Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I'm a Sinner!

I had the weight of the world on me (or in me) yesterday after a few days of WAY too much food and even after a dose of Andrews Liver Salts, I was not one with the universe so I did something radical- I went to confession. Yes I know it was a bit drastic but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Drink, Arse, Feck, Girls

The priest asked asked me "¿Cuánto tiempo desde su última confesión mi hijo"(How long since your last confession my son?)" I thought to myself -"He thinks I'm his son? - Jaezuz, come to think of it, there is a bit of a resemblance mind you!"
- I said in English - "It's been 27 years since me last confession Dad ....I mean ...father"

He replied - "No Habla Ingles! - pero vos habla Castellano- no?" (I don't speak English - but you speak Spanish - no?)

I thought for a minute as to how this could work to my advantage and replied - "Jaezuz - I don't speak a word of that ol' gibberish, but I need to spill, so listen up Pops - I've 27 years of desperate, awful, deprave sins to confess so lets get down to business pronto!"

45 minutes later, after offloading all the terrible deeds of the past, I walked out of the confessional a lighter, better, purer, happier soul. It was like doing the laundry, taking a shower, shave, shite and getting a facial with the blackheads squeezed out, all at the same time (not that I've ever had a facial cos that's just for girdles!)

To top the lot, I didn't get even one prayer to say as penance - In fact I got the equivalent of a life long 'Get out of Jail/Church' card free. I'm officially banned from confession, communion, and all the Holy sacraments. - May the Lord have mercy on all your souls - yiz feckin' sinners and I'm auctioning off my 'Get of of church' card on eBay so let the bids begin!

Tags: Sinner, Irish, Andrews Liver Salts, Ireland, Buenos Aires Expat,I'm a Sinner!,Father Ted,Fr Ted,Father Jack Hackett,


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TOTAL WIPEOUT - BBC GAMESHOW - HOW TO BE A CONTESTANT!


Join the Total Wipeout Facebook 'page' click here -> and view photos from actual contestants and video from the show

Want to be a contestant? - Well now is your chance!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/beonashow/total_wipeout.shtml

To apply go click here

Applicants must be 18

Join the Total Wipeout Facebook 'page' click here -> and view photos from actual contestants and video from the show

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The BBC is also looking for Buenos Aires-based contestants for its extreme obstacle course gameshow TOTAL WIPEOUT for UK Television

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If you hold a British Passport and fancy winning £10000 we want to hear from you!

To request an application form email


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Tags: Total Wipeout, how do I to take part apply in total wipeout, ,Australia, facebook, BBC Gameshow, Argentina, Australia, RTE, rte.ie, Richard Hammond, contestants for total wipeout,TOTAL WIPEOUT - BBC gameshow ,where is total wipeout filmed?, Buenos Aires


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Monday, 29 September 2008

TOTAL WIPEOUT - BBC GAMESHOW



!!!!  - NEW SERIES 4 - STARTS JANUARY 8th 2011 - !!!!

Viewers are in for a treat this January as TV’s craziest game show is back and this series sees 160 courageous, some would say foolhardy, Brits take on the infamous Total Wipeout obstacle course, in an attempt to bag themselves the big cash prize and the coveted, shiny trophy.

Series 4 sees the return of some of the audience’s favourite obstacles – the eternally funny and unmissable “Big Red Balls”, “Rake in the Face”, “Cradles of Doom” and “Crash Mountain”, as well as the iconic “Sucker Punch” and the “Wipeout Zone”. Expect wipeouts galore, as these battered and bruised folk test their stamina, bravery and skill against the almighty Total Wipeout course.



Want to be a contestant? - Well now is your chance!

To apply click here



For more photos join the Total Wipeout Facebook 'page' click here ->

The BBC is also looking for Buenos Aires-based contestants for its extreme obstacle course gameshow TOTAL WIPEOUT for UK Television




If you hold a British Passport and fancy winning £10000 we want to hear from you!

To request an application form email


mariano.vacas@endemoluk.com
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Tags:Total Wipeout, how do I to take part apply in total wipeout, ,Australia, facebook, BBC Gameshow, Argentina, Australia, RTE, rte.ie, Richard Hammond, contestants for total wipeout,how do I apply total wipeout, how do I enter total wipeout,TOTAL WIPEOUT - BBC gameshow ,where is total wipeout filmed?, wipe out,total wipeout application USA, France, Buenos Aires,


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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Inscrutable Intention

We did a day trip out to San Antonio de Areco today, which is gaucho country and it was nice to get out of the concrete jungle for a while. It was an early start and we're back home now but still no TV as it takes an age to get connected here.  I've got one of my favs - 'Fist Full of Dollars' playing on the DVD.

