Sunday, March 22, 2009

Moving House!

The Elf has left the building.

Please come see me at my new home......

(c) cooperatoby

Don't forget to update your feed to this

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Giant Blue Hand @ ARK

Giant Blue Hand

Yesterday, I took the nephew and his best mate to Dublin for the day. We had planned to see the Big Blue Hand in the ARK. Last year I really wanted to take him to "Beware of the Story-Book Wolves" but what with moving to Amsterdam, and tickets being more popular than I thought it never came to be.

This year I was a bit more organised, and on hearing the adverts on the radio I decided to book the tickets fast. With a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we got the dates sorted and told the boys.

It was good timing all the same (depending on your idea of good) as the Denny Family Day Out was on Sunday too.

Anyhow, after a train ride, where the boys were amazed at a teen aged girl applying eye makeup, who they proclaimed to be a Rockstar, we were on our way to the ARK in Temple Bar. Cue: many many questions on the route, I'm glad it was almost our saints day, cause two 6yr olds would try the patience of many saints.

Finally at the ARK and after a short wait, we get seated in the round. I have to say the theatre is fantastic, as are the staff. The play began and it was everything I had hoped it would be. There were many levels of the play, and some things went over the heads of younger kids, but kept the parents and older kids entertained in a family friendly way.

The play is dark, and being a play, with real children that the younger audience can relate to and believe in it packs a solid punch. The themes of love and loss and fear and triumph, were well treated with the addition of with a good laugh thanks to some toilet humour and an action packed sword fight to round it all off. It is aimed at the over 7's and while I brought two 6yr olds, I do think that any younger than 6 would find the play a bit too much.

The cast were amazing, and as predicted Aunt Farticus Fume was both the most impressive and almost the scariest character after the eponymous Giant Hand. The younger cast members were the real stars, and very believable as they carried the majority of the story.

If you have a chance to beg, borrow, steal or just bring a child to this do. Tickets are selling fast and with good reason. The ARK plays are always a treat and this one is no exception.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

One eye open...

Posting may be delayed for the next week.

I am going home to mind the spawn of Satan, otherwise known as my nephew.

He's 6, full of energy, an only child and madder than a bag of squirrels.

I will be sleeping with one eye open lest he does something like this to me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Elf's Drinky Link (II)

Unless you live under a rock you'll know it's Cheltenham, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't have its own cocktail, its not really a cocktail event....
however in the horsey theme The Kentucky Derby has its official cocktail, The Mint Julep!

Very easy to make, and might be a nice change for those that like Mojitos!

That's the Drink... now for the links......

Xbox makes the newspaper for the second time in as many months

Gingerpixel too!

Macawilliams First photo from his new camera

Swiss Miss's four rules more to be found on Notes to self

Proof that the Duck (like the man) is not for turning - have to say I laughed at the Registers heading for it "Bloke-Duck-Mounting"

The Guardian post Wendy Richard's Chilli Recipe - I love the commentary on this recipe and recipes in general, which says a lot for our culinary blog friends.
"A recipe isn't just a set of instructions for cooking, it's a personal gift. When someone gives you a recipe, they are not teaching you how to do something, but wanting you to experience something they loved."

Sticking with food, the ever wonderful lady that is Grannymar has shared with us most graciously her favourite sandwich recipes - now these hit the spot in terms of my culinary prowess...

The influence of Desked, our new favorite blog is can be seen all over the place - ok so maybe not Desked influenced but it is a gorgeous desk! :)

On the topic of cool things on Design Milk, this is a fantastic idea for families with power hungry kids , although you would have to find a way to ensure they cant just unplug it and toss it to the side.

Don't forget to vote for Irish man George in his attempt to get the Best Job in the World

And OF COURSE for our own Rick O'Shea in the Meteor's

And to finish with something sweet!

What you talkin bout Willis

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things to do... Things not to do!

Things to do....

The Lives of others has a cunning plan for all your secret rants and wishes...
Try it, I'm sure you'll like it....

#133: Envious Originally uploaded by Stacy Magallon

Things not to do.....

Or at least not to replicate on *your* scanner...

, an archive of scanned sandwiches, as you do!

via SwissMiss

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring has Sprung...

What a wonderful day today.

It was a real pleasure to cycle to work this morning, and I promised myself that I will take a morning/day off and do my route to work with a camera soon. There are so many cool shots to be had in the morning bike rush, if I can get my hands on a decent camera I know I'll make some of the photo-bloggers mouths water.

