Friday, September 28, 2012

Search Engine Sillies

Arthur's Day has come and gone with Ellie Goulding and Fat Boy Slim performing in Cork last night. Did we manage to see anyone? No. Am I bothered about it? Not particularly, despite that Ellie Goulding's performance involved her crowd and will become her new music video. We had a fun night anyway as we went out with some old housemates of ours. We managed to find a quiet pub, out of the busy city center, and chatted the evening away.

It was also a good day yesterday as I made some progress with the kittens in the back garden! I didn't get that blow gun to tranquilize them but I did up my game...with cheese! The calico kitten was on the back garden wall and was watching me as I was preparing dinner last night. I opened the back door off the kitchen and it came running on the wall towards me, meowing. Armed with a few small pieces of cheese, I managed to get the kitten on the wall directly above me and it sniffed my hand (after hissing at  it). I still haven't pet it but about half an hour later, it brought it's all black sibling with it for more cheese. The black one is much more skittish but I was able to get it some cheese so it knows I've got the goods.

Now, onto some funny! I know that you all love to read my crazy search engine hits, so here's a few for your laughing pleasure.

creepy toy llama: I hope this was not on a parent's Christmas gift list as their child may be scarred for life and never be able to watch The Emperor's New Groove, which would be a true tragedy!

goofy cats eating cake: I may have to change my cheese strategy...

loves being naked in a hay barn: Now that just sounds itchy!

art of penise: Maybe you should look into the art of spelling but I know why you are here, and that painting is an umbrella in the rain ok!?!

chocolate molded into awkward shape: I hope this isn't the same searcher...

don't bite your friends saying: Oh yes, I am sure we've all heard the old, classic saying of "Don't bite your friends, you Twilight freaks!!"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Party Time!

Some of you know already that it's the fabulous Fishducky's birthday today!!! Some of you may also be surprised to know that she is not the oldest woman on earth, but she may just be the funniest!

When I first got back into blogging, I kept seeing Fishducky popping up in the comments of my other blog friends and I decided that I wanted her to start following me too because she left such hilarious comments. I wanted to play it cool though so I would try to leave extra witty comments on blogs she would comment on in hopes that she would see me and check my blog out. Branden heard all about Fishducky and how much I wanted her to be part of my blog family.  One day, it happened and I practically squealed in excitement to Branden, "I've got her! Fishducky is following me!! Yesss!!" and we may have even opened a bottle of wine that night to celebrate  ;)

I had no idea that just how much a part of my blog family she would become then. She sends the best emails and now that she has HER OWN BLOG, I can find a laugh whenever I want and need. Happy Birthday Fishducky! I hope it's a fantastic day for you and you get lots of cake!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Days

There is a lot going on and thankfully most if it is good! Two older kittens have been showing up on random evenings on our back garden wall. Since I am basically a Crazy Cat-less Lady and keep cat food in my room, I have put some out on the wall for them. They aren't as skittish as their parents so with time, I may get to pet them!!!

You have no idea the amount of restraint it takes for me to not search on Ebay for a blow gun that shoots sedatives so I can speed up the process...

Our youngest nephew turned 2 on the weekend and we got to see him on Skype and watch him open some gifts. We also made him a birthday video of us singing The Wheels on the Bus using toy animals we have which he apparently loved but cried when my sis said he couldn't keep watching it over and over again.

Yesterday there were window washers at the big University building across the street. We were eating brunch in the living room and had this odd view:

The long yellow poles were wiggling back and forth as they cleaned and I said to Branden that it looked a bit like anorexic giraffes attacking the building! The sad thing was that all of the hours that the window cleaners spent cleaning all those windows, were done in the rain.

Thursday is Arthur's Day (the day that celebrates Arthur Guinness) and normally I wouldn't be fussed about it...BUT, any of THESE bands could potentially be playing free gigs at 2 pubs in town!!! These bands are making surprise visits to specific pubs in Belfast, Dublin, and Cork and the locations will be filmed and televised throughout the night. My top 3 from that list would be Mumford and Sons, Mika, and Ellie Goulding. I've been to a Mika concert in Edinburgh and it was the most fun and entertaining concert I have ever been to! Branden and I are going out to meet up with some friends early in the evening on Thursday, for a totally different reason than Arthur's Day, but hopefully we can maybe catch one of these bands after. Although, I bet it will be packed and we possibly won't be able to get even near the pub with all the people who will be flocking.

