Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Paddy!

Mothers and fathers, lock up your daughters! The Brown Knight is now a sophisticated 18 years old. Be warned as none can resist his breezy cool or rapturous charm. One wink can make a married woman tremble, one handshake strike awe in a grown man. All envy the company of this swashbuckling rogue, and so it is certain that his weekend of antics will be at no shortage of boisterous merrymaking.
From this end, I can only wish further good times.

Happy Birthday, boyo!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friday Night at the Friary

It's not all work at 10 Friary. Fridays bring out the shenanigans in everyone, but never as wild as this [sarcasm]. Maria Kiernan (far left), shares the practice with Paul Kearney (second from right). Next to Paul on the far right is Agnieszka who has been working for K&K for a year now. Right behind Maria is a sculpture artist who popped in to drop off a granite carving of the K&K logo and receive payment in wine. At the back you see the Swiss-Italian connection - Giaccomo and Elda from southern Switzerland. Giaccomo runs his own practice in Zurich but moved to Dublin with Elda to improve his English. He runs the firm entirely by Skype.
Eventually, the womens coralled the mens into the kitchen to wash dishes which they found overly amusing. I'm not actually as thrilled as I look.

And then the hat swapping...

The Digs

Here's a peek of me new flat. It's outrageously small and cozy. My room is up top behind that wood partition wall above the living room. The housemates, Simone and Frances are both working in Dublin. Simone is from East Germany and works in tourism while Frances from England works at the Institute of Technology. Picked up a set of wheels yesterday to cut the 50min walk down to 15min bike ride.

Through the roof-light I have my own perch where I can devise grandiose theories or hang out with the neighbours with a couple pints. Overall not what I expected, but who can say no to a roof perch?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'd like to tell an unexaggerated story of my misfortunes today.
I woke up this morning to my 87th rejection from landlord/tenant with a texted message as written:
'had lots of people viewing the flat put all names in a hat am afraid you were not chosen hope you find some where soon emer'
I grumbled into the hostel shower and burned my arm on one of the malfunctioning showers which wouldn't shut off, creating an overly steamed shower room comparable to a sauna. Then attempted the adjacent drip shower which overflowed from a clogged drain. Half-showered and fired up from a 1/2 stale piece of white bread and jam as part of my inclusive breakfast I hobbled in to work. Slipping in to my daily routine tending to server crashes and moody printers (while fitting in drawing time somewhere in between) I set up my 15th house viewing for later in the evening. En-route to the flat, it was raining and I ripped my boss's map before getting splashed by a drive-by. Arriving at the tiny apartment, I rang flat #8 instead of #7 where I was yelled at. Eventually I met Frances and then Cimon who showed me the tiniest place I've seen with the most character! It has to be less than 12' x 8' with a crazy slanted roof, random cubbies, and a skylight that I can crawl out of onto a rooftop perch. I yelled 'SOLD!' in just enough time before the doorbell rang and Mrs. X stepped in only to be escorted out of my new home!
Click on the map, look at the bottom left. I'm in Terenure, about a 45 min walk in to town.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Canada Under Fire

Okay, so I'm startin to sweat here in D-Town. I was put on the spot the other day by my boss...a very simple question, one I should have prepared for before leaving Canada: 'Name a famous Canadian that the world would mildly acknowledge as significant or better'. While I could name off the obvious icons like Wayne Gretzky, Neil Young, or P.E. Trudeau (which were disputed as being as big as Bono), I struggled with naming a Canadian intellectual -gasp! Somehow, Margaret Atwood just doesn't cut it. Help me out! Not that Bono is considered an intellectual, but 'Bigger than Bono'?...please this is killing me.
P.S. Roberta Bondar, and Lester B didn't make the cut and Alexander Graham Bell isn't heard of here.

