The journey continues…

It’s been exactly 7 weeks to the day since I wrote that introductory spiel about my travels to San Francisco, and the events that have transpired in the meantime are almost too crazy to put into words. But given all the questions I’ve got (how can you afford to live in a place with a pool table, do you actually live in San Francisco, have you turned gay yet etc). I’ve decided to do the best I can. So…what exactly has happened in San Francisco?

WHERE DO I LIVE?
Ok, first a little white-lie. I don’t technically live in San Francisco. I live in Berkeley, just across the bay and about a 20 minute train ride away. It’s basically a University city as it is the location of the University of California, which has one of the biggest and best college campuses in America. This means the place is very youth-orientated, with lots of cheap places to eat and drink and handy amenities just a few minutes away.

I live in what the Americans call a frat house, which can best be described as a mini-hostel. There are 15 bedrooms where as many people sleep in as they want. As such there’s about 25 of us here in Kappa Delta Rho in total, 15 of whom are Irish, the rest American. The frat includes….3 balconies, a large-screen TV, a basement, a pool table, a table football table, 3 showers and 3 toilets. Rent is absolutely dirt cheap ($260 per month, aka about €50 a week) and the fun you can have in these places is just something else.

There are tons of these frat houses around the college, and you can be guaranteed that nearly every night there’ll be a frat party in one of them. And surprise surprise, most of the time it ends up being in our place! And with the combination of crazy cheap drink (12 bottles of Miller for $8.99!) and the craic you have with both the Irish and American, they always end up being amazing fun, albeit messy amazing fun.

WHERE DO I WORK?
This was the first sticky-point of the trip. Finding a job was a LOT harder than any of us expected. We had heard tons of stories of Irish people coming to SF and walking into nice handy jobs that sets yourself up for the summer, but not this time. It’s quite simple why really, a recession in Ireland means more people like myself are leaving the country, and San Francisco would be described as a J1 hotspot. But SF aren’t immune to an economic downturn either. I even read somewhere that more people are flying home early this year than ever before.

It took exactly 3 weeks to find a job. This time was spent in all the touristy locations like Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf, which is a nice area but in terms of jobs were completely tapped-out. Eventually we got a tip to try out an area called Union Street, a very upper-class part of the city which would see 6 restaurants opening in the next 6 months alone. So we took a wander there and stumbled across our new job.

A good comparison would be with Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Dublin. It’s a restaurant that obviously specializes in burgers and fries (sorry…chips), but the food is as healthy as you can get. The beef is pasture-raised and 100% grass fed, the shakes are all used with organic ingredients and freshly made every morning, you get the point. In terms of prices when you consider the area and the style of restaurant it is, it’s very reasonable. $4.99 for the Classic (patty, lettuce, tomato, house sauce, pickles etc) and up to $6.99 for other styles like the BBQ, the Tejano or the Sunny Side (my personal favorite). Fries are another $3 while a good quality shake costs about $4.50.

My job here was a mixture of bits and bobs. For most days I was a busser/runner, which means a waiter without actually having to take their order. I bring them food, I clean tables, and just generally make sure everything going to plan. Some days though I was a bartender, which meant pouring drinks, making shakes and sodas, the usual barwork stuff.

The drawbacks? Well…the commute was long. From Berkeley you’re looking at a 15 minute walk to the train station, a 25 minute train to San Francisco, a 5 minute walk to the bus stop, a 20 minute bus to Union St and another 5 minute walk to work. All in all you’d have to leave a good 90 minute early to be there on time. Also in the 1 month I worked there I only did night-shifts, starting at 4pm. Some nights I’d be home by 11, others I wouldn’t make it back until 3am. But what I lost in sleep I more than made up for in tips. On an average night-shift you’d get about 35-40 dollars, but this went up to $70 at one stage and as low as 20. It’s a new concept though, nothing we ever really experienced in Ireland, but I ain’t complaining!

