Tuesday, December 20, 2005

MAD Club Championships

MAD where running their Club Championship race (photos) last Sunday so I decided to pop along. The race came in two parts. The first part was a hill climb from the M50 up Kimashogue Lane and on up a fireroad to the top. The second part was a 1 and a half lap race around the MAD race circuit.

The morning saw 17 (I think) of us lined up to start. A few guys where in fancy dress and the atmosphere was jovial. At around 11am the first part of the race started. Immediately a sprint started (to which I though, OMG are these guys gonna keep this speed up!) Luckily, they didn't and I was able to pick them off one by one as we headed to the fireroad. As we continued on up the fireroad I looked back to see Sean attack me from time to time. Each time I thought he got close I moved up a gear and worked a little harder. I ended up winning the hill climb with a time of 17:07 with Sean and then Mark shortly after.

Head down, climbing away to the top of Kimashogue

Sean, who finished second in the hill climb

The second part of the race was a fun race circuit. We started with a LeMans style start (in order to thin us out a bit before we climb a short hill that descended into single track). The start of the race went well for me apart from a few sections where I completely blew my lines. When I go biking myself I'm not used to following someone ahead of me and trying to get by, I guess that threw me off a little. At the end of the single track we emerged onto a fireroad that was to take us back up the hill to the start for another lap. Luckily I was in the lead at that point so I just put my head down and tried to create a little distance between the trailing group because I was afraid of them catching me on the following descent. (there was about 5 of us close together). The climb out was nice and the first part of the descent was cool – I took the rocky section very fast and entered the forest single track very positive. Midway through the first part of the single track in the forest section I jumped a drop off incorrectly and bent my rear derailleur in through the spokes and out the other side. I was pissed! It ended my race. The lesson I learned today is that when you are in the lead and you come to a sketchy section that your not used to, YOU TAKE IT EASY! Ahh well, another lesson learned!

I was bumed after breaking the derailleur

Bjorn in fancy dress (notice the knee/shin guards!)

The race was great and very well orgainised by the MAD crew. Hopefully there will be more things like this in the new year :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Santa Cruz

Sunset in Santa Cruz, CA.

I was flicking through some photos from last year and I found this one. I thought it was pretty cool.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My new bike and racing

A couple of weeks back I bought a new full suspension bike. It's got a a pretty funky name, Fetish Cycles Seduction but is an amazing bike. It's a big step up in terms of controllability and comfort (in rough sections) over my old Stumjumper Comp hard tail. (Which Mel is now putting to great use!)

The bike had an interesting past getting to me – it's brand new but for the first 2 weeks I had nothing but trouble. Firstly, Paypal sucks so bad! I can't wait to Google come along and kill them. I wasted about 6 hours trying to deal with them. (Everytime you buy something of a certain value, alarms seem to go off!). Then when it arrived I had a few parts to upgrade/replace including the chain, the seatpost and the rear disc brake rotor. After all that was done though it's being riding like a dream.

This is the spec (similar to Ultra Seduction):

2006 Manitou R Seven Super 80mm travel fork
Manitou Radium RL rear shock with lockout
Crank FSA Carbon Cranks
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR
Shift Lever Shimano XT 9-spd Dual Control
Cog Set Shimano XT 11-34T 9spd
Chain Shimano HG93 XT
Hubset Shimano XT Center Lock 32H
Rims WTB Speed Disc Pro XC double wall 32H w/ eyelets
Tires WTB Exiwolf Team XC 26 X 2.1 w/Folding Dual DNA
Brakes Shimano XT hydraulic disc
Brake Levers Shimano XT Dual Control
Handlebar Truvativ Team CarbonTeam
Stem Fetish Cycles Carbon
Seatpost Use1 Alien Carbon
Saddle Specialized Alias 143

And of course, I have to have a picture :)

Having spent all that money I decided that I'm going to have to start racing a bit :) Last weekend, M.A.D. where running a fun race close to where I lived, so I popped along. The track itself was great and it was an excellent racing down the single track at race speed. Basically we where speeding along a single track through a thick forest with almost zero visibility. In the end, I was lucky enough to win it with Nigel (it was a team event). Hopefully it will be the first of lots of races that I'll enter!

Monday, December 05, 2005

External Photos Gone :(

The server that used to hold my photo albums is now unavailable - so links to my online photo albums no longer work. I'm going to figure out a different solution soon...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Wicklow Way

On Sunday morning Mark and Emma dropped by my house to pick Mel and I up for a fine hobbity day. Earlier Mark had called telling me that he was going up to Glendalough and wondering if Mel and I wanted to go too. We were thinking about walking home from Glendalough to Dundrum for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately the days are a little short (and it's a bit cold) for such a feat so we decided to cut the walk by about 12km and walk from Roundwood instead.

As Mark dropped us off, it looked COLD outside – there was even snow on the ground. The view was absolutely amazing though and both of us where dressed quite well for walking so it wasn't too bad. At around 10:40am we started off. We knew that we would have to keep a quick pace in order to make it home before dark. The walk itself was amazing – there where so many hikers out! It was sub zero (taking wind chill into account) and the mountains where full of people hiking.

Mark and Emma as they dropped us off

Mel about 15 minutes into the walk

Me shortly after

A really pretty tree about 3 hours from the end

The view with about 1.5 hours to go

We eventually got back to the house in about 6 hours 20 minutes. It wasn't bad for a 34km walk which crossed 5 mountains :) The walk was about one quarter of the Wicklow Way – the next day we will try to get another quarter done.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Godskitchen, Movies and Ticketmaster.

Mel and I had been looking forward to going to a decent rave for some time now. We went to see X-Press 2 a few weeks ago in Spirit but I wont really count that. Last Sunday Godskitchen was in town (well, actually the point). Fergie, Ferry Corsten, Lisa Lashes and Armin Van Buren where the main DJ's for the night. The music was great – it was about 2 years since the last time that I went to Godskitchen in The Point. There is something cool about loud music, huge lasers and about 6,000 people dancing. For me, Lisa Lashes was the best. She finished off with hard house remixes of the Prodigy's “Voodoo People” and Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirits”. One thing that wasn't so cool about it was the hordes of track suit bottomed 'ravers' that looked like they had fallen out of bed and put on their clothes from last nights football game. I think some sort of dress code is needed. (Or at least a ban on track suit bottoms and football jerseys!)

Has anyone noticed how crap the movies are lately? A new cinema (with the worst website ever – geocities 99 all the way!) opened up beside us recently and it's been difficult to try and come up with a movie that I want to see. It's got 9 (at least, I think so) screens and I've only seen “God of War” and “Serenity”. Both good shows – but for me, “God of War” is the only must see.

