August 11, 2010

The Ireland Invasion: Coda'ed

All good things must come to an end, right?

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August 10, 2010

One More Blast at the EFF

This marks my fourth consecutive visit to Edinburgh for the annual laugh known as the Edinburgh Fringe Fest!

This was the last order of business for the Ireland Invasion. I thought it'd be a great way to end things. Better still, I was here for six days, which had me at a metric tonne of shows! Good times!

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August 4, 2010

Slán agus Beannacht Leat, Éire

That's Gaelic, for "Goodbye and Blessings Be with You, Ireland". But, as I told Irish elite at Ulster, no "good-bye"s, just "until next time."

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August 3, 2010

Manic Tuesday

The Coda's entered act two. Life here's wrapping up.

Today was the last full day in Dublin, and it's the last day to do things. Things like collect my UB Sharesave money, collect some delivered post, ring an investment co., and, of course, visit the bank ppl one more time.

It was a busy one, which was fine, as it kept me from getting to caught up in the significance of these activities and what they represent. Despite crossing all but one off my list for today (the rest have to be done tomorrow, on my last day)...

It's hard to leave.

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August 2, 2010

One More Blast in Blackrock

Mary, Eoin, and Suzanne were kind enough to join me this weekend for one more blast in Blackrock.

Mary's been a good friend since the beginning, when she moved here into that house on Barclay Court three years ago. Her bf, Eoin (pronounced "Owen" -- it's the Gaelic spelling) is a good laugh. They're some of the best folks I've met here, and was delighted to have one more night out with them. Having the lovely Suzanne along just made life better.

We hit a few of the local faves: Jack O'Rourke's (great food!); the Breffni (which was bereft of the crazy old men I promised Suzanne); Conway's (how much longer will it be open?); and the Wicked Wolf (which supplied the crazy old men missing from the Breffni). Great night out, which made for a sluggish morning.

Suzanne just left, and I've got a bit of time before Mary comes by to check on me.


It is going to be so very hard to leave.

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July 30, 2010

Coda in High Gear

The movers came today, and whisked away my boxes. What was supposed to be four ended up being six: the third big box was separated into three smaller ones, for ease of transit.

There's still a fair few things to do, like see some BR friends tomorrow. Worse still, there's a few things that won't be done until Wednesday when I leave. It's a bank holiday here on Monday, and Tuesday's going to be action packed.

It's going to be hard to leave. (And this time, it's not just emotionally speaking.)

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July 28, 2010

A Dark Knight Over Northwest Ireland

Two minor trips made here over the last month were Sligo and Donegal.

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July 14, 2010

SMB2 Revisited

A couple of years back, I found Super Mario Bros. 3 online, and noted its 20th anniversary. That site also has heaps of other games from older platforms, including Super Mario Bros. 2! For fun, I thought I'd spend some time getting acquainted with this old friend.

Turns out that I haven't forgotten much: I found it a couple of days ago, and a day after I found it, and got used to keyboard controls, I mastered it! I remembered a fair bit of it, too.

(Who's cool? I AM!)

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July 12, 2010

The Dark Knight Strikes Cork Again: The Epic Wedding

I had one final official act in Ireland before shuffling off. One of the lads from work, James, finally got hitched to his longtime gf, Maj (pronounced "My" -- it's Danish).

We expected an epic wedding, in a similar vein to Lisbon. And boy howdy, we got it!

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July 9, 2010

300% Official

I just bought the ticket home.

<sigh>

It's going to be hard to leave.

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July 8, 2010

Tag Over

Wednesday past marked the end of this summer's tag rugby league. I didn't play with my usual faves, team AIB, as their opponents forfeited the match. That was just a friendly, and I reckon the other team just wanted to watch the World Cup semi. I played with the other, new UB team, made up of people I never saw around the bank, save for two. There was also nothing on the line here, but at least the other team showed up and played.

I reckon it was our best match of the season! We played so much better than we did in the past. Those drills before the match helped heaps, as we moved the ball around better. Hell, we moved the ball at all, as this was one of our sticking points from previous matches.

It was a loss, but still, we played very well. I played my best match of the season, grabbing lotsa tags, and scoring two tries! I'm back in form! (Too bad it's at the end.) Of note was Adrian's massive cut from some guy elbowing him in the head. Adrian ended up with eight stitches! 8! It'll be a good battle scar.

Fine times over the last three seasons.

This is why it's going to be hard to leave.

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June 29, 2010

Visa Troubles Everywhere

One of the TNA Knockouts, Angelina Love, was first.

Then, myself and Nicola at Ulster were subject to the same. Mine are known. Nic's I don't know about, but I reckon she'd be more successful at hers.

Now, PWI Insider is reporting that Drew McIntyre and Wade Barrett (Drew Galloway and Stu Bennett, resp.) are off WWE TV due to visa issues. Theirs have expired, and are awaiting their renewals.

I feel for them. I really do.

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June 26, 2010

The Dark Knight Strikes Paris Again

While not strictly part of my WW2 trip, it was a must that I spend some time in Paris. It's one of the major centers of almost everything in Europe, and in the world, both nowadays and in history. It's a big city with heaps to entertain in all sorts of ways. This marks my third visit here, and really, the first time I'll enjoy the city on my own with my own agenda.

Whilst I planned to do two full days in Paris, my time was whittled down to a little more than a day. Getting back to Paris was easier than leaving.

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June 25, 2010

A Dark Knight Over WW2 France - Normandie

Invariably, when talking about WW2 in Europe, Normandie enters the conversation. In June 1944, Allied forces landed on several kilometers of beaches on the French coast in Normandie. They fought hard, and took a good beating, but persevered and eventually claimed the shore on all fronts from the Axis forces.

I had two stops here, the beaches of Omaha and Juno.

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June 24, 2010

A Dark Knight Over WW2 France - Dieppe

Allied forces stormed the costal port town of Dieppe, France, on 19 August 1942. From accounts and records, this was a disaster, due to poor reconnaissance. Ships veered off course, the sea wall provided an unexpected obstacle, and a strong German presence made this a less-than-stellar effort. The silver lining is that this provided knowledge to German operations, a trial-by-fire approach to liberating a port town. A couple of years later, in 1944, Canadians lead the charge to liberate Dieppe.

This was the second stop in my WW2 trip.

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June 23, 2010

A Dark Knight Over WW2 France - Vimy

Got through Paris easily enough this morning. The infamous Charles de Gaulle airport wasn't too bad, and easy enough to get to. The car I hired took some finding (but the guy at the desk didn't tell me the elevator was right beside the car desk), but I got it: a white Smart car (one of those tiny, two-seat beer cans-on-wheels), convertable, too! This will be fine weather to bask in!

First stop in this WW2 trip: Vimy.

(And I know that the battle of Vimy Ridge was part of WW1, but there's more to this trip, and the others were part of WW2. So, instead of having a long name like "ADKO WW1 & WW2 France", I kept it short. The needs of the many...)

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June 23, 2010

A Dark Knight over WW2 France

Squeezin' in a few final travels of "Yurp" while I can...

Seeing as this past April marked the 65th anniversary of the end of the second war, a few celebrations were held around Europe. This made the news, and I caught wind of it. I figured that since I'm near by, and have some time on my hands, I'll get around to see these monuments and battlefields.

I'll be in the north of France for a few days. I'll go to Vimy, Dieppe, and Normandy for Omaha and Juno beaches, and round it off with a couple of days in Paris. And I'm hiring a car for this. And the weather looks good, according to the Beeb. Should be a good one!

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June 21, 2010

A Dark Knight Over Lisbon

Just got back from James', the lad here that's getting hitched in a few weeks, stag in Lisbon. It was, as expected, a messy affair, but a good time!

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June 15, 2010

Bright Nights

It's 22:16 here, and it's not even twilight out. Being this far north has it's advantages. And it's not even the summer solstice yet!

This is why it's going to be hard to leave.

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June 13, 2010

Vampired

Something just occurred to me now: I've fully experienced the vampire mythology.

First, there's the silliness in K-W and Toronto.

Then, and more importantly, there's the real thing, which birthed the vampire myth.

I was in Vienna in 2006, a home to Countess Elizabeth Bathroy, who is rumoured to bath in young girls blood, extracting the blood with some pokes in the neck.

And not too long ago, I was head-to-(bronze-) head with Vlad the Impaler, who was just plain gruesome.

How's that for awesome?!

This is why it's going to be hard to leave.

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June 10, 2010

Bad Timing, Taco Bell

The Independent reported that Taco Bell is going to open an outlet in the U.K. this year.

LOSERS! Why now?! Why not sooner, say six years ago?

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June 6, 2010

194

24 just finished here in Europe. (Yeah, nearly a week behind the times.) I really didn't know how they would end it. I knew how I would've liked them to end it, but those two concepts are usually incongruent.

I've been there since nearly the beginning, when Linh got me hooked just after season 2 got started. I even spent a few nights watching all of season 1 to get myself up to speed. I got the season 2 DVD set for a Christmas.

I, like so many others, damn-near idolise Jack Bauer. (Really, who wouldn't've loved to "go Jack Bauer" on someone at some point over the last decade?) I saw the highs (season 2), and the lows (season 6), and saw the good (Jack, Nina, Renée), and the bad (the Logans, President Taylor, Ryan Chapelle). It was a great show, but over the last few years, it has been in decline. I mean, how many nuclear strikes can happen on U.S. soil by terrorists? (But what do I know?) I think they outdid themselves early, in season 2 -- where do you go after a nuclear strike? Biological weapons, fine. But, then it alternated between nuclear strike and biological weapon for the next few years. Season 6 was the low point, and while the subsequent seasons were good, it lost a lot of its momentum. Fox rightly pulled the plug a few weeks (months?) ago, and the final hours just aired.

Eight full days plus a two-hour stint in Africa, and now, it just wrapped up. Honestly, I hoped for something more. I wanted a happy ending for Jack. I was hoping for something other than this particular ending. But, I guess this just shows that Jack can't outrun his life. It ended the way the other seasons played out, with Jack on the run and still fighting. Good to see that he was fighting until the end, though.

Godspeed, Jack.

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June 6, 2010

Blackrock Foxes

Those foxes were marching around here again. Well, mommy was not too long ago. Haven't seen the li'l 'uns in a while.

This is why it's going to be hard to leave.

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June 2, 2010

Tag Rugby 2010

I played my first match of tag rubby in about six months tonight! Great fun, it was. It was with the AIB team, the team I really liked last year. They're great people, play together all the time, they're good, and they get along with each other. There's no UB Hippo team this year, as it would've been pointless. Most of our girls are gone, and the ones that aren't here... well, there's not enough of them -- you need minimum three girls on the pitch at any time. The Hippos struggled with that last year, and now we'd've had even fewer lasses. So, that was a lost cause. But AIB team, the "Travellators", they're a good team.

I was a bit rusty on the pitch, however. Even though I cycled for the last year, the start-and-stop sprints on the pitch are different from a steady cycle, and it was tiring, but it was great! Got a try, too! We won, which helped.

It'll be a great way to spend the next few weeks. Props to Ms. Cooney for the invite.

This is why it's going to be hard to leave.

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May 31, 2010

UB Love

My leaving presents from my friends, colleagues, and well-wishers at the bank were:

  • a big white wool jumper, to lighten up the wardrobe;
  • a white Irish rugby jersey, to lighten up the wardrobe;
  • a newsboy hat (a.k.a.: flat cap, a scally cap, Jeff cap) of wool, with "Ireland" stitched on the top;
  • a bodhrán, a Celtic drum;
  • and a card filled with kind words from a buncha folks around the area.

The card was touching. The gifts were also good, in more ways than one. See, they're good as they are (dunno about that jumper, though), and not just because Sinéad did a fair bit of shopping. To get all these would've taken some cash, probably €200 or so. That's great, that people were kind enough to donate to the Tyler-is-leaving fund.

This is why it's going to be hard to leave.

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May 30, 2010

The Ireland Invasion: Coda

Nigh on four complete calendar years after I first touched down in Dublin and began my latest stay in Europe, and almost as long in Ulster Bank; with great reluctance, a heavy heart, and bittersweet sentiments, my time here is drawing to a close.

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May 5, 2010

Close Flight

I found out that the flight from Bucharest last night was the last for a few hours, maybe days, as that Icelandic volcano's spewing ash and stuff again. Close call! I could've been stuck in Bucharest for a bit longer. In theory, that sounds good. Somewhere else, though; hells yeah!

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May 4, 2010

A Dark Knight Over România - Bucureşti 2

Dracula Trip, 2010 wraps up today. With all the big points of interest hit, there's only a few things in Bucharest left to accomplish before I fly out.

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May 4, 2010

A Dark Knight Over România - Constanţa

There's a dénoument to Dracula Trip, 2010. I have an extra day in Romania due to the Aer Lingus flight schedule. My options were to hang around Sighisoara another day, or return to Brasov, or return to Bucharest, or go someplace else.

Sig's done.
Brasov's done. (Castle Bran be damned!)
Bucharest will be completed before I fly out.
So, it's someplace else.

And that someplace else is on the west coast, at the other end of the country. I'm heading for the city of Constanţa, a resort town on the west coast. This will be my first visit to the Black Sea!

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May 3, 2010

A Dark Knight over România - Sighişoara

Dracula Trip, 2010 reaches its apex!

Many stories have been written over the years about this historic meeting. Now, the Dark Knight meets the Impaler. Batman meets Dracula. I make my way to the birthplace of Vlad Ţepeş III: Sighişoara!

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May 2, 2010

A Dark Knight over România - Braşov

A few hours and a few hundred kilometers away from Bucharest is the little city of Brasov, tucked away in the Carpathian mountains, which is supposed to be a thriving town, rife with life and scenery. Better still, I'll be in Transylvania! It's Dracula Trip, 2010!

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May 1, 2010

A Dark Knight Over România - Bucureşti 1

Dracula Trip, 2010 begins in the capital of Romania, Bucharest. While kinda modern, remnants of the communist era are noticeable. And if you look carefully, you can see the mark of the Impaler!

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April 29, 2010

A Dark Knight Over România

An idea I had nearly six years ago comes to fruition! I'm spending this May bank holiday weekend in the country of Romania.

It's Dracula Trip, 2010! Woooooooo!

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April 4, 2010

New Zealand, Stitched & Edited

Today is a monumental day. Finally, after a little more than two months, I've finished my labour of love: I've stitched several, several pictures together and completed my panoramics from my time in New Zealand!

Because of the vast landscapes in Kiwi-land, taking a picture with my dinky 35mm camera just didn't do said landscapes justice. I had to make use of the pano making software that came with the camera. And I did. A lot. A lot.

35 quasi-panoramic pix, consuming over seven gigabytes of .psd files (Photoshop documents) equalling 300+ Mb of .jpg pix, comprised of around 300 individual pictures were painstakingly stitched together -- some with the PhotoStitch sw, and a few on my own -- and edited, with stitch "bandages" and photo adjustments -- contrast, brightness, skewing and rotating -- taking about 11 weeks (not continuously, but the better part of 11 weeks). Trust me, with the tools I had to work with (the PhotoStitch software + Adobe Photoshop 7.0 (from about 2002)), it was tough, and time-consuming. I knew what I was getting myself into, and always knew it would be a labour of love.

It wasn't all doom-'n-gloom, mind you. My techniques improved, my sense of detail heightened, my patience... well, it was tested, but stayed, and my use of Photoshop widened, but only marginally, as I stuck with the usual, tried-and-true tools.

I just took final looks at them for other, minor details, and pretty well did away with any minor and intolerable variations. I'm pleased to say...

I HAVE FINISHED!!! I'M DONE!!! I'M BLOODY WELL DONE!!! FINISHED! COMPLETED! OVER! FINITO!

DONE! DONE!

D O N E ! ! !

And it feels good!

Now what do I do with my time?

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February 28, 2010

14 Gold

That was a great Olympic effort from Canada! 14 gold medals, an all-time Winter Olympic record, was won by Canada. The final medal was in the final event of the games, men's (ice) hockey. Canada beat the U.S. 3-2 OT! That was a thrilling game, closed by Syd the Kid's overtime winner, in the 67th minute, assisted by Iggy.

(Really, if we only won a single gold medal, it had to be in the hockey, the men's hockey at that. If we didn't get that, the whole effort would've been for naught.)

We came 3rd in the overall medal count, at 26, which is a great effort. The U.S. topped all with 37, and the Germans came in at 30, which was surprising. Also surprising, the Ruskies were 6th with only 15.

Good effort, for the host country to have a strong showing, and finish strongly. Good work, soldiers!

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February 7, 2010

NFL on BBC?!?!

Beeb 1's showing Super Bowl XLIV right now. I find this really surprising. I didn't think American football was that big here, but here it is. I heard that some NFL exhibition game in Wembley coming up (or already passed -- haven't been paying attention) sold out. I guess American football is popular on this side of the pond.

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January 30, 2010

Radio Dublin

I've tried the local radio stations finally -- the new phone has an FM radio tuner, and I've been making use of it. Problem is I can't find a decent radio station. Nothing's really tickling my fancy.

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January 18, 2010

WLG → DUB -- The Long Way: Facts and Figures

This trip back to Dublin was a massive one, to say it mildly. To illustrate how massive, I found and compared distances between each destination. It's quite revealing:

JourneyMilesKilometersNautical Miles
WLG-SYD1,3782,2181,198
SYD-YVR7,75712,4846,741
YVR-YYZ2,0923,3661,818
YYZ-LHR3,5595,7283,093
LHR-DUB287463250
WLG-DUB -- TLW15,07324,25913,100
DUB-WLG11,59618,66110,076
Earth's Circumference (mean)24,82540,04121,620
Half of Earth's Circ.12,41320,02110,810

Continue reading "WLG → DUB -- The Long Way: Facts and Figures"

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January 13, 2010

WLG → DUB -- The Long Way

M&N, J and I were up and at Wellington Airport by 05:30, just at my first flight's cut-off. It was nearly a teary departure. Had I been more awake, it might've been, but I was pretty out of it, and knew that I had to get moving.

Quick but solid "good-bye"s were given to M&N and Janelle, and I was off for my trip home, the longest voyage  E V E R ! ! !

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January 11, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Wellington 2

M&N's wedding -- or, should I say, the new Mr. and Mrs. Duncan's 'ding -- was really the beginning of the end for J & my time in Kiwi-land.

After the wedding and afters, all invited to the 'ding were invited to Matt's parents gaff for a bbq.

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January 10, 2010

With This Ring, He Does Wed Her

Matt + Nicky = ♥

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January 8, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Mt. Cook to Wellington

More than 600km in eight hours. This sounds reasonable. Drive at 100 km/h, and be there in good order.

Factor in towns, and the drive's a bit longer.

Factor in traffic, like trucks and those going slower than I, and the drive's even longer.

Factor in the allegedly unforgiving speed cameras and associated policemen, and the drive's longer still.

Factor in the twists and turns in the road that characterise driving through the Southern Alps, and the drive's even longer.

And, of course, factor in the other drivers, and the drive's even longer.

All of them played their part to slow us down, especially that last factor.

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January 8, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Mt. Cook

One last item on Janelle's agenda was to visit Mt. Cook. Getting there was long and butt-numbing, and had some points of interest.

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January 6, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Milford Sound

Fjords were on the travelling menu today. Milford Sound is the place to be for all your fjord needs.

