Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking A Moment

I've become a bit homesick lately and have been thinking a lot of my friends back in the states.  They got together as a group to see the movie The Avengers a few weeks ago.  This weekend there is a wedding and then they're planning a Memorial Day party.  I miss being a part of making plans to get together and enjoy the day and share some drink, some food, and some laughs. 

I remember on a visit back home in 2007 when I announced my decision that I would be staying in Ireland how we hugged and cried and promised that no distance could come between us and we would always be friends. While I have stayed in touch with several, there are an equal number I have lost touch with over the last six years. 

As I began this journey I met my flat mate and my best friend Hamish who became like brothers to me. But now my flat mate is married with a child and we only see each other when we run into one another in the street or at a shop. Hamish moved to Scotland and while we talk on the phone, those phone calls, like the ones with my friends back in the states, are getting fewer and farther apart as we're both busy living our lives. 

I still can't believe its been six years already. The older we get the more time just seems to fly by. Back when I made the decision to stay in Ireland, I was thinking it would be for a year, have some fun and have an experience I'll always remember. I never dreamed someone like Gareth would come into my life and change everything. 

I was always a hopeless romantic. Actually that seems to run in my family, but for awhile there I was more hopeless than a romantic. Love just wasn't working out for me. A few times in my life I thought I had found the one, but in the end I think I loved each of them more than they ever loved me. Still, while I could have done without the broken hearts, I wouldn't change anything. Each experience made me the person I am today and I cherish the times I spent with each one. I think of them often and wonder what they're doing and if perhaps they ever stop to remember me. If they do, I hope they remember me with a smile at a memory of a fun moment we shared. 

So I've decided to make a better effort to keep in touch with the ones I love.  Life is too short, time goes by too fast, but not so fast that we can't find the time to share a moment of ourselves and let those we care about know were not only thinking of them, but that we love them. 

The Avengers

We saw The Avengers and I have to say it was the best movie I've seen in a long time.  We laughed out loud several times during the movie and it had all the action and adventure you expected from this type of movie.  Growing up a fan of Iron Man and Captain America, it was great to see them on the screen together.  It's actually one movie I would pay to go see again.

Carlos Bocanegra - US Soccer

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Westlife Medley - Farewell Tour - Cardiff

Westlife In Cardiff - Mandy

All-Ireland Heneken Cup Final

The All-Ireland Heineken Cup final is Sunday with Leinster playing the role of heavy favorites over Ulster.  Leinster has dominated all of their previous opposition in Ireland and Europe throughout this season and can close in on winning a double championship with a win this weekend.   

In 2011, they needed to beat a hotly-tipped Northampton and a Munster side still capable turning up in vengeful mood to claim a double. In the end they could only take the European prize.
This time, they will have to beat Ulster and the Ospreys to do the same. By most measures, that is a less difficult task, though again it may be that the Heineken Cup final proves the less taxing of the two.
Compared to 12 months ago, Leinster have managed their resources better this year, mixing and matching units to maintain freshness instead of allowing a ‘two-team’ culture to develop.
That approach has also given them an enviable tactical flexibility.

Eoin Reddan and Kevin McLaughlin have been selected in the ‘toss-up’ calls this time, with Isaac Boss and Shane Jennings missing out. That probably means Leinster want faster ball and expect less rucks and more lineouts, and that instead of taking on Stephen Ferris and co with direct running around the fringes, they will go to the wider areas and seek to bring their strong footwork and passing into play.

Four Straight World Championships

Irish female fighter Katie Taylor has won her fourth straight World Championship this morning in Qinhuangdao, China.  In beating  Russian Sofya Ochigava for the gold medal, she has secured a spot in the quarter-finals at the Olympics and is only one win away from a medal.

The victory secured her 13th major gold medal in what was a repeat of the 2011 European final, which Taylor won 10-5 in Rotterdam.

The bout proved a tense and tactical four-rounder and was tied at 4-4 at the end of the first two rounds, but Taylor held her nerve and composure to carve out a two-point (8-6) advantage at the end of the third and claimed the fourth frame 3-1 to secure an historic victory.

And Taylor also landed the best boxer award, which is presented to the best boxer across all 10 weight divisions, in the opinion of the judges.

The Irish team are due to arrive home at Dublin Airport on Sunday at 5.35pm.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Irish Marine Research

“Ireland is being recognized on the world stage for its research and ability to transform marine resources into new food related products by maximizing the creative potential of Ireland’s research community in working with industry. 

President Higgens said, “I would like to congratulate the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Marine Institute for their leadership in  developing this collaboration: this strong multidisciplinary research team, of 30 researchers from seven research institutions, is working together for the benefit of the research community, the marine and food industry and of course for the consumer. The programme is indicative of what can happen when two historically separate research groups – one in marine and one in food – work together towards a common goal."

The theme of research enabling innovation as introduced by the President was a core theme throughout the NutraMara Conference. The Conference attracted speakers and participants from as far away as Canada and Australia; all of whom were eager to contribute to the debate on the sustainable exploitation of marine living resources as functional food ingredients. 

Speakers from the NutraMara consortium highlighted the need to develop a deeper understanding of Ireland's marine resource, particularly the extent of Ireland's seaweed stock; the potential of aquaculture as opposed to harvesting wild resources and the need to develop precise profiles of bio active materials found in marine organisms. International contributions supported the recent focus of NutraMara on marine micro-algae and the potential of these micro-organisms as sources of high value food ingredients.

“New exciting results were presented in the development of bio active functional food ingredients from marine plants and fish by-products, including blood pressure lowering agents, anticancer materials and anti-inflammatory agents with a variety of potential therapeutic and health promoting properties, ” according to Professor Colin Barrow, a leading marine natural products chemist from  Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. 

“It is clear Ireland has created a large research and commercialization network in the marine functional food area that aims to harness this potential," added Professor Barrow.

The Conference provided an excellent platform on which to build further national and international collaboration and opened up the potential to broaden the impact of NutraMara across Ireland’s life sciences sector.

Blue Moon Over Manchester

Manchester City and Manchester United came into the final week of the season today tied in points for the Premiere League title chase.  But City led on goal differential and with playing an easier Queens Park Rangers team who were trying not to get relegated to a lesser league, all City had to do was win and they were the champions.

As the day started United and City, both dressed in blue kits, took 1-0 leads in their games.  City fans celebrated, but United still held out hope.  After all, if they win and City tied or even more unbelievable lost they would win back to back championships. 

In the second half, QPR lost a man on a stupid foul and all seemed locked up for City to win their first championship in 44 years.  But a mishit on a ball and QPR found the back of the net to tie the game.  Suddenly the pressure was on City and a cheer of hope went up in the United stadium.  That cheer would grow louder when QPR scored a second goal and took a 2-1 lead over City.  The United fans were dancing and singing and the City fans were reliving 44 years of disappointment. 

United held on to their 1-0 lead and were ready to crown themselves champions, but suddenly City headed in a goal and tied the game 2-2 in extra time.  As United's game came to a close, the fans, players, and coaches kept their eyes and ears glued on the last couple minutes of the City-QPR match hoping for a miracle.  But the miracle today would be found on the foot Sergio Aguero who found the back of the net in stoppage time for a 3-2 lead. 

Moments later, as time expired, the City fans cried with joy and the United fans were left thinking of what could have been.  
City fans began singing their team song Blue Moon as they hoisted the trophy as League Champions in what has to be the most exciting day in English league football history.   As a  United fan I was disappointed to come so close to the title, but as a sport fan I couldn't help but find joy in watching people who waited all their lives enjoy the this moment with their family and friends. 

Below is the video of the final moments.