16 November 2009

Ireland 2009

[Sorry, but the pictures are not in chronological order]

Andy (after the tasting session) at the Jameson Factory in Midleton, Ireland.

The old Jameson Factory buildings. A new improved factory was built in the 70's next door.

A waterwheel which powered the plant and is still running today.

A small still in front of the plant.

The EU helped to fund the restoration of the old buildings.

We spent a night in Cork, Ireland where we saw this plaque in front of a local cathedral. I never knew there was an apostle of temperance before . . .

We also visited Newgrange, a massive structure built in 3200 BC. The entire structure is built of stone and there are approximately forty more mounds, of varying sizes, in the surrounding area.

These pictures are from the Southern Coast, specifically, the Ring of Dingle.

The Killarney Riding Stables. The O'Sullivan family has owned and operated the stable since the 60's. They currently have one hundred and forty horses!

Their Percheron stallion was both friendly and beautiful. Although, he was in his own separate barn with an adjoining paddock built out of railroad ties.

Andy's mount, Ben, is a Shire Drought cross.

Andy and I on the beach in County Kerry. My horse, Aladdin, is an Irish Draught horse. We rode for two full days around County Kerry, also known as "The Ring of Kerry." We covered over twenty miles on horseback and had a fantastic time.

10 June 2009

We have had Seven for a year!

Seven is a pure-bred female rottweiler adopted from King County Animal Care & Control on June 10, 2008.

Here are a few pictures from her training class:

Seven intently paying attention to something off in the distance while on a "down."

Seven waiting to be released from a "sit" while we walk around her.

Still Waiting . . .

Break time.

More work. Seven has to "walk" with her shoulder right next to my hip.

Still working on off-leash commands.

Almost done with the class.

Next step, AKC Obedience trials? We'll see. Good dog, Seven.

A Few Beach Pictures


Mussels on Rock.

Andy and Seven.


19 March 2009

Book Review: Spook Country

After finishing another book by Gibson with a few of the same central characters, I decided to read Spook Country. This was a mistake.

The characters and plot are both confused, disjoint and incomplete. Short of taking notes there is slim hope of tracking what is going on with the characters, but I shouldn't have worried about it because most of them are irrelevant and the few that are relevant never gain any sense of closure. The interactions between characters are like a political-correctness-gone-crazy dystopia where giving a damn about anyone would result in a harassment lawsuit. There are some interesting settings described, however not so interesting that they compensate for the cardboard cutout characters, all of whom keep one another at more than an emotionally safe distance throughout the whole story.

The last 50 pages are very chaotic. It reads as if the author had hit his deadline for turning in the manuscript and scribbled together a plot outline that tied off a few of the threads of the story and then walked away. I found Pattern Recognition passable, but this book, set with some of the same characters, really seems like the effort was phoned in and was a disappointment.