noideadog: (they might be giants)
I've asked this before but it's just a week away now and I'm so excited about it. Who's going to the Commitments Reunion Concert on Saturday 19th? There are still (offensively overpriced) tickets available!.

As someone said on boards.ie, "Wilson Pickett better show up this time.". (I laughed and laughed.)
noideadog: (monkey!)
I mentioned a while back that Joel and I were working on a super excellent project. We hadn't done much on it so far, just sawing and a coat of primer, so I'm super-impressed that Joel entirely finished it while I was in California. He just sent me a picture. Check this the hell out:



Isn't it ace? I love the whole thing, but I especially love the row of cups at the bottom. How freakin' adorable is that?

This is inspired by Julia Child's pegboard, which I got ridiculously excited about when I saw it at the National Museum of American History. Now I'm ridiculously excited about getting home and seeing ours too.

As for getting home, that should be in five hours or so. I'm currently on a plane. And blogging! On a plane!
noideadog: (monkey!)
This is my extremely excellent new monitor setup.



What makes it quite so extremely excellent? It is extremely excellent because I can fold it away when it's not in use so I get to keep my writing desk.



Yes, the rest of the planet discovered monitor mounts forever ago. I'm still pretty excited. Also, check out how much my desk isn't falling over. I absolutely recommend using a big old slab of marble as a work surface.

In other news, my laptop only does VGA and I only have a DVI cable, so I can't actually use this thing until I go buy a converter. This makes me feel a little less clever than I did while I was swiveling the monitor back and forth eight hundred times to demonstrate its convenience. No six-terminal coding for me tonight. Oh well. Soon.
noideadog: (nyom)
Isn't yeast just brilliant though? All of those little dudes gobbling up sugar and farting out carbon dioxide to make our breads and beers. It's a short life, but what a productive one. Bless their little yeasty ... [stops]... [reads Wikipedia]... cells? I don't know what yeast has to bless.

Someone ([livejournal.com profile] the_antichris, was it you?) was telling me that they had a pet yeast culture. Ok, "pet" may not have been how it was described at the time, but that's how I think of it. What a lovely thing. Hurray for yeast!

(Note: Tanya used yeast for the first time a week ago and has been enchanted by it ever since. It is possible (though unlikely) that the novelty will wear off.)
noideadog: (monkey!)
The super-fantastic Android Pride shirt is for sale in the Google Store for a limited time :-D

http://www.googlestore.com/Wearables/Android+Pride+T-Shirt+-+Black.axd
noideadog: (Default)
Things that are in my study.

Primary storage:


Descriptions. Probably pretty boring if you're not me )
An old typography drawer displaying things that are cool, useful, meaningful or random.

And even more so... )

I have a corkboard covered in Historical Records of Things (postcards and beermats and the like), and a blanket that has bits of fabric and patches and stuff sewn on, and a bunch of notebooks with quotes and stickers and amusing things I found, but I'll spare you. In general I don't think of myself as someone who needs a lot of Stuff, but then I look around my room here and I guess I keep a lot of things for no particular reason, just because I think I'll like looking at them later. The middle ground is to give your things a Defined Place and then so long as they still fit in that place, it's not really gathering more things. I don't know if that's a delusional way of collecting a lot of junk without having to justify it to yourself though. Either way, it is nice to have things that you like having. Rocket science, eh?
noideadog: (culture)
Eureka! After months of mental mathematics, I see how I can fit an IKEA POÄNG chair into my study without having to take out all of the other furniture and me and the cat. Ok, I realise that this is not exactly a cure for cancer, but seriously, it's the most comfortable chair on the planet, and now I can have one to read in. Hurray! (Yes, I absolutely did copy and paste POÄNG in all-caps because I was too lazy to find out how to type an umlaut. Could you doubt it?)
noideadog: (monkey!)
We just saw a firefly!

Edit: We just saw several fireflies. There are some in our back garden. I'm very happy about this development.
noideadog: (Default)
This weekend I: cut up my engagement ring, annealed, sawed, milled, soldered, hammered, filed, sanded and polished pieces of platinum for eleven hours, tried on my wedding ring, went to a nerd conference in Jersey, watched Iron Man 2, finished reading The Colour Purple, watched some Doctor Who, decided that it's ok to skip Dalek episodes from now on (iDalek episodes doubly so), and found out that my baby brother's Canadian visa situation means he won't be able to come to my wedding. Sad.

