Not A Real Post

I've already spent too much time online today--really need to define some limits--so I have a question not a post.

What is Twitter? And do any of you Twitter?

Okay, that was two questions. I don't think this is one I'm going to get sucked into (said that about Facebook, though) but I am just wondering what it is. It would appear to be a place to update what you are doing in simple one sentence statements(like Facebook) but without all the games, quizzes, tags, and pokes (not like Facebook).


Evil Librarians

I've done a very poor job of updating my reading list on my side bar of late so I thought I would do a bit of updating in a post.

First off, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson (inspiration for the post title--I don't know any evil librarians myself). Fun, fun young adult read about how evil librarians run our world by controlling knowledge and information--and, of course, our only hope is a 14 year old orphan. I picked it up for the title alone and ended up very please with it--only found out later that the author is LDS and lives in Provo.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin. The true story of an American who builds schools in Pakistan and why the work he does is so very important in the fight against terrorism.

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. A sweet little romantic love story that takes place during and just after World War II first in Indonesia (or similar setting) and then the outback of Australia.

Impossible Things by Connie Willis. A collection of short stories by an excellent Sci Fi author MBC introduced me to. Spice Pogrom was my favorite--imagine the silly romantic capers of the 30s and 40s (It Happened One Night) set in space with aliens. Loved It!

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. A story about a group of women who gather once a week to knit and find their lives weaving together in unexpected ways. (I read the sequel as well and didn't care for it very much so read this one then stop)

These Three Remain by Pamela Aidan. This is the third installment of Pride and Prejudice written from the view of Mr. Darcy. A fun, Austenesque read (books 1 and 3 are the best of the trilogy--I had one friend who skipped book 2 all together).

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. So very good. It is a classic for a reason. Don't let the number of pages turn you away from this read. It reads quickly and is so very well written.

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. I'd like to take a moment here to apologize for my not-very-good reviews. If you were sitting here with me I could tell you a bit more about why I loved these books, but finding the words to type just escapes me and tends to come out more as "I loved it," "liked it," "didn't like it." For this book, though, head here to MBC's review and you will find an excellent review by an excellent reviewer (who is not an evil librarian).

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. This is the story of the lone seventh grade Protestant boy of a small town during the late 1960s. On Wednesday afternoons he is stuck reading Shakespeare with his seventh grade teacher while all the Jewish and Catholic kids escape to their respective religious instruction classes. Loved this book.

Ok, so there you have the short list of a few books I have read and loved over the last few months.

What have you been reading?


'Nother Video

I don't know what it is with me and video clips, but here is another one for your viewing pleasure. This one comes to you courtesy of Jenny at Daily Blessings.

How Sweet Is This?



Saw this Oren Lavie video at Design Mom and loved it.

Man Candy Thursday

Guess whose pretend boyfriend was speaking Irish on CSI:NY last night. It was just about enough to actually name him my no. 1 pretend boyfriend. Couldn't find a clip of it yet so you will just have to make due with his pretty face.


Where Did My Spring Go?

Ummm, really I'd like to know. Cause Saturday it was 70 degrees outside and I was wearing shorts and planning BBQs and then this morning I wake up to snow. SNOW! I really don't know if I can handle this and so I am retreating behind a crochet hook, some hot chocolate (the last of the season, please), and some Spring music by Vivaldi. Then tonight I think I'll sequester myself in a very dark room, turn my back to any windows that might offer glimpses of snow, and watch Australia--pretty sure the Outback doesn't have these Spring snow shower problems. According to the weather report, such behavior may go on all week and possibly into next week.


Top 5 Things I Didn't Plan on Doing this Morning at 3 a.m.

Number Five: Share a bed with a two year old.

Number Four: Tickle the back of a two year old.

Number Three: Refill the sippy cup of a two year old.

Number Two: Pop popcorn for a two year old.

And Number One: Watch Mulan with a two year old.

Good thing I got a cute little nephew for all my trouble. I'm pretty sure someone told me all the details but in my lack-of-sleep stupor I don't quite remember them all. I think they are about as follows:

Born: This morning at 4:20 am

Weight: 6 pounds something

Height: 19 inches or so

Hair: Dark and lots of it.

