Salty Air

During the entire year I’ve been in Ireland, I have been haunted by this one song. I would hear it over chatter in the pub, walking past shops on the high street, and before curtain at a local theatre production, but I could never catch it at the right time. The people with me would never have heard it, and I could never listen closely enough to pick up the lyrics. I pinned down the phrase “salty air” once, but that wasn’t enough to get any results on Google. An entire year went by, and this song kept teasing me.

A few weeks ago, I went to see About Time, because I am a big fan of movies about time travel. I am so jealous that Rachel McAdams keeps getting to marry time travelers, but as much as I want to hate her, I always end up liking her. I also share her About Time character’s love for Kate Moss. Oh, and I want that character’s job – she is a “reader” for a London publisher.

It didn’t hurt that the movie also stars Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson. So now I have the About Time tennis-on-the-seashore scene and the official soundtrack listing to thank for leading me to:

This is one of those videos that offers little improvement on the music itself, and I actually prefer the longer version of the song, but there it is: “At the River” by Groove Armada. A song from the nineties. No wonder no one knew what I was talking about.

Tangled Up in Blue

My baby blue Biscuit turned 6 today.

In November 2007, she showed up at our door about an hour before I had to go to work. I had to leave her alone for 8+ hours, so this is how she bonded with her new family:


We assumed she was about six weeks old when we got her, so we gave her an early October birthday. October 1, to be precise… the same birthday as my boyfriend.


To this day, he swears that her eyes were as blue as his when she was a baby, which is clearly a lie, as evidenced by the photo below:


Happy Birthday to you both, my blue-eyed boy and my beloved blue heeler. In your honor, I’ve gone and dyed a blue streak in my hair. Maybe now I can fit in with the two of you!

Männertag or: Who’s Your Daddy?

There are a few little things in Germany that have been confusing me. I don’t understand why I can’t have waffles at Napoljonksa before 2pm, or why I can’t have asparagus at Café Anna Blume before 5pm. I also couldn’t figure out why the grocery store and all the print shops were closed today, and it was 3:30pm before I realized it was Father’s Day in Germany… and that’s only because I finally sat down and asked the Google machine.

On top of not being able to print my theatre ticket or find an empty seat at any of the sidewalk cafes on Kollwitzstrasse (which is a very hip street, I’ll have you know), St. George’s English-language bookshop was also closed, and I had made a special trip to find it. Ironically enough, Shakespeare and Sons (no relation to Shakespeare and Co.) was open, and happily took my money (pocket paperbacks of The Tiger’s Wife and Anna Funder’s novel All That I Am). While having coffee afterward, I made up a clever little mnemonic device about Shakespeare’s son’s name (damn it + Hamlet = Hamnet, sung to the tune of Dammit Janet) and him not letting Shakespeare have the day off on Männertag, but then I remembered that, sadly, Hamnet died very young.

Before I even understood what holiday it was, I had noticed a lot of fathers out with their children: an American father hustling his family across the tram tracks on Prenzlauer Allee while the green man was still glowing; a family playing ping pong in the park, when little brother with a broken left arm used his right to slam a cross-court shot directly into his sister’s forehead, she shouted something that sounded vaguely like “Don’t touch with me!” (which is nonsensical and also not German), and Dad’s instinct was to go after the rebound before he realized that he had to mediate; a young father who shared a laugh with me when his three- or four-year-old son found out the hard way what happens when you run through a puddle that is bigger than you are.

Then, after a long day, I got back to the flat and checked my email. Rob Thomas sent out update number 4,792 about the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter Project, and it’s just to confirm that, yes, Enrico Colantoni is back to reprise his role as possibly the best father in television history (seriously, I don’t think the movie could be made with out him). Keith Mars for Sheriff! (I’m still wondering about Wallace. We need Wallace. Veronica needs Wallace.)

So that sums up today’s adventures in Berlin. Happy Männertag to all the dads out there, especially mine. By the way… Daddy, if you open a private investigator’s office anytime soon, I will totally come answer the phones for you. And make coffee.


Antes del Amanecer

“He sent me the first script for Before Sunrise, which at that time was a wildly different film — it took place in San Antonio, the guy was a rabid film fanatic who talked all the time about film…”

– Ethan Hawke on Richard Linklater,
in an interview with Tom Shone

I’m sorry. I’ve been working on my essay, and I’m exhausted. I just thought I’d share an interesting fact I had read before I pass out (whilst the movie plays on my laptop, again).