Autumn is in full swing now, which I think means we have passed giant, nasty spiders season (and without any more incidents!), and I am actually looking forward to how Cork looks in the Autumn. I saw this photo that we took in the park by our house last Autumn.

Spring is my favorite season but Autumn in Ireland is stunning. I think I need to go buy some hot chocolate mix!

Monday, September 24, 2012

One hilarious reason why I could never watch Magic Mike

Laughter really can be the best medicine and the video I have for my Music Monday had me in tears from laughing so hard. Lets say you are looking to video chat a random good looking woman creeper, creeper, creeper, please don't tell me if you are that desperate and you discover that the scantily clad dressed body you are ogling has a happy trail and beard...thus why I was laughing myself to tears!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Here we go again

There's nothing like cancer to kick you while you're down. My Granny, my namesake, didn't get the all clear in her latest cancer screening. Cancer is not necessarily anything new for her, as this will be her 6th time fighting it, all popping up in different places with this time on her lungs. She's not a smoker. The last bout with cancer was just under 2 years ago when Branden and I were back in the States and we were able to help her out and take her to her radiation appointments and such. With not plans or means to go back any time in the next couple of years, the feelings of hopelessness and frustration have been hanging over me these last few days since I found out. I understand that my grandparents aren't getting any younger and I will have to face losing them but for Granny, the thought of her losing her life to an evil disease that has hounded her throughout her life just eats away at me. I can't stand the thought of the cancer taking the final scene in her life and lording it's win over her when she's beat it so many times in the past. It's taken a toll already and a few body parts as well so I just wish it would be satisfied and let her live out the rest of her days in peace.

Granny and Hunter in 2009. I don't usually post photos of my nephews but Hunter wasn't even 3 here so he's changed a lot.

For those of you who pray, I would be very grateful for your prayers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thank goodness it's not "Survival of the Sanest"

Happy Monday! Maybe not happy for all of you who must work, but happy for me when I was brought a late breakfast in bed made up of eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee. The humidity is finally lower (in the 70% range) and paired with lower temperatures, in the high 50's F, I am one happy camper. I am still surviving Giant Spider Season with no new encounters to report (Wahoo!). And to answer Bodacious Boomer's question of how large these spider are, they are about the span of your palm with bodies about the size of wine corks. I know spiders definitely come bigger, but considering that I had never seen them that size in WA State where I grew up, I never thought I'd find them bigger here in Ireland...where I will be living for the rest of my life...with these giant nasties. I have actually been thinking about the future and possibly planning trips to Iceland around this time of the year, or maybe Greenland where it's colder and the spiders are sure to be smaller. Even though it's been better this year, I don't know if my nerves can handle this yearly terror as I begin panicking months in advance to this season.

Most of you know that I had been gearing up and training for a new volunteer project but as of yet, I have not spoke of it or how it's been going. (click the link if you don't know or remember what it was) There is a reason behind all this as I am held to confidentiality with the people I help, and also since we are with a large organization there are publicity restrictions as to me even publishing anything about my experience. I understand the reasons why and am fine with it, but for those of you wondering why I'm not talking about my volunteering, then that is why. The Monday night homeless run that I was involved with is currently on hold due to all of the members involved in the new thing, and we aren't sure it will come back. We do run into a number of our homeless people during the new thing so that is good as we keep up a relationship with them but we don't carry food on us. The new thing is going well and I've had some great moments and been able to help a lot of people. Our hours on the street are from 10pm-4am on Saturday night so my sleeping patterns have changed a bit and I'm also not around the Blogland as much because I think my mind is still new to processing all of the experiences and things we encounter. The great thing about this volunteer project is that it really has been keeping me sane through my latest depression as it's something I look forward to and feel comfortable and 'at home' doing. Plus, I love the other team members I work with and they are great fun and good banter.

I'm not sure how much of my latest depression has been "seasonal", as I did have a lot of other things piling up around me and stressing me out. They all sort of came to a head a couple of weeks ago, which put me into a bit of a mental meltdown, but I've been taking myself away from things and calming my nerves which has been helping. That, and I recently got off my allergy pill which gave me a 3 day long headache and caused me to look up if others had problems with it. I was shocked to find numerous reports of people having mood swings, heightened depression and anxiety, and bad reactions from trying to come off of it after long periods of consistent use. My personality has completely changed for the better since I've been off, which is really nice for Branden as I had a tendency to become homicidal if he did the slightest slip up (like 2 weeks ago when I was ready to strangle him for not allowing the bananas to defrost an extra 10 minutes, meaning he just had to blitz them a couple of minutes longer to get the consistency we needed, and then I felt so bad for feeling such rage over such a stupid thing that I went and cried in the bathroom for an hour). I did feel like I was losing my mind and had no control over my emotions, so this week has been such a change and I feel more like myself...and Branden's happy that I'm back to my normal self of constantly trying to snuggle up to him anytime he gets within a 10ft radius of me...except when he's trying to study. Thankfully he's a cuddle bug as well so it's been a good week  ;)

