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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding

 

I was made to do this

... the post that is. The sentiments are real:

Laura has a new hair cut. I think it's lovely.

And this is isn't the news I was alluding to.

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In-line and looking hot

I've resisted thus far. No, not resisted - I've just not been interested or had the occasion. But I figure if Laura can post about knitting I can post about my craft. The next question is, will anyone who reads this blog be interested in the slightest? There are some folks from Sandfield who read this blog. Out of that small number (possibly only 1), will there be a momentary arousal?

Now will all that hype, this is bound to be let down.

You will, all of you, be familiar with anonymous methods in C#2.0 and their most immediately useful application as anonymous delegates:

btnFoo.Click += delegate
{
doSomethingGood();
};


They are great and I've been using them a lot where it simplifies the code and makes it easier to read.

Well today I accidentally did something even cooler - mostly by accident.

Imagine a generic function which creates buttons. One of the parameters is an EventHandler that gets hooked up to the button's Click event:

private void MakeButton(string buttonText, EventHandler e)
{
Button b = new Button();
b.Text = buttonText;

if (e != null)
{
b.Click += e;
}
}

Now how do we use our MakeButton function and pass in the EventHandler parameter? Why, with an anonymous delegate of course:

MakeButton("Paris", new EventHandler(delegate{this.txtStatus.Text
= "will be fun";}));

MakeButton("The button", new EventHandler(delegate { this.txtStatus.Text
= "has been clicked"; }));


That's really cool! No little event handling methods lying around. Everything contained with in one line. Easy to read. Easy to write. Okay, I'm done now.

As a treat for anyone who's still reading: Laura has some news... (no, not babies) ... she'll post about it soon!

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Dublin chai review: Lemon Jelly

I had to get up and have a shower very early today, because the water was scheduled to be turned off at 8AM. Usually I would consider having a shower the night before and sleeping in - but I have a haircut scheduled today, and I hate turning up with dirty-ish hair to meet a new hairdresser because it seems rude. Plus, if my hair's clean, he'll get a better idea of how it really behaves.

Anyhow, so I was up and showered and dressed a couple hours earlier than usual, so David decided he'd take me up on the offer of a chai and walk before he went to work.

Lemon Jelly
We each ordered a chai - no sizes, but equivalent to a Starbucks tall again. The smell is a bit tea-y, which is not entirely pleasant because I don't like tea.

The drink itself is quite pleasant - a lot like a Starbucks chai (which I will review one of these days, but probably only once I'm employed, because they're quite expensive here), but thinner somehow. Quite similar to a tall one made with skim milk. But lacking the creamy foaminess on top; while I abhor an excess of foam, this chai could have done with a bit more.

However, there are differences: a very slight tea-y aftertaste (which I only noticed after really smelling the chai), and slightly less sweetness and caffeine. Well, I think less caffeine. I'll wait and see.

Presentation was ok: a plain white take-out cup with a plain brown sleeve. There was no cinnamon on top, which would have been a delicious addition. The menu price was E2.95, but we ended up paying E2.55 each for take-away, which is a decent price.

Lemon Jelly (which, incidentally, is no longer at its old location almost downstairs from our apartment, which is a shame) looked fairly clean and pleasant. I've never seen it empty (even at 8.30AM it had a good amount of custom), so it must be good. There were loads of pre-packaged muffins, but people also appeared to be eating fresh, cooked breakfasts. I didn't see anything with lemon jelly in it, which would have been clever and delicious. But then, I love lemon jelly.

Overall? Lemon Jelly is obviously popular, and I can understand why. Its moderately convenient location on Essex St East makes it close enough to Temple Bar, but far enough away from the really busy and touristy parts. This isn't my favourite chai, but it's pretty good. If you like the Starbucks variety, this is a similar - and cheaper - option. I'll drink it again.

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Just a thought (thanks Bic)

Just wanna know ya
Just wanna talk to ya
I wanna hear about your day
I'd never leave ya
Never be mean to ya
I'd always let you get your way

Something good will come our way
And maybe this good thing's gonna happen today

If I were honest I 'd tell you everything
But it keeps coming out as lies
It's not a promise
In case you're wondering
It's not some blessing in disguise

But something good will come our way
And maybe this good thing's gonna happen today
Something good will come our way
And maybe this good things gonna happen today

I know romance is not in fashion
And my heart is on the line
If you would be so kind
To help me kill some time

Then something good just might come crashing
From the stars that light the sky
If you would be so kind
To help me kill some time

Just wanna know ya
Just wanna talk to ya
I wanna hear about your day
I'd never leave ya
Never be mean to ya
I'd always let you get your way

Something good will come our way
And maybe this good thing's gonna happen today
Something good will come our way
And maybe this good things gonna happen today

Something good will come our way
Something good will come our way
Something good will come our way
Something good will come our way
La la la la la la
La la la la la
La la la la la
Something good will come our way

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Sock it to me!

Finally I have some knitting-related blog content!

May I present my first pair of socks - aka David's birthday socks:

These were finished just before his birthday, so they're well overdue for showing off.

