Saturday, March 31, 2007

Horse jump

I cannot jump that well yet or that high. I definitely enjoy it though - I did my first jumps today :-) Great feeling; huge adrenaline rush !!!

Image source

Friday, March 30, 2007

Walk on a Friday evening.

I just got back from the walk around a part of the north side of Cork. It was chilly enough but I enjoyed it and took a few photos too. Still before I left I decided to immortalise my plant, my little jungle. Whenever I look at it, I am reminded of "Léon" movie by Luc Besson. The protagonist loved his plant.

Here come two more photos of my little jungle :-)

I chose only a few photos from my late walk tonight. I like this one for its strange dark shade of violet and the sun setting above the crane.

This one presents Cork at c. 6.30 pm. I am not sure exactly what appeals so much to me in this one. Maybe the cars whose owners head home after work - up the hill, as if toward the church on the hill. I guess it is the church in Knockaheeny but I am not sure now. I feel a bit ashamed of it!

Here the last three photos for tonight. One - of the steam over the Cork brewery. I will not name it as they do not pay me for any advertising :-) Here I must add I am not into industrial espionage; I deal with another kind of spying... The crane is here because I just like it. A person who works up there must have brilliant views all over the city and further away.

For me as a nightskyspy, the moon still remains the favourite celestial body.

The Good Shepherd - part one.

As I am in the movie vain, here goes another post - this time on "The Good Shepherd." The post will be short for now as this movie is multi-layered and it hard to grasp all the nuances of the plot just after watching it once. I will wait till it is released on dvd and when I watch it the second time I might add something more.
The film itself is dark and complicated or rather I would say obscure; maybe intentionally so as it is about a secret organisation.
The protagonist figure of Edward Wilson is inspired by a real-life agent, James Jesus Angleton, whose charismatic personality and thorough knowledge of his colleagues' private lives made people uneasy in his presence. In turn, his willingness to sacrifice (almost) anything for his country made him a tragic figure; Willy Stark was also a tragic figure but in a totally different way (about that I will write later).
I will try to get hold of the book by Tom Mangold on J.J.Angleton. The title is "Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton - The CIA's Master Spyhunter." Here is a review.
For those curious or those who have not seen the movie, here is the short summary of the plot.

All the King's Men - part two.

First of all I wanted to say that Sean Penn's perfomance in this movie is brilliant, befitting the king. I could not find any weak points in his acting (maybe except for the last scene of the movie but once you see it, you'll understand). I was not looking at Sean Penn on the screen - it was Willie Stark, with all of his cold calculation, love of power, readiness to destroy opponents using blackmail and other "dark" means. Still, Willie Stark had the magnetic and powerful personality and was able to give great speaches which won him the people's hearts and votes. He was a brilliant if controversial and corrupted-by-power politician.

In particular I love one scene from this movie. During one of his numerous speaches, Willie Stark says: "Nobody ever helped a hick but a hick himself." Catchy but straight talking.
(more quotes here but this movie is a must)

source of the poster and the photo

Thursday, March 29, 2007

All the King's Men - part one.

I just finished watching this movie and am going straight to sleep. I read the novel too - by Robert Penn Warren. I used to be fascinated by the Southern Literature.
Now only one more thing before I fall asleep. It took long time for Jack Burden to put all pieces together to find out what was going on. When am I going to put all the pieces together so that I can see the bigger picture if not the whole one? Is it at all possible?
"What you don't know won't hurt you." Food for thought - not for now though.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


High time to brake and go back into the slow lane of life. We have that great sunny spell now and sun is a great energiser :-) I feel so happy now and I smile more often and when I do it things get even better. I love spring and I am also very happy with things I am doing at the moment. I can say I do not lack anything. The feeling is great - of invigoration and of doing something meaningful.

I joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and today I chose the conference I will be a member of. I agree with Tinahely Women's Network: " Such displays of energy and good will put a spring in the step!" I feel spring already and it's intense.

