noideadog: (Default)
Five nice things about being in Dublin.

Things cost what they cost. If something is 9.99, you can pay with ten euro and at the end you'll get a penny back. Rocket science, it is! Sales tax is included and most professions will be quite confused if you try to tip them. When you get change from a bartender, the transaction is over; you don't have to leave money on the bar. Also, if your change is five quid, you don't get back a handful of singles to facilitate your tipping. Things just cost the price that's written on them. I like that. It is sane.

Conversations with taxi drivers. No yelling through the half-open window in a thick glass wall at a guy who's on the phone and who doesn't speak much English anyway. I hate single-serving conversations in all other aspects of life, but I do like the conversations that you have in the front of the cab when you're talking about the city and setting the world to rights. And when the driver doesn't want to say much, listening to the radio is pretty good too. Ireland has a high standard of talk radio presenters and I only ever listen to them in cabs.

The twilight. It sounds unlikely, but twilight just doesn't happen in New York and I miss it so much. I love the long evenings here where the lights come on and the outside slowly dims and someone suggests that maybe it's time for a pot of tea. It's not something I'd ever considered that I could possibly miss, but I crave it in my soul. Twilight's lovely. It helps you know when it's day and when it's night. This thing where it's like bright, bright, suddenlyverydark confuses the hell out of me.

Tonic water. Not what you'd think of as a staple of Irish cuisine, but tonic water in the states is basically bullshit, even the fancy, real-food brands. I've drunk so many gin and tonics since I got here. Joel and I are experimenting with making it at home, but so far we've mostly discovered quinine poisoning (everything gets really small, Joel tells me) and drinking too much sugar late in the evening. It's hard to be sure how much quinine you're getting from the cinchona bark, is the thing, and it tastes like evil until you add the fizzy water. We'll keep experimenting and I have hopes that we'll get to something that's at least as good as supermarket-brand tonic water over here.

The Irish language. Aw, way to sound like an emigrant, but it's so lovely that it's everywhere. I wrote most of this post while watching some mad documentary about Irish people in New York (and is it just me or is TG4 a bit excited about New York in general? It felt like half of the Irish language ads were about people emigrating to Meirice√° in general and New York in specific.), and I was happy that I understood a fair amount of it without the subtitles. Immediately after writing the last sentence, I had to stop being online because Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom was about to start and I had to go watch that instead. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it a lot. It's nine minutes long and very very sweet (and subtitled, fear not!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA0a62wmd1A

An bhfuil tusa ag labhairt liomsa?
noideadog: (nyom)
Hey, what are great restaurants in Dublin these days? I'm looking for foodie-in-jeans, not posh, and preferably new-Irish cuisine, or whatever we call artfully combined potatoes and cheese and sausages and so on these days. Whatever cuisine you find in 101 Talbot, Winding Stair, The Pig's Ear, that sort of thing. Is there anything new and exciting? (Or even old and exciting. I've been away a while.)
noideadog: (natural dancer)
Agh, my brain is full of snot. I left New York with a mild cold which Dublin, oh sweet Dublin, encouraged and cultivated until it became a lung-sucking, throat-grating lurgy of misery and infirmity. Why is it always like this? When I get a cold in Ireland, I have it for a month. In New York, it's gone overnight. Is it the damper air? Am I allergic to the homeland? Could it be the dangerous proximity to good chips? I don't know. Colds in Ireland have always beaten the bejesus out of me, and this one is no exception.

We got in on Friday morning, a bit spiky and distracted, but well enough rested to go straight to the office and do a reasonable day's work before having a tolerable pint in the 40 Foot Bar in Dun Laoghaire and turning in at 9pm. Why Dun Laoghaire? Because it turns out that Paddy's Day followed by a rugby weekend in Dublin doesn't lend itself to hotel rooms near the office; after a lot of searching, we ended up booking an oversized closet with a shared bathroom in Dun Laoghaire for only twice what a hotel room in the city centre would have normally cost. The economy was well served by the tourist industry this weekend: I've never seen Dublin so booked out. By Sunday though, all was deathly quiet. "Were you waiting in the rank long?", I asked the taxi driver outside the Burlington. "I was considering having my post redirected." I guess the crowds went home.

