Blog moving!

22 07 2008

Mustard on the Hedge has moved to http://mustardonthehedge.com/….please come visit me there.





Amy Winehouse under house arrest

3 07 2008

It’s a beautiful Irish Summer day. The sky is grey and I’m up to my ankles in rain water. It seems like it’s been raining non-stop for a week now. The only thing I’ve to remind me that the sun even exists is some unfortunate “farmers tan” lines on my arms and chest.

I’d to haul ass is the rain to work and was sitting at my desk resigned to my misery when I heard that Amy Winehouse is under house arrest.

For some reason…maybe because I’m the spawn of Satin…hearing of Winehouse’s misfortune cheered me up no end. It’s always reassuring to hear that, while you’re life may be depressing…at least you’re not Amy Winehouse.

Amy Winehouse at Mandela Concert

Apparently Amy’s managers had all they could take in recent days. She looked and sounded a right state at the Mandela Birthday Bash (see pic), punched a fan at Glastonbury (in fairness the dumbass touched her beehive!), called Kanye the big “C word” and then went out on the town and got herself properly wasted (against Doctors orders since she’s under treatment for emphysema). Her record label bosses have now confined her to her house and employed 24 hour security to ensure she doesn’t escape and hit the town.

There will also be a security guard outside the house to keep out undesirables (Pete Doherty that means you!). The powers that be have finally realised that Amy won’t go to rehab..no no no…and she can’t/won’t clean up her act so their plan is to quarantine her so she can’t get drink/drugs and they can hopefully talk some sense into her. Good luck lads…ye’ll need it!





Stress Busting Sat-Nav Senses Traffic Jams

2 07 2008

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have announced they’re working a sat-nav system which informs motorists of traffic jams along their route.

The in-car navigation system can sense traffic build up from up to 10 miles away by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interpret live traffic info shared between vehicles which have a special GPS installed.

The system, of course has a needlessly confuffled name- CADRE- “Congestion Avoidance Dynamic Routing Engine”. Drivers will be able to keep their stress levels down as the sat-nav will flag alternative routes to help you avoid the traffic jams where possible.
CADRE may be on the shelves in 18 months time. I am sooo going to be at the top of the queue for this gizmo and I’d imagine I’ll have plenty of company. A recent survey revealed that people in Dublin spend an average of 55 minutes commuting to work. I barely spend 25 minutes on my way to work and it’s about as much as I could take. I thought a vein in my forehead was going to pop this morning…I’m sure this gadget will add a good five years onto my life expectancy!

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Atkins Diet,South Beach Diet,Smoothie Diet-the Monkey Diet?

2 07 2008

Diet culture has really taken a hold- Atkins Diets, celebrity yo-yo dieters, size zero….we hear these stories every day and magazines around the world fly off the shelves as we flock to look at pictures of celebrities oozing out of their bathing suits or looking “too thin” at some event somewhere. Many people look for that miracle diet…the one that impacts in no way on their daily lives but yet they wake up after just a few weeks, look in the mirror and step back agast- “Holy Shit. After just 6 weeks I look like Cheryl Cole!”.

Overweight Japanese Monkey\'s

50 Rhesus monkeys at Ohama park in Osaka have been put on a strict diet after they’d been putting weight on steadily over the past few years as a result of overeating. Some of the poor little things became so fat they couldn’t move around (if they were human they would already be featuring in an emotional rollercoaster documentary on the Discovery Channel).

I found these images really upsetting…I mean surely the zoo keepers would be aware that the park visitors were throwing food to the animals and could have taken precautions before the situation became so grave. People visiting such animal parks should really get a clue…I mean if you saw this monkey (above) would you throw it a banana?

The monkeys calorie intake has now been cut by around 60% in efforts to help them to shed the poundage. [ As an aside if human’s can have “baby fat”…what would the monkey equivalent be? Also baby fat??]

So how long before people around the globe write letters to the Japanese Park to find out what they fed their monkey’s in order for them to shed their excess weight? I can see the Oprah show now….”How I lost 6 stone and got my life back on the Monkey Diet”.

