Sunday, February 22, 2009

Apologies...Last Week, a Week Late

Sorry again for the lack of communication! Last week was incredibly busy, and this week I'm writing various midterm essays. But I'll take a break to document the events of last week, which was spectacularly awesome.

Wednesday: Jessica and I were invited to the launch of Samuel Beckett's letters at Trinity College, which was attended by so many incredible people that I can't name (my head is too full of Ottoman religious architecture). The launch was held on Trinity's campus, in the room above the bookstore where they keep the Book of Kells. Sadly, the Book of Kells was 'undergoing repairs'--I think they just didn't want to leave it out in a room full of bibliophiles. We were tempted enough by the rest of books in the room! Imagine a space right out of Hogwarts, with vaulted wooden ceilings, two levels of wall-to-wall shelving full of deliciously old, leather-bound books, and moveable ladders--and all this punctuated by life-size marble busts of former Trinity graduates, who, in an ideal world, would have been able to speak and direct us around the library. Oh, well. They looked beautiful anyway.

Various persons made speeches about Beckett, which were really interesting and made me want to read his letters. We got to hear some of them read out loud, and it seems like Beckett was really sarcastic and witty, and slightly obsessed with fart jokes (I'm not kidding.). It was a really great evening; I got to imagine myself in thirty years time, living the literary life surrounded by brilliant scholars, of whom I will still be in awe.

After the launch, we headed over to Screen Cinema for another movie from the film festival :"Tokyo!" I'd been waiting to see that for a while...and apparently so had a lot of other people. The line was stretched around the block! We got seats, though, and it was definitely worth it. I give "Tokyo!" four stars! (I know it might seem like I give everything four stars, but it's not my fault that the film festival keeps showing such great movies) It was actually three shorter films by three different directors, all set in Tokyo. Isolation was definitely a theme in all three, but they were incredibly different, dealing with transformation, the concept of usefulness, xenophobia, cultural miscommunication, and extreme social hibernation (the hikikomori, which, by the way, is a really interesting phenomenon and something that you should read about. Check the NY Times Magazine archives). Two of the directors are known for doing horror films, so just imagine how eerie these were.

Saturday: I saw another film, "The Burning Plain." I actually had no idea what this one was about...I'm not sure what made me buy a ticket, but I'm really glad that I did. I won't say anything else about it, other than the fact that I also gave this one four stars. It's the kind of movie that really unfolds within itself. You'll just have to see it to find out what I mean! (if you're not a fan of movies that make you cry, maybe avoid this one.)

I also got a chance to walk around the city a bit more afterwards. We ate lunch at the Epicurean Food Hall on Liffey Street, which was great since Danielle has been craving burritos. Sadly, my Greek food was sub-par, and now I'm craving burritos.

Sunday: Finally, the horse show! One of the girls on the team was nice enough to let me ride the bus with her, so there was no aimless wandering this time. I saw the end of the dressage competition, which was fantastic. I really wish that the IHSA had more room for different types of riding. The UCD team competes in dressage, show jumping, and prix caprilli (mini dressage, which was what I did), and they have polocrosse lessons! They also compete in a tetrathlon--running, swimming, shooting, and riding a jump course. These people are seriously awesome.

Anyway, the dressage riders were amazing to watch, which was good considering that I have had virtually no instruction in dressage. My own test didn't go incredibly well, but hey! The judge's comment card--which I was so excited about, considering that the IHSA never gives feedback--said "You have a nice quiet seat. Well tried." So, not the highest of praise, but I'm proud of myself for getting out there and competing when I had no idea what I was doing.

Aside from the fact that UCD competes in so many more 'genres' of riding, the show atmosphere was utterly the opposite from the shows that I'm used to. The IHSA has incredibly strict rules about alcohol consumption, and competitors usually don't talk to each other. When there is negative talk, it's usually meant seriously, and can get really petty. Well here, it was the complete opposite. One guy (not a competitor) actually showed up completely drunk, holding a liter bottles of vodka. Between the final rounds of dressage and showjumping, the last two competitors had to sit on male team members' knees, take a shot of whiskey, and then roll around in the dirt. There were tables full of sandwiches, chips, tea, coffee, etc for everyone, and members of both teams were talking to each other, singing dirty songs and good-naturedly insulting each other. I think the IHSA should adopt the shot-of-whiskey competition...I'm sure it would make a lot of the riders less nervous...

Pictures to follow!

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