All topped of with plenty of stops along the way... I especially want to go back here for breakfast on that day!

(Of course this day off can be scheduled with anyone's visit, just pick a weekday morning and bring nerves of corrugated iron, if not steel, and we will have a blast)

So imagine my delight when the sun was still shining at 5.30pm, I took this as a sign I was not to work late and quickly donned my very glamorous cycling gear (Trackie bottoms and a sweatshirt) and hit the streets to cycle home. It wasn't as much fun as this morning, obviously people we no longer "sunshine happy" after a day at the office, and the good will and smiling of the morning commute had petered out.

All strains petered away as I cornered onto my street and heard the first Westerkerk Evening Carillon of 2009!


I haven't heard it since October, at which point I did video it with the aim of sharing it here, but like many blog posts at the time it gathered dust.

So now I'd like to share this magical thing with you. It might be the memories of the notes flowing across the summer warmed canal that makes it so special to me but I think its so beautiful you dont need to be here to appreciate it.

To me it rings out in such a way that if you sit and listen you can imagine living here in another time, I think of all the historical figures that would have listened to its melodies, Anne Frank and Rembrandt van Rijn as examples.

Of course this is where the "beauty" of single glazed wood frame windows come into their own, it plays throughout my 3rd floor apartment, as if only for me

The Westerkerk stands pretty much at the top of my street (if you don't count the Prinsengracht separating the two) and as I got off my bike and chained it up I was beaming listening to the tune. I looked down toward the the end of the street, and noted I wasn't the only person enjoying it. Many of the patrons of one of the local bars, Cafe Chris were out with their beertjes listening too.

I quickly went upstairs and tried to capture it on my rubbish camera phone, so forgive the orientation of the video, and the sub par picture, but the sound really does work! :) Had to take it several times as it picked up every conversation had on the street.

Carillon Westerkerk from Elfinamsterdam on Vimeo.

And here is an inside view of what is going on when a carillon is played

And last but not least, a little clip of Tulips from Amsterdam, taken from the top of the Westertoren when it was being repaired in 2007.

I want to climb the tower soon, its 85 metres high and was completed in 1638. In fact the local bar I mentioned earlier played a part in its construction, and was reputed not only to be the local bar of Rembrandt, who stopped there for a tipple or many on rout from his studio, but it was also used as the payroll office of the workers building the tower.

There is a unique gents restroom in the premises which I am happy to show you when we go for a beertje sometime! :)

See you there, hopefully the bells will be chiming!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Amsterdam Cool: Moodwall

Design is a BIG thing here in Amsterdam. More than in any other city I've experienced Amsterdam prides itself on its creative community. Its great to have a policy that really cherishes small companies that want to create new and inventive ways of looking at the world and doing business.

Outdoor design is also really promoted, and in the suburbs there is the space to try out new things, from cool bike shelters to crazy parks and walls. Recently unveiled the Mood wall is just that, a 24-meter long mood wall consists of 2,500 led lamps and a video system.

The standard urban wallpaper video program on the wall is alternated with an interactive program that responds to passing pedestrians. the project was initiated to increase the sense of security in obscure passageways in Amsterdam's bijlmermeer area. Its located on the okkermanviaduct, adjacent to bijlmerplein 395 [bijlmermeer].

Talk about concrete enhancement of ones living environment, the mood wall, a concept concocted by Urban Alliance, a network of industries specialized in lighting solutions for public spaces. Urban Alliance is a collaboration of designers and developers - Studio Klink which does architecture and design; Illuminate, specializing in interactive lighting and video content; and Cube Architects that specializes in building design and development.

The tunnel’s screen is stretched out horizontally so that the images are better viewed from the side, and outside the tunnel, which makes people want to view it from the outside, and also prevents the tunnel from becoming a loitering spot (at least in theory).

The official statement from Urban Alliance “The Moodwall is located in a pedestrian tunnel and interacts with people passing by, improving the atmosphere in the tunnel and making people feel happier and safer. The interactive urban wallpaper is made from 2500 LEDs behind a ribbed semi-transparent wall. The curves in the wall make it less vulnerable to graffiti and improve visibility.”

Moodwall 2

Moodwall 1

Monday, March 9, 2009

World Wide Weird

Possibly the strangest site..... but certainly the coolest header...

