Page 6 of 9« First...45678...Last »

Part VI: Dublin Still – Trinity College

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

I keep hearing, or more specifically noticing lots of emergency vehicles hauling ass around all hours of day and night. Don’t hear much of that at K2…but I guess the jets and props make it up in volume. I think I noticed it more so because it was so unusual. I suppose the fire trucks here on base must have sirens, but I have never heard them, and when they are testing the alarms for “we are under attack” it sounds completely different.

Saw this interesting commercial. Now, for a fairly horrifying commercial, I am going to go ahead and say that it was amazingly well done. It started off with a smiling teenager and the narrative, “Tonight he’s going to hit his girlfriend so hard she’ll have brain damage.” It shows them piling into a car, driving around not paying a whole lot of attention, then very vividly shows them running into another vehicle, charting in slow motion each of the 4 individuals smashing into various things and flying about the vehicle. Shocked Very creative, and gives you a good example of potential consequences of forgetting to do that thing that is so very minor. I’d like to know how they did that one, it looked so unbeleivably real. Doubt you’d see that ad in the states.

Went to Trinity College, which is…a really old college. Established in the late 1500s it hosts the Book of Kells, which is a copy of the gospel manuscripts from the 8th century AD. There are a few other Books as well which are slightly less renowned, and newer. You aren’t allowed to take pictures, but it’s interesting to note that a bible today, just a book with text in it really, seems so plain contrasted with these books. The text is highly decorative and the art is intricate to say the least. All hand written or drawn.

Another bit of Trinity College trivia that you may be familiar with, though unaware of, is the Trinity College Library, that sits on the next floor up from the Book of Kells exhibits and the shop. Huge collection of books here, with rows going down the length of the room, stacked up high. At the inside ends of each stack sit sculpted marble busts of various writers. If you watch Star Wars Episode II, the Jedi library has clearly been modeled on this room. The scale is very different, but it was interesting to see the real world inspiration.

I meandered about Dublin quite a bit more but mostly it’s stuff that is only so interesting. I’m trying to give a sense of things without coming across like a history book. Knowing the history does make a huge difference in understanding many of the things though. Seeing the English occupation and the repeated failures of the Irish attempts to dislodge them makes for a sad story. At any rate, Dublin has large shopping areas and walking streets. I’m not much of a shopper so I can’t say if they had any great deals or stores that are a must-stop. Not as bad as I used to be, I am still of two minds as regards shopping:

Scenario 1 has me assaulting the objective, executing a plan with precision and attention to detail, and extricating without taking losses. It’s more like a raid really…10 minutes would be a long time door to door.

Scenario 2 is a very different beast. This is not usually an action I am involved in by myself. Usually there would be a creature called a woman. These women like to amble throughout every single square inch of an establishment and scrutinize each individual item. But wait! It gets better! Then comes a bizarre sort of compare/contrast stage when this mysterious creature will hold up items together and look forlornly back and forth in search of perfection. Me – I appreciate the best, but I’m settling for less, I’m looking for the next best thing….

Sorry, I was possessed by the spirit of Zevon for a minute there. Hold on, is he even dead yet?

Anyways, so that’s what a woman creature does while shopping. My part of that puzzle is substantially different. Time slows down. Some times it even stops. Then the Shopping Demon appears and tries to steal me. It whispers ever so slowly and softly in my ear, “relax, this is going to take a long time…won’t you just have a nap instead” while gently massaging the top of my neck at the base of the skull. With sinister intent it wraps me in some type of heavy comfy blanket so I can barely move, and that nap starts to sound really good. After all, why would it lie to me? It seems so friendly, just wants me to relax while the shopping goes on, why fight such torture? It only wants to help, all I have to do is close my ever-crossing eyes (fight it damn you!) and drift away on a raft out in the ocean, bobbing peacefully in the waves anzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

AH! Loud noise!

Alternately, I might be reeaallll tempted to throw myself on the floor and have a fit about not liking shopping, too.

So to make a long story shor…to sum up, don’t like shopping. Evil or Very Mad

Speaking of women, I have to say I was disappointed by the women in Ireland (in general.) Obviously, there were some really great looking ones, don’t get me wrong. It’s rather ironic that the coolest one I’d meet would turn out to be American. Smile It’s just the ones I saw in general looked sloppy and unmotivated. Sweat pants are popular in Ireland, and by that I mean it’s more or less the required uniform. Throw in overweight women in half shirts without bras and it’s a bit much. Not really all that friendly, either. After mentioning this to The Mister Tom Flood he concurred. He’d been there before and noticed the same thing. He related asking some guy there about it, who responded with something along the lines of “yeah, they’re like that. We don’t talk to them either.” Confused

Speaking of Irish women, how about one who is well renowned for her beauty and shall we say, bosom? I’m sorry the photo is out of focus, but you should be able to make out what I am referring to.

