18 March 2011

Finland and happiness!

I got accepted! I'm going to Finland in August for two semesters of Sociology & Political Science. I'm not sure if I'll be required to learn History there as well but we'll see. I was waiting a almost a month for this email and I was absolutely delighted when I got the good word. Finland will be very good for me!

Finland was my third and final choice so I'm slightly disappointed I didn't get accepted to the Netherlands or to a lesser extent Sweden. I wanted Leiden in the Netherlands simply because it would be infinitely warmer than the Nordic countries! I picked the other two simply because they did Sociology & Politics as their primary subjects. Soc & Pol is my best subject compared to my mediocre History results and performance, so I don't mind - it makes sense! The month of waiting was good for me. They said the end of February, then mid-March, then they delayed by one day... so I had loads of time to think Finland would probably have been my primary choice after all. I love Finland and its concise history, as well as its marvellous shared history with Sweden and then Russia, both countries I find fascinating. Sweden edged out Finland in terms of preference because I assumed it would be better to live in with regards roads and living.

I will miss Ireland dearly. Not only will I be ripped right out of my comfort zone in Galway, but I'll be away for two semesters! Who knows what will happen in that time. I'm going to miss my family obviously but I have to be a bit more selfish when it comes to my friends. A lot of time spent away can erode old bonds and whatnot. There is also the chance of me coming back different, or indeed, everyone and everything will be different when I come back. There are two things I can see here - I should stop talking about coming back when I haven't even left and I should have faith and be optimistic when it comes to my friends. I'll have Formspring, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter and Skype to keep me clued in!

I have read up extensively on Finland in the last few days and I am very impressed. Most of the population live in the south coast where I will be going. I am attending University in the city of Turku on the west coast. It is the place where the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland go to learn their language, so it is really called Abo Akademi or the University of Abo, which is the Swedish for Turku. I have always had a slight affinity for Finnish history; as I mentioned earlier I am a sucker for early modern Swedish and all kinds of Russian history. Finland tends to come up quite a bit, either as East Sweden or the Grand Duchy of Finland. They also fought the Russians to a standstill in the period 1939-1944, which is kind of brilliant. The university itself is a collection of old Russian manors that were bought and converted, so it'll be an interesting campus experience I'd say. The price of food and drink is quite expensive but the Erasmus people make sure I get accommodation no matter what while the welfare system makes sure I get a warm meal a day. Sweet!

I can't wait to actually pick my courses and become genuinely involved in the Erasmus program. I'm going to reply in the affirmative by Sunday at the latest, sooner if I can help it! I know I will definitely be doing Sociology & Politics mainly with a little bit of History thrown in, perhaps? From almost all accounts, the course is actually quite easy. I don't know how to feel about this, exactly. On the one hand I could become the top of the class and make a name for myself - something I want to do very badly anyway - while on the other I could become lazy or not be challenged sufficiently. Regardless, I feel I will do well, enjoy my courses and hopefully get the respite I need before stepping into Final Year. That whole "two-thirds of your degree" thing involved in FY intimidated me so much I knew I wouldn't make it fresh from Second Year. I'll do really well and feel good enough to take on the end of my degree!

Still can't get over the fact that I'll be leaving everyone in five months. I plan on enjoying my remaining time here to the max, as well as using the next 30 plus days to study for my exams. After that, I will make sure my friends and family know that I will miss them so much!

14 March 2011

Itzacon VII

I was on the committee for Itzacon VII, a gaming convention in NUI Galway. I was tasked with being LARPS Coordinator, a job I approached with some apprehension but fully acknowledging I could get stuff done and ultimately succeed in that role. I think I did so.

Friday was a quiet night. The staff were told to set up the convention while the committee were basically allowed to kick back in some cases. I tried to find a balance! I did this by coming in late but then helping set up the Art Room as a rudimentary kitchen. This was a fantastic idea for a convention as it allowed us to serve proper, nutritious food to all staff, committee and game masters and not crash-heavy sugary snacks. There were no games of my jurisdiction on in the evening slot so I made sure everything was set up and joined everyone on the bar afterwards for a short while. Myself and a friend had a mutual bitch on an unrelated matter.

