Sunday 29 September 2013

RIP laptop

My apple green Dell inspiron 1520 had been on its way out for a long time.. I got her in March 2008, just before my urgent trip to Finland, after the previous (ancient) laptop had died.. I'd used her pretty much 24/7 ever since.. Her battery died ages ago, so I could only use her when she was plugged in.. This year, I'd mainly used a USB keyboard with her, since parts of her own keyboard didn't work anymore..

But yesterday, her graphics died. Not even the nearby Sony Bravia could help.

I'm coping with my cheapo tablet, but blogging is a pain, and anything that requires using an actual browser, is slooow.. So, until I get a new laptop (hopefully on Tuesday), I'll be mainly playing Tapped Out, and using Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter apps. They're fast.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Maynooth, on Thursday (via Naas) - and a dead badger..

I went to Naas again, on Thursday morning, being grateful for my L plates as my driving was all over the place, that morning! And it had to be very foggy and sort of rainy on the mountains, again.. (Every time I drive there, grrr..) I don't mind the rain (well, it reminded me that I still need to replace that windscreen wiper blade..), but I hate driving when I can barely see the road.

Maaria had muffins in the oven, so we had some breakfast first, and then we went to Maynooth, where I hadn't really been before (other than a quick there and back, a few years ago). The underground parking at the shopping centre, reminded me of Dundrum - really clean and lovely.. And it was free! They should have free parking everywhere! It doesn't matter how many "Shop Local" banners you have, if people have to pay for parking - and this is especially aimed at whoever decides about these things in Bray. Jeez, I've even driven to send a small parcel from Kilmacanogue post office, to park for free! (Yes, I did pay for the petrol, but I was vaguely heading to that direction, anyway, so I still saved some money and effort..)

For once, I took pictures of something else than my lunch.. =D (Don't worry, I got the lunch covered as well..)

We'd actually started by doing some shopping at Tiger. I'd seen some Finnish friends talking about Tiger shops online, but I had no idea that they were in Ireland as well, until Maaria mentioned it, last week! I'll tell more about my shopping, later on, with a picture.. Loved the shop, btw, and stayed well within budget!

Then, we went for a walk around the old campus - beautiful!

Yes, I've gone a bit effect happy, with some of the pics.. =)

Like an outdoor cathedral, this path took us to an old cemetery..

Celtic cross factory, I joked.. =) You rarely see so many of them, in such huge size, in one place!

Two pics of the same spot.. Just playing with effects..

So, these two crosses were talkin', and.. =P

From the other end of the 'corridor'..

Earlier on, Maaria had wondered if she should phone a friend who works in the library, to see if she'd be there. She decided to leave it, but just a little while later, we happened to meet that friend outside one of the buildings! So, we ended up getting a private tour of the Russell Library, while it was closed for the lunch hour. Very interesting!

I loved the Very Old globes, where Australia was still New Holland, etc.. And I'd have loved to see their old Bibles, but it's a research library, and you can't just go and paw the books. I liked it more than the Long Room at Trinity, of which it reminded me.

After the library visit, we were both very hungry, so we left the campus, and...

...went to Cafe Bon Bon, where we'd already decided to have lunch.

We totally fell in love with their mint lemonade, which was sort of like alcohol-free mojito, and couldn't believe that we'd never thought of making such stuff at home! As soon as I can find (and afford) some fresh mint, I will definitely attempt making my own version of it.. So Good..

Maaria had mushroom bruschetta, I had a chickpea burger, and the side salad was also very nice. (My burger was a bit difficult to eat, but it was otherwise lovely.)

They had lots of lovely cakes available, but we were so stuffed, that we could only manage a slice of lemon drizzle cake each. I couldn't even finish my coffee, I was so stuffed! =D

We visited some more shops, and then returned to Naas. I took a picture of all my Tiger shopping (above). Two rain ponchos (I'd wanted those for ages, I'll keep them in the car), neck cushion (probably for the car as well), cute tin box of plasters, rye sticks that look like Finn crisp (I haven't tasted them yet), touch screen pen (great buy - makes it much easier to hit the tiny links and buttons on the tablet, and leaves less marks on the screen), finger skateboard (K already sent me one from Finland, but when I saw the cute tiny tools, I had to buy another one..), bead cutting nippers & round nose pliers, sheep tape, heart tape, toothbrush holder (for travel purposes, I think), kitty key chain with a torch & meow sound (I know... we were freaking out Maaria's cats with it..), stickers, and two gift bags, which I also used to carry all my shopping.. €31.32 for the lot! Not too bad.