However, most of you back home would have heard I quit this job last week. Why did I do so do you ask? Simple really, an opportunity arose back home which I couldn’t afford to turn down. This requires me to be home by mid-August instead of the planned 1st September so I changed my flights 2 weeks ago. I shall now be returning to the Déise on the morning of the 11th August after a 4 day stop-over in New York City. Given that means leaving San Francisco in just over 2 weeks, I didn’t want to spend my remaining time here just working away and not being able to do all the stuff I’d planned. Stuff like going to a baseball game, go exploring across the Golden Gate, maybe even traveling to San Diego or Los Angeles. I’ve earned more than enough money to keep me going for the rest of the summer anyway so it just made sense.

But what else has happened on my travels? WelI we went for a kick-about in a 70,000 seater stadium just up the road. On one occasion on the bus the guy beside me gave me $20 for no reason. On the next occasion the guy beside me had a real-life parrot on his shoulder. I cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was easily one of the most jaw-dropping experiences of my life. I’ve bought so many new clothes that I’m going to have to wear 5 layers of clothing on the flight home just to fit it all.

There are also untold amounts of funny stories I have to tell, all of which have no place here and will be much better told over a few pints in Geoffs, Phil Grimes and the Cove when I get home 🙂 I hope to see you there!

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The journey starts here.

The following was written upon my arrival to San Francisco two days ago. Now that I’ve my internet set up I’ve only been able to post it now.

I’m typing this from the baggage arrivals area of San Francisco Int’l Airport. The local time is approximately 8.36pm, but in reality it’s 4.40am in the morning. I’ve been travelling for precisely 23 hours and 55 minutes now, and since I’m starting a 3 hour wait for Diarmuids flight to get in (with no internet, ugh!), I thought this would be as good a time as any to write a bit of an update. I suppose the important thing to realize is that, bar the odd 30 minute nap here and there on my original flight to Atlanta, I’ve been awake for about 40 hours straight. So I suppose I should explain why I’ve let that happen…

On Tuesday 1st June I woke up bright and early in Waterford at 11am (that’s good for me!). There was quite a crap-load of stuff to organize, from utilities to buy in town to packing to do and documents to photocopy and organize. That kept me going pretty much the entire day, and knowing I had to be up ridiculously early the next morning, the sensible option of course would’ve been to get to bed early and be refreshed for what was going to be the longest day of my life.

So naturally enough, I stayed up all night watching the last episode of Lost. Again.

With not an ounce of sleep in me, we loaded the car at 4.45am and set off for Dublin Airport. Thanks to some wonderful driving and that brand-spanking new motorway, I was checking-in by 7am, a good 3 and a half hours before I was departing for Atlanta. Unfortunately the flight was delayed and we didn’t get going until 11.15am, but because of a pretty significant amount of queuing at Immigration and other things the wait wasn’t too long. I had finally left the country!

As strange as it may sound, the 8 hours 20 minutes to Atlanta were not as bad as I feared. I had a grand chat with the American sitting beside me (apparently he would give his right testicle to do what I’m doing for the summer) and we all had screens to watch a few movies on. Unfortunately the choices weren’t great…”Valentines Day”, “Dear John”, and some Pride and Prejudice-esque posh English movie which I didn’t catch the name of. I guess the last 2 hours dragged a bit, but that was down to a mixture of just wanting to set foot in America again as well as trying to get my baggage sorted for the connection flight, which sounded a bit confusing at the time.

We reached the airport at 2.30 local time (7.30 Irish time), and those 2 hours in Atlanta were absolutely surreal. Once we got past the mental security and we reached the duty-free shops, it finally hit me. Not the fact I was in America, but the fact that I was thousands of miles away from ANYBODY I knew! It wasn’t necessarily scary, it just shocked me at first when I came to that realization. Even when I did something like the Tall Ships Race 2 years ago even though I was away from the family and friends, I was still with 20-odd other people during it., but this was different. Now, just for that quick stop-over, I was on an entirely different continent to every single person I know of. I won’t forget that feeling in a hurry!

Speaking of that duty-free, even though it was only an airport terminal it was the States down to a tee. People saying “y’all” all the time, a lot more ‘big’ people around the place, and of course the 15 different fast-food joints they managed to squeeze into that small area. Gotta love them yanks.