Now that the city's back to normal, it's obvious that prices are well down. We're staying in the Burlington for cheap as chips, and I keep being confused by the piles of change I'm getting back in shops. The best thing is the final death of the once-ubiquitous Only, a nasty creature that used to loiter outside cafes and newsagents, smarmily advertising unacceptable prices for sandwiches and groceries and all kinds of things. The Only was only ever attached to prices that were obviously outrageous. It was a sly and injurious acknowledgement that everyone present knew they were being taken, that they couldn't do anything about it, and that they had to pretend to enjoy it for the sake of the Celtic Tiger. Only used to make me so furious. I haven't seen a single one since I got here on Friday, and I've been looking out for them. Good riddance, Only. Stay dead.

Restaurants are still mental expensive though. What's going on with that, Dublin?

Saturday night was the long-awaited Commitments twenty year reunion concert. God, they haven't lost it at all. Andrew Strong still roars, and none of the others have been slacking over the last twenty years either. Even better than the music -- which was fairly brilliant, actually -- was just how happy they looked. Watching Bronagh Gallagher in particular, you got the impression that there was nowhere, NOWHERE, in the world she would rather be. I think most of the crowd felt the same way. Even the inexplicably terrible camera and video work (Were those slide transitions and animated burning letters supposed to evoke 1991? Homage to Powerpoint 2.0, maybe? And was setting the camera to autofocus and then going for a pint some sort of conscious artistic decision? "It was nice of them to let a high school student do their multimedia", Joel commented afterwards.) achieved its own bit of greatness: being part of the laughter when the screen said "God sent him." "On a fuckn Suzuki?" would have been worth coming home for all on its own.

But oh the cold though, the goddamn cold. I managed about forty minutes under my own support, then another half an hour leaning on Joel, and then I had to go home or fall down. From the reviews I've read -- here's a good one -- it continued to be a hell of a gig. And I moped on the dart on the way back to Dun Laoghaire.

Yesterday was dinner with my family, the first time we've all been together in at least a couple of years. I met my brother's new girlfriend (future wife, everyone in the family reckons), and saw my niece walking for the first time, and marvelled at how many of us there are when we're all together with husbands and boyfriends and girlfriends and babies and dogs and all. Look, here's my sibs!
From Drop Box
noideadog: (drum)
This time next week I'll be heading to the airport! Ireland-friends, I'm going to be upstairs in the Bull and Castle from around 7:45 on Sunday, March 20th. Come have a pint with me?
noideadog: (meerkat)
In other news, cats and kittens, I've bought tickets to the Irelands and I'll be in Dublin from March 18th to April 4th. Joel will be around for some of that time too, TBD.

My plans include seeing people I like, eating chips, working during working hours, and actually that's pretty much it. Is anything exciting happening over those two weeks? Invite me to things! My calendar's here, if you want to stalk me (which would be excellent, unless you're a murderer or something, in which case I'd rather if you didn't, but thanks for taking an interest.).
noideadog: (natural dancer)
Wedding minus three days. Dudes, I'm not even a bit stressed. It's really freaky. I should be at least my regular level of background-stress, but nope, nothing at all. Fingers crossed that it lasts at least until my family get here on Thursday to make me insane.

We're going to meet the registrar in the morning (We hope. She is hard to pin down) to make sure that our ceremony is acceptable to the civil registry people. They gave us a formal printed ceremony with a couple of blanks to insert our own song or reading. "Allocated time two (2) minutes", it says for each of them. Of course we've thrown the whole lot out, and instead pencilled in a few minutes at the end of our ceremony for the registrar to do the legal stuff. I hope they don't care either way.

Edit: They cared rather a lot but we reached a compromise.

Other than that, there are bits and pieces of outstanding things, but life is pretty much under control. We have haircuts and dinners and suits and dry-cleaning, flowers to collect and hotel bills to pay, but it's well defined and doesn't take up brain-space, so it doesn't feel like work.

