Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Cousin Got Married

and some AWESOME wedding pictures were the result.

Maureen and Brian's Wedding. These were taken by the wedding photographer, who was a childhood friend of Maureen's.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Remembering Grandpa

Narrative written about a "happy memory", 8/13/07

Grandpa and Lyla came to visit us the summer I was 16, and Grandpa had to be taken to dialysis while he was there. One day, my mom and dad were going golfing, so they asked me to pick him up from the dialysis center. The clinic was in Gaylord, about 45 minutes away from our house. When I got there, he was still receiving treatment, so I waited with him and we talked. I also spoke with the nurse who told me that I would have to help him to the car and he would be very tired.

When I turned the car on, the CD I had been listening to, “White Blood Cells” by the White Stripes, blasted through the speakers. The White Stripes are a two-person experimental rock band for those who don’t know. We didn’t speak at first, and I assumed grandpa was tired so I didn’t push conversation and enjoyed the music.

All of a sudden grandpa pipes up. “Humph…this isn’t music,” he said. “This crap you kids listen to now a days, this isn’t music, it’s just noise.” Even though he had just insulted one of my favorite bands, I couldn’t help but laugh. I began explaining my point of view on why I thought the band was good and their music was as much an art as jazz. For the rest of the ride home we got into a jovial if slightly heated discussion about what makes music music. We both forgot about dialysis and just focused on the joy of talking to one another and the scenic hills of northern Michigan.

Friday, September 21, 2007

High School Flash Backs

I was told recently that I'm not the same person I was in high school. Even though the conversation was sad and disappointing, I ultimately took it as a compliment that I'm not the same person as I was.

Here is a picture of me at 16:

I'm the one with the crazy red feelers on my head. I'd like to think I've come a long way since then :)

Everyone changes after high school, I learned in Personality Psychology last year that those are the years that your self image and personality are prone to change the most throughout your life, and those constructs are finally stabilized sometime in your 30's.
I think the greatest challenge for friends after high school is whether they can change and adapt together or separately and if they can accept the other for their changes. I had a lot of trouble accepting that things weren't the same as they were in high school when I was fresh out and even a year after graduating. But if life and people never changed, the world would be a pretty damn boring. I'm trying to accept people for who they are or who they've become, now. I wish everyone did.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The World is Jill's Oyster

Jill has always been one to jump up and grab life by the horns. Her parents repeatedly recite that she can do anything as long as she sets her mind to it.

Jill is not the sharpest crayon in the box, however. She’ll complain that whatever she’s doing is harder than nails and avoid doing it at all costs. One day she doesn’t work her butt off at the beauty salon where she’s employed and won’t do a lick of work. As a result, she is kicked to the curb and promptly kicked out of the nest to live on her own. She becomes depressed but quickly learns to take things with a grain of salt.

Jill panics when she finds herself in quite the pickle with no home or job. But her boyfriend Jack comes to the rescue with an “I love you,” and a “will you marry me?” Without a moment’s hesitation, she’s run off into the sunset to live happily ever after with Jack, 2.5 kids, and a dog. Throw in the white picket fence and she’ll be happy as a clam, thinking this love was a match made in heaven. She’s forgetting that money can’t buy happiness.

Jill’s friends are eternal cynics, so when Jill says “Don’t worry, be happy,” they are skeptical. Everything is sex, drugs, and rock and roll in this modern world and the white picket fence has lost its appeal to people like Jill’s friends. Misery loves company, too, and her friends plan to end Jill’s marriage. Since all’s fair in love and war, her friends wickedly end Jill’s relationship with Jack. Jill’s heart breaks into pieces and she feels like a fish out of water for the rest of her life.

The moral of the story: don’t rely too heavily on clichés or your life will become one.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

In Retrospect

Wow. What a summer. I am writing this entry on my last day at my internship, only two days before I leave Dublin and Ireland for home, and I don't know when I'll return to this beautiful (but dreadfully rainy) island.