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January 6, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Queenstown

My agenda in NZ was pretty simple: see LOTR sites, and bungy jump. (And go to M&N's 'ding.)

The LOTR sites were numerous, and accomplished a few times.

Queenstown fulfilled the other matter!

Just over five years since my first jumps in Oz, I upped the ante in Queenstown, and jumped off one of the bigger bungy platforms in the world!

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January 4, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Franz Josef

Not a heck of a lot happened on the way to Franz Josef, location of a real live glacier. However, given the driving conditions, that's a good thing.

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January 2, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Picton to Greymouth

The trip's off to a good start whilst in Wellington. For the south island trip, Janelle planned several stops over the next week. Things start in the port of call of the ferry, Picton.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over NZ - Picton to Greymouth"

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January 1, 2010

A Dark Knight over NZ - Wellington 1

Things got started for real when the M&N took us back to their place, our base for the NZ trip.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over NZ - Wellington 1"

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December 30, 2009

A Dark Knight over New Zealand

The two best kiwis ever, Matt & Nicky, two that I met when I first came to Dublin, but since left back to home in New Zealand, are getting hitched. Matt & Nicky were kind enough to invite a bunch of us from the Dub days. I was determined to go, and eventually I got to sorting my flights and timings. I'm back in the south Pacific for two weeks!

Getting there, though... that's going to be a trip all itself.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over New Zealand"

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December 28, 2009

Crimbo 2009

It's Christmas time, so it's time for the visit home. Just a week at home (more on that later), so it was pretty action packed, but good all the same. Only saw Phil & Dana & fam, Anton & L3 & fam, and Linh, and my own family, of course. Actually, now that I wrote that out, that's pretty close to the complete list of peeps to see. Didn't call anyone, however. My bad.

Despite the jet lag, it was a good time. Perogi making was good. I was inspired from the trip to the old country to try other perogi fillings, and they were a hit!

I think my gifts went over well. Not sure if the li'l one liked my book (a picture book on Ireland), but she'll get use out of it one day, and it'll make a great coffee table book. The bottles of booze went over well (per usual), and the crystal candle holders did get rave reviews.

There was one almost-major kink in the plans. My bags didn't arrive on the flight from LHR. They told me in Montreal, and that I'd have to fill out some claim with AC in Toronto. After calling repeatedly the hotline they gave me, along with the number for FedEx, I got my bags in good order. Got them on Wednesday, and that left a half day to get them before they closed for the holidays. Considering that, along with my short time frame at home, and this was a close call. But I got them, and all was right with the world. I was really starting to panic, and curse my choice of flights -- I usually buy separate legs of a journey, but decided it might be easier to do one flight booking with multiple legs. My first time with connecting flights was not a pleasant one. Maybe this is just a once-off. Hopefully this is a once-off. (Damn well better be a once-off.)

Props to Frank for picking me up and dropping me back off, and for the wallet with money for the next leg of the trip. Which I'm about to head off to now: two weeks in New Zealand! (Damn, this is an expensive Christmas!)

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December 11, 2009

... In With the New Phone

After a bit of searching, I got some Samsung touchscreen dealy! It seemed to be the best value. I'll get to configuring it tonight, and letting the fun fly! Woo!

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December 11, 2009

Out With the Old Phone...

Well, it happened. After just over five years, bought when I first got to Australia, and lasting through... well, many events and in many places, the ol' Sagem My-V55 phone I had died. The last straw was a few weeks ago when I got caught in the rain and it got soaked. After that, it was a matter of time. The battery was bollocksed, and the buttons were becoming even more insensitive. Then, for some reason, the charger was getting a bit touchy. Now, the day before yest, that race against time was finished, and I was tired of fighting with it. I proclaimed last rites (and took what I could off that phone), and accepted the truth: that phone was done, and it was time for a new one.

No complaints, though. It did last for more than 5 years, which is pretty good. (But I take good care of these things.)

Godspeed, phone. Godspeed.

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October 27, 2009

A Dark Knight over Poland

I finally made it out to Poland!

It's half my birthrite. Plus, it's been almost 3.5 years since I touched down in Dublin for the first time, and I've been in Europe for almost 4 years total. It's about time to make it out there.

It's a long wknd here in the republic, and I'm taking that, plus one more day to make my way around the country, through three cities: Kraków, Warszawa, and Gdańsk, in that order. But first, I had to do some reconoissance.

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September 26, 2009

Healing Whisky

I've had a cough for nearly a fortnight now. It's pretty irritating. Nothing was working. It was going away slowly, but not fast enough. Calling on previous experience, I made a pre-emptive strike and saw a doctor, but he said antibiotics aren't required. Just rest, warmth, and proper nutrients.

What he neglected to say was a few shots of whisky would help. And help it did!

After a glass last night, the throat feels much better! Coughing's reduced, phlegm output is slashed, and things taste better!

Even the Beeb agrees with whisky's medicinal properties.

Oranges and grapes are good and have value, but that whisky did the job.

(It was a bit difficult drinking that last night, being the day after that Guinness Day thingy, so the drink didn't go down as well as it should've, but when does cough medicine ever taste good?)

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September 25, 2009

Guinness Dé

Last night was a violent one. We were celebrating Guinness Day, when Arthur Guinness was born (or something like that). (I'll do the hyperlinking and quick recon later.) It was basically a Paddy's Day celebration, and as such, it was a messy one. Good time, though.

(I think another sign of age has shown: I have a headache today. I never get a headache after a session. Could be age, could be the G. Either way, I'm not diggin' it.)

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September 10, 2009

EP09

Notables from this past wknd's Electric Picnic:

  • Bloody hell, it was muddy! There wasn't much rain, only a short shower on Sunday morning. Probably from the sheer amount of people that were there turned that humble field into a mudslick: rumour has it that 35,000+ attended! That's a lot of folks trampling the same patches of grass and wearing a very muddy path. (That, or ppl were spilling a lot of drink or peeing in the open. Both not outside the realm of possibility.)

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August 23, 2009

A Dark Knight over the Gael Force West 6

(UPDATE: now with pix from the GFW6 ppl themselves.)

20 km run.
44 km cycle.
1.6 km kayak.
Roads. Trails. Bogs. Off-road cycle paths. A mountain.

These are the elements that constitute Ireland's newest adventure race craze, The Gael Force West 6!

For the last three months, it's occupied my thoughts and actions. My life outside -- and even inside -- work was focused on this.

I was ready...

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Gael Force West 6"

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August 9, 2009

EFF Knightfalls

This marked my third consecutive visit to the Fringe, and it was the best yet!

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August 5, 2009

¿Qué tan bueno es el español de Google?

I found something funny in the Google Translator.

Translate from English to Spanish, "How good is my spanish?". The result translates to "How good is my English?". Trés drôle!

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July 28, 2009

U2 and Me, Too

U2 came to town this past wknd., promoting their newest album, No Line on the Horizon. This tour is the "360°" tour, featuring the 360° stage. This is a stage set in the middle of a stadium so they can give a new, dynamic performance. They'll walk around the stage, all of them (save for the drummer, Larry Mullen, Jr.) and do their bit. This allowed everyone in attendance to, no matter where seated, to see the band do their bit, with little obstruction.

(Well, that's not entirely true. Their shows in Dublin, at Croke Park, had the stage at one end of the stadium, nullifying any benefit and distinction to the 360° stage. (Might as well been the 270° tour.))

I've been told that they're good in concert. One tour guide I had some years back said that everyone should see U2 before they leave this earth. High expectations have been set.

Pleasantly, those expectations were met. They put on a good show, and made use of the 360°(ish) stage. The stage was quite distinct, and the visuals were pretty darn good. The crowd was right into it, as expected -- expect no less from a thwack of ppl who paid upwards of €130+ for a ticket (like myself). The band played the music I wanted to hear (except for one, but I knew they wouldn't play it).

I expected more preachiness from Bono, but it wasn't too bad. I was told that he's done worse. (Or better, depends on your perspective.)

It was good! I can scratch this off the to-do list.

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July 15, 2009

Un Caballero Oscuro encima Iruña

Hace cinco años menos una mesa, era en España. Hice y vi mucho, pero hay mucho más para ver.

Hay una cosa quería ver y hacer durante algún tiempo. En los años pasados, recordé demasiado tarde. Pero esto año, recordé pronto. (No muy temprano, pero con tiempo suficiente.)

Por cuatro dias, era a la Fiesta de San Fermin. Aqui es el espectáculo anual del encierro. (En ingles: The Running of the Bulls!)

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June 27, 2009

Bikin'

I got a new bike!

I only got it yesterday, and I've already wiped out on it, and already had to replace an inner tube, and the back light's fallen off, but I love it! I went out for a 40ish km cycle today just for fun. It's been ages since I've had my own bike, since that summer of 1995(?). (Remember that one, Linh? It still burns me.) I've got wicked saddle sore right now, but that'll pass.

Diggin' it!

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June 13, 2009

Livin' Ireland 3: Trading (Way) Up

It took some time -- probably a year or so -- but I finally left that house. My new digs are much, much better!

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May 4, 2009

A Dark Knight over Germany

It's a bank holiday here on Monday, giving us three days of nothingness. So, for my first trip of the year, the first since December, I'm off to Deutschland for an action packed wknd -- another manic travel!

The agenda was simple: Munich, Nuremberg, and Berlin. If you know anything of German geography, you'll know that's a fair bit of ground to cover. Another manic travel.

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April 30, 2009

Swanky Village

The Metro, or the Herald -- mornings are kinda fuzzy, as are their contents -- showed that 3 of the top 10 costliest schools in the Republic are in Blackrock.

Hells yeah! I'm among the rich and famous!

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April 19, 2009

Shmoozin' with Fame

Good times abound here in Dublin!

In March, Ireland won the 6 Nations grand slam. Shortly after that, the Triple Crown and 6 Nations tournament trophies made their way to the bank. Ulster is owned by RBS, and RBS sponsors the 6 Nations tournament. We were treated to the trophies, one of the team, fullback Rob Kearney, pix with the hardware and Rob, and a li'l talk and Q&A with Rob.

It took a while, but I got my turn:
TK with the Grand Slam

And the best was yet to come...

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March 21, 2009

2009 6 Nations Grand Slam Champions

It's a fine time to be a supporter of Irish Rugby.

In the 6 Nations this year, Ireland won the Triple Crown (besting all England, Scotland, and Wales), the 6 Nations tournament itself (besting the three just mentioned, plus Italy and France), and did it without losing a match. The combination of the three equals a Grand Slam championship. For Ireland, this was their first grand slam since 1948.

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February 24, 2009

NRG?

Since 2009 started, I have had a devil of a time getting the energy to do much of anything. Apathy's been at a high, and that says a lot considering how I felt by the end of October. Egypt did well to fire up the blood, and the down time over Christmas was good, but not long enough. Since then, it's been a struggle to do much of anything.

I still believe I haven't recovered from that brain-drain known as the corporate migration project. But, it's been some time since that passed -- nigh on 4 months since the wknd, and nigh on 3 months since I left it. I can't still use that project as an excuse (can I?). My work in 2009 hasn't been as challenging, so I can't say that I've been burned out already. (But, the level of challenge is set to change. Infrastructure (software) is being laid now, and work will pick up soon.)

So, is something really wrong? Am I still burned out? Lazy? Do I need a challenge the likes of UCM? I'm pretty sure it's not that typhoid bugger that I got in Egypt. Hmm... Do I need something more physical to ignite the blood, like a trip or fight? Is this just a strong bout of the winter "blah"s? We'll see...

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December 18, 2008

A Dark Knight over Zurich

Rather than squandering a day or two on some much needed rest in Dublin, I made another trip oot and aboot. Today ended a 24 hour stint (or so) in Zurich, Switzerland!

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December 16, 2008

A Dark Knight over Southampton

The long awaited Benny Hill-grimage!!!

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December 15, 2008

A Dark Knight over Egypt - Cairo 3

We're winding things down here, all of us. Which is too bad, as it was a fine time here.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Egypt - Cairo 3"

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December 12, 2008

A Dark Knight over Egypt - Alexandria

I planned this trip so that I'd have a few days after the tour was over to bum around and do something in this warm weather before I flew out. Luckily, two others from this trip had the same idea. Jared, Keri, and I were off early in the morning for Alexandria!

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December 11, 2008

A Dark Knight over Egypt - Cairo 2

With the trip over, and the masses leaving, this was the time to explore Cairo my way: unscheduled and impulsive. A few others, Jared and Keri, also stuck around for a few days, so I had some travelling buddies, which is nice.

Little to speak of here, having done much in Cairo already. We went up some massive wicker-looking tower near the Nile that gave 360° views over the city. Dinner was OK up there. It was expensive by local terms, but converted into Euro, it was pretty reasonable. We went to one of the markets here, the big one for the tourists, Khan al-Khalili, which would be the second of many visits for me here in the next few days. Tourist shopping was to be done, and some was. I'll do mine later.

That virus was still in me, but it was subsiding. My appetite's still pretty small, and I need to be near facilities most of the time. But I'm improving! (I can't be rid of this soon enough. I'm tired of these massive pills and this salene solution.)

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December 9, 2008

A Dark Knight over Egypt - Dahab

As our guide, Yonis (YOU-nis) said, "Now we forget about Pharoahs and history, and just relax. It's showtime!"

There's some history around Dahab, but it's more a leisure spot. There are hills to climb and seas to dive.

... and nasty little viruses to pick up.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Egypt - Dahab"

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December 5, 2008

A Dark Knight over Egypt - Luxor

Some hundreds of km south of Cairo is Luxor. It's home to one of the highlights of Egypt, the Valley of Kings, along with the Valley of Queens, and some immense (I'll use that word a lot) temples.

It's off to a good start because it's more inland, and it's much warmer here!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Egypt - Luxor"

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December 3, 2008

A Dark Knight over Egypt - Cairo 1

I've had Egypt on the brain for a while now, and with my leave from work built up from the year, I'm exercising two of those weeks in Egypt. I got myself on a tour now that takes me (and several others) to the places I wanted to see. We just wrapped up Cairo.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Egypt - Cairo 1"

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November 30, 2008

Project Over

That project that I was on, that I babbled about on those overnight wknds, is over.
Done!
Dusted!
Finished!

All those long hours (60 weeks weren't uncommon, and neither were 12 hour days) paid off. The piece I was looking at went off with little pain. Sure there were expected difficulties transferring to a new set of operating systems and platforms in all areas -- "teething problems" has become a new buzz word -- but all went pretty well. November was spent doing knowledge transfers and helping with the daily grind, that auld job I had for 18 months.

I've got some leave built up now, several several days. I plan to use them well. You'll see...!

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November 30, 2008

It's Frikkin' Cold Out There!

The Windows thermometer says that it's 0°C outside. There was a fine layer of frost outside. Mittens and scarves are abound. Winter's here!

(Christmas decorations went up around the city center already. Weeks ago, actually, which is way too soon in many opinions.)

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November 24, 2008

DCCC 2008

The Dublin City Comic Con was this past wknd, and it was... meh. (It wasn't worth of a "Dark Knight" label. That's how "meh" it was.) But after last year's fine show, where was there to go?

Continue reading "DCCC 2008"

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November 11, 2008

Overnight 2.2 (Belated) and Beyond

D'oh! I didn't finish the unsolicited updates on the overnight I worked a week back. Well, all went pretty well, so much so that a "go decision" was made, meaning that all systems were a-go, and the system changeover happened. There have been some hiccups -- "teething problems" has become a new buzz-term -- and these were expected, but overall, the ridiculous amount of work that I and (some of) mine have done has apparently paid off. Woo!

The night went well, too. The food was good and plentiful, and the night had enough happen to keep us well awake. Good craic with those Sco'ish lads.

Plus, since I was awake and near Smithfield early on a first Sunday of a month, I made my way to the horse market. It's a place where horses are, as implied, bought and sold, along with any accessories, like whips (heh heh) and saddles and the like. It was still early when I got there, and merchants hadn't fully setup, nor all had arrived (or so it looked). I saw some fine lookin' horses, and some lovely li'l ponies. It was a nice, quick visit. Then it was time for home and bed, and a nice, long rest.

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November 1, 2008

Overnight 2.1

This is the second, and likely final, overnight that I'll have to do on this project. So far, so good. There's enough to keep us awake, but not so much that time's passing to quickly. If it does lag, I've got a lappy with me for some personal fun stuff, plus the machine I'm at here is Java enabled. (Dolphin Olympics! Woo!)

More news later...

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September 28, 2008

Overnight 1

It's 07:10 on Sunday morning, and the overnight shift I'm on is winding up. Doubtful I'll have to stay past the 08:00 projected finish for myself, but that means I'll have to find some way to stay awake long enough to watch wrestling this morning.

This shift I'm on is to monitor the test data transfers from the old to the new systems. Anything that goes belly-up is to be investigated and resolved. My specific job was to collate info and ship said info off to some higher-ups.

It was a quiet one, I'm told. Last "dress rehearsal" was much more hectic. But, there was enough going on to keep me awake, which isn't bad.

There'll be at least one more in my future. I'll get to do this again.

The pay for this is handsome. And there's all sorts of free food to be had!

Sure I have to sacrafice a wknd, but I knew what I was getting myself into, so I can't complain.

This has been your unsolicited report on my Saturday night/Sunday morning.

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September 15, 2008

Summerfall

You know I like my winter, but I'm not ready for it yet. These days in Éire are getting shorter -- it's getting pitch black by 21:00 now, and the lights go on around 20:00.

Not yet. Not now. Eventually, just not now.

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August 15, 2008

You Know You've Been in Ireland A Long Time When...

Some darling British lass said I have a funny accent last night. Not just because it's Canadian, but because there's a little Irish to it!!!

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August 10, 2008

A Dark Knight over Croke Park

After more than two years here, I finally got out to see a pair of GAA matches!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Croke Park"

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August 10, 2008

The Dark Knight Strikes the EFF Again

August.

Scotland.

Edinburgh.

T H E  F R I N G E ! ! !

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August 4, 2008

A Dark Knight over the Isle of Man

It was a bank (stat.) holiday here in Ireland, but I had nowhere to go come Friday. Work's been beyond hectic, and I didn't have time (nor energy) (nor forethought) to book something for this wknd. I could use some sun, but those destinations were a bit out of reach financially -- I couldn't justify a €500 round trip flight to the Canaries when in a month the prices drop huge. And the Isle of Man (IoM) had been put in my head sometime back, so what the heck, right?

The little research I did on it revealed that it'd be a quick and... well, kinda... dull trip.

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July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

That is all.

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June 24, 2008

Holidays Brewing

I was pretty much forced to book leave today, ahead of some communiqué sent to some managers, to plan around this corporate migration project I'm in. This is so they can plan resource allocation in the coming months. So, 20 days got booked. The only certainty is that I'll be in Edinburgh for the Fringe again this August! Really looking forward to that. (Actually, talking about the Fringe a few weeks ago made me want to go right now!)

As for the other days, I've got ideas, but nothing concrete. Yet. Thoughts?

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June 23, 2008

La Ultimo (por ahora)

Hoy, hemos tenía el examen por nos curso de español. Creo que he hecho buen, pero los resultados estará disponible en el proximo semana. Creemos que el examen he sera muy diferente, más dificile; el examen hemos escrito fue como un examen por inicial 3, y somos inicial 4. No importante -- el examen fue más facile para nosotros!

