Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bernard Dunne's Bród Club

I happened to buy the new RTÉ Guide, earlier on, and almost didn't read the article on Bernard Dunne - I've absolutely nothing against him, it's just that I'm generally not interested in anything sports related, and I knew that he's a boxer, so.. =D However, I noticed something about the Irish language, and started reading the article.. I am so glad that I did! :O

Check out Bernard Dunne's Bród Club on RTÉ website, and sign up! (I did..)

I'm Bernard Dunne, boxer and lover ...of the Irish language. Just so you know, this series isn't about teaching you Irish. It's a campaign, my campaign, to get 100,000 people who use little or no Gaeilge now to use it again - to just use what you have. It's a big ask, I might fail, but I'm up for the fight.
This is my weekly blog. Each Monday I'll be reflecting on either the great, mediocre or worrying state of the campaign.

This is a really good timing for me as I'm just in the middle of my course (conversational Irish for beginners). I really, really want to learn Irish - I've wanted to learn Irish for 20+ years, but it's taken me this long to have the time/money for a course, which is absolutely necessary if you actually want to learn some grammar and stuff.. I still have a looong way to go, before I'll be able to chat in Irish (as it still takes me a long time to come up with a sentence, checking grammar rules, spelling, etc.. I hate mistakes in general, and I don't want to learn things wrong as unlearning is much more difficult than learning..), but I'm starting to understand so much more already, especially when I'm reading something - spoken Irish is rarely slow enough, at this point..

I'm already worrying what I'll do once the course is over.. It's only ten evenings, after all, with the fifth one this week. I want to keep active about it, so I'm loving stuff like this Bród Club..

Show starts RTÉ One 7.30pm 5TH MARCH 2012

Maybe they should have a Seachtain na Gaeilge more often?

Monday, 27 February 2012

The most beautiful video I've ever seen

I saw this video on Facebook, and had to blog it as well.. It's amazing.. Nature is so very beautiful! Do watch it.. Do share it.. =)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Versatile comfort food - fried spuds

Fried spuds, onions & eggs
I rarely cook anything as I don't have my own kitchen, but I didn't go out yesterday, so there was no food in the house and I was sick of sambos.. So, I decided to make this 'comfort food' =)

Ingredients: two big spuds (I used Rooster), one onion, two eggs.. cooking oil (and some butter) for frying.. Herbamare (herbal salt), garlic powder and black pepper for seasoning..

(Spuds and onion are pretty necessary, I think, but you don't need eggs.. Also, you can add fried rasher bits, sausage, salami, or whatever you like.. If you don't want to mix eggs with the rest, try frying an egg separately and slide it on top of everything when serving it.. You can also use whatever you like for seasoning - salt / black pepper / white pepper / garlic powder / curry powder / cajun powder.. This would also make a good side dish for burgers or such..)

Some people pre-boil the spuds (or use leftover boiled spuds), but I think that it can easily make this stuff too mushy.. I prefer to cube the spuds quite small, and just fry from raw.. My method: cube the spuds quite small (I use them unpeeled, but if you prefer, peel them before cubing..), and chop the onion as well.. heat plenty of cooking oil in a large frying pan (note: the spud bits are not supposed to swim in the oil, but you don't want the pan to get all insta-dry, either, once you add the spuds..) Once the oil is quite hot, add the cubed spuds.. Fry them for a while, occasionally mixing them around.. Then, add the chopped onion.. You can add seasoning already, or later, it doesn't really matter when you do it.. This is also where I added some butter - it's not necessary, but it adds to the flavour.. The only way to tell when the spuds are done, is to occasionally taste a piece =) Once it seems ready to eat, add the eggs, and mix them in well.. It won't take long for the eggs to be done.. Remember to taste if you're happy with the seasoning - add some, if necessary.. And finally, serve it! =)

Tip: My stepdad also adds dry bread crumbs, which works really well with this stuff!

Tip2: Kids and ketchup fans might like to have this stuff with ketchup.. Mayo might be nice, too..

The flu..

Antibiotics Strepsils
I've had this flu for almost two weeks now.. And I needed another course of antibiotics as I usually do, but I finished that yesterday morning, so I'm not feeling quite that tired anymore. Actually, I'm feeling more or less OK now, only I'm once again stuck with the annoying dry cough, which is really killing my lungs =/

Course evening Course evening
I survived this week's evening courses, though, but couldn't really concentrate enough on Wednesday (=Irish). Must spend the weekend working on it..

