Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stupid RTE newsroom

Two gems from our national broadcaster yesterday. Okay, one of them might have been a misspelling, or a slip of the tongue, and I know that newsreaders don't always listen to what they're saying, but still, to refer to Ingmar Bergman's best-known film as The Seven Seas is surely pretty dense, no?

The other thing that really annoyed me was when the newsreader announced that Cork man Paul Cunningham was on the way to Dublin to collect his Lotto winnings, despite the fact that Mrs. Cunningham was the one who bought the ticket. Surely that makes them her winnings, or at best their winnings?

Perhaps I demand too much from the radio news.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Some day, we will storm the Citadel

But not this time.

Because of our stupid 24 hour delay, we got into Halifax on Sunday night instead of Saturday night, and so we missed the opportunity to actually go on board the Tall Ships in Halifax when we got there. Instead, Queenie and Himself collected us at the airport and drove us to the harbour where the ships were moored for their last night in town, so we could walk around them in the gathering fog. We ate hot dogs for our dinner and held off on talk of home and catching up so that Mister M could explain the difference between ketches and sloops and I could, like I always do, pretend to be able to remember it. It was very cool, because we got to see the Pride of Baltimore II, which was a privateer in the 1812 war, and we saw The Bounty, which is, of course, a reproduction. We also saw a couple of really cool national navy training ships, one from India and one from Germany.

On Monday, which was a scorcher (sorry, Irelanders), Mister M and I managed to haul ourselves out of the apartment to watch the (fanfare) Parade of Sail, in which each of the ships gave a little tour of the harbour before leaving for Lunenberg. We could have gone down to the harbour, but it was hot and packed down there, so we stood up on the hill just below the Citadel and watched from there for a couple of hours. We had binoculars and a camera, but no hats or sunblock or water. And so the inevitable happened, which is that we got amazingly sunburned and felt dizzy and had to go and sit in a very touristy pub and drink beer and eat lobster sandwiches until we felt better.

Queenie and Himself made barbeque happen in the evening, and although it had nothing to do with ships, it was good because it felt comfortable and friendly and proper, and we met their neighbours and played washer toss, which is a little like horseshoes, but with washers and boxes of sand, and we drank beers and it just felt really good, which is just as well, because it tipped down rain most of the rest of the week. Ha ha. Serves me right for getting the Angel Gabriel to give me a good haircut, and buying a fancy hat to keep the sun off.

Fear of flying

When I was younger, my dad worked for Aer Lingus and we used to fly places on standby. This was always an exciting proposition, because you were never quite sure if and when you were going to get away. Many's the boring hour I spent sitting in airports, waiting for the next flight, because there would be enough seats on that for us all. A couple of times, when flying on my own at peak times, I didn't get away on the day I wanted and had to go home or back to my accommodation having sat in the airport all day long, just to come back and sit in the airport all day long the next day. I swore when I got older that I would never take for granted the fact that I could afford to pay for a ticket and just get on a plane when I was supposed to.

It didn't quite work in Belfast this time. We were delayed by 24 hours on the way out to Halifax, which immediately gave me The Fear because I was convinced that we were going to end up like those people in Newark who were supposed to be flying to Knock. The airline strung them along for five days or something, and then finally cancelled the flight. I think a bunch of them are still trying to get their money back.

However, things work better with Zoom, it seems. They waited till everyone had checked in, then bussed us all over to the Belfast Hilton, fed us dinner and put us up there for the night, then bussed us back to the hotel next day at lunchtime to wait for the flight to be ready. They fed us lunch that day too, right before bringing us over to check in. It was all handled very well. Well done the Zoom. And John Hume was on our flight and may or may not have been trying to skip the lunch queue on the second day.

Ways in which TV is not like real life, part 437

I was singing the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies to myself this morning and it occurred to me that if a poor family found black gold, or Texas tea, if you will, in their back garden, their kinfolk would not advise them to move away from there. There's not a chance on earth you would suggest that your newly-wealthy family should pick up, leave the state and drive all the way to California. Why? What purpose would it serve?

It makes no sense.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Me meme!

Before I went on holidays, my mentor, Manuel Estimulo, invited me to join in this meme. I don't usually join in memes because I have a proper blog instead of a Livejournal (that was a joke, please don't kill me). However, who can refuse everyone's favourite fascist?

