Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Neen and I were in stitches when we watched this last night....Bazinga! Link

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Remember Cassettes?

Remember cassettes?...Or more specifically remember mix-tapes? I didn't have much music as a young child...not that I didn't listen to it, Mom and Dad of course had cassettes and eventually CD's but I was pretty much stuck with whatever was in the house...I must add we didn't have cable so I wasn't exposed to "popular" music almost at all until age 11. 

My first introduction to music other than that of the inherited variety was through a great childhood friend Chris Brasfield. He had an impressive set-up in his bedroom...a portable black and white television AND a Hi-Fi. Boy was I envious. Any who back to the crux of my story: Chris copied for me two albums when I was around 9. Ace of Base's "Happy Nation" and The Animaniac's soundtrack. But Chris's aforementioned Hi-Fi also had....drum role please.....a microphone! 

So I'm given these tapes, run home pop 'em into the cassette player with giddy anticipation that night and who's voice do I hear? Chris's of course...Introducing the first song...saying he thinks i'll like it, Young and Proud in particular was one of his favorites too I seem to recall.  Lying there in the dark I was surprised and impressed in equal measure! I used to love listening to those. The running commentary made it all the more special....back then of course music piracy meant some kid in a pirate costume had stolen your Walkman! 

BTW the cassette above is the original mentioned in the post, dating back to 1993, I stumbled across it the last day in the studio.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Neens Birthday

Today was Neens Birthday! I woke up early and made her some breakfast, fed the cats and turtles then gave her her presents! I bought her a Sewing Machine, a really cool Singer Confidence 7467...(which based on our initial few hours highly recommend!) Chanel lipstick, Pink Fiskars Fabric Scissors, Earrings, Chocolates and Flowers. (I must add buying the right shade of lipstick for a woman is friggin' hard!) We then went to town. 

The first place we stopped into was TKMax and you'll never guess what I found! My favorite Tea in the whole world! Dilmah Ceylon Gold. (Kind of ironic considering my recent post 'Tea? )' I tried it for the first time years ago in Krakow, loved it and brought a box back. You can't buy it in Ireland anywhere so anytime one of Neens Polish work colleagues went home to Poland, they would very kindly bring me home a box. It has been a couple of years since I've had any though! Of all the places in all the world....I find a couple of boxes next to the check out in TK Max. (If you don't have a TKMax near you, it's a clothing store)

Next up Neen got her hair cut in Annettes (Doesn't she look pretty) and I read a couple chapters from '1984' while I waited. Neen and I then hit a couple of craft shops, 'Hickeys' and 'Pippa Blue' where she bought some material and thread to try out her new machine with. We then had a quick spot of lunch and did a bit more window shopping....mostly book stores and then HMV. To top off a great day we shared afternoon Tea in Sweetie Pie's! We have been waiting a long time to go there...we kind of wanted a special occasion. It was worth the wait! Everything is baked in house and the cakes, sandwiches and tea were lovely...a real birthday treat! If you're ever in Galway you should drop in for a cuppa and cupcake! Tell them Neen and Morg sent ya! They won't have a clue who you are talking about mind! ; )

After a lot of walking talking and shopping we got a cab home! It was a really wonderful day! Oh and if your interested Neen Blogged about today on her blog too....might be interesting reading two sides of the story! LINK

Friday, September 24, 2010

Who's Birthday Was it Again?

Today was Neens Birthday, but you'd swear it was mine. We went to town (details in post above) and after all the waiting Season 3 of 'The Big Bang Theory' finally hit the shelves! I love this show so much! It's by far my favorite on air at the moment and I've been impatiently waiting for the release of the box set. We haven't been able to watch any of season three as we only have two television channels and neither of those bought the broadcast rights for the third season. Their is over 500 minutes of footage! I cant wait to get watchin' : )

Next up...I'm a huge Oliver Jeffers fan. I have all his books to date. Today Neen bought his new book for me! As usual the illustrations are breathtakingly brilliant and the story precise and perfect in every way.  'Up and Down' is the sequel to his earlier book 'Lost and Found' I highly recommend both the book and the Animated TV special of the same name. Neen also gave me 'Eric' by Shaun Tan, another hugely talented guy. 'Eric' is a story first featured in Tans larger book 'Tales from Outer Suburbia.' and is quite brilliant!!

Last but definitely not least is another book I very happily stumbled across today called 'A Bit Lost' by Chris Haughton. This book is amazing. I absolutely love it! Every page is perfect. Easily my favorite of the three.


I've taken to drinking Earl Grey tea this weather, black with one sugar. Chiefly because I have been watching so many Star Trek the Next Generation episodes which feature Jean-Luc Picard drinking that particular type. Every time he'd order a cup from the food simulator I'd silently think "I wonder what it tastes like?" So the last day during the weekly shop in Tesco I thought why not! And popped a box in the shopping trolly. The hint of bergamot, which gives Earl Grey it's highly distinguishing taste is lovely. I'm been struggling to find a replacement for my morning coffee. I love coffee but noticed a direct correlation between drinking milk and my sinus allergies...I'm not allergic to milk, I can still have cheese and cream...but dropping the milk seems to be helping some what...maybe it's all in my mind...all I know is I'd really love a Latte! So what's your hot beverage of choice?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Getting Late...

