Saturday, January 30, 2010

This is probably of little interest to anyone, but I'm posting some before and after photos of our apartment, because we worked so hard to clean the place up, and I think we did a pretty a-ok job.

The Living room: Before.
The walls were dirty white with this obnoxious blue trim. The place was also in shambles because we couldn't fully unpack due to copious amounts of crap left by the previous tenant.

The Living room: After, minus curtains.
I will probably edit this post once the new curtains are sewn (today's project), but for now, here's how it looks.

And note these lovely lions, procured from Uncle Billy's "far shed":

The Bathroom: Before.
The walls were a disgusting pink color that made me shudder every time I went in there.

The Bathroom: After.
It took two coats (three in some places), but we covered it in a nice ice blue color, with gray trim:

Once I re-grout the shower, I'll probably post those befores and afters, because I know you all care so much!

Friday, January 29, 2010

We live about a four minute walk from Phoenix Park, which I've mentioned before after previous visits there. So the other day the weather was tolerable, and I felt like getting out, so I took an afternoon bike ride. Let me reiterate how gigantic this park is. It's huge! It's so big, there's a Zoo inside it! I stopped and took photos along the way.

Near the entrance closest to my house. I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing palm trees here:

Statue of Sean Heuston. Check out those massive fingers!

Obligatory park swans:

The monument as the sun was setting:

Even though it's a park, much of the land just looks like open fields you'd see in the country, like this:

But there are some cute little buildings, like this one:

I tried to take a self-portrait, but I forgot that the zoom was on, so it just ended up being my giant head. I thought it was funny, so I'm posting it:

I've also since been jogging in the Park, and I'm just really pleased to be so close to it. I know we weren't so far from the Botanic Gardens before, but it was just far enough away that we didn't go very much, and it was often crowded enough that I wouldn't see myself running in it. So I feel like we'll get more use out of Phoenix Park in our new house. It's going to be even better come spring!
I'm sure these home-related posts are boring, but what can I say? I am almost ready to post before/after pictures of the new place, but not quite yet! However here are some photos I have taken.

The first is of our fireplace with Christmas decorations hanging around it. Not how I would have put them up, mind you, but I think they look pretty funny:

Then a photo of our street. It's so freaking Irish, this neighborhood. When I first moved to Dublin and I saw these kinds of neighborhoods, I thought they looked like where little people came to live:

I wish these streets had trees, but there's no room, sadly. I wish we could plant a tree in the back patio, but then there'd be only shade since it's so small!

Here's the view from our front door. When I took this, it was a very misty night and I thought it looked spooky:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Today we finally started painting the livingroom! I will definitely post before and after photos when the place is close to how I want it. We'll be utilizing a lot of hand-me-downs from Mark's family -- there are a lot of gems just rotting in a shed behind his uncle's house. I can't wait to put them back in action!

I have other posts in the works, but until I unpack the chord that connects my camera to my computer, I will hold off.

Things I learned: thick bleach is really good at cleaning mold, and these old cement houses are a real bitch when it comes to hanging anything from the walls. I had a curtain rod up with 4 screws (including drywall plugs), and the freaking thing just fell off the wall! So I spackled it all back up, and will try, try again. Not feeling confident about it though.

I can't wait to see how the paint (a tannish brown) looks in the daylight! And now that we painted behind the bookcase, we can unpack the books. This is HUGE! Someday this place will be homey, if it kills me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to politics. I didn't actually post about the Blasphemy Bill when it was all going on/ getting passed a few months ago. But now that it's gone into effect, you bet your sweet buns I'm posting about it now.

For those of you who don't know, Ireland passed a law last year that makes it a crime to say anything "that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage," punishable with a fine up to 25k euro. Now, on one hand, you might think well gosh, why would you want to make any kind of a statement that's insulting or would cause outrage to anyone, anyways? But you see, I am highly insulted by that question. And outraged. And abused.

My first point is this: who is to say what falls into this obtuse criteria? If a large enough group hysterically cries insult, is that enough? And how many is "a substantial number"? When I taught English Composition, I always warned my students against using unclear terms of measurement open to wide margins of interpretation. If a student of mine handed me this law, I would fail it. There is no true way to measure who is legally breaking this law.

My second point: What on earth is the purpose of this law? Haven't religious institutions been protected enough? And where did that get us. We should have laws protecting us from religion, not the other way around. So, the Catholic church doesn't want to be full of "outrage," the victims of abuse, or have insulted those things they deem sacred? Yeah - neither do the rest of us, but that hasn't stopped the Church from abusing, outraging, and insulting millions and millions of people over the past few centuries. So where's the law that protects us from it?

This law is such a piece of garbage, it's embarrassing. Why not draft a law that focuses on something that really hurts, like hate crimes? Didn't anyone in the government ever hear the schoolyard saying, "sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me"? I mean, grow up and realize that trying to control what people say does not work. And it doesn't change how people feel, and it will only make people feel that they need to act in a manner even more intense. Free speech can be a pain sometimes, because you have to deal with people being able to legally say things you don't agree with and find offensive. But it's free speech that protects institutions as well as individuals in the end. The blasphemy law protects no one, and time will show that.

Already journalists all over the world are writing about this law, making a mockery of Ireland. And you know what? Honestly, if I didn't already live here, I wouldn't visit based solely on this law alone, that's how offensive I find it. I would rather give my tourist money to a country that tries to promote and foster a way for people of various beliefs to live together peacefully rather than to try and dictate who can say what, and what is offensive, and what is not, and to silence unfashionable words and ideas. And surely, when it comes to religion in Ireland, did they not have bigger fish to fry than this?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! Actually I'm not much of a New Year's fan. Something always happens to screw up my night, no matter what. So I generally just don't even put any effort into having a good time. That sounds lame, doesn't it? But I guess my answer to the pressure of having some kind of monumental time is to say screw it, and give up.

We are still trying to get our place in order. We have one room nearly full of CRAP that the previous tenant left that needs to get picked up by the landlord. Until that happens, we can't set up our desks, and the rest of the house will be a tad squished. But that's ok because there is still so much cleaning that needs to happen, it's nuts. Every day brings some kind of new disgusting surprise. It's like the guy never cleaned once the whole time he lived here. Yesterday I spent a billion hours prepping the shower and then re-sealing it. I need to re-grout it, but at least now the tiles aren't coming off the wall! Today I scrubbed the kitchen walls, which was no small feat, and then I finished replacing the bathroom towel holder, tootbrush holder, and soap dish because the old ones were wooden and moldy/discolored. I don't understand wooden bathroom accessories. We've washed all the curtains, even though hopefully I'll make new ones eventually. And we started prepping the walls for painting, but we need a ladder before we actually paint. It's going to be a pain in the butt to do, but when it's done this place will look 80% better.

Yes, that's my exciting life right now. I want to post about Ireland's blasphemy law, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow to do that!