18 February 2007

Irland blomstrar

Interesting last few days, so I thought I would take a few minutes and jot down some of the highlights.

The first thing to report is that NT-Hell came round a week ago and set up the cable. I worked from home that morning as they had given me a 9am-12 noon timeslot, and sure enough they arrived at 11:55. They took a while to do the installation and had a few negative things to say about the quality of the cabling in the wall, but all in all the guys were good, and left me with a shiny new set-top box that's about half the size of the old one. I then spent a few minutes getting it connected to my Mac Mini via an EyeTV and went on my merry way. The EyeTV I have is great but only compatible with an analog signal (and for some reason can't seem to tune BBC2 in), they make a box compatible with digital cable and satellite systems, but for some reason it's not compatible with the PACE set-top box used by NT-Hell in Ireland. The EyeTV software is a pretty standard DVR package but it does have a "straight-to-iPod" recording option the formats the file optimized for viewing on an iPod. None of this matters of course because there's still feck all on worth watching.

Last Saturday was my Grandfather's birthday. My two sisters were home (along with my youngest sister's fiancee) and so the Very Understanding Girlfriend and I travelled out to the family homestead to celebrate the occasion. My Grandfather is an amazing guy and to be honest I really don't spend nearly enough time with him. What made the trip more unusual was the fact that my family had recently done a huge spring clean and I was 'encouraged' to take home a number of boxes that I had left in storage there a few years ago. Most of the stuff dated from my college days, so opening up the dusty boxes stirred up more than a few memories. There was a great copy in one box of a Swedish newspaper from 1997 in which I was interviewed about Ireland's changing society. This was very much pre-Celtic tiger; I had just finished working in the college and there is a picture of me beside the article in the front square of college, and this was contrasted with a picture of a group of pony kids outside the flats in Ballymun on the front page. It is amazing to think how much has changed here in 10 years. It's also amazing to see how much my own life has changed, I don't think that standing there after studying and working in the college for six years that I would ever have imagined that I would now be working in the online media industry - I mean seriously, I'm a theologian...

Speaking of college life, I spent a lot of the week out at a college that I work with conducting interviews for non-academic staff. For much of the last 6 months I have been involved in ridiculous number of interviews as we went on a recruitment drive in our office. Having found a number of really great people to come on board and round out the team I looked forward to stepping back and never thinking about interviews again, but made the crucial mistake of telling my colleagues in the college about my recent experiences. "Aha!" they cried, "We've been looking for an external interviewer to chair a few interview panels; sounds like you are just the person!". I also spent some time with a group supported by the college that runs a program encouraging film making in primary schools, and got them to come in to the office and meet with some of my colleagues that work with digital media to see how we could support this project. Corporate Social Responsibility is a buzz word (or words) used by many groups, and normally means throwing money at a project but never getting your hands dirty; we take a very different view and prefer to donate our time and skills wherever possible. I was amazed to see how quickly the digital media team saw the possibilities with the school project, and leaped at the opportunity to support it.

Tuesday night was bizarre for it's extreme 70's kitsch-ness. A friend had found a fondue set, unopened and unused in its original 1970's packaging, in a charity shop, and thus a fondue-night was born. It also helped that she manages an amazing cheese stall in a farmer's market. Communal eating is always fun, if messy. Wednesday morning was not pleasant however. Did I mention that I'm lactose intolerant? Probably not. Well, I'm lactose intolerant, or as the Very Understanding Girlfriend describes it given the large volume of cheese that I still consume, I'm more "lactose prejudiced". I think it would be fair to say that I spent most of Wednesday suffering from a cheese-hangover, like a regular hangover only slightly more viscous and artery-clogging (seriously, ask your doctor about new Lipitor).

TV, nostalgia, interviews and cheese. My week sounds like an "I love the 80's weekend" on Channel 4.

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