Friday, July 31, 2009

A bizzare and unique experience.

So, I've been blogging more often. It almost sounds like a dietary supplement, like: "Blogging regularly has been scientifically proven to help reduce cholesterol along with a balanced diet."

Speaking of freaky-stupid diets, I'm kinda on one. It's called: "food combining". Firstly, I know what you're all thinking, and I want you to know, I'm right there with you. I'm not much of one for "miracle cures" or "alternative remedies", because they generally just sound like snake oil to me. But, due to my mom's recent illness, she's placed herself on this method of eating because it helps her with abdominal pain, and stuff like that. She prepares unique meals for herself, and she offered to make some for me if I was interested. Truthfully, I kinda was. From her explanation, it kinda made sense, and I think that how most of us eat todat could be considered unhealthy (well, depending on how you eat!). Not that I'm eating especially healthy right now, but, well, to sum up: It was a new fangled thing, and I thought : "I'll give it a go!" And if it doesn't do anything, screw it. And if it does do some good things but is too big a restriction, still screw it. But if it works without too much fuss, hey, sure, why not.

The general idea is that certain foods don't digest well when mixed together, which makes enough sense, I suppose. Our mouth produces alkaline secretions to aid in the breakdown of starchy foods like potatoes and various other foods, and our stomach produces acid to aid in the breakdown of other different types of foods. And as any chemist would tell you, alkaline substances and acidic substances cancel each other out. So that's bad for the breakdown of foods and whatnot. The proposed solution is to try to eat conflicting food types seperately, like not having proteins and starches together in the same meal, or protiens with fats or oils. That's the idea, anyway. Interestingly, you can have green vegetables with just about anything else on the face of the planet, so that's prompted me to start eating more veggies, I had my first tuna fish salad a few days ago, I may even work my way up to tomatoes. But one step at a time, I don't want to do anything crazy, now. :P

I don't have fantastic digestion, so I thought I'd give it a go. If anyone's ever sat through a quiet movie with me, they can testify that my stomach makes a great series of noises, which are equal parts curious and frightening. Obviously I was relatively fine before I started the diet, so there's not really that much in need of fixing, but, hey! I'll try anything once, if it's beneficial. I'm usually quite hesitant about things like this, I always imagine specific diets to be almost like religions, where you try to convert people and stuff, resulting in a horde of atkins people outside your door, shambling about, murmuring "one of us, one of us", repeatedly. So I'm remaining rather cynical about the whole experience. You can still mix foods if you want, like the occaisional sunday roast with mashed potatoes, but the idea is to generally adhere to the plan. I'll know the tree by it's fruits; if it helps, hooray. If there's no positive change, out the window it goes. So that's my wacky new thing.

BUT! Not what I originally wanted to talk about. Ever been part of a dying world? It's a once-in a lifetime experience, really. Here's an example: Yes, quite a bizzare experience indeed. I had one of these recently, in a game of Team Fortress 2. Quite strage. Mid-game the server shut down, freezing everything. My turret, enemies, allies, even my arm was frozen across the screen, still in mid-swing, with a wrench in hand. The upper-right hand corner of my screen displayed "Server connection lost: terminating in 27.45 seconds." Sometimes it's just a spot of lag, and the game kicks back into gear, like a sputtering engine, and the game continues. But this was not one of those times. It was strange, looking around, knowing that even in this simulated world, it was all going to end. The very fabric upon which we were existing would unravel and cease to exist, with us ejected from the server, into some sort of multiplayer purgatory. All characters were frozen mid-action, I could see the fire erupting from a pyro's flamethrower to defend a sniper, it was all just so surreal, as the timer rapidly shrunk to nothing, ejecting me from the server. Bizzare. Similar scenario in one of my fave video games, "Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask". The world is ending, and everyone is panicking, some in denial, some seeking nothing more than reconcilliation to see the end of the world with their loved ones, it's all so strange. Just interesting that through this medium, we can experience something that in theory, we should only ever know once: The end of the world. Just an interesting thing to go through, really.
Oh, and PS: Just in a further thing about how Obama is pretty awesome, look up "beer summit" on google. He decided to help resolve an issue that represents so much tension in american society about racial inequality by taking the two parties, the instigtor and the instigated, and invited them up to the white house to try and talk it through over beers. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I would consider a step in the right direction.

