Sunday, June 29, 2008

You shouldn't blog when you're FURIOUS

but I am anyway, and maybe it's a bad idea, but maybe later I will be less outraged and I would kind of like to get this thought out there while I am still outraged.

(another precaution: I'm probably not justly mad, I think I'm just trying to get something for nothing, knowing ahead of time that I shouldn't be allowed to do this, and I'm mad when I can't, so I guess this just makes me a spoiled kid)

Here's my situation: I'm flying Pittsburgh to San Francisco with a stopover in Cleveland. I want to just fly from Cleveland to San Francisco. I can't change this without paying a $150 fee plus blah blah blah. I don't want to change my route, I just want not to be present on that first leg. I mean, they could fill my seat with a mannequin. Whatever. Not allowed, without recalculating the whole thing as if I had said "wait, I don't want to go to San Francisco, I want to go to Dubai," applying fees, etc.

I'm mad at Continental Airlines, I guess, although I know every other airline has the same policy. I'm mad at the entire airline industry for not having systems in place to let me do this. It's just an information systems problem; it's not like the Cleveland-San Francisco flight could possibly be overbooked now or anything, because I was FLYING ON IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Move a few bits and bytes, or convince the flight attendants in Pittsburgh to pretend that I checked in, and all would be well. But I can't, which means a 5 hour greyhound trip from Cleveland to Pittsburgh the day before, and waking up two hours earlier, which means like 4:30am now, and showing up in PIT instead of CLE.

Aargh. If any human had any power, he/she could fix this for me. But the whole goddamn airline industry is so dehumanizing, so mass-produced, factory cattle number-not-a-name squeeze-out-every-last-penny nonsense, that there's nothing that anyone can do. AND it's inefficient and poorly run. But we all keep doing it, because it's the only choice we have if we want to travel long distances.

(postcaution: And in the end, all my outrage is because I can't have everything I want with regards to an AIRLINE FLIGHT. I mean, is cross-country vacation travel a god-given right? No! If I don't like the flight system, maybe I shouldn't fly.)
Dan, who is a spoiled kid.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Careful with fish, too...

I'm going to have to start marking these food-related posts with "food".

Cutting meat out of your diet is a big step towards being healthier and more sustainable. But fish is okay, right? All those health recommendations telling you that fish are good for you (have we mentioned omega-3's?), as well as "conventional wisdom" from Christianity that fish isn't meat and therefore can be eaten on Fridays during Lent, means why don't we just gobble up more fish instead of all those burgers? Hell, make salmon patties! Crab cakes!

Anyway, what I'm saying is that eating some fish is pretty bad for the environment too. Not talking massive greenhouse gases or tons of food waste like we are with cows, but we are talking about habitat destruction and species extinction. Here's a pretty good interview about it.

What to do? Rick Moonen (in the above interview) links to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (which I've heard about before) where you can go to check your fish before you buy it to see if it's safe and sustainable. Not at a computer? Use their little print-out card.

Sorry, I realize I got a little pedantic before. Am I being a jerk? Or am I posting so much that you're just not paying attention anymore? You can totally call me out if I am.

Rick Steves? That goofy guy with the fanny packs?

In first news, the fasting experiment seemed to turn out well. I ate no food yesterday, just drank a couple glasses of orange juice and a couple mugs of tea. I got kind of tired by the end of the day, slept pretty well, and am now feeling just fine. Whether it did anything good for me, I don't know, but it was at least not bad for me.

In second news, I was just pointed to Rick Steves's blog, in which he details his recent trip to Iran. His main point: our problem is not with the people but with the government, the people are amazing, and it would be terrible to go to war with a country like this. Reading it, it's hard not to agree. Then, to play devil's advocate, I let my dad's point of view kick in, and I think "that's all very nice, but if they have a crazy government that wants to nuke us, we have to stop them, even at the price of making life more difficult for their people." But isn't that the same as radical Iranians think? I was struck by a sentence where he said Iranians are about as happy with Bush as Americans are with Ahmadinejad. Granted, if you put our society up against theirs, with their lack of so many personal freedoms, I'd take ours any day. But something in me feels like turning Iran into the next Iraq would be the worst possible scenario.