Yarn: Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch - colour 506.
Pattern: I used the simple sock pattern that came free when I bought the yarn.
Needles: 2.mm dpns - Clover bamboos, because I love bamboo needles.

These were a lovely introduction to sock knitting: a nice yarn with a bit of colour variation to keep me from getting bored, and an easy pattern. My only quibble was that the socks took a little longer than I expected - mostly because David has large feet!

Using the same pattern, I knat myself the pair of rainbow socks I've previously blogged about:

Yarn: Opal sock yarn - Feelings shade 01.
Pattern: as above.
Needles: as above.

The first sock knitted up like a dream - the stripes finished juts as the heel shaping started, and even there, the colour was distributed beautifully.

On the second sock, however, things were more complicated. The lengths of colour seemed inconsistent with those on the first sock, and there was a lot of frogging, re-knitting, etc. and annoying tension tweaking to get the stripes lined up nicely. This was particularly irritating to me because I pride myself on my textbook tension (I seem to get what I'm supposed to pretty much every time, and it's even throughout a garment).

Even after some washing, this yarn produces a slightly scratchy sock. I don't see myself wearing them as everyday socks - more likely, they'll be my default slipper-socks. After all, they are lovely and cheerful.

I have another ball of Opal sock yarn, plus my lovely stash, but I'm not sure what I'll knit next. I'm hoping to finish up my UFO, plus pick up some nice yarn in Paris at the weekend for... something.

Mostly, I'm anxious about a particular job, and unable to focus on anything for very long before I feel stressed. So I'm giving knitting a rest in favour of reading and tv - less opportunity to make mistakes that I feel too crappy to frog and re-knit.

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Dublin chai review: Cafe Noto


I've decided it's high time that I start doing something constructive with my time... So I've decided to more formally review all the chai I drink here in Dublin.

I'd previously complained that chai was hard to come by. Turns out, I was wrong. In addition to the 3 Starbucks outlets in the city (and in pretty much every mall), loads of other places do chai. You just have to read the menu(s), and be a bit adventurous. Because what some people think is chai, is not necessarily what you might think it is.

Anyhow, for my first review, I've selected Cafe Noto.

Cafe Noto
David and I both ordered a regular size chai (probably equivalent to a Starbucks "tall"). When you smell the chai, it smells a little like marshmallows. Like marshmallows minus half the sugar, maybe - quite pleasant. The chai came quite hot, which is great - David hates a cold "hot" drink.

As you drink the chai, it retains the less-sugary-marshmallow flavour, but there's a bit more depth to it - a malty-ness. When we got to the bottom of our drinks, we both noticed a dark substance that could, indeed, have been some sort of malted powder or syrup.

What this chai lacks is spice: it's sweet and delicious, but it completely lacks the cinnamon/ ginger/ cardamom/ clove flavours that I'm used to.

In terms of presentation, the chai came in a nice white mug, and it looked decent. My only quibble would be that there was a bit too much foam on the top - which leaves less room for actual chai. But at a very respectable $2.35 (larger size $2.60), it seemed like pretty good value.

There wasn't a large selection of food available - it was Sunday morning - but sandwiches and salads seem to be the thing - plus coffee, of course.

The premises themselves were warm and comfortable, with plenty of seating - though a few more couches and comfy chairs wouldn't go amiss. Located at the corner of Francis & Thomas Sts, in Dublin 8, it's not super-central, but it's close to tourist sights like St Patrick's and Christchurch cathedrals. And, crucially for me, it's only a short walk from where we live.

Overall? Well, it's a nice cafe, and it's well-priced, but it isn't what I'd normally call chai. If you've never tried chai before, and you're a bit scared of the spices in it, then this is a good one to start with. I'd drink it again.

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Market day #2

This (cold) morning's purchases from the Temple Bar markets:
  • pain au chocolat, 2 of (just eaten - delicious!)
  • French rye bread loaf with cerelas, 1 of
  • fillet of salmon, 1 of (Laura has had as much fish as she can take)
  • punnet of hummus, 1 of
  • organic asparagus, 1 large bunch of
  • organic scallions, 1 bunch of
  • organic baby carrots, a handful of
  • organic yellow courgettes, 2 of
  • organic garlic, 1 bulb of
  • large Italian pastry from the Hare Krishna stall, 1 of (to share for lunch)
That took the best part of 35 euros. It's really only the vegetables that are overpriced: 10 euro for those listed here.

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Find yourself

I wondered how long it would take me to locate Homo sapiens sapiens on Wikispecies. Turns out, way too long, so I cheated, multiple times.

Just look at the list of taxons you need to navigate through! I was pretty much stuck at Eumetazoa, let alone Gnathostomata.