Maybe tomorrow it will all crash down and I'll realise ten things we've forgotten, so it's best to appreciate the peace while it lasts. For tonight, all of my chores are done and I'm not tired (uh oh) so I wrote notes for visitors from New York.

http://www.joelandtanyagethitched.com/what-to-do-in-dublin

Enthusiastic disagreement is encouraged!
noideadog: (Default)
When I think about our wedding day, here's the one thing I get especially enthused about: going on the Luas in a wedding dress.

We're looking at taking photographs on the canal at Charlemont just so I have an excuse. I don't know if I can even explain why. I try to tell people about it and they invariably ask "Why don't you take a car?", like it's not the most completely obvious thing ever. Because the Luas! DING DING! It's so brilliant.

One of my favourite Dublin memories ever was watching a long, long queue of people waiting at Stephen's Green a couple of days after the Luas opened, all lined up for a jaunt out to Sandyford and back. It was sunny and there was a festival day atmosphere, like you could imagine that everyone was off for a big day out at the seaside and there was going to be ice cream. The best bit was that the Luas staff were totally into it, and having as much fun as everyone else. A man in his sixties with a BBC accent and a big smile was calling "Don't push! Everyone will have a chance to ride the tram!". He was so engaged in the tram-riding experience. Everyone there was. I guess I've been lucky not to have to take it every day, so it's still like that in my brain. Everyone will have a chance to ride the tram! Trains and trams make me really happy. It's the engineering and co-operation and civilisation and accomplishment they imply. I'm all about municipal order, I guess.

When you're committing to spend the entire rest of your life with another person, and when people are travelling across continents to help you do it, and when you can basically do anything you want for the day, I'm not sure that public transport is supposed to be a highlight. Mentaller. (DING DING!)
noideadog: (monkey!)
Well, we have a photographer, an option on some cheese, and a few cases of wine. It's not a bad start for a wedding, is it? Furthermore, we have a reception venue, two good choices for a ceremony, familial buy-in on which relatives to invite, a good hotel rate for that night, and a website with some information on it. There's a lot of stuff left to do, but I'm not too stressed about the wedding right now, which makes a nice change.

I like being back in Dublin. Most things are exactly the same, and I've been doing all of my favourite things: eating scones at Keogh's, getting chips from the place beside work, looking at the river in the dark from various bridges, being annoyed at Grafton Street, shouting "Ding ding!" when the LUAS goes by, having pints with a million people. My Dublin trips are fairly deterministic.

The only thing that has changed a lot is the Docklands. Where did that come from? Nobody told me that we'd suddenly become a Modern European City. William and I walked around there on Tuesday evening, admiring the gorgeous new Samuel Beckett Bridge, the red and green lights at Grand Canal Dock, the convention center, that weird sideways building that looks like it might turn into an arts centre, and the clean, calm modernity of it all. It the least Dublin thing I've ever seen. Well, the whole area is still a bit culturally sterile -- I saw a couple of polite wine bars and thirty places to buy an expensive cappuccino, but no theatres, cinemas, restaurants or reasons to be there in the evening -- but it feels like good things are happening. By the way, if you haven't seen the fantastic natural-gas installationdown by the toll bridge, you should go take a look, preferably after dark. It's cool that there's still crumbly brown brick buildings in the middle of everything. Good work, docklands developers. I like it a ton.

Since I'm talking about things I loved doing, here's another: Saturday was my hen party. We went to the lamer-than-lame wax museum, kind of just for the laugh, and it was even worse than you'd expect: all of these dead writers and looming popes and Figures Of Irish Interest that it's hard not to feel embarrassed about. It was good fun though. Not really 'so bad it's good', but certainly 'so bad it's hilarious sociologically fascinating. Gerry Ryan in a Matrix-style coat and sunglasses? Bronze Age St Patrick with mitre and crozier? The Stormont Agreement signatories made comical by ill-fitting glasses? What can they have been thinking? The plan to take obscene pictures of Bono was thwarted by the 'no touching' signs, and Joe Dolan wasn't easily accessible, so we have a single picture of us all clustered around an Episode One Anakin Skywalker. Lame. Brilliant.

