• TV

    OLD DOG:NEW TRICKS

    Having been abandoned by the Ban Chéile while she took on a week long tour of conference engagements (or gigs as I like to call them) in Poland, I sat last week staring mindlessly at the Goggle Box. Up popped a very popular British cop drama called New Tricks- 7 million viewers an episode on terrestrial TV.

  • MY STORY

    DINNER WITH MY HERO (CHALLENGE #2)

    It will come as no shock to anyone who knows me that my hero is HH The 14th Dalai Lama. My respect and even fondness for him doesn’t stem from idol worship of a reincarnated Buddha, but for a man who has endured serious hardship and still manages to promote compassion and mindfulness; while maintaining a curiosity as sharp as…

  • SOAPBOX

    DOGGED DISCRIMINATION

     If I was to blog about a notice erected by a Local Authority in Ireland indicating that the amenity they set up with public funds was off limits to people of certain nationalities – lets say German, Zimbabwean, American, English, or Japanese – because the ignorance of received wisdom indicated they were more agressive than other nationalities and especially the…

  • SOAPBOX

    SHOUT LOUDER THE TV CAN’T HEAR YOU

    What is it about sport on TV that turns even the most mild mannered person into an aggressive expert who could singlehandedly replace every team member AND coach them from the sideline? As I write this my Ban Cheile is roaring “Oh you stupid, stupid…” at a player on a pitch miles away and in the full knowledge that only…

  • SOAPBOX

    POCKET EUROPE

    I reckon everyone has a little personal ritual when it comes to emptying their pockets, especilly if you’re doing it just before you go to bed. I usually put my battered wallet on the bedside locker first and then my mobile phone and then scoop any change from my pocket and toss it into an old ashtray that’s a relic…

  • MY STORY

    GETTING AROUND TO PROCRASTINATION

    Now there’s procrastination and then there’s my brand of procrastination. Here’s what I mean: my Dad died almost two years ago and shortly after the funeral my two siblings and I spent a brief and miserable evening sorting out his ‘things’. He was monklike in his approach to possessions and so there was very little to distribute and dispose of…

  • BOOKS,  MOVIES

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE HOST

    "What the heck", I said to myself, "why not review both the novel The Host by Stephenie Meyer and the subsequent movie of the same name?" "Why the heck not?" exclaimed the little voice in my head, but something deep beneath the surface of my tiny mind kept screaming out a warning.

  • Copyright (C) www.mytinymind.com
    FLUFF

    THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET

    Little did I know when I suggested a Blogging Challenge from September to December that returning to work after the summer break would mean my brain would work to rule and refuse to let a single thought solidify enough to write a meme never mind a blog post. My “Things to Do After Work” list has apparently reduced to just…

  • MY STORY

    ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY

    We are very lucky to be working in education and therefore able to take quite a few weeks off during the summer months. All of our annual leave is greedily stored up and we divide our holiday (vacation) time between a trip abroad for a few weeks and a few weeks in our little country hideaway. This combination is perfect…

  • SOAPBOX

    JUST A THOUGHT

    I witnessed something today that was both humbling and thought provoking. Sitting in Burger King with The Ban Cheile I noticed two men arrive into the restaurant and recognised one of them from earlier in the day, when I saw him panhandling in a doorway on Patrick’s Street. Both were dressed in old, well worn, but apparently clean clothes. One…

  • MY STORY

    SEEKER: COMMUNITY R.I.P.

    I’m a self-confessed life-long lone wolf; always have been and always will be. Being one of those people who are quite comfortable in their own company has many advantages – not least of which is the lack of a need for an ever increasing cadre of ‘friends’ and therefore not feeling lonely as often as others might. That’s not the same…

  • SOAPBOX

    ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER…..REALLY?

      The idiom goes “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and according to my late mother the next line is” but presence makes the love grow stronger”. Another nugget of received wisdom that appears to contradict itself, but does it? To begin with is fondness and love on equal footing? With two of our GUC (Grown Up Children No. 5…

  • Copyright (C) www.mytinymind.com 2013
    PLACES

    A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN

    Sure, a little bit o’ Heaven fell from out the sky one day And nestled on the ocean in a spot so far away And when the angels found it sure it looked so sweet and fair They said suppose we leave it for it looks so peaceful there! So they sprinkled it with star dust just to make the…

  • Copyright (C) www.mytinymin.com
    MY STORY

    SEEKER: RELIGION vs. PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY

    “In a world beset by fundamentalists of both believing and secular varieties, it must be possible to balance a rejection of religious faith with a selective reverence for religious rituals and concepts.” Alain de Botton All of my adult life I have been what I would call a “Seeker”. By that I mean I have always felt there is a need…

  • ART

    DOODLES

    I’m a Doodler. That’s it I’ve admitted it. It’s out there. I can’t say I like to draw because it’s not drawing – they aren’t good enough to be called drawings – and they’re rarely finished, but they do qualify as doodles. I’ll post them in a Doodles Album in case they’re of any use to some budding psychologist who…

  • PLACES

    LE CHATEAU…DE JA VU?