From what I have read, it seems that an old legend keeps taking new form as people keep well…making things up. Wink The tale of Molly Malone who sold fish, died of typhus, and may have been a prostitute (prior, of course, to the dying part) has been immortalized in songs and pub names. However, so much debate exists over the details of her tragic tale that it’s hard to be sure she really existed, or at least how far from the truth the tales have become.

Next morning it’s off to Newgrange.

Part V: Guinness and Some Other Stuff

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Hmm…where was I? Oh yes, wandering the streets of Dublin. Successfully not getting kilt, and I don’t mean anything to do with Scotland. Did I mention they seem to drive kinda fast there? On the other hand, being on foot for several months or around vehicles going slowly, maybe it’s just my perspective. Naahh.

Here’s J Random Church type place. It’s actually the Church (don’t think it’s a Cathedral, at least) of St. Audoen. He’s also got a gate named for him in what’s left of the old medieval town walls. He did…something or other that made him popular I guess.

I head down to the Guinness Brewery to have a look around. It’s obviously very much a tourist attraction. Very large shop waiting to sell you all your Guinness gear. The tour is a self guided multimedia attraction. It’s not hard to see they’ve spent quite a bit of money on it. They talk about the importance of the water, different stages of production, have stations where you can get an idea of the smell of the hops and barleys, informative videos about the Man, the Myth, the Legend…Arthur Guinness. All in all, it’s quite fucking boring.

That said, after you trudge through the stations to the seventh floor, it brightens up. On the seventh floor you find the Sky Bar. You get a free pint o’ Guinness. Given the cost of the “tour” you have paid the cost of the brew plus 10 Euro. The neat thing about the Sky Bar is that it has about a 360 degree panoramic view of the city through it’s glass windows. The less neat thing is that it’s a bit crowded. I suspect the time and day you go might make a difference there too, so take it for what it’s worth.

And of course the obligatory “damn tourists” picture…

The camera was drunk I think.

Another thing to note about Ireland is a great memory for all their patriots, most of whom met bad ends at English hands. Irish history is rife with tales of rebellion against the English. They were all put down rather mercilessly, but that’s just how things were done back then. On the way back from the brewery I pass a memorial to one, who got shot down by the English just outside some building. My description does it no justice. I took a picture, but it was a victim of the blurr effect. I wish I had just shrunk it down instead. At any rate, the sorrow of a country that had been held down and stepped on for hundreds of years is not easily forgotten.

I have a nice tasty steak and several beers for supper at the pub across the street. I am almost startled, at the very least surprised to find not only do they have Bud on tap in Dublin, but people actually drink it. Not many, to be sure, and the one I saw was a girl. She seemed to think I was an idiot for asking. About the beer, not if she was a girl, that is. I could see that. I think people expect Americans are stupid when outside the US, but I think this was probably my first instance of doing so outside of drunken exuberance. Embarassed I get sleepy and am down at 9PMish. Of course that’s 2AM Uzbek time. Wake up at 3AM, or 8AM Uzbek time. I’m a bit more jetlagged than I thought, and lots of meandering about town on the footbus has added to it.

Part IV: Dublin Castle

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Dublin Day 2: (Oh come on, really Day 1 Cool)

One thing that strikes me about Dublin: normal size cars. No SUVs to be sure, but…compare to Tashkent — there it’s nothing but tinymobiles. Ok, I saw a few Toyota Landcruiser types in Ireland. No monster SUVs though.

In general traffic outside the US is quite scary. However in Ireland it’s different because I keep expecting to get clobbered from the opposite direction while crossing the street! At some of the busier intersections and on main roads they do have markings painted into the road “look here –>” to the appropriate direction. I looked both ways compulsively, just in case. The width of the sidewalks has a tendency to vary down to the very not wide. When they are that narrow, and it’s time to place a lamppost, signpost, or fire hydrant type object…you step into the street.

I wander down to Dublin Castle. It’s just down the street from my attic prison with a view. There are mainly government offices in here now, primarily what I could see the Garda (Police) at least around the back side, with some others I don’t recall. The Cathedral area is now a museum / art gallery type place. The Presidents are all inaugurated here, but I don’t think their residence and offices are there anymore. The castle dates from 1204.

These next three are still in Dublin castle. There is a courtyard area with a pattern worked into it with stone. You don’t really see it from ground level unless of course you were to walk into the grassy area, but there are areas where you get above ground level where you suddenly see it. This is in an area built out like a garden. It was very relaxing, and I just sat there for some time.

