries, and exactly the spices that my grandmother used. You can't get those weird sticky cooking cherries either, but there are maraschino cherries and there are (if you look hard) dried cherries. Sultanas don't exist here either, I think, but golden raisins do, and that's probably close enough. Finding breadcrumbs without corn syrup in was tricky, and I should have made my own, but I didn't have a lot of time today. Don't judge me.

So, I'm all set up. The dried fruit is soaking up most of a pint of Guinness, and first thing tomorrow I'll go to the farmers market for milk and eggs. Then we need to get the whole thing made and steaming away before around 11am, so we can get out of the house at some time in the evening. My mother's addition to the family recipe comes from bitter experience: once the steaming starts, you can't stop until it's done, or it will be a disaster.

Dudes, this is my first time ever making a christmas pudding. Don't screw it up, Tanya.
noideadog: (coffee)
In the worst tradition of livejournal, this one's just a list of names. Surviving the last ten days has been a feat of complex scheduling and, apart from one occasion where -- I swear this is true -- I forgot to eat chips, everything worked out precisely as planned. Advanced scheduling techniques employed included: harnessing the power of jetlag to get up early, using buses and trains to sit quietly on my own and recharge my introvert-brain, eating before I got hungry, and being generally lucky about things. I imagine this will be the dullest post you skim past today, but I'll feel accomplished for recording this stuff.

I arrived in Shannon on the 19th and was met at the airport by my sister Aishling and her friend Peter. In Galway I met his boyfriend JP, and another friend, Eileen. Aishling's husband, Gabriel, joined us for a much longed-for pint of Guinness and pretty good Chinese food.

Arriving in Dublin on the 20th, I found that I had an hour to kill, and jumped off the luas a stop early for a pint with Simo on Capel Street. We walked to Sufi's from there and I had dinner with Nina, Drew, V and Pixies, and somehow missed also seeing Hadook, who happened to be there at the same time.

Home to Rathfarnham, then awake at 6:30am to talk about nerdy things with Pixies, before catching the bus into town to meet my parents. Following a reliably mediocre Kylemore breakfast, we did some shopping on Henry Street, lunched at Keoghs, fought our way down Grafton Street, shopped some more, then met V at Le Monde for a drink before my parents got their bus home.

DoC came into town for dinner at Cornucopia, then he, V and I went to the Long Stone for the first of the evening's parties, where I compared fake New York accents ("hey lady, I'm walkin' heea!") with fellow Manhattanite Diane, and met up with Niall and Maeve. After that, the luas took us to Parkgate Street for Tim's annual Quiet Couple Of Pints. We didn't stay long, but I had time to catch up a bit with Tim, Paul T, Doug, Marie and Catherine and steal Doug's chips. DoC was kind enough to drop us back to Rathfarnham. I slept soundly.

On to Sunday, when I met Gliceas in town for lunch at the cafe which has inexplicably replaced Moka. Once again I didn't meet Aoife and he didn't meet Joel and we cemented our respective suspicions that these people do not actually exist. Next order of the day was a luas to Stonybatter to steal Brid away for yummy Irish coffees at the Aisling Hotel. The 67A is considerate and passes close by, so I didn't need to go back into town before going out to Maynooth to visit Cian, Meaigs, Sorcha, John and noob humans Kathleen and Simon. After a lovely, companionable evening, I sleepily read comics on the dart and then the bus back to Rathfarnham.

Monday 22nd was a work day, but that didn't preclude a pintlunch with Sarah, as well as catching up with Krabbe, Youngman, Psn, and other work folk, and even getting some work done. Monday was my only social meetup failure, when I texted Niall about getting chips and then immediately forgot I had done so. No chips for me. (Sorry, Niall.) Monday was also eagerly anticipated for being the day that Joel arrived from New York. We had a pretty good pizza dinner in Millers, and an early night.

If Matt's not there, it's not Tuesday lunch in Dublin, but he was and it was, so that was ok. We went to a place near work that I forget the name of, had good lattes, then walked around Merrion Square a bit. I realised that Tuesday would be my only opportunity to have chips from Presto, so I bought some even though I wasn't even a tiny bit hungry, taking some back to the office for Joel, and finding MrYan there too. Joel and I called to Fallon and Byrne and Sub City after work for emergency supplies (cheese, comics), and met V there too, before heading for Kells. Whew.

Christmas was good, though Kells makes me fucking crazy.

