These are the things I do to trash talk my girlfriend

in random

A GIF of a sandworm eating a cupcake

I couldn’t tell you how the crap this started, but suddenly trash talk about cupcakes is flying thick and fast on Facebook and I’ve been challenged to a cupcake-off at the Iveagh Gardens this summer.

I am so fucked.

Overly-dramatic Mark

in me

Dramatic Mark up in Corrib Village

Props to Eadaoin for the great shot. :D We went up to Dangan yesterday, but the weather was dull, the trees were barely in bloom and there was nothing neither of hadn’t photographed in better light. A shower caught us at Corrib Village, so we stopped in by the boat shed, and Eadaoin shot this with her phone after the rain passed.

I screwed with this in Photoshop: perspective (keystone) correction, bleach bypass, a second black and white layer, over-sharpening of the shed and lots of dodging and burning to make the carved graffiti stand out.

Eadaoin and I did Easter too

in ireland
Eadaoin in a fieldMe in a field

It wasn’t just my kids who enjoyed Easter.

Eadaoin and I are home at last after a weekend in Dublin and Tipperary. I went up to Dublin on Thursday night and stayed at her house ahead of my dentist’s appointment. I went home from the dentist in a fair bit of pain, so we chilled out for the rest of the day. I downed painkillers and got a bunch of work done while Eadaoin studied code.

We both took Saturday easy; I managed teeny tiny pieces of scrambled egg and toast for breakfast and took a combined Luas-taxi-cross-country-coach from Eadaoin’s house to Cashel in Tipperary. I have never in my life been in Tipperary, let alone in Cashel and in sight of the eponymous Rock. As always, with every fecking landmark, The Pictures Deceive. The commonest angle photographs of the Rock are from the East side-from the cark park-and looking up at the ruins. From way down there you don’t see the town of Cashel, which would be directly behind you, or the town’s houses that march up hill almost to the Rock; nor do you take in the rolling green pasture of the Golden Vale; and even the Galtee Mountains that loom darkly way down to the south are neatly out of frame. What you don’t get for the Rock is, in short, any useful context to place it.

Eh, that’s typical of tourist places; I didn’t grok Red Rock until I went there. It’s a ubiquitous Vegas landmark, but none of the pretty landscape shots you will find on Flickr or Google will show you the trash tourists leave, or the trash tourists, or the houses made of ticky-tacky that roll right up to the park’s boundary.

Eadaoin’s brother Donny met us and took us down the road a ways to see the Rock. My photos are dull: a green field, the Rock of Cashel, grey skies. They don’t do anything except say “Mark was there”, so I will leave them out of this post.

Tipperary countryside in HolycrossTipperary countryside in HolycrossTipperary countryside in Holycross

South Tipperary and the Golden Vale are strikingly beautiful, although in a different manner than the West. There’s a deep, green vitality to the country and a stamp of human activity so deep that there’s barely even the memory of the land being a wild place.

How do I describe it? People have lived and built and farmed in Ireland for at least the past six thousand years. Creevykeel passage grave was about a mile down the road from my house in Cliffoney. Parts of it date to at least four thousand B.C.E. It’s bizarre, to touch a piece of rock and think that some craftsman quarried (or probably just dragged an erratic), cut and placed that stone fifteen hundred years before the great pyramids were raised at Giza.

People and cultures came and went all over the island of Ireland down through the millennia, but in the Golden Vale, they came but never went. There were farmers and hunter-gatherers here thousands of years before Babylon rose and fell. People turned up in the Golden Vale concurrent to the foundation of Ur and Sumer. There were farmers in the vale when Jesus preached and Rome fell. There will be farmers in the Golden Vale when our children’s children will be dust in their graves.

Tipperary is beautiful, but not like in the West, where we have stones and sea and sky.

Aofie dresses up a dogEveryone else photographs Aofie dressing up the dogSame dog-dressing scene, different angle

I was anxious about meeting Eadaoin’s parents and cousins given all the trouble and heartache that came of my ex-wife’s family, but it went okay. They’re definitely an easier-going bunch: no drama, no screaming, no tears. We went for some long walks into town or down the fields, chilled out, played that dumb card game where you have to come up with obnoxious statements.

It was fine, really. I chatted to some of Eadaoin’s cousins about life choices (one wants to be a programmer or sysadmin), passed on all of the alcohol because antibiotics, chilled out, ignored everyone, did some cool work and enjoyed myself as much as I could before we came home today (Monday).

Eadaoin’s aunt Tricia gave us as lift as far as Galway, which I really appreciate; it would have taken something like five hours, fifty euros each and at least two transfers to take a train or bus from Cashel through Limerick and on to Galway City. Tricia had us into Galway in three hours, including a stop in Loughrea for ice cream.

At the end of the day we visited mum, chatted for a while, had dinner and took a long walk around the Claddagh and South Park before home.

All of you assholes need to stop punching me in the face

in me

This is not a request.

  1. When I was 12, a neighbour’s kid punched me in the mouth while I was making faces at him. Ever make faces while blowing on glass? Punch.
  2. Then when I was 18 or 19 15* my sister threw a remote control into my face while we fought over control of the control: Jennifer wanted Friends; I wanted Deep Space Nine. No surrender, no retreat.
  3. And, finally, at the age of 30, Caira headbutted me while we wrestled in the kitchen.
CHANGE MEI REGRET MY DECISION\o/ awesome smile Mark \o/

There’s been a lot of damage to the tooth which was compounded by my shitty eating habits, five year long stint of poverty and abject fear of dentists. In the end I had a shitty rotten tooth front and center in my mouth. I could never smile or open my mouth around people. I mean, in every photograph of me I’m rocking either a frown or a reduced smile with mouth firmly shut.

But, hey, life changes. I resolved to get my teeth fixed. I want to smile in photographs, and to that end I’ve a lot of time at the dentist over the past few months. Yesterday was awesome, because I finally got that fucking tooth Sorted Once and For all, but it was expensive and hurt like a bitch too.

Eh, who cares. I can smile now, so enjoy the first and last photograph you’ll ever see of my old shitty tooth.

I had the tooth removed at Smiles’ on O’Connell Street, the abscess cleaned out, an implant fitted and temporary crown put in. I go back in the middle of June to have the permanent crown installed. The dentist loved all the questions and though the selfie was hilarious.


*Jennifer said we were both definitely still in school, and AFAIK it was probably during season four of DS9, which would make our respective ages 15 and 16.

Day out in Dublin

in me

I had a crap week, so I hopped on the bus to Eadaoin last night. Thanks for the magic of my new cellphone I photographed today’s wander around Dublin:

Eadaoin on Sunday morningEadaoin photographing trees at Trinity College

We walked from Eadaoin’s house over to the UCD campus at Belfield, got trapped by heavy rain and took a bus into town to the Science Gallery, where our friend Sinead is helping Tog hackerspace at the Science Gallery’s exhibiton on lifelogging.

Sinead recorded Eadaoin’s brain waves over ten minutes using a Linux-powered USB recorder (open source hooooo \o/). This was a pretty amazing exhibition; not only did it give a slice into the life of those who record every moment of it, but Tog had great outreach by allowing you to record and print a model of your brain waves.

Eadaoin and I wandered over to Avoca after, and then home. I worked on a client site while she napped. Great lazy day, a++, would do again.