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Eurovision 2006!

Last night I went over to Yvonne's house and watched the Eurovision contest. It was my first Eurovision--a very special occasion indeed! Those of you in America have of course never been privileged to view this spectacle, and for you I wish I could convey the utter cracktastic awesomeness of the Eurovision experience. But, thanks to the wonder of YouTube, you can experience it for yourself. Here's a short guide.

The first thing you need to understand is that everyone who performs for Eurovision is really, really bad. No serious artist would go anywhere near it. I think the most famous person to perform a song in the Eurovision contest is Céline Dion--that pretty much sums it up right there.

Here, for example, is an act of pretty typical badness: Shame, Spain! That should give you a general idea of the direness of the proceedings.

Or, take Ireland. I was actually rooting for Ireland, for obvious reasons, and Ireland does indeed hold the record for most Eurovision wins (it's also the only country to have won three years in a row). But this year's entry was, shall we say, dismal? It was Brian Kennedy performing "Every Song Is a Cry For Love." (Right of the top of my head: like, say, "Psycho Killer"?) I can't find a clip of his live performance, which was mostly very dull and very, very green, but to give you an idea of the utter, utter cheese, here's the music video. *snerk*

But there were some shining stars. One was the winner, Finland. I...don't actually want to say anything about this. You just have to watch it: unspoiled, utterly surprised. So, just remember that most of the acts were in the same vein as Spain's entry or Brian Kennedy's pap, and then watch this.

They totally deserved to win. Still, I think my heart belongs to the cheeky Lithuanian monkeys responsible for this. See? Now that's awesome. That's taking the piss. Ireland appreciates piss-taking ability: we (see how possessive I've gotten?) gave our largest percentage of votes to Lithuania. So why are we stuck entering greasy dullards like Brian Kennedy? Yeesh.

Still. Everyone knows that this is the greatest Eurovision entry ever. Pure Irish glory, that. *vbg*
  • Current Music
    The Smiths, "This Charming Man"
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Cheer up, emo kid

When I went down to Laois with Yvonne this past weekend, I ended up having a few hours to myself in Portlaoise, so I went and explored a cemetery called, I think, The Ridge. Yvonne's parents thought I was insane to spend my time this way, but it was Collapse )

Shortly after I got back to Dublin, an Easter package arrived from my parents. So here's a bonus photo: Collapse )
  • Current Music
    The Rolling Stones, "Beast of Burden"
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I Capture the Castle

This past weekend, I accompanied Yvonne on her Castle and Defensive Fortifications class field trip to Wexford, along the southeast coast of Ireland. The day started out shakily as we recovered from the shock of discovering that Yvonne's nemesis, Big Gay Matt (I can't quite recall the origin of this name; it may be derived from the fact that while Matt is not gay, he bears a remarkable resemblance to a slightly-melted Ken doll) had brought along as his guest my classmate Joseph—the really pretentious one who kept wanting to talk about Alice in Wonderland "from a post-colonial perspective." Sometimes? The world makes far too much sense.

But ANYWAY, they proved remarkably easy to ignore, as Wexford was wonderful, and aside from a brief interlude of hail while we were safely ensconced at the Templars' Inn pub (if you're ever in Wexford, don't eat there: they overcharge), we had glorious weather. And I took an obscene amount of photos—literally, until my camera battery gave out on me. So come, see...

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  • Current Music
    Sufjan Stevens, "The Seer's Tower"
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There was a big parade and it was all for ME! Or possibly for some dude named Patrick. Whatever.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody! Okay, it was yesterday, but I was too busy yesterday. Here is what I did:

Yvonne and Addie picked me up bright and early and took me for a full Irish breakfast at Bewley's on Grafton. I was wearing my green tights and the Ireland shirt Daniel (Feldman, former roommate) and Nicole got me for Christmas, so I think I looked nicely spirited without verging onto scary-fuzzy-green-hat touristy territory. At breakfast, Yvonne presented me with a Dalek full of chocolates. It will exterminate you...with deliciousness!

