Sunday, 10 November 2013

Me So Pretty

My Awesomer Half and I were in La Petit Parisian for lunch.  They had some great music playing.  Django Reinhardt's version of 'Brazil' came on just as we sat down.  It was perfect.  Inspired, I had to buy it on CD, so after lunch it was off to Tower Records we went.

While we were poking around upstairs in the Jazz section, I spotted this faux pas over in the Movie Soundtrack section.  Somebody had mis-placed Predator in the Pretty Woman slot.  LOL

And in case you're wondering, no it wasn't me!  These things are too good to make up sometimes, know what I mean?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Brown Thomas Has Premature Ejaculation

Christmas comes early at Brown Thomas, a posh Grafton Street store in Dublin.  I was in the store on August 31st and they already they had Christmas trees and decorations out.

Consumers aren't stupid.  We know the game; Christmas is the biggest money-generating season for retailers.  The corporate suits think they can somehow extend the season by starting it earlier.  So every year, we see the decorations come out just a little bit earlier, but it's so transparent.  Consumers know it's just a scheme to weasel more money out of them.  It is off-putting because retailers are so shameless about it.

Seriously.  It's summer.  WTF?

oh boy!  cheap plastic shit from China!

Gosh how quaint, an old-timey market.

The wanks up there in Marketing must have had quite a circle-jerk around the conference room table when they decided this time, Christmas should come in August.

Pardon me, but aren't the Christian holidays just a rip-off of early pagan calendar-based festivals?  Christmas is a re-branding of Yule, the midwinter celebration.  Megalithic people built Stonehenge and Newgrange 5000 years ago so they could tell when the shortest day of the year occurred.  They planned a holiday around it because--let's face it--spending winter in a hut with all your relatives gets old really fast.  My point is, you can't have a MIDWINTER celebration in SUMMER.

Oh, and Brown Thomas, can you please tell me what happened to Halloween?  Shall we be ignoring this non-gift-giving holiday?  Yeah, maybe it's all for the better.  That would just confuse the kids in October.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Walking in Connemara

We are enjoying beautiful weather this bank holiday weekend.  My awesomer half and I took a walk around lovely Connemara today and soaked up the sunshine.

currach floating in the bay

ponies grazing

hookers sailing in Galway Bay

We came home and enjoyed a couple of Wychwood beers and watched the Mayo vs. Donnegal GAA game.  The beer is Snake's Bite:  Cider apple fruit beer.  Super good on a warm day!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Finally, A Real Cup of Coffee!

I can't believe I'm blogging about a Starbucks.  Say what you will about cookie-cutter corporate stores and alleged employee abuse (prompting such sites as, at least they sell an honest-to-gawd cup of Joe.

This my friends is a real brewed cup of coffee.  In Europe they call it "Filter Coffee."  In two years of living here, this is the first time I have found a real brewed cup of coffee.  Every other coffee shop in Ireland sells something called an "Americano."  That's basically a watered down shot of espresso.  They just don't do brewed coffee here.  Nobody serves it.  Seriously.

Coming from California, I guess I'm jaded.  I'm used to buying Jamaican Blue Mountain and real Hawaiian Kona.  What's the point?  Why should anyone care?  Because brewed coffee has flavor.  Espresso beans are roasted to death.  It's like they were grown at a mountain-top leper colony and the factory was trying to burn the contagion away.  In contrast the brewed coffee beans are gently toasted so as to release the flavor locked inside the bean.  Mmm, flavor.

The upshot is that roasted (a.k.a. "Filter coffee") doesn't taste like tea made from charcoal.  Whether you love or hate Starbucks, I have to thank them for being brave enough to do what no other Dublin coffee shop will do:  Serve a real cup of Joe.  Someone please tell Europe that Americans don't drink Americanos.  Ok, rant over.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Pho Viet

We went to California today.  Well not really, but it felt like it.  The sun came out and we had lunch at a Pho restaurant.  My awesomer half took us to lunch at Pho Viet on Parnell Street in Dublin, and it totally reminded me of being back in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She had Pho Ga, chicken noodle soup

and I ordered Pho Tai Chin, rare steak noodle soup

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup.  The folks in Dublin do it right.  The noodles were silky smooth, the broth was divine, the meat was succulent.  Everything tasted so clean and fresh.  We will definitely visit again.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Aggressive Panhandling

I am a disgrace.  Well, according to one of Dublin's inner city junkies I am.  Let me explain...

