The indisputable leader

Cool, there’s a Top Cat cartoon on TV just now without the canned laughter. God Bless the BBC1! I wonder if they’ll get the same backlash when they revert that they did when they accidentally showed a chortle-augmented episode of M*A*S*H?

1 When I was a lad, they wouldn’t even call it “Top Cat” in the listings, because there was a cat food on the market at the time with the same name…

Busy few days

… starting last Wednesday really, when I parted company with my old Fiat barchetta (sic), and exchanged it for a newer and shinier but equally-yellow one. I’m not one to get sentimental about cars, but that one certainly accompanied me on its fair share of interesting trips both here and back in the UK where I originally bought it. I’ve even completed one entire (and two partial) house moves with it– only thing that just wouldn’t fit was my widescreen TV 🙂

Saturday afternoon saw Dublin’s decision to allow a loyalist parade march down O’Connell Street go predictably wrong, with the place “resembling Bahghdad” afterwards according to Julie, who’d gone shopping in town regardless and somehow managed to avoid the violence and bomb scares.

The evening saw Scotland’s rugby union revival continuing, this time beating England at their own game: rock-solid defence and accurate kicking. (Unfortunately Ireland won as well, so they’ll have the triple crown up for grabs when we visit Lansdowne Road in the next game, so they’ll probably be trying a bit harder.)

After that we wandered round the corner to the local pub for dinner, and who should wander in but an Taoiseach Bertie and his fancy-woman for a quiet pint. Which is just what they should be able to do, of course, but it’s hard to imagine Dubya or Tony B being afforded the same privilege.

And finally, this evening I’m off to this Apple Guitar Seminar in Dublin, which sounds kind of cool… I really haven’t made much use of GarageBand or Logic Express since I got my PowerBook last year, maybe this will give me some inspiration. If it’s successful, it might also inspire Apple to open one of their amazing Apple Stores in Dublin, too… it’s kind of sucky that they have no less than six in Britain, but none at all in Ireland (or indeed the rest of Europe, although Paris and Rome at least are scheduled to get one soon).

Happy Christmas!

Went up to Enniskillen in Norn Irn this weekend, for Julie’s belated works Christmas dinner. Nice hotel, great views across Lough Erne (the pic is from our bedroom window), but the event was a bit of let-down… it was all booked months ago, so they could at least have saved us some Christmas crackers, made sure the carvery included a turkey, or hung up a few decorations. Unfortunately, all we got was some local crooner and a drum machine murdering the usual Elvis and Beatles repertoire. Still, the six hour round trip drive was pleasantly traffic-free, and it’s always fun crossing the national border on one of the minor roads– you can only tell you’ve changed countries when the painted stripe at the side of the road abruptly turns from yellow (Irish side) to white (UK side). Changed times indeed.

On the plus side, got back just in time for the live Motherwell game on Setanta, in which Jim Hamilton crashed in as good a goal as I’ve ever seen a Motherwell player score (we still lost though), and to find that Eircom’s DSL upgrade has gone to plan (now up to 3Mb/384kB… upload speed still a bit crappy, but better than the 128kB we had before).

Poker power

Julie and I had an excellent lunch at Boccacio’s on Dame Street today, which was made all the more entertaining by the otherwise ordinary-looking bloke on the next table receiving a call back from Paddy Power. Apparently he’d phoned to complain about some adverts for their online poker service that he’d seen in a public toilet, and made it perfectly clear that he was appalled and outraged by double entendres such as “Get your hands on a big pair tonight” and “The man next to you is watching your hand”. He was equally appalled that they had not been cleared by the ASAI because it was not “compulsive” (sic) to have them reviewed prior to being posted, and that they would remain in place to “disgust” other people over the festive period.

You do have to wonder if some people have too much time on their hands…

Nollaig Shona

My Christmas break started on Wednesday, and I won’t be back in the office until January 9th (except next Wednesday to see if I won anything in the annual corporate-gifts-we’re-not-allowed-to-accept raffle). I don’t anticipate that GNOME usability will suffer in any way while I spend the next month parked on a beanbag eating chocolate and trying to finish as many of my old PS2 games as possible so I can pick up some new ones in the January sales, but my waistline inevitably will. Happy whatever-it-is-you-feel-like-celebrating!

Kea-no thanks

I do hope Roy Keane doesn’t join Celtic. Not because of his ability– it’s always a good laugh when injury-plagued has-beens join the Old Firm and sap their resources while doing nothing more than lying on the treatment table. But if nothing else, it would be bound to encourage even more people to flock over to Glasgow from Dublin Airport every weekend, and there’s already more than enough vileness in the air when Rangers and Celtic fans come to town, without high profile Irish signings and a stadium full of tricolours to provide certain elements with even more targets for their sad vitriol.

Yes, Celtic FC was founded by an Irish priest. Ancient history, get over it everyone. Irish sports fans who actually care about football more than history would do well to direct their air fares and gate money towards their local league teams instead for a while, to improve the quality of the grass-roots Irish game instead of glory-hunting in Glasgow. And more importantly, to give the West of Scotland a bit of space to sort out its nasty sectarian problems, rather than (innocently or otherwise) adding to them.


Busy couple of weekends… last Saturday, since it was a bank holiday, we decided to treat ourselves to a night at the Clarion in town to de-stress from our recent house-moving escapades, making as much use of the facilities as the budget allowed. On Sunday night, we had tickets for a recording of RTÉ’s The Panel, which is always good for a a laugh. And this weekend, we went for an international shopping day-trip… well, okay, we took the train up to Belfast. Dunno if it’s the slightly-more-Scottish-accents or the City Hall that looks a bit like a squashed version of the City Chambers, but it reminded me of Glasgow even more than last time I was there.

Update: Johan points out that Durban City Hall is actually an exact copy of Belfast’s, except that it’s surrounded by palm trees… (or by idiots, as Stephen quipped…)