Friday, July 25, 2008

Dave recommends...

Microsoft eh? Hard to escape the hegemony, and tbh it's mostly ripped-off, poor quality bloatware that is nigh on impossible to customise to do what a user actually wants it to do. For example, trying to get rid of the "Security Bar" on IE7. Joke.

But, I stand (er, sit) here today, and doff my hat to Redmond. Can't remember what exactly brought me to it, but stumbled upon (ha) the Bird's Eye view setting in Live Search Maps (what an awful name, wtf is wrong with Microsoft Maps?).

Anyway, the detail in the view, and the ability to swing 360 in most cases is mind-blowing. Check out Thomond Park under construction. Of course, as I'm blogging this, I've spotted a slight drawback (slight as in the foreskin of an elephant): you can't embed the maps in page, unless you're blogging via Microsoft Live Spaces. Crap. Sort it out before you head Bill.

Verdict? Unbeliveably satisfying for those "I can see my house/office/pet dog from here" moments, but useless for sharing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Traffic Managament 101

Dublin City Council unveil their new traffic calming/management strategy:



It's certainly a far cry from this.

Spotted at the Merrion Gates at the weekend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gymini crickets

We visited the beautiful shopping district of Carrickmines at the weekend, where a large sign informed us that we were "only overlooked by the mountains". Clearly they were mistaken: there was also some sheep on them thar hills.

Anyhoo, we continued our spending spree, and Fionn once more came home with fun stuff, this time a playmat, designed to cognitively delight and challenge. I think he liked it.









Rest of the album is here.

Last one's pretty "arty" eh? :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

That old man is me

I met an old man the other morning, one of my neighbours. He looks to be in his eighties, and although a little infirm (he walks with the aid of a crutch), seems in good health, and is obviously in great spirit.

The following is an approximation of the conversation which arose during our encounter - to fully set the scene, read the old man (OM) lines as if you're partially deaf, wearing dentures, and have a thick, rich, west of Ireland accent. You can do any voice you want for me (ME), I'm not too pushed. Although, I think the actor most suited to portray my rich, cultured tones would have to be Jeremy Irons. Jeremy, are you free?

OM: HELLO [imagine he's shouting for the rest of the dialogue, OK? I'm not writing all his lines in caps]
ME: hi, how are you?

OM: i've just walked a mile!
ME: a mile, you were lucky not to get wet.

[points at my sandals]

OM: look at your shoes, will you not be cold going outside in this weather?
ME: yeah, i'm just getting something from the car, i'm sure i'll be fine.
OM: the car? are you going for a drink?
ME: no, no, i'm not drinking.
OM: sure you can drink tomorrow, tomorrow's payday!
ME: yes. right so, see you later.

[brief interlude while i go to the boot of my car. return to the elevator, find OM just about to enter the lift. we get in together]

OM: what number are you?
ME: one for me.
OM: i'm on three.
ME: three?
OM: yes, three, i'm higher up than you!

[this exchange is just ending as we reach my floor. it's a short trip.]

ME: ok, nice to see you again.
OM: yes, goodbye john.

John? This is strange, and there are a number of possibilities: either a) he calls everyone John; b) he calls everyone he doesn't know John; c) there's someone else in the apartment building called john who looks remarkably similar to me; or, d) he remembers going for pints on payday with his friend John from many years before, and feels like a good reminisce. Whichever it is, I hope he's happy. I'm looking forward to our next chat. I wonder who I'll be then...

Cry baby, cry

So Fionn is a month old, and I'm back at work. I completely miss the little monster - he was full of smiles yesterday morning and it killed me that I wasn't there to see it.

However, I was most definitely there last night when we had our first real crying episode - I think he choked a little, and got one hell of a fright. The screams would absolutely tear you apart - I think he was scaring himself he was so loud :S Poor little tyke. I hope we have thick walls. Sorry neighbours.

Being a 'Dad' means going grocery shopping at half-past eight on a Thursday evening. And being able to parallel park. Which is no longer on the driving test which I'm due to sit on August 5th

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Meet the Scanlons, and the McInerneys

So we left the Pale and crossed the Shannon, in search of Fionn's roots. Boy did we hit pay-dirt.

Four generations of Scanlon men!













And then on Saturday, we met the other side of the family...











Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Adventures in Baking

Listen to me! I have made bread for my family!!









We broke the bread at lunchtime, covered it with rashers, hummus & rocket, and said "OMFG, this bread is fabulous". I may yet post the recipe...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Huzzah!

Just realised I've kept this blog alive for over a month. Sweet.

Of course, managing to keep Fionn alive for over 16 days has also been quite an achievement, although, of course, my good wife has had more to do with that than I have. By-the-by, we registered his birth on Friday: Fionn Benn Scanlon (sans hyphen!) is now a legal citizen of the Republic of Ireland.

Son, I'd have asked for an upgrade...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

And I'm free, free wheelin'

So I know it's a bad habit that will do nothing to help me pass my driving test, but my Picasso is unbelievably good for freewheeling (AKA coasting apparently). I get such a kick out of just rolling - it's "green" impact is debateable, but I enjoy just the same. It's certainly no worse for the environment :)

There's a couple of spots around the city where I've gotten some smashing runs: the first, below, is something of a Holy Grail for me, as I've yet to hit the traffic lights properly to allow me to coast out onto the Stillorgan dual-carriageway. I usually have plenty of speed by the time I reach the junction (60kph at times), and it is so annoying to have to brake at this point and throw all that lovely kinetic energy away :(



The next is quite close, a great straight run down from the N11 along Mount Merrion Ave, again this would be much better without the lights at the junction with Cross Ave.



