Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008


This is a collection of cartoons by renowned cartoonist Don Hertzfeldt that were commissioned and rejected by the Family Learning Channel in America. THE FOOLS!!!! Watch and enjoy...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Song de Jour

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Venice Queen (Live from Slane Castle)

Watch out for the great bass playing in the last 30 seconds or so!!

Red Hot Chili Peppers on iTunes

Run Forrest RUN!!!!!

Ever since I got back from Berlin, which is about 3-4 months now, i've started going running to keep my fitness up. I live quite close to the Phoenix Park in Dublin which is ideal for running in. There's lots of hills and slopes, curvy paths and an endless variety of routes to keep me entertained. I had always ran in ordinary runners just but found that no matter how much stretching I did, I still woke the next day with splitting pains in my lower leg. They got better over time but it was still painful. So I decided to invest in a pair of proper running shoes and I had always wanted to try the Nike+ system that works with an iPod Nano.

So I went into my local Nike Store and began looking around only to find that one of the guys in my class in college worked in the shop. Now, not only did he work in the shop but he also trained new staff in the types of shoes and the theory behind them. I was amazed not only how much he knew about the shoes but also the science involved. What i always thought was a decorative piece of plastic or rubber could actually be crucial to keeping your foot in one piece. I ended up sitting there for about half an hour while we chose the perfect pair of shoes. Apparently I run on the outside of my foot, so a shoe with an exposed air bubble on the outside is preferable and something with a strong under arch support is essential. The most interesting thing was that when he asked me what shoes I was running in at the moment and I answered, he immediately grimaced and asked me are my shins not killing me!?!? There was the answer to what had been bugging me all this time!! the shoes I had were raising my heels too high and causing my shin muscles to flex in an odd way which was why they were so sore. It just amazed me that without telling him about the muscle pain that it was that easy to answer.

So after I got the shoes (30% off, thanks Rowan!!) he threw in the Nike+ kit for free (thanks again). This is the fun part!! The kit consists of an accelerometer that fits into a specially designed slot under the under-sole of one of your shoes,
and a receiver module thingy that plugs into your iPod Nano. The iPod then records that data which is sent wirelessly from your shoe to the iPod!!. Genius!! So this way you can get up to date information on how fast you're running, how long you've been running for and what pace your running at and how many calories you're burning, while your running and listening to music!! After your run is over, you plug in your iPod and your run information is sent to the Nike+ website where its presented in graph form showing a detailed summary of your run. You can then set goals to achieve, challenge other people around the world to a race, get online coaching and loads of other fun stuff.

Having something like this will keep me much more motivated than I usually would. When I ran before I had no real drive to beat my last run or progress onto harder runs but now that I can see how far and fast I'm running it will give me something to aim at!! So here goes....

Friday, May 09, 2008

General update...

Its been quite a while since I posted anything so I thought it best to give a little update. I've finally finished all my assignments for college, 6 in all. It was tough at times but now I have my exams to concentrate on so there's not much time to dwell on it. They're starting on Monday and i have 6 of them as well. Plenty to keep me busy!!

Since I last posted i've also started driving!! I found myself a nice car and applied for my driving test so its all go. I drove to Dublin for the first time about two weeks ago which was a great buzz. Its nice being able to leave when I want and never have to go to smelly Busarus anymore!!!

I booked flights back to Berlin to visit some friends who are still over there. I'm going for a week, the one after my exams, and i can't wait!! its gonna be great!!! I'm also bringing some friends over with me to see what is all about so it'll be a mad one as well. I was there for nearly six months and only now do they think of coming over!!! Typical!!!

There was some good news in the headlines today. Diageo, the parent company of Guinness, has decided not to close the St. James Brewery in Dublin!! I was getting a wee bit worried when I heard they were seriously considering closing it as its an integral part of the city, well it is to me anyway. I always love the smell you get every now and again during the brewing. Plus it would ruin the reputation of Guinness if people saw it moved to a brand spanking new, lifeless brewery in a suburb somewhere. The image of it being made where it has been for the past 249 years in the centre of Dublin is something unique to Guinness and Dublin and gives the city that something extra that others don't.

But there is some bad news. They've decided to close the breweries in Dundalk and Kilkenny and consolidate the production in a soon to be built brewery outside Dublin. However, the money they get for the sale of the two sites, is going to be pumped back into St. James Gate, around €600 million altogether. Not too shabby!!

Other than that, i'm all quiet. Just working away on the exams and dreaming of Berlin. I'll post more now that my college year is quieting down so watch this space!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pure poetry!!!

This piece of genius was thought up by a friend of mine in the pub recently. I think its worth hearing....

