Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving in Dublin

I feel I should probably mention the celebration, as it is part of the whole "abroad" experience to miss American holidays. But the program that coordinates Americans studying at UCD, the JYA office, put on a Thanksgiving dinner for us on Thursday, probably so we wouldn't get all homesick. To use pretty much the same thing as I wrote to my dad: it was deeeeelicious. I ate everything they put in front of me (and felt just a bit ill afterwards). There was salad and bread and mixed veggies in addition to potatoes and turkey, stuffing, and ham in a stack, followed by apple pie with custard and little sweet mince pies. And, of course, wine to go with it all - the coordinator for the Americans at UCD, Frieda Savage, got pretty drunk, which was hilarious.

I ended up making friends, too, with a few people I recognized from Mountaineering, and hung out at their apartment in Belgrove (another dorm complex on campus) afterwards for a little while. When I got back to my own apartment, it was full of extreeeeeemely drunken Irishmen (and a couple fairly drunk Americans, as well)...a pretty surreal evening ensued, in which a kid from downstairs came in with a construction paper Pilgrim hat and pasta necklace and was looking for who stole his pie, I had to tell a different kid my name no fewer than eight times (and he probably still doesn't know it), and another kid with a broken back tried to fall sleep in my bed. All in all, I think I hung out with more Americans than I have since the very beginning here, and it was actually a pretty nice time.



In other news, the Peter Marks graduation thing was during the day on Thursday. I had my makeup done (with some garish orange foundation), my hair loaded with product to prevent any movement, and had to walk up and down a catwalk in front of the friends and family of the twenty-three graduates from the Peter Marks Academy (and probably of some of the eighty-two other models, as well). It was pretty neat, and I'm on a DVD now, though not one for popular sale — thank goodness. And it was very nice to be all done up for dinner without having to do anything myself, though I did spend several minutes wiping off all the foundation.

Apart from that, life has been pretty relaxed. I handed in a paper Friday and have another one I'm working on for next Wednesday (the last of the semester, huzzah!). I was at Captain America's on Wednesday night, which is basically T.G.I. Friday's with a comic-book theme. Last night I went out to the Ginger Man and Doyle's with a bunch of people and had a really nice time; I spent much of the night hanging out with a really cool guy, Josh, who's at UCD and a friend of Ross. It was a really fun night, which means that tonight is going to be full of schoolwork as penance. I guess the Irish Catholic guilt of the country is getting to me?

...Nah.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo



From the back of the package:

"Buffalo are here! You've seen buffalo grazing the plains of North America in countless Westerns, but would you believe that these might animals which can weigh up to two tonnes now graze the plains of... Co. Meath. Yes, Ireland has a buffalo ranch. But don't expect to hear beating drums or see smoke signals in the vicinity of these buffalo. These hairy giants are farmed in much the same way as conventional cattle (except for the stronger fences). So now thanks to Hunky Dorys, you can saddle up and try a taste of the Wild West."

Also on the back of the package:
"Suitable for Vegetarians."


There are a lot of different kinds of chips in Ireland. Pringles is...out of control, with their "Rice Infusions", "Light Aroma", and even a "Gourmet" line. There's also a lot of meat-flavored chips, most of which don't actually have any meat in them, making it slightly more acceptable for me to be as obsessed with them as I am. Pigs-in-a-blanket Hula Hoops are my indulgence of choice, but I will eat pretty much any meat-flavored chip anyone throws my way. So when I saw the buffalo-flavored Hunky Dorys, I had to try them.

Let me tell you, they are weird. I've had buffalo, and I guess they could be said to be loosely inspired by the flavor, but man. Weird. I think I'll stick to the more traditional meats for my chip flavors.

Friday, November 16, 2007

News from a Mute

Well! Since I have laryngitis and therefore can't have ANY FUN, I guess it's time to update the ol' blogeroony. I've just been trucking along as per usual, enjoying myself and the company of friends. General hanging-out-ness has been accomplished. I spent last weekend pretty much entirely at Zoë and Joe's, as did Tommy, Lynchy, and Mel. We watched 5 movies in a 24-hour space (Pretty In Pink, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, V For Vendetta, Ghostbusters, and Fargo, if you're interested).

Tuesday evening was the Sci-Fi Society's burlesque. While there were lots of people in costume, I find it unreasonable for them to call it a burlesque, as the performers were just two bands. And although Tarrintino was quite good, I was looking forward to something a little...racier. Ah well. I also accidentally chatted up an Irish Ron Paul supporter. I don't even understand the mechanics of that, apart from the fact that my luck is apparently pretty shit. Seriously, the guy was like "if he comes in fourth in the primary, would you give him more of a chance?" And I replied, of course, "Look, there's just no way Ron Paul will ever get elected. None. It's not happening. Ever. There's no chance. Period. That's it. I'm sorry. He's hopeless." Also, I think the guy failed to understand that if he comes in fourth, that means he's lost. Duh. Man, nearly every Irish person thinks they've got something to say about American politics, but a bunch of them just have no freakin' clue. Whatever, the rest of the night was cool. My friend Dave played bass and the rock-enspiel for the second band, Earl Grey, so I was kind of "in with the band". That was cool.