Homo sapiens sapiens

From Wikispecies

Jump to: navigation, search
Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens

[edit] Taxonavigation

Main Page
Superregnum: Eukarya
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Theria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Ordo: Primates
Subordo: Haplorrhini
Infraordo: Simiiformes
Taxon: Catarrhini
Superfamilia: Hominoidea
Familia: Hominidae
Subfamilia: Homininae
Tribus: Hominini
Subtribus: Hominina
Genus: Homo
Species: Homo sapiens
Subspecies: Homo sapiens sapiens

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Happy birthday Nell!

Here is our gift to you: as requested, some photos of the Georg Friedrich Händel ... monument... in our courtyard. You won't escape the fact that he is naked, and very cut. What a great present!

Have a great birthday!


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Chugging along

Finally, David blogged about our upcoming trip to Paris.

He's wildly excited - which is really cute. And I'm also pretty excited. After about a month of sugar-free-ness, I've been slowly working sugar back in. Now I have more of an incentive - otherwise, who will keep David company with all the pain au chocolat and wine?

I must confess, I'm also excited to be able to visit France properly. I did go once when I was in Germany, but it was to buy food at a huge supermarket, then we went home. This time I'll have a real chance to look around, eat, drink, take photos...

And perhaps shop a little. The skincare I use is not widely available in Ireland, but it seems easy to get in Paris. And, of course, there's a whole lot of yarn... Lots and lots of yarn...

I've begun thinking about packing strategically. We're flying Ryanair, which is moderately cheap, but has strict luggage limits: 15kg in the hold per person, with no combining; and 10kg per person carry-on. We're hoping to get away with one checked bag and two carry-ons.

Given the amount of yarn and wine I'd like to bring back (plus the moisturiser), we'll need to take very little with us. Or maybe buy another bag to check in.

Aside from dreaming of Paris, I've been keeping fairly busy with the usual: job hunting (including some interviews!), buying stuff we need to get sorted in the apartment, and knitting. After much to-ing and fro-ing (knitting, unravelling, and re-knitting, multiple times), I almost have my first pair of me-socks - socks for me to wear. I'll take some pics and blog a bit more about them once they're done.

The job hunt is still quite disheartening - I am almost too superstitious to blog about the good stuff, because it is all so uncertain. And sloooooooooooow. But if you have any good luck/ vibes, please send them my way - I really, really need them.

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Gay Paree

On Sunday we made the slightly impulsive decision to have a little holiday over the upcoming bank weekend (not this weekend, but the next).

We're going to Paris!!!

I'm so excited. Disproportionately excited really, especially given that it hasn't been too long since our last extended travel break, but I've always wanted to go to Paris - I mostly want to sit in the cafes, drink coffee (day) and champagne (night), walk the streets, and eat pastries.

I think I'm also excited because it doesn't always feel like I'm in Europe, and this will be concrete proof.

Our flight leaves Dublin at 8pm on Friday and we get back at 23:15 on Monday. We have a hotel booked somewhere between the Parc Monceau and the Square des Batignolles (is that good?).

I'm not in a blogging mood, but I just wanted to brag.

Peace out.

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Murder and mayhem

Mostly the latter, with dreams of the former.

While our apartment is fairly quiet most of the time, there are some noisy ones. On Friday evenings, the bell-ringers at Christchurch Cathedral go a bit mad for a few hours. On Saturday nights, the bar up the road is pretty loud, what with the noisy (drunk) punters and the booming bass.

But on Saturday it wasn't the bar that woke us up. It was the punters (please feel free to substitute a more apt description of your own choice - my mother reads this, so I can't be too crass - hi Mum!) in our apartment building. Doors slamming, screeching and shouting, and general noise. Both David and I woke up, and finally after over an hour of it, I lost the plot.

I went outside and discovered that people upstairs were conducting a party in the hallway. The large, cavernous hallway common to all 40-odd apartments, which is all hard surfaces, and consequently an excellent conductor of sound.

Scantily clad, I stood in the hallway and bellowed until someone looked over. I told them that at 4.15AM they'd better end the party, as they'd had all night. (Okay, so I'm paraphrasing here, but I didn't even swear at them, I was so restrained.) They looked embarrassed, and in the ensuing 15 minutes, spent a lot of time shushing one really noisy punter. Finally they shut up, and while I heard a few people leaving later, it was quiet enough for David to go back to sleep.

If they do it again, I'm not going to wait an hour to scream at them.


We figured that Sunday night (last night) would be fine, though - everyone has stuff to do on Monday, right?

Wrong.

At 11PM, we noticed people queueing noisily at the bar. They were dressed up to the nines, clutching tickets, and I hoped fervently that it was a private gig - perhaps some jazz. I mean, it was after 11 on a Sunday, right?

Well, we were woken sometime after 1AM by the... feckers. (Sorry Mum, but it's commonly used here, even by mothers, so I figure it's not quite swearing.) Around 150 people had spilled into the street. The boys were smashed, and noisily attempting to dance and sing. It was not a pretty sight - nor were the incidences of public nudity, vomiting, and urination.

Honestly, the women with them must have had no standards.

