Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Making a splash

It's links to videos like this that make the Innocent Drinks newsletter I get every week all the more sweet. Or tastier. Or some other food related term. Anyways, you can find out more here.

Genius of Mentos to sponsor the event, where more than a hundred divers competed in the world splash diving championships in Nuremberg, Germany.

Now that's something I'd give a go. How about you?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Festival of World Cultures: Saturday's Global Village

Dun Laoighre, South Dublin at 9 am is a busy place today. Niamh and I are here for the Festival of World Cultures. We're both volunteering - she as a driver, me as a blogger. Whatever happened, this was going to be interesting. Fun, too!

The Festival of World Cultures, now in its eighth year, is a big event on the Irish event calendar. It brings together and celebrates a variety of music origins, nationalities, dialogues and eclectic performances from amazing artists and passionate people.

Volunteers, organisers, performers and the public all come together to participate in a multicultural celebration of how what makes us different brings us closer together. Or to have fun. Or all three.

My morning started with a visit to the Global Village and a chat with the lovely ladies at the Oxfam stand about their presence there. While Oxfam are working hard to promote their links with Fair Trade and to further develop their Fairtrade shops, the ladies at the stand are asking people to get involved in the Oxjam music festival.

Oxjam Ireland 2008 is a DIY music festival. Whether it's by busking, a karaoke gig, a ceili night or a gig in your office at lunchtime, you could help out by organising a gig to help raise some much needed funds for Oxfam Ireland.

What’s it all for?
Oxjam is about raising money to tackle poverty all over the world. You’ll be helping people to earn a living; to get an education, health care, fresh water; and to grow more food.
You can find out more on the Oxjam website - You can sign up for more information here.

The Global Village is truly an international retail area. I spotted stands from Indonesia, from the Islamic Republic of Iran, from India, Guatemala, China, Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Palestine, Argentina, Italy and Ireland.

There was a wide variety of products for sale, some practical and others verging on the whimsical. The very whimsical.

It's possibly my favourire domain of the week - From a small company in the west of Ireland come fairies and fairy related gifts to brighten up your life.

From fairy dream pillows (sure to give anyone sweet dreams) to fairy cake fairies (to tempt fairies to your kitchen), the folk behind these innovative - and recycled (from Indian saris and more) - products have a great idea of what works well at festivals. What's different is interesting. Add into the mix that all their products are unique, one off pieces and you're sure to please someone with the gift.

Another of the stands I enjoyed visiting was the Mucky Pups one, speaking with Eva Esteve. She struggled to find fashionable (and funny) t-shirts for her new baby, so, with the guidance of a friend who showed her how, she decided to print her own t-shirts. They're cute, friendly and funny.

Mucky Pups have been based in the Galway Market for four years and have branched out into festivals in the last while. All t-shirts are made in a factory in Portugal (which Eva has visited) and then printed using water based ink, meaning no chemicals are involved. On their website they have t-shirts, bibs and hats but I also quite liked this woollen cardigan.

Also Irish (and offering a great hand cleaning) is Phyllis, who is manning the Green Angel stand over the weekend. Green Angel make skin and hair care products from from five different seaweeds harvested from the the West coast with a variety of essential oils.

There's a bewildering variety of soaks, lotions and smoothers, all of which are detailed on their website.

O' Donnell Press publish children's books from their office in Antrim. I really liked the colours and covers of their books - nine so far with more to come!

Some of the other colours from the Global Village:

If you get the chance, take a look at the Global village tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it.

Festival of World Cultures, Dun Laoighre, this weekend

This is where I'll be today and tomorrow, hopefully bringing you a taste of what's to be seen.

For the events today, I'm most looking forward to:

From 11am to 7pm there's 3D Pavement Art on the East Pier and the Sand Sculptures on Newtownsmith Green.

There's a Cool Earth, Environmental Fair and a Global Village to visit. I'll be at the Music and Second Hand Book Fair and visiting the International Food Traders too. Yum!

I'm looking forward to trying some Indian Kite Flying (noon to 4pm) or partaking in an authentic Japanese Tea House ceremony.