We went to the Shelbourne for Posh Tea, cucumber and egg-and-cress sandwiches, little glasses of trifle, scones and cream, easy-listening tunes from a grand piano and other delicacies, and then we went back to our penthouse suite for a pyjama party. Both of these were exactly how I've always thought I'd like my hen party to be, and it was perfect, really ideal. I won't tell any stories from the evening, but I'll echo someone's suggestion that we should repeat the exercise next year. Count me in.

In other news, we're still waiting for Baby Bean, my first ever niece-or-nephew, to show herself or himself. There are plans to begin dislodgement tomorrow, so I'm going to take Wednesday off and go to Galway on a gamble that there'll be a baby to see. Either way, I'll be back in Dublin in the evening, and will be in the Porterhouse from 7 or something to celebrate anything that needs celebrating. Hoy!

And finally, in case you didn't notice the bit above where I mentioned drinks, here it is again: drinks, the Porterhouse in Temple Bar, Wednesday from 7pm or something.
noideadog: (Default)
"Do you have any proof that you live in the United States?"
"I have floss in my pocket."
"Right so."

(This conversation only took place in my head.)

Today was all about walking around town trying to renew my passport while having a whole lot of fairly mad dialogues in my head. I ended up with a bunch of prepared speeches, none of which I got to use: a formal justification for why I couldn't go to my local Garda station in Kells to get my photographs signed; a thesis on the disadvantages of sending important documents in the post in a time of bad weather; a plea for leniency with regards to not having to wait ten working days; several comic interludes, foolishness and rhyming couplets. I don't know. You kind of had to be there.

I'm pretty tired actually. Is that obvious? I got up at 7:30 this morning (the middle of the night for me at the best of times, and literally so right now when I'm still on New York time), waited around at the bus stop from 8:15 and finally made it to Dublin around 11. We're not good at this weather thing, are we? Two buses had broken down, the driver said, so we needed to sit around for a while and give people a chance to catch up.

The Passport Act of 1981 says that all photographs from a machine have to make you look like you have a disease. Somehow the photo machine at Busaras had never gotten the memo: it gave me pictures that were actually attractive. Unprecedented! How I rejoiced to think of ten years of travelling with this proof that one day in 2010 I'd had excellent hair and a serene expression. Joyful tones!

Then the queue at the passport office was tiny, and the application form was exactly the right length to fill out while waiting for my number to be called. Winner! Has a government process ever been this easy? But, no, I got to the desk and found out that my photos weren't centered enough, my residence address needed to be in Ireland even if that was a lie, my form needed to be signed in the presence of a Garda, and by the way the credit card machine was out of order, so I needed eighty quid in cash. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

New passport photos: flat, rained-on hair; blotchy skin; tired, old-person eyes and a crabby expression. Good work. Still, the application is now in, and I collect my shiny new passport (and hopefully also my visa-enriched old passport) on the 20th.

The staff in the passport office are great, by the way, rocking a sort of collective amusement which makes it a pleasant experience. A representative overheard conversation:

"I'm going to Rome on Thursday."
"Are you now?"
"Eh..I hope so?"
"Ah go on then. I'll get you a passport today."

I'm back at work now, drinking nourishing coffee and enjoying the accents of home. It's good to be back in Dublin.
noideadog: (Default)
Whew, January 8th already. Where's this 2010 rushing off to? What do I have to show for it so far? A half-painted study, a half-organised hen party, a half packed bag. Get it together, 2010. Finish something.

I'm off to Dublin tonight, and I'll be there for eleven days, with some travelling around in between. My sister's having a baby any freakin' minute now, so I've made no plans: I'll land in Dublin and then see whether I'll be spending the night in Galway, Kells or Dublin. After that, I'll be in The Company's office on Barrow Street a fair bit, and making the rest up as I go along. Please let me know if anything interesting is going on. Also, please fix the weather before I land, yeah?

