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a change of scenery

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nom nomNo, I’m not moving: the scenery is being moved for me. This is a Bank Holiday weekend in Ireland, which means that they can close the DART line. Why do they need to close the DART line? Because the west stand of the Lansdowne Road Stadium is was built hanging over the DART line.

It meant an all-nighter: these photos were taken long after 2AM, with a tripod in my kitchen, which was an interesting challenge.Some came out really well, with interesting colours, and I may post one or two in my main photo gallery. It helped that I have a camera (Pentax *ist DS) with good sensitivity (ISO 3200), and a fast Sigma 70-200mm lens.

By this morning the stand was mostly gone, leaving nothing between me and the coast but a few low houses. I don’t quite have a sea view, because at that angle the coast is not that close. There are trees, which suits me just fine.

The scenery is changing in my office, too: on Friday I handed in my notice, kicking off a process that will occupy much of the next four weeks. I’ve already been heavily occupied in “knowledge transfer”, mostly informal “mentoring” so far, but I’ll be giving a presentation to colleagues on a particularly thorny product range.

I was going to say something about University, but the U key on my new keyboard is intermittent, so I’ll need to take a look at that, tomorrow. I was drilling holes in one of my guitars the other day, brass dust went everywhere…


Written by brian t

August 6, 2007 at 1:26 am

Posted in dublin, ireland, photography

early rainy

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For the last couple of weeks I’ve not had as much sleep as I should. There’s nothing in particular keeping me awake; I was simply not getting tired until after 1am, despite getting up at 7am every weekday. Even on weekends, when I could sleep as long as I could wish, I’ve been awake around 8am. It’s probably related to Daylight Savings time, since it’s still bright at 11pm, at this time of year.

After that happened again on Saturday, I decided to take some drastic action to mark the middle of the year. I’ve been up for 34 hours now, with the help of coffee, and took a very-early-morning trip in to Dublin with my camera. Two cameras, actually: I’ve got my old film Pentax going again, though if I get anything off the three-year-old roll of black-and-white currently in there, it might be somewhat avant-garde.

I walked through the Grand Canal Docks area, snapping buildings when it wasn’t raining; there was so little colour in the shots that it wasn’t worth keeping. The first picture above is of a low tunnel under the DART line, with some flash to bring out the texture of the spiralling bricks; the other is a new apartment block under construction. This building is so narrow and skeletal that I would not want to live in it, even if I could afford the extortionate price tag.

On my first-ever visit to Dublin in 1999, I had an “encounter” with a foul-mouthed six-year-old, who followed me down a street cursing and threatening to get his brother. Though Grand Canal Docks is a very upmarket area, it is close to some very downmarket areas, and I “met” two local teenagers this morning. One of them might well have been that same kid from 1999, eight years older: the two of them were drunk or stoned, barking incomprehensible vitriol in my general direction. As a parting shot, as a security patrol came in to view, they finished by throwing a couple of aerosol cans at me. They appeared to be cans of shaving gel, leading me to wonder if they were the latest trend in solvent abuse. Ah, the kids of today – aren’t they precious? Wankers. 🙄

I was back home shortly after 7am, so additional anti-sleep measures were necessary: cola, a couple of hours of Guild Wars in the morning, and in the afternoon, a movie on TV that I’d never seen before, but fit the “stay awake” bill very nicely. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is, when you get down to it, a two-hour-long music video. Spotting the bloopers was part of the fun: I mean, could three women really throw themselves ten feet into the air, through glass windows? One of them was carrying a full-grown man, who must have weighed the same as her plus half as much again.

My last cup of coffee was after 3pm, and should have worn off by 9pm, meaning that I can look forward to 8-10 solid hours of sleep tonight. If that means I’m getting up earlier, it will be only temporary unless I set my alarm; without a regular wake-up time, I’ll be up later every day.

Today’s big music news is the Princess Diana Memorial Concert, which did not sound at all promising, but passing through the channels now there was one pleasant surprise: Roger Hodgson, by himself, has got the whole of Wembley Stadium singing Supertramp songs. “Well, this is cosy, innt?” 8)

Written by brian t

July 1, 2007 at 6:12 pm

Posted in dublin, ireland, photography

solid saturday

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In the absence of any real incident, how about a little “traditional blogging”; what I did on my Saturday:

  • Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head… nah. My hair’s too short to need a comb;
  • Hung around the flat all morning; I have the place to myself for about two weeks, my flatmate having departed for British Columbia early this morning;
  • Wrote a bit about Rush for MuseWiki, to replace the one-liner. Black Holes and Revelations is still sounding great.
  • Headed in to Dublin city centre: first stop the opticians, to pick up my new specs. They’re a more conventional shape than I’m used to, since the optician advised me to go for smaller lenses. Having such bad eyes means that I’ve never been able to take advantage of any special offers, because of high refractive index lenses, never mind the light-sensitive and anti-reflective coatings. There is some good news: my suspicions were correct, and my eyes have improved since the last test, my left eye by a whole diopter.
  • Bought more cheap trousers, but left shoes for another day. I walk 32 kilometres (20 miles) in an average week, not including weekends, and it takes its toll on clothes. Thank goodness for outlet stores.
  • Tonight I’m watching a “greatest movies” countdown on Channel 4, noting that I have yet to see most of them; the VCR will be recording one that should be on the list but probably isn’t: Being There.

