Bitching Brew

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fin

I've been writing this blog for over four years. The truth is, however, that it's been on life support for quite some time. I haven't written anything interesting here for at least eighteen months. Therefore, I've decided to close it.

This doesn't mean the end of my blogging career. Au contraire. For the last month, I've been experimenting with a few test blogs, using different formats and different hosts. My choice is made: the personal, photo-ridden blog is to drift gently into the night, and my energies will be directed to a more topical one.

It wasn't a difficult decision. I'm no longer the college kid that set up this site as a means to vent and stay in touch. Facebook, for all its faults, largely fills those roles now. I doubt if anyone still uses this to follow my life; if you do, I advise you to look me up on Facebook. (I'm not hard to find... just be sure to introduce yourself!)

From now on, I'll be writing regularly at a fine neologism I concocted: Novellogue. I hope to provide interesting links, a little commentary, regular playlists, and the odd personal story. I'm a grad student in politics now, so expect a heavy concentration on the affairs of state. By the way, the course is going fantastically well. I didn't expect to excel at an academic Masters programme after three years out of college, but my grades and feedback to date have surpassed anything I ever managed as an undergrad. I'm really enjoying my work, and I have a rendezvous with the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform in just over a week. Here's hoping its esteemed members pay attention!

Should you wish to continue reading me, look me up at Novellogue dot Wordpress dot Com. I'd love to have your attention and your comments.

Thanks for reading.

Martin

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Words I'd Strike from the Dictionary

Fear not - I don't plan to turn my moribund blog into a pedant's corner. Instead, I intend to reinvigorate it for the new decade. Before then, however, I'd like to sign off this sour decade with a semi-whimsical fingering of words old and new.

  • Winningest. This ludicrous word reads like a dyslexic Dutchman's rendition of "to drink wine". What was wrong with "most successful"?
  • Burglarize. Teehee. I'm not one to look down on American English, as I think some of its words are markedly superior to their British counterparts. Nevertheless, this simply sounds daft. When I hear "burglarize", I think of a criminal version of Midas whose spindly poke turns Minoan pilgrims into inveterate thieves. Alternatively, perhaps the R***ssion has burglarized a cohort of the newly-unemployed. In either case, alas, "buggered" is a better fit than "burglarized".
  • Pre-Order. Think about it. An adverb is usually better than a prefix.
  • Pre-Select. I'd banish "pre-order", but I'd take a garrote to "pre-select".
  • Utilize. Here's a handy rule of thumb: never use three syllables when one will do. Oh, see that word I used? Oops, I did it again. Don't write like a technician; you're meant to craft your words, not engineer them.
  • Action - when used as a verb. This is exclusively uttered by corporate types who find plebeian forms of speech, such as "do", repugnant.
  • Incentivize. Three options here: motivate me, offer me some incentives, or find yourself in an incendiary situation.
  • Proactive. Why be proactive when you could be active? Why speak to the proconsul if you shot quail with the consul?
  • Enhanced. No object is improved, and certainly no sentence is improved, by the intrusion of this once-useful adjective.
  • Bonk. One of Britain's lesser contributions to language.
  • Deliverable - particularly when used as a noun. 'Tis an obnoxious neo-synonym for "outcome", which itself has been hijacked by MBA factories.
  • Do - when used as a noun. I refuse to go to a do (especially when held in a loo or a zoo). If crashing a party is beneath you, then surely you'd settle for attending a soiree.
  • Grub. It's hardly the most appetising noun, is it?
  • Snog. Another case where American English wins out. Its wee cousin Sprog also ought to be sent into exile.
Any additions to the list?

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Monday, August 31, 2009

La nostalgie - Dublin in spring

Blue sea, green grass, red blood, and yellow sun. If only every day was like (that) Sunday.














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2 Comments:

  • You have some fascinating photography! Of course, the location helps... beautiful!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon May 16, 08:41:00 p.m.  

  • Fresenius ensures the renal scam isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
    Chevron's efforts guarentee petrolium won't be phased out in the future.
    The gods use of this tactic occurred in this Situation as well:::The proprietors' financial interests and the career paths of their offspring ensures the gods are free to enforce their positioning to the end despite destroying my childhood to get here.
    The only way Planet Earth will achieve sustainability is if we "take out the trash" and the gods allow the most disfavored among us to be terminated by eliminating reincarnation for those individuals. The bouy is sinking, social decay is becoming ruinous and unless it begins to rise to the surface the gods will get their way and life will end on Planet Earth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jan 23, 09:16:00 p.m.  

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To Moskva!


T-minus 36 hours...

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Quick and Easy Guide to Pissing Off Your Housemates.

(1) Constantly complain about the house, missing no opportunity to air your desire to find a new home.
(2) Be offended when your housemates don't share your enthusiasm for living further away from the city, nor for paying 60% extra rent for that privilege.
(3) Inform your housemates by e-mail that you've given the landlord your month's notice, although you could have said it in person at our shared dinner the night before.
(4) Make little effort either to secure a new home or to assist in finding a replacement. Go on holiday for two weeks.
(5) Decide while on holiday that you might actually want to stay, but not bother to tell anyone. Meanwhile, your housemates are running ads and giving up several evenings to show the place. After a lengthy process, your housemates offer someone the room. She accepts with pleasure and pays the deposit.
(6) Return late from your holiday, and call the landlord to say you might like to stay. During this call, you suggest to the landlord that if he's willing to provide better beds, it would be perfectly acceptable to increase the rent by €100 per person, per month. The landlord, naturally, thinks this is a fantastic idea. The housemates remain unaware of this entire conversation.
(7) Seven days before you're due to move out, inform your housemates of the above conversation.
(8) React with fury and insults when your housemates tell you that someone else has agreed to move in, that they object to your proposal to the landlord, and that you can't just go around breaking promises. You grudgingly accept, with flecks of contempt, an offer to let you stay for up to a month while you search for a new home. You accuse the housemates of a conspiracy to evict you.
(9) Stomp loudly, blank your housemates, and create a maelstrom of noise any time you're in the kitchen.
(10) On Saturday evening, after agreeing to let your housemates invite friends over, your plans for the night fall through. You come downstairs, reduce the music, turn on the TV, and crank the volume up. You ignore both your housemates and their guests.

