Archive for October, 2008

28
Oct
08

legendary london

ive been awake for around thirty hours, maybe more, but im back from london. a very interesting time.

i arrived thursday night at the stansted airport outside of london. my porteguese friend, phil, picked me up and we commenced a two hour drive into london to his parents apartment. now, this apartment was glorious. really, swanky and awesome and all that jazz. i had a room to myself with a queen size bed to sleep in. glorious.i got to stay there thursday, friday, and saturday night.

how did i spend this weekend in london? very unexpectedly. me and phil spent most of our three days together just talking. and talking. and talking. we talked about books and movies and music and philosophy and psychoanalysis and linguistics and politics and academia and then side tracked into all sorts of tomfoolery about penises and other absurdities. we also smoked a lot of cigars. all of it felt very scholarly and high brow and intellectual, which, of course, we are. but really, it was great and we talked for hours. hes convinced me to get some lacanian philosophy in me which also includes getting some hegel and kierkegaard and other such people in my head as well. i seem to have trouble with my conjunctions right now. too many ands all up in this ish. anyway, we also roamed the streets of london causing ruckuses. phil wore vampire teeth for, i think, about two hours straight. the looks you get at times.we did very minimal sight seeing, mostly just a lot of cigars and talking and food. i’ll probably go back to visit him in a couple of months. very interesting guy and very well read. a good time.

i bid fare thee well to phil on sunday and went over to ucl to meet josh. josh took me to camden, the birthplace of punk, and we browsed through the bazaar, which was actually quite cool. i also got to hear a crazy story involving two lesbians and sabatoged straight men. i’ll not get into it. but that night, my first night at ucl, was quite a rowdy one. parts of the night are missing in my recollection, but many things im certain of. we went to a bar that had all the lights off because the power went out inexplicably. also, we never went in the bar, we sat outside drinking beer we brought. very strange. but very funny. then we went back to their apartment complex and the festivities continued. a lot of drunk people in a small room makes for grand silliness. somewhere along the line, me and some girl disappeared for a while and returned with snacks from the vending machine. we also apparently passed out on top of my sleeping bag on josh’ floor. now, heres where the plot really thickens. one of the girls that slept in josh’ room left in the middle of the night to sleep in her room. however, she woke up back in the room with us and the other girl in our room left to go to her room as well. a lot of gaps in logic and time made a very interesting night in london.

poor josh was quite hung over all day, but we managed to wander around the city. walking through london is kind of like walking through a museum, everything is worth seeing. i didnt do much proper sight seeing in london, but walking the streets is all i really needed. last night, me and josh wanted to take it easy because i had to leave this morning at five and he had a paper to write and still felt  abit sick. didnt happen. we ended up going to the roxy and going mad craze, then came back and had a near repeat of the night before. though, me and josh didnt drink much last night as we stayed semi-responsible. at about three in the morning i decided to just stay up and not sleep to make sure i didnt over sleep and miss my train and schtuff. so, we just hung out and talked and all that good stuff. i left about eight hours ago to catch the tube to a train to a plane to take me to dublin where i had to catch a bus to take me into town to make my eleven am class. made it, though, in good time, too. but im seriously thrashed.

london was a great time. a place i spent far too much money doing far too little. a place i’ll probably return to, maybe a few times.

oh, also, i heard some one say ‘neednt’ and its my new favorite contraction ever.

and, yeah, pictures some day. im working on it, kind of.

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22
Oct
08

quick thought

for some reason i feel reluctant to swear on here. dont ask me why, i just do. i mean, anyone can read this, i think. probably best not to swear, yeah? thats my thinking, too. i mean, what if my grandma, in her infinite patience, looks up my name and this site happens to be on page six, which she sifts through, and, for whatever reason, maybe the proper alignment of the stars or the phase of the moon, recognizes this rambling finger talk–which really is about the most unlikely things that could happen, her recognizing me in here, though, just because its unlikely doesnt mean its impossible, and really, you dont know my grandma, shes really dedicated to discovering all that can be found on the interweb, especially when it concerns a  family member, no matter how far removed, thats not to say that im far removed, but she found all of our relatives in england and now talks to them occasionaly – how she found them is beyond me, but she did – and the same could happen to me, i mean, she found out who my teachers were by looking them up on trinitys page and began asking me questions about theyre research, which surprised me, obviously, my god this is a long aside which needs to end, i mean, theres even an aside to this long aside and i think this aside is longer than the original sentence– as me and my words on this random site.

now that ^ is a sentence.

okay, my other quick, or not so quick, depending on how fast you read and how much of my convoluted and ridiculous sentences makes sense on the first read. but this page tells me that the word ‘okay’ is not a word, which it clearly is, but the postal code ‘OK’ is a word, which it clearly isnt. this seriously frustrates me beyond what seems normal or reasonable. and i think this is the problem with the way people write, i mean, its no wonder most people spell okay as ok, theyre trained by these horrible machines, trained to suck the letters out of our language. terrible business, really. though, i need to be careful or i’ll find myself in some manifesto against the use of slang and the horrible state of compound words. i dont know why, but i never compound my words. something about them bothers me. like always is all ways and nevermind is never mind and nowhere is no where or now here, but thats a different story all together or altogether.

okay–there it is with that infuriating red line under neath it–thats all i felt like saying. getting off my chest, anyway.