The Gardai turned up finally. I was all keyed up, ready for some (well-deserved) police brutality, hoping the whole shindig would be shut down in a matter of minutes. Instead, they kind of observed with bemused looks on their faces. They did manage to arrest around 4 people, and their presence did help to disperse the crowd, but very slooooowly. By the time the last of the Gardai left at 2.45AM, there were still quite a few people left, but they were quieter.

How did it eventually end? Well, one guy jumped up on another to give him a hug, and the jumpee fell and hit his head. An ambulance came, checked him out, and left - as did the last people, finally.


Now, my guesses on both of these events are that they're graduation-related. It's May, the end of the studying year, and students are leaving. I've been a student, and seen what students can do. But I've never witnessed such thoughtlessness (in the case of the people partying in the hallway), or crass ickiness (the super-drunk ones).

On both occasions, I thought fondly of New Zealand. Of our former building manager who'd shut a party down in the apartment building; and of noise control, who actually controlled noise, and police who actually dispersed large drunken mobs rather than watching them and giggling.

So really, it was just mayhem - there were no murders. Not that I wasn't tempted.

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Market day

There is a market every Saturday at Meeting House Square in Temple Bar.

(It's a little hard to describe Temple Bar. By all accounts, 10 years ago it was a forgotten dump. Then a rejuvenation project was embarked on, and lo, now it's pleasant cobbl- stoned streets lined with bars, restaurants, cafes, live music venues and film & photographic archives and exhibition spaces. It's billed as Dublin's cultural centre, but in reality it has become the place to go for hen and stag nights and so the "cultral centre" part may be overstating it somewhat!).

The last couple of weekends I've slept in and generally missed the best product at the market. Today I got up in time to walk Laura to her stichin' and bitchin'.

For those with very little going on in their own lives, or for Nell, who I know reads everything conscientiously, my purchases were:

For immediate consumption:
  • Mixed veg curry, paneer curry and rice, from the Hare Krishna stand, 1 of
  • Some kind of warm apple cider / juice with a shot of brandy, 1 of
  • A pain au chocolat, 1 of
To take home:
  • organic asparagus, 1 bunch of
  • organic tomatoes, 1 tray of
  • organic lettuce leaves, 1 small bag of
  • French olive bread, 1 loaf of
  • Cod fresh of the boat, w/ skin on, 2 large fillets of
Also, there were a couple of old timers busking. One was singing and playing the guitar, the other was playing some kind of traditional instrument a bit like a souped-up ukulele. The singer had virtually no teeth. The other guy had a Father Christmas-esque beard. They both had nice furry dogs who were resting on the ground with the wind in their faces.

These guys were just the best buskers I've ever seen. And for that matter, some of the best live music I've ever seen. The singer had a great haunting voice that belied his toothlessness. You could really see they had been around and that added a certain gravity to their performance. (Also, the ukulele guy had developed a knack for storing his cigarette between the tuning knobs of his instrument somehow).

Unfortunately I only had 0.50 cents - but I gladly gave it and will give more if I see them next weekend.

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Love

At last, our stuff has arrived.

Here's a curly question for you: how long does it take you to jump out of the shower, answer your phone, dry off, get dressed, and meet someone to let them in?

Turns out that it takes me less than 2 minutes. Now, I was not very dry, nor was I very well-dressed. However, I was respectable enough to not scare the very nice delivery man. And what a nice delivery man he was - full delivery service, right into the apartment.

Once I got the boxes inside, I'd intended to moisturise, hang up my hastily-discarded towels, etc. - but I couldn't. Because the boxes blocked access to the bathroom. Just as well I didn't need to use it, I guess.

It took about half an hour for me to transform our apartment: from fairly tidy, to completely chaotic. There was a lot of good stuff in there, though - lots and lots of clothes, our beloved duvet, shoes, some hand-knitted items, and... yarn and knitting supplies!

Ah, my yarn. It was the first thing in the first box, which cheered me up no end. And it all just fit into the drawer I'd mentally reserved for it. But then I discovered this:

Forgotten cotton. Also known as Panda Regal 4-ply cotton, staple of my knitting life for the past couple of years, due mainly to its wide availability and cheap price. It helps that it's machine-washable, too - great for baby and children's clothes.

I got rid of a lot of this, but I'd forgotten how much I still had. And this definitely doesn't fit into my reserved drawer.

Of course, my knitting needle collection won't fit in there, either. Or my very small collection of books. Ah well.

You can probably guess how I'll be spending my time this afternoon: tidying, tidying, tidying. An episode of Grey's, more tidying, then going out to get a couple dozen more hangers to hang our clothes on.

And tomorrow? I'll be vacuuming and mopping. Because the boxes were filthy, so our recently-mopped floors (thanks, David!), and my feet, now have a thick layer of grey-black dirt on them in places.

Ah, good times.

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Euphemism

Dublin City Parking Services - Promoting Sensible Parking

=

We'll clamp your back wheel and you'll be totally feked then!

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An antidote to a gloomy day


What do you do when you're still waiting on recruitment agents; when the boxes that are supposed to be delivered aren't; and when life generally seems to consist of endless waiting and domestic chores?