We have our first copy-editing and proofreading exam tomorrow, and instead of studying like I should (they call it “revising” here?), I’ve been furiously editing every piece of text that comes my way… including this blog.

It started when I realized that I had misspelled marshmallow in yesterday’s post. It is not spelled marshmellow. There is no such thing as marshmellow. I had somehow convinced myself that marshmallow was the plant, and that marshmellow was the sugary confection roasted over an open fire to make s’mores. This is not the case. It’s not even remotely true. I don’t where I got that idea, and I owe someone from college an apology, because I was wrong about the marshmallow.

So I went through the past 20 entries or so and did some light editing. I didn’t change any of the underlying meaning, but I fixed sentences that ended with prepositions and capitalized Lent. Little things like that have had my attention all day, and I hope it was adequate preparation for the exam tomorrow.

Before Midnight


I write a lot of my blog posts late at night, right before I go to bed. I try to get them posted before midnight Irish time, but sometimes I settle for “oh well, it’s still yesterday in Texas” when I’m trying to post daily entries. It’s gotten worse this semester, with these four-day weekends and the amount of reading I have to do – I’m not sleeping at night.

All this to say, in my mind, it’s still January 20, which means: Happy Before Midnight Premiere Day!

As I write this, audiences at Sundance Film Festival are watching the world premiere of Before Midnight, the third film in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise / Before Sunset storyline. The films follow Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy around various European cities in the timeframes indicated by the titles. The installments are spaced nine years apart, with release dates in 1995, 2004, and now 2013.

Take the film-release frenzy of your Harry Potter, your Twilight, your Hunger Games, mix in a little indie-movie snobbery, stir it all together and allow to steep into a strong arthouse brew, then add a splash of Gen-X disenchantment and a sprinkle of wanderlust, and that is how excited I am about this movie. I am completely invested in these characters, and I cannot wait to find out what happens to them.

Before Midnight is screening at the Berlin Film Festival in a few weeks, and I’m very tempted to just go…

False Start

Today I was supposed to have my first class of the new semester at 10am. I arrived five minutes early – no one there. Room was locked.

I waited five minutes, frantically checking my iPhone to make sure I had the right room. One other dude shows up. He’s a History MA, so the course must be cross-listed. He checks his phone, and the History MAs have posted to their Facebook group that the class doesn’t start until next week. At this point I’m thinking I’m the only Publishing MA registered for this course.

Throughout the rest of the day, it transpires that there are seven of us in the course, but we arrived at the classroom in shifts all the way through half ten. No one knew anything about the class not starting until next week. We get an email later in the day saying the course is run by a different department and to direct our queries that way. Also, it doesn’t start until next week and, oh yeah, it’s going to be on Wednesday afternoons now.

So it turns out I have four-day weekends this semester. Which is awesome, except I really need a job.

The Final Frontier

My boyfriend and I were once sitting in front of the TV at home, and he was talking on the phone to one of his friends, who was also sitting in front of the TV at home with his girlfriend.

My boyfriend overheard his friend say to his girlfriend: “So, babe, are we gonna watch some Star Trek or what?”

To this day, we still refer to that as the smoothest line in all of romantic history.

20121203-135829.jpgWe had something of a Star Trek theme running through our weekend in Dublin.

On Day One, Saturday night, we arrived in Dublin on the last train. We checked into our hotel in Merrion Square, and I switched on the TV to see JJ Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek playing. My boyfriend and I saw this movie in the cinema with his mother, who had grown up watching Star Trek every day after school. She knew the name of each character as soon as they arrived on screen.

20121203-135841.jpgYesterday, after our Perfect Irish Sunday, we caught a 3D screening of Rise of the Guardians at the Savoy on O’Connell Street. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, but we had to sit through the credits to figure out who all the voices were (Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus? That was a surprise.) When we saw Chris Pine as Jack Frost, I’ll admit we didn’t know who that was, until I imdb’ed him when we got back to the hotel. We first saw him as “one of the skinheads” in Smokin’ Aces from 2006, but of course, he’s most known for his role as James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in the 2009 film Star Trek.

Finally, today, Monday, we’re catching the train out of Connolly Station to Belfast. We found out that passengers en route to Belfast have their own special waiting room, and the train is a different model than the one that goes to Galway. It’s name? The Enterprise.