Photos from Helios XM Anomaly in Dublin

Last weekend I took the train to Dublin to take part in my first Ingress event, the Helio XM Anomaly. All I knew was that both Resistance and Enlightened would be there fighting over portals but not much more than that.

Fights for portals were intense 15 minute battles. It must have made a strange sight watching two groups of adults bent over their phones on a street or park tapping at their phones. The only thing heard were the frequent shouts calling “DEPLOY”, “MOD” or “CUBE” as we shouted what we were doing. Who won? The Resistance of course!

The next (closest) Helios event is in Manchester but if there’s another one in Ireland I’d like to go if I can. Good fun, lots of walking.

Almost 23,000 steps around Dublin

Retro Gaming at jQuery UK 2013

Just a few photos that have been sitting in my “upload folder” for the last year or so after attending jQuery UK. Look at all those old 90s consoles! Snes and Megadrive machines? There’s another machine there too but I don’t recognise it. I wasn’t a fan of console gaming back then, but if they’d thrown in a C64 I’d have had fun!

It was an amazing conference and best of all, the talks are online. I remember being blown away by Wait, Chrome DevTools can do THAT? by Ilya Grigorick.

Scenic photos of Oxford will eventually make their way to my photoblog at In Photos dot Org.

The loss of a dog

Spring

Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to “death”, don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say:” No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.” Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs are. They walk.
It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone ( exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.
However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.
When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging it’s tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: “Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.”
When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)
Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.
But don’t get fooled. They are not “dead.” There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.
I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.

I realise the entirety of this post is copied from elsewhere but I have nothing else to add. From this Reddit comment but I think this post is the original source.

The source is a friend of mine, whom I asked if I could share it after he posted it on facebook. I share it because I think it is beautiful and helps those who have lost a pet.

Edit: Spring, the dog pictured above, was our family dog growing up but she died 11 years ago leaving a huge gap in our daily lives. As with any death, time is a healer but it never fully mends.

Photos of Bruce Springsteen in Cork

Yesterday evening Bruce Springsteen played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City. It was a glorious summer evening and with gates due to open at 5pm I headed down there early with my wife. We had to queue along the Marina for more than an hour but we had the shade of the trees and brought along a fold up chair too. Unfortunately when we eventually got to security they told us the chair couldn’t be brought in and we hid it in the bushes hoping it would be there later. Bags were searched too so I’m glad I didn’t bring my DSLR!

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While we waited we heard Bruce singing for a sound check. I’m not that familiar with all his music but they were some beautiful melodic songs I need to try and find and listen to again. We were probably among the first few hundred in so we got to within about 3m of the pit barrier. Beyond that were the early birds who had camped the previous night and VIPS (I presume) who were right up next to the stage. Pretty close eh?

Watch the Hat

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We were really close but right in front of us were 3 tall gentlemen who blocked my view almost entirely. I had to lift the camera in the air or squint in between heads to see the stage at all unfortunately.

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Bruce Springsteen puts so much energy into his performance it’s amazing. He collected placards from the audience, got 2 kids up on stage to sing, went shaking hands with the front row, encouraging everyone to sing along. He knows how to work a crowd!

It was of course really crowded so after 40 minutes we decided to retreat. Apologies to those in our way but thank you for being so kind as to move out of our way. I don’t think I’ve ever said “Excuse me, sorry, excuse me, sorry” so many times. The crowd just went on for ever and ever!

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Near the other end of the pitch there was a lot more room and we met up with some friends there.

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We left early to avoid the crowds and found quite a crowd outside. Local residents and others had gathered on the Marina, in boats and across the river to hear Bruce play! We looked for that fold up chair we left outside earlier but someone had taken it.

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We walked around the Atlantic Pond and up that narrow path/road at the other end. It was so nice to see people sitting or lying on the ground just listening to the sound coming from the stadium. Perfect evening for it.
Shortly after, we got into a taxi in Ballintemple, headed into town where we relaxed for a bit before heading home.

A great night, if he plays in Cork again I’ll go but I’ll want to be more familiar with his back catalogue next time!

Photos are from my Samsung Galaxy S4 and a now ancient Panasonic Lumix FZ5 that was small enough to fit in my pocket, even with a 12x zoom! Please leave a comment if you’d like to use these photos.

Edit: I recorded a 24 second clip of the band playing “Wild Thing” but here’s a longer clip!

Cows Loose on the River Martin

The river that runs through Blarney is the River Martin and there’s a nice walk next to it near where I live. There’s a field close by where horses and cattle graze from time to time but I don’t remember ever seeing the animals straying from the field.

You can imagine our surprise when we saw a group of cows walking up the river last night, and then jumping up the bank and off towards Waterloo on the public path. I wonder if they were going to the Waterloo Inn for a refreshing drink?

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My wife rang the Gardai who said they’d deal with them. Cars flew up the Waterloo Road at their usual speeds but thankfully we didn’t hear the crunch of metal or skidding wheels while we were down there…

Portals in the Sea

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Garrettstown Beach in Co Cork boasts a number of attractions. Chief among them are the waves loved by surfers in one area and a long sandy beach next door.

There are also a few Ingress portals there and I managed to capture some of them. The two in the sea only have a couple of resonators and not the full complement of eight because I was standing at the bottom of the sea wall with my hand outstretched trying to reach them. After almost getting caught by a sudden wave I beat a hasty retreat.

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When the tide goes out however I’ll be back!

Three Days in Dungarvan

I spent the last few days in Dungarvan, staying in the Park Hotel with my family. It’s a really nice town, small enough that you can walk around it in half an hour but plenty of places to eat and drink.

I took my camera of course and almost always shot in b/w mode with my Canon f1.8 50mm lens. I cheated a little as I used RAW+Jpeg mode but I’m happy with the results. RAW lets me recover the colour information while the Jpeg records a useful b/w image I can check against during post processing.

I love that 50mm lens but rarely use it so a whole holiday was a challenge. With such a short depth of field it’s really important getting the focus point right. I usually used the center point or a side point rather than trust the matrix to pick out the right one!