Snow is like People

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We were driving through the snow earlier today when a philiosophical young five year old came out with a good one from the back seat.

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“Y’know,” he said, “snow is like people…”

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I asked how.

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“They both go up and over the car” he explained. I noticed how the falling flakes changed its downward path as the car sliced through the light blizzard.

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“How do people go up and over the car?” I asked.

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“Y’know …when they hit the bonnet”

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One slide

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Yesterday I collected my son (5 years old) from a party at a local play centre. His eyes welled-up as I approached him.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I didn’t want to go yet,” he cried.

I told him, “well OK, go and have one slide down.”

Immediately his face burst into joy and he ran off laughing.

“..but we’re leaving as soon as you do one slide!” I called after him.

“Alright,” he shouted, pausing to look back, “but I’m not going down any slide so I won’t be back for a while!”

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This Little Piggy Went to the Market

Paul Krugman at the New York Times reflects on a comment by “ObsessiveMathsFreak” on irisheconomy.ie. Finally I can see sense in the markets. Thanks ObsessiveMathsFreak!

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The markets want money for cocaine and prostitutes. I am deadly serious.

Most people don’t realize that “the markets” are in reality 22-27 year old business school graduates, furiously concocting chaotic trading strategies on excel sheets and reporting to bosses perhaps 5 years senior to them. In addition, they generally possess the mentality and probably intelligence of junior cycle secondary school students. Without knowladge of these basic facts, nothing about the markets makes any sense—and with knowladge, everything does.

What the markets, bond and speculators, etc, want right now is for Ireland to give them a feel good feeling, nothing more. A single sharp, sweeping budget would do that; a four year budget plan will not. Remember that most of these guys won’t actually still be trading in four years. They’ll either have retired or will have been promoted to a position where they don’t care about Ireland anymore. Anyone that does will be a major speculator looking to short the country for massive profit.

In lieu of a proper budget, what the country can do—and what will work—is bribe senior ratings agencies owners and officials to give the country a better rating. Even a few millions spent on bumping up Ireland’s rating would save millions and possibly save the country.

Bread and circuses for the masses; cocaine and prostitutes for the markets. This can be looked on as unethical obviously, but since the entire system is unethical, unprincipled and chaotic anyway, why not just exploit that fact to do some good for the nation instead of bankrupting it in an effort to buy new BMWs for unmarried 25 year olds.

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You go ObsessiveMathsFreak!

Back to School -Morning Rules

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Now that the kids are going back to school (next week), I am reminded of the rules I stuck on the wall some time ago..

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Do you find yourself going through the same routine, saying/ shouting the same things every school morning?

Well, post up these rules (or your own version thereof) and reap the benefits!

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Now the kids know what they need to do each morning and it saves a lot of heartache to just say “have you done everything on the list?” instead of listing same over and over and over each and every morning.

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You know it makes sense!

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(I’m often asked why the “no juggling” rule. Short answer is, rules shouldn’t necessarily be an interdiction on everything one might enjoy, nor should they be seen as solely “about me”. And it’s nice to have a rule that isn’t always being broken.)

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Ivory Tower Restaurant

Y’know when you are walking down the street and pass an old one-armed one-eyed chinaman in traditional garb, smoking from a long pipe who nods his head and walks away down a dodgy-looking backalley and you wonder if you should follow him for some big secret revelation beyond your imagination or turn and run in the opposite direction asap?

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Well discovering Ivory Tower Restaurant, in Cork, Ireland, for the first time is a little like that.

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The outside is somewhat… unassuming, to put it mildly, downright frightening to more accurately describe it.

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This is as good as it gets outside. See that golden angel thingy overhead? It looks dangerously perched over the doorway. It feels like walking under a (spiky) ladder passing through the doorway and the bad-luck feeling stays with you as you proceed.

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Truth be told, I love the ramshackle style. It’s like old New Orleans or a mishmash of clutter that Major Johnny Brit might have brought back from his trip round the world “to see the Empire an’ all that”.

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Up the stairs and through the door on the right and you’re into the main room (no further photos I’m sorry to say -the rest you’ll have to see for yourself!)

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If you had doubts up to now, they may be brushed aside when you catch a glimpse of the menu (sample here), but all misgivings are definitely tossed out the [large] window [overlooking the street below] once the food arrives.

