Andy's Blog

Andy get's bored at work so he takes a break from oppressing the working classes to post here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Proof

Just to show I wasn’t lying about the whole snowboarding thing in the last post I have put up some pictures and movies from the trip.

http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~elpres/snowboarding/

They are worth looking at just for the shots of the area, which is really beautiful. To counteract all that natural beauty we have some damned ugly Irishmen. Fortunately the extreme cold means that they are almost entirely covered up most of the time.

The movies are a little on the big side so you should probably only look at them if you have a broadband connection to play with. The ones with Colla and Jasper are generally a bit more interesting to look at as they aren’t beginners and can move at a reasonable speed down the slopes.

That said you should obviously take the time to marvel at the splendour of Andy managing to both stand upright on a board and move forward at the same time in…

http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~elpres/snowboarding/movies/Andy1.MPG

Riveting stuff!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Falling Down (a lot)

As it turns out Snowboarding is less about posing and more about intense pain. Despite this it’s also a lot of fun and a great way to beat the post Christmas blues.

Last week I embarked on my winter sports adventure with Colla, Jasper and Plank to see what all the fuss was about. Arriving in the Alps was like entering a different world. Ireland is flat mix of dull green and grey while Austria is blinding white with blue sky and monstrous mountains in every direction. This sunk slowly into my under stimulated brain during the hour long bus journey from the airport in Salzburg to the town of Soll which we were staying.

Upon arrival we were giddy to get onto the slopes but it was too late and we had to wait until the following day.

The next morning Plank and I left Jasper & Colla who are experienced skiers and snowboarders respectively and started on the nursery slopes. By lunchtime we thought we were doing pretty well and were ready for our first lesson.

As it turns out we weren’t. We were pretty terrible, displaying all the balance and grace of a drunk stilt walker. In our defence however, everyone else in our class was just as bad. We collectively skidded, slid, fell, banged, toppled and overturned the afternoon away until four o’clock rolled around and chair lifts closed. At this point we crawled back to the hotel for a few hours lying perfectly still before heading out again for dinner.

That’s pretty much how it went on the second day as well with slight improvements. By Tuesday we could make it down a slope without falling over and felt pretty proud of ourselves.

Wednesday was when I started to try and learn how to carve. Carving is when you shift your weight from heal to toe on the board and end up zig-zagging down the mountain. I had trouble going from heal to toe edge and wiped out hard a couple of times. On one of these occasions I managed to sprain my left wrist. This meant I ended up missing Thursday and being rather pissed off at the whole affair.

However all was not lost. Thanks to a combination of some gel they gave me at the doctor’s surgery to numb the wristand wrapping it up very tightly I was able to get back up the slopes on Friday for one last hurrah.

I never really got the confidence with carving. The best I managed was 4 turns left and right before crashing out but at that stage I was just happy to be up there and not stuck back in the room.

On the last day I also brought up my camera and got some nice photos and movie clips of myself an the boys boarding. I’ll throw these up on the inter-web in the next few days for general public perusal.

Overall it was a great trip. I’ll be the first to admit I was the weakest boarder of everyone in the group but I still had a blast. With luck I’ll get to go back and pick up where I left off, get good at carving and maybe try my hand at some of the slightly harder runs.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Table Football

In what can only be described as “Dot Com Thinking” the powers that be at work have decided to give us a Fuzzball (A horrible American word) table to wile away the days. How they thought this would lead to more work getting done is beyond me.

Needless to say competition between my fellow code monkeys and I had has become quite intense. We have gone so far as to start a league which operates as follows…

Everyone starts at 10 points. When 2 people play the winner takes a point off the loser (usually me). Every time you play you are risking a point. Whoever has the most points come the Christmas Party gets free drink for the evening and will most likely encounter the wrath of the losing players once they are too inebriated to defend themselves.

At the moment I’m sitting in a comfy third place but will hopefully claw my way to second before too long. Catching the leader will be tough though as he’s about 10 points ahead.

I may have to resort to foul play (as is the Andy way) and start putting tranquilisers in his tea. Not enough to knock him out but enough to make him a little light on his feat. That’ll give me the completive edge I need to take first place.

Remember kids, it’s only cheating if you get caught…

Monday, December 05, 2005

Shenanigans

There have been some serious doings-a-transpiring since my last post. First the bad news, I failed my driving test and was none too happy about it. I might even go as far as to say I was rather angry about it. They failed me on a right turn but wouldn’t tell me which right turn it had been. They also said I looked in my mirrors too much. Of course I was only doing that because so many people get failed for not looking in them enough.