... and that's why I'm voting for Obama. Well, one of the reasons. He seems less likely than McCain to get us into another war. (well, duh, right?)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Don't do it fast, do it half-fast

quoth my dad. See, it's funny, because "half-fast" sounds like "half-assed." Get it?

I'm trying an experiment today: fasting. It seems like a healthy thing to do every once in a while, or at least something that might have a lot of health benefits, and doesn't seem to have any negative health effects (I mean, I'm not wasting away). Sources? Wikipedia is good enough for me. Plus a lot of new-age loonies. Plus the fact that, whenever I don't eat for a while, I feel pretty good. I'll let you know how it goes.

DNUI, or, the Roadside Circus

Last Friday was probably the scariest moment in recent memory. (This proves how easy my life is.)

Background: Sarah and I went to her cousin's wedding. This was on her dad's side of the family, so I only knew a few people: her immediate family and her grandma. Nevertheless, it was fun, and not just because of the open bar.

What do you do with a top-40 DJ? (What do you do with a top-40 DJ? What do you do with a top-40 DJ? Early in the morning?)
This mostly comes up at high school dances and, apparently, weddings. If you want to go dance on your own, you probably go to a club that plays the kind of music you like. But yeah. Every so often you get a top 40 DJ. (and I guess by "top 40" I mean "top 40 and friends" which is like half new pop/hip-hop stuff and half old crap like "Shout" or "YMCA" or the Electric Slide.)

Assumption 1: nobody really likes a top-40 DJ. Some people tolerate it, and they kinda like it, but they don't really dig it. They enjoy it a little because it's familiar music.
Assumption 2: you should leave well enough alone, and if people are enjoying something, let them be.
Assumption 3: still, though, it's a little weird to be listening to Lil Jon and Fergie with parents and grandparents.
So what do those leave us with? Is it wrong to request songs that are 7 minutes long and that some people will hate? (like "Rock Lobster"?)

In the end, Sarah had the guts to request it, but the DJ didn't play it (or didn't have it) anyway. When I get married, I'm going to DJ my own wedding. For crying out loud.

Anyway, the wedding was fun, we drank some things, it ended at 10pm (huh?) and so we went upstairs to Sarah's family's hotel room and played Bang! with her family for a couple hours. Headed home around midnight. As we were driving home, we saw some lights and people stopping. We thought it was an accident, okay, we slow down, turns out they're stopping all the cars. We pull up and the officer tells us it's a random DUI checkpoint. Okay, fine.

Now, we had both drank a few things! But we were like 90% fine. We had sobered up for at least two hours. I didn't feel unsafe driving at all. But I had no idea what my BAC was, or if it mattered, and I could tell I was a little bit affected. At any rate, I step out of my car, terrified (because if you get a DUI you are ruined! you're a horrible person! you'll never work in this town again! and your little dog Toto too!), and go over and do some tests.

First test: he has a green penlight, and he keeps telling me to "follow the stimulus" with my eyes. Okay, I could tell they're not quite moving 100% smoothly. Now I'm even more scared.
Second test: walk 9 steps forward, heel-to-toe, count them, take a few small steps around your foot, and walk 9 more steps, same way. I did this fine. I mean, I wobbled a little here and there. Was that not good enough? Was I borderline? Why aren't they saying "okay, go back to your car" at this point?
Third test: stand on one foot, count "one thousand one, one thousand two, etc." I got up to like 30 before he cut me off. I mean, again, I wobbled a little.
Fourth test (SHIT WHY DO THEY NEED FOUR TESTS I'M TOTALLY FUCKED): a breathalyzer. Fine, all right, I blow into the little tube, my heart pounds as the one cop looks at the other cop, kinda shrugs, SHIT SHIT WHAT DOES IT SAY, and he shows it to me: .014. Now, in case you're not familiar, the legal limit is .08, or like six times what I was. I mean, .014 for a big ol' guy like me is like "I had this one beer but I didn't like it so I threw half of it out."

