Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Tune - the least sexy version ever

There are certain covers and remixes of songs that improve on the original. This is most definitely not one of them - it is rather funny though. "Enjoy"(?) Max Raabe's version of Sex Bomb performed with Das Palast orchestra.

(You'll need to let it (down)load)

Big thanks to Elly and George for an amazing meal on Sunday, but also introducing me to the La Musique de Paris Derniere collections. A very eclectic mix of covers and interpretations from different artists. I've had it on play since Sunday.

What do you reckon? Woeful or hysterical?

Congrats to those voted for the IIA Net Visionary awards!

What a list there is for the 2008 IIA Net Visionary Awards! Personally I'm delighted to see so many bloggers and supporters of the blogging and internet community getting a nod of recognition for their work.

Some of the many categories include:

Best Business Blogger

Best Business Podcaster

Best Online Business Use of Irish

Best Online Financial Service

Best Use of Social Media

Educational Contribution

Innovation Award

Journalist Award

Mobile Internet Innovation

Internet Marketer

Internet Entrepreneur

Congrats one and all. Now what you can do please is head on over to the IIA website to vote. Every vote counts, and all that stuff!

Twenty Major decides to stop blogging

One of my favourite bloggers who has not only consistently poured out some memorable and provocative posts has decided to give it a rest. Goodbye Twenty Major.

His goodbye-for-now post is here.

I may not have understood, agreed with or even "got" some of his posts, but I always clicked on the feedreader when I saw a new post and I liked snooping around some of his old stuff as well. The puns were awful, the posts crafted with talent and I rarely left the blog without a smile.

He was also a good source of help and information about blogging and the community if I ever asked. I appreciated his support and am genuinely a bit sad to have read it tonight. Mulley put it quite well on Twitter but even better in this post, especially about Twenty's contribution to uncompromising blogging in his own style, something he should be admired for.

Twenty, thanks for the laughs, the outrages and above all the thought that there's still a bar like Ron's somewhere in Dublin. If I see you out, I'll buy you a pint.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday cheerlinking

There's a lot of links worth cheering this week:

I'll start this bout by saying a very well deserved congratulations to Krishna, Ken and Bernie for all their great work at Podcamp Ireland. A fuller post is on the way, but in the meantime you can check out photos from the official Pix.ie group.

(click for bigger. Thanks AJ)

Well done to the Irish bloggers mentioned in the Guardian this weekend.

The next big blogger event is this Saturday's EU conference.

Congratulations to Daragh and Conor Prendergast who did a great job in a terrible segment on last Friday's Late Late. Here's the live blog we contributed to.

If you haven't already, please check out the inspiring Catherine's great Homepages Project that could really make a difference to the lives of people affected by homelessness this Christmas.

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Continuing the photo theme, check out this amazing shot from the Clare Glens by Photos and Ponderings.

There's also great shots of Lisa Hannigan, whose recent concert in Letterkenny Stel seems to have really enjoyed.

Riemann has this brilliant shot from the Ploughing Championships in Kilkenny:

While Mark Walsh shares a note from school he's found - it reads a bit like a love note...

"Is it the undeniable air of manliness he emits? Is it those eyes like two cystal clear pools of blue? Is it a sophisticated sense of humour, full of wit and satire? Is it that thing he has that just makes you smile?"
Meanwhile, Lilli defines what holiday snaps can be. I'm envious.

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Geraldine Moorkens Byrne injects a little bit of hope with her poem Recessive gene
"We're going back in time
back to the 80s,
back to the time
when pennies counted ...

If we are lucky,
lack of money, lack of choice
fear and the opening of chasms
giddy depths visible for once
beneath well shod feet,
might breed
compassion; might shake
loose our comfortable bigotry,
might feed something
unnourished by wealth."
While the helpful folk over at No Nonsense insurance wants to help us save €1,000 by going "no frills"

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DELIGHTED to hear from State that Rodrigo y Gabriela are releasing another live album soon. Their Live in Manchester and Dublin album is one of my absolute favourites.

Plus, if you're looking to catch up with what's happening in Irish music, Guesslist.ie do a weekend round-up which makes me sound somewhat like I know what I'm talking about.