Ok, done with the serious and now for some funny and adorableness! I laughed so hard over this video and just had to share it for Music Monday! I can't stand this song but put a dog scratching his butt along to it, and I'll gladly listen!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

St. Patrick Ran Off The Wrong Animal!

We are over a week into giant spider season and so far, I have only come across one. It was two Saturdays ago, as I was leaving the house to go meet Branden on his lunch break in town. The huge beast was up against the panelling around the front door, making me have to make a terrified dash out the door to pass him. When I met up with Branden, I made him text our house mate from Botswana (since I didn't have his number) to ask him to kill the hopefully still there monstrous spider. Thankfully I got a message back that he killed it, and he also noted that it was really big! When the African in your house says that the spider you texted him to kill was big, it must really be big!

Life went on with no sign of giant spiders. I have a natural spray that I use around the house frequently that is hopefully doing it's job, and I have actually been praying every single night (mostly to get me to fall asleep since I have thoughts of huge spiders crawling on my sleeping face) that God would banish the big spiders from this house! It's really helped me fall asleep and we had a pretty calm, spider free week.

On Sunday morning, Branden got up to take a shower. He always takes a shower first because he takes longer showers and takes his sweet time to get ready in the morning, where as I will wait till I have the most minimal amount of time to get ready before I will budge from my cosy bed. As I was lulling myself back to sleep, I heard the shower start. All of a sudden, a 6'2" naked streak came bursting from the bathroom, grabbed his shoe, and shot back, panicked look on his face, into the bathroom. Bathroom door closed, I then heard a series of pounding noises coupled with loud, terrified breathing. Sadly, I knew it couldn't have been something like a wish granting leprechaun that came up through our drain and lost a shoe so he needed another one to complete his tap dance and grant Branden his wishes of wealth, youth, and a world without spiders. Soon Branden came out of the bathroom with a wild look on his face and confirmed my fears. A massive spider was hiding behind the empty shampoo bottle on the floor of the shower and popped out of it's hiding place as soon as the shower was turned on. Needless to say, I have been trying to hold my bladder since that morning in order to not enter that bathroom of death and fear, and I am considering how long I can go without bathing.

This whole ordeal got me thinking. There is something about being naked that makes running into your biggest fear even more terrifying. Maybe it's because you are more vulnerable, or maybe it's because you know there are 8 eyes looking at your naked body!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Graffiti and Banana Attacks

We live by a park and around the park there is a lot of graffiti on the walls. Most of the random graffiti is just stupid kids spelling their names in gangsta font or putting 3 year old quality drawings of penises everywhere. I think this is similar to marking your territory, although the Irish male species seems to have no problem with peeing openly in public on absolutely anything...even through my friend's mail slot in her front door. That's another rant for another day, but I specifically bring up graffiti because there is an actual cool 'artist' that leaves his or her mark, and I highly doubt it's a prepubescent kid. I envision this particular 'gangsta' to be probably from an IT background and in their late 20's or early 30's. The graffiti left by this nerdy artist always makes me smile, especially their latest work of art. Here is an idea of what this artist does:

I am not a gamer by any means, but back when I was a kid, I rocked at Megaman! We actually just got it on our Wii, and I surprisingly still rock! Anyhoo, this artist leaves classic Nintendo graffiti in random places and it's definitely better than another 12 year old kid's depiction of his boy parts. This artist's latest addition is pure brilliance, and Branden even played along to show the size and scale:

Sadly Branden wasn't close enough to the pipe and got hit by a fireball so he didn't save the Princess, which is fine by me because I know he's not that into ditzy blondes that can't even fend off spiky turtles. The 'pipe' is just an electrical box that the graffiti artist made much prettier and definitely much more interesting. If he didn't live in Georgia, I would totally blame this on Joshua as this is the type of graffiti artist I would imagine him being.

