I need a change.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If you're looking for the queen of the ocean, you're in the right place (no you're not).  Well, I'm still holding on to my spot on blogspot, but I'm giving this newfangled tumblr a try because I can connect it to various other platforms and the privacy settings are more flexible.

Anyway, Swim on over to my new digs at: nicesharpteeth.tumblr.com.  Would love to see you!

xoxo Lady Shark


Thursday, June 23, 2011

But not surprising.  Walked on this very street when I was in Belfast and the tension was palpable. 

Glad I'm home safe but praying for the safety of everyone and hoping some sense is knocked into those who would rather go back to the past than work for a peaceful future.  This kind of activity accomplishes nothing, in my humble opinion.

Encountering the Locals

Thursday, June 16, 2011

As I may have mentioned, I had a great time on my holiday to Northern Ireland & Ireland.  I took a ridiculous amount of photos and I wish I could blather on and on without all of you getting bored or their computers crashing from too many photos loading.  Alas, I'll have to give you the condensed travelogue to save us all time and friendships. ;-)

BTW, thanks for the nice comments under my previous post.  Due to my unfortunate inconsistency in posting I sometimes wonder if there is anyone even out there.  Appreciate seeing there are still a few of you popping in from time to time!

So since Northern Ireland is where I first landed on the Island, Belfast seems the perfect spot to start.  In a moment of pure brilliance or complete insanity (both perhaps?), in my pre-trip itinerary planning I decided that the right way to get about was by automobile.  I was aware prior to my departure that unlike here in the US, vehicles travel on the left side of the road (I have seen National Lampoon's European Vacation, after all) and so I fretted about it for days before we left.  Nonetheless, I hopped off the plane, passed through immigration/customs and then confidently sidled up to the Hertz counter to get this beautiful specimen of motor vehicle engineering and technology:

Our wee blue Ka
Yes, it's a tiny Ford Ka "Edge" complete with 4 wheels, 2 seats, half of a backseat and a trunk that fit 2 (count 'em - two) carry on bags.  I splurged, though, and paid extra for the SatNav package to keep my one-grade-up-from-a-pony cart going in the right direction.  Although we say "GPS" in America, I'll forever now call it a SatNav.  Much sexier - especially when drivin' a wee blue Ka. :-)

But I digress.  So my fears were completely founded and since we were too terrified to actually scream (not sure whether that is a commentary on the roads there or my general driving skills, however), I slowly and quietly made my way out of the airport parking lot to the main road.  I happened to have placed my video camera in the dashboard and have a lovely recording of the first 3.3 miles of my successful navigation of the motorway without hitting a single pedestrian or sheep.  I would actually share it with you but at 3.3 miles we encountered our first local (while the tape was still rolling):

Hello Mr. Poli!
Out of respect for Mr. Garda Officer I won't post the tape in case there is any personally identifying information he may have revealed, but I will say that he was invaringly polite and professional.  Turns out that the Garda has this neat trick where they can scan your license plate and see if you have the mandatory insurance or not!  Apparently the dear lady at Hertz hadn't yet gotten around to typing into the system that we had indeed paid out an arm, a leg and a promise of my first-born for the "meets basic requirements" insurance package.  I realized only after-the-fact that in addition to the SatNav package I should have also splurged on some adult diapers. ;-)

After we bid farewells to our welcoming committee (no ticket since I had a receipt from Hertz) we headed into the city rather uneventfully (other than jumping 3-5 left-side curbs, but who has left-side curbs on a highway anyway!?!?).  We finally arrived at The Europa, our hotel in the Great Victoria Street.  Now I, who admittedly knows nothing about anything, paid a premium stay at this fine and "historic" institution (as described by Expedia). 

Turns out I didn't take a photo of the Europa so here'sthe Spires Shopping and Conference Centrefor your enjoyment as it was located just down the street.As you may have guessed, it used to be a church. :-)
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the history behind my premium glitzy hotel is that it known as the "most bombed hotel in the world" after suffering 28 attacks during the Troubles.  Apparently, the journalists in those times stayed here and what better way to get yourself on the news than to make a spectacle right in front of the cameras?  Fortunately things have changed and I didn't see any journalists and nobody was bombed except for a few "sons of Bushmills" wearing tuxedos in the piano bar who seemed to be there for a wedding reception or something.  The hotel and its staff were lovely and I would stay there again for sure!