And what can I say about my summer. I find myself at this point, and I'm almost speechless in a way. How can one make others comprehend the feelings they have at the end of such a monumental and life-changing summer. How can I convey that this was the best summer of my LIFE and what that really, truly means? I guess I can't, I guess I have to wait for one of you to experience something as wholeheartedly as I have this summer for you to realize it. Experiences like this are truly once in a lifetime and are real gifts. If you had had such life altering experiences in your life, I congratulate you. If you have yet to "rock your world" quite literally...may I suggest going to Ireland at the drop of a hat? ;)

When it comes down to it, I'm a very sappy person. I'm very sentimental and I'm very cliche. I've come to accept this, because trying to not be is very exhausting, and it's more fun to be a "wear your heart on your sleeve" kind of person. I think that you live life in a very pure and compelling way if you just let everything affect you. It may be good sometimes and bad others, but at least you can say you're living.

With that, this summer has been wonderful and it has been awful. Things have happened to me and I've done things I've never thought possible of myself. If you are curious, I've written about a few of my experiences in Ireland throughout this blog. Overall though, everything I've done, every mistake I've made has been completely, totally, utterly WORTH IT.

This ending is so entirely bittersweet I can't determine which I want to do: stay or go. I'm going to miss everyone I've met in Ireland and Europe, but things have been happening back home that I'm anxious to get back to. This waiting period is almost killing me. Thinking about it, I've used up every resource I got my hands on in this trip, and this trip is over for me. I do love Ireland, but since my internship is over and I have nothing more to be here for, I'm ready for the next stage of my life. I'm looking forward to my classes that start in two weeks, going back to work and actually making money instead of spending it, my future trip to France, and what I do next in my life. I also miss all of my wonderful friends and family back home that have helped me get through the rocky times in my first time away from home.

I'd like to end with the last paragraph of my final paper for my Professional Writing class:
"This summer has been a whirlwind of traveling, adjusting to a new country, and trying desperately to make an impression on the Irish publishing world. Through trial and error and lots of pitfalls, I have come to find a little niche in this country and in this industry that made my internship a very good experience for me. Although the company and maybe even the country were not ideal for me, I learned so much about myself, about publishing, and about Ireland that undoubtedly will contribute positively to my life. I do not see myself following my feet to Ireland for a professional future in book publishing, but in retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing about my summer. It truly was the best summer of my life, and through the good and the bad, it helped shape who I am and am on the road to becoming."

I think that sums it up nicely.

note: this blog will not end with my summer in Ireland. Please keep reading for continued adventures in my mildly entertaining life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Mom Visited

Pictures from the weekend Mom and Theresa visited.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pictures from Howth

We went to Howth about a month ago. This is a beautiful little seaside town just outside of Dublin. You can hike on the cliffs there and it is truly breathtaking. Yeats lived there for a period of time, and I can see how it can be a very poetic place to live. If I could go there alone, I'd love to sit on the edge of the cliffs and write a poem.

Here are some pictures from that trip of the scenery:

Typography School

I am currently doing some research for a paper I am writing about typesetting that will be a final project for one of my classes this summer. This research has proven a bit difficult to do over the web, because there is little credible information on print typesetting on the internet. I find information on wikipedia, blogs, and interestingly enough, You Tube.

In my efforts, I stumbled across this video:
Typography School

It's a short film about a man who still teaches his students how to use printing presses. It seems pretty obsolete to me. And I do agree that he is an elitist. Have a look at the video though, it's quite interesting, if you're a dork like me and like learning about typography and typesetting.

Well, this video won't help in the slightest with my own to the drawing board!

Making a Book Cover

So last week started out like every other week with just spreadsheets and manuscripts. I'm starting to think I can do my work in my sleep, and sometimes when I forget to have my tea in the morning, I pretty much am.

My supervisor feels terrible (such a sweet man!) that this is all I do and sometimes stands up for me and pesters people for jobs for me when I have tried to pester them and fail. Well, this time it paid off. I like working with Inka, who is the in-house typesetter and designer because her work, besides actual editing is the stuff I'm most interested in. So, thursday she comes up to me and explains they need a book cover designed by that night. She then asks me to do it. ALL BY MYSELF! I thought this was a huge honor, for them to trust me with a book cover when I have no experience or anything.

