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Radiohead: June 7, 2008 Dublin Ireland


 Dear Security,

Why even bother? I could have smuggled a bomb full of cocaine snakes in my bag with the check you did. Just let us the hell in.

Your pal,



Dear Bat for Lashes,

You guys did a very great job as an opening act. Your lead singer girl is very pretty and charismatic and sounds a lot like Bjork; a little too much for Fhwrdh, but he still liked you ok. I particularly liked your stage costumes. You just may bring the poncho/smock (smoncho?) into fashion.

The part of your show I liked the very best was when you started playing the big drum and the tamborines.  At first I was a little upset because it sounded like you were going to play Venus in Furs, but you didn’t. Then Jose and Fhwrdh started singing Baby’s got Back to the beat and I just about laughed my head off.

Thanks for being a sweet opening act.



Dear Guy who used the Port-O-John before me,

I am going to call you Drippy O’Splashy. Did you even get any pee IN the toilet?

Stay gold,



Dear Radiohead,

You made 2008 the best year of the decade. In fact, your show was so good, it improved the entire aughties!

The train to Malahide  took about an hour, and looking around at our concert-commuter-mates Fhwrdh and I were a little worried about the Dublin crowd. Were they going just for the outdoor summer festival venue? Would they just be screwing around, talking loudly on their mobiles, holding their stupid girlfriends on their drunken shoulders, pissing and throwing up in inappropriate places?

I needn’t  have worried. Not a bit.  The summer crowd was in a great mood.  There were smiles and thanks and pardons.  Cameras were held up for a photo and put down again so no one was blocked for the whole show. Dancing drunk guy next to us didn’t pick a fight with anyone. Everyone moved to the music, not like in LA where everyone folds their arms and dares the band to make their head bob to the beat. These people were glad to be there, singing along, dancing.

From the opening song, 15 Minutes, I had goosebumps. I was amazed at how great the sound was. Not just the musical-melody parts, but the SOUNDS that make a Radiohead song so multi-layered and interesting.  I could have enjoyed the entire show with my eyes closed.

I am glad I didn’t close my eyes though, because the stage setup was so amazing. Little cameras set around the stage gave a close up view of each of you on the giant screens behind and on either side of the stage. Thom never forgot that he was performing, and his performance was riveting. I felt like the entire band loves the music as much as the fans do, which I think is especially wonderful after so many years playing.

Thank you for playing my favorite, The Pyramid Song. I was so happy when you started it. With so much material to choose from, you could have played just as long a show without it, or National Anthem, or Everything in Its Right Place. I wouldn’t have even minded - the newer material is so great. But thank you for playing some old songs too.

You would have been really proud of  some people in the crowd. There was of course Coco, who was at her 100th show (it was really nice of you to dedicate a song to her) and Drunk Guy next to us, who was a genial and sharing fella, if a little on the staggery/bumpy side; Steve from the USA who came on a whim for his 40th birthday - used to follow The Grateful Dead and now has tethered himself to you; the couple form Denmark Street in London - see I didn’t forget; and finally all the fellas peeing in the forest on the way out. Way to save water!

In closing Radiohead, I would like to share my thanks to you for making my first show in a very long time one of the top three I have ever seen, ever.




Dear Cab Driver from Dublin City to home,

I hope I answered all your questions appropriately. I couldn’t understand a word you said.



I Tricked You!


Ha the joke is on you! You thought I was going to take off and leave my blog to moulder in the dank undergrowth of the internet - but no! I am still here. Time for the weekend in review:

Saturday was Birdy’s birthday and I dashed off that birthday post before we left for her special day out at the museum and out to dinner. We went to Collins Barracks in Dublin which houses the Museum of Decorative Arts as well as the Museum of Old-Time Soldiering*. Being with a nine year old birthday girl precluded us from seeing the soldier part and we enjoyed room after room of Irish design, from clothing to furniture and old collections of stuff that someone thought looked good together. Birdy especially enjoyed hanging out with family friends Side Order and her husband The Swede

Currently on exhibition is the Sea Stallion, an amazing example of living archeology. In Denmark, they dug up the ancient hull of a Viking ship. Through testing the wood, they discovered that the ship was constructed in Ireland, and they commenced to reconstruct the ship using computer blueprints created from the original vessel. When they finished they got a crew together and sailed from Denmark all the way to Dublin. They learned a lot about how tough vikings were! Near the Sea Stallion is a geocache but I wasn’t able to go look for it because it was raining and I was trying to be a good mom and focus on Birdy. Oh well, next time I take the kids to the zoo we are stopping and I am totes finding it.

After the museum we went to Birdy’s favorite restaurant Milano. It’s an Italian restaurant that has nice food, but my kids adore it for the children’s menu. They get to order a real starter, main, and desert and it even includes a bambinoccino: warm milk frothed and dusted with chocolate. The staff at the restaurant did a great job celebrating with us and we all had a delightful dinner.