"It's the end of the world as we know it/ It's the end of the world as we know it/ and I feel fiiiiiiiine" - R.E.M. "End of the world as we know it"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dee en Dee

Had Dungeons and Dragons today with some friends. It was a good day. I'm a level 7 wizard, and after playing paladins for ever and ever, I'm actually quite pleased with the change of pace. But on another note:

I went to DnD after seeing "The hangover" with some friends today, it was your generic crude comedy with wacky hijinks, male bonding and moderate sex. But the point I'm trying to make is, more and more I'm starting to feel grateful for my friends. Just from having someone to talk to to calm you down, to having people to hang out with, someone to share part of your life with, and someone whose life you can share with, it's just quite wonderful. We were walking down to the shops today to get some groceries for the DM's parents (we're nerds, I know!), and as we walked through a grassy field on the way, I looked behind me and noticed the most brilliant sunset, the clouds like tiny yellow fires spread sparsely across the horizon. I turned to see my friends walking with me, the entire world cast in a faint yellow glow, and I settled on a gaze for each friend, wanting to remember this moment, to lock it away as a memory, perhaps to keep me going through hard times when they come. A stage in life where we were all still quite new to shaving, each of us displaying some small quantity of the stubble of a young man, each on our own journey, but for now, together, as evening set, I felt truly happy. Not the sort of happy that is over-the-moon with exitement, but rather a certain happy contentment at knowing that I was blessed enough to have friendships with these people, to be a part of their existance, and to be friends. 

"Pet weasels? God, they're like, living scarves, basically." - Alex Mac, our beloved DM.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

U2 at Croke Park!

Ah blog, I call upon you late at night with no prior warning at my own whim, like some sort of literary booty-call. Forgive me, people who read this, I've become far too lazy as of late, to the point where any activity seems like too much activity for me. So now let me tell you about tonight's activity.My dad is still good friends with the Edge's brother, so our family was given tickets to the upcoming U2 gig at croke park. My mom is/was sick, so she couldn't make it. My brother, for whatever reason, decided he didn't want to go. I can understand not being crazy about U2, but I mean really, what else was there to do? And it was free! free. I have a saying about free things. "If it's free, it's mine."

So it was just me and my dad who went to the gig. We ventured forth at about five o clock, got the luas into town, and got some tasty-awesome dinner at Yamamori's, on the quays. We then started the long trek to croke park. The opening band was the Kaiser Chiefs, and I could hear them singing "Rub-ay rub-ay rub-ay! ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhh" as we approached the stadium. "This", I thought to myself, "Is gonna be sweet.". And sweet it was. We shuffled our way through the stadium, and as we went up the stairs into the opening, I saw it. it. The claw. THE CLAWWWWW. What I saw was beyond words, because it is too awesome to be adequately described. There is a picture of it here. You'd have to be there to fully experience the sheer prescence of this titantic metal monstrosity. It did a great manner of kickass things as the night progressed, which I will expand upon as I go. Upon first seeing it though, I was convinced that it would actually uproot itself and go on a rampage of destruction, like something out of "War of the Worlds".

Kaiser Chiefs were quite good, they played a good few songs from "Employment", my favorite (and only) album of theirs. Ricky Wilson, the lead singer, really brough a heaping dose of energy and exitement to the stage, jumping and swinging about like some sort of rock orangutang, he did this nifty thing during  "I predict a riot", where he jumped up and down, but to maintain a good vocal read with the mike, actually swiveled his head around the mike as he jumped, it was quite interesting! He was actually rendered breathless at points. Then they walked off, and we waited a good 45 minutes for U2 to show up. 

Now would be a good time for me to express my  opinions towards U2. I like them, but I don't love them. I'd listen to them, but I'm not so enamoured by their music that I'd replay whole albums repeatedly. I prefer their older stuff, to be honest, but I know that most everything they've done is great. They're just one of those bands that I know are really good, and clearly they have talent, but they just don't sway me the right way. As for now, the only bands I could really say I loved are Relient k and Regina spektor, but that's another story. I like U2 though, and Live, they are  amazing.

