Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Japanese Animation

A few months back I posted a couple of short Japanese animations from a show called Digital Stadium on news channel NHK World. At the time there were so many I wanted to put up that I meant to publish a few more posts with a few more videos. Naturally, I forgot. Well, until about five minutes ago. So here are a couple more for your consideration. Again, due to the language barrier, I can’t tell you who they’re by or what they’re called but if you speak Japanese I’m sure it tells you on them somewhere.

I like to think of this first one as a dramatisation of what would happen if Sadako from the Ring trilogy and Link from the Legend of Zelda got together (at least for the first half of it).

And this second one, which is especially lovely, reminds me in places of that Studio Ghibli classic Princess Mononoke (one of my most favouritest films ever).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hello Sarah!

Picture by Sheila A. Dane

This is my first post since I told a real life person about this blog. I never planned on telling anyone about it but I’d had a couple of drinks last weekend and thought my sister might enjoy some of it. So this one’s for you Sarah, I know you’ll like it.

A Donegal Fairy

Ay, it's a bad thing to displeasure the gentry, sure enough--they can be unfriendly if they're angered, an' they can be the very best o' gude neighbours if they're treated kindly.

My mother's sister was her lone in the house one day, wi' a big pot o' water boiling on the fire, and ane o' the wee folk fell down the chimney, and slipped wi' his leg in the hot water.

He let a terrible squeal out o' him, an' in a minute the house was full o' wee crathurs pulling him out o' the pot, an' carrying him across the floor.

"Did she scald you?" my aunt heard them saying to him.

"Na, na, it was mysel' scalded my ainsel'," quoth the wee fellow.

"A weel, a weel," says they. "If it was your ainsel scalded yoursel', we'll say nothing, but if she had scalded you, we'd ha' made her pay."

Originally published in Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, edited and selected by W. B. Yeats, 1888.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

'Old' Two Pence Piece

I think I’m having a midlife crisis. While browsing Etsy this afternoon I spotted this charming little “vintage coin” necklace. Vintage??? I remember using that coin until a couple of years ago! (How long is it since the Euro was introduced? Eight years you say? Even so, it’s not that long ago!) Still, it wasn’t till my friend had this motif tattooed on her back that I realised how pretty it was. Funny that, how you can be surrounded by so many beautiful things and hardly notice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fruit and Bubbles

Here are some quirky little items I came across at First up are these yummy little Post-It notes. Good enough to eat!

And next we have Zubbles, multicoloured bubbles that were apparently ten years in the making! I’m not going to ask who dedicated a decade of their life to such an endeavour, but I’m glad they did ’cause they’re pretty darn funky.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Year Gone

Today is my birthday! Not that another year closer to death is a reason to celebrate, so I’m not sure about that exclamation mark. No, I’m keeping it there. Another year lived and loved is worth a little appreciation.

It’s always amazes me the amount of people I come across that I share the date with. I remember visiting my fiancé’s neighbour once and we realised that four out of the six of us in the house at that one moment had the same birthday. Dunno what was in the May water back in the day, but our parents must’ve been at it like rabbits! Maybe they didn’t stop honouring the old school Beltane celebrations that long ago after all…

Anyway, here are some more well known Aquarians that first graced the world with their presence on this day in history.

37 - Claudius Drusus Germanicus Caesar Nero, emperor of Rome (54-68)

1471 - Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici, ruler of Florence (d. 1503)

1564 - Galileo Galilei, Pisa Italy, astronomer/physicist

1710 - Louis XV the Well-Beloved, Versailles, King of France (1715-74)

1748 - Jeremy Bentham, London England philosopher/originator (Utilitarian)

1819 - Christopher Sholes, Mooresburg Penn, inventor (typewriter)

1874 - Ernest H Shackleton, Kilkee Ireland, explorer (Endurance, Antarctica)

1882 - John Barrymore, [Blythe], Phila, actor (Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde)

1954 - Matt Groening, cartoonist (Life in Hell, Simpsons)

Weird, Whimsical, Wonderful

Some fantastical pieces of art from American Shelby Fischer. She describes herself as "a self-taught visionary artist" who "accumulates images that resonate with unconscious potential from a wide range of illustrated sources found on the internet". I just love her work.