It wasn't exactly from scratch, the book is a guide for finding volunteer work abroad and they had already come out with a previous edition. They decided they hated their previous cover and wanted a whole fresh new look that didn't look so much like a text book. They also wanted a collage of images to make it more interesting and as with all non profits to have their logo on it in the exact dimensions, colors, etc. that they had indicated. They even had a specific font I needed to use for the title! It didn't help that their logo was cherry red and puke green (soooo hideous!) or that Inka informed me that we could only afford to buy one image, but still had to try for the collage effect.

It took a couple drafts and about an hour looking for "volunteer-y" pictures on image databases on the net, but I came up with three different designs and one was chosen by my superiors and sent directly to the authors and organization for approval. If it is accepted, it will actually be published! This piece will probably be the highlight of my portfolio for a long time! I knew there was a reason I took this internship, I've been on cloud nine ever since, even though I've had to read about 50 (not an exaggeration) short pieces on giving birth (we are coming out with a collected short story book about babies).


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Save Planned Parenthood

I usually don't get political on blogs, but this issue is seriously pissing me off. I'm on the planned parenthood mailing list, and I keep getting emails about how politicians are trying to shut them down! Since I'm living in another country right now, I cannot contact my representatives to do anything about it, so I thought I'd let some people on this blog know about it. Please, if you care about reproductive rights, read this email that I have copied onto the blog. Thanks, guys. :)

From Planned Parenthood:

The anti-family planning politicians are at it again. Congressman Mike Pence is introducing an amendment that restricts critical family planning funding. We've seen family planning funding restrictions before -- but this one is different. Rep. Pence's amendment specifically calls out Planned Parenthood and seeks to ban Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide from receiving family planning funding.

This amendment isn't just unconscionable, it's unconstitutional. It's an attempt to punish Planned Parenthood for standing up for women's health and rights and justice!

Each year, more than five million women receive comprehensive family planning services at family planning clinics that are funded by Title X. These women are predominantly poor and uninsured -- two-thirds have incomes at or below the federal poverty level. Title X provides a critical safety net for these women, and without it, many women would go without the health care they need and deserve. For many of these women, Planned Parenthood is the only provider they know and trust.

Time and time again, anti-family planning politicians put politics ahead of women's health. It's time to put a stop to these extremist policies. Call your member of Congress NOW and ask him or her to VOTE NO on the Pence Amendment to the Labor-HHS spending bill and to speak on the floor against this attack on Planned Parenthood.

Representative Mike Rogers
(202) 225-4872

Call your Member of Congress now and tell your Representative that it's time to stand up for women's health!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One Month Left

Today is the 11th of July. I come home on the 11th of August. That means I have exactly one month until I come home, one month until all my papers are due, one month left of my life in Ireland.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I really miss my family, my friends, and certain aspects of my life back home (like working at OMERAD!) but on the other, I absolutely love the life I have created for myself here. I love Dublin, I love Europe, I love all the people I surround myself with.

Oddly enough today was the first time I experienced real homesickness. I just wanted to call home or call Ethan and I couldn't and it made me really upset. So, in some ways, being home will be a relief and communication will be a lot easier.

I think the reason I got to feeling so homesick today is I got an email from Liz yesterday. She described to me her adventures in Mexico and I am so proud of all the work she is doing and she made me homesick for her. She truly is my lifelong best friend, we've experienced so much of each other together and apart that our lives become inevitably intertwined even though we are thousands of miles apart. The email was definitely bittersweet because it made me realize that I will not see her for another 4 months even after I return home.

This weekend I am going to Paris and I couldn't be more thrilled. I belong there, no mistake about it. Without knowing I'm a french major and entirely obsessed with the culture, my friends here have commented on my unique and "french" presence. Hopefully the french won't realize I'm a phoney :)

I have fallen really behind on this blog and I apologize to anyone who reads it regularly, which I think is Leah and my mother, haha. I'm working on about 6 entries right now, so in about a week be sure to scroll down and you will find more pictures accompanied by hilarious stories!