I was waiting here at around 9:00 PM one evening...

in front of Connolly Station

which is by Talbot Street

and Sheriff Street.

Ahhh yes, beautiful Sheriff Street

in the bowels of the city.

So, this junkie comes by, begging.  "Give us 60 cents for a cuppa tae..."  I shake my head no.  "Aw plaze meestur.  Ah nade money far a hostel" says he.  "NO" I say.

Junkie boy walks off.  I notice him picking up cigarette butts near the lamp post.  He talks with a friend for a minute.  Then he walks past me again.  I'm not turning my back on him.  This doesn't feel right.

Junkie McTrackmarks begs some people walking out of Conolly station.  He tries his luck with 5 or 6 people, then he walks past me AGAIN.  This time he meets his friend.  The friend walks past.  They're trying to flank me, one on either side.  I stand like they taught us in Aikido; it's a squared off stance that increases your stability.

So Junkie McTrackmarks passes me a third time.  He makes a point of walking really close to me.  He leans in and says--inches from my head--

"You're a DISGRACE."

I'm like... what?  I stare at him, eyes burning.  He takes a step, turns around and says again, "You're a disgrace."  What?  For not giving you money?  He was really aggressive.  This really pissed me off.

I looked him right in the eye and said quite loudly:  "F*** Y**".

Perhaps it was the threatening way I was holding my umbrella.  I had it by the wrong end, with the hooked handle down.  Seriously, I was ready to clock him with it.  My posture said:  "Come at me bro."  He mumbled something quietly, smiled and backed off...

He and his buddy bade a hasty retreat to Talbot street, jay-walking in front of a speeding taxi.  I guess they were hoping to score.  Or sell their asses in an alley, I don't know?  Losers.

There is a reason why I wear steel-toed Doc Martens.

After living in Ireland for almost 2 years, I have begun to realize that a lot of people have a hand-out mentality.  They think the government will pay for all their needs, and the world owes them a living.  Here is a perfect example:

This made big news recently because the Minister for Social Protection has decided to cut the grant to assist poor families with costs for First Communion.  Yes you read that right.  Ireland--up until now--had been giving out 300 euro grants to families so they could buy First Communion dresses for their kiddies.  According to this article:  "Last year the Government paid out more than €1.5 million in communion and confirmation grants."

In Ireland, being on the dole and getting government handouts has become a lifestyle choice.  There are third and forth generations of people who have not worked a day in their lives.  The government puts them in "Council Housing" and gives them money while they supposedly look for jobs.  In reality, there are 30 year old men sitting on the couch drinking cider and playing video games all day.

Talk about a disgrace.  There are thousands of Irish men who need to grow a pair and support themselves.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter in Connemara

It's a rainy Easter Sunday in Connemara.  I walked out in the rain to take some pictures and nearly blew away in the wind.  For the most part we stuck around the house and watched River Cottage, Top Gear and some mystery shows.  We drove into town to do a bit of shopping and had a pretty relaxing day.

Little fishing boat tied up in the bay

The tide is out, rocks & seaweed exposed

This stone fence is likely hundreds of years old

Currach tied up waiting for a better fishing day

Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday

Apparently you can't buy beer on Good Friday.  Some kind of law in Ireland bans alcohol sales today.

Lots of people think it's a needless ban.  I mean, come on... you can still buy a pack of smokes at the corner shop, but you can't buy a beer?  I see.  So the Irish lawmakers think it's fine to destroy your lungs, but not your liver on certain days of the year. I'm just bummed because I had a crappy day and I wanted to get a beer after work.  Then I come to the shop and find this; the beer aisle has curtains over it.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Dhaoibh

Festive fish from the Galway farmers' market

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  We are in Connemara this weekend.  My awesomer half and I have a book called Sacred Ireland that is full of megalithic sites, stone circles, and old friaries.  We visited the Moyne graveyard and in County Mayo and Annaghkeen Castle in County Galway today.

An early Christian graveyard in Co. Mayo (approx. 8th century)

Annaghkeen Castle in Co. Galway (14th century)