Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Noisy Neighbours

If you've been reading through my past posts, you might've caught a mention or two of my neighbours. The current site of the Irish Financial Services Center happens to be right next to one of the historically poorest areas of Dublin. In actuality the residents of the area are being systematically relocated to government housing further away from the city center, but there are still quite a few who enjoy their ghetto's location too much to pack up and do as the Taoiseach says.

Next year will be the fourth year for me in this apartment, and as I've had a nice little run of two years in the bigger room, the time came for me to move back into the smaller room with no ensuite bathroom. Its only fair, and we did play a videogame tournament to decide the order. Can't break them rules now. Anyway, this room is at the back of the apartment and directly overlooks the Sheriff street (the name of the most dangerous street in Dublin) children's playground. Its sometimes fun to just stand on the balcony and observe the little community of neighbours that we have.. drunken fathers stumbling around, angry mothers beating kids up, teenage girls pushing prams and young men fully engaged in a life of delinquency.

My direct concern is that damn playground, however. I've been studying for my exams at home for the past few days and those kids are driving me mental. Its not the screaming kids on the jungle gym that annoy me as much as it is the strange activites some of the other kids are involved in. All day today I was plagued with the loud noise of a motorbike in various states of motion. It was either idling and sputtering every once in a while, or it was whizzing away to some unknown destination only to be back five minutes later. Now, when you're studying you don't exactly focus on these things.. but the frequency and the variability of the noise was just pissing me off. Everytime the sound got louder I found myself scampering on to the balcony to try and catch a glimpse of my tormentor. When I finally did, I saw that it was a 5 year old kid with an oversized helmet sitting on a tiny-ass motorbike toy thing. He then stopped next to the playground fence and a bunch of older kids walked over, smacked him on the head and rode off on his little bike. Thank fuck for that.

Around 8.30 the kids are called in for dinner, and I hear the same mothers calling the same children they used to call three years ago when I used to live in this room. This one lady calls out her son's name at the top of her lungs for a good half an hour. Goddamnit Paddy, go home and eat your potatos if only to shut your mother up.


Currently co-posting on a blog called "Qadam" (translation: foot).

Check it out if you have the time or interest.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Today I decided to go all high tech. I went to this website called and I opted to add a little counter onto my blog (all part of my one year anniversary present to my dear, dear blog). Now, this counter is pretty nifty.. sure, it gives me a little number telling me how many people have accessed my blog.. but I was surprised to learn that it does other things as well.

You see, offer you a free "package" that you can use on as many websites as you want. Obviously there are certain limitations which do not make it viable for large commercial websites, but for my individual purposes it does just fine. The "package" contains not only the code for the counter, but a staggering array of tools. Now, you might think me a tad slow for not copping on to this facility beforehand.. but I've resigned my seat on the board of the cutting edge of technology a long time ago. Long gone are the days where I was among the more knowledgeable in terms of computers and stuff, but I guess that's part of growing older and doing other things. I'm still quite handy, though.

Anyway, enough lamenting my loss of competence and let's get back to "the package". It pretty much includes tools that allow me to track every visitor to my website, down to their country of origin. It shows me when you've entered, where you've gone, what you've been looking at and when you've left. Now if I can do this, imagine what other, much larger websites can do. I no longer see myself as a lone surfer on the information superhighway (remember that term? those were the days I used to be cutting edge.. ahh, what days). I'm actually being watched, people know what I'm up to and they know where I am. I almost feel violated.

So, dear reader.. now that I've got these tools at my disposal (and many frequent flyer miles to be redeemed), next time you leave a comment I might disagree with I might just travel across the world to come see you. Don't worry, I'll be civil. I'll even buy you dinner.. that's been laced with rat poison.

Monday, May 16, 2005

One Year Milestone

Happy birthday dear blog. You have been a wonderful vessel for my ramblings over the past year. I thank you for your patience in containing all my thoughts and words, and I promise that you shall be lonely no more.

What am I talking about? You complain that all the other blogs are getting all the attention. You say to me, "Mo, let's do politics." and yet I say "Nay, young one.. we shall stick to our purpose." I know politics draws the interested masses in, it ignites debate through comments and makes a blog popular. But let me ask you this, dear blog.. how would you feel if you were weighed down by the grim world of politics and current events? What if your content became serious, your youthful and inane outlook on life tainted by the increasingly depressing occurences of this world? You wouldn't be the carefree, silly blog that you are now. You would lose what truely makes you unique in this electronic world of independent publishing.