    Having just recently returned from France I had a stop-in-your-tracks-and-do-a-double-take moment last Saturday when strolling through Cork city. I looked up and spotted a bar called Le Chateau. My tiny mind took a minute or two to register the coincidence and make the dislocation disappear. Le Chateau had a plaque outside proudly proclaiming it was established in 1793 (34 years…

  • MOVIES

    THE HOBBIT

    As a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies and an avid reader of the books of JRR Tolkien I had a bunch of mixed emotions tying tiny knots in my stomach when I sat down to watch the DVD of The Hobbit. For a myriad of reasons I missed the movie when it was in the cinema…

  • BOOKS

    ALIF THE UNSEEN

    Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson would appear to have it all - well drawn characters, a good plot and enough pace to make you turn the pages, but even though I really enjoyed reading it there wasn't any moment throughout the book that made me think "ah!". Set in a fictitious 'city' in Arabia ruled by a corrupt Emir and…

  • MY STORY

    WHO AM I?

    Not that you dear reader have done anything wrong to deserve this momentary interlude during which I intend to let slip the curtain and ‘expose’ my inner me and set forth my manifesto to boot, but let’s face it it takes a certain amount of ego to release upon an unsuspecting blogosphere regular rantings about items that really only seem…

  • MY STORY

    LISTENING TO THUNDER

    On Thursday evening I sat in a French garden listening to huge peals of thunder rolling across the fields and vineyards and watching the rain clouds slowly head on collision courses through the heavens and I thought of two people and two lessons they taught me. The first was my late mother who never wasted an opportunity to draw our…

  • PLACES,  SERIES

    FRANCE 2013: BEDENAC

    At the end of news broadcasts there’s usually a lighter item preceded with the words “and finally..” and I suppose this is it for our holiday in France 2013 (although we still have the 8 hour drive to Roscoff tomorrow and the sailing). We rented a gite in Bedénac in Charente owned by Sue and Paul Wright in 2011 and…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: ARCACHON

    In my mind there are Beach People and for the record I’m not one of them. Beach People thrive on finding a spot amongst hordes of other sun, sea and sand worshippers and laying out between swims like seals basking in the sunshine. They have mastered the knack of dressing and undressing under a multicoloured towel slightly larger than a…

  • FOOD

    FISH & CHIPS – FRENCH STYLE

    Fish and chips are, well, fish and chips, but if you’re in France and cooking an evening meal why not put a spin on the traditional and try them with La Difference. We used Ray for the fish, bought frozen and quite inexpensive in the local Auchan supermarket. The chips were in fact chunky cut from locally grown potatoes –…

  • PLACES

    BASTILLE DAY 2013 (BORDEAUX, FRANCE)

    Just in case you weren’t already aware Bastille Day is the French national holiday when the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, which resulted in the French Revolution and the birth of the Republic, is celebrated across France and in French communities across the world. For The Ban Chéile* and I, it has become a bit of a…

  • BOOKS

    HOUSE ON AN IRISH HILLSIDE

    House On An Irish Hillside by Felicity Hayes-McCoy was a bit of a shot in the dark for me because I wasn't sure what to expect. I bought the book because I wanted to read more autobiographical or memoir based writing to help me with another project I'm working on and so the concept seemed appropriate. In fact, the book,…

  • FOOD,  PLACES

    THE BLARNEY STONE – BORDEAUX!

    Something we don't do on holiday is frequent Irish Pubs, mostly because we can do that at home and frankly the "Irish Pubs" abroad are often dark and scruffy places that don't reflect actual pubs in Ireland (not since the early 20th century anyway).