Wow, I just realized how long this post is.  The rest of the day was your usual touristy fare: siesta time, wandering around the city's centre and shops, and soaking up the sun from the heat wave that was hitting the area.  Then I enjoyed a yummy green Thai curry and a Harp at the Basement Bistro Bar & Grill on Donegall Square across from the City Hall while my mother had the freshest salmon I may have ever tasted.  I'll try to post more this weekend; in the meantime go have a pint and enjoy these photos I took:

The sun makes an unexpected and prolonged visit

Victoria Square Mall
(c'mon - you KNOW I went shopping straightaway
after I parked the wee blue Ka)

"The Spirit of Belfast" on Cornmarket that symbolises how N.I.'s history and future are woven together as delicately as linen and as strong as steel
Bittles (bldg. 1861)

Ship ribs erected on Donegall Place in honor of the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic (built by Harland & Wolff of Belfast)

Troublesome Thoughts About the Troubles

Monday, June 13, 2011

Greetings and salutations!

For those who don't already know, I returned Saturday from a really really big roadtrip this time, and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) there were no giant milk bottles, or other roadside oddities of the ilk I usually post.  Apparently the folks in Northern Ireland and Ireland just let the natural landscape and the Guiness speak for themselves!

This was a trip of a lifetime; a "return to the homeland" if you will to see from whence my ancestors emigrated to the New World.  Oh and did I see. 

A long time ago a dear friend (from Ireland no less) asked me if my heart bled Green or Orange.  Rather ignorantly, I replied (since the majority of my kin are from the North) that I secretly bled Orange.  Oh how I now take that back!

Now wait, I don't mean that I'm switching loyalties to Green from Orange. I mean that now that I have a much better understanding of just what the division between the two countries means and how it has come about over all these years, and how the media and the politicians manipulate and weasel and lie in order to maintain control, I understand now how I could not possibly ever choose a side.  There ARE NO sides.  There are people.  Not "them" and "us" but our friends, our families, our neighbors.  People with whom we may disagree but whom we respect anyway.  People from all races, creeds and religions who have been dehumanized over generations in an attempt to cope with fears. 

I loved Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland.  The people were intelligent and friendly, the Guiness was cold and the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful.  The absolute same can be said of the Republic of Ireland.  Unfortunately, in NI some have taken the Troubles and made them into some kind of gimicky tourist spectacle.  The disgusting BBC doesn't even acknowlege the Republic on the news unless a story is so major it's required.  There is no mention of the rest of the Emerald Isle during the weather report.  In the Republic, I witnessed the fear and disdain in the eyes of of the performers caused by a man with a bit too much drink in him ranting about politics and almost requiring the bouncers.  While it's generally peaceful everywhere, for the hardliners it seems as if you acknowledge that the old ways are no longer necessary it is too much to tolerate because it somehow invalidates the position you may have stood up for your whole life.

At any rate, I truly loved both NornIron and Ireland.  Wish I could afford to go back any time I desired for a visit.  And to my old friend and to all my new friends, I'm sorry for my earlier ignorance.  I pray for peace to continue and for subsequent generations to learn tolerance and even empathy.  There is no Green or Orange.  Only Red for the red-blooded people who want to raise their families in loving homes and enjoy their blessings.

PS  Since nobody at home wants to listen to all my vacation stories, you dear reader are going to be the recipient.  As my buddy Steve would say, "Enjoy.  Or not."

ROADTRIP of the day:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Since I already spent a ton of time traveling around today chasing after my wayward laptop, we’re going to stay close to home on this one and travel one county over to Michigan City, Indiana.  Located in La Porte County, MC (as we locals call it) sits on the southern shore of Lake Michigan approximately half-way between Chicago and South Bend.  Incorporated in 1836 with 1,500 residents, the hometown of the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has grown to a population exceeding 31,000.  Other notable residents include actress Anne Baxter, Medal of Honor recipient Daniel D. Bruce, MLB pitcher Don Larsen, Chicago news anchor Mary Ann Ahern and the Scholl family who not only brought forth William “Dr.” Scholl of footwear fame, but also ran the Scholl Dairy (now La Rocco’s Floor Coverings) with the giant milk bottle standing proudly on top of the building at the intersection of Franklin and Homer.  Pack up some cookies and let’s go!

(picture taken by yours truly via ye olde superhero phone)

Party at My Place...on Monday

Friday, May 20, 2011

So, those of you who know me in person understand without question that sometimes I'm a little tardy to the party when it comes to keeping up on current events.  Despite my legal proclivities, I prefer to get most of my news from hearsay.  That likely explains why until yesterday I was clueless why all of a sudden everyone was talking about the end of the world and the Rapture and zombie apocalypses, etc.  That was when I finally consulted a reliable news source (aka Yahoo!) and discovered some whackadoo has been putting up signs and billboards all over the place announcing that tomorrow is it for the good Christian folk of the world.  Interesting idea, but I didn't know the "fire sale" concept applied to faith. 

