Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Home is where the 'hearth' is!
'Mr Bo Peep has lost his sheep,
And doesn't know where to find her.
Leave her alone and she'll come home,
Twittering her tales behind her.
Mr Bo Peep fell fast asleep
And dreamt he he heard her bleating,
But when he awoke, he found it a joke,
For she was no longer tweeting.
Baa! Baa! Where's my little Lambkin!!
PS: This is a modified blog from March 2010. The insightful among you will realise that the top photo is of the Belgium sheep and the lower one the Irish one! Baa!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thrilled to hear that Connemara Rugby Team secured their place in Division 3 yesterday by beating Carlow RFC by 25 -21. Connemara RFC is aptly described in their web site as 'a vibrant, community-based rugby club unique for it's location in Clifden, Co Galway, one of Ireland's most beautiful areas'. What it doesn't say as clearly is that the club is called after the famous trout fishing fly 'the Connemara Black' which is used extensively to outwit the wily wild brown trout in the lakes of Connemara. Indeed they are well named as they have proven on occasion to have been 'a thorn in the ointment' as it were, of many a more illustrious rugby club visiting on match days. Such has been their renown they they have even been compared with the famous New Zealand All Blacks. And that is a compliment to both clubs!!
However, because their players are all amateurs and locally based they have had more than their fair share of injuries. For example, the great Gerry King has retired for three years in a row but has had to be recalled again to action each year to bolster a fragile young defence. But now, joy of joys, their status is secure for another year and there should be a great atmosphere in Griffins Bar in Clifden on Sat April 10th after the last match of the season against Naas.
Everyone who can should come and support a great community club!!
Check out their web site for more news and photos.
Congratulations again to the Connemara Blacks for acting as a wonderful example to all who doubt the capacity of amateur to provide great rugby football entertainment for small local communities.
Attached find photo of the players in action.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
All practicing architects, including this writer, can sympathise with their dilemma in the current recession as it is estimated that over 50% of architects employed only two years ago are now unemployed and the situation is likely to get even worse before there is any significant improvement. In an article in yesterdays Irish Times, Martin Murphy, Director of Hewlett-Packard, Ireland asked that we stop infighting now and focus on leadership to get us out of our recession. Mr Murphy further warns on the precarious state of our economy by using the analogy of a glass half full to illustrate our country’s dilemma.
He later states that ‘there are no entitlements to opportunity, but it can be earned’. The sad thing about the present status of the Murray O’Leary practice is that they sought no entitlement as a basis for their undoubted success but rather by stint of the excellence of their work and quality of their staff they forged opportunities for themselves both here and abroad and in so doing provided leadership and inspiration to other Irish practices both large and small. I would agree with Mr Murphy, that there is no point in being negative and simply fanning the flames of a bitter dialogue over supposed corporate greed and bank bail-outs in the context of the acute sense of grievance felt by many tax payers. However, I feel that leadership can only flourish if there is genuine feeling of hope in the future and a sense that the ‘gain will justify the strain’ as it were.
In Irish society at the moment, the foundations on which to build this leadership structure seem very suspect, and as any architect will testify to, poor foundations augur badly for future stability. I personally feel that the poor in our society are becoming increasingly marginalised and frustrated by the direction of government cut backs. Furthermore, there would appear to be little appreciation of the value as opposed to the cost of the contribution made to this society by its well educated work force, especially the young. Finally, even core business activities for both small and medium sized firms are being starved of bank cash support. Furthermore, there has been an exponential increase in red tape and regulative activity by government agencies presumably to keep them busy during the recession.
Thus, the demise of the Murray O’Laoire architectural practice is systematic of the waste and lack of appreciation of talented and creative people and with the governments new emphasis on the merits of the supposed smart economy is , I feel, neither really smart nor genuinely economic.
In ending this little discourse by way of genuine appreciation of the sense of disappointment and disillusion that must permeate the Murray O’Laoire practice this morning, may I refer to what I feel is an adapt quote received on my twitter page this morning from philo_quotes, courtesy of Spinoza:
‘All noble things are as difficult as they are rare’
Friday, March 26, 2010
Upon arrival there, we were thrilled to become the proud possessors of a beautiful Adobe House just north of Sante Fe with two cars, a grand old barn and 4 dogs. It was truly magnificent to behold. Ok! There was a slight problem in adjusting to the dogs which consisted of two young Doberman pincers, (untrained and with an inherent taste for blood sacrifice), a cross bred of part Irish wolfhound of seeming similar age to myself, and something resembling a coyote wild dog. But the ‘piece de resistance’ however lay inside the barn where our owners had given us the keys to a pair of ‘His and Her’ Harley Davidson bikes for our use. Wow! All my fantasies of heading out on the high road to Las Vegas (New Mexico not Nevada!) to ‘sup’ at the Grand Plaza Hotel would soon be a reality I thought. At last, I would follow in the footsteps of Doc Holliday and other misunderstood ‘desperados’ like myself, and the realisation of my dream seemed to be only a ‘rev’ and ‘roar’ away.
Within a few minutes my good wife and I entered the barn to inspect our new metallic marvels. Soon, I sat astride one of the bikes, having been able to mount with the aid of a wooden stool I found nearby. However, far from ‘burning leather’ I found to my dismay that in fact the leather was burning me! Because the sun in New Mexico is so strong in the summer and had been shining directly onto the leather bike seat, I found my ass was soon hot as hell. The expletives emanating from me were so extreme that my status as a Hell’s ‘Angel’ might be open to question. Nevertheless I crouched over the bike in a pose reminiscent of what I thought Marlon Brando had adopted in a familiar movie still.