Back to Dublin, checked into the hotel, quick lunch at the Epicurean Food Hall, then the luas to Glen and Brid's house again, this time to catch up with Glen. Brid and her Mum and young Elijah arrived just before we left, which was cool timing. Babies smell excellent, I learned. We couldn't find the bus to Santry, so we lazily cabbed to Dizzy's and Britta's housewarming. Since Joel had an early flight, we only stayed a couple of hours. It was nonetheless long enough to make brief but enjoyable conversation with the party's hosts, as well as Dizzy's parents and Ian, Aine, Shane, Humbug, Orly, Grimnar and Matt and to learn the useful words scrotiform (pouch-like) and jumentous (having the characteristics of horse urine). We bussed back to the hotel.

Yesterday, Joel flew home, and I walked aimlessly around the city centre until it was time to meet V for breakfast. We took the southside luas to Balally to look at the place where her wedding will be, but the estate was locked up, so we peered through the gates instead. We got the luas back as far as Ranelagh, then walked into town from there so's not to waste the rare good weather. This last couple of weeks has been beautiful, actually.

From O'Connell Street I took a 16 bus to Griffith Avenue for tea with OB and Raphaele, peeping through a mostly closed door with shy Maia, and my first introduction to two-month old Felix. OB drove back into town, where I met Mary at Easons to admire her Jamiroquai hat and have dinner in Grand Central. Back to the Arlington Hotel to collect my massive bag, then I got the 66 to Maynooth to spend my last evening this year in Ireland with the ever-wonderful Drew and Nina.

They kindly took me to the airport today, and now I'm sitting on a plane waiting for people to take their seats.

And that is what I did on my Christmas holidays.
noideadog: (nyom)
We're back in Dublin on Saturday, staying in the Oirishy Arlington Hotel so Joel can easily get his flight home on Sunday morning. My phone charger didn't show, so I'm still not very contactable. If you need me, email is still the way to go.

It was a fairly typical Christmas day in our house. I mostly napped and ate and napped and read and napped and drank wine, with occasional breaks for opening presents. Loot highlight: the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the world, a gorgeous tome of everywhere, containing so much world that it's bigger than my backpack and lacks any obvious method of transportation to the Americas. It has over two hundred pages of index with page titles like ..*heaves atlas onto lap with grunting sounds* .."Gleann na Muaidhe to Gonfaron" and "Tārūt to Telford and Wrekin". I keep remembering that it's mine, and getting excited about it all over again, and Aishling bought it on eBay, she told me proudly, which makes me love it even more.

In between naps today, I read 52, DC's big comics event of last year. Marvel comics events have given me low expectations for these things, so it was a lovely surprise to find that this isn't just an entertaining way of namedropping every character in the universe (as is right and proper), but that it's actively very enjoyable and.. weird but true.. good. The stories are told in a way that.. ugh, I don't know enough about comics nomenclature.. the pictures are totally pulling their weight in telling the story, instead of just illustrating the words. I haven't much associated that with Spandex comics recently; I'd started to think of dialogue as the carrier of the story, with the pictures only doing the work for (boring to me) fight sequences or the parts where I have to spend way too long to figure out what they're trying to tell me is happening. It's refreshing and just -fun- to read comics like this again. It reminds of of Batman comics, back when Batman was good, which I guess implies that I should go back to DC and stop assuming that it will be rubbish. (Sorry, DC). Ok, some of the storylines I could happily do without -- Starfire and Adam Strange and Animal Man in Spaaaaaace! is the obvious first contender here -- but on the whole, highly recommended so far. I've only read the first 27 weeks, so no spoilers please.

My family use traditional irish cooking methods (bake it until it's dessicated; boil it until it's liquid; fry it until it's sorry), which I find kind of challenging, but we had a decent meal and a good day. Joel contributed a slab of Gruyère the size of a Neal Stephenson hardback, and we bought all the brown bread in the world, so I've been overdosing on cheese sandwiches and being happy about that too.

Time to sleep, I think.
noideadog: (monkey!)
Happy Christmas night, you chaps. Have visions of sugarplums, and all that. It's 2am and we've just torn ourselves away from irish coffees and Apples to Apples and sent ourselves to bed with strict instructions to sleep quickly so that Santa Claus will come. True to form, Joel and I are sitting side by side making sure the Internet is still there. I hope Santa won't mind too much.