And now for something completely different. I have a friend with whom I manage to have the most off the wall and random conversations. We met on the street the other day and I was in tears from laughing so hard and she was holding her stomach and bent over laughing at one point. She is great for having the most bizarre conversation starters, although probably bizarre to any passer by, they are completely normal to me. At one point in our street conversation, she started off with, "So you know in the year of the chicken?" and even though I knew what she was on about, I couldn't help but crack up and point out that we were not normal! A couple of days later she messaged me on Facebook, "Hey guess what happened to me today? I was hit with a BANANA." to which I bursted out laughing, especially when she mentioned it hit her in the face...I'm very sympathetic. She's ok but the banana didn't survive, as it was hit by a bus soon after violently visiting my friend's face. Serves the banana right if you ask me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Pinterest Review

In the past, I have mentioned my absolute love for Pinterest and the joys it has brought me. I had over 5,000 pins and found the site to be a bit of an addiction. Notice my use of the tense "had" and "found". This is no longer the case and as of today (WAHOO!!!) I have completely deleted all of my pin boards and deactivated my account. Why would I do such a thing to a much beloved site?

Pinterest emailed me porn

Every week they sent out a "Weekly Inspiration" email and in that email there was a note of my most popular repinned pins, suggestions of pins from my friends' boards that Pinterest thought I would like to pin, and the "Popular Boards" of the week. Last week, when I received my email, I was mortified to find that the very first listed Popular Board was in fact a porn board and 3 pornographic photos from the board were displayed right there in my inbox! Pinterest states under "Terms and Conditions" then "Pin Etiquette" that it does not allow nudity, but porn is absolutely rampant on the site with porn boards becoming more and more 'the in thing'.

As soon as I received this nasty email from them, I sent them a a pretty wordy email back in their complaints section. This is what the email said:

"I received my Weekly Inspiration email from Pinterest today and I was horrified to find that in the email there was a "Popular Boards" section and the first board was porn! Your terms and conditions page hasn't changed and still says that nudity is not allowed but yet, you sent me porn right to my inbox! I am horrified at the fact that this is even a listed popular board and none of your team have flagged it and trashed it, plus I can't even imagine the implications of who all you may have sent this out to! I have reported hundreds of disgusting pins and boards, and I understand it's difficult to get to all the requests but it takes months for the reports to go through and in that time, tons of free, graphic porn is right there for kids to find with your easy to use search bar. Porn boards are a huge trend at the moment and I don't feel Pinterest is doing much about it or even addressing the issue with their Pinners at all. Most people never read the terms and conditions and think that their porn boards are 'art' and allowed by Pinterest. Even if you made it so that when a pin is reported, it automatically disappears from the board until it is reviewed, and then it can be restored or deleted, that might help in frustrating people from pinning more and more porn. 

I could rant and rave more but I'm sure this will just go to an automated response inbox and I may just be ranting to nothing. Please clean up your emails that you send out to your Pinners, or at least have the decency to check what's on your Popular Boards list. 

Here is the link to the board you emailed me: 

I did get an automated response back which did just aggravate me more and here it is:

"Hi Maggie,
Currently you cannot report an entire account to us. But you can report individual pins using these instructions:
If you’re writing about another issue, please submit a new ticket under the right topic to get help as quickly as possible.
We are always working on ways to make this process better and we really appreciate your interest in making Pinterest a place anyone can enjoy!
- The Pinterest Team"

So I sent an angry response to the automated system because I was fuming!

"I'm not trying to report an entire board, I'm trying to report Pinterest itself! And on a side note, you should be able to report and entire account because there are accounts created for the sole purpose of having boards of different types of porn. Issue not resolved and your automated response was not helpful!"
They sent me another automated message but it did make me feel a tiny bit better:
"A member of our team will review your message as soon as possible. While we’re always working hard to make Pinterest better for you, we’re currently unable to respond individually to every message we receive. Rest assured we are always listening and we’re frequently resolving issues and making improvements based on what we read in emails like this one.
Thanks for using Pinterest.
-       The Pinterest Team"

Then I waited and I waited, and I waited some more. I finally sent a tweet out yesterday noting Pinterest and how long it's taken them to get back to me since they emailed me porn and lo and behold, I got a response! It's taken them a week but finally something from a real person...although his response seems a bit automated as well:
"Hi Maggie -
We regret that this board appeared in your weekly recommendations. After reviewing this issue, our team is updating the automated way in which we recommend boards to users so that this does not happen again.
We are also reviewing this user's pins against our acceptable use policy. Pinterest does not allow photos containing breasts, buttocks or genetalia.
We're very sorry for the inconvenience. Our team is working hard to prevent inappropriate content from appearing on Pinterest. Thank you for taking the time to write in!
**If this resolves your concern, please do not reply. While we love to hear "thank you", these messages create more work for us. Thanks for understanding - and happy Pinning.**
Pinterest - Community Specialist"

