Take That, Blindness!

Quizzes are like buses. For one thing, it always takes me two tries to figure out how to spell the plural. Also they smell a bit funny; and it’s rare that they’re organised quite as well as you’d like; and you always try to sit at the back, even though that turns out to be much less convenient than sitting up close to the person in charge.

Oh, and you can wait ages for one and then a few arrive at once.

So it is that I was at another quiz yesterday so soon after the last one. This one was in aid of Fighting Blindness ‘Round the World with Russell Crowe (“We couldn’t find Blindness, so we’re going to fight some blind people. Take that, Blindness!”)

It was the most fun I can remember having while doing so badly at something. I mean, I’ve seen quiz teams suck before, but we were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. We just plain sucked. It was like a re-run of the exam I once had in college when I’d forgotten to attend a course for the entire year. Only with less terror and more beer.

Still, I redeemed myself towards the end with a double whammy of full-points rounds. One of them was a six degrees–style movie association game, in which I managed to answer two of the questions before they were even asked (no bonus points for knowing the quizmaster that well, sadly).

The next was all about Irish history and geography, which is about as far from being my specialist subject as shoe care and maintenance, but with me as the only Irish person on the team we still got seven out of the ten answers right before we resorted to cheating thinking outside the box.

Maybe if quizzes come in threes like buses do then I’ll be able to drag myself back up to a more competitive place next time. Either that or I’ll just fully invest in the strategy of writing ‘Samuel L. Jackson’ as the answer to every single question.

There is no examination

For my birthday this year my parents decided to try to bring out in me the alcoholism that lives in every true Irishman. They bought me a voucher for the Wine Board of Ireland’s Wine Appreciation Course. I’ve been waiting for a time where their running the course and my being in the country would coincide for a period of six weeks, so I haven’t actually started the course. In fact I’m unlikely to get my first drop of sweet, sweet booze until late October.

Still, in an uncharacteristic show of forward planning I decided to find out exactly when the courses run, so I visited the site (linked above). I was tickled by this snippet:

This course is all about the fun and enjoyment of wine in addition to learning the basics in a relaxed and sociable environment. 

There is no examination.

I suddenly wish there were an exam.

Blue Suede Shoes

The domestication of Rory continues apace. Yesterday I cleaned a pair of shoes for the first time I can remember.

I say “cleaned”, but really I won’t know the true outcome for some time. At least until the major collateral damage has been repaired, and the shoes manage to return to a more shoe-like form (if they ever do). From the state of the sink—and, let’s be honest, the floor, ceiling, bath, and some of the next room—I would guess that I got a decent amount of dirt off them. Although some of that could just be ex-shoe material. Who knows?

I performed this experiment in grownupitude on an old pair I haven’t worn in some time, with the hope that I’ll either discover the secret or give up and find something more shiny to distract me before I get as far as wrecking any of my good shoes. Wish me luck.

Back to Work

Ok, so technically I haven’t been off work, but after being away from my own office for a week and a half it still feels like I’m coming back from a holiday. Thankfully that’s the not the crushingly depressing thought it might be for people in other jobs, because I’m one of those jerks who likes his job. Annoying, isn’t it?

Things to like about being back at home base:

  • Rock Band
  • Fresh pizza for lunch
  • The smoothies we have that no other office has
  • Being able to annoy my coworkers in person, which is much harder to filter than email
  • Rain


This visit to Zurich was supposed to include a day of sailing, because you can’t think of Switzerland without thinking of the great Swiss naval tradition. Sadly I indulged in somewhat more grog than would ordinarily be recommended, so I’ve decided to skip the prolonged period of bobbing up and down on a boat in favour of sitting comfortably on land.

Oddly, I’ll also be missing a sailing event tomorrow. My team in Dublin will spend the day being buffeted about on Irish Sea, while I’ll be in the arguably more glamorous but less enjoyable position of hurtling through the sky in a jet-powered metal tube.


There’s a slide from the first floor to the ground floor café here. There are fire-poles from floor to floor. I just walked past a sand pit, and yesterday I beat my best score on a Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machine. This place makes my office look like a bank.


I’m in Zurich this week from Monday to Friday. It’s my first travel since the end of May. A year ago that would have sounded like a very short time between trips, but it’s actually by far the longest single stretch I’ve been at home this year. My flight out was my eighteenth flight this year. It was nice not to have to deal with airports for a few weeks, even if it did mean failing in my half-assed attempt to travel internationally during every month of the year.

I haven’t seen a lot of Zurich, and because I’ll be working I don’t know how much I will see. The hotel is great, if you can judge a city by such things. The water in the minibar is free. What an innovation! On the other hand the rail system seems set up deliberately to confound non–German speakers, which is strange for country with four official languages. The two people I did have to ask for help at various points were able to speak English but didn’t seem entirely pleased to be asked to. Maybe my pronunciation of “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” was just wrong enough to somehow insult their mothers.

So, there you are. Airport good, trains bad, hotel good. Overall pretty neutral.

My Oldest Friends

I like that I can sit in a stylish modern restaurant eating clams and drinking red wine, listening to the Beatles and the Who and Jimmy Hendrix, talking about In Bruges and Juno, and laughing at jokes by Dara Ó Briain, with my parents. When I was a teenager I didn’t really realise that most of my peers weren’t actually friends with their parents, which I find sad. I’d miss it. I understand it gets better with age for many people, and the teenage years aren’t exactly ones in which you would be expected to be closest to the auld pair, so there’s that. It’s definitely a friendship worth having if you can manage it.

Also, check out Junior’s on Bath Avenue. The food is great (and unique) and the music selection is excellent.

News Team, Assemble!

Taking part in table quizzes is one of my favourite activities. It allows me to display my two great virtues: always wanting to show off how much I know, and being a really sore loser. Sadly I was only able to really demonstrate one of those virtues yesterday, as the Channel 6 News Team scored a massive victory and humiliated the opposition. They got served! (did I mention I’m also a sore winner?)

We took our team name from Anchorman, and in the spirit of acting like idiots for the sake of entertainment each of us took on the persona of one of the original Channel 6 team. As I was the team member with the strongest fondness for lamp I became Brick Tamland, weather. This suited me well as I have an IQ of 48 and am what some people call “mentally retarded”. Still, in between putting spoonfuls of mayonnaise in the toaster I think I managed to get some answers right. Fantastic!

Did I Ever Tell You…

Did I ever mention the time Stephen left his underwear on a bus? Oh gather round and I will tell you a tale…

One stormy night, or perhaps a mild spring afternoon, I forget which, Stephen left a new and unworn pair of boxers, in a store bag, on the seat of a bus. Not all that enthralling a story I know. Not even really all that embarrassing all told. Despite its literary failings though, I really do find this to be quite a hilarious incident. And there’s much worse stuff than this on the web, you have to admit.