Have you ever been so engrossed in what you were working on that you completely failed to notice you were sitting in the dark? This evening I was pretty stressed with work, I had the cats meowing for dinner, my own belly was grumbling too but still I kept going. Eventually I paused, probably out of shear exhaustion and looked around my desk. Staring back at me in the other wise pitch black surroundings were a dozen or so little glittering mischievous fairies they hid under tables, behind mugs watching...just watching...waiting for me to take notice.

On a bitter sweet note, I made my final selection for my upcoming exhibition. 26 pieces in total are going into be framed tomorrow. Nearly all my favorites and in my opinion my best work to date. If they sell I'll be heartbroken..If they don't i'll be equally distraught....

10 Musical Degrees of Separation

I have a game for you to play. '10 Musical Degrees of Separation'

Grap your music player of choice. Record/Mp3/CD/ Computer...
Turn it on.
Now simply choose a song. Any Song. This first very important choice can be carefully made or chosen at random. 
Listen to the song, absorb it...allow it to permeate through your memories. When the song draws to a close. Choose another. 
This second choice can be made as a response to the first song, it's melody. lyrics, beat...memories it invokes or alternatively it can be another completely random choice. The trick is you have to actually make the choice...simply pressing shuffle isn't as fun.
Now keep going for 10 songs. See where the journey brings you.

Here are my songs...

1. Alejandro - Lady GaGa
2. Electric City - The Black Eyed Peas
3. That's Not My Name -The Ting Tings
4. Heartbeats - Jose Gonzalez
5. Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine
6. Moon River - Audrey Hepburn
7. Upside Down - Paloma Faith
8. Sticks and Stones - Jonsi
9. Humble Me - Norah Jones
10. A Day at the Races - Jurassic 5

What is your list?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Beach...Yay!!!

Yesterday evening Neen and I were in Renmore so given it was a beautiful evening we all decided to go to the beach which is a 2 minute walk from their house. There is a purpose built path leading through the undergrowth all the way to the beach.

Before you reach the beach itself there is a fresh water pond to the left...home to ducks, frogs and the like, and until recently a mating pair of swans too. (In Galway, when either the cob or the pen from a mating pair dies the remaining swan generally moves to the Claddah to live out it's life with the other un-paired birds.)

Shauna; Neen; Ant and I did are best to feed the ducks... a paddling of mallard drakes and hens. The visiting seagulls however didn't make things easy. They greedily gobbled up as much of the ducks bread as they possibly could, to a  noisy chorus of "Mine", "Mine", "Mine"! 

Finally we reached the beach itself...'dead mans beach' they call it, for obvious, if not gruesome reasons. It's a beautifully secluded spot...perfect for a brisk run or walk with the dogs...only the brave swim here though and rarely outside of the summer months.

Ben absolutely loves the beach and is brought there most evenings! He runs head first into the cool salty waves...battling evil rocks and fearlessly fighting ferocious crabs!

After a quick paddle with Neen, Shauna decided she fancied a swim too...we were close to home so we thought what off with the jacket and in she dived with Neen watching close by. Ant and I however stayed shore-side where it was warm and most importantly dry!

After a while Shauna eventually emerged from the icy depths and Neen dried her off. She definitely deserves her nickname 'Tuna'. I gave her my coat and we left straight for home, as it was getting late and a bit chilly!

I gave the tired, wet and cold monkey a lift back to the house....well most of the way anyway! Sadly she's growing up way to fast for my liking!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cat company...

It's always a bonus when your cats actually enjoy your company...I woke up this morning with Sora on my chest...just chillin' Neen let her in the bedroom before leaving for work. Apologies for photo quality it was taken with my phone.

Later that morning, I was working on a watercolour and Hope thought she'd sit right there in front of me...blocking my light I might add. She had many a comfy spot in the house to choose from so I guess I should consider it an honour that she opted to grace me with her presence at all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Random Playlist

I turned on the computer about an hour ago...opened windows Media Player and noticed a brand new playlist opened I hadn't actually made. I thought to myself it was pretty weird...but probably just a computer glitch or something so what the heck...I might as well have a listen to the computers random choices. And here they are! Just click on image to view larger...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I was down town the last day gettin' some photo's developed and bumped into my good friend Bryan! We had a walk through town, then sat in the sun outside Naughtons on Quay Street for a tea and coke. He mentioned in passing that there was some footage of him on Youtube...said it was about 10 or 11 minutes long and I should check it out. Later that night I did a quick search and found the clip in question...he rather modestly failed to mention it was a documentary short by Tomek Ciezki, about Bryan himself. Bryan is an amazing guy, a poet, painter, musician, father and friend....This wonderful documentary captures his spirit perfectly and is well worth the watch! On  a related note...I illustrated the cover of Bryan's book mentioned mid-documentary.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Little Greenhouse, Mystery Bugs and Itchy Itchy Spiders!

