Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheerio Gov

I'm off to London tomorrow to visit my soon-to-be-brother-and-sister-in-law. I love these city breaks that one can take while living in Europe. Barely an hour on a plane and I can spend the day site-seeing, eating at new restaurants, seeing dear-but-not-so-near ones. I'd like to take a lot more of these city breaks over the next 6 months--Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, Dubrovnik. Even though I hardly spend a weekend in Dublin anymore, it still feels like there's so much more to see and there's no way I'll even see a tiny chunk of it. I've got to knock the holiday machine into high-gear. I mean, how often do you get the chance to live in Europe for a year? The smart readers of this blog will promptly buy stock in Aer Lingus.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Back to County Clare

Max and I went to County Clare over the weekend with our buddy Patrick. We stayed overnight in the adorable town of Ennis where we found a great local pub to sit in and watch the Ireland vs. England rugby match. As Ireland thrashed England, it was great fun to be surrounded by dozens of loud and excited fans--and it made me miss hockey even more! After the game, we listened to some traditional Irish music at a great pub with a roaring fire and plenty of Guinness. A prefect way to spend the evening.

The next day we drove up to the Cliffs of Moher where the shiny new interpretive center had just opened. We all had to battle the wind and I was really glad they had decided to build that wall at the edge of the cliffs. After the cliffs, we took a tour of the Aillwee Caves in the Burren. We saw lots of stalactites and stalagmites and underground waterfalls.

We had a terrific time and it was Max's first trip out West. Plus, it's always great to get out of Dublin for a couple of days. Of course, pictures are up on Picasa Web. Enjoy!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Soundtrack of Scattered

Been kind of scattered and unfocused this week. Not too conducive to blogging. But here are some songs to get you through the weekend:

My new and current obsession

One of the highlights from the CD that Beeb made for me last year

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I was going to blog about this commercial that I see, oh, about 500 times a day on Irish TV. It's a commercial for a ring tone called "Banana Phone" and it's just plain weird. But as soon as I typed "bananaphone" into my trusty Google deskbar, I learned that I am, sadly, waaaaaay out of the loop.

The best part is the title of this link at the bottom of the article:

"Animation in which a man is driven insane by the song Bananaphone."

Yeah, not hard to believe. Just for the sake of hearing the song (I'm sure the Irish ring tone ad is in no way related to the badgers or robot-banana-thing), here's a link to video using the (weird, weird) song.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sh-Boom Sh-Boom

It was right around this time last year when I drove to Disneyland with Beeb. She had this terrific Doo Wop CD (which I may or may not have hijacked until I left for Ireland) that really rubbed me the right way. A few iTunes playlists later, and it's been a Doo Wop kind of year for me. It's especially helpful when I'm walking around rainy Dublin listening to The Platters or some such, and my half smile is all Beeb induced. And then I know the love is real when I go to her Myspace page (ONLY to read her blog, as I am firmly anti-Myspace) and she's got The Flamingos playing in the background. Sigh.

Feel the love of Whispering Bells by The Del-Vikings. Is it the ding ding dings that rock my world? Or could it be the dong dong dongs? Either way, the hand claps make me weak in the knees.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Six Degrees of Scott Baio

Annie was on TV last night, and boy did I enjoy the hell out of that movie. Such memories! My girl scout troop performed a stunning dance number to Hard-Knock Life back in the 5th grade talent show. In 7th grade, it was our junior high school musical--the same year I learned that "set crew" is junior high school-ese for "not cool or talented enough for the cast." Good times.

I hadn't seen the movie in ages, and I felt as though I was reuniting with old friends every time there was a scene with the core orphans, Duffy, Kate, Pepper and Molly. But one of the orphans looked much more familiar than a supporting orphan role should. So I whistled to my trusty internet connection, and hi ho, Broadband! Away! IMDB was useless because none of the lesser orphan actresses had pictures to identify them. But Google came through, providing me with an Annie fan site which explained why that orphan in the purple dress seemed so damn familiar: she was April Lerman, the actress who played Lila Pembroke on the superior first season of Charles In Charge! That theme song still brings tears to my eyes. I loved Charles. He was the first of what would be many (many) pop culture obsessions (cough-cough paulmccartney cough-cough theymightbegiants cough-cough).

Man, I loved that show. Man, I loved Scott Baio. And I was honestly sad when the Pembrokes moved away at the end of the first season and were replaced by mediocre sit-com family the Powells. I'm pretty sure my entire love affair existed in the realm of Sunday afternoon re-runs, sandwiched between agonizing episodes of Small Wonder and Out of This World. What better way to unwind after a long weekend of organizing my day-glo socks and hanging out at the mall in my acid-washed denim skirt. Yikes.

And, for good measure, let's not forget Bugsy Malone.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's so fun, I'm going to be sick

Ah, the Tea Cups. Disneyland's way of telling you that you've had too much popcorn, french fries, and/or cotton candy.

We really had a terrific time in Paris last weekend. Two fun-filled days in Euro Disney followed by two day filled to the brim with historicois touristicois. And you can see it all here and here! The weather was really cooperative inasmuch as we stayed mostly dry.

The don't call Paris the City of Lights for nothing!

