Monday, April 25, 2011

Obsolete things: Overalls, Brett Favre, and my camera.

               My camera fell in the toilet this week. I retrieved it and have tried turning it on twice now. The first time it was black, probably because I forgot to put the battery back in. The second time the screen was whitish and shaky like it was taking ecstasy, and I know for a fact that it is way too young to be doing drugs.
                I know what you’re thinking. Did the camera fall in pre-flush or post-flush? Well there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that it was pre-flush. The good news is that I drank 4000mL of water that day and was more hydrated than a drowning camel. I wasn't even too upset about that. What really boomed my dynamite was that I didn't even drop my camera; it committed suicide. It wriggled its way out of my sweatshirt pocket and leapt to its death. Perhaps I’d pressed his buttons one too many times. Or maybe he was trying to go toward the light. I didn’t even get to tell him, That’s just the flash. RIP man, you will be easily replaced.
I was going to buy him floaties for his birthday

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Don’t sprinkle my donut. I hate eating wet pastries.

When they said that a ‘doctor baker’ was coming to teach a class, I hoped we were going to learn how to treat a cake with a muscle strain (I think it just needs to be iced). Then I realized it was Dr. Baker.
Dr. Beulah Baker is a lively lady. If we would have met her at the airport, I’m certain she would have started lecturing right then. Instead, she kindly waited until she arrived at the YWCA and then began class promptly, even though her biological clock told her it was 4am. She nods a lot, perhaps because she agrees with what she’s saying. I nodded a lot too, mostly off. [Just kidding; she’s a fascinating American.]
We learned quite a bit that week in our Irish literature class. I remember thinking I have no free time. Do I really not have any free time or am I just not using my time wisely? I worked out at the leisure center one day, and consequently stayed up one hour later to finish my homework.
 Conclusion: We really didn’t have any free time.
The reading was intense for the week and a half Dr. Baker was here. Some of the stories were grand. Others were more like the slogan “The greatest fair on earth” on the Hillsdale Grandstand: not true, but it’s painted on there, so let’s believe it anyway. One common theme that coursed through the works we read was awesome quotes. One of my favorites is:
“She took a tick out of his neck and touched the spot where the tick had drawn one pin-prick of blood; it was then they danced.”- Irish Revel
I’m not sure why they were dancing or how they were dancing. Perhaps it was a melancholy party boy, seeing as how the man only had a short time left to live since he probably just contracted Lyme disease.
We ventured to Sligo, Donegal, and Derry to experience the historical and literary significance of the cities. One special bonus to the trip was that we received free dinner from the hotel restaurant every night.  They served bread and three dips on the table at one dinner. I spread what looked like garlic dip on my bread, and it was quite tasty.
Audrey: What is this dip?
Waitress: Tartar sauce.
Mmm, there’s nothing like a hunk of mayonnaise to make a smooth trip for the bread sliding down my gullet.
Unlike man, God saw it was good for bread to be alone.
They gave us a menu of three choices for the main dish at each dinner. One night was lamb, fish and chips, or ham and turkey. I couldn’t bear to eat a cute baby lamb after seeing them frolic in the pastures. I didn’t want anyone yelling, “Ewe murderer!” at me. I’ve decided not to have fish until I can douse it in so much salt it’ll shrivel up. I ordered the ham and turkey; the pig died in vain.
In the times that we weren’t dining, we traveled to the locations mentioned in our books. I wish we would have read from CS Lewis so we could have visited Narnia. Instead, we stood on the street mentioned in the novel Reading in the Dark. We were standing at the very corner Larry had stood on page 52! Well, he totally would have stood there if he had existed. I’ve never followed in the footsteps of a fictional person before; they’re just as hard to see as I expected.
Fog messes everything up. Now I can't see Larry.
We were asked to journal about the different places we visited. Mine consisted of four pages of Sudoku, except for the actual words written about the epic woods in Sligo, because that place was more magical than markers, a young girl’s heart, and unicorns combined.

I'm just scared of how happy I am.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Debating is really fun. But that's debatable.

You know what really grinds my gears? They don’t have Lucky Charms here. You know what other place doesn’t have Lucky Charms? Europe. You know what else poisons my water hole? The movie Leprechaun wasn’t even filmed in Ireland. You know where it was filmed? Outer space. But seriously guys... Green? Does anyone know what the national color of Ireland is? Blue. And what’s the color of the European Union flag? Blue. Connection? I think so; and more than Irish would like to admit.
                This was my teammate Dan’s intro to our debate question: Should Ireland’s identity be viewed in the context of Europe or independently as a solitary nation? The team I joined was in favor of the former.

