Category Archives: Columns

All what I hope to do one day- write about whatever’s relevant at the time!

My top 10 favourite podcasts

I discovered podcasts for the first time about two years ago and since then, they’ve changed my life. Planes, trains, automobiles, walks and housework are all much more fun! I know so much more now than I did two years ago and I’ve had a lot of fun learning.

  1. Answer Me This

Genre: Question/Answer/Advice

I don’t even know where to start to describe what makes this podcast a treat that I look forward to so much every fortnight!

Answer Me This is produced and presented by three British people called Helen, Olly and Martin. Mainly advertised as ‘Helen & Olly’, the two college best friends are joined by Martin their soundman (as a ghostly distant voice) who happens to be Helen’s husband. Each fortnight you’re invited to Helen and Martin’s apartment where they answer listener’s questions ranging from: ‘Why are there blank pages at the back of most books? It seems very wasteful and pointless to me’ to ‘how do I tell my friends their hamster died while they were away?’

One of the things that sets Answer Me This apart is the music, which is in large part thanks to multi-talented Martin the sound man, who is also a musician (find his science-themed (yep, a physicist too!) music here). Original jingles pastiching a musical genre, artist or style advertising the show are played throughout such as this one. Warning: they will stick in your head for days:

Helen and Olly and also sing the theme tune each week, which has different lyrics every time- gotta love that Simpsons Intro Style of doing things. For example:

‘Is the Wolf of Wall Street a sequel to Little Red Riding Hood? Answer me this, answer me this. Will making your podcast ever be a livelihood? Answer me this, answer me this. Helen and Olly Answer me this!’

Example of an Answer Me This Question: This is James McAndrew from Alton, Hampshire, crummy little town. Just wonderingWhy Armageddon such a shit movie? 

Helen: Well that’s very easy: it’s because Michael Bay is the director.

Olly: Yeah, his name is basically cockney rhyming slang for ‘shit film’

Helen: Although Brett Ratner is both better sounding rhyming slang and an even shitter director.

Olly: Yeah but when you team up Bruckheimer and Bay, then you know you’re in for a real shit-storm.

Helen: Oooh….

Olly: Unless of course you’re a 14 year old boy, which is what I was when Armageddon came out so I thought it was amazing

Helen: I enjoyed it too as a teenager, but…

Olly: I think I went to see it twice. But that was once for each of Liv Tyler’s tits

(laughter)

Olly: I don’t remember, was it that Afleck and Willis were a sort of father-son dynamic?

Helen: Afleck was going out with Bruce Willis’ daughter

Olly: Right, Liv Tyler

Helen: Yeah. And so Bruce Willis was disapproving because Afleck was a bit of a flake on the oil rig. Whereas at the end he was like ‘I’m gonna sacrifice myself for the asteroid, but Ben Afleck is sufficient to take over from me in Liv Tyler’s life because obviously she is not sufficient on her own without a man

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Top Apps for Travel

1. Google maps 

Getting to where you want to go. It’s handy

2. Tripit

Words can’t describe how amazing I think this app is. It pretty much acts as your personal assistant for your trip, making everything that bit easier. When you get all those emails you do when planning a trip (flight confirmations, hotel confirmations, etc.) you simply forward them all to Tripit and it puts all relevant information into an itinerary for you. The itinerary is organised by date, and makes it much easier to visualise and therefore organise your trip. Another benefit is you can share this itinerary with whoever you like so rather than typing out numerous emails and texts, you simply add your friends and families email address to the itinerary and voila, everyone is kept informed! Also, it saves the headache of looking through different email formats while frantically pulling a suitcase through an airport. Tripit presents you with the information (including, may I add, contact info- how handy!) you need there and then in a clear and simple way

3. Trip advisor

Where to stay in Toronto? Reading 47,382 reviews of 259 hotels seems like a pretty good way of figuring it out. TripAdvisor epitomises what the internet does for travel. All the information you could possibly want, and all for free. Lists upon lists of where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and in all different categories. Want to see the best hotels? Go ahead. Cheapest? Yep they have that too. Don’t have much time to research? Trip Advisor has guides such as ‘3 days in Toronto’, containing the cream of the crop your chosen destination. This is all done in an easy to use interface. It also uses the traditional star ratings, so you can get a good idea of anything at a glance.