Course evening (& flu survival stuff)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Stupid Irish paracetamol law

I saw a doctor today as I still have a really bad flu, although the fever is pretty much gone now.. I got a prescription for antibiotics, and I collected them but forgot to buy paracetamol while at the chemist's. So, I grabbed two 12-packs at Dunnes - one to replace the 12-pack I'd already taken from the kitchen cupboard, and another one for myself as the doctor said that I should keep taking paracetamol. However, I was told that they could only sell me one pack! :O

Legal limits for paracetamol sales

In Ireland, there were 7933 recorded cases of drug overdose in 2004, of which 31% involved paracetamol.4 It is against the law for pharmacies in Ireland to sell more than 24 paracetamol (500 mg) tablets in a single transaction.5 In early 2007, we visited 20 pharmacies in Dublin and attempted to purchase amounts of paracetamol in excess of this legal limit: ten pharmacies allowed us to do so.

(Note: I only attempted to buy two 12-packs = 24 tablets.. That sould have been OK, surely?!)

I find this ridiculous. If anyone wants lots of paracetamol, all they have to do is to visit several shops and chemists and/or buy it everyday for a while. Not a problem if you want it for any dodgy purposes.

However, when you're really sick and you need that paracetamol, the LAST thing you want to do is to visit several shops / chemists! You just don't have the energy for that, and also, you might be contagious, so you'll actually be spreading that lovely flu all over the place, just because some insane law won't allow you to buy enough paracetamol in one go!

For example, I take 8 paracetamol tablets a day, at the moment - it's the maximum amount, and I even asked the doctor if it's too much with my other meds, but apparently, it's fine. So, one 12-pack isn't even enough for me for two days! I'm really not looking forward to having to go out again, just to buy more paracetamol.. (Yes, I could have gone to another shop for more, but at that point I'd already done all my shopping, so I had loads to carry, and I'm very low on energy due to this flu, so I just got the one 12-pack..)

I was also wondering.. What if you have a family of (for example) two adults and three teenagers (=adult dosage), and they all happen to have the flu at the same time? Oops, there's no paracetamol in the house, mam or dad (read: mam, because man flu often appears to be worse than death) must go buy some.. Maybe the family lives somewhere a bit rural, so there's just one shop in the nearby village.. Unless the shop is into illegal drug dealing (lol..), they can only sell max. 24 tablets of paracetamol - or, maybe just one 12-pack?? (As Dunnes did..) In any case, that wouldn't even cover the whole family for ONE day!!! If the mam wanted enough paracetamol for the whole family, she'd have to drive to the nearest town that's big enough to have several shops, and she'd have to visit all of them. As a result of this world tour required by the Irish law, her own flu would get much, much worse, and who knows, she might even die of some post-flu infection.

Whoever came up with that law, should consider buying a 15c plastic bag (available in most shops - no legal limits as to how many you can buy in one go), pull it over their head, etc.. Just one bag is enough.

Besides, I actually remember buying a 100-jar of paracetamol at the chemist's, and that had to be 2007 or later, because I remember being ill and having that jar in the attic that didn't have floorboards until 2007.. So, the chemist was breaking the law, then?? (I'm so not going to mention which chemist it was - hopefully they'll continue breaking the law in such sensible way!!!)

Afterthought; I am not even against there being some limit as to how much paracetamol you can buy in one go, but for God's sake, at least make it reasonable.. Allow enough to cover a few people over a few days or so, because that's how long it usually takes to get over the worst part of the flu, and there are big families who might all have the flu at the same time.. This current limit is just ridiculous.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Irish notes

Irish notes
I was planning to spend this week learning as much Irish as possible (with the mid term break from the evening courses), but unfortunately, I got the flu and it's just killed all my energy.. =/

Irish notes
On the course evenings, I make really messy pencil notes.. Then I rewrite them at home with lots of colours and stuff.. LOL..

Bhí mo plean ag foghlaim na Gaeilge le linn an tsosa lár-téarma ach bhí mé tinn go leor.
Bhí mo plean ag foghlaim na Gaeilge le linn an tsosa lár-téarma ach bhí mé tinn go leor.


Sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice
Nuked sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice..

Sri Lankan food by S Sri Lankan food by S
Gorgeous Sri Lankan food, cooked by a friend =)

Sri Lankan food by S Nuked green olive & mild white cheddar omelette
On the left, I don't know what those Sri Lankan style things are called (I've heard the name in Sinhala, but wouldn't have a clue how to type it) - there's tuna, and sometimes an egg inside.. In a way, a fishy version of a Scotch egg =) I love that stuff, though! ... On the right, my nuked green olive & mild white cheddar omelette..