With gauchos and cowboys, my mind wandered to my old friend Ray who I met in Australia. A group of us would head out on the plains of western Sydney at weekends.  The ranch owner would ask Ray which horse he wanted and he would casually reply, "What do you recommend?" - "How about Bishop?" said the ranch owner.  Bishop was a wild feisty horse that required a very experienced handler. "Sure, why not!" Ray would respond and somehow he would control the horse like it was a dead beat donkey.
Because Ray knew the owner, we got to take the horses out by ourselves (no strict supervision like the others) and it wouldn't be long before a trot became canter which became a gallop and the adrenalin was pumping as every nerve in your body was focused on controlling the beast beneath.  All thoughts of work, stress, troubles faded away.  For a few fleeting moments you were one with the horse.  I can honestly say I never felt more alive.  Probably sounds like complete bollocks but it was true.  It was true escapism without the typical vices.  I absolutely loved it!!!
Afterwards, we'd head back to Rays house where his wife Marls (a character in her own right) would prepare a spread of cheese and wine and we would chat and laugh as the sun went down.  Often, after a few too many, Ray would direct us to the garage for an impromptu music video where we were the stars. It was like karaoke with video evidence to be replayed again and again.  Sometimes we stayed over with a sore head and ended up horse riding the next day aswell where upon the vicious but brilliant circle continued.  Other evenings we'd just sit and chat in the garage.  It had bails of hay to park your arse on and lots of interesting props and paintings.
Ray was very well read and had a "fuck the establishment" attitude that was intriguing and refreshing.  He just didn't like to play by societies laid down rules.  He was a genuine rebel if ever there was one.

One night after a bottle of wine and a quiet chat between the two of us, Ray played an audio tape of Joseph Conrads - The Heart of Darkness.  There is a line that goes - "It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention." He rewound it and replayed it 6 times.  "That's a fucking amazingly descriptive sentence - hard to beat that!" - said Ray. I'd never really been blown away by music or writing but this line really struck a chord with me too. So much detail and emotion described in one sentence.

I was back in Ireland about 6 months later when I got a phone call on Christmas morning. 
"He passed away this morning" -  said the tearfull voice the other end of the phone.

I knew he'd had stomach cancer for a year and didn't have long left.  It was inevitable, but even though I was expecting the bad news, I was devastated. It was the shitiest Christmas / new years after that.

"It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention."

To: Ray - Gone but not forgotten



Tags: San Antonio de Areco, Fist Full of Dollars, Joseph Conrads The Heart of Darkness, Inscrutable Intention

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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Corruption Perceptions Index - Ireland ranks #16


The annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks 180 countries by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

According to the latest CPI, Ireland and UK rank #16 (lower numbers are better)
Denmark had the best score #1 with Argentina coming in at an abysmal #109 and worst of the bunch was Somalia at #180

I'm actually pretty surprised at the how well Ireland ranks considering the crooks that run the country and the Godfather of them all (Bertie) who had to step aside recently amid numerous scandals. 

I realise it's not just corruption in politics that's measured but how many backhanders go to county council officials for helping planning permission to go thru etc. 

If Ireland is #16 how bad must it be in the other places?
Argentina #109 ranks worse than Rwanda #102?

Link to the data is here
Thanks to the Argentine Post for the heads up


Tags: Corruption Perceptions Index, Argentina, Ireland,Trancparency International