Then we went out and tried to find places along the parade route. We found not-so-bad spots, considering that we waited until the last minute to go out. And the parade was FANTASTIC. Completely unlike any parade I have ever seen: there were marching bands, sure, but there were also utterly bizarre floats and costumes and humongous, grotesque puppets. We really couldn't figure what any of these were supposed to symbolize--like, there was the one that seemed to be in support of lesbian weddings, and the army of people with fake tans, and the smaller army of girls dressed in towels, and the surely-dying-of-cold football-groupie bellydancers, and a running obsession with fish and mermaids, and just...yeah. It was wonderfully, gorgeously alien and surreal. Way to party, Dublin!

There were only two drawbacks to the parade experience:

1. Several times, it began to hail spontaneously. Seriously, it was like somebody emptied a bucket over us. I was annoyed by this, but not as annoyed as Yvonne, who had a piece of hail somehow bypass her scarf, her coat, and her jumper, and make its way down her cleavage. This was probably directly related to the second drawback, namely that:

2. March? Not the best month for a parade. Addie and I got so cold that bits of us nearly started falling off. When we went back to my room for tea and Nutella, it took over an hour for feeling to return to my toes.

But once I could walk without falling into things (er, any more than usual), we all hopped on a bus to go to Yvonne's house in Drumcondra. It looked like a perfectly ordinary bus. Little did we know that it was actually the bus...to HELL!

You see, there were these girls on this bus. Nine- or ten-year-old girls. DRUNK nine- or ten-year-old girls. Devil children. They shouted. They stomped. They shook the seats. They insulted the other passengers. They sang. Dear sweet Jesus, they SANG.

Here are some actual notes passed between Yvonne and myself when this ruckus made actual conversation impossible:

Me: Shouting = singing? I did not know this!

Yvonne: Do you think they'd notice if we dose them with Ritalin?
Me: How about cyanide?

Yvonne: The best part is how they only know two lines of the national anthem. One of which they got wrong, so apparently we owe our loyalty to bread.
Me: It is good to be loyal to bread. You don't want to piss bread off.
Yvonne: Bread will fuck your shit up.

FINALLY they got off and shortly thereafter, we arrived at Yvonne's. We feasted on Chinese food, watched Serenity, and Addie and I got steadily drunk on premixed margaritas, which were a bit odd, but did the job. I also drank the little bottle of whisky I bought in Scotland. Bottoms up!

When I finally dragged myself home, I found some apparently drunker person's lost 10 euro note on Nassau Street. I am a lucky drunk! Yay!

So it was a fabulous, fun, crazy, dorky birthday, and I loved every minute, even if my toes didn't. I hope you guys had great St. Pat's! Hugs, kisses, belated pinches, and love to you all!

(Also, everyone should admire my awesome icon, which a friend made in celebration of Daniel's (brother's!) off-the-cuff genius. *g*)
  • Current Music
    Johnny Cash, "Sunday Morning Coming Down"
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A Scot, an American, and an Irishwoman walk into a bar...

I'm back from Scotland! I had an absolutely fabulous time--it's a great country, full of terrific people, and I want to go back, like, now. Or before the end of the school year, definitely. Anyway, as I'm sure you can guess, I took some pictures, so here is a brief (and extremely geeky) account of what we did.

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Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!
  • Current Music
    The Proclaimers, "I'm Gonna Be"
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Resurrection Girls

Happy New Year, one and all! Sorry it's been a while since my last update, but I've been busy with the end of my first term at Trinity; with Mom, Dad, and Daniel's visit to Dublin; and more recently with...other things. WARNING! The following story is not for the faint of heart!

*gives you ample time to get out*

Okay! So, in the last few days, I've:

1) Drunk absinthe;
and 2) Gotten violently ill.