It was a response, and I saw that the board was down, but I was still unhappy with the way Pinterest is going, how their site is becoming a giant porn board with bits of sock animal instructions and kale recipes thrown in, so I sent this:

"Hi Aaron,

I'm glad you will be updating the way you send out your recommended boards but I still feel that Pinterest's lack of control over the graphic sexual content on their site, the poor process of how to report pins, and how long it takes to remove horrific content, I am deleting my Pinterest account and will be informing others of the disgusting board that Pinterest emailed me.


Now that I have said my bit and received some acknowledgment, I have gone ahead and deleted all of my boards and deactivated my account. Pinterest pissed me off and I'm done. Now I just want to share it with others and maybe it will force Pinterest to take note and become more active in keeping their site from becoming just another nasty porn site.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I should really just stick to writing

Before I share my tale of utter humiliation, I have to mention something that Melynda brought to my attention. I haven't been around Blogland lately so I hadn't heard about this amazing event with lots of free books and prizes!! Head over to Elisa's post HERE to check it out; it will only be on for the next 2 days. I had Branden download about 5 books last night to my kindle! Wahoo! Melynda's books are there, Elisa's books are there, Elisa's brother's book is there, and there is a book of short stories called Open Doors which has stories from lots of people including Joshua and Janie! So go check it out, enter the contest and get some free books!

Now, onto my embarrassing story:

I am not someone that I would consider to be 'artistic'. I could hardly draw a stick figure to save my life but lately I have been wanting to get back into watercolors. My skill and knowledge of watercolor painting is probably actually less than my my knowledge of drawing stick figures, but I was determined to play around and see what I could learn and create a couple of days ago. With Branden studying on the bed, I took over the desk and began dripping colors, running paints, and creating a lovely mess. Liking the colors but feeling it needed something more, I let it dry and then added a bit of quirkiness. It's definitely basic but I like it.

Feeling that I was on a roll, I began to dig up any bit of artsy tidbits I could use to create something more mind boggling artistic. You know, the art pieces that make you think (because when it's only your 4th ever watercolor, you obviously are ready to go pro). I spied a box of crayons and my mind began to create ideas. Grabbing the white crayon, I drew an umbrella outline with the intent of 'raining' different shades of blue around it. The white wax borders would be invisible but would cause the pouring color to go around it, acting like a real umbrella would! I was an artistic genius.

So I set about dropping big soupy blues on top of my umbrella and watching how it bled and blended around the shape. I did get slightly bored and began to add some green and red splashes, but then I refocused and turned my focus onto the umbrella itself. I wanted to make the umbrella stand out more so I used some bright yellow with orange touches to swirl the paint inside of the umbrella hood. but then you still couldn't see the umbrella handle since the hood had kept the blue from touching it, so it still didn't quite look like an umbrella. Scrambling for my best artistic thinking cap (I should get a refund) I decided to do a similar rain pouring of red under the umbrella hood to display the handle and be different from the rain, still showing that the umbrella kept the rain away.

When I was done, I proudly looked at my super artsy watercolor and asked Branden to come look at it. I didn't tell him what it was because I wanted his mind to think, explore, and be blown away basically. He stared with an odd look on his face and a slight smirk in the corners of his mouth. Not able to take it anymore, I asked him if he saw it. He replied with a slight chuckle on his breath, "What is it?" to which I, with a slightly bruised ego said, "It's an umbrella but it's like invisible with the white crayon borders but the rain is still going around it." That man actually giggled and then informed me, while still giggling, "It looks like a penis".

I was stunned at his words, my eyes popped out of my head, my jaw fell, I looked over at my artistic umbrella watercolor that was supposed to boggle the mind, and saw a colorful penis! At first I couldn't make a sound, but then I just started crying with laughter because he was right! My ego was not only bruised, but now it had been fully beaten and officially pronounced dead. I could not believe that I had spent 30 minutes on an artistic masterpiece that turned out to look like an 8 year old boy's crayon graffiti! I told one of the housemates and then showed him the painting to which he laughed and said that Branden was right. He also said that I shouldn't show anyone. Yeah right, like I would deny you all the privilege to laugh at my questionable art practices?!

So here it is. I think I will title it, "Death of an Art Career" or "Washed out Ego".