Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Why do I blog

Dervala's blog is a major influence on why I took up blogging. She tells the story very well over at her place. It involved a Google search for Wanderly Wagon, an Irish children's TV show back in the seventies - this took me to her site, where I spent the bones of an entire day, browsing through her wonderfully written entries. I quickly figured out that we grew up a few miles apart, and attended the same school, and therefore, must know each other. We did albeit in a vague friend of a friend's way. The coincidences rapidly piled up, and we became fast friends. Then, to neatly wrap up our little ball of sychronicity, it turned out she was considering a job offer in San Francisco. She accepted. It's enough to make you believe in reincarnation. We must have know each other in a past life to deserve such a delicious sequence of events. Read her version, and introduce yourself to one of the best blogs around. You won't regret it.

I kept a travel diary on an early Psion while myself and my wife, (then girlfriend), were traveling back in 97. My wife scoffed at the idea of trusting such valuable information to a flaky handheld. To this day she uses a pen and paper. I had a very practical reason for using a computer. My handwriting is illegible. If you got a spider tanked up on Scotch, dipped his legs in ink, and set him a wandering on a piece of paper, you'd get something resembling my script. My teachers in school despaired over my handwriting, and the ability of future examiners to read and grade my Leaving Certificate exams. A college lecturer told me she thought my results could be reduced by up to 15% due to her inability to read my erudite economics paper. I am still bitter. Anyhow, the Psion kept all my thoughts and opinions as we traveled from the UAE, through India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and into Australia. Almost. In a hostel in Adelaide I was horrified to discover that somehow the back up lithium battery had run out, when as the standard A4's had also died all my data was erased. ...... AND, I hadn't backed up to the flash memory cards I hadn't bought, but should have. Sufficiently chastened, I switched to pen and paper. The Fates however, decided my lesson had not been learned. On a flight from Beunos Aires to London, we stopped to refuel in Madrid. All the passengers had to disembark. As we were getting back on the same plane, and would have the same seats I left my travel journal onboard. Big mistake. The cleaners must have mistaken the well traveled but very tatty journal for trash and dumped it.

I was heartbroken, and furious, but what could I do ? The plane was leaving regardless of the whereabouts of my journal. The crew took my details and promised to contact me if it turned up. In short, there it was...... gone. I did, however make a promise to myself to keep a journal. I had found that I liked writing, it was a great way to document and clarify my own experiences and thoughts, not mention a good way to keep track lyrics and general musical ideas. Of course, life got in the way and I never did get around to keeping a journal. Then I came across Dervala's blog and realised that there was more to the blogosphere than naked partisan political ranting. Of course blogging had many advantages over a journal. My own little soap box on the corner of the Internet, no handwriting, easy access to online dictionaries, ( I can't spell for shit), and Google to search for quotes and the like, (so I could appear smarter and more educated than I am.) AND I could post photographs. I am an inveterate snapper, photos have been been the the real document of my life. So here I am...............

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Time keeps on slippin' slippin'......

He just turned three. Time is flying! Happy Birthday Shanie!

Friday, April 15, 2005

"Younge Peeple Of Ireland I luf U"

It's been a while. I was completely laid up with the nastiest flu ever. Ten days in bed and each morning I felt like a bunch of Limerick gangsters had spent the night working me over with claw hammers. To compound the effect, the whole thing mutated into a nasty chest infection. The media, online, offline, and everywhere else were full of death. The Pope, Terri Schiavo, Prince Ranier. It all seemed appropriate, because for the first time in my life death seemed attractive! Thank God, (I was beginning to feel the need to believe), or to be precise, Alexander Fleming, for antibiotics. I resisted taking any until a nice doctor, advised that I could either risk some very serious consequences in my weakened state, or just take the damn things. I acquiesced.
I borrowed a friends Xbox and between extended cable news marathons I Halo'ed myself into oblivion, blasting aliens to bits. The virtual violence took my mind off of how bad I felt. I discovered that Halo and Nyquil are a powerful combination - a free and legal hallucinogen. My nights were filled with fevered dreams of day glo colours, explosions, and bad ass evil aliens out to get me. Fun, fun, fun till Gareth took the Xbox away.
I really wanted to blog about the Pope's death, or more to the point, the Pope himself. Despite the endless commentary in all media, I rarely came across any thoughts by, or interviews with, people like me. People who were brought up Catholic, and who may have admired the Pope for his stand on communism, or the death penalty, but ultimately who had lapsed from any formal religious practice. In other words the people the Pope lost. Every Limerick child went to see the Pope in Greenpark in 1979, but when I think through all my friends today, I cannot think of one who attends Mass regularly, in fact I cannot think of one who attends Mass at all! Even more shocking I can't think of many who baptised their own children. That’s a pretty shocking statistic - but not surprising to those of us of that generation. Our parents worked hard to provide us with options, and almost all of us went to college. I don't think they realised how much we would rebel against the Vatican's convervative interpretation of church teaching. I don't think we ourselves realised how much we would rebel. The Pope liked to blame the church's and the world's problems on our materialism. He missed the point, educated free people don't need the panacea of religion as much. They ask questions and don't accept dogma so easily, especially when it seems to make no real sense. Despite his laudable exhortations to his countrymen to "be not afraid" in the face of communism, and his encouragement of peaceful political protest, he was utterly intolerant of any dissent within the Church. He came down particularly hard on liberal Catholic theologians. Real intellectual discourse was discouraged and even punished if it disagreed with accepted doctrine. Questioning was not persmissible and was often dismissed outright as sacrilege.
His position on women was particularly obnoxious. They were to be placed on a pedestal and worshipped. The Virgin Mary was his template for this. But even a rudimentary reading of the Bible would illustrate the she was one tough broad. She raised the son of God for cryin' out loud. She was an independent women who stepped outside her society's norms, as did other strong biblical women, Mary Magdelene for example. Those women would never have stood on the sidelines, worshipped but ignored.
Ultimately, people realised that they could have the life they wanted by simply ignoring the Church when they wanted to. Society had evolved to where there were no negative consequences to this. Initially, most people probably still attended Mass and broadly accepted Church teaching, but as scandal after scandal went unanswered by the Vatican and a whole new generation of kids grew up, they simply decided that the Church was irrelevant to them. And as things stand now it is. It will take a sea change to win us back.