Fergal and I have gone to California for 2 weeks on Edgespace business. Every time I go over there, I always check ahead to see who is playing around the Bay Area. I was astonished to find that U2 where actually playing in Oakland during our time there and that there was tickets (albeit, only the really expensive ones) left – so I booked a couple. It's crazy! Ticketmaster, on two tickets, charged $35 in 'inconvenience' fees! I'm using the web to book tickets which I know to be a lot more cost efficient then them having either a physical presence or phone operator available, and then they charge $35 dollars for convenience. They also charge the event organizer (although I could be a little off on this) about 5-7% of the tickets face value. So, for two tickets, they got about $60 - $70. Then, after all this, they send me an email 4 days later to say that my card didn't go through, even though I had seen the tickets on my credit card statement! Another 10 minutes 'convenient' phone call to the US and another international $2.50 charge to my card and it's all sorted out. Ridiculous! (But not the worst customer experience I've had recently, but I'll come to that later...)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Germany & Edgespace

Finally, a bit of an update...

At the end of August I returned back to Ireland from my summer away. Being back home was nice and I was more or less waiting for Mel to return from her trip. She returned back on the 6th and we went to Germany for a bit on the 8th :) I feel very lucky to have gotten on two nice trips so close together. It was a year since my last holiday when I went to Thailand but I think between July and September, I more then made up for a year without a break.

The trip to Germany was amazing. It was quite short at just 10 days but we managed to fit a lot in. We flew into the north of Germany via Lubeck and then went up to Mel's parents place which is right up beside Denmark. Mel's mother was celebrating her 60th birthday so there was a big bash on. We stayed around there for a bit and even made a trip out to Sylt! From there we went down to a small town beside Dortmund (via Hanover) where one of Mel's friends lives. Then we hitch hiked out way down to Mel's brothers house which is close to Munich. Unfortunately, we only had one day in Munich which we ended up spending at the opening day of Oktoberfest in the HB tent :) The next day, when I was feeling a little “worse for wear”, we flew out of an airport close to Lake Constance. The trip was great and I wanted to spend longer on it. I got to do and see a lot of things in a short time, but I really wish it could have been much longer!

Since we came back from Germany, it's been back to work for me again. We had a party for Edgespace's first birthday (a quieter affair then last years party but a great time was had by all), a going away party of Gerard and Diarmuid who are going to New Zealand for 9 months, and last week, my brothers belated 21st party.

A present from Alan's parents

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Germany Photos

It's been so long since the last time that I posted to my blog. I guess a trip to Germany, Mel coming home from vacation and general work stuff is the main cause of it. I've most of a post finished but I'm going out tonight and don't really have time to finish it. But for now, here are the photos from Germany.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Damn spam to my blog...

I just got spam as a comment on my blog :( Something about a guy on his way to Houston, oh and do you want to buy electronics? Go to my store...

I remember reading somewhere a couple of weeks ago that Blogger started using word verfication (as an option) to fight this. I've now turned it on - hopefully that will be the end of it :)

Photos from Thailand and Vietnam

I finally got around to putting together two slide shows of photos from Thailand and Vietnam.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bangkok to Samui to San Francisco

The last section of our trip was just as crazy – but crazy in a more conventional way :)

So we took off from Phnom Penh and landed in Bangkok. We went straight to the Bangkok Airways ticket office to see if there where any more seats on the flights to Samui that night... No luck, so we had to go to plan B.

Last year myself, Conor and Alan took an overnight “VIP” bus to Samui. It is basically a really big bus with about twice as much room per seat and the seats recline further. These buses leave from central Bangkok so Mel and I hurried ourselves there. All seemed to be full apart from one agency that said we could have a good seat for the first 2 hours of the 10 hour journey but then we would have to sit in with the driver... We looked at each other, and without having to say anything we said YES! (Better on a beach tomorrow morning then ass'in around Bangkok for another day)

We got onto the bus, chatted to some people and fell asleep quite quickly. Everything was good :) Then two hours in, a guy tapped us on our shoulders and said that we had to move. Reluctantly, Mel and I grabbed our things, went out the door and headed for the drivers area. We poked our head around the corner and what did we find but a double bed just for us. :) Apparently, the driver cabin also includes a huge bed – so with smiles from ear to ear, we lay down and got ready for a good nights sleep.

The rest of the time in Samui was basically spent, sitting on a beach, driving around on a moped, doing various touristy things, getting lots of oil messages and going out. The last week was just amazing. It was so relaxing and cool not to have to travel all the time!

One day in Samui, Mel and I went to climb rocks - this is one of the starter ones.

And this was another we climbed later. Seconds after Mel took this picture she was clambering up the crack to the left of where I'm sitting!

Mel and I at the start of a day in which we drove around the island

Mel on a deserted beach later that same day

This is Mel outside the hut that we stayed in on Lamai Beach

After my week there I decided to fly to Bangkok (with Bangkok Airways again) instead of taking a bus – it basically meant a lot more comfort and an extra day to spend with Mel. Following that was a fantastic nights sleep on Bangkok International's finest marble floors, followed by about 19 hours of flights. Getting home took about 36 hours from leavings Mel to meeting my brother in San Francisco. It was grand, but heading straight into a week of work was a bad idea. By the time Friday came, I was mentally and physically drained. But it was an amazing holiday with the best possible person beside me and I'd advice everyone to travel to that region of the world.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Our day in Cambodia

So finally I get to one of the more crazy parts of our trip... Our day in Cambodia :)

Everything started off pretty well. We were taking a $4 each bus ride (you couldn't actually get a more expensive, more comfortable trip short of flying there) from HCMC to Phnom Penh. We headed over to the tour office with lots of time to spare, inquired if we could use Vietnamese Dong to pay for the Visa, and then went and got out enough to cover the Visas. Jokingly, I told Mel to go and grab a tin of Pringles... Just in case we didn't get any other food today...

After a couple of hours on the bus we got to the border. Very dusty, very isolated, not particularly interesting as border crossings go (although they are building a ton of stuff around there). Just as we got off our bus our tour guide asked us if we had US Dollars or Cambodian Riel. Of course we looked at him as if he had three heads. Just 2 hours ago, they said that Dong was fine... He then informed us that we had to change the Dong to Riel... It was at this point, for the first time today, that my heart dropped. I realised that we took out enough money for one Visa, not two! Ahh well, we'll just go to an ATM... Ehh, no ATM's here mate. Credit Card?!? Similar response.... Hmmmm. First things first, we changed what we did have into Riel (which our guide said was enough for the Visa) and headed for the boarder.

Early in the day we met a few Irish people who were also travelling to Phnom Penh and who we also met in Nha Thrang... With this vital knowledge, we hurried along to the Vietnamese exit point, caught up with them and got a lend of $20 to cover one of the visas. Happy days, I though... By the time we got to paying for our Visa, the guy at the counter said we were about €6 short on Riel! Feckers! The damned, guide (T & M Brothers – I found this interesting site about them there now when I did a google - moral of the story, they are cheap but DON'T use them!) together with the “foreign exchange agent” ripped us off (an old woman with a fist full of cash). Feckers!!! Luckly we caught the Irish guys just before they left the border region. We were last through and very nearly got stuck in no mans land :) Anyway, after all this excitement, we were going to met the Irish guys (yeah, I realise I'm Irish, but that's what myself and Mel called them, so I'll continue to call them Irish Guys) once we got to Phnom Penh and get the money for them from an ATM.