From Rings
noideadog: (Default)
I ran two miles this morning. The C25K programme works. Five weeks ago I wouldn't've believed that I could struggle to the end of a two mile run, much less that I could reach it comfortably with fuel left in my tank. I feel accomplished, happy, absolutely starving. A breakfast burrito at Naidre is an excellent start to the rest of the day. Full of beans.
noideadog: (links)
Two other things I wanted to recommend:

Maps: The OSI online map shop finally works, so I encourage you to reward their excellence by buying 1836 maps for yourself and others. Testimonial: my dad liked his a lot, and I had lots of fun tracing roads and discovering quarries and working out where things should be.

Echo Bazaar: Is genius. It's an online game set in Fallen London, a city stolen by unknown forces and now "a short boat-ride from Hell". It's brilliant, inspired and both funny and fun. It's hard to believe that it's the work of just three dudes. Take a look,
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: (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: (travel)
Once again I am badly mosquitoed upon; once again I have swelled up like a balloon-animal[1]; once again the anti-histamines are putting me into a walking coma; once again I am blogging about it. It's been rather a theme for this year. You know, it would be more remarkable if I ever went somewhere near water and didn't spend the next two days in an itchy stupor. I promise to announce it to the (surely fascinated) world if that should ever happen.

It's lovely to be home, although it was gorgeous to be in Puerto Rico too. The trip was officially about team-building[2], but the organisers knew their participants: apart from one reminiscing/recrimination session, we were let do the kind of team building that involves splashing around in the sea, floating in the pool, playing cards together, or lazily waving from the beach for another mojito. It worked, I think. We all got to know and like each other pretty well, and there wasn't a single collaborative problem solving exercise. Builders of teams: please to watch and learn.

A few of us stayed on for the weekend to see a bit of the island. On Friday evening Joel and I walked to the Old Town to have a look at the fortifications and eat too many plaintains[3], and yesterday a carload of us went to have a look at the rainforest. We hiked a short trail through lush vegetation that was all aquiver with droplets, ending at Mount Briton lookout tower, which is quite literally in the clouds. It was wonderful to stand on top of the tower, clouds swirling around us, seeing only mist, then mountains, then mist again, and leaning out to look down at the tall treetops far below us.

Last night we went on a kayaking tour of Puerto Rico's Biobay. I've seen nothing like this before: plankton which glow when the water is agitated. It's a neat trick: it makes their predators glow too, so they in turn get eaten by bigger fish, and their numbers are kept down, and the plankton get to thrive. Good work, plankton! Since a bunch of biobays have been killed by cretins, access to this one is tightly restricted. We paddled in single file and almost pitch darkness through a narrow channel of overhanging red mangroves, watching the water around our paddles turn silvery with every stroke, occasionally trailing fingers in the water and watching it sparkle. It was spellbinding to move along in the darkness with just the glow of the water, the small red light from the kayak in front, and the tiny sounds of water and insects.

Immediately afterwards we we learned that American mosquitos still love me exclusively, even when I'm soaked in bug spray and Joel isn't, and he's two feet away. I wish I could use this super-power for good, or even for evil, or for anything other than getting drug-addled sleep.

[1] Actually, my right arm looks like a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. The rest of me is balloony though.
[2] My team and Joel's are merging, kind of. Not in a way that will require us to work together or go to the same meetings, or be on the same mailing lists, but in a way that means we go on the same offsites. It's a good deal.
[3] Mashed plantains are called "mofongo", which is a fantastic word, but plantains will never make my top-100-foods list.
noideadog: (monkey!)
[livejournal.com profile] ultraruby made a poll and one of the questions was to list six things that make you really happy. At the risk of being a cheesemonger, I will admit that I don't think six are enough. Here's 50 things that make me really happy:

- the plunking noise wine makes just when you start to pour.
- etymologies for words that I hadn't already thought about (like 'breakfast'. What a great word)
- far away horizons. Looking over oceans and deserts and fields and motorways. Being able to see forever.
- tiny enclosed safe spaces which are neat and ordered
- beautifully indented and syntax highlighted code
- dark beer, especially the first pint of really metallic Guinness after getting to Ireland
- the soft way the light is during late afternoon and early evening
- being in a tent during heavy rain
- writing notes in neat handwriting with a mechanical pencil
- implied feline approval

- dropped waists in dresses with lovely clean lines that make your hips look amazing
- train networks, subway networks, bus networks, ferry networks, things that connect to other things
- long command lines where you string ten commands together and do something clever
- clever engineering solutions where you can see how all the pieces move
- watching tiny dogs looking at big dogs and wondering what they're thinking
- success stories and happily ever afters
- bees, ants, meerkats, red pandas
- sleeping on international trains (and being awake on international trains for that matter)
- pyjamas, especially whatever that soft material is that little-kid pyjamas are made out of
- really productive days at work when my brain is extra-fast and everything I touch just works