No sé si iré por más. Los cursos de conversación ayudarán con mis estudios. También, he creido estudiar un otra lengua. Frances, quizá...

Ahora, relajaré por el verano. El trab. será muy dificile, y trabajaré mucho, mucho más. Y más, es verano! No quiero estudiar algo, especialmente cuando hace buen tiempo. ¡Lo he ganado!

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June 13, 2008

Missing the Biker Rally

It's been five years since my first and so far only Port Dover Biker Rally, held every Friday the Thirteenth. I wonder how this one was? It was a good one when I was there. Not great, but good. I'd go back. Maybe in six years time.

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June 11, 2008

Tag Rugby, week 3

Well, this wasn't the best night for myself, but overall, the team did pretty well!

We played the league leaders, and only lost by 4, 10-6, and we're far from the best. Our offense was blah, but our defence was helped by their rather selfish style -- some of the lads on their team didn`t pass much, and that helped us.

They were also fiercely competitive. They took this very seriously, while we... well, we don't. Not as, anyway.

And me, well, I was butterfingers tonight. The ball slipped through my grasp a few times. I didn't get any tries, and was pretty poor on D. It happens, I s'pose.

I gotta get me some cleats. (Here, aka: boots. Dunno why, but that's "Oirish".) Running on a wet field (here, aka: pitch) is tough in running shoes.

My aggressive ways continued this week, but this time, most of my run-ins were with my own teammates! I steamrolled one poor lass, tripped up another, and nearly kneed some bloke down under. But at least the intensity continued!

More next week.

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May 28, 2008

Tag Rugby

I got myself into a tag rugby league with some folks from the bank. It runs for the next se7en weeks. I thought that, if nothing else, it'd be a bit of craic during the week. Tonight was the first go at 'er.

Yeah, it will be fun during the week. I'm looking forward to it.

BUT I've never played any rugby at all in my life. Ever. I only got into it here, during the 6 Nations tournament. Thus, my exposure to this is pretty low and new.

This is a slightly different form of rugby. Instead of running into each other full-tilt, you get tags (flags, straps) to attach to your shorts. Play resets when someone grabs one of the tags fixed to you.

Boys and girls play. Girls get more points for a try (running the ball to the opponents side, like a touchdown) than the boys.

It'll take some adjusting. Not just the rules, being used to running full-tilt into someone, but just playing organized team sports. My inner thighs are a bit tight right now.

That is now two sports I've played here that I've never played at home: football (soccer), and now (tag) rugby. Good times! (Well, the footy's over. I got tired of it. (And I really wasn't good at it, but more got bored.))

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May 27, 2008

In!

I got a very pleasant surprise this morning.

There was this beige envelope with my name in silver ink on the front. I had absolutely no idea what it was, nor what the occassion is. It's not my b-day, I'm not getting fired (this time), there's no one leaving that I know about. What is this?

I looked at the writing, and deduced that it's a girl's penmanship: very neat and proper, all the letters were even height, and legible. After a few more seconds, I figured out that it's my ex-boss's, Sinéad's writing. I wonder...

Opened it, and read that's it's an invitation to her wedding reception! She invited myself and a very select few from the bank to attend the "afters" (after the ceremony, pix, food, when the dancing starts up).

This was a huge surprise! I was really honoured to get this, and know that she doesn't despise me. I fully expected her to tell everyone at the bank to stay the &%$£ away from Donegal that wknd. But no; if she does say that, a few of us will be exempt from that sentiment (threat?).

Hey, it's an excuse to visit Donegal finally. (Well, other than M's standing offer.) Donegal's one of the final frontiers of Ireland left to visit.

Maybe maybe...

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May 17, 2008

Pub Life

One of the attractors to life in Dublin is the pub life that's here.

No, I haven't turned into some pathetic wine-o (Guiness-o?). That's simply life around here.

Continue reading "Pub Life"

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April 16, 2008

20UP

One anniversary that won't often come to mind to many, if not all, is that Super Mario Brothers 3, the best game for the auld Nintendo Entertainment System, turns 20 this year!

I have fond memories of wasting countless, countless hours at that thing, playing it in the morning and late at night. Playing it the fast way, with the warp whistles to the end, and the long way, going through each and every world and freeing the captive lands of the Mushroom Kingdom.

I bought a strategy guide for the game way back when, published by Nintendo Power, an in-house cheat publisher. This thing had  
E V E R Y T H I N G   about the game in it: all the worlds and how to get through them, all the secrets to each level (except for one, at the end against Bowser), all four schemes for the N-card memory-match-and-win games. Everything!  
E V E R Y T H I N G ! ! !

At home this past Chrissy, Linh's brother had an NES emulator for the (D-Generation) X Box, and it had SMB3 on it! The controls were a little backwards, but the game was there, and it was a blast! I surprised myself by how much I actually remembered. (On second thought, I wasn't that surprised: I played the damn thing enough that most of that game should be burned into my skull.)

If you're like me, and occassionally you long for simpler times, take some time out and stroll... I mean, use Goomba's Shoe to skip down memory lane and play the online Java version:
SMB3! (The controls take some getting used to, you'll get there!)

(BTW, the title's a homage to SMB. The free lives were called "1UP"s, and it's been 20 years, so... ya dig?)

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April 13, 2008

Strange Spring Weather

For those of yous back home that are getting tired of being blasted by winter still, it's pretty similar here. It's frikkin' freezin' often, like right now, and today, it was hailing! Freezing rain and hail has been common lately. And it's still frikkin' freezing! <huff>

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March 20, 2008

Costly Dublin

Dublin: if you can financially make it here, you can financially make it nearly anywhere:
Oslo, London, Copenhagen world's top three dearest cities: UBS

Trust me, it is that bad.

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March 15, 2008

End of Threads

In the past week, I've finished two spindles of thread, both of which I've had for some years. I'm now down to the three Gutermann's mom gave me before I started out some years back.

I was delighted at that! I'm now rid of that mediocre black thread, and that silly purple thread. Though that purple thread was good to use for unimportant or hidden items. May have to get some cheap-o thread now, and leave the Gutermann for the real jobs.

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February 29, 2008

Leap Day 2008!

Today is a rare one. It's the 29th of February -- the leap day to bring our calendars in line with the earth's proper rotational time. (There's actually just under 365.25 days in a year. There's 365.2425 or so, meaning that there's a leap year every 4 years, except every 100 years, except every 400 years. Ergo, 1600 and 2000 are leap years, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not. There ya go! Something for pub quizzes.)

Supposedly here, in "Yurp", it's a day when the lasses will propose to the gents. I like that! Kind of a fun idea.

And how cool would it be to have a baby on this day?! I think it'd be great! Not because you only have to buy presents every four years, but that's one distinction that not everyone will have. It'd be a great piece of info, a shining characteristic to carry around. Dying after a long, prosperous life, at the tender age of 22! Great stuff!

(BTW, I'd still buy whatever li'l chap or lass I have presents annually. That'd be downright cruel not to.)

I wonder what else will happen today?

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January 16, 2008

Is This a Hint?

As I mentioned in my previous babble, I didn't have the best time coming back here.

In the end, I arrived in one piece, well and good. Was well fed on the plane, entertained fine, and got all my bags, and nothing of note was damaged. But, there were some troubles.

Continue reading "Is This a Hint?"

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January 15, 2008

A Proper Holiday Season

Home for the first time in a year and a half. 'Twas a good time, too!

Sure, it was good to see all these ppl again. Not just e-mail, but talk and visit. Didn't get to everyone, but that's life. Also goes to show how short and fast two weeks goes. Just when I got into the Eastern Standard Time, I had to go bugger it up again. It was worth it, though -- good to be home again!

Continue reading "A Proper Holiday Season"

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December 21, 2007

Homeward Bound for Christmas

I take a massive journey on Sunday. I'll be in transit for most of the day.

... actually, it'll probably be 23 hours from the time I plan leaving home in Éire to the time I get back home in Canada. Good God, I hope BA serves something to sooth the nerves.

Home for Christmas, the first time in a year and a half. Moreover, it'll be a complete 18 calendar months and one day since I left Pearson! That's a long time, and now that the week's done, and knowing that home's been covered in snow, I'm getting excited!

If I don't talk to you before then, you all have a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

(If I don't talk to yous when I get home, don't take it personally. Jet lag, plus a desire to do nothing will hamper any plans I have. Really looking forward to lazing at home...!)

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December 19, 2007

Dispatch from Dublin

How's y'alls doin'?

Things haven't been quiet here, although this site would lead whoever's reading this to believe.

Since that fine wkdn in Booterstown for the con, yeah, there really hasn't been that much to speak of.

Work's progressing at its working-harder-than-I-should pace. There've been a few new ppl at work I've had to train. (One of whom I'd really like to crack in the jaw.)

The company Christmas party was last Thursday, and it was a fine time. No tux or kilt from me, just a fine lookin' suit. Better still, I had to work the next day. I got 0 hours sleep, but I still did better than all of the new regime combined.

The Sinestro Corps war has wrapped up, but I'm hunting for part 7 of that. (Green Lantern Corps #16 is the issue.)

Gettin' kinda antsy when work's not on, so I may take up a language class or two in the new year.

Went skating for the first time in years and years the other day. There's a makeshift rink just down the road from me, so myself and a few flatties went out there for an hour. It was fun, and I did much better on skates than I thought I would. (I only fell once!)

A new Futurama movie came out, but I haven't seen it yet.

Um... <shrug> I think that's all. If not, you'll hear from me. (Or not.)

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November 21, 2007

The Batmen of All Nations and the DCCC

There was a comic con in Dublin on the wknd., the Dublin City Comic Con, and it's been a very long time since I've been to one. Better still, it was just down the road from me, about a 30min walk. I absolutely HAD TO GO!

Continue reading "The Batmen of All Nations and the DCCC"

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October 30, 2007

Mediterranean Retrospecticus

Got back on Saturday, and lazed the wknd. away. I unpacked and did a thwack of laundry, and readjusted to Irish life, and weather, again. So, all's back to normal. (Work was sluggish today, but that's how life usually is after two weeks off.)

Closing remarks on the last fortnight:

  • October is a fine time to get to Greece and Malta. September would've been better, as it would've been warmer, esp. at night, and less chance of rain, but October is a very reasonable subsitute. On that...
  • Malta was teeming with Mancunians (ppl from Manchester, U.K.). Greece was flowing with Yanks (mostly older ones, on travel buses)
  • I'm a bit more coloured, and it shows. My one flattie, Luigi, noted this on Sunday. It made my day; that's why I went out there to begin with
  • Greece is surprisingly big! Not so much in width or length, but in height. The Acropolis, Delphi, Olympus, these were all uphill journeys. Surprising, but wasn't much of a bother
  • Lovin' Mediterranean food!
  • Malta is a great place to chill! There are a few things to see and do if you do get antsy, but I was perfectly content to spend 80% of daylight hours lazing about.
  • Mediterranean girls are  D I V I N E !!! Two of the most beautiful creatures on this planet are in Athens now
  • It was good to be in hot weather again. Not just warm, but hot! I forgot what it was like to wear shorts and sandals :)

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October 27, 2007

A Dark Knight over Malta 2

I'm diggin' Malta!

It's been right hot and humid these last three days (today, plus Thurs & Fri). This is totally the reason I'm here! It started out iffy, but it got good and hot. Much beach time and much swimming's been had! Boy, I needed this; it's nice to swim around and laze on a beach. It's been a while, and it feels good. Dunno if I'm much darker as a result. The sun's been warm, but dunno if the UV rays are that strong.

(And yesterday was crazy: very humid, and the seas were nuts! Huge waves, deterring most from venturing for a swim.)

There are a few things to see around here. The island's old, and there are some neolithic temples just down the way. There's also a "blue grotto" in the south, a cave-ish formation with some very blue water (caused by the algae living there). There are a few more things that the travel book mentions, but I'm not that bothered by them. I'm here for some down-time.

As for the cities, they're not much. They're adequate, and again, that's fine, as I'm not looking for anything glitzy. Valletta, the capital, is pretty dull. But it's hosting a Caravaggio exhibit right now, which was a treat. Other than that, there wasn't much there for me.

Sliema is pretty good. Lots of ppl (and lots of Mancunians), but it was close to the sea, and had some fine restaurants.

All in all, it was a very good time here in Malta. Again, I didn't come for much, but this is the place for it.

I'd come back :)

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October 24, 2007

A Dark Knight over Malta 1

Arrived in Malta yesterday, no problems. Air Malta is a decent airline. I forgot what it was like to fly on a "frills" airline (as opposed to a "no frills"). The seats were a bit better than the discount fliers, and I got breakfast! It wasn't much, but it was kinda nice. Too bad it left at 05:00. I didn't sleep at the airport in Athens, knowing that I wouldn't, and if I did, it would be detrimental. I did catch a few on the plane, and in the airport.

Luqa's airport isn't much. Pretty small and basic. It was a few hours between my flight's arrival and the opening of the info office, so I slept a bit. Besides, even if I did get into the city at 05:45 CET, likely the only places open to check into are the five star ones.

So, I got into the other big city here, Sliema (SLEE-ma). The cabbie, like in Rhodes, took me to some place along the waterfront, that wasn't too much. All good!

... save for the weather. It was a tad really overcast, and did even rain a bit. Malta was off to a less-than-stellar start :(

Dinner was at some Italian resto, and it was good! I didn't go out, on account of fatigue, and my knee -- I hurt my right knee in Olympus NP, on that walk, and it's a bit tender now.

Today's been better. It was right sunny out this morn, and I was there for it. Not that long, only a few hours, but some sun is better than none, esp. when this is the reason I'm here. That ended when the clouds moved in again.

Thinkin' of getting a car tomorrow and taking the long way to Valletta, the nation's capital, before my exit on Sat aft. Going to look into that now.

(And it's overcast again.)

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October 22, 2007

A Dark Knight over Greece - Rhodes

'Twas a very brief jaunt in Rhodes, less than 24 hrs., but I can say I saw some of the islands there.

It was a great day out when I was there yesterday. Nice n' warm, a stark contrast to Thessaloniki's cool wind and rain. It didn't take me long to get out to the beach. Not much of a beach, and certainly not one that any tourist board would display, but more than functional. It felt great to get into saltwater again, and then to sun-dry it off. 'Twas a good day. (Until that night, when dinner was kinda blah, and I had to scramble to get plane tix, but that last one's mostly my fault for leaving purchasing tix for my next destination for so long.)

This morning was the opposite: it was cold and rainy. Not diggin' this, so it's time to leave. I'm off to Athens again, just for a few hours until my flight tomorry morn'.

Maybe Malta's going to have consistent, sunny days. Fingers crossed...!

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October 20, 2007

A Dark Knight over Greece - Mount Olympus

That was one challenging climb!

Olympus was a toughie, made worse by the rain, but I made it. My legs are a bit... well, very sore now, but I'm alive, and not too much worse for wear.

I did a li'l recon on Friday, down the easy path, but that was nothing compared to E4, the way to the peaks. It was very uphill, with the occassional walk down to the river running through the mtns. The map obtained from the hotel I was at said the elevation was 1100m, a climb of 700m from Litochoro, the town at the base of Mt. Olympus, as it's 400m up.

It was grueling in parts. Some "stairs" were long, and it showed how inexperienced a climber/hiker I am, and/or how old I am. It was tough, but I made it to the first shelter, Prionia, in 4 hrs, about 7.7 km, when 5 hrs is the estimate.

The downside to this is that I had to make my way back. It wouldn't've been so bad, except that it was still 7.7 km and 4 hrs back to the village, and that it was raining. Not too hard, but enough that a steady walk through a heavier drizzle will get you soaked to the bone. That, and it wasn't entirely downhill walking -- those downhills I encountered on the way up meant uphills going back. But, I still managed to do that in 4 hrs.

I hadn't planned on going all the way. I wasn't anywhere near equipped for that kind of trip. The first shelter was my goal, and that was done. I would've loved to get up to Stefani (the seat of Zeus) nonetheless. Maybe another day.

(Pix I have from this time are mostly crappy, due to cloud cover.)

So, I was soaked, cold, and hungry. Time for dinner now, one of the inspirations I had to get me back to Litochoro now. Yay, me!

Finally getting to the islands tomorrow. Probably go to Rhodes first, and maybe go to Crete later, time permitting. God-willing, it's nice n' hot there.

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October 18, 2007

A Dark Knight over Greece - Delphi

Spent the day in Delphi today. The ancient location for the priestess whom received the god Apollo's messages to any who asked (and had a sacraficial animal). It was as immense as the Acropolis, with so much to see and walk around. It was well preserved, and was easy to make out the lay of the land. The Temple of Apollo, the Theatre, the Stadium, the offeratory receptacles, all of it was just awe inspiring.

The museum had some impressive pieces from the old temples. Many were as big as what can be seen in Athens in the archeological museum.

Delphi itself is a li'l town surrounded by hills/mountains, rolling right down to the sea. Was a classic Mediterranean village. (Grimier than the stereotype, but had all the other trimmings.) The town was awash in hotels and restaurants. I'm sure the real locals and their dwellings are there somewhere.

Better still, this marvellous, darling Greecian lass, Xania, helped on my way back. If not for her, I'd've gotten back to the city much later. She was good fun! Her english was decent, way better than my Greek. She even taught me a thing or two in the local language.

(And talk about HOT! Damn, she had it all. If only she wasn't 18... :( )

Trying for Mount Olympus next.

More news later.

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October 17, 2007

A Dark Knight over Greece - Athens

Greece is good!

Got in yesterday evening, and into Athens with no troubles. Found myself a hotel to crash for the nights here. (EUR70pppn is a bit much, but it's central, and not a hostel!) Went around a bit last night, seeing Athens at night. Got some fine pix, that only well lit, antiquated superstructures can provide.

Did the same today, but actually got to go into these places. The Acropolis is beyond immense! I could've spent so much more time there just sitting and marvelling at the Parthenon. Too bad that museum in the Acropolis is closed. The Agora was good, and the archaeological museum had some fine antiquities, but really, it was all about the Acropolis. It's just so... big! And overshadowing.

Food's fine. No surprises, yet. Souvlakis, kempaps (anglisised to "kebabs"), feta cheese, ouzo. Itchin' to try some octopus, so maybe I'll get to that tonight.

The girls are pretty darn cute, too.

And I think my skin's a li'l redder today. That's really the main reason I'm here: a tad more colour, and to flex my pygments.

Now to find some way around this nation. Wish me luck!

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October 14, 2007

Brundall Knightfalls

So, arrived in Brundall well and good. Marq and Caroline have the house in good shape. They're down with a case of green thumbs, so gardening's the flavour of the moment. I think I'll be suckered helping with that later.

Not much new here. Norwich & Brundall are as I left them from a year ago. More, actually, since last year I didn't do anything in Norwich. All the same, consistency is good, right? (Sometimes, yes.)

About to head on a bike ride with M. Not sure if I'm looking forward to this as it's been years, about three, since I was last on a bicycle. Saddle-sores a-comin'! :(

Tonight: look for places to stay in Athens. Tomorrow: a buncha shtuff to do in town, like buy sandals and other odds & ends.

Talk to y'alls in Athens!

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October 10, 2007

Revisiting the Mediterranean

Next Tuesday, I'm off to Athens, Greece, for aboot a week, travelling around the country, going to (going to be, that is!) the Oracle at Delphi, a god on Olympus, and a citizen of the Acropolis, and all the other tourist things.