I found it!Sunday was the day I was waiting for. No kids birthdays so I could go back to my selfish self and drag the family on a long cache-expedition. We walked all around Dun Laoghaire and out on the pier were to beautiful views of the Irish Sea. Check out my glee in these candid photos taken by fhwrdh.

Recording my infoFun!

*This is not really the name of the museum, it should be though.

Birthday Girl!


brother and sister

Little Hellcat Birdy is nine years old today

How could my four years of high school dragged by so slowly and these nine years have gone by so fast?

I wrote this six years ago, just to give you a glimpse of the little miss growing up:

Baby Bird

So my daughter is three. and stubborn. and not potty trained.

More than anything in the whole wide world she loves ballet and dancers and tutus.

This is not my doing, I played with dump trucks as a young girl; and certainly not her father’s, he specialized in playing chess with himself and tracing the lines on graph paper in his youth. It’s just that we somehow made this little girlie-girl-princess-head and we are amused and enchanted and slightly aghast as she prances around in my pink babydoll nightie from the beginning of our marriage when I still wore such things.

Last Christmas I turned on PBS just in time to catch Julie Andrews introducing the London Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker and I called her over “Hellcat! Come see the ballet!” I thought she’d enjoy the opening scene and I’d be able to turn on Law and Order in time to see Jerry Orbach sum up the plot twist with a glib remark. but no.

An hour and a half later I awakened to the closing strains of Tchaikovsky and an outline of my little daughter sitting about 4 inches from the screen, mouth open, eyes wide. Julie Andrews came back “For many of you this was your first Nutcracker, I do hope it was a magical experience.”

Oh believe me, Julie… it was.

Ok, so I have this little miss in diapers who loves the ballet. What better motivation for potty training is there than lessons for she who keeps her pink princess Barbie panties dry all day? None I tell you, none.

But in appealing to my daughter’s girly and artistic tendencies to achieve underpant dryness, what price will we pay? Will she enter into the Madame Strict’s Ballet Academy at $18,000 per year tuition? Will she wreck her feet and have lifelong back pain? Will she rehearse 18 hours a day, leaving no social life and less academic success? Will she become anorexic and bulimic and pop Mini-thins and Correctol like a cheese-loving-interstate-truckdriver, only to stop menstruating at 14 and smoke Marlborough Lights like a chimney until she is finally told at 22 that she is washed up and should just quit and have babies and tell bitter stories about what she could have been? Will she never learn to count to five???

She chats to me from her car seat in back as we drive. “Mommy, I’m gonna do ballet. And I’m gonna dance in a special skirt called a tutu. And I’m gonna have a hamburger and french fries and a soda for lunch.”

You sure are honey…

So far today she has discovered a birthday-decorated dining room, made chocolate chip pancakes, opened presents (2 new outfits, a new coat, some PC games and My Sims for her DS), put on make up, and tried on all the new clothes (fashion show dahling!). Now we are off to have a family day at the museum and have dinner at her favorite restaurant. I’d say this should kick of age nine perfectly!


You: Treasure Hunter


A few days ago I wrote about my favorite new thing to do: Geocaching. Well, Mental Floss Magazine must read my blog because looky here!

Most of the time the reaction you get when you tell someone new to the concept is mild interest, as if you had picked up plumbing or collecting stamps or bottle caps. Other times you can see that as soon as they get home, they are going to jump on the computer and see what its all about.

My dad told his pal who works for a California county park service about it.

“Oh yeah, we hate those things.” he said. “We found one and had to call the bomb squad.”

My father in law agreed. “That’s the day and age we live in. ”

Sad. Well, I am going to keep myself from going on a rant about how fear is costing us more than safety is worth. Maybe instead of blowing up our fun, the parks and rec department can take a page from The Ohio Historical Society and join us! They have hidden their own caches on their historical sites to keep new visitors coming through. Or maybe just write up a policy and post it here: GeocachingPolicy.org.

The truth of the matter is this:

Geocaching is good for the environment. Cachers generally are against hiding caches in protected or sensitive areas. Hiking is a lot better for the environment than ATVs and dirt bikes! The Cache In/Trash Out program has seekers take a trash bag with them and collect garbage on the way out.

Geocaching is good family fun. Try to argue with that…. see? You can’t!

Geocaching saves lives. No, really! Read this: Climbers rescued on Mount Hood aided by treasure hunt box. Summary: two climbers lost on Mount Hood find a geocache and are able to call in their location to rescuers.



I have talked to a lot of people recently about the kind of vacations they like to take. Everyone has their own style of holiday, What works for our family may not be what yours had in mind.

For instance, we really try to soak up as much of a new area’s culture and history as we can. We have shown our kids how to enjoy a day at the museum, eat unfamiliar foods, and meet and communicate with locals who may not speak English.

