The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Monday, October 31, 2005

One, two, tree

The Irish don't pronounce the h in th. So three is tree, theatre becomes teatre and thought is pronounced the same as taught. And don't worry when you hear "It's a turd" as that is really "It's a third."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Waking up in the future

I woke up this morning 1 hour in the future.

My watch said 9am but it was actually 8am. Daylight Savings Time had ended, or has it begun? Either way all the clocks went back an hour today. South Africa doesn't have DST so this was a novel experience.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Canon in Ireland

Canon, as in the camera manufacturer, hasn't got a very good network in Ireland. My Canon EOS 10D has given up the ghost and I asked around at a few camera shops here where I can send it. The nearest Canon center is in Dublin and even they will end up sending it over to the U.K. to get fixed. That could take weeks, never mind finding the time to get up to Dublin.

They are making it easier to buy a whole new camera than fix the one I have.

Jumpers and jeans

I arrived in Ireland with two pairs of longs; jeans and some work longs. Back in South Africa I wore shorts most of the time but they just aren't that practical here. So off to the local mall we went today. I also needed another jersey (or jumper as they call them here) to supplant my one and only.

A decent pair of jeans (Levis, Wrangler etc.) will set you back 40 to 60 euros. You can get jeans for 20 euros or so but they aren't very good quality. So I ended up with my first ever pair of Levis jeans, something which back home costs far more than I'd ever spend.

Jumper wise I ended up with a Jack Jones jumper for 30 euro. Saw far too many jumpers for 80 euros. 30 euros gets you a decent jumper though.

Banked

Ireland is an interesting mix of old and new, developed and undeveloped. Some aspects of it are cutting edge, up there with the best in the world. But banks, oh boy. They are not open on weekends at all, only Monday to Friday. Even then many close for lunch and the hours are just 9am to 4pm. So you are screwed if you have a job and need to use the bank. The pay-off for me is that they are cheap, really cheap. Most transactions are free or just 20 cents. Coming from South Africa, where a recent report showed that South African banks are the most expensive in the world, this is a good thing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Not all black and white

This is going to sound a bit strange, and potentially even racist, to Europeans but I reckon many of my fellow South Africans have noticed it while abroad. Don't get worked up over the use of "white" and "black" in this post. It is racist but there are races and there are differences. I am not being derogatory and I am not going to stumble over PC terms which really just avoid reality.

Back home we have the legacy of apartheid along with the fact that "us whites" are a minority (something like 5 million whites to 40 million blacks). The apartheid legacy has placed most whites in the middle to upper classes with not many in the low to poor classes. This means that menial jobs are by in large filled by blacks. Up until about my 16th year of living I had never seen a white bus driver or a white garbage collector. It wasn't that I thought whites shouldn't do those jobs or that blacks were only suited to them, it simply was the state of the nation that menial jobs were done by blacks.

Fast forward to now where I am in a community with a majority of whites and menial jobs are filled by whites. White bus drivers, white garbage collectors, white construction workers, white bar staff and so on.

I'll probably get in trouble from the reactionaries out there for mentioning the following. The other day I was at a conference in Dublin in a room full of developers. Largely male, largely white. I walked up to a well dressed white man and asked what company he was from to see if we could do any business. His reply was to ask me if I wanted a cup of coffee or maybe some tea. Turns out he was one of the menial hotel staff. It threw me for a few moments. Back home in South Africa I would have not made the same mistake. At most conferences I have been to it was still largely male and largely white but the menial hotel staff where all black.

Seeing a white bus driver is still a strange thing to me. I know it shouldn't be but it is, that is simply the fact of the matter. I'll have to get used to it. Things are slowly changing in South Africa but with the black/white population difference black bus drivers will still largely be the norm.

So flame away, send me horrible emails. I am just commenting on something I have noticed.

Flocking

I gave the Flock Developer Preview a go the other day and again today. Using it has been difficult as it frequently locks up (on two different systems) and it is quite slow. But from what I have seen it is a useful though hardly revolutionary browser. One problem is that I use BlinkList now and not del.icio.us. Flock only supports delicious which seems counter "Web 2.0" to me. It also only supports Flickr which I do use but not everybody does. Blogging services are reasonably well supported and I'd say this is the part of Flock I most liked. Dragging photos in from Flickr was easy as was using the Shelf, a handy idea.

Really though I think the lock-in with Flickr and delicious makes Flock largely pointless. It just becomes a glorified extension then to me. Maybe they are going to support other link and photo sites but if they continue to do it manually, on a site by site basis, then it is still nothing great. If they could create a standard intermediary system between Flock and Link or Photo Site then they would have something interesting on their hands.

One thing I really do like about Flock is the theme. I hope someone makes a standard FireFox theme based on Flock.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Trinity College

We drove up to Dublin for the INDA 1st Birthday Conference which was interesting (Ian Griffith is a good speaker) but more importantly during the lunch break Brian was kind enough to take me over to Trinity College and show me around it a bit. Trinity College! Most of my life I have heard about this famous place and today I got to see and walk through it. The best bit is how it is still a working college with students dashing about as all us tourists stand with our mouths open staring upwards at the architecture.