Some people again quarel outside the Corner House pub. They get drunk and then get violent and abusive. I hope I will be able to sleep well tonight. If not I will call Gardai to calm them down. Some serious fighting is going on there now. I hope they will not kill each other.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Source of the image
Yes, daffodils because there was Daffodil day last Friday. I know it is a bit late to post about it on Sunday but here it goes. This weekend I could finally feel spring in the air as it was a warm weekend. I wish it were longer but this one was even shorther by one hour! Anyway, I have spent this time the best way I could and my horse riding lessons are always my weekend's highlight. Today I went for a short beach ride too :-)

A quick update here. I just read a comment from Donal saying that the photo above was taken by his brother. Here goes the link to the actual blog post.
Thanks Donal!
I really like this photo. I'm going to visit your brother's site more often to check on updates :)

David Irving denying Holocaust

"Historian David Irving, who denied the existence of the gas chambers at Auschwitz, has defended his views to reporters. He was speaking at a news conference in the UK after being released on probation from an Austrian jail.
The source.

In the light of the movie I just saw and just in general - for a person like me - such remarks are plain outrage. In fact somehow I cannot finds words to comment such a stance.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

I just finished watching the movie "Sophie Scholl - the final days". For a person from Eastern Europe, a person who is well read in the war history and war literature, a person familiar with various war diaries, a person whose own grandfather fought in this war, this movie cannot bring much revelation. Still, it is a good war movie - definitely worth watching. It is very different from other war movies I have seen so far.
Since the students form a passive resistance movement, the fight takes place at the university, in the students' flat and in the office where they are interrogated, among others. This fight also insists in overcoming physical tiredness, conquering fear and standing up for your beliefs. The scene of the verbal fight between Sophie and Mohr is so well done - using measured means to achieve a strong effect on the audience. The effect stronger for the message communicated - the message really simple and valid also today though in a different context.

Watch this movie if you get a chance.

The site the above image was taken from can be accessed here. I just got this DVD from one of the Chartbuster shops and it was the last one in the stock. I heard about this movie before so I really could not miss the opportunity. It is money well spent.

Deservedly Julia Jentsch and the director Marc Rothemund won the Silver Bear awards at the Berlin Festival. The movie itself won Bavarian Film Award. You can read more on it here.

On the White Rose you can get some information on this website.

Garda career

Source of the chart.

I finally found the mission framework of An Garda Siochana. The poster found at Garda stations i
s slightly different in layout but the text is what counts. You can look it up here. I am well into the subject of Garda recruitment etc. now and the link posted here actually is to the booklet for potential Garda reserves. Tough stuff; one of the requirements that must be met before you join Gardai is being resident in Ireland for five years. I only "served" half of that time. Well, who says it is always easy? I'll see how it goes over the next two years and a half. If things work out successfully, I will wear a very nice Garda uniform like this.


The new uniform includes:

  • Operational safety boots (with waterproof breathable membrane), manufactured to E.N. 345 Safety Standard
  • A new 55 m.m utility belt to hold handcuffs, baton and other items of equipment
  • A Two tone navy and yellow high visibility fluorescent jacket
  • A Blousson Jacket, waterpoof and lined with tabs to hold the utility belt
  • An Inner Fleece, zip detachable from Blousson Jacket
  • A Leather Belt with brass buckle with Garda Crest
  • A new type shirt with chevrons on right sleeve (for Sergeants)
  • A new Cap badge which contains corporate colours.
I may also decide to join the mounted unit. I have another lesson of horse riding today. In two years and a half I am sure I will become a brilliant horse rider.

There are a few options. I might become a detective garda as well. I have one more idea at least but that one is too fresh to write about.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A tent for Borat?

I found an interesting article on Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev wanted to have a glass dome built in the middle of the Asian steppe. You can read all the details here. I just add a small excerpt from this article.
"But the Astana skyline still looks more surreal than real - with its marble palaces, shining skyscrapers, metal structures and abstract statues, all surrounded by vast, snow covered emptiness."