Euro Disney may be running a little low on the pixie dust and a little high on the whole French thing, but you can't beat it. From Space Mountain: Mission Deux to Aerosmith's Rock n' Rollercoaster, I had a big ol' goofy on my grin for 48 hours straight.

If they sold original flavor mouse ears at Euro Disney, which for some unknown reason they don't, I would have bought them this time.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


There will be a nice, long, juicy post about Euro Disney and Paris in the next day or two. And oh, the pictures! It will all be very grand. Let me just finish throwing up this last bit of fairy dust first.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bonjour, Souris

Hooray, we're off to Euro Disney bright and early tomorrow morning! There are very few things I would wake up at 4 am for. An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is one of them. So is a road trip with Mir. Euro Disney is definitely on that list. With a 7 am flight from Dublin and tranferring to the RER in Paris, we should be riding Space Mountain by noon tomorrow.

As I typed that last sentence, I suddenly got all glossy-eyed and far away in my head. Space Mountain...mmmmmmmmm...

But I digress. Combine a 4 am wake up time with the Disney-related excitement of a 6 year old and we're talking zero sleep tonight. Maybe an hour or two at the most. I'm going to be running on pure adreneline tomorrow, baby. Adrenelaine and various forms of sugar, mostly shaped like mouse ears. Oh yeah!

Let's harken back to a previous Euro Disney experience, shall we? Hark, hark.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Soundtrack of strange

The drive up to Northern Ireland was great. We had clear blue skies on Saturday and some spectacular countryside. Sunday's coldness brought with it a super thick misty fog which gave the drive a beautiful and other worldly feeling. And that deserved a beautiful and other worldly sing-along, compliments of Beyonce.

There's nothing like a good road trip. Max and I have often talked about driving cross country together--across the US, that is. Driving across Ireland takes about 3 hours. There are so many places we haven't seen, so much music to sing along to--at the top of our lungs. So many rest areas, squashed penny machines, random diners and truckstops that need to be seen, photographed, and experienced by us. Think of all of the national parks and monuments we could see, the postcards we could send, the happy meal toys we could collect. With a rich and velvety landscape like the US of A, a cross country trip should be required of every able citizen.

To be fair, I've done the cross country trip once before when I was 7, and we did it with a tent trailer. It was as spectacular as something so blantantly without dolls or cartoons could be to a 7 year old. But I'm looking forward to doing it as a grown up.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A grand weekend up North

Max and I had a terrific time in Northern Ireland. The highlights:

1. The Old Bushmill's Distillery

2. Giant's Causeway

3. Dunluce Castle

4. Our terrific B&B in Portrush

Of course, a picture's worth a thousand words, so check out Picasa Web. But let me just say that yes, it's just a bunch of rocks, but Giant's Causeway was awesome. First of all, it's the legendary home of a giant named Finn McCool. How great is that name? Plus, it's another place with hexagonal rocks. Ancient volcanic activity kicks ass!

Friday, February 02, 2007

It had a battery behind it, and wires.

I don't watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force anymore. I'm more of a Venture Brothers and Sea Lab 2021 kind of a gal. But I may have to start watching it again after this hilarity.

"They told reporters they would answer questions only about hair."

Music to my ears

For a long time now--possibly since college--I haven't had a reason or opportunity to listen to music on headphones, other than the odd airplane flight. For the last number of years, I've spent a majority of my time in places where headphones would be inappropriate. The car, which contains a car stereo (not to mention the fact that listening to headphones in a car is about as smart as walking against traffic on the railroad tracks while obliviously lost in thought). My bull-pen style open-plan office, where I work with 3 other people, so headphones would be pretty much rude, plus I'm regularly on phone duty. My apartment, with kick-ass speakers and a long list of things to do that does include cleaning, hanging out with Max, playing with pets, and watching TV, but doesn't include listening to music on headphones.

Ah, but I have none of these things in Dublin. And I make a point of leaving my apartment every day and walking somewhere--to the gym, to the grocery store, to run errands--the perfect opportunity to listen to music on headphones. It really transforms my world, and was a bit hard to get used to, actually. But my soundtrack has been growing with old and new favorites, and I'm convinced that some albums were created specifically to be listened to while walking anonymously around a city. Sufjan Stevens' Illinois is one of them, as is Casiotone for the Painfully Alone's Etiquette.

But today I ventured out to rediscover the joyous sounds of stereo that you can only get with headphones: The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and The Beatles' Revolver. My ears are still tingling with audiophonic satisfaction. This definitely makes the list of reasons why I like living in Dublin.

Try this one on for size. I've still got residual goosebumps.

Back on the (wrong side of the) road

Max and I are off to Northern Ireland this weekend. On the agenda: Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and the Bushmill's Distillery. Old stuff, natural stuff, and whiskey stuff! Then it's only a matter of days before we hit Euro Disney and Paris... I guess that forces that be are doing their very best to remind me today how lucky I am to be living in Europe, just a stone's throw from so much awesomeness.

Which in turn reminds me to acknowledge and take advantage of all of the awesomeness back in San Francisco that I tend to take for granted. Alcatraz. Angel Island. Ocean Beach. Muir Woods. Santa Cruz. Countless clubs, theaters, museums...