The Iveagh Gardens Picnic of I Hope My Chicken Salad Doesn’t Kill You

Emily, Karen, Petra, Will, Gary, Sharon, and Eadaoin

There are photographers, there are photographers, and there are photographers. It is known. At any gathering you will meet:

The gear enthusiasts and braggarts. “My Cannonikon X-0 Black Hole has 300% less vignette than the next best doodad on the market!”
The technique snobs and dabblers. “Swans should only be captured in a way that preserves their sensual eroticism!”
The newbies and grizzled commercial professionals. “Please sign this release so I can reproduce your likeness as captured at this photowalk.”
The artistes who point their clicky black box at things. You need to think about form, shape, and texture!”

Sat somewhere between one or another extreme you will find the typical attendee.Take me: I’ve bragged about gear. I’ve snobbed over infrared. I’ve handled commercial shoots. I have put out awful amateur shots.

The point is, a small group of regular goers accreted on We migrated to Twitter after the community soured, and here we endure. There are gatherings-picnics or photowalks-at least once a year. We all fall into the middle of the spectrum, insofar as we don’t brag (much) about gear, or hold forth (for too long) about technique. I mean-collectively we are so casual that half the time we don’t bring a camera to photowalks. And if we do, we photograph each other. I don’t own a digital camera outside of my phone.

In a nutshell, that was today’s picnic at Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens. We turned up and had a summer picnic, then retired to the bar and hung out for a while before went our ways. We took maybe ten photographs. And it was a perfect day, with blue skies and green grass.

Eadaoin organized the picnic. I somehow stole credit for the inspiration. Aafke encouraged the event, but was unable to come as she is ill (you are missed!). Petra, Will, Sinead and Eric, Sharon and Gary, Emily, Karen, and Philip all turned up at some stage. Even Alanna came by for a while after the pride parade.

I made Accidental Fiery Chicken Salad (AFCS) that everyone tried and complimented. See, the recipe calls for paprika. I ran out of paprika, and I reasoned that chili powder and paprika are both red and powders, so what harm? I am not a clever man. I almost blinded myself when I cooked it on Friday night, but everyone agreed the result was amazing.

Eadaoin baked cookies that-and I swear this by Zeus, father of man and god alike-had crack cocaine in them. I cannot think of any other reason that they would be so delicious. Karen and Emily brought salad and drinks, Petra made awesome tuna salad, and Sharon brought cheer and bear hugs.

And that’s it, really. Consensus: Good crowd, good food, good buzz, and a good day. We’ll do this again, be that in Galway or Dublin or somewhere in between, because it’s great to sit down and chill out with friends.

Visitors and visitations

I'm in ur house, writing up a storm

Holly came to visit me in late April. I had every bit of intent to write about her trip at length, because it was both transformative and a great deal of fun. I wanted to sit down, sup at some caffeine, and write a few thousand words. I even took notes! Little snippets of who what and where. But by the time we had settled all the stupid drama her ex and mine had conspired to stir up, we wanted nothing more to do with the subject. Holly’s ex didn’t ruin her enjoyment any more than my ex ruined mine, but they did manage to overshadow our happy afterglow. So thanks for that.

Grumble gripe whine and moan. We had a bloody awesome time. Holly wrote a more about the trip than I care to set down myself, and with her permission I might insert her own post here. (Holly-I haven’t read your post, but I assume it will be less negative than my own :p).

Last week, I visited two good friends of mine: Aafke in the midlands, and Vlastik in Dublin. I went the morning rush hour on the LUAS to Bumblefuck, County Midlands between one day and the next. So, thoughts: Dublin remains. It’s big and noisy and full of people both nasty and nice. The midlands are beautiful but bleak.

I do have to pick and choose words a little here because both Vlastik and Aafke have a strong desire for privacy. They were both excellent hosts who challenged me in different ways. Both opened my eyes and mind to different concepts.

I was in Dublin to help Vlastik learn the Linux shell and scripting language. This was fun. I tried to cover at least a bit of everything. I showed him some of the stupid bloody quirks that you have to work around just to get going. I demonstrated some films which show sound admin commands and those that don’t. Tron Legacy does a good job and Dredd does a bad one. And after weeks using Windows at home it was refreshing to dive back into the bare shell.

I didn’t take many photographs of Dublin outside of our Sunday walk along the north pier at Dun Laoghaire. There wasn’t too much to photograph unless you like suburban sprawls. Linux, excellent Czech beer, home cooking, and more Linux were the order of the weekend.

From there I bounced back to Galway and then right out into the midlands to see Aafke. I needed an escape after the latest round of drama that my ex stirred up. No Internet, physical work, and great conversation. And life experiences.

edge trimmer + nettles = unique life experience

Nobody ever told me that an edge trimmer can aerosolise a plant. The trimmer caught the nettles, reduced it to a fine powder, and sprayed me from head to foot with it. Thank you, nobody.

It was a great week, and thank you to both Aafke and Vlastik for hosting me at their homes.


Because it’s Bash

[mark][~] # a=3
[mark][~] # b=525
[mark][~] # if [ $a > $b ]; then echo "fail"; fi
[mark][~] # 

Yes, I know about the correct operators to use. This, however, is a pretty good example of pitfalls that await newbies.

The Midlands

I’m a coastal bigot. I believed that the Irish midlands were the boring bit that you find on the road between Galway and Dublin. There were a boundless interminable purgatory that ended at the Irish Sea. They are an Elf-land like Valinor: You travel the curved road to reach Dublin, and the starry curved roach to travel through Westmeath, Longford and Cavan.


If you travel long enough and search hard enough you might find fiery Vingilot with Eärendil and Elwing at the helm. The M4 to Dublin is literally Belegaer, the Sundering Sea.

Less poetically, I have had the habit of really dismissing the midlands as flat and boring. While I am honour-bound to respect Aafke’s wish for privacy in regards her home, I feel more free with what she showed me of the Midlands. It was eye-opening. There’s is more depth, beauty and sheer interestingness there than I had ever imagined.

Let me put it like this: The west of Ireland and the western states of America are similar in the sense of roads and landscape. There are only a few roads, and these connect the different towns. You’re bound a narrow experience unless you go off-road in the rugged terrain.

The Irish midlands are likewise closer to Missouri: There are roads of all sizes, from everywhere to everywhere because the landscape didn’t prevent it. The land doesn’t hold any of the spectacular rises and falls of the coast. Instead there is a gorgeous green wholesomeness.

It’s pastoral and rather serene. Fair’s fair, I saw it in brilliant sunny weather. Aafke warned me that the countryside is bleak in winter, and that the people are bleak year around. Everyone’s despondent. Money only flows into the area from a few points, and outside of those little oases of prosperity, the human landscape is stark. Regimented towns where the sole focus is a Tidy Towns plaque, because that’s all to strive for. Twitching curtains that enforce wholesome Catholic values. An ear pressed to every wall. Awful little towns like Ballynacarigy where all the lads were in wifebeaters and tats, and all the girls in bleached blonde hair and a babe on their hip. That makes it kinda like Missouri too, I guess.

There you have it. The land is beautiful and different, as are the people in their own strange way.