Crossing the Mekong

... several hours later while reading the Lonely Planet Cambodia book, we realised that there is no ATM in Cambodia, there was no banks open (today was Saturday night) and basically, apart from some Yen I had – we had no money. When we got there we found a Western Union (that was closing in about 5 minutes)... we thought that our prayers were answered, but of course there was something wrong. The area on the back of my credit card had wiped off a bit and the VOID sign was visable. (It wiped off because of rubbing against other cards in my money belt). About 5 minutes of Irish charm, and we where leaving with $100 in our pockets :) It took my licence, passport, bank card and lots of friendliness, but in the end we got some money. Now our plan was to have some food (we only had Pringles all day), have a few drinks, and go out. A solid plan I thought...

We had a meal in a really nice restaurant where you sat outside and a band played for you – the portions were a bit small (especially after the day we had), but we consoled ourselves with lots of dessert. Next, we went off to a supermarket that had a 70cl bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka for $4.50 :) (Stoli was our drink of choice when we were in Vietnam in addition to a cocktail that Mel fell in love with... It was called “I love you” (It's something like this). We went back to our hotel, chatted to the people at the reception about good places to go out and had a few drinks while we got ready... We decided to go to the hip night club that was recommended by our hotel. Big place, good music and almost exclusivly locals. At about 10:30 we left our hotel, each of us on the back of a moped on the way to the niteclub... Normally this is the point where I start talking about the club, how crazy it was – mad music etc... Errrr, not this time... Both myself and Mel's last memories were sitting on the back of a moped driving through Phnom Penh at night... Our next memory was both of us sitting on the back of a moped, driving home from the club... 4 HOURS later! Neither of us remember what happened. (Although I reasonably sure nothing bad had happened to us – both of us where perfectly dressed (I was wearing white and cream linen which is hard to keep clean in the best of places), my money belt was full of money as well as everything else that should be there and we felt no other ill effects.... abduction by aliens is getting higher on my list of things that could have happened to us!).

So, fresh from our moped ride home (the guy dropped us right outside our hotel) I was going through the cash in my money belt to pay him ($2) and he lunged, grabbed my money and sped off into the night! OMG! I just couldn't believe what had just happened. It wasn't a huge amount of money, about $100 minus what we spent that evening- but OMG. I had not been robbed face to face before (I was burgled about 2 years ago when €2,300 of my stuff was nicked from my room in Dublin). There was a couple of people around who saw what happened and came over to help us – one of the locals said that he would take us to the police station and help us out... So we got onto the back of his moped and headed, again, into the night. It was actually quite fun. 3 people on the moped driving around Phnom Penh. We eventually got to one, but about 2-3 minutes of being in there, the guy decided that it wasn't good enough and told us to go to another police station. We hopped on and drove another bit. Eventually we got to "a better" police station and walked in to find 4 guys either lying on the floor or in a hammock, all in their underwear and looking more then a bit pissed off.

Unphased, we started to say what happened to us and they started writing a report. After about 20 minutes the guy asked me if I would recognise our assailant. I said I would and the guy helping us said that he would too, they talked a bit and it became apparent that this person was seen hanging around the nite club we went to. (Some proof that we went to the club :)). So the police man turned to me and said, “come with me”. He then walked to the back of the room, picked up one of the 8 AK47s (at least I think that's what it was – otherwise, something very similar), threw it over his shoulder and walked out the front door. I walked out, only to find him starting his bike... For the next one and a half hours we drove around Phnom Penh trying to find the robber. It was crazy!!! At least I got to see a lot of the city!

Luckily, we didn't find the guy... (I didn't want to know what was going to happen) and we sat for about another hour writing a report. They wanted our passport information so we had to go back to the hotel to get it... It was 5am, so when we got to our room – Mel said that she was too tired (both of us where annihilated at this point) and I went back with them. Another hour later, they dropped me home.

We both woke at around 12 the next day and headed down to get the police report – we picked it up and had to sign it with our thumb print! It was gas!!! The report is great and we will no doubt frame it at some point. The only thing that I can recognise in it is our names and our passport numbers! After we got the report, we had breakfast and we looked at a sign above the reception...

Bangkok $115

Hmmmmmm, we asked when the next flight was, and they said in two and a half hours, we booked it there and then with the idea that we would be in Samui the next day. From here on out, things went smoothly :)

Leaving Cambodia so quickly needs a little explanation... Everyone there, apart from the guy who robbed us, was amazing! The people were really friendly and it hasn't been hit as bad with mass tourism as Vietnam or Thailand. I want to, and no doubt will, return there in the next couple of years to explore. The people were really friendly and I actually met people who didn't want to sell me something. (One of my gripes about Vietnam is that everyone we talked to inevitably wanted to sell us something... Everyone!)

Another thing that I wanted to do was recover from our travelling and spend a relaxing week on a beach with my sweet heart. We weren't really going to get to do that in Cambodia as we would have travelled north to Siem Reap... so flying to Bangkok wasn't as mad an idea as it sounds...

The flight from Cambodia was grand. We flew with Bangkok Airways which are amazing...

Myself and Mel in Phnom Penh airport

The last week of our trip was a little less crazy, but I'll get to it on yet another post. (The final one about my trip, I think...)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mui Ne Beach to Ho Chi Min

Mui Ne Beach to Ho Chi Min

(Some of this stuff I've taken from an email Mel wrote :) )

We left Nha Trang and took a day bus to Mui Ne Beach. One word describes Mui Ne beach really well. Quiet! It was quite pretty and we stayed in a really nice hotel for $12 per night. :) Mui Ne is famous for it's kite surfing (and to a lesser extent surfing and wind surfing). We ended up staying two nights here and spent most of our time sitting on the beach watching the kite surfers or driving about on a moped. One of the days we took the moped and went around a fishing village. It was one of the first places in Vietnam that we were in that wasn't completely geared towards tourists. It was great, walking around, taking photos, chatting (or at least trying to) to the locals. The only bad thing was that every now and then there was a horrific smell that we have decided to call “Fish Sauce”. It pretty much smells like an open sewer. (Just like Fish Sauce :))

It was so fuuny. We were sitting at the beach and a lady walks buy carrying two toilets. I don't really know what she was thinking... Maybe there is no toilets close to the beach...

Mel and I at the sand dunes on Mui Ne. Apart from the beach itself, this is the other touristy thing to do. Little kids try to scam you into hiring a piece of plastic to slide down the side of the dunes. I paid about 25c to slide down the dunes. It's not much fun, but the kid did take this photo.

