Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doctor Who, Steampunk Style

Ok, time for the aforementioned geekiness.  Is it odd that I see Doctor Who as ‘geeky’ but not fairies or the idea of grown women holding a mass virtual tea party while wearing funny hats?  I suppose one man’s geek is another man’s freedom fighter. Or something like that. Anyhow, yes, Doctor Who. There’s been loads of it on TV this week.

Saturday was the best. One of the digital channels was showing nothing but Who all afternoon - the old 60s films, that weird attempt at an American one with I and the Terminator, and some more recent stuff too.  Then there was the new episode on BBC in the evening, and then Barca beat United! Ah, Saturday was a good day my friends.  I didn’t leave the sofa. But back to the geekiness…

You see, it’s not that I think watching Doctor Who is geeky, per se, but talking about it online probably is. And talking about it online in relation to steampunk’s gotta be. Which is what I’m going to do now.  Sort of. I’m no authority on steampunk so I won’t be able to talk about it very well. To me it’s just a word that describes certain stuff. Stuff that I generally tend to like.

Sometimes some of that stuff pops up in Doctor Who. I do realise, by the way, that DW isn’t actually ‘steampunk’ as such (though there are those who would argue that it was a precursor for the sub-genre), but it does have it’s moments. Remember that episode with Queen Victoria and the alien werewolves - didn’t they want to build a coal powered spaceship or something?  

 And then there was that Christmas special from a few years ago, the one that was repeated on Saturday and got me thinking about this.  It had The Doctor floating about in a hot air balloon shooting rays from a sleek old fashioned rifle (ok, so it was a temporal converter thingamajig or whatever but it looked like an old fashioned rifle) at a big giant Cyberking - a dreadnought class starship with a steam engine, no less - which was wrecking havoc on nineteenth century London. As I said, I’m no expert…

Anyway, since then that thing’s happened. You know, when you’ve been thinking about something then you start to notice it popping up everywhere?  I’ve come across so much steampunk inspired Who stuff since Saturday!  Like these lovely drawings by Promus-Kaa on Deviant Art. Be sure and check out the fun little descriptions and anecdotes he leaves with each image.

When you’re over on D-Art, you could also swing by for a nosy at Vladislaus Dantes’ gallery. He’s got tons of handcrafted goodies for steam lovers, including these:

I want that TARDIS! Also on Deviant Art (god, they’re a crafty bunch over there), are Sydeian and the adorable K-1889. Aw, just look at his little wiggly megaphone ears! 

Not quite as friendly but certainly as beautiful is this “sewer maintenance machine” prototype by Alex Holden. It’s made from bubble bath! Confused? Click here

Finally, I just thought I’d post this for no other reason than it’s one of the cutest things ever:

Sorry, I can’t remember where I got it from. It is cute though, isn’t it?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tea Time with a Twist

Hello, hello. How’s everybody today then? I think I’ve finally managed to get my blogging boots back on, I’ve even got another post lined up for this evening and everything. Nope, it’s not the fairy stories. I know I promised fairies, and fairies I will bring you, but they’ll just have to wait till tomorrow ‘cause I feel like indulging myself in a little geekiness this evening. First things first however - exciting news!

Word on the street is everybody’s favourite hostess, Vanessa from A Fanciful Twist, has announced the date for this year's annual Mad Tea Party. Yippee! I’m especially excited since it’ll be the first one I’ve actually participated in. I remember stumbling upon plenty of the party posts last summer though and, while I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at the time, I thoroughly enjoyed all the madness. Can’t wait to join in the shenanigans this year!

Anyway, if you haven’t already signed up or if you’re wondering, like I was this time last year,  what the hell all this chat about blog parties is about, run along over to A Fanciful Twist for all the info you need.  And now this is where I should tell you to ‘hurry, you’re late’ and call this an important date etc, but I’m trying to hold back on the Alice puns for now so I’m not going to.  Just go sign up. It’ll be fun.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Ok, so I’m a wee bit tipsy. ’Twas pub quiz night and, for the first time in a long wee while, we actually won. Hurray! Not only that but we whooped their asses, as they said in the olden days. But I’m not here to brag about the awesome amazingness of our new team, or to spout the usual cringy ramblings I can be prone to when we win (the prize is beer). Nope, I’m here to quickly share another little triumph:
This, my friends, was National Geographic's 'photo of the day' today (when I say today I mean yesterday, though I’m still awake so it’s still today goddammit!). It’s of a little place called Lagg, near the village of Malin, in my own fair Inishowen.  Isn’t it lovely? Since I was a wee girl that is the church I said I’d be married in. And unless we bugger off to Italy it will be too. Anyway, at the time of writing this image has had 13, 412 ‘likes’ on Facebook. I’m literally swelling with pride.

You have to understand, we in this tiny cut-off corner of the country know we have something pretty special. But we also know that not everyone else knows.  So it’s great to see a bit of worldwide recognition!  Oh, and just so you know, if the photographer who took this had turned around the picture would’ve been just as spectacular. Just go type ‘The Five Finger Strand’ into Google or Flickr or something to see what I mean. Highest sand dunes in Europe, them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apologies, Promises and Predicting the Irish Weather

Sorry folks, I’ve been at it again. Slacking off. I’m getting worse too. All I seem to do these days is crawl back every so often, full of apologies and promises, and a lot of chat about the weather, then slink away into obscurity again only to return a week later with a lot of the same.

