little me

Destination: Somerset

I completely forgot to set my alarm, so while Nathan was frantically trying to buy Glastonbury tickets for us, I was snoring away oblivious to it all.

I woke in a panic, texted him and he rang back and said he'd managed to get the tickets after just 50 mins of trying, so I went back to bed happy.

Yay Nathan! Yay Glasto! Yay!
little me

Damien Rice @ Scala

Tuesday night, Roz nonchalantly mentioned she was going to see Damien Rice with her friend Debbie. I was immediately incredibly jealous, I'd seen him at Glastonbury a couple of years ago (2005 I think) and thought he was great.

Wednesday, Paul was on IM all morning gushing about how great Rice had been at Hammersmith the night before. I related this to Roz and said how jealous I was, and she said 'oh, do you want me to see if Debbie has any spare tickets?'. A short while later Paul and I both had free tickets to go along. Result!

The gig was at Scala, which is absolutely tiny, and was invite-only as it was being recorded for XFM. Seeing him in such a small venue was a real treat, although a lot of the crowd seemed to have just been there because it was free - they spent the entire time networking and chatting.

His backing singer, Lisa Hannigan, was missing - apparently she's left the band. Some joker in the crowd shouted a question about where she was, which made Rice go off into a bit of a muddled speech about personal lives and how hard it is to be in a band - he didn't seem to happy. He sang her parts himself in most of the songs, which was a bit weird but worked well enough.

The whole gig was a bit strange, really. The band all seemed tired from the night before and the crowd weren't too well-behaved. I got the impression that they'd been roped into doing this radio session and weren't really approaching it like a proper gig. Rice did say he liked playing a small venue for a change, but I don't know how much his heart was in the whole thing.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, of course. I was really into it, and spent the whole time staring intently at the stage and nodding my head in time, proper Guardian-reader style.

In restrospect I think we were a bit rude to Debbie. She'd given us free tickets and all she got before the gig was a cursory 'hi there'. I'd meant to thank her properly after the gig but she disappeared off early so I just ended up looking really ungrateful, oh well.
little me

Lifestreaming

A while back, probably via the uF mailing lists, I came across an interesting article by a chap called Jeremy Keith.

The basic principle of it was that like most of us, he's contributing to lots of different places online, and most of those places were offering a feed of those timestamped activities in the form of RSS or Atom, so he built a page that amalgamated everything in once place.

I loved this idea, so naturally I've nicked it (took me a few months to get around to though). I thought he'd called his a Lifestream, but that may be just my hazy memory because he's just referred to it as 'a life stream' in the copy. I've called mine a Lifestream though, and would be happy to take any responsibility for Yet Another Annoying Web2.0 Phrase, but I'm sure someone's used it before.

My lifestream is on the front page of my site and at the moment is aggregating content from here (LJ), bookmarks from Delicious and my photos from Flickr. It's put together in PHP (using simplexml mainly, for those of you who care) and was surprisingly easy to implement. The only thing that was slightly fiddly was getting photos to display as when they were taken rather than when they were uploaded. I added a bunch of hAtom markup to get a nearly-valid Atom feed fairly easily too.

There are a few limitations, of course. The fact it's all derived from feeds and I'm not storing anything on a permanent basis means that things will 'drop off' the end of the stream as time goes on, but I'm choosing to see that as a benefit rather than a hinderance. It means that I won't bother adding pagination, there'll be one page of 'recent' stuff to look at.

I'm trying to think of more stuff to put on there. I have a YouTube account with just one video in, but I can't seem to see how to get a feed of just one user's videos (anyone?). Last.FM would be nice to have on there, but as Jeremy points out in his post above, their feed disappears if you don't listen to anything for a couple of days so it's a bit lame.

I could concievably add a list of the posts I've made to Google Groups, but that may be a whole can of worms. I'll certainly not be adding links to the nonsense I post on The V.

little me

Phew, I'm back

I haven't updated for a while because I don't really know what to do with a blog. However, I've made a decision to update more often and will be trying to write more about movies I've seen, restaurants I've been to, books I've read and so forth, as well as a bit of technical stuff thrown into the mix. This might not be of interest to the people currently reading, but I promise not to be offended if people un-friend me!

We got back from our MAMMOTH 4-week holiday in Australia at the start of the week. The whole thing was fantastic, and I'll try to cover it in more detail in future posts - the main thing I want to get across now is that I haven't been ignoring people for the last month, I've been away! While you're waiting for the full astory, here's a picture of me pretending to be a kangaroo.