So, here are eight things you didn't know about me before:

1) I love driving. It's shameful, I know, but I love it. I pray for the day when electric cars, or hydrogen cars, or some non-shameful form of car comes on the market that I can pilot without having to feel like some kind of environmental criminal and curtail my driving. However, like all right-thinking drivers, I only really like driving on good, relatively quiet roads. There are about four of these in any one country, and so my enjoyment of driving is lessened somewhat. I do not listen to Bachman Turner Overdrive while driving.

2) I listen to Farm Week on RTE Radio One almost every week. There is no reason for this, other than the fact that I'm something of a stickler for certain routines. Back when the Big Breakfast was on Channel 4 in the mornings, I couldn't go to work until a certain point in the programme had passed. Now, I have to get up on a Saturday morning to listen to Farm Week.

3) The corollary to 2) is that I have become a morning person as I have grown older. If the weather is fine, I like nothing more than getting up at 6am and going out for a walk, and am one of those tedious coves who will tell you that the early morning is the best part of the day.

4) Although I dislike almost everything about the practice of it, and don't enjoy watching it on television, I actually think golf is a great game. It's sociable, non-combative, age-inclusive, and involves a lot of walking. However, the actual business of golf, with its enclosed lands that could be used as public amenities, wasting of natural resources, and ludicrous motorised carts that remove even the walking aspect of it, really annoy me.

5) People who can walk around the streets in flip flops amaze me. I get a cramp in my foot if I walk in mine for more than two minutes, and I trip over them going both up and down stairs. In fact, other people's footwear in general is a source of amazement to me. The heels are so high! The shoes look so uncomfortable and insubstantial! What is the point?

6) In fact, I'm boringly practical when it comes to buying clothes. I rarely buy handbags or coats that aren't waterproof, just in case, and I won't buy shoes that say on them that they're not supposed to be worn outdoors (what is the POINT?) Although I love fancy hats, I rarely buy them either, because I once saw some skanger rob a hat off a guy's head and throw it in the Liffey, and I live in fear that someone will do that to me and I will look a fool.

7) I look forward to the Autumn, because all my television programmes will start again.

8) I am happier now, both with my lot in life and with my own self, than I have ever been.

I understand that I'm now supposed to nominate someone else to complete this meme. I haven't decided who yet.

Medical tourism

Recently, some friends of mine have been discussing their lives and how well or poorly they've turned out. This discussion was prompted by some reminiscing about college days and the SU Mandate Scandal of 19__, and what the main dramatis personae in that exciting episode have gone on to achieve. Some of us were bewailing our lack of life momentum, but I guess in order for some to succeed, others must look on from the sidelines.

I, of course, am the mistress of underachievement, thanks to my legendary level of laziness in all things. Here's an example of what I mean. I have a friend who runs a company called Reva Health Network, which is a medical tourism website. You go to his site, and you can find health care professionals in many countries around the world, saving money as you go. Sometimes he tells me about this company and what it does, and I get tired just listening to him. Not just because he has a real company that he runs (with employees and everything!) but because even being a medical tourist requires a level of organization to which I can only aspire. If it comes to a choice between getting on a plane and flying to Poland to save €2,000 (or similar) and going into Dublin to see some rubbish doctor you've been going to for years out of habit who never cures you of anything and in fact can't even be bothered to read your notes when you're sitting in front of her or him... well, I know which I'd choose. Which, of course, is why I'm always sick.

Hmm. Perhaps some sort of life rethink is called for at this point.

Bless me, readers

For I have sinned. It is a whole month since my last blog entry. And a miserable month too, for many of us. A month during which the distraction of a blog entry would have been truly welcome. I'm back now, though.

Mind you, I'm not happy about it, given that the place I'm back from is Nova Scotia, where I would very happily spend the rest of my days because it is a) beautiful and b) where Queenie lives. As I said to her a couple of days ago, I really wish she lived somewhere shit, so I could tell her to come home. But you couldn't order anybody home from Halifax: it's too good a place to live, and besides, she knows heaps of lovely people, including Himself who, among other things, taught Mister Monkey how to eat every single bit of a lobster, including the bits that usually get sent back to the kitchen. Never again will Mister M be outwitted by a crustacean.

Anyhow, back now.