We also took the new tram service into the city center which I liked even if the project was way over budget and an underground service would have been better. The tram went along a working canal and lock system as well as over the main river through Dublin. To this African seeing a wide, deep river is a rare thing, especially one running through a city.

I loved the look of the city. So European to me and with more history in a single street than my whole home town of Cape Town.

(Didn't have my camera with me today as we were at the conference. I'll go back some weekend and wander the streets though.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Vicious circles

I had three things to do today. Get a bank account, register at the Garda (Police) and get my PPS (akin to a Social Security number.)

We tried the Garda first to formalise my Work Permit. We waited 20 minutes, was directed by two officers and then was told by a helpful lady that the immigration officer was not in and probably wouldn't be in till 2pm or more likely Tuesday. So if you ever need the immigration officer at the Garda in Waterford, don't go on Monday.

Next we tried the banks. First choice was Permanent TSB who wouldn't let me open an account because they need a utility bill with my address and name. I arrivedin Ireland yesterday so it is very unlikely that I would have a utility bill. Plus you need a bank account to get most utility bills. Strangely they would have accepted any utility bill I had received in South Africa. Unfortunatley I had not brought any with me (it never crossed my mind to bring a South African utility bill with a South AFrican address to Ireland.) They also take a PPS letter but that takes a week to get and I need a bank account so I can get paid.

So two down and no success. PPS number next which turned out just fine. You need some form of ID, e.g. a passport, a letter stating your address (doesn't have to be a utility bill. I just got a letter from my eployer and it was countersigned by my mate Brian who I am living with) and then anything else that can identify you and which originated in your home country. I used my British Airways boarding pass which worked fine.

Brian then had the bright idea of trying AIB in WIT's campus. So it is an AIB branch but in the WIT (my employer) campus. They accepted my WIT letter and I now have a bank account. The funny bit is I can make use of the Permanent TSB "switch" offer and I'd be accepted. Not sure I will though after TSB turned me down at first.

So just the Garda left to do tomorrow. Hopefully the immigration officer turns up for work.

Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey by Paul Watson Arrived in Ireland today. Brian and Ulla picked me up from Dublin airport and we drove down to Waterford. Stopped over at the Jerpoint Abbey to have a gander.

Went to an Irish pub in the evening, apparently one of the oldest in Ireland. Had 3 or so pints of Guinness as a live musician belted out Irish tunes. It has rained from about the afternoon onwards but, like Scotland, it suits the scenery and lifestyle.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Some bonds are just too strong

We are standing at the crossroads
and now its time
for you to go your way
and me to go mine
I will pray the Lord
will keep you safe
until the day I see your face again
my friend
we have been through so much
and you have been my Godsend
with your sure and steady love
my friend
you know I will be there
if you ever need
'cause you have always
been a friend to me

I may travel the world over
but one thing I know for sure
one day this road will lead me
back around to your door
I will pray the Lord
will keep you safe
some bonds are just too strong
to break in the end

Nothing will change the way
I feel about you
not the miles or the years
or the place this life takes us to!


Carine sent me that and I thought it rang true. Thanks my love.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

new rug

new rug by * cate *
new rug
Originally uploaded by * cate *.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ubuntu

Ubuntu by Paul Watson My Ubuntu 5.04 discs arrived today. 10 x86 discs and 5 AMD discs. Nicely packaged with both Live and Install versions. You wouldn't think this is Linux but it is and what a Linux distro it is.

Go check Ubuntu out. They will send you as many discs as you want for free.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

iKarma, uKarma?





Might be a decent way to do it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dudley

Dudley by Paul Watson Dudley died this evening. His struggle with lung cancer came to an end when he slipped into a coma and then left our Earth this October day. He was my mother's friend, my mother's lover and my mother's support. She was his in those and many other ways.

He taught me to play golf and we spent time together in the Magaliesberg. He was a good man, he made my mother happy. I never thought ill of him in his part in my parent's divorce. He made my mother happy. Nothing else matters.

I have never known someone who has died. Not in my adult life. My grandparents all died when I was very young, I don't remember them. Since then I nobody has died. Till today.

Most of all he made my mother happy. Apart from my sister that is the most important thing to me.

I'd better stop. Never felt quite this way... drank too much as I sat with my dad thinking about life, love and everything else. Most of all how my mother must be feeling. Jeeez, how does someone die? How can they be living one moment and not the next? And to think this is what a multitude of people think at the death of every single person. Everyone matters to someone. Everyone is special to someone. Everyone matters. Every life.

Every. Single. Life.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is a movie about one story in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. There are plenty of sites out there that will give you the whole rundown.

I just wanted to say that I haven't cried, for anything, since October of 2003 but I cried for most of this movie. A harrowing, powerful, tragic film. You won't enjoy it but it is a film you should see.