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Monday, 22 September 2008

Irish Rover - Part 3




.....Continued from Irish Rover - Part 2
After an extra big night out in Camden (bad idea but inevitable), I poured myself onto the plane at Heathrow at 8am for a twenty something hour flight to Sydney. I'd never taken a long haul flight before. In fact I think my longest flight prior to this marathon was 3 hours but they had non stop free beer who could argue with that - certainly not me.
I finally arrived a bit green around the gills and jet lagged but was lucky to be met by some friends where I had reserved a sofa to crash on. They lived in Bondi beach as many expats did (and still do) and within 2 hours of arrival, I'd been introduced to the nectar of the Gods - Victoria Bitter (VB beer to the heathens) and the Silver Spoon Thai restaurant (2 ingredients that I still crave today). Penang chicken is on my mind as I write. The quality of Asian food in Oz is phenomenal as is the wine. The system of B.Y.O.B. (bring your own booze) is genius. Who wants to pay 100-200% mark-up on wine / beer when you eat out - not the Aussies - proper order too.
Thru my Bondi sofa donor I got in contact with a work agency where I secured a 3 month contract as a bean counter / techie geek with a company that made weighing scales and meat slicers (GEC Avery) - The company was miles out in the burbs of Leightonfield and they were on their way under when I joined. It no longer exists today but they a great bunch of people and we would end in the R.S.L (Returned Servicemen’s League) club for cheap beer on many an occasion.
I really got into horse riding back then and I actually got pretty good at it and practically every weekend was spent galloping the plains in the west of Sydney near Campbelltown followed by some crazy nights back at friends who lived out there where impromptu karaoke sessions in the garage would ensue (I still have the videos!)
I shared a house in Bondi beach with some travelling Israeli's who couldn't cook so I perfected a chile con carne / bolognaise hybrid that I still use and packs a wallop and was our staple diet at least 5 nights a week. For obvious reasons the loo was to be avoided back then and probably still is off limits now.
I eventually moved to the more happening neighbourhood of Paddington. Oz truly was a land of opportunity. A land of sunny weather, outdoor activities and golden beaches. A land of endless possibilities and they loved the Irish. It was a far throw from the cold, grey, dark, damp, London I had left.
I remember spending Xmas day on the beach (which was surreal) and going for a BBQ afterwards. As a pasty Irishman my skin was not used to this heat and sun and I got sunburnt quite a bit. Laid back is how I would sum up Oz - Very Laid back!
The 3 month work gig turned into 12 months and could have kept going but I had yet to see the country and my itchy feet needed a scratching, so I decided to pack it all in and go walkabout.
..more of this drivel to follow!

Tags: Sydney, Australia, Oz, Paddy, POME, Prisoner of Mother England, Paddington, Bondi Beach, R.S.L. club

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Paddy Pish - A Medicinal Compound


Are you tired of the gloom and doom of the economy? Financial markets got you in a tizzy? Is the credit crunch cramping your style? Do you need help to escape from the debt collectors, stockbrokers, bank managers and loan sharks beating down your door. 

Then maybe this is for you. Paddy in Buenos Aires is pleased to present at a hugely discounted price (just for you), a medicinal compound aka - Paddy Pish!  One sip and yer troubles will be history. Your suiters will flock to your beckoning call like flies on shit.  Ailments will abandon ship and bad breath will smell like roses. If you have acne you'll still be frikkin' ugly - sorry :-(

Call now and get 2 for the price of 1....But wait theres more - and now for the promotional video 




p.s. this song (Lilly the Pink) was one of my favourites as a lad - I still love it

Tags: Lilly the Pink, Medicinal compound, Scaffold, 
We'll drink a drink a drink to 
Lily the pink a pink a pink 
The saviour of the human race 
For she invented medicinal compound 
Most efficacious in every case

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Thursday, 18 September 2008

SHIT !!!!



Imagine owning, working or dealing with this company?



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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Plastic Bags to be banned in Buenos Aires


Every time I go to the supermarket here, I either bring a large cloth 'Marks & Spencers' bag I brought from London or if it's just a few bits n' bobs I bring a few recycled plastic bags and shove them in my pocket for reuse.

To be honest, I feel like a bit of a granny with the cloth bag and maybe I should have invested in a zimmerframe and grey wig just to cover my tracks. I'm no green tree hugger, but I hate the idea of waste and pollution.

They double bag everything here and it drives me nuts. I practically have to wrestle the check- out lad/lass NOT to give me more plastic bags. I become paranoid they don't understand my mumbled Spanish - "Tengo un bolsa" - (I have a bag) but they normally feign indifference and keep double bagging until I say "Basta!" (Stop!) and then they give you a look like you're strange - oh but sure you are strange - you're a gringo - why don't you want 'free' plastic bags - nuff said!

Ireland has a ban on free plastic bags and a hefty charge if you still need a container to cart home the groceries and although the adjustment was a pain at first it made a lot of sense, as a large chunk of the pollution in the rivers in Ireland at the time was due to plastic bags.

I'm not running a crusade here to save the tuna or turtle or tortoise etc but just basic common sense and respect. BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag

Finally some good news on the link below - A law has been passed recently to rid Buenos Aires of plastic bags forever! - Perhaps there is a green god afterall?!!