We continued watching Brave, from where we'd left it the week before, but didn't finish it yet. We also tried to "box" one of Maaria's cats, who refuses to be boxed (for a vet visit), but it wasn't happening.. =) And then it was time for me to head home again - via petrol station.

The weather was gorgeous, and I was hoping to get some lovely sunset pictures on the mountains, but by the time I got there, it was all foggy again! Grrrr!!!

Oh, I saw that badger again - on the very same spot.. Dead.. This time, I was able to slow down enough to take a better look, and its face was flat, looking as if someone had driven over it (before it moved to the side of that small road).. My heart was hurting.. Had I been able to stop somewhere, last week, and go check on the badger, I'd have seen that it was injured, and maybe I could have done something to either rescue it or have it put to sleep (the latter option being more likely, seeing the state that little face was in..) I did have a funny feeling about seeing a badger in daytime, and in such place.. Whatever happened to the poor badger, to cause those injuries, must have happened shortly before I saw it the first time as it was still generally healthy looking (as quickly as I saw it), whereas now I could have instantly told it was dead, even if I hadn't known to look for it on that spot.. There was just something so obviously dead about it.. I have been kicking myself for not reporting it to some wildlife page or such, last week. It would probably have been too late, anyway, but this hindsight stuff never leaves you alone.. There really wasn't anything I could have done, there and then - had I stopped somewhere further on and walked back (quite a hike), I still wouldn't have been able to move the animal, if it was still alive.. Also, I'm not sure if that area even has mobile coverage (mountains..) But I wish I'd thought of reporting the badger sighting, at the time! Had I actually seen the facial injuries, obviously I'd have done something about it - I should have trusted that gut feeling, though. But there's nothing I can do about it anymore, and it's eating me..

I stopped at Lough Tay, to take a few pics.. Above, the fog I'd just driven through.. (Compare to the blue sky, in the previous picture.. It was like that, all the way from Naas to the mountains.. And then it got foggy.)

There was some more fog ahead (above), but it pretty much cleared after the mountains..

I stopped to do some shopping at Bray Centra, and arrived home just before 8pm.

Friday 20 September 2013

Naas, IKEA, badger.. (Thursday)

Applegreen petrol station in Co. Kildare.

I had a bit of a panic morning, on Thursday.. Maaria and I had decided to do another IKEA trip, so that I would go to Naas first, she'd drive us to IKEA and back, and then I'd drive back home.

I was about to leave home around 8am or so, went to my car, pressed the Unlock button on the key - nothing. Crap, I thought, imagining the key battery had died. Oh well, I unlocked the door manually, got ready to go, was about to start the car - nothing. Only then, I realised that the key battery was grand, whereas the CAR battery was flat!

I had to wake up D, to come and give Esmeralda a jump start. He's had some trouble with his car battery, so there was just enough life in it, to actually get my car started!

Edit; I forgot to mention the mind fuck bit.. Esmeralda's lights had been on, which killed her battery. It's just that I hadn't used any lights, the last time I was driving! It must have been my handbag or something, that had caught the switch while I was taking my stuff out, and accidentally switched the lights on without me noticing. It's easy not to notice the lights during the day - especially if you haven't actually used them while driving, so there's no reason to check that they're switched off.

One of Esmeralda's back tyres needed air, but I decided to drive to Kilmacanogue first, to get the battery charged a little bit.. (Even then, I didn't dare to switch the engine off, just in case - I'd taken the jump cables with me, though, for some extra security..)

Then, the hilarious bit; before realising that the CAR battery was flat, I'd played with the keys, and I must have hit the Lock button last, so that my alarm was on, when I got the car started - well, this meant that the hazard lights were going on & off, without me being able to control them At All, and since I couldn't risk switching the engine off and taking the keys out, I couldn't kill the alarm, either - until turning from Roundwood Road to Djouce, just to find a quiet spot to stop and do it. LOL.. I kinda felt like driving a stolen car, or something.. =D Live and learn..

So, anyway.. I made it to Naas.. It was more or less rainy, up to Sally Gap.. There was a beautiful rainbow, and then it got very misty, for Blessington Road.. I think there was some drizzle, after that, but nothing like the heavenly runs, the last time I did that trip..