Now the cop is instantly my buddy. We walk back to where they had Sarah sit on the curb, and the cop and I are chatting. Approximate quote: "The important thing is that you drank responsibly. Keep it up. That'll be good for you, and good for your girlfriend, or wife, or, uh, significant other..."

And in the end it was all kind of fun, because it had a happy ending. I got a good story and a major shot of adrenaline and now I give thanks that I'm not in an oppressive totalitarian state where they could have taken me away at one of these checkpoints. Phew!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

There's a new...

Where the Hell is Matt?

Pretty excited about this.


Here I go, jumping into the world of having a website. I feel like it'd be a useful thing to learn. And I'd like to build it from scratch, to learn all the concepts involved. I'll host it from my own computer, as I don't see it getting much traffic.

So far, I've installed Apache, and I can navigate to my own site and get a "hello world."
To do:
- actually put something on the site
- figure out how to write code on the site (my test project: make something like the SnS Kudos Awards. Just something where you can nominate people for things, and then vote on them.) I guess you can use php for this? See, I don't even know that.
- maybe learn some Javascript too. Maybe I'll have to do that in the meantime, like in order to use php. Not sure.
- CSS? AJAX? Ruby on Rails? We'll see...
- get a domain name, so you all can see my site too. How do I do that? Do I have to have a static IP address?

If I'm way off base somewhere, let me know. Otherwise, look for something online by me sometime relatively soon!

Monday, June 23, 2008

90% Vegetarian

As of yesterday evening, I'm now 90% vegetarian.

Nits and grits: what does that mean? In any given week, I'll eat meat at most twice. (2 out of 21 meals, just under 10%). By "meat" I mean red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, and any other animal. As anyone should... "I'm vegetarian but I eat fish" is a cop-out. (I'm also counting chicken/beef/fish stock, gelatin, anything else that is actually animal parts as being meat. I'm being kind of picky, but not super-picky: if meat is an ingredient, it counts as meat, but if there are just rumors that it may or may not contain a trace of an animal byproduct (see: isinglass in Guinness) then I'm not going to worry about it.)

Why? Mostly the environment, but also health. I'll address "health" first, because it's shorter. Vegetables are more healthy than meat. Citation needed, right? I'll go with Mark Bittman first, particularly "1. Forget the protein thing." Most people would agree that vegetables are healthy, but they're still worried about vegetarians because "they're not getting enough protein." Who tells you that you need so much protein? The US FDA? I'd argue that they're not impartial, due to the huge meat lobby. If you want as much protein as a meat eater, you can get it from soy, beans, nuts, wheat gluten, and other high-protein foods. Otherwise, don't worry about it.

If you have other nutritional issues with a vegetarian diet, then we disagree on something more fundamental, and we should hash that out first. Otherwise, I'll say "a diet consisting mostly of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains is the healthiest diet possible" and move on.

Okay, the environment. Blatz blatz blatz further reading. Going vegetarian will solve the food crisis (ps. the world is in one now, we just haven't noticed because Giant Eagle still has plenty of food), the environment, and maybe our oil dependencies all in one. If everyone went vegetarian, that would help the environment more than everyone quitting driving.

Why 90%? Because I want to get across the point that you don't have to go fully vegetarian (and you don't have to be a hippie, if that's not your thing) in order to help! I think (although I don't know) that eating two meals of meat per week is sustainable, while eating seven or fourteen is not. And this way I can still eat some meats that I really enjoy, like fish sushi.

Why set a lower limit? I guess I've been a "flexitarian" for years. But this way I can actually document that I'm doing something measurably good. It will convince me to eat a little less than I used to. And it gives me something to talk about.

Finally, I'd like to say this: you can do it too. Two years ago, I thought it'd be nuts to be vegetarian for a month, until I tried it and found it pretty easy. It's a pretty low-sacrifice way to help the world a lot. If you'd like to join me in 90% (or 100%, or 80%, or whatever you like) vegetarianism, I'd be thrilled.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I got mine!