After that, it'll be about four days in Malta, just lazing around that tiny island.

Before that, though, I'm off to Norwich for a few days, visitng the fam I have there, that I haven't seen since last year. (Yup, one whole calendar year. (And I've been in Dublin for how long?))

I'm going to try a different style of babbling here. I'll try those li'l on-the-spot blurbs, updating TK:O while I'm out there. That's the theory, anyway. In reality... <shrug>. Hell, if the capital O can do it, why can't I?

And this is a much, much needed getaway. Time off, time away, time out there in "Yurp", and time in warmer climates -- summer passed Ireland by, so I need some hot weather.

Talk to yas later, when I'm in Norwich!

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September 14, 2007

Reggie Again

So nice, I did it twice!

A few of us went out last night to one of the acts during the Bulmer's Comedy Fest. On recommendations from myself and another bloke, John (good guy, btw), we saw Reginald D. Hunter, the same guy I raved about after seeing him in Edinburgh at the Fringe Fest. The material was mostly the same, but still funny, and he did tell things I hadn't heard before, which was far too funny! Good times were had, and many laughs, too.

He's recommended watching, if you get the chance. (Dunno about YouTube, though. I saw a clip of his stuff on there from a few years back, and it wasn't as good as what I saw here. See him live!)

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September 14, 2007

Burn the Flesh

I need to go someplace hot. And I need it soon. I had plans for a getaway soon (very soon), but there was a monkey wrench. That wrench was someone, a bloke here that would be able to cover for me, taking leave in a few weeks. The kicker is he's on leave now. That's two weeks out of four he's gone. I didn't think it'd happen, so I had all these plans, and was all set to click a variety of "SUBMIT" and "PURCHASE" buttons, but then I thought I'd see if, in the off-chance, there'd be someone gone when I wanted to go. "No way" I thought. But yup, there it was. He took off the 1st week in Oct. My options are now the last week in Sept, which is very soon (and maybe too late), or mid Oct, which is a bit cooler and weather variable.

Kinda my fault for leaving it, but there's no way this guy needs two weeks out of four of leave.

<huff> >:(

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August 21, 2007

A Dark Knight over the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

At last! AT LAST! At long last! I get out to that marvellous city, Edinburgh, for the annual spectacle known as the Fringe Fest!

I never made it three years ago in London, due to lack of money and that E.U. West Invasion. I didn't go last year because I was settling in Dublin. I had to go this year. HAD TO! If I didn't go this time, I might as well have just gone home, ferget that work permit.

Edinburgh's good on its own. It gets a bit better at Christmas. There's only one other time of year that could trump it all; I had to go to the Fringe.

So I did. I spent two days there, and man, the only way to describe it is "sensory overload". In a good way, natch.

Even just on the Royal Mile, you're bombarded with people, performers, and flyers! All sorts of acts and shows were being advertised. You really can't turn around without meeting someone that's just trying to give you a flyer advertising their show.

I got out to see two big names in comedy here, Frankie Boyle and Reginald D. Hunter. Both were good. Boyle's got a biting humour, the kind that makes you want to stay obscure so he doesn't pick on you. Hunter's my new favourite comedian! The guy's delivery is the best one going, and his observations on the mundane are just plain ol' funny.

This is an all-out arts festival, allegedly the biggest in the world. It's still mostly comedy, as it began, but there are plays, "physical theatre", exhibitions, musicals, and even things for kids. (I found this strange, to have a kids programme at the Fringe, but it's better to bring them to these, rather than hear, say, Reg Hunter talk about his disdain for "Bridget Jones".)

Two days, and I think that was enough. Even if I was there for longer, the ultimate limiter, with anything else, is £. It wasn't cheap, but it was money well spent. I'd go again, in a heartbeat!

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August 8, 2007

II Extended

II: abr   The Ireland Invasion.
Extended: adj  drawn out in length especially of time. "An extended visit."

The gov't got back to me today. They granted me the work permit! I'll be here for another few months, until EOY.

It was a pleasant surprise to return home to from my stint in Northern Ireland. It's one less massive headache to worry about.

Now, hopefully, I can rest easier :)

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August 8, 2007

A Dark Knight over Northern Ireland

We've a long weekend here, so I extended it by a few days, and made a trip to Northern Ireland out of it. The north is the final major territory to visit, and I've been told there's a few things up here to see, so I spent the last six days up there.

On the list: Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, and Derry.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Northern Ireland"

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June 22, 2007

"Officially" Finished with Ireland

Come tomorry, the working holiday visa expires. Well, technically, tonight at midnight. So, my tenure with the Republic is done. But, I'm not really going anywhere. I'll be going to the UK and back via ferry, so I can technically stay here as a tourist, but that's in a week. In the mean, I'll be kicking around here, readying myself for el examen sobre el lunes por mi curso de español.

Why stick around here? Well, best to see this country whilst I can, and to have one last do with the fabulous mates I've made here, a pair of kiwis and an Ottawa gal, all leading up to...

... the decision from the government: if they'll grant me the work permit that I've applied for...!

Stay tuned.

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June 8, 2007

All <cough> Better

I've had a nagging cough since I got back from Scandanavia. I sorta let it go, but it escalated into something more. It just wouldn't go away, and there was some awful sounds and goo coming out of my mouth. (My fault for it getting this bad. I wasn't eating nor sleeping enough when I was combatting it.)

So, a couple of trips to the doctors, a week of antibiotics, and this thing is subsiding. At last! It took the better part of the week, but those antibiotics kicked in. That infection's all gone, or mostly gone anyway.

One good side to these appointments and needing rest is that I got to knock off work early. I tell ya, I could get used to this, so long as the weather holds. It was good to go home and enjoy the sunshine. Something tells me, however, work wouldn't allow me to get a laptop and do my work along the shores of Blackrock :(

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June 5, 2007

Les Quebecois, Ici et Allé

I had a li'l visit the last few days from the weird clown, and my valentine, Soapy, aka, Sophie, and her (wonderful) sister, Catherine! They were looking to take a trip somewhere, and with a few friends on this island, they made their way here to see Ireland.

It was only for five days, and for any visitor, five days is plenty in Dublin. There's not a heck of a lot to see. Worse still, it was pretty miserable outside for the time they were here. When they arrived and when they left was nice and warm, but the time inbetween wasn't. Ah, well. That's Ireland.

They seemed to have a good time. They liked the Guinness brewery, and the li'l selection of Tim Horton's doughnuts in one store, and I showed them as good a time as possible, given the weather and the activities around the city. (Ladies, let's be honest: that Maritime "festival" wasn't that good, was it? If you were here two weeks from now, you'd've seen those street performers in that competition.) They liked my mates around here, and my mates had good things to say about them, too. (Surprisingly :P  )

(Plus, they had some amazing cooking! (Right?))

Have fun here, S&C! I think you'll like it out west.

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May 27, 2007

MMA Live!

I saw my first (and apparently Ireland's first full rules) fighting event tonight.

Cage Rage Contenders held a show in Dublin, at the Point. I'm into the fighting sports, have been for some time now, and only recently elevated my interest in MMA (mixed martial arts, the UFC, full fighting stuff) in the last few years. Since my knowledge of this sport is relatively limited, and I've never been to an event like this before, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Continue reading "MMA Live!"

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April 29, 2007

The Scandanavia Invasion: Coda

Man, was it good to get out there again!

Continue reading "The Scandanavia Invasion: Coda"

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April 28, 2007

A Dark Knight over Finland

The "road" back to Dublin goes through Finland.

That is to say, the Invasion touches Suomi.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Finland"

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April 26, 2007

A Dark Knight over Sweden

We're off to a good start here in Scand. Norway and Denmark get high marks. Will Sweden follow suit?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Sweden"

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April 22, 2007

A Dark Knight over Denmark

For such a small country/kingdom, Denmark's got a lot going for it.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Denmark"

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April 19, 2007

A Dark Knight over Norway

Scandanavia's supposed to be a gigantic outdoor adventure. There's no shortage of things to do and places to do them. The ride from the airport to Oslo city offered a small taste of that description: one one side was a massive lake. One the other was a forest of evergreens. Off in the distance were snow capped peaks.

That li'l taste proved to be an accurate image of Norway. It's a fine kingdom here!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Norway"

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April 14, 2007

The Scandanavia Invasion

For some time, I've had a fascination with Sweden. This has nothing to do with a famous team of certain types of females. I'm not sure why, but I've had a fascination with Sweden for some time.

Since I'm here in Ireland, why not visit? And since I'll be in Sweden, why not see the rest of Scandanavia?

Continue reading "The Scandanavia Invasion"

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April 12, 2007

A (n Unnecessary) Twist on a Classic Game

If you've got some time, and good memory, play the Advanced Paper-Rock-Scissors game!

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April 9, 2007

A Dark Knight over Ireland West 2

It's a long weekend here, with Easter and all. And, there's another part of Ireland left to see. Arrangements were made to make another road trip. This weekend, it would be to county Kerry, where things are supposed to be very nice, or so they say.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Ireland West 2"

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March 31, 2007

Getting Delirious

Matt & I have been throwing passages of a certain movie to each other every now and then. We've probably done the whole movie over the last few months. He ordered it online, and it was just a matter a time before we finally got to see it. There was a delay at one point, but there was a txt from Matt, saying that the movies were on his doorstep when he got home. "All systems are go" as he put it. It was mouth watering!

After a pleasant walk around, we got to the kiwis, and we got dinner and watched it. It. IT.

Eddie Murphy: Delirious!

Yeah, it's lewd and full of all sorts of profanity, but, dammit, it's funny!

Gooney goo goo! (Still makes me smile and chuckle.)

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March 25, 2007

A Dark Knight over Ireland West 1

ROAD TRIP!!!

One of the good things about not planning anything is that you're free to do anything when something last minute arises. Few times since I got here has something massive happened last minute, but now is one of those times. Kiwi Matt's got his company's car, and Nicky let us know in the late aft. So, we're off to the west coast for the first time. (And not the last...)

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Ireland West 1"

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March 22, 2007

I STILL FUNCTION!

I'm still alive and kickin' around the Republic. No worries. Sorry for not posting anything in the last two months.

I have been busy. Extremely busy. Work has pretty much dominated my life, and planning trips ain't easy, I tells ya. I'll get to posting them soon. (I hope!)

(My disappearance from cyberspace isn't unprecedented. Top Hats & Coat Tails was untouched for... jeez, some lengthy amount of time. And, after Aus and before Ireland, I didn't have much to say on anything.)

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March 18, 2007

Paddy's Day

This is THE holiday in Ireland. It's today that, historically, St. Patrick brought Christianity to prominence on the island of Éire. It's today, currently, that everyone's Irish. Back in Canada, and probably everywhere around the world, everyone grabs a drink or two, dyes it green, and wears heaps of green. What would it be like here?

Sorry to tell you that it was a little disappointing.

Continue reading "Paddy's Day"

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February 9, 2007

The Whipping Boy, Sadly

Sometimes I wonder if this job is worth it. Sure, it's nice to have steady employment with interesting work, and to work around some decent folks. However, to be blamed erroneously for "losing" large quantities of cash is trying. Blamed because someone can't add properly. Please, oh please, don't shoot the messenger.

(And the contract's extended until EOVisa! But forkin' hell, I need more money for this. This isn't worth it.)

(On the plus, the bank lets me claim overtime! Dancin' in the streets when that happens :D )

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January 14, 2007

A Dark Knight over Kilkenny

It's time to get out there again, jump on a bus and go somewhere. Doesn't really matter where.

I had a flip through the indie guide book last weekend, and decided on a fine li'l city/village to visit, even if just for a day.

I got up pretty darn early to make the most of the day. Jumped on the bus (too early for the DART), headed into town, to Busarus, and bought a return ticket to the city of Kilkenny.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Kilkenny"

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January 3, 2007

EOFestive Season

All in all, the last few weeks have been one of, if not the best holiday season ever! EVER!

Continue reading "EOFestive Season"

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December 27, 2006

The Dark Knight Strikes Scotland Again: Christmas in a Castle

Everyone should know that I love Scotland. When I was there the first time, in September, I didn't spend that much time there. I was there for a short wknd., seeing only Edinburgh and Glasgow. When I mentioned how much I love Scotland, Nicky invited me to join her, her bf, and some mates on a tour of Scotland during the festive season. So, with them I went, on a Haggis tour of Scotland!

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes Scotland Again: Christmas in a Castle"

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December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas

The festive season is afoot, and it's damn infectious.

I'm just aboot the leave the office, 15:18 on the 22nd. About 90% of the floor, and probably the bldg. have left already, making it hard for me to do the one last task of a silly reconciliation that has no time-sensitivity to it. So, unfinished it shall remain.

I've been showered with wishes and gifts since last Thursday. Everyone's in such a giving mood. Good as they are, the best just came from my manager, possibly the best manager ever (sorry, Todd), Sinéad, who got me an Irish football shirt. (May be a size too small for us.) It's great!

And, since last Thursday, the party hasn't stopped. Christmas parties, going away bashes, dinners, lunches... jeezum crow! And it's going to continue for another week or two. Scotland will be revisited, and James is on his way after Christmas. It's a good time to be alive!

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a brilliant new year!

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December 21, 2006

Until Next Time, Easy E

Last night, we saw off one of our own. Our circle's young, reckless drunk, Eric, went home this morning. Last night was the last hurrah, for now. It was a quiet night at cafe and a pub, but still a fine time. (In stark contrast to Friday, which was loud, but still fun.)

Godspeed, Eric! It's been a thrillride. Lookin' forward to St. Paddy's Day with you :)

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December 15, 2006

UB Christmas Party 2006

Leave it to a bank to throw a classy party in a first-rate hotel! (And, I like to think I dressed in kind ;) )

Continue reading "UB Christmas Party 2006"

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December 8, 2006

Dress to Impress... but to What End?

The Christmas party is on Thursday.

Tuxedo?

The slick blue suit with pinstripes I saw last night?

Tux with kilt?

Top hat, cane, gloves?

HELP!!!

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November 30, 2006

A Dark Knight over Vienna

After five complete months in Ireland, I thought it due to visit the Crazy Couple, Chris & Katja! They now reside in Vienna, and seeing them again was the perfect excuse to make a flight to continental Europe. What a great idea this is, and what a great time it was!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Vienna"

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November 12, 2006

A Dark Knight over Cork

Dublin isn't the only major city here. This weekend, I and mine went off to discover a city that has many supporters, and a few detractors, Cork.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Cork"

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November 8, 2006

Getting My Dropkicks In

The Dropkick Murphys concert was a blast! The Ambassador was a close, cozy setting for a fine show as such. The crowd was into it, the Murphys were into it, and the music was very very lively. (Check them out if you haven't heard them. It's hard rock/punk with a Celtic infusion. Doesn't sound like much on paper, but it sounds good.) I even managed to get to the front of the stage, or as close as you can get before the barricade! Took a while to get there, and a few people to get through, but I got there :)

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November 3, 2006

Winter Starts Already

Last week, the weather around here was pretty balmy. It was pretty close to the typical Canadian fall weather, I told people. Then this week brought the chill. It got cold. Not gradually, either, it got cold. There was frost outside this morning, and someone heard that the mercury dipped down to -2C this morn. I guess I shouldn't complain too much. I heard from the 'rents that snow's already fallen on some places in North America. I will complain that I now have to go buy more clothes, and you know I find shopping generally to be a pain.

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October 31, 2006

Hallowe'en Done Right

Like many other countries I've been to, there's a bit of buzz about Hallowe'en. Mostly it's the commercial aspect of it, getting dressed up and crap. But here in Ireland, it goes one step further. One would suspect that it's native country goes one step further for the end of the Pagan year.

Continue reading "Hallowe'en Done Right"

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October 27, 2006

Ulster Gets a lot Less Cuter

The office, hell, quite possibly, the building cutie left today.

...
...
...

That's all to say. Sorry.

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October 27, 2006

Dublin Bomb Threat

There's a bomb in Dublin today, right now.

O'Connell Street, one of the main arteries of the city's traffic, was closed off, forcing traffic onto all sorts of smaller streets all around. Not sure of what's what, but it's gotta be big. Or, at least, something worth buzzing about.

Developing


UPDATE: looks like that was a false alarm. An airlink bus, one of the buses running from the city center to the airport directly, was stopped by the driver after he/she noticed a suspicious bag. Bomb squads were called in and examined the bag, but found nothing.

Probably for the best. If there was a blast, we could've felt it if it was big, since Ulster's HO is not too far from O'Connell. If we didn't feel it physically, then we would've felt it other ways -- transportation would likely be shut down, and it'd take forever to get home.

All continues to be well in Dublin :)

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October 20, 2006

Good House

I moved into my new house on Wednesday evening. So far, all is good. The housemates are decent folks. It's an internationl house. There's one Canadian, one Frenchie, one Italian, and one Irish -- it's a near requirement that I live with at least one Irish person, since I want to meet authentic Irish folks while I'm here.

The location's good, and it only takes me 30 min to get to work, if I get to the station just as the train rolls up. And the house is comfortable, just like it was when I went to view it. But, since I'm just coming from a hostel, comfort and serenity would be easy to find.

Better still, previous tenants have left behind food, such as pasta, rice, and spices. Also in this forgotten food is flour, sugar, and salt. That, plus the milk I bought, and the butter and baking powder I will buy equates to pancakes!

The hamster's OK, but I don't think Mike likes living in his cage. I saw and heard him gnawing at the metal bars the other night. Can't blame him, really.

I think I'll like it here :)

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October 16, 2006

The Dark Knight Strikes London Again

The txt was sent on Monday 09 October:

"Keep this Friday the 13th clear, because the Dark Knight will strike London!"

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes London Again"

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October 12, 2006

Livin' Ireland 2: Lookin' for Another Flat in Dublin

That was a long, very long, month. One calendar month. One calendar month of wear and tear, and half of that was ultra wear and tear. Lots of looking, lots of hunting, lots and lots of time.

Lots.

and.

lots.

LOTS.

But, after an exhausting search (where I devoted my time, even taking time away from work (sorry, Ulster :( )) (and where I had some incidents that can only be laughed at in a few months time), my search for a flat is done. DONE! (Cue the AC/DC tune, "Back in Black".) On Wednesday, I'm back in Blackrock! South county Dublin, where I used to live, and where I wanted to live again. It's like a massive weight lifted off my back.

(I wrote a much longer, too much longer version to this story. If enough of you want to sit through that read, let me know and I'll publish the for the full flat hunting story.)

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October 9, 2006

Turkey Day While Away

Today's Thanksgiving day in Canada, and while you're all relaxing your bellies for the big feast, we in Ireland aren't so fortunate. There is no Thanksgiving here, so we gotta work today. But, all's not lost. Janelle had the idea a few days ago to host Thanksgiving day at her place yesterday!

The evening was great! It was her first time cooking a turkey, and, with Nicky's and my assistance, turned out much better than expected. And the bird was huge! Everyone pitched in, and it, like I said, was a great evening. I haven't eaten that well in quite some time :)

Janelle: many thanks. The Christmas dinner's got a high standard to follow!

(And don't worry about me not getting today off. We in Ireland get Hallowe'en off!)