With that, I will leave to finish Harry Potter the book in preparation for seeing Harry Potter the movie tomorrow. I am so excited I could cry. To those of you I know, see you in a month.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Paris, je t'aime

Ever since I got to Dublin I’ve wanted to take advantage of my big city living and go to an independent film centre. Within my first weeks, a coworker had already told me the name of one: The Irish Film Institute. It became one of those things I’ve been meaning to do but never quite get around to doing (along with going to bingo night hosted by a drag queen and going to see a Gaelic football match). When Courtney was in town, I was determined to get out into town and do more stuff that I would miss doing back home (not that I don’t get my fill of indie films). So, the last day she was here, we decided to go to a film at the institute.

We had tried previous to Sunday night, but unfortunately the film we had wanted to see was sold out…and for good reasons. We were smart on Sunday, though, and purchased our tickets in advance.

First, I’d like to describe the theatre. Tucked away on the distinctive cobblestone streets of Temple Bar, the IFI is a very popular spot on Saturday and Sunday nights. Maybe other nights, too, but I’ve only been there on those days. From the outside, the theatre looks very discreet, marked only by a small sign and a neon blue hoop that marks its location, so it’s very easy to walk by and not notice. When you walk inside you come across a long dimly lit hallway with a floor that illuminates and directs you towards the center area of the theater. Here, the ceiling shoots up and the space opens up into a nice meeting area. The bare brick walls are covered in recent and antique movie posters. In one corner, there is a cute little pub (where my supervisor and I had a cuppa one time!), next to which is a little café where you can get desserts, coffee, tea, and Hagen Daas ICECREAM. In the other corner sits a cute bookshop filled with books about film study, theater, and cinema in general.

After entering the theater the night of the movie, we had already bought our tickets, so we skipped the line and waited until the theater was open and we could choose our seats. While waiting, we all decided we needed some Hagen Daas, which pretty much ended up being our dinner because it was 6 pm. I got praline icecream and couldn’t be more excited to enjoy my icecream while watching a French film. Finally, after queuing for about 15 minutes we were allowed to enter the theater. It had tall ceilings just like the meeting area and a huge floor entirely filled with rows and rows of seating. This theater seemed odd because the rows weren’t split up at all, so they were rows of about 50 seats with no break. We sat in the middle and realized that the rows were so tightly packed together there was almost no legroom. I tried not to think about what would happen in there if there were a fire.

Now I’d like to shift into an overview and review of the actual movie, titled Paris, je t’aime. A lot of the technical information for the movie I got from The Internet Movie Database.

Paris, je t’aime is a conceptual film that was dreamed up by writers Tristan Carné and Emmanuel Benbihy. The concept included bringing together fabulous directors from around the world, including such favorites as Wes Craven, the Coen Brothers, and Alfonso Cuarón (the director of the Motorcycle Diaries and HARRY POTTER and the Prisoner of Azkaban), and inviting them to create a short vignette (5-8 minutes in length) around the theme of love and it had to be set in Paris. From this concept were born 21 vignettes that were set in different arondissements and were as uniquely different as can be, but still all tied back to the theme of love. At the end of the film, some of the stories were connected together to show how people’s lives can come together and we are all connected through our emotions and experiences in ways that might not be outwardly realized. The vignettes were a whirlwind tour of Paris, exploring themes ranging from tumultuous French politics to falling in love to losing a loved one to existing in a life without love to falling in love with Paris as an American tourist (the last one made me giggle incessantly) featuring a cast of famous Hollywood and French actors including some of my favorites: Gaspard Ulliel, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Juliette Binoche, Willem DaFoe, Gerard Depardieu (also directed), Elijah Wood, among others.

Since it would take forever to describe all the stories, I’ve selected a few I thought were especially cute or poignant or both and I will analyze and give a brief overview of them.

