Thursday, 25 August 2016

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

I have so many things to talk about and catch you up on. Random nonsensical post?

On my Endgame in Ireland post, Carolyn pointed out there was another Irish documentary on Netflix called “The Irish Pub” which is a look at the (mostly) rural pubs in Ireland. Carolyn will be happy to know that I watched the documentary and I’ve been in two of the pubs they featured. It does suffer a wee bit from rose-coloured glasses, but it was still enjoyable. Sadly, pub culture is dying out in rural Ireland thanks in part to a zero-tolerance drinking and driving policy. Still, if you find yourself in Ireland, make sure you plan a night in a smaller community (preferably off the tourist trail) and park yourself in the local pub. You will not regret it.

Nine-year-old me in front of a pub in Kilkenny.
I've blanked it out but that's our family name above the door!
Learning that the Star Trek cast love Dubsmash was one of the highlights of my past week.

Star Trek was my gateway nerd so this brings me so much joy on multiple levels.

Any weight-loss progress I was making has well and truly stalled. You could even say it’s backed up a bit, although, thankfully, not all the way back to the starting line. There are no excuses to give and now claims of “I don’t know why.” I know exactly why and it’s my fault. I haven’t been paying attention when it comes to what I’ve been eating since about mid-June. Funny how two months of eat-all-the-things can muck up weight loss. Shocking!

My gym attendance has been consistent and I have noticed that my cardio endurance has continued to increase so that’s a tick in the win column. As for the eating, I’ve been paying closer attention the past week and plan to continue with it until I leave, but it’s a low priority at the moment so if I find myself getting home at 7:30 pm with no leftovers or food prepared in the fridge, I’m not going to beat myself up about ordering takeout.

The Independent has somehow able to cobble together “Top Great Reasons to Visit Monaghan”. I was surprised there were 10 reasons to visit Monaghan!

Nine-year-old me took this picture! Just kidding. Monaghan Town in 2011.
My uncle was all proud that they finally had a stop light. A STOP LIGHT! Just one.
I love you, Monaghan. Never change. Well, maybe one more stop light.
The Royal Family is coming to BC and the Yukon for the last week of September which has a lot of people excited. I’m best described as apathetic about the monarchy. If I was to wake up tomorrow to the news that they had been removed from Canada’s Head of State status, I wouldn’t shed a tear. On the other hand, getting rid of them doesn’t save us money as we’d then have to invest in the creation of a political entity to replace our current system of Governor General and Lieutenant Governors.

A lot of their time will be spent in Victoria because we have Government House. Government House is more commonly known as the home of BC’s Lieutenant Governor, but it is also the residence of the Royal Family when they’re in BC.

To help Cely you imagine their visit, they will sit at this table to eat their meals.
To be honest, I love visiting Government House... I'm just indifferent to the Royals.
Hopefully, that won't hurt my chances to land the Lieutenant Governor gig. ;)
It’s also 5 blocks from my house.

Not going to lie, I’m happy I won’t be here for all the added people milling about when I try to go for an evening walk.

Friday night, I am going to a Rodriguez concert. If you haven't seen "Searching for Sugar Man" then that name probably means nothing to you, but if you have seen "Searching for Sugar Man"... I'M GOING TO A RODRIGUEZ CONCERT!!

Finally, the one month countdown to Tanzania has begun! To celebrate, my two favourite Tanzanian musicians. The first video is X Plastaz, a hip-hop group from Arusha. The second is Z.Anto, who was big in the BongaFlava scene when I was there.

Tusker beer, here I come!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

It's Been a Pleasure Doing Business With You

Yesterday, the Tragically Hip performed their last concert of their summer tour and potentially their last concert ever as Gord Downie, lead singer, has terminal brain cancer. To ensure that every Canadian could spend the evening crying, CBC broadcast the concert on all their channels as well as streamed it. Live, no commercials, no commentators.

I had considered going to a few of the public events at various pubs and parks around town, but settled instead on a girls night at Katie's. We sang, we danced, and we cried. Oh my goodness, there was so much crying. The Hip are Canada's band. Even Canadians who aren't Hip fans know their songs and can share memories about them. This concert was their swan song. Three hours of uninterrupted Hip.

It was glorious.

This morning, I wander through the Hip tag on Twitter and cried some more because, hey. In for a penny, in for a pound!