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Three of us called there last night. As a ‘surprise taster’, we each got the same small, meaty Octopus salad.

Two of us lashed it down.I can only remember tasting octopus once before, and I didn’t like it -it was rubbery and it had tentacle suckers. The cuts in this salad though were soft and meaty and very tasty. Mrs. Rumm couldn’t eat hers (don’t worry -everything else was self-selectable), but I dare say if the owner, Seamus, had called it ‘chicken surprise’ instead she’d have loved it. 🙂

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I had a ‘wood-pigeon with beetroot’ starter. I’ve never been a big fan of beetroot, but again, here the beetroot tasted like meat -it was thickly cut and melted in the mouth like a moist tender slice of beef. In fact at times it was difficult to determine which was the beetroot and which the poor, dear, dead and tasty wood-pigeon. Dear dear wood-pigeon. I loved your meat, though we never met.

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My brother had a sushi starter, consisting of crab wraps, sea bass and one or two other bits. My wife had the duck (could well have been the main course in another establishment, if served with a few dollops of potato). It had a lovely-looking crispy skin that I was tempted to grab from her plate when I saw her slice it away to reveal the tender meat within, but by then I was lost in the delights of my own dish.

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Next, for the “between courses” course, we had a choice of three dishes. The two males chose the lobster bisque, Mrs. Rumm again took the non-marine route and went with the sorbet.

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I had expected a little shot-glass fishy aperitif. Instead I was presented with a bowl of soup (with newly-replenished bowl of delicious bread). I have no doubt the lobster was running around that morning because the bisque had quite the kick. In truth, this was the closest I came to disliking anything: The dish was peppery and tangy and ‘alien’ tasting. Somehow, after dipping a slice of (raspberry) bread into it however, it began to transform: The bread I could understand, and now the alien taste blended well with this understandable taste and so I found my taste buds accepting it. By the end, do I need to make clear? -each of our ‘late course starter’ dishes was completely demolished.

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Onward and ever-upward to the main course!

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I had the Sea Bass. Nothing amazing in the description, but the taste was delicious I’m sure I don’t need to say. It was served in a sauce similar to the lobster bisque I had just eaten, but without the extra kick that would’ve knocked the bass out of the plate. Instead, this sauce had an ‘added lightness’ feel to it, much the same way lemongrass does for asian cooking (if that makes sense?)

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My brother had the duck (very tasty looking too) and Mrs. Rumm had the undeniable steak.

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For dessert, two of us had the Selection of Irish Cheeses (“Served in a right state”) and the other had the berry tart with olive oil ice cream.

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Let me say, for the record, I haven’t tasted every Irish cheese by a long-shot, but I can admit that I’d never had a ‘delicious’ Irish cheese before. In Ivory Towers, however, I loved all of the 5 or 6 cheeses on my plate. Maybe it was the mix, maybe it was the salty crackers or the rich Rioja red wine, but I particularly liked the blue (Bellingham) cheese and the nutty/seedy one -‘Killeens’ I think Seamus told me it was. Each available from On The Pigs Back in the nearby English Market.

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Overall, the evening was an adventure as much as a meal. I had been there a number of years ago and can vouch for the consistency and quality of the food.

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The total cost wasn’t cheap, but well worth it.

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One bonus was when we discovered that the set-price menu had been reduced from 60euros to just 50, which is a steal for food of this quality. To celebrate we had a little more wine than we may have had, which went down very well, but did cause costs to leap of course.

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What to do with CDs?

In this digital age, many people have long since ripped any CDs they have onto their computer/ portable player, then buried their music pile behind the couch or in the attic.

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Vinyl albums are making a comeback as people once again appreciate the emotional response that comes from holding a large interactive, holdable, foldable, readable, viewable work of Art (never mind the more controversial matter of what sounds better).

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Vinyl album sleeves and cases are can be beautiful. These have always had a value separate to the quality of the music that lies within.

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Unfortunately, CDs never had this. In the quest for slimline, stark, neat and efficient reduction, much was lost. Sleeve artwork on the whole became a necessary byproduct, a utilitarian descriptor rather than a thing of beauty in and of itself.

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As a result, CDs and CD cases are small, characterless and unloved.