"When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat; the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground. With a giant buttered cat array, a high-speed monorail could easily link major metropolitan areas.

Its as simple as that..."

I'm not sure if he should quit his day job just yet, but he's getting somewhere!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dirty Money

I was watching a program last night on TV3 called 'Dirty Money'. It was about the crime scene in Ireland and more importantly, the history of The Criminal Assets Bureau. The unfortunate thing was that it appeared to be made and starred Paul Williams, the so called crime reporter for the Sunday World. That pretty much ruined it for me.

I cant stand Paul Williams!! Twenty Major says it better than I ever could:

"To me Paul Williams glamourises what he claims to hate. His stuff in the Sunday World is really terrible. It’s salacious, gossipy tripe, most of which is fed to him by Gardai and really does nothing to stop crime, only boost the profiles of the criminals who wallow in the infamy, and the author who, of course, has books to sell. One of the best things I ever heard in my life was that guy from jail calling him a ‘cunt’ on the Joe Duffy show. Criminal he might have been but that deserves some serious kudos."

The second part is next Monday night which should be the same waffle. In fairness it does document some of the biggest crimes over the past few years quite well. But I just cant take it seriously with Paul quoting from his books and pretending to look tough. Its a shame because it could be a really great documentary, if only it didn't have his smarmy face on it every few minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hang on....

Now mightn't be the time to buy the Bourne box set. Matt Damon has reportedly signed up to do another Bourne movie.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing????

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Leavin' on a jet plane....

I cant believe i'm here already. I'm sitting in Schoenefeld airport waiting for the plane to arrive and take me home. It only seems like last week that I arrived and now 5 months have flown by and i'm packed and ready to leave. I didn't think i'd miss it but I already am. There's bits of it i'll miss a lot, like the fact that its Berlin, my new friends and other small bits like food etc. There's bits I definitely wont miss, like where we live, the language barrier and the unfriendly nature of some of the people. But all in all, I will miss Berlin. Its been quite an experience and not something I will forget anytime soon!!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blue Man Group

This evening some friends and I went to see the Blue Man Group. Its kinda hard to explain but the Blue Man Group consists of three guys dressed in black with blue hands and faces. The show is a mix of music and comedy but the greatest part is that they never speak or change their facial expressions, yet the show was hilarious!!! Its all in the eyes!! Here's a clip of what's involved:

The show lasted around an hour and a half and we got to meet the band and the blue men after the show which was cool. Well worth the 40 euro!!! I've been meaning to go to the show since I got here but kept putting it off. But now that I have only 4 days left in Berlin, I thought it was time!!!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bauhaus & The Victory Column

Not long after my visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, I went on a trip to the Bauhaus Archive. Bauhaus is, or was, a architectural and product design style established in Germany in the early 20th century. This museum/archive has a great collection of original Bauhaus pieces and in one section, a complete replica of a exhibit from French Society of Interior Architects trade show in 1930. Unfortunately they wouldn't let me use my camera inside so here are someone elses!!!

The Bauhaus Archive in the typical Bauhaus style.

The museum interior.

After that then I walked for a few minutes and found myself at:

The Victory Column.

This is one of my favourite features of Berlin. Built in the 1870s to commemorate a number of victories by the Prussian Army, its been a favourite of Berliners ever since. It was originally placed in front of the Reichstag but was luckily moved by the Nazis in the 30's, otherwise it would've been destroyed in the war. It stands around 67 meters high and you can walk to the very top. Its A LOT of stairs but its worth it!!

The Chick on a Stick

A view from the top!!!

Since then i've had my five exams. I just finished today so I can finally relax!! There's a leaving party on tonight for everyone who's leaving in the next few weeks. Should be fun!!! I have only six days left in Berlin which is a bit scary to be honest. Where did the last 5 months go!?!?!

Well, i'm going to make the most of my last six days and see and do everything I still have yet to do. I better get to it so!!!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Need i say more!!!

This picture was featured on Graham Linehan's Blog Why Thats Delightful. This is why people use a Mac!!!!

Microsoft release a new operating system, and people revert back to the old one because the new one is pants!!!

For those of you having problems with Microsoft Vista, there is, however a simple solution to your problem!!!

It's that easy!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Last Saturday, one of the Irish girls, Orla, her cousin, Aoife and myself took a trip north of Berlin to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Its about an hour out of Berlin in an area called Oranienburg. This is what it looks like:

The large triangle you can see in the picture was where the main camp was. Most of the camp buildings have either been destroyed or fell into disrepair. There are only two remaining which were the old kitchen and laundry room. To the north of the triangle is a smaller camp which was used for special prisioners and to the west of the triangle is the industrial yard and execution pit. It's been in use in some shape or form since it opened in 1933.