The Argentine Post: Buenos Aires Province Bans Plastic Bags



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Sunday, 14 September 2008

San Telmo, Buenos Aires

I finally got the WIFI working in our new place via our DSL service 'Speedy' so internet is now functional in any room of our one bedroom apartment!  We had cable internet in the old place with Fibertel (Cablevision) and neither is very fast compared with USA or UK. They both advertise 3 megabytes per second but it's no where near that from the tests I've done but it's better than dangling from the balcony trying to steal someone signal.

We haven't got TV connected yet, which is a blessing in disguise as far as I'm concerned.  We've been going thru the old DVD collection so it's been fun watching / rewatching some vintage old stuff. I finally got around to watching Billy Connollys World Tour of England, Ireland & Wales which I've had for about 6 years which was a good nostalgic trip down memory lane. I also have ALL the old Star Trek movies so it's been a Kirk & Spock marathon overload! The wife is not a big fan and cannie' take anymore Captain!

Here are some photos of the new neighbourhood. I've been happy snapping as I stroll around.  It's one of the oldest parts of the city and has an interesting mix of locals (portenos) and tourists. Many of the the buildings (that thankfully haven't been torn down yet) are really old, ornate and beautiful and there are a few great indoor and outdoor markets.

I've got 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' playing on dvd right now so you must excuse me as I watch my bad boy hero Clint shoot 'em up!

Tags: San Telmo Buenos Aires, San Telmo Tango, San Telmo Bars, San Telmo Barrio, San Telmo Restaurants, San Telmo Apartments rent

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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Ten (yes only 10) Things I Hate About Travel

I love to travel and have been around the block and brag about it regularly, but it ain’t all ‘a bed of roses!’



1.) These days it takes longer to get to the airport and wait for your flight (normally delayed) than it does to fly to your destination

2.) Arriving at the check-in counter with an e-ticket and three thousand keystrokes later you finally get a boarding card – WTF - are you writing a novel or just checking me in?

3.) Queuing for an eternity in the security line and removing shoes, belt, coat, phone, coins and then to be told you have a 50mls too much liquid in your shampoo bottle. They then serve a mini glass bottle of wine which could be broken and used as a weapon easily?

4.) Even though they have a boarding card, people wait on line for 60 minutes at the gate standing anxiously to make sure they get on the plane – usually as they bring a kitchen sink as carry on so you can't even fit you small napsack in the overhead compartment

5.) On the Ryanair cattle train with no seat assignment, the queue skippers who barge their way to the front once boarding starts

6.) If you’re lucky enough to get food/drink service onboard it now costs an arm and a leg and is miniature in proportion and tastes like crap

7.) The days of ‘good flight service’ and ‘the customer is always right’ is null and void and you can land yer arse in jail for the slightest objection or altercation

8.) Bullshit flight statistics whereby your flight left the gate on time and then sat on the runway for four hours is considered “left on schedule”

9.) You lost my bags you fu(kers and took 4 days to find it - you refuse to answer the phone – so at least pretend you care and don’t lose my paperwork claim for compensation 3 times

10.) You asked for my email, telephone # and emergency contact when I booked the flight, but I arrive at the airport to be told the flight was cancelled 2 months ago – WTF!

Perhaps you have a few of your own?

Tags: ten Things I Hate About Travel, Argentina Travel delays, Buenos Aires travel complaints, customer complaints argentina, travel agents argentina buenos aires, travel customer service issues
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Thursday, 11 September 2008

TEA is EVIL!

Ah g’won, you’ll have a cup of tea, ya will, ya will , ya will!
The family custom when I was a wee lad was, at about 10pm for us all to gather in the living room after studying (playing battleships) etc to have a good old cup of tea and a biscuit (cookie) and watch TV. The ITV news at ten was the usual choice. Sometimes a movie on BBC2 would be in order but if any nudity presented itself (as it often did on BBC2) then it was literally curtains and “away to bed with all yiz!”

One night while munching the cookies and balancing my cup of black tea on my knee (I don’t drink milk for reasons previously mentioned) the unthinkable happened. The cup tumbled and the entire contents splattered all over my delicate dangly bits. I screamed like any man would, who had just had piping hot water scalding his privates. It hurt like a bastage!

Me Ma jumped up with genuine concern. Me Da asked if I wanted a ‘hot drop’ and my brother rolled on the floor with laughter. I was reminded of this episode recently as a friend experienced something similar, but faired worse than I, and ended up in the emergency room. Take it from me - TEA IS EVIL !

Tags: cup of tea argentina, tea time buenos aires, injury tea

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Irish Rover - Part 2

......Continued from Irish Rover - Part 1

After Tooting in South London, we moved as a group of 6 yobs to Colindale, North London. It was once again on the Northern line tube (subway) and yet again, one hours uncomfortable journey to work. The location was even more remote than Tooting and besides the Kings Arms pub there wasn't much to do. Truth be told there was nothing to do - boring as HELL!