After this huge glass tent is built, this capital city will look even more surreal than now. Technologically, it may be a huge achievement to build it and some claim it is to change the image of Kazakhstan as a poor and backwater country. Supposedly its aim also is to show that this country is not as primitive seen in the "Borat" movie but whether this is going to be achieved in this way is debatable. No-nonsense and pragmatical approach would work fine. How practical is it though to build a huge expensive glass dome in a desert called the capital when people in other parts of this country are poor? No doubt they are poor villages in Kazakhstan.
Money spent on this project comes from oil industry. Still, the decision to spend it this way was made by the president. I would like to know what the ordinary Kazakh people think about it. Those in Astana may be happy to use the dome but then make the president build such domes in other Kazakh cities too.

I find Dubai projects more appealing somehow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dreams and dreams

I got back so late from the Garda station last night that all I could do was say good night to myself in the mirror ;) Another mad busy day behind me - a full day at work, traning as SVdP volunteer and another statement session at the same Garda station. Never can I really sit down to read blogs and post some comments. I want to get away so much sometimes. It does not need to be a place in the photo, Ireland is enough for now but for the lack of time ... I will go to this place one day though - it was great to be there. For the first time in my life I enjoyed being so close to nature and wilderness and this was not always a safe thing to wander around. I love this place a lot and I miss it too. Now is the time though to pack any dreams and pragmatically head for bed. To say good night to myself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gardai - business organisation

Somewhere in the area photographed here is my favourite Garda Station. Those of you who know this city well and maybe happened to be in there, will guess easily where and what its name is. Some time ago it was funny to see a guy there who was trying to find out at which Garda station he had been kept and whether he had been arrested at all! Alcohol really does bad things to your brain cells. I do not avoid it but my alcohol consumption is moderate as I need to study for college. Among others I have some psychology stuff to learn and one chapter in my book covers motivation at work (Maslow!). While browsing the Internet last weekend, I came across various websites, including this one. It is the source of the image below.

Business2000 describes the activities and community programmes An Garda Siochana engages into. It is very informative and user-friendly and tells as well what it takes to be a good Garda. It also mentions what the Garda mission consists in and highlights its responsibilities as a business organisation. At college and at home I study about organisations (among others) and An Garda Siochana is the one I want to join. I have a plan on how to do it (all fingers and toes crossed it will work out). I am waiting for the Garda Reserves interviews to take place and in the meantime I have another call out - this time Garda HQ in Corcaigh. So I need to go.

My favourite Garda Station

Quiet and long Bank Holiday weekend is definitely over. Tuesday is almost over too and we are getting closer and closer to the next weekend :-). The weekend just gone was nice and lazy with few things things happening, which was good for a change. The brilliant rugby match between Ireland and Italy was a major highlight then though the Saturday night out was not bad either. Horse riding was good too but I still feel pain when walking; I strained muscles too much :-( Monday was the best though - very quiet, relaxing, spent on my own and with one visit at my favourite Garda station in Cork. Another EU citizen got into troubles and not knowing the English language, he needed some help to understand what was happening. Bank holidays are lazy days, conducive to binge drinking and so then people are more likely to get into troubles like that chap. Alcohol greatly reduces ability to think clearly and his example is a perfect illustration. First he does shopping and pays for everything in his basket but he forgets to pay for a certain bottle of clear and expensive liquid. Once he realizes that, he (!) goes back to the shop wanting to pay but it is too late to pay and he is arrested for theft. I do not condone theft and maybe he indeed wanted to pay and just forgot. He had the money after all. I would hesitate though if to come back to the shop and pay especially if already on bail for another offence! His forgetfulness, ignorance of the law and naivety can cost him much. He could tell his story in court and count on the judge's lenient sentence but I doubt it will work out well for him. Even if that was his conscience that made him come back, he could just as well not do it. There is a saying in his language that the stolen does not satisfy hunger (or thirst for this matter) and maybe he could not enjoy something not paid for so fingers crossed he gets away with a lesser fine. That depends on the judge.
Well, to get back to my main point here.
I was waiting at my favourite Garda station while the charge sheet was being prepared and I was looking at the leaflets available and at the notice board in the waiting area. There is the usual stuff - warnings about ATM scam, driving lessons ads, stop the domestic violence poster (the one with the woman taking off the opera mask). There is also the An Garda Siochana mission statement poster. I would like to reproduce here but it is nowhere to be found on the web. I tried all possible key words and nothing comes up. I think I will need to take it down from that Garda Station and scan it. I cannot do it though as I am not a thief :-). Well, so I must do without it unless you will help me out here. The reason I want to add it here is mostly to shop my support for the Garda organisation. There are quite a few reasons why I support them; explanation for one lies in the very name: Garda Síochána na hÉireann- meaning Guardians of the Peace of Ireland. They do not use arms in their daily activities (some special units excepted) and try to solve conflicts peacefully. I witnessed more than once. Their mission statement does reflect this no violence policy.
Since I do not have the source of the Garda mission statement, here goes their flag. Source.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lethal Spy's Equipment