In the Workshops, the Capoeira display by the Dance Theatre of Ireland on from noon to 1pm sounds like fun. There's an introduction of Manga in the Royal Marine Hotel from 1.30pm to 3pm and Japanese Calligraphy from 3.30pm to 5pm.

Some of the other cool stuff includes:

2pm - 2.45 - The tale of the Krakow Shoemaker

3pm - 3.45 - Kings Court Gospel Choir - People's Park Stage

3.15pm - 4 - Liam Ó Maonlaí - Newtownsmith Main Stage

4.15pm - 5.15 - Senses - Newtownsmith Main Stage

8pm - 9.30 - Geisha performance - Martello Suite, Royal Marine Hotel

10.30pm - 11.30 - Liam ó Maonlaí / Hiralaj and Ramji Gaine - Festival Club

Full day's programme here and it's available for download on their website too.

If you see me there, please do say hello :o)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The people behind the blogs say hello, please

Who are you, where do you blog and what about?

Hi, my name is Darragh
I blog on
I blog about events, volunteering, charities and people who interest me

Hi, my name is
I blog on
I blog about the things that go on in my life; the people I meet and the places I go

Hi, my name is Mary.
I blog on
I blog about the things that go on in my life, but be warned, it's not very interesting!!

Our names are Gav and Ciara
We blog on
We blog about anything and everything, but mostly our friends, living together, travelling, GAA, the internet, and what goes on in the world.

Hi, My name is Mar
I blog on
I blog about art, music, places, film, people or anything interesting that catches my attention!

Hi, my name is Denise
I blog on
I blog about not much really! (way to sell my blog!!)

Hi, my name is David.
I blog on
I blog about writing and reading children's books and other things. But mostly it is just about writing and reading.

Hi, my name is a private matter. (We know him as B'dum - darr)
I blog on
I blog about largely fictional things that're more mundane than reality.
I'm incapable of talking in a direct manner.

Hi, My name is Roosta
I blog on
I blog about whatever scattered collection of thoughts are bouncing around in my sub-conscious.

Hi, my name is Ronan
I blog on
I blog about music, and er, more music.

Hi, My name is Grannymar (she thinks)
I blog on
I blog about anything and everything including the weather.

Hi, My name is Gordon Murray
I blog on
I blog about developing our eWrite software and surrounding business

Hi, my name is TheChrisD
I rant on
I rant about whatever on earth comes into my head

Hi, My name is Andrew
I blog on
I blog about whatever comes into my head at any given moment, too often it's about something that pisses me off. It's better when it's about stuff I like.

Hi, my name is Donna
I blog on
I blog about any matter of subject that comes to me -politics, poverty, music, camping, my dog, just stuff.

I also blog on
I blog concert reviews, album reviews, 'the song in my head', set lists for rainy days, thunder storms, whathaveyou. I try to use my own pictures, and add youtube vids so you can enjoy the same song. (and I'm long winded! I warned ya)

I also blog on
I blog about my charity project which involves knitted Africa dolls, and bands/musicians and raising money for World Vision and such.

Hi, My name is Stella
I blog on
I don't blog about much yet as I only started, but it's generally my thoughts and things that go on in my life.

My name is Maxi Cane
I blog on
I don't know what I blog about until I blog about it.

Hey there, my name is Lou
I blog on
I blog about mainly my yarn crafts to link in with my Ravelry profile and the Rainbow Support Services Stitch'n'Bitch

Hi, my name is Lottie
I blog on
I blog about nothing at the moment - but that has changed. (Good! dar)

Hi, my name is Laura
I blog on
I blog about life and dealing with somethings I really could do without.

Hi, my name is Steph
I blog on
I blog from a patient's perspective, on all things medical. Some of my best friends live in my 'puter.

Hi, our names are Eoghan and Nathalie
We blog on
We blog about photography, rugby, maths, gigs, Dublin, food and whatever else takes the fancy!

Hi, my name is JL (well, the name I blog with)
I blog on All Smoke and Mirrors -
I blog about my opinions on anything and everything.