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October 6, 2006

Doggin' It with Ulster

We had a "team building" session last night. Tax and treasury went out to the Shelbourne Park dog track for a night of fun and gambling. It's the first time I've been in a corporate booth, and it provided a good view of the track. I did some betting, but didn't win anything. I think I lost about €10 altogether, but I was inclined to plop down more on several occassions. (I mean, that could've been my ticket out of here!) Some folks did win some decent coin, but nothing to retire on. Still, winning or not, it was a fine time. (It'd've been finer had I won something.) I'd do it again!

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September 25, 2006

A Dark Knight over Scotland

Ulster's got me scheduled for a training course for some new software. (Well, new to us.) This training is in Edinburgh, a big bad, and supposedly good, city in Edinburgh. Training is on Monday 25 Sep. Travelling, ie: not-work, is on Sat. and Sun., 23 and 24 Sep: I finally get to visit Scotland!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Scotland"

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September 10, 2006

A Dark Knight over Ancient Éire 1

When talking about ancient lands, China and Egypt instantly come to mind. They, and other places around there, like biblical lands, are ancient countries with stories that define good chunks of the modern world. Beneath that radar screen is Ireland. Ireland boasts some very old haunts, some that predate the pyrimads in Egypt by 2,000 years.

Old though they are, they're new to me!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Ancient Éire 1"

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September 7, 2006

Registration != Identity

Something all foreigners in the Republic of Ireland must do is register with the local policing officials, known here as the Garda. When you register with them, you give them a buncha info, and get a card in return. (This card was free, then, one week before I arrived, they started charging €100 for this! 'Stards)

On Tuesday, I went and registered, paid €100, and got my card.

This card has my name, nationality, registration number, etc. It also has my picture on the front, and a space to sign on the back. Also on the back is this, at the bottom:

"THIS IS NOT AN IDENTITY CARD"

Things like this make me laugh with rage and confusion.

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September 4, 2006

R.I.P. Crocodile Hunter

It was a sad way to wake up today, hearing the news that Steve Irwin, the world-renowned Crocodile Hunter, was killed. Killed by a stingray shot to the heart.

I was fortunate enough to see him live at the Australia Zoo in Brisbane. His show at noon was short, but it was full of that natural exuberance that he has. It was a fun show!

I think we all can agree that for all the times that guy should've died -- chasing black racers, standing in the way of a near-goring elephant, and countless other times -- to die now, he did alright.

R.I.P., Mr. Irwin.

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August 31, 2006

Oh, To Be In Spain Now

I saw that the Spanish village of Bunol is holding La Tomoatina now. La Tomatina is the festival where tomatoes are hurled all over the place. "... you come dressed in white, and you have to leave in red after having lots of fun!"

How great would it be to go there? Add that to the list of things to do next year.

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August 31, 2006

Livin' Ireland 2 Prologue 2

As it stands, we've been told to leave by the 24 Sep. The day the notice came, a bill for €160 was presented, for six months worth of bin charges. (You have to pay to have your rubbish taken away.) The ll (two lower-case "L"s) said there was an additional 18 months of charges at his place. So, we were told to leave, and we had to pay him a thwack of cash. The deposit return wasn't looking very good.

I got a call today from Peter, a guy in the house that's the contact with the ll, that the landlord caved. We'll get our deposit back, but we have to clean the place.

The "double-el" caved b/c there's no contract with us and him. The original lease is b/w whomever leased the house from him and him. Subsequent residents didn't have to sign a lease, but to leave, and get the deposit back, they had to find someone to replace them. That practice is pretty common here.

So, realizing that if this was taken to court he would lose, he succumbed. That's a huge hurdle cleared. Now if we get our € back is another question, but as long as we threaten mention the lease, there ought not be a hassle! <phew>

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August 24, 2006

Livin' Ireland 2 Prologue

We've been evicted.

The landlord has decided to sell the house. We have one month to move.

That's really all I know. I guess there's not much more to say. This could go well or poorly. I guess I'll find out in the next month.

Developing...

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August 11, 2006

The Reason for No Travels

I'm in a holding pattern here. I'm in Ireland, but really, I haven't done much, outside of the usual life stuff -- work, eat, sleep. Sure, I've been out to movies and some fine pubs and met some fine folks, but nothing major. That'll change. Come paycheque #2, that'll change. I've got a few day trips in mind, some things around Ireland that date back before the pyramids -- Ireland is a very old country that has a wealth of history and character. Plus, folks in Europe to visit, London's carnival season, Dublin's carnival season, and maybe a visit to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (unlikely, but a boy can dream, right?). Big things, sister, big things. It's mouth-watering!

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August 10, 2006

Your Man in Treasury

For over a month now, I have been working for one of the big banks in Eire, Ulster Bank. They hired me as a group treasury analyst. My job description, in as few words as possible, is to count other people's money. It's fairly accurate, but not the entire story. If any of you Coral folk are reading, or you know something of finance, it's very much like the ol' risk job: comparing figures to policy daily and making sure no one's losing their shirts. In fact, the agency that got me here gave me some prep info for the 'view, and it dealt with various forms of risk, mainly liquidity risk. (How fast something can be bought or sold in the market. Lower risk means that something can be bought or sold faster.) After that brief job spec and the background info I needed for the 'view, I knew I'd've gotten it. (Or, more accurately, was pretty darn sure -- I've been "sure" of previous candidacies before.)

Continue reading "Your Man in Treasury"

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August 9, 2006

What is the Dictionary Thinking?

Try this, and laugh with me:

  • Go to m-w.com.
  • In the "Dictionary" field at the top, enter "intreguing". (I forgot how to spell "intriguing", and needed to look it up.)
  • Look at the list of possible correct words for this incorrect one, concentrating your search on the ninth entry.

How the %£$&! do you get that from "intreguing"? Why would you get that in a list of alternatives to "intreguing"?

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August 8, 2006

Now hear this

Regarding the latest changes to the site, ingeneral:

  1. The "About" page has been modified, because I was bored, logged into this site, and didn't want to play with the templates at that time but still wanted to do something;
  2. The category pages are fixed, and look fine. The temporal archives are still crude, but the entries are there;
  3. Still wrestling on whether or not to include a permalinked e-mail address. (Will that delightful Dave Gorman ever reco'nize me?)

That is all.

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July 31, 2006

A Dark Knight over Blackrock

When I was looking for a place to live, the ladies here practically said that the south side of Dublin's better than the north. So, I had little misgivings when I got a place in Blackrock. It's about a 20 minute train ride there, not too far, but far enough away that it's not the city, it's its own li'l village. Or so I was told.

See, since moving there just over two weeks ago, I haven't done much or seen much of the village. I mainly use it to rest my weary head. This is kinda silly, as I can rest my weary li'l head anywhere. I chose Blackrock because it's supposed to have some charm to it, being a nice seaside community. So, I finally got off my can and explored Blackrock on Sunday.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Blackrock"

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July 21, 2006

That time already?

The Con is on this weekend.

<sigh> I miss comics.

ADDENDUM: How cool is this? It's things like that statue that make the con awesome!

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July 20, 2006

Livin' Ireland 1: Looking for a Flat in Dublin

I hate looking for long term accomodation. I hated it during university, I hated it after university, I hated it in London, and it hasn't changed, I hate it here. You deal with so much garbage when you're looking for something affordable, manageable, and not owned by you. You have to contend with other folks, and accept living with other people. And, obviously, concessions must be made: smaller rooms, and every thing is a shared facility. All these bad things lend themselves to some good stories, or so I keep telling myself. I gotta tell myself something, right?

Continue reading "Livin' Ireland 1: Looking for a Flat in Dublin"

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July 2, 2006

A Dark Knight over Malahide

I's gots the job. That's a huge relief. Now I can do a bit of relaxin' until I start on Monday. So, howzabout a day trip?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Malahide"

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June 30, 2006

Workin' Ireland

Business before pleasure, right? I knew I had to find work as soon as I got here. I know what I wanted to do, and I know I could get it. It started the Friday I showed up. It ended today. Yay!

Continue reading "Workin' Ireland"

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June 29, 2006

A Dark Knight over Dublin

Despite a hectic day, moreso than usual (since the usual was doing nothing, and this is the day I leave), 22 June showed promise for my latest Invasion. Mom, Dad, and uncle Joe were kind enough to drop me off at the airport, and it was a pretty quick ride there, just under 90 min. to take me to PIA. Little traffic, no major slow-downs. Everyone's happy.

Nothing world rattling at the airport. I checked in, ate, took a picture with some giant moose in a mountie uniform, complete with the Bat(!), and I sat down at the boarding gate.

... or, that is, tried to sit. Like I said, it was a hectic day. Just general last minute things, and I still didn't get to accomplish everything I wanted (damn printer), but I got what I needed. So, I was pretty antsy. I paced and I paced, hoping to wear my self out. (Maybe I shouldn't have had that energy drink w/ dinner.)

Plane goes up, plane goes down: after seven hours of flying in a cramped plane, it came to a merciful end when we touched down in Dublin, Ireland. Not the most pleasant flight I've ever had, but it's a discount airline, and ya gotta make concessions.

So, here I am. Dublin, Ireland.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Dublin"

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June 21, 2006

More Props

More thanks to the following for this latest journey:

  • Mom & dad, Frank & co. for not killing me in the last year, and for being so good about me takin' off again;
  • Linh, for ideas on easy ways to get "soap", and about the buffer seat;
  • James, for hosting the site of sites;
  • Opal, for the kindest words I've heard in quite some time. (Well, it's not related to the latest leg of the Take-over, but whatev'.);
  • Canadian employers, for not hiring me. (There's a good chunk of sarcasm in there.);
  • Todd, for still being a darn good reference;
  • Cousins in the U.K. that know folks in Ireland that I can fall back on if need be, or to join for a pint or two. Also, for being there because I'll definitely want to return to lovely London;
  • Commander Gandour for that lovely dinner with him before I left, and for the best going-away present a Simpsons fan could get!;
  • And a general thanks to friends and family for support and shtuff.

I hope to hear from you folks!

Jeers to the following:

  • Irish employment agencies, for not replying to my e-mails;
  • The Irish Gov't, for slapping a €100 fee for no apparent reason, payable when I get there, within one month of arrival;
  • TravelCuts, for silly fees that they tack on that they didn't tell me about until I came to pay them;
  • Canadian employers, for being stupid;

You'll get yours. You'll all get yours. Grrr...

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June 20, 2006

The Ireland Invasion

It's been almost a complete calendar year since I left Australia and took the long way back home. In that time, things haven't been so cheery, so I decided to change that. I'm off again, bound for Europe again, but now to an unexplored region, the Republic of Ireland!

Continue reading "The Ireland Invasion"

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October 4, 2005

Changes Over Time

Today's a monumental day. It was a whole year since I left Canada for Australia. I didn't get there instantaneously. I stopped in L.A. for a night, and same with Feej, but today was the day that I left.

(As for another monumental day, Monday 03 October was the decade anniversary of the OJ verdict. Where were you when it was announced? (Me, I was in high school, and we were let out to an assembly in the auditorium to watch the verdict live on the big screen as it happened! How's that for useless?))

In a year, you'd expect some changes, and indeed, changes happened.

Continue reading "Changes Over Time"

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August 22, 2005

Two Big Problems with Australia

I had a blast in Aus. It was a good time, a fine nine months. But, with everything else, in the details are other components to this trip, things that held me back, basically. They can be summed up in six letters: I-E-P and G-O-V.

Continue reading "Two Big Problems with Australia"

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August 20, 2005

Where to Next?

I've been home for a little over four complete weeks now. I haven't done much. It's been pretty relaxing, and I have done somethings, like sort through pix, update this, become my niece's favourite uncle, and a whole lotta nothing.

But that last part's consumed my time here, and now, I'm getting a bit bored. The first two weeks were good, but then, it started to get stale.

So, what now? Where now?

I have a few options before me:

  1. Return to the U.K.: my temp. visa's still good there, and if it goes well, I may stay as a visitor for a few, or get a real working visa.

  2. Work near Home: (ie: continue life before May 2004.) Not sure if this is what I really want, but it may be the best financial option. And with that money, I could do some more travelling later, and do something with it now.

  3. Work Elsewhere in Canada: No one explores their own countyr, and much of that's true with me and Canada. There's still a few places that I haven't seen that I'd like to see, and finding a job there wouldn't be too bad, in theory. I wouldn't have to get a work visa for them, which would be nice.

  4. Go Somewhere New: I've been to the U.K., although not that much of it, and I've been to Australia. There's still much more to see, and time's wasting.

I should've thought about this sooner, but as I said I was blissfully brain dead after I got home. But, time is ticking, and I should give serious consideration as to what to do next, where to go next.

One would think that after 14.5 months travelling that the travel bug would've been satisfied. Nope.

I'll figure it out soon. I have no choice. I have to figure it out soon.

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August 10, 2005

The Australia InvasIon: Coda

What a near year!

Continue reading "The Australia InvasIon: Coda"

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July 21, 2005

A Dark Knight over SoCal 2

Days covered: July 10 - 21

It was a good time in SoCal. I had high expectations for it, and it more than met my expectations, but not by much. High expectations, remember?

L.A. was good, but not great. Again, not a place I'd live, but probably worth another visit, to eat at some real places, and to see a TV show or two. Analisa and her family are great, and I'm indebted to them huge.

It was good to see T&S again. I haven't seen them since Feb 2004. They look great, and are loving S.D., and now have a little boy, who I hope likes the koala stuffed bear I gave them.

The Con was the thing to be at, and boy, was it good. Very good. Very good. Good. Great. Fun. :D

It goes without saying that if I had more time and money, I'd've done more. But that can be said about anything and anywhere. Las Vegas, or San Fran, or Mexico. But, that said, I'm kinda bushed. I can't be fucked to do anymore touring. Maybe I'm worn down. Or, maybe I know that I'm near the end of my trip and I'm subconsciously winding down. Whatev'.

I'm in LAX now. Customs was harsh. I had to damn near strip search myself, taking off a lot to get through their ultra sensitive metal detectors. I had breakfast (lunch?) at Burger King (NOT Hungry Jack's :) ), and now, I'm waiting for the boarding call.

Oh, there it is now. Gotta fly (literally). Talk to you on the other side.

(Hey, here's an observation: the control tower at LAX looks like the HQ for the Legion of Doom in the SuperFriends cartoon in the 80s. Just a though :) )

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July 20, 2005

SD -> LA -> SD -> LA

Days covered: July 18 - 20

There wasn't much more to do in Sandy Eggo until my friends there, Todd & Sandra, returned from their trip in Canada, showing off their newborn. (How's that for bad timing on our parts?) I thought about going to Las Vegas, but for two days, one of which would've been spent in transit, didn't make it worthwhile, esp. when I didn't have the cash to kill. So, to L.A. it was, just to hang out with Analisa again.

Continue reading "SD -> LA -> SD -> LA"

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July 18, 2005

A Dark Knight over the SDCC

Days covered: July 13 - 18

I'm on my way to the San Diego Comic con. If that's not thrilling enough, I met a wrestler on the bus to San Diego. How's that for a great start? :)

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the SDCC"

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July 13, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes L.A. Again

Days covered: July 10 - 13

I don't have much time here, but for what I want to see, which is almost everything, it ought to do.

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes L.A. Again"

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July 10, 2005

TDKSFijiA 2

Days covered: July 04 - 10

I did everything I needed to and wanted to here. Go, me!

Continue reading "TDKSFijiA 2"

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July 10, 2005

A Dark Knight over SoCal 1

NB: READ TDKSFijiA 2 FIRST

10 July just wouldn't end.

I crossed the Int'l Date Line to Aus., and lost 06 October 2004. That's something I'll never get back. In its stead, I got the director's cut of 10 July 2005. The time stamps on these babbles may seem like I went back in time, but really, to keep timestamps consistent with local times of whereever I went, I recorded it as you see it. Please read this after TDKSFijiA 2. In reality, there was a 10 hour flight in there. The flight was OK. I saw some good films, Hitch (7/10) and Million Dollar Baby (10/10). Watched TV, ate (food's s'ok on Air Pacific), slept, and touched down into LAX at the scheduled time of 13:40.

To my dismay, at the airport, it was a smooth ride through customs. I purposely had a big beard going through there, hoping for big redneck Zeke to stop me and question my integrity. Nope. However, I got some Oriental guy. Everyone, everyone, at U.S. Customs was ethnic. It's the face of the U.S.A., I s'pose.

But, I'm in L.A. now, and this I'm excited for. I've been excited for my time in Southern California (SoCal) for a while now. First, I've got a few days to finally see the sights here, and a fine young gal to visit. Then there's San Diego for a few more days, just in time for a convergence of fanboys and fangirls, plus some other friends there, a throwback to the Coral days.

It's no tour around Aus., nor is it some fancy coral reef, but it's just as promising.

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July 9, 2005

Nananu-i-ra Snorkelling

Days covered: July 07 - 09

Fiji's allegedly has some of the best coral reefs in the world. To get onto something to see it was tough. Tourist season is at a high now, during their dry season, and tours and/or accomodations were sold out. The Yasawa islands and the Mamanuca islands (off Viti Levu's west coast) were some of them, but Nananu-i-ra, off VL's north shore (pronounced as you see it, but without the "i") wasn't.

Continue reading "Nananu-i-ra Snorkelling"

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July 6, 2005

24 Hours in Nausori

Days covered: July 05 - 06

Over the hills, on some incredibly rough roads, worthy of only 4WD vehicles, or a 2WD minivan and a good (crazy?) driver (or the tanks the American military used to blaze them), I was taken to the Nausori Highlands.

Continue reading "24 Hours in Nausori"

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July 4, 2005

Panic in Nadi

Touching down in Nadi Int'l Airport was almost the exact same as when I did it back in October. This time, though, the welcoming instrumental band was only two ppl instead of five. Other than that, though, exactly the same. No biggie.

The biggie did come mere minutes later.

Continue reading "Panic in Nadi"

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July 4, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes Fiji Again 1

My first encounter with Fiji was an eye opener. Fiji isn't all blue water, white sand beaches, and sipping drinks with parasols in hammocks. Away from those resorts is a second world country, one that's pretty dirty and shrewd, yet still clinging to Christian beliefs. Add to that a third element, the simple life of the inland villages. That made for three items to discover this time around. It'll be an action packed week.

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July 3, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes Sydney Again

Days covered: June 28 - July 03

Fuck you, Sydney.

Fuck you, Tyler

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes Sydney Again"

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June 28, 2005

A Dark Knight over Perth

Days covered: June 20 - 28

I'm not sure if it's fitting, the way Andy, Mad Cow, and I made our way into Perth. We were flying as fast and as best we could. We had a little over 300km to drive, and under 4 hours to do it in. Technically, we should do this no problem.

Enter Murphy's Law.

Andy assured us that we could still make into Perth in time, so why not stop at a local dairy along the way, get some cheese for his wine?

Ummmmm... what the heck. Wouldn't mind something myself.

Well, that dairy did produce some fine low fat yogurt (spelled in Aus. "yoghurt"), so it was worth the stop.

Drive drive drive.

We had to stop at a petrol station that didn't have car washing facilities to wash the van. We were doing quite well, when someone bitched and the manager came out and bitched at us. Well, we got most of her clean. Ought to be good enough to take 'er back.

Drive drive drive.

Then the hard part: navigating through the city. Up until now it was a straight highway road. I did plot a course to the drop off point. Now it was a race against the clock.

Drive drive drive. Turn here. Turn there. Drive drive drive.

Stop.

Drive

drive.

Stop.

Drive.

Whoops! Too far. It was the street we just passed. Not my fault. The streets here aren't labelled.