“Faubourg Saint-Denis”

This vignette started with a blind boy on his laptop listening to music. All of a sudden the phone rings and he hears the voice of his girlfriend.

There are times when life calls out for a change. A transition. Like the seasons. Our spring was wonderful, but summer is over now and we missed out on autumn. And now all of a sudden, it's cold, so cold that everything is freezing over. Our love fell asleep, and the snow took it by surprise. But if you fall asleep in the snow, you don't feel death coming.

He instantly hangs up the phone, devastated, thinking she has broken up with him. He then flashes back to the first time they met. He was walking along a back street and hears a girl screaming at a man begging to be let out of a room. Thinking there was trouble, he rushed to her window and asked what was going on. Around turns Natalie Portman, saying, “I’m rehearsing a scene, what are you…blind?” He replies, “Yes, I am.” And they fall in love. The next section of the movie is a whirlwind tour of their relationship.

“she would scream loudly for no reason”

He justified her phone call by explaining that they had been drifting apart, that the seasons of their love really had set into a winter, their love was in hibernation. The piece was a very accurate and brutal portrayal of young, immature love.

The present flashes back and the boy receives another phone call. He wipes away a tear and answers. It’s Natalie Portman, asking why he hung up. She goes on to explain that she was rehearsing a scene.


This was possibly the funniest story in the movie, obviously, because the Coen brothers did it (reference O Brother where art thou? and Fargo). The scene begins with a man (Steve Buscemi) sitting in a metro station, reading his tour book. Anyone who travels knows all about tour books and whether they are helpful or not. Some people swear by them, some would rather discover things for themselves. I prefer the latter, but Buscemi’s character is an avid follower of his tour book. He reads about the history of some of the famous tourist attractions in Paris, and then he reads that it is the lover’s capital of the world. He then notices some people across the tracks making out. All of a sudden, he is hit by a spitball and sees a bratty kid sitting with his grandmother. He looks back at his tour book and it tells him to avoid eye contact. He thinks this is odd and then looks up. The woman currently in lip lock across the way is staring right into his eyes. He makes eye contact. He freaks out. What will happen next?

Buscemi ends up getting kissed by a herpes-infested French girl, beaten to a pulp by her boyfriend, and left lying on the floor of the metro station for the next train to come. Before the scene ends, the young kid spits another spitball at him.

Moral of the story: always heed your tour book.

“Loin de 16eme”

A Spanish woman is shown lying in bed. Her alarm rings. The time says 4:30 am. She gets up and gets ready for the day. She gets on a series of public transportation with her baby, she probably lives in the HLM, which makes a very long and tedious commute to work every day. She walks into a dimly lit, dingy room with about 50 cribs that serves as her baby’s daycare. The baby cries. She sings it a song.

The woman then travels on another long series of transportation to her job. She falls asleep, she wakes up, and she looks exhausted, weary, and sad. She arrives in metropolitan Paris at a very well to do home. She walks in and is clearly a maid/caregiver. The matron of the house leaves and she is left alone again. She sighs. She hears a baby cry. She sighs. She walks to the baby and stares at it. (Why should you be crying…you have everything.)? She sings it the same song, with far less gusto.

This piece, although the only dialogue was basically her singing this Spanish song, was the most poignant of the film. It portrayed the trials an immigrant mother in France must overcome to support her own baby, sacrificing her own happiness and time with her baby to create a better life for it in the end. This piece made me very sad, as it should have.

I just realized how long this post is and decided not to cover the last two stories I wanted to. Just see the film :-)

Monday, July 9, 2007

A chat about my life in general

My tasks at this internship right now have become pretty regular and steady. In the morning I make spreadsheets that contain contact information for every single Professor in certain departments in about 20 universities around Ireland. If you ever want to consider going to school here, I can give you a wealth of information on it because I spend so much time perusing their sites.

In the afternoon, I head upstairs to the publishing department and spend my afternoon reading manuscripts. Since both of these tasks need to be completed soon and there's lots of work to do, this is what I've been working on for the past week and a half. It gets boring, but it has to be done by someone.