Lots of notice: Dublin-folk, I'll be in the Porterhouse in Temple Bar from 7pm or something on Wednesday January 20th. Come for a pint?
noideadog: (Default)
I had three "yes"es on my immigration form, for "was on a farm", "touched livestock" and "am carrying food". I've never had any yeses before, so I was all psyched up for some quarantining or hosing down with bleach or something, but they just looked at my shoes and said it was ok. "But, I milked a cow! I petted a pig![1]" "Have a nice day" "Okey."

We're back in New York. I'm really too tired to make proper posts or even sentences, but the summary is that [livejournal.com profile] rbpixies's and [livejournal.com profile] shootbambi's wedding was super-lovely, except that our poor [livejournal.com profile] inannajones was viciously attacked by the chicken pox and couldn't have any of the fun. It was horrible timing and entirely unfair of the universe. Hope you're feeling better, Nina!

Sleeping time now. I have a headache and an earache and a slight temperature, so am almost certainly going to die of swine flu tonight. If I do, someone should please move me out of here before the cat eats my face, thanks. Oh, and I should also thank the people who cat-sitted while we were away: normally she meets us at the door all "YOU BETRAYERS!", and today she's more like "Hey, how was your trip?". Thank you for maintaining her sanity, you chaps.

[1] We went to Causey Farm so that V could learn some valuable wifely skills, like baking bread and feeding hens and cutting turf: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1059894@N24/pool/page5/
noideadog: (Default)
This is a big boat! Unless it sinks, I'll get to Dublin some time before seven. If anyone's around for dinner or a pint later, give me a shout.

The menu here includes chicken wrapped in bacon and cajun penne, both with potatoes and boiled vegetables. I'm home :-D
noideadog: (travel)
At my desk at 2am with the Thomas Cooke European Timetable and a bunch of webpages working out the best overland route from Athens to Dublin. We can't leave Athens before midnight on the morning of the 19th, and we have to be in Dublin by the morning of the 25th. In between, we'd like to eat cheese, drink interesting liquers, sleep in couchettes and not go anywhere near Frankfurt. It's scheduling chaos and I'm enjoying every second of it.

According to this great site I found, Athens to Dublin can be done in 55.5 hours (including a 50 minute walk across Paris) but I suspect we wouldn't like life (or each other) much by the end of that trip.
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: (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 [livejournal.com profile] digamma too!
noideadog: (coffee)
I bought flights. I'll be in Dublin for four days next month. My schedule is

Sat Aug 23: land in Dublin at stupid o clock (early)
Mon Aug 25: work.
Tue Aug 26: work. train to Galway
Sun Aug 31: fly out from Shannon

Anything much going on between the Saturday and Tuesday?


Also, anyone know a very posh restaurant in Galway? I'm looking for the equivalent of Patrick Gilbaud's or Shanahan's or whatever.
noideadog: (natural dancer)
The little plastic tub I bought in Balducci's has a label. The label says

"Pine nuts.
Ingredients: pine nuts
Contains pine nuts"

It has green beans in it. (It doesn't really.)

I'm drinking a decent, refreshing and tasty Sauvignon Blanc. What makes this worth mentioning is that it was made in Ireland. You wouldn't think, would you? And I don't mean it's some mystical irish celtic hoy-begorra alleged mead made by alleged monks in an alleged town I've never heard of. (Violins. Ancient celts believed it had life-giving properties. Contains water from the purest irish spring. Picture on the front in dusky blues and silver of a high cross and a girl with improbable hair.). This is actual, good, yummy wine.

There's an article about the man who makes it, so maybe everyone else already knows about it, but it was new to me at the Temple Bar food market when I was in Dublin a couple of weeks ago. His name's David Llewellyn, and he has a stall there every week, selling apples and a hot apple cider that's just about the best thing about a cold Saturday morning in the city center. When I was home he was also selling wine from his vineyard in Lusk. I was sceptical, but of course I bought some, and it's very fine indeed. I wish I'd bought more. A nice thing: his phone number's on the bottle, and he said to send him a text saying what I thought of the wine. I'll do that when it's not 2am in Dublin.