Final one, and it's the daddy so far at 1.9Km, is again a run down from the N11, this time along Newtownpark Avenue.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rotterdam or anywhere

It's pushing towards four thirty in the morning, and Fionn has just finished his night feed. Outside, I can hear the slow drip of the rain water falling from the terrace above our apartment. It must have been raining continuously since yesterday evening - the rain has that "settled in" feel to it, as if it knows it's not going anywhere else any time soon. An Irish summer.

I take Fionn in my arms, and wrap a woollen blanket about him. Opening the window, I step up on to the sill, and into the edge of the night. Curtains of rain fall steadily, driven softly through the trees by the breeze. The breath of the morning, I keep forgetting, the smell of the warm summer air. I stand there, inches from the drops of rain, and watch the headlights of cars make their way along the main road from the city. Taxis no doubt, ferrying sodden and exhausted revellers home to their beds, or on to the next drink.

Perhaps it's the smell of the breeze, or perhaps it's the hint of dawn creeping along the base of the low-slung clouds, but I'm reminded of another morning, a morning maybe four years ago (has it really been that long?) in late Spring. I'm in Rotterdam, visiting an old friend, where we, along with a group of his acquaintances, have just piled out of a nightclub, giddy and noisy, high on life, techno, alcohol, or whatever else you're having. We make our way to an all-night eatery, where other buitenlanders serve us "Turkish pizza", which I'm assured is a local delicacy. It's hot, spicy and greasy, and washed down with a Coke I'm inclined to agree with this. We sit on our bicycles (this is the Netherlands after all), and wolf down the grub, shouting abuse or encouragement at various passers-by, and give some startled locals an impromptu rendition of God Save the Queen, before deciding that perhaps it was now best to head for home. As we pedal furiously, crossing the bridge that spans the Rhine delta, we are greeted by a red-hot, heavy-hanging sun, looking for all the world like it was lifted straight from the closing credits to China Beach. I stop my bicycle, push whoever I'm carrying off the crossbar (we've picked up someone on the way, or lost a bicycle, who knows?), and stop and stare as the early-morning mists begin to kindle and glow, setting the East aflame. I stand at the apex of the bridge, breathing hard, tasting the spices of the pizza, my sweat and the smell of the river, all mingled together. It is a good moment.

I look down at my son, fifteen days old and sleeping fitfully, and performing a remarkable impression of a cantankerous grizzly bear trapped in the body of a kitten. I wonder about the moments he will have during his life: the people, whom I do not know, with which he will share them; the places, that I have not been to, where he will have them. I hope the best for him, that he will find the world as mesmerising and perplexing as I have done so far. Not many answers, and an endless supply of questions.

The wind shifts slightly, and a little rain splashes our upturned faces: his turned to mine, and mine turned to the cloudy sky. I close the window again, and step down from the sill.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Especially for our PHN buddy

You know who you are...

Fionn's first adventure in a establishment licensed to sell beverages of an alcoholic nature: nortsoide!!

video

Fionn flood!





There's more here for die-hard Fionn fans.

More techy goodness

My new camera arrived!! Way too many options, and currently saving files at 3Mb per photo, but I'm sure I'll figure it out :)

First photo below, Fionn showing his extra 270g (most of it went to his chin tbh...)

Late

So it looks like all those feeds in the past few days have really paid off: we brought Fionn to the Blackrock health centre in the teeming rain this morning for his weigh-in, and he topped the scales at 4.04Kg (just shy of 9lbs). He's gained on his birth weight of 3.77Kg, so we're delighted that he's doing so well, and it's a great reward for S to know that all her hard work is paying off.

It's strange to watch him feed: I've never actually seen someone eat as if their life depended on it :)

I think I may have overdone it with the down-in-the-dumps post last night, so I thought I'd relate some of the more pleasant side-effects of having my progeny hanging about. One of the sad realities of life these days is that parents / guardians of children are extremely wary of having strangers (especially men by themselves) interact with their children. I can't count the number of times I've smiled at a small child at play, only to receive a look of instant suspicion, and even revulsion, from an anxious parent, who quickly ushers their child out of my vicinity. You certainly can't blame the parents (and now more than ever I understand how they feel), but it always left me feeling a little depressed, that there was a section of the human race that I, as a young male, was banned from interacting with.

Fionn has changed that: he's like my Golden Ticket to the world of the Little People. I get to smile at children at play, even talk to them, kids come up to look at him (especially if I'm wearing him in the sling). We also appear to have joined the Club of Parenthood: we just had coffee in *bucks in the village (smashing view, terrible coffee), and spent 10 minutes yakking to complete strangers who were there with their 6 month old daughter. The conversation was along familiar patterns: feeding, sleep deprivation, how quickly they change at this age - topics that might have left other people a little glassy-eyed - but I felt a wonderful sense of camaraderie. Golly, but things have changed :)


Thanks to Paudie and SteveC for the heads up on the XKCD...

Early

It's early. So early, it's still actually yesterday. It's so early, I'm cooking the dinner so we can have it for breakfast, and we can have a clear run of the day.

This is one of the most obvious side-effects of parenthood, getting to know all the hours of the day - that and the small, dried-in vomit stains on the 'O', 'L', '.', and ';' keys on my laptop. Don't ever try burping a newborn over any computer hardware. You live and learn. Hopefully...

Fionn had the mother of all feeding days yester/today, 10 feeds in a 24-hour period. We're fervently hoping that this is a growth spurt, and not the establishment of a routine...

News: The middle Shannon Scanlon has a blog and a gallery for his smashing pictures. Check it out, feedback to the designer. Ahem.