Click and see what happens! :)

Strange site..... cool header!

Yes its rubbish fun Monday

Your Sh*t don't fly with me....

From my mate Stacy..... who obviously found this sh*t on the Onion

Wear Headphones or close the door if in work! :)

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dimanche Relaxez-vous!

Sunday Chillout!

Last night was fun, was lovely to see Elly & George, poor Elly had bad back pain so they got an early night. Sharon and I went on to DM's "I love the 80's" party... fun!

Woke up at a decent hour, all considered (made it to bed around 4.30am) and thought, yeah! get ass in gear, get groceries done... really be productive!

Fail - Bike @ Sharons.... oh well a walk would warm me up!
A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday

So quick breakfast and shower and hour later sees me walking up the Prinsengracht to get my bike back.

Have been having a hard time at the weekends managing my food intake / sugar levels, so as it was nice and sunny and I had passed the place a billion times without going in, decided to go for a coffee in Coffee Company on Haarlemmerdijk.
Its such a cool cafe (need to stop saying coffeeshop, but its just so natural for me) there are LOADS of plugs, free wifi, and of course coffee. Its also really sunny and just THE best people watching place! Next time there will be photos!

I will have to rethink my current media/camera config. As if I'm listening to radio on the phone via 3G I cant take photos with the camera. Not too into taking a second camera with me but, there are so many cool things I want to record here. So many cool shots I could put on this blog or just on my flickr, I really need to think again. Any suggestions?

A Slow Bicycle Ride - Sunday

Went shopping, in AH on Westerstraat, it made sense as I was passing it, and refuse to use AH on Haarlemmerstraat (its badly stocked and laid out and just rubbish)
Westerstraat isn't much better, no fresh bread rolls, and it looked like that was the norm for them. Shouldn't have been so lazy I guess. I have discovered I like AH on Elandsgracht, as it's much better stocked, more cash desks and there is a Natur Winkle (health food/organic shop), Etos (Boots type place) and some cool artisan meat, bread and cheese shops on the street too.

Anyhow, got home and it was so lovely and sunshiny, I remembered why I really loved living in this apartment last year. Its so bright up here. I forgot that during the winter, as leaving in the dark and getting home in the dark has just been depressing. I am really looking forward to summer again.

I was in such good form, I even cooked, and I made enough for lunch tomorrow!

So excuse me while I go clear up and pack my lunch for tomorrow. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hello Goodbye

Quick Post:

Tonight I get to go to dinner with the first blogger to get to the 'dam** Ellybabes & her lovely hubby George!
Looking forward to it! :)

Then I am going to the first goodbye party of our crew here! Donna Marie.
I'll miss her spirit and madcap party attitude. Her great smile and her open mind.
She just takes everyone as she finds them and has such a wonderful heart.
Also she's the perfect foil to the effervescent Keith!


So Long, Donna Marie, and "listen here" it wont be a good bye... see you in Dublin.
All you Dublin heads, go visit her in the all new River Island Mega Store opening on Henry St.

Tell her I sent ya!

**Okay the trip was booked before we met at IBA09

Friday, March 6, 2009

Elf's Drinky Links (I)

In what would seem a time honoured "link post" blogger tradition, I am (lost for something decent to post and so) posting my own linky love.

I call this Elf's drinky links as I am currently an Elf drinking (its Friday) and I will try and share a drink recipe with you each week. Tonight the theme drink is my standard drink when out in a good bar, Whiskey Sour and just so you can do it with panache, here's a vid.

Ok now we are all liquored up...(everyone except Tommy) I will begin.

  • We all use Twiter to solve problems, well I do, and now... so does Obama
  • Who says technology makes us lazy?
  • Think Firefox is cool? Now you can be sure its 100% ice cold!
  • One of the coolest, nicest guys blogging in Amsterdam, and he doesn't like The Saturday's either.
And now, as I swirl the dregs of my whiskey sour, and mumble those immortal words

"You never loved me Jr" I leave you with this

G'night John Ross....

**Cute, Cool & Tasty

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Marge liked her Cherry Chapstick!

Fresh from After Ellen - Home of all good lady loving media things!

Simpsons matriarch Marge Simpson locked lips with her friend Lindsay Neagle in “How The Test Was Won.”

Read the rest of the article here

This too shall pass...

Well actually it wont, but it will ebb away again for a little while.