So I’m going to try not to do that tonight. Though I suppose that ‘sorry folks’ is a form of apology, and saying I’m not going to go slinking away again does kind of count as a promise. Plus, I am going to talk about the weather! Well I’m Irish, it’s what we do.

As they say in these parts, ’tis a while night out there. Terrible windy. Though that’s not quite the type of weather chat I was on about. I was thinking more of the ‘reading nature to predict a storm’ sort.  In fact, I hadn’t actually intended talking about the weather at all until I sat down to write this. I had meant to post about local fairy tales for the lovely Laura.

Most of you won’t know Laura, she doesn’t have a blog, but I’ve known her in the real world for years and believe me, she’s just brilliant. She lives in England and doesn’t get home much, but I met her at a wedding the other day and she promptly reminded me that she likes to keep up to date with the blog. At least she did when there was stuff to keep up to date with. Sorry missus! (Shit, that was another apology.)

Anyway, as I said, I had planned on hunting down some local fairy stories which I knew she’d appreciate. And I did, I found some from right by the area she’s from. They’ll have to wait for another day though (and that’s another promise) ‘cause on the same site I also found this adorable guide to forecasting the weather from signs in nature.

As far as I can tell, it was written by an Inishowen schoolboy in 1938. It’s a just wee bit hilarious, especially considering the storm that’s blowing out there tonight. And I’m sure it’ll be as helpful in Yorkshire as it is here!

 Weather Signs 
by Liam Grant, Maghermore 17/01/1938

When the moon is pale it is a sign of rain.
When there is a ring around the moon it is a sign of rain.
A coppery or pale sunset is a sign of rain.
A rosy sunset means good weather.
When the stars are very bright it is the sign of a storm.
When the cloud are heavy it is a sign of rain.
When it starts to rain if the hens run to their house it is a sign it is going to fair but if they puck about it is going to be a wet day.
When the mist comes up from the sea it is a sign it is a sign of good weather.
When the mist comes down Meentagh glen it is a sign of rain.
When we hear Binion strand roaring it is a sign of rain.
When we hear Carrickabraghey roaring it is a sign of frost.
When the cow shakes herself in the byre it is a sure sign of rain.
When the smoke blows down the chimney it is a sign of rain.
When the hares comes into the fields it is a sign of a storm.
When there are clouds in the sky like goats hair it a sign of rain.
When the crows are up high in the air and fly straight down to the ground it is a sign of rain.
If you see the rock glistening in the distance hills after a shower it is a sign of rain.
When you hear the rivers sounding very loudly it is a sign of rain.
When you can see the hills very close it is a sign of rain.
When you see the merry dancers in the north it is a sign of storm.
When the hills look far away it is a sign of good weather.
When you see the dogs eating grass it is a sign of rain.
When the sun goes down red it is a sign of good weather.
If there is anybody who see wild geese it is a sign of storm.
If you see cows with their backs to the wind it is a sign of rain.
If you see a blue light in the fire it is a sign of storm.
When you see sheep coming in to the front of the hills it is a sign of storm.
If it starts to rain out of the south and the wind to change to the north it will fair.
When you see the cat sitting with the back to the fire it is a sign of storm.
If the new moon has her horns sticking up it is a sign of good weather.
When the horns are sticking down it is a sign of storm.
If the crain goes up the river it is a sign that there is going to be a flood.
If the floor gets damp in wet weather it is going to be good weather.
If the floor gets damp in good weather it is going to be wet weather.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Zombie Love (Again)

I just heard on the auld virtual grapevine that May is National Zombie Cultural Appreciation Month. Why am I only finding this out now?!* Anyway, I realise the ‘national’ part refers specifically to the US but, the way I see it, undead pandemics tend to be a worldwide phenomenon so I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be appreciated globally too. Plus, it’s a great excuse to indulge in a little zombie love.

I was going to make a list of my top five favourite zombie films to mark the occasion, but then I realised it’d just be a list of Romero flicks working in chronological order from Night of the Living Dead downwards (or should that be forwards?).  Since that’d be rather dull, I’ve instead decided to celebrate some of the other aspects of undead ‘culture’ out there in Geekland.  So, without further ado, here are just some of my favourite titbits. Enjoy!  

*Ok, so I actually found out two days ago - when I wrote this post. Argh! Cheers again Blogger for deleting it, comments and all. Ah well, at least I had it saved in drafts :)  

Zombie History
To understand any culture, as they say, you should look to where it came from. And according to the owner of this vintage map, “while no one can precisely pinpoint the first resurrections of the living undead, historians and scholars agree that Pittsburgh was the birthplace of the modern undead phenomenon.”  He goes on to explain that the grandson of the cartographer, one Mr Romero, later went on to make educational documentaries on various undead uprisings. Very excellent indeed.