I went out into the garden today with my camera to see if I could find anything interesting. Lately when possible I have been limiting myself to one spot, I'll just sit/stand there and wait...You'd be surprised how many species are within a square meter of your average garden if your just willing to slow down and wait for them to come to you. The first interesting thing I came across was this small shard of glass. It was tightly pressed into the ground and underneath all these beautiful little plants were growing....a mini-greenhouse!

I then spotted this little guy trundling around and for the life of me couldn't figure out what he was. From far away he appeared to be a caterpillar but when I picked him up I quickly realized he only had 3 pairs of legs so was obviously an insect of some sort. He was a most spectacular shade of blue with yellow/orange spots. I searched online, initially to no avail but eventually after posting the images on a forum found out he was in fact a ladybird in roughly it's mid-larva stage! Well you learn something new everyday. I never knew ladybirds went through such a dramatic level of metamorphosis. 

I also spotted loads of ants, a very old butterfly, sadly in the closing stages of his life, an orange adult ladybird and quite a few spiders. Earlier tonight, I was showing Neen these photos on the computer, she was becoming more and more itchy just looking at them and said unimpressed "Lovely photos, but I really don't want to see pictures of all the creepy things we have in our garden", to which I replied "Technically the spider in this shot is right there" and pointed directly above her head, she looked up to see the very same spider in the exact spot I had photographed him not two hours prior. Naturally she screamed and ran out of the studio! 

Bingo, Walkmen and Orange Ukulele's

Neen and I went into town today to potter around and window shop before dropping out to Renmore to babysit the kids for the night! Although technically given their respective ages it isn't really babysitting anymore...Shauna and I did a bit of drawing, while Neen and Ant busied themselves on their computers. We watched a Disney Channel movie, a bit of Top Gear, and a couple episodes of Myth Busters too.

Neen and I bought Tuna a new mp3 player and gave it to her this was a gift for all the hard work she has been doing this summer. She is only 11 but donated every Thursday to help out in Neen's nursing home. Tuna, would chat and walk with the residents, give them hand-rubs, help with BINGO etc. I'm a big ol' fan of Sony Walkmans...I have one...Neen has a pink lipstick shaped one, so we bought Tuna a ruby red and black Sony NWZ-E443.
It's pretty darn cool, has everything she could need, video, photo gallery, fm radio, voice recorder and luckily enough plays music too.  Her first albums on it were, Hanna Montana 3, Glee 1 and 2, Planet Jedward, The Mamma Mia soundtrack and Aquarium by Aqua. I loved listening to music at her age I remember it so well...I had a Panasonic cassette player. I won it on a children's weekend television show, called 'The Swamp' I sent in a drawing and it was chosen best of the week I think...I was so happy! This cassette player was perfect...I used to lie in bed awake half the night just listening and listening until the batteries ran out. I remember it featured XBS technology...extra base system...I thought it was so cool. I used to shove my earphones onto random unsuspecting visitors ears saying "you gotta listen to this".

Funnily enough at the time, around 1997 when I was 12/13 I too was listening to Aqua's album 'Aquarium', along with Ace of Bases 'The Bridge' and 'Happy Nation' and last but not least 'Yanni-Live in the Acropolis'.

We are home now and Neen is on her laptop...posting on  Ravelry I think, Hope is snoring behind my left ear...Sora is outside exploring. The turles are asleep....All quiet on the western front. The silence is a relief for my fellow house-mates I fear...Neen very kindly surprised me with an orange  Korala Ukulele today...I love it and have been strumming away on it all night...sounding a bit like a deaf raven...You Tube to the rescue...I hope I can track down a few decent tutorials to teach me the basics!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Seanfhocail - Irish Proverbs

Just doing a bit of research for my October exhibition and thought I'd share these!...

A few Irish Proverbs - (Seanfhocail)

Beagán a rá agus é a rá go maith.
Say little but say it well.

Is minic cuma aingeal ar an Diabhal féin.
There is often the look of an angel on the Devil himself.

Dá fhada an lá tagann an tráthnóna.
However long the day, the evening will come.

Molann an obair an fear.
The work praises the man.

Sláinte chuig na fir agus go maire na mná go deo!
Health to the men and may the women live forever!

Maireann croí éadrom a bhfad.
A light heart lives a long time.

Is iomaí cor sa tsaol.
There is many a twist in life.

Castar na daoine ar a chéile, ach ní chastar na cnoic (ná na sléibhte).
The people encounter one another, but the hills never meet (nor the mountains).

Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir.
Time is a good storyteller.

Níl sa saol ach gaoth agus toit.
In life there is only wind and smoke.

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