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I'm thrilled to read today about the launch of bright one,
"a communications agency aimed at charities, non-profits and social enterprises, run by volunteers from the industry who want to broaden their communication’s experience and use their expertise for social good."
I met Founder Ben Matthews at the Shine and 2gether conferences and doubt there's a more committed and professional guy to run such an agency. They're looking for volunteers. to help out. Check out some of the benefits of getting involved.

* - * - * - *

Speaking of launches, I see the lovely Julie-Anne at Curious Tales has launched a new-look site and range, including jackets. She's going to be showing at the upcoming Belfast Fashion Week - best of luck JA!

Staying in the fashion scene, I've always had a taste for a girl in a cape.

And thank you for the dance lessons, ladies. Much appreciated :)

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It looks like I'm with d@\/e in breaking most of the ten commandments already. I wonder do posts like this one break number 8?

My favourite happy blogger shares some good news.

Yvonne shares some excellent tips about overcoming writer's block and procrastination. I suffer from both regularly so this has really helped.

Eileen Bennett has written possibly the best "About me" section I've read anywhere on a blog recently.

Martin Dwyer never met Paul Newman.

I'm very amused by the Mattias Inks really useful tattoos

I'm also pretty happy after watching this video found by Ruth E Babes

If only the internet were really this simple, eh?

* - * - * - *

Finally - and it's something I tell people all the time - never underestimate what a kind word, a smile or even a casual conversation outside of a pub can do. I recently asked LMS what inspired her. She came back with this.

If that's not a link worth cheering, I don't know what is.

* - * - * - *
Cheerlinking - cheerleading without the pompoms! :o)

As always, if there's any other links worth cheering that you've spotted out there, please do share :)

She came home to meet my parents

I'd met her in a crowded room.

Beforehand, I never really thought I could have someone like her in my life. To be precise, I'd never envisage it because I wouldn't presume it could happen. Before I'd ever met her, I knew about her. Her name would come up in different circles, among new friends I was making, in discussions I was having.

Everyone who knew and knew of her cared deeply about her. She was obviously someone out of my league, in a different circle, someone I could only admire from afar. She didn't know a thing about me. Why would she?

On the recommendation of someone I had trusted for a while, I started to read some of her writing. I was only flirting with the idea of blogging but had issues about finding my own voice, the subject matter important to me and how to balance the personal and professional side, giving due attention to both.

Her stories came highly recommended - she was widely acknowledged as someone with the ability to use the right words at the right time. She had an art to composing her posts, which, though personal was accessible, something to connect with. I felt I had an insight into a life I'd never lead.

Truth be told, I was nervous about meeting her at all. She had a loyal set of followers who would jump to her aid if she needed it, or defence on the rare occasion it might seem prudent. She was prolific, uncompromising in her style and well respected in a community I felt I was peering through the fence at, longing to be able to join in the fun.

Yes, fine, she was only a person, but she was a person doing well what I desperately wanted to, but didn't feel confident enough to. It was irrational, but I tended to be tongue-tied in front of anyone I thought was great, no matter what the reason, and I normally left a not-as-good-as-it-could-be impression.

I knew she'd be in the bar that night - I sat with friends having a pint, wondering how I'd react when I finally saw her in person, as shy and gauche as I felt. I masked it, feigning confidence, bravado and my usual manic niceness. Still though, in the quiet moments my knees knocked. What impression was I making?

As soon as she appeared she was surrounded by her friends, her admirers. I desperately wanted to be able to go speak to her as an equal, as someone I could confidently approach. Instead I knew all I'd do was gush in admiration, while fearing the rebuff I deserved for not being part of the group. "Who are you?" was the question I, in my naivety, dreaded.

However, as the night went on, emboldened by drink and the convivial atmosphere, I ventured shyly over to make a proper introduction and say hello. She was in a good mood and I seem to have caught her at the right time, though those with her were obviously puzzled by this over enthusiastic and slightly strange person coming over to almost worship at their companion's feet.

Afterwards, I was puzzled by my hesitance - she was as lovely as I'd thought she'd be. How could she not be? I came away elated, though sure that I'd be only one of the many people she'd encounter that night. I thought she'd forget me.