You settle down in front of the tv for some Grey's Anatomy, diet Coke and yarn in hand, and you cast on for a sock. A plain sock, but a sock that you will have the pleasure of wearing.

I picked up this yarn at This Is Knit last Friday. It's just simple Opal yarn, and less glamorous and soft than the yarn I've been knitting with recently, but it's rainbow-coloured, which means I'll end up with rainbow striped socks.

I've always liked rainbows, though I'm not sure why - I suspect the 80s had something to do with it. At the grand old age of 28, however, it's not always appropriate to work the rainbow in your everyday life. I'm hoping that these socks will cheer me up on grey and miserable days.

I didn't realise that the yarn was painted, rather than dyed - this gives it a paler, slightly flecky appearance. I generally prefer truer colours than these, but the flecky quality helps to soften the otherwise-harsh tones of the painted bits, so it's a pretty good balance.

Plus, it's nice to knit for myself again.

I wouldn't have cast on for these today at all, but the delivery guy didn't bring our packages. Apparently he called me and I never answered.... But I never got his call. So instead of a whole lot of unpacking - and some seaming of some important projects I sent ahead - I figured I should try to keep myself both occupied and cheerful.

The diet Coke? Well, I'm still digestively challenged, so I'm still trying to keep away from sugar. There aren't many sugarless options here (are there no diabetics in Dublin?), but at least there's diet Coke.

And as for Grey's Anatomy? I never got into it when it began screening in NZ - timing or something, I guess. But on Monday I caught the first episode (ok, the last 50 minutes of the first episode). It seems that Grey's has replaced one or another of the forensic crime shows in the daily line-up, so it's on every day. And finally, I understand why people like it. It's like ER crossed with... something more character-driven, plus... what's the show that has the annoying voice-overs? One Tree Hill maybe?

Anyway, I understand people's obsession with it. It's pretty good, though I'd still like the actress who plays Meredith to EAT SOME FOOD. Especially FATS AND CARBS. Otherwise she won't need a scalpel to operate - she can just use her bodyparts, once they've been sufficiently sterilised.

Anyway, back to the laundry, before Lili comes home and finds I've done other, non-housewifely things all day long!

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Bullet Points

  • The WiMax actually sucks awfully (66% packet loss! even though the signal strength is fine!). I've turned it off. We're back to stolen WiFi.

  • But I've found a man who knows a man who may have keys to a cabinet who ate the cat, that swallowed the horse, that swallowed a horse? A horse, of course.

  • I went to my first Irish pub last night with my team mates for project-related debriefing and bonding. I downed 2, count em', 2 pints of Guinness and a Leffe, alongside a massive plate of fush and chups. I woke up at 3am this morning feeling a a tad seedy, but it seems to have abated.

  • Co-worker 1 had a beer called Erdinger, which he likes very much. Co-worker 2, amongst other things, tried a girl's fruit Cider from Sweden with lime and strawberry. The liquid is pink. It smelled like Berocca, but tasted okay. I think Laura would _love_ it.

  • When it's gets grey here, boy does it get grey. It's like a solar eclipse. Only once has it been cold, grey, and rainy at the same time on one of my 5 minute walks home, but that was enough. It's lucky I walked / bussed to work in Auckland. I reckon a strong south-westerly on the K'Rd overbridge is cold enough to rival anything Ireland has to throw at me.

  • Actually, it's raining right now.

  • AM, with your prolific commenting, I thought you were a sp4m3r. But you're not, and it's nice to hear from you!

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WiMax your way to a better you

We come to you from our own legitimate broadband connection courtesy of Irish Broadband. Again, many many thanks to NETGEAR, NETGEAR2 and CHARLES - you're unsecured WiFi connections have kept us connected to the world, and more importantly, the job market!

This is my first uncapped internet connection and I've wasted no time. I can neither confirm nor deny, that right now I am downloading season 1 of certain television show where people have superhuman powers. I'm keen to watch it from the start as I've seen a variety of episodes in completely random order across many countries and have little or no idea what is actually happening.

So far the WiMax connection seems okay. The throughput is good, the latency - if that's what it is - may not be so good, as images on a webpage do not appear as snappily as I'd expect and can actually be quite slow. But, it is much much better that our NTL broadband connection which, after 2.5 attempts, we could not install because a key could not be found to unlock a cabinet in our hallway.

And generally speaking NTL have been pretty crappy by totally failing to think outside the square. They'd happily keep rescheduling the installers to come twice a week, and the installers will quite happily come and do a signal check, and then say they need access to the cabinet but don't have a key, and then leave again. And considering there is only 2 installers in this area, you'd think they could talk to eachother, and me, to work out a solution.

Enough griping. I'll take some more pictures of our apartment soon. Things are coming along nicely.

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And the beat goes on

Another day, another dollar.

I'm still job hunting, knitting, and watching/ listening to low-quality tv.

Over the weekend, I decided that a role I'd previously been interested in was, in fact, not really suitable. It was too focused in a specific direction that wouldn't advance my career, and that could end up pigeonholing me. I was up for a second interview, which was great - but there seemed little point in wasting the agent's, company's, or my time when I wasn't keen any longer.