The show started off with Larry Mullen banging the drums as the rest of the crew came on stage, and started playing. The 360 video things was awesome, and I do mean awesome. It extended down for "City of Blinding lights", almost encompassing the band as they whammed away on their instruments, with multicoloured lights whizzing around them. Aweome. Bono almost seemed like a worship leader at times with some of the songs, I'm always suprised when I rediscover how spiritual their music is. It's pretty nifty. The concert was great! I can't really say much more than that. Well, I could, but I'm not going to. Music was great, and the giant claw was just a fantastic piece of engineering in the truest sense of the word.
About halfway through the concert, my dad recieved a text from Dick, asking if we would like to attend the afterparty. Obviously we answered yes, and after the concert was over, after much ka-rocking, we mosied our way over to the round room, where the party was being held. Me and my dad just sat around, in relative obscurity in a room full of people we didn't quite know, my dad would occaisionally point out people he was friends with before he moved to america, old acquaintances. We toiled away in obsurity taking advantage of the open bar, until my dad struck up conversation with one of dick's brothers, who then introduced us to his wife, and his other brother, and his wife, and they discovered that they attended the same sailing club, and a gay old time was struck up talking about boats and whatnot. I was shyly pleased with myself to be introduced with pride by my father as "My son", he seemed to relish introducing me, each time as though to point to some achievement and say: "I am responsible." It was an endearing experience.
And then Dick came up to the afterparty, walked directly over to us, and said: "Hey, would you like to come with me?". We certainly didn't argue. We walked around the park, found an elevator, and descended into the inner workings of croke park, through what appeared a bleak industrial complex. We walked past fancy black hummers, shining with importance, though I couldn't help feeling somewhat endangered by the sparse surroundings. We walked through a wooden door, and like Narnia, we were instantly transported into a place of wonder and whimsy, what I can only describe as a real "Backstage" kind of experience, with perfect lighting and crystal-styled chandeliers. I surveyed the room, my eyes hungering for celebrity.

And then, I saw the Edge. I freaked out, in my own mind, to some degree. I believe that the occurance of celebrity is overrated, the concept of people being so intensely popular for impressive, but often disproportionate reasons. However, that was all bollocks to me at this stage, my brain going: "Ohmygawditstheedgeheplaysthosesongsyoulistentoonyouripodsometimesandhesbeenaroundtheworldandplayedforfancypeopleandholycrapisthathowhereallydresses!"
I realised, and then enquired hurriedly and quietly: "Dad, I can't remember the real names of any of the band members, what do I do?"
"David is the Edge, Paul is Bono, Larry is the Drummer, and Adam plays the base.", he said, understandingly.

We stood around and chatted with more of my dad's old friends, I learned the story behind his nickname, "Tiger Hunter", apparently they all had nicknames back in the day, ie: The edge and Bono. In short order, David came over to me and my dad, and eyed me with some reasonable amount of notice, as he and my dad talked. My dad introduced me to him, and I shook his hand, sputtering: "I'm Lorcan, I really love your guitar playing, it's beautiful!!!!" (durrrrr). He and my dad continued talking, and The Edge would occaisionally glance at me with interest, I must have looked pretty starstruck, I suppose! We talked for only a few minutes, he asked me about school and the like, my dad informed me that I was planning to stay in Ireland, and he said of that: "Well, That's a good vote for ireland." He asked me if I enjoyed High School, and I told him about our school's policy against long hair, and he spake thusly: "Well, that's a pain in the arse". If our school re-attempts to change the policy on long hair, I guarantee we will use this quote in our campaign. He then had some important-looking person come up to him, whisper something in his ear, and then bid us farewell, off to do something awesome, one would presume. I bore a slack-jawed grin to my dad, and he went: "Yeah, pretty, cool, ain't it?" I then shuffled off to use the bathroom, and washed my hands. Then I realised I washed the hand The Edge shook, with some small note of dissapointment. I went back outside, hung out with my Dad and his friends, occaisionally looking over to see The Edge talking to somebody else, relishing the proximity to a celebrity, trying to form a lasting memory. He was funny, but normal. The kind of man I suppose one would be able to have a good time with, a "mate". But, interestingly, not hilarious. He was just like any other friendly, funny person you'd meet, except he is freakin' awesome at guitar.