But she didn't forget.

When I began my own blogging - stepping away from the sidelines and venturing in to kick the ball to the others, she encouraged and supported me. Her advice was always welcome, her challenge to me to keep going, to improve and to do like she did - promote, educate, entertain. As any relationship starts, it stared with a smile, a shared joke, a connection and as it deepened we both developed it to our benefits.

We'd meet up when we could. It wasn't always practical due more to geographical than personal circumstances but an email I'd sent almost cheekily chancing my arm became a reality I hadn't expected. We met of all places in a drive-thru McDonalds before sharing a coffee and a chat in my kitchen. She likes to remind me in front of her friends that I asked her to strip and change clothes on the first time in my house. Can't blame a guy for trying!

We'd connected. We shared a sense of divilment, of laughter and an appreciation of the simple joy of being able to walk around somewhere like Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty library or the city centre. Our first meal together was interrupted by Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald.

We each encountered old friends while out. Our affinity was evident, our mutual affection a source of smiles. No one openly questioned us, though obviously seemed surprised someone like her would choose to be with me. I didn't care, I was happy. We were friends.

When times got serious with my health recently she again surprised me with both great solace and practical guidance. She remembered hospital appointments, days the results were due and texted me on both. I was consistently impressed and elated she'd choose to spend her thoughts on me, despite having so much else on. Friends I've had for years weren't as considerate. She taught me a lot.

This weekend we ended up in the same place, near enough to my home town. Throughout the day I hadn't much chance to speak with her - brief encounters between commitments or conversations were all we had. It came time to go home. I wasn't sure when I'd see her again and I knew I'd miss her. So on a bit of a whim I interrupted the conversation she was having with her driving companions and said "How'd you like to stay overnight in my home and meet my parents?"

My parents are important to me. I consistently tell people that they'd never know the real me and my origin without meeting them first. It's practically the separation between acquaintances and friends. I didn't know how they'd react to me calling to say "do up my bed, please" for a woman they'd never heard of, never mind met before, but they're used enough to me now to know that it's only the important-to-me people I'd choose to inflict on them introduce them to.

There was a moment's silence after I asked her, then she burst into laughter, asking me to repeat it to her most trusted friend. "What would people think?" she laughed. I smiled along, though with fingers crossed, and realising it might not be the most opportune time, left her to discuss the idea with those around her. I rang me dad - "no problem, I'll do that" he said, without asking who or why. I suppose he was a bit surprised to hear someone else was coming, Niamh already spending the weekend but he chose not to ask.

"I'm all set" she said with a smile, as we bade goodbye to her companions, them nudging and winking to comic effect. "You're all right, she's on the pill" was roared at me across the room, turning me a deeper shade of crimson than the carpet I was standing on. Still, I knew I'd be expected to be on my best behaviour. And sure why wouldn't I be? After a meal and a drink (or three) we set off on the 40 minute journey.

The conversation in the car was pleasant, if slightly strange. For some reason I felt the need to warn her not to expect too much. Again, this wasn't important to her - I think she knew I was inviting her to deepen the relationship, almost as testament to how I felt about her in my life.

We drove through the Kilkenny countryside in the darkness passing familiar landmarks, each evoking a memory I felt prompted to share. I was nervous. I talked too much.

As we pulled into the drive I felt the same nervousness as I did when I brought Aoife or Natalie home for the first time. What would she think? Would they be okay? Would I be?

It was almost 10pm when we arrived. As I opened the side gate to let Niamh and her in, Lucky came out, tail wagging to greet the newcomer. The kitchen lights were on, my parents ready to greet the guest, to say hello to my friend, whoever they were.

"Hello", I said as I opened the door, "how's you?" I turned to her. "Welcome to my home. These are my parents" and to my parents I said, almost sounding ceremonious or scripted "I'd like you to meet a dear friend of mine. This is Marie."

And that's how Grannymar came to my home this weekend and met my parents.

We had a lovely time.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman RIP

Just reading about the reported death of a hero of mine, actor, philanthropist, business enrepreneur and gentleman, Paul Newman.

Image from here.