Just then one of our younger girls, who was about five at the time, entered the barn in an agitated state and shattered my illusions. Why do children always have to spoil adults innocent fun! ‘The ‘dopeyman’ dogs are biting the old hound’s nuts’ she exclaimed and ‘the ‘coaty’ dog is screaming for his supper’, she said. Furthermore, I’m sure that I heard my wife mutter under her breath that they were not the only ‘dopeyman’ round here. I’m afraid my moment in animated suspension waiting to hit the road vanished in a flash never to return. As John Wayne, might say, ‘it soon bit the dust’.
However, it is now many years later and the old knees are not what they used to be. Nevertheless I managed to salvage a little model Harley Davidson toy bike in a local store in New Mexico at that time which, as can see from the photograph accompanying this little nostalgia trip, I keep on a table beside me in the hope that I might one day relive by frustrated dreams. The old problem is that my little grandchildren now want to push it round the floor without any thought for its aesthetic or emotional value. Children have no respect for model machines!
As my ‘god wife’ (Lady GoGo) still deep down shares my dreams, I have given here a little figurine as a memento of our New Mexico lack of adventure and also to keep her hopes alive by depicting what I feel is a reasonable representation of what she might look like on such a bike today. (see photo). So I am off down to my local ‘saloon’ to quietly assess what I consider to be my last chance to realise my dreams next year when I hope to return to the Wild West. To many people therefore I may not exactly be an Angel, but I am going to ‘ride the high country’ on a Harley Davidson some day just for the Hell of it.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I have just read that over 40% of people joining Twitter give up the practice within a few months, possibly due to ‘tweet lag’ and that many ‘serious’ people still regard the site as at best a frivolous extension of texting to a wider audience. Although I myself have only being engaged in tweeting for a few weeks, I decided nevertheless to review my time spent on the web in an attempt to provide a kind of cost benefit analysis of my experience to date. However, I must admit that this decision was partly brought about my ‘good wife’ (not to be confused with the lovely lady fronting to the TV series who simply pouts with dramatic affect when faces with any serious problem but yet again----). She arrived home from work the other day and looking over my shoulder at the my twitter site , asked in the most patronising of voices if I had found any new ‘friends’. I quickly assured her that tweeting was not a search for friends but a site where hordes of ‘followers’ and ‘following’ intermingled in an invigorating and mentally stimulating way by sending rapid fire messages across cyberspace. However, as I reviewed the long list of cryptic tweets populating my twitter page with ever-increasing degrees of banality, I must admit that my previously held fervour began to waver somewhat. Hence, I decided to embark on the aforementioned review process, and in so doing try to ensure that I too would not suffer from a ‘tweet’ tooth in the near future.
For the uninitiated, the basic twitter process involves the sending of simple messages, no longer than 140 words, to other people who you have identified as belonging to the twitter community. These latter people are grouped into ‘followers’ and ‘following’ depending of course whether they are pursuing you or you them. Many people provide a useful ‘bio’ of their background skills or interests to help streamline your searches. However, some are so extensive and multidimensional that they would make even a ‘Michelangelo’ type person blush with envy and hence, ‘bio’ proclamations of funky divas with accentuated skills in people management, yoga, earth sciences, global warming, jazz appreciation and a love of children should be taken with a degree of scepticism normally reserved for utterances made by participants at events such as the Miss World pageant.
However, the potential limitation on the tweeting process is not chiefly related to the senders of messages but rather to the intrinsic limitations of the messages themselves. Most seem directed at what people seem to believe to be ‘famous’ celebrities in the belief that the senders will somehow share in their celebrity status if they are made indirectly aware of their humble existence. Still more are used as a non to subtle means of advertising their skills by referring their own web sites.
But all this would be no more debilitating or energy sapping than watching an episode of American Idol or the X Factor, if it were not for the content of many of the messages themselves.
Some of the more ‘sophisticated’ bloggers include informative attachments to articles/news updates/videos which have tickled their fancy while scouring the web. These take the form of a ‘treasure hunt’ where some clues as to the content are usually provided but you must explore the attached references to gain a full insight into the proffered information. This process can prove very entertaining with time and patience. However, the majority of tweets contain no such nuggets of fact or fiction but encompass a litany of cryptic comments from the perspective of the sender only which bear all the insights of comic banalities more at home in a Woody Allen film dialogue. An example might be as follows:
‘@ gooblegook""3 I see you have changed your Hair’
@blandy''' No I really like it, Green is the new Blue’
Erudite perhaps but enlightening? And most tweets are worse!!
Perhaps another way of addressing the limitations of the message process is to add a blog such as my own at http://myplanarc.blogspot.com/ where one can ruminate further on life’s trials and tribulations and share it with others at the click of a ‘mouse’ or the flick on an ‘i-phone’ page.
So, after all this is twitter worth the effort? On balance, I genuinely think that it is, for this reason, it all comes down to perception. You see I think that the twitter process is like taking part in a giant carnival in cyber space. While of course, there are many kinds of carnivals, as for example in the Mardi Gras in Brazil or Notting Hill in London, it is the Venice Carnivals in Italy which I feel provide the best analogy here. This is because they are essentially ‘masked’ balls and it is the very mask of anonymity that gives ‘tweeting’ its essential ingredient. You see you can potentially contact anyone anywhere in the World and offer your views fair or frantic, frivolous or fractious, without any fear or favour. It lends a whole new level of excitement and anticipation to a communication process open to all and at a time of depressing economic stagnation, where many people like myself, have unwanted ‘time on their hands’, it provides an opportunity to talk to the World. Sometimes, I feel like the scientists at Los Alamos, in New Mexico with my ‘twitter’ telescope trained at Mars. But it is only when I open my twitter site and blog in the morning that I can gauge whether there is any cyber life out there.