And she doesn't just do collages:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love Never Dies

This is has to be my strangest post to date. I was browsing through some old photos the other day and I came across these. They were taken on a visit to a friend in Prague some years back and are of the entrance to a flat above her home near Charles’ Bridge. I realise that they’re probably more relevant to Halloween than Valentine’s, but there’s a method to this madness.

Apparently there was an eccentric old gay couple who lived in the apartment for as long as my friend could remember, but then one of them sadly passed on. Some time after this oddity appeared. Now I’m not saying that this is the skull of the deceased partner, though I would empathise with such an attempt to cling one’s lost love. Unfortunately my friend was unable to shed any light on the matter as the old man had become somewhat of a recluse since the death of his spouse and she had never been able to ask him.

It’s more likely his token way of dealing with the inevitable void left by the loss of his love and life. It’s strangely beautiful yet speaks to one of my deepest fears. I’m off now to give my boy a cuddle…

For The Day That's In It

Picture by Charles Robinson

"...for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though he is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense.”

A beautiful tale from possibly the most beautiful children’s book ever written: 'The Nightingale and the Rose' from The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde (1888)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Much Appreciated

I just want to say thank you to Aine MacAodha for becoming my first follower! Though I do feel a wee bit under pressure to do something with this place now, especially since Aine has such a wonderful little blog over at Whispers from the Sperrins. It’s packed full of poems and ponderings and lots of Celtic goodness. Anyway, thanks again Ms MacAodha!

Rainbows and Ravens

Here are some photos by a guy I know called Terrence Coyle. I don’t have a link for him which is unfortunate because he’s got so many more beautiful images. Plus, due to the fact that this blog is a secret, I haven’t even told him I’m using them. So please don’t steal them! (And Terrence, if you ever find out about my transgression, I’m sorry but I just had to share these with the world.)

The one below reminds me of the Morrigan.

Remember: © Terrence Coyle!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

All That We See or Seem

I'm still somewhat of a newbie when it comes to blinging up my blog but I'm having great fun cruising round all the great sites that offer free backgounds and buttons and stuff. Like this new typewiter I picked up. Thank you deadweight on velveteen!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trekker Tots

I want a baby to buy these for!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Newsy Art

I’ve got such a pile of old newspapers lying around my house and I know I could recycle them but I like to use them for stuff, like collages or wrapping paper. I’ve never done anything as creative as these, but then I’m not an uber gifted and renowned artist like Andrea Dezso. The girl can turn her hand to anything, from writing to sculpture to embroidery. She’s got the sort of talent people sell their souls for.

One of Those Random Musings

I like to daydream as I dander and while walking home this evening I got to thinking about an old Irish story that I recently reread.

I have a deep love of mythology and folklore, from all over the world. Naturally, having grown up with the stuff, the Irish legends are my particular favourite. The Ulster Cycle, for example, which is not only one of the oldest pieces of vernacular literature in Europe, but it’s like a fantasy book set right in the area I’m from and about people who are supposedly my ancestors. And its influence is pervasive. From Tolkien to religious tradition, I’ve noticed the themes and characters of the sagas popping up all over the place.

It wasn’t until after a conversation in the pub with an English friend that I realised I’d missed a connection- Deirdre of the Sorrows and Snow White.

Isn’t Snow White an old German fairytale, collected by the Brothers Grimm, brought to the masses by Disney? Well, yes, it is. But you know the way these things work. Germany isn’t so far away from Ireland that there wouldn’t have been cultural exchange, and sure weren’t the Celts not German.

