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Michael Barry, University of Limerick, Ireland

The Great Unwashed

I blog for my friends. After the company I worked for in Dublin closed, everyone scattered, some on extended holidays, others to different jobs at home and abroad. I came home to Limerick to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Limerick, and I thought a blog would be useful to keep in touch with people. Now we have our own extended family of blogs, which we use to catch up on gossip and adventure. When blogging isn't enough, having friends scattered around the world means I get to tour and mooch. I have been to most European countries and spent a year living in the U.S. in Hoboken, New Jersey. That gave me an opportunity to explore and meet relatives in Chicago. Yes, of course, every Irish person has relatives in the States!

Even though I was born here, as a city I find Limerick to be schizophrenic, split between the city center, where I live and where most of the history (a castle, a couple of sieges, and a "new" Georgian Town from the 1700s), shopping, and amenities are, and the University, which forms another center of gravity, attracting visitors, tourists, and foreign students, with the effect of making Limerick quite cosmopolitan in outlook. This is not often appreciated by the national media, where Limerick has an unwarranted reputation for violent crime.

I don't have a TV in my apartment, which encourages me to get out and about. I go to the cinema often, but I don't often like the movies I go to see. No TV also means I read a lot, though I used to read a lot even when I had a TV. I like sci-fi, but also history, economics, and biographies. No computer stuff; I get enough of that in college. My book collection is constantly expanding and threatening to take over the apartment, so sooner or later I am going to have to get a bigger place just to keep them happy. Or a fire.

Two years ago I took up fencing, as much through an interest in history as exercise. To improve my fencing I needed to become lighter on my feet, and over time I blundered into aerobics, yoga, and regular gym trips. As well as making me a better fencer, it had the fringe benefit of losing some unwanted pounds.

The first of October is one of those seminal dates, along with New Year's, the start of Lent, and people's birthdays, where stock is taken and plans for the future are made. Others just find that maturity is not something that is thrust upon them, but can sneak up unawares. I'm not into any of that crap, so here is just some stuff that happened this week.

Nothing to see here...

Quiet around here at the moment! There are repeat exams, which gives us a snapshot of the hell the University is going to be in a few weeks, with great mounds of unwashed students hanging around, looking for attention, and taking all the good parking spaces!

But at least some of the restaurants that closed down for the summer are beginning to reopen. A chance to get away from a diet that alternates staple foods with shop-bought rolls. Yoga is back soon as well, and we had to register and pay early, so we sent off a bank draft today. A lot of people turned out to be yoga wusses, or just plain disorganized, so it's going to be me, Maria, and 18 other people.

Ronan and I are thinking of getting finger puppets for the office. I need to wean him off his dependency on dongles.

Gave blood Wednesday. Nothing unusual about that; I donate regularly. This was my 13th donation, I think. I am still in the system twice, as I managed to give blood both in Limerick and Dublin before the IBTS merged their donation records. That always causes some confusion, although they promise to have it sorted by next time. I gave a pint in 4 minutes, which is a personal best (not that I am tracking), and the fastest donation the nurse had seen. I continued to bleed for a while afterwards. You win some, you lose some.

www.ul.ie/mgbarry/mgbblog.html

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The Great Unwashed

I blog for my friends. After the company I worked for in Dublin closed, everyone scattered, some on extended holidays, others to different jobs at home and abroad. I came home to Limerick to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Limerick, and I thought a blog would be useful to keep in touch with people. Now we have our own extended family of blogs, which we use to catch up on gossip and adventure. When blogging isn't enough, having friends scattered around the world means I get to tour and mooch. I have been to most European countries and spent a year living in the U.S. in Hoboken, New Jersey. That gave me an opportunity to explore and meet relatives in Chicago. Yes, of course, every Irish person has relatives in the States!

Even though I was born here, as a city I find Limerick to be schizophrenic, split between the city center, where I live and where most of the history (a castle, a couple of sieges, and a "new" Georgian Town from the 1700s), shopping, and amenities are, and the University, which forms another center of gravity, attracting visitors, tourists, and foreign students, with the effect of making Limerick quite cosmopolitan in outlook. This is not often appreciated by the national media, where Limerick has an unwarranted reputation for violent crime.

I don't have a TV in my apartment, which encourages me to get out and about. I go to the cinema often, but I don't often like the movies I go to see. No TV also means I read a lot, though I used to read a lot even when I had a TV. I like sci-fi, but also history, economics, and biographies. No computer stuff; I get enough of that in college. My book collection is constantly expanding and threatening to take over the apartment, so sooner or later I am going to have to get a bigger place just to keep them happy. Or a fire.

Two years ago I took up fencing, as much through an interest in history as exercise. To improve my fencing I needed to become lighter on my feet, and over time I blundered into aerobics, yoga, and regular gym trips. As well as making me a better fencer, it had the fringe benefit of losing some unwanted pounds.

The first of October is one of those seminal dates, along with New Year's, the start of Lent, and people's birthdays, where stock is taken and plans for the future are made. Others just find that maturity is not something that is thrust upon them, but can sneak up unawares. I'm not into any of that crap, so here is just some stuff that happened this week.

Nothing to see here...

Quiet around here at the moment! There are repeat exams, which gives us a snapshot of the hell the University is going to be in a few weeks, with great mounds of unwashed students hanging around, looking for attention, and taking all the good parking spaces!

But at least some of the restaurants that closed down for the summer are beginning to reopen. A chance to get away from a diet that alternates staple foods with shop-bought rolls. Yoga is back soon as well, and we had to register and pay early, so we sent off a bank draft today. A lot of people turned out to be yoga wusses, or just plain disorganized, so it's going to be me, Maria, and 18 other people.

Ronan and I are thinking of getting finger puppets for the office. I need to wean him off his dependency on dongles.

Gave blood Wednesday. Nothing unusual about that; I donate regularly. This was my 13th donation, I think. I am still in the system twice, as I managed to give blood both in Limerick and Dublin before the IBTS merged their donation records. That always causes some confusion, although they promise to have it sorted by next time. I gave a pint in 4 minutes, which is a personal best (not that I am tracking), and the fastest donation the nurse had seen. I continued to bleed for a while afterwards. You win some, you lose some.

www.ul.ie/mgbarry/mgbblog.html

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