Then this evening, CBC Sports created a montage of the best moments of the Rio Olympics and set it to the Hip's "Ahead By a Century" because we obviously needed to cry more tear. (You may need to be logged into Facebook to see the video. I couldn't find it on the CBC YouTube channel.)

CBC needs to stop it.

(The title comes from a line in their song "Scared")

Friday, 12 August 2016

Endgame in Ireland

I was clicking around on YouTube tonight when I stumbled upon "Endgame in Ireland", a four-part documentary about the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. The documentary had been on PBS years ago. My dad had taped it and passed it on to me to watch. Taped it. As in, VHS tapes. Remember those, kids?

I haven't seen it 15 years but I remember it for being a fantastic documentary and for providing a very balanced view on the issue. My dad credits that to the fact that it was produced by both BBC and RTE. You probably know the BBC, but RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is the national broadcaster of Ireland. (Psst, want to listen to spoken Irish? And I mean more than the few words I might yell at you when we're out together. Follow this link and click the 'RnaG Beo' in the top menu bar. Yes, it does kind of sound like you're listening to a record in reverse. But I digress... like always.)

At any rate, I couldn't watch "Endgame in Ireland" tonight because it was too late and I still have to work tomorrow but I think that's my weekend plans sorted. If you are interested in watching the series yourself - which I highly recommend if you have an interest in contemporary Irish history - then you can find them by following the links below:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

Episode Four

Once you've watched these, you might understand better why I was so flabbergasted when in the wake of the Brexit vote, Ian Paisley, Jr encouraged his constituents to apply for an Irish passport if they were eligible for it. His father must be absolutely writhing in the afterlife.

While I'm on the topic of documentaries on Irish history, Netflix (well, the Canada one, at least) recently added "Tales of Irish Castles".

It deals with history a little further back than the recent Troubles, but also worth checking out. If you watch it and find yourself with an urge to buy and refurbish an Irish castle of your own, it is not my fault.

And can I stay in your guest chambers next time I'm back?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Third Time Lucky

As you read this, I am nearing the end of Gishwhes: the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. It's my 3rd time participating and it's my 3rd time having an absolute blast. I wish I could tell you more about the antics my group and I have gotten up this week, but we're not allowed to publically post our items until after the hunt is over (save for the items that require public posting to be completed).

While I can't talk about this year, I can tell you that past years have seen me try to cross the US-Canada border in a swimsuit and snorkel gear, have newspaper boat races complete with gambling, deliver baked goods to an office staffed by volunteers, send a note of thanks to a teacher who inspired me, have a drink named after Gishwhes at my local coffee shop, write ridiculous short stories, sing mistranslated songs in public, and just generally remember that life is more enjoyable when you take a moment for joy in the every day.

I'm also stuck deep into a project at work. When setting the dates for everything to be completed, my boss suddenly realised that I leave at the end of September and all the mid-October dates she had set would have to be updated. There may have been some swearing. 

This week, despite only being a 4-day work week in BC, has been crazy, busy, a bit stressful, and fun.

On the August Long Weekend, the Victoria Symphony hosts the Symphony Splash. The musicians perform on a barge in the Inner Harbour while the spectators sit on the causeway. I always make a point of heading down for the second half and the finale of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The best part is that the army is there to fire off anow actual canon. (The 1812 Overture is the only piece of music to actually have a canon score. Granted, it's usually handle by the tympani because, hello, canon in an enclosed building? But it still awesome that Tchaikovsky actually wrote a canon part.) And, of course, fireworks.

You can't have Romans without the roads, and you can't have Symphony Splash without Tchaikovsky and fireworks.

There is also a tradition of the local pipe and drum band opening and closing the Splash. If you ever happen to be in Victoria attending the Splash (without me? How rude!), here's a tip that most locals don't even know: mill about Government St in front of the Empress after the Splash is over. Don't let your friends pressure you into leaving. As the crowd thins, the pipe and drum band will form up. You can follow them as they march and play their way up Government St until they find a pub they like. They will then detour into the pub to march and play.

Until you get to enjoy the Splash in person, here is a video of the 2015 rendition of the 1812 Overture.


P.S. Yes, some people come in canoes, rowboats, kayaks, dragon boats, etc and watch the performance from there.