(Note: I democratically enabled the comments option now, so post away people!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

1 Year Engaged

Last year at this time, the House of sPain was working overtime on an epic secret plot of engagement to unify the Fraser Party with Campus Klassen. Operation Lovequest v.1.3 was initiated in the Arboretum, across Carleton University at 1800hrs. Labourers from the House of sPain production team manufactured lanterns to lure the unsuspecting Erin 'Efro' Fraser within a willow canopy for marriage proposal with fellow housemate and friend extraordinaire Will Klassen. Celebrations ensued.

Happy #1!
Hello all.
You may have thought (or hoped) I was abducted by the IRA or rubbed out in a drunken Irish brawl, but in fact I'm clinging on to survival and still kickin' around across the pond in Dublin City. It took very little time to acclimatize to the daily epicurean tradition of Guinness and taters since arriving two weeks ago. It took even less effort to get to know the locals and their pubs of preference.

So far, Dublin is the bees-knees. There are so many folks out puttering around all day - the streets are constantly packed, and even at midday, when you would assume folks would be working, the whole place is bumpin' with activity. It's like Ottawa-meets-Tokyo...I've never seen Tokyo, but if it met Ottawa, I think they'd hook up and create Dublin. Just as striking (and often inspiring) is the fact that it's nearly impossible to walk along any street without passing a pub. Coincidentally, the Ottawa pubs 'Elephant & Castle' and 'The Auld Dubliner' may also be found in Dublin. Ofcourse acknowledging this coincidence equates to tipping a pint of Guinness with a wee Irish jig to boot.

Since arriving, I've been on a mission to get settled. I haven't really had the chance to do any touristy stuff yet. I landed and immediately started passing out CV's and finding a home or a sugar mama. Luckily I was able to get a job in the first week but still no place to live - or Mrs. Robinson. By word of mouth, I was able to squeeze in to a 3-person firm called Kearney & Kiernan Architects. It's putting food on the parkbench, as I continue searching for a place to live. This whole issue of finding a flat has (de-)evolved from an initial state of over-confidence to humble desperation. It is incredibly difficult to find a place in the city centre - and the city centre is hands down the best place to be (for obvious reasons). Unfortunately, apartment flats and house shares go like hotcakes here. To illustrate, a vacancy posting on the web can disappear in a matter of hours. This is incredibly annoying, as it keeps me barred behind a hostel which has quickly lost it's novelty. The facilities themselves are secure etc, but lately I've been sharing a room with the foulest smelling people I've ever encountered. Ever.

So here's a shot of my new office. Pretty swank, I gotta say. Extremely lucky to be working here for now. It's in an old friary, as the sign suggests, which was apparently used by monks in the year...errr, 0. It's connected to a monastery at the back. The building has about 5 other design firms and some law offices - appropriately quarantined within heavy barred gates to keep us locked up. They have me doing some conceptual mock-ups of a house in Dublin as well as some interior renovation jobbies. So far it's working out fairly well, but unfortunately they have me on a 1-month trial period. This means work like a fiend to secure 9 more months of bacon and stout.

But work banalities aside, I caught Ryan Odell's (friend from school) brother's wife, Emm Gyner's concert on the second night I was here, as well as a TV on the Radio concert on Tuesday. A number of Canadian bands are chalked up to play on a number of nights this month. Also caught the International Rules Rugby final match between Australia and Ireland (they're the only teams in the league). It was the best entertainment I've seen in a long time. Before the ball dropped, the players were at each other's throats. About 4 fights broke out immediately and then the game started, with no end of play. They just kept on pummelling each other throughout the whole match. In the end, not only did Ireland lose bigtime on the scoreboard, but got whooped in all the fights too.
This was all played in Croke Park, which is the only stadium of its kind in Dublin, and a symbol of nationalism (and chauvanism) as well. The Gaelic Athletic Association doesn't allow anything but Gaelic games to be played on the grounds. That narrows things down to Gaelic Football and ummm...Hurling. Yet amazingly, the stadium fills up with 80,000 crazed fans. The game rules were far from the point of interest in the match - we just wanted to see fists fly.

Oh yea, and the Guinness tastes amazing.

More to come, but that's all for now. Miss you all back home.