Anyone who's spoken to me, for more than half an hour in my life, will know I am unashamedly.......

Baby Crazy!

Been so for as long as I can remember. I have wanted to do a variety of things in my life, from being a Montessori teacher (too openly gay), to a writer (ha!), and an airline attendant (too short), to a radio dj (voice too high pitched), a computer programmer (utterly crap at maths) and even Ireland's first female Taoiseach (USI would have had a lot to answer for)

Many as you can see have been put lovingly but firmly to rest... excepting one.... and given my "lifestyle" you'd be forgiven for thinking I have kept the hardest one on....

I want to be, nay I shall be, a mommy.

There are so many stories around this, and I know that this will not be the last time you have to read (skip over) my ramblings on this topic. Mostly I keep it under check, except for the totally spontaneous exclamation* of "Doh Doh Doh" when I see a baby, or "a fresh one" as I can sometimes be heard mewing... while my gaze follows it magnetically down the street, carried by its rather alarmed parent...

I don't know where it came from, only that it feels to me completely innate. To me, its the most natural expression of the very core, of what I am about on this planet.

If you are:
A: wondering why I would need to say this?
B: somewhat surprised that I feel like that?
C: mildly worried about what the hell the kid would turn out like?
or even
D: vaguely curious as to how I am going to go about this?

I will I am sure, in the fullness of time, answer all these questions. Most of which I share with you.

As I mentioned earlier, this compulsion has been with me from year dot. I think I was one of the few 8yr old's who compulsively watched BBC documentaries on pregnancy and child birth. I have in my hardrive every one of BBC's Child of our Time shows, or similar type. I buy and hide baby books.... and I terrify many people on the vastness of my bizarrely acquired, rarely asked for, yet freely imparted "knowledge" on the topic.

So why say it today? What brought this banging to the surface tonight as I sit here at my laptop.....

Last year I turned 30, and my plan had always been 32 marked the year, Insha'Allah, that I would start a family. I hoped I would be in a loving relationship at the time, and I am, and *fingers crossed* will remain so, as I love her dearly. That said, this is such a vital part of me that I probably would have tried to make it work had she not come into my life.

However, in the last 48hrs, 6 of my friends have either announced the birth of their babies, the imminent arrival of same, or their intention to pro actively go about the conception of same.... it was like being slapped in the face with a wet... nappy.

And by the power of oestrogen!

(Note: Implied Tundercats Roar)

My biologically clock came back from the snooze and began clanging loudly in my ear!

As you can imagine, this will, *ahem*, take a bit of forward planning.... and while this will not by any means become a Lesbo-baby-diary, I will keep you appraised of the situation.

If anyone has some words of wisdom, yelps of concern, condolences for my gf, offers of help??
I have ...womb... for you all (badum-tish!)

So there you go.... don't say I hold back.

*Thanks to all my lovely Twitter mates who helped thaw my brain freeze, and who will be mildly surprised that the question I asked related to this!
Cheers to @darraghdoyle, @allancavanagh, @lexia, @stiofainod, @jentertainment, & @damienmulley

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 Patricks

I once heard a friend saying that the highlight of her childhood St Patrick's Day Parade, was a young fella on a donkey, followed by a hay truck topped with freezing young wans doing a boxreel to stave off frostbite, all capped off with a few shiny tractors and a milk lorry being washed down the streets with sheets of driving rain. Fun!

And while the weather cant be upgraded, its not the case for the festivities, especially in the larger cities. I can only speak for Dublin, but I loved the advent of the week long celebrations. So much to see and do to shake off the deep winter blues. I'm looking forward to introducing my young nepweh to some of it this year! :)

And this year we have another addition to what will hopefully be an annual photoblogging/blogging community event


Pixie Irelands answer to Flickr, has been working with the organisers of the Irish St Patrick’s Festival on a huge photo sharing project to help document this year’s festival in photos from the perspective of those attending. The aim is to invite everyone bringing their camera to this year’s events to contribute their photos to the official St Patrick’s Festival group so that the experience can be shared with people from all over the world.

This is such a cool idea, its brilliant to have photos from so many all in one place, to be able to experience the festival through so many eyes. I love looking back on everyone's photos of Pride, every year, the things you missed others spotted, and just another viewpoint on the whole occasion.

To celebrate this new venture, has developed a competition, details to be announced. There are fantastic prizes from Canon with a total value of just under €1,800, these are very generous prizes!!!