Look how much I trust Mel :) Later in the trip, Mel drove the scooter a lot with me on the back. We got SO many stares from the locals. They have possibly never seen a girl drive a guy on a scooter before!

A photo from the fishing village. These tiny fish being dried out is probably the case of the Fish Sauce smell....

Next we traveled to Ho Chi Min City. My first impression of HCMC is that it's a lot more cosmopolitan then anywhere else (except Bangkok) that we had traveled. Tall buildings, nice hotels, Starbucks... okay, not quite (that was Bangkok). The most interesting thing to do in HCMC is to take a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. These are the tunnels that the VC used in the war against the Americans – basically, in quite a small area there is about 250km of tunnels under the ground including bunkers). So you have the chance to climb into these tunnels through tiny holes in the ground which are totally invisible and walk in a crouched position, and sometimes on all fours (they were definitely not built for us), for about 10 min through hot, humid and dark small holes about 3-10 meters underground. The funniest thing was when a few bats woke up and flew over our heads causing a few girls to break out in hysteria in the middle of a dark tiny tunnel... but a very interesting experience! We even got to shoot an AK47 afterwards. After this we went to the War Remnants Museum (formally called “Some Pictures of the US Imperialists Aggressive War Crimes on Vietnam”) and were shocked for about one and a half hours (the length of time it took us to walk around the museum).

Mel climbs through a hole in the ground into the tunnels.

The next day we set out for Phnom Penh but I'll leave this story to another day. Basically, the next 24 hours was the craziest time of the trip and almost certainly any trip that I've been on!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sapa to Halong to Hoi An to Nha Trang

So, the last place that I mentioned in my blog was Sapa. Being there was simply amazing. Just imagine huge mountains with terraced rice paddies and small wooden huts. From there we took an over night train back to Hanoi. The different classes on these trains need to be described.

First there is “Nice Class” (the one we stayed on the way back from Sapa and from Hanoi to Hoi An) It's basically a 'soft' sleeper bed. 4 beds per cabin. Actually quite nice.

Next there is “Chicken Class” (we were cheated onto this one on the way to Sapa – we payed for a Nice Class but they snuck us onto this... but that's another story) This is basically a 'hard' sleeper. 6 beds per cabin, small amounts of comfort.

Next is “Worm Class” - seats with a cushion.

Finally there is “Ant Class” - I wont even go into this one.
The prices obviously differ dramatically - our ticket in Nice Class from Hanoi to Hoi An (it wasn't an inflated tourist price) was $33 each! You could squirm in Ant Class for about a handful of rice and 3 chicken feet!

The train service itself is actually OK except that it is horrifically slow. Something that could be done in Europe in 2 hours takes 3 days and 7 different types of medication. Some of their railways stations are a sight to behold! The one in Hanoi is great. I'll quote Mel on this... “a train station that somehow strongly reminded me of a WW2 train station for people fleeing the towns, chaos over chaos” (later we found the tourist entrance :))

Next, we made one of our few mistakes on our trip. We went for the cheaper option on a 2 day, 1 night trip to Halong Bay. This is supposed to be one of the wonders of the world and is a world heritage site. It's basically a bay with hundreds of tiny limestone (I think) islands. I'm sure it would have been great except that it poured down for almost the whole trip, and we felt like sheep, no that sounds to comfortable, chickens being led to a slaughter house. In addition, we stayed in the worst 'hotel' that I have ever stayed in. The room had not been cleaned since the late seventies, the door was broken (you could see into our room!), and there wasn't even a window. I've stayed in crappy hostels before and places worse, but this place had the called itself a hotel! Oh yeah, all the food on the trip was crap too... I'm going to stop now... (I'm sure our whole experience would have been different if it stopped raining long enough for us to see enjoy the sights) This part of the trip only lasted 2 days and is possibly the only low point.

Halong Bay (It wasn't raining for about 10 minutes at this point)

Our next stop on our trip was a place that both Mel and I fell in love with. It's a small old twon called Hoi An about half way down the coast of Vietnam which is very famous for both clothes and shoes. (Anyone who knows me, now knows why I fell for this place. Mel did too, but she's a girl :)) As usual I decided to go low key and only got two suits, 4 shirts, 5 ties, 2 shoes... (ehhh, I think I'll stop now – I knew about this place before had so I traveled very light up until this point, about 10KG.) Mel of course couldn't help herself with a similar wardrobe purchased. Everything was tailored for you and some of the stuff I've already worn a lot and the quality seems grand. One of the mornings we got up early (I think the earliest ever for me at about 4:40am) for what they called a sun rise tour to My Son. My Son is basically the Cham cultures/dynasty religious head quarter. The place was amazing, however it was the one of the first major eye openers for the damage the American War did to Vietnam. There was 5 meter deep craters from B52 bombs next (and thus almost completely destroying) buildings that had stood for a thousand years. It was very sad from architectural point of view. Basically, most of the place was carpet bombed, poisoned, burned.... Still, the trip was amazing and defiantly worth getting up at that early hour for. There was something quite surreal about us walking around there with our guide and being the only people there.

Mel hard at work in Hoi An

Me outside one of the Cham buildings in My Son

Our next stop on our merry trip was Nha Trang. Do you know when you are on a roller coaster and you are heading straight for a huge rock (or something sturdy looking) and just at the last moment you pull up and it wizziz inches past you. This is our overnight trip from Hoi An to Nha Trang. These people are absolutely crazy (I haven't been to India yet but I hear they aren't that great either). Last year in Thailand, I thought that they were crazy. My feelings about the Thai are quite different now. In Thailand they only over take around a blind corner if they DON'T see someone coming. In Vietnam, you could be passing a truck on to the right around a corner and see two tour buses drag racing in the opposite direction one of them in your lane, the other on the truck that your passings lane on a two lane (one in each direction) road. Oh, and of course there is the family of 5 on a mopped nipping in between all of us. I didn't worry too much though... we had the obligatory flashing Budda at the front of our bus... That will save us :) (The Budda and the Buses horn are the only two safety features as far as I can see)

I have mixed feelings about Nha Trang – it is VERY touristy and the beach and surrounding islands don't match up to Thailand. There is massive development along the beach front and I'd say that in about 3 years it will look like Vegas. On the other hand, the night life was a lot of fun. As usual, myself and Mel found ourselves in an interesting situation. A club with about 1,000 people, thumping 80's dance music and two white people. It was great though, I think it was a local only type place and they were all great craic! It's a long time since I did the dancing train thing around a disco! Other nights we went out with Irish and Dutch people that we met on an excellent boat trip. If you are there, do the 4 island tour...