- starting the day with high energy, no plans and infinite possibility
- finding the words to write something down exactly how I mean it (that sentence was not an example)
- sitting outside a restaurant in the evening warm and watching the world
- people who are really skilled at what they do
- beautiful clean fonts like Helvetica
- in jokes and catchphrases; familiarity
- big high ballet-like jumps in rugby
- how short hair feels just after you wash it
- thinking "and we were on the road again" and getting excited at the start of a long journey
- being starving after doing something energetic

- comics where the art and the words both tell you tons
- plot twists that aren't contrived and that I didn't see coming
- the expression "I know, right?"
- walking to places
- thinking about packets crossing the internet (holy shit, think about that!)
- wikipedia
- dystopian and especially post-apocalyptic futures
- calm white noise
- little narrow alleys, especially when it's been raining and it's now sunny
- walking through the city in no particular hurry and watching happy people living their lives

- feeling accomplished, even just a bit
- metrics and measuring and seeing how things change over time
- having the windows open, especially when it's a bit breezy
- being nearly asleep and half thinking/half dreaming about things
- rich, balanced conversations where you're exactly on the same wavelength
- learning words in other languages
- the scientific method
- any sentence written by Alain de Botton
- being part of a team or a community that I admire and that works well together
- adults and children having earnest and equal discussion (for example, about dinosaurs)

[Poll #1443977]
noideadog: (nyc)
Things I love about living in New York


  • High quality food. Bad restaurants don't last long in New York, and whatever cuisine you want, there's usually one inside a couple of blocks. No matter what you're looking for, it's available here, and it's cheap, and it probably delivers. Pretty much all restaurants will deliver, and it will still cost less than buying groceries. If we ever leave New York, this is what I'll miss most.

  • Human diversity. I could sit and watch people go by all day. And listen to people too. You can hear all the languages there are just by walking around. If you wanted genetic diversity to seed a new planet, taking any subway car would probably do fine.

  • The dedicated pursuit of the ridiculous. Not just the easter bonnet parade and the zombie parade and the other things that block off 5th Avenue for a day, but the privately organised madness. Here's a sample from an events list I'm on:
    "Michael Jackson Cut-Off Shorts Extravaganza-Bonanza",
    "What Cheer? Brigade Chaotic marching band.
    "Hollow Man Levitate ... incorporates somnambulism, the angel of death, a video projection, and eating hamburgers underwater.
    "Monduna: A Robot Masquerade It's a graphic novel where the story is you. Robot costume strongly suggested."
    "The Pirate's Life: This Saturday, we are taking over a three level ferry boat docked on a secret canal in the bowels of Brooklyn for an all-night adventure of performance, pillaging, stiff drinks and dancing girls."
    "Pretty in Pink 80s Prom"
    "Pucks Multimedia Mischief: stolen brushes, hammered dulcimers, video cameras, passionate voices, sparkling clothes, tables that dream, interactive art installations, confetti cannons"
    "Flashwalk: A five-borough, two-footed trek from Brooklyn to Staten Island."
    "Natural Born Grillers"
    "It’s About the Numbers, Baby! a one-of-a-kind tutorial in how to win at games of chance."
    "Science for Art Majors: Cellular Biology, etc., Why do we breath? Why don't we fall apart? How is shit made? and so on. Things to maybe bring: blanket/chair, umbrella, notepad."
    "Aerial Open Work Out. Come play in 29 feet of vertical fun. Use our silks, lyras, and trapezes, or rig your own."
    "Williamsburg Spelling Bee, compete for bar tab at a real adult spelling bee, every other MONDAY,"
    "NYC Bike Polo. No experience needed. We'll show you how to play."

    Etc, etc, etc. This is just a small subset of the events on the list for this week.

  • Being the center of the universe. (Ok, mostly I mean being in the center of the universe, but an inflated sense of one's own importance is an important factor in surviving in this city.) As for the city, this is where everything happens. If you're looking for an organisation or a seller or a concert, chances are it's in New York. You don't need to go to other places; anything that doesn't already live here will come by on tour.

  • The organisation. Everything just works. There's a street fair somewhere different every week, and the city doesn't shut down in traffic chaos. The public transport runs 24h. The post office at 34th and 8th is open 24h. Lots of things are recycled, and there's a website that explains what is and why other things aren't. It's all mostly sane.

    Things I hate about living in New York

  • High fructose corn syrup in everything. It's illegal, I think, to make things that don't have corn in them, and you get a tax break if you can make the corn cause obesity. I've heard. Unless you go to some hippy place, you're getting corn in everything you buy.

  • Self flushing toilets. They don't just flush when you stand up; they flush if you've been sitting for more than 30 seconds. You don't want to sit down on the edge to tie your shoelace is what I'm saying. It makes me so! angry!