Ciaran bonding with a kangaroo

Work is currently incredibly hectic. Finding quality PHP people to recruit is a bit like getting blood from a stone, but we're making some small progress. It's always amazed me how little you can know about IT and still work in IT recruitment - I'm not in fact clear on what these people do for a living. It must be nice to be a big company like Google and be able to set a whole bunch of hoops for candidates to jumpt through. We just have to put up with wasting (aggregate) hours of our time in interviews with candidates who are clearly unsuited to the advertised position.

I'll let out a big sigh of relief once we've recruited a couple more people. because at the moment I'm a bit of a one-man band, which is what prompted me to leave my last job in the first place.
little me

Brentford 0 - 4 Crewe

Brentford 0 - 4 Crewe

Such a blurry photo, but you get the idea.

This was, I think, my third trip to Brentford over the years. When I lived in SW London it was always fairly convenient to get to when we played them, and even though I'm little further away nowadays I was feeling pretty conscious that I hadn't yet been to a game this season.

Saturday afternoon I managed to persuade Roz to come along. Should be simple, you might think, after the millions of Watford games I've attended but it was a Herculean task. Having seen us hammer them 4-0, she now has a sort of grudging admiration. She did seem a bit shocked at the chanting, they don't tend to make much noise at Vicarage Road, preferring a combination of tuts and quiet clapping.

Losing to us is apparently now so massively embarassing that Brentford felt compelled to sack their manager immediately after the game. It's a bit of a shame because I like the club's oddly old-fashioned football experience and generally think clubs are too eager to place the blame on managers nowadays.

little me

Blasket Islands

Blasket Islands
Mon 21/08/2006 15:14 21082006181

We got back from The Kingdom (Kerry) late-ish last night. As noted previously, the security outbound was ridiculous. Happily there was little security at Farranfore on the way back. They put us through a metal detector, waved us onto our plane ignoring the bottle of Fanta in my hand and then back in the UK they don't even check your passport, a boarding pass is enough if you've come over from Ireland. Obviously there's never been any sort of terrorist issues with people from Ireland in the past!

The weather over in Ireland was characteristically wet, but cleared up periodically so during one of the sunny spells we went over on a little dingy to the Blasket Islands, pictured, looked around the town, mucked about on the beach and got a bit sunburnt.

It's an interesting place - it was one of the last outposts of the Irish language and about 20 households lived on these tiny little islands until the government got them all to evacuate in the 50s, after the youngsters all emigrated to the UK and America leaving the community unsustainable.

What's remarkable about the place is that, with the encouragement of scholars who went over there to study the Irish language, a surprising number of the inhabitants started writing books about life on the island, and recounting folklore. I bought one of them, The Islandman by Tomas O'Crohan, and promptly left it with my folks.

We had gone with my parents, but unfortunately my Dad managed to break a few ligaments in his ankle just before the holiday which meant it was really hard for him to stand on it. He ended up staying behind in the cottage a lot, getting more and more browned off because he's a real outdoors kind of person. Being cooped up really doesn't suit him.

We ate out a few nights, and the seafood around Dingle is really something. I'm not sure if they're genius chefs or whether they just have amazing quality fresh ingredients but I don't normally eat much fish and even I thought it was great.

I've been to Dingle a fair few times over the years, because it's where my Grandmother was from, and my Mum lived there for a few years when she was little. Each time I go back it's got a little more commercial and there are more and more tourists wandering around. It saddens me a bit, but then I realise that I'm one of the tourists too, and they're probably thinking the same about me. I guess the family connection makes me think of myself as an insider when I'm really not.

little me

Two weddings and my funeral

Man, I haven't updated in a while, maybe it's the shock of having my mother comment on my blog.

I've been so busy lately, every weekend seems to have at least three things I'm invited to and it's all things I feel bad about turning down.

The next couple of weekends, we're going to weddings. Every bugger I know seems to be throwing their lives away entering into a blessed union, I think it's a sign I'm getting old.

I'm looking forward to my friend Chris' wedding because there's a lot of people I haven't seen in ages coming along. The one coming the furthest is probably Dan, who has been travelling around the world (he has a blog here and it's great reading).

Turning 28 has had a pretty traumatic effect on me, where did it all go? I swear to God I was 21 a few weeks ago.