My grandpa had this saying. We'd be having dinner and my grandma would be serving up spaghetti, and he'd get some, but then, dishing up the rest of the plates, she'd finds that there's not enough for everyone. He would say "I got mine!" and grin. (Then he would share his food with us, obviously.)

I guess it's nothing terribly new. But it's ringing a bell with me, and here's why:

The economy is in the doldrums (don't say there's nothing to do in the dol-drums, it's just. not. true.) and houses are getting foreclosed all over the place. Gas is at $982478/gallon. Industries are shrinking all over, people are getting laid off in their 50's. Social security is nonsense, people are living too long to afford it, but nobody has money to save for retirement. People are killing the environment with their big houses and cars and meat, but it's hard to change.

In the midst of this, I've carved out a nice future for myself: a high-paying job with a top-notch software company. My innate preferences led me to the computer science industry, which happens to have gobs of money flowing out its ears. I can afford a place to live, save for retirement, AND take a few nice trips each year. Furthermore, my lifestyle preference brings me to a clean, safe, beautiful city, where I won't own a car, and I won't be a big drain on the environment. And I like vegetarian food.

What I'm saying is, at least in terms of money, job security, and not being a drain on the environment, "I got mine." And I don't got mine because I've scrimped and saved, I got mine because the things I like are not too dear (sorry, couldn't resist). It's like going to a restaurant and ordering a salad because you like it, while my friend orders a big ol' steak. Everyone says "oohh, you're such a good eater", and I say, well, I'm ordering what I like, just like my friend. Mine happens to be better in a lot of ways, but our motives were the same, so I'm not holier than thou. (but holy cow!)

What to do? Thank the world for (yet another) huge gift? I guess that's the best I can do. It sure makes me think I better do something great with my life, though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Had a discussion with my parents last night

and with a dramatic subject line like that, you'd think this is some big deal, but not really. We just had a discussion about a lot of things- religion, quantum physics, relativity, gay marriage, drugs- and it was fun. (I guess I talked a lot, but they seemed happy enough to listen, and we debated some things) I like talking to them! I only hope that I don't come across as the reckless kid who thinks everything that his parents say is wrong.

And I totally rolled my dad in a debate, which is rare, as he argues for a living. It was great! The topic: gay marriage. (at least I think I rolled him... we both ended up back where we started: I support gay marriage, he supports civil unions but not marriage, but I felt like I had a pretty convincing argument overall, and the only reason that he still thinks the way he does is that he still thinks the way he does.)

It was mostly all philosophy, little hard data, but I did the best I could. Among my points:
- being gay is not a choice, it's an inherent aspect. My dad disagrees with this point (he thinks it's some genetics and some choice). Me: why would so many people choose it, if it were a choice? Gay people have been persecuted throughout history (correct me if I'm wrong there). Him: it could be a refuge, like some poor people on the fringes of society fall into it because it's an accepting group. (Silent me: have you MET gay people?)
which led to the next point:
- being gay is no less good than being straight. Now, my dad doesn't think being gay is bad, he just doesn't think it's "the kind of thing our society should be promoting." Which means he thinks it's bad, or at least less good than being straight. So I guess we have a fundamental disagreement there too. (If humanity were threatened with extinction and we needed to crank out as many babies as possible, then yeah, I could see how being gay is less good than being straight. But there's overpopulation.)
- Anyway, if you accept my previous two premises (which my dad doesn't), then you have to accept that allowing gay people anything less than straight people is discrimination. Even if it's the same civil rights but a different name (that would be "separate but equal" discrimination).

Okay, this is not brilliant arguing on my part, but I was proud, and I backed my dad into a corner where his logical conclusion was that "gay < straight" and "gay is a choice" were axioms. It's hard to change axioms of your world. I'd think that if he knew more gay people, and heard them tell about how they came to realize they were gay (and so on), he might reverse the latter axiom. The first one is a little tougher to unravel, seeing as it's sorta been drilled into us for thousands of years, and the Catholic church, to which he nominally belongs, seems to be doing nothing to help the issue.