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Moving to Ireland- what you need to know

29 06 2008

I recently met two girls who had moved to Ireland from the States. They were under the misguided impression that Ireland would be cheaper than heading to the UK. This has spurred me to put together some random information that might be of interest to others who are contemplating a move to Ireland.

First the basics…

  • In Ireland the spoken language is English. Irish (or Gaelic as it’s also known) is spoken in some areas known as Gaeltacht’s and learned by all children in school.
  • The currency is the Euro. One Euro (€1) is equal to 1.57860 US Dollars or 0.79183 GB Pounds. Check out www.xe.com for currency conversions.
  • The country is broken up into “counties” similar to the division of states in America. There are 26 counties in Ireland. There are a further 6 counties in Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom).
  • The capital city is Dublin. Cork is the largest county.

Cost of living:

  • Ireland is one of the most expensive countries to live in in Europe and Dublin is the 16th most expensive city to live in in the World.
  • Rent: Expect to pay anywhere between €950 and €1500 per month for a one bed apartment in Dublin. This price falls outside of the capital. Click here for an overview of average rents in Ireland.
  • There are several supermarket chains- Dunnes and Tesco (average prices); Superquinn and Marks & Spencers (more expensive); Lidl and Aldi (budget shopping).
  • Litre of milk: About €1.45…depending on where you buy and whether low fat, etc
  • A music CD: About €15.99. You can of course order cd’s and dvd’s cheaper online from sites such as CD Wow or Amazon.
  • Bread: Average €1.24 to €1.64 for white bread.
  • Newspaper: €1.60
  • Coffee: Around €2.75 for a grande Americano
  • Pint of Heineken: Around €5 in Dublin.
  • City bus ticket: €1.10 minimum fare in Dublin
  • Bar of chocolate: Around 65 cents

How to find a place to live:

  • There are listings of accommodation to rent/buy in the various national/local papers. The majority of people use Daft to find a place to live. If you’re considering a move to Ireland then that site would allow you to check out prices and available properties in your selected area and make contact with landlords in advance.
  • When you find a property you like you will need to present references i.e. proof of employment, references from previous landlords, etc. You will also need to pay a deposit (usually one months rent) and also pay one months rent in advance.
  • As with any country in the World there are parts of every city in Ireland that are less favourable than others. I’d recommend visiting any area you plan to live in both the daytime and night time to get an idea of the locality.

Finding a job:

  • Ireland is in the midst of an economic downturn thus many companies have put recruitment freezes in place.
  • Check out job sites such as Irish Jobs, Monster or Recruit Ireland.
  • Your CV shouldn’t be more than 2 A4 pages. The job sites above all have examples.
  • Minimum wage is Ireland is €8.65 per hour.

Making friends:

  • A cliche though it is…Irish people love to go their local pub (a bar). Pop into your local and strike up conversation. There is a smoking ban in Ireland in places of work i.e. pubs, restaurants, etc.
  • Join a sports team if you’re that way inclined. The most popular sports are soccer (or football), Gaelic football, hurling, rugby and tag rugby. All towns have their own teams, both men’s and women’s (and in the case of tag rugby- mixed teams also). If you check out the local paper there will usually be information on the local team.
  • Mingle with people at work- when you start at your new job ask a few people to come for a pint on a Friday evening.
  • There are lots of networking groups for business people. Hit google and some will pop up for your area.

The Gay scene:

  • Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway all have a gay scene of note, but of varying sizes (that’s not to say there isn’t a scene in other counties). To find out about local events on the scene or to make some friends, check out Gaire (Ireland’s largest gay forum) or QueerID. You’ll find links there to sites in other counties where you’ll find out about events. clubs, etc.
  • Jump in at the deep end…go along to one of Gaire’s regular “meets”. If you’re a newbie someone will usually meet you before the meet so you don’t have to go on alone.
  • In Dublin the main gay bars are The Front Lounge, The George and The Dragon. Because the scene is quite small, if you’re brave enough and try and get out there and meet people, you could make friends quite quickly.
  • There are no all girl bars but there is a monthly lesbian night- KISS. Check out the sites to find out what’s on each weekend. Outhouse has a “womens night” on a Thursday evening where you can meet other people looking to make new friends.
  • There are various gay groups and teams. There is a lesbian soccer team- The Phoenix Tigers– which welcomes new members and you don’t have to have played soccer before. The Dublin Devils are the male equivalent. You can see listings for all sports teams and social groups on QueerID.