The view from our hotel in Nha Trang

Getting ready for a night on the town :)

Hmmm – this post is getting closer to an essay then a post, so I think I will stop here – spread in a few photos and call it a night :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Back from Vacation :(

So I'm back at work in the US again after my holidays. :( It's really tough to be back to the 'real' world and not traveling. It's also hard to collect all your thoughts after such an amazing holiday. So hard, I'm not even going to go into the stories yet ;) I'm attempting to use this blog to try and document the trip in some way for myself and Mel, in addition to photos and her journal. Someone else may also find some interesting things in it if they where planning a similar trip)

Over the next few days I'm probably going to add little sections about all the places we where. So far I posted up until Sapa. From there we went to Halong Bay, Hoi An, My Son, Mui Ni Beach, Ho Chi Min City, Cu Chi, Phnom Penh and then Samui. All of the places where amazing and a few stage 5 nights were had. (I rate nights out in crazyness from 1 to 5) Some I will talk about – others will remain secret :)

When we were in Sapa (North West Vietnam, along the Chinese/Laos border) we went trekking for 3 days. Mi (standing next to Mel) was our guide. She actually belongs to one of the Minority Hill Tribes (Red Dzao). She isn't wearing the traditional dress like everyone else in the region because "It's too warm".
There was weird sand dunes beside Mui Ni Beach. This is my current desktop background :)
This was the view from the sea of Mel in front of one of the beach huts that we were staying in on Samui. It cost 250 Baht a night (about 5e) and was simply amazing!

This is the view out from the hut. Unfortunately, I am in the way...

This is what I meant when I said "Over Kill!"

I think this will just about hold my bike...

My new wheels :)

While any of us Edgespace folk are in California we always rent a car for the duration of the trip. This last while we have been dealing with a company called Enterprise for two reasons.

1. We get good deals with them because of the place we stay.
2. They actually acknowledge that people under 25 may want to hire a car (Unlike almost every other car company who spit on people that are less then 47 million years old).

So I went around to the dealer close to our clients office looking for the standard car - the guy met me at the door, was hugely friendly and when I requested that the car should be able to transport my mountain bike, he smiled at me and pointed me to this truck!!! Talk about overkill! I think I could transport a small army in this thing! Still though, he gave it to me for no extra charge (beyond what a crappy normal car would cost) and I'm not planning on driving much over the next two weeks so I don't feel to bad about using up huge amounts of fuel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Bangkok - Hanoi - Sapa...

I'm now about 10 days into my vacation and it's going great. I think I am going to do a proper post about the whole trip when I am get back because I've picked up a few tips that would be helpful to anyone who travels out to this neck of the woods.

So, what I've done so far...

Originally I'd planed to go to Tokyo for 2 days before I met Mel in Bangkok, pretty much at the last moment I changed this and I'll now be going to Tokyo at the end of my trip. (I guess I missed Mel too much :))

So, I arrived in Bangkok and spent 3 nights there with Mel wondering around the streets and doing various touristy things. One of my favorite things was taking the water taxi along the canals. It costs 8 Baht (0.16euro) and was a very cheap thrill. These guys are just like the crazy moped/tuc-tuc/taxi/van drivers in Thailand except that they are on water. The funniest thing is that the bridges are actually lower then the boat, so the whole roof collapses around you as you near a bridge. Tons of fun :)

We then flew with Thai Airways (very nice airline - I'd use them again) to Hanoi in Vietnam. All I can say is that place is crazy. Just think of the crowd coming out at the end of a foot ball game out a tight alley, put everyone of them onto a scooter, then tell each of them that if you don't beep your horn every second you will kill them... Welcome to Hanoi. There was a lot of interesting things there and it is much more of a culture shock then Bangkok. Basically, Dublin is to Bangkok as Bangkok is to Hanoi... We stayed in a hotel called Sunshine (which was in Lonely Planet). They are a really nice group of people and I'd recommend the place to anyone staying there. We also booked most of our trips (that I'm about to talk about) with them and throughout they were great.

So, next we did a 3 day, 4 night trip to Sapa. Sapa is in the mountainous north west of Vietnam and is right beside China and Laos. There are a lot of minority Hill tribes there and the scenery is great. The 3 days there where spent trekking through the hills and, one of the nights, staying in a Tribes (Red Dzao) village. One of the highlights was playing a local card game with some of the people from the village (and a police man for some reason...) I was doing quite well until they took out a bottle of rice white (a.k.a. petrol in a bottle) and announced the the loser of each game (lasting about 4-5 minutes) has to do a shot... I slept well that night.

Currently I''m a few locations on from Sapa (Hoi-An) but I have to leave this cafe now - so I'll update this sometime over the next few days...

Friday, July 15, 2005

This last while...

This last while has been reasonably interesting. The last three weeks have been spent talking to clients in California. The work itself is interesting and I'm learning a lot as I go along. It has been easy to slip back into the flow of things over here. Week days are basically, work, eat, work, eat, do something fun, go to bed, repeat. It can get a bit repetitive but the weekends have been great fun.

Each of the days over the weekend I've been biking around the bay. It reminds me a lot of two years ago except this time I can handle my bike a lot better. The hills around Ireland are so much more technical then over here. They have trained me well :) The main points about biking in California are:

  • The trials seem like a paved road in comparison to Ireland. (My hard tail Stumpjumper handles it really well)

  • When it is hot, the up hills can be grueling!

  • Downhill == roller coaster (except a much better rush)

For the 4th of July, we all headed to down Santa Cruz to which 10,000 crazy people let off fireworks on the beach. As far as I know, rockets are illegal in California – but tell that to anyone down there! It seemed pretty dangerous at the start as fireworks were landing in the crowd close to the ocean. We stayed back a bit from the ocean and it felt a lot safer. (Or maybe it was because it was darker and we couldn't see the rockets landing in the crowd) Anyway, we sat round a fire, chatted and toasted marshmallows. It was cool.

Last weekend myself and Fergal went to Great America (Ok theme park) The best thing was the Xtreme Skyflyer. You are basically winched up 153 feet. When you pull a rip cord, you free fall and eventually (6 feet before the ground!) pull up into a swinging motion. It was a lot of fun. Hitting 60 miles per hour going head first towards the ground is something I havn't tried before. I think the next thing for me will be either a bungee jump or a parachute jump. (Mel has been trying to get me to do one for ages – I want to, I just haven't had a chance yet :( )

Today was also notable in that it was my last day of work for a while. Tomorrow morning I'm flying out to Bangkok and then on to Hanoi. I have been looking forward to a break for so long.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

This last weeks has been so busy. Basically filled up with working, cycling and eating. Really, that's about it!

Last Saturday I went back to one of my old haunts on the bike. Basically it's about a 18 mile loop with about 3400 feet of climbing. You start off down by the Stevens Creek reservoir then cycle along side the San Adreas Fault line to the top of Black Mountain. The city of Mountain View (were Google lives) was named so because it had a good mountain view. It was a lot of fun and my bike skills have come a long way since two years ago. After biking around some of the trails in Ireland these trails seem to be paved in comparison.