Another highlight of the debate: I was talking about gay people throughout history, Shakespeare, Da Vinci, ...
Dad: Wait, Shakespeare?
Me: Yep. So gay.
Dad: No he wasn't!
Me: Yeah he was. Super gay. Those sonnets? "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" They were for a dude!
Dad: No!
My mom silently nods.
Me: Yep. Definitely gay.

Then I tried to debate drug legalization, where my main argument is "it works in the Netherlands" (which is true) but I guess one axiom-challenging debate in an evening is enough. At any rate, I have to give my parents, and especially my dad, credit for being probably more tolerant than I. We disagree a lot, but I think he thinks I'm less of a rainbow hippie than I think he's a stodgy conservative. (of course, when we argue in a civilized way, I find him a lot less stodgy-conservative.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Video games, and it turns out Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are AWESOME

She puts Obama signs in her front yard, and he retaliates with McCain signs. She puts cardboard cutouts of political figures in her house, and sometimes the kids cart them out. This is great.

In other news, I'm looking for a video game. I like video games. I want to play one this summer, while I have some free time. So please, suggest me one!

Rules: It must be for computer, PS2, or SNES, as those are the only systems I have access to. (if it works easily on Linux that would be much better (if I had a dollar for every time some third-party thing "worked easily on Linux" I'd have about four bucks))

Guidelines: I particularly like RPGs, or games with a strong story. The Baldur's Gates were awesome back in the day, and I still think the holy Squaresoft trinity of Final Fantasy 7, FF6, and Chrono Trigger marks the peak of video games forever. If the story's weak, but the gameplay is good, I can dig that too (I was very addicted to Diablo 2 for a long time). I love anything that lets me be a character and pump up my stats and get cool items.

RTS games are okay too; I was into Starcraft and Warcraft 2 for a while, but I don't have leet uber micro.

I do like games that are creative and/or very pretty. Myst/Riven were great, even though the only possible way to play them involved following a walkthrough. SimCity 2000 was killer (heck, even The Sims was fun), and I saw a demonstration of a bunch of indie games called "The Art of Play" that I really enjoyed.

Rhythm games are all right, but I still like Amplitude the best, because it's the only one where the game is better than the gimmick.

Or even a good action/arcade game, like Super Mario World, can suck me in for hours. But I can't deal with three dimensions. (unless I have Wii head tracking)

So, in summary: I would like a game that either is really cool and innovative, or plays like a movie, or lets me collect things. If it's an old ROM or something, that's fine; if it's cutting edge and brand new, that's cool too. Recommend away!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Top 10, count them on your fingers

because everyone loves a list of 10 things.

First: Ireland was great! More details to follow.