The tree is busy with presents, but I'm most excited about a single one, a homemade (by me) epic adventure story called "Mister Bunny has a nice day", complete with badly drawn pictures of Mister Bunny going to the park, watching a jazz band, eating icecream with his close friend Clarissa Sheep, et cetera. Mister Bunny wears a top hat and carries a red umbrella, and he's the consequence of Tina insisting that her present should not be a book. She was adamant. "What if it's a really good book?" "No!" "How about Mister Bunny Has A Nice Day?" "No!" "He goes for a walk and everything. It's brilliant!" "No!" "Seriously, it's a bit scary at the end because you think that Mister Bunny might be a bit lost, but he knows the way back, it's fine." "I don't want to read about Bunny" "Ah, now, that's a bit familiar. He's Mister Bunny to you. Show Mister Bunny some respect." "Sorry Mister Bunny". And so on. The rest of my family think we've lost our minds, but Tina and I find ourselves quite hilarious, and I think the manifestation of Mister Bunny tomorrow morning will go down very well indeed.

My phone charger is somewhere else, so I'm not contactable by text message or phone call for the next few days. I'm checking email at intervals, but slowly, because Perlico is a bag of shite.
noideadog: (weirdofreak)
It's not Christmas until you've heard Fairytale of New York. The people in my office don't know yet, but it's going to be Christmas on loop for a lot of this afternoon. Hurray! Fairytale of New York is culturally very important to irish people, because it makes us remember when we were poor and far from home, even if we weren't actually poor and far from home ourselves. It's also one of the best songs ever written, and if you disagree about this, you're just wrong and probably also dangerous. But, god, it makes me want to go home SO BADLY. I want warm brown bread and irish coffee and buying rounds of Guinness and people yelling on Henry Street and most of all I want the people who are there. My brain aches with the wanting of it all. I will be on a plane in sixty hours.
noideadog: (they might be giants)
Last Arabic class before the final exam. Well, 'final' is a misnomer, this being semester one of four, but many of the class are dropping, repeating or postponing, so it was our last class together. The teacher told us what a nice class we were, how much she'd enjoyed teaching us, how all of our hard work would make us the pride of semester two, and so on, but I'm afraid we all sat there with big eyes, terrified by the last unit of the book which had introduced some bewildering technicalities and made it clear that many sticky grammar problems were in our future. The future, you could say, is tense. (You're right. I'm sorry.) After the exam, we're all going out to a Middle Eastern restaurant that the teacher particularly likes, where I'm certain we'll all be too embarrassed to try to pronounce anything. I'm looking forward to it.

I see that TMBG are playing the Poisson Rouge again on January 31st. This isn't exactly a surprise, because I think they're averaging at a gig a month here at this point, but what's nice about it is it's two days after anniversary of my move here (I've been here almost a year!), and one of the first things I did here was to go to a TMBG gig. That was my first unaccompanied nighttime subway journey, (the more milestones you note, the more you have to celebrate; the first unaccompanied daytime subway journey had happened a couple of days earlier) and I was clinging to my NFT Guide To New York, and reading all of the station names with anxious intensity, and feeling very big and clever to be out and about on my own. It was a wonderful concert too.

The other thing is that I have Christmas plans. Gosh, flights are a bit expensive, aren't they? Here's my schedule:

Wed 17th: flight from JFK to Shannon
Thu 18th: land in Shannon at 10:40am. Stay with A in Galway.
Fri 19th: in Galway. Evening train to Dublin.
Sat 20th: in Dublin, shopping with family, annual Quiet Couple Of Pints drinks with trjh
Sun 21st: in Dublin,
Mon 22nd: in Dublin, in the office. Joel flies in to Dublin.
Tue 23rd: bus to Kells
Wed 24th: in Kells
Thu 25th: in Kells
Fri 26th: in Kells, probably family stressed by now
Sat 27th: bus to Dublin, d&b's party
Sun 28th: in Dublin.
Mon 29th: early flight back to JFK

If there's stuff going on that I'm invited to, please let me know :-)

Edit: Invite [ profile] digamma too!
noideadog: (brain)
[ profile] dbrane showed me how to write my name in Russian, and wrote it in my notebook. Since my dad's name is Daniel, I'd be Tatyana Danilovna. If Cyrillic fonts are working, it looks like this:


I'm very pleased about it. I get pretty excited about other languages and alphabets. My notebooks are full of disconnected phrases that I heard someone saying and got all "Oh wow WRITE IT DOWN PLEASE!" about. I love that stuff. I'm lucky in my job that I get to meet people from everywhere.

