Wednesday, March 27, 2002


I've just returned from Phase I of Spring Break, which was our trip to Dublin. I do believe we covered every square inch of the city center throughout the five days we were there. We hit lots of the touristy places, such as the Dublin Castle, the Book of Kells, and the requisite art museums. We also hit some more, er, out of the way places -- like when I dragged Crissie and Christine out to the docks to visit the exterior of U2's studios. Pictures were taken, fun was had, activities were kept well within the confines of the law, and no one was mugged. Hooray.

We stayed with a very nice elderly lady named Molly Ryan who likes to talk and talk and talk and say "God love ye" at any opportunity. She also berated us on our first night when we returned to the house at only 10:30, but we were forgiven for not staying out all night when we informed her that we were up at 4:30 that morning. She need not know that we are not really night owls by nature.

We took a lovely mini-bus tour of the Wicklow mountains just outside the city and saw where Braveheart was filmed (the nice people of Ireland want you to know that it was filmed in Ireland. Not Scotland. And don't let anyone tell you differently. No. Seriously. Don't put up with any cursed lies that Braveheart was made in Scotland. 'Cuz it wasn't. It was made in Ireland. So there). We saw a lot of sheep as well.

Another side trip was made to the town of Killiney, along the seashore. It's not really a town per se, as it is merely a big hill with big houses owned by incredibly rich people. But it has a swell beach. Despite the fact that it looked as though the heavens were going to rain down upon our heads at any given moment, the beach was full of nice Irish people and their kids and their dogs and their kites. So we went as well, collecting beach rocks along the way, trying to figure out which house was Bono's, and putting our hands in the Irish Sea, which we decided was really frikkin' cold.

We also discovered that the Dublin art scene is waaaay over our little heads. We went to see a play about (now follow me) penguins at a zoo who are under the rule of a king penguin who throws bad penguins to the lions. And no penguin play is complete without themes of incest, obsession, stalking, depression, and murder. And sure, let's have the people dress up in scary costumes and makeup and overact like there's no tomorrow. And have them sing. And let's produce the whole thing in a crypt. So what could have been a lovely, funny play about penguins turned out to be good old-fashioned nightmare fuel. We left at intermission, and then happened upon a courtyard showing an arty movie wherein a little girl shoots a sheep in the head to the strains of the Exorcist theme. All the while, some anarchist punks were beating the crap out of each other with a pogo stick along the back wall of the courtyard. It was time for us to go seek out the myriad other parts of the city where such things weren't taking place.

But all that aside, I really liked Dublin. It's the kind of place that grows on you. It's not beautiful, like Paris or Edinburgh, but parts of it (the waterfront by O'Connell Street and St. Stephen's Green) are really lovely. And the people rock. There's a quirky energy and character there that reminds me of Greenwich Village, except Dublin is very down to earth while New York is rather high on itself. Dublin's not all that great if you're in a tourist frame of mind, but it would be a great place to live, if one were so inclined.

Off to Wales on Friday then.



Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Dinner Time

So, I suppose the biggest drawbacks to spending eight lovely days gallivanting around London with your long-lost boyfriend are a.) saying goodbye to boyfriend who you won't see in two months, AGAIN (ah the joys of the nomadic student existence) and b.) spending three and a half days sequestering oneself in the dorm whilst writing and researching a paper on knighthood in the Middle Ages. It requires a lot of perseverence, discipline, silence, weeping, whining, and unwonted hostility to your innocent roommate, but in the end it all shakes out. Now my paper's done and Christine is no more terrified of me than she was before.

But I don't regret it. NosireeBob. I knew it was coming. And now I get to go to Dublin on Friday. Yep. Life sure does suck.

I've had random lines from Braveheart running through my head for about a day now. Should I be concerned?

"I love ye, always have."

"That's my friend Irishman. And yes, if you join me, you get to kill the English."

Anything the Irish guy says, most of which is unprintable.