One of the other moms at Birdy’s school was horrified at the prospect of spending her holiday like that. She longed for days in the sun, water skiing on the lake outside their vacation cabin in Waterford.

My in-laws just came back from a week in Cancun that they raved about. It was a prepackaged holiday on a huge resort and they really enjoyed the service, food and activities.

Our family went outside our normal city break routine and took a cruise around the Mediterranean last October. The tours around the ports were wonderful, and it was a great way to see a big chunk of Italy, Spain and France all in a week.

So what do you like to do for vacation? Do you save up all year and take a grand trip? Or are small weekend jaunts more your style?

posted under travel | 1 Comment »

Factgirl: Treasure Hunter


One thing about poker players, at least the interesting ones, is the OTHER stuff they like to do. Howard Lederer is a great chess player. Gus Hansen, Dan Harrington, Erik Seidel, and Phil Laak, are all backgammon players. A bunch of the pros play golf. I hear a bunch of you poker bloggers are strip-club enthusiasts…

This all brings me to one of my special interests: scavenger hunts. Back in LA I loved it when MouseAdventure time rolled around. This is a huge scavenger hunt at Disneyland organized by the MousePlanet website. Teams of four run around the park solving puzzles and gathering clues. There are little prizes, but really everyone is there for the fun of the hunt.

This Christmas, I received a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx from my dad (thanks, Dad!) I have always wanted to go geocaching, but never had a GPS. Now I am an unstoppable caching machine! For those of you unfamiliar with it, geocaching is when one person hides a cache somewhere and logs the coordinates onto geocache.com. Then another person downloads the coordinates and uses their GPS to find the cache. Some caches are big waterproof boxes, some are tiny little capsules. They can be hidden in rural or urban areas and there are caches throughout the world. Inside each cache is a logbook finders sign, larger caches will also have some little take one/leave one items.

I have already found my first two caches in California, none yet in Ireland , but I can’t wait to get out there and hunt! If you have access to a GPS, why not register and go for a treasure hunt this weekend?

Who Likes to Rock the Party?


I like to rock the party!

In the post below you will find my recap of our year in Ireland - but here’s what’s coming up for us:

Poker goal: to stop making sucky calls. It is one donkey call that puts me out of every single tourney I enter. I take full responsibility. Also this elf that sits next to me who chants “you have him so beat!” over and over.

Parenting goal: to teach my kids how to ride bikes without training wheels. Sub-goal: buy kids bikes.

Personal goal: Go back to school - I enrolled in two archeology classes at University College Dublin. wish me luck!

Travel goal: Spain, Southern France, Italian Coast, Scotland, Sweden, whatever opportunity comes up.

Party goal: rock party (as usual)

A Year Abroad


August 6 marked our first year as residents of Ireland. This has been the most amazing and wonderful journey of my life and I have learned so much. I realize I have not blogged as much as I should about all the incredible things I have been doing - but I have been out doing incredible things! (is that even an excuse?)

If you are remotely interested, here is a recap of this year:

We arrived and set about looking for a house right away. It was important to get the kids settled before school started. We found a semi-detached (we share a wall with the neighbors) in a little town called Glenageary. Glenageary means field of sheep and the towns claim to fame is being the childhood home to Sinead O’Connor. From our back windows we can see the Irish Sea, James Joyce Tower (where Ulyses begins), and a castle.

Our next big job was getting the kids into school. We had organized them places in a local school, but when we showed up the first day they looked at us like we were from another planet. Jelly picked that moment to show off the absolute worst behavior EVER. When the principal offered to shake hands with him, he actually grabbed it and licked her! AAAAAA!!! We were shown the door and I yelled at him all the way home.

To get Hellcat into a school I had to join the parish church to get the pastor to sign an entrance form. so I dutifully churched it up and actually enjoyed myself - until I shocked the entire congregation by slurping the communion wine a little too loudly. Helly got into a lovely little school with one teacher per grade. She is enjoying being a big fish in a little pond.

Jelly was another story. I wasn’t able to find my boy a place in school until December! I tried homeschooling him with some books lent to me by Helly’s school, but we both found that homeschoolers have a special kind of crazy we do not possess. He finally got into a wonderful boy’s school with an aide who is perfect for him.

We set about seeing Ireland and the rest of Europe. We took long weekends in London, Venice and Paris, as well as exploring Dublin, Galway, Cork and even took in an American Football game in Belfast (go Rebels!) Paris was especially my favorite - we had a little apartment close to Notre Dame Cathedral that made us feel like real Parisians.

The things I miss about Los Angeles are my family and friends. At first I was wishing for a CPK Barbeque Chicken Salad, but the withdrawal symptoms soon subsided as I enjoyed Guinness after Guinness and fish and chips after fish and chips.

Poker is stabilizing - I am starting to get my concentration back for the long tourneys and my finishes are getting higher and higher. Baby steps are good right?

I will blog more - now - the kids go back to school tomorrow! ROCK!

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