Did I mention it has maps? And if you have the app you can ask it about the area nearby? And then ask it to point you to where you want to go? I could go on. Just use it!

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A Brief Blog of Tips on Boston

Boston Harbour
Two years ago I spent a month in Boston and last week I spent 5 days there. Here are the tips from my experiences!
1. Use the T- I have a friend who works in tourist attractions in Boston and told us that a lot of visitors use their trolley tickets to get around. This is expensive, inconvenient and unnecessary- especially for somewhere with such a great transport system. The T covers a huge area of Boston, it’s quick, comfortable and cheap. There is a flat fare of $2 for any journey. The best way to use the T is with a Charlie card, which can be obtained at T stations or 7/11’s. There are also multi trip options which can be very economical
2. If you have a smartphone, I recommend using the Trip Advisor downloadable city guide for Boston and using it to do the Freedom Trail. You get to do it at your own pace and free of charge! It’s a fantastic way to see the city
3. Use Groupon to find offers. We used it to get a Trolley Tour, Harbour Cruise and walking tour, all for $37 for two people.

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Amnesty Speech for ‘Voice Our Concern’ The Importance of Arts Education in Human Rights

I’m going to start out by introducing myself- hello. My name is Triona Brick. In my transition year in Mercy Secondary school Mounthawk, Tralee in 2006, I worked on a short human rights film centring around the experience for an immigrant in Ireland. I worked on this with an inspiring teacher called Mr. Redican, Amnesty International, and renowned Irish Director of ‘Hotel Rwanda’, Terry George. The experience influenced me to go on to study a BA in Communications Studies, and MA in Film and Television Studies, both at DCU. For the past two years, I have been the media manager of The Freshly Squeezed International Student Short Film Festival, a festival that has the importance of arts education at its core. Freshly Squeezed nurtures young film-makers by giving them somewhere to screen their work and in doing so, recognition and praise. We crowd-funded the project so that both submitting and attendance are completely free of charge, and therefore open to everyone. Upon completion of the MA, I went on to work in a human rights organisation: GLEN- The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. As GLEN’s social media manager, I am in the thick of one of the most important human rights movements of my generation on a daily basis. There are infinite kinds of arts education, and infinite human rights issues, but my speech will centre around my own personal experiences of media arts education and of LGBT rights activism.

The first step in any process is seeing the possibility of a good result. Before you speak you must feel like you’ll at least be heard, hopefully listened to and respected. I was the youngest in a family of three. Growing up, it wasn’t always easy to feel listened to when I was always seen as the kid. In school you are assigned a similar role. You are the student, there to listen, not to speak. We’ve all had those inspiring teachers whose classes we looked forward to going to and who taught us life long lessons. But in my experience, those teachers were more often the exception than the rule. And even those teachers were confined by an educational system that does not encourage students to have a voice. To feel confidence in their opinions. To think critically. To challenge the culture around them. To realise that they don’t always have to accept what they’re told. I grew up in Kerry, which, when I was growing up, was still staunchly Catholic. Which meant accepting what you’re told was part and parcel of my education. This was in a time when access to different cultures and different ways of thinking was not just the click of a button away. While we had the mediums of film and television, these were seen as a bit of fun, nothing to be taken too seriously. Certainly not something to be studied. When I did my Leaving Cert, filling out your CAO form was all about how good the courses would be at getting you a job.
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Feminist Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

I sat there and enjoyed Oz: The Great and Powerful. Until my feminist light came on and I felt much like my friend and fellow blogger Laura Canning in this post. I guess the 15th mention of how valuable a woman’s beauty is was just too obnoxious to slip by.Image

(Image courtesy of http://www.empireonline.com)

In the world of Oz, female characters are there purely to facilitate, or espouse the values of a man. I’m not one to usually buy into the manic pixie dream girl theory posited by Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian. I certainly disagree that it applies to 500 Days of Summer’s Summer Finn, and I’m skeptical that it applies to Garden State’s Sam. But Glinda the good witch is the definition of this trope. Simply a character to sit there, look pretty, be told repeatedly how pretty she is, and puff up James Franco’s ego by constantly telling him how wonderful he is and how he and he alone will be the answer to her, and her entire people’s problems.  Continue reading

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Sex Positive

A few years ago I was introduced to feminism. When this happened, I realised a whole movement existed that held beliefs I had always held but never fully articulated. I recently discovered the sex positive movement and felt a similar feeling.

