Motown

Gavin kindly invited me to go watch Motown when it was in town, and it was good. There’s a story there about Berry Gordy and his life, and breaking black music to white America, and racial strife; but to me it was mostly an excuse to watch performances from all sorts of famous acts (done by imitators / actors, of course). I generally like Motown, so the show mostly worked for me. Huzzah!

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Year in Review: 2017

Previously:

Personal Deets

Nothing too much to say. I used the phrase “settled down” for my entry about 2016, but in truth I remained unsettled for most of 2017. I don’t talk about my work much because it’s internal, but suffice to say I spent much of the year working on a project that hoovered my time, and my other internal work goals remain unfulfilled. Also, as of November I finally got over leaving Ireland. It took two years, but all those conflicted feelings finally subsided. Now it’s moving back to Dublin that would put me through endless uncertainty and regrets and discomfort. 😀

Travel

Trip to Australia
That didn’t happen. It was going to be my big “I’m travelling again!” vacation, but work got busy and I didn’t take the time off.
Victoria, BC
I took some time off at the start of summer and hung in Victoria for a while. I went to the Royal BC Museum, toured the BC Legislature, visited UVic for probably the first time since 1999, and hung out with some friends I don’t get to see too often.
Vancouver Island
I visited my parents again… but this time my siblings came, children in tow. Much “uncle” time was enjoyed. We also went to the Filberg Festival in Comox, which was grand.
Staycation
I took a week off in October to deal with personal stuff and got sick, boo.
… OK, I still had the week off, so technically it should count, but BAH.
Christmas in Cowtown
Family Christmas in Calgary.

Events

The Critical Hit Show @ The Rio (repeatedly)
“But for the purposes of this show, we are no longer in the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia. No, we –” and now the audience joins in “– are in my parents’ basement in North, Delta. (pause) Where I currently reside.”
The Gentlemen Hecklers @ The Rio (occasionally)
Let’s see… I went to Hackers, The Wizard, the original The Planet of the Apes
The Museum of Vancouver
Yes, I finally went. After some ten years in Vancouver. They have a nice section on the original Musqueam village that Vancouver displaced.
The Celebration of Light
As a West Ender, I pretty much have to deliberate choose to not go see the fireworks, and even then it’s so noisy that I might as well wander down to the shore.
VanDusen Botantical Gardens
Again, after having lived in Vancouver for ten years, I finally checked out VanDusen. Great guided tour, lovely gardens.
VCON
For the first time, I skipped. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.
D– and H–‘s Wedding
Huzzah!
The Broadway Chrous – Honey, I Shrunk the Chorus
Good times, eh!
The East Van Panto – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
More good times!

Misc

Spelunky
I started playing after I moved back, and finally beat it. Such a good game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I bought a Switch in March and spent the rest of the month obsessively playing this game. I had to lend out the system just to stop playing it. So good.
Books
I reread William Gibson’s “Blue Ant” trilogy. I’d read the first two shortly after they were released in the 2000s, and they were nifty books, linked mainly by the presence of a particular character and the Blue Ant advertizing agency. The third book, however, pulls on characters introduced in the previous books, and when I read it in 2015 I was a little lost. So I reread the series, and yes, they’re very good.

There was also quite a bit of Terry Pratchett, mostly because I’ve been lending the books out to one of my coworkers.

Irish
I started taking Irish lessons via Duolingo. YES, I KNOW, it’s foolish thing to do some two years after leaving Ireland; no, it’s not because I miss Ireland (not entirely, anyway). I started doing it as a lark, and it’s really interesting and so different to English. I’ll see how long I can keep it up.

Summation

It was a quiet year. I think I finally rebounded, and I think I’ll make some plans for this coming year.

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Year in Review: 2016 (plus late 2015)

I like those posts I did about my time in Ireland. Let’s do that again, starting first with not last year, but the time period between returning to Vancouver and last year.

Previously: #YARRLAND @ Two YARRS, #YARRLAND @ One YARR

Personal Deets

It was a hard time for me, overall. It started well, with me travelling around Europe a while before returning to Vancouver. But it was also stressful. I’d given up my apartment in Dublin and no longer had a home base. My worldly possessions were spread across three different countries (plus wherever I was at the time). Travelling around by Interrail was great, but I used the flexibility as an excuse to not plan far in advance, and travelling that was was exhausting. And it got cold. So I came back to Canada, crashed at a friend’s place (for much much too long), and spent the next year feeling lost.