Anyway, I’m not going to recount the whole saga of poor Deirdre and her star-crossed lover here (if you want you can read a brief and reasonably accurate summary at this site). The tale is, in fact, usually compared to that of Helen of Troy. Both recount how the beauty of one woman, and the will of a brutish king, resulted in the deaths of many men. I’ve never heard of anyone likening it to Snow White, though, which I now find surprising. Here’s why:

At the start of the story the beauty of the new-born Deirdre is foretold, though by the king’s druid not the queen’s mirror. This puts her life in danger, not from the wicked stepmother, but from The Red Branch Knights who are afraid by the prediction her beauty will cause bloodshed. For safety she is sent away to live in the forest.

She lives in the forest until she comes of age and it is here the story lends itself the most to that of the fairest-of-the-fair. Indeed at this point Deirdre was the most beautiful woman in all of Ireland, but it was the one she was to fall in love with that was the real Snow White. One day in winter while watching a dead calf being devoured by a raven she declared, "My beloved would be a man who would have hair as black as the raven, cheeks as red as the blood, and skin as white as the snow."

As Fate would have it there was indeed a man who matched her criteria and when Naoise, a knight from a powerful family, happened to wonder into her part of the woods while out hunting, he fell for the damsel in distress.

Deirdre escapes her verdant dungeon with her shining knight, but there’s no happy ending as the aged king whom she had been betrothed to marry at birth sets out in pursuit. The ensuing shenanigans are gory and harrowing, with implications for great heroes and events that followed, but that’s a story for another day.

Sorry this post has turned out to be one long ramble but I’m in a waffling sort of mood tonight. I’m a trained journalist and sometimes I think I use this blog to write in all the ways I wouldn’t while working. Ying and yang and all that

Friday, February 5, 2010


I’m totally addicted to Scrabble on Facebook at the minute. It’s so great it’s actually over taken internet poker as my favourite online time killer. And I even prefer it to the real life version; you never have to go looking for someone to play with ‘cause there’s always someone online up for a game, whether it’s someone you know or a stranger, and you can play it practically anytime you want anywhere and don’t have to worry about tidying up after.

I’m not alone either, which got me thinking about all those poor neglected Scrabble sets now gathering dust on shelves across the globe. Worry not, though, for there are plenty of artsy types out there tapping into the psyche of our times and recycling those fiddly wee tiles into beautiful things. Here’s some of what a quick search on Etsy turned up:

Scrabble Tile Pendants

Scrabble Tile Key Rings

 Scrabble Tile Cufflinks

Scrabble Tile Earrings

Scrabble Tile Magnets

Sorry I don't have links up for each individual item but they were all found easily enough on

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feline Fun

Following on from the previous post, here is a nice little sketch about life with a cat. It reminds me of my fiancé and our George, before she went missing. Oh how I miss her so!

If you're not already acquainted with Simon's Cat, see more of him here.

A Familiar Story

Now I like to think of myself as a pretty level headed person. I might wax on about fairies and fantasy, full moons and flowers, but generally I know the difference between imagination and reality. And when it comes to matters of the soul I like to keep my mind open. I do not follow any religion nor ascribe to any doctrine, though I do contemplate the spiritual from time to time.

I also like cats. I remember once doing a church gate collection for charity. It was at a late mass in a country chapel one winter. Lucky old me was stuck up at the back entrance. Right by the graves. In the dark. On my own. When a little moggy came along I thought ‘great, a wee bit of company’, but from there things just got spookier.

You see, the cat was more interested in the graves than in me. Two graves in particular, that weren’t even close by each other. I watched it move between the pair, stopping at each one for a while before returning to the other. It was as if it was relaying messages, or paying respect. Something. After my stand was over I went and investigated. Guess what- the dates of death on both headstones were the same year and the ages close. Both were men. Buddies, perhaps?

Anyway, I just thought that an interesting little anecdote to introduce the following article about a cat with an uncanny ability. It’s a fascinating story.

Doctor casts new light on cat that can predict death

SYDNEY (Reuters) - When doctors and staff realized that a cat living in a U.S. nursing home could sense when someone was going to die, the feline, Oscar, was portrayed as a furry grim reaper or four-legged angel of death. Read More
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