My second flight to San Fran left a bit latter than scheduled, at around 5.15 Atlanta time (or 10.15 Irish time) and it went on for just over 5 hours. Didn’t manage any sleep during this time either, but that’s because we all had mini TVs on the seat in front of us with all the US channels on them 😀 So my flight consisted of watching a game of baseball between St. Louis and Cincinnati and trying to figure out the rules while going along, watching a bit of ESPN news and then some Mythbusters on Discovery. We were also able to track our flight status and all that as well which was pretty nifty.

So that brings me to here, San Francisco Int’l Airport. I don’t think the whole 48 hours has clicked with me yet, I’m just so tired it’s gone to that stage where you’re doing things without having the energy to think about them. It nearly resulted in me not finding my check-in bag as well. There I was standing by myself by the baggage reclaim, thinking the worst that my bag had gone missing, only for me to realize 5 minutes later that the one remaining bag that had been going round and round the machine was actually mine after all. Woops!

I’ve still got over 2 hours to kill before Diarmo checks in, but there’s not much I can do really. I’m too paranoid to fall asleep with all my bags around me, there’s no free internet for either my laptop or my iPhone, and I can’t even listen to music cause I’d be afraid the battery will run out and I won’t be able to contact Diarmuid later when he gets in. So yeah, I’m just gonna sit here, watch everyone come and go and think about the heaven I’ll experience when I’m FINALLY going to collapse on that hostel bed later tonight.

And after everything that’s happened, I think you can understand why.

I’m still alive!

Hello! It’s been a while don’t you think? My first original blog post in over 4 months to be precise (I’m not counting music people because it was actually written before Christmas, I only got around to tidying it up and posting it last month). So what’s been happening? Well the last 4 months have been quite insane, for a number of reasons. I’ve worked a lot on improving Action Replay on DCUfm the best I can, getting in interviews with guys such as Pat Spillane, Roddy Collins, Victor Costello and Gerry Thornley. Before the year is out I hope to go all out for a huge show which, if all goes to plan, will include an interview with the former Ireland soccer manager Brian Kerr, so I’ll keep you updated on how that pans out.

Speaking of which, there is of course my new job covering Heineken Cup games which I’m freaking delighted about, but I’m sure I’ve talked and tweeted enough about it to cover it again here. Elsewhere in college I’ve played in the squash intervarsities and suffered the worst defeat of my life, but (kinda) made up for it by being elected squash club chairman for 2010/11, so big woop for that! Outside of DCU work as part of a news year resolution I’ve finally got around to 2 things I’ve been meaning to do for years, that is a) having a driving license, and b) doing proper guitar practice every day. The driving is finally starting to come together, it’s just taking longer than usual because the only practice I can actually do is whenever I go home to Waterford for the weekend. The guitar is coming on great though, mainly because I brought up an old one with me to Shanowen after Christmas and have been working away on it pretty much every night (just ask my roommates!). I’m starting to play a good bit more hurling with the lads as well whenever I’m home as well which is always a good laugh.

Notice how I haven’t mentioned anything to do with college work yet? Well that’s because it’s really all very quiet on that front. I know we have assignments and stuff coming up in the next few weeks, but in terms of the day to day going to lectures it’s become pretty much non-existant! Our 2 lectures on a Monday has turned into 1 with the other being me and the video peeps talking about our drama for 10 minutes before hitting the pub, with the permission of our lecturer and all! Media Writing on Tuesdays is very Mickey Mouse like, nothing too important and nothing particularly noteworthy before our assignment which consists of a 2,500 word short story. In other words, Q2 on English Paper 1 all over again. Wednesdays Publication Design is a good bit of work yeah, but the longer it’s gone on the better it’s become. Comparative European Politics on Thursday is all very wishy-washy and again since our assignment questions cover very small areas, as long as you go to the lecture where your topic is covered then there’s really not a huge need to go to them anymore, as bad as that sounds. The fact it’s on late on a Thursday afternoon when I could easily give myself an early weekend instead doesn’t help. And that, in a nutshell, is the life of a 2nd year CS student. 8 hours a week. No exams. Sounds like heaven no?