On Sunday, myself and Kieran headed out to do the Coastal Classic bike ride. You basically start in Palo Alto, go over the mountains down to the Pacific and then back over the mountains at a different place and back to Palo Alto. It was the longest (distance wise) bike ride that I went on a road bike and was a lot of fun. The road rides that were around 30 miles seem to small and pesky now :)

Mel is still doing great – she's currently up by Brisbane and going kayaking, 4x4ing and camping over the next few days. It's well for some! ;)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Back in California

So the flight over to the US was grand. Same as ever I guess. It was funny, the girl sitting next to me on the flight from London to San Francisco lives (or at least, was brought up) about 10 miles away from my home in Monaghan.

The place we are staying in is actually really nice. There is a distinct feeling of community about the place and I think I'll enjoy staying here over the next while. (It really reminds me of going to basketball camps when I was younger) There is pool, basketball courts tennis courts, and best of all, a hot tub. It was quite surreal last night, me and my colleagues sitting in the hot tun (it fits about 25 people) just chatting watching a lovely evening go by. It is really nice to catch up with the guys as it's about 5 weeks since I had seen some of them. I'm so lucky with the group of work mates that I have! We get on so well.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to go off and bike along some of the trials that I covered two years ago when I lived here. I can't wait to get up to the top of Black Mountain and see the view over the valley. Oh, and on Sunday my brother was talking about doing the Coastal Classic with me. Basically, you start in Palo Alto, go over the mountains down to the Pacific, turn and go back again. I don't know if I'd be able to hack to long runs back to back yet... I'll see how I feel tomorrow...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Grudge

I just finished watching The Grudge (no spoilers) and OMG – it scared the hell out of me! It was brilliant. Few movies ever scare me and the only notable ones over the last few years are Blair Witch, The Ring and now this one. (Two Japanese ones...). I remember hearing the reviews for The Grudge (wasn't that good 5.8 on IMDB!) so I gave the film a miss in the cinema – then tonight I just happened to have the DVD sitting around so I watched it.

The suspense was great but I think my surroundings helped the movie along. Pitch black room, surround sound, by yourself and on a huge screen. I recomend everyone seeing this with a few conditions.

  1. You are either by yourself or with someone who wont talk through the movie and willing to only concentrate on the movie

  2. It's late at night

  3. You are in a dark room

It was great – I could feel good adrenalin rushes :)

Oh, and I realise that anyone who has already seen it is probably saying “It was crap...” that always happens with this kind of movie. I guess tonight I was in the right mood for it and my surroundings were perfect.

In other news, I've finished packing for flying out in a few hours. Wasn't difficult, N t-shirts + M shorts + bike stuff and that's about it.

I was talking to Annie about Electric Picnic which is on on September 3rd and 4th in Laois... I'm probably going so if anyone else is interested, let me know... (Have a look at the line up, there is something for everyone – not just dance heads)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Nothing to report

Another week, another few movies, a few more bike rides and a week closer to holidays :)

Nothing much happened this week.

Our company, Edgespace took on our first employee. He will be our summer intern working with us until the end of September. It was good to have another person around the office while everyday else is away. This last week and next week will be spent training him in and introducing him to our work environment. Nothing he can't handle :)

Mel is doing really well in New Zealand. When she arrived in Auckland, she spent a day in the city and then started a (I think) two week journey around the North Island. Her stories are just amazing and I'm really jealous that I'm not there with her. Today she went on a mad 5 hour bike ride through the mountains without taking any food with her! Crazy girl!!! :) She will be in NZ for another 10 days, then onto Australia for about two weeks, when I'll be meeting her in Bangkok for the leg of her holiday that we will be together. I really can't wait to go on a proper holiday. The last proper (as in not Christmas and more then a few days) was last June. I notice that I can't concentrate as well at the moment and my productivity at work has gone down. Hopefully the change of scenery next week will make the last weeks before my vacation a little easier.

I met a nice group of people last night when I was biking. I went up Three Rock for my usual post work bike ride and when I was on the way down I met EPIC mountain bike club people out on their Thursday bike ride. My legs still felt fresh so I tagged on with those guys. I picked up a few new single track trails from them that I hadn't been on before and the banter was pretty good. The ride was cut a bit short when one of the guys rear wheels decided it had had enough – it was unfortunate but at least he was going up hill and not down hill when it happened. For me, there are tons of good things about going on group rides and one bad thing. The good thing is that there is safety in numbers and that I can be a little more aggressive on the downhill since there is people to watch my back. The banter is always pretty good too! The only bad thing is that there tends to be a lot of regroups on the uphills (I need the regroups on the downhills) When I'm climbing I tend to enjoy getting into it and not stopping until the climb is finished....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Internet is going down for cleaning

Yeeah! ryansherlock.com is working again (not that there is anything there). The people at blackknight were really friendly (unlike their website) and helpful and fixed the problem quickly. I also renewed gobuckmad (my old going out photos web page) for the next few years...

Interlink Express on the other hand.... :(

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Damned domain registration...

My damned domain (ryansherlock.com) expired yesterday and I didn't notice. (Well, Mel told me that she went to a strange page when she went to my web page yesterday but I didn't realise...) There is a long cool off period (which I know all to well when I was waiting for edgespace.com) so I'll be able to renew the domain easily on Monday. It scared the hell out me me though because lots of people send me emails through that address...

I think I'll just renew it for 3 or 4 years this time...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Requiem for a Dream

Mel left for her travels yesterday. She left Ireland at 4pm and will arrive in Auckland 36 hours later. A pretty long trip! Since the house is empty apart from me, and Reetta in the other place, I've gotten a ton of films out from Xtra-vision, one of the films was Requiem for a Dream. All I have to say is, OMG. A horrifically shocking movie. I remember Trainspotting been called a romanticism of drug use/addiction (Which I think is crap. Personally I don't want to crawl through a toilet looking for a fix.) I don't think anyone could say that Requiem, in any way, romanticises anything. It's shocking enough that I watched a light comedy after it before I went to bed. All said and done, it's a great movie and worth the 8.4 it has on IMDB. The night before Mel left we watched 28 Days Later. It was pretty good, Mel being the scientist, had to poke all the holes in the plot – but hey – it was fun. The next three on my list are Platoon (because I'm going to Vietnam in a few weeks :)), The Insider (because it was one of my old house mates favourite movies) and The Secretary.

Summer weather

Finally, some summer has arrived in Ireland. Yesterday and today we have seen beautiful blue skies. This is the view from my house this morning :)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Broken bed...

Not again...

For the second time in a month my feckin bed broke. The hooks that hook into the head board just snapped! I was so annoyed when I had to sleep on the floor. (Trying to fix a bed at 1am is something that I don't do!) I now have to figure out how to take it apart and rebuild it. (Alan did this for me the last time it broke but he is now in California) I love my apartment, the location, the view, the space but some times these things really piss me off. They did so well building all the stuff and then skimp on finishing the job off.