The other day while reading manuscripts I was chatting with the managing editor, Deirdre, as usual. She mentioned that she had to send one of the manuscripts off that afternoon to the editor so it could meet its deadline. I jumped at this opportunity to finally ask how things are run around here in the editorial department. Since, she is the only editor on staff, I always wondered how they got everything edited and where they sent it to, etc. She uses a few trusted freelance editors to help her with the editing process. She's met these people throughout her years of experience and she'll use each for different projects, different aspects of publishing, etc. I then asked how she found these people, and if they had just been hired from looking at their CV's (resumes) what she looked for in their education and experience. Overall it was a really great conversation. I even asked her what she honestly thought about my major versus an English degree, to which her response was that she would almost take the Professional Writer over an English major because our education is more honed in undergraduate than is an English majors'. I then took the opportunity to ask about grad school. She suggested that if I were really serious about publishing to get a degree in publishing or editing rather than in english, creative writing, or professional writing. These degrees were too theoretical to be practical in the real world. Then she went on to actually suggest grad schools! Higher education is much cheaper in Ireland and the UK versus in the States and she suggested a couple of great Masters degree programs in Publishing: one in Galway, one in Scotland, and one at Oxford. I don't know if I could actually see myself living here for a long period of time rains too damn much, haha!

I'm glad I jumped at the opportunity to ask questions, because I think I learned more about editing and what I want to do with my Professional Writing degree in that 45 minute talk than the rest of the time I've been here. It really got me thinking seriously about whether I want to go into book publishing, pursue my other career dream of translating, work for a music magazine (always thought that would be cool), or scrapping everything and being a ski bum/instructor for the rest of my life...okay maybe not the last one.

Monday, July 2, 2007

You might think I'm really competent...

But you'd be wrong. This summer abroad is my first time living on my own, completely. I have lived away from home before, but I've never been completely independent from my parents, my friends, and my general "comfort zone." This is my first time living outside of my hometown. On one hand, I am absolutely loving it, but on the other hand I am realizing how incompetent I am on my own. Hopefully, it'll get better as I learn how to be independent responsibly.

Today I decided to take deliberate action against my stupid mistakes after I made a completely avoidable one. (well they are all avoidable) After living in Dublin for a month and a half, I managed to take home the wrong bus. I think I was really tired and not paying attention or something, but all of a sudden, I was in a very unfamiliar part of town and being thrown off the bus because it was the end of the line. Oh. my. god. You do not want to not know where you are in a big city. What's worse is the ATM I stopped at on the way home from work wasn't working so I had no cash that I could use to hop a taxi. Imagine my roommate's shock when I call him with the words: "I just got kicked off a bus and I have no idea where I am." This story has a happy ending, though, but I've decided to be more cautious and to take better care of myself. No one is here to pick up my slack or watch over my shoulder like at home. I have to be my own mom here :)

I'd like to give you a list of some of the stupid things I have done, and hopefully learned from, while in Dublin (in no particular order):

1. Dropped a ten dollar bill on the ground
2. Lost all of my friends at a club and had to wait outside for them for two hours in fear of having to get a taxi home by myself
3. Got kicked off a train in can read further into this story in a previous post
4. Woke up having no idea where I was
5. Dropped a shoe on the side of the road, or a bus, never to be seen again
6. Dropped my phone in the sink while the water was running
7. Spent money thinking it was dollars and not euros and being horrified at my bank account after said purchases
8. Bought moldy bread
9. burnt meat in the microwave because I didn't know you had to put the microwave on "defrost"
10. Offended people from Northern Ireland with my ignorance
11. Lost a scarf that I bought only weeks earlier (sometimes I think someone stole it)

I will update this list as more stupid stuff arises. Hopefully, I have learned my lesson a thousand times over with these mistakes, however.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My second author spotting

So last week I got to experience one of the perks of publishing: actually getting a book out there and celebrating! Our company just came out with Irish author Alice Chambers' first book called We are Gold. The book is a humorous book about death and coping with loss (haven't read it yet). We had been talking it up around town for awhile and finally, last wednesday we released it to the world with a couple of good reviews in tote.