Hope that info helps any of you considering a move to Ireland. Any questions just drop me a comment.

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Ireland not ready for Gay Marriage

27 06 2008

In a radio interview this morning on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show, a Fianna Fail Senator (name escapes me now) stated that she supported the proposed Bill on Civil Partnership which would give equal rights to gay couples in terms of inheritance tax, taxation, etc. However she stated emphatically that she did not support gay marriage because Ireland wasn’t ready for gay marriage. (!)!)!)

This comes off the back of a report in today’s Irish Times which reveals that a group of Fianna Fail TDs and Senators put forward a motion demanding nothing should be included in the Bill which would in any way lessen the “special status” enjoyed by heterosexual marriage under the Constitution. Apparently 30 individuals have signed this motion which is being spearheaded by Senator Jim Walsh. In typical cowardly worm fashion the Senator was “did not return calls from the Times last night”. Too busy out sharpening his pitchfork. Cretin.

This almost put me off my morning coffee….My problems:

  1. If Ireland “isn’t ready” for gay marriage what facts do they have to support this. The majority of our EU counterparts have had civil partnership laws for gay couples for years now. We are behind the times already. How long more must we wait and who decides when we’re ready…Fianna Fail? It’s attitudes like this that gives people outside Ireland the perception that we are all going around saying “top of the morning to ya laddy” and leaving our thatched cottages via horse and cart in the mornings for a hard day toiling in the fields. The Irish Government should be focusing on getting Ireland out of recession mode rather that wasting resources debating and delaying a Bill which should have been passed years ago.
  2. If there is any debate around this issue it should be why doesn’t Ireland take a leading stance in Europe on this issue as it did with the Smoking Ban and move to give same sex couples TRULY equal rights and bring in same sex marriage…no doubt Senator Walsh would burst a vessel at the thoughts of such folly!
  3. It’s a miracle I got to work unscathed this morning as I was blinded from the light emitted from the halo’s of all the heterosexuals with “special status”. Could a more derogatory phrase have been used? I don’t think so. This demotes same-sex couples to a standing below the general populous and thus is a deeply prejudiced remark. Where are all the other politicians. Why has no-one spoken out against such comments. Surely it would be an ideal opportunity for Opposition Parties to earn some brownie points?

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British Minister of Defence under pressure to launch UFO Inquiry

26 06 2008

The crew of a police helicopter and military personnel in South Wales claim to have seen thirteen “amazing craft” in the sky. As a result the British Minister of Defence is under increasing pressure to launch a full scale inquiry into the incident.

This makes sense…you’re an alien zig-zagging your way around the Galaxy. You pass over our World. ‘Where will I check out today?’…Paris…the pyramids in Egypt…mmm…I know…Wales. You see whizz over Charlotte Church’s farm and see she’s preggers again. Wow! What spacetastic news…of course you’re going to call your mates to come check this out…???

The Ministry of Defence have confirmed today that a corporal on guard duty at Tern Hill Barracks near Shropshire, captured footage of the alleged UFO’s on his mobile phone on the 7th of June. This footage is now being examined by experts.

UFO footage taken by soldier in South Wales

There have been claims that what was actually seen were chinese lanterns (???- don’t look like lanterns to me!) but this has been discounted by former UFO expert at the Ministry of Defence, Nick Pope: “If they were balloons or Chinese lanterns, it’s highly unlikely they’d form a shape like that. One option is that we’re actually seeing lights attached to the underside of a vast craft”.

UFO experts believe that the fact that well respected members of the military have reported these latest sightings, will add greater credence to the claims and thus are stating this incident is “particularly significant”. Nick Pope appears to be in agreement as he expressed the belief that “something quite extaordinary does seem to be going on in British airspace at the moment”. He also called on the Government to act saying: “There has got to be an official inquiry into all this and we need a senior air force officer to take personal charge and oversee the inquiry”.

This will no doubt open the floodgates with every Tom, Dick and Harry claiming to have seen alien craft!