Sitting in my apartment drinking wine is very pleasant. The work I've been doing for the last two days has needed a lot of concentration, and my neck muscles ache from leaning towards the screen, peering at rows of data and making sure I wasn't about to break everything. I'm super-tired. I never feel honest claiming "I worked hard" though: I messed around with computers and thought about things and typed some things and sent some emails. It's not really -work-, is it? Not -really-.

Can you sense a looming parental comparison? Here is it: my mother's a nurse, looking after old people who are going to die soon. She got a qualification a while back where the coursework included a project on geriatric incontinence. Not for a million euros would I do my mum's job. And my dad's a builder. When I was a kid he always had deep cuts on his hands from lifting concrete blocks. (Which he'd show us with some glee, I remember, because my dad's basically a twelve year old boy). He lifts heavy things all day. Real work.

Anyway. In as much as what we do is work, I feel like I've worked hard. I have various forms of RSI in my shoulders and arms and back and eyes and brain, and it's nice to be stretched out at home with wine and the paper. I've booked a massage at work for monday (see?) to see if it will stop the clicking noises in my neck. In the meantime, I'm glad it's the weekend.

Btw, are other people not getting any comment notifications from teh ljs right now, or is that just me?
noideadog: (monkey!)
It's been a while since I posted a real update, with real information. Here's one of those.

So, I moved house. That was great. No, that was really fantastic actually, especially once I'd finished unpacking (mostly) and put my books on shelves and my clothes on hangers and had friends come over for tea. I'm not anti-social, I swear, but I find that I -love- living on my own. I mean, I have bouts of very specific loneliness -- my beloved is far away, and won't be back for another month at least -- but I'm glad to have had this experience. Living alone is a whole other world. I like it so much.

The Northside is, it has to be noted, different to the Southside. The local wine shop doesn't sell Prosecco ("It's a fizzy Italian wine? No? Cava.. won't really do, no."). The only coffee place nearby tried to put -sugar- in my -latte-. There is -- I know this will horrify you -- nowhere to buy fresh berries. It's quite a trial, as I'm sure you can imagine. And there are people everywhere, and they -interact- with each other. Local teenagers (teenagers!) knacker drinking in the football field (football, not rugby!) told me about their penises, which are apparently very large and attractive. Perhaps in celebration of this, someone has drawn one on the stop sign at the end of our road. It's a good aid to navigation. "Turn right at the stop sign with the penis on it", I tell people.

Honestly, I don't think we're in Donnybrook any more.

I have more furniture than I did before. Brid lent some fold up chairs, and Joel and I built an Argos flat-pack bed. This is the perfect bed: a bed of such comfort and stylishness that getting up in the morning becomes somehow easy. I can't quite explain this, but it must be some effect of the (wonderful!) memory-foam mattress that has me in work at 9am for almost two weeks in a row now. (It could be witchcraft.) It's a good thing, whatever it is. It's a great bed. Being up at eight means that I'm usually asleep by midnight. I? Am old, officially. And that? Is.. ok, actually. And this sentence structure? Is kind of cool, I always thought. It's ok if you disagree.

Everyone here has dogs. This is most definitely a dog neighbourhood. We made friends with Ben, a dignified[1]-but-enthusiastic[2] west highland terrier who lives on the corner. It's nice to have a dog to greet on the way to work.

I still don't have internet really. I hope it arrives soon, sort of, but it's also ok to have to make my own fun. I've only been skimming LJ; if I missed anything important, please do tell me.

If Joel wasn't 3300 miles away, I think I'd be just about as happy as I've ever been. It's a measure of how excellent everything else is that life is really not bad at all.


[1] The kind of dog I like. An aristocratic dog with self-respect.
[2] The kind of dog Joel likes. A "Holy shit! You threw the ball! Thank you!" dog.
noideadog: (drum)
Hey Northsider-peoples!

What are the food-ordering options around Donnycarney/Killester? I know about apache pizza. What else do you recommend?

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