Zombie Art and Décor
Ok, so there’s tons of this stuff out there to suit all tastes. These are just a couple of my choices for a chic and pretty plot:

Zombie Literature
Not literature about zombies, literature by zombies! Well magnetic fridge poetry anyway, with this set specifically tailored for the undead vocabulary from ThinkGeek. And for those lacking in the imagination department (which zombies are wont to do) they also have a great wee guide to haiku for the verbally challenged:

Zombie Food
Find out how to make these brainy treats in this photo-tutorial.

Zombie Fashion
For any style-conscious undead gals out there looking for something for that summer wedding:

And to scrub up before hand, how about this bubble bath which “soothes and freshens dead and decaying flesh”: 

Zombie Music
I’d say their gigs would be good craic.

For Little Zombies
To keep the wee monsters amused while mammy’s out hunting for fresh flesh.

And Finally…
For those of you who aren’t as excited about a possible apocalypse as some of us, there’s plenty of protective products out there to calm your nerves. Like this lovely soap:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Seasonal Irony

Well people, the rain’s back and so am I! Thank the heavens for it too - the rain that is, not me being back (I might be a bit ditsy but I’m not that self-absorbed).  And for once I’m not alone in rejoicing at the return of the clouds; it must be the first time in history people were actually praying for rain in Ireland. Things were getting a bit hairy there for a while!

For anyone not from these parts, we’ve been having some trouble with gorse fires recently. These past weeks of hot, dry, windy weather saw them popping up all over the British Isles. Donegal was quite badly hit, and while we were lucky enough to only have a few minor blazes in our immediate area (like the one photographed above), a large chunk of the rest of the county was ablaze. From our upstairs window you could see hills burning across the lough.  ‘The fires of Bealtaine’ as a friend on Facebook called them. Indeed.

Not to worry, though, for the rain has returned, Ireland is once more her soggy (if a little smouldering) self, and all is right with the universe again. Well, aside from the fact that thousands of hectares of bog, woodland and forest have been decimated. Not to mention those wee chicks in their nests and all the other little unfortunate critters caught up in the flames. There may not have been any humans killed, but there’s fear now that some rare native bird species may have been completely wiped out. Devastating stuff altogether. 


Right, so I’ve been trying to think what I’ve been up to since I last made a proper post, as opposed to one where I just came on to blog about how I’ve not been blogging enough. Let’s see, what have I been at? Well, I’ve joined a local camera club, which has been both fun and educational in equal measure. Basically it just involves a bunch of super-cool folks sitting around looking at and talking about photographs.  And drinking tea. What more could a girl ask for? Here’s one of my photos from last week, the theme was ‘macro’. It’s not great, but, as I said, I’m learning loads from the group.

I’ve also been helping  my fiance’s dad out with a history and heritage group he’s involved with and I’ve found out some really interesting stuff about local ley lines and stone circles after he discovered these maps in an old book. The zoomed-out one charts the astronomical connection between several megalithic sites in the wider area, while the close up one concerns a circle just nearby my house!  I love this stuff…

In other news, any corrupt politicians or scandalous personalities in my vicinity should beware, I may soon be returning to the world of local hackdom. It’s all still up in the air at the minute but fingers and toes are crossed! I’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Finally this evening - last but certainly not least, and all that - I want to say a big happy HELLO to my latest follower, Libithina! Aside from having a really beautiful name, this lady also has several wonderful blogs to peruse. Here’s her profile link because I couldn’t decided which site to share. You see, my friends, the lovely Libithina is my 200 th follower! As such I’d just like to take this opportunity to say I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Thanks so much to each and every one of you who take the time to call into this little corner of webland. I can’t for the life of me think why anyone would want to, but I am really truly grateful to all who do. I’ve made some great friends here over the past year and it amazes me that I keep meeting new ones. I have to admit, I do feel a tad guilty since I’ve been such a bad blog buddy lately.

As I said though, I’m back now, and this weekend I’m making a point of catching up with you all - new friends and old!  Until then!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Fairy Tree for Bealtaine

“All around the thorn tree, the little people play; and every one that pass there, they turn their heads away.”

- Count John McCormack, ‘The Bush Beyond Clougheen’.

Hello folks! Just dropping in quickly this evening to let you all know I haven’t given up blogging or anything, I’m actually still struggling to escape that time warp I mentioned last week. You know I seriously believe The End must be fast approaching, what with time speeding up and the fact that I don’t remember the last time the sun wasn’t shining! The rest of the world’s getting blown away and washed out of it, yet there hasn’t been a drop of rain here in around a month. Something’s definitely up. 

Anyway, I’m sure now that’s it’s officially summer the grey clouds will be back with a vengeance soon enough, and once I’m stuck indoors again time will return to it’s normal blog-friendly pace. I know nearly every other person in Ireland would probably hit me for saying this, but I can’t bloody wait. Bring back the gloom, all this pleasantness just isn’t normal!

(Oh, and sorry about my half-assed attempt at a Bealtaine post. My photo of the hawthorn is out of season and everything - it has to be in bloom to be Beltane-y. I did have some lovely shots of a flowering thorn from a couple of days ago but I deleted them from my camera by accident last night. Typical!)
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