Hi, my name is Síle
I blog on
I blog about trying to be a writer while living on an island

Hi, my name is Tatoca
I blog on
I blog about my life and when inspired i also write book and movie reviews, recipes and craft-goodness!

Hi, my name is MJ
I blog on
I (try to) blog about things loosely connected to entrepreneurship and enterprise, but I find that the main stuff rolls better when it's mixed in with occasional fun things that show a little bit more about me. Like enjoying Terry Pratchett or JK Rowling or Neil Gaiman.

Hi, my name is Darren
I blog on
I wanted to blog about life, the universe and everything. Of course Douglas Adams already said that's 42, so I got stuck with blogging about me. It's a slightly longer post.

Hi, my name is Little Miss
I blog on
I blog about all sorts, generally things that annoy and please me. The best time to catch me is generally the middle of the night when my imagination knows no bounds.

Hi, my name is NaRocRoc
I blog on
I blog about how life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Hi, my name is Maz (or Marian to be official)
I blog on
I blog about my adventures in the wide world of craft.

My name is JC Skinner
I blog expunge violent rage at the world on
I blog primarily the topics of the aforementioned rage feature global affairs, politics and the Irish blogosphere. I love Irish whiskey and hate Roisin Ingle with an equal passion.

Hi, my name is Will Knott
I blog on
I blog about technology, ideas, photographs and the people and things that hold my interest.

Hi my name is Lette
I blog on and
I blog about anything that interests me on Lettes blog and the latter one is my photography blog :)

Hi, my name is Raptureponies
I blog at
I blog about Ken Hammond having or not having a moustache, stuff i'm doing, my progressive OCD, and the bits and pieces I pick up on t'internet.

Hello, my name is TPE - the periodic englishman - (blame my mum)
I blog on - although only intermittently and it's almost never to do with cricket when I do so. In fact, it's never to do with cricket, so you can relax.
I blog about suicide, misery, bafflement and despair. Like I say - relax.

Hi, my name is Peter
I blog on
I blog about - I haven't decided what I blog about as I'm only new to blogging, but I'm sure a coherent theme will emerge as I go!

Hi, my name is Quickroute
I blog at
I blog about the life of a Paddy in Buenos Aires

Hi my name is Arkonite babe
I blog on
I blog about mostly about food related stuff

Hi, my name is Sinéad.
I blog on
I blog about anything that holds my interest for long enough - restaurant reviews, thoughts on politics, journalism and even some occasional satire.

Hi, my name is Debbie
I blog on
I blog about things I do, mostly, and have too many unposted drafts. I also have a new tumblr scrapbook at which I'm enjoying playing with.

Hi, my name is Peter.
I blog on
I blog about green stuff.

Hi, my name is Clair (Elf).
I blog on
I blog about living in Amsterdam, being Irish, being small, being gay... and other pointless stuff that pops up.

The idea behind this:

I don't know of enough blogs.

I generally read the people that I've met, that comment here or are highly recommended, or fluffy/red/fluffing/hairy/linkative boredom/rick/award winning/twitter linked, but finding new ones I like and remember to read is proving a challenge.

Lottie, Darren, Niamh and I were talking blogs on Tuesday. Lottie particularly had a raft of blog suggestions and recommendations that I'd never heard of, whereas Niamh keeps me up to date with what's happening with bloggers like Irish Flirty Something, Infantasia and others.

Then the lovely donna_m left me a comment to tell me of her two blogs. Which put the idea of this post in mind. Something like a meme, something like a DIY job. Why not write a similar post on your blog and invite your visitors and commenters to say who they are there?)

Go on, share with us :o)

Langerland: RTE2, September 8 at 11pm

I know what I'll be watching Monday 8 September...


Best of luck to Kevin and the guys who have been working hard on this new series.

From their Facebook page: (go on, become a fan!)

LANGERLAND.TV is a 10-part series of hilarious and highly irreverent satirical cartoons set to air on RTE 2 from September 8.