On our way to IKEA, Maaria stopped to get petrol, and I spotted interesting kindling bags at the Applegreen station (see the photo above).. I made a mental note to stop there, on my way home (as I needed petrol as well), and buy a bag for crafties..

IKEA Dublin, lunch with Maaria.

As usual, we started with some lunch. I really, really, really miss the lovely meatballs, but since they contain pork, I'm not having them anymore =/ Not that there was anything to complain about the salmon options I chose.. I absolutely love the 'marinated salmon' (on the right, above), but since I was really hungry and that's more like a starter, I also had the salmon and spinach lasagne, which was fantastic! Well, I actually had the lasagne first as I didn't want it to get cold.. I had some bread as well, and lovely organic lemonade. Mmmm..

Then, we were ready to do some shopping. I was on a very tight budget as I had to save money for a casting trip to Dublin, so I'd made a list of stuff that I really needed, but you can't go to IKEA without buying at least something that you hadn't planned to get.. I only spent an extra €10, though, and it was stuff for Christmas, so nothing too bad..

I got some goodies from the food market as well (pics of my shopping, later on..), and then I felt like getting a cold drink or something. I queued up to the junk foody place, which is next to the food market, and saw their milkshake ad - I decided to have a banana milkshake (as there was no vanilla option in the picture).


Instead of getting a milkshake, I got a small paper cup, a regular straw, and a coin-like token, with directions to the milkshake machine around the corner. I was like, WTF?!? Had I known that I'd have to get it myself, I wouldn't have bothered! I was done shopping, I just wanted something refreshing before walking out with my stuff, FFS..

It turned out that the machine did have a vanilla option as well, so I got that. It was too thick for the regular straw (hard work to get anything through that straw), it didn't taste nice, it was too sweet, and it wasn't even that cold. Complete disappointment. I was wishing I'd gone to the vending machine instead, or bought something cold from the food market..

Mental note: never ever get an IKEA milkshake again.

Three of Maaria's five cats =)

We had tea at Maaria's place, watched the first half of "Brave" (I loved it!), and she showed me a beautiful quilt she's working on, then I showed her some stuff online, which I'm not blogging about =P

After getting petrol and buying those 'craft materials, I took the same route home, which I took the last time (as in, slightly different from the route in the morning), and actually saw my first ever badger, on the way! It was between Blessington and Sally Gap, and I wanted to stop and see if it was OK, but there really wasn't anywhere to stop, nearby.. It was on the side of a small road, definitely alive, but not moving, either. I just thought that it was strange to see a badger during the day..?

2 x Kusiner, 2 x Dröna blue..

Vessla green & white lid, 2 x Ribba white, Framställa green.

Craft material =)

Lingonberry jam, herring, mustard & dill sauce.

I also bought a packet of sliced smoked reindeer (mmm..), which was hard to find, and I only knew to look for it as Teemu had recently bought some! If it wasn't so expensive (for me), I'd have bought more, but maybe I'll get some more, next time..

Sunday 15 September 2013

Keep checking your bank account balance regularly

Birthday pressie

I'm not going to mention who, which bank, or which country, but as this is something that could happen pretty much anywhere, I thought I'd blog about this..

A friend opened a bank account, about ten years ago. There were no fees, but a minimum balance of §X00 (using the Simoleon symbol, for "neutral currency") was required. The account owner lodged §X000 (over 13 times the required amount), thinking it would be a nice amount for a rainy day, and never touched the account since.

Well.. They have now received an overdraft notice from the bank.

After the account hadn't been touched in a year - so, around nine years ago - the bank had started charging a monthly service fee of §X0, for an inactive account. They never notified the account owner about the fees, there were no balance updates (giving the impression that they didn't actually even want the account owner to notice, until they'd had a chance to milk the account dry..), but once there was no money left to continue paying the outrageous monthly fees, THEN they didn't hesitate to contact the account owner, expecting them to pay for the overdraft!


Even if you have an account that you're not using, and therefore have no actual reason to keep checking the balance, it's still a good idea to keep checking the balance regularly. At least it comes up as some activity, and if your bank is into quietly milking your account, at least you'll notice it before they've stolen ALL your money!

Saturday 14 September 2013

Switched! bitch

Having no digital box in the attic, I often watch The Big Bang Theory double bill on downstairs telly, after midnight (=when no one else is using the room & TV). Sometimes (well, often) I stay and watch other stuff after TBBT, like Family Guy, American Dad, or various repeats of older stuff, like Frasier, Friends, The Nanny, etc., while playing Tapped Out and facebooking on the tablet..