Mom and baby are doing great. Pictures to come.


Irish 101 Take Two (Part 2)

Ok, you ready for more?

So as I mentioned yesterday, 2 British soldiers and 1 police officer were killed by Republican dissidents in 2 different incidents on the 7th and 9th of March respectively. The CIRA claimed responsibility for the death of the police officer and the RIRA claimed responsibility for the deaths of the British soldiers. (Yesterday I mentioned both groups as having broken off from the PIRA because they don't agree with a political approach in Northern Ireland)

So the first question is why were the attacks carried out? Well, basically they have not given up on using violence as a means to accomplish their goals. Why now? Well it is possible that it is in response to recent information that the British army is active in Northern Ireland again (from what I understand it is a small special force that has been asked to keep an eye on a few individuals in Northern Ireland) but I'm not entirely sure that they would have known this at the time of the attacks. What you also need to remember is that while the murders of a police officer and 2 soldiers is significant, it isn't as if the violence comes out of nowhere. Both groups have been involved in several bombings, attacks on the police, etc. for the last several years.

Perhaps even more than a mere use of violence this could be a recruiting tool. There are members of the PIRA or former members of the PIRA who disagree with the PIRA and Sinn Fein's giving up violence. These members (as well new younger potential members) may be convinced by these and other actions that groups like the CIRA and RIRA have the capacity and the will to carry on the fight in the way that they desire. More members (especially trained PIRA members) is a good thing.

In this line of reasoning, the attacks would very much be seen as a test for Gerry Adams. His response to the attacks could have angered hardliners in the PIRA (who support violence but who so far are basically following Adams and his move away from violence). Adams responded pretty much as well as anyone could have expected. He and Sinn Fein immediately condemned the murder of the Police Officer and took about 14 hours to condemn and label the deaths of the British soldiers as murder. Why the difference? The police force is currently viewed by Sinn Fein as a legitimate organization in Northern Ireland (it replaces the RUC which was never viewed as legitimate due to their targets of and tactics against Catholic communities). The British Army, though, is seen as an invading army and typically attacks on an invading army are seen as legitimate. I think Adams is fully prepared himself to now label attacks against the army as wrong and murder, but he has to be careful about how he does it so as not to anger hardliners who in no uncertain terms hate the army. Adams also has to be careful about his and Sinn Fein's current stance on the army so as not to in any way indicate that past actions that the PIRA took against the army were wrong or that those who died fighting the army were wrong. This would be very bad for Northern Ireland right now as those events seen as honorable and those individuals are seen as heroic by a significant minority of the population. I imagine in the 14 hours it took Adams to declare the murder of the soldiers as murder he and others were doing some serious calling around to shore up support and understanding.

Were they coordinated attacks?

The police in Northern Ireland say no, but I think yes. The groups are known to have relations and I think the attacks were too close together to just be a coincidence. Is it a huge problem that they are working together? It just depends on if they can sustain the attacks so only time will tell. They both are thought to have the ability to inflict significant damage if they desire it, but with the response against the attacks being unanimous across the board their desire may take a hit. Again time will tell.

How is everyone else responding?

Well, the loyalists met with members of Sinn Fein (did I mention that Sinn Fein is the political arm of the PIRA) to assure them that loyalist paramilitary groups would not retaliate. This is only significant in that not too long ago loyalist groups NEVER would have met with Sinn Fein for any reason much less to promise not to attack them. It is less significant in that I doubt anyone was really worried about such attacks. This would be first because there is not an equivalent attack to be made. Second because it would have played right into the hands of the attackers by escalating the violence (and giving greater legitimacy to any further attacks) and while this wouldn't really bother the loyalists they would be under significant pressure from the army, police, community leaders, and government leaders not to attack. And Third, an increase in violence would have brought more attention from the US which is basically seen as bad because since 9-11 the US doesn't have much of a stomach for or patience with terrorism and we can apply quite a bit a pressure on the area when we want to.