From my experience of Sex Positive, I would loosely define it as a movement that embraces sexuality as a gift we’re blessed with, as something to be experienced to its full and enjoyed. Something which, contrary to what most cultures have taught in some way or another, is not something to be ashamed of. Sex positive encourages an open minded discussion of sex and sexuality. Similarly, wikipedia defines sex positive as: ‘an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits beyond an emphasis on safe sex and the importance of informed consent. Sex positivity is “an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation. The sex-positive movement is a social and philosophical movement that advocates these attitudes. The sex-positive movement advocates sex education and safer sex as part of its campaign.”[1] The movement makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference.’.

Problems With Sex Positive

Of course just like feminism, or any other social movement, sex positive has its inherent flaws, and more prominently; people who define themselves as sex positive but embrace or express ideas that are not in keeping with the ideals of sex positive. Namely, what I personally loved about sex positive in the beginning was the freedom inherent within it. I found it to simply be a movement that said ‘whoever you are, and whatever your sexual preferences are, what’s most important is that you enjoy your sexuality and are comfortable with it’. That unlike other schools of thought on sexuality, such as the more pure/hetereosexual/monogamous values traditionally embraced by religious movements and conservatives, or the loose/sexually promiscuous values embraced by highly liberal movements; sex positive didn’t impose any standing on sexuality but your own. This was captured perfectly in a quote on Sex Positive’s wikipedia page by Carol Queen:

‘Sex-positive, a term that’s coming into cultural awareness, isn’t a dippy love-child celebration of orgone – it’s a simple yet radical affirmation that we each grow our own passions on a different medium, that instead of having two or three or even half a dozen sexual orientations, we should be thinking in terms of millions. “Sex-positive” respects each of our unique sexual profiles, even as we acknowledge that some of us have been damaged by a culture that tries to eradicate sexual difference and possibility.’[6]

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Movie Fest 2012- Announcements, Previews, Trailers, Paranorman, Stitches, Pitch Perfect, Premium Rush, Hit and Run, Looper

By far the most exciting announcement coming from Movie Fest 2012 for Irish cinephiles (particularly those who inhabit Dublin) is that soon Ireland will have our very own imax theatre in Cineworld Dublin. On the Irish film scene otherwise, Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘What Richie did’ looks to be difficult in the best possible way, and captivating.  Neil Jordan appears to be bringing us another exciting development in a return to the vampire genre- ‘Byzantium’ looks like a refreshing change to recent vampire fiction, bringing a strong female lead (going by the trailer). Unfortunately I cannot say the trailer for a new Australian film starring Chris O Dowd, ‘The Sapphires’ excited me in any way. That said, we all know how misleading trailers can be.

In international stakes, my jaw hung open during the entire ‘Life of Pi’ preview. The CGI is like nothing seen before (particularly the amazingly life-like CGI tiger), and the visuals in the shipwreck scene perfectly captured the vast, terrifying nature of the sea. This is a film not to be seen on a small screen. The other lengthy preview movie festers were treated to was the seasonal children’s film ‘Rise of the Guardians’. The first ten to fifteen minutes appeared to be standard children’s fare, entirely unsuitable for the movie fest audience, so it came as a surprise when, by the time the preview ended, there was an audible ‘awwww’ from the audience. This film is sweet, funny, and entertaining. A perfect family film, I just can’t wait to watch the whole thing with my nieces. On the other hand, Tinkerbell was just that- entirely unsuitable for the audience. I have no idea why the trailer was shown. On the upside it did become the running in-joke of the festival.

One of the greatest joys for me personally was seeing the alternate rom com on the rise with trailers for films like ‘Celeste and Jessie Forever’. Less schmultz, more realism- yay!

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