But it wasn’t all that bad. I eventually found a new apartment, got all my stuff out of storage, and settled down again.

Travels

Very quiet compared to my time in Ireland, here.

The return to Canada
I flew back and crashed a Hallowe’en party. 😀
Cançun, Mexico
Family trip shortly after I got back. Warmth!
Christmas on Vancouver Island
More family time!
Family Reunion in Calgary
Even more family time, but with even more family!

Events

The Critical Hit Show @ the Rio (repeatedly)
This was one of the things I missed from Vancouver. I’ve been to pretty much every show since I returned (minus the Christmas performances).
The Gentlemen Hecklers @ the Rio
Uh. Pulling from memory… I watched them heckle Road House, the Notebook, and the last two Twilight movies. Yeah!
Bard on the Beach – Othello
The Broadway Chorus performing The Supermusical: More Powers to You
In retrospect, this was very nearly a panto.
The East Van Panto – Red Riding Hood
This totally was a panto!
VCON
… Yep, back to VCON.

And undoubtedly some fun stuff I’ve completely forgotten about.

Misc

Found a new apartment
And moved back to the West End.
Rejoined my gaming group
It took a while for me to do this, actually.

Summation

It was a quiet year (and a bit) to be sure. I thought moving back to Vancouver was going to be easy, but it wasn’t. Much thanks to Gavin for putting up with me (and putting me up) for so long.

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#YARRLAND @ Two YARRS

Pretend I posted this a year ago, that I didn’t have to scrounge through my photos and calendars to remember what it was I did that year.

Also pretend I’ve been posting pictures and writing about my travels, because maybe that’ll encourage such content to magically come into existence. Although I believe it would still require some work on my part…

Notes from the first year

This will cover up to me giving up my bedsit in September 2015; so, everything before Eurotrip.

Personal Deets

After a year I felt properly established over there. For instance, one of the last things I did in Canada before moving was buy a big “CANADA” hoodie from HBC; I wore it once, then hid it away because it made me feel like a tourist. After a year, tho, I found it at the back of the closet and started wearing it again, because I no longer particularly cared what anyone thought — I was past the point of trying to fit in. Similarly, for my 34th birthday I didn’t make much of a fuss; for my 35th, I had a crowd of people at Foley’s Pub on Baggot Street, and it was great craic (a word I haven’t used for a year, now!).

On the downside, I had some issues with work, which I won’t particularly go into here. I had the option of getting my then-current (and present!) employer to sponsor me for a working visa; or I could’ve applied for other work in Ireland with the hope of sponsorship after my working holiday visa ran out. But I didn’t chase down those opportunities, which I greatly regret still.

But, on the whole, it was a good year! I had good routines established. I explored, traveled, and had adventures. My biggest regrets are simply that I let it come to an end.

Travels (off-island)

Cologne (December, 2014)
So many Christmas markets! So much chocolate!
Montreal (December 2014)
Family Christmas! My first time back to Canada since leaving. 🙂
Hogmanay (December 2014, January 2015)
Party in Edinburgh, followed by a New Year’s trip through the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. 😀 I had literally one night between returning to Ireland after Christmas and flying to Scotland for New Years.
Victoria, Calgary, and Vancouver (February and March 2015)
GottaCon was the excuse — and even though I managed to play an entire two games while there, it was totally worth it (doubly so since it became the final GottaCon). Followed by a trip to Calgary to see the rest of my family (fortuitously timed, too), and then to Vancouver to catch up with everyone I’d left behind and discover that the world moved on without me.
Brussels (April 2015)
Frites! Waffles! And a daytrip to Bruges!
Copenhagen (June 2015)
Another quick jaunt. In retrospect I should’ve taken the opportunity to pop over to Sweden, which is literally visible from Kronburg Castle in Helsingør. Nifty place, tho.
Spain (September 2015)
I went to Granada for YAPC::EU; Terifa for the beach; Tangiers mostly so I could said I’d been there. It was sunny and hot and everything I wanted, and for the first time in two years I had a tan.

