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
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.
Posted in Ireland | Comments Off on #YARRLAND @ Two YARRS

Three Times I Didn’t Vote

Not necessarily times I could vote, mind.

In reverse chronological order:

1. I checked out the anti-Trump protest in Vancouver tonight. That was a crazy election, eh? I didn’t vote, because of course I can’t: I’m Canadian. American elections are strange to us, because we’re so closely connected as countries, yet we have absolutely no voice in their politics. I didn’t predict a Trump victory, but I had the same misgivings that I had over Brexit: It’s not a joke. This could really happen. A lot of people aren’t happy. It doesn’t matter if they’re lies if people believe them. And lo, Trump the narcissistic egomaniac did win the presidency.

2. Over a year ago now (when Trump was still a joke) was the Canadian federal election. It came at the tail end of my two years in Ireland. I didn’t vote for a couple reasons: one, I’d never bothered registering with the Canadian Embassy in Ireland, and I’d have to do that before I could get a ballot; two, the ballot would’ve been mailed to me, and at that point I was getting ready to give up my apartment (see: Eurotrip posts); and three, I had very mixed feelings about voting. The truth is, as much as I cared about the Canadian election, it felt strange to vote after so long away. And it felt wrong to vote in the riding for my official Canadian residence (AKA my parent’s house), a riding I’d never actually lived in*.

And lo did Justin Trudeau triumph over Stephen Harper, and (mostly) everyone rejoiced.

* Actually, their riding includes the town where I finished high school. I only found that out tonight when I pulled up the election maps. At the time, however, I didn’t know I’d ever lived in the riding.

3. In 2015 I was in Ireland for the marriage equality referendum. As a resident but non-citizen, I was ineligible to vote. It was quite the experience, tho, from Panti Bliss’s speech at the Abbey Theatre after the Iona Institute sued RTÉ to seeing Paddies from across the world — because voting had to be done in person — converge on Ireland to make their voices heard. And love won.

Posted in General, Ireland | Comments Off on Three Times I Didn’t Vote

Macbook Data Recovery

Last summer the hard drive on my Macbook suddenly stopped booting. After panicking, I took it into work and was able to figure out a way of recovering my data, formatting the hard drive, and restoring Mac OSX without too much trouble.

Guess what happened again last night.

Stuff needed

  • USB storage (hard-drive, thumbstick, whatever)
  • A target computer (optional)

Step one: Boot into recovery mode. This is done by holding down the “Command” and “R” keys while booting. You should get a window titled “OS X Utilities”, with four options: “Restore From Time Machine Backup”, “Reinstall OS X”, “Get Help Online”, and “Disk Utility”.

Step two: Attempt to recover the drive. Click “Macintosh HD” in left pane. The right pane should give you a button to “Verify Disk”. Follow the suggestions to repair your disk. In my experience, these steps fail, but if they work for you, then you’re probably golden.

Assuming repairing the disk fails…

Step three: Mount your drives. You should see both the Macintosh HD and your USB drive in the left pane. Mount both. If necessary, you can format your USB drive to HFS first. This will probably be required.

Step four: Open the terminal. If you go back to the main window (in other words, close the Disk Utility programme), the menubar will have a “Utilities” drop down. Choose “Terminal”.

Step five: Copy over the files. Everything you care about should be under /Volumes/Macintosh HD/User/. Your USB drive should be mounted to something like /Volumes/Untitled (or a different path, if you gave it a proper name).

Step six: Verify recovered data. On another PC, mount your USB drive and make sure the data was successfully copied over. If you’re in Windows, you can use HFSExplorer to read the HFS filesystem. Note: If you can’t find the USB drive under “File” -> “Load filesystem from device”, open the programme again in administrator mode.

Step seven: Reformat and reinstall. Go nuts. You can do this stuff through the “OS X Utilities” window. I did this, and it worked for about a year. This time I think I’ll throw Linux on instead.

Posted in General | Tagged | Comments Off on Macbook Data Recovery

Multiplication Workshop

I’ve been playing Human Resource Machine. It’s awesome! It’s a little silly that I’ve been relaxing after a long day of coding by… doing assembly programming, but it’s a fun game.

Anyway, I’ve been hung up at the optimization challenges for Year 20: Multiplication Workshop.

The challenge: For each two things in INBOX, multiply them and OUTPUT the result. Don’t worry about negative numbers for now.

Optimization challenges:

  1. Use 15 or fewer commands
  2. Complete in 109 or fewer steps.

The first challenge was easy. The second was not. But I’m finally there, so… here’s my solution!


  • Register 0 is my counter
  • Register 9 is initialized to “0”.
  • Register 1 is a copy of the number to add in the multiplication loop
  • Register 2 is the final result.

There’s a little bit of trickery. If either input number is a zero, it jumps to an early exit. If the operand being used as a counter is larger than the other operand, we swap them. And to speed up the mulitiplication loop, I negate counter to take advantage of the “jumpn” command, or “jump if the current value in the accumulator is negative”. So the “BUMPUP” instruction increments the counter and copies the new value to the accumulator, and if it’s zero we exit.



    INBOX         ; read first input
    JUMPZ    f    ; jump to label f if zero
    COPYTO   2
    INBOX         ; read second input
    JUMPZ    g    ; jump to label g if zero
    COPYTO   0
    SUB      2    ; this bit compares the two numbers...
    JUMPN    h
    ; in this branch, the current value of the counter is bigger than the
    ; other operand. Let's switch!
    COPYFROM 0    
    COPYTO   1
    COPYTO   0
    COPYTO   2
    ; because register 2 already equals register 1 (instead of "0"),
    ; reduce the counter by one.
    BUMPDN   0
    JUMPZ    e ; jump for an early exit if the counter is zero
    SUB      0 ; make the counter negative for a faster loop
    SUB      0
    COPYTO   0
    COPYFROM 1 ; the main addition loop
    ADD      2
    COPYTO   2
    BUMPUP   0
    JUMPN    d ; we keep looping until the counter is zero
    COPYFROM 2 ; output the value in register two
    JUMP     a ; go back for new input

; This label is if the first value is zero
    INBOX      ; dump
    COPYFROM 9 ; copy zero from register

; This label is used if the second value is zero
    JUMP     b

; This is a shortcut to copy the second operand to the result,
; then jump back to the bit where we negate the counter.
    COPYTO   1
    JUMP     c
Posted in Code | Comments Off on Multiplication Workshop