Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Blood Diamond

This film is set during the time of the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. It is a story about three characters - Solomon Vandy, a fisherman played by Djimon Hounsou, Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler and arms trader played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Maddy Bowen, an American journalist played by Jennifer Connelly. Solomon and Danny are both African but they have grown up in different circumstances and have had very different experiences. Solomon is taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields where he finds a large rare pink diamond. He hides this diamond at great personal risk and comes into contact with Danny and then Maddy as a result. Danny sees the existence of the diamond as a way out of Africa and Maddy is interested in telling Danny’s story about diamond smuggling. Through these three people the audience is shown the effect that diamonds have had on the people in Sierra Leone and how international countries have played a part in it. This is a well written and acted film with three convincing performances from Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly. At times it was difficult to watch this film as it is quite violent in places but it is well worth a viewing. It makes you think about precious stones, where they have come from and what people went through to get them. Cubic zircona anyone?

Many thanks to 2fm and MOTP for the free tickets.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Vyvienne Long

Vyvienne Long played in Cyprus Avenue last Thursday night and Max Greenwood provided support on the night. Max was pretty good; he played the keyboard and sang some mellow songs. Shortly after he left the stage Vyvienne Long and her band made their way onto it. Vyvienne sat in the middle of the stage at the front and was flanked by two cellists. In addition to this there was a drummer, a bassist and a guy on keyboards behind Vyvienne and the other two cellists. Vyvienne played a number of her own songs including a delightfully quirky song about a guy on the motorway taking heroin and another one entitled ‘She can’t wait to get her hands on the inheritance’ with a vehement chorus of ‘it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine’. She also did some great covers with her own reworking of Pharrell’s ‘She wants to move’ and a nifty cover of The White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ which was featured on the second Today FM ‘Even better than the real thing’ CD. Vyvienne seems to be quite eccentric (you know odd in a good way) and kind of reminded me of a character from a P.G. Woodhouse story. She has an EP out at the moment called ‘Birdtalk’ which you can pick up in HMV at the moment for €7.99 - it’s definitely worth a listen.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Golden Boys

It’s that time of year again when the academy announces who is up for one of Hollywood’s favourite golden boys. I’m a bit slow off the mark with this post as the nominations were announced on Tuesday, but hey better late than never. I get a kick out of the Oscars even though sometimes I find them completely infuriating, the year Titanic won a shed load of statuettes being a case in point. Every year they suck me in and I hope against hope that they pick the most deserving film/director/actor/actress etc. and not just those films that have campaigned the hardest.

The nominations for best supporting actor (or the more pc title ‘best actor in a supporting role’) are:
• Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
• Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children (2006)
• Djimon Hounsou for Blood Diamond (2006)
• Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls (2006)
• Mark Wahlberg for The Departed (2006)

The nominations for best supporting actress are:
• Adriana Barraza for Babel (2006)
• Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal (2006)
• Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
• Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006)
• Rinko Kikuchi for Babel (2006)

The nominations for best actor are:
• Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond (2006)
• Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson (2006)
• Peter O'Toole for Venus (2006/I)
• Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)
• Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (2006

The nominations for best actress are:
• Penélope Cruz for Volver (2006/I)
• Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal (2006)
• Helen Mirren for The Queen (2006)
• Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
• Kate Winslet for Little Children (2006)

The nominations for best director are:
• Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
• Stephen Frears for The Queen (2006)
• Paul Greengrass for United 93 (2006)
• Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel (2006)
• Martin Scorsese for The Departed (2006)

The nominations for best film are:
• Babel (2006): Alejandro González Iñárritu, Steve Golin, Jon Kilik
• The Departed (2006): Nominees to be determined
• Letters from Iwo Jima (2006): Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Robert Lorenz
• Little Miss Sunshine (2006): Nominees to be determined
• The Queen (2006): Andy Harries, Christine Langan, Tracey Seaward

Of the best film nominations I’ve seen ‘The Departed’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘The Queen’. These are three very different films but I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. For me it would be a tough choice between The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine. It would be great if Little Miss Sunshine won, but it will probably go to one of the more ‘serious’ films. In terms of the best actress award it would definitely have to be Helen Mirren because she did a superb job in the role of Queen Elizabeth II. The rest of the nominations can be found on the Academy Awards website. May the best men, women and films win on the 25th of February.