This is Dan. It's ok to judge him by his looks.
Here’s the point I wrote:
If you're an Irishman when you enter the restroom, then what are you while you're inside the stall? European! Ireland is best viewed in terms of Europe as a whole because Ireland’s history is heavily tied to other European nations. Ireland was invaded so much, if it were a food, it would be a seizure salad.  Ireland cannot be viewed solely as an isolated nation or culture because it has been heavily influenced by the groups who have invaded it. We have the Vikings, the English, the Spanish hopped over here for a while too.  The Irish were getting beat up by everything from the Viking’s horns to England’s tea cups. Plus, there are immigrants from other nations currently living here as well. Ireland is not quite a melting pot, but more like a casserole: it’s mainly pasta with a few other things thrown in.
Yes, they did some important things in history that made them distinct, but so have other countries, such as Italy’s Roman Catholic Church and how Spain is well-known for the style of its cathedrals. But, they’ve all merged together. The Catholicism of Rome has spread throughout Europe. The Spanish have influenced other cultures, as in how their architecture can be seen throughout Europe and how they declare “Naps aren’t just for kindergartners!” The unique contribution that Ireland has made and its distinguishing characteristics doesn’t detract from it as a separate nation but it also doesn’t mean that Ireland is not a part of the greater European context, influencing other countries and being influenced by other nations.
The Protestant-Catholic conflict may seem very distinct, but it was also a prevalent issue in England and many other European countries were choosing their fav. denominations at the point as well. While it was a climax in Ireland, this conflict was also occurring elsewhere in Europe.
In the words of Dan, you know what else grinds my gears and Brads my Kellyn? How Saint Patrick is viewed as a classic Irish hero when he was born in Wales, gained an education from England, and brought influences to Ireland from England and France. The Christianity he brought was very European. He emphasized the distinct values of the Irish, but those values were not unique to the Irish. A lot of the values the Irish had were influenced by other European nations. For instance, one reason they valued courage so much was because they were frequently invaded, and they really liked it when any lads put up their knives and angrily told them to “Stop it!” However, Ireland was not alone in its invasions. Countries in Eastern Europe were suffering from invasions as well. So, while a value such as courage was emphasized in Ireland, this value was not unique from other European countries who endured similar experiences to the Irish. Each European culture has different emphases, but as in the example of both the Irish and Eastern valuing courage, there are overlaps between cultures.
[Verdict: Debating is fun.]
While we’re not debating, we like to do this:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I wish the light at the end of the tunnel would try to run me over so I could get to Greystones faster

               A good way to start an adventure is to give four girls a destination without a map. Not that the map would help.
                Four of us chicks embarked on a journey to the town of Kilcoole in search of fish and chips. It’s a five minute Dart ride, so I was envisioning a one mile walk. Oh how wrong I was. We walked, and walked, stopped, walked, stared at the sun, hoping it would blind us so we wouldn’t have to see how far we had to walk, strutted and strolled to change things up a bit, and laid down on the train tracks, aspiring to use Murphy’s Law to our advantage by catching the train that would inevitably come to run us over.  
This is actually kind of resembles Kilcoole's train platform
                 After more than an hour of trekking, I realized that we were either very slow walkers or Kilcoole didn’t exist. I was very nearly right on the latter. When we finally arrived at the train platform, it was deserted. There wasn’t a ticket booth or even people around. There was a sign that said something like, “Hey, don’t get hit by the train; no one will come save you, no matter how loud you yell.”  
DART bait oo-ha-ha
                We moseyed up the hill in search of the town. Instead, we stumbled upon a very classy gift shop. It was filled with candles in saran wrap and even a hedgehog holding a graduated cylinder, which I’ve been searching for for years. The owner of the shop actually was nice. We told her we were lost and looking for the town, and she offered us a lift so we could skip out on the mile walk. She was a stranger, but then I thought, What if she has candy too? So we hopped in.  
Hedgehogs want foliage And rain water?
Greedy monsters.

Reese's Cups, my favorite!

