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2003

December

  • Geek love

    So I’m fascinated with medieval saints, enjoy reading Latin and Old Irish, and should probably have been born around 1900.
    moore_st.jpeg
    But there’s another part of me that’s a complete geek, and loves the latest gadgets and gizmos. And this is the part that’s having fun with my new camera phone.

    The built-in radio is a simple but brilliant feature that turns my long walk to work into a much more pleasant experience, as I drift along Mary St in my own world of classical music.

    The camera seems like a useless feature, but I’ve started using it to capture tiny moments that ordinarily I’d remark on to myself, and then promptly forget. Like the mad colours of the veggies on the Moore St market (shown), or a nice sunset over the Four Courts.

    Looking back through the spontaneous pics, Dublin looks different and better than the pessimistic view I tend to have of it now. How’s that for a feature - ‘this phone makes you like your surroundings more’.

  • In America

    In AmericaJim Sheridan’s In America proved entirely too moving for me. I was in bits at various stages throughout the film - not just a few tears in my eyes, but full-on weeping. Powerful stuff.

    I’d been expecting not to enjoy it, and there’s no doubt it’s hugely sentimental, but Sheridan somehow manages to make it feel like you’re not being manipulated.

    It seems like the cynical and hard-hearted British reviewers declared it mawkish, but a perceptive review in the San Francisco Chronicle gets it about right: ‘When you see a director going for that lump-in-the-throat mood, instinct takes over and you want to dig in your heels. Sometimes it’s best just to let yourself be swept away.’

  • Dedication’s what you need

    Pulling the last bits together on the book - time for a dedication and some acknowledgements.

    The dedication’s simple enough - I promised it to my nephews, one of whom bears the name Columbanus as a direct result of my bike journey. I feel responsible, so the least I can do is dedicate the book to him.

    Acknowledgements? Well, there are a few people who have really helped, so they get a mention. I reckoned I should also thank everyone whose good quotes I’ve shamelessly purloined and used in the book.

    And I got to use that old reliable of academic publishing: ‘any mistakes that remain, are, of course, entirely my own.’ Or words to that effect.

  • Foggy Phoenix

    Last night I rode my bike through the Phoenix Park, on my way to Blanchardstown.

    On the way up, at about 5pm, the light was fading, and a layer of mist was gathering on the grass. With the moon rising behind me, it was a lovely scene.

    On the way back, at around 6:30, it was dark and very foggy. On the bike track along Chesterfield Rd, you couldn’t see the tarmac beneath your wheels, and the fog prevented you seeing the way ahead. The lights from cars coming the other way made things worse, creating a bright white duvet to ride into.

    With my front light illuminating nothing but the fog, I just kept the bike straight and picked my way along. It was great. Across the road I could just make out the ghostly lights of cyclists on the other track. Even the tearoom close to the Parkgate St entrance was fogbound and scarcely visible.

    As soon as I was out of the Park, the fog disappeared, and you’d never have known there was such adventure to be had.