The actual Book Launch is usually put on by the publisher, but this one was different because a bookshop was doing the event. That meant that all we had to do was show up and look pretty, but the bookshop got all of the profits from the night. They had previously bought the books from us, though, so it's not like we were missing out on sales.

I arrived at the event and was given the task of taking photos for the website. The launch was in the upper level of a bookshop in downtown Dublin and it was completely packed with those invited to the event. The bookshop was serving free refreshments like orange juice and wine. A few people gave speeches including the editor of New Island, the author, and the author's college professor. It was short and sweet and all the books were sold! I was a bit bummed because I wanted to buy a book and have the author sign it, but I was promised I could get a signed copy later in the summer.

Afterwards the author invited us out for drinks with her family. They bought us rounds and we socialized and it was definitely the swankiest and most glamorous experience I've had in Dublin (or maybe ever), and the entire time I was wearing jeans...oops.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm a Modern Girl

Last week my friend Hasib came to visit me. I had just returned from Scotland and my cold/flu was finally subsiding. I was back to work with plenty to do. I was both relieved and sad to find out that the design of the website I had been toiling with the week before had been completed and completely changed in my two day absence. You can view the website Here. This is New Island's website, and they wanted me to do a redesign. Granted I am not a web designer, web author, or designer, but they thought I was fit for the job because I know photoshop pretty well. So I ended up making about a bazillion mockups, all under the critical eye of one employee or another, all to have my designs completely botched. To be fair, I didn't even like the designs they were having me do, but I was still a little irked when I found out my headaches and constant criticism were for nothing. C'est la vie in the workplace, though. Especially in a creative environment such as a publishing company.

So, with work back to being boring, I couldn't wait for Hasib to come and to actually go out and spend time in Dublin for the first time in three weeks. I was so excited for this weekend that I even decided it was finally time to get a haircut, after five months of abstaining from hairdressers. This ended up being a mistake because the cheapest haircut I could find was 45 euro. An interesting thing about Ireland, though, is that if you want to cut the price in half, you can opt out of the shampooing beforehand. I was not keen on this idea, though, and got the full on deal. I was ready for an awesome weekend.

Hasib got here on a Wednesday night. Since his flight was supposed to arrive at 7:30, I didn't think I could make it to the airport in time (yes, it does take me that long to get home!) I emailed him detailed instructions on how to get to the bus stop by my apartment, and then if we could not find each other, how to get to my apartment from there. I went to the bus stop at exactly the right time and began waiting for him. It was a normal Dublin night, if not a little on the warm side, and I enjoyed the fresh air (without rain!) Every time a bus drove by I jumped in excitement and nervousness. After four buses went by with no Hasib, I began to get worried. I began walking up and down the road, thinking I had missed him. By my calculations, he would have gotten on the bus at 8:45 and it was already 9:30. The bus ride is only about 20 minutes from the airport. Then, I got a call from an unknown number, I answered it hoping it was Hasib and it was! He had somehow managed to miss me entirely and get to my apartment. I galloped the usual ten-minute walk home and got back to a very travel worn but alive Hasib. We embraced and I served him a whopping plate of spaghetti I had earlier prepared for him. For the first half hour we could not shut our mouths, trying to vomit out all of our adventures at each other. My flatmates were amused by our rushed excitement and longing for a familiar face. I wasted no time in introducing Hasib to Irish culture. That night I had planned on a bunch of people going out to a local pub. Since all of us had to work the next day, we stayed near the complex and went to a very Irish and very old man pub. I straightaway ordered Hasib a can you go to Ireland and not have a Guinness at least once? The night was very laid back and everyone chatted like old friends. We got a little tipsy and returned home by midnight to get a good night's sleep.