So this morning I let the agent know. Apparently the company are quite disappointed, because they saw me as a strong candidate, but I have to follow my gut and bow out.

I realise that it sounds contradictory - I'm super-keen to work, but turning down opportunities to get jobs. But at the end of the day, I don't just need a job - I need the right job. There aren't loads and loads of opportunities in my field, and I need to either remain where I am or move forwards (not backwards!) - so the job hunt will probably take some more time.

I am trying to remain positive and motivated, and I'm also trying to remember that as one door closes, another usually opens. I just hope that the door that opens is the right one for me, and soon!

Also over the weekend, we had a chance to speak to some of our family, because it was Mother's Day. David had a quick chat to Grandma & Auntie Mavis, and I called Mum and Grammie in Florida.

Mum had originally planned to leave Florida today, but she's now staying on until the 30th at least. In some ways this is bad news - if Grammie was doing really well I think Mum would be leaving. But in other ways it's great - as Grammie said, they get on "like bread and butter", and I know they are both enjoying spending some time together. It was great to talk to them both.

Meanwhile, in knitting news, I'm making excellent progress on the mystery knitting project. I'm more than 60% done with it, and unless something unexpected (like loads of interviews, please!) happens, I'll finish it this week.

I would have had it finished already, but my plans for weekend knitting were somewhat hampered by activity - a bit of shopping, and a great movie, Michael Collins.

Speaking of which, my advice to you?

- Space bags are awesome, and no storage system is complete without using these.

- Michael Collins is just as brilliant a movie as it was when I first saw it in 1996. It's an excellent
- if incredibly sad - story, very well acted (with the notable exception of Julia Roberts'
appalling "Irish" accent), and it stars the fantastic Liam Neeson. I know a little more about
Irish history than David, but not much. This was a great memory-jogger for me, and a good
intro for him. I'm hoping we'll be able to see more great Irish movies while we're here.

And now I have to go and make lunch for David, who should be home any second.

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A day unlike other days

My weekdays tend to follow a pattern at the moment. I get up and shuffle around so I'm awake and showered by the time David leaves for work; I watch Project Catwalk (a very, very poor imitation of my beloved Project Runway) as I check my email and eat breakfast; then I look for new jobs, calling agents about new roles, with tv shows like Bones playing in the background. I take a break for lunch when David comes home, and then resume my job hunting/ knitting/ tv listening activities until he arrives home at around 6pm.

In between, I manage to do some laundry and other sundry household tasks. Occasionally I pop out to run an errand. But job hunting is my main activity.

For the past two days I've had decidedly atypical days.

On Thursday, everything was all hunky-dory until I called an agent about a role. We arranged a meeting at 11am. It was 10.35 by the time I got off the phone, needing to send my CV in, change into my suit, and get to his office, approximately 20 minutes' walk away.

So I dashed, made it, and had the interview. Afterwards, I was so wiped out that I barely managed anything in the afternoon, save some follow-up phone calls to naughty recruiters, and a spot of vegging. I manage did prep for the interview I had today though, and to iron a shirt for David.

Today, I woke up early for the interview. And felt sick. I thought it must have been nerves, but it didn't feel like nerves - nothing made the nasty feeling go away. I didn't think I'd manage the interview - even the smell of the dishwasher made me want to be sick - but instead, I managed to shower, throw up, dress, and get out of the house in under half an hour.

I caught the DART (train) out to Dun Laoghaire (that's pronounced "done leery", btw), and nearly bailed due to feeling so ill. But I persisted, had the interview, and felt a little brighter, so I decided to stop off at This is Knit, which was a few DART stops along, and on my way home.

I was a bit early, so I grabbed a chai (from the people who do "hand cut" sandwiches, the name begins with B, and it was okay), and took a little tour around Blackrock. Initially it looked like a one-horse town, but then I discovered all the amenities hidden behind the main street. Eventually I made it to This is Knit, and had a long, lovely chat with Lisa and Jacqui, about everything and nothing.

(One of the best bits about Ireland for me so far? People seem genuinely interested in what you're doing, how you are, etc. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe I'm naive - but it is a lovely way to feel when you're otherwise a bit isolated.)

After a long visit, I took my sock yarn and knitting book and trudged back to the DART - in the cold, driving rain. The morning's warmth and sunny skies had truly dissipated, and I felt quite sad about that. Even sadder when I had to walk from the station in the city to our old apartment to collect mail - and then back to our new place.

After a little job-hunting, I finally managed to eat my first solid food of the day: rice crackers with peanut butter. I have a task to complete by Tuesday for a job interview - but I'm a little pooped. Instead, I think I'll sit back and enjoy some low-quality television, and hope that David will be up for cooking dinner.

