Friday, November 28, 2008

An environment in which to thrive

What is it with me and mushrooms!

Okay, first there was that bathroom ceiling incident in Madeira (photo right), which was a smidge strange.

Fastforward to West Cork: I recently moved an orchid away from its sunny spot because a certain... well, I won't go into that. She'll only say that the world blames mothers for everything. Let's just say I moved the plant recently; it is now in a not-so-warm, not so-sunny-spot. So, this morning I go to check on it, and lo and behold:

There are another two teeny-tiny shrooms peeping out on the other side of the pot. Think I'll let it warm up by the radiator for the evening; see what happens.

Have a great weekend folks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No harm, no...

Well, what else would you send out there on Thanksgiving but Sarah Palin and her turkey-pardoning-cum-slaughtering antics.

The uncensored interview (here) is funny enough; following a token turkey-pardoning, Palin is interviewed while work gets underway behind; the interviewer hams it up, asking about state programmes 'on the chopping block'.

But the news report on the interview adds a whole other level, complete with real-crime-tv blurring out of turkey parts and headline titles worthy of The Onion: "Turkeys die as Gov. Palin takes questions from media"; "Gov. Sarah Palin keeps talking while turkeys get slaughtered behind her"; "Turkey-killing fowls Palin's news conference":

I'm not sure on whom this reflects most poorly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A spanking good time

On the mend, oh happy day! Having tea & toast with confidence.

Flaffed around with a draft poster for the play - plenty o'fun playing with victorian fonts and images. But I now know more about corsets than I ever ever want to.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The I'm-digesting-glass sensation is easing. Slowly.

Slept till noon; spent the day curled up, still and quiet.

Speaking of which, I should get back to that right now...

Monday, November 24, 2008


I feel that lying somewhere out there is a wax Orlaith-doll, with a plump pincushion beside it, all glittering sharpness...

Yeah, so I'm not well. Crashed on Saturday evening; crazy feverish & sore. I finally got up when I just couldn't believe that a single night could last so long. It was almost 7pm. Sunday.

Today was better; I woke before noon.

Baby steps :-)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Last night, the ten thousandth round of the pub quiz ended in a dead tie between us and another team. Time for a quiz face off! I contributed little throughout, but earned my keep in the film/mythology departments with the 'Juno' questions. And in the end, we won :-)

The Golden Notebook Project caught my attention this week: it describes itself as "part of a long-term effort to encourage and enable a culture of collaborative learning". Seven writers (all women) are reading Doris Lessing's classic as an e-text, adding marginal comments as they go. So, the public can read along with them, add their own views in forums etc. Interesting idea. I don't know if it's the best way to read a book for the first time (which it is, for me) but if it was a book that I knew quite well, I would probably be eager to dip in and out of the responses of seven intelligent people.

In other news, here's a short exposing the nefarious nature of cats, complete with cute little kitty noises. And it's just for Maggie :-)

Little machiavellian fluffball...

Have a great weekend, folks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There are a million stories in the naked city

Crispy, sunshiney day here. I'm curled up, tapping away, while around me swirls the aroma of carrot & ginger soup. Perfect.

I was idling with a friend last night, vaguely entertaining when I might visit her in New York (so vaguely that it's perhaps indistinct to the naked eye; it's a way off, is what I'm saying). However, The Moth would be a must-do for the next trip:

The Moth is a NY-based organisation dedicated to "unashamedly old-fashioned storytelling". They have a couple of events each month featuring great tales woven (live) by the likes of John Turturro, Garrison Keillor, Lili Taylor, Salman Rushdie, Ethan Hawke, Moby, Neil Gaiman...

They also have a StorySLAM, an open-mic event with a pre-set theme, where anyone can have 5 minutes with the mic: from neurosurgeons to voodoo priestesses, from NYPD officers to retired pickpockets -- everybody has their say.

You can see a NY Times video article on this week's Moth Ball here.

Off to subscribe to The Moth's podcast now...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Life moments

With Google as host, LIFE magazine is bringing its massive photo archive online (2 million down, 8 million to go). It's all there for your perusing pleasure: from the American Civil War to Vietnam; the Great Depression to landing on the moon; the academy awards to surfers (back when they were called "surf riders").

An absolute gem. Here's one of Grace Kelly in March 1955, having won the Best Actress Oscar for The Country Girl.

What a treat :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another penguin ending

Day two of a proper, organised daily schedule. Three will make a pattern. Fingers crossed...

Writing going well, as are rehearsals. My sister entrusted me with a vampy lipstick and lipliner; not that I'm wearing them yet, but I think they're psychologically supporting me - in the vampy role, that is, rather than in writing. (Hmm. Although now that I think of it, maybe, just maybe...)

Anyhoo, here's a recent interview with Berkeley Breathed on this month's publication of the very last strip of Opus, the world's favourite neurotic penguin.

You can see the last strip here and the final reveal here.

In the lead-up, there was much speculation about the fate of Opus, which Berkeley faces head on:

"K-k-k-kill? I've never said the K word. Did I? Don't YOU say that. COMPLETELY depressing. He's Passing Into the Ages. A Christian Scientist appreciates the distinction. Opus will be where I'd like to think of him being for the rest of my life ... which will be a small surprise to many readers. And possibly a Sopranos-like disappointment for some, but I simply will not bow to clich├ęs this late in the game."
Be happy, Opus.

And in other news:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Three. Vodka & Orange Juice.

A catchy-uppy weekend: movies, tv, sleep, podcasts, interviews (including Joss Whedon and Elvis Costello) - oh, and I finally got the christening photos downloaded. They featured the particularly cute christening cake...