Since I had to work the next day, my flatmate and I gave Hasib a crash course in navigating Dublin. He would be on his own in the city until 5 pm on Thursday until I could collect him at a well-known meeting spot. The next day I could hardly concentrate at work. I was worried about Hasib, I was excited for the evening's plans, and I was excited for what I would get to do at work later that day. One of my jobs is working for Brookside, which is a book distributor. One of the jobs for Michael, my supervisor, is going around to bookshops in Ireland and trying to sell them books straight from the publisher, mainly academic books. On Thursday, Michael was finally bringing me along to one of these meetings. So, I not only got to get out of the office and into the city but I got to learn about what Michael does when he’s not in the office. Although I highly doubt I will ever become a Book Representative, it was interesting to see Michael trying to sell to bookshops. He brings a big folder full of book descriptions and he and the buyer go through the entire thing and Michael explains the book to the buyer at the store and the buyer will then decide whether or not to buy it. What the buyer has to keep in mind is if there is an audience for the book, how many books to purchase, how much room the bookshop has to store the books, etc. After going to two bookshops, one visit successful and the other visit completely unsuccessful (the buyer forgot about the meeting and left the shop) Michael and I got some tea at a café. At 5, I headed out to meet Hasib.

After finding an excitable and slightly wet Hasib at Trinity College (it was, of course, raining), we purchased Hasib a bus pass and headed back to my apartment to eat dinner. For Thursday night, I had planned on taking Hasib to go see a live band at a bar. After much deliberation within the group planning on going and after Hasib and I had listened to a lot of horrible home-recordings on Myspace, we decided to go see The Bionic Rats in Temple Bar. You can listen to some of their songs by clicking the link. They are a reggae/ska band. We all met at my friend’s apartment before leaving. One of our friends ended up having a family emergency right before leaving, so our group was split in two and only 6 of us ended up going out. Two of the people were two new EUSA girls from Kansas University. After doing a little bar hopping, we finally ended up at the Bionic Rats show. The music was absolutely perfect. Their sound was amazing and just what we were looking for that night. Hasib, Dave and I all started skanking away (click on the link…it’s hilarious) the night. The two girls that came out were equally as fun and we had a very chill night of dancing.

The next day Hasib and I decided that the one touristy thing we’d really like to do together would be to go and see the Irish Museum of Modern Art: IMMA. Dave decided to come along on our journey and we headed out around 1 pm to try and find the Museum. Since the museum is in a part of town none of us had been to before and we were relying on my map that doesn’t give street names, we obviously got lost. The museum is in a pretty sketchy part of town so we began to get nervous. We were walking down alleyways (due to poor directions from a man in a home improvement store) and past flats with broken glass windows and loud rap music. The people we would pass on the street would stop and stare at us, asking with their eyes “what are you doing here” and we would scurry by trying not to make eye contact. What was odd was that in this very poor neighborhood we walked by an advertisement for a 100 euro Justin Timberlake concert.

We finally found our way to the Museum. It was between 3:30 and 4 by the time we actually got there. The building was very impressive; it was tall and made of large white cement or stone bricks. We started walking in and were stopped in our tracks upon seeing what lay in the courtyard. The cobblestones of the courtyard were scattered with a very unique sculpture garden. Some of the sculptors I recognized because Modern Sculpture is probably my favorite art form. Here are some pictures from walking around the courtyard.

Once inside, we had about an hour before the museum closed. Unfortunately one wing of the museum was closed and we only got to see one exhibit. It was still awesome, though, because the exhibit was almost entirely video installations. We would sit in very dark rooms and watch a ten-minute art piece and then move on to the next room. I unfortunately couldn’t take pictures in the museum, but the memories are awesome and I plan to go back with my journal. Oh, and after leaving, we found this cutie:

After the museum we found our way back to the city centre and did some touristy shopping. As is now customary with Dave and I, we went and got some shwarma…that’s how we do.

Then, we were off to the apartment to begin a crazy night that didn’t end for me until 6:30 am the next day.

I went to Edinburgh..and it rained

I went to Edinburgh, Scotland from June 8-10. I saw a lot of MSU kids there randomly on other trips. Can't escape your small world, you know? Still don't know if Nessy exists, but I have hopes to one day ride her.

Here are some pictures from that trip. Cheers.