The meal went well last night. Although we did arrive at the house to start cooking at the same time as our first guests so the cooking was a bit stressful. I now know that myself and Mel can work well under pressure. Lots of wine was consumed and I think a good time was had by all.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The long weekend :)

This last week has been a bit of a rush from place to place. Mel finished her exams last Thursday and since then we have been running around organising stuff before she leaves on Friday for 3 months of travelling.

Over the weekend we went down to Monaghan and then on to my sisters. It was nice and all of my family (that was in Ireland at the time) was there. My sister Nicola and her husband Shane put on a big BBQ at the riverside deck at their new house. It was really nice and much less of a building site (although they are still building) then the last time I was there.

I found out today that I'm cooking for 10-12 people tomorrow night! I've cooked for more then that before but it was usually mostly family, this time Mel's friends (and some of mine) and lots of people that I probably have to impress with my culinary talent. (Lets home I don't burn everything!) I'll probably play the menu very safe. Chips, dips etc... Some sort of curry from scratch and then probably strawberry cheesecake. (There is a special on strawberries on in Tesco :))

Today, after work, myself and Mel went out to Bray Head. We climbed up to the top and grabbed a few pics. (Blogged earlier) It was a beautiful evening after been grey all day and I even scouted some new mountain biking trails. Some of them looked a little steep to take a bike up (or down!).

The view out over Bray from Bray Head today. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My nieces and nephews...

Four of my five (Ellen is also expecting) nieces/nephews. This photo was taken at Nicola's BBQ at the weekend. Left to right it is Alex, Jack, Cara and Chloe. The girls are wearing their Monaghan Gaelic jerseys, fortunately Monaghan lost to Derry earlier in the day...

Projects page

I should really get around to making a projects page somewhere... I think I have a few useful (and a few less useful but fun projects that I should put on the web) I wrote a script the other evening that I found so handy for backing up music onto DVDs, basically, you tell it when you last backed up and it grabs all the new music since then and puts it into and iso ready for burning. When you have a large collection, backing up efficiently becomes annoying, even with DVDs backing all that up.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


The house has been quite with most of the guys gone so I've been using this time to catch up on a few movies. Sunday was the twice yearly showing of Donnie Darko. I think this is the 6th or 7th time that I saw this movie, I think it's amazing – quite different from the usual crud. Mel thought it was good too but I don't think she loves it to the same extent as me.

On Monday after work, myself and Mel went for a walk and some how ended up in Extra Vision. I quickly found the thing that we keep me busy over the next few weeks. They have a 5 dvd for 9 euro for 7 nights deal on at the moment on non new releases. Their definition of “not new release” is actually quite decent although their selection is pretty crap. So, last night kicked off with “back to the old school” nerdy movie Sneakers. It was actually really enjoyable! I think that one thing that has helped the movie age (it was made in 1992) reasonably gracefully (in a genre that looks old after a year) was that it didn't take itself to seriously.

Tonight I watched Thirteen. Basically about a 13 year old girl that gets into drinking, drugs, sex, self mutilation (I'm referring to cutting herself and not piercings... :)) and petty crime. All I have to say is that, in comparison, I was a saint at 13! The cinematography was excellent and the acting was great. Get this one out!

For the next few nights I've got, The Crow, Eyes Wide Shut (Mel hasn't seen it ;)) and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I'm looking forward to The Crow as I can't really remember anything about it.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

This last week...

So a few things happened in this last week. I'll go through them one by one.

We decided to get a proper coffee machine for the office. I like my coffee, although not more then two a day, (each one of the coffees I make is usually a triple espresso or something). I looked a round a good bit before about this and had decided on a Gaggia (They have such a crap website!). When I went across to House of Frasier, I found the Gaggia Classic (1 model higher then I was going to get one sale). I bought it and it's been working well since.

All the guys have started to move to California for a couple of weeks of consultancy work. Conor left this morning and Fergal will be leaving next weekend. I'm travelling out towards the end of June. I'm really looking forward to the weather and biking most evenings. Also, the place we are staying has a big pool , tennis and basketball courts and a gym. MUCH better then the dark bland place I was staying at last November!

Myself and Mel went out for our first 'proper' mountain bike ride yesterday. We cycled up to the top of Three Rock then down some fire roads. It was good to be biking along with her and she actually made it to the top of the mountain without stopping! (It's about 6-7 miles and about 1600 feet of climb. But there are a few reasonably steep sections) She took my bike and I rode Fergal's.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Damned Free Hub

So as you may have gathered I enjoy mountain biking. Just before I went to California in March the rear free hub on my bicycle seized. (The free hub is the bit that allows it to spin freely when the wheel is been rotated one way and not free wheel when you are pedalling...). I went to the States and brought home a real nice set of wheels. I took them home – they worked really well for about 250 miles and then, when I was almost at the top of Two Rock, clunck... My free hub just chunked so that when you pedeled, nothing happened :( Luckly I was at the top of the mountain close to civilization so I just free wheeled to the bottom where a guy I met gave me a lift back to Dundrum.

It was funny, I was thinking before I went biking that it was about 2 months since I spent money on my bike...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Summer Hols...


I have finally booked all my trips for this summer :) As part of work I am going to be spending, in total, about 5 weeks in California. In the middle of that time I'm going to be flying to Thailand to meet up with Mel who is on much longer holiday. (Damn students with their 3/4 months of holidays! She is turning Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia) So for about 4 weeks I'll get to wonder around Thailand, Vietnam and hopefully some of Cambodia.

Because I will be leaving from the US I used a Californian based travel agent (STA). They were actually really helpful and got me a better deal then I could find on the web (or even on their website). He even got me a free two night stay in Tokyo on the way :)

Now back to work :(

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Blue Skies!!!

Look! It's NICE weather in Ireland!!! This is from a couple of days ago. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Wicklow Way

After last nights ball, I actually woke up this morning in great form. For the last week, my plan for today was to go on a long bike ride. Sometimes in Ireland (this isn't too often) everything seems perfect, the weather, the people, the atmosphere... This was one of those days! (My theory about Ireland is that if it was about 15 degrees closer to the equator it could possibly be the best place in the world to live... Unfortunately, it's not, which means my time remaining in Ireland is short).

The track I took for my trip was up Three Rock, then Two Rock and from there, follow the Wicklow way for about 15 to 20 miles. It was a lot of fun and some of the views were amazing. However, I did have a 15 minute stint when I did not have a clue where I was. I looked around and all I could see was but bog and mountains. Eventually I found a paved road. So I just hoped onto it for a fast descent back to the city.

In the end I was cycling for about 3 and a half hours. It was a gorgeous day and hopefully getting me in decent shape for cycling in California this Summer.