Following on from the huge viral success of their online cartoon “Top 10: What Have the Brits Ever Done For Us?”, this series asks the same question of the Church, the Dubs, the GAA, the IRA, the Yanks, the Gardaí, the Celtic Tiger, the Irish Language and even RTE!
Written by Aidan O'Donovan and Colm Tobin with animation and compositing by Kevin Nolan, Paul Madden and Eoin Whelehan, Langerland is a great example of friends working together on something they've enjoyed and becoming successful (deservedly so).

While I have my own favourites from their greatest hits, (I've been a fan for ages) I can't wait to see what they've come up with.

Also for anyone attending this year's Electric Picnic there will be preview screenings of the show all weekend at the Leviathan Tent.

Check out their website here. Watch a cartoon. Let them know what you think. Go on, look, The Chancer tells you to as well!

Oh no, poor Matt Harding!

Don't worry Matt. I'm sure it's not true. Melissa wouldn't do that to you.

Thursday tune: Cecilia. Who sings this version?

I've been listening to this version for weeks now, but have no idea who's singing it. I love its simplicity, the heavy guitar strumming and the choral crescendo. It's in my iPod as Simon and Garfunkel but somehow I don't think it is - it seems too different to the one I'm more familiar with.

It was released in 1970 and according to Wikipedia, "when the original album was released on vinyl, the song included sounds out of the human hearing range. This has led to rumors that Cecilia was actually written about Simon's black lab, Cecilia." Best song about a dog ever?

Anyone got any ideas who's singing this please?

Great comment, two new blogs, 101st birthday!

Annie gets best comment of the week for this one. I can hear it now.

Anocht a théam sa bhearna baoil
Le gean ar Ghaeil chun báis nó saoil
Le gunna scréach faoi lámhach na bpiléar
Shoving Connie around the fieeeeld....

C'mon Kilkenny!!
Also, two new blogs of friends to mention. Invisible Toast is musing whether women are irrational beings, (they are!), whereas Stel over on Aim to be Content is celebrating her Granny's 101st birthday. 101! And still stopping for ice cream. :o)

(More on this to follow)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The phoenetic Irish National Anthem

Watching the start of the Dublin vs Tyrone game on Saturday, it was commented that it's unlikely you'd be able to join in singing the national anthem if you hadn't grown up in Ireland.

So, for people who just want to sing along in the pub, at the start of sporting events or at the end of weddings and discos (if they still do that?), here is the chorus of Amhrán na bhFiann (Aw-rawn na Veen) in a very simplified phoenetic form.

Sinne Fianna Fáil
Sheen-na fee-na fall
Atá faoi gheall ag Éirinn
A-taw fwee yall egg Ay-rin

Buíon dár slua

Bween dar slewa

Thar toinn do ráinig chughainn
Har tin duh raw-nig coo-in

Faoi mhóid bheith saor

Fway vode veyh sa-ir

Sean-tír ár sinsear feasta
Shann-teer ahr shin-shir faw-sta

Ní fhágfar faoin tiorán ná faoin tráill

Nee awg-fur fwane teer-awn naw fwane trawl

Anocht a théam sa bhearna baoil
A-nukt a hame sa varna vwail

Le gean ar Ghaeil chun báis nó saoil

Lay gyan ahr gale cunn bawsh no sail

Le gunna scréach faoi lámhach na bpiléar

Lay gunna schrake, fway law vock nah bill-air

Seo libh canaig Amhrán na bhFiann
Shuh liv conn-ig arawn naveen

Here's the music to have a practise, played by the Army Band.

Amhrán na bhFiann (or The Soldier's Song) was formally adopted as the national anthem in 1926. It was written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney, an uncle of Brendan Behan and first published in 1912. It wasn't widely known until it was sung at the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Full official lyrics as Gaeilge and in English can be found here.

(* You may want to add "C'mon the Cats" or "Up Kilkenny" or some such phrase at the end. That's the way I was taught it anyhow ;o) Please note also, because I learned it in South Eastern Gaeilge, some pronunciations may vary.)

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talking How to blog on the KCLR 96FM arts show

A big thank you to the lovely Aisling Moore from KCLR 96 FM (Kilkenny Carlow Local Radio), the local radio station at home) who invited me to talk about blogging on Kulture Club, the stations's Arts and Culture show. The show airs tonight, Tuesday 19 August from 8pm.