Am I wrong to be infuriated by this person, whom I would previously have called a friend?

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beneath the willows.

People don't take enough time out in this city. The hectic pace of work hours seems to continue through the rest of the day and week. I suppose business and busyness are close cousins; thus by escaping from one, I hope to moderate the other. (I'll speak of that soon enough.)

On Charlemont Street Monday evening, my cheek winced at the light tap of a raindrop. I've taken to walking this way recently, as it lets me stroll a short stretch of the Grand Canal (sometimes Gross Gutter), a prettier route than my old haunt of South Richmond Street.

On a bright summer evening, taking the south bank is a pleasure, as the sunlight warms my face and my mood. That time, the increasing patter and stacks of grey cloud signalled a full downpour was imminent. Thus I decided to walk the north bank, hoping to shelter beneath the willow trees that curve across the canal, protecting the old tow path. When the sky cracked a minute later, the rain came down in torrents. People scuttled for cover... yet hardly anyone made use of these beautiful natural umbrellas. Even the few that did got frustrated after little more than five minutes, and decided to brave the rain in order to get moving. I was alone in waiting out the storm for twenty minutes. It didn't feel like lost time; instead, I quite enjoyed watching the strange habits of people in rain. For instance, two lads in their twenties emerged from the flats behind the canal with fishing lines. They explained that the height of a storm is one of the best times to catch fish. I'm still a little sceptical, as they reeled in only junk and weeds.

When the rain cleared and sunlight returned, I naturally moved off. Despite the drips of rain that made their way through my cover, I'm quite pleased I was caught outdoors in the downpour. It was a thoroughly enjoyable wait beneath the willows. More and more, I'm learning to appreciate the trees in my neighbourhood.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

He does have news, though he's only a little less coy than normal.

And the internet is gone again. I seem to have a knack of picking apartments in broadband black spots. This time, the absence may be permanent, after our already-useless ISP decided to downgrade their local transmitter, putting us completely out of reach.

My master-plan is proceeding smoothly. You may know what it is, but if not, it's not difficult to extrapolate. All my applications for September were accepted (a fine ego boost!), so now I have the luxury of choosing the most challenging option. Once that's trained my mind and bloodied my soul, I shall take the rare (and welcome) opportunity to work in the US. So in less than 18 months, I plan to be living and working in the US. That ought to be followed by a proper jaunt across the Pacific, taking in New Zealand, South-East Asia, Central Asia, and finally, the Middle East. Of course, I'm at complete liberty to amend that itinerary. I'm almost as likely to head east and take the Trans-Siberian. After that? Perhaps a Ph.D.; perhaps not. I'm aware of my constraints, but I treat the world as my oyster, and I'd like to sample every last bit before going on to master it.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Budapest


The interior of St. Stephen's Cathedral.


The plaza outside the cathedral.


The upper front exterior of the cathedral.


The Gang of Four fellow explorers from the hostel, representing Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.


My urge to jump was tempered by the knowledge that the barge was en route to Bratislava.


The (dirty) Danube, with Buda on the left and Pest on the right.


Crossing the Chain Bridge.


Peeking across the river at the Parliament building.


Looking across to Pest.


That wall was wonderful to laze on. Let's not mention the vertical drop on the other side.


I like the colour in this picture. It was taken from Buda's Castle Hill.


Sunshine breaks on Fisherman's Bastion.


Budapest, if you haven't noticed already, is frequently beautiful.


The stupendous Parliament building bathed in sunset gold.


Moonrise over Pest.


Two travellers stand above the centre of the Danube. You may recognise the skanky, dishevelled backpacker on the right...

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

My route across Europe

In case you're curious, here's a list of all the inter-city journeys I made as I crossed Europe. And I wonder why I'm still tired...

  • Dublin - Rosslare
  • Rosslare - Fishguard
  • Fishguard - Swansea
  • Swansea - London
  • London - Bruxelles (Brussels)
  • Bruxelles (Brussels) - Liège
  • Liège - Aachen
  • Aachen - Köln (Cologne)
  • Köln (Cologne) - Mannheim
  • Mannheim - Basel
  • Basel - Interlaken
  • Interlaken - Luzern (Lucerne)
  • Luzern (Lucerne) - Bern
  • Bern - Spiez
  • Spiez - Interlaken
  • Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen
  • Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg
  • Stechelberg - Mürren
  • Mürren - Stechelberg
  • Stechelberg - Lauterbrunnen
  • Lauterbrunnen - Interlaken
  • Interlaken - Bern
  • Bern - Zürich
  • Zürich - Wien (Vienna)
  • Wien (Vienna) - Budapest
  • Budapest - Суботица (Subotica)
  • Суботица (Subotica) - Београд (Belgrade)
  • Београд (Belgrade) - Ниш (Niš)
  • Ниш (Niš) - Димитровград (Dimitrovgrad)
  • Димитровград (Dimitrovgrad) - София (Sofia)
  • София (Sofia) - İstanbul
  • İstanbul - London
  • London - Dublin

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Switzerland: The Bernese Alps
























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