Other leaders in Northern Ireland? All very good. They joined together in a show of force against the violence. Although the police, I think, over exaggerated the extent that they have infiltrated the groups and downplayed just a little the potential impact--a really well infiltrated group shouldn't really have been able to pull off the attacks (although neither of the attacks were at all sophisticated)

Brown and the Brits? All good there as well.

Obama? Very good. Said exactly the right things. Everyone is really happy with him right now.

Clinton? Well, Hillary didn't do so good. She called those involved in the attacks criminals. Remember yesterday how I said the paramilitary groups don't like being called criminals? Well I can't really figure out why she would use that term--especially since one of the things Adams is having to do right now is keep his hardliners in line and it is the hardliners that would be particularly upset by the use of the term--was it a mistake? was it on purpose and if so what did she think would be gained by it? Whatever it was I don't think it was helpful to the situation. I don't know if I am explaining this point well. Let's see, remember what I said about Adams having to be careful about not seeming to indicate that past PIRA activity against the army was wrong or was criminal? Well Clinton's comments come dangerously close to indicating that past action was criminal.

And now the people of Northern Ireland?: As far as I can tell their reaction has been spot on as well, although it is hard to be sure from here. I love the how the BBC News reports on world events but they do a pretty shoddy job reporting on Northern Ireland--basically they leave out key facts that would be useful in ascertaining what is really going on there. So while they reported that thousands have marched in opposition to the attacks they don't mention who these thousands were. Were they all Protestants? Possible. Or were they a mix of the population? I'm guessing it was a mix just because the peace process is working and because the vast majority of the population never supported violence to begin with.

That is not to say that everyone in the population was against the attacks. You may have read about how when police went to make arrests they were greeted by mobs throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. This is to be expected because most of Northern Ireland is divided up and controlled by the paramilitary groups (the way certain cities are split up and controlled by different gangs in the US). So there are areas of Belfast, for example, that are controlled by the RIRA and CIRA and police going into those areas to make arrests will come up against resistance. That resistance isn't too worrying, though, as long as it remains contained.

So how does it remain contained. Everyone needs to be keep on doing what they are doing (except of course the groups perpetrating attacks). The only problem will be if the RIRA and the CIRA are able to carry out a similar attack again soon. If they can (and the Brits think they are capable of doing so) then tensions will escalate. Still I don't think things will flow over too much even if they do pull off another attack. The peace process is working and I don't think that they have the power to derail it and I think that all those who are working for peace do now have the fortitude to see it through.

If you want further proof that things are settling down head over to BBC News' Northern Ireland page. There isn't much there on the attacks and nothing new. Life goes on.

Questions anyone?


Irish 101 Take Two (Part 1)

So since Science Teacher Mommy was disappointed that my Irish lesson earlier this week was about the Irish language and not about what is going on in Northern Ireland right now (2 British soldiers and 1 police officer were killed by Republican dissidents in 2 different incidents on the 7th and 9th of March respectively) I thought I would provide her with my take of the situation (really I love to talk about this stuff so all you needed to do was ask STM--for all those who are groaning I provided a light-hearted fun post below). Now before I continue, I think it is only fair to tell you that I sympathize with Irish Nationalists (those who support the reunification of Northern Ireland and Ireland under the control of the Irish government). I, however, DO NOT support or condone the use of violence that has been used in an attempt to bring this about.

Let me explain a few points on why I sympathize with the Nationalists.

1. I don't think it is politically very wise to split up an island that has traditionally been recognized as one whole. Doing this causes problems (i.e. 40 years years of violence in Northern Ireland). The U.N. and the British both currently agree with this point.

2. A Good portion of my family came from Ireland and in doing my genealogy I have come to love them and identify with them. Add to that that much of my Irish family was in Ireland until the early 1900s and that I know through education (I studied this stuff as an undergrad and a grad) what the British did to the Irish to that point and beyond, and I feel angered by them.

3. As I mentioned above I studied this in school and most individuals who study this subject tend to at least sympathize with the Irish on the basis that the English/British/Northern Irish Protestants were just plain cruel in many instances and extremely discriminatory across the board. Fredrick Douglass, former slave and famed abolitionist, once said of the Irish, "no people have been more relentlessly oppressed on account of race and religion."