And so, dear blog, I promise to be even funnier, even wittier, include more pictures and diagrams and be as random as a human being could ever be. I promise to make you the best-est non-serious blog in the whole wide world. I promise to draw in more readers, make them leave more comments to show you how special you really are. This I promise you dear blog and, so help me God, I shall not rest until you are lonely no more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

El estilo de vida del estudiante

Being a college student for six years can be tough. Its sobering everytime I come back home and find out what everyone else is up to.. who's gotten married, who's gotten a job where, who's complaining about their jobs and routines (pretty much everyone). And I'm still where I am.. still studying, still hitting the books. It makes me wish that I was making money too so I wouldn't have to rely on my parents so much.

Enough negativity, let's move on to why its GREAT that I'm still a student!

Well, for starters there's the whole academic year business.. you get vacations, vacations and more vacations.. you don't have to ask your boss for one, you don't have to work X amount of months to earn a week or two off.. you just get them. Then there's the whole "your own life in your own hands" kind of thing. If I don't feel like waking up and going to class, what do I do? I stay in bed and I wake up at 1pm. If I feel like going out and getting wasted midweek, would I get in trouble for not waking up early the next morning? Hells no! You have one responsibility only and it is to pass your exams with decent grades (definition of the word "decent" may differ from person to person). Unfortunately with the rotations at the different hospitals this year there's a more personal element of teaching in that you're placed in small groups and the doctors notice when you're missing. That pretty much negates all the skills I've learned over the years in how to blend into the background and not get noticed by any lecturers. I'm very proud of the fact that none of my preclinical teachers recognize my being a student at the college, let alone know my name!

But that's besides the point. Being a student means I can have a highly impractical, idealistic view of the world and not have to worry about it being jeapordized by the demands of an employer, a mortgage or any other facet of life. Deplorable? Unfortunate? I will have to eventually stop being a student and face the harsh realities, no? Someday I'll realize that there's more to life than a bank account that magically fills up every month, that money is earned on the back of hard work, right? Surely that thought would be sufficient to wake me up from my dreamland existence?

Well, I'd rather not think about it. As a student, I have that choice.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Great city, that. Its quite interesting, I don't know how many people know this (I certainly didn't until a few weeks before getting there) but the city is split into two parts.. the Buda and the Pest, with the Danube river in between. The Pest side is made up of mostly flat plains, while the Buda is all about the rolling hills. Cheap city to live in, food and drink were quite affordable.. and you could practically dine out in extremely nice surroundings every single night of your trip.
You see many bizzare things, however. Between Prague and Budapest, I've seen many strange objects, practices and local customs:

1. Fried Cheese (aka Fat-in-a-bun). Pretty much a deep-fried, breaded slab of cheese that can be served on a plate to be eaten with a knife and fork.. or in the much more lethal form of a sandwich in which it is covered in mayonnaise and placed in a bun. Don't try eating more than one of these things.

2. Milk in a bag. This I saw in Budapest. Pretty much milk in a small, clear plastic bag with a picture of a goofy looking blonde cow on it and the word TEJ written in bold print (see below). I had a hard time just holding the bag and posing for a picture, never mind considering consuming its contents.

3. HUGE chunks of bread. By huge I mean as big as a person's head. I'm sure that under the thick crust lies more soft, delicious bread than I would know what to do with before the fungus sets in.

4. Parking on the sidewalk. Yes, everyone does it. Even old ladies in old volvos. Even if you're walking on the aforementioned sidewalk.

5. Man selling porn at traffic lights. A man, decked out completely in porn magazines wandering around between cars that were stopped at a traffic light. In broad daylight.

The strange language and the natives' dearth of english speakers means that a lot of interesting (mostly humorous) situations cropped up throughout the trip. Definitely worth a visit, though.

Back in Bahrain at the moment for a two week "break" in which I'll be studying for exams before going back to Ireland for another two weeks of studying prior to my first exam. What a rendorseg situation. The year's been tough, but at least now its almost over.

Milk in a bag. Posted by Hello