22
Oct
08

recent events

okay kids, as you may be able to tell, im no good at this sort of thing. keeping an up to date log of my events. and, as you can see, no pictures yet. sorry. patience, yeah?

another thing about the letters that i recently found out. my program gave me the wrong postal code for my apartment. ive only received three pieces of mail, but i think, if you wrote me a letter, itll come within the next week. i hope so, anyway. for those of you who have my address and are reading this, my address is the exact same except i live in dublin 8, not dublin 2. if you wrote me a letter, you should let me know so i can confirm it as making it to me. an unfortunate state of affairs, really.

okay, back into it. about a week ago i met with my friend, derek, who lives right outside of galway. he stopped in dublin for a few hours to meet me. very nice guy, maybe the nicest ive met. he bought me lunch, two books, and showed me an awesome bookstore that consumed me a bit for the next couple of days. i also now have a place to stay if i go to galway, which is nice as i plan on making my way westward eventually. galways supposed to be a wondrous place.

classes started some weeks ago, too. class here and school in general is way different than what im used to. i only have six hours a week i spend in class, well, more like five and a half. but, to make up for it, ive something around two hundreds pages in reading, most of them from psychological and neuroscience journals. a lot of technical schtuff, very interesting, but not exactly pleasurable. also, ive no real idea what i need to have done for classes. i need to start thinking about my essays, but weve only had three class periods, which is, as it turns out, one third of my classes. yeah, only nine class hours per class. in america, nine clas shours brings you through the first week and a half. maybe. so very little guidance goes on here, but im sure i’ll manage. also, my tests for these classes isnt until may or june. yeah, all the exams for the year happen at the end of the year, regardless of when you took the class. though, it wont be too bad as ive only one class a week for the third term. should leave ample room to study and what have you. too, i only have class three days a week both terms. right now ive a three days weekend and no class tuesdays, but next term ive a four day weekend every week. should be very nice.

this leaves me a lot of time to travel, which i plan on doing. tomorrow, i leave for london to visit a few people. i’ll be there till tuesday as theres no class monday. my sisters coming for fifteen days in november and im going to be going to sctoland and galway with her, and then the day she leaves, im leaving to go to paris for a weekend, the 21st to the 23rd of november. oh, and, for my program, im going to northern ireland from the 13th to the 16th, i think. i think thats all the travelling i’ll have planned this term as im sure to be pennyless come christmas time. i may end up getting a job here soon to help out or im thinking i’ll take out a loan for spending money. whos to say.

this last weekend, josh and alyssa came and stayed with me. a very fun time. we saw the guinness tour, which is kind of shit as its very touristy and you only get a simulated tour. though, free guinness, which, it turns out, i dont hate. i know it sounds stupid to say, but guinness here actually is a million times better. american guinness is shit. complete and utter shit. then, we went to the old jameson distellery, which is no longer in use, just for tours. i forget where its currently made, somewhere south of dublin. this tour was a bit cooler, more informative and what have you, but really dark. i mean, very poorly lit. strange, but cool. i also heard one of the funniest things ive heard here in ireland during the tour. the tour guide was explaining the barrelling process for jameson and a lady interrupted. it went a bit like this:

guide: …we use oak, which gives it a-

crazy lady: oak comes from trees!

guide: uh…yeah, it does.

now, this was not a child, this lady was probably between fifty and sixty and just zonked out of her gourd, i imagine. too funny, really. anyway, alyssa, josh, and i got picked to be taste testers in the tour, only eight people get picked each tour. they give us a shot of jameson, a shot of johnny walker black label, and a shot of jack daniels, and we’re supposed to compare them. i liked jameson the best, josh went with black label, and alyssa was on the fence, but ended with jameson. it really is great. after our three shots, they also gave us a complimentary glass of jameson. after these two tours, we were feeling good.

that night, we went out and got wild, then came back and made pasta. the next day, we got up kind of early and went on a bus tour down the southern coast of dublin to powers court. it was a fun and informative tour. the bus driver kept us entertained and ive now a lot more towns i want to see whilst im here. powers court was amazing, though. some 150 acres of garden and beauty with mountains off in plain view. they film the hbo show the tudors there. really, a beautiful place. i’ll get pictures up so you can see them a bit. i’ll probably steal them from josh as his are much better and my camera died.