That said, may I also just add that London is my very favorite city in the world and that I love England a great deal. Still, I am a bit prejudicial and you should be aware of that in reading my take on Northern Ireland. Also I love the English and the Scottish (and the Welsh as well). As an American with no real first hand experience with the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland I can do a pretty good job of not being totally wrapped up in the passion of it all--I think.

Ok, now lets get some terms defined.

Nationalist: An individual who seeks the reunification of Ireland and N. Ireland but does not use or advocate violence in bringing this about. Tend to be Catholic--but please note that this is not a war of religion between Catholics and Protestants no matter how many times I refer to communities as being Catholic or Protestant it is just easier that way.

Republican: This term has changed a bit in the last 20 years. Initially, a republican was an individual who sought the reunification exclusively through the use of violence. Now though you might say it is an individual who seeks the reunification through any means necessary thereby allowing the use of politics--we'll talk about this more later. Always Catholic (to my knowledge). A small minority of the Catholic population in Northern Ireland.

Unionist: One who seeks to maintain the status quo (Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom) but doesn't not use or advocate violence to do this. Tend to be Protestant, but not exclusively so.

Loyalist: One who seeks to maintain the status quo (and to some extent to maintain N. Ireland as a Protestant state which actively discriminates against Catholics) through the use of intimidation and violence--and to some extent politics. Always Protestant.

Ok and now a brief history (there really is nothing brief about the Irish and this post is really bringing out the Irish in me--sorry):

Let's start with the 1960s:

The 60's in Northern Ireland saw the combination of many, many factors that ended up essentially exploding in every one's face.

First (in no particular order) let's start off with the discrimination. Protestants discriminated against Catholics in 3 primary areas: Employment, Voting rights/Politics, and housing. Without going into details here, the discrimination was often extreme.

Second: A Post-WWII education restructuring in the UK made higher education much more accessible to Catholics in Northern Ireland. By the 60's this meant a growing educated middle class who expected things like good jobs and voting rights.

Third: Northern Ireland was heavily industrial (ship building was big: Belfast is where the Titanic was built) and in post WWII Northern Ireland, industry didn't fair so well. This meant an economic down turn in N. Ireland and the loss of many jobs--jobs that were held by Protestants. So essentially, you have a Protestant community that feels economically at threat during the 60s.

Fourth: Martin Luther King Jr. (didn't expect to see that name here did you?) and his Civil Rights' campaign in the US inspired many in Northern Ireland to seek, through non-violence, civil rights reforms in Northern Ireland. As noted above, for economic reasons the Protestant community already felt at threat. Potential civil rights reforms exacerbated these feelings of threat.

Ok so basically in the 1960s you have a Catholic population who through education and world events feels that it should have equal rights with Protestants--specifically in the areas of voting, housing, and employment. And you have a Protestant population who feels threatened and is ready to fight back. And fight back they did with tactics of intimidation and violence. The real explosion, though, occurred August of 1969 when clashes between parading Protestants and Catholic residents of Derry escalated and then spread throughout Northern Ireland.

Where were the IRA in all of this? They weren't. And that was seen as a problem by many Catholics. At this time the IRA was reconsidering is stance on violence and moving toward the use of politics (especially socialism which they had hoped would unite working class Protestants and Catholics in rejecting British rule). As a result of this shift in ideology, IRA weapons in N. Ireland had been recalled leaving the Catholic population nearly defenseless. The RUC (the Northern Irish police force which was almost exclusively Protestant--and which was disbanded in the 90s as part of the peace process) both attacked Catholic crowds and rioters and lost control of the Protestant rioters who were attacking Catholics and Catholic homes. It was a pretty nasty situation.

With the whole thing out of control, The British eventually sent in the army. Initially the army was greeted positively by the Catholic community and were seen as restorers of the peace. But the army was placed in the difficult position of having to choose sides between the two communities. Either defend a discriminated against community that essentially wanted you and your government out (the Catholics) or defend a community, the government of Northern Ireland, and its police force that supported you and your government. Unsurpisingly, they picked the latter.