As it turns out not every gadget used by James Bond is safe. Some are lethal and proved so by Metin Tolen, a physics professor at the University of Dortmund. I found the information in this article very interesting. You live and learn as always. Bond lives always; ordinary human learns.
Poster's source

No Grand Slam :-(


My source

Ireland lost its chance to win the title. We were so close to it!!! France won by 27 points and if they had defeated Scotland by 24 points only, Ireland would have made it. Awww it hurts :-(
It is so late now. I just got back from a pub, one of a few I went into. Good crack but no traditional sessions. Why is it so difficult to find a place where they would play Irish music? On Paddy's day?! Maybe next year so. Maybe next year I will wear a green wig, green earrings and I will wear more of a green stuff too. This year a green top and a little green shamrock lapel pin must suffice.
Good night.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Be part of the action

I can hear the Irish cheering on in the nearby pub. Does it mean that after the brilliant Ireland's win over Italy (51-24), the Irish won the Grand Slam? I am afraid one has to wait till the last match is over. I am back at home after watching the Irish team's brilliant performance. Go on Ireland! That would be great if they won the Title after 22 years - on Paddy's day.
Picture - courtesy of Eurosport.

Paddy's day celebrations

Today's the St. Patrick's day - the most famous Irish immigrant.

Time for celebrations and sure everyone celebrates in different ways.

The parade started at 1 in Cork but I am still at home recovering after a horse riding lesson. I cannot go out yet but I am bracing up for it. I had a long break when it comes to horse riding and now my leg muscles have gone kinda weak. It was hard to drive a car afterwards - very difficult to change gears and brake. Real fun - driving after riding :-)

I am not discouraged though. I am going there next week too. For now I will be going to Hop Island. Only when I feel confident enough I will try Monkstown riding centre. I heard they were better but I need to check it myself in what way.

This is what I love about Ireland. There is no shortage of horse lovers. Some love horse racing and betting (it was enough to go into Paddy Broker shop on Friday around 3.15 when the Gold Cup was about to start). Many love horse riding and there are so many equestrian centers it seems like a little paradise on earth ;-) Photo is the courtesy of AIRE

Thanks to St . Patrick there are no snakes :-) so it is good too. Horses and snakes is a bad combination for both plus for a rider.

So here I head off now to St Patrick St. I am lucky to live only a few minutes' walk from it.

Go on Ireland today!!! Rugby match is about to start so I am off ot watch it.

As they say on the radio - everyting is Irish today. I am a little more Irish too. :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My photo of the moon over Cork.

The moon came back after the eclipse - as usual mesmerising.

P.S. This is the first post from home. After bad experiences with a certain company, I just got re-connected with a different one. :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Lunar Eclipse - 03.03.2007

I find this one second best. It was taken by Andrew Cairns from Scotland.