Turn around.

Drive...

drive...

drive...

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Perth"

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June 22, 2005

The Dark Knight Strikes the Big Screen Again

NB: Spoilers follow

Burton's Batman in 1989 was a film about the early days of Batman, kinda like a year one story. It didn't go back as far as to show how Bruce Wayne got into the suit or what lead him to go from ordinary joe to superhero, but it did enough, and it did the job very well. It was tough to follow, but Batman Returns was a decent follow up. Not like the first, but still good, Burton good, good in the style of the first one. The subsequent two, the Schumacher films, totally killed the franchise. A fifth film wouldn't've flown, not with that direction. DC Comics and Warner Bros. decided to hit the reset button to cash in on the success of films based on comics recently. Many wondered "Isn't it too soon since those last two?" Director Chris Nolan had his work cut out for him to make a film that would make people forget the last two films, maybe even the entire set of four films.

DC hit the reset button, and it was successful.

Continue reading "The Dark Knight Strikes the Big Screen Again"

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June 20, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Margaret River

Days covered: June 18 - 20

Vacationing, now, in wine country.

<shrug> Well, there's some things here to keep me entertained. You may well know that I'm not a wine person. I had some lovely pinot noir in Shoreham, and Niagara ice wine is decent (from what I remember), but overall, wine just isn't for me. Andy's ga-ga for it, so this'll be mostly for him. Me, I'm hoping to see a whale or two.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Margaret River"

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June 18, 2005

A Dark Knight over Nambung NP

Days covered: June 18

After re-entering Australia, not much happened. We got food and stuff in Geraldton, and finally washed the van of it's new brown coat. We camped out at another roadside parking stop, da da da. The next morning we were on course for Nambung National Park.

Yup. Another national park. But this one I was eager to see.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Nambung NP"

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June 17, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Hutt River Province

Days covered: June 17

Ya see there, Normie, it's a little known fact...

There's actually another country on this continent, an entirely sovereign state under its own rule, away from the commonwealth government of Australia. I'm not surprised if you've never heard of it. I never heard of it until a week ago. When I did, though, I knew this was a place to visit.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Hutt River Province"

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June 17, 2005

A Dark Knight over Kalbarri NP

Days covered: June 16 - 17

Another national park, and another set of gorges. Yeah, I'm getting tired of them, too. After what we saw in the north, around El Questro and Karijini, this is probably going to be a step down. But, it'll be our first gorge visit since leaving the tropics. Will that make a difference?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Kalbarri NP"

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June 16, 2005

A Dark Knight over Monkey Mia

Days covered: June 15 - 16

We drove long into the night (until about 03:30) to get to Monkey Mia (pronounced "MY-ah"). If we wanted to see dolphins early, we'd have to camp out in the national park. Originally, we were going to stay the night in Carnarvon, but that was too far and we would've had to wake up early to get there. Sleep early and wake up early, or sleep late and wake up late? My choice will usually be the latter.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Monkey Mia"

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June 15, 2005

A Dark Knight over Exmouth

Days covered: June 13 - 15

There's a quiet debate going on over which coast has the better coral reef. The Great Barrier Reef vs. Ningaloo Reef. That thing in the east, the Great Barrier Reef, is more marketed and has some great things to see, but with that marketing comes people and tourists. Lots of them. Lots of folks to rape that small ecosystem. It stands to reason, then, that the west's Ningaloo reef would have more untouched beauty. But, it's not as widely known. Is that indicative of any lacklusture appeal?

The backpackers who know and have been there say Ningaloo is better. One dive instructor I met said the coral reef in the east isn't the most spectacular place he's been to, and also says Ningaloo is grand.

In any event, its definitely worth a visit, even just to see such a fine spot of marine life. Andy and I were advised to visit Exmouth to explore Ningaloo, and so we did.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Exmouth"

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June 13, 2005

A Dark Knight over Karijini NP

Days covered: June 11 - 13

According to the atlas in our van, it's over 1,900 km from Broome to Perth, and that's taking the short way, an inland highway.

BAH! Forget that. There's nothing to see out there.

There's more to see along the coast, away from that inland highway. It begins today, Saturday 11 June, with our first stop, Karijini National Park.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Karijini NP"

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June 10, 2005

A Dark Knight over Broome

Days covered: June 06 - 10

I met very few ppl who went to this town. One girl worked on a cattle station here, and she loved it, the station and the town. It doesn't boast much, save for came rides and a lovely beach. Pam and Jenny talked it up.

To counter that, Rosco (that great man) said that it's not very backpacker friendly, and "if you get a bad vibe from there, LEAVE!"

I'd follow Rosco's advice (esp. after that cancelled ride crap), but not this time. I'm getting a good vibe from here. Small little town, talked up by most of those who I met/know that've been here, and I'm in a resident's house, not a hostel. Should be good.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Broome"

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June 6, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Outback 2

Days covered: June 03 - 06

Space Western Australia. The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise 4WD relocation. It's continuing mission: To explore strange, new worlds gorges. To seek out new life and new civilizations wildlife. To boldly go where no one has I have never gone before.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Outback 2"

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June 3, 2005

A Dark Knight over Darwin 2

With some sadness, my time here in Darwin came to an end today. I've been here for 31 days exactly, almost to the hour if I stay another half day. But, that's not to be. There's still an entire state to go through, with one more major city and some allegedly nice nature scenes, and I've only got a month left here(!). Darwin, overall, has been good.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Darwin 2"

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May 28, 2005

SW, EIII: ROTS

NB: Spoilers follow

Everyone, EVERYONE, has waited for this with baited breath since 2002's SW, EII: AOTC. We've been fed teasers since, like that delightful cartoon, the Clone Wars, and the occasional secret spilling out online. Now, it's here, and I say that it's a success.

Continue reading "SW, EIII: ROTS"

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May 28, 2005

Defending George Lucas

I'm probably one of the few that actually liked the first two installments of the complete Star Wars story, Episodes I & II.

The nay-sayers said that it was boring, it lacked the magic of the first three, that it was poorly written, that Lucas developed the characters and plot all wrong. Overall, they weren't that good.

To them, I say: bite my ass. Rather, bite Lucas' ass.

Continue reading "Defending George Lucas"

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May 24, 2005

Oz Job Tenure 3

By virtue of knowing Wade, I got another job here. This is my third, and God willing my final one. I wanted my last one to be my final one, but here I am.

Continue reading "Oz Job Tenure 3"

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May 21, 2005

This Fanboy Dies a Little

I found out in the 9 May edition of Time magazine that Star Trek: Enterprise is coming to an end this season.

I can't say that this is a surprise. They resorted to sex to sell from the beginning, instead of concentrating on the show more. I liked the show's premise, and it did have some good episodes, but it wasn't as compelling as ST:TNG (Seasons 3 and on) and ST:V and the last half of ST:DS9, but it was still good.

Star Wars comes to a finish. (Or so we're lead to believe. Will Episodes VII, VIII, and IX come in our time? Lucas has denied plans for him to make these already.)

Star Trek is off the air, with no new plans for TV nor movies in the works. (If someone knows otherwise, fill me in.) This will be the first time in 18 years that a Star Trek series isn't on the air.

It's a sad time. Revel in the going-out-in-flames-of-glory finales coming out now :)

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May 20, 2005

Now hear this

If you've read A Dark Knight over the Red Center already, reread it. There's a pic in there now. I had to upload it, in celebration of this past Thursday.

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May 19, 2005

Three World Rattling Events

Kylie Minogue is diagnosed with breast cancer, Frank Gorshin dies, and, of course, the Star Wars fiasco. Crazy, eh?

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May 4, 2005

The Take-over: One Year Later

365 days ago, I left home for a trip around the world, beginning with the U.K.

One whole, freakin' year.

It should've ended now, and I should've been home doing whatever. That was the original plan, to travel for one year. Period. But, that changed when I realized what a foolish thing that'd be. Good for me.

Bloody hell. A year of this. I'm making it to sound more astounding than it really is for me. But, really, it is quite a feat, I think.

Go, me!

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May 4, 2005

A Dark Knight over Darwin 1

Days covered: May 03 - 04

I really didn't know what to make of Darwin when I first got here. It was hot and humid, the kind of temperature that will have you sweating after 10m of walking without a backpack, weather I hadn't experienced since leaving the east coast. Darwin isn't that big, maybe 80,000 people. But, it's also the city in the Top End, so it's gotta be the big tourist stop here. Problem is, there isn't a heck of a lot of things to go and see, according to my Let's Go guide.

To counter any doubts about Darwin is my contact (and lifesaver) up here, Wade. He LOVES this place, so much that he's made it his permanent residence. He, along with Rosco in ASP have good things to say about it. Really good things.

Nay-saying backpackers vs. pro-Darwin Aussies. And I'm caught in the middle.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Darwin 1"

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May 3, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Outback 1

Days covered: April 30 - May 03

Originally I planned to skip Darwin. I hadn't heard many good things about it from fellow travellers. It was too hot and boring. Relative descriptions, I know, but still, it's more than what I've got in my Let's Go Australia guide. It took my brother's friend, Wade, who lives in Darwin to lure me up to the Top End of Australia. That, and going to Darwin is the only way to see another set of unique rocks. I leave for it today.

When and how, questions that were answered last night, are once again before me.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Outback 1"

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April 30, 2005

A Dark Knight over Alice Springs

Days covered: April 28 - 29

There isn't a heck of a lot to do around this part. Alice Springs is an old homestead made into a huge mecca, where travellers rest on their way north, south, or through the Red Center.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Alice Springs"

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April 28, 2005

A Dark Knight over the Red Center

Days covered: April 25 - 28

I've gone around the coastal areas of Australia up until now. All travels have pretty much been limited to within 300km of the ocean. It's fine and good, don't get me wrong. It's very lush and moist, and, in some areas, very humid. But this isn't the only climate that Australia has. There's a vast stretch of desert that covers most of the continent, and one of the landscapes conjured up thinking about the Australian landscape is wide open spaces of cattle farms and sand, dust, and dirt. Dry, semi-arid, and semi-desolate regions. But within there is splendor that only Australia can give. Gigantic rocks and mountains that are a wonder to see, and challenging to scale. So, I boarded the bus in Coober Pedy bound for Alice Springs, knowing that another item on the to-do list would be crossed off: have the Bat fly over the famous Red Center.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over the Red Center"

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April 25, 2005

A Dark Knight over Coober Pedy

Days covered: April 24

Translated literally, "Coober Pedy" is an Aboriginal term for "White man underground," or words to that effect. Coober Pedy's an opal mining mecca, and it's also a town where most of the inhabitants live underground. (I guess I could title this "A Dark Knight under Coober Pedy.")

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Coober Pedy"

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April 23, 2005

Outta Adelaide

Well, that's it for me and this city. I leave today.

Continue reading "Outta Adelaide"

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April 23, 2005

Extended stay in Oz

It's official: I won't be coming home until mid-July!

I've extended my stay here until the beg. of July b/c there's too much more to do, and I need to work again. Another month ought to do it. After that, it's a week in Fiji (where my goals are to see those pristine beaches and waters (I know they exist, just not in Lautoka nor Nadi), get screwy on kava, buy some cool Fijian merchandise, and have some authentic Fijian cuisine that isn't made with humans). Then, it's 10 days in SoCal: some in L.A., more in S.D. The big news there: I get to go to the San Diego Comic Con!!! I've been wondering if I should return to North America in time, and with half the country left to explore, it works out! Oh, and I get to see some folks there in California, but I'm SDCC bound, baby!!! (If anyone in Waterloo happens to stop by Carry-On, mention this to either the man or the woman who run the place, just as news so they don't think I'm dead.)

Happy days!

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April 22, 2005

Papal Names

The installment of Pope Benedict XVI was an interesting time. It's the first for many in my generation to witness such a process. Among the other mysteries/unknowns is the name that the former cardinal chooses. Cardinal Ratzinger chose Benedict. From what I've read, choosing a papal name is pretty arbitrary. (Please enlighten me if you know otherwise.)

I wondered what I would choose, so I looked at the list. Some of them sounded good.

"Pope Constantine II"
"Pope Lucius IV"
"Benedict" isn't too bad, but there's been XV before this guy, so it's not new or exciting. (Something that's probably not considered when choosing the name.)
"Pope Tyler" doesn't sound right.
I like "Pius" because it's short and to the point, but there've already been a thwack of them.
"Innocent"'s kinda lame.

Ah well. No point worrying aboot it. This decision will never come across my plate.

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April 22, 2005

Future Website on Hold

Someone's registerd the domain name of the site I had in my mind for almost a year now. I wouldn't've used it for a while, but still, I want it. Damn them. Hope they let it slide when I want to have it. (I won't say what it is. I won't give them the publicity.)

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April 22, 2005

Good Ways to Die in Australia

  • Get eaten by a Tasmanian Devil, shark, or croc (only if it's quick and painless)
  • Get run down by a seal coming down a sand dune
  • Have the elusive Drop Bear come down on you
  • Gorging on pancakes in Adelaide

That's what Chris, Katja, and myself decided when they were still here, and I added one or two. Just thought I'd share that with y'all :)

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April 19, 2005

I Hate Hostels

I've been living in these tuna cans for nigh on a year now. I've lived in them in U before, but this takes it to a whole new level. In U, there was just myself and one other. Here, there's myself and at least three others. My discontent with them was low at first. I'll go so far as to say "nonexistant." My tolerance for hostels and the vermin within has worn thin over the last year, and Saturday was the last straw.

Continue reading "I Hate Hostels"

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April 13, 2005

A Dark Knight over Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia, is the gateway to the Outback. Most come here before going to Perth in the west, or through the Red Center to Darwin. Still not sure which way I'll go next, but I came to Adelaide to see what this city's all about nevertheless.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Adelaide"

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April 9, 2005

One Year Later

I just realized that this past Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the launch of TK:O. Where does the time go?

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April 8, 2005

Episode III Better Be Good

There's too much hype surrounding it. Book stores have books out, and toy stores have EpIII toys. Comic stores have their own products.

It's driving me nuts. It's soooooooooo hard not to look at anything "Revenge of the Sith" related.

HURRY UP, MAY 19!!!

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April 6, 2005

Missing Out

There's far too many good things going on in the DC Universe lately. An Identity Crisis, the return of Hal Jordan, the Azzurello/Lee Superman storyline, the Batman storylines, the forthcoming All Star line, and now a Countdown to some Infinite Crisis, to name a few.

Not to mention missing WrestleMania XXI this past Sunday. Heard that it was a good one. I tried to watch it, but bars in Launceston weren't open at 10:00.

And my niece is turning two soon. Some birfday cake would be nice right about now.

Plus, Garbage coming and going, as I mentioned before.

I guess sacrafices must be made when one does something silly like tour the world.

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April 5, 2005

A Dark Knight over Hobart 2

I don't know what it is about this city, but I like it. It's got so much of what I like. It's comfortable. It's easy going. It's close to all sorts of things, like the Overland Track, and Port Arthur. It's got it's own good things, like ghost walks and a chocolate factory and a devil sactuary, to name a few. It's got some the tag of being *the* city on the island, so I guess they had to add some type of spice to it.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Hobart 2"

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April 4, 2005

Launceston Blahs

Days covered: April 02 - 04

There wasn't a heck of a lot to do here in Launceston this time around. Just some admin stuff.

Continue reading "Launceston Blahs"

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April 2, 2005

A Dark Knight over Strahan

Days covered: March 31 - April 2

I had a few goals when I came to Tasmania. One of them was to swim in the Great Southern Ocean. I mean the ocean, not some body of water connected to it with a name other than Great Southern Ocean. The next best place to do this is on Tassie's west coast, in a li'l town called Strahan.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Strahan"

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March 31, 2005

A Dark Knight on the Overland Track

Days covered: March 28 - 31

Yeah, I survived. Hell yeah, it was fun!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight on the Overland Track"

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March 28, 2005

A Dark Knight on the Overland Track: Prologue

Well, I'm all set. I'll be away on some massive (for me) hike that will end on Thursday when I leave the park. Well, that's the plan, and with just one more week to go and a few more things to do, I don't imagine I'll spend much time there. I'll get some idea later, after talking with folks and getting some info at the info center in the park.

I got my food ready. From now forward, I'll subsist on ham and cucumber sandwiches. I bought enough ham and cucumber to last me (I HOPE!!!) the three days without other food. Water can be picked up there along the track, I understand. I was informed by my guidebook to bring food rather than buy it there. There's only one general store in the park, and you know how they work.

I'm bringing two bags with me. One is my medium sized backpack with me (about 30L in size) with sleeping bag, pillow, clothes, and a few toiletries. The other is a nylon bag from Coles full of food. The rest is staying at Launceston Backpackers, who offer free long term storage! (Good place to sleep, too.) I was wondering what I would do with my backpack full clothes, so this greatly eased that burden.

If you never here from me again, assume I was eaten by a devil. That'd be a great way to go. Falling off the mountain wouldn't be so bad either, compared to, say, dying by some rock that some moron tossed off the mountain.

Ah, who'm I kidding? I'll be fine. I'll love it! (Right?)

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March 28, 2005

Good, Bad, and Worse Garbage News

The Good: Garbage has a new album coming out, Bleed like Me, slated to come out on April 11th here in Aus. It's been since October 2001 since they had a full album, so I'm salivating at the thought of more music from them. (And any new pix of Shirley ;)

The Bad: They're touring very soon after the release of Bleed like Me. They come to Toronto on 25 April. Tix are still on sale. If anyone goes, please please please please get me a shirt, ideally a long sleeve.

The Worse: They're touring before the release of Bleed like Me in the U.K. They're coming to London twice, once in March and once in April. Both shows are sold out.

The Possibly Worse Still: No tour dates for the south Pacific have been announced. I really, really hope they come through either Aus. or N.Z. before June. That'd be good. But if they don't at all, or come here after May, that'd be bad.

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March 27, 2005

A Dark Knight over Launceston 2

Days covered: March 26 - 27

Happy Easter!

It's time to do something in this town.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Launceston 2"

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March 26, 2005

A Dark Knight over Launceston 1

Days covered: March 24 - 25

In Tasmania, there's a north-south divide. The south is lead by Hobart and claims to have the better beer, better scenery, and better... well, everything. The north counters with Launceston. I've been through Hobart. Now I'll see what Launceston's like.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Launceston 1"

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March 25, 2005

A Quick Relinquish of TK:O

Many thanks to Audra for her guest entry. I never went anywhere, nor did she kill me or take me hostage. In fact, I saw her type it out. Thought it'd be fun to have a guest blogger :)

Sorry for the lack of entries. I know I'm 2.5 months behind in my entries. But, travelling and working have taken up my time, and online time was restricted to mailing and simple surfing of the usual sites. But I'm alive, and still post from time to time -- they're seen to the left of this. I'm catching up on the old entries, and right now, I'm in the middle of January. I'm catching up slowly. Bear with me.

Actually, what I think I'll do is post both recent and not-so-recent travels. Maybe I will, Milhouse. Maybe I will...

(Aud: you better mail me.)


NOTE: My posting, A Dark Knight over Port Arthur, came long after posting this, but was inserted before this entry in the interests of chronological consistency.