Now going back to 'where was the IRA' question, Republicans in N. Ireland were mad that they had been left defenseless by the IRA and this led to a split in the organization with those preferring political tactics toward reunification forming the Official IRA (OIRA--who still employed some violence for their cause) and those preferring violent tactics toward reunification forming the Provisional IRA (PIRA). The OIRA faded off and isn't really heard of much and the PIRA became what you probably think of as the IRA with Gerry Adams and 30 years of war against the Brits which began two years later in 1970. Since then over 3,700 people have been killed in the violence (perpetrated by all sides)--which if the US had been involved in a similar conflict the equivalent number of death would have been over 600,000--and over 30,000 people injured.

So now fast forward 10 years or so to Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikes of 1981 who were striking to reinstate Special Category Status which basically was a prisoner of war status. The status had been revoked in an attempt to criminalize and undermined paramilitary organization. None of the paramilitary organization felt they were criminals and were sensitive to this labeling (remember this for tomorrow). Additionally having POW status allowed for special privileges under the Geneva Convention that paramilitary organizations did not want to lose. 10 Republicans died on Hunger Strike and within 2 years all five of the hunger striker demands would essentially be granted but without any political status.

The hunger strike in 1981 was important because it would begin Sinn Fein's and the PIRA's move toward electoral politics (ironic since their very formation was based against the use of electoral politics). This, in brief, led to the break aways of the Continuity IRA (CIRA) and the Real IRA (RIRA) who both reject the use of politics in reuniting Northern Ireland with Ireland under Irish rule.

Ok, so I think you have enough background information for me to start talking about what is going on today. Except, I suppose, you should also probably know that since 1998 the PIRA has been on ceasefire (The US no longer considers it a terrorist organization), the peace process is moving forward nicely, and Gerry Adams is working in/with the Government of Northern Ireland while trying very hard to keep hard-line Republicans in line with his view that the time for violence is over.

We'll finish up tomorrow.

How Smart is Your Right Foot?

My friend Natalie sent me this email last week and I have been trying to outsmart my right foot ever since. Give it a try:


It is from an orthopaedic surgeon............and you will keep you trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your foot, but, you can't. It's pre-programmed in your brain.

1. Without anyone watching you (they will think you are GOOFY......) and while sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circle

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction. And there's nothing you can do about it! You and I both know how stupid it is, but before the day is done you are going to try it again, if you've not already done so.


Happy St. P's Day

When living in N. Ireland any LDS church sponsored dances I attended inevitably included the playing of a song titled "Tell Me Ma" about a pretty girl in Belfast. During the playing of this song EVERYONE would gather in groups throughout the room hold hands and proceed to dance in and out, back and forth in a circle breaking occasionally so that the Irish step dancers in the group could enter the circle and show of their moves. Even though I personally don't really like dancing, I do miss dances in Belfast for this reason. So here it is "Tell Me Ma" by the Sham Rocks.


Irish 101

As many of you know, I went to school in Northern Ireland a few years ago. While there, I attempted to learn a bit of Irish. With St. Patrick's Day approaching, I thought I would give you a few Irish words to use tomorrow--so that you could be all geeky and impress your friends. Now before I do this, I want you to know that my pronunciation is surely less than perfect and there are actually 3 major ways of pronouncing any one phrase. But for our purposes (of being geeky in front of our American non-Irish friends) what I give you should work just fine.

Dia duit. (Hello pronounced: DEE-uh git)

Dia is Muire duit. (Hello in response: Dee-uhs MWIR-uh git)

Conas ? (How are you: KUN-uhs TAW-too)

go maith (I am well: TAW may goh MAH)

Slán agat (Good bye: slawn uh-GUHT)

Slán leat (Good bye: slawn lat)

So there you are. You now have my permission to go and be a geek.

p.s. the Irish don't really do the whole wear green or get pinched thing


Do You Like To Cook?

Or more appropriately, do you like to bake? I like to think that I like to bake and that I'm good at it but in truth I don't do it often enough to really claim either hoped-for assertion. This may soon change as I have recently come across a new blog that I think I will like very much.

At first glance, though, I was not actually convinced that it was going to be the blog for me. This was because the most recent post posed this question: "What do you do with leftover cheesecake?"