Top 10 albums of this list I've been kinda keeping up with:
10. Animal Collective- Feels- I'm so glad this made the top 10. "Grass" and "The Purple Bottle" transport me to some primeval nature-worshipping world. I mean, the whole CD does. Probably another good camping-trip CD.
9. Of Montreal- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?- This grew on me a lot. Each track individually is pretty good, but to listen to the CD straight through, it's a carefully choreographed absolutely-messed-up descent into depression. The "carefully choreographed" is the key; never before have Kevin Barnes and crew sounded so crazy while sounding so planned. His David Bowie stage persona is also intriguing.
8. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- Shake the Sheets- Ted is everything you'd want in a punk rock hero, but he's very clean about it. He's simultaneously a society-fighter and a guy you'd want to hang out with. And this disc rocks straight through, from "Me and Mia" (the most catchy song about eating disorders) to "Walking To Do" (a call to arms for everything!)
7. Broken Social Scene- Broken Social Scene- Fuzzed-out and spacey, rocking but not indulgent, long-haired but pleasantly poppy, and did I mention Emily Haines (from Metric) provides (awesome, awesome) vocals?
6. The Knife- Silent Shout- This is dark and brooding, icy electronic pop at its best. Wait, did I say that about The Knife before? The difference is that this disc is tighter, more polished, and more nightmarish.
5. The Arcade Fire- Funeral- Ten songs, and only three of them are maybe possibly if-you're-really-in-a-hurry skippable. It's got two halves, first the "neighborhoods" and then the "other songs", which both sound like stellar concept EPs in their own right, but combine into maybe (objectively) a top-5 00's album. Maybe even #1. This is epic.
4. The Go! Team- Thunder, Lightning, Strike- cheerleader vocals? Really? Toss in horns, lite-rap, and a half-gallon of enthusiasm, and you have the second-most-fun record I've ever heard.
3. The Fiery Furnaces- Blueberry Boat- I'm not going to pretend this is head-and-shoulders over anything else they've done, but it's at least head above anything else they've done, and it was so fresh at the time. It felt like prog rock meets the new millennium, but instead of long-haired obnoxious 70's dudes, it was this quirky brother and sister combo. Eleanor provides the pipes, Matt provides the insane genius, and together you get this mash of pirates, private detectives, computer cafes, tropical trees, a train line, and a lost dog. If the Arcade Fire is epic, this is vainglorious.
2. Of Montreal- the Sunlandic Twins- Maybe I like this CD because every song is a keeper. Maybe it's because it's got the poppy hooks to draw you in but also the moody stuff like "Oslo in the Summertime" and "The Repudiated Immortals" to keep you interested over time. Maybe it's the associations I have with being lost in a magical Austrian ski resort with pretty much just this CD to keep me company.
1. Architecture in Helsinki- In Case We Die- Okay, this is it. This is the pinnacle of pop music. This is the standard against which every new pop CD must be judged. Songs like "Wishbone", "It'5", and "The Cemetery" are simultaneously catchy, precious, rocking, and only two minutes long. "Neverevereverdid" and "In Case We Die, Parts 1-4" are like the prog-pop epics of the Fiery Furnaces distilled to their radio-friendly essences. And between all that, they find time for "Maybe You Can Owe Me" and of course "Do the Whirlwind," which has not gotten old in the three years I've known it. This disc is a masterpiece.

And then the honorable mentions: a few discs that, in retrospect, I maybe should have put on this list.
Andrew Bird- Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs, around number 60
Broken Social Scene- You Forgot It In People, around 40
The Pipettes- We Are the Pipettes, maybe as #89 just clinging on to an entry in this list
David Byrne- Music for the Knee Plays, about #70, although maybe that's too generous

Whew! Tune in again in another 4 years and maybe I'll have another top-100 or so list!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Irish Tour Diary

And you'll forgive me if it's backdated. This blog is for me, not you. I scribbled down all this on a notebook. Here it is, in almost-unedited glory:

Tuesday 5/27
Wednesday 5/28
Tired tired tired.
Galway- McCambridge's grocery/deli, everything is organic, locally sourced.
Busker Browne's- a "cool" new place, eggplant/butternut squash bake, with cheese all over, Gouda?
Roisin Dubh- improv comedy show, awesome.
My suggestion for news headline: "Bears take over space station." Response: "I'd like a gram of whatever he's smoking."

Thursday 5/29 Galway pt. 2 and Salthill, which is crummy.
Sarah: "That must be a fire pit or a grave! But there are no other possibilities."
Christian bookstore/coffeeshop alert! "Refuting evolution" book.
Slept in a lot. The shower was like fighting a boss in a video game.
Dinner at a noodle place- a little bland, not bad.
Oh! Cheesemonger's!
Galway Hooker. It's a beer. Hoppy I guess.
Heard Arcade Fire- Intervention, twice. Their buses have better music.
English guys going "eeyyy."

Friday 5/30 Galway-Sligo
Early bus, etc. Harbour House in middle of industrial area.
Carrowmore tombs- harrowing walk on narrow roads with cars coming at us- but great tombs.
Dinner at Italian place- nice pizzas and wine- Chablis
Americans at tombs didn't let go of legend of Queen Maeve killed by cheese. Or of "get down on your hunkers."
Waiter at dinner- Jamie?- Australian, moved to London, then Sligo, better pace of life, etc. Gave us advice on pubs. Thought us Canadian.