Trinity Ball

It was that time of the year again... When Dublin's city center gets overthrown with 6000 students in formal wear. It's really (or supposed to be :)) the last big night out before the serious study for the end of year exams. Luckily for me, I don't have to worry about such things this year :) Mel was staying inside college before the ball so it was just me going out to my brothers for the pre-Ball bash. He lives around Christchuch in my other brothers apartment which is also where I lived last year.

It started well out on the balcony – but as soon as we sat down, a cold wind blew up and eventually forced us to retreat inside. There was about 20 people there so there was lots of craic... Mark even did his usual beer bong trick followed by a speech ;)

The Ball itself was pretty good. After the Ball each year, people ask me... What did you think of the music? Who did you see? Every year my answer is simple – good – don't know. All of my time seems to be spent chatting, mingling, getting up to badness... very little time is actually spent listening to tunes. (Although I did see Ian Brown who was excellent)

On the way out afterwards, I wondered was this my last Ball... As my girlfriend was going to the ball, it was obvious that I would go along (I also knew a lot of other people going) but I wonder about next year... It was my fourth Ball, maybe I should call it quits now...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Weekend in Monaghan

So this weekend was a simple trip home to Monaghan. After the ear incident on Friday (less pain now, can't hear, spent 100e on doctors :( ) I didn't know how driving home was going to turn out but I was picking up my 'African' brother Paul and his wife Ellen from the airport so I knew I had a trusty co-pilot. The “Silver Bullet” (my inherited shared car) took us home and only conked out once :)

It was really nice to be home for the weekend. Over the last year or so, I haven't really spent too much time there which is really my own fault. Most of the reason is that there is nothing much there for me anymore. My old friends and I have drifted apart over time. Rather then us simply drifting apart I think most of it is due to us not having that much in common. Then you are young you are thrown into a situation where you have to make friends with the people around you, but as you grow older, and I noticed this mostly when I was in college, you actually choose your friends. I remember that chunks of my friends clumped together when they went to college – I meet some of them at Christmas and I remember them giving out about each other like back in secondary school. Stuff like that doesn't change...

It was cool to walk around the town today and remember how much it has changed over the last 10-15 years. Back then it was a dreary boarder town that had been affected by the troubles in the north. I remember it being very grey. There is so much more in Monaghan now. The night life in the town is pretty good. There are bars that are nicer then any you would see in Dublin or London.... (and it's still 3.50e a pint :) )

It was also good to get out of the city for the weekend – although, if I actually stayed up there I probably would have spent most of the time up the mountains :)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Ahhhhhhh, my ear :(

It's almost 4:30am and I'm sitting in agony with a feckin sore ear :( I think it all started from my last flight last Wednesday when I was trying to relieve the pressure in my ear when we were coming into land in London. The story for tonight was great - finish work - go for a run - eat some food - bake brownies - watch the final episode of Alias Season 1 (and the next two from season 2 :)) - go to bed - sleep... Waking up in agony was NOT part of my plan!

2:40 - Wake up in pain!
2:50 - I take two Veganin Plus tablets (500mg Paracetamol, 8mg Codeine, 30mg Caffeine)
Ahh well...
3:05 - Shouldn't these be working???
3:20 - Ahhhh - there not working - I'll call Mel (I know she is still awake) to see what she says. Some googling performed.
3:40 - Still no effect.
3:50 - Go to Tesco to see if there is anything *stronger*
4:10 - No luck - still in pain
4:30 - Decide that I'm not going to get sleep anytime soon so I start writing to my blog

Through all injuries that I got playing sports over the years and my hernia operation earlier this year, I have gotten used to dealing with certain amounts/types of pain. Limbs, body, it's all OK or at least manageable. But when something is in your ear and giving you a headache it just seams more personal.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Waiting for my Girlfriend to finish work...

I just thought that I should add a photo of Melanie and I. I'm sitting messing around with web stuff and she is finishing off some printing getting ready for her finals. (She is a genetics student in Trinity College) I am SO glad that I am not going through that crap this year! This picture was from the weekend after my birthday when we went to Brussels. (I think Brussels, and Belgium in general, is underrated!) Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I want to be outside

Sitting at work - pouring rain outside... but I still want to go biking. Hmmmm - it seams that I have really caught the mountain biking bug again.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Carl Cox

So I went to see Carl Cox last night. One of the few remaining DJs that I really want to see but never got round to it. Overall it was a very good night! Myself and my brother Mark went and it was probably the first time that just both of us went to a rave since The Met in Armagh or maybe it was Mauro Picotto in the Temple Theater back about 3 years ago. (Why do all the good clubs have to close down? Well, in the Temple Theater's case - the crappy club that had good DJs)

Two weeks ago I went to see Laurent Garnier in The End in London with my mate Annie. He was pretty good playing a 9 hour set versus Carl Cox's pesky 2 and a half hours, but I still haven't mellowed into a trancy person. The pumping tunes still have my vote... it's much easier to get hyped up my heavy baselines.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Another Californian Trip :)

So myself and Fergal just got back from one of our business trips to California. It's always really nice going over there for a while (this trip was only a tiny 7 dayer though). The weather is just amazing. I was there a while ago and the weather report for the week was basically:

Monday - Sunny 80F
Tuesday - Nice 80F
Wednesday - Pleasant 85F
Thursday - Sunny 85F
Friday - Sunny 80F ... you get the picture

Landing there is nice and usually there is a couple of nice views along the way
(as I blogged earlier)

The trip was mostly filled with work but at the weekend we did get to go north of San Francisco and eat crappy (a tourist area) and really nice (Thai downtown SF restaurant) food. Oh, which reminds me - we went to see Sin City. Go see it - it's excellent! The fix between conventional movie, film noir, and video game type visuals was amazing. Very Max Payne :)

Sunday was an obligatory shopping trip to Gilroy and Santa Cruz... Lately I was a little scared about not wearing decent glasses when I go biking on overcast days, so I bought these Oakleys. I fell in love with Oakleys about a year and a half ago when I stood on my pair of X Metal glases with my (metal tipped) bike shoes and they never even scratched :) My old Oakleys have Black Iridium lenses so they are more or less useless for 90% of days that I would go biking in Ireland.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A dude that was balancing rocks on top of the other in Sausalito, CA. I actually think that this may have been real except I also thought that the wind should have been blowing them over... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A cool view

The view out my window flying over Canada about 2 hours from San Francisco Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A little Context

Ok, so a tiny bit of information about me (basically what I should put into the profile section)

I finished a computer science degree in Trinity College about a year ago. I work for a software company called Edgespace. I run around lots, try to play lots of sports (mostly mountain biking and running this last while). I enjoy working with computers but also enjoy not having to go near them on holidays. I travel a lot and never want to give it up. A have a wonderful girlfriend called Melanie and I am basically very happy :)

Oh, photos, cv (old) and other random crap that I feel like placing on the web can be found here

I think that's about it...