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As a result, these CDs are now mostly hidden -out of sight- behind the couch or clogging up the attic.

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But I’ve found a nice use for them (well, for those nicer sleeves at least):

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Lightshades:

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It’s just some LED Christmas lighting wrapped in circles and stuck onto a plastic front that holds some CDS. I designed them and asked Tom Deevy at T&T Shopfitters (Cork) to make the ‘racks’.

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I can’t claim credit for the bits in-between though.

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Depending on mood or the latest colour scheme on the wall (ya right), the CDs can be swapped out and replaced. Or even taken out and played if such a drastic notion occurred to you.


Superman’s Underpants and the movie “Inception”

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See this?

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IMG_3800

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Now, sorry for showing you my bathroom wall, but there’s more to it.

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It’s not easy to explain, but once this photo is put in the frame and placed in that location, behind that piece of string, it then takes on a whole new depth that you can’t see in this photo.

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When Mrs. Rumm saw it she shrugged and sighed and smiled and walked away. Nothing new there then.

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As my (then) 8 year old daughter immediately explained when she first saw it “the first picture is outside!

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Precisely!

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…When we look at this picture in this place we are standing in the outside layer of the image. It’s quite beautiful. 🙂

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Anyway, I posted that pic to illustrate my other point, which is to do with the movie INCEPTION, directed by Christopher Nolan. If you haven’t seen it, look away now because what I’m about to discuss could be seen as a possible spoiler in a way…

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Continue reading Superman’s Underpants and the movie “Inception”

3D or Not 3D?

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Confession: I saw Jaws 3D five times in the cinema. I was a young teenager and, like, IT WAS 3D!!

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There were other 3D movies at the time, such as Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone with Peter Strauss that I saw multiple times because HEY! IT’S 1D BETTER THAN 2D!!!

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Then I grew up.

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If I was a young teen today I’d probably bet wetting myself (and hiding the evidence down the back of the bed) with the selection of 3D movies out and coming soon. Some of them, such as Toy Story 3, aren’t even dependent solely on the 3D effects.

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It’s a glorious time to be 13 and a consumer of movies!

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The problem for me is I’m no longer 13. I don’t care if the flat screen in front of me is displaying layered images as a story is unfolding. The whole effect reminds me of nothing “real”, but most closely resembles parralax scrolling, hailed as awesome as far back as the videogame Moon Patrol in 1982, and now in use most notably in Flash animations across an internet near you (unless you’re an adherant to the religion of Apple).

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It was exhilerating to watch how smoothly a game like Turrican ran on the Commodore Amiga while it presented a background moving on several planes, depending on how far away they were supposed to be. Like WOW!

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Now I don’t care. Now I’m interested only in what’s in the box. Not the box itself.

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But that’s just tough on me because teens are the movie-going demographic du jour. Since I am outside that demographic, the movie studios are not targetting me nor do they care what I think of it.

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For the record though, I thought it important to state my opinion: 3D is a load of crap. …at least 3D in its current (and previous) form, with required glasses , is a load of crap.

It adds nothing but a dark plastic layer between the viewer and the movie. It’s like visiting someone in prison and having to talk with them through a wall of glass. If that wall wasn’t there, even if we were still not allowed to touch or move nearer, wouldn’t we be that much closer?

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It seems every electronics manufacturer in the world has staked its family silver on the mass-adoption of 3D technology. Whether we like it or not, it is coming because “they” have decided.

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Allow me to make a prediction: There is a guaranteed new market crash in our future and 3D technology will play a big part in it. Nobody in anything like big numbers is going to pay cold hard cash to replace their “2D” television so they can have the privilege of watching Coronation Street or Desperate Housewives in 3D. And even if they did, they would soon get fed up with finding and cleaning and replacing their 3D glasses.

It’s just silly to believe it could be any other way.

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Yet, every large multinational conglomerate, from SONY to Samsung, from Nintendo to Mitsubishi (hmm, are all of these Japanese/ Asian?)… OK, from Microsoft to every Hollywood movie studio (some also owned by some of the above), appears to be putting every ounce of their weight behind this technology.

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So what happens when that techology collapses (as it will, inevitably, because as I said: It’s crap)?

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This is not a blog. This is a Non-Blog.