Among the topics on blogging we discussed were:

# The definition of a blog - what it is and isn't.

I've never looked at blogging as an "online diary" where you have to impart everything you do day to day, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat to the style of your hair. Yes, there are blogs that do that, and some very well, but to a beginner I'd advise thinking of a blog as a newspaper written by you.

It's your thoughts on everything from politics to cooking, from reviews of plays to cool new videos you've found online, from current affairs to looking for advice.

Just as with a newspaper, there is no onus on you to have to talk about anything you don't want to talk about, or to feel you have to cover anything you don't feel comfortable with. The same way sports journalists rarely cover fashion advice, you can be confident in writing about what you're passionate about. People who feel the same will then share your passion.

# The "usual suspects" - who blogs
If you can write an email, you can write a blog. Anyone can be a blogger.

Yes, there are those who consider themselves geeks who blog (and very well too), but there are so many others. From waiters to people who work in shops, from photographers to cooks, from manga enthusiasts to web designers, from singers to authors, from journalists to radio presenters, from gardeners to people who just enjoy it, there's a huge spectrum of people out there at it and a huge amount of blogs to be read.

# What do people blog about?

When Aisling asked me to read one of my posts, I wondered how we'd fit that extra hour it would take in. In the end I chose this one, but I've also talked about:
where-as some of my favourite posts (that I can think of offhand) have been
and so on. It's what I do. What should you blog about? Anything you like, anything you can think of, anything you want to share!

# How can people get started?

For personal blogs I recommend checking out (like this blog) and For those with businesses and services in the Carlow Kilkenny area, I can point you in no better direction than Mr Ken McGuire who'd be happy to help you out.

While I'm at it, check out Ross Costigan's photography, Ciara's blogging here and of course

I'd also highly recommend checking out Podcamp Ireland in Kilkenny on September 27. There'll certainly be people there who'd be more than happy to help you out.
As I've said if you can write an email, you can write a blog. There's nothing scary or technical, nothing too difficult and there's plenty of people who will be happy to help you out.

I look forward to reading yours. Just leave me a comment to let me know it's live.

Kulture Club is on KCLR 96 FM from 8pm tonight. You can listen live here. If you do, let me know what you think. Me mammy will be ever so proud...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some days you can't do without the missus

( Thanks Stella :o) )

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meet Marian Keyes and help Focus Ireland

The lovely folk from GAFF (Go and Find Focus) have arranged for Marian Keyes to give a reading and signing of her new book This Charming Man, with sparkling wit, chocolates and cocktails (and rumours of Budda bags and all...) at The Sugar Club, Dublin on Sunday 17 August.

Tickets are €20, all proceeds to Focus Ireland and doors open at 7.30 with the reading at 8pm. You can find out more here.

There is a apparently a best handbag competition on the night - I'll be taking photos for Marian to judge, so be creative. There's also a €500 shopping voucher up for grabs and more!

Those wonderful girls at are also helping out with a competition to win tickets - have a go!

I may get the opportunity to ask Marian a question or two on Sunday, so, is there anything you'd like to know?

Spencer Tunick: actions, responses and naked photos

I received many interesting reactions and very professional and prompt responses to my last post about the Spencer Tunick experience.

From the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (on the same day I posted and sent an email):

Hi Darragh

Thanks for your email and advice. There are loads of things we'd love to do around this project and hopefully you will see more over the next while. We are updating our own website to include more details on the installation.

We do apologise to you and all those who participated for being so late in getting in touch since the installation. We had a huge response to the installation and had to close registration the week before. Following the installation, we had to cross reference all participants opposite the registrant database which as you can imagine was a fairly intensive piece of work. And, yes, hands up, we didn't get to it as quick as we would have liked.

On capturing stories, we have been talking about that here as just from the people we've talked to so far, there is definitely some amazing material out there. There is a group already on facebook with 100 members and I hope this keeps growing as people share stories. The artist is on holidays at the moment but this is something we want to talk to him about.

We accept that 2009 seems a long way off, but this was a condition set by the artist. He also hopes to stage an exhibition in Ireland next year.