we got back and walked around a bit, checked out the city and what not. then we came home and ate. alyssa made us a wonderful pasta dish, very satisfying. then she cleaned my kitchen, the proper womanly thing to do. that night we took it easy and hung out at a few pubs and talked.

the next day their ferry was supposed to leave, but it got canceled due to winds, which meant alyssa was missing her monday classes. we took it easy that day and just walked around and checked out st patricks cathedral. we came back, ate pizza, drank wine, watched the brothers grimm, and a marathon of its always sunny in philidelphia. in the morning i went to class and they found out the next ferry was also canceled. very frustrating for them, but they finally made it out of dublin that night. a very fun weekend, got to see plenty of things i hadnt yet, and hang out with some kids id not seen since school of last year.

i registered with the irish police yesterday, which is really an endurance test. waited in line at about seven in the morning and didnt get my immigration card until four in the afternoon. i didnt spend all day there, but if i had, it wouldve been even more miserable. last night we also got fed by our program. it was wonderful to eat real steak again, but now i’ll not eat proper for quite some time.

on a final note, ive no longer any internet access except for the library. for about three weeks we were able to steal internet, but they found us out and now we’re blocked. inconvenient to say the least, but not all bad, but thats why theres no pictures yet.

i think thats all for now. i’ll report on london when i return.

08
Oct
08

a note on letters

i sent most everyone a letter that gave me an address. bonnie didnt get one because shes in portland and evan doesnt have one yet. but soon. bonnie, you can send me one, yeah?

sorry for the handwriting, all. its as good as it gets, and i hope it wasnt too difficult to decipher. but i’ll continue them in my hand because printing pages here is pricey and i quite enjoy writing, as you probably know. and i like my handwriting. not quite cursive, not quite script, some amalgamation of the two that perfects the craft of written words.

finally, if you dont write back, you dont get another one. thems the rules. i mean, whats the point in me just writing letter after letter? give me the goods or youre done.

i lied, thats not all. i found some incredible bookstores here. i may try to get some work at one. one of them, murder ink, specializes in noir. seriously. noir. its like a goldmine of power prose. so excited, but i wish i had millions to spend here because i could probably buy most of that store. im meeting a friend of mine from tuam this saturday and hes going to show me a few more bookstores, including a second hand one. very excited.

also, i’ll be in london from the 23rd to the 27th. if youre going to be there, give me a ring.

08
Oct
08

family fun

ive been meaning to post this since i got back, but ive been quite lazy when it comes to writing, and im not so good at weblogging. but, yeah, i spent this last weekend near tipperary with my host family. a very cool time.

tipperary is about an hour from cork, near the southwest corner of ireland. i think, anyway. ive no concept of what this countrys geography and such looks like. the bus ride was much longer than we thought it was. for some reason we all expected, like, an hour and a half drive, but that wasnt the case. about three hours was the time it took. it wasnt all bad and the irish country side will now forever be associated with beirut for me. a rather fitting union, i must say.

we got dropped off with our host, amanda, and one of her current and longstaying house members, sarah. she informed lucy, lucie, and me that she had a very full house. thirteen people including us were to be there for the weekend. kind of funny, really, i mean, the study abroad people said nothing about that. they said she had four kids and thats it. also, lucy and lucie were originally supposed to stay with someone else. theres no sense of planning in ireland, it seems.

we arrived at their home which was of a goodly size. amanda made us dinner, pasta, and gave us tea and ice cream and such. then, we watched me, myself, and irene, which was a little strange, to be honest. some bits of awkwardness in that movie. most everyone went to sleep pretty early that night, all before midnight, anyway. it ended up being just me and sarah watching television pretty late into the night. shes only sixteen, but shes pretty cool. shes an american, too, from washington. i guess it was a bit weird staying in a strangers house, hanging out with a sixteen year old girl, but it was all right.

i’ll take this moment to introduce everyone int he host family.

amanda: the matron. shes getting her masters in social work and currently works with drug addicts. very cool and pretty related to my own knowledge field. a very boisterous woman, friendly, but not afraid to tell you to fuck off and call you a little shit. she didnt say that, but i assume shed have no trouble doing so. a very funny lady with a great heart.

john: the patron. looks a bit like sam beam, but older, maybe mid to late forties, id say. he has an enormous beard, and also a very youthful face. spriteful eyes, simply shine when he looks at you. a bit like i imagine gandalfs eyes looking like. really though, just looking at him warms your heart. and when he smiles, oh man, its really great, just bright and lively. hes very soft spoken and understated, too, which makes his kind face and shining eyes all the better. also, the mans like a renassaince gentleman. he built his house, transformed it from gas and oil powered to an ecofriendly house with renewable power and water. he also worked in the computer industry for a long time and as a television repair type guy. he can do anything, i bet.

