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Monday, August 27th, 2012
10:50 pm - ..
So, why did I just renew my subscription again? Bleedin' ghost-town around here so it is.

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Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
12:51 am - The most difficult piano music ever - in 10 youtube clips
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Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
8:04 pm - Deep in Godwin's Law territory
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Monday, September 29th, 2008
11:08 am
To ward off panics, financial media organizations are keeping Unhappy Talk to a minimum. "We're very careful not to throw words around like 'meltdown' and 'free fall,' " CNN correspondent Ali Velshi, who is getting mucho face time thanks to the meltdown and free fall, told the New York Times. The Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal is engaging in un-Murdochian restraint, banishing words like crash and pandemonium. Maybe I have a limited vocabulary, but I'm not sure how else to characterize a month in which the country's largest financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had to be nationalized; Lehman Bros., the fourth-largest investment bank, filed for Chapter 11; AIG, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, had to turn over most of its stock to the government in exchange for an $85 billion loan; the government had to guarantee money-market funds to stop people from hoarding cash under their mattresses; the nation's largest savings and loan, Washington Mutual, failed; and the nation's greatest financial minds declare that a bailout the size of the Netherlands' GDP is needed to stop the bleeding. Yes, we have to be careful about crying fire in a crowded theater. But calling Wall Street's meltdown a meltdown is more like crying fire in a crowded inferno. [http://www.slate.com/id/2200717/]

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Thursday, July 17th, 2008
12:41 pm - A fairly good yardstick for how well-travelled you are
I have seen 24/878 (2%) of all UNESCO World Heritage SitesRead more...Collapse )

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
10:40 am - Norway Cycle

  • Route
  • Pictures
  • 1000km in total, all inside the Arctic Circle.
  • It's an extraordinarily cyclist-friendly nation. Motorists held up busy roads, just to let me cross on my bike.
  • 24 hour daylight is a nice novelty, but you still need to sleep 8 hours a day.
  • The weather is ok! 50% sunshine, no rain, average 15 degrees C in the daytime.
  • Don't fly Economy with Scandinavian Airlines. *grumble*
  • All towns in Norwegian Lapland look boxy and boring, because of the Nazi's scorched earth policy.
  • There are a surprising number of fat Norwegians.
  • Great "right of access" rules. Camping out in the wild, FTW!
  • All in all, a great place if you like vast wilderness and reliable transport, and don't mind cooler weather and everything being expensive.

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Thursday, May 8th, 2008
12:44 am - Moralistic post
I think it was some time after the Asian tsunami, and when I realised that I was no longer too hard up for cash, that I made a decision. What I decided was that any time I saw a news report describing some disaster that killed or caused injury and distress to 1000s, but didn't actually affect me at all - like the Burma cyclone in the news at the moment - I would do one of two things:
  • if I felt compelled to give an actual donation or some sort of assistance, I would keep watching.
  • otherwise, I would just switch it off, and refuse to pay any attention to the media circus surrounding it.
It dawned on me that the other option - just sitting there saying "ooh, that's awful" - isn't helping anyone one bit, and is even a bit worse. If you're interested in a news event, but you're not interested in helping the victims, then you're only interested in their suffering. If you ignore it, the victims are still fucked, but at least you are depriving yourself of the twisted gratification of observing people far less fortunate than yourself but doing nothing about it.

I wonder if it's a throwback to a Christian upbringing.. this idea of prayer, and the belief that by praying for someone, by thinking of someone else consciously you can help them. Well I say that's nonsense. In most situations it's just a lame, hypocritical and socially acceptable excuse for doing nothing.

current mood: contemplative

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Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
4:05 pm - Video nasties
So, today I finally got my dental implant inserted.. and it went well. If you feel like being grossed out, have a look at an example procedure on youtube (login required).

Now, let's hope I've seen the last of my dental mishaps.

current mood: drugged

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Sunday, March 2nd, 2008
7:46 pm
Just one example of why Irish Times Crosaire crosswords are so laugh-out-loud enjoyable...

Clue: Praise be to God this will water the girl, by the sound of it (7)
AnswerCollapse )

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Monday, December 24th, 2007
8:56 pm - RIP
.. to one of the greatest pianists of all time.

Oscar Peterson (1925 - 2007)

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Thursday, November 15th, 2007
9:26 pm - Feline YouTubery
Cat taping!

Cat spanking!

Cat spinning!

The middle one is totally SFW.

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Monday, September 17th, 2007
7:20 am
Lets see:

allen keys, lights, reflector jacket, u-lock, spare tube, tyre lever, hex spanner, pedal wrench, electrical tape, luggage straps, two water bidons, multivitamins, torch, alarmclock, mobile phone, iriver, camera, assorted chargers and adaptors, glasses case, pen+paper, gas stove, cutlery, two small saucepans, washing detergent, towel, washbag stuff, lots of clothes, tent, sleeping bag, gloves, raincoat, camping mattress, four panniers, spare pair of shoes, helmet, army kit-bag, a new touring bike, and a map of the Austrian and Italian Alps...