First off, what kind of a person actually has leftover cheesecake (cheesecake is my favorite)? And second, if you do have leftover cheesecake (let's say you were hoarding it or something) then obviously the answer to that question is to eat it, stupid.

On getting past this silly, silly question I discovered a recipe that makes a really great argument for having leftover cheesecake--this argument involves chocolate (in fact the recipe looks so good that I believe it makes an argument for baking a cheesecake, scooping out the balls of cheesecake you need for the recipe, making the recipe, and then sitting down with the crust and whatever remains of the cheese portion of the cake while watching a dripping wet Viggo burst through the doors in LOTR, a dripping wet Colin emerge from a lake in P&P, or the perfectly dry kiss at the end of Anne of Avonlea over and over and over again).

Ok, all fantasies aside, I do really think this blog might be a keeper and not only because it has some great-looking recipes. But also because the author of the blog only posts about once a week. That is the perfect amount of postings for a site about recipes because I don't have time for anymore recipes than that and would eventually feel so bogged down by any more than that that I would sink down into a mass of tears for being the complete failure of the pretend baker that I am--that or delete the blog from my list of must reads.

So if after all the rambling above you are still interested in taking a look at this yummy blog, go here: Baked Perfection.


Note to Self: You Are Not Canadian

I was driving around town the other day when I spotted an elderly gentleman walking down the street looking something like this:

Only without the boots, the pants, and the rugged good looks--and in truth the coat was just a belted red coat and the hat was only similar. Here are the first thoughts that entered my mind:

1. I should slow down so he doesn't try to pull me over. Then I realized that a mounted police officer on foot probably couldn't pull me over.

2. I don't live in Canada and am not currently in Canada.

Why thought no. 2 came second is completely beyond me, but in the future I will try to do better at remembering that I'm not Canadian.


My Church is...

...very classy and well spoken. Read here.

Georgous photo available for purchase here.

How Do You Tell That It Is Spring?

Some people wait until our temperatures start hitting the 50s to decide it is Spring. For some it isn't spring until the first flowers begin to peak their heads out or the trees begin to bud. Some argue that March is a spring month and therefore spring begins March 1st. Some wait for a groundhog or other similar animal to tell them when it is Spring. And some perhaps look for birds to start flying north. I, however, know that Spring has arrived when baseball starts to get underway (technically, though, this could be said about me, baseball, and any season. When does spring begin?: Baseball's Spring training. When is it summer?: baseball. Fall?: baseball. Winter?: no baseball.)

This year I am doubly blessed. Not only do I have Spring training but I have the World Baseball Classic. This is where theoretically the US beats up on every other baseball team in the world while generally promoting the sport to populations less familiar with it. This is only theoretically true because two years ago (during the inaugural WBC) the US was the one that was thoroughly beat up on. This was doubly embarrassing for me as I was at the time living in Northern Ireland and everyone I knew liked to rub it in to me that we had lost to teams like Mexico and Canada (of course they did this without understanding that many MLB players are Mexican, Canadian, Venezuelan, etc. but there was no explaining this to them and it was still really embarrassing). I blame the egos that were brought to the ballpark by our supposedly top baseball players (I believe fans of the NBA will commiserate with me here: Olympics). This year the US has consciously put together a team with fewer egos and so far they are doing pretty good. And while I do want them to win, in the end win or lose it doesn't really matter because Spring is here.


Top 10 Things U2 Has Learned Over the Years

I think U2 keeps getting better each night they are on Letterman. Just in case you missed it, here is a bit they did for the top 10 last night. (As a bit of a side note, did you ever realize how short the guys in U2 are? I didn't. Either they are all really short or Letterman is a giant of a man.)


St. P-Day's Parade

Okay everyone it is time to make your plans for Salt Lake City's amazing St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Date: Saturday, March 14th

Time: 10 AM

Place: The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City (last year we parked on South Temple then walked over to the north edge of The Gateway which looks to be about 50 North according to the map I'm looking at--this location wasn't too crowded)

This years theme is "From Kerry to Promontory" (Kerry being Ireland and Promontory being Utah) and promises parade entries that "march with great precision smartly." I don't remember that from last year, but it is a good parade with lots of free candy and other green things. And besides this is your chance to support Polynesian-Irish and Mexican-Irish groups of Utah.