In the meantime, there will be a section on the Docklands website with some updates and photos of behind the scenes at the installation.

I notice in your profile you're an event volunteer. If you'd like to come talk to us some time on this or other projects, give us a shout.


This morning I checked their website, and yes, they do have a section dedicated to information - a little summary and a flickr slide show with all the photos you see on this blog post. They've also added a "submit your story" feature which, as I said, would be a nice touch.

Fair play to them - they took the advice and constructive criticism, responded in a gracious and prompt manner and followed up. I'm sure if I'd known a bit more about how Spencer operates, my expectations would have been managed better but I appreciate them getting back to me the way they did.

One of the comments on my post was from Gil from The Spencer Tunick Experience. This is a volunteer run "unofficial" website aiming to capture the best of the experience, with some good links, a forum and reports about the Dublin and Cork experiences.
I understand your frustration, and as a participant at Blarney, I am also a bit disappointed that I will have to wait that long. However, it is important to look at the situation from the point of view of the artist and the organisers.

Dublin Docklands, Cork Festival and Spencer Tunick are coming together to create an exhibition of the works documented in June. The effort required to organise this is far more than we individuals think, and the process takes time and investment.

Now, I can not speak for either the organisers or the artist, but having run a Spencer Tunick appreciation website and forum for the last 5 years, I do know that Spencer is very meticulous about timing events and does not like any information or images released before the official date, and this includes model prints. I completely understand and agree with this.

It would almost be like releasing the last ten minutes of a blockbuster movie a year before the rest of the film, or having someone steal the master tapes of a much anticipated album and posting it on the web for people to download before the official release date.

I can assure you that there will be no "photoshopping of Irish skintones", and digital cameras will not speed up the process for the reasons I stated above.

Like I said, I can not speak on behalf of Dublin Docklands, and I think a thank you should have gone out much sooner. I don't recall receiving an email from Cork Midsummer Festival either. So I agree with you on that count.

But I would much rather wait for my model print and to see the other prints and video documentation, when Spencer Tunick and the organisers are ready to reveal them - whenever that time may be, rather than see a few spoilers now and having it be "old hat" by the time the exhibition comes around, because regardless of what you may think - it will have a negative impact on the number of visitors to the exhibition, and it will essentially mean that a lot of time and money invested by the organisers will go down the drain.

So have patience and savour your memories of the installation until such time that the artwork will be revealed.

Best wishes,
Gil, it's great that you took the time to leave the comment, thank you - you raise many valid points, but overall my issue was with communication. I always try to look at things from the perspective of the organiser - having volunteered at and worked with as many events as I do gives me a unique perspective, and this is why I'm adamant that there's a simple but effective way to do things better.

If we had been told about the preparation necessary, told the photos would take this long, told even about your own website where we could have read reports from other people and been prepared for the waiting, both on the day and for the final product, then I for one wouldn't have felt as let down by the organisation or the reality-vs-image issue I ultimately had.

Would this have been difficult to do? More difficult than the logistics of arranging over 2,500 naked people by the sea in Ireland? I don't think so.

One of the things I advise any event organisers (or website managers or bloggers or anyone working online) is to try put yourself in the mind of your audience.

Think about how you'd like to be told, the information you think you'd like to read and what you'd like to know. It means you show you care about the people who are making the effort to volunteer their time and energy; it shows the effort you've put into ensuring their experience from beginning to end is remarkable - and so they'll talk (in a good way) about you and it shows that you've thought about it. That sort of thing matters. It will pay off for you in the end.

I replied to Loretta yesterday to tell her that I was both impressed by her reply and her attitude - it's knowing that people care, are enthused and are working hard that show a commitment, and as I said, with all the (re)actions I'm now looking forward to seeing what the final result will be, no matter how long I may have to wait!

'Tis an ill wind

’Tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

(Taken in Spain last year)

Well the illness that has struck me down of late seems to have subsided and I'm feeling a bit better. While I'm far from rested, I am feeling verbose and have had time to do a bit of thinking, so please prepare yourself for a veritable raft of posts. A lot more of what I did rather than what I do, but still. (Ab)normal service resuming shortly.