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March 24, 2005

A Dark Knight over Port Arthur

Days covered: March 22 - 24

Where the baddest of the bad convicts were sent is now inhabited by ghosts and Tasmanian devils. Why wouldn't you want to come here?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Port Arthur"

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March 24, 2005

Living it up down under

Hello my name is Audra and I have taken over Tyler's site. I was wandering around Port Aurthur in the middle of the night on my 25th birthday with a Canadian looking for ghosts (some would call it illegal but we just called it fun). We had the an amazing time! The weather here is cold but not like there. So this is where he is now in Hobart with me, things are good and he is safe. "There is no noise in the world no peace in the mountains, it's all within yourself." Cheers Audra

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March 22, 2005

A Dark Knight over Hobart 1

Days covered: March 19 - 22

I gave myself two weeks to go through the island once known as Van Diemen's Land. 2-3 weeks I was told should be enough time to go through it, but it'd be an action packed trip. I'm eager to see it, and I thought a good start would be the capital of this state, Hobart.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Hobart 1"

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March 19, 2005

A Dark Knight over Melbourne 3

Days covered: March 18 - 19

Enough happened here, IMHO, to make a third visit to Melbourne noteworthy.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Melbourne 3"

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March 18, 2005

The G.O.R. & The Grampians

Days covered: March 17 - 18

The final thing to do in Victoria is see the fabled Great Ocean Road (GOR). The tour I'm doing also goes through the highly touted Grampians, so I thought it should be a good one to see as well.

Continue reading "The G.O.R. & The Grampians"

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March 16, 2005

A Dark Knight over Melbourne 2

Days covered: March 13 - 16

My plan was to be in Melbourne for a day or two and then head off to the Great Ocean Road, one of the road trips to make in Australia.

Boy, do I suck.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Melbourne 2"

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March 13, 2005

Mornington to Melbourne

It was a bittersweet last half of the week. I've been here in Mornington Penn. for five weeks. I stayed one week longer than I wanted to because the work wasn't lucrative, and a total blast to be on!

Continue reading "Mornington to Melbourne"

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March 1, 2005

The Best Job in Australia

Hands down. No question. No hesitation. The best job in Australia. It does say something. Working on the watermelon farm was pretty easy, looking back. I met some of the locals and thus had some good times at work and at the hostel. Working on the other melon farm provided many hours. Again, met some locals, but mostly got acquainted with those I came in with from the hostel. Working on the mango farm was the best for that two month stint in Queensland. Free mangoes, great cash, and some decent locals, ones you can't really hang out with, but are good to know. This, however, wins by a longshot.

Continue reading "The Best Job in Australia"

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February 20, 2005

The Land of Avocadoes, Grapes, and Wild Raspberries

The tropics of Queensland (the northeast state of Australia) has all sorts of fruit growing there, from conventional veggies to exotic fruits. Anything can grow there. But, each area boasts its own special fruits, and here, in Mornington Penninsula, Victoria, I got my hands into three that I didn't in anyway touch in QLD: avos, grapes, and wild raspberries.

Continue reading "The Land of Avocadoes, Grapes, and Wild Raspberries"

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February 14, 2005

St. Kilda Fest

Victoria, well, Melbourne is a party city. They like to work, but they also like to have a good ol' time. With lots of people.

And lots of music.

And lots of food.

And lots of alcohol.

Over lots of space.

These are the elements for one such event, the annual St. Kilda Festival.

Continue reading "St. Kilda Fest"

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February 8, 2005

A Dark Knight over Mornington Penninsula

Days covered: February 03 - 08

I got on the train on Thursday bound for another fun-filled(?), exciting(?) work experience. I'll be in the vineyards and orchards of a li'l wine country in Victoria, Mornington Penninsula.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Mornington Penninsula"

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February 3, 2005

Another Job

Yup, I found me another one.

My desires to stay in the city go...

...

...

unfulfilled. I'm taking off to a li'l town/area/city/township south of Melbourne to do what I do best: fruit pick.

I had my chances in the city. There were numerous agencies, but no one called. I'm not too disappointed about them. I wasn't ready to live in an office yet again.

The kitchen hand work was there, but not for me. I didn't plan on being around for long, which I lied about it, but either the businesses were already soured on backpackers doing what I was going to do, or having none of my own transportation killed my chances there.

I made a mission way out west of the city. I door knocked on factories, some 50 km west, but was greeted with the usual response ("Thanks for your interest. Please forward us a CV...", ie: F.O.D.). That was a wasted day, but kinda fun, in a perverse way.

So, after an extensive search, that left me quite drained and down, my friend Josh and I resolved to do what our new German friend Nils did: take off to this working hostel down south. Thing is Josh got some offers (on the night we went penguin watching, no less), so I was on my own. And on my own I go.

I leave soon, to who knows what on the other side. Well, it'll be an excuse to use up those clothes I had left over from working in Ayr.

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January 26, 2005

Australia Day

One-hundred and three years ago, Australia as we know it became a nation. This is the end of a month long holiday for Aussies, and it'll end with a bang!

Among the day's events were buskers, lots and lots of buskers. As usual, it's pretty hit-and-miss with them. Some are good, some are bad, some try and don't do it, some are captivating within the first 30 seconds of starting. This was no different. There's two to note. The first is a magician who did some impressive slight-of-hand work with tennis balls. From our vantage point (I was watching it with my friend Josh and another), we saw some of his magic, but others were a little harder to figure out how he did it, like how he managed to pull a huge ball out of nowhere. The other guy had very little in his repetoir, but his work was mostly to heckle passers-by who didn't stop to watch him. He'd take someone's girlfriend by the arm and walk away with her, he jumped into a car to go with it, he pulled out a remote control to "control" airplanes flying overhead. He was hilarious!

There was the token Aboriginal show-and-dance, because I'm sure they loved this day in their history.

The place was abuzz with families and backpackers taking in the events of the day, and it was good, wholesome fun.

That night there was a huge fireworks display. They're always fun to watch.

The day before, IEP had a pub night at some bar that hosted a trivia contest! I carried my weight on the Simpsons trivia and others. (Though I cost us a Batman question that I'll contest the answer for 'til the day I die. It might've been right before the Crisis, but not now.)

So, Australia day came and went. It was good. Honestly, it was pretty standard fare for a national celebration, but I can say I was there.

"Nah-nah-nah-nah
nah-nah-nah-nah
Hey-hey-hey
AUSTRALIA!"

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January 25, 2005

A Dark Knight over Melbourne 1

Days covered: January 18 - January 25

The other major metropolis of Australia is Melbourne. There's a fierce rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, each claiming to be the best city in Australia, so you had to expect something good from Melbourne in competition like this. Having said that, though, Sydney wasn't my kinda place, but still, it's worth a visit to Melbourne, if for no other reason (as I thought when I first got here) than to see the Grand Slam of the Asian Pacific, the Australian Open!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Melbourne 1"

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January 18, 2005

A Dark Knight over Canberra

Days covered: January 15 - 17

What visit to any country would be complete without a trip to its national capital?

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Canberra"

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January 14, 2005

A Dark Knight over Bundaberg

Days covered: January 12 - 13

Australia boasts wildlife that are either unique to this continent absolutely, or just unique relative to Canada. You know what I mean: 'roos, koalas, platypi, and a host of others. So, I jumped at the chance to see something I hadn't before, something I wouldn't see in the wilds of Canada:

...

...

giant, green turtles.

Giant green turtles laying eggs.

Giant green turtle babies hatching from eggs and running to the ocean.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Bundaberg"

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January 12, 2005

A Dark Knight over Brisbane 1

Days covered: January 07 - 11

Took a few days -- shorter than Danish Bacon wanted, but longer than my original plan -- but we got here in good working order.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Brisbane 1"

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January 6, 2005

On to Brisbane

Days covered: January 03 - January 06

To Cairns: Thanks for the fun. Sure, your city center's crowded, neon-bright and gaudy, but there were some good things about it, like ample kebab shops. The surrounding areas were fabulous! Atherton, the Reef, that spot where A.J. Hackett has his bunjee jumping station, Crystal Cascades... 's'all good. However, good as you and north Queensland have been, there's a whole country left to explore.

Continue reading "On to Brisbane"

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January 3, 2005

A Dark Knight over Cairns 2

Days covered: December 17 - January 03

Australia has much to offer, I'm sure you all know. Natural wonders galore all over the place. I've been here for near three months now (where does the time go?), and I hadn't done much. Saw Sydney for a week, and worked since then. But, all that hard work was about to pay off. Time to unwind.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Cairns 2"

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January 2, 2005

Australian Festive Season

For the first time in my life, I wasn't in Canada, or anywhere near home, for the holiday season. If that wasn't odd enough, for the first time ever, I was sweating like a hog because of the humid and hot temperatures in Cairns, not from too much clothing to keep me warm.

Christmas was pretty hot and bothersome, and low-key. (You know me, Mr. Low-Key ;) ) Christmas eve was spent with the apt. I was in, dining with Danes and Germans. We went out that night to a local hotspot, the Woolshed. It sucked because there were so many people there. Too many ppl. Reminded me of those horrific days in U <shudder>. It really put me off the rest of the night. Christmas day was pretty standard where I was compared to the rest of the days. Boxing day was the day I made the phone calls to home and others. Early Boxing Day in Aus = Late Christmas Day in North America.

New Years was characterized by a thwack of partying and driving stick for the first time ever!

NYE I and the Danes went to Nightclub 1936 for their closing party. It was a good night -- not great, but good -- with some DJs spinning trance and drum n bass beats. I had to cut that short because I figured it was a good idea to get sleep before we made the trip into the Tablelands for part 2 of the NY party, seeing as I was the one driving.

As for driving stick, that afternoon, Pedro, one of the Danes who owns the van we were going in, taught me the finer points of driving stick. My first attempt years ago was bad. I stalled a car in a parking lot. Twice. This time, I stalled it only twice, but the roads were pretty dead, so all was good. I quickly got the hang of it, according to Pedro, and in no time, I was driving stick like a pro.

I got us to the Tablelands no problem. I'm alive. Everyone's alive. Go me!

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December 27, 2004

A Dark Knight in the Ocean

Never in my life have I taken 27 pictures so fast.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight in the Ocean"

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December 16, 2004

A Dark Knight over Cairns 1

Days covered: December 16

With bags packed, and a cooler full of mangoes(!), I boarded the bus for a seven hour ride away from my home for the last two months bound for Cairns, with the hope that I would realized another goal here: viewing the Great Barrier Reef!

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Cairns 1"

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December 15, 2004

That Hostel in Ayr

Coming here, I didn't know about the notion of a "working hostel." The concept's simple, but in my travels around the U.K., I hadn't encountered one. When I got to Australia, it was one of the things to do as it was an easy way to get in on the fruit picking.

What the heck, right? I'll give 'er a whirl.

Ayr Backpackers was the first of many such hostels I'd possibli be lodged at. And in retrospect, on this, my last day, I think I made a good choice.

Continue reading "That Hostel in Ayr"

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December 9, 2004

Queensland Fruit Picking

In my time here, a little over two months now, I've done a lot of farming jobs.

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November 19, 2004

Roxy Forever

I was asked one time if I knew what unconditional love is. This girl I was talking to had a child, and she was talking about her. Almost unflatteringly to that little girl, I said yes because I have a dog.

No disrespect was meant to that little girl. Quite the opposite. Anyone who's put in the same category as Roxy should feel honoured. Cannonized, if you will. Additionally, I don't refer to many as a bitch, as that insulting term would also put that person in the same league as the Roxinator.

At six weeks old, tiny and dirty she was carried into our house under my brother's arm and it was the start of the furriest, softest, funnest years.

From that stumbly, little puppy that left hair all over the place, you grew into an icon in the neighbourhood, a dog that liked everyone there and protected them. For the next decade and a quarter, you made your mark everywhere, making people and rhodents know who's boss.

I'll remember the walks with me on my paper route, the tricks for food you'd do, the way you tried to open the door to get inside the house, your greetings every morning. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll remember everything. It was great. Absolutely great.

I know you also have some fond memories. The walks, the food, the food, the food, the run-arounds, the food, the brushes (well, maybe not those), the belly rubs, the wrestling, the playing in the snow. Everything, right? Right!

Ah, the life of a dog.

We'll always have the scratches on the door, when you wanted to be let inside the house. You wanted to be with us. You want to be with us. We want to be with you.

Now and forever.


Postscript: Tragedy struck in the early morning hours of 19 November, 2004, at 02:00 EST. Roxy passed away, from natural causes. It was quick and relatively painless.

It was expected. She was 12.5 years old, and slowed down a lot in the last few years. Old age had kicked in. She was still active, and loved to play, just not as much or for as long.

12.5 years. 12 great years.

But it wasn't your time yet, puppy. You were only 12.5! Brandy across the street's older. Her predecessor was 15. 12 is young. It wasn't your time yet. I told you to wait for me until I got back. I guess I should've been more forceful about that one, and commanded you to stay with us. At least you were around after the U.K. Invasion. It's a shame that you won't be there when I get back. You won't see Mack grow up. Worse still, she won't remember you. You won't get to meet the people to whom I told all sorts of fine things to about you. You won't get anymore belly scratches from me :(

All good things must come to an end, I s'pose. God called, and he's got a much better tasting cookie than you could get here. Plus, He'll scratch your belly forever and ever and His arm won't ever tire. And think of all the squirrels you'll be able to catch. You'll catch squirrels and birds and mice that you caught here! Keep on terrorizing them!

Roxy. Rox. The Roxinator. Roxysopolous. Furry-face. Buddy-bear. Loser. Ugly. Pal. Pyal. The big, swoft dwog. The Chyna to my Triple H. Krox. The original goofy puppy. Roxy.

Roxy.

Roxy. The greatest canine.

April 12, 1992 - November 19, 2004.


One of my final pix of Roxy and I, taken shortly after I returned from a weekend in Waterloo, after returning home from the United Kingdom.

The Undisputed Champion and the Intercontinental Champion.
Roxy & I 001.jpg

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October 18, 2004

A Dark Knight over Where?

I doubt you'll find it on a casual map of Australia. Definitely won't find it on a globe. And, to the Dunnville friends, no, not her.

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October 17, 2004

A Dark Knight over Ayr

Days covered: October 17

Long ago, back when I was working in the grocery store in Dunnville at night, I read an article about the state of the English farming industry. In there was a picture of some guy doing his job, shaving sheep. A thought came to my head: "How cool would it be to live somewhere getting by on menial, off-the-beaten-path jobs, not normally done here in Canada?" I dismissed that thought, being riddled with debt and nearing the end of my university tenure.

On that, when I got into Sydney, I didn't want some office job or data entry thingy. Done that enough since U. I was willing to trade off some money now to do some non-Canadian job, something totally different.

I made that decision, and found a town to do it in. Today, the day finally came when I left the glitz of Sydney to join the Australian countryside fruit picking.

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October 16, 2004

A Dark Knight over Sydney

Days covered: October 08 - October 16

Through air, over water and waves and lands, crossing political boundaries over countries, hemispheres, date-lines, tropics...

I'm here. I arrived in Sydney to begin the second (third?) leg of my Take-over. Sydney's the first stop in an enormous country with lots to see and do.

I had a rough plan as to what I wanted to do and how to do it, like in the U.K. One thing at a time, though.

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October 8, 2004

A Dark Knight over Fiji

Days covered: October 07 - October 08

If you read carefully, you'll notice a day's missing, October 06. That's because I didn't really have an October 06 -- I crossed the International Date Line. I went from 05 to 07 :)

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October 5, 2004

A Dark Knight over Los Angeles

Days covered: October 04 - October 05

Many people were surprised that it'd take half a week to get from Toronto to Sydney. Hell, I'm surprised at that. But, this is how I planned it. Well, sort of. It was the cheapest flight that I could get. Besides, this is my chance to see some other places before I get to Aus. I'd be a fool not to take even a short jaunt around L.A.

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October 4, 2004

The Australia InvasIon

Days covered: October 04

Part two of the Take-over kicked off today.

The fate suffered... no, awarded to the U.K. will befall those in the South Pacific. I'll head south of the equator for the first time ever. Destination: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This is going to be a mega ride, though. It'll take me a week to get there. I'm making stops along the way. One thing at a time, though.

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October 3, 2004

Two weeks off

I spent the last two weeks chillin' out, maxin' relaxin', all cool, out shootin' some b-ball outside of my school.

Played with Roxy. (She better be alive when I get back.)

Played with Mckayla. (She's grown!)

Saw a lot of the fam.

Played Jedi Knight II. (Don't ask why.)

Saw some folks. Gave some gifts. Read some comics. (Need Y The Last Man #21.) Ate a tonne of food. (Mmmm, cheesecake.) Realized how good my friends are. (Mad props to you all. Almost makes up for all the chauffeuring I've done :P )

Did nothing, really. It was fun, and I'm finally relaxing now.

Too bad it's only two weeks. Time to up and move again. <sigh> No rest for the wicked. (But I'm sure there are worse fates than a couple of months in Australia.)

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September 16, 2004

The U.K. Invasion: Coda(?)

After the E.U. West Invasion, I spent a couple of days winding things up in the U.K.

Places to go,
letters to write,
people to visit,
things to see,
one last blast before a brief rest.

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September 11, 2004

A Dark Knight over Paris

Days covered: August 10 - August 11

The following takes place
between 11:00 PM and 2:00 AM.

Events occur in real time.

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September 9, 2004

A Dark Knight over San Sebastian

Days covered: August 07 - August 09

That's it! I'm essentially done. Touring around the E.U. West is, for all intents and purposes, done. I've seen the sights of the big areas I want to. So, I'm here in San Sab(astian) to recharge before I make my way back to London.

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September 7, 2004

A Dark Knight over Madrid

Days covered: August 04 - August 06

Today, I'll take you through the magical land of Spain's capital city, Madrid :D

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September 4, 2004

A Dark Knight over Barcelona

Days covered: August 30 - September 03

Queen wrote a song about it.

It hosted the 1992 summer Olympic games.

It's a city famous for its nightlife.

Or, rather, knightlife :)

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August 29, 2004

A Dark Knight over Nice

Days covered: August 27 - August 29

If you travel through Busabout, you must stay at their deemed overnight stops en route to your destination, if any of these mandatory overnight stops are along the way. They will not go through these locations until the morning after arrival. Nice in France, on the Med. Sea, in the French Riviera, is one such stop. I didn't care to stay there for too long. I hadn't heard of it, and had no desire to visit Nice, but I thought I'd give it a chance by staying for three nights. Waste of time, or time well spent?

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August 26, 2004

A Dark Knight over Cinque Terre

Days covered: August 23 - 26

This won't be an easy one to write.

I can tell you that Cinque Terre (pronounced "Chin-kwey Tare", Italian for "Five lands") was the most beautiful area in Italy. As such, it was the perfect place to reenergize myself.

But conveying atmosphere in words is hard. I'll try.

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August 22, 2004

A Dark Knight over Florence

Days covered: August 18 - August 22

Being on my own for the first time ever in a foreign country that's way the hell away from my native land and that speaks a different language from my own would terrify anyone. Don't let them say otherwise. Anyone who says otherwise is full of crap.

As such, I was moving as fast as I could with 20 kg on my back to the Busabout pick-up point. I didn't want to be stuck in Rome with little working knowledge of their tongue and drop more cash on transport.

I sweat, I had sore legs, and I was terrified that I'd miss the bus. That terror moved me faster and faster to the bus. But, I made it. I finally could rest easy as I went off to Florence.

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August 18, 2004

A Dark Knight over Rome

Days covered: August 16 - August 18

Rome.