Quote of the Week

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi, (attributed)
Indian ascetic & nationalist leader (1869 - 1948)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Handy Household Tip No. 1

Never hoover up sugar because it will solidify in the hoover and eventually burn out the motor.

Monday, January 22, 2007


The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and unusual way of speaking

How you live your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

Friday, January 19, 2007


Quote of the Week

I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.

Marie Curie
French (Polish-born) chemist & physicist (1867 - 1934)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Big Brother

The first time I watched Big Brother was back in 2000 when it started across the water. I was living in the UK at the time and I was curious about the programme (plus it was hard to get away from it). I haven’t watched Big Brother since because I’ve had neither the inclination nor the channels to do so. However last night was an exception. I had listened to gift grub on Today FM in the morning and heard ‘Daniel’ giving a run down of the goings on in the house and it sounded like Jade Goody was giving some poor Bollywood actress a hard time. By the way I’m aware that the current programme is a Celebrity version of the original but I refuse to refer to it as that. If Big Brother is on and I am staring at the screen with a puzzled and quizzical look on my face then I won’t be referring to it as ‘Celebrity Big Brother’. Anyway mini rant over, the upshot of my flicking through the eight channels available at my sister’s house is that I watched part of the Big Brother programme. After watching about oh…10 minutes of it I came to the conclusion that Jade Goody has a voice that could cut through glass and is clearly nothing more than an old fashioned bully. She has two sheep that follow her and guffaw at the appropriate moments; the sheep are Jo O’Meara (former member SClub7) and Danielle Lloyd (Teddy Sherringham’s girlfriend and a model). The victim of Jade’s bullying is Shilpa Shetty a Bollywood actress that has starred in around 35 films. The programme has prompted a record 19,300 complaints (this is a jump from a reported 3,500 complaints on Tuesday) about alleged racism against one of the contestants i.e. Shilpa. Last night a disagreement broke out between Jade and Shilpa, I believe it was over oxo cubes ordered from Big Brother as part of their weekly shopping but I didn’t watch enough of it to get the details. I did manage to catch Shilpa’s parting shot to Jade ‘You are famous for this [Big Brother] enjoy it’ before she stormed out of the room. I thought this was pretty funny (and so fricken true) but I’m quite sure Jade didn’t think it was that amusing. I think it’s a ridiculous programme made even more ridiculous by allowing Jade Goody to participate in it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Feeling Drunk

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Detox Time

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. January seems to have become the official detox month over the past few years. As each January rolls around there seems to be new detox products on the market. I normally scoff loudly and laugh in the face of detox products because I believe that drinking a bit of extra water and getting an extra hour of sleep at night can go a long way to helping your body get over the excesses of Christmas. But this year it’s different, my sister has introduced me to a detox product that I haven’t scoffed at and that has actually intrigued me. In the run up to my sister’s wedding (I believe we are roughly at T-10 ½ weeks), there has been a bit of a ramp up in her beauty regime. She mentioned last week that she had read an article in one of the newspaper supplements about detoxing foot pads and then a couple of days later she arrived home with a box of detoxing foot pads. So what is the story with these special foot pads that claim to detox your body as you sleep?According to the blurb on the Toxic Twins website ‘For thousands of years, Eastern medics have held the view that toxins go downwards in the body during the day and accumulate from the tips of the toes to the ankles. The Chinese believe our feet are reflective of the rest of our organs; hence they’re the focus of treatments such as reflexology and acupuncture. For example, according to Chinese medical knowledge, more than 60 acupuncture points are found on the sole of the foot alone.’The foot pads contain the following natural ingredients: Agarikus mushroom, Eucalyptus Tree Vine, Bamboo Vinegar, Tourmaline Bio Stone (FIR + Minus Ions), Chitosan, Caururus Chinensis Baill, Houttuynia Cordata, Oak Vinegar and natural starch. These dehydrated tree saps sterilize, detoxify, absorb and infiltrate. This is the foundation of their ability to assist reduce your body’s toxicity and so assist in disease prevention. The product is easy to use with just four simple steps to follow –
Step 1: Remove the sachet from the plastic and remove the backing from the adhesive pad
Step 2: Place the sachet sliver side down on the adhesive pad
Step 3: Stick to the soles of your feet (have a good night's sleep)
Step 4: Remove in the morning and clean your feet