Not in that order. *g*

What happened was this: Friday I woke up with positively the worst case of food poisoning I--or, I am still somewhat convinced, anyone has ever had. I had to cancel my plans with Karen, and spent the entire day unable to get out of bed except for when I was dragging my sorry self to the bathroom. What a perfect farewell gift from 2005! Finally, a little after 10 p.m. I made one last stumble across the room to turn out the light, then collapsed back into my bed and slept for over 12 hours.

I woke up feeling, if not Magically All Better, then much less likely to pass out when I tried to take a shower, which was one of Friday's more entertaining interludes. When Karen texted me to make sure I wasn't dead before inviting my reanimated corpse to a New Year's party with her, I decided I was well enough to go based on the fact that I was really, really bored. I got the DART out to Glenageary and met up with Karen, who fed me yummy Malaysian food--the first thing I'd been able to keep down in almost two days. Then we watched part of The African Queen, raided (with permission!) her parents' liquor cabinet, and walked down to Dun Laoghaire for the party.

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The next morning, we summarily ignored the entire concept New Year's resolutions by lounging around in our pajamas for hours. Eventually we decided we needed some fresh air, so we walked over to Dalkey, which is an adorable little town with a good bookstore and a nice, big pub. (If they built a movie theater, I could just about live there.)

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Anyway, it's been a pretty good resurrection so far. I'll post some pictures from the family trip to Dublin soon; I hope your 2006s are also going well! Please, drop me a comment or two and let me know. =)
  • Current Music
    R.E.M., "Belong"
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Marks & Spencer, further solidifying its status as THE DEVIL, is selling mini mince pies, 12 for 3 euro. I was in there the other day, and all these packages of happy, Christmas-looking pies were stacked up by the cash register. Now, I really shouldn't be spending money on anything unessential. So I thought: I know! I'll get the cashier to tell me that mince pies are essential! Watch:

Me: Are those mince pies?
Cashier: Yes.
Me: Not the kind with meat?
Cashier: No. Fruit.
Me: They don't have that kind of mince pie in the U.S.
Cashier: *blank look*
Me: You know, where I'm from?
Cashier: *blankety blank*
Me: See, accent? Oh, never mind. But yeah--I've never had a traditional Christmas mince pie.
Cashier: *is supposed to say, "No!" "That's awful!" "But you must!"* Do you need a bag?
Me: No, I've got one. *starts to pack groceries into used Arnotts bag, because in Ireland, supermarkets charge for bags* You know, just the other day, I was telling some friends of mine that I'd never had mince pie, and they were like, "How have you lived?"
Cashier: That'll be 19.24.
Me: *sigh* Why don't you thrown in some of those mince pies?

So Marks & Spencer really needs to train more enthusiastic cashiers. Because damn, mince pie is good! If you've never had any...How have you lived?

Finally, since I had five minutes to kill yesterday, here's a little cartoon mini-me:

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  • Current Music
    Iggy & The Stooges, "Gimme Danger"
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Going to Museums and Getting Drunk (Not in That Order)

Today, the people of Russia are most likely quite befuddled, wandering through the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg asking each other, "Why is the vodka gone?" And the answer is: BECAUSE I DRANK IT.

A damn lot of it. And I'm not even sorry. *eg*

What happened was: I met up with my friend Karen, who showed me a real Irish night out on the town. We started off at Doyle's, which is a pub something like three feet away from Front Gate, and which I of course hadn't been to before, because I am lame. But Karen was nice enough not to mock me too much. I had a vodka and orange and she had a pint, and then we went to see a trio of friends of hers play at this pub called Conway's. There were several interesting logistical factors involved. First, Conway's is INVISIBLE, so we had a hard time finding it. We actually walked right by it several times--I think there must have been a cloaking device involved, because the only other explanation is that we are both blind. (As we happen to sport nearly identical Geek Glasses, there may be some validity to this theory.) Second, we were told the club where the band was playing was up some stairs at the back of the pub, but from what you could see at the bottom, the stairs seemed to lead straight into the kind of restroom you'd expect to find in a nasty prison movie. But we braved it, and after a quick jot to the left down a (possibly also cloaked) corridor, found ourselves outside the club. Which was called--I kid you not--The Boom Boom Room. Sadly, it was not ladies' night. ;-)