By the time the cake was laid out, my sister's twins had already cut a deal: one got to eat the teddy bear; one would devour the miniature baby, head first:

It was technically a chocolate biscuit cake, except the biscuits were replaced by crushed maltesers. What's that? Why yes, eating a slice did simulate the classic symptoms of a heart attack...

Mom's headed back to Dublin, sigh. We took part in the drama pub quiz last Thursday, which was great craic. One of the rounds opened with:

1) How many daughters did King Lear have?

2) What are the ingredients of a screwdriver?

Me. In my element. Right there. I mean, the questions moved on to sport and current affairs, but for that moment...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The final introduction

"Missing Wednesday to Reception, please. Could Missing Wednesday please report to Reception..."

Well, the week progresses, buffered along by undulations of coffee and wine. One second-guessing moment, when I was chatting to a lovely woman in Skibbereen the other day:

And where are you living?


That's where I live. Whereabouts are you?

Mariner's Cove.

(kind of pondering)
What's your name?


(penny dropping)
Oh! You're that Orlaith...

So, there's me, not at all sure what this means. If it's conceivably a good thing. Or bad. Portent-of-doom kind of bad.

Someone mentioned you the other day and I didn't know who you were and they were like, "Orlaith! You know - Orlaith!" and you know the way you hate being the last person to know someone...

Actually, no. I have no strong feelings about being the last person to meet anyone. Being the last person to discover The West Wing or The Kite Runner or Dial2Do, maybe...

But I understand it's very possible to have those feelings about people.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stolen moment

Another whirlwind day. Okay, super-lazy breakfasting, but once that was done we were on the road. Shopping, coffee with friend, shopping, er... shopping, wine, wine with crosaire, dinner, wine, and a healthy dose of The Gilmore Girls. Yep, we are all sassy-quoted up.

I am determined to finish Ian McEwan's Saturday any day now. Perhaps even this very day...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Almost perfect composition

Superb weekend, despite the Travel Gods of Washington DC frowning upon my brother's attempts to get out of the US...

The christening of Lily May is complete (she is just made to be a Tennessee Williams heroine; must work on her Southern Belle accent when, you know, she starts speaking. "Why Lily May, ah belieeeeve you have a gentleman caller...") . I officially featured during the ceremony; the priest periodically broke off from Christianey liturgical things to say things like "Camera Lady, if you'd like to come up here to take photos. The anointing with the oil will only happen once..."

No pressure or anything. Took several thousand photos, none of which are yet downloaded.

Have enjoyed days of much conversation over much wine with (almost all) the family; and my mom's decided to spend a few days in Baltimore, so the trend looks set to continue this week...

Speaking of which, I'd better get back to it

Friday, November 7, 2008

Drawing together

My family is scattered today. Everyone's travelling; busy with work, funerals, children. But tomorrow we'll come together for a christening - and although we may be jet-lagged, travel-weary, sleep-deprived, and/or a smidge hungover - I am SO looking forward to it!

Safe travels, everyone. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Serene saintliness

There's a big Blood drive on at the moment, and today I went along to the West Cork Hotel to donate. The Pelican People had my records from Dublin donations many moons ago; afternoons when you'd linger in Pelican House and enjoy a pint or two of guinness, crisps, chocolate - it always seemed a special place, filled with treaty things.

After a zillion questions, the iron level check was the first stop: the Iron Nurse squodges a blood droplet onto a slide and slots it into a red machine. Three of us (there's also a Watcher present) watch the machine. We wait. I try to calculate the last time I ate red meat. We wait some more. I wonder if there's any iron in popcorn, last night's dinner. Nursey-watches are consulted; it's apparently taking longer than usual. Finally there's a read-out. It says 16.2. I don't know how bad this is. "Jesus," says Iron Nurse to the Watcher, "great levels today". It's a fine result (apparently 12 is a low indicator). I'm all ironed-up. Good to go.

On to the gurney: blood pressure time. My entire life, blood pressure tests have elicited the same response: "You must be very fit". No, I sometimes try to explain, no I'm really not. Might there be something - a condition - whose symptoms are the appearance of fitness? It's the same today (although at the moment I'm probably reasonably fit, thus further hiding the condition that's already disguised). The Needle Inserter Nurse comes along, surveys the forms and the read-outs. "You're very relaxed," she says, "All good". And so we begin. By the end of the session I'm a smidge too relaxed: I have to uncross my legs and squeeze one of those rubber stress-balls to encourage signs of life.

There's nothing like donating blood to make you feel like a saint!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

De Oratore

On a day filled with eloquence in defeat and victory, here's something completely different, from Michael Stipe (who recently voiced his belief that an Obama presidency would move America "forward with hope").

From REM's Dublin gigs last year, this is Stipe, charmingly embarrassed:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting privileges

With the day that's in it...

Sacha Baron Cohen has the best line: "What you do inside the voting booth is a secret. I like to make a hand relief. Niiiiiice!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

All is calm, all is bright

Apparently the Sun is enjoying some quiet time, with hardly any sunspots this year and solar winds at their lowest in 50 years. No-one's quite sure what, if anything, this means, but "they're" keeping an eye out. (Like Palin, scouting for Russians...)

Anyhoo, it's an ideal time to take a look at the action during the sun's sprightlier phases.

There's a whole set of great photos (courtesy of NASA) over at the Boston Globe. Phenomenal, as phenomena should be :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On dry land

The Glenans learn-to-sail training boats are all out of the water. Another season over...