james: the eldest son. he ducked us most the weekend. only said a few words to him. he seems a distant sort or, more likely, doesnt like having ten strangers in his house.

sarah: a champion equestrian from washington. there as an exchange student.

helen: an exchange student from germany. also sixteen and more than a little strange. she spends most of her days there in her room apparently. barely speaks either.

laurna: the moodiest thirteen year old ive ever encountered. shes a big girl, about my height. she just mostly stares at people, kind of unnerving. shes a bit creepy, really, all scowls and no words. another one of john and amandas biological kids.

sam: the youngest son, six years old, and one hundred percent dudley dursely. really, a moody little kid, a bit violent and uppity. an attention grabbing technique as old as time. i mean, he just got two little brothers in the last month. i’ll explain. though, he was all right. i dont mean to paint him so cruel. we had some great talking about pokemon, transformers, and such things. oh, too, hes got the foulest mouth for a kid his age. all jackass this and jackass that.

anna: a great little girl, the youngest of john and amandas kids at three. just bubbling with sweetness and smiles. seems old for her age, if such things apply to three year olds. really though, a great little girl.

leon: a foster child of four years old. staying with amanda and john along with his biological little brother, shane. a very sweet boy with much more life in him than youd think a victim of abuse would have.

shane: an amazing little guy. hes three years old and leons brother. amanda and john began caring for the two about three weeks ago. shane came to them with a broken arm, a broken leg, burns all over his body, and three stab wounds in his head. yes, stab wounds in the head of a three year old. his biological mother and stepfather terrorized these two sweet little boys to the point of shanes near death. scary stuff, makes me feel terrible just thinking of it. but shane, like leon, is all sweetness and kindness and smiles. amazing really. i mean, hes still lively despite a near early end to it.

and thats the family that we stayed with. ive a lot of respect for john and amanda.

anyway, saturday morning, we woke up and ate some breakfast. then, amanda dropped us off at cashel where theres a huge castle. this castle is where the only irish king reigned, before the english came. we went with sarah and helen as guides. cashels a cool town, very touristy, but pretty cool and very historical. the castle was glorious, though. i’ll throw pictures up here soon or you can check out the ones on my facebook. i have loads more, but i decided to be brief with them. the castle sits high ontop of a hill, over the town. also, the sky was perfect for caslte exploring. all clouds blooming over the sky, threatening with rain. made it all epic. on the opposite side of the castlee is a monastery which was also pretty cool. again, pictures soon to come or on my facebook presently. at the monastery there were a few kids throwing rocks back and forth over one of the walls. it seemed funny to me, i mean, they went there to throw centuries old rocks that used to be a part of the monastery.

we hung around the town for a few hours after that waiting for our ride. we went to this church that holds the smallest book in the world, though, it was closed because it was saturday. also, we went into this super small bookstore that had some cool, random books. including the werewolf, some victorian age pseudoscientific volume about werewolves. i ended up not buying it, though, it made me weak in the knees, and ive been regretting it ever since stepping outside of that store. but it was twenty euro, and thats a lot, right? if i ever go back, i will own that book.

we got back that night and ate a big dinner with everyone. shepherds pie, a familiar dinner to me. that night john took us out for drinks and this is when we actually got to meet john. hed been around, but he doesnt speak much, though i wish he had, because hes a great man. i felt bad that he paid for our drinks, though. drinks are expensive here. then, we came back home and watched perfume. well, first john and amanda and me were watching it, then sarah came in, then john left, and eventually amanda left, too. after that, it was time for sleep.

sunday morning had a big breakfast. eggs, sausage, and toast. after that, the lucies and me went on a walk. the streets all around their house and their area were built by the ira originally. they used to for artillery maneuvering and things of that nature. michael collins’ house was nearby, as well. also, ive never seen cows or sheep so close up. and there were a lot of sheep and cows around there. unfortunately, we missed the ira memorial that was nearby. we didnt know about it until we got back, though.

we lounged around for a few hours after that, playing with the kids and what have you. eventually we had a great big irish meal. pork, potatoes, and cabbage. i didnt eat the cabbage, which i felt bad about. amanda mocked me a bit, too, said i wouldnt have survived the famine if i dont eat cabbage. but really, cabbage is just aweful. no offense to the irish, i know its a classic dish, but its really bad. i ate all my other portions, though, usually two of potatoes. so, i think i made up for it.

then it was time to say goodbye to the family and the weekend. a very cool time, a well spent weekend. the ride back was surprisingly much shorter for some reason, too. no accounting for it.

classes began on monday and theyve gone well so far. very little time is spent in class here, though. ive only six hours of class a week. no class on tuesday or friday, which is very cool.

meh, i think thats enough from me. i’ll try to be a bit mroe frequent. pictures soon.