Well it’s really not. Far from it. I might cover this in another blog post later, but in a nutshell doing a doss course (and it is a doss course, don’t kid yourself CSers!) is not as fun as it sounds. Of course I love Communications and if I went back 2 years I wouldn’t do anything different, but it’s missing something. A 4th year for starters, the very idea of starting my final year in college life after the summer is enough to give me and everyone else in my class the shits. I’m going off on a tangent here, so I’ll save the ranting for later!

But yeah, that’s 4 months covered in c700 words, and that’s without mentioning stuff like how I’m going back to the Irish Youth Choir in the summer (^_^)  Gonna leave you with this song i’ve been learning the last while now. Wasn’t sure how it’d sound with male vocals but I think it’s alright. Give her album a listen if you get the chance as well, enjoy!

Music people

Let’s face it, Last.fm is a bloody brilliant website. You can track gig listings for your favourite bands, let it recommend new music for you based on what you’ve listening to, it’s basically the Wiki of the music industry (without the vandalism!). But without a doubt the best part about it is the charts and statistics it builds up on your profile page, the kind of stuff I just love. I can check what song I’ve listened to the most the past 7 days, what album has had the most playthroughs, and best of all my most played bands going back to when I created my page early last year. The results are pretty startling, so I’ll let you judge it for yourself.

Scary stuff indeed, not least the fact I’ve managed to listen to 17,718 songs in less than 2 years. I would dispute some of those listings because I’m nearly sure I went a few weeks accidently scrobbling each Killers songs twice, but you get the jist of it. I was going to go on a big mad spiel about each band and why I like them but there are only so many hours in the day, so I’ll just go over a few of them.

Muse
Favourite album Origin of Symmetry.
Favourite songs (in no particular order) Citizen Erased, Stockholm Syndrome, Map of the Problematique, Undisclosed Desires.
No two ways about it; my favourite band in the entire world. Was fairly late getting into them but I like to think I’m making up for lost time. Seen them twice live and hope to add a 3rd next year.

The Killers
Favourite album Hot Fuss
Favourite songs When You Were Young, Smile Like You Mean It, Believe Me Natalie, This River Is Wild
Doesn’t look like they’re the best live band in the world, and no way are they better than Radiohead etc, but here they are anyway. They’re obviously a great band, but I don’t like the direction they took with Day and Age.

Coldplay
Favourite album Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Favourite songs Lost, Shiver, Life in Technicolor
Listened to them religiously during the Tall Ships Race last year but have eased off them a bit since. Saw them in the O2 last year and were fantastic.

Radiohead
Favourite album In Rainbows
Favourite songs Reckoner, Morning Bell, Weird Fishes, Paranoid Android, Let Down
If I started listening to them around the same time as the other big ones they’d be near the top. They’re just unbelievable musicians, not least because of their uncanny ability to create the most OTT songs and make it listenable. Just a quick heads up as well, Thom Yorke singing Reckoner is one of the best vocal performances, ever. I’m not joking.

Sufjan Stevens
Favourite album Illinois
Favourite songs Come on Feel the Illinoise, The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts, The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us
His 50-state project is doomed to fail, but you can’t fault the guy for trying. You can see by some of those song titles he’s not afraid to stand out in a crowd, and in fairness to him he’s a brilliant musician.

Fleet Foxes
Favourite album Fleet Foxes
Favourite songs Ragged Wood, Mykonos, Your Protector
Now, these guys are the way of the future! Unbelievable vocal harmonies with a cool folky-rock style; will rightly be among the numerous albums of the decade lists to come.

I couldn’t finish up without a few other mentions though. Mumford & Sons are the best new band I’ve heard in the last year. On the face of it they’re a British Fleet Foxes, but that’s not exactly a bad thing! Scottish crooner Amy MacDonald has just released A Curious Thing, and while I don’t think it reaches the lofty heights of This Is The Life, there’s still some impressive stuff on what is always a notoriously difficult 2nd album. Speaking of the Scots, Paolo Nutini is someone I’ve finally started to get into, even if it did take a while. Candy and Growing Up Beside You are definitely the highlights on his most recent album. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are probably the most improved band I’ve heard, epitomised by last summers EP It’s Blitz, which is lightyears ahead of anything they’ve achieved before.

