‘Escape from North Korea’, from National Geographic

March 26, 2009

Since last summer when I looked into the possibility of going on an organised tour to North Korea (there is no other way of travelling to/within the country), I have had kept an eye out for any news smuggled out of the country. As the world’s most inaccessible country, it appeals enormously.

National Geographic ran an article last week entitled ‘Escape from North Korea’ and whilst it’s long, it’s well worth a read, bringing up issues of sex trafficking, active love, gratitude and the effect of faith on people in need

Read it here

Free Things No.3 – Gumtree

March 24, 2009

More free things. 

I’m relatively new to the whole Gumtree thing. Essentially it’s a classified website offering jobs, flats, cars all that kind of stuff. But there is a ‘Freebie’ section, worth checking out. My personal favourite is 15 foot Boa Constrictor offered here

Ryanair – Good or Bad?

March 24, 2009

Spent this past hour booking flights for myself and my father to go to Belgium early June. As ever, using good old Ryanair because I am a slave to their ridiculously low prices. Having sacrificed taking any luggage, travel insurance and deciding to check in online rather than at the airport, I had my flights for a bargain 20 Euros a piece. However, without a VISA Electron card, I faced charges of another 20 euros (10 euros per passenger) for paying with a credit card (it’s the same price as with a debit card, but with the added security).

Ryanair is without doubt the cheapest airline on paper, providing you are willing to forgo your human rights for the length of time it takes to get to your destination. Overpriced snacks on board, as well as all the additional charges they try and lure you into before you can book your flight are only the start of it.

Charging for mobile phones is the latest thing, with threats in place to charge a quid if you want to use the toilet. Chief Executive Michael O’Leary is undoubtedly one of the most successful and despised businessmen in Europe, making £650m a year from all the extra charges. He’s not in a hurry to help either, as this quote illustrates

“We don’t fall all over ourselves if they… say my granny fell ill. What part of no refund don’t you understand? You are not getting a refund so fuck off”

The bottom line is they are cheap, and we are suckers for a bargain. If they work in our favour, great. But if there is a problem, don’t expect any help.

It comes down to that old adage – You get what you pay for. But frankly, I’ll take their cheap flights.  Gladly

Verdict: Good

What if God had facebook?

March 18, 2009
Clicky for a chuckle

Chris McCandless

March 16, 2009

His life was documented first in Jon Krakaurer’s book, and then in Sean Penn’s film both titled ‘Into the Wild’. I haven’t seen the film, but found the book fascinating, the life of this nomad so enticing that I just wanted to lock up the shop I was working in and go get a bus to wherever.
This quote from a letter he wrote to Ron, an old churchgoing man whose life he seriously impacted is something that has stuck with me

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

– Chris McCandless

No more

March 10, 2009

Stephen Carroll, murdered by dissident republicans


No more.

We will not be dragged backwards. We will not let the good name of our Province be used as a byword for terrorism no more. We will not stand idle while bastards try to rip down our peace, we will not simply watch as they indoctrinate children and rape this country of its fragile unity. We will not be known as the generation who allowed this to return

Nor will we retaliate.

We will let these cowards know that there is no home here for their attitudes, no refuge for their methods.

We will stand, and we will let the world know what we stand for.

1pm, Wednesday
Belfast City Hall
L’Derry Guildhall Square
Newry Town Hall

Old Age

March 9, 2009

Was back home for the weekend there, and asked my 90 year old Gran; “Nanny, what’s it like being old?

She paused for a moment and sighed:

“It’s all right … You’ve got nothing to do … but you’ve alot of time to do it”