After the parade everyone is invited to attend the SIAMSA, or post-Parade gala which will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 279 South 300 West SLC (because on the 14th of March even the Greek Orthodox are Irish). This is were you can get a bit of Irish food and drink, pick up any Irish trinkets you may need, and watch some Irish dancing. (I don't want to speak poorly of Irish food, but you may want to consider stopping at The Gateway food court on your way down if you or your kids don't like stew and cabbage--not that I was ever served cabbage in the entire time I lived in Ireland).

Hope you can make it---oooh, just had a thought: I could make this an event on Facebook. Look for it there.



I nearly forget to remind everyone that release of Australia on DVD is today!!!

The Dark Side

Ok I did it. I succumbed. I joined Facebook.

In truth I didn't just join because everyone else is, but more particularly because I have a couple of friends who kept insisting that joining would help us keep in touch better. I wasn't entirely convinced by their argument and tried to convince them that blogging was a better way of keeping in tough but to no avail. So I decided that I would cross over and check it out--in partial hopes of strengthening my argument that they should cross over to blogging.

So I signed in and I've got to say that Facebook is creepy! At first I wasn't going to invite any friends until I had it figured out so I just skipped through that part of registration but even while skipping that part Facebook tried to suggest some friends and up popped one of Nemesis' sisters--who I only know vaguely. How???

Anyway, eventually I made it into my page on Facebook and found myself so confused at what to do (do I get to pick my own colors, layout--no? why? what do I do here then?) that I picked a couple friends so that I could see what they do on their pages. And may I just say that the speed with which some of you have accepted me as friends has frightened me--flattered as well but mostly frightened.

Then after perusing a few pages I settled in to work on my page. First off was to write something on my page so I clicked on the "what are you doing right now" bar and got ready to write. But then I didn't have anything to write. What was I doing right then? Obviously I was looking at my Facebook page. And pretty much that is what I will be doing every time I go to write something. If I ever get really connected I could see this option being a bit fun to add to via a mobile devise, but until then its literalistness doesn't work for me. Once I got myself through this conundrum I decided to create a few apps to show off my favorite movies, music, and books (only the lists aren't really complete because I got tired and bored--especially with the movies). And then I was done. What else do you do on Facebook?

Actually at this point I headed over to select a few friends and was again creeped out at how well Facebook could figure out who I might be friends with (I'm still working through all this so if I haven't invited you to be a friend come find me). But it was here that I faced the largest conundrum. It started with potential friends from high school. I stared at the page for a minute trying to decide if I wanted to reach out across the Internet and ask some person who I haven't seen or talked to in over 10 years to be my friend. I decided no. I mean really, if someone were to do this in real life we would just find it odd and a bit scary. Just imagine it: someone you vaguely recognize walks up to you and says "will you be my friend?" What do you say to that? Probably "sure." But then what? Do you make plans to get together everyday after work? If you can't imagine it look up 'Facebook in real life' on Youtube (thanks Science Teacher Mommy).

I eventually made it through that minefield, invited some friends, and sat back and watched in amazement as you accepted me as your friend. At first I was feeling pretty good about the number of friends I was amassing and then I checked out how many friends some of my friends had: 183; 248; etc. How on earth do you keep track of all those people? And if I am only 1 of 248 friends how will this system keep us in better touch?

So, in short, even though my involvement thus far as been brief, I am fully prepared to say blogging is way better. I get to choose my colors, my layout, write really rambling posts, and most of all check out your colors, layouts, and posts. All of these things inspire me. Facebook does not inspire me--but it might be a bit of fun.



U2 is on David Letterman every night this week. Can't wait! I guess any thoughts of getting to bed at a decent time will have to wait until next week.

I'm also thinking about going on Facebook. Somehow it feels like crossing over to the dark side (not sure why) and really it is not like I need another place on the Internet to neglect...but everyone is doing it, right? Will let you know what I decide.