Many channels go off at 5am or 6am, so if I'm still in the mood for watching telly, it gets challenging to find anything other than news or shopping channels.

Sometimes, I catch an episode of Switched! - "Switched is an American TV series that ran from 2003 through 2004 in which two teens from different cities in the United States were given a chance to swap lives to see how the other one lived. Teens were able to experience the lives of others and experiment with new families and cultures."

Last night (well, this morning), there was a special episode - Perri and Miko Reunion.

I hadn't seen the original episodes featuring Perri and Miko (separately), but their Switched! history was explained in the beginning of the episode. They'd each done the regular switch, and then started chatting to each other online.

Miko's whole family seemed eccentric, close, and fun loving. They were into performing in general, with the father of the family being their own acting coach.

Perri was a pretty young wannabe actress, who couldn't wait to meet Miko and his whole family, seeing as they "shared her interests" of theatre, etc.. She seemed keen to participate in whatever performance art Miko's family were going to work on..

So, Perri was invited to visit Miko and his family, in Hawaii.

She arrived, there were introductions and smiles..

When Miko took her to a scenic spot and took pictures of her, she was still all smiles, loving the attention..

As soon as the family wanted to include her in any activities at all, she turned into a right self-centered little madam, who didn't want to do anything that might make her feel or look silly - which was pretty much everything, it seemed.. (Sort of made you think, good luck with becoming an actress, love.. If you're not prepared to try anything new, let's hope that your BJ skills are awesome as otherwise you've no chance..)

They were playing with masks, using them to develop characters - Perri refused to do it as it "wasn't for her"..

They were miming - Perri didn't really make any effort at all..

They were doing shadow acting, with Lee (Miko's father) referring to it as the oldest form of theatre - Perri wasn't interested..

They made a mask of her face, and she had issues with Lee applying vaseline on her face. She nearly made it seem as if he'd been sexually harassing her, FFS! How could someone expect to become an actress, when they can't even stand someone else applying vaseline on their face for mask-making purposes?!? (Ever heard of makeup artists? Oh, and even if you're a big Hollywood star, you still might not be able to pick who does your makeup for a film.. It's a part of your job to sit through it, so deal with it.) Perri was rolling her eyes and making frustrated faces, huffing and puffing in a really rude way.. She was asked if they should not make the mask, but she said "we might as well..", referring to her face having been messed with vaseline already..

When the mask was ready, she didn't like it.

Miko had a bit of a crush on her - at least in the earlier parts, when he was still a bit blind to her being a bitch.. Perri put all her stops on, telling to the camera that she gets guys having crushes on her all the time, back at home, and that she'd just deal with Miko as she deals with those guys.. (Yeah, I'm sure you do.. LOL.. For about five minutes, before you show your true colours..)

They went for a Valentine's Day meal at the restaurant, and Perri was saying - in front of Miko - that she was hoping to see some cute Hawaiian guys, like "that waiter".. How rude! You're someone's guest, they and their family have bent backwards to entertain you, they're taking you out to a restaurant, and you're acting like you're the fuckin' queen of the world and it's all about you, and like your host family isn't even there.. Disgusting behaviour!

Also, they took her on a boat trip to some gorgeous snorkling place. She complained about the boat trip being too long - she got bored on the way there - she wished that Lee would just shut up, etc. And she was really showing all this on her facial expressions. Nasty little piece of work..

On another occasion, they went for a rainforest hike - she "wasn't into hiking". They hiked to a beautiful spot where everyone went for a swim - she didn't want to swim, and didn't. Instead, she kept looking really pissed off, all the time. Some gratitude..

It was only a few days, yet it seemed that she couldn't wait to get away from there.

Really, really nasty person.

Miko and his family had a beautiful attitude, though. Although some of them did say that they found her a bit selfish (indeed!), they still hoped that she had enjoyed her trip.

Had I been them, I'd have told the bitch where to go.

Out of curiosity, I checked IMDB to see whether the little missy had done much as an actress, since the Switched! thing was from about ten years ago.. Not much of a career.. (Other stuff on her own resume, but considering she wanted to become famous - nah..)

However, Miko's brother has done quite a lot! Lee (the father) also has a bit of a profile, although he seemed to be more into stage / other live performances, than film.. Another brother seems to have worked on their own project only.