And that, is basically everything I listen to and everything I like. If you’re still reading this and you’ve actually managed to make it down this far, you’re a more patient man then I’ll ever be. Coming up soon, 2nd semester fun in CS2!

College-ness

One area I didn’t really go into a lot of detail in my original blog was what I get up to in college. There’s a pretty hefty amount of stuff to cover so I’ll get right to it, beginning with the course itself and what modules I’m studying at the moment!

Video Production Pretty much the main practical element to my course, and the section I’ll be focussing on the most when it comes to my final year (next year! *gulp*) You see, in 1st year we did a bit of Video, Radio and Photography and you choose which one of those 3 you want to major in for 2nd and 3rd year. This consisted of getting practise in both shooting elements (using video cameras, recording equipment etc) and editing elements (Final Cut, Photoshop etc). Even though I’d say I’ve probably spent much more of my time both inside and outside college working in radio, I decided to go with video for two reasons. The thing about radio or photography is that I could always teach myself in the future how to use photoshop or pro tools if it’s something I want to work at more. But with video because of the equipment involved if I didn’t do it now I’d never get to do it. On top of that, photography was never an area I was particularly fond of while I already get enough radio experience through working with DCUfm. So far in video we’ve just done a lot about forming ideas and documentaries and all that, but I imagine it’ll be much more hands-on after Christmas.

Research Methods Ah, this little bugger. I don’t think I’ve ever underestimated the sheer amount of work involved then I have for this. I thought at first it’d just be something like Info and Study Skills from last year; nothing too difficult and with a bit of work can be passed with handy enough score. Eh, no! A 7,000 word research report done in groups of 3, which requires weeks upon weeks of work and preparation. The subject we’re doing our report on is “How do people read online news in comparison to print news” and it’s looking like a handy enough topic, but there’s still a trojan amount of work to get through for it.

Media Studies This is an odd one. It sounds like the most broad and far reaching module in the world, and in some ways it is, but it’s mainly focusses towards analysing photography, with a few documentaries and even poetry thrown into the mix as well. It’s the only one with an exam after Christmas as well, so I can see myself tearing my hair out at this come January. But in the meantime it’s pretty harmless so far.

Current Affairs Again, it pretty much does exactly as it says on the tin. 2 hours every Wedneday morning discussing issues around the world, ranging from political topics like the US role in Afghanistan to more ethical subjects like the debate of capitalism vs socialism. This requires a 1,000 word technical report with a 10 minute presentation which I’ve chosen to do on space exploration. From the little I’ve researched it it’s pretty interesting stuff, which always helps when it comes to assignments!

Social History & TV Drama Easily my favourite of the 5 modules, both inside and outside the lecture. Even though it’s a bone-crunching 3 hours long (at 9am on Friday morning no less!) it’s fairly engaging and enjoyable so far. We’ve watched episodes from programmes such as Madmen and Brasseye as well as discussing pretty much all forms of TV Drama and how it relates to the social context that it’s set. The assignment here was 2,500 words and “The West Wing” which just happens to be one of the best TV shows I have ever seen (must remember to blog about that in the future!)

So that, ladies and gentlemen is CS2 in a nutshell so far. There is one important element I’m missing though, and it’s probably taken up more of my time than one of those above modules. I am of course talking about DCUfm!

DCUfm is one of Ireland’s best college radio stations, particularly in terms of the quality of the software and studio we have available to us. The station itself runs the same platform of software as Today FM for example, and it really can’t be underestimated how cool it is for students like myself to have the ability to use these kind of facilities before I hit the big bad world of the real life. After doing bits and bobs with the news crew when I was in 1st year, I’ve now focussed solely on the sports side of the station, and now find myself as DCUfms Sports Editor. What does this mean? Well I present a weekly sports chat show every Wednesday evening, while I also do daily sports bulletins on Mondays and Thursdays. Of course there’s no way I can do all this by myself so there’s a great sports crew on hand for co-production and co-presenting on the day. Intruiged? I know you are! All you have to do is tune into dcufm.com and give a listen!