Lunar Eclipse - 03.03.2007

I like this photo most - out of those I have seen so far. It was taken by Matt Ohman.
My source

Friday, March 2, 2007

Solar Eclipse from the Moon

My source

Books on loan

Besides catching up on movies, I am going to read. I am hoping to finish Sex in History soon. It is a long book and though it contains lots of interesting facts from history, it is also repetitive in places and gets monotonous.

This weekend I have loads to do so I also decided I need to stop socializing for some time. I need to study toward my exams but that's a different story.

I am going to the Grand Parade library soon and that is not to see my friend who works there. It's just time to renew my membership there. I was there today to see her and I thought I saw a murder scene there. The "garda, do not cross" tape in the library is an unusual view to me. It turned out to be a competition - to guess the name of the murderer. To guess it you must decipher three clues and read a book. Of course you must guess which book to pick. I guess it is done to encourage people to read more but the 50 Euro voucher will be an incentive too :-)

Still to come back to my main point here.
I noticed a certain regularity when it comes to how my relationship / enounters end.
It is nothing deep here - just the fact that almost every I either split with someone or our ways just parted I ended up with a book I had not managed to return to the owner.

I still have "Life of Pi" that I cherish the most out of those books "I took on loan". It is a brilliant and captivating novel and the story is still very vivid in my memory. Even after the two years that passed since I read it. It is a souvenir of a kind too. It does bring a memory of its owner... Sometimes I wonder how he is doing somewhere in the big world.

Back to the book though, here is what the author Yann Martel says about what inspired this story. I am looking forward to watching the movie too. It is to be released in 2009.

Another book I have is "Fascinating Paris" by Marc Lemonier with photos by Jacques Lebar (I have the version in English of course). It is a guide and as a guide it is very conventional. Still it may come useful when I decide to see the city of love. It may not be this year as I was in Milan already and the flights I booked are to a different country. Maybe next year though.

This guide is good enough so but it is not as interesting as "Paris Mon Amour" by Jean-Claude Gautrand (published by Taschen). I got this latter book as a gift and I know you can get it in Vibes and Scribes. I love some of the photos from this album.

From this person I also have Collins Gem Spanish - English dictionary. At the moment I have little use for it but maybe it will be handy when I am in Spain or in South America. You never know where you end up.

The last and I think the least interesting on my list is the book from my most recent encounter of the third kind. It is "HTML Goodies" by Joe Burns. I have no time whatsoever to open it and I know it is an old one. When it comes to computers, IT etc, everything just changes too fast. It is still there though, at my place. It is more of a souvenir. It serves also as a very peculiar reminder but that's personal. Well, so it is in a way very useful.

Anytime you meet someone, you learn. Because you learn, you move forward. You get experienced and you survive - so maybe that's the key to a successful evolution. Even if it is just a very small key. Maybe it does not make much sense as far as evolution is concerned after all but you do learn from your experiences with people.

The Last Emperor

The weekend has come finally and as always I can indulge in some other activities that I have no way of doing during the week.

Now that my laptop has stopped acting up, I will be able to catch with some movies.
Today (just to test the laptop) I chose "The Last Emperor". It's a very long movie - that's the first thing that comes to my mind now. What I found most interesting in it was the Chinese culture and age-long attitudes toward the idea of power and sexuality. I am still reading Sex in History by Reay Tannahill and I finished a chapter on sexual customs in China. Taoist sex manuals, Buddhism, consorts and concubines, Confucianism are only the few things I mention here but the writer describes much more in great detail. The movie only slightly touches on the subject and very indirectly. Still, it was interesting to watch. On the whole, he film presents one face of China - that of the Forbidden City and politics. I was very glad to take a look at today's post on Dark Roasted Blend blog.
There are good photos of Chinese landscape and daily life. Stunning scenery.


Tonight is the full moon but it is very easy to see. Especially that the sky is cloudless, which is a bit surprising after the rain we have had here this week. Cloudless sky or not, you would not see Saturn in the sky. The recent pictures of this planet were taken by Sonda Cassini (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute).

My source