More of the area around the back…

That’s all for the back area of the castle…

Part III: Frankfurt to Dublin

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006


I don’t recall whether or not I ate on the flight. I know many meals were served. Was nonetheless hungry when we went wheels down in Frankfurt. We all part ways. Chester lives in Frankfurt, so I get his number, since I will overnight in Frankfurt on the way back. Ken and I both have flights in the same general area of the airport, so we go off looking for lunch. I’m starting to come alive again, at least for a while. I buy a digital camera since my last broken one still hadn’t shown back up from the repair place before I left. I’d hate to document this all and have no pictures. Smile This is actually funny for a couple of reasons, but all things in their time…

We change some money. The Euro is not very impressive as currency. All the denominations are different sizes, so they don’t fold neatly in your pocket – damnit I like to fold things and that just messes it all up. Can’t find the Euro symbol, so I’m just going to substitute $ for now. $1 and $2 are coins, and they also have $.50, $.20, $.10, $.05, $.02, and $.01 coins. The last two are virtually useless. It’s very easy to get, and grow, a pocketful of change.

We find a McDonald’s. Haven’t had that for a long time. It sucks. Of course, wasn’t feeling the greatest around that time, so maybe it was just me. Half of it winds up in the trash.

Well…Frankfurt airport. Whoopee-doo! It’s not that interesting. Soon enough I am on yet another bird headed further west. I sleep fitfully on this short flight. Later I look down, and what do I see?

The sea! Inasmuch as I hope not to land on it, it is good to see it again. I see the departing coast of England or Scotland, and before too long the Irish coast appears. I watch little boats wandering to and fro. I am happy.


After an informative ride into town where the driver suggested several places to go and pointed out a good many things on the way in, I get to the hotel. It’s a great location right in the thick of things, right on the edge of the Temple Bar area. I head inside. And this fight’s goin’ vertical boys! Let’s see, it’s up 4 floors worth of steep steps. What’s the first thing I see? A spiral staircase about a foot wide. I’m in the attic room apparently. I had a door out onto the roof as well as a skylight.

You can see the River Liffey there, which cuts Dublin into it’s north and south halves. There are several bridges spanning it, more so in the downtown area.

Intending to nap a bit – you know, an hour or two, I hit the rack at 4:30PM or so, waking back up at 9:30PM. I roll over and it’s 3AM. I get up around 7ish the next morning. Apparently 5 hours is enough for jetlag to be a problem. I don’t suppose hitting it pretty hard helped matters much either. No matter how much you get, sleep on a plane ain’t worth a crap, neither…

Part X: The Job

Friday, October 27th, 2006

The Job:

Our tasks are more split up than my previous job. I just do the desktop stuff, there are some Army folks doing the help desk tasks, and another contractor babysitting the few servers and the network. We have multiple networks actually, since a small group is on the Halliburton network instead. The domain here is only minimally set up since you have units rotating in and out all the time. That I can actually see and support, as it would be a true PITA to have to shift things all around for each different group every time they rotate. I see a lot of room for improvement, but everything is (generally) functional. I do, however, have a list. Smile It goes under the heading of “any sufficiently large organization is inherently inefficient.” Actually, if I recall correctly, when I originated that phrase, it had “fucked up” in there someplace. It’s more like USWest / Qwest in that you have different groups responsible for different things and it can be complicated to get a good picture of how to make things work together.

I have an “office” now, as opposed to my previous “computer on a table in a tent.” A few plywood walls to get out of sight, or keep people from fiddling with your stuff, makes a huge difference. I got a tablecloth (?) to go over my table, as it was made of metal and made the metal-on-metal noise. It’s not fingernails on chalk but it’s close. We have a door, and I don’t have to lean over toooo much to get under the frame. As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of things in this camp that could be about a foot and a half taller. Then I wouldn’t need to duck quite so much. Hey you, John Gisi, quit laughing!

I do a lot of walking in the performance of my daily duties, and by my own choice, too. It’s best to get out and about, find out what problems your users have, and cut down on butt time. The cold doesn’t bother me, but we’ll see if that continues as it rolls past 100 degrees out, towards 140. Sad I work a fairly consistent 12 hour shift, 7 to 7ish. If necessary I work over, but typically only if I am actively working something and might lose my train of thought if I let it wait. Sometimes I stay over anyway, since most of yall are just getting around to getting up then, and you might be popping up on IM, email, or maybe even via phone. Uzbekistan is 12 hours ahead of Mountain Time, so it makes it easy to figure out when’s when. When you are getting up, I am winding down the same day. When I am getting up, you have just left for the day, or will soon. (The previous day, that is.) If you aren’t on Mountain Time, well, do your own math. You’re either slightly ahead or behind them. Smile

And what does my office look like? Funny you should ask…

The chair, sadly, is not mine. I am only borrowing it from someone who is gone more often than not. In that case, I think a compelling argument can be made that it really should be my chair….

I wander around a certain amount, as you may have read. Here’s a few vehicles you might see in common use. I got a kick out of this first one the other day. Was in the maintenance shop, and saw a problem description of “doesn’t suck.” Usually, that wouldn’t be an issue you’d think, but…

Here’s a couple more, your standard Van and standard Gator.

  • Google Search

  • Tags

  • Page 6 of 9« First...45678...Last »