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: LA ROCHELLE

    I have to admit I have a soft spot for La Rochelle despite its typical touristy feel and constant throng of people. We have stopped off in La Rochelle on almost everyone of our 5 trips to France, sometimes just for a few hours and on one occasion staying for a few days. The winding streets and always upbeat atmosphere…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: ROCHEFORT

    I have to admit Rochefort on the west coast of France had little to show for the two hour drive from our rented gite in Bedenac just north of Bordeaux. The main attraction is an exhibition based around what appears to be a very slow restoration of an old fashioned sailing vessel and the old rope making factory. Neither of…

  • BOOKS

    WRATH OF ANGELS

    I realise waiting until the 11th novel in a sequence is not the best way to introduce oneself to a writer or his by now legendary character, but having said that it didn't hinder me in any way from enjoying Wrath of Angels by John Connolly or accepting Charlie Parker as the detective I'd most likely turn to in an…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: BLAYE MARKET DAY

      Wednesday and Saturday are the big market days in France – although there are various types of market held on other days during the summer months but they’re specific to certain towns and villages. We decided it was time to have that market experience once again and so The Ban Chéile (henceforth TBC) and I set out on a 30…

  • BOOKS

    HEAVEN’S SHADOW

    Heaven's Shadow by David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt is a novel set against a background of space expeditions by NASA in 2019. The planned space race by the US and a coalition of India, Russia and Brazil to be the first moon landing of the 21st century turns into something much more when a Near Earth Object appears in…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013 – COGNAC BLUES

    My Ban-Cheile* and I took a trip into Cognac to catch some of the ambiance of the Blues Festival. The festival runs from July 2nd -July 7th and attracts people from all over the world and not just France. The one hour drive north from Bédenac took us through undulating vineyards as far as the eye could see, interspersed with…

  • BOOKS

    THE ANGEL’S GAME

    The Angel's Game is Carlos Ruiz Zafón's follow up novel to the international bestseller The Shadow of The Wind (although it is meant to be a prequel). I read the latter on holiday a number of years ago and was bowled over by not just the way he drew characters and teased out a complicated plot, but also by the…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013 – ANGOULEME

    Captain Haddock: I thought you were an optimist. Tintin: You were wrong, weren’t you? I’m a realist. Captain Haddock: Ah, it’s just another name for a quitter. Tintin: You can call me what you like. Don’t you get it? We failed. Captain Haddock: Failed. There are plenty of others willing to call you a failure. A fool. A loser. A…

  • PLACES

    9 THINGS I LIKE ABOUT FERRIES

     I must admit I was never particularly enamoured with flying and only ever saw it as a means to an end, so making a list of things I like about ferry crossings could easily be renamed “why I prefer a boat to a plane”. After an almost 10 year hiatus from starting every holiday with the drudgery that is plane…

  • THE WEB

    AND THEN THERE WAS……….BLOG?

    Okay not the snappiest title anyone has ever given to an opening blog, but I was trying to give the impression that this was an event of biblical proportions.  I realise all things are subjective and maybe I’m a little biased, but I have a feeling this journey we’re about to embark upon will have the right mixture of fun…

  • MOVIES

    RED LIGHTS

    The movie raised some interesting points to think about, such as the introduction of doubt into a lifetime convinced of something that eventually is challenged. It also explored the publics hunger for all things paranormal and how we can latch onto things that fulfil a need for belief in some form of supernatural existence. Finally it raised the notion of…

  • MOVIES

    THE DARKEST HOUR

    I lost my Apple TV movie rental virginity on this one and after the usual fumbling and not knowing what to expect it was kinda satisfying but lacked anything special to remember it by. Enough of that! The premise for the movie – alien invasion while you’re miles from home – isn’t new and didn’t really have to be because…

  • MOVIES

    UNDERWORLD-AWAKENING

    The fourth movie in the very successful franchise and obviously the concept still has some life in it yet (well at least I’m smiling at that line considering it’s a vampire tale). Not the strongest of the series despite the welcome return of Kate Beckinsale to her role of Selene. Set in a future where vampires and werewolves have been…

  • MOVIES

    STOLEN LIVES

    Stolen Lives (Stolen in the US) stars John Hamm from Madmen and Josh Lucas. The storyline is something of a mashup of episodes of Criminal Minds and Cold Case where a detective (Hamm) investigates the discovery of a murdered boys remains dating back to 1958 and the impact this has on his own life following the abducation of his own son 8…

  • MOVIES

    THE HUNGER GAMES

    Reminded me of The Running Man but with real acting and a decent plot. The action sequences were exciting enough to hold your interest and the storyline has enough depth to engage the ‘thinkers’. Can’t wait for HG2.

  • MOVIES

    AVATAR

    Well have you been to see  Avatar the highest grossing movie to date? Did you see it in 3D? I did and to be honest it was impressive on the effects side and the acting was of a high standard, but if ‘stay in your memory’ and ‘talk about it afterwards’ were important factors to base an evaluation on then…