Paul Newman started the Hole in the Wall camps, of which Barretstown is one of the only European ones - the history is here. He was a man of remarkable acting ability, of empathy for children with serious illnesses and was someone I admired very very much.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Can you advise a blogger?

What three things would you advise someone about blogging? Whether it's content, design, style, technical, tagging or tone, your advice would be appreciated.

I'm leading an open conversation at Podcamp Ireland today:
Darragh Doyle on “How Do You Do - Advice For Blog Beginners”

Darragh invites you to an open conversation and collaborative session where bloggers of all levels are asked to share 3 pieces of advice/tips that they have learned from blogging.

All advice will be compiled during the day and made available for distribution to beginners and experts alike.
There are some expert speakers and attendees I'm looking forward to meeting up with and hearing today. Check out the Podcamp Ireland website for full details of the day.

I'm typing this in the car on the way. Mobile broadband rocks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shame on the residents of Pearse House

While I appreciate the lighter side of Dublin and of people, the strange, the sarcastic, the misspelled and the malformed, I find it incredibly difficult to ignore the traces of the darker side of things.

Not just the junkies, the beggars, the racism or the dilapidation which are deplorable by themselves, but the sadness, the melancholy and the helplessness that tends to permeate the non latte drinking, metro reading, 9 to 5 office bound section of society.

I think it's my awareness of this that makes me seek refuge in humorous graffiti, street art and expression, attempting to accentuate the positive while the negative runs riot, sticking its middle finger up at the attempts to ignore it and screaming loudly to both announce its presence and remind itself it exists. Head down and iPod loud, I do my best to evade it.

And then, every so often, I'll run across things like this - stuck to a wall on the walk beside the Luas tracks - that will rise up, slap me in the face hard and make me realise that my refuge is temporary, that my ignorance is self delusion at best and that Dublin city can be a sad, sad place.

I can only imagine the frustration, anger and ire of the person or people who composed this and while I don't know the story, I can only imagine what fear and desperation prompted them to stick this on a wall for people to read.

From what's remaining, the text is as follows:

  • Shame on the residents to allow child rapist _______ _____ to continue to live among you

  • Shame on you to allow him live with a young mother and her two little girls

  • Shame on _______ _____ to allow this evil pedophile access to her two little babies

  • Shame on the father of these children who allows this rapist and pedophile to sleep under the same roof as them

  • Shame on her mother to allow her grandchildren to be exposed to this monster

  • Shame on the young men of Pearse House for not standing up and doing what their parents are afraid to do

  • Shame on the people that still befriend him

  • Shame on the local publicans that are still serving him

  • Shame on the political representative in the area for ignoring the actions of this filthy scum

  • Shame on the gardai for dragging their heels in [unreadable] appropriate steps to protect these children

  • Shame on the local HSE or their r [unreadable]
Great praise and admiration for the girl [unreadable] come forward and expose [unreadable] what he is and capable of [unreadable]. Their courage is to be admired.


Concerned Parents of Yo [unreadable]"
If it's real, then why is this allowed to happen? Why have things gotten to the stage where they have to resort to a shaming campaign? If it's not, then why is this poster allowed to remain for, based on its wear and tear, a considerable time? Surely a smear campaign cannot be tolerated either? Who should most feel ashamed?

What do people do when they feel they're not being listened to? Where can they go? How do they share their stories? What of those that we never hear?

Any port in a storm, eh?

Outside the Screen Cinema on Hawkins street:

It reads

"For ________ __________


SLUT" and some other stuff.
but just under the name, the bit I really love is where someone wrote:

"Whats her number?"
Always on the lookout, eh?

(I promise I'll get back to posts otherthan photos, but some are just too funny-and-strange-to-me not to share.)

C'mon, own up. Who has it? Turn out your pockets.

Honestly, the things that go missing sometimes! If you find it, do let them know...

(O' Connell Street, Dublin, this afternoon)

(I kinda wonder what the story was really about. Anyone?)

Out and about

Tuesday Tune - I like it like that

Fan of the Odeon Cinema chain in the UK will recognise this one - it's almost the Odeon theme music. They use a sample of it before each film. I love the Cuban vibe it evokes. The joy in the singer's voice - Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez - is evident.