But that's not all, for the St Patrick's Festival parade on March 17th, they are having the St Patrick's Festival Pixie Party:

  • 20 bloggers and photobloggers will be invited to watch the St Patrick's Festival parade from a vetted viewing area. Each will be given an official wristband to gain access to this exclusive VIP area.

  • 4 bloggers and photobloggers will be invited to watch the parade from the Festival Grandstand.

  • 2 photobloggers will be invited to join the world media and take photos of the parade from the elevated position from the official open topped Media Bus which is positioned on the parade route.

  • 2 Pixie users will chosen (subject to a security check) and given a Golden Pass which provides exclusive access to the parade route on the day. Only 12 Golden Passes will be issued this year to the international media and this is the first time photographers outside of the national and international media have been invited on into the parade route. This is HUGE.

So how can you get in on the act?

Write a blog post, post a photo on your blog, link to, re-tweet for @stpatricksfest and even if you dont win one of the amazing Canon prizes or the parade passes, there is more!

To celebrate the Guinness 250 year anniversary, the Guinness Storehouse are inviting 250 Pixie users, bloggers and photobloggers to continue the Pixie Party after the parade and join in the fun at the Storehouse's annual Paddy's Day festival on March 17th. Just go to the blog here and declare your interest!

Fore more info and special twitter announcements follow @stpatricksfest and @pixie on Twitter for more information and news about what is going on. (Hashtag for St Patricks's Festival is #spf09)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Amsterdam Cool: Miauw

It has long been an idea to do semi-random posts about things I like in Amsterdam. And here it begins!

In an area called the nine streets, the 9 straatjes in Dutch (post to follow on that) is a shop/cafe/design agency/boutique suite hotel called Miauw. Quite a tall order from one premises, but this place is pretty cool!
Miauw Homepage
It began in Antwerp and then branched to Amsterdam, once it realised a very unique winning formula. Based over two buildings on Hartenstraat 36 it offers a very cool place to stay in one of the nicest areas to wander in Amsterdam (I.M.H.O)

From the look of the suites they are well furnished in the cool eclectic Dutch fashionista sense. Ample sized and at not too steep a price* (€195 p/n) with kitchen and living area. Wifi, high spec tv and sexy bathrooms, it has it all for that cool weekend away. The addition of the cafe, and shop will make for a great first stop on your wander. Dutch style is kooky to say the least. Its a place where more individual = more stylish, and the clothes stores of the 9 streets really brings that to you.From a quick look around the Miauw shops tell me that the 9 streets style prevails here too.

The Project is a small design and advertising studio, again in the cool Dutch style of a little of everything, they market themselves as creating everything from commercials, music video's and films to graphic design and art installations.
Worth a look if you want somewhere cool and individual for a self catering weekend in the heart of the city.


So let me know if this tickles your fancy and I'll find similar.
Of course I'll be adding more so any requests, bars, restos, galleries, shops, hangouts, areas - let me know and I'll hunt you down the best!

*Accommodation in Amsterdam is not cheap, unless you like sharing loos/bathrooms or have a fondness for hostels

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tweet 3D!!

Another silly but fun Twitter App sites

Tweet 3D
My Tweet cloud - Recent I'd say
My Tweet cloud - Recent I'd say

The choice of graphics has me singing the goodbye song from Bear and the Big Blue House....

Yes I know I'm strange!

Bear and Luna sing the Goodbye song

Hawt in the City

Very cool!

Today I spotted on mainpage

Hawt Cark Post Boy

Corklangerdan's post about how Cork has "honoured" US President Obama by naming a street in the city "after him"

Barrack St in the city centre is the street in question. Pity we didn't pass through it on our #iba09 photowalk.

I love the supposed text that Obama sent....
"The text reads ‘thnx 4 de shout out lds, nce 1, dat a hurley stcking outta de wall?"

Anyway, nice work Dan!

Note that todays post is about Dutch - Irish relations.... lol, how topical for me!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Morph "flashmob" at Tate gallery

Apologies for the Ad beforehand, the video is cute tho!
Nearly 200 people gathered outside the Tate Modern to commemorate and remember Tony Heart.
It is reputed to have been organized through Facebook, but I cant find the group.... I did find this though, which is kinda cool.

If you want to see Tony Hearts daughters reaction, and the winner of the Best Morph check this video out.