There was a lot more I wanted to go into, like my activities with the squash club and music soc, but I’m near 900 words at this stage. I’m beginning to think actually I should learn how to condense my blogs a bit more, had I written the same amount during this time for my research report I’d be nearly 1/7th of the way there 😦

Coming up next time on LUE, what it is about Muse that I love so much. I just know you’ll be dying to read that one!

FAI – for once getting the criticism they don’t deserve

I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one, because this is important. Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland in our World Cup play-off 2nd leg last month was one of the worst acts of cheating any of us will ever see in our entire lives. Given the context of the occasion, the setting, the importance, for a player of his calibre to deliberately (yes, deliberately) handle the ball not once but twice goes against everything the sport stands for. If the French captain was on a volleyball court it still wouldn’t be allowed! As if the action itself wasn’t bad enough, the way he arrogantly celebrated the resulting goal was the final nail in the coffin for his once untarnished reputation.

What happened on the now infamous date of 18th November 2009 has rightly sent shockwaves right across the world. The image you see on your left made headlines in every national sports paper in Europe, while even the great Pele felt the need to stand in and let his opinion heard on the matter. Questions were asked regarding the usage of video technology, of extra referees and of the subject of fair play and decency in the sport. It’s times like this the leader of this great sport needed to stand up and make himself known. His sports reputation was becoming increasingly frayed and he needed to address the serious questions that were consuming debates all over the world.

Arise, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter.

To be fair, Blatter is not one to stay clear of the headlines. If he’s not fighting off allegations regarding corruption in FIFA, he’s sustaining torrents of abuse for suggesting women footballers where smaller shorts to gain larger TV audiences. But now, exactly 2 weeks after Henrygate occurred, he has once again managed to falter at the times he’s needed most. Have a look why…

Now, frequent radio phone-in listeners or readers of boards.ie will notice that the majority of the Irish people seem to be aiming their abuse not at Blatter, but at the FAI for making the suggestion regarding becoming team no.33 in the first place. There is a lot of misinformation being thrown around the place, so let us be clear about the facts.

  • The FAIs request came at the end of a 90 minute meeting with FIFA in which they aired their grievances. The suggestion, which was part serious and part tongue-in-cheek, was made off-the-cuff. There was no formal written request made.
  • John Delaney, Chief Executive of the FAI, was given assurances their remark would remain confidential.

Now, barely 24 hours after said meeting we have the most powerful man in sport openly sharing (and laughing) at a private discussion to the media gathered from around the world. And Delaney is meant to be the bad guy in this saga?

Lets be serious here, the FAI had every right to ask what they did. I would imagine even they would’ve been surprised had FIFA let us go to South Africa as team 33, as would the entire country who, to be honest, none of whom think we deserve to be just handed a place on a silver platter. Also, what is it with the Irish people when it comes to self-indulgence? You won’t believe the amount of people telling me we’ve been embarrassing ourselves to the world, that we’ve looked like idiots for harping on about it 2 weeks later. Pardon me, but I don’t care if we became the most hated country in the world if it meant succeeding in some way at promoting the issue of fair play in football.

I can understand some of the criticisms levelled at the FAI, in particular for their handling of League of Ireland issues since they took over the running of the league a couple of years ago. But they are not at fault here, simple as. Yet because of the actions of a certain Swiss, the FAI have been made to look like crybabys while Blatter in general continues to be the focus of public ridicule. Losers all round? Well not exactly. Both Henry and the referee look set to escape punishment. A farce once again.

Just as I was about to conclude this article, I quick visit to bbc.co.uk/sport is telling me Blatter has since apologised for his actions in South Africa yesterday. All well and good? You wish. I’ll bold the part you may find troubling.

“In this connection I would like to express my regrets – my regrets to a wrong interpretation of what I have said in the Soccerex.

“I have only announced they have asked it, but the presence in the Soccerex they don’t took it very, I would say, seriously.

“So I regret what I have created and especially towards the Irish Football Association, I am sorry about these headlines going around the world.

“Contrary I have nothing against the Irish, they were very sporting people when they came to Fifa and it is a pity that it has been now communicated in this way.”