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Today, when I emerged blinking into the sunshine, miraculously without a hangover (but with my sunglasses handy, just in case), I met up with my friend Katrina and we went to the photography museum in Temple Bar. Collapse )

Katrina and I also visited the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle, which was cool, but nothing compared to Evil Sailor Sid. The best thing, though? We got lost on the way there (my fault), and while we were stumbling around, I FINALLY found the groovy bookshop I've been dreaming of. It's called The Secret Book and Record Store, and for good reason--it's down this twisting alleyway off of Wicklow Street. It's also right next door to--I kid you not--Sheppard's Hair Salon. (Katrina did not get this reference, so she still has room to become awesomer.) And, miracle of miracles, they had a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes! It was just sitting there, right out on a table. With all the time and effort I've spent looking for it, this was the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail, say, under a fur coat in a thrift shop. (And anyone who gets that reference is the awesomest person ever.)
  • Current Music
    The MDH Band, "Tom Tom's Dream"
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Good Book Hunting

Hi, guys. Sorry I haven't been updating, but until recently, my spirit and all my free time were being eaten up by the History Paper From Hell. But now I have actual content! A post about one of my favorite subjects...BOOKS!

Yesterday, I finally got fed up with Trinity's intensely irritating library and went to see if I could find a good used bookstore. For a city that trades so much on its literary reputation, used bookstores are not thick on the ground here in Dublin. Everyone talks about Books Upstairs, which is right across the street from campus, but I've been in there twice and--how can I put this delicately?--it sucks. It has, like, four books in it, and three of them are by Dan Brown. (The fourth is some pretentious piece of literary theory--gag me.)

Anyway, I had heard that Abbey Street had a couple of decent places, so I took the long way 'round, mostly to avoid crossing the River Liffey at O'Connell Street--it's always horribly congested. I ended up in Temple Bar completely by accident, and, I think, stumbled across U2's recording studio there. I think. I didn't look too closely. *is resolutely Not A Stalker*

I started out with a list of ten books, and on Abbey Street I was able to find three of them. Two were at Chapters, which has a decent, if horribly organzied, used section. (What is with bookstores that insist on dividing fiction into "Literature" and "Fiction" sections? It's not only pretentious, it's stupid--you end up with the same book shelved in multiple places, and nobody can find anything. Chapters was even worse--I stumbled across The Great Gatsby in "Literature," "Fiction," and "Classics.") The third was at a bargain store that basically looked like a room where somebody had emptied a carton of books out onto the floor--and not in a good way. Then today I managed to pick up two more at Hodges Figgis, which almost wins Favorite Bookstore on name alone--it sounds like it should be located in Diagon Alley. ;-)

In case anybody's curious, these are the books I was looking for:

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Seven are for class, three are potential pleasure reading. Anyone who can guess which three (or which one of the others I've actually read previously) will impress me deeply, and probably knows me better than I know myself. ;-)

(Oh, and in case anyone is in terrible suspense: I found the Haggard, the Hogg, the More, the Stoker, and the Wolfe. You can rest easy now. *g*)

ANYWAY...none of this was actually the highpoint of the day. That was my discovery of what I think must be the only Mexican restaurant in Dublin. It's called Taco Taco, it's in a food court off Abbey Street, and it's really not that good. But MY GOD--I ate a quesadilla yesterday, and it was the best thing I had ever tasted. I think I must've been experiencing salsa withdrawal. Bless you, Taco Taco. Bless you.
  • Current Music
    U2, "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" (Live from Mexico City)