Notebooks are great. I don't keep a diary (you can't count lj really, can you?), but when I hear something interesting I tend to write it down. It's fun to go back through old notebooks and see what I thought was cool at the time. It's a little archaeological record of my brain. For example, here's a selection of the stuff in this year's notebook, going backwards in time:

"a syzygy tide"
a sticker of the Lighthouse at Alexandria.
"0.9144 metres = 1 yard"
The Dublin to Galway train times.
#define max(x,y).. two pages of C, written by Joel to explain why the kernel code he was working on was horrible
"Two jeans hung in the press and I/I chose the ones with button fly"
A sketch-map of Edinburgh
A recipe for baba ghanoush
A recipe for rice krispie mars bar cakes
The account numbers for electricity and gas in my last house
A sticker of Beast from the X-Men
The word "Matryoshka" in Roman and Cyrillic characters
"My Limerick senses are tingling! -- Cian"
"Moonchild Doyle"
Lots of postcard addresses
A map of how to get to the Indian embassy from the Google office
"2.89287W 53.22308N"
Some monkeys, drawn by MarkPixies
A map of France, by OB
A map of Australia, by Victoria
"Insist on formica!"
Carly Fiorina's autograph
The mac addresses of two servers in California
"Accidental alliterations are always amusing. (Done deliberately dey're dreadfully dull)"
A message written in Italian from some girl whose name I never found out. I have no idea what it says.
"Elves can talk to trees. French people can talk to food. - OB"
"Where do seedless grapes come from?"
"twaddle: the specific density of milk. Or Sonia is making it up."
The make and model of Drew and Nina's microwave
Some swearing about the Shannon stopover
Directions to the google office in Toronto ("27th floor!")
"Personal protagonism: how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives"

See, there's a year in summary right there. Notebooks are fantastic. It's gotten to the point where they're the second thing I'd save from a burning building, after my teddybear, Stripey. (I've had Stripey since I was a year old. I remember, as a tiny kid, imagining a situation where someone came to the door and said that they had to take away either Stripey or our dog or my baby brother. Man. I remember that one keeping me awake for hours. How are you supposed to decide things like that? I think I decided on the dog in the end, but only because I reckoned my family would be really sad if I gave away my brother. Considerate, no?)

Christmas was great, by the way. Joel and Victoria came to Kells with me, and MarkPixies joined us on the 26th, and it was very much like the Christmas episode of some sitcom where for some unlikely reason the characters all end up in the countryside surrounded by cows. Same people, different setting. It was nice. Three days is the right length of time for family, and unfortunately we stayed for four, but the fourth wasn't so bad, and the first three were really lovely. Delightful, even. I drank a lot of wine and ate a lot of mashed potatoes and watched twenty minutes of each of six or seven movies. We played card games, eight of us around the glass table, laughing and yelling and foiling my dad's attempts to cheat. It reminded me of being a kid.

I wore my amazing red shoes on Stephen's night, and impressed myself with how I can totally walk in heels now, like a grown-up lady. Our local pub is the Blackwater -- it's been the place we go as long back as I can remember -- but it was obnoxiously full, so we sat in the beer garden of The Arches, wrapped up in coats, catching up with my family as they filtered in. My brother's new girlfriend looks exactly like either Mary Kate or Ashley, but I don't know which is which.

It's hard to go back to normal. Today wasn't exactly productive, especially since my hard disk died. It was a good easing back into work though, poking at hardware, then faffing about for an hour waiting for ubuntu to reinstall.

Oh yeah! And Joel got me an XO! It hasn't arrived yet. I am -so- -excited- about it.
noideadog: (brain)
Every year, I buy the RTE Guide for the Christmas Crossword, fail to complete it, plan to come back to it, then forget about it entirely. I just remembered it for some reason, but still can't figure out the last five answers.
Don't make me buy the stupid magazine for the answers, please. )

Help my end-of-Christmas sanity.

Tomorrow is the end of Christmas. Tomorrow the decorations go back in the box. Sad, isn't it?
noideadog: (they might be giants)

Originally uploaded by xymb.
One of the advantages of coming from a big family is the gorgeousness of all the presents under the tree. Look at that. It's enough to make a cold heart warm.