(You'll need to let it (down)load)

Every time I sat in the cinema and this played, I got a shiver of anticipation, especially if I was really looking forward to the film. I don't think it's possible to listen to it and still be in a bad mood afterwards.

Do you?

Wake up cooking lesson


It's one cup oatflakes

to three cups of milk

and NOT the other way around.

I knew something wasn't right.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday cheerlinking

It's a beautiful Monday here in Dublin. Some links worth cheering:

Naomi introduces who she is with some fantastic photos. I'm somewhat in awe at her talent.

* - * - * - *


A very dear friend got great news on Friday after being worried for weeks. I can only imagine the relief. Still, I imagine she found ways to celebrate over the weekend }:o)

Happy 30th birthday to Poetry Ireland.

A (belated) happy 5 year anniversary to John and Paula. Lovely post and portrait photo here.

Also congrats to Rick who has a new nephew.

And also new (to blogging at least) is Whoopsadaisy, found with other blogging newcomers over at The Blog Pound. Found that remote yet?

* - * - * - *

I do not like Travor's new mouse. Still, he's got some quality photos up, including a great reason to have kids. Erm.

* - * - * - *

Good luck tonight AJ! I won't be around to see the Apprentice but I look forward to reading what's gone on.

Also good luck to the charmingly named PheasantFukker, who has put together a challenging list of 40 things to do before he turns 40.

* - * - * - *

My laugh out loud post of the day so far has been Nelly's cross words about Castro.

* - * - * - *

I also laughed at Susan's address:

#1 Myarse Street
Wee Village
County Cavan
Republic of Ireland
She's looking for "good read-aloud books for a special-needs 9-year-old boy in love with cars, trains, horses..." so if you can help, please leave her a comment.

* - * - * - *

A wee chuckle at the memories. Tommy - 14 - finds out the age old lesson of black shoes for cutting grass

* - * - * - *

I'm liking the adventures of a daisy from Lucy. "It is a long way from the train tracks of Ballybrophy, from where she was plucked."

* - * - * - *

Ever wonder what President of Ireland Mary McAleese gets up to daily? Here's an example of a typical day. Gosh, we must have a lot of High court judges...

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Brilliant resource for marketers and students - a list of the top 250 PR, Media, Marketing and Advertising blog posts from a lot of sources. Top class thinking from the professionals.

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I'm meeting Green Ink and Katie and Ailbhe for the first time on Wednesday, as we join a group of other bloggers at Scoopy scoopy dog dog. Or someone like that. I'm looking forward to it!

* - * - * - *

London is a beautiful city by night. Check out some of these amazing pictures.

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Finally, Top Gear is coming to Dublin and you can win tickets over on Today FM's website. There's also some details over on RDSTickets.com

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Cheerlinking - cheerleading without the pompoms! :o)

If there's any other links worth cheering that you've spotted out there, please do share :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Irish blogger hairstyles yearbook

See this sort of thing is (a) why people shouldn't send me links and (b) why insomnia is a curse. Yes indeed, late last night with the first photo I could find, I yearbooked myself...

I quite like this one from 1956

though this one - 1988 - is quite worringly accurate for what could happen

But what about other bloggers? Would the hairstyles suit? I took the photos I could find, did a bad job at adding them and here are the results...

Ben in 1970

and then 1976

had a hairstyle like David

who in 1984

had missed Anthony's style by two years

but did resemble Andrew's

which isn't that far off Darren's 1980 do

who in 1988

shared a similar look to AJ

who, in 1964

looked a tad like Sean in 1970

Rick looked somewhat similar

though cleaned up in 1996

like Darren did in 2000

following Davy Mac's lead from 1956.

Two years later Niamh had this hairstyle

and Lottie had this one in 1964

though they changed in 1984

and in 2000 respectively

Is the new hairstyle anything like this?

(I'm going to be killed)

It's all over on www.yearbookyourself.com - an American site with remarkable viral appeal, working on selling fashions from contemporary brands and stores. I'm not sure if it's more fun trying others or yourself....

And the image that will haunt me forever but God knows if I didn't do it, someone else will...

Go on, be brave. What's your yearbook photo like?