Monday 24 September 2007

Travel - Where in the World?

This kid is fairly amazing. Was fairly impressed when she went straight to Zimbabwe.

She even manages to correct her parents' pronunciation of Mexico.

Tuesday 18 September 2007

Music - For Mondays

I mean 'Mondays' in the sense that it's one of those days that seem to drag interminably. They eventually splutter to an end with you just barely crawling over the end line and the knowledge that a long week still awaits, ever darkening your mood. Music can often be the only thing that wipes clear those clingy remnants of the day.

The entire 'Astral Weeks' album provides a deliciously meandering soundtrack that remains uplifting and inspiring. It always seems to offer the listener another sound or beat previously unnoticed. If an album is an image, this one depicts a loving parent leading a distressed child away from trouble into the warm evening sun. (Right, that's my 'Corny' allocation for this month all used up)

Madame George

Have been listening to Jack Johnson for a long time. This guy's voice is mellifluous ear candy that can lighten the darkest of days. Whatever his critics may say, his songs conjure up idle hours, lounging on a beach with someone by your side to share the views of the shimmering seas.

Better Together

High Tide or Low Tide (First song in which I heard his voice)

North and South of the River - Christy Moore
This song mightn't be too cheery but the power of the words and his voice swallow and drown out the ebbs we encounter in our daily lives. This song speaks of someone in an Ireland of the past who just wanted to "walk with you along an unapproved road not looking over my shoulder".

More songs for a Monday
Morcheeba - The Sea

Zero 7 - In The Waiting Line

Air - All I Need

Any other suggestions?

Saturday 15 September 2007

Sport - All- Ireland Football Final

Provincial rivals Cork and Kerry face off tomorrow in All-Ireland Gaelic Football final in Dublin's Croke Park. This is a novel pairing for an All-Ireland final as under the old system it would have been impossible for these teams to meet beyond the provincial final/Munster final.

Kerry are the aristocrats of gaelic football whose players typically have a natural grace and style on the ball with a DNA primed and steeled for All-Ireland glory. Cork, the greatest sporting county in Ireland, are the aristocrats of hurling but tomorrow the footballers have a chance at grabbing a lifetime of bragging rights over their neighbours. All the years of hurt and defeat in provincial games could be wiped clean with possession of the Sam Maguire cup.
Skills of Gaelic Football

All-Ireland day in hurling and football are biggest days in Irish sport. Croke park is the greatest field in a land of fields. And tomorrow the players of Cork and Kerry will step into that famed cauldron but only one team will emerge glorious and be forever remembered.
U2 - Croke Park

Friday 7 September 2007

Music - Sunshine Tunes

Well, the summer has finally arrived in Ireland. It's about 3 months late but is here nonetheless in all its balmy brilliance peaking today at 24c/72f. (Irish people begin to melt somewhere around 35/95). Its so easy to let your troubles melt away in it all. No wonder Jamaicans are so chilled or Californians are so gleefully happy. Let them try a few Monday morning with the rain belting down and see how they get on.
The weekend promises more of the same so I finally get to ponder on some of my favourite sunshine tunes. Sadly most of these songs are associated with times outside of Ireland but always ensure a warm feeling regardless of the weather we are dealt.

Superfunk - Lucky Star (Big hit in France a few years back)

Ian Pooley - Coracao Tambor (Anything in Portuguese is inherently sun kissed)

Bob Marley - Sun is Shining remix (A bit sacrilegious really but always recalls memories of Ibiza)

Toots and Maytals - 54-46 Was My Number (Cider sales have plummeted in Ireland this Summer but there's nothing to compare with pint glass of ice brimming with Bulmer's cider, some reggae in a beer garden with the sun shining overhead)

Zero 7 - In The Waiting Line (A bit of blissed out of chill to finish your day)

Right, time to get some rays on my milky torso. The farmer's tan is not a good look.

Monday 3 September 2007

Life - Managing My Day

I regard myself as a very relaxed person but as I've gotten older I demand much more from myself. Gone are the days when I would lounge happily in bed all morning, then scratch my way to the kitchen for lunch before rocking down to the pub for some mischief later on. While they were great days at the time that needed to be done, I can be very self-critical now if I don't get anything much done with my day.

Unfortunately, I have to keep setting myself little tasks and targets or else my life begins to stall. If I have one thing to do all day, there's a good chance it won't happen. If I have several things to do, they will all be sorted plus a few extra things 'while I'm at it'. This was always the case. I couldn't achieve any level of consistency or application as a student for most of the year until exam time loomed and then I went into overdrive to the point of being 'nerdy'. I usually write down what has to be done and hugely enjoy the process of crossing out each chore afterwards (as the my Canadian friend used to say "that's so anal", but she knew someone who would even write things like 'wash teeth' just so they could cross it off).

I actually distrust myself quite a bit. Like the wife of an alcoholic who is forever teetering between extremes of vibrant sobriety and rampant intoxication, I have come up with little schemes to keep me on the straight and narrow. I'll put my alarm in some corner of the room so the lazy me won't hit the snooze button all morning or I'll hide €20 somewhere on my person before I go out, in case of an emergency, but not somewhere so easy that the drunk me could find leaning over a nightclub bar counter.

I don't think any less of myself for all this. At the moment, I'm being overloaded at work but managing to be more productive in more facets of my life than I have been for quite a while. Just have to keep looking straight ahead because if I stop for a moment to look down, it will be a quick fall