The gate to the camp. Its German for 'Work makes free', or in other words, 'Work will set you free'.

The camp was originally a vacant industrial building that the SA took over. They opened it in 1933 and it was the first in the then state of Prussia. It was used primarily as a detention camp for people who opposed the National Socialists after they seized power. However it only remained open for just over a year and was closed in July 1934 after the SS took control.

It was completely rebuilt in 1936 by the order of the then newly appointed Chief of German Police, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler. It was first used to house political opponents of the Nazi Regime but after the Concentration Camps Inspectorate (administrative headquarters of all concentration camps) moved to Oranienburg, it took on a more serious role. After this, the camp began to fill up with members of groups who the Nazi regime saw as inferior and between 1936 and 1945, more than 200,000 people were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. Tens of thousands died from starvation, illness, disease or were murdered systematically by the SS. Thousands more died during the evacuation in 1945 and around 3,000 prisioners were liberated by the Russians.

While in the camp, prisoners who were in the punishment squad were made to walk for hours over a variety of surfaces to test material for the soles of army boots which were produced in the industrial yard of the camp. Prisoners were also forced to watch their fellow comrades being hanged in an open space used for roll calls. the camp was also fitted with an execution pit, gas chambers and crematoriums. Although it wasn't on the same scale as Auschwitz, it still sends shivers down your spine just thinking about it.

After the liberation of Berlin and Germany, the Russians took control of the camp. Most of the camp, except the crematoriums and extermination facilities, was used for the same purpose as before. The NKVD, the Russian secret service, used the camp to house minor Nazi functionaries and those who were deemed 'politically undesirable'. After three years it became the largest of three camps used by the Soviets to detain undesirables. The camp remained open for five years and finally closed in 1950. Around 60,000 people had been imprisoned there. 12,000 of those died of malnutrition and disease.

After its closure, Sachsenhausen lay derelict for a few years until 1961 when the GDR launched its plan to turn the site into a national memorial. Instead of preserving the remaining building they decided to level most of it. It was there way of symbolising the victory of anti-fascism over fascism.

A memorial was built in 1961 by the GDR to commemorate everyone who died in Sachsenhausen.

Since then it has always been a memorial and since the wall fell in 1989 and it was handed back to Germany, the memorial been developing and changing. Even though its not what it used to be and much of what remains is closed to the public its still chilling. Especially when you make the mistake of going in the evening, staying in an exhibition too long and having to walk the length of the camp in complete darkness!!! Not recommended!!

"Sachsenhausen Stories"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm back!!!

It has been way too long since i've posted something but i thought i'd take some time off over Christmas from the blog. But now i'm back so you can call off the search!!

Got back into Berlin on Sunday afternoon after a bumpy flight from Dublin. We were greeted with the usual freezing temperature and the remnants of a heavy snowfall (i'm never there when it snows!!!). I wasn't particularly excited about returning because I was quite comfortable at home. Clean house, good food, a fridge that magically refilled itself (how does it do that!?!?!) and the usual creature comforts. But when I got back I remembered what I like about it and it wasn't so bad. Plus i'm only here for another month so i'm going to enjoy myself as much as possible and make the most of it.

Christmas went really good. It was nice to be home for more than a weekend so I could get settled. The spread of food was incredible as usual (thanks Mum) and I was glad to see the return of these little Ham and Cheese rolls she used to make years ago. They're small pieces of ham and ementhal cheese wrapped in filo pastry (could be puffed pastry, cant remember) and they're REALLY addictive. Because there was only three of us this year, we had Beef Wellington instead of turkey or goose. That went down a treat christmas day!!

Santa was good tome this year. some nice clothes, books, movies etc. But the highlight of the presents had to be my brand new Spongebob Squarepants Parafoil Kite It has to be one of the coolest things i've ever seen. Its a full sized Spongebob, and he's actually square, not flat like a usual kite!!! His hands and legs stick out and there's a long ribbon type thing coming out the bottom of him. And as you can see to the right he has his usual demented smile on his face!! I haven't tried him out yet but I will when I get back!! That was definitely the most interesting present I got, or ever got I think!!!

Christmas was pretty quiet overall. Just the way I hoped it would be!!! Got to see everyone I wanted to see and do everything I wanted to do so I was happy. As I said before I only have one month left in Berlin which is mostly for exams. My first is on the 24th of January and they go one till the 8th of February. I've 5 altogether so i'll be busy.

Thats about it for the minute. I leave you with a great live session with Van Morrison.