Funny that. I never realised the governing body of football in Northern Ireland (IFA) have been getting involved. The FAI meanwhile, await their apology with interest.

And so it begins…

My lecturers told me I should start one. I’ve seen numerous people both in and outside CS in the last number of months start one. One of the aforementioned went as far to say this form of media could in time replace the conventional form of reading and gathering online news. A quick post out on Twitter finally confirmed to me it was time to make the jump. So here you are, my very own (and possibly short-lived) blog! Can I have a smiley for that?

So what should any of you readers (both real and robotic) expect from my ramblings in the coming months/weeks/days? Well how about a little background of myself first and you can probably gather from that what you may or may not be hearing from me in the future!

Lets start with the musics, because that’s probably one of the biggest parts of my life. I started playing piano when I was 5/6 years old, did a few grades, gave it up when I was around 12 and started getting back into it when I was in TY. Since then I mainly just dabble myself with the odd melody and stuff, nothing classical or anything! I took up the cornet when I started secondary school which in turn leading onto the trumpet and flugel horn, although none of those I continue to play as much to this day. Singing was something I always did quite a bit of although that would mainly just consist of school choirs and such, but after joining the IYC (Irish Youth Choir) last summer it’s definitely something I plan on keeping up for the years to come!

As for bands and the like there are just too many to name, but a quick glance over at my last.fm page tells me my favourite bands are Muse, the Killers, Coldplay, Radiohead, Guillemots, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, MGMT, R.E.M., Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mark Ronson, Glasvegas (told you there were too many to name!)

I may as well get this out of the way now, to warn you for the future. I love Muse. I love Muse a lot. People saying bad things about Muse does not make me happy. Does that make me a petty fanboy? Hell yeah it does. Do I care? Not really, I like to think my friends know me well enough not to question my motives here. But those fed up with my random texts to people alerting them of changes to their setlist at a gig half way across the world will be happy to know that since seeing them in the O2 last month (near the front of the pit, queued 6/7 hours) that I am indeed branching my listening out a bit more. I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”, while after one or two listens Mumford & Sons debut album sounds very promising, so there is light at the end of the dark, Muse-filled tunnel. Expect a blog in the future of how this branching out tries to succeed but just ends up with me returning to my headphones blasting out “Map of the Problematique” for the 146th time.

Ok my nifty little word counter is telling me I’m already well over 540 so lets get on with it! If Muse are my band of choice, then the exploits of Mullane, McGrath and co. with the Waterford hurlers are and will continue to be my team of choice forever. I’ve been through my few ups and many downs, dating back to the summer of 98 when I saw us lose to Kilkenny by a single point in the All-Ireland semi final. Little did I know then! That day on 7th September 2008 when we were utterly humiliated by that same team in our long awaited AI final will rank as one of the worst of my life, but they haven’t been all bad believe me, and in some future blog day I’ll subject you to all the memories that are stand out above all others. Of course I’m not just completely hurling-orientated. I’m also an avid Manchester United supporter while I’ve had the luck to witness some of the best rugby matches to take place in Croke Park, some of which I’ll touch on in the coming days.

Just to brush on a few random bits and bobs that may interest you, I currently present a sports chat show every Wednesday from 5.15-6.30 on DCUfm, some of my favourite websites include the always entertaining boards.ie, I do take a keen interest in politics, both local and international, you can catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter (can you tell I’ve learned how to hyperlink?), while to many peoples amusement I can still put my feet behind my head. But for now I’ll sign off on my inaugural post, and after a good 20-30 minutes of writing whatever came to mind I can safely tell you this place is either going to be my new best friend or the page that finally signed the death warrant to those grade A results in CS this year. Joy!

One final, final point. The ‘b’ in the URL you see at the top of your web browser there stands for Brian, my middle name. Take the following ‘n’ out and you’ve got StephenBlog. Coincidence?…..Probably.


A little bit of info…

20 year old Communications student in DCU with an unhealthy obsession with Muse and the Waterford hurling team. If Muse were ever to play hurling my life would be complete.

What I’ve been tweeting…

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What I’ve been blogging…