The name commands many thoughts, like greasy Italians, good food, powerful emperors, and a beautiful city with a rich history. Are these associations well founded?

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August 17, 2004

A Dark Knight over the Vatican

Days covered: August 16 - August 17

So.

Here I am. Rome. The Vatican. Rome. The Vatican.

Italy.

The Mediterranean.

Italy.

The southern E.U.

Not much holding back my energy now.

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August 15, 2004

The E.U. West Invasion

Days covered: August 15

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a king, an emperor, a magistrate, a lord; all bore the name Tyler. Tyler was an ambitious one, at times. He had a simple dream: to expand his era, his reign, his rule, his time. He started with Canada, and half the country fell to his feet. He expanded into some of the U.S., but wasn't terribly thrilled with it. He decided to take the reign overseas, and after a short reconnaissance mission, he orchestrated a full-frontal Invasion in the United Kingdom. As part of this U.K. Invasion, he had some fluid plans for the European Union -- afterall, mainland Europe is just a ferry ride away, at most.

August 15th came, and it was time to venture forth into the E.U.

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August 12, 2004

Mapped Out

It's set!

EU West Invasion.jpg

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August 9, 2004

The E.U. West Invasion: Prologue

Almost exactly seven years ago, I and many others made our way to France for two weeks. We toured around to several cities and towns, including Paris, Bordeaux, and Lourdes. It was a great time. I saw much of France away from the tourist infested areas, sampled some fine food, and experienced French culture. Problem was that it was a fairly organized trip, through Contiki. That's fine and good, guided tours are, but sometimes ya just wanna go heedlessly (or relatively heedlessly), ya know?

Seven years hence, and what started then is continuing now. On 15 August, I fly out to Rome and will take the long way back to London.

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August 9, 2004

Delightful Design

One of my employer's clients has this lovely design for their site. I like it :)

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August 5, 2004

Too Funny!

I just found out that there's a little town (village?) in the UK, in Surrey county, called Bagshot. El-oh-el! That'll have me going for the rest of the day.

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August 4, 2004

Another One Gone

Assuming no delays at Gatwick today, another minion departs the U.K. today, right now. Too bad, too. She's one of the better ones.

We're coming to that time, and it's come fast. Folks are returning to their native lands to resume normal life. Case and point: me.

Talk to you soon :)

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August 2, 2004

My Epitaph

I was asked the other day at lunch by Lori, as written about in the Netherlands, what I'd put on my epitaph.

I had no immediate response. I never thought of it, seriously, anyway. And really, I'd be dead when it is done. Feed me to the sharks for all I care. Or encase me in gold.

I've come up with something, though:

THE DUDE (not my real nickname, but just so my name isn't shown online -- too many search engines go through here)
B: <ya know>
D: <date to be determined later>
JOKE'S ON YOU
I NEVER DIED

It's still a work in progress, but it's something to run with for now.

Feel free to contribute to my future tombstone :)

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July 30, 2004

The Dark Knight and the Genius, Almost

I've missed my chance, twice now, to meet, or at least come close to and possibly take a picture of, Dr. Stephen Hawking.

A friend in Cambridge texted me last night, saying she was standing near him at some restaurant on the River Cam. This makes the second brush with Dr. Hawking she's had.

Imagine that: me meeting a Simpsons guest star. Maybe I should've stayed in Cambridge :(

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July 28, 2004

Blisstonia

Maybe you've experienced this, maybe not. You know that period right after you wake up, for a brief moment in time, in life, you don't remember anything? Important, personal, life-long details are remembered, but things like what happened last night, or what you need to do today, or what cereal you're going to eat, or anything is forgotten. You know? Then, one by one, like bubbles bursting and setting free all sorts of memories, those elements that make your life good or bad are recalled, setting the tone for the day, or the morning at least. You know? It's a state of confusion, but without the panic. It's a nice feeling.

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July 26, 2004

The Dark Knight Strikes Cambridge Again

Days covered: July 24 - July 25

I had a blast the first time I was in Cambridge, I figured I should revisit it. The friends are still there, and the city hasn't changed (I think). It's been over two months since I've been there. Yeah, it's time.

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July 23, 2004

The Spat with the Landlord

My landlord says I didn't pay rent last week. I have the receipt proving him wrong. He said the receipt's wrong.

I'll get a bank statement today to further back me up.

I'll be able to laugh at this day in about a month from now.


UPDATE: On Monday, 26 July, he conceded, citing he missed the line item on his bank statement. Glad that's over.

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July 17, 2004

The Canadian Election 2004

On June 28th, the Canadian people spoke out on their federal government.

We now have a Liberal gov't again, of sorts.

It's the first time in (I may be mistaken) 25 years that we've had a minority government.

I didn't vote, though I could've by proxy. Still, I don't know who I would've voted for.

The Liberals are probably the least threatening of the four major choices. (Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and other.) But, and I know I'm not alone when I say this, they needed a kick in the ass. That sponsorship scandal was just the lastest sign that they've gotten too complacent and needed to leave. For that reason, I'd've voted Tory.

However, seeing what the conservative gov't is doing south of the border, I wouldn't want anything like that happening in Canada. The tories are potentially a dangerous lot. The name may have changed, but it's still an old Reform party member leading that charge, and as I recall, they had some dangerous things in mind regarding fiscal policy. I think the Cdn. gov't's policy and actions are decent right now. We're not in nearly as bad a shape as the U.S., though we're so close to them economically. For that reason, I'd go Liberal.

All my thoughts need to be taken with a cautionary note: I have no idea what anyone's platform was. The election was called after I got to the U.K., and at that time, I was unemployed and really had no where to go to pay for Internet useage above checking mail and mailing CVs and skimming the headlines. For all I know, Harper would've stopped expanding the money supply, froze interest rates, and let external factors drive the economy up. For all I know, Mr. Martin et al. took back all the money from the sponsorship scandal and invested in our single greatest resource, our children. (I know, I can't keep a straight face, either.)

But I don't know this, and I trust my Canadian counterparts made the right choice.

Since it's a minority gov't, it'll be a matter of time before another election is called and we gotta do this all over again.

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July 12, 2004

The Dark Knight Strikes Norwich Again

Days covered: July 09 - July 11

I went back up to visit Marq & Caroline, with the added bonus of seeing their new bungalow!

The weekend got off to a bad start. I was late for my train, and the train took a long time to get there due to signalling delays. We partied that night, which was a blast (except for that damn bubble machine in the club). The rest of the weekend was marred by rain, so we couldn't take in the city like we wanted to.

The highlight, outside of their new bungalow, and Marq's fine cooking, was visiting St. John's Roman Catholic Cathedral. Marq describes it as something out of Gotham City. You can guess what happened next.

Inside, the cathedral was beyond pristine. It's quite new, with its groundbreaking in only 1882. So, this had all the charm of a massive, ominous structure, but all the beauty of its youth. I was even compelled to attend mass there with M&C's friend, Kevin.

Damn, was it beautiful.

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July 8, 2004

The Championships Wimbledon

So far, the only real regret I have is that I didn't go to Wimbledon. It's the only tennis tournament I watch (not sure why, but...), and I figured I should actually go to it. When in, do as, right? Well, I would've, except that damn unemployment for 3.5 weeks put Wimbledon to bed early for me. I had the chance to watch it outside the arena on Henman Hill, but time was working against me, and I missed out.

Maybe next year.

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July 6, 2004

America Day

BUNAC hosted a boat cruise for myself and 349 other folks wishing to celebrate this day.

Overall, it was fun. The boatride seemed short, but it was about three hours long. We went all the way past Greenwich to the industrial area of the Thames river. The night ended with a bunch of us at the Sports Bar, some dance club in Piccadilly Circus.

Still, for Americans, they didn't really celebrate this day. No fireworks, no camaraderie, no singing. Not like Canada day :)

If you want to see I and mine on this cruse, go to TNT Mag's (a British publication) pix of July 4th :) (This set of photos has elevated me to celebrity status! The take-over continues... ;)

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July 4, 2004

The Vardons U.K.

I've been here for almost two months, a full two months if you round figures. I figured it was time to visit the family I have in London. I visited the cousins outside London, I figure it's time. I hadn't seen these folks in over a year, and really, not much's changed. The littlest, Adrian's, grown up some. People look the same, and I've been updated as to things all along for the last year. Still, it's nice to come home. (Especially with fabulous food being served ;)

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July 3, 2004

Nxe3 mate!

I met Gary Kasparov today!

He showed at a local chess & bridge shop, not too far from where I live. He's promoting a DVD about him vs. the computer, Deep Blue. I think he's pushing some book too, I'm not sure.

I got two pix of him, one where he and I are side by side as he's signing my little poster for Game Over, that DVD of his.

The tragedy is Batman didn't get to meet him. I was close: I had him perched on Mr. Kasparov's shoulder! Kasparov had a "What the...?" look on his face, but played along. The imbecile taking pix shared the sentiment, but pushed me along without a pic. Close...

And now for your viewing pleasure, the Dark Knight & The King!

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July 2, 2004

Canada Day in the U.K.

Every year, a massive party errupts in Covent Garden. There, a bar called the Maple Leaf resides. This is a Canadian themed place, the same place I watched the NHL playoffs. Well, what better place to celebrate Dominion day than there?

The party is so large that it spills out into the street, and Maiden Lane gets closed off to traffic. Last year, aboot 3,500 people showed up for this. This year, about the same amount showed.

Fun was had. The bottle of champagne was horrid as expected, and very hard to drink out of the bottle -- I lost about 25% in foam that overflowed. I managed through God's grace to find my friends and then some in that mess of flesh. The highlight was the world's best German kicking beer into some guy's back :D

One thing was missing: a barbecue. BBQd food would've been poifect. Ah well. Minor detail.

Better yet, this was the first Canada day I've celebrated in three years. Leaving Coral wasn't such a bad idea ;)

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June 30, 2004

My Job Here, pt. 2

It took a while, but I'm back in the work force. Renoir Christian & Timbers, an executive recruitment firm for the tech sector, decided to hire me to be a database monkey administrator. It should be intense, but that's good: I won't be bored. As for the office and stuff, we'll see how that goes. I start on July 01. Yay me!

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June 30, 2004

A Dark Knight over Oxford

Days covered: June 30

Today's the last day before I start my new job. As such, today's the last day I'll probably get a hassle free day trip and uncongested train ride to some city with my Eurail pass. So, I went to the one city that I wanted to go to that has so far escaped my presence: Oxford.

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June 28, 2004

A Dark Knight over Belgium

Days covered: June 27

I didn't expect much out of this stop. Afterall, we're in a country, a city, to be exact, for mere hours.

Well.

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June 28, 2004

A Dark Knight over The Netherlands

Days covered: June 25 - June 27

Originally, I wanted to do this to explore everything there is about England. Sure, I'd venture out into the E.U., but I was more interested in the U.K.

Well, it wasn't until I talked to a colleague in Coral office in Calgary about two months before I left that the desire to travel all around the E.U. was sparked. I have some rough plans to go around before I go home and off to the land of Oz. In the meantime, I've decided to follow BUNAC as they made a three day trip to Amsterdam!

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June 19, 2004

Manchester Fallout

The weekend following Manchester, I was sick as a dog. I'm not sure where it came from, but I'm sure it had something to do with the less-than-stellar weather and physical environment in Manchester. Or, it could've been that someone at some point in the last 24 hours breathed on me. The tubes are a cesspool of germs.

I was walking along Kensington High Street, out to see the Albert Memorial, and my legs were sore and I felt tired. I figured it was due to the amount of walking I did in the last few days. Instinctually, I went home.

I found out otherwise when I got home and just felt like crap.

God willing, this won't last through the weekend. Good thing I didn't make travel plans for these two days.

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June 18, 2004

A Dark Knight over Manchester

Days covered: June 16 - June 18

At this point, June 16, I've been without work for two and a half weeks. I thought I'd get a job sooner than this; I've got skillz, and my temp agencies said it wouldn't be a problem when I first approached them a month ago. C'est la vie, right? It's really starting to depress me and raise my ire, and that's bad. I'm not here to worry about a job. I'm here to travel 'n such. So, traveling I go, job and be damned. I made my way, once again, to Manchester.

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June 13, 2004

A Dark Knight over Brighton

Days covered: June 11 - June 13

For the last week, the week ending Friday, 11 June, I've been looking for jobs, in newspapers and w/ the BUNAC job board. June 11, though, I thought I'd drop all that. More than likely, today would've been a crashing defeat of no-go after no-go in jobs I'd call about. I'm not here to feel bad or to weigh myself down with petty details like a job. I don't need a bring down, esp. this weekend. So, I did what I set out to do: travel and lay claim to as many places as I can. Yesterday, I got the go-ahead from my friend Phil in Brighton to visit him, and that's what I'll do.

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June 7, 2004

Hockey in England

Many of you know me well enough to know I'm not a hockey fan. Yes, I am Canadian, Je me Souviens and all that, eh, and I have a slightly casual interest in the game, but it never really piqued my interest. However, I've been compelled to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs here in London.

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June 4, 2004

Well, That was Short

I was told that on Thursday, 03 June that my contract's being terminated on Friday, 04 June. Two things are wrong here:

  1. They gave me two days notice to terminate my employment;
  2. They terminated my contract after three weeks. It was for eight, but now it's three.

Gemma, my contact at the temp agency that got me this job, says this happens often in the world of contracting. I'll take her word for it. I've never been a contracter before. Still, I don't think she was impressed at the short term notice of termination. I gotta give two weeks notice, but they only need to give me two days? I hope this isn't a global thing and it's only limited to this area of the world. It's not fair, but I can't do much, really. Just go and look for another job, or hope that the agencies I got with can help out.

This has put a lot of sand in my engine of mobility (and, thus, the take-over). BUNAC has trips to Cornwall and Amsterdam in June, and I want to go to Brighton and Manchester to visit my peeps there before they leave, and I want to live and eat normally. That's all questionable now.

Add to the shitty buzz that my favourite gal in the BUNAC office is leaving. Well, she wasn't any more or less helpful than the rest, but she knew my name first. All the best, Amanda :)

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June 2, 2004

My Job Here

As of May the 17th, I've been employed by a mortgage company called, aptly and unimaginitively, The Mortgage Operation. They work with mortgage brokers to do some back end work. I'm not quite sure what they do, really. I never asked, nor have I been able to discern exactly what they do from my work. What I do is crap; I'm an office monkey. I file, I fax, I sort, I help update and maintain a database through proprietary software, and whatever odd li'l tasks they want me to do.

I know what you're all thinking, and you're right, but it pays decently, to my understanding.

And how's this for odd, and almost ironic: I work right across the street from the Shell Center. If you don't know, my old employers, Coral Energy, are owned by Shell. I was told not to expect anything from Shell in the way of employment directly from them. If I did get in there, it'd be through a temp agency. Moreover, from my experience at Coral, they don't like to have much contract/temp staff around.

Everyday as I walk in and out of the Elizabeth House, where TMO is, the Shell Center watches me and smirks at my puny job. It mocks me and belittles me from nearby, but I don't care. Shell's got its own problems right now.

Another plus to the job is that it's for eight weeks, meaning I won't need to look for employment for over a month! I can handle that.

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June 1, 2004

A Dark Knight over Wales

Days covered: May 29 - May 31

Saturday, May 29 was a promising day for me. Not only is this another BUNAC organised trip, but it's a mega-trip, three days long, and in another country. The invasion makes its way to Wales today.

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May 23, 2004

The Real Speaker's Corner

Days covered: May 23

I had a short list of things I needed to accomplish whilst living in the U.K. One of them was going to Speaker's Corner in London. It took a few weeks (even longer if you consider the trip I made to London in 2003), but here I am.

Continue reading "The Real Speaker's Corner"

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May 23, 2004

A Dark Knight over Bath

Days covered: May 22

One hour after departing Stonehenge, the BUNAC day trip brought us to Bath, the sight of the ancient Roman divine grounds.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Bath"

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May 23, 2004

A Dark Knight over Stonehenge

Days covered: May 22

Today was an action packed day. It was the first BUNAC organized trip since I got here in London. Today, we set out on a day trip to two places. First up: Stonehenge.

Continue reading "A Dark Knight over Stonehenge"

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May 17, 2004

A Dark Knight over Cambridge

Days covered: May 13 - May 16

For quite some time, there was this raging debate going on: where to go when I get to England. After (too?) much brain work, I decided to try my hand at Cambridge. It was a decision made in about 24 hours. This is what it's all about.

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May 13, 2004

Job Hunting, U.K. Style

Days covered: May 10 - May 13

The whole reason I came back to London from Norwich so early -- I would've stayed until Monday morning or so like M&C wanted -- was to begin looking for work. Not that I need to mention this, but a trip like this isn't free, and it was time find work for future endeavours.

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May 9, 2004

A Dark Knight over Norwich

Days covered: May 08-May 09

The morning of May eighth was pretty frantic. I had a quick breakfast (well, the same size English breakfast as the other days, just eaten really fast), rushed to the front desk of the hostel to check out (tennants leaving must check out by 1000), threw my things in the overnight storage, made my way to the Liverpool Street train station, and got on a train bound for Norwich.

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May 7, 2004

A Dark Knight over London

Days covered: May 05-May 07

When I got to the hostel to check in, it was 0800 GMT on Wednesday, May fifth. Problem was it wasn't until 1230 that they'd accept check-ins. Better yet, it started to lightly rain out. London wasn't going to take my presence kindly.

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May 5, 2004

The U.K. Invasion

Days covered: May 04 - May 05

May fourth started out like the last several days: packing, unpacking, repacking, playing with Roxy, eating high calorie foods, except this one was different. By 1400 hrs EDT, I made my way to the airport, as this was the day prophesized for many moons. The day I left my familiar, comfortable physical surroundings for the larger world to expand my reach. First stop: London, England.

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May 2, 2004

Mad Props

Several people have helped make this global expansion of my reign a much smoother transition from everyday life.

  • Mom & Dad for taking housing 95% of my stuff, and for their support. (Oh, and for birthing and raising me and such.)
  • Frank & Janet for taking some more of my stuff, and helping me move home.
  • Uncle Joe and Aunt Nelly for taking some more stuff.
  • Sherri (sp?) at Carry-On Comics in Waterloo, Ontario for Batman's company. To Sherri and Andy at Carry-On for putting my comics aside for the next little bit.
  • James & Opal for housing me upon my return for a day or two. (...or three.) James, again, for hosting my site. (... or four or five.)
  • Todd & Sandra for the Let's Go London guide, which has been beneficial.
  • Chris and Todd and Mieke and Ray at Coral for their professional assistance, now and later. Also at Coral, Neil for the travel tips.
  • The Vardons in England for their support.
  • And, last, but not least, you, the fans, for your love and admiration.

For your assistance, I'll make sure your deaths are quick and painless, ideally in battle, but if not, then by my hand, and my hand alone. Now that's love ;)

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April 20, 2004

The Global Take-over

As of this writing, April 20, 2004, I have exactly two weeks until I depart for Europe. London, England to be exact.

... and I'm not coming back for 4.5 months.

Then I'm off to Australia.

... and I'm not coming back for 7 months.

You're not misreading, and there are no typos here: I've decided to take the show on the road!

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About The Global Take-over
This page contains an archive of all entries posted to tk: online in the The Global Take-over category. They are listed from newest to oldest.

Serious Thoughts is the previous category.

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