  • Tipping. Ok, I get that you tip for taxis, beer, hairdressers (individually for the person who cuts your hair and the person who washes it), moving companies, masseuses, doormen, maintenance people, and anyone who provides a service, even if the only thing you're paying for is the service they're providing, and you'll never see them again. But what constitutes a service? Do you tip a civil engineer? Do you tip a courier? Do you tip at the dry cleaners? Who the hell knows? And how do you give someone two dollars without feeling like a swaggering baron giving alms to the little people? Oh my god I hate it so much.

  • Tourists, everywhere, all the time. Yes, yes, that's a most attractive bridge. and those buildings sure are tall. WALK FASTER, ASSHOLES.

  • Dublin is so far away. Why can't we have Dublin where Jersey is?
noideadog: (Default)
I'm having a spectacularly nice day. Nothing much is happening that's even worth telling about, but that absolutely won't stop me from telling it. Here's my day:

I woke up with a hankering to read The Anatomy of LISP. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but this is something that always puts me in a good mood, and I started the day by being impressed and happy with some clever recursion. After that was that cat's morning harness training, which went really well -- she's not quite stepping into the harness, but she's standing patiently while I assemble it; the leash is going to be another story, I suspect -- and then we went for brunch. Paradise Cafe makes great veggie breakfast burritos with tofu and artichokes and things. After that I walked around Manhattan a whole lot, and ended up in the upper east side, so I bought the Irish Times at a shop there that's good for international newspapers. I got takeaway apple and cinnamon tea at Alice's Teacup then sat in the breezy sunshine drinking tea and doing the crossword and eating a low-calorie chocolate muffin, which sounds like it should be rubbish but was actually delicious enough to warrant an advertisement. Buy these! http://www.vitalicious.com/

Then I went to the United Nations, which was pretty great actually. I kind of love the UN in the same way that I kind of love the postal service: it has its flaws and it sure has its detractors, but the fact that it exists is a wonderful thing. Such civilisation we have! The World Press Photo '09 exhibition is on there right now, all moving and funny and shocking and clever and sad like a good photography exhibition should be. I bought some books, and looked at the crafts from everywhere (delicate ceramic teapots from England; skillfully turned wooden pots from Armenia; appalling green hats from Ireland. *dies of shame*) then hung out in a park I'd never seen before, which had adults and kids playing hockey together, and (even better!) no filthy squirrels. I started heading home, but got waylaid by a street fair on Park Avenue, where I bought grilled corn on the cob (and applied too much chili powder, yikes), and saw two guys carrying lacrosse sticks, something I've only ever seen in comic books. They're smaller than I imagined.

On the way home I passed a great vegetable shop, so I bought some potatoes and an onion, because we have turnips and carrots in our fridge (it's a long story), and I reckoned that owning some potatoes and an onion would make it them more likely to leave the fridge while still solid. And I bought gruyere too, on general principles. I couldn't find the potatoes for a while, which was frustrating because if you have an irish accent there is no way in hell you can ask where the potatoes are, but it worked out ok. And then I came home.

Now I'm waiting for a vegetable and cheese pie to bake (and I pretty much never cook, so you can imagine the immense childish pride here). And then Joel and I are going to see the Hurt Locker, which I suspect will not end the day on a happy high, but that's ok. It's kind of lovely and strange how small unremarkable things can add up to a perfect day.
noideadog: (Default)
Really interesting comments, both online and offline, on my locked-up-brain post. I love that some people are like "Yes of course" and other people don't understand what I mean at all. I will think some more on what this all means and report back. You're on tenterhooks, I can tell. (I'll reply soon too. Thanks for the comments!)

In other news, this weekend is Pride, and there's a street fair and a parade and masses of other things. The Company has a bunch of people in the parade, and I was thinking of going along and waving my flag if they'll have me. I'm not certain that it's ok to be in the parade if you're marrying a dude and you're not a dude, but I reckon that's it's similar to people from everywhere celebrating Irishness in the Patrick's Day Parade. Wouldn't you think? Is anyone else going?

In other other news, the cat is sprawled out on the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World giving her underbelly a thorough scrubbing. A cat and an atlas makes a good still life, I think, but I'm not sure exactly why. It's just a good combination.

Six Feet Under now. I have only seven episodes left, in the world, ever.
noideadog: (lucy)
People on macs, do ctrl-alt-option-8 and be entertained. Today's discovery of the "negative image" accessibility option is brought to you by my cat's ass. Funny thing: all of the forum posts about this are confused people trying to figure out what the hell their two year old did to their computer.
noideadog: (monkey!)
From Rob:

I'd never heard of Bulbous Bouffant, but it seems to be quite the phenomenon. Watch!



This gets better every time.

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