Saturday was infinitely bigger for me. I arrived early but was fairly ground down by the afternoon slot, when my first LARP was set to run. It was being GM'd by two lads up from the South who were great sports and had not a bother on them. I made sure they got a room - the nice big Cube - and acquired some staff to plug in the tickets that hadn't been sold. That was pretty much my main function for the weekend after this - making sure LARPs got plugged by staff and that they ran somewhat on time. Time wasn't of the essence however and I managed to keep a level head in front of people when it came to my job. I think cracks were appearing with regards to my own self.
The evening slot was the big one, which was being run by three GMs and set in the Bank of Ireland Theatre. It took them a while to set up and I don't blame them while the actual LARP crowd who had bought tickets were getting annoyed at that slight delay in the slot. I managed to retain my patience - just about - and plugged the game. 16 tickets sold out of 20, so I grabbed 4 staffers and they didn't mind too much playing! It was a very well-received game, much like the earlier one. I spent much of the game waiting in the Art Room for the results. Everyone was very happy so I was happy!

Sunday was the final slot - the morning one, which is a tall order given the night that was Saturday but 7 people bought tickets out of 10, with two staffers and myself plugged in to make it run! I had great fun playing the timid girl of the bunch - Straight Kate - in an East End gangsters game. It was immense fun for all involved and was handy for me as it was my second LARP ever - I could see how my coordination paid off on the ground!

I dragged my feet after that and eventually quit for home. All in all, a very successful Itzacon and a fin experience as a committee member. I discovered a few unpleasant things about my organisational character however and kind of hope I do not become RPG Coordinator next year. I need time to grow as a person; time to smooth over my blunt, impatient style of getting stuff done. It gets done, but people leave somewhat hurt while I leave with nascent stomach ulcers. Not fun!

Itzacon VII was fantastic and everyone deserves a thousand praises and more for making it so damn good!

12 March 2011


Surrounded by happiness, my lack of internal pax is jarring. As I collapse internally, my external image gets worse and worse. I want to project something better but I don't think myself capable any more. I have no one or nothing to blame, but myself. Certainly with regards me being a bastard as a child. I was terrible - dysfunctional, even. It seems that after 19 years on this good Earth I'm finally paying for what I did as a child to my family. Perhaps I was always paying, it's simply clocked up against me.

06 March 2011

Spatial Awareness

I was walking back home from the College and I noticed something I'd been getting for a while now. Any time I'm walking through Newcastle it always feels infinitely smaller. I also feel like if I were able to fly, I would be able to go right up from Newcastle and straight to Menlo without exhausting myself or getting lost. I've always had an internal map of Galway in my head since I started walking around the city but now it is much more pronounced.

Why? It is because I have left the city. I've left Galway and seen cities that are infinitely larger than Galway - namely Cork and Dublin. I'm reasonably savvy at navigating both with and without a map and enjoyed discovering that latter fact. I have also gone to Longford and indeed other counties and had a wander around. I still rely on the position of the sun to tell what direction I'm in - maybe I should ask a friend who knows scouting where the North Star is.

Ireland is shrinking - I need somewhere else to.

04 March 2011



I rather like this site. It's fun to answer questions and indeed ask my friends some too. I admit I occasionally go anonymous and ask a few questions to whomever but hey, it's all for the LOL.

The only bad thing I've seen so far is on my sister's page and her friend's pages, where a lot of anonymous questions are asked which actually quite mean. Kids these days! Wait what am I saying - I would've done that too back in my day.

03 March 2011

Fleetwood Mac - top 5 songs

I felt the need to clarify which of their songs are my absolute favourites. Rather than pick one and hold it over all of them, I will pick 5 songs which I think go with the 5 main musicians. Unfortunately John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are much more difficult to classify but I'll work something out.

Lindsey Buckingham

A song written after himself and Stevie broke up, it is one of the best examples ever of good, raw, passionate music. As it was written by him, the guitar features heavily but everyone else with the possible exception of Stevie herself are very heavily engaged by this song.

Stevie Nicks

I think Sara is the best song for Stevie Nicks; written by her after losing her lover Mick Fleetwood (the "great dark wings") to her best friend, Sara, she laments this fact but is also happy for her friend - so long as she can still see her from time to time.

Christine McVie

This song was written while Christine was having an affair with her producer while married to John McVie. She is unhappy with the then-alcoholic John and got with another man to make her happy, and it did. It is very funky and enjoyable.

John McVie

The Chain was written by all of the band. It features one of the most recognisable and brilliant bass lines of all time, particularly the solo at the end. The cover art for the single of this song was of John McVie's hand, which has a small penguin tattoo on it. I would like to get the same one done someday! This is a great song which exemplifies their unity as a band and indeed a family.

Mick Fleetwood

While written by Stevie Nicks about her break-up with Lindsey Buckingham, I adore this song as it has such a simple drum beat that does so much. This was the reason I wanted to learn the drums and I have to thank Fleetwood for that!

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