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Funny money, a multi-part blog

I received my first Irish pay packet today. That makes it sound like it was easy - like the pay clerk (Bruce?) came round and dropped it off at my desk so I could nip out to the TAB for a quick flutter on the pokies. In reality, it was far more complicated
  1. I fill out a time sheet, and get the client to sign it.
  2. I fax it to my recruitment agent.
  3. My recruitment agent adds his margin, and bills the client.
  4. My recruitment agent pays the accounting firm who manage my umbrella company (Yes, I have an umbrella company! As an independent contractor I need to operate a limited liability company. A great service here are companies who will make you a director / shareholder of an existing umbrella company and look after your taxes for you. There are no entry or exit fees, just a monthly fee for the service).
  5. I compile a list of my expenses and send it to the accountant.
  6. The accountant works out my take home pay based on my expenses, his fee and the various taxes and tax credits.
  7. Then he pays me.
  8. Then I whip off to the TAB for a quick flutter on the pokies.
You can see why I was excited.

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Also another thought: Republic of Ireland = ROI = Return on Investment. Coincidence?

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Working for a financial services company, I now find myself in the thick of all things money.

Being part of the EU, Ireland can't set it's own cash rate and must accept the rate set by the European Central Bank (flash backs of stage 3 macro-economics here!). That explains why, even though the economy is booming and property prices sky-rocketing, mortgage rates (fixed and floating) are all under 5%*. It also explains why inflation is at around 5%**! This is compared with my mortgage at home where I now read the floating rate is a whopping 9.95%. 9.95%!!! That is bad.

So in Ireland, everyone is busy investing there money rather than paying off their mortgage, as you can relatively easily beat the 5% + inflation by saving.

Speaking of saving, people actually do it here! There was a savings scheme initiated by the government some time back where the government would contribute 1 euro for every 4 euro*** you put in, up to a certain limit. Right now, all these plans are expiring and people are busy being advised to keep saving at the same right now that they are used to it. I think this scheme was wilding popular, and pretty much every man and his dog took it out. Can you imagine everyone you know back home walking about with at $20,000 sitting in savings. Seems weird doesn't it? I mean... the 42" plasma...

Also, and if you didn't realise, the corporate tax rate here is 12%! That's why Ireland is the EMEA (Europe, Middle East + Africa) headquarters for companies like Google, Microsoft, Dell, eBay... and the list goes on.

I'm not sure what point I am trying to make, but I find it very interesting to compare. I've never lived somewhere else before, so I've never had the motivation to really find out how things work. I certainly don't care about things like relative rates of saving when I visit a country on holiday.

* Does that need an explanation? The usual way to combat an overheating economy, is to whack up the cash rate. This means it's more expensive to borrow money, so things cool off. But Ireland, can't do that, so...
** Prices keep going up. And that's inflation.
*** The plural or euro, is, apparently, euro.

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Warm all over

Luckily it was cold enough tonight for Laura to turn on the central heating. This was completely independently of me wanting to turn it on just to play with it.

How fantastic that we can heat our whole apartment with the press of a button? A very small and inconveniently located button buried in the hot-water cabinet.

Actually, "hot-water cabinet" does not adequately describe this cupboard. It is chock full of machinery and equipment. Given a sufficient supply of uranium I am certain I could build a pretty sophisticated nuclear reactor in there. There's boilers. There's pumps. There's stopcocks, temperature probes, cut-off valves, regulators, thermostats and timers. It even needs a diagram, stuck to the back of the door, to explain it.

But even with the diagram, I have no concrete picture about what is happening. The complication is that, according to a pamphlet from the gas board, our apartment complex has some kind of power plant which generates... I guess heat... which saves lots of greenhouse gas emissions and makes it all very energy efficient (I'm sure this completely negated by the fact we have NO recycling AT ALL!!!). So I would have thought that if we have this power plant, then we'd get a supply of hot water to use for water and heating. But if we did, we wouldn't need a boiler, with an expansion cylinder and all manner of other equipment for heating. And we wouldn't need a timer which controls when our hot water is heated.

So I'm quite confused and it's driving me a bit mad, because I have a need to know how things work. Brent?

But it is great that we can hit the "+1 hour" button for the central heating and it comes to life. Hot water surges through our radiators and the whole apartment becomes warm. And then it switches off, and the radiators keep radiating. For free like (needs to be said with Dublin accent).

Ahh.

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Patience, or the virtue I'm most in danger of losing

If patience is a virtue, I've been a very virtuous person up to now. But I think I'm about to lose it.

We are still waiting on our boxes to be cleared by customs. Until then, unless we go shopping (a pleasant thought, but one that involves spending lots of money, so we've both nixed it), I will wear the same clothes I've been wearing for the past two months.

Two months in two pairs of casual pants? Two months with a small, rotating wardrobe you were already sick of after two weeks? Both very annoying. Even though I know I'd probably end up wearing these clothes anyway, it's not having the choice that drives me mad.

Also contained in those boxes: books, knitting supplies, and general items designed to make our lives comfy and our apartment feel homely. I am really, really sick of waiting for the boxes. And every week of part thereof that we wait, we get charged an additional 50 euros for storage. Grr.


