Saturday 23 August 2014

Repeal the 8th March

I ducked out of Shamrokon for something a little bit more serious and joined the crowd for the Repeal the 8th protest. It was a good turn out, not on the scale I’d hoped but it was well organised with good speakers and I was very impressed by the overwhelmingly positive response from (almost) everyone we passed. The only negative reaction I heard was from an American tourist who felt led to inform a couple of us that “Abortion is bad”. So is force feeding a rape victim and then carving her up without her concern, sister.

Shamrokon

Had a great time at Shamrokon, met Mick B. and most of the clan, sat in on a few good panel discussions and generally got to hang out with like minded nerds. My main aim had just been to sit on a few panel discussions where Charlie Stross was taking part but I ran into him, his wife Feorag and Fluff Cthulhu on the way in and grabbed a quick snap. He’s right by the way, all cats are psychopaths.

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As it turns out he was joined on the Wearable Tech panel by @chebegeek and @ickle_tayto , and they all entertained us all with an interesting and informative discussion. Basically Wearable tech? Great geek toys but real mainstream breakthroughs will have to be washable, findable and (hopefully) controllable while hopefully avoiding any massive privacy screw ups. The socially aggravating problem that has hit Google Glass got a thorough going over, with the consensus being that it’s a core problem that isn’t going to go away.

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And we had a nice selection of Star Wars characters wandering around from The Emerald Garrison. Boba Fett was particularly good I thought.

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And we had a bit of Dr Who.. I never noticed the “John of Gods” sticker before, and thought it odd when I saw it today. Then I watched the first episode of the 13th Doctor this evening and whaddaya know, it’s a feature. Clearly I’m not a good enough Dr. Who fan.

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Sunday 10 August 2014

Strolling along the Grand Canal

The weather forecast for today said that it would be pretty wet early on but then clearing to sunshine and a few showers so I piled on the rain gear and headed in to town via the Grand Canal.

Turns out I didn’t need the rain gear at all. It had rained heavily just before I left though and the first section of the canal was a bit damp.

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But apart from having to scramble around a few spots it was t-shirt conditions for the whole route. And the bit of rain cleared the air and dust making for a couple of pretty nature shots.

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The rain has really cleaned up the canal itself too – the water was crystal clear and the overflow at the lock at Lucan Bridge was particularly pretty.

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No sign of any 4 leaf mutants in the clover this time though.

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The Greenway from Lucan Bridge to Inchicore is such an under-appreciated and under used resource. 8km of perfect surface, ideal for anyone who wants to get into walking. Easy access from a range of places along the way and the whole thing is both wheelchair and baby buggy friendly too. This section of the Grand Canal has a reputation for being a bit rough but I’ve walked it a lot recently and I’ve never met anyone other than friendly, courteous walkers, bikers and fisherfolk.

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And there is a ton of wildlife. I came across this Brown Hawker Dragonfly on the path. It was shuffling off this mortal coil, otherwise I could never have gotten this close. I was even able to pick it up, and put it back into the grass although that probably made little difference. Glorious wee beastie though – pretty close to the 72mm length they are supposed to get to as you can see from the €2 coin beside it in the first picture. I thought these were the biggest insects in Ireland but apparently the Emperor Dragonfly, which is green/azure, is about 5mm longer. Still, being able to get this close to one of these and get reasonable photos of it has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while so, go me: Dragonfly Achievement Unlocked. 

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The swan population is also doing pretty well. Now that the cygnets are getting fairly big the adults are a lot less defensive than they were when I came across a couple on the Royal Canal a few weeks back.

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After I got into town I was hunting around for a new Canvaz piece that proved a bit too elusive but Solus has been busy on Kevin St.  I love the Stay Weird Forever one, and I want a T-Shirt with that glass is half full picture.

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My ultimate target was a group effort by (I think) some of the street art crew from Evolve Urban Art and others who have created an open air street art gallery on Crampton Court as part of the Love the Lanes effort from Dublin City Council and The Temple Bar Company. If you are in Dublin, or know someone coming for a visit tell them to take a look. Crampton Court is the laneway beside The Olympia Theatre (on the east side) that links through to Essex St East via a fairly dark covered laneway. The laneway already hosted some iconic pieces from Maser, Solus and Conor Harrington so this is now a must see spot for anyone interested in Dublin Street Art.

KEMP

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JMK

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Not sure – who this is, still trying to find a credit, but it’s well cool.

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ADW provided a new version of his classic Cop-On ( also still going strong on Camden St). Conor Harrington’s piece is still there thankfully.

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Turning down into the laneway itself Anna Doran’s Love Lane piece is just epic and full of perfectly chosen anecdotes inscribed onto tiles surrounded by an array of tiles and backdrops painted in her typical style. I really cannot tell you how much I love her work.

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The photographs don’t even begin to do it justice, this is art that you have to see in person.

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And finally KIN-MX and Novice.

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Best of all – the remnants of Hurricane Bertha decided to circle Dublin while I was out walking and held off dumping a torrent of water, hail and possibly a rain of frogs on me while I was wandering around for 5 hours. As soon as I got home: BOOM! Thunder, hail and loads of water. Perfect timing.