So Wednesday was the second JazzSoc Carnivale, an event that essentially amounts to a bunch of kids drinking outside with guitars and drums and things until Services moves us on — "knacker drinking", as it is referred to here. When we did eventually get moved on we went to someone's suite in Belgrove, shortly after which I left so that I could go to bed early enough to get up at 7:45 the next morning.

After a lousy and interrupted night's sleep, I did manage to get up and make it downtown to meet with Gillian, the hairdresser at the Peter Marks Academy who is using my hair for her graduation project. Now my hair is different colors! But mostly the same shape. Here is a picture:


So all through the events of this past week (starting Tuesday), my voice was getting hoarser and hoarser, until yesterday it disappeared altogether. Subbing in for it occasionally is a hacking cough that varies in its productivity, depending on time of day and application of steam through leaving the electric kettle boiling in my room with the lid open. It's been pretty disruptive in class, so I'm glad to have the weekend in which to recover. Unfortunately, Steve B. from high school is in town this weekend(!), so I feel pretty bad for not being able to be very social. But I'm not going to worry too much over it as I'm doing all I can to heal quickly. I've even installed Verbalize on my computer, so I can type in what I want to say and it'll say it for me. Tommy, Lynchy, and Ross were having fun with it today when they dropped by to make fun of me and bring me a large bottle of 7-Up (a beverage that seems to be widely considered by the Irish to be a cure-all for colds).

At any rate, it's something soupy tonight for dinner, so I'm going to go get started on that. And then...I don't know, schoolwork? What else can one do when one has no voice? What a hassle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Temple Bar Food Market

I forgot in my last entry to talk about the wonderful thing that is the Temple Bar Food Market. I cycled there Saturday morning to do some shopping for some fresh veggies, and boy was it worth it! It's a perennial farmers' market that pops up every Saturday from 9-5 in this little cobblestone square in the midst of Temple Bar, and it is great. There are a bunch of organic farmers, cheesemongers, fishmongers, butchers, bakers, a crepe stand, a Japanese stand, a Mexican stand, a smoothie stand, and a bunch of other most excellent vendors. There's also generally a couple of decent musicians busking. I got a bunch of delicious, fresh, organic vegetables, and a bean and tomato empanada. It is generally an awesome institution that I plan on returning to regularly. Take that, Tesco.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Stuff

Well, some stuff has happened, so I thought maybe I should post about it. Halloween was Wednesday. JazzSoc teamed up with some of the other small societies to throw a little party, and a good time was had by all. I went as a koala:


Let's see...I suppose the next interesting thing happened on Saturday, when I went on a trip with the Archaeology Society to the Wicklow Gaol. We had dinner in the basement, in which people broke out the refreshments they'd purchased beforehand at the off-license, followed by a tour of the jail. The tour was pretty good; they had actors pretending to be a couple prisoners, and, given the social lubricant working on a few society members, some reactions were rather hilarious. The bus ride back to Dublin was also pretty good; we were pretty much the only people on the coach, so there was a nice relaxed atmosphere. When we were back in town we all stopped in at Doyle's for a pint, after which I made it to Joe's apartment for his 21st birthday celebrations.

Technically, though, Joe's birthday was yesterday, so of course we had to go out then, too. A lot of us went to the very swanky Shelbourne Hotel on St. Stephen's Green for drinks. Now, I feel underdressed just walking past this hotel, so actually going inside was a bit intimidating, especially since I didn't know that we were going there and was dressed a bit, um, artistically. There was also table service, which I've not encountered in a while. Having just re-watched The Big Lebowski, I ordered a white Russian, and oh my god, it was like vanilla ice cream. I usually shy away from ordering cocktails because I'm generally at a pub, which isn't necessarily a conducive atmosphere to well-mixed drinks, so it was a lovely change. Three of the guys ordered scotches, because how could you not, really? At any rate, we moved on to Doyle's afterwards where I, at least, felt much more comfortable. The night ended with a nice, long walk home with Lynchy and Tommy. In retrospect, I should've just hailed a cab.

So, in general, things are going pretty smoothly here. There's only a month of classes left and I've got three essays due before it's over, but they're very straightforward, so no worries there. The exam schedule was posted last week, and I've got finals right up to the bitter end, but hey, whatever. I've been battling a bit of the sniffles for about a week as the weather turns colder. I need to start looking for a good winter coat. Et cetera.