Photo owned by malikyounas (cc)

On a slightly related theme, I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. If you're not feeling well, if you have aches and pains, a loss of appetite or energy, can't sleep or calm your mind; if you just don't feel right then please go and see a doctor. Even if you think ah it's just because of... the weather / the recession / stress /allergies / a dodgy take-away / problems at home / at work or whatever, do yourself the favour of getting it checked out. Stop making excuses and go. Though no stranger to a doctor, I'm glad I did.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Newstalk: Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Tonight on Culture Shock, the Newstalk 106 Arts and Culture show with Fionn Davenport, we're discussing the internet mini-series, Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Aspiring super-villain Dr. Horrible wants to join the Evil League of Evil and win the heart of Penny, the girl of his dreams, but his nemesis, Captain Hammer, stops him at every turn in this three-part musical.
The three part movie was written by writer/director Joss Whedon, creator and head writer of the well-known and popular television programs Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly.

Recognise the main actor - Neil Patrick Harris? Once upon a time he used to be Doogie Howser, M.D!

The Arts and Culture show is on Newstalk 106-108fm from 7pm. You can listen live through this link.

Have a look at the show. Let me know what you think of it!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Upgrading to version 3.0

Over the weekend there will be a scheduled upgrade to the current version available. While version 2.9 has been the best of the iterations thus far, with unknown talents being uncovered, stories being told, experiences shared and interesting people being met, it is time to make some improvements and Sunday, August 10 seems like the most appropriate date to do so.

Version 3.0 has been a while in the planning and implementation and I'm both hopeful and confident that the improvements we aim to introduce will be to your enjoyment and benefit.

Changes to existing version:

Some of the additions include:-

# Early to bed:

The suggestion has been made that some of the current energy problems may be due to lack of sleep. If so, the solution to the insomnia may be stepping away from the computer that bit earlier, laying down the book and adapting to an earlier time in the leaba.

# Early to rise:

In order to maximise the potential given by the bright mornings, a decision to increase the time in morning preparation has been agreed upon.

# Food is good:

A stricter diet of more food, with more fruit and vegetables has been in the running for a while now. With the increased variety of fruit and vegetables at reasonable prices, it seems like an appropriate time to take stock.

# Get back:

Communication is a two way thing. Therefore each email should be responded to, each tweet replied to, each comment appreciated and each commenter made feel welcome. Preaching can be easy, practising is the challenge.

# Saturday night at the movies:

To fully expolit the benefit of such resources as, the cinema will have to be attended at least once a week. The night may vary but the hope would be to indulge in celluloid goodness if and when possible.

# The more you study...

Whether it's lessons online or a course offline, a bar/podcamp or training course, an interesting book or a conversation with peers, I hope to start making the most of the education I receive, in order to share it to make things better.

# Make the most:

Every problem is an opportunity and every opportunity could turn out to be something interesting, something innovative, something fun. Evaluating each one for what it could be worth is something both necessary and potentially interesting.

# Give something back:

There are some great opportunities to help make a difference. The hope would be to use some time, energy and resources to be that change I want to see in the world.

# Ba mhaith liom caint

as Gaeilge. Níl an iomarca agam, ach le cabhair agus caint, bhféidir níos mó agam níos déanaí. After all, Irish is the national language. I'd like to know more.

# Seek first to understand...

... then be understood. Though this has been in implementation a while, there is much more development necessary. The implementation may be tough but the challenge to better the instruction worthwhile.

# Meaning PLUS Happiness:

Mr. Linderman: You see, I think there comes a time when a man has to ask himself whether he wants a life of happiness or a life of meaning.
Nathan Petrelli: I'd like to think I have both.
Mr. Linderman: Can't be done. Two very different paths. I mean, to be truly happy, a man must live absolutely in the present. And with no thought of what's gone before, and no thought of what lies ahead. But, a life of meaning... A man is condemned to wallow in the past and obsess about the future. (From Heroes)
Let's aim for a little bit of column a, a little bit of b.