Written by brian t

September 16, 2006 at 10:22 pm

Posted in dublin, ireland, life, medical

schmap flap

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Schmap have an interesting business model: they take publicly-available material and fashion it in to travel guides, and use this in the marketing process. I only heard of them because they borrowed a photo of mine from Flickr, one that I had marked as available for commercial use under the Creative Commons license, and used it in their Dublin guide. This is something like what I had in mind, so no complaints on that score, as long as they provide proper attribution (which they have). So, grab a copy of the Dublin guide, and see some more of my work.That’s all – enjoy!

Written by brian t

July 1, 2006 at 11:45 am

wreck of a day

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Saturday will be over by the time I post this, and I will be asleep soon after. This was a day marked by violence and collisions, none of them involving me, thankfully, but still jarring.

Riot AftermathIn the afternoon I went shopping, and carried my camera, because I heard there was going to be a parade of Unionists through Dublin. I thought there might be an photogenic angry scene or two, but the reality was far far worse, and I’m not annoyed that I missed most of it. The mere presence of Unionists in Dublin was enough to attract Republican thugs from across the 26 counties, and they didn’t even need to see the Unionists to go on the rampage, attacking police and wrecking half of O’Connell Street.

Unlike London in 1999, I didn’t get to see the fighting for myself, only some running people, and a long view of a Garda (police) baton charge. A view of the aftermath was quite enough.

Next: a bruising Rugby clash between Scotland and England, the “Auld Enemy”, at Murrayfield near Edinburgh. After 80 minutes of scrums and rucks, plenty of kicks but no tries, Scotland came out 18-12 winners to pick up the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 2000.

Cra-a-a-ashFinally, late this evening, a car punched a hole in the wall opposite my apartment. It sounded like a blowout, and no-one appeared to be hurt, though an ambulance was soon on the scene.

At least I got a leather jacket at a good price. Can I go to sleep now?

Written by brian t

February 26, 2006 at 1:17 am


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It’s just after six on Friday evening, and I’ve managed to rearrange my sleep patterns to allow me to bunk down before ten, so I can be up again at four. That’s what I need to do to catch the bus to the airport for my 06:40 flight to Charles De Gaulle, for the Paris Air Show. I don’t know how wise it is to muck around with your sleep patterns, but the process has been interesting, at least.

I started by trying to bring my wake-up time forward gradually, from around 08:00 to 04:00, but it backfired badly last Saturday night when I couldn’t get to sleep until well after midnight. When the alarm went off at 06:00, I woke up, but spent about half an hour stuck in “first gear” before dozing back off till nearly 11:00.

june sunrise 2Then I thought I could use an old method of mine: the Wraparound. You execute a Wraparound by lengthening your daily cycle from 24 to 28 hours, so that you get six nights sleep in seven days. It started off well, when I was able to stay up to 08:00 on Monday morning, ahead of schedule. I even got out to the beach at around 05:00 with the camera, and took some of my best pictures so far. There were few clouds in the sky, just enough to make the sunrise interesting, and plenty of light.

That backfired too: this time I couldn’t sleep long enough to keep the wraparound going steadily: I was up by 12:00, less than five hours sleep, and wilted by 08:00 on Tuesday morning, yet slept till only 14:00 or so. I must need less sleep as I get older, but it doesn’t mean that I stay awake much longer, I suppose. It all worked out for the best, though: I was so tired on Tuesday that I could get to sleep earlier, and by Thursday I was up at 04:00, like I was today and should be tomorrow.

One nice thing I discovered today is that there will be a coach service direct from the CDG terminal I’m arriving at, 2F, to Le Bourget airport a few km down the road, where the show will take place. Good – saves me the hassle of dealing with the RER (suburban rail) line so early in the morning, though the cost is exorbitant – €10 each way. I will need to use the train later to get to my hotel, but I should have plenty of time to figure that out.

The only remaining question is: how am I going to post this? I have no Internet access at home – which explains the gap in entries – and the Dublin Airport free access was absent last time I was there. I hear the Press tent at the air show will have WiFi, and I’d like to see them keep the microwaves in the tent, eh?

Written by brian t

June 17, 2005 at 6:10 pm

a grey day

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it's kite-surfing, but without the wheels. got air?Never mind the Special Olympics in 2003: if any proof was necessary that Dublin has arrived as a world destination, I found it today, in the freezer section of Superquinn’s in Blackrock. That’s right, folks; Ben & Jerry now make a Dublin Mudslide flavour. It was OK, I suppose, but I’ve had better ice creams.

Ice cream (with liquer), steak, a fine Brie: what’s the occasion? My birthday, again. I used to mention Bing Crosby as someone I shared a birthday with, but it seems I was wrong about that – he was born a day later, according to more authoritative sources. Never mind; besides Queen Catherine the Great and David Beckham (who turned 30 today), other names I can drop are those of Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti and actor Duayne “The Rock” Johnson. Ye Flipping Gods…

Dun Loaghaire HharbourToday was the May Day Bank Holiday here in Ireland, and I actually took the day off for a change, I normally work these days and take a more useful day in lieu. My afternoon went on another of my mad walks down the coast, this time to Dún Laoghaire (Dunleary), the harbour and ferry port. The word of the day was “grey”, with a few gaps in the cloud providing a little colour. As I found at the Leopardstown Racecourse a few months ago, this strange light fools my camera into underexposing, and this time I soon remembered to compensate for the effects.

As before, there was little point in keeping what little colour the images contained, and it was back to black & white. Mucking about with different colour balances had little effect, even with the RAW data from the camera that had no in-camera processing. There are more pictures on the Dublin gallery page (follow the Gallery link). I haven’t trawled through all the pictures yet, so I should have a few more later, including some 3D work.

Written by brian t

May 2, 2005 at 9:12 pm