In the taxicab ride home, my dad explained how he grew up with them, and explained to me how The Edge got his nickname: He was a shy young man growing up, usually remaining on the periphery of social groups, always on the edge. What a kickass nickname for such an unremarkable trait! I imagined swords, knives, living life on the edge, but the truth was much more interesting and endearing. My dad explained: He had always been a nice guy, and noted: "Did you see any of the other band members talking to other people?" "No." (The edge was the only one even there.) "Exactly. He's always been a good guy." In retrospect, that really was an incredibly kind thing to do, to hang out and take an interest in someone of little importance to you, because it would make their day. Pretty nifty guy all around. It was nice to hang out with my dad and get to know him better too. And the music was awesome too, but in honesty, for me, all three events were of equal importance: Music, meeting the edge, and getting to know my dad. It was a good night.

"Well, that's a pain in the arse" -  David Howell Evans "The Edge" on the subject of The High School Rathgar's policy against hair beyond collar length for boys.

Monday, July 13, 2009

So... Beautiful...

Read This Article

While Listening to This Song.

These two wonderful things came together simultaneously in my life. Godspeed, space bat. Godspeed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bath time!

Ahhhhh. Take a deep breath. And exhale! Ahhhhhhhhhh. That's how I'm feeling right now, times a jillion. Since finishing Urban Soul (I'm making a blog post about that, don't worry!) I've been rather wrecked physically, kinda achey and sore. So for the first time in years, I decided to take a bath. Haha, whoops, I also shower every day as well, just in case some of you were like: "So that's where the smell comes from!". No no, no living being can explain the smell. It is a mystery. Moving on.

I really hadn't had a bath in so long, I forgot all about how high the water should be, what a good temperature is, and wondered if, in my inexperience, I would accidentally give myself a head rush, pass out, and drown to death. But I really wanted that bath, so I decided to be Mr. Dangerous and take a bath. I know, I know, I'm a daredevil. I managed to find a suitable temperature and water height, and lowered myself into the water. Ohhhh man, how good that felt! I closed the shower curtain to close off the world, I was seriously wantin' some TLC to myself! I just soaked there for a while, letting the water warm my body, it was a seriously relaxing experience, lowering my ears and eyes under the water, hearing my heart thunderously beat in my ears, rushing blood to dissipate heat. I lowered myself a little lower, filling my nose with water. Rushing and spluttering to the surface was slightly less than relaxing. Ugh! I hate having water up my nose. Slowly washed myself, massaging the sore bits, almost rubbing the soap right into my arms and legs! Relaxed underwater for a little while longer. Ahhhhh. Just felt totally in sync with my body, felt very human and at peace with my flesh and all it's trappings. Almost want to head out to a masseuse to finish the process!

Stepped out of the water, towelled myself off, and put on some pyjamas. That last bit was quite nice, as I've basically been wearing the same sweaty work clothes all week, it was nice to get a clean set of coverings on. Then I just wandered over to my bed and flopped on top of it. Just sat there and sweat off the heat from the bath, and slowly stretched myself out, starting with my feet and finishing with my jaws. I just felt so in tune with my own body, I'd highly reccomend bathing to anyone who's feeling stressed! Still want to head to a masseuse though....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On Age and Culture.

Short post, lots of things to talk about but little desire to type them up, so just a small thing.

Conversation between me and my mom:

Me:*Putting clothes in the washing machine*
*checks underneath sink for detergent*
Mom: "You're gonna need to get more of the thing, the, uh, detergent."
Me: "you're detergent!"
*walking towards cupboard to get detergent*
Mom:"Your face."
Me:*Turning around slowly*
"What did you just say to me?"
Mom:"I said you're going to need more detergent"
Me: "No, no, the other thing."
Mom: "*with a grin* Your face?"
Me: "Did you just: 'So's your face' me?"
Mom: "You bet I did! *cackle*"

Man, that's never happened before. My grandma called peta activists freaking out about B-rock killing a fly: "Retarded". It's like previous generations are catching up with us! They have iPods, people. Be afraid. Be very afraid. 

"Whisht with your noise!" -Bernard Black, "Black Books"