"Why do you help me?" "Because of the way you're looking at me now." [big sloppy kiss and ridiculous scene in which we're to believe that William Wallace has just impregnated Sophie Marceau with the heir to the English throne, which is, like, soo historically inaccurate because Isabella was so two years old at the time and...oh never mind]

Never watch Braveheart twice in three weeks. It sticks with you. Like oatmeal sticks to your ribs.

Christ, I don't even know what I'm talking about. I think it's dinner time.

"That's something we shall have to remedy."


Friday, March 15, 2002

Jeffrey's Visit and British PSAs

I think this may be the longest I've gone without a web update. So for the three of you who follow this semi-regularly, I apologize.

If it makes you feel any better, the last time I wrote in my personal, handwritten journal was January 28. You, dear reader, are my number one priority...after boyfriend, schoolwork, job searches, feeding myself, bathing, friends, the Onion, bunnies, U2, Virgin radio, the Winged Nike of Samothrace, baked beans, and But you're right up there.

But I feel I have a valid excuse for my negligence. Jeffrey and I have been exploring London. We've done neat-o things such as Westminster Abbey, the Wallace Collection, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, and the British Museum. As an added bonus, John Ciocci was in town as well, and we spent Wednesday night taking strange pictures with Roman stautes at the aforementioned British Museum. Is it wrong that my favorite part of the British Museum is the corpses? I'm utterly fascinated with them -- how old they are, how well preserved, how they were found, and what was found with them in their tombs (if they had tombs, unlike the poor neolithic schmuck who was bashed in the head). I even bought a book about what preserved remains tell us about history. Understand please that I abhor violence and destruction, but once it's established, I love watching forensic science shows about how they solve the mystery. I think it's neat.

Maybe I shouldn't be telling you this.

I also truly loved the National Gallery. Art museums are such geeky fun. Going to a major art museum for the first time is great, especially if you just go without a guide and set off to conquer as many rooms as you can until you get too tired to continue and need to sit down and eat Indian food. Every corner is a new surprise. Ooh! The Supper at Emmaus! Ah! Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding! Golly! The Wilton Diptych! Neat! Some painting I don't know with some dude's severed head!

There I go again. All apologies.

Speaking of gruesome, the public service announcements here are way brutal to the point of being traumatizing. I remember when I was four years old and having to run out of the room when some of the drinking and driving PSAs in the eighties came on, and having watched British TV for a week in the hotel, I'm having severe flashbacks. One features a family of cartoon zebras who are about to have a baby, and the baby dies because YOU didn't give enough to the Baby Fund, or whatever it is. I was too horrified to catch the name of the charity. My favorite features a live action dad inflicting all manner of abuse on his cartoon son, who bounces off walls with little damage to his person -- until real dad throws cartoon son downstairs, who turns into a real kid lying unconscious at the bottom. Message: "Real kids don't bounce back." Robyn's reaction: "Good God, Jeffrey change the channel." There's a billboard of this ad campaign outside my dorm now. I'm thrilled.

Also, the ravens at the Tower of London are super neat.

And to think I thought I wouldn't have enough to write about.



In other news, the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London is my hero.


Monday, March 4, 2002


So the gals went to Paris this weekend, and I think that a visit to that fair city every three and a half years is far too long to stay away.

So I'll probably go back next week with Jeffrey.

I'm not usually one to throw cash and time to the wind in the name of a good time in another country. It's all a bit capricious and spontaneous for my pilgrim sensibilities. But Paris is worth the £60 train ticket and getting behind on your work (although this weekend we took the super-cheap, bus and ferry, £99-with-hotel-included tour, so fret not Mom).

Without getting too Hallmark-y, anyone who goes to Paris and isn't at least mildly affected by the place is a sad individual indeed. The whole city is like an art museum. Sure, it's a bit full of itself, but I think it's earned the right.

I am now being chased out of the computer lab by a man with an overhead projector. But Paris = good, is all I really wanted to say.