Boo!

Anyway, I have come to terms with it and will soon be reapplying to be judged once again at the whim of Whitey.

To dull the pain of this travesty I did a little retail therapy and did something I swore I’d never do… bought an iPod. I have been mp3 playerless for the last few months so I figured I’d allow it. Anyway, I bought a Nano and must admit it’s an ultra slick little thing. They even offered free engraving on the back. I got “Affluence” engraved cus I’m a dick :-)

The next order of business was a weekend away in a place called Rathgormack (just right of the middle of nowhere) with the remains of what was once the Eclectic Music Society from DCU and a handful of general hangers on. “Twas mighty” to use the colourful speak of the local populous. A weekend of drinking, music and indoor football. There were many excellent moments but the one which stood out for me was at about 3AM on Sunday morning during an extended jam session when we went from “Chop Suai” by System of a Down to “Kiss from Rose” by Seal. Magic.

Continuing on a music vein my new band had its second gig last Wednesday. It went quite well despite it only being to a half full bar. New additions to the set list were Dance Commander by Electric Six and Love Shack by the B52’s, both of which are thoroughly enjoyable to play. After the weekend and gig I can’t really bring myself to look at a musical instrument of any description at the moment but I’m sure the urge will come back to me soon.

Ok, that’s pretty much my lot.

Down with MPB!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Driving Mrs. Daisy

Seems I got me a letter from Whitey saying I’m due to sit my driving test on the 22nd of November in the year of our Lord 2005… a mere year after applying.

I normally leave bitching about the government to the MPB as it seems to be his bag (and he has so little else that who am I to deprive him of it?) but a year waiting for my driving test is a little much. I think I would have been in a better position to sit it a few months back before I picked up all these bad driving habits. Oh well, I guess a few intensive lessons and I might stand a chance at passing the thing.

It would be very nice to get it though.... lower insurance and legal driving on the M50 (which of course I would never DREAM of doing before this). I may even consider becoming a full blown adult and buying my own car. Being freed from the crapness that is Dublin public transport would be wonderful.

Now then… how does one reverse around a corner anyway?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Tequila Mockingbirds.

My most humble apologies for my lack of update last week. “Biniz” has been somewhat swift of late and I have been a little rushed off my feet.

The first (and pretty mundane) reason for this is that I am in the final stages of a big project at work so it has been requiring me to work long days/weekends in an effort to get it out the door. With luck I’ll be free of it in a week or so and can get back to spending my work days plotting the MPB’s downfall.

The second (and far more interesting) reason for my lack of time is that I have formed a new band.

A few weeks ago the nice people at Redbrick got in contact with me looking for people to play at their Fresher’s Ball. I told them I was currently bandless but to give me a few days and I’d see what I could do.

Two days later The Tequila Mockingbirds were formed with Mister Dave Dineen on lead guitar, Tom Matthews on vocals and guitar, Rob Matthews on drums and my good self keeping it funky on the bass.

We threw a set list together over a several pints and a few practices later we were ready for our first gig…

… which went pretty well. We were the middle of a 3 band line up for the evening. Between Checkpoint Charlie (who I really enjoyed) and Kid Icarus, who headlined the evening.

We made a decent showing of ourselves and the audience were nice enough to keep the rotten fruit throwing to a minimum. We even got a couple of big cheers despite the fact that most of our set came from the 70’s and would never have been previously heard by a lot of the younger people there.

We are now left with the question of what to do next? Do we carry on in this guise and try to start playing regular gigs?

The real problems with getting a band off the ground generally aren’t to do with talent (which we shall say for the sake of argument that we have) but are more often logistical. Moving large Amps and Drums around the city can be a nightmare. Arranging a PA (Public Address system) in smaller venues which don’t have one built in can be harder again. Reaching the point were you actually make a little money out of it can seem nigh impossible.

On the other hand playing in front of people is one of the nicest feelings in the world and is one that I savour ever time I get it. A lot of things in life can get quite dull after a while and it’s easy to end up in a routine. Everyone should have something that just brings them pure pleasure, be in jumping off a cliff or a good old fashioned cocaine addiction.

After all, life is for living and if you’re not willing to get up on stage with nothing but a bass guitar covering your unmentionables and rock out like there’s no tomorrow then you have to ask yourself, are you really alive at all? :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Superfantastic

As I mentioned yestersday the MPB is currently away.

I feel it's worth mentioning that he asked me to look after his plant which he keeps on his desk while he is away.

I have been feeding it coffee in an attempt to kill it and make him cry on his return.