Friday, March 30, 2012

While I Run Away to Seattle This Weekend...

...a few thoughts on geek-hood from the always awesome Simon Pegg.

[Found via Wil Wheaton but originally from here]

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm Tired and Cranky. This Is What You Get

I had a couple of book reviews I wanted to write up tonight.

And I wanted to talk about my love of the new show GCB (totally my guilty pleasure).

And how I'm five episodes in to rewatching the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation because that show was such a huge part of my childhood so I've decided to watch an episode a night for the next, oh, eight months or so until I'm done. (Eight months is longer than it should take me at an episode a night, but I'm allowing for nights of going out.)

And how Game of Thrones comes back on Sunday but I won't be able to watch it because I'll be in Seattle ::sadface:: for the Emerald City Comicon ::happyface::

And that if I don't end the weekend with Wil Wheaton phoning security to remove me from his room, I've totally failed in my objectives.

I'm kidding!

I just plan to hang around his table until he gets creeped out and asks security to remove me from the entire convention.

Again, just kidding!


Obviously, I had a lot I wanted to write about, but my computer is being a total twat and just ate my last post before crashing... twice. So instead, you get this:

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Been on my too-read for a long time. Really glad I did. Found it fascinating. Recommend it if you have an interest in science... otherwise it can be a bit dense and dull. I highly recommend getting an annotated edition because he often references other scientists/science papers from that era.

They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Romeo Dallaire
Started reading this last year. Got a little emotional so I put it down... for 11 months. So, so good (but I will always recommend Shake Hands with the Devil first). I tip my hat because the man can also craft some good fiction in amongst his fabulous non-fiction.

Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland by Malachy McCourt
Loved it. It was written very much like an oral history. I felt like I was sitting down with Mr. McCourt at a table in a bar as he told me the stories. My dad, who is no big fan of the McCourt brothers (and I'll talk about that in another post with another book review), even loves it. There's a line in the book which sums it up nicely (and I'm paraphrasing because my dad has the book at the moment): You should know by now that in Irish history, whether or not something is true is not as important as whether or not it makes a good story.

Playing With Fire by Theoren Fluery
If you like hockey, read this book. If you are curious of the thought process of someone dealing with being sexual abused as a child, read this book. If you want to better understand the mind frame of an addict, read this book. I'm not going to talk about him being some great writer (because he's not, although he is good), but his honesty and openness about what he went through is incredible. He lays his entire life out for everyone to view and he doesn't sugar coat any of it. Loved this book.

There are more books but these are the only ones I feel like mentioning now that I'm tired, cranky, and hating my computer so why write about the books I wasn't enamoured with? And, because no one wants to end on a downer, I found another craft project online that I want the pattern for:

They even put a bumb on Worf's forehead! *squee!*

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Couple of Late Night Thoughts

I had intentions to actually write a proper post earlier to evening but it got so late I reached a feck-it-I'll-do-it-tomorrow stage. I made the mistake of doing one last random web search before heading to bed when I came across two things worth sharing.

First, if you're a zombie fan (and who isn't, these days?) and you're in England (or have random money lying around which you've just been itching to waste on a last minute flight) then you should know about a zombie killing adventure in Reading. You and your friends/fellow survivors, get a bit of hands on training with the weapons and then you have 2.5 hours in a closed shopping mall with a horde of ravenous recently deceased yet ambulatory individuals.

As much as I think I want to do this, I also know that I a) startle very easily so I'd probably just hide in a broom closet and b) giggle constantly when my adrenaline is going. In short, I'd get myself and everyone around me 'killed' telling knock-knock jokes to the infected janitor. I'd rather hole up in a nearby pub and watch the events unfold on a couple of CC cameras.

Second, a cousin recently passed along a link to In the Name of the Fada, a six-part documentary about an Irish-American comedian, Des Bishop, who decides to learn Irish. I've been watching the series on YouTube and it's been a good laugh. I'd encourage anyone with even a passing interest in Ireland to check it out. But that's not why I'm telling you about it. I'm telling you about it because Des decided to translate and perform "Jump Around" as Gailge. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Few Words About Words

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and, I know I don't usually talk about it, but my family is from Ireland.

I'll give you a moment to get over that bombshell.

I will admit that I find North American people's interpretation of St. Patrick's Day a bit comical. It's a play-by-play of every Irish stereotype wrapped up in a plastic shamrock bow. There is nothing Irish about the way we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But it's also endearing, in it's own way: everyone in green outfits and plastic shamrocks from head-to-toe while trying out Oirish accents as they order copious pints of Guinness.

Nike decided to get on the St. Patrick's Day bandwagon this year by releasing a line of Irish beer themed shoes just in time for the big day. I, as I am want to do, had a few opinions about this.

I don't have a problem with the drink, Black and Tan, as it's not an Irish drink. People assume it is because of the standard practice of using Guinness for the top, but the drink didn't originate in Ireland and the name can be applied to any two-toned beer combination.