We went to Mass earlier. Boy, the choir was bad, committing all the choir crimes there are: being of out of key, out of time, choosing dreary songs -and- getting the words wrong. For a group that have presumably practised, it was pretty impressive. It'd almost be worth getting up on Sunday to see Kells Silver Band show the town how musicians can make .. you know, actual music. Almost. But.. naw.

Now we're sitting around the fire considering whether to play a board game. There's wine and pistachios and sausage rolls and other non-traditional things. But we do have chestnuts. There is an open fire. We're looking thoughtfully at these things and trying to figure out how we can combine them. The current plan is to wait until the fire is less firey.

Aside: I'm online from the sitting room in Kells. Wireless. Wireless!

Happy season of goodwill, you chaps. I hope it's the best it can possibly be.
noideadog: (they might be giants)
Chester's roasting on an open fire
Jackdaws nipping at his toes
You'll be next to be slung on the pyre
Merry Christmas, from HELL.

(Ok, no more Sandman for me.)
noideadog: (booze)
Hee. Glen's funny. I deny all of those allegations. I barely tolerate either of my My Little Ponies, hate flowers, especially pretty ones, and have become a nun so that I never have to kiss boys again. A lesbian nun.

Dialup is slow. No wireless here either, inexplicably, so I have to sit in the cold kitchen to Internet. There used to be a phone point in the sitting room, but my parents had it removed a few years back. I think it was spoiling the line of the wallpaper borders or something. I don't know. It's cold here anyway, away from the fire.

Christmas is nice. My dad got a bottle of excellent brandy from some guy he did work for (he's a builder), and I've been filling my spare moments by sipping excellent brandy in front of the fire. It's.. you know.. bearable.

Happy Christmas, you people. Here's a festive picture from [ profile] fantasygoat

noideadog: (they might be giants)
I wrote this post the day after our Christmas party, and marked it private, meaning to come back and tidy it up and add pictures and turn the notes into sentences. That's ten days ago now, and it's becoming evident that I'm never going to fix it. Also, I lost all the pictures in a freak pouring wine in my phone accident. By following the link you indicate that you'll forgive the mixed tenses and randomness :-)

Holiday party )
noideadog: (Default)
Fucking helleration, you don't read LJ for a few days and there are eight hundred thousand posts. If I've missed anything important, yell at me, otherwise I'll catch up at the weekend. I seem to have the sleep debt of a small city going on right now. I wanted to go to bed early last night, but [ profile] mr_wombat lent me Transmetropolitan, damn him, and then it was late. Transmetropolitan is the best thing I've read this year. I've read two and a half of the ten (?) of them so far. No spoilers please.

[ profile] mr_wombat is back in Adelaide Road being replumbed today. Brid called at 1ish and said he was still in surgery and would probably be staying overnight. If you thought he was being brave and manly last time, seriously, you'd be impressed this time. If it was me, I'd have been worrying and complaining about it for about a month now. Glen's pretty awesome. Don't tell him I said :-)

Anyone want to do all my Christmas shopping for me? I need a nice dad-shirt, a pocket radio, a pink sparkly watch with a big strap, a bottle of Jameson, something luxurious and relaxing, a birthday present for my sister who is 24 and has no interests that overlap with mine and also has better taste than me, and some random other stuff that I've no idea of yet. Please? I'll pay real money.

I'm going to California in, like, three weeks. For, like, five weeks. It seems like something I should have thought about more by now.

I'm going to the zoo on Saturday. Meerkats are my favourite zoo thing.

We had a work dinner in Dun Laoghaire on Tuesday and afterwards I got creepied on by a vodka-soused old man. He was a writer, but nobody had ever heard of him. He sounded heartbroken about it, so I was sad too. He liked the stars. He asked me if I wanted to conquer the stars with him, but I was happy just to look at them. Then he leaned in really close and said "Do you know who I'm going to kill tonight?". Niall had arrived at the same bus stop, and I was really very glad. It wasn't me anyway, it was Bertie Ahern and his family. He was a ROMAN! you know. He was a WARRIOR!. He told us so through the medium of SHOUTING when he got on my bus. It might have been his bus too, but I think he was encouraged by how I'd spoken to him. I got off the bus abruptly so he wouldn't follow me home. Unhappy drunk people are more sad than scary, but it still wasn't very nice.

Christmas is so soon. So. Soon.


noideadog: (Default)

February 2014

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