Apparently there are no side affects to these detoxing foot pads. The list of their benefits is amazing – they are ‘great for relieving localised pain, relaxing muscles, as well as improving sleep and generally making you feel more energetic.’ The pads help the body achieve its optimum state of wellness (homeostasis), by supporting improved blood circulation, enhancing your metabolism and immune system and by activating red blood cells. If your body is overloaded from toxins then you may be suffering from some of the following complaints:
• Fatigue
• Bloating
• Constipation
• Poor digestion
• Weight gain
• Poor concentration
• Headaches
• Poor skin
• Body odour
• Bad breath
• Poor memory
The list goes on but it seems that toxins are definitely not good for the old body! If the detoxing foot pads work then they should have changed colour when you peel them off in the morning.

Being a good sister (not to mention being filled with overwhelming curiosity) I agreed to try the foot pads on the same night as my sister so that we could compare results in the morning. I duly followed the four simple steps as outlined in the instructions and went off to bed happy in the knowledge that I would be detoxing my body as I slept peacefully. In the morning I peeled off the foot pads and found that they had changed colour. Parts of the pads had changed to an awful sludge green colour which I’m assuming represents the toxins that have been removed from my body. My sister finished off the rest of the box of foot pads and then bought another one so I think she was fairly impressed with the results. I’m planning on buying a box and giving it a go for five nights to see if I can rid my body of the many toxics that seem to reside in my feet!

Monday, January 15, 2007


Miss Potter

I went to see ‘Miss Potter’ on Friday night after work and I really enjoyed it. The film is about Beatrix Potter, the English author and illustrator of Children’s books who was born in 1866. The main focus of the film is the story surrounding the publication of her books and the effect this had on her life. It tells of her relationship with her publisher and his family and her own family’s reaction to this relationship. Beatrix Potter had a great interest in animals and considered the drawing that she did of rabbits, ducks, pigs and hedgehogs to be her friends. She enjoyed the summers that she spent in the Lake District as a child with her family and later in life became dedicated to preserving farmland in this area. This film might not be to everyone’s taste but it is an interesting story that is well made and moving in parts.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Quote of the Week

If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

George Bernard Shaw
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)


West Cork Evening Sky

Monday, January 08, 2007


A Bad Night's Sleep

The plan was simple; get a sound night’s sleep and go to work a little early in order to get a good run at a busy day. Things were not the best when I went to bed with half a headache; you know the kind, not a full blown headache but sort of a nagging pain at the back of your head. Anyway I figured that I would be able to sleep it off. Unfortunately after tossing and turning for about three and a half hours I finally admitted defeat and went downstairs to get something for the half headache that had turned into a raging headache. A glass of milk and two nurofen later and I was back upstairs and more than ready to surrender to some good old sleep. Thankfully I got to sleep fairly quickly but I had mental dreams and when I woke up four hours later I remembered one of them vividly. In the dream I had broken a tooth (badly). This dream coupled with the fact that I haven’t been to the dentist in a while is making me a bit paranoid. I mean sure I don’t have a toothache at the moment but is my dream trying to warn me to get them checked out. Could they be silently rotting away unbeknownst to me despite the fact that I brush them regularly? Maybe I just need to find a new dentist…

Friday, January 05, 2007


Hairy Chest = Higher Intelligence?

I was listening to Rick O’Shea on 2fm last night as I drove home and he mentioned that men with very hairy chests are reputed to be more intelligent than men with very little hair on their chests. Needless to say I was curious about the concept of hairier men being more intelligent and consulted my good friend Google to see what the story was. Research carried out among medical students in the USA found that 45% of male medical students were very hairy, compared with 10% of the general population. A study of 117 male members of the Mensa society (those with an IQ of over 140) showed that Mensa members had a tendency to have thicker body hair and the most intelligent members had hair on their backs as well as on their chests. In southern India research was carried out among medical & engineering students and manual labourers which found that the medical & engineering students had more body hair than the labourers. In fact the top six in the class of engineering students were far hairier than the bottom eight. Does this mean that Tom Selleck and David Hasselhoff are amongst the most intelligent men in the world? I think this research is making a big generalisation… after all Albert Einstein apparently had no body hair at all!