Staedtler triplus fineliner pens

New pens
I bought a new set of pens after my dental appt. on Monday. I have another Staedtler set in brighter colours, and they've been very useful, so I got these as I love the colours.

New pens Testing new pens

Rollercoaster week

Getting dental cavities fixed (last Monday) - good times..

Getting a Man Flu, out of the blue (after dental appt.) - bad times..

No more fever & generally feeling a bit better (since yesterday) - good times..

Getting stung by a groggy bee, in the attic, in February, on the sole of my foot - bad times..

Friday, 10 February 2012

Going dental :-#

I had a dental appointment, yesterday.. It had been a while - the previous time was in 1996, when I lived in Finland and had regular income. So, I was really dreading yesterday, thinking I'd probably have to get all my legos knocked out and get some Chinese mail order falsies as there's no way I could afford all the work that would need to be done (after the two cavities covered by the medical card)..

Turns out that I only had two cavities! :O So, I'll only need to pay for the cleaning, which should be around €60 or such. Massive relief! And I am SO not going to leave it for 15+ years, from now on.. I plan to go mental dental at least once a year.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Irish - week three

Evening course - Irish Evening course - Irish
Yesterday, before the Irish class..

Evening course - Irish
Yello =)

I'm about to rewrite my notes now.. LOADS of them again! But it's all good, especially as there are no classes next week (mid-term break). I'll have lots of material to study at home..

Oh, and I started using Facebook in Irish =)

Heavenly toast..

Toast with butter, honey and cinnamon - bliss..
Toasted white bread with butter, honey and cinnamon.. Mmmmm..

A bit much.. :o

Evening course - Irish
We read this one on the second evening of the Irish course (which is for beginners..) :o My notes are a mess - I've since rewritten them in a much neater way =P


These are so pretty, aren't they? (50c each, at Eason)


Shopping Shopping
Pocket size watercolour set =) I haven't really touched watercolours (or such) since I left Galway, in '99..

Shopping Shopping
The brush is nice - its cap protects it and also becomes a part of the brush..


Shopping Shopping


Watercolours Watercolours

Watercolours Watercolours and Irish
I found that I'm very rusty..


Tabhair dom an t-airgead! =D (It worked, heh..)

Oimo (large pics) and Pushy (small pics) in the attic




Pushy Pushy

Friday, 3 February 2012

About the Irish course, etc.

I'm still alive, I've just been working on rewriting my course notes from Wednesday evening (Irish) - 18 pages of them.. I'm loving it, though!

Obviously, I've been online as well, but it's easy to Facebook and Pin(terest) something while doing other stuff (those course notes, fixing a laptop, watching telly), whereas it takes a bit more time and concentration to blog something.

I've only had two evenings of Irish, but I have learned so much already.. We do A LOT, in the two hours we have, and the teacher often gives us something to read, or questions to answer, while she'll explain some unrelated grammar stuff on the whiteboard, making lots of notes.. I don't want to miss any of the notes, so by the time she asks us something based on the text or such, I'll barely have had a moment to look at it :o Still, the whole course is only ten evenings (20 hours), so it feels like great value for the money, to be learning as much as possible.

In the first evening, there was a lady from Canada, who had absolutely no Irish. I didn't really have any, either, but I've been here for 15 years now, and I used to watch Ros na Rún for years, so I have picked some random stuff.. Still, the first part of the first evening, felt quite overwhelming to me - it must have felt even more overwhelming to that lady as she didn't come back for the second evening =( It just seems a shame as she'd paid for the course, anyway. Before it started, I decided that I'll attend every evening as I've paid for it - even if it's totally overwhelming. At least you'll learn something, surely.. And I have already learned loads!

My old Irish books now make more sense, too. There's no way I could have properly learned this stuff on my own as Irish is so completely different from most other languages - and certainly from all languages I know.. It wouldn't be that hard to learn something like French or Spanish without taking a course, but I did really need to take a course to get started with Irish.. And it's still not easy, but at least it is starting to make more sense!

I still have eight weeks left, but I'm already wondering what I'll do after the course is over. I don't want to get lazy about it and "forget" to regularly read something in Irish, or otherwise use the language to keep it up and learn more.. Maybe I'll move to Carraroe? LOL