But the shoes. They bug me.

Never mind the fact that a Black and Tan isn't actually an Irish drink, but this is not the first time Nike has put its foot in its mouth when it comes to Ireland. Is there no one in the whole of the Nike corporation that understands how Google works?

The Black and Tans in Irish history were British military units sent to Ireland during the War of Independence. The actions of these men, many of them WWI vets suffering from shell-shock, were nothing short of horrific. Their job was to stop Irish rebels at any cost, and if they suspected that you were a rebel they took a shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude towards handling you.

The name came from their uniforms: khaki pants left over from WWI and dark tops to denote them as members of the Irish Constabulary. You can perhaps see then why naming an article of clothing Black and Tan in a highly misguided attempted to celebrate St. Patrick's Day got my nickers in a knot.

All this leads me to a drink name I do have a problem with: the Irish Car Bomb.

In the past, I've had friends offer to buy me this drink, Hey Andrea, you're Irish. Let's have an Irish Car Bomb. Ha Ha Ha! I've always declined (and not just because of the name. Who chugs Guinness? Who ruins whiskey by mixing it with Bailey's? Or vice versa?) This is not an Irish drink and its name is offensive. You wouldn't name a drink an Afghan Roadside Bomb, so why is it okay to name one an Irish Car Bomb?

Approximately 3500 people died in Northern Ireland as a result of the Troubles, many of them from car bombs. Countless more were injured. Loyalist. Republican. Catholic. Protestant. Military. Civilian. People died and we think it's acceptable to order it as a drink. While the Troubles are officially over thanks to a bunch of politicians signing a piece of paper, car bombs are still around.

In 1998, mere months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, a car bomb exploded in Omagh killing 29 people and injuring over 200 more. Last April, Omagh was rocked again when the bomb attached to Ronan Kerr's car killed him. Constable Kerr was a new recruit to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. He was 25 years old.

If you really want to celebrate Ireland and the Irish this St. Patrick's Day, ask your bartender for a Durty Nelly. It's the exact same drink but with a much less offensive name.

Unless you happened to be named Nelly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop the Crochet Hooks!

Most important thing you need to know about today is that I found this Game of Thrones craft online:

As if the Stark family isn't cute enough they come with little direwolves!
And Arya has a tiny Needle!!


At the very least, I want the crochet pattern. I've never crochetted dolls before but I've done beanies so how hard could dolls be? Famous last words.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


My calendar tells me it's March. I think it's lying to me but my phone tells me the same thing.


Another month down. Granted, it was a short month but it still seemed to fly by. I made the mistake of starting choice to begin a couple of projects in January which, coupled with returning to work, made February a busy, busy month. My fun time was one episode of The Walking Dead a night until I caught up with the series.

My willingness to get over my natural tendency to avoid anything graphic
might have something to do with these two guys.
Love me some Daryl and Rick!

I enjoy zombie movies but I usually enjoy them for the camp-factor. The Walking Dead is anything but camp. In fact, it's disturbingly realistic in its portrayal of decomposing dead (yet ambulatory) bodies. Just debating whether or not to watch the show gave me a horrible nightmare. I woke up three times, once I was crying, and every time I fell right back into the nightmare. I was sweaty by the time I woke up and emotionally distraught over having to shoot a few of my friends in the head. Since I actually started watching the show, I haven't had a single bad dream. Note to self: it's never as bad as you imagine it to be.

February was also the month that I committed to attending the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle at the end of March. Why yes, it is just as nerdy as you think it is. Nerdy and dorky and awesome. I can't wait. Finally, my dream of stalking awkwardly-staring-at-while-waiting-for-his-autograph-because-I-can't-think-of-anything-to-say-meeting Wil Wheaton will come true!

I've read a lot of books lately which I may or may not talk about at a later date, but most recently I started reading Playing with Fire by Theo Fleury. By recently, I mean Sunday. It's good. I can't put it down. For those who are not familiar with Theo Fleury, he's a Canadian hockey player who struggled with various addictions throughout his career. After cleaning up in the mid-2000's, he came forward and spoke out about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his junior hockey coach. While I've never been a huge fan of Theo's (um hello, he played for Calgary! Automatic 37 strikes against him!), I fell a little in love with him when he posted this on his blog during the Penn State abuse scandal back in November 2011. I made a decision then and there to read his book. So glad I did.

I caught a travel show on Switzerland a few days ago. Suddenly, I find myself looking at flights and googling gondola trips up various mountains. You may find a couple of Swiss photos sneaking into future posts along with trips down memory lane about the proper way to prepare a cheese fondue or what it's like to experience an Alpabzug (bringing the cows down from the mountain pastures for winter). Oh Switzerland, I miss you.

I'm hoping to get back to writing on here more often, but I make no promises. Game of Thrones was just released on DVD today...