Right then. I'm going to cycle to the airport, and I'll be back in Dublin in early October.

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Monday, September 10th, 2007
12:35 pm
http://www.theonion.com/content/news/pitchfork_gives_music_6_8

current mood: amused

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Sunday, August 19th, 2007
10:11 pm - A thought.
I don't think I ever fully respected Mozart as a composer until I heard his Fantasia in C Minor K. 475. It was sort of as if I discovered that Jim Davis was secretly responsible for PLIF.

15 months since my last classical music post. Not bad going..

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Thursday, July 19th, 2007
12:31 am - Some thoughts on the Tour de France

  • As TV entertainment, it offers two pleasures: that of sightseeing, and that of watching people suffer by choice.
  • Mountains so sort the men from the boys. This corresponds with my own often humbling experiences on the W200.
  • What with the lack of mountains, the first week of the tour is irrelevant. Cancellara is now a random face in the peleton, in 121th place. He was in the lead for a whole damn week!
  • This reminded me of this, and once I learnt that there were no injuries, it made me laugh a lot. (I'm allowed laugh at people falling off bicycles - it's cathartic.)

oh, and stage 16 is hell.

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Friday, June 15th, 2007
3:57 pm - Further bike-related repercussions
It turns out my bike is OK. I'll need a new rear wheel, that's all.

The lady who assisted me was indeed rich. We're talking: security guard on the grounds, and a €5m house rich.

The nasty, deep cut in my mouth seems to have got infected. It looks like something from a horror movie and is hurting like a bitch. I think I see a photoshoot coming. And some antibiotics.

Finally, a sobering thought: I got my helmet back and in it I found a small crack and a noticeable SUV-rear-window-shaped indent.

Have a good weekend!

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Sunday, June 10th, 2007
10:29 pm - Ow
Well, I completed the Wicklow 200, but it involved pools of blood, a missing tooth, and a trip by ambulance to Loughlinstown Hospital for three stitches in my lip.

I was 95% home, with all the hills and nastiness behind me, when a SUV in front suddenly stops. Both me and the car behind fail to react in time, and AFAICT the car behind smashes me face-first into the SUV's rear window. My bike was a write-off, and a lovely local lady (evidently quite rich) brought me into her driveway and mothered me with cushions, towels, and refreshments until the ambulance arrived. I think I came off lightly, all things considered. Without my helmet I could well have got concussion.

Aside from this, the day was bloody fantastic.

current mood: ow

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Friday, June 8th, 2007
2:57 pm - Two things
1) A big cheery farewell to Michael, who's leaving Ireland today for a new life in Vancouver! (Even though he never got around to having any sort of going away, *grumble*).
2) On Sunday I'm doing some 200km cycle thing in Wicklow. You may have heard me talking about it. In work on Monday I will be mostly collapsed with exhaustion.

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Sunday, May 13th, 2007
8:30 pm - Short shorts
Funny: Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic

In other news, I finally caved in and bought myself a pair of cycling shorts. These make cycling much more cosy and comfortable in all sorts of intimate ways that you can't (or don't want to) imagine. I also get a weird feeling that I now get more respect from the general public - motorists are less likely to cut me up; knackers are less likely to shout abuse. The cycling shorts (+ jersey) denote a uniform. I am no longer just a lone, masochistic weirdo who goes on long cycles. I am part of a demographic!

Next stop, the full-blown lycra body suit. (Well, maybe in a few years).

current mood: amused

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Friday, May 4th, 2007
12:32 am - Election Rant
Prime Time tonight was all about voter apathy, especially among younger people, and one of my pet peeves is people who don't bother to vote.

Now, we all agree that bad politicans cause people to lose interest in politics. But people forget that the opposite holds too - voter apathy causes shoddy politicans. Say you're performing on stage in a band but the crowd is ignoring you.. would you give it your all? Likewise, If you're a TD and you knew that a third of the electorate had no opinion on whether you got elected or not, would you make a special effort to please those people? On the other hand, imagine we had a 95% turnout in general elections, and every time a TD reneged on an election promise there were riots in the streets. In short, politicians respond to incentives just like everyone else.

I also think that some voter apathy is just sour grapes in disguise: "The person I voted for didn't get elected. I didn't win, so I'm going to go sulk in the corner and not play any more."

Yeah, so we have a democracy, and it basically works. So use it. (Also, am I the only one in favour of Australian-style compulsory voting?)

Finally, a quote: "People who vote in Big Brother / Pop Idol / Eurovision but do not vote in parliamentary elections relinquish all rights to express any political opinions whatsoever."

current mood: angry

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