I imagine what my life would have been like if I knew that I could have been running amok trashing and looting and sinning left and right all these years without consequence because an hour before it was all over I could pull a "get out of jail free" card and get saved.  I would have had a heck of a lot more fun, eh?  While I'm not "devout" to any one organized religion, I grew up with a Christian belief system and I'm fairly confident I remember learning that this isn't how it's supposed to work.  Regardless, it has been so flattering to get invites from friends to their "End of the World" parties, and I did even consider making the trek over to Highway 61 where Leo's going to put out some bleachers in the sun to watch where much of the action is predicted to take place.  Despite my desire to celebrate eternity, though, I know I cannot attend because I have accepted my fate that as a lawyer I'm not going anywhere even remotely upwards tomorrow.  I have to get ready for the REAL party: The Post-Rapture Looting Party.  The organizers describe it as follows: 
"When everyone is gone and God's not looking, we need to pick up some sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansion we're going to squat in."
We've rounded up a few sponsors for the event: the bar association (of course), the Society for Insurance Salesmen, and the Republican Party.  The Democrats want to participate too, but they can't seem to get their membership organized enough to pass the resolution allowing them to sign the contract. 

So, if after tomorrow we don't meet again then I wish you a rapturous eternity.  And don't worry about me; I'm going to leave some of my clothes and empty shoes over dry ice on my front lawn to fool the Zombies into believing that I did actually make the journey.  I'd like to hang on to what little is left of my brains after all the hoopla. ;-)

Photo Source

Toy Review with the Lady Shark: Nerf Swarmfire

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So, my nephew turned 9 years old earlier this week and true to form, Auntie Rocky coughed up the loudest, most obnoxious gift I could come up with.  Well, that's not entirely true; he told me what he wanted and I went out and bought it.  I'm a little bit afraid that if I end up being one of those women who has a child at like age 48 everyone I know will come out of the woodwork with vengeance in their eyes to gift the kid with play-do, beads and cheap plastic crap made in China that makes the most annoying noises possible.  And Barney.  They'll definitely screw me by hooking up the kid with Barney because I do hate him so.

But I digress.  So the boy turned 9 and in addition to camouflage duct tape ('cuz what household doesn't need that!?), he told me he wanted the Nerf Dart-Tag Series Swarmfire.  Actually, he blurted out Igottahaveaswarmfireohpleaseohplease or something like that before I even finished asking the age old question, "What do you want for your birthday?"  Just to mess with him, I only walked in with the duct tape and Ghostbusters on DVD - you should have seen his face.  His mama taught him well as he said nothing that indicated he was anything other than grateful to be thought of, but his eyes said, "Fool, why ya playin' me!? The Swarmfire don't fit in that tiny little package!"

After I had my fun I let him run out to the car and get the BIG box that did indeed contain the Swarmfire.  Sometimes I feel a little guilty having single-handedly armed the child to the teeth with his own Nerf arsenal.  Regardless, this weapon is BOSS.  It launches 20 darts in rapid automatic fire in 5 seconds.  Each dart averages about 30 feet.  (I KNOW!!)  Plus I accidentally got clipped with one in the keester and from firsthand experience I can now say with emphasis that firing this bad boy will give one fantastic satisfaction knowing that your enemy will have tiny red welts on his butt if he gets in your line of fire closer than 10 feet.  And did I mention that the darts have velcro on the tips?  Massive fun pulling darts out of hair, curtains and your sister's expensive sweater.  Awesome in every single way.

Plus, it led me to this delightful review which if you forward to 2:13 you can see this sucker in action:

There should be no question now whatsoever what I want for MY birthday.  Igottahaveaswarmfireohpleaseohplease!!

ROADTRIP of the day:

It has been far too long, but I'm back so let's hit the road. Today we’re journeying north to visit tiny Akeley, Minnesota (population 412). The town grew around the Red River Lumber Company’s sawmill in the 1890’s and was formally incorporated as a city in 1916. RRLC chose Akeley for the mill over nearby Walker because of disapproval over the bars and brothels in that area. In the early 1900’s, Akeley was a boomtown with the local train depot carrying lumberjacks and their families to swell the population to an annual average of 2,000-3,500. Although now very small, Akeley takes pride in its great lumbering past and annually celebrates "Paul Bunyan Days" and hosts the Paul Bunyan Historical Museum. Keeping a close eye out for any shenanigans is a kneeling statue of the mighty lumberjack himself, rising 25 feet into the air.

PS Apologies to those of you on Facebook seeing this for the second time, but those who aren't on FB with me couldn't see it until I connected my two accounts with Networked Blogs.