I just found it really upsetting, that some narcissistic bitch had the cheek to go and treat her host family like that.. They opened their home for her, they did everything possible to make her trip awesome (and she was the one who'd been gushing about their shared theatrical interests, and how she'd love to do all these creative things with Miko and his family..), and she refused to participate in any of the performance related stuff, she kept pulling faces, she wasn't happy with anything, and she couldn't wait to leave..

Of course, a person can grow and learn in ~ten years, but if you look at the photos of her (on her website and on IMDB, linked somewhere above), she still has that self-important fake smile on her.

Some Friday 13th..

Quoting from my Facebook status;

I had such a panic trip to Wicklow - on the N11, I could SWEAR I heard a "meow", from the back seat direction.. I went, fuck, did Oscar get in to the car while I had two doors open for a while?!? So, I was thinking, what am I going to do, I want to have some practice time before the test, which I won't have, if I go back to Bray.. So, I decided to stop in Rathnew and see if there was a cat or no, and if yes, drop the cat at the vet clinic in Wicklow, and phone D to go and collect him..
Stopped in Rathnew - no cat. Phew. (But WHAT was that sound?!?) I even looked under the bonnet. No cat anywhere..
Also, my passenger side windscreen wiper blade went - OF ALL TIMES, just before the driving test, and on a rainy day, too.. I dropped in to the petrol station in Rathnew - they didn't sell those..
I still had time to go and practice my three point turns and reversing around the corner, was feeling OK with those, went to the testing centre..
My rules of the road *etc* questions went OK, I think. Then we were off, and of course, he picked the worst of the three possible routes..
I forgot to use the hand brake once (nerves..), probably didn't use enough mirrors (nerves, mainly..), half-fucked up a junction (although, he did admit that it was partly due to the person driving down too fast from the right), and after all that, stalled as I'd sort of given up by then. When he asked me to turn to the same bridge, later on, I knew we were heading back to the testing centre, and I never even got a chance to do what I'd practiced, earlier on..
I would classify that as an epic fail, and unless I start taking valium or such, I don't see how I'll ever pass the driving test as I'll always be nervous. I just can't stand being in a small space with some stranger - especially when they're telling me what to do.

My learner permit is about to expire (as I'd had it for a long time before I even started my lessons, and then I had a 5-month break from driving, last winter..), so I had applications ready for a new learner permit and a full driving licence, although I pretty much knew that I'd fail the driving test.

I'll apply for a new learner permit on Monday - the motor tax office in Wicklow had already closed on Friday, before my test, so I couldn't go and submit my application after the test.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Late night spin to Wicklow Town

No, I don't have a Garmin - I was just charging that for D, during my spin. I was having a sushi break at The Murroughs..

As I stopped for petrol, in Kilmacanogue, on my way down to Wicklow, I had to buy a tray of Oishii Sushi.. Omnomnom.. (They didn't have my favourite selection, this time, but this was good as well.) I ate it in Wicklow while browsing the new IKEA catalogue. Then I drove around Wicklow as my driving test will be there, soonish..

Saturday 7 September 2013

Today's property tax protest

There was a property tax protest today, a few houses down, so I took some pictures. (I follow and support a few such protest / campaign pages on Facebook, but hadn't actually heard of this Wicklow campaign until yesterday, when that particular TD warned all the neighbours about today's "disturbance".)

I think, if you don't want people to protest in front of your house, don't give them a reason to protest..

Sunday 1 September 2013

Done with August

My ShutterCal - August 2013
August 2013, in my ShutterCal.

August briefly;
I drove to Naas, Maaria drove us to IKEA & Liffey Valley and back to Naas, and I drove home - I bought IKEA mini furniture (etc.), and a nice maxi dress.. I went swimming for the first time since 1999, and gave a swimming lesson.. I bought a (nearly) neverending watermelon.. I cleaned my attic Christmas lights, to be used in a roombox.. A long-time net friend died - we never got to meet IRL.. K did some mini shopping on my behalf, in Finland.. I went to The Hollywood Fair, with Maaria who showed her quilts there.. Thatsit had a mystery fall or something, which seems to have made her unable to walk normally - she's improved, but it's still ongoing.. I made a 1:8 / 1:6 roombox, mainly with the IKEA mini furniture.. I bought a cheap LIDL tablet (GoClever TAB R70), which is much better than what I expected.. I had lots of fun with the crappy tablet camera (0,3Mpix), and free effects.. I had an appt. at St. Vincent's Hospital, and there might be some surgery on the way - nothing major..