Travels (on-island)

Bus trip to the Cliffs of Moher (November 2014)
One last bit of touring with Paul before he moved back to Canada. I’d already seen the cliffs, but I got to see some more of Limerick and the Burren.
Howth Head (March 2015)
Going to Howth is basically the Dublin equivalent of going to White Rock, except for the gorgeous walks. I never did go over to Ireland’s Eye…
Car racing in Naas (July 2015)
With Pete and Jenn. Because there’s car racing in Ireland, for reals.
Belfast again! (July 2015)
Again with Pete and Jenn. We were hanging out a lot at the point. And Belfast is awesome, and they knew exactly where to go (St. George’s Market) for delicious doughnuts and cuban sandwiches.
Bray to Greystones walk (August 2015)
10 klicks along the hills against the ocean. Ended by going up Bray Head yet again. Beautiful.

Touristy stuff in Dublin

St. Patrick’s Cathedral (January 2015)
It took me a year, but I finally checked it out.
Dublin Castle (June 2015)
I finally took a tour of the place, and it was surprizingly awesome, actually! It’s much more impressive on the inside, plus interesting history (including an explanation of why it’s still called “Dublin Castle”, when it’s clearly a palace).
Government Buildings (August 2015?)
I got to go instead the Taoiseach’s office. For my fellow Canadians, think the Prime Minister’s Office. We didn’t go to the Dáil, but we saw pretty much everything else.
Phoenix Park.
Saw the deer, did I. At one point I tried to get a tour of Áras an Uachtaráin, but the tickets were gone ridiculously early in the morning.
Took the Viking Splash tour
You see the aquabuses touring around Dublin, filled with people wearing Viking helmets yelling “YARR!” at random people. How could I resist?
Dublin Writers Museum
Better than I’d expected, actually!
Dublin Print Museum
In Beggars Bush, right by my place. Has a copy of the 1916 proclamation.
Traditional Music Tour in Temple Bar
A fellow I knew from UNBC was meeting with some friends of his in Dublin, and invited me to join ’em. It was grand.
Trad at O’Donohue’s
Remember me to the pubs of Baggot Street. Tho, funny, the bartender said he was sick of trad.
Glasnevin Cemetery and Dublin Botanical Gardens
Fun fact: Parnell was buried in a cholera pit. And I walked across the Angel’s Square before I found out what it was…
Iveagh Gardens
A hidden park just south of Stephen’s Green. It took a while for me to find an entrance, but it was well worth it.

Shout outs

Rather, experiences I don’t want to forget.

My commute
Mornings: Walk across the bridge and down Lower Mount Street to Merrion Square, turning right at the end of the park. Swing left to grab a morning flat white and pan au chocolate at Cafe Tri Via, then cut through Trinity College Dublin all the way to College Green.
Return #1: Walk down Grafton to Nassau Street. Follow it all the way to Merrion Square, across the bridge, and then home.
Return #2: Walk down Grafton Street to St. Stephen’s Green. Continue on to Baggot Street. Pop into Tesco’s for groceries, and then make my way back to the Grand Canal and home.
Cake Cafe
How to get there:
1) Find the decoupage store on Camden Street.
2) Walk through the store and out the back exit.
3) Cake and coffee!
Aussie BBQ
This is from memory, but I’m pretty sure I ordered crocodile, kangaroo, and chicken skewers. Definitely three types of meat, and I’m 90% certain about the crocodile
Krust
A friend worked there. I popped in randomly over lunch one day and it was crazy busy, and there was some sort of photo op going on in the back. It turns out the Taoiseach was there, and I’d forgotten my phone at work. >_>
Meetup groups.
They were how I met people, honestly. If I hadn’t tried them out I would’ve been miserable.
Insomnia Coffee
Seriously, my plan every weekend involved wandering into an Insomnia and ordering a large cappucino with a brownie for four euros. Such a great deal.
Costa Coffee
I went there nearly every workday in the afternoon. It was the perfect excuse to walk down Fleet Street, get a sample of the goings-on in Temple Bar, and peruse the Friday book market.
Weekend walks
Pretty much every weekend I’d either wander to Grafton Street, or through Herbert Park, or go along the river Poddle, or even the Sandymount Strand.
Eddie Rockets on Baggot Street Upper
For when I didn’t particularly want to cook.
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