We're also waiting on the NTL cable tv/ internet people to come and actually hook us up. They've been out twice, but both times they haven't had the key to the NTL cabinet in the building. It's a cabinet that they put in and they lock, so that they control who accesses it, and thus who gets NTL services. Yet they profess not to have a key to it!

It will have been two weeks tomorrow. If they can't connect us this week, I want to go with a different kind of internet. Because NTL have a monopoly on cable internet here. Of course.


Also trying my patience? The job hunt, of course. In Ireland, "immediate" means "some time in the next month or so". The daily grind of getting up, looking online, calling people, selling my soul/ myself, sending my CV through, having a follow-up phone interview... It's getting to me.

Everyone reminds me it's only been a month, things take time, I'm getting some interest, at least I get some leisure time... Yes to all of those. But I'm over it. Job hunting is hard at any time, but especially so when you don't have a job to move from. I'm bored and lonely and sick of it all. The only way to stop the cycle is to actually get a job. So I keep looking.


And in the meantime, one of the things keeping me sane - or at least keeping me from complete raving lunacy - is my knitting. Here's a picture of something I'm making at the moment. I'm not telling you what it is, because it's for someone I know reads the blog.

But you'll see the finished object in all its glory soon enough - and in a decent photograph. You'll just have to be patient.

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History in the making

Today (a "bank holiday") we went to Dublinia, a permanent exhibition about medieval Dublin and the Vikings and such. It's really aimed at kids, but it was quite fun (save the very noisy party of French children just ahead of us). Then we crossed the bridge into Christ Church to have a look around. It's the most impressive church I've ever seen, just full of interesting things. You can go down into the crypt, which is apparently unusual, as it spans nearly the full length of the church. There's an audiovisual display down there, and a small kitchen for refreshments after services would you believe.

I also found out that the street we live on the corner of, Fishamble St, is one of the oldest, if not the the oldest street in Dublin, dating back to the 10th century. Also, just to name drop, the first performance of Handel's Messiah happened in the courtyard of our apartment building (there's an art installation commemorating it).

Of more recent historical significance, it's my birthday tomorrow! 29! We're going to go to a vegetarian restaurant for dinner. Please co-ordinate with Laura for any fedex'ing of presents.




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No blog, but a photo

Added to my "Exploring Dublin" photo-set, a photo of Christ Church from the balcony of our new apartment.



As it's been one of those days at work that has taken disproportionately more energy than normal , I have nothing much to say. We are watching an episode of of Wife Swap where an Orthodox Jewish family is being mixed up with a fairly down-home Kentucky family (think physics professions vs. prison guards) - so that should be interesting.

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Tools of the trade

At the moment, the tools of my trades are: laptop, cellphone, mop, bucket, sponge, vacuum cleaner, various cleaning products, knitting needles, and wool.

My occupations?

Well, first and foremost I'm a job-hunter. So the laptop and cellphone are essential.

As the housewife, and person with the most free time, I've been cleaning our (formerly fairly filthy) new apartment, hence all the cleaning supplies.

And as a knitter - but also to escape the monotony of job hunting and cleaning - I've been knitting for at least an hour every day.

So far, I've had mixed results. As a job hunter, well, I've interviewed a bit, and have a couple more interviews scheduled, plus a few roles I'm waiting to hear feedback on. It's frustrating, but I'm persisting. I can't wait to have a job and not have to sell myself for a few days.

As a housewife I've also had mixed results. Yesterday my feet were black with dust and dirt by 11AM. After a lot of vacuuming and mopping, I thought I'd be fine today, so I wore pretty pale pink socks. The result? Dingy grey soles.

But we now have clean cupboards, and our stuff in them. I'm slowly re-organising the storage so we can fit all our stuff in. And tonight we'll cook some dinner. Ok, so it will be nachos, but it's still cooking!

As a knitter I'm doing quite well so far. On the weekend, David took us on a trip to Blackrock. He was keen to go on the DART, and for some strange reason, keen to visit This Is Knit. Blackrock was okay, but This Is Knit was lovely, and we got enough loot to keep me going for a little while.

What did I buy? Well, sock yarn and swish Clover bamboo dpns (double-pointed needles, ideal for knitting a sock, if you're a non-knitter). And some yarn for a secret-squirrel project that I can't blog about, because the recipient is a reader.

So this week I've concentrated on knitting my first sock, which, once you read the pattern, really is a doddle. If I'd been smart I might have suggested knitting myself socks first, since David has hugenormous feet, but since he's my yarn enabler, I figure he deserves them.

In fact, he's been so intrigued by the dpns that he's expressed an idle interest in learning how to knit a sock himself...

So the afternoons have passed fairly pleasantly: tv on in the background as I clean/ type/ knit. It's so warm here that I have to have the balcony door open during the day or I swelter... As far as unemployment goes, this isn't too bad.

(I'm not softening, I still want a great job, and now! But if I have to wait, at least I can wait somewhere lovely.)

Anyway, my question for you is: What are the tools of your trade? Use the comments to tell me.

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