                 The town was about as much of a town as the DART platform was a train station. We asked several people for directions to a pub, and we received the same response: Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day early, are we? It was 2pm on a Wednesday, and we weren’t even going to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day that way on Saint Patrick’s Day. They also were flabbergasted that we walked from Greystones. Don’t you know there’s a bus? I should have paid attention to the word “bus”.
                We wandered around the main street, even getting so desperate as to try a Chinese pub. It was closed, probably for the best.  I love mini corn, but not on that day.
In the distance, I saw a van.  It looked like it could have been parked outside of a restaurant.
                Audrey: Guys, that van says “Fruits and Vegetables” on it.
                Ladies: What? How can you read that?
It seems that just thinking about carrots gives me improved vision.
                The van was parked outside of a restaurant indeed. I’ve never screamed joyfully at a building before, but I’m sure it was flattered.
I could suckle on that bad boy all day
                After our delectable lunch of fish and chips, the time to catch the train back to Greystones was upon us. At the platform, we waited for our 3:15 train. At 3:05, we spotted a train in the distance.
                Natalie: Good thing we came here early, guys!
Then the train blazed past us.
                Our hopes were quickly dashing.
                3:14: Man, I hope the train comes.
    3:15: No train.
                3:18: Are those lights in the distance?
                3:19: The lights are definitely moving!
                3:20: The train is here!
                3:20:10: Why is the train still moving??
                At approximately 3:20:15, the train halted. After we boarded it and made our way back home, we realized that the train most likely wasn’t supposed to stop at that station. There wasn’t even a ticket to buy.  This is probably why the townspeople kept suggesting that we take a bus, because the train thinks it’s too cool to stop in Kilcoole. But, it was all fine and dandy because the conductor presumably felt sorry for us and let us on out of the goodness in his heart.  I will always remember him for as long as I’m in Greystones.
[This quest from March 16]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I felt sheepish instead of sheep

I’ll go on any adventure that ends with ponies. This one ended in heartbreak.
Four of us voyaged to a pet farm yesterday. Our first order of business was to attain the cycles. Unfortunately, the seats were too high for our lady legs. We enlisted the help of our fellow American, Ryan.
                Ryan: You need an Alan wrench.
                Audrey: I don’t even know Alan.
                Ryan: You don’t know what an Alan wrench is?
Ohhh an Alan wrench. Yes, of course, I was just using that to patch up my submarine, right after I used a jackhammer to install some concrete.
We were clearly baffled, so Ryan adjusted our seats for us. If Jesus were a cycle repairman, he would look like Ryan. Ryan was the strength to our weakness, just like holding hands.
He probably has a license to steer a screwdriver too
                We began our journey to the farm. The directions to Glenroe were ‘follow the signs’, which is kind of like telling someone that all you need to do to skydive is jump out of a plane.  It was a perilous journey, filled with roundabouts and two casualties. The first hill claimed Hanna, and she turned back to do her homework’s bidding. About two minutes away from our destination (unbeknownst to us), Paige jumped ship.  It was down to the two of us. “You won’t leave me, will you Natalie?” There was silence. I feared that she had abandoned me as well. Luckily, she was just breathing, and soon yelled back an acceptable response.
                We wondered why our journey was taking so long. Then we realized we were biking uphill the entire time. I just thought I had poor posture. As we finally approached the farm, my worst fears were confirmed. It was closed. Hanna and Paige weren’t so silly for turning back after all. I had checked the website four times to make sure it was open, but I must have wanted it to be open so badly I didn’t really pay attention. The sheep were so close I could see the joy in their eyes at the prospect of being pet. The animals at Glenroe Open Farm are enclosed by a fence. First they’re closed, and then they lie. An old man saw us from the Glenroe building and stared us down. I wanted to befriend him.
                Audrey: I thought you were open today!
                Man: Nope.
                Friendship terminated.
Natalie and I made the most of the closed farm. We drank water, saw some ornery dogs, and took a picture of a sign with a horse painted on it. It wasn’t very cuddly.
Our disappointment poses look a lot like our awkward poses
                Undeterred by our failed farm experience, Natalie and I embarked on a new adventure with fanatical positivity. We ditched the bikes (after responsibly putting them away and locking them up) and ventured into town in search of frappes. We stopped into the coffee shop where I’ve been working on Saturdays. I must not be doing so badly, because they gave us free drinks. My favorite manager Alan was there, whom I’ve sadly never worked with because he doesn’t work on Saturdays if he can help it. I bet he knew how to use a wrench.

We were sad we missed out on sheep, but we sucked it up
                 Nat and I boarded the DART in search of adventure. I still had 3.5 slices of white bread meant for precious animals (.5 slices went to an ornery dog who, in retrospect, didn’t deserve it). Unfortunately, the bread was eventually returned to the cafeteria after failing to find even a measly pigeon. We also missed the DART on the way back by 30 seconds because it left early. It is faster than I realized. We built our own train instead. It was filled with massages and happiness. No tools were involved, because we don’t know how to use those manly contraptions.
Conducting a train is easy