# Take a little time:

Time to sit by the sea; time to spend with friends; time to learn a new craft, to listen to some classical music; to learn a new language; to write some more letters; to make new friends and enjoy my time with old ones.

# All you need is love:
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
Than you once again for your company over the past while, making version 2.9 of me the best year yet. I look forward to seeing what happens next year. It will be fun.

Just a comment

I'm sorry.

I haven't been replying to comments here and that's not a nice thing to do.

At the last count I had over 60 individual commenters on my blog. That's just amazing. I'm grateful to each and every one of you who have taken the time to do so. You have all helped me keep going at this, to keep the words coming and the thoughts flowing.

If I do one thing over the next week, it will be to reply to every unanswered comment on my blog and continue to do so from here on in. There's no excuse. I'm sorry. Thanks for sticking with me.

I hope you continue to do so.

08:08 08.08.08

Yep, I am *that* sad. Well, last year on July 7, I stuck a reminder in my phone that today I'd look back at what I was doing this time last year and see where I was.

I'd moved to Spain.

As opportunities go, the chance to move to a different country to work on what was promised to be an exciting project to add to my CV was a tempting one. Despite having spent the previous few months making new friends and getting back into the groove of living in Dublin having spent so long away, I was once again faced with the choice of go and give it a shot or stay and regret not going. I think I made the right choice.

The south of Spain in the summer sunshine is quite a stunning place. I'd moved to the tiny village of Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro, a short trip from Estepona, a few kilometers away from Gibraltar

and a short walk from the top-class resort of Sotogrande, home to millionaires, golfing enthusiasts, yachters and this view, one of my favourites.

It was to be a massive learning curve for me. I'd moved over alone with little idea of the locals, the language or the way of life. "I'll be grand when I get there" was my thought before going. "Sure it's Europe. They'll speak the language. Plus I'll be in an English speaking part". I'd been spoiled by having interviews in English, in flying to Gibraltar (little England in the sun) and by romantic notions that it was going to be easy.

I'd been apprehensive, yes. The night before I left, at his birthday last year, Darren had asked me "Are you sure you want to go?" and it wasn't until the plane touched down in Gibraltar on the afternoon of August 5 that I realised that I had to do this.

I was collected by the company driver to bring me to my new accommodation, a two bed apartment where I could stay rent free for the duration of my probationary period. Was I lucky? I felt blessed.

I soon became used to views of narrow streets, of vibrant flower colours and smells and to the sound of Spain - the second loudest country in the world, apparently. I also fell in love. With a rock. Gibraltar, with its views of Africa, its windy, tourist filled streets and most importantly its English bookstores became a regular destination for me, as I explored the rock, met its inhabitants and sat at pubs in the sunshine thinking how lucky I actually was.

In many ways it was a step into a different life. Things moved at a different pace, to a different beat. The sunshine ruled supreme. We went to a Bootleg Beatles concert where the announcement:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the management have informed us that many of you are using digital cameras and camcroders to record tonight's show without permission. We have to ask you to stop as it's the 1960s tonight and your devices haven't been invented yet".

Funny, but also appropriate in many ways. I didn't have internet access (which for a web addict editor is never a good thing), my belongings took ages to arrive and it took me a while to settle into this new place without friends, family or even the ability to ask for a carton of milk without struggling with the dictionary.

Mañana, mañana was the reason, the excuse and the driving force behind everything. If it didn't happen today, so what? The sun is shining, the water's great. Come on down to the beach. Watch the waves. Relax a little.

So that's what I did. One of my fondest memories is the lunchtime Elizabeth and I went for a walk on the beach, just to get our feet wet. Which sounds like a great idea. And was. because playing in the waves at lunchtime is always fun.

Sitting here this morning in D15 and looking out at the waves of traffic heading to the M50, hearing the sounds of this part of Dublin preparing for another day, I can't help but smile. It's been a good year. I'll do the same next September 9.

Where I'll be, what I'll be doing, whether I'll be in front of a keyboard or transmitting this directly to the interweb using the latest in mind-to-web technology, who knows? All I know is that I'll be doing my very best to enjoy it.

Where were you last year?