Quote of the Week

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

Sir Winston Churchill
British politician (1874 - 1965)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


BellX1 in Killarney

Ratgirl and I drove to Killarney last Saturday for the BellX1 gig. We arrived around six o’clock and dumped our stuff at the B&B before heading in search of food. In no time at all we found a lovely restaurant and despite difficulties with the door getting in and out of the restaurant (which provided much amusement for the waiters) it was a delicious meal. I went the route of two starters and a dessert because I tend to get very full with a main course and a dessert. Needless to say I could have just had a main course and skipped the dessert but where would the fun have been in that? After the meal we met another friend and headed to the INEC where we met a couple of other friends. The support band started to play shortly after 10pm and we watched most of their slot. Then there was a bit of waiting around while the roadies got everything set up on stage. I think I’d like to be a BellX1 roadie for a while; it would make a nice change from staring at excel for most of the day. At about 11pm the screen behind the stage starting playing a scene from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film. It was the scene where everyone is waiting outside the gates of the chocolate factory for Willy Wonka to appear. Then BellX1 slowly came on stage and started playing. They played lots of great songs like ‘Alphabet Soup’, ‘Mr Benn’ and ‘Monkey 61’. Paul produced some excellent tourettes dancing which I thoroughly enjoyed. It is almost like he is suppressing his inner disco king and his dancing is only released in spurts of gyrating bliss. The band played a great version of ‘Tongue’ from Music In Mouth. It would be great to hear a couple of more BellX1 songs like it. They also played ‘Blue Rinse Baby’ from Neither Am I which I haven’t heard in a long time.

The last song that they played at the end of their encore was ‘I’ll See Your Heart and I’ll Raise You Mine’. This is a really beautiful song and one of my favourites but unfortunately at this gig it was ruined by a bunch of gobshites from Dublin. I have no problem with someone drinking at a gig as long as their drinking doesn’t disrupt my enjoyment of the gig. I have never seen a group of people have such a lack of respect for a group performing on stage or the audience that paid to see them. They were loud, obnoxious, rude and in love with the sound of their own polluted voices. I was so pissed off that I moved away from the group because I was afraid of what I would do, particularly to the guy in the stripy jumper who yelled out in the middle of this quiet song ‘hey you with the guitar you’re shite’. I’m a fairly peace loving person (despite bouts of road rage) but I really wanted to punch this guy in the face. Fair enough if you aren’t enjoying something yourself but at least allow the people around you, who have spent forty quid on their tickets, a fighting chance of enjoying themselves.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


What Kind of Food Are You?

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.

You pull punches, but people still love you.

What Kind of Food Are You?


New Year's Resolutions

I have never really made New Year’s resolutions. Probably because I don’t believe that I will actually keep them considering that most people last less than a week with their resolutions. According to Wikipedia the tradition of New Year's Resolutions goes back to 153 BC when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. Janus had two faces and could therefore look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

The following are ten prevalent New Year’s resolutions (that I garnered from google) and my response to each one:

1. Spend More Time with Friends and Family – Even though I live with my sister and see my parents and friends regularly I would have no problem endorsing this resolution
2. Get Fit – I joined a gym once and it’s an experience I’m not intending to repeat!
3. Lose Weight – I don’t think that giving up my daily intake of chocolate is actually the wisest course of action especially for those that have to interact with me on a daily basis
4. Quit Smoking – thankfully I have never become addicted to cancer sticks and have only ever dabbled with the Nicotine Queen in moments of severe drunkenness
5. Enjoy Life More – I’m definitely in favour of this one
6. Quit Drinking – Living without red wine, Jameson and baileys in my coffee? Not on your life!
7. Get Out of Debt – Having taken on a mortgage in the past year I won’t actually have a chance to fulfil this resolution for oh at least another thirty years (cue me reaching for a brown paper bag to breathe into)
8. Learn Something New – this is an interesting one, if it means learning to jive then yes I’m all for it but if it means taking up golf then I’ll give it a skip
9. Help Others – I like the idea of doing small things to help people out, not just flinging coins into a collection tin
10. Get Organised – Ah the ever elusive organised life, still you know what they say…’too much organisation can kill you’ (ok so I made that up but who knows a bit of disorganisation could be good for the soul)