The house had a garden which was a luxury, but it was English weather, so it didn't get used that much. I remember tube strikes which made travel to and from work a challenge. I remember really bad pizza delivery and trips to the supermarket (Asda) to buy a weeks supply of boil in the bag rice and boil in the bag fish - yeuch! - It's true my culinary skills had yet to be honed!



I had ditched the shi-te construction company and landed a good spot in a telecommunications company, where I met some great people that I'm still in contact with. I think this is where the travel bug kicked in. I was bored of London and I had a few pounds to spare (money - not kilos and a beer gut as now!) , so I spent it on long weekends to discover nearby European cities. I found some old photos recently of a weekend in Amsterdam where we couldn't find a hotel so we resorted to renting a Volkswagen van to sleep in (5 of us).

In London, I kept moving to different neighbourhoods in search of ...I don't know what... To Archway (Northern Line), then Hackney, followed by Camden (Northern Line) before I made my 'BIG' exit from the UK altogether to Australia. I had scored a 1 year working holiday visa to the 'Land Down Under!' - The world was indeed my oyster - (whatever the frick that means?)

More to follow.....



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Monday, 8 September 2008

Football in Argentina


Photo: The Tickets

I got up at 5am last Tuesday and headed for a place called Luna Park which was selling tickets for the World Cup qualifier game of Argentina VS Paraguay in River Plate stadium here in Buenos Aires to be played Saturday Sep 6th. I was relieved that there were only a couple of hundred people ahead in the queue. After waiting about 90 minutes the ticket windows hadn't even opened. It was a strictly first come, first served affair with max of 3 tickets per person. By some sleight of hand or "Hand of God", the 40 and 50 peso tickets had sold out after 5 minutes - all thirty thousand of them!????? Had a hoard of invisible hooligans descended upon the queue? - Alas no - this was Argentinian 'mafia' economics at work. One ticket for the public, 100 for somebody to sell later an an inflated price - Bienvenidos a Argentina!

Photo: The Chicas

We eventually got pretty decent seats (covered) for 170 pesos each. The 'covered' became especially important as it pissed rain here most of this weekend and the temperature dropped to 3 degrees during the game so it was frikkin' freezing! (at least for Argentina)

About 7 thousand Paraguayans showed up and in some ways reminded me of the Irish as although they were out numbered ten to one by the home crowd, they made themselves heard and even upstaged the Argentinians with their chants and songs. There was a lot of middle finger sign language being exchanged aswell as reciprocal lyric additions of "puto" and "hijo de puto" (son of a bitch) when the oppostions chants were in full flow.

After an early goal that saw the Argentinian keeper stretchered off, the game eventually finished a draw 1-1 which was a fair result. I'd waited a long time to see a football match here and it didn't disappoint.

Tags: River Plate Stadium, Argentina football, Boca Juniors, River Boca, sport

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Wednesday, 3 September 2008

We Have Moved


The move went reasonably well as moves go. The movers (3 blokes and a truck) showed up on time and we cleared out the old place in 2 hours. The owner (who is a right ol' bee-atch) came to make sure we hadn't trashed the place. She's been calling the real estate agent to get him to call us, to make sure we hand over photocopies proving the bills have been paid. He's just as sick of her nagging as we are. I can understand being concerned about your property but my mother-in-law works with this daft old bag so it's not as if we could do a runner.

42 boxes, 23 bags and furniture from a two bedroom flat doesn't fit easily into a one bedroom flat so when we'd offloaded the last box we locked the place up and headed for the pub knowing we'd have to regroup and fight that battle another day (3 days as it transpired!)

We had a bit of a shock yesterday as the gas water heater spontaneously combusted and thick black smoke spewed everywhere as the failsafe water mechanism kicked in to douse the flames. It took a day to source and install a replacement. We discovered the difference between renting and owning a property. If you rent, you just call the landlord to get stuff fixed. If you own, you're on your own!

It's strange being without a land line phone, TV and internet which take forever to get connected here. I found if I held my laptop at a certain angle while dangling off the balcony I can pilfer someones WI-FI signal and check emails. It's hard to hold that position for long without attracting onlookers cheering "JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!" so I have a bit of a 'back blog' in terms of reading and posting right now.

Tags: moving buenos aires, moving argentina, we have moved, moving to a new apartment buenos aires, buying an apartment buenos aires

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