Saturday 5/31 Sligo-Donegal
Met Kate, from Seattle
Went to Farmers' Market- scones, apple-blackcurrant juice, brown bread. Organic/local sure is big here.
Missed morning buses to Donegal, shopped, came back at 2:45.
No buses to Slieve League! Shit! Bike shop man going on vacation! Sad. Italian dinner.
Met Adrina, Silvan, Marianne (spelling?), French, from Limoges, got a ride to the Slieve League

Sunday 6/1 Donegal
Slieve League with French friends. Marianne, driver, cursed much, in French, others laughed. "Gauche!" "Droit!"
Drank Cidona. Still good.
Craft village super closed.
Money/souvenir flap, nice dinner at place that looked like a castle.
Pints and Dom's, Reel Inn (everyone singing "country roads")

Monday 6/2 Donegal-Derry
Donegal Castle, bought terrible comedy CD (Dusty Young. Features a joke: "My brother married way too young. She's Chinese!"
Bank Holiday! Bus to Derry 1:40 or 1:50
No Lough Swilly, tried to track down NW Busways, no luck. Panic, made $3 phone calls, got a car rental from David from Enterprise, instantly returned it.
Ran into Mr. Walsh and Jenna from Galway hostel, from Kamloops, BC
Saddler's House B&B

Tuesday 6/3 Derry-Portstewart
Derry city walls, bus to Portstewart
Bought some breakfast groceries
Dinner at Anchor bar
Cool cemetery in Derry, St. Columb's Cathedral

Wednesday 6/4 Portstewart
Lazy day! Slept in, laundry at laundry place, bought groceries at a butcher and a small grocery store.
Tried honeycomb ice cream. I think it's good!
Cooked dinner- spaghetti with meat sauce- tomato sauce in a jar w/o any crummy ingredients
Watched 5 Fawlty Towers episodes
Lunch at Morelli's I guess? Read the Irish Times.

Thursday 6/5 Portstewart
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
Giant's Causeway
Dinner- pork chops with apples
Walk around, sat on dock
Trad music at Anchor w/ Canadian lady and her daughter
Talked to Scottish guy who was fishing- apparently I have to go to Stirling, St. Andrews, and Glen Cool (spelling?) where there was a massacre and it's all haunted.

Friday 6/6 Portstewart
Dunluce Castle
Bushmills town (cool fruit/vegetable store) and distillery (barrel room closed!)
Fretted about a hat, didn't get it
Omelettes for dinner, ice cream, walk around, put feet in cold water, watched sunset.
Irish dudes waved at us. Actually at a guy behind us.

Saturday 6/7 Portstewart-Slane
Causeway Coast bus ("Antrim Coaster") to Belfast- v. long but nice
Looked for restaurants in LP book, no luck, lunch at "Streat"
Internet would be nice!
Get to Slane, picked up, no good grocery.
Other people at hostel: Cindy, weird Canadian father/daughter

Sunday 6/8 Slane
Ride to Newgrange w/ Joanne, hostel owner, but no ride back.
Met Berndt and Ute (?) who gave us a ride back, with a stop by the grocery (actually just another convenience store)
Tired! Fixed bikes, went to Hill of Slane after dinner at old post office. Cool cemetery and abbey ruins, Cindy met and scared us, make plans to meet at Boyle's pub.
Nap, came back to Boyle's, missed Cindy and the Germans. Talked to Flan the bartender though. And his Derry/Philadelphia friend.

Monday 6/9 Slane
Slept in a bit, rode to Slane, two buses to Tara, long walk b/c of wrong "Tara Cross" stop.
Back to Slane, dinner at Conyngham Arms hotel (only thing open on Mondays)
Back, then to pub (Boyle's again) w/ Cindy, then came back and drank another, good fun.

Tuesday 6/10 Slane-Galway-Ennis
Ran to catch bus, cross-town tram in Dublin, train to Galway to shop. Got rull tired, did not quite buy the right hat.
Got to Ennis, still tired and hungry, got lost, ate in "Poet's Corner" which was full of tourists. Watched soccer: Sweden vs. Greece.
Lady called us "my love" many times.